The expert in good taste

Interview by Karin Ayar

Nader Interior doesn’t need a sign. You step through the door right into the place where it all happens: the office-kitchen-bar. This is the location for our interview with owner Leslie Nader on her favourite subject: restaurant concepts.

What do you do differently that makes your concepts «work»?

Leslie Nader: The success of my concepts has a lot to do with my clients – highly professional restaurateurs and bar owners. We work together closely to create the best possible solutions. There is no general rule for what works and what doesn’t. The design, the location, the product and the local competition all play a role and have to be taken into account. It’s about much more than just looking good.

You work almost exclusively with restaurants. Do you ever get bored?

Each restaurant is different, and I approach each new project with fresh enthusiasm. My work is part of a restaurant’s success, and if one of «my» restaurants is successful, it becomes like a business card. I have become somewhat of a restaurant specialist, and maybe I have missed out on exciting projects in other areas, but that doesn’t bother me – I really love designing restaurants more than anything else!

What’s the biggest challenge when designing a restaurant?

Definitely the consumer. Running a restaurant is all about attracting the right clientele. But the operational side of things also has to run smoothly, and you also have to satisfy the requirements of the authorities for public spaces.

The food industry moves at a fast pace – how long do your concepts work?

Designing and fitting out a restaurant is time-consuming, so we try to make sure the concepts will work for a long time. My very first restaurant, which I designed 15 years ago in Laax, still looks the same today. But it is important to make sure that the concept is constantly updated once it has been implemented.

What is your philosophy? What inspires you?

I work in a structured fashion, but emotions take over during the design ­process. I find ideas everywhere – in my everyday life or at art exhibitions and trade fairs. I also travel a lot and make sure to visit as many restaurants as possible for inspiration.

What other areas interest you?

Hotels would interest me. They have an interesting mix of private and public spaces. And as the guests are also ­customers, they are free to go where they like, to choose a space that they want to spend time in. Creating an i­nterior that they would enjoy would be an exciting challenge for me.


This article was first published in Brandworld 2016.