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Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

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

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

Meet the panel: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue co

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bespoke design in a post-pandemic era of hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bespoke design in a post-pandemic era of hospitality

The very essence of bespoke design conjures up feelings of luxury, exclusivity and comfort, all of which are vital feels to capture in hospitality in a pandemic world. To understand the role of bespoke in tomorrow hotel, we catch up with Will Chelsom, Managing Director at Chelsom

Designing something to perfectly suit its application rather than buying ‘off-the-shelf’ will always add a sense of quality and value to a project which is especially true with decorative lighting. For decades the design team at Chelsom has worked hard to ensure there is a consistent DNA flowing through all aspects of their products. Regarded as one of the leading global suppliers of decorative lighting to the global Hospitality sector, Chelsom’s standard products are selected by interior designers for brands ranging from Mandarin Oriental to Holiday Inn Express and Virgin Voyages to Carnival Cruise Lines.

Image credit: Celebrity Edge/Chelsom

Image credit: Celebrity Edge/Chelsom

Alongside the evolution of the brand’s standard lighting collection, Chelsom is also a leading bespoke lighting manufacturer. The team at Chelsom work in a truly collaborative manner with designers and end clients to bring often challenging, one-off design concepts to life. Recent bespoke projects range from the design and build of a one-off five-metre-high statement chandelier for a hotel atrium as well as the manufacturing of 5000+ table lamps to feature in every cabin on a cruise ship.

Unique designs require flexible and adaptable manufacturing, something Chelsom prides itself on offering clients at every stage of a bespoke project. The Chelsom bespoke team is made up of specialists in all areas including design, logistics, operations, production and technical, symbiotically working alongside one another in order to achieve the best results. Chelsom has a 100 per cent ‘partnership approach’ when working with clients where they can add extensive knowledge, expertise and skill whilst the customer creative design intent always remains at the core of the process.

image of men making bespoke lights

Image credit: Chelsom

Bespoke design was once considered something for the luxury end of the market. However, the demand for tailored, unique design is something Chelsom works with clients to deliver at all budget levels. The industry has been hit incredibly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and many believe that there will be a need to future-proof the industry by factoring in special qualities to product and interior design. As we all move forward from the pandemic, there will undoubtedly be more of a need to customise products and to specify lighting with added functionality.

Over the last year, the Chelsom design team have been exploring a number of different aspects of lighting design which could serve to reduce the spread of viruses within the hospitality environment. As bespoke features, Chelsom has developed decorative ‘touchless-switching’ solutions which will reduce the points of contact in a hotel guestroom; They also offer fabrics with antimicrobial qualities, as well as metal finishing options which will significantly reduce the spread of germs and bacteria; The Chelsom team are even exploring the use of UV light within a decorative application in a further attempt to wage war on viruses within the hospitality setting. None of these solutions will suit every project but the technologies are there to be experimented with and by having the capabilities available, Chelsom are able to constantly offer smarter solutions and add even more weight to their bespoke services and products for the future.

A luxury room with bespoke lighting design

Image credit: Chelsom

Chelsom’s goal moving forward is to ensure that the bespoke lighting process can be both affordable and sustainable. With so many supply chain options available, the Chelsom team hopes that their quality levels, experience and market knowledge makes them the go-to lighting experts for projects at all levels. However, price-point and quality can only play part of the role in the world today and Chelsom are constantly looking to streamline processes and be more sustainable in everything they do as the environmental agenda becomes ever more important. Chelsom’s drive to ‘make more in UK’ significantly reduces the carbon impact seen by using overseas manufacturing and global logistics and they are delighted to have completed so many projects using home-grown manufacturing in North West of England.

Modern room inside Hoxton Hotel in Southwark

Image credit: Hoxton Southwark/Chelsom

One recent example saw Chelsom create a huge chandelier for Le Meridien Dania Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chelsom worked with Dash Design in New York to create a lobby chandelier centre-piece designed to look like a constellation of stars and planets, suspended to create the illusion it was floating on air. A series of ‘planets’ attached to steel arms of varying lengths contain a small LED at the end to represent stars in the sky. Designed to be compatible with the hotel’s existing dimming system, real wow factor is achieved as the chandelier light effect adapts and transitions from a day through to night sequence. The project was challenging and took two years to complete but Chelsom were able to interpret the original design through months of intense planning and development. A huge level of CAD expertise went into evolving the design and miniature model versions of the chandelier were created long the way so that Chelsom could perfect the overall engineering of the product and master the perfect manufacturing technique.

One of the biggest challenges was how to make a huge statement chandelier, the size of a London Bus, appear weightless and fit perfectly into the six-metre domed ceiling of the hotel lobby. The light effect was also key, requiring a huge amount of technical Chelsom knowledge to create the desired ‘twinkle’ effect so that the chandelier correctly represented the constellation look that the client was after. Every single aspect of this project was carried out in the Chelsom UK headquarters, including all project management meetings, the overall design and engineering, sampling and prototyping and then the overall manufacture. The huge structure was broken down into many sections at the Chelsom HQ and then delivered and installed by the Chelsom in Florida. The final results speak for themselves and this is one of the most impressive light fittings that Chelsom has ever created. It was a technical and engineering marvel in its creation but also an aesthetic achievement to have remained so sympathetic to the original Dash Design brief.

Since you’re here, why not read more about Chelsom’s Edition 27 Collection? 

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

Main image credit: Chelsom

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

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

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

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

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

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JI: Stylish, inspired and iconic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Burlington

FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

The new Bespoke by Burlington collection, which was designed in collaboration with Julie Ingham, marks a ‘new era’ for the leaders in traditional bathrooms…

With the launch of Bespoke by Burlington, Bathroom Brands Group Projects has just stretched the limits of possibilities when it comes to customisation in bathroom aesthetics.

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

“The new Bespoke by Burlington collection marks a really exciting turning point for us as a Group,” explained Mick Bone, Director of Group Projects at Bathroom Brands. “Burlington’s products, in particular the Edwardian collection, have long been favourites of specifiers, designers and architects, especially within the hospitality market. Now, we can offer them even more choice when it comes to customisation, whilst maintaining the enduring quality and sought after authentic traditional style that Burlington has become known for.”

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

Drawing inspiration from the decorated and coloured ceramics of bygone eras, Burlington worked in collaboration with British designer Julie Ingham to create the Bespoke by Burlington collection. Made to order by skilled craft workers in Staffordshire, in England, using the finest materials, the collection is presented on a selection of Burlington’s best-selling Edwardian basins and WCs.

From the intricate hand-illustrated patterns of the Art Deco, Floral, Seascape and Cityscape decorated designs to the bold and captivating shades of the Confetti Pink, Alaska Blue and Moon Grey ceramics, the wide choice of stunning pieces broadens Burlington’s portfolio to now encompass bolder colours and exquisite decorative details, offering the opportunity to deliver truly unique projects.

Ideal for commercial, hospitality and residential design projects, Bespoke Lettering provides the ultimate opportunity for personalisation. Customers may choose between three lettering styles and a choice of two locations on selected basin sizes in Burlington’s Edwardian basin collection, the perfect individual finishing touch a bathroom scheme.

Burlington 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: Burlington

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Creating individual style with bespoke design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Creating individual style with bespoke design

In the incredibly competitive hospitality market, setting your hotel brand apart from the rest is everything, as Cheeky Chairs’ Felicity Randolph explains…

From large brands to small independent boutiques, there’s so much choice for the consumer that any element of differentiation can be an advantage.

When customers look for a hotel, more often than not, they’re seeking luxury and a sense of indulgence, while still having that all important feeling of a home-from-home. The interior design trends of popular Airbnb properties and the rise in Instagram interior design trends have led people to expect a certain standard from hotels that’s more personal and bespoke. But how are hotels using bespoke design to evoke a feeling of comfort while still offering high quality accommodation? They are turning to brands like Cheeky Chairs to create an individual interior style that breaks a few rules and delivers what people want from a modern hotel.

Bespoke furniture

Individuality is at the heart of any luxury property and one of the most successful ways of achieving this is through bespoke furniture. By including pieces that are made to order and designed to suit the space, boutique hotels are able to set themselves apart from the competition and create an ambience that’s all their own. For example, Cheeky Chairs produce stunningly crafted chairs and bar stools coupled with seriously comfortable seats upholstered in luxury designer fabrics for a look that’s completely unique and wonderfully comfortable. Each of the designs is bespoke and ties in with décor trends, such as their SS2020 Collection which comprises selected ikats, prints and woven designs. This balance of comfort with high quality materials and elegant design creates a truly artisanal appearance.

Breaking the rules with fabric

Hoteliers are increasingly seeking ways to find a balance between furniture and fixtures that match the standards expected of the industry while still providing a personal touch for a residential feel. Some of the ways they’re achieving this is through finer details like fabric choices. For example, opting for carpets and plush rugs over cold hardwood flooring is one way of softening the look and feel of a room. Woven tapestries, upholstered furniture with luxury fabrics, and scatter cushions or throws on the bed are all ways of playing with fabric and doing the unexpected, both with the choice of fabric and the colours used.  Fabric serves as a great way of creating a warmer space that puts an end to the clinical, austere hotels of years gone by. It is also about breaking some rules! Cheeky Chairs work with leading names like Kit Kemp of Firmdale fame who is no stranger to bending and outright breaking stayed interior design rules when it comes to tone, texture and more. Hotels are now finding that pushing away from middle of the road design is liberating them and creating unique spaces people love.

Clashing colours

Many hotels put function above all else, leading to an overly formal interior. But the popularity of truly bespoke interiors and unique styles has shown, people are favouring informal and cosy spaces where they can truly relax over awkward formality that feels cold, detached and frankly boring. Blending colours and textures is a great way of creating that desirable carefree vibe that still evokes a level of luxury typically reserved for high-end hotels. By breaking the rules with fabric and colour and embracing texture, you can create a space that gives customers a memorable sensory experience. Layering colours and clashing fabrics both play a part in the Cheeky Chair raison d’etre and that of many boutique luxury hotels like the Pig Group and more.

More and more interior designers, producers and manufacturers are creating relationships with hotels that are looking to push away from the traditional path and Cheeky Chairs are leading the charge when it comes to pairing stunning fabrics with comfortable chairs for beautiful boutique hotels!

Cheeky Chairs is a boutique collection of beautifully crafted wood framed chairs and bar stools that have naturally soft seats upholstered in luxury fabrics. Each Cheeky Chair is made to order and a unique combination of model, designer fabric and colour to create a truly original statement piece.

The brand’s sustainably sourced frames are carefully selected for their design and quality; each seat is meticulously upholstered using natural materials for supreme comfort; its designer fabrics are of the highest quality.

The company offers an array of colour and luxury fabric combinations but will also work with customers’ own fabric selection and Cheeky Chairs’ specialist polishing team can create any finish to match a chosen interior.

Cheeky Chairs 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.

Brintons archive helps transform Queen Victoria’s rooms at Kensington Palace

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Brintons archive helps transform Queen Victoria’s rooms at Kensington Palace

Recommended Supplier Brintons, which was awarded the Royal Warrant at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in 1958, was involved in helping to transform the rooms in Kensington Palace…

Childhood home of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years, Kensington Palace is now a building of two halves, with the parts open to the public cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity.

On May 24 1819 at Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria was born. On 24th May 2019, her 200th birthday, the home of her youth re-opened to visitors after a major makeover in the form of a new semi-permanent display called ‘Victoria: A Royal Childhood.’ As part of the work to recreate the rooms where Victoria grew up, Historic Royal Palaces curators carried out extensive research into the decorative schemes she would have known as a child.

Brintons worked with the curators at Historic Royal Places, to create bespoke period carpets for the rooms where Victoria was born and raised at Kensington Palace.

It started with a trip to Brintons archive, which holds patterns from as early as 1790, the curators worked with Brintons Archivist Yvonne Smith to select original hand painted designs from the Georgian era. Historic Royal Palaces required designs that were authentic to the period when Victoria would have lived in the Palace and so Brintons was an obvious choice for this very special project. Brintons Creative Designer Kay Jones subsequently worked on a detailed specification to prepare the designs for manufacture. To meet the demands of a busy location, a high performance Brintons axminster carpet with a complex wove and locked yarn that creates a strong, integrated three dimensional structure was selected.

“Taking the rooms back to their 1820s decorative scheme was crucial to Historic Royal Palaces’ ambition to give visitors a real sense of what life looked like at Kensington Palace for Princess Victoria,” said Caterina Berni, Interpretation Manager, Historic Royal Palaces. “Brintons’ archival patterned carpets were ideal to help recreate the style and feel of these regency interiors, and along with the curtain textiles, wallpapers and room colours, definitely surprise visitors who are not expecting such a feast of colour, texture and pattern.”

Brintons own one of the world’s largest commercial design archives and historical pattern libraries in the industry, restored and preserved by their dedicated Archivist. The archive library is a facility unique to Brintons and is an invaluable resource to designers, conservators, decorators and contractors worldwide.

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: Brintons