In today's technology-friendly world, it's fitting that airport venues are springing up fully equipped with laptop connections to the online world.
Expedia.com Café serves as both an eatery and a laptop-ready establishment, in conjunction with HMSHost, the Bethesda, Md., provider and operator of food, beverage and retail concessions in travel venues. Fitch/AAD, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based design firm, handled the creation of this travel-themed restaurant. Located at the San Jose (Calif.) International Airport, the 1182-square-foot café features its identifying Expedia.com "swoops" logo on the sides of the doors, with the saying, "Don't just travel. Travel right." A plasma screen monitor on the outer wall features a continuous travelogue video via a sound dome, which is audible only to the traveler standing directly underneath.
Once inside, guests walk under a ceiling clad with a map of the world, while the holographic floor tiles shift in color, depending on the angle. A custom bartop features a map of the Bay Area, highlighting local points of interest, and travel fun facts adorn the walls. ("Highest recorded temperature in Honolulu = 95 degrees; in Fairbanks, Alaska = 96 degrees.")
Each table is custom-printed with Expedia.com graphics and contains a "road warrior" station, a high-tech connection unit with two phone jacks and electrical outlets. Travelers with toll-free or local-access numbers can plug in their laptops and use the Internet free of charge. Ergonomically designed chairs with hydraulic adjustments and upholstered backs provide added comfort.
Client Design Team: HMSHost, Bethesda, Md. -- Stan Novack, director of concepts; Expedia.com, Bellevue, Wash. -- Richard Bangs, editor-at-large
Design Team: Fitch/AAD, Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Carl Schaffer, president/ceo and principal-in-charge; Keith Sullivan, studio director; Jennifer Reynolds, design director; Rodney Jakes, Mike Palacio, Rory Kaplan, Greg Buchanan, Stacy Molnar and Sudeep Dey, development team
General Contractor: Western Construction, Pleasanton, Calif.
Architect of Record: Sugimura & Associates, Campbell, Calif.
Suppliers: MPO Videotronics, Newbury Park, Calif. (audio/video); Maharam, Phoenix (fabrics); National Mallfront, Peoria, Ariz. (fixturing/furniture); The Furniture Lab, Durham, N.C., Falcon Products, St. Louis, Sandler Seating Inc., Atlanta (furniture); Amtico Intl., Atlanta (flooring); National Mallfront, Peoria, Ariz. (theming); Deutsch LA Inc., Los Angeles, Color Arts, S. Upland Hills, Calif., National Mallfront, Peoria, Ariz. (graphics); Juno Lighting, La Miranda, Calif., National Mallfront, Peoria, Ariz. (lighting); Interiors for Architecture, Scottsdale, Ariz. (props/decoratives); Tower Wallcoverings, Pine Brook, N.J., MoZ Metal, Oakland, Calif. (wallcoverings)
Photography: Norton Photography, Phoenix