Helix and Iris at the Gherkin

The bar and restaurant at the top of the iconic Gherkin was one of the first high-rise fine dining offers in London when it opened in 2004 and became a must visit destination.

As part of a major revamp of the offer, Searcys wanted to update the interiors to create a desirable cocktail bar and fine dining restaurant, as well as flexible private dining rooms, across the top three floors that would for the first time be open to the general public.

Our first priority was to establishing names for these offers. Being situated in one of the most recognisable pieces of architecture in the world, it made sense to turn to this for inspiration. Iris, the top floor bar, refers to how the building comes together as a glass dome that forms its roof, while Helix, the restaurant, references the distinct graphic pattern created by the structure of the building in profile.

A key part of the brief was to soften the overall feel of the offer. The architecture is stunning but the interiors are quite hard and masculine. Another consideration was how to clearly define the multiple offers within the space, particularly the events, which make up a large proportion of the business and had been somewhat neglected as part of the existing brand.

Our response was to create a series of photographic garlands from flowers, the kaleidoscopic nature of these being derived by the geometry of the building. These more feminine visual cues helped soften the experience, and also allowed us to create a distinct motif for each offer, whilst still remaining aesthetically aligned.

Bespoke hardback menus were designed with a circular aperture that allowed for the first page of the menu to feature the relevant garland for the offer, whilst keeping the number of menu holders that needed to be produced to a minimum.

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