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Concept

Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the design team behind Monkey Island Estate and Raffles Singapore

Following the opening of both Monkey Island Estate (review coming soon) and Raffles Singapore, Hotel Designs spends time to get to know the world-renowned design team who led both visions into reality…

Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award-winning multi-disciplinary firm recognised for its visionary concepts, which span both hospitality and residential projects.

Founded almost 30 years ago by Lisbon-born Alexandra Champalimaud, the studio is now run by five Partners who are all specialists in their respective fields. In addition to Alexandra Champalimaud, Partners include CEO Ed Bakos, Jon Kastl, Winston Kong, and most recently, Anna Beeber.

Celebrated for creating luxury environments for a global client list which includes the likes of The Plaza New York, the legendary Troutbeck hotel in Upstate New York and The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Champalimaud Design was approached in 2013 by Raffles Singapore and tasked with the monumental goal of a complete redesign of Singapore’s oldest and most iconic hotel. The studio was presented with a unique challenge of maintaining an ambience intrinsically tied to the hotel’s unique 130 year long history, whilst at the same time taking the hotel in a renewed design direction through a meticulous update and refresh.

The newly restored property offers a reinvigorated and charming environment familiar to the original Raffles Singapore hotel, but which now introduces renovated dining options, updated accommodations, and a new suite category. By incorporating local influences throughout and remaining true to its heritage, Champalimaud Design thoughtfully layers a memory of old Singapore with a contemporary and artful approach.

As a national monument, special attention was paid to the preservation of the original colonial architecture throughout the renovation. All of the public areas are re-planned to increase social engagement and create an ease of flow between spaces. With a sensibility that is much more contemporary than its previous design iterations, there’s an emphasis on maximising scale through the careful curation of custom furniture in sumptuous shapes, ornate screens, locally sourced heritage antiques, and impactful lighting. The new reception and lobby lounge – once iconic places frequently visited by dignitaries and diplomats – is transformed into an elegant reception with a curated dining menu and now serves as the gateway to the hotel’s alluring spaces for dining and imbibing: Tiffin Room, Writer’s Bar, La Dame de Pic, Long Bar, and Butcher’s Block. The palate is composed of the original black and white contrasts juxtaposed with caramel, shades of green, and creamy neutrals. Light floral references and gilded trimming along with a bejewelled chandelier add a layer of refinement to the overall vision.

The coming year will see Champalimaud Design take on a number of high profile openings. In addition to Raffles Singapore, the studio has recently unveiled its highly-anticipated design for Halekulani in Okinawa, Japan; a hotel that fuses luxury with the island’s energy, as well as the Monkey Island, a picturesque retreat with a charming history in Bray-On-Thames, England. Other projects include One Waterline Square, a luxury high-rise development on the Hudson River in Manhattan which represents an unprecedented approach to urban living, as well as Su Casa, a private retreat nestled in Puerto Rico’s most exclusive resort which has undergone a complete renovation by Champalimaud Design following Hurricane Maria which ravaged the island in 2017.

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design

LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LDF 2019 announces further festival commissions, projects and speakers

With weeks to go until the city comes alive for London Design Festival, new details have emerged of even more commissions, projects and speakers…

The hotly anticipated London Design Festival (LDF) has revealed the finer details around a number of holistic design experiences, installations and insightful talks in order to make this year’s event an international destination of all things design.

The week-long festival will welcome two new Special Projects: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, coinciding with Festival commission Disco Carbonara; and a playful immersive installation, Take the Plunge, by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf; as well as new keynote speakers Dame Vivienne Westwood, Claire Bergkamp, Fabio Novembre and Astrid Stavro for Global Design Forum, the Festival’s thought leadership programme.

Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper (supported by Samsung) at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

To coincide with Martino Gamper’s London Design Festival Commission– Disco Carbonara at Coal Drops Yard – Samsung presents Idiosincratico: an exposition of the designer’s creative practice.

The Samsung space will offer a unique vantage point on Gamper’s installation below. As well as viewing the exhibit, visitors can also interact with the latest technology, and take part in an ongoing series of events, workshops and performances.

Image credit: Idiosyncratic by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Presenting three significant projects, Idiosincratico gives insight into Gamper’s creative process – exploring his distinctive and playful approach to dissembling and reinventing familiar domestic objects. At the heart of each of Gamper’s projects is the notion of thinking through making and examining how process informs the physical outcome.

For Hookaloti, Gamper takes a single typology – the wall hook – and riffs on it, improvising with the form, material and expressive possibilities of a simple everyday object. In Metamorfosi, a project to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Italian furniture company Moroso, Gamper takes pieces from their catalogue and cuts and splices them to create a design mash-up. By contrast, Arnold Circus Stool is a project for the public realm initiated to support the regeneration of the landmark site on Shoreditch’s Boundary Estate, London’s first social housing project.

Take The Plunge by Volume Creative (in collaboration with Virgin Voyages The Bargehouse) at OXO Tower Wharf

Volume Creative, in collaboration with Virgin Voyages, invites visitors to Take the Plunge: a playful installation at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf. The interactive project shows the power of design to evoke curiosity, in a stand-alone immersive experience created for London Design Festival.

Image credit: Take The Plunge by Volume Creative at OXO Tower Wharf

Visitors are invited on a journey of discovery and asked to dive into a new experience. The minimalist exterior juxtaposes with the warmth that awaits within. Visitors step into an endless horizon, giving way to an extraordinary secondary space that depicts a sunset under the sea.

The concept is inspired by a love of the sea – the great unknown with the promise of epic discoveries. Take the Plunge hints at this spirit of adventure and celebrates the endless possibilities of great design, using multi-sensory techniques to capture the joyful elements of an oceanic journey.

Global Design Forum

Global Design Forum is the Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. The full 2019 programme has been announced and will explore the issues affecting the design industry itself but more importantly, how design can pave the way for workable solutions to some of the modern world’s most demanding challenges.

The keynote sessions will include, British fashion designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood, discussing the role of activism in designing a sustainable future and how to take action; Claire Bergkamp, Worldwide Director of Sustainability and Innovation at Stella McCartney, on engineering a balance between innovation and sustainability in luxury fashion; and Astrid Stavro graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, speaking about the dynamic world of typography. They will join previously announced keynote speakers; Kengo Kuma, Yves Behar and Deborah Riley.

Global Design Forum takes place at the V&A, the official London Design Festival hub, from Saturday 14 – Sunday 22 September 2019. Further information about the full programme and tickets can be found here.

This year, there will also be an offsite keynote in Stratford at the future site of the new V&A East. Supported by INTERNATIONAL QUARTER LONDON and hosted at new shared workspace, Workable, Fabio Novembre, Director, Fabio Novembre Studio and Scientific Director, Domus Academy, will speak from his own experience followed by a panel discussion with industry experts on the importance of nurturing new talent in design.

Main image credit: Disco Carbonara by Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana to open in the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dominican Republic

Architect Ken Shannon has completed the project the design Hyatt Ziva/Zilara’s latest flagship, which will open this November in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of the Dominican Republic…

Nestled in Punta Cana’s sought-after, exclusive gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, the twin Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will be the sixth addition to Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive portfolio.

While Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana features an immersive thematic atmosphere that includes suites with local flora motifs, a tailor shop inspired Italian restaurant, and a waterpark for guests of all ages, the neighbouring Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana will feature refined ocean view rooms, condo-inspired swim-up suites with fully furnished living and dining spaces, exclusive access to quiet infinity pools, and an original concept martini bar and coffee shop.

The distinct double U-Shaped Infrastructure, designed by Ken Shannon, optimises ocean views in suites across the resort, maximizing ocean-facing offerings and a sense of arrival that is unparalleled.

Harnessing dual design, the hotels interiors infuse unique personalities into the twin resorts, Zilara’s design has been described as “sexier and more sophisticated with a bold and edgy design for adults”, while Ziva is meandering and playful with softer lines and vibrant colors making it a family-friendly oasis. Shared design features include moveable wall elements, swim up suites, and a connecting, elevated vista lobby overlooking the pools and ocean below.

“The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.”

In more than a nod to the rise in wellness and wellbeing, a cenote-inspired underground spa will feature a larimar stone infused sky-lit lagoon and the DR’s first Himalayan Salt Lounge. In addition, an elevated Fitness Centre, modeled to look like an old rum distillery, to add further sense-of-place, is set to be Playa’s most extravagant to date, donning a brick warehouse vibe and outfitted with hanging punching bags to pay homage to the DR’s love of boxing.

The hotel opens as the Dominican Republic is continuing a full-fledged hotel development boom, according to new data from hotel analytics firm STR. The Caribbean’s most popular tourism destination had a total of 6,200 rooms in construction in April of this year.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

Parkside has collaborated with leading design duo Barneby Gates, on a collection that brings the pair’s stunning wallpaper patterns to porcelain tiles…

In the Barneby Gates collection, the trusted tile specification company, Parkside, has translated eight bold and courageous designs onto extra-large format porcelain tiles measuring 1000 x 500mm or 2500 x 1000mm, creating the effect of wallpaper on a high-performance, commercial-ready tile. Ideal for features in bar areas, spas, bathrooms and hotel lobbies; the range faithfully recreates designs such as Watermelon, Pheasant and Bolt from Mars.

With backgrounds in the home lifestyle press and decorative arts, Vanessa Barneby and Alice Gates (Barneby Gates), have forged a reputation for forward-thinking fabric and wallpaper designs that have received widespread acclaim. Whether reinventing traditional motifs for modern interiors with Deer Damask or taking on trends with Pineapple and Watermelon; the pair’s distinctive designs are notably outside of the norm. In collaborating with Parkside, Barneby Gates is bringing its unique style to a commercial finish that offers moisture-resistance, durability and easy maintenance.

“Our designs celebrate the life-affirming positivity of pattern and colour and we’re delighted to have worked with Parkside to bring our style to a broader range of environments,” said Barneby and Gates. “The notion of wallpaper on a tile is a great way to bring continuous pattern to areas where its traditionally been off-limits and we look forward to seeing our designs in commercial interiors wanting to make a statement.”

The Barneby Gates collection has launched at the opening of Parkside’s new Design Studio in the Cotswolds and will be on display throughout London Design Festival (14-22 September) at the company’s Chelsea Design Studio.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Barneby Gates’ designs to the Parkside portfolio,” added Mark Williams, sales and design director for Parkside. “The pair’s designs are certainly uplifting and have been at the heart of many fearless schemes, so we’re ready to see how they can be embraced in commercial locations with the practicality of a porcelain tile construction.”

At just 3.5mm thick, the Barneby Gates tile collection is suitable for internal walls, is easy to install and available to order exclusively from Parkside.

Parkside 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: Parkside

Empty room with various styles of seating

In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

Ruby Hotels has re-entered the stage to take a second bow in Dusseldorf, Germany. The 170-key Ruby Leni, which takes shelter in a former 1950s theatre, is the hotel group’s seventh hotel to harness ‘lean luxury’. Editor Hamish Kilburn travels just south of the city’s fashion district to meet the group’s lead designer, Matthew Balon, the morning after the night before’s launch party to discuss design details, the significance of paper puppets and the brand’s highly anticipated 2020 arrival in London…

Empty room with various styles of seating

They say that to make any act truly memorable, the performer must enter the stage armed with a spectacular encore up his or her sleeve. In the case of Ruby Hotels in Dusseldorf, the main performance took place last year with the arrival Ruby Coco. The dynamic property is a contemporary urban hub that is nestled within the city’s main shopping district, just off Königsallee – AKA a fashionista’s heaven. The interiors inside are sharp, considered and give more than an apt nod to the fashion quarters that surround it.

[CURTAIN UP]

If Coco was used in the opening scene, engaging its captivated audience with the allure of couture costumes, then the encore is Ruby Leni, which is situated a mere 10 minutes down the road. Although the neighbourhood may feel quieter, its entrance certainly isn’t: a large marquee sign with the words ‘make it your own stay’ frames an appropriate first impression.

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

Upstairs, the sharp and stylish guestrooms have been designed around the original peculiar structure of the building, creating an interesting layout in each. The design and general make-up of the room, though, is a reflection of the others in the entire hotel group’s portfolio: crisp white beds, refillable toiletries and eco-friendly rain showers to match. The brand calls it ‘lean luxury’, which is posh for ‘uncomplicated, laid-back comfort’ – and it works, especially for bleisure travellers.

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

Although you would recognise the rooms as ‘Ruby Rooms’ guests with eagle eyes will notice subtle differences, like the wood panelling for example.  “It’s been designed to also reference the story of the hotel,” explains Balon. “I looked into how sets were built and was inspired by the fact that guests in the theatre only ever see the pretty side. I wanted to show the back of the sets, the flats. I was interested to know how these things stood up and how they were constructed. That provided the inspiration for the wall panelling and the reinforced corner detailing.

Another quirky touch that sensitively helps set the theatrical scene is the art above the beds. Bolan initially wanted to do something with shadow puppets, which evolved into creating an immersive and playful paper puppet stage. “I really love introducing interior design elements that are fun and interactive,” says Balon. “We like to have fun with it and make an interesting element to guests’ stay.”

[APPLAUSE]

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn (left) dragged the Lead Designer for Ruby Hotels, Michael Bolan (right), out on ‘stage’ the morning after the launch party before…

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What can you not travel without?
Matthew Bolan: My Darth Vader suitcase. I just love it!

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

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a hotel?
MB: Queuing!

HK: What is the number-one tool for success?
MB: You have to create an emotional connection.

HK: What is the last thing that showed up on your credit card transactions?
MB: A round of drinks I bought last night. It’s your round at the next launch, I’m told…

Most hotel designers are working with many several brands and brand standards, and so it is interesting how Bolan, within his creative realms, can piece together many different stories with the same Ruby strand running through each. “It is all-encompassing,” he says. “What the brand stands for in regards to design is something I can really get behind. When I think about Ruby, I think of all the people who bring the brand to life.”

[CURTAIN CALL]

The brand’s design is spilling out of the seams and leaving a permanent stain on new destinations. The next hotel design hotspot to welcome the arrival of Ruby Hotels is London – to the Southbank to be more specific. “We have done a lot of research into the location, which is a really interesting corner of London,” Balon explains. “I can tell you that Ruby Lucy is going to be fun, colourful, unexpected and I am really looking forward to the opening party!”

Ruby Hotels first unveiled its unique concept with Vienna hotel Ruby Sofie in 2014, before opening two further hotels in Vienna, Ruby Marie and Ruby Lissi, as well as Ruby Lilly in Munich, Ruby Coco in Dusseldorf and most recently Ruby Lotti in Hamburg. In response to the success of these properties, the brand plans further openings including Ruby Lucy in London’s bustling Southbank in early 2020, as well as hotels in Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eco bed to be unveiled inside The Conscious Bedroom at IHS London 2019

To launch its Spotlight On ‘beds’, Hotel Designs learns more about Naturalmat’s eco partnership with Harris & Harris for The Conscious Bedroom, which will be unveiled at Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

Naturalmat, which is the leading supplier of eco, organic beds and mattresses to the hotel trade, is partnering with Harris & Harris on an eco showcase at the upcoming Independent Hotel Show London 2019.

The design firm was invited by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to curate ‘The Conscious Bedroom’, a mock hotel room pieced together using products and suppliers with strong eco credentials. The centrepiece of the room will be a bespoke Superking Prideaux bed, handmade by the craftsmen at Naturalmat from sustainable materials and upholstered in teal fabric, colour matched to other elements of Harris & Harris’s room scheme. The bed will stand on cylindrical tapering feet made of FSC approved wood with a walnut stain.

“The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.”

The bed will be topped with Naturalmat’s signature Lambswool mattress, made from entirely natural materials from sustainable sources. Thick coconut fibre is layered with a slightly thinner slice of natural latex, finished off with lambswool sourced from organic sheep farms in Devon and the surrounding areas. The eco sleep experience will be completed with Naturalmat’s own organic wool duvet and pillows.

“We have been attendees of the Independent Hotel Show since its inception, and have found it to be a lively and valuable place to build business relationships and introduce our organic, sustainable hotel product range to new contacts in the industry,” said  Mark Tremlett, Co-owner of Naturalmat. “When Alex Harris approached us to invite Naturalmat to contribute to The Conscious Hotel Room it seemed a natural fit! Our ethos has always been about using organic and natural materials from sustainable sources to create luxurious and long lasting beds and mattresses, so we are delighted to create the centrepiece of the room in collaboration with Harris & Harris, and bring their vision to life in a way that is completely eco friendly.”

Organic mattresses and beds, made from sustainable materials in Britain, have been Naturalmat’s business for over 20 years.

Everything is made by hand in Naturalmat’s purpose-built factory in Topsham, on the banks of the River Exe, Devon. They believe that people, not machines, make a superior, longer lasting product. The team of craftspeople ensure every stitch, every fibre, every tufting button and every cover is painstakingly created, teased and checked.

Naturalmat’s hotel clients include Six Senses Resorts, Hoxton Hotels, River Cottage, Chewton Glen, Z Hotel Group and over 50 more iconic hotels globally.

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

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

To complete the Concept to Completion series with Nicky Dobree, Hotel Designs is given the keys to finally unlock the majestic heavy doors of pure luxury inside Plaza 18… 

Up until now, the designer Nicky Dobree has been synonymous with luxury Alpine chalet design and most recently very high end residential design. Most recently she has turned her attention to Plaza 18, her debut hotel design project in collaboration with Vejer’s Hotel La Casa del Califa.

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

Set in the former 19th C merchant’s house Nicky Dobree has taken inspiration from this elegant building and brought new life back into this Grand Dame by respecting its history, but also lifting its character to provide an enriched experience for the modern traveller. Working with local trades and craftsmen, the building, which dates back to 1896 and stands on the foundations of an ancient 13th C Arab house, has been entirely restored using authentic organic building materials where ever possible.

“Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.”

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Dobree was determined to restore and re-use as many of its existing features as possible. The original black and white floor tiles were therefore lifted and re-laid on newly levelled floors. The Montera (large glazed roof lantern over the entrance patio) was carefully dismantled and repaired to its former glory, which now floods the entrance foyer with light. The stone staircase and balustrade were also completely restored, as was all the metal work around the entrance gate. Many of the original shutters and windows were restored along with the front door. Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiors

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

The designer felt that her role was to curate this elegant old building and to bring it a new lease of life, enhancing its beauty with style and a subtle creative twist.

Plaza 18 has been a true labour of love with the inevitable obstacles of planning, working abroad and within a listed building. The trials and tribulations of restoring an old building and the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered to, to convert it into a commercial venture, has meant that the project took two years to get through planning and a further two years to compete.

The hotel is now the secret second home that one has always dreamed of, warm and welcoming with a strong sense of place, an oasis within an oasis.

Whilst the details adhere to the classical principles of the house, there is comfort and elegance through every door. Every room has a story to tell and contains pieces that have been lovingly curated by Dobree from around the world. This is evident from the moment you enter with the oversized black and white mirror by a South African artist which makes a dramatic statement in the entrance.  Dobree designed the bespoke console to sit beneath the mirror that complements the monochromatic entrance scheme.

In the patio whilst your eye is drawn up to the montera and the wonderful central staircase you cannot miss the large scale butterfly painting sourced from an antiques fair.

Stepping into the sitting room, there is nothing more welcoming than a well stocked drinks trolley, an honesty bar, that can be enjoyed by guests at Plaza 18. Standing proud above it is a painting of Admiral Lord de Saumarez who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar (a short drive from the hotel) alongside Admiral Lord Nelson.

“On a clear day the North African coast is visible.”

Leading off the sitting room is the main terrace with views across the old town, sierras and coast line. On a clear day the North African coast is visible. It is here that guests can enjoy breakfast, sitting on olive wicker chairs with outdoor fabrics that complement the vintage printed crockery. No detail has been missed.

Tall black bespoke doors with circular brass handles designed by Dobree create drama and continuity throughout. Behind each of these doors are interiors that are intensely layered and so inviting that everywhere you turn is a visual delight.   Here you will discover more of Dobree’s curated pieces such as a Japanese Boro Kimono or collage painting by Peter Clarke.

All the bathrooms have been beautifully designed using Spanish floor tiles and bespoke marble vanities with Lefroy Brooks deco style fittings echoing the elegance of the house.

The attention to detail is reflected in every aspect of one’s experience here. Dobree worked with a renowned perfumer to provide bespoke toiletries that have been specially formulated to create a signature scent for Plaza 18 and that are soft and subtle on the skin. The scent is inspired by the aromas that perfume Vejer, orange, bergamot, lavender and geranium. The base of olive oil and almond that nourishes the skin is local too.

Plaza 18 has a true home from home feeling that brings Dobree’s collective chic and timeless elegant style to Vejer. It is a place to feel at home, a place to disconnect and re-discover.

Hotel Designs has followed the construction of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project, from concept to competition. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two. Click here to read part three

Main image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

designjunction, which is preparing to showcase more than 200 world-class international brands during London Design Festival, has just announced its speakership programme for 2019 which will be sheltered at Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross… 

This year designjunction will launch a brand new talks programme at the Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross, in association with Clippings.

Set against the millennial-pink backdrop of the cinema and curated by design and architecture writer and commentator Grant Gibson, the two-day platform (Thursday 19 – Friday 20 September) is set to challenge, provoke and engage with an eclectic range of topical issues that include: sustainability and the circular economy; the relationship between dyslexia and design; the need for increased diversity in design; and the importance of wellbeing at work.

In responding to this year’s theme Re(act), the two-day programme breaks the mould and opens up a discussion about what truly matters through a series of lively discussions. The diverse and considered programme includes debates and book clubs with a slew of the industry’s leading thinkers and expert voices including: renowned architect Nigel Coates, designer Sevil Peach, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of London design studio Industrial Facility, Founder of 1882 Emily Johnson, product designer Matthew Hilton and University of Cambridge researcher, Helen Taylor.

“By clicking here and using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London”

Thursday 19 September

Title: Wellness in the Workplace – Is It Anything More Than A Passing Fad?
Time: 10.00am – 10.45am

Speakers: Interior Architect Sevil Peach; Rosamund Pomeroy, workplace Scientist and Co-founder of brainybirdz; Fabienne O’Neil, Co-founder and Director of Cuckooz and Mark Eltringham, Founder of Workplace Insight. A panel of workplace experts – includingdesigners, journalists and workplace scientists – will unpick our current obsession with wellbeing and ask if it’s simply feng-shui for the new Millennium.

Title: Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor: Ella Doran and the Circular Economy
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

The award-winning designer Ella Doran discusses her latest project with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor, where she took fleeces from the sheep grazing in the park’s grounds and turned them into a variety of products that were then sold in the park’s shop. The project involved a host of manufacturing companies including Camira, Coakley & Cox and Alternative Flooring. The talk promises to touch on subjects such as sustainability and the importance of the circular economy.

Title: Lunchtime Book Club | Brinkworth: So Far So Good
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Adam Brinkworth, Founder of Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan, Co-CEO at Brinkworth
Chaired by Riya Patel, Curator at The Aram Gallery and Contributing Editor at ICON

To celebrate the launch of their new monograph – written by Graeme Brookerand with a foreword from Michael Marriott and Peter Higgins – Adam Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan discuss the award-winning practice ‘Brinkworth’ and chart how it has grown from a small workshop in East London into a globally renowned design and architecture studio, with clients ranging from Converse to All Saints.

Title: Dyslexia and Design
Time: 14.00 – 14.45

A high powered panel including designer Ab Rogers of ARD, product designer James Rokos, metal artist Simone ten Hompel and Cambridge University Educational researcherHelen Taylor will be discussing their dyslexia, looking at the impact it has had on their lives, their experience of the education system, and, ultimately, how it has enabled – rather than hindered – their careers.

Title: The Standard London: How the Capital Got its Hottest New Hotel
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex a mere stone’s throw from the Everyman Cinema, The Standard London is the brand’s first hotel outside the US. It contains 266 rooms in 42 unique styles and has been described as ‘London’s hottest hotel open for 2019’. In a warm up to the Sleep & Eat show in November, Sleeper magazine’s editor Matthew Turner talks to some of the people that made it happen.

Friday 20 September

Title: Britain Can (Still) Make It
Time: 10.00 – 10.45

Speakers: Emily Johnson, Founder of high end ceramics company 1882; Joni Steiner, Founder of hi-tech furniture firm Open Desk; Furniture and Product Designer, Matthew Hilton and Richard Blackwell, Executive Director at Bisley

A panel discussion that looks at the future of British manufacturing, seeking to unpick the problems and the benefits of making things in this country and asking what role design can play, as well as pondering how technology is likely to disrupt the traditional model. Expect Brexit to be mentioned on at least one occasion.

Title: New Voices in Design
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

Organised in conjunction with Living Etc, this panel talk seeks to discover how new voices from diverse backgrounds can be encouraged into the design industry. It will include a combination of personal stories and policy ideas.

The panel promises to feature industrial ceramic designer and creative director ofThomas Goode, Peter Ting, as well as textile designer Eva Sonaike, Kevin Greenco-founder of STORE STORE and Ella Ritchie, director of Intoart, an art and design studio that works inclusively with people with learning difficulties.

Title: The Future: Design in Turbulent Times
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Central Saint Martins Graduates including Mael Henaff, Elissa Brunato, Benjamin Benmoyal and Graysha Audren.

A session of rapid fire presentations from recent graduates of Central Saint Martins, tying in with its show at the nearby Lethaby Gallery. What will the future of design look like? And what materials will we be using? Can design help society become both more sustainable and equitable?

This talk will be introduced by Carole Collet, Director at CSM LVMH Sustainable Innovation, and hosted by William Knight, former Deputy Director of the London Design Festival.

Title: Queer Culture and the City
Time: 14.00 – 14.45 

Renowned architect, designer and educator Nigel Coates discusses how LGBTQ culture has fundamentally changed – and will continue to transform – the shape of our cities. With Isabel Allen, editor-in-chief of the new architecture magazine, Citizen.

Title: Aperitif Book Club: Industrial Facility
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

To celebrate their recent Phaidon monograph, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility discuss the studio’s history, which has encompassed an array of projects from office furniture forHerman Miller to a spray watering can for Muji via lights for Wastberg and, of course the brilliant Branca chair for Mattiazzi.

This year’s talks programme has been curated by design, craft and architecture writer Grant Gibson.

Grant has been published in The Observer, New Statesman, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, FRAME, Dwell, House & Garden amongst others.

During a long career in magazines, Grant has been editor of Blueprint, deputy editor of FX, and acting executive editor of the RIBA Journal. More recently he has been editor of Crafts and a contributing editor of the Dutch architecture title MARK. He was also the launch editor of the London Design Festival Guide and co-founded Real to Reel, the UK’s first film festival devoted to making and in 2019 he launched the critically acclaimed new podcast series Material Matters.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of designjunction. By using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London… 

Main image credit: designjunction

What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

The Hospitality Design Show, the UK’s ultimate event for the designs behind business growth, is hitting London’s ExCeL on September 18 – 19, and here’s what you can expect to find…

We’re excited to be partnering with the show this year! Uniting passionate hospitality professionals with the industry’s leading creatives, the Hospitality Design Show is the hub of the of the solutions that’ll revolutionise the look and feel of hotels.

At the show, you’ll find 320 seminars by an unparalleled speaker line-up, boasting the likes of:

  • Gonzalo Carpintero – Radisson Hotel Group
  • Colin Minto – Marriott International
  • Adelle Chilinski – Premier Inn
  • Jon Sharp – Hilton EMEA
  • Alexandra Tollman – Red Carnation Hotels
  • Tiago Venancio – Choice Hotels International

What’s more, you’ll be able to shop from 500 state-of-the-art suppliers, get involved panel debates that’ll provide you with all the design tips, tricks and techniques you could possible need, take advance exclusive show offers available to visitors only, and much more!

And don’t forget, your ticket is not only free, but also gives you unprecedented access to the Hotel360, UK’s leading hospitality event, running directly alongside. So, secure your free ticket today by clicking here and let the world’s leading innovators guide you to success!

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

With unparalleled views casting over the ancient city below, Wyndham Grand Athens opened in 2017 to capture the city from a unique perspective. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in two years later to explore just how timeless the interiors really are…

It seems to me that Greece – and Athens in particular – is a magnet this year for influencers – my Instagram feed for starters is bursting at the seams with the hashtag #VisitGreece. And so, like all consumers, slaves to the travel trends, I felt obliged to check in on the action to discover hotel design Greek style.

Despite the destination’s pockets of derelict and forgotten-in-time in places, Athens’ authentic charm amplifies through the streets and outwards towards the barefoot-luxury islands. And with a recent report published by GBR Consulting revealing that at least 40 new accommodation units (hotels and room-to-let properties) arrived in the city in the first half of this year, it seems as if my social media is, after all, an accurate tool for measuring travel hotspots.

With the vast number of archaeological sites dotted around – and the 5th Century BC landmarks – I would argue that a good place to start is up high, soaking in the establishing shot from a rooftop bar, which features panoramic views stretching from the ancient acropolis right through to the port of Piraeus. Luckily for me, and after the recommendation from the hotel group’s President and Managing Director, Wyndham Grand Athens offers all of this and more.

The hotel, which is the hotel group’s first property in Greece, is situated on Karaiskaki Place, an area that was once seen as an area to avoid for tourists. However, following a stream of newly opened art galleries, modern coffee shops and restaurants, it became one of the destination’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods – a reputation that Wyndham Hotels only strengthened when it arrived in 2017.

Zeus International transformed the building owned by VIOHALCO, which formerly housed the Hotel Athens Imperial. The now 276-key hotel shelters timeless and dynamic interiors, balancing a healthy mix of warm and sharp public spaces combined with calming guestrooms and suites.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed into a neutral yet inviting lobby, which leads up to FOS Restaurant on the ground floor. The interiors inside FOS, which is the Greek for ‘light’, create an appropriate scene. The contemporary F&B scene sits under a large chandelier that is suspended from an expansive floor-to-ceiling atrium.

From one unforgettable public area to another, located on the rooftop of the hotel is the Above Bar and Restaurant. Complete with unobstructed views over the acropolis, making it one of the best roof-top restaurants in the city, this area is quirky and relaxed. Blue, mustard, grey and black contemporary Enka furniture confidently contrast the geometric flooring, creating a strong mise en scéne for any scenario.

Adjacent to the subdued design-led restaurant and bar is a modest pool, which also captures the same Insta-worthy panoramic views over the city.

The majority of the 249 guestrooms and 27 suites include views over the city and the Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill. The interiors feature soft silvery-toned wallpaper with accents of colour in the furniture and soft furnishings and some include windows that wrap around the room, adding further natural light in.

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

The stripped-back modern décor of the guestrooms and suites continues in the marble bathrooms. The yellow glow in the suites’ furniture becomes a motif as it is also echoed on the soft reflective surface behind the wide bathroom mirror, creating an ambiance of subtle contemporary luxury.

Although Wyndham Grand Athens is not the latest hotel to emerge on the hotel design scene recently, it is certainly a strong example of how a design-led hotel can significantly lift a destination to become a major go-to travel hotspot.

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

The Founder and Creative Director of Harris & Harris London, Alex Harris, gives Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, a sneak peek of The Conscious Bedroom that he and his team are designing for The Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

It was at the beginning of 2019 when Harris & Harris, the London based multidisciplinary design studio, were first approached by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to work on this year’s concept room set.

The brief was simple (and came in after the show had viewed the studio’s interior design portfolio online): to design The Conscious Hotel Room for the Independent Hotel Show 2019. The design studio leaped at the opportunity to design the concept room. “It was a seamless fit for the studio and their ethos of looking at the most environmentally and socially conscious way of producing luxury interiors and products,” Alex Harris, the studio’s Founder and Creative Director, explains. Arguably most importantly, though, the space at the show would give Harris & Harris the opportunity to showcase this mentality through the design and curation of brand partners who have similar ethics.

When designing the skeleton of the room, Harris was keen to explore creating a heritage feel. “We wanted it to feel as if the room was located within a historic building instead of a new build,” he explains. “This was to prove that sustainable design practices can also be applied to older buildings, which are more prominent in the UK. This was achieved through introducing Georgian style wall panelling throughout the bedroom and including some historic design references in the interior design but with a modern twist.” 

Parallel to curating sustainable focussed products and brands in the concept room – including factoring in elements like using local suppliers to reduce milage – the studio was also focussed on ensuring the overall design felt fresh, inviting and luxurious, all of which could be achieved whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the finished room on October 15, we caught up with Harris to understand more about the concept and his drive to design with purpose.

Hamish Kilburn: What sparked your passion for sustainability, both at university and beyond?
Alex Harris: I had the opportunity to gain work experience in 2005, prior to graduating from Bournemouth University, with the award winning furniture designer Russell Pinch (we grew up in the same tiny village in Gloucestershire). One day we traveled down to Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire as Russell was working on a new collection with them and I had the chance to see Benchmark’s incredible workshops, showroom and design office.

They are very focused on sustainability throughout their manufacturing process and the products themselves. Together with their passion for craftsmanship, this definitely resonated with me as a student and I knew that my final year project must represent this ethos that I witnessed with Pinch and Benchmark’s work.

I designed a (fully functioning) wooden wind-up LED lamp for my final year project, which I won an award for sustainability from my university. At the same time I approached the eco-design collective [RE] Design and had the opportunity to exhibit my lamp with them at the London Design Festival in 2006. Then in 2009 (after a stint living and working in Melbourne, Australia) I joined the Benchmark design team, four years after I had previously visited with Russell Pinch, so I had come full circle!

I then went to work for several interior designers in London who were focussed on luxury and not really concerned about sustainability, which was always difficult for me. I vowed that whenever I start my own design studio that we must bring together both ‘luxury’ and ‘sustainability’  to prove that they can work harmoniously.

HK: How will your concept The Conscious Hotel Room showcase environmental and social factors?
AH: We have thought about the design in terms of impact on the environment from floor to ceiling. It was very important to us that every element was considered, so we researched and approached companies that we knew could help us with this vision.

So we have organic and natural wool and linen fabrics, FSC certified timber flooring from Domus, bespoke 100 per cent recycled cardboard and plastic joinery pieces, many products that are made in the UK (to reduce ‘mileage’) such as our Harris & Harris furniture & lighting and the beautifully natural bed from Naturalmat, 100 per cent wool carpets from Axminster with their recycled car-tyres underlay (both also made in the UK). Handmade natural terracotta tiles, also from Domus, feature in the bathroom with Crosswater WC, basin mixers and showers with low water use. Edward Bulmer paint features on the bedroom walls that only uses natural ingredients. We have a boiling and chilled water tap from Quooker together with reusable water bottles at the mini bar, omitting the need for a kettle (as you only use the exact boiling water you need for a cup of tea) and of course no need for single-use plastic water bottles. Even the artwork we have curated with the art consultants ARTIQ has been chosen to minimise impact on the environment, with artists that use recycled materials and natural materials & processes.

“Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

The social factors that we have considered include making the space as wheelchair friendly as we can, with clear space around the bed, sofa, desk and bathroom vanity and a wide doorless opening into the bathroom with no change in floor level into the shower. Plants throughout provide better air quality and general well being. Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company, to provide the best night’s sleep possible. Snacks and beverages will be sourced as locally as possible and that contain healthy ingredients.

HK: What are the challenges of creating a heritage feel from scratch?
AH: Our first approach was to introduce wall panelling and decorative mouldings throughout, this gave the feeling of a Georgian style property which also helped it feel warm, welcoming and luxurious. Materials, colours and patterns were also chosen to be simple and classic throughout and the furniture and joinery designs are pared back to give a timeless feel.

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

HK: What are the historic design references that are mentioned in the brief?
AH: As discussed above, the wall panelling and decorative mouldings, gave the feeling of a Georgian style interior. Our Harris & Harris furniture we have specified for the project; ‘Totterdown’ sofa, ‘Orchard’ Bench and ‘Clarke’ dining chair all have subtle references in their designs to 1920s/1930s Art Deco era and our Harris & Harris ‘Wharf’ lights (both table and pendants will be showcased) feature classic reeded glass. Cole & Son’s wallpaper ‘Flamingos’ that feature in the bathroom are a take on their archived designs from the 1960s as do the ‘Palm Jungle’ fabric on the scatter cushions. The herringbone pattern in the Axminster carpet is another classic design feature and the recycled cardboard tubing, used in the joinery and bed backdrop, gives a feeling of fluted columns that were used in Greek and Roman architecture.

“There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse).” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: Can a hotel be 100 per cent fully sustainable?
AH: Unfortunately I don’t believe we as human beings can ever be 100 per cent fully sustainable unless we go back to living in a cave! We can all do our bit to help minimise our impact, but we all consume and we all produce waste. There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse) and we are excited to showcase just a selection of examples of how this can be employed in the design of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom which we hope will inspire hoteliers for their current and future projects.

HK: Let’s talk about water consumption. So many hotel groups are pledging to reduce their water consumption by ‘X’ amount.. Which suppliers would you say are allowing this to be a reality?
AH: We are working closely with the British bathroom brand Crosswater who are supplying The Conscious Hotel Bedroom with their M Pro range which have WRAS and TMV2 certification. The WC has two flush types to encourage water management and the mixer tap features a Neoperl aerator that has a flow rate of only five litres per minute.

When I lived in Australia we received an egg timer from the local water company to encourage showers of under four minutes. This was such simple idea and gave a fun challenge to try and ‘beat the clock’ whilst saving water. We will be featuring an egg timer in the bathroom of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom.

“There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: What is the value of products that have been manufactured in the UK?
AH: We have many great craftsmanship skills and traditions that are hard to find abroad. Harris & Harris are passionate about producing the UK whenever possible and keeping these skills alive. There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.

HK: What can designers do to ensure an eco-hotel is still a trendy and fresh hotel?
AH: I think there is no reason why an eco-hotel cannot not still be trendy and fresh. Curating the products and materials specifically for The Conscious Hotel Bedroom galvanised this idea for us. Many brands now offer products which have less impact on the environment but still look fab. It is up to the designer to track these down and encourage their client to use in place of products that could be damaging to the environment.

HK: Can you explain the benefits of Smile Plastics?
AH: Smile plastics have kindly donated their ‘Dapple’ plastic sheets to us for the joinery pieces at The Conscious Hotel Bedroom. Dapple is made from recycled chopping boards and plastic packaging and with all of their ranges, Smile Plastics are produced from waste which would otherwise end up in land fill. With Dapple we felt it had the look of a natural material such as marble, to give a touch of luxury, particularly important in the bathroom where it features on the vanity joinery. Dapple is hard, dense and rigid, 100 per cent waterproof, rot-proof and strong weather resistance. It is solid and consistent, allowing for a decorative edge. It is also UV resistance and is food-grade and can be used for preparation of wet foods.

Harris & Harris will showcase The Conscious Hotel Room at the Independent Hotel Show 2019. In addition to this, Harris will also join editor Hamish Kilburn on stage to discuss this year’s major topic in a live talk entitled The Conscious Bedroom Report, which takes place at 11:30am on October 15, 2019.

Brand Partners (as of August 2019)
ARTIQ– art consultants and rental agency, Axminster- carpets, Cole & Son– wallpaper and fabrics, Crosswater- bathroom items including shower, basin, toilet and tapsCurran Packaging– recycled cardboard tubing, Domus – bathroom floor and wall tiles, timber flooring, Edward Bulmer – paint, The Fine Cotton Company – towels, gowns, slippers and bed linens, Harris & Harris London– furniture and decorative lighting, Naturalmat – bed, mattress and bed linens, Plant Plan – plants and moss/living wall, Quooker – boiling, filtered & chilled water mixer tap, Samsung– television and soundbarSmile Plastics– recycled plastic sheet material, Wandsworth Group – power, lighting sockets and faceplates

Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

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Hotel Indigo arrives in Italy’s fashion capital – Milan

Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte becomes the hotel brand’s third hotel in Italy… 

Milan, known as the birthplace of some of the world’s most recognised high-end fashion designers including Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, has welcomed Hotel Indigo Milan – Corso Monforte to the mix of hotels in the area. The new design-led hotel is centrally located close to the notable fashion district – the perfect location for those looking to explore one of the world’s fashion capitals.

Hotel Indigo properties offer a gateway to discover some of the world’s most inspiring neighbourhoodsand locations. Each hotel brings the outside in; drawing from the local area to inspire every aspect of each hotel, from intriguing design to locally inspired menus.

Hotel Indigo® Milan – Corso Monforte takes inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood, mixing elements from 1950’s Italian vintage fashion with contemporary cues intrinsically weaved into one seamless interior design theme of fashion through the ages. Throughout the hotel’s 75 rooms, bold prints and colour splash the walls and feature artwork and sketches from Biki, one of the most notable names of the Milan fashion scene in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Opening her first atelier (studio) in 1934 in Milan, Biki paved the way in the development of prét-a-porte fashion (ready-to wear). Her style wastypically classic Italian, specially made for the Milanese ‘vita’ – the high life. Throughout the hotel you can see nods to this through elements such as the large vintage leather-bound classic trunks embossed with the hotel’s initials.

“The hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur.”

From ‘hat box’ bedside tables, bowler hat lamps and sewing machines desks, the hotel boasts unique design features that are recognisable to the fashion connoisseur whilst ensuring they blend with thebuilding’s original architecture. Throughout the historic palace, intricately detailed classically coffered ceilings and panelled walls can be seen, lending to the classical era of the hotel. Large arches dominate throughout and surround the interior courtyard, making it the perfect place for an afternoon coffee or drink.

“Set to double its portfolio over the next three to five years, Hotel Indigo continues its strong growth as one of the largest boutique brands in this fast-growing segment,” said Eric Viale, Managing Director Southern Europe, IHG. “The brand is now at home in over 100 different and vibrant neighbourhoods globally, which is an incredibly exciting milestone. We provide guests with the best of both worlds – the promise of a design-led hotel and the reassurance of a consistently upscale experience with the IHG name behind it.” 

There are more than 109 Hotel Indigo properties open globally with more than 103 in the hotel pipeline, including Japan’s first Hotel Indigo, Hotel Indigo® Hakone Gora due to open later this year. In Europe alone, there are 32 hotels open in key neighbourhoods with a further 19 due to open in the next three – five years, depending on forecasts.

Recently, IHG opened the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo® Venice – Saint’Elena, the first IHG branded property on the island of Venice and Hotel Indigo® Stratford upon Avon, in the heart of Shakespeare’s home town. 

Main image credit: IHG

Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mitsis Hotels lifts the lid on redesign story behind Greek gem

Architecture and design firm WATG completed the renovation and redesign of Mitsis Summer Palace on the Greek island of Kos… 

Uniquely positioned on an elevated site above a Blue Flag-awarded beach, the newly renovated Mitsis Summer Palace boasts 360-degree views across the Aegean Sea towards Nissiros Island and the Bay of Kardamena, and offers a stunning direct line of sight all the way to the coast of Turkey. Tasked with the evolutionary renovations was the multidisciplined design firm WATG.

Showcasing the full suite of of the firm’s services, the project – which included upgrades to thesite’s restaurant and pool amenities – incorporated strategy, planning, architecture, landscape architecture and Wimberly Interiors to achieve a fully integrated, considered space that celebrates the stunning surroundings while aligning perfectly with Mitsis Hotels’ commitment to creating one-of-a-kind travel experiences.

“The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was theinspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Georgina Langridge of WATG’s London Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “From a design perspective, it was all about connecting visitors with the surrounding sea and celebrating the Kos sunset. In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coralaccents in the restaurant.”

On working with Mitsis Hotels, WATG London Associate Vice President and Architect Nick Carrier commented: “WATG is thrilled to have an ongoing and exciting relationship with a company like Mitsis Hotels. We’re grateful to them for placing trust in us to make bolddecisions and contribute to their vision of creating unique, customer-centric spaces.”

Mitsis Summer Palace reopened in April 2019 following the highly successful renovation and reopening of Mitsis Norida Beach in April 2018, which featured five new pools, a pool bar, three restaurants and a beach bar – also a WATG multidisciplinary design project.

Main image credit: Mitsis Hotels

In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

As part of its expansion plans for 2019 and beyond, Versa Wallcovering has recently turned up the volume in amplifying its products in Europe. Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with the company’s new Business Development Manager (EMEA), Paul Gibson, to understand more about his vision and the latest sustainable wallcovering products on the market… 

Having worked with the likes of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, IHG and Four Seasons, among many other brands, Versa Wallcovering is currently at a crossroads in its journey. Known in the US as one of the go-to contract surface brands, it has recently added a new element within in its strategy in order to expand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The individual who has been tasked to direct the traffic forwards in the EMEA regions is Paul Gibson. With more 15 years’ experience in the sector, Gibson is, in Versa Wallcovering’s eyes, the ideal industry expert for the job. “This is very much a clean page for Versa,” he says. “The company has always had an element of a presence in the UK through distribution, but they decided about a year ago to do a full-on sales attack in Europe.”

What seems to set the company aside from other conventional wallcovering brands is its sustainability qualities – not only in designing durable products that are built to last but also considering materials at manufacturing stages. “We have the technology to recycle and recover used vinyl and factory waste,” explains Gibson. “We cover it to be used in new products, which is a completely unique process. We have a range called Second Look, which is created using recycled materials. There are recycled materials in all of our products with no sacrifice in appearance, durability and quality. The other thing we have launching later this year is a PVC-free vinyl.”

Image caption: Paul Gibson, Versa Wallcovering’s Business Development Manager (EMEA),

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: A trend you hope to never return?
Paul Gibson: Artex on walls. It’s hideous.

HK: What is the wallcoverings market as a whole really focusing on at the moment?
G: I want to say sustainability, but more needs to be done first. I guess innovation of design.

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

HK: What is the number-one item you can’t travel without?
PG: My phone

HK: What’s the last transaction that will show up on your statement?
PG: Probably an ITunes download, or coffee!

HK: How has technology changed since you entered the market?
PG: I started in 2004, and there were silk vinyl copies that were plastic and shiny and it didn’t look real. Now, you can’t really tell the difference because they are so realistic. Just how far tech has come in a relatively short period of time is incredible.

One area in the hotel that benefits more than others from innovative and creative wallcoverings is the lobby – and a fairly simple way to give these public areas personality is to inject colour in them. “The days of having one tone of colour on a vinyl are almost over,” explains Gibson. “We have a very sophisticated printing process where we can print multiple layers.

“What people couldn’t achieve a few years ago they now can because tech allows them to. Digital wallcoverings is now moving more towards achieving more intricate detailed. Now are using digital printing methods in standard wallcoverings where we can print on a texture or print over a colour to create more varied effects.”

Versa Wallcovering’s latest collection, which includes Caba, Capri and Crush, is proof in the pudding that the company’s focus remains on hotels within all levels and its inspiration comes from nature – think stones, peacocks and floral aesthetics but with a modern twist. “Our design team are very good at looking outside our direct industry for inspiration is key,” adds Gibson. “They are visionaries who are thinking outside the box and I am very proud of the new collection that has been a result of that method.”

Keeping brand values close to home, the company’s ‘everything we sell, we manufacture’ policy keeps its products and service seamless and absolute. In addition, and as an incentive for designers to select more sustainable products at affordable costs, Versa Wallcovering promises competitive prices and endeavours to deliver samples the next day (where possible even same day).

Now that Versa Wallcovering has turned the page to enter a new chapter on a prosperous journey, its global reach of eco-sourced products has inspired designers, architects, owners and operators to think more about the materials used when designing the hotels of our future.

Versa Wallcovering 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.

MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: room2 Southampton, the debut hometel

Claiming to be the world’s first hometel brand, room2 Southampton shelters the best of both worlds in 71 rooms. As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn spoke to design firm Project Orange to understand the design story…

With the aim to create a home-from-home hotel on England’s south coast, room2 Southampton opened to float above the surface in a sea of competition among other sub brands sitting under larger groups to stand out as a lifestyle hotel.

Tasked to redesign the hotel experience as we know it, the design team at Project Orange were briefed by Lamington UK to conceptualise and create the ultimate apart-hotel. “We believed that there are a lot of tired, soulless, corporate hotels out there, and we wanted to inject fun, energy and life into peoples stay,” says Robert Godwin, the Managing Director of Lamington UK. “The design brief was to take inspiration from the local surroundings, and so the ‘golden age of cruise lining from Southampton’, was our design starting point. We wanted to make a place which would put a smile on someones face, not make them feel stiff, because if a guest was relaxed, they would rejuvenate better, and be their best version of themselves the next day (whether for work or play).”

Steering clear of gimmicks, which too often creep in to plans when innovating hotel concepts, the project started to convert a block of 1980s offices into the 71-key ‘hometel’. “The concept of room2 is neither conventional hotel nor conventional Apart-hotel,” says Christopher Ash, Director at Project Orange. “It is a space between a hotel and Airbnb.”

Image credit: room2

Before creating the modern, compact but well equipped kitchens and proper spaces to dine, eat sleep and relax, the design team faced a common challenge of planning restrictions. “The main challenges involved taking an un prepossessing 1980s office building in a fantastic location and transforming it into this new brand of hometel,” explains Ash. “Planning restrictions severely limited external changes to the main part of the building so we focussed on the ground floor and creating huge Edward Hopper type picture windows that drew the gaze into the room2 Living Room, married with a bold new entrance design. Incorporating new M&E services, especially as bedrooms include kitchen areas also presented challenges.”

“Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us.” – Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Leamington Group

In creating something new and aiming to make a marked improvement on conventional hotel and apartment-style accommodation, a new term has been created – the ‘hometel’ – and it’s the perfect way to describe the interiors, the feel and the overarching concept that is housed inside. “It has been our biggest achievement to date, because it is not a fad, or buzz word,” adds Godwin. “Guests ‘get it’, they rave about the concept for us, and what’s very special about ‘home’, is it means something special and personal to everyone, so therefore guests get an instant connection with the brand and their stay experience.”

The extremely flexible accommodation has clearly been designed with purpose in order to suit both long and short stay, full or part self-catering and mixed/family groups. Many of the rooms, for example, include an iconic second loft-like sleeping deck area, ideal for families travelling with kids. “Everyone one loves a well-designed hotel room, cleaned daily and with fresh towels and linen, air conditioning and (generally) a big TV you can lie and watch in bed,” explains Ash. “And lots of people love a good hotel breakfast too. But sometimes you want a bit of flexibility, especially with extended stay guests.  – a chance to enjoy your favourite breakfast cereal in your room, or to cook up a quick pasta in the evening. Or you may want the chance to rustle up something simple for the kids whilst they’re glued to the TV. These are things more associated with home, or an Airbnb. But then you have to do your own housekeeping!

“You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.” – Christopher Ash, Director, Project Orange.

“room2 is the perfect half-way house. An informal hotel with lots of personality you can enjoy but won’t be beholden to. There is no restaurant or bar in the traditional sense, just the room2 Living Room which is part hang out space, laid back working area, café, bar and meeting area. Likewise there are no designated reception staff, waiters or bar staff – the room2 Roommates are easy going jacks of all trades. You can be as plugged in or as zoned out as you like.”

Drawing on extensive industry experience, room2’s design considers all people and checking in and all possible scenarios. The result is a rule-breaking design-led abode, full of personality and attitude that allows its guests to experience the hometel on their own terms.

Main image credit: room2 Southampton

Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

Franklite, which believes it has the product to fit any lighting requirement, also one of the very few decorative and soft commercial lighting companies that has their own photometer and spectrometer and the only UK company which owns a Rigo 801-1500 near-field Goniophotometer – a cutting edge device used for measurement of light emitted from an object at different angles.

This investment now enables the company to offer complete photometric files compatible with designer’ssoftware in ELUMDAT .(ltd) and IESNA (.ies) formats.

Wojciech Miller, Franklites Technical Specialist states: ‘The Photometer allows us to gather information about the quality and quantity of light being produced by our luminaires. By utilizing this information, we are able to design and produce quality lighting products which also offer excellent energy saving credentials. In recent years lighting technology has evolved at a tremendous pace and with this investment it enablesFranklite to lead the field.”

Franklite 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.

Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lennox Hotels arrives on Miami Beach

Sheltered within an original 1930s Art Deco shell sits the newly opened 119-key Lennox Hotel Miami Beach. Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the new hotel on the block, imagined by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella…

A striking new modern hotel, combining contemporary design with original Art Deco design, has opened its doors in South Florida hotspot, Miami Beach. Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is a bold luxury boutique property offering stylish accommodation and an authentic Miami experience.

The hotel – located on Miami’s iconic Collins Avenue – offers 119 contemporary guestrooms, 13 of these complemented by a balcony offering sweeping views of the buzzing streets of Miami Beach.  At the centre of the property’s four interconnected buildings, a Mediterranean-style courtyard features a 12ft swimming pool and poolside bar offering al fresco dining and serving innovative cocktails.

Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, the property is a protected building in the heart of the area’s Historic District. Lennox Hotels purchased the building for $14.7 million in 2010 and has invested more than $100 million on an extensive transformation of the building.  The renovation has been focused on maintaining the property’s legacy by retaining its original Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architectural style exterior and transforming it into a living landmark.

Exterior render of the hotel

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

“One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.”

The guestrooms are enhanced by handcrafted furnishings from Patagonia, natural elements and eco-friendly and upcycled materials meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinian interior designer Juan Ciavarella. Soft neutral tones and unique textiles combine in rooms that will range in categories from Terrace Poolside with direct pool access, to Balcony King with private balcony overlooking the colourful streets of Miami Beach. One of the most special features of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is that not one guestroom is the same as the other.

“We are thrilled to be expanding the Lennox Hotel brand to the U.S. with the opening of Lennox Hotel Miami Beach,” said CEO of Lennox Hotels, Diego Agnelli. “Our reasons for choosing this area were as much because of the area’s vibrancy and liveliness as it was because of the welcoming spirit of its people and the friendliness they express toward travellers.  Our vision for Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is to provide a sophisticated and inviting setting for travellers to live an authentic Miami experience, one that not only provides a place to mingle with the locals, but also allows them to feel like locals and enjoy the area, its culture and vivacity through the lens of a local.”

The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934.  Pancoast is known for much of Miami Beach’s most celebrated buildings, including the Surf Club, the Church by the Sea and the Miami Beach Auditorium.

The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.

The transformation of the hotel’s original structure into Lennox Hotel Miami Beach is the work of veteran Miami architect Beilison Gomez. 

Image of courtyard and long narrow pool

Image credit: Lennox Hotels

Stepping through the hotel’s front doors, guests will be welcomed by bartenders at the hotel bar, the ultimate lounge area to mingle with locals or relax after a day of travel and exploration. To the right, guests will find the lobby and to the left, a walkway will lead them to the hotel’s upscale restaurant.

The seamless service from the hotel’s staff will make guests feel welcomed in an atmosphere that exudes unpretentious sophistication.  Unparalleled signature service will include concierge services, room service, laundry and more.  Each guestroom will be complete with amenities such as a Nespresso Vertuoline with complimentary Nespresso capsules, 47-inch LG TVs, a stocked mini-bar and local artisan stacks (extra cost), in-room safe and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The team is also announcing a partnership with William Roamto provide the luxury bathroom products featured in each guestroom. From the brand’s SENSE collection, these products feature vegan, nature made beauty care. With Minnesota Tamarack Larch tree bark as the main ingredient and a blend of 21 aromatic extracts, the collection promotes lush and hydrated skin and hair. William Roam is a partner of American Forrest, a non-profit conservation dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. Thanks to this partnership, American Forest has committed to planting one tree for every hotel room at Lennox Hotel Miami Beach.

Additional amenities for guests include complimentary shuttle service within a one-mile radius, including to the hotel’s private area on the beach that offers lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels.

The property is located just one block away from the Miami Beach Convention Centre.  The hotel will provide an ideal setting for intimate meetings of up to 12 people in its Patagonia Boardroom, a multi-use space equipped with the latest technology.

Main image credit: Lennox Hotels

FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

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FINAL CALL: Applications for The Brit List 2019 close this week

FREE TO APPLY, nominations for The Brit List 2019 close on Friday August 9… 

Calling all interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate in Britain, you have until Friday to submit your free entries for The Brit List 2019. Once all nominations/applications have been gathered, the expert judging panel will decide who will from this year’s The Brit List. All will be unveiled – including the individual award winners – on November 21 at an exclusive awards ceremony and evening drinks reception.

APPLY/NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE BRIT LIST 2019 BY CLICKING HERE

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations (applications close on August 9) from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Suppliers: £150 + VAT (Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £20 + VAT (Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket)

In addition to attending The Brit List 2019 Awards, there are also various sponsorship opportunities for suppliers. If you would like to know more about these, please contact Katy Phillips on email or by calling 01992 474050.

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

To continue putting Hotel Concepts under the spotlight, leading booking management service STAAH identifies seven quirky hotels that shelter one-off luxury experiences… 

Depending on the type of traveller you are trying to attract or designing for, sometimes a hotel needs to be nothing more than just a place to rest after a long day of exploring the surroundings of your destination.

For others, the right hotel is part of what makes the travel experience an interesting one. We have found some of the quirkiest hotels around to give you, your clients and/or your guests a memorable experience from check in right through to check out.

The Caves Resort, Jamaica

At The Caves Resort, Every room at the caves is unique and bursting with its own character, charm and heart-stopping coastal views. Sitting atop of some of the most incredible sea caves in the world, their 12 custom designed Cliffside cottages act as artful hideaways with all the comforts of home.

ICE Hotel, Sweden

Bed in the middle of iced shelter

Image credit: ICE Hotel

Staying in the largest ice hotel in the world is like living inside a diamond. Each suite is individually themed and hand carved by artists commissioned from around the world and a wide range of disciplines.  Spending a night in Ice Hotel is a surreal experience and a memory for life and in the morning you are awakened with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside.

Eco Camp Patagonia, Chile

At Eco Camp Patagonia, guests can immerse their in the stunning world of Torres del Paine National Park. Spend your days exploring this fragile paradise with trekking, multi-sport adventures, and wildlife watching, and your nights in harmony with nature in your very own dome.

Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji

Image credit: Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji/YouTube

At Poseidon Undersea Resort, the entire ocean is a playground. Activities abound for adventurers who wish to explore the unimaginable, like maneuvering a personal Triton submarine through a lagoon, exploring the ocean’s depths as the passenger of a 1,000-foot luxury submersible, and scuba diving in pristine waters. Those who seek solitude will find the epitome of relaxation when indulging in marine-focused spa treatments and meditation under the gaze of only the moon and stars.

Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Image credit: Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Hotel and Motel lodging just can’t compare to the breath-taking views and unforgettable memories you’ll have when you stay on this amazing train (or once was)! The décor and majestic views to match will keep you wanting more.

The Aurora-Express is a Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska made out of authentic Alaska Railroad cars renovated to historical periods. Experience Fairbanks, Alaska in this nostalgic Bed & Breakfast overlooking greater Fairbanks, the Tanana Valley, & Alaska Mountain Range.

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Situated on the verdant banks of the Sweni River, modern autumnal-coloured furniture springs to life with vivid shades of green in one of the most intimate lodges in the Kruger. Sweni’s seven Suites are perched on stilts above the lush river and blend effortlessly into the surrounding trees.

Suites are open-plan (with curtains for privacy) with deep baths, splendid views of the river and lavish decks with daybeds and outdoor showers.

Hotel Endemico, Mexico

Image credit: Hotel Endemico, Mexico

They always say “good things come in small packages”. These little rooms pack a surprising punch once you step inside.

Hotel Endemico is a rustic retreat in Mexico’s wine country situated on a slope overlooking the Valle de Guadalupe. “Endemico” is a Spanish word meaning “part of the environment” and so each eco-pod is designed to show-off the rural landscape.

STAAH 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: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

Presenting guests with what is being described as “a true home away from home experience”, the 53-key The Guardsman, which will sit on Buckingham Gate, London, and is being designed by architects Dexter Moren Associates and multi-disciplinary design practice Tonik Associates.

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

Violet armchairs by the window

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry opens

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry, formerly known as Corus The Chace Hotel, has opened its doors to reveal to reveal a quintessentially British and timeless transformation… 

As part of the hotel group’s aggressive expansion, Laura Ashley Hotels has opened the doors to its second property, Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry. The 17-key boutique hotel is sheltered in a stunning example of Victorian architecture surrounded by three acres of attractive landscaped gardens.

Violet armchairs by the window

The new design, led by the company’s in-house Commercial Designer, Kay Cullen, takes inspiration from the grand sweeping staircase, leading upstairs to the new guestrooms, which evokes the splendour of the past.

The land, which the property is located on, boasts a colourful history dating back to 1257 and was once owned by King Henry VIII. Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry is named after the family the property was constructed for in the late 1890s, Dr Charles Webb Iliffe, a well-respected figure in the local medical community, and his wife, a young debutante, Mary Ann Soden.

Every part of the hotel has been redesigned drawing inspiration from the hotel’s Victorian heritage, with carefully selected rich colours which complement each other and luxurious furnishings to create an elegant space to entice comfort & relaxation.

“To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.” – Kay Cullen, Commercial Designer, Laura Ashley Hotels.

“I was charmed by the beautiful building which once a grand manor house of late Victorian origin,” said Cullen. “The beautiful sweeping staircase takes you on a journey through the owner’s past with a portrait of the glamorous lady Mary Ann Soden as a debutante in the mid-eighteen hundreds. To pay homage to the decadence this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.”

The boutique hotel’s superior and deluxe Laura Ashley bedrooms have been designed to infuse a sense of tranquillity with an effortless style. Classic Laura Ashley design adorns every surface, from plush cushions, to Laura Ashley Glenmore chairs in marine velvet, floor-to-ceiling drapes to statement lighting and stylish Laura Ashley Constellation Champagne and Gold Constance Mirrors.

Classic leather Hudson button back sofas add a touch of luxury and are a nod to the gentleman’s library that would have been cherished in a grand house by the Iliffe family. While a bespoke bookshelf separates the bar from the lounge space, with a secret pocket door which opens to connect both spaces when required. In the main restaurant there is a hand painted mural to reflect the surrounding grounds and to add a little country manor house romance to the space.

The Laura Ashley Hotels portfolio, which also includes The Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, and is soon to include Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire, aims to offer guests an authentic home from home experience against the backdrop of the Laura Ashley Home range in characterful properties in the UK.

Main image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

As Hotel Designs focuses its lens on Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how Gessi is leading the way in launching innovative bathroom products inspired by nature and the great outdoors… 

Internal and external, closed and open, domestic and nature scale: ideally designers can eliminate all barriers with the Gessi Outdoor line in order to create a single grand dimension of physical and mental wellbeing. The free-standing shower columns of the Gessi Outdoor Wellness Sy- stem were specically conceived for outdoor spaces.

They offer innovative combinations of materials, nishes 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 rened 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.

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G01 outdo- or shower gives spaces a re ned 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 showerhead equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The showerhead is available with a smooth surface treatment or in four different knurled patterns, while the vertical tubular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting nish, available in smo- oth or knurled texture. For greater practicality, this model features a design handshower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customizable 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 credit: Gessi

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Hinode Hills Niseko Village, Japan

Nestled at the south base of the 1308m Mount Niseko Annupuri, the design-led 79-key boutique hotel, Hinode Hills Niseko Village, operated by YTL Hotels, will open in Japan on December 1…

Named to pay homage to the rising sun, the elegantly furnished luxury all-suite Hinode Hills Niseko Village hotel is designed with a wabi-sabi aesthetic, unveiling its fine beauty through authenticity, natural forms, and the appreciation for nature.

Blending warm contemporary style with authentic Japanese aesthetics, and complemented with luxury hotel services and amenities, guests’ choice of multiple room and suite configurations up to three-bedrooms, provide a host of opportunities suitable for any type of merriment, from romantic getaways to large family vacations.

“The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola.”

Situated at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Hinode Hills occupies a prime position at the heart of Niseko Village with stunning Mount Yotei views, ski-in, ski-out access, an in-house onsen, and a host of ski services available on property. The hotel is also strategically located adjacent to the Upper Village Gondola, which provides guests with the convenience of mobility around the mountain with easy lift access replacing the need to walk, drive or take a shuttle bus.

Services at Hinode Hills are held to the usual high standards of YTL Hotels, with concierge facilities and priority privileges at guests’ doorstep. Being part of an integrated resort managed by Niseko Village, all-mountain operations and experiences are designed to be seamless and guests are spoilt for choice with the variety of convivial social settings across diverse dining and retail venues, world-class facilities, indoor and outdoor attractions at The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Hilton Niseko Village, and at the heart of the village itself.

Image credit: YTL Hotels

“Hinode Hills raises the bar for luxury developments in Niseko and is committed to providing guests with a truly integrated and seamless experience,” says Luke Hurford, Senior Vice President of Strategy at YTL Hotels.” You will have the luxury of having your ski school instructors meeting you at your door, to ski-out directly to the ski area and lifts beside the hotel, the convenience of on-site gear rental and the advantage of the gondola beside the hotel to whisk you away to the village dining and shopping area.”

The highly anticipated hotel opened for reservations in April, and will officially open in December, adding to the strong portfolio of YTL Hotels.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels

FEATURE: Perfection in the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Perfection in the hotel bathroom

Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explains how designers and architects can strive to create the perfect hotel bathroom experience…

As one of the leading online supplier of premium bathroom brands, UK Bathrooms knows a great deal about what makes the perfect hotel bathroom. Whatever the hotel category; wellness, luxury, business, holiday, whatever the size of hotel; hoteliers today concentrate on providing a unique environment, offering the best in comfort and ease of use to their guests.

After all, what’s the first thing a guest does after checking in to their hotel room? They inspect the bathroom, and expect it to be spotlessly clean, comfortable and relaxing, and, in many cases, different and more impressive than they have at home!

However, whilst guest experience is paramount, a hotel bathroom also needs to be easily maintainable, have durability and longevity. Design should include high quality products which combine functionality with looking great. The hotel bathroom needs to be both beautiful and functional, it should be a unique, discerning space and use materials that are robust and won’t fade.

Image credit: Jack Hardy

Hotel housekeeping teams are usually under pressure to present an impeccable bathroom, so design and products should take into consideration the ease of servicing and cleaning.

Designers, architects and hoteliers should also think about whether the bathroom fits in with the hotel’s architecture, is the design sympathetic to the building? A hotel bathroom should be apt to its environment, capturing the spirit and history of its locale and ultimately take the stress out of travelling for its guests. On trend is a space with no definition between where a bedroom ends and where the bathroom begins, not open plan which is often a step too far for guests, but a space that offers continuity and allows for a complete guest experience.

And that guest experience includes being comfortable and hassle free, with everything to hand including shampoo and soaps, luxury towels that aren’t out of reach. Nothing should be too difficult to use or hard to find. Showers must be the best available with easy controls.  Lighting is key throughout the space and this is where good design comes into its own.

Modern and clean looking bathroom with gold accents of colour in furniture and under bath

Image credit: Villeroy & Boch

UK Bathrooms supplies the hospitality industry from a huge collection of designer brands, including AXOR, Villeroy & Boch and Burlington to name but a few. As one of the leading online premium brand retailers, the company has a team of experts to assist designers, architects and hoteliers.

UK Bathrooms 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: UK Bathrooms/AXOR

SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 hotel concepts on the boards that will rock your world

During this month’s Spotlight On Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn identifies the projects on the boards that are taking international hotel design to unseen heights…

The hotels that are currently opening around the globe are impressive, innovative and are a reaction to the ever-evolving demands of the luxury and modern traveller.

“As designers, one of the biggest drivers we have noticed is in the demand for areas that enhance individuality and social wellness,” explains Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International. “As a result, hotel public areas in the properties that we are currently designing are having to respond to these changes and be more agile in adapting to these changes.” With these trends in mind, and to really understand the public architecture forecast of the future, here are some raw sketches of the hotels of our future that are currently on the boards.

Whether they are floating, in the sky, robot-operated, pledge to fully eliminate carbon footprints – or so innovative that they can’t physically be built yet –  the concepts below that we have identified are gamechangers on the international hotel design scene.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino

Complete with swim-up suites and a 7,000- seat concert venue, a new hotel shaped like a guitar is emerging in Hollywood, Florida. The estimated US$1.5 billion hotel is all part of a US$2.2-billion expansion of the current Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino locations.

Hotel of 2119, imagined by Hilton Hotels

To celebrate the hotel group’s 100th anniversary, Hilton has just unveiled what it believes will be the hotel in 100 years from now…

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, two to three hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges; in celebration of its 100thanniversaryHilton predicts the future trends set to dominate the travel and hospitality industry in the next 100 years.

Continue reading.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects(ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023. Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

Continue reading.

Cliff-hanging hotel in Norway

Image credit: Cover Images/Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio

Istanbul-based Architecture firm Hayri Atak Architectural Design Studio. has released the first renders of a new project that shows a luxury hotel built into the side of a 2000-foor cliff in Norway. The concept would be constructed to blend into the natural surroundings with the exception of a statement pool that would extend over the edge of the cliff edge.

Continue reading.

Sofitel SO Los Cabos

render of ocean-side hotel

Image credit: SB Architects

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Designed by SB Architects, and inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience.

Continue reading.

JW Marriott Jeju

Image credit: WATG

Incorporating key aspects of Jeju’s culture, the design narrative laid out by WATG is an abstract representation of the island’s indigenous Chogo architecture. The traditional curved roof has been reversed, expressing the patterned lattice on the underside of the structure.

Floating city

Image credit: Oceanix

The floating city concept, imagined by architect Bjarke Ingels in collaboration with Oceanix, has been designed so that it can survive a category five hurricane. The concept, known as Oceanix City, is described as the world’s first sustainable floating city, which would essentially be groups of hexagonal platforms – anchored to the seabed – that could each house an estimated 300 people.

Main image credit: Oceanix

In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Fashion designer Jack Irving

Having previously designed statement outfits for many international music and fashion icons, Jack Irving’s alternative style has recently spilled out onto the hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the fashion designer, in between photoshoots, to understand how two worlds have recently collided…

The brand ‘Jack Irving Studio’ and the creative man behind the logo are two very different things. One is bold, disobedient and you would expect – almost encourage – to cause an outrageous impression in almost any social scenario.

The other orders a lemonade on a hazy Thursday afternoon at a media interview as he catches his breath between work engagements. Opposites do attract, after all.

Made famous by creating outlandish outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls for their come-back tour, the talented story-telling designer, Jack Irving, made his mark on the fashion industry by producing items that infused glamour and engineered technology.

His innovative work recently emerged on my radar when he unveiled the result of a collaboration with W London Leicester Square, which has been the designer’s first interior design project to date. “The idea of working with W Hotels was mentioned to us at Pride London last year,” says Irving. “But it wasn’t until November, following my first show at the V&A, when we met the team to really discuss what we could do together.”

Fashion shoot of models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Presented by a loose brief to bring a flavour of ‘Jack Irving’ into the hotel, it became clear that that the W brand was willing to give the designer the creative reins in order to produce a statement piece for their newly designed guestrooms and suites. “They wanted a replacement for the current cushions and bed throw that met brand standards,” he explains. “The bed, for us, became the canvas.”

One month after the brief was given, Irving pitched what he explained at the time to the client as a ‘crazy tech idea’ for the concept of new cushions. He wanted the items to be inspired his signature sea urchin style, which became famous by his work with Lady Gaga. Irving then wanted to make the interiors more instagrammable. The spiked pillows’ fabric would appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric would transform into an iridescent masterpiece. “To be honest, we were hesitant as to whether or not the client would see our vision,” explains the designer. “What we pitched was as far away from convention as we could have gone.”

Irving and his partner (in life as well as well as in business), Rhys Beynon, received a call from the client while they were on a yoga retreat in Goa over Christmas 2018. “They wanted to see prototypes the first week of January,” Irving explains. “At this point, the pressure for us was on to meet the deadline.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What would a Jack Irving guestroom look like if you were to design it?
Jack Irving: It would be ridiculous – think sea urchin chairs and UFO beds. I also have the idea to design a Chesterfield sofa in the rainbow smart material.

HK: What’s been the most challenging part going from fashion to interiors?
JI: It hasn’t actually been that challenging because W Hotels were so on board with our idea.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
JI: New Zealand and LA!

HK: How do you switch off from work?
JI: Both Rhys and I are really into techno. Oddly, it’s become our sanctuary.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a conventional hotel?
JI: When hotels don’t stay in their lane.

HK: What materials are really inspiring you at the moment?
JI: For me, smart fabrics and metallic fabrics are really fun to play around with. I want to experiment more with the manufacturing of the material we have been using. That being said, you can’t rely on the fabric. The shape and structure is just as important.

Models on bed with cushion

Image credit: Charlotte Rutherford

With time depleting by the day, and with fabric supplies on order to be delivered when they returned home from India, the next challenge was to secure a manufacturer. “The word ‘impossible’ landed in our inbox a few times,” explains Irving. “We did receive a lot of kickback at this stage from manufacturers, mainly because of the demand and the order size.” Undeterred, Irving and Beynon’s ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ approach led them both to source the materials themselves to prove that it could be done. “I remember sitting on the beach with Rhys making a cardboard model of the cushion,” says Irving. “It’s one thing drawing the design, but it becomes very real when designing a 3D model.”

As well as the shape of the accessory being unconventional, so too was the material that designer decided to work with. “We call it rainbow smart fabric,” he explains. “We were worried that it would look to synthentic when not lit up, but in reality it was the perfect material to use for creating that contrast.”

As with all creative projects at pitch stage, there is an air of uncertainty, especially when it comes to unveiling to clients a prototype as futuristic as this one. “I was terrified when it came to pitching because you just don’t know how it’s going to go,” admits Irving. “We hadn’t seen the new rooms that our statement accessories would sit in, so it could have gone either way, as these things often do. But they loved it, and the second prototype we made on the beach in Goa over Christmas became the product that’s in the W London today.”

Irving’s interior design work for W Hotels may be just a dip in the ocean for now, but the designer’s ability to disrupt convention through the use of innovative materials and shapes unquestionably makes him a true innovator on the international hotel design scene.

Main image credit: Jack Irving Studio

Has IHG just marked the end of bathroom miniatures forever?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Has IHG just marked the end of bathroom miniatures forever?

Following hotel group IHG‘s plans to remove miniatures from all of its hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn investigates the significance of opting for bulk-size amenities to reduce plastic waste…

If it takes for David Attenborough to take over the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage in order for the world – and our industry – to sit up and make changes, then so be it. There is no doubt about it that The Blue Planet effect has swept across the UK – and consumers are now demanding for companies to clean up their act to eliminate single-use plastic products.

In its continued effort to reduce plastic waste – and following its and other hotel brand’s decision to eliminate plastic straws in 2019 – IHG has recently pledged to eliminate miniatures from its hotels by 2021. The group, which currently uses an average of 200 million bathroom miniatures each year, is the first global hotel company to commit all brands – to removing bathroom miniatures in favour of bulk-size amenities.

“It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly – we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect,” said Keith Barr, CEO, IHG. “Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.

“We’ve already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we’re proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities.”

IHG remains a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index, and recently joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 network, signalling its commitment to working with cross-industry partners to build a more sustainable world.

“We welcome IHG’s action to reduce plastic waste through this new commitment,” said Joe Murphy, Lead of the CE100, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “Achieving a circular economy will be a challenging journey, but by working together we can find solutions to design out waste, keep materials in use, and regenerate our environment.”

Switching to bulk-size amenities is a tried and tested approach. Whether for business or leisure, hotel guests increasingly want their stays to be more sustainable without any impact on the quality of their experience.

Hotel Designs will be leading the opening session of Independent Hotel Show London on October 15, which will be entitled: The Conscious Hotel Room Report. 

Main image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Hospitality Design Show

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs becomes media partner for Hospitality Design Show

Hospitality Design Show takes place on September 18 – 19 at ExCel London… 

Exciting news – We’re partnering with the Hospitality Design Show, the UK’s ultimate event for the designs behind business growth, taking place on the 18th & 19th of Septemberat London’s ExCeL!

Connecting passionate hospitality professionals with the industry’s leading creatives, the show is free to attend and will feature an unmissable line-up from across the globe, whilst also showcasing the design solutions, tips and techniques that are transforming the world of hospitality!

What’s more, at this year’s unbelievable event, you’ll have the chance to tune in and listen to hundreds of influential speakers, engage in industry-altering panel sessions and get personalised one-to-one advice from the sector’s greatest minds, all whilst you cultivate invaluable new business contacts! With all this and more, you’re sure to return to your business armed with ambition and brimming with ideas and inspiration on how you can take it to the next level!

The amazing features don’t stop there! Running directly alongside the Hospitality Design Show, for the first time ever, is Hotel360, the UK’s leading event fully dedicated to improving all aspects of hotels and increasing their profitability. And the best part? Your free ticket gives you access to both events, with a combined line-up of 500 cutting-edge suppliers, 320 thought-provoking seminars, unmissable innovation awards and much more!

Visit hospitalitydesignshow.co.uk to secure your free ticket, enter the ultimate marketplace for hospitality design and let the world’s leading innovators guide you to success!

NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NEW FOR DESIGNERS & HOTELIERS: Bisque debuts new online platform

Pioneering British design brand Bisque has announced a new online platform for interior designers, specifiers and architects…

A new section of Bisque’s website has been developed specifically to cater to the demands of designers, specifiers and architects in order to provide this audience with all the information it may need to specify Bisque products in new projects and developments.

For more than 40 years, Bisque has been the brand of choice for interior designers thanks to its class-leading selection of designer radiators. In fact, Bisque has been specified in a wide range of projects, from big budget hotels to independent, boutique outlets. These include the The Savoy, Shrangi-La at the Shard and Chewton Glen. Whatsmore, Bisque is also an accredited partner of SBID, the Society of British Interior Designers, founded by Vanessa Brady OBE, who was also a judge for The Brit List 2017.

“For a long time Bisque has enjoyed fruitful relationships with some of the UK’s finest interior designers, from both established names to up-and-coming talent,” explained Brand leader Ellie Sawdy. “The launch of this new section on our website signifies our ongoing commitment to providing designers with all they need to specify our products, and make the entire process as seamless as possible.”

Bisque provides a range of services for interior designers, which can be accessed via the new platform. This includes: an online resource library with downloadable images and CAD files, bespoke sizes and finishes, bespoke brackets and fittings, and a dedicated technical service team to assist throughout the entire process, from design to installation.

Main image credit: Designer – Edwina Boase/Bisque

 

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Melbourne designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Following an insight into Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi on The Morpheus, Hotel Designs heads backstage on another groundbreaking project the architecture firm is currently working to complete. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Currently on the boards, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is a new signature hotel and branded residences that is slated to open in 2023.

Render of the Melbourne skyline including the new ZHA designed hotel

Soon to become the hotel group’s first property in Australia, the mixed-used 185-metre tower will be located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The 196 spacious guestrooms and suites have been designed to reflect local culture together with features inspired by Mandarin Oriental’s heritage. The Group will also manage 148 residences at Mandarin Oriental, located on the tower’s upper floors, which will provide some of the most well-appointed private homes in the city. Owners will have access to the hotel experience, as well as their own bespoke amenities including a private residents’ lounge.

“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases.” – ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano

The hotel’s design vision was first realised in 2016. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be avariety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

“The hotel’s façade reinterprets this historical detailing in a contemporary solution, introducing a delicate litre that gently envelops the building,” said ZHA’s project director Michele Pasca di Magliano.“The tower’s design conveys the wide variety of interior spaces within; dividing the building’s overall volume into a series of smaller stacked vases, with each different vase housing the bespoke guestrooms, suites, residences or amenities of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned service and standards.”

The project, which is being developed by Melbourne-based property developer, Landream, is said to have taken its inspiration from the finest examples of historic architecture within the Central Business District. “Mandarin Oriental, Melbourne will set anew standard for bespoke service in the city and will offer a preferred choice to travellers and potential homeowners who desire thenest accommodation,” said Kevin Li, Managing Director of Landream.

Disrupting not only design boundaries, but also the hotel development landscape, Mandarin Oriental Melbourne will open following predictions from experts that the hotel development market in Australia is expected to slow down in the coming years as a result of the regulation-driven curbs on development lending and the increasing construction and land costs, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Main image credit: VA

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Proud of diversity in British design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Proud of diversity in British design

As the world focuses its attention on amplifying equality in all forms, editor Hamish Kilburn believes now is the time to break down why diversity in British design is something the industry should celebrate and be proud of…

We’ve come a long way, and although the journey hasn’t exactly been a seamless one, here we are in Britain in 2019 where we are free to love whoever we want. The next mission is now to work towards a society that campaigns for equal opportunities for all.

Our colourful industry, which is full to the brim of creative people, can be at the best of times a forceful catalyst for good and I believe, together, we can significantly do more than our bit in order for that dream to become a reality – and it starts here.

For a little more than a year now, since proudly joining the Hotel Designs editorial desk, I have tried perilously to understand what it is about the UK that makes it one of the major design destinations around the world. Despite its scale, Britain, the tiny little speck of land in the northern hemisphere, attracts the majority of the leading designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers to train, flourish and go on to lead the industry forward into an innovative direction.

What Britain lacks in size it certainly makes up for in style, creativity and diversity. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that a large handful of the world’s most premium international design fairs, such as Sleep + Eat, 100% Design, Independent Hotel Show and London Design Festival, among many others, take place here.

Today, just two weeks after we officially opened nominations for The Brit List 2019, I’m seeing London from a completely unrivalled perspective – and it is a beautiful moment to witness. Peering over the edge of a rooftop bar, every colour of the rainbow is being amplified loudly on the streets below. As many as 1.5 million people have attended Pride London 2019, which is now being hailed the UK’s largest and most diverse Pride parade to date.

“By celebrating and supporting the concept of diversity – and by not oppressing original ideas that challenge convention – we can allow new thoughts to emerge.”

There’s an Albert Einstein quote that hangs on our office wall. It reads: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” For some, it may signify the balance of designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers thinking outside the box while also designing with purpose.  For me, though, it encourages one to take on a challenge and make it fun! That way, with the ability of adding your stamp to your work, you will not only throw intelligence at the problem, but also personality and individual ideas too.

This, I believe, is where the UK flourishes on the international design scene. By celebrating and supporting the concept of diversity – and by not oppressing original ideas that challenge convention – we can allow new thoughts to emerge and evolve, which, as a result, gives original concepts a nudge forward in the right direction. Jack Irving is the perfect example. The fashion designer who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and The Spice Girls has just completed his first interior design project. Irving’s commissioned work for W London has resulted in introducing our industry to new, unconventional materials. On the other hand there’s Zaha Hadid Architects, with its firm footprint as an industry leader, that is turning new architecture chapters, with the likes of Morpheus, that create new elegant dimensions.

The Brit List 2019, our annual awards event, is all about championing the most influential and inspirational designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers. In order to keep the whole process as open as possible, we have ensured that applying for our nationwide search is completely free.

It’s been a varied and colorful month at the helm of Hotel Designs and I for one am proud of our fabulous team. We started our mini July tour in Manchester for Meet Up North, where more 150 of us celebrated creativity outside of the capital. One week later, we further bridged the gap between suppliers and procurement specialists with our highly engaging meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, which allowed me the great honour of interviewing Marco Novello, the Managing Director of The Lanesborough, on stage in front of our live audience. A quick 24 hours in Dusseldorf, Germany, opened up the opportunity for us to speak to Michael Struck, the CEO of Ruby Hotels, as well as Matthew Bolan, the brand’s lead designer, in order to understand more about Ruby Hotels’ aggressive expansion, which includes its highly anticipated debut hotel in London next year.

In an industry full of leaders and visionaries, who are designing the cities of our future, it makes sense for us to also carve the path for others when it comes to celebrating diversity. Here are Hotel Designs, we are determined to continue to praise and offer a platform to people, projects, and plans on the boards that further challenge convention.

Be proud and apply for The Brit List 2019 for free today!

During August, Hotel Designs will be putting Hotel Concepts and Beds under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: ACT Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Brintons

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

citizenM’s third hotel in Amsterdam – 17th property worldwide – moves into a sensational location in a stylish 1920s building as location remains everything…

Returning to its humble roots, citizenM has opened its third hotel in Amsterdam, which becomes the Dutch brand’s 17th property globally. Staying true to the quest for triple-A urban locations, citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is tucked into Amsterdam’s historical canal ring, between the areas of Weesperbuurt-en-Plantage and Oude Pijp.

Designed by Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, the hotel is described as “a beauty to behold from the outside”. The property is a conversion of an existing structure dating back to 1928, built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The decorative red brick exterior with its multitude of elegantly slender windows stands out among the neighbouring buildings on Sarphatistraat. At street level, the hotel will distinguish itself even more with a bespoke art installation across the eight main windows. The artistic photographer duo – and our previous Schiphol collaborators – Freudenthal Verhagen have created a series of water-themed pieces inspired by Amsterdam’s centuries-long reliance on rivers and canals. It will undoubtedly become a notable photo-op in the neighbourhood.

Guests enter the hotel through existing doors, restored to keep the historical character of the building. Inside, they’ll reach a split-level check-in area and the famous citizenM living room with a 24/7 bar, canteenM kitchen, designated work areas, designer furniture by Vitra, and tall bookcases filled with interesting objects, art and browsable books. Amsterdam-based artist Pablo Lucker has created a special artwork for the entrance, as well as unique black-and-white wallpaper for the hotel corridors. The artist duo Pinar & Viola have painted the living room ceiling, and created four additional loose pieces for display. At the rear of the living room, double doors lead to a real hidden treasure – an enclosed courtyard with greenery and garden furniture, ideal for relaxing after a long day of business or sightseeing in the city.

Image credit: Richard Powers

Upstairs, 88 guestrooms have been designed especially to fit the existing structure. The sleek furniture is by Vitra, and the famous XL king-size beds are topped with luxury mattresses, duvets, and fluffier-than-snow pillows. Powerful rain showers wash away all travel fatigue, and large flatscreen TVs make for enjoyable viewing of the huge free movie libraries, international TV channels, or own-content streaming using the superfast free Wi-Fi. Room ambiance is controlled by a MoodPad – an iPad that manages everything from entertainment to blinds and temperature. There are also pre-programmed moods for relaxation, party, romance and movies. Art – an essential part of the citizenM in-room experience – is curated by the world-renowned Foam Editions, the gallery of FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam. The contributing artists are Isabelle Wenzel, Sanja Marusic and Lisette Appeldorn.

As always, citizenM sticks to its philosophy of ‘affordable luxury for the people’ by giving the guests everything they want, and nothing they don’t. There are never queues to reception, because there is no reception desk – instead, self check-in kiosks put a key in every guest’s hand in just one minute. In a prominent place nearby, guests will find collectionM – the carefully curated retail selection for the modern traveller, where essential travel items and stylishly amusing gifts make it easy to take a little bit of citizenM home. At canteenM, food and drinks are within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day, to satisfy thirst, hunger, and snack attacks of travellers from all time zones. In the living room, ultra-comfortable Vitra couches, tables and desks encourage the guests to leave the bedroom and relax, watch TV, enjoy a freshly shaken cocktail, and even meet up with friends.

Business travellers seeking a professional yet inspiring place to meet don’t need to leave the hotel. citizenM Amstel Amsterdam includes two societyM creative meeting rooms for up to 14 participants. The rooms are available for AM, PM and all-day sessions, and come with all tech essentials like AV equipment and cables for a multitude of devices; unlimited coffee, tea and water; stationery, designer furniture, and blackboard or whiteboard walls to draw on. societyM is bookable anytime online in just five simple steps, and catering is available on request.

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam – the 17th citizenM hotel in 11 years – is poised to become a favourite location in the Netherlands’ capital for leisure and business travellers seeking an affordable luxury alternative to traditional hotels.

Main image credit: Richard Powers

More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

A survey has revealed what Brits really think when it comes to hotels’ efforts to be eco-friendly… 

76 per cent of British holidaymakers feel hotels can play a larger role than they currently are in being ‘greener’, a study has found. The survey, carried out by Taxi2Airport, also concluded that most Brits will seek to walk, bike or use public transport to explore the destination around the hotel.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent have a strong desire to pack as light as possible. In turn, this will have an indirect positive effect on their flight, because if a plane weighs less – it increases fuel-efficiency and decreases the carbon emissions it produces. 66 per cent of the 1,468 respondents stated they will make a conscious effort to turn off the TV, lights, heating and air conditioning (AC) when not in use or present in the room.

Interestingly, since toiletries such as toothpaste, shower gels and shampoos are provided on a complimentary bases in a majority of hotels – it can be easy to use them wastefully as they are ‘free’. Bearing this in mind, 54 per cent will only throw away and/or ask for new toiletries once they have finished their existing set.

Fascinatingly, 67 per cent believed hotels should take the initiative to include a recyclableas well as non-recyclable bin, so they can separate any rubbish in their room between the two. Surprisingly, a sizeable 55 per cent of travellers would be happy if their hotel bathroom had a low flow shower head and toilet – both going a long way towards reducing water consumption.

Main image credit: Zuri Zanzibar

luxe marble bathroom

CONCEPT TO COMPLETION: Designing the bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CONCEPT TO COMPLETION: Designing the bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

With the hotel months away from opening, the bathroom design specialists at Utopia Projects explain how they have worked with interior design firm Space Invader Design to create timeless, luxury bathrooms inside Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester… 

Due to open this November, Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester is located in the heart of the city centre, sheltered within the shell of the former Stock Exchange building.

luxe marble bathroom

As the opening date draws closer, anticipation builds around how the hotel’s luxe interiors will look and feel inside the Grade II listed building. Here we take a look into finer details of the guest rooms and suites, focussing on the bathrooms which have been designed by Space Invader Design, using products supplied by us at Utopia Projects.

Manchester’s newest addition its hotel scene is co-owned by former football stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, with this being their second hotel venture as partners. They have spent the past six years restoring and renovating the Grade II listed building to maintain the Edwardian heritage and baroque style. Interior design companies Autoban and Space Invader Design have done a fantastic job at capturing this history whilst adding luxury and contemporary twists to every space.

“All the products we supply are of top quality have been specifically chosen as they evoke the classic/contemporary twist Space Invader Design have captured in their designs.” – Utopia Projects

We have worked together with Space Invader on a previous project, providing sanitaryware to Oddfellows On The Park, another fabulous hotel in the Manchester area. All the products we supply are of top quality have been specifically chosen as they evoke the classic/contemporary twist Space Invader Design have captured in their designs. We source products from the most stylish and innovative manufacturer’s currently on offer, such as Villeroy & Boch, Kudos and Axor because bathrooms should be at the height of luxury, just as the bedrooms are.

Render of luxury bathroom with marble surfaces and overlooking Manchester

Image credit: Space Invader Design/Utopia Projects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

Delving into the details, Kaldewei was the first choice for shower trays, with Kudos and Crystal Tech being the brands chosen for the panels and doors. To suit the overall design of the hotel, Victoria & Albert were the obvious choice for their opulent freestanding baths. There really is something special about finding a bath like that in your hotel room; a very luxe element. Space Invader Design chose Axor as the brassware provider for the bathrooms which complement the sanitaryware perfectly, with other accessories being provided by Emco. The last piece of white ware chosen were Villeroy & Boch WC’s, which are a popular choice for many other hotels we have also supplied.

“Each piece is minimal yet stunning and all evoke the overall design of the hotel.” – Utopia Projects

All the products used help perfectly capture interior design firm’s luxurious bathroom designs. Each piece is minimal yet stunning and all evoke the overall design of the hotel. Keeping a bathroom simple helps to stimulate a calm and serene atmosphere, helping guests relax and unwind in a tranquil environment. Bathrooms can feel somewhat, overlooked as far as hotel design goes, however Space Invader Design always do a fantastic job as making it just as important as the bedroom itself.

Here at Utopia Projects we feel honoured to have worked alongside Space Invader Design again and we hope to work with them in the future. The Stock Exchange, Manchester, promises to be a fantastic asset to the city offering not only fabulous accommodation, but a quality dining experience too. The grand opening is set to be on November 15, which cannot come soon enough!

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: Space Invader Design/Utopia Projects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that have emerged bigger and better post-natural disasters

Hotel Designs identifies hotels around the world that have risen from the ashes of natural disasters…

Following the news of last week’s earthquake in Athens – and as we approach two years since part of the Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma – now is a good time to amplify properties that were resiliently rebuilt to stand once more as leading hotels around the world following unexpected disasters.

Whilst the BBC reported that nobody was injured in last week’s earthquake of 5.1 magnitude in Athens, a destination that is seeing a significant spike in soulful boutique hotels, several aftershocks left two buildings collapsing.

Looking back in recent history, here are a selection of developments around the world that have reopened, post-natural disaster, to become bigger, stronger and better hotels than they were in their former shells.

Le Sereno St Barth’s

Image credit: Sereno Hotels

Sereno Hotels announced last year the reopening of Le Sereno St. Barth’s, following the damage it sustained from the passing of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The hotel was originally designed by the Sereno Hotels team in keeping with the original vision of Christian Liaigre. The decision to rebuild from scratch a significant part of the property came from the Contreras family with the aim to extensively renovate more than half the rooms and all the public spaces, while maintaining the iconic style of Le Sereno which has a devoted following among guests.

Las Alcobas Napa Valley

fire in front of luxury pool

Image credit: Marriott International

Located in California’s famous wine region, Napa Valley, Las Alcobas closed its doors temporarily following the 2017 fires that burned 144,000 acres in three counties. Although the hotel’s doors remained closed, Acacia House, its in-house restaurant remained open to serve first responders and neighbours who had lost their homes. Two years on from the event, business is booming in the 59-key luxury boutique hotel.

Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay 

Light and bright guest room with impressive views over the bay

Image credit: Wyndham Hotels

Opened in 2016 with the aim to inject a level of luxury above Patong Beach, which was one of the destinations hit by the 2004 Tsunami, Wyndham Grand Kalim Bay boasts some of the most premium views on the island of Phuket.

El Lodge – Sierra Nevada

lodge-like interiors in the guest room

Image credit: Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Quite literally a hotel that has risen from the ashes, El Lodge in Sierra Nevada’s design story is mesmerising. Following a fire that damaged the entire structure, the same design team, led by Andrew Martin, were given the unique opportunity to rebuild the foundations and interiors and, in process, were able to improve what they originally completed.

Main image credit: Le Sereno St Barth’s/Emily Lab

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

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FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

In order to confront the growing issue of sustainability, Signbox explains how the company is putting in measures to ensure that its products are eco-friendly…

Sustainability is a hot topic when it comes to modern design for business environments, workspaces and, potentially, architectural signage. As a company we have always been interested in new technologies and new sustainable signage materials that could be used across a signage architecture scheme.

One of the fastest-growing, renewable resources in the world that Signbox, as a leading sign manufacturer in the UK with a reputation for creating powerful environmental signs, is now using is bamboo. Bamboo grows fast, it absorbs CO2 in large qualities and it’s a very hard ‘wood like’ species of grass. Pressed into sheet or beam form, it is beautiful, tactile, functional and structural. All these qualities make bamboo a material that’s ideally suited for use in construction and why not, in signage.

Why use Bamboo in signage design?

The type of bamboo that we have started using is called Moso, which is the fastest growing plant in the world; it reaches up to 20 metres within a couple of months and can grow up to one metre a day in the growing season. It takes the stem around four to five years to mature and achieve the hardwood characteristics sensitive signage design demands of its materials, i.e. hardness, strength and durability.

The advantage of using bamboo is that the mother plant doesn’t die when harvesting as with oak and other trees. 20-25% of the poles can be harvested each year without reducing the plantation or damaging the plants in any way. In contrast, by harvesting the mature bamboo plants the quality of the plantations actually increases.

This material is provided to us by Moso Bamboo surfaces, A UK market leader specialising in manufactured bamboo and the sole UK distributor for MOSO a world leader.

“We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo.”

Treated accordingly, bamboo is a very durable material. The special thermo-density process used by Moso increases the density from 650-700 kg/m3 to approx. 1150 kg/m3, significantly improving the hardness of this product. After pressing, the material is stronger and harder than almost any other hardwood in the world, making it a perfect hardwood signage alternative.

We are developing a new range of signs manufactured from bamboo, that has been treated with an anti-fungal and anti-rot treatment which makes it perfect to be used externally without further maintenance. This is the material Signbox’s signage design team used for this golf course exterior signage system.

We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo, but if you have any requirements for a bespoke, inspirational sign product, please contact our sales team.

LEDs and solar systems

You will have heard about LED systems, which are cost effective and energy efficient because they use less power to produce light. Signbox has been using LEDs successfully for many years for interior signage and exterior signage schemes, as LED display solutions, LED door signs, LED room number signs, illuminated LED signs, LED information signs and as LED stealth monoliths. Indeed, the range of LED illumination signage solutions that are now available to us and our clients is vast.

Now, solar signage is on the rise. Whenever we have been able to, we use solar in our signage schemes – just as we’ve utilised it with the signage for Dakota where all finishing touch signs and exterior signage that relied on LED illumination were controlled by solar switch.

100 per cent recycled acrylic sheet

If you’re conscious about the planet and you want your environmental signs to be manufactured from 100% recycled plastic instead of using the standard acrylic sheet, please let us know and we’ll ensure our production team uses GreenCast – an 100% recycled acrylic sheet from Amari Plastics. Amari provides a full range of sheet sizes, thicknesses, colours and product types, manufactured, tested and validated in the EU, which are perfectly suited to a wide range of exterior signage and interior signage design schemes.

For more information about architectural signage solutions manufactured from sustainable materials, please contact the Signbox team.

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

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The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

Now that nominations have opened for The Brit List 2019 Awards, we would like you to meet our fabulous judges, handpicked in order to make this year’s process to find the most influential British designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers the biggest and best yet… 

The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open (until August 9) and, what’s more, the process in which to apply remains completely free.

This year’s judges, who have all individually been hand-selected, each come from a different sectors of design, architecture and hospitality in order to keep the process fair, creative and open to all.

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

Harriet Forde, British Institute of Interior Design President (Industry Partner)

Harriet Forde, BIID President

Harriet Forde, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs,  is the founder and director of Harriet Forde Design, which provides a comprehensive range of interior design services predominantly based in the commercial property and hotel industries, as well as the high-end residential housing market. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Forde. “Our past president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and I am excited to participate this year.”

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will also be hosting The Brit List 2019 Awards on November 21, is the editor of Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website.

In 2014, Kilburn started his career in the industry when, as features editor, he helped launch a new international hotel design publication into the market.

Since then, he has traveled the globe and has reviewed some of the world’s most impressive hotels. In his day-to-day role, Kilburn is responsible for curating the content for Hotel Designs, bringing his readers the latest happenings, reviews, and features in the world of international hotel design.

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

Jacu Strauss, Founder of Lore Studio | Image credit: Emily Andrews

Jacu Strauss, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs, is the creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio.

A qualified architect with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry, Strauss’ portfolio of projects includes The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London among many others. The architect and designer is now dipping his toe into the world of hospitality and will soon be opening his first hotel in Washington D.C.

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, who is a regular contributor to Hotel Designs, is an interior stylist and art director based in London. Her career began with Condé Nast on House & Garden Magazine where she spent several years producing their monthly features, leaving after seven years as Deputy Decoration Editor. Since then she has worked with some of the most renowned interior photographers, producing & directing imagery for some of the biggest luxury brands including The One & Only Resorts, Nobu Restaurants, Heal’s, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, And So To Bed, Ballymore Homes, TH2 amongst others, and has had her work published in various national magazines including Vogue, GQ & Brides. With a background in publishing, Florence knows exactly how to style an image to make it appealing to editors and consumers alike.

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb is the director of development management at Nuveen Real Estate, which is a premier global investment manager that has been helping clients meet their goals for more than 100 years, making the world a better place along the way.

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

Starting out as a portrait photographer working with a long list of subjects such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Mel Yates began to change direction and reconnect with his design background (originally trained as a product designer at Central St Martins) and now works internationally both as a stills photographer and video maker for numerous design related clients. In addition to photographing or filming designers such as Sir David Adjaye, Philip Treacy, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Yates shoots environments, people and objects for advertising, books, brochures, editorial and hotel clients, as well as interior and architectural projects. Hotel clients include The Four Seasons, ME and One & Only Resorts.

The judges will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

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Eccleston Square Hotel unveils major tech upgrade

Known widely for being one of the most technologically advanced luxury boutique hotels in the world, Eccleston Square Hotel London becomes even smarter following its recent tech renovation… 

Eccleston Square Hotel London, which was  the setting for a unique Hotel Designs hotel review carried out by tech expert Jason Bradbury, has unveiled its latest technology upgrade, complete with Artificial intelligence and the 3D television.

Olivia Byrne, Company Director of Eccleston Square Hotel, sophisticatedly integrated a number intelligent, and A.I. cloud-based technology systems. Her smart strategy to automate as much of the business as possible saw her investing in more sophisticated systems based on modern technologies and machine learning. Why? Says Byrne, “Artificial intelligence and the integration of technology, done well, saves time so that energies can be spent on the guest experience rather than dealing with manual work behind a computer.”

Using a unique combination of A.I. and cloud-based technologies including MEWS, ATOMIZE, AIRWAVE and 4K Google Chromecast for screen mirroring – the hotel offers a very slick, A.I. incorporated solution for guest information, entertainment and property management. It is one of the first hotels in the world to exclusively provide 4K TV content to all guests, with the technology for everyone to enjoy their own personalised content like Netflix and YouTube – offering a continuation of the tech luxuries and conveniences guests enjoy at home. Eccleston Square Hotel is also the first hotel to exclusively use Sonos Beam soundbars in all the guest rooms offering the ultimate in sound quality.

Guests control their rooms using VDA’s Vitrum glassware collection. The touch-sensitive keypads have etched icons for each room function and are totally intuitive to use. Interfaces with the hotel’s building management systems mean that hotel staff can automatically set the rooms to a dormant mode, whereby unnecessary items are switched off and the heating/cooling turned down when the room is vacant to save energy. Digital convenience is everywhere. UK, US and European power sockets are provided within the rooms. Portable players, iPads, iPhones and PC’s can be easily charged or connected to the room TV via in-wall docking points. Thought has even been given to providing charging points on either side of the bed; these remain active even when the guest leaves the room and when other systems are switched off. A complimentary mobile smartphone provides unlimited free calls to British and international mobile and landline numbers – a great bonus for UK inbound guests. The smartphone also features an in-built concierge and butler service for hassle-free room service and requests for assistance. To be used both inside and outside the hotel, it also offers 4G for unlimited and complimentary browsing, plus handy shortcuts to recommended shopping, dining and transport links. Rooms also feature UK, European and US power sockets – and if that isn’t enough, there is always a handy supply of free-to-borrow adapters and chargers. Wi-Fi in the hotel is super-fast and complimentary.

Eccleston Square Hotel is the epitome of affordable luxury. To add to the comfort of the guest, every bedroom offers the ‘world’s best beds’ sourced from the acclaimed Swedish manufacturers, Hästens, which are handcrafted electronically adjustable beds are gift wrapped in the finest Italian sheeting and luxury non-allergenic bedding.

Guests can also enjoy a ready supply of complimentary Nespresso coffee, freshly made pots of tea, and drinking water – and those who book directly also enjoy a daily re-stocked free mini bar. Eccleston Square Hotel’s media lounge is ideal for meetings and events, it boasts an impressive (and huge) Media Wall. Super high-speed Wi-Fi and modern technology allows for the screen to be used for presentations as well as private cinema screenings. When not in use for business, guests like to watch their favourite 3D television and sporting events and films in cinematic glory.

Something particularly unique to Eccleston Square hotel is that guests may use the incredible private residential gardens which offer a calm, botanical oasis away from the prying eyes and stimulation of this capital city. The beautiful mature gardens feature a variety of picnicking spots, a tennis court and lots of dappled shade, it’s little wonder the BBC recently declared them as one of the best kept garden squares in London.

Some of the hi-tech treats include:

• 4K Smart TVs
• Complimentary smart phone with free regional and international phone calls and data
• Superfast Wi-Fi
• International power sockets
• Smart Glass walls
• Hästens electronically adjustable beds
• Automatic front door
• Screen mirroring
• Sonos Beam soundbars
• VDA Vitrum glass touch sensitive control keypads
• A.I chatbots
• Integrated Cloud Based Hotel PMS
• Smart automated revenue management system

Main image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel London

LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s Icicle

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LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s Icicle

Icicle was one of the most iconic lighting products to emerge from Chelsom’s Edition 26 collection, which launched last year… 

Inspired by Gothic style, Icicle from Chelsom is a true statement piece, which fuses cutting-edge design and impeccable craftsmanship with the latest technology. Dimmable integral LED light sources in the base of hand of Chelsom’s Icicle formed solid clear glass icicles throw light upwards giving a warm ambient glow whilst reflecting off the tiny silver leaf flecks within each of the unique glass icicles.

Alternate arms curve upwards or downwards to give a random feel to the heights of the icicle glasses which screw in for stability and perfect alignment. Wall and ceiling fittings are available, both finished with hand brushed brass metalwork.

Chelsom 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: Chelsom

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Styling a hotel for design press

With first impressions now being made before guests have even considered checking in, making a hotel’s style, personality and character pop in photographs is fundamental in any successful launch campaign. Florence Rolfe, former senior stylist at House & Garden – and judge for The Brit List 2019 – explains some of the tricks of the trade… 

The overriding question I am often asked is: “What do I have to do in order to get my brand into a leading publication?”

As we well know, the role of the journalist is to find the next big scoop, to draw the reader in with interesting content, and ultimately: to tell a story.

When it comes to creating engaging imagery, my advice is that your visuals should also tell a story. They need to express a lifestyle, and, moreover when it comes to hotels, where there is an abundance, that story needs to be aspirational. It needs to offer access to something that you wouldn’t usually experience, and conclusively to communicate this. The image should encapsulate the incredible journey you will have. What do we enjoy most about staying at hotels? For me, I like to indulge: step into my room, kick off my shoes and slip into that soft luxurious robe. I scout out the brand of miniature toiletries carefully curated in the bathroom. Perhaps run a bubble bath, then later tuck into high-thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets freshly turned down by housekeeping, before indulging in a chocolate left on the pillow.

“Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality.”

But how can we convey this sublime experience into a photograph? Whilst emulating the comfort of a home is important, the magic of hotels is also the escapist quality. A luxurious element and impression of pampering is key. Detail shots of gorgeous bed linen, or a beautifully presented breakfast on a balcony, or a section of the bed with a thoughtfully styled bedside table, attractive looking cocktails at a beautifully stacked bar, or a good looking dish prepared by the chef. An evocative shot could also capture a neatly rolled towel pristinely perched on a sun lounger.

Are there any quirky design details around the hotel that the stylist and photographer are able to hone in on? Perhaps an interesting art collection, extensive book collection, rooftop pool with panoramic views, or an inviting private beach? Perhaps an unusual design element like a bath tub on the balcony – think The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone. Draw your focus onto the interior design elements in a hotel, like an oversized bedhead – Kit Kemp style – or a mega chandelier, as seen in The Corinthia London’s lobby. Focus on the materials at your disposal: the tiles, upholstery, curtains, bed linen. Do they contrast with other fittings like dramatic brass door handles? The writing desk in a hotel room. Or a big beautiful armchair. These furnishings are interesting to photograph to show guests how differently the bedroom space can be used (outside the standard realm of bed and en-suite bathroom).

Consider the different mix of materials not as typical or practical in our everyday living spaces: silk curtains, bed throws, velvet armchairs. The prevailing impact that interiors trends have for press and bloggers means that in this day and age photography and styling is really important.

Think about whether you want the pictures to look as though they are ‘guest ready’, preparing for the customers arrival or whether they should encompass a natural ‘lifestyle’ quality? Do you want to create your bedroom shots with a more ‘lived in’ feel. This could be a messy bed, for example. If your shots have been commissioned purely for website purposes, I would stick to ‘guest ready’. Lifestyle are great for video and social media content. I would also always advise having a model on hand for any lifestyle imagery as the human element not only brings things to life, also helps scale in a photograph. A mix of the two works well for website, brochure and social media content. Movement can still be created in a still life image: a running bath or shower, lit candles or a barman pouring a drink or shaking a cocktail.

If the budget allows, I would suggest hiring a stylist and good photographer to bring these elements to life. My job as a stylist is to create this ‘home from home’ environment in a photograph, achieved by sourcing props in interesting shapes and sizes that I know will always photograph well.  You can never go wrong with beautiful flowers. They bring any image to life. Not only will they provide that pop of colour if needed in the photograph, but they can hugely help image proportions.

Flowers is another element I would suggest carefully considering for your branding. Take a look at your surroundings: which flowers and/or plants are native to the country or area that your hotel is based? A hotel or resort based in South Africa might decide to stick with their native flower, which in this case is the ‘Protea’, whereas a hotel or resort in Mexico might opt for succulents in their imagery. As we are all aware, flowers can be pricey and don’t always last long. This isn’t always ideal when you’re on a long shoot, as they need to look as fresh as possible for every shot. Faux flowers might be a good option. Once renowned for having a bad reputation, these days there are some beautifully crafted, really realistic ones available. A good selection of hardback books in various sizes and colours are always useful to fill a neglected area.

To create an image that not only gets you into the press, but also hooks your target market, you need to create emotion. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Do not simply take a cold image of a smart room, but rather bring that room to life. Allow the reader to envisage how they would feel when they walk through the door into your hotel room and sense all the wonderful things around them, which you’ve so carefully thought out for them.

Main image credit: CitzenM Kuala Lumpar

Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

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Madrid welcomes new tech-driven, Rockwell-designed Aloft Hotels property

Aloft Madrid Gran Via embraces the brand’s new future-proofed design formula, complete with a rooftop pool featuring 360-degree views of Madrid’s skyline…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travellers, brings a new beat to Spain with the opening of Aloft Madrid Gran Vía. Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new 139-key hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the city’s most popular hotspots.

Designed by world-class architecture firm the Rockwell Group, the property’s tech-forward, future-proofed design is aimed at the next generation of travelers, juxtaposed against the rich history of Gran Vía.

“Madrid has long topped destination wish-lists for travellers in Europe, thanks to its spirited culture, ” said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands, Europe at Marriott International. “Aloft Hotels is set to put its own unique spin on the capital’s social scene with live music programming, the hottest emerging artists, and great signature cocktails.”

Image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Staying true to its roots as an innovative incubator brand, Aloft Hotels, in partnership with the Rockwell Group, developed a cohesive design strategy for Aloft Madrid Gran Via that draws on the sense of humor and the vivid color story the brand is known for. In a nod to the brand’s focus on tech and bold use of color, the property’s free-flowing design embraces the “glitch” design trend to aestheticise digital or analog errors, materialising in design details from distorted city art throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The always-on, buzzing communal areas reflect the eclectic spirit of the city and respond to the needs of the modern traveller, allowing guests to seamlessly transition between work and play.

“Rockwell Group’s design concept celebrates Madrid’s vibrancy and energy,” said Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader, Rockwell Group Madrid. “We were inspired by the idea of seeing the city and its people through a kaleidoscope, rendering the resulting images as pixelated, blended, and multifaceted, to create dynamic moments throughout the hotel.”

Each of its 139 spacious guestrooms feature Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds in the brand’s signature artful, clutter-free and innovative loft layout, 49-inch televisions with Plug & Play connectivity, fast and free Wi-Fi. Additional amenities include the Re:chargeSM fitness centre and Splash pool; Tactic, an interactive private creative meeting space with natural light equipped with modern audio-visual hardware; and Re:fuelSM by Aloft, a convenient 24-hour cafe for a quick bite on the go. Marriott brands were the first in the industry to introduce Mobile Key, the industry’s first keyless entry system. Marriott Bonvoy members can use the Marriott Bonvoy app on their smartphone or Apple Watch as their room key wherever available.

The brand’s signature Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar provide vibrant hubs for locals and travellers alike to socialise and enjoy live music performances as part of the Live At Aloft Hotels music series. The hotel programming will range from cultural, design and tech events, offering a new perspective in this vibrant city.

There are currently 161 Aloft Hotels in 25 countries and territories around the world. In Europe specifically, Aloft Hotels is present in key city-break destinations such as Dublin, London and Liverpool with expected openings in The Hague, Munich and more.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

As the opening date draws ever nearer, Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester is starting taking form. Hotel Designs caught up with architecture firm jmarchitects to understand how the company restored a historic city building so that it can shelter Manchester’s new kind luxury hotel… 

The Manchester Stock Exchange building is a Grade II listed, fine example of Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Built between 1904 and 1906 and designed by Bradshaw, Glass and Hope, this historically symbolic institution has been lovingly extended and refurbished to create a new boutique hotel with a restaurant headed by Chef Tom Kerridge and a luxury penthouse residence.

When co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs first purchased the building, it comprised of three floors of office space which were converted in the 1980’s. These sat above a previously popular ground floor restaurant housed under a magnificent domed ceiling. Several trees had rooted themselves on the roof and had spread through the drainpipes, unfortunately causing water and material damage to the historic asset.

Stripping the building back to its bare bones, retaining only historical features and carefully preserving rooms of historical significance was the necessary starting point for the restoration and refurbishment. This process provided the opportunity to sensitively strengthen the existing structure in preparation for a two-storey roof extension.

Architect studio, jmarchitects began the design process with a thorough appraisal of the building and a brief to create a unique boutique hotel and restaurant with a luxury penthouse residence; focussing on the guest’s experience through the building while paying homage to its history.

Artist impression of public areas

image credit/caption: Artist impression of public areas,/Autoban

“Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc.,” says Laura Turner, Architect, jmarchitects. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

The complex nature of the historic building fabric was unveiled during the strip-out, which necessitated an ever-evolving design approach in adaption to the building’s needs. This was executed by working in close collaboration with a design team of engineers and specialists.

Artist impression of guestroom/

Image caption/credit: Artist impression of guestroom/ Autoban

The interiors are designed by internationally renowned, Istanbul-based, multidisciplinary design studio Autoban. The finished designs are opulent yet elegant, drawing on the building’s material palette of original marble, brass and woodwork.

“After three years testing and developing designs with the team we are thrilled to see this 100 year old building repurposed for modern use; bringing it up to date with current standards and technologies to see it through the next century,” adds Andrew Rogers, Director, jmarchitects. “We are confident that this sensitive, yet extensive refurbishment and extension will see The Stock Exchange become the first choice for hotel accommodation and dining in this fantastic city. We eagerly await the November opening and the excitement it will bring to those who visit.”

The Stock Exchange will be welcoming guests once again on November 15,  2019 as the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester.

Main image credit: jmarchitects/Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester

Suppliers galore confirmed for Sleep + Eat 2019

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Suppliers galore confirmed for Sleep + Eat 2019

Sleep & Eat, of which Hotel Designs is a media partner of, announces exhibition packed with leading suppliers to hotels, restaurants and bars…

Sleep & Eat, the eagerly anticipated event which showcases the innovative and the inspired in hospitality design, has revealed some of the exhibitors so far confirmed for this year’s show. The exhibitor line-up reflects the growing convergence between the hotel, restaurant and bar design industry.

Exhibitors include: Ena Shaw Contract which designs, manufactures and installs soft furnishings; Tuuci, whose elegant outdoor umbrellas have re-defined shade technology and are designed to withstand the harshest environments; Arley House, creators of exclusive fabric collections;  Kriskadecor, creator and supplier of bespoke metal elements, from wallcoverings to lighting; Arte, the Belgian brand which specialises in trendsetting wallcoverings and Skopos Fabrics.

Companies planning to present new products this year include: Morgan Furniture – its Rakino Collection of lounge chairs and tables designed by Tim Rundle, as well as a collection focused on “relaxed luxury”; Quasar Holland who will be launching “The Kabuki Collection” of room dividers, designed by Edward va Vliet; and Chelsom who will be previewing selected pieces from their Edition 27 Collection, officially launching in 2020, as well as showcasing Edition 26, an eclectic lighting collection that harnesses and refines the latest trends in finishes and materials.

Sleep & Eat is also renowned for introducing a raft of outstanding companies that are new to the event each year. This November’s show will see the debut of Tarkett, the worldwide supplier of innovative and sustainable floor coverings; Yapiarti, the Turkish manufacturer and fit-out contractor behind a number of recent Park Plaza and Novotel projects in Europe; Catalano, the Italian manufacturer of ceramic collections combining cutting edge technology with traditional craftmanship; and, from the UK, The Fine Cotton Company.

Sleep & Eat 2019 will take place in the National Hall, Olympia London, on November 19 – 20. To register, visit registration

Main image credit: Kriskadecor: Mandarin Ducks & Noodles, Moscow

Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Place arrives in Japan

The 363-key select service hotel offers a resort-like atmosphere and marks the first Hyatt Place hotel to open in Japan…

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the opening of Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay, marking the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, cozy atmosphere and practical amenities such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings.

“We are especially excited about this hotel opening as it marks the debut of the Hyatt Place brand in Japan, as well as the twenty-fourth Hyatt Place hotel in Asia,” said Sam Sakamura, vice president – Japan and Micronesia. “Japan welcomed its first Hyatt-branded property in 1980 and Hyatt has since grown its brand presence to thirteen hotels across seven Hyatt brands in Japan, now including Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay.”

The Hyatt Place brand is founded on extensive consumer insights indicating that guests seek stylish, comfortable and seamless experiences that accommodate their lifestyles and routines. Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay offers the brand’s distinctive casual hospitality and purposeful service in a smartly designed, high-tech and contemporary environment.

Located in Urayasu City in Chiba Prefecture, Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay is just 30 minutes by train or car from central Tokyo, offering a resort-like atmosphere with breathtaking views of Tokyo Bay. The hotel is also conveniently located between both of Tokyo’s airports, 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Haneda Airport and 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Narita Airport. The property is also less than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from Tokyo Disney Resort®, one of Tokyo’s premier destinations.

With rooms overlooking Tokyo Bay, the 10-story hotel offers 363 spacious guestrooms, including three suites, 2,110 square feet (196 square meters) of meeting space, an all-day dining facility, and a 24-hour gym. World-renowned Japanese fashion designer, Junko Koshino, designed the colleague uniforms and produced key art for the interior of the hotel.

There are now more than 335 Hyatt Place locations in Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Thailand, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

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In Conversation With: Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels

With a Dubai debut around the corner, Corinthia Hotels is strategically expanding its luxury arm one region – and one hotel opening – at a time. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the CEO of Corinthia Hotels, Simon Naudi, to understand the trials and triumphs of evolving one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands…

Given its esteemed reputation among the design community, luxury enthusiast and of course its loyal returning guests, the news that Corinthia Hotels will open a property in the Middle East comes with little surprise.

The 55-storey hotel, which will add to the ever-expanding city skyline of Dubai, is slated to open in 2020. Considering that the destination’s hotel room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, according to a study by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) – and occupancy levels are forecast to remain at 76-78 per cent despite growth in capacity – the question is not why, but rather more ‘why now’. “Real Estate is expensive,” says Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels. “We are looking to expand sensitively. Our plan is to grow the portfolio sensibly and steadily, prioritising on looking for the right building or site in the right location.”

According to STR, the UAE as a whole gained approximately 8,000 new branded hotel rooms last year. As of June 2018, the Middle East had 358 projects/113,830 rooms under construction, up 13 per cent by projects YOY. “We’ve had several opportunities in the past, but we are happy to have waited for this project to come along,” explains Naudi. “We have the right partners, Meydan Group, and the right location, prime seafront on JBR, and a top-notch project being built to make the very best in the city. From the design of the building itself to the interior elements, the aesthetics of Corinthia Meyden Beach with be synonymous with the Corinthia brand: confident, exquisite and elegant.”

Image caption: Interior render of a suite bedroom inside Corinthia Meydan Beach Dubai

While all eyes and ears focus on the brand’s Middle Eastern arrival, further west there’s also much happening between now and then. “Our main focus remains on Europe and the Mediterranean,” Naudi says. “We are currently working on projects in Bucharest, Brussels, Moscow and several other projects are under consideration. We’re also focused on the USA, Manhattan in particular.”

Having recently featured in a two-part documentary with Corinthia London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs, who also appeared on Hotel Designs’ Brit List last year, Corinthia London is arguably the brand’s most iconic building, and for good reason. With its headline-grabbing extravagant suites, innovative public areas and an out-of-this-world four-floor spa, the hotel has been a timeless gem for almost a decade since it was redesigned. But while the 283-key majestic hotel has stood the test of time, its interior design has had to evolve along with the brand in order to cater to the shifting demands of modern travellers. “Larger bathrooms, the less decreased demand for fixed TVs, connectivity and interactivity are all trends that have required guestroom designs to be functionally different today than they were previously,” explains Naudi. “In our case, we also continue to explore multiple uses of the foyer and lobby space, to double up as a space for meetings, social interactions and evening dining to a degree.”

With esteemed regular guests including a long list of celebrities as well as world leaders, Corinthia Hotels seems to have mastered the formula for offering seamless luxury. “It is tantamount to making an effort,” explains Naudi. “It is an effort in terms of investment on all levels, in the product, in the generosity of space, the quality of materials, the beauty of finishes and in the architecture. It is investment in technology, upkeep, maintenance. It is also effort in terms of choice of colleagues, investment in their training and wellbeing, and above all giving time to the pursuit of happiness. Uplifting lives is our company philosophy, and that is what we aim to do, both with our guests and our colleagues. If all of the above is in place, luxury follows.”

“Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
Simon Naudi: My passport!

HK: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
SN: Developing and launching Corinthia London

HK: What is the next destination on your travel bucket list?
SN: The regions of Spain

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
SN: Hard work, and more hard work

HK: What book are you reading at the moment?
SN: The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson

With so many lifestyle brands emerging in the market under the umbrella of large hotel groups, it’s refreshing to see an independent hotel group, like Corinthia Hotels, expanding and evolving without taking away its own core values as a brand known and loved by so many around the world. “Our single most effective weapon is indeed our size,” Naudi explains. “Being independent, and relatively small, means we can be, and are more open to be, true to who we are, and crucially nimble. We can also stay closer to our colleagues in all our hotels, the people who matter most to our guests and ensure we are all part of the spirit driving the company towards our aim of uplifting lives.”

“In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could.” – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels

One of the major trends that seems to be dictating international hotel design, with the aim no doubt to ‘uplift lives’, is wellness and wellbeing, which is one topic that the brand identified early, if its London hotel is anything to go by. “We have always taken wellness seriously,” says Naudi. “In most of our hotels, the spa is a key, central component, with large physical spaces allocated to this activity wherever we could. Our guest profile has evolved over the years, and we are now more geared towards leisure guests, than corporate visitors, although all segments engage with our spas.”

Corinthia London ESPA spa

Image caption: Corinthia London ESPA spa

Hotels, especially ones operating in the luxury sector, seem to be adding value to their properties with the openings and renovations of in-house spas. And with Corinthia Hotels arguably leading the way for other hotels to follow suit, the challenge for brand is more around how to build on its already successful products. “We have had several highly successful partnerships with spa brands and products, but we are evaluating all options for our future in 2019,” says Naudi. “We have beautiful spas being built to add to our portfolio and wish to use this as a basis for a spa strategy that is relevant to our guests.”

Now that the hotel brand has pin-pointed its next destinations and is signing on dotted lines to secure them, calling the shots may be stressful and high-pressure at times, but it also carries with it unparalleled rewards. “I would count two main sources of satisfaction,” adds Naudi. “The first is to see old, abandoned properties, many of which may be heritage sites, rebuilt and launched as luxury hotels, with a legacy to span decades. Corinthia London was a case in point, but also our current projects in Moscow, Brussels and Bucharest too. Secondly, is seeing younger colleagues grow into more senior roles and take on leadership and entrepreneurial positions.” And with that, Corinthia Hotels continues to inspire generations by designing a healthy and strong family of hotels worldwide with a luxury metaphorical thread of impeccable service and innovative design connecting them all together.

EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EDITOR CHECKS IN: Making debuts in international hotel design

Editor Hamish Kilburn has noticed an influx in hotel groups debuting lifestyle brands in far-flung destinations around the world…  

Whenever I disembark a long-haul flight I appreciate further just how small the world really is; it’s tiny in fact. The realisation that you can travel from one side of the planet to the other in less than 24 hours is remarkble, and it seems I am not alone.

Today, more and more travellers – young and old and of all abilities – are willing to go further in their search for adventure to learn and master the true art of luxury travel, which is in my opinion to capture one-off experiences that are totally unmatched.

This month the floodgates on the editorial were kept deliberately open so that we can share with our readers the sheer scale of hotel development that is happening worldwide, in real time. We’ve therefore made it our mission to cover as much news from Hotel Groups as possible. Hotel Indigo has made its debut in Qatar, Canopy by Hilton has made the leap into Africa, Hard Rock Hotels has made an aptly loud entrance on London’s stage and most recently, AC by Marriott has arrived in Jamaica. Our industry has proved this month alone, if nothing else, that it has anything but peaked, as our On The Boards page with no-doubt confirm.

Instead of another long-haul flight, I’ve taken five days out of the office , ahead of both Meet Up North and Hotel Summit and I have used my time wisely to travel to the quaint and colourful Greek island of Spetses. Arriving on an island where cars are forbidden – and with no ‘just opened’ luxury hotel in sight –  simply the sound of naturally breaking waves has inspired me to put pen to paper, after deliberately leaving my laptop at home. Sat on a rock that’s overhanging the water’s edge, I am slowly but surely reconnecting with nature, all the time reminding myself the human importance of using natural and sustainable materials within design and architecture. One company that has predicted a rise in human touch as a trend to watch evolve over the next 100 years is Hilton, which released a report this month stating that: “In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever.”

With hotel groups and lifestyle brands debuting in new destinations, all the while reacting to trends and forecasts in the process to provide the right experiences for their target audience, it’s an exciting time to be at the helm of the editorial content for Hotel Designs.

During July, Hotel Designs will be putting Soft Furnishings and Fabrics under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK predicts 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025

Prime Minister announces a new tourism sector deal that will prepare the UK for an extra 9 million visits per year, with commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025…

The Prime Minister has announced the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal today (Friday 28 June), reaffirming the UK’s global role as a key player in the industry. The new deal is said to revolutionise the way data is used by the sector, through the creation of new Tourism Data Hub.

The hub will collate regularly updated data showing  the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.

“By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK.”

The deal will also support the creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people building their careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Last year around 38 million people visited the UK, contributing £23 billion to the local economy. By 2025 experts predict that there will be an additional 9 million visitors to the UK. The new deal commits to building an additional 130,000 hotel rooms to respond to the increased demand for infrastructure.

The deal also outlines the government’s ambitions for the UK to become the most accessible destination for disabled visitors, through improvement of disabled facilities and access to destinations across the country.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.” – Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May said:“As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.

“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and breakdown barriers for visitors with disabilities.

“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “Today we have set out our vision for the future of UK tourism – a commitment to an industry that is vital for the prosperity of our communities, our businesses and our economy.

“The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23 billion pounds spent by visitors in the UK last year.”

“As part of today’s ground-breaking Deal, new Tourism Zones will deliver a direct boost to holiday destinations across the country, helping create new jobs as well as supporting improvements in transport connections.

“This is one of the many ways in which the Deal will be key in building a world-class experience economy, helping us deliver on the ambition we set out in our modern Industrial Strategy; Government and industry working hand-in-hand to build on our exceptional strengths in this sector, boosting productivity and further increasing the UK’s attractiveness as a holiday destination.”

Other commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal include:

  • More than 130,000 new hotel rooms are set to be built across the UK, with 75% being built outside of London.
  • £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in conferences centres across the UK for business visitors.
  • Pilot of up to five new Tourism Zones to drive visitor numbers across the country. Zones will receive Government support for growing their local visitor economy, through initiatives like targeted support for product and promotion development, mentoring support to businesses and digital skills training.
  • 10,000 employees in the sector to benefit from new mentorship schemes.
  • A new government strategy to grow the number of Business Events and Conferences, helping to drive off-season visitors.

Developed in partnership with the British Tourist Authority and Industry, the sector deal forms part of the UK Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy supporting the continued growth of the tourism sector, ensuring the UK remains globally competitive as a top tourist destination.

British Tourist Authority Chair Steve Ridgway CBE said: “This sector deal is a game-changer for tourism, one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, moving it to the top table as a leading industry for the UK Government’s future economic planning.

“And it is a game-changer for the economy, growing the value of the industry and employment in tourism, fixing issues from skills and productivity to extending the season year-round, building stronger tourism destinations up and down the country and developing world-class experiences for domestic and international visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most fiercely competitive global industries and this deal ensures we can continue to compete internationally as a top destination for visitors, driving major economic growth across the whole of the UK.”

Main image credit: Corinthia Hotel London

PRODUCT WATCH: Duravit and Philippe Starck present “Starck T”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Duravit and Philippe Starck present “Starck T”

25 years on from when the design legend first collaborated with Duravit, Philippe Starck designs and unveils new accessories for the bathroom manufacturer… 

Duravit and Philippe Starck present “Starck T” a new accessory line, which combines functional rigor with organic forms. In 1994 Philippe Starck first teamed up with Duravit to create Starck 1; this was a milestone in the history of bathroom design. From this successful partnership, there followed a series of complete bathroom ranges and now for the first time in 25 years, there is a new line of accessories.

The fluid transition from the round base to the geometric “T” shape is the defining design feature of the series and reminiscent of the branches of a tree. This design element can be found in every piece in the new range, forming a recurring, iconic signature. The finely tuned implementation across the individual accessories produces a classic, formal language with no disruptions thanks to the concealed fixing system.

From the toilet-roll holder through the towel ring up to the soap dish – all 16 elements in the new series are available both in Chrome as well as the on-trend color Black Matt. The visual highlight of “Starck T” is the flask-like soap dispenser made from matt, hand-blown glass that is easy to refill. The high quality of the material and workmanship guarantees durability. Harmonising with all the Duravit ranges in terms of design and material, Starck T perfectly rounds off contemporary bathroom furnishings.

Duravit 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 Zoe Guerrier by clicking here.

Main image credit: Duravit

 

FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on technology, software and controls this month, the editorial team have compiled together all the latest and greatest technology pieces, both hidden and visible, that have launched to significantly help to evolve the overall hotel experience for the better.  

Edited by editor Hamish Kilburn…

Earlier this month, to celebrate the group’s 100th year anniversary, Hilton Hotels released a report supported by experts to reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future. Using the results of the report as a metaphorical anchor, here is a selection of technology and software that is helping to shape the future of international interior design and, as a result, helping to improve the consumer journey within hotels.

Interactivity before checking in

With travel becoming more accessible to everyone, and the rise in alternative home-from-home accommodation, there has also been a rise of design-savvy guests checking in to hotels. Therefore, hoteliers may be interested to know that there is a range of software out there that actually allows the guest to interactively take a virtual tour of their hotel from behind a computer screen, mobile or tablet.

ACT Studios, Hotel Designs’ official photographer, is an innovative photography service that works with hotels to capture their interiors interactively. The company uses Matterport, a world leader in immersive 3D technology, offering a platform for the built environment that can easily capture, edit and share 3D models of physical spaces. The technology is able to fully capture the interior and the design of properties, including hotels and leisure destinations.

Matterport technology has already captured several spectacular hotels, resorts and travel lodges across the world. An example of this would be the Four Seasons Ty Warner Penthouse – located in New York that has hosted celebrity guests and has its own private spa room. An incredibly unique example is the Underwater Room at The Manta Resort and the Underwater Terrace – a floating underwater room as a private oasis located in the crystal clear waters of a conservation area in the Pemba Islands in Tanzania several hundred metres from shore. And up above in the clouds, Matterport has captured the Clouds Estate at Helshoogte Pass – a boutique hotel overlooking dramatic mountains in South Africa’s wine country.

Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel reviews which use the Matterport software include New Road Hotel, Hotel Gotham, University Arms and most recently Oddfellows On The Park.

Meanwhile, to improve the volume of guest bookings, STAAH is a channel management software, recognised as an innovator in hospitality technology solutions. STAAH has been using cloud-based products to help accommodation providers around the world power their online growth since 2008. Its award-winning products puts property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps them attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue.

Its latest products to emerge includes STAAH ReviewMinder, which follows a recent integration with booking.com API for review collection and STAAH Max App, giving users the ability to manage their property from their Mobile-On the Go. Find out more about the company’s June updates on products here.

Personalisation is key

In order to improve the holistic guest hotel experience, the evolution of behind-the-scenes technology has made a clear path for smart hotels, once considered the future, to emerge in the market. Guests checking in to a modern hotel can now expect to be able to adapt and personalise many elements, such as the AC or order room service using their phones, self check-ins are driving receptionists out of fashion, while smart door-opening solutions such as key cards or even mobile applications are fast challenging convention. Hamilton Litestat is an electrical solutions provider that designs, develops and manufactures innovative electrical accessories of the highest quality. With a vast product range, spanning consumer units, decorative switch plates and sockets, lighting control and multi-room audio, it is a one-stop-shop for all domestic wiring requirements to allow for guests to personalise their own stay.

Image of room with ceiling lights and display of Hamilton's switches

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A British manufacturer, Hamilton Litestat has created an enviable portfolio of switch plate and socket designs to please the hotel interiors fashion industry, as well as smart lighting control and audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience. Its DMX control option allows a Red, Green or Blue colour-wash to be used as accent lighting to add drama to a space – ideal for guest rooms and restaurant/bar/public areas.’

Another emerging product that has emerged from the domestic market, and is quickly making its way into the boutique hotel sector, is Nanoleaf. The company’s canvas range allows guests to create their own masterpiece. Designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room, the product, among other settings, reacts to the touch of the user. Via downloading the Nanoleaf app, guests can chose to change the colour of their wall tiles from more than 16 millions colours. What’s more, the product is drill free, easy to assemble and works with other smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Hoteliers interested in investing in a quality experience among high-paying guests may wish to include various portable devices for entertainment purposes. LOEWE’s mini yet mighty Klang M1 portable speaker is an excellent example of how a hotel can offer tech that gives the guests control. Thanks to its compact dimensions, exquisitely finished stainless steel case and genuine leather wrist strap, the Klang M1 is the ideal companion for guests on the go. Whether connecting to a smartphone, tablet or laptop – the Bluetooth signal is quickly detected and the devices are paired ready to stream your music. In the hotel suite, while working out or even exploring a destination on two wheels, the Klang M1 is available wherever, whenever.

Image of portable speaker (rose gold) on handlebars of bike

Image credit: LOEWE Klang M1

Technology in design

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs reported live from Milan the launch of LG’s latest innovation, the world’s first rollable LED TV. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, the TV product evolved after the understanding that the modern TV is omnipresent in most living spaces, and with screen sizes getting bigger it often dominates a room even when not being used. The new LG OLED rollable screen allows freedom from walls and offers a sense of liberation to design interior spaces.

While some companies have decided to compact their technology, others have opted to go big or go home. Samsung, for example, has just announced that the hotly anticipated one-of-a-kind display, ‘The Wall Professional’, is available to order with select partners, as it marches forward with its innovation in LED and large-scale displays. A breakthrough innovation in multimedia content technology, The Wall Professional redefines the category, offering discerning customers the ultimate made-to-measure display solution fit for any business or living space. The Wall Professional is a bespoke display offering premium viewing experiences on a larger, grander scale.

Large TV display on wall with people looking (render)

Image credit: Samsung

Hidden technology

While it would be easy to focus the lens on technology that is only used and seen by hotel guests, it would not be a true reflection on the rise in technology within modern hotels. New back-of-house systems are now available to further provide more seamless service. Solutions from the likes of Infraspeak have been designed and launched for chaotic hotels that would benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs of maintenance.

Image credit: Infraspeak

As well as improving communication between maintenance staff and the hotel, Infraspeak is a communication tool that is now used in other areas of hotel, such as house keeping, F&B and even energy management. Click to here to read Hotel Designs’ interview with the company’s co-founder.

Main image credit: Nanoleaf

MEET UP NORTH: Final call for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to claim tickets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MEET UP NORTH: Final call for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to claim tickets

Calling all designers, hoteliers, architects and developers, this is your last chance to confirm your attendance at Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking evening, Meet Up North, which takes place on July 1 at Manchester’s Hotel Gotham…

Where: Hotel Gotham, Manchester | When: July 1, 2019 | Cost: £20 per ticket for designers, hoteliers, architects and developers operating in the industry.

If you are a designer, hotelier, architect or developer working in the hotel design industry and would like to connect with suppliers and clients in and around Manchester, click here to purchase your £20 ticket to Meet Up North.

Following the success of Meet Up London in March, Meet Up North is designed to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers will this year carrying the theme of ‘Creativity Outside the Capital’, following the recent headings highlighting Manchester’s unique position in the industry as a hotel design hotspot.

The highly anticipated event will include an insightful talk and presentation by Tom Lindblom, Principal and Hospitality Leader at Gensler (London), which will be entitled Hospitality is way more than hotels.’

The hand-chosen venue for the event, which in a few years will become the older and wiser sibling of the brand’s latest hotel that is on boards, The Brooklyn, has been an epicentre of the city’s action since it opened in 2015. The general manager of the hotel and brand, Mario Ovsenjak, and the owner, Robin Sheppard, were both listed in The Brit List 2018 as being among the top hoteliers in the country. Located on the rooftop, Club Brass will transform on July 1 from a private members’ bar  into a premium networking evening for designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers alike – and here’s how you can get your hands on a ticket.

Designer, architect and hotelier tickets: £20 + VAT
If you are a designer, architect or hoteliers to the industry and would like to attend Meet Up North 2019, click here.

Wimberly Interiors completes ‘Diamond Residences’ in all-suite hotel in Crete, Greece

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wimberly Interiors completes ‘Diamond Residences’ in all-suite hotel in Crete, Greece

Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel in Crete, Greece, has opened two new luxurious ‘Diamond Residences’, which have been designed by Wimberley Interiors… 

As part of a recent €500,000 refurbishment project by Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, design firm Wimberly Interiors has completed a two new two-bedroom seafront Diamond Residences.

Part of Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts, the exceptional Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel enjoys striking views across the iridescent Aegean Sea and Sitia mountains. Perched on the water’s edge, the hotel has been famous over the years for having the finest beach area on the island of Crete, flaunting crystal clear waters and smooth sandy shallows. The new ‘Diamond Residences’ are situated just by the resort’s private sandy beach, being the hotel in Europe to offer this.

Taking its main source of inspiration from the resort’s beautiful landscape, nestled around a natural bay, the Cretan setting creates a stunning backdrop to the two new Diamond Residences at Elounda Peninsula. Upon entry into the residences, the prominent feature is the incredible view out to the bay and mountains beyond.

“The use of a simple yet timeless palette within each room exudes the luxury and sophistication sought by an international clientele,” says Rachel Johnson, Senior Vice President at Wimberly Interiors and a finalist in the The Brit List 2018. “From the modern take on the built-in sofas and placement of Cretan benches in the dining area, to the use of local artisans for the artwork and accessories, the choice of design showcases the island’s rich history and culture.”

Two-tier modern suite that looks out at pool and bay

Image credit: Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel

Each of the two residences have two master bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a large sitting room with dining area, kitchenette and bathroom. The furniture in the residences are tailor made, using top quality interiors, fabrics and materials. The new rooms give access onto a unique, 90sqm terrace with a private heated pool, seating area, loungers and outside dining. Steps from the residence’s terrace provide access to the resort’s private sandy beach.

“The juxtaposition of old and new, along with the smoothness of the marble alongside the softness of the textiles, all craft an eclectic residential feel,” adds Johnson. “Implementing two levels to the residences has intensified the drama of the suites and created natural and easy definition to the areas. Features include a long, low built- in sofa and the soft palette, accented with soft blue hues.”

The two new Diamond Residences encompass timeless elegance, infusing a contemporary international aesthetic with local references of Crete. Purposefully complimenting the elegance of the architecture with the interiors, the design embraces panoramic sea and mountain views of Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel.

Main image credit: Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel

Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rockwell Group to unveil Barcelona’s ‘hippest hotel’ this September

Nobu Hotel Barcelona, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Collection, will open its doors this September with the aim of being a place where the vibrant energy of the Catalan capital meets the iconic spirit of Nobu Hotels…

Home to 259 sleek rooms and stylish suites, a 150sqm Nobu Suite, an elegant spa and gym as well as tailor made meeting and event spaces, Nobu Hotel Barcelona, slated to open in September of this year, will house the city’s first Nobu Restaurant along with the Japanese inspired tapas bar; Kozara.

Capturing the unique essence of this famous European city, Nobu Hotel Barcelona will reflect the core values that have become synonymous with Nobu Hotels; passionate service, distinctive design and unpretentious luxury.

“Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand.”

The interiors, conceptualised by award-winning architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, seamlessly blend Japanese minimalism with the colourful character of Barcelona to create an integrated mix of luxurious hotel and energised living spaces. Recognisably Catalan-inspired designs, such as the works of Gaudi, are mingled with the traditional Japanese craft of Kintsugi; the art of repairing broken pottery with either gold, silver or platinum, to create collages of materials, textures and spaces throughout the hotel.

Located on the top floor of the 23-storey property, guests can dine at Nobu’s world-famous namesake while taking in unrivalled views of the Barcelona city line and the Mediterranean. The menu will reflect Nobu’s philosophy of locality; paying homage to local ingredients and classic Catalan cuisine, while staying true to the brand’s Japanese DNA.

Located in the charmingly Catalan neighbourhood of Eixample, the hotel is just a five minute stroll from Plaza de España, a mere 15 minutes from Barcelona’s buzzy La Rambla or a short walk to the main railway station for high speed links to Madrid, Paris, Lyon and Marseille making it ideal for laid-back luxury explorers and business travellers alike.

Nobu Hotel Barcelona is the fourth European and third Spanish property from the internationally renowned hospitality brand founded by Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper. Working together with the Spanish hospitality group owned by Jordi Mestre, Selenta, Nobu Hotel Barcelona offers guests and locals a luxury lifestyle experience with a genuine Catalan feel.

Main image credit: Rockwell Group

SLEEP & EAT: Sleep Set design and architecture firms unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SLEEP & EAT: Sleep Set design and architecture firms unveiled

Sleep & Eat has confirmed the designers and architects who will create this years Sleep + Eat sets, two of which were finalists of The Brit List 2018… 

Sleep & Eat, which takes place in Olympia London on November 19 – 20, has announced the architecture and design firms that will create the 2019 Sleep & Eat Sets. The roll call reveals an intriguing roster of new and long-established, multi-cultural practices based in Paris, London, Manchester and Singapore.

The firms are twenty2degrees, Miaja Design Group, Hat Design and Barreca Tibblin, who will each create a concept guestroom. Meanwhile, NAME architecture and Space Invader will both realise a restaurant and bar Set. With the theme for 2019 of “Social FlexAbility”, the six design and architecture companies have been challenged to design flexible and engaging spaces in that guests can activate the social experience of their choice. Once again, the Sets – a cult favourite amongst Sleep & Eat visitors – are poised to provide a conceptual playground which, this year, will explore one of the major issues of our technology-enabled age – connection with other human beings.

twenty2Degrees is one of the most prolific hotel interior design firms in London today. “We are thrilled to be a part of the creative team of designers involved with this year’s Sleep & Eat sets,” says Joseph Stella of twenty2degrees who was last year a finalist in The Brit List. “We look forward to delivering a design that not only encapsulates our studio, but also responds to the challenge of this year’s brief. Our aim is to design a space that feels fresh, excites those who visit and inspires others in the way that we have been when visiting The Sets in previous years.”

Headquartered in Singapore, Miaja Design Group has been bringing artistic design to hotels & resorts, luxury residential and F&B developments since 1995. The founder, Isabelle Miaja, says: “I am very excited to participate in Sleep & Eat 2019. Innovation and inspiration have always been a driving force for me in creating my designs and this event embodies these precepts.”

Paris-based Hat Design already enjoys a hospitality portfolio across Europe. Anne-Marie Sabatier believes that their quest is to design destinations and new experiences of wellbeing that engage all the guest’s senses. “With the prodigious opportunity offered at Sleep & Eat, we will be sharing our vision of relaxed aesthetics and transformable social collaboration,” she explains. “Sleep & Eat is an opening for HAT to a global audience, prestigious representation where functional business design matters.”

Barreca Tibblin was founded in London just last year, an interior design company combining the Scandinavian and French heritage of creative duo Emilie Barreca and Maria Tibblin.Maria Tibblin. “’Tradition of the future’ is my inspiration when designing a space,” says Tibblin. “It honours our heritage and welcomes the next generation. A timeless design combined with the creative sense of tomorrow. When I visited the Sleep & Eat event last year, I was so inspired and eager to be part of the show to share my ideas with a wider audience.”

Based in London and Paris, NAME Architecture is an award-winning architectural practice led by Nathalie Rozencwajg, whose experience ranges from landmark museums to residential spaces and luxury hotels. Rozencwajg was also a finalist in last year’s Brit List. “We are looking forward to contributing to a leading event in the hospitality sector and sharing our vision for the future of the industry,” she says. “Sleep & Eat is a driving force that bridges today’s solutions with visions for tomorrow and designing a Set is a unique opportunity to contribute to the debate and explore the power of design to personalise a social experience through a spatial one.”

Katie Edgar is the interior designer behind Oddfellows On The Park, Hotel Designs’ most recent interactive hotel review. “At Space Invader, we are always looking for new ideas that inspire us as interior designers,” says Edgar. “The Sleep & Eat event is a must for us as it combines new products, thought leadership, opportunities to speak to key figures in our industry and a chance to soak up the buzzing atmosphere. The opportunity to design a Set was a no brainer and a chance for us to come together as a design studio and create something special.”

Sleep & Eat 2019 returns to the National Hall, Olympia London, on 19th-20th November. For more information or to register for a complimentary pass, visit www.sleepandeatevent.com/visit/register-your-interest.

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat

 

Duravit unveils Happy D.2 Plus in collaboration with sieger design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Duravit unveils Happy D.2 Plus in collaboration with sieger design

Duravit has teamed up with sieger design to create Happy D.2 Plus, an elegant bathroom series, which is expressive in terms of form and colour…

Duravit has teamed up with sieger design to create Happy D.2 Plus. This elegant new bathroom series combines current trends in colour, design, and finishes, whilst not detracting from the archetypical open oval of the original Happy D. design classic.

Above-counter wash bowls with precise lines, stand-alone consoles and matching semi-tall cabinets as well as circular mirrors unite to create perfectly harmonized washing areas. The new range enables stylish collections to be individually designed with a darker or lighter basic mood.

The above-counter washbasins with their narrow, characteristically flattened rim are available in three widths, of which two have an incorporated tap platform. Their striking individuality comes from the new colour variants in Anthracite Matt or a two-tone contrast, with glossy White on the inside and Anthracite Matt on the outside. The consistent colour concept of Happy D.2 Plus also extends to toilets and bidets, with the interior of the toilets finished in glossy Anthracite for optimum hygiene. All ceramic parts are also available in glossy White.

The new Happy D.2 Plus colour variants of refined Anthracite Matt or a two-tone contrast of Glossy White inside and Anthracite Matt outside lend the above-counter basins an extra layer of individuality

Image caption: The new Happy D.2 Plus colour variants of refined Anthracite Matt or a two-tone contrast of Glossy White inside and Anthracite Matt outside lend the above-counter basins an extra layer of individuality.

Subtly rounded contours, handle-free fronts, low material thicknesses, and optional interior lighting for the pull-out compartments and drawers on the bathroom furniture are highlights of the contemporary elegance of the series.

Storage options are provided by console washbasin vanity units, which come in four widths. Small, practical racks in the door of the semi-tall cabinets, which are available in two sizes, ensure perfect order in the interior. Individual style collections can easily be created with a total of eleven carcass surfaces to choose from: quality wood or matt, yet practical surfaces in light and dark shades. The Graphite Super Matt variant also comes with an anti-fingerprint coating. Happy D.2 Plus affords even greater customisation options: the console panel can be selected from a range of six finishes, enabling a range of different, expressive combinations.

The circular mirrors in two colours add an air of expressive elegance. The all-round mirror lighting strips come in two finishes: graphic-radiating (“Radial”) or bionic-geometric (“Organic”). For maximum comfort there are the models fitted with a sensor switch, featuring dimmable light and optional mirror heating. The variant with icon control on the mirror surface also has mirror heating and the ambient light mode and switching function for coloured light: At a luminosity of more than 300 lux, the light colour can be continuously adjusted from 2,700 (warm light) to 6,500 kelvin (cold light). With the set of two, the respective mirror functions for each side are synchronized via innovative wireless technology that is preset at the factory

This impressive elegance is also reflected when it comes to bathing: the bathtubs made from glossy acrylic are optionally available in Graphite Super Matt with seamless paneling. Thanks to the compact external dimensions, the various models – back-to-wall, corner right or left as well as the free-standing version – enable a high level of flexibility in room planning. The generously proportioned, ergonomic interior of all bathtub models and the optional whirl system offer pure relaxation and relaxing comfort.

Duravit 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, click here.

INTERACTIVE REVIEW: Oddfellows On The Park

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INTERACTIVE REVIEW: Oddfellows On The Park

Located on the fringes of Manchester, Oddfellows On The Park is quirky, timeless and in its own admission ‘a little bit odd’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes about the hotel that was designed to be disobedient…

By the looks of Manchester’s hotel development pipeline, creativity in British interior design and architecture is not limited to London. Despite Brexit uncertainty, this year alone, 835 new guestrooms will be introduced into the industrial city – with a further 11 more hotels slated to open between 2020 and 2021.

The booming hotel design scene in the northern metropolis has resulted in more interest around the outskirts of the city, and it is here – less than 10 miles from the Manchester’s Piccadilly – where Oddfellows Hotels’ latest property is situated.

A lamp shining from the head of a life-sized model of a horse and a chandelier made from bicycle chains hanging above the check-in desk is the first indication that Oddfellows On The Park doesn’t like to play by the rules. Tasked with the aim to stylishly go against the grain was design firm SpaceInvader, which is dedicated to creating spaces which fulfill their true potential, while unlocking the power to enhance human behaviour.

Opened in 2017, the hotel is sheltered within an 1861 traditional Victorian Gothic building, which was named Bruntwood Hall. The shell of the now 22-key boutique hotel was designed originally by an industrialist, John Douglas, who was inspired by a Scottish home; the original ceilings in The Stud Room Bar are testimony to this with subtle thistle design. Today, the iconic structure stands in plain sight, nestled within endless playing parks which feature archery, a golf course, and even a BMX cycling track – hence the cycling chain chandelier in the lobby.

In its history, Bruntwood Hall has served many purposes – from being a town hall during the war to becoming home to a film company and fashion designer. Now, though, for the first time in its winding narrative, the building has been redecorated, reconfigured and reborn to welcome guests into a luxury boutique hotel like no other.

Katie Edgar who heads up hospitality at SpaceInvaders led the design throughout the project. She and her design team conducted thorough research into the history of the building, the location and the inhabitants of Bruntwood Hall, in order to understand how to thoughtfully reference the building’s past. “The approach focused on respecting the character and beautiful features of Bruntwood Hall,” explains Edger. “We were inspired by them, and wanted to enhance them to design a romantic scheme that celebrates the history of the building and its unique position.”

Image credit: ACT Studios

In addition to sympathetically restoring the building’s original features, the design firm worked with architect Tim Groom, in order to incorporate elements of innovative and playful design that has become a signature of Oddfellows Hotels. “The aim was to create a space that allows guests to lose themselves in their surroundings and feel that the Hall is theirs for the weekend,” adds Edgar.

“Original 1860s encaustic floor tiles were uncovered in the reception area and revived to their former glory.”

The public areas arguably give the most significant nod to the building’s heritage. While Edgar and her team were restoring the building as part of its transformation, original 1860s encaustic floor tiles were uncovered in the reception area and revived to their former glory.

The Stud Bar, which is sheltered adjacent to the lobby area, is a small and intimate space dominated by the original statement ceiling complete with beautiful Jacobean-style decorative plasterwork. “The furniture here has been based around complementing, rather than competing with the overhead design,” said Edger. Comfortable high back chairs, and a soft approach to seating encourage guests to enjoy both the view out to the parkland and the historical building features.

Meanwhile, the corridors that are staggered over three levels feature an array of abstract art, creating fun and creative moments throughout guests’ journey to their rooms and suites. Just like the corridors, the guestrooms and suites are layered with texture and each have their own personality. The Tower Suite, for example, is a two-tiered design gem that adorns contemporary finishes such as playful wallcoverings and portraits hung with human bodies and animal heads.

The bathrooms in all 22 rooms and suites have been designed by Utopia Projects, which specified all of the sanitaryware for seven different room types and the spa facilities for the hotel. “Having worked with these designers before, and therefore having an idea of what they like, made this hotel a dream to spec,” said project consultant, Stuart Adamson. ” It’s truly genius how the designers have maintained the buildings country style but modernised it with complimentary elements like the hexagonal mirrors and tiles, although our favourite piece has to be the roll-topped, freestanding baths we supplied completely in white.”

Image credit: ACT Studio

On the top floor, the suites compliment the natural architecture of the building, featuring wooden beams and, with high ceilings, compliment natural arch shape of the roofing. The guestrooms feature over-scaled carpet designs, which are a stylish riff on the decorative plasterwork.

In a nod to the building’s Scottish heritage, the design team included thoughtful elements throughout, including new tartan upholstery, wools and tweeds, and original decorative thistles that are on display. “Heritage colours were specifically chosen to accent walls throughout the bedrooms and public spaces,” explains Edger. “Muted shades of greens, blues, purples and blacks were considered room by room and provide a back drop to conversational artwork and decorative lighting.”

The use of taxidermy would have been expected in the interior of the building’s previous iterations. And so to layer this sensitively within interior scheme was important, but as with everything in the hotel’s design, the use of taxidermy was anything by ordinary. “In a twist on this concept, we included elements such as bike handlebars mounted on elaborate wall plates,” explains Edger. “These have been utilised to provide another link to the activities that can be enjoyed within the building’s surrounding 100 acres of parkland.”

The Pigsty is the hotel’s premium spa that sits in a separate building adjacent to the rest of the hotel. Fittingly, the intimate salon features its own mudroom as well as two treatment rooms and has an engaging atmosphere within the social salon quarter.

Now managed by Bespoke Hotels, the UK’s largest independent hotel group that also owns Hotel Gotham, checking in to Oddfellows On The Park is a journey that celebrates oddities in spectacular fashion. With the combination of amplifying a unique style and through clever marketing to promote it, the Oddfellows Brand is taking its place in the northern hotel charts and it continues to push the boundaries of modern hotel design.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

W London Leicester Square unveils tech-based renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W London Leicester Square unveils tech-based renovation

Sheltering the result of fashion designer Jack Irving’s debut interior design collaboration, W london Leicester Square has unveiled its new tech-savvy guestrooms and suites… 

W London – Leicester Square has unveiled a multi-million-pound transformation of all 192 guestrooms and suites. W’s quirky, glamourous and decadent look has been super-charged with the help of architecture firm Concrete, designer firm Krause Architects and fashion designer Jack Irving.

Furthermore, W London has partnered with fashion visionary and dynamic artist, Jack Irving, to create a one-of-a-kind ‘techorative’ pillow, along with a range of immersive in-room experiences.

“W Hotels has consistently been at the forefront of innovation – reinventing and rewriting the rules of hospitality wherever the W sign lands,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “The transformation of W London – Leicester Square merges the latest technologies in hospitality and the music industry with boundarybreaking design, offering our guests the ultimate experience in-room, in our newly renovated public spaces, as well as connecting them with what’s new/next in this dynamic city.”

“Upon entry, music and lighting greet the guest to offer a truly immersive and memorable stay.”

Much like its guests, every room at W London is unique. Ever the rebel, the hotel is the first in the UK to embrace the full DigiValet technology – one of the most advanced tablet-based systems in the industry which allows each guest to be in control of their stay right from check in. Upon entry, music and lighting greet the guest to offer a truly immersive and memorable stay. All settings are adjustable and customisable to the guest’s preference and mood, whether getting pumped up for the night ahead or beginning to unwind before the next day’s meeting.

A user-friendly tablet controls the in-room temperature, lighting and media, including personal streaming services, at the touch of a button, while also showcasing a taste of the freshest beats being made and played across the city. W London has teamed up with Kobalt, a music tech company, to curate playlists showcasing London’s coolest up-and-coming artists, including W London’s own Music Curator, DJ/producer Olivia Dawn. Global music-lovers can tune in to hear what’s playing in real time at any of the 55 W Hotels worldwide through advanced music technology by Soundtrackyourbrand. The tablet also gives guests insider access to what’s new and next in London with an ever-evolving calendar of happenings including the hotel’s music programming and the latest dining and entertainment suggestions across the city.

Each of the property’s 192 rooms, including 28 suites, has had a bold makeover. Designed by renowned architects, Concrete, and kitted out by Krause Design, the rooms have benefitted from structural upgrades along with daring new feature walls, refreshed avant-garde furniture and atmospheric lighting. Sleek white details, photo-friendly mirrored walls, and party-starting disco balls complete the provocative new look. This renovation completes the hotel’s full transformation, following the redesign of the hotel’s bar and lounge, The Perception at W London, in 2017 and makeover of the hotel’s luxurious oasis, the AWAY Spa, in 2018.

“Over the years, our guests have made it clear that they want innovation, as well as both fashion and function, from their hotel room,” said Martijn Mulder, General Manager of W London –
Leicester Square. “The new room design is just that- substance, as well as that inimitable W style. We offer the latest tech available today in the hospitality industry for guests to easily control and personalise their stay, from mood lighting to music, in-room dining and entertainment.”

“When set with the task, I took inspiration from Soho’s creative energy and W London’s irreverent attitude.”

To amplify the re-imagined guest experience, W London has teamed up with daring fashion fantasist, Jack Irving, to create a limited-edition pillow collection. Best known for his eyecatching designs injected with a shot of engineered technology, Irving has dressed the likes of global superstar Lady Gaga. Taking inspiration straight from the catwalk and remixing it with the bold attitude of W London, the spiked pillows, available in every guestroom, appear muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric transforms into an iridescent masterpiece.

Image caption/credit: The spiked pillows, designed by fashion designer to the stars, Jack Irving,  appears muted to the naked eye until they are brought to life through the click of a camera flash. Through the lens, the smart fabric transforms into an iridescent masterpiece making it truly instagrammable/W Hotels

“It’s amazing to be working with W London for my first interiors collaboration, as the hotel’s unmistakable bold identity is a perfect match for my avant-garde designs,” said Jack Irving. “When set with the task, I took inspiration from Soho’s creative energy and W London’s irreverent attitude, to create a unique statement piece that unites the hotel fabulous new room design and upgraded functionality.”

The limited-edition pillow by Jack Irving and new Mini Mega Bar will be available to experience in all 28 suites from mid-June and will be rolled out to all guestrooms later this summer.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Resort Nevis enters final phase of sustainable renovations

TAL Design Studios’ two-year reimagining of Caribbean luxury sheltered within Four Seasons Resort Nevis is slated to complete by Q4 of this year.. 

Situated on the undisturbed shores of a Caribbean island like no other, where regulations state that no building should be taller than a palm tree, Four Seasons Resort Nevis has officially commenced the final chapter of its multi-phase enhancement project.

The two-year enhancement plan, which has already seen the launch of re-envisioned guestrooms and suites, an updated look for the Great House lobby and the opening of new food and beverage outlets, EsQuilina and crowned monkey RUM BAR, is expected to be completed this autumn.

“We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground” – Gonzalo Güelman Ros, General Manager.

The latest chapter of renovations will include the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

Raw luxurious dining experience in shack-like structure

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

“These new areas will continue to evoke the fresh take on a timeless Caribbean experience that we began rolling out in 2018,” says Gonzalo Güelman Ros, the Resort’s General Manager. “We are excited to bring the entire resort enhancement full circle to fulfill our vision of a luxury Caribbean playground, offering infinite perfect places in one perfect paradise.”

The resort’s signature pool will be completely reconstructed and raised to create one long sight line from the Great House lobby straight out to the Caribbean Sea horizon. Surrounded by lush new landscaping, the 3,300 square foot infinity edge pool will be the centerpiece of the resort, featuring 86 new loungers and four luxury pool cabanas fully-equipped with comfortable seating and furnishings, wi-fi connectivity and power. The pool’s 5,350 square foot hardwood deck will be made from fully-sustainable US grown resources, highlighted by a new feature fire pit that will be installed to the west of the pool, towards the beach.

Render of beach and pool

Image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

“The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials”

Replacing the existing Cabana restaurant, On the Dune will be a 7,300 square-foot outdoor restaurant with 138 covers and additional capacity at the bar. The traditional Caribbean-style structure will utilise many natural materials, including heavy timber construction and, as much possible, sustainably-sourced resources.

The final stages of the redesign will sensitively enhance the island’s luxury offerings, while further rooting the destination as a place where love, harmony and its soulful spirit is ever-present. With 189 spacious rooms and suites and more than 50 luxurious villas, the resort has been delivering authentic Caribbean hospitality for more than 28 years.

The design chapter continues…

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

Nature and citizenM’s typical design meet at in citizenM Kuala Lumpur

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Nature and citizenM’s typical design meet at in citizenM Kuala Lumpur

Design and architecture firm concrete has completed the design of citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang…

Design and architecture firm concrete, which joined editor Hamish Kilburn on stage in May at the Independent Hotel Show, has unveiled the design story of its latest completed project, citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang.

The architecture firm, which stands at the cradle of every citizenM, designed the interior of the hotel and redesigned the architecture in typical citizenM style while being inspired by local nature and art.

Located in Bukit Bintang, a lively area in the centre of Kuala Lumpur that is characterised by many restaurants, shops and Jalan Alor street just 100 metres away from the hotel, citizenM opens the door to the epicentre of Kuala Lumpur for food, fashion and entertainment. The car-free street, with open-air restaurants and terraces on both sides, is mainly visited by locals and known for their food and a great spot to get to know the local culture and atmosphere.

“Only the construction of the building has been preserved, both the façade and the entire interior have been newly designed and built.”

The existing building of the former Sky hotel has been stripped completely and has been rebuilt as a 210-key citizenM. Only the construction of the building has been preserved, both the façade and the entire interior have been newly designed and built. The first floor was removed to increase height, light and air in the lobby on the ground floor and the therefore created void now hosts societyM and meeting rooms.

The ground floor houses the disruptive check-in kiosks, iconic citizenM living rooms with a tribute to the city by local artists Azizi Latiff en Afiq Faris, canteenM for 24/7 food and beverages and collectionM, a one-of-a-kind retail shop. The internally located rooms have a view on the courtyard, which brings daylight in the rooms and the centre of the building. Just like in the lobby on the ground floor, structural beams characterize the space and protrude through the large space. Large planters and green hanging plants give the space atmosphere and create privacy for the guestrooms.

Dog accessory used as a bookstop

Image credit: CitizenM

Eye-catching moments within the hotel’s design include a colorful painted art ceiling in the lobby, which presents the colors and lush nature that Malaysia is known for. A colorful patchwork conceals the parking garage located in the façade and makes citizenM visible on street level.

CitizenM launched in 2008 at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The brand, which now welcomes guests in 10 different country’s “to a new kind of hotel” now has 13 properties around the globe within its growing portfolio, with plans to unveil a hotel in Zurich soon.

Main image credit: CitizenM

 

Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

The hotel brand, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, that recently joined IHG has announced two significant opens in both Costa Rica (2021) and Iceland (2022)…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announce two of the latest projects in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Papagayo in Costa Rica – opening 2021 – and Six Senses Össurá Valley in Iceland – which will open in 2022.

Six Senses Papagayo, Costa Rica

Commonly referred to as the Switzerland of Latin America, Costa Rica boasts miles of exotic beaches, some of the most extensive rainforests in the world, majestic mountains, volcanoes, lakes and meandering topography. The Six Senses Papagayo, located on the stunning 2,300-acre Papayago Peninsula, will be a private and eco-conscious destination, offering a new adventure for discerning travellers. The hotel brand is working in partnership with the California based Canyon Group – which acquires and develops boutique ultra-luxury resorts in exciting destinations – and the Garnier Group, one of Costa Rica’s best known and most reputable development companies.

Overseeing the design of the resort is award-winning London based architect John Heah. The site stretches from the highest point on Papagayo down to the forested beachfront which will be home to 41 secluded pool villas. There will also be 31 residences available to buy, with owners benefitting from full access to the resort’s amenities

Six Senses Össurá Valley, Iceland

Surrounded by mountain range the vast Össurá Valley and Vatnajökull National Park, the 70-key Six Senses Össurá Valley is owned and is being developed by the Álfaland Hotel ehf alongside its partners; architect John Brevard, fashion entrepreneur, Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and cultural entrepreneur, Jakob Frímann Magnússon.

Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials, the hotel will adhere to high standards of energy and water efficiency the region is known for. The welcome lodge will be integrated into the surrounding environment and include a library, a cinema room, a water bar and an Earth Lab showcasing the project’s sustainability efforts.

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Injecting sense of place in Koh Samui beach hotel

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, briefed design firm Onion to divide the resort into two distinct parts in order to add architectural drama while creating an unforgettable sense of place.

The moon plays an integral role in Thai culture, with each phase of the lunar cycle holding deep significance. The presence of a full moon, half-moon or dark moon can dictate the timing of festivals, the schedule of planting and harvesting, and even the most auspicious dates in a person’s life.

More recently, they have provided the backdrop to the legendary full, half or dark moon beach parties of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, the luxury boutique beach resort on Koh Samui, has divided the resort into two distinct parts – the Oceanfront/Beach Wing and Garden Wing – each of which has been exquisitely designed to reflect the changing phases of the moon.

“The Garden Wing will complete our resort, not only in terms of its rooms and facilities but through the story of its design,” said Erwin van der Veen, General Manager, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort. “Just as the moon moves through cycles, SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort will allow guests to journey through a series of spaces which are designed to reflect the different characteristics of the full, half and dark moons. Charming, intimate and atmospheric, our new Garden Wing will provide the perfect contrast to the bright and spacious vibe of the Oceanfront/Beach Wing,”

Image caption/credit: Inside the Garden Wing/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

Conceived by Onion, the Thailand-based architecture and design studio, the hotel allows guests to channel the energy of the full, half or dark moons through innovative design shifts – from the openness and high energy of the full moon, through smaller half-moon spaces, and into the more intense shades of the dark moon.

Blue and white decor in treehouse-like bar and restaurant

Image caption/Credit: Treehouse restaurant and bar/SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

While the Oceanfront / Beach Wing reflects the energy of a full moon with the circular shapes incorporated into various design elements, from the façade to the aptly named Moon Pool – the new Garden Wing offers a collection of private spaces with an ambience elevated by verdant trees and plants that add a touch of natural tranquillity. The family friendly area includes 82 rooms, pool villas & pool suites, ranging from 45 to 181 square meters in size, with state-of-the-art IPTV and audio systems, and glamourous full-size daybeds. Also included is a Tree House Restaurant and Bar, 25-metre swimming pool, the Garden Pool Bar, SALA Gym, SALA Spa with six private treatment rooms and steam room as well as SALA’s first kids’ club, which includes indoor and outdoor play areas.

Luce interiors with rustic villa furniture

Andronis Arcadia opens in Santorini

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Andronis Arcadia opens in Santorini

Offering “unrivalled luxury”, earthly Andronis Arcadia shelters 53 design-led pool suites on Santorini, Greece, all with striking vistas towards the Aegean Sea and the island’s unforgettable sunsets…

Andronis Arcadia is the latest addition to the Andronis Exclusive family of five-star hotels and villas. The hotel, which is named after the mythical home of Greek God Pan, is situated on the fringes of Oia, a place of natural harmony and pastoral enchantment.

Luce interiors with rustic villa furniture

Andronis Arcadia’s rustic and earthly-luxe interiors bring elements of nature indoors, from the succulents and plants, to local wood and materials. The Greek forged cement coating technique used throughout, has existed for centuries and creates a minimalistic look. Around 85 – 90 per cent of the furniture is handmade locally and has been constructed inside the hotel. The exterior heavily uses stones, drawing on the colours and textures of the volcano and its lava.

Close up of woven chair and a glass of white wine

Image credit: Carley Rudd Photography

The hotel has 53 suites of six categories including Eden Villa, the largest villa on the island complete with six bedrooms over three floors, plus its own spa, fitness centre, private chef and two pools. All suites have sunset and sea views plus a plunge pool, and guests additionally have access to the 450m2 infinity pool surrounded by cabanas. The suite interiors have geometrical-style design alongside square recesses on the walls, and natural fabrics throughout including linen to give the ultimate sense of light and space.

Evexia Spa is Andronis Arcadia’s Spa & Wellness Centre, developed in partnership with founder of luxury skincare brand ila, Denise Leicester, and Dr Zulia Frost, who pioneered the non-invasive hair profiling test. The largest spa on Santorini, Evexia Spa has five treatment rooms with the option for in-suite treatments.

Three restaurants and two bars occupy the space. Signature restaurant Opson spearheaded by Stefanos Kolimadis showcases dishes inspired by the tastes and ingredients of classical Greece through a several course tasting menu developed in consultation with a classical scholar. Contemporary cuisine and flavours of an ancient time are fused to bring together the best Greek food today with dishes known and loved by legendary forefathers including Aristotle, Plato and Omiros. Althea Restaurant features dazzling Mediterranean seafood as well as local dishes with ingredients grown in the Andronis gardens. Chef showcases the best flavours and produce of the Cycladic islands and wider Mediterranean. Oishii Sushi Bar uses the freshest ingredients fused with traditional Japanese techniques, serving exceptionally well presented and seasonally changing dishes.

View from the hotel terrace withColours of blue, orange, red and yellow in the sunset

Image credit: Andronis Arcadia

The sunset terrace, Senses Cocktail Bar, is a welcome return for island friends. Chic and convivial, it’s designed to be a premium Instagrammable setting. The hotel, which opens as the seventh property within the Andronis Exclusive portfolio, is said to be a game-changer on the island for style, gastronomy and understated luxury.

Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

Interior design firm CCD has completed the first Canopy by Hilton in Asia Pacific Region, which opens in Chengdu…

Following recent reports of there to be 500 new hotels to arrive in China by 2020, Canopy by Hilton has just debuted in Asia Pacific by opening Canopy by Hilton Chengdu City Centre, with dynamic interiors by Cheng Chung Design (CCD). The first Canopy hotel in Asia Pacific – the property is located in the city that emphasises on the experience of ‘body’, ‘heart’, ‘senses’ and ‘enlightenment’.

The concept of the hotel blends Chinese and Western charms, intertwined with old-fashioned feelings and vitality, elegant and unconventional design, bringing guests a lively Chengdu style and the comfort and warmth of home, with contemporary moments thrown in for good measure.

Art instalment depicting people having their photos taken.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

“The design revolves around the story of ‘the scholar goes to the city to take the imperial exam’,” explained designer Joe Cheng. “Traversing the memory corridor of the imperial city, capturing the auspicious details hidden in the green brick wall, on the street view of the market, in the peddler stall and the courtyard.” The history of the hotel has been reconstructed, while exploring and re-writing the new story of the Imperial City memory.

A row of green bamboos is in front of the drop-off area of the hotel, which forms a shadow that can different from the outside world, leaving the prosperous shackles behind, creating a leisurely temperament that calms and slows you down. The design of the door canopy derives from the elements of the arch, and the bags of the ancient scholars, using columns of the wooden strips, interspersed, and laminated to reproduce the beauty of Chinese classical architecture.

Inside, the first floor reception hall is designed as an art exhibition hall, creating a humanistic space under the artistic conception. Up to nine metres tall,  the lobby is an abstract reflection of the historical streetscape of the old imperial city. The streetscape of the past is vividly displayed in front of the guests, under the large art installation of the roof, to open a dialogue of time and space.The chair hanging in the elevator hall is a reproduction of ancient ‘Gongyuan’ scenes by modern artistic techniques. Guests are guided along the roadways (corridors), which are complete with with green bricks, grey tiles and wooden doors.

Large, open and very minimalist lobby with brings as wallcoverings.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

In the guestrooms and suites, Canopy’s unique brand colour, bright orange, has been applied throughout the design. The panda in front of each guestroom in different poses gives a further nod to the unique sense-of-location and injects an element of humour. Inside, each room is represented through the quaint texture and exquisite details, showing the calm and unpretentious attitude of life, build a balance in the selection, composition and colour.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The design concept of the guestrooms originated from the idea of “Gong Yuan”and inspired by the film “A Chinese Ghost Story” to connect the whole design to the project. The Canopy brand classic L-shaped bedside, as well as the bedside table inspired by the actor in “A Chinese Ghost Story” Leslie Cheung’s backpack, the shower space of the rice paper laminated glass, also comes from the classic scene of the film – Leslie Cheung breaking through the doors and windows made of Xuan paper, the designer has used the modern techniques to interpret the ancient paper doors and windows, so that the whole design is closely related to the story in terms of form, image and material.

Living green wall inside the hotel - with integrated bookshelf

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The hotel also features a number of food and beverage options, including TC Café, the Canopy Lounge and the Leisure Bar, which features a striking floor-to-ceiling living wall with integrated bookshelf to add further to the laid-back luxury feel and tone the hotel sets.

The Canopy by Hilton brand was established in October 2014 as a lifestyle offering under Hilton hotel group. The concept of the brand is guided by ‘lifestyle’, which is dedicated in creating a localised-luxury boutique hotel, providing personalisation.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
H-Hotels Group to add 11 hotels by 2020

H-Hotels Group announces it will add 11 hotels in 2020 to its brand portfolio following sales in the group increasing to €436 million…

The H-Hotels Group has announced that it has seen strong growth for another year in a row. Revenues of €436 million for 2018 have marked a new all-time high in the company’s history. Occupancy figures have shown a similarly positive development, with an average of 73 per cent across the company’s 63 properties, and increased average room prices of €101 have paved the way for considerable profitability increases within the hotels themselves.

The continued growth of the brand can also be seen in both its operating locations and brand portfolio. Its newly opened H+ Hotel in Vienna not only marks a new regional presence on the H-Hotels map, but also demonstrates further expansion into other European countries. 2020 will see a new H2 Hotel opening in Budapest, as well as a Hyperion Hotel within the historic Palais Faber in Salzburg.

With the launch of its hostel brand H.ostels in the centre of Münster and the introduction of new serviced apartment brand H.omes, the H-Hotels Group’s portfolio has grown to incorporate six of its own brands. “With H.ostels and H.omes – Serviced Apartments, we have created a brand portfolio that covers the entire range of guest and location requirements,”  stated Alexander Fitz, CEO of H-Hotels AG.

All signs point to further expansion for H-Hotels in the years to come: with H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach in BORUSSIA-PARK, the Hyperion Hotel in Munich, the H2 Hotel in Olympia Park Munich and the Munich opening of H.ome Serviced Apartments, H-Hotels has already celebrated four new openings in 2019 so far. Autumn will also see the launch of its Hyperion Hotel and H2 Hotel double brand, which will open close to Leipzig central station. A total of 1572 new rooms will become available this year.

Further projects have already been signed for 2020, with a total of five new openings in the pipeline in Düsseldorf and Mainz, among others. 2024 will also mark the start of a double brand between H2 Hotel and H4 Hotel, with 501 new rooms set to become available in the terminals of Düsseldorf Airport. Discussions are now in the final stages for a number of short and medium-term acquisitions, as well as new projects such as H2 Hotels in Saarbrücken and Hamburg.

Main image credit: H-Hotels Group

In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

An architect or a designer can become one of the most dynamic hoteliers, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the founder of Lore Studio and the mastermind behind some of the world’s most awe-inspiring hotels…

“Being a great storyteller is essential,” says designer Jacu Strauss as we start discussing what it takes to be a leader in design on the international hotel design scene.

It’s the first time we have caught up properly in a whirlwind three years. We catch up immediately where we left it in 2016, when the designer was putting the finishing touches onto The Pulitzer Amsterdam – an independent hotel project that allowed Strauss to break free with his creativity. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he says, “that through a cocktail of heavy research, team work and some brave risks turned out to be a tremendous success.”

Growing up in the diamond rich area of South Africa, Strauss moved to New Zealand to train as an architect at the University of Auckland before travelling to London to study at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

After graduating in 2008, Strauss worked as a senior designer at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, and started to add major hospitality projects to his growing portfolio. “My architectural training and education proved helpful and I was responsible for the project from concept development through to completion,” explains Strauss. “As we won larger projects, we were eventually given the green light to design Mondrian at Sea Containers on London’s South Bank. It was there where I completed my first hotel and, eventually, I was offered an exclusive role as Creative Director of what is now called Lore Group.

“Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics.” – Jacu Strauss

Following the completion of The Pulitzer Amsterdam in 2016, which continues to capture the attention of the world’s media on a mass scale with its timeless yet quirky interiors, Strauss went on to not only design hotels, but also own them by becoming the founder of Lore Studio. “I have not so much changed as become more attune to what does and doesn’t,” he adds. “I have tried to refine how guests and visitors experience our hotels, so it is more than just the visual. It involves a balance of senses that when you get it right means an enjoyable and memorable experience.”

Image of the designer flicking through a book on the floor

Image credit: Emily Andrews

Today, in between jetting around the world being inspired by life’s movement, Strauss and his team are working to complete a new independent hotel, RIGGS Washington DC, a hotel, slated to open in heart of the city at the end of this year, sheltered in what was the Riggs National Bank building. “Washington DC is a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market,” he explains. “So much so, in fact, that there may be another hotel in DC to join the portfolio, but it will be completely different to RIGGS Washington DC.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

Hamish Kilburn: What would you like to be if you were not a designer/architect/hotelier?
Jacu Straus: A jeweller

HK: What’s the first rule to learn when designing a hotel?
JS: You can only open the hotel once, so make everything count!

HK: Where is the next hotel design hotspot?
JS: There is a great need for more hotels in urban centres that act as calm retreats for peace from the hustle and bustle of dense cities, but without being gimmicky.

HK: What one hotel would you have liked to have designed/or would like to redesign?
JS: I would have loved to be part of the design team of the Negresco Hotel in Nice. It’s so crazy and magical – I love it.

HK: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
JS: Tabasco! I always have little sachets of Tabasco in my travel wallet. The little bottles are cute but the sachets are more convenient for travel. Tabasco makes everything taste better.

HK: What trend do you wish would emerge again soon?
JS: Decent table manners.

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in?
JS: Downtown hotel in Mexico City.

HK: Explain London in three words…
JS: Quiet, polite, multicultural.

HK: What’s your favourite colour this season?
JS: Rust. Something nice about earthier and natural  tones as we move away from sterile palettes.

HK: What’s the last thing that shows up on your credit card statement?
JS: Uber. It is the first item that appears and most of what is inbetween!

As someone as visual as Strauss, the urge the design came as almost a natural instinct. “I think I was always a designer,” he narrates. “My mother says I was always observing my surroundings as a child and I think to this day it’s perhaps one of the reasons that I am doing what I am doing. What I really think makes you a professional designer is being able to process criticism. That you learn over time and does not come naturally.”

“F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels.” – Jacu Strauss

As we converse over cocktails in a rooftop bar overlooking east London, it feels apt to discuss the rise of food and beverage facilities within hotel design. “I think hotels have historically been an important “pillar” in a city or town or community,” he explains. “But towards the end of the last century hotels became massive and exclusive only to its guests, and that meant it became inaccessible to their neighbours. Hotels are unique to their locations and I think guests have become more interested in feeling like they are part of a community even just for a night, than staying at a non-descript hotel that is removed from its surroundings. F&B is a tell-tale sign of how it was once the place to eat and drink, before it then became sterile. F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels – as we’re proving this afternoon – because hotels are opening up to locals as well as guests making it feel less like a “hotel restaurant” and more like a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel.”

In reference to the quick-fire round above, Strauss is a man that believes in detail. “I have realised how important it is to research a new market thoroughly and avoid having a cookie cutter approach,” Strauss explains. “Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics. It is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people, and ensuring the longevity of a product. There are always things to improve on, but we believe you only open a hotel once.”

For the designer who has just as much in the pipeline as what’s already on his impressive portfolio, what makes him stand out his ability to be different. “At some stage,” he adds, “you need to ignore what others are doing and focus on your own task at hand and making decisions based our own hotel and not what others are doing.”

Another distinct characteristic that quite clearly sets Strauss aside from other hoteliers, designers and architects is his ability to effortlessly – on the surface at least – to balance work and life. Living his best life through both travel and work and sometimes a combination of both, Strauss is anything but a one-trick pony, constantly absorbing ideas, concepts and themes that time and time again capture the world’s attention each time the ribbon is cut. And for those wanting a snippet of the inspiration behind his designs, you have only to follow him on Instagram account.

Main image credit: Patrick Meis

Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

The Blue Badge Access Awards launches and questions why accessible design is not as large a talking point as sustainability currently is. Editor Hamish Kilburn attended the launch event in London and writes…

Blue Badge Access Awards has launched raising some much-needed debates around the current industry standards around accessible design.

The launch of Blue Badge Access Awards – a combining of two major design competitions – the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards – took place at Home Grown Club in Marylebone. The occasion explained the purpose of the new global competition, which is to celebrate thoughtful and stylish inclusive design worldwide. It aims to inspire designers, architects, operators and developers to work together in order to build exceptional business and venues that make everyone feel like a “first-class citizen.”

“No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.” – Robin Sheppard.

Speaking at the event was Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People and in turn the winner of The Brit List 2018’s Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry. “It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda,” he said during a thought-provoking speech. “No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.”

With the support of charity Leonard Cheshire, the Blue Badge Access Awards aims to accelerate much-needed progress. This follows studies that show inclusive design gives businesses and venues access to a market of more than one billion people across the world, a group of more than 13 million people in the UK along with spending power of more than £250 billion.

Inclusive design has a history of inspiring great innovation, from the invention of the first typewriter, which was built to help a blind Italian countess write legibly, to the remote control, which was created to make life easier for people with limited mobility.

Categories include:

  • Arnold Fewell Award – The Most Inclusive Building/Interior Design
  • Best Hotel x 2 (Upmarket and Boutique, Bespoke Award)
  • Best Bar x 2 (Upmarket and Budget)
  • Best Restaurant x 2 (Upmarket – Conran award – and Budget)
  • Best Accessible Toilet
  • Ludicrous Loo
  • Above & Beyond (Includes Hospitality & Corporates)
  • Euan’s Guide Award
  • Best Venue in a Listed Building
  • Inclusive Employment Award (Leonard Cheshire)
  • Employee of the Year

“Nowhere can be 100 per cent accessible, but everyone can start somewhere,” said Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style. “There is a tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers.”

With categories ranging from Best Hotel and Best Bar, to the Leonard Cheshire Inclusive Employment Award, the Blue Badge Access Awards recognises the variety of ways that businesses can become more inclusive. The prize that nobody wants to win, ‘Ludicrous Loo’ demonstrates the challenges faced in a light-hearted manner, revealing bathrooms where accessibility is an afterthought.

Nominations of the Blue Badge Access Awards, which are open to anyone, anywhere in the world, are now open and close on June 30. Visit to website to cast your vote.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 7.

Main image credit: Blue Badge Access Award/Bespoke Access Awards

Rockwell Group to design theatre-themed hotel in Broadway, New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rockwell Group to design theatre-themed hotel in Broadway, New York

Leading design firm Rockwell Group has announced the design of Olio, a hotel opening May 2020 in the heart of Manhattan’s theatre district of Broadway…

US-based design firm Rockwell Group will design the interiors of Olio, New York City’s highly anticipated hotel that is slated to open in May of 2020. Located in the heart of theatre land, the new hotel concept will bring the behind-the-scenes of Broadway into the spotlight.

It will feature curated art from the district’s designers and photographers as well as a theatre-influenced design and a performance space for emerging artists. Co-curated by renowned theatre creatives, the program will contain permanent and temporary exhibits in the hotel’s public spaces that will rotate every six months.

For the inaugural opening exhibition, Rockwell Group has tapped scenic designer Christine Jones, costume designer Ann Roth, and lighting designer Jules Fisher to co-curate the inaugural exhibition. Costume designer William Ivey Long, scenic designer Robin Wagner, and costume designer Paul Tazewell will serve on the second curatorial committee in early 2021. Selected pieces from each exhibit will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting both the Actors Fund and The American Theatre Wing.

Main image credit: Rockwell Group

Sloane Place Hotel in Chelsea unveils eclectic décor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sloane Place Hotel in Chelsea unveils eclectic décor

The new 27-key Sloane Place Hotel opens in the heart of Chelsea and is complete with eclectic décor by JSJ Design…

Sloane Place has opened a 27-bedroom boutique hotel, café-bar and restaurant adjoining The Sloane Club in Chelsea, London. Hospitality interior design studio, JSJ Design were hired by Queensway, who acquired The Sloane Club in 2017 in order to convert the property into a hospitality hotspot in one of London’s most upmarket districts.

The large five-storey red-brick Victorian building has been remodelled and divided to create a separate venture, with work on project beginning in February 2018.

From the original building, around 30 bedrooms were allocated for the hotel, alongside smaller underutilised meeting rooms. Led by JSJ Design, the space was remodelled, renovated and refurbished, creating 15 bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, 13 luxury suites, a multi-functional café-bar-restaurant and lower ground floor bar.

The 50-seat café-bar required extensive structural works to open up the space, making it more accessible for guests and local clientele alike. The interior design scheme combines bold teals,timber panelling, glass and brass, maximising light and space.

View of the stairway from above

Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

JSJ Designer, Simeon Thompson was required to maximise the space and create an inviting modern scheme that reflects the locality. “The concept for the café-bar evolved to become a venue in its own right, with short backed seats and clever use of colour, soft eclectic furniture to create an open, sociable space,” he said. “In the décor, we’ve combined hints of luxury, with elements of nature in a nod to Chelsea past and present.”

With the combination of informal décor and an all-day dining menu courtesy of Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer (formerly The Savoy, Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel), guests and patrons are encouraged to relax and extend their stay.

Long dining table with hanging pendents above

Image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

The interior décor and evolution of the Sloane Place brand work together harmoniously, with hand-drawn Broom bush designs featuring within the décor across the three main areas and in the new logo. This is a nod to the heritage of the area; for centuries the Broom bush grew in abundance on site and features at the top of the Kensington and Chelsea coat of arms.

The hotel bedrooms fall into three categories: Cosy (14-17 sqm), Classic (18 sqm) and Suite (38 sqm). All boast en-suite bathrooms, comfortable Hypnos beds, WiFi, mini kettles and Nespresso machines and a small writing desk.

Bedroom décor consists of warm grey timber panelling to evoke a sense of warmth and comfort, complimented by luxury statement blue and yellow fabrics. All furniture items are bespoke, with high gloss light-reflecting surfaces, designed to make the best use of space.

Overall the design, décor and concept promise a luxury venue for guests and the general public to feel welcome to enjoy from day to night.

Main image credit: Sloane Place Hotel

Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Group IHG has signed a hotel in London’s Clerkenwell

The 151-key Hotel Indigo property is slated to open in London’s most-talked-about design district, Clerkenwell, in 2021…

Following the opening of Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon and ahead of the openings of both Hotel Indigo Bath and Hotel Indigo Chester later in the year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a Management Agreement with Omenport Developments Ltd for Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell.

The 151-room hotel will be the fifth Hotel Indigo in London and is expected to open in early 2021. Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell brings a brand defining property to IHG’s pipeline.

Established in 2004, the Hotel Indigo is IHG’s upscale boutique brand and has more than 100 hotels across more than 15 countries around the world. The brand is set to double its portfolio presence over the next three to five years and continue its growth as one of the largest boutique brands.

The decision to arrive in Clerkenwell comes as the neighbourhood, arguably most known for its annual Clerkenwell Design Week, has strong travel links with Farringdon station, Barbican and Old Street all within walking distance, making it an increasingly popular location for both business and leisure travellers.

Just like no two neighbourhoods are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same. At the Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell, the current historic listed building of the Hat & Feathers pub will be added to by two newly-built modern wings. When it opens in 2021, the hotel will feature well-appointed guestrooms, an all-day restaurant and five meeting rooms, as well as incorporating the existing pub into the hotel.

“We are excited to bring Hotel Indigo London – Clerkenwell into portfolio,” said Jon Colley, Head of Development, UK&I at IHG. “We are seeing strong growth in the boutique market in the UK and this hotel strengthens our position in the capital. This signing will join the newly opened Kimpton Fitzroy London and Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester Square to build out our boutique presence in the UK’s capital.”

IHG has 15 Hotel Indigo properties in the UK and a further seven in the pipeline*. There is a strong momentum behind the brand as part of IHG’s UK growth strategy.

In total, IHG currently has 349* hotels operating under eight brands in the UK, including: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, voco™ Hotels, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express® and Staybridge Suites, with another 26 in the pipeline.

*Numbers as at 31 March 2019

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

How colour is making a comeback in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How colour is making a comeback in the bathroom

To conclude our time putting bathrooms under the spotlight, Crosswater explains why colour is making a comeback in the hotel bathroom… 

The interior design of a hotel guestroom is extremely important. After all, this is effectively a home-from-home – a place of security to rest after a busy day. Just as universal as the concept of resting and relaxation, is the concept of colour to evoke a particular atmosphere or create a particular environment.

Colour is also one of the most visible aspects of hotel interior design, which has the ability to create a fantastic first impression. The options to do so are seemingly endless – from wallpaper to paint to accessories.

While certain colours usually evoke certain reactions in most people, shade and saturation can also dramatically change the aesthetic of a room. Generally speaking, light colours can make rooms feel lighter and bigger, while dark colours can create a mood of sophistication and intimacy. Blues evoke calmness and serenity, while green creates a vibrant, natural space. Yellow creates a sense of energy, while red can be warm and comforting if used well.

“Consumers are now being drawn to a strong and striking bathroom design.”

The trend for colour isn’t limited to hotel bedrooms, either. Increasingly so, colour is making a comeback in the bathroom too. The all-white bathroom scheme has been a safe and popular option over the years but, after such a long phase of beige, neutral and earthy tones, consumers are now being drawn to a strong and striking bathroom design – one which is more bold, personal and attractive.

Sleek, chic and opulent, a hotel bathroom should be synonymous with modern glamour. A place to relax and unwind in style.

Gold, platinum, brass and copper are being included as metallic accents and design highlights, while black is being used on its own, but also to create a contrast to richer tones.

Close up of tap fitting

Image credit: Crosswater

The key to taking the bathroom to the next level lies in the small, often overlooked, details. Focusing on accessories, taps, showerheads and rails can often create a great impact with a minor amount of bold colour.

The MPRO collection from Crosswater delivers the very best in brassware engineering and is available in a Brushed Brass finish, along with Chrome, Stainless Steel and Matt Black options. Combining superb function and precision design, the result is a complete collection of bathroom mixers, valves and showerheads that meets the exacting standard of today’s modern bathroom.

Close up of marble and gold fittings

Image credit: Crosswater

Celebrating simple lines and an on-trend brushed gold surface, MPRO brings a stylish update to any contemporary bathroom scheme.

A developing theme is that several colours are being used in coordination with each other that might appear, at first glance, to contradict one another in a mixture of styles. In this way, all traditional rules towards interior design and aesthetics have been overruled.

“Crosswater’s new Italy collection is offered in 49 colour combinations and gives life to true customisation in the bathroom.”

People are getting more adventurous and mix-and-matching in their homes, creating individual and bespoke schemes. One of the great things about this approach to hotel design is that it is extremely flexible, providing guests with the luxury of a variation of finishes within one room – plus the idea of mixing materials adds a special interest, richness and depth to a design scheme.

Crosswater’s new Italy collection is offered in 49 colour combinations and gives life to true customisation in the bathroom. Modern forms of the 1920s inspire this brand new range, which combines metals, natural stone and marble – creating a unique character. Designers are able to choose from eight base finishes and seven handle options, and the collection is available in a range of deck, wall-mounted and floor-standing basin, bath and shower mixers.

In this way, when it comes to hotel bathroom décor, designers can combine colours, materials and patterns to create an effect that reflects the hotel’s personality and unique style. Using colour can still be applied to the fine finishes, elegant fittings and timeless accessories to create that luxurious hotel-feel that guests desire – think big and these fearless design choices will help your hotel achieve a unique designer bathroom look.

Crosswater 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, click here.

Main image credit: Crosswater

5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

Clerkenwell Design Week once again inspired designers, architects and Londoners alike to celebrate London as a creative design hub. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies five installations that took art outside the frame…

In seven exhibitions across London’s much-loved design district, exhibitors at Clerkenwell Design Week displayed the latest products and emerging trends on the market.

But in between each tented venue, creepy crypt and a deserted nightclub were a number of artists, designers and architects reflecting their creativity on the city’s streets. CDW showcased commissioned site specific installations across Clerkenwell. For CDW’s 10 year anniversary, visitors were asked to expect the most exciting street spectacles yet, and here were just a handful of the main attractions.

Once Upon A Time

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian/Once Upon a Time

The installation took inspiration from the rich and sometimes dark historical tales of Clerkenwell. For the initiative, CDW collaborated with Chelsea College of Arts, BA Graphic Design Communication students to create a series of graphic installations inspired by the stories relating to the significant locations. The six winning entries were selected by a judging panel including; Max Fraser, CDW Content Editor; Priya Khanchandani, ICON Editor, and David Barnett, Chelsea College of Art Course Leader, BA Graphic Design Communication. In conjunction with the project, Lansdown’s London hosted a number of historical walking tours during CDW exploring its past as a centre of making, from clock-makers to gin distillers.

Decade

Man looking at the installation on the streets of Clerkenwell

Image credit: Hakwood Adam Dale/Decade

The piece was a dramatic trail of 10, three metre high candle like beacons designed by pioneers within the creative industry. The installations, symbolic of birthday candles also formed part of CDW’s wayfinding strategy to help guide visitors across the exhibition route. With a nod to the area as London’s creative heart, each installation showcased the designers’ individuality and imagination.

Reflect Us

Created by Beau Kerouac in collaboration with ‘The Big Issue’, the installation intended to bridge gaps in society by confronting visitors with 10 door-sized gateways to eyes that are sometimes hard to look into, telling the stories of vendors from our city streets. Using AR technology, Beau Kerouac invited visitors to question how an act of respect; simply making eye contact, can change someone’s day for the better through shared experience.

Scale Rule

The large installation, which was displayed at St John’s Gate arch, responded to the theme of history and heritage by proposing a new structure that subtly draws on the historic form whilst bringing in materials and geometries that reference the design culture of Clerkenwell today.

The concept played with the idea of space and enclosure, by inserting a densely built timber structure within the void of the archway.  This was then carved away to allow a route through and to frame the historic features of the site. The timber frame was filled with moments of colour that intensify towards the top of the arch, drawing visitors’ gaze upwards towards the historic architecture. The colour was created by using recycled materials and fabrics that reference the design identity of the area.

While on the site, the pavilion highlighted details of the archway and drew parallels to the 10 year anniversary of CDW.  When moved to a new location, the pavilion will take with it the geometry of the archway to act as a casting of the original site.

Pareidolia

Man walking past light-like installation

Image credit: Jestico + Whiles

For their second CDW collaboration, Jestico + Whiles and Porcelanosa Group teamed up with Studio Fractal and Architainment Lighting to display a new and experimental immersive experience, which was entitled Pareidolia.

The immersive installation explored concepts of movement, memory and pattern with an impressive large-scale digitally fabricated installation made of Krion, a Porcelanosa product derived from natural minerals.

Hotel Designs was a proud media partner for Clerkenwell Design Week 2019. To read the editor’s round up of the entire festival, including news of the major product launches during the three-day-show, click here.

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian

How one boutique hotel is attracting modern travellers to Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How one boutique hotel is attracting modern travellers to Africa

Urbano Hotel is the modern design inspired boutique hotel located in the heart of Osu, Accra’s most vibrant neighbourhood designed by architect Hussein Fakhry…

With its landmark I LOVE ACCRA sign at the entrance, focus on design, attention to customer care, healthy food options and coveted location surrounded by international quality grocery stores, casinos, sports bars, African craft market, and thriving nightlife, Urbano is making waves on the African hotel design scene.

The hotel is part of the new hospitality trend in Ghana focused on affordable luxury and improved customer service that led the country to be named one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

“When we designed Urbano Hotel, we wanted to bring the concept of “New Africa” to life, an experience that fuses traditional African design and art with a cosmopolitan aesthetic and amenities that our guests are accustomed to when they travel to NY, London, or Paris or other top markets in the world. Urbano Hotel feels youthful and fresh yet a business traveller or family can still find comfort,” shares Fakhry, the Managing Director of Urbano’s parent company, Roots International and co-founder of Key Architectural Group who has more than 22 years experience on prestigious and diversified designs and construction projects throughout the Middle East and West Africa.

Team outside the sign 'I LOVE ACCRA' at hotel

Image credit: Urbano Hotel

It was the love and conception of urban neighbourhoods which promoted Fakhry’s team to revive and refurbish what was formerly the Penta Hotel into Urbano, a modern aesthetic piece, both internally and externally to enhance the facets of Oxford Street. Urbano Hotel features 43 rooms ranging from standard to the luxury bi-level suite and mini-apartment, a multi-functional hall with a capacity for 60, The Arabian, an indoor open courtyard, state of the art gym, The Terrace Bar, and Zaytoun Artisan Cafe featuring Middle Eastern specialities.

“Our utmost vision was to make Urbano Hotel a compelling, “must visit” destination within Accra and we complemented this objective with the mounting of the colourful “I LOVE ACCRA” installation which stretches across one side of the building to welcome every visitor to this culturally charming and vibrant neighbourhood. The millennial traveller is constantly documenting their travel experience on social media and Urbano’s facade lends itself to capturing iconic images of a visit to Ghana,” adds Fakhry.

Fakhry is passionate about the growth and development of Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry and the possibility of the country emerging as a center of sustainable design in Africa.

“This year there has been a noted spike in travellers to Ghana due in part to Ghana Tourism Authority’s Year of Return initiative and several international conferences, music festivals and celebrity-driven tours scheduled to take place in the country. We are thrilled that discerning millennial travellers from around the world are travelling to Accra for both business and pleasure and finding Urbano’s eclectic style in alignment with their own sense of design, function and adventure and Osu serving as starting point to better understand the culture, dynamics and people of Ghana!”

Main image credit: Urbano Hotel

Hotel Indigo stylishly arrives in Venice

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo stylishly arrives in Venice

The new hotel, designed by the in-house design team at IHG, debuts in the undiscovered Venice neighbourhood of Sant’Elena…

Hotel group InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is has announced the opening of Hotel Indigo® Venice – Sant’Elena, which marks the brand’s debut in Venice, Italy. From palaces to piazzas, gondolas to gelato and canals to carnevale – there is no destination quite so magical as Venice. Filled with beauty and world-famous sights, the city that surrounds the new hotel made up of 55,000 residents attracts more than 30 million annual visitors.

Despite its immense popularity, there are still pockets of the city yet to be discovered, such as the Sant’Elena neighbourhood. Sant’Elena is a global hub for modern art and culture, close to the home of  the Venice International Film Festival and the Murano Glass Factory. The neighbourhood will introduce guests to a side of Venice that few tourists see.

Hotel Indigo® Venice – Sant’Elena is located in the heart of the iconic Italian city, next to the canal Rio Sant’Elena. Formally a 1930’s monastery, the 75 room Hotel Indigo® Venice – Sant’Elena is a peaceful sanctuary reflective of its former heritage that exudes an almost spiritual calm, the perfect place to retreat from the bustle of San Marco square. Composed of two wings joined in the centre by a former chapel, the hotel boasts an interior courtyard and large windows with high ceilings, which is evocative of the local neighbourhood and existing architecture. The hotel also has a private garden, a rarity in Venice, where guests can sit and enjoy a refreshing cocktail and relax after a day of exploring.

Plush guestroom with large bed, velvet headboards

Image credit: Hotel Indigo/IHG

The interior design brings to life the building’s original features with oriental influences inspired by Venice’s traditions and history, with touches of modern elements contrasting with the classic Venetian style. Plush velvet pillows layered on leather seating and brass lighting scattered throughout the hotel contrast the deep wood panelling on the walls in the lobby and the emerald green marble bar top. Ebru paintings are dotted in the public areas, bringing to life Venice’s history of introducing the marbleized papers into their famed repertory of woodblock prints, copperplate engraving and book leather binding.

“The hotel is the perfect example of how Hotel Indigo draws inspiration from the local neighbourhood, bringing to life the historical importance of the building through design while also providing the ideal getaway from the busyness of Venice,” said Marco Costa, Hotel Manager of Hotel Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena. “Just a 15-minute walk from all the main attractions, including St Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace in San Marco, the hotel is the ideal choice for those coming to visit our beautiful town.”

Large leafy parks are a rarity in Venice, but a short walk to the north is the Giardini della Biennale, a park commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte when Venice was under French rule at the start of the nineteenth century. The park is a year-round hub for modern art and culture, although it really comes alive during the Venice Biennale, which, as its name suggests, takes place every other year.

Concept to Completion: Nicky Dobree creating Plaza 18 (part three)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Nicky Dobree creating Plaza 18 (part three)

While Hotel Designs is exclusively following Plaza 18’s creation, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in on designer Nicky Dobree as the project is just weeks from completing…

With her sleeves rolled up, designer Nicky Dobree is on the home straight in the race to design her first hotel project. The finish line, which is getting closer and closer by the day, is nestled within Vejer, which is one of the many white towns of Andalucia.

The new six-key boutique hotel will shelter a home from home, adjacent to the palm-filled Plaza de Espana landmark. Inspired, in part, by Dobree’s travels, the authentic surrounding landscape and even the smell of orange blossom, the boutique jewel will shelter an unmatched luxury setting.

While the full details of the project are heavily under wraps (for now at least), part three of Plaza 18’s concept to completion feature focuses on the final preparations to create an unmatched home-from-home boutique hotel.

Hamish Kilburn: How does travel influence your interpretation on design? 
Nicky Dobree: Travel hugely influences my design and expands my creative perspective. I am fortunate to have travelled extensively and to have lived abroad for many years. I therefore find that I regularly draw on my love of travel to add to the layers of my design. Inspiration can come from anything and everything, be it the local smell of the orange blossom in Vejer to its moorish architectural roots.

HK: How far in the process are you with Plaza 18? 
ND: The end is in sight and we are receiving bookings for the summer.

HK: What can go wrong and what are the major challenges at this stage in the project?
ND: Hopefully not a lot can go wrong at this stage that we are not able to resolve. Timing is key. We’ve just had Easter, which the Spanish take very seriously so the team will break for a couple of weeks. On the positive, the team have returned with a fresh eye to complete the finishes ready for us to install and open.

HK:Do you ever find it difficult to leave a project behind once it’s completed? 
ND: I always find it difficult leaving a project behind and handing it over. It’s like giving birth and handing over your baby. With Plaza 18, I hope that many get to enjoy it and look after it as if were their own.

Various images of bedrooms, door fittings and art

Image caption: Moodboard for Plaza 18

HK: This is your first hotel that you have designed, will there be others? 
ND: I very much hope so. I have really enjoyed the new challenges this project has given me. I really love the art of creating a space and above all an atmosphere that will hopefully make people want to return.

Hotel Designs has been following Dobree on the completion of her first ever hotel. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two.

In Conversation With: Patricia Urquiola on Laufen’s latest bathroom collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Patricia Urquiola on Laufen’s latest bathroom collection

As Hotel Designs continues its month putting Bathrooms under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with designer Patricia Urquiola to understand more about her latest collection reveal with Laufen…

Patricia Urquiola is no stranger to Laufen, as the Spanish designer celebrated at ISH 2019 the launch of her third – yes third – generation of SaphirKeramik, and by doing so has created the new collection, Sonar.

Rediscovering the formal scope of the bathroom – and designed to be insurmountable in bathroom aesthetics – the expressive Sonar collection has already gone on to win an iF Design Award. The material, SaphirKeramik, was first used by the designer for Laufen in 2013 in novel washbasin designs that were simply not possible using conventional bathroom ceramics. Six years later, the material has been used in the brand’s Sonar collection and now offers even greater variety thanks to the addition of more washbasins, WCs, a bidet, a new bathtub and a suite of bathroom furniture.

I recently sat down with the designer in order to understand the context of Sonar as well as what she thinks the future holds for international bathroom design.

Hamish Kilburn: Why do you think more attention is being payed to the design of the bathroom within international hotel design?
Patricia Urquiola: I think that more attention is being payed to all aspects of hospitality and not just bathrooms. Hotel design is now all about an experience that one wants to transmit to the unknown user, and bathrooms are no exception. The design of the bathroom in a hotel project is very important, it is part of the whole room space, of the experience that a certain room can offer in terms of relax and wellbeing.

modern bathroom with colour and slick design

Image credit: Laufen

HK: What are your thoughts on color in the bathroom?
PU: My approach to colour, for bathrooms and every aspect of a project, is not absolute; it very much depends on the project. At times, color is central and it is therefore given a lot of importance and space, it becomes essential for forms to come to life. Other times, palettes are a lot more intimate with very little color and more attention to textures or materials. For example, the bathrooms at Room Mate Hotel Giulia in Milano are extremely colorful, they reflect the language that we used throughout the whole project.  On the other hand, for a recent project in Mumbai in which we featured the Sonar collection, the focus isn’t on color but rather on materials and textures: marble and wood contrast beautifully with the ceramic of the collection.

HK: How has SONAR evolved? What’s changed, in regards to bathroom technology, since the first generation of SONAR?
PU: Sonar is manufactured using a high-tech ceramic material called SaphirKeramik, a material developed by Laufen that allows for the ceramic to be very thin for an industrial product. When I started my collaboration with the brand it had already been used for previous collections, what I wanted to do was to really exploit the material’s characteristics: strong yet light, it has a glow to it and a certain amount of detail can be incorporated. I wanted to work with all these positive aspects of SaphirKeramik and experiment with three-dimensional surfaces, to try and add spatial volumes to it.

“I think that in 30 years’ time things will be very different, from the houses we will live in, the cars we will drive, the hotels we will stay in…” – Patricia Urquiola

HK: The inspiration for your latest collection was ‘soundwaves that spread in water’…Was this a lightbulb moment, and if so – when and where were you at the time?
PU: Usually inspiration comes to me in waves of moments, images, trips, people… it is hard to pinpoint it to a specific time. The strictness of architectural minimalism was definitely on my mind, a sense of lines, purity and geometry. But also water, its energy and its dynamic movement that never stops. The meeting point of these two ideas is the inspiration behind the Sonar collection, sort of a game between such contrasting shapes, between softness and severity. The lines etched on the exterior of the pieces fade on one end, disappearing back into the material, just like the waves in the ocean.

HK: In your eyes, what does the bathroom of the future (say 30 years from now) look like?
PU: That is very hard to imagine! I think that in 30 years’ time things will be very different, from the houses we will live in, the cars we will drive, the hotels we will stay in… we are moving towards a smarter future, things will be more specialised, personalised, mobile. Frameworks and systems will become more complex and we all will learn to navigate them. We are already seeing a very big change in materials, in how we make them and reuse them and this will also affect architectural projects, the way in which bathrooms will be designed and built will change radically. Spaces and functions are becoming hybrid, they are being redefined because our focus is shifting towards functionality.

Laufen 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, click here.

SB Architects unveils seven new hospitality projects in North America and Mexico

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SB Architects unveils seven new hospitality projects in North America and Mexico

Architecture firm SB Architects has announced seven new hospitality projects that are opening in North America and Mexico…

Full-service global architecture firm, SB Architects, has been breaking ground in hotel, residential and mixed-use design for almost 60 years, and is delighted to announce seven new hospitality projects that are opening, in progress or breaking ground this year.

“It’s been a very productive and prolific year for SB Architects with so many high-caliber projects in various stages of the pipeline,” said Scott Lee, President and Principal of SB Architects. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to work on such diverse and inspiring projects and in so many interesting destinations. From a luxury destination resort in Los Cabos that seamlessly blends French and Mexican culture, to a sophisticated ski-in, lift-out destination in Utah, these projects showcase the scope of our capabilities and the breadth of our portfolio.”

Sofitel SO Los Cabos (San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico)
Slated to complete: 2021

Render of beqachside luxury hotel

Image credit: Sofitel Los Cabos

Set on a prominent five-acre beachfront site in premier tourist destination, Los Cabos, this five-star luxury resort cascades gently down to the white sandy beaches below, providing unobstructed Pacific Ocean views throughout. Inspired by the vibrant history of Mexican haciendas and the central role of family gathering spaces, the resort embraces bold, contemporary architectural features with vivid interior hues, paying homage to the authentic Zócalo (community spaces) experience. The SO brand is the epitome of sophisticated modern French aesthetic which, when combined with the beautifully rich Mexican culture, creates a unique and inviting experience. The destination resort boasts 210 keys, 40 branded residences, conference and meeting center, spa, specialty restaurant and ultra-lounge, and beach club. The residential resort has 87 units, ranging from 1,960 to 4,329 square feet, along with fitness and entertainment amenities.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sarasota (Sarasota, Florida)
Slated to complete: 2020

Render of The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sarasota

Image credit: The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sarasota

The 18-story tower is an additional branded residential component to the existing Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Sarasota. Located on Sarasota Bay, the tower has been designed at a distinctive angle, providing both a visually interesting exterior along with unobstructed views of the water. The new tower links to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on level three and offers residents easy access to exclusive amenities. Level three and above houses three- and four-bedroom units with stunning views in two directions. Multiple elevator locations ensure that each residence will share a lobby with no more than one other unit. Wide cantilevered balconies will circle the building, providing each unit with private outdoor space. Additional amenities include a large rooftop pool and entertainment area. Images can be found here.

Pendry Residences Park City (Park City, Utah)
Slated to complete: 2021

Render of swimming pool on hotel

Image credit: Pendry Residences Park City

The luxury ski-in, lift-out destination will add a new level of sophistication to mountain living from its central location in the new Canyons Village. Luxury hospitality brand, Pendry, delivers polished comfort with a modern edge and pr