FCSI Project Showcase 2017 : Page 70
70 FCSI PROJECT SHOWCASE 2017 SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Fresh Start Changing a design to meet changing client goals can be difficult. After a two-year project hiatus, it sometimes feels like starting from scratch. By Michael Sherer || Photos by Tim Sullens Photography
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Fresh Start<br /> <br /> Changing a design to meet changing client goals can be difficult. After a two-year project hiatus, it sometimes feels like starting from scratch.<br /> <br /> When Sony Pictures Entertainment, Culver City, Calif., planned an expansion of its Jimmy Stewart Building in 2013—with a new eight-story building to house Sony Music—it hired Cini-Little Int’l., Glendale, Calif., to design the kitchen and servery for a corporate employee dining facility within the new building.<br /> <br /> “The project goal was to work with Wolfgang Puck Catering to create a flexible and efficient servery with dining that would open to the outdoors,” says Carri Sullens, Assoc. FCSI, Design Studio Manager at Cini-Little. “Our original design concept featured a traditional entrée station and a ‘Tender Greens’ model; it’s a popular L.A. fast-casual chain. We envisioned customers ordering in the center of a straight-line servery and either moving to the right to watch their meal being freshly made or left to be served from traditional entrée selections.”<br /> <br /> The project was put on hold, however, and wasn’t picked up again until ’15. “When we were brought back in,” Sullens says, “there was a completely new building design which created a different footprint for the servery. Food trends had changed, too, and WPC wanted more flexibility to meet future changes in food trends and operations. Finally, the new building design called for a separate coffee shop that hadn’t been included in the original plans.”<br /> <br /> Starting From Scratch<br /> <br /> The Cini-Little staff literally went back to drawing board and reviewed the old plans to determine how much of the old equipment layout could be preserved and what needed to be changed. The former building design had given the design team a square footprint, which made it easy to put all the back-of-house production equipment behind the servery’s cooking and serving lines. The new footprint was an irregular rectangle, with the coffee shop occupying one corner.<br /> <br /> “The floorplan left us with a back-of-house production/catering equipment line that was not adjacent to the servery,” says Sullens, “so the keys for us were finding a way to make the flow in the kitchen and to the servery logical and efficient. Equally important was how to integrate the separate and distinct coffee bar into the design.”<br /> <br /> The updated design connects the back kitchen and catering areas to both warewashing and to the servery, providing the necessary operational flow. The straight-line servery is divided into four distinct stations to give WPC the flexibility to change menu offerings whenever it chooses, provide customers with more options, and reduce customer congestion. Stations include traditional entrées, a deli with made-to-order sandwiches, and a “choose your ingredient” poke bowl station, but they’re generally equipped to accommodate new menu introductions.<br /> <br /> “Another favorite aspect of the redesign,” Sullens says, “are two self-serve bars [that can run hot, cold or in combination] that we added to either side of the servery. They’re chef-driven and offer even greater versatility to the operator so menu offerings can be switched up easily based on food trends and customer desires.”<br /> <br /> Coffee Concerns<br /> <br /> The separate coffee bar, with its own entrances and hours, presented additional challenges. “Local health code requirements for dry storage, warewashing, food prep and janitorial are mandatory for both the servery and the coffee bar,” Sullens says. “We wanted to share some back-of-house functions to save labor and square footage on the project.”<br /> <br /> At the eleventh hour in late ’15, however, the brand chosen to operate the coffee bar changed. Stumptown, the new operator, had different equipment needs for its coffee, beverage and food menu, and the three-compartment sink designed into the space—and required by code—took up too much space.<br /> <br /> “We convinced the health department that connecting the coffee bar to the warewashing area in the back-of-house was the best alternative,” Sullens says.<br /> <br /> The design staff included a pass-thru window from the coffee bar directly into the warewashing area, which saves the coffee bar staff steps, and saves the overall operation additional labor. They also can access the dedicated trash room, which is enclosed and temperature controlled.<br /> <br /> Locally-Sourced Equipment<br /> <br /> The Cini-Little team makes every effort to search for appropriate and well-qualified manufacturers in the region in which they’re working to help meet the USGBC’s LEED goal to reduce the transportation carbon footprint. Much of the refrigeration equipment specified at Sony is regionally manufactured, and Cini-Little sourced other local equipment such as the coffee bar’s stainless cold-brew coffee kegerator.<br /> <br /> Other special equipment (not sourced locally but critical to the project) included a Pentair Everpure RO filtration system for the coffee bar espresso machine; Follett under-counter ice machines that auger ice to the beverage dispensers; an InSinkErator Waste Xpress that reduces food waste volume by 85%; and the Delfield drop-in hot/ cold wells. The design team specified an Oscartek dual-temp jewel-top display case because it integrated so well with the interior design.<br /> <br /> From scratch, the team designed a mobile soiled tray return cart for the outdoor dining space and had Lakeside Mfg. fabricate it. Most of the worktables, wall shelves, three-compartment sink, dishtables and the like were custom fabricated.<br /> <br /> “The strength of the entire project team enabled us to overcome the challenges we faced,” Sullens says. “WPC, Gensler, and the construction team all worked with us to make sure this project was a success.”<br />
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