Project branding is a unique process of creating an identity for something that does not exist, doing it super fast, and trying to get everyone to talk about it.
While naming the project is, of course, important – it’s not all in a name.
The most remarkable projects have an identity: Stories that go far deeper than the name itself. These projects capture the zeitgeist of the day, the location and story of the site – and how it will naturally integrate into the fabric of the community into which it is being “born”.
Creating a powerful identity for your building that resonates is paramount in generating interest.
When all those factors come together, the project becomes a talking point, a lightning rod for press, genuine public interest, excitement and the potential to go viral.
And, most importantly, it retains its identity and brand even after the “campaign” is wrapped up.
One recent project that brings together all of these elements successfully is Henry Hall – a 225 apartment building in the northern border of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards mega-development.
The developer – Imperial Companies – had assembled an all-star team of designers: Architecture by the renowned Ismael Leyva; boldly-daring interiors designed by the inimitable San Francisco Designer Ken Fulk and the brand identity by the visionary IF Studios: the New York creative agency behind VIA West 57th.
The key to creating a true lasting identity for a new project, is to think about it from the inside out.
Most projects only start to think about brand after the design is finalised – whereas the most memorable campaigns begin from the very inception of the architectural and interior design.
Located at 515 West 38th Street, the site of the former Legacy Recording Studio, is at the epicentre of Hudson Yards – where Henry Hall is redefining luxury for a new generation of New Yorkers.
IF Studios developed an identity for the project called Henry Hall - based around the character of Henry.
"Henry Hall is the first of its kind – a community and a destination – like the boutique hotel you never want to leave or the members-only club where everyone’s welcome. Henry Hall is your own personalised gateway to the city, redefining luxury for a new generation of New Yorkers."--Amy Frankel, IF Studio
In the case of Henry Hall, the intention was to fuse the history and cultural tradition of the site, with the idea of merging condo and hotel living. To create an exclusive club-like feel that looks like it has “always been there”.
Architect Ismael Leyva came up with an art deco look that hearkens back to the history of the location, a style inspired by the ’40s.
In the hands of interior designer Ken Fulk, renowned for exuberant and playful interiors drawing from the past in unexpected ways, the interiors began to take shape.
The character Fulk infused into the interiors borrows from periods that inspire nostalgia, as though the mid-century building had a face lift in the ’70s. When you walk through its doors – you become Henry.
The developer made sure to include club-like amenities such as a double-height lobby, bar and restaurant (by the restaurateurs behind New York’s Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones) and a wine room – all to encourage people to mingle and meet. As well as drawing room, residents’ club, rooftop lounge, and back garden.
All of these elements combine to give the new development a “destination” character – something people will be talking about.
The creative response Binyan came up with for the renderings was to inject a signature Fulk exuberance into our images while incorporating traces of the mysterious protagonist, "Henry Hall".
Binyan's approach was to create the presence of Henry in each image – while purposely not including people. This character played cleverly into the branding which describes a new style of New Yorker – a person who calls Henry Hall their home.
Each image presents a side of Henry's character, and evokes a bygone era that is new once again.
The layered nature of the design allowed us to showcase 3D imaging techniques and detailing not often used in architectural 3D rendering – this was one of the most enjoyable projects to work on for the Binyan team in recent times.
The success of the project speaks for itself. Very strong sales, press coverage in all the major design and real estate publications and immense buzz around town.
The story and character really hit a nerve in the market, and is a testament to doing the unexpected and working hard at the start to design a project identify that will have cut through and become an icon.
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