A Feast for the Eyes - Design Bureau

Veggie Grill
Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Urban Bistro
Lorton Ave., Burlingame, CA 

Chipotle
Glendale Ave., Glendale, CA 

Jennifer Kim says:

Love the designs. Really beautiful pictures.

Anissa Koh says:

Your designs are fantastic! Great job Valerio Architects!

Lisa Fannon says:

Beautiful pics and great architecture. Love the restaurants.

Mike Mai says:

whoa! these are beautiful shots

A Feast for the Eyes

Friday, October 28th, 2011

by Molly Raskin
photos courtesy Valerio Architects

From the kitchen to the customer’s table, Los Angeles-based Valerio Architects’ designs are a treat for the senses. Having completed more than 400 restaurant projects around the world, including fan-favorite Chipotle, the firm creates concepts that leave patrons craving more. (We secretly hope his next project is making that delicious guacamole fat free.) Principal architect Niccolo Valerio explains what it takes to overhaul the fast-food customer experience and why it’s the things that you don’t notice that make the biggest impact.  

What was it about the fast-food industry that compelled you to redesign the customer's experience?

We definitely had the right set of skills to help our clients achieve what they wanted, and we were able to add the right sort of intuition. We focus on a lot of the aspects of the space that are experienced by the customer subconsciously and are not clearly visible: the noise, the lights, the proportions of the space, and the height of the ceiling. It’s the stuff that we control that gives us a little bit of an edge. 

How do you appeal to the customers’ senses and overall dining needs?

As a designer, you’re trying to bring in enough natural light and a proper reverberation of sound, which will ultimately move the customer through space comfortably and without being interrupted. The space is often appreciated in ways that are not obvious, which is probably the secret to the success. 

What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?

I get excited visiting each one, but the last one we did, a restaurant called Urban Bistro, was really neat. We did a new store for a company that we really like called Tender Greens, a completely organic and sustainable restaurant. But in a week, I’d probably give you a completely different answer. 

If you could describe your business in a word, what would it be? 

Practical.

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