In 2016 I began a meaningful side project. I started a company with a handful of partners from diverse disciplines to build a modern alpine town in Lake Tahoe, in an area called Donner Summit.
In order to attract people to this small pocket of exquisite beauty and endless adventure, we had to make Donner Summit a location in and of itself.
Working with local community organizations and the state of California, I created a brand for Donner Summit.
The identity references the mountains and lakes which are plentiful on the summit, with the centerpiece being the iconic rainbow bridge which spans two sheer rock faces just above Donner Lake.
Donner Summit is home to endless hiking and biking trails, numerous sheer rock walls used by avid climbers, four stunning alpine lakes, and four ski resorts with the highest annual snowfall in California. It’s a place of limitless adventure.
We created a visual language for these activities as “adventure badges.” The badges would be used to give the area a comprehensive visual identity to be carried across road signage, maps, way finding, and as stickers for social media posts.
And, of course we created Donner Summit swag to raise the profile and visibility of the area, and bring additional commerce in the region.
We then developed a Donner Summit site to make it easy for people to visit Donner Summit. Organized around the various adventures on Donner Summit, the site answers simple questions. What is Donner Summit? What can I do there? How do I get there? Where do I stay? And what’s the history of the area? It also contains a constantly updated list of local events and festivals.
Part of the planning for Donner Summit is establishing architectural and visual standards for the area.
Those standards are developed and laid out through the construction of our own properties on the Summit, and through partnering with notable architecture firms from Oslo, Stockholm and San Francisco.
Our development efforts have centered on building modern Scandinavian structures which blend into, rather than dominate, the landscape.
At every turn we aim to bring the natural landscape indoors through the use of large windows, free flowing spaces, and materials native to the surrounding environment. The result has been an interplay of the indoors and outdoors which creates harmony between the natural and manufactured worlds, and a seamless mental transition between public and private spaces.
This page is updated frequently as the project progresses, so keep checking back.