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Architecture

PRODUCT WATCH: Woven Image plays with Plaid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Woven Image plays with Plaid

Originally released in 2013 with a range of patterns that celebrated classic design, Plaid has remained a popular and timeless choice for designers. Hotel Designs explores how it is has been integrated into Woven Image’s latest collection…

As part of Woven Image’s latest product release, Plaid has been given a contemporary twist and been reinvented on Muse acoustic panels; creating Muse Plaid.

Muse Plaid provides a striking and dynamic acoustic solution for wall applications in contract interior spaces including workplace and hospitality. The design plays with the traditional plaid pattern combining the simplicity of individual vertical and horizontal lines carefully repeated, creating an impactful floor to ceiling large-scale bold gradient visual.

The 2020 colour palette utilises matte and pearlescent inks, creating a unique finish for vertical use. The revived on-trend colours are available in six unique colourways, summer hues are reflected in the use of lilac, blush and coronet blue featured alongside deep merlot and rich ivy green tones.

Image credit: Woven Image

Muse Plaid panels are 2800mm x 1180 x 9mm thick and are printed with customised trim lines ensuring a continuous flow of line-work for floor to ceiling wall installations.

Continuing Woven Image’s uncompromising commitment to sustainable design, the panels utilises 68 per cent recycled PET and are printed with ecologically sustainable pigment inks. Muse panels achieve global GreenTag (GreenRate Level A) certification, so specifying these products can secure credits under sustainable building tools including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), WELL Building Standard and Green Star.

Woven Image is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

 

Main image credit: Woven Image

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: An ode to sustainable refurbishments

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: An ode to sustainable refurbishments

Designer and architect from Flair Studios Federico Schilling explains the challenges and solutions regarding sustainable refurbishments…

Until the lockdown, we have seen a strong momentum for environmental causes culminating with the Extinction Rebellion movement and more industry-specific calls to action (including the RIBA Climate Challenge).

Architects and interior designers are called to take responsibility for the climate change by applying a more ethical approach and achieving a substantial reduction of carbon emissions, with special focus on the regeneration and adaptation of the existing buildings.

But making sustainable refurbishments which are also financially viable is a task that architects and interior designers can’t take on alone. The shortage of government funding or incentives to promote more sustainable alternatives still plays a deterrent in the U.K., especially for the consumer market. At the same time, the lack of legislation and implementation of building regulations allows for obsolete products and technologies to keep dominating the market. On the other hand, and although thanks to the above-mentioned campaigns the interest is growing more and more, not all clients are interested to embark on sustainability for refurbishment projects and especially when this involves more costs and complexity, sustainability has been often viewed as a nice-to-have item. Also, new measurement parameters for green refurbishments should be introduced, which are easier and less expensive than the industry standard (Breams and Leed) certificates.

“If development, design and government doesn’t join forces, unite as a powerful lobby and face the challenges ahead, we may stumble into a future in which the real value of everything we’ve built is nothing”, writes Christine Murray

Of Course, design professionals can play a huge role as specifiers by limiting the impact that a new building or a refurbishment has on the environment. They can do so by implementing and embedding more sustainable choices within the procurement route and by educating the client on the benefits in the medium and long term for more ethical and environmental choices. Unfortunately, and especially for commercial and hospitality projects, it is sometimes frustrating to see these solutions value-engineered out of the final build specification. In order to prevent this, design professionals should establish strong relationships with their clients and try to include a commitment to sustainability already at briefing stage, by establishing a link between sustainability and added value and explaining the advantages in terms of efficiency and well-being for customers or end-users.

Refurbishing a building or a space which then becomes more performant, ethical and desirable, as well as functionally and aesthetically appealing, is sometimes still seen as an hassle within the industry but should become a major priority instead. Sustainability can then become the driving factor to combat both climate change and the coronavirus crisis as it can contribute decisively to an environmentally friendly post-lockdown economic recovery.

A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

As international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury hospitality, residential, yacht and aviation projects. Here, the brand explains how art curation is vast becoming the new luxury on the international hotel design scene…

When travelling the world in pursuit of new experiences or as part of a sophisticated business trip, what does the high-end traveller look for in a luxury hotel?

How could a hotel lobby or presidential suite be given an added edge, so that it exceeds the expectations of the discerning traveller who is accustomed to the highest standards of worldwide luxury?

Often, art in the hotel sector may veer into leaving an unremarkable impression – it can be tasteful and pleasing, but altogether unsurprising, as it blends into an invisible layer of the interior design scheme.

By contrast, hotel art collections that have been thoughtfully and intelligently researched, curated and commissioned are the ideal opportunity to offer guests something that rises to the calibre of the luxury connoisseur. Memorable art which resonates with the hotel context, whilst elegantly communicating the mood and design of a space, can set the tone for an experience that is not only first-class, but extraordinary.

Image credit: Artelier

Merging worlds of hospitality & private residential

Recently, the distinctions between hospitality and high-end residential have become increasingly blurred. London developments like the Mayfair Park Residences and 20 Grosvenor Square are examples of a new generation of super-prime private residences. They have not only been designed by the most revered interior designers with no expense spared on the finishes, furniture and collector’s art, but also provide for a lifestyle where the property is fully managed and serviced by five-star hotels – complete with 24hr concierge and a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. The two worlds have seamlessly merged, whereby the private overseas home transcends into a permanent and completely exclusive presidential suite – no sharing this space with world leaders.

Whilst the customer service of the hospitality industry has brought new standards to private residences, the opportunity for the private residential world to inform hotel design and artwork curation has remained ever-elusive and behind closed doors. The typical hotel art consultant has had limited or often no involvement with the residences, private yachts and aircraft of this clientele. However, with the two worlds closer than ever before, the need to understand the expectations of the elite hotel guest has rarely been greater.

Offering a rare insight

As specialists in curating and commissioning art for a variety of luxury projects, Artelier has cross-sector expertise. Initially established as an art advisory for private clients, more than 70 per cent of their projects involve consulting directly with private clients and their team to deliver bespoke art in their residences, yachts, and private jets. Likewise, through their collaborations with luxury designers and developers, they have been privy to every stage of the design process behind the world’s most exclusive contexts.

Of these projects, a large proportion have been superyachts between 70-160m in length – with artwork collections delivered for 16 superyachts so far, many of which showcase at Monaco Yacht Show each year. Of course, private aircraft projects are few and far between, but over the years Artelier has had the privilege of developing bespoke artworks for a privately owned Boeing BBJ 737, Airbus A320 and most prestigious of all a Boeing BBJ 787 Dreamliner.

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of high-end clients, projects of this nature are always wrapped up with non-disclosure agreements; therefore, images and awareness of these elusive projects never surface, and remain tight-lipped amongst a closed community. Having established a trusted reputation within this sector and elite community, Artelier’s professional experience of working directly on these projects gives them an exceedingly rare insight into the artistic standards and tastes of the high net worth client, and an intimate understanding of what it takes to bring the best to luxury travellers.

Image credit: Artelier

Dismantling the typical luxury aesthetic

It goes without saying that anything that is easily found, ubiquitous and characteristically similar to its counterparts will fall not even close to the aesthetic criteria of a sophisticated and discerning client. The boom in internet art databases, online mood boards and interiors trends has provided a ready-made database where many art consultants simply browse for inspiration, often following trends and popular themes which leads them into a generic pool of luxury aesthetic. For Artelier to meet the expectations of its clients, it is vital for to avoid this type of research in order to create collections which present true originality of ideas, and innovative use of materials.

A guiding principle of their research methods is to discover artists organically, from the ground up – they seek to become embedded into international artist communities, and build a strong repertoire of associated artists through in-depth research and networking.

Artelier’s database of 10,000 artists is a culmination of 20 years of research and art market expertise, and is ever-expanding due to their team’s commitment to meeting artists at open-studios and spotting exciting emerging work at graduate shows. With a trained eye, it is possible to maintain the highest standards by looking for artistic integrity and quality of craftsmanship, rather than being driven by popular trends. Due to this organic research approach, the database is a reflection of the full spectrum of art practices in the world today.

Image credit: Artelier

Drawing on these artists, they can then respond to any theme that the client is interested in with high-quality artworks created by professional artists, who are capable of meeting the standards that such luxury projects demand. Since they do not rely on generic online searches for their research, it is possible to bypass the trappings of the “typical” luxury aesthetic, and present dynamic art collections that are ahead of the curve.

 Nurturing artistic talent through commissions

The most exclusive clientele seek something that is not available elsewhere. A sense of luxury often comes from ultimate customisation, as the client receives art that is unique to their context, interests, tastes and property location. A key part of Artelier’s role is therefore collaborating with artists to explore concepts and to develop new artworks that are wholly unique to the client, and true to the vision of the project.

With 20 years’ experience of working with artists, Artelier has developed an instinct for which concepts will work, and which won’t. Close liaison with client and artist ensures that the client’s vision is fulfilled, making it advantageous to have the same team overseeing the commissioning process from concept to completion.

It is fundamental to have a comprehensive understanding of the artistic processes, techniques and different mediums. This leads to a mutually beneficial collaboration with the artist, and helps bring their creative insight to the project. The result is a one-of-a-kind artwork that creates impact in a space, and brings together the collective ideas of the client, art consultant and artist.

Every project necessitates fresh research that is focussed on the particular needs of the brief. Clients for a hotel project regularly want to incorporate artists, for example, who are linked to a specific region or heritage. Quality should not be compromised when working to such specific requirements; instead, it is crucial to filter for high-quality work and spot potential in emerging artists, and nurture their development to create ambitious new works. Supporting emerging artists from a local region in this way is a rewarding process for both client and artist; the client is acknowledged for supporting local grassroots arts practice, whilst the artist gains valuable professional experience and exposure.

Image credit: Artelier

The four pillars of luxury hotel art

Curating art that truly creates impact in hotel spaces comes down to our four critical standards

1) Quality research makes the difference – Responding to a client’s brief in a surprising way requires thorough, in-depth research, which is amassed over time. Artworks which are obvious choices, or are easily found online, will fall short of the expectations of a discerning client. Interpreting a theme in a way that is visually interesting requires a breadth of knowledge and creative thinking, in order to form subtle connections that go beyond design trends. Rather than seeking inspiration from online mood board platforms and search engines, discovering high-quality artists and establishing direct links with them gives a spectrum of interesting artworks that can be drawn on in response to a brief.

2) Rarity is Key – The rarity of an artwork is a fundamental consideration for the luxury market – an artist’s work should be sought after, yet have an element of exclusivity. Artists who produce a limited number of artworks for selected projects offer this kind of exclusivity, since they invest time and craftsmanship into their work. The client understands the value of high-quality pieces created specially for them, enjoying the knowledge that few others will have comparable artworks in their spaces. Commissioning your own bespoke art is an ultimate mark of rarity, as it allows the client to own an artwork unique to them.

3) Integrating with interiors – Art has a unique ability to elevate a space; rather than being an afterthought, it should therefore be considered at the conception of a development project. Specialist curatorial skill is required to read a space and identify opportunities for creating statement pieces which are also in harmony with their surroundings. Commissioning artworks allows a new level of customisation – it is possible to consult the artist and create art that enhances the design scheme, highlighting subtle colour palettes and metallic finishes by incorporating them in the artwork.

4) Presentation & framing – An outstanding artwork can be let down by careless final presentation, yet it is still an often overlooked aspect of incorporating art in a space. Both high and low value works enormously benefit from well-thought out framing and finishes – artworks can be cleverly enhanced simply through elegant framing solutions, considered curation within a space, and fine-tuning the installation. Final touches need not be expensive, as the economies of scale afforded by hotel projects often allow excellent relative costs in comparison to residential projects. Artelier has also developed an extensive fine art framing range, which offers full customisation depending on the needs of the project.

Artelier is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Artelier

Editor Checks In: “And we’re going live in 3, 2, 1…”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: “And we’re going live in 3, 2, 1…”

During the COVID–19 pandemic, the team at Hotel Designs have announced initiatives to help further create conversations like no other. It’s safe to say that the editorial team have been anything but taking it easy during lockdown, as editor Hamish Kilburn explains… 

I have come to the conclusion this month that there are two types of people at the moment: those who are twiddling their thumbs or baking banana bread as a result of being furloughed and those who are practically performing CPR on their brands and businesses in order to maintain a strong pulse of exposure.

To be honest, neither camps are principally inviting, as there really is no middle ground in between these two extreme circumstances.

“If the pandemic was a storm, we are in the eye, while hospitality is preparing to rebuild and adjust its thinking in order to live up to the hefty demands of tomorrow’s modern travellers.” – editor Hamish Kilburn.

Our job at Hotel Designs has been simple: to compliment the incredible ideas and campaigns that the hospitality industry has conjured up during the time its doors were forced shut. And while we have done this to the best of our ability, by following Hospitality For Heroes campaign and checking in on a handful of our leaders during lockdown, I have also wanted to ensure that we don’t lose sight of conversations we were having before. For example, this month we asked  Senior Associate at HBA EMEA Erica Pritchard to investigate why sustainability needs to remain high up on the industry’s agenda, while also keeping our focus on the latest product innovations.

Only by thinking outside the box and by creating robust media platforms can we really help the industry as a whole sail through these turbulent waters. If the pandemic was a storm, which I have heard it metaphorically referred to a number of times in recent days, we are in the eye, while hospitality is preparing to rebuild and adjust its thinking in order to live up to the hefty demands of tomorrow’s modern travellers.

Now, I believe, is the perfect time for the launch of a one-day virtual conference that will shelter meaningful conversations around how we move the market forward. Cue the launch of Hotel Designs LIVE, which is taking place on June 23 and aims to define the point on international design by putting four of the most relevant topics (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness) through the editorial lens. With world-renowned speakers confirmed such as Jason Bradbury (former presenter of The Gadget Show), Simon Naudi (CEO of Corinthia Hotels), Emma King (Head of Design at IHG (EU)), Greg Keffer (Partner-In-Charge at Rockwell Group) and many more, we have searched far and wide in our quest to bring together a wealth of experience and knowledge for our first ever virtual conference in order to find solutions to today’s problems.

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference will also include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

What’s more, Hotel Designs LIVE is free to attend. So if you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer and would like to be part in the audience, please register in order to save your complimentary seat in the audience.

In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on TwitterFacebookInstagram or LinkedIn, because one of the biggest lessons that Covid-19 has taught me is that the industry is stronger when its components work together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Osaka Hotel sets sights on a summer unveiling

Palace Hotel Management Company’s first property to open under a new hospitality brand Zentis is being designed by Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners

With a pedigree that flows from the acclaimed Palace Hotel Tokyo and designs on rewriting the playbook for lifestyle brands, the management arm of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. has announced plans for a Q3 opening of Zentis Osaka, the first property of its new hospitality brand.

Internationally renowned UK designer, Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners, has been tapped for the property’s modern interiors while Café Co. – the esteemed Japanese food & beverage operator behind the one Michelin-starred CRAFTALE in Tokyo – will develop and operate the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lounge. A top-flight team of seasoned staffers from Palace Hotel Tokyo, the first Japanese-brand hotel to achieve the prestigious Forbes Five-Star rating, will guide the standards of service.

“We see an opportunity to really elevate expectations for service, accommodations and F&B in the upper reaches of the select-service category,” said Daisuke Yoshihara, president of Palace Hotel Co. Ltd. “We believe those critical aspects of the stay experience are what will emerge as key standouts to our guests, truly differentiating our brand from those already in the market.”

Image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

With Zentis’ strong focus on design, the new property is a member of Design Hotels – a curated selection of independent hotels with a passion for genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity, thought-provoking design and architecture. “We are truly privileged to collaborate with Palace Hotel Management Company to bring Zentis to the Design Hotels community. I am certain that our trend-forward and design-conscious travelers will be inspired by this sophisticated lifestyle addition to our portfolio – and our first for Osaka,” said Jinou Park, Vice President of Asia Pacific.

An entirely new build, the 16-storey property’s contemporary yet laid-back feel flows from a natural colour palette of raw materials, including exposed brickwork and timber beams. A stone staircase anchors a lobby wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows where a double-sided fireplace creates a focal point and connects an intimate lounge space with the landscaped green space that surrounds.

One floor above is the hotel’s bar and main dining area as well as an airy lounge and outdoor terrace featuring lofty, seven-meter-tall ceilings. Also on the second floor is the hotel’s fitness center – outfitted with Life Fitness equipment and accessible 24 hours.

Taking inspiration from the modular design and intuitive functionality of bento boxes, the 212 guestrooms feature the same fresh palettes that are found throughout the hotel. Polished wooden floors, muted tones and splashes of mustard as well as art on the walls commissioned from a local Japanese artist define spaces that make ingenious use of otherwise snug square footage.

At the helm of UPSTAIRZ – the hotel’s dining venue that is likely to emerge as a destination not only for guests, but also discerning locals – will be Executive Chef Shinya Otsuchihashi, who, after having honed his culinary skills over the last two decades in both Japan and France, will be closely overseeing the eatery’s concept and menus from his base at CRAFTALE.

Zentis Osaka is situated where the picturesque, riverside area of Dojimahama and the high-end business entertainment district of Kita-shinchi meet. Nakanoshima, an islet home to some of the city’s premium attractions – including the Osaka Science Museum and the National Museum of Art, Osaka – is a leisurely three-minute stroll from the hotel while Osaka Station, the city’s main rail hub, is a mere five-minute taxi ride away. The two major airports that service Japan’s third largest city – Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport (Osaka International Airport) – are located less than an hour’s drive away.

Main image credit: Palace Hotel Management Company

Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel performance in Asia Pacific were lowest ever recorded in April 2020

Reflecting the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic, the Asia Pacific hotel industry reported record lows in the three key performance metrics during April 2020, according to data from STR

New data from STR shows that the absolute levels in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room were the lowest for any month on record in the region of Asia Pacific.

U.S. dollar constant currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

  • Occupancy: -60.3 per cent to 28.0 per cent
  • Average daily rate (ADR): -44.8 per cent to US$54.97
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -78.1 per cent to US$15.38

Local currency, April 2020 vs. April 2019

South Korea

  • Occupancy: -70.8 per cent to 20.0 per cent
  • ADR: -21.0 per cent to KRW112,897.83
  • RevPAR: -76.9 per cent to KRW22,536.18

Each of the three key performance metrics were up from March but remained the lowest for any April on record in the country. Incheon & Seoul experienced a 75.2 per cent year-over-year decrease in occupancy (to 18.8 per cent).  

Australia

  • Occupancy: -72.7 per cent to 19.9 per cent
  • ADR: -33.1 per cent to AUD119.87
  • RevPAR: -81.7 per cent to AUD23.85

The absolute occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month in STR’s Australia database. Among key markets, Melbourne and Sydney saw year-over-year occupancy declines of 65.0 per cent and 73.7 per cent, respectively. Returning travellers are predominantly keeping occupancy up, as seen in Adelaide, where year-over-year occupancy declines eased slightly during April up to May 13 due to returning travellers from India. More information can be found in STR’s Pacific webinar recording.

Main image credit: Pixabay

IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

Hotel Designs took over the Montgomery Group Series yesterday, interviewing Design Equals’ Katie McCarthy to understand how how the hospitality industry should be preparing for a post-pandemic world…

“Who would have predicted this time last year that we would be here, giving you [the audience] live webinars and putting Preparation and Design Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World under the spotlight,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn when he introduced the next episode in the Montgomery Group Series. “But, we are here, and we are not afraid to put it under the spotlight.” Kilburn then introduced Katie McCarthy, Founder and Design Director of Design Equals to the hundreds of individuals who tuned in for the live discussion.

If you missed the live session, here’s the full interview:

The 40-minute interview covered all angles, including common pitfalls to avoid when designing on a budget, the realities of re-opening after lockdown measures become more relaxed and the long-term impact of COVID–19. In addition, Kilburn asked McCarthy about Design Equal’s innovative initiative ‘Design = in a Box’, an industry toolkit that the design studio has launched that addresses the main areas of priorities, which are safety, space and style.

The session came as Hotel Designs prepares to go live to its international audience on June 23 with Hotel Designs LIVE, a virtual conference that will include four engaging seminars with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers on the global hospitality and design scene.

Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

CASE STUDY: Specifying the bathrooms for Royal Lancaster Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Specifying the bathrooms for Royal Lancaster Hotel

Helping Hotel Designs to break down the process of piecing together all the elements when designing the modern hotel bathroom, consultants Utopia Projects guides us through how it specified products for Royal Lancaster Hotel. Richard Goodier explains…

Four years before the refurbishment started, we met the interior design firm Studio Proof, which is owned by David Morris who was hoping to land a big hotel job.

Utopia Projects were in the midst of planning the bi-annual ISH trip so Morris was invited along. Six months later, we were in Frankfurt meeting all the big manufacturers, including Hansgrohe, Villeroy & Boch, Geberit and many more.

Once Proof Studio had won the Royal Lancaster Hotel project we started meeting with them to discuss the sanitary ware, and the studio constantly reverted back to manufacturers they had seen at the ISH exhibition.

Modern bathroom

Image credit: Royal Lancaster Hotel

The designers wanted to choose two options that they would then present to the client – this was just a starting point to gain the client’s interest and to establish the direction they would take.

Once all the samples were sourced, we attended the hotel to present the options, and the designers then have all the ideas required to start planning each room layout and each room standard.

Image credit: Royal Lancaster Hotel

In total, there were 14 different room styles.

Over the next 12 – 18 months, we worked with Proof Studio to ensure the sanitary ware for each room was correct and that the costs were correct and viable for 18 months ahead.

Once the specs took shape, we made sample boards from each manufacturer, and training was given to the hotel maintenance staff before the refurb started.

Two sample rooms were commissioned which we supplied. A room-by-room schedule was produced for all 416 bathrooms.

Finally we met with County Contracts, which had won the job and were looking for suppliers (as yet we had only done the spec work, and we now had to prove to County Contracts that we could supply the goods in the time scales required and at the right cost).

After a few meetings, we won the order and put it all into place.

Site training was given where required and manufacturers were introduced. One person from our office was tasked with running the job and I visited site most weeks to ensure it all ran correctly.

Finally, and importantly, hotel staff were given training after the job was complete for cleaning and maintenance.

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

Main image credit: Royal Lancaster Hotel

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Striving for a more sustainable future in hotel design

With Covid-19 taking up much of the industry’s attention at the moment, it’s important to keep sustainable design high on the agenda, as Senior Associate at HBA EMEA Erica Pritchard explains…

It wasn’t all that long ago that hotels could be praised for putting in LED lights, or banishing plastic bottled water from the mini bar. Yet in more recent times, the world has become focused on sustainability in an insistent way, and in no other industry has this been more apparent than in the world of travel and hospitality. Modern day travellers are seeking to travel more sustainably, and for hoteliers, sustainable credentials have become a necessity. But whilst offering eco-friendly straws and reducing towel washing is certainly commendable, ensuring sustainability is at the core of a hotel or restaurants design vision, and is fundamental in futureproofing it for generations to come.

Broadly, to be sustainable means to organise all human activity in support of the natural systems that ultimately give us life. In our field, to be sustainable means to integrate the processes of development planning, architecture, engineering, interior design, and construction in a way that will also support the natural systems in which we live. As such, sustainable design simply cannot come as an afterthought. Rather it requires intensive forethought to emerge from being an aspirational trend to having sustainability credentials that stand up. The most successful projects are those that have sustainability written into the brief as a core objective and where the whole design team are working together in carbon lifecycle thinking, along with the help of a dedicated sustainability consultant.

Image credit: HBA EMEA

Often simple planning decisions that need to be thought through early in the design process can be make or break for how sustainable a building is. For example, if you open-up aspects that are southern facing, you minimise the need for artificial heating. Similarly, look at optimising natural ventilation to reduce the need for mechanical cooling – it may be obvious to us as designers, but it is all too easily overlooked.

I’ve already touched on the dreaded plastic bottle – a permanent fixture at the hotel bedside and in every mini bar for the last few decades. Not so in vogue anymore but quite difficult to phase out given guests need for fresh water. Hospitality spaces are more commonly adding water stations now, which of course negates the need for plastic bottles but also gives the guest a feeling of generosity. The same goes for the mini bar: in its current iteration it is surely a prime example of unsustainability and has reached its lifespan. However, by stocking it with earth-friendly products that are prepared and purchased locally it becomes an eco-warrior and champion of locale. And let’s face it, not everyone wants Pringles!

Image credit: HBA EMEA

As designers we are just one piece of the puzzle and it is important to acknowledge the value of suppliers in the quest for eco-friendly design. We rely heavily on having strong relationships with suppliers and procurement, and the expert knowledge they provide. There are some amazing companies doing the heavy lifting of research for designers and such partnerships with these enterprises are invaluable as we work together to deliver sustainable hospitality spaces.

Companies offering a level of bespoke craftsmanship that hold their suppliers accountable will hopefully enforce the cause. For example, Christophe Delcourt a Parisian furniture designer offers pieces that are made from natural materials, timber, ceramic, metals and because of the quality they have an extended lifespan, aging with integrity. Like Christian Liagre’s furniture, they are instantly contemporary heirlooms. In the genre of lighting, Alison Berger Glass Works creates lighting that is based on, “the visual vocabulary that societies create to manifest their beliefs, desires and rituals…Like memory itself, these glass objects, sculptures and furnishings transcend time and place.”

Dodds&Shute, a furniture procurement company, are leading the way in putting the carbon footprint of their products at the heart of their work. They have also partnered with Cordillera Azul National Park project in Peru and are offsetting their carbon on projects by buying forest credits. Other companies are offering a level of bespoke craftsmanship that Having companies hold their suppliers accountable will hopefully enforce the cause.

Of course, the mechanics and materials of a building are fundamental in how sustainable it is, however we are also responsible for making such spaces beautiful and inspiring, particularly in the luxury sector. The key here is timeless design. Much like fast fashion, designing for trends is undoubtedly one of the biggest contributors to the world’s sustainability issues. Trends are disposable and thus, so are the materials that are used. The focus should always be on designing for quality and longevity, and recyclability.

Whilst sustainability has been high on the agenda for some time now, the current pandemic has meant it has acquired a new meaning for us all. Hoteliers, restaurant owners and operators find that the sustainability of their business model itself is being radically challenged. Looking ahead beyond the current shutdown future guests will, first and foremost, expect assurances that a hotel or restaurant can sustain the basic health and wellbeing of patrons and staff. In this complex context, interior designers alone cannot ensure a project is sustainable. However, interior designers can play a crucial role in reassuring guests, helping solve the problems of the ‘new normal’ and futureproof such buildings.

It strikes me that we are entering the Age of Responsibility, forced into sharp focus by this pandemic. It includes a principle of life cycle assessment: cleaner production, sustainable consumption, and cradle to cradle concepts. This is not wishful thinking, but a practical strategy for achieving sustainability and responsibility, economically, socially, and environmentally. We know how to green deserts, purify air, seed the rain, and create an abundance of food. We know how to enhance soils rapidly and build healthy and completely natural shelters. How can we, as the present generation, weave regenerative life methodologies together to enable future generations to enjoy a more sustainable environment?

 

One example, albeit extreme, of regenerative values are the Bridges of the Khasi people located in Northeast India. High in the mountainous plateau near the border with Bangladesh, this matrilineal society has been growing and stewarding living root bridges grown from the roots of the banyan tree. These bridges over their high mountain gorges and rushing rivers grow stronger with time, unlike our modern-day concrete and rebar structures. It takes 15 – 20 years just to cross one of these gorges, and maybe another decade before the bridge can bear the regular weight of a passing human. While many of the bridges that are planted are by people who will never walk on them in their lifetime, they are planted and tended to for future generations.

Sustainability clearly isn’t a one-step equation, but a multifaceted process towards making a lasting change. The 7th Generation Principle of Design is a lens through which to measure a design’s effectiveness at maintaining continuity through time – in other words, will it still be performing its intended functions 150 years from today when your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s children are born?

On the surface, to create a sustainable design appears to be a longer and more expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. The more we adopt sustainable designs, the more such an approach becomes normalised. Sustainable design can be achieved in a way that takes it beyond that of an aspirational trend and towards an embedded cultural change. This is something we need to both inspire and educate our clients on. As designers, we research our market, the setting, and its context. The market will soon be pushing us even further in terms of sustainability as we re-enter a world post-pandemic and we need to be ambassadors of this information, feeding it to clients so that it becomes a core objective for all the stakeholders involved. We must be rigorous in creating holistic hospitality spaces, places that inspire, are differentiated in the marketplace but most importantly, can thrive for generations to come.

Main image credit: HBA EMEA

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Specifying tiles for hotel pool and spa areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Specifying tiles for hotel pool and spa areas

As Hotel Designs continues to position pools and the modern spa under the spotlight, CTD Architectural Tiles takes the reins to explain what designers and architects should consider before and when specifying tiles in wellness areas…

Anyone working within the hotel industry understands the risks associated with high-traffic areas, particularly around a spa or pool area.

Commercial flooring must not only withstand a high volume of footfall and be easy to maintain on a daily basis, but must also look good too – the hospitality industry demands some of the most aesthetically pleasing environments in the sector. This is where tiles have a vital role to play – with a huge variety of designs to choose from, they can also be especially practical for use around wet or slippy areas.

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Anti-slip tiles are the most practical solution to reducing the risk of injury in a heavy footfall hotel area. Made effective by their slightly textured surface, anti-slip tiles are a perfect complement to other materials, such as stone, wood and concrete.

As well as their practicality, anti-slip tiles now offer stylish solutions of their own. Long gone are the days when anti-slip offered only a limited range of design options. Instead, anti-slip surfaces are now available in an enormous range of on-trend designs, colours and formats, providing interior designers with the option of versatility when it comes to high traffic area tile choices. This is of particular importance in a hotel, where first impressions and appearance are everything.

Offering a striking balance between functionality and design, anti-slip tiles now provide a variety of matt and natural finishes, as well as many patterns, textures and sizes. Styles differ from rustic to modern and while some are warm and welcoming, others are cool and contemporary.

Hotel spa environments

When it comes to hotel leisure facilities, the pool is at the heart of generating a complete tranquil, relaxed and safe atmosphere in a spa environment. There are a number of options to consider when choosing safe, beautiful tiles for a spa and one particular trend that has emerged over recent years is wood effect tiles.

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Phenomenal advances in ceramic technology over recent years have created incredibly realistic wood-inspired designs in porcelain tiles, with a number of advantages. They provide a sustainable, durable, slip resistant and easy to maintain solution, whilst being available in a huge range of styles to suit the demands of the project. CTD Architectural’s Nolan and Woodmania collections both offer natural looking, wood-effect products that are sure to suit any spa-style environment.

Hotel outdoor areas

In the swimming pool area of any hotel, the specification of anti-slip tiles is paramount, as people tend to be walking around barefoot in high-traffic wet conditions. CTD Architectural’s Porcelain Pavers collection offers a range of exterior anti-slip tiles, which recreate architectural materials such as cement and stone – all with a sleek thickness of just 20mm.

Along with the excellent technical qualities of thick porcelain, the products feature high breaking strength and a natural look – important qualities for all types of outdoor use within hotels. In addition, the tiles in this collection are hygienic, easy to clean and resistant to chemicals.

CTD Architectural Tiles is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

CASE STUDY: Lighting the iconic Britannia Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting the iconic Britannia Hotel

Following an extensive three-year renovation, the iconic Britannia hotel reopened in April 2019 as a luxury five star hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The complete refurbishment was designed by leading interior architects Metropolis, working with renowned lighting designers Stokkan Lys

Metropolis’ clear attention to detailing and use of quality materials have resulted in 22,000 square metres of contemporary classic style, dressed with continental and local references.

Selected to deliver highlights in the contemporary classic aesthetic, key Heathfield lighting can be found throughout the 257 hotel rooms. Junior, Superior and Deluxe suites feature Amelia or Antero bedside table lamps in their bestselling Antique glass finish, completed with an Andro desk lamp in each room.

Heathfield  & Co’s Czarina Old Gold chandelier forms the central feature of the high-end Signature suite, whilst a pair of Herzog Champagne table lamps draw focus in the inviting conference centre lounge.

Image credit: Britannia/Heathfield Lighting

Heathfield Lighting is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Britannia/Heathfield Lighting

HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will consist of engaging seminars by the leading figures on the international hotel design scene, while also putting the latest products and innovations under the spotlight…

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, secure your complimentary place at Hotel Designs LIVE here.

Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website, has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will define the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

“Not even lockdown will prevent Hotel Designs from creating conversations like no other,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event on June 23. “The concept of Hotel Designs LIVE is to use a new method to engage with our audience, and will so do that by hosting  thought-provoking discussions and identifying the latest products on the market in a concise and meaningful way.”

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online. The seminars, which will be divided into four relevant sections throughout the day (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness), will include discussions and insights from leading individuals on the international hotel design scene.

What’s on the agenda? 

 

In addition to the live seminar sessions – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference will also include structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

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.

PRODUCT WATCH: Timeless outdoor furniture from Carl Hansen & Son

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Timeless outdoor furniture from Carl Hansen & Son

Hotel Designs continues to put ‘Outdoor Style’ through the editorial lens by inviting the experts at Nest to get comfortable on Carl Hansen & Son’s range of outdoor furniture…

Nest believes in forever furniture, celebrating designs that you buy once and that will serve you forever. Today, the design destination for premium furniture and lighting puts the spotlight on Carl Hansen & Son’s range of outdoor furniture to discover what makes the brand’s products so timeless.

Surrounding yourself with nature is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness, something that we could all benefit from at the moment. As seen by the desire for parks, gardens and green spaces during lockdowns across the world – outdoor spaces will be key in the opening up of the hospitality industry.

With social distancing looking to be with us for the long term, the hospitality industry as we know it will most certainly change, perhaps even permanently. There will be an obvious reluctance to spend too much time close to others indoors once we emerge from lockdown. But by changing our focus on outdoor spaces, is there a way we can tempt customer back to hotels, restaurants and bars once it is safe to do so?

Gardens, patios and terraces will have a big part to play in allowing us slightly more freedom to socialise, whilst keeping a safe distance from each other. As we move our lives outside, we at Nest believe that the same care and attention given to indoor furniture designs should be translated to outdoor furniture too. By putting a focus on high quality, durable and comfortable pieces, we can curate outdoor living environments that are just as tempting as their indoor counterparts.

Today, we put the spotlight on Carl Hansen & Son’s collection of outdoor furniture. Standing out against the competition for their high-quality craftsmanship, long-lasting materials and timeless style, these pieces represent some of the best outdoor furniture on the market. Comprising of three distinct ranges by notable designers, this collection expertly balances form and function in a range of dining tables, chairs, benches, stools, lounge chairs and deck chairs.

Carl Hansen & Son

When you invest in a product from Carl Hansen & Son, you not only gain a beautiful piece of furniture but become part of a proud tradition of distinctive and beautiful craftsmanship. Providing high quality Danish design to the world since 1908, Carl Hansen’s collection includes pieces from some of the biggest names in design history, including Hans J. Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Børge Morgenson.

Outdoor furniture by Børge Morgenson

Image caption: Carl Hansen Borge Morgenson | Image credit: Nest

Image caption: Carl Hansen Borge Morgenson | Image credit: Carl Hanson & Son

This range of designs was originally developed by Danish furniture designer Børge Morgenson in the 1960s and 70s, in his search for a range of comfortable yet space saving outdoor furniture. A collection of long-lasting designs with humans at their heart, Børge Morgenson’s functionalist approach is clearly seen in Carl Hansen & Son’s BM range.

With elegantly simple designs, based on wooden slats – dining tables, dining chairs and deck chairs, are defined by their sturdy yet lightweight frames. Versatile and practical, each piece has also been designed to fold away, make them easy to move around and store when not in use. Constructed from untreated, FSC-certified teak – the wood will beautifully patinate over time, gaining an elegant silvery hue. Cushions are available to add an additional level of comfort where needed.

Outdoor furniture by Bodil Kjær

A lesson in expert craftsmanship, Bodil Kjær’s architecturally inspired Indoor-Outdoor series is defined by its simple, cubic forms. An understated Danish design, the sleek and streamlined shapes of this collection adapt seamlessly to their surroundings, as pleasing to look at as they are to sink into.

The linear form of this reassuringly robust design is constructed from durable, dark stained teak – a material which has been designed to withstand all environments and patinate beautifully with age. Slanted backrests and seats ensure maximum comfort whilst optional cushions offer additional support where needed. Upholstered in a water-resistant Sunbrella fabric, this range is perfectly suited for comfort both indoors and out.

The Cuba Chair by Morten Gøttler

Image caption: Carl Hansen Morten Gottler | Image credit: Carl Hanson & Son

An outdoor version of an indoor classic, Morten Gøttler’s outdoor Cuba Chair swaps the traditional webbing for a synthetic flat rope, woven to create the instantly recognisable form of this chair. Introducing untreated, solid teak into the frame creates a durable and weatherproof chair which like the other Carl Hansen & Son designs, will patinate beautifully over time.

With a simple folding mechanism, this design is easily stored when not in use and effortlessly portable, ideal for utilising on balconies, terraces and transitional areas.

Nest is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Carl Hansen Bodil Kjær | Main image credit: Carl Hanson & Son

PRODUCT WATCH: Bisque’s Optic bathroom towel warmer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Bisque’s Optic bathroom towel warmer

Iconic British design firm, Bisque (part of the wider Zehnder Group) has added a new radiator to its already extensive range of bathroom products…

The Bisque Optic towel warmer by Bisque is now available in its flagship store in Islington and across the UK through Bisque’s network of dealers.

The square-tubed towel radiator is ideal for contemporary and modern homes. Offering a simple yet contemporary design, the Optic was produced to further the brand’s bathroom offering, and works seamlessly in en-suites, family bathrooms and cloakrooms. It is available from stock in three colourways – matt black, traffic white RAL 9016 and classic chrome – all of which have been chosen to complement popular bathroom accessories.

The matt black finish has a soft surface for an uber luxurious feel, and is still hugely popular in today’s interiors market. Meanwhile its popular chrome finish has a glow-reflecting shine. It is also available in a timeless white, providing a clean, crisp finish to complement existing tiles, baths and other bathroom fixtures. This Optic is also available via Bisque’s colour-matching service, which can cater to popular paint brands such as Farrow & Ball and Little Greene.

Following the recent launch of Bisque’s first-ever traditional range, the addition of the Optic solidifies its status as the market leader of towel rails and radiators for both classic and contemporary bathrooms. Bisque prides itself on offering its customers the greatest choice, whether that be through its wide range of colours and finishes, or its bespoke, made to measure sizes.

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

Main image credit: Bisque

PRODUCT WATCH: The new 8mm Shower Enclosure Range from Crosswater

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: The new 8mm Shower Enclosure Range from Crosswater

Bathroom brand Crosswater’s new collection of 8mm shower enclosures in its premium bathroom range encompasses shower screen solutions, fittings and accessories, all designed to give customers the ultimate showering experience…

Combining modern design with superior functionality, the new Design 8, Svelte 8 and Infinity 8 collections by Crosswater provide an unrivalled choice of exceptional designs that will suit any contemporary interior, fitting effortlessly into a range of bathroom configurations and lifestyle requirements.

Each collection features Sliding, Hinged, Pivot, Quadrant and Walk-In designs that will add a designer aesthetic to the modern lifestyle hotel.

Svelte 8

Image caption: Svelte 8 by Crosswater

Manufactured to create maximum effect and crafted with a luxurious Stainless Steel finish, the contemporary Svelte 8 collection comes in an array of diverse styles that will fit into bathrooms of all styles and sizes. Svelte 8 not only offers a sleek design but it also has watertight magnetic seals, a clear glass open handle design, larger wheels for the smoothest and quietest running system and seamless wall profiles with concealed fixings – making it the ideal shower range for any bathroom.

Infinity 8

Image caption: Infinity 8 by Crosswater

Perfect for a shower tray or tiled floor installation, Infinity 8 takes showering luxury to a whole new level of sophistication. Each design across this exclusive range features smooth silent doors, watertight seals and seamless wall profiles with concealed fixings for easy and quick adjustment. Exceptionally crafted with a timeless fully-framed design and finished in Stainless Steel, this contemporary yet beautifully constructed range provides guests with a sleek and on-trend shower enclosure that will be at home in any modern or traditional bathroom scheme.

Design 8

Image caption: Design 8 by Crosswater

Introducing a refined and contrasting finish, Design 8 gives homeowners the option to be bold with design. Intelligently built across an extensive range of door options and sizes, the simple and sleek semi-frameless form with strong 8mm toughened glass offers complete durability. Cleverly designed with door seals and finished in Matt Black or Silver anodised aluminium coating, Design 8 delivers a supreme cutting edge look that is both functional and truly aesthetically pleasing.

Recognised as ‘The Home of Showering’, Crosswater is recognised as a leading supplier of premium shower enclosures, trays, bath screens and accessories. Each design from the 8mm range has been exceptionally crafted with high-quality materials and certified finishes as well as holding a lifetime guarantee, making for an exclusive new range for products of the highest possible calibre.

Crosswater, which is a Partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Crosswater

PRODUCT WATCH: Tape Cord Outdoor range by Minotti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Tape Cord Outdoor range by Minotti

As Hotel Designs starts to place outdoor style under the editorial magnifying glass this month, editor Hamish Kilburn gets comfortable as he checks out Minotti’s Tape Cord Outdoor range of furniture, a fine example of outdoor, robust furniture meeting indoor style… 

If you are familiar with the Italian furniture brand Minotti’s timeline of product launches, you will know all about Tape, a collection of seats that were designed in collaboration with Studio Nendo, and first launched in 2018, that bring together couture detail and soft curves.

As with everything on the international design scene, meaningful furniture collections evolve – and the same can be said for the Tape collection, which in 2019 incorporated items for the outdoor environment that maintain the undeniable elegance of the forms and concepts of the design, and add a few welcome variants that embrace the concept of outdoor living.

The seats became deeper, larger and more relaxing, while the metal frame, in a new outdoor finish, was covered with the wicker-effect cords, which is available in two colours: mud and licorice.

Here, the couture detail of Tape – the piece of ribbon that holds the feet on to the body – takes the form of a light bronze-coloured metal plate. This finish is the minimal common denominator and leitmotiv of the entire 2019 Outdoor Collection.

Image credit: Minotti

The family offers many elements, ideal for creating relaxation areas also in small outdoor spaces or on urban rooftop terraces: from the armchair to the sofa, from the Paolina chaise longue to the original open couch – open at the back – from the chair to the coffee tables.

The concept of the small tables in metal with light bronze finish is inspired by the distinctive Tape detail itself, which aesthetically secures the legs to the crown, inside which the top in Silver Beola or Corian EC is inserted.

Image credit: Minotti

Minotti London, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Minotti

FEATURE: What roles do outdoor pools and spas play in tented camps?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: What roles do outdoor pools and spas play in tented camps?

As Hotel Designs continues to metaphorically bathe in the topic of Pools and Spas during May, it asks the experts at Bushtec Creations how to sensitively add a new layer of luxury to tented accommodation…

Thinking about going on a Safari to the heart of the African bush or glamping during the hot summer months of Europe? Well there is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than washing off the adrenalin of adventure in a sparkling, clear pool.

Adding a swimming pool to your hotel or tented lodge in cities of towns doesn’t seem too big of a problem, but adding swimming pools in rural, remote locations can pose some difficulties. Yes, one can build a pool on site, with local labour and sufficient time, everything is possible.

At Bushtec Creations, we have different options available when it comes to swimming pools. Our DIY ready-to-assemble pools are hands down a winner for sure when it comes to remote areas. It is innovative, stylish, and elegantly designed with natural beautiful wood, which is the perfect complement to your tented camp/resort. The outer wooden structure of the pool is manufactured to exacting standards from high quality, pressure impregnated, dried and oiled, dense Scandinavian timber, fitting perfectly into any garden or location, in total harmony with its surroundings.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

With Bushtec Creations, there are quite a few different ways to incorporate swimming pools in your tented camp/lodge/resort. Depending on each client’s requirements and the site layout, you may only want to have one communal pool forming as part of your main area or you might also want to add smaller private plunge pools or Jacuzzis at each tented guest unit which is what happens in most cases. Some cultures prefer private pool at each tent in terms of their customs. It is a good alternative then to add a reflecting pool to your reception tent which can set the tone of a peaceful and harmonic sanctuary where one can sit and reflect.

We have also found that guests at tented lodges prefer private pools, guests visiting these lodges are there to relax, go on game drives and capture the wildness of the African bush, whereas guests at glamping sites in Europe come back from an adventure with the family and don’t mind take a refreshing swim in communal pools. This also helps to reduce the noise levels at the guest units if families are at the communal pools.

Image credit: Bushtec Creative

Spas can also play a big role in your tented camp and can be immensely beneficial. When tourists look for tented camps as part of their vacation destinations, a spa would encourage them to add this to their itinerary.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

Let’s be honest, how many people can say that they have had spa treatments in a luxury tent before? Not as many right? Tented camps/resorts are trending significantly on a global scale and you definitely want all the “most wanted” added benefits as part of your investment. Your spa’s can also be designed, like your entire camp, just the way you want it.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

You can have a specific section of your tented camp/resort dedicated to an entire communal spa area which could include multiple spa tents for couples, each with their own inside Jacuzzi, or you can have a few private spa units separated by quite a distance, each with their own plunge pool and firepit to add to the ambience. Then again you can keep it simple with just one spa unit within your tented camp/resort which mainly caters for treatments. Your spa units would in most cases have the same designed “look and feel” as the rest of the tents so that your camp has a unified design throughout.

Image credit: Bushtec Creative

Bushtec Creations has the added benefit of having a dedicated in-house design team who takes all natural surroundings and outdoor elements into consideration when designing your tented camp/resort, aiming for your investment to be in harmony with the outdoors surrounding it. We are also very focused on making sure we create an environmentally friendly tented camp/resort so as to ensure that your natural habitat is looked after. Being aware of the minimal impact wanted on natural environments, we can create tented camps/resorts with the lightest footprint possible specifically to preserve the natural habitat and we have all relevant materials and technology to comply with this requirement.

We can create your tented camp/resort suited to your desired requirements ensuring a great return on investment!

Bushtec Creations is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Bushtec Creations

“Hygiene is a top priority for bathroom designers”, says GROHE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Hygiene is a top priority for bathroom designers”, says GROHE

The bathroom manufacturer GROHE tells Hotel Designs that a new approach to the topic of hygiene will significantly change the work of architects in the future…

Bathroom supplier GROHE has reported unprecedented demand for hygienic touchless taps in the wake of the coronavirus COVID–19 crisis.

At a time when the pandemic has pushed the everyday necessity of hand washing into the spotlight, it would seem finding solutions to optimise hygiene in both the workplace and at home is spurring the demand.

“Together with sustainability, health will define the way we build and design homes, offices and places where people meet,” – Coen van Oostrom, Founder and CEO of EDGE.

Leading figures within the design community are also considering how hygiene will come to the fore in the interior spaces of the future. Coen van Oostrom, Founder and CEO of EDGE, a company that specialises in developing a new generation of buildings that focus on the health of people and the planet, predicts that new health measures will play a key role in a new generation of workplaces. “Together with sustainability, health will define the way we build and design homes, offices and places where people meet,” the architect said. “Touchless products and speech-driven technology will play a key role in making healthy and safe offices. Consumers will want to minimise contact to surfaces as much as possible”.

Having specified the healthcare, hospitality and commercial sector for many years, where hygiene-optimised products are already far more commonplace, GROHE is braced for the vast changes ready to hit the mass marketplace. “With our wide range of touchless and hands-free products, we at GROHE have the right response to the increased need of hygiene in sensitive areas such as kitchens and bathrooms”, says Jonas Brennwald, CEO LIXIL Water Technology EMENA, Deputy CEO Grohe AG. “Currently, we can say that we are already experiencing a higher demand for our hygiene enhancing products – from both our private and business customers.”

In the UK market, the transition to a more hygiene-focused workplace and business environment has already been in motion since the beginning of the year. Elina Enqvist-Twomey, Category Manager at GROHE UK says: “Feedback from the commercial market in the last three months tells us that hygiene is top of the agenda for specification, with a large proportion of projects specifying more hygiene-focused products such as infra-red taps , infra-red flush plates, and shower toilets. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in customers purchasing infra-red taps as a result. Likewise, in the kitchen, several of our tap designs which use advanced technologies to minimise physical interaction with the handle of the tap itself such as our SmartControl kitchen mixer and Zedra Touch range have also seen an increased interest. When the industry returns to a sense of normality, we expect the increasing scrutiny of hygiene in the workplace and public buildings to continue. This pandemic has encouraged all of us in some way to rethink our hygiene practises and consider new lengths to protecting ourselves and those around us.”

Image credit: GROHE

Why an infra-red touchless tap is more hygienic

In recent years, the property market has seen a shift to include more alternative housing settings such as grandparents living with their children and families, or groups of young professionals co-habiting together. This is when infra-red technology first began to be demanded in the residential sector and its benefits have continued to strengthen demand ever since. Infra-red taps require minimal, if any, human contact with the tap itself unlike standard taps where germs from unclean hands could linger on tap handles, unless continual thorough cleaning was carried out after each use. The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

While Europe is gradually reopening after lockdown measures have started to be relaxed, hotels are entering an adapted era of hospitality. Portobello Art explains how the story could be narrated behind glass walls (in public areas at least)…

With a glimmer of hope on the horizon from the latest government announcement that hotels might be able to reopen in July, all hoteliers, big and small, will now be planning their reopening scenarios and adapting their offerings based on current advice and guidelines in order to keep their staff and guests safe.

The requirements will be very strict and one of the main priorities of course will be to implement social distancing policies.  This means the design and layout of public spaces, including reception desks, lobbies and restaurants, is going to have to change to allow for this.

One of the obvious solutions would be to introduce Acrylic/Perspex or Glass screens in these areas which would provide effective separation without affecting the brightness of the overall venue.

But rather than introducing plain see through screens which might make your venues look too institutional, why not give free rein to your imagination and consider adding bespoke images to create a bit of fun and make your spaces more interesting.

Portobello Art can source images and/or create bespoke artwork to suit any theme or style and print vinyl manifestations at any size to fit any screen.

The artwork can be informative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or decorative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or promotional… using branding or inspiration.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Any size – small or large.

Image credit: Portobello Art

The most difficult areas are probably going to be the restaurants and here are a couple of ideas for going forward.

Image credit: Portobello Art

If you have enough space in your restaurants you could create a Glass/Perspex box per table with dividing screens or if you have outside dining areas, a bit extreme, but why not have small greenhouses (as seen here in the Netherlands!).  You’re only limited by your own imagination!

In all seriousness, exterior areas could be the way to go with outside dining over the summer months, enabling social distancing to be created more easily.  There are numerous varieties of partitioning available but rest assured that all our vinyl manifestations can be used safely and securely on any outdoor screening solutions.

Whatever your requirements, our designers are here to help you create innovative artwork to brighten up your venues.

Portobello Art is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Portobello Art

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

Following on from the popular feature that explained how to style a hotel’s narrative for design press, Hotel Designs asks photographer Brenden Cox of The Towner  what to consider when framing and capturing a hotel’s interior design scheme…

One of the first questions I always ask a client when I’m photographing is: ‘what are you trying to say’ and ‘who is your target audience’. These questions play a vital role in dictating what these images will look like.

If your hotel has a strong and consistent message, why not express this with your photography?

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

People will choose a hotel as they want to be part of the story that the hotel has created. Joseph Campbell wrote that all good stories start with a ‘Call To Adventure’ which is exactly what these photos need to be. Unique angles of rooms or communal spaces makes you want to explore what is around the next corner. Framing an image through a doorway or partly into a room draws the viewer in and excites their imagination. This can also help hide some unflattering but necessary utilities, make these angles work for you! Draw your viewer in and capture their attention with what they find.

Showing what a space looks like is a very important part of advertising your hotel, but as with any great story it comes down to the details. Showing off interesting and unique textures, fabrics and finishes in a hotel gives a taste of what the customer can experience. The great thing is these images can be shot all year round. When booking photoshoots, walking the line of wanting to have beautiful weather but not wanting to disrupt your clientele can be extremely difficult. That is why focusing on detail shots can help increase your content and will compliment beautifully those ‘Hero Shots’ you capture when you have nice weather.

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Customers are also usually looking for a certain type of atmosphere when choosing a hotel. Is your hotel in a busy area, surrounded by the lights of the city and the noise and romance of late night dinner spots? Then a dark and moody photograph, showing off the rich textures and colours of your hotel’s interiors, suggests the perfect intimate hideaway. Fitting perfectly with the holiday experience your customer is piecing together in their mind. This is all about playing a role in the story that they are trying to create.

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Conversely, are you trying to appeal to young families, big groups or people just travelling for business. Having your images wide and bright gives comfort to parents that they will be able to see where their children are playing. Groups know there is space for everyone and there will be no shock about what it looks like when arriving. A photograph is there to put the viewers mind at ease, that the hotel will deliver on what their message says. A dark and rich photograph of a hotel restaurant has the same importance as a wide and well-lit image of that hotels conference room. It is all about what you are trying to say!

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson's island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson’s island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Colour plays a very significant role in expressing what a space has to offer. A photographer will usually take the lead of the interior designer or stylist who has decorated a room by trying to reiterate what it is they are trying to say. Dark woods and rich upholstery will compliment beautifully with a warm light and deep saturation. Reds and oranges are associated with hunger and desire, drawing the viewer in and leaving them wanting more.

When showcasing a rooftop pool or beautiful garden and outdoor area, blues and greens express relaxation, nature and freshness. Using these colours has the added benefit of really making an image stand out. Colours are incredibly versatile and are there to be used to your advantage. Try and keep your branding in mind when discussing with your photographer as well. Most companies have a style guide which all their promotional materials reside within, so why wouldn’t your photos?

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

One of the best ways to tell a story with photographs, is juxtaposing them in a way that celebrates not only your beautiful hotel but also the area in which it is located. This again will be closely tied to the interior designers approach and how they have tied the styling into the look and history of the surrounding area. Images of white towels and large glass windows, complimented next to rolling surf and white sandy beaches, tell your potential customers all they need to know to convince them to stay!

This is also a great opportunity to really make you hotel stand out from the crowd. How is your space interesting and unique to the area it inhabits. Images of a busy London street next to a photo of a chic Japanese inspired interior excites the imagination and curiosity. As well as images of an open African savannah adjacent to a secluded glass room overhanging it, tells such a vivid story with only two images.

With all this in mind, the most important thing is to really try and explore what you can achieve with your imagery. Due to the rise of social media people are always on the lookout for what is new and exciting. Staying in a hotel can be luxurious and full of adventure, and that should be taken advantage of when planning a photoshoot.

Main image credit: The Towner/Brendan Cox

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The art of designing safari tents

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The art of designing safari tents

For more than 16 years, and with international celebrities, boutique resorts and government departments as its customers and friends, Exclusive Tents International has become one of the leading global suppliers of safari style camps and accommodation in every shape and size. Writer Donnie Rust, the founder of Lost Executive, explores the family business…

This wonderful family business, Exclusive Tents International has reached this level by the simplest approach of style, quality and authenticity and as founder Paul Zway reveals, there is very little stopping them.

Image credit: Exclusive Tents international

That one inspiring idea

“The creative process begins with getting one solid idea and building on that,” Zway explains. “Everything else is just decoration and details until you have that one brilliant and inspiring idea that makes you want to start to build something. That is where everything begins.”

This period of the project, where ideas are harnessed, is Zway’s favourite part, and has become a fundamental part of his business around which all that Exclusive Tents offer revolves. The man is, by nature, an incredibly forthcoming and friendly person who takes the time to know his clients, his staff and suppliers on a first name basis. He is a man who loves the details of things and thrives on the challenge that an ever increasing and developing hospitality world throw at him and his company.

“Whether a project needs a tent to be constructed entirely from scratch, or if a tent style we already have meets the physical requirements, each and every project is unique because a client’s dream is unique. And dreams always come with challenges,” he adds. “Some of these challenges can be spotted and solved ahead of time. This is where experience is crucial because it allows us to spot challenges before they become problems for clients. It also makes you very able to handle issues when they pop up unexpectedly.”

Image credit: Exclusive Tents International

Living the life

Clients of Exclusive Tents International have described the company with words such as “industry leader” and “pioneer” and they have the results to back up such praise. They’ve been involved in designing and setting up tent structures for as varied a client base as glamping sites, safari lodges, five star award winning hotels and environmentally fastidious eco-lodges.  It could be argued that their “never say never” approach to challenges has helped such industries as glamping and safari to reach their lofty standards on “out-of-the-ordinary-accommodation”. An entire industry has sprouted around the idea that safe, eco-conscious and versatile accommodation can exist anywhere on the planet and one man’s inability to turn down a challenge is partly to blame.

This may seem hyperbolic, but Zway spends a great deal of time flying across the world and speaking to CEOs, hospitality moguls and millionaires who have an idea that seems impossible but they want it made into reality.

“You can never mislead a client or tell them something can be done just to make them happy,” he says, “Truth and transparency is something my whole company values. However, you have to believe that there is a way to get to the end result. It may take a bit longer than a client would like or it may be more expensive, but there is always a way.”

Zway has spent most of his adult life in or around tents. As a professional game ranger specialising in anti-poaching, a career he devoted seventeen years of his life to, he spent many nights sleeping in tents. Some would say that the founding of Exclusive Tents International was almost inevitable. His son, Zane, is also a vital part of the business which revolves around thinking differently and always looking at things from a different perspective.

“This is why we can offer revolutionary designs and superior products,” Zway explains, “We all travel extensively and I live in one of my own tents! So, call it an insider’s perspective, but while a client may be thinking of their vision we’re thinking about the material needed to survive the weather conditions, or what sort of wear and tear can be expected. How will all the details affect the final result and how well it will age?”

It’s no surprise that the company offers over sixty designs and customisable options which is one of the largest selections in the market today. Always fabricated with the finest materials, erected with the best expertise and then backed up with the best after-sales service. Something that he is proud of is that their products are not produced on a soulless conveyer belt and that he has been able to craft a business where quality and that personal touch counts for so much.

“We’ve never had a problem with aftersales service,” Zway remarks, “We treat our clients like family and every client feels that they’ve got the full strength of Exclusive Tents International behind them. Every one of our engineers, interior designers, architects, set up specialists and consultants are there for them to see their vision through.”

Image credit: Exclusive Tents International

Bringing people and nature together

“There is a romance that comes with sleeping in a luxury tent that you will not find anywhere else,” Zway says, “It can bring you right up against nature without actually dropping you in it.”

The ultimate ‘have your cake and eat it’ scenario, Paul is passionate about helping people connect with nature and to better understand their parts of the world. He reveals that a big part of his business has always been to find ways of marrying living spaces with nature and the environment. He believes that this is a fundamental human need that we naturally seek out whenever we can and that industries like glamping were destined to grow. Glamping offers peace, space, tranquility and the chance to connect with nature without being engulfed in a crowd.

Thanks to this he believes that these boutique and creativity-driven sectors like glamping and eco-camping, are in a great position to see a resurgence of popularity post Lockdown that will outclass other groups in hospitality.

“Travel is going to be centred around escaping cities and apartment buildings for a while with people wanting to get back into nature,” he says, “Glamping offers a great chance for this to happen as well as offering the freedom of space.”

Additionally, thanks to many glamping sites promoting privacy and solitude as part of their offering, Paul points out that social distancing will be able to be affected without seeming to be enforced.

“People will be able to enjoy open space, reconnect with nature and spend some precious time looking up at that massive sky and just breathe in the fresh air,” he says.

Image credit: Exclusive Tents International

New designs

Innovation as a tool to meet a client’s current needs and to predict and prepare for their future ones is important. Zway is a big advocate for natural product evolution and change based upon the research and responses from clients. He is also a big believer in making hay while the sun shines. During Lockdown they made time to innovate and craft a new family tent design that has a new look and feel. The tent, named Mabarule after one of the legendary wild African elephants will be available by the end of May and it’s going to be a gamechanger.

In the same regard as this period has all been about keeping the family safe Marabule is a continuation of that. Paul explains that they have the most robust roof frames on the market to handle snow and wind loads and the best performing acoustic and thermal insulation available. Master planning and expert interior design is available for the inside living space which also comes with a number of containerised solutions including hybrid power, kitchens, sanitation, water purification and desalination.

“Marabule really is a masterpiece, and a credit to the incredible resilience and flexibility of the Exclusive Tents team,” Zway says, “There is an endless list of innovation that has gone into this new design which has made it easier to erect yet more secure. The metal components are even more rust resistant yet still being aesthetically pleasing. The material is completely flame retardant and, using unique sandwiching techniques is extra insulated to keep out the elements and keep the comfort in. It is a marvellous accomplishment by a team I am very proud to be involved with.”

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. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Exclusive Tents International

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Organising large, open-plan spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Organising large, open-plan spaces

Hotel Designs asks design studio Design By Deborah to explore the challenges and solutions when designing large, open-plan spaces that have different functions and moods…

There has been a movement in both the residential and commercial market towards open plan spaces. No longer do we want rooms dedicated to one purpose. Instead, we want to have flexibility in how we use the space and we want the airy and light feeling that attracts many people to open plan living and working.

Of course, there are those hotels that are in old premises and part of their character are the hidden corners where someone can feel cosseted and hidden away and these characteristics should be embraced. We love them for it.

Open plan spaces can present challenges. At the heart of the hotel you may well have the reception area, bar area, lounge and access to other parts of the hotel. This may also be where you serve meals either as a restaurant or as bar food. This may sound obvious, but guests need to know quickly and easily where these zones are. This is particularly important if your guests are not generally repeat customers.

There are many ways of creating zones. The most obvious is how the furniture is laid out. Placement of the furniture can create aisles, direct the flow of traffic by creating entrance and exit points. The style of furniture can also help the guests understand the function of each space. This does not just apply to the seating but other occasional furniture such as side and bar tables, coffee tables and consoles. Plants and if you have space, trees can create screens helping define zones too and introduce something natural and calming in what can be a busy and noisy space. It is important to create conversation groups of varying sizes and style to not only create interest, but also various guests will be attracted to different zones for different reasons.

Flooring can be used to define areas, using different colours, textures and style. The floor is often the largest visible surface, however it is often overlooked. The nature of the floor can transform a space and has a big impact on your initial impression. Contrast a heavily patterned carpet, irregular wooden planks and fine marble tiles. Each has a very distinct personality.  If you have high ceilings this can also be an opportunity to absorb sounds and create a sense of coziness. Don’t forget that suitcases don’t run well across different floor surfaces.

Lighting is another area of definition that is often used in the interior design of large open spaces. It can not only define areas but create moods that can be altered throughout 24hours. The style, level and colour of lighting are all very important. Lighting can come from many different sources not just lamps and ceiling lights. There are areas where decorative lighting is needed such as chandeliers and pendant lights, but sometimes it is not the source of light that is important but the area that is being lit. It could be the floor, wall, artwork, fireplace, seating, wooden beams, in fact any feature that you want to highlight, even a vase of flowers. A good interior designer will layer lighting and this can be the difference between a good interior and an amazing space.

Design By Deborah is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Design By Deborah

Duravit takes c-bonded technology to a new level

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Duravit takes c-bonded technology to a new level

Bathroom manufacturer Duravit has taken the c- shaped technology one step further in the Happy D.2 Plus c-bonded range, in collaboration with sieger design…

With Happy D.2 Plus, Duravit teamed up with sieger design to realise current trends in colours, design and finishes. The archetypical open oval of the Happy D. design classic runs through the elements of this new, supplementary range.


Above-counter wash bowls with precise lines, stand-alone consoles and matching semi-tall cabinets as well as circular mirrors combine to create perfectly harmonised washing areas.

Innovative technology, highest possible precision

In 2020, the series was extended by a new development – Happy D.2 Plus c-bonded. The innovative, patented c-bonded technology was developed by Duravit in order to meet the highest design requirements in the bathroom. The furniture washbasin is connected almost seamlessly to the vanity unit in a complex process so ceramic and furniture merge to form a single unit. This special look produces an exceptionally-sleek washing area.

Image caption: Specifically developed for the characteristic shape of the Happy D.2 Plus series, for the first time, the patented c-bonded technology enables the practically seamless connection of rounded ceramics with the new floor-standing metal console in Black Matt with integrated towel rail. Faucets from the C.1 series | Image credit: Duravit

Rounded c-bonded version for Happy D.2 Plus

For the first time, c-bonded now comes with a rounded outer edge. The frame can be in the same colour as the vanity unit or match the metal console in Black Matt. This continuation of the Happy D.2 Plus series guarantees that the ceramic washbasin and furniture run in perfectly parallel lines with no overhang or recess and a precise gap of 4 mm.

The basins come with a narrow, typically flat edge and harmoniously integrated tap platform. They are available in three widths (575, 775 and 975 mm). A white acrylic cover conceals the fittings beneath the basin, guaranteeing perfect aesthetics from any angle.

Image caption: Happy D.2 Plus bathtub in Graphite Super Matt (80), c-bonded vanity unit and metal console in Black Matt, furniture unit in Brushed Walnut (69), mirror in Radial finish and C.1 faucets | Image credit: Duravit

A choice between console version and vanity unit

The floor-standing, height-adjustable metal consoles in Black Matt with integrated towel rail can be delivered with an optional shelf or built-in drawer. A further option is a seat (width 625 mm)featuring an integrated drawer that can be added as a practical extension of the console on the left or right. Duravit also offers a cushion in matching Greige made from a woven fabric suitable for wet rooms.

Wall-mounted vanity units with two drawers provide additional storage space. These are available in a total of eleven carcass surfaces, one can choose between luxury wood or matt surfaces in light or dark. The Graphite Super Matt variant also comes with an anti- fingerprint coating. A high-class interior furnishing system in Maple or Walnut can be selected as an option.

The new washing area variants can be ideally combined with all elements from the Happy D.2 and Happy D.2 Plus design series, ensuring a consistent design for the all bathroom furnishings. Happy D.2 Plus offers a consistent colour concept with toilets and bidets in Anthracite as well as bathtubs with seamless paneling in Graphite Supermatt – harmonising perfectly with the black metal console and dark furniture surfaces.

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

Image credit: Duravit

PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s weightless bathing experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s weightless bathing experience

TOTO offers a health-promoting and meditative bathing experience…

In Japan, a bath is said to be where you cleanse your soul, not just your body. Toto’s bathtubs provide a luxurious place for wellness and relaxation. A bathtub in which people can experience near total weightlessness is more than just extremely relaxing – it has been proven to help relieve chronic fatigue and put the bather in a meditative state.

Toto calls this unusually calming bathing experience Zero Dimension. This is achieved through a specific reclining position, where the legs are slightly bent – in a similar posture to astronauts floating in zero gravity. The result is extremely deep muscle relaxation that calms both body and spirit.

A futuristing bathroom setting with a TOTO bath in the centre

Image caption: The Comfort Round Flotation Tub by TOTO

Toto conducted extensive research on the impact of water pressure on the body, and developed the devices necessary to measure it – all to determine the healthiest position for the body. This process of relaxation and regeneration in the bath is further intensified by massage jets and an ergonomically shaped pillow. Warm water flows out of a narrow opening in the pillow, covering the bather’s neck and upper body in soothing warm water.

The innovative bathroom brand received the Society Award from the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Essay Award from the Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering for the remarkable research and  findings that went into developing this healthy, stress-relieving bathing experience.

The Flotation tub is the original bath that Toto developed over many years and which has won multiple accolades, most recently the prestigious Red Dot Award 2020. The innovative Zero Dimension technology allows the body to assume an ideal reclined position, inspired by the natural movement of the human body in weightlessness. This promotes deep relaxation. It has built in hydro-hands massagers, waterfall adjustable headrest and concealed low level lighting. It is also ideal for wellness zones and comes in at a generous 2200 x 1050 x 785mm.

The latest  designs, the Recline Comfort, are more compact versions available in two shapes: round and square – also making them ideal companions to Toto’s latest Washlet shower toilets – the RW & SW. These new baths use much of the research from the Flotation bath with a shaped interior similar to the Zero Dimension bathtub.

The inner shape of the two new baths offer the ultimate in comfort. The bathtubs are designed to relax the back and bring the legs into a comfortable position, ergonomic hand grips add to the luxurious sensation of reclining in this bathtub. The baths are also made from Galalato a soft touch material.

TOTO is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: TOTO

SPA SPECIAL: A new age of sub-zero wellness travel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPA SPECIAL: A new age of sub-zero wellness travel

As Hotel Designs continues May by positioning Spas and Outdoor Style under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn learns more about a new pioneering spa concept, located in the Arctic Circle, which is expected to open in 2022…

Last week, the editorial desk was appropriately focusing its attention on the present, with an unprecedented pandemic shaking the industry to inspire us to look at the hotel spas around the globe that are naturally self-isolating in style.

As we continue our month discovering the flowing world of spas extraordinary outdoor style, we are looking ahead (towards uncharted waters, if you like) to the possibilities and the role of wellness in tomorrow’s luxury hotels. And there is no better example of pioneering wellness hotels on the boards than Svart, the 99-key hotel in Norway’s Artic Circle that has created waves in the luxury travel press recently as it is billed to become the world’s first energy-positive hotel.

More than ever before, by 2022, consumers are predicted to value and seek sustainable travel which incorporates health awareness, mindfulness and wellness. Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, Svart will aim to offer travellers a new means of conscious escapism. 

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

The Svart Spa and Wellness Clinic will provide a personalised, outcome-focused wellness plan which will underpin the guest experience. Taking individuals on a journey to ‘Climatise, Condition and Evolve’, programmes will target the mind, body and skin and will be individually-tailored to support, strengthen and optimise the outdoor pursuits of the adventurer. 

The 1,000 square metre indoor-outdoor wellness hub will comprise of treatment rooms with outdoor bathing facilities, a relaxation lounge, swimming pool, fully equipped yoga and sound-healing studio, steam rooms and state-of-the-art gym.

Treatments and therapies will range from massages and facials using locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients and indigenous Nordic elements, to sound-healing, reflexology, cryotherapy and transformative health and nutrition coaching incorporating cutting-edge wearable technology.  

A variety of holistic treatments will be on offer, from the traditionally Norwegian – encompassing native Nordic methods – to the medically and technologically cutting-edge. All Svart therapies will use 100 per cent locally-grown natural products, herbs and marine ingredients. 

Upon arrival, guests will have a one-to-one consultation with the expert Spa team and resident health concierge to discuss and select a unique programme of services, therapies and supplements. The treatment plan will be individually-tailored to support and enhance the outdoor activities guests wish to pursue during their stay.

From the cutting-edge spa and adventurous activities offering – which will target physical and mental wellbeing – to the nutritional-focused dining offering, wellness will flow through every element of the hotel. 

A balanced and considered blend of human interaction and sensory attention, within an immersive and comforting atmosphere will aid guests to optimum success in their evolution of wellbeing.

With non-invasive technology available such as wearable devices, guests will also have access to useful data to better understand themselves and enhance goal-orientated efforts. 

“Our aim was to create a truly immersive and purpose driven experience for guests, enabling them to become more in tune with themselves as they take in the natural wonders of Norway’s incredible Svartisen,” explained Felicity Leahy, Svart’s appointed Spa & Wellness Consultant and Co-Founder of iMPACT-Business Health, a leading management consultancy to the medical aesthetics and private healthcare sectors.  

Image credit: Snøhetta/Plompmozes/Miris

A collaboration between property firm MIRIS and leading Norwegian companies, Svart will be the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, meaning it will produce more energy than it uses. It aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and zero waste within the first five years of operation.

To add to its stellar eco-credentials, the project will be funded by Green Bond, a sustainable investment fund recently launched by MIRIS.

Green Bond provides an opportunity for investors to build wealth responsibly, investing in the future of travel, property and technology while safeguarding the planet for generations to come.

Main image credit: Svart/Snøhetta/Plompmozes Miris

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Sofitel Mexico City Reforma

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing Sofitel Mexico City Reforma

Interior architecture firm Wilson Associates and designer Isabelle Maffre specified Ligne Roset furniture when designing the modern Sofitelo Mexico City Reforma

Located on Paseo de la Reforma, one of the most emblematic avenues in the world, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma is the first Sofitel-branded hotel to open its doors in Mexico City.

Offering a blend of French art of living with the vibrant essence of Mexico, this sophisticated and elegant address is ideal for travellers looking for adventure, and so the design of the hotel – and all its elements inside – had to reflect this.

The sumptuous property has 275 guestrooms –219 superior rooms as well as 56 suites – two elegant dining experiences and three bars, a Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane, state-of-the-art fitness centre and indoor pool, and more than 7,000 square feet of meetings and events space – all with a breathtaking view of the city.

Guests are welcomed by sweeping views of the Mexico City skyline on the lobby level on the 14th floor, where they can proceed to the next floor via an impressive sculptural staircase. Notably the tallest hotel in the Paseo de la Reforma corridor, guests will enjoy unrivalled city views from every corner of the property. 

Guestrooms are modern and spacious, dressed in serene and cool hues with playful touches of pink and blue, and complemented by contrasting materials, including textured walls, wood paneling and marble finishes.

Ligne Roset Contract delivered the following iconic products to the hotel:

Ligne Roset is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Ligne Roset/Sofitel

Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

The train hotel, which will be called Kruger Shalati, is under construction on the Selati Bridge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park…

Talk about a one-off travel experience. Unmatched views of the South African wildlife in Kruger National Park will soon be spectacularly framed from the vantage point of a new 31-key luxury hotel that will be formed from a set of 13 restored train carriages on a disused bridge.

Kruger Shalati is expected to offer a unique luxury accommodation in the re-envisioned train which will pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago while welcoming new explorers from near and far. The hotel’s location marks where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s (the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.)

Render of train on bridge

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

Renderings of the new hotel show how the carriages will merge together and perch over the Sabie River on the Selati Bridge. The glass-walled, large train rooms will allow for infinite views along the length of the majestic river below, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. Despite the architectural challenges, its renderings suggest that the hotel will feature decking, carious view points and even a private plunge pool.

African-inspired Interior design in luxury guestroom.

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

“Even though we’re experiencing a nationwide lockdown, the excitement of the outdoors grows stronger and stronger,” the hotel wrote in a statement on Instagram. “We’re looking forward to heading back to construction on the Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge. and experiencing the beauty of its surroundings.”

The hotel, which is described on its website as “an express entryway to freedom, relaxation and meaningful connection,” is still under construction.

Main image credit: Kruger Shalati

IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared new images of Opus, an innovative glass-façade building that was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects…

Home to newly opened ME Dubai, the Opus, which conceptualised in 2007 by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.

The late Zaha Hadid herself presented this project as the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors, which gives it a special significance among the architecture firm’s portfolio of work.

“The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.”

Spanning 84,300 square metres (907,400 square feet), the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The cube 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 also connected by an asymmetric 38 metre wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground.

Striking architecture of the cube like building

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The cube’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.

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The void’s 6,000 square metre façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and two layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.

During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.

Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the ‘Petalinas’ sofas and ‘Ottomans’ pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. The ‘Opus’ beds are featured in each guestrooms, while the ‘Work & Play’ combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The bathrooms incorporate the ‘Vitae’ bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.

Modern, angular guestroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant and the MAINE Land Brasserie.

modern bathroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices. Hotel guests will receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms, and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Independent Hotel Show London postponed until 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Independent Hotel Show London postponed until 2021

Due to the significant impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having across the world, Independent Hotel Show, the business event for luxury and boutique hotels, will be postponed to October 4 – 5, 2021…

The Independent Hotel Show has released a statement explaining why it has made the decision to postpone its London trade show until October 4 – 5, 2021.

The situation around COVID–19 is changing daily and the pressure on the whole industry has led to a number of events – the Independent Hotel Show being the latest of many – feeling obliged to postpone until next year.

“We have been listening to feedback from our community, as well as information from the government and public health authorities and it is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s show,” the show organisers explained in the statement. “We are truly in awe of the resilience, innovation and kindness that we have seen from so many within our community and understand how important it is to stay connected during this time.”

While the show has felt forced to cancel its physical event, the team at Montgomery are currently working on ways in which to bridge the industry together using virtual methods, such as webinars. Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

In the meantime, the company is preparing to launch number of new initiatives aimed at authentically helping connect suppliers with buyers.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show

The Brit List Awards shortlisted for AEO Awards 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards shortlisted for AEO Awards 2020

The Brit List Awards, Hotel Designs’ premium annual awards ceremony, has been shortlisted for the AEO Excellence awards in the ‘Best Live Event’ category… 

Following last year’s successful live event, The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs is up for an AEO Awards, which “represents the best that the events industry has to offer”.

“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award,” said publisher of the brand Katy Phillips. “The Brit List Awards has developed new elements each year since its inception in 2017 and this has been very much in response to the way the hospitality market has transformed in this time.

“Our 2019 awards was arguably the most successful, with more designers, hoteliers and architects in attendance than ever before. We had a world-class judging panel coupled with an impressive and worthy winners list. 

“So much work goes in to The Brit List Awards behind the scenes – we have an amazing team who come together each year to deliver our most prestigious event of the year. This acknowledgement from the AEO is a real boost for us during these difficult and uncertain times.” 

The Brit List Awards 2020 will return to London later this year. In addition to crowning the winners of eight separate award categories, Hotel Designs will also for the first time unveil The Brit List 100, which is a published list of the top influential British-based designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who are currently operating in the international hotel design arena.

 

Details on how to send in your free-of-charge applications will emerge shortly. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the various sponsorship opportunities, please contact Katy Phillips.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

Industry Partner: BIID

SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Hotel spas that naturally self-isolate in style

Throughout May, Hotel Designs is putting Spas and Outdoor Style under the spotlight. We continue with an editor’s round-up of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring spas. Hamish Kilburn writes…

Before the COVID–19 pandemic, and I am guessing long after the turbulent waters become calm again, architects and designers globally will question and creatively challenge the conventional spa and wellness experience in and out of hotels.

Despite pretty much all travel around the globe currently being on hold, the desire for quality treatments and checking in to relaxing escapes will return. With more and more hotel groups and brands developing their strategy around the rise in demand for wellness and wellbeing, Hotel Designs takes a look at the most dynamically designed hotel spas around the world.

Arctic Bath, Sweden

Establishing shot of the spa on a frozen lake

Image credit: Arctic Bath Hotel, Sweden

Designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, the Arctic Bath in Sweden was opened recently following much anticipation. The spa, sheltered in the bath house that floats on the frozen River Lule, was designed using natural woods and stone to create an eye-catching ‘birds nest style’ structure.

W Ibiza, Spain

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Marriott Hotels/W Hotels

“When we first entered the building, which is positioned on the beach front, we couldn’t even see the sea,” the founders of  BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, Irene Kronenberg and Alon Baranowitz, told Hotel Designs when explaining how the concept of W Ibiza was born. “There had been no thought as to how guests would and should use these public spaces.” The energy of the water, unsurprisingly, became the design concept of the 167-key hotel’s public areas. By opening up the space to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” adds Baranowitz. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Equinox Hotel New York

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

In the summer of last year, Equinox – the brand that made its name for opening and managing a tight-knit community of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world – opened its first ever hotel. Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is sheltered in a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM. The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, England

Outdoor pool

Image credit: Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House

Following a £14m investment, Cottonmill’s three-storey, state-of-the-art, private members’ spa at Sopwell House in Hertfordshire is a break away from the conventional hotel spa. Designed by Sparcstudio, the spa has embraced the growing role of technology in the wellness world, with both the Dornbracht luxury shower, Sensory Sky, which recreates the sensation of showering in the open air, and the ELEMIS Biotec machine, which works to switch skin back on, increasing its natural cellular energy. Outside, award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell created a space to enrich the soul. The botanical theme works around three secluded outdoor hot tubs and a swim-in/out hydrotherapy infinity pool.

COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

Outdoor pool surrounded by jungle

Image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Set in a tropical rainforest in Bali – the hotel is nestled in a clearing above a jungle-covered gorge beside the River Ayung – COMO Shambhala Estate remains unmatched, major player on the world’s wellness scene for its effortless approach to wellbeing. Architect Cheong Yew Kuan worked with interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi to create the estate, combining local stone, wood and traditional alang-alang roofing to build sophisticated spaces that are at once contemporary and thoroughly traditional.

7123 Hotel, Switzerland

thermal bath overlooking mountains

Image credit: 7132 Hotel

7132 Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is described best as a ‘luxury hotel and design hotel wrapped into one’, and was designed by world-famous architects including Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and Zumthor. The crown jewel of the hotel is the award-winning thermal spa by Peter Zumthor, constructed from 60,000 slabs of local quartzite. The unique atmosphere and the highly mineralised water that comes out of the St. Peter spring at a pleasant 30° Celsius creates a deeply relaxing and natural experience.

Kagi Maldives Spa Island, Maldives

Birds eye view of villa with pool by the ocean

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The 1,500-square-metre wellness centre, slated to open in September 2020, is designed by architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa. The 50-villa property is said to provide “a 360-degree wellness experience” with a fully-integrated wellness hub that sits at the centre of the island. This area will be complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped sky roof its core, and will appear to float atop the island’s turquoise lagoon waters.

Hôtel Chais Monet, France

luxury hotel pool

Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monet

The luxury spa hotel was described as a “modern take on traditional French luxe” when Hotel Designs first caught wind of the project in 2016. In simple terms, an extensive restoration project to convert the wine cellars into a luxury hotel has given the buildings on site a new lease of life. Beneath the guestrooms and suites, the hotel’s spa wellness facilities include an impressive 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool, which allows guests to soak in the natural landscape while enjoying R&R from exploring the city. In addition, the spa also features a modern jacuzzi, a sauna, a handful of massage therapy rooms and a state-of-the-art gym.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels & Resorts

Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architect designs hotel prototype of the wardrobe purifier

A new battery-powered wardrobe purifier that is suitable for hotels has been designed by Carlo Ratti Associati, which uses ozone to help remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes…

It is anyone’s guess as to what the ‘new normal’ will be like after the COVID–19 pandemic has passed. And while it is, for some, too far-fetched to suggest that hotels will permanently introduce new hygiene measures, others believe that the pandemic has opened the hotel door to welcome in innovative new hygiene products.

One architect who has taken the lockdown as as an opportunity to create something purposeful is Carlo Ratti, who is the brains behind a new battery-powered wardrobe purifier.

Currently developed as a prototype, Pura-Case is a portable wardrobe purifier that uses ozone to remove most micro-organisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes and fabric. The project aims to address the needs of the “new normal” – that is, the emerging changes brought forward to our domestic life by COVID-19. The product was commissioned by Scribit, the tech startup which recently converted part of its production line to respond to the current pandemic. Once a piece of garment is hung inside the case, an air purification system by ozone treatment cleans and deodorises the fabrics.

render of modern wardrobe

Image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Viruses or bacteria can survive on clothes for long periods. Ozone, a naturally-occurring triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is commonly used in the health and textile industry to sanitise fashion items, objects, and spaces. Pura-Case brings this technology safely into the household. It uses ozone to sterilise clothes while reducing the need for unnecessary washing and thus the consumption of water. Employed together with public health guidelines of the World Health Organisation, Pura-Case would help contribute to a more hygienic environment in the house.

“As the entire world adjusts to a new normal in terms of health and hygiene, Pura-Case aims to promote top sanitation standards in the key interface between us and the environment – clothes,” says Ratti. “Pura-Case is an alternative to large-sized devices currently being used in hospitals. It can play a vital role in the post-pandemic world next year as we regain our old social life.”

The product can be installed in a domestic setting and complete a cycle of purification in about one hour. Users can place the clothes inside the case, which accommodates up to four hangers and close it with an air-tight zipper. Using only a small amount of power, an imperceptible discharge will activate the ozone to penetrate the fabric and purify it while at the same time removing its odour. Once the cleaning cycle is completed, the ozone is reduced to oxygen through a natural decay process, ensuring the case is safe to open. The entire process can be started and controlled either via the LED-lit top panel or remotely through the Pura-Case mobile app.

Main image credit: Pura-Case/Scribit

Concept to Completion: Designing Conrad Punta de Mita (part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Designing Conrad Punta de Mita (part 2)

In the second article of the concept-to-completion series with SB Architects, Hotel Designs learns about some of the challenges that emerged when designing and creating Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

The design process, from concept to completion is often lengthy and you are almost always guaranteed to come up against challenges and obstacles along the way.

Challenges call for creativity and innovation; the best architecture is a product of a little friction and creative tension. Facing and overcoming any bumps in the road, expands the design possibilities and ultimately makes for a richer, stronger project.

“We wanted to embrace the remarkable landscape, celebrate it and highlight it throughout the design.” – Ana Ramirez, Senior Associate, SB Architects.

image credit: Conrad Playa Mita/SB Architects

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, Riviera Nayarit not only boasts more than 200-miles of sun-kissed beaches, but it is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood, so, as you can imagine, the mangrove reserves on-site at the Conrad Punta de Mita were completely protected. Ana Ramirez, Senior Associate, SB Architects, explains: “The mangroves add a natural magic to the resort, we wanted to embrace the remarkable landscape, celebrate it and highlight it throughout the design.”

In an effort to harness the natural beauty of the site, SB Architects situated the Specialty Restaurant next to one of the largest mangrove reserves and worked within the local government regulations to sensitively construct the space, creating a transformative, captivating experience for guests. In future phases of the project a nature trail through the mangrove preserve will be curated, aimed to educate guests about the fauna species around the natural lagoon, instilling a deeper appreciation and sense of curiosity in hotel guests and positioning the property to make long-lasting impressions.

The Conrad Punta de Mita is situated on a relatively large site, so, one of our main challenges was to break down the scale and reflect a more intimate ambience. The existing on-site building had a narrow opening, limiting the view. In collaboration with landscape designers, EDSA, SB Architects opened the view corridors from the lobby into the landscape and out over the pool, towards the ocean. An efficient circulation path creates a walkable resort for the guest and reduces the feeling of distance in the built environment. At the start of the project, the design team attempted to salvage a large existing pool on the beachfront, but it didn’t feel in-sync with the circulation flow throughout the resort, so the decision was made to redesign.

Throughout the architecture, SB Architects created a direct connection to the outdoors, crafting spaces that invite the natural landscape into the built environment. All exterior doors have been designed to open wide, and lush tropical vegetation, open corridors and contemporary and coastal decor is incorporated throughout the resort.

The 324-key Conrad Punta de Mita is slated to open later this year.

Main image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Ruby Hotels to open first property in Stuttgart, Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open first property in Stuttgart, Germany

Ruby Hotels‘ 10th property in Germany, which is slated to open in the spring of 2023, will shelter 1,700 square-metres of co-working space…

Following its recent London debut, Ruby Hotels has announced that it will open its first property in Stuttgart, which will take the brand’s portfolio in Germany into double figures.

The 150-key hotel, which is slated to open in the spring of 2023, will be situated in Central Stuttgart’s Gerber Shopping Mall, and has been designed with both the modern traveller and the city’s locals in mind. For the first time since the brand launched in 2013, Ruby will combine its lean luxury philosophy for a hotel and a co-working space under one roof. The new urban hotel and ‘Ruby Works’ co-working space (with approx. 190 workstations) forms part of an ambitious expansion plan to unveil a total of seventeen new properties by 2023, which will include new properties in Munich, Hamburg and Asia. 

Lounge area

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

It is the second time a Ruby Hotel has been integrated into a shopping mall and the first time actual retail space has been converted for this purpose. The challenging conversion work of the 8,000 metre-squared space is scheduled to start in the autumn of 2021 in collaboration with the Stuttgart architecture firm, BWK Architekten, and will be designed sensitively by the brands Head of Design, Matthew Balon

Image credit: Gerber Shopping Mall/Ruby Hotels

 “As a conversion of former retail space right in the heart of the city, the Gerber project represents a ground-breaking milestone for us,” commented Michael Struck, CEO and founder of Ruby Group. “We have created completely new room types for this project, adapted to the challenging floor layouts. The excellent location, high ceilings and unusual style of the building are a perfect match for our lean luxury philosophy and the project therefore represents an attractive new addition to the Stuttgart hotel market.”

All of the 150 guestrooms, from ‘Nest’ rooms to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms, will showcase the brand’s sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

White and simple guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Ruby, which currently operates eight hotels, will apply its signature lean luxury philosophy to the Gerber project; a location in the heart of the city that will soon connect locals and modern travellers together as the Ruby brand expands at rapid speed in Europe and beyond.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels/BWK Architekten

PRODUCT WATCH: Granorte launches vingtage-style cork wall tile collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Granorte launches vingtage-style cork wall tile collection

Groovy is the latest cork wall tile from cork innovator Granorte, bringing a stylish vintage edge to contemporary spaces…

Made entirely from 100 per cent post-industrial recycled cork, Groovy’s linear design is CNC grooved into its face then dyed in one of seven colours, or as an all-over treatment in the super cool look of Groovy Night.

Building a hexagonal motif across the wall, Groovy’s air of retro is equally balanced by cork’s natural aesthetic for a look that feels entirely modern. Treated with Granorte’s water-based Corkguard finish for protection from stains, Groovy is suitable for residential and commercial interior projects. In a 600mm x 300mm glue-on format CNC machined from agglomerated cork, the tile contributes to improved acoustics, insulates against heat loss and is simple to maintain.

“Groovy is one of those designs that’s deceptively simple and fiendishly difficult to achieve well,” explains Paulo Rocha, product and development manager for the Portuguese company. “We went through several iterations of the design before we got it working and the pattern looking sophisticated and not pastiche. We’re super-pleased how it’s worked out and we’re looking forward to seeing Groovy used in some beautiful interiors.”

Granorte has been innovating in cork since 1972 and remains a family-run company to this day. Investing heavily in technology has allowed the company to create cork floor and wall products, alongside other innovative applications for the material including NuSpa sanitary ware, the recently launched Moon coffee table and more.

Groovy is the latest in a range of sculpted and formed wall tiles including 3DForms, Modular, Bebop and Tatami and the raw bark of RustiCork.

Granorte is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Granorte

Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

As the lockdown measures continue to the halt the industry’s reawakening from its slumber, editor Hamish Kilburn confronts the pandemic from a new vantage point…

The front cover of this month’s US Condé Nast Traveler has managed to harmonise the opinions of the uncertain, and no-doubt anxious, hospitality, design and travel industries worldwide.

“See the world in a new light” was the entirely relevant theme that the always forward-thinking Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Stevens, chose to run. I like to imagine the decision was made while working from home, after a new-found mindset enabled the self-isolating editorial desk to take a deep exhale before thinking about future issues, both in print as well as the complexities that lie ahead for the now-suffering travel industry.

“My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism.”

I say this because, as well as cheerleading Stevens’ sharp and at-times eccentric writing style from afar, I too am trying to broaden my horizons to look past the pandemic paralysis. My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism. As I write this, I am reminded by a friend that Issac Newton discovered the law of gravity while in self-isolation from the Great Plague of London. The point being that a change of focus – a welcome break from studio life, commuting hell and general disruption from our typical weekly routine – may just allow us to bury our heads into new drawings to metaphorically sketch the route towards a fresh, creative destination that is waiting on the other side.

Going back to drawing board is not only relevant for designers and architects, but also hoteliers in order to maximise service with design. In this month’s exclusive roundtable, it was mentioned that many hotels are using this time to enter a ‘re-opening’ mindset. For some leading luxury establishments, which opened nearly a decade ago, their doors being forced shut is an opportunity to confront challenges and to tweak and enhance the hotel’s design and service so that when it reopens, it is more relevant to tomorrow’s travellers and their hefty demands.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the pandemic will impact the industry in the long-term. But one thing, among others, is  crystal clear: post-pandemic, the definition of hospitality as we know it will change, perhaps permanently, to become more of an inclusive lifestyle where formalities are dissolved. Many designers, of course, such Geraldine Dohogne, the former Head of Design at Zannier Hotels, have caught on to this already, and are using this time to plot the ambiance of hospitality and lifestyle brands that will arrive in the future to challenge the conventional shells of yesterday’s luxury hotels.

Exhibitions, as we know them, are being forced to confront the inevitable change of scenery that lies ahead in the next chapter. HIX, for example, has themed its debut event ‘All together now’. The all-new interiors event that takes place in November at the Business Design Centre is encouraging designers to go as far as “unlearning what they know about industry” in order to explore new behavioural patterns and shifting perceptions that are dictating tomorrow’s hotel design landscape. The aim, with a dynamic exhibition line-up and inspirational speakers, is to inspire new and meaningful concepts to allow our industry the freedom to continue churning out boundless possibilities for tomorrow’s hotel guests. Sleep & Eat has also announced its return to London Olympia in November with its focus being on collaborations. “As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things,” explained the show’s director, Mark Gordon.

During the turbulent times that we are currently self-isolating in, Hotel Designs is committed to ensure that the industry is supported. Therefore, in direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, we have launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry. The exclusive package includes, among other benefits, three pieces of editorial content. If you would like to learn more on how you can take advantage of this one-time offer, please email Katy Phillips.

As the pandemic forces us to get used to a ‘new normal’ and to, as Stevens puts it: “see the world in a new light”, Hotel Designs has launched its official podcast. Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally– and will launch episode 1 shortly after the lockdown measures are relaxed.

In the meantime, the editorial team will keep you updated on all the latest developments in the COVID–19 crisis, while also supplying you with some inspirational content to speed up that much-needed change of perception. And, just for laughs, here are some images that capture freer times…

We will be released back into the wild again shortly… In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels/tibodhermy

SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

Spas are often considered an essential part of a hotel offering. To kickstart Hotel Designs putting ‘spas’ under the editorial spotlight this month, Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio explains how to create a modern spa in 2020 and how to avoid the common pitfalls of design and build…

Spas are synonymous with luxury and over the past decade have become an essential ingredient for many investors who are planning major hotel developments and refurbishments.

As we enter a period that looks beyond the post-COVID-19 lockdown, the desire for spas to provide space and light with the ability to relax in nature will become even more important factors within the remit of spa design.

In our drive to create spas that are authentic, unique and inspiring with a real ‘sense of place’ there are a number of key considerations.  Firstly, the move away from standardisation of the spa experience reflects the path that hotel brands are increasingly taking which is driven by guests desire for authenticity (which also accounts for the rise in popularity of AirBnB).

Authenticity and uniqueness are established at the early concept stage in terms of developing the experience and the guest environment. There maybe elements about the site or historical factors that inform the concept, for example the botanic references throughout The Spa at South Lodge were inspired by botanical history dating back to the 1800’s. Frederick DuCane Godman, a British naturalist and plant collector built the original house and surrounding gardens with over 360 species of trees and plants sourced from the Azores, Caribbean and Central & South America. This helped to layer the build with authenticity and great storytelling.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

The selection of materials and finishes that are relevant to the location and the creation of bespoke designed elements, such as furniture and lighting also adds to the feeling of authenticity. The curated spa can also act as a great gallery environment – involving the commissioning of local artists and Artisans add to the uniqueness of the spa and its sense of place.

Location, location, location

The positioning of the spa itself is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right. The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees. At the Sherwood Forest site, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘forest bathing’ to a new level.

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Well considered space planning

This is the ‘bedrock’ of a successful modern spa, which I liken to a giant multi-layered jigsaw puzzle, where in order to create a unique and beautiful customer focussed journey and experience, a comprehensive understanding of the operational and technical issues is required.  The siting and sizing of staff/back of house spaces as well as air handling, pool and thermal suite plant is as important to the location and flow of guest spaces and experiences and is essential in the delivery  of a smooth running seamless and profitable operation.

We always look to create an intuitive guest journey obviating the necessity for lots of signage. We also strive to minimise corridors and build in glazed vistas into experiences to help orientate and build sense of anticipation. Special attention needs to be paid to the creation of  ‘signature spaces’ AKA ‘the money shot’. This could be the main pool area or perhaps a feature cabin and is the ‘go to’ shot for spa press, travel writers and beauty editors.

How have spas changed recently

We are witnessing a shift within luxury spa design away from formal, minimalist spas, towards spas that have ‘heart and soul’ that are about comfort, relaxation and reconnecting with nature, and are designed to appeal to the senses; aroma, fire, water, light and planting which are all key elements to incorporate. These trends draw on the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’ and are all delivered in a way that is inspiring, yet practical in a European setting by bringing the outside – in.

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

The concept of luxurious materials has changed away from plush and bling. Use of natural, raw materials will become more commonplace as spas aim to recreate the kind of ‘barefoot luxury’ that guests experience on luxury, island resorts. The design style will reflect this ethos with the use of marbles such as ‘Forest Green’ in a honed finish (rather than the highly polished black and white marble) recycled end grain timber panelling and green slate and Terracotta tiles in interesting formats. New luxury is about nurture and care, handmade and bespoke design.

New additions, design developments, and how this caters to new customer demand.

Spas have changed massively  A contemporary spa design is far less regimented and is freeform, natural and personalised. Thankfully we are moving away from deep relax rooms that have rows of beds (referred to as ‘chapels of rest’ by some therapists!) to a greater choice of relax zones and experiences scattered throughout the spa.

Image caption: The Whisper Room inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Embracing far greater usage of external garden spaces and natural chemical-free experiences is also key. This could be as simple as relaxing in a herb garden or by a wood burning fire, stargazing from a hot pool as can be seen at the most recent spa development to open in the UK at Carden Park.

Thermal suites and pools are evolving to offer bespoke experiences, rather than standardised designs formed from modular components. There is a move away from thermal suites that are a series of doors leading to enclosed heat cabins, into thermal suites that are light filled glazed spaces, as can be witnessed by the rise of the ‘panoramic saunas’ – such the organic bespoke sauna we designed at ‘South Lodge’. It’s curving forms were inspired by the rolling hills of the Sussex South Downs, over which it looks.

“We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Water, water, everywhere

Water will of course continue to play a key role in spa, with its subliminal calming influence.

In a spa the body is fully immersed in water – we spend a lot of time considering this cleansing and the healing processes involved. We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity, whether in be in large bespoke hydropool, an in-out swim pool or individual Japanese style hot tubs.

Image caption: Entrance to the in-out pool and lounge area at Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

‘Natural’ swimming pools also offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forwarding thinking, eco-conscious spa developer. These are friendly to the environment and a unique spa experience for all guests keen to embrace the outdoors.

“We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities.” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Changing face of spa – the spa as a private members club

Undoubtedly post lockdown there will be an even greater desire to be fit and well. ‘Health is the new wealth’ will be the new mantra, and spa and wellness facilities will have a bigger role to play . Spa design will need to adapt and evolve to meet new requirements and sensibilities, which will include a requirement for more personal space. We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High-end gyms such as Third Space integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces.

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga room

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga studio, designed by Sparcstudio

The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at  the Tower Bridge site has shaker style paneling and end grain Juniper log paneling that emit a soothing aroma when heated. Whilst a more natural sensuous spa environment can transport  users from a world of work and worry, the integration of intelligent use of technology in a discreet enabling way, will be even move important in the post Covid world, Touch technology via wristband enables hand-free access to zones and areas, can open a locker and pay for lunch or products.

Moving away from the concept of a spa as a once in while treat, we anticipate that there could be an increase in the Spa as a Private members club similar to the model that can be experienced at The Club at Cottonmill Sopwell House Hotel, where spa becomes as regular a  visit  as the traditional gym.

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Dormy House raised infinity pool, designed by Sparcstudio

MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

The luxury fitness and wellbeing brand Equinox opened its debut hotel to sit proudly in the epicentre of New York City’s Hudson Yards, an iconic architectural marvel that reflects a new style of neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores… 

Until recently, the Equinox brand was limited to the cluster of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world.

However, in June of 2019, the affluent brand hit a major milestone by opening its first ever hotel –not a surprising move considering the link between wellbeing, fitness and hospitality that has strengthened over the years.

The hotel is sheltered within a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM, and is situated in the heart of Hudson Yards, a major up-and-coming neighbourhood along Manhatten’s westside that is arguably most known for Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel, an elaborate honeycomb-like structure that rises 16 stories. Adjacent to the giant public space, Equinox’s new hub has settled in and is setting standards.

Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is an ideal hub to meet, eat, sleep and connect. Extraordinary environments, such as a co-working community space, and thoughtfully chosen elements come together in order to reimagine how people move, eat, sleep, work, and live.

Sunset pool

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

From the moment guests arrive at the 212-key hotel, and throughout their stay, they are immersed in a world that the brand describes as “infinite possibilities”.

When it come to specifying the luxury elements inside, selecting products and materials that fit perfectly with the Equinox aesthetic was paramount. In addition to Zaha Hadid Design sofas in the public areas, all guestrooms feature the brand’s proprietary sleep system that ensures the best quality sleep. Complete with total soundproofing, a total-blackout window system, the areas also include CocoMat all natural fibre mattresses and Scandinavian-style duvets that allow temperature regulation. In true Equinox fashion, each guestroom and suite comes with a foam roller, yoga mat, blocks and straps, whilst the mini bar contains a juice press and magnesium-based sleep supplements.

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Elsewhere, in the presidential suites, British brand Lusso Stone was chosen by the nominated interior designer to supply its Vetrina stone bath. With an ergonomic design, smooth contours and matte black finish, the timeless piece complements the hotel’s vision of performance and regeneration. “The Equinox project is something we are incredibly proud to be a part of as it allows us to showcase our designs in a truly unique setting in the beautiful and exclusive project in New York,” said Mike Manders from Lusso Stone. “We’re constantly evolving as a company and we make sure that we know exactly what we want to develop next. Whether it’s a new design, expansion or the latest bathroom collection, we want to be leading the charge in design and innovation.”

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Fresh, seasonal flavours, market-driven menus and dynamic social spaces work in harmony to create modern and clean F&B areas. On the menu, as well as in the architectural design aesthetic, discipline and decadence merge.

The modern and contemporary bar area

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Upstairs, the iconic rooftop bar operates in an open-air casual setting, and all activity happens around the dramatic Jaume Plensa sculpture, a startling monolith on the terrace’s infinity-edge water feature.

Large structure that sits on rooftop at the edge of an infinity water feature

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The overall design of the brand’s debut hotel transcends hospitality and elevates the art and science of fitness – it is clear why the hotel has been described as an ideal place to meet, connect, train and sleep, with all four of these elements playing a vital role in the overall performance of the design and service.

The arrival of the Equinox Hotel New York, along with a number of luxury boutiques and high-end restaurants that have opened, has given the Hudson Yards life as the neighbourhood continues to evolve and take shape.

Main image credit: Equinox Hotels

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: A warm welcome is everything!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: A warm welcome is everything!

With first impressions often making up a significant part of a guests experience, Darren Tothill, a consultant for Castrads, explains the importance of making your entrance warm in hospitality…

There is almost nothing worse than walking into a hotel – whether it’s for business or leisure purpose – to a frosty lobby or guestroom. By simply creating a welcoming experience that is warm and inviting will ensure that your guests’ time in your hotel starts the way in which you mean for it to continue.

Cast iron radiators from the likes of Castrads offer dependable performance, timeless style and versatility. Fully bespoke, we have an unrivalled range of models and finishes to work with practically any interior.

Our radiators are designed to fit right into properties of all ages. With unique finishes exclusive to Castrads, and stunning registered designs for products only we produce, there’s no shortage of options to add warmth and interest to your property.

We offer an unmatched range of finishes from our cost-effective signature range, which is designed to blend into every interior. Our Bare Metal collection provides truly artisan finishes. Furthermore, we work under license with Benjamin Moore, Little Greene and Farrow & Ball to provide the full palette from these prestigious paint companies.

For sophistication and control, we offer a carefully curated range of exquisitely crafted and finished valves to match your radiator. Thermostatic valves automatically control the heat of a room, saving money and fuel, while manual valves are the perfect choice where radiators should be either on or off.

lounge area with green sofa, geometric rug and iron cast radiator

Image credit: Castrads/My Hotel Chelsea

Genius smart valves allow granular control of every radiator in your hotel with AI-powered learning technology, smart valves can be individually colour matched to your cast iron radiator for the perfect finishing touch.

Genius Hub‘s technology also saves 20 – 30 per cent on your energy bills. The Genius Hub system allows you to reduce energy consumption by only heating each room of the building when it is needed. Whether you’re running a Bed & Breakfast, a Hotel or a Guest House, using tools like the Genius Hub will reduce your energy bills, save you money in the long run, and will help provide your customers with a much better service.

When The Culpeper pub, in Spitalfields, East London, refurbished its upper floors into a restaurant and boutique hotel, we collaborated with its designers on a finish called Bronze Verdigris that was custom-matched with the turquoise leather they were using for the upholstered banquettes.

My Hotel, in the heart of Chelsea, which is located a stone’s throw from our Fulham Rd showroom, came to us to match some of its existing cast iron radiators in the contemporary Victorian building. For this project, we used our Princess model which has a traditional school design with elegant flared feet and wide, open curves in a Pewter finish which matched the calm soothing palettes of each guest room.

Castrads is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Castrads/My Hotel Chelsea

PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

Hotel Designs explores the latest designs of the WASHLET, TOTO’s signature product that has been on a wellness journey of evolution ever since it debuted in the early ’80s… 

The WASHLET is TOTO’s signature product. First launched in 1980, this innovation has revolutionised bathrooms across Japan for nearly four decades.

Now, it introduces the elegant WASHLET RW and SW, which is part of the new Prime Edition collection.

“TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London.”

Differentiated only by shape, the RW is rounded and SW is a square-shape; the functions remain the same. Both WASHLETs recently won the prestigious iF Design Award 2020. TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London with many more specified throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The WASHLET design has now become a byword for hygiene.

Toilet in situ of modern bathroom

Image credit: TOTO

The new and elegant WASHLET RW & SW are the culmination of TOTO’s wealth of expertise: With nearly 40 years of WASHLET production and more than 50 million units sold have contributed to both the RW & SW models forming TOTO’s new Prime Edition. Offering both familiar and new comfort technologies, these models give people an opportunity to enjoy an exclusive product at an attractive price.

“The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.”

Some designs have transformed people’s living habits so dramatically that we think of them as milestones – like the smartphone, internet, email, television, etc. These inventions have taken our daily rituals in a new direction.

The invention of WASHLET is one of these – it is changing our everyday habits in the bath. Many users describe using TOTO WASHLET as enriching to their lives. The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.

Image credit: TOTO

The RW & SW models from the Prime Edition is a new milestone: It combines all of TOTO’s proven hygiene features in one product, allowing people to enjoy the ultimate in wellness, hygiene and comfort in their own bathrooms. Additionally, the remote controls for the RW & SW are available with multi-lingual options and easy to view symbols.

‘Clean Synergy’ is the term TOTO coined to describe the interplay of the Ewater+, Premist, Tornado Flush and Cefiontect technologies, all of which are only available from TOTO and make using WASHLET a truly unique experience. The two Prime Edition models also offer an automatic flush option. They also also come equipped with these TOTO-exclusive features:

  • Ewater+ to clean the ceramic and wand jet with sustainable electrolysed water
  • Premist covers the toilet bowl with a fine mist of water, making it more difficult for dirt and waste to stick
  • The powerful Tornado Flush to thoroughly clean the entire toilet bowl
  • The long-lasting, special Cefiontect glaze guarantees a beautiful, long-lasting surface and keeps bacteria and waste from accumulating in the bowl
  • A side nightlight for added comfort
  • Descaling feature with either an automatic programme or manual descaling
  • Autoflush: The SW and RW are also available with an automatic flush option – in combination with TOTOs frame system and push plate
  • Easy to clean: It’s possible to remove WASHLET from the toilet bowl with a single grip to clean between WASHLET attachment and ceramic toilet
  • Clean Case: WASHLET unit is now made using silicone-based material, making it more difficult for dirt to accumulate

Image credit: TOTO

Save water and toilet paper too

The demand for shower toilets is higher than ever. In addition to offering unparalleled levels of hygiene, they also reduce the amount of toilet paper people need to use.

Hygiene is important, as well as environmental impact. TOTO WASHLETs also offer an important plus in this area. Whoever uses WASHLET also uses less toilet paper. It’s important to remember that producing toilet paper or the corresponding pulp involves clearing forests, using water and electricity, as well as chemical bleaching agents.

While more water is needed for intimate cleansing with WASHLET than with a conventional toilet, this additional consumption is by no means comparable to the amount needed to produce toilet paper. Conserving resources and giving as many people as possible around the world access to wellness and comfort in the bathroom.

TOTO is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: TOTO

First glimpse at concepts to be explored at Sleep & Eat 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First glimpse at concepts to be explored at Sleep & Eat 2020

The organisers of Sleep & Eat have lifted the curtain on this year’s show, which returns to Olympia London on November 17 and 18…

With an aptly tweaked concept to specifically support hospitality businesses across the spectrum with the aim to lift the trammelled spirits of the hospitality community, Sleep & Eat has announced a number of new elements to this year’s show.

New for this year, there will be an array of meeting and networking platforms designed to generate conversations and connections between all members of the hospitality community, which will include series of one-to-one meetings organised in advance through the show’s new portal. Initiatives such as these will be combined with a unique collection of experiential Sets, a Conference bringing industry leaders together, this year to debate the shape of hospitality after COVID-19, and an international Exhibition. The organisers have also revealed that, for the first time, the event will be delivered in collaboration with major international Hotel Brand Partners, Accor, IHG and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

“As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things.” – Mark Gordon, Director of Sleep & Eat.

“Sleep & Eat 2020 celebrates 15 years of leading thought and exciting innovation, and we have taken this opportunity to consult the industry on how it would like us to do even more of what we do so well – bringing the community together and looking forward – when coronavirus has slammed the brakes on their world,” says Mark Gordon, Director of Sleep & Eat.“ As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things. Sleep & Eat’s 2020 programme of lively, inspiring and thought-provoking features integrated with constructive and grounded opportunities to do business on an individual and company scale, will be just the tonic the industry craves. Watch this space for more announcements of receptions, business networking and roundtables!”

New to the event will be two immersive wining and dining spaces. Boxx Creative, the award-winning consultancy behind a number of global hospitality ventures, will be designing the eat experience with Michelin star chef, Oli Marlow, in residence. Superfutures Design, whose founder, Andy Martin, was the creator of the award-winning hotel design for PURO Hotel Group, and worked with Oliver Peyton and the Hart Brothers on some of London’s best-known bars and restaurants, will be serving up the Sleep & Eat bar experience.

Image caption: Una Barac, Founder of Atellior

Also new this year, a Lounge Bar, to be designed by luxury residential and hospitality firm, Atellior, will take centre stage on the main exhibition floor. Significantly larger than previous Sleep & Eat bars, it will provide a spacious gravitational hub for visitors eager to catch up with colleagues and enjoy a rekindling of social life.

“We are really excited and honoured to participate in Sleep & Eat as this is the leading event in the hospitality design industry and a great opportunity to showcase our work, meet and catch up with number of developers, operators and peers in the industry,” explained Una Barac, Founder of Atellior. “We love the way the show has grown in the recent years to include restaurants and bars. Now more than ever, it is important to see how hospitality industry will evolve and being a part of this, at Sleep & Eat, is truly momentous!”

The architectural and design practices who will be delivering one of Sleep & Eat’s perennial favourites, the guestroom Sets, have also been announced. They will be: ReardonSmith Architects, Perkins and Will, AD Associates and Chalk Architecture.

Image caption: Heleri Rande.

The Conference, entitled Redefining Freedom, is being created as a jump-start to the heart of hospitality. Once again, Heleri Rande will be at the helm after her highly successful curation of last year’s conference which played to packed audiences. “No one knows what the world will look like come November, but one thing is certain – our behaviour will have changed,” she says. “The rules of social distancing that are keeping billions at home right now will alter how we act, interact and re-act. What this means for hospitality remains to be seen. How will the travel preferences of different generations be altered? What will be the new normal for hotels, restaurants and bars? What sort of freedom will we be allowed to practice? These are just some of the issues we will be exploring.”

The exhibition will showcase the latest products and services from exceptional companies, some familiar, others waiting to be discovered. Amongst the returnees, will be Germany’s Baulmann, a leading manufacturer of decorative lighting which develops and manufactures lighting concepts for hotels, restaurants, bars and cruise liners, and luxury British fabrics company, Arley House. Sleep & Eat newcomers will include Vaughan, the eminent designer & manufacturer of lighting, furniture and accessories whose UK projects include The Ned, Gleneagles and Firmdale Hotels, and Ahmet Kasapoglu Mobilya, which offers project-specific manufacturing of the highest quality.

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat 2020

Hotel construction in the United States hit all-time high in March

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel construction in the United States hit all-time high in March

The hotel industry in the United States recorded more than 200,000 rooms under construction last month, the highest end-of-month total ever reported by STR

Despite the pandemic grounding the hospitality and travel industry, the United States recorded 214,704 hotel rooms under construction in March 2020.

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the industry is no longer operating in a record-setting demand environment.” – Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights.

“The number of rooms in construction will likely remain high, just as it did during the pre-recession peak,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights. “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the industry is no longer operating in a record-setting demand environment, so there isn’t the same rush to open hotels and tap into that business. In addition to a lack of guests awaiting new hotels, there are also limitations around building materials and potential labor limitations from social distancing. With all of that considered, projects are likely to remain under construction for a longer period.”

Also during March 2020, nine projects from the final planning stage of the pipeline moved to deferred status, as did 21 projects from the planning phase. Additionally, one project in final planning and seven projects in planning were abandoned.

“It’s worth remembering—in 2008, the projects that were in the ground continued to get built, while the projects that were in the planning or final planning stages were most likely shelved,” added Freitag. “We expect the current pipeline to follow a similar pattern and will continue the monitor the number of projects that are halted in the coming months.”

Four major markets reported more than 6,000 rooms under construction between new builds and expansion projects. New York led with 14,051 rooms, which represented 11.0 per cent of the market’s existing supply, followed by Las Vegas (9,082 rooms, 5.5 per cent of existing supply).

1. New York: 14,051 rooms (11.0 per cent)
2. Las Vegas: 9,082 rooms (5.5 per cent)
3. Orlando: 8,737 rooms (6.7 per cent)
4. Los Angeles/Long Beach: 6,640 rooms (6.3 per cent)

Main image credit: Pixabay

SPOTLIGHT ON: Lighting public areas in Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Lighting public areas in Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus

As Hotel Designs conclude putting ‘Public Areas’ under the spotlight, Illumination Physics shares how it gave Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus’ arrival experience a new meaning with innovative lighting solutions…

Illumination Physics is famous for integrated façade lighting, however that is not all we do. Radisson Blu Hotel’s Chandelier in Cyprus shows a different side of our activities, albeit with the same focus of project specific custom design.

The hotel opened its doors to the public in October 2018. One of the new breed of hospitality venues in the rapidly expanding Cypriot leisure market, this Radisson is actually the first business hotel set in an evolving economy. The influx of ex-patriot investment and the opening of casinos in Cyprus for the first time has created an exciting but competitive market in which the developers must make strong visual statements if they are to stand out in the rapidly changing business landscape.

The Radisson Blu is illuminated externally with dynamic lighting by illumination Physics to draw guests’ attention, as the sense of arrival is critical to their experience. Like most modern hotels, the Radisson Blu has an integrated shopping mall. To succeed, this mall needed a point of difference, both in spectacle and personality.

“There are 4,032 pendants in total descending out of a matt black sky.”

A big statement was required

Therein lay the genesis of the grand chandelier that was conceived of by local architects Fluid Design and Cypriot lighting designers Archtube.

Grand in concept and dimension, the chandelier occupies five hundred square metres in two vast displays that occupy the entire ceiling of the mall, surrounding the elevator core and, in turn, surrounded by the retail hub.Bold in vision, the chandelier is comprised of pendant polished hardwood elements protruding downwardly from the plane of the ceiling in five variable lengths from 0.3 metres to 1.1 metres. The display is comprised of groups of 16 pendants which are repeated. Approximately 10 per cent of the pendants are self-illuminated rods of light in lengths of 700mm lit and 700mm lit + 400mm unlit, specially created for the project by illumination Physics. There are 4,032 pendants in total descending out of a matt black sky. The chandelier occupies five hundred square metres.

Since the geometric design of the chandelier was set, the challenge was to design and manufacture the illuminated pendants. Our challenge was to design the pendants so that their elegance and function befitted their purpose. To meet the challenge, we proposed the following:

  • All fixtures should use white light only with a colour temperature of 2700K.
  • All fixtures were to be 50mm in diameter.
  • A gradient in the illumination level over the length of the fixture was desirable (some early tests had been done with continuous linear LED illumination, but the result resembled the homogenised image of a fluorescent tube, which was entirely the wrong image.
  • No shadows should occur within the pendant.
  • The majority of the fixtures should have an illuminated section of 700mm, contiguous from the plane of the ceiling to the bottom of the pendant.
  • A lesser quantity of the pendants would have an illuminated length of 700mm PLUS an unilluminated section length of 400mm.
  • Both types were to terminate into the ceiling with no visible fixings.
  • A diameter of 50mm should be chosen.
Close up of the lighting installation on the ceiling

Image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

With regards to drivers and dimming, there were several options that were discussed. The most elegant solution presented itself to us, namely that we could create 63 groups of fixtures and have individual dimming control over each group. Further, illuminated pendants could be allocated to these groups in such a way so that a sea of slow motion could be created – this option is what we eventually selected.

With regard to the driver protocol, the client requested DALI to interface them with their in-house KNX control system. The first task was to get the optical design and illuminator working perfectly.

Since the illuminated pendant must provide a perfect shadowless view from any angle, the only way to achieve this was to illuminate the 50mm cylinder axially using a single point of illumination. This could only be done from the top end of the pendant so that the light source could be completely concealed either within the non-illuminated section of the pendant or above the plane of the ceiling. It became apparent that none of the commercially available lenses would be good enough so a custom composite optic was designed for the project. This was crucial because we needed to manage the gradient of intensity precisely. We specified an obvious gradient but with maximum and minimum levels of luminance. The LED lens was designed to interact with a reflector which closed the lower end of the tube. With the aesthetics solved, we moved on to practical issues.

Complex yet totally practical, maintenance for function is simple, and cleaning (always a challenge with chandeliers) is facilitated by the bayonet mount that allows a pendant to be taken down in seconds. The downlights that augment the overall lighting level in the mall are neatly concealed amongst the forest.

Now that the decision had been made to have dynamic dimming, some fundamental choices were required. illumination Physics already manufactures a range of LED driver options. Our choice would be influenced by practical considerations.

The space above the ceiling would be effectively inaccessible so the notion of placing drivers and data in the void was not an option that provided practical maintainability. We dismissed the idea of incorporating an individual driver for each pendant. It was far better to centralise the location of larger drivers capable of controlling many pendants in an easily accessible location away from the ceiling void.

Close up of lighting installation

Image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

This decision had a consequence because the ELV cables would be long and we would need to manage any losses. The LED engines required constant current supply so voltage drop was manageable with correctly dimensioned cables. The perfect solution presented itself – the 24V illumination Physics HP-LED Driver 12. Twelve groups of five luminaries could be controlled from one rack-mounted driver. These were to be installed in multiple locations to minimise the cabling. We make both a DMX and a DALI version of this unit and since DALI was being used elsewhere at the Radisson, we went with that protocol.

The lighting effect fulfils the promise of the initial design. Like a vast inverted forest, the timber and illuminated pendants both add great interest to a grand space, providing an aspirational design looking to the future.

Illumination Physics is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally…

Hotel Designs’ official podcast, DESIGN POD, will be presented by editor Hamish Kilburn and interior designer Harriet Forde

The topics and personalities amplified on the podcast will give texture and perspective on the key issues that face modern A&D professionals as deadlines become tighter and briefs become narrower.

“I am so very excited to be starting DESIGN POD with Hamish,” says Forde, “and I am looking forward to discussing some interesting topics with great guests.”

In each episode, Kilburn and Forde will welcome influential designers, architects and experts to share their opinions on the conversations and challenges that are shaping our industry. Together, they will embrace innovation while balancing the important issues we all face as modern designers and architects, but are often too busy with life to explore fully.

“Since November, we have been working on the concept of DESIGN POD, in order to introduce an engaging and entertaining media platform for the industry,” explains Kilburn. “I cannot think of a better co-host than Harriet Forde, interior designer and the current President of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), who always makes me think, smile and laugh when we discuss our fabulous industry.”

Episode 1: Choosing your lane in design, architecture & business (coming soon)

Whether you are working for a brand, independently or are about to embark in a new journey, choosing your lane – your style, if you like – is an integral and pivotal moment of any design/architecture process. With the COVID–19 crisis adding further uncertainty to all industries around the globe – and arguably hitting the hospitality, building and construction industry the hardest – balancing consistency with creativity is key. To explore this topic in depth, from a creative and business perspective, DESIGN POD welcomes the former Creative Director of HBA London, Constantina Tsoutsikou, onto the show, who has recently launched her own venture: Studio LOST.While we are surrounded by a plethora of voices in design, it is very important to differentiate oneself and take a stand, like Hamish and Harriet are doing with DESIGN POD,” explains Tsoutsikou. “Focus on the values that are important to you, and in time , your work will be an illustration of these, and become what you are known for.”

During lockdown, please tweet us at @HotelDesigns if you have a topic you would like to us to explore.

Hudson Valley Lighting collaborates with designer Becki Owens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hudson Valley Lighting collaborates with designer Becki Owens

Designers can create a fresh interior style with the new collection from Hudson Valley Lighting and designer Becki Owens, which combines modern design with Californian bohemian influences…

The new collection by Hudson Valley Lighting is inspired by the unconventionality of bohemianism found in designer Becki Owen’s Californian hometome of San Clemete, as well as her love of contemporary clean lines blended with coastal, mid-century shapes.

Each piece is adaptable and timeless, giving a new lease of life to everyday spaces and providing a focal point to the room that lures you in.

From a young age, popular designer, blogger and trendsetter Owens had her sights set on being an interior designer. Owens was inspired by her parents, who she watched remodel homes, leading her to getting her degree and designing model homes for large developments.

Now she can be found working on projects in residential design, creating simple, clean and elegant environments that she is passionate about, from kitchen makeovers to new builds. Her large social media following is tangible evidence that people are captivated by her designs, and so they have every right to be deemed “Pinterest-dream-home-worthy.” In her collaboration with Hudson Valley Lighting, she brings her well-loved signature style to a collection of modern and sophisticated pieces; the perfect accompaniments to any space or style.

Key Pieces from the Exclusive Collection

Ivy Pendant (Small)

The smallest of the Ivy Pendants features a large clear piece of glass in a simple yet powerful teardrop shape. Three pins strongly hold together the expertly-crafted curve of the shade. Complemented with a choice of a stylish chain or classy gooseneck arm to fix Ivy in place and give the pendant that smart and sleek finish. Available in three sizes, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Ivy Pendant (Large)

Making its presence known loud and clear is the large Ivy Pendant. Regardless of its impressively large size, it completes the room without being aggressive as the simple and sophisticated glass teardrop design naturally brings balance to the room. The pendant is complete with three pins which grasp the finely-crafted bulb. Effortlessly finished with a modern hanging chain or an ageless gooseneck arm, allowing the large Ivy Pendant to become the elegant focal point of any room. Available in three sizes, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Interior shot of chandelier above dining table

Image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting

Ivy Sconce

A little bit different from the rest is the Ivy Sconce. Despite it usually being found around the edges of a room rather than in the apparent centre, it demands to be seen and radiates subtle elegance and charm. A perfectly curved arm cradles an immense teardrop shaped glass which is mounted sturdily by three pins. Owens and Hudson Valley Lighting bring a touch of fresh modern design to the sconce; a type of fixture that is essentially an antique, and was historically found with candles and oil lamps. A classy way to bring light to any space. Available in one size, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Hudson Valley Lighting is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The role main areas play in tented lodges & camps

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The role main areas play in tented lodges & camps

As the modern luxury traveller demands more one-off experiences, there has been rise in demand for lodges and camps. Hotel Designs asks the experts at Bushtec Creations to explain how designers can utilise a hotel’s main areas in these accommodation styles…

In short, your main area can be whatever you want it to be. Having a successful main are however, now that is where the secret lies.

First impressions are the ones that last. The moment a guest steps into the main area, a tone or impression will be set that they will expect from their stay, and it helps to dare to push the boundaries and be different. When it comes to luxury tented main areas, Bushtec Safari and Bushtec Creations has many years’ experience and products well suited to be used whereby the guests’ first impression will surely be one of amazement with the type of luxury, comfort and beauty these classic tents hold.

When it comes to tented resorts or tented hotels, first you need to determine how many guests your tented lodge/camp will be accommodating so that you can make sure you have a spacious enough main area. Then, you need to consider the design you are trying to create, specially for the roof, and aim to keep the same design flowing straight throughout your camp.

You also need to consider your location and space you have available for the development of your camp, so as to determine whether you will have one large main unit, or rather a main area made up of several smaller tents.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

Think about what you want included in your main area. We have done several camps with main areas and not 1 camp is the same. You can have a main area that only includes a dining facility, you can have a main area that consists of multiple functional areas including a reception area, a lounge where your guests can relax, socialise, read books, access the restrooms, be near a bar area where your guests can sit and enjoy refreshments. Apart from this, you can even decide to include a sushi bar, which will take your main area to the next level.

Now let’s speak ambience. Want to add a fireplace but not sure if it can be one in a tent? Of course you can! With Bushtec Creations anything is possible. Adding a fireplace is also dependant on your location, you won’t necessarily want to add a fireplace if you are located in the desert at 40 degrees for most of the year, however with that being said, most locations can do with a fireplace and you can’t go wrong with adding one.

Now that we have covered the inside characteristics of your main area, let’s have a look at what you can do outside. That’s right, there is more! Most main areas will include a swimming pool on the front deck with some sort of remarkable view, cocktail table spread across the deck with umbrellas and even a fire pit to have memorable nights covered by a billion stars.

Your kitchen can also form as part of your main area and be enclosed for aesthetic purposes, however this also varies from one lodge owner to another. Alternatively you can have your kitchen apart from your main area connecting it with a walkway to create easy access for your personnel.

The options of connecting your main area with your accommodation units also plays a part in the entirety of your lodge/camp. You may want to connect the units with walkways throughout your entire camp, or you can leave your units separated should you wish to not stop wildlife from moving throughout the camp.

With all of the various considerations involved in creating your perfect tented lodge/camp, you still don’t have to feel overwhelmed as our Bushtec Creations team has years of experience to guide you through the process from start to finish. We have our own passionate in-house design team who does regular site visits across the globe. Several discussions will be held to determine your exact requirements and the latest technology is used to create a virtual render of your entire camp to showcase your project so that you will know what to expect.

In closing, your main area plays a substantial role in your tented camp/lodge and is ultimately where your guests will get together to relax, eat and socialise. This is where you want them to feel at home and keep them coming back for more. A tented lodge main area is the biggest asset not only for you as the lodge owner, but also for your guests.

Bushtec Creations is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Bushtec Creations

LAUNCHING: a new lighting brand with a human-centric approach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LAUNCHING: a new lighting brand with a human-centric approach

Hotel Designs has the industry scoop of a new, innovative lighting brand that has launched with the aim to create striking architectural lighting solutions for hotel and hospitality market… 

humanlumen is a nouveau lighting brand with a difference. Led by a collective of lighting professionals and experts with a broad range of experience, the company is on a mission to create effective and efficient lighting solutions that are as positive for people as they are for the environment and businesses.

Spanning a distinct range of sectors, including hospitality, residential, education, health care, retail and leisure, the brand understands the structural form of lighting and takes a mindful approach to provide creative concepts.

The concept of the company came about from a need to do things in a different way; with an aim to change the landscape in which interior designers and consultants approach their lighting concepts. It is driven by a desire to provide human- centric lighting design and products.

Image credit: humanlumen

“With the use of innovative software design, alongside the vast range of products that we design and manufacture, we will offer relevant and creative solutions.” – Andrew Boydell, Humanlumen

At the helm is Andrew Boydell, a principal with more than 24 years experience working within the construction sector on high-profile interior projects both in Europe and the Middle East. His most recent role was Regional Director for Future Designs in the UAE, a designer and manufacturer of high quality luminaires and bespoke lighting solutions. Prior to that he was General Manager at The Nordeon Group UAE, global architectural lighting specialists.

Image credit: humanlumen

Boydell has ambitious plans for the brand. “Our creative team is based in Clerkenwell in the heart of London’s design scene, the obvious choice with all the experience we have collectively in the local and international lighting market and our aim is to develop the brand globally,” he explains. “With the use of innovative software design, alongside the vast range of products that we design and manufacture, we will offer relevant and creative solutions.”

The humanlumen product portfolio encompasses more than 3000 lighting designs including a high-specification downlight, track and spot and linear pendant range. The mix also accounts for both indoor and outdoor use to serve a vast range of lighting schemes.

Humanlumen, which is based in Clerkenwell, is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Humanlumen

Bespoke bathroom design and exquisite lines with Unidrain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bespoke bathroom design and exquisite lines with Unidrain

Offering Danish design ethics and Nordic minimalism, Unidrain has achieved the impossible: to make bathroom drainage sexy…

For most designers, the ultimate aim is to create something that is aesthetically pleasing, a product or building that can be displayed to demonstrate their creativity, the exquisite lines and symmetry of the finished object.

Very few are delighted when they create a demand for a product that is barely visible, one that you cannot see. However, this is where Unidrain is different.

Creators of an almost ‘invisible’ drain the demand for this product has grown year on year, not only in commercial properties such as spas and hotels but in private residences too.   The desire for stylish and elegant design in the bathroom continues to grow.

Modern, white bathroom

Image credit: Unidrain

Specialist drains are currently a sought after item, including bespoke, custom-made, extra-long, colour-matched or ‘invisible’.  The Danish architects and designers behind Unidrain have always paid particular attention to the small details within interior design and this devotion is now extended to bathroom drains.

“Every element has to play its part and work together; to fit precisely,” explained Kenneth Waaben, designer at Unidrain. “By maintaining the highest of standards, has enabled us to create a product that is both technical and stylish, which fulfils the bathroom design desires of our customer.”

“Invisible” drains

One of the most popular of the specialist drains is the ‘invisible’ drain.  The concept is that one should not be able to see the drain within the bathing area; it should be hidden and if it is seen it will appear as a narrow groove in the floor.   This ‘invisibility’ is achieved by matching the tiles used on the bathroom floor.

The advantage of a specialist drain is that they can be adapted; they can be used on a variety of surfaces such as marble, with different frame solutions and can be created in extra-long versions.

Dream bathroom becomes reality in Østerbro villa

Trine and Claus moved from New York back to Strandøre on Østerbro. They were entirely renovating their house and a specifically designed bathroom was at the top of the list.  This is an ideal example of how a bespoke designer drain can be used to create a dream bathroom.

The couple knew what they wanted:  a floor of white, marble-like tiles with two showers placed opposite each other.  They went into great detail about what they needed and how it had to be aesthetically pleasing.

They wanted the tiles to appear uninterrupted; they required a single long drain that not only fitted across the two showers, but had to be ‘invisible’.

“This required a drainage solution, which had to be able to handle large quantities of water, be aesthetically attractive and include the right tiles.” said design consultant Carsten Brandt

Unidrain were the only company that were able to deliver a solution that met all three parts, one that also offered the ability to combine both technology and aesthetics. The couple were able to proceed with their dream bathroom because Unidrain could deliver these specialist bespoke drains.

They provided a module 1100 Custom drain, which is extra-long at just under 1.8 meters it fit the specific dimensions of the shower cubicle. It is a solution that is often chosen by project builders, but which can also easily be used in private homes.

Elegance in design

In order to make the extra-long drain ‘invisible’ it had an integrated marble-look porcelain tile fitted on top.  It was almost impossible to see the drain as the tile match meant it blends in with the floor, with an added advantage of being easy to clean. The result was an elegant and stylish dream bathroom.

The (Modul 1100) is a flexible solution for bathrooms of all shapes and sizes, it can be customised as you can order floor drains that differ from the standard sizes; enabling you to create an exclusive look. This is an option that more people are choosing.  Customised drains are especially suited to institutions and large bathrooms, as they can be made to an exact measurement and Unidrain bespoke can be made to order to any size.

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

Main image credit: Unidrain

Checking in: Hôtel Chais Monnet, Cognac

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Hôtel Chais Monnet, Cognac

Four years after Hotel Designs got the on-the-boards industry sneak peek of Hôtel Chais Monnet, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to the luxury hotel in the heart of Cognac…

Positioned in close proximity of Cognac’s Charente River, Hôtel Chais Monnet took chief architect Didier Poignant of Paris-based Ertim Architects four years to plan, and a further 26 months to convert into a reality.

Built in the 19th century, the site that was the childhood home of Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union. The building had sat uninhabited since 2004 before the decision was made to transform the trading house into a majestic, five-star getaway, combining traditional architecture with cutting-edge contemporary design.

The luxury spa hotel was described as a “modern take on traditional French luxe” when Hotel Designs first caught wind of the project in 2016. In simple terms, the restoration has given the buildings on site a new lease of life.

I would go one step further, though, to say that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. For starters, during the restoration process, the architectural plans included adding a new contemporary structure ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city of Cognac.

Image caption: The arrival experience allows guests to capture the two original buildings on the site that used to be wine cellars | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Image caption: The arrival experience allows guests to capture the two original buildings on the site that used to be wine cellars | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Despite the property being centrally located – only a ten-minute walk down to some of the great cognac houses in the region – the hotel’s space is not sacrificed, nor is it limited in its ambitious design. Guests arrive through a long driveway, past two retro Citroen 2CVs, and enter the hotel via a walkway that cuts through the two original limestone buildings, which used to be wine cellars. Bridging together these structures at the end of the pathway is a magnificent glass-box building. Inside, the lobby, which evokes a strong first impression and proof that architecture styles of different eras can, in fact, work in harmony.

Image caption: The hotel is a classic tale of old and new architecture meeting in harmony | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Although this was very much a heroic rescue operation to retain the site’s heritage, the layout of the hotel allows for a modern design scheme to filter into all areas. Separated off the side of the lobby, making it ideal for locals as well as guests to enjoy, is the characterful Cognac Bar. As well as serving more than 400 varieties of the spirits (I counted them), the bar features quirky lighting, residential-style furniture and idiosyncratic artefacts for good measure.

Image caption: The Cognac Bar | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

The majority of the hotel’s facilities – the 92 guestrooms, 13 suites, a wellness area and two restaurants – are sheltered in new-build glass structure that is covered with corten steel tendrils. The striking and unrestrained design of the framework compliments the contemporary, light and airy interiors that can be found in each guestroom and suite. With a safe colour scheme of whites, cream and the occasional accent of red in the soft furnishings, the rooms very much channel the spirit of Cognac to evoke a home-from-home, relaxed residential look and feel. Elements such as a rose-gold clocks from Karlsson and arresting chandeliers above the beds add a contemporary layer to the design, while subtle biophilic references in the artwork inject the strong sense of place, far removed from metropolis life.

Image caption: One of the hotel's stylish guestrooms | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Image caption: One of the hotel’s stylish guestrooms | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

The bathrooms, complete with geometric-patterned surfaces and large bath tubs, are contemporary spaces. Quality brands in these generously sized areas include Kohler and Allia Paris basins, Grohe taps and showers and quality WCs from Ideal Standard.

Beneath the guestrooms and suites, the hotel’s spa wellness facilities include an impressive 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool, which allows guests to soak in the natural landscape while enjoying R&R from exploring the city. In addition, the spa also features a modern jacuzzi, a sauna, a handful of massage therapy rooms and a state-of-the-art gym.

Image caption: The 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool inside the hotel | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

In the two restaurants below, the sites heritage – and its connection to wine – is deeply ingrained in the design scheme. In the gourmet brasserie, Le Distillerie, a wooden ceiling and beams evoke a casual dining experience that is aptly centered around seasonal eating and using fresh, locally sourced produce. The hotel’s fine-dining option, meanwhile, is located on the lower level. Les Foudres, provides an unparalleled entrance that welcomes guests to dine amongst ancient Cognac barrels in the building’s historic Chais.

Since opening its doors in 2018, Hôtel Chais Monnet has become rooted into the community that surrounds it. There’s no better example of this than its recent initiative to freshly prepare and deliver 365 cooked meals to the town’s hospital during the COVID–19 pandemic. Cognac-born pastry chef Isabelle Bovy has paired up with the hotel’s very own pastry chef Camille Roché to create a substantial yet balanced menu to sustain and satisfy these health workers.

The two chefs created a delicious menu which included a starter of quinoa salad, followed by a main course of beef and Grenailles potatoes and finishing with a sweet and sticky lemon cake. “We have enough kitchen space to ensure that everyone can cook safely,” commented Hôtel Chais Monnet’s General Manager, Arnaud Bamvems. “If we can help those in need, let’s do it!”

My conclusion of Hôtel Chais Monnet is that looks can often be deceiving. Its compelling old-meets-new architectural style has unlocked the opportunity for a modern luxury hotel to operate seamlessly on a historic site. Its carefully and sensitively curated design scheme allows for an effortless flow between all areas so that guests and locals alike can be part of the renaissance of Cognac.

Main image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

FEATURE: Renovating public areas with stylish lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Renovating public areas with stylish lighting

To round-off our weeks putting ‘Public Areas’ under the spotlight, we are focusing our lens on the opportunities of lighting. Recommended Supplier Vaughan compares the different ambiances its lighting products can create…

Public areas are one of the key spaces to set the tone of a hotel. As soon as a visitor walks through the doors, it is important that they are met with a certain ambience and style that reflects the rest of the hotel.

At Vaughan, we are grateful to be included in numerous hotel projects and renovations – including Grantley Hall, The Langham and Le Bristol Paris.

Grantley Hall is a Grade II listed building, built by Thomas Norton and his son Fletcher Norton, 1st Baron Grantley in the mid-18th century. It has an eclectic history, not just physically – with extensions added in both the 19th and 20th centuries – but also in terms of its use.  Initially a family home, it was turned into a convalescent home during World War II. Then between 1947 and 1974, it was under the ownership of the West Riding County Council where it was used as an adult education residential college.  In 1974, it was transformed once again into a training and conference centre thanks to the North Yorkshire County Council in 1974.  Finally, Valeria Sykes bought the house in 2015, and went on to establish Grantley Hall as the hotel it is now known to be.

The downstairs hallway of Grantley Hall undoubtedly showcases the tone of the rest of the hotel: refined and elegant, with rich, red velvet lined chairs, pleated shades and brass tones throughout. The defined lines of the Georgian architecture are mirrored and maintained in the candlestick table lamps, as well as in the geometric forms of our Regency Hall Lanterns. A sleek combination of brass and glass, the lanterns work well in this space – the glass actively reflecting light across the space and the brass adding to its warmth. Their even separation and display straight down the centre of the hallway echoes the uniformity of Georgian architecture, while marrying with the antique frames, table lamps and picture lights.

The Palm Court at The Langham is very different in style to Grantley Hall, but has an equally beguiling history. Built between 1863 and 1865, it was opened on 10th June, 1865 by the Prince of Wales. The largest and most modern hotel in London at the time, it went on to entertain the likes of Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Toscanini and Sibelius, as well as provided the set for the Sherlock Holmes story ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’. In World War II, it was used in part by the Army until it suffered damage by bombs, and after the war it was purchased directly by the BBC. Since then, it has seen two further owners, and two renovations, with its most recent one thanks to the Hong Kong based Great Eagle Holdings.

Image caption: Langham Palm Court/Vaughan

Decidedly more contemporary in feel, this image of the Palm Court shows two chandeliers hanging either side, almost reaching the floor, and brass pieces attached to the wall to create a floral-themed, decorative display. Studded armchairs arc around a table, behind which is a high-backed sofa, and to each side of the sofa is a side-table upon which sits our Woodville Table Lamps. Similar to Grantley Hall, the brass elements neatly come together and create cohesion: the Woodville Table Lamps appear strikingly similar to the salt and pepper shakers on the table, and work well with the brass installation behind.  Cushions on the sofa similarly reflect the floral themes on the wall, while the glass chandeliers add a further sense of drama and light.  Indeed, it is these chandeliers that provide the brightest, most white light in the room, and create a satisfying contrast against the balmy glow of the table lamps.

Le Bristol Paris, like Grantley Hall and The Langham, also has a history to it. Named after Bishop Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, who was an 18th century traveller known for his love of comfort and unwavering standards, it remains one of the most treasured hotels in Paris. Recently refurbished during a six-year stint from 2012 to 2018, it now contains additional Vaughan pieces such as the Saltwood Tripod Table Lamps shown here. A traditional lamp, cast in bronze by a father-son duo in England, it works well in this scene, with the pair neatly framing the painting. Neither predominantly traditional, like Grantley Hall, nor contemporary, like The Langham, Le Bristol Paris appears to combine and weave different styles together – whether that be with a fringed sofa against a historic oil painting, or an antique-inspired lamp on a glass table.

Although Grantley Hall, The Langham and Le Bristol Paris are assuredly different in style, what they share in common is their success in establishing an ambience and theme the moment a visitor walks through their doors.  Whether that be maintaining a traditional, Georgian feel as in the Grantley Hall hallway, a glittering, intimate space as in The Langham, or a fusion of both modern and traditional as in Le Bristol Paris, they all establish this in their public areas, as a reference and precursor to the rooms hidden within.

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

Main image caption: Le Bristol | Image credit: Vaughan/Claire Cocano

FEATURE: Specifying tiles for outdoors areas & public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Specifying tiles for outdoors areas & public spaces

With Hotel Designs focusing its attention on ‘Public Areas’ this month, CTD Architectural Tiles writes about making the right choices when it comes to specifying durable tiles that look the part…

When it comes to design, the hospitality industry demands some of the most aesthetically pleasing outdoor environments in the commercial sector.

From luxurious outdoor swimming pool areas to glamorous receptions, restaurants and bars, the flooring and surface choices that are made within exterior hotel design will play a vital role in the success of the overall appeal of the hotel.

From large luxury projects to smaller boutique hotels, CTD Architectural’s approach to service and design remains the same. Thanks to its ever-expanding portfolio of exterior tiles, CTD Architectural is able to source the latest products to deliver premium quality for both appearance and performance.

Image caption/credit: CTD Architectural Tiles” Porcelain Pavers collection

20mm porcelain tiles for outdoor environments

20mm porcelain is increasingly used in designs for luxury commercial and public realm projects, including swimming pool surrounds, balcony decks and pedestrian walkways – particularly in the hotel industry.

An extensive range of 20mm-thick porcelain tiles, the Porcelain Pavers collection by CTD Architectural is specially suited to outdoor environments. Recreating architectural materials such as cement and stone, the range comprises 22 different tiles to meet all the technical and design requirements for exterior applications.

For a variety of inside / outside combinations, the Porcelain Pavers collection is guaranteed to deliver on practical and aesthetic qualities. Along with the excellent technical qualities of thick porcelain, the Porcelain Pavers collection is extremely durable and resistant to breaks and scratches as well as being fade and frost resistant. Boasting a +36PTV (wet) slip-resistant structured surface, the tiles are also extremely low maintenance thanks to their exceptionally low porosity.

Offering the added benefit of easy installation, the 20mm ranges can be installed in a number of different formats depending on the environment and project requirements. Providing the ultimate flexibility, the products can even be loose laid onto gravel, sand or pedestals, making them both accessible and re-usable.

Image caption/credit: CTD Architectural Tiles’ Albaroc range

Anti-Slip tiles for swimming pools

Made effective by their slightly textured surface, anti-slip tiles are the perfect complement to other materials, such as stone, wood and concrete. An essential for high-traffic public areas, particularly around outdoor swimming areas, CTD Architectural’s range of anti-slip tiles has all the technical qualities to meet any project requirement without compromising on aesthetics.

From natural stone-effect finishes to imitation wood designs, each of the collections are guaranteed to help architects, interior designers, developers and specification professionals deliver on any manner of swimming pool project brief.

CTD Architectural’s stylish Albaroc range is inspired by the hard dolomite stone found on the Mediterranean coast. Available in three natural stone-effect colours and two different surface finishes, this collection includes a full range of complementary stair treads, risers and strips – ideal for creating a fully cohesive, effortlessly classic look in exterior and interior spaces of all sizes, and offering peace of mind where safety is a must.

Image credit/caption: CTD Architectural Tiles’ Natural collection

Tiles inspired by nature

Nature has been a source of inspiration for designers for a number of years and has now developed into all areas of interior design, including surfaces. A seamless marriage between rustic influences and the trend for contemporary design has inspired a number of CTD Architectural’s most recent tile designs, to enliven outdoor spaces of all sizes.

An effortless stylish addition to any outside space, wood flooring is renowned for its beautiful, natural finish. Although undeniably a popular choice, natural wood isn’t always practical in high footfall public areas. Wood effect tiles celebrate the unique beauty of the natural material and combine the importance of a realistic finish with the practical benefits of ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Offering the warmth and beauty of real wood, CTD Architectural’s Natural collection of wood-effect exterior tiles promise a refined finishing touch to any outdoor scheme. Available in three different light, mid and dark wood tones, the collection is comprised of matching edge profile and angle pieces for swimming pools with skimmer systems and boasts an anti-slip finish of R11C Class for total safety.

To replicate the classic beauty of natural stone in any outdoor space, CTD Architectural offer two beautiful ranges: Petra and Roca Polar. Petra has a timeless appeal with a choice of three different colours, along with the added benefit of an anti-slip Class C porcelain surface.

Reproducing the exquisite characteristic features of natural quartzite stone, Roca Polar is an exceptionally beautiful collection. Available in either a matt or structured finish, the simply yet elegant tile is ideal for those looking to create a luxurious outdoor space and comes complete with corresponding pool edge and stair fitting pieces and corners for a truly unified scheme.

When it comes to specifying tiles for outdoor and public areas for all sizes of hotels, CTD Architectural is able to provide products and technical solutions for architects, designers and specifiers to help ensure the project runs smoothly, looks impressive and conforms to the highest technical standards.

CTD Architectural Tiles is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Chelsom honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Chelsom honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade

Lighting brand Chelsom has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for the second time in three years in recognition of outstanding export achievements over the past three years.

Having achieved 59 per cent growth in international sales over three years, Chelsom has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

As Britain’s most coveted commercial prize, the Queen’s Award of Enterprise celebrates and encourage business excellence in the UK.

Chelsom designs and manufactures decorative lighting for the global hotel and marine industries. Innovative in-house designs, high quality manufacturing and excellent service levels have contributed towards winning prestigious projects in more than 70 countries across the world. Exports now account for around 58 per cent of all sales and Chelsom has built an exceptionally strong client base including major hotel operators such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, IHG, Hilton, Accor, Marriott and on the marine side, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Virgin Voyages, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Will Chelsom, Managing Director, has been instrumental in driving the Export division of the business and diversifying into the marine sector. He says: “We have achieved impressive export growth across multiple markets particularly in North America, the Middle East and Europe. Significant investment in our international sales team, corporate branding and overseas exhibitions have helped raise our international profile and undoubtedly contributed to our success. Winning this export award is a huge honour but it is also confirmation that our innovative product design, overseas sales strategies and all of the accompanying hard work by our superb teams around the world is paying off.”

“We are honoured to receive this award on the back of 2019, our most successful year to date, as it acknowledges the hard work, dedication and passion that every employee has shown in helping to drive the business forward internationally,” added Robert Chelsom, Chairman. “I am delighted to see that our third generation family business is continuing to expand and develop, cementing us as one of the major global players in the industry.”

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

Main image caption: Chelsom supplied the striking chandelier inside Celebrity Cruises’ vessel The Edge, which was designed by Kelly Hoppen | Image credit: Chelsom

PRODUCT WATCH: Jackie by Granorte proves to be no wallflower

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Jackie by Granorte proves to be no wallflower

Inspired by geometric forms, the pop art shapes of Jackie by Granorte bring sustainable chic to walls…

2020 sees four new designs from the STORYWALL collection of cork wall tiles from Granorte. STORYWALL is inspired by traditional designs from cultures across the globe which are then applied onto cork using direct digital print graphics.

One of these new ranges is the modern-day pixel construction of Jackie. Designed by Carlos MedonVa, Jackie plays on the simplistic form of geometrics. Inspired the iconic pop art images of the 1950-60’s, each tile consists of contrasting half circles and backgrounds dissected by a pinstripe. In a choice of two on-trend colour combinations – Jackie Soul and Jackie Blues – that delicate line details draw the eye vertically and horizontally conjuring a balance between engagement and peaceful aesthetics.

Jackie is created from 100 per cent agglomerated cork which is then sliced before being sanded, printed and finished with CORKGUARD, a matt water-based lacquer. The tile’s lightness makes it a safe and easy to use material that can be applied in both domestic and commercial settings. The use of cork on walls improves acoustics and helps to retain warmth while providing a natural biodegradable and recyclable option.

“We have seen a demand for calming interiors that provide a comforting retreat for end users,” explains Paulo Rocha, R&D, Granorte. “Jackie is a prime example of how our wall tiles can achieve this through thoughtful design without compromising on sustainability, something that is core to Granorte’s values.”

Available in 300 x 300mm format and 4mm depth, each panel is treated with CORKGUARD for a wall tile that provides an easy to maintain, sealed surface. The range also holds an AGGLOPURE accreditation, meaning no harmful formaldehyde is added at any stage of the manufacturing process.

Main image credit: Granorte

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

Designer Peter Mance, who the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, takes a thorough look at why design in hospitality will change post-pandemic… 

Me: “Alexa, define ‘hospitality’.”
Alexa:The definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

A new viral guest is in our midst, and I’m wondering how we address this invisible and disruptive reality. COVID–19, and the attendant fear it has spawned, will not disappear easily. A whole new level of trust and confidence will be necessary for hotel owners, operators, developers and their guests. What will we need to do to remove hostility from hospitality?

For the design community, some of these issues raised will be the very antithesis of the methods we have used to design in the past. Those carefully nurtured public spaces of “blurred permeability”, the vibrant blending of social and co-working use will need to be “de-tuned” for a while.

In the absence of government directives and guidance, what should we be considering as our new rules? Below, I’m going to venture some thoughts and questions of my own in order to understand how we may behave when we are sanctioned to open our doors and welcome guests again.

The arrival experience

  • Will our default still be a warm greeting and our guests simply assume “business as usual” or will new modes of caution and protocol be required?
  • Will travel and booking documents be sent ahead to demonstrate “cleared to travel” status?
  • Will some type of Orwellian biological implant, electronic tag or a Smartphone App be adopted as the standard to signal a guest’s viral status on arrival?
  • Does the near-future hotel have to provide an air-locked refuge with Hazmat suits discarded at the door; or perhaps a quick sanitising spritz at the entrance and handwashing while masked attendants carrying out temperature scans while verifying travel papers?
  • What happens and what protocols are required if the arriving guest presents with a temperature?
  • Do we need to establish a quarantine zone within the hotel or have an agreement in place with Hotel “Nightingale” for any self-isolating travellers?
  • Should we provide our guests with new gloves, new masks, wipes and protective clothing each time they enter the hotel?
  • How does any “health-check” equipment integrate with an elegant lobby, and do we invest this with the hospitality message we wish to convey?
  • How do we reassure our guests, and will the previous tropes/conventions of a welcome cocktail, chocolates in the room, or warm cookies be deemed enough?
  • And perhaps finally, we will have the opportunity to design sexy and attractive hand sanitiser dispenser we’ve wanted to see.
Image caption: CQ Gracechurch St - Club Living Room 2

Image caption: Living Room inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

In the same way that past acts of terrorism brought hastily improvised metal detectors and bag checks to the front door, the reality of the post-pandemic world will necessitate some type of intervention to ensure that staff, guests and reputations can be protected.

Hopefully, these will not be the ugly, ad-hoc installations, which were imposed for sound security reasons, that outwardly signal exclusion and fear.

Hotels have prided themselves on being sanctuaries for travellers. With great and inspired design they, have carefully curated the ambience, experience and style of hospitality they offer. The industry has made huge strides to dissolve boundaries and transform hotels into locally connected, bustling hubs of social engagement.

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Guest check-in and the lobby

For the road-weary business traveller, the previous advances of self-check-in and the keyless mobile app independence will be shunned. The traveller will not be allowed to pass unobtrusively to their guestrooms. My suspicion is that not only the hotel operator, but also our various government agencies, will wish to know all guest movements and interactions. It will be in the interest of everyone to be much more inquisitive and intrusive.  So, what will be necessary for the new digital/human interface during check-in?

Within hotel lobbies, I can envisage that solo seats will enjoy a welcome return. And with greater social distance perhaps, there is an up-side in that we will have the mental space and aural stillness, to again reconnect with our inner landscapes. It will be a chance to appreciate our surrounding, their design and to reflect more on the purpose for travel – whether for business or pleasure.

Corridor and guestrooms

  • Will the superficial re-selection of fabrics for inherent biological resistance, non-porous surfaces, and disinfectant fogging be all that is required to purge and protect guests?
  • Do we now have to designate a set of rooms converted into daily isolation suites?
  • What are our new questions to the MEP consultants?
  • What level of air filtration and recirculation will be acceptable in our viral future? Particularly pertinent considering the lessons learned from recent Cruise ship experience.
  • What hygiene improvements must we demonstrate in our already high standard of room cleaning?
  • Will we come value and prioritise the efficient and simplicity of layout as a virtue in guest rooms design?
  • Will a curfew be imposed with guests confirmed to rooms to ensure social distancing?
  • How will room service adapt, and will we now demand active in-room monitoring of our guests?
  • Will the nightly turn-down service include taking our guests temperature and fulfil other health-check procedures?
  • Will we designating long-stay quarantine rooms and what provision for beside equipment, room evacuation, or health care staff may be required>
  • How will two-metre distancing be implemented within our typical corridors? Perhaps as simple as adding a passing space, as we seen in narrow country lanes.
  • What will be our new lift/elevator etiquette?
Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

In the short term I suspect we will all be looking to learn a lot from our colleagues in Health Care. Adopting many of their routine approaches to hygiene as our new standard. We will be looking at the selection of fabrics and surfaces, the use of inherent micro-bacterial defences, improved air filtration and a great deal more observation of guest’s welfare.

“I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”.” – Peter Mance, Director, MAAPS Design and Architecture.

My sense is that the returning traveller will be acutely sensitive to their environment and will appreciate the safe refuge and assurance which hotels can provide. We can all readily recognise that our reasons for travel, for whatever purpose, has the potential to be disproportionately risky, both for us as individuals and the hotels. While we can be certain that our inveterate desire to travel will return, our guests will be highly concerned for their own wellbeing, as well as conscientious on behalf of their colleagues, family, friends and wider communities.

Guests will want to be assured that the behaviours and operations of hotels are confident, safe, detailed and robust. Trust will be paramount for all brands. I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”. Gently at first, cautiously breaking down barriers and carefully communicating to our guests that we have their welfare at our heart and the right precautions and procedures in place.

We can reasonably anticipate as a business and community that we’ll successfully adapt. The ingenuity of humankind a huge advantage, and it responds so well to adversity. We’ll discover the blessings and opportunities that this global reset will offer – perhaps an even more resonate connection with our local communities.

We will continue to appreciate the attentive care and hospitality offered by hotels, and we will continue to travel to experience the wonders of our planet. Business will be done, and the value of face-to-face encounters will remain important. We instinctively thrive on curiosity and trust and will acutely appreciate the value of such interactions.

Design will continue to act as an intrinsic intermediary link between the traveller and host, helping set the scene to convey the values and brand essence of our hotels.

Our work as designers remains primarily concerned with guest interaction and experience. Underscored, as always, with a thorough understanding of the hotels operational, functional and experiential ethos. Added to this will be the new concerns of hygiene, security and protection.

For newly commissioned and refurbished hotels, we can expect that thoughtful and embedded demonstrations of sustainability along with a deep, genuine connection to the local community will be implicit.

For all the gloom and fear this pandemic has instilled, our present physical reality remains remarkably familiar. Ironically, our natural environment appears to be thriving and enjoying this imposed worldwide pause. Once again skies are clear, stars sparkle, and nature gently and effortlessly reasserts itself.

Within this present hostile environment, our hospitality instincts remain generous and hospitable. We are an ingenious and resourceful community. We will adapt and we will prevail.

MAAPS Design and Archtiecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Sketch by Peter Mance derived from the courtyard entrance canopy of Trump’s Washington DC hotel, which remains open as it is “designated as an essential business” |
Main image credit: MAAPS Design and
Architecture

Zen by Woven Image: Inspired by the calm and simplicity of Japanese gardens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Zen by Woven Image: Inspired by the calm and simplicity of Japanese gardens

Woven Image has introduced Zen, a beautifully tactile three-dimensional acoustic wall panel as part of the Tangible Alignments collection, referencing textural vertical surfaces…

Zen by Woven Image is an innovation in non-woven wall panelling, Zen is specially designed to provide a floor to ceiling acoustic solution for commercial office interiors.

Suitable for standard direct fix wall applications as well as functional operable walls where panels could be installed double-sided, Zen provides a high quality solution with a beautiful tactile surface.

The design of Zen mimics the lines, curves and grooves of a Japanese zen garden evoking a sense of simplicity and calm. The concept of Zens peaks and valleys echos architectural corrugated surface details such as timber slats, stainless steel batons and textured cement or plaster feature walls.

Zen is available in nine colourways from essential neutral tones of cream, frost and onyx to directional mid tones of blush and forest accented with on-trend ivy, indigo and deep burgundy hues.

Whilst the product can be easily machine or hand cut for installation, at 2800mm high, Zen panels can be installed without a floor-to-ceiling join line. Furthermore, to assist with ease of installation, Zen is trimmed on all edges with a subtle beveled cut that allows for easy butt joining along a continuous wall with minimal visible seams.

Performing to commercial Industry standards for interior wall linings, Zen achieves excellent environmental credentials, including Global GreenTag (GreenRate Level A), with the use of post-industrial waste streams and low VOC emissions.

Zen provides acoustic benefits with an NRC result of 0.30 for a direct fix application. Increased performance in high demand acoustic applications can be achieved via an acoustic infill such as Woven Image Aire panel.

Main image credit: Woven Image

In Conversation With: Geraldine Dohogne, former designer at Zannier Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Geraldine Dohogne, former designer at Zannier Hotels

The designer behind many of Zannier Hotels’ authentic properties, Geraldine Dohogne, is expanding her horizons to go solo on the international design scene. Speaking exclusively to editor Hamish Kilburn, the designer unveils the truth behind her unorthodox arrival into the industry, discusses the challenges she encountered when designing many of Zannier Hotels’ success stories and explains why the meaning of ‘lifestyle’ in design is rapidly changing…

It comes as somewhat of a surprise – I was almost lost for words – when Geraldine Dohogne tells me that she didn’t have any design experience whatsoever prior to when she was handed the reigns to become Zannier Hotels’ Head of Design. In fact, she was not a designer at all, nor was she some talented ‘inner designer’ who was trapped in an architect’s title, which is not uncommon in this industry. Armed with simply an international business degree and a naturally acute eye for detail, Dohogne proved that you didn’t require a design degree to become a top-notch designer.

Open air design, with bath overlooking desert

Image caption: The open-air design of Zannier Hotels Sonop allows a connection between nature and its guests | Image credit: Tibodhermy for Zannier Hotels

That’s not to say that anyone can be a designer – far from it. Spending time with Dohogne, who accurately, in my opinion, describes herself as a designer by passion, allows one to see beyond the brilliant brand her name has been aligned to for years.

We meet in Mayfair’s The Conduit, an airy private members club that was once described by GQ Magazine as a place that provides the brightest minds with the opportunities to meet up and thrash out new ideas. It all sounds wonderfully fitting as it has also become one of Dohogne’s favourite places to work from in recent years.

“I was Zannier Hotels’ first employee.” – Géraldine Dohogne.

Although it may read shocking to some that a curious mind with no design background was asked to lead an entire luxury brand’s design ethos, Dohogne, for many reasons, was the perfect person for the job. For starters, she arguably knew the DNA of Zannier Hotels better than any established designer on the scene did. “I was Zannier Hotels’ first employee,” she explains. “I started in development and also did my time in operations before working in the design department. I mostly worked on my own, doing all the ordering and specifying by myself. It was at this point when I truly believe that my degree in international business kept me organised, focused and on track.”

It’s hard to believe that the premium hotel brand that has been so influential on the luxury travel and design scenes only launched its first property in 2011. It all started in The Alps with the opening of Le Chalet in Megéve. However, considering at the time the brand had already purchased land, properties, and had projects on the drawing boards in Asia and Europe, Zannier Hotels was considered an international player from the moment it was born.

“Without even knowing it, I was always interested in and inspired by design,” – Géraldine Dohogne.

Its unorthodox approach to luxury in both design and service soon gave it its esteemed award-winning reputation. The same way of thinking, I see, is shared – dare I say inspired – by the designer who is sat casually and confidently in front of me in a cosy beige jumper and blue jeans. “Without even knowing it, I was always interested in and inspired by design,” she says, “My curiosity in interiors and luxury travel was married up to the brand’s vision.”

For all designers, however many years’ experience they have amassed (or not), all projects come with a number of different challenges. One of Dohnogne’s most memorable projects was 1988 The Post, an intimate hotel in Ghent, Belgium, that shelters no more than 38 keys. The boutique hotel has been inspired by the old post office building’s 19th century architecture and charm. “Inside, all the fabrics, materials, lighting and colours were inspired by the atmosphere of a post office and from the building period,” the designer explains. The rooms were decorated in a warm style – with high ceilings, dark green walls and antique furniture – complementing the building’s former life.

Masculine looking luxury room

Image caption: 1988 The Post became one of Dohogne’s most challenging design briefs, because of the building’s irregular architecture and heritage in Ghent, Belgium

Although each hotel under the Zannier umbrella is unique to the destination, each follow the same journey of discovery when it comes to establishing the interior scheme and overall narrative. “We always look beyond the obvious,” says Dohogne. “Most of the antiques are sourced locally, which can be harder in some places than others.” For the brand’s most recent hotel in Namibia, more than 550 antiques were handpicked by Dohogne and injected into the property’s interiors that were uniquely constructed on stilts atop of natural boulders in the middle of the Namib desert.

Right when you thought Zannier Hotels had reached its limit of creativity, it is about to open the authentic doors of its next hotel, which will be situated in Vietnam. It’s 75 suites and villas will be sheltered under three various architectural styles, each of them melting into the lush natural background while referencing the local Ede and canal houses that are culturally embedded in Phu Yen (Vietnam). “Most of the villas and suites will have private pools and the public areas will be on the 1km-stretch of beach,” she explains. “The restaurants will really re-discover Vietnamese cuisine.”

Minimalist nature-infused public areas

Image caption: A sneak peek of the interiors inside the soon-to-open Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang, designed by Dohogne | Image credit: Zannier Hotels

While Dohogne continues to piece together Zannier Hotels’ vision of future properties with timeless interiors, in January 2020 embarked on a new, personal and profession journey; branching off to become a solo designer no restricted to hotel design. “It’s a new challenge,” she says, “but when you are challenged, you can bring much more to the drawing board. There is a gap in the market for high-end lifestyle projects in Europe and beyond.”

Quick-fire round

HK: What’s a trend that you hope will never return?
GD: I believe that if you want a project to be ‘timeless’, it should not follow a trend.

HK: What’s the most difficult project you have worked on?
GD:
1988 The Post was challenging because it was an existing building.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
GD: My Swimming costume and my noise-cancelling Bose headphones.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?
GD: A place where you can disconnect with technology and the world, and where you can feel at home.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
GD: Antarctica, Japan and Argentina.

HK: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
GD:
Always show your work to a lot of people, and always question yourself until you are 100 per cent sure.

HK: When you pitch an idea, do you keep an open window?
GD: Yes, because the world has changed so much from the beginning of a hotel project to the end.

For more than year now, Dohogne has been setting up the foundations of her own design studio. What strikes me is the link between the authenticity of Zannier Hotels’ expansion and the journey that the designer is also on. Although there is yet a comment as to what projects she is working on, it is clear that Dohogne is meaningfully expanding her reaches to purposefully design a new era of high-end lifestyle social areas and workspaces. Her journey in design continues…

Main image credit: Géraldine Dohogne

How CGI is continuing to change how spaces are designed for the better

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How CGI is continuing to change how spaces are designed for the better

CGI renderings have eliminated many boundaries for the hotel design community. As designers and architects work on the planning stages of projects during the pandemic, 3D architectural and visualisation company North Made Studio explains how software development has taken CGI into new a creative territory… 

Thinking up an interior design can be simple. A gifted creative can generate an idea for an interesting and engaging interior space. Drawing on their knowledge and experience to envisage something special.

However, communicating this interior design concept, and how it will fit within the confines of the property, can be a big challenge.

Thankfully, over the years, CGI has come into the mix. In the early development, it allowed interior designers and fit-out firms to create a rough approximation of how the space will look. Giving peace-of-mind to the client, putting them at ease about pressing ahead on an interior project.

10 years ago, the CGI industry would assist with producing basic 3D models of an interior space. Since then the software has improved greatly. Now a rough 3D ‘sketch’ can be generated by anyone with a basic level of computer skills and the dimensions of the space.

These software developments have pushed the CGI sector to offer something with significantly more value. Photo-realistic 3D renders.

3D renders, or visualisations are now produced to not only provide an accurate model of the interior space (and all of its suggested interior design elements), but also to go further and showcase the interior design ideas, communicating them to the client visually. Allowing viewers to experience them as if they were looking at a photograph of a physically constructed space.

Offer variety and be more competitive

The beauty of CGI is that is can be edited when required. Modifications can be made to change colour scheme, materials, surface finishes, furniture, light fixtures, etc.

All design aspects can be changed, but the shell of the interior space can remain the same. Interior designers can offer a selection of design ideas to their client, giving them the ability to test out ideas and produce live market research.

CGI also allows interior designers to be more competitive. The industry is growing and as it is relatively unregulated, anyone can claim to be an interior designer. Ensuring an interior design stands out from the crowd can be greatly helped by producing high quality CGI visualisations that will ‘wow’ the client. Producing a higher level of engagement and creating a design that is memorable.

Adding value to interior design

The ability to visualise an interior design accurately allows for so much more added value.

For the client, there are no major surprises. All the main elements of the interior design can be focused on within the CG imagery. If certain aspects are not to their taste, these can be changed prior to anything be made or installed physically.

As a tool for interior designers, high-quality interior visualisations are a guarantee of a happy client. Your idea can be fully visualised and communicated. With the ability to edit it to suit any issues the client picks out.

CGI visualisations are made accurately and correct to scale. Meaning errors can be minimised and the CGI space can be utilised to produce plans to assist with the construction/fit-out phase of a project.

Image credit: North Made Studio

Boost marketing and engagement

Still CG images are the norm for the interior design sector as a whole, looking back to the earliest stages of modern interior design, hand-drawn sketches and technical drawings were standard. CGI has continued this approach on the whole, building on it to blur the lines between the real and virtual world, by increasing quality and realism within the CG images.

However, over the last 10 years the capabilities of CGI software, the visualisers, and the techniques used, have allowed for new ways of visualising an interior design to be implemented.

Image credit: North Made Studio

CGI Animation within interior design

Animations can transform a single view of a space into a video that explores all aspects of the interior design. Allowing a singular piece of media to display all key aspects of the interior design. The CGI animation also benefits from being very shareable. Once uploaded online, it can be posted to social media sites, shared, reposted, liked, etc. Allowing from a greater amount of engagement with the viewer.

Explore an interior design with Virtual Reality

Another form of CGI that has allowed clients and viewers to engage much more with interior designs, are CGI Virtual Reality tours.

These come in many shapes and sizes, the most prevalent currently is the 360-degree panoramic view. This allows viewers to look at the interior design CGI in 360 degrees, exploring all aspects, but gives them control of the movement.

Allowing the user to dictate what aspect to view in real-time. Again, the sharable features of the VR are embedded within the product. And with the interactively features included, the 360 panoramic CGI views are hugely engaging and a very impressive marketing tool.

What’s next for CGI within interior design?

With rapid improvements in software and techniques it is hard to say exactly what kinds of CGI progression could become reality in the future. The most obvious would be improvements in Virtual Reality. Due to the associated high costs, currently only 360 panoramic VR views are a realistic tool for most interior design projects.

However, as improvements are made, full virtual reality is likely become the norm. Imagine showcasing an interior design within a web browser window. Allowing a client to not only view the space in 360 degrees, but also navigate through it in real-time. WebGL and similar product are currently able to offer a service like the, although there are limitations on the levels of quality that can be shown, as well as high production costs.

Progressions in the future are likely to see improvements within this area to allow for photorealistic interior spaces to be visualised inside a virtual reality environment that can be interacted with fluidly, even on the most basic PC or mobile device.

North Made Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: North Made Studio

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Why hotel first impressions count

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Why hotel first impressions count

In response to Hotel Designs putting ‘Public Areas’ under the editorial spotlight this month, interior design studio Design By Deborah explains why first impressions count in international hotel design…

In general life as well as design, rightly or wrongly, first impressions count. And while judgement from potential guests is cast earlier and earlier in the customer journey (with the evolutions in technology and online platforms), it is critical to establish your narrative from the beginning.

Your up-to-date and monitored website and social media platforms need to look professional, engaging and exciting. However, the most important thing is they act on the information you have given them to book a room. At the very least, photographs of the hotel  should be taken professionally.

Once a consumer has booked a stay, via the website or otherwise, their next impression of the hotel will be their arrival experience. What does the outside of your property say – is it attractive, well lit, clean and tidy? Are you making the most of the architectural features of your property? The majority of people are time poor, so they want to know quickly where to park and where the entrance is. They want to find reception, the bar, the restaurant or somewhere to have a cup of coffee and work easily. Where is the designated smoking area, which ideally is not at the front, near the entrance so that everyone has to inhale smoke before they enter?

Image caption: Typical small Georgian or Regency style luxury hotel in London | Image credit: Design By Deborah

What do you see as you open the main door – what vibe does your entrance area give? Is it lively, fun and full of energy, or are you wanting to create a calm, serene and tranquil experience? If you are offering a premium price, the entrance and the initial spaces that guests enter in should give this impression. There is no right or wrong but service and design should meet on the same message.

Image credit: Design By Deborah

Regardless of what atmosphere you are trying to achieve, there will always be limitations, whether it is the building, the budget or timescales. A good interior design team are experienced when it comes to working with these restrictions, and are able to offer suitable and aesthetically pleasing solutions. All designs created at Design by Deborah are bespoke as the team recognises the importance of putting together the personality of the building. Through experience, the studio knows that the designs must be functional yet also delight and surprise in the right areas. Well integrated interior design aims to provide an exciting environment in which your business is able to provide the very best service. You want to be unique, special and convert your clients into fans.

Design By Deborah is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Jonathan Little Photography on behalf of Design By Deborah for the Bradbury House Reception

It’s never been easier to check a hotel’s energy consumption

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s never been easier to check a hotel’s energy consumption

To find out what hotels could be doing to become more energy efficient, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Utility Team’s CEO, Delvin Lane…

Design and service have equal roles to play in the hospitality arena, with neither being able to shine in the spotlight without the other. Therefore, it comes as somewhat of a surprise to hear that a large number of hotels are inefficiently heating and cooling their hotels – and losing some serious money in the process of doing so.

Utility Team is an end-to-end energy consultancy solutions business that works with hotels and venues to help them better understand how to use less energy, and pay the right amount for the energy used. By simplifying the process, the company shows its customers how to take advantage of current market conditions whilst being mindful of an ever-changing regulatory landscape.

To make sense of energy consumption and the solutions available on the market, I spoke to Utility Team’s CEO, Delvin Lane.

Hamish Kilburn: How many hotels, would you say, are getting energy consumption wrong?

Delvin Lane: Firstly, approximately 30 – 40 per cent of all business energy bills are wrong. With our customers, we start by making sure they are paying the right amount for the energy they use.

Secondly, and this is how our business has evolved over the years, we help our customers understand how they can use less energy. The simple fact remains true that if a hotel can use less, it will pay less and a reduction in operating costs will have a positive impact on a hotels bottom line.

HK: How valuable can a change of energy consumption be to a hotel?

DL: Ideally, incorporating energy efficient design features in a new-build hotel and retro- fitting existing building can deliver tangible commercial benefits.

Historically, energy saving measures came at a high cost. However, where the market is currently, there are so many more options to integrate energy efficiency in design that actually enhance the overall performance and comfort of the hotel while also adding to its commercial value.

We manage hundreds of properties in London, for example, and as a result of their increase of energy efficiency, their commercial value has risen often in excess of four – six per cent.

HK: What new energy sources are available today?

DL: The decarbonisation of the electricity grid has opened the door for new sources of energy. We have seen a rise in nuclear in addition to a three-fold increase in solar and wind-generated electricity. Coal, a traditional source of energy, has almost vanished. Gas still makes up a significant part of the fuel mix but to meet global carbon targets we will need to ramp up the transition away from natural gas as a fuel source.  Depending on climatic conditions,  renewables are providing somewhere between 30 – 50 per cent of energy generation, which is really positive to see.

Image caption: Utility Team work with its customers individually so that they can offer a personalised solution that works for them | Image credit: Utility Team

HK: What should hotels be considering when becoming more energy efficient? 

DL: What’s important is that there is not one solution for all hotels. We work with our customers individually so that we can offer a personalised solution that works for them. As a starter, we will typically ask if they have considered things like solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and EV charging along with the more traditional energy efficiency measures such as building controls, LED lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) reductions.

Image credit: Pixabay

HK: Why should hotels incorporate EV Charging facilities?

DL: The government has said that by 2035, there will be no new petrol or hybrid vehicles. With people only being able to purchase electric or hydrogen cars and vans, once the ban comes into effect, then guests are also going to demand these charging facilities in hotel car parks.

HK: Why are hotels getting heating so wrong?

DL: I don’t think I have ever walked into to a cold hotel. The first thing I do once I have checked in to my room is turn down the temperature. What can hotels do to make that more efficient, I ask?

Usually there are huge boilers churning out excess heat – I would suggest that hotels are losing anywhere between 10 – 12 per cent just on overheating their hotels. I would also suggest that heating and cooling is probably the third largest cost in a hotel after staff and produce. Metering where and when heating is being used ineffectively will allow hotels to make measures to become more energy efficient.

HK: Why should hotels consider all generations when implementing changes?

DL: Today’s students are tomorrow’s hotel guests, and they are more conscious and aware about climate change. They will be making choices on carbon and energy credentials. Ignore that at your peril.

HK: What part does green energy play in the transition to a low carbon economy?

DL: There are different interpretations on what makes green energy. Firstly, hotels should know where energy is going and how much they are using.

Secondly, hotel owners and managers should understand how they can become more efficient, and what the cost and benefit of doing so will be. It is  imperative that Hoteliers move away from traditional fossil fuel such as gas boilers. Instead, the need to have to have transparency of usage in each area of the hotel, the ability to have full controls of all energy using elements of the hotel and we all need to be generating our own power.

Once a hotel knows it’s efficient and is generating what it can, then it has some residual power and can decide on whether or not it should buy ‘green’.

HK: In all of this, hotels should avoid from greenwashing. But how?

DL: The more a hotel understands about its own energy usage, the less likely it will ‘greenwash’. For example, if you want to avoid greenwashing, don’t go to the market and buy green power for the sake of being green while your hotel is not operating efficiently. If you do this, then you are simply throwing money away.

HK: What does the future energy hold in the hospitality industry?

DL: Hotels are becoming more energy independent as markets fluctuate. With the decarbonisation of the energy grid, it no longer makes business sense to install gas boilers in new-builds. The obvious alternative to gas is heat pump technology which Utility Team are keen advocates of having recently joined the Heat Pump Association. A requirement to install increasing numbers of Electric Vehicle charging points will also becoming increasingly important to Hotel which present a unique set of challenges as grid capacity is already constrained.

There is no panacea to the carbon and energy challenge, so I’d suggest employing an expert to help you identify, prioritise and deliver your initiatives. A roadmap to netzero is already being discussed in many boardrooms. It absolutely will become a topic in yours at some point.

I would like to conclude by saying that it’s okay to do nothing, it really is, but all the data indicates travellers are becoming increasingly conscious when making plans and, in an extremely competitive sector, if you chose to do nothing at  least do nothing with all the information.

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

Main image credit: Utility Team

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Mothballing your property during the pandemic

With the current slump in trade, operators are being forced to close sections of their properties or indeed whole buildings. Hotel Designs asks Interior Refurbishment Contractor, Interefurb, how hotels can best utilise this quiet spell during the pandemic. Gary Crosbie explains…

The COVID–19 pandemic continues to halt the hotel design and hospitality industry. While some properties are being transformed into temporary accommodation for the sick, homeless and medical workers, other buildings lie bare.

If it’s any conciliation, we have been in a similar situation before. In 2001, the Foot and Mouth outbreak and the wake of 9/11 left the industry on its knees. After the lull of activity and an anxious period for investors and operators, the market recovered. Here are some tips that we learned during that time. 

One of the largest barriers when carrying out refurbishment is the loss of revenue whilst rooms and areas are out of action. But back then, several of our clients took advantage of quiet and empty properties and carried out their refurbishment and maintenance works, stealing a lead on the competition when business returned. Which it will.

Plan ahead

How long  are you expecting the building to be unoccupied for? Do you have any special features that require special protection? The most important threats to a vacant building are:

  • Weather – our weather patterns currently are unpredictable and extreme. If building elements are not properly secured, the high winds may damage many building elements and leave others open to further damage. Likewise, heavy rains may cause flooding on the lower levels of the building and water penetration in other unsecured areas.  
  • Escape of water – Escape of water and moisture will cause the decay of materials, leading to wood rot, growth of mold and fungi, and provide a hospitable environment for insects.  Water can gain direct access to the building through windows, doors, roof openings, damaged mortar joints, blocked gutters and condensation caused by temperature and humidity shifts within the building.
  • Pests and Vermin – When birds, bugs, and rodents make your vacant building their home, it increases the likelihood of structural damage and compromises the integrity of decorative elements.  New openings in the building may be made by these vermin.  Birds’ nests can be a fire hazard and their droppings, a disease threat.  Rodents may chew on the building’s wiring, and insects may bore into wood structural supports. Old food left in rooms and dare I say staff accommodation
  • Vandalism – Caused when local opportunists force entry, any opening then allows the direct entry of vermin, wind, and water.  Vandals may also damage the interior or start fires in the building. 

A well a thought-through and implemented plan will help eliminate disaster, especially whilst there is nobody around to regularly monitor and will also make the recommissioning easier.

Create a checklist

A simple checklist can help to prevent many of these conditions from exacting their toll on your investment: 

  • Roof – Repair all leaks. Ensure all flashing is secure, and gutters run freely.
  • Ventilation – A securely ventilated building prevents the damage that can be caused by condensation. Ventilate the building so that air enters at ground level and leaves at the attic level. 
  • Windows and doors – Entry points, such as windows and doors, should be secured to prevent damage and entry from vandals. Remove any debris, such as loose bricks, that could be thrown at the building to provide entry. 
  • Plumbing and heating – Plumbing in an unheated building should be protected by shutting off the water supply and draining the pipes, contact your insurer regarding their requirements for and sprinkler systems.  Seal WC lids to prevent accidental use.
  • Finishes and furniture – If safe storage can be provided elsewhere, it may be prudent to remove and store valuable items. Photograph the items in their original location before removal.
  • Notifications – notify your insurers, alarm monitoring companies and appropriate local authorities of the vacant building, consider providing keys to the police and Fire and Rescue.

Interefurb is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

CASE STUDY: Furnishing InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

Architect Jean-Philippe Nuel specified Ligne Roset furniture when sensitively converting a former paupers hospital into the luxury hotel that is InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu…

In order to successfully convert such an historic and emblematic site (it was originally a paupers hospital) into a hotel, Jean-Philippe Nuel drew on the dichotomy between the sobriety of the building’s interior and the richness of its architecture.

And he chose furniture with this in mind, working with Ligne Roset Contract. For this spectacular renovation project which demanded six years of collaboration, the company manufactured, using semi-artisanal methods, almost 600 pieces of furniture in its factories in Briord, which are only 60 km distant from Lyon.

Image caption: The lobby inside InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

The encounter between Ligne Roset and Nuel started in the 1980s, when the architect imagined his first hotels. It was also during this period that Ligne Roset began a strategic turning point by opening up to the equipment of high-end hotel establishments.

Together, they imagine tailor-made furniture that will equip a large number of hotels and establishments in France: Hôtel Duo (Paris), Radisson Hotel (Nantes), Intercontinental Marseille, The Ponant ships, MGallery Paris Molitor and Trouville.

From the Long Island chair and armchair in the bedrooms to the Tessa chair in the restaurant and the Luca Soft bridge and armchair in the ‘conciergerie’, there is a clear, dynamic link between the quality of manufacture and the restrained design of each of these models, which were dressed by Nuel in contemporary, sober yet nuanced coverings. Specifying Ligne Roset furniture throughout the hotel allowed Nuel to covert a treasured historical icon into a welcoming luxury hotel.

Related Products:

Long Island chair
Long Island armchair
Tessa chair
Exclusif settee
Andy settee
Vik high chair
Luca Soft bridge
Luca Soft armchair
Tadao bridge (wooden legs)
Feng large 1-arm settee
Mobidec footstool
Stricto Sensu settee

Ligne Roset is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

Designing bespoke feature lighting for public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing bespoke feature lighting for public spaces

Continuing to focus the editorial spotlight on ‘Public Areas’, Hotel Designs asks lighting design studio Inspired By Design how bespoke feature lighting can take a hotel’s communal areas to the next level…

In all types of projects whether hospitality, residential or commercial – and especially where there is a large ceiling void – a bespoke lighting feature is often commissioned to both illuminate the space and to complete the design.

Assuming the design of the feature light is decided, the following factors should be addressed in order to ensure the project is a success:

Dimensions

The first requirement for the design is knowing floor to ceiling height and the overall dimensions you require the fitting to be to best suit the area. Length and width are critical as you’ll need to decide how much of the void you wish to fill. Do you want a long and slim fitting or a more expansive fitting?

Synthesis

Since the fitting is such an important feature for the space, although it may be a dramatic statement piece, it also needs to synthesise with the overall design of the scheme.

Generally, if working with metal structures, it is important to either match or complement the finishes used in the design. Therefore, we would request a control sample finish or RAL colour that we can work with. The same applies to shade material finishes or even coloured crystal if used in the design.

Weight

With the design, materials and dimensions in place, it’s important to consider how much the light will weigh.

Can the ceiling hold the weight of the fitting? We will provide an accurate weight at quotation stage to ensure at first fix stage that the ceiling is suitably reinforced. It is very important at this point, if the building has a glazed atrium then you need to discuss with our team appropriate methods of hanging and fixing the chandelier.

Alternatively, in a public space you may want to consider a winch. The advantages of a winch are that if fitted at the first fix stage it enables installation to be quicker and more efficient. The added advantage is that a winch enables you to change light bulbs or clean the fitting in the future with lower down time for that area.

Level of visual impact

For many larger fittings especially in lobbies, the fitting will be visible from multiple levels, it’s important to ensure that it remains aesthetically pleasing from all visible angles to ensure that if viewed from a higher point that they are not just seeing wiring or fixing chain and also to ensure that the lights are not shining directly in people’s faces at any point.

Design concept

Armed with this information and an approval of quotation we can then work to issue drawings showing our interpretation of your design concept. This stage tends to take the longest time as there is usually a lot of back and forth involved to get the final concept ready for sign off.

Production and delivery

Once everything is approved and signed-off, we can start production on the piece according to the agreed timeline and provide regular updates to keep you in the loop.

Included in the quotation, we would generally account for transport depending on the location, mode of delivery and also if any special installation is required. If necessary, relevant certification can be provided during the production stage.

Finally, the piece is securely installed and the vision is made a reality to be admired for years to come.

Inspired By Design is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Inspired By Design

Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

The $500 million mixed-used development plans for Crown Group‘s 43-storey tower high-rise in downtown Los Angeles include 160-key hotel…

Australian residential developer Crown Group has taken the next steps in its first move into the US market, where it plans to develop a $500 million mixed-use high-rise condominium and hotel tower that will bring a touch of the enviable Aussie lifestyle to LA’s burgeoning Downtown district.

Crown Group is progressing entitlements with Los Angeles City Hall for the proposed tower, which is earmarked for the southeast corner of South Hill and 11th streets at the convergence of Downtown’s financial, fashion and South Park districts. Crown Group has formed a joint venture with a Singapore-based company, Magnus Property Pte Ltd, and one of Indonesia’s biggest property developers, ASRI, the premium lifestyle brands division of Agung Sedayu Group, which has won 20 awards for 33 projects since they were founded in 1971. Some of ASRI’s most notable developments include The Langham Jakarta (the first in Southeast Asia), The Langham Residences (the first Langham-branded residence in the world), as well as premium estates such as Fatmawati City Center and District 8 in the heart of Jakarta’s CBD. The joint venture group settled on the Downtown site in November 2019.

“We want to humanise tall buildings.” – Archtiect, Koichi Takada

The striking 43-storey tower, designed by world-renowned architect Koichi Takada, is destined to redefine the Downtown skyline and will embody Crown Group’s philosophy of melding inspired architecture with a futuristic vision of a new way of living, to become an iconic landmark for the city. The project at 1111 Hill Street is expected to be completed in 2024. 

“It is our desire, through a nature-inspired approach to architecture, to transform an old warehouse district into a living breathing neighbourhood in LA,” Takada explained. “We want to humanise tall buildings, to celebrate the pedestrian activities and consider how people experience it,” he said. “We want our tall building designs to be more engaging for the public, and to contribute to the community by activating and creating a connection with the neighbourhood.”

The high-rise sections of the building will comprise 319 condominiums with an exclusive residents’ retreat over the top two floors and a façade design that references California’s gigantic ancient redwood trees. A dramatic street canopy will ground the tower and incorporate a “breathing green wall”, designed to improve the city’s air quality and introduce a unique landscaping feature to the Downtown streetscape.

Crown Group’s LA office is also in discussions with several luxury hotel brands to incorporate a 160-key hotel in the low rise of the building, which is set to become one of the city’s’ most desirable getaways.

Crown Group CEO Iwan Sunito said the flourishing Downtown district of LA had experienced a significant transformation over the past decade. This is evidenced by LA Live’s expansion, Warner Music and Spotify establishing offices, headline retailers such as Apple, Vans and Paul Smith launching flagship stores, a bevy of iconic restaurants opening venues and numerous residential, hotel and commercial developments underway.

“It’s rare to find the central district of a large cosmopolitan city on the verge of such significant change,” he explained. “Downtown is experiencing a once in a generation revival – led by the heightened convergence of tech, media and entertainment in Los Angeles. There’s a great deal of investment and it’s exciting to think of what Downtown will be like in another few years’ time. It will be a highly sought-after place to live.”

Crown Group Head of US Development Patrick Caruso said the development would offer an appealing point of difference for buyers in Downtown LA and bring a new version of condominium living to the district.

“It’s a fast-evolving part of the city yet there is limited choice when it comes to well-designed homes,” Caruso added. “We anticipate that this new mixed-used development, which will offer attainable luxury living with never before seen facilities including an exclusive rooftop residents’ retreat, collocated with a quality branded hotel will be very well received by those looking for a new condominium.

“It’s clear that buyers are seeking more diverse offerings, so our fresh and unique Australian approach of functional resort style-living melded with sophisticated architectural design will fill a significant gap in the market.”

Established in Sydney in 1996, Crown Group has built its reputation on delivering iconic luxury developments and today has a $5 billion pipeline spanning five cities and two continents. 

Crown Group and Koichi Takada Architects are the creative pairing behind a series of major residential apartment projects in Australia including a stunning condominium and hotel tower called Arc by Crown Group in Clarence Street Sydney, which has won numerous international awards.

In 2019 they completed the sell-out Infinity by Crown Group, with its famous looped shape, at Green Square, just 4km from Sydney centre. Koichi Takada has also gained worldwide recognition for designing the stunning interiors of the National Museum of Qatar in the Middle East, which were unveiled in 2019.

Main image credit: Crown Group/Koichi Takada Architects

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

To understand the long-term impact COVID–19 will have on the hospitality and hotel design industry, editor Hamish Kilburn asked a handful of leading designers, architects and hoteliers to remotely partake in Hotel Designs’ debut virtual roundtable…

Meet the panel

There is no doubt about it, the industry is suffering as the COVID–19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to either close entirely or adopt working remotely into studio life. With many questions emerging around the current crisis, Hotel Designs puts the pandemic under the harsh editorial spotlight in its debut virtual roundtable. Editor Hamish Kilburn confronts some of the industry’s leaders in order to gain some perspective over how hospitality and hotel design will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term.

Hamish Kilburn: How has the pandemic affected working life?

Fiona Thompson: Design is all about collaboration, and we are learning a whole new way of doing that. We typically work in an open studio, for example, and we experience the projects as they are being designed. In the physical sense, our team is not able to do to that at the moment. We moved out of London a few days before the ‘lockdown’ was introduced, and we are all currently very well connected. I can’t say it’s the same, but it is working and we are adapting.

Michael Bonsor: To put it bluntly , this [COVID–19] has decimated the industry. The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for. The government stepped in with the incredible furlough package, which has protected so many jobs.

Conor O’Leary: Hospitality is what we do – we look after people. Guests from all over the world stay with us, eat with us and enjoy the plethora of outdoors activities that we offer. Well, we are not doing any of that at the moment. None of our team want to be sitting at home on any furlough arrangements. We totally understand the frustration, but we are where we are.

Geoff Hull: From an architect’s perspective, while on-site activity has been put on hold, there is a lot of design work, and collaboration work with specialists, that is ongoing. We are hoping that we can come out of this, in three months, with some dynamically designed projects planned so that we are ahead when we are allowed back on site.

James Dilley: As a designer, the backdrop of wallpapers and artwork in colleagues and clients kitchens, bedrooms and lofts is sometimes inspiring and sometimes sobering. On a serious level, I personally miss the face-to-face and often serendipitous interaction of a physical studio. 

“This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: How has working-from-home changed your mindset on communication? 

GH: I think we are communicating better at the moment, and how people have come together is awe-inspiring. We work with a lot of non-UK designers at EPR Architects who would usually insist on flying over on a first-class ticket to see us. However, with these meetings being able to happen virtually instead, there is a question on the need of so much travel. I genuinely am looking at this positively.

JD: I have recently been pre-occupied with the way that people “home” themselves has been rapidly evolving, and layering this revolution in how we work, particularly from home, will make this even more exciting. If life is evolution peppered with revolution, this is the latter.

MB: Prior to this happening we were over communicating with the team, to ensure that everyone had all the information they needed. With those employees that have been put on furlough packages, we may not be engaging with them to work, but we are engaging with them to keep everyone updated. We have a core team of 30 people in the hotel who are making the property safe and they are doing fun things in the hotel to keep everyone engaged and informed.

HK: When do you expect your hotels to re-open?

MB: The global market has to be stable for a hotel like Rosewood London to re-open. We can’t just rely on the local market because there is not enough demand to go around. For me, I would rather the government measures were prolonged a little while longer so that it gives time for the world to reset.

CO: Not only does the world need to reset, but we also have to understand how happy people are to travel.

MB: We might open a part of the hotel, like the the bar and restaurant, in June or July. Things are getting pushed back as the social season is cancelling in the UK. Meanwhile, Austria has just announced that they will begin to slowly reopen some businesses, which could be an indication of things to come, but hotels and restaurants are at the end of that cycle.

CO: We don’t see a hotel bedroom being open until July. It’s slightly different for us here. We don’t see there being much point in having the restaurants and bars open without having guests in – we don’t have that passing traffic and footfall. We may get some of our activities open for our members, but it’s not a game-changer for us. We will know more after Easter, but the second question to that is what that looks like when we open. It’s going to be focused on local custom which will be a lower volume level. Suddenly our entire business model changes.

HK: Generally speaking, hotels are targeting an international audiences. Will this change post-pandemic? 

CO: Our business model is built on a summer of international guests, and that may be different going forward. We are privileged in our geographical location – Gleneagles is built on an 850-acre estate. For now, all our strategies are short-term and everything is changing all the time. We are staying in touch with the team. We have always been conscious about where we sit in the community, and that’s great in the good times, but also more important in the times like these to ensure we stay in touch and support.

MB: 40 per cent of our market comes from America. This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world. That may be a small silver lining in this global crisis. We are re-forecasting and re-strategising every four hours right now, because who knows how this is going to go?

“I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: How will hotels catering to ‘bleisure’ travellers be impacted from the pandemic?

JD: The ‘business hotels’ will come out looking very different. I have spent many years just hopping on a plane to a destination to see a client or a site. Over three months, working from home will start to feel normal. I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it. That is the biggest impact.

In terms of leisure, when this passes I predict there will a spike because people will be anxious about being coped up and will want to compensate. After that, people will settle down and I predict that people will question whether they need to travel as much as they were. I think there will be a spike in leisure hospitality experiences closer to home.

HK: What about the way in which we design public areas, will this change?

FT: Perhaps in the short-term. Of course people will be conscious of hygiene and numbers of people in meetings may end up being limited. It’s very difficult to tell how quickly it will reset, and whether or not it will go back to normal. I certainly don’t have the answer right now. In business travel, we are utilising the internet and technology at the moment, so there will arguably be less need to travel as much at the end of this.

“Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: Has COVID–19 taken sustainability off the radar?

CO: One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustainability. There has to be an element of trust, and I predict that consumers will want to know more about where things have come from.

MB: I would say that any good operator will continue with more gusto now in eliminating single-use plastics, reducing energy consumption and looking local for products and services. Respecting the world around us has never been so important.

FT: I would hope the focus hasn’t shifted. Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects. It almost calls for it to be more apparent.

Image caption: The Old War Office in Whitechapel. Executive Architect for this high-profile Restoration and Conversion mixed use project was EPR Architects

HK: What’s social media’s role in all of this? 

CO: Gleneagles is being cautious when it comes to social media. We are trying to be positive without being glib. We are very aware that the wider Gleneagles family is suffering. Our messaging has shifted to be more focused around the community with zero selling and zero brand promotion. Our team is working with local councils in order to help amplify their messages.

MB: At one point, we wanted to create content around what you could do at home , such as cooking recipes and fitness workouts etc. However, as the story has evolved, we have decided to pause messaging and just wait. What we are doing has more of a charity angle. We have just teamed up with James & Cranwell for its Hospitality 4 Heroes campaign to raise money for the NHS during the crisis. You have to be so careful with tone right now in everything you do. It’s wise to be slightly quieter than normal. But we are looking at markets that are coming back. Five or six properties in Asia, for example, are re-opening, and we are looking at how we can engage with those markets, but it is a slow process – and while some areas around the world are recovering, others are being hit hard.

“It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: Will any sector come out looking stronger at the end of the COVID–19 crisis?

MB: We were speaking before the closure with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them. I think we will utilise the same technology going forward. Also, from a positive point of view, there will be more emphasis on re-training staff regarding sanitisation and anti-viral measures and the courses they can complete.

To put it another way, we are back at the ‘opening stage’ again. We opened the hotel eight years ago and we are at that moment again. It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were. We have been talking in great deal about this. Those cities that will come out of this stronger will be the ones that have sharp responses to this problem.

“To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

HK: Will this pandemic create a desire for more minimalist design?

FT: It will certainly be a design driver. After all, space is luxury. To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces. It will be interesting to see how long concerns last when this is all over, because people’s behaviour does tend to revert back to how they used to use spaces.

“This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Concept render of W Edinburgh, designed by Jestico + Whiles

HK: How will the industry rebuild itself from this?

CO: We’ve had evolutions and revolutions in the past. People want to leave their houses and there will be spike in demand for hospitality products when we are able. Well-managed businesses will survive. The risk is in the mid-sectors. Equally, innovation comes through during hardships.

JD: We were in a position before all of this when hospitality was changing; the industry was not the hotel with the capital ‘H’ everywhere. Yes we have the grandeur five-star hotels, and they had their plan, but hospitality was and is generally becoming more universal and accessible.

There was a phenomenon that was happening that was very exciting: hotels were becoming continuous with other uses, such as a cinema or a radio station as well as other things. They were becoming more open and permeable.

As well as entertainment, we have seen hotels opening co-working spaces. They were becoming conjoined with this long line of what you might call ways of living. The merging of those ways of living was becoming blurred. The fluid boundaries were becoming exciting. I think this revolution is going to be layered on top of that where the hotel has to morph to become much more extended and fluid. This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.

If you would like to respond to some of the areas we have discussed in this virtual roundtable, please do so by tweeting @HotelDesigns.

“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

Analysts at GlobalData have predicted that the global outbreak of COVID-19 will steer the UK consumer’s attention off sustainability…

Sustainability was the buzz word of 2019 and would have continued to increase in prominence in 2020. However, the COVID–19 pandemic will bring progress to a halt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“Making changes to materials, logistics and production processes to improve the sustainability of products and operations will slow, as sustainability is no longer top of retailers’ and consumers’ agendas,” commented Emily Salter, Analyst at GlobalData. “This is due to long-term adjustments being costly and many non-food retailers will be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales.”

Sustainability and single-use plastic will be less important to many consumers in the short term where hygiene and cleanliness is more of a priority to prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the outbreak, shopping habits were starting to shift – 74 per cent of nationally representative UK consumers surveyed in 2019 said they would prefer to shop at a retailer that has more loose fruit and vegetables. However, the prioritisation of health over the environment has led to a drastic increase in sales of anti-bacterial gel and hand wash in plastic bottles, with little regard for plastic-free alternatives or refills that may be available.

Salter continues: “Another issue is the problem of unsold stock that retailers will be stuck with, as all non-essential stores and some websites have ceased trading temporarily. Some items and ranges could be able to be sold at a later date, but this may not be the case for highly seasonal and trend-led pieces, raising questions about how these items will be disposed. Given Burberry came under fire for burning stock in 2018, retailers must be careful how they deal with this issue. Acting quickly, Kurt Geiger has announced it plans to donate some of its stock to NHS staff, clearing through the excess while also generating positive press.”

Additionally, during the outbreak consumers will be less likely or unable to buy second hand items – sales via some Facebook neighbourhood groups for instance are being discouraged or stopped, and willingness may decline after the crisis is over due to lingering concerns about the hygiene of used products.

Salter concludes: “Although sustainability will slowly become more important again once the spread of COVID-19 has ceased, the increased awareness of cleanliness and germs is likely to remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds and will continue to hinder the growth of sustainability initiatives, such as refill stores.”

Image credit: Pixabay

Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

Architect Bill Bensley responded to a hotel brief by designing a hotel where guests are caged while wild, exotic animals roam free…

Known for his bohemian and brilliant ideas when it comes to sustainability, architect Bill Bensley has perhaps new creative heights by designing a concept to flip the idea of a zoo on its head, allowing animals to run free while humans in put in cage-like rooms.

CNN reported that the first phase of the eight-year WorldWild project, which will consist of several different top branded hotels, is slated to open in as early as 2023.

The ‘human zoo’ hotel concept, which will be targeted to luxury travellers who are seeking for unparalleled experiences, will shelter 2,400 ‘human cages’ that will actually look more like high-end, design-led guestrooms that frame an uninterrupted and uncorrupted view on natural the wildlife below.

The site where the hotel is being conceived is situated on a 2,000-hectare plot, which will reinstate wetlands to encourage biodiversity.

With the concrete aim being firm to free wildlife from captivity, Bensley’s concept has recently reached a milestone, gaining approval from Southern China’s Communist Party to relocate abused animals from zoos in the country, to be released onto the roughly 2,000-hectare piece of land where the ‘human zoo’ will be located.

Bensley’s latest wild concept will give animals the luxury of 95 per cent of the land to roam about in, while humans will reside in just five per cent of the grounds in the hotel.

Turning the Zoo concept on its head when designing a new hotel approach has raised further questions as to how hospitality can help to educate people on how to conserve areas that would not otherwise be protected.

Main image credit: Bensley

SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

To mark the change of focus of Hotel Designs’ editorial lens, editor Hamish Kilburn goes on a journey to discover some of the world’s most unconventional hotel lobbies and public spaces… 

From striking rooftop bars above bustling metropolises to home-from-home hot-desk sanctuaries, the design of hotel public areas have evolved to capture not only a property’s rare personality but also a brand’s ethos and character.

While luxury hotel etiquette and demand has changed, one thing has remained firm for the operators and designers alike: you only have one opportunity to make a lasting first impression, which is arguably most true when it comes to designing the hotel lobby and public spaces. It’s a fine balancing skill to master. Designing a space suitable and accessible for everyone, but creating skilfully and meaningfully designing public spaces that add drama in all the right areas without coming across too strong can take a well-designed hotel into the realms of extraordinary masterpieces.

To kickstart Hotel Designs firmly positioning Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, here are nine uniquely designed lobbies and public spaces that each aptly amplify a hotel’s purpose and charm.

The Ritz Carlton – Astana

Image credit: Ritz Carlton

With a unique yet graceful design, The Ritz-Carlton – Astana is a natural extension of the square around the nearby Bayterek Tower, a monument and symbol of modern Astana. The property features an architectural lighting scheme designed by Nulty Lighting with carefully positioned luminaires in the soffit, which graze light across the fins for a dappled effect. In the restaurant, surface-mounted spotlights nestle within a bronze trough that cuts through an otherwise architecturally clean ceiling, complemented by a suspended rail with adjustable spotlights, which drops from the same detailing to provide a focus along the continuous marble counter, drawing the eye through the space.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York

Image credit: Public Hotel, New York

Featuring what our editorial team are unofficially concluding as the largest sofa in the world, PUBLIC, designed by legendary designer Ian Schrager, has all the necessary ingredients of a successful urban retreat. The New York-based hotel is known for being refined, sophisticated, smart, simple, yet flamboyant and provocative all at the same time. Its public areas, complete with high ceilings and modern comfortable furniture, attract locals and guests alike to work, socialise and simply chill out in a comfortable setting.

The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

The ground floor inside The Standard London was inspired by the groovy 70s, a decade full of character with Psychedelic Furs (the early years), Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the debut of The Muppets and Star Wars capturing the movement.

The Standard London’s lobby/lounge features fabulous circular fixtures and quirky furniture that set the scene. The carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use. Look down and you’ll notice a sumptuous orange rug leading the way into the hotel, look up and the bright red ceiling offsets the striped wooden walls and the blue mural behind the reception – forcing you to take everything you thought you knew about maximalism and throwing it out the window. The muted lamps and pot plants only enhance the boldness of the lobby’s design.

AKELARRE Hotel

Image credit: AKELARRE Hotel.

Architecture studio Mecanismo was responsible for the construction and interior design of AKELARRE Hotel. The carefully and meaningfully designed public areas evoke a sense of calm with a clever use of curves. The design concept was to use elements that coexist in harmony with the surrounding environment, to connect the interiors with the striking views of landscape that surrounds.

The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong

Image credit: The Murray Hotel

The Murray Hotel was a preservation project undertaken by Foster + Partners, the brief being to design a 336-key luxury hotel within the shell of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks that was built in 1969.

The hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant both reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces feature high-end luxury furniture from Minotti, including Aston sofas and Lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables. A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Image credit: Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The patterned-geometric rug, cosy leather seating and contemporary white lighting reflects Scandi modern living. The home-from-home lobby inside Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, designed by Wingårdh Architects, shelters subtle deft touches, clean lines and playful colour while balancing the well-to-do elegance of the original building.

The Langham, Chicago

Image credit: Langham Hotels

The Langham Chicago, designed by Richmond International, is part of the former IBM tower, the final masterpiece of architect Mies Van Der Rohe and a well-loved feature of Chicago’s skyline, which the design team respected while creating a new, luxurious hotel inside its magnificent shell.

The designers opened up the reception with double-height spaces and introduced views of the city and the Chicago River. Materials such as bronze and travertine reference the original building, while decorative elements including onyx and velvet were inspired by the architect’s residences. The result is a warm, elegant hotel that honours its past.

nhow London

‘London Reloaded’ was the interior design concept for nhow London. The design studio Project Orange stretched that broad theme to its limits when imagining the look and feel of the the lobby inside the 190-key hotel. Although the arrival experience is impressive and memorable, we believe that the corridors, which often become ‘dead spaces’ are a true reflection of the studio’s ability to uniquely narrate a story with interiors. Inspired by a London stroll in the park, the corridors feature detailed HD carpets by Brintons and has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Proper Hotel San Francisco

Image credit: Proper Hotels

The flagship property of Proper Hotels is nestled in a landmarked flatiron-style building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district., and features captivating interiors by designer Kelly Wearstler. The designer’s luxury residential style is arguably most felt in the lobby, which has been created using a clash of patterns, colours and textures alongside European furniture pieces from a number of design movements in history.

Main image credit: AKELARRE Hotel

IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

Design and architecture studio Denniston’s Jean-Michel Gathy has been announced as the master planner of the ultra luxe AMAALA Island in Saudi Arabia…

Denniston’s internationally multi-award-winning architect, Jean-Michel Gathy, has released the first rendering showing what Ultra Luxe Amaala Island will look like.

Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, AMAALA, located along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast, is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

Rendering of 'The Palace', which will be situated on The Island

Image caption: A rendering of ‘The Palace’, which will be situated on The Island

Set in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve across three unique communities, the 3,800-square kilometres (1,460-square miles) year-round destination will include 2,500 hotel keys and more than 800 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, alongside 200 high-end retail establishments, fine dining, wellness and recreation.

“This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

“The Island development will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel,” explained Gathy. “Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the ‘Diamond of the Red Sea’. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.”

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a 'seven-star' hotel room

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a ‘seven-star’ hotel room

Representing one of AMAALA’s trio of communities – Triple Bay, Coastal Development and The Island – ‘The Island’ will be the tranquil home of an exclusive art community, and an Arabic botanical garden filled with sculptural pieces. The new destination will house masterpieces across four key design elements: a contemporary art museum and academy, a Riviera-lifestyle artists’ colony, immersive artistic experiences, and art and sculpture co-creation opportunities.

The active community of The Island will be anchored by an artists’ village of working studios, artisanal shops, galleries, plus exhibition and performance facilities hosting a year-round calendar of immersive, and transformative works, representing the pillar of arts and culture. Fully aligned with Saudi Arabia’s ambitions for the future, the development of AMAALA is being rolled out across three key phases, with completion of the destination aimed for ahead of the realisation of Saudi Vision 2030.

AMAALA carves a unique positioning within the global hospitality portfolio, catering to select travellers looking for innovative experiential escapes,” said Chief Executive Officer of AMAALA, Nicholas Naples. “Our ambition is to create personalised experiences, catering to the individual needs of each guest. Entrenched in the philosophies of art, wellness, and inspired by the purity of the Red Sea, we are excited to be working alongside Jean-Michel Gathy and Denniston to bring to life our vision for The Island. It is here where our guests will embark on a transformational journey and feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, with opportunities for philanthropic art co-creation.”

In addition to the The Island, Triple Bay will offer a fully holistic wellness retreat, state-of-the-art diagnostic medical facilities and authentic treatments designed to feature the local environment. Triple Bay will also be home to a fully integrated sports and entertainment community.

Elsewhere, The Coastal Development is set to become the defining hub of contemporary art in the Middle East, playing host to a dynamic programme of exciting events from the global arts and cultural calendar.

All image credits: Denniston/AMAALA

Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

Aloft Hotels’ First property on the Island of Bali introduces the brand’s new ‘future-proof design formula’…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers, has announced the opening of Aloft Bali Seminyak.