Mucca Brings Milanese Cafe Culture to Brooklyn with Identity for Saraghina Caffè

Mucca Brings Milanese Cafe Culture to Brooklyn with Identity for Saraghina Caffè

Italy is known for its unique cafe culture, especially in Milano where heated exchanges about the origins of the Negroni are cooled by a refreshing Campari Spritz. So, when Milanese-born restaurateur Edoardo Mantelli brought his cafe aspirations to Brooklyn NY, it was with the hopes of replicating that part of Milano’s singular spirit. Now, years after earning acclaim in Bed-Stuy with the launches of Saraghina Restaurant and Saraghina Bakery, Mantelli and co-founder Austin Baker have partnered with NY-based creative studio Mucca to launch the latest expansion of their Milano-inspired culinary family–Saraghina Caffè.

Saraghina Caffè follows previous collaborations with Mucca to brand both Saraghina Restaurant and Saraghina Bakery, continuing more than a decade of success in the restaurant industry. This time, the goal was to recontextualize how Americans interact with cafes. This meant redefining the “New York minute” with a focus on the aperitivo – a distinctly Italian cultural ritual of enjoying low-proof cocktails and light snacks, typically before a more substantial meal. For Mucca, shifting this state-of-mind meant challenging expectations with designs carefully constructed to sidestep trends.

“Milan is a city with a Caffè and Aperitivo culture influenced by their northern Viennese neighbors and as such a lot of the design of these bars is rooted in the Austrian Art Nouveau of the early 1900s or ‘Stile Liberty’ as it was known in Milan,” explains Mucca Founder and Creative Director Matteo Bologna. “So to be true to the spirit of these venues we fully embraced this style. Our intention was to recreate the sense of grace and grandeur found in these beloved institutions. More than places to stop for a drink, these Caffè were cultural hearts of their neighborhoods, where poets and artists would find their next inspiration while nibbling on well-aged prosciutto di Parma. Unexpectedly the stars have aligned. I am personally spending every morning having a croissant and cappuccino at Saraghina Caffè, meeting with artists, entrepreneurs and designers – the most interesting people in the neighborhood.”

Central to this approach was Mucca’s design of a custom display font “Saraghina Condensed” which was heavily inspired by the hand lettering works of artists Leopoldo Metlicovitz, Adolfo Hohenstein and Giovanni Maria Matalon. With Nouveau accents and characteristics shared by high- and low-waisted fonts, the character set emulates the flowing lines of the borders and patterns used throughout the complete Saraghina Caffè identity – on menus, coffee cups, coasters, matchbooks, the website, exterior signage and guitar picks. There are even moments where the monogram and logotype are integrated into the physical space – such as routed out of the millwork or fabricated in metal on the glassware shelving unit. Paired with the restaurant’s historically correct mahogany and Italian Verde Alpi marble, the brand becomes a true Italian love letter to cafe culture.

Unique to the Saraghina Caffè website, Mucca chose to integrate the cheeky illustration work of Simone Massoni into the brand – featuring light-hearted and playful depictions of Brooklyn’s diverse neighbors that set the tone for in-person visits to the restaurant.

With its unconventional design choices, the branding helps Saraghina Caffè not only tell its story but capture the unique qualities that imbue it with substance and emotion.

CREDIT

  • Agency/Creative: Mucca
  • Article Title: Mucca Brings Milanese Cafe Culture to Brooklyn with Identity for Saraghina Caffè
  • Organisation/Entity: Agency
  • Project Type: Identity
  • Project Status: Published
  • Agency/Creative Country: United States
  • Agency/Creative City: New York
  • Market Region: North America
  • Project Deliverables: Brand Identity, Illustration, Typography
  • Industry: Food/Beverage
  • Keywords: Mucca, Saraghina Caffè, Brooklyn, custom typeface, illustration

  • Credits:
    Founder and Creative Director: Matteo Bologna

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