One Leicester Street

A Practice for Everyday Life has created a beautiful identity system for boutique hotel One Leicester Street, with interior design by Universal Design Studio.

A Practice for Everyday Life has created an identity system for boutique hotel One Leicester Street, with interior design by Universal Design Studio.

The hotel is the latest addition to Singapore hotelier Peng Loh and chef Tom Harris’s Unlisted Group, and is located in the former St John Hotel in London’s Chinatown. (Harris was head chef at St John and earned a Michelin star there in 2012).

Working with Comradettes, who designed staff uniforms and Sister Arrow, who provided menu illustrations, APFEL and UDS were set the brief of designing a brand identity that extends beyond a logo and “permeates through every part of the hotel and restaurant.”

Inside the Georgian townhouse, UDS have combined deep colours, minimal furniture and copper touches to create a space that’s cosy, welcoming and feels miles away from the madness of Chinatown.

“The canteen feel in the old interior was quite sparse, and most of the period features had been removed. We wanted to restore some of the building’s original character but give it a modern twist and a bit of personality,” says UDS’s Hannah Carter Owens.

The mix of old and new is also at the centre of APFEL’s identity system, which combines traditional serif type with sleek design. Menu illustrations by Sister Arrow (George Mellor) reference 17th and 18th century botanical drawings but use neon colours for a contemporary and slightly psychedelic feel, while ‘do not disturb’ signs (below) feature silhouettes of kissing couples and dusting maids instead of the usual message.

The branding will be an ongoing project, says APFEL director Emma Thomas, with menu illustrations to be updated each season and new illustrations to be introduced each year.

Mellor’s food menu design (above) reflects the key ingredients used in Harris’s seasonal dishes, with fun touches such as an “ominous crab claw” thrown in for good measure.

“For the drinks menu (below), I wanted to avoid using grapes and do something different, so I tasted the featured wines and drew the key elements in them. Earth, for example, represents minerality,” she says.

UDS and APFEL have been working on the project since January. It’s been a quick turnaround, with the former St John hotel staying open for much of it – but the end result is an impressive identity system reflected across the building’s interior and its branding.

Update: APFEL’s identity system for One Leicester Street uses Edward Benguiat’s typeface ITC Barcelona.

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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