Mukka’s retail project references the site’s fish market past
Tin Building has over 575 touchpoints applied to a bespoke typeface for venues, packaging, signage and merchandise.
Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Food Market Tin Building has opened in New York City with an identity and custom typeface by Mukka inspired by the site’s former tenant Fulton Fish Market.
The new 53,000-square-foot (4,900 square meter), two-story culinary marketplace features four full-service restaurants, six fast-food counters, four bars and eight marketplace vendors, while Tin Building’s product line will include 24 collections and more than 400 SKUs. In addition to developing the central identity of the sold tin building, Brooklyn-based studio Mukka designed all marketplace sub-venues, the packaging of each tin building product, 153 signs and the brand identity for all its products.
Mukka designer and typographer Sean O’Connor says Mukka “digs through a lot of archives” and uncovers old photos of the Fulton Fish Market. The team was drawn to the typography of the “vendor sign of a family-owned stall”, he added.
Distinctive features of the signage were the “beveled corners” and the fact that the letters of the longer names were scaled to fit the space, while the shorter names featured “wider letters,” O’Connor explained. As a “contemporary take” on this style, Mukka created a “custom variable font with more weight and width” called NoExit Octagonal, he says.
Although the bespoke typography began as an “aesthetic homage”, Mukka founder and creative director Matteo Bologna said it served “technically” when long names had to be applied to smaller labels. Despite the vast number of touchpoint sites, Mukka sub-venues used variations of the NoExit octagon throughout them, including wordmarks and packaging.
To make sure the Hero Teen Building wording is “customized to some degree,” O’Connor says a 3D drop shadow has been applied to make it “more than just a font.” Type has also been customized and “embellished” for the venue wordmark, and “embellishment” has been added to some more premium product packaging through crosshatching or the application of drop shadows, O’Connor added.
Part of “Jean-Georges’ culinary ethos” is linked to “high-end luxury elements” in what O’Connor calls a “raw, utilitarian aesthetic” that connects the site’s history to its future.
Initially, because of the enormity of the project, Mukka tried to simplify the identity, starting with one font and two shades of green, but realized that more colors were needed “when designing a product line with multiple flavors,” O’Connor says.
The solution was a “simple change of texture or color,” says O’Connor, such as adding foil over typography or including background images that run parallel to the overarching identity. Bologna compares it to “creating different variations of the melody while remaining still [making] It sounds like the same song.”
Mukka was also heavily involved in the naming of the site and its sub-venues, a process that Bologna describes as “very personal and idealistic for the clients”. The Tin Building name was chosen to recall the 1907 building that housed the Fulton Fish Market, and for the sub-venues, the ideas were presented in “conceptual groupings” relevant to the “main core brand strategy,” he added.
Bologna said that working on such an “ambitious project” proposal “took more time than it did,” explaining that Mucca “had to think organically” about how it could “place every space, product, and brand in the right amount” in one. under the roof
The identity has since spread across Tin Building’s core brands and sub-brands, as well as menus, signage, merchandise and packaging for more than 400 products. The identities of the tin building’s three “invading spaces” – candy store Spoiled Parrot, Chinese speakeasy-inspired restaurant House of the Red Pearl and Japanese sushi restaurant Shikku – are currently being developed by Mukka.