Under your feet in the dining room or bar, wood flooring created from reclaimed planks is becoming easier to find and contributes a noticeably distinctive and distinguished look.
Tables and chairs
Reclaimed woods, from restructured vintage tables, doors and other sources, are also being assembled into new tabletops and banquettes coated with non-toxic, environmentally-friendly finishes.
To combine new with some used, you can turn to elegant and eye-catching wood substitute materials, such as PaperStone or Kirei. As well, an increasing number of wholesalers are offering refinished and/or re-upholstered versions of their classic seating options.
Other classic chairs are being re-imagined with new materials. One of the best examples is the aluminum Emeco Navy111 chair, now available in 100 per cent recycled plastic sourced from Coca-Cola in the U.S. It’s sturdy and superbly finished, and ‘raises the bar’ on plastic chairs.
Another option, especially if your concept style runs to the eclectic side, is to contrast modern building design elements with a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces, such as vintage bar stools.
Counters, bars and cabinetry
As it always has, a bar top is an excellent place to feature something unique, such as a zinc covering. Recycled mixed glass, whether as tiles or full countertop surfaces, can create a functionally elegant resting place for cocktails.
Another unique look is to use lumber reclaimed from bowling lanes, complete with inlayed markers and ‘foul lines,’ and reshaped into table tops for sports bars and sports-themed operations. But the sports connection isn’t a necessity; veteran executive chef Tim May recently used reclaimed bowling lanes as counter tops at his Red Can Gourmet catering operation in Tofino, BC.
Sustainability can also be found in using materials that were thought to be unusable. Whistler, BC’s Alta Bistro used wood harvested from pine-beetle damaged forests, which features a unique pale blue shading, to build its dining room cabinetry and open shelving.
The green outdoors
Adding a green touch doesn’t stop at your operation’s interior spaces. On the patio, start with flooring tiles made of recycled rubber tires and top them with tables and benches made of 100% recycled plastic poly-lumber.
Of course, the ultimate convergence of sustainable foodservice design and operations would be to add a (seasonal) living green wall of herbs or planters for an edible garden…contributing very-local ingredients to your menu.
While any or all of these initiatives may very well speak for themselves, it’s also important to proudly and effectively point out your built-in sustainable amenities to your guests, through a menu insert or discreetly placed sign in the foyer or restroom area to spark customer inquiries and comments.
You’re sure to find it’s one of the most satisfying aspects of going green.
About the author:
André LaRivière is executive director of the Green Table Network, a Vancouver-based organization helping operators, suppliers and diners across Canada to put ‘sustainability on the menu.’ Find more information at www.greentable.net.