The City of Chicago and partners are currently evaluating the 643 ideas submitted for its citywide outdoor dining competition.
Last month, the city partnered with IDEO design firm, BMO Harris Bank, and the Illinois Restaurant Association, to launch a citywide competition on how to encourage outdoor dining in support of participating businesses during the fall and winter months. Since launching, 643 ideas were submitted, which included design concepts for nests, heated outdoor glow chairs, geodesic dome lounges, harnessing radiators on rats, and much more. Here are some of those designs. [Featured image: synergeo.us]
The most popular design, ranked by views, comments, and “applause” is the Slide & Dine submitted by Mika Schweizer of iZ Design & Planning. This design features ventilated, versatile booths with an overhead heating system, disinfecting UV light, and heated booth seats.
Regarding its feasibility, the Slide & Design is a more space efficient options given its rectangular shape and ability to be placed side-by-side. Its simple-build design, that which includes cost-friendly materials, also allows for easy replication according to its creators.
Another highly viewed and commented-on submission features a slightly similar design to the Slide & Dine. Hot Box, a design submitted by Francisco Lopez de Arenosa, features insulated square and rectangular platforms partitioned off by glass panels.
“Using minimal and highly affordable mechanical equipment, hot air is fed through a slim, insulated base and delivered through adjustable vents below dining tables, allowing diners to remain outdoors and exposed to open ventilation during the harsh winter months,” the submission reads.
Furthermore, its materials are standard, adaptable, and easily assembled on site, according to Lopez de Arenosa. Additionally, using a simple corded heater, the heating equipment necessary for the Hot Box is affordable at $150 – $300 per unit — as larger ones can be used to accommodate larger spaces.
Many of the submitted designs resemble greenhouse-like structures used for horticultural purposes, such as the Hoop House, City Cloche, and actual mini greenhouses — much like those featured at The Darling in Chicago.
Other designs already seen around Chicago include the Geodesic Dome Lounges from Synergeo. The socially distanced igloo-looking domes submitted by John Shroeder, are 12 feet in diameter and are capable of hosting up to six people. Each furnished dome is fixed with LED-lit lighting installations and can be visually customized. If this plan doesn’t get the green light, you can still experience their work at the City Winery at Chicago Riverwalk.
There were, of course, some submissions that don’t appear to be as feasible. One user proposed strapping radiators to rats, describing their idea as the obvious solution:
“It doesn’t take a peer reviewed study to know that Rats with Radiators is a spectacular idea,” the user wrote. However, the user did expand upon the idea’s efficacy regarding its Covid-19 safety:
“All rats will be temperature checked before being issues their radiator at the beginning of each shift.”
Other notable entries include SNOWSTAR by CDA, which features “an exterior-grade, mobile, single-occupancy chair with overhead protection from the elements that can be combined into different configurations to serve a range of different size groups and gatherings.”
Presently, the city and partners are currently evaluating those ideas, with the intention of announcing the winners and implementing their plans September 29.