/ A-Frame Club
Winter Park, CO
Naming, Brand Identity, Strategy and Positioning, Signage, Wayfinding, Interior and Space Design, Collateral, Web Design and Development
Step into the Golden Age
Today’s mountain hospitality lacks connectivity to the actual mountains, a modern level of service and frankly a level of classic reception that was synonymous with the golden age of skiing. Zeppelin Development came to us with a unique site and concept in mind; to take a two-acre wooded lot, complete with an existing 1940’s lodge and ski shop, and reimagine it as an homage to the golden age of skiing. A-Frame was designed to be a paradigm shift in outdoor lodging in the Rockies, a project that was both at ease with nature and providing a high level of comfort for the guests. The 31 A-frame cabins, designed by Skylab Architecture, are situated around a central lodge, which was entirely reconcepted by Wunder Werkz to act as the site's cultural hub. We took on the role as creative partner working from the earliest visioning stages of the project to help with naming, strategy and positioning; advise on spatial design; and then develop all brand, identity, collateral, interior design, signage, documentation and digital design.
To move forward, we looked back – classic ads, 1950s-70s lodge design and mid century typographic motifs drove our design decisions. For spatial design, it led us to lots of honest materials like cedar planks, natural leather, custom stained glass, Noguchi lights, breeze blocks, Malm fireplaces, Maharam fabrics as well as the reutilization of existing site materials. The identity design package was created to be as durable as the mountains themselves – iconic humanist typography paired with a clear set of national park-inspired iconography and mid-century super graphics. All are carefully applied to signage, collateral and products with a focus on heritage makers and methods. For the digital experience, we crafted a web and social interface that was authentic, dynamic and playful, with a retro look and future feel, to embody the physical experience online. Wunder Werkz complimented those elements with large format super graphics and a thoughtful signage package utilizing lightboxes, neon and screen printing.
A unique project deserves a unique outcome, one that is thoughtful, dynamic and cohesive across all brand touchpoints, which is what we strove for in A-Frame. The project is a response to its surroundings – it is at ease with both the mountains, forest and its own history and was designed to enhance the mountain experience by bringing a fun, stylish and thoughtful expression of our relationship to the outdoors. The outcome is both intentional and playful and by using enduring natural materials, production techniques and design palettes the project will patina and add its own unique alpine story as it ages.
As designers, Wunder Werkz was faced with a number of challenges: how do we utilize the existing site and structures to create something wholly new and how do we create a deep connection with nature and the history of skiing. Wunder Werkz worked across all elements –strategy and messaging, visual identity design, spatial and interior design, collateral and signage, social and web – to create a seamless love letter to the golden age of skiing. The brand work was a completely fresh start but the lodge was more utility than design in its original form. We reworked the floor plan, brought in light and added warmth with a full skin and refurnish. We kept the classic assets like a handmade bar and brought in elements like a triangular breeze block, wood ceilings, a new sunroom, custom built-in banquettes and vintage Malm fireplaces. These elements were complemented with a set of vintage furniture and taxidermy, including a Desede endless sofa. The space had to be warm and inviting but also hold up to the often blustery environment and slews of guests fresh from the slopes.
The secondary challenge was the digital persona of a brand that is inspired by the pre-digital age. Instagramabilty of space was important, but whenever possible we wanted an analog edge. For our work on the web, we created a custom design that feels classically editorial while enticing with plenty of subtle interactivity. Our scrapbook approach to social media was inspired by classic family vacations to the mountains. Finally, our space was crafted with a number of photo moments, from the super graphics to the vintage taxidermy, we wanted the experience to feel very analog and present while still being cognizant of the modern day.