Responses by Solveig Castell, designer.
Background: The purpose of This Is Amber was to convey a contemporary vision of the rich and storied cuisine, culture and heritage that inspired Amber Restaurant’s multisensory experience. Of course, it also acts as a utility for looking up the menu and location and for booking reservations. The main target audience is casual diners in London, but through social media, we have seen the restaurant’s reach grow far beyond. People look Amber up before they even come to London.
The project itself is completely integrated, from the interior of the restaurant to the brand identity to the website to Amber’s social media—all hands-on designed by me.
Design core: The cart, which is based on a Turkish market cart that street vendors use to sell delicacies like pide, a traditional stuffed flatbread dish. The website’s functionality is rather utilitarian and focuses on helping the user with simple things: browsing the menu, finding the restaurant and booking a table. Adjacent services—such as the content sections—serve the local community and others curious to explore further. There is also a “Journal” section that occasionally updates to inform and entertain with news and noteworthy content.
Challenges: Keeping it as simple and straightforward as possible while also getting people excited about the food and dining experience. As someone so close to the entire project, the hardest job was deciding what not to show or tell.
Navigation structure: The navigation needed to be intuitive yet differentiated enough, so we decided to make the entire site feel like browsing through a well-designed restaurant menu with this narrative structure top to bottom. It’s easy to go back and forth—as you do when browsing a menu—and jump between different parts while never losing track of where you’ve been.
Technology: The site was developed on the WordPress CMS with some React and other fancy front-end tech to enable some of the richer transitions and animations on the site—for example, the scrolling cart. This setup seemed a robust choice for our requirements.