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210 South Ave is located in the up and coming Washington Square Neighborhood. This block is home to Geva Theatre and is right around the corner from Blue Cross Arena and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield. Currently this building is being renovated into residential lofts, commercial property and more.

The space features a open concept floor plan
that allows numerous layout options. There are large windows in the front of this space that bring in a lot of natural light with a beautiful view of downtown. The original hard wood floors are in pristine condition. In the back of this space there are two garage doors which open up to a large gravel lot. There is a large open basement, a skylight, and more. 



Various users were interviewed about Bō’hēmēan and the space at 210 South Ave, including a local business owner, frequent attendees at Geva and Blue Cross Arena, an employee of NIKKO, a restaurant that previously occupied a space next door, and a current local employee. Interviewees were asked about what they would like to see  go in the space, what type of environment they would visit the most, and other important details about the current space.

John Frame | Owner of ROC EURO

John is the owner of ROC EURO, an auto performance shop, located next door to 210 South Ave. He spends a majority of the day working at his shop and is often there at odd hours of the night. He wishes there were more places to grab food and drinks in the area. He normally goes to SPoT Coffee and Dinosaur BBQ.

Nancy & George Wrobel | Attendees of Geva Theatre

Nancy and George Wrobel attend shows at Geva
once a month or so. They often like to go out to dinner before the shows and struggle with finding restaurants in the area. When they don’t have dinner out before a show, they like to grab dessert and a drink after. They are looking for a space that caters to their dinner and late-night needs.

Trevor Sullivan | Downtown Employee

Trevor is a recent college graduate who works downtown in an area close to 210 South Avenue. He often grabs drinks after work with his buddies and goes out to lunch meetings once a week.

Julie | Previous employee of NIKKO

Julie was a waitress at NIKKO, an upscale sushi and Asian food restaurant with innovative cocktails that operated in the area. Nikko closed after three years, they were unable to renew their lease.

Morgan Gianni | Attendee of Blue Cross Arena

Morgan is a recent college graduate who attends various events at Blue Cross Arena. He likes to go
out for dinner and drinks before and after events. Because beer and snacks are expensive at the games, he tries to grab a cheaper meal beforehand and spend more money on drinks after. It’s important to him to find a place where he can either walk to and from events or have easy and convenient parking. 

There is a very large target market for the space that includes men and women ages 25-50. There are also three sub markets of this target market which include the employees of nearby businesses, residents of apartments above and lofts next door to the space, and local event attendees. Each of these sub markets have different wants and needs and it is critical to distinguish those beforehand.

Men and women who are employees of local businesses including Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Geva Theatre, are looking for a space to grab coffee or a light lunch. These individuals want a space where they can host business lunches and meetings or grab food with their co-workers. Because these individuals are stopping in during their lunch hour, they need semi-fast service with sit down and takeout options. It is very important that this space is within walking distance or has  a lot of available parking. Quality meals and affordable prices are important for those who may eat out several times a week, or be responsible for paying for clients meals.

There is a constant stream of individuals coming and going throughout the day including residents from apartments above and next door. These individuals want a place in the mid-morning where they can grab coffee or a light meal.


As the day goes on, they want a space to get lunch and dinner. Sit down options as well as takeout at an affordable price is also important. Because these individuals live above the space, they don’t want a lot of noise or commotion during the early hours of the day, or late into the night.

When the day comes to a end, the individuals who work and live in the area are looking for a place to grab drinks and a bite to eat. The target market changes with the addition of attendees of Geva Theatre and Blue Cross Arena to the area. These individuals want a place to have dinner before a show or drinks and dessert after a night out. They like late hours, live music, ease of walking or available parking options. 


Paxton and Paisley are recent college graduates from Nazareth College. They Just moved into the lofts at 1 Capron Street and wish that there was more to do in the area. Paxton works downtown while Paisley own her own design company.  Paxton has weekly meetings out of the office and they need a place where they can work, meet with clients and have lunch meetings. He also goes out for drinks a couple times a week with his buddies and coworkers.  Paisley meets with clients and employees throughout the day and wishes there were more spaces to meet them for lunch or coffee. She also has girls night every two weeks with her college friends and they grab dinner and drinks. 

Lisa and Joseph have lived in Pittsford for 19 years. They have four kids who all have very busy social lives. When they are not running their kids between school, sports and friends, they like to go out on date nights to dinner and a show at Geva theatre. Lisa works right around the corner at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and often goes out and grabs lunch at a local restaurant and spends around $10-20 a meal. Since she is often rushing around, she wishes there was a grab and go type restaurant where she could get dinner at the end of the work day before heading home. Joseph wishes that there was a place to grab dessert and a drink after a show, or a place where they could meet couple friends out. Lisa and Joseph go out on average 2-3 nights a month. They generally spend $50-70 a night out on dinner and drinks. 

Paxton & Paisley:
AGE: 28 & 25
RELATIONSHIP: Recently engaged
LIVES: 1 Capron Lofts
WORKS: Merrill Lynch & Owns design Company SCHOOL: Both graduated from Nazareth College

Lisa & Joseph:
AGE: 45 & 53
RELATIONSHIP: Married for 20 years
LIVES: Pittsford, NY
WORKS: Lisa works at Excellus, Joseph is retired

FAMILY: Lisa and Joseph have four kids



210 South Avenue is currently an empty space
in the up-and-coming Washington Square neighborhood. Lofts and apartments are being built and renovated above the space, as well as next door. Geva Theatre and the Blue Cross Arena are close by, as well as numerous businesses.

The area does not currently have a place that caters to mid-morning, lunch, dinner, and late- night crowd.

bō’hēmēan is an alternative bar and restaurant that will fill this need. The space is designed to appeal a growing demographic that includes a lunch crowd, as well as the late night market in the downtown area. The space is able to cater
to different markets throughout the day by changing the environment within the restaurant space. 


In order to create a space that appeals to
the large user market whose needs change throughout the day, the design, emotional tone, and environment must change as well.


This bar and restaurant uses elements of design, such as lighting and sound, to change the feeling and emotion customers experience at different times of the day.There are various lighting and music options.

From the late morning through the afternoon hours, the space uses natural light from the front wall of windows, as well as the large garage door with floor to ceiling windows at the back of the building.  Acoustic music playing softly in the background makes it easy to carry on a conversation and the mood is welcoming and cheerful. 

This daytime environment is geared toward employees from nearby businesses, residents of the apartments above the space and lofts next door, or as a destination for people who want to meet a friend for coffee. Bohemian is a comfortable, appealing alternative to a chain coffee place such as Starbucks.  At lunch, it becomes a relaxing cafe where customers can come in for an enjoyable lunch, a quick business meeting, or to pick up a takeout order.


As the day fades into evening, the environment changes. Dimmer lighting, smooth jazz or live music, and an intimate feel make it the perfect spot for people who want to stop for a drink after work, or for those who want a nice, relaxing dinner. At night, the space changes yet again, becoming cozy and intimate to accommodate the late night attendees of Geva and Blue Cross Arena who want a drink or dessert after a night out. 


In the area there are currently a variety of restaurants and coffee shops. They range
in price, style, parking availability, hours of operation and the target markets they cater to.

Dinosaur BBQ, which serves draft beer and ribs, has good food, but is noisy and inappropriate for most business-type meetings. Parking can be difficult, and they close at 11 pm so eating after a show or event is not possible.

Javas, on Gibb Street, is a trendy coffee shop that offers pastries as well as sandwiches. They are open until midnight or 1 am, depending on the day, but do not have a full service dinner menu and parking can be difficult.

Pane Vino is located on Water Street and serves Italian food. They are open for lunch, closed in the afternoon and then reopen for dinner. With a closing time of 9 pm, going there after Geva or nighttime events is not possible. They have valet parking available.

SPoT Coffee, located at 200 East Avenue, is a hip coffee shop that serves breakfast, sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts. The decor is eclectic, with old furniture. They do not offer a full service dinner menu, and they close at 11 pm.

2 Vine, on Winthrop Street, is billed as a hotspot with diverse wines and a lively bar scene, but they close at 11 pm. The menu is somewhat expensive.

Tapas 177 Lounge, located on St. Paul, is not open for lunch. They offer ”Eclectic small plates in a romantic setting.” They offer valet parking Thursday through Saturday after 6 pm.

Since these current places only cater to specific users they can not fulfill the changing wants and needs of the market. 


There are several restaurants and coffee shops in or around the up and coming Washington Square neighborhood. However, there is no one place that serves as a solution for what the large and diverse target market is looking for. Included in the target market and three sub markets are men and women ages 25-50 who are employees in the neighborhood, residents of the surrounding apartments and lofts, and evening event goers. Each of these target markets have different wants and needs.

The challenge is to create a unique, alternative eating and drinking establishment that will appeal to the target market, as well as the sub markets.

There is currently an empty building at 210
South Avenue that can meet the target market requirements. The space features a large, open concept floor plan that can be configured several ways. There are large windows, original hard wood floors, high ceilings and two garage doors that open to a space in the back which can be incorporated as an outdoor patio. 

The space currently exists, is vacant and the owner wants to add commercial/retail businesses to the building.

Half of the building has already been renovated so any solution must incorporate those existing changes. Another limitation is adhering to all codes and restrictions.

The amount of time needed to renovate and finish the space, along with the cost which would include labor and materials are also limitations.

Sketches, renderings and a scale model will be created to show the new design. 


Three concepts were developed for this space, including a cafe/coffee shop, a fine dining restaurant, and a combination space. 


For each concept, CMF (color, material, finish)  boards with design details were created. A variety of samples, including fabric, flooring and tile options were requested from suppliers.


Design decisions regarding the type of restaurant, the hours of operation, the potential target market, and the possible floor layouts were all considered, as well as existing competitors in the area for each concept.


A cafe/coffee shop space would cater to the employees working in the area at Excellus, Geva, and other nearby businesses, along with the residents living in the upstairs lofts. This space would appeal to those who want to stop in for coffee or a quick lunch. This space could also be used for business lunches or meetings. 


A coffee shop/cafe space could offer coffee, drinks, sandwiches and more. Customers would most likely stop in for food and take it with them or stay for a short time. This means more customers through the door but less money spent per customer.   


Hours of operation for a coffee shop/cafe
would range from 5:00am-4:00pm which
would completely ignore the market for late night customers. 


There is also a lot of competition in the area for this type of environment, including Javas and SPoT Coffee. 

Fine Dining Restaurant

A fine dinning restaurant would cater to attendees of local events, and individuals looking to have a formal dinner before or after a night out. A fine dinning restaurant would also appeal to an older crowd. A sophisticated and more expensive menu would be offered.


This restaurant would be a formal “sit and stay” environment where customers would come for a more formal dinner, or drinks and dessert. This means less customers through the door but more money spent per customer. 


The hours for a fine dinning restaurant would be from 4:00 pm-10:00 pm. Those hours would completely ignore both the early morning coffee/quick breakfast market, as well as a lunch/business meeting destination.


There are a several competitors to this format in the target area, including 2Vine, Tapas 177, and Pine Vino. 

combination space

A combination space would cater towards the employees and residents during the earlier hours as well as event attendees and late night crowd.


This concept meets the most wants and needs from the market, including a space to buy lunch and coffee as well as host business meetings during the morning/afternoon. This space also geared towards the dinner crowds, who want a space to eat dinner and grab drinks after work or before a show. Finally, this space also caters to s the late night crowd who are looking for a space to hangout and grab drinks and dessert after a show at Geva or the Blue Cross Arena, or a night out. 


The hours of operation would be from 10:00 am-2:00 am and would require a large, varying menu. The menu would need to change throughout the day and
would include coffee, brunch/lunch, dinner, and late night options. 


The biggest competitor to this format would be Dinosaur BBQ, however, they do not cater to all three of the target markets we are trying to reach. 


They also do not offer a changing environment.

user testing

These three diverging concepts were shown to individuals in the target market including those previously interviewed. 


Target users were shown sketches, CMF boards, layouts and inspiration boards for each concept. They were also asked to talk about how the concept and space made them feel, how they would interact with the space and what time of the day they would most likely visit the space. 


After testing criteria was completed, the feedback stated that the combination concept was the best option to fit the target markets

wants and needs. 


Feedback of the space and design included that the modern, clean white lines, black leather, dark wood and gold details did not fit the target market or the Rochester environment. The feeling of the space overall was cold and not very welcoming. Users felt that they would not feel relaxed or inclined to sit and stay.

concept refinement

Based on the feedback from testing and refinement, users stated that the previous design choices did not fit the target market or the Rochester environment. The environment was cold and not very welcoming. Users felt that they would not feel relaxed or inclined to sit and stay. 


Inspiration boards and CMF boards were redesigned to create a more relaxed and welcoming environment. Color, patterns and textures were introduced that ultimately created a more “Bohemian” feel. Warm copper accents and lighting, along with soft fabric chairs and cushions were introduced. Harsh dark wood was replaced with light wood and gray tones and the stark white walls were covered in bright patterned wallpaper. As the design choices were changed, the environment became brighter, lighter, and more relaxing and welcoming. 


Original sketches using pencil and marker were done to help determine the direction of the design. 

product construction

The scale model is constructed with a combination of foamcore and balsa wood.


The base of the walls and floor are foamcore.

The bar and shelving, room dividers, stage, and seating areas are different thicknesses of balsa wood. A glue gun was used primarily, together with spray mount and tape where needed.


Chair seats and backs are balsa wood covered with washi tape, the legs are small wooden toothpicks. The tables are small wood squares and circles painted white and the room dividers are made with plastic stencils cut to size and framed with balsa wood.


Greenery is a combination of small rocks, glass jars and copper wire, and the planters are constructed of balsa wood.


The dining area lights were created by cutting copper tubing and threading small lights through them. The lights work throughout, with battery power. Scrapbooking paper was used for wall paper. Acetate was used for the windows in front, as well as on the garage door in the back.

The outside walls of the building, sidewalks in front of the building, and the brick floor of the patio are computer printouts. The floor of the dining and bar area, as well as the bathrooms and dance floor are tape with a woodgrain finish. The artwork on the walls include photos I took while I was in Cuba.

user testing & refinement

Based on the feedback from the second user testing the following design suggestions were made, including:

•     Grand front entrance with restaurant        logo and greenery

•     Welcome section with a hostess stand and seating area for waiting customers

•     Divider on left side of the entrance to block the wind and breeze from the opening and closing doors

•    Frosted window technology on front windows

•    More secluded dining area, space for larger parties, sound barrier between bar and dining area, move-able dividers

•    Different fabric for chairs, alternate
size tables

•    Bar top seating with bar stools

•    Copper bar

•    More copper accents, wall art, greenery

• Make logo depict the feel of the space


Renderings of the space were designed and created. Numerous design options, including color schemes, flooring and wall materials, seating options and floor layouts were considered and explored before a final design was chosen.

Features of this space include a beautiful double door entrance with greenery. Once inside, there
is a hostess stand and comfortable seating for customers who are waiting for a table in the dining area. There is a large bar area with seating, as well as bar top tables and stools.

The secluded dining space is separated from the bar area with beautiful white screen dividers and large greenery that offer privacy for the diners, as well as sound proofing from the bar area. At the back of the space there is an expandable stage with floor space for dancing, and a comfortable seating area with colorful pillows to sit and enjoy live music. 

A large garage door with floor to ceiling windows opens up to a patio with a second bar and more seating during the summer months, and the windows offer natural light during the day. The patio is surrounded by greenery, wrought iron fencing, trees, and includes a fire pit in the center with seating. The fire pit extends the usage of the patio into the fall and spring if weather permits.

The kitchen will be located in the lower level of the building, and restrooms will be redesigned to match the new design/decor.

Bright and colorful artwork by local artists will be featured on the walls and be offered for sale. The artwork will rotate on an established schedule. 

final model

The final model is constructed in three parts to enable easier transport. The main dining room and bar area is the largest piece. The bathrooms, including the hallway and door to the outside area comprise the second section, and the patio area is the third section. The sections fit easily together.

Final finishing touches include a lighted sign as you walk in the front door, copper detailing throughout, bright artwork on the walls, greenery, and comfortable fabric cushions on the casual seating areas.


Details on the patio include a copper bar, trees, additional seating, a fire pit with cushioned benches, decorative wrought iron fencing and lighting around the entire area.

There are battery powered lights throughout, with small boxes constructed and mounted to the outside walls to hold the battery packs.

Three plexi glass pieces are cut to size to cover the entire model for protection. 

final showcase

The Industrial Design Department hosted a Senior Thesis Showcase where students were required to set up their final model, along with a poster describing their process and design.

Rochester Institute of Technology students and faculty, along with family and friends were invited to the Showcase. ID students were on hand to answer questions and explain their projects. 

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