University of Michigan – Michigan Union Grill
In 2012, the University of Michigan decided to upgrade the principal student food court space on the main campus. The existing space, in the lower level of the Union building, was dark with low ceilings and a tangle of columns and beams; whereas, contemporary food court design was trending towards bright, open, and inviting spaces. A3C wanted to honor the roots of the historic structure with its classic wood accents, while upgrading the image and functionality of the space.
A3C helped develop criteria for the Union in soliciting vendor proposals and, then, designed a new look for the dining space keeping wood paneling as a key design feature, but introducing stone bases on the columns, new slate flooring, and vaulted drywall ceilings. Lighting was upgraded to reduce energy costs and increase brightness levels, and the A3C design team developed concepts to integrate LED light panels and new consistent signage throughout.
The final plan allows better customer flow through the space. It also provides a variety of seating options for students and staff. Final touches include accent lighting, artwork, and plants making the space appear as if it had always been there, but with contemporary features blended seamlessly in.