Mucca is a New York City-based branding and design studio that believes in leading with strategy and exceeding through design. For example, in the branding studio’s work for Daxton Hotel and its companion restaurant, Madam, the strategy was to create an experience-driven hotel and restaurant that stands out from the boutique hotel industry.
By creating an Avante-Garde atmosphere that combines the world of dreams and reality, the design is luxe, polished, and evokes romance. But not only is the branding system completely unlike other boutique hotels and restaurants, but the design is also timeless enough to withstand the test of time, something a lot of beautiful designs aren’t strong enough to accomplish.
Few sectors are as in need of innovation as the hospitality industry. Still, with audiences open to new and more adventurous approaches, hotels and restaurants have the chance to bring a fresh energy to the experiences they offer. Enter Birmingham, MI’s Daxton Hotel and its companion restaurant Madam, a project from entrepreneur Mark Mitchell and Aparium Hotel Group. When the partnership wanted a rooted identity that matched their provocative concept, they turned to branding studio Mucca to create a wholly original narrative and visuals for their hotel and restaurant – one that helps set a new standard for boutique luxury.
With ambitions to create an experience-driven hotel and restaurant, Aparium was determined to showcase what made their concept unique – highlighting their attention to detail and moments of surprise, all culminating in an atmosphere that truly feels avant garde. “Every client, whether the job be a hotel, a restaurant, or a product, wants to offer something unique – something different than what already exists in the world,” explains Mucca Founder and Creative Director Matteo Bologna. “Daxton and Madam definitely had something special, and our challenge was to define that unique quality and clearly communicate it.”
While no stranger to working with Aparium, having collaborated on projects in the past, Mucca still engaged in their strategic workshop process with the goal of uncovering each brand’s voice and higher purpose. The workshop not only gave the team a conceptual objective for the identity design, but acted as a guide for all future brand decisions. “We quickly grabbed a hold of this idea: the symbiosis of dreams and reality that was driving the interior design,” adds Mucca designer Sean O’Connor. “The formulaic geometry of the black and white floor tiles in the suites references reality more than it does fantasy or our dream-state. Similarly, there is a big geodesic dome structure in the lobby that is rooted in technical precision. But the hotel also has moments of surprise; a mechanic gold unicorn in the lobby and artworks throughout the hotel that are more ethereal; pieces that evoke a sense of escapism and distort the surroundings. There was so much substance already there to work with – for us it was a matter of assigning a graphic language to this approach.”
For Daxton, this resulted in the formulation of a brand strategy, concept development, exterior signage, and various designs that helped complete the experience. Madam’s identity system was similarly holistic, including naming, menu design, and a suite of touchpoints. Mucca also provided extensive brand guidelines, inclusive of everything from usage of the branding elements and photography to examples of tone-of-voice.
For Mucca, the project represented an opportunity to create a brand that can stand the test of time – a goal even more important in the context of the pandemic which has devastated the hospitality industry over the past year. Both Daxton and Madam not only reinvent Birmingham’s landscape, but turn it into a world-renowned destination, provoking a cultural shift through fully sensory experiences at the intersection of luxury and community.
“The truth is, the hotel is not just for worldly travelers but also for cultured locals,” says Bologna. “From the restaurant to the guest suites, Daxton is playing a key role in bettering its community, when they need it the most. We believe our work will play a role in helping them remain that cornerstone for many years to come.”