A £600m name that no-one will ever know.
DAMAC, the Dubai-based property company, has been in the news lately as it has appointed Australia’s Lendlease to build the high rise property, now known as Aykon London One, on the site in Nine Elms Battersea London. The interiors of the 50-storey building have been designed by Versace and the offices and residential apartments facing the river Thames were snapped up in pre-sales. If you watch the compelling CGI (computer-generated imagery) video tour, you will understand why.
As with many high rise buildings affecting the London skyline, the architecture is controversial and the building with its asymmetric design (by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates) has been nicknamed the Jenga Tower by locals and the media. However, before Aykon London One and Jenga, the project was known as New Bondway, a brand name and identity developed by Grain.
As a naming agency that specialises in property brand development, we’re obviously disappointed that the name we created will not be the one carved in marble at the front entrance when the building is complete. However, our clients, the initial investors, McLaren Properties and Citygrove, were delighted first when planning permission was gained and then when the site was sold to DAMAC for a reported £600m.
Throughout that process the initial investors needed a name that announced a new era for Bondway (the street name where the development site is located) and the surrounding area, but most importantly for planning purposes, which did not alienate the local community. This had the potential to be a controversial development, with planning permission turned down once already, so every aspect of communication had to be thought through in detail. The naming process carefully researched the impact of the name on the planning process for both the local community and the planners in Lambeth council.
Having won planning permission, the image of understated luxury used for marketing New Bondway was originally designed to appeal to the broad cross-section of people and businesses that would use the building for housing, offices and retail. But in the end the target market became just one company, DAMAC, and who knows, maybe with a different, slightly less prestigious name, they would have paid a few million less! From our clients’ point of view this was a highly successful enterprise, with the £600m price tag for New Bondway. So after the deal was signed the world can call it New Bondway, Aykon London One or the Jenga Tower and they will still be very happy!