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Biophilic Design

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

A year after hospitality lost its colour due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we’ve asked brand strategist Emma Potter to inject our pages with some vibrancy. Here, she explores colour’s role in post-pandemic hospitality and hotel design…

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in human behaviour. We have adapted well to new ways of working and new ways of communicating with our friends, family and colleagues, but how will the hospitality industry connect with the post-corona consumer? Through colour and savvy design is how.

I think it’s fair to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions from worry and anxiety with the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020 to frustration and confusion with the ongoing uncertainty as we enter a new year. Arguably it is in times like these where we are able to see just how powerful a tool colour is – used correctly and purposefully, it has the ability to control the emotional noise that surrounds us.

Image of pink colour on walls and black outdoor furniture indoors

Image credit: Stefen Tan/Unsplash

Like many other sectors, the hospitality industry has been hit exceptionally hard all over the world but I’m sure the appetite that many have to travel, see and experience new destinations remains pretty solid. Having been cooped up in our homes and restricted to our local areas (in some cases only a 5km radius from our front door) as human beings, we are craving a change of scene; to get away from our daily routine, and to have shared experiences with loved ones that help us reset, recharge and refocus.

As we continue to move through 2021 – a year of optimism and solutions – I believe colour will play an increasingly significant part in hotel design. Whilst the world is undergoing one of the largest global ‘resets’ in decades – with many people re-evaluating their lives, how they use their homes, where they want to live, their choice of career, right down to the way they wish to show-up and be present in the world – this is also a tremendous opportunity for hotels to ‘reset’ and re-open refreshed and reinvented.

In some instances, that may be a guest that’s looking for a high-end, luxury and high-tech experience that gives them the power to control and operate everything contactless. For others, who crave environmentally values, they will want to immerse themselves in nature and find a destination that has focused on bring the outdoors in, adopting a more biophilic style to their architecture and design. Moreover, perhaps hoteliers have taken this time to become more conscious to source all their products locally and from sustainable sources. In all cases, the two types of customers are very different and demand a different colour schemes and design style – and yet, they are often sheltered in the same hotel, which creates somewhat of a challenge for the design team. But it’s not impossible. One hotel that manages to perfectly balance both sustainable approaches and extreme luxury is Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, which was reviewed in 2019 by Hotel Designs.

Image of Jade Mountain and the Pitons

Image credit: Jade Mountain

Given the fact we’ve had so much screen time in the past 12 months, post-pandemic it’s likely we will see a surge of the environmentally values based consumer – and the hoteliers and designers who inject this feeling with purpose will the ones who come out on top.

“Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is an expensive decision to get wrong.” – Emma Potter.

In addition, just as colour has the ability to create an effective and productive workplace, it also has the authority to evoke an emotion and a positive memorable experience during a guest’s stay. Remember, guests are making decisions based on their emotions and therefore colour can often influence our emotions and change our behaviour – so it’s imperative for a hotel to get their colour scheme right to establish true, meaningful connections with their guests.

Common pitfalls to avoid when choosing colour

Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is hugely complex and an expensive decision to get wrong. It’s important to think about what the hotel brand stands for; who their ideal guest is (who do they want to appeal to), what do they want their hotel to offer that others don’t, what behaviours do they want to elicit, what feeling’s do they want to evoke, what memories do they want their guests to take away with them – all of these elements and more need a huge amount of consideration.

“Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’.” – Emma Potter.

So, when choosing a colour scheme, consider this:

  • Brilliant white – I would recommend that you avoid choosing brilliant white to paint a space, whether it’s big or small. From a psychological standpoint, white may be perceived as perfection to bring a sense of calm and quite; yet on the flip side it makes a space feel sterile, cold and lifeless. It reminds me of stark, clinical hospitals. Instead, check out the brands, such as Arte, that celebrate imperfection in nature.
  • Over saturation – Just as it’s important not to saturate a space with brilliant white, it’s equally not advisable to saturate a space with any ‘one’ colour. All colours, with the exception of pure greys, have positive and negative psychological aspects. Of course, grey may make us feel safe because it has the capacity to help us blend in with the background but for me it’s quite non-descript and when surrounded by it for too long depletes my energy levels, resulting in me feeling drained and lethargic. Equally if I was immersed in a red space initially, I may feel energised and excited but if I remain in a red room for a long period of time, I’m likely to become agitated and annoyed because I’ve been over stimulated by the colour.
  • Think about the space as a whole – When designing for a space it’s easy to get carried away with the colour scheme on the walls, but it’s important to think about the space as a whole. There are many elements to consider, from the walls, carpets, and cabinetry, to soft furnishings (including fabric type and textures as well as the construction of and / or print pattern), to lighting, glassware and the many accessories that adorn and embellish an environment. Think about the design journey and space as ‘one’ and the experience you with so take your guests on will flow.
  • Tonal harmony – A colour scheme will always come together and be a success when the colours chosen relate and come from the same tonal group. When colours don’t harmonise it generally creates a sense of confusion or disharmony which guests will pick up on innately, but what they won’t always be able to identify or articulate is ‘why’ they feel this sense of discomfort. In essence it all comes down to selecting a colour palette that has tonal harmony.
  • Trends are not timeless – I imagine that, certainly when it comes to residential design, opting for a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ is more common than we realise – perhaps a client has picked out the colour because they have seen it in a magazine. Yet to help us choose the right colour scheme it would be good to understand how, as humans, we relate to colour – be that psychologically, personally and symbolically. Additionally, it makes senses to understand the influence of both the positive and negative traits, plus the application and proportion of colour used to create the desired results. Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’, and not tuning into your intuition to discover your own. There are many well-respected paint-manufactures who make trend predictions at the beginning of every year like Pantone, Dulux, Farrow and Ball or Benjamin Moore – these are great places to go for inspiration, but in the end, make sure you select a colour palette and design style that’s right for your brand and the experience you wish to create – in the end it’s all about creating an immersive and memorable customer journey.
  • Create sense of place – Achieving a strong sense of place in hotel design without straying into cliché territory is often a major challenge in any project. Colour can be a subtle way to reflect the natural landscapes as well as the personality of the destination. Take the newly opened Moxy Miami South Beach, for example. Gregg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group delibrately chose a vibrant colour and design scheme that broke boundaries while capturing the “bright, carefree sophistication” of South Beach.
Image of ensuite in stylish Moxy room

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Clever ways of injecting colour to enhance wellbeing  

The idea of connecting hotel design and hospitality with nature is not new, yet in response to the pandemic there has been some discussion of the re-emergence and rise of biophilic design – it’s become mainstream! This builds on the idea that as humans we have an innate attraction to, and love of, the nature world. This would possibly explain why people will happily pay more for a room with a view of never-ending, undulating mountain ranges or the expansive horizon of the sea because these vistas will most likely deliver an incredible glowing sunrise to start your day whilst sipping on a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, or to end your day with a mesmerising sunset whilst enjoying a chilled glass of rose or perhaps a gin and tonic as a sundowner.

Jungle-inspired interiors showcasing various tones of surfaces

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

In essence, ‘biophilia’ means ‘love of life’, however, when it comes to biophilic design this does not mean putting in a few plants as a token gesture. It means embracing all elements of biophilic design, a true engagement of all our senses – sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell – to help us understand and absorb what’s going on around us. Take art outside the frame, using tiles from the likes of CTD Architectural Tiles. Use natural materials such as wood, maximising natural light, making organic shapes a priority, and using a range of plants to create a sense of the great outdoors – all of which helps to balance our emotions and support our emotional wellbeing whilst introducing a natural range of tones, shapes and colours.

Blue colour on walls with rattan bed

Image credit: Conran and Partners

In this way, not only do we create a space where guests feel safe and secure, we enable them to better connect with themselves by creating a peaceful, tranquil environment, making it a memorable meaningful experience that they’ll want to come back for, time and time again, year in, year out. After all, that is the end goal, right?

Main image Upsplash

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

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

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

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

Cork wallcoverings and blue sofas inside a lodge like hotel room

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

Image of lodge in the lake district

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

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

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

Image of half of the bed and plants

Image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

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

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

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

Main image credit: Gilpin Hotel & Lake House 

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

FEATURE: The ever-growing importance of biophilic design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: The ever-growing importance of biophilic design

While sustainability remains high-up on the agenda, and following editor Hamish Kilburn’s panel discussion at the Surface Design Show on biophilic materials in surface design, Nest explores the importance of bringing nature in…

If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the past few months, it’s been how much people have been connecting with nature.

In times of stress, we crave a relationship with the natural world – whether this be walking through our local park, filling our homes with houseplants or being able to relax in our gardens. Exposure to nature and the colour green has been shown to provoke the release of good endorphins; it can even help people heal faster. Mental health charities across the world also recommend spending more time outdoors to combat problems such as anxiety and depression.

So, with nature’s proven impact on our mental health and physical wellbeing, could biophilic design principles hold the key to creating sustainable and inviting spaces in the post-pandemic landscape?

How biophilic design can be applied in a hospitality setting

Wellbeing is huge industry that will only continue to grow. Spaces that can improve our health and wellness will play an ever bigger part as the hospitality sector looks to entice people back to international travel.

Biophilic design principles suggest that humans have an innate connection with the natural world. Through bringing elements of nature into our interiors, we can elevate the well-being of those inhabiting the space.

“Oliver Heath suggests that guests are willing to pay 23 per cent more for rooms with views of biophilic elements.”

As shown in many studies show, biophilia has the potential to be very powerful within a hospitality setting. A cost-effective way of improving the experience for guests, Oliver Heath suggests that guests are willing to pay 23 per cent more for rooms with views of biophilic elements. This is something that can be clearly seen in the link between the price of hotel rooms and whether they have a sea view.

But biophilic design is not just about views or introducing plants to your spaces. Materials, textures, colour, shape, lighting and ventilation all combines in well-designed biophilic spaces to create an environment which is calming and inviting.

We’ve picked out a few key ways in which you can start to introduce biophilic design principles into your interiors:

Directly introduce nature into a space

Whether this be through framing a striking view out of the window or simply displaying a bunch of fresh flowers in a statement vase, bringing the great outdoors inside is easier than you may think. Layer up your greenery to create a statement feature or even invest in dried flowers if keeping plants watered is too much to handle. This is an easy and often affordable way to introduce biophilic design principles into a space.

Image caption: Nest’s Fritz Hansen Lily Chair | Image credit: Nest

Make it easy for people to access the outdoors

As well as providing glimpses of nature within your interiors, consider how your building allows people to access the outdoors. Could you introduce outdoor seating onto a patio to create a place of refuge outdoors? Does your courtyard encourage people to spend time in it? An inviting outdoor space may well be key in a socially distanced future.

Introduce natural motifs

A pattern in the wallpaper, the form of a vase or the curves in a chair – organic forms that suggest shapes from nature are a great way to introduce another nod to nature into your interiors.

Make the most of natural materials

Textures that tempt our fingertips – combining materials such as cork, rattan, wool and wood in a space creates a natural material palette which can put us at ease. Tactile stimulation has been shown to help reduce our cortisol levels (which cause stress) and trigger the release of oxytocin (the love hormone) helping us to feel happier and more relaxed.

Consider the colour temperature of your lighting

Lighting can have a huge impact on our mood and alertness. There are now a number of circadian lighting systems on the market which mimic natural daylight through colour-changing LEDs. By subtly removing the stimulating blue spectrum of light in the mornings and evenings, these lighting systems help to improve both alertness and sleep quality by creating a more adaptable space.

As many of us continue to spend more time indoors, spaces that support us both physically and mentally will only continue to grow in importance.

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: Nest’s Hashira Table Lamp | Image credit: Nest