DC based, award-winning design studio CORE architecture + design collaborated with Silver Falcon Capital to create a new fast-casual dining prototype called Summerbird. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina and built as a celebration of the American love affair with crispy and grilled chicken and the nostalgia of summertime, Summerbird is a modern twist on Americana. Taking inspiration from playing fields, parks, and public pools to evoke the warm playful energy of Summer, the design blends together bright colors, warm lighting, vibrant greenery, and natural woods. Capturing the anticipation, the excitement, the joy, and the essence of summer, this design serves as a patchwork of playful pastimes with its inviting and effortless spin on the seasons’ trends.

“Active listening and clear communication were key during our co-creative process with Silver Falcon to develop the new Summerbird brand and an environmental design that captured the essence of the customer experience”, says CORE Principal and Director of Hospitality Design, Allison Cooke.

The design team chose to implement a select few bold design elements that would embrace and enhance the energy of Summer by infusing carefree playfulness into an everyday activity such as dining. CORE artfully designed the space with an array of thoughtful branding elements, creating cohesion between the restaurant’s visual identity and the architecture.

The wood ceiling of the restaurant’s main counter tilts upward – a nod to a concession stand opening for the season. The summertime theme is further reinforced with faux greenery flowing throughout the space, sprinkled with hovering orb-shaped lights to recall evening fireflies. The dining area is inherently connected to the outdoors by a full-height garage door that is flanked by custom lampposts reminiscent of park lights. Customers are intuitively and playfully guided to the ordering counter via the hopscotch-themed floor mosaic, featuring the Summerbird logo. Near the entry, a bright orange swing hangs in front of a wood and metal trellis twined with greenery delivering a picture-perfect Instagram moment. A municipal pool-inspired mosaic tile above the beverage station invites guests to “Please Dive In” to this friendly summer experience, while the to-go orders are staged for pick up on real diving boards, another clever nod to poolside nostalgia. The outside café includes an interactive “swing set” table and other furnishings reminiscent of summertime picnic-style dining.

“CORE was instrumental in translating our abstract vision into unique, ownable design elements that far exceed what a customer expects from a fast casual restaurant. So many of these elements have become key pieces of our brand identity. Allison, Daniel, and the team were alongside us in navigating supply chain and construction challenges, while always upholding the integrity of the design. We’ve begun scaling Summerbird with CORE as a long-term partner,” says Katie McKay, Director of Brand Development, Silver Falcon Capital.

Partnering with Silver Falcon by establishing a trusting relationship, CORE developed a design strategy that best translated the client’s vision and goals for the Summerbird concept, while also understanding their operational needs. CORE was selected based upon their high-profile, fast-casual portfolio, which includes Cava, sweetgreen, and Buena Onda, and served as an experienced guide for Silver Falcon, who owns two award-winning fine dining concepts, but this was their first foray into fast-casual. Consequently, this first-time partnership resulted in a compelling and replicable new prototype designed to accommodate the client’s plans to expand regionally and later nationally.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Growth, News