Gair, Bar & Restaurant

Visual and narrative cues from Brooklyn’s past and present formed Karlssonwilker’s work for the DUMBO cocktail bar and restaurant Gair. The scope included creating a name and a logo, resulting in an identity that is rooted in the bar’s locality and history but executed with a playful, modern lightness.

In the late 19th century, DUMBO was known as “Gairville,” as most of the neighborhood’s factory and warehouse buildings were owned by Robert Gair, an entrepreneur, real estate magnate and, most notably, inventor of the corrugated cardboard.

Iconic photo with the Manhattan Bridge framing the Empire State Building in the distance—Gair is directly to the right of this location



The bar’s namesake Robert Gair was a turn-of-the-century entrepreneur whose printing and packaging factories dominated what is now known as the DUMBO neighborhood to the extent that the area was known as “Gairville.” His iconic 1904 structure, which houses Gair today, pioneered the widely emulated reinforced-concrete construction method that still defines the DUMBO district. We chose his name for the bar as the one-syllable moniker is punchy, easy to remember, and open for interpretation at the same time as it offers an opportunity for storytelling and connection between the staff and curious bar patrons.


Our logo design process started by experimenting with a wide range of sketches, ranging from fairly conventional to eccentric, until we landed in a place of expressive simplicity that felt right. Just as the mark bridges past and present, it also juxtaposes soft and sharp angles and contrasting volumes. Composed of bulky shapes connected with sloping graphic lines, the logo articulates weight, volume and movement. When printed on flat surfaces, like menus, matchboxes or merch, it feels lithesome and mobile-like. On the building’s exterior, however, the letters protrude from the wall and take on a muscular, three-dimensional appearance that harkens back to the cast concrete templates of the building’s architecture. The concept evolves even further in a hanging sign for the building’s side exterior (coming soon). In a nod to urban mythmaking and street culture, the logo’s letters have been reduced to their elemental shapes, which are slung over a pole like sneakers over a telephone wire



Attached to each receipt will be an intricately folded paperclip in the shape of the logo.