Creating a new destination brand for the world's oldest Chinatown


One Binondo

Project Type

Brand Creation and Management
Marketing Communications
Brand Strategy
Brand Research
Brand Naming and Writing
Brand Identity Design
Brand Management


Property Development

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Binondo was founded in 1594 and is the world’s oldest Chinatown. It was an important area for trade in Manila, and was very prosperous until the 20th century. Formerly enjoyed by many, the area is now perceived as disorderly and outdated despite several significant changes over the years. This was until one of the country’s leading mall developers, Filinvest, saw the potential of Binondo and wished to sustain its legacy and cultural heritage by creating a new brand image in the heart of the world’s oldest Chinatown.


Filinvest asked Base Creative to develop a cohesive brand strategy and identity system to brand the development as a picture postcard image of Chinatown. The challenge was to combine elegant living, hospitality, shopping and business to create a unique experience for visitors, businesses and residents alike. The image needed to become the catalyst for transformation of the area and to rekindle the glory days of downtown Binondo as the most urbanized and commercialized part of Manila, yet still remain relevant to the market’s everyday needs.

Base Creative helped One Binondo to create a new centre of diversity, prestige and prosperity.

Business Strategy

One Binondo’s site in the traditional heart of Metro Manila offered Filinvest a unique opportunity to spearhead the regeneration of a once prosperous area after years of decline. The aim was to produce a development which would attract businesses and visitors by offering contemporary standards of comfort and convenience while paying homage to the district’s distinctive heritage as Manila’s historic commercial centre and the world’s oldest Chinatown.

Branding Insight

We worked with Filinvest to develop a brand strategy and brand identity which would incorporate both the concept of modern progress and the area’s traditional Chinese cultural heritage. The result establishes a template for restoring Binondo to its historic position as both the commercial heart of the metropolis and the home territory of the Philippines’ Chinese community, making it attractive to both local and overseas audiences as a desirable place to visit, work and live in.

One of the key success factors in bringing the Brand DNA to life is collaboration – being able to exchange ideas and issues on the project in the most effective way. That’s why at the project’s inception Base Creative worked closely with Fillinvest in a series of brand workshops to help build the Brand DNA, the foundation of everything the brand stands for.

Based on the results of the workshops and research, we formulated the core values and structure of the Brand DNA, “prosperity, heritage and progress”, which informed the identity and visual design of the brand.

The main challenge was not only to bring prosperity, whether by business or tourism, to the place, but also to revitalize and reflect the deep-seated heritage of Chinatown.

Informed by the brand DNA, Base Creative created an encompassing design framework that combines elements of elegant living, hospitality, shopping and business while upholding its Chinese heritage.

The project is a mix of residential, micro-mall, office and hotel. The main brand needed to maintain its heritage positioning, while its sub-brands are also related to the main brand’s key value of prosperity.

As a result the coin-and-ribbon symbol was incorporated in all of the brands by levels of prominence, keeping consistency and leveraging brand equities throughout the architecture.

As the initial positioning was not adequate to differentiate the project within the highly cluttered marketplace, we needed to distil it down to a consumer-facing and relevant personality – forward looking, confident and positive.

Gathering customers’ insights from qualitative research, Base Creative analyzed shopper’s habits, which in turn outlined factors that can reflect the brand’s personality, including ease of navigation, operational efficiencies, product placement, and a dynamic retail and F&B mix.

Working with an overseas client presented us with several challenges to ensure consistency and faster communication between teams. Besides the quality of design work we were committed to, our account servicing team was dedicated to providing a seamless working experience for the client across all boards.

Base Creative deployed an online branding platform, from which the client could download the brand guidelines, templates, reports and tools from a cloud server all in one place. Teams would also receive notification if there were updates, ensuring faster, more effective communication.

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