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Illustrating the Menu for the Harvey Nichols Brasserie at the OXO Tower

Updated: Apr 11

I'm excited to be kicking off the Spring season with a new illustration commission I’ve recently completed for the Harvey Nichols Brasserie in the OXO Tower in London.



Located on the 8th floor of the OXO Tower, the Brasserie is a lively space with a casual atmosphere, a bustling open kitchen and a delicious modern menu. Best of all, it has a breathtaking panoramic view that sweeps across the Thames towards St. Paul’s Cathedral and beyond. The Brasserie it truly unique, so I was thrilled to be commissioned to illustrate the reverse side of their newly developed spring menu, as part of their OXO Arts series. 



Why I loved this job


As a born South Londoner, the OXO Tower has always been iconic for me, a beacon on the South Bank skyline of my hometown. This commission wasn't just another project, it was an opportunity for me to fall in love with London again. I was excited to capture a snapshot of the city at its best, and to contribute my creative interpretation of such a renowned London restaurant. The team at OXO were also really nice, open, and great to work with, so it felt like a true collaboration bringing the Brasserie to life!



Inspiration


During my first meeting with the Marketing team at OXO we discussed the brief and brainstormed ideas. Part of the objective was to create a menu 'that guests would want to steal’ as souvenirs of their visit, so I wanted to create something eye-catching that captured the vibrant spirit of the brasserie. I was keen for the illustration to celebrate London’s South Bank and some of its recognisable features, but also to include the iconic OXO logo. As the menu would be launching in spring, I thought it would be nice to try and capture the feel of the warm, lighter evenings that come with the changing of the clocks, welcoming in the new season. I was also eager to draw the distinctive architecture of the building, so there was a lot to include! 


The team at OXO then sent me some photos of the brasserie at sunset, which helped me to create a mood board and start working on a colour palette:



Creative Challenges


An additional challenge posed to me by the Brasserie team was to include a reference to the live music, as well as showcasing the open kitchen. This created a problem, as in reality the live music area is in a different part of the restaurant to the kitchen. This meant I had to rework the composition and use a bit of artistic license to fit everything in! Another challenge was the architecture of building itself; the ceiling is slanted, and the glass wall is also slanted but at a different angle, making it difficult to get the perspective right. This resulted in me drawing hundreds of perspective lines and at one stage the illustration looked more like a spider’s web than a restaurant!




Creative Process:


During my initial meeting at the Brasserie I took lots of photos and videos which I then drew from, trying out a number of different compositions.





Although I had lots of different initial ideas, I decided to hone in on three core elements: the striking architecture, the sweeping view, and the lively brasserie atmosphere. Inspired by the golden-pink sunset bouncing off St Paul’s, I finalised the colour palette and composition and got to work in Procreate...







Launching the Menu


Last Sunday I went to the Brasserie for lunch with my family to see the new menu! It was exciting to finally see it in context and to finally see guests using it! There's also always a special kind of buzz an illustrator gets from seeing their artwork out in the world, being shared with others; it's exciting to think that an idea that was once just in my head, is now in people's hands, doing a job! The food was even more delicious than expected (we shared the epic Sunday roast) and the live jazz music was the perfect addition to an incredible experience.






A big thanks to the wonderful team at the OXO Brasserie for the opportunity to collaborate on this creative project.


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