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New Brands On The Block

(January / February 2017) posted on Sun Feb 19, 2017

Crafting the look behind today’s chicest just-launched flags means leading, not following. Three buzzy brands offer a master class.

By Oriana Lerner

click an image below to view slideshow

Playing with light levels gives spaces in JO&JOE a sense of playful exploration. Here, illumination around the sinks draws the eye through the room. Rendering: Courtesy of AccorHotels/JO&JOE

Brands like this serve as a hive for the coolest kids on the block or at the airport—only now, that label refers to a self-selecting group of guests of all ages, traveling solo, as a couple or a group. The good news for designers is that it’s a target market that’s ready to embrace the unusual.

Proper Hotels

Forget about the power of the hotel brand—in today’s world, every guest is his or her own brand, complete with social media accounts and sense of signature style as strong as the written standard in any operator’s book.

Like the upcoming Proper Hotels, the Hollywood Proper Residences use mixes of patterns and textures to spice up a classic palette. Photo: Courtesy of Proper Hospitality

Where does that leave actual hotel flags? Taking a more subtle approach to identity building, at least if you ask Brian De Lowe, president and co-founder, Proper Hospitality. The essence of Proper Hotels (whose first hotel will open later this year in San Francisco and which already has a residence open in Hollywood) isn’t just about its app—even if it does let guest book a flight—or its hashtag collection.

De Lowe
Brian De Lowe, Proper Hospitality. Photo: Courtesy of Proper Hospitality

Instead, he’s looking back to a time when a “proper” hotel’s personality was defined by that of its location and guests. “We are committed to bringing in the surrounding physical and cultural landscape to all its properties,” he says.

Making that happen means tightening down the target psychographic. Proper, like many of today’s hottest brands, isn’t trying to be something for everyone.

“We have seen that our Hollywood Proper Residences appeal to creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and other visionaries working across a range of industries who desire a full-service building that uniquely offers both luxury and lifestyle. Our hotels will similarly meet the unique needs of this savvy and mobile audience,” says De Lowe.

Tactile elements in the Hollywood Proper Residences invites guests to make themselves at home. Photo: Courtesy of Proper Hospitality

Brought in to design the Hollywood residences was Kelly Wearstler, founder of her eponymous interior design firm, who knew that the design had to walk a fine line between signature experience and too in-your-face branding.

Scalable? You bet—the flag will debut hotels in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, California, and a hotel/residence in Austin, Texas, by the end of 2018.


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