Opinion by Richard Baird.
The Broadview Hotel is located within one of Toronto’s most recognisable architectural landmarks. This was built in 1891 by a wealthy businessman who recognised the strategic importance of the East End as the city was expanding. It has been home to a business centre, acted as a political and social hub, and used as a hotel, boarding room and more recently, a strip club.
The building, over the last two years, has undergone extensive restoration and renovation, and now features a distinctive glass structure and new floor on the roof. This was done with great consideration for the original architectural details. Interior design, created by DesignAgency is inspired by the local community and is infused with a contemporary yet old-world grace. The hotel is made up of public spaces and 58 private bedrooms. These are peppered with what is described as a witty eclecticism that pays homage to the building’s past, with certain rooms featuring the original brass poles from the strip club. These homages are set alongside modern finishes and amenities.
Canadian graphic design studio Blok worked with the hotel to develop a visual identity that would embrace and express the building’s contemporary new voice, possess a similar wit and attitude, and finally acknowledge and celebrate the hotel’s East End roots. This is achieved in the contrast and collision of image and type, emphasised by a simple colour palette, and in the variety of secondary typefaces. This run across and links a plethora of printed assets. These included business cards, menus and coasters as documents here, but also wayfinding and signage.