Heston Blumenthal has partnered with global design and innovation company Seymourpowell to work on all aspects of the branding for his new restaurant The Perfectionists’ Café.
Based at the newly redeveloped Heathrow Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal, The Perfectionists’ Café opens this month (June 2014) and serves as the terminal’s focal point.
Tasked with handling the full implementation of the brand, Seymourpowell has overseen all aspects of brand identity, signage, restaurant stationery and retail items. The Clockwork Knife forms the heart of the new brand mark and also takes centre stage at the restaurant.
The kinetic sculpture takes the traditional shape of a chef’s knife with the unexpected edition of a clockwork key; within the blade is a series of cogs and levers, which aim to evoke a sense of precision and mechanical artistry akin to a Swiss watch.
Imagined and directed by Richard Seymour and built by mechanical sculptor Rob Higgs, the blade sits above the café’s main signage acting as a beacon for diners. The overall branding of the café is kept simple, elegant and refined, presenting a counterpoint to the brands and environment surrounding it, blending modern precision with a historical twist. Seymour, co-founder and director at Seymourpowell, explained: “The Clockwork Knife came out of thin air. I wanted something that clearly said ‘chef’ not ‘fast food’ and yet evoked Heston’s boyish delight in the analogue, mechanical worlds of William Heath-Robinson and Professor Branestawm. Having created the image, we then set about seeing if we could actually make it work as part of the signage. Design doesn’t get much more fun than this… pure whimsy.”
Illustrations of the knife, in a Victorian tone style, feature across the brand elements including tableware, menus, packaging, retail items, uniforms, stationary and website materials. Of the brand identity, Seymour said: “As much of the menu concept emanates from Heston’s ‘In Search of Perfection’ TV series, it seemed logical that the Café’s name should reflect that. The shift of emphasis from the creator to the diner themselves, by moving the inverted comma to the end of the word, recognises a traveller who’s fed-up with junk, but craves really exceptional food quickly. We called it a café because that’s what it is: fast, friendly and informal.”Blumenthal commented that working with Seymour had been “incredible” due to his “uncanny ability to understand what makes someone tick” adding that the clockwork knife was “sheer brilliance”. True to Blumenthal’s signature style the café features Heathrow’s first wood-burning oven, a nitrogen ice cream parlour and a multi-sensory bar.
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