London paper sculptor gets the Savoy’s classic cocktails to unfold

Published:  October 29, 2014

A ‘paper engineer’ by trade, Helen Friel is living and working in London with a list of clients that include Grazia, Harrods, Tatler, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and Vogue. As a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, an innovative institution in its own right, Friel has brought an age-old paper practice to a contemporary audience with a limited edition drinks menu for London’s Savoy Hotel.

If there’s a story at the bottom of every glass (whether it’s filled with Earl Grey or Cointreau, is down to the consumer), Friel has managed to rewrite the narrative behind each cocktail and classic at the Beaufort Bar in a way that’s entirely tactile. Drawing from the joy of a child’s pop-up book, the beverage menu displays a character and cluster of objects illustrated by Joe Wilson that unfold as the pages are turned.

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“Known the world over for its Art Deco setting and innovative drinks, the Beaufort Bar has launched a spectacular new cocktail menu that pushes the boundaries of cocktail making, imagination and design,” says Friel when explaining that Head Barman, Chris Moore, commissioned the work. A collaborative project between ‘engineer’ and illustrator, Friel states, “as far as we know it’s a world first. It’s been a year in the making.”

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Oscillating between a focus on flavour and personality, some drinks let the garnishes and ingredients unfurl and intrigue, allowing tomatoes, elderflowers, sprigs of mint and other herbs to bloom before the reader. Yet other drinks, with perhaps less evocative ingredients, draw from an idea of the fictional drinker — for example, Old Blue Eyes features a pop-up keyboard, microphone and Frank Sinatra, strategically placed behind the drink which of course, takes centre stage.

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Unfortunately, due to their delicate nature, the books will not be in use at the bar itself but instead will be available for purchase as a gift limited to 1000 copies.

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