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2021

Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

Catapulting the Balearic Island into a different league, Six Senses Ibiza will offer a way of life that embraces music, culture, art, spirituality, fashion, wellness and sustainability. Hotel Designs gets an early check-in before it officially opens in July…

Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Following the opening of the brand’s latest hotel in Botanique in Brazil, Six Senses has unveiled images of its highly anticipated hotel in Ibiza. Said to be one the Mediterranean’s most anticipated openings this year, as outlined in our 2021 Hotel Openings SeriesSix Senses Ibiza is located on the peaceful northern tip of the island, the village-like resort will capture the authentic essence of the Balearic island both in look and feel. It will be set over 20-acres, with unrivalled sea views and will benefit from direct access to one of the most beautiful bays in Ibiza, Cala Xarraca. Live layers of programming and experiences will constantly evolve to celebrate music, art, sustainable fashion, spirituality, pioneering wellness, culinary exploration and culture, all synonymous with the island.

Guestroom overlooking sea at Six Senses Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first sustainable BREEAM certified resort and residential community in the Balearics. The resort will offer 116 guest accommodations, villas, suites and beachfront caves and a number of Village Residences with intimate terraces, lush gardens and pools – perfect for those looking for a permanent hideaway in the Mediterranean.

“Our vision is to capture the authentic Ibiza experience of community, spirituality and celebration,” Jonathan Leitersdorf, the architect and developer, explains. In the hot season (May to October), the community celebrates. From lazy days soaking poolside, enjoying the natural beauty of the bay or meeting an extended family of islanders, to gathering at night on long tables to explore new culinary delights, festive pop-up events and full moon dinners.

In the cool season (November to April), the community shares deep spiritual experiences. Six Senses Ibiza is gearing up to feature a series of immersive teaser weekends and longer-stay retreats, initially yoga, cleanse and fitness.

Surrounded by beautiful unspoiled coves and groves, Six Senses Ibiza is symbolic of the light, beauty and natural rhythms of the seasons that draw people back again. The tactile Finca-style aesthetic has a modern and sophisticated design and finish, and the architecture is built and inspired by locally sourced materials. The Farm at Six Senses Ibiza is a 400-year-old olive press and agricultural estate, where guests will take part in growing the abundance of organic produce that will also supply the resort’s restaurants, café and bars.

“This vision captures an authentic Ibiza experience that really resonates with me on a personal level,” says Neil Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Six Senses. “It is aligned with our set of beliefs, particularly around emotional hospitality. Sustainability is a huge part of our company ethos. And when you find a magical place such as Cala Xarraca, it’s something that you work really hard to both showcase and respect. In the case of Six Senses Ibiza, this is what shines so brightly.”

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first European outpost for celebrity chef Eyal Shani, founding father of new Israeli cuisine. His sublime menus will follow the Eat With Six Senses guiding principles of organic, seasonal, nutritious and delicious, gathering guests at the exquisite long tables of the Farmers’ Market. Other signature venues including The Orchard, The Piazza, Farmacy Bar and Live Cave will be complemented by grow-your-own veg, chef’s table and cooking lessons at the Farm.

The Six Senses Spa houses single and couple’s treatment rooms, a steam room, hammam and state-of-the-art fitness area, café and juice bar. The Rose Bar offers night owls a chance to roll back the years through a range of healing and preventative longevity programmes combining diagnostics, biohacking, nutrition and beauty treatments. Outdoors there is an impressive yoga deck and boxing ring on the roof. There will also be immersive retreats at the resort which will be facilitated by Friends of Six Senses, Visiting Practitioners and partners.

 

Six Senses Ibiza will add an enticing new setting to the vibrant Ibiza music scene. Directly on the shorefront, the Beach Caves music venue is the heart of the resort. Hosting live shows, events, emerging artist sessions, and an expansive vinyl collection, the Beach Caves features avant-garde technology from McIntosh and Sonus faber through a partnership with McIntosh Group. There is also a Cave Royale guestroom with a secret door leading to the Recording Studio for when creativity strikes in the middle of the night.

The hotel celebrates sustainable fashion at the Agora, a new retail concept – part entertainment, part education and part shopping experience. Curated by the renowned fashion editors Daniela Agnelli and Tiffanie Darke, it seeks to tell a story in a series of chapters: Reduce, Recycle, Rent and Restore. Highlights of the store will be a “live magazine” experience, a “Cinderella Room” for dress up nights, and an Intention Tree for customers to remember the change.

Arts and culture are central to the Six Senses experience. As they wander through the resort’s galleries, guests will enjoy displays by Magnum photographers, curated by Elaine Groenestein to reflect Ibiza’s core themes. Along with photography events and workshops, a larger selection of fine prints is available through the Magnum Gallery. There is also a beautiful library for guests to relax and unwind in and expand the mind.

Main image credit: Six Senses

Image of floral wallcovering

Product watch: A look the latest wallcovering collections from Arte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: A look the latest wallcovering collections from Arte

Arte, founded in 1981, is known for creating sophisticated, luxury wallcoverings, showcasing a clear love of design and exploration of innovative materials and techniques. Hotel Designs takes a close look at the brand’s latest collections…

Image of floral wallcovering

Every year, an in-house team of experienced designers at Arte work on developing new collections, striving for perfection and trendsetting design whilst simultaneously surprising the design industry with what’s possible to achieve with wallcoverings.

Arte is constantly researching and developing new production techniques, with the production and design team sometimes spending over a year perfecting the techniques used in manufacturing a collection before it’s released to the market. With the world of wallcoverings becoming increasingly more exciting, Arte continues to inspire and challenge, setting the bar for innovative design. Arte’s wallcoverings can be found adorning the walls of both residential homes, as well as commercial interiors in over 80 countries worldwide.

This season sees Arte launch a number of diverse new collections utilising varied techniques from heat embossed textiles to large scale prints and even wall tiles made from shell. These include the beautiful ‘Manovo’, collection inspired by and named after the largest national park in Central Africa, incorporating an eclectic mix of botanical prints, geometric shapes and animal patterns, the fashionable ‘Les Tricots’, inspired by haute couture with five designs offered in an explosive colour palette of blue, green and red as well as earthier tones, the refined and elegant ‘Cameo’, designed to celebrate the beauty of imperfections and perfect for bringing the outdoors in, as well as the maximalist ‘Decors & Panoramiques’, with its lively eye-catching large scale murals and bold patterns which achieve a dreamy world of painterly scenes.

Arte - Manovo_Savanna_22020_Roomshot_Print_UPPR

Image caption: The Manovo Collection was inspired by and named after the largest national park in Central Africa. | Image credit: Arte

Arte’s new collections feature a wide range of influences and styles to suit both traditional and classic, as well as modern and contemporary interiors. The inspiration and colours of the designs in ‘Les Tricots’ explore the power of fashion in design, inspired by the recent revival of haute couture and thanks to the combination of unique printing methods and the use of velvety soft yarns, creates the illusion of rich fabrics and opulent textiles adorning the walls. The vibrant ‘Chintz’ design is a particular favourite and a real showstopper, which will work well for statement walls as well as for an all over-scheme for lovers of maximalism.

Taking inspiration from natural materials and textures, ‘Cameo’ is an elegant and paired-back collection of non-woven wallcoverings offered in a selection of neutral, nudes and earthy tones, making it easily suited to any interior space, with a lustrous, minimalist feel. Within the collection, Arte have eight designs, inspired by the textures that we see all around us from wood, stone, raffia and sisal, with all designs finished in glossy relief inks in which asymmetry, varying shapes and structures provide an unexpected harmony and this appreciation of the ‘imperfect’ we see in nature. The demand for sleek and modern minimalist interiors has grown with the Japandi trend currently on the rise, and an increasing appreciation for craft, natural materials and textures, as well as the idea of ‘clean design’, making this collection a perfect ode to the beauty seen in nature.

Manovo, one of the newest additions, honours Central Africa with influences taken from the savanna woodlands and grassy lands, resulting in woven jacquard designs celebrating textures and details seen in the natural landscape, to the more distinctive patterns seen in traditional African carpets and fabrics, allowing for graphic and geometric detail. With a palette of bold blues, graphic greens and earthy warm yellows, this collection will create a warm and inviting interior, perfect for relaxing spaces.

For those ready to embrace maximalism head on, ‘Decors and Panoramiques’ will be the perfect choice with its offering of lively eye-catching patterns and dreamy painterly scenes. 11 designs in total, with scenic hand painted panels, complemented beautifully by lavish and vibrant prints will allow for layers of bold colour, pattern, print and texture in an interior scheme; it’s perfectly suited for adding drama and interest in larger commercial spaces as well as residential interiors.

Image caption: Decors and Panoramiques is an eye-catching, lively wallcoverings collection. | Image credit: Arte

Image caption: Decors and Panoramiques is an eye-catching, lively wallcoverings collection. | Image credit: Arte

Arte have always offered a wide range of designs across their collections ensuring there is a design for every aesthetic and the SS21 offering is no different. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with a wallcovering, each collection offers endless design and colour options that will be easy to incorporate into any room and any scheme, either as the textural base or the main talking point.

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

“It makes a statement” – UK Bathrooms reviews Imperial’s Black Sapphire Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“It makes a statement” – UK Bathrooms reviews Imperial’s Black Sapphire Collection

UK Bathrooms explore comfort and style qualities in the Black Sapphire Collection of dark sanitaryware by Imperial Bathrooms

Creating a unique environment is key to success for hoteliers, whatever the hotel category, whatever the size of hotel; hotels today need to stand out in the crowd.  And one place they can do this is the hotel bathroom by not only offering the best in comfort and ease of use, but by making sure the space is beautifully stylish, functional, durable and different.

Merging comfort and style the Black Sapphire Collection of dark sanitaryware by Imperial Bathrooms ups the ante, finally bringing ceramics over to the dark side.

The hotel bathroom of 2021 has emerged as a space for wellbeing and retreating to for a moment of calm; time spent in the bathroom of today is prized by hotel guests, an opportunity for peace, privacy, self-care and time out from frenetic lives.  Bathroom design has become more expressive, experimental and exciting.

Enter the vogue for black bathrooms, with dark, cave-like spaces creating sanctuaries where the stresses of outside cease to exist. While surfaces, furniture, fixtures and accessories have all been doused in black tones of late, sanitaryware remained traditionally white and bright – until now. Imperial Bathrooms’ new Black Sapphire Collection has put an end to interrupting dark schemes with chunks of dazzling paleness, with the extensive offering, encompassing basins, toilets, bidets and accessories in a myriad of styles, enabling bathrooms to wholly embrace the darkness, as well as adding an unexpected edge to monochrome designs and broader palettes.

“Black and monochrome rooms soothe the eye and allow an overworked mind a moment of calm,” explains Graeme Borchard, MD at UK Bathrooms. “The Black Sapphire Collection from Imperial Bathrooms means that bathrooms can now fully commit to a black palette, and offers wider and bolder options for those hoteliers wanting to create statement spaces.”

The range incorporates four sanitaryware families, the first truly comprehensive collection of black bathroom ceramics.

Etoile Black Sapphire

Bedecked in the pigment-rich Black Sapphire finish, the round edges, intricate design and striking silhouettes of the Etoile collection take on an alluring, opulent feel. Each piece is crafted in Britain, repeatedly fired and smoothed to ensure a flawless, glossy finish. Team with high shine tiles in a matching tone and polished metals for maximum effect.

Astoria Deco Black Sapphire

The Astoria Deco range takes on an edgy, moody personality with a glossy Black Sapphire coat. The sculptural quality of its Art Deco angles, defined lines and shapely elegance make a dynamic statement – bring together multiple pieces for high impact and unforgettable wow factor.

Drift Black Sapphire

Combining the playfully curved lines of the Drift range with a blackened coat creates a tongue-in-cheek effect, the modern finish and shapes merging with hints of the traditional. Place the subtly decorative ceramics against a white, coloured or patterned backdrop of to make the most of the collection’s design details.

Radcliffe Black Sapphire

With slick lines and an even sharper attitude, the refined Radcliffe range is a nod to classic British bathroom design, made even more stately and statuesque in a shadowy glass-like finish. Style with traditional brassware, lighting and mirrors to complete the powerful, sophisticated aesthetic.

Since you’re here, why not read UK Bathroom’s review of Crosswater’s Crossbox Push? 

UK Bathrooms 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: UK Bathrooms

Unidrain_The Hub_03

The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

Clarion Hotel – The Hub, is an environmentally friendly and inspiring boutique hotel located in the heart of Oslo. This new and spectacular hotel offers exciting food with local roots, excellent business facilities and 810 rooms that goes above convention…

Unidrain_The Hub_03

Designed by architects Lund + Slaatto and interior designer Anders Björkén, Clarion Hotel -The Hub shelters an elegant, boutique style. For Björkén, Unidrain was the obvious choice for the bathrooms. “Unidrain drains are elegant and work extremely well in a hotel environment” he says.

Anders is behind the interior design of the historic Grand Hotel in Stockholm and Hotel Vesterbro in Copenhagen. “We use almost exclusively Unidrain’s drains in our projects, in addition to their beautiful and minimalist design, they are easy to install,” he said.

The Hub wants its guests to experience something akin to a “love affair” through classical décor, balanced design, and ground-breaking, innovative interiors solutions without losing any feeling of warmth, intimacy and elegance, which Björkén achieved in the design of the hotel rooms.

On the 11th floor, you will find a fantastic suite overlooking the Oslo Fjord; as with all the rooms every detail has been thought through and nothing has been left to chance.

Unidrain, are very proud to have supplied HighLine Custom drains to The Hub; in the main bathroom and specifically crafted for this space, the classic Unidrain grating has been replaced by marble tiling creating an exact match to the rest of the bathroom floor, here the line drain blends into the flooring and is almost invisible to the eye.

In the second bathroom, the drain becomes a feature; the design in this space focusses on colour and incorporates a delicate black HighLine Colour line drain, which is installed so it fits right up against the wall.

Architecture, interior and design

The hotel wanted their guests to experience a carefully crafted balance between early design classics and ground breaking contemporary elements; the aim was to incorporate the stylish vibe of the 1950s in a modern boutique hotel.

Anemone Wille Våge designed the interiors of the restaurants and common areas; she took her inspiration from the old Hotel Viking, designed by Knut Knutsen for the 1952 Winter Olympics. Delving into the history of the original building she used elements from this, to create a timeless, yet modern design. The design team incorporated elements from the building as it was in 1952, including styling the lobby’s ceiling in exactly the same pink tone as the building’s façade, the bronze columns were inspired by the original window sills, in fact every element of the furniture and interior decorations were handpicked from high-quality manufacturers and specially designed for this project to create its unique look.

The green hotel in the heart of the city – Growhub

With an added environmental twist; The Clarion Hotel is testing a brand-new way to grow food in the city, in a sustainable and economical way. At the very top of Clarion Hotel The Hub, there is a large rooftop garden, known as the Growhub; this provides zero-travelled ingredients for locals, guests and conference attendees alike. From its unique take on interior design, stylish bathrooms and carbon neutral food sourcing The Hub is the perfect place to create an Oslo experience.

Unidrain 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: Unidrain

Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

hansgrohe has described the Finoris washbasin as a bathroom item that is ‘for every activity required’. The revolutionary all-rounder features more flexibility and functionality than other basins, as Hotel Designs discovers when reviewing the product…

Did you know the average person spends 400 days of their lifetime using their bathroom? That’s more than 30 minutes a day, and in that time, the dream of a bathroom wellness retreat doesn’t often become a reality. Following customer engagement research, leading bathroom manufacturer, hansgrohe, understands the everyday life of a family bathroom is usually very different: routines vary greatly from relaxation and personal hygiene to soaking laundry and endless cleaning. Modern day life demands a tap that is functional in all these situations and for this purpose, hansgrohe launches Finoris; a basin mixer range which combines minimalistic design and maximum flexibility.

With its innovative “Flex” variant, the new range offers enough freedom of movement to simplify everyday chores. Quickly washing your hair directly in the basin is no longer a problem with the functional pull-out head, using microdroplets instead of the standard water delivery, to reduce splashing. And with the added benefit of easy rinsing afterwards, it reduces any mess outside of the basin. Everyday receptables, such as buckets and tall vases, can also filled in no time at all. In a deeper basin, an infant can be quietly coaxed into having a quick bath. Finoris is designed to be a practical, yet beautiful, addition to everyday family life.

Whether it’s a gentle PowderRain spray or a smooth laminar spray, the tap adapts to the respective application with a flick of the wrist and the push of a button. Both spray modes use no more than five liters of water per minute, ensuring water consumption is kept at a minimum.

Slender design with high functionality

Visually, the hansgrohe Finoris tap impresses with a slim, geometric look. The subtly integrated pull-out showerhead with an action radius of 500 millimetres glides smoothly back into its original position after each use thanks to its magnetic retraction support. Its minimalist design is also available without a pull-out showerhead.

Even the standard model is designed for an extensive range of applications, as it can be ordered in three different heights. This means hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with a wide variety of basin models. Someone planning a wall-integrated shower can install the concealed solution from Finoris. Around the bath, there is option of the hansgrohe sBox, which neatly conceals the pull-out showerhead hose for a clean, clutter-free look.

When it comes to surfaces, the new range offers a variety of options throughout the entire series: Chrome, Matt Black, or Matt White. The complete range naturally includes matching exposed and concealed fittings for the bath and shower. For convenience in the bathroom, hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with hansgrohe Rainfinity shower solutions and the matching Addstoris accessory range.

hansgrohe is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature 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: hansgrohe

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

Meeting new modern traveller luxury shower demands, the OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 ranges by Crosswater provide a superior quality and versatile design, resulting in a serene bathroom experience…

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Weeks before Hotel Designs LIVE invites expert designers to discuss ‘bathrooms beyond practical spaces’, Crosswater has unveiled OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10, which is the brand’s latest collections of 10mm enclosure and walk-in shower solutions.

Showering has become more than just a daily routine – it has become a ritual, with homeowners and hotel guests alike now recognising the positive effects that can come from a relaxing showering experience. Subsequently, the bathroom industry has started to design products that promote wellness within the bathing space, as well as innovation.

Crosswater is already recognised for their holistic approach to showering, with the brand providing a choice of trend-led brassware, including shower valves that will deliver the perfect flow of water, and a variety of indulgent 6mm and 8mm shower enclosures which were strengthened in 2020. Crosswater is looking to continue this success in the 10mm shower enclosure and walk-in shower solutions category with the new additions of OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10.

“OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are the newest addition to Crosswater’s Home of Showering programme and enable the brand to offer luxury and every level of specification,” said Stephen Ewer, CEO of Bathroom Brands Group (Crosswater, Burlington, Clearwater, Britton). “Crosswater have been working intensely to bring this offer to market whilst ensuring expected levels of design, quality and value for both our retail partners and consumers.”

A luxury solution for all generations, OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are extremely versatile, offering numerous possibilities to align with the needs of the consumer such as Crosswater Clear which enables easy cleaning, slimline wall profiles to create a beautiful interior scheme and availability in a variety of finishes that have been specifically designed to match the colour of Crosswater’s bestselling MPRO brassware range.

Featuring premium 10mm toughened glass, the innovative design of the new 10mm ranges are built to last, with a lifetime guarantee available to add additional peace of mind. The impressive construction which includes durable PVD coating and high-quality components, allows for a seamless transition when opening and closing the shower door, providing the ultimate showering experience.

“Crosswater’s introduction of 10mm enclosures and walk-in solutions is a significant step on our journey to enhance our cohesive design and colour offering across all categories, creating increased sales opportunities for our customers,” added David Button, Crosswater Retail Sales Director UK & Ireland.

As modern travellers continue to prioritise wellness and self-care, Crosswater are meeting the demand for holistic shower solutions with an impressive and extensive range of luxury shower enclosures for all generations.

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

Image of modern restuarant inside Hyatt Recency Zurich Airport

Hyatt Regency touches down in Switzerland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency touches down in Switzerland

The opening of the 255-key Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle marks the brand’s debut property in Switzerland…

Image of modern restuarant inside Hyatt Recency Zurich Airport

Hyatt, which recently opened its 1,000 hotel worldwide, has announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle. The 255-key hotel, which becomes the first hotel under the Hyatt Regency brand to arrive in Switzerland, is located directly at Zurich’s brand-new hub the ‘Circle’, boasting an innovative mix of retail shops, offices, health facilities as well as restaurants, all situated on more than 180,000 square metres and alongside an almost 80,000 square metre park with greenery and running paths. Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle will be joined by the planned opening of a Hyatt Place branded hotel at the Circle hub. The Circle Convention Centre which will be managed by Hyatt as well is expected to host its first events in late spring.

Directly at Zurich Airport and with direct access to The Circle Convention Center, one of the largest conference venues in Switzerland, Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle is situated at one of the most well-connected locations.

Public area inside Hyatt Recency in Zurich Airport

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

“Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle has been designed to meet the needs of travellers who seek flexible and energising experiences, and will offer intuitive and seamless experiences to business and leisure travellers alike,” said Benno Geruschkat, general manager of Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle. “The Hyatt Regency brand fosters the connections that matter most, and we are excited to offer our guests the perfect place to work, engage and relax.”

The 255 guestrooms sheltered inside include 16 suites, one Ambassador suite and one Presidential suite with a terrace overlooking the park. 

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle features a range of culinary experiences that meet various dietary needs and preferences. Guests can discover Middle Eastern flavours in a contemporary setting with an open kitchen at Restaurant Babel. Bar Iris is a social hub at the hotel with views overlooking the main square and offers Swiss inspired dishes and signature drinks. The 24/7 take-away, Zum Mitnäh, offers refreshments and an extensive selection of gourmet sandwiches and healthy snack options, as well as freshly brewed coffee.

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

Image

Suitable for large events and meetings, as well as galas, fairs and product launches, Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle will have direct access to The Circle Convention Centre, which is set to open in late spring 2021 and will be home to more than 2,800 square metres of event space divided over three levels. The Circle Convention Center will offer pre-function spaces and 18 meetings rooms, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows.    

At Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle guests can relax between meetings or after a busy day at the complimentary 24/7 fully equipped fitness centre. To reenergise after a busy day, guests can also explore the relaxation area with sauna.

image of low lit sauna

Image credit: Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport The Circle joins Hyatt’s Park Hyatt Zurich and Alila La Gruyère which is expected to open in 2024. Hyatt Place Zurich Airport The Circle will open when the situation permits.

Main image credit: Hyatt Regency

Classics reimagined: Triumphantly tenacious tartan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Classics reimagined: Triumphantly tenacious tartan

Wilton Carpets explore textile design’s long and chequered relationship with tartan…

Textile historians date tartan as far back as 8th Century BC in central Europe with the earliest documented tartan find in Britain dating from 4th Century AD. We have a very long relationship with this textile, interwoven with our social and military history.

Rather than waning, tartan continues to offer great inspiration for interior and textile design; from golf clubs, country house hotels to mansion blocks and in private homes. Wilton Carpets is about to launch a new collection of tartans, celebrating its rich history and reimagining it in fresh, cool takes on this enduring design motif.

“Within the boundaries of Tartan we wanted to show the full spectrum of the aesthetic,” explains Damian Roscoe, Design Director, Wilton Carpets. “From subtle, sophisticated tone on tine patterns suitable for guestrooms to more avant-garde expressive designs that would look amazing in larger spaces. The purity of Tartan is it’s beauty but this doesn’t stop you introducing other elements and themes to create something even more beautiful.”

Woven in Wiltshire, in quality axminster carpet, this new collection will be launched in April offering a great range of tartan inspiration.  As these carpets are woven to order, the Design Studio at Wilton are able to offer a semi-bespoke service meaning the designs can be recoloured to suit specific colour schemes.

Wilton 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: Wilton Carpets

West Wing Lobby

Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

Hospitality design firm Perkins&Will have been appointed to completely refurbish Hilton London Metropole, which is the largest Hilton outside of the USA…

West Wing Lobby

As part of a multimillion-pound renovation, Hilton London Metropole has briefed design firm Perkins&Will to ‘radically transform the guest experience’.

The renovation, which due to be completed by summer 2021, is expected to provide guests with a completely new and upgraded stay – no element of the hotel will be left unchanged.

The 1,096 guestrooms and suites have undergone a striking transformation, designed with a contemporary and bold aesthetic that sensitively reflects different London boroughs. The venue’s four restaurants and bars will be relaunched with exciting new drinking and dining concepts, including an all-day British brasserie, serving locally sourced ingredients, and a new suitably relaxed market-style dining outlet, that celebrates London’s street food scene. The refurbishment will also see the opening of a state-of-the-art 200sqm (2,153sqf) fitness studio. 

Executive Bedroom inside the Hilton hotel

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Extensive renovations are being made to the hotel’s 35 event spaces and meeting rooms, including two dedicated hybrid meeting rooms and three ballrooms, which total over 4,600sqm (49,500sqf) in size, from the 1,062 Square Metres (11,431sqf) Richmond Suite to the Kensington Suite, with its open private foyer and space for up to 1,350 guests. Hilton London Metropole also operates Hilton EventReady with CleanStay, which ensures the hotel delivers event experiences that are clean, flexible, safe and socially responsible.  

“Our ambitious multimillion pound renovation will maintain Hilton London Metropole as Europe’s leading conference and events hotel,” said Remco Norden, Area General Manager. “The refurbishment will radically transform every element of the hotel, from our restaurants and bars to our bedrooms, suites and meeting and event spaces. It will elevate the guest experience and continue to make us the venue of choice for business and leisure travellers and corporate and private events of any scale. 

“The refurbishment celebrates London and our hotel’s wonderful history. Despite the challenges the industry has faced in 2020, our hotel has an incredibly bright future and this renovation is our opportunity to invest in it.”  

The hotel has embraced the latest in technology to ensure a seamless stay, from upgraded Wi-Fi to the introduction of Digital Key, which allows Hilton Honours members to check in and choose their room using their smartphone via the Hilton Honours app.   

The design project celebrates the best of the capital, with the new design weaving the city’s storied history into the hotel. Guests will experience engaging touchpoints from London’s rich heritage, its vibrant art, culture, music and diverse food scene throughout.  

The new, elevated aesthetic will take guests on an immersive experience through the capital. The architecture, design, restaurants and bars showcase purposeful acknowledgements to East, Central and West London’s heritage as the hotel tells the story of this ancient city with nods to iconic areas including Borough Market, Covent Garden and towns on the Thames. 

Sustainability is at the heart of Hilton London Metropole and its refurbishment. From the team members’ uniforms, made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic, to the green kitchens serving locally grown produce, the hotel has collaborated with a wide range of businesses and manufacturers to create an ethical and environmentally conscious space. 

Guests staying in the Suites or Executive Rooms will enjoy complimentary breakfast and access to the exclusive and contemporary Executive Lounge, which has a dedicated arrivals area and check in facilities. The lounge serves a carefully curated food and drink offering throughout the day alongside monthly tasting and live cooking experiences. When booking their future stays, guests can also feel confident that their health and wellbeing have been taken care of thanks to Hilton CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection delivered in Hilton properties worldwide. 

The hotel’s radical developments will retain Hilton London Metropole’s position as the perfect choice for the business traveller, from its central location in the heart of the city to its impeccable transport links, seven different bedroom options and four suite categories to choose from, a seamless check in process, a wide choice of food and drink dining experiences and an impressive on-site fitness studio. 

Since you’re here, why not watch our recent Hotel Designs LIVE panel discussion, featuring Neil Andrew, Head of Hospitality at Perkins&Will?

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Kyoto Minamiyamashiro

Fairfield By Marriott to open 6 hotels in Japan by August 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fairfield By Marriott to open 6 hotels in Japan by August 2021

“These new openings underscore Marriott International’s focus on growing our presence in Japan to serve travellers here,” says Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International…

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Kyoto Minamiyamashiro

Fairfield by Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, today announced the planned openings of six new Fairfield properties in Japan.

The openings continue the momentum of the innovative “Michi-no-eki” project, bringing six more Fairfield by Marriott hotels to key locations near roadside rest stations called “Michi-no-Eki”, across four prefectures in Japan. The new hotels are situated close to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, providing guests easy access to many undiscovered destinations.

“We are excited to continue the Fairfield by Marriott brand expansion in Japan this year, with the opening of six more hotels in collaboration with Sekisui House,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “These new openings underscore Marriott International’s focus on growing our presence in Japan to serve travellers here. As we see the growing demand for self-drive travel, the new hotels will deliver on the brand’s principles of friendly service and warm hospitality in undiscovered destinations across Japan.”

Each one of the new hotels takes inspiration from its natural surroundings, delivering the beauty of simplicity for guests who appreciate a calming and reliable experience. Each of the hotels’ public areas serves as a flexible social space to share and connect with other travellers or simply to relax. Guests can expect a harmonious balance of functionality, comfort and enriching décor in natural materials and carefully selected amenities.

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Mie Odai

Image caption: FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Mie Odai. | Image credit: Marriott International

The hotels that are opening are:

Fairfield by Marriott Mie Odai (72 rooms, opened March 9, 2021)

Guests can immerse in the nature of Odai with activities including swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Miya River that runs through Odai, or spend the day fishing for ayu sweetfish in the river. For those who prefer the mountain, the hotel is near some of the most famous hiking trails in Japan, namely Osugidani and Mount Somon trails. The area is also known for its breathtaking sceneries including Nanatsugama Falls, which is selected as one of “Japan’s 100 Great Waterfalls”. Fairfield by Marriott Mie Odai welcomes guests with comfortable spaces and warm hospitality that will recharge their senses, making this an ideal base for relaxing and discovering the area.

Fairfield by Marriott Kyoto Minamiyamashiro (50 rooms, opened March 12, 2021)
Located 28 kilometres from Nara, Fairfield by Marriott Kyoto Minamiyamashiro allows guests to enjoy the local charms of Kyoto’s only village. At Michi-no-Eki Ocha no Kyoto Minamiyamashiro Village, guests can savour the delicious flavors of the local fresh produce including the Uji tea and log-grown shiitake mushrooms. They can take a stroll to enjoy the invigorating views of tea fields stretching out to the horizons, discover the historical temples and shrines, or admire the natural features along the Kizu River. The peaceful village can transport visitors away from the stress of urban living.

Fairfield by Marriott Tochigi Nikko (91 rooms, expected opening March 22, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Tochigi Nikko is located in Nikko, a town built around the Nikko Toshogu shrine, attracting visitors and worshippers. Culture seekers can indulge in some of Japan’s best and most famous monuments, including Toshogu, Futarasan-jinja Shinto shrine and Rinno-ji Buddhist temple, which are all UNESCO World Heritage-listed. Nikko is also blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, including Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji and the great Mount Nantai. Travelers can marvel at the beautiful scenery of the area that changes with the seasons, and discover the traditional crafts of the Tochigi region, such as Nikko-bori woodcarving, Nikko-geta sandals and Kanuma-kumiko wood latticework.

Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Kushimoto (90 rooms, expected opening April 14, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Kushimoto is located adjacent to Michi-no-Eki Kushimoto Hashigui-iwa, a roadside station that looks out to Hashigui-iwa Rocks, one of the famous natural wonders in Japan. Facing the Pacific Ocean on the southernmost point of Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese archipelago, Kushimoto is known for its splendid natural beauty. This popular area offers a range of activities, including swimming, scuba diving and walking along the ancient trails on the Ohechi route of the World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo. Thanks to the Kuroshio current, the area also has an abundance of delicious seafood, including Kenken Katsuo (bonito), Japanese spiny lobster and Pacific bluefin tuna, which was successfully farmed for the first time in the world in this region.

Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Susami (90 rooms, expected opening June 9, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Susami stands next to Michi-no-Eki Susami, which looks out onto the Pacific Ocean. The destination is known for its famous local cuisine and seasonal delights such as Mehari-zushi, and Kenken Katsuo (bonito) that is in season from spring to early summer. Another attraction of the area is Esuzaki, an island joined by land to the mainland, the ancient paths of Nagaizaka on the Ohechi route of the World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo.

Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa (64 rooms, expected opening summer 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa is surrounded by rich natural beauty including the clear mountain streams and the famous ancient Shokawa Sakura – two cherry blossom trees that have stood on the shore of Lake Miboro for the last 500 years. The magnificent surrounding mountains provide the perfect backdrop for guests to unwind and relax at the hot spring, Ouka no Yu, next to the hotel. One should not miss the local exquisite produce, including Hida Beef, now famous nation-wide, and hand-kneaded soba noodles made from millstone-ground buckwheat grown in the hills around Hida.

“Fairfield by Marriott offers travellers access to remote destinations in Japan whilst ensuring that guests can count on The Fairfield Promise – from the hotel’s level of service to accommodations, if a guest is ever not satisfied with their stay, Fairfield will make it right,” said Masahiro Taguchi, Project Director of Fairfield by Marriott’s Michi-no-Eki portfolio. “We look forward to welcoming more travellers to discover the wonderful secrets of rural Japan, including its beautiful landscapes, local produce and cuisines, traditional crafts and historic destinations.”

Main image credit: Marriott International 

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens

The new 117-key hotel in Madrid is the result of the total renovation of the old TRYP Cibeles Hotel, which is situated in one of the liveliest districts in the capital, with an abundance of local art and culture that connects with the essence of the INNSIDE by Meliá brand…

image of guestroom overlooking city of Madrid

At number 34 on the Gran Via in Madrid, just a few metres from Malasaña, one of the most unconventional and dynamic districts in Madrid, the youngest of the Meliá Hotels International brands is preparing to arrive in the Spanish capital at the beginning of spring. Meliá Hotels International, which is Spain’s largest hotel group, has announced the opening of INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via.

The property in which the hotel be sheltered by is a historic building dating back to the 1920s, designed by Antonio Palacios Ramilo and renowned for its innovative nature. The building was inaugurated in 1923 as the Alfonso XIII hotel, and was always known as the Hotel Avenida. In recent years it was renamed the TR YP Cibeles hotel, and it will now be changing its name to Gran Via due to the fact that its façade is now part of the history of Madrid and one of its most popular streets.

INNSiDE By Meliá Madrid Gran Via will house 117 guestrooms, all of which will be designed to meet the needs of modern travellers and providing all of the brand’s key attributes, such as sustainable sheets, bathrobes and amenities with a low environmental impact, no single-use plastics, and strict compliance with the new Stay Safe with Meliá health and safety programme.

image of large modern suite

Image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

In order to connect with the city itself, the hotel will also have different spaces with work by urban artists thanks to a partnership with the Madrid Street Art Project, an independent organisation which supports art and local urban artists by exhibiting their work to a larger audience, in addition to taking part in the Pinta Malasaña festival, a breakthrough event in the world of art and culture in Madrid.

In addition to a spectacular rooftop area, the hotel will have an open living lounge on its seventh floor, which will be a space for work or play in the order that every visitor decides. This space will host the reception, artistic spaces, the bar, restaurant and DJ area.

INNSiDE By Meliá Madrid Gran Via aims to become a fashion and dining icon for both locals and tourists in Madrid thanks to the Abica group and “A Ollo”, a dining space with a Galician flair and international influences, as well as an incredible rooftop bar, “Le Tavernier”, an oasis in which to enjoy cocktails and the sky over the centre of Madrid.

INNSiDE by Meliá Madrid Gran Via opens after a major renovation and rebranding, reinforcing the commitment of Meliá Hotels International to its youngest brand. The brand is expected to be the fastest-growing brand in the company’s portfolio over the coming years, prioritising sustainability and respect for the environment.

Meliá Hotels International has also used the hotel renovation to implement its new Stay Safe with Meliá health and safety programme certified by Bureau Veritas, which has been very well received during the pandemic and reinforced the trust of customers in the group’s hotels.

2021 is expected to be an exciting and important year for the INNSiDE by Meliá brand, as it plans to open new hotels in Amsterdam, Liverpool, Newcastle and Luxembourg, adding to the brand’s current portfolio of 33 hotels open in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the United States, Vietnam, China and Peru.

Main image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Great Plains to open two new design-led camps

Leading conservation brand Great Plains, led by photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has announce new ‘sensational safari accommodations’ in two different design-led camps, which both open this summer…

Image of bedroom at Great Plains Mara Plains

Great Plains has unveiled that it will open two new design-led safari camps, Mara Toto Camp and Mara Plains Camp, this summer in Kenya.

The brand-new Mara Toto Camp, which is perfectly suited for families and intimate groups traveling together, will open its doors to guests on May 25, 2021. Meaning “baby” in Swahili, Mara Toto Camp will be located just two kilometres away from big sister Mara Plains Camp, which is also scheduled to re-open on June 1, 2021, after a full camp refurbishment, including introducing an exquisite new private honeymoon suite. The eagerly anticipated Mara Jahazi Suite is scheduled to open at Mara Plains Camp at the same time. The exclusive use villa will include a private game drive vehicle, guide, butler and chef. It will be ideal for groups and multi-generational travel looking for an exceptional private safari experience.

Situated along the Ntiakitiak River banks on the border of the Maasai Mara Reserve, the new Mara Toto Camp is hidden in the forest, offering guests privacy and wonderful game-viewing opportunities with access to both the Maasai Mara Reserve and the adjacent Mara North Private Conservancy. Accommodating up to eight guests, the intimate Mara Toto Camp is perfectly suited to be hired out exclusively for intimate groups, couples, and families. Designed by co-founder Beverly Joubert, the new camp will boast tranquil blue coloured interiors with leather and canvas touches harmoniously blending a feeling of comfort and adventure. Mara Toto Camp will consist of four canvas tents with spacious brass baths, along with a communal relaxation area, and indoor and outdoor dining options.

Situated in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy – one of the most iconic wildlife destinations on the planet with unrivalled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land as well as access to the 375,000 Maasai Mara Reserve – Mara Plains Camp, will re-open to guests at the beginning of June after undergoing a full camp refurbishment. Located upriver from little sister Mara Toto Camp, the refreshed camp is completely elevated on high-rise decks and will now offer couples a brand-new honeymoon suite on a peninsula island. The new Honeymoon Suite can only be accessed via suspension bridge offering couples their own oasis of exclusivity and privacy. Designed by Great Plains CEO and co-founder Dereck Joubert, the new honeymoon suite at Mara Plains will have large wooden Swahili doors, paying homage to East Africa’s essence. The spacious open-plan design and décor of the honeymoon suite, also designed by Beverly, will have a colonial influence with wooden floors, big antique brass chandeliers from the original South African Blue Train, red-hued interiors and fine brass furnishings, offering an elegant yet comfortable atmosphere that complements the abundant surrounding wilderness.

Mara Plains will also be introducing the eagerly anticipated Mara Plains Jahazi Suite, an impressive new private two-bedroom villa, which will open at the same time as Mara Plains. Featuring big wooden Zanzibar doors, large teak Mahogany desks and exquisite luxurious red coloured interiors, the spacious open plan exclusive villa residence consists of a two-bedroom suite, shared lounge and dining area including the services of a private game drive vehicle, guide and chef.

“Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.” – Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains.

“That allure of safari started in East Africa, and our plans this year are to expand our offering in Kenya, but to do it with an eye to that original East African safari with a greatly improved standard,” said Dereck. “I’ve always felt that our guests want to come to Africa to see wildlife, and experience that spirit of the continent- to be seduced by its romance and warmth of our communities. Guests stay with us to have their hearts, and their minds stimulated. At Great Plains, they come to step into a movie script where everything is perfect, stylish and breath-taking. Our new camps will encapsulate that period and yet encourage living in the moment and being present. I know you will fall in love here. I do each time.”

As well as sheltering stylish accommodations and public areas that effortless reflect sense of place, Great Plains inherently in its hospitality nature. For example, all of its properties are solar-powered. In addition, a local sapling is planted for every guest that stays at a Great Plains Kenya camp as part of the Great Plains Foundation’s Replacement of Shade Programme; a sustainable travel initiative that aims to restore indigenous trees to Kenya’s vast landscape.

Main image credit: Great Plains

Creating the perfect arrival experience when hospitality reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Creating the perfect arrival experience when hospitality reopens

Leaflike offers combination of sustainable planting options – whether real, replica or preserved – that work to your budget and create an amazing arrival experience…

Over the last year, Leaflike has worked with customers for cost saving solutions, transforming the perfect arrival experience without compromising on the look.

The Savoy completed a cost-saving exercise by switching their live planting at the front of the hotel for preserved/replica planting combination. Saving them money on their entrance planting as well as creating a magnificent first impression for their guests, a range of premium quality lifelike Buxus Ball Topiary and Buxus Spirals with slate top dressing planted into the hotel’s in-situ planter just outside their main entrance.

This was the perfect cost saving solution for this hotel during the current climate yet keeping the high-quality planting that this distinguished property requires. Feedback from the hotel and guests said: “We couldn’t believe how high quality the product is, so lifelike it’s unreal!”

Another example of combination planting includes customers opting for Everleaf by Leaflike. Real preserved planting that offers a 12 week cycle instead of weekly fresh displays.

Finally, the third option is a replica R8 green wall with live planting displayed in front of or around the wall area to provide a true combination planting experience, maintaining the look and benefiting from cost saving initiatives too.

In addition to these combination planting options, Leaflike helps customers across multiple industries, not only architects and interior designers, commercial properties, schools, offices and hospitality but retail and private residential alike.

Image of green wall outside of 54 Queens Gate

Image credit: Leaflike

Working across these industries Leaflike has recently helped Pan Pacific Hotel with a sustainable design, a replica green wall for Next Retail, a moss wall for Village Wholefoods, exterior green walls for The Big Yellow Self Storage Company and a new partnership with Uncommon who create flexible workspaces with a difference. Uncommon help members live well, work well and do well through supportive environments designed around them.

Leaflike is contributing to the Biophilic aspects of their offering and here is what they say about it: “Breathe deeply. A building without greenery is just unnatural. Plants create fresh air and make you happy, so the more the better. Roof terrace outside, plenty of pots inside. A healthier workspace to be. Find your place.”

Leaflike 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 credit: Leaflike

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott signs agreement to bring three new hotels to Saudi Arabia

Among the anticipated new hotels that Marriott International will be opening include the debut of Renaissance Hotels in the Kingdom, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel, and a Courtyard by Marriott in Makkah…

Image of luxury Marriott f&b arae

Marriott International, which recently celebrated the opening of one of its brand’s 100th property as well as opening its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region, has signed an agreement with leading real estate company Al Saedan Group, to open three hotels by 2025 across Saudi Arabia. The multi-project agreement includes the country and territory’s first Renaissance Hotel, the world’s largest Aloft Hotel and a Courtyard by Marriott in the Holy City of Makkah.

“We are pleased to build on our fantastic relationship with Al Saedan Group and further expand our portfolio across Saudi Arabia with these milestone signings,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “These agreements underscore Marriott International’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism sector and reinforces the continued demand we are seeing for our portfolio of brands across the country.”

“As a company, we are focused on developing projects that support the growth and development of the Kingdom,” said Sultan Al Khudair, CEO of Al Saedan Group. “We are excited to collaborate with Marriott International to open two new properties in the Holy City which will be ideal destinations for those visiting for Umrah and Haj, and to debut Renaissance Hotels in the country. These three new agreements were signed in line with our commitment to bring the highest standards of quality and design to our assets and to provide a premium experience to our guests.”

Marriott International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, encompassing a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Marriott International (no images or renders of the three new properties have yet been released)

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

SMD Textiles/ILIV 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: ILIV

Exterior image of Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz shwing palace like building and crashing waves on the coast

Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz completes sensitive renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz completes sensitive renovation

Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, has reopened following a meticulous restoration that reflects its prestigious history while introducing new, modern elements…

Exterior image of Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz shwing palace like building and crashing waves on the coast

Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, which is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, has emerged from the pandemic with a fresh look. Paying homage to the property’s original architecture and history, the hotel and the majority of its 86 guestrooms and 56 suites have been meticulously restored to reflect the palace’s iconic past in French history.

The only hotel with the recognition “Palace de France” on the French Atlantic coast, Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz is a majestic property that was first built in 1854 by Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie de Montijo. The renovation process has rejuvenated and embellished its original and unconventional splendour, respecting the hotel’s history and legend while modernising certain elements with the guest experience in mind. The hotel’s unique furnishings, rare paintings and refined tapestries reflect the palace’s history.

“We are delighted to welcome guests to the extraordinary Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz. Whether they wish to cross the majestic threshold for a stay at the hotel, a drink at Bar Napoleon III or lunch with the family at our fine-dining restaurant, La Rotonde, guests can enjoy a truly magical experience during their stay,” said Alessandro Cresta, general manager at the hotel. “During the renovation process it’s been of the utmost importance for us to preserve the rich heritage and DNA of the palace that makes it the perfect destination when visiting Biarritz and the Basque Country. We look forward to inviting guests and inspiring collectible moments through bespoke experiences that spark new narratives of their own.”

Interior design image of green/blue walls and doors overlooking town

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel shelters 86 rooms and 56 suites with areas varying from 28 to 100 square metres and elegantly decorated with a Second Empire Style that remains true to the original architecture and history as a Palace. Guestrooms on the top floor feature an extraordinary marine ambiance, highlighted by nautical themes reminiscent of cruise ships with rounded windows and portholes.

Guests can enjoy refined, locally inspired culinary creations from the Pays Basque region at the hotel’s restaurant, La Rotonde. The new Chef, Aurélien Largeau, and his team are serving up creative dining experiences for guests looking to make exciting memories. Elsewhere, for those looking to relax and unwind, the Napoleon III Bar offers a menu of carefully selected gins, whiskeys, and vintage champagne in an intimate, sophisticated atmosphere.

Since you’re here, why not read about The Unbound Collection’s debut hotel in Sweden?

With 3,000 square metres spread over four floors, the Imperial Spa is a peaceful haven, featuring an indoor freshwater pool, whirlpool, hammam and sauna. Outdoors, an enticing seawater pool overlooks the ocean, while the famous cabanas on the waterfront offer guests a moment of relaxation. The pool cabanas each boast sunbeds, towels, pool as well as beach access and a private changing room, shower, toilet and free Wi-Fi. 

The hotel is now open for reservations through November 1, 2021. After completing the final phase of its extensive renovation, the hotel is expected to resume operations again in summer 2022.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

During Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, Siminetti, which was a Product Watch Pitch Partner at the event, unveiled the sustainable and luxurious Seasons Collection…

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Hotel Designs LIVE was a fantastic experience for us; seeing the best the hospitality industry has to offer all in one place,” said Simon Powell CEO of Siminetti. The leading sustainable surface brand held a presentation during the sustainability segment during the one-day virtual conference event. Discussing the importance of sustainability in the luxury sector and how the brand’s new Seasons Collection is both sustainable and luxurious. For those who were unable to attend; below is an overview of the collection and how Siminetti strive to provide luxury surfaces that are not damaging to the planet.

Since its founding in 2010, Siminetti has strived to provide their clients with luxury surface solutions that are not only beautiful but kind to the planet. The process began with establishing relationships with suppliers who could ensure only the finest raw materials with respect for the environment and the communities who inhabit the source locations. Every supplier is carefully selected to ensure the brand’s processes meet strict ecological standards and their materials are sourced from sustainable, farmed locations wherever in the world they are grown.

Image credit: Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

Siminetti now has a prospering network of suppliers all over the planet. The brand’s Saltwater Pearl is sourced from Pacific communities who depend on sustainable relationships with the ocean lagoons in which they farm pearls or harvest them as a food source. Harvesting is done in line with local Government Fishery laws and a constant communication with our suppliers ensure we are informed and accountable.

Siminetti’s freshwater mother of pearl is primarily sourced from Asia. They are the largest producer of freshwater pearl in the world! producing some 1,500 metric tons per year. The farms traditionally harvest the shellfish that produce our mother of pearl for the food industry, the shells are then discarded as waste to landfill, due to being incredibly hardwearing the shells would take many generations to breakdown.

Siminetti’s expert artisans take these raw shells and transform their rough appearance to create stunning decorative surfaces. In their latest innovation, Siminetti has transcended the expectations of mother of pearl by producing their seasons collection. A series of patterns with shapes previously perceived to complex to be crafted from mother of pearl.

The collection has been designed in conjunction with Chrisanna of London, it is truly the next generation of mother of pearl sustainable decorative surfaces. Consisting of twelve designs inspired by nature, available in either their Golden Promise saltwater pearl or Innocence saltwater pearl on a Bianco freshwater base. Below is a selection of never before seen close up photos of the seasons collection showcasing the expert craftsmanship that goes into every one of their handmade decorative surfaces.

Siminetti’s Mother of Pearl Mosaics and Decorative Panels decorate some of the Worlds leading hotels, resorts, private residences and super yachts. From the Burj Khalifa, to Hollywood Boulevard and Harvey Nicholls, the brand supports some of the world’s leading brands ensuring they remain at the top of their industry. With an enviable history in designing and supplying one of the world’s most luxurious, sustainable, surface materials, Siminetti is renowned for supporting architects and designers with technical know-how and testing documentation, ensuring their clients complete peace of mind whilst embarking on their stylish journey.

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

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

An agreement signed with Dhabi Hospitality will see Hilton’s upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand launch in the city of Islamabad in 2025. Here’s what we know…

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

The DoubleTree by Hilton brand, which currently has more than 600 upscale hotels across 48 countries, will arrive in Islamabad in 2025, following a signed agreement between the global hotel group and real estate company Dhabi Hospitality.

“This is a landmark agreement for Hilton that signals our re-entry to the Pakistan market,” said Carlos Khneisser, vice president of development, Middle East and Africa, Hilton. “We are doing so as part of a groundbreaking development in the country’s business capital and one which will offer unparalleled convenience for travellers to the New Islamabad International Airport, which is ultimately expected to handle around 25m passengers on an annual basis.”

Featuring 167 guestrooms, including 10 suites, the property will form part of a residential and commercial development. It will sit alongside newly built residential apartments in a suburban complex containing healthcare, education and recreational facilities as well as a number of commercial outlets. Guests will be able to enjoy four restaurants, including a rooftop pool café, as well as on-site fitness facilities.

Muhammad Sadiq, CEO, Dhabi Hospitality said: “We aim to blend the comfort of suburban living with the convenience of city life, offering our customers an unrivalled lifestyle and the very best in modern amenities and services. We are proud to be bringing the DoubleTree by Hilton brand to Pakistan as part of this project and are excited to complement our offering with its world-renowned upscale hospitality and service.”

The hotel will be located to the West of Islamabad city centre, on the Srinagar Highway, which connects the city with New Islamabad International Airport. Just 4km from the airport terminal, it will become the most convenient option for travellers looking for high-end accommodation and meeting facilities in proximity to the airport. It will be equipped with three state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a 518sqm ballroom suitable for weddings and large events.

Hilton is yet to confirm the architecture and interior design studios who will be responsible for this milestone project.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

 

Design Studio in Cotswold

Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

As of Monday April 12 2021, Design Studios for the Commercial Business unit of Topps Tiles Plc will re-open fully, marking a welcome return to normal business…

Design Studio in Cotswold

Home to Parkside and Strata Tiles, Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios will return to normal operation in line with government guidelines on Monday 12 April 2021, once again welcoming local architecture and interior design communities to share in the knowledge and expertise of the companies.

Parkside Design Studios in Chelsea and the Cotswolds will also re-open on Monday 12 April, resuming full service and continuing to be destinations for commercial interior professionals in the area.

With the Design Studios central to the Commercial Business Unit’s service to specifiers, architects, project managers and interior designers, the news is welcome in what has been an extraordinary 12 months for the entire industry.

Tina Hughan, Head of Marketing – Commercial, comments; “We’re delighted to be able to return the Design Studios to normal operation with all the social distancing recommendations in place. It’s been an extraordinary period of change for the industry and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but as we once again freely welcome our local professional communities back to the Design Studios we’re eager to share all the product developments that have occurred during their temporary absence.”

These developments include new recycled and natural content sustainable collections, a range of specialist anti-bacterial tiles and an updated outdoor collection, as well as many striking new porcelain and ceramic wall and floor tile designs as presented in the company’s recent edition of its brochure.

Parkside, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2020, is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature 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: Parkside

Gif of top stories of the week

Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing, a safe place where you can catch up on all the hottest hotel design and hospitality stories from the last couple of days. This week’s round-up includes our latest hotel review and your chance to join us for free at Hotel Designs LIVE in May…

Gif of top stories of the week

As we accelerate past the anniversary when the UK was placed under its first national lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak, I am reminded of how unpredictable events can impact the way in which hospitality and hotel design is perceived.

This week, when hosting our latest roundtable (to be published next month) the conversation turned towards how, despite the hospitality industry being inherently hygienic and clean, the perception around cleanliness is the new challenge designers and hospitality professionals are managing.

Although we don’t have all the answers just yet, one way to reassure the post-corona consumer is by highlighting exceptional design and examples of innovative hospitality – something that the editorial team at Hotel Designs feels strongly about. In addition to shining the spotlight on leading hotel design examples, we also need to amplify the raw conversations the industry is having right now in order to reopen for the post-pandemic world. Cue the return of Hotel Designs LIVE in May, which will welcome world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to speak about the real challenges our industry is facing in 2021.

Until May, the editorial team is here to serve you the latest news and features in international hotel design and hospitality – starting with this round-up of the top stories published this week.

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Read more.

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C.is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems.

Read more.

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards – Hotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up.

Read more. | Participate.

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

Atlas Concorde interview image

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, Hotel Designs gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concordejoins us to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability.

Read more.

What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

Hommés Studio crafts its own identity with precision and challenges existing interior boundaries. From its natural look and textures to highly polished and coloured versions, all seating collections are a tribute to craftsmanship, honouring the art of creating soulful pieces with handmade techniques…

The heart of every home depends on its owners. Some consider the living room, others the entryway, and still others the dining room. One thing is for sure, the seating composition wanders throughout the space creating a welcoming and functional space. A sectional here, an armchair there, and a bench somewhere create a different vibe in the space. With a bit of creativity, a perfect collection of chairs, sofas, armchairs, and benches can transform any room for the better.

1) ARMCHAIRS

From vintage armchairs, retro armchairs, mid-century modern armchairs to more modern and contemporary armchairs, this is the best collection to incorporate in any interior space.

Image credit: Hommés Studio

AJUI Armchair

Ajui Armchair is a luxury armchair that features an artsy interpretation of a cactus and a swivel base. This accent armchair is a conceptual piece and the perfect choice for a modern living area.

MAX Armchair

Max Armchair is a mid-century style armchair. This armchair brings details from the old days to contemporary design. Its shape and exquisite materials make it an outstanding accent armchair.

ALICE Armchair

Alice Armchair is a luxury armchair composed of exquisite materials. This eclectic armchair is perfect for a contemporary interior design project. It features the most comfortable materials that anyone can ask for in an armchair.

2) CHAIRS

The dining room is a showcase of every house because it is the center of meetings with family and friends. Sometimes it is not easy to choose the perfect furniture for your interior, but HOMMÉS Studio has a suitable chairs collection.

SCILLE Chair

Scille Dining Chair is a luxury armchair that features an asymmetric seat composed of curvilinear panels that intersect each other. An original and comfortable chair, ideal for a contemporary dining room project.

PINA Chair

Pina Dining Chair is an art deco-style armchair whose shape provides the best comfort for guests. Perfect for modern dining room projects that aim for a classic-chic vibe.

KARMEN Chair

Karmen Dining Chair adds instant class and contemporary chic to the home. A genuinely stunning seat, the velvet palette works well alongside creamy marble tables.

3) DAYBEDS

Seating Collection_23

Image credit: Hommés Studio

Daybeds are pieces of furniture that can be used for sitting, reclining, and sleeping. They feature fabric or leather cushions, as well as both curved and more streamlined silhouettes. The small size also makes them a versatile piece for narrow spaces.

VOLARE I and II Daybed

Volare Daybed is a luxury daybed. It features an ergonomic shape and exquisite details. It will provide the accent piece to a modern master bedroom or luxurious living room project.

JAGGER Daybed

Jagger Chaise Longue is a luxury chaise longue that aims to relax the body and mind and break routines, ideal for contemporary garden designs.

4) SOFAS

The sofa is the main element of living room furniture.  Find everything from shiny, contemporary sofas to cozy corner sofas and much more. All products offer extraordinary comfort and excellent.

GYVATÉ MODULAR Sofa

Gyvaté Modular Sofa is a sectional sofa with an elegant curvy silhouette. With an iconic aesthetic, this contemporary design piece allows a customizable composition to be a feature in a high-end interior design project. This curved sofa is the perfect place for entertaining as its incomparable shape enlivens your luxury living room.

LUNARYS Sofa

Lunarys Sofa is a contemporary style sofa that features a glamorous aesthetic look. It is an outstanding sofa that amazes everyone with its powerful presence. A stunning piece that disrupts commonly seen shapes, transitioning its admirers to another dimension.

AJUI Sofa

Ajui Sofa is a modern rounded sofa that combines an artsy interpretation of a cactus shape with the comfort expected from a luxury sofa. The perfect choice for a modern living room design or a unique retail project.

5) BENCHES

Hommés Studio’s wide selection of benches spans the modern design spectrum combining the perfect materials with bold shapes and colours.

CADIZ Bench

Cadiz Bench combines bold shapes with extreme attention to comfort. A Memphis style inspired bench, ideal for any modern seating area.

FIFIH Bench

Fifih Bench is the perfect luxury bench for a minimalist and modern interior architecture project. Elements from the past mixed with a futuristic vision.

MOA Bench

Moa Bench is an accent bench. Its base and seat express a solemn geometry that accent a modern identity in any contemporary interior design project.

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

Main image credit: Hommés Studio

Atlas Concorde interview image

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, editor Hamish Kilburn gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, joins Kilburn to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability…

Atlas Concorde interview image

With each collection that Altas Concorde launches – from the Boost Pro Collection to the colourful Prism Collection and Marvel Shine – the Italian ceramic surface brand solidifies its place as one of the leading names in surface design. Aside from launching sensational products, though, I want to investigate the research and development that goes into each new line. To do this, I have caught up with Matteo Martini, UK & Northern European Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, who’s passion for innovation and stylish surfaces is unmatched.

Hamish Kilburn: Welcome Matteo… Let’s get straight into it. We recently published a piece about Atlas Concorde’s Prism Collection. Can you tell us more about how you came up with these 13 colours?

Matteo Martini: Prism is the latest project born from the collaboration (began in 2018 with the capsule collection  Canone Inverso) between Atlas Concorde and Piero Lissoni, famous Italian archistar with a long-lasting career within furniture and design.

The concept behind Prism comes from Lissoni’s imagination and his great sensitivity to colour variation: the hues of the range represent the light’s refractions while crossing a prism, going to create a rainbow.

Colour is a key part of our lives, conveys our emotions, our moods, it influences the way we approach to everyday experiences, it defines the spaces that we choose to live in. Prism combines sic neutral colours (Cloud, Cotton, Cord, Suede, Fog and Graphite) with seven bright, characterful and contemporary ones, perfect for wall application in both the 50x120cm ceramic wall tile version and the 120x278cm large porcelain slabs in 6mm thickness.

Prism offers to architects and designers the chance to transform their feelings into actual architectural surfaces that convey emotions, granting soul and character to residential and commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: We’re seeing huge demand at the moment for the ‘imperfect’ surface; a rough, industrial-looking product that still performs exceptionally. What challenges do brands like Atlas Concorde face when delivering such a look?

MM: Porcelain tiles are a tactile product defined equally by colour, graphics and surface, which together create its soul. In the last few years we have witnessed the massive spread of digital printing technology which on one hand has enormously scaled up the decorative possibilities, but on the other one it has put at a disadvantage the tactile aspect of the products, which have become progressively more flat and bi-dimensional.

Atlas Concorde has chosen to take the opposite route, studying natural and imperfect surfaces and faithfully recreating them.
Texture and structure are key components to give depth and integrity to the porcelain tiles. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to invest in research on new and alternative sources of inspiration.

Let me explain better: for the Aix collection, inspired by a limestone stone typical of the French region of Provence (Aix en Provence), our laboratory has recovered an original 18th century flooring, studying into details all its imperfections and the wear and tear effects that make this material so unique and fascinating.
To create Raw, a scraped plaster/concrete effect, our technicians and researchers went scouting for worn out surfaces among the historic and fascinating buildings of Milan.

This is certainly an expensive and time consuming activity, but we do believe it is crucial in order to differentiate our products and make them unique. Also, what makes the surface so important isn’t only the aesthetic appeal, but also the technical aspect. The experience gained on the contract market enabled us to exploit our extensive research to develop highly technical surfaces that meet the anti-slip performance requirements demanded by designers around the world, including the Pendulum Test (PTV) according to British Standards, essential for combining design and safety in commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Marvel Collection has, in Matteo’s words ‘set the standard’ for marble-looking porcelain tiles. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Your products are ideal for all areas of the hotel, but for me it’s really exciting to see them specified in the bathroom, a space where personality has been lacking in the past. How important is colour becoming in the bathroom?

MM: The bathroom is a fundamental part of the customer experience within a hotel, and its design can indeed have a huge impact on the guests and their stay.

Over the last few years we have developed worldwide partnerships with major international chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Radisson and we have seen how a successful refurb project of the bedrooms, and especially of the bathrooms, actually translates into an increase of positive reviews on the most famous sites (Booking.comHotels.com), by as much as 30 per cent. The main challenge for designers is to combine colours and trends into durable, if not timeless, concepts. To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream, inspired by the world of natural marble, which combine neutral and elegant colours along white and grey hues, with some more lively shades ranging from red to gold, from green to blue.

The neutral colours, typical of the prestigious natural stones like Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Vagli, Bianco Covelano and Grigio Carnico, are a perfect background to elegant spaces with a classic and timeless look, that acquire character and freshness through the use of colour for niches, feature walls and vanity units.

The most successful accent colours are the variegated Agata Azul and the electric blue Ultramarine, inspired by precious stones such as Agate Stone and Lapis Lazuli.

Recently we are seeing a throwback of warmer shades, which are absolute protagonists in our Boost Pro collection, concrete effect in 6 colours, and Marvel Shine collection, a marble look inspired by prestigious Italian stones like Apuano marble, widely used by Michelangelo, and Calacatta Macchia Vecchia.

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Let’s talk about sustainability. What interesting materials go into your surfaces?

MM: Sustainability is a key aspect for the future of our planet and the tile business makes no exception: accurate sourcing of raw materials, responsible energy use and recycling are extremely important aspects to us. Let’s not forget that porcelain tiles are a man-made product manufactured with natural raw materials, like clays and feldspars. Atlas Concorde uses 100 per cent eco-friendly raw materials, carefully selected not only for their quality but also for the environmental impact of their sourcing, with the whole supply chain strictly adhering to our environmental policy and code of conduct.

Our manufacturing plant in Fiorano Modenese is completely energy self-sufficient, thanks to a cogeneration unit that allows us to recover the heat produced during the firing process and reuse it for the dryers; furthermore, we completely reuse the waste water produced during the manufacturing process and our packaging is entirely made of recycled and recyclable material.

Most of our products have up to 40 per cent of pre-consumer recycled materials and contribute to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental certification system for green buildings and all our production facilities are PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) certified.

The latest project that we started a couple of years ago is the construction of a completely automatic warehouse that will reduce CO2 emissions by 60 per cent and will be fully operational in the summer.

HK: Surfaces are becoming much more creative thanks to advancements in manufacturing technology. What’s the latest tech development that our readers should be aware of?

MM: The hottest trend in the tile industry is definitely large formats, not only for wall and floor application but also for new and alternative destinations of use like kitchen worktops, tables, furniture, vanity units, etc.

Atlas Concorde decided a few years ago to invest in the latest cutting-edge technologies launching a dedicated brand, ‘Atlas Plan’, for large format porcelain slabs with different looks, sizes and thicknesses.

We offer solutions for wall cladding in 6 mm thickness (1200×2780 and 1600×3200 mm) but also not rectified slabs in 1620×3240 mm in 6, 12 and 20 mm thickness that are gaining popularity in the UK.

This new technology allows us to offer a versatile solution in terms of look (concrete, stone, marble, etc) with outstanding performances: Atlas Plan is stain resistant, scratch resistant, easy to clean, unabsorbent, ideal for infinite applications in every hospitality project, from table and counter tops in bars and restaurants to vanity units and striking feature walls in hotel bathrooms and reception areas.

But the real deal are two new patented technologies, that we’ve called ‘Natura Vein Tech’ and ‘Natura Body Tech’.

The Natura-Vein™ Tech technology offers the possibility of industrially recreating the typical veining of a natural material such as marble. Through-body vein technology thus increases the freedom of design for designers because it makes the marble look even more realistic, lending each project continuity of surface, edge and corners.

The Natura-Body™ Tech technology, on the other hand, reproduces the aesthetics of natural stones both on the surface and in the body of the slab. Material continuity between the surface and edges of full-body porcelain slabs is an aesthetic advantage that meets the highest design standards, both indoors and outdoors.

These are ground-breaking technologies that open up a new world of possibilities to architects and designers and we are very proud to announce that these exciting products are readily available on stock in the UK thanks to our distribution partners.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

HK: Can you describe the brand’s attitude in three words? 
MM: Innovation, quality and passion

HK: What surface trend do you hope will never return?
MM:
Terrazzo…it reminds me of my grandma’s kitchen floor. I loved my grandma with all my heart and cherished her delicious pasta but her kitchen was awful!

HK: What’s the biggest pitfall designers fall down when specifying surfaces?
MM:
Anti-slip regulations are a tricky topic, in particular in hospitality projects as the requirements change depending on the destination of use. We are the experts, ask us for help and advice!

HK: Can you give us a sentence to tease us on what next to expect from Atlas Concorde?
MM: We have the ambition to be perceived not only as a tile manufacturer but more and more as a design brand and our next project will be a further confirmation of this ambition.

Image caption: A public area featuring Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas ConcordeHK: What advice would you give to designers who are working on a tight budget?

Think about the visual impact that surfaces that cover walls and floors have within your projects, compared to other products.. Choosing the right surfaces is crucial for creating and defining the concept,  the look and the identity of the space we want to develop.

Quite often the choice of surfaces is left to the final stages of the project specification, when a significant amount of the budget has already been allocated for furniture, sanitaryware and bathroom fittings, with the real risk of compromising the final result. My advice is therefore to think ahead, giving surfaces the role, the importance and the budget they deserve.
Atlas Concorde is working along these lines by developing a ‘total look’ concept, which forsees the use of ceramic surfaces for furniture, tables, counter tops, washbasins, vanity units, promoting a whole and complete design package.

This said, we are also able to offer more cost-effective options with the Atlas Concorde Solution contract range which, thanks to some more streamlined series, offers a wide range of products at more competitive prices, without compromising on quality.

HK: Your latest collection, Marvel Shine, is said to ‘take ceramic marble tiles beyond replication to a whole new level.’ How does it achieve this?

MM: For years now the Marvel collections have set the standard for marble-looking porcelain tiles. To further expand the range, Atlas Concorde sought out the assistance of SAVEMA, Italian leader in the marble industry, which made available all its experience for the selection of the purest and most precious white marbles to be used as a source of inspiration for this collection.

With Marvel Shine Atlas Concorde have achieved an unprecedented level of authenticity, going beyond replication. Marvel Shine is inspired by the white marble of Italian artistic tradition, exploring new surfaces that are unique in their purity, color, and brightness. The range is made of four light tones inspired by the finest varieties of Calacatta and Statuario marbles and distinguished by a bright white background.

The polished finish brings out the luminosity of the tile and reproduces the slight unevenness of the original marble. Ideal for commercial spaces, the matt finish offers an excellent technical performance. The new silk finish, on the other hand, gives ceramic tiles an unprecedented tactile sensation: a silky, soft effect that also reflects the light subtly.

With its exclusive technology, Marvel Shine offers the possibility to replicate the traditional bookmatched pattern of natural marble with 16 slabs in the size 750×1500 mm to create compositions measuring 6×3 meters. Furthermore, the 1200×2780 mm and 1600×3200 mm large formats offer the continuity of the veins from one slab to the next to reproduce the effect of a single block of marble.

Atlas Concorde was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, 2021. Read more about the virtual event here. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11 2021. 

Main image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Product watch: Bette introduces BetteEve bath

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Bette introduces BetteEve bath

The new BetteEve from Bette is said to create a “harmonious bathing experience for two”, and is available in 400 colours…

With the new BetteEve bath collection, the organic, ellipse shape makes its way into the bathroom. Inspired by nature, Bette has made the transition between the edge and the inner body of the bath silky and smooth. Made from durable glazed titanium-steel, it is as if the gentle force of water has smoothed the material over millions of years

At the beginning of the 17th century, the astronomer, Johannes Kepler discovered the elliptical shape of the planetary orbits. The Baroque artists and architects enthusiastically took up this discovery and celebrated the elegant and balanced shape of the ellipse in buildings, parks, jewellery and picture frames. For BetteEve, designer Dominik Tesseraux (Tesseraux+Partner) has interpreted this form in a modern way to create harmony and sensuality in a glazed titanium-steel bath collection.

The aim was to achieve a perfect ellipse, and also to give the impression that the bath had been smoothly hollowed out by running water. Bette was able to achieve the fine curves and jointless transitions in the extremely hard material because of its expertise in the forming and enamelling of steel.

The BetteEve, which is 100 per cent recyclable, is a natural and comfortable bath, that is also comfortable for two to bathe together, because the ellipse has two focal points. The units are a generous 180 x 100 cm, with symmetrical back rests on both sides, a central waste outlet and the option to include sound insulation.

Three versions and more than 400 colours

BetteEve is available in three versions: a freestanding bath, an oval built-in bath and a built-in bath with a rectangular surround – and all come with a 30 year warranty which guarantees the quality of the material and of Bette’s manufacturing in Germany.

The freestanding BetteEve is eye-catching, especially when chosen in one of Bette’s many colour options. It is available in over 400 colours, including matt white, glittering midnight and flattering blue satin.

The rectangular built-in BetteEve allows flush-mounted, integrated installation as the glazed titanium-steel forms the surface around the bath. It is also particularly easy to clean, as any excess water can be wiped off into the bath.

The BetteEve oval built-in bath can be almost completely integrated into the bathroom furniture, as it has an extremely fine, 20 mm rim.

Bette 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.

Image credit: Bette

Product watch: Introducing Rilievo by Gessi & HBA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Introducing Rilievo by Gessi & HBA

Taking a trip down memory lane – and celebrating timelessness in all its glory, Gessi first presented Rilievo, a design by world-renowned architecture and design company Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA),  in 2018 at International Design Week. Today, the faucets are as relevant and impressive now as they were then. Hotel Designs explores…

Magisterially joining curves and straight lines, round and squared geometries, Rilievo marks an unprecedented design attainment in terms of style, flexibility and comfort. Its striking, and at a time reassuring design, together with its studied tactile look, evoke visual sensations that tell the emotions of feeling at ease and at home– everywhere in the world.

The frenetic rhythm of work and daily life has compressed the natural dimension of the living space, Gessi engaged in creating a bathroom furnishings collection that inspires sensations of purity and wellbeing, and be able to organise the domestic scenery in an orderly and harmonious way so to be beneficial to the body and mind.

HBA (Hirsh Bedner Associates), a leading hospitality design studio, was involved in the task of designing a collection inspired by neatness, clarity and harmony people demands from a private space of wellness.

If harmony, based on order, is dictated by a mathematical or geometric ratio between parts, the maximum expression of purity of form is – according to HBA’s intuition, the enrolment of a circle into a square. This geometric and architectural figure has been greatly evocative through time and across continents and cultures.

The circle evokes eternal movement; the square symbolises eternity and immutability. The coupling of these two geometries becomes the dynamic image of purity: the transition towards perfection and equilibrium. A circle inscribed into a square is the theme that Rilievo by HBA for Gessi brilliantly brings to life in a design that gives gracing of touch and sight and evocation of body and soul equilibrium centre-stage in the bathroom, in a new balance between style, emotion and functionality.

Rilievo in ambiance bathroom setting

Image credit: Gessi

The concept of the circle inscribed in the square is taken up both in plan and in profile on all perspectives on the product. In plan, the rounded body on the back of the tap is inscribed in the square of its base. Sideways the same pattern is repeated on the circular cut of the lower profile framed in the square linearity of the body of the tap; finally, the circle inscribed in the square pattern is presented in an elegantly discreet way by the round detail embossed under the square end of the handle.

Rilievo has been conceived to be simple to install, use, and maintain; these “Good Design” features have been devised expressly for the world of hospitality.

The hybrid nature of the design with its encounter of curvy and straight, makes Rilievo match perfectly with both round and square shapes and fit perfectly in extremely diverse environments, be them minimalistic or decorative. The great aesthetic versatility of Rilievo is a major plus for a product conceived for functional and elegant bathrooms in the world of hospitality as well as in private residences.

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

Product watch: Classical elegant bathroom collection with a modern look

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Classical elegant bathroom collection with a modern look

The New Classic is a new bathroom collection by Laufen designed under the creative leadership of superstar designer Marcel Wanders…

Engaged to re-interpret classical styles using the material SaphirKeramik, every item within The New Classic range included in the ensemble brings together the designer’s flair and creativity with Laufen’s mastery of raw materials. The New Classic range encompasses washstands, washbasin bowls, toilets, a bidet and bathtub, faucets, mirrors and accessories, as well as furniture.

Laufen commissioned the Dutch designer Marcel Wanders to create The New Classic in view of the outstanding reputation he has established worldwide with his extravagant style and innovative use of materials and technology. For the Swiss bathroom maker, he had all the credentials required to fashion a new contemporary design language utilising its SaphirKeramik material. The outcome is characterised by soft, gentle feminine curves reminiscent of the opening petals of a flower, alongside angular, masculine elements. In view of the tension generated by this approach, the distinctive presence of The New Classic is regarded as unprecedented in the sanitary ware segment.

According to Marcel Wanders, “For the first time, the ultra-modern SaphirKeramik has been moulded into a classic and iconic form. This lightweight yet resilient material gave us the unique opportunity to celebrate the beauty of fine porcelain with our elegant, soft lines.”

While drawing inspiration from classical forms, Wanders was also eager to embrace a modern sense of style and the contemporary desire for functionality. His take on Neoclassicism, expressed here in The New Classic, maintains a consistent focus on indulgence, intimacy, humanity and everyday utility, while calling to mind the poetry and romance of bygone times.

Multi-talented

To allow bathrooms to be fitted out completely with The New Classic, Laufen has assembled a very broad and versatile collection. At the washstand, countertop washbasins with an integral shelf and widths of 600, 800 and 1200 mm, a 500 mm-wide hand washbasin and a 550 mm-wide washbasin bowl cater for a variety of scenarios.

Incidentally, the Laufen washbasin bowl presents a minor masterpiece: SaphirKeramik is renowned for its extremely fine walls with a thickness of around three millimetres, but Laufen has nonetheless succeeded in developing a bowl with an integral overflow and outlet – providing the ability to safely retain water in the bowl.

The washstands share their design vocabulary with the bathtub that forms an integral part of the collection. Its generous dimensions of 1900 x 900 x 580mm not only grab attention, but also make a very inviting impact. Among the irresistible arguments in favour of a long soak in the tub are its ergonomic, back-friendly form and the skin-soothing material Sentec from which it is made.

The characteristic aesthetic of the range is likewise reflected by the wall-hung bidet and easy-care, rimless toilet bowls. The WC options encompass wall-hung, floorstanding and close-coupled toilets. 

Bathroom furniture with a classical theme

Laufen has placed an equally distinctive set of bathroom furniture alongside the ceramic ware of The New Classic collection. Its moulded door panels lend a classical touch to the understated design. For those who wish to add a further classical flourish and extra stability, the furniture is also available with gently curved legs.

The set includes vanity units for both the countertop and vanity washbasins and the washbasin bowls, as well as a roomy tall cabinet for keeping the bathroom tidy. The choice of finishes for the furniture comprises a dark real oak veneer, gloss white and matt grey coatings.

An especially elegant option is the walnut vanity stand, which is compatible with the countertop washbasins. It also serves as a towel rail, which is a welcome feature in any hotel or private bathroom.

Elaborate attention to detail

To match the collection, Laufen has affectionately fashioned a range of accessories from SaphirKeramik. Among the items are a wall-mounted shelf, soap dish, toothbrush holder, toilet brush holder and an elegant oval mirror with the novel distinction of being framed in SaphirKeramik.

A comprehensive collection of premium-quality faucets puts the finishing touch to The New Classic bathroom. Their characteristic design language embraces conical elements, a distinctive groove and a dividing line below the slender handle, and slim spouts. From a technical perspective, the polished chrome faucets for the washstand, bathtub, shower and bidet represent state of the art. In combination, the delicate organic aesthetics of the ceramic elements and the rigorous geometry of the furniture give rise to a Bohemian bathing environment that exudes a cosmopolitan, urban charm.

Laufen is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Laufen

smart shower from Roca

Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

Keeping in mind that no shower experience is the same, Roca has developed a smart shower to revolutionise this daily routine. Let’s take a look at the brand’s new, sleek and simple smart shower…

smart shower from Roca

The latest innovative shower launched by Roca uses smart technology to provide a truly unique showering experience. With its customisable settings and ease of use, the Smart Shower is a beneficial addition to any bathroom design.

The intelligent control has a sleek, simple interface and allows up to three users within the same household to pre-set their desired settings. They can set their shower duration, maximum temperature and flow rates all based on their own individual needs.  The interface features a colour LCD display and touch sensitive controls with soft turn dials to ensure it is extremely easy to use and control. The Smart Shower system can install two or three outlets including a Raindream showerhead, handset and Puzzle Square Jets. If homeowners select the three outlet option, the clever design allows two of them to work simultaneously.

One of the smart benefits to the digital shower is that it can be controlled via an app. This means that users can simply use their phone or tablet from a bedside to conveniently turn on the shower and activate the warm-up function. The app also helps with energy and water saving, enabling users to monitor their water and energy consumption, to run your shower more efficiently.

For young families, the shower is equipped with a child safety mode so children can only turn the shower off and also allows for the control of flow, temperature and duration to provide peace of mind. This is reinforced by the temperature monitoring system which measures the temperature to eliminate the risk of scalding.

The Smart Shower solution also includes a Legionella cleaning programme to eliminate bacteria without the use of chemical products and a cleaning program to remove any impurities.

“It may seem like a luxury, but the Smart Shower is not just for convenience,” comments David Bromell Head of Marketing at Roca. “In addition to providing a luxe showering experience, the intuitive system will actively work to reduce water wastage, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for the bathroom design.”

Roca 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: Roca

Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

Specifiers can easily achieve unique designs with the versatility of LVT, from combining colour and pattern combinations, to working with flooring manufacturers to produce bespoke creations, says Gemma Passantino, Design Services Manager at Amtico

Flooring is one of many products that can bring a touch of style and quality to hospitality environments, and opting for products that offer design flexibility opens up a world of possibilities. While the word ‘unique’ is often overused, it isn’t uncommon for it to appear in a client’s brief. However, instantly reflecting a brand and its desired aesthetic can be challenging! So, it’s important to work with a product and company that can help produce designs that will make a hotel stand out.

“We also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection.”

Bespoke designs can be created in many ways and as a British flooring manufacturer we offer a variety of services from made-to-order, completely unique concepts and creations, to tailoring our Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) products and laying patterns to produce custom floor designs. Working with a manufacturer ensures that a client’s requirements for acoustic backing or other technical specifications can also be taken into account. In addition to our service offering, we also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection; these exclusive laying patterns make it easier for specifiers to select stunning floor designs and colour combinations.

The expertise of a manufacturer’s in-house creative and CAD teams is invaluable, and its advanced knowledge of the product range and cutting capabilities is essential, as these can be utilised to create an intricate design or feature floor area. Whether it’s an eye-catching emblem and splash of colour, or a bespoke laying pattern, a manufacturer can also advise on product choice and suitable finishes to fulfil a project’s requirements.

The chosen colours, textures, and patterns set the mood and prepare guests for their stay – and flooring ticks all the boxes, whether it’s a colourful, patterned floor design that enhances the vibrancy of a hotel bar, or a classic Parquet in Oak hues for a home-from-home feel in a bedroom. Consider the many roles that flooring plays – does it reflect the desired mood, do the colours complement the textures in the room in question? And does the laying pattern make a visual impact and guide guests through an area?

Of course, achieving this relies on the flexibility, adaptability and durability of the flooring material. While natural woods and stones have their place, selecting Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) is a forward-thinking decision for a hotel; after all, they can provide the shapes, angles/geometry and scale needed to optimise a space, while remaining incredibly durable and meeting VOC requirements for wellbeing and air quality. However, you can combine the charm of woods and stones with the unrivalled performance of LVT. For instance, we have launched Amtico Form, a new nature-inspired collection that recreates the tactile beauty and authentic textures of natural materials. Designed in Britain by our in-house creative team, the 36 Woods and Stones harness the natural colours and variations that can be seen in real marble or timber.

Ever-popular, LVT also provides complete resilience and design freedom while withstanding heavy traffic and resisting scuffs, scratches and stains. Importantly, our LVT products are made with recycled content and offer the same aesthetic years after installation, all while maintaining its integrity. So, it is no surprise that it is rising above ceramics and timber to become the flooring material of choice in hospitality.

Interior design trends are slowly moving away from simple, minimalistic schemes to more considered and characterful looks that enhance the mood of guests and provide the ultimate experience. As hotels re-open, we foresee a greater emphasis on wayfinding and zoning being incorporated naturally into designs with flooring choices, and with this we will see even more experimentation, with distinctive patterns and bold colours.

The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, however, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of the hotel and its guests, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort.

Amtico is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday Deal. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Pacific Grain, DC338 Parquet Small | Image credit: Amtico

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

Bathroom brand Ideal Standard has introduced its brand-new, design-led range, Atelier Collections, created in collaboration with renowned Italian studio PS+A

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

The premium latest premium collections by Ideal Standard look back to its heritage while shaping the bathrooms of the future. The products bring together the unmatched skills of Palomba Serafinia Associati (PS+A), through its founder Roberta Palomba, with Ideal Standard’s broad manufacturing expertise. 

The ranges draw inspiration from iconic Ideal Standard products of the past to create exciting new collections for the present. Roberto Palomba, a master of international design with over 25 years of experience in design innovations for the bathroom, has created unique collections that include an exclusive range of ceramics, brassware and furniture. The bold designs work in harmony to allow complete customisation on every project.

At the centre of the new collections is the Conca range, which nods towards the iconic Ideal Standard basin, offering stunning minimal designs. The Blend range of WCs has been created to perfectly complement these basins. Both Conca and Blend are inspired by Ideal Standard’s leading product lines from the past, reinvigorating the brand as a leader in design.  

Core to the Atelier collections is colour. PS+A have created a new, bold colour palette, some of which draws on colour influences that can be found in Ideal Standard’s design heritage, and others which reflect and define new colour trends. Launching in March, the colours have been applied to the Ipalyss range of super slim washbasins, designed by Robin Levien. Incredibly striking in colour and design, new shapes and sizes are also being introduced, creating an extremely durable and versatile range, made possible by Ideal Standard’s Diamatec technology.

Additionally, there is also new brassware, with two new lines of mixer taps, Check and Joy. They are available in chrome and PVD finishes to offer a stylish simplicity.

Commenting on the new collections, Roberto Palomba said: We are particularly proud of the results of our partnership with Ideal Standard. We maintain a very simple approach for our creations: quality paired with intuitive design that also keeps an eye to the past, while ensuring the levels of practicality, purity and elegance meet the needs of modern society.”

Torsten Türling, Chief Executive Officer at Ideal Standard added: “Throughout our history, we’ve worked closely with the leading designers of their era. Master designers have a unique ability to capture the essence of the time and translate that into designs that shape the evolution of society and influence the culture of design beyond the bathroom. This essence of design is what we wanted to capture again and this is reflected in Atelier Collections.”

The Atelier Collections will be available exclusively through independent retailers, with Ideal Standard committing significant investment into showroom and marketing support for the collections.

David Barber, Managing Director for Ideal Standard UK and Ireland said: “The Atelier Collections mark a new era in Ideal Standard’s design journey and we understand the importance of these ranges for our retail partners. Not only are we committing to a consumer advertising campaign to drive footfall to showrooms, but we are also working with retailers to provide support and tailor-made packages to ensure they are fully equipped to serve their customer base.”

Ideal Standard is one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Ideal Standard

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event AwardsHotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up…

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on May 11 to serve up a series of online seminars with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This time last year, Hotel Designs, which is known for organising exceptional face-to-face networking events, made the decision to adapt its delivery in order to adhere to new guidelines and restrictions that were put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained Katy Phillips, publisher, Hotel Designs. “It was during this confusing time when the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE was born. Thanks to the support of the industry we love to serve, the event has been able to amplify important topics and continue to be the bridge between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers worldwide.”

“In order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

In what will be the brand’s fourth online conference, the topics explored throughout the day will include understanding the new era of lifestyle, bathrooms beyond practical spaces, art outside the frame and how workspace trends will impact hotel design. “Due to the flexible concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, we have the luxury of being extremely selective when deciding upon the topics for each event,” explains editor and content curator for the event, Hamish Kilburn. “Each seminar, therefore, will amplify meaningful solutions around areas of design and hospitality that are drastically evolving – and in order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we have called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.”

Click here to secure your complimentary ticket for the online event (designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free!)

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.

The agenda for the day and confirmed speakers (so far) are:

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf 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 guestroom inside Alila Hotel

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

With the opening of  Alila Napa Valley in St. Helena, Hyatt, which arrived with its first property in 1957, has officially opened the brand’s 1,000th hotel worldwide. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Marking the expansion of Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle Alila brand portfolio with the brand’s second property in the Americas, Alila Napa Valley offers guests crafted luxury, innovative design, and bespoke experiences in one of the world’s most famous wine regions. The 68-key, adults-only restorative retreat is surrounded by the pristine Home Vineyards of the Beringer Estate and features an outdoor pool overlooking adjacent vineyards and distant mountains, a seasonally driven restaurant and bar with a local, sustainable menu and Spa Alila and Fitness Centre with transformative, customised treatments.

Founder Jay Pritzker purchased the first Hyatt hotel in 1957 with a new vision for hospitality, built around people. Since then, Hyatt’s purpose to care for people so they can be their best has driven groundbreaking hotel designs, the award-winning World of Hyatt guest loyalty program and strategic brand acquisitions. Today, this milestone reinforces Hyatt’s continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers, and owners.

“Hyatt’s thoughtful journey to 1,000 hotels has been grounded in listening, growing, and innovating along the way to meet guest, member, customer and owner needs,” said Jim Chu, Hyatt’s executive vice president of global franchising and development. “Today, we remain focused on expanding our global footprint and building our business based on where we can best extend care and make a positive impact on our guests and the communities in which we operate. With a strong pipeline of new openings and developments, Hyatt continues to offer differentiated experiences that will cater to the growing demand for leisure destinations our guests are seeking as they get back to travel.”

Planned 2021 Hyatt property opening highlights

In 2021, Hyatt plans to welcome several properties to its portfolio in key global markets. Highlights across brands include:

Alila

The Alila brand features luxury hotels in unique locations, distinguished by innovative eco-design and a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Alila means “surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of Alila hotels and the impression guests feel when they stay as a guest. alilahotels.com

Andaz

Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury lifestyle hotels weave the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. Every Andaz hotel is a unique expression of the culture that surrounds it and enables guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity. andaz.com

Destination by Hyatt

Destination by Hyatt is a diverse collection of independent hotels, resorts and spacious residences that are individual at heart yet connected by a commitment to embody the true spirit of each location. Ranging from upper-upscale to luxury, each property is purposefully crafted to be a place of discovery through immersive experiences, authentic design, and genuine service. destinationhotels.com

Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatt hotels celebrate the iconic in small details and magnificent moments. Drawing inspiration from each destination, Grand Hyatt hotels provide superior service and signature experiences within a backdrop of dramatic architecture, world-class restaurants, luxury spas, and spectacular meeting and event spaces. grandhyatt.com

Hyatt Centric

Hyatt Centric is a brand of lifestyle hotels located in prime destinations around the world that inspire discovery for savvy, millennial-minded travelers with an adventurous spirit. Each Hyatt Centric hotel is in the heart of the action with passionately engaged team members always on-hand to serve up insider knowledge and provide local expertise. hyattcentric.com

Hyatt House / Hyatt Place

Hyatt House hotels are designed to welcome guests as extended stay residents. Apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living areas remind guests of the conveniences of home. Hyatt Place hotels offer a modern, comfortable, and seamless experience, combining style and innovation to create a casual hotel environment for today’s multi-tasking traveler. From the lobby to the guest rooms to in-hotel dining, every touchpoint is designed with the high value business traveler in mind. hyatthouse.com / hyattplace.com

Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency hotels are intuitively designed to make travel free from stress and filled with success. Conveniently located in urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries, Hyatt Regency hotels offer seamless experiences for any occasion, from energizing vacations to personalized, high-touch meetings. hyattregency.com

JdV by Hyatt

A community for the spirited, light-hearted, and young-at-heart, the JdV by Hyatt brand offers a collection of vibrant, independent hotels that are true reflections of the urban neighborhoods they call home. Each hotel provides an experience that is inclusive in spirit and space, welcoming all vibes, tribes and unique souls—effortlessly bringing people together with joy-driven service. jdvhotels.com

  • El Capitan Hotel (114 guestrooms) in Merced, Calif.
  • Mission Pacific Hotel (161 guestrooms) in Oceanside, Calif.
  • The Anndore House (113 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • The Walper Hotel (92 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • Additional JdV by Hyatt hotels expected to open in 2021 include Story Hotel Riddargatan (82 guestrooms) and Story Hotel Signalfabriken (83 guestrooms) in Stockholm, as well as Story Hotel Studio Malmö (96 guestrooms) in Malmö, Sweden

Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt hotels provide discerning, global travelers with a refined home-away-from-home. Guests of Park Hyatt hotels receive quietly confident and personalized service in an enriching environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt hotel is custom designed to combine sophistication with understated luxury. parkhyatt.com

Thompson Hotels

Founded in 2001, Thompson Hotels is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels with timelessly original properties in urban and resort destinations. Each hotel delivers a new take on modern luxury and tailored stays for guests with connections to world-class culinary offerings, arts and entertainment, and groundbreaking design. thompsonhotels.com

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

More than a compilation of independent, one-of-a-kind hotels, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand offers a thoughtful curation of stories worth collecting. Whether it’s a modern marvel, a historic gem or a revitalising retreat, each property provides thought-provoking environments and experiences that inspire for guests seeking elevated yet unscripted service when they travel. unboundcollectionbyhyatt.com

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

The final session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, focused the lens on wellness. Armed with the knowledge shared in the previous sessions, editor Hamish Kilburn invited world-renowned designers and architects to discuss how wellbeing should be sheltered in hotel design…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

The third Hotel Designs LIVE came to a fitting close on February 23 with a panel discussion to ultimately explore how designers and architects will create moments of bliss inside the luxury and lifestyle hotels of tomorrow. Maintaining a two-metre distance from conversations around hygiene and Covid-19, instead, the session was inspired by modern travellers’ demands for authentic, personalised and non-curated travel experiences.

To kickstart the session, editor Hamish Kilburn explained how he selected the panel. “Each and every person on the virtual sofa is challenging conventional wellness design,” he said,  “as well as opening up new opportunities in regards to hotel and hospitality experiences.”

On the panel: 

Wellness panel at Hotel Designs LIVE

Following introductions, Kilburn asked the panel about challenges and pitfalls to avoid when injecting wellness into urban environments and landscapes before he and the designers and architects scrutinised and made sense out of architecture and hospitality trends that will ultimately evolve the way in which wellness is perceived in hotel design. Within this discussion, as in previous sessions throughout the day, technology was arguably at the heart of each and every point and example that was made – whether that be stripping tech back to its bones or considering meaningful and intuitive lighting to enhance the guests’ experiences.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Franklite, Utopia Projects, Geberit, Atlas Concorde and Inspired By Design.

We have now published all highlights and recordings from Hotel Designs LIVE. These include: 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021, putting topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace under the spotlight. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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A marble like chandelier in dining room

Product watch: The Nova Collection by Heathfield & Co

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: The Nova Collection by Heathfield & Co

“The inspiration for the Nova Collection by Heathfield & Co has developed through conversation, in response to what is happening around us. At a time of such change, we have evolved our aesthetic to create designs with a new, conscious approach…”

A marble like chandelier in dining room

Reflecting on the brand’s product range, Heathfield & C0 highlight the design features that define them – glass production techniques that they know and have mastered over many years. Building on this foundation, the Nova Collection covers new ground.

Exploratory finishes reimagined on beautifully simple glass forms are complemented by solid brass details, with a fit and finish that elevates the design. The considered connection of these elements create the focus for their new collection of clean and contemporary lighting.

Milo and Cosmo

White glass grains disperse naturally across the surfaces of Heathfield’s new Milo and Cosmo pendants, forming irregular patterning unique to every piece. Evoking a sense of serenity, the cloud-like formations captivate, inspiring the imagination to detect individual shapes and outlines. In two considered forms, light diffuses softly though the glass, casting harmonious reflections across their surrounding space.

Orla

Image caption: Orla wall lights | Image credit: Heathfield & Co

Characterised by its uniquely speckled finish and curved form, Orla is an expressive creation. Metallic grains are protected in a cocoon formed by two layers of molten glass, in an artisanal technique practiced by talented glassmakers. As the metal reacts, the delicately tapered bowl shaped glass frames the volcanic frit on its surface, creating infinite variations of markings on each piece.

Main image caption: Orla 5 Light Horizontal pendant | Image credit: Heathfield & Co

What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene…

Throughout April, Hotel Designs will be putting both public areas and architecture & construction under its editorial spotlight in order to continue to define the point on international hotel design.

Public areas 

There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards public areas in the last year. The pandemic, and as a result of hygiene creeping up on the modern traveller’s agenda, designers and architects are now being presented with a challenge to make public areas safe without looking and feeling too clinical. With some brands merging into one – while others do everything they can to stand alone – boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key. But what will that look like? We will spend the month speaking to the designers, architects and heavy hitters in hospitality to find out.

Architecture & construction

2020 thought us on the editorial desk that there is no situation too extreme for modern architects and designers. Through the uncertain times of lockdown, the creative forces of leading studios around the world took their work home. One year since the Covid-19 outbreak forced us to change our approach to life as we knew it, the team at Hotel Designs are starting to see, through the renders that are being unveiled, how the cultural shift changed our designs (for the better). To celebrate the boundless possibilities in architecture, we will spend the month crediting the internationally acclaimed pioneers.

Main image credits: ZHA/Jestico + Whiles/AMA Design/Dorchester Collection

RAK Ceramics launches new bathroom and tiles book for 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RAK Ceramics launches new bathroom and tiles book for 2021

With new product launches coming on board in 2021, RAK Ceramics is publishing new editions of its Bathroom and Tiles Books, providing retailers with up-to-date marketing material at what is a busy and exciting time for the bathroom brand…

A much-used sales and reference tool for RAK Ceramics’ customers that they can pass on for free to their clients, the new brochures feature the latest ranges of sanitaryware, brassware, furniture and mirrors, including the design-led RAK-Petit range launched with compact bathrooms in mind. The Tile Book for 2021 features stunning new large format slabs and ceramic wall tiles, among the latest additions to the range.

A4 and full colour in format, both brochures feature inspiring room set photography to help bring the products to life, as well as full specification details to help make ordering simple. Available to download in PDF versions from the RAK Ceramics website, printed copies of both brochures are available from regional sales teams.

RAK Ceramics 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 credit: RAK Ceramics

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

With the UK road map, outlined by the government, showing signs of recovery, our columnist Joel Butler unveils the six discussion points that HIX Event will focus on when it welcomes the design community to London in November…

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

A week ago, I return home from dropping my daughter off at school for the first time in five months – a milestone that feels like that first daffodil head springing up in March. You knew it was going to happen, nevertheless the joy it brings is palpable. 

You would have thought that a week later the novelty would have passed. It hasn’t. So please excuse my fanciful prose and humour me, allow me to muse on the wonderful parallels between our literal and metaphorical Spring times. I’ve just had a coffee, you see, and as I said I’m not having to struggle through primary school math today. Here goes…

“And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance.” – Joel Butler, Co-Founder, HIX Event.

As the cherry blossom of a nation’s beer garden falls into its half-full pint glass, design showrooms bloom at once, Clerkenwell, Chelsea, Angel, Wigmore Street open up in unison. And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance. Ideas, real conversations, and even more ideas climb the walls like the illustration of Max’s room in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and then we celebrate the opening ceremony of a youthful summer, the full wonders of life sway and dance with a gentle breeze as all social restrictions cease.

I really can’t wait for the above things to happen across the UK, the rest of Europe and around the world. We’ve designed HIX around the way people are likely to feel once varying restrictions have been lifted from their lives and I’ll be exploring these topics within this column in the run up to the event in November.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for all and a truly horrific one for so many. The six discussions that define HIX 2021 will recognise this, often starting in a place of anxiety and darkness. With help from our speakers, contributors, and audience we’ll then journey towards opportunity and something better. 

Our six discussions focus on how hotels can develop and design around their guest’s feelings in a post-pandemic world. 

  • Financial Anxiety towards meaningful value 
  • Solitude towards shared experience 
  • Masks, gels and distance towards safety
  • Misinformation towards truth 
  • An existential office dilemma to the hotel as our brave new workplace 
  • Collective mental and physical health pressure towards self-compassionate design

Between now and November, we’ll invite discussion, debate, opinion and solutions to these challenges. For now, though, I’ll have another quick coffee before school finishes.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Falcon Contract Flooring images

Supplier feature: What makes a good flooring contractor?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Supplier feature: What makes a good flooring contractor?

How do you decide who is going to be your chosen Flooring contractor? How can you differentiate between the good, the bad and the best? Here are the questions you should ask yourself – and why Falcon Contract Flooring considers itself to be ‘the company to choose’…

Falcon Contract Flooring images

Certification & Licenses

Professional flooring Companies should have certification to prove they are as good as they say. What are the certificates to look out for and what do they mean?

ISO – International Organisation for Standardisation – according to their website states to “think of them as a formula that describes the best way of doing something.” That said, Falcon have obtained ISO 45001 for Health & Safety Management.

Working in construction, it is important to keep everyone safe and people’s safety is our priority. Falcon is also Safe Contractor approved, showing organisations we are a safe, stable and an ethical business to partner with.

Chas is recognised as the leading accreditation with over 2,000 clients and 32,500 contractors. Falcon have been certified by Chas for several years.

Caring for the environment is a major factor when choosing the right contractor. There are certifications to prove whether a company is green, and Falcon have achieved certificates in ISO 14001 – Environmental Management and are proud to be part of Carpet Recycling UK.

Every client is looking for the highest of standards and should only accept the very best. ISO 9001 – Quality Management System is another certification for Falcon. Considerate Constructors and Smas are also certificates we have attained. Construction line offer a grading system – Bronze, Silver and Gold, and Falcon have already gained the silver certificate. We are currently in the assessment stage of achieving gold.

Communication

A vital part of any partnership is communication. Any customer will need to have total trust with the contractor of choice to really bring their vision to life. At Falcon we offer complete transparency. We love working with likeminded businesses to avoid any grey areas! We work with people we like and people that like us. It is so important we are always open and honest.

With each project there is a dedicated project manager available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our dedicated, committed, and experienced team will be by your side, every step of the way. If a customer has any queries or needs advice, Falcon will happily assist.

We are here to build solid working relationships, making sure our customers always return. We believe having new flooring should be a journey and a nice one at that. Our 30-year relationship with Whitbread confirms this. Falcon have worked hard to become their chosen contractor and have proven time and again why nobody else does it like we do.

It is not just customers who Falcon build solid relationships with. Our procurement team work tirelessly with existing and new suppliers, finding those who are the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective but above all else that have the same values and culture as Falcon.

Experience

Every client wants a well experienced contractor, who knows what they are doing and will not let them down. More experience means better knowledge. Falcon started as two men in a van. More than 35 years later, two men have increased to more than 20 office staff with over 100 installers on the road. One van has increased to 50. Nationwide, it is hard to miss a Falcon van.

“The company has grown at a staggering rate over the last five years and achieved 675 per cent growth.”

Falcon has been built on family values, our Chairman Ian Hassall has been with the company since 1994 and officially took over ten years later. It is now led by sons Charles and Tom, who have been with the company for more than 15 years. The company has grown at a staggering rate over the last five years and achieved 675 per cent growth. The company grows but the values are still the same. The Board of directors know that this is a crucial enabler for future growth!

Nothing says experience better than awards. Falcon have won awards for the past three consecutive years: Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year – Midlands 2018, National Small Family Busines of the Year 2019 and most recently; Best Commercial Flooring Company – UK 2020.

If it were not for the hard work, committed experienced staff, and the continued support from our partners these prestigious awards would not be ours. It is something we are very proud of.

Flexibility

You have found your contractor of choice. You have chosen your product. You are all ready to go. But the contractor lets you down! You need to make sure you can find a contractor who can adapt to your timeframes of choice, who can attend a site anywhere in the country at any time of the day. Well, Falcon can and do.

Falcon understand the importance of hotels keeping rooms online 24-7 to cope with supply and demand, which is why we offer a reactive and maintenance service whereby we receive a call out, attend site, repair or replace the flooring in that area and have the area back online to be sold within a 24hr period. An offline / sold damaged room means a loss of revenue to any hotel. So, the faster the room / area can be repaired and back online the better for hotel revenue and customer satisfaction. This is a service that Travelodge, Whitbread and Marriott have taken full advantage of and Falcon continue to deliver every time. At the beginning of February, Falcon were assigned 300 hotel bedrooms throughout multiple sites across the UK. These needed to be complete in 10 days. We did not disappoint and completed every room with two days to spare.

As a nationwide flooring contractor, with installers based around the country, we can adapt to any time frame, day or night. Falcon also have a large client base within the healthcare sector so understand the need for sticking to timeframes and adapting at the last minute. If a hospital theatre has an emergency, Falcon will adjust accordingly. We do not disappoint and will work through the night if necessary, to make sure the job is finished to the highest of standard.

Process

A clear and precise process to minimalise mistakes or confusion is the key factor for any good client-contractor relationship.  From enquiry to free digital survey, Falcon have specialised surveyors who work closely with our estimating team who quantify the materials required, making sure there is as little waste as possible, helping both the environment and saving the customer money.

Our quote is honest and clear, detailing everything the job will entail. A detailed and personalised project pack is sent out which includes highlighted areas and a virtual reality based on what the projects could look like. All relevant contact details are also listed.

Quality checks are completed during and upon completion, with our flooring experts reviewing each final detail to make sure it is up to FCF standard. We like to deliver a vision, and to make you happy.

Testimonials

When choosing a flooring contractor, it is always important to see what other companies think. Sometimes, a sales pitch and the truth are not always the same thing. Like anything, a review is sometimes the thing that seals the deal. Falcon have testimonials from some of our top partners; Travelodge states: “[We have] been very impressed with service standards, speed of service and account management. Speed and customer service is second to none compared to any of our outsourced contractors.”

As well as working for well-known hospitality brands, Falcon have made good relationships with other construction companies. Novus Contractors said: “They are our nominated contractors. The office staff are brilliant, they have answers at their fingertips, no ‘umming and erring’, they have information instantly. The guys on site are absolutely superb, they have been known to start earlier and stay later to stick to the tight program. One of the best contractors we’ve ever worked with.”

Logos of creditations

Falcon Contract Flooring 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: Falcon Contract Flooring

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

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

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

To specify or not to specify, that was the initial question that editor Hamish Kilburn put forward to our expert panel of designers and lighting masterminds for our latest roundtable, in association with bespoke lighting brand Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design…

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

There are a plethora of well-documented benefits linked to selecting bespoke products in a luxury brief – it eliminates the need to flex or drastically change the interior design scheme, for starters. Bespoke is therefore, in many if not all scenarios, the best and most preferred solution among leading designers where budget is no barrier. Or is it? In association with the bespoke lighting experts at Dernier & Hamlyn, we recently invited a cluster of leading interior designers and world-renowned lighting experts in order to explore the bespoke possibilities in luxury design. As well as understanding today’s perception of ‘luxury’ among clients and guests alike, we were intrigued to also understand the pitfalls designers should avoid when deciding to go bespoke.

Meet the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How have hotel operators’ perception of luxury design changed over the past few years? Is what used to be considered luxury now standard? And what does this mean for designers in ensuring their schemes exude luxury?

Justin Wells: We pontificate over luxury so much – it’s just like defining colour! Firstly, it’s very important to know your audience – and that includes understanding cultures and demographics. In our experience, luxury in North America has been around legacy brands. In more perhaps progressive markets, such as South East Asia, for example, they are certainly trying to reposition luxury to be more lifestyle. In the region of the Middle East, which is where I am now, the perception of luxury is to make up for lost time. Elsewhere, in more mature markets, such as Europe, there’s certainly a reinvention happening at the moment, which is very exciting.

HK: You talk about perception, which makes me want to bring in social media and this demand for ‘accessible luxury’ into the conversation. Has that damaged the integrity of luxury hospitality?

Simon Rawlings: It’s interesting, we’re finding that luxury is becoming more standardised, certainly when it comes to peoples’ expectations of luxury. With many brands and experiences that are global, we’re really seeing that each region’s differences are disappearing, which is actually quite boring when you want to emphasise differences.

 “Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.” – Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio.

Luxury is a difficult thing to pinpoint and it can be as simple as beautiful service in an ordinary space. Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.

Also, we will never get a brief that says ‘we want to be a luxury hotel’. Instead, it will be the ideas and thoughts around sustainability, aims to stand out from the crowd that, combined, lead spaces and projects to look and feel more luxurious. The idea that luxury is lavish and excessive is an outdated mindset. For us, it’s been an interesting and exciting time recently because a lot of the briefs we have received in the last few months show that people are really willing to invest in good design.

“The luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now.” – Kirsten King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors.

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Kirstin King: For us, the luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now. Instead, it has become much more about lifestyle. We have to think more intelligently to really understand the local craftsmen, and in doing so we need to pair things back to allow the ambiance to naturally reflect luxury.

Paul Nulty: For us, luxury lighting design is something that fires all the senses. Whether it’s visual or a composition. If it’s heightening the senses and the emotional connection with that space, then it feels luxurious.

HK: Similarly, how have guests’ perceptions of luxury design changed over the past few years?

Hamish Brown: We have always worked with private clients, and our understanding on what luxury guests need and demand stems from experience in residential. The key difference that consumers are expecting now is that sense of place. Across all brands, the industry went through a brief moment of standardisation, but now we are seeing brands really understand and celebrate cultural difference. For example, if you take two Four Seasons properties in two locations within one country. By both capturing the local flavours of their unique destination, it sets them aside from each other. That in itself becomes luxurious, bespoke and individual. And then, what happens is that the brand’s DNA gets threaded into the design scheme through consistent service – it’s no longer a look or an aesthetic but much more a feeling.

HK: With the sheer number of options that suppliers offer in their standard ranges these days, why is the demand for bespoke design in luxury projects still growing?

Jo Littlefair: I think that bespoke design, both in hospitality and high-end residential, gives you the flexibility to respond to a project individually – it’s a great way to bring in local vernacular. It’s really important for us to give a strong identity. In our studio, nothing is a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we respond to everything individually – and I think bespoke design gives you that ability to scale and size things perfectly. It allows us to really craft interiors as opposed to just select them.

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image caption: a 67-inch peacock sculpture adorned in 25,000 Swarovski crystals sits inside the Mayfair Townhouse, designed by Goddard Littlefair | Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

SR: We’ve started specifying more than we have ever done. Yes, of course, there’s still the demand for bespoke, but there are so many incredible designers who are creating some really awesome things that we love to embrace and collaborate with them on. With the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, for example, one of our goals was to specify as many statement pieces as we could. As someone who has always championed bespoke everything, I don’t think by specifying you get a lesser product, and I don’t think the clients think anything less of it either. It’s changing, and there are a lot of us who have our own collections so we will specify our own products for certain projects.

“The quality of the end bespoke product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

Tina Norden: I would say that there are regional differences. Particularly in Asia, clients may believe you can get the product cheaper but sometimes the quality of the end product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful as an interior designer. You need the right manufacturer you can trust that allows you to see the prototypes – we have all been there when that simply isn’t an option.

With the late Sir Terence Conran traditionally being a furniture designer, we have always had – and shown huge respect for – the work that furniture designers do. I guess that sometimes people don’t appreciate how much time specifiers take to get products just right.

HK: You’re right, Tina! Trust is vital – and the relationship now between quality suppliers and designers is stronger than it has ever been, is it not?

Mark Harper: We are seeing and contributing to more artisan people who are being specified. For us, as a bespoke lighting manufacturer, we do what we do to the highest level of quality.

HK: At what point in the design process do you decide bespoke is the best option?

PN: Designers go bespoke when they cannot find a product on the market that achieves the look, feel and quality that they are looking for. Perhaps the bespoke product will give a slightly different glow, but for me it comes back to the senses. It’s relevantly simple, and yet extremely complex at the same time.

Shayne Brady: At the end of the day, it is a case-by-case basis – and it depends on different factors. We often have clients come to us with a specific vision. In Bob Bob Cite, for example, the client wanted to create a full suite of bespoke wall and ceiling lights. Bespoke is great when you are working in a space that has high volume because you can customise each product to fit the space.

Image caption: Bob Citi Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Citi Citi

Image caption: Bob Bob Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Bob Citi

HK: Do bespoke projects always have to be the statement design pieces?

TN: In lighting terms, quite often it is. Ultimately, it is really coming down to the client and the location. Quite often in Europe, making something bespoke can actually feel a lot more special. Whereas in Asia, it feels more luxurious to select something from a high-end brand as a feature piece.

HK: And surely if you have a really ambitious idea that is pretty unconventional, bespoke becomes your best and sometimes only option – and Kirstin I am thinking about your project, The Engine Room…

KK: It was a really interesting project for the team here. The idea was an indoor rowing club that was sheltered in a converted church. The budget was low and therefore we recycled a lot. For example, the juice bar was made out of church pews. I would say 60 per cent of that project was lighting. As the guests were working out, the lighting would move and react in order to enhance performance. We worked very closely with the lighting designers to create that effect.

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

HK: That is a great example of using the demographic of where you are and thinking outside the box, and elevating the five senses. Are designers now approaching projects more holistically with sound and smell in mind?

“For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

TN: Yes, very much so. A few weeks ago, at Hotel Designs LIVE, we discussed how sound was being used in experience. For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days. It’s all enhancing the overall ambiance.

PN: Multi-sensory lighting and design is the future! We started offering sound design in some projects. Going beyond acoustics, we are very interested to understand how sound can help enhance the consumer journey and we are seeing this now in hospitality. The third element of that is smell, which is becoming really important. Lighting, sound and smell work together, almost as a set of sub-consultants in design and architecture.

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

HK:  That’s extremely difficult to get right when all of those elements are very personal.

PN: Absolutely, and that’s why you have to really understand the brand from the outset of the project and what you want that user experience to be.

TN: That’s the key, it’s about being specific and designing for the demographic. You are not trying to please everyone.

“There will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.” – Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International.

Blue co

Image caption: The Maximilian Hotel in Prague, designed by Conran and Partners

SR: I was doing an interview recently where I was asked when we come out of this pandemic whether or not people are going to struggle with noisy areas, and it’s an interesting point. At the same time, I met a sound identity designer. There are so many people listening in on podcasts these days. Ultimately, it made me realise that you can close your eyes but you cannot close your ears.

JW: We are trying to create thriving spaces and there were a lot of social collisions in these areas before the pandemic. However, now there will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.

“Our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space.” – Shayne Brady, Director, Brady Williams.

SB: In between the second and third lockdown here in the UK, the guests were really appreciative and enjoyed the restaurants that had more space – not from a Covid perspective, but more from a luxury point of view. Actually, our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space. Perhaps we don’t need as many covers as we used to have.

HK: Do you therefore think that F&B spaces will be larger and take up more space?

SB: It will be more of a dialogue, for sure. There are more questions around capacity and what the sense of luxury means. Not being confined is luxury to me because that makes the experience far better.

“When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.” – Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair.

JL: Pre-pandemic we were thinking about de-compression. We are very aware that people need that disconnect. The pandemic has definitely amplified that. When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Wells International | Image credit: W Hotels

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Justin Wells | Image credit: W Hotels

HK: And now for a word that brings shivers down our spines: trends… what are the topics and movements that are dominating your conversations at the moment?

MH: We have seen an increase in enquires and requests for natural materials and clean lines with a traditional twist. What we are going to see now is the bigger picture; it’s about longevity and sustainability. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that LED technology has come on leaps and bounds and I expect that to evolve further and faster than perhaps ever before.

SR: LEDs are a nightmare, though, because the colour temperature on every single LED is different. So, trying to marry the interior design is very difficult. We still end up using filament bulbs because you just can’t rectify it.

PN: One big trend we are seeing is towards wellness – certainly towards business hotels and using lighting to mitigate jetlag. Lighting using circadian rhythm has a huge role to play in that. There’s a hotel in Reykjavik where the lighting is tied in to the alarm clock, and it illuminates before the sound of the alarm clock goes off in order to wake the guest up gently.

HK: Is that extremely expensive? For me, the benefits of circadian rhythm in lighting is so obvious, so why is it therefore not in more hotel design schemes?

PN: It’s more expensive and of course if you’ve got a 300-key hotel then it adds up. However, the benefits of that technology are being more and more proven.

HK: Do you worry about suppliers copying a bespoke design after seeing it in your projects? Does anyone have any examples of this they can/would like to share?

HB: Yes, you see that in parts of Asia and it’s not ideal, but it’s unfortunately part of our work that is always there.

 TN: I think there’s an opportunity there. If we work together with the manufacturer on a product going forward then it beats them at their own game.

HK: The ‘Norden’ chandelier, you heard it here first! Other than the ‘Norden’ collection, what’s lacking in lighting at the moment?

HB: Being able to visual prototypes in lighting is very important and be able to adapt and mold them in that creative process allows us to do more things.

SR: I agree. The first thing we want to know is what type of light the product will give off. If there was a tool to establish that, it would help us understand which light a fixture will give. For me that comes before what the product looks like. Some way of understanding the type of light the fixtures give off would be so invaluable.

“The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff.” – Paul Nulty, Founder, Nulty Lighting.

SB: That is interesting. We are working on a project at the moment where they have that already for furniture, but something similar in lighting would be very helpful.

PN: I agree with you. The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff. So many people disregard the quality of light. Quality of light and quantity of light are independent and are, I believe, misunderstood.

KK: From my experience, this should happen before we get fully into a project. Maybe it should happen even earlier!

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough was sensitively designed by 1508 London | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

HK: Let’s finish by talking tech. The advancement of render software is incredible; it has given designers a tool to be more accurate and as a result allowed them to make informed decisions ahead of purchasing. However, it does also mean that clients now expect to see sharp renders in pitches. Does this ever narrow the window for new ideas to come into the project once it has been won?

HB: It’s such a hot topic at the moment within our studio and we have invested in a lot of technology at the moment to really confront this. You are correct in terms of narrowing down the window – and there is always a debate in our minds as to how far you go in the pitch. Right now, I think renders should happen later in the process and there has to be a visualisation tool that is a half-way house. That journey has to be a process – and that’s how you get a perfect space.

HK: And you are all competing against each other to win projects… Does it require across the board, designers stating that they will only present sketches?

HB: It would be amazing to have a conversation with designers to establish how far we should all be going in a pitch.

HK: It’s catch 22. As tech improves and the clients and consumers’ knowledge of design expands then so too does the demand for wanting to see more in a pitch.

KK: I agree totally. Sometimes the client demands a minimum of three renders in the pitch and it is a huge cost. You want to win the project and you know that everyone else will be producing renders.

SB: It depends on the client. Some clients do not understand the concept of your pitch unless it is a perfect CGI. More and more, these days, the client is very involved and there is a collaboration from start to finish. If you can hook a client with a great idea that is where it should be won.

JW: We always go quite analogue in our pitches. We use vignettes to highlight certain areas. We then, during the pitch, talk about these spaces and elements, which become frameworks. The aim of the pitch is for the client to establish how we think and how we work. If we win a pitch, we will then produce more emotive non-photo realistic renderings. The next set of renders will be marketing quality.

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

Dubbed the ‘industry’s answer to Netflix’ – and we can see why now – GROHE X launched this week and attracted more than 12,000 visitors to explore the Grohe hub. Following the impressive start, things are just getting started as editor Hamish Kilburn prepares to host two sessions today on the portal…

‘Discover what’s next’: With this guiding theme, LIXIL EMENA successfully launched its digital experience hub, GROHE X, for its GROHE brand earlier this week. The comprehensive brand platform offers informative and inspirational multimedia content to both GROHE’s professional business partners and consumers. Tailored to the needs and interests of the respective target groups, a customised programme of content is available, which includes how-to videos, inspirational articles, and 360° virtual rooms that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the latest product highlights. In addition, there are exciting video formats such as ‘A Glass of Water with…’, in which various GROHE experts offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the global brand, or ‘Wow of the Week’, in which a particularly inspiring project or topic is presented each week. While visitors to the brand hub can explore the world of GROHE on their own, GROHE X also opens up new ways of interaction. Business partners can use the platform to make appointments with their sales representatives and thus exchange information directly about the innovations that have just been introduced.

Register here to access GROHE X content on-demand.

“GROHE X is a milestone in our brand history. It opens up unprecedented opportunities to experience GROHE and to discover our products and the issues that drive us,” said Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG. “You can connect with GROHE X wherever you are and whenever you want. GROHE X is thus bringing us closer together in a time when we need to stay physically distant. The positive feedback I have received from customers all over the world has reconfirmed that we took the right decision eight months ago. The digital journey we have embarked on with GROHE X has only just begun. The platform is here to stay and will constantly evolve over the next months. My biggest thanks go to the team who made all this possible while working remotely. I’m extremely proud of the courage and leadership they demonstrated in transforming an idea into GROHE X.”

A new milestone in GROHE’s sustainability journey

For the launch of GROHE X, various event formats, both live and on demand for invited guests are available on the platform in addition to freely available editorial content. The highly anticipated GROHE X launch week commenced with a premiere keynote, which gave the global brand the opportunity to once again prove its status as a sustainability pioneer in the sanitary industry and announce its latest achievement: its four best-selling products as Cradle to Cradle Certified ® variants. In contrast to the linear Take-Make-Waste model, Cradle to Cradle stands for continuous material cycles. A product is manufactured in such a way that, at the end of its life, the components can be used to create new products. To achieve certification a product is evaluated in terms of the following five categories: material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness.

“Achieving Cradle to Cradle certifications at Gold level is a huge step in our sustainability efforts,” explained Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co- CEO Grohe AG on the importance of the circular approach within the brand’s sustainability strategy. “I am very proud that we are one of the first brands in the sanitary industry to once again make a clear commitment to sustainable transformation and set a new benchmark. Since the building sector accounts for more than 50 per ent of worldwide material consumption, the moving away from a linear model in favour of a circular economy is essential to stop the exploitation of natural resources. We need to transform our business model towards a circular value creation and start considering products at the end of their life as valuable material banks instead of using new resources.”

The significance of initiating a paradigm shift in the construction industry and putting a focus on green buildings based on Cradle to Cradle® design principles was also the key issue in one of the platform’s panel talk discussions, when Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), Dr.-Ing. Peter Mösle, Partner Drees & Sommer SE and Managing Director, EPEA GmbH, and Fuhr discussed how sustainable architecture can be thought and implemented both today and in the future.

During the keynote, GROHE also introduced the new ‘GROHE Installer Vocational Training and Education’ (GIVE) programme which strengthens the social dimension of the brand’s sustainability engagement. GROHE is already collaborating with 26 institutions to date, offering plumbing training across the EMENA region. As part of the GIVE programme, the brand will support plumbing schools in creating a state-of-the-art training framework by installing modern training facilities and providing learning material and experienced technical trainers. Students will complete a specific product training designed by GROHE, for which they will receive an internationally recognised certificate. Given the shortage of skilled installers in the sanitary industry, it is more important than ever to offer an attractive training programme that helps young people build the foundation for a prosperous future.

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Relevant innovations for the living spaces of tomorrow

Another determining theme of the keynote was the reclaimed customer-centricity. This focus on the customers’ expectations and needs is not only reflected on GROHE X or in the brand’s new commercial approach, which offers a differentiated product portfolio and dedicated services tailored to target groups, but is also a guiding principle when developing new products.

This was impressively underlined with the presentation of the relaunched bestseller GROHE Eurosmart. With the fourth generation of the tap range, the brand reinvented one of its core products, making Eurosmart the most versatile line in the brand portfolio. Users can now choose a hybrid tap, which combines manual operation and touchless hygiene, or different lever variants such as the loop lever, which simplifies gripping thanks to the cut-out centre, or the long lever which allows users to operate the tap with the elbow, thereby minimising the contact with surfaces – ideal for healthcare settings.

“When we design a new product, our first question is always: Who are we designing this product for? Human- centric thinking and a deep understanding of consumers are key to developing meaningful products that improve and add value to the daily lives of people around the world”, says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, EMENA. “With our products, we want to respond to changing consumer needs and react to social trends. In our product development, we are guided by three key macro trends: Urbanisation, Health & Wellbeing, and Sustainability. In the last year, for example, the idea of the bathroom as a spa or wellness area has really accelerated. Consumers are looking for bathroom products which help them create memorable experiences, and want to transform the bathroom into a space where they can take good care of their body, mind, and soul. Our response to this trend is the new GROHE SPA collection which we curated to include the most exclusive products from our portfolio to allow users to enjoy unique moments of bliss.”

What to look out for today on GROHE X. 

At 11:00 CET (10:00 GMT), the platform will go live with the session GROHE X Deep Dive Session – GROHE SPA Health through water. In this session, editor Hamish Kilburn will welcome Speck and Karl Lennon, who is Leader, Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL in the EMENA region, to discuss the latest innovations of the new GROHE SPA line and how the technology behind each product goes beyond the five senses.

At 11:45 CET (10:45 GMT), straight after the deep dive session, Kilburn will return to host the panel discussion entitled strategies for future living. This session will welcome Cristina Laurijssen (Senior Director of Design for Rosewood Hotel Group), Constantina Tsoutsikou (Founder, Studio Lost), Hamish Brown (Partner, 1508 London) and welcome back Lennon to explore how the pandemic is forcing the industry to rethink wellness and how the increasing demand for ‘safe’ spaces, especially within luxury residential developments and hospitality venues, can be answered.

GROHE will also celebrate the launch of its platform with various event formats throughout the launch week. In the future, GROHE X will be expanded to include hybrid and mobile brand experiences in addition to the digital offering.

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

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

Design firm HBA Los Angeles has completed the interior design project of The Glenmark, Glendale, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which is the first lifestyle boutique hotel in Glendale, California. Let’s take a look inside…

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

Designed by creatives for creatives, The Glenmark Hotel is a gem in the Jewel City, deeply rooted in the heart of Glendale and a hub for the healthcare and entertainment industries in Los Angeles. Its interior design dances along the fringe, flirting with natural materials, texture and geometric forms. Thoughtful public spaces and amenities, 85 artfully designed guestrooms, signature restaurant Olia, Mila Rooftop, Olia Coffee Café, a lobby bar, and 7,900 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space mold The Glenmark Hotel into a true community that is a hidden Los Angeles hideaway.

HBA Los Angeles designers drew inspiration from Glendale’s vibrant diversity, the city’s innovative and creative industries, and its geographical intersection amongst its neighbours to offer a microcosm of the city with pockets of discovery throughout the hotel, much like the city of Los Angeles itself. A casual-chic aesthetic is juxtaposed with architectural gestures and playful, impactful art by local artists to create sophisticated yet approachable environments with comfortable and stimulating moments.

The art-filled lobby inside The Glenmark Hotel

The lobby serves as the epicentre of energy, bathed in natural light and with visual surprises to entice all who enter. A gallery wall of rotating artwork flanks one side of the voluminous space while wood slats wrap from floor to ceiling on the other, defining the lobby bar and reception areas. Sculptural lighting, accent furnishings and decorative elements combine with custom rugs and inviting seating groups for a relaxed, residential feel.

In the guestrooms, tailored detailing and mixed materials are realised in a neutral colour palette of white, taupe and warm browns.

Twin beds in hotel room

Image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

An intricate geometric installation composed of rich dark tilework acts as a backdrop behind the headboard while a large-scale wall mural makes a bold statement and adds a splash of colour. Streamlined technology and state-of-the-art connectivity in the guest rooms and throughout the hotel allow guests to plug in and get to work and unplug when it’s time to relax.

Main image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

Do owners and the project designers feel the pressure of redesigning an established hotel where a previous brand had found its rightful place in an area of a city? Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, explores…

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Taking a popular hotel and creating a new chapter of the story through either ‘hard’ re-positioning or simply a ‘soft’ face lift must come with added pressure or perhaps the pressures will always be the budget that weighs heaviest on everyone’s shoulders! New identities that are led by the brands and/or operators must release any pressure but with life style brands that are more flexible, especially that invite a wide range of clientele must focus owners and designers to tease the best out of an existing hotel building.

Biophilic publis area in Dolce Sitges

Image credit: Dolce Sitges

Externally the façade reflects the culture and aesthetics of a hotel. It is an identity on which the hotel’s theme is based on. The façade is the visual connection of what the public observes and what image they perceive in their heads. Altering a façade on a recognisable building can create a big impact but will come with buildability issues.

The orientation (zoning and layout) of an existing Hotel is already set so internally the question needs to be asked if the existing or previous brand had found its rightful place i.e. did it have a specific style that just needs updating? If it had not then a full redesign is the way forward and ultimately gives designers expression to provide a genuine experience with representation of the place. The opposite is the cost manager led re-touch, rather than reinventing a hotel’s DNA.

A comfy bedroom setting

Image credit: Hilton Canopy

Designers are and can be restricted by existing services (including elevators, escalators, fire staircases, ramps, electrical system core, plumbing system, and HVAC system etc.) and cores which are already defined with structural solidity. The structure is designed and operates the critical operations as well as entertaining guests. Any redesign is not just meant for aesthetic purposes, but to improve the service that the hotel can provide the guest and their experience. 

Sustainability – hotels are massive energy consumption facilities, depending on their size, technology or location. Redesigning an existing Hotel gives the opportunity to provide new plant and equipment that is more efficient in terms of energy consumption and sensor connectivity. 

Through lifestyle there are no fixed ideas so a designers role is to guide and advise for a brand to evolve. If a hotel already captured the essence and soul of the area that surrounded it through design, extending the cultural experience and further establishing a true sense of belonging to the place then there must be a fine balance that designers have to achieve in taking on a ‘golden goose’ and not over-designing.

Part 2 in this editorial series will be available shortly. Concert 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 credit: Concert

Keriboard Schlüter

Product watch: Illuminated wall niches from Schlüter-Systems

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Illuminated wall niches from Schlüter-Systems

Schlüter-LIPROTEC LED niches from Schlüter-Systems help to create the ‘wow factor’ in the bathroom while offering guests a wellness oasis…

Keriboard Schlüter

With the hospitality industry looking to open back up to the public later this year, there is plenty to be excited about. People are keen to enjoy time outside of their own homes, and a UK getaway is high up on the list for many. Now more than ever is the time to give guests an unforgettable hotel experience, with wellness and serenity being key factors that they are looking for.

Bringing spa-like elements to a guest bathroom is a simple way to enhance a visit, whether that involves providing complimentary skincare products so they can pamper themselves or utilising the space available to create a peaceful sanctuary of relaxation.

Schlüter-Systems makes this easy to achieve with the help of one of their most versatile products. Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD-N are prefabricated niches and shelves for wall areas of all kinds, made from the multi-functional tile underlayment Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD. They can be covered directly with tiles or with suitable rendered/plaster covering materials.

The Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD-NLT are installed with LIPROTEC technology, enabling the installation of illuminated niches in bath and shower areas. The plug-and-play technology makes it even easier as they are ready to install – ideal if you are looking at ways to bring some spa-like elements to your project whilst the hospitality industry is gearing up to welcome guests again.

Niches within a bathroom or shower can serve multiple purposes, such as offering additional storage options and enhancing the design of the room. Welcoming guests with the use of soft, ambient lighting can make a big difference to their wellness; the idea of soaking in a bathtub reading a good book with a calming illuminated niche keeping your beverage at arm’s reach is a true luxury, and that is what many people are searching for when planning a hotel stay.

Schlüter-Systems 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: Schlüter-Systems

Duravit_Cape_Cod_small_bathroom_02

Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cape Cod opens up a world of design options for smaller bathrooms

The hallmark of the Cape Cod smaller bathroom program is the perfect fusion of material and form to satisfy even the highest aesthetic standards, including those from designer Philippe Starck…

Duravit_Cape_Cod_small_bathroom_02

The untamed nature of New England’s Cape Cod region inspired Philippe Starck to create a bathroom range composed of elements that rejuvenate body and soul.

The elegant bathroom opens up a whole host of design options, especially for smaller bathrooms. With its innovative design for the washing area, Starck creates sheer elegance and a generous sense of space that exudes an inviting calmness. The combination of a 70cm-wide, gleaming white ceramic furniture washbasin with a floor standing chrome frame and integrated shelf in White High Gloss introduces a brand-new look to the bathroom.

Practical, easy-clean shelf areas adjoin the circular basin on the left and right. Minimalistic mirrors with all-round LED lighting add the perfect finishing touch to the washing area.

Another new element is a smaller version of the striking, freestanding bathtub in space-saving dimensions of 165 x 78cm. Like the larger variants,it is also made from the tried-and-tested, high- quality DuraSolid material, is pleasantly warm to the touch, and has a sophisticated matt appearance. A smoothly shaped headrest set into the backrest guarantees relaxed comfort when reclining and bathing.

The series can be combined with Starck T accessories and selected toilets and bidets from the Starck 1, Starck 2, and ME by Starck ranges for a thoroughly stylish and harmonious look. The SensoWash Starck f shower toilet offers maximum hygiene and comfort. This symbiosis of toilet and bidet provides gentle, natural cleansing with water.

Duravit is one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Duravit

Pink room with TSAR carpets

Product watch: TSAR launches the Chromatic carpet collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: TSAR launches the Chromatic carpet collection

Talk about taking art outside the frame… the Chromatic carpet collection by TSAR distills feelings of otherworldly escapism into new Axminster carpet designs…

Pink room with TSAR carpets

With the A/W 2020 Chromatic collection debut, Melbourne-based TSAR Carpets offers end-users reprieve from a troubled world through a synesthetic experience that evokes feelings of optimism and delight.

Centered around the concept of “the future of hospitality” – a theme explored during Hotel Designs LIVE last month – the state-of-the-art collection is an experiential approach to defining transitional public spaces in a socially distanced landscape, filtered through playful prisms of surrealism, futurism, and fantasy.

Available since November 2020, the collection is sold exclusively at TSAR’s studios in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, London, and Shanghai.

Rooted in digital abstraction and translated into reality by TSAR’s 30 years of manufacturing expertise, the Chromatic collection comprises six distinct patterns that feature both harder-edged geometric patterns as well as organic liquid forms — each utilising signature gradients and the integration of a full-spectrum of mood-altering colour, thoughtfully selected to emphasise the characteristics of each design and naturally compliment the designs.

Image of blue funriture on blue/green/purple carpet

Image credit: TSAR Carpets

Drawing inspiration from visions of futurism and fantasy, this surreal and abstract collection supports an emerging design trajectory in the world of high-end hospitality, and is suitable to a wide variety of highly-trafficked public spaces including hotels, corporate offices and event centres.

“With Chromatic, my objective was to create a visually-intriguing collection that elicits a sense of elation and happiness, offering an aspirational escape from the current state of the world,” said Andrew Cenita, TSAR’s New York-based designer who created each digital pattern in Adobe Illustrator. “For this collection TSAR’s goal was to introduce a new experimental aesthetic into our ready-made offering, providing our customers with a high-quality product that serves various hospitality interior applications and beyond.”

long corridor in a hotel with blue/green carpet

Image credit: TSAR Carpets

In the wake of Covid-19 mitigation strategies, the Chromatic collection’s unique ‘gradient mapping’ attributes provide interior designers with new tactics in the creation of human-centered spaces. Leveraging TSAR’s Axminster broadloom custom-carpet design workflow, designers may apply these custom-colour gradients to create bespoke floor-based way-finding systems and social distancing markers, demarcating private zones from transitional spaces like corridors and circulation areas. Specification, colours, and image scale can also be customised to suit any project scheme.

In bringing the collection’s launch to life, TSAR partnered with 3-D Artist Joe Mortell and creative director Charlotte Taylor to develop a suite of digital stills and animations depicting the collection within a series of futuristic hospitality and interior environments. Following a successful collaboration with Joe on the visual assets for TSAR’s Spring 2020 Circ collection, Andrew re-approached Joe, as well as Charlotte, during the design and conceptualisation process of the collection. Attracted to each designer’s ability to balance realism with a fantastical and otherworldly design approach, the visuals represent a seamless shared vision between Joe, Charlotte and TSAR’s creative team. Generating a compelling universe of realistic spaces, each image expresses a captivating and colourful digital world that compliments abstract objects and furniture vignettes with each Chromatic rug design.

The collection is available in the following patterns: Reveal, Ripple, Ember, Aurora, Neo and Lucid.

TSAR Carpets, which is an Industry Support Partner Hotel Designs, is a Melbourne-based design brand with more than 30 years of expertise in the manufacturing of luxury custom carpets and rugs. A family-owned business founded by David and Kerrie Sharpley, it is now a global company recognised for its passion for textiles and its profound knowledge of the handtufted technique. TSAR delivers bespoke floor coverings for high-end residential, hospitality, and commercial environments worldwide.

Main image credit: TSAR Carpets

AXOR One tap in gold

Introducing AXOR One by Barber Osgerby: The essence of simplicity

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Introducing AXOR One by Barber Osgerby: The essence of simplicity

The new collection from AXOR is for the shower, bath and basin and is unified by a holistic design language of slender silhouettes, flat surfaces, soft corners and balanced proportions…

AXOR One tap in gold

Six years after the first collaboration with Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, AXOR is proud to announce its latest collection. AXOR One is unified by a holistic design language of slender silhouettes, flat surfaces, soft corners and balanced proportions. The iconic taps feature a gentle taper to their curved spouts, a subtle detail that signals exceptional quality of design and manufacturing.

Powered by advanced Select technology, the elegant brassware establishes a simple mode of interaction; press down on its all-in-one controller to start or stop the water, turn clockwise to increase the temperature. The action is effortless, intuitive and ultra-precise: the essence of simplicity. This is the same inventive design thinking that characterises the entire collection.

“How do you challenge the archetype? Through the pursuit of art and science, invention and interaction,” said Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. “AXOR One provokes the memory of water but heralds a new way of controlling it that is much more precise and incredibly refined. The AXOR One products are unique, made possible through our design thinking, and realised by the incredible engineering of AXOR.”

Form and function

Utilising Select technology, the mechanical tap handles enable precise, water-saving on/off and temperate control. The AXOR One thermostat uses large, clearly marked, highly responsive paddle handles to offer intuitive control of spray types for shower or bath, while a large thermostat handle provides ultra-precise control of temperature and volume.

The AXOR One overhead and hand-held showers feature monolithic forms and an innovative range of Rain and PowderRain spray types, reflected in the distinctive graphic language of the showerhead’s spray disc. The showerpipe is the perfect all-in-one combination of overhead shower, hand-held shower, wall bar and wall outlet.

Image of luxe lifestyle bathroom

Image credit: AXOR One

Design legacy

Following the introduction of the interactive control element for the shower (2015) and the corresponding hand-held shower (2017), the AXOR One collection presents new complementary products for basin, bath and shower. The former design archetype has been reinterpreted for greater clarity, enhanced function and superior control.

Collection overview

The AXOR One collection comprises 31 products, including one-hole, two-hole and three- hole taps, wall-mounted taps, a floor-standing bath filler with hand-held shower, and the AXOR One thermostatic module for bath or shower. The wide range of shower items includes overhead showers that combine both Rain and PowderRain spray types, a hand-held shower that features PowderRain, and a shower pipe and shower set that offer a clean appearance thanks to their integrated wall outlet. The AXOR Universal Circular Accessories range is the perfect complement to the AXOR One collection.

Timeless by design, and available in Chrome, Matt Black and the trademark exclusive AXOR FinishPlus surfaces, AXOR One brings simple elegance to any bathroom.

Hansgrohe 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: Hansgrohe

Image of rug in a lounge-like setting

Product watch: Wilton Carpets unveils the Vignette collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Wilton Carpets unveils the Vignette collection

Close working relationships with clients has meant Wilton has always produced bespoke rugs for specific projects, but increased demand has inspired them to put together this collection of stylish commercial rugs…

Image of rug in a lounge-like setting

Designed to look great and wear well in commercial environments, Vignette from Wilton Carpets is available with short lead times and with attractive volume discounts.

The cool, contemporary rug collection includes a suite of 14 dynamic rugs offer flexibility for the design scheme and usable, durable colourways. At the start of the brief, Design Director Damian Roscoe reached for original inspiration.“When looking for inspiration for a rug collection the designers at Wilton decided to go back to the very origins of the art form, he explained to Hotel Designs. “No matter where a rug would have come from, all told a story and as such all had symbols, motifs and meaning. The Figurine, The Amulet and the Tree of Life are just three of many such concepts. Our designers took these ideas and developed themes, colourations and patterns that embody these origins.”

Anchored to carpet heritage, but looking to the future, Wilton wove these stories into modern design and palettes, drawing inspiration from Pantone colours of the year; a vibrant yellow and the strong warmth of the most enduring grey, and the re-emergence of bold abstracts in pattern design. As design turns away from the trend for minimalism, and re-engages with the ‘more-is-more’ philosophy of design, the rugs are striking abstract pieces featuring vivid colours and unique shapes, in line with that design direction.

While brave tones and abstract shapes are red hot for the coming year, the enduring appeal of calming, restorative natural neutrals offers balance in this collection. Inspired by the natural and ethereal, there are elements of this collection which encourage a connection with landscape, imagination and wellbeing.

Woven to order in its Wiltshire factory, this rug collection is manufactured in contract quality, offering superb lifetime value. Customisable, and ready for delivery when you need them, the Vignette range provides a cost-effective lift to your interior scheme.

Wilton 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 credit: Wilton Carpets

Image of shop with Retail & Hospitality Design logo

New event alert: Retail & Hospitality Design Forum

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New event alert: Retail & Hospitality Design Forum

Forum Events, the parent company of Hotel Designs, has launched the Retail & Hospitality Design Forum in order to bridge the gap between retail and hospitality designers and suppliers…

Image of shop with Retail & Hospitality Design logo

To help the industry enter the new era of retail and hospitality, Forum Events has launched a new meet-the-buyers hybrid event for senior professionals who are directly responsible for the interior design and fit-out of retail stores, leisure and hospitality establishments and those who provide products and services to these industries.

Confirmed delegates already include the likes of the Group Construction Director at WHSmith, a senior representative from Pentland Brands Limited and the shopper design manager at Berghaus.

The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum, which takes place from September 6 – 7 at Radisson Red, London Heathrow (virtual attendance options are also available), will be a highly focused event that will consist of one-to-one, pre-arranged business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities over the two days.

For suppliers, the event will guarantee:

  • An audience of pre-qualified buyers
  • Selected and ‘matched’ meetings
  • No time wasters
  • No hidden costs
  • Just one-to-one sales meetings throughout

For senior retail and hospitality professionals who qualify, the event will guarantee: 

  • Pre-arranged meetings with solution providers of your choice
  • 25 minute meeting slots will be relaxed and civilised, with no hard sell
  • Attend a tailored programme of inspiring seminars
  • Easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions
  • You will be one of just 65 VIPs at the event, ensuring that you get personal attention

How to attend

If you are a supplier to the industry looking to meet top retail and hospitality professionals, email Courtney Saggers – or click here to request more information.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please email Victoria Petch – or click here to book your place.

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

Following Hamilton Litestat sponsoring a session at Hotel Designs LIVE, we take a look at the expanded Paintables service that delivers highly durable, colour-matched wiring accessories with accurate colour reproduction…

Consumer demand for personalisation continues to grow in all aspects of our lives. Today there is an expectation that products and services will meet our exact needs – if an available solution doesn’t tick all our boxes, we want to customise it simply and cost-effectively and make it our own. And if that’s not possible, we’ll find another supplier that can make it happen. Hamilton Litestat provides bespoke solutions to fulfil these customer demands, including its popular Paintables colour-matching service.

Accessories can be painted to blend in with a colour taken from a wallpaper, or to contrast it with a hue from the room’s soft furnishings. Popular colours are heavily influenced by the paint manufacturers, so Dulux’s Colour for 2021, Brave Ground, is set to have a major impact on the finish of wiring accessories in current interior design schemes. The company is giving the designer the ability to make every flick of a switch feel unique while ensuring ease-of-ordering and minimal hassle for wholesalers and installers.

“We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to ensure a client’s vision can be executed, and our Paintables service is helping deliver that with accurate colour matching to interior design schemes,” explains Gavin Williams, Sales & Marketing Director at Hamilton. “Today, people expect options to be tailored to them rather than selecting off-the-shelf solutions, and Paintables delivers that experience in a simple and cost-effective solution. We’ve seen demand double in the past 18 months, and to keep ahead of the market have increased our capacity for this service at our Bristol facilities.”

Image caption: Paintables Service Hotels by Hamilton Litestat

Hamilton has long offered colour-matched switch plates and sockets from its factory at Mere but with this rapidly rising demand it has relocated and doubled the size of its Paintables Department, which now sits at its headquarters in Bristol, delivering a 40 per cent reduction in current lead times.

The Paintables service is a powder coating process and is available on Hamilton’s popular and versatile Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX designer plate collections, which offer a wide range of functionality and configuration options. So, whether a customer wants a USB switched socket in BS 114 Rail Blue, so it blends seamlessly with a deep on-trend wall colour, or a Wide Rocker Switch in RAL 6000, a leafy green to complement a jungle mural feature wall, it’s possible quickly, simply, and cost-effectively.

Colour selection

For accurate colour matching Hamilton recommends using colour reference systems RAL, British Standards or the Natural Colour System. While Pantone is often a go-to system, its accuracy is limited in metal powder coating applications, so all Pantone colour-matching requests need to be individually accessed to avoid disappointment.

coloured switch plates

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Yet with RAL having 1,625 options and the Natural Colour System having 1,950, customers will not be short on colour choices! In addition to the vast colour possibilities, Hamilton’s Paintables solution is available in gloss, matt, and even a metallic finish.

“Colour influences our emotions and behaviours, so getting the right colour scheme and coordinating accessories and soft furnishings is really important. After the difficult times we’ve faced lately, there’s a great craving for change and to get away from our daily routines. Colour can help us reset, recharge and refocus, and Paintables wiring accessories can ensure that these schemes are cohesive and personalised to the customer’s exact colour requirements.”

FREE production service

All of Hamilton’s wiring accessories receive a decorative coating of some kind – whether that’s to achieve a standard Matt Black option or a metallic finish such as Antique Brass. For bespoke, colour-matched Paintables finishes, the cost of the spray coating process is already considered, so Hamilton only charges for the dry powder coating required. Purchased in bulk, this means that on-trend colour requests may be very competitively priced due to market demand.

“Many orders we receive from wholesalers are bespoke, so thanks to our expanded Paintables capacity we can provide colour-matched finishes with minimal impact on anticipated lead times,” explains Williams. “Moreover, as we already take into account the spray coating process in the unit price, the cost implications are minimised. Although niche colours may have a minimum purchase quantity, we can offer more popular colours cost effectively.”

Flawless finish

The Paintables powder coating results in a high-quality finish, ensuring the paint adheres evenly and the colour is consistent. It is resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading, which is particularly important for these high-wear wiring accessories.

Powder coating makes use of pigment and resin that are statically charged and sprayed onto the electrically grounded surfaces of the wiring solutions. The paint coating is then cured in an oven, resulting in a finish that is far more durable than other paint options.

Should it not be possible to select a colour ahead of time, Hamilton also supplies primed plates for painting on site. While not as durable as they haven’t been cured, they provide a flexible alternative for achieving the colour-matched aesthetic.

Hamilton Litestat, which was a Session Sponsor at Hotel Designs LIVE, 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

Hotel Designs LIVE sound panel discussion main image

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sense of sound in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sense of sound in hotel design

The third session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, turned the audience’s attention towards sound. Going deeper than simply discussing acoustics, editor Hamish Kilburn invited a leading designer, architect and sound architect to explore sound’s role in hotel design and hospitality…

Hotel Designs LIVE sound panel discussion main image

Designers, architects and the leading hoteliers have always been celebrated for thinking holistically. This statement can be measured by the industry’s proactive reaction to the Covid-19 crisis and the innovative solutions that have emerged since the world went into survival mode this time last year.

With the aim to explore meaningful ways to stretch the interior design schemes of tomorrow – and to simply offer something different on the palette for the audience of designers, architects, hoteliers and developers around the globe who tuned in to Hotel Designs LIVE – the third panel discussion of the day served up an engaging conversation around the possibilities of sound in hotel design and hospitality.

On the panel: 

Panel discussion line-up: sound in hotel design

The exclusive session, which followed debates on the future of hotel design and sustainability, was powered by both science and experience. The topic, meanwhile, around the sensory experience in hotel design and hospitality, is one that has arguably been amplified in recent product launches in the wellness arena.

The discussion began with Kilburn asking the panel whether or not they believed the industry currently understood the potential of sound in hotel design, which soon steer the conversation towards how sound can be explored, beyond acoustics, to enhance the hotel guests’ experience.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes a Product Watch pitch from Panespol:

As well as recently publishing our highlights from the first session of Hotel Designs LIVE and Sustainability beneath the surface, the full recording of the final session (‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand next week.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside Italy’s natural wellness hotel, Terme di Saturnia

Design firm THDP’s recently completed project is situated in Tuscany, Italy. As a natural wellness hotel and retreat, Terme di Saturnia has been part-inspired by the elements of earth, air, and water. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Surrounded by beautiful Tuscan countryside, Hotel Terme di Saturina is a luxury golf and spa resort, which is located 3km from both Le Cascate del Mulino waterfall and the village of Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy.

Design firm THDP was responsible for refurbishing both the guestrooms and the public area. The inspiration behind the concept is formed around a ‘super natural’ condition; how elements such as the earth, air, water transform as well as the light and temperature. THDP used terms such as reflection, corrosion, erosion, layering, ripples to create the visual and emotional language of the interior design.

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

Light installations with glass spheres were created by Gomiero, who had the intuition to ripple the spheres to create the same reflection of water on the walls.

Botanical wallcoverings and lights that look like waterfalls in the lobby

Image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Giorgio Baroni

The waterfalls of the Mill were the inspiration behind the design of the lobby/lounge area, created together with local artisans such as the Ragnini workshops of Pitigliano who have created oxidised tables and bronzed handles and with experienced craftsmen such as Ramiro Contract and design such as Materica who work metals in a contemporary way, using them liquid to transform them into corroded metals, as well as sulphur dense water.

The selection of four colour palettes resulted from the observation of the resort’s surroundings. The colours have been declined in diverse shades in line with the different areas, from the reception with the ethereal hues of the waterfalls of the Mill, to the patio with the central olive tree embodying the Tuscan countryside, up to the bright tones of turquoise and petrol blue of the handmade glazed terracotta tiles of the bar counter coating, found after a long search, in the colour ‘The Fondale’, from Pecchioli Fierenze.

In order to maintain an ideal continuity with the classic and elegant original style, but more importantly with the conscious intention to adhere to a sustainable approach to renovations, some wooden furnishings have been preserved both in rooms and common spaces.

The hotel, which sits above Italy’s most famous thermal spring dating back 3,000 years, is naturally a safe and quiet place – think home-away-from-home – that is conducive to wellbeing as we enter a new era of wellness.

Main image credit: Terme di Saturnia/Test Srls

Image of cabin-like hotel suite

Gfell: A sustainable wellness hotel rooted with nature

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gfell: A sustainable wellness hotel rooted with nature

The sustainable wellness hotel, situated in South Tyrol, Italy, was designed by noa* as an expansion project by embedding it in the terrain, offering guests a spectacular view and the feeling of being emerged in nature in a way that is totally unique. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Image of cabin-like hotel suite

“Transform a traditional South Tyrolean restaurant into a larger hospitality space, without altering the charming, beautiful landscape with new levels.” This was the brief that design firm noa* was confronted with in a quaint neighbourhood called Fiè, within the wonderful Dolomite scenery of the Sciliar and the Catinaccio.

The Gfell hotel, which is adjacent to the pre-existing Schönblick restaurant, sits isolated on top of a slope that provides views that stretch over unspoiled forests and meadows. The owner was aiming to coordinate this restoration project with top-quality accommodation, building new spaces able to enhance the distinctiveness of the location.

Image credit: Alex Fliz

“We could have added an extra level”, explains the architect Andreas Profanter, a partner at noa*’s studio. “But in line with the contractors, we opted for a less invasive and more environmentally friendly solution, placing the new section inside the hill. So it’s an earth shelter construction that reduces the impact of the operation without taking any views away from the restaurant, whilst in actual fact, providing all the guests at the new hotel with a spectacular panorama. And not only that, but an old barn on site has been refurbished as an additional space for the new hotel.”

It is meaningful, considered and gives a sensitive nod to the building’s past that access to the new spaces takes place through an old barn which sits by the restaurant. The outside of the building has preserved its traditional look thanks to careful restoration works, but the inside holds a surprise for visitors: it has been fully converted to host the hotel’s reception, a lounge and breakfast hall within one large open- space area.

It is an uncommon yet effective design solution from both an environmental and architectural point of view; on the one hand, it repurposes the existing level, deeply- rooted in the heritage and land of the local alpine community; and on the other hand, it breathes new life into a building that would otherwise be neglected or left to decay, transforming it into a place of discovery and surprise.

Image credit: Alex Fliz

The hotel, which takes its name from the Gfell meadows (prati di Gfell) area, is an eco gem and a prime example of design working with service conswciously. For example, the hotel boasts the latest insulation technology, ensuring high levels of comfort. The heating and hot water are obtained thanks to a pellet burner, which guarantees “zero impact” on CO2 emissions.

Inside, all rooms and spaces take light from the large window overlooking the valley and they are structured seamlessly under the large wooden truss, which was partly rebuilt from scratch in line with local architectural tradition to restore all the feel of a typical South Tyrolean farmstead.

Even the flooring, which makes an impression as a simple original cement screed, aims to reproduce the uneven surface area of the original barn (a specific treatment makes the surface waterproof and stain-resistant, however). In the middle is a spectacular column fireplace reinterpreting the alpine hearth and creating a visual crux around which the different functional spaces revolve. Brise soleil-type wooden panels soften radiation from the sun during the hottest hours of the day, whilst creating aesthetic impact at the same time.

Outside, in line with modern demands for exterior spaces – especially in wellness hotels – the building opens out onto a large terrace that provides guests with a view over the valley.

The new building is developed on two underground levels, which follow the land’s natural slope. Its architecture is almost cancelled out in order to allow for the natural scenery to be read with no interruptions. For noa*, hospitality is about (and in this project more so than ever) continuously seeking out dialogue with nature and providing the latter with the starring role.

There are 17 new rooms, complemented by a wellness area with a sauna and relaxation area. Going down a staircase from the barn, guests enter the lower level which provides access to the new rooms; all of the rooms are the same on both levels (-1 and -2) and are amazing in terms of their features and size.

On entering, a wooden entry-type hall (concealing the wardrobes) leads to a bright, open space (25 square metres). The model is that of the suite, with an open bathroom area (except for the toilet and bidet) designed with stone- effect tiles which break up the colour uniformity of the durmast wood chosen for the flooring in the room, whilst a white ceramic vessel sink revokes the traditional country basin in terms of its shape. All the furniture is custom designed in light and natural tones. But most importantly, in each room there is a huge glass window (measuring 4.8 metres in length) that coincides with the façade, showcasing a thrilling view. “There’s nothing in front of us, only pine forests, pastures and mountains”, notes the architect Profanter. The room is complemented by a terrace, featuring wooden flooring (on level -2 it directly borders the lawn) which provides more living space.

The wellness area, which is also on level -1, also shares the splendid view with the rooms, extending out onto wooden terraces where guests can sunbathe or simply relax in the warmer months. Inside, 6 cabins create fully wooden-cladded mini-rooms for individual use, allowing guests privacy and tranquillity whilst they lie down on a soft mattress that is submerged into the flooring. Custom-designed chaise lounges round off the decor. In the wellness area there is a Finnish- and bio-sauna (the latter with a lower temperature), which have a panoramic glass window.

Noa* was actively involved in designing the new hotel at all levels, from the conception and implementation of the architecture to the design of the interiors and furniture, even deciding on the smallest of details. For example, the flower outline motif that is a recurrent theme in the lounge, the wellness area and even the sauna’s interior.

Image of landscape outside of sustainable hotel

Image credit: Alex Filz

“The interior design was handled with great detail”, explains the interior designer Barbara Runggatscher, who coordinated the project. “We decided on natural materials and fabrics to create a relaxing environment. We chose the darkest tone of durmast wood and paired it with neutral rough-fibre upholstery, like thick-weaved linen and cotton. A large part of the decor was custom-designed with the aim of offering maximum comfort and personalised solutions.”

A good example in terms of functionality is the multi-purpose cabinet in the old barn’s lounge, which if need be can be transformed into a breakfast corner but is also useful for afternoon tea breaks.

The main material used for the interior design was wood, used for furniture (tables, chairs, benches, beds, cabinets…) as well as for the flooring in all the rooms. Here, unprocessed durmast wood was used showing all its knots. This is also a feature of the furniture’s craftsmanship.

In terms of fabrics, the designers went mainly for natural textures and tones which are the perfect union for the wood. Mono-coloured felt or one with a geometric motif was chosen in the rooms for the textile upholstery whilst thick curtains, made with special fireproof fabric ensure the necessary privacy and soften the light during the hours of maximum sun rays.

The attention to aesthetic and functional aspects in the lighting project gave rise to ad hoc lights: for example, the lamps with textile lampshades used in the old barn, with the warm and welcoming lighting that is in full symphony with the upholstery of sofas and armchairs.

Main image credit: Alex Filz

Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. This week’s round-up includes an exclusive lighting feature, details about Rosewood’s second hotel in London and how to watch out latest panel discussion on sustainability beneath the surface…

2021 is shaping up to be an extremely exciting year on the hotel design front. Already this quarter, we have seen Zaha Hadid Architects complete an incredible architectural marvel in Dubai, watched Moxy Hotels turn up the volume with a landmark opening in Miami and we have even published plans for hospitality to launch into space.

As impressive as that all sounds, this week, the international development plot has thickened, with Hotel Designs leading the narrative around sustainability and the future of hospitality at Hotel Designs LIVE, Rosewood dropping yet more news around its second arrival in London and a study being launched that cuts through the noise to reveal new demands from modern traveller following the pandemic.

So, without further a due, here are the top stories from the last few days.

The industry comments on International Women’s Day

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

Our nod to International Women’s Day is more of a formal bow or curtsy. For this year’s IWD, we heard from leading female designers, hoteliers and architects about how far we have come and, crucially, how far we have still got to travel in order to operate in an equal and fair global arena.

Read more. 

EXCLUSIVE // Case study: The bespoke lighting narrative inside London’s Nobu hotel

Image credit: Jack Hardy

Inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square – a hotel that has caused a lot of noise recently on the international hotel design scene – there is a bespoke lighting narrative that flickers unlike any other. We exclusively caught up with Lyn Newcombe, Head of Projects at Dernier & Hamlyn and Lewis Taylor, Design Director at David Collins Studio, to capture the full story.

Read more. 

Nearly half of Brits surveyed expect air purifiers in tomorrow’s hotel

A navy blue air purifier next to a navy blue bed

Blueair, which produces air purifiers that remove air pollutants like smoke, mold and allergens, recently participated as a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE. Here, the brand shares insights into how consumers feel about visiting hotels in a post-pandemic world.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

On February 23, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch Hotel Designs LIVE. Following an engaging panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, the spotlight for the second session of the day landed on leading design and hospitality figures to debate sustainability, a topic that continues to be weighed down by heavy stigma. Sponsored by Grohe, a brand that inherently has sustainability running through its DNA – if recent accolades are anything go by – the panel was inspired by the recent Q&A between Hotel Designs LIVE and eco warrior, Bill Bensley.

Read more. 

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Image credit: Thomas Heatherwick

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties. It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

Read more.

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, we caught up with the architect to learn more.

Read more.

The Chancery Rosewood, arriving in London in 2024

Render of Rosewood London in former US Embassy

Image credit: DBOX for Qatari Diar

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which currently manages 27 luxury properties in 16 countries with a further 21 hotels under development, has announced that its second hotel in London will be sheltered in the former US Embassy and will be named The Chancery Rosewood.

Read more.

And finally… 

If you haven’t yet had a change to listen to DESIGN POD, here’s the latest episode. Entitled ‘Choosing Your Lane’, we invite interior designer Constantina Tsoutsikou to join us as our first guest. Episode two, with guest Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, goes live on Monday!

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of KEUCO shower light

A perfect symbiosis of water and light from KEUCO

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A perfect symbiosis of water and light from KEUCO

With all senses expected to be explored in wellness in tomorrow’s hospitality experience, bathroom brand KEUCO has launched The Royal Midas shower light…

Image of KEUCO shower light

The bathroom has changed in recent years and it is now seen as a place for relaxation, a home style spa and room to unwind and indulge the senses.

The shower has become a large part of this and in many homes it now replaces the bath; with many showering in the morning to actively start the day or taking a shower in the evening to relax the body and sooth the soul. The ROYAL MIDAS shower light made by KEUCO provides a unique showering experience– a perfect combination of water and light.

The Royal Midas shower light, has a large integrated shower head and the combination of light and water has a positive effect on the person showering. Single drops of water reflect the light, whilst the water streaming from shower above covers the body – refreshing, cooling and invigorating or warming and relaxing.

The unit is a complete all-in-one product this means installation is quick, safe and easy in combination with your chosen KEUCO shower valve; the KEUCO shower light being autonomously operated via a momentary room switch providing on/off and light adjustment.

Image of The Royal Midas by KEUCO

Image credit: KEUCO

The shower light can be set or dimmed between 6500 kelvin (day light) and 2700 kelvin (warm white). This is especially good in winter time, it allows you to have a brighter ‘day light’ shower with a warming effect for body in the morning, and this activates the circulatory system. A warmer, softer light during an evening shower creates a relaxing ambience; it is similar to the effects of sunset and helps to release the hormone melatonin encouraging healthy sleep.

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 natural looking hotel room

Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

As we have already established in our editorial series with the brand, Siminetti is renowned for its hand-crafted mother of pearl decorative surfaces. In the unprecedented circumstances of 2021, the brand’s products offer a unique form of decoration with qualities that enhance both public and private areas…

Image of natural looking hotel room

Siminetti produces luxury surfaces that are crafted with passion and viewed with awe. As explained in a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, all of its raw materials are sourced from ethically farmed and sustainable sources. This is to ensure our impact is with respect to the traditions of the people who inhabit the areas and ensure the environment is protected. Typically the shellfish industry farm foodstuffs, cosmetics and pearls for jewellery. Leaving the shells as waste material which is discarded to landfill. Siminetti takes this jewel in the rough to remove the harsh exterior and reveal the undisputable beauty within, resulting in not only a minimal environmental impact but a positive one reducing waste to landfill.

Image of bed in hotel room with Siminetti wallcovering

Image credit: Siminetti

The process in which the brand’s raw product is transformed into their beautiful surfaces however is not straightforward. All products are handcrafted with a key attention to detail. Rough imperfections are removed to reveal the stunning nacre. This is then cut into individual tesserae, hand-placed by artisans onto either mesh backings or paper sheet faces – for mosaics – or applied to one of their panelling substrates to create our inspiring decorative surface. Finally, the mosaic tiles and decorative surfaces are polished to bring out the stunning qualities of mother of pearl then sealed for increased strength, an enhanced finish and ease of cleaning.

Following the events of 2021, hoteliers and designers are looking for solutions to growing hygiene concerns. Siminetti’s decorative surfaces come made to measure up to a size of 1200mm x 2400mm with a strong panelling substrate. The substrate options include aluminium honeycomb, magnesium board or PVC foam in varying depths depending on your requirements. This results in an exact fitting solution that requires no grouting and is easily wiped clean in high traffic areas. The grout typically used with bathroom tiling can cause a bacterial build-up or capture viral pathogens. The brand’s paneling solution mitigates that risk whilst providing a luxurious aesthetic.

Image of luxury textured sustainable wallcovering from Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

This year, Siminetti unveiled its Seasons’ Collection. A series of decorative surfaces inspired by nature and kind to the planet. The collection consists of 12 designs which are all currently available in two colourway options; Innocence saltwater pearl or Golden Promise saltwater pearl with a Bianco freshwater base. These timeless designs will tie your décor back to nature, provide a hygienic – easy to clean surface, and inspire your customers.

The seasons’ collection entails a range of designs to complement any luxury setting. Breaking the traditions of what is assumed possible with mother of pearl. The inclusion of geometric, organic and abstract patterns sets the collection apart from any others on the market. Explore the twelve stunning designs on their website or their new brochure.

It is important to look at what can be taught by the disruption of 2020. Siminetti’s next generation of decorative surfaces present opportunities in the development of both luxury hospitality aesthetics and hygiene demands of more demanding guests. This benefit of improved maintenance and aesthetics, over traditional tiling, is furthered also by the surfaces ease of installation compared to traditional tiling.

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

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

Following PENT.’s Product Watch pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE during a panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, Hotel Designs takes a look at the brand’s latest stylish fitness accessories…

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

On February 23, during Hotel Designs LIVE first panel discussion of the day, PENT., which was established in 2011 on the base of experience and know-how gained in previous years as a supplier of fitness solutions for professional fitness clubs, unveiled details about two of its latest collections that are suitable for the hotel and hospitality market.

Recently, hospitality demanded a product that not only responded to the change that the world has been going through over the last year but also allowed hotel guests to use fitness equipment at a comfort of their rooms. Both the SOPHIA and COMBO Hotel collections were inspired by the ever-changing role of fitness spaces within the hotel experience.

SOPHIA

The SOPHIA collection includes a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise mat and essential yoga and fitness accessories. Placed on a niftily designed cart, it can be delivered straight to a guest’s room. It is the true evolution of modern solutions for the hotel industry in times of pandemics and beyond.

PENT Sophia collection

Image credit: PENT.

SOPHIA has been created by specialists for professionals and enthusiasts as a complete set for the most demanding guests. The ergonomic design includes drawers for smaller but important accessories such as a jump rope or push-up bars. There’s a place for towels, water and an IPad.

COMBO Hotel 

If, however, a hotel prefers a more stationary solution then PENT. also provides a permanent set of fitness equipment. The COMBO option can be placed inside a chosen room or a suite to provide hotle guests with even more privacy and hassle-free experience.

COMBO Collection by PENT Fitness

Image credit: PENT.

All PENT. fitness equipment is designed and manufactured in Poland and the brand prides itself on the fact that the entire production process is performed in-house.

Even the smallest wooden, steel or genuine leather components are made by PENT. employees – not a single production process is outsourced, which means that the company has the opportunity to fully customise and quickly develop new products. All product components are made by hand, and where it is impossible, the elements are made on the most modern CNC machines.

PENT. was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, 2021. Read more about the virtual event here. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on May 11 2021.

Main image credit: PENT

Image of Lucienne Walpole

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

SB Architects recently appointed Lucienne Walpole as the firm’s new Vice President. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the architect to learn more…

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. She lends a unique perspective while contributing a strong sense of creative vision and attention to detail and has played a crucial role in many high-profile hotel, resort, and multi-family projects.

So when it was revealed that Walpole had been appointed as a new Vice President of the firm, we at Hotel Designs were not surprised. I caught up with Walpole to understand her passion for design and architect, her position on wellness post-pandemic – following the panel discussion the architect took part in during Hotel Designs LIVE last week – while also learning what a typical day looks like in Walpole’s shoes.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Hamish Kilburn: What attracted you to work in architecture?

Lucienne Walpole: I always knew I wanted to have a career rooted in creativity, but I didn’t seriously set my sights on architecture until the end of college. I initially studied Interior Design but then went straight on to pursue a Masters in Architecture. I think the seed was always there though. I was born, raised, and currently reside in Coral Gables, Florida where we have a wealth of beautiful Old Spanish homes, one of which I grew up in. I watched as my parents transformed the run-down 1920s house into a home full of detail and beauty. They taught me about vision and being able to see past a neglected exterior or a blank page.

Hamish Kilburn: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

LW: Working at Baha Mar in the Bahamas in conjunction with SB Architects has afforded me the opportunity to lead the design of two amazing restaurants. Since Baha Mar is known for its spectacular, out of the box ideas, the client was keen to pursue ideas that might have otherwise been disregarded initially for budgetary or feasibility reasons. Not only did I get to lead the design, but I was able to be a part of the construction administration process. The sweet finale was being able to finally enjoy a meal and a margarita in one of the over-water dining pavilions we designed.

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

HK: How do you keep your designs fresh from one project to another?

LW: I’m inspired by the site and local history of each project I work on. Every location has different opportunities and every market demands a different experience. I love looking at imagery for inspiration and revisiting my initial sketches and thoughts.

HK: How has your voice as a designer evolved since joining SB Architects?

LW: I started at SB Architects straight out of graduate school at the age of 24 and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been lucky to work under great mentors who taught me the ins-and-outs of the hospitality design world, as well as the qualities needed to be a good leader. As I’ve stretched my wings, I’ve learned not to be afraid to throw out ideas in meetings even if they seem a little crazy. I strive to always think outside of the box and not let go of the original design intent too easily.

HK: Describe a typical working day for you…

LW: I wake up before anyone else in the house in order to squeeze in a quick workout before jumping in the shower, making lunches, and getting myself ready. After I’ve dropped off our two young boys at school, I rush off to the office to start my day. These days I’m doing a mixture of working from home as well as working in the office. Once in front of my computer, I dig right in since time without the distraction of two little ones is limited these days. I’m usually designing in AutoCad and sketching, completing image research, and taking Zoom calls with clients and my team. A good podcast, audio book, or music is a must.

HK: What advice do you have for younger generations of women wanting to get into design leadership positions?

LW: As women, and often mothers, we are great multi-taskers and time managers. Don’t wait for the opportunity but instead speak up about what your goals are. Also, know that it’s ok to offer up ideas and speak up in every setting. Most of the senior leadership I work with are so busy that I think they appreciate it when someone else is willing to take the reigns on a new initiative.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

HK: Where do you see hotel design 10 years from now?

LW: I think hotel design will evolve into a space where wellness isn’t just a line item in the program, but instead infused into each space touching all five senses, wellness will become as commonplace, and as considered as lighting. I think operations and hotel design will begin to be more closely tied, especially considering all the last 12 months has taught us. Not just from how the back-of-house spaces work, but how an operator can customise an experience for the guest and how the design can support that.

HK: You joined us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE a few weeks ago for a session on wellness. What will wellness’ role be post-pandemic?

LW: I feel wellness will not only be about the physical but the mental too. We need to move our bodies, but we also need to rest our minds. The wellness experience should also extend from adults, all the way to the youngest of children. I think this theme of inclusivity will push travel to become more meaningful and provide more teaching opportunities.

HK: Are you working on any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

LW: I’m working on an urban retreat, Al Yosr Clubhouse, located just outside of Cairo, Egypt. We’re designing the space to be an urban sanctuary for the surrounding community and those looking for a wellness experience. The clubhouse will have a large spa component, a few F&B venues, as well as a sunken garden that stretches the length of the site providing different pockets of space to relax, meet, and play.

HK: What design/architecture trends are you seeing for 2021?

LW: Meaningful travel, intention, less public spaces, more outdoor spaces. Providing more spaces for those working remotely. More local travel. Curated experiences and personalisation. Sustainability and wellness will move away from being a buzz word, but an expected feature… at least within the luxury market space.

Main image credit: SB Architects

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties…

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

UK hotel spas are set to provide an alternative to holidays abroad as staycations are expected to boom. There has been a 1,900 per cent increase in searches for ‘when do spas open? ‘ post road map announcement, as reported in Googles search trends.

Image of two people in pool overlooking nature outside

Image credit: Sparcstudio

“Excellent design will be absolutely key in the creation of destination spas that are unique, have heart and soul, capitalise on the best aspects of their location in linking to a beautiful landscape or view,” says Beverley Bayes, Director of Sparcstudio. “Many of the trends in spa design this year and beyond relate to our collective desire to connect with nature.”

Biophilic design: Reconnecting with nature

2020 saw the entire country embrace the great outdoors and spas followed by extending their spa gardens, making use of outside space to help social distancing which created a true connection between the spa and nature.

This ‘biophilic’ approach to design is already evident in our own homes, offices and hotels  right now and we expect them to explode in spas in 2021. Spas are realising the full potential of converting outside terraces and underused gardens to useable spa relaxation and wellness spaces.

Nature has always been a key inspiration in the design of the spas that Sparcstudio creates which includes Calcot Spa, Dormy House, The Spa at South Lodge Spa, Sopwell House Spa and the Aqua Sana spas. The Sparcstudio HQ is based by the river at Richmond and we are lucky to have Kew Gardens close to hand for natural ‘inspiration’.

Exterior shot of The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Image credit: The Spa at South Lodge Spa

Location, location, location

 When creating a new build spa, careful positioning is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, whether this is via gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right.

The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop, transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees, as can be seen at the new build Center Parcs Longford Forest Aqua Sana spa in Ireland. At the Sherwood Forest Aqua Sana, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘Forest bathing’ to a new level.

Exterior Spa experiences can also include a yoga deck or dedicated area for ‘Forest bathing’, curved seating around a firepit, a circular walk through herb garden, or bathing in a natural pool. Natural swimming pools offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forward thinking, eco-conscious spa developer.

We are also designing stretch and personal training zones that extend to an outside deck beyond the interior gym spaces.

Not all sites of course are blessed with an inspiring mountain top, edge of the ocean location or a  view of pristine countryside or even a glacier, but with good design it’s very possible for a building to ‘transcend’ the location and benefit from a biophilic design approach.

Take the inspiring example of Thomas Heatherwick designed wellness centre ‘Maggie’s  in Leeds (a charity that provides support for people affected by cancer). Set in the midst of medical buildings, almost on a traffic island, the studio created a series of beautiful interlocking organic buildings that seem to grow out of the garden and provide a relaxing haven which has central top lit space and roof terraces that features native English species of plants, alongside areas of evergreen to provide warmth in the winter months.

Top lighting

‘Top lighting’ of spaces with the integration of skylights or slots and integration of internal courtyards is a very effective way of providing a connection to nature in spas, framing sky views and allowing light to penetrate into the heart of spa. An example of this can be seen at  Spa Vilnius Lithuania, where we formed an organic shaped top lit winter garden in the heart of the treatment space.

Image of lighting in sauna

Image credit: Champneys Spa Mottram Hall

Interior spaces will also continue to have a strong Biophilic feel and visual link to natural surroundings. I love the Japanese concept of ‘Yukimi-shoji’ meaning ‘Snow viewing Shoji’, which is a type of window made so the bottom half slides upwards, often to reveal a beautiful view. Taking inspiration from this concept, we often frame a view with a single pane of glass in a treatment room or even a heat cabin (such as the Organic Sauna at South Lodge Spa), which features organic forms looking out onto the curving South Downs.

Biophilic form: Curves, waves and organic forms

Curved soft cosseting forms will be a strong theme in spa design offering a comforting embrace to spa users. These will be evident in many elements ranging from curved organic pools (such as the ‘wild swimming’ pool at South Lodge). Bespoke joinery and furniture (for example the statement curved sofas that we created for Champneys Mottram Hall) or the bespoke organic sauna designs and ice feature that we designed as part of the new pool there.

Biophilic design for the senses

Natural light, planting, fire and water are key elements to incorporate into a biophilic wellness interior. But surprisingly  ‘Aroma’ whilst often being a key part of the spa treatment experience itself, can be  overlooked in the physical design of the spaces.

As spa designers but we like to be mindful of Aroma as an integral part of the sensual experience, imbedded in the spa  materials and finishes and experiences.  Thermal and heat experiences offer an opportunity to create little ‘micro climates of aroma’. Cedar is one of my favourite timbers within saunas for its soothing slightly exotic smell.  We have also designed many plant based aroma rooms  including the ‘lavender aroma room’  heat  cabin that we designed as part of the heat experiences at Dormy House Spa utilising local lavender from a nearby farm.

At Sopwell Spa, Cottonmill Club, we created a ‘Rose Relaxation room’ inspired by Moroccan Riads whose central courtyards provide serene sheltered relaxation spaces infused with a Moroccan rose aroma, and rose tinted glass panels create private relaxation niches.

As part of our design of Third Space fitness club at Tower Bridge we created one of London’s first dedicated hot yoga studios. We lined the walls with fragrant Juniper logs and fitted with state-of-the-art anti-bacterial technology, enabling members to enter deep stretches and poses, and detoxify through perspiration, in a hot, cleansing biophilic environment.

Since you’re here, why not read out Guide To Hotel Design article on spa design in the new era of wellness?

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

Image caption/credit: Maggies by Thomas Heatherwick