The first of the Clover Restaurants is open at Harvard Square at 7 Holyoke. Not only was it a privilege collaborating with Clover on a new concept for fast food, it was also a privilege working in the Holyoke Center, the Harvard owned building designed by Josep Lluís Sert. Our approach was to combine the minimum-footprint-aesthetic of the Clover brand with the abstract spatial concepts of Sert's space: Like a minimalist art installation, fluorescent 'cloud canopies' are suspended below the original waffle ceiling. A void cut into the existing mezzanine brings natural light from a skylight above while a wire trellis will allow climbing ivy to eventually reach this light source. The idea of transparency is both literal and figural: The boundary between 'kitchen' and 'customer' is dissolved to reveal the workings of the food-making while the use of glass railings also allows visual communication between spaces while reflecting and multiplying the light.
Clover is part of a larger concept for tasty, vegetarian fast food. Their (and our) mission is to revolutionize the way food is produced, distributed, and ultimately consumed - because if we can do so, it will have an enormously positive impact on the environment. This is not just 'greenwash,' in fact if you look at modern food systems you will notice enormous dysfunction on many interrelated levels. Because of the sheer scale of our current state of affairs, a slight shift will make revolutionary change. The clover food trucks which rolled out earlier last year are part of this larger network. Also check out Clover on the web.