Requena Office’s rebrand for Fonda Europa brings its art deco spirit into a new era

With a flexible typeface, bold yellow colours and high-exposure flash photography, the Barcelona-based studio breathes new life into the eatery.

20 February 2024

Sometimes the first seed of an idea for a new project takes weeks to develop, and sometimes it’s right in front of your face, solidified in bricks and mortar. For Requena Office’s new identity for Fonda Europa, the team needed look no further than the iconic blue, yellow and white art deco building the restaurant is housed in: an Accidentally Wes Anderson post waiting to happen if ever we saw one.

Throughout the initial fieldwork, the Requena team paid close attention to the graphic motifs on display in and outside of the building. One element that stood out in particular was its hand-painted sign, its elongated and elegant letters clearly influenced by the art deco style. Taking this as a core influence, the team elevated it in their custom display typeface, attempting to keep its art deco core while also repositioning it with a more modern edge, to ensure that it “connects with a contemporary audience”, says Requena founder Andrés Requena.


Requena Office: Fonda Europa (Copyright © Requena Office, 2024)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen studios take inspiration from a building’s old signage. In 2017 the design and letterpress studio The Counter Press rebranded London’s famous Bibendum restaurant, with a typeface that drew directly on the art-nouveau building’s unique, 3D tiled sign, and earlier this year we spoke to Kevin Högger about his identity for Belmondo restaurant, which saw him base a new lettering system on the eatery’s old neon signage. Like the Fonda Europa project, they prove that revamping is just as impactful as starting afresh.

To modernise the inspired typeface, the team moved away from the stasis of the original signage and tried to make the font as flexible as possible. As the font was just a display typeface – which Andrés recognises not to be “very rigorous” – the team aimed to create a sense of vibrancy as opposed to something highly technical. Through the identity the typeface playfully stretches and condenses, creating difference between each of the glyphs, meaning subtly different letter systems can be used across various graphic elements, like menus, business cards and social assets. With the font taking centre stage throughout the rebrand, this variation helps to ensure an element of versatility and unpredictability, especially as it doesn’t feature any illustrative elements.

The type is then paired solely with a bold, bright and sunny yellow and high contrast flash photography, another creative choice that helps to bring the restaurant up to the present day. High energy shots show people walking with takeaway bags, handing over business cards and perusing the menu. Overall, Andrés sees the rebrand as being successful where it matters, having captured the historical spatial spirit of the restaurant, while bringing it firmly into the present day.

GalleryRequena Office: Fonda Europa (Copyright © Requena Office, 2024)

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Requena Studio: Fonda Europa (Copyright © Requena Office, 2024)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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