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Kendall Square Food Hall

Location: Cambridge, MA 02142

Completion Date: 2021

Client: Private

Size: 12,000 SF

The client is expanding their technology campus to include 9 floors of office space at 150 Broadway in Kendall Square. The 2nd floor is where a 12,000 SF food service space for its employees will be located. Executive architect Perkins & Will brought RODE onto the project for the Hospitality designer role.

The food service level will feature a large kitchen for food production, food serveries featuring different themes and cuisines, beverage stations, a full-service coffee bar, and a variety of dining space options—booth seating, communal tables, and lounge areas.

Building on Perkins & Will’s overarching design concept of Celebrating the Subcultures of Cambridge, RODE took the approach of highlighting Cambridge’s rich and colorful Counterculture in the Café. RODE looked specifically at the history of its development. RODE believes that this said history is what gives Cambridge the unique essence that is hard to put a finger on. The strength and individualism of its residences seems to come from the residue of its anarchist past. RODE found similarities in these movements to that of their client’s philosophies and beliefs. The visual representation of this complex concept focused in on the 1960s folk music scene which acted as a breeding ground for the various anarchist movements of their day meshed with the colorful and unconventional bohemian style.

The final design execution was one of layered textures, materials, and color. A mix of earthy and jewel tones saturate the space. RODE worked to create a multi thematic space pulling from different influences in line with the concept. The lounge is capped with an installation reminiscent of a ‘bohemian yurt’. The coffee bar dons a ‘flower crown’ made of preserved plants requiring little maintenance that extends into the ‘eclectic Victorian’ styled dining area. Another dining area is under a canopy of hanging beads influenced by bohemian beaded curtains and was conceptualized to represent the individualistic nature of Cambridge residents. RODE worked with Boston based artist, Niho Kozuru on design and Yellow Goat Design on fabrication. The food servery takes on an edgy venue inspired vibe with stained oak paneled walls, graffitied tile floors and dark oxblood colored exposed ceilings.

Along with developing this free-spirited design, RODE also focused on creating a highly functional space through many diagrammatic studies and test fits. One that is able to seamlessly accommodate the 1,200 users per day, understanding the challenges that the facilities department may be faced with, the durability and ergonomic comfort of seating in a food environment.

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