The final episode of series four of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Geberit, welcomes John Williams, Founding Director of SpaceInvader Design, to discuss creating meaningful, unconventional narratives in design…
Meet John Williams, an interior designer based in Manchester who is the Founding Director of SpaceInvader Design, a studio with a single-minded purpose: to transform the way organisations use space and motivate people through their environment.
With this approach, John and his team have created some impressive – and unconventional – design narratives, which Editor Hamish Kilburn explores on this episode of DESIGN POD.
Episode 31: design through a filmmaker’s lens (Dereck Joubert)
In episode 31 of DESIGN POD, Editor Hamish Kilburn strips back the layers to understand how two National Geographic wildlife filmmakers and photographers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, have designed luxury safari camps in harmony with the natural world…
Welcome to Africa, where nature unapologetically rules! In episode 31 of DESIGN POD, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Dereck Joubert, a wildlife photographer and filmmaker who for his whole life, while working with the likes of National Geographic, has campaigned to protect wildlife conservation in Africa.
To part-fund his and his wife Beverly’s selfless journey, they created Great Plains, a cluster of luxury safari camps dotted across the continent. But these aren’t just any camps. Each one tells a different story through design and has its own raw personality.
The considered approach at the start of each development always starts the same; with Dereck and Beverly camping out under the stars, exposed to the elements, in order to take conscious steps to ensure that each property, deliberately designed to feel ‘semi-permanent’ – works with and not just in nature’s spectacular setting. “The way we design was to limit impact on environment,” Dereck says. “I also wanted to convey a sense on impermanence. I wanted to give a sense that we, all of our guests are temporary here. We are here for a moment. We are visitors to landscapes like this.”
Redefining luxury through the filmmaker’s lens, Dereck and Beverly’s social approach to luxury travel has resulted in Great Plains African safari experiences in Botswana, Kenya and now Zimbabwe. And it doesn’t stop there. The husband-and-wife team are committed not only to wildlife conservation in Africa, but, through many charities and initiatives launched and nurtured by Dereck and Beverly themselves, they also work tirelessly to offer and promote equal opportunities for those living and working in and around their camps. This took on a whole new meaning after one incident, sensitively explored on the podcast episode, that Beverly fighting for her life in hospital.
Episode 30: Design in the metaverse (Pallavi Dean)
In episode 30 of DESIGN POD, the design podcast for all architecture and design enthusiasts, editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Pallavi Dean, Founder of Roar, about interior design and hospitality in the metaverse…
The metaverse will not replace the human-centric nature of physical hospitality and design. This is the overarching message from episode 30 of DESIGN POD. The design and architecture podcast, sponsored by Geberit and fuelled by progressive conversations, entered uncharted territory when it welcomed Dubai-based interior designer Pallavi Dean as a special guest to explore design’s role in the metaverse.
Dean, who when this episode was recorded had purchased four plots in the metaverse, is among a cluster of designers who are exploring how a connected virtual universe can allow brands to explore new facets of their personalities in a safe space where there is no such thing as coordinates, timezones or gravity for that matter.
Listen to the full episode here:
The special episode of DESIGN POD touches on what designers should consider when purchasing and designing property in the metaverse, from crypto wallets to accepting virtual commodities. Beyond the practical elements of entering this new chapter where technology and hospitality collide, the episode also futuregazes towards the idea of guidelines and rules – like building regulations, for example – reflected in virtual worlds.
Throwing it back to concepts we have come to understand, the episode also explores how the theory of the ‘democratisation of everything’ – first discussed with technology expert Jason Bradbury on an early episode of DESIGN POD that, in simple terms, suggests that social media and technology is allowing everyone to have a platform – will evolve outside the world we recognise today.
Taking the VR headset off for a minute, Kilburn and Dean also discuss how Roar has evolved since 2013, discussing some of the milestone projects the interior designer has undertaken in the real world, and why Architectural Digest described it as, ‘one of the hottest boutique design companies in the UAE’.
Episode 25: capturing a deeper sense of wellness (Karen Stonely)
In episode 25 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, Editor Hamish Kilburn, host of the podcast for design and architecture enthusiasts, meets Karen Stonely, Co-Founder of SPAN Architecture, to understand how she and her team capture wellness and wellbeing in design and architecture…
Meet Karen Stonely, an artist, designer, architect and the Co-Founder of SPAN Architecture, a New York-based studio that aims to create wellness and wellbeing experiences in all landscapes.
This episode of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, explores wellness in design through unconventional materiality, evoking unconventional sense of place and calling out ‘wellwashing’ in hotel and hospitality design. To do this, Kilburn understand’s Stonely’s unique approach to designing projects. “We’re looking at getting the most out of a place and an experience,” Stonely explains. “We want our design work to be a gift of the place that heightens your experience.”
One project, in particular, that cleverly captures a new and perhaps surprising meaning of wellness in its location, Times Square in Manhattan, is Hyatt Centric Times Square; a project that is best described as ‘nature revealed in neon’. One of the biggest challenges for the team at SPAN Architecture was to take natural forms – elements from the parks of New York City (lungs of the city) back to their fractured essence – and rethink how they could become geometricised in an urban format. Working in a holistic and layered manner, soon strategies emerged that contributed to the one-off spatial experiences; an adaptation of nature lying between the natural and artificial.
The other case study explored in the episode is August Moon, a completely different hospitality experience, in contrast, that is expressed as a ‘secret escape from the city’; a private waterfront retreat that overlooks Maine’s Western Bay. Named by her after the Chinese mid-autumn harvest festival, the two original structures – a separate glass teahouse and a small cottage with pool – were designed by the architect, Robert Patterson in the 1960s.
For the restoration and new builds, the studio sought to find original materials used by Patterson, discovering original design documents at the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, which further informed the concepts.
The new residence is situated to the north where two ridges come together. It takes its cues from the existing rocks, waterfront, trees and topography of the site, paying homage to the existing Patterson cottage. The building sits in a saddle in the landscape beyond the garden ridge that separates the Pool Pavilion and Guest House from the Main House. Stonely explains on the podcast how the project’s architectural structure ‘deceives the eyes’, and walks Kilburn through the materials and forms she explored to create this jewel.
Meet Brian Messana, the special guest who joined Editor Hamish Kilburn for episode 24 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London. Messana, who is the Co-Founder of Messana O’Rorke, opened up about his turning-of-the-page career moments – and unveiled the risks that were and were not worth taking…
This episode of DESIGN POD, the podcast for all design and architecture enthusiasts, more than others perhaps, is about reflection; looking back at the decisions and circumstances around them that persuade us as creatives to ‘slide open’ new doors into new eras of design and life in general. The concept of the episode was inspired by Editor Hamish Kilburn’s recent trip to the Douro Valley, where he unexpectedly met another podcast host who was a guest at the hotel he was reviewing at the time. Jennie Becker is the host of ‘Sliding Doors‘, a podcast that welcomes inspirational people to identify and discuss the split seconds that changed the course of their lives. With Becker’s permission, this episode of DESIGN POD therefore explores just that. And the subject of the experiment is the charming Brian Messana, architect and Co-Founder of Messana O’Rorke.
“I’m an introvert. But once I start talking, you can’t shut me up,” he tells Kilburn when he sat down to record episode 24 of DESIGN POD. The New York-based architect is currently at an interesting point in his career, where his work is being recognised, celebrated and he is starting to wear a ‘legend’ status – not that he would agree with that. But leadership in Messana O’Rorke is not from the front. Instead, it is driven from within, putting less emphasis on owning an idea and more focus on, collectively within the team, making the concept as strong as it can be for the client. Indeed, this is what has allowed Messana and his business partner, Toby O’Rorke, to create their own style as a world-renowned studio.
25 years on from launching their business, following previous years’ working for and with the likes of Richard Meier, Thomas Phifer, Hani Rashid and Peter Marino, the dynamic pair have just launched their first monograph. Within the meaningfully curated mix of pages, they have identified 25 projects that reflect the soul, personality and ambition of the studio – some projects identified are more obvious than others.
On the podcast episode, Messana and Kilburn discuss loyal partnerships, the value of building a team that is on the same journey. Throughout the conversation, while referencing key projects – past, present and future – it becomes clear how challenges, opportunities and bold decisions led to break-through moments in the architect’s life.
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…
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.
In episode 20 of DESIGN POD, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Ivaylo Lefterov, inside the Minotti London showroom, to understand how his plan is coming along to develop the world’s first energy-positive hotel, which sits under a glacier in Norway…
Ever since Hotel Designs heard the first whispers of the project – and its ambitious aims – the publication has been engaged and excited to follow the development of Svart, which in 2024, is slated to become the world’s first energy-positive hotel. Whether its the curvaceous architecture, iconic location, striking interior design scheme, its eco-conscious attitude, or all of the above, Svart which will be operated by Six Senses Hotels and Resorts, is going to break new boundaries on the global hotel design and hospitality scene. And the man pulling together all element to ensure it hits all the right notes is Ivaylo Lefterov, who caught up with Hamish Kilburn recently to discuss how the project is coming along.
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.
Innate to this project, and an integral part of its DNA, is the commitment not to compromise the fragile and pristine glacial surroundings or the property’s beauty and quality. The major design pillars of Six Senses Svart are environment and nature, sustainability, technological innovation, wellness and mindfulness, which have been integrated in tandem because they all directly impact each other.
To kickstart series 3 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to the Co-Founders of INODA + SVEJE to understand their design direction and inspiration behind the furniture pieces they designed for the Minotti 2022 Collection. In truth, though, this episode was so much more than striking design details…
Minotti describes the collaboration – the items being Yoko, Lars and Sendai – as ‘two worlds connecting’. The brand refers to the the two owners’ separate heritages – one Japanese and the other from Denmark. But, in reality, these protagonists within the 2022 Collection are the result of three cultures coming together in harmony, including Minotti’s Italian heritage. The tread that connects each piece is the language of minimalism, told is various ways.
INODA+SVEJE was founded in 2000 in Copenhagen and is now, since 2003, situated in Milan. Together, working as a team of two – expanding beyond that would disrupt each designer’s harmony (their words, not mine) – they have developed a sensitive approach applied to both the design process and the resulting form and aesthetics.
To conclude series two of DESIGN POD, which has been in association with Minotti London, Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi, based in Copenhagen, to understand the process of product design for the luxury Italian furniture brand, Minotti…
Just weeks before Minotti drops its 2022 Collection in Milan, and to aptly conclude this series of DESIGN POD that has been sponsored by Minotti London, Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi joined Editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss their process when it comes to luxury product design.
The design studio, which was founded in 2006, takes its creative drive from a fusion of tradition and renewal, while also injecting an experimental approach to the team’s chosen materials and techniques. With their dual traditional background, Gam and Fratesi draw on the classic Danish furniture and craft tradition as well as the classic Italian intellectual and conceptual approach.
In this special episode of DESIGN POD, the pair discuss each collection that they designed for Minotti, while also giving Kilburn and his listeners a window into the studio doors of GamFratesi.
In 2019, GamFratesi designed two indoor proposals for Minotti, namely the Angie armchair and dining little armchair and the Shelley armchair, which is also available in the lounge and dining little armchair versions.
The partnership evolved and was strengthened in 2020 with the launch of the Fynn family of seats, in the armchair, lounge and dining little armchair, bench and coffee table versions. A project characterised by an ultra-light aesthetic, expressed in the indoor and outdoor versions, associating the creativity of fine cabinet-making found in the wooden elements with the sophisticated sartorial elegance of the fabric or saddle-hide coverings.
Now very much part of the Minotti family of select interior designers, GamFratesi’s latest work for the brand will be unveiled at Salone del Mobile in Milan, where the 2022 Collection of timeless furniture pieces will be unveiled to the world.
DESIGN POD will be back in July 2022 with series three, which will feature yet more inspirational figures from all corners of the design and architecture arenas.
In episode 16 of DESIGN POD, in association with Minotti London, architect Ed Murray joins the sofa discuss sustainability in architecture and fluid, cohesive design schemes…
Ed Murray, who last year was listed as one of the top 25 architects in Britain, is an accomplished associate and architect who has led a wide range of projects for independent owners and international brands across the entire hospitality spectrum, including luxury hotels, banqueting and conference venues, resorts and spas.
For this episode of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London, Murrary joins Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde to discuss fluid architecture – as well as what modern studio life looks and feels like at Dexter Moren Associates.
For the last two and a half years he led the delivery of the Westin London City, in the City of London. The new-build 222-key, five-star hotel, and nine residential apartments opened last year as Westin’s first brand in the UK.
The Westin London City is one of those projects that has it all; four scheduled monuments; four existing buildings; archaeological works; an existing bridge structure over one of the primary arterial routes through the City of London; the St Paul’s height limitations and a brief to create an exemplary luxury hotel, with two restaurants, a wine bar, a spa with pool, a double-height ballroom and expansive meeting facilities.
Working on a land-locked site as complex as this comes with its challenges. But out of the challenges Murray has delivered Dexter Moren Associates’ vision for a strong and cohesive building that is firmly anchored in the City of London, and delivers two elements of public access with a single strong architectural idea; first, it provides a unique connection between the area around St Paul’s with the Queenhithe Dock through the hotel’s public areas, and, second, it introduces a river walkway, which is the final piece of a pedestrian riverside walk which will connect Albert Embankment with the Tower of London.
In the next episode of DESIGN POD, Simon Kincaid joins the Minotti London sofa to speak about the legacy Sir Terrence Conran left behind, as well as how his vast experience in all corners of the design industry has shaped his career at Conran & Partners.
Episode 12: Design’s role in hotel development (Timothy Griffin)
In episode 12 of DESIGN POD, in association with Minotti London, Hamish Kilburn and Harriet Forde discuss design in hotel development, and meet Timothy Griffin, Principal at Wellbrook Hospitality who was the former Managing Director for The Hoxton brand in Northern America…
As well as having his finger on the pulse when it comes to hotel development hotspots, Griffin was also responsible for the design – and all creative elements, including branding – for LEVEN Manchester And for this episode of DESIGN POD, Hamish Kilburn and Harriet Forde wanted to understand design’s role in hotel development.
Throughout the episode, Griffin discusses challenges and opportunities that emerged when blurring the lines between luxury and lifestyle. In the case of the Manchester property, celebrating the raw nature of the architecture with soft and comforting elements answered this brief for the space to feel immediately residential with plush touches.
Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen
Image credit: Mariell Lind Hansen
Before LEVEN, Griffin’s career was split between New York City and London. Most recently as Managing Director for the North America region, he brought The Hoxton brand to the US, opening sites in New York, Portland, Chicago and LA. He played a key role in defining the Hoxton brand, and as the group’s Brand Director he oversaw graphic design, PR, social media, retail, digital marketing, partnerships and events.
The next episode of DESIGN POD will explore unconventional materials in design, and will welcome Hen’a Yadav, Principal at Studio Carter, as the special guest.
In episode 11 of DESIGN POD, in association with Minotti London, Hamish Kilburn and Harriet Forde welcome Rachel Hoolahan, an architect and the sustainability coordinator of Orms to discuss a circular economy, greenwashing and materials passports…
In the first episode of series two of design and architecture podcast DESIGN POD, host Hamish Kilburn and co-host interior designer Harriet Forde meet Rachel Hoolahan, who has recently become the sustainability co-ordinator at Orms.
A pioneering example of someone who is putting forward innovative and honest initiatives that will encourage the industry – and the wider world – to work towards a circular economy, joined the podcast while the studio’s latest project to breath new life into the former Central St Martins Building in London – and has a few clever ways to convince clients to think more consciously.
Thinking sustainability is not a new concept for Orms, though, which in 2019 completed its project as one of the architecture studios involved in The Standard London – and was the only studio, out of a handful that pitched, that pushed to save the building’s 1974 Brutalist structure. After it won the pitch, Orms was responsible for the exterior architecture / shell and core, and worked alongside interior designer Shawn Hausman Design and interior architect Archer Humphryes on behalf of Crosstree Real Estate Partners and The Standard.
DESIGN POD, series two, is sponsored by Minotti London. In the next episode, Kilburn and Forde meet Tim Griffin, former Ennismore Managing Director (USA) who recently launched his first hotel, LEVEN under Wellbrook Hospitality.
Main image credit: DESIGN POD
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