Different individuals who have unique identities occupy the world we live in. They influence each of us by various factors every second of our lives. Right from the space we live in and interact with, the people we interact with, and our history. But it is our cultural influences that define us. Cultural interactions influence our character, thoughts, ideologies, choices, etc. We can create these interactions as well as happen on our own. These interactions can happen when different people interact. This is where architects play an important role. As architects, it is highly important to understand how these spaces can be created and what has to be there to have a positive cultural interaction. The best example of understanding the connection between architecture and cultural interaction is food shops. Food shops attract different user groups and allow different activities, which makes them a hub for cultural interactions. The entire experience of going to a food shop has a huge impact on the cultural identity of a person. Besides, food can differentiate different user groups based on religion, nativity, eating habits, personalities, etc.

Food shops as spaces for cultural interaction - Sheet1
Food as a cultural influence _ ©Author (Denita Magdalene. D)

The concept of food shops and architecture combined can bring forth cultural interactions. Various factors influence the cultural interactions that occur. Some of the factors are listed below.

Types of cuisine

The general classification comprises local and international cuisines. Different food shops have different cultural impacts. In terms of cuisines, local cuisines attract the elderly, and their affordability attracts the local crowd. International cuisines attract youngsters as they prefer a new variety of foods, especially fast food. Food streets combine these cuisines and allow for cultural interactions between multiple user groups. As these streets have semi-open shops, it allows for more open interaction between the users who are trying different cuisines. The seating and the openness allow for interactions that are not possible in fine dining food spaces. Different cuisines require different ambiences and experiences, which influence the way space works and directly influence cultural interactions.

Food shops as spaces for cultural interaction - Sheet2
Food street _ ©Author (Denita Magdalene. D)

Location

The location of food shops plays a key role in its cultural impact. For instance, food courts near beaches attract various user groups. In these spaces, there are other activities combined with food shops. Food shops, combined with other activities, have a direct influence on the cultural interaction of the users. On beaches, they combine various types of food shops to accommodate the range of people who come to the beach. This allows for forced interaction between different people, allowing for vast cultural interactions. The overall approach to a food shop can have a huge impact on the users. The approach is influenced by the front façade, how open and inviting it is, the colours used, the quality of materials used, and the simplicity of the space. If a food shop has a very extravagant entrance, it can have a different impact on a user as opposed to a food truck or a completely open-to-sky food shop. The maximum cultural interactions happen in an open space.

Food shops as spaces for cultural interaction - Sheet3
Location _ ©Author (Denita Magdalene. D)

Spatial considerations

The openness of a shop, visibility, ambience and working hours influence the users’ and their behaviour. For instance, in a tea shop, the simple design of a semi-open shop combined with the open seating has influenced the cultural identity of individuals for decades in India. This semi-open space allows for an uninterrupted connection between the shop owner and users, which allows for simple interactions, which, combined with people reading the newspaper early in the morning, have influenced the relationships between them; their character, lifestyle, sense of belonging, etc. Tea shops are one of the prime food spaces that influence cultural interactions. In contrast to this, fine dining restaurants have a completely closed-off environment where users interact only with themselves, which allows for limited or no cultural interactions.

Crowd pulling factors 

Besides the factors listed above, time is a crucial element that combines all the aspects. Of course, all the food shops will buzz during meal time. Besides that, some youngsters use food shops as their workspace and for meetings, which paves the way to a new lifestyle and influences their character and identity. As youngsters prefer outside food to homemade food, nowadays, food shops are continuously buzzing with people, making it a perfect spot for cultural interactions. Their everyday cultural interactions define a person’s identity. From an architect’s point of view, it is essential to pay attention to every detail in a food shop to have meaningful cultural interactions that will help shape the future of a city or even a country.

Crowd pulling factor _ ©Author (Denita Magdalene. D)

Besides the factors listed above, time is a crucial element that combines all the factors. Of course, all the food shops will buzz during meal time. Besides that, some youngsters use food shops as their workspace and for meetings, which paves the way to a new lifestyle and also influences their character and identity. As youngsters prefer outside food to homemade food, nowadays, food shops are continuously buzzing with people, making it a perfect spot for cultural interactions. Their everyday cultural interactions define a person’s identity. From an architect’s point of view, it is important to pay attention to every detail in a food shop to have meaningful cultural interactions that will help shape the future of a city or even a country.

References:

  1. Noémie Lamory, Camille Laporte. (2016). The impact of culture on the food consumption process, The case of Sweden from a French perspective. Available at:https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:942058/FULLTEXT02.pdf. [Accessed: 14 August 2022].
Author

A creative enthusiast with keen interests in photography, art and travelling, focusing on redefining the architectural design by combining social and environmental sustainability while creating spaces that exhilarate people. A very dedicated and hard-working individual, with a strong belief, that a true understanding of architectural design cannot be achieved without critically analyzing and researching, which can be achieved through reading, writing and visual depictions.

Write A Comment