Hotel Hotel —
Beg, borrow & steal.
Located in Nishi, a new mixed-use building in Canberra’s New Acton precinct, Hotel Hotel is the result of an intense collaboration between more than fifty designers, architects, artists and us. It was the vision of two brothers, Jonathan and Nectar Efkarpidis, who wanted to create the most radically sustainable hotel in Australia – one that would become a destination in itself.
At the forefront of the Efkarpidis brother’s brief was the hotel’s focus on environmental sustainability. Naturally, and with our tongue firmly planted in our cheek, we responded by explaining, “the only truly sustainable product is the one that does not exist at all.” But was this really such a crazy notion? Perhaps, but it was also the basis for our creative thinking throughout the project.
Our design approach called for the reuse of existing materials from other hotels around the world. Much more than an idea, a brand or an identity, it quickly became an ethos, which we christened: ‘Beg, Borrow and Steal.’
The idea began simply – we would overprint Hotel Hotel branding onto a curated selection of sourced and found materials. Why add something new, where there was an abundance of hotel collateral already in existence?
Here’s where we hit out first roadblock. It turns out Australian hotels are required by law to destroy all remaining collateral when they close their doors. Not to worry, we would source our material from overseas where such laws did not exist. Great in principle, not so great when you realise the energy required to ship the stock back to Australia renders your carbon neutral philosophy redundant. We needed to go back to the drawing board.
How else could we tell the hotel’s environmental story and remain true to our original thinking?
Our answer was to integrate that thinking across every element we rolled out across the project. The paper that we would use for the hotel’s operational needs would be Revive Laser from Spicers – an Australian Made, 100% recycled, FSC Certified, Carbon Neutral stock, whose sales also contribute to Landcare Australia.
We didn’t stop at paper selection. Every piece of collateral that required printing was Risograph printed using soy-based inks. The keycards for the hotel rooms are made from recycled wood (the first of their kind in Australia) and the notepads in each room were created from Round’s studio recycling bin. Yeah, we played our part.
The last thing we provided Hotel Hotel with was a Kit of Parts: a toolkit made up of ten stamps, a wax seal and a die cut and embossing tool. Essentially, we let the Hotel Hotel staff be the ones to execute the branding and in doing so leave their own unique mark. This method concurrently reduced the businesses’ environmental impact by eliminating the need for heavy printing.
It takes an audacious vision to turn straight-laced Canberra into the home of one Australia’s coolest hotels, yet this is exactly what the Efkarpidis brothers have done. Hotel Hotel is one of only five hotels in Australia featured on Design Hotels. With Nectar’s blind passion for creativity and Jonathan’s fierce insistence on sustainability, the bothers envisaged, conceived and then birthed something truly remarkable on the Australian landscape.