Two weeks ago I was award the SEGD Global Design Award for Identity and Placemaking for the Sagamore Pendry Hotel project. I haven't ever been recognized on this level so I'm stoked to share.
After years of anticipation the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore hotel opened its doors in 2017 to much deserved fanfare and accolades. The renovated building opened as a 128-room, world-class boutique hotel in historic Fell’s Point with goals of attracting international visitors while also appealing to local residents. The vision was to create a hotel that would instill the maritime past and patriotic history of the area.
The “headhouse,” a landmark brick structure fronting Thames Street and its adjoining pier, have a storied past that served many roles in its 100-year history, including a landing point for American immigrants, a commercial port, a community center, a maritime radio station and the set for a television series, Homicide: Life on the Street.
We designed the new exterior and interior signage, dimensional graphics, and feature walls. Our aim was to design each piece to fit the team's collective aesthetic of a gritty (industrial) but forward-thinking (luxury) comfort steeped in history. Front-of-house signs and feature graphic elements were made locally of solid brass, hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel.
Objectives included complementing the rich palette, textures, and materials selected by the architect and interior designer; creating useful signs like works of art—stunning yet functional; and supporting the goal of making the hotel a destination itself.
We merged two distinct and defined brands, Sagamore Development and Pendry Hotels, with the building’s own iconic identity by deciding to go with variations of their typefaces: Trade Gothic for the room signs and directionals, Baskerville for the feature wall and Century Gothic for the neutral "house" typeface used in amenity spaces.
Guests are greeted by a steel typographic installation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This backlit wall of letters set in Baskerville spelling out the national anthem was laser-cut out of three 7-gauge steel plates. The design’s structural integrity required overlapping the letters to create enough support while remaining readable. The 1814 Battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem just 1000 feet from the hotel’s location.
The entry corridor leading to the hotel lobby features nine brass medallions set on oak wall panels, each of which represents an aspect of Baltimore's cultural heritage: a horse, a marble stoop, the Baltimore flag, a maritime star, a raven, a baseball player, Edgar Allan Poe, a blue crab, and an anchor. We illustrated each icon in a geometric style for a distinct look that fits with the rest of the sign family.
A reporter from The Baltimore Sun wrote that the hotel “...reads like a love letter to Baltimore and American history.” Unlike other luxury hotel chains, guests experience the unique essence of the locale through thoughtful design choices.
The signage elements are like jewels throughout the hotel—discoveries that add to the luxurious grit and meaning of the place. One of the most visited spots in Baltimore, Sagamore Pendry earned the 2017 Lyftie Award for Trending Destination. Numerous awards and honors have been bestowed upon the project including being a Gold Key Award finalist for the Best Luxury Boutique Hotel.
To see the other winners as well, go here.