Yan-Co invents impossible foods to brand a cult Bavarian “neo-tavern”

To replicate the distinct approach of the restaurant Rosi, the studio introduces strange 3D foods, like cow udder flowers, wrapped in textures of butter or sausage.

3 February 2023


Sometimes designing for a restaurant comes with limiting restrictions – “It needs to seem pared back, understated,” an owner might insist. Other times, you get something like Rosi. It’s a Bavarian Wirtshaus (inn or tavern) brought to Zurich by Markus Stöckle and named after the chef’s favourite cow. That said, Rosi prefers to refer to itself as a “neo-tavern” due to its distinctive approach to food, blending tradition with lab-like explorations, and recipes from Markus’ own mother with dishes for German kings. The restaurant has just received an identity from Yan-Co Studio, a design practice based between Zurich and Athens.

The project has a number of plates spinning. Epaminondas Coutsicos, who co-founded Yan-Co with Philipp Dornbierer, worked across design and illustration, with Marie Christine Gerber working on photography and Till Kammertoens the code. A focal point is the illustration where you’ll find a selection of unusual food items rendered in 3D and AR. Some, like the Kartoffelhybrid (potato hybrid) and Magic Schwammerl (mushrooms), are taken from Markus’ menu. “We created our take on it,” says Epaminondas. “The difficulty was making renderings somehow tasteful and foodie, as CGI will add quite an edge to food.”

Other foods are stranger still. Inspired by mythical creatures from German folklore, like the Wolpertinger – who has rabbit ears, duck feet and deer antlers – Yan-Co started cross-pollinating. The result is the Euterblume (Udder Flower), which is referenced in a poem on the Rosi menu, about a happy cow who has fallen in love with a “little flower”. In fact, Yan-Co has introduced a range of poems and tales across Markus’ menu to complement the illustrations. Then there’s the AR element, which is used to elevate the Udder Flower further, with customers able to experience the hybrid food digitally through QR codes on menus and coasters.

Epaminondas explains: “We were looking for a way to bring this fascination for creating (Neo) dishes to the guests and future guests. AR is a fantastic medium for that and can amplify imagination and reality. So we brought the three-dimensional objects to life by animating them.” Other 3D forms were wrapped with textures of butter, sausage or similar with the help of photographer Marie Christine Gerber.

GalleryYan-Co: Rosi (Copyright © Rosi, 2023)

The context of incredible gastronomy that surrounds Rosi is captured through some fantastic brand photography. (Yan-Co tells us about a club of scientists, chefs and artists who came together during this project, inventing things like tattooed pork crusts – this spirit is present in full force.) A new logotype, merch and website with three colourway options, including Butter and Lavender, completes the project.

GalleryYan-Co: Rosi (Copyright © Rosi, 2023)

Across the whole work, experiments with the grotesque and digital were key to staying in line with the “neo” approach of Rosi. “When working on Wirtshaus Rosi, I often drew parallels with directing a film or a play,” says Epaminondas. “We have a narrative to tell, a totally present crew, a cast, a set, backstage and a stage. The difference is that everything is constantly in motion and the place becomes a meeting place and truly a multi-sensory experience for everyone, not least the food is valued. [...] I can learn just as much from an evening in the Rosi Tavern as I can from a visit to the modern Kunsthaus.”

GalleryYan-Co: Rosi (Copyright © Rosi, 2023)

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Yan-Co: Rosi (Copyright © Rosi, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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