We helped create —
Art direction, digital, identity, print, environmental, storytelling, strategy
Located in Nishi, a new mixed-use building in Canberra’s New Acton precinct, Hotel Hotel is the result of an intense collaboration between a team of more than 50 designers, architects, artists and us.
It was the vision of two brothers, Jonathan and Nectar Efkarpidis, to create the most radically sustainable hotel in Australia – a hotel that would become a destination in itself. At the forefront of the Efkarpidis brothers’ brief was the hotel’s focus on environmental sustainability. Sure, it would be a challenge, but was the idea of a top-to-toe green hotel really such a crazy notion? Perhaps, but the possibility informed our creative thinking throughout the project.
Our design approach called for the reuse of existing materials from other hotels around the world, which we duly 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 when there was already an abundance of old hotel collateral 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 don’t exist. Great in principle, less so when you realise that the energy required to ship the stock back to Australia renders your carbon neutral philosophy redundant.
We looked for another way to tell the hotel’s environmental story while staying true to our original thinking. Our answer was to integrate our thinking across every element of the project. Paper would be an Australian made, 100% recycled carbon neutral stock, printed using soy-based inks; keycards for hotel rooms would be made from recycled wood (the first of their kind in Australia); and the notepads in each room were a rebirth for the contents of Round’s studio recycling bin.
The last thing we made was a ‘Kit of Parts’: a toolkit made up of stamps, a wax seal, and a die-cut embossing tool. We wanted the hotel’s staff to be the ones to execute the identity, and in doing so, leave their own mark. This method also reduced the business’s environmental impact by eliminating the need for excessive 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 Australian hotels to feature 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 and utterly cohesive with their vision.