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Kisumé by Fabio Ongarato Design, Australia

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Visual identity and business cards designed by Fabio Ongarato Design for Japanese restaurant in Melbourne Kisumé

Kisumé is a Japanese restaurant located on Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. It is described by Fabio Ongarato Design, the studio behind its visual identity, as an unconventional, slightly twisted and artfully executed experience. The restaurant intends to immerse guests in an intriguing view of Japanese traditions, and fuses these with the owner’s obsession with beauty and sensuality. This is expressed by a “brutally sophisticated and minimal interior design” created by Wood Marsh Architecture which features curated artworks by Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki as well as Polly Borland, and in the break from the conventions of a typical Japanese dining experience in the movement and colour of visual identity. This links business cards, stationery, menus, window and lighting decals, posters and website.

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High Street Wine Co. by Conductor, United Kingdom

Opinion by Richard Baird

Brand identity by UK-based Conductor for High Street Wine Co, a wine bar and shop located in San Antonio's Pearl neighbourhood

High Street Wine Co. is a wine bar and shop located in the Pearl neighbourhood of San Antonio, Texas. UK-based graphic design studio Conductor, working closely with architects Dado Group, created a visual identity that expresses something of the cheerful personality of its hosts, the ambience and community of a busy bar and its distinctive interior design.

Drawing on the name for inspiration Conductor, through colour, type and pattern, find a balance between street markings and signage, and the material qualities and forms of Dado Group’s interior design. Collaborating with Tom Froese, Conductor layer these with an idiosyncratic character and community spirit through a variety of convivial illustrations. These run across menus, coasters and website.

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Omakase Room by Tatsu by Savvy, United States

Opinion by Richard Baird

Visual identity and scented ceramic gift by Savvy for New York restaurant Omakase Room by Tatsu

Omakase Room by Tatsu is a unique sushi dining experience located on New York’s Christopher Street. The concept is rooted in the centuries-old family traditions of Japanese Executive Chef and host Tatsu Sekiguchi and the celebration of the individual and personal. This can be experienced in the restaurant’s unique and intimate setting, one that seats only eight, and a menu carefully crafted by Tatsu for one evening and for that specific group of eight, based on their mood, curiosities and preferences.

The restaurant features a light interior design of soft bamboo and fabric centred around Japanese minimalist traditions. Materials a few but high quality, the ceiling is low, and the design of the table and layout of chairs lend the restaurant a quiet and earthy material quality with little distraction, and establish an intimacy with the chef, and focuses the mind on the food.

Building on this, design studio Savvy developed a multi-sensory brand identity, with a similar restraint, materiality and discretion. This offers something of its own subtle character but does not detract from the food, while also working in small thoughtful details such as scent and semi-transparent paper that links type with interior. The project included menus, stationery, business cards and a ceramic gift.

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