Just off Central Park, there lies Billionaire’s Row – a street which is named after its very wealthy clientele. And on this street sits Park Lane hotel too. To set it apart from the somewhat stuffy and “very traditional design cues” of the other buildings surrounding the park, Mother Design agency wanted to do something “radically different”. So the team asked themselves: “How can we bring eccentricity into the design?” and reimagine traditional luxury for a younger audience.
The team’s process was initially meant to overlap with Yabu Pushelberg’s interior design development. When the team was brought back in September of 2020 following a halt to the project due to the pandemic, the interior aesthetic had already been established. So it was crucial that the team used and incorporated the vision for the interiors into their exploration of the hotel’s new visual identity “to ensure the brand and the interiors felt cohesive”. A new wordmark and typography hope to address how traditional luxury branding, which feels outdated and exclusionary, resonates less and less with modern travellers. Eclecticism and romance were also key themes that Mother’s design team, headed by Mark Sloan, wanted to draw on.
When looking for inspiration for the updated identity, Mother didn’t have to look far. “We looked right outside the hotel room windows, into Central Park,” says the agency’s representative. “The park, designed by Olmstead and Vaux, consists of beautiful, meandering pathways that lie in stark contrast to the city’s rigid grid. We were inspired by this juxtaposition to build letterforms that celebrate both the rigidness of the city and the flow of the park. Loosely built on the principles of Art Nouveau, this resulted in unique letterforms for Park Lane,” they continue. Botanical tendrils and organic elements of the wordmark aim to juxtapose contemporary, straight lines that reflect the modern architecture of the building.
And when creating the textural patterns for the identity, the design team worked from images of natural elements that emerge throughout the park’s landscape, like foliage, stone and wood. Mother Design paired botanical textures with an alternating seasonal colour palette so the hotel stays in sync with the changing of the seasons in the park.
Mother’s design team wanted the new visual identity to pay homage to the hotel, so it made use of the cartouche – an oval with a line at one end tangent to the oval, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name in Egyptian hieroglyphs – inspired by the architecture of the building. As a result, they hope this graphic device behaves as a window into the world in and outside of Park Lane. The new brand now lives at Park Lane and across the hotel’s digital platforms.