Editor Hamish Kilburn explains some of the benefits that come with being a runner on the editorial desk – especially during Clerkenwell Design Week…
I believe that nine problems out of 10 within this ever-evolving industry can be solved with a fresh perspective. Whether the issue is a lack of inspiration or perhaps you can’t decide which soft furnishings to purchase for a fussy client, there are times where you – and your project – could benefit from taking some time out so that your ideas and thoughts can authentically mature.
For most, the obvious ‘time out’ would follow booking 10 nights away in bare-foot luxury, and I must conquer that the undisturbed nature of this thought also appeals. However, if it’s simply a case of a blockage of traffic in the brain, then I suggest you hop onto the pavement. For me, it is often only after a gentle jog – at any time of day or night – where most of my editorial ideas for Hotel Designs stem from – or at least final decisions are made.
This month, I went one step further in my fitness therapy and signed myself up to complete what will be my third marathon. But while I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt twice before, one thing has changed – I am the busiest I have ever been. And so, like so many amateur runners who have or are pacing in my footsteps while balancing a career, finding the time to train is often the hardest challenge – a test that carries great unparalleled rewards, including being able to juggle time wisely.
“What’s running got to do with hotel development, design and architecture,” you may ask. Well it turns out, this month in particular, being able to confidently trot around town was an essential skill for those for those of us attending Clerkenwell Design Week as ‘Press’. Entering double digits, this year’s volume of celebrating of design, which witnessed hundreds of showrooms opening their doors to the public, was turned up to the max – and it was, undoubtably so, a fabulous festival to amplify to our readers. For the 10th year, it recognised the UK once more as an incubator for incredible design, architecture and ideas. Despite this, at times it was also like hitting the dreaded wall during a marathon, each showroom becoming more of a fuel station as we got further through the course. Passed the finish line, though, and we were able to reflect on the journey, which was like every long-distance race, full of unforgettable moments including witnessing art outside the frame at almost every turn.
In addition to clocking up the miles around the design hub that is Clerkenwell, my mini adventures on foot have allowed me to experience some pretty incredible places from an unmatched perspective; from the sandy beaches of Barbados to the cobbled streets of Amsterdam – and sprinting through New York’s Time Square at 5am. With the right pair of trainers – and the will power to get out whatever the weather, travelling to – and seeing – these places has been extraordinary.
“Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape.”
Closer to home, Manchester is within my top five locations to go for a run in and around. Having spent a year living in the beehive, I fell in love with the ‘on the boards’ skyline and at times juvenile personality locked within its ever-expanding city walls. Given its striking façade, and spirited soul, it is no coincidence, therefore, that hotel development up north is booming. Each time I head out for a run in Manchester, usually between exhibitions or events, I notice a new building taking shape. Top Hotel Project recently reported that between 2020 and 2021, 11 new hotels will open – the majority of which will be for the luxury sector. In response to this, we’re taking our Meet Up North networking evening back to the city that everyone is talking about, this year taking over Hotel Gotham’s much-admired rooftop bar, Club Brass.
Today, my running shoes have taken me back to my hometown of Whitstable in Kent, a beautiful rustic and trendy town – think Shoreditch style but by the sea and with oysters. The gorgeous weather combined with a steady westerly breeze was all the motivation I needed to add a totally unplanned half marathon (13.1 miles) into this week’s training plan. It was all the motivation I needed to write and complete this column.
During June, Hotel Designs will be putting Hotel Groups and Software & Controls under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.
Editor, Hotel Designs