Arch MacDonnell and Toby Curnow
Arch MacDonnell and Toby Curnow of Inhouse Design know Britomart well. For many years, their graphic design studio, Inhouse, was located in the Barrington Building, one of the precinct's many heritage gems.
That meant that when the time came to create a brand identity for The Hotel Britomart, they already had an intimate sense of the magic of the Britomart neighbourhood of which the hotel will be a part. Here, they talk about the development of The Hotel Britomart brand.
JEREMY HANSEN You’ve recently won a Gold Pin at the Best Awards for your work on the Britomart website. Has your work with Britomart informed your work on The Hotel Britomart?
ARCH MACDONNELL When creating the Britomart website with Nick de Jardine from Grafik, we wanted to acknowledge that Britomart is so much more than a precinct of great shops and restaurants — it’s the people; the restaurateurs, the shop owners, the baristas that make the place special. So we made a point of bringing the people and their stories to the fore. Similarly with the hotel, we want to celebrate the talented folk that are bringing it to life; the architects, the builders, the makers.
Can you talk a little bit about the development of The Hotel Britomart brand?
TOBY CURNOW The Cheshire-designed building itself is so striking and unique that we wanted people to connect the brand and the building. The logo relates both to the distinctive array of irregular-sized windows and to Britomart itself: a neighbourhood of interconnected blocks that, when combined, create a really special place.
Did it help that you already knew Britomart so well?
TOBY CURNOW For sure — we were based in Britomart for six years and were lucky enough to collaborate on some great projects with some very talented people in the precinct while we were there. It’s a special part of town and it’s really nice to still have a connection to the place.
There are new posters up on Customs Street that you’ve designed that introduce passersby to The Hotel Britomart. What was your approach in designing these for this city context?
ARCH MACDONNELL The poster wall around the site has hosted a great series of poster projects by artists and designers since it went up. So we didn’t want these posters to be straight-out advertising for the hotel, rather we wanted to honour the poster projects that preceded them. All 20-plus posters are unique and all are underpinned by the grid structure of the logo mark.