With the growing popularity of street food, food trucks have become a major force in the restaurant industry and a vital part of many vibrant neighborhoods all around the world. Some of them feature unique and unusual dishes that are hard to find in regular restaurants so there is no surprise that public’s interest for this kind of experience keeps growing every year. Although the point of street food is the opportunity to quickly grab a bite when you are in a rush or do not want to spend too much money or time on your meal, my aim was to create a space that would change the perception of street food and encourage people to spend their time there and enjoy the process of waiting for their order, which is usually the most irritating part. This was my key focus that helped me develop my concept and form the identity of my project -320ºF.
My design proposal is an ice cream truck converted into a portable liquid nitrogen ice cream factory that would allow people to experience getting their favorite dessert in a new unique way. One of the most important aspects of -320ºF is the fact that ice cream making becomes some sort of a performance for the customers, where they get to see the whole process from the beginning to the end. As a huge ice cream fan, I could not ignore the new liquid nitrogen trend, which influenced my design approach for -320ºF (nitrogen’s boiling temperature) and has already become a craze that is now used in all kinds of places from fancy restaurants to small cafes. Even though molecular gastronomy movement has been on the scene for quite a while, people of all ages never stop getting excited about clouds of smoke coming out of their food and I wanted to make this excitement part of their experience in my space.
Inspired by the conveyor belts you can see in many sushi restaurants, I decided to incorporate it in my design and take it to the next level. For each part of the ice-cream making process (mixing, freezing, topping) -320ºF would have a station, through which the conveyor would take the empty plates in order for the ice cream to be made and delivered to customers. Orders would be placed on one side of the truck, where the worker would have to simply choose the right flavor and toppings on a screen attached to the nearest wall. The command goes to conveyor belt system and a new empty plate starts its journey to the first station, where liquid cream with the chosen flavor gets poured into it. At the next station this cream instantly gets frozen with liquid nitrogen and the ready-to-eat ice cream scoop moves to the last station for toppings. Meanwhile the customer would take one of the seats connected to three external sides of the truck and pick up their ice cream from the conveyor when it arrives.
Even though the space would get enough natural light during the day, I decided to add lights to the scaffolding and pipe work on the ceiling to illuminate each station and the conveyor. Taking into consideration the fact that mobility is one of the key advantages of food trucks, I created foldable walls that are used as tables and a roof during the day and could be closed at night when the space is not used, which would allow the workers to change the location of this mobile factory if it is necessary. Since factories and kitchens are very often associated with steel and evoke memories of cold, I wanted to achieve the opposite effect in my design and at the same time recreate an industrial atmosphere by replacing silver metal with rose gold and choosing pink and peachy tones for the space.