Editor Hamish Kilburn cuts through the greenwashing noise to look back at the projects, products and people that defined a new era of sustainability in hotel design and hospitality this year…
Have we finally entered into an era where greenwashing has been erased and bold, meaningful products and projects are stealing the limelight? Some would argue that we have a way to go, but 2022 has certainly seen progressive signs of imaginative ways to shelter conscious hotel design and hospitality beyond introducing plastic straws and removing disposable miniatures in the bathrooms.
After watching closely to see how and where the industry has evolved over the last 12 months, here’s our edit on who and what defined ‘sustainability‘ in 2022.
room2 Chiswick – the world’s first net-zero hometel
Winning Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2022, Robert Godwin’s vision of room2 Chiswick has completely changed the game in conscious hospitality by being the world’s first net-zero hometel. Now, when we hear claims like these, we want to see the data. Well, here it is. The hotel uses 89 per cent less energy compared to other hotels by rolling out various sustainability initiatives, including solar panels and a zero-waste policy – think three-in-one recycling bins – to ensure that 100 per cent of waste is recycled or converted into energy off-site.
Meanwhile, ultra-energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors across the building, and ground source heat pumps are other noteworthy features that add to this hometel’s list of impressive green credentials. The hotel has even invested in a blue roof drainage system which can hold up to 50,000 litres of rainwater to reduce localised flooding and a green roof with soil and wildflowers to increase biodiversity and absorb CO2.
The future for Lamington Group, which owns room2, is looking greener after the brand announced that it will open three more net-zero hotels between now and 2026, in York, Glasgow and Manchester. room2, step forward and take a bow!
The William – designed by Foster + Partners as London’s largest timber development
The William, a mixed-use development building that will be opposite the building that will shelter London’s first Six Senses hotel and spa, has just been granted planning approval. Designed by Foster + Partners, which worked closely with Westminster City Council and local residents, the building is set to help ‘transform’ the northern end of Queensway in Bayswater, London.
The renders that the London-based architecture studio has released show a large, timber-framed building positioned the high street. As well as the innovative use to natural materials, the entire building has been designed smartly to shelter a deep and conscious design narrative. Patrick Campbell, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners believed it sets a new standard for ‘the next generation’ of low-carbon, healthy office buildings. “The William provides natural ventilation, great daylight, flexible floorplates and green terraces – all within a high-performance façade and a hybrid timber structure. We are now looking forward to bringing our designs to life.”
LEVENverse – is there anything more sustainable than the metaverse?
We are moments away from exploring LEVEN’s first hotel in the metaverse, which is billed to ‘shelter’ a creative and social space that evokes a new sense of wellbeing. It all sounds rather far-fetched, right? But given the noise around virtual social spaces becoming harder to ignore, we thought we would give this concept a chance, so we spoke to the brand’s Co-Founder, Joshua Senior, to help put it all into perspective. “As the Metaverse evolves from a sci-fi concept into a reality, every industry disrupted by the digital era will feel its impact,” he said. “We believe the potential for creative hospitality brands is limitless and in building the LEVENverse we will be one of the first lifestyle brands to blaze a digital trail in the early Metaverse. We have some exciting partners lined up as we connect our real life space with the online, and create a digital amenity space for our customers. We’re excited to push traditional boundaries, bring the LEVEN brand to new audiences and explore the opportunities the digital future holds.”
Villeroy & Boch – TwistFlush
We were not expecting this article go to ‘toilet talk’ so soon, but ignore the TwistFlush technology from Villeroy & Boch at your peril. The easy-to-clean TwistFlush toilet requires only 4.5 litres for a large flush and a mere three litres for a small one. And as the flush is so powerful, one flush is usually sufficient.
Moreover, the patent-pending flushing technology far exceeds standard requirements, with the controlled water vortex generating a very strong pull in a conic bowl. It reaches almost all of the inside of the toilet bowl while well and truly carrying waste away. The controlled vortex power deploys the flushing water exactly where it is needed. This reliably prevents spray and significantly reduces the formation of aerosols. Another advantage putting the TwistFlush ahead of the pack, is that it is significantly quieter than a standard flush.
Six Senses Svart – world’s first energy-positive hotel
On the podcast, DESIGN POD, Ivaylo Lefterov gave us an insight into the project that has raised more questions than answers over the last few years. Not bad questions, I hasten to add, but more sparking intrigue as to how the ambitious concept to develop a luxury hotel that, as well as being located the foot of a glacier in Norway, is also going to be the ‘world’s first energy-positive hotel’ will become a reality.
Designed structurally by Snøhetta, the 94-key Six Senses Svart will combine a futuristic design, led by interior design studio, Space Copenhagen, and technological innovation with earthy, organic materials that will use the latest embedded energy. The hotel, which will be poised on poles above the crystal-clear waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord, at the base of a glacier, aims to raise awareness of the possibilities of regenerative travel and the importance of the polar region, in partnership with the local community.
BOOST NATURAL – a new standard in concrete
Boost Natural, designed in partnership with Matteo Brioni and Atlas Concorde, is a collection of porcelain floor tiles made from raw earth materials. Inspired by the irregular textures and dusty colours of raw earth surfaces, the collection is directly about introducing elements of nature into surface design in a contemporary way. It responds to the demand we are seeing for natural and tactile imperfections in surface design, being driven by the ever changing expectations of clients across design sectors.
GROHE – it’s in its DNA
Hearing about innovative sustainable innovations from bathroom brands is nothing new – in many ways, the bathroom manufacturing sector is leading the way to come up with thoughtful ways we, as consumers, can use less water without drastically changing our wellness habits and demands. However, for one brand in particular sustainability has always been – in line with aesthetics and functionality – a pillar when it comes to research, development and product design.
As a result, we were not surprised when GROHE became the winner of The Circular Economy award at the Sustainability Awards 2022 for its on-going campaigns, product development and research into initiatives that support with global issues around circularity, sustainability, and education with the view to create a positive impact globally, which this year has been driven largely by achieving the highest Cradle to Cradle standards.
This month, Hotel Designs is taking a look back at the latest projects, people and products that have stood out over the last 12 months. The ‘Year in Review’ series will comprise of articles that will drop weekly, which will explore innovations in bathroom, lighting, surface design and general hotel concepts that have changed the game in hotel design. To catch these – and to keep up to date with all the latest news and features – subscribe to the newsletter.
Main image credit: Foster + Partners