Responses by Gavin Lester, partner and chief creative officer, Zambezi.
Background: Witkoff is a vertically-integrated real estate firm, which serves as one-part developer, one-part investor and one-part landscape changer for luxurious, high-profile properties. The purpose of the redesign was to take a progressive, visionary and somewhat provocative approach to how we positioned the brand and its mark on the residential, hotel and commercial landscape. We achieved this by leveraging the depth, expertise and relationships Witkoff has cultivated over the years while infusing a new degree of humanity and personality. It was important to Witkoff that the new website design reflects the extremely high quality of its properties and services in every touchpoint and click. This guided all aspects of our design in order to attract key investors and potential partner audiences.
The website is part of a larger strategic, branding initiative for Witkoff, which was curated to complement the company’s portfolio. This includes a redesigned logo, along with the naming and logo design of a new Witkoff property. Inspired by the new website design, the team also developed a 214-page book as a new business tool, highlighting the firm’s capabilities and previous projects to potential partners.
Favorite details: We designed the site to be experiential, authentic and visually dynamic. Instead of focusing on specific characteristics, we chose to portray the overall experience visitors and residents will have at Witkoff’s properties by using lifestyle photography to portray humanity and provide texture. We also sought to capture the spirit of the diverse and unique neighborhoods of their properties with vivid, full-bleed imagery to provide context for their wide array of locations.
Special navigational features: When we began our discovery phase for the website redesign, we were searching for ways to highlight Witkoff’s properties in an interactive way. One example of how we did this was by building a grid-based dynamic timeline for the portfolio page. The timeline showcases all Witkoff properties in chronological order and is fully responsive to browser width and mobile view. It features dynamic filters, individual property–content light box modules and a scrolling navigation bar.
Technology: The site was built as a fully custom-designed Squarespace template. We chose to build on this platform in order to utilize its back end CMS due to the ease of use and familiarity. All modules can be updated via the back end, and the site is fully updatable without having to rewrite a single line of code.