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Get ready to dine à la dome.
The prototype domes, proposed by French designer Christophe Gernigon, would hang from the ceiling above each diner, and extend down to their mid-torsos. Another of Gernigon’s prototypes would extend down over two diners, to simply separate their party from those within the dining room.
“I imagined, during my nocturnal creative wanderings of these months of confinement, a new way of welcoming customers of bars and restaurants in search of outings,” writes Gernigon of his design, called the “Plex’Eat,” on his website. “Even if I hope not to get there, it is better to consider aesthetic, design and elegant alternatives that guarantee the rules of social distancing.”
Gernigon, meanwhile, isn’t the only innovator keen on keeping customers interested in dining out amid the pandemic. Restauranteurs with hopes to reopen are already trying such tactics as draping the dining room in shower curtains, filling empty seats with mannequins (sometimes wearing the latest fashions), seating customers in their own little greenhouses, or requiring diners to sit within inner-tube-like tables.
Mathieu Manzoni, the director at Paris restaurant H.A.N.D., where the design of Gernigon’s “Plex’eat” domes are being showcased, said he believes the domes are among some of the more aesthetically pleasing, and even “more poetic” options. He also hopes that such ideas would allow restaurants to increase capacity, adding that restaurateurs are wary about the repercussions of limiting guests.
“There is a bit of a panic,” said Manzoni.
Early reports indicate others are intrigued by Gernigon's prototypes as well: The Plex'Eat has already gone into production at an industrial supply facility in France, House Beautiful reports.
The French government first ordered the closure of in-person dining at bars and restaurants as of March 14. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to lifting some of the country’s restrictions on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.