UK consultancies work on luxury town in Montenegro

A new luxury coastal town and yachting marina in the Mediterranean country of Montenegro has appointed Holmes Wood, Light Bureau and other UK-based designers to work on its branding and masterplan.

Porto Montenegro, which is owned by a group of international business people led by Canadian Peter Munk, appointed Holmes Wood to create its wayfinding and graphics, as well as to develop its brand strategy, in January, following a credentials pitch against three other UK-based groups.

Once built, Porto Montenegro, which neighbours Tivat, will feature berths for 650 yachts, a waterfront ’village’ with market square, apartments, a boutique hotel, a casino, a conference centre, an art gallery, a museum, a sports complex, offices and 10 000m2 of retail space. Seeking to compete with Monaco, Porto Montenegro has briefed Holmes Wood to create graphics and a wayfinding masterplan that is ’more Frank Sinatra than Michael Bublé’, says the consultancy’s director Lucy Holmes.

’The client said that the look and feel of the town is meant to be original and classic, rather than singing old songs now. The materials we will use for wayfinding and signage, including stone and cast iron, will reflect this’, says Holmes.

The consultancy is also designing livery for the town’s buggies, and may create uniforms for the gym and marina staff. ’The main Montenegro branding [created by Pentagram] is black, white and gold, but we have produced a palette of blue/greys to soften the uniforms, as black-and -white does not work particularly well in the sunshine,’ says Holmes.

As well as designing an information kiosk, creating shop frontages also comes under Holmes Wood’s remit. ’The one thing we are really trying to balance is the idea that people should be very aware that they are in Porto Montenegro without the town feeling Disneyland-ish,’ explains Holmes.

’We want to match the aesthetics to the environment of the town, so that if we have a row of shops, each sign will be different, the personality of the shop should show through, and it can be a bit higgledy-piggledy, as that is more real,’ she adds. The consultancy is working closely withLight Bureau on lighting schemes for the retail facades.

Retailers won’t be allowed to use illuminated lightbox frontages to their shops. ’We don’t want the shops to look like a retail strip in Disneyland’, says Holmes.

Porto Montenegro appointed Light Bureau in July following a creative pitch. The group joins UK-based architect Reardon Smith, landscape designer Martin Lane Fox and interior designer Tino Zervudachi on the project.

The initial phase of the project completes in June with the opening of the first residential block and 200 berths. Holmes Wood is also developing a brand book detailing illustration and photography styles.

Design crew

Holmes Wood – creating a wayfinding masterplan, a sign family, mapping and information graphics, as well as developing the existing brandstrategy

Light Bureau – lighting design

Tino Zervudachi – interior design

Reardon Smith – architecture

Martin Lane Fox – landscape, garden and environmental design

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