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Leading London Design Agency I-AM, Creates A Distinctive Rebrand For Center Hotels

Icelandic hotel chain, Center Hotels, presents a bold re-brand to reinforce their position as the most loved hotel group in Iceland and beyond.  The first representation of the new vision can be found at the new Center Hotel Laugavegur, designed to deliver a memorable customer focused experience that capture the essence of Iceland and makes guests feel valued, welcome and truly at home.

The newly opened Laugavegur site boasts three key customer-focused areas that capture the brands essence – The Heartbeat of our city; Spirit of our people and the Soul of our island – to deliver a memorable brand experience. The areas we devised include the lobby, the hotel’s restaurant & bar and a grab & go food concept. Moreover, we refreshed the branding throughout the Center Hotels group and applied this to Laugavegur Hotel.

“This is our first project in Iceland and the entire project team at I-AM have immersed themselves in the culture of this unique and wonderful place. The Center Hotel family are incredible and together I feel that we have (and are) creating something special, hopefully creating a legacy for everyone to share and be proud of.”

Jon Blakeney, MD, I-AM.

“We feel fortunate to be working with I-AM London Studio across a full rebrand of the chain. The collaboration has been a wonderful journey and we are incredibly proud of the first fruit of our labour Center Hotel Laugavegur, Stökk grab & go and Lóa Bar & Bistro, all of which have exceeded our expectations with record sales since the launch.”

Sara Kristófersdóttir CCO of Center Hotels

The lobby design is based on a ‘stay like a local’ philosophy, inspired by Center Hotels’ heritage and values. Encompassing both the hotel reception and a guest lounge, the lobby features a concierge desk, luggage locker wall and area for guests to book tours and trips, all catering to the different consumer expectations.

The lounge and waiting area incorporate a feature wall revealing various Icelandic curiosities and providing an insight into the local culture. It also has a flexi-space that guests can use to work or relax, creating an atmosphere that aims to feel like a home away from home. The design also includes a ‘Hot Spots board’, featuring a map of Reykjavík with employee recommendations and supported by staff “ask me about…” badges which allow them to offer guests more bespoke advice.

The environmental graphics throughout the lobby consist of playful brand messages, fuelled by the brands’ new bold and cheeky tone of voice, sharing insights into the local culture and history of the country.

The second area we created is the hotels’ Restaurant & Bar, LÓA. The intention was to develop a concept that was adaptable, catering for breakfast, lunch and dinner. LÓA is the Icelandic name for a bird that traditionally signifies the coming of spring and works hand-in-hand with the design, inspired by the theme of ‘man vs nature’. This juxtaposition is represented in both the graphics, which contrast industrial inspired typography with topography of the Icelandic landscape, and the interiors, balancing the industrial palette with the warmth of the upholstery and a charred timber bar. The shape of the light fixtures also creates light movement, a further reference to Iceland’s natural scenery.

Stökk, the third concept that we designed for Laugavegur, is a grab-and-go concept that sits within the hotel but also operates as its own entity. Stökk meaning ‘to hop’ is a fast-casual dining experience centred around the idea of exploration. This proposition was created to fulfil a gap in the market for food on the go in Reykjavík. The brand has an artisanal feel, and offers fresh food options from breakfast to dinner, including some Icelandic classics. The concept serves many different customer groups from hotel guests looking for a quick bite to eat to tourists in need of lunch for a day trip and as a new meal proposition for locals. We created a clean and minimal environment with a utilitarian aesthetic, incorporating fast-paced seating areas with bar-style tables and stools. The communication across the space is simple and clear, with touches of personality through quirky graphics prompting customers to get outdoors and explore. A key feature within the space is a hand-painted mural by a local Icelandic illustrator, Elin Elisabet Einarsdottir, which reinforces the local and community-minded spirit that Center Hotels embraces.

Center Hotel Laugavegur is the first step in the company wide re-brand, soon to be followed by an official brand launch, a new website and the ongoing refresh of all existing hotels within the chain, applying the refreshed branding and new hospitality experience design to help deliver People Inspired Experiences.


Headquarters: London, UK