In honor of its 100th anniversary, Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier unveiled a dramatically reimagined, pier-wide development plan to elevate the Pier’s status for its more than 9 million annual guests. At the center of the action, this new-build boutique hotel boasts an exquisite location right on the Pier—offering incredible views, extensive meeting spaces, a full-scale ballroom and the largest rooftop bar in the entire United States.
After researching our iconic and historic location, we created a brand concept and chose a name that cleverly embraces the heritage of the hotel’s namesake—the aircraft carrier Sable that was once docked here—as a site of take-offs and landings. The brand narrative describes the hotel as a dynamic place that salutes its naval history, and a sophisticated place to gather—the perfect jumping-off point to ready oneself for the next exciting thing. Next, we designed a brand identity featuring a nautical color palette, shaped by a set of dynamic patterns inspired by the waves of Lake Michigan. Illustrations of a compass and star add the right touch of Naval influence, while a modern typography combination balances our historical inspiration with contemporary appeal.
To define the brand, we chose Brand Pillars that embody its values and identity. The Brand Pillars are: Inclusive Exclusivity—a place where all guests can feel like they’ve entered a prestigious naval officer’s club; A Look Backward and a View Forward—honoring history while offering a modern experience; and Ready for Take-Off—a landing spot for time on and time off. The hotel’s personality is Naval-inspired without being military, nautically-inspired without being nautically-themed, and upscale without being ostentatious.
The brand activations offer guests opportunities to experience Chicago and the best of Navy Pier. The lobby and guestrooms are stocked with books detailing the Pier’s fascinating history. A pair of binoculars in each guestroom is accompanied by a short list of sights that guests can see from their room—from iconic buildings in the skyline, to the Pier’s weekly fireworks. An arrival treat of confetti cupcakes evokes the fireworks, while Chicago-made snacks and refreshments—like Cracker Jack and Goose Island cream soda—bring local flavors to each guestroom’s mini bar.