é Marshe: From Concept to Reality

“Creating a great concept is not an easy task, let alone having to execute it within a given timeline. Our interview with Cyrène Sprock, Project Manager of é Marshe, will give you a better look into all the key factors of taking a design from concept to reality.”

The starting point

Before creating a concept, you need to have a clear vision of the look and feel of your interior. This vision consists of much more than just research and taste of the owner. With the creation of a great concept, the overall ambiance, service style, presentation style of each dish, dining room décor and many other factors should be taken into account. It requires very close collaboration between the architect, designer, and business owner.  It is only with a well-thought-out concept that you can create a great product. 

 The idea of creating a food court at the Curaçao International Airport started way before renovations to the building began. It started with a Request for Proposal (RFP) by the Curaçao International Airport for a food court, consisting of at least two concepts and a full-service bar. It is within these guidelines that the owner, Cedric Sprock, decided to elevate the concession units and create not two, but five restaurant concepts, each representing both local and international influences we see in our culinary culture.

Today é Marshe serves as a fantastic gathering place where food, beverage and culture lovers can connect with some of the tastes and smells of Curaçao. But, before é Marshe became a reality there were quite a few challenges that had to be dealt with. Here, Cyrène Sprock, Project Manager of é Marshe elaborates on some of the challenges she encountered.

é Marshe aims to transform travel experiences by elevating simple airport food into something extraordinary.”

Cyrène Sprock, Project Manager of é Marshe & Bar 22

The bottlenecks

Managing a construction project is a difficult and tedious task. A construction project will finish in time only when managed efficiently. But even with great planning and teamwork, project managers still encounter challenges along the way. Cyrène Sprock, Project Manager of é Marshe & Bar 22 is taking you inside the construction project; é Marshe.

“As Project Manager, my job was to take the idea of é Marshe from theory to practice.” Not as easy as it seems. In construction projects, staying in budget and on time are the biggest challenges. Finishing within the given timeline was surely the center of attention with this project. Why? This wasn’t a regular construction project. The construction site was located at one of the most restricted places on the island; the Curaçao International Airport. This meant that every worker had to go through strict airport procedures and background checks before being allowed on the construction site. These procedures are put in place in order to ensure the safety of both the workers and the daily flow of travelers.

Especially in the event workers would not show up, this had huge consequences for the timing of this project. “Normally, you could just find a replacement for the day and keep the work going, but not everyone is allowed on the construction site so in a situation like this we would have to work nights and weekends to meet our deadlines.”

Matching design with material

Despite challenges that directly affect the construction process, trying to match the design with the actual material is also a difficulty. While architects look at a concept with more of a creative mind, project managers look at it from an operational and technical point of view. This is why sometimes the design can clash with the material.

The first complication with the design happened at the beginning of the construction phase. After demolition, the walk-up counters were the first to be installed. On the mood board, the design for the counters was made with concrete blocks. The problem: carrying cement from the first to the second floor is hazardous and risky. Also, cement requires the use of a concrete mill. The loudness of this process would surely affect the overall experience of the travelers using the airport during construction. Hence, construction would have to take place only during nights, which would have increased the costs immediately. Moving construction to nights was not an option for Cyrène in the starting phase of the project. Therefore, she opted to make the counters from wood and cover them in cement board. This is a prime example of when design clashes with reality. Keep in mind that a complication between design and reality does not always mean that you have to re-do your design. Even though the counters were made with different materials, the design was never hindered.

                Other cases where theory contradicts practice is when color matching of the materials takes place. For é Marshe, Cyrène also encountered this issue. Surprisingly, it wasn’t always due to the colors of the materials being a different shade, but the availability of the materials. Considering we live on an island and everything has to be imported, materials would run out-of-stock or not be available at all. It took some creativity for Cyrène to find another type of material that would fit the overall look and feel of the design.

                As you can see there are many obstacles when taking a design from concept to reality. The challenges can range from issues at the construction site all the way to wrong color shades or simply materials running out of stock.  Regardless of all the complications along the way, Cyrène still managed to make é Marshe & Bar 22 a reality within the given timeline. This shows that experience, knowledge, determination, great teamwork and a bit of creativity takes you a long way. 

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