8 restaurant identities that put the fine in fine dining, featuring Saint Urbain, Dennis and more
Having reflected on some of our favourite coffee and museum brands, we felt it was time to head to the main course. This time, we’ve highlighted some eye-catching identities that have elevated restaurants to the next level. Drawing from all sources of inspiration, the studios have cleverly woven in references to the location, the architecture, and certainly, the food itself. Filled to the brim with charm and personality, we hope you enjoy them.
Located in the Mallorcan historical fishing district of El Molinar is Periplo Portixol, a seafood restaurant that promises an excellent dining experience. Its identity, devised by Palma de Mallorca-based designer Enrique Presa, expresses the nautical themes of both the cuisine and the heritage of the region. The identity system was built around a custom-made stencil typeface, based on templates that were used for marking fishing boats and goods boxes. With GT Pressura Mono as the initial starting point, the finished typeface features on wooden menu covers, carved to highlight the stencil details. An elemental and nature-inspired colour palette unifies the nautical look.
From the team behind cult international chain Devon Café, DOPA is a Japanese-inspired donburi and milkbar in Sydney’s Darling Square. The menu is a scintillating 50/50 split between dessert and savoury options, born from the minds of executive chef Zacharay Tan and pastry-extraordinaire Marcus Andrew. Local creative studio The Colour Club were approached by the Devon Café leadership team to design DOPA’s identity and accompanying merchandise, signage, packaging and menu system. The objective was to create something fresh, unexpected and distinctly Japanese without entering into pastiche. With that in mind, the studio took direction from the name DOPA itself, which is a shortened form of dopamine. They worked closely with artist Andrew Yee to create a stylish set of manga-inspired illustrations, based on the transformative experience of eating good food.
Situated in Austria’s picturesque Ziller Valley, Schulhaus Tirol is renowned for its creative interpretation of Tyrolean cuisine. Run by the Geisler family, the restaurant boasts authenticity and a dedication to high standards that not only stands out from noise but speaks to today’s sophisticated tourist. Graz-based Studio Furore provided an identity system in line with the creative and unconventional spirit of the restaurant; uniting heritage and modernity to showcase Schulhaus Tirol as anything but ordinary.
Schulhaus Tirol by Studio Furore
Tunco’s founders turned to Norway’s TRY Design for a revitalised identity system, website and interior design, hoping to come out with a visual language more reflective of their explorative, genre-bending recipes. The resulting identity created by the design team revolves around the concept of ‘trippy cuisine,’ playing on the connection between food and our senses through organic shapes and expressive typography. Set in Dave Coleman’s Funkford, the Tunco wordmark is a prime example of this idea due to the movement and mystique conveyed by its 60s-inspired bellbottom serifs.
Independent Beijing and Toronto-based design practice Meat Studio crafted an unapologetically bold, chunky and formidably confident identity for Beijing-based Italian restaurant Tiago Home Kitchen (THK). With a vibrant colour palette setting the scene in reference to the restaurant’s Mediterranean context, the identity is rife with typographic expression; revolving around enormous and unavoidable custom lettering within unexpected and charmingly loud layouts. The type is playful on the page, making reference to the modernist forms of mid-century Italian design. Also referencing the iconic furniture of the period and country, the wordmark has an innate robustness and friendliness – the latter of which is a tone embodied in THK’s supporting typeface Pitch Sans.
Firehouse Market is a casual fast-food restaurant in Miami’s arts and entertainment district, found within The Firehouse, a building (and registered national landmark) designed by one of South Florida’s most prominent architects. In crafting the new identity for the business, NYC and LA-based creative agency Saint Urbain focused on keeping the tone mature whilst playing with contrasts of modernity and its deeply historical location – from the heritage-style curved typographic arrangement of the logomark, to referencing the building’s elegant circular windows in the brand’s iconography.
Using Albertus as Firehouse Market’s fresh new font, the typeface highlights the historical aspect of the building. As the secondary typeface, Maison Neue helped to balance the modern re-appropriation of the site. This two-fold consideration is also apparent in their aptly chosen colour palette, demonstrating the vintage character of the place, whilst also providing warmth and a welcoming tone.
Firehouse Market by Saint Urbain
Established in reference to the bright, modernist cafe interiors of the mid-20th century, Barcelona’s Chandigarh Café, named after the Le Corbusier-designed North Indian city, is a harmonious space for its clientele to soak in mid-century artistry and enjoy exquisite cuisine. Vibrant in form, contrast and spatial tension, the café is one unlike most and subsequently needed an identity to match. As a result, Chandigarh Café turned to London and Barcelona-based design studio Dennis to channel the architectural manner and inspiration of the café, resulting in a punchy, memorable identity that showcases the joy and vibrancy that can be expressed through modernist principles.
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.