We’ve seen many examples of the lab-like aesthetic in the retail sector, a look that’s newly relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s a look that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere; in fact, it’s now shifting into hospitality spaces

When conceptualizing the design of Shabu Lab, a shabu-shabu restaurant in Bangkok, Integrated Field likened the dining experience of the communal hotpot meal to a scientific experiment, each requiring a specific set of tools. The designers’ research involved analysing both laboratories and shabu-shabu restaurants, looking for common threads. One extremely important shared element is sufficient workspace. To clear the eating surface of all but the essentials, Integrated Field designed shelving and cabinets for diners to stow their belongings. The second focus was efficiency, and by combining the stock room, food preparation and expeditor station in one area, the designers sought to streamline employees’ workflow. Thirdly, Integrated Field wanted to remove what it refers to as the ‘unpleasant post-meal odour’ of shabu-shabu places that finds its way into diners’ hair and clothing. The solution is overhead extraction hoods, which conveniently blend in with the overall lab aesthetic.