Darwin & Wallace, which already has seven locations in West London, was created as a home-from-home alternative to the gastropub by Mel Marriott, who has worked in hospitality for more than 20 years.
Without has worked alongside Mel since the launch of the first Darwin & Wallace venture, No11 Pimlico Road, in 2013. During that time, the agency has engaged with the brief at every level, creating homely spaces that truly belong in their respective neighbourhoods – Pimlico, Clapham, Richmond, Chiswick, Battersea, Wimbledon, Ealing, and now Canary Wharf.
The work demonstrates how Without builds strong relationships with founders and entrepreneurs to help them realise their ambitions.
Call to the bar
Roly Grant, Creative Director, Without, says: “The brand is all about neighbourhoods and making a positive contribution to London’s villages. So while we’ve given Darwin & Wallace a coherent brand identity, it’s one which encourages each bar to reflect its local area.”
Every venue, therefore, has a bespoke textural illustration, painted in watercolour by Without designer Jenny Stuttard, which features on menus, signage and wayfinding, hoardings, out-of-home advertising displays, and digital campaigns.
Grant says: “No35 Mackenzie Walk is an oasis in a hard-edged, chain-dominated business district. We kept the styling – from type, to texture, to colour – organic and open to celebrate local natural elements – the riverscape, reflections and open skies.
Addressed for success
A simple naming convention, also devised by Without at the outset, eschews traditional pub monikers in favour of more personal private addresses, allowing the group to feel coherent yet each bar unique.
Each address also has a different typographic treatment to reflect the location and mood. No35 Mackenzie Walk has a light, characterful serif to contrast with the hard lines of the Wharf, whereas No29 Power Station West, for example, is deco-inspired, reflecting Battersea Power Station’s heritage.
Grant says: “The private address convention also works to give each Darwin & Wallace bar a members’ club feel, giving customers a sense of ownership and belonging.”
Mel Marriott, Managing Director and Founder, Darwin & Wallace, says: “As our partner of nearly seven years now, Without has been able to work with us to achieve a generous brand that helps people relax and enjoy the spaces as if they are their own, whether that’s businesspeople holding breakfast meetings, parents hosting lunchtime NCT gatherings, or office workers letting off steam after hours.
“For our savvy urban audience, loud, hyper-visible chain branding is a real turn off. Without has taken us on an ‘anti-branding’ journey and convincingly negotiated a path that gives us a series of independent locals, as well as a cogent, joined-up brand.”