Hotel design is the art of balancing form and function in a visual and physical sense to create a building that, despite its size, often stands out for the small details; details that represent the ethos and communicate the values of a hotel.
Like any business, a hotel needs to have a raison d’être and distinction from other hotels. These individualities are characterised in the layout, design and styling within a hotel, but how are these communicated to potential guests on the other side of the world?
Web design and digital marketing is much the same as hotel design; striking a balance between form and function to provide the service, information or function that a user is looking for, whilst communicating the values and brand message in the visual layout, design and style.
“Effective storytelling compels a reader to embark upon teasing and choreographed tour.” – Matthew Harvey, Director, Hidden Media.
Whilst many will simply reach for a hero shot – that one killer – captivating and all-encompassing picture that sits at the top of a website page or on a piece of marketing collateral, that does little to tell a story or take a potential guest on a journey.
Effective storytelling compels a reader to embark upon teasing and choreographed tour, that beguiles and enchants, providing an immersive experience through the use of words, pictures and video. It’s not just about the ‘big picture’, hints and glimpses often have more to say.
Scrolling on a smartphone is natural and easy. Your storyboard is much longer than wide. A good digital journey matches form with function, so touch points, easy booking, contact requests and promotions flow with the journey a customer takes.
The balance between form and function
Pre-pandemic we were already looking at online sources accounting for in excess of 80 per cent of bookings, this is naturally now going to be higher with an even greater shift online. Dependent on sector and location you can expect that at least 70 per cent of all digital touchpoints being made on a mobile device. Your website can be your best, or your worst salesperson.
Your customer journey can be broken down into three crucial stages:
Awareness – Mostly achieved through content marketing, advertising, promotion, placement or ‘advocacy’ (we’ll discuss this in another feature).
Consideration – This is when your website really steps into play, making it easy for people to find the information they need for their research, communicating your key messages, keeping them engaged, helping them reach out to you and compelling them to the next stage…
Decision – Help to convert your customers with well-placed and well-timed promotions, supported with peer reassurance/reviews, and by reducing friction points, such as employing a simple booking/reservation system.
The consideration stage can take hours or days. Some statistics would indicate that 90 per cent of your website visitors are not yet ready to make their ‘decision’ and will visit at least three more websites before they finally decide to make a booking/reservation. Which is all the more reason why your website needs to offer a user experience that’s as memorable as a stay at your hotel.
“The hotel industry lays claim to many large, multinational brands with some of the worst websites.” – Matthew Harvey, Director, Hidden Media.
Understanding that there is a balance between form and function is about telling the story, showing style, enthusing service levels and shouting about what makes your hotel different and stand out whilst thinking about the end user, the guest, researcher and paying customer. They need to be able to quickly, easily and confidently book.
Without naming and shaming, the hotel industry lays claim to many large, multinational brands with some of the worst websites that completely fail to reflect their values, the style and design of their hotels or their slick service.
The art of storytelling
What is it that compels someone to stay at your hotel? How do they feel about your brand and what does it stand for? What makes your hotel special or different?
Image credit: Andy Art T/Unsplash
Asking yourself these questions is a really simple starting strategy. And although some of the answers could be very literal, such as, “an ocean side location with minimalist architecture, an individual private pool and fine seafood dining,” the art of storytelling is triggering the emotive connections and communicating your message, often in a subliminal way.
A movie trailer is careful not to become a spoiler, instead it’s a teaser that makes you want to buy the film. Storytelling doesn’t give everything away in the first paragraph, it instead creates a journey for your potential guest to explore your website and experience everything that your hotel, rooms, restaurant, facilities and location has to offer.
Much like interior design has to flow, each ‘chapter’ of the story leads naturally into the next, giving your guest everything they need during the consideration stage and over the line to the decision stage.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 50:
HOW TO DESIGN FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING
The hospitality sector has been deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As lockdown eases, hotels are navigating the effects of social distancing and new safety guidelines for their design and guest experience. Giles Fuchs, owner of Burgh Island Hotel, safely guides us through what to consider when designing for social distancing…
Although such social distancing measures clearly pose challenges for hotels, there are steps they can and should be taking to create a positive, unrestrictive and reassuring stay for guests. From enhancing the intimacy of the guest experience, showcasing a hotel’s assets, investing in the outdoors and leveraging the latest technology, hotels post-pandemic can keep staff and guests safe – all without compromising on experience.
Image credit: Burgh Island Hotel
Covid-19 health and safety precautions have necessitated the introduction of more restrictive measures across the hospitality industry, which undoubtedly risk compromising the sense of luxury and relaxation that hotels seek to deliver. As guests grasp for escapism in the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic, social distancing can feel like a rude reminder of the world waiting beyond the walls of the hotel.
But, if executed properly, there are ways to enforce and promote safety measures that actually enhance the intimacy of a guest’s stay, rather than imposing a sense of restriction. In fact, social distancing can empower hotels to provide a quieter, more private and intimate experience, for example by extending restaurant sittings so that guests can dine later and in smaller groups. Hotels can also look to open up alternative areas, such as lounges or libraries for private use and dining. In many ways this can be a liberating opportunity to celebrate the spaces, design and identity of a hotel without compromising on safety to meet expectations.
Image credit: Burgh Island Hotel
Showcase design assets
If not managed effectively, footfall routing to manage movement flow through the hotel can naturally detract from the ambience and sense of freedom synonymous with a peaceful getaway. However, repositioning these measures can again serve to enhance, rather than undermine, the luxury and quality of an experience.
For boutique and luxury hotels, this is an ideal opportunity to showcase special features, including interiors, décor and public spaces that make the stay unique. For example, by reframing diversions as a tour rather than an imposition, footfall routing can be used to emphasise a hotel’s best features and services, such as art displays, bars or lounge areas.
At Burgh Island, for example, our authentic art-deco design features, which have been carefully preserved for 90 years and complimented by elegant editions throughout the hotel, are a central pillar of its attraction for guests. By ensuring staff are briefed on the design, in addition to the history of the hotel, and showcasing these features to guests as part of safety measures, we can continue to convey all of Burgh Island’s charm and appeal without affecting safety.
Invest in outside spaces
Making outdoor space part of the hotel’s experience and identity is increasingly important in a time of social distancing, as well as offering crucial space for mental health relief and healthy, peaceful relaxation following the UK lockdown.
So, with constraints on capacity and space use remaining in place in some form for the immediate future, outdoor spaces are an ever more important asset. Especially for smaller boutique hotels, where pressures on interior space use may be even greater, investing in increased alfresco seating and dining areas can ensure both that guests feel safe and that their experience of social distancing is not overtly intrusive. Offering teas or lunches outside not only helps to showcase spaces that guests might not otherwise have benefitted from to the same extent, but also helps people to relax more confidently.
Furthermore, introducing a greater variety of outdoor activities can ensure guests can experience the charm of a hotel and its assets safely. For instance, at Burgh Island, tours of the grounds and the naturalistic gardening style with a strong focus on wild plant varieties across our 23-acre island helps to create a sense of freedom and vitality — the perfect setting for relaxation or exploration.
When hospitality and guest experience are at the centre of a hotels identity, especially for a boutique, independent or luxury outfit, contact with guests plays a pivotal part. Every detail from pre-arrival communication to in-person greetings, check in and concierge services are designed to create a highly personalised experience.
Although digitalisation has already become increasingly important for guests when planning and booking their stay, it is easy to think that the in-person experience must, to its detriment, be all change in a time of Covid-19. In fact, by leveraging technology hotels can continue to provide an attentive, smooth and reassuring operation for guests. From check-in to room access, contactless alternatives to high touch interfaces, such as elevator buttons and door handles, powered by movement sensors, tracking apps and even voice control can help guests to feel confident in their own safety, as well as providing an even more seamless experience.
“Hotels have a unique opportunity in how they adapt and evolve their design for social distancing, leveraging outdoor spaces to enhance guest experience and creating even more intimate experiences.” – Giles Fuchs, owner of Burgh Island Hotel
Think to the future
Many are understandably anxious about what social distancing and new Covid-appropriate health and safety measures mean for the guest experience, especially for boutique hotels for which luxury, peacefulness and freedom form part of their identity.
However, hotels have a unique opportunity in how they adapt and evolve their design for social distancing, leveraging outdoor spaces to enhance guest experience and creating even more intimate experiences. By ensuring that safety measures such as social distancing, footfall routing and contactless tech are in place, guests will feel more confident in their stay. And by rediscovering new ways of best showcasing a hotel’s features and design, this could well enhance guest experience for the long term.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 49:
HOW TO USE MIRRORS IN THE GUESTROOM
The right mirror in the right place can have a huge impact on the first perception of the room, explains Mirror Mania. It makes a big impression – a statement about the place where they are. It sets the standards of the room…
Your guests want to be able to see their reflection clearly, in bright light. Mirrors should be in the view of natural light if possible – reflecting a window is perfect for reflecting a feature or stunning view too.
Where to place mirrors
In many cultures, mirrors have a superstition attached to them – especially when it comes to the placement. It’s up to you whether you decide to abide by things like not placing a mirror opposite the bed – but it does often work from an interior design aspect.
Full length art deco mirrors
A full length mirror is an excellent choice for a guest room. It gives your guests the best view of their outfit – and plenty of photo opportunities to post on Instagram. A full length mirror brightens up the space and gives it a feeling of luxury – which is only emphasised by the art deco style.
Full length mirrors shouldn’t just be limited to guest rooms either: communal areas like the reception and corridor junctions are a great way to create the feeling of more space, fill empty walls and give your guests an opportunity to check their appearance before they leave.
Art deco bathroom mirrors
Arguably there’s no such thing as ‘too big’ when it comes to a bathroom mirror. If you’re going for a sleek and contemporary feel, an art deco mirror is the best way to go. Made to fit your exact requirements, our art deco mirrors combine a huge reflective surface with smaller, often tinted mirrors to create a stunning design that beautifully complements any modern interior.
Your guests want a bright bathroom. It feels welcoming – and those extra touches can really create a feeling of luxury. Quality complementary products will always be appreciated. Be considerate of fixtures and fittings. Your bathrooms should always smell nice – reed diffusers work wonderfully and work well in most interiors.
Inspired by luxury
Each mirror we sell is handmade and designed exclusively for Mirror Mania by world-renowned mirror artist Phillip Orr. Taking inspiration from art deco styles, Phillip creates beautiful mirrors and mirror wall art inspired by luxury: chandeliers, diamonds, gold and glamour. A hand-crafted mirror looks glamorous and only adds to the luxury.
Bespoke hotel mirrors
At Mirror Mania, all of our mirrors are handmade to your exact requirements. We can also give you advice about the size and design of mirror if you’re struggling to decide. A beautiful mirror truly is an investment in your guest’s experience at your establishment. Create a lasting impression with a stunning hand-crafted mirror from our exclusive art deco mirror collection.
Mirror Mania is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.
It may start with the ease of reservation, the first impression or the receptionists’ welcome, but there’s no doubt what happens next is critical when it comes to creating a hotel guest experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons.
First and foremost, interaction is everything – not just the meet and greet and relationship with the concierge, but the way guests connect with and relate to their surroundings. It has to go deeper than décor – it has to be functional, informative, exciting, versatile and carry a consistent corporate identity.
Signbox has all these bases covered with an incredible range of digitally printed hotel wallcovering solutions and environmental graphics solutions that embrace a wide range of materials, from glass and metallics to printed vinyl and tick all the boxes when it comes to giving the guest the experience they’ll be writing home about.
Exciting digitally printed wallpaper
This is where digital hotel wallcoverings really get exciting! Digitally printed wallcoverings are an innovative display solution that combine eye-catching scenes with inspired mood setting and practical hotel signage and messaging. Regardless of the size of the space or its function, Signbox digitally printed wallpapers offer a uniquely ingenious twist for traditional hotel interiors.
Signbox’s digitally printed wallpaper and wallcoverings incorporate photographs, logos, typography, symbols, corporate imagery and logos to create fresh and exciting hotel areas that make every space work harder for its guests and breathe new life into areas that might otherwise have been underutilised or tired.
The applications for digitally printed wallpaper are as endless as the designs themselves. Within corporate guest areas, bold, dynamic digitally printed, large format supergraphics serve to motivate and inspire performance while, back in the heart of the hotel, they create powerful aesthetic backdrops that can be as easy on the eye as they are conceptually groundbreaking, depending on the purpose of the space.
Each digitally printed wallcovering is digitally inkjet printed at Signbox’s vast Egham manufacturing base onto Digimura 2.1 material, which is fire rated to EN13501 and is EN15102 wallcovering compliant. All conform to Signbox’s award-winning benchmarked standards of quality and best practice and all offer remarkable customised wallcovering options.
Go interactive with digital signage surfaces
Hotel guests who feel able and compelled to interact with their environments are likely to score their experience more highly if they can access personalised hotel messaging intuitively.
Image capton: Living wall effect scheme | Image credit: Signbox
Signbox has a range of digital signage solutions for hotel environments that make light work of displaying announcements, wayfinding messages, alerts and live data and media streams to keep everyone informed and interacting. Corporate hotel guests will love this real-time multimedia content platform of choice with its seamless presentation and communications tools that work effortlessly across business centres, meeting rooms, conference areas and lounges.
Other guests will enjoy interacting with touch screen display technologies that help speed up the check in process, find their way around the hotel, select dining menus, discover events and on-site facilities as well as serving as invaluable emergency alert systems.
Signbox’s digital signage surfaces include its stunning Displayhub display solution that incorporates interactive HD LED touchscreen displays within a full-length glass fascia with NFC (near field communication) options. At the other end of the interactive digital signage scale you’ll find vast video walls with tiled LCD panels, LED tiles or laser rear projection cube systems. These offer unrivalled bespoke digital display options that not only transform the hotel interior space, but demand attention for guests keen to stay in touch with customised content and information, hotel branded advertisements and broadcast media.
Wallcoverings with a touch of glass
For areas that demand privacy, safety or security screening or a more customised, bespoke branded wallcovering solution, glass manifestation answers the call. With the capability to transform the look and feel of a hotel area, from receptions and lobbies to corporate hotel spaces, Signbox’s 3M glass manifestation films can be customised to suit a hotel brand identity scheme at a fraction of the cost of tradition bespoke digital printed glazing film and wallcovering methods.
Flexible hotel display wallcoverings
When it comes to hotel promotions, corporate events or simply when the message or theme needs to change to keep the look fresh, it’s time to think outside the box. Signbox’s Teslaflex system is an ingenious printed ferrous film with a high-grade magnetic base and self-adhesive backing to display photographic-quality graphics. This superb hotel display wallcovering solution is ultra-lightweight and quick and easy to apply and is perfect for short-term guest messages or hotel campaigns.
Other display wallcoverings include digital canvas art – digital canvas prints that can be inkjet printed to cover any space or environment with a bespoke wallcovering approach for spaces that take account of hotel branding and the physical and practical form of each area. Then there’s Signbox’s engineered Kube framing display solution. It’s a lightweight frame and tension fabric system that can be printed in sizes from 25cm2 to 3m x 10m supersize and is designed to add an ultra-cool touch to a hotel interior.
Never underestimate the power of environmental graphics
This is just a collection of Signbox’s wider bespoke wallcovering solutions that fall under the signage category of ‘environmental graphics’. Indeed, so vital is this concept that EG, the name behind Signbox’s renowned digital print division, is today the most popular choice when hotel and hospitality, corporate workplace and retail sector signage strategy.
You can explore the entire EG collection of groundbreaking digitally printed wallcoverings, digital wallpaper graphics, supergraphics and bespoke digitally printed wallcovering solutions by viewing the EG brochure.
Why all the signs should point to a perfect guest experience
It’s easy to see how next generation digitally printed wallcoverings, digitally printed supergraphics, customised digital wallcoverings and bespoke wallcovering solutions can quite literally transform the hotel space. But more than that is the power of a custom digital wallcovering – whether digitally printed wallpaper or bespoke display wallcovering, digitally printed supergraphic or large format video wall – to transform the hotel guest experience into a personal, interactive and enriching journey that inspires repeat bookings and loyalty to the hotel brand.
Signbox is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.
Main image caption: Large format digitally printed display for reception space | Image credit: Signbox
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 47:
THE QUEST FOR ORIGINALITY IN ART CONSULTANCY
As an international art consultancy, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury hospitality, residential, yacht and aviation projects. At a time when there is an inexhaustible supply of art online, Artelier explain why organic and thorough research is essential for offering originality in a hotel art collection.
Drawing on their experience in sourcing contemporary art by leading global artists, Artelier’s art consultants reveal what it takes to avoid the pitfalls of the typical luxury aesthetic found online.
Rarely has there been a time when art has been accessible to so many. Whilst at one time art would mainly have been encountered at galleries or fairs, there are now endless online resources that make art readily available for a wide audience within moments. Online search engines and social media have also given emerging artists platforms for sharing their own work, providing them with the opportunity to gain international attention regardless of where they are based. While the democratisation of access to art is a welcome development, it has also brought an influx of lower-quality art online, making it ever more important to be able to discern which artworks are worth the investment.
Image credit: Artelier
Turning solely to online resources when curating art collections for hotels has many potential pitfalls. The online art market has become inundated with artists who are relatively less credible in professional circles; rather than being early-career artists who are growing their recognition, these more amateur artists often lack the experience or training to create truly original work.
While the notion of ‘originality’ is naturally slippery with regards to art – and indeed, most professional artists acknowledge that they find inspiration by building on existing ideas – here the line is much more distinct. Many amateur artists working at this calibre seem to replicate others’ ideas or follow art ‘trends’, yet they create works that are altogether poorer examples, as they lack the finesse of professional artists. This leads to an overcrowded market of exceedingly similar artworks, that do not offer exciting and challenging ideas. Search engine websites therefore often present an ever more diluted mix of the same imagery, reworked to varying degrees of success.
The pitfalls of art sales websites
Without a professional eye, sourcing art from art sales websites such as Artfinder or Saatchi Art may lead designers to overspend on uninspiring art. It is not clear how artists have been vetted on such websites, and which artworks are put up for sale is likewise not thoroughly regulated. The question arises as to whether these websites are truly capable of offering a refined selection of artworks, which have been edited for quality. Instead, art sales websites are geared towards offering as much quantity as possible to the consumer, regardless of artistic merit.
In cases like these, too much choice may well be an issue. While the breadth and diversity of artworks online reflects the spectrum of work being produced today, if truly special artworks are few and far between, unearthing them can be an arduous process. To put this into perspective, only 3-5% of the artists found on art sales websites would stand up to Artelier’s scrutiny when they research new artists to add to their database – and for this reason, Artelier largely use other research methods for discovering new artists to connect with.
Although there are many reputable artists who present interesting and skilful works online, there are nonetheless plenty of examples of artworks that are less expertly executed. Even if the pieces look generally passable on screens, in person they can lack depth and craftsmanship. It is difficult to determine the quality of the execution online without the practice that an art specialist has at examining works. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe disappoint for the buyer once they receive what is clearly the correct work, but in much poorer quality than they were expecting. As a result, rather than making use of art’s potential to bring together a design scheme and add a layer of sophistication, generic artworks can undermine the quality of the design.
Another concerning aspect is that the price of artworks on art sales websites are often self-evaluated, and so determined by artists themselves; this often leads to ludicrously overpriced pieces flooding the websites. This can be shockingly observed when choosing to filter the search engines from high-to-low price, where too often many of the most expensive artworks are generic in style and by undistinguished artists. These prices are outside of the usual art market forces – in more traditional sales contexts, artworks would be evaluated by way of complex factors, such as their provenance, the artist’s background, and the artistic merit of the piece. The practice of being able to set prices at many thousands of pounds for a work by an unknown artist may leave these websites susceptible to opportunists. Some people may take advantage, seeking to sell a piece to an unsuspecting consumer who believes the price tag would reflect the skill and reputation of the artist. Without the market knowledge and trained eye of art specialists, it is easy to be led to believe an artwork is worth its price.
Pinterest and the dilution of original ideas
The explosion of available visual media through platforms like Pinterest and Instagram has made creative ideas disperse rapidly. Yet, the over-reliance of many art consultants on these platforms for inspiration has also led to a staleness of aesthetic, and a tendency to stick to art ‘trends’. Artists themselves often look to online media to develop their ideas, causing many to simply create versions of generic styles, and for the presence of true originality to become ever more diluted.
Image credit: Artelier
These search engines are often the primary resources for less experienced consultants, who may lack the capability of finding artists from more organic sources – such as being rooted in arts communities and growing networks over time – and the experience to spot potential at new shows and fairs. The overall effect of this approach is a trapped repertoire of art being sourced for luxury commercial design. As a result, the general predictability in the art does not fit with the intentions of cutting-edge interior designers, who are seeking to break new ground.
It goes without saying that art which is characteristically similar to its counterparts will fall not even close to the aesthetic criteria of a sophisticated and discerning hotel guest. Curating art for hotels therefore demands responding to the client’s brief in a surprising way, which requires thorough, in-depth research that is amassed over time.
Interpreting a theme in a visually interesting way takes a breadth of knowledge and creative thinking, in order to form subtle connections that go beyond design trends. While Pinterest presents many excellent examples of both under-the-radar talent and established artists, it cannot be the principal research method, as it simply takes more to fulfil the expectations of a luxury client.
Image credit: Artelier
Image credit: Artelier
Organically evolving a quality database
Discovering artists from the ground up gathers a more diverse range of artworks, and represents the true spectrum of ideas and innovative uses of materials in global contemporary art. Artelier’s research methods are guided by this attitude, and so they seek to become embedded in international artist communities and establish direct connections with artists and galleries. As well as undergoing in-depth research, they are regularly approached by artists themselves, and similarly galleries reach out if they feel an artist they represent especially suits Artelier.
These connections have been established through 20 years’ worth of experience in the industry, allowing Artelier continue to grow a strong repertoire of associated artists. Artelier’s database currently includes 10,000 artists who have been individually researched by Artelier’s team, maintaining the highest of standards through an acute instinct for quality and a wealth of art market expertise.
Image credit: Artelier
Through this organic research method, Artelier prioritise artists who demonstrate an ingenuity of thought, and are true masters of their mediums. Rather than being driven by popular trends, an art specialist’s trained eye is capable of recognising genuine talent. This allows Artelier to be ahead of the curve in terms of proposing stimulating and impressive artworks, rather than being limited to following the online trend of the moment.
When clients approach Artelier with a particular brief or theme in mind, they therefore respond to the hotel client’s concepts with artworks that are truly original, even if the client’s concept is itself inspired by a trend. By offering high-quality artists who are capable of creating artworks that are tailored to the hotel’s context, Artelier ensures the longevity of the stylistic choices and make artworks a worthwhile investment. Such artworks are not typically encountered on online art search engines, and for this reason Artelier chooses not to rely on them as a major resource for research.
Image credit: Artelier
Image credit: Artelier
A complex thematic approach
Through experience, Artelier understands that truly innovative ideas need to be developed from internal, rather than external, influences. At the beginning of a project, their approach is therefore to think like an artist – looking for subtleties within artistic themes, and seeking to unearth complex connections. The process of developing a thematic response to a project brief becomes centred around invention, rather than re-creating versions of what already exists. Since Artelier’s approach involves internally generating ideas for newly commissioned artworks, the outcome is something completely fresh – this brings the critical element of the unexpected to hotel design.
When exploring potential themes for a hotel art collection, it is necessary to root the artworks in their context: artworks must speak to the unique culture of the area, reflect the ethos of the hotel brand, and create an air of luxury which exceeds the expectations of high-end travellers. These key considerations speak to the core of many hotel project briefs. In a recently completed luxury hotel development in Bahrain, for example, Artelier was asked to curate a portfolio of art that related to local history, and referenced the sense of a meeting point between cultures and communities.
After extensive research into the exceptional aspects of Bahrain’s history and geography, Artelier identified a narrative between several interrelated themes. These centred around concepts of navigation, archaeology of the area, local ancient crafts, and the natural wonders of the nearby sea. Together, these themes formed a coherent basis for the proposed art collection; Artelier could then begin to refer to their database, and contemplate how the themes can be reflected in specific artworks.
Image credit: Artelier
‘Ready-made’ art vs. nurturing creativity
The appeal of shopping for and finding an artwork that is readily available, much like a product, has led to the popularity of sourcing ‘ready-made’ artworks for hotel design projects. The trap of sourcing artworks in this way, however, is that these pieces will always be limited to what has already been done – once these works are out there, regardless of how novel the idea may have been originally, they will be copied and popularised.
For the initial stages of a project, there are advantages in looking at ready-made artworks – often designers benefit from a visual hook they can use to assemble a mood board, and the wealth of imagery online is a perfect, quick tool for this. While the artworks at this stage would be interesting enough, inevitably there will be a sense of the familiar about them. Without an insight into the art market, it is difficult to spot an artist who is doing something truly innovative and leading trends.
For Artelier, the process behind sourcing artworks is inherently creative, as they continuously build upon initial concepts, and foster creative thought through collaboration with artists. Once artists have been selected for a project, Artelier closely works with them to develop existing concepts; the artists’ creative input and intimate knowledge of their materials expand initial ideas into something that has not been done before. This collaborative process encourages the risk-taking and experimental attitude that feeds creative work. As newly commissioned artworks are created specifically for a given hotel project, Artelier are able to develop something utterly unique, in its truest sense: tailor-made, freshly created, and one-of-a-kind.
For these new art commissions, Artelier often collaborates with emerging artists who they discover through a variety of sources. Artelier specialises in talent-spotting artists who have the potential to work on high-profile commissions, but need the support of someone who has experience with delivering art to luxury clients in a variety of contexts. In this way, genuine, professional artists have their work nurtured, and their creativity given space to grow – Artelier understand the difference that a substantial commission can make to a deserving, but relatively under-the-radar, artist. If this talent is utilised, however, this gives the best opportunity for boundary-pushing ideas.
The longevity of innovative art
Every innovative idea will, inevitably, make it to online art search-engines and social media platforms; industry professionals will begin to take note, and use these novel concepts for their inspiration. However, by continuing to approach artistic research with a commitment to talent-spotting and fostering the growth of new ideas, Artelier maintains a pioneering vision that enables them to always stay ahead of the curve.
Artelier is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 46:
HOW TO MEANINGFULLY USE CGI WHEN PLANNING NEW SPACES
The multi-faceted realm of CGI can be an invaluable resource to any person or company when planning an interior space. Technical drawings of the space can seamlessly be imported into 3D design software. From here the process of CGI starts and can take three main routes.
The technical CAD drawings are transformed into accurate 3D representations of the interior space(s). Many simple 3D software packages allow users with a moderate degree of computer software expertise to create a representative view of the interior space.
Style and photo realism are not key features or abilities of this type of software. However, a revealing view of the space can be created, with bespoke fit-out features and furniture included.
Route one CGI visuals are perfect for the initial stages of planning. The accuracy of the visualised spaces allows for technicalities to be worked out and the space to be ‘filled’ accurately.
Whilst they lack any resemblance of realism, these can suffice for some interior space design requirements. As the skills required to generate this style of CGI are minimal, so are the associated costs.
Route two CGI visuals take things up to a more realistic level. The accurate 3D spaces of Route 1 are built up to generate visualisations that are not only more aesthetically pleasing, but they also allow for the interior design ideas to be communicated better.
Classed as ‘in-house’ CGI, these visualisations offer good levels of accuracy and visual style without a huge price tag. Cost savings are possible as the visualisation team creating the images are focused on providing a clear vision of the interior space as an overall view. With less time invested into adding photorealism through specialist scene lighting, high polygon models and high-quality texture maps.
The reduced quality allows the CG images to be edited much easier, allowing for revisions to be made and alterative versions of the interior space to be shown.
This form of CG image is excellent for planning, as good levels of accuracy and clearer visual communication of the design ideas, allow for planners and clients to understand the space better.
Overall, Route two CGI visuals offer great bang for your buck, but with limitations.
The full photorealistic CGI phase. Used to truly communicate an interior design and guarantee planners/clients are engaged and approving of the interior space design idea.
The costs associated with the Route 3 CG imagery is higher and, in some cases, can be deemed expensive. However, these are visualisations that blur the lines between reality and virtual space. The CGI can not only be used as part of the planning phase, it’s accuracy and photo realism allows it to be used for marketing purposes as it accurately depicts the final interior design as it would appear once constructed/fitted-out. Therefore, the additional costs associated with these high-quality photorealistic CGI visualisations are offset and in most cases the return on investment is greater than what is offered via the use of Route one or Route two CGI.
Meaningfully utilising CGI
Which route to take with your CGI requirements is dependent on several factors:
Size of project – smaller projects may offer less intricacy and aesthetic appeal, therefore investing significantly in CGI is not likely to provide good ROI. Larger projects offer more potential for creativity, ensure that potential is fulfilled with several Route 3 CGI visuals.
Budget – Should budget be a key factor, route 2 CG images would suit best, these offer a balance between visual appeal and accuracy.
Competition – For interior design and fit-out firms who are bidding for popular tenders, the Route 3 CGI offering is best. The increased quality and visual attraction that is offered is likely to elevate the design ideas above other offerings.
Deadline – Route 2 CGI services can be produced within just a few days, allowing for tight deadlines to be met without missing out on the ability to offer up attractive visuals for client review.
Ultimately choosing the correct CGI studio will be one of the strongest factors for creating visualisations that are meaningful and successful when planning a space. The right studio will guide you based on the above criteria, utilising custom workflow and design practices to accommodate your requests and produce what has been requested. Therefore, it is vital that communication between client and CGI studio is clear, concise and covers all of the criteria mentioned above. With all of this knowledge a quality CGI studio will provide the correct results.
North Made Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT45:
THE ROLE BESPOKE LIGHTING PLAYS IN MODERN HOTELS
The almost all pervasive use of a standardised approach to the construction of medium height and tall buildings does not help with differentiation; a key attribute for any hotel as first impressions are vital. The skilful application of façade lighting can help a great deal, as the LED lighting specialists at Illumination Physics explain…
The use of glass and aluminium in unitised or non-unitised curtain wall construction is pervasive in most modern facades for reasons of cost, performance, and speed of construction: The advantages are irrefutable. However, the facades all look inevitably similar.
Older or more classical hotel designs that do not use all glass facades and use stone and other non-reflective surfaces present an entirely different challenge.
The properties of a double glazed glass panel is determined by factors such as wind load and these dictate the width of the vision glass. There is a magic number of approximately 1500mm between the vertical metal mullions and varies only a little around the world. Any wider; the glass has to be thicker and stronger (and more expensive). Any narrower and the windows seem claustrophobic and the amount of metalwork increases (and is more expensive).
The vertical distance between floors (slab to slab), is also driven by a magic number. High ceilings may be spacious but they cost more because less floors can be built in a certain rise. As a consequence the height of a floor, and hence the height of a curtain wall panel will be somewhere between 3.5 and 3.8 metres. Part of the panel will been to be a window and part will need to be opaque to hide the edge of the slab (the spandrel panel).
Architects and façade consultants strive to achieve any elaboration that is possible with all types of glass and metal structures, but to casual observers, there is a strong resemblance between edifices of many types because the texture is the same.
Hotels, perhaps more than any other genre of building, need to exude a personality and should differentiate themselves from each other and other similar modern structures in the vicinity. The curtain wall system can make it difficult to discern a building as a hotel or an office sometimes.
The one great tool available to distinguish a building and lend it personality, and make a statement, is integrated façade lighting. The curtain wall business has been highly developed over decades but the addition of integrated façade lighting is still immature and hence there are great opportunities for innovation.
To illustrate this potential, the following examples demonstrate projects in which façade lighting has helped to develop and articulate the personality of four very different hotels. All of the projects are constructed with modern façade technology and each of them have developed their character through lighting.
The DoubleTree Hilton in Zagreb, Croatia
Wooden fins on a modern glass building is novel, but provided a striking visual element in daylight, adding interest to the facade. At night the effect was lost, unlit the fins became just shadows. The night time interest was restored by integrating a small custom LED light fixture into the base of each fin. The same width as the fin, the light fixture goes unnoticed by day. After dusk however, it provides an eye catching display that uses subtle warm white and cool white light in a dynamic display, without resorting to coloured light. This was suitable artistic restraint that suited this location.
Image caption: The integrated façade lighting clearly distinguishes the Double Tree Hilton from the similarly proportioned rectangular commercial buildings the surround it. Custom design and manufacture by illumination Physics.
The building is now clearly not an office tower. The lighting display is playful but sophisticated. An ideal message for the positioning of this hotel.
Technically simple, cost effective and totally reliable. The equipment was installed by the electrical contractor with guidance from illumination Physics.
City of Dreams, Macau – Retail Expansion
The retail expansion of the podium in 2015 produced a new 250m wide curved façade, 20 metres high, constructed of glass and aluminium. City of Dreams contained four hotels at that time and a casino. The expansion was a major development of the Cotai Strip and a statement needed to be made. Lighting would be the key for that message.
Image caption: The new retail façade of City of Dreams now dominates the start of the Cotai Strip in Macau. The use of very warm white light and cool white light are used as a metaphor for gold and silver in a display that is constantly evolving. Design and build by illumination Physics.
The signature use of highly coloured neon and now LED have been all pervasive in Macau since the 60s. Those hotel personality messages are unmistakeable.
The new podium at City of Dreams should be treated differently. It would need to demand attention, overt; but not in red, green and blue colour mixing. There is already too much of that. The image of the retail expansion also needed to be distinctly up-market and for once, primary colours would not help.
A different approach would be the one to stand out. The 90 tall light boxes would be illuminated by washing the back panel with two offset focuses, one in very warm white (gold) and one in very cool white (silver) as a metaphor. A custom linear light fixture was specially created. The display is animated and demands attention but the dynamic changes are neither fast nor slow, creating an image of class in deference to the high-end retail brands contained within. The building demands attention and yet clearly communicates its personality.
The Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Designed by Moshe Safdie Architects, the three iconic towers joined at the summits by the Skypark have become the contemporary image of Singapore. These were not the only opportunity to create a personality, or many personalities as it turned out. The hotel towers needed little help.
However, at the base of the towers sit three wide low buildings; The Theater, The Exhibition Hall and the MICE centre. The creative company Laservision had identified that the acres of grey convex Clip-Loc aluminium roofing, whist not an asset in day time, might be exploited at night.
illumination Physics developed a luminaire design that was able to evenly illuminate the compound curved surfaces. The overall display utilised more than 1000 custom light fixtures that were among the first to adopt RGBA (red, green, blue & amber) LEDs rather than the more prevalent RGB or RGBW (red, green, blue & white). The inclusion of amber allowed the creation of a true warm white – a specific requirement of the architect, as well as a palate of colours previously unseen. Dynamic control grants the Sands the ability to adopt many personalities and moods according to the time of day and special events such as Singapore’s National Day when the red and white colours of the flag are used.
The Kempinski Hotel Clubhouse, Yinchuan, China
It gets very cold in this part of the world (the average annual daily temperature is 8.9℃) and hence the sporting, spa and pool facilities must be indoors and yet feel spacious and open. It was logical that Novum structures would provide two organically shaped self-supporting glass and steel geodetic domes. This magnificent engineering would be lost at night unless it was celebrated with lighting, which is what illumination Physics did. Each node in the dome was equipped with a direct view LED pixel, a custom designed luminaire that was integrated into the structure at each node. In addition, linear indirect wash lights were installed, hidden around the perimeter of each dome.
The combination of these two light sources creates two views of the domes. From the inside a sky can be created complete with stars. From the outside the glowing domes arouse curiosity and attract attention in a way that invites people in to places of warmth and relaxation. Ideal for this hotel.
The square peg and round hole issue
illumination Physics was founded on a specific philosophy. illumination Physics would focus on the exact needs of the project above all else. Integrated architectural lighting requires that the design of lighting equipment must be perfectly adapted for fit and function and also maintainability. Custom design played a key role in the success of all of these hotel based projects. Our manufacturing facilities are organised for agility and flexibility so that a particular type of light fixture can be designed, proven and produced as, if not more quickly than an off-the- shelf product. The support for illumination Physics’ products has extended for a decade and the company have debunked the popular myth that custom products are more expensive. Illumination Physics apply the same level of care to projects large and small.
Illumination Physics is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 44:
6 WAYS TO ADD NATURE INTO INTERIOR DESIGN
Getting in touch with nature has moved from the eco-friendly fringes to the mainstream in the hospitality industry. Designer and author Angelina Schmidt shares tips on how designers can seamlessly add natural elements within an interior design scheme…
The indoor-outdoor trend is about more than adding some greenery into hotel lobbies. It’s rooted in the term “biophilia”, which refers to our desire as humans to connect with nature. “Biophilic design” refers to using these principles in architectural and interior design. Here are some tips on how you can extend these ideas to your room design.
From floor to ceiling and all the space between, wood is a natural choice when using nature in guestroom design, but should not be limited to the bedroom. Wooden floors in common spaces are durable, easy to clean, and blend well with countless design themes.
Image credit: Pixabay
Make a statement in these areas with a wood ceiling (these are a trending design feature right now). Wooden accent walls add warmth and cosiness that’s hard to duplicate with other materials. Consider smaller touches like wood accent shelves or wood fireplace mantles. Wooden coffee tables, desks, lighting fixtures, and accessories will also bring a touch of nature to any room.
There are so many ways to incorporate stone into interior design. From flooring to feature walls to decorative accents, stone offers a timeless and natural charm. Surround a fireplace or cover a wall with stone veneer.
Image credit: Pixabay
In rooms with kitchens, perhaps use stacked stone as a backsplash or around a kitchen island. Remodeling the bathrooms? How about a river pebble shower floor or slate tiles for the shower walls? Be sure to properly seal the natural stone in bathrooms and use slip-resistant materials for the floors.
The power of plants
Biophilic design is about more than plants. Greenery can play a role in helping travellers feel connected to nature. Potted plants help green up common spaces and individual rooms. Aloe, jade, and snake plants are good low maintenance choices.
Image credit: Pixabay
For an upscale touch, consider luxe plants such as a bird of paradise or bonsai tree. Add pops of colour with strategically placed floral arrangements. Dried flowers last longer than fresh ones, and they’re the epitome of low maintenance. Faux flowers and greenery have come a long way, and they don’t need any care.
The more the better! Natural light feeds our minds, bodies, and souls and can promote a sense of wellbeing. Take advantage of natural light in as many rooms as possible. If you’re redesigning a property or building a new one, incorporate windows to let in the light and maximise the view.
Image credit: Pixabay
Choose lighter colour palettes to reflect light rather than absorb it. Remove heavy window coverings and keep windows clean. Clean windows allow in more light and improve the appearance of your space.
Breathe life into your walls
Living or green walls are having a moment in interior design. They’re popular in office buildings, shopping centres, and hotel lobbies.
Image credit: PxFuel
Living walls need regular care and an adequate watering system. Make sure you’ve planned for this because dead or dying plants are an eyesore.
Accessories, with Nature in Mind
Hang pictures of natural settings or landscapes, or display art made from natural items like stones, wood, or shells. Wallpaper or carpet with nature-inspired patterns is another option. So is bedding or accent pillows with floral or leaf designs.
Image credit: Pixabay
Your guests’ connection to the outdoors doesn’t have to end at your property’s entrance. Use these biophilic tips to help incorporate nature into your room design. While these ideas won’t replace going outside, they can provide your guests with an environment that helps them feel connected to nature.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 43:
INSTALLING EV CHARGING POINTS IN YOUR HOTEL
As businesses are changing, and demand for electric cars on the rise, hotels are installing EV charging points into car parks. Utility Team explains what hoteliers should consider when modernising to cater for the eco demand…
It is clear that the future of automotive is electric and if you’re not already, maybe you should be considering installing EV charging points at your business premises.
The number of all electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is forecast to increase exponentially over the coming years, this is something even the most ardent fan of the combustion engine and petrol head would find difficult to dispute. With this, the need for EV charging points will similarly need to grow with some degree of correlation.
The Government has declared a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to begin in 2035, this is to work towards the overall net-zero target put on the UK of 2050. The BBC clarify the point “When will petrol and diesel cars be banned? The ban is being introduced in 2035 – five years earlier than previously planned. Experts said the original target of 2040 would be too late if the UK wanted to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. The ban is also being expanded to hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids, which had not been included under the original proposals. As a result, people will be able to buy only electric or hydrogen cars and vans.”
This may lead many occupiers of business premises to consider installing EV charging points. There are of course many different options and providers. Should you opt for rapid charging points? How will these be supplied? Do you have enough capacity? These are just a few of the questions you will likely ponder.
In order to make an informed decision, it is important to understand what you are trying to achieve; this will very much depend upon the type of premises you occupy and what type of business you operate.
For example, the owner/operator of a retail park/shopping centre will want to attract visitors but will also want them to remain on-site for a while. So a rapid charging point where the user may sit in their car for 15 minutes and then drive off may not be the best option. Similarly, a slow charging point that would mean a space is occupied for hours by the same vehicle would not be suitable.
Occupiers of office buildings may want to provide charging points for staff and visitors, again which type of devices are best? How do you decide who can use them? How do you determine if there is any ‘benefit in kind’ that needs to be considered? How do you stop disruption to work with people moving vehicles around the car park to allow others to use the devices?
These again are all questions that should be considered before any installation takes place.
Currently, demand for charging points in comparison to the traditional petrol station is low, you will rarely see a queue at locations that are available to the public, however, this will change. The Guardian highlighted an interesting point ‘Electric vehicle (EV) sales are accelerating rapidly, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures for September 2019 showing a 236.4% rise year-on-year.’ Whether you are considering installing these devices to attract customers or to benefit employees there are many factors to consider in order to avoid the project becoming a token gesture or something that causes more problems than it solves.
Taking independent advice is key to ensure your installation caters for your current and future demand scenarios as well as providing a system that manages the use of the devices throughout your organisation.
Utility Team can advise on a variety of green energy initiatives, managing the project from start to finish (if required) as well as providing interest-free funding opportunities for energy-efficient equipment or initiatives. In particular, we can help you with any EV charging point project from trickle to rapid chargers and self-owned to leased charging points.
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 42:
USING A 360-DEGREE APPROACH IN BATHROOM DESIGN
Aiming to reduce the number of out-of-service rooms when a bathroom product malfunctions, bathroom specifier Utopia Projects explains why their 360-degree approach is vital when designing bathrooms and wet rooms for the modern traveller…
Imagine this all-too-common scenario in a hotel: the guest calls down to reception to complain that the shower is not working.
For the individual checked in, a swift upgrade to a junior suite and a few drinks vouchers will suffice. For the hotel, though, which now shelters an unoccupied and therefore unsellable room, it’s a race against time to rectify the problem. If corners were cut during the design of the bathrooms, it will usually be exposed here, and the property will most likely have to contact the manufacturers to order a new part after the maintenance staff has finally identified the broken element, causing unnecessary delays. Sound familiar?
On the other hand, hotel bathrooms that have been designed sensitively will have pre-empted the inevitable of malfunctioning equipment. Needless to say, services that specify quality branded products and that have access to all spare parts help to eliminate long-lead times for new product parts.
A recent UK study, commissioned by Ideal Standard, found that “73 per cent of designers agreed that washrooms are the most difficult rooms to design and plan in commercial projects.” As the rise in wellness and wellbeing points a critical lens on the hotel bathroom, designers are working harder than ever to evolve purposefully designed bathrooms and washrooms, all within the often-tight budgets from the client.
Image credit: Utopia Projects
Image credit: Utopia Projects
Utopia Projects is a unique service that works with designers after the layout of a bathroom has been established. Helping to create statement bathrooms for the likes of University Arms Cambridge, Oddfellows on the Park and most recently the Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester, the team have a solid relationship with some of the UK’s leading designers.
How the 360-degree approach works
The designer focuses on capturing the theme and overall concept while Utopia Projects suggests an appropriate specification. “Some designers will ask for entry- as well as mid-spec in order to get the difference between both,” explains Richard Goodier, Director at Utopia Projects. “Once we have provided these free of charge, they will then present these specs to the client for approval.”
Having a second pair of eyes in the bathroom from early stages right through until completion allows designers to concentrate on other areas of the design process. “We stock the products and supply to schedules, which we break it down to first fit and second fit,” adds Goodier. “After the job is complete, we have easy access to all the spare parts to all of the products we have specified.” The company goes as far to give the maintenance staff on site access to www.hotelspares.co.uk and an easy to use booklet that is made up of all the products specified in the hotel, so that if a problem were to surface, they would be able to identify the issue swiftly.
Times are changing
The conventional hotel bathroom as we know it has become a thing of the past. An example of an hotel bathroom breaking design barriers is The South Place Hotel, London which was chosen as the setting of BBC’s award-winning drama series, The Bodyguard. The ultra-contemporary hotel required a specific brief, and was the first new-build hotel to open within London’s city walls. “When designing hotel bathrooms, there is a lot more to consider than just the products,” says Goodier. “The South Place Hotel was an exciting project for us to be involved in, Conran & Partners who were the interior designers had a very clear image of the design brief they were trying to achieve. The products used within this set-up had to be stylish & modern yet with functionality. Always up for a challenge, we were tasked with sourcing a glass bath for the hotel suits which we had handmade in Italy, as well as having bespoke flush plates made with the hotel logo to reflect the level of detail given to this project.
“Utopia Projects prides itself on keeping its clients up to date on regulation changes as well as only working with WRAS-approved products and brands.”
Technology has opened the door for new software to creep in.. Online ‘shops’ are becoming more sophisticated, going as far as allowing designers to use virtual tools to create specifications with just a few clicks. The danger of this, however, is that cutting corners could lead to missed or unsuitable products being specified. Specialists, such as the workforce at Utopia Projects, cast experienced eyes over all specifications and sense-check everything as part of the 360-degree approach.
In addition, the new wave of tech-driven products is being introduced into the market at a rapid pace and more emphasis is being put on sustainability and quality. Utopia Projects prides itself on keeping its clients up to date on regulation changes as well as only working with WRAS-approved products and brands. Taking on the 360-degree approach to bathroom design, bathroom experts at Utopia Projects are determined to help designers meet ambitious hotel briefs with the knowledge, experience and the skill required to meet the growing demands of consumers who arguably see the bath, shower and WC as important as the bed.
Main image credit: The Biltmore Hotel, designed by Goddard Littlefair
A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 41:
DESIGNING MEANINGFUL CO-WORKING SPACES
Art and FF&E logistics company Momentous explains why we must react to consumer demands for a flexible hotel public areas. The company’s Mike Brazier has explains what designers should consider when creating flexible working spaces…
I’ve just finished a consultation regarding a workplace project in central London where we are hoping to support, and now I’m on my way to join a work colleague for a meeting to discuss logistics support with an interior design and hotels projects contact of ours.
The destination is the beautiful five-star St Martins Lane Hotel. It’s centrally based and extremely convenient when you’re buzzing around the city looking for a relaxed space to meet clients.
I arrive following an eventful tube journey (not an uncommon situation in the capital) but the large and open hotel lobby instantly creates a strong sense of calm.
As well as bar, a lobby and a restaurant, there is also a snug (AKA- The Den); a peaceful retreat from the metropolis outside, ideal for checking emails as well as providing a good base for meetings in the city. As I set myself down and open my laptop, I take a look around and notice that I’m not alone. In fact, I realise there are quite a few other business people nestled around the room, all checking their emails, holding meetings and working pretty effectively. My colleague arrives shortly after me and it gives us some time to catch up, it all feels very constructive.
Image caption: The Den inside St Martin Lane Hotel, London
A fortunate appeal to the agile worker
When our contact arrives, the discussion instantly turns to the unique attributes of ‘bleisure’ hotels and the benefits they offer to agile workers. With hotel groups such as Hoxton Hotels and Citizen M leading a movement to create design-led, practical public areas, could the possibility of exchanging our offices for hotels as co-working locations be a reality?
Image credit: Hoxton Hotels
Of course, what we are talking about is nothing new. Business men and women have been holding meetings in coffee shops and hotels since commerce began. And co-working has been shaping the workplace market for years with companies such as WeWork, its many contemporaries and HubbleHQ creating flexible and funky workspace options for the next generation of businesses. Yet, hotel co-working offers something deeper.
In fact, when you look at hotels as another new option for co-working spaces, it starts to make a lot of sense. Many of them have the basic demands that consumers require. They are often located exactly where you need them to be with amazing travel links. They have Wi-Fi, power sockets, chairs, tables, informal meeting areas, boardroom-style rooms, refreshments and they are not dull spaces.
What hotel designs can be implemented do to capitalise on this opportunity for coworking?
Based on the collective experience of interior design, hotels and workplace in the room you can imagine that we had plenty of ideas flashing around. One of the key challenges would be that workplaces can get quite noisy with phone calls and the general level of communication, so hotels would need to work on a way around this.
Data security, networks and call handling, are all factors that need to be taken into consideration. In reality, these are all challenges that a designer and workplace specialist would have no problem overcoming. There are also some ready and off the shelf options that can be easily incorporated. Work pods can solve many of the challenges listed above and we have access to those today. The trick would be, how do hotels get this to flow into their existing core hotel proposition.
For hotels that are restricted with space, usually urban hotels, the hotel lobby has to work harder. For it to be able to transformed into different atmospheres throughout the day, the lobby has to be flexible in its design. Using a neutral coloured surface, with art pieces injecting personality, the lobby will become a blank canvas of ideas. Modular furniture will adapt with your guests’ needs and can allow the space to transform quickly without fuss.
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution for designing co-working spaces in hotels. One thing is for certain, the hotels that are at the curve of this movement are using innovation, new technology and clever design to to create meaningful functional spaces that are appealing to work and hold meetings in.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is glad that pubs have transformed from dark smoky dens into welcoming meeting places for everyone – serving fantastic food, and often with a few luxury rooms to stay in, too.
For weekend mini-breaks, a pub hotel can offer the most characterful place to stay in a rural village. I’m thinking of somewhere where walks finish with a pint or a glass of good wine beside a roaring fire.
The appeal of a pub over a hotel is often friendliness. For single travellers they can be more tempting than a corporate-style hotel, even if it means a little extra travel. The likelihood is that a pub will attract locals as well as travellers, signalling a convivial atmosphere.
My top tips for designing luxury accommodation in pubs aren’t that different from what I’d suggest in a hotel. Sometimes the only distinction between the two is the atmosphere. What every pub needs is an element of cosiness and comfort. The best pub accommodation is warm, comfortable and homely with a dash of luxury: great toiletries, top-quality beds and bedding, some special wool-covered cushions, for example. As Coco Chanel said, ‘Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.’ Pub accommodation should never be soulless and should always offer a hospitable atmosphere.
Here are a few key points for designing luxury accommodation in pub hotels.
Continuity– The style of the whole pub should be harmonious. Pub hotel design never works when it’s obvious that all the attention has gone into creating a cosy eating and drinking area, with the rooms clearly an afterthought with basic furniture, fixtures and linens. Both communal and sleeping areas need to feel part of a whole, with themes carried through. Though overly themed pubs are a no-no – you don’t want a too-often repeated fabric, for example. The design has to be subtle, with a similar colour palette throughout.
Image credit: Interiors by Sarah Ward
Family feel– Many pubs are traditionally family-run businesses. It’s the friendly atmosphere of being in a homely environment that should be brought to the fore when decorating a pub. And that should be created even if it isn’t family-run. For the rooms, this means adding a few individual touches. Pub accommodation shouldn’t all be identical. Interesting materials, cushions, rugs, and lamps come to mind, as well as the odd attractive ornament, or books on a bookshelf. But don’t go for a cluttered look: it’s too Marmite – some love it, many don’t, and it’s hard to get right. That’s where a good interior designer can really add value. We have contacts and connections all over the industry, and can source high-quality interesting bespoke pieces for projects, from artworks to armchairs. We can arrange things in the best way so that there’s still a feeling of space and flow in each area.
Original features– Lovely old pubs often have a wealth of original features, from fireplaces to wonky exposed beams and braces. Don’t cover these up. People want an authentic feel. It’s good to integrate some of the old features, referencing them in your theme. So, an old station pub should have pieces relevant to its original use – a station clock, perhaps, or artwork made from old timetables or posters. Again, a good interior designer will help make sure this works and isn’t kitsch. And for original features that you do want to cover – Victorian plumbing pipes, for example – then an interior design specialist will offer solutions, maybe boxing them in in a way that creates a storage solution.
Image credit: Interiors by Sarah Ward
Image credit: Interiors by Sarah Ward
Image credit: Interiors by Sarah Ward
Bedding– Crisp sheets are a must. And go for comfortable beds that are as large as the room allows. I would recommend a selection of cushions and a choice of soft pillows, and maybe a luxury throw in a contrasting colour to add interest. If the pub doesn’t have a turn-down service as a hotel would, then make sure there’s somewhere for guests to stash bed cushions at night.
Storage– Storage can often be an issue in pub rooms, some of which can be small if you’re working with an old building. If you’re having to create somewhere for guests to place and hang clothes or coats, an interior designer will be able to design something that fits cleverly into a small space. This is better than just offering hooks with hangers.
Materials– Go as luxury and as cosy as your budget affords. I associate British pubs with winter cosiness and rural bliss, and therefore I’d use natural wools and a palette of colours that matches the great outdoors. These are warm earthy tones, against a fairly neutral base. I’d include a comfortable and stylish chair in an attractive material in a pub hotel room. I’d always use heavy curtains and make sure they black out all the light, too.
Sustainability– Make sure you’re offering good quality toiletries in recyclable materials. Also, the better the quality the better the sustainability with things like fabrics. Consumers are concerned about the planet, and you need to show in your offering (food and accommodation) that you are, too. Use local products from small producers if possible. This always adds a welcome touch to a room, and shows the owners have thought about what they’re doing. No-one wants little capsules of milk with their coffee, for example – so offering fresh in a pretty jug (or mini flask) is always better. Likewise, a packet of generic shortbread is boring, but a handmade biscuit is delicious and special. The same goes for a cushion, or a piece of art. According to a 2019 survey by Taxi2Airport, 76% of holidaymakers want hotels to do more to be greener. So, inform your guests about green credentials, whether that’s using eco-friendly cleaning materials or not using single-use plastics.
Bathrooms– Bathrooms don’t necessarily need to be totally luxe in a pub – but make sure the basics are covered: good lighting and mirrors, soft towels with somewhere to hang them, and a heated towel rail if possible. Everyone loves a roll-top bath, and pub-hotels suit them well, often with a Victorian-style feel. Local toiletries, as mentioned in the sustainability section, are always a good addition. Go for large, refillable luxury shampoos, conditioners and soaps. They hit the eco-button and there are lots of great ones available now. Even in a bathroom, bespoke pieces, such as mirrors, soap dishes and glasses to put your toothbrush in can make the difference between dull and stylish.
Noise– Noise can be a problem in pubs. Spend money on good insulation, glazing, and close-fitting doors to aid sound-proofing. If you have wooden floorboards, you need a large thick rug to muffle sound.
Welcome– As we all know, as well as a lovely environment and good food and accommodation, it’s people who make pubs. Make sure all staff are well trained, not just in serving at the bar, but in customer service for overnight guests, too.