The historic former St. Agnes Boys High School at 555 West End Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has been reconceived into 13 luxury condominiums with brand-new interiors. Pentagram designed the brand identity, marketing campaign and website for the building, working closely with Tamarkin Co., the architects and developers, and Stribling, the brokers.
The building’s previous life and outstanding Beaux-Arts architecture helped inspire the branding. Originally completed in 1908 in the English Collegiate Gothic style, the building is a landmark in the Riverside-West End Historic District, recognized for its handsome red-brick and limestone façade.
The brand identity centers on an owl motif, redrawn from one of the original carved stone elements on the restored exterior. Elegant and playful, the icon reflects the building’s impeccable craftsmanship and detailing and past as a private school. The wordmark is set in the chiseled serif Albertus. The identity’s key color is a rich, modern green that complements the red brick and evokes the leafy green of nearby Riverside Park.
The school-inspired concept carries through to the marketing campaign. A lavishly produced hardcover book introduces the building, supplemented with a series of five mini-books for each of the apartment types among the 13 residences. Each residence type is represented with its own insignia-like icon, creating a system of sub-brands within the project. The Pentagram designers created their own marbling patterns for the end papers of the book, a nod to the classic composition notebook with a black-and-white marble cover, as well as the luxurious finishes used in the apartment interiors. The team commissioned frequent collaborator David Leventi for evocative photography of the neighborhood.
The clean, classic look extends to the website design and advertising campaign. The team also developed promotional items inspired by school supplies, including boxed pencils and notebooks (complete with the marbling on their covers), as well as totes and pins.