The Prince Akatoki Hotel /
London, UK

  • Client: Staywell Hospitality
  • Type: Hotel
  • Date: installed: 2019

Wayfinding, prototyping & signage design

The Prince Akatoki is a contemporary luxury 5-star hotel experience that celebrates the Art, Ritual and Elegance of Japanese hospitality.

Formerly The Arch London, The Prince Akatoki opened in London in September 2019 and is the first luxury hotel of many planned by the partnership between Prince Hotels Group, which manages nearly 30 hotels in Japan, and StayWell, one of the largest hotel management groups in Asia Pacific.

This new global brand name bares the flagship brand “The Prince” of Prince Hotels and aims to bring Prince Hotels’ sensibilities and style of luxury to the rest of the world, fusing Japanese aesthetics and hospitality with the culture of each location.

Offering a sanctuary to high-end travellers looking to escape the chaotic pace of modern life, the brand, designed by Interbrand Australia has been inspired not only by Japan, but a Japanese way of life.

The name Akatoki comes from an ancient Japanese word for dawn. It captures the optimism and positivity for the day ahead. This idea is the key driver for the brand experience, from the logo, to the identity inspired by the colours of sunrise, to a guest experience that emphasises the best ways to start the day.

Our creative team was engaged to expand the brand and new identity and apply it into the built environment. The brief was to create The Prince Akatoki signage guidelines translating the brand from 2D into 3D form whilst maintaining an authentic, considered, uncomplicated and minimal design approach.

A set of design guidelines was prepared providing a consistent structure for Stay Well Hospitality Group brands to be consistently manufactured and applied. Containing all relevant information required to specify the physical design, construction and location of each sign type to deliver a distinct brand experience.

Applying The Prince Akatoki brand design principles – natural light, tranquillity, modern Japanese culture and minimalism, the narrative set into to our concepts was inspired by the sunrise and distilled the play of light and shadow into the design.

Pined fixed letters off the wall creates shadow, enabling an elegant floating effect with varying types of shadows cast off the signage depending on ambient and natural sunlight/time of day.

Drawing from the Fusuma dividing line within the interiors, the thin line work of the wayfinding, room signage and range of pictograms pairs perfectly with the thin typography and Japanese writing of the brand.

Building ID, room signage, wayfinding totems, amenities, directional signs and temporary signage including flags and hoarding were all part of the design guideline inclusions.

Prototyping, testing and collaboration throughout the design process enabled the best fit for purpose design outcomes.

The signage suite graphic appearance and construction intent was designed to suit a global brand application. The second Akatoki hotel will be in Guangzhou, Southern China as part of the brand expansion into key global gateway cities.

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