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oleg pelmeni bar, amsterdam
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Developing an authentic Russian modular F&B formula
A notable coffeehouse chain from St. Petersburg, named Bushe, wanted to enter the European market by opening their first restaurant in Amsterdam. The idea was to create a place that can show the beauty of the Russian food culture, which harmoniously integrates into the riches of global cuisine. That’s how the mono concept restaurant, Oleg Pelmeni Bar was born. It is a place where people can meet, connect, have fun, be inspired and share. Enbiun's approach was all about social connection, and we wanted to integrate cosiness, warmth and fun. We did not want Oleg to be an abstract brand, but something with a ‘face’. It should feel like your host, friend, but also like family.
Oleg, the face of the restaurant, his coffeehouses had a focus on coffee and sandwiches. He wanted to bring a typical Russian tradition and experience to the Netherlands: the pelmeni. Pelmeni's are Russian dumplings that consist of a filling wrapped in thin dough. Pelmeni has been described as "the heart of Russian cuisine". The story about this flavourful dish is part of the marketing and branding of Oleg. The concept of Oleg remains true to its roots, because you can enjoy an extensive Russian breakfast at the bar as well.
The Oleg Pelmeni Bar makes their own pelmeni from scratch and also produce home-made and fermented drinks, like kombucha, kvass and mors.
A dynamic identity
The Oleg Pelmeni Bar is a modern and cosmopolitan space, which reflects the Russian identity in an interesting, intelligent and beautiful manner. Small details are integrated, so there's always an element of surprise.
Banners and textile on the walls refer to Russian traditions in home decoration. By re-examining wall textiles and using layers, we have combined both ‘Oleg’ branded textiles and art works from Russian and Dutch artists. The coming together of different artists, visuals and messages resembles the narrative nature of tapestries and the stories they tell.
Our main goal was to create a connection between Russia and the Netherlands through a visual identity. It was a very interesting process of finding links, because we didn’t want the concept to be too explicitly Russian. Our goal was to match and connect. Oleg (which is also the name of the owner) wanted to create dynamic visuals and sort of ‘a flag that connects the Dutch and Russians with each other’. The logo and details such as the circular pattern that is inspired by the pelmeni, are Russian. These elements are combined into an open and inviting space where everyone can enjoy Russian food together.
Reframing Russian elements
We have made a clear link between how the architecture of St. Petersburg is inspired by that of Amsterdam. Czar Peter the Great wanted to modernise his country in the 18th century and thereby looked at many European countries. He did this, among other things, by choosing a capital that was more to the west of Russia, in order to make his country more western. The legend is that the Russian flag is inspired by the Dutch, but if you look closely at the map of St. Petersburg, you can also see that the city is very inspired by the canals of Amsterdam. Enbiun has taken these elements into the design process for the Oleg Pelmeni Bar.
The Russian and Dutch flags are both red, white and blue. Enbiun has merged the flags into a new emblem. This emblem tells the story of the mixing of the cultural heritage of these countries.