Interior Design

Part 41: Designing meaningful co-working spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

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.

Masculine furniture inside a den-like snug

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.

It is hardly any surprise to see that many of the large hotel chains such as AccorHotels X WOJO, Marriott International and their Sheraton brand are redesigning their lobbies are following quirky hotel brands to create co-working spaces and rethinking the type of services and resources that would convert the casual agile working visitor into adopting them as a patron willing to pay more for their services.

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.

Main image credit: St Martins Lane Hotel

Tap with water

Part 37: Putting sustainability front and centre in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

PART 37: PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY FRONT AND CENTRE IN THE BATHROOM

Recommended Supplier Roca discusses sustainability in order to highlight how the international hotel design industry can save water and reduce wastage… 

Water consumption varies in hotels depending on the presence of swimming pools, saunas, laundry and catering facilities. However, water accounts for 10 per cent of utility bills in many hotels, with taps, toilets and showers comprising around 40 per cent of this total.

Any way we can reduce water consumption is going to be good for the hotel and good for the environment.

Bathroom manufacturing has become more sustainable in recent years and Roca has remained at the forefront of sustainable design by creating products that conserve water and protect the environment. For example, the bathroom manufacturer has reduced the capacity of its WC cisterns to optimise water consumption and developed plumbing products that shrink energy usage.

Guests are also being far more aware of the need to reduce water and energy consumption. In-roads have already been made in this regard, with a growing number of bathrooms now having a dual-flush cistern.

The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

The right choice of products plays an important part in the management of water usage. And we deliberately say ‘management’ of water usage, because, although the overall aim is to reduce water usage, each of the products still has to work effectively. The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

Water saving developments

Firstly, let’s look at some products that have been designed to reduce water-usage.

One of the latest innovations to hit the market are rimless toilets. The box rim has been eliminated, making the pan much easier to clean and eliminating areas in which bacteria can accumulate. The shape of the pan has also been redesigned, allowing us to flush very efficiently with as little as a 4/2L dual flush cistern. Considering that the average flush for new WCs is between 4L and 6L, a product like this can help to save considerable amounts of water.

Water saving technology can also be found in many brassware solutions. For example, Cold Start technology ensures water is only heated when it is required. Traditionally, when you turn on a tap, the water will be warm. This will automatically trigger the boiler, which can be expensive and wasteful, especially in a home where multigenerational families use water at different times.

Roca also has an exclusive piece of technology in its ECO disc cartridge, which helps to save water and energy. As the tap handle is raised, a slight resistance is reached at 50 per cent of the water flow and lifting beyond this bite point produces a full flow. The cartridge includes a temperature limiter which can be set at installation to eliminate the risk of scalding.

Innovation and product development are making significant headway in delivering greater water savings. For instance, the ground-breaking W+W from Roca uses waste water from the basin to fill the WC cistern, thereby reducing water usage by up to 25 per cent compared to a standard 6/3 litre dual-flush WC. The W+W basin has two wastes – the basin waste and one further down the waste pipe. The user has the option of either diverting it to the mains or recycling it by storing it in the cistern ready for the next flush.

Our Responsibility

As well as delivering bathroom solutions that save water and reduce wastage, Roca actively works to improve sanitation and increase access to water across the world. 

Created in 2010, the We Are Water Foundation is a Roca initiative which reinforces the brand’s historic engagement with society. On a planet with about 768 million people without access to drinking water and 2.7 billion without basic sanitation infrastructure, the Foundation aims to achieve two main objectives. First, to contribute to the spread of a new culture of water which is more caring, just and sustainable, and second, to help the world’s poorest and those with major water and sanitation problems.

The vision of the We Are Water Foundation is to continue growing worldwide, especially in countries where the Roca Group can, through its activities, participate more intensively to identify collaboration projects and contribute to the solution for water and sanitation problems.

Sustainable manufacturing

Roca also knows that how its products are produced is important so has created the Eco-Roca project, which looks at the production processes at its factory, as well as the development of its products and the social activities of the company. The project has two core goals, to cut CO2 emissions and to manage waste-free industrial processes via its Zero Waste Programme.

We have a greater understanding of the value of water and its wastage than ever before. Hoteliers and guests are mindful about the amount of water they are using and want ways to reduce it. It’s time to think seriously about water conservation.

Main image credit: Roca