Catering Design Group completes £1.1 million project at University of Sunderland

The Studio, where CDG saved and refurbished an original sprung timber dance floor
18/04/2019 - 05:00
Catering Design Group (CDG) has completed a £1.1M design project at the University of Sunderland where the design company has transformed five individual spaces into eating and meeting destinations across two of the university’s campuses, three miles apart.

Working closely with the on-site caterers, Elior UK, who cater for more than 12,000 students across nine food and drink outlets at Sunderland University, brief was to ensure maximum uptake of the services by creating multi-functional social spaces for use by students, staff, visitors and members of the public.

The designs had to reflect the University’s existing Scandanavian-style concept in their Gateway Building and Library buildings while ensuring a unique identity for each of the spaces.

Phil Howard, managing director of CDG, said: “This was a huge and exciting creative challenge. While being mindful of the overall concept, we had complete freedom to create new, vibrant eating and meeting spaces that had to flow seamlessly from day to night.”

The project took 2,240 man-hours to complete and it involved all aspects of design and refurbishment, from designing and constructing new layouts to the design and installation of lighting elements, tiling and flooring, as well as furniture, kitchen design and fit-out, counters and decorative finishes.

“Each of the five spaces held its own challenges,” said Phil. “For example, in ‘The Studio’, we were asked to transform a former dance studio into a food destination that would work in day-time and in the evening.

“We saved and refurbished an original sprung timber dance floor and enhanced areas with supplementary tiled flooring to demarcate certain areas.”

CDG’s design included servery counters with under-mounted heated tops that transform into ‘a hidden bar’ at the touch of a button using three electronically controlled hydraulic rams contained in the counter. 

CDG also transformed an existing storage cupboard within the area into a fully functioning support kitchen for The Studio, including new walls, flooring and cooking equipment.

In ‘the Restaurant’ and ‘The Balcony, the designers used a completely bespoke designed and manufactured lighting scheme. This included varying sized laser-cut profiled aluminium tiered bubble-shaped decorative pendant lighting suspended from a track lighting gantry and obscured Perspex LED tubular lighting illuminated on four sides suspended from a curved high-level ceiling.

Footfall and revenue have increased by circa 20% since the completion of the design works.

Mark Hall, build & install mobilisation director, UK Elior, said: “The professionalism and resilience of the Catering Design Group (CDG) team had a massive impact on this ambitious design project at the University of Sunderland.

“We have had a longstanding relationship with CDG over many years and their work on other educational design projects, including the University of Roehampton, illustrated their understanding of the higher education sector and its unique challenges. We knew that we would be in safe hands and that they would do everything possible to help us to realise our client’s vision at the University of Sunderland. 

“What continues to impress us is their vision, innovation and the relationships they built with our team, the client, contractors and suppliers. They understood the commercial objectives from the outset and used their creativity and experience to add practical and aesthetic design elements to transform five spaces over two campuses.”

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