Interview: Lionel Ohayon

Posted in Interviews on July 20, 2012

Culintro: Describe a project you’ve done that defines your signature style.


Lionel: Our projects are all about lighting. The Holland Casino is a good example of this. We designed a 30,000 sq ft casino floor without any walls. We were able to expand and contract the room for different configurations based solely on lighting.



Culintro: How do you extract a concept from a client that is unsure about their vision?


LO: It’s hard, but that is what we are known for. A lot of our work is about concept and brand development and reinvention. When The One Group came to us in 2005, they said they wanted a female friendly steakhouse. We took it from there. You need to help your client articulate an idea by designing not only the space but the idea.


Culintro: Name a restaurant design element that you wish would just go away already.

LO: Chandeliers and Damask


Culintro: What’s one major restaurant design trend that will define 2013?


LO: The use of technology in restaurants. We are doing a lot of work in airports, the Delta Terminal at La Guardia Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminals 1 and 3 and Minneapolis will all be re-launched and designed by ICRAVE in the next 12 months.


The installation of iPads and power supplies at every restaurant and gate hold seat is changing the way people use their time while they wait for a flight, and changing the perspective of what airport design is all about.


Culintro: The theme of the panel is Design & Eating — how do you go about designing a restaurant around the eater?


LO: We design an experience. We think about the night out and the memory that guests will carry with them after the night.