Mother Design’s eccentric identity for Park Lane hotel sets the standard for NYC’s uptown luxury
Calling the luxuriant uptown of New York its home, the 47 story Park Lane hotel was first built in 1971 in line with the nearby properties known as ‘Billionaire’s Row.’ Having, however, found itself bogged down in historical outlooks on luxury, the hotel was in need of an identity that shed the weight of antiquated traditional characterisations and its fuddy-duddy visual coherence. Instead, embracing the uniqueness and individuality of the building, the identity crafted by NYC and London-based studio Mother Design champions a contemporary take on luxury; drawing inspiration from the hotel’s historical and environmental context.
From the innate eccentricity of Park Lane’s interior, textures and colours, Mother Design were spoilt for playful references; immediately translating this flamboyancy into a nebulous and opulent wordmark. “Our main point of inspiration is Central Park, adjacent to the hotel,” Creative Director Matt van Leeuwen tells us. “The meandering paths of the Park reflect themselves in the wordmark,” he adds, drawing further influence from the nature-inspired work across Art Nouveau typography, and translating these throughout the fluid baroque construction of the lettering. Resulting in something organic, whimsical and referential to the building – be it the oval frame of the hotel’s windows framing the visual identity, or the introduction of organic-ephemera-inspired patterns.
This poetic and seemingly romantic has then been delivered across the extended brand; from Park Lane’s warm tone of voice to the use of tender, pastoral hues. “Colours are directly inspired by the park,” van Leeuwen recalls, “to give a flexibility and range to the identity we developed a unique colour palette for every season.” Giving the brand the space to evolve with the times – staying forever relevant – whilst feeling effortlessly in harmony with the environment it inhabits.
Implemented across the identity is the supporting use of Bauer’s sans serif Folio, providing a contrast to the whimsical forms of the wordmark and patterns. “As the hotel, designed by Emery Roth & Sons, bridges the gap between modernism and postmodernism,” van Leeuwen explains, “so does our identity,” noting Folio’s mid-century publishing and aesthetic. “It has a lot of individual character,” he concludes, “it was made in a pre-digital age, and thus gives it a slightly imperfect quality in its typographic image.”