It's Not Easy Being Green: A Look At Pantone's Color Of The Year

With Pantone’s recent “Color of the Year” announcement, Greenery (15-0343 TCX),  we wanted to take a moment to celebrate a few restaurants that have built their visual identity on this year’s selection.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen young fast casual/QSR brands break away from the classic fast-food color combo of red and yellow to tell a “fresh” new story. “Health-conscious,” “organic,”  and “quality ingredients” are just a few words and phrases that come to mind when we think of brands like Sweetgreen, Freshii, and Shake Shack. These are all brands that have built their visual identity on the zesty yellow-green shade.  


Just as this color signifies a rebirth and a renewal of sorts in wake of a particularly turbulent 2016, this optimistic and lively color signifies a rebirth for the fast casual restaurant industry as well.  These younger brands have shifted away from the highly processed ingredients that defined the fast-food industry for decades to more locally sourced, seasonal fare (which is making the giants rethink their approach, too).

“Greens help our heartbeat to slow down, help us to breathe and pull ourselves away from a world tied to flatscreens and immerse ourselves in the physical beauty of the natural world,” Laurie Pressman, vice president at the Pantone Color Institute.

While we’re not about to paint the town this vivacious shade of green, we’re loving the bold use of this color in these beautiful restaurants. Colorful seating, stunning wall graphics, and colorful tile work are amongst the most popular trends in today’s restaurants, and a perfect place for a punch of Greenery.

1. Colorful Seating

There is no doubt that upholstery can add a lot of personality to a restaurant chair or barstool, and below is a stunning example of how to pull off such a powerful color. Song Qi, Monaco’s first gourmet chinese food restaurant puts your local take-out shop to shame. Velvet green chairs draw you in, the black and white marble floor keeps things playful, and the gold acts more like a neutral than a decadance. Needless to say, we’re ready to jump on a plane just to sit in this space.

Song Qi_Green Restaurants.jpgSong Qi

2. Graphic Wall Murals

From graffiti to vibrant digital graphics, like the one in Jamba Juice’s flagship new store, graphic wall murals are the perfect place to play around with bold colors like Greenery. Jamba Juice dazzles in the details to create a complex, yet artfully crafted interior, layering textures, colors, and finishes to create a feast for your senses. (Can you tell that we’re in love with this space, too?)

New+2+x+4+Jamba+Juice+front.jpgJamba Juice

3. Bold Tiles

2016 seems to be the year of tile, and we’re not at all mad about it. Hand-crafted clay tiles have adorned the covers and pages of our favorite design magazines and blogs all year long and are breathing new life into our interiors. Have you seen the Instagram account @ihavethisthingswithfloors? It’s a shining example of how colors comes into play in commercial spaces. Floors and bars have become the new blank canvas for restaurant designers and in Bar Botanique Cafe Tropique, they take inspiration from the Rainforest to deliver a saturated space that’s dramatic yet calming. From a muted green, to an emerald and almost every shade in between this cafe makes a great case for color.

bar bontanique.jpgBar Botanique

4. Actual Greenery

We’d be remiss not to mention the obvious; add actual plants to your space! Live walls haven’t taken the world by storm yet (who knows if they will ever really catch on), and we don’t recommend going full on Hoarders, but we do love the life and vibrancy that real plants bring to a restaurant, even if it’s just displaying your salad greens in a fresh way like at Sweetgreen. Cafe 27 in Beijing, uses greenery in an almost architectural way to bring the outside in, which makes for a refreshingly airy environment.

beijing.jpgCafe 27

Each year we’re excited to see how Pantone’s color announcement influences restaurant design, and if you’re craving even more inspiration,  we’ve curated a board on Pinterest with our favorite green restaurant interiors to check out.

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