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Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: Inside Six Senses Ibiza

Catapulting the Balearic Island into a different league, Six Senses Ibiza will offer a way of life that embraces music, culture, art, spirituality, fashion, wellness and sustainability. Hotel Designs gets an early check-in before it officially opens in July…

Image of suite inside Six Senses Ibiza

Following the opening of the brand’s latest hotel in Botanique in Brazil, Six Senses has unveiled images of its highly anticipated hotel in Ibiza. Said to be one the Mediterranean’s most anticipated openings this year, as outlined in our 2021 Hotel Openings SeriesSix Senses Ibiza is located on the peaceful northern tip of the island, the village-like resort will capture the authentic essence of the Balearic island both in look and feel. It will be set over 20-acres, with unrivalled sea views and will benefit from direct access to one of the most beautiful bays in Ibiza, Cala Xarraca. Live layers of programming and experiences will constantly evolve to celebrate music, art, sustainable fashion, spirituality, pioneering wellness, culinary exploration and culture, all synonymous with the island.

Guestroom overlooking sea at Six Senses Ibiza

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first sustainable BREEAM certified resort and residential community in the Balearics. The resort will offer 116 guest accommodations, villas, suites and beachfront caves and a number of Village Residences with intimate terraces, lush gardens and pools – perfect for those looking for a permanent hideaway in the Mediterranean.

“Our vision is to capture the authentic Ibiza experience of community, spirituality and celebration,” Jonathan Leitersdorf, the architect and developer, explains. In the hot season (May to October), the community celebrates. From lazy days soaking poolside, enjoying the natural beauty of the bay or meeting an extended family of islanders, to gathering at night on long tables to explore new culinary delights, festive pop-up events and full moon dinners.

In the cool season (November to April), the community shares deep spiritual experiences. Six Senses Ibiza is gearing up to feature a series of immersive teaser weekends and longer-stay retreats, initially yoga, cleanse and fitness.

Surrounded by beautiful unspoiled coves and groves, Six Senses Ibiza is symbolic of the light, beauty and natural rhythms of the seasons that draw people back again. The tactile Finca-style aesthetic has a modern and sophisticated design and finish, and the architecture is built and inspired by locally sourced materials. The Farm at Six Senses Ibiza is a 400-year-old olive press and agricultural estate, where guests will take part in growing the abundance of organic produce that will also supply the resort’s restaurants, café and bars.

“This vision captures an authentic Ibiza experience that really resonates with me on a personal level,” says Neil Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Six Senses. “It is aligned with our set of beliefs, particularly around emotional hospitality. Sustainability is a huge part of our company ethos. And when you find a magical place such as Cala Xarraca, it’s something that you work really hard to both showcase and respect. In the case of Six Senses Ibiza, this is what shines so brightly.”

Six Senses Ibiza will be the first European outpost for celebrity chef Eyal Shani, founding father of new Israeli cuisine. His sublime menus will follow the Eat With Six Senses guiding principles of organic, seasonal, nutritious and delicious, gathering guests at the exquisite long tables of the Farmers’ Market. Other signature venues including The Orchard, The Piazza, Farmacy Bar and Live Cave will be complemented by grow-your-own veg, chef’s table and cooking lessons at the Farm.

The Six Senses Spa houses single and couple’s treatment rooms, a steam room, hammam and state-of-the-art fitness area, café and juice bar. The Rose Bar offers night owls a chance to roll back the years through a range of healing and preventative longevity programmes combining diagnostics, biohacking, nutrition and beauty treatments. Outdoors there is an impressive yoga deck and boxing ring on the roof. There will also be immersive retreats at the resort which will be facilitated by Friends of Six Senses, Visiting Practitioners and partners.


Six Senses Ibiza will add an enticing new setting to the vibrant Ibiza music scene. Directly on the shorefront, the Beach Caves music venue is the heart of the resort. Hosting live shows, events, emerging artist sessions, and an expansive vinyl collection, the Beach Caves features avant-garde technology from McIntosh and Sonus faber through a partnership with McIntosh Group. There is also a Cave Royale guestroom with a secret door leading to the Recording Studio for when creativity strikes in the middle of the night.

The hotel celebrates sustainable fashion at the Agora, a new retail concept – part entertainment, part education and part shopping experience. Curated by the renowned fashion editors Daniela Agnelli and Tiffanie Darke, it seeks to tell a story in a series of chapters: Reduce, Recycle, Rent and Restore. Highlights of the store will be a “live magazine” experience, a “Cinderella Room” for dress up nights, and an Intention Tree for customers to remember the change.

Arts and culture are central to the Six Senses experience. As they wander through the resort’s galleries, guests will enjoy displays by Magnum photographers, curated by Elaine Groenestein to reflect Ibiza’s core themes. Along with photography events and workshops, a larger selection of fine prints is available through the Magnum Gallery. There is also a beautiful library for guests to relax and unwind in and expand the mind.

Main image credit: Six Senses

Unidrain_The Hub_03

The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Hub – a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Oslo

Clarion Hotel – The Hub, is an environmentally friendly and inspiring boutique hotel located in the heart of Oslo. This new and spectacular hotel offers exciting food with local roots, excellent business facilities and 810 rooms that goes above convention…

Unidrain_The Hub_03

Designed by architects Lund + Slaatto and interior designer Anders Björkén, Clarion Hotel -The Hub shelters an elegant, boutique style. For Björkén, Unidrain was the obvious choice for the bathrooms. “Unidrain drains are elegant and work extremely well in a hotel environment” he says.

Anders is behind the interior design of the historic Grand Hotel in Stockholm and Hotel Vesterbro in Copenhagen. “We use almost exclusively Unidrain’s drains in our projects, in addition to their beautiful and minimalist design, they are easy to install,” he said.

The Hub wants its guests to experience something akin to a “love affair” through classical décor, balanced design, and ground-breaking, innovative interiors solutions without losing any feeling of warmth, intimacy and elegance, which Björkén achieved in the design of the hotel rooms.

On the 11th floor, you will find a fantastic suite overlooking the Oslo Fjord; as with all the rooms every detail has been thought through and nothing has been left to chance.

Unidrain, are very proud to have supplied HighLine Custom drains to The Hub; in the main bathroom and specifically crafted for this space, the classic Unidrain grating has been replaced by marble tiling creating an exact match to the rest of the bathroom floor, here the line drain blends into the flooring and is almost invisible to the eye.

In the second bathroom, the drain becomes a feature; the design in this space focusses on colour and incorporates a delicate black HighLine Colour line drain, which is installed so it fits right up against the wall.

Architecture, interior and design

The hotel wanted their guests to experience a carefully crafted balance between early design classics and ground breaking contemporary elements; the aim was to incorporate the stylish vibe of the 1950s in a modern boutique hotel.

Anemone Wille Våge designed the interiors of the restaurants and common areas; she took her inspiration from the old Hotel Viking, designed by Knut Knutsen for the 1952 Winter Olympics. Delving into the history of the original building she used elements from this, to create a timeless, yet modern design. The design team incorporated elements from the building as it was in 1952, including styling the lobby’s ceiling in exactly the same pink tone as the building’s façade, the bronze columns were inspired by the original window sills, in fact every element of the furniture and interior decorations were handpicked from high-quality manufacturers and specially designed for this project to create its unique look.

The green hotel in the heart of the city – Growhub

With an added environmental twist; The Clarion Hotel is testing a brand-new way to grow food in the city, in a sustainable and economical way. At the very top of Clarion Hotel The Hub, there is a large rooftop garden, known as the Growhub; this provides zero-travelled ingredients for locals, guests and conference attendees alike. From its unique take on interior design, stylish bathrooms and carbon neutral food sourcing The Hub is the perfect place to create an Oslo experience.

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

Main image credit: Unidrain

Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Finoris washbasin from hansgrohe

hansgrohe has described the Finoris washbasin as a bathroom item that is ‘for every activity required’. The revolutionary all-rounder features more flexibility and functionality than other basins, as Hotel Designs discovers when reviewing the product…

Did you know the average person spends 400 days of their lifetime using their bathroom? That’s more than 30 minutes a day, and in that time, the dream of a bathroom wellness retreat doesn’t often become a reality. Following customer engagement research, leading bathroom manufacturer, hansgrohe, understands the everyday life of a family bathroom is usually very different: routines vary greatly from relaxation and personal hygiene to soaking laundry and endless cleaning. Modern day life demands a tap that is functional in all these situations and for this purpose, hansgrohe launches Finoris; a basin mixer range which combines minimalistic design and maximum flexibility.

With its innovative “Flex” variant, the new range offers enough freedom of movement to simplify everyday chores. Quickly washing your hair directly in the basin is no longer a problem with the functional pull-out head, using microdroplets instead of the standard water delivery, to reduce splashing. And with the added benefit of easy rinsing afterwards, it reduces any mess outside of the basin. Everyday receptables, such as buckets and tall vases, can also filled in no time at all. In a deeper basin, an infant can be quietly coaxed into having a quick bath. Finoris is designed to be a practical, yet beautiful, addition to everyday family life.

Whether it’s a gentle PowderRain spray or a smooth laminar spray, the tap adapts to the respective application with a flick of the wrist and the push of a button. Both spray modes use no more than five liters of water per minute, ensuring water consumption is kept at a minimum.

Slender design with high functionality

Visually, the hansgrohe Finoris tap impresses with a slim, geometric look. The subtly integrated pull-out showerhead with an action radius of 500 millimetres glides smoothly back into its original position after each use thanks to its magnetic retraction support. Its minimalist design is also available without a pull-out showerhead.

Even the standard model is designed for an extensive range of applications, as it can be ordered in three different heights. This means hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with a wide variety of basin models. Someone planning a wall-integrated shower can install the concealed solution from Finoris. Around the bath, there is option of the hansgrohe sBox, which neatly conceals the pull-out showerhead hose for a clean, clutter-free look.

When it comes to surfaces, the new range offers a variety of options throughout the entire series: Chrome, Matt Black, or Matt White. The complete range naturally includes matching exposed and concealed fittings for the bath and shower. For convenience in the bathroom, hansgrohe Finoris can be combined with hansgrohe Rainfinity shower solutions and the matching Addstoris accessory range.

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

Main image credit: hansgrohe

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury shower goals: Crosswater launches new 10mm walk-in solutions

Meeting new modern traveller luxury shower demands, the OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 ranges by Crosswater provide a superior quality and versatile design, resulting in a serene bathroom experience…

Optix 10 Pivot door & side panel Brushed Stainless Steel

Weeks before Hotel Designs LIVE invites expert designers to discuss ‘bathrooms beyond practical spaces’, Crosswater has unveiled OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10, which is the brand’s latest collections of 10mm enclosure and walk-in shower solutions.

Showering has become more than just a daily routine – it has become a ritual, with homeowners and hotel guests alike now recognising the positive effects that can come from a relaxing showering experience. Subsequently, the bathroom industry has started to design products that promote wellness within the bathing space, as well as innovation.

Crosswater is already recognised for their holistic approach to showering, with the brand providing a choice of trend-led brassware, including shower valves that will deliver the perfect flow of water, and a variety of indulgent 6mm and 8mm shower enclosures which were strengthened in 2020. Crosswater is looking to continue this success in the 10mm shower enclosure and walk-in shower solutions category with the new additions of OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10.

“OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are the newest addition to Crosswater’s Home of Showering programme and enable the brand to offer luxury and every level of specification,” said Stephen Ewer, CEO of Bathroom Brands Group (Crosswater, Burlington, Clearwater, Britton). “Crosswater have been working intensely to bring this offer to market whilst ensuring expected levels of design, quality and value for both our retail partners and consumers.”

A luxury solution for all generations, OPTIX 10 and GALLERY 10 are extremely versatile, offering numerous possibilities to align with the needs of the consumer such as Crosswater Clear which enables easy cleaning, slimline wall profiles to create a beautiful interior scheme and availability in a variety of finishes that have been specifically designed to match the colour of Crosswater’s bestselling MPRO brassware range.

Featuring premium 10mm toughened glass, the innovative design of the new 10mm ranges are built to last, with a lifetime guarantee available to add additional peace of mind. The impressive construction which includes durable PVD coating and high-quality components, allows for a seamless transition when opening and closing the shower door, providing the ultimate showering experience.

“Crosswater’s introduction of 10mm enclosures and walk-in solutions is a significant step on our journey to enhance our cohesive design and colour offering across all categories, creating increased sales opportunities for our customers,” added David Button, Crosswater Retail Sales Director UK & Ireland.

As modern travellers continue to prioritise wellness and self-care, Crosswater are meeting the demand for holistic shower solutions with an impressive and extensive range of luxury shower enclosures for all generations.

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

Main image credit: Crosswater

West Wing Lobby

Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton London Metropole to ‘radically’ transform guest experience

Hospitality design firm Perkins&Will have been appointed to completely refurbish Hilton London Metropole, which is the largest Hilton outside of the USA…

West Wing Lobby

As part of a multimillion-pound renovation, Hilton London Metropole has briefed design firm Perkins&Will to ‘radically transform the guest experience’.

The renovation, which due to be completed by summer 2021, is expected to provide guests with a completely new and upgraded stay – no element of the hotel will be left unchanged.

The 1,096 guestrooms and suites have undergone a striking transformation, designed with a contemporary and bold aesthetic that sensitively reflects different London boroughs. The venue’s four restaurants and bars will be relaunched with exciting new drinking and dining concepts, including an all-day British brasserie, serving locally sourced ingredients, and a new suitably relaxed market-style dining outlet, that celebrates London’s street food scene. The refurbishment will also see the opening of a state-of-the-art 200sqm (2,153sqf) fitness studio. 

Executive Bedroom inside the Hilton hotel

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

Extensive renovations are being made to the hotel’s 35 event spaces and meeting rooms, including two dedicated hybrid meeting rooms and three ballrooms, which total over 4,600sqm (49,500sqf) in size, from the 1,062 Square Metres (11,431sqf) Richmond Suite to the Kensington Suite, with its open private foyer and space for up to 1,350 guests. Hilton London Metropole also operates Hilton EventReady with CleanStay, which ensures the hotel delivers event experiences that are clean, flexible, safe and socially responsible.  

“Our ambitious multimillion pound renovation will maintain Hilton London Metropole as Europe’s leading conference and events hotel,” said Remco Norden, Area General Manager. “The refurbishment will radically transform every element of the hotel, from our restaurants and bars to our bedrooms, suites and meeting and event spaces. It will elevate the guest experience and continue to make us the venue of choice for business and leisure travellers and corporate and private events of any scale. 

“The refurbishment celebrates London and our hotel’s wonderful history. Despite the challenges the industry has faced in 2020, our hotel has an incredibly bright future and this renovation is our opportunity to invest in it.”  

The hotel has embraced the latest in technology to ensure a seamless stay, from upgraded Wi-Fi to the introduction of Digital Key, which allows Hilton Honours members to check in and choose their room using their smartphone via the Hilton Honours app.   

The design project celebrates the best of the capital, with the new design weaving the city’s storied history into the hotel. Guests will experience engaging touchpoints from London’s rich heritage, its vibrant art, culture, music and diverse food scene throughout.  

The new, elevated aesthetic will take guests on an immersive experience through the capital. The architecture, design, restaurants and bars showcase purposeful acknowledgements to East, Central and West London’s heritage as the hotel tells the story of this ancient city with nods to iconic areas including Borough Market, Covent Garden and towns on the Thames. 

Sustainability is at the heart of Hilton London Metropole and its refurbishment. From the team members’ uniforms, made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic, to the green kitchens serving locally grown produce, the hotel has collaborated with a wide range of businesses and manufacturers to create an ethical and environmentally conscious space. 

Guests staying in the Suites or Executive Rooms will enjoy complimentary breakfast and access to the exclusive and contemporary Executive Lounge, which has a dedicated arrivals area and check in facilities. The lounge serves a carefully curated food and drink offering throughout the day alongside monthly tasting and live cooking experiences. When booking their future stays, guests can also feel confident that their health and wellbeing have been taken care of thanks to Hilton CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection delivered in Hilton properties worldwide. 

The hotel’s radical developments will retain Hilton London Metropole’s position as the perfect choice for the business traveller, from its central location in the heart of the city to its impeccable transport links, seven different bedroom options and four suite categories to choose from, a seamless check in process, a wide choice of food and drink dining experiences and an impressive on-site fitness studio. 

Since you’re here, why not watch our recent Hotel Designs LIVE panel discussion, featuring Neil Andrew, Head of Hospitality at Perkins&Will?

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Kyoto Minamiyamashiro

Fairfield By Marriott to open 6 hotels in Japan by August 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Fairfield By Marriott to open 6 hotels in Japan by August 2021

“These new openings underscore Marriott International’s focus on growing our presence in Japan to serve travellers here,” says Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International…

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Kyoto Minamiyamashiro

Fairfield by Marriott, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands, today announced the planned openings of six new Fairfield properties in Japan.

The openings continue the momentum of the innovative “Michi-no-eki” project, bringing six more Fairfield by Marriott hotels to key locations near roadside rest stations called “Michi-no-Eki”, across four prefectures in Japan. The new hotels are situated close to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, providing guests easy access to many undiscovered destinations.

“We are excited to continue the Fairfield by Marriott brand expansion in Japan this year, with the opening of six more hotels in collaboration with Sekisui House,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “These new openings underscore Marriott International’s focus on growing our presence in Japan to serve travellers here. As we see the growing demand for self-drive travel, the new hotels will deliver on the brand’s principles of friendly service and warm hospitality in undiscovered destinations across Japan.”

Each one of the new hotels takes inspiration from its natural surroundings, delivering the beauty of simplicity for guests who appreciate a calming and reliable experience. Each of the hotels’ public areas serves as a flexible social space to share and connect with other travellers or simply to relax. Guests can expect a harmonious balance of functionality, comfort and enriching décor in natural materials and carefully selected amenities.

FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Mie Odai

Image caption: FairField by Marriott Michinoeki Mie Odai. | Image credit: Marriott International

The hotels that are opening are:

Fairfield by Marriott Mie Odai (72 rooms, opened March 9, 2021)

Guests can immerse in the nature of Odai with activities including swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Miya River that runs through Odai, or spend the day fishing for ayu sweetfish in the river. For those who prefer the mountain, the hotel is near some of the most famous hiking trails in Japan, namely Osugidani and Mount Somon trails. The area is also known for its breathtaking sceneries including Nanatsugama Falls, which is selected as one of “Japan’s 100 Great Waterfalls”. Fairfield by Marriott Mie Odai welcomes guests with comfortable spaces and warm hospitality that will recharge their senses, making this an ideal base for relaxing and discovering the area.

Fairfield by Marriott Kyoto Minamiyamashiro (50 rooms, opened March 12, 2021)
Located 28 kilometres from Nara, Fairfield by Marriott Kyoto Minamiyamashiro allows guests to enjoy the local charms of Kyoto’s only village. At Michi-no-Eki Ocha no Kyoto Minamiyamashiro Village, guests can savour the delicious flavors of the local fresh produce including the Uji tea and log-grown shiitake mushrooms. They can take a stroll to enjoy the invigorating views of tea fields stretching out to the horizons, discover the historical temples and shrines, or admire the natural features along the Kizu River. The peaceful village can transport visitors away from the stress of urban living.

Fairfield by Marriott Tochigi Nikko (91 rooms, expected opening March 22, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Tochigi Nikko is located in Nikko, a town built around the Nikko Toshogu shrine, attracting visitors and worshippers. Culture seekers can indulge in some of Japan’s best and most famous monuments, including Toshogu, Futarasan-jinja Shinto shrine and Rinno-ji Buddhist temple, which are all UNESCO World Heritage-listed. Nikko is also blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, including Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji and the great Mount Nantai. Travelers can marvel at the beautiful scenery of the area that changes with the seasons, and discover the traditional crafts of the Tochigi region, such as Nikko-bori woodcarving, Nikko-geta sandals and Kanuma-kumiko wood latticework.

Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Kushimoto (90 rooms, expected opening April 14, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Kushimoto is located adjacent to Michi-no-Eki Kushimoto Hashigui-iwa, a roadside station that looks out to Hashigui-iwa Rocks, one of the famous natural wonders in Japan. Facing the Pacific Ocean on the southernmost point of Honshu, the largest island in the Japanese archipelago, Kushimoto is known for its splendid natural beauty. This popular area offers a range of activities, including swimming, scuba diving and walking along the ancient trails on the Ohechi route of the World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo. Thanks to the Kuroshio current, the area also has an abundance of delicious seafood, including Kenken Katsuo (bonito), Japanese spiny lobster and Pacific bluefin tuna, which was successfully farmed for the first time in the world in this region.

Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Susami (90 rooms, expected opening June 9, 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Wakayama Susami stands next to Michi-no-Eki Susami, which looks out onto the Pacific Ocean. The destination is known for its famous local cuisine and seasonal delights such as Mehari-zushi, and Kenken Katsuo (bonito) that is in season from spring to early summer. Another attraction of the area is Esuzaki, an island joined by land to the mainland, the ancient paths of Nagaizaka on the Ohechi route of the World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo.

Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa (64 rooms, expected opening summer 2021)
Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa is surrounded by rich natural beauty including the clear mountain streams and the famous ancient Shokawa Sakura – two cherry blossom trees that have stood on the shore of Lake Miboro for the last 500 years. The magnificent surrounding mountains provide the perfect backdrop for guests to unwind and relax at the hot spring, Ouka no Yu, next to the hotel. One should not miss the local exquisite produce, including Hida Beef, now famous nation-wide, and hand-kneaded soba noodles made from millstone-ground buckwheat grown in the hills around Hida.

“Fairfield by Marriott offers travellers access to remote destinations in Japan whilst ensuring that guests can count on The Fairfield Promise – from the hotel’s level of service to accommodations, if a guest is ever not satisfied with their stay, Fairfield will make it right,” said Masahiro Taguchi, Project Director of Fairfield by Marriott’s Michi-no-Eki portfolio. “We look forward to welcoming more travellers to discover the wonderful secrets of rural Japan, including its beautiful landscapes, local produce and cuisines, traditional crafts and historic destinations.”

Main image credit: Marriott International 

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Creating the perfect arrival experience when hospitality reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Creating the perfect arrival experience when hospitality reopens

Leaflike offers combination of sustainable planting options – whether real, replica or preserved – that work to your budget and create an amazing arrival experience…

Over the last year, Leaflike has worked with customers for cost saving solutions, transforming the perfect arrival experience without compromising on the look.

The Savoy completed a cost-saving exercise by switching their live planting at the front of the hotel for preserved/replica planting combination. Saving them money on their entrance planting as well as creating a magnificent first impression for their guests, a range of premium quality lifelike Buxus Ball Topiary and Buxus Spirals with slate top dressing planted into the hotel’s in-situ planter just outside their main entrance.

This was the perfect cost saving solution for this hotel during the current climate yet keeping the high-quality planting that this distinguished property requires. Feedback from the hotel and guests said: “We couldn’t believe how high quality the product is, so lifelike it’s unreal!”

Another example of combination planting includes customers opting for Everleaf by Leaflike. Real preserved planting that offers a 12 week cycle instead of weekly fresh displays.

Finally, the third option is a replica R8 green wall with live planting displayed in front of or around the wall area to provide a true combination planting experience, maintaining the look and benefiting from cost saving initiatives too.

In addition to these combination planting options, Leaflike helps customers across multiple industries, not only architects and interior designers, commercial properties, schools, offices and hospitality but retail and private residential alike.

Image of green wall outside of 54 Queens Gate

Image credit: Leaflike

Working across these industries Leaflike has recently helped Pan Pacific Hotel with a sustainable design, a replica green wall for Next Retail, a moss wall for Village Wholefoods, exterior green walls for The Big Yellow Self Storage Company and a new partnership with Uncommon who create flexible workspaces with a difference. Uncommon help members live well, work well and do well through supportive environments designed around them.

Leaflike is contributing to the Biophilic aspects of their offering and here is what they say about it: “Breathe deeply. A building without greenery is just unnatural. Plants create fresh air and make you happy, so the more the better. Roof terrace outside, plenty of pots inside. A healthier workspace to be. Find your place.”

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

Main image credit: Leaflike

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

SMD Textiles/ILIV is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: ILIV

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DoubleTree by Hilton to expand its portfolio into Pakistan

An agreement signed with Dhabi Hospitality will see Hilton’s upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand launch in the city of Islamabad in 2025. Here’s what we know…

Render of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Pakistan

The DoubleTree by Hilton brand, which currently has more than 600 upscale hotels across 48 countries, will arrive in Islamabad in 2025, following a signed agreement between the global hotel group and real estate company Dhabi Hospitality.

“This is a landmark agreement for Hilton that signals our re-entry to the Pakistan market,” said Carlos Khneisser, vice president of development, Middle East and Africa, Hilton. “We are doing so as part of a groundbreaking development in the country’s business capital and one which will offer unparalleled convenience for travellers to the New Islamabad International Airport, which is ultimately expected to handle around 25m passengers on an annual basis.”

Featuring 167 guestrooms, including 10 suites, the property will form part of a residential and commercial development. It will sit alongside newly built residential apartments in a suburban complex containing healthcare, education and recreational facilities as well as a number of commercial outlets. Guests will be able to enjoy four restaurants, including a rooftop pool café, as well as on-site fitness facilities.

Muhammad Sadiq, CEO, Dhabi Hospitality said: “We aim to blend the comfort of suburban living with the convenience of city life, offering our customers an unrivalled lifestyle and the very best in modern amenities and services. We are proud to be bringing the DoubleTree by Hilton brand to Pakistan as part of this project and are excited to complement our offering with its world-renowned upscale hospitality and service.”

The hotel will be located to the West of Islamabad city centre, on the Srinagar Highway, which connects the city with New Islamabad International Airport. Just 4km from the airport terminal, it will become the most convenient option for travellers looking for high-end accommodation and meeting facilities in proximity to the airport. It will be equipped with three state-of-the-art meeting rooms and a 518sqm ballroom suitable for weddings and large events.

Hilton is yet to confirm the architecture and interior design studios who will be responsible for this milestone project.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels


Design Studio in Cotswold

Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios to reopen

As of Monday April 12 2021, Design Studios for the Commercial Business unit of Topps Tiles Plc will re-open fully, marking a welcome return to normal business…

Design Studio in Cotswold

Home to Parkside and Strata Tiles, Clerkenwell and Leicester Design Studios will return to normal operation in line with government guidelines on Monday 12 April 2021, once again welcoming local architecture and interior design communities to share in the knowledge and expertise of the companies.

Parkside Design Studios in Chelsea and the Cotswolds will also re-open on Monday 12 April, resuming full service and continuing to be destinations for commercial interior professionals in the area.

With the Design Studios central to the Commercial Business Unit’s service to specifiers, architects, project managers and interior designers, the news is welcome in what has been an extraordinary 12 months for the entire industry.

Tina Hughan, Head of Marketing – Commercial, comments; “We’re delighted to be able to return the Design Studios to normal operation with all the social distancing recommendations in place. It’s been an extraordinary period of change for the industry and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but as we once again freely welcome our local professional communities back to the Design Studios we’re eager to share all the product developments that have occurred during their temporary absence.”

These developments include new recycled and natural content sustainable collections, a range of specialist anti-bacterial tiles and an updated outdoor collection, as well as many striking new porcelain and ceramic wall and floor tile designs as presented in the company’s recent edition of its brochure.

Parkside, which won Best in British Product Design at The Brit List Awards 2020, is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Parkside

Gif of top stories of the week

Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Hyatt milestones, a D.C. check-in & HD Live returns

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing, a safe place where you can catch up on all the hottest hotel design and hospitality stories from the last couple of days. This week’s round-up includes our latest hotel review and your chance to join us for free at Hotel Designs LIVE in May…

Gif of top stories of the week

As we accelerate past the anniversary when the UK was placed under its first national lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak, I am reminded of how unpredictable events can impact the way in which hospitality and hotel design is perceived.

This week, when hosting our latest roundtable (to be published next month) the conversation turned towards how, despite the hospitality industry being inherently hygienic and clean, the perception around cleanliness is the new challenge designers and hospitality professionals are managing.

Although we don’t have all the answers just yet, one way to reassure the post-corona consumer is by highlighting exceptional design and examples of innovative hospitality – something that the editorial team at Hotel Designs feels strongly about. In addition to shining the spotlight on leading hotel design examples, we also need to amplify the raw conversations the industry is having right now in order to reopen for the post-pandemic world. Cue the return of Hotel Designs LIVE in May, which will welcome world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to speak about the real challenges our industry is facing in 2021.

Until May, the editorial team is here to serve you the latest news and features in international hotel design and hospitality – starting with this round-up of the top stories published this week.

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Image caption: Rendering of Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Dubai | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Read more.

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C.is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems.

Read more.

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event Awards – Hotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up.

Read more. | Participate.

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

Atlas Concorde interview image

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, Hotel Designs gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concordejoins us to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability.

Read more.

What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Seating collection by Hommés Studio

Hommés Studio crafts its own identity with precision and challenges existing interior boundaries. From its natural look and textures to highly polished and coloured versions, all seating collections are a tribute to craftsmanship, honouring the art of creating soulful pieces with handmade techniques…

The heart of every home depends on its owners. Some consider the living room, others the entryway, and still others the dining room. One thing is for sure, the seating composition wanders throughout the space creating a welcoming and functional space. A sectional here, an armchair there, and a bench somewhere create a different vibe in the space. With a bit of creativity, a perfect collection of chairs, sofas, armchairs, and benches can transform any room for the better.


From vintage armchairs, retro armchairs, mid-century modern armchairs to more modern and contemporary armchairs, this is the best collection to incorporate in any interior space.

Image credit: Hommés Studio

AJUI Armchair

Ajui Armchair is a luxury armchair that features an artsy interpretation of a cactus and a swivel base. This accent armchair is a conceptual piece and the perfect choice for a modern living area.

MAX Armchair

Max Armchair is a mid-century style armchair. This armchair brings details from the old days to contemporary design. Its shape and exquisite materials make it an outstanding accent armchair.

ALICE Armchair

Alice Armchair is a luxury armchair composed of exquisite materials. This eclectic armchair is perfect for a contemporary interior design project. It features the most comfortable materials that anyone can ask for in an armchair.


The dining room is a showcase of every house because it is the center of meetings with family and friends. Sometimes it is not easy to choose the perfect furniture for your interior, but HOMMÉS Studio has a suitable chairs collection.


Scille Dining Chair is a luxury armchair that features an asymmetric seat composed of curvilinear panels that intersect each other. An original and comfortable chair, ideal for a contemporary dining room project.

PINA Chair

Pina Dining Chair is an art deco-style armchair whose shape provides the best comfort for guests. Perfect for modern dining room projects that aim for a classic-chic vibe.


Karmen Dining Chair adds instant class and contemporary chic to the home. A genuinely stunning seat, the velvet palette works well alongside creamy marble tables.


Seating Collection_23

Image credit: Hommés Studio

Daybeds are pieces of furniture that can be used for sitting, reclining, and sleeping. They feature fabric or leather cushions, as well as both curved and more streamlined silhouettes. The small size also makes them a versatile piece for narrow spaces.

VOLARE I and II Daybed

Volare Daybed is a luxury daybed. It features an ergonomic shape and exquisite details. It will provide the accent piece to a modern master bedroom or luxurious living room project.


Jagger Chaise Longue is a luxury chaise longue that aims to relax the body and mind and break routines, ideal for contemporary garden designs.


The sofa is the main element of living room furniture.  Find everything from shiny, contemporary sofas to cozy corner sofas and much more. All products offer extraordinary comfort and excellent.


Gyvaté Modular Sofa is a sectional sofa with an elegant curvy silhouette. With an iconic aesthetic, this contemporary design piece allows a customizable composition to be a feature in a high-end interior design project. This curved sofa is the perfect place for entertaining as its incomparable shape enlivens your luxury living room.


Lunarys Sofa is a contemporary style sofa that features a glamorous aesthetic look. It is an outstanding sofa that amazes everyone with its powerful presence. A stunning piece that disrupts commonly seen shapes, transitioning its admirers to another dimension.


Ajui Sofa is a modern rounded sofa that combines an artsy interpretation of a cactus shape with the comfort expected from a luxury sofa. The perfect choice for a modern living room design or a unique retail project.


Hommés Studio’s wide selection of benches spans the modern design spectrum combining the perfect materials with bold shapes and colours.


Cadiz Bench combines bold shapes with extreme attention to comfort. A Memphis style inspired bench, ideal for any modern seating area.


Fifih Bench is the perfect luxury bench for a minimalist and modern interior architecture project. Elements from the past mixed with a futuristic vision.

MOA Bench

Moa Bench is an accent bench. Its base and seat express a solemn geometry that accent a modern identity in any contemporary interior design project.

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

Main image credit: Hommés Studio

Atlas Concorde interview image

In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Atlas Concorde on surface design

In the wake of Hotel Designs’ spotlight on surfaces throughout the month of February, editor Hamish Kilburn gets a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the leading ceramic surface brands in the industry. Matteo Martini, UK & Northern Europe Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, joins Kilburn to explore surface trends, creative materials and sustainability…

Atlas Concorde interview image

With each collection that Altas Concorde launches – from the Boost Pro Collection to the colourful Prism Collection and Marvel Shine – the Italian ceramic surface brand solidifies its place as one of the leading names in surface design. Aside from launching sensational products, though, I want to investigate the research and development that goes into each new line. To do this, I have caught up with Matteo Martini, UK & Northern European Sales Director at Atlas Concorde, who’s passion for innovation and stylish surfaces is unmatched.

Hamish Kilburn: Welcome Matteo… Let’s get straight into it. We recently published a piece about Atlas Concorde’s Prism Collection. Can you tell us more about how you came up with these 13 colours?

Matteo Martini: Prism is the latest project born from the collaboration (began in 2018 with the capsule collection  Canone Inverso) between Atlas Concorde and Piero Lissoni, famous Italian archistar with a long-lasting career within furniture and design.

The concept behind Prism comes from Lissoni’s imagination and his great sensitivity to colour variation: the hues of the range represent the light’s refractions while crossing a prism, going to create a rainbow.

Colour is a key part of our lives, conveys our emotions, our moods, it influences the way we approach to everyday experiences, it defines the spaces that we choose to live in. Prism combines sic neutral colours (Cloud, Cotton, Cord, Suede, Fog and Graphite) with seven bright, characterful and contemporary ones, perfect for wall application in both the 50x120cm ceramic wall tile version and the 120x278cm large porcelain slabs in 6mm thickness.

Prism offers to architects and designers the chance to transform their feelings into actual architectural surfaces that convey emotions, granting soul and character to residential and commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: The Prism Collection is available in 13 different colours. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: We’re seeing huge demand at the moment for the ‘imperfect’ surface; a rough, industrial-looking product that still performs exceptionally. What challenges do brands like Atlas Concorde face when delivering such a look?

MM: Porcelain tiles are a tactile product defined equally by colour, graphics and surface, which together create its soul. In the last few years we have witnessed the massive spread of digital printing technology which on one hand has enormously scaled up the decorative possibilities, but on the other one it has put at a disadvantage the tactile aspect of the products, which have become progressively more flat and bi-dimensional.

Atlas Concorde has chosen to take the opposite route, studying natural and imperfect surfaces and faithfully recreating them.
Texture and structure are key components to give depth and integrity to the porcelain tiles. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to invest in research on new and alternative sources of inspiration.

Let me explain better: for the Aix collection, inspired by a limestone stone typical of the French region of Provence (Aix en Provence), our laboratory has recovered an original 18th century flooring, studying into details all its imperfections and the wear and tear effects that make this material so unique and fascinating.
To create Raw, a scraped plaster/concrete effect, our technicians and researchers went scouting for worn out surfaces among the historic and fascinating buildings of Milan.

This is certainly an expensive and time consuming activity, but we do believe it is crucial in order to differentiate our products and make them unique. Also, what makes the surface so important isn’t only the aesthetic appeal, but also the technical aspect. The experience gained on the contract market enabled us to exploit our extensive research to develop highly technical surfaces that meet the anti-slip performance requirements demanded by designers around the world, including the Pendulum Test (PTV) according to British Standards, essential for combining design and safety in commercial spaces.

Image caption: The Marvel Collection has, in Matteo’s words ‘set the standard’ for marble-looking porcelain tiles. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Your products are ideal for all areas of the hotel, but for me it’s really exciting to see them specified in the bathroom, a space where personality has been lacking in the past. How important is colour becoming in the bathroom?

MM: The bathroom is a fundamental part of the customer experience within a hotel, and its design can indeed have a huge impact on the guests and their stay.

Over the last few years we have developed worldwide partnerships with major international chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Radisson and we have seen how a successful refurb project of the bedrooms, and especially of the bathrooms, actually translates into an increase of positive reviews on the most famous sites (Booking.comHotels.com), by as much as 30 per cent. The main challenge for designers is to combine colours and trends into durable, if not timeless, concepts. To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream, inspired by the world of natural marble, which combine neutral and elegant colours along white and grey hues, with some more lively shades ranging from red to gold, from green to blue.

The neutral colours, typical of the prestigious natural stones like Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Vagli, Bianco Covelano and Grigio Carnico, are a perfect background to elegant spaces with a classic and timeless look, that acquire character and freshness through the use of colour for niches, feature walls and vanity units.

The most successful accent colours are the variegated Agata Azul and the electric blue Ultramarine, inspired by precious stones such as Agate Stone and Lapis Lazuli.

Recently we are seeing a throwback of warmer shades, which are absolute protagonists in our Boost Pro collection, concrete effect in 6 colours, and Marvel Shine collection, a marble look inspired by prestigious Italian stones like Apuano marble, widely used by Michelangelo, and Calacatta Macchia Vecchia.

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: To meet the demand for luxe bathrooms, Atlas Concorde has To meet this need, Atlas Concorde has launched two collections, Marvel Edge and Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

HK: Let’s talk about sustainability. What interesting materials go into your surfaces?

MM: Sustainability is a key aspect for the future of our planet and the tile business makes no exception: accurate sourcing of raw materials, responsible energy use and recycling are extremely important aspects to us. Let’s not forget that porcelain tiles are a man-made product manufactured with natural raw materials, like clays and feldspars. Atlas Concorde uses 100 per cent eco-friendly raw materials, carefully selected not only for their quality but also for the environmental impact of their sourcing, with the whole supply chain strictly adhering to our environmental policy and code of conduct.

Our manufacturing plant in Fiorano Modenese is completely energy self-sufficient, thanks to a cogeneration unit that allows us to recover the heat produced during the firing process and reuse it for the dryers; furthermore, we completely reuse the waste water produced during the manufacturing process and our packaging is entirely made of recycled and recyclable material.

Most of our products have up to 40 per cent of pre-consumer recycled materials and contribute to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental certification system for green buildings and all our production facilities are PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) certified.

The latest project that we started a couple of years ago is the construction of a completely automatic warehouse that will reduce CO2 emissions by 60 per cent and will be fully operational in the summer.

HK: Surfaces are becoming much more creative thanks to advancements in manufacturing technology. What’s the latest tech development that our readers should be aware of?

MM: The hottest trend in the tile industry is definitely large formats, not only for wall and floor application but also for new and alternative destinations of use like kitchen worktops, tables, furniture, vanity units, etc.

Atlas Concorde decided a few years ago to invest in the latest cutting-edge technologies launching a dedicated brand, ‘Atlas Plan’, for large format porcelain slabs with different looks, sizes and thicknesses.

We offer solutions for wall cladding in 6 mm thickness (1200×2780 and 1600×3200 mm) but also not rectified slabs in 1620×3240 mm in 6, 12 and 20 mm thickness that are gaining popularity in the UK.

This new technology allows us to offer a versatile solution in terms of look (concrete, stone, marble, etc) with outstanding performances: Atlas Plan is stain resistant, scratch resistant, easy to clean, unabsorbent, ideal for infinite applications in every hospitality project, from table and counter tops in bars and restaurants to vanity units and striking feature walls in hotel bathrooms and reception areas.

But the real deal are two new patented technologies, that we’ve called ‘Natura Vein Tech’ and ‘Natura Body Tech’.

The Natura-Vein™ Tech technology offers the possibility of industrially recreating the typical veining of a natural material such as marble. Through-body vein technology thus increases the freedom of design for designers because it makes the marble look even more realistic, lending each project continuity of surface, edge and corners.

The Natura-Body™ Tech technology, on the other hand, reproduces the aesthetics of natural stones both on the surface and in the body of the slab. Material continuity between the surface and edges of full-body porcelain slabs is an aesthetic advantage that meets the highest design standards, both indoors and outdoors.

These are ground-breaking technologies that open up a new world of possibilities to architects and designers and we are very proud to announce that these exciting products are readily available on stock in the UK thanks to our distribution partners.


HK: Can you describe the brand’s attitude in three words? 
MM: Innovation, quality and passion

HK: What surface trend do you hope will never return?
Terrazzo…it reminds me of my grandma’s kitchen floor. I loved my grandma with all my heart and cherished her delicious pasta but her kitchen was awful!

HK: What’s the biggest pitfall designers fall down when specifying surfaces?
Anti-slip regulations are a tricky topic, in particular in hospitality projects as the requirements change depending on the destination of use. We are the experts, ask us for help and advice!

HK: Can you give us a sentence to tease us on what next to expect from Atlas Concorde?
MM: We have the ambition to be perceived not only as a tile manufacturer but more and more as a design brand and our next project will be a further confirmation of this ambition.

Image caption: A public area featuring Marvel Dream. | Image credit: Atlas ConcordeHK: What advice would you give to designers who are working on a tight budget?

Think about the visual impact that surfaces that cover walls and floors have within your projects, compared to other products.. Choosing the right surfaces is crucial for creating and defining the concept,  the look and the identity of the space we want to develop.

Quite often the choice of surfaces is left to the final stages of the project specification, when a significant amount of the budget has already been allocated for furniture, sanitaryware and bathroom fittings, with the real risk of compromising the final result. My advice is therefore to think ahead, giving surfaces the role, the importance and the budget they deserve.
Atlas Concorde is working along these lines by developing a ‘total look’ concept, which forsees the use of ceramic surfaces for furniture, tables, counter tops, washbasins, vanity units, promoting a whole and complete design package.

This said, we are also able to offer more cost-effective options with the Atlas Concorde Solution contract range which, thanks to some more streamlined series, offers a wide range of products at more competitive prices, without compromising on quality.

HK: Your latest collection, Marvel Shine, is said to ‘take ceramic marble tiles beyond replication to a whole new level.’ How does it achieve this?

MM: For years now the Marvel collections have set the standard for marble-looking porcelain tiles. To further expand the range, Atlas Concorde sought out the assistance of SAVEMA, Italian leader in the marble industry, which made available all its experience for the selection of the purest and most precious white marbles to be used as a source of inspiration for this collection.

With Marvel Shine Atlas Concorde have achieved an unprecedented level of authenticity, going beyond replication. Marvel Shine is inspired by the white marble of Italian artistic tradition, exploring new surfaces that are unique in their purity, color, and brightness. The range is made of four light tones inspired by the finest varieties of Calacatta and Statuario marbles and distinguished by a bright white background.

The polished finish brings out the luminosity of the tile and reproduces the slight unevenness of the original marble. Ideal for commercial spaces, the matt finish offers an excellent technical performance. The new silk finish, on the other hand, gives ceramic tiles an unprecedented tactile sensation: a silky, soft effect that also reflects the light subtly.

With its exclusive technology, Marvel Shine offers the possibility to replicate the traditional bookmatched pattern of natural marble with 16 slabs in the size 750×1500 mm to create compositions measuring 6×3 meters. Furthermore, the 1200×2780 mm and 1600×3200 mm large formats offer the continuity of the veins from one slab to the next to reproduce the effect of a single block of marble.

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

Main image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

smart shower from Roca

Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Roca shines with new smart shower

Keeping in mind that no shower experience is the same, Roca has developed a smart shower to revolutionise this daily routine. Let’s take a look at the brand’s new, sleek and simple smart shower…

smart shower from Roca

The latest innovative shower launched by Roca uses smart technology to provide a truly unique showering experience. With its customisable settings and ease of use, the Smart Shower is a beneficial addition to any bathroom design.

The intelligent control has a sleek, simple interface and allows up to three users within the same household to pre-set their desired settings. They can set their shower duration, maximum temperature and flow rates all based on their own individual needs.  The interface features a colour LCD display and touch sensitive controls with soft turn dials to ensure it is extremely easy to use and control. The Smart Shower system can install two or three outlets including a Raindream showerhead, handset and Puzzle Square Jets. If homeowners select the three outlet option, the clever design allows two of them to work simultaneously.

One of the smart benefits to the digital shower is that it can be controlled via an app. This means that users can simply use their phone or tablet from a bedside to conveniently turn on the shower and activate the warm-up function. The app also helps with energy and water saving, enabling users to monitor their water and energy consumption, to run your shower more efficiently.

For young families, the shower is equipped with a child safety mode so children can only turn the shower off and also allows for the control of flow, temperature and duration to provide peace of mind. This is reinforced by the temperature monitoring system which measures the temperature to eliminate the risk of scalding.

The Smart Shower solution also includes a Legionella cleaning programme to eliminate bacteria without the use of chemical products and a cleaning program to remove any impurities.

“It may seem like a luxury, but the Smart Shower is not just for convenience,” comments David Bromell Head of Marketing at Roca. “In addition to providing a luxe showering experience, the intuitive system will actively work to reduce water wastage, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for the bathroom design.”

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

Main image credit: Roca

Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Elevate the guest experience with flooring

Specifiers can easily achieve unique designs with the versatility of LVT, from combining colour and pattern combinations, to working with flooring manufacturers to produce bespoke creations, says Gemma Passantino, Design Services Manager at Amtico

Flooring is one of many products that can bring a touch of style and quality to hospitality environments, and opting for products that offer design flexibility opens up a world of possibilities. While the word ‘unique’ is often overused, it isn’t uncommon for it to appear in a client’s brief. However, instantly reflecting a brand and its desired aesthetic can be challenging! So, it’s important to work with a product and company that can help produce designs that will make a hotel stand out.

“We also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection.”

Bespoke designs can be created in many ways and as a British flooring manufacturer we offer a variety of services from made-to-order, completely unique concepts and creations, to tailoring our Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) products and laying patterns to produce custom floor designs. Working with a manufacturer ensures that a client’s requirements for acoustic backing or other technical specifications can also be taken into account. In addition to our service offering, we also have more than 100 predefined floors in the Designers’ Choice collection; these exclusive laying patterns make it easier for specifiers to select stunning floor designs and colour combinations.

The expertise of a manufacturer’s in-house creative and CAD teams is invaluable, and its advanced knowledge of the product range and cutting capabilities is essential, as these can be utilised to create an intricate design or feature floor area. Whether it’s an eye-catching emblem and splash of colour, or a bespoke laying pattern, a manufacturer can also advise on product choice and suitable finishes to fulfil a project’s requirements.

The chosen colours, textures, and patterns set the mood and prepare guests for their stay – and flooring ticks all the boxes, whether it’s a colourful, patterned floor design that enhances the vibrancy of a hotel bar, or a classic Parquet in Oak hues for a home-from-home feel in a bedroom. Consider the many roles that flooring plays – does it reflect the desired mood, do the colours complement the textures in the room in question? And does the laying pattern make a visual impact and guide guests through an area?

Of course, achieving this relies on the flexibility, adaptability and durability of the flooring material. While natural woods and stones have their place, selecting Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) is a forward-thinking decision for a hotel; after all, they can provide the shapes, angles/geometry and scale needed to optimise a space, while remaining incredibly durable and meeting VOC requirements for wellbeing and air quality. However, you can combine the charm of woods and stones with the unrivalled performance of LVT. For instance, we have launched Amtico Form, a new nature-inspired collection that recreates the tactile beauty and authentic textures of natural materials. Designed in Britain by our in-house creative team, the 36 Woods and Stones harness the natural colours and variations that can be seen in real marble or timber.

Ever-popular, LVT also provides complete resilience and design freedom while withstanding heavy traffic and resisting scuffs, scratches and stains. Importantly, our LVT products are made with recycled content and offer the same aesthetic years after installation, all while maintaining its integrity. So, it is no surprise that it is rising above ceramics and timber to become the flooring material of choice in hospitality.

Interior design trends are slowly moving away from simple, minimalistic schemes to more considered and characterful looks that enhance the mood of guests and provide the ultimate experience. As hotels re-open, we foresee a greater emphasis on wayfinding and zoning being incorporated naturally into designs with flooring choices, and with this we will see even more experimentation, with distinctive patterns and bold colours.

The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, however, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of the hotel and its guests, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort.

Amtico is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday Deal. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Pacific Grain, DC338 Parquet Small | Image credit: Amtico

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Ideal Standard launches Atelier Collections

Bathroom brand Ideal Standard has introduced its brand-new, design-led range, Atelier Collections, created in collaboration with renowned Italian studio PS+A

Image of pastel coloured wash basins

The premium latest premium collections by Ideal Standard look back to its heritage while shaping the bathrooms of the future. The products bring together the unmatched skills of Palomba Serafinia Associati (PS+A), through its founder Roberta Palomba, with Ideal Standard’s broad manufacturing expertise. 

The ranges draw inspiration from iconic Ideal Standard products of the past to create exciting new collections for the present. Roberto Palomba, a master of international design with over 25 years of experience in design innovations for the bathroom, has created unique collections that include an exclusive range of ceramics, brassware and furniture. The bold designs work in harmony to allow complete customisation on every project.

At the centre of the new collections is the Conca range, which nods towards the iconic Ideal Standard basin, offering stunning minimal designs. The Blend range of WCs has been created to perfectly complement these basins. Both Conca and Blend are inspired by Ideal Standard’s leading product lines from the past, reinvigorating the brand as a leader in design.  

Core to the Atelier collections is colour. PS+A have created a new, bold colour palette, some of which draws on colour influences that can be found in Ideal Standard’s design heritage, and others which reflect and define new colour trends. Launching in March, the colours have been applied to the Ipalyss range of super slim washbasins, designed by Robin Levien. Incredibly striking in colour and design, new shapes and sizes are also being introduced, creating an extremely durable and versatile range, made possible by Ideal Standard’s Diamatec technology.

Additionally, there is also new brassware, with two new lines of mixer taps, Check and Joy. They are available in chrome and PVD finishes to offer a stylish simplicity.

Commenting on the new collections, Roberto Palomba said: We are particularly proud of the results of our partnership with Ideal Standard. We maintain a very simple approach for our creations: quality paired with intuitive design that also keeps an eye to the past, while ensuring the levels of practicality, purity and elegance meet the needs of modern society.”

Torsten Türling, Chief Executive Officer at Ideal Standard added: “Throughout our history, we’ve worked closely with the leading designers of their era. Master designers have a unique ability to capture the essence of the time and translate that into designs that shape the evolution of society and influence the culture of design beyond the bathroom. This essence of design is what we wanted to capture again and this is reflected in Atelier Collections.”

The Atelier Collections will be available exclusively through independent retailers, with Ideal Standard committing significant investment into showroom and marketing support for the collections.

David Barber, Managing Director for Ideal Standard UK and Ireland said: “The Atelier Collections mark a new era in Ideal Standard’s design journey and we understand the importance of these ranges for our retail partners. Not only are we committing to a consumer advertising campaign to drive footfall to showrooms, but we are also working with retailers to provide support and tailor-made packages to ensure they are fully equipped to serve their customer base.”

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

Main image credit: Ideal Standard

Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Registration now open for Hotel Designs LIVE in May

Hot off the heels of the success of Hotel Designs LIVE in February – and following being shortlisted in the ‘Best Webinar Series’ category at the Digital Event AwardsHotel Designs’ one-day online conference will return on May 11, with world-renowned designers, architects and hospitality specialists confirmed in the speakership line-up…

Hotel Designs LIVE, the one-day conference which is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hoteliers or developer, will return on May 11 to serve up a series of online seminars with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This time last year, Hotel Designs, which is known for organising exceptional face-to-face networking events, made the decision to adapt its delivery in order to adhere to new guidelines and restrictions that were put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained Katy Phillips, publisher, Hotel Designs. “It was during this confusing time when the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE was born. Thanks to the support of the industry we love to serve, the event has been able to amplify important topics and continue to be the bridge between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers worldwide.”

“In order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

In what will be the brand’s fourth online conference, the topics explored throughout the day will include understanding the new era of lifestyle, bathrooms beyond practical spaces, art outside the frame and how workspace trends will impact hotel design. “Due to the flexible concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, we have the luxury of being extremely selective when deciding upon the topics for each event,” explains editor and content curator for the event, Hamish Kilburn. “Each seminar, therefore, will amplify meaningful solutions around areas of design and hospitality that are drastically evolving – and in order to really and confidently define these answers and possibilities we have called upon world-renowned design, architecture and hospitality experts in order to inject personality, perspective and flair into the discussions.”

Click here to secure your complimentary ticket for the online event (designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free!)

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘Product Watch’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

The agenda for the day and confirmed speakers (so far) are:

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click hereIf you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt opens 1,000th hotel worldwide

With the opening of  Alila Napa Valley in St. Helena, Hyatt, which arrived with its first property in 1957, has officially opened the brand’s 1,000th hotel worldwide. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of guestroom inside Alila Hotel

We love a milestone at Hotel Designs! For any brand to claim that they have opened 1,000 hotels is an enormous feat, but considering we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis – and the hospitality industry is climbing its most challenging mountain to date in order to thrive once more – the news that Hyatt has opened its 1,000th hotel worldwide is nothing short of extra ordinary.

Marking the expansion of Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle Alila brand portfolio with the brand’s second property in the Americas, Alila Napa Valley offers guests crafted luxury, innovative design, and bespoke experiences in one of the world’s most famous wine regions. The 68-key, adults-only restorative retreat is surrounded by the pristine Home Vineyards of the Beringer Estate and features an outdoor pool overlooking adjacent vineyards and distant mountains, a seasonally driven restaurant and bar with a local, sustainable menu and Spa Alila and Fitness Centre with transformative, customised treatments.

Founder Jay Pritzker purchased the first Hyatt hotel in 1957 with a new vision for hospitality, built around people. Since then, Hyatt’s purpose to care for people so they can be their best has driven groundbreaking hotel designs, the award-winning World of Hyatt guest loyalty program and strategic brand acquisitions. Today, this milestone reinforces Hyatt’s continued commitment to intentional growth in places that matter most to guests, members, customers, and owners.

“Hyatt’s thoughtful journey to 1,000 hotels has been grounded in listening, growing, and innovating along the way to meet guest, member, customer and owner needs,” said Jim Chu, Hyatt’s executive vice president of global franchising and development. “Today, we remain focused on expanding our global footprint and building our business based on where we can best extend care and make a positive impact on our guests and the communities in which we operate. With a strong pipeline of new openings and developments, Hyatt continues to offer differentiated experiences that will cater to the growing demand for leisure destinations our guests are seeking as they get back to travel.”

Planned 2021 Hyatt property opening highlights

In 2021, Hyatt plans to welcome several properties to its portfolio in key global markets. Highlights across brands include:


The Alila brand features luxury hotels in unique locations, distinguished by innovative eco-design and a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Alila means “surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of Alila hotels and the impression guests feel when they stay as a guest. alilahotels.com


Global in scale while local in perspective, the Andaz brand of luxury lifestyle hotels weave the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. Every Andaz hotel is a unique expression of the culture that surrounds it and enables guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity. andaz.com

Destination by Hyatt

Destination by Hyatt is a diverse collection of independent hotels, resorts and spacious residences that are individual at heart yet connected by a commitment to embody the true spirit of each location. Ranging from upper-upscale to luxury, each property is purposefully crafted to be a place of discovery through immersive experiences, authentic design, and genuine service. destinationhotels.com

Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatt hotels celebrate the iconic in small details and magnificent moments. Drawing inspiration from each destination, Grand Hyatt hotels provide superior service and signature experiences within a backdrop of dramatic architecture, world-class restaurants, luxury spas, and spectacular meeting and event spaces. grandhyatt.com

Hyatt Centric

Hyatt Centric is a brand of lifestyle hotels located in prime destinations around the world that inspire discovery for savvy, millennial-minded travelers with an adventurous spirit. Each Hyatt Centric hotel is in the heart of the action with passionately engaged team members always on-hand to serve up insider knowledge and provide local expertise. hyattcentric.com

Hyatt House / Hyatt Place

Hyatt House hotels are designed to welcome guests as extended stay residents. Apartment-style suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living areas remind guests of the conveniences of home. Hyatt Place hotels offer a modern, comfortable, and seamless experience, combining style and innovation to create a casual hotel environment for today’s multi-tasking traveler. From the lobby to the guest rooms to in-hotel dining, every touchpoint is designed with the high value business traveler in mind. hyatthouse.com / hyattplace.com

Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency hotels are intuitively designed to make travel free from stress and filled with success. Conveniently located in urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries, Hyatt Regency hotels offer seamless experiences for any occasion, from energizing vacations to personalized, high-touch meetings. hyattregency.com

JdV by Hyatt

A community for the spirited, light-hearted, and young-at-heart, the JdV by Hyatt brand offers a collection of vibrant, independent hotels that are true reflections of the urban neighborhoods they call home. Each hotel provides an experience that is inclusive in spirit and space, welcoming all vibes, tribes and unique souls—effortlessly bringing people together with joy-driven service. jdvhotels.com

  • El Capitan Hotel (114 guestrooms) in Merced, Calif.
  • Mission Pacific Hotel (161 guestrooms) in Oceanside, Calif.
  • The Anndore House (113 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • The Walper Hotel (92 guestrooms) in Toronto, Ontario
  • Additional JdV by Hyatt hotels expected to open in 2021 include Story Hotel Riddargatan (82 guestrooms) and Story Hotel Signalfabriken (83 guestrooms) in Stockholm, as well as Story Hotel Studio Malmö (96 guestrooms) in Malmö, Sweden

Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt hotels provide discerning, global travelers with a refined home-away-from-home. Guests of Park Hyatt hotels receive quietly confident and personalized service in an enriching environment. Located in several of the world’s premier destinations, each Park Hyatt hotel is custom designed to combine sophistication with understated luxury. parkhyatt.com

Thompson Hotels

Founded in 2001, Thompson Hotels is a collection of award-winning luxury hotels with timelessly original properties in urban and resort destinations. Each hotel delivers a new take on modern luxury and tailored stays for guests with connections to world-class culinary offerings, arts and entertainment, and groundbreaking design. thompsonhotels.com

The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

More than a compilation of independent, one-of-a-kind hotels, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand offers a thoughtful curation of stories worth collecting. Whether it’s a modern marvel, a historic gem or a revitalising retreat, each property provides thought-provoking environments and experiences that inspire for guests seeking elevated yet unscripted service when they travel. unboundcollectionbyhyatt.com

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The new era of wellness

The final session at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on February 23, focused the lens on wellness. Armed with the knowledge shared in the previous sessions, editor Hamish Kilburn invited world-renowned designers and architects to discuss how wellbeing should be sheltered in hotel design…

Hotel Designs LIVE: Wellness panel

The third Hotel Designs LIVE came to a fitting close on February 23 with a panel discussion to ultimately explore how designers and architects will create moments of bliss inside the luxury and lifestyle hotels of tomorrow. Maintaining a two-metre distance from conversations around hygiene and Covid-19, instead, the session was inspired by modern travellers’ demands for authentic, personalised and non-curated travel experiences.

To kickstart the session, editor Hamish Kilburn explained how he selected the panel. “Each and every person on the virtual sofa is challenging conventional wellness design,” he said,  “as well as opening up new opportunities in regards to hotel and hospitality experiences.”

On the panel: 

Wellness panel at Hotel Designs LIVE

Following introductions, Kilburn asked the panel about challenges and pitfalls to avoid when injecting wellness into urban environments and landscapes before he and the designers and architects scrutinised and made sense out of architecture and hospitality trends that will ultimately evolve the way in which wellness is perceived in hotel design. Within this discussion, as in previous sessions throughout the day, technology was arguably at the heart of each and every point and example that was made – whether that be stripping tech back to its bones or considering meaningful and intuitive lighting to enhance the guests’ experiences.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Franklite, Utopia Projects, Geberit, Atlas Concorde and Inspired By Design.

We have now published all highlights and recordings from Hotel Designs LIVE. These include: 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021, putting topics such as lifestyle, bathrooms, art and workspace under the spotlight. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

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What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What’s in the spotlight this April on Hotel Designs?

This April, Hotel Designs is serving up a multiple stories that will be dedicated to public areas and architecture & construction; two areas in hotel design that go hand-in-hand when looking at meaningful solutions for tomorrow’s hotel design scene…

Throughout April, Hotel Designs will be putting both public areas and architecture & construction under its editorial spotlight in order to continue to define the point on international hotel design.

Public areas 

There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards public areas in the last year. The pandemic, and as a result of hygiene creeping up on the modern traveller’s agenda, designers and architects are now being presented with a challenge to make public areas safe without looking and feeling too clinical. With some brands merging into one – while others do everything they can to stand alone – boundaries in design and architecture being stretched further than ever before and modern traveller demands now meaning that experience is key. But what will that look like? We will spend the month speaking to the designers, architects and heavy hitters in hospitality to find out.

Architecture & construction

2020 thought us on the editorial desk that there is no situation too extreme for modern architects and designers. Through the uncertain times of lockdown, the creative forces of leading studios around the world took their work home. One year since the Covid-19 outbreak forced us to change our approach to life as we knew it, the team at Hotel Designs are starting to see, through the renders that are being unveiled, how the cultural shift changed our designs (for the better). To celebrate the boundless possibilities in architecture, we will spend the month crediting the internationally acclaimed pioneers.

Main image credits: ZHA/Jestico + Whiles/AMA Design/Dorchester Collection

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In the HIX seat: Developing and designing for the post-pandemic world together

With the UK road map, outlined by the government, showing signs of recovery, our columnist Joel Butler unveils the six discussion points that HIX Event will focus on when it welcomes the design community to London in November…

Profile image of Joel Butler, Co-founder of HIX

A week ago, I return home from dropping my daughter off at school for the first time in five months – a milestone that feels like that first daffodil head springing up in March. You knew it was going to happen, nevertheless the joy it brings is palpable. 

You would have thought that a week later the novelty would have passed. It hasn’t. So please excuse my fanciful prose and humour me, allow me to muse on the wonderful parallels between our literal and metaphorical Spring times. I’ve just had a coffee, you see, and as I said I’m not having to struggle through primary school math today. Here goes…

“And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance.” – Joel Butler, Co-Founder, HIX Event.

As the cherry blossom of a nation’s beer garden falls into its half-full pint glass, design showrooms bloom at once, Clerkenwell, Chelsea, Angel, Wigmore Street open up in unison. And right on cue, indoor hospitality appears with its luscious shades of interiors, drinks and meals are scoffed and slurped with grateful abundance. Ideas, real conversations, and even more ideas climb the walls like the illustration of Max’s room in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and then we celebrate the opening ceremony of a youthful summer, the full wonders of life sway and dance with a gentle breeze as all social restrictions cease.

I really can’t wait for the above things to happen across the UK, the rest of Europe and around the world. We’ve designed HIX around the way people are likely to feel once varying restrictions have been lifted from their lives and I’ll be exploring these topics within this column in the run up to the event in November.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for all and a truly horrific one for so many. The six discussions that define HIX 2021 will recognise this, often starting in a place of anxiety and darkness. With help from our speakers, contributors, and audience we’ll then journey towards opportunity and something better. 

Our six discussions focus on how hotels can develop and design around their guest’s feelings in a post-pandemic world. 

  • Financial Anxiety towards meaningful value 
  • Solitude towards shared experience 
  • Masks, gels and distance towards safety
  • Misinformation towards truth 
  • An existential office dilemma to the hotel as our brave new workplace 
  • Collective mental and physical health pressure towards self-compassionate design

Between now and November, we’ll invite discussion, debate, opinion and solutions to these challenges. For now, though, I’ll have another quick coffee before school finishes.

Main image credit: HIX Event

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

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

Main image credit: Arte

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

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

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

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

Meet the panel: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue co

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 12,000 designers & architects tuned in to ‘GROHE X’

Dubbed the ‘industry’s answer to Netflix’ – and we can see why now – GROHE X launched this week and attracted more than 12,000 visitors to explore the Grohe hub. Following the impressive start, things are just getting started as editor Hamish Kilburn prepares to host two sessions today on the portal…

‘Discover what’s next’: With this guiding theme, LIXIL EMENA successfully launched its digital experience hub, GROHE X, for its GROHE brand earlier this week. The comprehensive brand platform offers informative and inspirational multimedia content to both GROHE’s professional business partners and consumers. Tailored to the needs and interests of the respective target groups, a customised programme of content is available, which includes how-to videos, inspirational articles, and 360° virtual rooms that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the latest product highlights. In addition, there are exciting video formats such as ‘A Glass of Water with…’, in which various GROHE experts offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the global brand, or ‘Wow of the Week’, in which a particularly inspiring project or topic is presented each week. While visitors to the brand hub can explore the world of GROHE on their own, GROHE X also opens up new ways of interaction. Business partners can use the platform to make appointments with their sales representatives and thus exchange information directly about the innovations that have just been introduced.

Register here to access GROHE X content on-demand.

“GROHE X is a milestone in our brand history. It opens up unprecedented opportunities to experience GROHE and to discover our products and the issues that drive us,” said Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA and Co-CEO Grohe AG. “You can connect with GROHE X wherever you are and whenever you want. GROHE X is thus bringing us closer together in a time when we need to stay physically distant. The positive feedback I have received from customers all over the world has reconfirmed that we took the right decision eight months ago. The digital journey we have embarked on with GROHE X has only just begun. The platform is here to stay and will constantly evolve over the next months. My biggest thanks go to the team who made all this possible while working remotely. I’m extremely proud of the courage and leadership they demonstrated in transforming an idea into GROHE X.”

A new milestone in GROHE’s sustainability journey

For the launch of GROHE X, various event formats, both live and on demand for invited guests are available on the platform in addition to freely available editorial content. The highly anticipated GROHE X launch week commenced with a premiere keynote, which gave the global brand the opportunity to once again prove its status as a sustainability pioneer in the sanitary industry and announce its latest achievement: its four best-selling products as Cradle to Cradle Certified ® variants. In contrast to the linear Take-Make-Waste model, Cradle to Cradle stands for continuous material cycles. A product is manufactured in such a way that, at the end of its life, the components can be used to create new products. To achieve certification a product is evaluated in terms of the following five categories: material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness.

“Achieving Cradle to Cradle certifications at Gold level is a huge step in our sustainability efforts,” explained Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co- CEO Grohe AG on the importance of the circular approach within the brand’s sustainability strategy. “I am very proud that we are one of the first brands in the sanitary industry to once again make a clear commitment to sustainable transformation and set a new benchmark. Since the building sector accounts for more than 50 per ent of worldwide material consumption, the moving away from a linear model in favour of a circular economy is essential to stop the exploitation of natural resources. We need to transform our business model towards a circular value creation and start considering products at the end of their life as valuable material banks instead of using new resources.”

The significance of initiating a paradigm shift in the construction industry and putting a focus on green buildings based on Cradle to Cradle® design principles was also the key issue in one of the platform’s panel talk discussions, when Dr. Christine Lemaitre, CEO DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), Dr.-Ing. Peter Mösle, Partner Drees & Sommer SE and Managing Director, EPEA GmbH, and Fuhr discussed how sustainable architecture can be thought and implemented both today and in the future.

During the keynote, GROHE also introduced the new ‘GROHE Installer Vocational Training and Education’ (GIVE) programme which strengthens the social dimension of the brand’s sustainability engagement. GROHE is already collaborating with 26 institutions to date, offering plumbing training across the EMENA region. As part of the GIVE programme, the brand will support plumbing schools in creating a state-of-the-art training framework by installing modern training facilities and providing learning material and experienced technical trainers. Students will complete a specific product training designed by GROHE, for which they will receive an internationally recognised certificate. Given the shortage of skilled installers in the sanitary industry, it is more important than ever to offer an attractive training programme that helps young people build the foundation for a prosperous future.

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Image caption: As part of the launch, GROHE unveiled the latest innovations in the GROHE Spa collection

Relevant innovations for the living spaces of tomorrow

Another determining theme of the keynote was the reclaimed customer-centricity. This focus on the customers’ expectations and needs is not only reflected on GROHE X or in the brand’s new commercial approach, which offers a differentiated product portfolio and dedicated services tailored to target groups, but is also a guiding principle when developing new products.

This was impressively underlined with the presentation of the relaunched bestseller GROHE Eurosmart. With the fourth generation of the tap range, the brand reinvented one of its core products, making Eurosmart the most versatile line in the brand portfolio. Users can now choose a hybrid tap, which combines manual operation and touchless hygiene, or different lever variants such as the loop lever, which simplifies gripping thanks to the cut-out centre, or the long lever which allows users to operate the tap with the elbow, thereby minimising the contact with surfaces – ideal for healthcare settings.

“When we design a new product, our first question is always: Who are we designing this product for? Human- centric thinking and a deep understanding of consumers are key to developing meaningful products that improve and add value to the daily lives of people around the world”, says Patrick Speck, Leader LIXIL Global Design, EMENA. “With our products, we want to respond to changing consumer needs and react to social trends. In our product development, we are guided by three key macro trends: Urbanisation, Health & Wellbeing, and Sustainability. In the last year, for example, the idea of the bathroom as a spa or wellness area has really accelerated. Consumers are looking for bathroom products which help them create memorable experiences, and want to transform the bathroom into a space where they can take good care of their body, mind, and soul. Our response to this trend is the new GROHE SPA collection which we curated to include the most exclusive products from our portfolio to allow users to enjoy unique moments of bliss.”

What to look out for today on GROHE X. 

At 11:00 CET (10:00 GMT), the platform will go live with the session GROHE X Deep Dive Session – GROHE SPA Health through water. In this session, editor Hamish Kilburn will welcome Speck and Karl Lennon, who is Leader, Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL in the EMENA region, to discuss the latest innovations of the new GROHE SPA line and how the technology behind each product goes beyond the five senses.

At 11:45 CET (10:45 GMT), straight after the deep dive session, Kilburn will return to host the panel discussion entitled strategies for future living. This session will welcome Cristina Laurijssen (Senior Director of Design for Rosewood Hotel Group), Constantina Tsoutsikou (Founder, Studio Lost), Hamish Brown (Partner, 1508 London) and welcome back Lennon to explore how the pandemic is forcing the industry to rethink wellness and how the increasing demand for ‘safe’ spaces, especially within luxury residential developments and hospitality venues, can be answered.

GROHE will also celebrate the launch of its platform with various event formats throughout the launch week. In the future, GROHE X will be expanded to include hybrid and mobile brand experiences in addition to the digital offering.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HBA Los Angeles complete interiors inside The Glenmark Hotel

Design firm HBA Los Angeles has completed the interior design project of The Glenmark, Glendale, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which is the first lifestyle boutique hotel in Glendale, California. Let’s take a look inside…

Artful guestroom inside The Glenmark Hotel

Designed by creatives for creatives, The Glenmark Hotel is a gem in the Jewel City, deeply rooted in the heart of Glendale and a hub for the healthcare and entertainment industries in Los Angeles. Its interior design dances along the fringe, flirting with natural materials, texture and geometric forms. Thoughtful public spaces and amenities, 85 artfully designed guestrooms, signature restaurant Olia, Mila Rooftop, Olia Coffee Café, a lobby bar, and 7,900 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space mold The Glenmark Hotel into a true community that is a hidden Los Angeles hideaway.

HBA Los Angeles designers drew inspiration from Glendale’s vibrant diversity, the city’s innovative and creative industries, and its geographical intersection amongst its neighbours to offer a microcosm of the city with pockets of discovery throughout the hotel, much like the city of Los Angeles itself. A casual-chic aesthetic is juxtaposed with architectural gestures and playful, impactful art by local artists to create sophisticated yet approachable environments with comfortable and stimulating moments.

The art-filled lobby inside The Glenmark Hotel

The lobby serves as the epicentre of energy, bathed in natural light and with visual surprises to entice all who enter. A gallery wall of rotating artwork flanks one side of the voluminous space while wood slats wrap from floor to ceiling on the other, defining the lobby bar and reception areas. Sculptural lighting, accent furnishings and decorative elements combine with custom rugs and inviting seating groups for a relaxed, residential feel.

In the guestrooms, tailored detailing and mixed materials are realised in a neutral colour palette of white, taupe and warm browns.

Twin beds in hotel room

Image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

An intricate geometric installation composed of rich dark tilework acts as a backdrop behind the headboard while a large-scale wall mural makes a bold statement and adds a splash of colour. Streamlined technology and state-of-the-art connectivity in the guest rooms and throughout the hotel allow guests to plug in and get to work and unplug when it’s time to relax.

Main image credit: The Glenmark Hotel

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Redesigning an already ‘recognisable’ hotel (part 1)

Do owners and the project designers feel the pressure of redesigning an established hotel where a previous brand had found its rightful place in an area of a city? Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, explores…

A minimalist bedroom setting in Ruby Lucy

Taking a popular hotel and creating a new chapter of the story through either ‘hard’ re-positioning or simply a ‘soft’ face lift must come with added pressure or perhaps the pressures will always be the budget that weighs heaviest on everyone’s shoulders! New identities that are led by the brands and/or operators must release any pressure but with life style brands that are more flexible, especially that invite a wide range of clientele must focus owners and designers to tease the best out of an existing hotel building.

Biophilic publis area in Dolce Sitges

Image credit: Dolce Sitges

Externally the façade reflects the culture and aesthetics of a hotel. It is an identity on which the hotel’s theme is based on. The façade is the visual connection of what the public observes and what image they perceive in their heads. Altering a façade on a recognisable building can create a big impact but will come with buildability issues.

The orientation (zoning and layout) of an existing Hotel is already set so internally the question needs to be asked if the existing or previous brand had found its rightful place i.e. did it have a specific style that just needs updating? If it had not then a full redesign is the way forward and ultimately gives designers expression to provide a genuine experience with representation of the place. The opposite is the cost manager led re-touch, rather than reinventing a hotel’s DNA.

A comfy bedroom setting

Image credit: Hilton Canopy

Designers are and can be restricted by existing services (including elevators, escalators, fire staircases, ramps, electrical system core, plumbing system, and HVAC system etc.) and cores which are already defined with structural solidity. The structure is designed and operates the critical operations as well as entertaining guests. Any redesign is not just meant for aesthetic purposes, but to improve the service that the hotel can provide the guest and their experience. 

Sustainability – hotels are massive energy consumption facilities, depending on their size, technology or location. Redesigning an existing Hotel gives the opportunity to provide new plant and equipment that is more efficient in terms of energy consumption and sensor connectivity. 

Through lifestyle there are no fixed ideas so a designers role is to guide and advise for a brand to evolve. If a hotel already captured the essence and soul of the area that surrounded it through design, extending the cultural experience and further establishing a true sense of belonging to the place then there must be a fine balance that designers have to achieve in taking on a ‘golden goose’ and not over-designing.

Part 2 in this editorial series will be available shortly. Concert is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Concert

Keriboard Schlüter

Product watch: Illuminated wall niches from Schlüter-Systems

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Illuminated wall niches from Schlüter-Systems

Schlüter-LIPROTEC LED niches from Schlüter-Systems help to create the ‘wow factor’ in the bathroom while offering guests a wellness oasis…

Keriboard Schlüter

With the hospitality industry looking to open back up to the public later this year, there is plenty to be excited about. People are keen to enjoy time outside of their own homes, and a UK getaway is high up on the list for many. Now more than ever is the time to give guests an unforgettable hotel experience, with wellness and serenity being key factors that they are looking for.

Bringing spa-like elements to a guest bathroom is a simple way to enhance a visit, whether that involves providing complimentary skincare products so they can pamper themselves or utilising the space available to create a peaceful sanctuary of relaxation.

Schlüter-Systems makes this easy to achieve with the help of one of their most versatile products. Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD-N are prefabricated niches and shelves for wall areas of all kinds, made from the multi-functional tile underlayment Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD. They can be covered directly with tiles or with suitable rendered/plaster covering materials.

The Schlüter-KERDI-BOARD-NLT are installed with LIPROTEC technology, enabling the installation of illuminated niches in bath and shower areas. The plug-and-play technology makes it even easier as they are ready to install – ideal if you are looking at ways to bring some spa-like elements to your project whilst the hospitality industry is gearing up to welcome guests again.

Niches within a bathroom or shower can serve multiple purposes, such as offering additional storage options and enhancing the design of the room. Welcoming guests with the use of soft, ambient lighting can make a big difference to their wellness; the idea of soaking in a bathtub reading a good book with a calming illuminated niche keeping your beverage at arm’s reach is a true luxury, and that is what many people are searching for when planning a hotel stay.

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

Main image credit: Schlüter-Systems

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Hamilton Litestat’s Paintables collection

Following Hamilton Litestat sponsoring a session at Hotel Designs LIVE, we take a look at the expanded Paintables service that delivers highly durable, colour-matched wiring accessories with accurate colour reproduction…

Consumer demand for personalisation continues to grow in all aspects of our lives. Today there is an expectation that products and services will meet our exact needs – if an available solution doesn’t tick all our boxes, we want to customise it simply and cost-effectively and make it our own. And if that’s not possible, we’ll find another supplier that can make it happen. Hamilton Litestat provides bespoke solutions to fulfil these customer demands, including its popular Paintables colour-matching service.

Accessories can be painted to blend in with a colour taken from a wallpaper, or to contrast it with a hue from the room’s soft furnishings. Popular colours are heavily influenced by the paint manufacturers, so Dulux’s Colour for 2021, Brave Ground, is set to have a major impact on the finish of wiring accessories in current interior design schemes. The company is giving the designer the ability to make every flick of a switch feel unique while ensuring ease-of-ordering and minimal hassle for wholesalers and installers.

“We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to ensure a client’s vision can be executed, and our Paintables service is helping deliver that with accurate colour matching to interior design schemes,” explains Gavin Williams, Sales & Marketing Director at Hamilton. “Today, people expect options to be tailored to them rather than selecting off-the-shelf solutions, and Paintables delivers that experience in a simple and cost-effective solution. We’ve seen demand double in the past 18 months, and to keep ahead of the market have increased our capacity for this service at our Bristol facilities.”

Image caption: Paintables Service Hotels by Hamilton Litestat

Hamilton has long offered colour-matched switch plates and sockets from its factory at Mere but with this rapidly rising demand it has relocated and doubled the size of its Paintables Department, which now sits at its headquarters in Bristol, delivering a 40 per cent reduction in current lead times.

The Paintables service is a powder coating process and is available on Hamilton’s popular and versatile Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX designer plate collections, which offer a wide range of functionality and configuration options. So, whether a customer wants a USB switched socket in BS 114 Rail Blue, so it blends seamlessly with a deep on-trend wall colour, or a Wide Rocker Switch in RAL 6000, a leafy green to complement a jungle mural feature wall, it’s possible quickly, simply, and cost-effectively.

Colour selection

For accurate colour matching Hamilton recommends using colour reference systems RAL, British Standards or the Natural Colour System. While Pantone is often a go-to system, its accuracy is limited in metal powder coating applications, so all Pantone colour-matching requests need to be individually accessed to avoid disappointment.

coloured switch plates

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Yet with RAL having 1,625 options and the Natural Colour System having 1,950, customers will not be short on colour choices! In addition to the vast colour possibilities, Hamilton’s Paintables solution is available in gloss, matt, and even a metallic finish.

“Colour influences our emotions and behaviours, so getting the right colour scheme and coordinating accessories and soft furnishings is really important. After the difficult times we’ve faced lately, there’s a great craving for change and to get away from our daily routines. Colour can help us reset, recharge and refocus, and Paintables wiring accessories can ensure that these schemes are cohesive and personalised to the customer’s exact colour requirements.”

FREE production service

All of Hamilton’s wiring accessories receive a decorative coating of some kind – whether that’s to achieve a standard Matt Black option or a metallic finish such as Antique Brass. For bespoke, colour-matched Paintables finishes, the cost of the spray coating process is already considered, so Hamilton only charges for the dry powder coating required. Purchased in bulk, this means that on-trend colour requests may be very competitively priced due to market demand.

“Many orders we receive from wholesalers are bespoke, so thanks to our expanded Paintables capacity we can provide colour-matched finishes with minimal impact on anticipated lead times,” explains Williams. “Moreover, as we already take into account the spray coating process in the unit price, the cost implications are minimised. Although niche colours may have a minimum purchase quantity, we can offer more popular colours cost effectively.”

Flawless finish

The Paintables powder coating results in a high-quality finish, ensuring the paint adheres evenly and the colour is consistent. It is resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading, which is particularly important for these high-wear wiring accessories.

Powder coating makes use of pigment and resin that are statically charged and sprayed onto the electrically grounded surfaces of the wiring solutions. The paint coating is then cured in an oven, resulting in a finish that is far more durable than other paint options.

Should it not be possible to select a colour ahead of time, Hamilton also supplies primed plates for painting on site. While not as durable as they haven’t been cured, they provide a flexible alternative for achieving the colour-matched aesthetic.

Hamilton Litestat, which was a Session Sponsor at Hotel Designs LIVE, is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: PENT. launches stylish hotel fitness solutions

Following PENT.’s Product Watch pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE during a panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, Hotel Designs takes a look at the brand’s latest stylish fitness accessories…

PENT Fitness collection in hotel

On February 23, during Hotel Designs LIVE first panel discussion of the day, PENT., which was established in 2011 on the base of experience and know-how gained in previous years as a supplier of fitness solutions for professional fitness clubs, unveiled details about two of its latest collections that are suitable for the hotel and hospitality market.

Recently, hospitality demanded a product that not only responded to the change that the world has been going through over the last year but also allowed hotel guests to use fitness equipment at a comfort of their rooms. Both the SOPHIA and COMBO Hotel collections were inspired by the ever-changing role of fitness spaces within the hotel experience.


The SOPHIA collection includes a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise mat and essential yoga and fitness accessories. Placed on a niftily designed cart, it can be delivered straight to a guest’s room. It is the true evolution of modern solutions for the hotel industry in times of pandemics and beyond.

PENT Sophia collection

Image credit: PENT.

SOPHIA has been created by specialists for professionals and enthusiasts as a complete set for the most demanding guests. The ergonomic design includes drawers for smaller but important accessories such as a jump rope or push-up bars. There’s a place for towels, water and an IPad.

COMBO Hotel 

If, however, a hotel prefers a more stationary solution then PENT. also provides a permanent set of fitness equipment. The COMBO option can be placed inside a chosen room or a suite to provide hotle guests with even more privacy and hassle-free experience.

COMBO Collection by PENT Fitness

Image credit: PENT.

All PENT. fitness equipment is designed and manufactured in Poland and the brand prides itself on the fact that the entire production process is performed in-house.

Even the smallest wooden, steel or genuine leather components are made by PENT. employees – not a single production process is outsourced, which means that the company has the opportunity to fully customise and quickly develop new products. All product components are made by hand, and where it is impossible, the elements are made on the most modern CNC machines.

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

Main image credit: PENT

Image of Lucienne Walpole

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

SB Architects recently appointed Lucienne Walpole as the firm’s new Vice President. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the architect to learn more…

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. She lends a unique perspective while contributing a strong sense of creative vision and attention to detail and has played a crucial role in many high-profile hotel, resort, and multi-family projects.

So when it was revealed that Walpole had been appointed as a new Vice President of the firm, we at Hotel Designs were not surprised. I caught up with Walpole to understand her passion for design and architect, her position on wellness post-pandemic – following the panel discussion the architect took part in during Hotel Designs LIVE last week – while also learning what a typical day looks like in Walpole’s shoes.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Hamish Kilburn: What attracted you to work in architecture?

Lucienne Walpole: I always knew I wanted to have a career rooted in creativity, but I didn’t seriously set my sights on architecture until the end of college. I initially studied Interior Design but then went straight on to pursue a Masters in Architecture. I think the seed was always there though. I was born, raised, and currently reside in Coral Gables, Florida where we have a wealth of beautiful Old Spanish homes, one of which I grew up in. I watched as my parents transformed the run-down 1920s house into a home full of detail and beauty. They taught me about vision and being able to see past a neglected exterior or a blank page.

Hamish Kilburn: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

LW: Working at Baha Mar in the Bahamas in conjunction with SB Architects has afforded me the opportunity to lead the design of two amazing restaurants. Since Baha Mar is known for its spectacular, out of the box ideas, the client was keen to pursue ideas that might have otherwise been disregarded initially for budgetary or feasibility reasons. Not only did I get to lead the design, but I was able to be a part of the construction administration process. The sweet finale was being able to finally enjoy a meal and a margarita in one of the over-water dining pavilions we designed.

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

Image caption: The Sky Bar at Baha Mar, designed by SB Architects

HK: How do you keep your designs fresh from one project to another?

LW: I’m inspired by the site and local history of each project I work on. Every location has different opportunities and every market demands a different experience. I love looking at imagery for inspiration and revisiting my initial sketches and thoughts.

HK: How has your voice as a designer evolved since joining SB Architects?

LW: I started at SB Architects straight out of graduate school at the age of 24 and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been lucky to work under great mentors who taught me the ins-and-outs of the hospitality design world, as well as the qualities needed to be a good leader. As I’ve stretched my wings, I’ve learned not to be afraid to throw out ideas in meetings even if they seem a little crazy. I strive to always think outside of the box and not let go of the original design intent too easily.

HK: Describe a typical working day for you…

LW: I wake up before anyone else in the house in order to squeeze in a quick workout before jumping in the shower, making lunches, and getting myself ready. After I’ve dropped off our two young boys at school, I rush off to the office to start my day. These days I’m doing a mixture of working from home as well as working in the office. Once in front of my computer, I dig right in since time without the distraction of two little ones is limited these days. I’m usually designing in AutoCad and sketching, completing image research, and taking Zoom calls with clients and my team. A good podcast, audio book, or music is a must.

HK: What advice do you have for younger generations of women wanting to get into design leadership positions?

LW: As women, and often mothers, we are great multi-taskers and time managers. Don’t wait for the opportunity but instead speak up about what your goals are. Also, know that it’s ok to offer up ideas and speak up in every setting. Most of the senior leadership I work with are so busy that I think they appreciate it when someone else is willing to take the reigns on a new initiative.

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

Image credit: Conrad Punta de Mita/SB Architects

HK: Where do you see hotel design 10 years from now?

LW: I think hotel design will evolve into a space where wellness isn’t just a line item in the program, but instead infused into each space touching all five senses, wellness will become as commonplace, and as considered as lighting. I think operations and hotel design will begin to be more closely tied, especially considering all the last 12 months has taught us. Not just from how the back-of-house spaces work, but how an operator can customise an experience for the guest and how the design can support that.

HK: You joined us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE a few weeks ago for a session on wellness. What will wellness’ role be post-pandemic?

LW: I feel wellness will not only be about the physical but the mental too. We need to move our bodies, but we also need to rest our minds. The wellness experience should also extend from adults, all the way to the youngest of children. I think this theme of inclusivity will push travel to become more meaningful and provide more teaching opportunities.

HK: Are you working on any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

LW: I’m working on an urban retreat, Al Yosr Clubhouse, located just outside of Cairo, Egypt. We’re designing the space to be an urban sanctuary for the surrounding community and those looking for a wellness experience. The clubhouse will have a large spa component, a few F&B venues, as well as a sunken garden that stretches the length of the site providing different pockets of space to relax, meet, and play.

HK: What design/architecture trends are you seeing for 2021?

LW: Meaningful travel, intention, less public spaces, more outdoor spaces. Providing more spaces for those working remotely. More local travel. Curated experiences and personalisation. Sustainability and wellness will move away from being a buzz word, but an expected feature… at least within the luxury market space.

Main image credit: SB Architects


Case study: The bespoke lighting narrative inside London’s Nobu hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: The bespoke lighting narrative inside London’s Nobu hotel

Inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square – a hotel that has caused a lot of noise recently on the international hotel design scene – there is a bespoke lighting narrative that flickers unlike any other. Editor Hamish Kilburn exclusively catches up with Lyn Newcombe, Head of Projects at Dernier & Hamlyn and Lewis Taylor, Design Director at David Collins Studio, to capture the full story…


The design narrative for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square was focused on creating an atmosphere of timeless elegance and contemporary luxury. In order to create the right ambience when it came to statement decorative fittings, bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn, which has been making bespoke lighting since 1888, became the obvious choice.

The brand’s work for David Collins Studio at the new Nobu London address saw its team’s extensive experience and wide-ranging artisan skills brought to bear in a variety of ways to produce more than 100 individual pieces, all of which were crafted from brass and hand-finished in bronze.

the lobby/lounge with green and purple furniture and modern bar at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: The lobby/lounge at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. Image credit: Jack Hardy

Lighting made by the brand features in the most spectacular areas of the hotel including wall, ceiling and pendant lights in the restaurant, bar and private dining room.

Particularly noteworthy bespoke light fittings crafted to David Collins Studio’s design schemes include:

  • In the restaurant’s lobby lounge, a pendant some 1,600mm square and four square luminaires that sit atop cabinets containing wines and spirits comprise hand crafted brass frames fitted with glass panels on which bespoke parchment shades are fitted.
  • Four bronze pendants finished in antique brass some 1,300mm in length are above the sushi bar which were hand cut, shaped and welded fitted with bespoke handmade seeded glass shades.
  • 12 ceiling lights for the main restaurant feature reeded glass tubular shades and hand formed brass end caps. They are fixed using one-metre long, handcrafted brass rods fitted with solid brass spheres.
  • An 80-metre brass track system to accommodate hand-folded, white-paper shades created by Danish bespoke shade maker Le Klint.
  • 12 colonnade wall lights installed in the lobby ceiling, which were formed from brass sheets cut by hand, all pieces individually silver-soldered and finished in a unique bronze shade created by the David Collins Studio team. Light is softly dissipated through the 22 shades created by sandwiching luxury Spanish parchment between glass panels.

“We wanted the lighting to convey Nobu’s strong brand identity and to reference Japanese principles of design without making anything too “themed”.” – Lewis Taylor, Design Director, David Collins Studio.

“This project utilised many of our team’s skills to ensure the lighting we manufactured achieved the quality and attention to detail required,” Lyn Newcombe, Head of Projects at Dernier & Hamlyn, told Hotel Designs. “The lighting they produced for Nobu Hotel London Portman Square is even more exquisite than we hoped for and we have no doubt that the hotel’s guests and diners will have their experience enhanced by the mood it helps to create.”

Following the opening of the hotel, we talked to Lewis Taylor, Design Director at David Collins Studio, to shine the spotlight on the role of lighting inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square from the designer’s perspective.

Hamish Kilburn: At what point in developing the design concept for hotels do you consider lighting?

Lewis Taylor: Lighting and custom lighting is considered at the very start of the design process along with all the other elements that make up one of our interior designs. Our starting point for a design is always to consider the feeling that the space should evoke, and lighting is such an important factor in creating and maintaining the overall mood of space.

With all the spaces we create, there is a common thread of design details, colours and textures that create the overarching concept and carries through from the furniture design, material selection, custom finishes, and bespoke lighting, that link everything together in a subtle and sophisticated way. So when we start to create this narrative of details at the beginning of the design process we are considering everything holistically, lighting included.

HK: How important is bespoke lighting to you and for which areas do you tend to specify it?

LT: Bespoke lighting really helps to give each project a unique sense of identity that you cannot find with simply specifying a piece.

HK: What were you looking for the lighting to convey/reference at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, and how did you achieve this? 

LT: We wanted the lighting to convey Nobu’s strong brand identity and to reference Japanese principles of design without making anything too “themed”. We looked at simple and honest applications of materials and clean simple shapes that follow the forms created in the interior architecture. Warm and dappled lighting effects really help to give the space an inviting and intimate feeling.

HK: Nobu Hotels is known for blending modern, cool luxury and minimal Japanese tradition. What therefore was the lighting in the restaurant and bar areas’ role in this?

LT: In both spaces the lighting really adds intimacy and interest. In the bar the relatively low lighting levels and dark finishes mean that the lighting really pops. The Japanese book binding paper on the shades on the bar top are unique and the unusual triangular form of these bar lamps are mimicked by the textured glass ceiling pendants.

In the restaurant, the hanging pendants around the perimeter of the room create a calm warm glow, whilst the custom wall lamps on the columns reflect the light beautifully off the textured mirror glass columns.

HK: Very simply, why did you specify Dernier & Hamlyn for this project? 

LT: We have a proven track record of collaborating to create unique lighting pieces that are finished to the highest quality. Their craftsmen and technicians really know the level of detail we will want to go into and the uncompromising quality that we expect. The process of transforming an idea off paper and into reality with them is also an enjoyable one with sampling and mock-ups to ensure the desired finished lighting effect in addition to the finished product.

HK: Have you worked with the brand on other projects?

LT: We have worked with Dernier & Hamlyn on many projects over our 35-year history, in a range of locations and varied sectors, from private home to hospitality and retail space. Our work with them on the custom lighting for Harrods Mens Superbrands being one of the more recent examples.

Dernier & Hamlyn 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: Jack Hardy

ADP Third Space Concept

Feature: A green (and happy) recovery for hotels?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: A green (and happy) recovery for hotels?

If there’s one phrase that’s inspired equal parts optimism and frustration this year in hotel design, it’s the idea of a green recovery, writes Amrit Naru, Studio Director, ADP Architecture

ADP Third Space Concept

Last July, the UK government’s announcement of a funding boost to help with green industry was met with a mixed reception, and while the principle of green recovery has won wide support, there’s understandable skepticism about whether government and industry leaders can commit to going far enough.

And yet this looks like our best chance. It’s impossible to ignore the negative impact of the pandemic – but if we look forward, taking the new roadmap for lifting lockdown as a starting point for recovery, it’s possible that we can use it as an opportunity to build a very different kind of post-pandemic landscape.

The effects of climate change are increasing exponentially, from extreme weather events to desertification and species extinction. All industries participate in a system that’s allowed this to happen, and everyone therefore has a part to play in helping to stop it. The hospitality sector is certainly no exception: our work reaches communities all over the world, with more than 200,000 hotels generating an annual revenue of more than £400 billion, and employing people of every imaginable background. By interrogating how that money is raised, who it benefits, and what processes it drives, we can make sizeable and measurable change. And with the hospitality sector set to bounce back more dramatically than almost any other industry, we’re uniquely positioned to lead the way towards a sustainable, inclusive future for our planet and its people.

There’s another side to this story as well. Personal wellbeing has been one of the hardest-hit victims of the pandemic: the Centre for Mental Health estimates that up to 10 million people in the UK will need new or additional mental health support due to the crisis. I recently spoke on a panel addressing how hotels can support wellbeing in the future, with ideas ranging from room size and air quality to back-of-house facilities (a reminder that wellbeing is as important to staff as it is to visitors). It’s certainly my view that sustainability and wellbeing go hand-in-hand, and it’s this approach that ADP takes on many of our projects.

Image caption: Mixed-use leisure sketch scheme in Oxford. | Image credit: ADP ArchitectureIn fact, it’s precisely this idea which led to us developing a new tool that measures three key factors in the wider impact of a project: sustainability, belonging and engagement. The first is all about how a building relates to its environment. Does the project’s energy use support a zero-carbon strategy? Does the project support local wildlife, and encourage sustainable travel? The second – belonging – centres on the ways in which buildings connect people with places: a key consideration for any hotel. Thirdly, we consider whether a project is engaging, and whether it can provide that boost to wellbeing which is sorely needed in a post-pandemic world.

Answering these questions requires a degree of creativity in finding solutions, but it also demands honesty in acknowledging where we could have done better. This brings us back to that point about the green recovery – as an industry, we can be optimistic about our capabilities, but we need to be self-critical. It’s not enough simply to say that we support a green recovery, or even that we’re taking particular steps in that direction. We need to measure outcomes. We need to show that what we’re doing is actually making a difference.

This was a problem we encountered time and again when creating the SBE (“Sustainability, Belonging, Engagement”) toolkit. Identifying what needs to change is one thing; measuring it in an objective, consistent way is another. After months spent poring over research and testing our ideas against a range of our own projects, we created a toolkit which broke these “big issues” down into concise factors such as water use or connectivity to nature, and then broke each of these down further – creating a questionnaire which could output an easy-to-read score.

Questions cover every aspect of a project’s potential impact. Has the community been involved in the design? Are there measures to mitigate flood risk or the effects of climate change? What are the average floor-to-ceiling heights? The result is a robust and usable toolkit, one which ADP is now using on every single project we work on.

The SBE Toolkit is very much our own, but it reflects wider trends in the hospitality industry and beyond. One of these key trends – as I’ve already mentioned – is wellbeing. As we move out of lockdown and nationwide restrictions, hoteliers will need to think carefully about how they can balance safety measures with a sensibility that helps guests feel welcome and at ease. One approach is to use the WELL Building Standard, a certification process that takes a detailed account of the ways in which a building can promote health, safety and general wellbeing.

The advantage of using a recognised standard like WELL is that not only can you trust that the process is relevant and meaningful – your visitors and staff can, too. In fact, as tourists take a wider range of factors into account when looking for a hotel, it’s looking increasingly possible that measurements like the WELL Building Standard will become an important part of marketing. The ability to research a number of hotels quickly online has allowed people to consider factors like carbon footprint or media reputation in their search for the perfect stay – so it doesn’t seem far-fetched to expect wellbeing to play a growing role in the future.

A second key trend is flexibility. Working from home isn’t going away with the restrictions. Our experience living with Covid-19 has taught us that we can work from home more, and that doing so carries unique advantages in a society which is ever more globally connected. Hotels are going to play a special role in this “new normal” (apologies for using that phrase, but in this case it genuinely applies). As travel patterns resume, the technology which has allowed us to work from home will allow us to work from anywhere, including local coffee shops, leisure venues, and of course hotels. There will doubtless be a growing market here for co-working spaces built into the wider context of a hotel, as well as adjacent and related spaces such as serviced apartments, aparthotels, and long-stays.

Finally – and bringing us full circle – the word “sustainability” is going to be on everybody’s lips more than ever in the years to come. The pandemic has forced us to think more introspectively about the impact of our travel, and while the travel industry is predicted to come back strongly after restrictions lift, it’s surely a good thing that travellers will take that more thoughtful approach into the future with them. Thoughtful travel is bound to lead to more sustainable travel, and with sustainable travel comes a focus on sustainable hotels.

It’s therefore important that, as an industry, we’re as thoughtful as the people we serve. Hotels are currently among the most resource-intensive commercial buildings in terms of energy and water use per square foot. We need to work together to address this now, as we restructure our ways of operating for a post-pandemic world. We need to reach out to other areas of the tourism industry – from ecotourism to local workforces and communities – to form a united front against climate change. We need to be role models, even when it’s most difficult. The pandemic has presented unparalleled challenges for the hotel industry. As we emerge blinking into the light of a new world, it’s time to seize the opportunity to provide hotels which support the environment and the people they impact. If we meet this opportunity head-on, others are sure to follow us on the road to a green (and happy) recovery.

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

Main image caption: ADP Third Space concept. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

On February 23, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch Hotel Designs LIVE. In the second panel discussion of the day, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by leading hospitality figures to discuss sustainability beneath the surface…

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

With so much noise around sustainability at the moment, it was about time that Hotel Designs LIVE, which was launched last year with the aim to keep the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 pandmeic, hosted a panel discussion that allowed designers, architects and hoteliers to go beneath the surface of conscious design and hospitality.

The virtual event, which took place on February 23, led with the ambition to go further than it has ever gone in order to define the point on meaningful topics and conversations.

Following an engaging panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, the spotlight for the second session of the day landed on leading design and hospitality figures to debate sustainability, a topic that continues to be weighed down by heavy stigma. Sponsored by Grohe, a brand that inherently has sustainability running through its DNA – if recent accolades are anything go by – the panel was inspired by the recent Q&A between Hotel Designs LIVE and eco warrior, Bill Bensley.

On the panel: 

Hotel Designs LIVE sustainability panel

The discussion dived in head-first with editor Hamish Kilburn asking the panel what their thoughts were on greenwashing, before moving on towards establishing where sustainability in hospitality is heading and whether or not the pandemic has been a positive or negative catalyst for sustainable solutions and eco-savvy product development.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Grohe, Havwoods and Siminetti:

As well as recently publishing our highlights from the first session of Hotel Designs LIVE, the full recordings of the other two sessions (‘ ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Image of digital hotel technology room entry in corridor

Hotel technology: Solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel technology: Solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality

Gary Yeames-Smith, Director at Yeames Hospitality who presented a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, explores hotel technology available today to safeguard guests throughout the pandemic and beyond...

Image of digital hotel technology room entry in corridor

The hotel guestroom has undergone many changes over the years to keep up with the lives, both social and physical, of the ever changing demands of the occupant. TVs have got larger yet slimmer, showers have replaced baths and decor concepts range from the lavish, to the quirky.

With Covid-19 providing the biggest interruption to the industry in modern memory, there are solutions available today to safeguard guests throughout this pandemic and beyond.

Indeed, how we enter our rooms and how we relax fundamentally have not changed. Instead of physical keys, we now have solutions that are sustainable, more efficient and far hygienic options with both online and smart key check ins systems already available.

Sometimes a stay is more of a luxury – maybe a retreat – than a busy business trip. Perhaps the stay has an emotional significance for the Guest and a hotel-branded paper RFID card could provide the ideal souvenir to remember the stay in years to come.

The importance of first impressions for any hotel is vital, therefore a suitable check in and access system is of the utmost importance for any Hotelier to prevent a hasty entry into Trip Advisor, rather than a relaxed stroll to the room, whereby they could be greeted with a stylish and custom floor reader panel directing them to their door.

A quick tap on the “Floor Panel” or via the “Magic Eye” reader on the door is all that is needed to gain entry to their room whereby the second impression of the Hotel can be developed with designated lighting themes designed for entry, sleeping and work.

The guest experience is enhanced further using amazing design from the interior designer and architect that utilises the latest technology for room management control with custom finishes to any panel to provide a bespoke room design for any Hotel.

As the guest unpacks they could find room management controls in all the right places to control turn the TV on, set the air conditioning or open the blinds.

With presence sensors installed, the room status can be known to staff and can be monitored and adjusted for the highest energy efficiency. Housekeeping could also be informed when the room is empty for cleaning.

What differentiates a Messerschmitt system to the others on the market?

  • Both the Key Card and Room Management Systems can be used separately or combined which provides great flexibility for a Hotelier to add on future upgrades as required.
  • All of the components are designed and manufactured in Germany and therefore not reliant on imports from China where future availability of main or spare parts can not be guaranteed.
  • 30 years of experience and installed in over 2000 branded and independent Hotels, provides reassurance that the products are tried and tested.
  • Increased Investment into R&D in the last 2 years will see an influx of new options for the future Hotel.

Yeames Hospitality is both proud and excited to be the exclusive certified partner for Messerschmitt Systems in the UK and Ireland and are working diligently to bring this excellent solution to market with Hotels already installed and running in London.

As a company we have our own experienced and trained engineers as well as support staff to ensure all systems installed are maintained to the highest standard with a comprehensive management system and proactive maintenance processes in place.

Image of slick tech system in modern hotel room

Image credit: Yeames Hospitality

With the acquisition of Hotel Media, we are developing a unique approach to integrated systems that can offer the Guest seamless experience throughout the hotel.

By working together with design teams in the hospitality sector, room management, guest entertainment and design can be created that provide for the guests senses and allow design and function to co-exist.

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

Main image credit: Yeames Hospitality

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

International Women’s Day: Leading hospitality design figures comment

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
International Women’s Day: Leading hospitality design figures comment

Our nod to International Women’s Day is more of a formal bow or curtsy. Editor Hamish Kilburn hears from leading female designers, hoteliers and architects about how far we have come and, crucially, how far we have still got to travel in order to operate in an equal and fair global arena…

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve collected the thoughts of women who have and are breaking boundaries in international hotel design. While we have come so far to champion equality in our industry, a recent report published by the BIID strongly suggests that there is a long way to go in order to create a equal opportunities in this global arena.

Let’s hear from our leading ladies on what the next step towards equality in design, architecture and hospitality needs to be.

Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: Jo Littlefair

Image caption: Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair

“While women have made great strides in forging careers and have tremendous support within our industry, unfortunately there remains a difference to how we are perceived professionally and there are prejudices which some still hold on to therefore perpetuating their existence. Without being so utopian as to be unrealistic, my personal view is that at every opportunity presented to us we should learn to celebrate our differences, try to be tolerant and inclusive of one another to realise the best initiatives we can, together. It’s like chipping away at a founding stone of a pyramid – it’s going to take a while! Being a designer means questioning and thinking creatively is second nature, I always try to channel energy in finding a solution and not being content with a closed door.” 

Una Barac, Executive Director, Atellior

Image of Una Barac

Image caption: Una Barac, Executive Director, Atellior

“Sadly, there is still a way to go for women, and minorities, in the hospitality design sector across the world. If you look around, you find very few women at senior board level. Yet, studies repeatedly show that diversity is not only good for an organisation’s culture but results in better business outcomes.

At Atellior we are now 35 people across two offices, 22 of whom are women, and we pick our people based on their talent. Having grown up in Eastern Europe when it was governed by socialist ideology, one positive result was that I completely believed in gender equality. That’s why I eventually set up my own business!”

Harriet Forde, Founder, Harriet Forde Design and co-host of DESIGN POD.

Image caption: Harriet Forde, President, BIID

“We have come far but not far enough. Each generation moves forward and sadly this will take time. Whilst women now hold 30 per cent of all board roles in the UK, we are still faced with a system that doesn’t accommodate or value the fact that as women, we bear the children who will be our future. This shouldn’t be a juggle but embraced for the challenge it is and be met with inclusive solutions for all.” 

Sarah Murphy, Architect, Jestico + Whiles

Image of Sarah Murphy

Image caption: Sarah Murphy, Architect, Jestico + Whiles

“Now is the best time ever to be a woman in the design industry. I love what I do and rarely feel as though my gender is a factor. While Jestico + Whiles is full of talented and amazing people and the company works hard to ensure equality and inclusivity is tackled day to day, not annually, we remain aware that there is work to be done internally and throughout the industry.

“I have been fortunate to work with inspirational female designers, associate directors and directors both in my company and client side. However, I recognise that my experiences are my own and that it might be different for other people – I haven’t got children yet for example. But undoubtedly, things have come a long way in even the decade I have been in the industry.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone, but I hope the shift to flexible working is here to stay. Allowing the individual to be more in control of their own structure and time might see a subtle change in inequality, through a more balanced way of life.”

Geetie Singh-Watson, Owner of The Bull Inn in Totnes

And image of Geetie Singh-Watson standing outside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Geetie Singh-Watson outside The Bull Inn in Totnes | Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

“I was living in a commune and at primary school as the feminist movement took off. Surrounded by wonderful women and men working out what it meant to them and society. It was such an exciting time, but mostly in silo. There were mountains to climb. Men thinking they could touch you whenever they felt like it, the language used, the pay expectations let alone basic working and domestic rights.

“We have come so far in my life – it amazes me, and we must never forget that. But, that doesn’t mean we still don’t have more mountains to climb before equality. But these days, I can correct any male centric language, with anyone I work with, and its taken seriously. It feels like such progress. I have real hope for my daughters future. We must be alert though. We must keep up the fight and take our political responsivities seriously. Learn about our politicians and what they stand for. Or we could slide backwards so fast if we are in the wrong hands.” – the Bull Inn in Totnes was recently reviewed by Hotel Designs.

Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

Profile image of Marie Soliman

Image caption: Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

“My message this International Women’s Day would be to choose to challenge, choose to engage, choose to stand out of the crowd and choose to build and maintain meaningful relationships. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. This year we are celebrating: The work of female creatives and elevate visibility for commercial projects and commissions; the female athletes and applauding when equability is achieved in pay, sponsorship and visibility; the digital advancement and championing the women forging through technology and leadership while uplifting women to pursue goals without bias or barriers. Above all, celebrating being a mother, a sister, a best friend and a life partner, supporting our families the most precious, are the most cherished and treasured gifts of all.” – Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors.

Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design

Headshot of Geraldine Dohogne

Image credit: Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design

“Gender equality in design continues to be an evolution in the world. As a woman, in many parts of the world people are not always used to seeing a woman as a figure of authority, and even in countries where it’s more common there can still be this sub-conscious thinking. Construction, building and of course architectural development are all very important parts to designing a hotel. Roles and industries that have been pre-dominantly male, though in recent years are seeing more women every day.  It’s been exciting to be in this moment of history. 

Design processes have always been driven by intuition and feeling, as soon as you discovery a place or an existing building. The hiring processes in design follows this same rhythm. Each is taken on as an individual with a unique soul and character and the creative styles either come together organically or not. From a designer point of view –  this allows a much more level playing field.  

As a designer with a more ‘masculine’ style (so people tell me!) it’s an interesting balance that plays out in my work.”

Pinar Harris, Vice President and Principal, SB Architects

Image of Pinar Harris

Image caption: Pinar Harris, Vice President and Principal, SB Architects

“There has been a surge of women taking on leadership roles, but we still have a way to go. We need to make sure we have women in ‘decision maker’ roles and strive to maintain an equal seat at the right tables to effect change and make an impact in the field. Women are currently achieving this goal, and it’s evolving one meeting at a time, one day at a time.  

“We’re working on closing a gap spanning centuries of continuous inequality, so, we still have a way to go, but, personally, I’m hopeful that our daughters are being raised with a mindset of absolute equality, with some fantastic role models in front of them in every field.”

Hotel Designs is proud to support and celebrate equality in design. Following a recent report published by the BIID, it is clear that much more needs to be done in order for us to operate in a truly democratic and equal international hotel design and hospitality scene. Happy International Women’s Day!

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Early check in: MarBella Elix, a design hotel inspired by the sea

The latest design hotel to arrive in the MarBella Collection portfolio, MarBella Elix, which is about to open on the mainland of Greece, is the brainchild of Konstantinos Kydoniatis and Dimitris Thomopoulos…

Image of luxury design hotel guestroom at MarBella Elix in Greece

MarBella Elix, which Hotel Designs first took a sneak peek of early last year,  is an inspirational and to many extends a timeless design hotel situated in a previously undiscovered area of Greece. As the third hotel to join the MarBella Collection portfolio – and the brand’s first property outside of the island of Corfu – MarBella Elix is perched above the beautiful Karavostasi Beach in the Parga region, looking west towards Corfu and Paxos.

Arial view of MarBella Elix design hotel

Image caption: MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Image credit: Heinz Troll

The 146-key design hotel was built into the sloping mountain with every room looking out over the uninterrupted sea. The architecture is designed to reflect the natural location, mirroring the sandy cliffs and the surrounding area of astounding natural beauty. The interiors meanwhile lend themselves to a family-friendly resort, with expansive communal and dining areas and comfortable resting places, perfectly situated to admire the unspoilt surroundings.

The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels.

The architectural inspiration behind the design hotel was to create a hotel with contemporary simplicity, paired with breathtaking views. The project was spearheaded by Konstantinos Kydoniatis whose idea was to blend the existing landscape into a premise built with tiered levels suitable for couples and families alike. The existing traditional Greek building was radically redesigned, in order to serve the contemporary needs of a five-star hotel. The designers used high-end technology to ensure the building was constructed with the needs of a luxury traveller in mind, whilst at the same time achieving a high level of sustainability.

The overall brief for Marbella Elix was to redesign and recreate a traditional Greek property into a luxury, modern resort for families and couples, upgrading both premises and amenities seamlessly transition between the traditional and modern.

The transformation has been meticulously planned to play on the outstanding views of the Ionian Sea, ensuring the property is fully equipped for for its guests who expect premium luxury standard. Designed and created by Dimitris Thomopoulos and Kydoniatis, the style focuses on three key elements; the breathtaking, sea-view scenery; the proximity to the once-inaccessible vast coastline, which is now easily reached by a small path and the local architecture elements of stone, marble and wood.

“The inspiration behind the design comes from the breath-taking view of the infinite sea and the surrounding environment,” explained Thomopoulos. “The design of this five-star hotel is now a reflection of the existing materials and styles of traditional Greece, combined with a constant reminder of the beauty of nature.”

The lobby and dining area was conceived as a viewpoint. An uninterrupted line of vision flows directly from the entrance of the restaurant to the vast sea views, with a green filter created through a structure of plant life, to emphasise the natural synergies and surrounds.

Lounge/lobby inside design hotel by the sea

Image caption: The lobby and public areas carefully injects biophilic design into a contemporary space. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The main restaurant follows the design approach of the lobby area, with natural light and plant features throughout. The à la carte restaurant is unique with its luxurious and distinctive darker tones, creating an elegant and authentic feel.

The distinct nod to nature continues in the guestrooms, with the entire design scheme including, floor-to-ceiling windows, working around and framing the unparalleled views of the Ionion sea. The designers have added a twist of something rare and unique to the area by redefining the traditional architecture of Epirus through minimal and clear lines.

Image caption: The use of natural elements adds a sense of place throughout the 146 spacious and contemporary guestrooms and suites. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

MarBella Elix is unique to the current MarBella Collection properties as it uses typical Epirus traditional architecture, where the buildings follow the natural landscape. Marbella Elix blends into the surroundings using built-in tiered levels that appear to come out of the steep slope landscape. This creates unobstructed views to the forest and Ionian sea. The rooftops have been used to create large 25 – 30 square-metre private pools for guests staying in upper-level rooms, tying in natural elements such as stone claddings to reflect the architecture of nearby towns.

Image of sunset from luxury pool

The hotel’s coastal location makes it an ideal spot to catch the sunset. | Image credit: Heinz Troll

The MarBella Collection currently boasts two unique properties in their portfolio, the iconic family 5* resort, MarBella Corfu Hotel located and in Agios Ioannis Peristeron and its adjacent sister, adult-only suite hotel MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas which opened in May 2018 and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. In 2021, the highly anticipated MarBella Elix will be added to the collection, a design hotel curated for travellers seeking true luxury experiences.

Main image credit: MarBella Collection

Image of LED Eye in modern bedroom

Product Watch: LED eye lighting from Chelsom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: LED eye lighting from Chelsom

Following Chelsom‘s participation at Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, where the lighting brand pitched Edition 27 in a Product Watch pitch, Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the brand’s latest LED Eye collection…

Image of LED Eye in modern bedroom

When Will and Robert Chelsom designed the iconic bedside reading light LED Dock, the design intent came with years of experience in successfully lighting hotel guestrooms. Trying to mix being inconspicuous and striking at the same time was a big design challenge, little did they know it would become the company’s most successful product ever enhancing hotel schemes in more than 30 countries worldwide. A hard act to follow!

GIF of LED Eye lights by Chelsom

Image credit: Chelsom

As part of Chelsom’s latest collection Edition 27, Will and Robert wanted to move on the aesthetics of a bedside reading light whilst maintaining all the successful features of function and light output. The starting point was to create a product which was inconspicuous in that it nestled successfully into a headboard with minimum projection and yet was cool and stylish to look at when guests first entered the room. Development led to compact and slim outer vessel  which surrounded the ‘eye’, a sculptured cast metal piece which invites the hotel guest to open the eyelid thereby illuminating the light and allowing a full range of movement to create the perfect light spill. Much time and engineering skill went into prototype development ensuring that the cast centrepiece revolve and rotates wit the lightest of touch and can be easily opened to operate the microswitch and closed to extinguish the light.

The highly tactile moulded centrepiece still remains extremely slim with a subtle curve at the bottom edge. Once opened the warm white LED light passes through a high-quality focusing lens to create perfect reading light.  The product comes in 6 different standard finishes; Matt White, Brushed Brass, Brushed Nickle, Satin Black, Brushed Nickle with Satin Black, Brushed Brass with Satin Black and to special order combination finishes are available giving a contrast between the outer vessel and internal moulded eye. The product is CE and UL certified and represents great value given its high- quality function and superb finishing.

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

Main image credit: Chelsom

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

640 426 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on the Baa Atoll, has launched the largest overwater residences in the world with a major renovation of the resort’s two-bedroom over water pool residences…

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

Setting a new precedent in naturally inspired design and luxury living, the renovation of the seven residences at Anantara Kihavah sees a careful preservation of the element of space while marrying a light and airy interior refit with smart technology home comforts.

Each overwater residence is generously spaced at 1,500 sq. m. and comes with the addition of a new fully equipped gym, a couples’ spa treatment room, a fully equipped professional kitchen with wine fridge, expanded outdoor decks and larger swimming pools. This follows a multi-million-dollar redesign of the two-, three- and four- bedroom beach pool residences in 2020 just before lockdown, with the four-bedroom residence at a commanding 2,000 sq. m. 

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Spa Treatment Room View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Two-bedroom overwater pool residences

The two newly completed two-bedroom overwater pool residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows across its entirety, guaranteeing vast views of the ocean. Fitted with a professional working kitchen in the living and dining room, each en-suite bedroom at either end features ample individual outdoor living space, whilst the extended infinity pool tiled in natural Sukabumhi stone and shaded outdoor dining sala is the ideal hangout for shared leisure activities.

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Exterior Aerial

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

With fitness and wellness being a bigger focus than ever in the modern-day traveller’s needs, the redesign of these residences sees the addition of a gym, fully equipped with the latest in TechnoGym machinery, and a couple’s spa treatment room. Both rooms are fitted with retractable blinds, allowing for natural sunlight by day and unfiltered stargazing at night. Whilst relaxing with a signature Anantara Spa massage, a view of the marine life just beneath the residence, is made possible with the strategic placement of glass panels underneath the spa treatment beds. Glass-bottomed whirlpool bathtubs have also been fitted in each bathroom, providing therapeutic massages even during bath time.

Staying true to the heritage of the Maldives, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring spanning the entire length of its expansive outdoor deck, accompanied by netted hammocks suspended over water.

Two-, three-, and four-bedroom beach pool residences

Anantara Kihavah’s beach pool residences start from 1,330 sq. m for the two-bedroom option to 1,770 sq. m for the three-bedroom residence and 2,000 sq. m. for the four-bedroom pool sanctuary.

Surrounded by foliage and bright bougainvillea accents, occasional sights of coconut trees jutting through floors or ceilings is testament to the resort’s commitment toward preserving the natural beauty of the island, whilst optimising each residence’s space.

Anantara Kihavah - Guest Room Three Bedroom Beach Pool Residence Exterior View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Like the over water pool residences, the architecture of each beachfront residence reflects Kajan palm roofs and Balau decks. The newly extended swimming pools are now fitted with massage jets, whilst an outdoor Sala Thai provides shaded relief for lounging and dining.

A light neutral palette uplifts a previously dark wood scheme, presenting an atmosphere that is at once comfortable and relaxed, yet modern and luxurious. Rattan details, woven straw carpets, Maldivian motifs and teak wood furniture further accent the distinctively tropical vibe of each room. Floor-to-ceiling doors of the main living and dining area effortlessly slide open for views of the tropics.

Further embodying island living at its most luxurious, a water feature wall designed to mimic that of a real waterfall, is the highlight in each revamped bathroom newly fitted with intelligent toilet technology. Wellbeing and fitness are also not forgotten – with each residence fitted with its own private double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a complete range of fitness equipment.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.


Main image credit: Anantara Kihavah

5 minutes with: Mark Harper, Head of Design at Dernier & Hamlyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Mark Harper, Head of Design at Dernier & Hamlyn

Ahead of Hotel Designs’ next roundtable, in association with Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the brand’s Head of Design, Mark Harper to understand bespoke lighting’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

Mark Harper is Head of Design at bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn. He worked in various manufacturing and design roles and, after a brief spell at other bespoke manufacturers recently returned to the company’s new premises in Surrey. We caught up with him (over Zoom obviously) to talk lamps, lifestyle and lightbulb moments.

Hamish Kilburn: How long have you worked in the lighting industry?

Mark Harper: I’m proud and also a little surprised to say, more than 35 years!

HK: In that time, what have been the major changes you have seen in hotel design?

MH: Mostly to do with the use of technology. When I started out it was nearly all bayonet cap and ES lamp holders, then fluorescent lights became a really big thing and now, of course, LED is the lighting technology of choice. The light they produced was a bit cold and not very user friendly at first, but they have got progressively better and better and it’s rare that anything else is used in most places now.

Also, the technology that we use for both design and manufacturing has really changed the way we work. Things such as CNC and laser cutting has drastically altered production methods and CAD, while 3D rendering and printing has given more scope to the design, development and presentation of our work.  Although I still prefer putting pencil to paper at least during the initial stages of a project. I think it is the best way to experiment with what can be achieved and means I can put my heart into it so that the lighting that is finally in situ in beautiful hotels is part of me as well as the designer’s aspirations.

“It used to be all about varied finishes on metals, and although there is still a lot of that, we are increasingly seeing specifications that include combinations of various woods.” – Mark Harper, Head of Design, Dernier & Hamlyn.

Image caption: Mark Harper working on drawing for Adare Manor Tack Room lighting design

Image caption: Mark Harper working on drawing for Adare Manor Tack Room lighting design

HK: And what would you say are the current challenges you are dealing with?

MH: Sourcing the diverse materials that designers want for their bespoke lighting can be challenging. It used to be all about varied finishes on metals, and although there is still a lot of that, we are increasingly seeing specifications that include combinations of various woods and even skins.

HK: We like to remain upbeat here at Hotel Designs. What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

MH: Hospitality getting back to business. In regards to work, that means sharpening those pencils and helping designers achieve their bespoke lighting dreams for their clients. We’re really looking forward to inviting designers and their clients into our new studio so that we can work collaboratively to engineer and produce the bespoke lighting they want. And out of work that means getting together with friends and family again and enjoying their company.

Image caption: Public areas inside Adhere Manor | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

Image caption: Public areas inside Adhere Manor | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

HK: Are there implications for bespoke lighting post-pandemic?

MH: Not really, but we are, of course, feeling the effects of what is happening to hospitality with people working from home and not coming to our factory as much as they have in the past as well as some holding back of projects. We are starting to see this turn around, which is great for everyone involved in the industry.

HK: What do you think will be the upcoming trends in hospitality design?

MH: I think there will be more and more focus on sustainability, both of the materials utilised and energy usage.

Massive leaps forward have been achieved with the use of LEDs which use around 90 per cent less energy and have a life-expectancy that is 20 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb. This also means they need replacing much less frequently which is good news for hotel operators and their staff and also for designers who can be more confident that their painstakingly designed light fittings, will be kept illuminated as they intended, which was often not the case in the past when non-working lightbulbs were sometimes not replaced for months.

Provenance of the materials we use is increasingly important and will become even more so as younger designers, who tend to be more ethically aware, come through and will want ever more transparency about where and how things were sourced and produced.

HK: What would you have been if you hadn’t been a lighting designer?

MH: Something to do with sport. Probably training of some kind. I was a county level squash player at 17 and also played football to a fairly high standard but stopped most of it when I discovered the kind of things that boys in their late teens usually do. Although I love my job, earning your living from sport must be brilliant. And I’d be fitter a lot than I am too!

HK: What has been your favourite hospitality project?

MH: I have worked on so many over the years that it’s impossible to pick one. Standouts include Adare Manor  and Gleneagles (which Hotel Designs reviewed) both of which are places with illustrious pasts that needed the lighting to make reference to this, while contributing to the designer’s aim for their future ambitions.

Image caption: The Century Bar, Gleneagles | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

Image caption: The Century Bar, Gleneagles | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

Bob Bob Cite, the amazing 190 cover restaurant in the Leadenhall Building, which we made more than 400 light fittings for was brilliant to be part of. And the recent project we have worked on which has been fantastic is lighting for the beautiful restaurant, bar and private dining room at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. I love the way that the designers have engendered a modern feel with really clever and subtle traditional Japanese twists.

Image caption: Bob Bob Cite restaurant | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

Image caption: Bob Bob Cite restaurant | Image credit: Dernier & Hamlyn

HK: What are the best and worst traits in the designers you have worked with?

MH: The best are those who have a clear vision for what they are trying to achieve with their projects and the role that the bespoke lighting they have specified has in it. I’d rather not dwell on the negatives, but let’s call it indecisiveness to be polite.

Dernier & Hamlyn 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: Dernier & Hamlyn

Image of grey armchair

Upholstery & surface design: The rise of vinyls

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Upholstery & surface design: The rise of vinyls

With surface design heavy on the agenda for the design community, Hotel Designs takes a look at SMD Textiles, a brand that offers no less than 165 vinyl upholstery fabrics…

Image of grey armchair

The 165 vinyl upholstery fabrics within the collections at SMD Textiles have been intelligently designed to cater to every aspect of the contract market from faux-leather to herringbone and animal skin hide-look finishes.

Back in 2014, the brand introduced its first vinyl collection, Burghley, and it proved to be its most popular contract upholstery choice. Designed as a stylish faux leather upholstery, Burghley was aimed at catering to the healthcare and hospitality sector as a practical alternative to leather.

Due to high demand, intense popularity and a shift in market needs,the brand saw the collection triple in size. The range now boasts 61 exciting colours, ranging from neutral tones through to the more luxurious metallics and bold brights, meaning there is now an even greater opportunity to select stylish co-ordinates ideal for every contract space.

“We wanted to create something which was versatile that would not only cater to a wide audience but it would have enhanced durability and reliability suited for severe contract use,” the brand explained in a press statement. “All of our vinyl’s are REACH compliant and fire-retardant to crib-5 standards, alongside being waterproof and stain resistant. They also pass Martindale testing with at least 100,000 rubs with Burghley now surpassing 760,000 rubs, making it one of the most durable and robust vinyl’s on the market.”

After the positive reception Burghley received, Saddle, Chroma and Opal were later introduced in 2017 to offer SMD Textiles’ customers a broader range of textures and colours.

Side on image of the Lismore Olive collection

Image credit: SMD Textiles

“Chroma, Opal and Burghley metallics have added a contemporary twist to our range, allowing designers to create a wow factor in their briefs, whilst still adhering to the rigorous contract testing requirements,” SMD Textiles referenced in a press statement. “Across 11 stunning metallic colours, the embossed, chromatic vinyl’s were and still are intensely popular with our international customers.”

Available in twenty-five colours and offering a classic antique leather look, Saddle was designed to mimic the feel of a traditional leather whilst offering added benefits such as their anti-microbial and waterproof qualities.

“Saddle has been hugely popular for us in the hospitality sector, with many of our customers specifying it for hotel rooms and reception seating as it offers a more sophisticated look,” A spokesperson from the brand said. “And then after the success of Saddle, we were keen to introduce a sheen version to sit alongside it. We were receiving feedback from our customers that when they were selecting fabrics for certain settings, the glossier finish translated beautifully to a totally different audience. Ascot is able to bring a more relevant and funky look to a brief whilst Saddle is able to offer a more paired back, traditional look”.

Over the past few months, we have worked to expand our contract vinyl portfolio with the Rio, Nevis and Lismore collections. Lismore is a two-tone faux leather with a pebble grain effect, which recreated the texture of a tipped leather. Nevis emulates an authentic, rustic herringbone weave running vertically through the design. The trend led colour palettes for Lismore and Nevis have been carefully selected to highlight the brand’s existing contract collections.

“For us, we wanted to prove that there was and is way more to vinyl than its stereotypical care home stigma,” the statement added. “By bringing out all of these bold trend-led colours on interesting herringbone and tipped leather-look textures, we wanted to change perceptions.”

Rio is described as the smoothest, cleanest and crispest vinyl in our range. Soft to the touch and punchy in colour, Rio is an exciting new vinyl perfect for bold interiors and bold briefs.

“With the way the world is shifting at the minute, we’re proud to say that all our vinyl’s are suitable for outdoor seating areas, making them a great choice for beer gardens and outdoor communal areas,” added a spokesperson for the brand. “Our anti-microbial finish, Feelsafe was recently lab tested and is proven to inhibit the spread of the Covid-19 virus amongst other Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi. The lifespan of vinyl’s are just incomparable to other fabrics, the longevity of the makeup Is remarkable making it a really cost effective and sustainable choice for contract settings.”

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

Main image credit: SMD Textiles/RIO

In (lockdown) conversation with: Art consultant Harry Pass

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (lockdown) conversation with: Art consultant Harry Pass

For one year now, Hotel Designs has been amplifying art consultancy firm Elegant Clutter in order to get a deeper understanding of art’s role in hotel design moving forward. Here, editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the brand’s creative director, Harry Pass

Whether it’s virtual escapes or understanding how designers should brief their at consultants, the team at Elegant Clutter have kept the pages of Hotel Designs colourful and vibrant over the last year. The art consultancy firm has been responsible for injecting personality into hotels for brands such as Hyatt, 25Hours Hotels, Bespoke Hotels, Radisson Blu and many others. To learn more about how the brand stays ahead of the curve, I caught up with Harry Pass, the Creative Director and art consultant who understands how to meaningfully amplify narrative in hotel design.

Hamish Kilburn: What sets Elegant Clutter aside from other art consultants?

Harry Pass: I think it’s how wide-ranging our work is and the fact that we create as well as curate. If you took a stroll around the place, you’d bump into product designers, paint sprayers, fine artists, carpenters, art consultants, metalworkers, researchers and picture-framers, amongst plenty of other roles – so we are very different to the agency model that you often find with art consultants. I could go on passionately about this for hours but if I can add one more difference, it’s our collective imagination!

Work in progress in Elegant Clutter’s 3D Studio for The Brooklyn Hotel, Manchester

Image caption: Work in progress in Elegant Clutter’s 3D Studio for The Brooklyn Hotel, Manchester | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: Has the role of art in hotel design changed since the pandemic? 

HP: No – it hasn’t changed. Art in hotel design is mostly about narrative. There may be a shift in the type of projects that are being invested in, but the main role of art to tell stories is not going to change. I think history shows us that we will see a surge in creativity and art following the pandemic and hopefully this will also provide some powerful inspiration for hotel design.

Image caption: Suspended Star Sculpture by Elegant Clutter installed at Hard Rock Hotel Budapest | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Image caption: Suspended Star Sculpture by Elegant Clutter installed at Hard Rock Hotel Budapest | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: What would you say is the main pre-conception people have of art curators? 

HP: There’s lot of different hats to wear but when you talk about Art Curators, people can have this idea of someone waltzing into artist studios, selecting pieces on the spot and then having the vision to instinctively point to wall locations to indicate where they should be hung. The reality is that it is of course more technical and more reliant on a team of people, working together on many details to build an experience with lots of layers.

HK: What are the main challenges when curating art for hospitality? 

HP: One thing I love about art is that it is subjective. But this aspect can be one of the biggest challenges in a project. For example, following weeks of curating art options, we may present to an investor client and an interior designer who have quite different opinions on the art. In some ways this reflects the discussion a group of guests may have in the finished hotel space. At the end of the day, we all see something slightly different. A slight edge to the art collection can be a good thing and we want to keep those conversation starters…

Image caption: Close up of Henry VIII mixed media portrait, destined for the AMEX Centurion Lounge, Heathrow | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Image caption: Close up of Henry VIII mixed media portrait, destined for the AMEX Centurion Lounge, Heathrow | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: At Hotel Designs, we love art when it is outside the conventional frame. What is the most creative art project you have worked on to date?

It’s really hard to pick out one but probably the 25Hours Hotel in Düsseldorf, which we worked on with Stylt Trampoli. Our brief for that project was to imagine the hotel was the child of a German father and French mother – when your brief starts like that you know you are onto a winner! The approach in this project was very open minded and a great deal of the art we created was painted directly to the wall surfaces, including an oversized ‘sketch book’ of nude studies in the 16th floor restaurant.


HK: What projects are you working on currently?

HP: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, Raffles Jeddah and some Curio and Indigo projects in the UK.

HK: What is the most common pitfall designers fall down when specifying art?

HP: Specifying it late instead of building it into earlier stages of project development.

HK: If (touch wood) your house was burning down and you only had time to take one piece of art, which piece would it be?

HP: An abstract artwork that my children painted that hangs in our kitchen.

HK: If you had to get rid of one piece of art in your home, which piece would it be?

HP: The ‘Chocolate box’ painting of our house that my aunt gave me (please don’t tell her!).

HK: What is the best part of your job?

 HP: I could write an essay! Summed up, it’s the possibility to be creative every day within the world of art.

HK: What’s your advice for designers who are working on a tight budget?

HP: You don’t need to cover every wall! I would concentrate on the most important locations – where you know a guest will linger and take it all in. Some spotlights in these locations focused onto the art will double your impact. Regarding the content, being creative is the way to go – encourage your client to embrace the philosophy that anything can be art if it is arranged and presented imaginatively. Some of the humblest materials are the best to work with. If you have a little more budget to buy some fine art, you don’t need to go with established names – there is so much emerging art talent out there.

HK: I suppose art doesn’t really follow trends, as such. What’s your secret to keeping art current yet timeless?

HP: I think that by keeping the story telling as the main focus, the style of art is actually inspired by the story. It’s the combination of different pieces that could be from different eras and styles that builds the narrative and so you are not relying on one single trend. We want to be trend setters rather than followers and we are about to launch an Art Story student competition to help us spot and mentor emerging talent. There is a balancing act between being both aware and inspired by trends but also being confident enough to ignore them.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image caption: When Harry met Henry | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Render of outside of villa at new FOur Seasons hotel in Southern Italy

Four Seasons lays down plans for resort in Southern Italy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons lays down plans for resort in Southern Italy

Four Seasons and Omnam Group have announced plans for a beachside resort in the region of Puglia, Southern Italy. Here’s what we know…

Render of outside of villa at new FOur Seasons hotel in Southern Italy

Following the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, the recent renovation of Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest and the unveiling of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, the luxury hotel brand has now unveiled plans, with global estate firm Omnam Group, for a brand-new resort that will arrive in Puglia, the stunning coastal region of southern Italy.

Located on a pristine beachfront property, the hotel site will be comprised of 150 rooms and suites. The exclusive seaside location will offer guests views of the Adriatic Sea and direct beach access, along with easy accessibility to the nearby historic town of Ostuni and countless other attractions in the region.

Render of site of the new Four Seasons resort in Southern Italy

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts

“As we grow as a brand, our focus is on opening hotels in the world’s best travel destinations, and in markets where we can introduce an elevated luxury experience. In Puglia, we are achieving both of these goals, and this is the perfect project to expand our presence in Italy with our partners at Omnam Investment Group, led by David Zisser,” says John Davison, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “We look forward to setting the standard for luxury hospitality in this beautiful region, creating opportunities to discover more of this incredible country with Four Seasons.”

“We acquired this amazing plot of land in Puglia at the end of 2020 together with our trusted partners led by Adam Hudaly from IAC investments. We are always looking for opportunities to create something unique and unexpected with each new project, and we are very excited to do exactly that with the iconic Four Seasons brand,” says David Zisser, Founder and CEO, Omnam Group. “As more and more travellers discover Puglia, we look forward to delivering the best luxury lifestyle offering in the region, not only through exceptional design and amenities, but through renowned Four Seasons service.”

Four Seasons render of villa in southern Italy

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts

Puglia makes up the heel of Italy’s “boot” and is home to ancient towns with rich histories, national parks, soaring mountains, exceptional food and wine, pristine beaches and Mediterranean climate. Ostuni, the local city a short drive from the Resort, is also known as the “White City” for its white-washed houses and buildings carved into the cliffside, medieval streets, and its 15th century Gothic cathedral.

Guestrooms and suites will be housed in villa-style units, all facing the sea, with architecture by award-winning design firm HKS Architects that has previously worked with Four Seasons on projects in the Bahamas, Tunis, and Egypt, while interior design is being led by ODA Architecture.

Additional onsite facilities will include six restaurant and bar offerings, including an all-day restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a seasonal pool bar and grill, a lobby lounge bar, a signature bar and a beach club. The Resort will also include extensive meeting and event spaces including a ballroom and smaller meeting rooms in a designated building, as well as additional outdoor event offerings.

The new resort in Puglia will join the hotel group’s growing collection of properties in Italy, including Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Four Seasons Hotel Milano, and the upcoming San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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Main image credit: Soho House

A gif of all the stories from the week

Weekly briefing: Award winners, design trends and a new Nobu

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Award winners, design trends and a new Nobu

In the same week Hotel Designs LIVE flooded the industry with four panel discussions on meaningful topics, Hotel Designs published breaking news stories from brands such as Accor, Nobu Hospitality and Hyatt. In addition, we caught up with a few leading designers to make sense of design trends in 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes your weekly briefing…

A gif of all the stories from the week

Well, well, well – we don’t want to jinx anything but, from the looks of things, it seems as if hospitality is preparing its comeback and permanent exit from what has no-doubt been the most challenging situations our industry has faced in modern times. My inbox is flooding with press releases referencing hotels being signed left, right and centre, which is painting our pages on the website with optimism. And the good vibes keep on coming as we are currently preparing to share the recordings of the conversations we had earlier this week at Hotel Designs LIVE (first editorial piece is landing early next week).

But before that, let’s look back at the major hotel design headlines that dropped this week:

Outstanding Property Award London: Winners announced

OPAL collage

Image credit: OPAL

The annual OPAL Award celebrates and give exposure to the most exceptional projects in architectural design, interior design, and property development from all over the world. From a shortlist of more than 600 global projects, the OPAL jury panel selected three “Designs of the Year” winners in Architectural Design, Interior Design, and Property Development along with Platinum Winners, Winners and Honourable Mentions.

Read more.

Nobu to arrive in Hamburg, Germany

Image of minimalist design guestroom in Nobu hotel

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

As Nobu Hospitality prepares its arrival in Marrakech, the brand continues to expand its luxury lifestyle portfolio, which now includes a new hotel in Germany as details of a new 191-key hotel emerge. The Nobu Hotel and Restaurant will be located within the Elbtower, a project by SIGNA Real Estate, one of Europe’s leading property companies. The Elbtower will be a mixed-use development destination encompassing premium office space and the Nobu Hotel and Restaurant set within the tallest high-rise in the city.

Read more.

Interior designers make sense of 2021 design trends

library/lounge in Rosewood Baha Mar

Image credit: Rosewood Baha Mar

Since 2021 started, we have deliberately put an emphasis on trends – from surface design trends to architecture trends and recently predicting what colour palettes will be popular this year and in the future. Instead of rolling our eyes, which is often the reaction when the trends are mentioned, we are embracing new ideas and meaningful solutions following what has been the largest disruption to hospitality in living memory.

In order to understand how designers worldwide are thinking right now about the future, we have heard from seven leading professionals from Wimberly Interiors. Here are their predictions.

Read more.

Accor’s Mondrian to arrive in Singapore in 2023

Accor Announces First Mondrian

Image credit: Accor

The international hospitality group Accor has announced Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel will be built in the heart of the city’s prominent Duxton Hill neighbourhood and is set to open in early 2023, which will come after seven Mondrian hotel openings globally, which are slated for 2022.

Read more.

MINIVIEW: Inside newly renovated Hyatt Regency Houston

Image of stylish king bedroom in Hyatt Regency Houston

Image credit: Julie Soefer

New York-based Stonehill Taylor lives up to its reputation as a leading interior design firm operating in the luxury lifestyle hospitality arena by unveiling a clean and sophisticated renovation inside Hyatt Regency Houston.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of clean looking space

Product Watch: Marvel Shine by Atlas Concorde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: Marvel Shine by Atlas Concorde

Marvel Shine is the new ceramic tile collection inspired by four fine white marbles, which Atlas Concorde presented to engaged designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23…

Image of clean looking space

Marvel Shine is the new ceramic tile collection inspired by four fine white marbles, thanks to which Atlas Concorde has been able to further expand its already extensive range of marble-effect surfaces. The new natural variants are all rooted in Italy, where “white gold” has been shining for centuries in all its purity, recalling a history of illustrious sculptors and monumental architecture.

Marvel Shine draws on this prestigious legacy and translates it into a concept of a new Italian Renaissance, which evolves classicism into an unprecedented contemporary style ideal for designing the spaces of our time.

Shiny tiles from Atlas Concorde in showroom

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

To develop this collection, Atlas Concorde sought out the assistance of SAVEMA, a leader in the international marble industry that made available all its experience for the selection of the most suitable references, confirming Atlas Concorde’s role as a standard-setter when it comes to the ceramic reinterpretation of natural marble.

The four variants of the range, inspired mainly by Calacatta and Statuario marbles, share a bright, pure white background varied by veins in warm and cool tones.

Calacatta Delicato has a bright warm white background crisscrossed by subtle light grey streaks. Calacatta Prestigio is inspired by a fine-grained marble with a pure ivory-white background and sparse thin grey-beige veins alternating with some broader branches that determine its value. Statuario Supremo stands out as the most refined and sought-after stone in recent years thanks to the extreme brilliance of its white background and its broad light grey veins. Calacatta Imperiale is perfect for spaces of sumptuous elegance thanks to the crystal white background traversed by precious yellow-gold and grey streaks.

Image from above of sofa on shiny tiled surface from Atlas Concorde

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Esthetic purity and natural majesty make the surfaces of Marvel Shine perfect for architectural and interior projects where the contemporary nature of the spaces merges with the timeless strength of a noble material. Combinations mixed and matched with other products in the Marvel range and other Atlas Concorde collections also add infinite expressive potential to the collection, expanding the boundaries of style.

Image of honeycomb shelf on shiney tiled surface from Atlas Concorde

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Marvel Shine can be laid in a bookmatch pattern replicating the way marble slabs are used on walls for an even more spectacular effect. It’s available in porcelain tiles in the large 120×278 cm format and in the 75×150 cm format, making it possible to create a 6×3 m graphic composition.

The collection features a wide range of formats that today Atlas Concorde makes available to designers around the world: large porcelain slabs measuring 160×320 cm with a 6 mm thickness, slabs for furnishings (Atlas Plan) measuring 162×324 cm, the large format measuring 120×278 cm with a 6 mm thickness and so on down to strips measuring 37.5×75 cm. Completing the selection are single-fired white body wall tiles in the brand new 50×120 cm format and in the traditional 40×80 cm size.

The two classic Matte and Polished surfaces are joined by the new Silk finish, inspired by a traditional workmanship of marble that introduces a new sensation in the realm of tactile ceramic experiences: a silky, soft touch that also reflects the light. It gives surfaces a naturally velvety appearance, highly valued in contemporary design.

Marvel Shine is the latest addition to the rich Marvel family, further expanding it with new creative solutions. The Scenic Mosaic, made from 120×278 cm porcelain slabs cut into smaller pieces, makes it possible to reproduce the bookmatch look in original shapes and even on curved surfaces for added design versatility, ideal for interiors with a eye-catching impact.

The decorations in the range of single-fired wall tiles are instead designed to soften the intense white of marble-effect surfaces through the use of precious materials (including gold, pink gold and platinum) and elegant colour accents.

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

Main image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image of large suite with staircase and blue furniture

MINIVIEW: Inside newly renovated Hyatt Regency Houston

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Inside newly renovated Hyatt Regency Houston

New York-based Stonehill Taylor lives up to its reputation as a leading interior design firm operating in the luxury lifestyle hospitality arena by unveiling a clean and sophisticated renovation inside Hyatt Regency Houston. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Image of large suite with staircase and blue furniture

Located in downtown Houston – a short distance from the George R. Brown Convention Centre and Minute Maid Park – the Hyatt Regency Houston shelters 955 rooms, including 20 suites, all of which have been revamped by award-winning architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor.

Image of stylish king bedroom in Hyatt Regency Houston

Image credit: Julie Soefer

In addition to the private areas, the New York-based firm, which is also responsible for the interior design scheme inside Ace Brooklyn, has been tasked with the interior design of the public spaces, including several food and beverage venues. The design team set out to create a multitude of compositions as the sculptural dimension of modern furniture interacts with the unconventional use of materials, geometry and scale – resulting in a hotel infused with creative flair.

The existing hotel boasts a Brutalist-influenced 30-story atrium with a series of transparent elevator cabs that climb the full height. A black material accentuates the lift shaft and contrasts with the neutral bone-coloured interior architecture.

“The fluidity between the interior design and architecture is inspired in part by the famed village of Marfa, Texas.”

Next to the main entry sit four new reception pods, creating a warm welcoming to the arrival experience. Though simple in design, the new reception pods’ wooden slats add texture and detail to the arrival experience. The reception desks are framed to create an intimate effect within a towering space. The fluidity between the interior design and architecture is inspired in part by the famed village of Marfa, Texas, well known as a haven for artists and their iconic installations often created from existing architecture.

Image of lobby/bar area from balcony in atrium of Hyatt Regency Houston

Image credit: Julie Soefer

In the lobby, there is a main bar that has been redesigned to occupy one full level. To similarly foster a sense of intimacy and human scale, there are distinct seating zones, including a collection of soft seating elements around the bar’s perimeter and wood-framed booth seating. The bar is defined by natural materials, including a stunning marble countertop and concrete-inspired porcelain tiles crafted by artisan Concrete Collaborative. Over the bar hangs a slatted wood canopy creating the illusion of a ceiling in a cavernous setting. The floor is a custom herringbone carpet. Behind the bar, an escalator leads to the second floor.

Also, on the first floor are two restaurant spaces: an upscale steakhouse and a grab-and-go eatery. The former space has been rebranded with an industrial-meets-Scandinavian, contemporary aesthetic that incorporates warm neutrals and earth-inspired materiality. Wood is used throughout the space to create texture, as with the slatted wood ceilings and tambour-clad columns that define the lobby-facing seating. Past the hostess zone is the interior dining area complete with natural wood flooring and inset pattern black and white porcelain tiles. Open shelving and banquette seating are arranged along the edge of the space. There is also a private dining area consisting of three joined rooms with a dividing wall to demarcate different zones; this area has porcelain floor tiles and tambour-clad walls with cove lighting. The more casual venue, meanwhile, conveys a crisp coolness with a navy and tan palette throughout, and rich wood tones for a cozy approach.

There are a series of ballroom spaces throughout the hotel, where a you can find integrated custom lighting, a distinctive carpet pattern and textured wall finishes.

The corridors leading to the guest rooms feature a tailored palette of grey, black and white, and deep gold hues. Inside the rooms, guests will be greeted by the surreal undertones of the corridor continuing into the room complemented by a semi-open closet finished in a rich wood tone.

Image of guestroom inside Hyatt Regency Houston

Image credit: Ralph Esposito

The guestroom palette and colour-blocking approach are influenced by Mark Rothko, an artist best known for his Abstract Expressionist works, examples of which are housed in the nearby Houston-based Menil Collection. In a nod to Rothko, a headboard light shines on a textured navy wall; the effect is a subtle variation in tone that creates a striking centerpiece for each guest room. Furnishings embrace a playful aesthetic and feel as if they are art pieces themselves. Casegoods feature elegant, curved corners, a departure from the typical brand standard of corner edges. In the bathroom, black floor tiles and grey porcelain wall tiles channel a vintage feel yet timeless feel.

Main image credit: Julie Soefer

Accor Announces First Mondrian

Accor’s Mondrian to arrive in Singapore in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor’s Mondrian to arrive in Singapore in 2023

The international hospitality group Accor has announced Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel will be built in the heart of the city’s prominent Duxton Hill neighbourhood and is set to open in early 2023, which will come after seven Mondrian hotel openings globally, which are slated for 2022…

Accor Announces First Mondrian

Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel is currently being developed by Craig Road Property Holdings. This news comes on the heels of Accor’s recent announcement regarding its planned venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle and entertainment operators set to include Mondrian hotels.

Mondrian Singapore, a luxury lifestyle hotel comprised of 300 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, a lounge and a rooftop bar will combine historic architecture from Singapore’s centuries-old shophouses with a new build of modern, contemporary influences. 

Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer of sbe, believes that the hotel will be an apt addition to the already thriving hospitality scene in Singapore. “We are thrilled to bring the iconic Mondrian brand to Singapore’s Duxton Hill neighbourhood. Mondrian is a natural fit for a global destination like Singapore, said Farhat. “The property will provide a cultural hub of food and beverage experiences for locals and travellers alike. Mondrian Singapore will be more than a hotel; it will be a destination.” 

Sun You Ning, Director, Craig Road Property Holdings, added: “We are excited to debut the Mondrian brand in South East Asia and Singapore with our partner Accor. Mondrian Singapore will provide guests an opportunity to stay in the heart of Duxton Hill, a vibrant heritage conservation area surrounded by Michelin-starred eateries, award winning bars, and iconic retail stores – all within walking distance to the Central Business District.”

A collaboration between DP Architects and Studio Carter, Mondrian Singapore will feature a lower three-story building in a contemporary take on the famous Singapore ‘shophouse’ building typology. This portion of the hotel features a terracotta roof and colonial-style window shutters and will include the hotel’s premier guest accommodations in loft suites. The hotel will then be expanded with a new, contemporary tower housing the majority of the hotel’s guestrooms as well as a rooftop pool and bar and signature restaurant.

The two buildings will be united by an urban oasis landscape deck to remind guests of their location, as Singapore is known as the “Garden City.” In addition to the rooftop pool, the hotel will also feature a speakeasy bar with a hidden entrance for travellers and locals to explore. sbe subsidiary Dakota Development, led by President Joe Faust, will provide design management services for the project.

Mondrian Singapore will be the first Mondrian hotel in Singapore, further expanding the brand’s luxury lifestyle experiences in South East Asia. The hotel’s location in the charming “day-to-night” Duxton Hill neighbourhood of Singapore’s bustling Downtown Core District positions itself as a prime location for travellers looking to immerse themselves in local cultural explorations.

Mondrian Singapore is one of the new Mondrian properties that Accor plans to open globally and will be one of the first to open in early 2023 in its next phase of expansion following Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands.  It follows the company’s recent announcement of Mondrian Gold Coast opening in 2023 and the upcoming opening of Mondrian Shoreditch London in Q2 2021 and Mondrian Bordeaux and Mondrian Cannes in France in 2022.

The debut of the Mondrian brand to Singapore reflects the strategic expansion of the brand’s international footprint, which will include soon-to-be announced Mondrian properties in the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Maldives, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Main image credit: Accor

Image of Steve ESDAILE

5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

With an ever-evolving, burning demand among modern travellers to check into spaces that ooze personality, design and art work in tandem, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews interior designer Steve Esdaile when establishing art’s role in tomorrow’s hotel design…

Image of Steve ESDAILE

Esdaile Design is rapidly making a name for itself with interiors featuring bespoke art commissions at the heart of the designs. These stunning focal points that always provide an element of surprise are something of a signature of founder Steve Esdaile. From private residences and hotels to commercial and retail spaces, Esdaile is keen to add what he simply calls an element of personality.

These artworks wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery, so what inspired Steve to incorporate them into his designs? We took five minutes of his time to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: You’re a designer by trade but where did your interest in bespoke art commissions start?

Steve Esdaile: As an art and design graduate, I’ve always loved making things and really love the environment of an artisan workshop. This has extended into my design work where I enjoy bringing to life original and previously unrealised pieces of work. Given my interest in skilled art and craft, when I’m employed to present ‘standard’ products, I look to artists and craftspeople to add an element of ‘bespoke’ to the settings.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

HK: Where do the ideas come from and how do you find craftspeople to work with?

SE: The ideas for projects are usually client-led initially. I’ll try and provoke a train of thought in the brief process – which could be an interest, reference point or emotion that the client would like to realise in the commission. And the craftspeople we work with tend to come via a recommendation from my existing contacts. Obviously, the internet can yield a broad scope of ideas and potential, but narrowing the field takes time and experience, and knowing what questions to ask is critical. My background in workshop manufacture is invaluable, as I understand the information a craftsperson requires. The best results tend to come from asking someone to do what they do best.

Image caption: Bedroom of a master suite in a Thames-side property. The monochrome hand-painted wallpaper in the bedroom was commissioned directly from the studio of a Chinese artist, and brings an exotic depth of field to the space.

HK: Can you give us as an idea of the range of materials and techniques you’ve incorporated into your designs?

SE: Within one Thames-side residence, I incorporated no fewer than five bespoke art pieces. For example, in the master bedroom, I commissioned a monochrome hand-painted wallpaper directly from the studio of a Chinese artist. The design brought an exotic depth of field to the space. Then in the ensuite, a Crinoid sea-lily fossil plaque from the Lower Jurassic Period in the shower enclosure and a bespoke mosaic floor panel with fish motif add decoration that reflects and celebrates the riverside location.

HK: And any favourites among those projects?

SE: In the study library of that same project, we commissioned a 5 x 2m stone relief that forms a backdrop to the external lightwell. It depicts the battle between Rama and Ravana, from the Ramanyana and was hand-crafted by a Cambodian carver. My favourite aspect of the project is the sheer beauty of the carving as a backdrop to the interior space. Every time I revisit the property, I’m struck by the fact that I have to stop and take it in for a moment. It makes me appreciate all the individuals who were involved and the relationships that developed within the process. I love the fact that the end result is unique and somewhat unexpected in the environment. Though if you ask me again tomorrow, I may have a different answer – my current project is always my favourite!

HK: What added extra do you think art commissions bring to hotel and commercial spaces?

SE: Without doubt it adds both personality and charm to a space. In a small, boutique hotel, a commissioned piece is a great way to chime with the personality no doubt already on display. But it can also give the different hotels of a corporate brand an element of personality and individuality. After all, each piece is unique so can’t be replicated from one location to the next. In that way, a bespoke art commission can also really add a sense of place. 

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

HK: Are there any additional points to consider when creating artworks for commercial spaces that will inevitably have higher traffic than residential interiors?

SE: Yes, the work needs to have more impact visually to stand out in a public space. So, for example, stronger contrasts in the work mean a more impactful piece that will gain the attention it deserves. And, of course, in practical terms we need to choose materials that won’t wear or deteriorate with continual touch or use. Particularly as they’ll be subject to continual cleaning – they need to withstand whatever is thrown at them.

By contrast, in a residential setting, the owner will live with that piece for many years, so the subtleties and detail need to go deeper to be appreciated for longer. Also, the owner intrinsically knows the story the artwork is telling – in a commercial setting, the story needs to tell itself.

HK: What are you working on now – and what’s next?

SE: I’m currently working on a stunning bespoke Zellige mosaic from Morocco, orientated around a 48-point star design, widely considered the queen of traditional mosaic work. I particularly enjoy the geometry, and how the simple lines and coloured polygons knit together to make such a rich and complex visual tapestry. I’ve also recently been pursuing an interest in traditional Japanese Hakone marquetry, and looking at ways of applying this within more contemporary applications. I’m always looking to future, though, and I suppose the dream next project would be to create something that I had no idea was possible!

Main image credit: Esdaile Design

Galvin at Windows_Hilton Park Lane

Bring your vision to life and make it sustainable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bring your vision to life and make it sustainable

Leaflike is on a quest to help customers with their sustainability agenda, switching to recycled planters, introducing hydroculture planting, flower rejuvenation programmes and green walls…

Galvin at Windows_Hilton Park Lane

Leaflike saw an increasing trend for sustainability within the Christmas packages last year, from a decorative tree made with recycled glass bottles at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock to beautiful wooden wreaths for Galvin at Windows, Hilton Park Lane.

Leaflike considers sustainability in every project delivered for customers, recognising that venues want to know where their products are from and that its ok to have them recycled and upcycled if it means they are more sustainable.

One customer has recently gone for all sustainability options including having herbs as table centre pieces and then using them in the kitchen for cooking thereafter. Using recycled plant pots made from either coconut shells or PCs, phones and microwaves. Plus, hydroculture planting using no soil or compost and a flower rejuvenation programme. These initiatives ultimately make them award winning and truly amazing with their global commitment to respect and preserve the planet.

In addition, we are launching a 40 by 40 initiative. Leaflike will plant 40 trees a year which in turn will provide 40 tonnes of carbon reduction over the next 40 years. We will be doing this through the national trust. You can track the company’s progress on its website.

The Waldorf Hilton has been a customer for more than five years and they recently adopted sustainable and recycled products in their venue including the famous Palm Court.

Guy Hilton, General Manager, The Waldorf Hilton explains how the brand has helped connect interior design with the outside world. “I have been working with Leaflike for five years at this venue and previous Hilton hotels as well,” he explains. “The key thing here was to establish the historical planting that takes it back to the glory days of 1908 when there was Tea Dance The room Palm Court, famous for its Tea Dance, we have worked hard with the team at Leaflike to bring palms back into the Palm Court! Across the hotel the plants and planting are in keeping with the style of the hotel.”

‘In these difficult times we have worked closely with Leaflike to consider interior planting that also covers the hygiene needs and distribution of hand sanitiser.’

Join Leaflike in its next webinar

Hear how Leaflike helps customers transform any space into something beautiful and place sustainable solutions in their venues. Visit www.leaflike.co.uk/cpd.

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

Main image credit: Leaflike/Hilton Park Lane

Product watch: Ceiling light collection from Chelsom

834 788 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Ceiling light collection from Chelsom

From the looks of things in the Edition 27 collection, which launched last year, Chelsom likes to give designers plenty to play with. With this in mind, Hotel Designs takes a sneak peek at the diverse range of ceiling light options the brand offers…

Every hotel or cruise ship needs a statement chandelier and this eclectic collection has been carefully created to cater for all budgets and applications, taking design aesthetics to the next level without compromising on function and efficiency.

Hello VETRO: a seamless fusion of design and function

Slender disks in brushed brass and sculptured glass create a timeless, elegant design that makes the range extremely versatile for any application in hospitality and marine environments.

This statement pendant dramatically illuminates the surrounding area with each facet of the sculpted glass catching the light creating a striking light effect that is a statement in itself.

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

Main image credit: Chelsom

OPAL collage

Outstanding Property Award London: Winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Award London: Winners announced

The annual OPAL Award celebrates and give exposure to the most exceptional projects in architectural design, interior design, and property development from all over the world. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who joined the judging panel for a second year, is here to unveil the winners…

OPAL collage

From a shortlist of more than 600 global projects, the OPAL jury panel selected three “Designs of the Year” winners in Architectural Design, Interior Design, and Property Development along with Platinum Winners, Winners and Honourable Mentions.

Platinum Winners include a commercial development in Hong Kong by Zaha Hadid Architects, a museum by Ooki Architects & Associates, Stylt Trampoli’s Pater Noster and Hotel Indigo Venice Sant’Elena designed by THDP among many others. Meanwhile winners included a hotel project by Yasmine Mahmoudieh, a marina tower by Buwog Group and a quirky F&B scene created at BOHO Social.

You can view the full list of winners on the OPAL website, but here are some of the major wins from this year’s event.

Architectural Design of the Year

White Deer Plain. Mountain Land Resort Hotel

Image credit: WuLicheng (lead architect) and Huiyimingcheng (collaborating firm)

Sharp contrasts and a tin box-like structure, the White Deer Plain. Mountain Land Resort Hotel offers a strong vision of different material usage and highlights the perpetual battle between light and shadows through its shapes and framework. The space and dimensions of the building remind the viewer of the ratios and relationship between human and architecture.

Interior Design of the Year

Technopolis Auditorium: An acoustic device

Image credit: ahylo architects

The Auditorium was a renovation project designed for the Municipality Of Athens, completed recently in the cylindrical Historic Industrial Gas Park building. Keeping with the concept of a gasholder tank, the forms of the inner design fold and flow, transforming the auditorium into an “acoustic device.” The roof enhances passive acoustics through geometric sound reflectors and absorbers and oak surfaces that form prismatic clusters. In total, the structure consists of 564 elements coming together into an alluring, jubilant meeting spot for art lovers.

Property Development of the Year

Park Silom

Image credit: NYE & RPG Development Co. Ltd.

“Silom” translates to “Windmill” in Thai. Historically, the area was a humble rural location that, with the evolution of Bangkok, became the financial district. At Silom, the windmill symbolises new beginnings, which is reflected by the intention of breathing new life into the community right from the heart of the building. The o ice complex is a38 storeys with two basement levels and 56,000 square metres in total area.

Main image credit: OPAL entries

KEUCO Black adds an elegant touch in a modern bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
KEUCO Black adds an elegant touch in a modern bathroom

When it comes to stylish modern furnishing, black surfaces and finishes catch the eye offer a luxurious appearance especially in the bathroom, explains bathroom brand KEUCO

If black is destined to be a key colour in your bathroom; KEUCO has an extensive range of products within their Black Concept collection.

KEUCO EDITION 11 bathroom furniture is available with a stylish black metallic-pigmented lacquer finish. The rectangular vanity units, sideboards, high and low storage units in this collection are all designed to be handle-free with a soft-touch closing system.

This noble matt-black look exudes an air of elegance and extravagance, yet the velvet matt quality of the bathroom furniture ensures the room maintains a cosy atmosphere. The black finish on this collection is easy to care for as each surface has anti-fingerprint protection.

It’s not only furniture that is available in stylish black the inventive IXMO shower range is also available with a PVD brushed black chrome finish. IXMO combines aesthetic design with functionality; as the single fitting elements allow a variety of functions, the number of visible fittings required is actually reduced. This allows greater freedom when planning the layout of the shower and bathtub in the bathroom.

The large rectangular EDITION 11 head shower creates a minimalistic look, the light metallic shimmer of the brushed black chrome surface works equally as well on light and dark surfaces, displaying to perfection the modern yet honest design elements of EDITION 11.

EDITION 11 fittings and accessories in brushed black chrome create an elegant contrast when combined with white ceramic washbasins;

The Black Concept is available in all areas of the bathroom, the ROYAL LUMOS light mirror has a black all-round anodized rim, and the two LED illuminating sources (main illumination and washbasin illumination), can be dimmed intuitively via the control panel. There is also an option to vary the colour of the light and activate the mirror heating option preventing misting.

The colour theme flows through the bathroom including accessories. KEUCO shower shelves are the perfect combination, a stylish design that provides practical storage space for the shower. There are two wall mounted variants plus one that can be hung over the shower wall, these spacious shelves are made of grey-black powder coated aluminium. (The shower shelves can be mounted on the wall without drilling by using the easy-to-use two component adhesive.)

The iLook_move cosmetic mirror with brushed black chrome PVD coating adds the finishing touch to this darkly accentuated, colour coordinated bathroom design with matt-black surfaces, metallic optics and luxurious KEUCO bathroom furnishings resulting in a sophisticated interior.

Since you’re here, why not read about KEUCO’s stylish hand sanitisers?

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

Main image credit: KEUCO

Viceroy at Ombria in the Algarve, Portugal

Adaptation is the design trend to celebrate in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Adaptation is the design trend to celebrate in 2021

Hotel Designs goes behind the scenes of one of the leading design firms, Wimberly Interiors, to understand what hotel designers are expecting to be the major design trends of 2021…

Viceroy at Ombria in the Algarve, Portugal

Since 2021 started, we have deliberately put an emphasis on trends – from surface design trends to architecture trends and recently predicting what colour palettes will be popular this year and in the future. Instead of rolling our eyes, which is often the reaction when the trends are mentioned, we are embracing new ideas and meaningful solutions following what has been the largest disruption to hospitality in living memory.

In order to understand how designers worldwide are thinking right now about the future, we have heard from seven leading professionals from Wimberly Interiors. Here are their predictions…

“I would say personalised boho. A lot of natural, raw materials and earthy palettes with an emphasis on plants brought indoors in any shape or form, to take us back to nature after being locked in for so long.” – German Mendoza, Associate and Senior Designer, London.

library/lounge in Rosewood Baha Mar, reflecting soft design trends

Image credit: Rosewood Baha Mar

“My interiors prediction for 2021 is ADAPTATION! As this year has laid down in front of us a path of restaurant, hotel and venue closures and abandon, 2021 will be the year of taking those left behind spaces and turning them into something new, exciting and hopeful.” – Josh Held, Vice President and Director of Entertainment, New York.

“After being part of Fortis 2019 [WATG and Wimberly Interiors’ internal rising star program], my eyes have been opened to the need for resilience in interior design. More than just a trend, it is gaining momentum and is ultimately about the use of materials – tactile, natural, honest and, most importantly, local. Interior design is moving rapidly towards a sense of place and appreciation of available materials and products with a low carbon footprint. It is this availability of resource that is key to the future of design beyond trends.” – Damien Follone, Senior Associate and Senior Designer, Restaurant and Bars, London and The Brit List 2020 Designer.