2018 Foodies of the Year: Aren Fieldwalker & Phoebe Glasfurd
The duo that brands Vancouver’s restaurant scene sees their influence grow around the world.
The Brand Gurus: Aren Fieldwalker & Phoebe Glasfurd
Founders, Glasfurd and Walker, Vancouver
Name a restaurant that opened in Vancouver in the last five years: Kissa Tanto, St. Lawrence, Savio Volpe, Mak N Ming . . . every one of the top names that come to mind relied on Glasfurd and Walker’s visionary and holistic approach to branding, from menu and signage design to cutlery and serveware. Partners in business and life—they met in Australia just over 12 years ago and came to Vancouver in 2007 when Fieldwalker decided it was time to return home—the pair have been the go-to branding team for Vancouver’s dining scene, and that’s no accident. “I love what restaurants do to a city in terms of activation,” says Glasfurd. “But it’s also about the scope of what a restaurant has to offer, all the touchpoints—from signage and design to lapel pins for uniforms. In terms of scope, where our design lives is much more interesting.”
It’s in the details, as they say: for Vancouver magazine’s Restaurant of the Year, St. Lawrence, for example, the G&W-designed plates have the well-worn feel of a set that’s been in a Quebec brasserie for decades. For the über-successful launch of Botanist in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, they riffed on Ste. Marie Design’s elegant art deco (and, natch, botanical) design with both quiet typography, and a staircase-themed motif that hints at the restaurant’s location at the top of the lobby.
And while Vancouver’s scene has been undoubtedly shaped by the pair, their influence is now being seen around the world—a series of coffee shops in Tehran, clients back in Glasfurd’s home country of Australia, several jobs in Toronto and another Fairmont project, the newly revamped Vermillion Room in the Banff Springs Hotel. And it’s an influence that the pair takes quite seriously. “In terms of a brand perspective, there are very few things that live fully in the real world,” says Glasfurd. “Restaurants are something that are very physically and viscerally here for people and those attached to it. That’s something quite special.”