Opened in November of 2013, The Battery is a 58,000-square foot, five-story private club located on Battery Street in San Francisco, CA. Created by tech entrepreneurs (and millionaires) Xochi and Michael Birch, who sold their company, Bebo, to AOL for $850 million in 2008, the club features five bars, a restaurant (called 717B), a 3,000 bottle wine cellar, a library, a game room, fourteen luxury hotel suites, a gym, a spa, and a 20-person hot tub. It has its own art program with a curator. Membership costs $2,400 and you must be nominated by an existing member and pass a committee review. The New York Times has more on the extravagances that the steep price affords you and the kind of crowd you can expect — “You can’t just have tech people because those conversations get boring.” While the interiors were designed by exuberant event designer and interior decorator, Ken Fulk (who is also reported as the club’s Creative Director), the identity and materials for the whole experience have been designed by local firm MM. They have a 2-part project gallery on their website.
MM crafted the entire brand experience for the club including the brand identity, all collateral (for the hotel, club and restaurant) with member cards, member kits, staff uniforms, umbrellas, signage, member invitations, luggage tags, custom playing cards and the entire restaurant experience. They directed all photography and created the way-finding signage. Furthermore, MM wrote and created The Battery Customs handbook and Musto Times newspaper, and will continue to be the stewards of the brand moving forward with new ideas to help tell the narrative through various media.
There is no denying or questioning the opulence of the place. My guess is most of you are as irritated as I am by the pretentiousness of it — which further entrenches the perception of the tech crowd as out-of-touch, rich windbags. (Apologies to the 1% of our readership who might fall under this classification). But once you are able to accept the fact that this place exists, is real, and that people in there actually say things like “I have my finger on the pulse,” then you will be able to appreciate what a stunning identity and amazingly produced range of materials have been created for it.
The logo has a great secret society-meets-luxury-fashion-brand aesthetic to it with its exaggerated serifs and stencil approach. That “A” is to die for. The widowed “Y” is a little weird, but it goes along with the overall quirk of the identity. From here on down it just gets more decadent.
“Our material choices and printing techniques were deliberate and ranged from very tactile letterpress to laser etching in wood,” said Markatos, Co-Creative Director of MM. “We set out to embody the special characteristics, the ingredients, of The Battery in every detail of our design.”
It’s impossible to deny the aesthetic appeal and production quality of all these pieces or dismiss them as just being toys for the rich. But the rich and things for the rich don’t always equal taste — see anything Trump. MM has created an exquisitely-crafted visual language that has sophistication, panache, and flexibility to keep the 1,200-plus members satiated among the five-story playground.