As long as mankind is breathing (… and consuming), there will always be room for new niche markets to serve. In the world of brand-building there’s one economic sector that never seizes to continue to flood the market with new products: the hospitality industry.
French hotel brand, Mama Shelter, is an excellent case in point. Conceived on the premise of “affordable luxury”, they’ve commissioned French design bad boy, Philippe Starck to help bring this novel idea to life. Mama Shelter comes from some serious pedigree, the Trigano family from Club Med fame, who put all-inclusive hotels and resorts on the global travel map.
Mama Shelter was born in 2009, with their first outpost in Paris. Now the hen’s roost has hatched a few more chicks, in Lyon, Marseille, and Istanbul. What I like in particular is their brand identity, created by GBH. Playful, witty and eye-catching.
Mama Shelter is a hotel brand with an ‘affordable luxury’ positioning and chic an eclectic interiors. GBH says it wanted to create an identity that would be ‘inclusive, chic, witty and surprising’. The result, a play on the name ‘Mama’ sees a chicken sitting over the name, with the negative space between its legs making the shape of an egg. Hotel locations are differentiated by adding ‘leg tags’ to the logo.
… Mama Shelter is Starck at his starkest, most monochrome, minimalist, faux-industrial – and cheapest. The materials may be more utilitarian than in more commodious hotels, but there are plenty of his creative touches, too: wall-mounted Batman and Robin bedside lights, poems and gnomic mottos inscribed on the black walls. But perhaps the most surreal detail is the fact that a single room starts at €79, for which you get a cool iMac that doubles as a TV with Wi-Fi and films on demand. There’s space for a minibar, too, but not much else.
Downstairs, there’s a pizzeria and an entirely reasonable restaurant serving steak-frites and hearty pots of mussels and chorizo. There’s also a rough-and-ready bar, with DJs and live acts, which buzzes with artists and Starck wannabes. The only downside is that it’s a long haul by Métro to the city centre.