Clerkenwell at 49 Clinton St. is undergoing a makeover and rebranding. Stefan Ching’s English gastropub relaunches on Friday, November 11 as Kupersmith, the name of the ladies’ dress shop that occupied the building in the 1940s. The restaurant will focus on beer and sausage pairings, including a vegetarian sausage. At least one sausage on launch night will be made on-premise. Kupersmith marks Ching’s return to his roots in butchery. Burgers and fish ‘n chips, popular fare since Clerkenwell opened in 2009, will remain on the menu.
But it’s not only the menu that’s changing, the entire look and feel of the restaurant are new. There’s a unique backstory on the revamp: Eight seniors from the School of Visual Arts helped shape the project from the original concept to the end result.
The student designers are members of a SVA course called “Life Insurance,” taught by Doug Jaeger, co-founder of JaegerSloan, a boutique design consultancy and Clerkenwell’s Clinton St. neighbor. The students formed their own agency, 21thru24, to implement the project which has afforded them real-world experience that they would not otherwise receive, according to Elizabeth Vautour, 22, and the spokeswoman for the project. “None of us knew what to expect. Doug’s never taught a class like this and we’ve never taken a class like this.” Needless to say, Vautour and her fellow students hope the experience will help them more easily find a job in the creative agency and design worlds.
Vautour says the students “physically created the space,” working on everything from the design concept and menu research to the restaurant’s interior design and construction. The students devised the interior and exterior signage and even painted the restaurant. “We started out with a brief that took into account the existing concept and included Stefan’s new vision for the restaurant. Then we presented different proposals to Stefan.”
Look for new touches like customized beer taps for the bar and a giant wall menu with multiple panels that will reflect the continuously changing menu assortment and pairings. The restaurant’s signage and logo reflect the typeface of the original Kupersmith shop.
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