Sketch gets virtual makeover with new interactive website by HATO
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Sketch gets virtual makeover with new interactive website by HATO

Graphic design studio HATO has created a new interactive website for London restaurant Sketch that invites guests to play with food, tiles and grass.

While most restaurants feature websites filled with photos of the venue and food, the new Sketch website is made up of animated graphics and games.

HATO founder Ken Kirton said the idea was to communicate the essence and experience of Sketch through a sequence of fun interactions.

Each of the five dining rooms found in Sketch – The Lecture Room & Library, The Gallery, The Parlour, The Glade and The East Bar & Pods – has been translated into a digital game for visitors to play before making their booking.

On the homepage, each of Sketch's dining rooms is represented by a different 3D avatar

Each room is represented by a different rotating 3D avatar that floats around in what looks like an infinite space with a gridded floor.

Kirton describes it as being like the universe, with a certain amount of emptiness to allow for the idea that more could be added to it.

HATO applied a typeface called MAD throughout the website, made by graphic design firm Colophon. This font was inspired by the angles of computer-aided design (CAD) plotters.

"With such epic visual stimulus, not to mention a packed events programme, Sketch's original website had become a complex warren of subpages, links and photography," said HATO. "The client asked us to create a website with a design unique to all devices, whilst make booking easier."

The Gallery, one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the world, has a game that invites you to play with food 

Sketch's best-known room, The Gallery, is a modern European gastro-brasserie. It one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in the world due to its monochromatic pink interiors and walls lined with artworks by David Shrigley.

When clicking on The Gallery's cylindrical avatar, visitors can design their own dinner or play food Jenga with afternoon tea pastries on a cake stand – there are only so many treats the tower can hold before it all topples over.

The Parlour is accompanied by a game that lets you design neon signs

The Parlour's avatar takes the form of a rotating cube covered with painted flowers and faces, designed to reference the room's 90's decadence-inspired interiors by designer Andres Ros Soto. It takes users to an online room where they can design their own neon signs.

If guests choose The Lecture Room & Library, they can create their own psychedelic tile-like designs by dragging and dropping differently pattered shapes onto each other, while clicking on the Glade avatar will allow users to instantly grow the room's grass-like carpet.

The Glade avatar is covered in grass, just like the carpet of the room

The aesthetic of the final game is based on the Rubik's cube-style ceiling and space-age cubicles of The East Bar and Pods. When visitors click on this room, they can make their own musical track using a series of different noises.

When making a booking, each avatar swells and morphs as users enter their party number, date and time preferences.

Sketch never provided HATO with a brief, as it didn't want to hinder the studio's creativity.

The designers chose not to include any interior photography on the site. The designers wanted to offer users a "mouth-watering" digital experience that gives them a taster of each space, but leaves an element of surprise when they visit the restaurant.

The Glade game invites you to create your own grassy carpet design

"We want users to have playful interactions that capture the excitement of being at Sketch, either igniting a memory of the place or the imagination of what it could be," said Kirton.

"In many ways Sketch are a support structure and blank canvas for artists and their communities, from sommeliers to Turner-nominated artists like David Shrigley and Martin Creed," he continued.

"I hope the website extends this idea of a canvas, and allows new and old customers to interact with sketch and the unique experiences it offers without spoiling the surprises that await them."

The website is just the first step towards rethinking Sketch's digital engagement. HATO plans to launch an augmented-reality app for the restaurant later this year, which will allow diners to see Shrigley's artworks come to life on the walls and tableware, and interact with them using their device.

Shrigley designed a set of tableware for Sketch back in 2014.