A look behind the design at Don Nico’s Flautas
One of Downtown Brooklyn’s newest dining destinations, Don Nico’s Flautas, is still grabbing headlines with brand new signage designed by artist Steve Powers in collaboration with Katja Maas. Owner Nicola Maurello couldn’t be happier about the look, telling us that “some customers are coming 2-3 times a week and say they love it.”
Maurello believes Powers’ work has played a part in helping him “gain the trust of the community, and attract a repeat clientele.” That effect might be the product of Powers’ history of designing signs for small, charismatic businesses, having curated a project in 2005 during which professional artists designed signage for a host of Coney Island merchants. Prior to that, Powers made a name for himself as the street artist ESPO, a moniker he coined to stand for “Exterior Surface Painting Outreach.” Powers has taken on numerous studio projects since then, completing a Fulbright scholarship working on street murals in Dublin and Belfast, Ireland; a 2011 tribute to his adopted borough in “Love Letter to Brooklyn”; and now, the signage on Albee Square’s Don Nico’s Flautas.
“Here, it feels like mi casa, su casa, like everyone’s at home,” Maurello said of the new signage, which features vivid bilingual text and images of Jarritos soda bottles. Maas, a student of renowned artist Milton Glaser, also took charge of the design for Don Nico’s Flautas’ physical storefront in Albee Square. She decided to house the Nuevo Mexican joint in a representation of a shipping container, reminiscent of the summer shops at Dekalb Market, where Maurello used to run the popular Pasticcio’s.
As to how his new business has fared since the facelift, Maurello thinks that “every day there is improvement. Baby steps.”