The design brief was to create a new brand and wayfinding system for a daringly fun new hotel in South Yarra, Melbourne. Wayfinding was required to help guests navigate through the spaces with confidence, whilst a layer of branding and placemaking features were called upon to evoke a sense of nostalgia and create a distinct sense of place. Overall, the scheme needed to work cohesively to exude character and stand out in a competitive hotel market.
In the hotel world, the experience is everything – so every touchpoint needed to be considered to add character and charm. The hotel’s Melbourne location – a cosmopolitan mix of hospitality and retail offerings – meant that Ovolo South Yarra needed to stand out from the crowd by striking a uniquely different tone, found through the visual language of 70s pop art and retro visuals. A musical theme was also layered into the space, a signature move which helps to make the space feel inherently sociable and uniquely Ovolo – a brand that marches to the beat of their own (disco) drum.
Design + Execution
Richly typographic wayfinding helps visitors navigate throughout the hotel with ease whilst creating a strong sense of place from the moment guests enter the hotel. Embedded into the floor at the arrival point, mosaic floor tiles add a whimsical tone of voice with iconic lyrics conjuring up nostalgic memories as visitors wander through the lobby. Names of function rooms help to personify entertaining zones, whilst neon signage draws in a local crowd to the Backroom Bar. The vegetarian ‘veg-Italian’ restaurant Lona Misa sits at the centre of the hotel, with a striking interior that radiates a rebellious spirit. At the heart of the dining experience is an installation of classical artworks, accompanied by some less-than-classical depictions of food – cheeky vegetables as you’ve never seen them before.
Upstairs, the Rockstar penthouse suites are individually named and themed – each featuring large graphic portraits of the era’s most lyrical lovers. The John & Yoko & Sonny & Cher suites have rapidly become the most desirable destinations in the hotel. In the common areas, custom treatments are provided for the smallest of touchpoints, with individual lift buttons and carefully curated level directories.
Paul Taboure (principle in charge, creative director
Jon Zhu (senior designer)
Matt Player (senior designer)
Kaitland Burrows (senior project manager)
Elizabeth Carruthers, (designer)
Luchetti Krelle (architect)
Signspec – Albert Smith Group (signage fabrication)
Spike (artwork fabrication)
Marques Interiors (project consultant, placemaking)
Lightforce (fabrication, placemaking)