Responses by Mother Design.
Background: The purpose of this project was to create a modern brand that would complement the near-total renovation of the hotel. The previous branding, rooted in ’70s luxury design, was in dire need of an update from a visual perspective and to feel more inclusive. We wanted the branding to be equally enticing to locals as well as travelers to the city.
Design thinking: There is an unspoken status quo in how other hotels present themselves around Central Park South: script typography, gold, and crests and shields. Instead of looking inwards at conventionality, we looked outwards and found inspiration in Central Park. The park’s design by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and all its meandering paths, in beautiful contrast to the stark grid of the city, inspired us 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 result produced unique letterforms for Park Lane.
When creating the textural patterns for the identity, we worked from images of natural elements in and around the park, such as foliage, stone and wood. Based on photographs of these elements, we created textured backgrounds that complement the rich patterns present in the hotel’s interiors while bringing nature inside. Each season has its own set of patterns and colors, so the hotel’s printed collateral and social channels can reflect the colors and textures of the park as the seasons change outside.
Challenges: Due to COVID-19, we had to put our pencil down after kicking off in February 2020. Initially, Mother Design’s process was meant to overlap with interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg’s development of Park Lane. When we were brought back in September of 2020, the interior aesthetic had already been established. While this was not a challenge per see, it was crucial that we used and incorporated the vision for the interiors into our design exploration to ensure the brand and the interiors felt cohesive.
Favorite details: We managed to introduce a new wordmark for Park Lane unlike any other hotel logo in New York. Inspired by Central Park and its organic shapes, we created a wordmark with unique Art Nouveau underpinnings and behaviors. We developed a suite of wordmarks—horizontal, stacked and vertical—that fluidly move through the design world of Park Lane.
Perhaps more importantly, we feel that we achieved an identity that feels and behaves like a complete storybook: from the intriguing wordmark to park-inspired textures, a poetic tone of voice and finally, bringing in the actual architecture of Park Lane (through the cartouche) into one fluid expression.
New lessons: Great clients make all the difference. We worked very closely with Park Lane’s leadership and marketing team under managing director Prince A. Sanders, who acted fearlessly during the design process and decision making. The team chose directions from the gut and gave us the freedom to push the design vocabulary, resulting in a visual world that went all-in on its unique design.