Interview with Franco Costa (II)

"Create green, covered and heated outdoor spaces"

Franco Costa, founder and managing director of the Italian Costa Group
Costa Group
Franco Costa, founder and managing director of the Italian Costa Group

Franco Costa is one of the big names when it comes to shop fitting in the foodservice industry. The work of the Italian star designer can be seen in numerous hot spots of the food trade and gastronomy. Among the reference projects of his company Costa Group is, for example, the Eataly brand of Oscar Farinetti. In the second part of the interview, Franco Costa talks to FOOD SERVICE about options for the winter for restaurateurs.

To what extent does Covid-19 increase the importance of outdoor areas?
Today more than ever, it is essential to make optimum use of outdoor space. Designing a new way of living outdoors can offer customers a deeper sense of freedom.

What advice do you give restaurateurs for their terraces?
Give the same care and attention to outdoor areas as to indoor areas. Public places are the mirror of the entrepreneurial soul. Safety and quality must be guaranteed and create an inviting and comfortable environment.

How can they optimise the use of the space?
Greenery, flowers, art objects, toys for children and much more can be used. There are numerous ideas that can be adapted to an outdoor area. A general solution is to decorate with green plants to enhance the interior and exterior. The combination of plants and plant containers can be used to create a unique environment and is an excellent system for defining seating areas.
About Costa Group
The Costa Group is a company specialising in the design and furnishing of gastronomic concepts, food craftsmen and retail locations. The Italian shopfitter can boast more than 5,000 projects all over the world and numerous collaborations with the most important brands in the sectors. Franco Costa is the founder and managing director of the group based in Riccò del Golfo di Spezia in Liguria.

What are quick and easy to implement options for making outdoor surfaces winterproof?
The most beautiful and comfortable solution is, if possible, a closed, heated terrace with glass walls. In any case, I believe that Covid-19 has changed all the rules. That is why people should be able to use the outdoor areas in the same way both in summer and winter.

What more creative ideas are there than heating pads and fleece blankets?
Floor heating, suspended heating lamps ... Although I am personally fascinated by the simplicity of a beautiful, warming ceiling, at the moment it has to be put aside to ensure absolute hygiene.

Costa Group: Shop fitting for the New Normal

Which solution would be ideal?
Caterers should create green, roofed and heated outdoor spaces. Surrounded by greenery that is enveloping and intimate - not the usual table overlooking the car park. Where this is not possible, in small rooms or public passages, cabins with paintings and works of art or lush flower boxes and vases can be set up. In very large areas, real attractions such as live music, toys for children, etc. can be installed.
Hospitality & Food-Retail in times of Covid-19
During the Cibus Forum from September 2 to 3, 2020 at the Parma Exhibition Centre in Italy, the Costa Group presented a concept for Hospitality & Food Retail in times of the Corona Pandemic. According to this concept, solutions could include colorful compartments as partitions between tables or plants instead of Plexiglas. A take-away shelf for cold and warm products could be equipped with a range of self-cleaning options, a so-called "sanitunnel" placed at the entrance would be used to measure body temperature, check that the masks are being used properly and disinfect the guest with a spray mist.