In the battle between José Bové, the French antiglobalism activist, and his bête noire, McDonald’s, there’s no question that the fast-food giant emerged victorious. Today, France has effectively declared its love for Le Big Mac, becoming the No. 2 McDonald’s consumer in the world. To be fair, McDo--as the French call it--has changed things up to woo discerning customers: It sources most of its ingredients from French farmers and recently introduced 130 McCafés featuring espresso and pastries (we’re talking macaroons here, not deep-fried apple pies). And now, it’s even classing up its interiors, with the help of Paris-based designer Patrick Norguet.
The new identity is an attempt to recast McDo as a family restaurant, rather than a teenage hangout--which Norguet describes as a literal and metaphorical return to the chain’s roots. Pieces of birch plywood branch out to create shelving and distinct areas for different social functions and moods. A lone teen can eat standing up, while a family may grab a more private alcove equipped with a digital ordering terminal. “Henceforth,” the press release reads, “a mother can settle with her offspring at a table, order from a nearby terminal and wait for the meals to be brought to the table.”
Norguet chose a palette of white with bold accent colors, including the McDonald’s signature red and yellow, and used some of his earlier designs, including his Still metal chair for Lapalma and a gray ceramic floor for Lea Ceramica.
The design was given a trial run at an outpost in Villefranche-de-Lauragais, and six other locations are currently in the works. The new look might even give a McDonald's-rampaging Bové reason to pause. But probably not for long; despite its contemporary sheen, it’s still a fast-food joint, after all.
COMMENTARY: That's what I call a very nice fast food design concept. You couldn't even tell it was McDonald's. More like a very slick, modern and high-tech Diner concept. I could definitely eat a BigMac and fries there. I love the smell of burgers and fries. I definitely see the white, red and yellow McDonald's colors, but they are more subtle. I don't see a sign of Ronald McDonald's prersence anywhere or the inside playground for the kiddies. Fine job by designer Patrick Norguet.
Courtesy of an article dated November 25, 2011 appearing in Fast Company Design