Saddle is born with the challenge of constructing a unique gastronomic experience upon the ashes of the benchmark restaurant of Madrid's Jet Set, the iconic Jockey. After five years with its doors closed, the dream of once again creating an elegant and timeless experience has been rekindled.
The centre of Madrid is turning into one of the biggest national catering hubs. The already well-known Horcher and Zalacaín have been joined by flagship insignias for true sybarites.
Competitive space in the catering sector is becoming increasingly complicated. In order to be successful in giving a new restaurant a distinguishing image, you need to have a deep understanding of the value proposal and experience of the other restaurants, as well as the characteristics and attributes of the gastronomic scene in Madrid. And that's exactly what we did.
In parallel, the ambition with Saddle was to regain those cosmopolitan and select customers from Jockey, therefore the field of study extended to the most reputable international offerings.
Our research highlighted some significant circumstances. First of all, it showed us that, when selecting an establishment, there are two factors to consider: its location and possibilities in terms of its interior.
Ultimately, the definitive proposal is built upon this initial concept.
Ultimately, the definitive proposal is built upon this initial concept. On the other hand, we discovered that in most quality restaurants brand identity is based on three pillars:
· A signature, distinguishing cuisine, with excellent products and a professional working team.
· Architecture that structures the whole experience, tied together with an interior design that is surprising, that pays attention to every minute detail, both in terms of presentation and lighting and sound.
· An exquisite table and bar service, in which both disposition and attention are excellent.
And, finally, we noted that the investment in resources and the level of detail necessary was so immense that other fundamental elements such as branding and the exterior tended to be relegated to second place.
For Saddle, this wasn't an option, so we decided to confront the problem in a comprehensive manner.
The concept behind Jockey was, inevitably, the starting point upon which we had to construct the brand identity. Stepping outside of Jockey's halo wasn't going to be easy and, considering the location of the premises, it seemed far more logical to use its trail to our advantage. Therefore, we knew that we had to begin to build upon the idea of excellency.
We worked alongside Carlos Jimeno and Dani Fernández, great professionals in communication strategy, along with experts and influencers in the gastronomic sphere. Together with them, we launched the project by implementing multi-disciplinary workshops.
We were also lucky enough to have the experience of the architect Diego Gronda and the team at Brandelicious, who helped us to better define the concept behind the project.
We spent many hours on analysis. We re-examined all of the information and condensed it even more, simplifying until we were left with the most essential elements.
From a still very eclectic perspective, we connected concepts and components that made up the foundations of the experience. We chose more perceivable and visual factors which allowed Saddle to be identified as a whole, as a continuum.
Lighting, space and sound are all physical elements that are able to generate a unique atmosphere in every location. At Saddle, the restaurant's atmosphere had to be able to adapt to the different times of day, and subsequently the combination of these three factors was essential in order to achieve the desired result.
We achieved this by using adjustable mobile panels, which allowed us to change the distribution of the space and obtain different resonances of the ambient sound which, together with the set of lights, provided the desired atmosphere at all times. Given their importance, we decided to capture the essence of those elements to define the graphic style of the brand.
Under the framework of the project, the concept of new luxury had to be reconsidered. Everybody perceives "luxury" in a different way. For a multimillionaire, time is luxury. In Japan, luxury translates as space. For our target audience, luxury is a journey towards relaxation.
"Saddle" is an abbreviated reference to the equestrian term "riding saddle", a clear homage to the most frequented establishment in Madrid in the 60s and 70s.
Saddle is characterised by being a traditionally innovative concept and we find that very spirit in the classic riding saddle by the prestigious brand, Hermes. A saddle that has served as the brand's inspiration, where attention to detail is second to none, right down to the last millimetre, and its elegance almost makes it seem like a piece of design.
From the preliminary measurements to the first trot, the craftspeople at Hermes painstakingly adapt the product to the different morphologies of the horses and riders. They only use natural raw materials during production and craftsmanship, elegance, tradition and quality are the ingredients involved in the design.
At the brand, space takes on the same importance as shapes. Text becomes somewhat sculptural. And typographical components come together in a modular fashion, structuring themselves as panels, which create an unbreakable connecting thread with the interior architecture.
We made the narrative that we were building visually tangible: the sinuous shapes of the Hermès saddle, the adjustable panels in the space and the waves in the sound reverberation are reflected in each and every one of the letters.
The rest of the visual identity is constructed upon the ideas of excellent service, finesse and sophistication. We developed a graphic universe on the basis of some patterns, some colours and some composition rules in an aim to make it distinctive and recognisable, even without a logo.
Additionally, we deconstructed the physical elements with which we would interact during the table experience, extracting the purest shapes: circles. Circular shapes have allowed us to develop an experience that flees the static state, evoking a dynamic and perfect service.
Even though branding doesn't play a main role in the catering sector, at Saddle we were convinced that it was going to be the business' central thread, reaching out to all of the restaurant's points of contact.
Offering a good service wasn't enough. Customers at Saddle were going to evaluate many other elements revolving around the experience provided by the establishment: the presentation of the restaurant's menu, the music, the service and image transmitted by the employees... And all of these elements constitute the intangible and personal value of the brand, allowing us to connect with it.
Diners experience the front stage of the service, but the backstage of the restaurant is made up of a multitude of suppliers and workers. The desire to provide an excellent service implies having an impeccable image at each and every one of the points of contact: from the advertisement to the bill, from the order email to the letter of payment.
Jockey set the bar extremely high and we had to take a great leap in terms of quality in order to recover its grandeur and longevity. It has taken two years of complete renovation to bring Saddle into existence. And we're thrilled with the result: elegant, original and full of character. Just like the restaurant itself.
Saddle brings with it a catering concept that doesn't exist in Madrid and is on track to become the new meeting point for the cream of the crop of society.
"The new luxury of classic cuisine in Madrid" | Expansión
"A tremendous delivery of taste without compromising on elegance" | Status, elEconomista
"The new classic table at which you must pull up a seat" | Revista GQ