News: We launched a hotel

Guess what we did last week? We launched a hotel. In Milwaukee. Designed to function as a platform for the local arts community. Amazing, right?

So what’s the name?

Saint Kate, the Arts Hotel
A one-of-a-kind hotel and venue for travelers, artists, and the community. (You can learn more about the name here)

Something this unique deserved a celebration—which for us showcased the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work. The One Design team lead research, concept development, naming, and identity—and played a big part in defining how an arts hotel that celebrates and supports the creative process should be run operationally. As a studio of makers and artists ourselves, we’ve become somewhat emotionally attached to this dream-job to say the least.

The entire project is an ongoing collaboration between our team, Stonehill Taylor Architects, and Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

A call for proposals

So is Saint Kate really open to the public? Well, not quite. This event was actually a launch intended to bring Milwaukee’s local art community to the table. This was a call for proposals from anyone in the region who has a desire to use the venue and its numerous galleries, performance spaces and more for their own mode of expression. An official Saint Kate brochure formalizes the ask, and encourages recipients to participate and spread the word.

A cross section of the city

The event drew nearly 300 attendees—representatives from across the spectrum of Milwaukee’s creative community. Not bad for a Monday night.

Breaking the ice

Drawing stations throughout the space featured prompts from Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies project, and encouraged guests to express themselves while they mingled and took in the event.

Celebrating all modes of expression

The Arts Hotel is a celebration of all modes of creative expression. Accordingly, pop-up performances throughout the night set the tone, featuring a wide range from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to the New Age Narcissism Collective.

Culinary Arts

Food programming by the Saint Kate team featured a compelling mix of local drinks, locally sourced appetizers, and a Purple Door ice cream bar.

Unveiling Saint Kate

The hotel concept, narrative and name were revealed through a short program, featuring Milwaukee Artist Reginald Baylor, Greg and Linda Marcus, and a short film by the One Design crew.

Revealing the Saint Kate name and concept
Articulating the story of the Saint Kate brand

Saint Kate opens to the public in the spring—but we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Unveiling the brand, launching its mission, and putting out a call for community proposals now was a critical part of building an authentic connection between the hotel and the city.

Stay tuned for a much deeper diver into the full scope of the project soon!

And a big thank you to Stephanie Bassos for documenting the evening!

One Design Company is a research-driven design and development studio. For over a decade, we’ve explored the intersection of experience and technology—where powerful brands come to life. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

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