This work was featured in VCU Brandcenter’s most recent volume of Sixty Magazine.
The ask: Design Bumble’s first ever brick and mortar retail experience.
The problem: There’s a gap between the brand’s identity and consumer perception.
The solution: A space that rounds brand perception by creating a women-first place to meet & connect.
Bumble began as an app on a mission to challenge the traditional rules of dating by empowering women to make the first move. Quickly, the brand evolved as users began to “hack” the app in search of platonic and professional relationships. In response, Bumble launched two additional platforms: BumbleBizz and BumbleBFF. Users can connect with each other within one app on a romantic, platonic, or professional level.
Although Bumble is a place to make empowered connections of all kinds, it’s only seen as a dating app.
Round out perceptions of the brand by launching a retail space that brings Bumble’s mission to life.
Bumble is the place where people meet.
Colony is a two-story building made up of three floors that each serve a different purpose: a coffee shop, co-working space, and rooftop bar. The 15,000 square foot building will be located at the Capital Waterfront in Washington, D.C. We chose to launch in this city because more than a third of its population is single, and the high amount of job opportunities make it a networking hotspot. Additionally, 72% of Capitol Riverfront residents are between the ages of 18-36, which aligns with our target demographic
The first floor of Colony is a coffee shop that’s open to the public, feels inviting, and serves as a place to meet and gather. Similar to BumbleBFF, the space is intended to encourage casual and friendly interactions with it’s communal tables, open floor layout, and sunken lounge. It’s designed to be versatile and features tables and chairs that can be easily moved to accommodate different groups. Everything about this space feels comfortable and playful, from conversation-starter coffee sleeves to ice-breaker cards for each table.
The second floor is a members-only, female co-working. Representative of BumbleBizz, this floor is all about professional networking. The floorplan balances a mix of open spaces and communal tables with smaller corridors for private calls. It features a kitchen, library, meeting rooms, stadium-style seating for speakers & events, and a dumbwaiter to deliver food from the café. Membership includes all day access, free entry to speakers and events, free classes like yoga or self-defense, and discounts to local businesses.
The third floor of Colony is a rooftop bar that’s open to the public. The purpose of this space is bring to life the fun and excitement of the OG Bumble app. It features a hexagon-shaped central bar, private seating for one-on-one chats, high top tables, group seating, and a projector for events.
Creating one space that encourages different kinds of relationship-building rounds out the perception of Bumble and demonstrates that the brand represents much more than online dating. Colony is a space to help women feel more comfortable making the first move in all aspects of their lives.
We threw a surprise launch party on the roof of Brandcenter after our pitch. Guests were greeted with an event host, photographers, a photo booth & swag table, and champagne. Like the space we designed, every detail was on-brand.
This project is one of my favorites because I got to work on a brand that I really believe in and feel passionate about. And when else will I escort my professors up to a rooftop surprise party while blasting Nicki Minaj?