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Evil Genius?: McDonald's New Design Formula

Though the buzz has been circulating for some time, McDonald's has, in fact, finally introduced their new "design formula," as they call it, to a presumably savvy European market. Considering a site on Eltham High Street in southeast London, Dwell Blog's Chelsea Holden Baker deems the dapper chain "less like the home of Ronald McDonald and more like the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen." (She notes the use of Arne Jacobson Series 7 dining chairs, along with the conspicuous presence of Swan and Egg Chairs, both of which debuted at the SAS in 1958. Groundbreaking hotel design!)

Holden Baker echoes the concerns of International Herald Tribune critic Alice Rawson, who agonizes between the positive popularization of design and the negative implications of relegating said chairs to the realm of "corporate marketing props." And while we're compelled by that angle, too, another question comes to mind. McDonald's elected to implement its "reimaging" campaign after extensive marketing research in posh, educated cities not unlike San Francisco (in that regard, at least). While SF has a history of absolute vigilance toward corporate chains, might this type of reincarnation be just the thing that coaxes SF-based franchises out of hiding? Are they smooth enough to infiltrate our development and design-obsessed town? (After all, we did catch SocketSite's commenters rallying behind Target.) Readers? To the comments!
· Modernism at McDonald's [Dwell Blog]
· At McDonald's, a take on the classic designs of Arne Jacobsen [International Herald Tribune]
· To Woo Europeans, McDonald’s Goes Upscale [New York Times]