Developing a Branded Student Hive
Imagine being 20-years-old and ordering room service for dinner while cramming in a last-minute study session before your Cognitive Neuroscience exam tomorrow. After dinner, you take a break from studying to clear your head at your fully-equipped fitness center and then cool off with your friends and neighbors on the terrace. Sounds like you’re on vacation, right? Except you’re at school, living at Artu’ Viale, a newly constructed contemporary-lifestyle student housing building that is “Defiantly Different”.
authors: Meagen Helmlinger & Christine Sweet
Studio OAX, Manhattan-based brand and PR agency, was brought onboard by the commercial real estate developer AB Capstone to facilitate the creation of a comprehensive branded living experience for their student housing project Artu’ Viale in the Bronx, NY.
Paying tribute to the historic Bronx neighborhood of Belmont, known as the “real Little Italy of New York”, AB Capstone named the building Artu’ Viale, translating to “Arthur Avenue” in Italian.
It may be the first of its kind in the Bronx, but the private premium student housing movement has been booming across the country over recent years, fueled by hyper-social and technologically-driven Millennials and Generation Zs. The 2016 Colliers International Student Housing National Report exemplified this trend, showcased by exponential growth in private housing with over a 60% increase in year over year total sales volume from 2015.
The exclusivity of these buildings, constructed just for students, oftentimes decreases the availability of affordable housing for existing residents and their families. Not to mention, these modern student housing complexes are putting the pressure of competition on university-owned housing by attracting students with cutting-edge facilities and curated designer furnishings while maintaining the level of security parents look for. There is a social responsibility for the developer and residents of Artu’ Viale, and future buildings akin, to appreciate the local community’s framework and to be cognitive of the social and economic impact on the local community’s framework.
The honeycomb-inspired brand identity by Studio OAX creative director Petr Dubecky, reflected in hexagon design features throughout the building and communication materials, stimulates the idea of an open student community as a living hive. This 360-degree lifestyle concept uplifts students to connect and integrate themselves into the framework of the local Belmont community.
The application of the hive concept begins with the meticulously hand-laid pattern of hexagon tiled carpeting from Shaw Contracts, complemented by custom-designed navigation signage. Each floor is accented with a designated color. Whether one is stumbling in from a late night out or just trying to find their friend’s apartment floor, the simplicity in an exclusive color on each floor enables a universal visual orientation throughout the building.
Each floor is adorned with large-scale typography of self-empowering social-media-inspired taglines that are relatable to the students and influence them to project their personal goals and incite socialization. These community-building taglines connect with the students and give the space personality. They not only served as a distinct tool to tie the interior space and community together, but were strategically placed on key marketing materials to correlate with messaging and informational details. Studio OAX marketing director, Christine Sweet, sought to ensure that the renter’s journey was led by one unified voice with seamless brand immersion, beginning with sales kits to street banners, to the final touch point of receiving a welcome kit and unlocking the tagged door of your apartment.
Studio OAX paid keen attention to motivate involvement and social responsibility within the residents of Artu’ Viale. Addressing local gentrification concerns, an illustrative Artu’ Viale map was distributed to inspire a mindset among students to learn about Belmont’s rich history, get involved in the community and shop locally.
Having been received with great enthusiasm, AB Capstone has broken ground on the next building in the Artu’ Viale series of student housing; ushering in a new era of student housing and localized community members.