The Opposite House

Brand identity for Swire Hotels

Swire Hotels set out to redefine what a luxury hotel should be in the 21st century. As we began to work with them on their first location in Beijing, we quickly realised that this was one of those rare moments – a moment of change. The assembled team of designers and consultants came together to build one of the most celebrated boutique luxury hotels in the world and our identity had to reflect the qualities of the brand.

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The challenge

Swire Hotels wanted to create a hotel with all the services of a 5-star luxury hotel, but without the stuffiness and the predictability. They were targeting a new type of customers looking for inspiration and surprises. We had to design an identity that reflected this ‘informal luxury’ – unassuming, yet sophisticated.

Our Approach

From the start, our goal was to create an unobtrusive brand identity and avoid the overly branded experience of chain hotels, where logos are often indiscriminately pasted on every possible surface and item. In that respect, the Japanese references in the architecture and interiors of Kengo Kuma were a great source of inspiration for us.

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For the logo design, we played on the meaning of the hotel name and reversed one ‘P’ to create a symmetrical and opposing logo, which became the ‘kissing P’s icon’. The graphic language was created by interlocking circles, inspired by the kissing P’s and responding to the effect of the façade patterns.

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The design of the printed collaterals also matched the ‘opposite’ inspiration, often used mirrored images, such as this invitation using a photo of the summer palace reminiscent of a Chinese ink painting, with overlaid graphic patterns.

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We designed all the hotel stationery and collaterals to create a consistent experience, down to the laundry list and water bottle sticker and the smallest details.

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For the Village Café, a relaxed all-day restaurant filled with natural light, we created a series of characters that were applied as repetitive patterns of the bright menus: a Tai-shi master for the breakfast menu (‘Morning Tai-Shi’), a geisha for the afternoon tea (‘Lasy Afternoon’), an Indian dancer for the dinner menu (‘Evening Chill’) and a jazzman for the wine list (‘Cheers’).

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