An Adirondack Love Affair
With family ties to the region dating back almost 100 years, our client, The Roedel Companies recognized the importance of this this legendary grand hotel. Alongside them, Korn Design worked to shepherd the return of an icon, preserving the glorious historic grandeur while creating a luxurious destination for “explorers.”
Working together with a stellar team of architects, designers, historians, and residents, our goal was to translate the vivid memories of Hotel Saranac as the local heartbeat, unleashing a brand that celebrated the hotel as a community pillar and town host. This required reframing this storied place in a modern way so it could reassume its role as the epicenter of the magical Adirondacks town of Saranac Lake. Drawing inspiration from both classic influences and inspired Adirondack references we crafted a logo that feels both fresh and reverent, a timeless mark.
From here, we homed in on adventure as part of the hotel’s magnetic appeal: the art of exploring is defined here in all its many forms, beyond just the obvious natural environs – creative dining, artful drinking, cultural dives, social mingling, outer explorations, inner reflections – a base-camp for wherever the journey leads. We set a motto for the rebranding – “Explorers Welcome” – which mimics and elevates everything that the Adirondack experience is about.
The Korn adventure in bringing Hotel Saranac to life spanned over three years and included multiple excursions, in all four seasons, up to Lake Saranac. Photographer, Conor Doherty, brilliantly captured the essence of a magical getaway to this quintessential Adirondack region through his lifestyle images for the property. Spearheaded by partner Javier Cortés, Korn’s role reached into every corner of the historic reinvention. Drawing from the Great Hall – its palazzo-inspired design a replica of the 14th-century Davanzati Palace in Florence – we took from ornately painted beams featuring icons from the region, including geese, hare and fish, reinterpreting them as vintage-inspired posters framed as guestroom art that we created with illustrator Chris Caldwell.
We rekindled the concept of the original hotel’s shopping arcade as a new street level retail shopping promenade, reimagining it as a modern variety store offering twelve distinct mini-boutiques within, and named it Academy + Main after the historic street corner on which it is located. We also set the vision for the gift shop to ensure that the goods sold were special and local, and very much of their place and tied to the idea of exploration. Korn brought in retail consultants, Brian Schnetzer and Gary Briggs of Aunt Sadie’s, to work within the property’s universal brand experience – which Korn established – and to curate the shop’s product offerings.
The new spa, which Korn named Ampersand after one of the area’s famous seven peaks, debuts with indigenous spa treatments and lavish services, while Campfire Adirondack Grill + Bar, the feature restaurant, offers a clever nod to the camp cooks who fueled the poets and philosophers who called these parts their summer home. Everywhere, the fusion of old and new, local and cosmopolitan, is a signature of the holistic hotel brand Korn envisioned – an irresistible gathering place.
We are excited to share 25 pivotal projects, partnerships and creative moments with you over the next six months. Subscribe to our Newsletter to get monthly updates of our 25 years of projects. Follow us on Instagram to see more behind the scenes at Korn over the last 25 years!