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An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: insane hotel concepts, sustainability answers & Ace arrivals

Good afternoon and welcome to this Friday’s briefing, with me, editor Hamish Kilburn. In this round-up we take a look at the hottest hotel design stories that have been published over the last five days…

An aerial view of Fari Islands in Maldives

It hasn’t been the easiest of starts to the year – today the UK hospitality industry remains closed and new travel sanctions have been enforced to prevent the spread of a new Covid-19 variant – but we are determined as ever to keep the mood lifted as we pick out the headlines that are influencing positive change throughout the international hotel design scene.

Here are the top stories of this week:

The Hot List – hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

An arial view of the cutting edge swimming pools

Image credit: CAYO Exclusive Resort and Spa

Dubbed ‘The Hot List’ by our readers, we start every year as mean to go on; with a positive mindset to get ahead of the curve to reveal what we believe will be the hottest hotel openings of 2021. Following on from part one, which was published last week, here are our Q3 & Q4 VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design.

Read more.

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature.

Read more.

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Exterior of hotel

Image credit: Ace Hotels

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Read more.

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

Image caption: The elegant lobby balances grandeur design and decadent decoration sensitively. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

Timeless, neoclassical interiors and intricate details, designed by HBA, salute America’s rich musical legacy inside the recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection.

Read more.

Rosewood Hotels to arrive in Rome in 2023

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a global leader in luxury travel and lifestyle experiences, has been appointed by real estate firm Antirion SGR to manage Rosewood Rome, which will open in 2023 in the heart of the capital city.

Read more.

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Main image credit: Ritz Carlton Maldives Fari Islands

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection strikes a chord

Timeless, neoclassical interiors and intricate details, designed by HBA, salute America’s rich musical legacy inside the recently completed Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

3_Standard King Guest Room_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Hospitality interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has completed the design of Hotel Carmichael, Autograph Collection. Created to inspire an enduring journey through history and provoke continued revival, the 122-key, six-story hotel is an architectural masterpiece located adjacent to The Palladium—one of the greatest music halls of its time—which houses the Great American Songbook in downtown Carmel, Ind. along the Monon Trail.

Guided by the melody, harmony, rhythm and soul from the Golden Age of American Song, along with the neoclassical style of the great Scottish architect and interior designer Robert Adam, HBA Atlanta designers instilled the interiors of Hotel Carmichael with timeless furnishings, simplicity of form and thoughtful detailing that come together as a symphony of classic elegance with marked personality for a defining experience unlike any other.   

“By using a storyline-based approach, we sought to create a cohesive design concept with a level of attention to detail that invokes the spirited feeling of a time in history where grandeur, scaling, and decadent decoration were celebrated.” – Catherine Josey, Designer, HBA.

“We started with a neoclassical design and brought it forward in time. We integrated historic elements into each of the spaces to give guests a sense of nostalgia as they were transformed into the present,” said HBA Atlanta Senior Designer Catherine Josey. “By using a storyline-based approach, we sought to create a cohesive design concept with a level of attention to detail that invokes the spirited feeling of a time in history where grandeur, scaling, and decadent decoration were celebrated to encourage guests to be fully present and appreciate the moment they enter the lobby.”

Image caption: The elegant lobby balances grandeur design and decadent decoration sensitively. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

Through the oversized black metal doors adorned with bronze hardware, guests walk into a stately lobby with black and white checkered flooring and Doric columns inspired by magnificent Great Hall designed by Adam at London’s Syon House. An oversized art piece flanked by theatrical drapes on each side sets a dramatic backdrop for a grand reception desk composed of white and black stone with gold gilded medallions. The lobby lounge library exudes the familiarity of an English pub with high wainscoting coated in a dark rich paint, coffered ceiling and comfortable seating. A dual-sided, wood-burning fireplace allows guests to relax with a book in the library or enjoy lively drinks with friends on the lobby side.

“Each space has its purpose in function and form, whether to ignite the imagination, engage or elevate, yet all fit together so perfectly to leave guests with memories they won’t soon forget,” continued Josey. “With purposeful design, Hotel Carmichael is a place where guests can write their own story and return time and again to fill the pages of their book.”

Moving into the meeting and event venues, Baroque-style mirrors line the hallway of the prefunction space outside the elegant Cole Porter Ballroom where patterned carpeting and a ceiling detailed with medallions, crowns and hanging crystal chandeliers create a light, airy space. HBA Atlanta designers created contrasting atmospheres for the two boardrooms, one with dark millwork walls and wood floors for a classic feel and the other, more playful with blue lacquered walls.

5_Cole Porter Ballroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Image caption: The elegant Cole Porter Ballroom is where patterned carpeting and a ceiling detailed with medallions, crowns and hanging crystal chandeliers create a light, airy space. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality`

Teal lacquered doors open to Vivante, a culinary experience reminiscent of a French bistro where walls washed in white serve as a canvas for dark wood furniture to make a statement and a built-in dark wood wine cabinet to act as a focal point. Ceilings are simple while the details are thoughtful and impactful. Developed in partnership with legendary musician Michael Feinstein, a frequent performer at The Palladium, Feinstein’s is Hotel Carmichael’s signature cabaret dressed in dark carpeting and furniture with an elaborate bar formed of a mix of metals and mirrors. The refined ambiance encapsulates the music and magic of Carmel City Center.

Journey through the guest corridors and discover a softer palette of blues and greens for a serene moment, punctuated by art in reference to the Great American Songbook with a distinct experience on each floor.

4_Suite Bathroom_Hotel Carmichael_credit-Coury Hospitality

Image caption: Grand bathrooms filter through from the luxurious and comfortable guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Coury Hospitality

HBA Atlanta designers outfitted guestrooms with blue leather headboards, oversized sectionals for lounging and chandeliers in every room. Bathrooms feature walk-in showers, freestanding tubs and back-lit mirrored vanities that provide ample lighting. In the suites, hardwood flooring upon entry leads to a small powder room, a dining room with hints of teal accents through the rug and dining chairs, and a bright living room with blue drapes and multicolored side chairs. Gilded touches and chandeliers are carried through the property into the suites. 

Main image credit: Coury Hospitality

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural 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.

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

In order to establish some positivity in what is otherwise a rather bleak hospitality landscape at the moment, we’re leaning on Parkside to lift the lid – and the mood – on colour and pattern trends that are shaping interiors over the next two years…

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

“There’s got to be more to colour in 2021 than PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating,” we hear you say. There’s nothing wrong with these two contrasting hues, but thanks to our relationship with tile specification brand Parkside, we can go beyond the surface to discover some rather exciting trends that are emerging.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing the biggest disruption to modern life in many generations, our response looks to shield us from the economic uncertainty, social isolation and endangered health. A desire for interiors that can accommodate agility as well as provide retreat to make us feel calm and safe, will shape the colours, surfaces and patterns we see.

Encouraging a positive emotional response that helps to relieve feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, colour is playing a more influential role, with palettes that offer depth and richness. From saturated, digital tones to rich and authentic natural colours such as moss and deep forest green, colours are bolder and help users connect to the space in meaningful ways.

These colours can be grouped into clear themes that bring cohesion to a colour, texture and surface palette. Parkside has identified two key themes for 2021/2022 in Nature’s Purity and Retro Pop.

Nature’s Purity explores the positivity of nature’s influence on our interiors. As we seek a deeper connection to the natural world, it looks towards colours, surfaces and patterns that respond to this. Warmer, earthy ones are paired with natural materials that evoke a sense of purity and perfection. Lending itself well to creating an immersive hospitality experience through new neutrals and natural textures such as marble and wood, Nature’s Purity fosters a link to the outdoor world that helps to instil calmness and serenity in any commercial interior.

Selection of Parkside tiles

Image credit: Parkside

Retro Pop sees a return to nostalgia, with the bold, geometric patterns of the 70s resurging, this time with a sunnier palette rooted in citrus yellow. Sweet pastels add energy and help to build playful spaces that encourage wellness, collaboration, connection and socialisation. Bringing fun and joy to workplaces and retail, Retro Pop sees ceramics, satin finishes and terrazzo clash for fun combinations that retain a feeling of positiveness.

Through more than 1,500 tile designs, Parkside can provide designers with wall and floor tiles to bring these trends to commercial projects. Whether the faithful colours of the Matrix collection or marble, wood and textile effects; Parkside supports its solutions with a range of services including waterjet cutting, colour matching and bespoke digital print.

Parkside 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: Parkside

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hygiene, there’s a RIBA approved CPD module for that!

GROHE has launched its third RIBA approved CPD module, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities, which will be hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and presented by GROHE’s Karl Lennon, on February 9, 2021…

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

In response to the increasing demand for hygiene-optimised solutions since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, GROHE has launched a RIBA approved CPD module for the architecture and design community. Its aim is to facilitate greater awareness and provide inspiration to multiple stakeholders and industries working within the built environment, from architects and designers to house builders, retailers, and plumbers.

Click here to register for the CPD module, entitled: Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities.

The latest seminar-based training module is the first on RIBA’s CPD database to look at hygiene in both the kitchen and bathroom, allowing architects and designers an in-depth look at residential design under a hygiene lens, alongside its increasing importance in commercial settings. As a provider of complete bathroom solutions, GROHE is able to offer its expertise holistically when it comes to bathroom applications. The CPD session encourages architects to consider how all touchpoints in the bathroom can be optimised with hygiene in mind, across brassware and ceramics. Meanwhile in kitchen settings, GROHE looks at the emerging importance tapware can play in maintaining hygiene levels.

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red tap close up lifestyle

Image credit: GROHE

GROHE first identified a seismic shift in the demand for hygiene-optimised products at the beginning of 2020, which reached new heights once the first wave of the pandemic hit the UK.

“Whilst in the UK commercial market the transition to more hygiene-focussed public spaces and business environments has been in motion for some time, there has been increasing demand in the consumer markets, in such a way that has never been seen before“, says Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA. “Ongoing conversations with our partners and clients over the last year has signified to us that there is a real demand for more knowledge around hygiene and what solutions are available. The pandemic is likely to impact both the short- and long-term implications of the way our buildings are designed and how we live and work in them. The design community are eager to expand their horizons in order to be able to adapt.”

By designing our surroundings with hygiene front of mind, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities highlights other positive implications to consider too. For example, boosting sustainability credentials with products such as infra-red taps and flush plates which reduce water and energy consumption. Improving the accessibility of our private and public spaces is also a viable outcome, as more autonomous solutions will be favoured over traditional products that rely on manual operation.

To mark the release of its new CPD module, GROHE has partnered with leading hospitality design platform, Hotel Designs, to host a virtual launch event for architects and designers on Tuesday 9th February 2021. Hosted by Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, and presented by Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA, the launch event will give attendees a first look at the new CPD session. GROHE will also be hosting a prize draw for all those who register, with twenty of its brand-new Rainshower SmartActive 130 handshowers to give away. Winners will be announced and contacted shortly after the event.

For those interested in attending the launch event, registrations can be made here. To express interest in booking a private CPD training session, emails should be directed to cpdtraining-uk@grohe.com.

Since you’re here, why not read more about GROHE’s recently achieved sustainability accolades?

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

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking ahead: inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Ace Hotel’s latest property will arrive in Downtown Brooklyn this Spring, designed from the ground up by renowned design firm Roman and Williams

Located on the cusp of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, Ace Hotel Brooklyn will be the brand’s second property in New York City. The design of the 287-key hotel – one of the largest in the Ace portfolio – has been inspired by the “geographical and cultural history of Brooklyn” and is intended to harmonise with the borough’s ideals.

Image of guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

“We’ve been building toward Ace Brooklyn for years; the entire city has reimagined itself several times over since we started,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. “That’s exactly the spirit we’ve worked to mirror in every corner of our new home — the inexhaustible ingenuity that stands as the borough’s only constant. We’re lucky enough to have landed at the junction of so many rich and inspiring neighbourhoods, and hope to provide a new and inviting sense of place for our guests and neighbours to call home.” 

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Image caption: An early sketch of Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by Roman and Williams.

Open, spacious and welcoming, the hotel’s design, led by Roman and Williams, gives more than a nod to Brooklyn’s complex fabric of communal and creative spaces, with an animated public lobby and indoor-outdoor portals that ease into the city’s edges. The guestrooms pair floor-to-ceiling windows with original artwork by local fibre and textile artists — with some higher floors offering a 360º panorama of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Ace Hotel Brooklyn is the third design collaboration between Atelier Ace and Roman and Williams, following Ace Hotel New York and Ace Hotel New Orleans. Ace’s second-only ground-up build, the hotel’s facade and interiors are inspired by the sprawling egalitarian promise of the borough — from the industrial grit of its shipyards to the neo-expressionist complexity of Basquiat. Roman and Williams looked to traditions of studios and workspaces, embracing the purity of handcrafted expressions in every area — from massive timbers in the lobby, to the custom tile murals in the lavatories, the poured in place concrete structure of the building, plus a collection of furnishings created uniquely for this project.

“For our third collaboration with Ace Hotel, Roman and Williams created both the building and the interiors for Ace Brooklyn,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman and Williams. We chose to embrace a governing principle of purity and artistic spirit in our architecture and the spaces within. We employed a philosophy of primitive modernism holistically across the project. This highly artistic approach drove us to use construction methods and materials with honesty. This is evident in everything you touch and see. This undecorated and tactile spirit expresses a radical transparency in its approach to the design of Ace Brooklyn.”

With current locations in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago and Kyoto, Ace is expanding its portfolio. As well as another arrival in New York City, the brand as has plans to open properties in Toronto and Sydney this year.

Main image credit: Ace Hotels

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Designs LIVE in February

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, editor Hamish Kilburn is here to explain to you why you should attend…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Back by popular demand, Hotel Designs LIVE launched in the chaotic realms of the Covid-19 outbreak last year. The one-day virtual conference is designed to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and beyond the disruptive time we are currently in.

Following two successful events, the concept will return on February 23, 2021 with the aim to define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of leading figures from the world of design, architecture and hospitality as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

So, here are five reasons why you do not want to miss out on attending our first Hotel Designs LIVE of the season:

1) It’s free to attend! 

If you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, then attending Hotel Designs LIVE is completely free of charge. The reason for this is that we, on the editorial desk, believe it is simply our duty to provide our readers with engaging and relevant content that will help steer us all in the right direction for the post-pandemic world.

Click here to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE (booking form takes less than 2 minutes to complete).

2) The speaker line-up is insane!

We have gone above and beyond to secure yet another stellar line-up of speakers who can appropriately define the point on the topics we have chosen to put under this event’s spotlight. Speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE include:

3) Conversations unlike any other

With our aim to be as relevant as possible and to serve up new ideas that will influence meaningful change in hotel design and hospitality worldwide, we have decided centre the conversations around sustainability, sound in design, wellness and what the future of the industry looks like. Our speakers (see above) will identify and discuss the challenges that are attached to each topic and offer purposeful solutions that will help enhance the arena in which we all operate in.

4) A dynamic look at this season’s product launches

In addition to four seminar sessions – and to ensure Hotel Designs continues to bridge the gap between hospitality suppliers and buyers – the virtual conference will include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session (Technology, Sustainability, Public Areas, Wellness & Wellbeing), allowing the audience the hear and see the latest products that have been launched. 

5) We’re supporting the industry while live events are on hold

There is nothing quite like a live event – we miss them too! But while we are unable to meet in person, Hotel Designs LIVE is a dynamic way to be part of conversations and debates that are happening now and which will, ultimately, shape the future. Each session will allow the audience to ask questions and engage in our ‘chat’ to ensure that we are not missing anything during our debates and conversations.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A render of a floating hotel in the sea

Focusing on the positive possibilities of the future, boutique design studio AMA has proposed a new concept for hospitality experiences in the region. Floating on top the water with a lightweight prefabricated structure, the concept of GAIA takes sustainable architecture and design to new depths by using active and passive means to limited the hotel’s energy needs.

Render of floating hotel in Dubai

Image credit: AMA Design

The concept has been designed to fit into its context. Respecting its natural environment in a light and positive way whilst considering sustainable design and circular economy principles, the hotel fits into an emerging contemporary ‘Eco-Gothic’ style.

“We wanted to create a new type of hospitality experience, testing the potential of emerging construction technologies to make a sustainable and innovative building,” explained Andy Shaw, Managing Partner of AMA. “Our proposal aims to allow people to re-connect with nature whilst making a building with the minimal impact on nature itself. “Most resorts struggle to give true peace and connection to nature due to their location and scale. We designed ‘GAIA’ to be as natural and isolated as possible, whilst giving a calming, immersive experience for guests between the waters, sky and wildlife amongst them.”

Built from pre-fabricated lightweight composites from boat technology, finishes will be all natural such as bamboo and timber so that visitors are immersed in a natural environment framed with the sky and sea.

At the base of the building, in the water, the emerging technology of 3D printed coral will be used and act as a support structure for marine life to feed and flourish underneath. This would encourage diving and snorkelling off the building and encourage an interaction with nature whilst supporting biodiversity.

Sustainability features include:

  • The prefabricated modular design and construction system reduces wasted material and energy.
  • Marine grade durable lightweight materials used extends the lifespan.
  • Carbon is sunk in timber and bamboo materials uses above water, and In the 3D printed coral material (Calcium Carbonate).
  • Renewable clean energy is generated on site through solar panels on skin and water movement underneath.
  • Passive design measures in the shape and orientation of the pods allows for airflow cooling.
  • Marine life is stimulated on 3d printed coral underneath.
Render of the floating hotel at sunset

Image credit: AMA Design

The timely hotel concept, which was developed for the ‘Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition at Dubai Design Week, has helped to shape future possibilities in international hotel design. Shaw explains: “It was developed as a concept for the exhibition, but all the technology needed to build it is available now and in use. They just need to be scaled up and made more accessible. We are hoping an ambitious developer takes it forward, or an established resort adds it to an existing offering as extra rooms and features.”

Main image credit: AMA Design

Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings arriving in 2021 (Q3 & Q4)

Dubbed ‘The Hot List’ by our readers, we start every year as mean to go on; with a positive mindset to get ahead of the curve to reveal what we believe will be the hottest hotel openings of 2021. Following on from part one, which was published last week, here are our Q3 & Q4 VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

The hospitality industry continues to be tested to its limits as the UK, a major design and travel hotspot, has once again been plunged into a national lockdown. Despite the cause for concern among already established hotel businesses, the hotel construction industry continues to develop what will be the future hotels. To keep spirits high as the demand for travel will return in 2021, it is time to pick up from where we left off in the first article of this series that referenced the VIP hotel openings of Q1 and Q2. Going beneath the surface to unveil some true gems, here’s your guided tour of the hotels that will open in Q3 and Q4 that we expect will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Rosewood São Paulo – opening Q3, 2021

Image of the exterior of Rosewood Sao Paulo hotel

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

2020 was a pivotal year for the Rosewood Hotels brand, with announcements of new properties in the Caribbean, Sardinia, Spain and Amsterdam. 2021 will see little change of momentum as the brand prepares to open what is arguably it’s most interesting architectural project to date.

Mirroring the energy and heritage of Brazil, Rosewood São Paulo is said to be an “urban oasis” situated in Cidade Matarazzo, a complex of elegantly preserved buildings from the early 20th century. The 180-key luxury hotel – with rooms designed by none other than Philippe Starck – will anchor this stylish, mixed-use cultural destination, occupying one of the area’s few remaining historical landmarks and a striking new vertical garden tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

Reykjavik EDITION – opening Q3, 2021

Rendering of the EDITION hotel in Iceland

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Narrowly missing its previously scheduled arrival date in 2020, the EDITION brand – which is the brainchild of designer Ian Schrager – is preparing to touch down in Reykjavik this summer! The hotel, which will become the brand’s fourth property in Europe is expected to shelter Schrager’s signature home-from-home luxury style with a curated taste of the locale, reflecting the best of the area’s cultural and social miliieu.

Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa – opening Q3, 2021

With sustainability on the radar despite the pandemic’s best efforts, Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, which softly opened in 2020, will open fully this year as a modern, ecologically sensitive, luxurious resort born out of passionate love in the art of traveling. Cayo’s vibe and feel are the results of thoughtful consideration of the spiritual, cultural, and natural environment.

The accommodation’s striking architectural design uses Greece’s ample sunlight to heighten the beauty of the surrounding hills and the famous islet of Spinalonga, a candidate for the UNESCO List of World Heritage Site.

Known locally as ‘Crete’s most stylish hotel’, its eco-friendly design and bioclimatic architecture highlight the local climate’s beneficial features. The ground slope was put in use to achieve optimal air and light exposure to the resort’s indoors and outdoors areas.

Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Island – opening Q3, 2021

Arial view of Ritz Carlton hotel in Maldives

Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

Set within an integrated development that cleverly bridges together three islands, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands takes a minimalist approach to luxury. Modern design highlights sea views and pristine beaches; simple ingredients are transformed by skilled chefs and mixologists; healing is guided by directional energy and nature is explored with respect and wonder.

Bvlgari Hotel Paris – opening Q3, 2021

Render of Bvlgari Hotel Paris

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

The seventh property to join the collection, Bvlgari Hotel Paris will offer 76 rooms, most of them suites, while the hotel will feature a full range of luxury facilities, including a spa with 25m pool, a Bvlgari restaurant and a bar looking out onto a charming courtyard garden. The new luxury hotel, which is positioned on Avenue George V (between the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Montaigne), is a collaboration between the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, and the renowned Parisian architects Valode & Pistre. The design of the building has been conceived as a transition to modernity – in keeping with Parisian style with traditional limestone and honouring the building’s 19th century history, while also creating a contemporary look with a renewed façade. 

The Paris property is the next hotel opening for the brand with Rome, Miami, Moscow and Tokyo also on the horizon in the coming years.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo – opening Q4, 2021

A render of the eco architecturally structured hotel overlooking the ocean

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Following last year’s development demand in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, further south is a hidden gem that is about to become the stage for the arrival of Four Seasons’ next luxury property. The hidden eco reserve on Mexico’s Costa Alegre – the pristine coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo – is where dense jungle rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean. Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo will feature modern, organic architecture that defines three distinct enclaves: a protected beachfront for families, a panoramic clifftop for adults, and a private hideaway immersed in greenery.

Nobu Hotel Marrakech – opening Q4, 2021

Image of Marrakech mosque

Image credit: Nobu Hotel Marrakech

Becoming the brand’s debut property in Africa, Nobu Hotel Marrakech will be situated in the Hivernage district, steps from the historic heart of the city, souks and vibrant Djemaa el-Fna. The 71-key hotel will house contemporary guestrooms and suites, a selection of dynamic dining venues and rooftop spaces, a 2,000 sq. ft luxurious spa and fitness centre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and meeting and event space.

LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto – opening Q4, 2021

Render of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Roku Kyoto hotel in Tokyo

Image credit: LXR Hotels & Resorts

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rescheduled for this year and Kyoto sitting just two hours by bullet train from the capital, the cultural heart of Japan is gearing up to welcome international visitors. Situated in an area home to some of the region’s most idyllic Japanese gardens, historic architecture and authentic tea houses, Roku Kyoto will be the first property in Asia under Hilton’s luxury LXR brand. Opening in the second half of 2021, the resort is expected to offer “a luxurious and refreshing stay” with fine dining restaurants and spa treatments paired with natural hot springs.

Langham Gold Coast – Opening Q4, 2021

Sheltered inside the central and tallest of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development, which first and largest development with direct beach access to be built in the coastal city within the last 30 years, The Langham, Gold Coast will become the brand’s third luxury address in Australia.

The grand structure and shimmering exterior of the Jewel are reminiscent of three colossal quartz crystals, visible for miles from the Nerang River to the Gold Coast hinterland. The crystalline forms of the towers are inspired by the gemstone shards discovered in the region which dates back thousands of years.

“Combining the cosmopolitan vibrancy and relaxed lifestyle for which the Gold Coast is renowned will certainly position The Langham as the quintessential luxury urban resort,” explained Stefan Leser, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “We are very much looking forward to complementing our legendary service standards with the warmth of this beautiful city to make our all guests’ experiences celebratory and memorable.”

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: international hotel arrivals – we have ‘lift-off’!

Editor Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your first weekly briefing of the year, featuring all the hottest hotel stories of the week. This round-up includes a look at this year’s VIP international arrivals, a rather ‘dandy’ hotel review and even a pre-flight check into what a hotel in space will look like…

If, by any chance, you needed reassuring about the state of the international hotel scene, then all you have to do is take a glance at the below; stories that we have published this week in order to inject some positivity into the industry we love the serve. From London’s latest hotel opening in Mayfair to Q1 and Q2’s hottest arrivals, we have started 2021 by looking into the future to capture how the international hotel design arena is preparing to welcome back modern travellers.

With even more juicy stories and exclusive features waiting in the wings (to be published next week), here are your top stories from the last few days…

The Hot list: most anticipated hotel for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Render of infinity pool in Maldives

Image credit: LXR

Concussed from 2020, we are kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals.

Read more.

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

Lounge inside SLS Hotels

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Read more.

Checking in to The Mayfair Townhouse, London’s ‘dandiest’ hotel

Mayfair Townhouse hotel peacock entrance

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Following what must have been the most dramatic build-up to any opening in 2020, The Mayfair Townhouse, which is made up of 15 Georgian townhouses (seven of which are Grade II listed buildings), has officially arrived in London.

Read more. 

Project watch: the ‘shimmering’ Dorsett Gold Coast takes shape

Render of sophisticated guestroom inside hotel

Credit: Destination Gold Coast Consortium

Currently on the boards, but preparing to take the Gold Coast to new heights of luxury, the golden-glazed windows of what will be Dorsett Gold Coast at The Star Gold Coast are being installed. And as construction of the building that will shelter the 313-key hotel has reached the 24th storey out of a total of 53 storeys, the new development is beginning to make a statement.

Read more.

“Ground control to Major Tom” – plans for a hotel in space on track for a 2024 launch

Collage of Axiom space station - hotel in space

250 miles above the earth in the wilderness of space, with cabins designed by the world-renowned Philippe Starck – think ‘nest-like comfort’ – the Axiom space station is the brainchild of former NASA chiefs.

Read more.

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

Hotel Indigo Nottingham/IHG

IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham. With both architecture and design led by Jestico + Whiles, we’re being told to expect something stunning as the building that will shelter the two brands becomes the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades.

Read more.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis arrives in Cairo, Egypt

An epitome of modern Egyptian glamour, and heralded as a new beacon of luxury on the Nile, the new St Regis hotel brings exquisite design and signature service to the bustling metropolis and tourist hotspot…

A clean and luxury hotel room in Cairo

With Marriott International expected to meet its 2020 aims this year to to open 30 new luxury hotels in 2021, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the highly-anticipated opening of The St. Regis Cairo. Rising tall on the banks of the River Nile, The St. Regis Cairo is an illustrious icon weaving a powerful story of luxury in the region. Located at the North end of the Corniche, in the heart of Egypt’s bustling metropolis, the 39-story hotel offers easy access to the magnificent monuments of a city steeped in history.

“Egypt has historically been one of our key markets and strategically significant to our growth in the region,” said Satya Anand, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Cairo is a storied destination that has long mesmerised the global traveller with its incredible energy offering a vibrant mix of history, culture, tradition and glamour. The St. Regis Cairo is an exciting addition to our fast-growing brand portfolio and is set to elevate Cairo’s luxury hospitality landscape with its remarkable design, uncompromising service, and exceptional culinary venues.”

Eng. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, CEO of Qatari Diar commented: “We are delighted to strengthen our global portfolio of hospitality developments with the opening The St. Regis Cairo. This luxury landmark will introduce higher standards of hospitality to this beautiful destination with its unparalleled levels of luxury and exceptional service – both of which the iconic St. Regis brand is renowned for.”

With its striking architecture, created by renowned architect Michael Graves, The St. Regis Cairo firmly establishes itself as a pivotal landmark in the city and beyond, carefully balancing opulence with refinement and elegance to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. Uncompromising in its decadence, the hotel is an exquisite reflection of a passionate vision that conscientiously draws on the city’s influential and storied past while confidently introducing its vibrant future.

Graceful geometric lines flow throughout the interiors, creating a repeated structural motif that quietly references the heritage of the region. Dark wood and rich textures combine with intricate embroidery, bejewelled paneling, bronze and wood carvings embellished with flashes of shimmering gold, mother of pearl inlays and imposing crystal chandeliers creating a dramatic Egyptian aesthetic with modern execution. A striking mural entitled “The Pink Sun” graces The St. Regis Bar. Staunchly modern in its execution, the mural references ancient Egypt and the birth of a modern civilisation.

The hotel’s approach to design pays particular homage to the hundreds of craftspeople who dedicated their time and handiwork to perfecting each and every detail offering a distinctly modern vision that immerses guests in moments that are simply awe-inspiring.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG to launch a landmark duel-branded hotel in Nottingham

Hotel operator IHG has signed terms with development group Conygar to bring two of its world-renowned brands, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites, to Nottingham…

In December of 2020, a planning application for phase 1B proposing a 17-storey landmark hotel in Nottingham was submitted.

Render of Hotel Indigo Nottingham

It is now confirmed that the multi-million-pound scheme will include a new hotel, which will be managed by IHG and developed local development group Conygar, in order to create new home for both the Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands.

The duel-branded hotel, with architecture and interior design led by Jestico + Whiles, will comprise 223 guestrooms and suites – 155 located within Hotel Indigo and a further 68 aimed at multi-night business and leisure travellers in the Staybridge Suites, which will include a range of amenities such as a full kitchen and dedicated shared outdoor space exclusively for Staybridge Suites guests.

They form part of the latest stage of the development, which will include a further 247 residential rental apartments and an extensive food and beverage area featuring a stunning bar and busy 100-metre long forum for people to meet. There will also be 3,000 sqm of flexible serviced office space, with some 400 desks.

Image caption: An example lounge area from a Staybridge Suites in Dundee | Image credit: IHG

The hotel is the city’s first of its size in nearly two decades, forming part of a landmark tall building.

Karan Khanna, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at IHG said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Conygar to bring the leading global brands of Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites to Nottingham as an important part of the regeneration of the Island Quarter. These new properties will add to IHG’s presence in the city, sitting alongside our existing Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels. As we begin 2021 these new hotel signings show the confidence that owners and investors have in IHG and our potential for continued growth for when travel can finally resume.”

The brand has said that guests will experience the “same quality of design” as in IHG’s recently opened Hotel Indigo in Bath and dual-branded Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites in Dundee, as well as the mixed-use elements of its recent IHG dual-branded Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express in Warsaw, Poland.

Inspired by ‘the neighbourhood story’ of the city, Hotel Indigo will take design cues from the local area and its bar and restaurant will offer locally sourced ingredients to customers. Meanwhile, the Staybridge Suites will feature a 24-hour fitness room, storage lockers for guests wishing to store items between stays and a communal ‘outdoor living room’ complete with firepit, grilling areas and covered seating. All the suites allow people to enjoy a flexible space to relax, play and work.

“The Island Quarter is one of the most significant city centre regeneration schemes in the UK at the moment, and it was vital that the hotel brand which we brought to the development was reflective of that,” said Richard Watson of Conygar. “We are absolutely delighted to have agreed terms with the team at IHG to bring its Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites brands to Nottingham.

“This is a very important step for us as we move this development forwards and securing a hugely successful global operator in IHG shows real confidence in the flagship element of the scheme as a whole. These two brands are world-renowned as upscale and quality hotels, which really play a part in the communities in which they are based.

“The hotel forms a key element of this latest phase, which is truly cohesive, creating a range and fluidity of uses that will spread across the whole site. The Island Quarter is a development that Nottingham can be proud of and bringing brands of this calibre to the city plays an important part in that.”

Main image credit: IHG

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hottest hotel openings anticipated for 2021 (Q1 & Q2)

Concussed from 2020, Hotel Designs is kicking off the year with positivity; shining its editorial spotlight on the hotel openings that will take hospitality worldwide to new heights. In our first of two series we take a look at Q1 & Q2’s VIP arrivals. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of Infinity Pool at Mango House in The Seychelles

Despite the pandemic, which temporarily brought hospitality to its knees last year, hotel construction remained strong following the prediction that the demand to travel will return in 2021. So, with that sprinkle of positivity, it’s time for us to address which hotels our editorial team believe will cause the most disruption on the international hotel design scene this year.

Moxy Austin – opening January, 2021

A clean modern guestroom

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Following an announcement that referenced Moxy’s arrival in the Middle East, the Marriott International’s contemporary brand is slated to open a 158-key hotel in Austin, Texas, which has been designed by HKS.

The hotel is situated on the western edge of the University of Texas campus. Sited prominently on an abandoned corner lot along Guadalupe Street, referred to as “The Drag” by locals, the project is an important part of the area’s revitalisation. The massing takes its cues from the external arrival sequence – both vehicular and pedestrian – and echoes the efficient internal programming. Materials are selected based on the local Hill Country vernacular with a base of masonry and reclaimed wood at the ground floor dress the public zones, while metal panels of weathering steel wrap the guest room levels above. The masonry and wood provide a tactile experience down low, resist the abrasion and abuse expected with heavy traffic, and are representative of the community use at the ground level. The metal panels above provide a natural, ever-evolving quality. The weathering steel changes over time, symbolic of the travellers who come and go at the hotel, evolving in how they experience the building from the start of stay until the end.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton  – opening January 2021

A render of a hotel room inside the Virgin Hotels property with views of The Strip of Las Vegas

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

With casinos slowly reopening in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is about to become the home of Virgin Hotels’ latest hotel under the Hilton by Curio Collection brand. Sheltering a staggering 1,500 rooms with no less than 12 dining venues and a 60,000 square-foot casino, the hotel is is preparing to arrive in style to ‘sin city’.

There are whispers that the Virgin Hotels, which currently operates four hotels in the USA with a further 10 properties in the pipeline, is gearing up to enter new destinations with a purpose to expand with an international portfolio – watch this space!

Nobu Residences Toronto – opening January, 2021

Conceived by award-winning architect Stephen Teeple, Nobu Residences Toronto will embody the Nobu spirit in both design and attitude.

Designated as a heritage site, the base of Nobu Residences Toronto will retain the classic brick façade of the original Pilkington Glass Factory and Art Deco elements from the early 1900s. Rising above it will be two striking towers: distinctive, modern, unforgettable. Both towers will be home to exclusive residences anchored by Toronto’s flagship Nobu Restaurant, with a signature Nobu Hotel at the top of the West Tower.

NoMad London – opening February, 2021

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii) – opening February, 2021

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

W Nashville – opening in February, 2021

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley – opening in March, 2021

Located in the charming community of Calistoga, the next addition to the diverse Four Seasons California Collection will include wine country’s first Four Seasons resort with an on-site winery and vineyard, in partnership with Thomas Rivers Brown. Featuring 85 luxurious accommodations designed by Erin Martin, two outdoor pools, and a distinctive wellness-focused spa concept, Spa Talisa, the property will also introduce the highly anticipated TRUSS Restaurant and Bar led by Michelin starred Chef Erik Anderson.

NoCo London – opening Q1, 2021

The wait is over! Three years since plans were unveiled for the new budget lifestyle hotel arriving in London, NoCo London is about to makes it debut. NoCo hotels, established by Enismore, is described as “a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind.” Promised to be “never overpriced, never underwhelming,” NoCo arrives in the capital to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring. We can’t wait to check in!

Mango House, Seychelles, LXR Hotels and Resorts – opening in Q1, 2021

Render of infinity pool in LXR hotel in the Seychelles

Image credit: LXR

As travellers seek solitude in remote places away from the crowds, Indian Ocean destinations will remain firmly at the top of travel bucket-lists. Originally built as a family dwelling, Mango House Seychelles features 41 immaculately designed guest rooms in a remote and private location. Set to open early 2021, the exclusive resort will give guests breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean and is the perfect spot to explore Mahé’s white sandy beaches and kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. With sustainable travel now topping the agenda for large numbers of guests, the Seychelles offers a year-round holiday sanctuary for the world’s most discerning travellers.

NoCo hotels is a collection created with clued up travellers and inquisitive locals in mind. Never overpriced, never underwhelming, NoCo sets out to prove that budget doesn’t have to be boring.

Since you’re here, why not read more about how astronauts and designers are working to create a hotel in space?

Six Senses Ibiza – opening Q2, 2021

The Six Senses hotel Pool in Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

With the aim to “dance to the beat of a new mantra,” Six Senses Ibiza will shelter a transformative wellness experience designed to nourish the body, mind and soul. The tranquil northern tip of Ibiza on crystalline Cala Xarraca Bay, with unobstructed westerly sunset views, is the inspiring setting for the new hotel, which will feature. The 134 guest accommodations include townhouses, pool suites and beach cave units set on a 25-acre (10-hectare).

St. Regis Bermuda Resort & Residences – opening Q2, 2021

Establishing image of the St Regis hotel in Bermuda

Image credit: St. Regis

An exquisite Atlantic debut, the St. Regis brand is about the arrive in Bermuda. Once completed, St Regis Bermuda Resort, with has been developed by Hotelco and designed by OBMI Design, is said to become the most exclusive and luxurious development on the island.

Main image credit: LXR

The Brit List Architects of 2020

Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet The Brit List Architects of 2020

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

The Brit List Architects of 2020

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

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

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

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

Alex Holloway, Creative Director – Holloway Li

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

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

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

Ben Adams, Founding Director ­– Ben Adams Architects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christos Passas, Project Director – Zaha Hadid Architects

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

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

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

Ciaran O’Brien, Founding Director – Red Deer

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

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

Dan Hinch, Associate Vice President and Senior Planner – WATG

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

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

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

David O’Shea, Founder & Director – ODOS Architects

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

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

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

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects

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

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

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

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

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

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3DReid

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

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

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

Graham Barr, Associate – jmarchitects

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

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

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

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

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

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

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

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

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

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

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

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

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

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

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

 Mark Bruce, Main Board Director – EPR Architects

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

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

Mark Kelly, Partner – PLP Architecture

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

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

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

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

Mark Wood, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

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

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

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

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

Matthew Salter, Associate Director – HGP Architects

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

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

Metehan Apak, Senior Interior Architect – Dawson Design Associates

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

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

Na Li, Managing Director – Holloway Li

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

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

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

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

Nathalie Rozencwajg, Founder – NAME Architecture

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

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

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

Richard Coutts, Director – BACA Architects

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

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

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

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

Richard Holland, Director – Holland Harvey Architects

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

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

Simon Whittaker, Associate Director – Orms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating a decade of decorative surfaces from Siminetti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project index

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

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

Main image credit: Siminetti/W Dubai

Blue modular wall

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

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

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

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

Blue modular wall

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Granorte

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

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

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

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

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

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: HIX Event

Suite inside The Modernist in Athens

The Modernist Athens – designed for the urban explorer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Modernist Athens – designed for the urban explorer

With a statement as grand as that headline, it was only ever a matter of time before Hotel Designs took a sneaky peek inside the latest boutique beauty to arrive in Athens: The Modernist. Sheltering a design that is said to inspire curiosity, we find out how this new 38-key hotel is settling in to its city surroundings…

Suite inside The Modernist in Athens

For many design enthusiasts, including myself, Athens is the etherial Goddess of boutique hotels – and therefore any brand entering this built-up authentic metropolis should do so with caution. In a destination where culture actually rises from the earth – I’m talking about the acropolis, of course – any hotel planning to open without a personality will be exposed and swallowed up by the noise of disobedience that echoes through cobbled streets.

Cue the opening of The Modernist, a 38-key gem that is perched aptly on a street corner. It opens with the aim to authentically connect its guests to the real Athens; to entice its guests to “explore its soul through culture and meaningful connections with the locals.”

The boutique hotel stands as the sister property to the award-winning Modernist Thessaloniki and marks a second chapter in the expanding hospitality brand created by entrepreneur Kostis Karatzas.

Located in the former Canadian embassy in Kolonaki, this new project maintains the same playful juxtaposition of art deco elements, mid-century detailing and Danish design found in its companion Thessaloniki location. Its high-quality offerings are grounded by the interior and exterior’s cool, well-honed character. The result is a relaxed, elegant environment that makes guests feel at home from the moment they set foot in the lobby.

“The Modernist is about contemporary hospitality that inspires curiosity and authentic experiences,” Karatzas says. “Ethics and aesthetics course through everything we do, as an invisible thread that connects us with the world. Following the opening of our first property in Thessaloniki two years ago, Athens was a natural next step for us. And this is only the beginning for our brand.”

Image of the staircase inside The Modernist Athens

Image credit: The Modernist

The building itself commingles the minimalism of post-war 1950s architecture with the nowness of sleek yet subtle contemporary spaces. With clean, symmetrical lines that stay true to the brand’s design philosophy, the exterior of The Modernist Athens is a sight to behold amid the vibrant cityscape.

Inside, guests are greeted by sharp contrasts in colour and shape, which anchor them back in the present day. The raw assertiveness of the marble, plaster, bronze and black glass within the lobby perfectly juxtaposes the softer, more refined nature of the oak wood floors, leather headboards and artful midcentury-inspired furnishings found inside the rooms.

An image showing exposed wardrobe and work area inside suite - The Modernist in Athens

Image credit: The Modernist

“We want its guests to be able to move and thrive in this space.” – Konstantinos Theodoridis and Eleni Papaevangelou, Co-Founders of FORMrelated.

Collaborating architects FORMrelated made use of an eclectic mix of local and international interior design brands, while employing custom builds such as embossed veneer panels and bronze details to articulate the second, equally cool addition to the Modernist name.

“We see The Modernist Athens becoming a compelling value proposition not just in living but in the experience industry as well,” explains Konstantinos Theodoridis and Eleni Papaevangelou, the studio’s co-founders. “We want its guests to be able to move and thrive in this space, in this small and intimate unit that manages to encapsulate contemporary luxuries in such an understated way.”

The 38 rooms are spread across six floors. Designed to be modern living spaces, each guestroom offers an uncomplicated aesthetic that is elevated by custom lighting and made-to-measure furniture, ensuring elegance across the board. Meanwhile, a meaningful sizing nomenclature (S, M, L, XL) makes it easy for guests to select the option that best fits their individual needs.

Image of a guestroom with contemporary interiors inside The Modernist in Athens

Image credit: The Modernist

Elsewhere, the lobby maintains an aura of refinement thanks to its midcentury vibe, with dark tones and bronze details marrying minimalism with opulence. At the same time, true to the brand’s overall intuitive approach to spatial planning, it acts as the hotel’s beating heart, orienting and guiding its patrons organically between different floors and services.

On the ground floor, the breakfast buffet transforms into an all-day cafe bar, ideal for relaxation. Plywood and marble blend together to create a warm atmosphere, while minimalist shelves are filled with a refined selection of modern and limited edition books.

The rooftop garden, which can double up as an open cinema, features verdant greens and frames breath-taking views over Athens and the Acropolis, which serves as the jewel in the crown of this urban oasis.

Image of rooftop garden overlooking Athens

Image credit: The Modernist

The Modernist project began in downtown Thessaloniki as the perfect hub for constant travellers. While ideating its Athenian counterpart, the main challenge lay in staying true to the spirit of the brand, and at the same time expressing the individual spirit of each city.

A respect for the existing exterior architecture has remained one of the brand’s common denominators, as has the propensity towards using natural, reusable materials in the interiors.

Still, by far the most important element of both Modernist hotels is the symbiotic relationship they maintain with their respective creative communities.

Given Athens’ vast cultural heritage, the hotel has a plethora of options to connect its guests to locals through highly curated experiences. The introduction to a refined couleur locale starts from inside the hotel, where various artists have put their stamp on everything, from ceramics and the artwork on walls to tailor-made music playlists, and even a vinyl collection that’s in the works. The hotel also offers itself as an events epicentre, with its rooftop garden doubling as an open cinema and its ground floor as a space for workshops and talks by guest artists.

Aiming to inspire curiosity and meaningful connections with the city’s creatives, The Modernist Athens is an exciting new chapter not only for the brand which celebrates metropolitanism in a collected, understated way but also for the hospitality scene in Athens, which has taken a battering this year due to the on-going Covid-19 crisis.

Main image credit: The Modernist

A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

Just in time for the weekend, here’s your weekly briefing, featuring the hottest stories of the week. This briefing includes our video review of Sofitel London St James, a boutique bombshell up for sale in Bordeaux and how you can re-watch all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020…

A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

As we gear up to dive into our ultimate throwback, when we will revisit the hottest product launches from the last 11 months, the editorial team at Hotel Designs has been busy publishing the latest news and engaging original features. We appreciate that you may not have time to read all the hot content that Hotel Designs has been published this week, therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of what we believe are the juiciest stories from the past five days.

Inside Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, has opened in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital – sheltering design by an international team of renowned architects and designers including Akira Kuryu, André Fu, Shunsaku Miyagi and Yohei Akao.

Read more.

Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

An outdoor pool iun between barns in La Vue

Image credit: La Vue

2020 has proven itself to be the year of distressed assets, with characterful hotel properties around the world being sold to the chains. However, there is nothing distressed about La Vue, a perfectly placed boutique hotel that has potential to be something incredible on Europe’s independent hotel scene.

Situated right at the centre of a triangle drawn between three major cities in France – Bordeaux, Cognac and Angouleme – La Vue is a luxury boutique gem set in one acre of land, which is surrounded by vineyards and spectacular views.

Read more.

Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

Sofitel London St James bathroom

image credit: Sofitel London St James

17 years after first unveiling the original designs for the Sofitel London St JamesPierre-Yves Rochon returned to London to breathe new life into the 183-key lifestyle luxury hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn, along with a production team to film his response, checks in find out more.

For Sofitel London St James, a flagship for the global hotel brand that is positioned in between Westminster and Mayfair, the decision to invite legendary designer Pierre-Yves Rochon back to redesign the guestrooms and suites was one that came naturally. And it was his ability to combine English décor with refined French elegance that gave this hotel’s interiors a new and somewhat an unexpected personality.

Read more. 

Re-live all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020

Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

Hundreds of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers tuned in on November 12 to watch the awards ceremony that crowned the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. But if you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony here, on demand.

Adhering to social distancing measures and the latest government guidelines, this year’s awards were produced by CUBE Video and filmed from inside Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, which will host The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London on April 29, 2021.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by global industry experts to discuss the revival of smart tech after he checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience.

The final session that took place during Hotel Designs LIVE was entitled: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic – and was sponsored by Grohe, a bathroom manufacturer that is clearly leading the way when it comes to utilising technology to create innovative bathroom solutions.

Read more.

Sofitel London St James luxury room with blue tartan carpets and blue modern furniture

Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

17 years after first unveiling the original designs for the Sofitel London St James, Pierre-Yves Rochon returned to London to breathe new life into the 183-key lifestyle luxury hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn, along with a production team to film his response, checks in find out more…

Sofitel London St James luxury room with blue tartan carpets and blue modern furniture

The ultimate compliment for a hotel designer, aside from a client signing off one stage allowing them to move on to the next, is being asked to return back to a project years later to lead it sensitively into a new era. This scenario, although rare and therefore highly momentous, also comes with certain pressures, considering that each and every decision will be scrutinised by client and critic and compared to the statement design scheme that was originally unveiled and considered a success.

For Sofitel London St James, a flagship for the global hotel brand that is positioned in between Westminster and Mayfair, the decision to invite legendary designer Pierre-Yves Rochon back to redesign the guestrooms and suites was one that came naturally. And it was his ability to combine English décor with refined French elegance that gave this hotel’s interiors a new and somewhat an unexpected personality.

“It was important to preserve the identity of the hotel that was created 17 years ago.” – Pierre-Yves Rochon

To truly capture the essence of this modern hotel sheltered in a heritage building, I checked in with our product team at CUBE Video to explore what makes this hotel special. Here’s how I got on…

“It was important to preserve the identity of the hotel that was created 17 years ago,” Rochon told Hotel Designs. “So, there was a clever mix between the elements of the past that we have kept and the new elements marking the new decoration. For example, we kept the headboards and bedside tables the same, but we created a new concept in the guestrooms and suites, which we refer to as the ‘Media wall library’.”

Sofitel London St James luxury twin room in red

Image credit: Sofitel London St James

Inside the new guestrooms, which are complete with retro furniture and bold colours, it is clear that the aim was to, in Rochon’s words, “give a new life to the hotel.” To prevent each room in either green, red or blue colour schemes from looking ‘tired’, and to refine a modern interior design scheme fit for the flagship status it has been given, Rochon’s bold leap away from convention allowed him to further blur the definition of what a London hotel should look like. The tartan carpets, for example, create a textured layer of detail but also compliment the 1960s – 70s theme explored in the design scheme, as Rochon explains: “The choice of Scottish-inspired carpets in the bedrooms is, of course, linked to the fact that we are in the UK, but another reason we choose these carpets was because of the geometric appearance which corresponds to this particular period of design in the 1960s and 70s.”

Image credit: Sofitel London St James blue guestrooms with tartan carpets and blue walls

Image credit: Sofitel London St James

Throughout the hotel, there is a dominant theme of English Style meeting French elegance. While the guestrooms are trendy with certain nods to British iconic fashion figures of the 60s and 70s, the bathrooms are chic, well-lit and with a black and white colour scheme they are also somewhat timeless. “The bathrooms have always been appreciated by the hotel’s guests, so we simply decided to refurbish them when necessary,” said Rochon. “This included improving the lighting, creating showers and redesigning the floors in black and white graphics, in continuity with the original decoration.”

When asked, Rochon admitted that the most challenging aspect of the renovation was staying within budget, “while also respecting the decorative spirit” of the hotel. Regardless of having to stay between the lines of a budget, it is admirable how one designer’s creativity can lead one hotel into two different eras, and as a result re-unveil a modern masterpiece that lives up to its flagship title.

Main image credit: Sofitel London St James

Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

The family-owned La Vue, a luxury hotel and wedding venue that is sheltered inside a former 17th Century Cognac distillery, is up for sale – and Hotel Designs, for the first time in the publication’s history, is keen to find a buyer for the family…

2020 has proven itself to be the year of distressed assets, with characterful hotel properties around the world being sold to the chains. However, there is nothing distressed about La Vue, a perfectly placed boutique hotel that has potential to be something incredible on Europe’s independent hotel scene.

Situated right at the centre of a triangle drawn between three major cities in France – Bordeaux, Cognac and Angouleme – La Vue is a luxury boutique gem set in one acre of land, which is surrounded by vineyards and spectacular views.

The 15-key property, which was refurbished in 2018 and reviewed in The Telegraph shortly after where it was described as a “tasteful, secluded little gem” and dubbed the “Tuscany of France”, is home to five three-bedroom self-catering gites, which are attached to a spectacular Manor House with en-suite guestrooms, bar, bistro and staff accommodation.

The hotel and wedding venue is located in a small village called Birac, which is roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes from Bordeaux, 30 minutes from Cognac and 25 minutes from Angouleme. Previous guests have often tied in trips to La Vue with visits to St Emilion, Pauillac and other famous wine making domaines. Cognac lovers are well catered for too in the eponymous city – with tours of Remy Martin, Martel and Courvoisier available. Adjacent to La Vue is an organic Cognac maker called Jean Luc Pasquet who supply the hotel and offer tastings and tours.

“The hotel has recently been granted preliminary approval from the local authorities for a further 50 beds.”

La Vue itself is a former 17th Century Cognac distillery, and is architecturally very typical of the Charentes region. The current family who own the property acquired it in 2017 from a British couple who had been running it as a wedding venue for many years, primarily catering to British guests. In 2018 it underwent a complete overhaul to bring it up to a standard where it could be relaunched as a high-end wedding venue. 

An outdoor pool iun between barns in La Vue

Image credit: La Vue

Outside, there are two swimming pools and a small spa and wellness area that is complete with sauna and steam room, plus staff accommodation facilities. The landscape has a beautiful lawn to the rear surrounding the pool deck, and a pergola that is suitable for outdoor dining. At the rear there is an observation deck with views that stretch across the valley, and that frames spectacular sunsets.

What’s more, the hotel has reported a strong pipeline of bookings running into 2022, and it has recently been granted preliminary approval from the local authorities for a further 50 beds – the site for the proposed expansion is a currently disused cognac barn.

To find out more details about this boutique hotel, and to be put in touch with the owners, please email us on the editorial desk. 

Main image credit: La Vue France

Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

The Brit List Awards 2020: the winners’ story

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: the winners’ story

The Brit List Awards 2020 came to a dramatic climax yesterday, when the individual winners – in seven categories – were announced in the virtual awards ceremony that was broadcasted live from London. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who hosted that ceremony, has the winners’ story…

Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

Earlier this year, when we were all adapting to a #WFH summer, a designer accurately described how the pandemic has made us feel. “Covid-19 has been like a wet fish being slapped across our faces,” she said as I laughed, and then frowned with concern when I considered the enormity of the situation. Adapting during these no-doubt challenging times has resulted in many changes, but we were never going to allow a virus to impact on the quality of our nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

This year’s judging panel – and of course our sponsors and partners – have been phenomenal: going above and beyond to support us as we made that difficult yet responsible decision to transform this year’s awards ceremony into a virtual capacity (while looking forward to the winners’ party that will following in April).

During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries. But the category that really stood out, was the hoteliers – seeing the innovative initiatives that were born during the Covid-19 crisis was breathtaking, and this has naturally become a common thread between this year’s entries.

Following the unveiling of The Brit List 2020, which references the top 75 influencers in British design and hospitality, we unveiled this year’s individual winners. Here are their stories.

INTERIOR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Albin Berglund, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

The Brit List Awards - Albin Berglund

Albin Burglund, in the judge’s words, won because of the wonderful sense of place that pervaded in his recent projects that were referenced in his entry. However, it is also his pioneering approach to designing a new era in wellness hospitality – and the studio’s drive to challenge conventional design – that makes Albin a worthy winner.

Albin Berglund and Marie Soliman, the founders of Bergman Interiors, are making noise on the world’s luxury hotel design stage for challenging the past and offering solutions when designing the future of hospitality.

ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Christos Passas, Project Director, Zaha Hadid Architects

The Brit List Awards - Christos Passas

Christos Passas and the whole team at Zaha Hadid Architects have showed such immeasurable creativity for their work on The Opus in Dubai, which shelters ME Dubai. The striking mirrored-glass building gives modern architecture a new meaning. Its new-age yet timeless design challenges so many forms of convention, defying boundaries in architecture and design to stand as a fitting legacy to the late Zaha Hadid.

HOTELIER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Gary Neville, Co-Owner, Stock Exchange Hotel

The Brit List Awards - Gary Neville

To further prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to support key workers, both Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel were among the first hotels in the UK to close and offer their rooms to NHS staff for free. Not only this but Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, the co-owners of both hotels, also vowed not to make any staff redundant or put them on unpaid leave during the closures.

BEST IN TECH
Winner: XR Smart Studio (Royal Lancaster London)

The Brit List Awards - XR Smart Studio

In a time when hosting an event seems an unlikely possibility (sounds familiar), the team at the Royal Lancaster London introduced XR SmartStudio, in partnership with Smart AV. This innovative piece of equipment features a 20 sqm Extended Reality stage with LED backdrop and floor, audio, broadcast cameras and TV-ready lighting allowing clients to have both a live audience and virtual attendees.

THE ECO AWARD
Winner: Sibley Grove (The Chamberlain)

The Brit List Awards - Sibley Grove

Sibley Grove adopts a circular approach to design. This means that the studio considers the entire lifecycle of a product, ensuring materials are used again and again or integrated back into the natural world through decomposition. Designing in a circular way reduces demand on resources, reduces landfill, and incentivizes the production of clean, reusable materials.

In the Chamberlain, for example, the ceilings use TROL DEKT acoustic panels, a biological material made from 100 per cent natural elements and FSC timber. It achieves high levels of technical performance in use, but crucially it can be disposed of harmlessly.

A crucial part of The Chamberlain design is Sibley Grove’s policy of ‘design for disassembly’. An approach adopted in all of their projects. In other words, it is considering how the design will come apart after use, whether it is two or two hundred years into the future.

BEST IN BRITISH PRODUCT DESIGN
Winner: Sequel Principle collection, from Parkside and Alusid

The Brit List Awards - Parkside

The new Sequel Principle collection, from Parkside and Alusid, represents a huge step forward for the ceramic tile industry as the world’s first mass produced 95 per cent recycled content tile.

With a tile body made entirely from by-products (post-consumer recycled glass and ceramic) of other manufacturing processes, Sequel Principle is based on technology that has taken a bold leap from a small batch production to a fully scalable process. Made by adapting the tile body to work in standard ceramic production facilities, Sequel Principle achieves a similar like-to-like cost as some other twice-fired tiles.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Winner: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

The Brit List Awards - Fiona Thompson

I first met Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International, in 2015. As a shy and timid features editor, I had not long graduated from uni and just like every post-grad feels in his/her first job, I felt like I had a point to prove. At the time, The Sterling Suite sheltered inside The Langham London was about to be completed, and I was fortunate enough to gain access into the studio where the sketches from this project became reality. Naturally, I was nervous.

However, I was totally put at ease when Fiona beamed into the room, sat down and explained every design detail of the 450-square metre suite. Not only did she answer every single one of my 20+ questions, but she also showed an interest in me.

During our priceless conversation, Fiona made me realise that I was embarking into an industry where human relationships – real relationships – are at the core of nearly every decision. And in these challenging times that we are in, I am all about REAL and MEANINGFUL relationships! Fiona, you wholeheartedly deserve this award!

Thank you to our partners, and we will see you at the winners’ party in April!

Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts first Moxy hotel in Taiwan

Moxy Taichung combines stylish, industrial-chic design with sociable service at the intersection of Taichung’s uptown and downtown districts…

Following the hotel group announcing its 800th hotel opening in the Asia Pacific region, Marriott International has announced the opening of its first Moxy Hotel in Taiwan, shaking up the city’s hospitality scene with its playful spirit. The experiential and next gen-focused Moxy Taichung is located near many of the city’s attractions, including the colorfully quirky Rainbow Village, Zhongshe Flower Market, as well as the street food paradise of Yizhong Street Night Market – all must-visit destinations for the young and young-at-heart.

“We are excited to see the arrival of the Moxy brand in Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “This opening marks the sixth Moxy Hotel to open in Asia Pacific and further underscores Marriott International’s commitment to continue growing its lifestyle portfolio across the region, and to cater to the next-generation of travelers with tailored experiences in a well-designed space that is surprisingly affordable.”

Queen supier room inside Moxy Hotel

Image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

Moxy Taichung features 262 bedrooms that are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television, high quality sound system, furiously fast and free Wi-Fi, ample USB power outlets, motion-activated LED guidelights below the bed, and a backlighted glass panel to add ambiance.

The hotel also features several of the brand’s signature playful touches, kicking the experience off with check-in at Bar Moxy where guests are greeted with a complimentary “Got Moxy” cocktail. The bar also doubles up as a communal hub for dining, drinks, and social gatherings. At sunset, the chic rooftop bar XOXO is buzzing with energy, and is the place to be for light bites, decadent drinks, and curated cocktails.

The hotel also shelters a 24-hour fitness centre decked out with cardiovascular equipment, free weights, and other equipment including SYNRGY and TRX. In addition, a tech-enabled meeting room is also available for any team brainstorming sessions in the hotel.

“Across the Asia Pacific region and the world, the strong growth of our playful Moxy brand is proof that its brand philosophy resonates with millennial and next-gen guests, who seek a hotel stay at an affordable price point, saving on space and splurging on experiences,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We are excited to be bringing the Moxy brand to Taiwan with the opening of Moxy Taichung, and to welcome travellers to the Moxy experience in this dynamic, future-forward city.”

Taichung is Taiwan’s second largest city, home to its lively cultural, arts, entertainment, and lifestyle scenes. In addition to its many museums, theaters, parks and temples, Taichung’s Chun Shui Tang teahouse is said to be the original birthplace of bubble tea. The city is also home to many of Taiwan’s high-tech manufacturing facilities, particularly in the semiconductor and transport industries.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels/Marriott International

The Brit List Awards 2020: how to virtually celebrate in style

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: how to virtually celebrate in style

With The Brit List Awards 2020 getting underway in just a few hours time, our editorial team have compiled their top tips to making the most out of a virtual awards ceremony (it includes fizz)…

The awards ceremony for The Brit List Awards 2020, Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, takes place at 14:00 (UK time) today.

While you’re here, why not read the shortlist for The Brit list Awards 2020?

As this year’s ceremony is taking place in a virtual format in order to adhere to the latest social distancing measures (not something that comes naturally to our industry), we have pulled together some tried and tested top tips to ensure you experience this year’s virtual awards ceremony in style.

1) Do not disturb

An animation that says do not disturb

Image credit: Morgan Housel on Unsplash

Switch your ‘Out of Office’ on, get comfortable and stay hydrated (we recommend a glass of fizz as this is a celebration) 

2) Stay connected

WALLPAPER with tweet tweet in lighting

Image credit: Chris J. Davis on Unsplash

Connect with us and the industry across social – our hashtag for the event is #TheBritListAwards2020.

Please tag us in your posts on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Linkedin – @HotelDesigns – so that we can reshare your content to our global audience.

3) Get ready to party!

Image of champagne and sign to party

Image credit:Alealexander Naglestad- and Nick Fewings on unsplash

And finally, why not dress to impress? While our awards ceremony this year may be virtual, our winners’ party is certainly not! The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London is taking place at Minotti London on April 29, 202 (purchase your tickets here).

So, what happens now?

If you have signed up to join us for this memorable industry calendar moment then you will have received your Zoom invitation by now. This will have come from Forum Events with the subject line – The Brit List Awards 2020 – The Award Ceremony Confirmation.  

You know the drill – just click the link in the Zoom confirmation email to attend The Brit List Awards 2020 (don’t be late)! 

The agenda of the virtual awards ceremony

Editor’s Welcome
Meet the Judges
The unveiling of The Brit List 2020
Individual winners announced 

#TheBritListAwards2020 | Main image credit: Unsplash

Weekly briefing: sustainability standards, awards countdown & biophilic design 2.0

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: sustainability standards, awards countdown & biophilic design 2.0

Only got a minute? As we prepare to host The Brit List Awards 2020 next week, we have have compiled our top stories that have been published over the last five days, including a haunted check-in, a hotel that sets new standards in sustainability and how we begin to engage with the post-corona consumer…

We are days away from unveiling the winners of the The Brit List Awards 2020. On November 12, starting at 14:00 (GMT), the industry will pause momentarily to tune in to attend our virtual awards ceremony. It will be an afternoon of celebration as we not only reflect on what has no-doubt been a challenging year for designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers but also champion those who are driving change. As well as crowning this year’s individual winners, the awards ceremony will also include the official unveiling of The Brit List 2020, which will profile the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain.

Want to attend The Brit List Awards 2020 free of charge? Designers, architect, hoteliers and developers: click here to secure your places in the audience. Suppliers: click here to secure you places in the audience.

Before the awards, though, here are this week’s top stories, brought to you by editor Hamish Kilburn

 Biophilic design 2.0 – from living walls to living hotels

Large hotel atrium with living walls

Image credit: Pixabay

For article three in the Hotel Designs LAB seriesHotel Designs and Arigami explore wellbeing through the lens of biophilic design. Founder of Arigami Ari Peralta compiles the thoughts of biophilic design expert Oliver Heath and environmental psychology researcher Nigel Oseland to explore the science of nature in design.

Biophilic design is much more than adding plants to a space, it is a strategy for developing a multi-sensory relationship with the world around us…

Read more. 

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Reassuring the post-corona consumer

In the third session of Hotel Designs LIVE, we were joined by hoteliers from around the world in St Lucia, France, Zimbabwe and the UK to ask how we will reassure tomorrow’s travellers in a post-pandemic world.

On the panel: 

Watch the panel discussion.

Checking in to The Bull Inn, Totnes – a new standard in eco hospitality

Wooden furniture inside the pub of The Bull Inn in Totnes

It is time we erase the myth that sustainable hotels are a compromise on luxury. No longer should it be culturally acceptable to greenwash your way into the headlines by simply replacing miniatures and enforcing a ban disposable plastic – this should now be common practice. Instead, hotels and hospitality businesses should be conjuring up new, innovative ways to make a difference, not only environmentally, but also locally within the community.

Cue the arrival of The Bull Inn, an eight-key British bolthole located in Totnes. This deliberately rough round-the-edges pub/hotel is the fourth brainchild of visionary Geetie Singh-Watson, who worked with local architect Jackie Gillespie to ensure that, from concept through to completion, that every nook and cranny – from the pastel-coloured, untouched rooms right down to the innovative heating system – is sustainable.

Read the full review. 

In the HIX Seat: the journey back to ‘in real life’

An image of Joel Butler and HIX Event animations

Joel Butler, Co-Founder of HIX Event, has become a monthly columnist for Hotel Designs. In his first published opinion piece, Butler contemplates challenging times and asks ‘what’s next’ for the industry and its much-loved series of trade events.

Read Joel’s debut column here. 

One&Only Mandarina arrives in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and an awe-inspiring beachfront rainforest setting, One&Only Mandarina is a hidden retreat complete with secluded eco-designed treehouses and clifftop villas, swimmable shores, destination dining from Chef Enrique Olvera, active and mindful experiences, and an environment crafted for reconnection.

Read more.

5 Minutes With: Karen Richards, co-founder and designer, The Idle Rocks

Image of Karen Richards and various interior shots inside The Idle Rocks Hotels

During a laid-back luxury experience at The Idle Rocks, we caught up with co-founder and designer Karen Richards to understand the hotel’s design narrative, and how it has adapted since lockdown.

Read the interview here.

A luxury pool and tented accommodation in the middle of the desert

The architecture of luxury tented accommodation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The architecture of luxury tented accommodation

As many areas of the world continue to hunker down in the Covid-19 crisis, we take a look at Exclusive Tents and architect Patrice Belle and the value of luxury tented accommodation in a pandemic world… 

A luxury pool and tented accommodation in the middle of the desert

Tents have afforded shelter and respite in the histories of most cultures around the globe, since ancient times. Whilst cultures have become sedentary with nomadic lifestyles seemingly consigned to the past (or the hotel room), the tent has nonetheless found a new lease of life as the appeal of a stronger, more fundamental link with nature is being actively sought – most especially in the tourism sector with the rise of experiential travel.

The interiors of a luxury tent

Image credit: Telal Resort

As an Anglo-French international architect, Patrice Belle began practising architecture in both London and Paris for clients making the leap across languages and cultures to establish themselves in foreign markets. In 2008 a friend and colleague found an ideal site near Limoges, in France, for an African themed leisure park. Projected to have 200 luxury family sized tents of an irreproachable quality and design, fantasy pool reminiscent of the Great Lakes, and excellent facilities, it was to be open to guests all year round.

While you’re here, why not read our exclusive biographical feature: a journey through tents? 

As project architect, Belle carried out research to source the most appropriate tents, providing the best quality, design, longevity and value for money. Exclusive Tents came out significantly ahead of the field (and continue to do so, according to Belle’s monitoring of the market). The global financial meltdown was too much for the “African Legends Resort” Project. However, an excellent working and personal relationship was forged with Paul and Angelika Zway, of Exclusive Tents, where the meeting of architecture and luxury tents has perfectly reflected the emergence of experiential travel.

Belle has witnessed glamping grow rapidly as the concept is adopted in new locations. Mostly, glamping has established its niche as an essentially rustic experience: tents that offer a greater degree of comfort and space than a recreational tent, and sometimes with amenities such as wood burning stoves, bathrooms, electrical supply or kitchenettes. By their nature, they have been predominantly off-grid, with very little infrastructure, purely seasonal, and small scale.

Image of a camouflaged tent structure

Image credit: Patrice Belle

In essence the glamping experience has been fashioned from the range of tents available on the market. With very few exceptions, every owner has had no choice but to adapt their project to the constraints of a defined range of floor plans and forms, and are very quickly faced with numerous constraints with which both they and their designers are unfamiliar. As is to be expected, they lack the knowledge and experience with tents to know what can be done to marry the tent to their requirements. Furthermore, they will not have the expertise to compare and assess between different tent providers, or assess whether or not a certain type of tent will perform as they require.

It is in response to this disconnect that Belle architects have evolved a very close symbiotic relationship with Exclusive Tents as they bridge this divide. As glamping captures the publics’ imagination there is an emergent demand for a more complete and culturally sophisticated experience. This is the field in which Belle delights in integrating, adapting, and designing luxury tents as an integral part of the process of creating exquisite destinations that offer all the intrinsic benefits of an enchanting experience under canvas yet with the underpinning benefits of modern levels of comfort, performance and longevity.

Aerial view of tented accommodation in the desert

Image credit: Telal Resort

Rather than be constrained to adapt the project to the tent, the tent can be made to suit the project: think custom made fitted shoe but without the cost penalty. As tents, and other forms of alternative accommodation, are adopted for more demanding roles, they need to be integrated within a much broader range of considerations. For Belle, this is where an architect’s specialist skills and experience come into play: for any project to succeed it needs to provide an elegant solution to myriad objectives, constraints, and requirements. Deciding to use tents rather than main-stream construction solutions can prove to be beneficial and advantageous for a number of key reasons – both aesthetic and financial. The romance of a closer link with nature, the exhilaration of creating something exotic, seductive and sexy is the driving force. Yet whilst the imagery is very seductive, making the transition from dream to reality means navigating a huge spectrum of factors with a direct influence on the project, facing myriad choices, and implementing numerous decisions. Without a deep knowledge and understanding of luxury tents and canvas structures, this can quickly become a huge challenge.

Image taken under tented accomodation to show rolling sand dunes in the desert

Image credit: Telal Resort

Whilst each tent is configured to client specification (canvas colours, tent body performance, door and window positions, etc.), and Exclusive Tents have a long experience of providing luxury tents to demanding customers, their expertise is in the development and fabrication of high-end tents. It is the project designer’s role to work with the client to define the strategic (project) brief: choosing, customising, or designing the tents is only one – albeit important – part of this process. From the brief begins an exciting and challenging journey to create a final destination that responds to location, terrain, geography, geology, climate, fauna and flora. Core to this is the guest or occupant experience – both subjectively (enjoyment, pleasure, uniqueness) and objectively (kept warm/cool, safe, and well looked after in comfort) – which must be framed within the desired and attainable ROI (Return on Investment).

Successful resorts offer a quality experience and service at an attractive financial ROI (for others this need not be purely financial. The ROI for an individual might simply be an exquisite guest suite for visiting family). Luxury tent resorts embody this principal with the advantage of a quicker and potentially better ROI – with a big Asterix. Of course, any resort project depends on much more than just choosing what type of guest accommodation to offer or how to embody the resort facilities, but that will not come as a surprise to existing hotel & resort owners and operators!

The fascination and reward for Belle and his team is multi-faceted:

  • Almost without exception, owners and clients that are attracted to these types of project are adventurous, courageous, and open-minded. They have the courage of their convictions and the determination to make it happen. It is enriching to meet such individuals.
  • Belle has a simple philosophy for all projects: arrive with an open mind and a blank canvas. This, he confirms, is easier said than done and always provokes a frisson of anticipation, and the experience is always both intimidating and exhilarating.
  • Listening attentively to the client, immersing within the project site and its physical and social location, and working closely together to clearly identify and establish the ambitions, goals, constraints, and defining factors that will mould the project: beginning to fill the canvas with the information that will mould the project.
  • Creating and refining a fully integrated project design: filling the canvas with each detail of the project where every participant is co-author. Great design is more than just good aesthetics, it is by its nature complex and intricate. Design does not exist in isolation: It is the search for an aesthetically pleasing, fully functional solution to complex interconnecting factors, a reflection of our goals and aspirations, brought to reality with a deliberate balance of light, space, materials, and time that makes its impact in ways both subtle and overt.
  • Working closely with Exclusive Tents to either select or create tents that are the best match for the project (not being forced to shoe-horn the project into standard tents when there is a mis-match). The tents need to be integrated into the project and its site – even (especially) if they are the centre pieces – rather than the other way round. The luxury tents are core elements of such a project: there has to be a coherent integration within the project and its context as a whole.
  • Enabling our clients, who quickly become our friends, to turn their dreams into destinations that enchant the senses, applying the values of ecologically sustainable low-impact implementation and life cycle with a clear conscience.

At this point, Belle clarifies a key point: his teams expertise and in-depth knowledge of Exclusive Tents methods and products is a valuable asset in aligning the client’s goals with Exclusive Tents prowess. However, when appointed by a client, they will act in strict accordance with their professional code of conduct: the advice given and professional services will be entirely independent. For example, Belle will not systematically propose tents for all and every situation even if the client has come through Exclusive Tents. Instead, their philosophy is to advise their client and provide to the project exciting, beautiful solutions in the context of short, medium and long-term project objectives. Project design can integrate tents with other forms of structure arising from aesthetic or functional choice, for example integrating the creative use of locally sourced materials, or more rigid structures for certain back-of-house facilities such as kitchens, stores, and utilities infrastructure.

The close professional relationship with Exclusive Tents is clearly working well. Together, they have designed and provided some stunning tents as can be seen at Telal Resort in the UAE where the notion of glamping has been taken to a luxurious zenith. The resort, its amazing tents, and eclectic interiors were entirely designed by Patrice Belle Architects to offer an exceptional experience in the Arabian desert. The resort includes a main reception tent inspired by Arabic geometry covering an astonishing 2,625m2 set atop a magnificent dune and featuring a hidden subterranean cloistered pool. The guest accommodation ranges from delightful 50m2 canvas lodges to the resplendent 440m2 interior of the VIP lodge under 810m2 of canvas.

Whilst Telal Resort is clearly at one end of the spectrum, it shows the benefits of the tent being an integral element of the overall project design rather than a fixed point around which everything else must adapt. It also demonstrates clearly that tents are being tasked with meeting new challenges. They are being pushed to evolve, to meet modern requirements of luxury, convenience, comfort, sanitation, technical performance, bathrooms and WC, ventilation, heating, cooling, etc., whilst retaining their connection with nature, ecological and sustainable credentials, and capacity to ‘leave no footprint’.

Whereas most projects clearly adapt to the tent, Patrice Belle Architects and Exclusive Tents are working with clients to provide tents best adapted to each project. Each and every project provides feedback and fuels the constant development of ever better tents with improved performance: thermal, acoustic, wind resistance, materials, longevity, robustness, etc. Rather than steal his thunder, Patrice leaves the in-depth summary of the many advances in high-end luxury tents made over the last couple of years to an upcoming article by Paul Zway of Exclusive Tents.

This brings us back the Asterix mentioned earlier. The demands made upon the tents, and other forms of adventurous accommodation that cater to our desire for experiential travel, become ever more demanding. The tent has to be fully integrated with electrical and sanitary provisions, heating, cooling, and often AC (although the more we move to alternative forms of cooling the better), and should always do so in as discrete a way as possible without detracting from the essential ‘escapism’ of the experience.

As cost and investment rise with the increase in complexity, and provision of greater comfort and luxury, it is increasingly evident that a good quality tent is one (important) element in an extensive armoury of tools and solutions for creating wonderful destinations, all of which should be expected to have a significantly longer useful lifespan at the forefront of ecological sustainable development. As with everything in architecture, a tent is only as good as its design, materials, implementation, and maintenance. From Patrice’s perspective, a well-designed, specified, implemented, and maintained luxury tent project will have a lifespan of decades before significant refurbishment is required – on a par with traditional hotels and resorts. So, as Patrice advises: “Choose wisely, care for, and enjoy your investment”.

These are exciting times as experiential travel captures the public’s imagination, and there are some beautiful destinations that have been created by adventurous investors and talented designers around the globe. Patrice Belle and his team are looking forward to working hand-in-glove with the pioneers of experiential travel to make their dreams become reality. Their specialist understanding of luxury tents and canvas structures gives Patrice Belle Architects a unique skill set designing stunningly beautiful luxury tents, traditional structures, and complete projects, in harmony such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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

Main image credit: Exclusive Tents

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

Slated to open in February 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel is expected to make a haunted entrance onto the UK hospitality scene. But how will the modern hotel’s design scheme follow a narrative that dates back to the 18th century? Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

Nestled in the heart of Cornwall you’ll find a the foundations of a luxury hotel unlike anything else in the Britain. When it opens in 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel will be a place that intertwines the history of an 18th century prison with creative, contemporary design to introduce a memorable hotel experience.

Exterior of Bodmin Jail Hotel

For most of its life it was used as a debtor’s prison, until 1869 when imprisonment for debt was abolished. From 1887, the Royal Navy occupied an entire wing, and it was also used to house the Crowne Jewels during WWI.

After thousands of people had passed through its doors, the jail was finally closed in 1927. Now nearly 100 years later, the building is being brought back to life and remembered as a historic landmark.

A render of a contemporary restaurant inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

55 executions took place within the building’s formidable walls, for crimes such as rape, murder and stealing. Most of these executions were viewed by the public, and thousands would travel specially to witness the hangings. The last person taken to the gallows was William Hampton, who in July 1909 paid the ultimate price for taking the life of his 17-year-old girlfriend; he was also the last man to be hung in Cornwall.

The Bodmin Jail now encapsulates a contemporary hotel. The guestrooms, which feature modern touchpoints including a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi, have been created by combining three cells, utilising their original features.

A cross section render of a guestroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

The guestrooms weave together original jail features with contemporary design to create a cosy, luxurious environment that strikes a delicate balance between old and new. The weathered stone walls and the stories they hold create the perfect backdrop. Complete with luxury details such as free-standing baths, walk-in showers and sumptuous bedding, every element of the hotel has been designed to offer ultimate comfort and luxury, creating the perfect setting for an enchanting escape.

A render of a bathroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

When guests step out of their rooms into the walkways, they will be captivated by the glass ceiling that creates a magical central space. From here, guests can easily explore the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor, wander the sandy beaches of the North and South coastlines, or delve into the delights of Padstow or Fowey.

Main image credit: The Bodmin Jail Hotel

Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

With The Brit List Awards 2020 taking place this Thursday (at 14:00 UK time), there is no need to gatecrash, as it is completely free to attend this year’s virtual award ceremony…

Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

You won’t hear phrase “if you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in” at this year’s The Brit List Awards 2020 as Hotel Designs’ nationwide search prepares to go live with its virtual award ceremony, taking place this Thursday at 14:00 (GMT).

Although this year’s award ceremony is free to attend, you do however still need to register in order to secure your complimentary seats in the audience.

DESIGNERS/ARCHITECTS/HOTELIERS/DEVELOPERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC) 
SUPPLIERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC)

Following the unveiling of the shortlist, which referenced more than 120 individuals and projects, this year’s virtual awards ceremony will be broadcast from Minotti London, which is where the winners’ party will be sheltered on April 29, 2021. Following a catch up with this year’s global juding panel, editor Hamish Kilburn will unveil The Brit List 2020, which is Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers. Following this, he will be joined by a number of the event’s sponsors to unveil the individual winners of the following categories:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Following the virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, Hotel Designs is inviting the industry to come together on April 29, 2021 for a spectacular winners’ Party. To attend The Brit List Awards Winners’ Party, click here.

Over the last three years, The Brit List Awards has becoming a significant event in the design, architecture and hospitality calendar, as Kilburn explains: “The Brit List Awards was born out of the concept to celebrate Britain as a major design and hospitality hub,” he says. “Arguably, it is more important this year than any other year before to mark that success while celebrating the talented individuals who are continuing to design innovative spaces on the international design scene. It is therefore my pleasure to host this year’s event, albeit virtually, and I cannot wait to personally congratulate the winners when we all meet again in April 2021 for the winners’ party.”

Meet our Partners:

Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

Only got a minute? It’s been a busy week on the editorial desk but we have have compiled our top stories, including a confession of a lighting designer, multiple hotel debuts and a panel discussion on the future of public areas…

As we gear up to unveil the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020 on November 12, the headlines this week have been flooded with positivity – from new hotel arrivals and new lighting solutions to eco and conscious design brands unveiling new products. We appreciate you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about.

“You may already be familiar with Bloc Hotels, but you haven’t seen anything like Block Hotel Gatwick’s recent renovation…”

Read more.

Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

Nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, Banyan Tree Krabi has opened. Owned by Asset World Corporation (AWC), the new luxury resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites — each of which has its own private pool — a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying spring water to the sea.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel

Following a number of recent roundtables where lighting was unintentionally put under the spotlight, Hotel Designs collaborates with innovative lighting expert Moritz Waldemeyer and a number of designers to understand lighting’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

Read more.

Confessions of a lighting designer – sparks and relationships

In the second editorial of the ‘confessions of a lighting designer’ series, Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, explores lighting relationships.

Following our previous article, the hotel guest experience can be considered as being framed physically by the architecture, informed by the interior design, and reinforced by the service that you receive, but transcending across all of those to make it an outstanding experience is the intangible – great lighting design.

Read more.

How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

Founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Alexander and Sharon Harris, Harris & Harris emerged onto the design scene as a sustainable breathe of fresh air. Working internationally, the studio creates chic yet playful designs focusing on craftsmanship and quality whilst minimising the impact on the planet – and it was this unique blend that caught our editorial attention.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Adding personality in public areas

In the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host a number of panel discussions and interviews with the aim to keep the conversation and the industry connected.

Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE where an expert panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, Hotel Designs was back to put public areas back under the spotlight.

Read more.

SNEAK PEEK // INNSIDE Newcastle to open in December

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK // INNSIDE Newcastle to open in December

Meliá Hotels International, Spain’s largest hotel group, has released new CGI renders of INNSiDE Newcastle, which is slated to open this December…

The 161-key INNSIDE Newcastle, designed by Faulknerbrowns Architects, will be located in the heart of the city on the historical Quayside, offering breath-taking views across the River Tyne and an eclectic home-from-home feel for guests to explore Newcastle’s city centre.

The building that shelters the hotel has taken architectural inspiration from iconic local landmarks such as the Tyne’s bridges, whilst the hotel’s interior will showcase a light, minimal and versatile space, featuring modern and comfortable furnishings. 

Image credit: Meliá Hotels International

Each stay is expected to be enriched with music, art and literature curated by the hotel’s local experts. The Open Living Lounge will act as the beating heart of the hotel, with the open plan lobby offering the ideal transitional space to allow guests skip seamlessly from work to play. The Open Living Lounge will serve food throughout the day with local DJs providing the perfect soundtrack for guests and visitors to relax and unwind over a post-work cocktail. Meanwhile, a well-appointed gym, complete with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, will be available for guest use 24-hours a day. 

Guests and locals alike will be able to enjoy an exclusive dining experience on the Tyne, thanks to the restaurant’s floor to ceiling windows and beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the iconic river. This space will become an exciting destination restaurant for both hotel guests and locals alike. 

INNSiDE by Meliá’s philosophy ‘Stay Curious’ promises to accommodate guest’s every need and desire, providing them with a home away from home, offering the ideal work life balance. INNSiDE Newcastlewill offer five multi-functional meeting spaces with maximum capacity for up to 170 banqueting, including a Big Ideas Space, full of smart, sustainable touches to inspire the unconventional. The hotel will also offer a bespoke ‘Workcation’ package for business travellers looking for convenience, comfort and flexibility.

Demonstrating INNSiDE by Meliá’s commitment to sustainability, single-use paper and plastic have been eliminated throughout all properties with sustainable amenities available in all rooms, along with 100 per cent eco-friendly bed linens and towels. INNSiDE by Meliá has hotels in 28 locations, spread across 10 countries with 13 additional properties in the pipeline. Upcoming new openings include INNSiDE Liverpool, INNSiDE Newcastle, and INNSiDE Lisbon.

As part of Meliá Hotels International, INNSiDE Newcastle will operate the global ‘Stay Safe With Meliá’ programme across the hotel, including measures to prioritise guest and staff safety during Covid-19.

Main image credit: Meliá Hotels International

(Video exclusive) In conversation with: Simon Whittaker, Architect of the Year 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(Video exclusive) In conversation with: Simon Whittaker, Architect of the Year 2019

Simon Whittaker, architect and Associate Director at Orms, joined editor Hamish Kilburn to exclusively reveal details of the firm’s latest project: to redesign the former Central St Martins building in London…

Lover of retro-buildings, Simon Whittaker is a modest architect with a modern vision. Partly responsible for designing the impressive building that now shelters The Standard London – a hotel that in many ways challenges conventional hospitality in London – Whittaker was rightfully crowned Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019.

With this year’s awards ceremony imminently approaching, Whitaker joined me to launch the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS). In an exclusive interview, the award-winning architect revealed for the first time the mix-used development plans for an iconic site in London. Over the years, Central St Martins Building in Holborn sheltered significant moments in time for legendary figures in design and fashion, such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney.

Nearly a decade after University of Arts London moved out of the site, Orms is currently working with a world-renowned team to sensitively restore the building and give it a new lease of life as a mixed-used development site, which will include a new lifestyle hotel.

“We were very conscious that had to be more than just a hotel.” – Simon Whittaker, Associate Director, Orms.

At a pinnacle moment in the project’s development – having just secured planning permission – Whittaker reveals all, as well as discussing The Standard London’s statement and architecture in a pandemic world.

Watch the full interview below.

> While you’re here: check out our review of The Standard London.

Orms were approached last year to, through the power of architecture, secure consent for a hotel on the iconic site. The plot within the Holborn area includes the Grade II listed building, formerly Central St Martins, that fronts Southampton Row as well as a collection of 60s buildings behind. “We were very conscious that it had to be more than just a hotel,” Whittaker told Hotel Designs. “As a result, we have developed the concept for a new neighbourhood that happens to include a hotel.”

The ‘new neighbourhood’ has Whittaker describes it will include a new lifestyle hotel, exhibition spaces, a refurbished lecture theatre, a screening room, various F&B outlets, a library, a series of function rooms and co-working spaces. “There’s a huge variety which will offer real benefits to the local area,” Whittaker adds.

Orms and the wider team have recently been granted the necessary planning permission they need, with a unanimous consent from the committee, in order start work on the new urban development.

About the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS)

The Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) is Hotel Designs’ premium meet-the-buyer event for designers, architects and suppliers.

“Couldn’t fault the organisation and we also got some decent opportunities.” – Schlüter Systems (supplier)

“I thought the calibre of delegates was high and all seemed open to discussion.” – The Soho lighting Company (supplier)

“It was great to meet new people and the meetings were largely a success.” – Anglepoise (supplier)

“Fast-paced event with quality contacts and lots of opportunities for new work.” – Vivid Hospitality (supplier) 

If you are interested in learning more about the event, please contact our team. For all supplier enquiries, please speak to Jennie Lane on 01992 374098, or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are a senior designer and/or architect, please contact Victoria Petch on 01992 374082, or email v.petch@forumevents.co.uk.

Main image credit: Orms/The Standard London

Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

Rosewood Amsterdam will open in 2023 as the ‘ultra-luxury’ group’s 11th property in Europe and first soiree in the Netherlands…

Following several development growth announcements, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will open a property in 2023.

The hotel group, which has recently announced entrance strategies in destinations such as St Barths, Madrid and Venice, has been appointed by CTF Amsterdam B.V. to manage Rosewood Amsterdam.

Sheltered in the former Palace of Justice, a building of great architectural, historical and social significance that overlooks the Prinsengracht (the Prince’s Canal), one of the city’s most beautiful waterways, in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Amsterdam Canal District.  The hotel will be ideally situated near many of Amsterdam’s finest attractions including the museum district, the high-end shopping district on P.C. Hooftstraat and the hip De Pijp neighborhood. With its central location and befitting design carefully conceived to offer an inviting and amiable atmosphere, the property is poised to serve as an unparalleled gathering place for visiting guests and the local community alike.

Originally constructed in 1665 and later expanded in 1836 by Dutch architect Jan de Greef, the Palace of Justice was Amsterdam’s main courthouse for over 175 years and one of the finest examples of de Greef’s classic, multi-cultural style influenced by his travels to Paris and Rome. Working closely with the Bureau Monumenten en Archeologie (BMA) and The City of Amsterdam to preserve the rich heritage and quintessential character of this iconic building, Netherlands-based architectural firm Kentie & Partners has been selected to spearhead the property’s evolution into an ultra-luxury hotel. Leading the property’s interior design is acclaimed Dutch designer Piet Boon, of Amsterdam-based Studio Piet Boon. Known for his ability to balance functionality, aesthetics and individuality, Boon will honour the property’s original elements and distinctive Dutch identity while incorporating a contemporary sense of style that captures the energetic and exciting Amsterdam of today’s times. 

Given its esteemed reputation for being one of the leading architecture firms in the Amsterdam, it is unsurprising that Studio Concrete will have a major role in the design of the hotel. The firm has been appointed to design the hotel’s main restaurant, which will become a fresh and vibrant interior in the heart of the building, flanked by two courtyards with outdoor seating. London-based interior design firm Sagrada, led by David D’Almada, has been appointed to design an intimate bar in rich colours and high-end finishes, with stunning views overlooking the canal.

Rosewood Amsterdam will offer 134 guestrooms and suites, with many boasting spectacular views across the two adjoining canals, quiet internal courtyards and iconic townhouse rooftops. Amenities will include three restaurants, one of which will be an Indian restaurant, and bars; Sense, A Rosewood Spa offering ayurvedic treatments; a state-of-the-art wellness and fitness centreand an indoor swimming pool. 

In addition, multiple event spaces and meeting rooms, including a 3,000 square-foot ballroom, will offer advanced audio and visual services and natural daylight.

Decorative details throughout the hotel’s public spaces will pay homage to the signature spirit of both the building and city while creating a selection of differentiated yet unified spaces through subtle albeit impactful means, such as contrasting colour schemes that seamlessly separate one setting from another. Notably, the lobby lounge will feature a library adorned with beautiful legal books doubling as art pieces, photographs and artifacts, as well as comfortable and stylish seating, to create an enticing enclave that will invite visitors to linger and laze.

The library will also host an Indian Business Club which will stimulate high-level business and networking in an exclusive setting. All public spaces will overlook the three distinct, internal landscaped courtyards of the building, imagined by renowned landscape designer, Piet Oudolf. Internationally renowned for his work on the High Line and The Battery, both celebrated New York City attractions, Piet Oudolf will use his extraordinary expertise to artfully varnish the property with lush gardens and outdoor communal spaces.  

“Through design, décor and service, Rosewood’s properties worldwide mirror their surroundings and the souls of the destinations, and Rosewood Amsterdam will be no different,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “With a unique character and culture, Amsterdam is a fitting locale for which to bring Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We’re looking forward to combining the city’s quintessential charm with a modern sense of style to meet and exceed the latest standards of luxury hospitality.”

As the latest demonstration of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ thoughtful growth strategy, Rosewood Amsterdam joins three existing European properties – Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Rosewood London and Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Additional European locations with Rosewood developments in the pipeline include Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Munich, Porto Cervo, Vienna and Venice.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

With a question mark on what the future of health and wellbeing will look like in tomorrow’s hotel, editor Hamish Kilburn, in collaboration with HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt, asks industry’s experts to decipher what’s fact and what’s myth when predicting tomorrow’s wellness scene…

One of the major challenges that hotel designers and architects are facing globally at the moment is how much emphasis to put on Covid-19 when making decisions that will impact the future look and feel of hospitality. The pandemic has no doubt changed the demands of modern travellers, no more so arguably than in what will be expected in the wellbeing and wellness areas of tomorrow’s hotels.

In an attempt to define realistic solutions, we speak to leading designers, architects and developers from around the world – and ask about the future of health and wellbeing in hospitality and design.

On the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: We have never seen this before; every single hotel around the world putting together a reopening strategy. How has the pandemic, and the reopening of these hotels, changed the mindset of operators when it comes to health and wellbeing?

Chris Lee: Any operator will say that guest safety is their first priority. Obviously with Covid-19, that’s paramount. In times like these, the majority of travellers are leaning towards brands they can trust.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts set up a working party back in March. We looked across the whole spectrum of the business, including all brands and hotels, to identify what we needed to do to get ahead of this pandemic, all the time with the aim to keep our guests in a place where they trust us, whilst feeling safe and comfortable.

As a result, we launched an initiative called ‘Count on Us’, which is a long-term initiative with the emphasis being on additional cleanliness to address the characteristics of Covid-19 . We have had to adapt certain procedures, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and it has allowed us to enter into partnerships with new suppliers. For example, Ecolab is supplying the EPR-approved cleaning chemicals and products for our hotels across the region. As part of that deal, they have offered product training to our staff. These team members are, bit by bit, becoming ‘Covid safety officers’.

HK: How will Covid-19 impact how hotels are designed?

Mark Bruce: The truthful answer to that is that our clients are all trying to figure that out themselves, which is why this discussion is very timely.

Six Senses arriving in London is a good example, with its core focus being wellness. What I will say, strictly architecturally, is that there is a wider emphasis on indoor/outdoor spaces, which I think makes sense to us. On the luxury end, customers want things to be the same but with more space. On the more lifestyle and budget end of the scale, travellers want confidence.

Image caption: Rendering of Six Senses London, slated to open in 2023

Working closely with our mechanical and engineering suppliers to understand the practical aspects, such as air conditioning systems and finding ways to bring in natural air, has been fundamental in order to understand our limits as architects.

Matthew Voaden: We are finding that working more closely with architects from early stages of design is beneficial in not only addressing the concerns of enhanced ventilation to the space, but also to the architecture/interior design as integrating the services from outset does not later compromise the initial concept.

Tom Bishop: From a project management perspective, we usually get operator and design feedback far too late (usually during stage three or four). Do you reckon that this support system will bring forward when we are able to have these discussions?

MB: Yes, I think it’s a good point. 50 per cent of our clients are owner/operators, developers, which means from day one you can have good conversations about it. This is a huge challenge for operators – and you’re right, these conversations do not currently happen early enough.

HK: Covid-19 has amplified the need for service and design to work in harmony, something that the lifestyle sector was already very good at. What are the new challenges in lifestyle hotels? 

TB: Ruby Hotels is a great example of a lifestyle hotel that shelters design working with service. Typically, guests checking in to a Ruby hotel are looking for a bed for the night. You check in to ‘lean luxury’ ­– it’s clean and well designed and you are not spending that much time in your room. The public area space is minimal, cool and trendy while the F&B offering is limited – so they are almost already designed for the post-pandemic world and naturally cater to new demands from travellers. It will be interesting to see what the hotel group does next. I know the brand is looking for sites still, and it’s an exciting time for them.

Image caption: A playful interior design scheme inside Ruby Lucy, London

There is definitely a difference in demand from guests checking in to a five-star hotel than travellers checking in to a three-star hotel. On the luxury end, the question is now how to create the same atmosphere pre-pandemic in a space that now limits how many people are in that area.

“We are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.” – Ivalyo Lefterov, Hotel Development Director, Miris.

HK: Ivaylo, talk to us about SVART. How is this project challenging conventional methods of wellbeing and wellness?

Ivaylo Lefterv: That’s a very wide question, I have to say. I’m addressing this situation having worked on both the design and operational side. From my perspective at least, we are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.

First of all, we have no idea how things will evolve six months from now, so making any assumptions or drastic changes could be quite damaging. But equally, with SVART in particular, sustainability and wellness were already key pillars of that project. So, Covid-19 has somewhat brought attention to what we were already trying to achieve, which is a positive.

Image caption: SVART, which is slated to open in 2022 as the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel

The building itself, sheltering a new F&B concept, is part of the wellness journey. We have been discussing how we activate the building, and our conclusion is that we want the guest to be in control. We are talking about touchless without losing human interaction. That is an important balance. We are trying to allow the customer to be guided intuitively but also using technology as a tool to allow us to measure the condition of their stay and be able to adjust their experience accordingly. I do believe that lighting will become much more of a focus in the post-pandemic world.

 MV: I agree, having worked recently with a number of clients on integrating smart technologies into new and existing buildings, we are trying to strike a balance between introducing technology that benefits the development and not just an innovation that is an immediate reaction to the current Covid-19 situation, which ultimately might not be required.

HK: It’s a given that hygiene is creeping – no, leaping – up on the agenda for hoteliers. When it comes to Value Engineering though, what will fall off in its place?

Dan Curtis: We have seen a move towards less cluttered space. When you walk into a hotel room there is now more clean space with natural materials, focusing on the light and scenery.

“Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety” – Kobi Karp, Founder, Kobi Karp Architecture and Design.

Kobi Karp: I agree. Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety. Traditionally we have used copper pipes in buildings before we discovered the properties in PVC. I now see a movement that is drawing designers and architects back to raw materials, such as copper. In my firm we design a lot of restoration projects, and it’s very easy to convert those hotels into sustainable hubs as a result of Covid-19.

Over the last few months the focus has also switched to technology – it is evolving rapidly! To date, we have not felt the need to implement this. Now, we are taking another look at it technology’s role in a post-pandemic world.

HK: We can have all the best will in the world, but let’s realistic and talk about scalability – change is very expensive for global hotel brands that need to maintain branding across all hotels. Chris, how are you making these decisions?

CL: It’s such a difficult call! If I was in a developer’s position, and it was my money, I still wouldn’t know what to do.

We’ve had numerous discussions internally about reviewing our design standards. At the moment, we have to stay where we are because no one has the answers on timing. Like Tom said, if you double the size of your lobby then you are doubling the size of your real estate, which naturally reduces your ROI. I don’t think we are yet in a position to fix these financial and design issues.

Image caption: Wyndham Introduces new hybrid meeting concept at Dolce Hotels in Europe

TB: Let me explain this from a refurbishment approach. An owner has an asset. It was worth X in January 2020 and it’s now worth Y. If they are trying to loan against the asset, that value has reduced. This means your refurbishment budget has reduced along with occupancy levels (for example, from 85 per cent to 65 per cent) and a lower room rate. Ultimately, you are going to see, I believe, more QS-led design in the four-star and below market because ultimately there is more of a budget constraint that has to be adhered to. There is a delicate balance between health, design (to ensure that the hotel is competitive within its market), increasing room rates and overall yield.

Image caption: Minimalist design-led guestrooms inside Ruby Hotels’ properties

Veronica Givone: In the last six months, I have been talking with a lot with investors. My conclusion is that the last decade has already seen a shift in what brands wanted to provide. 10 years ago they were designing for their brands. Now they are designing for the people checking in to the hotel.

“We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals.” Veronica Givone, Managing Director, IA Interior Architects.

I believe that the pandemic will just amplify this. People are more aware when it comes to wellness and wellbeing. We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals. It’s the balance the find when applying tech and keeping service fresh. We need to understand how to make our staff feel confident and comfortable to use the space. We need to make short-term solutions, and I hope that social distancing will not be a long-term hurdle. In 15 years from now, who will be the guest? That’s what we now need to think about.

HK: Matthew, HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group has its ear to the ground when it comes to identifying and utilising new innovations that will improve building quality. What have you seen emerge recently?

MV: When cultural changes happen, it always results in a lot of discussions around new innovations and products.

UVC Lighting, and air purification systems are really interesting, but would be better and easier to cost, if they were disguised in the foundations of a new build. Upgrading filters in maintenance, CO2 monitoring, modification to the Building management system to extend fan runtimes etc and other factors are constantly being analysing as part of our teams initial response to the pandemic.

I would say, it is easier to integrate new innovations into budget hotels. It’s more challenging for luxury properties and brands in order to not disrupt the familiar luxury guest experience and journey.

IL: I can see the industry moving forward towards the guest designing their experience before check in. That will allow the actual hotel stay – take the arrival experience for example – to be more like a performance, a theatre if you like. The guestroom itself would become your butler to make it more personal without removing the human factor. Your reception becomes your living room, as opposed to being purely a practical and frankly unenjoyable element.  

“Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices.” – Chris Lee, Director of Architecture, Design & Construction, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

CL:Hotels have changed in the last decade. Lifestyle didn’t really exist much 10 years ago. Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices. What better way to make a choice: on your phone, you have everything you need. But, regardless of the evolution of tech, hospitality is about people and you can get that interaction in all hotels. I just hope the pandemic doesn’t adjust the people factor in our industry, because that is so important.

VG: The key is balance all possible demands and offer flexibility, allowing the guest to decide.

HK: Can sound offer solutions in the post-pandemic world?

MB: I was really pleased that this came up as a topic. I have never really spoken about sound in a roundtable discussion, but it’s important to consider. Like many of the sub topics we have explored in this session, we were analysing sound in hospitality before Covid-19 was a thing. The pandemic has allowed us to refocus on new ways to create atmosphere, and one of the most impactful ways to subconsciously evoke a mood in pursuit of wellness is to consider sound.

A great example is Six Senses, and it is an absolute joy working with the brand. They talk about anti spaces, the moments in between moments. I believe that the spaces in between create the emotion and memories. We have been helping Six Senses to transfer their look and feel and their renowned focus on wellness into an urban environment, and sound has been a massive part of that.

The minute you walk in, sound from the outside is­ muted –  the perception of the city gets left behind and the focus turned to the naturally aerated lobby. As you move further towards the spa, the way sound is treated is going to be a very exciting part of the project. To see a leading brand like Six Senses embrace sound to elevate the experience is very exciting! I think it will add a lot of value to hospitality in the future.

Thanks to HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt and all of our international experts, we have started the conversation around health and wellbeing in hospitality in hotel design. Now it’s over to you. Have your stay by tweeting us @HotelDesigns.

Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Hotel Designs LIVE is a free one-day conference that takes place on October 13…

On October 13, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will virtually gather to attend Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron.

Whether you are in need of a guide to hotel design or you simply want to keep up to date with the latest conversations that are happening in the industry, Hotel Designs LIVE promises to keep the conversation flowing throughout and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

As well as broadcasting thought-provoking interviews and panel discussions, the one-day virtual conference will also frame a number of dynamic PRODUCT WATCH segments throughout the day in order to identify the latest product launches and innovations within each of the four topics areas that will be explored.

“When we first launched Hotel Designs LIVE in June, we made a pledge that the event will cut through the noise in order to broadcast what we believe are the most relevant conversations happening in the industry right now,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the event. “We have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to ensure that our next broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE does the concept justice. This has included filming a segment with our new videography partner CUBE Video, working closely with our sponsors and suppliers and inviting relevant leaders and visionaries from around the world to sit on the virtual sofa in order to add value to the conversations we are airing.”

Here’s what’s coming up:

09:20 – 09:30: EDITOR’S WELCOME

Editor Hamish Kilburn will open by acknowledging the success and highlights from the inaugural virtual conference, which took place on June 23. In addition, he will discuss the rationale behind the four sessions that Hotel Designs LIVE will position under the spotlight for the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE.

09:30 – 10:30: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
(Sponsored by Silentnight Group)

In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, Hotel Designs LIVE will welcome Bill Bensley as the event’s headline speaker.

Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design”, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can.

The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, will join Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature.

Click here to participate.

11:00 – 12:00: Adding personality in public areas
(Sponsored by Falcon Contract Flooring)

Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, where the panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, this session will move away from pure sterile solutions and instead inject design back into the public areas. Kilburn will ask a handful of leading designers and architects how we, as an industry, can authentically create purposeful areas that evoke interesting first impressions.

Click here to participate.

12:30 – 13:30: Reassuring the post-corona consumer
(Sponsored by Room To Breathe UK

The industry may well be re-opening its doors, but recent studies suggest that the post-corona consumer is hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene. In an engaging panel discussion, Kilburn will ask a number of leading hoteliers from all corners of the globe how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

Click here to participate.

14:00 – 15:00 BST: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic
(Sponsored by GROHE)

To kickstart the debut Hotel Designs LIVE, tech-influencer Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of The Gadget Show, took us on a wild journey to understand the boundless possibilities when it comes to technology in hospitality. One of the main takeaways from the session was the importance of making technology invisible for the modern consumer.

Ahead of putting the spotlight back on technology, Kilburn checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience to understand tech’s role in tomorrow’s hotel. The full feature will be broadcasted to the audience attending ‘The revival of smart tech post-pandemic’. Here’s a teaser filmed and edited by CUBE Video.

Continuing this quest, but also grounding it in the context of hotel design in the wake of Covid-19, Kilburn will invite a number of expert designers to discuss, in detail, whether or not the hotel experience will ever be truly contactless, as well as asking how to authentically and meaningfully inject smart technology into a modern hotel.

Click here to participate.

Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

Throughout October we are, for the second time this year, putting the spotlight on lighting. To kickstart this series, we reach out to Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, to understand lighting design from the inside.

The profession of architectural lighting design is a relatively young industry, even though the practise of what we do in determining where there is light and where there isn’t has been around for centuries.

Of course back then this was simply people deciding where to put candles or, as far back as the 9th century, where to locate oil lamps.  But architectural lighting design as a more formal profession really only goes back to around the 1950s with the likes of Richard Kelly pioneering the practice, followed by people like Derek Phillips and Jonathan Speirs.

So what is lighting design and what is it that lighting designers actually do?  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to explain this to my friends who think we “choose where to put light bulbs”!

It can be easily forgiven that it is not a widely known profession.  There is no formal educational pathway and many people stumble into the profession from a semi-related field of design and find themselves “doing lighting design” before they even realise what it is (myself included!).

As an example, our office comprises lighting designers with backgrounds in product design, interior design, electrical engineering, film and television, photography, sculpture and architecture.  There are indeed well-established Masters degrees, or undergraduate courses in Theatrical Lighting Design, but this is not the case for Architectural Lighting Design.  Something that has been brought up again recently in our industry.

Lighting

Lighting concerns itself with how people perceive their environment, yet because light is intangible it has an intrinsic, and often underestimated, role in all aspects of visual design.

Working in a medium which remains invisible until it strikes a physical surface means that we lighting designers must be as concerned with the nature of the surface and the biology behind the human eye as with the light which strikes it.

Ambient illumination, direct light, reflected light, the use of colour, areas of relative darkness and contrast all contribute to how a space looks and how it feels, resulting in designs made up of layers of light.  The better lighting schemes consider what should be left unlit as much as what should be lit, so maybe we are just as much “darkness designers” as we are lighting designers.

Because of the immateriality, great lighting is rarely lauded.  If you walk through a space and it looks and feels great then chances are it is because of the lighting. Not to take away from the interior designer, architect, or landscape designer that has typically designed more of the physical environment, but certainly in how the colours appear, how the material textures catch your eye, whatever the mood it prompts or the visual aesthetic it provides, it is because of the lighting.

Poor lighting on the other hand gets no end of complaints.  Lighting that is overly bright or dark, too much glare, or feels cold and uninviting can make spaces feel uncomfortable so people don’t want to visit and spend time there.  Even the best interior design schemes can be marred by bad lighting, and at the extreme bad lighting can even be bad for your health depending on the time of day or the tasks required of the people using it.

Lighting for hospitality

At the core of neolight’s work is the hospitality sector, and one of my favourite spaces to illuminate is the All Day Dining restaurant within a hotel.  This is largely because it’s such a transformative space and great way to demonstrate the power of lighting.  An All Day Dining restaurant needs to be able to provide a bright and fresh environment for breakfast, right through to the warmth and relaxing ambience of an evening meal.

When you get this right, the space will look and feel like a different restaurant to the guests from morning to night.

Lighting experiences

Architectural lighting design really started an accelerated upward curve with the mainstream adoption of LED.  Since then light sources have been getting smaller and more efficient, and the fixtures themselves are increasingly packed full of technology.

Alongside this evolution of lighting technology has been an evolving expectation of the role of the lighting designer.  No longer are we providing simple scene-setting schemes with smooth dimming to meet the client expectations, now clients are looking for more engaging and dynamic schemes concealed within the fabric of the building, with light that entrains and supports your circadian rhythm, they want an experience.

Yes the experience is framed by the architecture, or informed by the interior design, or the service that you receive, but transcending across all of those to make it a good experience is good lighting design.

Lighting design = experience design.  And if that helps become popular on social media, then all the better.

To this end we are not just designers anymore.  We have to be artists and scientists, knowledgeable in Bluetooth and LiFi, experts in daylight and green building codes, understanding biology of the human eye, of the physics of light, and all manner of material properties.

And this is all before we even mention the Internet of Things, where we are suddenly being asked about the limitations of LoRaWAN as a protocol to control light fixtures with.

Lighting is digital

There is an underlying expectation to all of this that we are digitally savvy.  Lots of industries are going through change and digitisation, but lighting is changing right up there with them.  In order to keep meeting the expectations of a modern day lighting design, we have to be able to understand and design with all these evolving elements.

One particular attribute that I’ve taken on is learning to code due to the increasing overlap with disciplines that do require this, and at the very least we need to be able to coordinate with them. For example, this is a prototype app written in Python that communicates with light fixtures in a hotel room to automatically adjust the colour temperature and brightness based on personal circumstances, such as jet lag.

Internet of Things

We have gone through the exponential growth of LED and now we have even further miniaturisation of technology so there is virtually nowhere that LEDs cannot be integrated, and conversely almost anything, like a sensor or a camera, that can’t be put back into light sources.

Lighting is a prime choice for the IoT to piggy back onto as it has an already existing ubiquitous infrastructure of power and data.  This means that light fixtures can be used for monitoring space occupancy, improving shopping experiences, reporting crimes, and more.

But in order to be able to implement this we have to understand it, and that means lighting designers becoming experts in something else that isn’t traditionally “lighting”.  It’s becoming experts in data, cloud servers, and Bluetooth meshes as part of the whole IoT network.

And this isn’t a trend that’s going away. At a macro level Smart Cities are well underway around the world (we are working on a Smarty City strategy for a brand new city in KSA at the moment), and on a micro level it’s using your voice to control the lighting in your own home. Lighting is a key part of the future of connected services.

Covid-19 will undoubtedly accelerate the demand for contact-free environments. Why carry a physical ID or ticket and have to touch door handles, when AI could verify you and open the door automatically?  Why touch any number of surfaces and interfaces to check-in to a hotel, when facial recognition could automate this as you walk through the lobby and give you a “key” on your mobile phone?

In assessing these expected trends we see that lighting is well placed to provide this as part of the IoT. Retrofitting sensor-embedded light fixtures becomes much easier than ripping out ceilings, pulling cables, and installing new networks.

As part of this learning curve affecting lighting, designers are no longer just visiting project sites, but also visiting data centres that test these sensor embedded light fixtures and the data points that they capture to understand it first hand in order to be able to implement it as part of a lighting scheme.

Misunderstandings

As lighting becomes more understood it’s great to now be reading comments like this, highlighting the importance of lighting to a space.

But for every moment of understanding, we still work with wider design teams who still misunderstand what we do. Consultants that have heard of ZigBee or BLE, and so that’s how they want their lighting controlled – when in reality all they really need is a simple control plate.

Part of our role is taking a step back from the technology and really understanding the project needs. We won’t use technology for the sake of it, especially if it’s not needed and likely to end up not being used.  How often have you struggled with a fancy lighting control system in a hotel guestroom when a simple rotary dimmer switch would have been just perfect?

As lighting design finds its way into mainstream vocabulary, more buzzwords like “human centric lighting” have come to the fore, which is another misconception to overcome.

Human centric design is human focussed design. At the heart of this notion is what we have been doing for many years now.  Designing for humans.  Lighting for humans.  Lighting for, and with, people at the centre.

The future

Who knows what the limits are to where lighting will reach – even a few years ago we were barely imagining what we have today of subscription models offering Lighting as a Service, secure wireless data through light in LiFi, and even highly secretive LED spectrum recipes used in horticulture to maximise crop yield!

Of what I have no doubt is that as lighting design continues to advance and evolve, so will the humble lighting designer along with it.

Main image credit: neolight

Checking in to Villa Copenhagen, a new brand of conscious luxury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to Villa Copenhagen, a new brand of conscious luxury

A much-anticipated addition to the Danish capital city, Copenhagen, transforms an iconic architectural landmark into a modern oasis of cool. Writer Collette Swindells explores…

It is not often that a space of more than 25,600 square metres becomes available in the centre of a European capital – least of all in a city like Copenhagen, where it is often considered something of a luxury to have a separate shower and toilet in your downtown apartment.

Instantly recognising the tremendous potential of the site, Nordic Hotels & Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, sought to transform the imposing old-world grandeur of the five-floor, Neo-Baroque former headquarters of the Danish Post and Telegraph into a fresh expression of what it means to be Scandinavian.

Combining an impressive roll-call of talents including award-winning London architecture and interiors firm Universal, award-winning design studio Goddard Littlefair, specialist F&B design studio Epicurean, Danish architect Eva Harlou and Nordic jewellery designers Shamballa Jewels, the reconstruction weaves together three key themes of contrast, conscious luxury and happiness.

The arrival experience

Entering the somewhat unassuming frontage, adjacent to the Copenhagen Central Station, guests are immediately greeted with an expansive, light-filled, glass-roofed atrium lobby – appropriately named The Square – centrally adorned by a tongue-in-cheek ‘Whispering’ sculpture from Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

A large lobby with glass ceiling and modern furniture

Image credit: Stine Christiansen

Cleverly designed to be a multi-functional space that welcomes both locals and foreigners, it artfully mixes classic Danish design elements with contemporary flourishes and finishes that unite the functions of the hotel boutique, lounge area, bar, self-service check-in and reception. It is a space that comes alive at night too, with live music and DJs cementing its vibrant personality, and other day-time pop-ups including a mobile piercing station from jeweller Maria Black.

Direct access to most of the hotel’s F&B and public areas is available from The Courtyard, ensuring it is continually an animated, lively thoroughfare and meeting point for all.

Relaxed public areas for all occasions

To the city side of this, The Playroom acts as a further extension of the lobby lounge space, with even more intimate spaces and cosy pockets that encourage visitors to have fun with friends while playing board games, foosball and other table games on custom-made tops. Part grand parlour part secluded den, the space is also perfect for hosting large groups, with Epicurean ensuring a relaxed, cultivated atmosphere with its Carl Hansen furniture, vintage tiling, antique-style woodwork and panelling and patina mirrored walls.

Image caption: The Playroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

On the alternate side of The Courtyard, Kontrast, a contemporary brasserie, offers an equally smart take on mid-century styling, with subtle tributes to its former tenant. Replica carvings and window details from the original posthouse inspire wood panelling details, with reused and recycled materials cleverly woven in where possible.

A diner style F&B area with tiled floors and globe like chandeliers

Image caption: Kontrast | Image credit: Stine Christiansen

Curved booth seats in warm brown leather tones are complimented with custom high chairs in striking hues that fill out the main dining area inside, allowing guests the chance to gaze into the large, open kitchen and bar. Bespoke tables are inlaid with brass, showcasing the level of craftsmanship and attention Epicurean brings to each fit-out, while also adding something new and fun to the traditional Scandinavian styling visitors might come to expect elsewhere in town.

On the terrace, overlooking the main station, more contemporary woven textile furniture sits outside, alongside Tore Gustafsson’s menu of fresh, local and seasonal produce. Taking inspiration from the south of Europe and North Africa, Gustafsson – known for previously steering the helm of Copenhagen Meatpacking favourite Paté Paté – has built an impressive sustainable food profile across all the F&B outlets, with a focus on providing a ‘carbon-free’ experience.

Sustainable hospitality solutions

Part of the overall commitment by the hotel to four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Decent Work and Economic Growth; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption; and Production and Partnerships for the Goals – meat consumption at each outlet has been reduced, alongside overall food waste, with an innovative technology converting this into green energy. Fresh herbs and spices are also handpicked from the hidden rooftop garden, which sits next to a beehive from Bybi and the famed lapping pool.

F&B areas

Designed by Goddard Littlefair to reflect the local community’s relationship with food, drink and socialising, there are a plethora of options when it comes to F&B in the hotel. Breakfast is served daily in the former postage sorting room, Public, located on the lower floor which is accessed via a neon light-filled stairwell off The Courtyard. Descending into what feels like the belly of the grand building, you can hear the hum of the nearby train station, which provides a steady memory of its previous life.

Image caption: Public | Image credit: Stine Christiansen

Indeed Epicurean drew heavily from archival photos of the space in its former glory, invoking its archways, lighting, brickwork and paneling in their redesign. The expansive area, filled with rows of bespoke banquette seating and commanding repurposed copper arches, can also host larger functions and groups and extends onto the sunken garden, containing the entrance to the almost completed Rug Bakery.

The original arrival point for the mail, the impressive terrace space is somewhat of a hidden gem for the hotel – exposed when the roof was removed from the loading dock – and a perfect place to enjoy the freshly baked local pastries Denmark is known for.

The guestrooms and suites

In contrast to the lively public and F&B areas, Universal took their starting point for the design of the guestrooms and suites from the art of Danish master painter Vilhelm Hammershøi – known for his understated composition, elegant lighting, muted palette and study of secluded moments and spaces.

Mapping out the building’s original interior, the studio restored and reinstalled many of the key period features like the impressive windows, herringbone flooring, cornices, architraves and wood paneling. Each room and suite has been treated like a grand Danish residence, housing a sophisticated collection of custom-designed classic and contemporary furniture, alongside original pieces from known Danish designers Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Nanna Ditzel, Niels Otto Møller, Ole Wanscher and Borge Morgensen. Warmth and softness is key, with bespoke textiles, lighting and ceramics amplifying the comfort to create a calm refuge with more than a few touches of brilliance. Materials are locally and sustainably sourced where possible, with Kvadrat’s Sahco brand providing natural wool textiles that sit next to other highlights including biodegradable and recyclable linen headboards produced by Scandinavian interior textile studio Astrid.

Image caption: Delux guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Image caption: Delux guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Each of the rooms has its own typography – there are 50 in total – with sprawling four metre-high ceilings on the lower levels and near floor-to-ceiling windows that give you various views of the city surrounds. The converted attic, with its exposed timber beams, differs only because of its unique character and obvious height limitations – but its roof-lit views of the city more than compensate for this.

Of course all the usual five-star modern conveniences apply, with keyless entry, remote check-in, virtual check-out, and an optional white glove service available in each of the 381 rooms. In-room facilities are on-point too, with a considered range of local favourites that includes Mikkeller beer and chocolate, Great Dane Rum, Nordic winegums, Harahorn Norwegian gin, and ELG vodka.

Image caption: Guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Sustainability stays top of mind, with custom in-room guest amenities provided by Skandinavisk in a signature range that pays homage to the smell of wood-laden northern forests. Gone are the plastic-wrapped pairs of slippers, replaced instead by slides that can be bought in the hotel’s boutique store, together with a collection of other local, sustainable and notable designers.

But if you really want to experience something different, then check-in to the ‘Universal Penthouse Suite’ which was designed across two floors with a central walnut and steel spiral staircase connecting the upper master bedroom with the lounge space on the lower floor.

Added to this next-level option is the completely sustainable suite, the Earth Suite, designed by Eva Harlou using eco-friendly furniture and recycled materials and textiles. Denmark’s most expensive suite, the Shamballa Master Suite was designed by Shamballa Jewels and takes in 110sqm that includes the former Postmaster’s office and the best view of the adjoining main station.

Sitting in a collection of seven other Shamballa suites, these exclusive retreats are due to be completed by the end of 2020 – a small casualty of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Luckily though, if you can’t afford the additional extravagance of the Shamballa suites, the lapping pool, with its centralised cooling system using excess heat from the hotel to keep it at a steady 34 degree, provides a welcome space to relax and unwind. Adjacent to the 24-hour fitness centre, sauna and wellness area, it is a colourful, secluded spot that sits beside the rooftops of Copenhagen and offers a cabana service from its Pool Bar.

a rooftop pool overlooking Copenhagen

Image credit: Stine Christiansen

You might also like to take a walk through the five floors to check out the private collection of artwork – valued at more than US$2 million – that includes local and international artists like Per Kirkeby, Ian McKeever and Bent Stokke. Norwegian Stokke produced 383 unique charcoal artworks to be featured in each room, as well as along the many hallways and restored stairways.

But perhaps the real jewel of the hotel is the Old Boardroom, available to be hired as a private function space for intimate dinners and gatherings, and still proudly displaying the plaque bestowed to the building by both Kings Frederick III and Christian X who both ruled the year it was inaugurated. Its restored tapestry-and-chandelier adorned space, with adjoining bar, sits in stark, refined contrast to the other over 2,000sqm of meeting and event room spaces that are decorated with more than 850 conference chairs produced using 2.75kg of upcycled plastic ocean waste and fishing nets. It is just another example of how the hotel holds dual respect and reverence for the past and the future – carefully balancing respect for each in the present.

And like a home that becomes more of itself every day new memories are created within it, Villa Copenhagen, in all its imposing glory, is sure to become a welcomed part of the city’s new landscape: a reinvigorated icon that stands even taller than its predecessor.

Main image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Weekly briefing: A sensational shortlist & the secret to a good night’s sleep

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: A sensational shortlist & the secret to a good night’s sleep

Only got a minute? Our editorial team have compiled the top design stories that they have published this week, including the shortlist of The Brit List Awards 2020 and an exclusive interview with designer Lisa Haude about tomorrow’s design challenges…

With the industry re-strategising following further constrictions to social distancing, we appreciate that you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

EXCLUSIVE: Shortlist unveiled for The Brit List 2020 

This year, more than 120 individuals and projects were selected across eight categories. The winners will be announced at the virtual award ceremony on November 12. Now in its fourth year, The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

Click here to read the story | Click here to secure your seats in the audience at the virtual awards ceremony.

1 in 3 Brits want to replace shower with modern system, survey reveals

A survey carried out by GROHE has revealed British showering behaviours and consumer attitudes towards their bathroom. As indicated in the debut broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE, bathroom and wellness demands have shifted as we look ahead towards a post-pandemic world.

Read more.

In Conversation With: interior designer Lisa Haude

A storyteller in her own right, designer Lisa Haude creates one-of-a-kind spaces that breathe a new level of authenticity into the projects she touches. Working predominantly with the larger brands, such Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International, Haude’s style is to celebrate the history of each hotel’s destination, which is channeled through an meaningful design narrative that is sheltered inside each project. 

Read more.

Bathroom goals: when sustainability meets design

Sustainability meets design in Austria’s Winzendorf-Muthmannsdorf municipality. Surrounded by grapevines, and set on a sloping plot of around 1,600 square metres, is a detached house in harmony with nature. The distinctive and nature-loving architecture is in evidence outside, in the form of the charred larch cladding used on the façade. The client requested elegance and eco-conscious design everywhere, including the bathroom.

Read more.

New speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: you can secure your complimentary seats in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, by clicking here

Industry insight: a special sleep experience during Covid

Chris Ward, Group Marketing Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, looks at how in addition to having Covid-compliant practices, hotels can offer a more discernible experience to guests by providing premium experiences that have sustainability at their heart.

Read more.

Miniview: Inside WILDES Chester, a northern boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside WILDES Chester, a northern boutique jewel

Northern design studio Spaceinvader, with architecture by EDGE Architect, has created a rich, layered and luxurious interiors scheme for the new WILDES Chester boutique hotel…

With interiors by hospitality and workplace designers Spaceinvader and architecture by EDGE Architects, WILDES Chester will be housed in a Grade-II listed building in The Rows, Chester’s famous historical centre.

The hotel property, on the corner of Bridge and Watergate Streets, was originally developed in 1892 by architect Thomas M Lockwood and is made up of three townhouses.

Today, it shelters a hotel that aims to become a go-to destination for business and leisure travellers.”Our focus is to delight our guests’ senses through innovative food and service with a real aim to redefine hospitality within the city’, said Paul Wildes, CEO of the hotel group. ‘Original features include huge fireplaces, stone windows and original beams and the hotel will be sensitively refurbished to retain these period features while introducing an interior design that takes influence from key venues in London and around the world.”

Liverpool-based Edge Architects have been commissioned to extend the building to the rear, as well as creating a new roof terrace with plunge pool, with the proposals currently awaiting planning permission. The new layout of the black-and-white-fronted building, where the existing fabric is partly redbrick Victorian and partly Jacobean, will encompass 16 en suite bedrooms, each featuring a unique design. Free-standing furnishings in the bedrooms allow the original building to breathe, whilst quirky elements, from free-standing bathtubs and skylights for guests to enjoy the night sky to the four-seater cinema in one of the rooms, add character.

“The new hotel will become a fantastic luxury destination for visitors to Chester,” SpaceInvader Senior Interior Designer Izzy Eling said, “embodying a rich, sensual and flamboyantly-decorated immersion in the heart of the city, with a design scheme inspired by a number of historical threads, coupled with contemporary services and styling.”

The interiors concept takes its initial influence from the site’s history, having originally been built for the Duke of Westminster as a base for his country pursuits, including horse racing and deerstalking. References to horse racing saddlery, from leather straps to diamond stitching details, are incorporated throughout, whilst the logo for Benedict’s and the feature layered bulkhead over the bar are inspired by the racecourse tracks, making it the perfect place to visit before or after a trip to Chester races. The new identity work on the scheme is by Natural Selection Creative Studio.

A second inspirational source was Chester’s medieval market heritage, with Bridge Street having played host to a market trading in leather, cotton and wine and the site itself said to have been used as a corvisor (leather works), producing leather harnesses, gloves and riding boots.

The third thread of the concept is the architecture’s mostly Victorian origins, which finds form in opulent styling in the interiors scheme, from the use of decorative tiling and floral patterns to deep rich jewel tones and exaggerated details. The Victorian era also saw a rise in trade with the East and the importation of new exotic materials from India and China, including luxurious, hand-painted silk wallpapers, woven rattan furniture and highly-decorated porcelain. This aspect of the era’s eclectic tastes forms the final styling inspiration, in the form of large, patterned rugs and the jewel tones used for the bedroom design palette, whilst silk wallpapers and patterns influenced by India and China line the corridors.

‘Playful, hidden quirks and memorable styling will feature throughout,” Eling added. “This will definitely be an Instagramm-able venue when it completes and opens, with any number of details visitors will notice over multiple visits!”

The lobby

Upon arrival, the lobby’s bespoke new Victorian-style mosaic floor tiles feature the new hotel branding inset at their centre. The concierge area features horse-racing details to the timber reception desk design, including leather straps and branded leather tabs for the room keys. The main stair at the rear has been finished in a bespoke carpet, with dark edging detail and an ornate banister. A seating arrangement, with velvet chairs immediately suggesting the scheme’s opulence, sits directly beneath the stair, whilst a door leading away from reception takes visitors directly into Benedict’s bar and restaurant.

F&B

The 45-person-capacity Benedict’s bar features a rich colour scheme of golds and deep tones, with a design influence taken from horse racing. An opulent gold-coloured bulkhead over the bar, for example, is structured to imitate the form of racetracks, whilst feature tiling wraps around the bar itself, which is edged with gold detailing before it cedes to the main dark timber floor.

The bar has a dark marble front and a lighter marble top with WILDES branding etched into its front face. A bespoke wallpaper, developed with a specialist designer, includes subtle horse-riding illustrations. Furniture is rich and luxurious, upholstered in velvet and leather, with quilted detailing throughout.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

Two adjacent snug areas are dark and cosy with feature jewel tones of emerald green and ruby pink. The wallpaper here is detailed with wildlife images, including rabbits and deer, with set dressing including faux taxidermy in a nod to the Duke of Westminster’s love of country pursuits. The connecting spaces feature artwork referencing horse-racing and country life, with a quirky, full-sized horse lamp greeting visitors en route to the toilets.

The 30-cover indoor section of Benedict’s restaurant showcases a more feminine, romantic feel, inspired by the Victorian love of floral patterns and motifs and including bright velvet fabrics, patterned wallpaper and petal-shaped lamps. The external terracing has both a 12-person bar area overspill and a 26-cover restaurant seating area, dressed in striking black-and-white-striped wicker furniture, referencing the building’s Jacobean architectural elements, with gold cushion highlights and upholstery.

Private Dining Room

The first floor Benedict’s private dining room is an opulent space, perfect for entertaining, and inspired by traditional Victorian drawing rooms.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

A bespoke timber table for 16 guests is its central focal point, with design features including striking chandeliers, opulent velvet drapes and a floral ceiling finish.

Restrooms

Taking inspiration from Victorian powder rooms, the ladies’ toilets feature pink Victorian metro tiles and gold swan taps, whilst the men’s are in darker tones, with green tiling and black swan taps. Both are tied together through the use of wallpaper featuring giant fern leaves, referencing a plant that was particularly popular in Victorian times, along with metal-plated cisterns embellished with the Benedict’s logo.

Spa

The Spa area boasts a super-feminine, indulgent scheme. Predominantly pink, its motifs include a feature raised peacock motif against the dove-grey wall panelling and faux cherry blossom dressing, nodding to the Orient and the Victorian taste for Chinoiserie. Plush pink velvet banquette seating sits below pink wall panelling, with neon ‘Blooming Fabulous’ wall signage adding to the space’s indulgent feel.

Guestrooms

Although each room is unique in terms of proportion, layout and views, design treatments broadly follow two paths. The first is fresh, elegant and airy with a British country pursuits influence.  Parquet timber floors and light wall panelling provide a backdrop to green velvet window dressing, large-scale foliage rugs and rattan-style furniture and headboards. Leather detailing, quilted stitching embellishment and gold lighting elements tie the scheme together.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

The second treatment features a richer and moodier colourway, with dark wall panelling and black rattan headboards. The windows and grand double beds are in ruby velvets, whilst the parquet flooring is layered with a large-scale floral rug.

Both bedroom types have connecting details, such as bespoke bedside tables, which are inspired by horse-racing and particularly The Champion’s Chest, where cups and medals are held, whilst also featuring WILDES branding. Each room type also has a feature coloured sink, marble wall panels and timber panelling as well as freestanding baths engraved with the hotel’s branding.

The upper floor features a number of skylighted ‘Stargazing Rooms’, allowing guests to gaze up into the night sky, whilst one additionally features a mezzanine level, which is accessed by a spiral stair and leads up to a private cinema and bar. This space features green velvet reclining armchairs, gold lighting and burnt orange velvet curtains framing the screen, combining to deliver a cosy-but-luxurious cinematic experience.

Main image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group 

In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

Looking ahead, past the pandemic, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to understand how to build a meaningful hotel landscape…

With the world the way it is at the moment, the conversation in the industry has steered sharply towards how architecture and design will be affected in the post-pandemic world.

PLP Architecture is a firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London. Expected to be completed in 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

As a result of the firms sustainable mission, the building will shelter mix of 42 native wildflower and some sedum species populate levels 34 and 42 – 44, protruding above the structure’s rooftop, seeking to create a sense of continuity between the tower and the outdoor public spaces and gardens on the ground floor. 

Representing a number of firsts for London, such as being the first tower development in the City of London to harmoniously fuse private apartments with a luxury hotel, PLP Architecture’s collaborative approach with Yabu Pushelberg and developers UOL and Stanhope ensures the delivery of an integrated and seamless design at every level of building, helping to bring to life a bold, emblematic and creative new embodiment of urban expression for the capital. Most importantly, though, it has been built with tomorrow’s consumers and travellers in mind.

So how are architects evolving to meet the hefty demands of modern travellers and budget conscious clients in the post-pandemic world? I spoke to Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: How will coronavirus reshape architecture?

Mark Kelly: Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself. As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency. Covid has specifically put extra focus on the health of the architectural spaces we inhabit – not just in the way they operate, but in the way they make occupants behave and feel.

We are already seeing a shift towards greater implementation of technology to reduce levels of contact. There is also now a greater recognition of the benefits of architecture enhancing a state of health and wellbeing – achieved through more natural lighting and ventilation, improved climate control, larger areas of personal space more robust and cleanable surfaces, increased sizes and more options for circulation, clearer signage and better management of wayfinding – as well as more pragmatic inclusions like well-designed and integrated places for washing / sanitising hands and select use of screens and shields where required in areas of frequent interaction.

“The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How should the hospitality industry prepare for post-pandemic work in terms of architecture and design?

MK: Though we are in very challenging times at the moment, we see opportunities for an exciting future across the industry – one that addresses the requirements of a post-pandemic world and also reinvents itself into a more dynamic, safe and inclusive environment for people to use and enjoy. Ultimately hospitality, as a service-based industry, has the goal of accommodating and providing comfort – not just for guests, although they are a clear priority – but for staff as well. Everyone involved has a right to feel safe and protected at all times.

Image caption: Final mock-up room inside Pan Pacific London

During the pandemic, we have seen some creative uses for hotels being implemented – including people using them as remote offices, exercise studios and other support for a newly mobile workforce. This has not only helped to counteract the problems associated with lower occupancy levels but started to address other issues that were present before the pandemic. The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces, but transform their business models to help further diversify and futureproof their assets.

We see a real need to shift towards the inclusion of more local target groups, with a new and expanded reliance on the local population to add authenticity and ensure year-round activation and use of hotels. The pandemic has provided, and in some cases necessitated, an opportunity for the industry to expand from a more straightforward offering of overnight accommodation with perhaps a restaurant and gymnasium, into a truly community-minded hub where locals, tourists and business men and women alike interact and intermingle in an environment that entices each.

Premium hospitality can remain a core function in hotels, but it will need to be flexible enough to adapt to take advantage of this exciting and beneficial adaptation into a Hospitality Integrated Business that brings together the workplace, wellness and placemaking.

HK: What kinds of spaces will we be willing to live, travel and work in now?

MK: Everyone’s goal is and will be to avoid contamination with the virus. As a whole, many of the types of spaces we will be willing to live, travel and work in already exist in limited quantities and going forward their designs will become more widespread through the adaptation and retrofitting of existing spaces and the creation of new ones.

Image caption: Render of the hotel entrance at Pan Pacific London

Density control is easier than ever now, and in hotels we believe that good design for the management of arrivals and departures in a reception space, for instance, can be easily integrated with new goals for sustainability to achieve environments that actively help prevent the spread of the virus and, ultimately, are healthier and more invigorating for everyone.

The inclusion of more natural light, better ventilation, clearer wayfinding, more generous sizing, and adaptable personal spaces – all things we as a practice have been incorporating into our designs for many years – have become crucial visual indicators of safety that allow us to feel comfortable and protected at our homes, in our places of work, and while moving around outside of both.

“No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How can architecture mitigate pathogenic risks in an interconnected world?

MK: Architecture will play a crucial role in supporting our control of pathogenic risks in our increasingly globalised world. Natural ventilation and better air management, including the use of HEPA filters, for instance, are already recognised for their ability to reduce infection rates and virus spread. Easy-to-clean materials, such as high-pressure laminates and other smooth, anti-microbial surfaces, enabling efficient management of contagion mitigation measures.

Spatial use and organisation are also important, including the ways in which shared spaces (corridors, lounges, lobbies, dining areas) are activated. New developments in vertical circulation are poised to be a game-changer for taller structures in our cities. No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels, spaces, and even buildings and reduce risk associated with unnecessary interaction.

Crucially, we believe that changes in architecture can be carried out subtly and effectively, preserving a sense of design identity and uniqueness, accommodating luxury and comfort, while embracing risk reduction and contagion prevention to ensure we can get back to close to what we define as our normal lives as possible.

Main image credit: PLP Architecture/Pan Pacific London

Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

Hotel Designs learns how lighting designer Moritz Waldemeyer bent glass to its will in order to create FACET…

In all its beauty and variety, glass is essentially an amorphous material with no regular crystalline structure.

Yet through a design vision and mastery in glassmaking craft, the material can come to mimic its opposite, creating highly organised and consistent structures.

As if trying to systematise the chandelier-making tradition, Moritz took the geometrical shape of the Classic chandelier outline and turned it into a diamond-like hexagonal glass building block. On its own, with just single pendant, or in combination of multiple items into a large chandelier, the FACET modules stand out as clear, disciplined and geometrical.