Opinion by Richard Baird.
Laji is a hair and make-up studio located in the city of Osaka, Japan, with a distinctive interior design developed by dot architects. It features chipboard dividers and mirror frames, pegboard panels, strip lighting, exposed concrete ceilings, brick walls and utilities, concrete cast with wood surface texture, red stained floors as well as custom furniture created by Ryohei Yoshiyuki. It is a combination that makes the space appear more like an urban art studio or on-trend coffee shop rather than anything you might traditionally associate with a make-up and hairstyling space which, when considered alongside the studio’s identity, designed by UMA, is very likely the point. The project included logotype, business cards, discount certificates and postcards.
U2 is a cyclist-friendly retail and hospitality destination, located in the Japanese city of Onomichi, made up of shops, bakeries, restaurants and hotels. Design studio UMA were recently commissioned to develop a visual identity for U2’s Hotel Cycle as part of a larger brand identity project that covered a variety of spaces, packaging and signage within the complex.
UMA’S brand identity solution for the hotel appropriately complements an interior juxtaposition of contemporary utility (exposed concrete and steel) alongside traditional warmth (wood panelling, classic lamps and low lighting) with a functional sans-serif typeface, a logotype set across a curved baseline, reductionist iconography and the quality of what looks like a brushed bronze material choice.