The Hotel Designs Summit was held at Radisson Blu London Stansted on 12-13 September, with a host of hoteliers, designers and manufacturers all joining together for meetings, networking sessions and seminars. Hotel Designs had the pleasure of catching up with Deema Sahyoun, founder and director at inD Creations…
Hotel Designs: Hello Deema, tell us a bit about yourself and your background in the industry…
Deema Sahyoun: I actually started off a product designer, and then I got quite lucky and fell into a job in hotel design by coincidence. I absolutely fell in love with the hospitality industry – especially the creativity it allows, the challenges you face and the joy you can bring people through a space.
So, I freelanced for about four or five years but always wanted to start my own company and I have slowly built up my company over the last four years. In the last year I’ve just found my niche within the boutique and independently-owned hotels where, although it’s a smaller budget, it’s rewarding to achieve beauty with a tighter budget and that’s what I specialise in now.
HD: And what’s your inspiration, what inspires you when working on a project?
DS: It’s a number of different things – first and foremost, it’s the building and the impression you get when you first walk in. And then meeting the people that work there. Many of these hotels are older and have been owned by the same family for a long time, and the managers have worked there for years – so for me, it’s about getting a sense of the culture of the hotel.
Next it’s case of the general area and location of the property. And then the challenges of the space usually lead the creative process. For example, with tiny rooms, it’s how you work to make them appear bigger.
HD: What’s your favourite design that you’ve seen?
DS: That’s always a difficult question to answer! I like a whole range of different design elements… [HD: I suppose they reflect the personalities of the designers?]…Exactly, and their distinctive styles! But I mean, I like Firmdale Hotels a lot and how Kit Kemp is led by the environment around the properties in her design.
I think it’s important a that hotel design moves with the way we live, that includes the environment and how we eat, how we move, how we relax and so on. I think Kit Kemp does that well within the boutique industry allowing it to flood into the way the hotels look feel
HD: And what about your own – a project you really enjoyed working on?
DS: Oh gosh, I have many that I’ve enjoyed for different reasons! But I did a project in Egypt and, being from the Middle East, I quite enjoyed bringing a sense of modernity to the Arab culture and making it trendy.
I have been working closely with Capricorn Hotels over the last few years and it has been a joy working with them; we have a long term plan towards bringing their hotels to life and it has been a great experience being part of such a great team.
I also did the bar at the K West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush – and I really enjoyed that project because there was a lot of juicy creativity that I could bring into that because of its story.
HD: And what future trends can you see coming in the next three years?
DS: Well, I think the way people are looking at hotels is completely changing – people are shying away from branded hotels, and the idea that if I go to this hotel anywhere around the world it will look exactly the same. It’s all about being individual, being independent and about giving people a sense of place. It’s about the language between its location and getting the people who are staying there to go out and get a feel of the locale.
And then we’re definitely seeing an influence from the way we live – so, not filling the room with desks for example, as nobody likes sitting facing the wall; people would rather you had a nice communal area with coffees and somewhere to work. So the standard things you need in a hotel are completely changing – having smaller wardrobes, but bigger lounge space for example.
HD: Are there trends your clients are specifically asking for?
DS: I tend to play it by ear – I don’t know if it’s just me, but the clients I work with really rely on me to keep on top of trends! But a couple of their main stipulations are always that it lasts a long while and space is used well.