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Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood brand to arrive in Spain in 2021 as part of European expansion

The iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid is, in 2021, to become the first hotel in Spain to operate under Rosewood Hotels & Resorts…

Following the group’s recent announcement to take over Le Guanahani in St. Barth, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been selected by RLH Properties to manage the iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid, Spain.

The hotel, which is situated in the heart of Madrid, on the revered Paseo de la Castellana, will  become Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ first property in Spain and the fourth operation in Europe, where the group is sensitively expanding into other prime locations.

The beloved property will debut as Rosewood Villa Magna following a refurbishment, during which the property will remain open, that will incorporate a contemporary design, displaying an inspired interpretation of Spain’s capital city.

Exterior of Hotel Villa Magns

Image credit: Hotel Villa Magns

The hotel is centrally located, immediately neighbouring the prestigious Serrano shopping district, and other well-known nearby landmarks such as the Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía Museums. Villa Magna is currently closed as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19 and will reopen on September 1, 2020 operating independently until Rosewood assumes management once the refurbishment works have come to an end towards late 2021.

“As one of the world’s most alluring cultural capitals, Madrid is an ideal destination in which to raise the Rosewood flag, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to join together with our valued partners at RLH to breathe new life into one of the city’s most prolific properties, Villa Magna,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.  “A mecca for arts, culture and cuisine that perfectly balances the old with the new, Madrid offers the perfect canvas for our guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We look forward to bringing our differentiated approach to ultra-luxury hospitality to Spain with this special hotel.”

With a refreshed contemporary sense of style and service that speaks to today’s travellers, Rosewood Villa Magna will feature 150 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms and suites, distinct dining experiences and an inspired Sense, A Rosewood Spa.

“The iconic Villa Magna plays an important part in Madrid’s history, and as such we are proud to embark on this new journey with our exceptional team at the Villa Magna and together with Rosewood Hotel Group towards enhancing this unique asset that enjoys an irreplaceable location and taking it to the next level of luxury. We are excited to add our third Rosewood property to the RLH portfolio, alongside sister resorts Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico and the upcoming Rosewood Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico,” said Borja Escalada, CEO of RLH Properties.

Rosewood Villa Magna will add to Rosewood’s network of distinctive European properties, which currently includes Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany, Rosewood London and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris.  Additional properties set to open within the next three years include Rosewood Vienna (2022), Rosewood Munich (2023), Rosewood Venice (2023) and Rosewood Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London (TBD).

Main image credit: Hotel Villa Magna

Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting Case Study: Designing The Bristol

The 65-key hotel The Bristol, designed by Earl Swensson Associates (ESa), has a unique lighting story that includes specified pendants and chandeliers by Hudson Valley Lighting Group

The Bristol was born in 2015 when a commercial office building with historical character was marked for demolition. The Charlestowne Hotels group acquired it, hiring ESa (Earl Swensson Associates) to redesign and restore it, developing the eight-story brick building into a 65-key hotel.

Bristol is a town on the border of Virginia and Tennessee, and is commonly recognised as the birth place of country music: In 1927, Ralph Peer of Victor Records went out there to record some folks by the names of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The rest is history. That’s why the address of the The Bristol is 510 Birthplace of Country Music Way. With such an eclectic location and history, The Bristol was going to have to incorporate those influences into its design.

Luxury lighting in a residential style suite

Image credit: The Bristol Hotel/HVLG

The designers from ESa gathered together various pictures and mood boards that evoked the look and feel they were hoping to achieve and shared them with their HVLG source. The brand’s dedicated contract and hospitality representative in the area had a long-standing relationship with the lead designers, as well as a deep familiarity with the product.

As one of the standard products selected, Hudson Valley Lighting’s Humphrey pendants and chandeliers adorn many of the rooms. HVL’s contemporary classic feel meant these fixtures look as at home in the brand new rooms as they may have in the flourishing Art Deco period when the building was first constructed. Providing the ambient layer of light, these exquisite fixtures also contributed to a higher level of decorative sophistication for the space.

Corbett fixtures also enhance visitors’ experience; with their impressive scale and hand-applied leaf finishes, which the brand often says of its Corbett pieces that they have to be seen in person to be believed.

Additionally, the HVLG Contract Custom team got to work on designing a few special pieces, such as pendants for The Bristol’s awesome rooftop hangout, chandeliers for its banquet room, and a series of sconces for its conference room area. ESa reviewed initial drafts of the designs and made some adjustments. Once they were completely happy with the plan, the lighting brand proceeded to build these one-of-a-kind fixtures on time and on budget.

Sitting eight stories up in a town without a lot of high-elevation buidings, The Bristol’s special rooftop relaxation zone, Lumac, has a beautiful view of the surrounding environs — the painted brick sides of old buildings, the nearby hills, twinkling downtown lights, and the town’s charming entry gate. Originally built in the twenties, the whole thing feels almost like something out of a Baz Luhrmann film, with a distinct slice of heartwarming Americana. HVLG designed a custom outdoor pendant for this beautiful rooftop bar area, adding to its singular charm.

The Bristol Hotel is a good example of how HVLG can be your one-stop shop for a hospitality lighting project. Combining world-class standard product from across its four distinct brands (Corbett and Hudson Valley in this case) with custom pieces, the lighting specialists were able to satisfy this project’s requirements while providing lighting that elevated the environment.

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

Main image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting Group

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

CASE STUDY: Creating the art scheme for Great Scotland Yard Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating the art scheme for Great Scotland Yard Hotel

Months after it’s official opening, Hotel Designs gains access inside London’s Great Scotland Yard Hotel for an ‘Unbound’ look into what it took art consultancy firm Elegant Clutter to complete a bespoke artwork scheme…

Most people associate Scotland Yard with the London Metropolitan Police. For some, the words are almost interchangeable.

This is explained by the fact that the original Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Whitehall Place had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. This became the public entrance to the police station and over time the street and the Met Police became synonymous.

It may come as a surprise that Scotland Yard is no longer technically in Scotland Yard. It is less of a surprise that the original 1820’s Grade II listed building, situated only three minutes walk from Trafalgar Square, has been turned into a luxury hotel. It is now proudly the first UK hotel in Hyatt’s Unbound Collection. The renovation has been dramatic and art has played a big part in the hotels development. We take a look behind the scenes at what was involved in creating, curating, handling and finally placing the extensive artwork collection on the walls of this striking hotel.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter was appointed to be part of the team responsible for the transformation of this iconic building. Discussions on how best to deliver the artwork strategy were ongoing for more than two years. The team at Elegant Clutter were required to survey, scope, cost and re-cost in order to help the client plan budgets, feasibility and time scales. With such an iconic London landmark at the heart of the project everyone was focussed on ensuring the content was perfectly matched to the venue and its many backstories.

The first thing to mention is that no two of the 152 bedrooms are the same. And then there are the 15 individually appointed suites that were to be marketed as ‘enjoying a bespoke art selection that celebrates the historical element of your memorable stay’. Whilst this contributes to the hotels appeal and makes the guest feel they are staying somewhere truly unique is poses many challenges to the artwork company. (image – no 2 rooms the same)

The gauntlet was well and truly cast down. Whilst relaxing on their bed, taking in the sumptuous surroundings the guests will have no idea the lengths to which Elegant Clutter went, to make sure the artwork selection and positioning was ‘just so’. The rooms and suites benefit from a collection of investment art from artists such as Belinda Frikh and Nicola Green, bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter as well as custom made and designed artworks by Elegant Clutter themselves.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

One of the bedroom artworks was inspired by Richard Hamilton’s renowned 1950s pop art piece crafted from painted and layered timber to create a 3D relief. Elegant Clutters highly stylised version picked on references from the period of Robert Peels premiership to create an imaginary London street scene – with a humorous twist. The traditional ‘bobby on the beat’ being replaced by a modern security camera in partnership with the emblematic blue police box. It perfectly fitted the brief from the hotel to fuse its rich history and tradition with modern luxury.

The subtle colours of the various artworks needed to be considerately paired together so that each room had its own mini-collection that worked as one. With all the rooms being so different the artwork selection had to be sympathetic to the colours, shape and layout of each one.

Elegant Clutter developed luxury feel frames for limited edition art and their relationship with the Tate enabled them to print Graham Southerland originals onto luxury silk scarves to be presented in acrylic boxed frames. The spreadsheet required to manage the accurate installation would have been more at home in an accountants office than a fine art studio. The invisible, behind the scenes work is just as important a part of the process as creating the art itself.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

A key appeal of the hotel is that its historic and cherished buildings hold more hidden stories than any other kind in London. The role of the artwork in the public spaces was also to expose some of those stories but had to remain highly bespoke with a luxury finish.

Elegant Clutter was granted access to the London Metropolitan Polices historical records and memorabilia. These were used to help create story filled installations to give a contemporary museum like experience around the main entrance. Intriguing artefacts were carefully curated and floating display cases were designed and hand made to house them. The feature was brought together by using a metallic digital mural background made up of a rogues gallery of past ‘guests’ of The Yard. What you see as a result is an opulent history wall with multiple layers of interest. What you don’t see is the work involved with making a completely different sized box to house a different item requested by the client at the eleventh hour.

Equal care was taken in the framing of the collectable originals to the same part of the hotel. Pride of place on the ground floor is an imposing Belinda Frikh portrait. Its impact has been boosted with a hand-made frame, non-reflective glazing and a gold leafing to ensure an authentic luxury feel. Gold leafing is sometimes perceived as dying art but Elegant Clutter have painstakingly taken the time to hand gilt frames and even the artwork itself for a variety of luxury hotels. The result is impressive but very few would be aware of the time and diligence taken in the studio to achieve it.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

With artwork this valuable and unique the Elegant Clutter art handlers insist on a white glove service. It’s an important detail for a project such as Great Scotland Yard where the artwork must be protected at all costs. And it’s not just the art that needs protecting. A 200 year old building must be respected too so an understanding of the walls themselves and the most appropriate fixing solutions is imperative. No one wants to accidentally drill into a lath and plaster wall for a grade II listed building because they haven’t done their homework. An art consultancy needs to be trusted for what they don’t do as well as what they do do. It may not be visible – but its all part of the service.

Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter 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: Great Scotland Yard Hotel

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exploring what makes design unique through the rich theatre of life

With ‘Finding your lane’ being a topic that Hotel Designs will explore in the first episode of DESIGNPOD, we asked Samantha Crockett, Director of Harris Jackson Interior Design Studio, what makes her design unique…

Very recently an acquaintance of mine Jacqueline Goddard of Atticus Arts wrote an article for her blog & LinkedIn asking, “What was our USP?”.

It struck a chord with me as, while in lockdown, I have been trying to find a way to differentiate myself from other small Hospitality design studios out there.

What makes me unique in an industry that is saturated by designers that have been through the design school/University system? What can I offer my client that makes me differ from all the rest?

Jacqueline states: “What differentiates us from another is our life’s experiences”. Undoubtedly these experiences will be unique to every individual.  My instinct is that no client can decide whether they want to take on my services unless they can resonate with what I have to say. And by that, I mean, what is behind my passion for hospitality design? Why do I do what I do and how did I get here? What makes me? What makes me an informed designer that will create & inspire. Why should a hotelier approach me to design their hotel, members club, Golf club, show home to name but a few?

Firstly, my love on interiors and design stems back to when as a young child l would build Lego models of my ideal home which then shifted into creating my own interior design projects in sketchbooks, tracing textile designs from Colefax & Fowler and drawing differing scales of pattern to place into a space. This was usually my then minuscule bedroom in my family home in West London. I constantly had my head in a sketchbook drawing and sketching what I saw around me. I wish to this day I had the time to still do this.

However, alongside this love of anything design related was my passion for live performance, theatrical arts and film. I would devour the old black and white films from “To kill a Mockingbird “ to “12 Angry men” to Some like it hot”. I would sing and dance & memorise all the routines from the Hollywood film musicals such as “Oklahoma”, “Oliver “& “Cabaret”. My family would spend spectacular evenings in London to see the latest big musical show that had hit the West End. Even to this day I remember the feeling of excitement as, sitting on those plush red velvet seats, the lights dimmed, and the curtains drew back to reveal stunning sets and characters while the orchestra launched into their overture. Those days of peering over the seat in front, chin resting on hands, stays with me to this day.  That feeling of need to distance my actual surroundings and the story unfolding and the sheer joy that was beheld in that proscenium arch in front of me.

With a mother & grandmother, ballerinas in large scale Ballet productions pre and post war Europe accompanying Anna Pavlova & several other family members working as empresarios, my love of theatre and spectacle was entrenched in my psyche.

Rather than follow the traditional route into Interior design by studying at University or one of the established private schools such as KLC or Inchbald. I followed my heart by studying Set & Costume design combining my 2 passions design & theatre. Whilst studying, my Saturdays were spent working my way round every department of what was then Terence Conran’s Habitat. The interiors bug re-awakened.

What my studies taught me was that at every moment theatrical design has to resonate with the audience, to create an emotional reaction, depict a story, which in turn allowed for a longstanding memory. We had to work with the script to develop the character through setting, costume, texture, colour, sound & light. Create the world in which these characters lived & breathed. I can still recall so many details of the sets from the various productions I saw through the 80’s & 90’s down to the intricate detailing in the handmade period or contemporary costumes created for individual characters. My professional career took me to the worlds of Cole Porter & Bob Fosse musicals as well as French restoration comedies through to 1950’s American comedic theatre. They all have contributed over the years to this wealth of reference and the attention to detail stands me in good stead to this day when specifying the FF&E for projects I have worked and collaborated on.

Theatre is all about working as a team, it is a collaboration. One cannot work without the other. Just like in hospitality interiors. The designer cannot create without the client, the brand, the contractors and ultimately without the final experience that the hotelier/group want to impact on the guest. I learnt how to deal with personalities from directors to lead actors recently moved over from LA to tread the boards after decades of Hollywood film work. One cannot underrate the nerves that even the highest paid performers experience when stepping out onto that stage again. We had to reassure, understand & above all, listen. A skill often forgotten.

So, in hotel design how can we create these memories & experiences that will last a lifetime inspiring the guest to come back for more and how do we translate them into the hotel interior? We, the designer, have to tap into that unseen, sometimes un-describable reaction that we get from a given environment, location or atmosphere. Once we have succeeded, we are creating long lasting memories for hundreds of end users who we hope to entice back for another unforgettable stay.

Image caption: The Clubhouse Shanghai

Not only was my background in design and theatre a pre-cursor to my now passion for hospitality environments. But after graduating a stint in the Sales & marketing of luxury interior products instilled me with a desire to keep learning about innovative products & manufacturing. I learnt about the procurement process, what can be achieved by working alongside suppliers, manufacturers & crafts people to create a given look within a budget. It taught me how to design beautifully bespoke details that run through my work today. A move into Interior design in the early 00’s brought a number of years designing high end residential interiors, but it was always the hotels that drew my attention.

Image caption: The lobby inside St Regis Dubai

With this product knowledge came a sound sense of style and design history. I can be given any brief placed throughout time and place and produce an interior that demonstrates both a correct historical reference point but also empathy. Just imagine walking into a Lobby area where the whole effect takes your breath away! This is not just interior design but pure theatre!

One cannot realistically expect to understand what the client wants in a brand/Interior unless you understand human emotion, desires, ambitions, history, religion and culture. I often write about how important the locality and community are for a boutique hotel brand. Maximising on what is local to the property both geographically and naturally as well as culturally. My many travels and experience of living and working both in the Middle East (Dubai) and Asia (Hong Kong) have introduced me to many distinct and different design styles and cultures. How can I design an authentic space if I have no point of reference? How will my design be believed or resonate with the guest if I have not travelled to or experienced the culture? While designing luxury hotels across Asia I was called on to draw on my expertise in classical European interiors & architecture for a palatial project in Dubai. Whether right or wrong it was my heritage and European education that benefited this collaboration.

Image caption: Conclusion? This is me!

So, when considering what is “my” USP within this exceptional industry and what makes me distinctive, I quote another acquaintance Clare Farthing, business strategy coach, who I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years: “You are your business”. My USP is my life’s journey and everything that is encompassed within that. No other individual will build on the same training, life experiences and responses. So, when I look back at what I have accomplished it is definitely with a sense of uniqueness that I am what I am and bring to the table a “rich theatre of life”.

Harris Jackson 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: Harris Jackson Design

Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo arrives in Verona

The 62-key property has stood as one of the most prestigious hotels in Verona for years, and was reopened following an exciting redesign under the Hotel Indigo brand…

IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand currently has 119 properties open globally, and a further 104 in the pipeline. It’s latest unveiling, following a tense lockdown period for the entire industry, is located in the heart of Verona, Italy, a destination that continues to attract travellers from around the world with its links to Shakesphere’s Romeo and Juliet.  

With 62 uniquely designed rooms, Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts draws inspiration from the city’s passion of preserving history. With headboards throughout the bedrooms mimicking the beautifully preserved fresco paintings in the city, and the back panelling in the lobby that plays to the garden of Romeo and Juliet, guests will be able to find nods to the surrounding neighbourhood in the hotel’s design. Red marble native to Verona (Marmo rosso di Verona) throughout the public areas creates an elevated feel of a grand Italian residence – inspired by the most famous love story ever told. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is a beautiful tribute to the city it calls home. 

Right when you enter, the reception area combines two elements that characterise the city: The Arena and the Shakespeare theatre. The architecture draws inspiration from the theatrical facades, its draperies, the arches of the Arena, and Juliet’s terrace. The Arena in Verona is a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century and is one of the best conserved amphitheatres in Italy. Made up of 44 levels holding up to 22,000 spectators, it is still used today and is internationally famous for hosting some of the world’s most spectacular large-scale opera performances.

“We are very proud to announce the renovation and reopening of Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts, thanks to our affiliation with IHG and the Hotel Indigo brand of boutique hotels in the chain, commented Luca Boccato, CEO of HNH Hospitality Group. “This new opening joins art, culture and comfort at a top level and is the perfect destination for both Italian and international tourists, thanks to the attractions in Verona. In a difficult moment for our sector, we look toward the future with faith, confident that a good project in such an important location will be a success.”

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Perhaps the quirkiest Shakespearean touch is the meeting rooms named after the duelling families in Romeo and Juliet, Montechhi, and Capuleti. The event spaces are easily adjustable for different uses – conferences and small functions. The hotel also has an onsite bar, Arya Bar & Mixology, with a selection of locally inspired cocktails and nibbles, perfect for guests to have an aperitif and relax after a day exploring the neighbourhood.

Eric Viale, Managing Director, Southern Europe, IHG, added: “With its iconic architecture and historical charm, Verona is the perfect neighbourhood for Hotel Indigo’s unique design and distinctive guest experience. Hotel Indigo Verona – Grand Hotel Des Arts is the fourth location for the brand in Italy, signalling significant interest in boutique, design-led hotels in the region. Partnering once more with HNH Hospitality, we look forward to being part of the tourism recovery in Italy and welcoming guests from across the country and beyond.” 

Image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

Inspired by the neighbourhood around each property, just as no places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. Each Hotel Indigo property features thoughtful design touches and vibrant restaurants and bars connected to the spirit of the local neighbourhood.

Main image credit: IHG/Hotel Indigo

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

Following his recent appointment as Managing Director of Swire Hotels, Dean Winter sits down (virtually) with editor Hamish Kilburn to explain the brand’s change of direction…

Swire Hotels, which shelters luxury and lifestyle brands The House Collective and EAST, has recently announced a new Managing Director.

Dean Winter, who first started working with the hotel group in 2006, has more than 25 years’ experience as a hotelier and restaurateur in destinations such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Taking over from Toby Smith, who will now sit as Deputy Chairman for the group, Winter’s new role is part of a wider internal restructuring of management for the group with the aim to continue to inspire teams across the brands.

Following his appointment, I caught up with winter.

Hamish Kilburn: Dean, congratulations on your new role! What are you most looking forward to as Managing Director at Swire Hotels?

Dean Winter: People are central to what we do at Swire Hotels – both our guests and our dedicated team members – and their personal satisfaction is a main priority for me. By training our team and then empowering them to make decisions, we enable them to exceed expectations and build personal relationships with guests and other team members.

This dedication to service is core to our ethos at The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and I couldn’t be more excited to continue to support the people and guide the beliefs of a company that I’ve been part of for over a decade.

woman walking down modern staircase

Image credit: The Middle House, Shanghai

HK: How much does the design of the hotel affect the guest experience of Swire Hotels?

DW: Design lies at the heart of Swire Hotels and its brands. First impressions matter to our guests. When you walk into a hotel, its interior design can affect the way you feel and can influence your mood.

Each hotel within The House Collective all have their own identity, which boast some of the best design signatures in the industry. For example, behind The Opposite House’s unique design as an art gallery-inspired hotel there is visionary architect Kengo Kuma, who made our hotel one of Beijing’s hottest spots to visit.

HK: What are the key characteristic differences between Swire Hotels’ brands, The House Collective and EAST?

DW: All our hotels provide an extremely personalised service with each guest treated as a valued individual. The House Collective is all about design-led homes away from home, each with its own identity rooted in the destination, and a spirited, cultural soul. EAST is adapted to the new business traveller experience in destinations like Hong Kong, Beijing and Miami, blurring the line between business and leisure and enabling authentic experiences through art and design. At EAST, creating spaces that effectively accommodate guests at various points of life or of their day is also and important element. Examples of this would be the Domain spaces at our EAST hotels which function as cafés, meeting spaces, co-working zones and early evening bars; Sugar the rooftop bar is a popular nightspot for guests as well as locals and BEAST with well equipped gym, pool and wellness programmes helps keep our guest fit.

HK: Can you give us an overview of Swire Hotels’ commitment to sustainability?

DW: Swire Hotels is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and in order to manifest this change, we start from our people. What we envision is creating a healthy ecosystem of people who embody our values and care about our impact on the environment. We’re always looking to create meaningful initiative across our properties focusing on reducing water wastage, energy savings and better waste management. Some of these initiatives include removal of single-use packaging, amenities made of recyclable or biodegradable materials, paperless check-in and at EAST Miami, we have a smart pump that regulates water pressure throughout the hotel in order to reduce water usage. We are determined to find new ways to improve the sustainability of our properties, for our guests and the community around us. This way, we can continue delivering wonderful experiences not just for right now, but for many years to come.

“We have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development.” – Dean Winter, Managing Director, Swire Hotels

HK: What does 2021 look like for Swire Hotels?

DW: Overall I think everyone will have a more positive attitude towards travelling given how 2020 has unfolded. This year we’re celebrating the 10th Anniversary of EAST Hong Kong with new packages available to book directly from the hotel’s website and The Opposite House exciting new relaunch with the completion of an extensive renovation of the restaurant and bar spaces will have the celebration continue into the new year.

During the recent downtime, we have been taking advantage to accelerate some planned projects for both in terms of rooms and restaurants enhancements or systems development. So there will be more new spaces to reveal in 2021. We have also embarked on an expansion plan to grow both our brands, The House Collective and EAST, through management contracts throughout Asia Pacific and hope to have some announcement in 2021.

HK: Are you able to give us an insight into any new openings?

DW: We do have some evolving plans for new restaurant spaces next year. I’m excited by these opportunities and how we can continue to demonstrate our creativity on what is a core competency for the group.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
DW:
Montenegro; I’m facinated by the history and the architecture. Followed by a drive along The Adriatic; ideally in a classic sports car!

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without? 
DW: A great novel!

HK: Can you describe the Swire Hotels ethos in three words?
DW: Innovation, design, people.

HK: How have Swire Hotels and its two brands been preparing to welcome guests back following the health crisis?

DW: The relationship between The House Collective and EAST, Hotels and our guests have always been centred around trust – we are dedicated to providing the best for our guests, and will continue to uphold our standard of service moving forward from this pandemic. We have already been hosting guests from neighbouring cities to our destinations and are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world again. We have introduced various prevention and control measures since the very beginning of the health crisis, such as temperature and travel history checks for all guests upon arrival including our staff members, increased frequency of deep cleaning as well as preparing care kits for our guests with hygiene wet wipes, hand sanitiser and face masks.

Main image credit: Swire Hotels

GROHE achieves carbon-neutral production

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE achieves carbon-neutral production

Achieving carbon-neutral production is an important milestone in GROHE’s 360-degree sustainability strategy, and is now working to ensure that all sales offices are climate-neutral by 2021…

As one of the first leading manufacturers for full bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings, GROHE has now achieved carbon-neutral production, achieving its pledge the brand announced in November 2019, a pivotal milestone in its long-term commitment to sustainability.

“The initiative ties in seamlessly with the numerous measures in our plants that promote the reduction of the carbon footprint and conserve resources. We are very proud to be a pioneer in our industry with GROHE goes ZERO,” said Thomas Fuhr, COO Fittings LIXIL International and CEO of Grohe AG. “And we are directly aiming for the next step: by the end of 2021 we want to make all our sales offices worldwide climate-neutral.”

The initiative also contributes to a central goal of parent company LIXIL’s sustainability strategy, of which GROHE has been a part of since 2014: by 2050, achieve net-zero carbon emissions from housing and lifestyle solutions as well as operations.

In order to achieve its goal of carbon-neutral production, GROHE has been using green electricity since July 2019 at all five LIXIL EMENA production sites, which produce exclusively for the global brand, and in the German logistics centres. In addition, the brand is investing in solar technology, combined heat and power plants, and innovative manufacturing processes such as 3D metal-printing that save materials to ensure they are creating a value chain that conserves resources. In addition, its state-of-the-art dedicated testing laboratory in Hemer coupled with increased recycling of materials is also helping contribute to the steady reduction of its carbon footprint. As a result, GROHE has been able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40% since the introduction of its 2014 sustainability programme, while at the same time increasing its energy efficiency by 24%. As a result, the original targets of 20% respectively by 2021 have been significantly exceeded ahead of schedule.

To offset any CO2 emissions it has not yet been able to reduce, GROHE provides significant investment into two global compensation projects: operational support of a hydroelectric power plant in India, which eliminates the need for coal-fired power plants, and a project in Malawi, which involves the repair and maintenance of boreholes used for drinking water abstraction.

As part of its carbon strategy, the sanitary brand intends to pursue the proven three-pronged approach of “avoid, reduce, compensate” and increase its energy efficiency every year by its own means, thereby reducing the share of compensation.

GROHE’s approach for a reduction of CO2 in consumers’ everyday lives

GROHE always strives to increase sustainability, not only with regard to its own production but through its intelligent technologies which can also help consumers to minimise their personal carbon footprint:

#1: Saving energy starts at the wash basin

Eco-conscious products designed for the family bathroom not only save energy but can also be easy on the wallet. Technologies such as GROHE SilkMove ES allow solely cold water to flow from the tap when the lever is positioned in the middle. Unnecessary hot water consumption can therefore be prevented and, for a four- person household, save approx. 279kg CO2 and around 31,412 liters of water per year.

#2 Sustainable showering

For many, a refreshing shower in the morning is a great way to start the day. However, people often wait unnecessary lengths of time to start their shower until they have found the ‘perfect’ shower temperature – hence valuable energy and water are then wasted in the process. GROHE thermostats equipped with its TurboStat technology provide a more sustainable showering experience, delivering the desired shower temperature within a fraction of a second and maintaining this for the duration of the shower.

#3 Filtered drinking water straight from the kitchen tap

Bottled water is ubiquitous in everyday life, but it is certainly harmful to the environment. Up to 600g CO2 are emitted during the production and transport process of one litre of bottled mineral water. One solution for consuming water more sustainably is the investment of water systems for the home such as GROHE Blue Home, a kitchen tap that supplies you with filtered and chilled water in still, medium or sparkling options. A family of four using a Blue Home water system can save up to 800 plastic bottles each year and reduce their CO2 emissions by up to 61 per cent.

GROHE 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: GROHE

SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

A Glamping resort is usually sited within a picturesque location whether forest, beach, lake, mountain, botanical or even an urban rooftop with a primary focus of ‘back to nature’ experience. Bushtec Safari Asia explores landscape architecture…

As a designer we have come across seven main landscape typologies (however there are probably more or even subsets):

  • Traditional Resort compound with highly ornamental plantings, flexible lawns spaces, sculptures with drop-off, restaurant and lobby
  • Natural Aesthetic to blend with or be part of the natural surrounds
  • Animal reserves and Zoological parks providing the time past safari experience
  • Themed Landscapes – most recently we have been developing a pet focused tented resort with agility course, dog pool, sand hill and even a cat climbing gym
  • Botanical which typically focusses on organic farming practices, wellness lifestyle choices and communal gatherings
  • Urban settings such as on rooftops with spectacular views
  • Pop-up Glamping which responds to short term events and festivals where tents are stored and reused year on year.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

There is as much skill, if not more, to touch the ground lightly and create a landscape aesthetic which looks part of natural surrounds however even more important, landscape architecture critically allows the tents to sinuously bring the outdoors indoors through 4 of the senses

  • sight-siting of tents to maximise vista’s and even lighting for nighttime effects,
  • touch-directing natural breezes through the tents,
  • smell-carefully selection of aromatic scents of flora and
  • sound-bird attracting plants, flowing water elements and selecting rustling trees.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

To enable a greater understanding of the role of landscape in glamping resorts a case study has been selected – Tiarasa Escape.

The site is located in Janda Baik, Mukim Bentong. Janda Baik (incidentally means good widow) is a small village about 50 km from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.

The site included existing fruit trees (durian, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen), fish farm and located adjacent to a small river, Sungai Nerong and surrounded by vegetable gardens owned by the local villagers.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

Our approach is to take advantage of its special qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the features of the landscape. The path, tents & buildings are sculptured fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks and slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the landscape and its special qualities shine through each tent location. We have created the design for Glamping and treehouse within as an integrated construction process, adjusting pathway design as we discovered each rock and preserve the beauty of the natural site.

Creating places

As more travelers explore the world so does the expectation to create unique local experience. Our approach to any site is to take advantage of its natural qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the landscape features. The buildings fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks, slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the land and its special qualities shine through each concept. Tiarasa Escape resort is intended to “touch the earth” lightly, “teach the stories of the forest” and “discover the life withing a traditional kampung setting” all within a modern luxury escape.

Integrated within the site

Each of our glamping resorts has a design vision.  We take the basic elements we know make resorts work and mix them with unique elements as well as specific client requests to create one overall feeling through the landscape and outdoor spaces. The landscape is designed at multiple scales so a guest will get a certain feeling upon arrival and continue discovering special features throughout their stay. Private spaces and large scale gathering areas both envelop the guest in the landscape which surrounds.

Immerse in nature

We subscribe to the belief that plants make the space. Our planting design is based on extensive understanding of the local environments and the desire to enhance native communities while inviting human inhabitation and enjoyment. Native fruit trees, productive planting and a focus on endangered species create places and enhance the environmental significance.

The planting design at Tiarasa Escapes glamping, pictured here, is based on the concept of the ‘Rainforest Orchard.’ Previously a kampung orchard, the site has mature Durian, Longan and Mangosteen trees which were all protected during construction. Further planting of native rainforest fruiting trees supports the enjoyment of the guests as well as ecological benefits for the other floral and fauna communities.

Landscape is a sensory element and critical to a glamping resort’s design aesthetic. It is about curating a holistic outdoor experience and landscape must always have a purpose. It’s more than just eye candy. It’s important that it looks beautiful but it must also convey a story, an underlining purpose and make a great contribution to physical environments by emphasising the protection of natural character and cultural identity.

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 Safari Asia

“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“You can’t touch this” – handsfree sensor taps by GESSI

Bathroom brand GESSI has injected hygienic and antibacterial electronic hi-tech technology into its taps to cater to evolving modern traveller demands…

Inciso by David Rockwell, Rilievo by HBA, the gleaming steel of Gessi 316, Anello&Ingranaggio and Goccia, are all the latest multi-award winning creations from Gessi.

The sophisticated minimalism of the design by Gessi acquires an advanced technology that combines the beauty of the lines with the functionality of “no touch” electronics. The water supply doesn’t need to be handled or touched as it can be switched on by a movement as simple as the passage of the hand before the sensor.

Thanks to Gessi no-touch system, the beauty of the shape is pure and anti-fingerprint, achieving a better hygiene and avoiding possible damages to the tap.

For the first time, Gessi sensor taps bring the refined elegance of a sophisticated design in public space, where aesthetically simple electronic taps are used to be installed, providing endless finishings with the possibility to choose among a wide range of nuances never seen before. Splendid Gessi Sensor Taps suit also private environments, of course.

Here’s a closer look at some of GESSI’s products, which now feature touchless tech…

GESSI316

Image caption: The GESSI 316 range | Image credit: GESSI

Woven steel

Gessi’s Creativity and style infuse a total new perceptibility into steel itself, giving a material which is usually “technical” and cold, an unprecedented heat, and a special furnishing capacity. Gessi has indeed enriched the body of the faucet with aesthetic and decorative details, such as textures and patterns with different tastes; the steel seems thus “dressed” by the texture. Handles and distinguishable reed valves, finishes of contemporary charm, and an innovative

New technology

Gessi electronic taps are in the vanguard and come available with different technological solutions. The sensor can be incorporated into the tap body or into the very spout, otherwise it can fit into a proper remote plate. In the first two cases the water flow is automatically switched on or off by bringing the hands towards the spout. In the case of the remote detector, the flow is activated or turned off simply by the hand crossing over the detector: it’s almost like a magic move.

Aesthetic and smart

The technology of the electronic taps by Gessi not only makes life easier but it’s also environmental friendly. Thanks to the automatic activation of the flow, water is delivered only for the time it is actually needed. Without any waste.

The warm modern style of New York design

From surface and floor coverings to lighting and furniture, the firm celebrates pro-duct design as a natural extension of its immersive environments. Drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of design, Rockwell Group creates flexible, transformable products that support new ways of living, working, and communicating. The collaboration with Gessi on the firm’s first-ever line of bath fittings and accessories was a thrilling challenge for David Rockwell. Defined by simplicity and possibility, the Inciso Collection weds modern style with heritage details and finishes that invite tactile discovery.

Pure beauty

Thanks to its no touch system, the beauty of shapes is pure and free from prints, guarantying the hygiene and avoiding tap’s damages. Gessi electronic taps first provide the refined elegance of most sophisticated design to public settings, where electronic devices have usually simply aesthetics. What is more they are available in many finishings, giving the possibility to choose different nuance for the first time in this field. Of course, these beautiful taps are suitable also for private space.

Subtle and elegant industrial details

The bathroom interior fit with the Inciso Collection was not intended to feel unapproachably minimal, but rather calmly chic and warmingly inviting. The goal was to create a design that be both timeless and timely.

RILIEVO

Image caption: The Rilievo range by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

A concept of tidiness and harmony

If harmony, based on order, is dictated by a mathematical/geometric ratio between parts, the maximum expression of purity of form is probably the enrolment of a circle into a square. This geometric and architectural figure has been greatly evocative through time and across continents and cultures. The circle evokes eternal movement; the square symbolises eternity and immutability.

Discreet and low-impact

The electronic detector can be connected to the normal electricity network or to a lithium battery, ensuring in both cases a minimum water consumption. The electronic technology fits in a graceful way to the tap, preserving the perfect shapes of its studied design, or even better enhancing its essential and simple beauty.

Inspiration meets with innovation

A circle inscribed into a square is the theme that RILIEVO brilliantly brings to life. This design gives gracing touch and sight and it evokes that body and soul equilibrium take center-stage in the bathroom. A new balance between style, emotion and functionality.

GOCCIA

The brilliant beauty of water

Goccia demonstrates how creativity and innovation, together with a content of poetry and respect for the world can turn dreams into objects. This is all Gessi’s accomplishment, a company different by nature

Not only is Goccia a style and a product philosophy, it’s also an eco-friendly creation. All of the Goccia taps are equipped with a technology allowing for a 50% saving of water without compromising the functionality of the tap itself. Goccia is indeed the epitome of a more intimate feeling for luxury, one attentive to the elegance and glamour of the objects as well as to their impact on the environment.

Matter, shape, function

Goccia is not a mere complement, it’s the very distinguishing feature of the design of an interior. It’s an original concept that induces new gestures, new interactions with water, living space and the person. Goccia makes the beauty and usefulness of water available wherever it is needed or desired, with charming and fresh solutions.

ANELLO & INGRANAGGIO

Gessi succeeds in developing its own distinctive and characteristic design language: pure lines with an emphatic recall to primary shapes, like the suggestive ring shape. Symbol of continuity and perfection, Anello evokes the most sober and elegant pledge of a deep blend.

The precious mark of metal

Gessi offers new options to choose and finishing combinations that boost the strong design peculiarity with colours and materials through different architectural effects. As a result, the new living design trends will be conveyed in bathroom spaces, creating also innovative and original creative solutions. The new deep and warm polished brass version and the fascinating and elegant rough burned brass finishing represent a surprising change respect the typical metallic surface of taps. Anello gives also the opportunity to realize innovative look thanks to a prestigious velvet opaque black, besides chrome, copper, black metal, and brushed ones.

Beyond its time

Anello concept meets the desire of freedom in décor and customisation of the bathroom, even more than other Collection before.

RETTANGOLO

Image caption: Rettangolo by GESSI | Image credit: GESSI

Original and iconic

To bring to life this unprecedented aspiration – moving the flow of water to wherever we desired – Gessi thought up a radical design based on the purity of an absolute, strong and rigorous form: abstraction in its essence, like parallel lines traced on a designer’s sketchbook, in any form.

The sign

Rettangolo was born from an expression of creative freedom, from the original and ironic exploration of iconic symbols, in simple yet evocative forms. The rectangle is a surprising and unusual geometric shape for taps, a perfect demonstration of how design, with its ability to infuse art and liveability in consumer and everyday products, can enrich the spaces in which we live, transforming simple, everyday actions and places into something special.

Visionary innovation

With a long-standing, 100-year history of brass castings and round taps, Gessi created the world’s first tap built of solid brass, providing it with a square, almost sharp body; an explosive concept of innovation.

GESSI 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: GESSI

Hamilton Litestat to sponsor technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat to sponsor technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE

As part of its ongoing support as a solutions provider to the hotel sector, Hamilton Litestat will sponsor Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference for the hotel industry, to be held on June 23, 2020…

Hamilton Litestat will sponsor the technology seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on June 23.

The online conference consists of a series of engaging seminars featuring leading figures from the international hotel design sector, covering hot industry topics along with innovations that support the guest experience.

Hamilton will sponsor Hotel Designs LIVE’s first seminar, ‘Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel’, where Jason Bradbury, tech influencer and former presenter of The Gadget Show, will be in conversation with Hotel Designs’ editor, Hamish Kilburn. The pair will discuss products and innovations, and how technology will influence hotel design in the future.

“For decades, Hamilton has been supporting the hotel industry with technology and solutions that enhance the guest experience, and we’re pleased to support this discussion of innovation and the future of hotel design,” says Gavin Williams, Hamilton’s Sales & Marketing Director. “There are so many simple, easy to use and effective solutions that can make all the difference to a guest and keep them returning time and time again.”

With hotel rooms working as a multifunctional space – accommodating relaxing, sleeping, and often working – Hamilton will present its technologies to support the guest experience in suites and communal spaces. Its Smart Lighting Control solutions aid the versatility of these rooms, helping to transform them between the functional uses with just the touch of a button or swipe of a finger. Lighting in a hotel reception can really make a statement and set the mood for a stay, while pre-set lighting schemes can create an ambience that takes dining areas from breakfast to cocktail hour and through to cosy evening meals.

Hamilton’s smart lighting and audio control solutions are supported by a vast portfolio of on-trend decorative wiring accessories that can be selected to suit any hotel design scheme or functionality requirement, with a bespoke service also available to provide just the right finishing touch.

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online here (registration closes June 19 at 5pm (BST)).

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

#HotelDesignsLIVE

5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

There is a serious question being put to the industry on whether public areas will ever be the same again. In an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers sits down virtually with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss F&B design in a post-pandemic world…

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs will go live to the world with its debut virtual conference. The topics we will explore during Hotel Designs LIVE will include technology, sleep, wellness and whether public areas will ever be the same again. In order to understand the role of F&B areas, while also getting an access-all-areas deeper look into the inner workings of the studio, I caught up with Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers. The award-winning studio has transformed many F&B hospitality projects, such as The Prince Akatoki, Marriott Hotel Budapest and Ritz-Carlton Geneva among many others.

Hamish Kilburn: Thanks for joining me, Mark. How are you feeling right now as a hospitality interior designer?

Mark Bithrey: The world has been through really tough times, but this one has definitely knocked the hospitality industry for a six. I have always believed in 2 things: that hospitality will forever have a strong place in the world in some form or other, and two, that design plays a pivotal role in shaping a changing world. So I’m feeling a mix of anxious and eager.

HK: When restaurants do eventually open up, we are still looking at reduced covers and therefore revenue. What are your thoughts there?

MB: We have been helping clients redesign their restaurants for social distancing, with beautiful screens and additional features like plants and cushions. But you are right, it can mean reduced revenue. Some of our clients have been really creative and opened up whole new streams of revenue.

Image caption: Design in F&B has spilled into the marketing and packaging of products with a rise in demand for deliver/takeaway service. | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: There is obviously a lot of focus on takeaways at the moment. How can F&B businesses be more creative when adapting to the times?

MB: Quick service has immense potential. Think about kiosks where you are able to churn out dishes quickly. Our clients at Mei Mei are doing just that, with Michelin star winning Chef Elizabeth Haigh at its helm. Also consider Itsu/Pret style shops, with impactful branding and graphics on the floor. You can look into takeaway/delivery-only kitchens with creative food packaging. Extra brownie points for eco-friendly packing! We are working with a Vietnamese restaurant in London at the moment to use clever packaging to build out loyalty, repeat orders, and engagement.

Image caption: Mei Mei has adapted its offer during the pandemic to focus on takeaway service | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: Speaking of food delivery, it does mean that restaurants are reliant on the large delivery services that eat into their revenue considerably. How can they move away from using the shared delivery systems?

MB: Yes, indeed! Have you heard of Mumbai’s dabbawalas? It’s an incredible concept. Think localised kitchens, subscription meals, and your own fleet of delivery folk racing food on bicycles. Typically, a kitchen will cook a few hundred meals a day. The subscription lunch will include food that can be batch cooked – so a lentil dish, a curry, rice, and perhaps some bread. This is then packed into stainless steel “tiffin” boxes, and delivered quickly, while the food is still hot. Because the kitchens are localised, nobody is travelling more than a couple of kilometers and they are often the service teams themselves. The previous day’s box is picked up and brought back – no packaging waste!

Food trucks are another way to circumvent delivery commissions. With all the right permissions, you could set up in a park/outdoor space and serve up anything you want to, really. Think also about drive-throughs or walk-past counters for food pick up. You can even offer an interesting experience (graphics/games) while they wait in line.

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: What about fine dining, how can businesses integrate social distancing into this concept?

MB: Without a doubt, fine dining is going to change for a while. Restaurants that get very crowded are going to have to give customers more room – which can be quite cool if you think about it.

Smaller restaurants however, are quite fortunate and can use their spaces to offer truly caring experiences. We have worked with Michelin star winning Chef Tom Aikens in the past, whose restaurant Muse spans 950 sq ft. “Muse is very unique in that it is for guests not only looking for great food in a very special restaurant, but welcomes them as if they were in their own home. Guests will always get special care and now more than ever, of being looked after and pampered,” said Aikens.

If you have outdoor space, however small, milk it. Erect pods or beautiful temporary structures. Adapt for weather changes with fans and space heaters. You could also think about bringing your restaurant completely outside – are you on a street that could be pedestrianised, or do you have parking space that could be converted?

For indoor spaces, think gorgeous on-brand free standing folding screens. In hotels, use your banquet rooms as restaurants so you can offer more space between tables.

If you want to be really creative, as the rules relax more, consider catering services for small gatherings, or even a fine dining experience that you can take to people’s homes. We may follow off where you mention that Muse is small, and say that it is massive in experience.

HK: Is there a way for F&B professionals to go where customers already are?

MB: Supermarkets and the internet! This is a great time to consider creating your own line of sauces/pastas/food kits. Paired with solid branding and graphics, it could open up a whole new stream of revenue. Could you create barbecue kits for example, with recipes and ingredients?

We are spending a ridiculous amount of time on the internet now. Host cooking lessons and sell kits after. And remember to up your digital presence – it is the only way people will learn of your restaurant/hotel’s F&B offerings.

Main image credit: B3 Designers

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

Hospitality will awake from the pandemic to face new challenges when it comes to designing F&B spaces. Hotel Designs turns to the CGI experts at North Made Studio to try and visualise the future of these public-facing outlets…

With the industry on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some important future choices to make for hoteliers.

These choices will need to be made in all areas, but may become most stark within the F&B spaces of their hotels.

Until government guidelines are released, exactly how this sector of the hotel industry will proceed is a mystery. Dictating dates for reopening and the easing of certain measures will be crucial to define how the industry needs to adapt.

Should measures not be eased enough and distancing remain in place for the foreseeable future, questions will need to asked about profitably for certain spaces in a ‘socially-distanced’ world. Within the hotel sector F&B spaces may not be deemed a profitable use of available space.

From a visualisation perspective there may be more focus put on the finer details of a F&B space. Viewpoints centred around individual seating areas, up-selling the attributes of the table setting, rather then focusing on the overall aspect of the whole F&B interior area.

Some hoteliers my choose to get ahead of the game and move F&B spaces outdoors, allowing the potential for these spaces to open sooner. Over the last few years interior design for the luxury F&B sector has tried to bring the outdoors in, with Biophilia becoming a growing trend. This potential move of F&B spaces from indoor to outdoors would switch this around. Visually this could allow for outdoor F&B spaces to be depicted with extensive greenery, using the current trend and taking it beyond what was capable within an indoor environment. Or the alternative could happen, and a drive to bring the indoor aesthetic to outdoor spaces could become a trend.

The visualisation sector is geared up to work with both interior and exterior spaces, minimising any differentiation between the CG imagery produced in terms quality or realism.

Another possibly trend for F&B spaces within the hotel sector may be to move more than just the seating/eating areas outdoors. With the popularity of street food kiosks, van and trailers, There is the potential to move the complete catering service outside. Providing an innovative feature to the hotel experience that also opens up the F&B space to the general public, increasing potential custom.

Another great possibility of this is that the catering trailer/van can easily be switched out, to provide customers will different food and drink offerings on a regular basis. Incredible engaging visualisation can be produced for these kinds of external spaces. Creating the scene is just the start, population elements can be embedded within the scene to built a complete visual that includes food trailers, tables, chairs, different demographic of people. Finer details can also be added such as drinks on tables, litter bins. The more detailed the space is visualised, the more realistic and engaging it can be.

To further explore the future of F&B spaces in hotel design, we need to take things back to a pre-COVID stage. Many companies are simply waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic, putting projects on hold, in the hope that things will return to some semblance of normality. For these type of businesses the visual aspects of their F&B spaces will continue to follow current trends.

Experiential

Customers need to be enticed to utilise the F&B facilities within the hotel, creating engaging design with attractive styling is key. Sell these experiences during the early phases of a project with 360 degree viewpoints and visual reality tours can be a great way of boosting interest and getting designs approved.

Convenience

A core factor for F&B spaces in hotels is their convenience. Ensuring the spaces are easily accessible and positioned close to heavy footfall areas, will help to increase their usage. Positioning and ‘eye-catching’ features can be showcased via traditional still CG images, assisting the planing and development phases.

Variety

No two hotel customers are the same, with hotel spaces being used for both business and pleasure, the needs of specific customers will vary. Offering a variety of services with a F&B space will accommodate for ‘on the go’ customers as well as those customers who have more time to sit down and have a full meal. Showcase these innovative features via the use of cameo shot visuals.

Adaptability

The ability for a F&B space to be multi-purpose is vital. Catering for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and drinks allows for the capture of more customers throughout the day.

With the core features of the space remaining the same, the F&B space can be created in CGI for visualisation purposes, and redressed several times to show the adaptability of the space.

Image credit: North Made Studio

Overall F&B spaces within hotels are facing some challenging times. But whatever happens in the future regarding reaction to COVID, these spaces will always be required  in some form. And the visualisation sector will be there to assist with what changes to the design ethos are needed. If new ways to communicate a space are required, the technological advancements in virtual reality could be the key to creating ongoing engagement in the future.

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: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: ‘Togetherness’ is the new luxury post-pandemic

‘Togetherness’ is a new phrase emerging as self-contained serviced apartments are in high demand as old friends and extended family seek to reconnect as lockdown eases…

As travel restrictions begin to relax, serviced apartment brands have seen a spike in bookings as the demand for self-contained apartment hotels increases. As a result, a new trend is starting to emerge: “togetherness”, which is being seen as the new luxury.

One of these brands that are seeing their bookings rise in the wake of the pandemic is SKYE Suites, developed by Crown Group. The group’s Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Abrahamse said the emergence of the “togetherness as the new luxury” trend would replace the focus on experiential travel that had prevailed in the luxury hotel market over the past decade. “Togetherness is emerging as the biggest trend for 2020 and beyond,” he said. “People want to reconnect with those they have been separated from for the past few months and hotels are responding.

“Guests are calling to ask can they book co-joining apartments so that they can enjoy a holiday with their kids and the grandparents in the one place, or so they can have friends who live in regional areas finally able to join them in the city for restaurant or gallery outings,” he said.

Image credit: SKY Suites

SKYE Suites offer spacious one-bedroom and two-bedroom hotel apartments sized from 43sqm to 80sqm, in Sydney, Green Square and Parramatta, each with open-air balconies or courtyards to take in fresh air. Guests can do their own cooking and washing with SMEG appliances and Vittoria or Nespresso coffee machines, or head out to the array of restaurants that have opened their doors again in the city.

There are ‘virtual concierge’ tablets in each suite for guests to access hotel services. Guests can also catch a movie or watch Netflix by streaming their own content to huge in-room TV screens. Sleeping Duck bedding allows them to choose mattress firmness on each side of the bed.

SKYE Suites opened its third hotel above Green Square train station in April 2020, which offers 90 luxurious apartments in a precinct designed by globally renowned Koichi Takada Architects and offering 18 retail and dining offerings including Butcher & The Farmer, Nam2 pho, Bashan noodles, KFC, McDonalds and Gong Cha bubble tea.

Image credit: SKY Suites

The SKYE SUITES brand first launched in August 2017 with the opening of the stunning SKYE Suites Parramatta, part of a mixed-use residential, retail and hotel development, V by Crown Group.

The building was designed by Allen Jack + Cottier and Koichi Takada Architects and Crown Group’s signature resort facilities including a beautiful outdoor pool area, well-equipped gym and expansive foyer.

The second SKYE Suites opened in October 2018 as part of the stunning Arc by Crown Group residential tower at 300 Kent St. This luxe and inviting enclave in the heart of the city was also designed by Koichi Takada Architects whose “ice cave” themed lobby and lap pool have become one of Sydney’s most Instagrammed spaces.

The building has become known for its eye-catching brickwork and glass and steel towers that soar dramatically into the city skyline. It has 73 plush and inviting hotel apartments.

The Sydney and Parramatta hotels have earned accolades at the HM Awards two years running, for Best Serviced Apartment Property and Best Tech Hotel.  

Main image credit: SKY Suites

It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

Ruby Hotels, which only recently entered into the UK hospitality market, has announced that it will open a 173-key property in London’s Notting Hill area in 2023…

Just months after making its London debut with the launch of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank, and while construction is underway to open a 153-key hotel in Clerkenwell next year, Ruby Hotels has announced that its third property in London will be based in Notting Hill.

Ruby Zoe, which is being built in conjunction with UK investor and developer Frogmore, will shelter 173 rooms.

Led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, Ruby Hotels has set its sights on further international expansion with a third hotel planned for London. The new-build, 173-bed property will be in the heart of colourful Notting Hill and will include a spacious street-front public area combining retail and hotel elements.

“Based on the model of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out the unimportant,” explains Struck. “We also organise ourselves using our own technical solutions in a very different way to the rest of the industry. We plan and build in a modular way, centralise more, and automate consistently behind the scenes. As well as helping us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests, this approach gives us a leaner and more adaptable cost structure and means lower risks for our real estate partners. This combination of advantages helps us especially in these unpredictable times.”

After the successful opening of Ruby Lucy on the South Bank earlier this year and Ruby Stella set to open in 2022 in Clerkenwell, expanding to the west of the city is the next logical step for Ruby in the thriving London hotel market.

Jo Allen, Chief Executive of Frogmore commented: “We are delighted to have secured Ruby Hotels as an occupier on our Notting Hill Gate Estate. When we asked Gerard Nolan and Partners to market the hotel opportunity in our West Block we received 13 bids from 10 different hotel operators. We really love Ruby’s approach and vision for the project which we believe will complement the area. The Ruby Team have been fabulous to work with, have convincing development and construction competence together with the financial resources to deliver something special which I hope will be enjoyed by many.”

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s Lean Luxury philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

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LOCATION WATCH: Hot hotels opening soon in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Ever since Hotel Designs started the concept-to-completion article series with SB Architects to cover the honest journey to design and build Conrad Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit has been on our editorial team’s radar. Here editor Hamish Kilburn discovers which other hotels are opening in the area soon…

Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, a remote 192-mile-long coastline that frames the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, is tipped to be in hot demand once travel restrictions have lifted. Later this year, the region will welcome two new five-star luxury properties for those looking for isolated remote escapes whilst keeping hygiene, health, and wellness front of mind.

Riviera Nayarit is welcoming two unrivalled luxury hotel openings (Conrad Punta Mita and One & Only Mandarina), that will complete its extensive luxury hotel offering, in preparation to be one of the most anticipated destinations of 2021.

Conrad Punta de Mita

Accepting reservations now and opening in October, Conrad Punta de Mita is a new 325-key property that will offer a tranquil retreat for guests, surrounded by palm trees and the Pacific Ocean. Explored by our team throughout its design and build, the hotel draws influence from Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with the luxurious amenities to create an environment that will allow visitors to connect authentically to nature and to the sophisticated, contemporary architectural design.

Image credit: Conrad Hotels/SB Architects

Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation and all boast views of the aquamarine ocean, with suites offering fully-furnished kitchens and living rooms, perfect for larger groups, large patios, plunge pools, freestanding soaking tubs and outdoor showers.

Hilton’s first Conrad-branded resort property in Mexico will be set in the same private development as the Litibu Golf Course, an 18-hole experience designed by Greg Norman. 

One&Only Madarina

One&Only Mandarina is located just north of Punta Mita, on a spectacular cliff-side overlooking the Pacific Ocean with dramatic vistas and a lush rainforest setting. Blending chic interiors amid the lush jungle wilderness, the resort offers a combination of 104 free-standing villas that float above the treetops or perch against the cliffs – each with their own private plunge pool. 

Image credit: One&Only

Allowing nature to take centre stage, One&Only Mandarina has been designed and built to respect and blend with the environment. Experts were consulted on the development of the resort to minimise the effect on the existing natural landscape, and careful low-density planning has preserved the ecological importance of the destination. 

In addition, the resort will feature 54 Private Homes, among the first One&Only residences in the world. Available to own, One&Only Mandarina Private Homes offer privacy, seclusion, and comfort with unparalleled service – offering luxury resort living for a privileged few. 

The hotels will join an already thriving luxury hospitality scene and will sit alongside St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita and other luxury hotels and villas.

Main image credit: One&Only

Judges announced for Surface Design Awards 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Judges announced for Surface Design Awards 2021

Steve Webb of Webb Yates Engineers and Basha-Franklin’s Creative Director, Nicola Osborn, have been appointed as Co-Chairs of the  Surface Design Awards for 2021

Steve Webb and Nicola Osborn have joined the judging panel of the Surface Design Awards 2021, and will be joined by a multi-disciplinary team of fellow judges selected from the architecture and design communities.

The Co-Chairs invite their own team of design industry colleagues to join them on the judging panel. Steve Webb has invited Sarah Castle from IF_DO; Joseph Henry of GLA’s Regeneration Team and Architecture Initiative’s Lee Mainwaring.

“I am delighted that Sarah, Joseph and Lee have joined my team of judges, they bring a wealth of design knowledge and skill,” comments Steve Webb. “I know from being part of the 2020 judging team that they face an exciting and challenging task!”

Nicola Osborn has drawn on her contacts in the interiors world to bring together Nic Fallows of BNF Capital; Simona Auteri and Sofia Steffenoni from Matter of Stuff and Kresse Wesling MBE from Elvis + Kresse.

“I really enjoyed my experience of judging the Awards in 2015,” said Nicola Osborn. “I wanted to bring together a diverse team, so have invited a design-led property investor, a contemporary design & manufacturing consultancy and an environmental entrepreneur…judging day should be fun!”

For the 2021 Awards, greater emphasis will be paid both on the selection process for the different surface materials used in the entries and on their sustainability credentials with each entry being accompanied by a statement and calculation for the carbon footprint kgCO2/m2 of the cladding/material surface.

London’s Business Design Centre will be Sponsoring the 2021 Supreme Award – the project selected by the judges as being ‘the winner amongst winners.’

“The Awards Presentation is taking place at the Business Design Centre on Thurs 11 Feb next year and we are delighted once again to be sponsor of the Supreme Award,” said Max Bull, Executive Director of Venue Sales at the BDC. “The BDC is home to many design-led businesses and we are keen to support the sector.”

The 2021 Surface Design Awards will open for entries in June 2020 with a closing date of Friday 25 September 2020. The Awards Presentation ceremony will be on Thursday 11 February 2021 as part of the annual Surface Design Show taking place in London’s Business Design Centre from 9-11 February.

The Supreme Winner of the 2020 Surface Design Awards went to the Krushi Bhawan building in Bhubaneswar, India by Studio Lotus.

Other winners included Sterling Prize winner Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley; Nobu Hotel in London by Ben Adams Architects; CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge by WilkinsonEyre and Zeidler Architecture and University of Sheffield Concourse by Arup Lighting.

Entries are now OPEN! Head over to the website to read more.

Main image credit: Surface Design Awards

FEATURE: When architecture and lighting design collide

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FEATURE: When architecture and lighting design collide

Hotel Designs learns the story and latest lighting collection from Buster + Punch, a British home fashion label, founded in 2012 by Architect Massimo Buster Minale…

It all started in a garage in East London, building custom motorbikes. Buster + Punch innovates with solid metals, to transform ordinary functional fittings into extraordinary interior details for residential, hotels and commercial projects.

The brand is deep rooted in London’s fashion, music and sub-culture scene and harnesses this energy to elevate the products.The horizontal range of products comes in a limited palette of unique finishes to help designers specify with confidence and ensure a perfect match.

Exhaust is a new collection of the trailblazing interior spotlights inspired by motorbike exhaust just launched. The range features four new products; a fixed, an adjustable and a track spotlight, alongside a pendant light. Decorative yet functional, Exhaust is designed to elevate task lighting to a new level, providing directional illumination to interior surfaces and architectural detailing.

Image credit: Buster + Punch

Each Exhaust spotlight is fitted with a beautifully machined, solid metal baffle designed to capture and diffuse light. The unique baffle design features Buster + Punch’s unmistakable new linear knurl pattern and signature torx screws, alongside a precision-cut honeycomb grill, engineered to create a delicate metallic glow whilst also emitting a precise, non-glare, directional light.

“Exhaust finally puts functional lighting back in the spotlight,” explained Massimo Buster Minale, founder and creative director. All too often forgotten as back- ground lighting, we wanted to create a compelling range of decorative task lights that would fit seamlessly into any home or hospitality space, whilst remaining memorable – much like the roar of a motorbikes exhaust.”

Developed by the Buster + Punch design studio, Burnt Steel is an innovative/ fashion-forward finish first launched in Spring 2020. When a motorbike exhaust runs lean, the excessive heat turns the metal into a stunning rainbow of blue, purple and yellow. Harnessing an oxide effect, when applied to marine-grade stainless steel the result is a highly original and unique metal effect. Burnt Steel leads the way in new metallics and unlike an applied finish, the cutting-edge process means that no two finishes are ever the same.

Buster + Punch 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: Buster + Punch

CASE STUDY: Creating statement lighting for Orlando World Center Marriott

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating statement lighting for Orlando World Center Marriott

With industry casting a spotlight on public areas, Hotel Designs explores how designONE studio created the statement lighting inside Orlando World Center Marriot…

At the Orlando World Center Marriott, Stephanie Head, Design Principal of designONE studio, teamed with Cameron Coxworth Adler of BP Lighting to meet the project’s lighting needs.

Hudson Valley Lighting Group Contract (HVLG) combined custom with standard pieces to make another standout hospitality space, tailored to Head’s vision and the hotel’s needs.

That vision had a name: “Undulating Rhythm.”

Providing a focal point for the lobby bar while adding much-needed sparkle at night, these staggering fireworks fixtures tied in to the Troy Odyssey pendants over the bar and satisfied the “undulating rhythm” requirement in three ways:

  • The arms of the fixture undulated
  • The metal shade cup for one of the class shades had an undulating pattern
  • And the large circular fixtures were hung in an undulating manner

Getting there was an easy collaborative process. Our team met several times with the designer as well as maintained good communication via multiple conference calls and emails to refine Head’s original concepts. The designer had some inspiration images of a massive single fixture to fill the space.

Due to the engineering that would be involved with a single fixture, we decided to create a large cluster of fixtures which would still be quite vast in scale instead.

Head wanted a variety of glass “orbs” to create interest. Exploring the deep reserves of the HVLG standard offering, she and our team pulled inspiration from the Troy Odyssey collection for one of the glass elements. This of course added to a sense of design unity throughout the space, as the bar is lit with Odyssey pendants.

HVLG Contract created models of the three glass “shades” for review, and once approved, the fixtures went into production. The end result is a dynamic and incredibly large-scale lighting display that perfectly fits the soaring ceilings of the lobby bar.

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

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

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In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

If the renders on the boards are anything to go by, Jean-Michel Gathy, who is widely considered as one of the industry’s finest, has embarked on one of his most ambitious hospitality projects to date, to design Amaala Island. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

There is not a hotel designer or architect alive today who has not heard of the name Jean-Michel Gathy, and for good reason. The creative mastermind, who doesn’t just design but more reinvents hotel experiences, has been repainting the backdrop of luxury for what is coming up to three decades.

Not shy of his ambition – he once stated that he wanted to be the first person to design a hotel on the moon – Gathy’s approach to a project is all-encompassing, allowing him to further push (and at times break through) conventional barriers.

Arrival experience, luxury

Image credit: Capella Sanya, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

His latest project, Amaala Island will be an ultra luxury resort destination spanning three sites, a first for the region of Saudi Arabia. Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, the island is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

To find out more about the project, and in homage to the designer’s award-winning career, I managed to speak to the architect/designer.

Hamish Kilburn: Jean-Michel, how will the ultra-luxe Amaala Island – aka the “Diamond of the Red Sea” – challenge conventional island developments?

Jean-Michel Gathy: The development of ‘The Island’ will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel. 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.

“It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

HK: How does your approach differ when designing a destination from you’re designing a hotel?

JMG: Constant travel is a huge part of the job. It allows me to observe and to be constantly inquisitive about my surroundings. Travelling builds a subconscious library of ideas, which are expressed in my work and helps my ideas remain innovative and fresh. It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you. It’s not about where you travel, either – what counts is that you explore. No matter where you are, every country has something new to offer in terms of inspiration.

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

Image credit: Image credit: The Chedi Muscat, Oman, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: What have been some of your design highlights in your career?

JMG: Perhaps the one for which I am most renowned is the overwater hammocks or ‘basking nets’, which I initiated in the Maldives at the One&Only Reethi Rah in 2000. Until then, you would find balustrades around the terraces of villas. I decided to alter that – if anyone was going to fall off the terrace, they could fall on to the nets. And I put scatter cushions on them.

Image credit: One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Today, just about every hotel uses this idea. Another pioneering step was turning standalone tents for safari-style camps into a commodity. The accommodation at these hotels used to be basic but this started to change after I designed luxurious tents for the Amanwana in 1990. I am also known for my oversized, dramatic swimming pools such as the one on the roof of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Large, oversized swimming pool

Image credit: The Setai Miami, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What has been the most demanding request you have received from a client to date?

JMG: I guess I take every client that I work with as a challenge more than a demanding request.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?

JMG: I would love to travel to Iceland to see its rugged landscapes, glaciers, rough seas, hot springs and volcanoes. I’d also like to visit the south of Chile and the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia, which has extraordinary wildlife and endless forests.

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

JMG: Collecting art – I like to collect and invest in local artwork whilst on my travels.

HK: What lesson would you teach to your younger self?

JMG: The pathway to success is never easy, it takes hard work, dedication and passion.

HK: If you could design a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JMG: I’d love to design a hotel in Antarctica. There’s an ice hotel in Sweden, but that’s only open four months a year, so I want to do one that permanently remains ice.

HK: What’s been your favourite year on the international design scene?

JMG: To be honest, every year working with my team at Denniston has been and is special to me.

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without?

JMG: I travel light, but I always ensure I have a cashmere scarf for the plane, and a sweater (I’m a big cashmere fan). I also travel with my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: How is the perception of luxury changing – and how is this evolving the way in which you create spaces in the luxury arena?

JMG: Before, hotels were just a place where you go and relax. Today, guests are connected: they want spas, they want food and beverage, they want activities, they want things to do. The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared, because life is such that people have become more and more active. I think luxury property clients are now asking for more than simply great rooms. They want retail facilities, a cinema, an extraordinary spa, award-winning F&B offerings and outdoor activities all integrated into the hotel.

“In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: What’s the value of having designers and architects in your practice?

JMG: There are many good architects, but we have a specific niche. I’m going to compare us to branding: thousands of people buy Toyotas, but few people buy Bentleys. I believe that we are more Bentley than Toyota. This doesn’t mean that a Toyota is not a good car. In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley. Designers are the same; many prefer commercial projects and properties, because their interest is financial. They just want to make money, which means they’re not romantic about their projects. Then you have other designers, which is where I belong, who are more interested in the success of the project, the excitement of the journey of designing a hotel, and having the pride of making something fantastic, even though you earn less money.

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

Image credit: One&Only Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: Has the way in which you source inspiration changed over the years?

JMG: I’m someone who designs from the heart so my style is one that’s charismatic. It’s not an ego trip like the architects who design for themselves. I design elements that are a composition of dramatic effect; I create large and dramatic space, in opposition to intimate areas, so the space is always dynamic. Secondly, I design for the sensation you get out of it. I want every space in the hotel to be comfortable and for my clients to come back and say, I like this space. Sometimes they don’t know why they like it, but if they walk in and feel good, I know I’ve succeeded.

And succeeded Gathy has in widening the path of innovative hotel experiences in far-flung destinations around the world. While his past hotel projects have firmly etched his name into the architecture, design and luxury hospitality history books, his latest ideas and concepts that are currently on the boards highlight Gathy and Denniston’s ambitions. Inspired by his worldly perspective of design and architecture, I believe that Gathy’s aspiration is yet to peak as he continues to think big with the future landscape of luxury international hotel design patiently waiting in his sketchbook for its cue to emerge.

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

CASE STUDY: Carpeting 1 Hotel South Beach Miami

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Carpeting 1 Hotel South Beach Miami

Hotel Designs goes behind the scenes to understand Barry Sternlicht and his team’s unique design ethos for 1 Hotel South Beach Miami, and why Ulster Carpets had the ultimate solution when it came to the commercial carpet design…

As designers and manufacturers of wool rich bespoke carpets, we have always been in the business of creating sustainable products that enhance any space both in terms of aesthetics and quality.

As industry pioneers we continually review our processes to find more efficient and sustainable ways to manufacture luxury carpet, helping our clients to meet their own sustainable goals.

Wool is a rapidly renewable material as well as luxurious and versatile, at Ulster Carpets we use only the best wool sourced from Britain, Ireland & New Zealand. Wool fleece re-grows every 12 months providing a constant supply of high quality raw material. Naturally stain repellent, flame resistant, non combustible and easily cleaned, wool is both sustainable and a safe choice.

There are many health benefits from including wool within indoor spaces. Research shows that wool carpets effectively trap dust and allergens in its top layer. Its natural filtering effect makes it perfect for people with asthma or allergies. Naturally absorbing humidity and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a wool-rich carpet will provide a cleaner, more comfortable space to sit back, relax and breathe in.

Alongside the comfort of their guests, 1 Hotel is a brand whose focus, as with Ulster Carpets, is also on prioritising sustainability, environmental protection and community engagement. On their website, Barry Sternlicht their CEO & Chairman says: “I wanted to capture the beauty of nature in a hotel and commit to safeguarding it as best I can, a responsibility that I believe we all share. It’s 1 world. But 1 is more than a hotel – it’s a philosophy and a platform for change.”

Organic, raw, natural and reclaimed materials are therefore an important part of any design brief they develop. From using reclaimed driftwood as wall coverings, plant walls and green spaces to details such as ditching plastic key cards in favour of recycled wooden tags & providing hangers made from 100% post consumer waste.

Image credit: 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami FL | Design Firm: Meyer Davis | Photography – Eric Laignel

Therefore commissioning bespoke wool rich carpets from Ulster Carpets for their 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami was an obvious choice. A retreat wholly inspired by its natural surroundings, namely the 600-feet of beach along the Atlantic Ocean, Ulster Carpet’s creative team took inspiration from these elements to create the texture and look of wood grain, echoing the driftwood and natural materials in the interior of the hotel. The bold yet calming pattern moves though the hotel pulling all the strands together of this sustainable and luxurious hotel.

As a company, Ulster Carpets were delighted to be part of 1 Hotel’s vision, where our beautifully crafted product plays a role in delivering a sustainable experience without compromising on quality or artistic flair.

Visit Ulster Carpets website to learn more about their sustainable business and the beautiful carpets they have designed and manufactured across the globe.

Ulster Carpets 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: 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami FL | Design Firm: Meyer Davis | Photography: Eric Laignel

PRODUCT WATCH: Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace receives Red Dot Award

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace receives Red Dot Award

The jury at the Red Dot Awards were “won over” by Kaldewei’s certified shower surface with integrated room for manoeuvre. Hotel Designs gets a closer look…

It is not only bathroom professionals, architects and builders who are captivated by Kaldewei’s world-first for barrier-free mini bathrooms.

At the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020 the exceptional innovation and aesthetic of the Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace made it the winner of one of the most important international competitions for product design and architecture. The Red Dot Award is presented annually by a 40-member expert jury for the best designs in the areas of aesthetic, chosen materials, crafting of the surface structure, ergonomics and functionality; it is one of the most prestigious quality checkmarks for outstanding design.

Image credit: Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace in lava black matt with Secure Plus

“By giving us this award, the jury has highlighted the design quality of our new bathroom solution. For us, it is an affirmation of a very special combination of materials. With Kaldewei steel enamel, steel and glass form a long-lasting, hygienic and sustainable bond which is what the Kaldewei brand has stood for, for decades,” says Yvonne Piu, Director Marketing at Kaldewei. “There are  a great  many  small bathrooms at last, with the Cayonoplan Multispace they too can be made into barrier-free yet design-oriented spaces – with all of the associated benefits for bathroom professionals and builders. Alongside the distinctive aesthetic, the advantages include maximum comfort and bathroom design in line with prescribed standards so grant applications for barrier-free bathroom refurbishments can be made with confidence.”

Barrier-free design for mini bathrooms

The Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace for floor-level installation is the first certified enamelled shower surface that meets all requirements relating to barrier-freedom; furthermore, 60 per cent of its surface area can be counted as room for manoeuvre in the bathroom. With Kaldewei’s shower system, even tiny bathrooms with an area of just four square metres can be easily equipped to meet accessibility requirements. The Cayonoplan Multispace is available in all twelve shades of the Coordinated Colours Collection and comes with the anti-slip Secure Plus finish as standard.

The Cayonoplan Multispace – truly excellent

“The winners of the Red Dot Award have proved that they have created truly excellent products that possess not only an exceptional aesthetic but are also uniquely functional. The award winners have raised the benchmark within their industry with their designs. I sincerely congratulate them on their success,” says Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of Red Dot.

The Kaldewei Cayonoplan Multispace which was honoured at the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2020 will be installed on 22 June at the “Design on Stage” exhibition at the Red Dot Design Museum Essen which presents the winners selected from 18,000 entries.

Kaldewei 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: Kaldewei

PRODUCT WATCH: The Mercury radiator

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: The Mercury radiator

The Mercury by Castrads represents one of the most flawlessly engineered cast iron radiator of our time. Darren Tothill, consultant from the brand, explains…

The Mercury radiator range by Castrads is four years in the making. It’s been developed in house and inspired by automotive surface design, and is the perfect statement piece for contemporary and classic properties alike.

With delicate V-detailing on crisp columns, elegantly tapered feet and flawlessly blended top curves, Mercury represents the pinnacle of cast iron radiator design. It’s our more versatile range, available in two, three, four, and six-column variants and a number of different heights.

Image credit: Castrads

The Mercury 2 Column, available in three heights, is only 70mm deep, making it perfect for hard to heat places like hallways, behind doors, and stair landings.

The Mercury 3 Column, available in four heights, has a relatively narrow depth of 101mm. The 3 Column is ideal for retaining a high heat output while taking up minimal space.

The Mercury 4 Column is also available in four heights. At 140mm deep, this size is great in large rooms where you require a lot of heat.

The Mercury 6 Column is 360mm in height and 215mm in depth. It was designed to fit perfectly under windows and provide a lot of heat.

Image credit: Castrads

What’s so special about Mercury?

First and foremost, Mercury is the largest range of cast iron column radiators in the world. It’s versatility and design lends itself to any home heating project. Secondly, it’s completely ours. It was designed from start to finish in house, using cutting edge technology. Our dedicated team 3D printed prototypes and used the most advanced design software to ensure an efficient and beautiful radiator.

We use stress and heat output tests and heat flow simulations to ensure that everything we design is modelled for optimal performance. The Mercury is as classic and beautifully designed as it’s Victorian-era predecessors, with all of the efficiency and accuracy of today’s technology.

The Mercury can be finished in a stunning range of bare metal finishes or paint from Little Greene, Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore.

Our curated collection of accessories, including valves, shrouds and base plates and wall stays, can be finished in a range of colours and will complete the look.

All of our radiators are tested in accordance with EN442 by BSRIA to ensure that we offer the highest standard of quality.

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

PRODUCT WATCH: Horo by Masiero

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Horo by Masiero

Taking cues from vintage style, Horo by Masiero is a striking new lighting collection featuring glass discs and brushed brass…

The sun is an ancient and enduring source of inspiration. Tapping into this, the design for Horo took the depiction of the sun as a circle and related icons like the Sun god Ra as its starting point.

The distinctive illuminated discs form a perfect archetypal representation of the sun and give this collection an eternal and graphic quality.

Horo is part of the Dimore Collection by MASIERO, and designed by Paris based interior designer Pierre Gonalons. In 2002 he graduated from École Camondo, which offers a five-year program in interior architecture and object design.

MASIERO is committed to the use of high-quality materials and material innovation. Horo is no exception.

The main diffuser is a sandwich construction, which comprises two circles of prismatic glass held together by an outer brass metal frame. An LED strip is placed inside the frame and shines between the two layers of glass. The diameter of each diffuser is 30cm.

To increase the luminance, Horo also features a second light source. This sits within a smaller brushed brass circle perpendicular to the main form.

The overall design is sleek and modern, whilst the finishes feel more vintage. Despite the very slim profile, Horo has a remarkably three-dimensional quality. Illuminated more brightly at the edges, the disc can appear almost globe-like.

The double light sources of Horo give it a unique look – a diffused glow as well as a soft directed light.

The glass itself is textured with a diamond pattern. This gives it a “vintage flavor that I like so much,” says Gonalons. The collection is available in various glass colors: transparent, green, powder pink, light blue and smoke. Gonalons explains that the colors reflect a desire for a contemporary palette, yet also take inspiration from the 1950s Italian style.

The design of Horo features two materials which are particularly important for MASIERO: glass and metal. The firm has extensive experience and a strong skill base in metalwork. Glass is an iconic material which is historically linked to nearby Venice and also widely sought after in lighting.

The material choices support and enrich the design concept.

Horo is a stunning collection that will sit equally well in domestic as well as commercial contexts. As a simple design that effectively balances the decorative with the functional, it could easily become a sought after classic fixture which interior designers readily incorporate into their projects.

The range includes wall, table, floor and hanging lights and it is available in several glass colors: transparent, pink, green, light blue and smoke.

Masiero 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: Masiero

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: The role of UV lighting in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: The role of UV lighting in hotel design

With the industry’s attention focused towards possible solutions following the Covid-19 crisis, Hotel Designs, in collaboration with the human-centric lighting brand humanlumen, has brought together a handful of industry experts to discuss UV lighting’s role in the post-pandemic world. Editor Hamish Kilburn moderates… 

On the panel: 

Recently, humanlumen switched on our attention at Hotel Designs to focus our editorial gaze, during pandemic paralysis, towards the possibilities and boundaries of architectural lighting design. The launch of the brand’s Clean Air Series inspired us to investigate how figureheads of the industry are reacting to UV Lighting.

No question was off limit as the panel of interior designers and lighting designers put humanlumen through its paces to understand Clean Air Series and UV lighting’s role on tomorrow’s hygienic hospitality scene.

Hamish Kilburn: Andrew, so that everyone can familiarise themselves with the product, can you briefly explain humanlumen’s Clean Air Series?

Andrew Boydell: We have invested a lot of time and money in the new technology around UV lighting and its effects on bacteria in the workplace as well as in hospitality spaces. We believe that UV lighting in these areas is going to be fairly revolutionary going forward. From a hospitality point of view, we have developed Clean Air Series, a purification product that integrates a high level of UV light within the system. This allows up to 300 cubic-metres of air to be cleaned in four hours – think of it as a remote AC unit with multiple UV light chambers. 

Image caption: humanlumen’s Clean Air Series UV Lighting unit.

Mark Elliott: There has been a lot of research around the risks attached to UV lighting around eyesight and artwork, for example. One of the benefits of using LED lights over halogen lights is that the reduced UV prevents issues such as degrading artwork/finishes. How have you considered this in Clean Air Series?

AB: The product that has gone to market is a completely sealed unit. There are nine high intensity UV bulbs within a purification unit, which is basically an aluminium housing. Within that unit is a motor, a cooling unit and a number of chambers. The air is passed through the chambers, and no UV light is exposed to the outside world. It has been a major consideration of ours, as well as an engineering challenge.

“As manufacturers and designers, we all need to start looking and thinking outside the box now!” – Chris Peach, Principal lighting designer, FUTURE Designs.

HK: Mark, has UV Lighting been on your radar as a lighting designer?

ME: From our perspective, to be honest, it’s not something we have been investigating, which is probably because our focus as lighting designers is the beautification of spaces while enabling task-based solutions. However, it’s interesting to hear how lighting is being used to create more sterile environments.

Chris Peach: As manufacturers and designers, we all need to start looking and thinking outside the box now! With the ability to integrate the UV element within a luminaire could have major benefits. UV lighting is used throughout hospital environments, and there has to be a way of integrating that in hospitality.

Ariane Steinbeck: I want to continuously led by science. What I know that has been proven is that the detectability of the Covid-19 virus continues for between two and three hours in an aerosol format. What scientists don’t know yet is how much virus is needed to make you sick. From a practical standpoint, when this lighting is switched on out of hours, and the virus has settled on different surfaces, what does your product do to eliminate it?

AB: There are three elements: airborne particulates, surface particulates and particulates carried on the person. Airborne has been tackled with a continuous clean air unit that will run 24/7. Essentially, you will leave that in a hospitality space throughout the day. The surface element is different. The exposed UV light’s role, to be used when someone is not in that space, will help to clean the surfaces, and be used in harmony with the cleaners. We have been investigating an exposed UV product that will clean 25 square-metres of space. Of course, there would have to be a very clear protocol of use and we are looking at this to be linked to a control system so it can be activated when the room is not active. For a typical hotel room, we are estimating that this process will take an hour.

HK: What are the pitfalls in today’s lighting design?

Dylan Wills: Across the board, everyone would value in being more educated in lighting technology. Too often is lighting an afterthought behind the interior design itself.

David Mason: A lot of clients realise the benefits of lighting designers. There was a time where we would only ever use lighting designers in high-end projects. Now, though, we collaborate with lighting designers for most of the hotel projects we work on. 

“As soon as we all started to save energy and technology advanced, lighting design became a lot more convoluted.” – Mark Elliott, Global Creative Director, FPOV.

Neil Andrew: I worked on a project once where they didn’t have a lighting consultant. When I had won the argument to bring one on, they ended up removing 30 downlights, which of course saved a lot of money.

ME: As soon as we all started to save energy and technology advanced, lighting design became a lot more convoluted. As a lighting designer, keeping up-to-date with tech every day is very complex. That has driven designers to realise that they are not experts in that area.

HK: From a wellbeing perspective, how is lighting climbing up on the agenda in hospitality?

ME: I think we can take inspiration from the aviation industry. There have been studies carried out on how significant lighting can be to help combat jet lag. I’m not sure about UV lighting, but there are certainly applications at the moment on lighting being used to enhance wellbeing in hospitality.

NA: In terms of mental health, it’s hard to know the impact of Covid-19 right now, but I guess in general the big one for me is circadian lighting systems. The research and technology that will allow a room to intuitively adjust the lighting to where you have travelled from in order to aid jet lag is pretty impressive.

DM: We were working with a hotel chain to design windowless rooms. The idea behind the lighting was so that you could adjust the lighting to time zones. This also worked around your circadian rhythms.

HK: In these sessions, we always try to look at these new innovations and conversations with clients and budgets in mind. How realistic is it therefore for you to pitch these new innovations to clients?

DW: In this exact moment in time, the focus should be on the businesses that are having to reopen hotels in cost-effective ways. Adding new products that will incorporate expenditure will be a big focus. We have been speaking to hotel operators who are just moving furniture around and changing the lobby configuration because they simply don’t have the money to spend.

I can see UV lighting being integrated into new-builds. However, with existing buildings it will be difficult considering the financial positions of developers and operators at the moment.

ME: I believe there are two sides in this. On the one side there are people who are trying to cut corners, while others are trying to find a unique sales point. Also, the more a piece of technology gets adopted, the cheaper it becomes. When that happens, the benefits are then able to be used on a wider scale.

AS: I believe, at this point, everyone is trying to ‘out market’ their cleaning protocols. Personally, I doubt it will inspire the consumer to choose one brand over the other. There was a big opportunity missed to do something unanimous across all brands in all countries to inspire confidence. In terms of mandating improvements, it will be difficult because hotel owners are struggling to pay the bills.

HK: So Andrew, is the product better suited to new-builds?

AB: Not necessarily. We were approached yesterday by a boutique chain with nine hotels. They were looking for us to fit the UVC light units and the centric lighting units in their existing properties

DW: There is another sector of the market that we should highlight, and that’s distressed assets. As we move forward, we will see hotel operators purchasing those struggling hotels and rebranding them to become new products. There, I see the UV lighting working and it will instil security in consumers’ minds.

AS: What is the cost of one of these units?

AB: It’s variable depending on the volume. But if you work between the parameter of 1,200 – £1,700 per unit.

NA: How visible are these units?

AB: The best way I can describe them is similar to a free-standing water dispenser. The unit is mobile and will sit in the corner of the room.

Matthew Voaden: I’m assuming that you are looking at exposed UV units in guestrooms and the purification in public areas?

AB: The exposed UV will benefit the turnaround, for sure. The air purification unit will give a constant purification of the space.

HK: Where do you see lighting in hospitality going in the future?

“One of the main elements I see being a focus of innovation in the future is control systems.” – David Mason, Director and Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg.

DM: The margin between too much lighting and not enough lighting is very small. Most guests, I would argue, checking into a hotel want something simple.

ME: David’s right, people want flexibility. They want it to be intuitive. It’s a challenge to operate all those functions and not have a complex control system as a result. It’s a mass quandary. One of the main elements I see being a focus of innovation in the future is control systems. I can see these systems using tech that is embedded in each fitting so that the consumer can control each light from one device.

DM: That, as well as Covid-19, will steer more things being operational from your own device.

ME: Lighting is a constant; it is everywhere. Development of lighting will be multiple carriers of different things, which as a result simplifies ceilings. A good lighting solution is tailored to work around any space.

DW: Lighting design and interior design have to work hand-in-hand. Decisions have to be communicated throughout the entire process.

DM: This is going to be a catalyst in a lot of industries. I believe there is going to be a lot more collaboration between other industries to discover purposeful solutions.

HK: What lighting solutions are you integrating into the projects you are working on at the moment?

ME: David and I are working on a hotel where in the public spaces there will be a focus on day to night technology.

DM: We wanted to create a particular experience in the corridors, which are currently long and bland. Together with FPOV, we developed and prototyped a light fitting and it will now be manufactured and installed. Together we were able to get the client on board with this and it really does come down to designers working closely together to produce the best solution.

AS: Making things simpler is our objective. If we can add benefits that are automatic then that’s even better and I am looking forward to seeing what added value UV lighting can bring to the table.

HK: So there you have it, collaborations between designers, manufacturers and specialists are allowing the industry to navigate a clean path forward in hospitality for a post-pandemic world. In case there was any doubt, UV lighting is now on the agenda as today’s hotel designers are looking for new ways to functionally adapt spaces so that they meet the hygienic demands of tomorrow’s travellers with the ever-evolving demands for characterful, design-led spaces. If you would like to have your say on UV Lighting and other lighting solutions, please tweet us @hoteldesigns.

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.

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.

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

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Air quality and your guests

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Air quality and your guests

Over the past few months, the majority of us have been forced into our homes with the door locked. And while the planet is enjoying a quality break from pollution, is the inside air we are breathing safe? Hotel Designs asks air purifier manufacturer Blueair to explain…

Did you know indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoors?

Improved air quality is also conducive to a great night’s sleep which for most, if not all hoteliers, is the number one priority for their guests and patrons.

Polluted indoor air can trigger allergies and asthma, affect child development, disrupt sleep and more. Clean air improves our health and wellbeing, and it helps us to lead happier and healthy lives by improving sleep, concentration and physical performance. A Blueair air purifier, as used by top hotels in London such as the Page8 hotel, improves air quality for a better night’s sleep.

Image credit: Blueair

In a post Covid-19 world both business and leisure customers will be scrutinising hygiene and air quality much more closely as a deciding factor in where to stay. An air purifier in a hotel room not only massively improves the quality of air, but also gives peace of mind that guests are breathing the best possible air they can. For hoteliers, air purifiers should – and will be – a serious consideration for guest rooms going forward.

“Blueair’s air purifiers are designed to clean the air in a room up to five times an hour.”

Inspired by the fresh air of the Stockholm archipelago, Blueair’s purpose is to help protect us from the invisible threats of poor indoor air quality. More than two decades ago, Blueair’s Swedish founder built his first air purifier to protect the health of his new-born daughter, and consequently set out to make the world’s best air purifier.

By bringing together a team of talented designers and filtration experts who shared his passion for sustainability, quality, and design, the Blueair air purifiers were born. Since then, Blueair has expanded into one of the world’s leading producers of air purification solutions for home and professional use. Blueair delivers innovative, best-in-class, energy efficient products and services to consumers and commercial buildings such as hospitals, embassies and schools in over 60 countries around the world.

Blueair’s air purifiers are designed to clean the air in a room up to five times an hour. Thanks to proprietary HepaSilent™ technology, Blueair’s air purifiers remove at least 99.97 per cent of all airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size. This includes pollen, smoke, dust, mould spores, germs, pet allergens and microplastics.

Blueair was founded on the firm belief that freedom to breathe is a basic right and this should not be compromised when on holiday or staying away on business. Air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to human health, and to the health of our planet. This is especially the case in busier cities where air pollution is much higher and smog and fumes from cars can enter buildings through ventilation. Hotels that invest in air purifiers are ensuring guests can breathe as nature intended. Blueair’s air purifiers are also whisper silent and so will not distract from a good night’s sleep.

Blueair’s air purifiers are among the most awarded in the UK. They have highly respected third party endorsements from Which?, Good Housekeeping Institute, Asthma Allergy Nordic and Quiet Mark, as well as awards from Ideal Home, IndyBest and MadeForMums.

Blueair 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: Blueair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

Hotel Designs has always championed creative art outside the conventional framework. Here, art consultant Ollie Griffin from Elegant Clutter explains the importance of narrative when choosing art for hotel interior design…

Art Consultancy is a fine art in it’s own right. Many people have an opinion on art, welcome or otherwise.

How many times have you heard someone’s throwaway comment when regarding a critically acclaimed artwork, ‘I could have done that’? Maybe they could, but the fact is they didn’t.

A key part of the Art Consultants job is to ensure the artwork makes the right connection with the hotel guest. Using the art as a story-teller is a great way to engage the guest. Hopefully it will make them think. Or smile. Or both. They may even learn something about where they are staying or eating.

The importance of research

There really is more to art than meets the eye. Elegant Clutter starts any artwork project with extensive research into the story of the hotel, location or people involved with it. There are usually a multitude of untold stories that can make great inspiration for an artist. They just need to be uncovered.

Elegant Clutters Creative Director, Harry Pass, reminds us to, ‘skip the artwork research stage at your peril’. He insists that his team meticulously research and he takes a personal sense of pride in the comprehensive proposals submitted. This is the crucial first stage of any Art Consultancy project. A well thought out art narrative can help add an intriguing and subtle thread to a hotels interior scheme.

And if the story is a heavy one then a bit of humour can help communicate it. The artists at Elegant Clutter were challenged to create some original artworks for the bedrooms of Malmaison Oxford, a former prison. Their contemporary graphical artworks depict a jailor locking up prison cells for the night featured the slogan ‘Lights out at 10’.

Seaside surrealism and modern opulence

Seaside surrealism and eccentric curiosity helped Elegant Clutter create a Brighton hotel that truly rocks. Just a few considered, quirky and nautical-inspired pieces, designed and made by EC, have totally transformed the main restaurant space at the Hotel de Vin, Brighton.

In a separate recessed area, the eccentric seaside odyssey continues. Every type of captain, from sea to spaceship, adorn the walls in a series of striking framed prints. Humour is key to the set of artworks which hopefully make people smile as well as offering a link to the sea. There are many different levels of story-telling. Some more obvious and others woven subtly into the layers of the artwork.

Image credit: Hotel Du Vin Brighton/Elegant Clutter

Another subtle piece of story-telling was involved in developing the artwork for the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden. Elegant Clutter approached the artwork with modern opulence in mind. The Fritz Felix Restaurant effortlessly captures the beauty and culture of its forest surroundings.

A delightful blend of eras past and present, its mix of classicism and modernity creates a wonderfully refined, informal dining space.  The main restaurant, designed by Robert Angell Design International, features four oversized geometric artworks, painted and bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter. Reflecting the ever-changing seasons, these remain a constant view through the impressive sliding windows.

Image credit: Fritz Felix Seasons/Elegant Clutter

An abstract landscape painting was also created for the open kitchen area and a collection of pencil sketches of local architecture were commissioned for the bar. All telling the story of the locality.

Spa town renovation

Original period detailing, combined with beautiful bespoke artwork supplied by Elegant Clutter, brings the heritage of the M Gallery Hotel, Cheltenham alive.

Image credit: MGallery/Elegant Clutter

What began with thorough research, has resulted in a striking display of artwork that perfectly complements the existing aesthetics.  All of the framing and detailing are designed to fit seamlessly with the hand-crafted period interior, while providing a contemporary, playful twist.

Various artwork techniques were explored to create a totally distinct look. You’ll find everything from hand-sketched originals and printed porcelain, to vinyl silhouettes and digital murals. The bedroom artwork collection was designed by recreating the original hand painted wallpaper uncovered in the grand staircase and re-imagining it as a kaleidoscope.

City culture

Creating artwork for Radisson Blu, Leeds was a perfect fit for Elegant Clutter. With a shared belief in pushing the boundaries of hotel design, what resulted makes quite an impression.

Trevillion Interiors briefed the project in an open and dynamic way, with ‘Leeds stories’ to become the central focus. The brief allowed for complete creativity and what stands now is an impressive interior that truly reflects the heritage of this vibrant city.

One of the most striking pieces has to be the oversized, spray-painted mural of Leeds legend Peter O’Toole. The exposed wall contrasts with the smooth charm of this iconic figure, creating an industrial yet intimate feel.

Image credit: Radisson Blu/Elegant Clutter

Another statement piece constitutes a second wall mural but applied with a combination of hand painting and digital mural. The team at Elegant Clutter photographed typical street scenes of Leeds but from a very stylistic perspective. These images made up a landscape of commuters, street artists and families that were used to add interest to a previously unused and soulless atrium. The graphics and hand painted shadows adorn the three levels of bedroom walkways to create a unique atmosphere.

Other artwork references more of Yorkshire’s icons, including its famous financial district. This story was brought to life using real digitally printed penny coins to make up the image.

A similar inspiration was used on the Moxy Hotel Dusseldorf located in the banking sector of the city. Elegant Clutter have transformed the siding lift doors in a frivolous and charming way. To get to your room, you first have to get through the bank vault!

Just a bit of fun

When a story is treated a little irreverently and the client has the confidence to run with it Elegant Clutter are allowed to have a bit of fun. Working on the ETC Venue site in Chancery Lane one of Elegant Clutters free-hand artists set about painting a brick wall. With a bit of imagination the result was a glimpse at how one of the local legal fraternity may spend their breaks from court.

Sometimes it just feels right to put a smile on people’s faces by putting a smile in their face. Another art installation destined for an ETC Venue site in New York was conceived to do just that. This piece was inspired by the kindred spirits that are New York and London – and it seems more poignant than ever right now! I believe that sometimes we need art that just makes us smile.

There is a lot more to art than meets the eye so next time you hear someone disrespecting an artwork perhaps it’s worth reminding them to take moment to look a little deeper. It’s quite likely there are some interesting stories involved and at the very least some subtly veiled humour to appreciate. If they just gave it a little thought.

Elegant Clutter 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: Elegant Clutter

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: 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.

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

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How feature walls have evolved with meaning

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How feature walls have evolved with meaning

Feature walls have come a long way from being a decorative element that breaks up space in a conventional living room. Brands like River Bespoke, which specialises in the design and manufacture of beautiful, handcrafted and bespoke shelves, are taking the feature wall into a new era. The company’s Managing Director, Katie Haynes, explains how…

History has a habit of repeating itself and the feature wall doesn’t escape this trend, albeit with some significant differences in accessibility brought about through technological innovation. 18th century aristocracy commissioned elaborate wall coverings at great expense to be proudly presented and admired by peers. Sadly, in recent decades, a feature or accent wall meant nothing more than a few rolls of bold wallpaper stuck on a wall to reinvigorate an interior, these times are long gone, and the feature wall is back with a vengeance.

Image credit: River Bespoke/the Langham Hotel London

The hospitality industry has seen seismic changes over the past decade with the whole experience of visiting a hotel or restaurant being just that: all about the “experience”. Consumers are more than ever willing to shell out life enhancing experiences and the industry once guilty of stacking them high and selling them cheap have refocussed on customer experience. Without fail, the whole industry is setting its stall to deliver unique atmosphere and character speaking to customer senses, from visual appearance, feelings, smells and personal interaction. Management ethos and vision have changed to address these challenges whilst interior designers made accountable for translating that dream into reality and one that is understood by clientele.

First impressions of a hotel are in the lobby area, once a fairly stark space guiding incoming residents to a highlighted reception desk, sound bouncing off the marble floor and walls: clean and functional but not welcoming and certainly not delivering a unique and relaxing experience. So, the journey of the feature wall in hotel design begins here, allowing the lobby to convey management vision and playing with senses. Whilst the reception desk is still a focal point, careful use of ambient lighting, highlights this central point of functionality without screaming “I’m here”. The open space of the lobby carefully and creatively segmented into intimate and social zones each with their own innovative yet linked characters, each space lending itself to different functions or moods. Acoustics are far superior with sounds muted through wall coverings and furniture, delicate fragrances from vaporisers enhance the sensual experience. Visually each space has its own character with guests being drawn to their favourite spaces and migrating to these to meet or work rather than retiring to the quieter confines of a room.

Image credit: River Bespoke

The journey continues with guest rooms another domain of the feature wall. Whilst the larger hotel chains may have little option but to pseudo-standardise the “feature” wall, they still deliver an experience far superior than that of a decade ago. Of course, boutique and high-end hotels take a completely different approach with each room having its own theme or personality. Returning customers become attached to individual rooms building brand loyalty whilst one-off visitors target specific rooms appealing to their own tastes.

Fortunately, the world is at a very different position than the 18th century when lavish wall coverings were hand printed or embroidered. Choices for hotel owners and designers are endless, what was unthinkable due to cost, is at the behest of designers at the click of a mouse.

Interior designers have a veritable smorgasbord of options to select from. Glass partitions adorned with an array of shelves can be used to delineate one zone from another without losing the feeling of space and openness. Exquisite Venetian plaster walls make a real statement, highly polished plaster or even cement are on trend and create a stunning display when subtly lighted. “Feature walls are not limited to the main walls in a lobby lounge but it’s a smart tool of how to divide the spaces and create a wonderful circulation that takes the guest through the design journey, a story unfold,” explains Bergman Interiors’ Marie Soliman. “We love working with artisan and artists who developed revolutionary products that allow us to dream and create using huge range of surfaces and materials including metals, Timber, glass, marquetry, plaster, plasterboard, glass, fibreglass, concrete and much more, sky is the limit.

“Art is not a canvas anymore, its everything in a hotel space; it should be a state of the art especially feature walls. It should bring interest to the space that has a powerful allure, impression, textures and infinite details and to tell a story.”

Image credit: River Bespoke/The Langham Hotel London

Another designer who is utilising the feature wall is Lauren Elliott of Lauren Elliott Designs. She explains: “In a time where we understand and acknowledge that our feelings and well-being are of upmost importance, the demand on our surroundings and interiors has heightened, especially in hotel design.
When we visit a hotel we want to experience so much, we want a home from home, but perhaps with an edge, we want to be inspired by an interior that we may not have in our day to day lives at home but have always secretly dreamed of!”

“There are so many tools to achieve this feeling from lighting, to a clever use of texture but one for sure is with the Feature Wall and believe me when I say the possibilities are absolutely endless. It could be a full panelled wall of aged mirrors, a fully shelved wall displaying curiosities, a simple design with a singular piece of abstract art, the list literally goes on. It speaks volumes without needing words, it can be the thing that people tell all their friends about or provide a moment for someone to be still and ponder over their thoughts.  And so my point being is that the Feature Wall should never be over-looked and instead seen as an opportunity.”

Murals have become the new wallpaper; no longer does a mural need to be an artwork taking days, weeks or months, delivery is next day with advent of computer-generated images and one-off large-scale printing.

Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning wall panels: from reclaimed timber, perfectly aligned and symmetrical oak cladding to molten metal spayed textured panels. Interior designers have all the tools necessary to make each experience personal and truly unique. 

River Bespoke 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: River Bespoke

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: 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

Gessi’s approach to wellness in outdoor spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi’s approach to wellness in outdoor spaces

Internal and external, closed and open, domestic and nature scale: the Gessi Outdoor line eliminates barriers to create a single grand dimension of physical and mental wellbeing…

The free-standing shower columns of the Gessi Outdoor Wellness Sy­stem were specifically conceived for outdoor spaces. They offer innova­tive combinations of materials, finishes and treatments, with the goal of recreating the stylistic and functional pleasure of the Gessi Private Wellness System outdoors, for a private oasis of wellbeing or in public spaces such as spas and resorts.

The refined and discreet lines of the Gessi Outdoor Collections are naturally inserted into the landscape, creating a continuity and happy union between interior and exterior, a harmonious fusion with nature.

Gessi outdoor wellness line G01

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G01 outdo­or shower gives spaces a refined and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric angled tubular structure terminates with a directio­nal shower head equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The shower head is available with a smooth surface treatment or in 4 different knurled patterns, while the vertical tubular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting finish, available in smo­oth or knurled texture. For greater practicality, this model features a design hand shower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customisable details and coordinating elements.

Image caption: Gessi G01 | Image credit: Gessi

Gessi outdoor wellness line G02

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G02 outdo­or shower gives spaces a refined and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric structure characterised by a rectangular tube presents a directional shower head equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The shower head is available with a smooth surface treatment or in four diffe­rent knurled patterns, while the vertical rectangular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting finish, available in smooth or knurled texture. G02 is easy to install and use according to the client’s needs, and can be applied to a square architectural block in corten steel or stone, with coordinating accessories. For greater practicality, this model features a design hand shower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customisable details and coordinating elements.

Gessi 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 caption: Gessi G02 shower | Image credit: Gessi

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

“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

A textile brand is manufacturing non-medical masks during pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A textile brand is manufacturing non-medical masks during pandemic

Hotel Designs learns more about how textile brand Backhausen is doing more than its bit, by designing non-medical masks, during the fight against the spread of COVID–19 coronavirus…

As COVID-19 started to spread around the globe, businesses in all industries started adjusting to the “new normal” by assessing core functions, as well as contributing and assisting positively to their communities.

Backhausen became conscious of the need for non-medical face masks in early March 2020, after the COVID–19 pandemic hit the company’s home country of Austria and other parts of the world. The company wanted to do something significant for its community – something that would take advantage of its expertise and craftsmanship and would benefit other people and businesses without forgetting about the environment and the planet.

“Our design and production teams adapted the manufacturing facilities at our textile mill in Hoheneich, in the heart of picturesque Waldviertel, to create a new quality fabric,” explains Maria Florencia Caruso from the brand. “We have carefully selected premium quality cotton yarn that is ÖKO-TEX certified and developed a 100 per cent cotton fabric that is sustainable and durable for reusable non-medical masks for everyday wear.”

Image credit: Backhausen

The company has designed a mask that provides comfort, protection and is aesthetically pleasing. The double overlap in the design allows the mask to be worn comfortably with glasses. The double tie bands allow the mask to be adjusted and fitted for wear.

Its aim has been to create a mask that is washable, comfortable, sustainable and customisable, from the beginning of its development. Backhausen’s mask is for individual customers, and the retail, hospitality and service industries. “We encourage and aspire to create a more comforting and assured return to the work environment and make this “new normal” less daunting and intimidating for everyone,” added Caruso. “At Backhausen, our strength and value has always been to provide flexibility, as a business and with our fabrics. The masks have been designed, focusing on their seamless incorporation into everyday business, with an option for customisation. The masks can be customised by colour and/or logo designs can be either embroidered or woven on the fabric.”

During these difficult times, Backhausen is donating €1 for every mask sold to the Austrian charity Lebenshilfe. This charitable organisation supports more than 11,000 people with pre-existing medical conditions and intellectual disabilities at 500 locations throughout Austria. The charity aspires to re-establish their independence after the COVID–19 pandemic, which has been so disruptive to their day-to-day lives. It will enable people with disabilities to select their own development opportunities in all phases and areas of life, reshape their lives independently, choose their support freely and take advantage of social offerings confidently and in line with their personal needs.

Please contact info@backhausen.com or call +43 2852 502 for the purchase of face masks, (minimum pack of five), for larger quantities and for customisation enquiries. From May 13, 2020, the non-medical grade masks will be also available for purchase at Backhausen’s Design Shop.

Backhausen 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: Backhausen

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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

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

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

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Coming back from COVID–19

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Coming back from COVID–19

As the UK lockdown measures show (slow) signs of relaxation, Hotel Designs checks back in with Gary Corsbie from Interefurb lists how hotels can come back from coronavirus…

In my previous article, we looked at the mothballing of your property, the checks and steps to take.The four main areas we looked at were weather, escape of water, pests and vermin and vandalism.

We are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and you want your business to emerge being the best version of itself. In addition, and arguably more importantly, your guests want to be assured that they are going to be staying in a safe and clean environment. The COVID–19 pandemic has made us very much more conscious of cleanliness and hygiene.

Duncan Stewart Operations Director for Town House Hotels says it is imperative that statutory health and safety requirements, are completely up-to-date and follows this up with the strongest message you can send to your guests is “You are the first to stay in this room” there is nothing that beats the smell of fresh paint.

But first let’s look at the basics and the Health and Safety items.

Basic safety items

The following should ideally be evaluated by property experts:

  • Structural integrity of the buildings – Visual checks, walk around both inside and out. Is there anything hanging off? Damp patches on ceilings, strange smells, new cracks or debris on the floors.
  • Electrical system damage- including high voltage, insulation, and power integrity- Fluke tests
  • Wastewater system – blocked drains, perhaps carry out a CCTV survey.  do this BEFORE you re-fill the water.
  • Water distribution system damage – Prior to re-fill if drained down.
  • Fire emergency systems operations – Service
  • Air conditioning and ventilation system – Service

Re-commission the property – prepare for opening

Step 1: Risk assessments, method statements and COSHH – all needs to be reviewed, in place and communicated with the team. Appropriate PPE needs to be made available. Open the windows and doors. Not only to check they work, but to help ventilate the building. Remove any items which have visible mold growth or damage. Inspect AC and ventilation system (motors, duct work, filters, insulation). Ensure you disinfect, and be prepared to repair and replace if necessary.

Wastewater – The last thing your guests want to find in their room is a blocked toilet. Sometimes, surprisingly, guests don’t take the same care in a hotel as they do at home. Without regular use drains become dry and debris becomes solid quickly, causing blockages when put back into use. If not emptied prior to shut down, kitchen grease traps and gullies need to be cleaned, fats solidify. Sink and Shower traps are another potential problem area, good practice is to physically clean them out. I know it sounds obvious but make sure the drains are clear before you start on the water system.

Water system (cold and hot water, sewer drainage, steam delivery, chillers, boilers) with special attention to shower heads. There is a British Standard BS8552:2012 and BSRIA BG29/2012 which sets out a full guide to the flushing, commissioning and treating of a system including water sampling.

If the system has been drained down, it is best practice to refill and commission by a qualified plumber and heating engineer, there will be leaks and air locks.

FF&E OS&E

Disinfect furniture with non-porous surfaces and salvage. Discard upholstered furniture, drapery, and mattresses if they have been under water or have mold growth or odour. Deep clean carpets upholstery and curtains. Vacuum the mattress and change any covers or protectors.

In my opinion a bathroom should be designed with no hidden traps or exposed pipework where muck can gather. A pet hate of mine is neglecting to clean the “triangle of doom”…the bit behind the door which is only exposed when you’re in the room with the door shut behind you. If you want to impress your guests, it should feel completely clean and new, perhaps fresh silicone? and don’t forget to clean the ventilation grille.

Back-of-house areas

Kitchens that haven’t been used for some time are a great attraction to pest and vermin. Most properties have a regime in place for regular cleaning. Take particular focus that drains and gullies are running freely. Pest Control traps should be checked and changed as appropriate.

Exhaust hood systems – Improve ventilation and reduce risks of kitchen fire by deep cleaning of the exhaust ducts, plenum, and roof exhaust fan. Kitchen equipment – Check electrical and gas safety checks have been carried out and maintenance is up to date.

External

Check that any external lighting is working, and signage is all in place.

General

Tell your insurers the hotel is back in operation, and check the WiFi and phone lines are working, not only for guest convenience but your own, when you take payments electronically. And finally, in light of the current situation, that extra care around infection control is prudent.  We have found installing omni sensors to self-check and remotely report on the requisite temperature parameters leaving one less thing for you and your staff to worry about. The HSE states: “It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods”.

Finishing touches – attention to detail.

One of the biggest barriers in carrying out a refurbishment is when you have been running at good occupancy there is reluctance to refurbish because of the loss of revenue. Now is the perfect time to carry out any works to make your property sparkle.

Now is an ideal time to make a few changes without the disturbance to your guests, have a think about some little jobs which can add a great deal to the guest experience?

Re-grout and silicone bathrooms. Decorate the entrance door put down a new mat. Replace door handles. Look at changing light bulbs so they are all the same colour- another of my pet hates…

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.

Main image: Interefurb

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

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

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

PRODUCT WATCH: Crosswater’s MPRO introduces matt white finish

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Crosswater’s MPRO introduces matt white finish

Designed with modern bathrooms in mind, Crosswater’s iconic MPRO taps will be available in matt white finish from as early as July 2020…

The dynamically crafted MPRO collection by bathroom brand Crosswater, which combines the finest components and materials, is now available in matt white finish.

The matt white finish is added to the five existing finishes in order to continue the evolution of the iconic product range.

The established choice for high quality bathrooms, the MPRO collection delivers the very best in brassware engineering. Combining superb function and precision design, the result is a complete collection of bathroom mixers, valves, and showerheads that meets the exacting demand of today’s modern bathroom.

The matt white finish joins five other finishes that complete the MPRO collection, including brushed brass and matt black. All exquisite finishes are offered across the entire MPRO collection, including a complete set of coordinating accessories.

The finest components and materials ensure that MPRO delivers on flow performance, and as importantly safety and water efficiency, with WRAS and TMV2 certification.

Crosswater 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: Crosswater

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

The design challenge keeping creativity flowing during lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The design challenge keeping creativity flowing during lockdown

Parkside Architectural Tiles has launched a lockdown challenge, asking designers to create innovative tile designs…

We have all seen – and probably have been nominated to take part in –the various challenges that are currently doing the rounds on social media. From the 5K Challenge to the Hospitality for Heroes Campaign, each hashtag has a purpose that goes further than taking a selfie for ‘The Gram’.

Hotel Designs has identified a new creative lockdown exercise for the design community that will keep the creative juices flowing during lockdown.

Parkside Architectural Tiles, which only a month ago was on display at London Design Week, has launched the Lockdown Tile Design Challenge. Have you always wanted to have your own tile design produced but never had the opportunity? Well now’s your change, as the three winners will get their tile design printed onto a 15x15cm tile.

Submit your entry by 5pm (BST) on May 8, 2020

The three categories, which will be judged by three guest judges and Parkside Architectual Tiles’ very own sales and design directors Richard France and Mark Williams, are:

Category one – Freestyle
Guest judge: Charlie Luxton
Let your imagination run wild – anything goes (Parkside’s words, not ours).

Category two – Geometric
Guest judge: Kirsty Thomas, Tom Pigeon
A trend that isn’t going anywhere soon, geometric tiles continue to rein on the commercial interior scene. This is your change to show off your creative edge in a category that is all about shapes.

Category three – Colour 
Guest judge: Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours
If you are mad about colour and colour combinations, then this is the category for you!

How to enter

1) Create your design either by hand or electronically, making sure it’s in a square format
2)Submit your entry via Instagram DM or via email by 5pm on May 8, 2020, specifying which category your are entering

Top tips: Your design can be colour or monochrome, although Parkside Architectural Tiles has suggested using colour in the colour category. Each design can be entered into more than one category and you can enter more than one design. The winner of each categopry will be decided based on a combination of judges and Instagram votes. The Instagram vote will take place from 9am (BST) on May 14, 20. The winners will be announced on May 17, 2020. Good luck!

Parkside Architectural Tiles 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: Parkside Architectural Tiles

PRODUCT WATCH: The Amphora furniture collection by Desforma

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: The Amphora furniture collection by Desforma

The eye-catching new furniture collection by Desforma was inspired by the Neolithic period, which began 12,000 years ago…

The idea of the Amphora Collection by Desforma was to follow the shapes of  a traditional amphora container. The grace and elegance of this historical piece has been adapted to create the most exclusive pieces.

Despite the dynamic design, the collection has a backrest that was shaped to fulfil the human back curves, making the furniture not only aesthetically pleasing but also comfortable. Each piece of the collection can be used as a striking centrepiece that compliments extraordinary interiors.

Image credit: Desforma

Every step of making these furniture pieces requires the highest quality craftsmanship; to achieve these sculptural shapes, every detail has to be made extremely precise.

Interestingly, achieving the iconic, gracefully curved back within each piece’s structure would have been impossible without the brand’s exclusive spheric construction technology. Created by the founder of Desforma, the technology has been the company’s best kept secret.

Desforma 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: Desforma

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Oh, how the check-in desk has changed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Oh, how the check-in desk has changed

Today’s lobby, as well as its check-in desk, has to be a multi-functional area in order to live up to modern travellers’ demands. Hotel Designs asks USM Modular Furniture how its latest commercial desk system is suitable for tomorrow’s modern hotels…

A lobby is one of the first thing that guests will see when arriving at the hotel. This means that the reception area presents an opportunity: to shape how guests see your company with an environment that represents your company’s brand, style and ethos.

The design of the USM Haller modular system is the perfect piece of furniture to build a unique reception desk that can be designed for the hotels specific needs and can also be reconfigured if the needs of the reception area changes.

The check-in/reception desk has to fulfil a number of functions: workstation, point of contact for members of staff, and a scene setter for new visitors. The USM Haller system lets you build a reception desk that performs each of these functions for your business flawlessly. Design a completely unique reception desk with built-in storage or display features, tailored to the environment of your reception area.

Image credit: USM Modular Furniture

Colour is one important factor: choose from the 14 classic USM colours to set the tone for the area. Cool grey or dramatic black is ideal for contemporary spaces; minimalist pure white suits fresh, clean settings; bolder yellows, reds and oranges give a more playful introduction.

Shape and structure are also important – and completely customisable. Choose a rigid, closed front for a more traditional set-up, or open the piece up a little with front-facing display modules for magazines, pieces of art, or your company’s own products. For even more playful and welcoming designs, let your imagination run wild: incorporate more open shelves, glass display pieces, or a mixture of different colours.

Bring a stylistic unity to the reception area with a full suite of furniture built on the same principles of elegant simplicity as your reception desk. The USM collection includes a hugely versatile range of surfaces from which you can build bespoke coffee tables and magazine display stands with a beautiful colour-and-chrome finish, mirroring that of the reception desk.

You can also use the USM Haller system to design additional storage and display pieces for the area: freestanding pedestals for documents and stationery; display cases for awards, art and your products; shelving for reading material or any other kind of piece to meet the specific requirements of your business.

The design of the USM Haller system is fantastically simple, however it is the Swiss precision in which the components are made that give the furniture the strength, versatility and clean lines that have made USM a design classic. Launched on to the market in 1965 the USM Haller system has become a watchword for timeless design all over the world. Its acceptance into the Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York (USA) at the end of 2001 was a high distinction and confirmed the artistic character of the product. The design classic is used in offices, the home, public buildings as well as hospitality.

USM Modular Furniture 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: USM Modular Furniture

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

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

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

7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

While designers and architects work from home, sourcing online inspiration as showrooms are temporary shut, Utopia Projects has identified a handful of innovative bathroom products that have recently launched… 

While many of this year’s international trade shows are being forced to cancel, and designers and architects are finding new sources for product news, here are seven products that bathroom specification experts at Utopia Projects believe are creating new wellness waves in the industry.

1) Vado’s Booth & Co range

Image credit: Vado/Booth & Co

The Booth & Co brand has introduced a longer warranty, which is appealing for designers who want to future-proof their client’s bathrooms. From a commercial aspect, the brand is a good choice if the designer’s brief is to achieve a traditional look and feel. 

2) Wetroom Materials’ Unidrain Glassline

Unidrain Glassline is a unique system which integrates the wet room drain, slope and glass for a 100 per cent watertight solution. It allows you to create a wet room with a one-way slope/fall towards a drain against the wall and has a large range of drain finishes available. With a one way fall you don’t need to cut tiles towards the drain making it perfect for large tiles or stone and you don’t stand on the drain whilst showering

3) Impey Showers’ Aqua-Dec

Image credit: Impey Showers

The Aqua-Dec EasyFit Wetroom Floor Former is an extremely strong 22mm thick GRP floorboard replacement with four pre-formed drainage gradients to provide a level access wetroom floor suitable for tiling. The EasyFit drain plate can rotate 360 degrees and avoid all underfloor wet room obstructions. The eccentric drain also features three locating rings, to provide superior hold between the Dec and the rotating drain plate.

4) Laufen – The New Classic

Image credit: Laufen

A collection of perfectly shaped innovations for the bathroom, The New Classic radiates the practicality of the harmonious form and combines it with contemporary style. The collection, designed by Marcel Wanders, is a clear formal expression of modern elegance comes into being which celebrates the bathroom as a place of cleanliness and purity. The award-winning technological quantum leap of Saphir-Keramik turns every piece into a witness of progress, new level, and has been rewarded with the most prestigious design awards.

5) Vado’s SENORI

The Sensori collection introduces pioneering technology to “reinvent the bathroom experience.” Sensori’s purity of design is accentuated by discreet, ambient lighting in a spectrum of colours to denote the perfect temperature.

6) Laufen’s Cleanet Riva shower toilet

Image credit: Laufen

The Cleanet Riva shower toilet features an integrated, high-quality ceramic design and technically sophisticated, user-friendly solutions. The key feature of the premium toilet is its wide range of intuitive shower functions. The Cleanet Riva uses a clever operating concept on two levels: In everyday use, the shower toilet is operated by pushing or twisting the stainless steel rotary button at the side. The user can also select the basic or detailed settings using the touch screen remote control. The Cleanet Riva is the only shower toilet to feature a multi-stage hygiene concept in which the whole water circulation system is also thermally cleaned at regular intervals.

7) Dornbracht’s Vaia collection

Image credit: Dornbracht

VAIA spans a bridge between traditional and modern style elements. Its basic design exudes the spirit of a classical fitting, yet the slender lines of the open silhouette anchor the series firmly in the present. VAIA is notable for its elegant yet simultaneously progressive design. With its well-balanced iconography, it is always open to new concepts.

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: Vado

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

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.

Located in the heart of vibrant Seminyak, within walking distance to the beachm, the urban-inspired hotel features interactive social spaces and modern style, along with a fresh new social scene to Bali as the first Aloft hotel to open on the island.

“We are excited to be unveiling the Aloft Hotels brand in Bali,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International. “The new Aloft Bali Seminyak is set to own the stage as the hottest gathering hub for travellers visiting the well-known social scene of Seminyak. From its bold design to its live music programming, locals and guests alike can experience the next generation of hotels that will enhance their stay while vacationing on island paradise.”

Aloft Bali Seminyak embodies the brand’s new tech-forward design philosophy with a lively, industrial-inspired aesthetic intermixed with distinct local touches that complement the free-flowing open spaces. The hotel is home to 80 modern and stylish guestrooms, all of which have been designed with the brand’s signature artful and innovative loft layout in mind. They feature airy nine-foot-ceilings, Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds and contemporary décor with Balinese accents. In addition, the hotel features eight guestrooms with direct access to a lap pool, complete with stunning views of a tropical hanging garden.

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

The hotel features a variety of dining and social spaces including its main attraction: The Kahuna rooftop restaurant, which serves up a fusion of eclectic fare with a playful twist on international and local cuisine complemented by mesmerising sea views as a backdrop.

The open and expressive lobby is adjacent to Re:mix lounge that provides locals and travellers a space to mix and mingle. The brand’s signature W XYZ bar offers signature cocktails and light bites for guests to enjoy over live music as part of the brand’s iconic Live At Aloft Hotels music series which offers emerging local artists a platform to showcase their musical talent.

Business travellers can make use of the two multi-functional, tech-forward meeting spaces equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, which can also be transformed into an intimate event venue accommodating up to 66 people.

Aloft currently operates 176 lifestyle hotels globally. There are 132 Aloft hotels in the signed pipeline expected to open in North America, Caribbean & Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

The bathroom brand GROHE has announced suspended production in Portugal and manufacturing sites in Germany to  run adjusted production schedules in reaction to the COVID–19 pandemic…

GROHE has implemented its next steps in taking action to protect employees across its European manufacturing sites.

Production in Albergaria, Portugal, will be suspended from 30th March 2020, reflecting latest government regulations and the intensifying situation in this region. It is currently planned to resume operations on 12th April 2020. The structured and orderly phasing out period for the production in Albergaria has started. Besides the European plants, the manufacturing site in Klaeng, Thailand, is also following strict procedures including those around temperature controls to ensure increased hygiene standards and safety for employees.

With its measures the GROHE brand wants to uphold the safety and health of its staff and support overall efforts to help contain the pandemic. For all sites, applicable regulations and measures are under constant review and subject to adjustments as necessary. Together with its business partners, the GROHE brand is closely working on managing stock and service levels across the EMENA region, taking into account the circumstances and requirements of individual markets.

“With the spread of the novel coronavirus we witness an unprecedented situation, across the globe. Over the recent weeks, the impact has increased on society and the economy alike. Given the overall dynamics, we have constantly evaluated the rapidly changing circumstances early on to determine necessary actions. It is now, that we are tightening existing measures to further protect our employees,” says Thomas Fuhr, COO Fittings LIXIL International and CEO Grohe AG.

GROHE 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: GROHE

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

The iconic Hotel Ritz, Madrid is expected to reopen later this year as the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, following the most extensive restoration in its 110-year history…

The statuesque property, which will become Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid later this year, was designed and built under the supervision of legendary hotelier César Ritz, and first opened its doors in 1910.

An extensive restoration is underway to significantly enhance the hotel’s facilities and services, while maintaining its unique character, encapsulated in the Belle Époque style of the original building.

Spanish architect, Rafael de La-Hoz, has been instrumental in providing the context for the historical restoration, while French designers, Gilles & Boissier, have overseen the interiors with the aim of increasing the property’s appeal to local and international guests alike while celebrating César Ritz’s pioneering spirit.

The re-design of the public spaces has focused on restoring the hotel’s many fine interior architectural features, while incorporating a number of valuable artistic pieces from the property’s collection, including crystal chandeliers, antique paintings and sculptures.

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

The hotel has always been an integral part of society in Spain’s capital, and has been host to royalty, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities. It is situated within the ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, an area defined by the most important museums in the city – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art. The property’s location within a prestigious residential area close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and to El Retiro Park,  adds to its appeal.

“The meticulous restoration is designed to ensure that this legendary property is once again recognised as one of Europe’s greatest hotels,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  “We are confident that the local community will be even more proud of this historic landmark, and we look forward to providing our guests with memorable experiences, in majestic surroundings, all underpinned by Mandarin Oriental’s exceptional service.”

Gilles & Boissier have created a sophisticated design for the hotel’s new guestrooms, encapsulating a classic but contemporary residential style for the 153 rooms including 53 suites. Within the suite inventory, there are several one-of-a-kind speciality suites, featuring unique design elements inspired by the hotel’s historic connections to the city, Spanish culture and art. A spacious Royal Suite and the Presidential Suite feature magnificent views over the Prado museum. Located in the top floor turrets are two new suites, each with private balconies and views over the Prado Museum and Lealtad Square.

Image caption: Rendering of the Royal Suite, designed by Gilles & Boissier | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Chef Quique Dacosta, one of the most celebrated chefs in Spain, was appointed to design, develop and oversee all culinary operations at the hotel’s five restaurants and bars.

The hotel’s new leisure and wellness facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, experience showers, a steam room and a contemporary fitness centre. A dedicated treatment room has been designed as a hidden sanctuary, providing a range of exclusive local and signature beauty and massage treatments.

As one of the most iconic buildings in the Spanish capital, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ideally placed for memorable social events. The ballroom and functions spaces, with their large windows facing the Prado Museum will be beautifully restored and designed to ensure the hotel is once again the venue of choice for weddings, private dinners and parties.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

Despite COVID-19 putting the brakes on hotel development activity, Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn wants to still celebrate the hotels that were originally planned to open in April so that we have something to look forward once the crisis is over…

It was all going so well. Only last month I wrote that 2020 was shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands.

A few weeks after publishing that article, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic following the COVID–19 outbreak. Now with businesses and homes in lockdown – something that everybody is having to comes to terms with – hotels that were originally planned to open in April have hit a temporary red light, but we still want to shine the spotlight on a handful of them away.

Villa Copenhagen

CGI rendering of a light and open classy brasserie

Image caption: CGI rendering of The Brasserie inside Villa Copenhagen

Sheltered inside what was the century-old Central Post and Telegraph Head Office, the 390-key Villa Copenhagen was originally planned to open in April. Traditional Danish and international F&B areas have been designed by London-based studio Goddard Littlefair with the aim to promote wellbeing and sociability. It was described in an interview with Jo Littlefair as “the destination’s answer to The Ned, London”. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the hotel will offer a conscious approach to luxury with a focus on all things eco-friendly.

W Ibiza

Render of green and blue exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza

The brainchild of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza was slated to open in April. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel strikes a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to fuse together the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

The design scheme has opened up the public spaces 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,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “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.”

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Render of luxe villa on the water

Image credit: Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Sources have told Hotel Designs that there are no new guests arriving in any of the hotels in the Maldives at the moment, and that hotel staff are being told to self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, Soneva Fushi is preparing to launch new overwater villas, which were expected to be up and running in April. The one- and two-bedroom villas of the refreshed Soneva Fushi will feature private pools, sunken seating areas, catamaran nets strung over water, and retractable roofs.

Six Senses Shaharut

Villa over looking desert

Image credit: Six Senses

Following a significant year of growth for the hotel brand that aggressively extended its luxury portfolio with a number of openings around the globe, Six Senses is preparing to open its first hotel in Israel.

Perched on the edge of a cliff in the south of the Negev Desert, the 58-suite hotel will pride itself of on eco-living, going as far to ban cars on the property as well as all outdoor lighting to further minimise light pollution.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Utah

Image credit: Aman/Amangiri

A five-minute drive across the desert from Amangiri, Camp Sarika’s collection of 10 elegant and spacious one- and two-bedroom pavilions was slated to open in April. Complementing the clean lines and natural material palette of Amangiri’s suites, the generously proportioned pavilions each have indoor living and dining areas, as well oversized terraces with fire pits and heated plunge pools.

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in May, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel that would be suitable for the feature, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: Aman/Amangiri

Naturalmat launches 500 thread count, organic percale bed linen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Naturalmat launches 500 thread count, organic percale bed linen

Made by hand in Devon, Naturalmat’s new luxury 500 thread count, organic cotton percale bed linen is the answer to a good sleep, which is what we all need right about now… 

Naturalmat, the award-winning brand in organic and ethically made mattresses and beds that has been supplying the industry for more than 20 years, has launched its keenly awaited luxurious, new wholly organic bed linen.

All Naturalmat’s new bed linen is a premium 500 thread count cotton percale which is delightfully soft, crisp and more luxurious than high street brands. This, combined with its organic credentials, offers a unique combination.

The organic bed linen collection has been a long time in the making. This is because Naturalmat distinguishes itself in its singular quest to deliver a luxurious, wholly organic, ethically made yet affordable offering… a bed linen collection that meets the most stringent organic credentials.

“From the outset at Naturalmat we have made it our purpose to deliver a luxury yet ethical and organic alternative offering,” said the company’s CEO, Mark Tremlett. “This is more important than ever now as we have become increasingly aware of concerns over environmental impact and the importance of sustainability. I am excited that Naturalmat can finally deliver consumers a high quality yet affordable bed linen which meets the most stringent social, ecological and healthiest organic criteria.”

The new bed linen collection is GOTS-certified – GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a worldwide standard for organic fibres incorporating both ecological and social criteria. From the time the cotton seed is planted to growing it without pesticides or chemicals, through to harvesting and processing it is done in a way that doesn’t deteriorate the land and looks after the welfare of workers. Naturalmat sources the cotton from a mill in southern India – known to produce the best quality cotton for some of the most prestigious brands in the world.

The mill is fully certified organic and is unique in that it carries out the entire production process… here they spin, weave, wash, finish, cut and sew the cotton to create and realise the Naturalmat organic bed linen collection. This is reflective of and entirely in keeping with Naturalmat’s ethos – all its beds and mattresses are made completely from scratch at its Devon-based bedworks which generates its own Green electricity and only sources its wool from organic sheep farms within a 50 mile radius of the bedworks.

The buttons on Naturalmat’s organic duvet covers are made from nuts produced by Tagua Palms which grow naturally in equatorial rainforests and enables local people to make a living from the nuts produced by these trees. The Tagua tree has such an economic and sustainable status that it’s saving rainforests. The resulting button is as hard wearing as polyester but has as beautiful a finish as ivory.

Naturalmat’s fitted sheets are unique in that they have capacity to accommodate both a super thick mattress as well as a topper yet are elasticated the entire way around – not just the corners. This elasticated perimeter stretches or contracts under the mattress to provide a perfect smooth, wrinkle-free sheet atop… whether it’s to fit mattress only, or a super thick mattress combined with topper. With the increase in prevalence to combine topper with mattress, these sheets are versatile enough to suit both and ensure there’s no need to purchase new bed sheets due to the addition of a topper.

Naturalmat 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: Naturalmat

In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

Securing her place in the history books, Jo Littlefair came out on top last year at The Brit List Awards 2019, spectacularly winning the coveted title, Interior Designer of the Year. A few months later, she welcomes editor Hamish Kilburn into the Goddard Littlefair HQ to give him a glimpse into studio life…

“Jo, can I borrow you for just a second,” says senior associate and architect David Lee Hood as Jo Littlefair and I walk through the studio. “This archway,” he says pointing to a life-like rendering on his monitor, “what are your thoughts on adding in a line of colour here?” As he shows the before and after, it is a game of ‘spot the difference’ to the untrained eye. But for the multi-layered studio Goddard Littlefair, where the devil is so often in the detail, it could be the difference between winning a pitch or losing it, as any design practice operating on today’s international scene will confirm.

“We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

The short but important moment is proof, if ever I needed it, that Littlefair likes to naturally lead from within her team. And as we walk through the open-planned office that is flooded with natural light towards her workstation, I notice also that there is no door, and no boundary, between herself and everyone else in the building.

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

“We got to the point last year when, as we reached 60 employees, we decided Goddard Littlefair was too big as a studio,” she confesses. “We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more, because I would rather know about something – and be able to comment at a point where it is possible to comment – rather than get further down the line and it be too late. At the end of the day, leading this design studio with Martin Goddard has always been a collaboration, not just between himself and I but also our team.” As the designer is explaining, I notice that there’s a cordial and relaxed atmosphere in the Clerkenwell studio, and the strong relationship between the co-founders and their team is apparent.