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  • The Return of Cool: Hospitality legend Ian Schrager to headline at Sleep Conference

    Daniel Fountain
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    Once again Sleep is ahead of the pack by attracting the industry names that everyone wants to see and hear. Topping the conference bill this year is entrepreneur Ian Schrager, co-founder of Studio 54 nightclub and originator of the boutique hotel concept in the 80s as well as many other groundbreaking ‘modern lifestyle’ concepts which have revolutionised the hospitality industry. Returning to London a month after opening his latest creation, the EDITION hotel in London’s Fiztrovia, Schrager will join conference moderator Guy Dittrich on stage for a candid conversation on the first day of the conference. On the previous evening, Schrager will be honoured with the Outstanding Contribution Award at the European Hotel Design Awards. “It’s hard to think of an individual who has influenced contemporary hotel design more than Ian Schrager has – in Europe and worldwide. His contribution to the industry embodies innovation, passion and creativity – the very qualities the Awards seek to celebrate,” says Matt Turner, Awards Director and Editor of Sleeper Magazine.Joining Ian Schrager in the two-day line up will be Inge Moore, Principal at HBA London and winner of Gold Key Awards Interior Designer of the Year 2013, sharing her views along with Chris Boulton of Yoo and Arlett Oehichen from HVS in a discussion that looks at the influence of high-end residential and retail design on the luxury hospitality sector. Javier Hortal of Mandarin Oriental participates in a debate about the increasing importance of Asian guests, investors and hoteliers to the European hotel design industry and what the future has in store; while Dennis Irvine, Director at Fox Linton Associates, and Jeremy Robson, Managing Director of the recently opened Great Northern Hotel, swap notes on hotel refurbishment. Other conference luminaries include: Giles Robinson of Foster + Partners sharing his perspective on designing for Generation Y within today’s “experience economy”; interior design expert Dan Hopwood will reveal the latest trends in bathroom design; while design pioneer Johannes Torpe shines a light on what’s behind the best in contemporary lighting displays.

    The conference programme explores fresh frontiers in hotel design with topics selected to spark audiences’ imaginations. In a session on ‘Contemplative Design’ audiences are invited to discover how to create experiences that offer an antidote to the hectic pace of 21st century living. Participating panellist Kent Lindvall, co-founder and vice-president of Treehotel, shares his ethos:”I believe in building on the local conditions of the site a place where nature, ecological values, comfort and modern design are combined for a unique experience where guests can relax and renew their energy while surrounded by unspoiled nature.”

    Global Color Research, a leading authority on colour trends, will reveal which tones are going to feature in fashionable design and why; while Michaelangelo l’Acqua, a music lifestyle curator and the consultant music director at W Hotels, will share his expertise on the art of curating music for hotel environments. ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ also returns this year, with quick-fire presentations using the Pecha Kucha format delivering bursts of inspirational ideas, concepts and viewpoints from industry leaders including Jean-Michel Wilmotte of Wilmotte & Associés, Sigurlaug “LauLau” Sverrisdottir, ION Hotel, and Seth Rosenbaum from VISTO Images.

    One of the most sought after components of the Conference is the Round Tables – a chance for delegates to talk with selected industry influencers and decision makers as they move around the tables. This year’s roll call of hosts includes: Robin Sheppard of Bespoke Hotels, Felicity Black-Roberts of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Nigel Buchanan of Yotel, Paul Callingham from Starboard Hotels, Peter Tisdale of That Group, Bruce Robertson of South Place Hotel and Invesco’s Lisa Neubueser. And for those seeking a further opportunity to quiz the experts, the conference concludes with ‘Question Time!’ where Anna Goodrich of Hyatt, Dexter Moren from DMA, Marriott’s Rajiv Puri and Charles Leon of CLA will be on stage to address questions from the audience.

    Meanwhile, the Sleep Hotel designers continue to refine and develop their designs for the built-room sets imagining a suite in a hotel originally constructed during the Pop Art era in the 1960s. The winning concept will be revealed at a drinks reception on the first evening of Sleep in the Sleep Hotel Bar, the hotspot where the industry’s movers and shakers mix and mingle. Sleep Hotel judge Anthony Ingham, VP – Luxury & Design Brands EMEA of Starwood Hotels, says: “Sleep Hotel celebrates innovation in our sector and pushes the hotel industry to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge design. Strong, forward-thinking design has never been more important in the hotel business than it is today and this event ensures that both designers and hoteliers continue to push the boundaries to create advancements in design that reflect the changing needs and requirements of today’s travellers.”

    Alongside the conference and Sleep Hotel is the Sleep exhibition where 130 participating companies will showcase their newest products and services, with exhibitors confirmed from Hong Kong and America as well as across Europe.

    For professionals involved with small hotels to large resorts, the innovations, insights and networking opportunities gained in 2013 will spark industry trends for years to come. Last year, well over 3,000 people attended the various elements that make up the influential Sleep arena. The headline sponsor of Sleep 2013 is GROHE.

    Especially exciting is that for the first time, all the events – the exhibition, the CPD-accredited conference and Sleep Hotel – are free to attend for all visitors pre-registering online, with a handful of exclusive sessions requiring pre-booking. Full conference details together with registration are now available on the event website.

    The European Hotel Design Awards, with which Sleep is closely affiliated, is widely acknowledged as the foremost pan-European hotel architecture and design awards programme. Currently in its 16th year, the shortlist includes boutique gems such as the Brimstone at Langdale, Cumbria, entered by Unwin Jones Partnership; ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland from Minarc Architects; and The Thief in Oslo, Norway. A gallery at the exhibition will feature the winning entries, revealed at the awards dinner on Tuesday 19th November, at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London.

    Daniel Fountain / 09.10.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs

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