Run For the Hills Created a Culturally Distinctive Identity For Indian Restaurant Khai Khai

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Khai Khai is a premium Indian restaurant located in Newcastle, and Run for the Hills agency recently exhibited their work for the renowned eatery. Because Run for the Hills is known for its hospitality branding and interior design skills, this partnership is a match made in heaven.

Throughout the new branding, earthy tones, gold pops, and beautiful illustrations shine through. Every single branding touchpoint has been well thought through and executed beautifully. Khai Khai's branding is divinely sophisticated and has instantly put me in the mood for some delicious Indian food.

Award-winning branding and interior design studio Run for the Hills reveals its latest hospitality project: a bold and sophisticated brand identity and interior design for a new premium Indian restaurant Khai Khai, located in Newcastle.

Having previously worked with visionary restaurateur Jaf Ali on his award-winning Dabbawal brand, the design studio this time was tasked with helping realise his latest exciting venture, Khai Khai restaurant and bar. Khai Khai is an entirely new Food & Beverage concept, centred around ‘Smoke play’, reflecting the expertise of highly skillful chefs cooking over coals, bringing to mind the shifting interaction of darkness, fire and transparency. These elemental cooking techniques inform the food, and also helped shape Run For The Hills’ concept for the brand world and interior design.

Run For The Hills utilised its signature holistic dual approach across both hospitality branding and interior design, closely collaborating with Khai Khai from conception to installation and final styling of the space. Their work encompasses everything from the logo design and core identity to the website and signature brand illustrations, full interior design and fit out, all in-venue graphics, signage and wayfinding, as well as the design of a collection of unique artworks to adorn the restaurant walls.

Quirky illustrations of village scenes, fiery, smoky painted textures and ornate lattice work patterns are central to Khai Khai’s brand DNA. Run For The Hills expertly weaves them through every brand touch point, from the in-venue graphics and art, through to the restaurant menus and digital content. The Khai Khai logotype has three different variants, used generously across materials such as beer mats, gift vouchers, food packaging and team uniforms.

The brand’s distinctive colour palette of earthy tones with a pop of gold perfectly complements the materials and finishes within the interior design. Run For The Hills wanted to create a sense of being transported to another time and place, reminiscent of fireside gatherings, where authentic communal cooking and eating would have taken place. One of the standout features of the space is the bespoke creative signage, which takes the form of candle-light glowing lamp boxes, neon artworks and customised tube lights with characterful brand messaging spread throughout the restaurant to give it a playful, modern twist.

Chris Trotman, Creative Director, Run For The Hills, said: “The design concept was centred around making Khai Khai effortlessly cool, keying into its heart-warming brand and cuisine story, with the added pop of Smoke Play theatre. To tell this story through the interior design, we created a suite of bespoke artworks, adapting some of the patterns and textures we designed for the visual identity into mixed-media pieces to be displayed throughout the restaurant. Adding some magic and drama to the interiors was important, including a corridor flanked with an enormous framed artwork on a bespoke wallpaper opposite some mysteriously convex and concave mirrors. Every guest’s visit to Khai Khai is sure to be full of memories."

Jaf Ali, Founder, Dabbawal & Khai Khai, commented: “We wanted Khai Khai to be a very different beast to our iconic Dabbawal Restaurants. Where they championed Indian Street food, Khai Khai is about celebrating the heritage of Indian cuisine, and we wanted to create not just the best restaurant in Newcastle, but in the UK. We needed to be brave with the design for this new concept. Having worked with the Run For The Hills team previously, I was sure that they would rise to the challenge and deliver on their promise of a uniquely edgy creativity, custom-designed to showcase the uniqueness and innovation of our culinary evolution and brand heritage.”

Project Credits

Run For The Hills