Lucy Mortimer, director at Galapagos Designs – a design partner with this year’s Independent Hotel Show – talks about how an individualistic approach and the use of heritage-inspired furniture continues to be a big trend in the world of hotel design…
Hotels are eschewing a uniform look and are taking a more individualistic approach to design to help mark them out and convey a sense of warmth, that’s certainly what we’re seeing our clients come to us for.
A good example of that is The Ned in London which is looking back to an Art Deco styling to create a very eclectic and individualistic look across the rooms. Hotels are no longer applying that ubiquitous, formal look to rooms, but are making them more warm and inviting with a heritage angle. Mixing a bit of old and new in together helps add more depth of character to a room.
We are certainly seeing design being used to reflect the personality of the business more. Even when hoteliers have a new-build property, they are seeking out a more individual edge. There’s less use of ubiquitous artwork and more of a focus on sourced products rather than something that is bought. Of course, it all depends on the hotel and the target audience. This look might be less appropriate for a business hotel but certainly there’s a cluster of hotels catering for high-end business customers who want to provide something other than just great Wi-Fi and room service.
We’ve been working on a big hotel project recently which combines the vintage mid-century stuff we produce with newly-made classic-style furniture. We are finding more and more customers are approaching us for a similar style.
Overall, hotels want to create an inviting space, so the type of material used is gaining importance. A lot of velvet is being used now by our customers – the term we use is ‘layering’ which is bringing more than one dimension to a room. You can do that with touches, maybe through old furniture, more accessories or using more classic style lighting over the beds, which can look really lovely rather than just a standard lamp.
Heading into the future, I think we’ll see more of this. Every hotel project we’re working on is using a mix of velvets with more British heritage fabrics like Bute Fabrics. Good, strong, old brands which have a sense of history.
This thoughtful approach to putting together a room is something that will continue. Now, we’ll almost always supply products to hotels that, even if they aren’t vintage, look vintage. That heritage look is quite a strong trend and that’s what we’ve got with the range of furniture we’ll be showcasing at this year’s Independent Hotel Show at our stand and in the VIP Lounge.
We’ve launched our Heritage Collection in partnership with a brand called Howard Keith, or HK. It was a huge brand in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and supplied all the furniture to the QEII Officers’ lounge and royal residences. They closed in the noughties, but we have partnered with them under licence to bring back some of their furniture under a heritage collection which is made exactly the same as the 1950s models but mixed today with fabric featuring cutting-edge designs from Japanese designers. That mixture of old and new is what you’ll find in our chairs and what you’ll find us showcasing more at the show.
Galapagos Designs is one of the design partners at this year’s Independent Hotel Show, taking place at Olympia, 17 & 18 October. Galapagos is designing the Suite for VIPs and select partners to use. Lucy says: “We’ve chosen to marry luxury fabrics and furnishings with a slightly wild, colonial feel for the Suite – the theme is Hot House Jungle, so expect a lot of tropical planting and sumptuous chairs you’ll sink into lush green velvets and singing hot colour accents from our fabric partners ROMO, Linwood and Designers Guild, and some beautiful metallic accents in the lighting and accessories from Pooky Lighting and Rockett St George. We’re making the space into a real retreat, where hoteliers can take 10 minutes away from the crowds to recuperate or send a few emails, or have a private meeting in comfort.”