In a February survey of restaurant development + design readers, biophilic design — bringing the natural world inside — topped the list of aesthetic trends moving the needle on pitches and current projects. 42.86% of readers surveyed named biophilic design their top trend for 2021.

“Bright colors and bold statement pieces” came in a distant second place with 26.53% of survey respondents picking it. Rounding out the top three, 15.65% of readers surveyed said “luxurious, immersive and glamorous” aesthetics like art deco were moving the needle on their projects and pitches.

Survey respondents were also allowed to add their own comments. Responses including anything “Instagrammable” but also noted that they were “keeping it simple,” “practical” and “focusing on functional” aspects. Simplicity came up repeatedly as did “clean” and “frictionless.” Others noted their designs were entirely “brand-driven” and “dependent on the conceptual plan.” Of course, many designs depend on “price” and overall “client budget.”

rd+d launched a yearlong research project in December 2020 that will periodically survey qualified subscribers on the state of restaurant development and design. Each issue in 2021 will feature new data collected from very recent reader surveys.