This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Approach to Design a Stimulating Restaurant Environment And Experience that Informs and Inspires Its Patrons about Nature, the Environment, and Sustainability




Phillips, Erin

Type of Degree



Industrial Design


In today’s society, there is a lack of environmental knowledge and a lack of environmental stewardship. Studies conducted by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) have proven that these two concerns are actually very related and have the same solution: Education. Environmental education directly correlates with recycling, saving power, and other pro-environment actions. But where can people get this knowledge and be sure that it is correct? The NEETF found that more than half of Americans are influenced by incorrect or outdated information. Research shows the media is the “leading source of environmental information for adults” (NEETF 15). But how much of that information is non-biased and totally trustworthy? The solution is a new means of environmental and green information. According to, on a typical day in 2007, restaurant sales reached $1.5 billion. This statistic is enough to show that restaurants are here to stay and people will continue to go to them to eat, drink, and socialize, but what about to learn? According to the website, the average person spends 1.6 hours per day in restaurants. How much of that time is downtime, waiting for a table or for food, that could be spent obtaining new knowledge and finding out inspiring statistics? This study involves creating an approach to design an eco-friendly restaurant that demonstrates green practices, instructs about nature and the environment, and uses renewable resources. Inside this environment, every patron who visits will be influenced somehow. Through environment planning, experience design written literature, visual stimuli, and interaction, this approach will help restaurateurs instill entertaining, intriguing, and rewarding information in every person that wines, dines, and socializes inside. In addition, people will be involved, to an extent, with the entire green experience. Studies conducted by the NEETF and others have proven the theory that information plus knowledge equals positive change. To make a difference in the world, the spread of knowledge is the key, not just for a healthier earth, but also a healthier society. In conclusion, the goal of the approach is to design a green restaurant experience to build an appreciation of nature through education, and to inevitably create a new found respect for the environment.