Bielke&Yang’s evolution and stewardship of Sommerro have led to exciting explorations of genre
“We’re proud to say there hasn’t been a significant deviation from the core concept and idea,” Christian Bielke tells us, discussing the brand identity development for Nordic Hotels & Resorts’ Sommerro hotel – designed and maintained by Oslo-based studio Bielke&Yang. “It’s been robust enough to last for many years,” the Founder & Managing Director adds, “however, it has evolved as our collaborations with other creatives have pushed the implementation to a different level,” noting their partnership with interior designers Greco Deco and illustrator Bendik Kaltenborn as examples.
Over the three years since we featured the first stage of the rebrand, Bielke&Yang have tackled brand challenges big and small, taking on a role greater than simply ‘designer,’ notably dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and working from home, as well as juggling the increasing burdening cost of brand deliverables. “Balancing costs versus quality in materials, production and printing was a constant struggle,” Bielke recalls, giving the example of delivering Sommerro’s material colours from different supplies, with different costs, in different countries as one of the difficulties. “Hence, we spend so much time on colour and implementation in the brand manual,” he adds, finding a more accessible solution, “so new collaborators will have a straightforward method to follow when deciding upon materials.”
Now fully launched, the Sommerro Hotel features not only Bielke&Yang’s existing visual language but a series of sub-brands that branch out from the core identity. “When we began the project, we didn’t know what restaurants and bars would be opening at the hotel,” Bielke explains, resulting in a mix of existing restaurants and Sommerro’s own, which Bielke&Yang took to branding. “The bespoke typeface family, designed with Bobby Tannam, is inspired by the typography of the international ‘Art Deco’ movement,” he remarks, utilising the extensive bespoke typeface as the foundational core of each sub-brand. “Additionally, we built in a vast number of ligatures and alternate glyphs for each uppercase letter,” Bielke adds, “providing an almost unlimited toolkit of possible typographic expressions,” a variety seen and executed across the multitude of country-specific cuisines.
Keeping the sub-brands and core identity together, however, is the shared consistency of letterform, manifesting in the complementary form and weight shared between the wordmark and the bespoke typeface, allowing the sub-brands to be distinct in their own right whilst recognisable as part of Sommerro. “We also worked with naming the sub-brands, which required an equally conceptual solution,” Bielke recalls, diving deep into the history of the building’s legacies, resulting in striking explorations of genre and story. “Creating such a conceptual solution almost four years ago and then seeing it work when you visit the house is fantastic,” he concludes, “and a relief!”