Signage for the new Byron site in Newcastle.
For over four years we have worked with Byron on the internal and external signage for all new restaurant openings as well as a number of restaurant refurbishments. As Byron are well known for not having a singular logo or easily described ‘house style’ each restaurant is individually designed. There are no custom typefaces or brand colours, instead we work closely with the architecture and interior design team to develop each restaurant’s unique look and feel.
The site for the new Byron in Newcastle was an amazing opportunity, a stunning turn of the century building, complete with original features galore and beautiful stained glass windows. It was these windows with their Art Nouveau influences which helped lead us to our scheme.
Newcastle is the first Byron to have a separate bar attached to the restaurant. So we got to thinking about a bar with a proper hamburger place attached. And we realised that we needed two different ideas, for this site, not one. Clare Nash’s brief, therefore incorporated influences from the two sides of 20’s America, when a crazy bar/club scene lived alongside Prohibition, when things were bleak, and alcohol disallowed.
The interiors, were therefore going to reflect the glamorous finishes and furniture that would have been found in the famous Cotton Club drinking den of New York. You would enter via the bar, a luxurious bar filled with gorgeous upholstered semi circular booths in green and turquoise leather, a stunning bartop and beautiful brass light fittings. Having passed through a sumptuous velvet curtain, you will find yourself in a Prohibition world instead. This is a darker, more basic but incredibly atmospheric place… vintage furniture, wood finishes, with light boxes advertising our beers and bourbons. A dark nod to one of America’s most famous eras.
Inspired by the scale of the Cotton Club signage and the brass rails used in the signage of other venues of the time we proposed using a brass metal casings for the restaurants neons. We kept the historical references sufficiently subtle to give enough of a feeling of the era without becoming pastiche. This was used in combination with a contemporary typeface to further stress the modernity of the site. We worked closely with the technical signage company throughout the process to ensure also artwork was produced as envisaged.
Working from our historical research we designed the light boxes to hang from curved brass bars like those in the bars of the time. This added a subtle feel of the era whilst feeling contemporary. As with the neons we kept the typeface very contemporary reiterating the feeling of modernity.
Working closely with interior designer Clare Nash’s scheme, we created typographic artwork which was hand painted onto glass panels within the restaurant. The eye-catching type references the Prohibition placards, therefore reinforcing this part of the scheme. The panels of glass have been used to split up the type which make it appear quite playful.