Beg, borrow and steal

A story about one of our original Hotel Hotel collaborators, Round.

Aussen Alster Hotel, Martin Kippenberger, 1989

(1 of 2) Aussen Alster Hotel, Martin Kippenberger, 1989

Kastens Hotel Luisenhof, Martin Kippenberger, 1989

(2 of 2) Kastens Hotel Luisenhof, Martin Kippenberger, 1989

The only truly sustainable product is the one that doesn’t exist…That was the starting point to the ethos that has shaped the branding exercise that Round came up with for Hotel Hotel – beg, borrow and steal.

The idea matches our ideal of a more environmentally sustainable way of doing things. Round’s idea was to source (read beg) existing disused or excess hotel materials from hotels around the world. From hotel menus, hotel writing pads, bar coasters, letterheads and envelopes…even going so far as to hijack (read steal) online advertisements and overlaying them with the Hotel Hotel branding. A grand vision of begging, borrowing, and stealing for the sake of reusing materials rather than making new ones.

Beautifully, the idea also mirrors an art series produced by Martin Kippenberger, hard-partying German artist who did a series of drawings in the 80s and 90s on hotel stationery that he and his friends collected during their hotel stays. The work is compiled in an aptly named (and proving that things that have been thought have always been thought before) book called… Hotel Hotel. And a second book called; wait for it… Hotel Hotel Hotel. Hotel Hotel (us) was not named after Hotel Hotel (the book book) but we are loving the synchronicity.

It was a bold, bold idea. And the execution proved difficult.

It was imagined that hotels around the world would give us their old stock and let us stamp it with the Hotel Hotel insignia. The problem is sometimes when you borrow people’s stuff and use it for your own purpose; it won’t come back looking the same as when they gave it to you. And this worries people, understandably. So far, we haven’t found any hotels in Australia that are up for it.

The insignia toolkit is made up of ten stamps, a wax seal, a die cut tool and an embossing tool. These tools let reception and concierge be the ones that execute the branding.

So people ready for action but no paper.

What’s the next best solution? To use out of stock paper from paper suppliers destined for the incinerator. Not just any stock would do however, going back to the initial ideals of environmental sustainability it had to be recycled stock so as not to create a perceived demand for any kind of un-recycled paper stock.

Success. The dead stock has been printed with our artist in residence Lee Grant’s photography, on a risograph printer (wielded by Xavier of Dawn Press), with all of the lovely imperfections that a riso provides.


Making Hotel Hotel – Stories about the people and ideas that made Hotel Hotel. There were many. It was messy. Good messy.

Date 23 Mar, 2017
People Round
Category ↳ Design
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