Hamish Smyth: Let The Building Do The Work
In line with their enthusiasm for design history, design studio Order embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime project to re-create the brand identity for the revival of Brooklyn’s Gage & Tollner – an historic 19th-century oyster and chop house that served Brooklyn for 125 years before closing its doors in 2004. The identity has been applied to everything the restaurant needed, from menus to matchbooks.
When Gage & Tollner reopened in Summer 2021, guests were welcomed into a time machine, transporting them back to the 19th century. Order delved into the restaurant’s archives, dutifully preserved by the Brooklyn Historical Society and surfaced by G&T partner St. John Frizell.
“At risk of sounding cliché, Gage & Tollner was one of those projects where you have to ‘let the building do the work’ and get graphic design out of the way. The interior of the space is breathtaking, and the last thing we wanted to do was distract diners with a logo and menus that felt too modern or out of place,” said Hamish Smyth, Partner, Order. “For us, that meant diving deep into research, and working with local type designer Jesse Ragan to update and redraw the original G&T logo used in the late 19th century, set in the popular Victorian era typeface, Art Gothic. Think Paris Metro vibes. It’s weird and wonky but, not surprisingly, feels right at home in the ornate Victorian era interior.”
Shown below, the original interior from early 20th century.