Interview with designer Sheela Pawar (SP), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Kaedama Restaurant.

 
 
 
 
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Interview with Sheela Pawar at Wednesday 18th of April 2018: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SP : Kaedama is located in the center of the food hall atrium and is inspired by the clock towers found in classic European town squares. Kaedama provides a true taste of Tokyo and offers traditional & fusion ramen noodles, small plates, soups and dumplings. Highlights include Peking Duck Tacos; Firecracker Dumplings; Rice Bowls with fresh ahi tuna, salmon, octopus or Peking duck; and Ramen options ranging from Fried Chicken Shoyu to Pork Tonkostu.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SP : The story behind Kaedama is tied to the overarching message of Terminal’s C $120M redevelopment project. In partnership with United Airlines, OTG is completely reimagining the airport dining experience at Terminal C to meet the evolving needs of its 20-million annual passengers. Travelers will have a dining program that has an unprecedented combination of noted chefs, designers and leading-edge technology. The sophistication, technology and cutting edge design of Kaedama support this overall marketing message.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SP : In partnership with United Airlines, OTG is completely reimagining the airport dining experience at Terminal C to meet the evolving needs of its 20-million annual passengers. Travelers will have a dining program that has an unprecedented combination of noted chefs, designers and leading-edge technology.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SP : The design is playful and theatrical- and completely unexpected in an airport environment. This captures the attention and delights travelers. Its location in the heart of the atrium, adjacent to the gate areas make it a great place to relax, unwind and people watch. In addition, the flo tablet based technology allows guests to charge, browse, shop and work. Another unique component of the restaurant is that chefs are elevated on a platform directly under the sculpture to highlight the theater of making freshly pulled noodles. The chef area is bounded by 42-seat, six-point star shaped counter made from modern and luxe materials, such as wood, leather and metal.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SP : Kaedama is named for the Japanese term for requesting a second serving of ramen noodles.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SP : Kaedama is located in the center of the food hall atrium and is inspired by the clock towers found in classic European town squares. The cornerstone of this ramen bar is the 40’ tall sculpture located above it, in the form of an abstract gold noodle form that is wrapped by a hand woven LED media mesh. Animated designs are displayed within the LED media mesh and create a beautiful, dynamic and unique canvas. The animations as well as choreographed uplighting highlight the curvature of both the LED mesh and interior structure. The structure has an ambient mode and spectacle mode. In its ambient state, the structure displays color gradients, kaleidoscopic images and other abstract animations. The Japanese inspired spectacles include clouds drifting across the sky, samurai and other playful images. These animations are digitally managed and can be easily changed seasonally and for special events.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
SP : The LAB at Rockwell Group created a series of animations that are displayed around the curved handwoven LED mesh structure that was custom made for the project. The LED mesh creates a beautiful, dynamic and unique canvas. The animations as well as choreographed uplighting highlight the curvature of both the LED mesh and interior structure. The structure has an ambient mode and spectacle mode. In its ambient state, the structure will display color gradients, kaleidoscopic images and other abstract animations. The Japanese inspired spectacles includes clouds drifting across the sky, a samurai and other playful images.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
SP : Kaedama features 17,000 interconnected LED lights in a custom mesh structure. In addition to its distinct design, Kaedama offers guests a first rate technology experience with iPads equipped with OTG’s award-winning customer experience platform, flo®. Each tablet offers a visual menu along with entertainment options and flight information. Customers can also purchase magazines, gifts and other sundries that are delivered to their table as they dine — and even pay for them through the United MileagePlus® program.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SP : In an airport environment, the airport authority review and approvals process can be quite intensive. The best way to address this issue is to understand and meet the necessary criteria and to build strong working relationships with our airport partners. The 4 story structure had to be built twice, once at the warehouse in Orlando to make sure that the structure would fit inside of the terminal, and a second time inside the terminal itself. With regard to the LED display, many tests on site were required to determine different degrees of success of LED color, pattern shape/size, pattern movement, speed of transition from one pattern to the next, and visibility in daylight versus nighttime.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SP : Kaedama is part of a $120 million redevelopment project that is taking place at Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C, led by United Airlines and OTG. This redevelopment, dubbed "The United EWR Experience by OTG" will completely reimagine the idea of the airport terminal, meeting the evolving travel and lifestyle needs of the terminal’s 20+ million annual passengers