Laurent Elegant Restaurant Theme: A Case Study
September 17, 2021
About the Project
Laurent is an elegant restaurant theme inspired by the opulence of the Art Deco era and the excellence of contemporary gastronomy. Its meticulously crafted visual character oozes luxury and sophistication, depicting the true grandiosity of the upscale fine dining experience.
When the time came to start working on a new restaurant theme, we knew from the onset what kind of a look we wanted to create. We were led by a general observation that, over the last few years, the design of restaurant spaces has drastically changed. The clean, bright, Scandinavian style seemed to have lost dominance in favor of a far more luxurious aesthetic – in particular, the Art-Deco-inspired style.
We liked the idea of using elements typical of the Art Deco era and experimenting with them to offer an authentic product to our clients. We wanted to dive deep into the realm of elegance but be mindful of keeping the theme functional. After all, Art Deco is known not just for glamorous aesthetics, but also for effective and streamlined designs, and that’s exactly what we strived to achieve with Laurent. We wanted to incorporate all of those characteristics into our project and orchestrate a practical theme that oozes the grandeur of Art Deco and the irresistible vogue of 1920s restaurants while simultaneously celebrating the culinary art in its most refined form.
The first step in our journey of making the Laurent theme was to decide on the color palette. Art Deco is known for the generous use of bold and striking colors, such as deep reds, greens, blues, and yellows. Our original thought was to go for a black background. We aimed for a neutral yet strong foundation that would bring out the beauty and the vibrancy of the Art Deco elements we planned to add to the theme. However, after some consideration, we felt that black might be too obvious of a choice, so we continued testing out other dark hues for the background. We tried dark blue, red, and green shades to see how they’d fit the overall design. We were adamant about using only one color as the backdrop because our desire was to achieve a congruous look that wasn’t too overpowering for the viewer. Had we melded several darker shades together in the background, the design would probably be too overwhelming for our viewers, given the intricacies and splendour of the Art Deco content we infused Laurent with. We wanted to pay homage to the prosperity and the wealth of the 1920s and concluded that a deep blue background was the ideally neutral fit for our theme.
Golden elements are another popular characteristic of Art Deco designs. That isn’t surprising in the slightest since gold and luxury go hand in hand. We wanted to imbue Laurent with golden hues to strengthen its elegant appeal, and the dark blue background provided us with just the right kind of foundation that we could build upon. We added sophisticated, golden, geometric patterns to the theme – unmistakable Art Deco attributes. They greet users on the homepage, luring them into further exploring the theme. As viewers scroll down the page, the patterns elegantly and subtly appear in the viewport, enhancing the luxurious appeal of the entire layout. In some sections, they appear in the middle of the screen, in others they’re nestled in corners. But regardless of the position of the ornaments, they can’t be missed, since their patterns are complex and, as such, very eye-catching.
Art Deco is also known for the extensive use of lines and geometrical shapes. The artists of the era relied on these elements to give their designs a futuristic look. We wanted to do the same with Laurent – make it look refined but also modern at the same time. That prompted us to enrich the layouts with vertical and horizontal lines in various sizes. In some places, the lines are obvious and users can spot them at once – e.g., in the preloader as well as on either side of the screen, where the lines stretch from top to bottom framing the content. We also added them to side area openers, while in some cases they subtly appear on hover. For instance, when viewers move their mouse over the menu sections, two parallel, horizontal lines appear beneath the name of the page, making it stand out from other sections. Or, if they hover over rectangular call-to-action buttons, two short, diagonal lines appear in the corners, splitting the buttons into three parts. We colored the lines in the same irresistible golden hue as the ornaments, achieving a visual coherence throughout the entire theme.
The fonts throughout Laurent are in the same shade of gold as the lines and patterns. We didn’t want to experiment with other hues because, after all, nothing conveys a sense of luxury as clearly as golden colors, especially when juxtaposed against a dark background. In terms of fonts, we aimed for typefaces that exude elegance. Art Deco typography, in general, is known for elongated letters, thick, often doubled strokes, and decorative detailing. We settled on a combination of Caviar Dreams, Miniver, Open Sans Condensed, and Josefin Sans. We used predominantly the Caviar Dreams typeface – the name itself is a testament to the font’s character. We liked its elongated shape and the fact that it’s not too opulent. It’s simple yet elegant and perfect for headings. We chose the cursive Miniver font for the overline text, as we felt the tame Caviar Dreams needed a bit of a contrast. For example, on the Restaurant Menu page, you can see the Miniver font in the title of each section of the food menu, providing a beautiful, almost hand-written introduction to the restaurant’s offer. We added Open Sans Condensed to the theme’s main menu. We wanted to keep the typography in that section as simple as possible, and the thin strokes of this typeface ensure excellent readability. Lastly, we used the Josefin Sans font for the triple-stroked “L” logo (for Laurent) in the upper left corner of the site. We also added this font to the Restaurant Home page – to the reservation form, to be precise. Since we didn’t use the font too much throughout the site, the form looks unique and stands out from the rest of the content.
The most prominent effect on the theme is the subtle animation that shows up when golden ornaments appear in the viewport. Our team crafted a custom shortcode which allowed for a particularly fluid display of the embellishments that are omnipresent in Laurent. All patterns on the theme are, in fact, SVG patterns, including the delicate decorations around headings and titles as well as the ornaments in the side area openers.
Most effects appear either on scroll or when users hover over buttons. For example, on the Bar Home page, after a few scrolls, an inviting image slowly appears in the middle of the screen. Throughout the page, a lot of photos show up in the same style, and that effect only makes the entire restaurant presentation appear more sophisticated. On that same page, we also added an image carousel, to allow our clients to attractively display their offer. When users place their mouse on the featured photos, an “Add to Cart” button appears as an overlay.
We wanted to give our customers several options for showcasing their restaurants, and we strived to make each presentation immersive. The Split Screen Showcase page, for instance, is divided in half. However, on scroll, the content displayed in both the halves begins to move in opposite directions, ensuring an engaging experience. The Carousel Showcase provides an appealing way of sharing a restaurant menu with the world. On scroll, the photos start to slide from one side of the screen to the other. But when visitors hover over images, the names of the depicted dishes and drinks show up as tags that follow the movement of the mouse.
In general, we didn’t want to exaggerate or implement too obvious animation effects as that would have made Laurent look overly intense. We were interested in creating a perfectly balanced aesthetic that was both luxurious and subtle at the same time, and these gentle animation effects helped us achieve just the look we wanted.
Laurent is a modern ode to Art Deco and a celebration of contemporary cuisine. The theme’s design relies heavily on the discernible pillars of the exuberant 20s style while simultaneously reflecting the compelling spirit of culinary art. The elegance of the old helps bring out the beauty of the new, the subtlety of the present attenuates the overt grandeur of the past, creating a magnetic and opulent environment, ideal for devising a striking restaurant presentation.