BRAND VISION WORKSHOP • BRAND STRATEGY • BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN • COPYWRITING • ENVIRONMENTAL GRAPHICS • WEBSITE • VIDEO
Kansas City has been steadily becoming a more urban-focused city. Downtown living has become so popular that residential activity has migrated to what was once home to the bustling stockyards and warehouses directly west of downtown, aptly known as the West Bottoms.
Enter West Bottoms Flats. Made up of three buildings, Abernathy, Liberty and Wyoming are named after their historic streets and a company that once inhabited them in a previous life.
The revitalization of these derelict buildings into unique living spaces has been one of the more ambitious endeavors in this burgeoning neighborhood. It includes 265 apartments, 7 live/work spaces and 3 retail spaces, all of which retain many original architectural features while being brought up to date with a dramatic layering of 21st century design elements and amenities.
Working with BNIM, Willoughby developed a cohesive brand identity system that integrates throughout the signage system and property identities. The mark for each building bears a certain nostalgic flair to live on renovated buildings and a complimentary translation for marketing communications and digital to attract the attention of aspiring urban dwellers.
Along with the new brand identity, we created proprietary art for each building. The combination of shapes, colors and textures highlight the existing features and character of the West Bottoms as a gathering place for artists, adventurers and iconoclasts.
Each piece of art was created to be cropped to isolate a particular color palette or shape for each individual property.
As the buildings approached completeness, we were asked to create a multi-purpose video to promote the properties beginning with social media and the website. Our first inspiration was to showcase the amazing living spaces as well as the surrounding quirky and highly desirable neighborhood.
But there were a few obstacles…
This was Spring 2020.
The early days of the first global pandemic in a century.
Our buildings weren’t finished enough to actually show interiors.
The neighborhood was on lockdown.
We called Austin Walsh, video auteur, and his magic making team to assemble friends, family and other living creatures to hop down to the Bottoms and have some socially distant fun. He managed to work around an almost deserted neighborhood, added a bit of stock footage and made it look like it was a Saturday in 2019.
We layered the script and other graphic elements onto the footage to appeal to urban pioneers, first in liners and coffee mainliners. Then enlisted local band, Slim Hanson & the Poor Choices, to add a final layer of KC authenticity.
Dating back to 1880 with additions in 1890, 1900 and 1905, Abernathy is diverse in structure, ornamentation and orientation with original wood timbers, decorative arched windows, and interior lighted courts. Kitchens feature gloss white cabinets, quartz countertops and white subway tile against existing painted brick. Blackened luxury vinyl tile flooring creates a dramatic but comfortable vibe. Some units also have tin ceilings with arched windows.
Built in 1900, this turn of the century building has unique features only found in historic structures. High windows and elevated living rooms let in the sun and reflect onto reclaimed wood. Liberty units have warm grey quartz countertops, grey subway tile backsplash and grey luxury vinyl tile for a concrete look to complement the painted brick.
Built in 1904, with an addition in 1910, Wyoming is a sturdy concrete building with large windows, open spaces and lots of light. Units feature whitewashed wood, grey quartz countertops and penny round tile in the bathrooms while also retaining existing concrete floors and painted brick walls.