The Halcyon is a new development in Islington, north London, featuring “the best of British art, retail, design, music, exhibitions and food’. So for its identity, SomeOne have referenced a very British art movement, Vorticism
SomeOne created the name, strategy, language and identity for The Halcyon which will specialise in ‘attracting local, national and international visitors interested in buying, tasting and experiencing the best of Britain in a friendly and contemporary setting’. The venue, on Essex Road, promises it “will support talented British individuals, products and companies from the grassroots level and up, giving support on all levels, including apprentice schemes as well as offering the venue to test ideas and experience”.
It houses a gallery, coffee shop, music and retail spaces plus The Thunderbolt restaurant (named after a land speed record-breaking car of the 30s) and the Sundowner bar (named after another car, this time one which completed the first London to Melbourne journey in the 20s). Both the cars were built by the Midlands-based Bean Motor Company. The owners of The Halcyon, Aquarius Investments, also now own the Bean brand, hence the link.
The identity features a repeating pattern inspired by the abstract geometric style that was such a feature of the early 20th century British artists who became known as the Vorticists. The pattern is used across literature, packaging for Halcyon branded foods and in retail spaces.
SomeOne’s Simon Manchipp says that referencing Vorticism ” felt like a great way to explain the Halcyon brand — celebrating halcyon days, without it looking twee and clichéd — as well as the fact that the Vorticists were around at a similar time to the Sundowner”. Vorticism was British-based but international in make-up and ambition, Manchipp says, which also matches the positioning of Halcyon.
The primary typeface used in the identity is similarly British in origin – a new cut of Gill Sans.
SomeOne worked with interior designers ARA, and project management build group Ovalstone on the development.
Quite what Wyndham Lewis and co would make of their ideas being employed in the service of 21st century commerce we can only guess at but if you are looking to do ‘heritage Britain’ with a modern twist, Vorticism is an original and under-utilised reference point (and it is just a reference point, let’s not forget). The same can hardly be said of Gill Sans but the overall impression from these few images (though it’s very difficult to assess work like this without experiencing the space first hand and how it works with the architecture etc) is of an energetic, stylish identity with plenty of opportunity for application across all manner of uses.
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