Mickey D's remakes restaurants and PlayPlaces

McDonald's is in the midst of a makeover for the interior design of its restaurants, with three markedly different prototypes being tested New York and Florida. Check out a slideshow of the new interiors, and get the scoop on the McVillage for kids that's been rolled out in Europe.

McDonald's is in the process of remaking its restaurants and experimenting with a new concept to replace the soft play structures in its PlayPlaces. Commenting on the new interior décor, Max Carmona, McDonald's senior director of U.S. restaurant design, says, "We wanted to bring a more consistent, modern design into our restaurants. About half of our free-standing locations have experienced some renovations since 2003, but we thought, 'What can we do to take it a step further?' The McDonald's in Europe have modern environments, so it was a challenge for us to do the same in the U.S."

Three prototype designs are currently being tested in the U.S.:

  • Urban Living, designed for urban locations, with the first in New York
  • Fresh and Vibrant, all about food and freshness, with the first unit in Clermont, Florida
  • Young and Cheerful, a more hip design, with the first unit in Port St. Lucie, Florida

A fourth prototype design is under development.

Here's a look at some of the new interiors. They certainly represent a departure from the old McDonald's look.

McDonald's prototype slideshow.

It appears McDonald's also wants to change the way kids stay busy in the restaurants when they aren't eating. Meet McVillage, a children's activity area of 215 square feet for children 7 and younger, based on the theme: What I eat, what I do. According to the Amsterdam design firm UXUS, McVillage is intended to be an imaginary playscape where children can use their imaginations to create their own stories, learn through play and become curious about food. Drawing inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and Victorian oversized tin toys, the part farmhouse and part children's book illustration uses strong graphics of homegrown fruits and veggies as key features. McVillage is split into a series of cottages. Each represents a different phase food goes through, from farm to market to kitchen, and includes a host of digital and analog interactive features to engage and educate children about food.

Education through play is the order of the day in McVillage, according to UXUS creative director George Gottl. "Having fun is an important motivator in getting children to learn. Discovery and exploration are strong and proven methods of educating children, particularly when shared with their parents or caretakers."

The pilot McVillage project is being rolled out in Europe. There is no word yet on whether it's being considered for America or other parts of the world.

Slideshow of the new McDonald's McVillage children's play area.