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Raffles Doha - aerial

Raffles to more than double current portfolio of luxury hotels by 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Raffles to more than double current portfolio of luxury hotels by 2023

The legendary brand that is Raffles Hotels & Resorts is set to open flagship properties in Dubai, Udaipur, Bahrain and Macau later this year. Here’s what we know… 

With newly appointed CEO Stephen Alden at the helm, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which first emerged in 1887 with the opening of the now iconic Raffles Singapore, embarks on an exciting new era, which will start with aggressive growth in the Middle East in 2021 and beyond.

Raffles Doha - aerial

A legendary brand known for transforming landmark properties in storied destinations around the world, Raffles is on track to more than double its illustrious portfolio, adding a host of distinguished locations that will continue to set the standard in the luxury hospitality industry. Later this year, Raffles will open a second hotel in Dubai (The Palm), along with Bahrain, Udaipur and Macau. Next year and beyond, the brand will debut flagship locations in London (2022), Boston (2022), Doha (2022), Jeddah (2022) and Moscow (2023), among others.

“Raffles approaches every endeavour with the utmost thought, care and discernment; our global expansion is no exception. With our pioneering spirit, we have sought out locations where we can really bring Raffles’ gracious welcome and tradition of excellence to life,” said Stephen Alden, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express. “Each new Raffles property is a destination in itself, and we are creating places where people want to be, in tune with our well-travelled guests’ contemporary lifestyles.”

Next year will see two watershed moments for the brand – with Raffles making its debut in North America and the United Kingdom. Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences is located in the heart of the Back Bay, Boston’s most prestigious neighbourhood, and comprises a distinctive hotel as well as exquisitely appointed residences.

Raffles London at The OWO and The OWO Residences by Raffles will be an opening unlike any other in London. Located within the iconic Grade II* listed Old War Office building, an architectural masterpiece originally completed in 1906 which has witnessed world-shaping events, this property is set to be a momentous addition to the brand.

2021 unveils

Raffles the Palm, Dubai – The hotel is set to open its doors in Q4 of 2021. This will be the first Raffles resort on the Palm Jumeirah – the world’s largest man- made island and archipelago. Raffles the Palm Dubai, located across 100,000 square metres of landscape on the West Crescent, will feature 389 luxurious rooms, suites, and villas, each with a balcony and sea-view terrace, and offer eight bar and restaurant concepts.

Image caption: An aerial shot of Raffles The Palm Dubai

Image caption: An aerial shot of Raffles The Palm Dubai

Raffles Al Areen Palace, Bahrain – A serene sanctuary known as ‘the island of a million palm trees’, Raffles Al Areen Palace is located near the island’s protected wildlife park and reserve – home to a wide range of exotic animals and desert plants. With 78 opulent pool villas, one of the largest spas in the region and a wealth of tailor-made and signature Raffles experiences, this palatial property is set to redefine luxury hospitality in Bahrain. Honouring the Raffles heritage, the property will play its part as a cultural hotspot. A collection of one- and two-bedroom villas will feature living and dining areas, an intimate office, and expansive master bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. A lush and majestic resort, Raffles Al Areen will feature an enchanting secret garden under the care of the hotel’s dedicated palace botanist.

Raffles Udaipur, India – Bringing this new-built site to life on a 21-acre private island in Udai Sagar Lake, the palatial Raffles Udaipur will be a sumptuous property, set to open in 2021. Surrounded by spectacular hills and a view of the 400-year-old temple in the background, the property has 101 rooms, each with a private pool. The hotel will provide a rare and authentic experience of one of India’s most scenic destinations.

Image caption: Exterior of Raffles Udaipur in India

Image caption: Exterior of Raffles Udaipur in India

Raffles at Galaxy Macau – The hotel will be situated within a stunning architectural landmark featuring a glass airbridge that connects the two towers on every floor. Each of the 450 suites draws inspiration from a modern palazzo, with curated artworks and some featuring private pools and gardens. Raffles at Galaxy Macau will be a spectacular addition to the Galaxy Macau, a world-class luxury integrated resort that offers an array of bespoke leisure activities, on-site entertainment and a specialty restaurant helmed by a multi-Michelin-starred Japanese chef.

Image caption: Exterior render of Raffles at Galaxy Macau

Image caption: Exterior render of Raffles at Galaxy Macau

2022 unveils (and beyond)

Raffles London at The OWO, UK – The hotel, sheltered in a historic building, will be the capital’s first Raffles property – a storied building that served as Winston Churchill’s base during the Second World War and was the birthplace of Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Many original architectural details have been preserved while also allowing room for updated design elements. Comprising of 125 rooms and suites, 85 residences, a collection of nine restaurants and bars and an immersive spa, the hotel and residences represent an incredible opportunity for the public to experience this historic property. It is set to be completed in 2022 and will open to the public for the first time in more than a century.

Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, USA –  Located in Boston’s prestigious Back Bay neighbourhood, the 35-storey building will be a new landmark in Boston’s skyline, with 146 residences, 147 guest rooms, and six restaurant and bar venues, including a sky bar and speakeasy. The property will feature state-of-the- art facilities and amenities. The striking three- story sky lobby, the first of its kind in Boston, will be the centrepiece of the property, complete with a grand staircase spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th floors.

Raffles Doha, Qatar – A cultural tribute to Qatar’s heritage, the Iconic Towers in Lusail, a representation of Qatar’s national seal, will be home to the new Raffles Doha. A lavishly impressive property with 132 sophisticated suites and 49 branded apartments, the luxurious combo hotel will feature state-of- the-art entertainment and recreational facilities, boutique shopping, movie theatres, restaurants and a cigar lounge, as well as a variety of meeting spaces.

Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Inspired by the rich history of Saudi Arabia and Jeddah’s old town architecture, Raffles Jeddah will have 181 guestrooms – including a spectacular wedding suite and penthouse suite with in-room entertainment – and 188 branded residences. Alongside six restaurants and lounges, there will be an extensive library, a 1,200 square metre spa with eight treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness club. The hotel’s meeting facilities include a 1,500 square metre ballroom overlooking the corniche and 1,000 square metres of conference rooms.

Image caption: Render of suite inside Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Image caption: Render of suite inside Raffles Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Raffles Moscow, Russia – The new flagship Raffles Moscow, located next to the Kremlin in the heart of Moscow, is expected to open in 2023 – becoming the first Raffles hotel in Russia. The landmark hotel will offer 153 exquisite rooms across nine floors with views overlooking the Kremlin and Red Square. These will include 20 two- bedroom suites, 19 junior suites and two presidential suites with private terraces. Each guestroom has breath-taking views of the city, with a select few offering access to the hotel’s courtyard terrace.

Main image caption: Exterior render of Raffles Doha, Qatar 

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts makes debut at former Olympic venue

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts has made its glamorous debut in China’s coastal city of Qingdao, which is the former Olympic sailing venue of the 2008 Games. Let’s take a look inside… 

The highly anticipated opening of St Regis Qingdao marks the first Marriott International luxury brand hotel in the northeastern Shandong region.

Guestroom in qingdao overlooking ocean

Strategically located in the landmark Haitian Center in the heart of historic Qingdao – overlooking Fushan Bay, the Olympic sailing venue for the 2008 Olympics – the hotel is set to delight the city’s luminaries and tastemakers with its elegant design, refined craftsmanship and time-honoured signature rituals.

“We are very excited to expand our luxury footprint to one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the region with the debut of the iconic St. Regis brand, bringing bespoke experiences curated for the most discerning travellers,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “The opening of The St. Regis Qingdao ushers in a new benchmark of luxury hospitality in this dynamic city and underscores our commitment to continuously grow in Eastern China.”

Image credit: Marriott International

The arrival of St Regis in Qingdao follows a very public effort from Marriott International to expand its portfolio growth in Asia, following the group opening its 70th hotel property in Japan.

Occupying the 58th to 78th floors of the 369-meter-tall Haitian Center, The St. Regis Qingdao is the tallest hotel in the region, enthralling guests with panoramic vistas of the Yellow Sea and picturesque coastal scenes.

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, the renowned Singapore based interior design firm, LTW Designworks, subtly infused local Qingdao influences with St. Regis’ avant-garde aesthetic. This includes a crystal chandelier inspired by a legendary dress of golden thorns that Caroline Astor, mother of St. Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV and doyenne of New York high society in the Gilded Age, wore to one of her famed Midnight Suppers.

Lobby Chandelier inside St. Regis Qingdao

Image credit: Marriott International

A brilliantly-lit grand staircase offers the perfect venue for the celebrated St. Regis tradition of sabering a bottle of champagne to mark the transition from day to night. The backdrop of the grand staircase is a 74-metre-high atrium art wall that reflects the delicate traces left on the beach by the ebb and flow of the Yellow Sea.

The hotel features 233 guestrooms, including 30 luxury suites with spectacular ocean views. In each guest room, the bedside backplate features camellia motifs as an homage to the official flower of Qingdao, representing inspiration, integrity and romance. The bespoke amenities, design narratives and spectacular views combine to transport guests into a world of exquisite luxury and service. Guests will also enjoy the brand’s signature Butler Service, offering around-the-clock anticipatory service and ensuring that each guest’s stay is customised according to their tastes and preferences.

The St. Regis Qingdao also invites guests to embark on multi-sensory culinary journeys with exceptional presentations, memorable flavours and spectacular views at its five distinctive dining outlets. The Drawing Room, located on 59th floor, offers an indulgent Afternoon Tea along with panoramic seascapes. In spaces that combine contemporary chic with traditional charm, YAN TING serves authentic Cantonese cuisine featuring the freshest locally-sourced seafood. Social is an exciting all-day dining experience, featuring international delights at breakfast, along with fresh local seafood and western grill items on the lunch and dinner menus. The Carvery celebrates convivial dining in a classic New York steakhouse setting. In the evenings, guests are invited to The St. Regis Baroverlooking Qingdao city and its charming nightscapes to enjoy handcrafted cocktails. The signature St. Regis cocktail, the Bloody Mary, is given an intriguing new twist using essences of sparkling Qingdao beer, fresh local clams and fine sea-salt and aptly reintroduced as the “GáLa Mary”.

With a total of more than 2,000 square metres of dedicated event space, the hotel offers venues and facilities for iconic gatherings and meetings. The Astor Ballroom, covering an area of more than 900 square meters, is the perfect setting for celebrations, events, galas and talk-of-the-town wedding banquets. The St. Regis Qingdao also offers a bespoke wedding planner service to assist couples in planning their once-in-a-lifetime dream wedding.

The exclusive St. Regis Spa elevates the traditional spa visit into an enjoyable social occasion featuring five treatment rooms including the St. Regis Spa Suite, a private space for couples, families or small groups of friends to relax and enjoy bespoke treatment time together. The Celebration Bar is a joyous space of refined elegance serving the finest Champagne and effervescent cocktails. Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre and indoor infinity swimming pool offering stunning views of the surrounding sea and sky.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the debut of The St. Regis Qingdao. As one of the most important destinations for business and leisure travellers in China, Qingdao now has a most iconic luxury landmark,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We look forward to sharing Qingdao with guests through the lens of St. Regis’ signature glamorous spirit, sophistication and impeccable service when they visit the destination.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

FINAL CALL for all designers, architects, hoteliers and brands to submit their free entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 (scroll down to read more about the categories and how to claim a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony). Entries CLOSE on August 6 (this Friday)…

The Brit List Awards 2021

Following months of campaigning, designers, architects, hoteliers and brands have until Friday August 6 to submit their free entry for The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards, sponsored by Crosswater, is one of the most prestigious awards campaigns for designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in the UK to be associated with. Each year, Hotel Designs opens up the nominations and the nationwide campaign begins to find the best hotel designers, architects and hospitality professionals.

CLICK HERE to submit your free-of-charge application/nomination.

This year, following last year’s virtual event, The Brit List Awards will climax with a spectacular awards ceremony, which shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will be given a complimentary ticket to attend – but you have to be ‘in it to win it’. “For many reasons, The Brit List Awards has become an event that we at Hotel Designs are extremely proud of,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who will lead this year’s judging panel. “Not only does it seriously help to raise the profiles of exceptional designers, architects and hoteliers, but it also credits the individuals – whatever their backgrounds – who are ensuring that Britain remains a creative hub of design, architecture and hospitality.”

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

Click here to read about last year’s winners. Click here to read more about this year’s event and timeline. Click here to read our FAQs about The Brit List Awards.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards

image of Louise Sawyer Bacou inside her London Studio

In Conversation With: Furniture designer Louise Sawyer Bacou

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Furniture designer Louise Sawyer Bacou

To kickstart our month putting ‘beds’ under the editorial spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to furniture designer Louise Sawyer Bacou, Director at La Maison London, to understand the details, challenges and triumphs that came when confronting one of her most bizarre briefs to design a bed literally unlike any other…

image of Louise Sawyer Bacou inside her London Studio

As far as handcrafted furniture designers go, Louise Sawyer Bacou is on top of her game. Director of La Maison London, she has some impressive projects under its belt. Ilse Crawford commissioned the studio to fit out all of the bedrooms inside the iconic Babington House as well as Soho House New York. Compliment to the studio being able to sensitively answer just about any brief, the furniture designer and her team were tasked to furnish the rooms inside The Crazy Bear Hotel in Beaconsfield and add sensitive drama inside The Reading Rooms in Margate. And if that wasn’t enough, Bacou’s bespoke furniture pieces helped ‘set the scene’ recently in the popular Netflix feature film, Rebecca.

As impressive as these projects are, it was her bespoke – and slightly unusual – four-poster, double bunk bed that the studio designed and made for Serangoon House in Singapore that really captured my attention. The client, Satinder Garcha, the CEO of Garcha Hotels, was inspired by images of a Louis XVI-style bunkbed, which the studio had designed for its Made In House range. “He explained that, from the basis of what he’d seen, he’d like to have a four-poster bed made which could also function as a freestanding bunkbed and which could take a large mattress size,” Bacou explains. “This bed would be for his new hotel opening in Singapore with the idea that it could both accommodate numbers of up to four, when large families were travelling  together etc, and could also present itself as an elegant four poster bed for when a room was being booked for one or two people.”

To mark the start of Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on ‘beds’ this month, here is my exclusive interview with Bacou, in which I learn how the designer’s ambition – not to mention her endearing inability to say no to clients – led her to complete one of her most unusual projects.

Hamish Kilburn: What were your first thoughts when you were were approached by The Garcha Group with this brief?

Louise Sawyer Bacou: ‘Inventive’ was my first thought; ‘complex to achieve’ my second; followed by a slow-motion moment while I tried to calculate all the numerous technical considerations a bed like this would require.

HK: And how did this project stretch your limits as a furniture designer?

LSB: The challenge was extended further when the bed that Garcha chose from our range, to style the new design from, was the ‘Cherub Bed’– a symphony of Rococo S curves without any of the obvious straight lines that might easily lend themselves to a two-tier structure.

Luckily though, I like a challenge and so bolstered by Garcha enthusiasm to have the idea realised, I set about to use all the tools at my disposal to make this work. Satinder is definitely a visionary which this good for design, as this type of person will always re-write the rules to have something new created.

HK: Culturally speaking, how was this brief different to any other that you have faced before?

LSB: Working in culturally diverse places, like London or Singapore, will always induce a creative, cross pollination of ideas – it’s something I’ve always been attracted to, so working on this project has allowed me to explore a fusion of ideas from two continents which I’ve loved.

There are times when what we do at La Maison London is quite purist, stylistically and technically – we use old-school methods and knowledge to achieve furniture that has an authentic language but when these same tools are used to push the envelope, it’s exciting to create designs that hold some of the old intrinsic values but are also reimagined as part of a new story.

HK: What were the main challenges you were confronted with during this project?

LSB: The first challenge was how to marry the aesthetic of a four-poster bed with the functionality of a bunk bed when each would usually work from quite different height perspectives. I had to find a balance between the two by using the lines of the bed to allow both scenarios to work, while taking into account the ergonomics of its use as a bunk bed. I may have made that sound simple but it took time.

Another challenge was that the style of the bed, to be Rococo, as it had no obvious lines that presented themselves for the columns. I created these columns to work aesthetically but also to allow them to have the best inherent strength for the bed, structurally, as a freestanding piece. These columns have also been reinforced with internal metal rods (for good measure) which run the length of the bed offering extra stability.

The challenge is always to find the harmony between form and function so that each aspect is enhanced by the other.

“I would like to use the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over the years to create more re-envisioned pieces.” – Louise Sawyer Bacou, Director, La Maison London.

Side image of the four-poster double bed

Image credit: Mel Yates

HK: Is there any furniture challenge you cannot solve?

LSB: I’m going to say no because I like design challenges. Going forward, I would like to use the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over the years to create more re-envisioned pieces.

HK: With such a statement bed, how did you then confront the rest of the interior design?

LSB: The bed is the statement piece that holds the conversation in each room. I’ve chosen furniture, fabrics and palette that support the bed’s leading role and adjusted the story within the varying bedroom sizes.

The larger rooms lend themselves to a more opulent feel that the space allows, for the smaller rooms we’ve curated for a balanced feel. The furniture chosen for each room is beautifully crafted and finished to compliment the over all bespoke look we are aiming for.

Colour always has its own story and is linked to the tonality of light within any region so, for this project in Singapore and especially for the fabrics, I’ve used a palette of bejewelled colours to accent which has been a joy to work with.

HK: What was the most valuable lesson you learned during this project?

LSB: There have been many valuable lessons on this project – which is still a work in progress as the photos seen here show the prototype which has been just made for the mock up rooms. I think the biggest lesson came about, not least, because of the period we find ourselves in, globally.

There have been times when the metaphoric tides (and actual tide – read Suez Canal) seemed to work against the usual flows of production which depends on the smooth interactions across multiple borders (for all of us). Unusual situations came from many angles but I was amazed that everyone involved – from the team in Singapore, to the teams of craftspeople we’ve work since years, to teams in logistics – all worked, at every step of the way, to problem solve, to find ways through with a ‘can do’ attitude. This is something I will take with me: The ingenuity of people to create better outcomes in all outcomes.

Main image credit: Mel Yates

Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Ace moves into Brooklyn & a Royal welcome in Crete

Editor Hamish Kilburn here rounding off your week (and month) with a digest of the hottest stories from the last few days. Before we start, first, a checklist: Have you applied yet for The Brit List Awards? Have you signed up to attend Hotel Designs LIVE. If not, hurry, as you only have a few days left to do so…

Quite frankly, July couldn’t have come soon enough! Following an unjust – and extended – sin bin, the hospitality industry is finally able to return to the arena in order to showcase the true value of an industry that is held together by people, relationships and boundary-defying innovation. Our celebration of these hero players comes in the form of The Brit List Awards, Hotel Designs’ annual awards ceremony – free to apply/nominate for – that’s aim is to credit the individuals who are taking design and hospitality to new heights. Therefore, I urge you (even if you are in doubt) to submit your free entry, before August 6, to this year’s awards – you literally have nothing to lose. Don’t forget, this year we have introduced two new awards: International Award and The Rising Star – even more reasons to get involved…

In the meantime, the editorial team are putting the finishing touches on preparations ahead of our next Hotel Designs LIVE event. If The Brit List Awards are about celebrating the heroes, then Hotel Designs LIVE’s role is to bring the industry’s finest together to keep the conversation flowing  by discussing key issues in global hotel design and hospitality. With limited spaces available, time is running out to attend in the audience.

Other than keeping these two vital dates and events front-of-mind, we have spent this week exploring some milestone projects, writing about new products and we even found time to publish our latest virtual roundtable, which explores the heavily discussed topic of injecting personality into the bathroom. Here are our top stories of the week…

In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Following the highly anticipated opening The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by HiltonHotel Designs gets its hands on the official images, which highlight the design scheme that aimed to celebrate the “timelessness of the Cretan soul in a contemporary way”.

Read more.

Virtual roundtable: Colour & personality in the bathroom

Our latest virtual roundtable, in association with Bathroom Brands Group, comes following Hotel Designs LIVE in May where we hosted the panel discussion entitled: ‘Bathrooms beyond practical spaces’. Extending what we learned at the event, we invite a handful of designers to explore how to inject colour and personality into the bathroom…

Read more.

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River.

Read more.

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Design London

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Read more. 

Bathroom trends: Black accessories for a touch of luxury

Bathroom black accessories

When crafting a bathroom it’s the finishing touches that often bring everything together and complete the look; be it elegance and glamour or a sophisticated urban edge. The new Black Selection of accessories from KEUCO with its deep black silk matt finish brings a touch of luxury to every element in the collection.

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.

3D tech: Dernier & Hamlyn expands studio capabilities to meet designers’ needs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
3D tech: Dernier & Hamlyn expands studio capabilities to meet designers’ needs

As part of its continued investment into the latest technology to provide the best service to its designer clients, bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn, which recently sponsored our roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design, has increased its capabilities by adding 3D printing technologies to their already impressive studio services…

Although recently acquired, the 3d printer is already being used extensively to produce a wide range of prototypes that help designers and their clients to visualise what the bespoke components or light fittings produced in Dernier & Hamlyn’s factory will actually look like.

It is also successfully being used to produce patterns rather than the more traditional ways such as having them carved in wood or made from bronze or brass which is not only more cost effective, but also greatly reduces the lead times in getting the patterns to the foundry for casting. For some applications this process can also be utilised for elements of the actual light fittings themselves. Recent advances in finishing techniques now enable Dernier & Hamlyn to get these parts finished to suit the client’s requirements whether it’s a sprayed or a specialised metal finish.

This new service complements the existing wide range of skills available from Dernier & Hamlyn’s design team from the very traditional sketching of initial ideas and concepts, hand drawing of intricate designs, CAD drawings used to inform manufacture and finishing through to photo realistic renders.

“Up until now we have always had to outsource all of our 3d printing requirements,” said Mark Harper, Head of Design at Dernier & Hamlyn. “Not only was this an expensive operation as many companies have minimum order quantities but also meant timescales for delivery were out of our hands. Having this printing facility within our own studio means we can now provide a much more flexible and fast service which is key to our focus on quality and high levels of customer service and satisfaction.”

> Since you’re here, why not read the roundtable that Dernier & Hamlyn sponsored, entitled: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design?

While some designers approach Dernier & Hamlyn with fully formed designs and material specifications there is often still a need to work through the engineering challenges of how their bespoke lighting can be made, installed and maintained. In many cases the designers have a clear idea of what they want to achieve aesthetically but are looking for support and expert advice to help translate their aspirations into light fittings that not only look fantastic in their hotel projects but provide appropriate lighting levels, colour rendering, efficiency and vitally, can be manufactured within the required budget.

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

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Following our cheeky sneak peek inside the hotel that was published earlier this year, Ace Hotel Brooklyn is open – with interior design by Roman and Williams , and architecture from Stonehill Taylor

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River. The property offers 287 guestrooms, an expansive in-room art programme, a public lobby with multiple bars and an art gallery, plus additional food and beverage outlets on the horizon. Designed by Roman and Williams, with architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Ace Brooklyn’s unique facade welds seamlessly with interiors inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists — with soothing and stylish custom furnishings outfitting its every alcove.

> Since you’re here, why not read a roundtable on the new era of lifestyle hospitality, featuring Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy?

“We see Brooklyn as it’s own city, filled with so much hope, possibility and excitement for the future,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. Ace Brooklyn has been a labour of love — a gorgeous building in many ways a reunion and a reinvention, and one we’re delighted to share with our guests and neighbours as the evolution of Ace Hotel. We’re proud to have filled its spaces with the talents of many collaborators across art, design and culture; it’s a testament and tribute to the irrepressible creative energy of the borough, and a firm investment in its future.”

Made up of metal, glass and precast concrete elements, the building’s rough-edged façade celebrates the natural beauty of its materials, along with the rugged handiwork of the builders who brought them together. The facade’s dramatic centrepiece is a custom ceramic mural crafted by iconic modernist Stan Bitters, coupled with a sculptural light installation designed by Roman and Williams in homage to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — a beacon of modernist hospitality designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, which was sadly demolished in 2015.

Inside, interiors marry exposed concrete with other naturally textural elements — surfaces of douglas fir, oak, plywoods and leathers — to form organic, open shapes throughout. The lobby features vintage and custom seating throughout, with half moon windows illuminating the lobby bar in natural light. The bar is finished with an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić, and a discreet, large scale drawing by Tara Geer.

“After seven years, we are proud to unveil one of our most comprehensive architectural and interior commissions to date for Ace Hotel Brooklyn, our third collaboration with Ace Hotel,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders and Principals, Roman and Williams. “We aimed to embrace a solid muscular design vocabulary, employing confident lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength. A primitive modernist philosophy guided us, it is expressed in the tactile spirit of the design. From the building’s strong and unadorned facade, to the celebration of raw old growth timber in the public screens, to the honest plywood furniture collection in the bedrooms, we aspire to be as energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself.” 

Drawing significant inspiration from Le Corbusier’s beloved workspace retreat Le Cabanon, the guest rooms at Ace Hotel Brooklyn were imagined as cabins of creative refuge: elegant and efficient, with the kind of breathing room that stirs up all sorts of possibilities. The furnishings are handcrafted from raw, understated materials — including custom sofas and chairs, classically-loomed cotton bedding and purpose-built, minimalist fixtures. Custom bed covers were crafted by Maine Heritage Weavers; bath products are from uka; in select rooms, acoustic guitars are provided by D’Angelico Guitars; turntables are made by Music Hall, with vinyl record selections courtesy of our friends at Rough Trade. Ace Brooklyn’s in-room art programme was curated by artist Niki Tsukamoto, and brings together a dream-woven assortment of original textile and fibre pieces from roughly two dozen artists, many based in the borough.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the rest of 2021, The Gallery at Ace Hotel Brooklyn will showcase works by artists featured in the guestrooms, starting with a show of textile works by Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand in July and August 2021. The hotel lobby’s Ace Shop will also be featuring custom home goods and jewellery from a number of the artists on an ongoing basis.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Flooring case study: Creating connection and flexibility at work

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Flooring case study: Creating connection and flexibility at work

Leading Australian law firm Lander & Rogers envisioned a workplace that reflected its values of being authentic, connected and innovative. The brand required the attention of creative flooring brand Modieus to achieve their desired interior design scheme…

The recently completed Lander & Rogers workplace in Melbourne combines socially activated spaces for connection and collaboration with quiet work settings for privacy and focus. This contemporary space fosters creativity, whilst providing people with flexibility and adaptability in the way they work.

Image credit: Carr/Lander & Rogers

Melbourne based architecture and interior design studio Carr completed the base build interior design in collaboration with the Grimshaw studio. Joining the project in the early stages, initially on workplace strategy, Carr developed an intimate understanding of the client’s needs. The result is a holistic design outcome melding powerful functionality with a warm and natural aesthetic. Hotel Designs send their congratulations to Sue Carr for her appointment this week as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to interior design, to education, and to women in business in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Leveraging the insights and learnings gathered through the strategy and briefing, Carr recommended an open plan, agile ready workplace, balanced with a variety of quiet spaces to retreat and reset. It was a radical change from the previous workplace, but one that responded authentically to the client’s needs. Key to successful planning was balancing the openness with moments of respite. “It was important the planning principles respected the need for privacy – both visual and acoustic – within the open plan and shared zones. The ratio of enclosed retreat spaces versus open plan settings was responsive to the client’s needs and data collected during the strategy phase,” says Associate Nicole Coutts. The final workplace model is flexible and diverse, allowing the Lander & Rogers team the ability to expand, change or contract as needed – a particularly important option in light of the events of 2020.

Modieus was delighted to supply the soft flooring, owner Xander Okhuizen said: “We designed beautiful hand tufted rugs to zone the open plan spaces and sumptuous Axminster carpets for the office areas, to create the perfect ambience and balance for this contemporary workplace. The soft flooring provides luxury underfoot and importantly it absorbs noise, so plays a vital part in creating the right acoustics in the office environment.”

Modieus 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: Carr/Lander & Rogers

 

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Following the highly anticipated opening The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton, Hotel Designs gets its hands on the official images, which highlight the design scheme that aimed to celebrate the “timelessness of the Cretan soul in a contemporary way”. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A private outdoor bathroom and sunbeds overlooking sea

Situated on a serene, undisturbed coast outside the picturesque village of Panormos, a brand-new haven awaits the modern nomad. Combining Crete’s rich heritage with exceptional experiences of the here and now, the Royal Senses is the latest chapter in lifestyle hospitality from the Troulis Royal Collection.

Positioned right next to its sister property, the recently renovated seafront Royal Blue with its 100-acre premises, the Royal Senses makes its mission to go above and beyond that of a typical luxury family resort. As a true ambassador of Crete’s rugged beauty, the Royal Senses is deeply intertwined with the landscape of the island and the character of its people, while still maintaining a cosmopolitan aura.

Villas and guestrooms at the Crete hotel

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Built with togetherness as a guiding principle, the resort’s 179 suites and villas connect seamlessly with their natural surroundings. Accommodations range from spacious 35-square-metre rooms, where undisturbed sea views and natural furnishing materials bring to mind a private cove, to ultra-luxurious 200-square-meter villas with amenities such as private infinity pools organically carved from the rock that surrounds the island. Ever present is the element of water: the four large communal pools and the 74 private infinity pools lined with elegant sun loungers and cabanas seem to cascade from level to level, creating a sense of motion that stirs the soul of the traveller.

For Zacharias, Kostas and Manolis Troulis, co-owners of the Troulis Royal Collection, this project showcases their lifelong dedication to Crete. “We are fully committed to our responsibility to the island, its people and our cultural heritage,” they said. “We wish to show guests all sides of the Cretan identity and embed ourselves purposefully into the texture of the island.”

The celebration of Cretan roots has been the main driving force behind the resort’s overall architectural and design approach. “The landscape’s rough beauty creates a wonderful juxtaposition with the clean, minimal lines of the buildings,” said Nikos Peppas and Katerina Tsiolaki, of Peppas N Architects, when describing the project. “We designed and positioned all buildings in such way that ensured unobstructed views to the endless blue of the Aegean Sea, wherever you are.”

The interior design project was awarded to Constantina Tsoutsikou while she was Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) London. Following her departure from HBA, Tsoutsikou became the founder and creative director of the new London-based high-concept practice, Studio Lost. Her task, outlined in the original brief, was to showcase the owners’ genuine commitment to local authenticity in a modern way.

Since you’re here, why not listen to our podcast episode with Constantina Tsoutsikou?

“We wanted to create a destination that benefits local communities,” explained Tsoutsikou, who briefed local artisans in their workshops and on-site. “I found a wealth of excellent craftsmanship and local techniques that informed the design as we went along. We created handcrafted bespoke furniture, repurposed items, objects and artwork that celebrate the artisanal skills of the islanders throughout.”

Pastel colour scheme in luxury hotel guestroom

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

The rooms and suites, all flowing towards their outdoor terrace, are built to remind the contemporary globetrotter exactly where they are — with framed views of the Cretan sea setting the tone. Earthy and textural, every guest room features carpentry and furniture from highly skilled local third-generation craftsmen (many of whom make their living by building traditional fishing boats), while furnishings, such as the cushions, are entirely made by hand in traditional motifs from the local women weavers association. The walls, treated with softly textured paint and cornices, are subtly marked out with traditional Cretan patterning, whereas the juxtaposition of rough and smooth surfaces mirrors the untamed character of the island itself.

All rooms maximise the time spent outdoors celebrating views and private pools, while the dark metal finishes and details such as leather wrapped door handles add an extra layer of depth in the overall look and feel. The open, boundless, layout connects the indoors with the outdoors and invites guests to enjoy these generous, calm spaces in their entirety.

At the Royal Senses, the traveller is called to connect with a community of kindred souls and experience a renewed sense of ancient mindfulness. This sense of community is highlighted by the fact that guests can seamlessly traverse across both resorts. Experienced in tandem, the Royal Blue’s private beach and marina and the iconic hilltop views of the Royal Senses set the tone for a holistic exploration that goes beyond the beaten path. Here, Crete’s multifaceted culture and ceaseless joie de vivre can be taken in at one’s leisure.

Sunbeds overlooking pristine sea

Image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

As celebrating locality is of the utmost importance for the resort, the three restaurants (two of which offer la carte menus) and the various pop-up food bars at the Marketplace honour Crete’s rich culinary tradition in various ways. Along with four bars, these dining locales create the perfect backdrop for precious moments together.

True to the spirit of engagement and togetherness, the resort provides travellers a plethora of distinctive experiences to help them connect with the island and one another. At the farm, visitors can stroll the fragrant hillside, discover a cornucopia of local herbs and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Guests may also enjoy the resort’s unique Marketplace – a home to curated selections from small-farm producers and local artisans, blending tradition with a contemporary shopping experience.

Last but by no means least, guests can luxuriate at an activity spa offering therapies that exclusively utilise Cretan herbs, as well as a heated pool, leaving them radiating with serenity and relaxation.

Rustic, authentic, joyful and proud, the Royal Senses Hotel & Spa is above all a contemporary interpretation of the Cretan soul.

Main image credit: The Royal Senses Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Design London

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Look alive, London! Design London will make its London Design Festival debut in creative Greenwich from September 22 – 25, 2021. Here’s what we know about the trade show…

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Design London

Taking place from September 22-25, Design London, will be the largest official trade destination at this year’s London Design Festival marking a new phase for what was formerly known as 100% Design, the UK.’s longest running trade show dedicated to design. The dynamic and propelling show will be housed in Magazine London, a brand new, state-of-the-art venue on the Greenwich Peninsula overlooking Canary Wharf and just a short walk from North Greenwich Station and the shiny new Design District.

An essential platform for those looking to network and source the latest and most innovative furniture, lighting and design pieces during the annual festival, the four-day event boasts a jam-packed programme of engaging content and a highly curated selection of sought-after design brands from around the globe.

Discussions

As part of the main programme there will be a timetable of talks curated by Katie Richardson, led by renowned industry influencers and thought leaders, each themed and addressing the most pressing topics to encourage debate. Design London is excited to announce British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori as its headline speaker and chief collaborator; he will open the talks programme on day one of the show and welcome guests through a kaleidoscopic tunnel of colour inviting them to take a seat in his joyfully designed auditorium, ‘Transparency in shades of colour’.

“I’m super excited to be part of Design London’s launch and to design my first ever dedicated talks space; meeting people and expressing my creativity is what I love most and this brings the two together,” says artist Yinka Ilori. “Community and creating spaces to make people feel safe and comfortable is so important, especially this year, and with Design London being the U.K.’s first major design show, it’s the perfect environment to unite, celebrate and uplift one another.”

Following months of grey, the show will offer visitors a welcome spectrum of colour through a vibrant lineup of speakers. Those who will succeed Ilori include Eley Kishimoto, and Pearson Lloyd. New London Architecture (NLA) will form a specialist panel to debate the future of our cities whilst commercial interior design studio Trifle Creative will join a workspace discussion. Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford will take to the stage with a cast of colour experts, Roddy Clarke will conduct a talk centred around sustainability in craft, and in a hospitality panel, speakers will discuss how hotels are reinventing themselves in a post pandemic world.

Exhibitor highlights

The expansive venue will house a multitude of international brands including Dutch furniture producers Artifort and Van Rossum; and esteemed Italian manufacturers Ethimo Design; Penta, and Artemide who will show their antiviral ultraviolet Integralis range alongside a selection of iconic pieces and new products from Bjarke Ingels (BIG) and Neri&Hu. The Association of Industries of Wood and Furniture Portugal (AIMMP) will present a Portuguese ensemble of brands; and Fritz Hansen’s focus on circularity will be complemented by a neighbouring pavilion of over 10 new Scandi names curated by Lifestyle & Design Cluster in conjunction with the Danish Embassy.

As part of a ‘world tour’ city-inspired collection, bathroom innovators Ideal Standard will create a cinematic experience; Industrial design label Buster + Punch is set to unveil a new look and a new line of home hardware; and bespoke sculptural lighting company Cameron Design House will reveal new contemporary brand Empty State as well as creating a spectacular installation with never-before-seen handmade chandelier, Kuulas.

[d]arc room will return to London for its fifth year with an established lighting area within Design London and a series of lighting talks led by experts. Exhibitors within this pop-up include Delta Light, John Cullen Lighting, Mesh, Nichia and Thorlux. Visitors to Design London can also expect to see work from award-winning London based design studio Haberdashery London; and architects and designers Beep Studio who will join forces with the show’s sustainability partner, Schneider Electric.

Brimming with festival-like content, Design London’s visitor experience will be enhanced by a series of street food vendors and designer bars by Campari which will line the banks of the Thames making it a one-stop shop during the busy London Design Festival.

“Greenwich Peninsula is one of London’s most fascinating and rapidly expanding neighbourhoods with a new Design District fuelled by creativity so we felt it was the best location for Design London,” explains Jedd Barry, Marketing Manager, Design London. “The district is peppered with public exhibitions and contemporary art installations and we’re excited to add to that with our cutting-edge content. We’ll be showcasing originality, diversity and innovation, and particularly look forward to celebrating the U.K. as one of the most important places for specification internationally.”

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of Design London. The full Design London programme and list of brands will be announced in due course. For more information visit the website.

Main image credit: Design London

Hotel Designs events not to miss in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs events not to miss in August

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs LIVE will return (on August 10) and entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 will close (on August 6). Editor Hamish Kilburn explains how you can attend and apply, free-of-charge, for both…

Following what has been the most stressful 18 months in the hospitality and hotel design industry in living history, Hotel Designs is gearing up for a jam-packed August, which will include the return of Hotel Designs LIVE – the virtual conference for all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – and the deadline for industry professionals and brands to apply/nominate for The Brit List Awards 2021 is fast-approaching.

The Brit List Awards 2021Click here to apply/nominate free-of-charge (entries close on August 6)

The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain. The applications/nominations process is free-of-charge – but hurry because entries close on August 6. After that, entries will be handed over to our expert panel of judges before the winners and the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers in Britain will be unveiled at the Awards Ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

  • Interior Designer of the Year*
  • Architect of the Year*
  • Hotelier of the Year*
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • The Rising Star Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • International Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior designarchitecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

Hotel Designs LIVE – August 10 | Click here to attend.

Exclusively open to designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, Hotel Designs LIVE was first launched in June 2020 to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the pandemic.

For the fifth chapter of Hotel Designs LIVE, the event will shelter four engaging panel discussions on topics such as sensory design, sleep performance, surface trends and social areas, with world-renowned hotel design experts joining us throughout the day in order to ensure the conversations we start are meaningful and unlike any other.

Here’s a reminder of the agenda for the day:

Click here to read more about the various panel discussions and speakers who will join us at Hotel Designs LIVE. Click here to secure your space in the audience (limited places available).

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Union Investment acquires new operators for hotels in New York City and Portland

Union Investment has acquired two new, big-name operators, Motel One and Curio by Hilton, for its hotels in New York City and Portland. Here’s what we know…

The developer Union Investment has signed two leading operators for hotels in New York and Portland, both of which are held by UniImmo: Global. Motel One has signed a 20-year lease for the hotel in New York City. In Portland, Oxford Capital Group, LLC will take over as tenant and manager of The Porter hotel. The hotel will continue to form part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel in New York City has already been handed over to Motel One, and the hotel in Portland is also due to be handed over this month.

Two buildings owned by Union Investments

“In this challenging market environment, we’re pleased to have found solutions that secure a viable future for these hotels. We have achieved this by teaming with strong hotel partners with whom we have worked closely for many years. The follow-on leases were agreed quickly, underlining just how attractive these two properties and their locations are,” said Martin Schaller, head of Asset Management Hospitality at Union Investment. The previous operators of the two hotels came under pressure as the pandemic unfolded and were no longer able to meet their lease obligations. The operator of The Porter had to pull out of the hotel for financial reasons.

“The toughest part of the journey is now behind us. The US hotel market is already staging a comeback and hoteliers are anticipating a surge in demand. With Motel One and Oxford as operators, our hotels in New York City and Portland are extremely well positioned to benefit from the expected turnaround,” said Martin Schaller.

Motel One’s lease with Union Investment in New York City marks the chain’s entry into the US market. The German hotel group is scheduled to take over the hotel on 21 July. The property is located in downtown Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center complex, and has been operated under the Courtyard by Marriott brand since 2016. Motel One will carry out extensive refurbishment and rebranding. The agreement with the previous operator was terminated prematurely by Union Investment. Motel One already operates lifestyle budget hotels in eight properties held by Union Investment across four funds. “As Motel One’s biggest landlord, we are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our longstanding strategic relationship outside Europe as well. We’re looking forward to jointly bringing this successful lifestyle concept to the local market and travellers from all over the world in the heart of New York very soon.”

Main image credit: Union Investments

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition

Accor has partnered with the Design Museum in London this Summer – here’s why

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor has partnered with the Design Museum in London this Summer – here’s why

Hotel brand Accor, which, as far as we can see, is on track for world hospitality domination, has partnered with the Design Museum in London to support and celebrate its summer exhibition, ‘Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life‘…

On June 19, the, the Design Museum’s brand-new exhibition, “Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life”, launched in partnership with ALL: ACCOR LIVE LIMITLESS, Accor’s free to join loyalty program.

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition

The exhibition explores the life and works of French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, whose pioneering designs shaped the 20th century with many of her modern ideas still found in the way we live today and in hotel design around the world.

As well as celebrating the groundbreaking designer, Accor’s partnership also highlights the importance of design and ease of living across the hotel’s brands, in particular ibis Styles, where design and style is at the very core. Both Accor and the Design Museum share an understanding of the power of design to improve lives. Every ibis Styles hotel has its own unique design and theme, offering functional living space whilst still adding personality and style to each room, echoing Perriand’s functional design ethos.

The Design Museum's Charlotte Perriand exhibition in London

Image credit: Felix Speller

Members of ALL will be able to book a Design Museum package, which gives the opportunity to receive complimentary tickets (worth £18) to the new exhibition when booking an overnight stay in a participating hotel in London. Guests who are not yet a member can sign up to the free to join lifestyle loyalty program and enjoy the member perk straight away.

As well as at the London ibis Styles hotels, the Design Museum package will also be available at Sofitel St James, Pullman St Pancras, Novotel London Blackfriars and Mercure London Bridge.

The Design Museum’s “Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life” runs until September 5, 2021. Curated in collaboration with the Perriand family and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, the exhibition falls on the 25th anniversary of Charlotte Perriand’s last significant presentation in London, held at the Design Museum in 1996. Featuring large-scale reconstructions of some of Perriand’s most famous interiors, as well as original furniture, her photography and her personal notebooks, the exhibition sheds new light on Perriand’s creative process and her place in design history.

Main image credit: The Design Museum/Felix Speller

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

Architect and designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh, following years of studying sustainable design and materials, has designed a piece of 3D-printed furniture with partner Nagami that has been created out of 100 per cent plastic waste…

The flow chair from Impact Design Now, which is available in seven shades, is one of the first 3D printed pieces with partner Nagami that is created out of 100 per cent plastic waste.

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

The Slice and the TriVase is 3D-printed out of plastic bottles from the ocean where 10 per cent of the production goes to Parley of the ocean’s charity organisation. ‘Parley of the Ocean’ is heavily involved in clearing marine plastics.

Following the launch of the innovative pieces of furniture, it seems as if this is just the beginning for designer and architect Yasmine Mahmoudieh whose previous work includes Standhotel and a new education and hospitality concept that was unveiled at imm Cologne 2020. “The collection that I designed is only the beginning of our mission to make the world more sustainable in our chosen field,” she explains. “We will also be launching later this year an online marketplace to gather all the recycled and sustainable materials researched over decades from exceptional individuals and companies in order to make it accessible to the architecture and design industry. We have a collective responsibility to educate our clients and make them aware that sustainable materials are not necessarily more expensive than traditional materials. My mission and goal is to have a positive impact on our planet by creatively using materials that are not harmful for the environment and human beings.”

Responsibility for hotels goes far beyond using some natural wood and conserving energy and water. Instead of having fine exotic woods, especially in the luxury sector, which we should preserve and not touch, designers like Mahmoudieh are demanding that we recycle existing materials, repurpose, and choose organic materials from nature like cactus, vegan leather, or the skin of apple. There are excellent natural products that will conserve all limited resources we have on our planet. “We constantly are trying to find materials from all over the globe or artists that contact us already to have their products available for our hotel and hospitality projects that we are working on,” concludes Mahmoudieh.

Main image credit: Impact Design Now

Bette manages to reduce price of built-in washbasins – here’s how

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bette manages to reduce price of built-in washbasins – here’s how

The price of Bette built-in washbasins has reduced by up to 40 per cent following new optimised and automated production in the bathroom products…

Bathroom brand Bette has optimised and automated the production of three of its built-in washbasins and is passing the cost saving on to its customers as a price reduction of up to 40 per cent. The high quality BetteAqua, BetteComodo and BetteOne built-in washbasins are made of glazed titanium-steel and match baths and shower trays in the collections of the same name.

Bathroom products made of glazed titanium-steel from Bette’s manufacturing facility are a combination of high-tech industrial production and master craftsmanship. For the BetteAqua, BetteComodo and BetteOne built-in washbasins, the company has made a number of adjustments to streamline and automate the production process.

“Thanks to the optimisations in the production process, we have been able to further improve the price-performance ratio of the built-in washbasins, which benefits all our customers,” explains Sven Rensinghoff, Head of Marketing and Product Development at Bette.

The BetteOne built-in washbasins have been changed to the dimensions 600 and 800 x 495 mm, while the BetteAqua and BetteComodo built-in washbasins are available in the existing sizes. A new feature for all three washbasins is a uniform rim height of 20 millimetres. In other ways, the proven design, high quality and wide range of colours remains the same. The washbasins are produced in Germany, are durable, easy to clean and robust. They come with Bette’s impressive 30-year guarantee on the high-quality glazed titanium steel.

Bette 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: Bette

Leaflike flowers

A message from Leaflike: “The best is yet to come”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A message from Leaflike: “The best is yet to come”

Ahead of pitching at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, 2021, Leaflike, which has already been specified in a plethora of iconic hotels, has a message for designers, architects and hoteliers: stay tuned, as the best is yet to come…

Here at leaflike, we have been providing hospitality biophilia for more than 20 years and now is a great time to reflect and recognise what we have achieved together, plus look forward to good times ahead.

Leaflike flowers

Established in 1999, Leaflike has worked with some of the best names in the industry and sometimes get rather nostalgic about all the great projects over the years, helping customers create their perfect arrival experience.

We have a unique team of designers and a distinctive talent to combine all types of foliage including live, lifelike and preserved to create the most spectacular and sustainable solution to meet your requirement. We are not shy to share with you some of the great projects we have facilitated to ensure our customers get the finest attention to detail and create that stunning first impression: The Savoy, The Biltmore Mayfair, The Waldorf, Pan Pacific, The View from the Shard, Brown’s Hotel, The London Edition, Hilton Park Lane, Galvin at Windows, Copthorne Tara, The Franklin, The Arch, K West, The Queens Gate Hotel, K&K Hotels, Macdonald, De Vere, Village, Crown Plaza, Marriott, Holiday Inn and Yotel to name a few!

“We are delighted to see our heritage and strength in the market, supporting customers through tough times in the 2009 recession and again during the last 18 months, we are here to stay as a trusted partner for you, today and tomorrow,” commented Steve Abernethie, Managing Director, Leaflike.

More recently, Leaflike have been working with customers on their sustainable planting solutions, recognising that it is an essential part of the project. For example, switching to recycled planters made from recycled IT equipment or coconuts, hydroculture planting and from live to preserved planting. Recognising there is a maintenance cost too, cutting a weekly fresh cycle to a 12 week preserved cycle means the plants can be re-used and the maintenance is less frequent.

“We strive for the best for our customers and ensure our working practices are best of British, locally sourced and produced, our expert team of designers are amongst the most talented to ensure the handcrafted floral displays and planting solutions are the best they can be,” stated Brandon Abernethie, Head of Design, Leaflike. “We are always looking for the next trend and design-led solution that will fit the client brief, ensuring its bespoke, transforming any space with unique and sustainable planting solutions that give maximum visual impact.”

From the initial site survey to installation and maintenance, our horticulturists and master florists are ready to bring your vision to life and make it last.

Leaflike will join Hotel Designs LIVE as a Product Watch Partner in the ‘surfaces’ panel discussion. To attend the event, click here (designers, architects, hoteliers and developers attend free).

Main image credit: Leaflike

THe lounge of the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

Suite dreams: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Suite dreams: Inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan

Architect Flaviano Capriotti has curated the brand new, two-bedroom Bvlgari Suite inside Bvlgari Hotel Milan, which is complete with a private terraced garden that boast simply stunning views over the vibrant city…

With Bvlgari Hotels planning its portfolio growth, with luxury hotel openings expected in Tokyo, Rome and Miami in the next few years, it would be easy to miss how the brand’s currently opened hotels are ensuring to remain at the height of luxury within their territories.

THe lounge of the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

As well as summer launching the Dom Pérignon Trolley and Picnic by Niko Romito, Bvlgari Hotel Milan has also unveiled a masterpiece suite, curated by architect Flaviano Capriotti.

Expansive and impeccably appointed, with a rooftop private garden of 194 sqm, the new 210 sqm two-bedroom Bvlgari Suite is a peaceful haven of pure, undisturbed luxury. A thoughtful expression of timeless contemporary design, the new suite comprises two bedrooms, a living room and even a private garden with 360-degree views of Milan’s skyline. Additional touches include a library featuring rare art and design books, furniture from Antonio Citterio’s Flexform and Maxalto collections, custom drapes and headboards displaying the Bvlgari eight-point star. 

The Bvlgari Suite master bedroom presents an elegant walk-in closet and a large restroom with a vanity table, steam shower, and a Brera stone 900kg carved bathtub that, due to its size, was set in the suite by crane before installing the room’s windows. Its second bedroom accommodates a king or twin bed option, a walk-in closet, and views of the city from both its bedroom and large bathroom. The Suite spacious living room, defined by its teak finishing and floor to ceiling windows, is furnished as a private residence with a beautiful library and a fireplace that serves both the inside and the outside wrap-around balcony and terrace. The Suite also features a private kitchen alongside a dining area that can accommodate up to eight people.

Bedroom inside the Bvlgari Suite in Milan

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

Upon request, guests at the Bvlgari Suite can experience the latest generation full-length mirror FORME Life and training equipment to work out directly from the privacy and comfort of the Suite. The touch-screen mirror offers the opportunity either to book a virtual training session with Lee Mullins, the founder of Workshop Gymnasium, or to pick from a library of pre- filmed Workshop workouts, the favourite session of yoga, Pilates, bodyweight training, stretching, breathing, and meditation routines.

Luxury bathroom inside the suite at Bvglari Hotel Milan

Image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

And just because it shelters luxury does not mean it’s not sustainable. As part of the hotel’s renovation work, a geothermal system has also been installed to improve the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of the property. It employs heat resources retained in shallow ground to heat or cool the different hotels’ environments and to create hot water that was previously provided by boilers. Using non-polluting renewable energy, the geothermal energy is able to supply what was previously obtained with two plants, significantly reducing the overall consumption of gas and emissions.

Main image credit: Bvlgari Hotels

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Biagio Forino

Following the recent unveil of Hilton Molino Stucky Venice’s new rooms and suites, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the designer who brought the iconic project to life within the heritage building. With sustainability and materiality key focuses of the design ethos and brief, Studio Forino’s Biagio Forino was in his element, staying true to his belief that “you cannot disregard the importance of using environmentally friendly building materials…”

Biagio Forino Hilton Venice

Born in Salerno, (Milanese by adoption), Biagio Forino opened his studio in 1987 dedicating himself with passion to his work, in the constant search for beauty and taking care of every detail for an overall result in harmony. “My work is an expression of my way of life,” he says. “The intellectual dimension of research and meticulous design is always accompanied by the realisation aspect in every little one detail, with rigour and technical efficiency, from building practices to the search for works of art, for the transformation of dreams into reality ”

Most recently, the designer was asked to renovate the suites inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, which emerged following Hilton’s Travel with Purpose commitment, which states: “By 2030, we [Hilton] are committed to double our investment in social impact and cut our environmental footprint in half through responsible hospitality across our value chain.”

Arial view of Hilton Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Formerly a flour mill factory on the peaceful island of Giudecca, the hotel is a modern Venetian masterpiece steeped in history. The historically listed building has been exquisitely restored with a series of recent refurbishments including sophisticated deluxe rooms and new spacious elegant suites – some offering guests enviable views of picture-perfect Venice.

After arriving at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice by water taxi, guests are spoiled for choice with 379 rooms and suites, one of the largest spas in Venice, an unrivalled conference centre and a collection of bars and restaurants. The new Presidential Suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is the tallest and largest suite in town with private access to the hotel’s popular rooftop pool and bar. Fondly referred to as the First Lady Suite following a visit by Michelle Obama herself, the spacious new Presidential Suite is designed with tranquil blue and silver interiors, large floor-to-ceiling windows allowing natural light to illuminate the delicate Murano glass vases.

“My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax.” – Biagio Forino, Founder, Studio Forino.

Hamish Kilburn: What was your biggest challenge designing the new suites and presidential suite?

Biagio Forino: The existing suites were extremely dark and dusty. The furniture was dark wood with black leather headboards and carpeted floors. My biggest challenge was to transform the suites into a light and bright environment using soft colours enriched with touches of brilliant colours.

Dining area inside the presidential suite inside Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

Image credit: Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

HK: Tell us a bit more about the materials you used during this project…

BF: When I entrusted the realisation of my project to the ‘Status Contract’, I made sure that all materials were used with the certifications that guaranteed compliance with the regulations to safeguard ecology. From the use of glues, of woods, to the materials used for the upholstery of the sofas, the mattresses of the beds, the lighting with low energy consumption, the air control systems, etc!

Aside from the original darkness inside the rooms, another challenge was to make the suites as comfortable as possible making sure that the technology was present but integrated and harmonised with the very warm and welcoming yet contemporary style. Among the various materials used, I focused on one in particular for the bedside tables and desks using carbon because I wanted to bring the technology of boats into the furniture since we are in a city of sea also famous for its Moro Di Venezia.

HK: The views from the hotel are incredible! As you have now designed the tallest and newest suite in Venice, do you have a favourite viewpoint of the city from the new suites?

BF: Obviously, from all the Tower Suites the view is very beautiful but certainly my favourite is from the top of the tower which is accessed from the top floor of the Presidential Suite which allows you to see Venice at 360 degrees. It is truly a breathtaking view, a privilege that I wish everyone to be able to give themselves at least once in their life.

View from terrace of Molino Presidential Suite

Image credit: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice


HK: How would you describe your signature design style?  

BF: Elegant, sophisticated and welcoming

HK: How do you hope guests feel when staying in the new suites and presidential suite at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice?

BF: My goal was to ensure that after a day of cultural visits in the most beautiful and unique city in the world, customers feel the desire and pleasure to return to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice to relax and rethink the wonders they enjoyed and experienced.

HK: What projects is Studio Forino working on now/have in the pipeline?

BF: We are working on several projects for private clients and open public space areas. We are transforming two wonderful historic villas, one in Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany and one in San Michele Di Pagana, not far from Portofino, in two luxury bed and breakfasts equipped with every comfort. In short, Studio Forino is busy!

Main image credit: Studio Forino/Hilton Hotels

Reminder: The Brit List Awards – less than 3 weeks to apply (for free)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Reminder: The Brit List Awards – less than 3 weeks to apply (for free)

Your chance to submit your free-of-charge entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 is slipping through your fingers – entries close on August 6 (scroll down to read more about this year’s categories and how to apply)…

The Brit List Awards is one of the most prestigious awards campaigns for designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in the UK to be associated with. Each year, Hotel Designs opens up the nominations and the nationwide campaign begins to find the best hotel designers, architects and hospitality professionals.

This year, following last year’s virtual event, The Brit List Awards will climax with a spectacular awards ceremony, which shortlisted finalists will be given a complimentary ticket to attend – but you have to be ‘in it to win it’. “For many reasons, The Brit List Awards has become an event that we at Hotel Designs are extremely proud of,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will lead this year’s judging panel. “Not only does it seriously help to raise the profiles of exceptional designers, architects and hoteliers, but it also credits the individuals – whatever their backgrounds – who are ensuring that Britain remains a creative hub of design, architecture and hospitality.”

Entries for The Brit List Awards close on August 6 (it is completely free to apply)

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

  • Interior Designer of the Year*
  • Architect of the Year*
  • Hotelier of the Year*
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • The Rising Star Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • International Award (NEW FOR 2021)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

Below are the faces of last year’s designers, architects and hoteliers who were profiled in The Brit List – all of whom benefited from ample exposure following The Brit List Awards.

The Brit List 2020

The faces above made up The Brit List 2020.

Click here to read about last year’s winners. Click here to read more about this year’s event and timeline. Click here to read our FAQs about The Brit List Awards.

CLICK HERE to submit your free-of-charge application/nomination.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor announces the signing of SO/ Maldives

Accor, the leading international hotel operator in the Maldives, has signed a hotel management agreement with S Hotels, Resorts Public Company Limited and Wai Eco World Developer Pte. Ltd. (WEWD) to introduce SO/ Hotels & Resorts to this idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago in 2023. Here’s what we know…

S/O Maldives - accor

Accor, no stranger the pages of Hotel Designs, has just announced the signing of a luxury resort in the Maldives that will boast 80 villas overlooking the emboodhoo lagoon at CROSSROADS Maldives.

Nestled on its own exclusive island overlooking the azure Emboodhoo Lagoon, just 15 minutes by speedboat from Malé’s Velana International Airport, this eclectic resort will bring a fresh sense of avant-garde style and sophistication to the Maldives, while also reflecting the local spirit of this captivating country.

Scheduled to open in 2023, the new resort will take centre stage on the third island of CROSSROADS Maldives, the extraordinary integrated leisure destination in the exotic South Malé Atoll, connecting it to a wealth of world-class attractions and facilities. 

Vivid, vivacious and full of personality, SO/ Hotels & Resorts are only found in socially vibrant destinations such as Berlin, Bangkok, St Petersburg and Singapore. One of the fastest-growing brands in Accor’s lifestyle portfolio, it is designed for savvy travellers who have a passion for fashion and like to keep their finger on the pulse. Every stay is underpinned by the brand’s signature ‘Just Say SO’ service, to craft truly unforgettable experiences.

 This makes SO/ the perfect fit for CROSSROADS Maldives, which was recognised as the “Best Leisure Development Maldives (Five-Star)” in the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2021-2022. The presence of such a dynamic player on the global hotel scene will play a key role in helping CROSSROADS Maldives to expand and reach new markets worldwide, thanks to Accor’s global distribution and loyalty network.

Arrival at S/O Maldives

Image credit: Accor

Guests will be able to unwind on SO/ Maldives’ private island or take advantage of fantastic facilities at The Marina at CROSSROADS, an 800-metre lifestyle area and beach walk where visitors can discover cool cafés, refined restaurants, a chic beach club, upmarket boutiques, a spa, the Marine Discovery Centre and a 30-berth yacht marina. Unforgettable events can be hosted at the oceanfront wedding venue and meeting space.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the arrival of SO/ Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives,” commented Garth Simmons, Chief Executive Officer – Accor Southeast Asia, Japan & South Korea. “This playful and distinctive lifestyle brand can only be found in the world’s most iconic destinations so it is the perfect fit for this renowned island paradise. The resort’s location within CROSSROADS Maldives will allow guests to experience a truly vibrant luxury lifestyle offering with plenty of options for both relaxation and adventure. SO/ Maldives will be a place to see and be seen for bold and stylish socialisers and we look forward to working with S Hotels & Resorts and WEWD to bring this project to life.” 

“We are so excited to unveil SO/ Maldives as the latest jewel in CROSSROADS Maldives’ crown, as we continue to transform the tourism landscape in this highly-desirable destination,” added Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer, S Hotels & Resorts. “With its signature sense of style and commitment to creating unique guest journeys, SO/ is the ideal fit for our third island. It will stand out from the crowd, complement our two other industry-leading brands and complete our collection of luxury and lifestyle resorts, further raising the bar for hospitality in the Maldives.”

“The Maldives is a truly special place and we are delighted to enter the market with such a prestigious project,” said Zaw Win Maung, Managing Director, WEWD. “S Hotels & Resorts has a proven track record of developing exceptional lifestyle resorts, including CROSSROADS Maldives, and the edgy style of SO/ always strikes a chord with its trend-setting guests. With such strong partners, we are confident of creating a one-of-a-kind resort experience at SO/ Maldives.”

SO/ Maldives will join Accor’s collection of five resorts in the Maldives which include the midscale Mercure brand, premium Pullman and Mövenpick brands, and the luxury Raffles and Fairmont brands. Accor is a global industry leader in the lifestyle segment with 13 dedicated brands such as Mondrian, Mama Shelter, and 25hours.

Main image credit: Accor

Geberit bathroom shot

Product watch: Geberit extends bathroom range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Geberit extends bathroom range

Geberit, a European leader in bathroom technology and ceramics, has made a number of improvements to its product ranges across its Select and Aspire collections, bringing architects, designers and specifiers an even wider choice for enhanced design flexibility in the washroom…

Geberit bathroom shot

Following an insightful roundtable discussion on tomorrow’s perception of clean, bathroom designer and manufacturer Geberit has added two new colours, Lava Glass and Sand Grey Glass, which are available as both flush plate finishes and options for the front cover of Geberit’s Monolith range of sanitary modules. The Monolith range will also now include an additional two new finishes (Concrete and Stoneware Slate).

In addition to these changes, Geberit has extended its Renova Plan range of bathroom furniture, with two new colourways and a series of product enhancements across the series.

The range is now available in Hickory Light and Hickory furniture colours, in addition to existing White high gloss coated and Lava matt coated.

Image credit: Geberit

An improved slim drawer system on the vanity unit also delivers a 2cm height increase for users, with internal panels also upgraded to match the colour of external panels across all products.

Sarah Hillsdon, Geberit UK Category Manager, said: “These changes to our Geberit Select and Aspire collections enable easier upgrade solutions and bring a series of enhancements to add more choice for customers and clients. We are also delighted to be able to bring in a series of tweaks to improve the products for end users – demonstrating our commitment to continuously develop our bathroom products.”

Geberit 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: Geberit

Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Seychelles arrival & a review of London’s latest spa

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, checking in with your weekly digest to give you the low-down of some of the hottest stories that we published over the last few days – we’ve had arrivals in the Seychelles and Zimbabwe while also exploring a rather swanky new spa on London’s Park Lane…

July is proving to be a busy month. Not only are there just a few weeks left to apply/nominate (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2021, but we are also counting down the days until we broadcast our next Hotel Designs LIVE event – designers, architects, hoteliers and developers can click here to purchase their complimentary tickets. And while we at Hotel Designs are slowly preparing ourselves to move away from virtual and instead start meeting the industry in person once more, there’s a lot happening on the hospitality scene.

Right on cue, here’s our digest of the top stories and features from this week:

REVIEW: Checking in to experience The Spa at 45 Park Lane

45 Park lane collage

I have always wondered how a hotel like 45 Park Lane can differentiate itself from not only its neighbouring sibling but also other luxury hotels in the neighbourhood. After a few years of making my way through the cocktail, wine and steak menu, I have no regret to admit that I had been looking in the complete wrong direction all this time. The answer to how 45 Park Lane can remove itself from the cold-morning shadow of its older sister is in fact situated in what was, until recently, a building being used as offices.

Located on the lower levels of the hotel, and reached via its very own lift (which I haste to add is completely accessible for people of all abilities), the hotel has recently opened a spa, designed by Joubin Manku and developed by Clivedale London, that will simply take your breath away – and transport you worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London.

Read more.

LXR Hotels & Resorts arrives in Seychelles

LXR-Mango-House-Seychelles-King-Premium-Deluxe-Room_HR

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

LXR Hotels & ResortsHilton’s collection of independent luxury properties, has the opening of Mango House Seychelles, a hotel we first teased our readers with in January. The intimate and exclusive island oasis promise “a captivating, yet refined Seychellois experience on southern Mahé’s unspoiled beachfront.”

Read more.

Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

Have you heard? Independent Hotel Show London, presented by James Hallam, will return to Olympia London on October 4 – 5 2021 – and visitor registration has just opened. The Independent Hotel Show will bring together professionals from across the independent, luxury and boutique hotel sector for the first major industry gathering of 2021.

Read more.

A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

Following Fiona Thompson spectacularly winning at The Brit List Awards 2020, where she virtually walked away with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry title, Hotel Designs is finally about to present the Principal at Richmond International with her trophy. We joined the designer for lunch and a catch up in their home county, Kent, commonly known as the Garden of England…

Read more.

Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Image credit: Great Plains (Tembo Plains Camp)

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company led by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Beverly and Dereck Joubert, is expected to open Tembo Plains Camp on August 1, 2021, which will become Relais & Châteaux’s debut property in Zimbabwe.

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.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Registration is now open for Independent Hotel Show 2021

Following an unstable period where all live events were down due to the outbreak of Covid-19, The Independent Hotel Show 2021, which Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of, has just announced that registration has opened for the headline event that will take place at Olympia London on October 4 – 5…

The innovation stage at Independent Hotel Show

Have you heard? Independent Hotel Show London, presented by James Hallam, will return to Olympia London on October 4 – 5 2021 – and visitor registration has just opened.

Independent Hotel Show will bring together professionals from across the independent, luxury and boutique hotel sector for the first major industry gathering of 2021.

A carefully curated selection of more than 300 innovative businesses representing the variety and diversity of the hotel sector – including transformational hospitality tech, high end design and unique in-room f&b solutions– will be on hand to discuss their latest products and services.

Elena Attanasio, Event Director for Independent Hotel Show, commented: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of our exhibiting companies and partners. It’s clear that the industry can’t wait to come together, meet face to face and do business at the leading event for the UK independent hotel market.”

The 9th edition of the show will see the return of the Innovation Stage, in partnership with eviivo and dressed by sofa.com, where hoteliers and hospitality leaders (including our very own editor Hamish Kilburn) will discuss all the trends and issues most relevant to the 2021 industry, from rebuilding the urban hotel market to destination gastronomy to navigating the return of the corporate traveller.

The Social Business Space will once again provide a hub for the industry to meet with peers and discuss best practice, while new addition The Tech Solutions Bar in partnership with HOSPA will enable hoteliers to seek out expert, objective advice on solving their technology pain points. Guests at the show will also be able to network and relax in expanded feature area, The Lobby presented by IH Connects.

After an incredibly difficult year for the hotel and hospitality sector, the Independent Hotel Show Awards will once again be celebrating the winners of the Independent Hotelier Award and the GM of the Future Award, in partnership with The Master Innholders. The award ceremony will also celebrate the winners of The Good Hotel Guide’s Cesar Ritz Award, given to the UK’s 10 best hotels.

Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels and Independent Hotel Show Ambassador, commented: “Wild horses could not keep me away from Independent Hotel Show this year, firstly because it’s one of the most informative events our industry has to offer and secondly because I am lucky enough to be involved in the awards presentations on 4 October. Wise hoteliers from all over the UK will be there to learn from their peers and from other industry experts in a stylish and pleasant setting. What’s not to like?”

Serena Von Der Hyde, Partner at Georgian House Hotel and Director at Victorian House Hotel added: “As a hotelier, Independent Hotel Show is the best show for me by far because of all the stands and the different sessions on the stage, I would say that 95 per cent of it is relevant to me, compared to larger shows. I’m also much more likely to bump into colleagues of mine and like-minded people, so for me it’s the best show that I attend.”

To learn more about everything on offer at Independent Hotel Show 2021, and to register for your complimentary pass, visit www.independenthotelshow.co.uk 

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show London

Parkside Criaterra tiles

Product watch: Parkside Introduces 100% natural, ‘zero waste’ wall tile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Parkside Introduces 100% natural, ‘zero waste’ wall tile

Made from 100 per cent natural materials using a patented, low-energy production process, Criaterra tiles are the latest decorative wall tiles to join the Parkside portfolio…

Following the brand’s spectacular win at The Brit List Awards 2020, Parkside has launched a new product that perfectly answers to demands for conscious and sustainable surface design that is also stylish.

Parkside Criaterra tiles

Made from stone powders, clays and plant fibres cast in three-dimensional patterns that fuse geometric and organic forms, and available in colours derived from natural pigments, Criaterra is a unique decorative wall tile that challenges the conventions of production and design. 100 per cent biodegradable – and as strong as concrete and with six times the thermal resistance – Criaterra takes a bold step towards product circularity.

Offering a 90 per cent energy saving in production against ceramics and using up to 70 per cent upcycled quarry waste material, the tiles use Advanced Earth Technology, the result of an intensive five-year scientific R&D project. This innovative technology re-engineers the way tiles are manufactured and introduces a fully regenerative product, as well as replacing conventional high temperature firing with a low temperature process that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Brian Linnington, managing director, Parkside, says: “We’re hugely excited to welcome Criaterra into our portfolio as it makes inroads in tackling the environmental challenges we face as an industry. The tile’s ability to deliver performance as well as 100 per cent product circularity is hugely impressive, but it is also incredibly beautiful to look at. Already gracing commercial interiors in EMEA, we’re looking forward to seeing how UK projects make use of the unique geo-organic forms and thoughtful natural palette.”

Criaterra is available in eight geometric shapes which can be organised into limitless combinations in Quad or arranged through the irregular hexagon and concave form of Hex to reference the shape’s common occurrence in the natural world. A nine-strong palette of clay like tones, from pale Dolomit through to Onyx and Ruby, give a strong ‘from earth’ feel, making Criaterra well-suited to commercial interiors heavily influenced by natural materials. The square, rectangular and rhombus flat shapes of Quad also ground the tile well in more ordered contemporary schemes.

Suitable for internal decorative wall use only and designed to work best without grout, Criaterra is a natural alternative to mass produced ceramic tiles.

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

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A winner’s Q&A: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

Following Fiona Thompson spectacularly winning at The Brit List Awards 2020, where she virtually walked away with the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry title, Hotel Designs is finally about to present the Principal at Richmond International with her trophy. Editor Hamish Kilburn joined the designer for lunch and a catch up in their home county, Kent, commonly known as the Garden of England…

Fiona Thompson Richmond International

Admittedly, there was little to celebrate in 2020. For so many, the year is now a blur in history following Covid-19 and the pandemic which followed putting an eraser through any of last year’s social and then plans. The hospitality industry waded through each lockdown and slowly but surely hotels around the globe started to re-emerge – but, even now, travel restrictions are preventing the industry to thrive as it did before.

Despite the year being challenging for the majority of industries, it would be remiss to ignore the heroes in hospitality and hotel design who proved themselves of their leadership skills to put forward meaningful solutions while allowing us, the media, to share their community-centred and selfless initiatives.

The Brit List Awards 2020, which was broadcasted in November 2020 as a virtual event due to the circumstances at the time, aimed to do just that – with The Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester’s Gary Neville, among other individual award winners, scooping up Hotelier of the Year following its decision to close its doors in order to open them up, free-of-charge, to NHS workers during the peak of the pandemic.

The Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry category, for many reasons, is the most prestigious award of the campaign – past winners include Kit Kemp and Robin Shepherd. It is open to all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Last year, the award was presented to Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International, who was, in fact, the first designer I ever interviewed. Richmond International, a studio that Thompson was adamant to remain London, has completed projects such as Sandy Lane in Barbados, Rosewood Miramar Beach, The London West Hollywood and a cluster of Four Seasons and Langham hotels to name but a few. What’s more, I have seen first-hand Thompson supporting and inspiring the next generation of designers, such as Harry Allnatt who was a finalist in our 30-under-30 campaign a few years ago.

Between the award ceremony in November to now, there have been limited opportunities – if any at all – to see Thompson in person in order to celebrate her new title. But just the other day, we found the perfect time, place and weather to meet, allowing us to finally present her with the timeless trophy in recognition of her style and character.

Over lunch, nestled in the quiet countryside of the Garden of England, we caught up to explore diversity in design, getting the industry back on its feet and how much the industry has changed in more than 55 years since Richmond International first launched.

Editor Hamish Kilburn was finally able to award Fiona Thompson her award, seven months after the virtual awards ceremony of The Brit List Awards 2020.

Editor Hamish Kilburn was finally able to award Fiona Thompson her award, seven months after the virtual awards ceremony of The Brit List Awards 2020.

Hamish Kilburn: What have been the biggest changes since you started at Richmond International to now? 

Fiona Thompson: The industry has changed so much since I joined Richmond International as a designer in the early 80s, and then again as a studio director in 1992. In this time, we have seen a huge increase in new hospitality brands popping up around the world, an increase in demand for specialised spaces such as spas, the rise and integration of technology in hospitality settings, and a greater focus on environmental and socially sustainable design, to name a few.

Another key change has been the way that consumers use hospitality spaces and therefore what they demand from them. This was in fact the main driving force behind one of our latest projects, Múzsa at Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest. We were tasked with responding to the changing demands of a hotel lobby and to create an experiential space with an energy that could attract both hotel guests and locals.

With this project, we moved away from traditional lobby design, in favour of creating distinct guest experiences, from sampling local wines in the tasting room to sipping cocktails in the lively, central bar. This not only gives the property its own vibrant identity, but it also helps drive revenue in a space that traditionally people just pass through.

Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International at a Hotel Designs' roundtable in 2019

Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International at a Hotel Designs’ roundtable in 2019

HK: As our winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award, what words of advice do you have for designers struggling at the moment? 

FT: It’s been a tough year for everyone for so many reasons, both professionally and personally, but now it’s time to pull together as an industry so we can bounce back stronger than ever. It’s difficult to see great designers struggling, but with restrictions beginning to ease and life starting to feel slightly more normal again, we’re already seeing positive signs; for the first time in a long time there’s confidence in the market and new projects with fresh investment coming back online.

image credit: The Cosmopolitan, designed by Richmond International

image credit: The Cosmopolitan, designed by Richmond International

HK: What is the secret to success in hotel and hospitality design? 

FT: We’ve been in the hospitality design business for over 55 years, and in that time, we’ve learnt that the key to success is always a great team, which includes clients, operators, consultants and of course designers. Any project in a hotel or a cruise ship is a mammoth task that demands the commitment and efforts of so many different people.  

Image caption: Render of cabin inside P&O vessel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: Render of cabin inside P&O vessel, designed by Richmond International

The most successful and enjoyable projects are always the ones where every player is pulling in the same direction. It’s important to remember that the initial design is only part of a long process, where ideas constantly evolve, so it’s vital that the entire team is aligned and working towards a clear vision.

In more challenging environments, it’s our job to listen and respond to conflicting points of view, but ultimately be prepared to fight for our designs and see them through to the end.

The plush Sterling Suite at Langham London

Image caption: The Sterling Suite, Langham London

“Surround yourself with design and designers, be observant and open to new things and learn as much as you possibly can from the people around you.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: We recently celebrated International Women’s Day at HD. What advice would you give young designers wanting to climb the ladder – and were there any female mentors when you started in the industry? 

FT: At Richmond International, we support and champion all great designers and recognise the importance of mentoring and nurturing young talent. We’re a relatively inclusive industry, that is often less male dominated than the likes of architecture, but it’s still essential we continue to bring talented females into the industry and up the ranks into senior positions.

My biggest piece of advice for any young designer would be that you must love what you do and be passionate about the industry. Surround yourself with design and designers, be observant and open to new things and learn as much as you possibly can from the people around you. Secondly, I would always encourage young designers to be brave, bring your ideas to the table and contribute positively. As designers we would never criticise someone for suggesting an idea, good or bad, it’s all part of the process.

Large and spacious public area of plush suite

Image Caption: Penthouse of London West Hollywood

HK: What lessons have you learned during lockdown? 

FT: A big learning for me is that we can successfully work remotely, especially for aspects of the job like team and client meetings. That being said, the value of face-to-face meetings should not be underestimated or forgotten. When meeting a client in person, there’s an opportunity to build chemistry and trust, and when we’re all in the studio we can bounce ideas around and brainstorm together. There is a real spark that’s created from in-person collaboration, it’s certainly something I can’t wait to get back to.

Without commuting and having to travel to projects, which ordinarily is a huge part of the job, I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my own work/life balance, as well as that of my colleagues. While travel will inevitably return, the balance is something we will be more mindful of as a company moving forwards. 

HK: What other projects are Richmond International working on at the moment? 

Despite the events of the past year, we’ve been extremely busy. The team have worked on lots of exciting new projects, including the renovation of the iconic The Langham, Boston, the refurbishment of Tuscan hotel, Grotta Giusti and the introduction of a new destination spa on site, as well as various spaces onboard the new addition to the P&O fleet, P&O Iona. We will be able to give you more details on these very soon!

HK: If you had the power, what words would you ban people using in the industry? 

I think it would have to be photo sharing social media sites. While they are brilliant for showcasing visuals and discovering new and exciting hotels, restaurants, bars and even designers from all corners of the world, I worry that it can often stifle our creativity and curiosity. For me, great designs are born from team brainstorms and discussions where designs are reviewed and evolved based on new discoveries and changes in approach. After this process, the finished product will not just be aesthetically pleasing and fit the purpose but also completely original, rather than a replica of something that we’ve seen online.

If you would like to take part or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2021, you have until August 6 to do so. Once entries close, the shortlisted finalists will be announced in September and the award ceremomny will take place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment, London.

Main image credit: Richmond International

Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: Inside Tembo Great Plains in Zimbabwe

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company led by wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Beverly and Dereck Joubert, is expected to open Tembo Plains Camp on August 1, 2021, which will become Relais & Châteaux’s debut property in Zimbabwe. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

In the heart of Africa, Great Plains is putting the finishing touches on what will become its latest luxury safari camp, which will also mark Relais & Châteaux’s debut in Zimbabwe.

As we have been following the story of Great Plains and Beverly and Dereck Joubert – and the fascinating lives they carve out for themselves and the community around their meaningful camps – it’s hard not to anticipate what the film makers-turned-hoteliers will do next. We last spoke to the couple a few months back when they teased us and our readers about two camps that were expected to arrive in the summer. Mara Toto Camp and Mara Plains Camp, both of which are now open in Kenya.

For those who know the Jouberts, though, will understand that their brand’s narrative is a never-ending, ever-evolving portfolio of authentically designed camps – after all, there is still so much of Africa to explore. The latest plot twist in what is no-doubt a difficult chapter for hospitality worldwide, is the entrance of Tembo Plains Camp, which will make its entrance in August as a proud member of Relais & Châteaux. Although, at the time of publishing, we are limited to how many images we have, you can see how the camp will, in true Great Plains style and substance, naturally blend into working around nature’s rhythm.

With four spacious guest tents, an exquisite two-bedroom family unit and a private guide tent, the camp, designed to frame African wildlife in all its majesty, will be ideal for couples, families, multi-generational travellers, and those looking for an exclusive personal safari experience.

The beautiful family unit, with interiors designed by Beverly, comprises two tents with a shared lounge and dining area and pool and will accommodate up to four adults, two adults and two children. Each guest tent offers an indoor lounge and outdoor dining area, private plunge pool and exercise bikes, in addition to expansive en-suite bathroom facilities, indoor baths, showers and double vanities. Guests have access to professional Canon cameras and Leica binoculars throughout their stay to capture the many special holiday moments.

“When I designed Tembo Plains Camp, it was with a view to reference the famous Grean Zimbabwe ruins but not lose sight of our love of canvas and exploring,” explained Dereck. “So we ended up with a unique combination of canvas and stone walls. The semi-circular walls inside each tent isolate the bath and shower from the bedroom and indoor lounge areas bringing that architectural reference inside. Outside, this pack-stone wall design continues along the back of the guest bedroom, and that really gives you a greater sense of privacy, often an issue in tents. I didn’t want a completely ‘built room’. Hence, the front has these uninterrupted views of the Zambezi flowing just meters away from the canvas ‘tented’ portion.”

‘Tembo’, meaning elephant, pays tribute to the animals frequently seen around Tembo Plains Camp along with painted dogs, buffalo, lions and leopards. The Sapi Private Reserve borders the Mana Pools National Park and is recognised as one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations today. Twitchers will be spoiled for choice as Tembo Plains is situated in a prime bird-watching country, ideal for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Activities at Tembo Plains include day and night wildlife-viewing drives, walking safaris, canoeing and boating on the Zambezi River.

Tembo Plains will join the Réserve Collection of camps, the highest-level brand at Great Plains, alongside sister properties Zarafa Camp, Selinda Camp, Duba Plains in Botswana, and Mara Nyika, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya.

Both Beverly and Dereck will join as speakers at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, where the pair will discuss the role of surface design in the camps they develop and design. If you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary tickets in the audience.

Main image credit: Great Plains

Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Another launch for Virgin Hotels & a new London design studio

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, tasked to serve up this week’s hotel design headlines – such a Virgin Hotels’ arrival in New Orleans, Hard Rock entering a new territory and a new design studio launching in London – in one juicy shot…

“In a marketing email we sent this week, the marketing team added their own spin on the saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We felt as though, unless you are driving or it’s a particularly hot day (and even then, gin is always an option), that the industry isn’t that keen on the idea of sipping lemonade in the corner of a room. Instead, and I say this following my attendance at a handful of events recently, we are all reaching for the limoncello after 18 months strictly no socialising.

Answering to the demand of the industry, therefore, we’re tempted to raise the shot glass at The Brit List Awards 2021, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. You have until August 6 (less than one month) in order to submit your entries – shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will get a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony.

Between now and then, we on the editorial desk are committed to serve you a variety of flavours of news, features and exclusive insights. Taking the metaphor perhaps too far, this weekly digest is, if you like, the limoncello shot needed to finish off your week.

Here are the top stories from the last few days…

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in Madrid

Render credit: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Sheltering all the ingredients to make an exceptional lifestyle hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Madrid marks the brand’s debut property in a Spanish city. Located at the Golden Triangle of Art in the Spanish capital, the hotel is the newest addition to an international portfolio and compliments the brand’s recent growth throughout Europe.

Read more.

Exclusive: Meet the designer behind London Design House

London Design House

Image credit: London Design House

You may already know – or know of – Akram Fahmi (former Design Director at 1508 London) and Gary Kellett (former architect at ReardonSmith), but did you know that the two have joined forces to set up and launch their very own studio. In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Fahmi and Kellett to understand more about London Design House…

Read more. 

Virgin Hotels to arrive in New Orleans this summer

Image credit: Virgin Hotels

For any hotel that is owned by a pioneering boss who, in just a few days time, will attempt to make the history books by flying to the edge of spaceto reach a major milestone in his campaign to introduce a commercial spaceflight service, the expectation for an unmatched hospitality experience is huge.

Luckily, the Virgin Hotels New Orleans, which is about to make its bold debut onto the hospitality scene as soon as this summer has been designed with both Virgin’s in-house team and locally based interior designers Logan Killen in order to ensure its interiors hit all the right notes for tomorrow’s modern travellers – think texture and colour, lots of colour! 

Read more. 

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Image credit: Langham Hotels

With a range of dynamic spaces accommodating both guests and day visitors, The Langham, Boston, a landmark hotel, has reclaimed its position as one of the country’s most desirable destinations following the completion of a three-year renovation by design studio Richmond International.

Read more.

A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

The launch of the new headline-grabbing Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has introduced a new twist to the concept of bathing – and whats more, our Recommended Supplier, bathroom brand Kaldewei, was involved in the development led by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

Read more. 

And finally… The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

The Brit List Awards 2021

Your chance to apply or nominate someone, free of charge, to enter The Brit List Awards 2021 is running out. Ahead of applications/nominations closing on August 6 – and to ensure that you are fully in-the-know about your opportunity to enter and join us at our largest networking event in this year’s calendar, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions…

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.

01_Duravit_White_Tulip

Product watch: White Tulip, the complete bathroom range by Philippe Starck

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: White Tulip, the complete bathroom range by Philippe Starck

White Tulip is the first complete bathroom range created entirely by Philippe Starck for Duravit. Let’s take a look…

The extraordinary forms and elegant shapes of the components within the White Tulip series, designed by Philippe Starck for Duravit, echoes the organic silhouette of a tulip in bloom; exuding an almost sculptural feel. The graceful details and the exquisite workmanship satisfy the highest standards.

01_Duravit_White_Tulip

The versatile designs of the White Tulip range follows Starck and Duravit unveiling a new era of shower toilets. The design of this collection, with its ability to blend into a wide range of styles, makes each product ideal for almost any interior – from the urban loft through to the sophisticated ambience of a country house.

The monolithic design of the free-standing ceramic washbasin is particularly eye-catching. The washbasin can be attached to the wall or the floor as required.

Designed in the same style, the impressive round above-counter basin has an aesthetically pleasing delicately outward sloping edge. The right-angled washbasin, when viewed from above, also reflects this form. Also available as a furniture washbasin and as a hand rinse basin, both come in two sizes and complete the range.

Matching free-standing and wall-mounted toilets and bidets complement the impressive ceramic elements. The White Tulip style is also found on the matching urinal. The toilets are equipped with the new HygieneFlush technology.

Independent tests show that this new flushing technique cleans the entire inner surface of the toilet. The perfectly attuned water flow creates a vortex that guarantees an ideal flushing action at all times using just 4.5 litres of water.

All new HygieneFlush toilets come with the tried- and-tested HygieneGlaze ceramic glaze as standard to guarantee even greater hygiene. Fired into the interior of the toilet, HygieneGlaze ensures that approx. 90 per cent of bacteria (for example e. coli) are eradicated after six hours, and approx. 99.9 per cent after 24 hours. The outstanding quality of White Tulip is also reflected in its new lifetime guarantee, which Duravit offers on the ceramic elements in the range for selected countries.

The corresponding furniture is as extraordinary as the entire range. The miter-cut, extremely finely crafted edges are testament to the precise composition of the White Tulip furniture, which comes in widths of between 350 and 1300 mm. The furniture and the coordinating semi-tall cabinets with two or three glass shelves are available in a choice of five high-quality colours with high gloss or satin matt lacquer. Alternatively, a solid wood finish of Natural Oak or American Walnut may be selected for the fronts.

The satin matt finishes include a special feature: small scratches on these special lacquer finishes “disappear” almost automatically, so that the furniture always looks as good as new. Additionally, the special anti-fingerprint coating makes light work of cleaning and care.

The distinctive chrome handle is an exciting design option. It can be used to contrast with the matt lacquers and solid wood surfaces, or produce a striking effect on high-gloss lacquer.

Fitted with ring pull handles, the drawers feature a self-close action. The variant without a handle also features tip-on technology, enabling the drawers to be opened with a gentle tap. There is automatic interior lighting which turns on or off when the drawer is opened or closed.

Additional practical storage is provided in the combination of the round furniture washbasin with matching vanity unit, which is available in all the White Tulip furniture finishes. The colour of the shelves can be freely selected, too. The floor-standing chrome console with wooden shelves, can be fitted with one or two round towel holders on the sides, providing another unique design element.

Matching mirrors from the White Tulip series are available in versions controlled by sensors or an app. Creating a special visual effect, the mirrored glass has been brought forward which makes the mirror’s surface appear almost transparent around the illuminated area.

The light temperature has a ‘memory effect’ which can be synchronised with other lamps  that are connected within the home and controlled via “Casambi”, an app that has established itself for use in smart homes. This feature can be used to dim the mirrors and switch the mirror heating on and off.

The free-standing bathtub with its seamless acrylic paneling mirrors the form of the ceramics. The oval version is available in two sizes: 1800×800 mm, with 1600×900 mm for smaller rooms. The round bathtub with a diameter of 140 cm, offers a spacious interior.

White Tulip also includes the first range of taps developed by Philippe Starck for Duravit. The consistent design element is the tulip-shaped handle that echoes the shape of the washbasins and bathtubs and is particularly easy and pleasant to operate thanks to the polished surface, whilst the 160 finely engraved vertical stripes produce a truly sophisticated effect. Washbasin mixers are available in various “comfort” heights S, M, and XL. The range also includes bidet, shower and bath faucets.

The unusual design of the White Tulip series will add a stylish touch to any setting. Well-engineered technologies such as HygieneFlush and HygieneGlaze, tip-on technology and self-close action as well as mirror heating and app-controlled, customisable lighting complete the feel-good factor.

Duravit 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: Duravit

London Design House

Exclusive: Meet the designers behind London Design House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive: Meet the designers behind London Design House

You may already know – or know of – Akram Fahmi (former Design Director at 1508 London) and Gary Kellett (former architect at ReardonSmith), but did you know that the two have joined forces to set up and launch their very own studio. In an exclusive interview, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Fahmi and Kellett to understand more about London Design House…

London Design House

If ever there was the right time to do something different, it’s now! Over the last 18 months, during a strange ‘no mans land’ of time when many were twiddling their thumbs on furlough while others were struggling to man the forts (myself included), others were plotting the storyboard of their next chapter.

Before the pandemic, the idea of setting up a new, independent studio was nothing more than a dream for architect Gary Kellett (who has been operating his own studio for three years now) and architect and designer Akram Fahmi. The duo used to work together at ReardonSmith before Fahmi made a leap to become Design Director at 1508 London. In short, pre-2020, both had been used to – and comfortable with – the inner workings of established studio life, benefiting personally and professionally from the brands that sheltered their work. As the cultural shift happened, though, as the world reacted to a deadly virus that forced nations to close their boarders, the concept of having more control and the ownership and responsibility of their own projects and business became more and more appealing.

After a few months of hard planning – and a cluster of sleepless nights later – London Design House was born. To understand the triumphs and challenges that came with setting up the studio – and to understand what’s next – I caught up with the inspirational chaps over breakfast in Shoreditch, London, while lockdown measures were slowly starting to ease and the Capital’s hospitality was starting to open up once more.

Hamish Kilburn: Tell me more about London Design House? What will set it aside from other design studios?

Akram Fhami: Having known each other for 17 years, personally and professionally, there is an innate understanding of how each other works and what each of our complimentary skillsets are. We both hold a keen appreciation of the importance of guiding clients through every stage and mastering the translation of client briefs into fully realised schemes. We are not afraid to admit, our strongest asset is each other, and we are able to interchange and crossover skillsets on any project.

Gary Kellett: Having both been on the wing of an industry leader in our early development as architects the mentorship we received taught us to be flexible and adaptable and whilst still operating at the very highest level of interior design and architecture. 

Our experience and exposure in delivering across all scales and stages at the highest end of interior and architecture is unrivalled. We have the ability to lead designs of luxury hotels and private residences alike with the expertise to also execute these on site which is an ability we both relish and enjoy.

“London is the melting pot into which we have grown.” – Akram Fahmi, Co-Founder, London Design House.

HK: Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the projects you are working on?

AF: Sure! We are working on some really interesting and fascinating projects at the moment, and we haven’t even had time yet to get our headshots done! One project of which is an incredible super prime multi-unit serviced apartments project in Moscow, in close proximity to the National Stadium. We are the executive interior designers working with an internationally recognised architect, delivering luxury concept and technical designs for multiple apartment typologies including the grand rooftop penthouses. We are finding the process very exciting and unique working on such a scheme remotely. The logistics is challenging, but ultimately it is the nature of the industry at the moment, but we are very excited to see it through and eventually travel out to see it realised.

Pavilion Road by Gary Kellett Architects

Image caption: Pavilion Road | Image credit: London Design House

GK: Closer to home we are currently engaged on an extensive refurbishment of a 8,500 sqft, nine bedroom luxury property in the heart of the Chelsea. The period property is set over five floors which will be sensitively reordered and reconfigured to meet the demands of high end residential living. The residence will benefit from a new landscaped roof top terrace which will be provide incredible views across Cadogan Sq.

HK: What have been the major challenges, so far, of setting up your own studio?

GK: Connectivity to People! The largest challenge has been remotely driving business. For us, being adaptable and light on our feet has meant that we are able to take on varying scale of projects, from high end restaurants, private residences to multi-unit luxury apartment developments.

AF: We have found the face-to-face networking and social aspect of our venture to be the most challenging at the moment, yet we see glimmers of this side opening up and people becoming more receptive to meeting again. We have had to learn new ways of revenue generation which ultimately has made us much more savvy in terms of how we approach projects whilst still providing a tailored and non-compromised level of service. 

“I think don’t take life too seriously, or don’t over think things, the opportunities are always there for you take or create.” – Gary Kellett, Co-Founder, London Design House.

HK: Why is London considered a major design hub? 

AF: For us – as in our name – London is the melting pot into which we have grown, developed and now established ourselves. The tantalising blend of people, culture, design influences and art makes the fabric of London incredibly unique. We are able draw on the incredible range of suppliers, artists, crafts people, and consultants to tailor a bespoke composition of materials, elements, people and skills to create unique projects – each beautifully different from the last.

HK: What advice would you give to designers, who, up until now have only worked within large studios but are considering to start a new chapter on their own?

GK: Life is like a bowl of cherries as someone once said to us. I think don’t take life too seriously, or don’t over think things, the opportunities are always there for you take or create. Ultimately, believe and trust in the skill sets you have.

HK: Late nights aside (Akram, I saw you sent me an email at 3am the other day), what’s the best thing about setting up your own studio? 

AF: Oh, wow, sorry about that – to be honest, I didn’t even realise it was that late (or early)! I think having the freedom to operate and design independently twixt with the direct influence and control over the trajectory of business development is incredibly rewarding. It’s quite refreshing to have such an influence on both aspects, it feels like the handbrake has been released and now have the right platform to express ourselves.

Main image credit: London Design House

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Product watch: Eleganza by bathroom brand Gessi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Eleganza by bathroom brand Gessi

“Elegance in the bathroom becomes wellness,” Gessi says to explain the purpose and intention of the launch of Eleganza, a new range that celebrates simplicity in style and design…

Bathroom brand Gessi believes there is more charm in perfect simplicity than in fussy, overdone design. In other words, a touch of elegance can make life easier and much more beautiful, enriching daily life and contributing to enhanced wellness.

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Hence, Gessi embraces the essential need for beauty and style in everyday living with the creation of Eleganza, a new total look bathroom collection with refined architectural lines and cleverly conceived function.

A balanced blend of good taste and distinct design, care for substance and meticulous attention to every detail, Eleganza speaks a classy though contemporary language, which makes the Collection fresh and urban rather than retro. Its classical harmony, reinterpreted in the signature minimalism of Gessi, creates a “moderntraditional” design with insightful aesthetics, and a timeless elegance that transcends styles. Eleganza can be set gracefully in traditional or contemporary interiors.

As with all the Gessi Collections, Eleganza encompasses a large matching set of bathroom fittings, from faucets to accessories, from sinks and tubs to fixtures, all of which preserve the sculptural shapes of Eleganza for a complete Gessi Signature Bathroom.

Refined details characterise each element of the collection, with sophisticated and fresh finishes that stretch far beyond chrome, brushed chrome and gold to add to the personalisation of everyone’s private spaces.

Gessi 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: Gessi

A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new meaning of bathing: The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens

The launch of the new headline-grabbing Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has introduced a new twist to the concept of bathing – and whats more, our Recommended Supplier, bathroom brand Kaldewei, was involved in the development led by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

The Sky Pool at Embassy Gardens has dominated headlines recently as the feel-good story every news channel in the UK gushed over. It is (as the name suggests) a 35-metre high pool that bridges together two buildings in London, creating an unmatched (and slightly terrifying for some) swimming experience. Despite the accessibility of the pool dividing opinions, considering it is not being accessible to the affordable housing residents within the same development, its ambitious architectural structure, designed by studio HAL, has undeniably taken rooftop pools and bathing to a whole new level.

Sky Pool London

Image credit: Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

Kaldewei, a bathroom brand that is considered an expert in the manufacture of eco-friendly, sustainable and 100 per cent recyclable bathroom solutions, was delighted to be part of this exciting and prestigious project on London’s South Bank, developed by Ballymore and EcoWorld Ballymore.

The pool has a frame which weighs 50 tonnes; it is 8 inches (200 mm) thick with a 12-inch (300 mm) thick base and is nearly 10 feet (3.0 m) in depth, resting on an invisible steel frame.

Due to its excellent quality, Kaldewei products were fitted in all the tower apartments either side of the Sky Pool. The shower trays and baths are all created from Kaldewei steel enamel and it is this fusion of steel and glass, which makes the products extremely strong and durable like the Sky Pool! However, if all the baths in both towers were filled with water they would not come close to filling the Sky Pool; which at 82 feet long, with 46 of those suspended in mid-air, it is longer than most Olympic-sized pools which when full contain more than 2.5 million litres of water.

Kaldewei ‘bathers’ can stay inside and enjoy the privacy of their own bathing space.  All the bathrooms in the Embassy Gardens apartments include a combination of the Cayono, Puro and Meisterstücke Centro Duo 2 bathtubs, each bath has a central waste and two identical back rests providing an elegant addition to the bathroom.      

In addition to the baths the floor-level Superplan XXL’s, with its flush – fitting recessed waste cover and generous dimensions, (they go up to 1.8 metres), ensures greater freedom of movement when showering; whilst Kaldewei’s Secure Plus anti-slip finish, which is virtually invisible and guarantees safe footing, an essential requirement when walking on any wet surface.

Kaldewei 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: Kaldewei

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Richmond International unveils new interiors at The Langham, Boston

London-based hospitality design specialist, Richmond International, reveals stunning interiors at the iconic The Langham Boston, following an extensive three-year renovation…

With a range of dynamic spaces accommodating both guests and day visitors, The Langham, Boston, a landmark hotel, has reclaimed its position as one of the country’s most desirable destinations following the completion of a three-year renovation by design studio Richmond International.

luxe suite inside Langham Boston

The project includes a complete transformation of the lobby, meeting rooms, event spaces and all guest rooms, as well as the addition of The Langham Club, and a brand new bar and restaurant.

The design carefully considers the building’s location in Boston, Massachusetts and draws on its history as the former Federal Bank of Boston. Richmond International expertly curated The Langham Boston’s new art collection which includes existing and commissioned pieces, reflecting the building’s rich background.

“This project was hugely exciting for the whole team,” said Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International who won Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry award last year at The Brit List Awards. “We’ve worked with The Langham Group for many years on some of the finest hotels around the world, so we know the importance of integrating the historical and cultural influences of this fascinating building and city with a contemporary yet classic design that has become synonymous with The Langham brand”.

Hotel lobby and rear lobby

The lobby takes inspiration from the building’s banking heritage with bespoke furniture and lighting indicative of the space’s former life as a bank. A double-sided Chesterfield sofa, a modern take on banker’s lamps, and hand-tufted rugs replicating the colour scheme and motifs found on a dollar bill, all help to create a warm and welcoming lobby area; a charming antithesis to the imposing facade.

A focal point of the hotel Lobby, a bespoke artisan map of the city of Boston, has been produced using liquid metal on a cast resin base and sits behind the reception desk. A large portrait of the renowned Bostonian portraitist John Singleton Copley was created exclusively for The Langham Boston by Samuel Gareginyan and sets the tone for the for the significance and prominence of portraiture throughout the hotel.

In addition, the Rear Lobby has been transformed into an elegant entrance space with the introduction of a new, sculptural staircase leading to the ballroom, an ideal space for an intimate social gathering or for welcome drinks before a larger function in the Lincoln Ballroom.

Image caption: Sitting area in the lobby. | Image credit: Langham Hotels

Image caption: Sitting area in the lobby. | Image credit: Langham Hotels

Governor’s and Lincoln Room, Wyeth Room and Lincoln Ballroom

The Governor’s and Lincoln Room is a refined space that celebrates the historical significance and functionality that the room had as the bank’s former boardroom. Traditional panelled walls remain and, in-keeping with the theme, the plaid carpet is a nod to the tailored suits that were worn by the bankers. Historical photographs of the building and an assembly of antique maps of Boston and the surrounding towns and districts of Massachusetts adorn the walls.

Carefully renovated to preserve all its historical features, The Wyeth Room is the larger of the meeting spaces. The existing murals were lovingly protected during the refurbishment and now gallantly oversee the space. The Lincoln Ballroom is a new addition to The Langham, Boston and continues the sense of historical significance and classic aesthetic. A new vaulted skylight combined with the large windows create a bright and airy space for any occasion.

Grana and The Fed Bar

The new Grana restaurant is a vibrant destination and true celebration of its former life as main hall of the Bank, one of the most historical spaces in the building. Original features such as the stone flooring and the original terrazzo floors complete with the official Federal Reserve Bank seal were meticulously restored to their former glory. Likewise, the original frieze ceiling was maintained with the addition of a backlit lantern skylight to introduce an abundance of light into this expansive space. Fusing the new with the old; a modern interpretation of the original banking hall clock was created and a dramatic, modern sculpture of the Liberty head coin, created by Lyle London, is suspended above the entrance staircase.

In recognition of the former Federal Reserve Bank presidents, the restaurant features eight classic contemporary portraits by Debra Keirce, an award-winning member of The Portrait Society of America. Richmond International worked with local Boston Gallery, The Copley Society, which provided artworks throughout the property.

The hotel’s new bar, The Fed, is a sophisticated space with a lively central bar and intimate seating area. A tasteful take on a 1920’s private member’s club, the bar features a rich colour palette, velvet finishes and gold accents, as well as an eclectic mix of artworks and Persian-inspired rugs, a reflection of the 1920s and a new era of travel. 

Guestrooms

The guestrooms are inspired by travel, the New England coast and Boston’s history as one of the first places in the US to be colonised. The design touches in these rooms include a cellaret based on an old traveller’s trunk and a fresh colour palette for an inviting space to settle and relax after a long journey. Artwork celebrating Boston’s culture, environment and history pepper the walls either side of the headboard, from the Boston Red Sox, New England-native birds and vintage stock certificates. 

The split-level Loft Suites each feature a sculptural art installation created by Boston-based ceramic and clay artist, Jeremy Ogusky that accentuate the double-height ceiling. Each installation comprises of approximately 60 pieces of wheel-thrown glazed plates arranged organically; the end result is a completely unique installation for every suite.

The hotel’s flagship suite, the Chairman Suite, channels the spirit of New England with a contemporary classic nod to the 1920’s period, including panelled walls and a selection of Persian-inspired rugs over a timber Herringbone floor. The suite also features an eclectic collection of unique items that one might acquire over time, capturing the essence of a true traveller. Furthermore, a one-of-a-kind installation from US-based paper artist, Olga Skorokhod, decorates the dining room wall.

The Langham Club

The Langham Club, a signature feature of The Langham Hotels & Resorts brand, has a clean and tailored aesthetic harmonised with contemporary detailing. The artwork in this space is a diverse mix of portraiture, sculpture and photography with subtle nods to the lounges of London and Chicago.

Main image credit: Langham Hotels

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

With sustainability running through the core of the leading bathroom brand’s DNA, GROHE is arguably most qualified to discuss conscious bathroom design. Karl Lennon, Leader for A&D Projects, LIXIL EMENA at GROHE, therefor, is here to explore how luxury brands can go a step further to create a premium, sustainable and impressionable experience for its guests…

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

The hospitality industry is wholeheartedly embracing the transition towards a more sustainable future, with many groups and independents alike implementing their own targets and policies to drive more responsible, environmentally conscious hospitality and tourism worldwide.

While the motive around improving sustainable practices focuses on doing more to use less, hotels in the luxury sector face the task of doing more and going further in order to uphold their reputation and retain the trust and assurance from their esteemed clientele. This needs to be balanced in equal parts with solutions that produce tangible results with positive implications for the environment without taking away from the luxury experience for guests.

It goes without saying that when guests visit a luxury hotel property, they expect every fine detail to be considered. The aesthetic, the ambience, the service, the sourcing of goods: each single element must be well-measured and thought-out. Over recent years, as we have all become increasingly more informed and aware of the need to prioritise sustainable habits in our everyday lives, discerning guests have become more scrupulous with their hotel choices when travelling. Sustainability therefore needs to be treated as an integral part of the overall guest experience – approached holistically – with every design choice and fitting having purpose, meaning and environmentally friendly credibility.
When working with clients on premium projects, we advise that sustainability not only be an add-on or after thought but a narrative and journey that is seamlessly incorporated into every element of the customer experience, carried through all touchpoints from arrival to check-out. In designing the luxury sustainable hotel experience, it is not only investing in the elements the guests can see but those that can’t be touched or seen too. In these instances, communication and reputation play an enormous role in helping to convey these more hidden features and their benefits to prospective guests.

At GROHE, we have recently taken the next step in our sustainability journey as a brand by achieving Gold level Cradle-to-Cradle certification in four of our best-selling taps and shower products. By specifying Cradle-to-Cradle certified fittings, hotels can begin to incorporate more circular practises into their business. The Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) design concept is a model that contrasts the take-make-waste system and enables manufacturers to drastically reduce the use of new resources. A product is designed and manufactured with the intent of using its components in its end-of-life-phase for the creation of new products.

Image caption: A visual of GROHE's Cradle to Cradle

Image caption: A visual of GROHE’s Cradle to Cradle products

Cradle-to-Cradle products consider the material health of each of the components in their creation as well as how these components can then be repurposed at the end of their life, to prevent unnecessary wastage.
Whilst the sustainable impact of Cradle-to-Cradle products may not always be overtly apparent to the guest, they offer viable sustainably sourced solutions that highlight a carefully considered approach to the interior design of a hotel washroom or bathroom suite.

Similarly, the use of 3D metal printing can be particularly resource-efficient, pushing and defying the boundaries of design to create fittings that use less material and equally, create visual spectacles that are well-suited for premium projects. Through GROHE’s own exploration of this manufacturing method with its Icon 3D-printed series of basin mixers, it has been found that energy used for producing a 3D metal-printed tap is about 20% lower compared to the production energy used for a brass cast tap body.

In addition to creating a sustainable storyline that forms an integral part of the luxury customer experience, implementing features that puts the control in the guest’s hands is another approach hotels can implement to inspire and empower its visitors. Giving guests the option to switch their shower to eco mode for example or use LED temperature displays to encourage them to reduce the temperature of their water, is a powerful way of enabling them to make sustainably minded decisions, and feel good about these choices, as part of their hotel experience. Empowering guests in this way can help to form an alliance between hotel and guest and build a customer’s trust and loyalty in a brand they know truly values sustainability.

Spa and wellness zones are synonymous with luxury hotel settings but outdated designs and fittings can result in unnecessary over-consumption of precious resources such as water and energy. We are seeing the shift for more spas and wellness zones to move into the privacy of the guest’s suite rather than a communal space, and this presents lots of opportunities for hoteliers to make smart specification choices that optimise customer personalisation and experience whilst using resource conservatively and considerately. In the future, new sustainably-focused solutions and technologies from brands will enable luxury hotels to offer a more enhanced and personal spa experience in the comfort of the guest suite.

Design innovation is playing an enormous role in providing solutions that can help hotels achieve their sustainability targets whilst still providing their guests with unique, luxurious visits. The introduction of these technologies and capabilities is still relatively new but offer lots of potential in really helping to progress the status quo for luxury sustainable tourism and hospitality.

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

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021: FAQs (applications/nominations close soon)

Your chance to apply or nominate someone, free of charge, to enter The Brit List Awards 2021 is running out. Ahead of applications/nominations closing on August 6 – and to ensure that you are fully in-the-know about your opportunity to enter and join us at our largest networking event in this year’s calendar, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions…

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ annual awards campaign to identify and celebrate Britain’s best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and brands. What started as a list of the top 25 designers and architects has evolved into a full-on awards ceremony that crowns individual winners as well as profiling, in a printed publication, the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers.

Since opening applications and nominations for this year’s campaign, we have received many emails and social media messages – so we thought we would share some of the most frequently asked questions for those who are still considering whether or not to apply/nominate someone deserving.

Click here to apply/nominate (free of charge) for The Brit List Awards 2021.

Q: What is The Brit List Awards?
A: The Brit List Awards is our nationwide campaign to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers operating in Britain. After nominations/applications have closed on August 6, the winners of the individual awards and The Brit List 2021 will be unveiled at the awards ceremony, which takes place this year on November 3 at PROUD Embankment.

Q: What are this year’s individual award categories?
A: This year’s campaign include TWO new award categories. Below are the individual awards you can apply/nominate for?

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award
  • Best in British Product Design
  • Rising Star of the Year (NEW CATEGORY)
  • International Award (NEW CATEGORY)
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

Q: Aside from the Individual awards, what is The Brit List?

A: The Brit List is the annual publication that we unveil at the awards ceremony, which profiles the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture, and hospitality categories. The aim of the publication is to celebrate the top 75 most influential people who are keeping Britain a design, architecture and hospitality hub.

Q: How much does it cost to apply?
A: Nothing!! The whole application process is completely free! What’s more, shortlisted finalists (designers, architects & hoteliers) will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment. Suppliers can purchase tickets here for £150 + VAT, or email Katy Phillips to discuss limited sponsorship opportunities.

Q: Can I apply on behalf of somebody else?
A: Yes. To ensure there are no boundaries in our search, we allow people to nomination others. In short, if you know someone who you believe is deserving, we want to hear about them!

Q: I’m a designer who is not part of a large studio, should I still apply?
A: Yes! We are looking for Britain’s best designers, architects, hoteliers and brands – and that does not mean that only the brands with deep pockets can or should apply.

Q: How are the winners selected?
A: In order to ensure that The Brit List Awards is a fair campaign, we have selected an individual judging panel. The shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will receive complimentary tickets to attend the awards ceremony on November 3 at PROUD Embankment.

Q: How can I attend the awards ceremony if I not want to submit an entry?
A: 
The Awards ceremony has over the years become known for being a premium networking event. If you qualify as an interior designer, architect or hotelier, you can purchase tickets here for just £20+VAT each (the price of a London cocktail). For anyone else wishing to attend, you can purchase tickets here for £150 + VAT.

Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: The struggling generation & the latest hotel openings

The struggle is real in this week’s round-up of our top stories, as we celebrate the launch of a campaign to help young designers and architects on their feet while networking events are brought back to IRL (in real life). Meanwhile, there seems to be a new hotel opening on the hour, at the moment. Editor Hamish Kilburn here – ‘struggling’ to keep up – but determined nonetheless to serve up your weekly digest…

For many reasons – catching up on my emails following a few frantic yet fantastic days out of the office being one of them – I am accosting this week’s round-up, or ‘digest’ as we have recently rebranded it,  around the theme of ‘struggle’. Taking my sprints between meetings, speaking events and much-welcomed hotel reviews to one side, the struggle young designers and architects are facing at the moment is immeasurable – and it’s time to address this situation head-on. Cue the launch of our new campaign, which will allow newcomers into the arena to interview established A&D professionals (with no question off limit) – thus bridging the gap between generations, allowing authentic mentorships to form and for all of us to start really understanding the challenges that young people face when leaving the safety reef of education.

Also in this week’s digest, we share with you our hottest hotel openings expected this month, unveil a case study that takes biophilic design to a whole new meaning and find out why fashion brand PrettyLittleThing is dipping its toe into UK hospitality.

Without further a due, here’s this week’s news in one article:

A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

If you read nothing else this week, please ensure you take the time to read young architect James Ingram’s interview with Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley. This interview, which really left a personal impact on me (as I’m sure it will you, considering we have all had help at some stage in our careers), marks the launch of a wider campaign in order to help bridge the gap between generations within hotel design.

Read more.

VIP Arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July

The Tawny Hotel is one of our most anticipated hotels opening in July

Image credit: The Tawny Hotel

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Here, we take you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

Read more.

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Image credit: Marriott International

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline.

Read more.

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Shalini Misra

Ahead of her anticipated appearance at Hotel Designs LIVE, where she will join a panel of experts to discuss surface design, we caught up with interior designer Shalini Misra in order to understand how wellness and design are working together in this new era of lifestyle, luxury and wellness…

Read more.

And finally… Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing launches UK hotel

Pool inside PrettyLittleThing Hotel

Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

While staycation demand has increased 14,400 per cent, and as the boundaries between lifestyle and luxury continue to blur, it’s not a huge surprise to read that that global fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has entered the UK hotel market.

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!

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Perry 18 light staircase

Product watch: New lighting ranges from Franklite

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: New lighting ranges from Franklite

Having been in and out of the dark over the last 18 months, the hospitality industry deserves illuminating. During the pandemic, lighting studio Franklite has been busy adding new contemporary products to its growing portfolio of lighting products. Let’s take a look…

Perry 18 light staircase

Over the last few months lighting brand Franklite has introduced spectacular new product ranges to its well-renowned decorative lighting collection. Whilst most of these new ranges reflect current trends through innovative and modern designs a more traditional range based on the popular Flemish style design has been included as well.

The Mondrian range which consists of four chandeliers and a wall bracket replicates the ever-popular Delft and Halle ranges. These Flemish style fittings carry through the candle tube design and are finished in pewter as opposed to the bronze and polished brass finishes of the other ranges.

This range includes three and five light chandeliers which are ideal for hotel bars, restaurants and dining areas. Whether it’s a three light chandelier positioned over every table in the restaurant or a five light chandelier perfectly centred above a grand piano, the finish of the Mondrian range adds a slight modern twist to the traditional design style. The two light, candle tube wall bracket within the Mondrian range will accentuate more neutral tone corridors whilst still carrying through the popular Flemish style design within a hotel.

In comparison, the contemporary style of the Perry range is both majestic and comprehensive. With single and multiple drop suspensions in satin nickel finish metalwork and clear cable suspensions this range is like no other. This versatile range comprises four colours of beautiful pear-shaped glasses with a slight textured design. Available in two sizes, these glasses provide a myriad of possible compositions to give the Perry fittings a tailor-made, custom design, perfect for any space. The colour options include clear, smoked, amber and copper glass. The enormous 18 light multiple drop fitting would make an exquisite centre piece in a reception area or staircase. Drawing the eye upwards to take in the full effect of the combination of glass sizes and colours adds dimension, making the most of open plan, communal areas.

Other fittings within the range include three and six light spreaders, three light bar fittings and single pendants all finished in satin nickel. These variations can be used in any space throughout a hotel, mixing and matching the glass colours and sizes to complement many interior design styles, creating continuity throughout the hotel.

In a press release, Franklite said: “[The brand] will continue to produce quality decorative lighting for the hospitality industry over the years to come. Each time ensuring, we never compromise performance for aesthetics or vice versa.”

Franklite 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 caption: Perry 18 light staircase. | Image credit: Franklite

Aloft Osaka Dojima

Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 70th hotel in Japan

With the opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International now has 70 properties in Japan, which means that, with 18 brands in 21 prefectures, the hotel group leads with brand offerings in the country – and there are still more hotels in the pipeline…

A few months ago, Marriott International opened its 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region. A few months later, the hotel group announced that it would add 100 new hotels to that impressive portfolio between then and the end of the year.

Aloft Osaka Dojima

And now, the hotel group has reached yet another milestone by opening Aloft Osaka Dojima, which becomes the group’s 70th property in Japan. With this opening, Marriott International continues its solid growth in Japan as the hotel chain with the most brand offerings. The company has 70 properties across 18 brands in 21 prefectures including major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, as well as other lesser known gems like Tochigi, Gifu and Wakayama. With a pipeline of more than 30 additional hotels, including three hotels expected to open later this year, the portfolio is poised for continued growth in Japan.

“We remain confident in the future of travel.” – Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China).

“Expanding our presence and bringing more brands and experiences to Japan has been a priority for us,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China). “We remain confident in the future of travel and look forward to welcoming both domestic and international guests with new and exciting travel choices when they are able to travel again.”

The opening of Aloft Osaka Dojima, Marriott International’s 70th property in Japan, is emblematic of its select-service brand category growth in the country, with the number of open hotels nearly tripling since 2019. The brands in the category such as Fairfield by Marriott, Courtyard, Aloft Hotels, and Moxy Hotels to name a few, offer distinct value for travellers with streamlined services and amenities, paired with casual, convenient dining options and warm hospitality — all at an approachable price point. The new Aloft property is centrally located at the crossroads of entertainment, shopping, dining and business in Osaka. In addition to vibrant urban centres, many of the select-service hotels are opening in Japan’s lesser known areas and are expected to offer easy and comfortable stays for travellers exploring less travelled, yet attractive locations.

The “Michi-no-eki” portfolio – which now comprises 13 Fairfield by Marriott hotels in prime locations near roadside rest stations in Japan – is a key driver of growth in the select service category in the country. Earlier in 2021, five Fairfield by Marriott hotels opened across picture-perfect destinations including Odai in Mie, Minamiyamashiro in Kyoto, Nikko in Tochigi, Kushimoto in Wakayama, and Susami in Wakayama. Later this year, an additional new Fairfield by Marriott hotel is slated to open with the arrival of Fairfield by Marriott Gifu Takayama Shokawa. The new hotels are situated close to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, providing guests a gateway to secluded destinations and local gems across the country.

This summer, the highly anticipated opening of Japan’s fourth Moxy Hotel, Moxy Kyoto Nijo, is expected to add a stylishly playful twist to Kyoto’s bar and social scene, celebrating youthful nonconformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all. Located in the Kyoto Nijo historic district near the World Heritage site of Nijo Castle, it is set to be a buzzing new location to play and explore.

Meanwhile, the recently opened Hiyori Chapter Kyoto, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is the Tribute Portfolio brand’s second property in the country, and welcomes guests from near and far to craft their own story and live like a local on a journey of exploration in picturesque Kyoto.

Earlier this year Marriott International celebrated the opening of Japan’s very first W hotel with the arrival of W Osaka, which, thanks to design influence from design and architecture studio concrete Amsterdam, brought the brand’s singularly bold attitude and a playground of new possibilities to the city’s already-vibrant hospitality scene.

The iconic lifestyle luxury brand EDITION will further expand with the expected opening of The Tokyo EDITION, Ginza later this year. The hotel is slated to be the second EDITION property in Japan following The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon, which opened in 2020.

A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

“We are gratified to see the strong growth of Marriott International in Japan, and appreciate the confidence of our owners and franchisees in our vision for the future of hospitality in the country,” said Karl Hudson, Area Vice President, Japan and Guam, Marriott International. “Like us, our owners believe that the future of travel lies in providing what travellers truly want, based on lifestyles, interests and preferences. Marriott’s strong and differentiated portfolio of brands cater to the individual requirements of travellers, and this is how our guests know they can count on us to provide what they want, wherever they may travel to.”

With today’s announcement, Marriott International is well-positioned in Japan with 70 hotels across 18 distinct brands, aimed at serving differentiated experiences across traveler segments. The brands currently operating in Japan include: JW Marriott, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, and EDITION in the luxury segment; Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, and Renaissance in the premium segment; Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, and Moxy Hotels in the select service segment.

Main image credit: Marriott International

The Industrialist Hotel, sheltered inside a 1902 skyscraper in Pittsburgh

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Industrialist Hotel, sheltered inside a 1902 skyscraper in Pittsburgh

The 124-key Industrialist Hotel, Autograph Collection, located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, gives the storied Arrott Building that was built in 1902 a new lease of life. Sensitively designed by Stonehill Taylor, the hotel’s interiors reference the thriving history of the city’s past with themes related to the city’s steel industry rooted in elements of smoke and molten metal. Let’s take a look inside…

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh in the storied Arrott Building, the Industrialist Hotel designed by Stonehill Taylor revives a stunning 18-storey landmark. Originally built in 1902, in the city’s prominent 4th Avenue District by architect Frederick Osterling, the historic façade holds rich architectural details including a Cornice crown with howling masks and a brick and terracotta striped façade on a granite base. Stonehill Taylor oversaw the interior design of the hotel,including three floors of public spaces, as well as guestrooms and suites.

The hotel’s interior design references the thriving history of Pittsburgh as an industrial capital with themes related to the city’s steel industry rooted in elements of smoke and molten metal. Its design also makes organic nods to the city’s position at the confluence of three rivers called “The Point” referring to where the Ohio, the Allegheny,and the Monongahela rivers meet.

Guests arrive on the first floor where they will walk into a historic grand lift lobby clad in original marble walls, floors and brass accents from the turn of the century. Custom modern lighting guides guests to the elevators,and up-lit walls create a unique special effect on the ornate ceiling reminiscent of the city’s nearby rivers. The focal point of the elevator lobby is a collection of three modern sculptural chandeliers made of metal and inspired by machinery and steel fabrication. Each elevator cab feels like a vintage time capsule wrapped in three distinct warm metal materials including brass, copper and bronze wallcoverings. Cool-toned dark porcelain flooring and leather upholstered handrails balance the mood.

On the street level, visitors will find an elegant industrial bar and restaurant called The Rebel Room, which is illuminated by large original windows facing the street. The bar itself is the focal point of the space with glowing features imitating a large hearth with warm backlighting, copper mesh coverings, and a back-lit outsized antique mirror TV and two-toned patina bar top reminiscent of molten steel. The banquette railings and tables feature brass accents and subdued, dark upholstery keeping the focus on the bar.Water inspired blue porcelain tiles underneath the bar top add contrast and soften the space.

Modern, industrial looking bar

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Located on the second floor is the guest lobby, where an up-lit custom reception desk is framed by one of the building’s iconic arched windows. A sculptural pendant light floats above. To the right, guests can explore an expansive second floor salon, and, to the left, a library, both with dark custom wallcoverings and dark wood flooring with avant-garde and playful furnishings evocative of mid-century design. To the right of the guest lobby is the salon. Here, visitors are met by a sophisticated lounge area with40custom burnt orange Modern achairs and classic plush sofas around as striking corner fireplace clad in antique mirror underneath a statement artwork by Pittsburgh artist Louise Pershing. This space also features modern brass lighting as well as brass side and coffee tables, which sit atop a custom molten-inspired rug.

Lobby-Lounge copy

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Moving through the centre of the space, the salon expands with a seating area featuring a plush, cool-toned sofa paired with lounge chairs and small cocktail tables. To the right, the focal point of the room is an industrial molten-inspired communal table with group seating framed by a sculptural rope-like light fixture.Completing the salon on the far end of the room is a brass and bronze cocktail armoire handsomely outfitting the room with a copper-inspired back wall, bar,and sheer drapery. The space doubles as a coffee shop during the day and a cocktail bar in the evening. To the left of reception is an ember-like library space centered around a communal, dark walnut table with saddle leather desk chairs by Gervasoni with a beechwood lacquered frames and dark wood flooring. The room itself is outlined in custom millwork with up-lit bronze mesh and copper backing. At the room’s entry,there are playful upholstered maroon and oak framed lounge chairs by Hay with metal side tables. Also,on the second floor, guests will find midcentury-inspired “Instagram-worthy” corridors and restrooms with monochromatic colour themes—blue for men,and burgundy for women—featuring retro backlit walls and vanity mirrors.

On the third floor, more public spaces include a 1,267-square-foot private event space and a fitness centre. Inside the fitness centre is an abstract,oil painted inspired ceiling that replicates the flow of molten steel and smoke using contrasting orange tones lit by modern light fixtures. The private event space,which can hold up to 48 people seated, includes dark maroon wallcoverings juxtaposed with slate grey walls complemented by sheer dark drapery. Modern pre-function ceiling lighting and pendants spotlight the space,which features contemporary dining tables and vinyl seating.

The guestrooms located on floors 4-18 strongly represent the hotel’s design pillar related to smoke and Pittsburgh’s steel industry with their monochromatic industrial colour palette, raw materials, and ambient lighting. The hotel offers several room types including single queens, double queens, king and junior king suites and a presidential suite.Guests enter standard rooms through an open floorplan with a foyer connected to the bathroom and bedroom in one lofty space. The entryway greets guests with leather entry bench. The bathrooms are clad in dark granite tile including the shower, with an open vanity paired with electric ambient lighting and warm brass fixtures.The vanity area in each room surprises with a fire-coloured wallcovering contrasting with dark tones.

Presidential-Parlor copy

Image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Moving into the bedroom, a custom abstract carpet marks the change in space, mixing orange, black and beige to resemble molten steel. To the left, there is a custom millwork centrepiece running the length of the wall that includes a closet, cocktail area, mini-fridge and TV.On the right, the room focuses on the striking bed with a back lit custom leather headboard. Design-forward brass wall sconces frame the area against a monochromatic wall.Smoke-like abstract artworks hang next to each bed. Plush modern sofas highlighted by orange piping are found in the corresponding seating areas paired with a metal and wood C-tables/desks. The suites have solid wood distressed oak flooring and hand-woven flat weave area rugs by Marc Phillips rugs.

Main image credit: The Industrlaist Hotel, Autograph Collection

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A young architect’s Q&A: Jestico + Whiles’ James Dilley

In collaboration with our friends at NEWH UK Chapter, we have launched an editorial series that is aimed to bring together established designers and architects with those who are at the beginning of their career. For our first Q&A in the series, we invited young architect James Ingram to interview James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles

Gif James Dilley and James Ingram

Students who are graduating from university are lost like rivers running into unknown seas. The salt water is unfamiliar and the waves are turbulent and unrelenting. And all of a sudden, as Covid-19 hit the shoreline, even the most established design studios globally were drifting uncontrollably off course.

Casualties were inevitable as the industry tried to stay afloat during the treacherous storm but even we were surprised to see leading hotel design and hospitality studios such as Wilson Associates and most recently RPW Design go under.

Hotel Designs and NEWH have teamed up to cast life rafts out to the upcoming designers and architects who have struggled to place themselves into studio life as a result – a transition that should be smooth and seamless after years of education and preparing for the long journey.

In a unique collaboration, we are working together in order to connect young designers with the industry, all while producing engaging and insightful content for our readers. In this editorial series, we are calling on young designers and architects to come face-to-face with leading industry figures in hotel design and hospitality – and no question is off limit.

To kickstart our chapter, we invited James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles, who has led teams on hotel projects both in the UK and internationally, including completing projects in territories, such as Malta, Marrakesh, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tbilisi and Kyiv, to be interviewed by James Ingram, a young, hungry and talented architect who won the NEWH Ideology Award in 2019. Ingram joins Dilley following his graduation from Ravensbourne University and having just returned from an internship in Prague.

James Ingram: How do you find inspiration to make unique narratives and experiences in your designs? 

James Dilley: For me, now, I find inspiration in the people I meet. It’s wonderful that in hotel design, a lot of the owners don’t have a hotelier background. They love hotels and often it’s those people who are the visionaries. We deal with people from all walks of life – and they have entered into hospitality because they have a real passion for the industry.

When I was younger, the experience of a chain hotel was special, it was a posh, upmarket experience and it was very different to today. The very uniform style of those hotels was born out of the USA, post-war, and it was a very international (with a small ‘I’) mindset.

Overtime that would become a dated hospitality concept, and hotels began to respond to their surrounding culture and climate. These days, a hotel’s design tends to be born of locality and with the aim to create a unique sense of place.

Brand books used to be incredibly specific. Thankfully, that’s not the only way to proceed any more – and more creative concepts in hospitality are being created as conventional ideas are challenged.

“I started learning once I was flipped out of the spaceship of education and parachuted into the real world.” James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

JI: In your early career, how did you contend with adversity and coming across hurdles in the workplace that couldn’t be mimicked as a student?

JD: To be honest, I started learning once I was flipped out of the spaceship of education and parachuted into the real world. I graduated at a time when many teachers were not designers or architects , they were teachers lecturing on design and architecture. I was passionate about interesting people and travel. Call it serendipity, but that’s the route I chose, or that chose me….

“The best design comes from challenging convention and doing things that haven’t been done before.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

JI: What’s something you wish you’d known when you first started as a designer?

James Dilley: That there isn’t a right way to do something. The best designs come from challenging convention and doing things that haven’t been done before. Innovation and creativity are therefore key. Design is not an exam where you get a tick or a cross next to your answers. It just doesn’t work like that.

JI: How do you stay up to date with current trends? 

JD: By surrounding yourself with good people. You can read, you can collect as many direct experiences as you can, but the breadth of what you need to be aware is so great that you can’t cover it all as an individual. You need to surround yourself with a team who, ideally, think differently to you,the best teams are made up of different people.

JI: Is it easier or more challenging these days to specify with more options to designers?

JD: When it comes to product design, it’s exciting to see new innovations, but over time you find yourself going back to products you specified in the past and to brands that you trust. There’s always a red line running through your design Usually you are designing similar styles so the same products fit in nicely. Designers have a responsibility to ensure they are sourcing materials ethically. Stone is an excellent example. You can select stone from anywhere in the world – you can buy blue marble from Brazil or purchase limestone from Italy for the price of wallpaper. The choice is huge but we are now more conscious around sustainability, things have to be ethically sourced, and people are becoming more innovative when sourcing these items.

Image caption: James and his team at Jestico + Whiles are currently working on designing The Island Quarter, a £650m mixed-use development in Nottingham that is set to become a new landmark for the city and the Midlands.

Image caption: James and his team at Jestico + Whiles are currently working on designing The Island Quarter, a £650m mixed-use development in Nottingham that is set to become a new landmark for the city and the Midlands.

JI: Do you tend to have favourite suppliers?

JD: One of the most important thing, for me when specifying a product, is the after service – the parts of the relationship suppliers don’t get paid for. Using stone as an example again, it’s a difficult material to work with at times. And if you have a problem then you want the supplier you sourced it from to rectify it without too much discussion. After care will certainly swing things for me when we are specifying.

JI: How do you think hotel design will change as a result of the pandemic?

JD: I hope it won’t change too much – a big part of hospitality is about sociability. You’re very rarely in an environment where you want to be isolated. Social distancing, in a basic sense where you simply distance yourself socially is not for me.

Having said that, there are some exciting things that have emerged during the pandemic, and that’s around how people live. Everyone at the moment seems to be socialising outdoors – they are having a great time, and I see brands utilising every piece of outdoor space in an imaginative way as being an exciting step forward in hospitality.

“People do not necessarily expect [nor want] indulgence if sustainability is the cost.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Understanding sense of place, Jestico + Whiles' design for a new-build hotel on Paul Street, London, responded directly to the area’s architectural and cultural context in the heart of Shoreditch.

Image caption: Understanding sense of place, Jestico + Whiles’ design for a new-build hotel on Paul Street, London, responded directly to the area’s architectural and cultural context in the heart of Shoreditch.

JI: Many would argue that consumers, in general, are looking for more of a premium experience. How do you balance that with incentives to become more sustainable in design and architecture?

JD: The luxury experience does not always come at a premium. Affluent people choose to stay in less traditionally “luxurious” places , not because they can’t afford to go elsewhere; people are looking for authentic experiences. This is a big move, and people do not necessarily expect [nor want] indulgence if sustainability is the cost.

A few years ago, we opened Zuri Zanzibar, for example. The social attitude to that hotel, in design and operation, is extremely important. Local people are brought into the operations in order to help them live a better life. If you are bringing in a fresh water supply or power to a part of the island that previously didn’t have one, then why wouldn’t you share that with the village?

I think there are other areas that are harder to justify. In some more traditional hotels, you will see a limo going back and forth to pick up individual guests from the airport and this is just not sustainable. Going back further, a lot of hotels and hospitality models rely on travel, which largely is not sustainable either – we can plant trees to offset the carbon that’s come from the flights but it’s not quite balanced out yet. I’m a designer of hotels, but this is a fundamental issue. Travel needs to become sustainable from top to bottom.

“Sadly, there is a lack of people in the industry wanting to give young designers and architects a chance.” – James Ingram, architect.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: Who were your design idols at university?

JI: Wassily Kindinscky and in general I was inspired by forms, shapes and expression

JD: Landscape artists, such as Richard Long, Richard Serra and Andy Goldsworthy. And of course, the maestro, Carlo Scarpa.

HK: What would you both say are the most overused words at the moment?

JD: ‘Post-covid’ and ‘technology’

JI: I would say ‘technology’ too, particularly ‘parametricism’

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

JI: Realistically, somewhere within the UK, like Cornwall. Long term, I’d like to experience India and South East Asia – I want to get of this cultural bubble.

JD: Georgia is an amazing country – and also Malta.

HK: And finally, James Ingram, what is it currently like at the moment for young designers and architects graduating?

JI: Sadly, there is a lack of people in the industry wanting to give young designers and architects a chance. The job market maybe picking up but there is a reluctance for studios to help part 1 students. For example, they are all asking for a year or two experience, which is just not realistic for freshly graduated students.

JD: That’s simply not fair on the students James and I am embarrassed that the industry is taking that position. Getting cheap labour is simply not the point for Part 1 students. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship with give and take both ways. We need to allow students to learn in a live environment and we find we also have a lot to learn from our best students.

This interview is the first in a dynamic editorial series that aims to help shelter many meaningful conversations and bridge the gap between generations in architecture, design and hospitality. Thanks to NEWH, we are able to identify talented designers and architects who are currently at a disadvantage, due to the pandemic, graduating from university with a lack of opportunities. If you would like to contribute to this series, please email the editorial desk.

Main image credit: James Ingram/James Dilley/Jestico + Whiles

Can plants really help you sleep better?

The power of biophilic design: Hotel creates immersive ‘forest bathing’ experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The power of biophilic design: Hotel creates immersive ‘forest bathing’ experience

While we gear up to explore sensory design and sleep performance at Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, a hotel in Scotland has launched a unique experiment exploring the psychological and physical benefits of biophilic design. Forest bathing has been introduced to Kimpton Blythswood Square after a survey revealed that 65 per cent of adults felt their mood improve when they were close to nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

Can plants really help you sleep better?

Connecting people to nature through biophilic design is a concept that dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In a Scottish first, Kimpton Blythswood Square today launched the opening of ‘La Chambre Verte’, an immersive luxury hotel suite experiment that measures the psychological and physical benefits of biophilic design.

Kimpton has partnered with luxury CBD skincare brand La Rue Verte, leading horticulturalists Benholm and award-winning DJ, Brian D’Souza to create a multi-sensory experience combining the theory of biophilia with CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy.

“It is estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050, so La Chambre Verte offers a forward-thinking solution to a growing audience of ‘wellbeing tourists’ actively seeking proximity to nature.”

La Chambre Verte installation launches during Mental Health Awareness Week, which in 2021 chooses the theme of ‘nature’, as it became clear in the lockdowns of 2020 that access to green space was vital for maintaining a healthy mind. During lockdown, city dwellers found parks and gardens to bring joy and relief to their mental health[1], while increasingly high numbers of homeowners moved to more rural areas[2], responding to city-centre burnout and a desire in a post-Covid world to live a less polluted life. It is estimated 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by the year 2050, so La Chambre Verte offers a forward-thinking solution to a growing audience of ‘wellbeing tourists’ actively seeking proximity to nature and alternative therapies on their travels to enhance their mental and physical health. 

Designed by plant experts Benholm and partner La Rue Verte (LRV), trailing ivies cascade down the walls of the bedroom, monstera leaves and palm fronds grace every view and eclectic clusters of lush foliage plants breathe life into the space. Echoing the practise of forest bathing, an ancient Japanese process of relaxation, La Chambre Verte encourages guests to unwind in the green space while observing nature’s beauty to feel stress levels reduced, happiness increased and ultimately, enjoy a better night’s sleep. 

“We have created a truly unique health-based experience with Chambre Verte,” said Emma O’Neil, Director and founder of Hashtag Organics, La Rue Verte. “Think of it like a green prescription, I truly believe we have the best natural formula.”

Biophilic design offers physical as well as mental health benefits to interior space[3]; firstly, the use of house plants such as Hedera (ivy)Monstera and Peace Lilies purify the air, removing toxins and pollution. Secondly, the inclusion of plants within the space omit molecular natural chemicals called Phytochemicals, which when inhaled are proven to directly reduce stress and boost the immune system. 

Within the room, guests will be welcomed to a retreat curated by LRV, which includes virtual guided meditation exploring the place of ‘La Rue Verte’, the destination the brand uses to communicate how to live a truly balanced life, the green way. Items usually placed in the hotel room are replaced by a range of LRV 100 per cent pure hemp products, for example an innovative biodegradable hemp yoga mat. CBD vitamin-infused cocktails are available in the mini bar and guests can relax in LRV signature CBD baths, and nourish their body and soul with LRV CBD body oil. 

 Guests can also experience a bespoke nature-based Immersive soundscape within the room created by Open Ear Music. The novel approach combines field recordings of birdsong in Blythswood Square and the surrounding area with sound therapy techniques and relaxing musical compositions from the studio of Scottish Album of the Year 2019 winner Brian d’Souza, (Auntie Flo). A rejuvenating sunrise flow and calming twilight track help trigger the brain into a deep meditative state of relaxation and feeling of euphoria. Guests are invited to take time out to listen deeply and relax in musical escapism.

Finlay Anderson, Spa Director at Kimpton Blythswood Square and Area Spa Director for IHG said: “At Kimpton we believe heartfelt human connections really make a difference to people’s lives and our hotel is so much more than just a wonderful place to sleep. When we opened following the first lockdown in 2020 we noticed a real desire from our guests to return for rest, relaxation and selfcare from the perspective of mental health to our award-winning Spa. Following this, we are delighted to present an alternative therapeutic experience surpassing the usual parameters of an overnight stay which offers guests the opportunity to reconnect with themselves, as well as others post-lockdown. 

“Alongside LRV, we will collect data on the guest experience through a set of questionnaires, assessing the benefits of Biophilia and the Chambre Verte experience in comparison to a standard hotel room environment and look forward to sharing the results and using this experience to continue our development of alternative therapies across the hotel and spa.” 

Hotel Designs will explore the topic of sensory experience at its upcoming Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10. The virtual event is free to attend if you qualify as a designer, architect, hotelier or developer – just click here to secure your seat in the audience.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

VIP Arrivals - July

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotels opening in July 2021

As momentum and demand builds for the industry to reopen fully and for travellers to enjoy one-off travel experiences once more, it seems as if the hospitality landscape is updating its infrastructure with newly designed hotels, in both new and existing properties, standing to welcome the new era of modern travellers. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes you through the hottest hotels opening in July…

VIP Arrivals - July

In this extended, unpredictable period, where countries continue to play chess with travellers’ freedom to travel, one thing is for certain: when the world finds its equilibrium following the pandemic, we will all need (and fully deserve) a holiday. While we are metaphorically stuck on the tarmac due to global travel restrictions, our research into the latest hotels opening (for the time being, at least) will have to come from behind our monitors on the editorial desk.

In order to make a bit more sense of the hotel development landscape – from London to Rome, Ibiza to Morroco – here the hottest hotels opening this July.

MAALOT Roma

Located in what was the residence of Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) famous Italian opera composer of Don Pasquale, Lucia di Lammermoor and Maria Stuarda, MAALOT Roma aims to attract a young and more seasoned clientele looking for a vibrant and cosy place for gathering and being in the know in the most central part of Rome. “My team and I are thrilled about this new opening and we can’t wait to open the doors to the first hotel of the MAALOT brand,” said Edoardo Officioso, the hotel’s general manager. “This first property, located just few steps from Trevi’s fountain, aims to become the new ‘lounge’ in Rome where [guests can] meet, share a drink or taste the gourmet experience. After these last months we hope to offer locals and travellers a special place to gather and find the pleasure to socialise again.”

Mondrian Shoreditch London 

Dubbed, by us, as on of ‘Shoreditch’s hottest hotels opening in 2021’, Mondrian Shoreditch London will open inside the existing Curtain hotel. With interior design by none other than the team at Goddard Littlefair, the 120-key lifestyle hotel will sit in the midst of Shoreditch, East London’s creative and cultural hub: an area that captivates the energy and playful DNA of the Mondrian brand. The hotel will collaborate with local personalities and brands to highlight their lifestyle approach to hospitality, via partnerships including artistic pop-ups and live performances in The Screening Room, a private room and bar. The property will also offer a premium co-working space, visionary dining and mixology concepts and boasts a rooftop pool and lounge by an award-winning team, just in time for the summer – a rarity for Londoners and always in high demand.

Mama Roma

Redner of restaurant in Mama Shelter in Rome

Image credit: Mama Roma

Scheduled to open in July 2021, Mama Roma, which we recently covered a sneak peek of, will be located in the elegant Prati district, on the right bank of the Tiber river. The 217-key hotel will welcome guests (local and travellers alike) to experience – in true Mama Shelter style – its eccentric, fun and accessible approach to hospitality. Spread over six floors, Mama Roma’s rooms have been conceived by the group’s in-house design team, Mama Design Studio. With other major hotels opening and hotel brands scheduled to debut in Rome over the next few years suggest that Rome is fast-becoming a hotel development hotspot – Mama, it seems, got in there first… 

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

Located in the heart of rural Staffordshire, The Tawny Hotel is set within the 70-acre grounds of the restored wild garden of Consall Hall Estate – and is certainly one of the hottest hotels in England re-opening this summer. The hotel comprises of 55 immaculately designed Shepherds Huts, Treehouses, Boathouses, Retreats and the Lookout, each inspired by its surroundings and sympathetically designed by one of the owners, Sarah Reeves, with luxurious touches that intertwine with the natural environment.

With a rich history dating back to 1246, Consall Hall Estate and Gardens is considered a local treasure. Three years ago, locals Fran & William Scott-Moncrieff and Ben & Reeves embarked on a joint venture working with local conservation architects, ctd architects, to provide an economically viable and sustainable future for the gardens, ultimately creating The Tawny Hotel. Prior to their ownership, the site was the home of engineer, Mr William Podmore, who spent 50 years transforming the gardens, creating a space overflowing with life, a place to be discovered and enjoyed.

Today, considered design is present throughout the project; the cabins have been discretely and sensitively placed throughout the grounds in harmony with the rolling landscape and with care given to ensure the ecology of this very special estate continues to thrive. The project aims to be an exemplary showcase of responsible and sustainable tourism and this shines through all elements, be it the wood cladding used on the cabin exteriors, the foundations engineered to not harm the tree roots, the food waste utilised as fertiliser throughout the grounds and the outdoor bathtubs which require no chemicals, just fresh warm water.

Six Senses Ibiza 

Talk about timing, as the UK government decides to place Ibiza on the ‘green list’, Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is preparing to make its arrival on the island. But what is arguably more impressive is that the property, on the north shores of the island, will become Ibiza’s first sustainable resort – 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.

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui

Hyatt’s first hotel in Koh Samui will open in early July – but what’s really tickled our design senses is the collaborative architecture and design narrative. Three of Thailand’s top design names — architects The Office of Bangkok Architects (OBA), interiors specialist August Design Consultant and acclaimed landscaper PLandscape (PLA) —  were responsible for ensure that the resort is strong on both style and substance.

Architectural highlights include a showpiece lobby, the longest lobby arrival point in Koh Samui, where numerous skylights allow for natural illumination by the sun and the moon. Other standout features inside the 140-key hotel include plush accommodations that showcase terrific ocean views to the largest pool zone on the island, a collection of four pools, each cascading down from the main pool on the upper deck of the resort.

Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière

Acquired in May 2019, the property has joined Airelles’ prestigious hotel collection and has undergone extensive renovation work over the last two years, with highly acclaimed French architect and interior designer, Christopher Tollemer, overseeing the redesign.  Opening in July as Airelles Saint-Tropez, Château de la Messardière, the property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, is Saint-Tropez’s largest hotel, occupying 25 acres of glorious grounds overlooking the Côte d’Azur and Provençal countryside.

Fairmont Taghazout Bay

Fairmont Taghazout Bay, designed by Wimberly Interiors, is the new property that is set to become the ‘new social nexus’ in Morocco for luxury travellers within the leisure sector. Its breath-taking coastline will introduce guests to a new and yet authentic destination. A wide range of distinctive features and activities designed to reflect the surrounding nature and local culture will cater to both the consumer and the corporate luxury hospitality industries. Located 17km north of Agadir, the property features 146 spacious accommodations featuring ocean view rooms, suites and villas, and a wellness facility that will shelter a wide range of treatments and experiences. 

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.

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: design departures, hotel development & a new era for F&B

Editor Hamish Kilburn here, reporting for duty to patch up your week with a round-up of the hottest news and features that have emerged in the hotel design and hospitality industry over the last few days. This week’s briefing includes an emotional farewell, a look into the future of F&B hospitality and a glimpse at some of the major hotel development projects that will complete in the coming months. Scroll down and enjoy…

Weekly Briefing 25 06 21

In the latest Hotel Designs newsletter, sent out yesterday, I summed up this week’s news as ‘bitter-sweet’. In the same week we bid our fond farewell to a design studio that led the charge in hotel design for 30+ years, we also gathered some of F&B hospitality’s world-renowned experts in order to explore how the dining experience will evolve in 2021 and beyond. What’s more, we shared features on lighting, a hotel lobby unlike anything else we have seen and a look inside Viceroy’s debut hotel in Europe. It’s been a wild week, here on the editorial desk, so here’s our snapshot of the hottest, most-read stories:

Farewell for now: A look back on RPW Designs’ iconic projects

Image credit: RPW Design

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, we reflected (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Hotel Designs, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out.

Read more.

Lobby goals! Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and SnøhettaGraduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel.

Read more.

Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

Arriving on the European hospitality scene for the first time, Viceroy Hotels & Resortshas just opened the 119-key Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. Let’s take a look inside.

Read more.

New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Rome

W Hotels Worldwide is preparing to make a bold arrival in Italy this autumn with the debut of W Rome. Located on Via Liguria, next to the Spanish Steps, the historic palazzo-turned-luxury-lifestyle-hotel will offer an unapologetically Italian experience, where guests can live in the moment and anticipate the future of the Eternal City.

Read more.

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we positioned the spotlight on workspace design trends and how they are impacting hotel design and hospitality. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed leading figures in residential, workspace and hospitality design in order to confront the topic from three separate perspectives.

Watch 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.

Laufen New Classic

The New Classic from Laufen: A revolution in bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The New Classic from Laufen: A revolution in bathroom design

Following bathrooms beyond practical spaces being explored in the latest Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, we take a look bathroom brand Laufen’s The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders, which launched a few years ago as something unique yet timeless for designers wanting to add personality in their wellness areas.

Innovation in the hotel bathroom space has progressed rapidly and one particular area that has seen huge progress is in the materials used to create bathroom ceramics.

Laufen New Classic

SaphirKeramik is one of the latest, globally significant innovations from Swiss manufacturer Laufen. This revolutionary, ceramic material reaches its exceptional hardness blended with corundum, a colourless mineral, which is a component of sapphires. This gives SaphirKeramik a flexural strength equal to that of steel. Yet it has the potential to be wafer-thin, giving designers almost infinite freedom to experiment – and tear up the rulebook of bathroom design.

SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined and extremely robust. Its special properties are down to the addition of corundum, found through years of research and development by Laufen. Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has become a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, as it allows for a new design language with bathroom ceramics, unachievable in the same way with more conventional ceramic material.

Strong and malleable, SaphirKeramik allows the creation of thin, yet 4-5 mm ultra strong walls and tight-edge radii of just 1 to 2mm while retaining the traditional production process. Its slender profile renders it space-saving, lightweight and environmentally friendly.

the-new-classics-marcel-wanders-laufen-vdf-product-fair_dezeen_2364-hero

Image credit: Laufen

The development process

Laufen uses a thinner ceramic body and a simpler structure to reduce the weight compared with conventional ceramic. The benefits are manifold: lower raw material costs and energy consumption in production and transportation.

The result is clear to see – ceramics with thin, almost live edges: living square bowls designed by Andreas Dimitriardis, the graphic lines of the washbasins out in the Kartell by Laufen collection designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the amazing textures on trays and washbasins in the design series of VAL by Konstantin Grcic and the razor blade sharp shelf of the INO washbasins designed by Toan Nguyen.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation

Laufen continues to stretch the material’s limits by exploiting its super-fine forms not only to create exquisitely detailed textures and patterns but also by engineering the innovative material to increase its maximum size – a 120 cm-long washbasin in SaphirKeramik is the largest to date. The brand also continually innovates by collaborating with established designers to create new collections using the material.

Most recently, Laufen commissioned the Dutch star designer Marcel Wanders to create The New Classic collection, in view of the outstanding reputation he has established worldwide with his extravagant style and innovative use of materials and technology. For Laufen, he had all the credentials required to fashion a new contemporary design language utilising its SaphirKeramik material. The outcome is characterised by soft, gentle feminine curves reminiscent of the opening petals of a flower, alongside angular, masculine elements. In view of the tension generated by this approach, the distinctive presence of The New Classic is regarded as unprecedented in the sanitary ware segment. To allow bathrooms to be fitted out completely with The New Classic, Laufen has assembled a very broad and versatile collection, including stunning washbasin bowls made from SaphirKeramik.

Here is the Product Watch Pitch that Jon Bond, Head of Projects at Laufen and Roca, presented recently to an audience of designers, architects and hoteliers at Hotel Designs LIVE:

Elaborate attention to detail

To match The New Classic bathroom collection, Laufen also created a range of accessories from SaphirKeramik. Among the items are a wall-mounted shelf, soap dish, toothbrush holder, toilet brush holder and an elegant oval mirror with the novel distinction of being framed in SaphirKeramik.

According to Marcel Wanders, “For the first time, the ultra-modern SaphirKeramik has been moulded into a classic and iconic form. This lightweight yet resilient material gave us the unique opportunity to celebrate the beauty of fine porcelain with our elegant, soft lines.”

As well as being a Recommended Supplier, Laufen was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, 2021. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on August 10, 2021

Main image credit: Laufen

Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Editor Hamish Kilburn, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out…

After months of forced closure after Covid-19 brought the UK hospitality scene to its knees more than a year ago, F&B spaces recently took on a new role as the industry showed signs of recovery. With the aim to reconnect, following a brutal recharge, hotels up and down the country re-emerged with purpose, amplifying new trends and sheltering new concepts, to ultimately confront a new chapter in the industry.

Brands of all shapes and sizes did what was necessary in order to innovatively convert their outdoor spaces into exceptional dining experiences. In this exclusive and time-appropriate roundtable, in collaboration with LUQEL, which provides hospitality businesses with state-of-the-art water solutions, we have brought together a handful of the industry’s finest in order to explore how the challenges of today are forcing brand’s to bring to the chef’s table new F&B models, which will essentially help tomorrow’s thriving F&B hospitality landscape.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: UK hospitality has been open now for a few weeks, what’s the mood been like in your establishments?

Mario Perera: For us at The Dorchester, we didn’t stop during the pandemic– we were running the hotel with residents living here and when were able to inviting certain people to come and stay. What made the pandemic particularly challenging was that we are currently celebrating our 90th anniversary, so we wanted to make a statement. We decided to open the roof terrace – we are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can to make each guests’ experience memorable – which is something completely new for The Dorchester.

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

During the easing of lockdown measures in the UK, The Dorchester utlised its outdoor space and opened its rooftop as an F&B outlet for the first time in its nine-decade history.

Marco Palazzo: The Kingston 1 and its Solo restaurant have just opened, and it’s been undoubtedly a slow start. While government’s restrictions still in place don’t help us, we’ve been getting a great response from our first guests, which is a reassuring signal for what’s to come that keeps us optimistic for the future.

Conor O’Leary: Touch wood, we have been fortunate with very high demand here at Gleneagles. People tend to come and stay with us in order to escape the city. Over half term, we were running at 95 per cent capacity and we are looking forward to a busy summer. There are restrictions, of course, which we are managing and people are booking less impulsively, but guests do, in general, understand.

Also, this situation has allowed our team to think more creatively. We have installed pop-up bars and ice-cream shacks, for example, in order to encourage guests to be outdoors, which has allowed us to also offer something different and unique for our locals too.

“I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money.” – Josed Youssef, Founder, Kitchen Theory.

James Green: You mentioned the offering increase, have there been areas where the offiering has changed?

COL: We have had to change a few things. We were very well-known for our breakfast buffet before Covid-19 and for the time being that has had to stop. Instead, we are serving 400 a la carte breakfasts a day, which as you can imagine is a challenge in itself. Strathearn restaurant, a classical Franco-Scottish fine dining restaurant, is well known for its table work and trolleys which we have had to limit somewhat but we have compensated with other offerings. With large restaurants, however, we are able to adhere to those restrictions. I have also noticed that interior designers are not just designing F&B spaces that look good anymore, but they are really designing experience concepts and developing from the ground up.

Jozef Youssef: I’d say, now more than ever, we are in this experience economy – I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money. We were moving in this direction anyway, but I see more experimental themes coming out of this. Of course, this is largely driven by social media. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in London, but I do wonder how many of them are a great once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I think consumers will be demanding that in the near future.

Ivaylo Lefterov: SVART is very unique and F&B plays a massive role in our guest journey experience. We are trying to keep this as bespoke as possible. There are certain challenges that come with that aspiration– for example, we are looking to introduce individual menus for our guests in order to monitor their nutrition from check in to check out. The menu will be based on how their nutrition is changing from a day-to-day basis.

HK: Does everyone see personalised menus being a reality in the future? 

JY: From the research we carry out, I don’t think it’s a question of reality, I think it’s going to become a demand – and kitchens will have to adapt. You can see it happening already. Small personalisations, such a allergens and dietary requirements, that didn’t really come into conversation 15 or 20 years ago, are now an unavoidable reality. Also, back then, chefs were less sympathetic to it. Operations are going to have to adapt to be more flexible to this consumer behaviour.

“The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: So much effort and resources go into pairing food with the best compliment such as wine – it can really enhance your experience, is this still important? Do you see a market for a healthier alternative?

COL: When we re-opened the hotel, Scotland’s regulations prevented us from offering alcohol. The sale of non-alcoholic beverages, on top of water, was vast. Nearly every table ordered non-alcoholic beers, wines or the cocktails we had created. We therefore definitely feel as if there is a need for healthier alternatives to alcohol.

HK: Also, it’s important to remember, with a rise in hotel development outside the city, more customers will be driving to these venues and therefore will be restricted on how much alcohol they consume anyway.

Mario P: For those who want an experience and education in wine, we now offer a very exclusive package for guests. We allow a select few down to the dine in the wine vault and the chef’s table. We also do masterclasses – and this is something we introduced and has been very successful.

JY: Water is the healthiest drink that you can consume and surely there is a way to make that market more premium to those who are going out and experiencing a luxury meal. There should be more of a ritual around water and water choices.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

HK: Conor, you obviously worked in a number of establishments in London before heading up to Gleneagles. What have been the major changes since then and now?  

COL: The overall answer is that the audience is more aware – they go out more than they did before and there’s a lot more understanding around food in general. The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore. The dining experiences are curated and easily available. Hotels slowly caught up to this. Good businesses are offering something unique – and the dining experiences are different from other areas, such as the lobby, of the hotel. Personalisation is a tricky space, because the best dining experiences are in the hands of the restauranteur – many guests don’t want to think in order to enjoy their dining experience. And that’s before even considering that your guests are international. We have to be relevant nowadays.

Our guests are also changing. We spent a lot of time softening our reputation, and the experience is on their terms.

“Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces.” – Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Direcotr, Miris

HK: Do you think it’s important for chefs to have exposure of the design plans before their completed?

Marco P: A restaurant represents the personality and style of a chef; I am very lucky to have started at Solo restaurant before it opened as it gave me the opportunity to have a voice in contributing to the creation of the venue’s identity, based on what my vision was. Today, we have a relaxed yet elegant dining venue which is unique in its area, and offers locals a high-quality neighbourhood restaurant with a fine-dining touch.

JY: Traditionally, chefs would work in a private space away from the guests and all the theatre would be performed on the restaurant floor. But then something interesting happened. Restaurants started to open up the kitchens, which became part of the whole aesthetic. Now, for many businesses, chefs are integral to the overall brand and concept. So, moving forward, I do think that chefs should have exposure of the design – certainly the layout of the Kitchen – because it has to be operational. I predict that there will be more collaborations between chefs and designers and other experts in order to create new experiences.

COL: I think we all bring work and life experience into our roles. I think it’s only relevant to bring in chefs into the design stages if they have experience in that area.  It’s important that the design process matches the concept.

IL: Chefs are vital. Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces. Genius architects in the past have completely ignored functional areas, especially the kitchen and back-of-house spaces. Therefore, you do require knowledge in that area and everyone has to thinking in the same language. For SVART, I chose to bring everyone to the table before the architect in order for us to discuss exactly what we want from a functional element.

Mario P: I agree. Designers are integral but if you can’t get the food right then you have a big problem. In a branded property, everyone is important and everyone should be working together.

“Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: In between lockdowns one and two in the UK, there were less covers in restaurants, due to social distancing, but many reported that average spend per table increased. Could this be a solution in the future?

Mario P: People are happy to pay if their experience is matched. I think a lot has changed, and we too have softened our image. For example, I am more than happy to be out on the floor to pour wine and interact with guests and I think people love that. There’s also more of a dialogue between the consumer and the waiter/waitress. People are asking questions about the menus and just enjoying being out again.

COL: The hardship we have been in has forced that creativity. Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn We have also seen an increase in average spend per table. I don’t think there is a link between space and spend – I think people are just desperate to enjoy hospitality again.

HK: We have seen a big shift when it comes to sustainability and reduction of carbon emissions, there have been many changes with government legislations around single use plastics, what are your plans to meet the ongoing legislations going forward?

COL: We were sourcing locally anyway, but [during Covid] we were able to really focus heavily in this area. We are opening a small townhouse in Edinburgh later this year and huge part of that concept will be around how we engage and source locally. Everything is looking inwardly and instead of price first, it is community first.

Mario P: I have been practicing this for a while and it something I am very passionate about. It’s really important for me for us to use local farmers where we can.

IL: As you know, the concept for SVART is to offer a personalised menu for our guests around their nutrition but everything we do will be limited to what we can source locally. Part of our concept is to produce a lot of the goods ourselves. We already have a fish farm and we will also have a green farm that will be powered by the waste and energy that we will produce. This is all part of the holistic process.

Also, as we design SVART, we are looking at the source of the material of each and every product that we specify in the hotel – that is very important for this meaningful development.

HK: In other areas of hotel design, the sensory experience is being explored as a meaningful way to shelter a deeper experience. Can you see this working in F&B hospitality?

JY: Undoubtedly. A lot of research we have done over the last few years, that we published recently, the sensory touchpoints are being explored far deeper than ever before on the influence they are having. Your senses are constantly ticking away, helping you to structure your surroundings or the experience you are in. What’s interesting from our research is that there are strong correlations with how sound effects the environment. If you are in a restaurant, for example, and the sound level is above 70 – 80 decibels, the noise level physiologically suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. What we are trying to understand is how colour, shape and sound can help to enhance the experience that guests are having.

IL: With our development, we are engaging with all these senses, subconsciously, to create a meaningful hospitality experience.

HK: Are there any F&B eras you hope don’t re-emerge as trends? 

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

Marco P: Rediscovering simple ingredients and flavours that are good to the soul and bring people together, which is what we try to do at Solo.

JY: It comes back to personalisation. In august of last year public health England announced an obesity crisis. Over the next 10 – 20 years, the population will become even more health aware. I’m of a generation when James Bond smoked, but you wouldn’t think of that in movies released today. Maybe in the future, James Bond will have a lighter drink – or LUQEL water even – at the bar. I think, personally, there will be much more education on healthier alternatives in regards to ingredients.

COL: I think there’s going to be a slight move back towards sophisticated dining. We would have to pay a bit more but I think customers will accept that. And the dining experience would link in to a more meaningful and thoughtful journey.

IL: In comparison to Europe, hospitality brands operating in Bulgaria already offer a vast choice of waters and brands for guests to select from. I can see there being a demand for more interesting water flavours in the future, and I do see that becoming a demand from guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our feature on personalised water for all?

Clearly, this is just the start of the conversation around how F&B will evolve in 2021 & beyond. Hotel Designs will be putting particular emphasis on this topic over the next few months, and may even make a stage appearance at a show or two with hand-picked guests in order to explore the future of F&B in more delicious detail. Stay tuned…

Hyatt Alila guestroom

Alila opens second luxury/lifestyle hotel in Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Alila opens second luxury/lifestyle hotel in Oman

Alila Hinu Bay, which is “dedicated to being responsible and sustainable,” with new innovative eco-friendly hospitality initiatives, has opened as the second Alila branded property in Oman. The arrival of the new hotel, which is nestled on a secluded beachfront in Oman’s southwest region of Dhofar, strengthens Hyatt’s luxury lifestyle and wellbeing offering in the region…

Hyatt Alila guestroom

Following Alila expanding into America last year, Hyatt’s lifestyle/luxury brand has opened its second hotel in Oman with a strong commitment to sustainable tourism and hospitality. Alila Hinu Bay, which joins Alila Jabal Akhdar as the brand’s second hotel in Oman along with 15 other Alila properties worldwide. Distinguished a strong commitment to sustainable tourism, the award-winning brand features luxury hotels and resorts in some of the most spectacular natural locations.

The 112-key hotel includes 16 villas and is nestled on a secluded beachfront in Oman’s southwest region of Dhofar. The untouched area is best known for its lush landscapes, cool summers, and it is within easy driving distance from Salalah International Airport. Between Samhan mountain and the blue waters of the Arabian Sea, Alila Hinu Bay caters to well-traveled guests seeking reflection and impactful connections. Along with the breath-taking scenery, the area is known for its rich Bedouin traditions and the renowned warmth of Omani hospitality. Combined with a personalised experience that is crafted for each guest, travellers can expect to be immersed in authentic yet bespoke journeys tailored to their preferences and interests.

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

“We are very excited to add Alila Hinu Bay to the Hyatt portfolio and welcome guests to this region of Oman, a true nature lover’s paradise full of stunning landscapes, waterfalls and greenery,” said Martin Persson, general manager, Alila Hinu Bay. “Dedicated to being responsible and sustainable, guests can enjoy the farm to table concept at one of our three dining options or treat themselves to a customised spa experience that uses natural products.”

The interiors of the guestrooms and suites incorporate local materials which blend natural elements of the outdoors with clean, modern finishes. Guestrooms offer lagoon or sea views, each with its own terrace with fixed seating and the option of booking connecting rooms for families. Pool villas offer the utmost in luxury with private plunge pools and outdoor bathtubs, enabling guests to feel  in tune with the natural surroundings. Further, all of the pool villas boast direct access to the beach and plenty of space to relax and recharge.

Each of Alila Hinu Bay’s dining venues is committed to sourcing the majority of their produce from local vendors. Seasalt offers views over the ocean and welcomes guests to indulge in a coastal dining experience. The Orchard delivers sustainable, all-day dining, which is brought to life using natural and locally-sourced ingredients. The Lobby Lounge serves light refreshments and takes its cue from traditional Majilis-style seating.

Wellbeing experiences

Situated between the mountains and the sea, guests have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in the beauty of the destination. Diving fans can enjoy the chance to experience some of the world’s most stunning and intact coral reefs, while those interested in fishing can try their hand at reeling in the catch of the day. Those seeking to unwind can relax with a treatment at Spa Alila, which uses only natural products, and which also offers a range of yoga and meditation classes.

Stepping outside of the resort, guests can continue their immersion into nature in the greenery of the Wadi Darbat valleys or by visiting natural caves, waterfalls and Khor Rori, the largest nature reserve in the area. Historical and cultural discoveries  can be made at Mirbat Castle, the old merchant houses or the Sumhuram Archeological Park.

Alila Hinu Bay, Oman, adds to Hyatt’s existing Alila brand portfolio of 15 properties, joining hotels and resorts in Indonesia, India, China, Camboda, Malaysia and the United States. The new property also expands Hyatt’s brand footprint across the Middle East, becoming the 27th Hyatt-branded hotel in the region.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

Roca bathroom

“New touchless tech delivers maximum hygiene for hotel bathrooms”, says Roca

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“New touchless tech delivers maximum hygiene for hotel bathrooms”, says Roca

Jon Bond, Head of Projects at Roca UK, explains how the bathroom brand has adapted its fleet of products to utilise touchless technology in order to offer new innovative solutions that cater to the demands from modern travellers….

In the past year, the hospitality industry has seen an increased emphasis on hygiene with unprecedented demand for non-contact products in hotels and restaurants.

Roca bathroom

Prior to the pandemic, technologies such as mobile key cards were already being used in some hotels. These additions help to enhance the guest experience, helping guests feel safer and more in control. Touchless check-in points and touchless guestroom locks all have their part to play, and touchless technology in the bathroom is now more important than ever.

With growing demand for zero-contact bathroom solutions, manufacturers have rushed to introduce new touchless products and innovations, to deliver increased levels of hygiene. From basin mixers that activate automatically when they detect a user, to electronic flush plates with movement sensors, and mirrors with lights that are switched on with a simple gesture – Roca offers a range of touchless solutions which provide an extra layer of hygiene and safety within the bathroom.

Roca’s EM1 Touchless dual-flush valve offers zero contact and maximum hygiene, reducing the need to touch the flush buttons. With a minimalist design, the EM1 valve can be simply retrofitted to upgrade an existing push button to an automatic flush plate, making it quick and easy to install with minimal effort. There is no electric connection needed and it is powered by 4 AA batteries (not included) that guarantee more than 40,000 flushes.

Image caption: EM1 Touchless dual-flush valve by Roca

Image caption: EM1 Touchless dual-flush valve by Roca

It is also easy to use – with just a simple wave of the hand, the EM1 recognises the required flush (full or half flush volumes) and with the sleek sensor ‘push button’, you can flush your WC in an easy and hygienic way.

Electronic Basin Mixers

Roca’s range of electronic basin mixers, including the Loft-E range, feature an infrared sensor which activates the water flow when presence is detected and shuts off automatically when the hands are removed, avoiding direct contact. The lack of contact not only improves hygiene, it also prevents the build-up of droplets and fingerprints on its surface, resulting in a cleaner product for longer. Roca’s electronic basin mixers offer a highly hygienic and effective solution to fight the spread bacteria and to reduce the use of water in the home.

Easy installation is guaranteed. The electronic mixers are available in a battery or mains operated system which means they can be installed in any commercial bathroom, regardless of the availability of a power outlet in the area of usage. The battery-operated versions are exceptionally durable with alkaline batteries which guarantee over 250,000 uses.

A further innovation means both greater safety and additional savings – the electronic device stops the water flow after a pre-set period to promote moderate use and prevent the unnecessary waste of water.

Touchless mirrors with LED lights

Mirrors with integrated touchless technology, such as the Prisma Comfort and Iridia models, allow hotel guests to activate functions such as the ambient light or demister device through movement, meaning less direct contact from hands, allowing the glass to remain clean and clear.

Electronic operating plates for toilets

The EP-1 and EP-2 electronic operating plates offer similar touchless flushing capabilities for wall-hung and back-to-wall WC’s. With a stylish, contemporary design and easy installation, they are similarly activated by the wave of a hand.

With a backlit surface divided into two stripes which are alternatively activated depending on the type of flush (partial or full), they also benefit from an additional ‘automatic’ option in which the toilet is instantly cleaned when the user approaches or when a specific time has passed after its use.

Roca’s Touchless solutions are suitable for a wide variety of settings within the hospitality environment, providing an extra layer of safety and reassurance within the hotel bathroom.

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

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New renders released of W Rome, months ahead of its opening

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome will bring innovation and local storytelling to life when it opens this Autumn, marking the brand’s Italian debut…

W Hotels Worldwide is preparing to make a bold arrival in Italy this autumn with the debut of W Rome. Located on Via Liguria, next to the Spanish Steps, the historic palazzo-turned-luxury-lifestyle-hotel will offer an unapologetically Italian experience, where guests can live in the moment and anticipate the future of the Eternal City.

W Rome - Guest Room (render)

The time has almost arrived for us to welcome W Hotels’ debut Italian property, which, if rumours are to be believed, will in true W style make no apology for its bold and loud references to the local vernacular. For the Marriott International brand, which shelters a mind-blowing portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories, the opening of W Rome will be a significant moment as the destination continues to be a popular hotel development landscape.

“The debut of W Hotels in Italy is almost here and we could not be more excited to unveil our playfully luxe spirit with this highly anticipated hotel,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “The opening will introduce a thriving line-up of restaurants and bars to the city that will become a must-go destination for travellers and local tastemakers alike. After more than a year of missed moments, raising a glass together on Otto Rooftop Bar is just what we all need.”

W Rome - Wet Deck

Image credit: W Hotels

Designed by Meyer Davis with the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury in mind, W Rome brings innovation and local storytelling to life. In a city marked by an immense historical heritage, the hotel décor will layer an Italian colour palette with patterns that blur distinct eras of standout design. The property exudes 1970s glamour with traditional architecture blending into colour blocking and bold graphic patterns in hues of burnt orange, dramatic red and foliage greens. An eclectic mix of colourful furniture meets stone walls representative of the building’s past, while reflective surfaces bring a contemporary feel to the interior. The 147 stylish, open-plan guestrooms and 15 suites feature luxurious design details including wooden herringbone patterned floors effortlessly blurring into modern marble surfaces contrasted with dark, rich maroon curtains. Guestrooms boast iconic views, with some overlooking the Istituto Svizzero, and many offering private balconies and terraces.

“W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep.”

The Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s modern interpretation of a traditional presidential suite) provides a spectacular stay with highly coveted indoor and outdoor living, endless views across the city, and an impressive outdoor terrace spanning 140 square metres, perfect for private happenings and events.

As one of the defining characteristics of Italian culture, W Rome takes food seriously. Foodies will rejoice as Ciccio Sultano, Sicily’s sensational chef, brings his southern passion to the hotel as the Culinary Lead. His signature restaurant in Rome will be Giano Restaurant, where diners can meet over their favourite cocktails and delicious dishes. W Lounge, the hotel’s buzzing bar destination, will bring the pulse of the city to the hotel’s doorstep with live music, DJ sets and cocktail culture, while the hidden Giardino Clandestino will be  an intimate alfresco setting for toasting with friends.

W Rome - Giardino Clandestino

Image credit: W Hotels

A rare treasure in the city, Otto Rooftop Bar will boast sweeping panoramas across Rome, complete with a WET Deck (rooftop pool) where stylish locals and guests can soak up the Roman sun and mix it up over cocktails, crudo, and pizza.

FUEL meanwhile is the W brand’s high-energy, social take on wellness that allows guests to focus on mind and body. FUEL-focused activities will be led by Italian athlete Pietro Boselli, with the first FUEL x Petra Studio Gym and personal training programme. From high-intensity sessions to boxing and yoga, Boselli will offer guests and locals alike energy-soaked workouts.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with nearly 60 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. W Rome is no exception and is expected to add ‘super-charge energy’ to the city, while offering guests and locals alike a destination that shelters provocative design and iconic hospitality experiences. W does it again!

Main image credit: W Hotels

RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design: A look back on its iconic hotel design projects

In case you haven’t heard, leading hospitality design firm RPW Design became the latest casualty of the pandemic recently after its Managing Director Ariane Steinbeck announced that she had put the company into administration. With Steinbeck’s blessing, editor Hamish Kilburn reflects (past and present) on some of the hospitality design studio’s most iconic projects…

Over the course of 31 years, RPW Design earned its title as one of the leading international interior design practices within the realm of hospitality. Having created unique interiors for luxury hotels, cruise ships and private members’ clubs around the world, the studio has helped steer hospitality, from many perspectives, into several new eras of luxury and lifestyle. With an impressive portfolio of projects and awards, the firm became renowned for its technical prowess and sensual alchemy. In short, each project RPW Design undertook become memorable for its coherence and elegance.

During the pandemic, the studio helped us narrate as much as navigate the ever-evolving hotel design and hospitality scene – Ariane Steinbeck herself joined us on several virtual roundtables, including discussions on hygiene, wellness and sleep.

“While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

Over the weekend, however, Steinbeck, who in 2015 was passed the reins by Jan Wilson to become Managing Director – I still remember the fabulous Octoberfest-style event she arranged to mark her arrival – took to social media to share that the company had gone into administration. “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must announce the closure of RPW Design Ltd after three decades of serving the hospitality industry,” she wrote. “Try as we might, we could not overcome the compounding effects of Covid-19 on our business… While we mourn the loss of RPW Design Ltd, our team will remain a [resourceful and] reliable force in our industry – some of whom have already found new ‘homes’ elsewhere.”

Our heartfelt, respectful nod (more of a bow actually) to the studio’s legacy comes as we look back to some of RPW Design’s iconic projects that added colour, texture and deep meaning to the hospitality landscape worldwide. From one of my first features I wrote as a design journalist – the unveil of London Marriott Hotel County Hall – to its most recent projects that are still in development, including working on what will be Sofia’s tallest building and the much-loved Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, here’s an edited selection of jewels that, thanks to considered interior design approaches, boldly put (and kept) RPW Design on our radar.

London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari

In 2014, RPW Design was tasked to take one of London’s most iconic riverside buildings, which first opened in 1933 opposite the Houses of Parliament, into its next chapter in hospitality. The studio steered the London Marriott Hotel County Hall through its multi-million pound renovation under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Lane, Heather McLellan and Alessandro Tessari.

Re-emerging and re-opening with crisp, new interiors – far removed from the maroon and green colour scheme that the hotel brand was once known for – while also appropriately making sensitive nods throughout to the building’s colourful past. In short, RPW Design helped the hotel take back its status as one of London’s finest hotels, while showcasing a modern and contemporary Marriott International brand.

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Design team:
Elizabeth Lane, Poppy Lindley (now at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio), Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Last year, RPW Design unveiled the renovation of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s conference and banqueting spaces. The refreshed interiors of the hotel’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathed fresh life into the historical Georgian property, adding a stylish sense of sophistication. In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the hotel, the design studio artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. To ensure the hotel remained quintessentially British, the team chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

The Capital Suite inside InterContinental London Park Lane
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Poppy Lindley

RPW Design designed The Capital Suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

Designed to suit the needs of todays’ top executives and boasting state-of-the-art facilities, the inspiration for the design concept for The Capital Suite was drawn from the nature and history of Hyde Park, which surrounds the hotel and its storied location. Accompanying the use of natural materials, every detail has been individually designed to adhere to the leitmotif. Design touches contain tasteful homages to London’s greenery such as bespoke bronze handles evocative of tree branches for the cabinetry. Artwork and accessories draw on Hyde Park’s equine traditions and the historic location of the hotel. Bespoke stitching details of the Plane, the tree that populates and represents London’s Royal Parks, are incorporated into the headboard design. The green landscape of the park even inspired textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks.

The suite, spanning 335sqm on the first floor, is the ultimate haven for the international business and leisure traveller a like – you feel taken away from the Capital, which is somewhat ironic considering its majestic name and non-cliché British design touchpoints and references.

Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari and Poppy Lindley

Earlier this year, RPW Design unveiled the new Presidential Suite of Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa, which, following an investment of more than €30M, epitomises the splendour and elegance of the recently renovated five-star St Julian’s property. Not only has RPW Design created a harmonious atmosphere but functionality was also at the forefront of the design process to form a space that is adaptable to modern travellers’ transition from daytime business meetings to leisurely evenings.

Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy unique panoramic views of Balluta Bay, which are visible from the entire 170 sqm suite. These vistas can be enjoyed on the expansive terrace, balconies and windows which run the whole length of the spacious room.

Sheraton Schiphol Airport (under construction)
Design team: Elizabeth Lane, Alessandro Tessari, Richard Snow and Heather McLellan

The project, which is still in motion, is a full refurbishment of the guestrooms and corridors in the airport hotel. It was integral to hit the right notes as this project is an early adopter of the new branding for Sheraton. The team were inspired by aerial views of the tulip fields and surrounding Land Art Park Buitenschot, built not only for recreations but also to reduce noise from the airfield. 

Sofia Marriott (under construction)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck and Heather McLellan

Sofia Marriott will become the tallest tower in Sofia, Bulgaria. Unfortunately, we are unable to share much more than that at the moment – we don’t even have images to tease you with for the time being. All that we can confirm is that the talented individuals at RPW Design will be responsible for the contemporary interior design scheme that the building will eventually shelter.

Madrid Historic Apartment (expected to complete in 2022)
Design team: Ariane Steinbeck, Richard Snow and Alessandro Tessari

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

Image credit: RPW Design/Smallbone Kitchens

It may not be a hotel, but it does give you an idea of what the team are currently working on. The ‘piano nobile’ in a stately, Haussmannian-style building on one of Madrid’s most revered boulevards, is located steps from the Prado Museum and Retiro Park in the Salamanca neighbourhood. Built in 1919, and having had only a few owners in its history, the team at RPW Design are in the process of restoring and carefully re-shaping the “villa” into a spatial arrangement that makes sense for today’s lifestyles. The designed have put a large emphasis on the kitchen as a centrepiece as preparation of food and the joy of cooking and entertaining is paramount for this client. Assisted by Smallbone of Devizes, Steinbeck (who’s passion for cooking, I’m told, comes close to her love of design) and the former RPW Design team have come up with a solution that is adaptable to the family’s needs and unconventional in its approach.

Although this is a sad farewell to a company who has, for three decades, led with such poise, precision and passion, I can’t help but feel optimistic for Ariane Steinbeck, Heather McLellan, Alessandro Tessari,  Poppy Lindley, Richard Snow and Elizabeth Lane. As we close the door on this unforgettable chapter, I urge you to keep your eyes fixed on the corridor to see which other doors creep open. Behind them will no doubt be more masterpieces from the talented individuals – perhaps sheltered under different studios  – who together were RPW Design. Watch this space.

Main image credit: RPW Design

(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(in video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Workspace design trends in hospitality

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE on May 11, 2021, we positioned the spotlight on workspace design trends and how they are impacting hotel design and hospitality. In an exclusive panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed leading figures in residential, workspace and hospitality design in order to confront the topic from three separate perspectives (full video below)… 

To aptly round off Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to the screen to introduce the final topic of the day. Having already hosted panel discussions on the same day around the new era of lifestyle, unconventional bathrooms and celebrating art outside the frame, the fourth and final discussion amplified a topic that is ever-evolving, especially following recent cultural shifts. Closely linked to the conversations around lifestyle, workspace design trends are taking bold leaps forward. Therefore, it’s little surprise that major shows this year, such as HIX Event and Workplace Design Show, will explore the topic in detail later this year.

Since you’re here, there are limited spaces for the next Hotel Designs LIVE event (taking place virtually on August 10). It’s free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers to attend – just click here to secure your place in the audience (booking form takes less than two minutes).

Ahead of those key events, which will include yet more panel discussions moderated by Hotel Designs, and as the dust is yet to settle on exactly how hospitality will incorporate today’s workspace trends in the future, Kilburn wanted to understand early on how the new era of lifestyle is leading towards public areas opening up to shelter co-working spaces. “Now that the world has adapted to news ways of working, and consuming information, the opportunities for hotels and hospitality establishments to design flexible spaces for business and leisure has never been greater,” he said. “But how do you sensitively design co-working spaces that are both functional, aesthetically pleasing and on brand? It’s a complicated topic that has many strands. Therefore, we decided that for this panel discussion we were going to hear perspectives from three corners of the arena; a residential designer, a workplace designer and a hospitality interior designer.”

On the panel:

Here’s the full video of the panel discussion (on demand), produced by CUBE, which includes Product Watch pitches from Session Sponsor Shure and lighting brand Well-Lit.

That concludes our editorial series around the topics explored at Hotel Designs LIVE. We have also published the full recordings of session one, session two and session three from Hotel Designs LIVE .

You can now book your place to attend our next Hotel Designs LIVE on August 10, 2021. The topics explored will include surfaces, sleep, senses and social – speakers have been announced! 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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GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

Global bathroom and kitchen fittings brand GROHE, with sustainability as one of its core pillars, has upgrades its GROHE Plus collection of basin taps, which now offer precise control of water temperature with integrated LED display, environmentally conscious water consumption thanks to sensor-activated Eco Spray and an architectural silhouette that makes a design statement at the bathroom…

GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

With bathrooms becoming more than just practical spaces and while hospitality is catching up to the ethos of designers and architects to inherently design and specify in an eco-friendly way, the launch of the GROHE Plus tap deserves its place in the spotlight. With this unveil, GROHE now offers users the possibility to accurately control the water temperature of their basin tap using the innovations of digitally enhanced design. The digital upgrade within the existing GROHE Plus collection not only enables safe water enjoyment, but also supports users’ increasing desire for sustainable living. Using the principle of “nudging”, a concept from behavioural economics, users are made aware through a visual colour change displayed on the spout of the tap when hot water is flowing – often unnecessarily – in order to encourage users to avoid wasting energy. This design approach promotes responsible use of the valuable resource of water and saves energy at the same time.

The eco-friendly functionality of GROHE Plus is reinforced by its accessible Eco Spray setting. To switch from the standard spray to the more refined Eco Spray of just four litres per minute, which reduces water consumption without compromising on user comfort or experience, users can simply swipe their hand over the lit icon on top of the spout to activate the sensor-controlled system which will change the water flow. The GROHE Plus collection is also future-oriented in its hybrid design language, which skilfully combines round and square elements. This makes the range a real statement for every modern bathroom, both in terms of sustainability and design.

The dynamic design language of GROHE Plus is inspired by the arc, which symbolises both strength and lightness. Combining circular shapes with the crisp, clean lines of a cube, GROHE Plus creates an exciting architectural silhouette. At the same time, the design supports ergonomic comfort and invites interaction. The 90-degree swivel spout also increases user-friendliness and caters for a variety of different interactions and uses.

The combination of cubic and organic shapes not only distinguishes GROHE Plus aesthetically, but also makes the tap collection the perfect counterpart to both square and round ceramic lines such as GROHE Essence or GROHE Cube – all according to personal interior design style. To complete the harmonious overall look of the bathroom, the two-tone surface of GROHE Plus’ LED display made of chrome and high-quality acrylic glass in MoonWhite can also be found in several of GROHE’s shower collections too, such as the GROHE SmartControl thermostat and GROHE Rainshower SmartActive head showers.

In addition to the new digitally-enhanced models, the GROHE Plus collection includes a wide range of classic single- lever mixers in different sizes and with additional functions such as a pull-out spout, wall-mounted 2-hole basin mixers, taps for shower and bathtub, and a visually striking freestanding bathtub option. For even greater design freedom that meets the growing demand for personalised style in the bathroom, GROHE Plus is available in Chrome, SuperSteel and Brushed Hard Graphite finishes, the latter of which is accompanied by a black LED display.

Main image credit: GROHE

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, the brand’s debut hotel in Europe

Arriving on the European hospitality scene for the first time, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts has just opened the 119-key Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia, a luxe mountain resort rich in culture, natural beauty and boundless adventure. Let’s take a look inside…

Guestroom inside Viceroy Kopaonik Serbia

Kopaonik , which translates to “Mountain of the Sun”  is a biodiversity hotspot with close to 200 sunny days annually, ensuring beautiful year-round conditions and offering endless fuelled activities. For a hotel brand that is known for its sunny destinations – think Viceroy L’Ermitage Bevery Hills and Viceroy Los Cabos – it’s therefore not such a surprise why the hotel group chose this location to make its debut in Europe.

“We’re extraordinarily proud to open our first European resort in the beautiful, culturally rich destination of Kopaonik, Serbia,” said Bill Walshe, CEO at Viceroy Hotels & Resorts. “Through inspiring experiences, engaging service and genuine connections, we are bringing an elevated offering that will stand out from its competitors across Europe.”

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Designed by world-renowned hospitality design firm, WATG and its interiors studio, Wimberly Interiors, the hotel reflects the local “Suvo Rudiste” contemporary mountain style and complements the beauty of its surrounding landscape. Showcasing the height of alpine living, the interiors celebrate local culture and craftsmanship with stone, glass, timber and textiles resulting in effortless elegance.

Suite inside Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls and open-air spaces offer abundant natural light and a picture frame of stunning views. The generously-appointed guestrooms and suites, including a remarkable two-bedroom penthouse, offer a peaceful retreat to unwind with the thoughtful amenities guests come to expect at a five-star resort. Each stylish accommodation boasts a private balcony with breathtaking views of the mountain or ski village.

Helmed by celebrated Executive Chef Andrew Jones, guests can enjoy elevated dining rooted in international and Serbian cuisines and inspired by the local terrain and culinary scene. Pique Ski Bar, overlooking the ski centre, offers inventive light bites and drinks, live performances, and a jaw-dropping view of Pancic’s peak. The beating heart of Viceroy Kopaonik, The Mountain Kitchen, welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring hearty yet healthy dishes that honour the region’s rich heritage.

Yellow bar inside the Viceroy hotel in Serbia

Image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

The Library, located in the lobby, serves as a quiet haven where guests can sip artisan coffee and teas or other specialty beverages while perusing a curated selection of books. And, coming soon, an intimate Asian-inspired restaurant highlighting specialities from duck to sushi. The Spa by Viceroy, the only full-service luxury spa in Kopaonik, boasts six-treatment rooms, a beauty lab, an indoor vitality pool, and a hammam/scrub room offering holistic wellness experiences using native mountain ingredients.

As the largest ski-in, ski-out resort in Serbia, Kopaonik is known for its pristine runs beloved by novice and highly skilled skiers alike. The resort offers 55km of runs for alpine skiing, 12km for cross country, and a specially-prepared Karaman Greben central course, lit for night skiers. Additionally, Kopaonik Village offers an abundance of excursions including bars, restaurants, museums and more.

With three dining venues, a luxurious full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and curated off-site guest experiences, Viceroy Kopaonik welcomes locals and guests alike to experience a new world of adventure and contemporary luxury.

While the brand has makes its first footprints on the European hospitality soil, elsewhere in the world, Viceroy Santa Monica is in the process of a sweeping $21 million renovation, which started in January last year that will include a complete design overhaul and Hotel Zena opened in October as a bold new cultural hub celebrating the accomplishments of women and recognising their enduring struggle for gender equality. To us, the brand is hitting all the right notes as it authentically expands into new territories. And Viceroy Kopaonik is no exception.

Main image credit: Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Trivial 7_04b

Feature: Colourful & Characterful surfaces – CTD Architectural tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: Colourful & Characterful surfaces – CTD Architectural tiles

As specifiers and interior designers increasingly search for more exciting and unique interior solutions, colour and pattern is finding its way into commercial spaces of all types. From metallic accents to colourful features, tiles are the perfect way to make a statement across surfaces. CTD Architectural Tiles’ collection offers professionals endless colour and pattern options, enabling projects to come to life through vivid, eye-catching design…

Trivial 7_04b

Borgo

A brick shaped tile with a delicate faux crackle glaze, Borgo will bring colourful charm to walls in any commercial setting. Available in both matt or gloss finishes and 8 on-trend shades, from Marine blue to Pink, Borgo can transform the look of any space into a piece of art. Whether used as a splashback in a hotel bathroom or on the front of a bar, the collection is guaranteed to impress.

Trivial

Bringing a fun, modern design twist to commercial spaces, Trivial offers the opportunity to create truly original feature walls. The range comprises 8 on-trend colourways in a stunning triangular shape, in both a glazed gloss and glazed matt surface finish. Perfect for those looking to make a bold statement within interiors projects, the colours and patterns can be combined and mixed, enabling specifiers and designers to deliver unique style concepts.

Gatsby

Inspired by the unmistakable Art Déco style synonymous with the 1920s and 1930s, Gatsby combines elegant designs with a modern colour palette to create stunning wall features within residential and commercial spaces.

Featuring a metallic effect, the glazed ceramic wall tile collection is comprised of four designs, from the fan-shape of Glam to the arched pattern of Elegance. Presented in a palette of dusty pinks and navy blues as well as shimmering golds and silvers, specifiers and designers can choose from seven colourways to create powerful and distinctive looks.

Image caption: Gatsby by CTD Architectural Tiles

Image caption: Gatsby by CTD Architectural Tiles

Part of the Saint-Gobain family, CTD Architectural Tiles specialises in the supply of high quality ceramic tile finishes and tiling solutions across all sectors in the UK commercial specification market. With clients in a variety of sectors including the leisure, retail, hospitality industries, CTD Architectural Tiles is committed to bringing customers the latest innovations in product and in service. With unparalleled expertise and technical knowledge, the team works with industry leading, innovative manufacturers to offer a complete portfolio of ceramic and porcelain tile ranges to suit the architect, interior designer, developer and specification professional.

CTD Architectural Tiles 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: CTD Architectural Tiles

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Graduate Hotels’ debut property in New York

Designed by Stonehill Taylor and Snøhetta, Graduate Roosevelt Island becomes the Graduate Hotels’ 29th property and marks the brand’s arrival in New York City. With an arrival experience unlike any other (literally with a 12-foot sculpture greeting guests checking in), let’s take a look inside the 18-storey, 224-key design-led hotel…

Giant sculpture in Lobby in Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island

Created for travellers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a hand-crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored towns across the country and expanding into the U.K. in summer 2021. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives. The brand’s latest hotel – and debut property in New York City – shelters 224 guestrooms inside a 18-storey building on Roosevelt Island.

Positioned at the entrance of the Cornell Tech campus, the hotel has been designed by internationally renowned design firm Snøhetta, hosptiality-focused architecture firm Stonehill Taylor and Graduate Hotels’ in-house design team. Blending together Old School charm and New Age, the design team took inspiration from the rich history of Roosevelt Island and the future of technology that the Cornell Tech campus embodies. The futuristic and functional meld to create a space that’s bright, open and always interesting.

“We’re thrilled to make our debut in New York with the first ever hotel on Roosevelt Island and proud to join the innovative Cornell Tech campus,” said Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of Graduate Hotels. “Each of our hotels are rooted in the communities they serve, and we took great care in creating a highly customised hotel experience that honours the island’s rich history and has an authentic connection to the Cornell Tech campus. Now more than ever, there is a new appreciation for exploring what’s in your own backyard and we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors looking to experience New York from a fresh and unexpected vantage point.”

The arrival experience has been designed to add personality and drama into the check-in element of the hospitality journey. Upon entering, guests are greeted with a custom 12-foot statement sculpture created by Hebru Brantley that reinterprets his iconic Flyboy character and a neon Graduate sign situated above the reception desk, which is a reimagined vintage apothecary cabinet.

Lobby inside Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steve Freihorn

In this area of the hotel, collaboration between the firms was integral. Stonehill Taylor, which recently took part in a panel discussion about the new era of lifestyle, ensured that the design of the ceiling connected the interior space to the exterior as part of the full campus experience. The ceiling’s unique trapezoidal wedge shape points upward towards the East River and Manhattan and aligns with the exterior soffit and façade planes to convey the sense of a mass floating above the ground. Unobstructed by lighting, the ceiling is reflectively lit by a fixture along the space’s perimeter. Three-quarters of the wall are glass windows and when paired with hard floors, the acoustics of the space proved challenging. Therefore, the architecture firm employed materials that would both soften the soundscape and accommodate the ceiling’s complex, three-dimensional shape. The wall opposite the floor-to- ceiling windows features 5,000 square feet of shelving with uplighting built into it that bounces off the ceiling above and surfaces below.

book shelf framing seating in lobby with deep red sofas in lobby of Roosevelt Island hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Nods to the island’s storied history can be seen through the corridor behind the front desk, which features a gallery of black and white photographs of the Roosevelt family. The spacious lobby is lined with 5,000 linear feet of textbooks and floor-to-ceiling windows to create a bright and airy space warmed up with Persian-inspired rugs, mid-century light fixtures and pops of Cornell Big Red hues throughout. The lobby is also home to the hotel’s full-service, all-day restaurant with a statement wraparound bar anchoring the space and a variety of inviting lounge seating.

The 224 guestrooms and suites include a Presidential Suite spanning more than 1,100 square feet. Contrasting the modern architecture with warm design details, the guest rooms offer a familiar, residential experience paired with unrivalled views of the East River and Manhattan skyline.

The décor plays with technology throughout the ages as seen through lamps with a Morse code of the Cornell fight song on the base, a neon light fixture inspired by a science project from a Cornell alum, floating glass desks and integrated audiovisual devices. Local elements and nods to Roosevelt Island are also incorporated throughout the guestrooms.

A soft, contemporary guest room overlooking the river in New York

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

Design highlights include benches upholstered with oil painting-like tapestry of Dutch colonial life, custom art pieces created by Matt Buchholz and Brooklyn-based artist Ashley Cunningham and a thoughtfully curated gallery wall showcasing unique pieces including portraits of prominent figures in the island’s history such as Nellie Bly and Mae West.

Los Angeles-based hospitality team and New York City natives, Med Abrous and Marc Rose of Call Mom are the exclusive food and beverage partners at Graduate Roosevelt Island, marking the duo’s homecoming and their third collaboration with Graduate Hotels, which also includes Graduate Seattle and Graduate Nashville. The hotel includes the full-service restaurant, Anything At All, on the ground level; The Panorama Room, an extraordinary indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and lounge with unobstructed, sweeping views of the city; and, more than 3,000 square feet of onsite flexible meeting space all conceived and operated by Abrous and Rose.

Abrous and Rose have tapped a talented, female-led team including Executive Chef Ja’Toria Harper, Pastry Chef Lindsey Verardo and Beverage Director Estelle Bossy to oversee all food and beverage programs. Opening later in June, Anything At All will serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Rooted in a vegetable-forward, farm-first approach to contemporary comfort food, the light-drenched indoor-outdoor space features a sustainable synergy between the kitchen and the bar whose playful, creative frozen drinks and seasonal spritzes will take centre stage at brunch.

Situated atop the hotel, The Panorama Room, is the stunning 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge designed by James Beard Foundation Award-winning design firm, Parts and Labor Design. Opening in July 2021, the crown jewel of the property will evoke a sense of cinematic drama inspired by futurism creating a true destination for fashion-forward elegance in an intimate space all set against unobstructed city views.

The hotel’s third floor features a variety of distinct multi-use meeting and event spaces set against clear skyline views, offering the perfect venue for every occasion from weddings to off-site corporate meetings. This summer, Graduate Hotels has transformed its ballroom into a space for collaboration inspired by the iconic film BIG. Known as “The Loft” at Graduate Roosevelt Island, this pop culture moment creates an opportunity for families, local businesses and private groups to catch up on lost time in a space that sparks creative energy and taps into the power of nostalgia.

A light and bright meeting space inside the new york hotel

Image credit: Steven Freihorn

What makes this project that much more impressive is its sustainability initiative. The hotel furthers the campus’ ongoing commitment to sustainability through its LEED-rated architecture and the use of highly efficient materials and energy saving systems throughout the property. Graduate Roosevelt Island’s many sustainability initiatives include the LEED-certified architecture, use of recyclable materials, highly efficient heating, cooling and LED lighting systems, reduced water consumption, waste reclamation programs, healthy indoor air quality and more. The food and beverage operators are equally committed to creating environmentally conscious restaurant operations and culinary programs including: composting food scraps, recycling programs for restaurant waste, no single-use plastic products, minimising food waste and purchasing sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients and products.

Main image credit: Steve Freihorn

Rainlight

Circle of light in hospitality and workplace

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Circle of light in hospitality and workplace

Designer Yorgo Lykouria sheds light on the convergence of hospitality and workplace, how we are living in a ‘post categorisation world’ and why his award-winning circular lighting design is as at home in a hotel lobby or an office…

The concept of hoteling: booking office space and enjoying concierge-style services in a workspace dates back well into the last decade, proving just how omnipresent the influence of the hospitality is on the world of workplace. But instead of being a one-way street is there actually more of a convergence between the two sectors than was previously thought?

Rainlight

Designer Yorgo Lykouria certainly believes so. “We’re almost at the point of post-categorisation, a place where good design can be presented anywhere,” he argues. “Good humanistic design should be everywhere. A hotel can be just as much of a workplace as a hotel.”

He continues: “When we think of things in that way, everything from furniture to lighting is embedded within our own preconceptions about what works for a particular setting be it an office or a hotel.”

Lykouria, who is founder and creative principle of design studio Rainlight, is responsible for Ambitus, a luminaire which has recently been awarded the ‘Best of the Best’ product prize at this year’s prestigious Red Dot Awards. The design of the luminaire found favour with the judges due to its mix of state-of-the-art technology combined with daring, nature-inspired aesthetics, held in place with distinctive, thin cables. Lykouria collaborated with Austrian manufacturer Zumtobel over a ten year period to create the final design. “It was initially intended to be a flexible piece for the workplace but it has an adaptable graceful quality that means it could equally belong it in a hotel lobby.”

The development of Ambitus involved using pliable LEDs and a complex tooling process while the perforated, laser-cut pattern which says, Lykouria, “is like an explosion of supernovas.” The light engine: the element consisting of LEDs mounted on the circuit board plus the electrical and mechanical fixings, offers tuneable white direct and indirect lighting and the colour temperature can be adjusted to suit the ambience required. In an office environment, it’s about harmonising with workers’ Circadian rhythms, providing energising or calming light as required but actually in a hotel setting that ability to switch moods is equally applicable. “You could have a warm light in a meeting space or above tables in a restaurant or a combination of warm and cool light. Depending on the finish, Ambitus can create a range of moods from austere minimalism to adding a more decorative, ornate quality.”

“The light is able to replicate true human-centric lighting and this is a rare occurrence with just a single light fixture,” he says. Its round shape is key, a contrast to the linear form of most office lighting. “It seemed to me a paradox to design a luminaire with straight lines when all natural sources of light such as the sun and moon are spherical. Because it is a circular light, it can make a space glow, like a campfire.”

It’s this sense of gathering around, of coming together that intrigues Lykouria about hotels. “A hotel is a very important part of the urban fabric, it’s a meeting place for nomads. Hotels are places of impromptu gatherings, it’s the connection of life and community: you get that contact with local people. Everybody is a nomad.”

He talks about the idea of grand hotels such as the Ritz, the Savoy, the George V in Paris or the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, “They really stitched together the fabric of life and now we have boutique hotels which are smaller and there’s more of them but they do the same thing.”Eschewing chain hotels, he prefers places that “look like the city they are in. The worst hotels are the ones where they don’t have that sense of place.”

Moving from the hotel lobby to the guest rooms he says, “It’s also an experience in solitude, that’s actually what I love about hotel rooms. You don’t have all your stuff around. It’s quite a calming experience, it’s just you and the few things you brought with you. In that way, it’s quite cathartic, a repose from the busy way of life.”

Hotels, he says, are even more important now in the days after our freedom of movement has been so substantially curtailed for so many months “Their relevance has been enhanced, you’re choosing to go somewhere different for some days. It’s a change from everyday life, somewhere that provides that reboot, that sense of being in the now. Suddenly you’re thinking new thoughts, it’s challenging. Hotels give you that sense of a refresh.”

While some of us may be missing our places of work in a similar way, in terms of opportunities for face-to-face social interactions and frankly the change of scene, hotels transcend that idea. Lykouria adds finally, “When we’ve been living off the internet for the past year or so, I’ve really missed the ability to travel and to be in different cultures. Hotels are key to that.”

Main image credit: Rainlight