The revamped identity and historic murals of Hotel 1231 in Toruń, Poland, are perfectly in line with the boutique hotel’s past. After all, it’s no coincidence that the four-star hotel chose the name 1231: this was the year in which the Knights of the Teutonic Order founded the settlement on the banks of the Vistula River, and so today’s Toruń was born. This is the story that Kolektyf studio’s graphics and pictograms tell us.
The hotel lies in the heart of the Old Town, on a site that once belonged to the Teutonic Castle. The older part is the restored 13th-century castle mill, while the new part—the focus of this project—is the 14th-century building where knights were treated for illnesses and battle wounds. The two parts of the building are connected by an underground corridor, where they created a mural exhibition, which presents excerpts from “The Chronicle of the Prussian Land.” The exhibition also features a meticulous reproduction of the medieval coat of arms of Toruń and the city seal.
They started the design process by looking through Toruń’s libraries and studying medieval manuscripts and Gothic buildings from the same period. The inspiration for the graphics and the motifs woven into the wayfinding system came from architectural details such as window rosettes and ornamental façades. Some drawings also depict herbs, doctors and patients. Among them, we can find extracts from Latin writings describing the secrets of ancient medicine.
The neon decorations of the hotel’s 1410 cinema and the Gin o’clock bar were also designed by Kolektyf. Near the entrance to the theatre, named after the Battle of Grünwald, is a fragment of another authentic document—the 1411 Peace Treaty of Truenoń, which ended the war between the Teutonic Order and Poland and Lithuania. The studio was also responsible for designing the pictograms and the new logo, which drew inspiration from the Gothic details of Toruń’s monuments, and the logo was aligned with the overall visual identity.