London design and letterpress studio The Counter Press has rebranded Terence Conran and Paul Hamlyn’s restaurant Bibendum, with an identity designed to emulate and emphasise its surrounding architecture.
Since 1987 the restaurant has inhabited a landmark of London’s Chelsea, the art nouveau Michelin House designed by François Espinasse in 1911. Inspired by the structure’s decorative features, such as its mosaics, ironwork, tiles and stained glass windows, The Counter Press revamped Bibendum’s visual identity to become an “extension of, and complement to, the building”.
This began by basing the new logotype on the tiled sign on the building’s facade. “We started by tracing these 3D letterforms but then adjusted and simplified them so they would work better as a word mark, especially at small sizes,” say the designers. “It’s more of a faithful interpretation rather than a straightforward reproduction. Instead of creating a logo and turning it into new signage, we took old signage that was already there and turned it into the new logo.”
Similarly the identity’s grid pattern and colour palette were inspired by the brickwork and tiles, to “harmonise” with the building. It also keeps the Michelin Man character as a supporting element to the branding. The result is a sophisticated and “restrained” design that the studio hopes has “recaptured the original Bibendum magic” for the restaurant’s relaunch.
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