Hotel Emblem: Cast Your Fearless Voice

Posted in Work — Feb 10, 2020

Hotel Emblem Guestroom Desk

Hotel Emblem was conceived to reinvent and rebrand the legacy of its predecessor (Hotel Rex) around the Beat generation - a literary and cultural renaissance that helped shape San Francisco into one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The new name embodies the idea of standing for something, and the new brand, design, and experience make certain that everywhere you look, there’s an invitation to cast your fearless voice.

"The new name, brand, design, and experience embody the idea of standing for something, and voicing it fearlessly."

Owners DiamondRock Hospitality and operators Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, gravitated toward a more upscale delivery and discrete luxury touches, with a new brand foundation extends to all facets of the experience. Interior design (Studio Hatch for guest rooms, Wilson Ishihara for public space) is bold and energetic, a little offbeat, always unexpected, and wrapped in a modern, bohemian style. Quotes from prominent Beat poets and Beat-esque musings playfully adorn the walls and corridor carpet. Author’s faces are stamped in unexpected places. Historical Beat generation photos in large scale loom above. Guests leave their mark on an autograph wall.

Visual identity was a key element in the larger project of establishing a new brand narrative and positioning, setting the stage for traditional and experiential design thinking to shape the overall guest impact.

Identity was inspired by old typewriter ribbon tins, and by the redaction censorship that the Beat generation fought against. Here, that idea is flipped in protest. Stripes are used to reinforce key phrases rather than hide them. The staggered logo mark can be wholly contained inside the stripes, or stripes can peel off gradually to render the logo in simple form. Stripes also create movement and opportunity to add a pop of color in contrasting yellow as stark contrast. The concept hinges on the use of bold, black and white photography that lives prominently in collateral and promotional materials through both custom and public domain Beat-era photography – a plan that holds up even into social media. The mid-century fonts use a heavier weight and also add drama.

Small touches and amenities experientially reinforce the uncensored expression established in identity. A wood front desk mimics a writer’s desk, and desks found in-room are equipped with a typewriter, pen and paper, and a bulletin board to make your mark. Guests are greeted with a custom-crafted welcome cocktail from Obscenity Bar & Lounge, promoted on a bar napkin with a personal note to redeem. Cultural programming and thoughtful amenities include a Meditation Hour in The Den, a Book Butler cart featuring literature from famed City Lights Bookstore, and regular poetry slams and jazz.

With a perfect blend of authenticity and spontaneity, Hotel Emblem upholds its legacy as a creative home base that would appeal to the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and modern day freethinkers of all kinds.

Hotel Emblem

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