Tandem Design


News and views from the Tandem team


News and views from the team at Tandem. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date with what we are doing, please sign up to our occasional eNewsletter.


A Room with a View


Positioned on the 23rd floor of Belfast’s Grand Central Hotel the Observatory is the highest bar in all of Ireland, offering never before seen views of Belfast and beyond. 


Our interpretation for the Grand Central Hotel extends to the stunning sky bar. Through careful and creative use of illustration and copywriting we encourage guests to gaze out of the window and spot the landmarks that are so much a part of Belfast’s story. 

In 1800 Belfast was a small town, with a population of nearly 20,000. Industrialisation, powered in part by the linen mills and the warehouses that operated in the Grand Central’s district, transformed it. Today, Belfast is a confident metropolis, with boundless energy and optimism for the future. 

To help guests understand where they are in the city and what they can see from their unique vantage point we designed an illustrated fold-out booklet. We commissioned illustrator Mark Boardman to work with us to develop a contemporary panorama of the city as seen from the Observatory. His illustrative style and subtle use of colour suited the stylish and luxurious look and feel of the bar — its low ceiling and full height windows make the inside feel intimate while the outside seems infinite. 


Embracing artistic license, we encouraged Mark to embellish the ‘star’ attractions, such as the recognisable gantry cranes at Harland & Wolff or nearby City Hall. The printed piece includes short facts about each landmark. 

Whether seen by day or night our illustrated Observatory Book galvanised a sense of place within Belfast, orientating guests and encouraging exploration of the city and wider landscape. 

Key to the success of the booklet's is our carefully balanced approach to its content: just enough to intrigue guests but not detract from their unique, sensory experience that the Observatory offers.

Rebecca Gilbert