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2020

Hi-Fi by Gessi wins BoY Award for design excellence

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hi-Fi by Gessi wins BoY Award for design excellence

The innovative Hi-Fi shower system by Gessi wins The Boy Award for pushing the boundaries in wellness product design…

The BoY Award is the ultimate measure of design excellence, honouring the most significant work of the year and recognising designers, architects, and manufacturers from around the globe.

With 761 products entered from 455 manufacturers in 26 countries and 176,517 votes cast, Gessi’s Hi-Fi Thermostatic Mixers has won the Bathroom Fixtures Category.

As the company’s latest launch, Hi-Fi is the convergence of design and technology and represents the new frontier of The Gessi Private Wellness Program, a wide range of modular shower elements that enable a completely customisable bathroom experience from rain showers to atomisation. Hi-Fi Thermostatic Mixers go beyond retro-inspired aesthetics to offer high-fidelity technology for water delivery with accurate precision and perfect ergonomic design.

Since you’re here, why not read more about the ’90s-inspired Hi-Fi systems from Gessi?

The Hi-Fi Collection is a unique addition to the bathroom furnishings market, providing an interactive interface to manipulate every aspect of the shower experience. The controls have been designed to mimic the tactile sensations of period stereo sets with clicking buttons and turning knobs, bringing the satisfaction of fine-tuning and the relaxation of music into a soothing wellness environment. Function buttons feature intuitive graphic icons for easy use, while the knobs have radial dials for precise control of water flow and temperature.

Moodboard featuring Gessi products

Image credit: Gessi

Hi-Fi is the fourth product design from Gessi to receive the prestigious BoY Award. In previous years the Inciso, Goccia and Tremillimetric Collections also garnered top honours.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi

Collage of Axiom space station

Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck, the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates as the plans get underway…

Collage of Axiom space station

There has been a lot of talk in recent years of taking hospitality to new heights, but as close we as we have got to a ‘space hotel’ so far has been the Space Suite inside the Kameha Grand Zürich, the ‘Lunar Loo’ designed by Duravit and Orion Span’s planned orbiting hotel, which was slated to welcome guests from as early as 2022 – we have no update on its progress.

However, in a recent article in The Times, the race to launch hospitality outside earth’s atmosphere has taken a bold leap forward with plans, led by former NASA chiefs and astronauts, now underway to build the first commercial space station. Free from the shackles of gravity, extensive research and manufacturing has to led to this moment; Axiom being one step closer to launching.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Axiom, which literally means “a statement or proposition which is regarded as being established”, is a company co-founded by the former programme chief of International Space Station (ISS) “Axiom was founded with the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human ever where,” Mike Suffredini, chief executive of Axiom Space and who previously led NASA’s second largest engineering contract, said. “We often hear that this is a very bold statement. it is.”

“Philippe Starck will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.”

Costing a reported $2 million, which is a drop in the ocean when considering the cost of building a new-build hotel in today’s climate, the Axiom station is intended to become the first ever free-flying, globally available private space station, which is planning to launch in 2024. Although its manufacturing requires space engineers, the interiors have been handed over to French industrial architect and hotel design legend Philippe Starck who will have the honour of designing the cabins inside – think “nest-like comfort” – that will frame panoramic views of our home planet below.

The company promises to “help open a new chapter in human history” with this launch. On its website, it says: “20 years after astronauts first began to live and work aboard the ISS, Axiom offers the ability to traverse the sublime reach of space and fulfil personal goals of philosophical, philanthropic, scientific or commercial nature.”

Although we are somewhat sceptical when reading about a hotel in space, it is encouraging to see that Axiom has a fine pedigree who are ultimately making this dream a reality. As well as Suffredini, the team includes four retired astronauts, including Charlie Bolden, the former head of NASA.

To infinity, and beyond!

Main image credit: Axiom

Hamish Kilburn

Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: don’t make me round-up 2020

“For someone who always tries to see the positive in everything, this year has been a challenging and turbulent journey that has been full twists, turns and dead ends,” editor Hamish Kilburn writes when trying to round-up 2020…

Hamish Kilburn

It’s 21:00 GMT on a stormy evening in December. The eyes of the world are fixed on my home county following a new super strain of Covid-19 that was found, mutated they say, in Kent. There’s literally nothing to do apart from curl up on the sofa with a glass of red wine to write this, which is my last article of 2020 (hurrah!).

Just when this year couldn’t really get much worse, my phone lights up beside me and my stomach immediately drops. The sender is a freelance journalist who is supposed to be in Dubai taking full advantage of this ‘air corridor’ we had been granted. For any editor right now, it’s a pretty big deal commissioning an international trip, as travelling anywhere at the moment feels like undertaking a covert operation (even when you’re not the one actually boarding the plane).

“If the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

The text message read: “Hi Hamish, I’m really sorry but I’m stuck in Zanzibar, now self-isolating for 10 days having tested positive for Covid-19, and will not make it to Dubai to review the hotel.” And this, my friends, is the new world we are living in. What a way to end to 2020? Not only am I now living in a place that is being branded by the media as ‘the new Wuhan’, but I also feel part responsible for a journalist and friend being struck down by ‘the virus’, with no option but to lock himself down in a hotel, over Christmas, that wasn’t budgeted for – talk about disruption! But if the last 12 months have taught us anything on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, it’s perspective and being grateful for what we have. Fortunately, our writer and his wife who he is travelling with are showing no symptoms and are recovering safely and comfortably in the confides of their hotel room.

This situation is a stark reminder of how shaken our market is, even now, more than 10 months after coronavirus first emerged in the headlines. While other industries wake up from a forced hibernation, unfortunately hotels around the world are still taking a battering, and the majority are still performing with less than 50 per cent occupancy due to the pandemic. Major cities that were once dominating tourist hotspots have found themselves in unfamiliar territories; vacant and on the surface without purpose – and there was me in January thinking this was all just a sensational story that will blow over…

The hotels within these metropolis’ that were designed to cater for substantial demand are currently uninhabited. And yet, the magic and power of hospitality has kept the industry’s spirits alive.

During the peak of lockdown – and even after we entered the dreaded tiered system here in the UK – wonderful and innovative initiatives emerged from hotels up and down the country. With the unanimous aim to support key workers during turbulent times, hoteliers utilised the situation and started to focus their attention locally, and as a result produced new and improved sustainable ways to operate.

Meanwhile, designers and architects were able to exhale from travelling and attending back-to-back client meetings and pitches. Instead, although being away from their creative studios was less than ideal, they were able to focus on drawing up new purposeful spaces suitable for a post-pandemic world.

It is therefore more important now than ever before to recognise and celebrate the individuals in Britain who are leading the way in international hotel design and hospitality, as we did last month when we went live with The Brit List Awards 2020.

Just when Covid-19 slapped us across the face with a wet fish – I was on the floor howling with laughter when a designer used this line earlier this year in a panel discussion – we opened the applications and nominations process for the awards. And with each completed application form that landed in my inbox, the team and I were reminded why Britain is – and will always be – regarded as a leading hotel design and hospitality hub.

There’s a lot of anticipation building around what 2021 will bring. If Pantone’s Colour of the Year is anything to go by, we’re in for a mixed 12 months that will require yet more forward-thinking to harmonise our industry. From our side, we will continue to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected with our Hotel Designs LIVE series and the anticipated arrival of our podcast. We will also continue publishing strong editorial features (look out for that Dubai hotel review), and we will maintain our position as the leading international hotel design website by listening to the designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers who are all helping to shape our industry.

I would like to sign off 2020 by sticking two fingers up to the past and instead welcoming in new perspectives that we will amplify on the pages of Hotel Designs. I wish you all a safe and refreshing festive period and our team looks forward to reconnecting in the New Year – at least it can’t be as bad as the one we have just endured!

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: DJP Portraiture

Franklite collage

Year in Review: Franklite reflects on its hero launches

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Year in Review: Franklite reflects on its hero launches

To conclude our Year in Review series, lighting brand Franklite throws it back to highlight the brand’s major launches of 2020…

Franklite has played an exceptional role in various projects over the course of the year, ranging from luxury hotels to executive homes over the UK and providing a range of exquisite lighting solutions to complement each individual space.

Franklite collage

The Taper Pendant has become a popular choice this year as it has appeared in numerous spaces including show homes and hotels. Available in smoked, copper and amber glass finish, these angle-cut pendants are on a matt black plate with black braided suspensions.

The single-drop Cordelia is ideal for above a bar area within a restaurant as displayed at the Hilton Gatwick Hotel. These beautiful satin brushed pendants with heavily textured glass bases to diffuse the light are available in gold and silver with some accents of chrome and matt black. The multi-drop versions will make a statement in a larger space such as a reception area or staircase.

Another favourite is the Dandy fitting, a contemporary spherical pendant in matt gold with matt black discs around the outside. A cluster of these pendants are featured perfectly within the recessed ceiling of the Vista restaurant at the Gleddoch Hotel.

2020 also saw the launch of Franklite’s Catalogue 26, showcasing an extensive range of fittings filled with a combination of innovative designs and our classic Franklite products that customers have come to know and love.

As the year draws to a close, we are putting the final touches to our first Catalogue 26 supplement, which will feature exciting new lighting solutions available to order from early 2021.

Franklite is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Franklite

Product watch: Kaldewei launches washbasin made of sustainable steel enamel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Kaldewei launches washbasin made of sustainable steel enamel

Premium bathroom manufacturer Kaldewei enhances portfolio with a new and luxurious highlight washbasin product. Asian-inspired, the Ming’s design is unique in its segment…

Its shape typifies both the traditional and the modern. The lines of this delicate washbasin bowl produce an elegant, sculptural shape ideal for a distinctive interior design. Moreover, it offers exceptional comfort thanks to its generous depth and a lastingly hygienic glass surface.

The Ming’s most striking design feature is its elegant shape. Convex curves form a sensual outline, the neutral black and white tones used remain unobtrusive, allowing for plenty of scope within individually designed washrooms.

Like all Kaldewei products, the Ming is made of superior steel enamel. This material features a flawlessly glazed surface and is extremely long-lasting and ultra hygienic. Steel enamel is 100 per cent recyclable and is one of the most sustainable materials available for modern bathroom fit-outs.,

This washbasin bowl is easy to clean and extremely resistant to external impacts just a few of the reasons why Kaldewei offers a 30-year product guarantee for its steel enamel products. The Ming is available in four different colours: lava black matt, polished black, alpine white and alpine white matt.

Guided by the motto “naturally connected”, legendary musician and award-winning photographer Bryan Adams has artfully showcased the new Ming washbasin bowl. His aim is to highlight connectedness and an awareness of hygiene in turbulent times. Applying a keen eye for detail, Adams gives us an intimate look at being together: with simple hygiene measures we extend our hands to each other – to our family, our friends and our partners. It’s a message that is both highly topical and timeless – and one which is perfectly reflected in the Ming’s classic design.

Kaldewei is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Kaldewei

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has given a platform to the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began and turned into what was the most meaningful campaign in the publication’s history.

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries. But no more so was this more evident than in the applications in the hotelier category.

Following on from unveiling this year’s designers and architects please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Hoteliers of 2020…

Ayo Akinsete, Area Managing Director – Treehouse Hotel London

Located on Langham Place, steps from the BBC headquarters, Treehouse Hotel London was founded on the ideas that inspire a child to build a treehouse. Adventure, independence, cozy spaces and repurposing crafty things are what make a place warm and special. That’s why every Treehouse Hotel – owned by SH Hotels & Resorts – celebrates found objects, nostalgic tunes, handmade details and locally sourced treats.

Ayo Akinsete, the Area Managing Director, joined the team in 2019 following his hospitality experience in Los Angles and New York.

Barry Sternlicht, Founder and CEO of SH Hotels & Resorts said: “The concept for Treehouse Hotel has been living in my soul for many years. A special place that feels more “home” than “hotel”…cozy, welcoming, warm, and somehow familiar…an oasis after a long day that at once refreshes, inspires, and delights.”

Carl Davies-Phillips, General Manager – Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon

Carl Davies-Phillips has been a great asset to Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon, and has worked extremely hard through the first year of trading since opening in April 2019 – especially with all the struggles the hospitality industry has faced this year.

Davies-Phillips is very caring of the team, and always ensures that staff morale is high. He has helped so many people develop their careers with his skills and knowledge in the hospitality industry and working for IHG.

In the heart of this Shakespearean market town is the home of the boutique hotel, surrounded by the wealth of culture this idyllic town has to offer.

Steeped in history and home to William Shakespeare, Hotel Indigo shares the neighbourhood with his 16th-century birthplace, as well as one of the most famous theatres in the world; Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Chris King, Co-Founder – Birch

Birch is an intervention from the judgements, expectations, and constraints of daily life; an escape for the explorers and a catalyst for the curious.

Founded by Chris King and Chris Penn, Birch creates spaces where you can rest, explore, connect, work, taste, move, or dance as you wish – all in one place.

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, architecture and design firm Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

The hotel encourages guests to disconnect from the rigours of mainstream daily life, and reconnect to the things that matter most: more walking, talking, touching and tasting.

Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director – Gleneagles

Since being crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, Conor O’Leary has continued to perfect the luxury address that is often referred to as ‘the glorious playground’. Gleneagles remains one of Scotland’s – if not Great Britain’s – most adventurous luxury hotels.

Set beneath the Ochil Hills, in the heart of Perthshire, it has been the must-go destination for travellers for nearly a century. Beginning its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived in great style at Gleneagles’ very own train station, the 850-acre estate epitomises the natural beauty for which Scotland is famed.

Now under new ownership with Ennismore, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties, Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio – with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.

Elli Jafari, General Manager – The Standard London

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored and sets the perfect stage for The Standard’s first hotel outside America.

The Standard London shelters 266 guestrooms in 42 unique styles ranging from Cosy Core rooms to terraced suites with outdoor bathtubs overlooking St Pancras station. The lobby lounge, with a carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use, with a sound studio hosting weekly live music and talks.

Founded in the late 90s, The Standard’s irreverent and playful sensibility, combined with a careful consideration of design, detail and service, have formed its DNA as a pioneer of hospitality, travel, dining, nightlife, and beyond.

Gary Neville, Co-Founder – Stock Exchange Hotel

 The Stock Exchange Hotel, co-owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, opened in November 2019 as a new luxury address in Manchester.

The former Manchester United footballers were among the first hoteliers to go above and beyond in the Covid-19 crisis, closing the two properties within their portfolio and offering them, free of charge, to NHS workers. The hotel also vowed to not make any staff redundant or place them on unpaid leave for the duration of its closure.

“We have taken this decision as we believe in being proactive and decisive,” said Neville, who added that the hotels would reopen once the pandemic has passed. “We feel that we have a responsibility to protect our team members and as shareholders we have put together the resources to put us in the best position to do this.

“Our company’s success is all down to our team and we feel it is critical that we look after everyone in these challenging times.

Grant Campbell, General Manager – Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Earlier this year, Grant Campbell was appointed General Manager at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which was due to open in July. Campbell moves in as the 249-key hotel’s pre-opening General Manager, Matthew Beard, becomes the hotel’s Managing Director.

Campbell joined Nobu Hotel London Portman Square from Sanderson London, where he led the strategic development of the hotel for more than six years.

In his new role, Campbell oversees the opening of the L+R-owned hotel, which will feature a Nobu restaurant, bar, ballroom for up to 600 guests, gym, wellness facilities and meeting spaces.

George Westwell, CEO – Cheval Collection

Cheval Collection, the luxury hospitality company with serviced apartment residences across London, announced in February 2020 that The Cheval Gloucester Park, Kensington had reopened following two years of full-scale, multi-million pound refurbishments.

The luxury all-apartment residence, has become the collection’s iconic west London property. Cheval Gloucester Park features a combination of one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as three spectacular five-bedroom penthouses on the upper floors, aptly named Gloucester, Cromwell and Kensington.

The building was stripped back to brick by architecture firm 3D Reid and Cheval’s design team has collaborated with London based design studio 1508 on the complete interior re-design of Cheval Gloucester Park, with a focus on 1920s London. The property shelters modernised design and upgraded features, including a beautifully renovated ground floor reception, a new 12-seater ‘cinema room’ for film screenings and private bookings as well as an enlarged fitness centre.

Guillaume Marly, Managing Director – Hotel Café Royal

Guillaume Marly became the Managing Director of Hotel Café Royal in 2017 following on from stints as hotel manager at The Ritz, The Connaught and senior positions at Claridges.

Consistently referred to as “London’s grand hotel”, the property is part of The Set: a cluster of luxury hotels in the UK and Europe. The sophisticated hotel straddles the elegance of Mayfair and the raw energy of Soho.

Having worked in some of London’s most admired and notable hotels, including Chiltern Firehouse and The Dorchester, Marly brought with him the level of expertise and experience necessary to take on a property of Hotel Café Royal’s size and reputation.

Howard Hastings, Managing Director – Hastings Hotels Group

Established by Sir William Hastings in the late 1960s, Hastings Hotels is a family-owned company and the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland.

Howard Hastings, now Managing Director, joined in 1989 as Operations Director. For the past 25 years, he has been Managing Director of Northern Ireland’s foremost hotel group, representing as they do, 1,100 bedrooms in seven hotels and continuing the clear set of values for which Hastings Hotels has become synonymous. These values encompass not only a strong work ethic, but a focus on heavy yearly investment with the local community, staff and suppliers at the heart of the business.

Hastings has been particularly passionate about not only Hastings Hotels but the promotion of tourism in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, as well as representing the sector in the wider business such as the Institute of Directors.

Jannes Soerensen, General Manager – The Beaumont

Jannes Soerensen, the General Manager at The Beaumont, is a familiar figure on the luxury hotel scene in Europe. In under two decades, he has worked in some of the finest hotels including Hotel George V Paris, Hotel Arts Barcelona, The Connaught and Le Bristol Paris.

In 2014 – the same year as the hotel opened – Soerensen stepped into the role as General Manager to lead The Beaumont into a new hospitality era.

Six years later, London’s hotel scene has been drastically impacted from the Covid-19 crisis, and Soerensen is currently using this period as an opportunity. Taking advantage of this unpredictable environment, he is coordinating long-planned work on an extension to the hotel. The renovation will include a soft refurbishment of the Cub Room, the Bar, the Colony and the Spa.

Javier Beneyto, General Manager – COMO Metropolitan London

Javier Beneyto has been General Manager of COMO Metropolitan London since 2018, taking over from the previous General Manager who managed the property for almost two decades.

Beneyto, born in Madrid, joined COMO Hotels and Resorts in 2012 and has managed a selection of the brand’s international portfolio before taking on his role at COMO Metropolitan London. Beneyto was instrumental in the redevelopment of the hotel’s residences in 2019, which are adjacent to the hotel. These 10 luxury residences were designed by architects and interior designers, Forme UK. During this process, Beneyto worked with numerous UK suppliers, builders and contractors – and being relatively new to the London hotel scene and only a year in the job, this was an enormous project to undertake which came with many challenges along the way.

The result is a chic and contemporary cluster of residences in the heart of Mayfair. Beneyto kept his cool throughout the process to bring his European flair to the project and the hotel team who adore him.

John Scanlon, General Manager – 45 Park Lane

Since his arrival at 45 Park Lane as General Manager in 2015, John Scanlon has been committed to ensuring that guests have the best possible stay experience, and has a proven track record of maintaining an enjoyable environment for employees.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Scanlon’s leadership saw a number of initiatives quickly come into fruition. Several colleagues became involved in the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action, making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in 12-week isolation. Employees have also pledged their support to the NHS and assisted in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by Covid-19.

45 Park Lane, along with sister hotels The Dorchester and Coworth Park, also donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action, to help support hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families.

Justin Salisbury, Co-Founder – Artist Residence

When Justin Salisbury dropped out of university to help out with the family B&B on Brighton seafront, he unexpectedly caught the hospitality bug, and set out to improve the business with very little budget.

Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he sent out an ad for artists to decorate rooms. Hundreds of artists soon descended on the place revamping the walls, floors and ceilings with unique murals…and so, Artist Residence was born.

Joined by then girlfriend (now wife) Charlie, the pair set about making the concept and hotel a successful business. Three years later, the duo set their sights on their next project, a manor house in the seaside town of Penzance in West Cornwall.

The heartwarming business story is mid-chapter, now with five hotel properties (all of which are sheltered inside interesting buildings that have played significant roles within their location).

The formidable duo are advocates for upcycling, and the team are regularly invited to discuss his authentic design and hospitality approach at major hospitality events.

Marco Novella, Managing Director – The Lanesborough

With its enviable location at the heart of London in prestigious Knightsbridge, and framing panoramic views of Hyde Park, The Lanesborough, managed by Oetker Collection, has long been considered one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel’s legacy lies with it having been built on the former home of Viscount Lanesborough and remains one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks. The elegant surroundings, exquisite cuisine, unsurpassed attention to detail and world-renowned service are second to none. The Lanesborough captures the sense of a grand residence and offers 93 guest rooms, including 43 suites, and a personal butler service for all guests across all room categories.

Marco Novella joined as Managing Director in 2018. His first position as Hotel Manager at the St. Regis Grand in Rome in 1999 led him to become the General Manager of another Starwood Hotels & Resorts property, The Gritti Palace in Venice. In 2010, Marco became Managing Director of Villa San Michele in Florence, part of Belmond. Prior to joining The Lanesborough, his most recent position was as Managing Director of Brown’s Hotel London in 2016.

Marie-Paule Nowlis, General Manager – Sofitel London St James

Marie-Paule Nowlis, who brings with her 30 years’ experience with the Sofitel brand, and a career shaped by international roles, joined Sofitel London St James as General Manager in April 2019.

Nowlis led an extensive multi-million pound transformation in 2019, which extended throughout the hotel’s 183 guestrooms and suites, restaurant and bar. The property is a flagship hotel for the Sofitel brand and a cornerstone of London’s luxury hotel scene, with the transformation and refurbishment overseen by Pierre-Yves Rochon ensuring it remains one of the most sought-after destinations in the city.

Prior to joining the team at Sofitel London St James, Nowlis was most recently Hotel Manager and Acting General Manager of Sofitel New York, responsible for operational and strategic execution of the 400-room flagship property. She held the position as of February 2016, during which time she was also Acting General Manager for 20 months.

Michael Bonsor, Managing Director – Rosewood London

Michael Bonsor is not only at the helm of one of London’s most successful luxury hospitality establishments, The Rosewood London, but he in his own right is an authentic influencer on the global luxury hospitality scene.

During the Covid-19 crisis, he led the hotel to launch a competition, giving NHS workers a chance of winning a dream wedding. This initiative formed part of Rosewood Raise, a relief initiative launched by Rosewood Hotel Group developed in support of the group’s staff who have been impacted by Covid-19, as well as the communities in which the group operates. The relief initiative included donating hotel rooms, meal preparation and supplies for essential workers.

Other initiatives the hotel was involved with included the Hospitality4Heroes Social Challenge, where Bonsor and his team helped to raise more than £10,000 to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal, while head chef of Holborn Dining Room Calum Franklin and his team have been cooking hearty pies and meals for NHS staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity that the hotel has supported for many years.

Michael Struck, Founder & CEO – Ruby Hotels

Although not UK-based, Ruby Hotels has taken the UK market by storm, following the successful launch of its first London hotel, Ruby Lucy, and the announcement of two further London hotel openings in Clerkenwell and Notting Hill.

Set in London’s vibrant Southbank, Ruby Lucy, which enjoys a fun carnival theme running throughout the hotel, offers guests the ideal opportunity to explore the area’s entertainment and theatre scene.

Unique to Ruby Hotels is Struck’s innovative ‘lean luxury’ philosophy which focuses on providing guests with the essential – a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design – rather than the superfluous, ensuring that travellers are offered a luxurious and unique hotel experience, all at an affordable price point. The model includes a self-check-in system which makes use of tablets to reduce check-in time to under one minute. Additionally, guests have easy access to all of their needs in total privacy, with Ruby Hotels’ galley kitchens and vending machines. The open plan bars, movie lounges, private yoga rooms and spacious rooftop spaces replace traditional spa and gym facilities.

As a result, Struck’s fresh and modern take on urban hospitality is challenging the conventional hotel model.

Olivia Byrne, Director – Eccleston Square Hotel

To optimise the wellbeing of hotel guests, Eccleston Square Hotel, winner of the Best in Tech Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, now offers complementary Levoit Air Purifiers; these quiet, portable, in-bedroom air filters protect against a wide variety of contaminants such as air pollution, allergens and bacteria including airborne viruses. Designed in California the True HEPA filter is 100 per cent ozone free, offers a whisper-quiet setting and delivers fresh air that’s clean, natural and healthy to breathe. This is in addition to the hotel’s 65-point anti-bacterial surface and point of contact sanitising programme.

All bedrooms in the hotel already benefit from HVAC Air Conditioning with air taken from an outside source, it is filtered and cleaned and then directly distributed to each room. Air is simultaneously removed by a centralised mechanical extraction and expelled above the roof. Guests can also be encouraged by the fact that each hotel room benefits from anti infiltration flaps under the door when closed and mattresses are sealed in an Allerguard (TM) anti allergen sack.

Being a small, independent boutique property, Eccleston Square Hotel can adapt swiftly to the fluctuating needs and demands of travellers.

Olivia Richli, General Manager – Heckfield Place

Winner of The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2019, Heckfield Place is a Georgian family home, lovingly restored from its classic origins and rewoven into a luxury hotel, which stands in 400 acres of secluded Hampshire landscape.

During a review by Hotel Designs, it was described as a ‘home from home’, somewhere you can simply fall into bed and enjoy a peaceful retreat.

Olivia Richli, the hotel’s General Manager, is a breath of fresh air, who along with owner Gelard Chan who plucked Richli from semi-retirement in Sri Lanka, has brought the property into a new era. The hotel’s opening made a lot of noise in the press, receiving a wave of positive reviews and features, highlighting and commending its DNA of sustainable design and conscious hospitality.

Most recently, the hotel has completed its certification as a Bio-Dynamic Farm, which is a a major milestone for the estate, and the completion of a four-year purposeful process.

Ray Goertz, General Manager – The Prince Akatoki London

As General Manager, Ray Goertz was asked to sketch out his ideas of how he would transform a quintessentially British boutique hotel in Marylebone into a luxury Japanese inspired hotel. This ambitious concept was to take into consideration how the flow of the hotel design would complement overall guest experience and optimise the daily operation.

Collaboratively, Goertz created 19 unique selling points that cannot be found in any other luxury hotel in London, varying from service elements to amenities and other unique features.

Every element from the colour palette and furniture, to the materiality and lighting has been chosen to emanate luxury, and feel in accordance with nature.

Goertz’s role as General Manager on this project afforded him the opportunity to take part in the design of the hotel that would operationally make sense and stand out as something new in the London luxury hospitality arena.

Robert Richardson, General Manager – The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort

After reaching success as General Manager at The Grand in Folkestone – where he led the hotel to win a plethora of national awards – Robert Richardson is now General Manager of The Cave Hotel & Golf Resort in Canterbury.

Regarded as a young trailblazer, Richardson’s fresh approach on hospitality and leadership makes him the ideal person to lead the new tech-savvy, custom-built luxury hotel. The 40-key boutique property takes its inspiration from the best modern luxury hotels operating across the world.

Richardson’s plans include repositioning the property for the luxury staycation market whilst developing its reputation for the overseas market, post-Covid.

In addition, Richardson is an elected Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, and a regular speaker at industry events and author of several well-regarded industry articles.

Robin Hutson, Chairman & Chief Executive – Lime Wood Group & Home Grown Hotels (THE PIG)

Starting in 2009 with the opening of Lime Wood, Robin Hutson set about creating something a little bit different. The aim was to make their guests feel at home wherever they are – from the peaceful New Forest, to the breathtaking mountain scenery of Courchevel Moriond and the stunning beaches of Studland Bay in Dorset.

Home Grown Hotels is possibly the most talked-about group of hotels to emerge in recent years. THE PIG is really a restaurant with rooms and the kitchen gardens are at the heart of everything the group does.

The concept of THE PIG was created in 2011 and has since been recognised with many accolades and industry awards. The group now consists of seven hotels with the latest additions joining THE PIG, THE PIG-in the wall, THE PIG-near Bath, THE PIG-on the beach, THE PIG-at Combe, THE PIG-at Bridge Place and THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay, with a new addition coming in 2021.

Robin Sheppard, President – Bespoke Hotels

 Robin Sheppard, winner of Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry at The Brit List Awards 2018, co-founded Bespoke Hotels in 2000 and has since grown the business into the UK’s largest independent hotel group. The company now has more than 200 properties spanning the length and breadth of the country and overseas. This has provided him with a platform from which to work tirelessly in the promotion of accessibility within tourism and hospitality, culminating most recently in the launch of the Bespoke Access Awards in April 2016 alongside RIBA and the Design Council. In 2019, the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards merged to form Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAA), with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire.

Earlier this year, Sheppard made his vision of cutting-edge accessible hotel design a reality with the launch of Hotel Brooklyn. Opened in February 2020, Hotel Brooklyn is a trailblazer in championing accessible, sexy and modern design for all. Of the hotel’s 189 rooms and suites, 18 are adapted for guests with a need for accessibility: a huge leap beyond the industry norm – providing outstanding accessibility in rooms that are almost unrecognisably different from standard rooms.

Sheppard’s championing of quality design in accessible hospitality and tourism has inspired an entire industry to think bigger and stretch further, revolutionising the way we think about accessibility and radically altering the experience of disabled people in the UK tourism and hospitality industry.

Thomas Kochs, Managing Director – Corinthia London

Winner of Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, Thomas Kochs is a familiar name and face on the London and international luxury hospitality scene. Kochs joined the brand in 2017 and has been flying its flag sensitively ever since.

The hotel, which remains Corinthia Hotels’ flagship property, shelters 283 rooms, an award-winning ESPA spa and a public area that works hard to adapt to modern consumer demands.

Kochs is rightfully considered one of the best in his field. With an acute eye for detail, and a calm, collected yet dynamic approach to leadership, the hotelier has seen – perhaps it’s more accurate to say led – the evolutions of many hospitality trends driven by consumer behaviour and demands. “Design has evolved,” Kochs told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “10 – 15 years ago, hotels had more opportunities to impress through design. However, a good design formula alone is no longer enough in today’s market. There are some design-driven brands where the customer only checks in because of the design and aesthetic, but we don’t consider ourselves one of them.”

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click hereApplications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Year in Review – lighting by Christopher Hyde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Year in Review – lighting by Christopher Hyde

As we conclude our Year In Review, we take a look at what Christopher Hyde has launched in the last 12 months…

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Christopher Hyde launched a stunning new bathroom collection of opulent light fixtures. This exquisite collection of wall fixtures has captured the luxury quality that Christopher Hyde stands for without compromising on performance.

These fixtures can be manufactured to the IP44 standard allowing them to be specified for bathroom designs and fitted near showers, baths, and basins. Perfect for adding a splash of extravagance to those areas that need protection against moisture or dust, but equally as suitable for adorning a formal sitting room or hallway.

Not only did Christopher Hyde launch a new collection this year but also invested in a high-end renovation for its showroom in The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The upgrade has provided our customers with even more space to view each fitting in comfort and style.

Neutral colour tones, soft grey panelled walls with light pine wood flooring all add to the aesthetics of the space. The implementation of an open plan concept creates a natural flow throughout the showroom. It is important to showcase each individual fixture to its full potential and now our products can be viewed from multiple angles.

As the year draws to a close and we reflect on the changes it has brought we can guarantee that at Christopher Hyde we will continue to create a tailored experience for each and every one of our valued customers.

Christopher Hyde is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Christopher Hyde

 

Product watch: Geberit launches two newly-named collections – Select and Aspire

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Geberit launches two newly-named collections – Select and Aspire

To continue our Year in Review, which is a December tradition here at Hotel Designs where we look back to the most eye-catching product launches from the past 11 months, we throwback to Geberit’s announcement to celebrate a new chapter for the bathroom brand…

Geberit extended its offering in the hotel sector following the launch of two newly named washroom collections in October.

The announcement marked the start of an exciting new chapter for Geberit in the UK. The Aspire Collection is the new name for Geberit’s premium offering, formerly known as the Geberit Bathroom Collection. The exclusive collection now incorporates well-known ranges such as iCon, Xeno and the Geberit AquaClean Mera shower toilet. Geberit also introduced its pioneering washroom innovation, Geberit One, which integrates behind-the-wall sanitary technology with stylish ceramics to generate more space and easier cleaning. The Geberit One range boasts a wide choice of new slim furniture options, from a floating washbasin to a mirror cabinet with fully integrated lighting, enhancing guest comfort.

Alongside the Aspire Collection, Geberit launched its new Select Collection which offers hotels functional, affordable and on-trend design possibilities for the mid-market across its range of space-saving concealed cisterns and wall-hung technology solutions. The Select Collection features the Selnova bathroom series, which incorporates a variety of different designs including Selnova Compact for smaller washroom spaces, as well as the Selnova Comfort accessible range for guests with reduced mobility.

Mark Larden, Managing Director of Geberit, said: “Everything is changing at Geberit. Whether you’re new to the Geberit brand or an existing partner, we’re continuing to optimise and evolve our products and services. That’s because we understand the importance of meeting the ever-changing business requirements across our sectors.

“With the introduction of these new collections, we’re opening up a wider range of choice for hotels  across the mid-premium and basic-mid bathroom segments,” said Larden. “With all of this said, in many ways, nothing is changing. While we continually innovate and adapt, we also remain dedicated to delivering the same great product design, quality and availability that our customers have come to expect.”

Larden added: “From on-trend washroom designs to cutting edge technology that champions hygiene and sustainability, we’re proud to be setting the standard for a new era in bathroom design – offering hotels more choice and more selection for guest rooms, public spaces as well as hotel employee facilities.”

Geberit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Geberit

IVC Commercial opens new London workplace

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IVC Commercial opens new London workplace

IVC Commercial has announced a new London workplace at The Gallery Clerkenwell…

A few days ago, Unilin announced that it was opening a new hybrid showroom in Clerkenwell. Well, IVC Commercial is moving in with a unique meeting point and place to explore its Carpet Tiles, Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Heterogeneous Vinyl solutions.

Situated on Great Sutton Street, in the heart of the Clerkenwell district, the workplace sees IVC Commercial share a London locale with decorative surfaces, seating and furniture.

David Bigland, managing director, IVC Group, said: “Our new London workplace gives us a space to welcome architects and designers in the capital within easy reach of their offices. Housing our collections of Carpet Tiles, Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Heterogeneous Vinyl, it provides a shared space where we can come together to create interiors that support wellbeing and productivity.”

Naturally, the floors of The Gallery Clerkenwell feature solutions from IVC Commercial, so that architects and designers can see the impact of designs such as Studio Moods, the Rudiments and Art Intervention carpet tile collections and Concept 70 compact vinyl. IVC Commercial at The Gallery Clerkenwell will also allow the same-day collection and despatch of samples to London-based practices.

“We’re excited to launch IVC Commercial at The Gallery Clerkenwell,” continues David. “It provides us with a presence in the heart of London’s A&D district and as we adapt to the changing working practices driven by Covid-19, we look forward to using it as a central base to form collaborative partnerships, as well as introduce the other exciting brands that come together in the workplace.”

IVC Commercial is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: IVC Commercial

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

At one with nature: the new Spa Lodges inside Gilpin Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
At one with nature: the new Spa Lodges inside Gilpin Hotel

Lake District interior design firm Nielsen House has completed work on a series of luxury Spa Suites, commissioned by the five-star Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Windermere. Let’s take a look inside…

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

Interior design firm Nielsen House, which previously designed Gilpin Hotel & Lake House’s pan-Asian restaurant ‘Gilpin Spice’ and five private Spa Lodges, has unveiled the design of the hotel’s five new Spa Suites, which are said to shelter ‘the ultimate spa retreat for two’.

Image of lodge in the lake district

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

“Our brief was to extend the beauty and serenity of the lakes to all who visit,” said Sarah Jane Nielsen, founder of Nielsen House. “The experience had to be completely Gilpin, completely Lakeland, but with our Scandinavian style. We pride ourselves on sustainable design and the interplay between indoors and outdoors. Biophilic design plays a leading role, creating a healthier and more natural environment with all the warmth and comfort of home.”

Each suite, which aptly captures the unique sense of place of the hotel by bringing the outdoors in within the interior design scheme, features 100 square metres of private built-in facilities.

Image of half of the bed and plants

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Nature has been carefully injected into all touch points of the hotel, including the bathroom, which features a circular internal bath with double vanity area, double rainmaker shower, steam room, sauna, massage chair and treatment room.

Taking wellness to new heights in The Lakes, the suites also features a large private sundeck, hydrotherapy stone-built hot tub, water feature, plunge pool and a living wall.

The five new suites are a well-timed addition to the hotel, while the hospitality industry adapts to meet new health and hygiene demands in public spaces – a movement that is expected to evolve with creativity in 2021.

Main image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House 

GROHE Rainshower SmartActive 130 Shower rail set with 3 shower sprays and GROHE EcoJoy technology. Fitted with Grohtherm SmartControl shower mixer

GROHE launches Rainshower SmartActive, a new hand shower

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE launches Rainshower SmartActive, a new hand shower

With the launch of its most advanced hand shower to date, Rainshower SmartActive from GROHE brings to the market a quick and easy solution to creating the enjoyable, relaxing and high-quality shower experience that is expected from hotel bathrooms…

GROHE Rainshower SmartActive 130 Shower rail set with 3 shower sprays and GROHE EcoJoy technology. Fitted with Grohtherm SmartControl shower mixer

Thanks to smart functions and intuitive operation, users are ensured absolute shower enjoyment that can be tailored to their individual needs or mood which is of high value in hotel bathrooms, adding to the sense of uniqueness and luxury that visitors really appreciate during their stay.

In addition, there is minimal installation work required as the Rainshower SmartActive can be purchased with a matching shower rail that can be easily affixed using existing drill holes, making it an easy retrofit solution to instantly upgrade your hotel’s guest rooms or spa facilities without requiring a considerable amount of time, work or investment.

Thanks to two new technologies, the GROHE Rainshower SmartActive hand shower is the most innovative hand shower to date in the GROHE product range. Equipped with GROHE SmartTip control, a simple fingertip on the rear of the ergonomically designed hand shower is enough to intuitively switch between three spray modes. In the centre of the shower head, round and star-shaped jets provide a powerful ActiveMassage spray. Meanwhile, the Jet spray is perfect post-workout or when the user is feeling tired as its invigorating spray can give the body a completely new sense of energy, whilst also being great for rinsing shampoo thoroughly and quickly too. However, if a gentler, softer water pressure is preferred, the circular arranged nozzles mimic a gentle rain shower.

Aside from a choice of luxurious spray patterns designed to personalise the shower experience, GROHE has also integrated its DripStop feature into the new hand shower design. Often, guests visit a hotel as a quiet and luxurious retreat from the stresses of everyday life. This new technology, therefore, works as a preventative measure in hotel bathrooms by eliminating the unnecessary annoyance of a dripping shower which can be quite disruptive when attempting to relax and unwind. This feature also makes the GROHE Rainshower Active hand shower a more eco-aware alternative to standard models.

Perfect for adding a touch of luxury and indulgence to the shower space, the Rainshower SmartActive is compatible with almost any shower system and available in 130mm and 150mm sizes, 12 colour finishes and a round or square design. This means it can be seamlessly integrated into any existing bathroom décor for a cost-effective upgrade that will transform the shower experience. For projects seeking to completely refurbish the shower space, the Rainshower SmartActive perfectly complements head showers such as GROHE Rainshower 310 SmartActive or Rainshower 310 Mono, Rainshower Bodysprays as well as concealed thermostats or the innovative GROHE SmartControl shower control.

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: GROHE

The Brit List Architects of 2020

Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Architects of 2020…

The Brit List Architects of 2020

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has shone the spotlight on the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began..

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries.

Following on from unveiling this year’s designers who made The List, , please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Architects of 2020…

Alex Holloway, Creative Director – Holloway Li

In tandem with his founding partner Na Li, Alex Holloway operates at the forefront of a new wave of designers and architects, blurring the boundaries between historicism, decoration and digital process.

With an eye for detail, Holloway looks to create intricate, engaged and impactful interiors that invoke fresh and contemporary forms of experience ­– his designs frequently center around a key moment that holds a filmic quality, working to unlock the space.

Placing sustainability at the core, this September Holloway revealed the design for apart-hotel brand Locke’s latest opening – an urban, eco oasis in the heart of Bermondsey in South East London. Looking to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience, the 143-key hotel design has been brought to life with repurposed construction materials. For example, concrete test cubes destined for landfill find new purpose, serving as plinths for six-metre-long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.

Ben Adams, Founding Director ­– Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams, a regular name featured in The Brit List, used his more than 20 years’ experience of working on large-scale and complex urban projects to design the building that shelters Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. The first Nobu hotel in Europe, the property occupies in a tight urban plot. The building follows the street line and accents its strong linear form with horizontal steel and concrete fins at each floor level.

A playful, informal grid of board-marked concrete panels and generous full-height glazing expresses the range of activities contained within the hotel, dematerialising at its sloping southern end to give sculptural presence to a lush sunken pocket park.

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director ­– Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects

Catarina Pina-Bartrum has been part of the team developing a mixed-use development on Hanover Square; a retail-led project on Oxford Street in central London.

As well as working on an indoor sports facility for the University of Birmingham, she was part of the design team responsible for Hoxton Southwark, a mixed-use hotel and office development, which has quickly become a new destination hotel in London.

Prior to joining Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands in 2014, Pina-Bartrum worked with Daniel Gusmão in Rio de Janeiro on the design and development of the broadcasting centre for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Christopher Webb, Vice President (Architecture & Design) EMEA ­– Hilton Hotels

Making his debut on The Brit List, Christopher Webb leads Hilton’s architecture and design team across multiple offices, overseeing and guiding design projects across Hilton’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Webb has been designing and shaping international luxury, lifestyle, and full-service hotels for a wide range of owners, developers, hospitality companies, celebrities and brands for more than 20 years. Directing the design of all Hilton branded hotels in the region, he led the design of the first Waldorf Astoria, as well as most recently the ‘category defining’ Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre – Hilton’s first lifestyle hotel.

Webb is currently working on defining the design for the landmark Waldorf Astoria at Admiralty Arch in London.

Christos Passas, Project Director – Zaha Hadid Architects

Christos Passas was the Project Director for Zaha Hadid Architect’s latest hotel project in Dubai. Spanning 84,300 sqm, the Opus in Dubai was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The unique cube shape has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and are also connected by an asymmetric 38-metre-wide, three-storey bridge, which is 71 metres above the ground.

The structure’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Simply put, the mesmerising building is an epic example of modern, iconic and timeless architecture.

Ciaran O’Brien, Founding Director – Red Deer

Graduating from the University of Edinburgh with First-Class Honours degree before completing his Masters, Ciarán O’Brien’s research in architecture has focused predominantly on how industry, craftsmanship and the handmade mediums can inform, stimulate and invigorate the design process in an ever-evolving digital age.

With a mix of interior designers and architects, O’Brian’s ‘herd’ as the firm refers itself as was responsible for the interior design scheme that is now sheltered inside Birch, a new sustainable hotel that has recently opened on the outskirts of London. Reusing and repairing the existing site’s materials, the team stripped back clutter and unnecessary furniture to create more thoughtful spaces.

Dan Hinch, Associate Vice President and Senior Planner – WATG

 Capturing a 75-year legacy has driven Dan Hinch to inspire a better world through the power of holistic design. As the Associate Vice President and Senior Planner at the global multidisciplinary design firm WATG, Hinch is not only a design lover, but also a leader on how it is packaged and experienced through the end user.

Based in London, Hinch leads a team of master planners and landscape architects. He challenges his team to drive good design across all disciplines rather than breaking each practice out as its own entity. “People are evolving, and the way we travel has changed and will continue to change,” says Hinch. “We need to be flexible enough and approach design from a holistic point of view that incorporates architecture, interiors and landscape as one entity.”

Hinch’s recent projects include the Aqua Residences at the Regent Hotel in Porto Montenegro, a world-class marina destination; the Porto Elounda Resort in Crete, Greece; Al Bustan Palace Ritz-Carlton in Oman and Ferney Resort, Mauritius.

David O’Shea, Founder & Director – ODOS Architects

The Mayson is an exciting restoration project and a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay. Designed by ODOS Architects, which has studios in Dublin, London and New York, both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept, with architecture led by David O’Shea, was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters.

The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in minimal intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare opportunity to establish this forgotten building as a new Dublin landmark.

The 4,180 sqm of the Mayson is home to 94 guestrooms and suites, bars, restaurants, event space and outdoor courtyard.

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects

Last year’s Highly Commended candidate in the Architect of the Year category at The Brit List Awards 2019, Geoff Hull is a director with more than 30 years’ experience. He specialises in hotels and hospitality, including new builds, conversions, refurbishments, restorations and heritage schemes in listed buildings for budget, boutique and luxury brands.

Previously, Hull was responsible for the multi-award-winning Rosewood London, as voted for by the readers of Ultratravel as “The Best New Hotel in the World” at The Telegraph ULTRAS Awards in 2014.

Hull continues to oversee a number of high-profile hotel projects of varying scale and complexity, and his latest project exemplified this.

Located in the Trafalgar Square Conservation Area, the now Great Scotland Yard Hotel has breathed new life into a neglected Edwardian building. The sensitive conversion and extension maintained the principle elements of the original building, replaced the 1980s addition and added new attic storeys over the whole building with basements below.

As a result of EPR Architect’s sensitive approach, the design retained and complemented the style of the original building and, using traditional materials, sits comfortably in its surroundings.

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3DReid

As Head of Hotels at 3DReid, Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years’ hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering both new build and refurbishments and conversions.

Ferrier has worked with a number of prominent hotel brands including Goodwood, Gleneagles, Cameron House, Dakota, Malmaison, Principal and De Vere and has worked internationally on projects across Europe, UAE, the US and Africa.

Currently, 3DReid is working on Goodwood Hotel, Gleneagles Club in Edinburgh, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Malmaison in Edinburgh and Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond. 

Graham Barr, Associate – jmarchitects

Set behind a striking façade of Scottish stone at the point where Edinburgh’s historic Old Town meets the New Town, Market Street Hotel, designed by jmarchitects, emerges as a cultural gateway to both the city’s storied past and its pulse-quickening present.

The visual concept of the 98-key hotel pays homage to the capital’s character and historic narrative, while simultaneously exploring Scottish cosmopolitanism. Cracked, earthen walls are juxtaposed against the clean, minimalist lines of contemporary furnishings, and unexpected bursts of traditional tartans and heritage fabrics provide an experiential element to the hotel’s aesthetic.

A modern take on Baronial materiality and composition also provides the inspiration behind Market Street’s 98 guestrooms and suites. Organic, natural materials such as oak and locally sourced stone provide a tactile canvas for modern design classics from the likes of Fritz Hansen and Saint Luc, alongside custom-made furniture and handcrafted local pieces.

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

James Dilley has amassed more than 20 years’ experience in this sector working under appointment as either architect or interior designer.

He is currently leading the architecture and design scheme of a retail-led development that will transform retailing and leisure within the Scottish capital and is due to complete in 2020. The soon-to-be W Edinburgh has been designed as a bundle of ‘coiled ribbons’, creating a free-flowing and bold building which will complement the development’s elegantly understated masterplan.

Imagined in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, the 12-storey hotel will feature a striking exterior façade, evoking the festival spirit of Edinburgh and creating an outstanding landmark building at the heart of the city.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining the firm in 2011, Jonny Sin has led ReardonSmith Architects’ hospitality team into modern times. He was a key member of the award-winning team who transformed a Grade II listed art-deco style building into the luxury boutique hotel that we know of as The Beaumont Hotel.

Other projects include a 173-key hotel in Battersea, London; Adere Manor, Co. Limerick and he is working on a conversion of three buildings in London’s Soho into a 69-key urban lifestyle hotel.

Most recently, Sin led an in-house team to create a concept guestroom for a hotel group, which was revealed at Sleep & Eat 2020. The firm collaborated with students from Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague led by the directors of hotel creative consultancy, HoCoSo, and the project was branded by Delight Lifestyle Brand Agency.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects at the firm. One of the most significant projects he is working on at the moment is Jabal Omar development, a new luxury hotel and serviced apartments complex in the heart of Makkah.

Inspired by traditional Arab architecture, its design reinterprets the traditional dense building clusters, creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location. Following the mountainous terrain, its cascading vertical elements form a new topography. The new mixed-use development will create a gateway along the route to the Grand Mosque for pilgrims from the world over.

Most recently, earlier this year, Foster + Partners were announced as part of the design team responsible for bringing the Six Senses brand to London.

 Mark Bruce, Main Board Director – EPR Architects

Mark Bruce is a Main Board Director and heads the hotels and hospitality team with extensive experience across the hotels and hospitality sector, and particular expertise with listed buildings, refurbishments and resort hotels.

Following the completion of the much-talked-about Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Bruce is now, in collaboration with Foster + Partners and AvroKO, working with Six Senses to sensitively inject the luxury brand’s distinctive personality and philosophy into its debut hotel in London.

Mark Kelly, Partner – PLP Architecture

PLP Architecture is an architecture firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London.

Opening Spring 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

Mark Kelly, Partner at the studio, went on the record recently, telling Hotel Designs how the pandemic will impact the industry. “Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself,” he said. “As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency.

Since you’re here, why not read The Brit List Awards 2020 winners’ story?

Mark Wood, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

With more than two decades of professional experience and in-house knowledge, Dexter Moren Associates’ partner and architect Mark Wood possesses a broad and varied scope of expertise, particularly in hotel, office, mixed-use, residential and sport and leisure projects.

Fortunate to have had a career doing what he loves, Wood combines his devotion to architecture and urban design with a passion for travel; holding a firm belief that through travel one can gain a perception for what makes a place special, and translate that knowledge into designing buildings that are not only unique but also intrinsic to their location.

Examples of this careful consideration of a schemes wider importance include New Marlborough Yard in the London Borough of Southwark; a radical reinvention of the Premier Inn brand that features a soft landscaped public courtyard and new pedestrian route through the site, while decorative brickwork detailing draws inspiration from the ornate Victorian warehouses and pubs to be found among the surrounding streets.

Some of Wood’s other recent projects include the Guardsman in London, the Royal Hotel in Norwich and the Hilton Hotel, Ealing.

Matthew Salter, Associate Director – HGP Architects

Matthew Salter is the Associate Director at HGP Architects, and led the architectural project to design Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. The yacht-inspired 85-key luxury hotel adjacent to Admirals Quay has become a sought-after destination for city-dwellers and visitors to Southampton.

The form of the building takes reference from its nautical setting, providing terraces around each level of the building. The concrete frame hotel is built off of the existing pier to the marina and provides conference facilities, a spa complex featuring a swimming pool and gymnasium as well as a restaurant and rooftop bar showcasing spectacular views of the harbour.

Metehan Apak, Senior Interior Architect – Dawson Design Associates

As a highly motivated and hard-working interior architect with almost 10 years’ professional experience, Metehan Apak has extensive experience working as part of a team, as an independent professional, as a manager and as a managing partner. Possessing specific interest and expertise in hospitality and leisure projects, he has worked on a variety of high-end and international hotel, spa and wellness centre, office, health centre and private residence projects with budgets ranging from £50K to £200M.

Based in Twickenham, the Dawson Design Associates London Studio works fluidly as an extension of its Seattle headquarters and design team in the US. The firm’s London team is a constantly growing group of international designers and architects and serves as the driving force behind emulating the US branch’s long-term record for success, while building DDA’s presence internationally and in the local London market.

Na Li, Managing Director – Holloway Li

 Born in Nanjing/China, Na Li graduated from University College London (Bartlett School of Architecture), becoming a qualified architect with the Architects Registration Board and chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Li is now responsible for all business development and international projects at Interior Architect studio Holloway Li, having honed her varied and specialist experience prior with developer-led Architects Teatum & Teatum, Wilkinson Eyre, and later Michaelis Boyd where she worked across the Groucho member’s club, and Soho Farm House in Oxfordshire.

She was the first Chinese graduate awarded with Dean’s list of Distinction Award and her architectural illustrations were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art’s prestigious Summer Exhibition.

Placing sustainability at the core of her concepts, this September Li in tandem with Alex Holloway revealed the design for apart-hotel brand Locke’s latest opening – an urban, eco oasis in the heart of Bermondsey, South East London.

Nathalie Rozencwajg, Founder – NAME Architecture

Nathalie Rozencwajg is the founder of NAME Architecture, and an internationally-acclaimed award-winning architect.

Rozencwajg began her career working for a number of internationally renowned practices on projects in London, Beijing, Athens and Mecca. She went on to co-found RARE architecture, where she was a Director for 12 years, responsible for a portfolio of award-winning projects. Her clients have included Club Med, Accor and Unlisted Collection, British Airways, Land Securities and the Berkeley Group. She has gained a reputation for her collaborative approach and for creating iconic projects which breathe new life into historic buildings and in conservation areas.

Rozencwajg is a regular contributor to architecture and design journals, speaking and lecturing to a wide range of international audiences. This is Rozencwajg’s second appearance in The Brit List. In addition, she was shortlisted for Architect Journal’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year and identified by The Guardian as one of its ‘10 Women Architects to watch’.

Richard Coutts, Director – BACA Architects

Designer of the UK’s first amphibious house, Richard Coutts recently featured on the Channel 5 documentary entitled “Sinking Cities – The Great Flood of London: Environmental Challenges, Food and Floating”, which referenced Aquatecture (architecture on water) and the need for consideration to be given to intelligent innovative ways of living by optimising water as a resource.

From concept right through to completion, BACA Architects, founded and led by the talented Richard Coutts, has been a key collaborator and an inspiration for Tyram Lakes.

Tyram is so much more than a hotel, spa and resort. It shelters uncompromised luxury within an eco-friendly and sustainable environment.

BACA’s holistic approach is helping to create an environmentally-centred paradise from woodland and quarry pits, fishing and watersport lakes and an abandoned pub named William de Lindholme.

Richard Holland, Director – Holland Harvey Architects

Richard Holland leads the hospitality team at Holland Harvey Architects – working on early concepts through to turnkey delivery of some of London’s most high-profile hotels, working primarily with the Inhabit brand, now part of the Design Hotels portfolio.

The first site having opened in late 2019 and a second, larger, property is due in late 2021. In addition, he is currently working on the re-imagining of the five-star Montcalm hotel in Marble Arch, and a complex planning consent for new boutique micro-hotel in St. John’s Wood. Beyond this, the firm is currently working on hospitality led projects in Mexico, Singapore, France and the Middle East.

Simon Whittaker, Associate Director – Orms

Simon Whittaker joined Orms in 2003 and became an Associate Director in 2019 – the same year he was crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019.

With a passion for retro architecture, Whittaker particularly enjoys transforming existing buildings to maximise their full potential, which in London is often on complicated and intricate sites.

He has worked on a wide range of projects in the commercial, education and leisure sectors and clients include Great Portland Estates, Crosstree Real Estate (The Standard Hotel London), British Land and Derwent London.

His most recent architecture challenge is to restore an iconic site in London’s Holborn, which will also unlock a new neighbourhood.

Terry McGinnity, Global Executive Design Director – G.A Design

Originally trained as an architect in Australia, Terry McGinnity moved to London to continue his career.

After assuming the role of Managing Director of G.A Design in 1998, he has turned it into one of the most dynamic and interesting design firms working out of the UK. He is now the Global Executive Design Director where he oversees the creative output for all G.A projects.

With his matched ability in both interior design and architecture, McGinnity is able to adopt a holistic approach to each project he works on – take Park Hyatt St Kitts for example. Sustainably designed with local materials and unique water features throughout, the hotel echoes the island’s rich heritage and culture, and seamlessly intertwines contemporary architecture and colonial design.

Timber-clad wall finishes and oversized glass hurricane lanterns remain true to the island’s history with the lattice-work detailing clearly referencing the Caribbean architecture which inspired the design.

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click hereApplications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

With the aim to inspire a deeper connection with nature, this 2021 trends forecast by Modieus consists of four key themes, which are grounded, green utopia, textured layers and crafted…

Developed post lockdown, each this trends forecast reflects our freedom from isolation; it embraces nature, craves the simplicity and inspires a meaningful sense of peace.

Grounded

A new appreciation of the truly important things in life make us feel grounded. To some extent this reflects the collective state of people who have experienced Covid-19 lockdowns. Down to earth colour palettes, warm natural hues, create a sense of stability, balance and a foundation stone for change.

A mustard armchair on a honey-mustard rug and brass light

Image credit: Modieus

Warm earthy tones, soft, natural and soothing to create a sense of calm and comfort. Natural and cool beige, neutral with a faint green undertone will calm the senses. Nature will be intensified with mossy, sage greens paired with turmeric and citrus yellow hues.

Reflecting on nature’s influence, we see a fresh take on yellow. To feel optimistic, we turn to yellow. Pale citrus yellow, soft creamy butter and stronger turmeric yellow.  Spring and yellow floral hues reflective of gardens reinvigorating our interest in colour that inspires feelings of much needed optimism.

Green utopia

Embracing sustainability and wellness. We have grown tired of social media and digital devices so are reconnecting with nature’s beauty. We will continue to seek solid interactions with loved ones, family and friends, and give greater focus to what is around us immediately.

A large modern sofa in a contemporary setting

Image credit: Modieus

Green foliage and dappled light revives us. This palette’s green hue also includes shades of brown within green hues, such as discoloured grasses or new foliage on old branches. Inspiration is drawn from plants and the foliage of leaves, vegetables, cacti and flowers.

Issues of sustainability have never been so important and the pandemic has allowed time to accelerate our thinking moving forward. The textile industry is changing rapidly. Using resources more responsibly is the unifying theme of this trend.

Textured layers 

The textured layers trend is all about looking to the unseen and the finer details. Stone will be simple, concrete, minimal and almost cool. Terracotta will return, in modern hues, softer and paler. Colour will feel monochromatic, to emphasise small details to shine like matt and gloss.

A green room with jungle-like carpets

Image credit: Modieus

Engaging with imperfections of authentic natural materials that have been used, worn or look tarnished. Rusted metals, dark woods with irregular grain patterns. Fabrics will feel unblemished or unprocessed like raffia, recycled denim, hemp and hessian.

There is a tactile and visual dryness to these colours, which reflects the wider Australian environment of the bush and desert. In line with embracing a natural aesthetic, colour palettes will begin to reflect more warm earth-fired colours such as metal ores, russet shades, soft terracotta and browns.

Colour palettes will be layered and monochromatic. Sun-kissed colours are paired beautifully, such as soft dusky pink, also a gentle optimistic colour.  With a blue undertone, dusky pink is ideal for injecting warmth into palettes of grey and blue.

Crafted

Recognising the provenance of goods and how they are made has fuelled the Crafted trend.  There is a shift in thinking as we look to shop locally to avoid lengthy shipping delays from overseas suppliers. We’re looking at craftsmen for special custom pieces that are unique to our needs and taste.

An image of a crafted lobby

Image credit: Modieus

Aesthetically, a bespoke crafted style, embraces artisan-made, ethically produced, imperfect-looking pieces that are robust and enduring. Designs are fluid and loosely drawn.

Fabrics and products have a rawness that shows the hand of the craftsperson in their creation. In Australia we expect to see more indigenous patterns and collaborations with respectful references to Indigenous art, land and country.

Main image credit: Modieus

a long pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast

Stay One Degrees collaborates with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stay One Degrees collaborates with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

The exclusive members community, Stay One Degree, which offers more than 3,500 properties in more than 250 locations, confirms up to US$5 million in a funding series led by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Stay One Degree has announced the closing of a funding round led by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, the award-winning owner and operator that has recently announced new hotels in Vienna and Melbourne.

a long pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast

Stay one Degree is an exclusive members community that allows discerning luxury travellers to rent the finest holiday homes around the world directly from like-minded members. 

The funding round was led by a strategic investment from Mandarin Oriental and will enable Stay One Degree to accelerate the expansion of its global portfolio of exceptional luxury homes and move into new under-penetrated markets.

The investment also provides Stay One Degree’s fast-growing global network of members with access to new and exclusive experiences, including the launch of a mobile app, a new cutting-edge website, an online concierge service and a range of exciting collaborations with global luxury brands. These investments will enable Stay One Degree to continue to provide the most personalised and curated holiday experiences available in the luxury home rental market. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to have closed this Series A funding round and have a new strategic partner and shareholder in Mandarin Oriental, which in my mind is the most luxurious hotel brand in the world, offering legendary service standards and impeccable attention to detail,” said Thomas Bennett, co-founder of Stay One Degree. “We share their core values and obsessive focus on offering our members a unique experience whenever they stay in our homes.”

A modern wooden building next to the ocean

Image credit: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand/Stay One Degree

Co-founder, Jorge Munoz adds: “With the boundaries between luxury holiday homes and hotels becoming increasingly blurred and the needs of the luxury traveller constantly evolving, we are delighted to be partnering with Mandarin Oriental, bringing together our two luxury brands via a strategic partnership. Customers of Mandarin Oriental have for decades enjoyed incredible, personalised service and we look forward to learning from their wealth of expertise in the luxury segment as well as offering a unique and unrivalled range of luxury accommodation and experiences to customers of both brands.”

Stay One Degree and Mandarin Oriental will also look for opportunities to collaborate and develop a range of curated luxury experiences, combining Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service and Stay One Degree’s exceptional luxury homes, that are unrivalled in the luxury home rental market. The two groups will also explore avenues for customers to benefit from exclusive access, privileged benefits and superior recognition across the combined portfolio of destinations offered by both brands. 

“We look forward to working closely with Tom and Jorge as they expand their exceptional offering of wonderful homes and services to discerning global travellers. We see definite opportunities for our brands to collaborate together and look forward to exploring ways to introduce new luxury experiences that combine the best of both brands,” said James Riley, CEO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  

Main image credit: Stay One Degree

pantone colour of the year: woman in grey standing in front of yellow backdrop

More about PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More about PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021

For only the second time in the campaign’s more than 20-year history, PANTONE’s Colour of the Year 2021 will be two colours: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. Here’s all you need to know about these two tones. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

pantone colour of the year: woman in grey standing in front of yellow backdrop

The unveiling of PANTONE’s Colour of the Year means one thing: 2020 is nearly over! And with our editorial lens focusing into the future, we are intrigued about the decision behind the colour experts’ colour of choice for 2021.

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating are two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, a lesson surely learned by all in 2020, which we can start to practice in 2021.

Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is “one of strength and positivity,” says PANTONE, at least. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of these specific colours is aspirational and gives us hope, which with the way hospitality is at the moment something we are in hot demand of.

As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colours of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.

Personally, I’m just glad that Covid Blue didn’t make it through…

Main image credit: PANTONE

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond unveils new bar inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

The new bar, Múzsa, inside Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest, is a masterclass in the evolution of the hotel lobby space, an area within the hotel that interior design firm Richmond International continue to set new design and hospitality standards in…

A dramatic image of Múzsa bar inside Four Seasons Hotel Budapest

Award-winning hospitality design specialists, Richmond International, unveil resplendent lobby-bar interiors for Múzsa at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest. The completion of this project – following recent renovations of guest rooms and meeting spaces – marks Richmond’s latest collaboration with the hotel, having overseen its original design more than 16 years ago.

Occupying what was previously an open plan lobby area, Múzsa epitomises the evolution of the hotel lobby. An iconic design undertaking of its time by Richmond, the original lobby space at Gresham Palace was a true masterpiece, showcasing grand design and celebrating local craft. Originally built in 1906 as a residence for British aristocracy before undergoing a hotel restoration in 2004, it was restored during a period where public spaces in hotels aspired to be more reverential than multi-functional; extravagant passing spaces which provided little more than sights to behold.

Today, the hotel lobby is no longer a space that guests merely pass through. It assumes a more purposeful role, providing room to work, hold meetings, socialise or simply unwind. These once communal spaces have become highly sought-after, providing valuable services for guests and creating additional functionality and revenue for hotels, through thoughtfully-executed design.

“We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Imbuing the glamour and elegance of Budapest’s golden age, Múzsa introduces a new lobby lounge concept to Four Seasons Gresham Palace, fusing the building’s rich past with the needs of today’s sophisticated clientele. This new offering reflects a bold departure from the historic trend of single use design, in favour of versatility and flexibility. The result is space that is convivial in nature and welcomes social interaction, offering a main reception, private concierge club, multiple meetings rooms, a tasting room and expansive bar areas.

“This was a project that was hugely important to the team,” said Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International and winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award at The Brit List Awards 2020. “When we first saw the hotel and then completed the restoration more than 16 years ago, we fell in love with the building. We’re really proud to be a part of the evolution of Gresham Palace and to see that it remains such a significant piece of architecture in Budapest today.”

A masculine design inside the Tasting Room

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The journey through Múzsa was considered in meticulous detail, with each moment offering a distinctly different mise-en-scène which surprises and delights. A deep reverence for the heritage of the building sees Richmond adopt a modern, yet sympathetic take on Secessionist interior motifs and colour combinations, seamlessly blending past, present, and future to create one timeless experience.

Upon entering the building, guests are welcomed into the lobby lounge with banquette seating to create a social hub within the bar area, designed for guests to meet and relax throughout the day, and into the evening. It features peacock fabric with deep seaming and beautifully detailed screening sections. Large golden lampshades by Solinfo Lighting & Home hang over the banquette, showcasing a bass relief pattern which subtly replicates architectural tiling details on the walls.

A main concierge library area captures the splendour of the building, with two discreet meeting rooms and a tasting room creating additional intimate spaces for guests to use and enjoy. Warm-toned mosaic walls, statement lighting and striking artwork come together to create atmosphere and drama, whilst providing comfort for work and play.

In the bar area, which seats 130, a raised platform for live performances takes centre stage. Wrapped in bespoke artistic fabric by Rima and McRae, this hero feature is an ode to the luxury of traditional Budapest hotel bars of the 1910s and evokes a strong sense of theatre and dynamism to the space. Another key feature in this space is the bar fixture, adorned with a mirrored finish and intricate patterning. It’s circular shape and transparency allow guests to seamlessly walk around it, see through it and enjoy cocktails at the counter with an energetic ambiance. 

A voice of authority in hotel design, with more than 50 years of expertise working with the world’s leading luxury hotels, Richmond International was responsible for the original design of Four Seasons Gresham Palace. The award-winning team approached this project with profound insight and personal affection having been integral to its transformations over the years. 

Through the years, Gresham Palace has lived many lives. It was originally designed as a residence for British aristocracy before later being badly damaged during the war and Soviet era. Beyond this, the landmark building was also home to a shopping arcade before being converted to a Four Seasons Hotel in 1999. Ongoing renovations by Richmond International began in 2004 and continue today.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Unilin showroom in Clerkenwell

The Gallery Clerkenwell arrives in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Gallery Clerkenwell arrives in London

Manufacturer of decorative surfaces, UNILIN Panels has opened The Gallery Clerkenwell, a hybrid showroom in Clerkenwell, London, the architecture and design district…

Unilin showroom in Clerkenwell

Bringing together like-minded manufacturers from the worlds of surfaces, flooring, seating and storage, The Gallery Clerkenwell provides a chance to share in a passion for creating beautiful interiors and to discover new products in the world of commercial interior design.

From UNILIN Evola and Clicwall to carpet tiles, LVT and vinyl from IVC Commercial, task and conferencing seating from Comfort UK and storage furniture from Silverline; visitors to The Gallery Clerkenwell have access to an impressive display of European made interior products.

“We’re really delighted to be the calling point for a strong collective of alternative brands here in Clerkenwell,” said Egle Gineviciute, showroom manager. “Our UNILIN Evola decorative surface collection offers incredibly authentic HPL surfaces that really need to be seen to be fully appreciated and The Gallery Clerkenwell now gives London-based designers a place to come and do that, as well as explore other complementary solutions in flooring, furniture and seating.”

Designed as a collaborative space where people can come together to create inspiring interiors, The Gallery Clerkenwell brings UNILIN Panels together with partners that each bring something unique to commercial interiors. The mix will help architects and designers to create spaces that embrace modern ways of working, living, relaxing, learning and recovering while meeting the need for affordable and sustainable solutions.

The Gallery Clerkenwell is situated on Great Sutton Street and combines showroom space with meeting and work facilities. It represents a central London hub for all manufacturers, providing an important presence among the capital’s architecture and design community.

Unilin is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Unilin

Celebrating a decade of decorative surfaces from Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Celebrating a decade of decorative surfaces from Siminetti

Despite celebrations being somewhat muted in 2020, Hotel Designs would like to wish Siminetti a very special ‘Happy Birthday’ with a throwback to 10 years of creating stunning surfaces…

From humble beginnings in 2010, Siminetti has prospered over the last decade to become a renowned producer of decorative surfaces utilising the finest Mother of Pearl.

The brand’s range of mosaic tiles and decorative surfaces can be found in world leading hotels, luxury homes, spas, and super yachts. Building a reputation for exceptional quality has been at the forefront of the company’s journey. With a well-established brand identity, the brand now looks to move to the next tier of Mother of Pearl with the January 2021 release of our Seasons Collection.

“11 years ago I had the inspiration to launch a luxury focused, sustainable, surface finishes brand. 10 years ago Siminetti was born out of this desire,” said Simon Powell, CEO of Siminetti. “Combining creativity with one of nature’s very own luxurious materials, I cannot be more proud to see Siminetti surfaces are now found in some of the World’s most luxurious properties, super-yachts and hotels.

“The last 10 years has been a whirlwind of creativity mixed with both highs and lows but more importantly one that inspires me each morning with new challenges and ideas.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me and Siminetti on our journey thus far, and I look forward to where the road take us over the next 10 years.”

Project index

  • BURJ KHALIFA, Dubai UAE: Siminetti supplied 17m2 of our Bianco Oval mosaic to be applied to a large statement column.
  • THE LANGLEY, LONDON UK: The Langley were supplied with an impressive collection of Midnight Pearl 25mm and Gentle Earth 25mm. Used in their stunning underground spa in wet areas and to decorate spa loungers.
  • PRINCESS YACHTS, PLYMOUTH UK: The brand continually supply a range of Mother of Pearl solutions to Princess yachts. Most recently, the company supplied 14M2 of Crackle Decorative Surface to Aquamare marine to fit out a breathtaking yacht.
  • MSHERIEB, DOWNTOWN DOHA: Siminetti supplied Midnight Pearl 23mm in an unbelievable 7350m2! (yes 7350m2!) A truly one of a kind project with the Mother of Pearl being used for external cladding.
  • THE BEVERLY CENTER, BEVERLY HILLS: The Beverly center used 32M2 of Innocence 25mm as decorative inlays throughout the building creating a long-lasting awe-inspiring aesthetic.
  • W HOTEL, DUBAI UAE: Siminetti is proud to have supplied the Palm Dubai our Anthracite mother of pearl mosaics for use in the ‘W Hotel & Residences’ on The Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, UAE. Featuring through-out the property, some 500m2 of the product was supplied. Located on the west crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah, this serene escape facilitates mixing and mingling between the city and the sea.
  • ZULAL DESTINATION SPA, Qatar: This stunning hotel & spa in Qatar features 450m2 of Bianco Hexagon and 184m2 Dove Grey Hexagon! Used to create a truly memorable space.
  • THE LALIT, LONDON: Heading into the Teachers Room you are immediately struck by the sheer beauty of the mother of pearl ceiling. Proudly supplied by Siminetti, the mosaic installed is Siminetti’s Natural Harmonie 20mm Mother of Pearl which is a unique, grout less form of mosaic tile – making it the perfect fit for an opulent ceiling in a luxury boutique hotel.
  • JIMMY CHOO, LONDON: A great example of how Mother of Pearl can be used to stun the most discerning of consumers. Harmonie 20mm in Natural featured as an elegant showroom display to accentuate their latest collection of designer shoes, bags, and accessories.
  • 1500 OCEAN DRIVE, MIAMI FLORIDA: A combination of Midnight Pearl 25mm and Bianco 25mm were supplied to one of Ocean Drives most iconic buildings, installation is now underway of 3500ft2 / 350m2 of Siminetti Mother of Pearl mosaics. Designed by the late renowned architect, Michael Graves, the swimming pool and hot tub are fundamental aspects of this iconic building and in keeping with Michael Grave’s wishes, the residents of the condominium have followed the initial design brief of finishing the pool in stunning Mother of Pearl mosaic tiles.

Siminetti is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Siminetti/W Dubai

A render of a shower in a bathroom that looks like a light

Gessi turns up the drama in the bathroom with Spotlight

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi turns up the drama in the bathroom with Spotlight

Design-led bathroom brand Gessi has launched Spotwater, the perfect synthesis of advanced technology and high design…

Inspired by the same concept of the lighting technology, Spotwater stands out for its tubular design and the adjustable angle, offering a completely customized experience through four different waterjets: Rain, Multi-spray, Atomizer and Waterfall.

A render of a shower in a bathroom that looks like a light

These unique spotlights are enriched by the exclusive Gessi touch, resulting in five different finishings: Cesello, Intreccio, Trame, Ingranaggio and the smooth Flessa. Together with a rich and captivating range of finishes – from the shimmering glow of pure metal, to soft and warm tones. This wellness source opens the way to unprecedented stylistic interpretations and possibilities of personalisation of the shower space.  These innovative showerheads gratify those who love essentiality, but also want to give their bathroom a refined, high-tech yet warm and decorative touch.

With sculptural shapes and surfaces that invite to touch, Gessi Spotwater contributes, even scenically, to the environments and architectures of fascinating private habitats, as well as exclusive yachts, hotels and resorts. In fact, by fitting harmoniously into avant-garde architectures as in the most classic, the Gessi lines always add a contribution of personality and style, making these places catching and surprising. This makes Gessi the choice of the designers of the most fascinating environments in the world.

Gessi conceives its creations with the ambition that design, with its ability to infuse an art content in consumer products, and the technology incorporated in it, will enrich the living spaces, making everyday gestures special and unique. In fact, Gessi projects spring from creative freedom and a passion for objects liberated from prescribed and encoded functions and reinvented for new uses: empathetic, friendly and enjoyable bathroom furnishings. Objects that improve people’s live.

Gessi is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Gessi

How to achieve signature realistic photos & virtual tours

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How to achieve signature realistic photos & virtual tours

Studio Autograph is a creative hub, providing clients worldwide with realistic photos and virtual tours…

A team of experienced 3D artists and architects, Studio Autograph is daily focused on providing interior designers with signature realistic photos and virtual tours.

Studio Autograph offers assistance to give you an insight of your project in a 3d visual for future project. The company offers indoor and outdoor along with product 3d models. From the moment the interior designer or architect starts working on a project’s concept from the beginning to the end, they are here to assist you along your journey.

With the pandemic upon us this year, Studio Autograph has adapted and modified the way it works. The brand has learned to work efficiently and cost effective. For example, the team no longer need to travel to present a project when we can send a 3d realistic rendering.

The Process

The team will have an initial meeting to understand fully your requirements and design, but mostly how they can assist you better.

The team then studies your project to come up with best solution that fits your design and the final clients needs. At this moment, they will also discuss all the materials and technical requirements.

Following this meeting and our agreement, they will then commence designing the initial project.

After the first presentation of our visuals, they will then send you the final high-resolution designs.

Image credit: Studio Autograph

About Studio Autograph

Studio Autograph worked with luxury brands for many years and supplied interior designers, architects and retail clients with many options for both residential, hospitality and contract projects.

In its past experience, the brand has always felt they could be more helpful and resourceful if they were in charge of the project from the beginning to the end. With this in mind, they guarantee you that we will save you time, money and misunderstandings as you will be clear with your vision.

“Our aim is to make money with you and not from you.” – Barbara Garcia Neto, Director, Studio Autograph.

Even though this industry is more virtual, the team guarantee to supply you a more human aspect of it by having an account manager and someone you can speak to at all time and guide you throughout the project.

Our team consists of qualified architects, interior designers, 3D artists and product designers who are ready to assist you with any challenges you may incur.

Studio Autograph is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Studio Autograph

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Designers of 2020

Each year, Hotel Designs unveils The Brit List, a publication that lists the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. Following the official unveiling of The List at this year’s virtual award ceremony, please meet The Brit List Designers of 2020…

The Brit List Designers of 2020 - profile images of the finalists

For more than four years now, The Brit List Awards has shone the spotlight on the designers, architects and hoteliers who are proving to be trendsetters on the international hotel design scene. Earlier this year, Hotel Designs’ 2020 search began..

This year’s panel of judges– and of course our sponsors and partners – went above and beyond to support The Brit List Awards as the difficult yet responsible decision was made to organise the judging process and deliver the awards ceremony in virtual formats.

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries.

To kickstart our editorial celebration of this year’s winners, please meet (in alphabetical order) The Brit List Designers of 2020…

Albin Berglund, Managing Director – Bergman Interiors

Albin Berglund is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors. He leads a team of designers with Marie Soliman that is unquestionably making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design arena. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Berglund and Soliman have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently, the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway. It contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Berglund’s answer to the project has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Carolynne Shenton, Founding Director – Studio Mica

Carolynne Shenton is the creative force at the core of the interior design team at Studio Mica, and has been the principal designer behind some of the most prestigious interior projects including the award-winning Nobu Hotel Shoreditch.

Her most recently completed project is a new build, two-storey hospitality villa in Ibiza. The studio was responsible for the interior design and furniture specification. The floor area of the villa is 1,000 sqm and the design features master and guest suites, internal and external bathrooms, dual-family and catering kitchens, bars, open-plan living with panoramic sea views, studio cinema, a gym, a spa with an infinity-edge lap pool, landscaped gardens, al fresco dining and roof terraces.

As well as this, Shenton is also currently working on the interiors and furniture fixtures and equipment for a new 85-key boutique hotel with a restaurant, members club, gym and spa in East London.

Charlie North, Design Director – Ennismore

The multifaceted approach to Charlie North’s design style has allowed him and his team to create award-winning interior schemes for Ennismore-owned brands such as Gleneagles and Hoxton Hotels.

Most recently, North led the team to complete Hoxton Southwark, a 192-key hotel, which features restaurants, bars, function rooms and 4,000 sqm of flexible co-working office space – all of which are stacked within and sheltered inside a slender 17-storey building.

The Hoxton Southwark places an emphasis on British-led design with antique and bespoke fixtures dotted throughout the hotel. The design scheme of the urban hotel, where possible, also brings the outdoors in, which gives each area a new depth entirely.

Clinton Freeman, Design Director – IHG

Former Design Director of David Collins Studio and former Senior Design Director of EU at Hilton, Clinton Freeman was appointment Design Director of IHG in September of 2019. The hotel group has been included in The Brit List for a number of years, with Henry Reeve being named highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category last year, and Emma King being shortlisted the year before.

The IHG Group is expanding at a rapid rate, with an emphasis on lifestyle hotels in new destinations, and is rapidly influencing a new breed of boutique hotels. Hotel Indigo, for example, currently has 104 hotel openings in the pipeline in the next three to five years*.

[*this was accurate at the time The Brit List 2020 went to print]

Dale Atkinson, Founding Director – Rosendale Design

Dale Atkinson has dedicated his life to his passion and takes pride in the design aesthetic he creates. Rich in tradition, and yet creatively contemporary, Atkinson utilises research as the bedrock of all projects, allowing each space to evoke a unique environment.

Next year will see the opening of the newly refurbished restaurant at the renowned Santa Marina Resort, Mykonos. The studio was commissioned to create spaces both internally and externally that celebrated Greek culture. Due to Covid-19, the project’s completion has been delayed until May 2021.

Damien Follone, Senior Associate & Senior Designer (F&B) – Wimberly Interiors

Damien Follone brings more than ten years of architectural and interiors knowledge to the Wimberly Interiors’ team as a Senior Associate and Senior Designer of Restaurants + Bars at the firm’s London studio.

His design approach and critical thinking ensure that each project is strategically positioned from inception through to delivery with emphasis on hotel food and beverage experiences. Follone is at the forefront of experiential design, exploring how F&B concepts and brands come together with products and personalities to create enjoyable and authentic guest experiences.

Having worked in architecture in Australia, he brings both high-level resort planning and humanscale design skills from a number of projects in Oceania and Asia.

More recently, his hotel experience in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia has allowed him to work with renowned luxury brands to analyse, position and design their F&B offerings to be successful and relevant in the local market.

David Mason, Director of Hospitality – Scott Brownrigg

Following four years as a Project Director in Interior Design for Scott Brownrigg, in 2019 David Mason was promoted to become Director of Hospitality at the firm, and made his debut in The Brit List as a result.

Mason has worked steadily to authentically grow Scott Brownrigg’s profile within the market place. As a global design leader, ranked 11 in the UK and within the global top 100 architectural practices, the firm’s interior design team have worked on projects for brands including Hilton, Hard Rock Hotels, Radisson Blu, Hyatt Regency & Assembly.

In the past four years, Mason’s team has created a budget hotel, Assembly London, behind the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. The project was praised by British GQ as one of its top 10 places to visit in London.

Last year, the studio completed its work on Hard Rock Hotel London in Marble Arch, which became the city’s new destination venue. Mason led a team, designing all the public spaces for the hotel.

Most recently, Mason and his team have been working on the re-development and re-branding of two existing hotels in East London, with its launch this year delayed due to Covid-19. The team are fortunately now heading back to site with the first phase launch anticipated for January 2021.

David T’Kint, Partner – Hirsch-Bedner Associates

As a Partner at Hirsch-Bedner Associates EMEA, David T’Kint is responsible for overseeing a team of designers and creatives. Driven by creativity and in response to the evolution of luxury design, his regional team brings together the talents and specialties of his global team to enhance the firm’s 360-degree service, creating a one-stop-shop for inspired hospitality design.

In December 2019, the studio completed on the interiors for Great Scotland Yard Hotel; a landmark development in London’s City of Westminster. Once the London’s Metropolitan Police headquarters, the listed building’s latest chapter is a 152-key luxury boutique hotel, in which the stories of the building’s past unfold through exquisitely sculpted interiors and eclectic decorative elements.

Transforming this historical space into a welcoming place for discerning travellers, T’Kint expressed the individuality of Great Scotland Yard through an unexpected play of Edwardian-inspired hues and patterns, conventional Whitehall, and colours that relive the timeless elegance and sophistication of the era with a flair of contemporary details.

Dennis Irvine, Founder / Creative Director – Dennis Irvine Studio

Dennis Irvine has consistently designed for world-renowned operators and high-end luxury private residences. As a voice and presence within the hospitality industry he remains respected for his ‘sense of place’ design aesthetic and relevant project design narration. Irvine continues to champion attention to detail and craftsmanship with local and international artisans, which often result in unique interiors both in the UK and globally.

A regular speaker, Irvine attends industry events and offers views on topics such as hospitality design evolution, advice to those starting their careers in the industry and sensitive historic restorations.

Irvine continues to be recognized in many publications including the Robb report, Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and Architectural Digest amongst other well-known hospitality publications to ensure British design is recognised and respected globally.

Edward Davies, Managing Director & Principal – G.A Design London

 With more than 17 years’ experience working in the super luxury hospitality arena, Edward Davies has a meticulous eye for detail, and understands the high expectations of high-net worth individuals. Whether that is in the craftsmanship and detailed design of a hotel suite, or the personal service provided by the G.A Group.

Always pushing the boundaries of design and encouraging clients to take the leap into the unexplored, Davies isn’t afraid of dreaming big. An inspiring leader, Davies enables his team to take creative control and ownership of the luxury hospitality projects he oversees, whilst providing intuitive and inspiring direction. He manages to distil the client brief in a succinct way, with clarity. This combination of trust and creativity makes him a wonderful visionary of designers.

Working as the London Managing Director at G.A Group, Davies runs the day-to-day management of the 90-strong London-based studio, whilst also acting as Principal across a number of high-profile interior design and architecture projects worldwide.

Current projects overseen by Davies include a new luxury hotel brand in Southeast Asia, the latest new offerings from Corinthia Hotels in Rome and Moscow, and the 184-key 1 Hotel in Mayfair, London. Each a unique brief and challenge, Davies approaches them equally with the same verve and vigor.

Ed Warner, Founder & CEO – Motionspot

Hotel Brooklyn is regarded as the UK’s most accessible design-led hotel. Bringing New York flare to Manchester, the hotel provides 189 rooms that are set across 10 storeys with conference rooms, a restaurant and bar on the ground floor and mini cinema in the lobby.

But what really makes this hotel special is its commitment to design-led accessibility. Ed Warner is the founder of Motionspot, the design studio responsible for creating Hotel Brooklyn’s accessible solutions. This was central to the design and build of the hotel, which shelters nine wheelchair accessible bedrooms – including the first hotel in Manchester with ceiling track hoists – and nine ambulant accessible bedrooms.

Accessibility isn’t just limited to the bedrooms, as attention was paid to the communal spaces too, to ensure that guests with a range of physical, visual and cognitive access needs could enjoy all the hotel has to offer.

Elizabeth Lane, Partner – RPW Design

Highly accomplished designer Elizabeth Lane has been essential in many of RPW Design’s projects with her abundance of design expertise acquired from her work around the globe. A Partner at RPW Design, Lane is renowned for ensuring beautiful interiors and operational functionality work in complete harmony.

The designer’s 16-year tenure at the company has included welcoming current Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck and supporting a smooth transition as RPW founder Jan Wilson took a step back from the helm of RPW Design in late 2015 whereupon she became a Director and Partner in the firm.

One of her recent projects was spearheading the renovation of Four Seasons Hampshire. As well as being responsible for designing the guestrooms inside the hotel, Lane excelled in ensuring elegance and functionality throughout the renovation of the hotel’s conference and banqueting space and continually provides steady leadership in a complex project team of owners, operators and consultants. It was a project that Lane describes held true to their convictions as a firm. The results, she says, are a testament to RPW Design’s ability to deliver projects that will stand the test of time.

Emma Farren, Senior Designer – DesignLSM

Emma Farren is a strong, creative leader at DesignLSM and professionally manages her own projects, consistently working hard to push new ideas and active design solutions for clients. Farren’s conceptual approach and technical ability, combined with her passion for all things design related, provides her designs with a strong sense of refinement and flexibility. Since joining the team back in 2016, she has built up a vast portfolio of award-winning work that most recently includes the design evolution of Gaucho restaurants.

Farren worked in close collaboration with Gaucho CEO, Martin Williams, and his team helping them to evolve the Gaucho brand through a new creative direction that moves away from the cowhide of old and on to a more refined aesthetic that celebrates the modern-day Gaucho. Immersing herself into the brand story, she drew her inspiration from the visual narrative of Argentina and the Gaucho way of life, considering its spirit and stunning landscapes – from the dramatic mountain landscapes to the Pampas region through to the high-altitude vineyards.

The design results for the first site in Charlotte St London reflect the raw, majestic nature and cultural energy of Argentina through an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic that captivates guests as soon as they step through the door.

 Geraldine Dohogne, Founder – Beyond Design

Geraldine Dohogne does not fit the traditional mold of a designer since she, in her own admission, stumbled into this profession driven by passion. As a result, perhaps, there’s no such thing as copy and paste in Dohogne’s work. On the contrary, every project she touches offers a new story. The same core values are always respected, but each and every new project is thought through individually. This is the process that enables the former Head of Design a Zannier Hotels to grow personally as well as professionally.

Beyond Design is Dohogne’s recently launched studio. Much more than solely concentrating on the interior design, the designer prides herself to handpick every single object and source local craftspeople whom themselves form an integral part of the place in question. As a result, every project represents a marathon across flea markets and meeting with local artisans and artists in order for the result to tell a genuine narrative that makes people reflect and appreciate a place even more.

 Hamish Brown, Partner – 1508 London

 Having been involved since 1508 London’s inception, Hamish Brown has been pivotal to the growth of the company and has championed the studio’s expansion from private residential into multi-unit developments and hospitality. As a result, Brown has helped 1508 London become one the world’s most revered architecture and interior design studios.

As an interior architect, Brown’s ability to understand every facet of the design process ensures he is perfectly positioned to help support clients throughout their journey. His profound commitment to clients’ experiences has installed a dedication to the creation of timeless, elegant spaces of the highest quality, all of which are informed by a unique narrative, grounded in functionality with no one set style.

The studio was responsible for the interior design scheme that is sheltered in The Lanesborough Club & Spa, which is referred to as the world’s best hotel spa because of its innovative design.

Projects that are currently heading towards completion include The Carlton Tower Jumeirah and Rosewood Doha.

Henry Reeve, Director of Interior Design – IHG

Henry Reeve, last year’s Highly Commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category in The Brit List Awards 2020, continues to drive the boutique and lifestyle sector forward in what has been an incredibly difficult year for the industry.

Opening the luxury Kimpton ViviDora in early Q1 was a real highlight for the group in 2020, creating a hotel that felt both special and luxurious whilst fully integrating itself into the youthful, urban, raw and authentic Gothic quarter of Barcelona.

What’s more, during lockdown Reeve innovatively utilised his skills and craftsmanship to launch Made by Henry, designing handcrafted homewares and accessories for all. With the mantra, “Measure twice, cut once,” Reeve continues to lead a new wave of designers.

Lindsey Bean-Pierce, Partner, Head of Interiors – Dexter Moren Associates

Lindsey Bean-Pearce, Partner, is responsible for running the interior design team at Dexter Moren Associates, managing a talented group of ten designers across a diverse and varied portfolio of headline projects and ensuring a high level of design consistency throughout.

Currently she is working on the Autograph Abastumani Hotel & Spa in Georgia, the Westin Verdelago Resort Hotel & Village Club in Portugal, the conversion and refurbishment of the Malmaison York, Accor’s first Movenpick Hotel in Italy, the Pamphili Rome, as well as the refurbishment of a Victorian hotel in London’s Paddington and a new-build boutique hotel in Dubai.

Prior to this she most recently led the completion of the International Hotel & Property Award winning boutique Vintry & Mercer Hotel and the Clayton Hotel New Drum Street, London.

Boasting more than 15 years’ experience running projects in the UK and Europe, she brings considerable creative flair and strong conceptual and technical abilities to a role in which no two days are the same.

As head of a team of talented creatives from all sectors of expertise and experience, Bean-Pierce takes great pride in mentoring her more junior colleagues, watching them flourish into stand out designers, and ensuring that each is constantly growing and expanding their design knowledge.

Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director – B3 Designers

Since founding B3 Designers in 2002, Mark Bithrey has worked on the interior design for iconic hospitality brands across the UK and Europe. B3 Designers has, under Bithrey’s creative direction, developed an impressive, diverse and award-winning portfolio. The most recently completed hotel project is The Prince Akatoki, London.

The hotel, part of the APAC hotel management group StayWell, launched in September 2019. The brief was to refurbish the 82-key former Arch Hotel in the heart of the West End, with a focus on bringing Japanese design and hospitality ideals to the West. The scope included the bedrooms, reception, sanctuary, communal workspace, corridors, lift lobby, TOKii (restaurant), and The Malt Lounge and Bar.

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder – Bergman Interiors

Marie Soliman is the co-founder of Bergman Interiors, and leads a team with Albin Berglund that is making ripples in London’s – and now the world’s – luxury interior and architectural design world. With more than 25 years’ combined experience, Soliman and Berglund have built up an enviable portfolio of projects, spanning London to St. Petersburg, to Qatar to New York.

The studio’s dynamic approach is to clearly define where design can have the maximum benefit and impact on our guests’ wellbeing and focus on these key wellness elements.

Currently the firm is working on a seven-star spa hotel in Norway, which contains guest villas, a luxurious spa and common areas such as restaurants and bars. Soliman’s approach has been to coherently formulate the spaces so that guests can read a continuous language throughout, drawing on nature to tell the story of both the hotel and its setting.

Martin Brudnizki, Founder – Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS)

Martin Brudnizki’s love for design started from a young age. His mother was a stylist and his father a mechanical engineer; the combination of these elements embedded a deep understanding of aesthetics alongside a grounding in functionality.

Following a number of successful positions at renowned interior design firms, Brudnizki established his eponymous Studio in London in 2000 and a New York Studio in 2012.

The designer has become a symbol – no, an icon – in F&B design because of his ability to sensitively uplift public areas and transform into becoming destinations within their own right for both travellers and locals alike. Statement examples include The Ivy, London; The Beekman in New York and Scarfes Bar inside The Rosewood London – he is currently working to complete new F&B spaces inside long-awaited Four Seasons Madrid.

Since winning Interior Designer of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2018, MBDS (a team of more than 70 talented members) has proven time and time again, through the projects it has completed, that the firm is leading the way in hospitality design on an international scale.

Martin Goddard, Co-Founder – Goddard Littlefair

As a designer, Martin Goddard is not afraid – in fact it’s one of his favourite parts of a project – to roll up his sleeves and relate directly with contractors on site. He overcomes the challenge of being perceived as the interior designer when contractors hear him slip seamlessly into their language and demonstrates that he understands the technicalities of their craft.

Most recently, Goddard and his team completed the interiors inside The Mayfair Townhouse, London. Curious, engaging and witty, the hotel is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Other projects that Goddard and his team have completed include Villa Copenhagen, Hilton Vienna, Chelsea Barracks, Belvedere Gardens and Spa, The Biltmore Mayfair, Sheraton Grand Warsaw, The Imperial Dubrovnik Restaurant, South Bank Place Spa and Corinthia Malta Spa.

Michael Bories, Design Director & Project Management – Marriott International

Michael Bories became Director Design & Project Management for Marriott International in 2017, following previous roles at Emaar Hospitality Group and Foster + Partners.

Matching last year’s ambitious growth strategy, Marriott International aimed to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2020. The global company currently encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,400 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 135 countries and territories.

Recent projects that have emerged this year from Marriott International include W Ibiza, Abu Dhabi’s debut The Luxury Collection, The Ritz Cartlon Nikko in Japan, Aloft Bali, Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel and Aloft Tokyo.

Oliver Redfern, Interior Designer – Squid.Inc

Squid.inc is a leading interior design firm, which specialises in hotels, restaurants and clubs. Interior designer Oliver Redfern led the interior design project of Brooklyn Hotel in Manchester.

Strategically located for both convenience and luxury, right in the heart of Manchester, the hotel provides ample opportunity to experience the vibrant city in whichever direction you choose. Brooklyn’s public areas offer an atmosphere of irresistible familiarity. It’s the unplaceable yet undeniable sense of belonging, where outsiders become insiders, that defines Brooklyn as a destination of true Mancunian hospitality; everyone welcomed exactly as they are.

It’s a sanctuary of the urban explorers; a living room away from home, a workplace away from the office, a place where inspiration waits to be discovered and interpreted into an adventure of guests’ own making.

Simon Rawlings, Creative Director – David Collins Studio

As Creative Director of David Collins Studio, Simon Rawlings has overseen the realisation of some of the world’s most iconic hospitality, residential and retail spaces. In the course of two decades at The Studio, he has collaborated with clients such as Harrods, Alexander McQueen and Mandarin Oriental, both in reinventing prominent buildings and establishing important new landmarks.

His most recent headline-grabbing project is Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which applies a contemporary approach to both aesthetics and hospitality, and has just opened. The hotel’s design takes cues from Japanese architectural disciplines and minimalist design, whilst utilising a refined colour palette influenced by heritage Japanese colour combinations.

Located in the heart of central London’s vibrant Marylebone area, the new luxury hotel features 249 guestrooms and suites, Nobu’s world-class restaurant, a ballroom and meeting spaces – all beautifully conceptualised by David Collins Studio with Make Architects.

Tina Norden, Partner – Conran and Partners

Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners, led the interior design refurb of a building that was known locally as Prague’s most established boutique. Redesigning the 71-key Maximilian Hotel called upon experienced designers to sensitively reimagine and redesign the hotel’s interiors.

Norden’s design approach reflects the cultural and architectural heritage of its urban context, referencing Czech modernism and the progressive art movement influenced by famous avant-garde artist and architectural writer, Karel Teige.

The design team wanted to retain a strong element of Teige’s poetic modernism while creating a sense of place rooted in the city and the neighbourhood. This involved drawing upon the iconic pastel colour palette of Prague’s architecture and local crafts – including weaving and glass-making – for the materiality of the design.

The Brit List 2020 is Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers operating in Britain. This year’s campaign came to a close on November 13, when the virtual award ceremony unveiled The List as well as the individual winners

To attend The Brit List Winners’ Party, which takes place on April 29, 2021 at Minotti London, please click here. Applications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020 will open Summer 2021.

Blue modular wall

Product watch: make more of your walls with Modular by Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: make more of your walls with Modular by Granorte

Modular is a 3D tile from cork pioneer Granorte that brings Mondrian linearity to walls…

Using CNC machined linear grooves in three geometric designs, Modular lets you explore the forms typified by Piet Mondrian’s works on walls. Installed in combinations and arrangements, the large format cork tiles create an aesthetic that balances natural elements with manmade form.

Blue modular wall

Each lightweight Modular tile is made from 100 per cent recycled cork, a by-product of the wine stopper industry and retains the acoustic and thermal benefits of the material. Helping spaces feel warmer and quieter, cork is an ideal renewable natural material for wall and floor finishes.

Available in four complementing shades – Dark, Pearl, Smoke, Bluemoon and Terracotta – Modular is protected with Granorte’s water-based CORKGUARD®. This protective lacquer finish ensures that the tiles can withstand commercial use, remaining resistant to marks and easy to clean.

Paulo Rocha, from Granorte, commented: “Cork is a versatile natural material that has great properties for projects focused on creating a comforting space for occupiers. At Granorte, we look to provide designers with products that allow them to use the finish in surprising ways. Modular is just such a product, offering a distinctly contemporary wall tile that embraces the natural aesthetic of cork in a fresh and interesting way.”

The tile is available in a 580mm x 580mm x 7mm format for glue-on application. Granorte was founded in 1972 and has been at the forefront of finding ways to reuse waste cork ever since. With a broad range of wall and floor finishes, as well as furniture, sanitary ware and lighting, the Portuguese company is undoubtedly a pioneer in cork.

Granorte is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Granorte

A sofa bed in traditional heritage setting

Smart furniture: sweet dreams are made of this

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Smart furniture: sweet dreams are made of this

Sofa and furniture beds have come a long way and are no longer the uninspired looking sofa you buy because it turns into an unforgiving but occasionally much needed extra bed, as furniture brand DOMINGO explains…

A sofa bed in traditional heritage setting

Whilst options and variety have generally increased, so many of the sofa beds on the market maintain that standard ‘box look’ that fails to lift the room.

We tend to think of a good sofa bed as a versatile, hardworking piece of furniture but because it allows us to entertain, relax and sleep the occasional guest – we will need to compromise on either its look or performance.

DOMINIGO knows it does not have to be like this. Even if a sofa bed will be mainly used as a sofa and only occasionally turned into a bed, it makes sense you should look for the same features you would want from your chosen sofa, with the addition of a comfortable mattress and efficient opening mechanism.

The new generation of DOMINGO sofa beds are cleverly designed and impeccably manufactured to be able to deliver on all these promises… and they look really good. Domingo has been making sofas and armchairs since 1973, and the company’s stylish products are handcrafted according to the best Italian tradition in their workshops in Italy. The company only uses solid hard wood for their frames whilst the foams and the mechanisms chosen for their sofa beds are designed for intense usage.

Whether you are a homeowner in the market for a sofa bed for your house or a designer working on a commercial project, DOMINGO will be able to present you with options to choose from. Do spend some time working out what are the features you need in a sofa bed and let this guide your decision.

The L-Shape sofa bed

A good L-shape corner sofa remains the favourite choice for most modern households. This is because it is big enough to accommodate at least three people watching TV and can fit a bed big enough to sleep the occasional guest (or guests). DOMINGO has a few L-shape sofa beds styles that can be integrated with an island with hidden storage space.

DOMINGO has a whole catalogue dedicated to the Lshape sofa bed. The idea is to start from one central standard sofa bed block and then add as many elements as your family needs to create your own unique sofa bed. Starting from a central 2 seaters sofa with bed you can then add a corner unit, the armrest of your choice, a long chaise on the side or …some hidden storage. You will then be able to create a sofa bed that is functional for you, that suits your lifestyle and fits perfectly in the space you have chosen.

Finish the job by selecting your preferred fabric (or mixing up a few fabric qualities together on the same couch) to create your own sofa bed.

A large L-shaped sofa in a deserted warehouse

Image credit: DOMINGO

The stunningly beautiful sofa bed that does not look like a sofa bed

The new luxury line of sofa beds by DOMINGO includes a range of sofa beds that do not look like a sofa bed. DIVINITAS in a range that offers sartorial refinement as well as utmost comfort.

A brown sofa and blue armchair in traditional house setting

The beds are using a ”pull out’ system, meaning, the mattress and the frame of the bed fold out of the interior of the sofa. The back of the sofa becomes a cosy shell to lean against when reading or watching TV. The structures are generously padded and upholstered in luxurious fabrics. Fabrics and trimmings, finishing and detailing can be customised to suit personal taste. Choose the deep buttoned handmade styles for a rustic classic feel, or the smooth luxurious velvet for a retro modern look. These sofa beds are the preferred choice of hedonists and creatives in love with this retro nostalgic look.

The space savers: 

If struggling for space but still in need of an extra bed, an armchair or a pouf (rather than a sofa bed) is the answer.

An armchair does not take space, can be squeezed into any room. The one in the picture below (Marie armchair in skinny armrest, by Domingo), presented with contrasting piping would be a welcomed addition to any home office. Pull the back of this armchair towards you and it will turn itself into a bed thanks to its revolving mechanism. No need to store the seat cushion. One quick pull and the bed is ready.

Sofa beds for commercial projects:

With more than 20 years’ experience helping designers and architects delivering its projects in more than 35 Countries around the globe, staff at DOMINGO knows that every space presents its own individual features and that each Country has specific rules with regards to certification and products health and safety.

DOMINGO offers a tailor-made ‘ad hoc’ design service to both design and production  as well as the certification required to deliver your projects.

DOMINGO sofa beds:

  • Can be upholstered in BS or Crib 5 fabrics
  • Only solid hard wood is used for frames
  • Foams chosen for contract are designed and certified for heavy usage
  • FR (CHMR) foams are available on request
  • Anti-bacteria anti-microbes materials are available on request
  • Products are 100 per cent recyclable at the end of their service life

One size does not fit all, just get in touch with DOMINGO to know what options are available to you. Sweet dreams!

DOMINGO is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: DOMINGO

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: the filmmakers who designed Great Plains

Having spent more than 40 years exploring Africa as photographers and filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the founders of Great Plains, have new standards in sustainability, hospitality and humanity. Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the dynamic duo to understand authentic luxury hotel design through a wider lens, capturing a broader perspective when it comes to hospitality in the wild…

Profile image of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founders of Great Plains in Africa

There is something about Africa – the woodlands, wetlands, and seemingly never-ending grasslands in-between – that gives life deeper meaning. I’ve noticed that the sun sets differently here, almost feeling like you’re closer to the sun than any other continent on earth is.

My experience in Africa is a millisecond, though, compared to the time that Dereck and Beverly Joubert have invested in order to learn about this great natural world. Having spent more than 40 years’ exploring these plains as filmmakers and photographers – the pair have produced more than 25 films for National Geographic – to call these two wildlife and conservation experts is an unruly understatement.

In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation work, Beverly and Dereck channeled their wisdom and love of nature and started a new hospitality venture. Their inspirational journey – which went on to challenge the cookie-cutter approach in safari travel, architecture and design – began when they set up Great Plains, an authentic and iconic tourism conservation organisation.

Today, the brand shelters 16 safari properties, in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, each designed through the director’s lens to tell unique stories that enhance each camp’s very special sense of place and built to celebrate each destination’s individual character.

Despite being award-winning filmmakers, world-renowned hoteliers and selflessly good human beings through their ongoing charity work, there is not a shred of haughtiness about Beverly and Dereck, as I learn when I catch up with the husband-and-wife team to understand how they, through a purposeful and sustainable approach to luxury hospitality, are helping travellers to capture one-off experiences from a slightly different perspective.

Hamish Kilburn: What initially made you audition for the roles of ‘hotelier’?

Beverly Joubert: We’re explorers, conservationists and filmmakers. As we started the Big Cats Initiative at National Geographic, we soon realised that saving lions one at a time was futile and we needed to conserve large landscapes to save everything in them. To afford this, we decided on high-end tourism as opposed to philanthropy.

Dereck Joubert: To be honest hospitality runs deep in Africa; in our DNA where of course we were all born, so we were inspired by that spirit of coming home and being welcomed. As a result, as I design our camps, I do it with two ’stories’ in mind: the three act ‘ welcome home’ one and whatever story I want to tell through the design of that unique place.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, filmmakers and wildlife photographers, in a 4x4 with an elephant in the background

Image caption: In 2006, to fund their wildlife conservation efforts, filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert launched Great Plains.

HK: What amendments have you made to the existing script of safari in Africa?

DJ: Oh, I don’t think we have amended the African safari – it transcends us! It may have been about the physical journey (safari being quite simply a journey in Swahili) but if anything I hope we expand it to an inner journey as much as a physical one. Our version of safari is one where you can explore your roots, from millions of years ago, and interrogate your relationship with the other creatures here, our history with them, our very profound and interwoven dependancy. For example there was an ancient cat called Dinofelis that stalked the caves we sheltered in 3.5 million years ago, and possibly forced us out into the grasslands more where we discovered fire and bone marrow that gave us strength, intelligence and the ability to no longer fear large spotted cats. Today we seek out leopards to marvel at their beauty rather than shy away in fear, but we’ve walked this journey of the safari together.

BJ: What does the resonance of meditating at a waterhole with elephants nearby as they rumble do to you? How can we each for that creative energy that the early philosophers and poets sought out in the wilderness, uncluttered and pure. In the style of our camps, we try to add detail and story telling like this in design, in service and as an experience.

HK: What is the current narrative in Africa?

BJ: The Covid-19 death rates in the USA is at about 800 per million people. In Botswana it is 2 per million, so the safety and risk are worlds apart. The outdoor experiences reduce the risk dramatically, but no matter what the rates are, the closed borders have obviously collapsed tourism.

What is evident is that we’re in a cycle of demise that can cause spiralling circles of pandemics. As a result of our nefarious relationship with wild animals placed in captivity in cages in wet markets (in this case), we have sparked an economic crisis, global shutdowns that will lead to a recession, closed borders, and tourism, that communities rely so heavily on in Africa and other places.

DJ: The loss of income has led to many turning to nature to feed themselves at a time when game wardens and anti poaching patrols have been cut back. This perfect storm has led to a second pandemic of destruction of wildlife and a renewed trade in illegal wildlife and bush meat, that find their ways into the wet markets again. So we are seeing a second and third wave of new unexpected viral pandemics as a result. We have to shut down wet markets and the trade in wildlife. We have to review and renew the ways we engage with all animals . We started Project Ranger to support rangers who have been furloughed and keep wildlife areas intact and protected. We have to ensure that there is actually something for travellers to want to seek out when this is all over.

HK: What makes your cast of 660 employees special and unique?

BJ: It is an ensemble cast isn’t it?! I think that the way we work at Great Plains is as a small family business, with a family of employees who do more than just show up. Hospitality in general requires skills that are more involved than that any way – much close to the work as performers – each day to smile and engage in a pleasant way no matter what is going on in your life. I recognise that, so we are sensitised to this and have a policy of support. If a guide is having a bad day, another is primed to reach out and ask him or her what is going on and to step in. Managers do the same to their staff and actually this starts at the top and someone who just joined our EXCO meetings pointed out that I start each session asking each Managing Director what we can do as a whole group to help each week. I know the names of all our staff and most of their families and I don’t want to grow it beyond that point where it becomes impersonal and corporate.

 

HK: Can you talk us through the filmmaker process of storyboarding each scene/camp?

DJ: Each hotel or in our case, camp, is a story. I start with an overall direction and message. In the Selinda camp, for example, I wanted us to re-evaluate our relationship with elephants. The camp is in the heart of the highest density of elephants in the world, but in the past, early explorers like Livingstone and Selous travelled through these areas with guns and a desire for ivory. Selinda was a hunting concession for decades and when we took it over we stopped all killing.

Our relationship with elephants is symbolic of our loss of harmony, so therefore harmony was the solution to ’the question’ the area and the elephants themselves impose on us.

Now I obviously didn’t want to simply populate the décor with elephant images – that would be too easy and cheap. Instead, I designed and cast two life-sized bronze skulls of elephants including bronze tusks but in the forehead of one I had the words “homo nosce the Ipsum” cut in, and in the other “homo nosce  pe Ipsum”, which is Latin for “man know thyself” and “man forgive thyself”. The sculptures are placed on either side of the main entrance with the intention to stimulate a real conversation that starts with us understand who we are and what we have done over the centuries to their peaceful animals, but then  to forgive ourselves (and our ancestors) for who we are.

But that is just the first act, and I wanted to design this with a longer and deeper path towards harmony which in Eastern teachings leans towards the laying out of five fundamental elements the first being the metal skulls, but then you enter a chamber with blue touch of furniture, to represent water and often our guests arrive by boat so I imagined them dragging that element with them, like a smoke trail from the river. Next, you enter for a welcome tea; an open space with a flowing white silk roof to represent air. Beyond that you pass through an open dining area with brown tables, where we serve fresh largely plant based food from the earth, and then to the fire and off to the third act and your resting place, in your room, presumable in perfect harmony and balance.

Only once we understand who we are, and forgive ourselves will we be able to cross a threshold, as one does in this camp, into a new unburdened relationship with both ourselves and elephants, like stepping through a vortex.

It’s not just a story though, I believe that most people arrive and feel that tranquility and settle because of the balance we have created, and so many arriving guest actually sign deeply as they enter this story, this camp. If I can I will briefly describe Mara Plains, that I felt should be an architectural and physical meeting place, also in harmony between three often opposing cultures: The Maasai, the Swahili, the colonials.

But as explorers for National Geographic, we wanted to be the glue as one is behind the lens. So I oriented the camp based on a single and lone tree five km away, drew a line through the camp, and angled it all around this tree. Then I drew a Fibonacci proportion in the ground and had the tent makers make the main tent exactly to those proportions, representing  the ideal gold rectangle one uses in a 35 mm picture frame.

Inside the camp, we imported 75-100 year old railway sleepers as recycled wood (teak) and brass from the original Blue Train 120 years ago. Reds from the Maasai culture represent this very visual association and it didn’t have be head handed because we are in Maasai world so it is everywhere anyway, but the coastal Swahili culture has in influence here so the large Swahili doors behind the showers are a not to them, associated with the sea and water. Each tent fits the Fibonacci proportions creating a film set styled ration that takes you back to the romance of the 1920’s adventures but hopefully without the embedded racism and in appropriate colonialism of that time.

“I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian Tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work.” – Beverly Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

HK: How and where do you source your props/artefacts?

BJ: In some cases, we design and make them ourselves, like in Zarafa, in Botswana, which is based on the story of the first giraffe to be seen by westerners as it went on a journey to Paris as a gift to KingCharles X.

Here, I added my own collection of campaign furniture as templates and samples for cabinet makes to replicate, which happened at the time of the Indonesian tsunami where thousands of artisans were left without work, and where tons of mahogany used for houses were smashed down from house scale to ideal furniture scale. So we used the reclaimed mahogany and hired the artisans to make this campaign furniture that is now unique to Zarafa camp. In other cases we just come across something in a market or antique store that we love and can’t live without, so we don’t!

HK: How has your approach on sustainability helped the local community?

BJ: Well, we have delivered something like 6,000 solar lanterns to families that have perviously been off grind, and an amazing addition to that was that the principal of the local school wrote to  thank us because school grades were going up because kids could do their homework after dark. I don’t think the kids liked having do that but… We send nine ladies with very little education from Botswana to India to learn solar circuit board manufacturing technology for six months and to return and develop local businesses from this. We’ve planted more than 5,000 trees and started tree growing initiatives. We have a Great Plains Academy to teach people about hospitality and who to bridge the gap from high school to university.

HK:  It’s clear that, as wildlife filmmakers, you allow nature to call the shots – can you explain more about how guests can give back to nature during their stay?

DJ: To nature, our guests and followers get involved in help fund a rhino calf by naming stand securing its protection on the wild, or supporting Project Ranger to keep front line conservationists at work to avoid this second pandemic. We have a need for $20 donations towards solar lanterns for kids learning at night, as well as $45,000 to move a rhino and indeed, we need an army of ambassadors who don’t donate but lobby against the extraction of wildlife (via hunting or poaching and trade) with their local representative. Everyone can do something.

HK: What major lesson has this journey in hospitality taught you so far?  

BJ: We can all learn from hospitality because it is all about kindness and care; paying attention to details and I find myself taking a lot more care just to find out how someone (even in my team) is doing, randomly, as if I am hosting the world.

HK: 2016 was a pivotal year for you both. Beverly you survived a fatel injury after being attacked by a buffalo while filming your latest materpiece. Dereck, did that event and your recovery change your relationship with nature?

DJ: You know the buffalo attack didn’t really change that relationship, as much as it changed our relationship with ourselves, in that I promised myself not to waste another moment, day or month not totally enjoying my life with Beverly (if I got her back, which I did four times).

HK: Has designing hotels changed your perception at all as wildlife filmmakers?

BJ: Interesting, probably in that it has made me (both of us, I think) understand story telling more, because if you base the entire design of a hotel on a story, as I do, and that is going to be its story for decades it had better be well researched and thought out. So our films have probably evolved into more layered and in depth stories and while I had not connected the two careers in many way, I can see yah prior to this, where I am designing spaces based on a deep philosophy like our relationship with elephants, or intersecting cultures there is more depth to our films.

“I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts.” – Dereck Joubert, co-founder, Great Plains.

DJ: A good example is the Okavango film/s where the story is about a river from end to end. But that wasn’t enough, so I re-read Dante’s Divine Comedy partly while Beverly was in hospital recovering from the buffalo attack. And in it, I found two parallels, one of our or my journey and Dante’s as he wove his way from purgatory to parade to find and be reconnected with his love (as I did, over nine months as Beverly slowly came back to life.) Regarding the journey of the river, I flipped the story in the theatrical release to start also in Purgatory (in the desert) and wind our story back to Paradise at the source. Those are the kinds of stories one tells around a campfire about the design of a hotel or camp, not always in a natural history documentary for National Geographic!

I think that all journeys are stories and we are all the heroes of our scripts, (why write yourself in as the bad guy) and we are the storytelling ape. But to us, as much as we love lions and elephants, there are opportunities as films to tell parables that hold up  the mirror to our lives, so we can advance in our relationships, and in our new and renewed contract with nature.

HK: In a sentence, can you explain the synopsis’ of your next masterpieces/camp openings?

BJ: As I walked the banks of the Zambezi River, under spreading pod mahogany trees, I saw a movement in the shade; a herd of elephants ambling towards me chasing their thirst, right passed me and out onto the plains, sliding into the water, leaving me with the name for the new camp on this exact site; Tembo Plains: (elephant in Shona.)

Main image credit: Great Plains

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: is London still a design & hospitality hub?

London is the theme of Joel Butler’s second column for Hotel Designs, as we ask the co-founder of HIX Event to use pedal power to explore the current hospitality and design scene in the big city…

“Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London town!” The theme of this article takes me back to my roots, and should therefore, in theory at least, should be a relatively straight-forward piece to write about.

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

I was born in West London, and I have lived in the East End for 20 years. My work places have zig zagged across town throughout this time. And yet, I feel completely in the deep end writing about the capital at time when the city doesn’t feel like itself – but it is arguably more important to write about it now than it was pre-Covid.

“London is Europe’s beating heart of hospitality and design because…” A wave of hackneyed words envelope my mind: “diversity, history, innovation, fast-paced, energy and culture.” I realise that as valid as these words may be, they’re already very much accepted by everyone within our industry. I strike a line through these cliches as I think of the wonderfully quotable yet horribly over-used Samuel Pepys’ line: ‘A man who is bored of London…something something something” – I vow to not use this Pepys quote in the article.  

Following Lockdown 2.0, and as we drift into the uncharted territories of Tier 3, we are in an extended lockdown that doesn’t feel quite like the first one. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel yet the days seem colder and darker than the first time around. In short, there’s not much hospitality in London to write about so I get on my bike to look for it.

London is a collection of villages: lots of neighbourhoods connected – even the city’s square mile is a village. I set off from my East End village of Leyton and hit the canal, graffitied walls overlooking water make for a huge, damp art gallery that delights and challenges at once. Through Victoria Park and Bethnal Green and there’s no hospitality design to write about because it’s all essentially (or ‘non-essentially’) closed, independent cafes: closed, local pubs: closed. I speed into Old Street and hospitality offerings become lifestyle and boutique, but the doors are locked for now.

“It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing.” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

My route zooms past me at speed, Clerkenwell to Midtown, across the bridge to Waterloo, Southwark and into the city. I can’t help but notice the hotels that I pass. It’s a Tour de Hospitality but I’m the only one racing. The Zetter, The Hoxton Holborn, Rosewood London, ME London, crossing the bridge is like a low-budget zombie film where you might glimpse the odd bus or taxi ruining the idea of the apocalypse. Down into Lower Marsh and past the Ruby Lucy, The Hoxton Southwark, The Mondrian, Citizen M and Hilton London Bankside, and across the bridge back into the city to pedal past The Andaz, Mama Shelter, and back into the East End to pass the same closed pubs and cafes but in reverse.

This article, which is all about London being a major hot spot for hospitality and design, isn’t going too well and that hackneyed Pepys quote presents itself again as the easy option: ‘A man who is bored of London…’ I’ll google it when I get home. 

The sun is setting as I free-wheel home and at this point it’s my home of Leyton that single handedly writes the article…

“Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive” – Joel Butler, Co-founder, HIX Event.

A restaurant that has been closed since March has suddenly metamorphosised into a pop up takeaway over night, serving really delicious Indonesian food. The queue is socially distanced and snakes 20 deep down the street. The beer and wine shop next-door is taking orders from those queuing and serving drinks, including mulled wine. Drinks are firmly categorised and consumed as takeaway. It smells like winter and the sky is turning orange and pink. People are talking through masks and across 1.5 metres gaps. A man sits on a bench and plays The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset and it hits me: it’s Friday and I’m in London. The simplicity of this statement is joyous, so I join the queue and write these words on my phone: “Londoners design, provide and demand hospitality that reminds us that we’re alive, we’re in London and it can always feel like Friday.”

It’s a start, and those hotels, design studios and supplier showrooms that I cycled past today are literally bursting to re-open, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be back stronger than ever because of the enduring fact that London keeps going. Pepys’ quote comes to me in a flash as I order a signature lager, brewed just down the road: “A man who is bored of London clearly hasn’t cycled around town for his allocated daily exercise during lock-down.”

HIX Event is the Networking Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020, and Hotel Designs is with HIX every step of the way, as it prepares to launch in November 2021. Between now and then, we’ve scooped Joel Butler up as our resident columnist to inject our pages with a bit of fun and allow our readers to see the industry from a slightly wider perspective.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Unbound Collection by Hyatt arrives in Sweden

Celebrating its rich history, Hotell Reisen in Sweden will mark the first property under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in Scandinavia…

Hotell Reisen, which we first wrote about last month, is a 144-key hotel in Stockholm that has just opened as The Unbound Collection’s first property in Sweden.

Render of luxury suite inside Hotell Reisen in Sweden

The hotel has a proud history with origins from the 17th century, bringing the spirit of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt to life in the capital of Sweden. Located in the heart of Stockholm’s old town directly on the waterfront and next to the Royal Castle, Hotell Reisen is the first hotel in Scandinavia under The Unbound Collection by Hyatt  brand and will join the planned Grand Hansa Hotel in Helsinki, Finland and Hyatt Centric Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hotell Reisen pays homage to the building’s extraordinary past, beginning in the 1750s as one of the few places licensed to serve coffee. Dutchman Frederik Reiss ran the popular meeting place for sea captains, merchants and sailors, and soon his daughter started to rent rooms to travelers. True to its origin, Hotell Reisen has remained a destination for guests from all over the world. Decorated with ornaments from centuries past including a 350-year-old footprint in the bricks of the hotel lobby, the building offers guests the opportunity to discover the hotel’s rich history and experience a one-of-a-kind stay.

“We are truly proud to be opening our doors and unfolding a new chapter for Hotell Reisen in Stockholm,” said Tomas Tegfors, general manager, Hotell Reisen. “Celebrating the rich history of Hotell Reisen, we are excited to welcome travelers seeking experiences unlike any other and to deliver elevated service.”

Each of the 144 newly renovated, spacious guestrooms creates a sophisticated ambiance rooted in the culture of Scandinavia, with many featuring outstanding views of the sea and islands of Stockholm. Each also offer walk-in showers, while many also include private saunas. Commonly known as “bastu”, the sauna has a long tradition in Scandinavia and is a great way to relax after an eventful day in the city.

Classic Swedish cuisine with a modern twist and exceptional drinks are served at the hotel’s restaurant for guests who are looking to make memories and tell their tale afterwards.

Hotell Reisen will be the eighth property in Europe within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, joining The WellemHotel SOFIA BarcelonaPárisi Udvar Hotel BudapestHôtel du Palais BiarritzHôtel du LouvreHôtel MartinezGreat Scotland Yard Hotel, as well the planned Byblos Hotel and Grand Hansa Hotel, both expected to open in 2022.

Main image credit: Hyatt

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall

During the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, editor Hamish Kilburn managed to escape briefly to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes in Cornwall – a hotel that knows a thing or two about battling adversity – which shelters an unmatched personality, character and style…

Idle Rocks Hotel, St Mawes, Opening Day, June 24th 2013

Being close to the water’s edge – so close you can hear shrunken waves break on the shoreline – does something to us, mentally. Not only does it send a reflux through our bodies to sharply loosen our shoulders to allow for a deeper exhale from a life that feels constantly left on fast-forward, but it also enables us to find a different perspective (something we could all benefit from, I’m sure, right now).

If like me you grew up by the coast before diving into the deep end of city life, then you would have also felt the magnetic pull, like gravity, that regularly drags me back to the edge of the land. My recent nostalgic fix came when I travelled down to Cornwall, to check in to The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

Image of exterior of The Idle Rocks St Mawes

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

The hotel, which is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Karen Richards and David Richards, was originally opened in 2013. Two years prior, the pair fell in love with the building that now shelters the hotel. It’s position right at the water’s edge of the harbour, inspired the name of the hotel as well as its quirky, contemporary and stripped-back luxury style. “Our aim was to create a hotel that was young, fresh and relaxing,” explained Karen in an interview with Hotel Designs. “We wanted to make it a home-from-home, eliminating formalities and in this way, differentiate ourselves from our more traditional competitors.”

Image of door opening in St Mawes hotel to see the sea

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Karen, who lives and breathes design, envisioned the boutique gem with its own identity, when she fell in love with the property. But for David, whose career within motor sport has led to great acclaim in a wide range of disciplines from F1 to Sports Car racing and rallying, hospitality was a new adventure, which (it turns out) shared similar traits to the motor sport industry, such as forming the ‘dream team’ – from housekeeping to chefs, front-of-house staff to savvy marketing – in order to find that sweet spot of personable luxury hospitality.

With the current Covid-19 crisis dominating headlines and sadly bringing hospitality to its knees, it would be easy to forget other storms that The Idle Rocks, St Mawes has weathered over the years – but we must not as it forms an integral chapter in the property’s history. Less than a year after first opening, a 90-mph winds hit St Mawes combined with an extremely high tide. The impact of the storm destroyed the ground floor of the hotel. “The following day, I was on site with the team and we did what we could to board up the smashed windows,” Karen painfully recalls. “Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, that evening another squall came in and caused even more damage.”

It took the team just two months to definitely repair the damage before reopening once more, with more soul and purpose than ever.

Seven years later, following the hotel being the subject of major broadsheets for its unparalleled hospitality offering, I arrive to check in to the boutique legend that is The Idle Rocks St Mawes.

Walking through the front door evokes the same effortless, refreshing coastal vibes as the destination itself has done for centuries, which has allured the likes of writers, artists and even royalty alike. No other hotel can match Karen’s home-from-home style, which in the lobby/lounge area is complete with deep, comfy sofas and furnishings that come in every shade of blue.

“In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid.” – Karen Richards, co-owner, The Idle Rocks, St Mawes.

The art is a story in itself – framed traditional woollen swimsuits and abstract pieces that depict boats painted in primary colours. “We have very consciously focused on local Cornish Artists throughout the hotel,” explains Karen. “In a coastal hotel, it is all too easy for the design to be predictable and something I worked hard to avoid. I love visiting antique shops and fairs, which is where a lot of pieces within the property came from.”

Although the design inside the F&B areas is impressive, with wooden bucket-like chandeliers and vibrant art that hangs on a rustic wall, it is the view that stretches over the working harbour, seen from all perspectives in the restaurant, that is this hotel’s wildcard and offers guests a window into the community outside.

Colourful and vibrant restaurant

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Acting as an ever-changing backdrop as storms come and go, the restaurant, which presents young chef Dorian Janmaat’s locally inspired menu, is the beating heart of the hotel.

Upstairs, each of the 19 guestrooms and suites have been individually designed to sensitively inject a meaningful sense of place. Naturally, the colour scheme is toned down with just a few flashes of colour to allow the view over the water to become part of the hotel experience, which it does very quickly.

Through a translucent sliding door, the bathrooms include a deep, freestanding Victoria + Albert bath that is positioned right next to the window. Quirky nods to the hotel’s coastal location, such as shells that act as soap dishes and distressed wooden framed mirrors above the sink. A Rainfinity shower from hansgrohe with Axor fittings takes this wellness scene to a new level, and is positioned in such as way at the back of the bathroom so that you can see outside through the window but people cannot see in. The bathroom is completed with a quality Villeroy & Boch toilet with Geberit push button panels.

Light and minimalist sea-themed bathroom

Image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Considering Cornwall’s etched reputation in the history books for delivering quality hospitality time and time again, The Idle Rocks St Mawes stands out from the crowd as being something different on the luxury scene in the westcountry. It’s colourful and vibrant personality makes it hard for any guest to check out of what feels very much like a home away from home. And with my tastebuds teased, body rested and state of mind recovered I reluctantly check out of this boutique jewel, taking one last look at the postcard perfect view of St Mawes, a town I will no-doubt be returning to shortly.

Main image credit: The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

5 minutes with: Julie Ingham & Burlington on bespoke bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Julie Ingham & Burlington on bespoke bathroom design

Following the spectacular launch of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection earlier this year – and to mark the start of our Year in Review series – editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Burlington’s marketing manager, Faye Froy, and Julie Ingham who was the designer behind that colourful and eclectic range of bathroom products…

British designer Julie Ingham is known for creating patterns and illustrations for packaging, greeting cards, homewares, textiles and books. However, recently, she was asked by Burlington to take a leap into a new segment of the design industry, to help the bathroom brand create its most recent hero collection. 

Representing a new era of classic bathroom design, Bespoke by Burlington is a distinctive and unique collection of coloured and hand-decorated ceramics. Offering true customisation, the new products provide architects, specifiers and designers with an unsurpassed level of individuality, placing Burlington at the very forefront of modern-day bathroom design, whilst remaining true to its historic influences and style.

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

To understand more about the collection, I caught up with Ingham and Faye Froy, Marketing Manager at Burlington:

Hamish Kilburn: What are the challenges of designing a ‘bespoke’ range for a commercial market?

Faye Froy: The Bespoke collection was created to offer the customer alternatives to our normal white finish. Whilst white looks stunning and will still be the main choice, there is increasing demand for colour and for decoration. We developed the technology to make the wide range offered in the Bespoke collection and this gives Burlington the chance to offer colours, single colour decoration and multi-colour decoration. Now we have the process fine-tuned we can produce these with short lead times (6 weeks) on a made to order basis. Within the range is Bespoke lettering which allows Burlington to personalise with the name of the home such a “The Old Dairy” and we can also produce with hotel or business logos on.

There are no specific challenges in extending this to the commercial market, and for contracts we can produce bespoke designs if the project is looking for a unique design or unique colour.

HK: Why is 2020 the ideal year to launch the Bespoke Collection?

FF: It was always part of our strategy to launch the Bespoke collection this year. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit we quickly agreed that we still wanted to launch the collection but in a different way. Instead of the launch event we originally planned on hosting in London, we moved the launch online, engaging various high-profile influencers to promote the brand and a two-week launch was created. It was such an exciting month where we created such a buzz and we gained so much coverage through our press and social channels.

It was important to Burlington that we still went ahead with the launch. Many businesses this year have delayed their new products to 2021 but that gave us more of a reason to push ahead and create something new and exciting for the brand.

HK: What was the thinking behind the colours you chose for the collection?

Julie Ingham: The colours came from an enormous amount of research into bathroom trends.  I looked at what colours people already had in their bathrooms and how they used them and what they were comfortable with. I also looked at colour historically in bathrooms both domestically and commercially. But probably most importantly how colour would sit on such an iconic bathroom shape.  We wanted to give the product a new edge and feel, whilst still retaining a balance and direction towards what the shape represents. I Photo-shopped about 200 colours onto basins to get the right feel. Colour is so individual and logistically we had to choose three for production. I think the colour choice was harder than the pattern choice!

HK: How would you describe the collection in three words?

JI: Stylish, inspired and iconic.

HK: If you were to design an extension to the Bespoke Collection, what themes would you explore?

JI: A children’s range, with boats and bunting perhaps in nursery style pastel shades. I adore the work on Eric Ravillious, and Midwinter’s Jessie Tait, so perhaps a nod in their direction, geometric and landscapes. Trees, forests, dark greens swaying movements. My personal favourites from the collection we designed are the Oriental Blossom and Spring Forest designs and I would like to continue the organic feel that I think these two have.

HK: How has the pandemic changed peoples’ perception of bathrooms in hotel design?

FF: The bathroom is a room that certainly should not be overlooked. Often heavily featured on Instagram, blogs and in magazines with the heading of ‘the best Instagrammable bathrooms to visit,’ consumers are looking for high design quality throughout every room in a hotel, and the bathroom will often heavily influence their decision on whether to book a stay. Whether the bathroom is bold and colourful, or is a spa-like haven to retreat to, consumers will wish to stay in hotels with Instagrammable bathrooms.

With the pandemic resulting is us all spending much more time in our homes, getting away to a hotel whether for a one-night stay or a week away is more important than ever. Consumers will want to feel like they are really escaping day to day life, so hotel design will become more important than ever to offer the guest that true feeling of relax, rest and rejuvenate. The bathroom will continue to play a big part of that theme.

Burlington is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Burlington

Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

The Swiss bathroom specialist, Laufen, has set new sustainability trends in bathroom design. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

With unprecedented performance properties, the revolutionary SaphirKeramik, found in all Laufen products, bestows possibilities and versatility never seen before, enabling exceptional shaping where finely-defined curves and tight edge radii of 1-2mm are created.

This unique ceramic is considerably thinner and has an improved bending strength, compared to traditional bathroom ceramics. Laufen is now able to produce wafer-thin, yet exceptionally robust ceramic bodies, which in turn makes it more sustainable by reducing weight with a lower consumption of raw materials and energy, required for the manufacturing process. SaphirKeramik is not a replacement for any existing materials; instead, it broadens the range of forms of expression of the natural base material.

Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has developed into a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, because it permits a whole new design language within bathroom ceramics, which could not have been realised in the same way with conventional ceramics. Designed under the creative leadership of superstar Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, the contemporary ‘The New Classic’ collection interprets classical styles using Laufen’s innovative SaphirKeramik to help create soft, gentle feminine curves, alongside angular, masculine elements.

Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ tour of Roca and Laufen UK headquarters?

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Laufen is also taking responsibility for the its impact on the environment by developing ways to recycle wastewater. In collaboration with Austrian design studio EOOS and long-term research by Eawag, Laufen have developed a ground-breaking urine separation toilet that opens a new chapter in sustainable wastewater management: Save! Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save! will revolutionise sanitation, reduce the environmental issue of wastewater pollution and provide a solution fit for the 21st century.

The key innovation in Save! is the “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design, which diverts urine to a concealed outlet using only surface tension. By trapping the urine – which contains a high number of nutrients – the device allows the liquid to be repurposed into a  fertiliser called Aurin.

"urine trap", created by EOOS Design for Laufen

Image caption: “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design for Laufen

The installation of urine separation toilets into hotels, public areas and residential developments will lead to sustainable and energy-saving wastewater management, seamlessly integrating the circular economy by efficiently treating the collected wastewater, recovering and recycling the preserved nutrients.

Laufen is committed to contributing towards the development of innovative technologies to solve this urgent problem, developing new, sustainable solutions that will help save lives and improve sanitation conditions in developing countries.

Laufen is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Laufen

In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the factory with sustainable bed & mattress manufacturer Naturalmat

With its fascinating storyline stretching from luxury superyachts to international hotels, bed and mattress brand Naturalmat’s stamp of approval can be traced right back to the source, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he pays a visit to the brand’s HQ in Topsham, Devon…

The story behind the success of bed and mattress manufacturer Naturalmat, and its esteemed reputation for being a conscious brand, all started more than 20 years ago. The Tremlett family, boat builders at the time, were in their yard in Topsham, Devon, and realised that there was a void in the luxury marine industry.

Mark Tremlett and his father designed luxury superyachts for the super-rich, which were complete with high-end fittings and fixtures while flooded with innovative space-saving solutions. Each vessel that would come out of the yard was perfectly designed for its heavy pocketed owner.

And yet, the family realised that while the luxury marine industry had evolved into an exciting design-led arena, the pre-existing beds that were being specified within these floating abodes were not fit for purpose. “I saw that people were still sleeping on polyurethane foam mattresses underneath it all,” said Mark, who is the co-founder of Naturalmat, explained to Hotel Designs. “This is not a great material to use on a boat (or any bed) as it’s not breathable, leading to issues of damp and mould, and doesn’t give the most comfortable experience.” It was during this lightbulb moment when Naturalmat was born.

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Image caption: The Rosemoor Bed | Image credit: Naturalmat

Five interesting facts about Naturalmat

  • The company saves approximately 40,000 kw per year through its various eco initiatives
  • Naturalmat offers three 100 per cent natural fibre mattresses, and three natural fibre plus pocket spring mattresses
  • Naturalmat uses the husk of a coconut within its mattresses, which gives the user a fairly straight, robust fibre. But if you twist these very tightly and unravel them, they retain that curl which is then perfect to tease into a pad —in the absence of metal coils, it’s the natural ‘spring’ layer that provides the structure and bounce on each mattress
  • Naturalmat does not use fire retardant chemicals in any of its products
  • As of last year, Naturalmat done away with using plastic in packaging, and now the various packaging across the business is either from potato starch, corn starch, sugar cane, unbleached cotton, recycled kraft boxes, paper bags, or large, infinitely reusable mattress-sized duffle bags.

A few years after all but conquering the marine and nursery industry with locally and intuitively designed mattresses, in 2008 the company was approached by Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi, who had just launched a new hotel concept, YOTEL. Naturalmat soon landed its first major hotel project, when Woodroffe specified the brand for YOTEL New York. With smaller sized rooms, which the hotel brand refers to as cabins, the meaningful partnership was stitched together. It was this leap into the hospitality market that allowed the Devonshire-based family business to boom on the international hotel design scene.

Following the extensive project inside the 669-key lifestyle hotel, more relationships between the bed manufacturer and hotel brands such as Qbic, Six Senses Resorts, Z Hotels, Hoxton Hotels forged as Naturalmat’s unique and fully sustainable manufacturing process complimented brand, sustainability and quality standards.

A bedroom inside Hoxton Southwark

Image caption: Hoxton Hotels specifies Naturalmat mattreses | Image credit: Hoxton Hotels/Ennismore

Following the bed and mattress brand winning Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2019, I headed down south to understand how each mattress is made, by hand. But before we dive in, first let’s explore where the materials are sourced from. The organic lambswool, used to create comfortable products that are unmatched, comes from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. The company purchases direct from organic farmers, not just to ensure the highest quality but also to give the farmers a better return than taking the wool to market. As a result, the company is consciously supporting the local farming community.

Once the wool has been purchased, here is the step-by-step process behind each and every handmade Naturalmat mattress:

  • First the roll of wool and cotton herringbone ticking is cut to the size of the mattress that has been ordered.
  • The company’s precise sewing team then stitch the handles onto the edge panels, as well as the Naturalmat label onto the surface.
A women sewing a mattress

Image caption: Anne is one of Naturalmat’s precise sewing team | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • Downstairs in the mattress making section of the factory, a team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir (or a spring unit, if being used), layering with natural latex, mohair, cashmere, or whatever else the ‘mattress recipe’ calls for.
Two men in the factory designing and making Naturalmat mattresses

Image caption: A team of two layer the mattress ‘sandwich’ starting with coir | Image credit: Naturalmat

  • When this stage is complete, each mattress and topper that is manufactured gets a top layer of organic lambswool, and the covers are loosely stretched out onto either side. The side panel is then rolled around the edges and loosely pinned.
  • This ‘sandwich’ is then moved to a large table where the brand’s expert upholsterer (who’s been making mattresses for more than 20 years) runs a clever tape-edging machine around it, which seals the mattress sandwich with the brand’s signature grey wool and cotton piping. The mattress is then flipped (bit tricky for Emperor-sized units), then the team tape-edge the other side.
  • Once the ‘sandwich’ is sealed, it’s moved across to a jig which props it up on its side, allowing the team to tuft all the buttons through the mattress. The tufting is what keeps all the natural fibres in place, as well as offers that bit of ‘puff’ for comfort.
  • The finished mattress is then slid into one of the company’s large, recyclable, sugar-cane derived packaging bags, sealed, then loaded onto a Naturalmat van ready for delivery.

What’s as impressive as the quality behind each product is the company’s passion around sustainability. From the very beginning, the company took a different approach to the rest of the trade. The factory, for example, that shelters this innovative manufacturing process is on its own an eco-friendly machine, complete with solar paneling that powers the building and the operations inside.

A blue bed in a modern room

Image credit: Naturalmat

From a materials perspective, Naturalmat could not understand why the majority of mattresses were made using man-made synthetic materials that were neither biodegradable nor from a sustainable source.

Most recently, the bed and mattress brand’s eco credentials caught the attention of Geetie Singh-Watson, a self-proclaimed warrior against greenwashing in hospitality, as she was designing The Bull Inn in Totnes. Singh-Watson was only interested in sourcing all products and services locally and researched each brand thoroughly before specifying each and every product within the eight-key pub/hotel.

A close up of a bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Naturalmat supplied the beds for The Bull Inn, Totnes credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

With the brand catching the attention of authentic independents and large chains – it is currently processing an order for the first urban Six Senses hotel, which will open in New York – the brand’s modern attitude matched with traditional ethos is going from strength to strength, and in turn is educating the hotel design and hospitality arena on the values of conscious design.

Naturalmat is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Naturalmat

Crosswater introduces range extension to Kai furniture

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crosswater introduces range extension to Kai furniture

A spacious and affordable storage solution for today’s bathrooms, Kai from Crosswater combines contemporary styling with everyday functionality, ensuring an affordable range of furniture units that will sit cohesively within interiors of all styles and sizes…

From refreshing and sleek grey palettes to modern monochrome colour combinations, the three understated finishes will complement and sit beautifully within a wide range of on-trend bathroom schemes.

With storage a key consideration in any bathroom, the Kai furniture range provide homeowners with the option to choose from single or double drawer styles, complete with a white gloss worktop or a fine fireclay basin tops for added appeal. The units are available in Grey Oak, White Gloss and Grey Gloss finishes and feature substantial storage with full extension and soft closing drawers ideal for hiding away toiletries and everyday bathroom essentials.

Perfect for both the cloakroom and main family bathroom, each piece will slot cohesively into a variety of interior design spaces. The designs can be paired with striking patterned surfaces and hints of greenery for a contemporary look  – or go for a minimalistic style by pairing the Kai furniture and toilet units to create a neutral colour palette throughout.

An exceptionally versatile range, Kai provides strikingly spacious furniture for bathrooms of all styles and sizes.  From 500mm to 1000mm units, each piece has been specially crafted to cater to the needs of every household – delivering the ultimate affordable bathroom experience.

Crosswater is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Crosswater

An image of a pool outside a villa

RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAKxa, a revolutionary wellness retreat in Bangkok, opens its doors

The new ‘integrative wellness and medical retreat, RAKxa, has opened its doors to guests in Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Set in Bangkok’s preserved ‘Green Lung’, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River, RAKxa is a 60-key retreat (27 villas are currently open), which shelters tailored wellness programmes designed by certified medical doctors.

An image of a pool outside a villa

These programmes combine advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality, resulting in a world-class medical destination.

A mix of traditional materials and crafts have been used in a contemporary styling to create a medical wellness retreat that has avoided the ‘spa’ look whilst ensuring the crisp, neutral tones are not associated with a hospital. Traditional materials include rattan, bamboo, reclaimed wood, earth-wear, ceramics, brass, jute, mulberry paper and water hyacinth. Light colours of teal and gentle greens are used throughout the premises to soothe and restore an element of calm. Showcasing the serene location next to the river, traditional river boats decorate the gym area as well as elements such as old balers used to decorate the walls.

RAKxa uses objects throughout the premises that may not traditionally be considered art, such as teapots, chairs and stools. These all have a sense of place and are considered as traditional Thai decor, based on the countries’ history. One area proudly displays 72 teapots along a shelving unit, all made from a local southern Thai pottery maker and each unique to one another. Using local artisans to create the rugs and woven wall decor, RAKxa exemplifies traditional Thai styling, creating the ultimate wellness retreat where Thai hospitality oozes through the design.

This ground-breaking enhanced wellness retreat is the first of its kind in Thailand and promises a fully transformative experience through personalised three-to-fourteen day programmes with long-term health goals in mind.

Main image credit: RAKxa

Image of sculpture of running cheetah

Design gone wild: Introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah by Marokka

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design gone wild: Introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah by Marokka

Geometric design brand Marokka takes a walk on the wild side by introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah to its contemporary collection of statement sculptures…

When you walk into a hotel lobby or hotel bedroom the senses become more heightened when there is an interesting sculpture, a stunning piece of wall art or a feature that provides a point of interest for guests.

Image of sculpture of running cheetah

Marokka knows all about making a lasting impression with its range of 3D animal-inspired sculptures that are showcased in bedrooms at a luxury four-star hotel in Port Lympne while the larger Gus the Gorilla sculpture resides outside in the Aspinall Safari Foundation Park near the hotel. The sculptures have caused a buzz amongst visitors and makes the experience to Port Lympne all the more memorable

In keeping with Marokka’s style to excite, engage and provide luxurious art forms that ‘wow’ for the hospitality industry and consumers alike, Marokka has recently unveiled its latest creation, Queen Ava the Cheetah. Ava is no ordinary Cheetah, she is a digital lenticular sculpture that unites the real world with the virtual and digital world.

When the Aspinall Foundation re-homed two hand reared cheetahs Saba and Nairo, Marokka wanted to celebrate this and give recognition to the elegance and prowess of this beautiful animal and as a result Ava the lenticular was born and she comes alive in full hunting mode as different movements are captured within the print.

Queen Ava has been designed in five distinct styles:

  • Wireframe Faceted Polygonal
  • Faceted Polygonal
  • Wireframe Vonoroi
  • Vonoroi
  • Faceted Vonoroi

Lenticulars are gaining popularity and have been seen in lobbies of 25 ‘W Hotels’ across the globe while retailers like Clinton Cards have seen a shift towards lenticular birthday cards and postcards amongst its consumers.

Also, as with all its sculptures, Marokka also raises awareness of the charities that care for animals and is proud to donate a percentage of sales for every digital sculpture of this endangered species sold to the Ashia Cheetah Conservation, A not-for-profit conservation project in Paarl, South Africa, dedicated to the survival of the cheetah by running a significant wilding & release program.

COMING SOON – Thanks to the popularity of Queen Ava the Cheetah Marokka will be adding to the range with Ava candles, charms and charm bracelets.

Marokka is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Marokka

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bvlgari Hotels to open debut property in the US

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has announced the agreement for a new hotel in Miami Beach, scheduled to open in 2024…

The luxury hotel brand, Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, is on a roll, following announced projects in Paris, to open in 2021, Moscow and Rome in 2022 and Tokyo in 2023.

Bvlgari render of Miani hotel

Its latest announcement to arrive in Miami will bring the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts Collection to eleven properties, including Milan, London, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Bali.

The new hotel in Miami will be located at 100 21st street in Miami Beach, and will mark Bvlgari Hotel’s debut in the United States. Waterfront located with beautiful beaches while being a short walk from the city’s most vibrant attractions and South Beach’s trendy Ocean Drive, the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach will offer stunning ocean views just a few steps from the exciting Miami Art Deco district.  

The building hosting the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach was originally designed as hotel by Miami architect Albert Anis in the late 1950’s, as part of the Miami Modern movement in Miami Beach; it is a contributing building located in the National Register Architectural District and was well known as a centre of events and parties for the Hollywood Crowd descending on Miami Beach for the winter.  

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

“We are particularly proud to have secured such an extraordinary location for the new Bvlgari Hotel in Miami Beach,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. “This will be our first property in the United States which is a key market for our Brand and we are delighted to add the vibrant and glamorous Miami Beach to our Collection. We are convinced that the Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach, to be opened in 2024, will represent an irresistible Roman Jeweler Hospitality, a unique ultra luxury experience in the American upscale hotel market.”

The design project, which will be curated , like all the other Bvlgari Hotels, by the Milanese architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, will contemplate around 100 rooms, most of them suites, and a full range of luxury facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, a large spa and fitness center, and a Bvlgari restaurant and bar both curated by Italian three Michelin-star chef Niko Romito. 

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

An artistic wallcovering behind blue armchair

Product watch: Moooi Tokyo Blue wallcoverings by Arte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Moooi Tokyo Blue wallcoverings by Arte

The distinct features and surroundings of the latest addition to the Museum of Extinct Animals, the Indigo Macaque, inspired a new collection within the Extinct Animals Wallcovering Collection; Moooi Tokyo Blue.

An artistic wallcovering behind blue armchair

Hotel Designs first wrote about Arte and Moooi’s wild collaboration in 2019. Launched at Deco Off in Paris, the Extinct Animals wallcoverings range was bold, fearless and the result of a unique collaboration with Arte and Moooi. Both leading brands launched the collection in order to celebrate nature’s diversity, stimulating to stretch the limits of imagination.

More than a year later and the collaboration between the two brands has authentically evolved, and with a deeper look into the somewhat unwritten world of extinct animals – this time geographically placing the research in Japan – a new strand of the collection was born.

The Moooi Tokyo Blue is made up of five extraordinary wallcoverings of divergent techniques, such as denim and marquetry. Five different designs with Japan’s beautiful and versatile nature and ancient culture as common denominator.

These wallcoverings are:

  • Indigo Macaque – Textile wallcovering made from denim, with coloured embroidery. The design on the Indigo Macaque wallcovering displays a playful scene of Indigo Macaque families bathing in their favourite relaxing spot: the hot springs at the foot of the Japanese mountains.
  • Shoji Blossom – Symbolic cherry blossoms and straight lines resembling the minimalistic feel of Japanese Shoji screens. Opposed to the stark contrast of pink hues on translucent Washi paper, this monotone 3D wallcovering made from denim or felted wool radiates tranquility.
  • Tie-Tami – Treat your eyes to the rich and versatile colours of spectacular sunset. This jute and raffia wallcovering, honouring the ancient Japanese flooring solution of woven tatami-mats, pictures abstract clouds that slowly drift by while the day gives way to night.
  • Lucky O’s – Overlapping O’s, created of wood veneer marquetry inlay, resemble the rolling waves of the ocean. The unique wallcovering’s ancient Seigaiha pattern symbolising waves of water represents good luck, power, and resilience.
  • Rendezvous Tokyo Blue – Printed on a soft and velvety finish fabric with denim textures, this lively wallcovering depicts a lush forest brimming with life and movement. Upon closer inspection, Indigo Macaques dressed in traditional kimonos can be discovered between the abundance of exotic flowers.

Arte is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Arte

Product watch: Heathfied & Co’s Pearl Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Heathfied & Co’s Pearl Collection

Inspired by the iconic and classic symbolism of pearls featured throughout fashion, beauty and film over the years, Heathfield & Co’s Pearl Collection reflects the rare beauty of this unique gemstone…

Whilst each piece holds its own distinctive influence, opal glass spheres and hemispheres are characteristic throughout, each providing a soft ambient glow. Curved brass metalwork, subtly reflective surfaces and asymmetric configurations are combined to provide a cohesive visual identity.

Referencing a pearls timeless and traditional nature, these innovative designs carefully reinterpret the original aesthetic to create a simple, yet elegant range of contemporary lighting.

Perfectly petite, our Halo table lamp (left) demonstrates a contemporary design highlighted with classic styling. The subtly tapered alabaster cone creates a soft aesthetic, set off against polished brass metalwork and a defined opal glass globe, which provides an ambient glow.

Drawing inspiration from classic jewellery design, the vertical body of the brand’s Vermeer pendant (right) creates an elegant aesthetic in any interior. The piece features four opal glass spheres, asymmetrically positioned around its minimal form.

Audrey Pendant in the Pearl Collection | Image credit Heathfield & Co

Image caption: Audrey Pendant in the Pearl Collection | Image credit Heathfield & Co

Heathfield & Co 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.

Main image caption: Gabriella Pendant in the Pearl Collection | Image credit Heathfield & Co

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How a rise in wellness & wellbeing is inspiring new evolutions in the bathroom

In light of recent events, people are increasingly open to the idea of ‘self-care’ and grasp the importance of wellness and with this bathrooms have become our modern sanctuaries. Bathroom brand Laufen explains…

Image of Sonar bath from Laufen

We now have the technology and products easily available to be able to cleanse, pamper, soak and relax.

Smart technology has become part of our everyday lives and the bathroom is no exception, with technological features coming into play. Shower toilets are an evolving market worldwide and we are seeing an increasing demand within the sector for innovative solutions.

Impressing with a compact design and simple functions, Laufen’s Cleanet Navia, designed exclusively by Peter Wirz, deliberately focusses on the core task of a shower toilet: washing without compromising on hygiene. Providing 3.5 litres of fresh water per minute in a high volume shower jet, allows for ultimate comfort whilst leaving users feeling thoroughly clean.  The WC can be easily operated with the intelligent and convenient rotary button on the side or via a smartphone app. With ergonomic controls and an intuitive design this is perfect for hospitality settings.

Navia toilet by Laufen

Image credit: Laufen

Freestanding baths are the epitome of  luxurious spa-inspired bathrooms. As well as creating an impressive focal point, freestanding baths add opulence and luxury into any bathroom space. A great example of this can be seen in Laufen’s designer collection Sonar. Now more than ever, we need a place to escape and the freestanding Sonar bath enables true relaxation. With a  lavish backrest and a compact bath tray, perfect for all your essentials, Laufen offers the ultimate comfort in bathing.

Laufen’s Marbond is also a great example of innovative use of material. Marbond is a unique material, consisting of two layers, which are firmly bonded to one another and refined with a high-quality gel coat surface finish. The result is a fine surface texture which has a pleasant and warm natural touch, excellent for spa-like environments.

Shower Tray - Marbond

Image credit: Laufen

Laufen has recently used this revolutionary material for the new Laufen Pro Marbond shower trays. Available in over 30 standard sizes, the shower trays are durable, hygienic, easy to clean and have the added benefit of anti-slip. Marbond is also customisable, making it ideal for wetrooms and custom bathroom spaces.

Laufen is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Laufen

 

Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meliá Hotels International to open fourth hotel in Milan

The 70-key five-star hotel, which will be sheltered inside one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, will become Meliá Hotels International’s fourth property in Milan when it opens in 2023…

Following the reopening of ME Dubai this week, Meliá Hotels International and Generali Real Estate have announced that they will be partnering together in a unique project in Milan: a new Gran Meliá hotel opening in the city centre in 2023. 

Significant buildings in the portfolio of Generali Real Estate in Europe (photo gallery updated at May 2020)

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The five-star hotel will be the result of the complete refurbishment and restoration of the historic Palazzo Venezia, one of the most recognisable buildings in Piazza Cordusio, just a few metres from Piazza del Duomo in the centre of Milan. The building owns its name to Generali’s Venetian roots: it was designed in the late XIX century by architect Luca Beltrami, built by the Generali Group as its headquarters in Milan, and hosted the Generali offices until the move of the Generali Tower in CityLife.

A render of a contemporary lobby

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

The transformation of the building into a luxury hotel will be the perfect transition owing to its monumental architecture and innate elegance, coupled with state-of-the-art, world-class hospitality. After the renovation, the building will comply with the criteria required to obtain the LEED Gold certification, an international sustainability recognition that is particularly remarkable in the case of a historical building. Furthermore, as a hotel, the building will be accessible to the public for the first time in its history.

“Italy is one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations and it is a privilege for us to offer iconic hotels such as the Gran Meliá in Milan, which bring even greater recognition to our brands”, commented Gabriel Escarrer, Vice President and CEO of the hotel company, who also assures that “thanks to our efforts to raise the quality of our portfolio, we will be in the best possible condition to face the recovery and once again attract demand in the most competitive destinations in the world.” 

A render of a modern and contemporary bar/lounge within the hotel

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

Thanks to its unique location, the new Gran Meliá hotel will set a new benchmark for luxury travel, providing the perfect base from which to explore Milan for leisure and business travellers alike. It is ideally situated to discover the city of fashion and design, the artistic and cultural monuments, whilst also being within easy access of the business and financial hubs. 

After an extensive renovation, the building – property of a fund managed by Generali Real Estate SGR – will preserve its majestic historical façade and will house 70 luxurious rooms designed to offer guests the most unforgettable stay. True to any Gran Melia experience, the hotel will offer unparalleled food and drink experiences, offering gourmet travellers a selection of the finest Italian and international cuisine. The building will also feature a rooftop bar and terrace, offering breath-taking 360° views of the city from a unique viewpoint, under the characteristic dome.  

“With this important investment, we confirm our confidence in the strength of Milan and its come-back among the most important business and travel destination, after the pandemic crisis”, commented Aldo Mazzocco, CEO of Generali Real Estate. “As a long-term investor, we selected a world-class and forward-looking partner such as Melia, which shares with us a ‘Mediterranean’ root and style, to both preserve and transform one of our most iconic buildings into a high-end hotel”.

Another of the brand’s hallmarks is its variety of “exceptional experiences”, a unique collection of experiences to help guests discover and enjoy the destination and designed for travellers who wish to explore the true essence of the city.  

This hotel will be a new addition to the exclusive Gran Meliá family, an exceptional collection of premium hotels located in the most desired destinations in the world and defined by elegance in every detail and rooted in Spanish style. The brand exudes sophistication and aesthetic refinement, values that fit naturally with the Milan ambience. 

The addition of the Gran Meliá hotel in Milan is a further example of Meliá Hotels International’s commitment to growth in Italy, and in particular, in Milan, where it already operates hotels under three of its brands: Meliá Milano, ME Milano Il Duca and INNSIDE Milano Torre Galfa. In addition, the company also has hotels in Rome and Genoa. 

Main image credit: Meliá Hotels International

image of Crow Wood Hotel & Spa resort

Case study: creating timeless touchpoints inside Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: creating timeless touchpoints inside Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort

Hamilton Litestat’s Hartland CFX evokes timeless sophistication at every touchpoint in the newly built Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Resort…

Set in 40 acres of stunning private park land in Burnley,Lancashire, sits the recently opened Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Report.

image of Crow Wood Hotel & Spa resort

Its 76 luxury guestrooms and suites have been created with the utmost care and attention-to-detail to provide a stylish retreat and place of relaxation.The resort offers spectacular views of Pendle Hill and the surrounding countryside, as well as the hotel’s beautiful ornamental lake and fabulous gardens.

The Brief

During the construction of the Crow Wood Hotel & Spa Report, building contractor Walsh Integrated Building Services sought a trusted supplier to provide durable wiring accessories with a high quality, designer finish. Electrical wholesaler LED Electrical Nelson, based in Nelson, Lancashire, recommended Hamilton Litestat’s products for installation throughout the bedrooms and bathrooms in its 70 guestrooms, along with the bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas in its six guest suites.

The solution

Hamilton worked closely with LED Electrical Nelson and Walsh Integrated Building Services to find designer decorative wiring accessories suited to the aesthetic and functionality requirements of the modern and effortlessly stylish guestrooms and suites. Aiming for an elegant and timeless look, Hamilton’s sleek Hartland CFX design was chosen for all applications throughout the guest areas, ensuring design continuity. It was selected in a sophisticated satin steel finish with satin steel switches and black inserts, which complement the finish of the bespoke accent light fittings selected for the rooms.

Bedroom inside Crow Wood Hotel

Image credit: Crow Wood Hotel & Resort

In each of the 70 guestrooms, three plates with differing functionalities were located on each side of the bed: a switched double socket for easy charging of devices; a single one-gang switch plate to control the bedside reading light, and a single two-gang switch plate to control both lighting located above the bed and the main room light. Further wiring accessories were selected for installation at each desk/vanity area in the guestrooms. A two-Gang 13A Switched Socket with both 2.1A and 1A USB charging outlets allow guests to easily use devices and work at the desk if needed. A 5A lighting point was also installed within the seating area to ensure the space is well lit.

Suite inside Crow Wood Hotel

Image credit: Crow Wood Hotel & Resort

For installation in the six suites, Hamilton provided additional charging points and lighting control functionality. At the side of each bed, the switched double socket has been upgraded to include dual 2.1A and 1A USB outlets for additional charging options. The bedside two-gang switch is replaced with retractive switches that deliver dimming capability, allowing guests to alter the light intensity depending on their requirements or preferred ambience. All guestrooms and suites have a dual 2.1A and 1A USB switched socket located at the desk/vanity area, while the suites also have a four-gang grid plate positioned here to control the lighting for the lobby, seated area and bed area. In the seated area, two additional 5A unswitched sockets support the power requirements for lamps positioned either side of the suite’s TV monitor. Throughout all bathrooms, a single grid plate with 20A cable outlet is installed for the heated towel rail.

Final Master Bathroom inside Crow Wood Hotel & Resort

Image credit: Crow Wood Hotel & Resort

The result

Hamilton’s Hartland CFX solutions provide functional yet sleek, stylish and sophisticated wiring accessories that complement the overall architecture and interior design of the resort. Guests lighting and charging requirements are provided for with elegant simplicity. Darren Worgan, Senior Contracts Manager at Walsh Integrated Building Services, selected the products and says: “Hamilton’s wiring accessories provided the perfect finishing touch and continue the high-quality and sophisticated look and feel delivered by the room overall. Guests visiting the resort come for a luxurious experience, and they will get that at every point in their stay –the greatest attention to detail has been paid to all elements of the build, and Hamilton’s wiring accessories illustrate this.”

Mark Kitchen, Business Development Manager at LED Electrical Nelson, added: “Hamilton is a dependable brand that I’ve worked with on many projects, offering excellent quality for a great price. On this development, as with previous projects, we also benefited from Hamilton’s Bristol-based manufacturing, which ensured swift delivery of products and meant we were able to meet tight installation deadlines.”

Andrew Brown, Managing Director, at Crow Wood Leisure, says: “We’ve received fantastic feedback from guests about their experiences staying at the resort since we opened in October 2019. The functionality, finish and placement of the wiring accessories delivers exactly what our guests need and expect of a luxury resort like the Crow Wood Hotel.

Hamilton Litestat is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A modern bed with black lighting

Hypnos launches carbon neutral eco-packaging solution

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos launches carbon neutral eco-packaging solution

Sustainable bed manufacturer Hypnos has pioneered a ground-breaking carbon neutral packaging that could help with carbon reduction efforts across the bed and furniture industry…

A modern bed with black lighting

After 18 months of intensive research and development, Hypnos has successfully developed another industry first by creating a new recyclable, eco-friendly packaging solution which will be used for their beds and mattresses across both its retail and contract factories. It comes as part of major efforts by the cutting-edge manufacturer to design its packaging from sustainable and renewable sources and eliminate the use of harmful, fossil-based products.

At the heart of the packaging is sugar cane, a renewable and carbon dioxide depleting resource. Sugar cane ethanol is combined with recycled plastic which has a carbon footprint that can be up to four times lower than that of normal plastic, helping those who use it to massively reduce their carbon footprint. The use of ethanol, a bi-product of sugar cane production and recycled plastics that form a green polyethylene (a more environmentally-friendly form of plastic), means the creation is carbon neutral and 100 per cent recyclable as well. Furthermore it’s incredibly durable and has superior technical properties to normal polythene, performing better on puncture tests.

Hypnos led the challenge by working in partnership with a specialist green polyethylene manufacturer to create the cutting-edge solution which could be a sustainability game changer across the entire bed and furniture industry. Indeed, Hypnos made the decision not to patent or trademark this revolutionary packaging for themselves. Instead the brand wants to share their innovation globally and are calling on industries around the world to ditch single use polythene and make the transition to this 100 per cent recyclable product.

“New government legislation requires that all businesses use plastic packaging that contains at least 30 per cent recycled plastic by 2022 or they will face a new Plastic Packaging Tax.”

Richard Naylor, Sustainability Director at Hypnos, comments: “We’re extremely proud of our sustainability credentials and it’s Hypnos’ commitment to creating ethical solutions which benefit the environment that has allowed us to invest in this revolutionary green polythene. We’ve been working hard to develop this innovation and continue to look at new ways we can make better sustainable solutions and choices, not just for Hypnos, but for the bed and furniture industry as a whole.

“We believe in fostering environmental responsibility wherever we can which is why we are keen to share this technology with other industries. Most bed manufacturers use plastic to protect their beds and products. If all the mattress manufacturers in the UK switched to eco polythene instead, it would save a staggering 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, so just imagine what could be achieved if bed and furniture manufacturers world-wide made this change!

“We are now calling on all bed and furniture manufacturers to change from fossil-based polythene, which can take thousands of years to decompose. Instead, we’re asking them to make the transition to this product to reduce our combined carbon footprints and help care for the planet. We’re happy to set up meetings and put them in touch with our specialist manufacturer so that they too can start to benefit from this pioneering sustainable, carbon neutral solution.” 

New government legislation requires that all businesses use plastic packaging that contains at least 30 per cent recycled plastic by 2022 or they will face a new Plastic Packaging Tax. With a ratio of 65 per cent renewable sugarcane to 35 per cent recycled plastics, the new eco polythene by Hypnos will take even more plastic out of landfill and incineration, stimulating increased demand for recycled plastics that can be turned into further reusable and sustainable materials. 

Hypnos has been trialling their green packaging on selected mattresses and beds for several months and from November has been rolling it out across its entire range. An essential part of the process is the removal and return of the packaging by Hypnos’ delivery partners as this allows it to be returned and recycled in perpetuity. As a result Hypnos is taking back its new packaging from retailers and hospitality partners wherever possible so that it can once again be recycled.

This latest development is another milestone in Hypnos’s successful sustainability agenda. From the use of renewable and traceable natural resources to carbon offsetting programmes, they were the first bed maker in the world to become carbon neutral, and have been continuously carbon neutral for a decade. In addition they have also been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development this year.

Furthermore, Hypnos’ beds and mattresses have been made from natural and sustainable materials, with no chemical-based foams and have been completely recyclable, ensuring they never need to go to landfill, for over a decade. And now, even the protective packaging its beds come in is entirely recyclable and carbon neutral too.

Hypnos is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hypnos

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

Following two successful events, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on February 23, 2021, with a global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, reveals all…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

It all started in June 2020. The temperatures in the UK soared to record-breaking highs, which helped the industry awaken from its forced hibernation with passion, energy and optimism. At the time, we were going live to our global audience for the very first time with the aim to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a successful debut, Hotel Designs LIVE returned in October 2020 with a new production crew, a fresh panel of speakers and a slightly different tone. UK hospitality was slowly being patched up; hoteliers were polishing off their post-war opening strategies that would reassure the post-corona consumer and the focus for designers  and archtiects was around adding personality to eliminate hotels looking and feeling like sterile shells in a post-pandemic arena.

Since then, though, a second lockdown and a carefully monitored government-led tiered system has left yet more dents on UK hospitality, with other destinations around the globe suffering from similar restrictions; hotels were forced to close or at least part-close once more and the industry felt the sting of the pandemic’s tail with more distressed assets were being announced. Meanwhile, the editorial desk at Hotel Designs exposed the desperate methods that some designers are using in order to win business in turbulent times.

So, with discussions and debates far from over on how the pandemic will impact the global hotel design and hospitality landscape, Hotel Designs LIVE is back with purpose! While the industry is still somewhat socially distanced, the first of three scheduled Hotel Designs LIVE events to take place in 2021 will further amplify conversations unlike any other with the help of what might possibly be the brand’s most renowned speakership line-up to date.

Here are our confirmed speakers (so far) for the event, as well as the topics that we will explore:

Secure your place in the audience for the editor’s welcome.

Secure your place in the audience for session 1: Floor 20, Room 31 – Checking in 10 years from now.

Secure your place in the audience for session 2: Sustainability, beneath the surface.

Secure your place in the audience for session 3: Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design

Secure your place in the audience for session 4: A new era of wellness in hotel design.

“With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

“While the industry’s Covid-19 restrictions continue to change lanes, Hotel Designs LIVE will continue to quickly adapt so that we can serve the design, architecture and hospitality industry with purpose,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host Hotel Designs LIVE for a third time in February. “With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.”

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here. If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
cititzenM to land in Olympia London in 2023

The fifth citizenM hotel in London will be in the regenerated Olympia London exhibition centre, a £1.3bn mixed development in cooperation with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International; featuring a state-of-the art live music venue and conference centres set to open in 2023…

Render of what London Olympia will look like in 2023

citizenM London Olympia will be the brand’s fifth hotel in London, featuring, for the first time, a listed living area: the historic Apex room. The 145-key hotel will comprise the first floor with front-of-house and three guest room floors on top of the existing historic building. 

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in prime urban centres. This latest addition will be part of a major £1.3bn Olympia London redevelopment project, led by Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, that will create a new cultural hub in West London. The new neighbourhood will include a four-screen arthouse cinema, 80,000 sq ft performing arts space, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the redevelopment of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created. 

“We’re taking a strategic approach to expansion in London,” commented Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels. “Despite the current challenges in both the hotel and conference industries, we are confident in the positive future outlook for citizenM, and therefore Olympia London fitted the brief perfectly. We believe our offer of affordable luxury accommodation will appeal to visitors of the conference centre, as well as the theatre and music venues, and confirms our commitment to expand in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “Having citizenM as an anchor operator is a huge positive for the Olympia project. They are an ideal partner to have on board as we continue our work to transform this area into a destination for culture and creativity and today marks a major milestone towards the realisation of a new vision for Olympia London.”

The hotel interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guest rooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads. Since June, citizenM is also offering contactless stays powered by its new award-winning app.

citizenM London Olympia will be located at Hammersmith Road and will be the fifth standpost of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Shoreditch (2016), Tower of London (2016) and Victoria Station (2022). citizenM was advised by CMS during the drafting process of the agreement and closing of the transaction.

Since you’re here, why not read about the arrival of citizenM in USA’s west coast?

Main image credit:wearenarritiv

A trio of modern maroon dining chairs from Morgan

Morgan expands Rakino Collection designed by Tim Rundle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morgan expands Rakino Collection designed by Tim Rundle

Morgan, contract furniture designer and manufacturer, announces the launch of two dining chairs to the Rakino Collection, a series of lounge chairs and tables, designed by Tim Rundle…

A trio of modern maroon dining chairs from Morgan

Juxtaposing soft sculpted upholstery with a strong, low line frame, the new dining chairs in the Rakino Collection by Morgan feature crisp timber detailing, emphasised by a clean linear structure.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Tim, who brings an international perspective to Rakino,” said Katerina Zachariades, Design Director at Morgan. “We have enjoyed developing this chair and refining our production methods to achieve the light, simple structure that defines it.”

A close up of the maroon dining chair from Morgan

Image credit: Morgan

The original collection, which won Product of the Year at the 2019 FX Awards, was first unveiled at Clerkenwell Design Week. Rundle told Hotel Designs that the series of furniture items were inspired “in the best way”, following a trip to see the production. “In Hampshire I discovered a factory staffed by some serious experts in upholstery and timber joinery,” he said. “I really wanted to make the most of these capabilities, and maybe even push them a little to see what was possible. In terms of the chairs themselves I wanted to create something that felt quiet and inviting, that could feel right in your home, while obviously being appropriate for hard working contract environments.”

Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ Q&A with furniture designer Tim Rundle?

Morgan is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Morgan

Product watch: sanitiser dispenser from KEUCO

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: sanitiser dispenser from KEUCO

With hygiene hot on the agenda, bathrooms solution brand KEUCO has launched a stylish way to keep hands sanitised…

Where the design of functional accessories is concerned KEUCO has set a new standard with its sanitiser dispensers.

They have a number of new models; each one is suitable for different areas and locations depending on the environment and form of application required. All of the new dispensers combine design with functionality to meet hygiene requirements, whilst incorporating KEUCO’s own sense of style; creating a distinguished design with state-of-the-art hygiene properties.

Stable, high quality and always ready to use

Design object or functional accessories? In today’s COVID climate sanitiser dispensers have become a must for every property. KEUCO’S dispenser with its straightforward, linear design language originates from the pen of the design office Tesseraux + Partner, Potsdam. These simple elegant styles with technical features that have been almost invisibly integrated in the design are typical for KEUCO. These dispensers make a stylish addition in an entrance or waiting area, in fact any location where people gather.

The dispenser’s extraordinary appearance is a combination of high quality workmanship and the best materials all combined within a strong design. They are easy to operate: just press the big buzzer to dispense the sanitiser. The storage container is discreetly hidden inside the column and can be easily refilled with a liquid or gel sanitiser of your choice.

Variety in design

KEUCO sanitiser dispensers offer a wide variety of different colours and colour-combinations including plain coloured, multi-coloured, black and white or elegant metallics and for multi-site requirements we can even bespoke with own brand identity. From subtle to eye-catching – this collection provides the perfect solution for every room.

There is the correct niche for every dispenser – whether in a public building, office, boutique or hotel.

KEUCO makes a practical design statement in the entrance area

Slim, free-standing and stable; the sanitiser dispenser variant with shiny chrome head provides an elegant finishing touch whilst ensuring ease of use. The chrome top is simple to remove, just pull upwards and the supply bottle is revealed ready to be refilled. The large base plate ensures stability and catches stray drops of sanitiser during use.

KEUCO is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: KEUCO

Image of luxury tents next to pond

The real definition of ‘glamping’ in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The real definition of ‘glamping’ in hotel design

To complete our editorial series with Exclusive Tents, we ask Paul Zway, the brand’s founder, to push the preconceptions to one side and tell us what glamping really looks like on the international hotel design scene…

Image of luxury tents next to pond

The word glamping is a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping”. It was first used in the United Kingdom around 2005 and but only added to the Oxford dictionary more than a decade later.

Although the word is new, glamping in the true sense of the word has been documented for centuries and in most cases referred to a great variety of tents and canvas covered wagons. Historically it would have been more accurate to refer to the style of camping as luxurious or even opulent camping rather than glamorous camping.

Black and white image of tents

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

Most of these tent constructs were constantly moved in the progression of wars or colonisation, and some designs are still used today by nomadic societies in regions such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa using a wide variety of materials including goat hair, wool felt and animal hides.

Tent frames and coverings varied greatly over the centuries from tusk, bone and stick frames with animal hide and/or vegetation coverings with cotton canvas emerging as the predominant and most practical covering whilst tent frames have also evolved to steel, turned wooden poles, bamboo and other newer more sophisticated materials.

Early tent dwelling with luxuries was evident from before the Roman era and featured prominently in Hannibal’s historic crossing of the Alps into Italy with his herd of legendary African elephants in the second of the three Punic Wars.

The Romans used tents extensively in their numerous military campaigns and occupation of other lands. During this era, tents for officers, people of status and dignitaries were mostly opulent, comfortable and luxuriously comfortable.

Perhaps the most impressive was the ottomans extensive use of tents to the extent that their encampments were so extensive that they could legitimately have been termed “tent cities”.

Through Medieval times (the Middle Ages) between the 5th and late 15th century tents in a variety of designs played a very similar roll during these turbulent times.

Native American tribes used their well-known and distinct conical tipis dating back to at least the 15th Century.

The Mongolians were famous for their yurts and it is said that Genghis Khan’s tent was so big and elaborate that is was setup upon a wheeled platform 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter and mounted on a huge wheeled cart pulled by 22 oxen.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s tents were masterpieces with 18th century tapestry and gilt embroidery and he himself through his various campaigns, spent a large portion of his active adult life living in tents.

Eskimos with their Igloo designs pre-dated the evolution of dome and bubble tents.

When participating in Hunting Safaris into India and Africa, royalty and their wealthy guests required luxuries including baths, comfortable furniture, fresh clothes and excellent food and alcohol. The British and French with their numerous wars and hunting parties gave rise to Campaign Furniture (also known as Bivouac furniture). Campaign furniture is both beautiful and compact in design, has a minimalistic footprint, is foldable, stackable and includes chest type items. Most of this furniture is made from wood, leather, and cane with brass trims. Campaign furniture with the additional refinement thereof over the years, often features in modern day glamping interiors.

In many historical traditions the tent interiors consisted of ornate carpets/rugs and pillows with colourful gilt drapery on the inside with no hard furniture except perhaps for low tables.

Modern day glamping as we now know it started in Africa around the mid 1950’s but tents were relatively small and modest with a cot, “pee pottie” (under the bed), clothes locker, metal washstand, simple folding table and chairs, and kerosene lamps. Toilets, showers and the kitchen/dining areas were mostly shared common facility areas within the camp.

Image of safari luggage and tools

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

In the 70’s and 80’s glamping took on a more serious role when tent designs became somewhat more creative and quality improved with new canvas fabrics that were more durable and 100 per cent waterproof. Even though still rustic, interiors became more comfortable creating a “cosier” atmosphere for the guests. Many of these were hunting camps and safari lodges where the tents included ensuite bathrooms that catered directly to the wealthier guests. Today glamping destinations whether large or boutique, can be found in virtually every country in the world and is affordable for many according to the degree of luxury, cuisine, experience and service.

To be true to the name, modern glamping is primarily in tents though domes, canvas covered wagons also fit the bill. However, there are also many other structures such as wooden pods/cabins, metal cubes, shipping containers, cabins, tree houses and pods – to name but a few – which are emerging at a rapid pace and being integrated into the glamping market.

Image of interiors of a luxury tent on safari site

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

Exclusive Tents has consciously chosen to stay true to its passion for tents and tent dwelling with our focus purely on luxury tented structures. We strive to remain masters of our domain rather than become a jack of all trades, with the clear objective of constantly improving and innovating on design, quality, elegance, craftsmanship, style and functionality.

Glamping has and will continue to evolve, particularly since Covid-19 which saw so many people locked down for extended periods of time and with so many restrictions placed on travel, in particular international travel. People are more inclined to visit local open air and natural settings to find a way to relax and feel safe with family and/or friends, seeking space, luxury and privacy in an experiential fashion – this is exactly what glamping is all about. The hospitality industry is having to evolve and adapt to meet the challenge of a post pandemic world. Wellness, wellbeing, health, nutrition, space, nature, peace of mind, and disconnection in some instances, are becoming central to this evolution.

In practical terms, there is very little that one cannot do with a tent that one can do with a conventional structure – when you know how.

Wood or aluminium framed windows and doors can be easily installed into a tent with relatively little effort though a lot of people remain nostalgic for the traditional zip-up roll-up openings.

These ‘exclusive tents’ are truly multi-functional and, as well as providing accommodation, they can be used for many other purposes and applications, they can and are also used as permanent homes.

Exclusive Tents considers multiple aspects of tent ownership and use, for example having recently developed an artistic and elegant rainwater harvesting system whereby rainwater can be stored in tanks under the tent platform or underground.

Lightning is also an issue in some places and a lightning deflection system is another unique feature that can be installed into an Exclusive Tent if required.

Certain installations will require a fire dousing sprinkler system to be incorporated into a tent, this is yet another challenge that Exclusive Tents has met and resolved.

Insulation is an increasingly important consideration in hot and cold climates, especially where a HVAC system or wood burning stove is required. Exclusive Tents has a variety of insulation options available for the canvas tent roof and walls. The insulation acts not only a thermal barrier, but also an acoustic barrier which is also an important consideration when it comes to glamping. Fireplaces or wood burning stoves commonly feature in tents: Not only to create an ambiance but to also to heat the tents during the winter months or for year-round use in high elevation locations.

Modern fireplaces are clean and very elegant and allow for installation freedom within the tent, with extraction through the floor and out from under the tent platform.

The tents are built to be functional all year round even in extreme hot (50C+) or cold (-35C) conditions.

Exclusive Tents have transitioned their tents to an extremely robust roof frame which has been engineered to resist winds up to a safe speed of 180 k/mph (without steel cable bracing lines), yet retaining the elegant roof lines and aesthetics for which they are renown. This engineering zeal accommodates high internal weight loads (lights/fans/pendants) and external loads for snow, hail, and wind.

Exclusive Tents already offer a high-end portfolio of Exclusive Campaign furniture, and will soon be manufacturing their Exclusive collections of Safari, Island, and Rustic furniture.

Whilst Exclusive Tents crafts tents designed for extreme weather conditions, they are also designed to be able to be dismantled rapidly, for example should the tents find themselves in the path of a catastrophic storm.

With this evolutionary expansion taking place in the glamping industry, it is critical to maintain privacy and enhance the connection between the living space and the natural environment. Thoughtful design, master planning, landscaping, and integration of the tent (together with its platform), will capitalise upon the full potential of good quality tents – offering an idyllic experience that seamlessly combines exquisite comfort with an unequalled connection to the natural world.

Exclusive Tents are resolutely eco-friendly, with a minimal footprint in complete alignment with the guardianship / kaitiakitanga of the environment. The direct connection between tented living space and the outside, with its closeness to nature, creates the opportunity for guests to embrace the inclusivity of mental and physical well-being. The tent is in essence a “living” structure as it ebbs and flows with nature. Spending time in a tent is experientially unique, and can offer guests the opportunity to connect with their primordial selves.

Glamping has come a long way and it most certainly presents the greatest opportunities for hospitality in this post-pandemic world.

Exclusive Tents International is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Exclusive Tents

ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ME Dubai re-emerges with award-winning architecture status

The striking ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside Zaha Hadid Archtiects’ latest award-winning building, has reopened its doors as hospitality in the Middle East enters into a cautious era… 

ME Dubai inside The Opus by Omniyat, which considered an architectural masterpiece and was a winner at The Brit List Awards 2020, has reopened its contemporary doors. Home to world- class cultural programming, innovative culinary experiences and breath-taking design by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), the hotel is the latest addition to Dubai’s iconic skyline located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa district.

Known as the late Zaha Hadid’s legacy project, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by ZHA, and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials, epitomises Hadid’s unique design style.

Exterior of The Opus

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

The hotel boasts 74 guestrooms and 19 suites, including the Passion Suite, Personality Suite, the Vibe Room and the ultra-luxurious ‘ME Suite’. All rooms are split into two themes: Midnight and Desert. Midnight rooms reflect the dynamic night skies of the Dubai skyline, whilst the Desert theme pays homage to the serene environment and soft hues of the UAE landscape.

View from inside ME Dubai overlooking Dubai skyline

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Archtiects

“The reopening of ME Dubai marks a historic moment for The Opus Building project; a true legacy project for the firm,” said Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects. “We’re also extremely proud to present the exclusive Zaha Hadid Exhibition within the hotel; a project that we’ve worked closely with the hotel team on to showcase some never-before seen work by the late Zaha Hadid.”

Equally as impressive is the hotel’s wellness offering. Guests can take advantage of ME Dubai’s state-of-the- art gym, spanning 7,000 square feet and home to the region’s best fitness equipment and facilities, including the Middle East’s first ultramodern Technogym Biocircuit. Those keen to work up a sweat can then cool down with a refreshing dip in the hotel’s pool terrace. Wellness gurus can indulge at the hotel’s world- class spa, offering guests the ultimate refuge for relaxation and a variety of luxurious spa treatments for individuals or couples to unwind.

With properties located in cultural capitals around the world, ME by Meliá creates a unique link to the communities in which it operates. ME Dubai’s Culture Collective cultural programme acts as a platform for contemporary Middle Eastern culture, connecting music, art, design, fashion and gastronomy in curated events that bring the creative scene of the city into the hotel, tapping into the latest trends whilst shaping the local cultural landscape. Guests can look forward to insider advice on the best places to experience the most diverse cultural happenings in the vibrant city of Dubai.

Since you’re here, why not read about The Morpheus (another ZHA groundbreaking project)…

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Image of stand with contemporary furniture

BREAKING: Salone del Mobile.Milano delayed until September 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Salone del Mobile.Milano delayed until September 2021

The show has released a statement announcing that the sixtieth edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held in 2021, not in April as is traditional, but from September 5 – 10…

Image of stand with contemporary furniture

Following lengthy and wide-ranging discussions between the management of the Salone del Mobile and Fiera Milano, the 2021 edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano will now take place in September.

President of the Salone del Mobile, Claudio Luti, had this to say: “Being able to hold the Salone next year is an absolute priority for all those of us whose lives revolve around design. We have tried very hard over the last few weeks not to make proclamations or announcements that might subsequently have to be denied or revised in view of the evolving situation. Moving the dates of the Salone del Mobile is not just a matter of rejigging the calendar, it also has to consider the many days needed to set up and dismantle the various pavilions, which in turn have to fit in with the demands of many other fairs held in the Fiera Milano spaces. Now that we have achieved the best possible all-round solution, thanks to the collaboration of Fiera Milano, we are in a position to confirm the new date.

“We also believe that moving the fair to September will leave enough time for the ongoing acute phase of the pandemic to subside and that this will provide a real chance to kickstart design at global level. We all need the Salone in Milan. Over the last few months, clients and designers from all over the world, and the press that follows us at international level, have been asking us constantly to confirm the dates for this edition. We’ll be there, and we’ll be even more attractive and more motivated, just as motivated as the companies working to design and manufacture the best possible products. After such a lengthy period of physical and social distancing in every sphere, we would like to be able to see the Salone as an opportunity for actual meeting and discussion, and a chance for us all to share our excitement with a city buzzing with new ideas.”

The 60th edition will bring together for the first time all the product categories, representing a special moment.

This is breaking news – more information to follow…

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile

Product watch: Skopos launches new tropical print

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Skopos launches new tropical print

Alongside its ever-expanding selection of flame-retardant print base-cloths, Skopos has recently launched a new tropical print design

The design, showcased on Sonno blackout velvet, is a recent addition to the portfolio. This stunning print is a taste of a brand-new collection, due to be launched in the new year, which also explores decorative woven products for drapery and bedding projects.

Available in 12 colourways, the Palmyra print delivers a relaxing and calm finishing touch to contract interiors in all settings. With a soft kitten touch and blackout lining, the Sonno quality is a popular choice to achieve blackout as a curtain in hotel bedrooms. 100 per cent polyester, with FR backcoating, Sonno is also washable at 30°C. Adding a touch of luxury, but aiding a good night’s sleep, Sonno provides something completely different.

Skopos also offer a full range of antimicrobial fabrics and antimicrobial print base cloths, for added assurance during these times. It has has almost 50 years’ experience of developing flame-retardant fabrics and soft furnishings for the contract market.

Skopos is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Skopos

Nature's Herringbone mock up

Siminetti to unveil a new collection in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Siminetti to unveil a new collection in 2021

Siminetti has announced the launch of its latest collection, created in collaboration with a renowned British designer who will be unveiled shortly. Here’s an exclusive sneak peek of the Seasons Collection, a series of 12 stunning designs inspired by nature…

Nature's Herringbone mock up

Consistent in its quest to create inspirational luxury surfaces, that are crafted with passion, viewed with awe and are kind to the planet on which we live, the collection transforms the tier of decorative surfaces, testing the boundaries of what is possible with nature’s most stunning material; Mother of Pearl.

Each design has undergone an exhaustive research & refinement process, where Siminetti’s leading industry knowledge of decorative surfaces gels harmoniously with their collaborators exemplary understanding of crafting beautiful surface deigns.

The collection can be broken down into the four seasons; spring, summer,autumn and winter. The creative process began with these seasons being dissected into their connotations and denotations to find the most alluring themes. This process also highlighted how the natural qualities of mother of pearl could harmoniously tie with a selection of the most stunning organic shapes and patterns found in nature. However, also highlighted how the systematic patterns of old could be elevated to harness more organic patterns and the craft challenges that would need to be solved.

Siminetti’s Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces are the next generation in Mother of Pearl surface finishes. Handcrafted by Siminetti’s team of artisans, the new collection of Decorative Surfaces capture the stunning natural beauty of Mother of Pearl in combination with stunning organic influences.

Today we can reveal some sneak peaks from the new collection. When it comes to aesthetics where better to take inspiration from than creation itself. Patterns are found all around us in the natural world. Distinctive markings reoccur, creating symmetries, stripes, swirls, bubbles, waves and many other shapes. Cycles, repetition and pattern give a sense of order and calm – they help to harmonise our understanding of the world around us.

Spring, the season of rejuvenation and renewal – Plant veins are brimming with life. The undivided blade of a leaf encompasses structural patterns creating ordered geometric impressions. Nature’s Herringbone (pictured in main image) picks up these irregularities and organises them into straight parallels.

Summer, the warmer half of the year conjures nostalgic notions of long carefree days and relaxation. The bright Summer sun casts warm shadows creating silhouettes of leaves and foliage. Eucalyptus preserves the contrast of light from this familiar mid-summer bloom.

Image credit: Siminetti

Autumn, synonymous with colour marks a season of change as Summer turns into Winter. Its papery silver and white bark gently flakes away from the fissured trunk of the familiar woodland tree. Silver Birch collates the elements that are newly exposed as the surface peels and breaks forming decorative motifs.

Silver Birch within the Seasons Collection from Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

Winter, The coldest of the seasons; days are shorter, and beautiful winter sunlight creates its very own individual, charming shapes and patterns in nature. Beautiful hexagonal patterns are often seen in frosty environments as freezing water turns to ice. These charming lucent shapes inspired the creation of ‘Crystal’ the first Winter Decorative surface pattern in the Seasons Collection.

Image credit: Siminetti

The seasons collection will be launching January 2021. Siminetti is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Siminetti

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek inside The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai

The opening of the 32-storey glass-facade building, which is being described as ‘a landmark of opulence’ in Dubai, will mark the Dorchester Collection’s entrance into the Middle East. Here’s a sneak peek inside the luxury address…

The Residences DC Duplex 28

Developed by OMNIYAT, which is one of the most recognised property developers in the Middle East, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai will be located in globally renowned Downtown Dubai, and will be sheltered inside an eye-catching, glass-facade building that has been designed by award-winning architecture firm Foster + Partners.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Exterior

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Boasting two spectacular interconnected towers – one housing the 10th iconic Dorchester Collection hotel and the other a residential tower – the property, which is said to be 60 per cent complete, perfectly captures the essence of chic metropolitan dwelling and offers patrons of luxury around the world an unequalled lifestyle experience.

The Residences Dorchester Collection Dubai Terrace

Image credit: Foster + Partners/Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

The 32-storey residential tower includes just 39 fully furnished residences, ranging from 3,900sqft to 10,100sqft, with two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Additionally, situated on the 30th, 31st and 32nd floor, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, offers six elegant four- and five-bedroom penthouses exclusively designed to create a private, high-quality and lavish lifestyle statement for the world’s luxury cognoscenti. Consisting of a staggering 17,700sqft with soaring ceilings and vast, uninterrupted views of the sea, each penthouse features its own swimming pool overlooking Dubai Canal and stunning Dubai cityscape.

The Residences DC Duplex 14

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

“At OMNIYAT we work with pioneers and leaders in their respective fields to provide audiences with a bespoke, luxury lifestyle, and The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, embodies this,” explained Mahdi Amjad, Founder and Executive Chairman of OMNIYAT. “We are delighted to be the first developer to collaborate with the legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection in launching the 10th iconic hotel and exclusive residences, therein bringing an unrivalled experience to Dubai.”

The Residences DC Duplex 46

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Managed by legendary hospitality brand Dorchester Collection, synonymous with quality and known for its unparalleled standards of service – with The Dorchester in London arguably being the flagship of the brand – this development will be setting the benchmark for the ultimate city lifestyle. An inimitable blend of design, landmark architecture and exceptional service in the heart of Dubai, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, is as unique as a fingerprint, set to meet the needs and expectations of connoisseurs of luxury around the world.

“We are immensely proud to partner with OMNIYAT, a pioneer renowned globally for its architectural landmarks,” said Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection. “Set to become a significant new beacon on the Dubai skyline, The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai, will offer one of the most exciting propositions seen in the Middle East, especially combined with our legendary award-winning service.”

> Since you’re here, why not watch our design tour of The Dorchester?

Bringing the interior design to life is the Parisian Duo Gilles & Boissier. Ensuring residents step into their very own sanctuary of sophistication, the interiors combine exquisite finishing, intricate detail and a sumptuous material palette with unique features such as floor to ceiling glass windows and doors, expansive terraces and bespoke furniture designed by Gilles & Boissier, offering a seamless turnkey experience for buyers.

A large masculine bedroom overlooking Dubai

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

At OMNIYAT, details make perfection, and in addition to a timeless and elegant interior design, residents get to enjoy a wide variety of the latest technology and utilities. With grandiose kitchens fully equipped with modern touches such as large fridge and wine cooler made by Sub-Zero, as well as cooking and cleaning appliances by Gaggenau, each residence is also fitted with instant filtered, sparkling and boiling water by Quooker and modern taps by THG Paris, custom designed by Gilles & Boissier.

Image credit: Dorchester Collection/OMNIYAT

Each apartment also features the latest collection of wide-screen televisions by Bang & Olufsen, audio systems fitted by Sonos, home automation system for easy living by Crestron and dressing rooms by Molteni Dada and Poliform.

Further adding to the overall living experience, residents will get to indulge in unrivalled amenities including swift access to sports thanks to the private gym and yoga studio, the expansive outdoor pool with a view of Dubai and a 200-metre wide untouched water frontage on the Dubai Water Canal.

Main image credit: OMNIYAT/Dorchester Collection

Atlas Concorde launches new colour palette for Prism Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Atlas Concorde launches new colour palette for Prism Collection

Hot off the heals of presenting a dynamic Product Watch at Hotel Designs LIVE, Atlas Concorde launches a new colour palette in the Prism Collection…

In interior design, colour is key. Just as sunlight splits into the colours of the rainbow when it goes through a prism, Atlas Concorde’s Prism collection transforms space with the magic of a 13-tone palette.

The original palette was specially selected by the Lissoni Associati studio led by Piero Lissoni, an exceptional colour consultant who described the design process in the following way. “We based the concept on the effect of light through a prism,” said Lissoni. “These colours are what we imagined would be the result of prism light transformed into a rainbow. We then worked on this refracted light to try to reproduce it on the tile surface, a palette modified to become domestic colours or architectural colours.”

The graphic effect inspired by the flowing beauty of hand-troweled resin, calibrated according to each size, defines the temperament of each tone with a soft texture, sinuous lines, and an authentic look. With Atlas Concorde’s Prism colour is the key to understanding the character of the environment, while the floors and walls become protagonists of the interior’s style, capable of taking any architectural project to the next level.

An aerial video of a red sofa

Image credit: Ceramiche/Atlas Concorde S.P.A

What atmospheres does Prism evoke? The metaphysical scenery of Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings immediately comes to mind, always evocative and exciting. The suggestion combines the “new decò” trend of contemporary architecture, opting for classic codes reinterpreted with an unprecedented freedom. While colour is the common thread, the sinuous graphics of the hand-troweled resin effect is the detail that reflects the personality of those who choose it and match its style.

“The explosion of colour that the Prism palette offers is accompanied by all the practical benefits of porcelain tiles.”

Atlas Concorde’s Prism collection combines the beauty of resin with the performance of porcelain tiles. The explosion of colour that the Prism palette offers is accompanied by all the practical benefits of porcelain tiles such as resistance to time, weight, and stains and ease of cleaning, installation, and maintenance. Prism is also available in the large 120×278 cm format, offers modularity of the floor and wall tiles, and can be ordered with a Silk finish – velvety to the touch and with a subtle gloss – providing additional design tools to shape spaces that express the taste and identity of those who live in them.

The colours range from warm, welcoming tones that can be combined with most wall tile shades to cool, contemporary tones that can be used with all the wall tile shades. The colours are designed to be matched in varying shades or broken up with accents like grape.

> Since you’re already here, why not read more about Atlas Concorde’s debut decor collection by Piero Lissoni?

Wall decorations 

GRADIENT  – 50 x 120cm decoration

Decoration made in a 50×120 cm format. The surface features soft nuances that recreate the strokes of a dry brush. 120×278 cm matching decoration.

BRUSH – 50 x 120cm decoration

Decoration made in a 50 x 120 cm format. A strong identity distinguishes the graphics with shaded brush strokes that add three-dimensionality to the decoration.

GOLD – 50 x 120cm decoration

Decoration made in a 50 x 120 cm format. The minimalist, simple graphics are enriched by the earthy effects of the delicate, contemporary geometric texture. The resin effect is thus expressed in an original manner with a precious appearance.

WIGGLE MOSAIC

For use only on walls. The mosaic features interlocking geometric shapes that create a strongly three-dimensional effect thanks to some tiles with a reflective surface. Available in different colour combinations.

BEAD MOSAIC

For use only on walls. Sinuous geometric shapes fit together to create a mosaic with a horizontal arch, simple but with lines that blend perfectly with the product’s graphics. Suitable for decorating rooms with an attractive but non-invasive pattern.

Q MOSAIC

For use only on walls, the mosaic consists of small square tiles with a slight shine.

ENIGMA DECORATION

The Enigma decoration creates a geometric pattern enriched by sparkling effects that complement most of the colours of the resin-effect surfaces of the Prism collection.

Atlas Concorde was a Product Watch Partner for Hotel Designs LIVE, which will return on February 23, 2021.

Main image credit: Ceramiche/Atlas Concorde S.P.A

Minimalist luxury guestroom inside the Marriott hotel on Grosvenor Square

In pictures // London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square completes renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures // London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square completes renovation

Hospitality interior design firm RPW Design has completed a renovation to transform the Mayfair hotel’s guestrooms and suites…

London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square has revealed its newly refurbished guestrooms and suites 

Minimalist luxury guestroom inside the Marriott hotel on Grosvenor Square

Situated in the heart of Mayfair, the 237 guestrooms and suites, complete with alfresco terraces and private gardens, have been carefully renovated to honour the elegant architecture in which they reside. Having worked with Marriott Hotels across Europe, RPW have designed the rooms and suites to be inspiring, contemporary spaces with a residential feel, offering guests a ‘home-away-from-home’ comfort.

“We are delighted to unveil the results of this exciting collaboration between RPW Design and London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square,” explained Elizabeth Lane, a Partner at RPW Design who was at the helm of the project. “As a significant property in the centre of Mayfair, we wanted our new design to emulate the hotel’s historic setting with traditional feel, whilst simultaneously creating a welcoming and stylish space that provides access to the whole city.”

The refurbished guestrooms and suites adopt a neutral colour palette featuring rich navy blues and crisp whites complemented with grey accents in varying textures and finishes. Each guestroom and suite offers a stylish desk in a modern room setting for guests to work in and inspire brilliance. In the bathrooms, guests will admire innovative design details, spacious overhead rain showers and contemporary vanity units.

Marble looking bathroom

Image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

RPW Design’s inspiration for the refurbishment was drawn from the local, historic area with subtle nods to Mayfair’s heritage and architecture throughout. Design details such as the herringbone pattern in the wallpaper and upholsteries pay homage to the famous Savile Row and Bond Street tailors; and the ironwork detailing woven into the carpets and rugs is reminiscent of the surrounding quintessential Georgian architecture.

> Elizabeth Lane is one of our Brit List Designers of 2020. Since you’re here, why not check out The Brit List 2020.

Ian Pask, General Manager of London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square commented: “The refurbishment perfectly captures the elegance of the building and the surrounding Mayfair area. The transformation captures a classic yet contemporary British style, while offering a spacious retreat for guests to relax, work and be inspired in.”

London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square promises an ideal setting for couples looking to be based in the heart of London whilst having the luxury of a private space to retreat to. Boasting eight balcony suites with private alfresco terraces, guests can enjoy exclusive access to the hotel’s hidden courtyard garden. The garden, a tranquil haven, possesses a central water feature where guests can step back from the glamour of Mayfair for a reflective moment.

Main image credit: RPW Design/Marriott International

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor enters into exclusive negotiations with Ennismore

With the two brands working as one, the lifestyle entity is set to become the largest and fastest growing global player, with 12 world-class brands under their umbrella…

Accor and Ennismore, both award-winning hotel brands, have started exclusive negotiations to form the world’s leading lifestyle operator in the hospitality sector, with a clear focus on one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.

Image of lobby inside TRIBE hotel

Through this all-share merger, a new autonomous and fully asset light entity will bring together an unrivalled portfolio of world class brands, including The Hoxton, Gleneagles, Delano, SLS, Mondrian, SO/, Hyde, Mama Shelter, 25hours, 21c Museum Hotels, TRIBE, JO&JOE and Working From_. The new entity will be headquartered in London and will take the name Ennismore.

Image credit: Gleneagles

“The combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels.”

Sharan Pasricha, Founder and CEO of Ennismore and Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of the Accor Lifestyle division will become Co-CEOs of the combined entity, alongside an experienced, highly skilled and international management team coming from the various brands and industries across the globe. Accor will be the majority shareholder of the new entity, with Sharan Pasricha holding a substantial minority position.

“Over the last nine years, our mission with Ennismore has always been creating hospitality brands that inspire discovery,” Pasricha explained. “I’m passionate about how brands make you feel, from the personalised digital experience to the design, and with an incredible team of operators and creatives around me, we have expanded The Hoxton across the globe; reimagined Gleneagles; and crafted unique restaurant and bar concepts. This exciting autonomous entity with Accor – one with culture and brand purpose at its heart – allows us to come together to build on our combined portfolio of unique lifestyle brands, accelerate our growth and explore new markets.”

Image credit: Hoxton Southwark

At its inception, the combined entity will comprise 12 brands with 73 hotels in operation with a committed pipeline of more than 110 hotels and another c. 70 hotels under active discussion, and more than 150 destination restaurant and bars. Based on the current network and pipeline the lifestyle platform should achieve an EBITDA of over c. €100m by midterm, the project resulting in significant cost synergies of approximately €15m per year.

In order to form this joint venture, Accor intends to buy out its partners in sbe (see dedicated release by Accor), Mama Shelter and 25hours. The planned combination also envisages the formation of a new company which will hold all the leased assets under the combined entity’s brands. The deconsolidation of the existing leases will have a €52m positive effect on Accor’s consolidated net debt in 2020.

A quirky twin bedroom inside Mama Shelter Lille

Image credit: Mama Shelter Lille

Gaurav Bhushan, CEO of Accor’s Lifestyle operations said: “Joining forces with Sharan and Ennismore’s talented teams will be a major step in Accor’s development strategy. With this combination, we are putting together an unrivalled portfolio of unique brands that appeals to owners, partners and guests, supported by the greatest set of talents in the industry, state of the art distribution and tools and a common ambition to continue to grow and innovate. I very much look forward to our journey together.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of Accor added: “Lifestyle, entertainment, places with a soul have been at the heart of our development and growth strategy over the last years. Partnering with Ennismore’s founder Sharan and his great teams will take our Lifestyle ambition to a new and exciting level. With this combination, we are leading the hospitality industry by creating the largest and fastest growing ecosystem of world class brands. Lifestyle is a sector fueled by passionate and daring entrepreneurs, constantly pushing the boundaries of a reinvented vision of travelling the world. I am proud Accor has been able to join forces with many of the most creative and talented ones. This new powerful combination is set to become the engine of our exciting future growth. “

Under the leadership of Pasricha and Bhushan, each brand will retain their unique culture and purpose, supported by dedicated teams and with the full support of their founders, including the Trigano family, founders of Mama Shelter; Christoph Hoffman, founder of 25 Hours; Sam Nazarian, founder of sbe; Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson for 21C, and Melissa and Mark Peters for TRIBE.

This new, unified and powerful venture will benefit from an in-house global creative studio, designing award-winning interiors and brand communication; an expert digital and technology team innovating the guest experience; and a team of restaurant and bar specialists crafting unique concepts rooted in their neighbourhoods.

Accor’s Lifestyle operations today represent c.5 per cent of Accor’s fees and more than 25 per cent of the pipeline fees. Growth will be accelerated, building on a strong footprint in Europe and the U.S., and a rapidly expanding presence in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South America supported by Accor’s development teams.

Closing is expected to occur in the first semester of 2021 and is subject to the employee consultation process and customary regulatory authorisations for projects of this type.

Main image credit: Accor