Bielke & Yang’s characterful identity for The Vandelay references Seinfeld’s George Costanza
Top-quality, affordable and uncomplicated; these are the founding principles behind Esben Holmboe’s warm and relaxing Oslo restaurant, The Vandelay. Derived from Seinfeld’s social pseudonym for George Costanza and his chameleon-esque adaptability to any given situation, The Vandelay finds a lot of graphic inspiration from the American TV show – implemented by Oslo-based design studio Bielke & Yang in their characterful identity for the restaurant.
Hitting the ground running with a classic combination of warm-red and off-white, Bielke & Yang’s work not only is episodically referential to Seinfeld, but also to a classic bistro aesthetic; appropriating the language associated with nostalgic diners whilst modernising their approach. Playfully applying their identity across the breadth of the restaurant, from plates and uniforms to coasters and menus, the graphic language relies on its strong typographic sensibilities and characterful, charismatic illustrations.
The illustrations in question are from the talented Ryo Kaneyasu, a Kurashiki-based illustrator known for their delicate linework. “We wanted a look between something analogue and digital,” Christian Bielke explains, stumbling upon Kaneyasu’s work and finding it a natural fit – producing refined but outwardly lively drawings that pair beautifully with their chosen selection of typefaces.
“Sometimes you just come across a typeface that is so weird and has so much identity that you just want to find a project to use it on,” Bielke explains, discussing their use of ToY as the primary typeface. “It has a perfect feeling for a brasserie,” he adds, “and I love the name ToY, haha,” a typeface whose vibrantly forthright tone of voice is elegantly paired with Klim Type Foundry’s Founders Grotesk Condensed and Mono. The delightful combination of which helps find the delicate balance needed for the restaurant, wanting to be fun without being parodical. “We wanted the whole concept to feel very welcoming and warm, without it being funny,” Bielke concludes, “we usually put a lot of effort into finding the right balance.”