Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 23 January 2018
Hüngry Beast is a cafe and juice bar located in Mexico City’s Roma Norte neighbourhood, a place of recent cultural and gastronomic development. It is a modern and casual experience with a focus on simple, high-quality cold-pressed and gluten-free products creatively prepared from healthy organic ingredients.
The urban, natural and creative positioning of the cafe is expressed materially throughout an interior design of light wood surface, glass blocks and concrete grey walls that create a natural flow between interior and street, and by a graphic identity made up of splashes of colour and organic shape inspired by the work of John Baldessari, an artist who was born 15 minutes from the Mexican border. These shapes are used across and are cut into the white surfaces of bottle labels and intersect food photography online, and implemented alongside a variety of inspirational quotes from scientists, artists, sportspeople and inventors. Interior and graphic identity intersect in different ways, and developed in tandem by multidisciplinary design studio Savvy.
Savvy’s interior design responds to the cafe’s multiple purposes, working together elements of comfort, efficiency and an ambience that intends to feel organic and modern. Materials such as stucco, volcanic stone and solid woods with a warm and natural finish contrast with metallic materials and dark powder coated frames, while plenty of natural light and various plants brings in a living element.
The work of John Baldessari provides an interesting reference point and used to create a number of different graphic assets. Initially, this emerges in the use of shape and colour, similar in quality to the artist’s collaboration with Gemini workshop. As noted by Baldessari in his work Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell, 1966-1968, light colours sell well, as do abstracts.
Colour and form comfortably sit well within, and serve to link, the context of fruit juice, creativity and the cultural development of the area, and are implemented as solid colour, as graphic and material detail within interior design, through the relationship between juice, bottle and die cut labels, and appear in the shape of spilled juice for promotional shots.
The second reference touches on Baldessari’s Connecting Dots, a series of black and white photographs with faces covered by brightly coloured dots (originally price stickers). Savvy take this, and instead, applies brush strokes to black and white portraits of big personalities. These are used online across social media, and paired with quotes that call to mind John Baldessari’s text on canvas. This mix of typographic, graphic and photographic expression, while taking a lot of inspiration from the works of John Baldessari, appears distinctive and communicatively varied.
While the references to John Baldessari might allude many, the connection made to creativity, in the use of colour, form and white canvas is clear, as is the desire to covey a bold personality online by making a connection to the character of successful international figures.
Graphic identity layers a modern and urban interior design with the unexpected character through disparity. The linear is met by the irregular, the urban and the natural intersected by the bright and cheerful. Social media pairs spontaneous food photography with brush stroked portraits and quotes.
The white canvas of labels, the monospaced type and loose monolinear lines of mark and logotype find a balance between contemporary gallery space and its associated visual vernacular (as an expression of creativity) and an articulation of simplicity, purity of ingredients and natural products. The double dots tie in nicely with dots of John Baldessari’s best-known pieces and works as a very subtle face over the U or an invisible beast between the H and B.
There is a smart sensitivity to context. Packaging remains simple and concise in the way it presents creativity, juice and simplicity, while social media plays with brand character through words and image association. More work by Savvy on BP&O.