The 2013 film, Her, offers a world set in a near future where smartphones have been replaced by fully immersive operating systems that are sentient enough to have personalities. Director Spike Jonze uses the film to ponder the nature of love in the encroaching virtual world. Now take that concept and swap out the word love for food. The big idea then evolves into an interactive food service interface. It’s the focus of CCAD interior design student, Evan Alexander.
His concept fits well for the Columbus market, which is one of the premier test markets in the country. Evan’s intent centers around the restaurant dining experience, more specifically the juxtaposition of what is going to happen when you mix modern technology with a timeless feel. It’s more than landing on the next trend; rather, it’s about modernizing the overall dining experience with a classic feel.
Evan believes this is achievable by paying attention to detail. He seeks to make an interactive restaurant experience that will challenge the senses. This integrated interface would feature many user-friendly benefits, whether it be ordering take out from a restaurant or staying to dine. It would also connect to the patron’s social media, like Facebook. It would link user and all others at the table to share what they have enjoyed eating and their reviews. This interactivity would carry through the procession of restaurant experience whether it be a user’s smartphone or a fully integrated bill to include a survey of the overall experience that the user could use to rate the restaurant. The restaurant’s interactivity would extend to include a touchscreen display outside for any passersby to review the menu and get a feel for the ambiance.
The classic New York establishments inspire Evan to develop his concept around the idea of family and friends gathered around the table—as well as those friends who are not present, using their interactive applications on their electronic devices.
EA: Ralph Lauren, because he has set a standard in the industry. Not only creating great designs but an aspirational lifestyle - I really respect him in many ways. He grew up in the Bronx, not coming from much, and got his start by creating a unique tie line that he sewed and sold in a drawer out of the Empire State Building. If someone as successful and talented as him started out that way, I feel like there’s hope for the rest of us. People who were afraid to take a risk didn’t create great things.
JM: Why have you chosen the interior design industry?
EA: Well, it kind of chose me. My focus for a long time has been in the graphic design field, but I found myself gravitating towards branding and concepts for major fashion brands. So I think it was a natural evolution to get where I am now. It may sound silly, but from a young age I loved playing The Sims and getting the floor plan and rooms just right and I thought my calling was to be an architect, but by the time I was out of high school the time came to make a decision. My design work is an extension of my artistic soul - creativity is like breathing for me, it’s my life force. So I don’t think I could pin point one aspect, I wouldn’t say I’m a graphic designer or interior designer because those are just labels. I like to think of myself as someone with a vision to make other people’s lives more beautiful and inspiring. Graphics and design creates infinite opportunities for people to grow, and I feel blessed to be able to give such a life-changing gift.
JM: In what ways will you support the LGBT community with your work?
EA: I feel to make a difference in this world, you need to inspire the people around you and empower them to make their own lives better. I am a firm believer in helping others, and especially treating people like part of my family. It’s why I try to always support local LGBT businesses, whether that takes the form of graphic design or interior design. I would love to eventually do the graphics package for some of our many fundraisers and benefits we have in our community.
JM: How can the LGBT community support you ?
EA: The LGBT community can support me by upholding a strong sense of character and morality in all aspects of your life. Be true to yourself. I encourage everyone to keep growing and inspiring.
JM: Why have you chosen Columbus as home?
EA: It actually surprised me how much culture and diversity is here. It’s definitely not your average Midwestern city. Columbus is vibrant and full of so many talented and influential people. It’s precisely why I proposed our city for my restaurant concept. There are always festivals, musicals, shows, and gallery openings to go to. I think these are the things that make us stronger as individuals and as a community, and it personally gives me a feeling of togetherness and pride for Columbus.
JM: What advice would you share with our readers who are interested in interior design?
EA: Throw out the rulebook; I think rules were meant to be broken. Be forward thinking and push the limits on what you think design is. Do it for your own emotion and trust your instincts. Design is a story and you are the author.