Episode 23: understanding ‘lean luxury’ in hotel design

Episode 23 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, Editor Hamish Kilburn welcomes Matthew Balon, Head of Design at Ruby Hotels, to explore the emerging concept of ‘lean luxury’ of which the brand is built on…

Matthew Balon DESIGN POD

In episode 23 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, Editor Hamish Kilburn has changed his approach. Instead of interviewing an independent designer or architect – or one from a leading international design firm – he has deliberately invited a designer whose role it is to work within a hotel group to ensure that each property shelters its own unique narrative while also feeling connected to the other hotels within the portfolio.

Ruby Hotels, no stranger to Hotel Designs with its strong European and London presence, has an interesting take on ‘luxury‘. The brand’s philosophy of offering what it describes as ‘lean luxury’ is all about being smart with space, streamlining and digitising systems – and doing away with the things you don’t need, all while ensuring the guest experience remains seamless.

In charge of ensuring the design and hospitality concept of ‘lean luxury’ is met within each hotel is Matthew Balon, Head of Design at Ruby Hotels. In this special episode, Kilburn speaks to the designer to understand what this looks and more importantly feels like.

> Keep listening (below) to hear about the pair’s hilarious and somewhat awkward first encounter, when Kilburn and Balon met the morning after the night before Ruby Leni’s grand opening party in Düsserldorf, Germany.

Balon, who joins the podcast (from bed) inside one of Ruby’s many hotels around Europe, gives the listeners of DESIGN POD an insight – a window into the hotel, if you like – into how he approaches each project he works on – from public areas to guestroom details and check-in experiences – so that each property shelters its own fun and quirky personality.

With a lean organisational structure and concentration on the essentials, Ruby Hotels succeeds in creating a contemporary, affordable form of luxury for modern, cost and style-conscious customers. Founded in 2013, the Group already operates thirteen Ruby hotels, with a further 22 hotels under construction or in the planning phase. Ruby is expanding into Asia with the joint venture Ruby Asia, founded in 2018. Ruby also offers Ruby Workspaces in Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf.

Main image credit: DESIGN POD