This is NOT a hotel review. Though we throughly enjoyed our stay here, this is to share what we define as “branding done right”.
Work travel takes us to many places, and one of our favorite places is Chicago. When our client, Block 37, told us that the first U.S. Virgin Hotel was opening around the corner, we couldn’t wait to check it out. Yes, we had succumbed to the allure of the Virgin brand “buzz,” but that is part of our job, right? We check out the latest and greatest, and that in turn inspires our work.
We expected the experience to be different from other hotels, because, well, it is VIRGIN after all. But what we found was branding of the highest order. I mean, at every “touchpoint” they made sure we knew this was a Virgin hotel, but not in an obnoxious way. More in a consistent-to-who-they-are kind of way. In the way that we preach to our own clients. Their brand personality (I would say irreverent, a touch risque and playful come to mind) came through in the tone of each message, as well as the design, consistently. No detail was left unattended, which made everything have an importance, you know? #DeepThoughts
Anyway, check out a few of the iPhone shots I took, and enjoy the virtual tour of some great branding. ~ Lisa Maloof
Red is the Virgin color, and this dog greeting us at the door just felt…right.
Felt walls, with red stitching detail, and pockets for everything. Genius! And on-brand.
Ear plugs for blocking out the sound of the “L”. Thoughtful and humorous touch. #DetailsMatter.
Unexpected touches go a long way.
The punctuation of red tile, along with the adorable bath toy, are a “surprise and delight” moment.
Wendy Lowden, just chillin’ in one of the cool common spaces. Notice the flashes of red, along with the whimsically shaped oval room. This is not a “business as usual” hotel.
Had to stop and laugh before using their facilities. I also never knew females were referred to as “birds” in the UK, so it was educational as well as funny.
Ok, so the house car happens to be red. And a Tesla. We obviously had to take it to our meeting.
We decided to heed their advice, and gave peace and quiet a chance. Until next time Chicago.
We’re delighted to welcome Ashley Presley as our guest blogger today. Ashley is the owner and designer at Ellywise Studios, a custom line of felt flower bouquets, center pieces, wreaths, and other decor. At the heart of each and every flower is Ashley’s love for all things fun, pretty, and whimsical. A SCAD graduate and working full-time as an interactive designer, Ashley uses felt flower making as a creative outlet for her less technical side, and to channel her wildly imaginative nature.
In my family, the year of 2014 was Woodard-Wedding-Central. I got married in May and my little sister in October. I wanted to do something special for my sister’s bridal shower decorations, so I spent four months making felt flowers for all the table decorations. Commitment, my friend.
I truly enjoyed it and was so inspired by the possibilities that I continued to make them just for fun. When my house began to burst at the seams with felt and flowers, my mom suggested posting some pictures of them online and seeing what happened. They were so well received it was overwhelming. I couldn’t be more excited about the whirlwind success around my little flower child that is Ellywise Studios!
This is my darling Rue. We’re not totally sure of her breed, but I do know that she’s my perfect little rescue buddy/muse. Though her fur-fluff often covers most surfaces of my house, she loves to lie in my studio while I work and watch herself in the mirror (she knows how gorgeous she is, and she’s so modest about it – gotta love her).
When she’s not admiring herself in the mirror, my sidekick Rue often stares at me with a look of fear and dismay. You see, one does not simply create in silence. My go to? Broadway. I’m not just talking singing, my friend. I’ve got the emotional acting, the dance numbers and volume. My husband checks in on me every once in a while to make sure I haven’t fallen and that these noises are not in fact cries for help.
My love for musicals came late in life. My first trip to New York was in 2011 where I saw my first show, so I’ve spent my time since then catching up. My karaoke song of choice would have to be Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls. I really feel like it gives me a good range of my acting/Rue-scaring skills. Although, when Jerry Lee hits the piano on Million Dollar Quartet I find myself flinging my body dancing around like I’ve escaped the asylum (who doesn’t??). So, that’s a close second.
My main decorating theme/general life philosophy is floral. For anyone that has had to room with me (sorry college-besties-who-hate-pink) they know that in my interior-design-dictionary there is one word: flowers. And when I married my husband last year we bought a house and décor was discussed. The poor guy HATES flowers. “Please, no floral prints.”
To be fair, we don’t sleep on floral sheets, and thankfully I do have my entire studio dedicated to making felt flowers.
I think the thing I love most about the felt flowers is all the different ways they can be used. I’ve gotten to meet so many people around my hometown of Memphis through my flowers and everyone has different ideas of how they want to use them. I’ve made keepsake mini wedding bouquets for brides, baby announcement wreaths for expectant mothers, decorative garland for artists’ booths at shows, centerpieces for showers and parties, office decor, nursery decor – seriously, the list goes on and on. It’s so amazing to meet all these different people and be able to execute their ideas born from an image of my flowers. They’re so creative and I’m equally inspired by them!
Ellywise has given me an opportunity to combine so many things that I truly love. Weddings, flowers, bright colors and, well, basically anything pretty. Oh, and hot glue…lots and lots of hot glue.
We here at House of Current like challenges, so this week we have decided to pick a theme for our Inspiration Fridays. Our team cherry-picked the best theme ideas, wrote each one of them down on a tiny piece of paper, threw the mix in a very special pencil holder which from now on we shall refer to as “the HoC theme generator”, and had our new account coordinator Lamar pick one out. So, ladies and friends, this week’s Inspiration comes from *drumroll* “Street Art”.
“I love Paris. I love Prada. I love the spontaneity and realness of this photograph. The longer I look at this image, the more I fall in love with it. Look at the dripping spray paint, her amazing shoes, the textures on the building….I could go on.” Wendy
“Sometimes street art can be viewed as a bit…unwelcomed. In the case of the Hope Outdoor Gallery in Austin, TX, it actually changed the neighborhood – for the better. After a development company went belly up and left behind these ugly, towering concrete structures, artists began to paint and design over it.” Rachel
“I’ve always been fascinated by murals and graffiti. I love the texture created by layers upon layers of paint and paper. I also love the Living Walls and the Art on the Beltline programs we have here in town. It is amazing how some imagination and paint can transform a structure and add some color and joy in the lives of those that pass by them.” Scott
“Living Walls launched as a non-profit organization to promote, educate and change perspectives about public space in our communities via street art. This street art can be found throughout the Atlanta area stretching as far south as East Point and as far North as Cheshire Bridge. The organization hosts an annual conference that facilitates dialogue concerning tribulations within the city and increases awareness. It’s amazing to drive by a Living Walls work in progress on the daily commute and watch drab concrete transform into an expression of beauty.
“During this year’s Art Paris Art Fair, three artists were offered the chance to transform the façade of the iconic Grand Palais into a digital canvas for 4 days. The three video installations selected as this year’s winners came from an art collective of over 350 members named TeamLab, architect Dominic Harris and artist Mounir Fatmi.”
Mounir Fatmi’s “Modern Times – A History of the Machine” is trying to convey movement, speed and time with “graphics inspired by the paintings of Sonia and Robert Delaunay, a Charlie Chaplin film, a Marcel Duchamp piece, calligraphy and philosophy.”
TeamLab’s project “Universe of Water Particles” covered the building in a cascade of running water
Dominic Harris’s Escher inspired projection is called A Concentric Study and its stated purpose is to “alter the viewer’s perception of the Grand Palais so that its architecture takes on a new narrative.” Ana