Embracing Nostalgia with a Luxe Twist

coffee bar restaurant with carousel

Embracing Nostalgia with a Luxe Twist

Vanessa Deleon’s diner concepts give nod to the vibrancy of 50s color palettes and abstract shape-filled patterns with a fresh, updated take.

Knowing diners of the '50s elicit such strong elements of nostalgia, Vanessa Deleon’s diner of the future concepts take a little bit of the past and elevate it with colors and patterns that feel more edgy than what was common in the '50s. She also included Instagram-worthy design elements that blend nostalgia with today’s socially connected world.

Learn more about how she balanced the past and future below.

A restaurant with a carousel in the middle

Can you speak to your approach to capturing the essence of nostalgic or heritage looks?
The approach for capturing the essence of a nostalgic feel is cemented into the time period and American culture of the '50s that I love so much. Formica was a staple item used in countertops in the '50s, therefore the hues of pink, yellow, reds and deep greens represented the pure essence of that period, and this was part of my inspiration. In addition, the patterns known as "Skylark" consist purely of rounded edges, which was also known as the “Boomerang Pattern” because it's design shape. Today the Boomerang Pattern remains the strongest in terms of recognition within the Formica Laminate line. Although I did not implement this pattern in my design, I decided to bring more natural elements, such as wood, zinc and marble.

What about the '50s diner look has made it so iconic? 
Diners are an American tradition. There is no question that in the '50s the diner was the hot spot to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and many people will remember spending time at diners with family and friends. There are many great movie scenes filmed in diners, making them recognizable symbols of Americana for people who never had the opportunity to visit a quintessential '50s diner. The hues of teal green and red were iconic and a classic look for a diner. Add some colorful signage to the walls, to match the red and white decor and you are back in time with that nostalgic setting.

A coffee bar with circus decor

Please explain your vision for the diner of the future. How does this build upon or deviate from the designs of past iconic diners?
We can't erase the past, especially when it comes to diners, after all diners as community watering holes were an integral part of life in the '50s! My vision is to take a little bit of nostalgia and implement it in my design. If that means that the Formica that I'm using for a countertop looks retro, you bet I'm going to use it in my design.

Why did you select the products, colors/patterns that you did for your diner of the future vision?
The selection of products, colors, and patterns I selected for the diner are edgier than in the past, I envisioned the element of surprise, going above and beyond what anyone would expect that a diner would look like. I wanted the customer that steps into the diner and feel as they are a part of the diner experience, therefore, I incorporated photo areas for that Instagramable moment to share with their friends and family across the globe.

A coffee bar with a carousel and milkshakes

What inspiration can homeowners take from diners past and future for their own kitchens?
The myriad of colors that were used then and now. While white and neutral interiors have certainly had a moment, I’m starting to see homeowners move towards bringing more vibrancy and color into their homes again, and the nostalgic colorways of '50s diners is a great place to draw inspiration.

See more inspiration from Vanessa Deleon in the gallery below:

Order free samples from Deleon's designs:

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