Ovolo South Yarra

A new brand and wayfinding system for a daringly fun new hotel in South Yarra, Melbourne.



Practice Area




The Challenge

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.

Project Vision

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.

Graham Jepson

Graham Jepson

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.

Graham Jepson

Graham Jepson

Graham Jepson

Graham Jepson

Graham Jepson

Project Details
This design is loaded with charisma — a personality that expresses itself in both loud gestures and nuanced moments.
Juror 1
The eclectic design of the spaces within the hotel was refreshing, offbeat and wholly unique.
Juror 2
Excellent and nuanced utilization of graphic design in a spatial environment. A perfect graphic solution, typography, color, drawings and wit. Skillfully designed environmental graphics giving the environment uniqueness, quality and a special experience.
Juror 3
Design Team

Paul Taboure (principle in charge, creative director
Jon Zhu (senior designer)
Matt Player (senior designer)
Kaitland Burrows (senior project manager)
Mansur Amiri
Ebony Goh
Elizabeth Carruthers, (designer)


Luchetti Krelle (architect)
Signspec – Albert Smith Group (signage fabrication)
Spike (artwork fabrication)
Marques Interiors (project consultant, placemaking)
Lightforce (fabrication, placemaking)

Photo Credits

Graham Jepson

Open Date

December 2021