Celebrating a new era in hotel design and hospitality – the new roaring ’20s – The Brit List Awards 2021 crowned nine individuals and brands at its glamorous awards ceremony on November 3, 2021. From pioneering designers to campaigning hoteliers, forward-thinking architects and innovative products and brands in-between, meet your winners…
The Brit List Awards 2021 came to dramatic climax on November 3, when more than 500 leading industry figures descended on London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, for an awards ceremony unlike any other.
Hotel Designs’ nationwide campaign to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in Britain began earlier in the year when applications/nominations (both free of charge) opened. The judging panel then gathered to sift through the highest number of entries the campaign has ever seen, which resulted in more than 130 individuals and brands becoming shortlisted finalists – the most ever in the history of The Brit List Awards.
On the night, The Brit List 2021 was unveiled, which is the annual publication that prestigiously profiles the top 25 interior designers, the top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain today.
Following the list being unleashed, it was time to announce the nine individual winners. And here are their stories…
Interior Designer of the Year 2021: Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners
Tina Norden and Simon Kincaid together lead a strong and resilient team, continuing the legacy of the one and only Sir Terrance Conran.
With every project, Norden approaches the brief by delving into its context and unique history to create timeless spaces that tell a story. Her unique, concept-driven approach has shaped the way in which the whole practice presents its work and was influential in the creation of Conran and Partners’ first monograph, which was published last autumn.
Recently completed projects include the new five-star Park Hyatt hotel in Auckland, FEAST within Hong Kong’s iconic EAST hotel, a new dining destination and members’ club within London’s Taj Hotel and the Peninsula Boutique and Café in Hong Kong.
She is currently working on a number of diverse international projects including, The Peninsula Boutique and Café, London; One Canada Square London; Lanson Place, Melbourne Australia; Park Hyatt Changsha, and numerous residential projects in Asia for Henderson Land and Vanke.
In addition to the innovative projects she is working on, Norden’s selfless efforts to support the industry through lockdown – saying ‘yes’ to any opportunity to help raise the profile of British and global hospitality and design at its best – impressed the judges and reassured them that Norden is a true leader and visionary.
Architect of the Year 2021: Mark Bruce, Director, EPR Architects
Mark Bruce is a cool, calm and collected architect who leads by example. Most recently completing NoMad London, the new and popular destination hotel in Covent Garden, he and his team are sensitively giving some of the city’s most famous buildings new leases of life.
Whether designing efficient hotel and bedroom layouts, revitalising grand hotel buildings, repurposing a retired ship in to a unique stay-over destination or designing an exclusive and homely 40-key ranch in the New Mexico Desert, Bruce brings a particular flair with an informed, yet inventive, commercial approach.
The architect has developed exceptionally refined project leadership skills through a proven track record in imaginative and sensitive refurbishment of existing building stock. He has successfully delivered numerous complex hotel and resort refurbishments over the years, many within challenging multi-phased and live hotel environments for exacting stakeholders. Put simply, Bruce understands the hospitality industry and possesses a contagious enthusiasm for every project.
In addition, EPR Architects have the natural ability, flair and creative talent to attract brands that are launching into new territories. This includes NoMad, Six Senses, Raffles and once upon a short time ago, Rosewood Hotels.
Hotelier of the Year 2021: Robin Hutson, Founder, THE PIG Hotels
“No one has done as much as Robin in highlighting the plight of the hospitality industry in the UK during Covid, through his Seat at the Table campaign,” said one of the judges. “He has tirelessly championed for more help for hoteliers, railed against government ineptitude, and brought together those in the hospitality industry to try and create a voice for a formally unrepresented industry – which delivers so much to the coffers of the Treasury, and so many jobs to the people of the UK. While doing that, he kept on all of his 1,000 or so staff – without making anyone redundant – and then opened a new hotel in Cornwall in summer 2020, and another in summer 2021. He is an example of a hotelier who delivers for his industry, his brand, his staff – and the hundreds of regulars who are fans of THE PIG.”
The L11 Tuneable white light engine is an innovative and unique take on a traditional candle lamp – designed and manufactured at Franklite’s factory in Milton Keynes and tested in the brand’s in-house laboratory.
With a dimming range from 100 per cent down to one per cent designers are able to create the perfect ambience with a simple touch of a button all while providing customers with the ultimate sensory experience. The judges said, simply, that this product is – and I quote – a gamechanger.
The Eco Award winner of 2021: Silentnight Group Hospitality
Silentnight Group is a carbon neutral organisation, offsetting the 3,620 tons of CO2e generated each year. In the past three years, the brand has reduced its footprint by 31 per cent.
It has adopted eco design principles involving advanced testing of materials and designing products with sustainability & end of life recycling in mind. This includes using comfort fillings made from single use plastic and renewable, biodegradable sources.
What’s more, in the past five years, the brand has saved more than 525 million single-use plastic bottles from entering waste streams and oceans from its mattresses alone.
Best in British Product Design winner of 2021: The Metamorphosis collection, The Monkey Puzzle Tree
Charlotte Raffo, Founder of Monkey Puzzle Tree, showcases craftsmanship, creativity and detailed design in her entire portfolio. Following last year’s entry which was Highly Commended in this category, Raffo presented the ‘Metamorphosis’ linen union collection, a mysterious and dream-like design was created in collaboration with artist Kirsty Greenwood. Inspired by myths, legends and gothic fairy tales, Kirsty used a piece of her own marbling work as the starting point for this free flowing, ethereal pattern.
The Rising Star Award winner of 2021: Sophie Sheppard, Junior Designer, Concorde BGW Group
Sophie Sheppard’s application demonstrated vividly that she has impressed her Concorde BGW colleagues with her ambition and enthusiasm for all aspects of design and build. She recognises the necessity and value of tasks such as rolling up her sleeves to coordinate a sample room, taking a client brief and producing interior design solutions from start to finish, presenting ideas clearly visually and verbally.
International Award winner of 2021: Bill Bensley, Founder, BENSLEY
Bill Bensley is a jack of all trades; he is a gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, explorer and lover of all things natural. He set up shop in Bangkok in 1989, soon followed by a BENSLEY branch in Bali in 1990. With a team of 150 interior designers, architects, landscape designers, artists and makers of all things beautiful, Bensley has brought to life more than 200 resorts, hotels and palaces in 30+ countries, and is on a never-ending quest to create their best work yet.
Among other projects that are just as innovative, Bensley is currently working on bringing to life a ‘human zoo’ hotel concept in China, using his unique skill for storytelling and teaching through design.
Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry winner of 2021: Ariane Steinbeck
And finally… we have the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry, judged exclusively by Hotel Designs. This year, the award goes to a person who has an unmatched eye for design. Her presence in the industry is larger than footprints of hotels she and her team have created over the years. Ariane Steinbeck has a human-centric approach to anything she does.
Over the course of 31 years, RPW Design – the studio that she was the popular Managing Director of from 2015 to 2021 – earned its title as one of the leading international interior design practices within the realm of hospitality.
This, along with her devotion to the industry she loves, makes her this year’s worthy winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award.
TEASER: The ‘In Pictures’ story from The Brit List Awards 2021 will go live shortly.
Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021