Opinion by Richard Baird
The Golden Hour is an outdoor seasonal restaurant located in New York’s The High Line Hotel. It is a place to experience the softening of sunlight with unobstructed views of the Chelsea skyline. The restaurant intends to draw to mind the casual elegance of a coastal soirée rather than the rushing of pre-dinner drinks. The restaurant space is described as being a lush outdoor dining room where brass tables meet tropical vegetation and aisles of topiary. Drinks are centred around the escapement of the summer heat which compliments dishes inspired by the flavours of late summer on the North Atlantic, created to be enjoyed outdoors. There is a theatre to the experience in its spatial considerations, performative aspect, in the transitions that happen over time within the restaurant (small plates to large platters), and the evocation of a time and place. This temporal quality also emerges in the design of The Golden Hour’s visual identity, in the intersection of the graphic and the material, in the use of abstract motif, shape and symbology by American design studio Triboro across menus, coasters, notecards, business cards and website.
The Golden Hour logo, an hourglass rendered with a simplicity, acts as a key, it sets up, just like naming, in an immediate way, the central premises of time and the passage of time, the capturing of an idyllic moment, the colour and warmth of a setting summer sun. That this is within the context of a restaurant committed to a seasonality gives this further weight. Triboro take this and give it a distinctive graphic and material representation.
A play with time and place is encapsulated in the almost spray paint-like qualities of a series of canvases that are natural and seasonal in their forms and movement between summer and autumn colours. The paper stock, a metallic gold, brings a warmth to this with a decagon, cut into the canvas to reveal a solid gold, giving a period quality to a sun motif.
The typeface, in print and online, and the drawing of the wordmark are clearly and immediately referential. These are a provocation to romanticise the past, again more about time. There is a very specific character and communicative intention to these choices. The way that the wordmark has an urban topographical quality–the sun / o between buildings–calls to mind something of the Chelsea skyline. It is awkward at times, perhaps a little too specific and idiosyncratic, particularly where the canvases as so effective at setting a mood and play with ambiguity.
Artistic ambiguity and designed intentionality (the evocation of a feeling, the construction of a mood, place and time) are neatly woven together. It can be enjoyed as an aesthetic piece, an augmentation of experience, or peered further into and meaning derived from. There is a visual theatre to the work, it participates within the context of a restaurant of leaves and seasonal food in the heart of New York. More from Triboro on BP&O.
Design: Triboro. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts Used: Ballhaus.
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