This week’s Fresh from the Field features an identity for Auckland restaurant Kai Pasifika by Design Distillery.
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In the heart of Auckland – world’s largest pacific city, Kai Pasifika aimed to create a take on traditional Polynesian food in a contemporary setting. The brief was to unite the Pacific Islands in a modern brand identity, while keeping culture & history intact.
To begin to process we began with the brand identity, we looked at the culture of the islands: rituals, family, tattooing, & tapestry. The islands are individually very unique, while they share some similar cultures no two islands are the same. One part of the culture where we saw correlations, was through the tapestry, & the story telling behind it. This tapestry also is created to represent rituals, family & is used in the tribal tattooing.
When looking at the tapestry, the islands are unique in style. However similar looking patterns are seen throughout the Pacific, these patterns were narrowed down to form the basis of our identity. Kai Pasifika is not a fusion restaurant, it’s mixture of the island cuisine. In the brand identity we wanted to illustrate this buy showing the blending of the patterns. In the centre of our final pattern are four circles that meet, the are used to represent the islands, as well as Auckland as the island culture is has traveled to Auckland.
Our second point of research was the idea of travel, we looked at vintage stamps from the islands. Across all of the stamps, the tradition of the islands is uniquely shown through landmarks and patterns, but the typography was all a similar serif. A fellow AUT graduate Alistair McCready created a beautiful award winning typeface named Kahu, inspired by the ANZAC story. Kahu visually embodies the era of type we found in the early colonial stamps of the islands, as well as telling an important story of New Zealand history. We felt it was the perfect fit for Kai Pasifika — a contemporary restaurant steeped in culture & history.
The final part of creating the brand identity for Kai Pasifika was the Illustrations, this was the best way we saw to individually celebrate the pacific islands. We looked at landmarks and culture that were native to the islands. For example: a Samoan Fale, Haʻamonga ʻa Maui, Rarotongan canoes, Fijian turtles, the native bird of the Cook Islands.
One of our biggest touch points for the illustrations was the store front. The process we took to creating the store front mock up, was firstly sketching the building and moving the illustrations around to create the best layout. After creating this mock-up we looked to applying it to 10 by 3 metre wall. Our clients at Blackbird Projects helped immensely buy turning the blue wall into a china white. The illustrations were printed out on OHP paper and then projected at nighttime on the wall following the mock-up precisely. We found this was our most rewarding aspect of Kai Pasifika, the application took nearly two weeks. In those two weeks we saw the community of Kai Pasifika, but also what our illustrations meant to the people. It was a memento for some and for some younger people a place they can’t wait to see.