Platform Bar & Restaurant opens in London Bridge

Author: James Braithwaite

At the tail end of last year we were approached by a long standing client Tony McKinlay to produce a brand for a new joint venture with traditional Devon farmer Barney Butterfield – a new restaurant nestled within the heart of SE1, under the history-steeped arches of London Bridge Station.

They came to us with two things. The first was a name – Platform (an obvious choice), and a second was an ideology. Described in a few words as ‘gate-to-plate’ dining. We were invited to visit their farm in Devon where we spoke at length with Barney, whose zeal for traditional farming methods and the subsequent quality of food rivals Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We spoke about their vision for the restaurant. We tasted the apples straight from the branch (used for making the various ciders and scrumpys sold in the restaurant). We witnessed the chickens enjoying more open space than any London-dweller could ever hope for.

Returning back to the studio, we had to question – ‘Is this anything new?’ After all, modern eating, especially in London, is no stranger to such words as organic, fair-trade, sustainable & green. In fact in recent years, after customers have become increasingly more interested in what they are eating and drinking, many eateries, from your local gastropub, the 17 Pret A Manger outlets on your street, to the veritable McDonalds have all opted to use such devices as the focal point for their image.

We had to question – ‘Is this anything new?’ After all, modern eating, especially in London, is no stranger to such words as organic, fair-trade, sustainable & green.

Interestingly however, Tony and Barney made it clear that their brand message should not shout from the rafters about it’s organic sustainable ways. The self-asserting, something-to-prove message was the domain of the gastropub, Pret and McDonalds. It needed to be a subtle gesture, if at all.

Our eyes turned to the building. The archway under platform 1 of London Bridge station (formerly a lap-dancing club!) is the oldest of the London railway termini and one of the oldest stations in the world. We explored the design of London transport systems; the black and white gloss brickwork, the humanist typefaces synonymous with the tube networks and railways of London.

Our eyes turned to the building. The archway under platform 1 of London Bridge station (formerly a lap-dancing club!) is the oldest of the London railway termini and one of the oldest stations in the world.

Taking inspiration from these devices we developed a branding system and signage for the venue which in turn determined the visual style of the website.

One of the requirements from day one was that the menu needed to change regularly (sometimes as much as twice a day) to make best use of the incoming produce, limiting waste wherever possible. This was quite a constraint on the typical menu print delivery. We wanted to avoid the notion of printing menus in-house. The Platform brand deserved better than a word-processor print out on standard A4. We developed a system by which the reverse of the menus were printed in advance on a premium stock, then the details of the menu were overprinted on a specifically chosen laser printer on the day the menu was confirmed, using a template set up by us. This ensured the menus adhered to the brand, along with the rest of the printed collateral.

The launch event was typical London affair, with models, celebrities and paparazzi making a token appearance. The canapes set the standard for the food to follow and the cocktails from the accomplished bar staff are some of the best I’d tasted in London.

Since launch, the restaurant has had much praise (top table, thirtyoneseventyfive), and was also featured in design week for our work, alongside interior design company Sampson associates.

http://platformse1.co.uk