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      Selection of tech set-ups for TIG

      How integrated smart tech can enhance hotel experiences

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      How integrated smart tech can enhance hotel experiences

      Whilst the hospitality industry is rapidly adopting smart tech during the pandemic period, the benefits go way beyond simple automation and touchless control. Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG), explains how selecting technologies that integrate with one another can provide hotels with the opportunity to elevate the guest experience to another level…

      Selection of tech set-ups for TIG

      Post-lockdown, guests will undoubtedly expect to see more technology in all areas of a hotel, that provides a safer but still very welcoming and ultra-personalised experience. Great examples of integrated technology will include digital signage in lobbies, bars and restaurants, gyms and conference rooms, that indicates the availability and cleanliness status of the furniture and equipment in these spaces. Guests will also expect to be able to use their own smartphones to check in, open their room, control their environment and in-room entertainment, and get in touch with the concierge.

      But, with the hospitality industry not expected to recover much before 2023, hotels are being forced to reconsider their offering and find ways of staying ahead of the game. Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG) says: “Covid is forcing companies in all industries to innovate and, by marrying together the right smart tech solutions, hotels can completely change the way visitors want to use their space, above and beyond a place to stop and rest.”

      TIG offers an ecosystem of class-leading technologies that can be bundled together to form tailor-made solutions, which will help cater to new consumer habits and an altogether enhanced user experience. As Malsot explains, “Technology integration can provide many more opportunities to be creative in the way hotels use their existing assets, by increasing the functions of a communal space or guestroom and thus offering a multi-faceted guest experience.”

      For instance, during this challenging period of mass under-occupancy, and with the meetings and events industry in complete standstill, many hotels have taken to renting out guestrooms, conference rooms and communal spaces for individuals to use as an office. The ‘hotel office’ concept goes hand-in-hand with the flexible working culture which has developed in response to the pandemic. Rooms may also be hired out to serve as the backdrop for virtual events. Packages range from late check-out to single-day rental or even five-day Monday to Friday deals, with the option to extend and include overnight stays, use of the gym or luxury add-ons such as a butler service.

      Ideal for visitors who are in the city for work and need a quiet place for a few hours or for locals who simply need to escape the distractions and monotony of working from home, this initiative can maximise the benefits of your hotel’s existing space and recover lost revenue. By combining the need for a dedicated working space with the amenities of your hotel, with perks such as a proper desk, a clean and peaceful private environment, high-speed internet, printing privileges and the latest integrated technology, hotels can provide a value-added service in today’s volatile climate.

      “TIG understands the need for a human touch, to ensure it is truly beneficial to the user.” – Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG).

      Little touches like cute stationary packs, free refreshments and loyalty rewards programmes are also a way to make your offering competitive, but they’re just the cherry on top, as the key to developing this kind of service lies in technology!

      What users need first and foremost is to be able to rely on easy-to-use unified communications systems, impressive audio-visual facilities and remote collaboration tools that work with any device, so they can simply connect and hit go from their own laptop, tablet or smartphone.

      According to Malsot: “Any crisis will unveil the need to go through a series of technological changes and transformations. But simply injecting tech without purpose is not the most user-friendly approach. TIG understands the need for a human touch, to ensure it is truly beneficial to the user. That’s why our solutions integrate to form bespoke bundles that match your clientele’s needs today and futureproof your offering.

      “There’s a fine line between something working well, and something that is so seamless and intuitive that it transforms the entire experience and leaves your guests begging for more!”

      TIG’s portfolio includes intuitive automation, beautiful control hardware, remote management, audio-visual equipment, best-in-class unified communications solutions, conference room booking software and show-stopping digital signage. Mix and match between:

      • Collaboration, unified communications and automation technology from Crestron
      • Intuitive contemporary control panels from Black Nova
      • Energy-saving power distribution and remote monitoring systems from GUDE
      • Luxury custom-design switches and sockets from Rhombus Europe
      • Status lights and signs from Embrava that indicate availability and cleanliness of communal facilities
      • Advanced conference room booking software from NFS
      • Made-to-order furniture from Salamander Designs that fits in perfectly with specific AV products to bring a space-saving and stylish finish

      Unified communications tech from Crestron enables the guestroom to function like the home office, only better. The unmatched videoconferencing services facilitate easy-to-manage, hassle-free collaboration to professional standards, making remote working feel less remote! AirMedia enables secure, wireless content sharing from the comfort of a personal device. This integrates with Crestron touch screens and occupancy sensors to turn the system on with just one command or automatically, the moment a guest enters the room. Do Not Disturb signs help drive efficiency and increase motivation, with zero distractions.

      Below is a video that captures editor Hamish Kilburn checking in to review the recent tech renvoation of Bloc Hotel Gatwick, in collaboration with Symbiot and Crestron:

      Room booking software from NFS is an ultra-convenient and cost-effective solution, empowering hotels by streamlining the management of meetings, catering and resources. It offers search and reporting functionality, giving staff real-time visibility of how spaces are being used, and includes visitor management such as parking and building controls, as well as the booking of services like catering and AV. Its integration with Crestron also enables the in-room lighting and tech systems to automatically shut down when the room is no longer in use.

      For the ultimate in comfort and ergonomics in any-size room, Salamander Designs’ AV furniture brings a compact, sleek solution which is as functional as it is beautiful. The innovative design of its cabinets, tables and mobile trolleys allow virtually all wiring, power supplies, components and cables to be hidden yet easily accessible, packaged within a customisable solution that perfectly matches your hotel’s style.

      A white office room with a large tv and tablet device

      Image credit: Salamander Designs

      Malsot concludes: “In today’s climate of uncertainty, hotels that show forward-thinking will be the ones that reap the rewards. Tech is the glue that holds together many different aspects, and TIG is helping hotels across EMEA use this to their advantage. By building multi-purpose smart spaces where every device is seamlessly connected with an intuitive and user-friendly control solution, hotels can remain flexible, futureproof and confidently able to ride the storm!”

      To help people understand how TIG’s ecosystem works, it has opened two Experience Spaces in London and Frankfurt, with more to come in Paris, Moscow and Johannesburg in 2021, where visitors can see the solutions in action.

      Technological Innovations Group is the founding Headline Partner of Hotel Designs LIVE. The next online conference takes place on February 23.

      Main image credit: TIG

      Look of the month from Kobe: worry less, live more

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Look of the month from Kobe: worry less, live more

      This month’s fabric and soft furnishing inspiration comes from FIBREGUARD upholstery collections by Kobe, which offer luxury style and easy-to-clean design…

      This month’s look from fabric supplier Kobe is more of a feeling rather than a look: worry less, and live more, which taps into comfort, balance and creating the ultimate home-from-home environment.

      With working from home (WFH) meaning that we are all staying indoors more during autumn and as we fall into winter, Hotel Designs and Kobe want to remind the industry that the meaning of a happy work/life balance is about enjoying the small yet significant moments.

      Within this month’s ‘look‘, the colour palette includes a mix of earthy tones – think beige, grey and blue – and have been captured for this feature with black as the frame for the upholstery and soft purple as an accent.

      The look of the month, a brown/beige armchair with food on it

      Image credit: Kobe

      Upcycle and recycle

      Although worrying less and living more suggests we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, topics such as sustainability should always be on the agenda – and can be so within this look by connecting us with nature.

      The ‘look’ in Kobe’s archive

      Kobe’s stain-free velvet fabrics like PAXTON FR can give a piece of furniture new life. For a more rustic look, the BARIUM FR or BERYL FR is a textured linen. If you are looking for a bit of a statement maker, we suggest the metallic look chenille NICKEL FR.

      All of Kobe’s Fibreguard collections are stocked with a Domestic Cig & Match back-coat, available direct from stock. For Contract use, the brand offers suitable treatments – available on request.

      Kobe 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: Kobe

      A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

      Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Weekly briefing: a London review, a Japanese gem & re-living the drama

      Just in time for the weekend, here’s your weekly briefing, featuring the hottest stories of the week. This briefing includes our video review of Sofitel London St James, a boutique bombshell up for sale in Bordeaux and how you can re-watch all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020…

      A london bus outside Sofitel London St James

      As we gear up to dive into our ultimate throwback, when we will revisit the hottest product launches from the last 11 months, the editorial team at Hotel Designs has been busy publishing the latest news and engaging original features. We appreciate that you may not have time to read all the hot content that Hotel Designs has been published this week, therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of what we believe are the juiciest stories from the past five days.

      Inside Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

      Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, has opened in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital – sheltering design by an international team of renowned architects and designers including Akira Kuryu, André Fu, Shunsaku Miyagi and Yohei Akao.

      Read more.

      Boutique hotel, La Vue, in Bordeaux region goes on sale

      An outdoor pool iun between barns in La Vue

      Image credit: La Vue

      2020 has proven itself to be the year of distressed assets, with characterful hotel properties around the world being sold to the chains. However, there is nothing distressed about La Vue, a perfectly placed boutique hotel that has potential to be something incredible on Europe’s independent hotel scene.

      Situated right at the centre of a triangle drawn between three major cities in France – Bordeaux, Cognac and Angouleme – La Vue is a luxury boutique gem set in one acre of land, which is surrounded by vineyards and spectacular views.

      Read more.

      Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

      Sofitel London St James bathroom

      image credit: Sofitel London St James

      17 years after first unveiling the original designs for the Sofitel London St JamesPierre-Yves Rochon returned to London to breathe new life into the 183-key lifestyle luxury hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn, along with a production team to film his response, checks in find out more.

      For Sofitel London St James, a flagship for the global hotel brand that is positioned in between Westminster and Mayfair, the decision to invite legendary designer Pierre-Yves Rochon back to redesign the guestrooms and suites was one that came naturally. And it was his ability to combine English décor with refined French elegance that gave this hotel’s interiors a new and somewhat an unexpected personality.

      Read more. 

      Re-live all the drama from The Brit List Awards 2020

      Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

      Hundreds of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers tuned in on November 12 to watch the awards ceremony that crowned the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. But if you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony here, on demand.

      Adhering to social distancing measures and the latest government guidelines, this year’s awards were produced by CUBE Video and filmed from inside Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, which will host The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London on April 29, 2021.

      Read more.

      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

      Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

      In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by global industry experts to discuss the revival of smart tech after he checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience.

      The final session that took place during Hotel Designs LIVE was entitled: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic – and was sponsored by Grohe, a bathroom manufacturer that is clearly leading the way when it comes to utilising technology to create innovative bathroom solutions.

      Read more.

      A collection of bathroom products, lighting and furniture

      Spotlight on: December (Hotel Designs’ ultimate throwback)

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Spotlight on: December (Hotel Designs’ ultimate throwback)

      Hotel Designs’ December editorial feature has landed, which is ‘Year in Review’, an ultimate throwback to 2020’s more signifiant product launches…

      It has become a tradition at Hotel Designs to spend December reflecting the editorial spotlight on the year’s most groundbreaking product launches.

      A collection of bathroom products, lighting and furniture

      In 2020 – the year when Covid-19 caused chaos to all areas of the industry; with trade shows cancelled and hospitality being brought to its knees with several lockdowns – that nod has become even more meaningful. From lighting to flooring, hygiene to furniture, we will take a look back at the product launches that have created the biggest statement on the design and hospitality scene.

      In what is now described as our ‘ultimate throwback’, the editorial team will cut through the noise, and inviting our Recommended Suppliers to share their hero products of 2020, to identify the products that designers, architects and hoteliers should be specifying in their future projects.

      If you wish to find out more about Recommended Supplier packages, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please email Katy Phillips

      Main image credit: Gessi, Morgan, Chelsom

      A safari accomodation tent in the dessert

      Luxurious and comfortable accommodation from Bushtec Safari

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Luxurious and comfortable accommodation from Bushtec Safari

      Following the brand’s presentation as a Product Watch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, Bushtec Safari explains why luxury tented resorts have become global trend for guests seeking luxurious and comfortable accommodation…

      A safari accomodation tent in the dessert

      Luxury tented resorts have become global trending destinations for luxurious and comfortable accommodation, seeing to unique experiences, without compromising on quality.

      Bushtec Safari as part of the Canvas & Tent Group is one of the leading tent manufacturers and suppliers to well-known safari camps and game reserves, hunting and luxury lodges, villas and resorts within the travel market both locally and internationally.

      A tented accommodation in front of a river

      Image credit: Bushtec Safari Display Area

      The brand is renowned globally as we have provided luxury tents to countless projects through our head office and our branches in America, Europe and Botswana as well as our distributors in the UAE, Australia and Asia.

      With more than 1,000 different tent designs, we prefer keeping everything we do in-house – from design, to manufacturing, delivering, and installing.

      Over the years that we have been designing and manufacturing luxury tents, we have truly tested boundaries and accomplished the unthinkable. We have a range of standard designed luxury tents which can be customised according to specified requirements, alternatively we can create a custom design from scratch based on a concept on paper. With our team of in-house designers, we can create almost anything that you can imagine. We also work closely with the investor’s architect should one be appointed.

      A tented accommodation in the middle of nowhere with stars above

      Image credit: Mountain View Safari Lodge

      Ladysmith, which is in the Kwa Zulu Natal province in South Africa, shelters our state-of-the-art factories, totalling a productive area of 27,500 m2 where more than 300 skilled design, technical and specialist personnel are employed. Here we craft masterpieces with passion and dedication.

      Despite the rigorous quality standards which we adhere to when manufacturing our tents, we still need to deliver on our mantra: “Designed to Impress. Built to Last”.

      While our materials are manufactured according to the most exacting quality and climatic durability standards, over time exposure to the elements will take its toll. To conserve the aesthetic appearance of your tented accommodation and extend the lifespan and return on investment, we offer regular on-site inspections and a maintenance service.

      If you’d prefer to do it yourself, we can provide maintenance training for your camp managers and staff members, so they can extend the lifespan of your tented accommodation. The usual maintenance includes replacement of zips for canvas-style doors, resealing of the square tubing, tensioning of flysheets, washing each tent as well as reproofing each tent.

      We also understand the importance of different environmental elements that have to be taken into consideration when we manufacture luxury tents. In order to accommodate these considerations, we offer different types of steel frames, different combinations of materials, fire-retardant materials, insulated materials and even guarantee that our canvas and flysheets are UV treated, welded and stitched to high standards. We engineer our tent structures in such a way that it can withstand the elements that it is exposed to, enabling the tents to last the investor for more than 10 years, which will be great for your return on investment.

      Aerial shot of a tented site

      Image credit: Bushtec Safari/Private Resort

      Our tents are eco-friendly and can blend in with the natural surroundings quite effortlessly. Each tent has a light footprint, and by securing it to a wooden deck that plants into the ground, you can have your luxury tented camp without disrupting the environment at all.

      Bushtec Safari luxury tents are designed and manufactured for year-round use in various weather conditions – from the African bush, to the deserts of the UAE, to the woodland landscapes of Europe and even tropical island style resorts – Bushtec Safari has got you covered.

      Not only do we supply these one-of-a-kind luxury tents, we can also offer the investor the option of a full turnkey solution through our sister brand, Bushtec Creations. In this scenario everything concerning the project will be managed and implemented by our in-house team, from planning to concept development, design, site layouts, sourcing, manufacture and supply of all items needed including interiors, right through to deployment and project management. With our professional and experience team you can rest assured that your investment is in the best hands. For us, no destination is too remote, no idea too bold, no challenge too big.

      Bushtec Safari was one of our Product Watch Pitch Partners for Hotel Designs LIVE

      Main image credit: Bushtec Safari/Good Moremi Gorge

      Sofitel London St James luxury room with blue tartan carpets and blue modern furniture

      Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Hotel review (in video): checking in to Sofitel London St James

      17 years after first unveiling the original designs for the Sofitel London St James, Pierre-Yves Rochon returned to London to breathe new life into the 183-key lifestyle luxury hotel. Editor Hamish Kilburn, along with a production team to film his response, checks in find out more…

      Sofitel London St James luxury room with blue tartan carpets and blue modern furniture

      The ultimate compliment for a hotel designer, aside from a client signing off one stage allowing them to move on to the next, is being asked to return back to a project years later to lead it sensitively into a new era. This scenario, although rare and therefore highly momentous, also comes with certain pressures, considering that each and every decision will be scrutinised by client and critic and compared to the statement design scheme that was originally unveiled and considered a success.

      For Sofitel London St James, a flagship for the global hotel brand that is positioned in between Westminster and Mayfair, the decision to invite legendary designer Pierre-Yves Rochon back to redesign the guestrooms and suites was one that came naturally. And it was his ability to combine English décor with refined French elegance that gave this hotel’s interiors a new and somewhat an unexpected personality.

      “It was important to preserve the identity of the hotel that was created 17 years ago.” – Pierre-Yves Rochon

      To truly capture the essence of this modern hotel sheltered in a heritage building, I checked in with our product team at CUBE Video to explore what makes this hotel special. Here’s how I got on…

      “It was important to preserve the identity of the hotel that was created 17 years ago,” Rochon told Hotel Designs. “So, there was a clever mix between the elements of the past that we have kept and the new elements marking the new decoration. For example, we kept the headboards and bedside tables the same, but we created a new concept in the guestrooms and suites, which we refer to as the ‘Media wall library’.”

      Sofitel London St James luxury twin room in red

      Image credit: Sofitel London St James

      Inside the new guestrooms, which are complete with retro furniture and bold colours, it is clear that the aim was to, in Rochon’s words, “give a new life to the hotel.” To prevent each room in either green, red or blue colour schemes from looking ‘tired’, and to refine a modern interior design scheme fit for the flagship status it has been given, Rochon’s bold leap away from convention allowed him to further blur the definition of what a London hotel should look like. The tartan carpets, for example, create a textured layer of detail but also compliment the 1960s – 70s theme explored in the design scheme, as Rochon explains: “The choice of Scottish-inspired carpets in the bedrooms is, of course, linked to the fact that we are in the UK, but another reason we choose these carpets was because of the geometric appearance which corresponds to this particular period of design in the 1960s and 70s.”

      Image credit: Sofitel London St James blue guestrooms with tartan carpets and blue walls

      Image credit: Sofitel London St James

      Throughout the hotel, there is a dominant theme of English Style meeting French elegance. While the guestrooms are trendy with certain nods to British iconic fashion figures of the 60s and 70s, the bathrooms are chic, well-lit and with a black and white colour scheme they are also somewhat timeless. “The bathrooms have always been appreciated by the hotel’s guests, so we simply decided to refurbish them when necessary,” said Rochon. “This included improving the lighting, creating showers and redesigning the floors in black and white graphics, in continuity with the original decoration.”

      When asked, Rochon admitted that the most challenging aspect of the renovation was staying within budget, “while also respecting the decorative spirit” of the hotel. Regardless of having to stay between the lines of a budget, it is admirable how one designer’s creativity can lead one hotel into two different eras, and as a result re-unveil a modern masterpiece that lives up to its flagship title.

      Main image credit: Sofitel London St James

      The entrance to the Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

      Inside Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Inside Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

      Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa, has opened in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital – sheltering design by an international team of renowned architects and designers including Akira Kuryu, André Fu, Shunsaku Miyagi and Yohei Akao…

      The entrance to the Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

      The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International Inc., has announced the opening of Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa in Kyoto, Japan.

      Once the private residence of the aristocratic Mitsui family, the property’s 300-year-old main entrance, the Kajiimiya Gate, still stands today. Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto resides in the heart of Kyoto, the only luxury hotel in the city centre with its own natural hot spring drawn from the thermal waters deep below ground. The hotel opens up to one of the world’s most enriching and desirable destination discoveries, including the 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nijo Castle located directly opposite the hotel and other shrines, palaces and gardens.

      An image at night of the traditional gate framing the entrance to the hotel

      Image credit: Marriett International/Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

      “We are delighted to celebrate the expansion of The Luxury Collection here in Japan with the opening of Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto as the brand’s second iconic property in Kyoto, in partnership with Mitsui Fudosan Group,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International. “The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts are an ensemble of unique hotels across the world that celebrate authenticity and indigenousness in every destination. Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto is a wonderful addition to this very special collection, and we are confident that guests will enjoy its impeccable service as much as its beauty and surroundings.”

      Thoughtfully designed by an international team of renowned architects and designers including Akira Kuryu, André Fu, Shunsaku Miyagi and Yohei Akao, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto blends tradition with modernity. Throughout the hotel, guests will be inspired by the minimalist yet contemporary design, which creates a sense of comfort with natural luxury. The gardens express the beauty and serenity as expected of a classical Japanese garden.

      The hotel’s 161 guest rooms and suites feature exquisite natural materials shaped by traditional artisanal skills. Each room reimagines elegance and relaxed luxury of traditional Japanese tea-rooms, and bathing areas in every room feature spacious bathtubs hewn from stone. Two Onsen Suites feature separate living rooms, private gardens and outdoor hot spring baths for a highly memorable experience of Japanese onsen traditions in complete luxury and privacy.

      A modern suite inside the mitsui kyoto a luxury collection hotel and spa/

      Image credit: Marriott International/Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

      Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto features two restaurants, a bar and lounge and a private dining space, all of which showcase Japanese and international epicurean experiences while offering breath-taking views of the hotel gardens. In the signature gastronomy teppan restaurant TOKIguests are offered culinary specialties prepared on an open-plan steel teppan framed by a Kabazakura birch counter.

      The hotel’s Italian restaurant FORNI features an okudosan, a traditional Japanese cooking range reimagined as a wood-burning oven for pizzas and roasts. The Garden Bar, meanwhile, offers the perfect space to enjoy afternoon tea, drinks and cocktails and SHIKI-NO-MA provides an exclusive dining venue in an elegant setting, ideal for private events.

      The hotel’s unique thermal spring spa is a relaxing sanctuary of more than 1,000 square metres of space which includes a thermal onsen spring, two private onsen facilities, four spa treatment rooms and a fully-equipped gym.

      “Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto represents the essence of Japan, as framed by the narrative of its history, culture, architecture, crafts and cuisine. We seek to express this essence in our brand concept of “Embracing Japan’s Beauty”,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President, Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “We have merged tradition and modernity across all aspects of our hotel design, culinary offerings and service. We look forward to welcoming guests to our hotel, and to usher them into a world of luxury inspired by the beauty and traditions of Japan.”

      Since you’re here, why not read more about Marriott International’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region?

      Main image credit: Marriott International/Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

      Man in mirror

      KEUCO’s mirrors ensure bathrooms don’t get left in the dark

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      KEUCO’s mirrors ensure bathrooms don’t get left in the dark

      The Royal Modular 2.0 from KEUCO is a stylish mirrored cabinet that combines state-of- the-art technology with adaptable storage and modern design…

      Introducing the Royal Modular 2.0 from KEUCO; a stylish modern cabinet that combines state-of- the-art technology, such as intelligent LED lighting with adaptable storage and modern design elements.

      Man in mirror

      Size matters

      There’s a saying ‘one size fits all’ but in the case of the Royal Modular 2.0 it’s one cabinet to fit all sizes. With widths of 500mm now through to 2100mm, options of two heights and two depths, recessed or wall mounted and the option to be with or without illumination this cabinet can be designed to fit any bathroom wall and match any size of washbasin.

      Substance meets style

      Because the Royal Modular 2.0 is available in so many versions it does not mean it falls behind in any aspect of design or technology. Intelligent LED lighting is integrated horizontally at the top and bottom of each cabinet. The lights are easily adjusted to provide a brighter daylight white light when needed, for example when shaving or applying make-up. A softer gentle warm yellow shade is available for other times of the day; whatever time and which ever shade of white is selected the lighting produced is both shadow and glare free.

      The cabinet has mirrors on both sides of the doors, the shelves within the interior of the cabinet are made with tinted glass, whilst the rear of the cabinet is white glass. This makes it easy to see the contents and clean the inside.

      Personalisation is one of the key elements of the Royal Modular 2.0. It easy to alter to suit a persons needs as the interior shelves can be easily adjusted to cater for the heights of different bottles and jars. In addition the soft close doors can be adapted to close as slowly or as quickly as needed.

      It’s all in the detail

      Specific practical design elements which have been added to the Royal Modular 2.0 cabinets.

      • A magnifying cosmetic mirror has been added, this can be attached to the interior shelves, the doors or an external surface.
      • Magnetic strips on the interior ensure that smaller beauty items are stored safely and are easy to find.
      • Secure power sockets and usb ports are safely hidden within the body of the cabinet, enabling you to charge your mobile even in the bathroom

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

      Main image credit: KEUCO

      Computer generated image of a luxurious and modern living room interiors. 3D Rendering of a full furnished living Room.

      Product watch: Focus launches the gas Gyrofocus

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Focus launches the gas Gyrofocus

      Focus has launched the world’s first pivoting gas fire, the gas Gyrofocus – a new patented global innovation with design meeting environmental standards – once again shaking up established codes…

      Computer generated image of a luxurious and modern living room interiors. 3D Rendering of a full furnished living Room.

      Fireplace brand Focus, which was recently Highly Commended in The Eco Award category at The Brit List Awards 2020, has reinvented replace technology with the announcement of the world’s first pivoting gas fire. Introducing the gas Gyrofocus.

      The legendary design, originally created more than 50 years ago as a wood-burning stove, has a newly patented technology allowing the gas to be brought down through a sealed pipe into the suspended replace whilst pivoting 100 degrees. This is a real technological feat and a world first recognised by the filing of a patent.

      Image credit: Focus

      The gas Gyrofocus is practical, easy to maintain and a stress-free fire. It is a generous and spectacular fire with ceramic logs that perfectly imitate the dancing ames of a real wood fire.

      The first suspended and pivoting gas replace is energy efficient with an output of 13 kW and allows for ease of installation above any type
      of flooring. The gas Gyrofocus is also equipped with remote control: instant ignition, adjustment of flame and heat intensity, programming for controlled, constant and comfortable heat.

      Odourless and with zero particle emissions, this icon naturally finds its place in an apartment in any geo-location. Thanks to its ease of use, this sculptural design can be installed in the reception areas of large hotels, restaurants and establishments open to the public.

      With its advanced technology, the gas Gyrofocus, available in two colours (black or white) cannot be sold without a preliminary technical survey of the site and its installation must be carried out by official Focus partner-resellers trained in this technology. The model is equipped with a specially designed plate to allow the gas to pass through the pipe. The installation operates on batteries and the burner is controlled with a remote control.

      Since you’re here, why not read more about Focus’ latest outdoor range of fireplaces?

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

      Main image credit: Focus

      Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

      In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by global industry experts to discuss the revival of smart tech after he checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience…

      Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

      The final session that took place during Hotel Designs LIVE was entitled: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic – and was sponsored by Grohe, a bathroom manufacturer that is clearly leading the way when it comes to utilising technology to create innovative bathroom solutions.

      To introduce the topic to the audience, editor Hamish Kilburn shared a video feature that showed him teaming up with Headline Partner Technological Innovations Group to explore technology’s role post-Covid. To do this, they checked in to Bloc Hotel Gatwick, which has just undergone an extensive technology renovation and now shelters a completely contactless hotel experience.

      Here’s how they got on:

      Following this immersive hotel review, which was produced by the event’s official videographers at CUBE Video, Kilburn was armed with relevant questions to put forward to his expert panel about tech solutions for a post-pandemic world.

      On the panel:

      Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Grohe, Technological Innovations Group, Aqualisa, Hamilton Litestat and a sponsored question from Duravit.

      Since you’re here, why not watch all four sessions from Hotel Designs LIVE – sessions one, two and three – on demand?

      SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a third edition on February 23, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused PRODUCT WATCH pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

      (In video) Watch The Brit List Awards 2020 – the awards ceremony

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      (In video) Watch The Brit List Awards 2020 – the awards ceremony

      Hundreds of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers tuned in on November 12 to watch the awards ceremony that crowned the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. But if you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony here, on demand…

      Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain came to a head last week when the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020, sponsored by Crosswater, were officially announced.

      Adhering to social distancing measures and the latest government guidelines, this year’s awards were produced by CUBE Video and filmed from inside Minotti London’s Fitzrovia showroom, which will host The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London on April 29, 2021.

      Editor Hamish Kilburn hosted all the drama, which included an engaging panel discussion with the international judging panel, the unveiling of The Brit List 2020 and announcing this year’s individual winners.

      You can watch the action unfold below:

      Since you’re here, why not read The Brit List Awards 2020 winners’ story, referencing the judges’ reasons behind this year’s seven worthy individual winners.

      Thank you to our partners:

      Bathroom brand Aqualisa expands its brassware offering

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Bathroom brand Aqualisa expands its brassware offering

      Hard on the heels of launching an extended brassware range – the warmly received Uptown collection – shower manufacturer Aqualisa has introduced two more ranges of brassware under the new Downtown and Central branding…

      All three ranges are a value for money option, that will support shower sales with a combined, style matched brassware proposition. This latest move establishes Aqualisa as a brassware category player with a strong proposition for market sectors where bathroom customisation and the trend towards ‘mix and match’ is a strong purchase influence.

      These new tap offerings are relevant to all Aqualisa’s target markets – trade, consumer and specifier – where the opportunity exists to offer a co-ordinated sale of shower and taps under one brand with the same style elements. With a variation of lever styles, these taps cover both basin and bath variants and can be paired with a wide selection of single and dual lever mixer showers and bar valves, including the AQ, Mian, Midas and Dream ranges.

      “We’re keen  to support our showers through specialist retail and merchant showrooms with consumers that are looking for co-ordinated taps with strong brand values as well as to brand loyal installers at the trade counter who will specify taps as part of a complete bathroom refurbishment project,” says Head of Marketing Sian Brink.

      The introduction of these new tap ranges announces Aqualisa’s serious entry into the brassware market as it heads towards the end of 2020, but, importantly, the launch positions Aqualisa as a brassware brand with a more extensive offering to come in 2021.

      “These brassware options see the Aqualisa brand covering full, matching combinations of showers and taps to suit a broad range of bathroom installations,” says Sian Brink. “The choice of different lever styles provides options to match both new and existing sanitaryware styles, making them ideal for bathroom makeovers and updates.”

      All taps in the ranges are easy to fit with flexible hose connections and click clack wastes included with the basin taps. They are durable and functional with high quality limescale resistant chrome plate finish, justifying a five-year guarantee against any manufacturing defect.  With integral flow limiters and full WRAS approval, the ranges satisfy all Part G water safety, usage and efficiency standards.

      Aqualisa 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: Aqualisa

      Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

      The Brit List Awards 2020: the winners’ story

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      The Brit List Awards 2020: the winners’ story

      The Brit List Awards 2020 came to a dramatic climax yesterday, when the individual winners – in seven categories – were announced in the virtual awards ceremony that was broadcasted live from London. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who hosted that ceremony, has the winners’ story…

      Image of the Sterling Suite with Brit List logo

      Earlier this year, when we were all adapting to a #WFH summer, a designer accurately described how the pandemic has made us feel. “Covid-19 has been like a wet fish being slapped across our faces,” she said as I laughed, and then frowned with concern when I considered the enormity of the situation. Adapting during these no-doubt challenging times has resulted in many changes, but we were never going to allow a virus to impact on the quality of our nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

      This year’s judging panel – and of course our sponsors and partners – have been phenomenal: going above and beyond to support us as we made that difficult yet responsible decision to transform this year’s awards ceremony into a virtual capacity (while looking forward to the winners’ party that will following in April).

      During the in-depth judging process, we all discovered a new meaning of hospitality as we read how designers, architects and hoteliers are continuing to push conventional boundaries. But the category that really stood out, was the hoteliers – seeing the innovative initiatives that were born during the Covid-19 crisis was breathtaking, and this has naturally become a common thread between this year’s entries.

      Following the unveiling of The Brit List 2020, which references the top 75 influencers in British design and hospitality, we unveiled this year’s individual winners. Here are their stories.

      INTERIOR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
      Winner: Albin Berglund, Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors

      The Brit List Awards - Albin Berglund

      Albin Burglund, in the judge’s words, won because of the wonderful sense of place that pervaded in his recent projects that were referenced in his entry. However, it is also his pioneering approach to designing a new era in wellness hospitality – and the studio’s drive to challenge conventional design – that makes Albin a worthy winner.

      Albin Berglund and Marie Soliman, the founders of Bergman Interiors, are making noise on the world’s luxury hotel design stage for challenging the past and offering solutions when designing the future of hospitality.

      ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR
      Winner: Christos Passas, Project Director, Zaha Hadid Architects

      The Brit List Awards - Christos Passas

      Christos Passas and the whole team at Zaha Hadid Architects have showed such immeasurable creativity for their work on The Opus in Dubai, which shelters ME Dubai. The striking mirrored-glass building gives modern architecture a new meaning. Its new-age yet timeless design challenges so many forms of convention, defying boundaries in architecture and design to stand as a fitting legacy to the late Zaha Hadid.

      HOTELIER OF THE YEAR
      Winner: Gary Neville, Co-Owner, Stock Exchange Hotel

      The Brit List Awards - Gary Neville

      To further prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to support key workers, both Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel were among the first hotels in the UK to close and offer their rooms to NHS staff for free. Not only this but Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, the co-owners of both hotels, also vowed not to make any staff redundant or put them on unpaid leave during the closures.

      BEST IN TECH
      Winner: XR Smart Studio (Royal Lancaster London)

      The Brit List Awards - XR Smart Studio

      In a time when hosting an event seems an unlikely possibility (sounds familiar), the team at the Royal Lancaster London introduced XR SmartStudio, in partnership with Smart AV. This innovative piece of equipment features a 20 sqm Extended Reality stage with LED backdrop and floor, audio, broadcast cameras and TV-ready lighting allowing clients to have both a live audience and virtual attendees.

      THE ECO AWARD
      Winner: Sibley Grove (The Chamberlain)

      The Brit List Awards - Sibley Grove

      Sibley Grove adopts a circular approach to design. This means that the studio considers the entire lifecycle of a product, ensuring materials are used again and again or integrated back into the natural world through decomposition. Designing in a circular way reduces demand on resources, reduces landfill, and incentivizes the production of clean, reusable materials.

      In the Chamberlain, for example, the ceilings use TROL DEKT acoustic panels, a biological material made from 100 per cent natural elements and FSC timber. It achieves high levels of technical performance in use, but crucially it can be disposed of harmlessly.

      A crucial part of The Chamberlain design is Sibley Grove’s policy of ‘design for disassembly’. An approach adopted in all of their projects. In other words, it is considering how the design will come apart after use, whether it is two or two hundred years into the future.

      BEST IN BRITISH PRODUCT DESIGN
      Winner: Sequel Principle collection, from Parkside and Alusid

      The Brit List Awards - Parkside

      The new Sequel Principle collection, from Parkside and Alusid, represents a huge step forward for the ceramic tile industry as the world’s first mass produced 95 per cent recycled content tile.

      With a tile body made entirely from by-products (post-consumer recycled glass and ceramic) of other manufacturing processes, Sequel Principle is based on technology that has taken a bold leap from a small batch production to a fully scalable process. Made by adapting the tile body to work in standard ceramic production facilities, Sequel Principle achieves a similar like-to-like cost as some other twice-fired tiles.

      OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
      Winner: Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

      The Brit List Awards - Fiona Thompson

      I first met Fiona Thompson, Principal of Richmond International, in 2015. As a shy and timid features editor, I had not long graduated from uni and just like every post-grad feels in his/her first job, I felt like I had a point to prove. At the time, The Sterling Suite sheltered inside The Langham London was about to be completed, and I was fortunate enough to gain access into the studio where the sketches from this project became reality. Naturally, I was nervous.

      However, I was totally put at ease when Fiona beamed into the room, sat down and explained every design detail of the 450-square metre suite. Not only did she answer every single one of my 20+ questions, but she also showed an interest in me.

      During our priceless conversation, Fiona made me realise that I was embarking into an industry where human relationships – real relationships – are at the core of nearly every decision. And in these challenging times that we are in, I am all about REAL and MEANINGFUL relationships! Fiona, you wholeheartedly deserve this award!

      Thank you to our partners, and we will see you at the winners’ party in April!

      Geometric tiled walls inside Marriott Hotel Kensington

      Case study: Parkside’s role in Marriott Hotel Kensington

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Case study: Parkside’s role in Marriott Hotel Kensington

      Several architectural tile collections from Parkside feature in the newly refurbished reception lobby, bar and restaurant of London’s Marriott Hotel Kensington

      Geometric tiled walls inside Marriott Hotel Kensington

      Drawing inspiration from the culture, museums and architecture of the Kensington district, Design Coalition worked with Parkside on a scheme involving the specification company’s wall and floor tiles.

      Behind the main check-in desk and on the front of counters, the 3D Rombini Triangle by Mutina is used to striking linear effect, bringing a distinctly modern feel in crisp white. On the floors of the reception lobby, Design Coalition has drawn inspiration from the grand architecture of the museums surrounding the hotel with the large format terrazzo design Blythe combined with a concrete effect tile waterjet cut to shape.

      The hotel’s Cast Iron restaurant takes on a classic British mid-century theme and so Parkside sourced custom mosaics to meet Design Coalition’s brief, as well as supplying Lome in the Crochet pattern, a design inspired by traditional hand-painted terracotta tiles.

      Kim Thraves, interior design associate, Design Coalition, says: “Parkside really helped us to make the most of our tile specification for the hotel, working to source exactly what we needed and offering fast samples. They even met the contractors on-site, surveying the project to check the specification was suitable and gave advice on installation and the selection of the correct adhesives and grouts.”

      A total of 450m2 of ceramic and porcelain tiles supplied by Parkside were installed at Marriott Hotel Kensington by Charnic Interiors, a specialist hotel refurbishment company.

      Parkside, which has just 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/Marriott Hotel Kensington

      A lonely chair on cork flooring

      A modern tradition – introducing a new range by Granorte

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      A modern tradition – introducing a new range by Granorte

      As we continue our journey looking at innovative sustainable solutions, editor Hamish Kilburn casts his eyes on Tradition, a range of glue-down cork floor tiles from Granorte

      A lonely chair on cork flooring

      As we spend more time in our home during the new normal, we’re increasingly conscious of the materials and finishes we choose and the impact they have on our wellbeing. Materials that link us to the positive effects of the natural world are gaining popularity and helping us to feel calm and relaxed as we seek to feel protected and secure within our homes.

      Cork, as we have realised for a while now at Hotel Designs, is an ideal surface to foster this connectivity and is one that not only links us to nature but helps to preserve it also. Cork’s unique aesthetic is deep rooted in the natural world and arguably, its status as a historic floor used in happier times cements its soothing and calming effect. Harvested from bark, rather than felling, cork comes from trees that live for hundreds of years, so it is a material that’s renewable and natural, and which also helps to sustain the balance of the atmosphere.

      Granorte’s Tradition collection is as close to the original cork floors as is possible to find today. Possessing a history dating back over a century, cork tiled floors are the purest use of the material and to which Tradition stays faithful. With a natural sanded pre-finish ready for sealing, these stylish glue-down tiles are available in agglomerated designs that all provide a beautiful and richly organic cork aesthetic.

      “While we have innovated to harness the benefits of cork with products that respond to today’s interiors in floating click floors and PVC-free LVT alternatives, it is the simplicity and pureness of Tradition that seems extraordinarily appropriate at the moment,” says Paulo Rocha, product and R&D manager, Granorte. “Tradition is a sustainable flooring choice that puts homes in direct touch with the natural environment – it is a simple execution of the material that feels all the more genuine and authentic for that very reason.”

      Tradition is available from Granorte in a 4mm thick 600 x 300mm tile, manufactured in Portugal from 100% cork recycled from the wine stopper industry.

      Granorte is one of our Industry Support Package clients 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: Granorte

      The Brit List Awards 2020: how to virtually celebrate in style

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      The Brit List Awards 2020: how to virtually celebrate in style

      With The Brit List Awards 2020 getting underway in just a few hours time, our editorial team have compiled their top tips to making the most out of a virtual awards ceremony (it includes fizz)…

      The awards ceremony for The Brit List Awards 2020, Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, takes place at 14:00 (UK time) today.

      While you’re here, why not read the shortlist for The Brit list Awards 2020?

      As this year’s ceremony is taking place in a virtual format in order to adhere to the latest social distancing measures (not something that comes naturally to our industry), we have pulled together some tried and tested top tips to ensure you experience this year’s virtual awards ceremony in style.

      1) Do not disturb

      An animation that says do not disturb

      Image credit: Morgan Housel on Unsplash

      Switch your ‘Out of Office’ on, get comfortable and stay hydrated (we recommend a glass of fizz as this is a celebration) 

      2) Stay connected

      WALLPAPER with tweet tweet in lighting

      Image credit: Chris J. Davis on Unsplash

      Connect with us and the industry across social – our hashtag for the event is #TheBritListAwards2020.

      Please tag us in your posts on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Linkedin – @HotelDesigns – so that we can reshare your content to our global audience.

      3) Get ready to party!

      Image of champagne and sign to party

      Image credit:Alealexander Naglestad- and Nick Fewings on unsplash

      And finally, why not dress to impress? While our awards ceremony this year may be virtual, our winners’ party is certainly not! The Brit List Winners’ Party/MEET UP London is taking place at Minotti London on April 29, 202 (purchase your tickets here).

      So, what happens now?

      If you have signed up to join us for this memorable industry calendar moment then you will have received your Zoom invitation by now. This will have come from Forum Events with the subject line – The Brit List Awards 2020 – The Award Ceremony Confirmation.  

      You know the drill – just click the link in the Zoom confirmation email to attend The Brit List Awards 2020 (don’t be late)! 

      The agenda of the virtual awards ceremony

      Editor’s Welcome
      Meet the Judges
      The unveiling of The Brit List 2020
      Individual winners announced 

      #TheBritListAwards2020 | Main image credit: Unsplash

      A bathroom with floral walls and modern shower unit from Kaldewei

      Kaldewei provides bathroom solutions for Germany’s largest hotel

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Kaldewei provides bathroom solutions for Germany’s largest hotel

      Bathroom brand Kaldewei has been specified to provide high-end bathroom solutions for The Estrel, which is Germany’s largest hotel…

      With no less than 1,125 guestrooms and suites, The Estrel, located in Berlin, is Germany’s largest hotel – and it has just announced a major refurbishment.

      A bathroom with floral walls and modern shower unit from Kaldewei

      In addition to the mass of rooms, the hotel also shelters four restaurants, three bars, a summer garden with its own landing pier, a state-of-the-art wellness area and gym. Adjoining the four-star plus hotel is the Estrel Congress Center, where more than 75 conference rooms provide the ideal setting for events and conventions.

      As part of its refurbishment, the hotel specified Kaldewei bathtubs, shower surfaces and washbasins for more than 1,000 of its bathrooms. Thanks to these superior steel enamel bathroom solutions, the bathrooms have been transformed into exclusive sanctuaries, surrounded by, but far removed from hectic city life.

      The Estrel offers an intimate ambience and modern design that shapes the character of the spacious rooms and suites. In addition to the numerous standard and de luxe rooms, accessible rooms are also available. Whatever a guest’s room requirements, The Estrel will meet them with its Junior, Deluxe and Executive suites or its Presidential Suite, which also features antique furnishings. Located on the 17th floor, the 250 square metre Presidential Suite is one of the hotel’s highlights. As a privately-run property, creating an intimate ambience and ensuring guests are given individual attention are paramount for the Estrel Berlin. This includes special features such as the Estrel summer garden with its own landing pier, from where guests can embark on a cruise on the Spree through Berlin.

      The guest bathrooms: personalised comfort of the highest standard

      At the Estrel, guests can experience to shower surfaces, washbasins and bathtubs made of sustainable Kaldewei steel enamel which, thanks to state-of-the-art add- on accessories, promise unparalleled relaxation. More than 1,000 of the hotel’s bathrooms feature Cayonoplan, Superplan and Superplan Plus shower surfaces so guests can enjoy a wonderfully invigorating experience.

      A bathroom with floral wallcoverings and modern bath in the middle from Kaldewei

      Image credit: Kaldewei/The Estrel

      In addition, the Pure Duo bathtubs – some fitted with Kaldewei Skin Touch and Sound Wave – guarantee delightful bathing that stimulates all the senses. While the Skin Touch wellness feature delivers a naturally rejuvenating effect, guests can immerse themselves in the resonant vibrations of their favourite music with the Sound Wave bathtub audio system. In keeping with the elegant and aesthetic bathroom design, the wellness experience is rounded off with over 500 Puro undercounter washbasins. In this way, Kaldewei once again meets the hotel industry’s demanding requirements for aesthetic, long-lasting and sustainable bathroom solutions.

      Steel enamel: for sustainability in the bathroom

      Thanks to the resilient surface made of superior steel enamel, Kaldewei bathroom solutions show no signs of wear and tear even after years of intensive use and cleaning. Once their long useful life comes to an end, they are fully recyclable making them ideal for sustainable hotels. “We are delighted that our high-end bathroom solutions are helping to make the Estrel Berlin a very special place for rest and regeneration. Kaldewei and Estrel are two brands that fit perfectly together and meet the highest standards,” says Managing Director Franz Kaldewei.

      Kaldewei 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: Kaldewei/The Estrel

      Image of minimalist bedroom with earthy tones

      Architectural films: the eco-friendly materials that are transforming hotel interiors

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Architectural films: the eco-friendly materials that are transforming hotel interiors

      With eco-friendly materials fast becoming rising stars in the world of interiors, there are multiple benefits of using architectural films and how they can refurbish existing surfaces. Lindsay Appleton, from surface manufacturer Architextural, explains…

      Image of minimalist bedroom with earthy tones

      Gone are the days when wrapping was exclusive to vehicles; architectural films have opened up a wealth of design possibilities.

      In a world where businesses need to keep up with the latest trends, refurbs are always high on the agenda, but contrary to popular belief, a renovation project doesn’t have to break the bank. Transforming a hotel interior has never been easier. From walls to partitions and even lifts, doors, columns and ceilings, thanks to architectural finishes you can wrap any surface. If you’re looking for an alternative renovation solution, why not consider self-adhesive films for a simple and cost-effective resolution for interior design projects?

      You may not realise it, but you are surrounded by architectural films. Commonly found on intricate structures, self-adhesive films can be used in both domestic and commercial environments, including bars, restaurants, offices and more.

      Third Wave Coffee Shop Interior

      Image credit: Architextural/Third Wave Coffee Shop

      Architects and interior designers turn to wrapping films for a number of reasons. They are durable, 3D-conformable, and can be quickly and easily installed with little noise, mess or waste and because they are lightweight, they can be applied in situ.

      Wrap it, don’t rip it

      The last decade has highlighted the importance of looking after our environment and architectural finishes can help tick that box too.

      The traditional rip out and replace refurb methods result in existing interiors and materials being sent to landfill. Architectural finishes solve this problem. With a durability of 10 years plus, cost-conscious businesses have the option to renovate on a budget by simply wrapping the existing surfaces and upcycling instead.

      With sustainability set to be a key trend in 2020 surface finishes can be used to make high-impact, sophisticated designs, in a variety of realistic finishes, ranging from textiles, concrete, marble, wood grain and more.

       On trend

      With over a thousand patterns to choose from, the possibilities really are unlimited, making in-vogue design more than achievable with architectural finishes.

      Mimicking the aesthetics of natural materials, architectural films offer unrivalled choice of on-trend patterns and an alternative method to upcycle existing substrates in an affordable, high-quality finish.

      Believe it or not, concrete is increasingly becoming the go-to material for bathrooms. Replicating this trend using film can be achieved, without having to build a wall of concrete. Giving a robust, industrial feel, the tough yet stylish look can offer a focal point for wall design.

      Ever pined for interior design that replicates the outdoors? Then a realistic wood finish should be high on your list. You may be thinking that the look, feel and touch of wood would be impossible to replicate; however, with the new dry wood collection from 3M DI-NOC architectural finishes, it is possible to look and feel like the real deal.

      A chair in a lounge with dark surfaces on the walls and a bookshelf

      Image credit: Architextural

      Feature walls are also a must-have in numerous commercial spaces. We are starting to see more and more distinctive feature walls or partitions and vinyls can provide businesses with a creative way to stand out from the crowd as a more durable alternative to wallpapers and painted effects. It’s important to maximise feature wall opportunities as it can help to create a strong, dynamic impression within an interior space. The new ultra matt or suede range also ticks this box.

      Cost benefits

      The market opportunity for refurbishment projects is huge. Market growth is a key indicator that shows commercial businesses are keen to invest to improve their spaces, to not only enhance branding, employee satisfaction and also customers experience.

      As it typically costs seven times more to rip out and buy new interiors, rather than refurbishing existing surfaces, architectural finishes offer a great way of keeping within a manageable budget.

      Image of wood-like surface in modern bedroom

      Image credit: Architextural

      Companies looking to reduce costs and improve their environmental sustainability should perhaps consider upcycling the building’s doors, structures, partitions and furniture with self-adhesive finishes to refresh spaces without the loss of revenue or disruption to the business.

      Architextural 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: Architextural

      A close up of a shower outlet from Unidrain

      Product watch: Unidrain introduce new outlet unit

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Unidrain introduce new outlet unit

      One of the main USPs of Unidrain’s new outlet is the low installation height, which allows for faster and more efficient installation…

      Efficient and cost effective building solutions are always being sort within the industry.

      A close up of a shower outlet from Unidrain

      A product that is easy to install, reduces not only the number of materials needed but the time it takes to complete the building process, is destined to be in high demand. This is especially true, when the unit is introduced by a company with an award – winning reputation for excellence.

      Unidrain have expanded their range; to include a newly developed outlet unit with an extra low installation height – just 69 mm. The solution includes a brand new water trap with a height of 50 mm. This new outlet unit is almost 20 mm lower than the manufacturer’s existing outlet units.

      “We’ve developed a solution where the building height is lowered by almost 20 mm, which actually means a lot in construction. The extra-low outlet unit and water trap provide several benefits on site which combine to make installation both easier and faster,” said Lasse Lyck, Technical Manager at Unidrain. “It is particularly beneficial for renovation and conversion projects as they benefit from a lower drainage installation that’s easier to build into an existing floor.”

      A lower solution with lots of capacity

      The water trap effectively guides the water out of the shower and eliminates odour; the water capacity in the new water trap is 32 litres per minute; making the solution well above the minimum requirement of 24 litres per minute. The water trap can easily be dismantled for cleaning and if a rear facing outlet is required the trap can be rotated as needed.

      “We kept the height as low as possible, so the installation also ends up being very low but without compromising on either function or effectiveness. We’ve optimised the solution in terms of size whilst at the same time retained all its benefits and lots of capacity,” added Lyck.

      In addition to being VA-approved, the product meets all common Danish standards, such as BR18 (including SBi Guideline 252) and DS 432. In addition, the solution meets the important European standard EN1253 and is approved in most European countries.

      Unidrain was established in 2003 this design company has gone from inventing the linear floor drain to creating a leading international brand, spreading Danish design ethics and Nordic minimalism to the rest of the globe.

      Unidrain 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: Unidrain

      Industry insight: from hospitality furniture to prison cell

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Industry insight: from hospitality furniture to prison cell

      Award-winning furniture designer Rock Galpin is preparing to speak at Dubai Design Week about the highly challenging brief to design a new era of furniture for the Ministry of Justice inside HM Prisons in the UK…

      Furniture designer Rock Galpin will open up next week at Dubai Design Week about one of his most challenging briefs to date; his ongoing work with the Ministry of Justice inside HM Prisons in the UK.

      As well as unveiling details about his most recent projects, the established furniture, product and brand designer from London (who has recently escaped to live in Dubai), will speak at Dubai Design Week about his furniture projects have been exhibited in more than 40 exhibitions worldwide, from London, Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Cologne and New York. 

      You can catch one of three of Galpin’s talks by signing up below:

      While you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ exlcusive interview with designer Rock Galpin? 

      Main image credit: Rock Galpin

      A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

      How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      How would you design the most haunted hotel in the UK?

      Slated to open in February 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel is expected to make a haunted entrance onto the UK hospitality scene. But how will the modern hotel’s design scheme follow a narrative that dates back to the 18th century? Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

      A render of a guestroom inside a former jail

      Nestled in the heart of Cornwall you’ll find a the foundations of a luxury hotel unlike anything else in the Britain. When it opens in 2021, The Bodmin Jail Hotel will be a place that intertwines the history of an 18th century prison with creative, contemporary design to introduce a memorable hotel experience.

      Exterior of Bodmin Jail Hotel

      For most of its life it was used as a debtor’s prison, until 1869 when imprisonment for debt was abolished. From 1887, the Royal Navy occupied an entire wing, and it was also used to house the Crowne Jewels during WWI.

      After thousands of people had passed through its doors, the jail was finally closed in 1927. Now nearly 100 years later, the building is being brought back to life and remembered as a historic landmark.

      A render of a contemporary restaurant inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

      Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

      55 executions took place within the building’s formidable walls, for crimes such as rape, murder and stealing. Most of these executions were viewed by the public, and thousands would travel specially to witness the hangings. The last person taken to the gallows was William Hampton, who in July 1909 paid the ultimate price for taking the life of his 17-year-old girlfriend; he was also the last man to be hung in Cornwall.

      The Bodmin Jail now encapsulates a contemporary hotel. The guestrooms, which feature modern touchpoints including a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi, have been created by combining three cells, utilising their original features.

      A cross section render of a guestroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

      Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

      The guestrooms weave together original jail features with contemporary design to create a cosy, luxurious environment that strikes a delicate balance between old and new. The weathered stone walls and the stories they hold create the perfect backdrop. Complete with luxury details such as free-standing baths, walk-in showers and sumptuous bedding, every element of the hotel has been designed to offer ultimate comfort and luxury, creating the perfect setting for an enchanting escape.

      A render of a bathroom inside Bodmin Jail Hotel

      Image credit: Bodmin Jail Hotel

      When guests step out of their rooms into the walkways, they will be captivated by the glass ceiling that creates a magical central space. From here, guests can easily explore the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor, wander the sandy beaches of the North and South coastlines, or delve into the delights of Padstow or Fowey.

      Main image credit: The Bodmin Jail Hotel

      Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

      The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      The Brit List Awards 2020: how to gatecrash!

      With The Brit List Awards 2020 taking place this Thursday (at 14:00 UK time), there is no need to gatecrash, as it is completely free to attend this year’s virtual award ceremony…

      Image showing collage of projects and The Brit List Awards 2020 logo

      You won’t hear phrase “if you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in” at this year’s The Brit List Awards 2020 as Hotel Designs’ nationwide search prepares to go live with its virtual award ceremony, taking place this Thursday at 14:00 (GMT).

      Although this year’s award ceremony is free to attend, you do however still need to register in order to secure your complimentary seats in the audience.

      DESIGNERS/ARCHITECTS/HOTELIERS/DEVELOPERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC) 
      SUPPLIERS, CLICK HERE TO ATTEND (FOC)

      Following the unveiling of the shortlist, which referenced more than 120 individuals and projects, this year’s virtual awards ceremony will be broadcast from Minotti London, which is where the winners’ party will be sheltered on April 29, 2021. Following a catch up with this year’s global juding panel, editor Hamish Kilburn will unveil The Brit List 2020, which is Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers. Following this, he will be joined by a number of the event’s sponsors to unveil the individual winners of the following 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
      • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

      Following the virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, Hotel Designs is inviting the industry to come together on April 29, 2021 for a spectacular winners’ Party. To attend The Brit List Awards Winners’ Party, click here.

      Over the last three years, The Brit List Awards has becoming a significant event in the design, architecture and hospitality calendar, as Kilburn explains: “The Brit List Awards was born out of the concept to celebrate Britain as a major design and hospitality hub,” he says. “Arguably, it is more important this year than any other year before to mark that success while celebrating the talented individuals who are continuing to design innovative spaces on the international design scene. It is therefore my pleasure to host this year’s event, albeit virtually, and I cannot wait to personally congratulate the winners when we all meet again in April 2021 for the winners’ party.”

      Meet our Partners:

      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Reassuring the post-corona consumer

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Reassuring the post-corona consumer

      In the third session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by hoteliers from around the world in St Lucia, France, Zimbabwe and the UK to ask how we will reassure tomorrow’s travellers in a post-pandemic world…

      In the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host a number of panel discussions and interviews with the aim to keep the conversation and the industry connected.

      With the pandemic on everyone’s agenda, the third session of the day – sponsored by Room To Breathe UK – was a hotelier special that virtually checked in to hotels around the world to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on global hospitality and possible solutions when re-engaging with tomorrow’s travellers.

      On the panel: 

      The session, followed recent studies that suggested that the post-corona consumer will be hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene, looked at how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

      Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Room To Breathe UK, Bushtec Creations, Air Revive and Bromic Heating.

      We join the panel discussion as Kilburn introduces the session sponsor and speakers (the conversation starts at 02:26 in the video)… 

       

      While you’re here, why not tune in to Hotel Designs LIVE’s other sessions on discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley and adding personality in public areas.

      The recording of the final session, The revival of smart tech post-pandmeic, will go live shortly. 

      SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a third edition on February 23, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused PRODUCT WATCH pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

      A contemporary dining area in a hotel with bold orb lighting

      A hotel for the design-savvy traveller, created by Tara Bernerd & Partners

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      A hotel for the design-savvy traveller, created by Tara Bernerd & Partners

      Tara Bernerd & Partners lends expertise to the first of a new hotel brand by Palace Hotel Group…

      Conceptualised with the design-conscious traveller in mind, Zentis Osaka, which opened its doors this summer, seeks to raise the bar on select-service hospitality for a design-centric and contemporary audience.

      A contemporary dining area in a hotel with bold orb lighting

      The internationally renowned interior architectural practice brought this vision to life through an intelligent approach to interior space-planning and design, establishing a distinct design DNA that is true to the brand, the location and the people who will stay there. 

      “We approached the design with our signature style, one of approachable luxury with an industrial edge.” – Tara Bernerd, Founder, Tara Bernerd & Partners.

      A birds eye view of a contemporary lounge with dining area and sofas on geometric flooring

      Image credit: Stirling Elmendorf

      The lobby provides an open and casual welcome with an architecturally inspired stone staircase anchoring the space. Sculptural in style and materiality, the staircase is visible from street level and makes a distinctive impact on arrival. The contemporary yet laid-back feel continues throughout the ground floor, with the lounge providing an intimate escape in the heart of the city.

      “We were thrilled to be brought on board to help Palace Hotel Group bring its new hotel concept to life,” said Tara Bernerd, Founder, Tara Bernerd & Partners. “We approached the design with our signature style, one of approachable luxury with an industrial edge. With a focus on fresh palettes and raw materials, each space possesses a handsome, and ultimately timeless elegance, catering for a sophisticated patronage seeking a unique offering in the heart of Osaka.”

      Tara Bernerd & Partners worked closely with the architects to anchor the building within the garden space, creating a seamless feel between inside and out. A glass-framed, double-sided fireplace in the lounge brings a focal point emphasising this connection. The lounge itself has a mixture of seating arrangements to suit different purposes and bring a home-from-home feel to the space.  From cosy banquette seating with a hint of privacy, to the shared communal table and sofa groupings placed more centrally in the room, or close to the fireplace on the playful encaustic tiled floor. Sets of two chairs and a table have been placed near the window to capture as much of the greenery outdoors as possible and bring a connection to nature.

      Envisaging the second-floor bar and lounge as an atmospheric destination, a rich palette was designed to create a seductive, moodier atmosphere. An impressive double height ceiling is softened with bold blue and mustard tones to compliment the exposed brickwork, timber beams and Crittall windows. Mirroring the architectural statement of the staircase on the first floor, the bespoke bar made from locally sourced tiles, divides the lounge and restaurant seamlessly giving each area its own identity while continuing the design language of the level below. The blue tones are continued throughout the restaurant and a more artisanal design is felt here. Patterned floor tiles and a feature bookcase add texture, and the view into the kitchen delivers drama for diners.

      A modern guestroom with white bed and abstract symbol above the bed

      Image credit: Stirling Elmendorf

      Throughout the hotel, Tara Bernerd & Partners aimed to establish the aesthetics of the Zentis brand whilst simultaneously creating meaning and connection through a distinct sense of place. Imagining the guestrooms like traditional Japanese bento boxes, interlocking layouts were devised to optimise on the limited floorplate and create a functional yet inviting sanctuary for guests. Continuing the fresh palettes from the lobby, muted tones with warm pops of colour were added and traditional art pieces by a local Japanese artist were commissioned as a nod to the vibrant location in which the hotel is set.

      Main image credit: Stirling Elmendorf

      A messy bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

      Checking in to The Bull Inn, Totnes – a new standard in eco hospitality

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Checking in to The Bull Inn, Totnes – a new standard in eco hospitality

      The award-winning indy hotel, The Bull Inn in Totnes, is a bare reminder that hospitality can be fully sustainable in both design and service. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in…

      A messy bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

      It is time we erase the myth that sustainable hotels are a compromise on luxury. No longer should it be culturally acceptable to greenwash your way into the headlines by simply replacing miniatures and enforcing a ban disposable plastic – this should now be common practice. Instead, hotels and hospitality businesses should be conjuring up new, innovative ways to make a difference, not only environmentally, but also locally within the community.

      Cue the arrival of The Bull Inn, an eight-key British bolthole located in Totnes. This deliberately rough round-the-edges pub/hotel is the fourth brainchild of visionary Geetie Singh-Watson, who worked with local architect Jackie Gillespie to ensure that, from concept through to completion, that every nook and cranny – from the pastel-coloured, untouched rooms right down to the innovative heating system – is sustainable.

      Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

      A short stroll uphill from the town’s high street, the boutique jewel is positioned in an ideal location that captures the atmosphere of the town. Locals can claim it as their own while guests visiting can stay in the heart of Totnes, and while doing so are able to discover a comfortable and conscious slice local life.

      Downstairs, the stripped back design of the pub – with earthy tones and quirky detailing – celebrates the building’s unique style and design narrative. Mismatched wooden furniture and authentic rugs work were either reclaimed or upcycled. The walls have been stripped back to create a deliberately rustic feel that makes the place feel immediately cosy.

      This bare and minimalist design is also apparent in the guestrooms – there are no TVs or radios and each room has its own personality. After climbing the original stairs that are layered with meaningful art, the first thing I notice as I walk into my room is the original, slightly sunken ceilings, which further indicate that this hotel embraces its quirks and imperfections with confidence.

      Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

      The trendy rooms are scattered with antiques that Singh-Watson sourced or upcycled herself, and every supplier specified has been done thoughtfully. The side lamps, for example, were handcrafted by a Dartmoor wood craftsman. The beds, all made up with 100 per cent organic linens from greenfibres, were also sourced locally by Naturalmat, which won ‘Best in British Product Design’ at The Brit List Awards 2019 after earning Hotel Designs‘ stamp of approval for being a sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturer.

      A close up of a bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

      Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

      The white brick tiled bathrooms with accents of muted gold – two rooms with baths and six with showers – feature quality brands such as Crosswater (fittings and showers), Bette (baths), Duravit (toilets) and Geberit (WC flush button levers). These modern areas are stylish, functional and eco-friendly, complete with organic shampoos and conditioner and sustainable waffle towels which were again sourced locally.

      “Singh-Watson’s latest property is a sustainable statement that has certainly made a mark on the hospitality map.”

      The roof has been fitted with solar panels, while the hotelier worked with the architect to develop an innovative heat recovery system to be installed in to lock in heat generated by the kitchen. The result is that the hot water from the guestrooms is heated from this new system that is fully sustainable.

      The Bull Inn is so much more than an organic pub featuring a few well-dressed guestrooms. Singh-Watson’s latest property is a sustainable statement that has certainly made a mark on the hospitality map – it has just been named Eco Hotel of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times and was runner up in the National Geographic Big Sleep Awards 2020.

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

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

      Standing modestly as a true, consciously driven hospitality gem, The Bull Inn in Totnes was rescued from a tired pub and transformed into a clutter-free, authentic pub and hotel that is timeless in both design and service.

      Main image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

      A chain-like art piece that hangs on the wall surrounded by moody interiors

      Siminetti: Proud producers of sustainable mother of pearl surfaces

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Siminetti: Proud producers of sustainable mother of pearl surfaces

      Siminetti is proud of its ethical and ecological credentials and takes the greatest care when sourcing its range of natural products, to ensure the brand meets strict ecological standards…

      A chain-like art piece that hangs on the wall surrounded by moody interiors

      Siminetti, a unique surface brand that sources its materials from sustainable, farmed locations wherever in the world they are grown, absolutely opposes the use of overfishing and exploitation of our worlds sea beds and actively engage with ocean charities who look to sustain our oceans for the betterment of marine life and the conservation for our futures.

      The company only deals with raw material suppliers who have a full understanding of relevant practices and legislation to ensure consistent, high quality products – they must hold a fisheries export license when appropriate, comply with biosecurity laws, provide Certificates of Origin and demonstrate evidence of the specific harvest area.

      While you’re here, why not check out Mother of Pearl decorative panels by Siminetti?

      Siminetti have been hand crafting sustainable mother of pearl surfaces since 2010. This year, along side the celebration of the company’s 10 year anniversary, the brand is launching a new line (of sorts, the brand has been doing it for a while just not really spoken about it)! Siminetti Wall Art, utilising its stunning decorative panels in bespoke frames to add a luxury accent to any discerning space.

      Image credit: Siminetti

      The brand currently offers more than 30 decorative surfaces which can all be made into wall art. In 2021 this will be increasing, with a new line of decorative panels Siminetti are developing in conjunction with a renowned British surface designer.

      As with all our mother of pearl, we are also ensuring the materials used to make our frames is sustainably sourced, with FSC approved timber to protect our planet for future generations.

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

      Main image credit: Siminetti

      An image of a spiral sculpture in a large atrium

      Industry insight: briefing your art consultant

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Industry insight: briefing your art consultant

      Great art captures the mind and stays with you. But how do you brief an art consultant to achieve great art? Harry Pass from Elegant Clutter explains…

      An image of a spiral sculpture in a large atrium

      We understand that talking about art may, at first, be quite daunting. You might think that you need to have a deep knowledge of art to incorporate it into your project. This just isn’t the case. It’s not necessarily about liking a particular style or being an expert on a particular period or artist. In fact, everything is subjective and knowing what you don’t like is really helpful too. But really, you should focus on how you want people to feel in a particular place.

      What kind of experience do you want your guests to have? And how does this fit with your branding? Beautifully crafted artwork can cleverly reinforce and define what your brand story is. These are the some of the jumping off points we use when our team is talking to an architect, designer and/or their client during the consultation stage. An art consultant who knows their craft will help expand this conversation and take the time to develop these areas.

      Image caption: Establishing the artwork ‘mood board’ and comparing with other interior finishes. | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

      They will also need to understand how important the location of the property is to the final guest experience. Location based research is key as it helps to build an art collection that connects with the unique environment of where the art is on view. Very often, the interior designer will create interior schemes that are inspired by local narratives. Artwork is an opportunity to delve deep into these stories – which ultimately results in layer upon layer of discovery for the guest.

      For example, is it an old building that is steeped in history? And if so, do you want that history to be the dominant inspiration for the art collection? When working on a new build project, every area has some story to tell, whether it’s the people that lived there, the industries that developed there, or more whimsical local tales and customs. Researching and unlocking the hidden histories or even the present realities of a space offers rich territory to find that creative spark. For the Radisson Blu in Leeds we worked with Trevillion Interiors to focus on ‘Leeds stories’ reflecting the heritage of this vibrant city. The standout piece was an oversized, spray-painted mural of one of Leeds most famous sons, Peter O’Toole, who gazes down at guests in the lounge.

      Image caption: Radisson Blu in Leeds, spray-painted mural of one of Leeds most famous sons, Peter O’Toole. | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

      Outstanding artwork projects happen when the art consultant is involved from early stages and is working together with the client, designers and other key contributors such as lighting consultants and branding consultancies. The responsibility to lead the artwork development calls on project management skills as well as creative talent. To go back to the original question, great art requires a team approach but with well-defined responsibilities. A client and interior designer who encourage an experienced art consultant to be creative will help the project become more of a destination – sometimes it’s the wild cards that somehow bring together the space!

      While you’re here, why not read this industry insight on the power of art in hotel design?

      The art consultant will be able to create detailed art specifications from the developed brief. It’s not simply a case of selecting and creating artwork in isolation. Presentation is make or break and the frame can be just as important as the piece that is framed within. The Hard Rock Hotel in Budapest gave us the most recent opportunity to prove this theory. During our research stage, we discovered that Ernő Rubik was the Hungarian architect and inventor of the famous toy that takes his name. Something about this mass-produced puzzle appealed to our Pop Art loving consultants. We initially didn’t know where this would feature but we eventually created a picture frame using actual Rubik’s Cubes to build the body of the frame.

      Image caption: Bespoke Wall Sculpture at Etc Venues Chancery lane. Image credit: Elegant Clutter

      Before you engage with an art specialist, you may want to consider what kind of company structure you want to work with and what capabilities you expect. Some consultancies are set up like agencies and it’s mostly about selecting artists with elements such as picture framing and installation sub-contracted to third parties. We work with clients on an end-to-end process with a team of on-site art consultants, designers, artists, picture framers, project managers and manufacturers. Our experience is that this approach allows us to realise more ambitious artwork collections across many types of media. Being an under-one-roof operation, we have also found that it reduces the lead time overall.

      Now comes the part that we mostly don’t talk about in public – the fine art of budgeting! The expertise of the art specialist is important at concept stage in this area and can help to establish options for levels of investment. Every project is unique and will have different levels of spend per piece depending on many factors such as variety, volume and whether the work is original, limited edition or open edition. Some of our clients like to invest in both emerging and established original art, allowing the art collection to be an asset that appreciates in value as well as a powerful draw for visitors and guests. Whichever is the preferred route, early budgeting for artwork is advisable.

      The last piece of advice we have to offer and perhaps the most important for relationship building in the project – have fun with the art! Art consultancy can be such an enjoyable part of the creative process and a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm is involved in creating this magic ingredient. Solid foundations in contract structure, budgeting and project goals will allow some of the more unpredictable and creative methods to develop an art collection that is more than the sum of its parts.

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

      Main image caption: Design Development Proposals for a suspended sculpture at The Circle, Zürich | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

      Introducing AXOR MyEdition 2.0

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Introducing AXOR MyEdition 2.0

      AXOR launches nationwide design competition to celebrate infinite design possibilities…

      Originally conceived as an expression of self-realisation and creativity, AXOR MyEdition was designed to offer a brassware range that could be tailored through 15 exclusive AXOR FinishPlus special finishes and plates for a personalised look.

      Pushing the boundaries of individualisation further, the launch of AXOR MyEdition 2.0 fully satisfies the demand for bespoke bathroom interiors by allowing infinite design possibilities.

      AXOR embodies the belief that every great design begins with a story and that making a personal statement through customised interiors is the essence of luxury. Inspired by a certain encounter, a mood, an experience, or a place of memory, AXOR MyEdition 2.0 allows individuals to bring a piece of their world into the bathroom. The neutral mounting plate makes it possible to apply individually selected materials, patterns and textures to the tap. Enabling true design autonomy, the mounting plate specifications can be downloaded and the individual can create and apply their own plate with the help of a craftsman*.

      To celebrate the launch, and affirm the brand’s maxim of true individualisation, AXOR is launching a nationwide competition, inviting the UK’s creative and design community to share their story by designing their own MyEdition plate. Entries are open from 26th October and closes on 27th November. With an esteemed judging panel, including Andreas Difenbech from world leading design and innovation studio, Phoenix Design, alongside Global Head of AXOR Marketing Anke Sohn and Hansgrohe UK’s Managing Director, Jay Phillips. The winner will have their design realised in a prototype, which will be displayed in the window of Hansgrohe’s Water Studio on Clerkenwell Road in London.

      “With AXOR MyEdition 2.0, we have created a blank canvas, setting the stage for personal creativity,” said Andreas Difenbach from Pheonix Design. “MyEdition gives the individual the tools to create their ideal piece. The extraordinary choice of colours, materials and patterns is the point of departure for a unique, personalised result. The collection is a creative kit for escape and imagination.”

      Image credit: AXOR/hansgrohe

      In addition to its customisable aesthetic, the collection offers a superior water experience. MyEdition is available with the innovative PowderRain spray – a first for washbasin mixers. With the advantage of micro spray technology, this water method has six fine openings per nozzle (instead of one), transforming the spray into thousands of micro droplets that envelop hands in a gentle cocoon of water.

      While you’re here, why not check out hansgrohe’s expansion in its FinishPlus range?

      hansgrohe 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: hansgrohe

      Feature // Is Covid an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Feature // Is Covid an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

      Following an engaging discussion about sustainability with Bill Bensley at Hotel Designs LIVE, we asked session sponsor Silentnight Group how Covid-19 will impact the industry’s stance on hygiene and eco-friendly behaviour. Sales Director, David Lawenson writes…

      The past seven months has been challenging for the hospitality industry. The current global pandemic has hit the industry hard and reopening has been a confusing and staggered process. At a time where the current topic of the moment is cleanliness, could the post-pandemic environment be an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

      David Lawrenson, Sales Director of Hospitality at Silentnight Group believes that it could be the push that businesses in the hospitality industry needs to choose sustainable options. “Sustainability promotes a healthier environment, both inside and outside of a hotel property, and given the recent pandemic, this has never been more relevant.”

      Image credit: Silentnight Group

      In recent years, sustainability has shifted from a niche concern to a mainstream opportunity, and current trends are being driven towards sustainable practices. In response, we have seen a big shift in the way brands in other industries are responding to sustainability, and it could be time for the hospitality industry to follow. Becoming carbon neutral could soon be the minimum for hospitality suppliers, and there will be movement towards businesses becoming carbon negative too.

      Silentnight Group are proud to be carbon neutral, and through their eco-friendly product development, progressive work practices and their partnership with the Marine conservation Society, they are determined to make the world a greener place, maintaining their position as a trusted mainstream brand at the same time. As a mass market manufacturer simply switching to ‘naturals’ like cotton or wool was not a commercial option for Silentnight.

      Angela Moran Product Strategy Director at Silentnight explains: “Instead we took inspiration from the likes of Nike, Adidas and Patagonia and take single use plastics and turn them into new products. Whilst there is much media hype demonising plastic following Blue Planet, it’s not so much plastic per se, but the littering of plastic, particularly single use, that’s the problem.

      “Circular economy thinking makes perfect sense for any business because ultimately it’s about being a resource efficient business. In nature there is no waste as everything is re-cycled. We’re taking another industry’s waste product and converting it into new comfort fibres, therefore adding value by making new consumer goods.”

      Taking inspiration from the principles of the circular economy, Silentnight’s innovative Eco Comfort filling contains intelligent fibres made from recycled plastic bottles. Not only does each mattress prevent 150 plastic bottles from entering the waste stream, but the high-tech design process offers greater breathability and is available at an affordable price point. Thus far, the Eco Comfort filling has prevented a staggering 105 million plastic bottles from entering landfill and oceans.

      Silentnight’s Eco Comfort 1200 Pocket mattress has been awarded a ‘Which? Best Buy’ 5 years running and is the brands best-selling mattress online, proving that sustainable design doesn’t always mean paying a premium for the consumer or sacrificing sales as a brand.

      It could be said that the pandemic has handed the hospitality industry the opportunity to harness sustainable practices. With the many changes required due to government legislation, potentially fewer guests permitted into hospitality venues and a need to focus on being a resource efficient business, it could be a perfect time to introduce small changes that together, could have a big impact on the environment.

      Silentnight Group, which provides sustainable sleeping solutions for the hospitality industry, was a session sponsor for Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

      Main image credit: Silentnight Group

      Hygiene vs sustainability: the ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Hygiene vs sustainability: the ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences

      Following Hotel Designs LIVE, where both topics were put under the spotlight, we asked session sponsor GROHE how hygiene and sustainability can work together to create a ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences…

      Not so long ago, the average hotel guest might have put king size beds, room service and fine dining, or a room with a view at the top of their overnight experience wish-list. Today however things are very different. In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, hospitality businesses have had to swiftly adapt to this ‘new normal’ in a bid to stay afloat during what has been a treacherous time for the industry as a whole.

      Whilst the ongoing pandemic continues to present uncertainty and new challenges, global leading bathroom manufacturer GROHE believes that the swift change in direction when it comes to hygiene and how this can in turn positively impact sustainability, can be viewed as an opportunity to improve guest experiences and establish better standards within the industry. Now is the time to optimise high-tech hygienic solutions and combine them with a sustainable stance to create the ultimate safe, relaxing and enjoyable hotel stay.

      Image caption: GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom.

      Hygiene is key to making guests feel safe

      After a difficult and unprecedented year, the world is beginning to embrace a ‘new normal’, tentatively looking ahead to the future at prospects of business trips, holidays and staycations. Creating a hygienic environment within our hotels and hospitality spaces is key to ensuring that guests feel safe and can comfortably enjoy their stay, whilst continuing to boost a nationwide confidence across the sector over the coming months.

      GROHE has the perfect bathroom product selection, from advanced shower toilet systems and innovative infra-red solutions for taps and WC flushes, to help optimise hygiene across both guestroom bathrooms, and communal washrooms and spa facilities.

      The GROHE Sensia Arena shower toilet for instance can provide a totally touchless experience as users can control and personalise washing and drying features from their smartphone as well as utilising the automatic functions. As the guest approaches the toilet, a sensor is activated to lift the lid. It then closes after use, followed by an automatic flush. Additional hygiene features such as its powerful Triple Vortex flush, rimless design and anti-bacterial surface coating which is applied to the toilet bowl, shower arms and nozzle guards, further help eradicate unwanted dirt particles by making it difficult for them to stick to surfaces. The Sensia Arena also benefits from GROHE’s ion technology known as PlasmaCluster which releases positive and negative ions into even the farthest hard-to-reach corners of the toilet bowl and in the air around the toilet, to inactivate bacteria. Meanwhile, an automatic odour extraction system is integrated into the toilet system to ensure the ambient air remains free from unpleasant odours. These state-of-the-art hygiene functions are particularly beneficial when shower toilets are used in communal spaces of hotels with increased footfall. They help to maintain superior hygiene standards between each use to supplement routine cleaning protocols carried out by staff.

      Meanwhile, for hoteliers looking for a more cost-effective retrofit solution, the GROHE Bau Manual Bidet Seat can be installed quickly and easily. Compatible with most existing toilet cisterns, the seat and accompanying spray allows guests to opt for a more natural, gentler way of maintaining their intimate hygiene. The seat provides a simple yet effective solution as it does not require any electrical work as the spray is powered solely by water pressure.

      Image caption: GROHE Manual Bidet Seat (close up).

      Infra-red is also a leading go-to hygienic solution, primarily with touchless taps and automatic flushing in mind. “GROHE’S infra-red sensor taps allow for a truly innovative and hygienic way of washing your hands,” explains Karl Lennon, Director A&D Accounts EMENA at GROHE. “The sensor registers when your hands are approaching and automatically activates the flow of water. If the sensor no longer detects movement, the water will automatically turn off.” And so, with products such as the GROHE Bau Cosmopolitan E infra-red tap, no touching means minimising the risk of germs, bacteria and cross-contamination. It also ensures reduced water consumption, increasing sustainability credentials for hotel establishments without compromising on design or style.

      It may seem that the future has been on fast forward in recent months and it’s true that these latest technologies are now being addressed as a matter of urgency. “Hygienic solutions have been on the market for a while now,” confirms Glen Wilson, Head of Projects at GROHE UK, “including the likes of infra-red technology and shower toilets. With such advanced technology already at our fingertips, the pandemic will likely spur on a new surge of innovations as the nation continues to establish this ‘new normal’ and the changing interactions with various aspects of our everyday lives, which will become relevant for both our homes and hotel spaces. As well as touchless technology, voice-activation and app-control will also be popular contenders for new ways of operating taps, appliances and other everyday items.”

      How the ‘new normal’ can improve sustainability

      This new demand for increased hygiene and a safe environment is not going to go away. And to some extent, this begs the question: why should it?

      It is, after all, an ethos which the world should probably have been embracing even before the events of this year unfolded.
      GROHE sees this increased need for hygiene as the perfect opportunity to improve sustainability credentials at the same time. For the hotel industry it can mean substantial savings on water and energy with infra-red taps and sensor flushing, as well as the potential for a reduction in the use of amenities such as toilet paper thanks to the new technologies available that are giving bathrooms a holistic, hygienic makeover.

      Image caption: GROHE Sensia Arena shower toilet.

      The possibilities go far beyond these tangible, instantaneous measures though, with GROHE exploring long-term changes too such as the world of 3D metal-printing in order to reduce excess waste in the manufacturing process.

      “Sustainability has always been integral to GROHE’s brand identity,” explains Karl Lennon, Director A&D accounts EMENA, “and is one of the company’s key values. GROHE uses a 360-degree sustainability approach that incorporates employees, suppliers, customers, processes, products, as well as the company’s social contribution. All of GROHE’s products and manufacturing processes have been designed over time to conserve water and energy wherever possible and are constantly evolving.”

      This gives the hotel industry an ideal opportunity to offer guests not only an ultimately safe and hygienic stay, but also an experience within a sustainable, eco-conscious hotel that does its bit to help protect our planet.

      Keep informed with RIBA-approved training modules

      The hotelier, architect and design community can keep abreast of the latest knowledge around the topics of sustainability and hygiene by using resources such as GROHE’s RIBA-approved CPD seminars on water-saving and 3D printing. In November, its roster of training modules will also be enhanced with a brand-new seminar dedicated to hygiene.

      3D Printing for Advanced Bathroom Fittings dissects 3D printing technology, its place in the manufacturing sector and its ongoing growth across many industries due to its ability to create small batch custom manufacturing in a much more sustainable and accessible way. The session also sheds light on the positive sustainability impact 3D printing can have on reducing CO2 emissions and saving water thanks to less wastage and more efficient use of raw materials. Meanwhile, Water Saving Without Compromising Performance seeks to encourage greater awareness and action from the architect community when it comes to specifying water fittings for projects. Both seminars can be booked for online learning at www.ribacpd.com.

      GROHE sponsored the session entitled: The revival of smart technology at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

      Main image credit: GROHE

      Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Weekly briefing: lighting confessions, new arrivals & a contactless check in

      Only got a minute? It’s been a busy week on the editorial desk but we have have compiled our top stories, including a confession of a lighting designer, multiple hotel debuts and a panel discussion on the future of public areas…

      As we gear up to unveil the winners of The Brit List Awards 2020 on November 12, the headlines this week have been flooded with positivity – from new hotel arrivals and new lighting solutions to eco and conscious design brands unveiling new products. We appreciate you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

      Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

      Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about.

      “You may already be familiar with Bloc Hotels, but you haven’t seen anything like Block Hotel Gatwick’s recent renovation…”

      Read more.

      Banyan Tree unveils first luxury resort to open in Krabi in 11 years

      Nestled on a verdant hillside with spectacular vistas of limestone cliffs rising from the sea, Banyan Tree Krabi has opened. Owned by Asset World Corporation (AWC), the new luxury resort backs onto a lush national park and Naga Crest Hill, granting three ultra-exclusive beachfront pool villas, 10 beachfront pool villas, and 59 pool suites — each of which has its own private pool — a westward-facing view of sunset over the Andaman. A natural spring flows downhill into the property where it is transformed into a flower-fringed canal ferrying spring water to the sea.

      Read more.

      Virtual roundtable: lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel

      Following a number of recent roundtables where lighting was unintentionally put under the spotlight, Hotel Designs collaborates with innovative lighting expert Moritz Waldemeyer and a number of designers to understand lighting’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

      Read more.

      Confessions of a lighting designer – sparks and relationships

      In the second editorial of the ‘confessions of a lighting designer’ series, Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, explores lighting relationships.

      Following our previous article, the hotel guest experience can be considered as being framed physically by the architecture, informed by the interior design, and reinforced by the service that you receive, but transcending across all of those to make it an outstanding experience is the intangible – great lighting design.

      Read more.

      How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

      Founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Alexander and Sharon Harris, Harris & Harris emerged onto the design scene as a sustainable breathe of fresh air. Working internationally, the studio creates chic yet playful designs focusing on craftsmanship and quality whilst minimising the impact on the planet – and it was this unique blend that caught our editorial attention.

      Read more.

      (In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Adding personality in public areas

      In the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron, editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host a number of panel discussions and interviews with the aim to keep the conversation and the industry connected.

      Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE where an expert panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, Hotel Designs was back to put public areas back under the spotlight.

      Read more.

      Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

      Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about…

      The BLOC hotel at Gatwick Airport is a advanced concept in hospitality that offers a comfortable night’s sleep at a competitive price whilst embracing technology for the easiest and most convenient guest experience possible.

      The ‘touchless’ technologies recently installed had the useful side-effect of being ‘Covid friendly’, as guests use their own devices for everything they need to do, from the moment they step through the door to their room right up to checkout.

      Here’s Hotel Designs‘ exclusive video review of checking in to Bloc Hotel Gatwick, filmed by CUBE Video, ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE:

      There are no keycards required. The guestrooms can be unlocked from a smart device, without even the need to download an app. Once in their room, guests can then control the door entry, lights, climate, blinds and television from their smartphone or tablet, and when it’s time to leave, they can use it to check out too.

      Technological Innovations Group (TIG) worked with Symbiot to create this unprecedented hotel experience for BLOC, specifying secure Crestron hardware that eliminate the need for bulky onsite systems architecture.

      A bespoke cloud-based room control management system was developed for BLOC by Symbiot that integrates with the hotel’s Property Management System and Point of Sale systems, to control the entire hotel experience and environment, using the class-leading Crestron technology provided by TIG.

      Image caption: The new contactless experience is operated via a smartphone, without having to download an app. | Image credit: Symbiot/TIG

      The challenge

      Olivier Delaunoy, BLOC’s chief technology officer explained the challenges that were involved: “Initially we wanted to develop a completely new hotel stay experience that was seamless for our customers. But the technology we needed to control our rooms was not available as no one had attempted this before in the hotel industry!”

      The solution

      Delaunoy explains: “We had to adapt existing hardware and create inventive software to realise our vision. We needed the backbone of the control hardware to be resilient and secure. That’s why we chose Crestron hardware supplied by TIG and installed by an approved Crestron Integrator.”

      The results

      Phillip Pini, Head of Residential Sales UK, TIG is very happy with the outcome and explains: “What makes this ground-breaking is its seamlessness, its ease of use, and how convenient it all is. Guests simply use a web-based control system on their mobile device to control their surroundings, check in and out, and open their door – there is nothing to download, nothing else needed to access this clever system. Guests simply scan a QR code, put in their reference number, and away they go! What’s more, it is inclusive, with an option to cater to those who are still more used to analogue methods. This marks a huge shift at the right time!”

      The control system can even be used to operate the elevator within the BLOC hotel and will show the guests to their room. Although Covid-19 was not foreseen when this system was designed, the reduced contact was a fortunate by-product. Olivier comments: “We did not go out initially to reduce the risk of infections, but what we’ve created suits that purpose perfectly and we’re now adapting our technology further to embrace that requirement.”

      “In addition to this advantage, cost-savings can be achieved through streamlined housekeeping and maintenance. The Gatwick BLOC’s infrastructure can be accessed by management to provide operational insights, as well as real-time diagnosis of everything from lighting status to leak detection.”

      BLOC plans to open more hotels and will install this technology in all its future properties. Symbiot is now selling and implementing the technology to other hotel chains, and it is being rolled out internationally.

      Soon, it may be that this touchless, convenient and seamlessly advanced experience developed for BLOC by Symbiot, in partnership with TIG, will be a big part of the future for the hospitality sector.

      Technological Innovations Group is the Founding Headline Partner of Hotel Designs LIVE. To find out more about how Technological Innovations Group can help your business develop and deploy pioneering solutions to modern challenges, visit the website.

      Main image credit: TIG/BLOC Hotels/Symbiot

      Virtual roundtable: lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Virtual roundtable: lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel

      Following a number of recent roundtables where lighting was unintentionally put under the spotlight, Hotel Designs collaborates with innovative lighting expert Moritz Waldemeyer and a number of designers to understand lighting’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

      There is arguably no one in the industry who is more dedicated, more aware and more creative in lighting design than Moritz Waldemeyer.

      As well as working with a number of hotels to create powerful installations, the lighting guru has designed LED ‘couture’ pieces for music icons such as Ellie Goulding, WillIAm, Take That and Rhianna (to name a few). He has dominated catwalks during collaborations with the likes of fashion design legend Philip Treacy OBE and Versace.

      Just when we thought Waldemeyer had found his rhythm, he surprised us yet again by unveiling a fresh and innovative lighting scheme for Bentley Motors, which magnificently went on display to mark the car company’s 100-year anniversary.

      So, when curating an exclusive virtual roundtable on ‘lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotel’, it felt only fitting to collaborate with the LED master himself. To help Waldemeyer and I shed light on this heavily debated topic, we invited a handful of leading designers and consultants from around the world to join the conversation…

      On the panel:

      “For me, the advancements in LED has been the enabler to what lighting designers have been able to achieve in recent years.” – Moritz Waldemeyer, Founder, Studio Waldemeyer.

      Hamish Kilburn: When did lighting become more than just a decorative accessory in hotel design?

      Neil Knowles: Lighting has always been important, but in my career, it has taken off from being created by lighting engineers to now being designed by lighting specialists. For me, that is the key difference. Lighting used to be very uniformed and efficient, and slowly we have evolved to make it more theatrical.

      Hayley Roy: Guests’ expectations have changed, and they now expect lighting to create an experience. This, I believe, has happened in the last 20 years with guests valuing what interior designers do more.

      Moritz Waldemeyer: About 20 years ago I was working as a research scientist for Phillips. I remember looking at a graph about light output for LEDS. It was a revolutionary piece of tech that would half lighting costs. For me, the advancements in LED has been the enabler to what lighting designers have been able to achieve in recent years.

      Marie Solimen: Our lifestyles have changed massively in the last 20 years. I believe that guests were acknowledging design before, but all of a sudden, we were able to capture these moments with the evolution of social media. People started realising the impact and drama lighting can have in a space.

      Six years ago, I saw it change. The lighting designer’s role became more significant and there was definitively a rise in the use of colour, which was driven largely by social media.

      HR: The industry has realised for some time now that they are certain projects where you absolutely need to bring in a lighting consultant, because lighting is such an integral element to get right in an interior design project 

      Asao Nakayama: In Japan, we had a massive lifestyle change just before the millennium. At that time, wellness became a dominant consumer demand for travellers.

      HK: Japan is a great example of a destination where technology and wellness can work in harmony with one another. How do you find the balance?

      Atushi Kaneda: Japan manufactures a lot of high-tech products, but in places it is lacking good and meaningful design. The end user, in many, circumstances is more sophisticated than the designer.

      HK: Asao and Atushi, you have recently worked together to design Tokyo’s debut Aloft hotel. Can you tell us more about the lighting scheme in this hotel?

      AN: The hotel, both interior and exterior, has been designed to challenge conventional lighting design. The concept was to create a “hotel that wears light” in the city, with the exterior being inspired by ‘Japanese lanterns’.

      AK: The Interior space is dramatic. We specifically designed the public areas with the aim to create a strong 70s vibe. To achieve this, we used a new LED technology to ensure the lighting was the best quality.

      What’s more, the lighting in the hotel can be changed easily with the idea being that the lighting scheme within the hotel will be unique to the seasons. It’s a subconscious change for the guests but one that we believe will enhance their experience.

      HK: Let’s talk about personalisation. Will all hotels, like Aloft Ginza Tokyo soon shelter this ability to personalise lighting, and can you see this technology being utilised in all guestrooms in the future?

      GC: I love that idea, but being a realist I just don’t think that every hotel within the Marriott brand at least would be able to utilise this concept to its potential. [As designers], we can only control so much in regards to training of staff, for example. There are certain properties worldwide that are more suited to this style of tech hotel.

      A luxe and modern suite

      Image credit: W London/Marriott International

      “A solid lighting scheme will create a purposeful experience and help the design narrative to unfold.” – Marie Soliman, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Bergman Interiors.

      HK: Marie you are working on projects that will open years from now, and I assume that you are trying to take technology to its limits within the boundaries of wellness. What is lighting’s role in these projects?

      MS: Lighting for us is a huge part of what we do. Once we have a project, we immediately speak to a lighting designer.

      First of all, lighting enhances the whole experience within a hotel, and secondly it creates memories. A solid lighting scheme will create a purposeful experience and help the design narrative to unfold. We can achieve this by playing with light and colour.

      Typically, hoteliers want guests to feel at home, and naturally comfortable. One area that is very interesting to explore is circadian rhythm, and understanding how we can change how areas feel throughout the day.

      “We are now focusing more on creating that warmth of hospitality and not the ‘wow factor’.” – Gabriella Callinan, Interior Design Manager, Marriott International.

      HK: Gabriella, Marriott International is a hotel group known for its research when it comes to lighting and sound. What innovations have you seen recently?  

      GC: Across all 30 brands, we have many different styles of hotels. The guest is savvy and whether they are in a high-end luxury hotel or a cheaper lifestyle property, their demands when it comes to lighting are the same. Today’s guest knows what they want and we have to deliver that.

      Today, as well as there being more technology for the guest, we are also able to monitor what elements within our hotels are being used most. We can design the most amazing lobby complete with presets and light levels. However, if it is not being used then that is a poor investment. Sometimes, six months after the opening of a hotel we will return to find that nobody has touched those controls. Perhaps the General Manager or Director of Engineering has left. Practically, we do see this scenario.

      A sedated interior scheme inside the guestroom of the hotel

      Image credit: Tokyo Edition/Marriott International

      Recently, we have pulled back on the ‘wow factor’ and instead given the consumer a simple, clean and effective design. We are now focusing more on creating that warmth of hospitality and not the ‘wow factor’.

      We have looked at how lighting can work in loyalty. So in your app, we have looked at giving that customisation without overwhelming guests. It’s difficult to make everyone happy.

      Image credit: Moritz Waldemeyer

      HK: Moritz, your studio straddles between design, fashion and other industries. What advantages does that give you?

      MW: One thing we like to do in the studio is jump from one industry to another and bring something from an previous experience. We regularly bring together design and fashion, for example, which always takes our projects to a new level. I think that universal curiosity gives a real advantage when approaching a new challenge – and it is that magical connection that allows us to breathe fresh life into projects.

      “If the idea is strong then you have a greater chance to create something timeless.” – Moritz Waldemeyer, Founder, Studio Waldemeyer.

      HK: Fashion is short shelf life, do you see some of your designs being more long-lasting?

      MW: At the studio, we try to use technology to create our own electronics and circuit boards, but it’s important that the idea stands out and is the driver of any project we are working on. If the idea is strong then you have a greater chance to create something timeless. It has to be idea-driven and not tech-driven.

      HK: Marie, what’s lighting’s role in fitness?

      MS: Lighting is so important in a wellness and fitness setting, and our studio has been able to pioneer new fitness spaces by utilising lighting. We found a formula that allowed lighting to enhance overall performance.

      In a hotel, you want to give a warm welcome but in a HIIT studio, for example, you want to bring the energy up! We designed a new boutique rowing studio called the Engine Room. To really make the design work, we connected the ceiling lights, which were deliberately designed as arrows, to work in sync with the user rowing. All of a sudden, the light was enhancing the performance.

      Image credit: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors

      We have also recently worked with Accor to replace that one-size-fits-all mentally when designing fitness spaces. The environment we designed inside Pullman Power Fitness is bold and offers much more than just a gym. We want guests to feel the vibe. The idea is that our guests – their bodies – are the art. It’s all inspired by fashion and how your body is a sculpture.

      HK: Do you think we are missing a trick in lighting F&B spaces?

      HR: No, I don’t think we are. Every design we do is tailored to the client. At an entrance, the wow factor is there – you want that! When you walk into the F&B experience it is normally about bringing that mood into that F&B area. It’s really important to bring drama but you do this in a different way and in more of a subtle manor.

      NK: It’s really important to remember, especially in F&B areas, good lighting design shouldn’t be noticed. It’s about setting an appropriate mood and not always about creating a statement.

      HK: What lighting trends should hotels avoid in the future?

      GC: It was trends – and still is for some people – to create that moody experience; to dim the lighting and mute the space. Although that may look appealing, you have to understand how that space would then function during all times (day and night). So we asked our guests across different brands what they thought. What was interesting was that the response – especially amongst women – was that travellers actually felt unsafe.

      While you’re here, click here to read our exclusive panel discussion on the role of UV Lighting in a post-pandemic world.

      In conclusion to this panel discussion, new LED technology and software is allowing designers and consultants to utilise lighting when finding new, innovative ways to enhance the guest experience and cater to new demands of modern travellers. However, like all elements in international hotel design, lighting scheme concepts should not be dictated to by trends. Instead, in order to find the right balance – and to create a timeless statement and/or ambiance – it is wise to collaborate with a credible lighting designer/consultant.

      If you would like to have your say about lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotels, please Tweet us @HotelDesigns. A special thanks to Studio Waldemeyer and our expert panellist for joining the conversation.

      How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

      Harris & Harris has earned Hotel Designs’ stamp of approval as an environmentally and socially responsible interior and product design studio…

      Founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Alexander and Sharon Harris, Harris & Harris emerged onto the design scene as a sustainable breathe of fresh air. Working internationally, the studio creates chic yet playful designs focusing on craftsmanship and quality whilst minimising the impact on the planet – and it was this unique blend that caught our editorial attention.

      The dynamic duo met in 2007 whilst working for an architecture practice in Melbourne, Australia. They moved to London in 2010 and later married and started a family whilst growing their dream design studio.

      Prior to founding Harris & Harris, Alex worked for some of the biggest names in design; Terence Conran’s furniture company Benchmark, David Collins, Kelly Hoppen and Yoo, co-founded by Philippe Starck.

      Sharon has a truly international perspective having worked as an interior designer in Singapore, Melbourne and London for blue-chip clients including China Construction Bank, Citigroup, Molton Brown and Goldman Sachs as well as the Dubai property developer Emaar.

      In 2019, the team boldly stepped into a new territory by unveiling the conscious bedroom for the Independent Hotel Show London. The guestroom set that was designed sensitively challenged conventional hotel design from every angle.

      The Harris & Harris team now creates inspiring and innovative designs for clients that include hospitality brands, interior designers and developers such as The Arts Club, Conran, Finchatton, Four Seasons, Hakkasan, The Hoxton and Soho House as well as private individuals. Products and projects reach far across the globe including Monaco, The Hamptons, Miami, Seoul, Munich, Limassol, Macau and Paris.

      The studio’s Product Collection features more than 100 pieces of furniture, lighting, outdoor furniture and interior accessories, all designed in-house by the studio. The designs are influenced by the founders European and Asian heritage, together with their love of modernism, art deco, mid century and 1960s pop design.

      Each product is handmade to order by skilled artisans and workshops and are named after the places Alex and Sharon have frequented around Singapore, Australia and Great Britain.

      Image caption: The Raffles seating range, named after the iconic hotel, is a refined family that injects refined glamour into an interior space. The pieces are influenced by art deco style of designers, including Eileen Gray and Charlotte Perriand.

      Aside from being a studio that shelters awe-inspiring design, Harris & Harris strives to be environmentally and socially responsible wherever they can and in all areas of the company. The studio developed the Product Collection to include as many of their self-initiated ‘Responsible Factors’ as possible:

      1) Designed For Life Foundation

      The studio established the ‘Designed For Life Foundation’ to donate a percentage of every sale from the product collection to charity. Their furniture and lighting is predominantly specified for luxurious hotels, bars, restaurants and high end private homes and the founders felt it was important to help balance this. So for every product sold from the Collection their clients are automatically donating to the following three charities concerned with providing those without the basic needs of food, water and shelter: FareShare – the UK’s national network of charitable food re-distributors, WaterAid – providing clean water and hygiene solutions worldwide and ShelterBox – an international disaster relief charity, providing emergency shelters.

      2) Made in the UK

      Most of the collection is manufactured in the UK. Being a London-based company, this helps reduce transport energy consumption, particularly when a project is also UK based. Producing in the UK also helps support local industry and communities.

      3) Sustainable upholstery option

      Most of the upholstered seating is designed to have the option of being manufactured with natural materials including coconut fibre, natural latex, wool & cotton wrap and feathers. This minimises the impact on the environment by reducing the use of harmful chemicals, plastics and oils as well being biodegradable at the end of the product’s life. Natural materials are also far better for the health and well being of those using the seating.

      4) Made from recycled materials

      Recycled materials have been introduced into many of the products. This includes working with the German manufacturer Magna to provide their ‘Glaskeramik’ material for table tops in the collection, which is produced from 100% recycled waste glass. Harris & Harris also works with London stone specialist Diespeker to provide their terrazzo material which includes crushed recycled glass and marble off-cuts. A selection of the products are produced from clay and terracotta which create very little waste as off-cuts and unused material can be easily reused in future production

      5) Made from renewable, low-embodied energy and natural materials

      Most of the products are made from abundant and sustainable materials. Harris & Harris uses timbers including Ash and bamboo, which is very fast growing and requires no fertiliser or pesticides. They use natural stone, glass, clay and terracotta on many of the products which have a very low embodied energy (the total energy within the material from extraction to finished product). The natural upholstery option minimises the impact on the environment as highlighted above and Harris & Harris work with UK based Alma Leather to provide their natural cow hides that have a sustainable 100 per cent vegetable tan finish. The studio will also be introducing a vegan option as an alternative to the current leather selection very soon

      6) Made from FSC or PEFC-certified timber

      Harris & Harris ensures its factories and craftsman only ever use sustainably sourced timber that has been given either FSC or PEFC certification. The studio will never use exotic tree species from non-renewable forests

      7) Supplied with Low Energy LED Bulbs

      The Azzero and Kyoto lighting ranges utilise efficient LED G9 bulbs. For the Wharf, Siloso and Chalford lighting ranges Harris & Harris works with the UK based lighting brand Tala to provide their long lasting and low energy LED bulbs. Tala bulbs look fabulous thanks to their old filament style design but with using the latest LED technology. Tala are committed to reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere and support reforestation programmes around the world

      8) Built for longevity and durability

      Harris & Harris work with well respected craftsman, factories and workshops who use high quality production methods, together with durable and premium materials, to ensure the product collection is created for a long life span. The team is passionately against a throw away culture and design all of their products to be resilient and long lasting that can be handed-down over generations rather than thrown away

      9) Easily disassembled and recycled at end of life

      Many of the products are easily disassembled and can be taken apart by hand (or are single-material) so they can be separated into their individual materials to be recycled, biodegraded or reused.

      Harris & Harris was a PRODUCT WATCH pitch partner for Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

      Image credit: Harris & Harris

      EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

      Danish designers Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken of Space Copenhagen will mastermind the complete interiors for new wellness and eco hotel in Norway, Svart

      Svart, which will become the world’s first energy positive hotel, has appointed award-winning Danish design firm Space Copenhagen to lead the property’s interior design.

      Image credit: Svart

      The 99-key hotel, which Hotel Designs first unveiled the concept of last year, will be located in Arctic Norway at the base of the Svartisen glacier and will house an indoor-outdoor spa, four restaurants, an education centre and a design laboratory. Developed by Miris and archtiecture by Snøhetta, the glass-fronted, circular property will float on stilts above the Holandsfjorden fjord. Following my hype already, the hotel is slated to open to guests in late 2022, and aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and shelter zero waste within the first five years of operation.

      The Denmark-based design studio Space Copenhagen, founded by Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken in 2005, has been charged with masterminding the entire interior vision for the new hotel. The duo will draw on their years of creative collaboration, with past projects including 11 Howard, Geist 2.0 and The Stratford London, to create an aesthetic which will reflect the project’s core values of sustainability, innovation and holism.

      “It was essential for us to find a design partner that shared our vision, with the ability to create a truly stunning aesthetic that both complements and emphasises the natural beauty of the destination, without distracting from it,” said Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart’s Development Director and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020. “Longevity, human connection and a distinctly Scandinavian quality – themes which run through Bundgaard and Bindslev Henriken’s award-winning work – will be at the heart of the Svart experience. We could not have found a better fit for us in Space Copenhagen and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

      “The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it.” – Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken, founders, Space Copenhagen.

      Image credit: Space Copenhagen

      Providing Hotel Designs with an insight into their vision, founders Bundgaard and Bindslev Henrikson said: “The four elements’ intrinsic connection to Norse mythology has provided the design aesthetic, poetically and holistically bringing together the tactile materials of stone and wood from the earth, the transparency and fluidity of water, the magic warmth of fire and the ephemeral intangible qualities of air. The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it. The building itself – an unbroken, seamless circle – will become a portal dedicated to enhancing human connection to nature, the seasons, and to time itself.”

      With an approach they call ‘Poetic Modernism’, Space Copenhagen seeks to forge new paths by balancing opposites within their work. For the team, curiosity is a fundamental human condition and it is this transformative curiosity they will bring to Svart.

      While you’re here: click here to read more about Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Director at Miris and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020.

      Main image credit: Svart/Space Copenhagen

      Dernier & Hamlyn updated and improved under new ownership

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Dernier & Hamlyn updated and improved under new ownership

      Bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn has moved to new, premium premises in Chessington…

      Dernier & Hamlyn’s new HQ incorporates a state-of-the-art studio where clients can work with the company’s design team to progress their lighting designs from concept to reality.

      Significant investment is also being made in manufacturing and finishing capabilities including the latest technology and 3d printing, to ensure that the company’s reputation for the highest quality lighting is maintained and improved.

      Experienced experts who previously worked for Dernier & Hamlyn are still part of the team including Head of Production Mark Pye, project manager Lyn Newcombe and Design Manager Adam Coare. Strategic and operational management of the company will be greatly enhanced with the appointment of Michael Mulhall as Director of Sales. Michael was previously head of major projects for Dernier & Hamlyn’s new owners NVC UK where he oversaw large lighting programmes for hospitality and luxury residential clients.

      Mulhall says: “We were attracted to Dernier & Hamlyn by the strength of its brand and reputation in the lighting industry. Feedback from our research with designers and others has shown that the quality of the products manufactured was second to none, but there have been frustrations in the past with lead times and flexibility of delivery.

      “Dernier & Hamlyn will operate as a totally autonomous company, but one that is part of a global organisation which made sales of more than $600 million in 2019. This gives us access to varied technical, engineering and design resources that complement our own, backed by sound financial support from shareholders including Schneider Electric. We will continue to deliver the high- quality lighting that Dernier & Hamlyn has always excelled in, but in ways that meet the needs of designers and clients in today’s markets.”

      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

      Gessi’s new showroom lands in London

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Gessi’s new showroom lands in London

      Gessi’s new showroom, Casa Gessi London, is a celebration of Italian design for a wellness experience in the most private and intimate space of the hotel, the bathroom…

      Located in the heart of Clerkenwell – a thriving design district that houses many of the world’s leading contemporary design and architectural innovators – Casa Gessi London is the bathroom brand’s latest showroom that welcomes professionals in the architectural and design community.

      Hosted in the Old Sessions House, an 18th-century Palladian-style Grade II listed, the Casa Gessi London showroom spans a grand space of 725m2. The three-story building, with its vaulted ceilings and original brick walls, pays homage to its past whilst embodying Gessi’s passion for beauties, architectures and creation skills that transcend time, which the Company infuses into its contemporary design, style and wellbeing concepts.

      Presenting an exhilarating sensorial journey, the London showroom seeks to embody the philosophy, the history, and the identity of Gessi to engage visitors in a palpable emotive experience. Combining contemporary design technology with traditional Georgian and Victorian architectural features, the Casa Gessi showroom presents a bold and ambitious juxtaposition, showcasing products at the forefront of innovation within the historical infrastructure of the Old Sessions House. The building’s long, storied history is carefully integrated into the present-day design, including the prison-cell structure which extends across the ground floor and now hosts product display exhibitions.

      Image credit: Gessi

      Gessi boasts an extraordinary client base of architects, interior designers, and lifestyle enthusiasts, who are invited to explore the ‘Libertà’ bar and lounge within the showroom, in addition to working and networking from the numerous dedicated spaces. The Architectural Wellness space features a spectacular performance of light and water, and to conclude the showroom, the Gessi Wellness Tailor Atelier Dressing Room offers guests a chance to explore their wellness dreams, by hand-selecting novel new combinations of Gessi products and finishes.

      Image credit: Gessi

      Recognised globally for its ‘Made in Gessi’ bathroom concept and design, Gessi presents ‘design to be experienced’ a forward-thinking approach to wellbeing, manufactured with the utmost respect for both the environment, and the user. Gessi strives to make people’s lives better, designing products with people in mind, making bespoke private spaces.

      Casa Gessi London is the most recent international opening by the brand following the Gessi showroom in the cities of Milan, Singapore, Dubai and Shanghai.

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

      Main image credit: Gessi

      Main image credit: Gessi

      Checking In: The Cave Hotel, Canterbury – Kent’s tech-savvy luxury pad

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Checking In: The Cave Hotel, Canterbury – Kent’s tech-savvy luxury pad

      In a sea of standard ‘luxury’ hotel offerings in Kent, The Cave Hotel in Canterbury, which opened late last year, has certainly made a statement. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to The Penthouse to discover the warm design scheme inspired by multiple hotels around the world…

      Before humans had yet understood the concept of a home – let alone a hotel – we sheltered in caves for warmth, comfort and safety. They were practical and offered natural protection from the harsh elements and predators on the outside. The original hotel, one could argue, and once a fire was lit, these territories became sanctuaries.

      Positioned on the outskirts of Canterbury, in Kent, and attached seamlessly to Boughton Golf Club, a new unexpected hotel has emerged. The Cave Hotel is not really like a cave at all. Instead, it is a well-designed luxury hotel that cleverly removes all who check in from the stress of modern life. It shelters an authentic design scheme – from the room layouts right down to the technology that works behind the scenes – that was inspired by owners James Tory and Jonathan Callister’s own experiences during their many years of checking in and out of some of the world’s finest hotels. “We have lived hospitality for years,” Callister told Hotel Designs. “Having travelled the world, we have injected the best design and architecture that we have experienced into this hotel.” The result is a well-rehearsed and well-timed arrival onto the luxury hospitality scene.

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel

      On the outside, the 41-key boutique hotel is an isolated gem, surrounded only by undulating hills in the county that is known as the Garden of England. But inside, the hotel shelters a very different vibe, one that challenges conventional hospitality and hotel design in Kent and beyond.

      The arrival experience creates a powerful first impression with a modern take on the nomadic lifestyle (times have evolved since caves were our homes). Walk past the heavy curtained entrance, and the lobby becomes a comfortable den that features a high-vaulted ceiling and dark warm tones – a secluded sanctuary far away from the outside world with an atmosphere that is automatically muted and relaxed. It is complete with low-level furniture and contemporary shelving, which provides textured décor as well as clever boundaries between spaces.

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel

      An exposed elevated walkway above – accessible via lift or stairs – leads to the ‘Firepit’, a sleek bar and restaurant, which serves up a contemporary sharing-plate experience. A burst of flavours of world cuisine meet and fuse together in the fresh, re-imagined menu. The smokey, barbecue aromas of the American west combine with the delicate spiced tastes of the far east to create ambitious dishes that excite.

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel

      Upstairs, the 41 guestrooms and suites are serene havens, and further reveal intuitive design features inspired by the owners’ travels. The lighting, for example, is set simply via moods (chill, romance and blaze), which automatically adjusts the temperature and harshness of the light in the room, allowing guests to simply personalise their own hotel experience from a touch of a button.

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel

      With no expense spared – and leading its market in terms of using 21st century technical innovation – the hotel puts emphasis on guests’ digital needs and demands. Each room is complemented with state of the art Wi-Fi, super-fast internet, bespoke 65″ Smart LED televisions with music, digital art and connectivity for laptops and smart phones. 

      Even the function of the bed has been carefully considered from concept through to completion, with there even being an area under its structure where guests can store their luggage. “It was a a big bugbear of mine,” said Callister, “checking in to a hotel where there was no where to put my suitcase after I had unpacked. It was therefore an important element to include when designing the bed, and was it was only achievable by designing everything bespoke.”

      “I have never slept in such a comfortable bed and mattress in my life.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

      In addition to the beds being functional and stylish, the mattresses are also unique to the hotel. They have been designed bespoke by manufacturer Harrison Spinks. The brief from the owners was to create a mattress that guests would sink into but also felt secure on. “This idea came from sleeping on so many hotel mattresses that didn’t offer the right level of support or comfort,” Callister explained. “I was yet to find a mattress that met my two demands [as a modern traveller].”

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel

      “We provided Johnathan and his team the opportunity to sample a range of hospitality beds, each with its own unique look and feel,” said Stephen Truswell, Hospitality Sales Director at Harrison Spinks. “Once we had established the look and specification, we moved on to feel. Because we have the facility to provide different tensions, our showroom allowed them to select the tension that would deliver their guests the ultimate night’s sleep.”

      In my editorial opinion, although bed and mattress preference differs from person to person, it was the most comfortable sleep experience I have ever had in a hotel, which is a testament to both the hotel and the manufacturer.

      While the guestrooms offer their corner of luxury and unparalleled comfort, the jewel in the crown is the custom-build penthouse, which is located on the fifth floor at the end of the architecturally lit corridor and offers more than a bed for the night – it is an experience; a unique space and an opportunity to explore a cutting-edge smart hotel in style. Framing what are unreservedly the best views of the gold course and surrounding landscape of rolling hills, the expansive suite, at just under 3,000 sq ft, features a unique space that is layered with technology to enhance and enrich the consumer journey.

      The living area is flooded in tech – from the Gallo acoustic speakers to the personalised Lutron lighting and blinds. To add personality into the space, a distressed leather bar from Timothy Oulton provides the perfect minibar. Adjacent to it is a large dining table, which filters into the suite’s private kitchen. A separate work area in the lounge plays well into the new ‘workcation’ travel trend that has emerged in recent months. Once the work emails are answered, guests can sink into what the hotel describes as “the most comfortable sofa in the world”, which was imported in from America.

      The style of the bedroom within The Penthouse is similar to other rooms within the hotel, but the bathroom is an open-planned area of indulgent luxury. Complete with a freestanding bath, a large shower and dark, moody and textured stone surfaces (giving a nod to the inside of a cave, perhaps), this area further provides laid-back character and seductive design.

      Meanwhile, downstairs on the ground floor the spa and wellness area may be small but it is fit for purpose. Complete with a sauna, steam room, hydro-pool and a gym, the wellness facilities are there to cater to modern demands of luxury ‘bleisure’ (business/leisure) travellers.

      Image credit: The Cave Hotel & Resort

      The hotel recently appointed award-winning hotelier Robert Richardson to take the helm as General Manager, who believes The Cave Hotel’s independent status gives it an advantage in a post-pandemic world. “As an independent hotel we can be boundlessly creative in our approach to providing a memorable guest journey,” he said. “The natural beauty of the stunning Garden of England, our close proximity to London, and the singular vision of the hotel owners has all been combined to create a destination venue never before seen in Kent.”

      What makes the hotel that much more interesting – other than it just being a superb luxury countryside hotel with an urban personality – is its expansion plans. It may well be an independent hotel at the moment, but the aim is for The Cave Hotel in Canterbury to be the first of what is said to be many hotels that will open in the portfolio in and outside of the UK.

      As I come back down to earth to check out of The Penthouse, I can see how The Cave Hotel’s effortless style and thoughtful design would work in metropolis’ around the world. It’s refreshing to immerse myself in a hotel that answers to the hefty demands of modern luxury travellers. With its luxe contemporary design and laid-back atmosphere throughout, the hotel in many ways erases conventional hospitality and replaces it with a completely new hotel experience that makes a lot of sense in the tech-fuelled ‘new normal’ world we live in today.

      Main image credit: The Cave Hotel 

      (IN VIDEO) Hotel Designs LIVE: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      (IN VIDEO) Hotel Designs LIVE: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley

      To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13, editor Hamish Kilburn discussed sustainability and purposeful eco solutions for the post-pandemic world with designer Bill Bensley

      Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, took place on October 13. The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

      • Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
      • Adding personality in public areas
      • Reassuring the post-corona consumer
      • The revival of smart technology post-pandemic

      The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place in Technological Innovations Group’s Experience Centre in London, and was produced CUBE Video, a bold, innovative and strategic video and animation agency that believes in empowering businesses with creativity.

      The event was launched with an editor’s welcome by Hamish Kilburn, where he discussed the aim of Hotel Designs LIVE. “This event, this concept if you like, has been designed to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected,” he said. “It is our way to position under the spotlight what we believe to be are the most relevant and engaging topics that are impacting our industry right now. It’s also an opportunity to gain access – albeit virtually – inside hotels and design and architecture studios around the globe.”

      Following this welcome, Kilburn introduced the event’s first session and speaker. In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, the event invited headline speaker Bill Bensley onto the virtual sofa.

      Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design”, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can.

      The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, joined Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. In this session, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group, Bensley and Kilburn discussed whether or not the Covid-19 crisis – which resulted in global daily emissions of CO2 to fall by 17 per cent – had effectively balanced the scales, and debated if hotel design could ever be completely sustainable.

      Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Harris & Harris London and Schlüter Systems.

      Below is the recording of the full session, which starts with the PRODUCT WATCH segment and leads into our exclusive interview with Bill Bensley.

      QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

      Hamish Kilburn: What has been your favourite year in this industry and why?
      Bill Bensley: Right now!

      HK: What lesson would you teach your younger self if you were able to? 
      BB: As my folks were both English and homophobic, perhaps I would have reassured a young Bill that being gay will prove to be the happiest life positive ever!

      HK: What luxury item would you not live without? 
      BB: My dogs, I have six Jack Russells and I couldn’t live without them.

      So there you have it, sustainability doesn’t have to be a heavy burden in hotel design. Like Bensley has evidenced within this conversation, being conscious to the environment and implementing sustainable methods in design should be a playful, fun, and enjoyable process. By thinking locally yet still outside the box, we will be able to create innovative and purposeful solutions that will authentically meet the new demands of modern travellers.

      The full recordings of the other three sessions (Adding personality in public areas, Reassuring the post-corona consumer and The revival of smart tech post-pandmeic) will go live shortly. 

      SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a third edition on February 23, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused PRODUCT WATCH pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

      Skopos launches Tarim as a flexible flame-retardant fabric

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Skopos launches Tarim as a flexible flame-retardant fabric

      Skopos, which has almost 50 years’ experience of developing flame-retardant fabrics and soft furnishings for the contract market, has just introduced Tarim to its portfolio…

      Tarim has been welcomed into the Skopos portfolio as a flexible plain flame-retardant fabric with the appearance of elegant slub silk.

      The new product is wide width, perfect for contract curtains, bedding and cushions, available in a range of versatile neutrals and rich, exotic tones. Designed to work well with Skopos woven and printed collections, Tarim is perfect for accessories or to create a simple elegant statement within hotel bedrooms. Seen here with our soon-to-be-launched print design, Palmyra, on our Sonno velvet blackout, Tarim reflects luxury. 100 per cent Polyester FR, Tarim is washable at 30°C. Skopos offer a full make-up, measure and installation service or the option to buy fabric only from the roll. Tarim has been tested to the high FR standards set for contract fabrics and achieves IMO bedding, for marine interiors.

      Skopos 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: Skopos

      Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Rosewood brand to arrive in Amsterdam in 2023

      Rosewood Amsterdam will open in 2023 as the ‘ultra-luxury’ group’s 11th property in Europe and first soiree in the Netherlands…

      Following several development growth announcements, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it will open a property in 2023.

      The hotel group, which has recently announced entrance strategies in destinations such as St Barths, Madrid and Venice, has been appointed by CTF Amsterdam B.V. to manage Rosewood Amsterdam.

      Sheltered in the former Palace of Justice, a building of great architectural, historical and social significance that overlooks the Prinsengracht (the Prince’s Canal), one of the city’s most beautiful waterways, in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Amsterdam Canal District.  The hotel will be ideally situated near many of Amsterdam’s finest attractions including the museum district, the high-end shopping district on P.C. Hooftstraat and the hip De Pijp neighborhood. With its central location and befitting design carefully conceived to offer an inviting and amiable atmosphere, the property is poised to serve as an unparalleled gathering place for visiting guests and the local community alike.

      Originally constructed in 1665 and later expanded in 1836 by Dutch architect Jan de Greef, the Palace of Justice was Amsterdam’s main courthouse for over 175 years and one of the finest examples of de Greef’s classic, multi-cultural style influenced by his travels to Paris and Rome. Working closely with the Bureau Monumenten en Archeologie (BMA) and The City of Amsterdam to preserve the rich heritage and quintessential character of this iconic building, Netherlands-based architectural firm Kentie & Partners has been selected to spearhead the property’s evolution into an ultra-luxury hotel. Leading the property’s interior design is acclaimed Dutch designer Piet Boon, of Amsterdam-based Studio Piet Boon. Known for his ability to balance functionality, aesthetics and individuality, Boon will honour the property’s original elements and distinctive Dutch identity while incorporating a contemporary sense of style that captures the energetic and exciting Amsterdam of today’s times. 

      Given its esteemed reputation for being one of the leading architecture firms in the Amsterdam, it is unsurprising that Studio Concrete will have a major role in the design of the hotel. The firm has been appointed to design the hotel’s main restaurant, which will become a fresh and vibrant interior in the heart of the building, flanked by two courtyards with outdoor seating. London-based interior design firm Sagrada, led by David D’Almada, has been appointed to design an intimate bar in rich colours and high-end finishes, with stunning views overlooking the canal.

      Rosewood Amsterdam will offer 134 guestrooms and suites, with many boasting spectacular views across the two adjoining canals, quiet internal courtyards and iconic townhouse rooftops. Amenities will include three restaurants, one of which will be an Indian restaurant, and bars; Sense, A Rosewood Spa offering ayurvedic treatments; a state-of-the-art wellness and fitness centreand an indoor swimming pool. 

      In addition, multiple event spaces and meeting rooms, including a 3,000 square-foot ballroom, will offer advanced audio and visual services and natural daylight.

      Decorative details throughout the hotel’s public spaces will pay homage to the signature spirit of both the building and city while creating a selection of differentiated yet unified spaces through subtle albeit impactful means, such as contrasting colour schemes that seamlessly separate one setting from another. Notably, the lobby lounge will feature a library adorned with beautiful legal books doubling as art pieces, photographs and artifacts, as well as comfortable and stylish seating, to create an enticing enclave that will invite visitors to linger and laze.

      The library will also host an Indian Business Club which will stimulate high-level business and networking in an exclusive setting. All public spaces will overlook the three distinct, internal landscaped courtyards of the building, imagined by renowned landscape designer, Piet Oudolf. Internationally renowned for his work on the High Line and The Battery, both celebrated New York City attractions, Piet Oudolf will use his extraordinary expertise to artfully varnish the property with lush gardens and outdoor communal spaces.  

      “Through design, décor and service, Rosewood’s properties worldwide mirror their surroundings and the souls of the destinations, and Rosewood Amsterdam will be no different,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “With a unique character and culture, Amsterdam is a fitting locale for which to bring Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy. We’re looking forward to combining the city’s quintessential charm with a modern sense of style to meet and exceed the latest standards of luxury hospitality.”

      As the latest demonstration of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ thoughtful growth strategy, Rosewood Amsterdam joins three existing European properties – Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Rosewood London and Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Additional European locations with Rosewood developments in the pipeline include Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Munich, Porto Cervo, Vienna and Venice.

      Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

      Bryan Adams shoots campaign for Kaldewei

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Bryan Adams shoots campaign for Kaldewei

      Taking the theme “Natural Union”, rockstar and photographer Bryan Adams shot Kaldewei’s new collection of Steel Enamel Washbasins…

      New images have surfaced of Kaldewei’s Steel Enamel collection, which have been captured through the lens of legendary rockstar and photographer Bryan Adams. The campaign displays the importance of maintaining relationships combined with the increased need for hygiene awareness in these controversial times. Adams takes an intimate look at togetherness exclusively for Kaldewei: with his unique perspective he show that following simple hygiene routines we can come together and join hands—with our family, our friends, our partners.

      The unique collaboration between Bryan Adams and Kaldewei evolved into the project “Natural Union”. With his empathetic and professional vision, Adams photographed the 2021 washbasin collection; the charismatic images are emotionally charged with a strong message.

      At first stance “Natural Union” may seem at odds with the commandment of the hour for social distancing. But if we take our responsibility towards each other and our environment seriously, we can see we are closer than ever. We are all naturally connected and have a responsibility to look after each other and our planet – everyday actions such as washing your hands have never been more important,” says the photographer, highlighting the concept behind the campaign.

      In late August, six people of different gender, ages and backgrounds came together in a Berlin photo studio. Photographed under running water, these distinctive hands old, young, male and female touched. This creates a seamless link to Kaldewei; the company uses natural components to produce steel enamel products which make every surface unique.

      The Ming and Miena Steel Enamel Washbasins

      Ming is the embodiment of subtle sophistication. The convex lines form an elegant silhouette, whist the classic black-and-white colour range acts as a perfect setting for creative design. Whether for the minimalist bathroom or more imaginative spaces—the classic grace of the new Ming washbasins allows for personal creativity; making the bathroom a retreat which sparks joy. Ming comes in four different variations: matte lava black, classic lava black, matte alpine white and classic alpine white.

      Miena invigorates the bathroom with a totally new colour palette of blue and violet hues. The elegant design allows for experimentation with colours, the ability to make the bathroom a place of quiet calm or one that feels as cosy as a living room.

      The steel enamel makes the colourful washbasins an easy-to-care and durable gem that even constant use can’t dull. The new editions of Miena with their playful yet stylish colour contrast accentuate the washing area and revive the bathroom. Miena is available in „Soft Touch” mint, „Sweet Love“ pink, „Deep Dream“ petrol, „Navy-blue“ matte and 13 more colours.

      About Bryan Adams

      Apart from his musical work, Bryan Adams is an award-winning photographer with a nuanced eye. His photos are often taken within his philanthropic causes. His photographic work has won him multiple accolades and has been exhibited at Somerset House, Photokina, Kunsthalle Mainz and NRW Forum Düsseldorf. Adams has been tirelessness in standing up for people in need all over the world.

      Steel and Glass Turn into Steel Enamel

      Steel and glass are two authentic, natural materials each possessing unique properties that have been valued for millennia. When joined they blend into an immaculate fusion of steel enamel. Kaldewei products are 100 per cent Made in Germany and are the epitome of exceptional design. For generations, Kaldewei’s unique enamel formula has been a well-kept secret. Applied onto steel, a pristinely beautiful, durable, hygienic surface evolves. Steel enamel is 100 per cent recyclable and one of the most sustainable materials in the bathroom.

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

      Main image credit: Kaldewei

      Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Virtual Roundtable: health & wellbeing in hospitality and hotel design

      With a question mark on what the future of health and wellbeing will look like in tomorrow’s hotel, editor Hamish Kilburn, in collaboration with HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt, asks industry’s experts to decipher what’s fact and what’s myth when predicting tomorrow’s wellness scene…

      One of the major challenges that hotel designers and architects are facing globally at the moment is how much emphasis to put on Covid-19 when making decisions that will impact the future look and feel of hospitality. The pandemic has no doubt changed the demands of modern travellers, no more so arguably than in what will be expected in the wellbeing and wellness areas of tomorrow’s hotels.

      In an attempt to define realistic solutions, we speak to leading designers, architects and developers from around the world – and ask about the future of health and wellbeing in hospitality and design.

      On the panel: 

      Hamish Kilburn: We have never seen this before; every single hotel around the world putting together a reopening strategy. How has the pandemic, and the reopening of these hotels, changed the mindset of operators when it comes to health and wellbeing?

      Chris Lee: Any operator will say that guest safety is their first priority. Obviously with Covid-19, that’s paramount. In times like these, the majority of travellers are leaning towards brands they can trust.

      Wyndham Hotels & Resorts set up a working party back in March. We looked across the whole spectrum of the business, including all brands and hotels, to identify what we needed to do to get ahead of this pandemic, all the time with the aim to keep our guests in a place where they trust us, whilst feeling safe and comfortable.

      As a result, we launched an initiative called ‘Count on Us’, which is a long-term initiative with the emphasis being on additional cleanliness to address the characteristics of Covid-19 . We have had to adapt certain procedures, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and it has allowed us to enter into partnerships with new suppliers. For example, Ecolab is supplying the EPR-approved cleaning chemicals and products for our hotels across the region. As part of that deal, they have offered product training to our staff. These team members are, bit by bit, becoming ‘Covid safety officers’.

      HK: How will Covid-19 impact how hotels are designed?

      Mark Bruce: The truthful answer to that is that our clients are all trying to figure that out themselves, which is why this discussion is very timely.

      Six Senses arriving in London is a good example, with its core focus being wellness. What I will say, strictly architecturally, is that there is a wider emphasis on indoor/outdoor spaces, which I think makes sense to us. On the luxury end, customers want things to be the same but with more space. On the more lifestyle and budget end of the scale, travellers want confidence.

      Image caption: Rendering of Six Senses London, slated to open in 2023

      Working closely with our mechanical and engineering suppliers to understand the practical aspects, such as air conditioning systems and finding ways to bring in natural air, has been fundamental in order to understand our limits as architects.

      Matthew Voaden: We are finding that working more closely with architects from early stages of design is beneficial in not only addressing the concerns of enhanced ventilation to the space, but also to the architecture/interior design as integrating the services from outset does not later compromise the initial concept.

      Tom Bishop: From a project management perspective, we usually get operator and design feedback far too late (usually during stage three or four). Do you reckon that this support system will bring forward when we are able to have these discussions?

      MB: Yes, I think it’s a good point. 50 per cent of our clients are owner/operators, developers, which means from day one you can have good conversations about it. This is a huge challenge for operators – and you’re right, these conversations do not currently happen early enough.

      HK: Covid-19 has amplified the need for service and design to work in harmony, something that the lifestyle sector was already very good at. What are the new challenges in lifestyle hotels? 

      TB: Ruby Hotels is a great example of a lifestyle hotel that shelters design working with service. Typically, guests checking in to a Ruby hotel are looking for a bed for the night. You check in to ‘lean luxury’ ­– it’s clean and well designed and you are not spending that much time in your room. The public area space is minimal, cool and trendy while the F&B offering is limited – so they are almost already designed for the post-pandemic world and naturally cater to new demands from travellers. It will be interesting to see what the hotel group does next. I know the brand is looking for sites still, and it’s an exciting time for them.

      Image caption: A playful interior design scheme inside Ruby Lucy, London

      There is definitely a difference in demand from guests checking in to a five-star hotel than travellers checking in to a three-star hotel. On the luxury end, the question is now how to create the same atmosphere pre-pandemic in a space that now limits how many people are in that area.

      “We are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.” – Ivalyo Lefterov, Hotel Development Director, Miris.

      HK: Ivaylo, talk to us about SVART. How is this project challenging conventional methods of wellbeing and wellness?

      Ivaylo Lefterv: That’s a very wide question, I have to say. I’m addressing this situation having worked on both the design and operational side. From my perspective at least, we are trying too hard at the moment and, dare I say it, over reacting.

      First of all, we have no idea how things will evolve six months from now, so making any assumptions or drastic changes could be quite damaging. But equally, with SVART in particular, sustainability and wellness were already key pillars of that project. So, Covid-19 has somewhat brought attention to what we were already trying to achieve, which is a positive.

      Image caption: SVART, which is slated to open in 2022 as the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel

      The building itself, sheltering a new F&B concept, is part of the wellness journey. We have been discussing how we activate the building, and our conclusion is that we want the guest to be in control. We are talking about touchless without losing human interaction. That is an important balance. We are trying to allow the customer to be guided intuitively but also using technology as a tool to allow us to measure the condition of their stay and be able to adjust their experience accordingly. I do believe that lighting will become much more of a focus in the post-pandemic world.

       MV: I agree, having worked recently with a number of clients on integrating smart technologies into new and existing buildings, we are trying to strike a balance between introducing technology that benefits the development and not just an innovation that is an immediate reaction to the current Covid-19 situation, which ultimately might not be required.

      HK: It’s a given that hygiene is creeping – no, leaping – up on the agenda for hoteliers. When it comes to Value Engineering though, what will fall off in its place?

      Dan Curtis: We have seen a move towards less cluttered space. When you walk into a hotel room there is now more clean space with natural materials, focusing on the light and scenery.

      “Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety” – Kobi Karp, Founder, Kobi Karp Architecture and Design.

      Kobi Karp: I agree. Value Engineering should not be a factor when considering safety. Traditionally we have used copper pipes in buildings before we discovered the properties in PVC. I now see a movement that is drawing designers and architects back to raw materials, such as copper. In my firm we design a lot of restoration projects, and it’s very easy to convert those hotels into sustainable hubs as a result of Covid-19.

      Over the last few months the focus has also switched to technology – it is evolving rapidly! To date, we have not felt the need to implement this. Now, we are taking another look at it technology’s role in a post-pandemic world.

      HK: We can have all the best will in the world, but let’s realistic and talk about scalability – change is very expensive for global hotel brands that need to maintain branding across all hotels. Chris, how are you making these decisions?

      CL: It’s such a difficult call! If I was in a developer’s position, and it was my money, I still wouldn’t know what to do.

      We’ve had numerous discussions internally about reviewing our design standards. At the moment, we have to stay where we are because no one has the answers on timing. Like Tom said, if you double the size of your lobby then you are doubling the size of your real estate, which naturally reduces your ROI. I don’t think we are yet in a position to fix these financial and design issues.

      Image caption: Wyndham Introduces new hybrid meeting concept at Dolce Hotels in Europe

      TB: Let me explain this from a refurbishment approach. An owner has an asset. It was worth X in January 2020 and it’s now worth Y. If they are trying to loan against the asset, that value has reduced. This means your refurbishment budget has reduced along with occupancy levels (for example, from 85 per cent to 65 per cent) and a lower room rate. Ultimately, you are going to see, I believe, more QS-led design in the four-star and below market because ultimately there is more of a budget constraint that has to be adhered to. There is a delicate balance between health, design (to ensure that the hotel is competitive within its market), increasing room rates and overall yield.

      Image caption: Minimalist design-led guestrooms inside Ruby Hotels’ properties

      Veronica Givone: In the last six months, I have been talking with a lot with investors. My conclusion is that the last decade has already seen a shift in what brands wanted to provide. 10 years ago they were designing for their brands. Now they are designing for the people checking in to the hotel.

      “We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals.” Veronica Givone, Managing Director, IA Interior Architects.

      I believe that the pandemic will just amplify this. People are more aware when it comes to wellness and wellbeing. We now need to avoid designing hotels that look like hospitals. It’s the balance the find when applying tech and keeping service fresh. We need to understand how to make our staff feel confident and comfortable to use the space. We need to make short-term solutions, and I hope that social distancing will not be a long-term hurdle. In 15 years from now, who will be the guest? That’s what we now need to think about.

      HK: Matthew, HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group has its ear to the ground when it comes to identifying and utilising new innovations that will improve building quality. What have you seen emerge recently?

      MV: When cultural changes happen, it always results in a lot of discussions around new innovations and products.

      UVC Lighting, and air purification systems are really interesting, but would be better and easier to cost, if they were disguised in the foundations of a new build. Upgrading filters in maintenance, CO2 monitoring, modification to the Building management system to extend fan runtimes etc and other factors are constantly being analysing as part of our teams initial response to the pandemic.

      I would say, it is easier to integrate new innovations into budget hotels. It’s more challenging for luxury properties and brands in order to not disrupt the familiar luxury guest experience and journey.

      IL: I can see the industry moving forward towards the guest designing their experience before check in. That will allow the actual hotel stay – take the arrival experience for example – to be more like a performance, a theatre if you like. The guestroom itself would become your butler to make it more personal without removing the human factor. Your reception becomes your living room, as opposed to being purely a practical and frankly unenjoyable element.  

      “Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices.” – Chris Lee, Director of Architecture, Design & Construction, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

      CL:Hotels have changed in the last decade. Lifestyle didn’t really exist much 10 years ago. Gen Z want to be in control – they like choices. What better way to make a choice: on your phone, you have everything you need. But, regardless of the evolution of tech, hospitality is about people and you can get that interaction in all hotels. I just hope the pandemic doesn’t adjust the people factor in our industry, because that is so important.

      VG: The key is balance all possible demands and offer flexibility, allowing the guest to decide.

      HK: Can sound offer solutions in the post-pandemic world?

      MB: I was really pleased that this came up as a topic. I have never really spoken about sound in a roundtable discussion, but it’s important to consider. Like many of the sub topics we have explored in this session, we were analysing sound in hospitality before Covid-19 was a thing. The pandemic has allowed us to refocus on new ways to create atmosphere, and one of the most impactful ways to subconsciously evoke a mood in pursuit of wellness is to consider sound.

      A great example is Six Senses, and it is an absolute joy working with the brand. They talk about anti spaces, the moments in between moments. I believe that the spaces in between create the emotion and memories. We have been helping Six Senses to transfer their look and feel and their renowned focus on wellness into an urban environment, and sound has been a massive part of that.

      The minute you walk in, sound from the outside is­ muted –  the perception of the city gets left behind and the focus turned to the naturally aerated lobby. As you move further towards the spa, the way sound is treated is going to be a very exciting part of the project. To see a leading brand like Six Senses embrace sound to elevate the experience is very exciting! I think it will add a lot of value to hospitality in the future.

      Thanks to HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt and all of our international experts, we have started the conversation around health and wellbeing in hospitality in hotel design. Now it’s over to you. Have your stay by tweeting us @HotelDesigns.

      Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

      Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Hotel Designs LIVE is a free one-day conference that takes place on October 13…

      On October 13, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will virtually gather to attend Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron.

      Whether you are in need of a guide to hotel design or you simply want to keep up to date with the latest conversations that are happening in the industry, Hotel Designs LIVE promises to keep the conversation flowing throughout and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

      As well as broadcasting thought-provoking interviews and panel discussions, the one-day virtual conference will also frame a number of dynamic PRODUCT WATCH segments throughout the day in order to identify the latest product launches and innovations within each of the four topics areas that will be explored.

      “When we first launched Hotel Designs LIVE in June, we made a pledge that the event will cut through the noise in order to broadcast what we believe are the most relevant conversations happening in the industry right now,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the event. “We have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to ensure that our next broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE does the concept justice. This has included filming a segment with our new videography partner CUBE Video, working closely with our sponsors and suppliers and inviting relevant leaders and visionaries from around the world to sit on the virtual sofa in order to add value to the conversations we are airing.”

      Here’s what’s coming up:

      09:20 – 09:30: EDITOR’S WELCOME

      Editor Hamish Kilburn will open by acknowledging the success and highlights from the inaugural virtual conference, which took place on June 23. In addition, he will discuss the rationale behind the four sessions that Hotel Designs LIVE will position under the spotlight for the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE.

      09:30 – 10:30: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
      (Sponsored by Silentnight Group)

      In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, Hotel Designs LIVE will welcome Bill Bensley as the event’s headline speaker.

      Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design”, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can.

      The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, will join Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature.

      Click here to participate.

      11:00 – 12:00: Adding personality in public areas
      (Sponsored by Falcon Contract Flooring)

      Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, where the panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, this session will move away from pure sterile solutions and instead inject design back into the public areas. Kilburn will ask a handful of leading designers and architects how we, as an industry, can authentically create purposeful areas that evoke interesting first impressions.

      Click here to participate.

      12:30 – 13:30: Reassuring the post-corona consumer
      (Sponsored by Room To Breathe UK

      The industry may well be re-opening its doors, but recent studies suggest that the post-corona consumer is hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene. In an engaging panel discussion, Kilburn will ask a number of leading hoteliers from all corners of the globe how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

      Click here to participate.

      14:00 – 15:00 BST: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic
      (Sponsored by GROHE)

      To kickstart the debut Hotel Designs LIVE, tech-influencer Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of The Gadget Show, took us on a wild journey to understand the boundless possibilities when it comes to technology in hospitality. One of the main takeaways from the session was the importance of making technology invisible for the modern consumer.

      Ahead of putting the spotlight back on technology, Kilburn checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience to understand tech’s role in tomorrow’s hotel. The full feature will be broadcasted to the audience attending ‘The revival of smart tech post-pandemic’. Here’s a teaser filmed and edited by CUBE Video.

      Continuing this quest, but also grounding it in the context of hotel design in the wake of Covid-19, Kilburn will invite a number of expert designers to discuss, in detail, whether or not the hotel experience will ever be truly contactless, as well as asking how to authentically and meaningfully inject smart technology into a modern hotel.

      Click here to participate.

      Product watch: Parkside Tiles adds lavish colour to Arabescato

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Parkside Tiles adds lavish colour to Arabescato

      A bold and lavish take on Arabescato marble, Pulp is the latest porcelain wall and floor tile collection from design-led tile specification brand, Parkside…

      Pulp from Parkside Architectural Tilers takes the rich veining of this exquisite marble and adds a contemporary flavour in five bold colours – gold, black, green, blue and red  – for a look that becomes strong, dynamic and surreal.

      Available in matt, polished and raw (high slip-resistance) finishes, Pulp brings a marble look with a contemporary twist through floors and walls, inside or out. The rectified porcelain tiles are available in 600 x 1200mm, 100 x 600mm, 75 x 600mm (polished only), 300 x 300mm and 75 x 1200mm skirting, meaning the collection is ready to provide an all-over marble look that adds to its luxurious feel.

      “Marble is definitely a timeless and demanding look that’s adored for its sense of unadulterated luxury,” explains Sarah Holey, marketing manager at Parkside. “There are few other interior finishes that quite so eloquently summarise their intent, but its high cost and natural variance make it a difficult one to introduce successfully into a project, particularly on large surface areas, so step up Pulp.

      “The controlled colour and look of the marble veining brings a contemporary overtone that pays homage to genuine Arabescato marble but without falling into the trap of feeling like a direct copy. Pulp brings the instant luxury aesthetic of marble but in an accessible tile that celebrates the joy of colour and features the performance of today’s best porcelain.”

      Pulp is exclusively available in all five colours from Parkside, with samples available from the website.

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

      Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

      AQATA joins iconic shower brand AQUALUX

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      AQATA joins iconic shower brand AQUALUX

      Private investment business Intrinsic Equity, has acquired shower brand AQATA Limited

      Based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, AQATA one of the UK’s most respected luxury shower enclosure manufacturers now joins Intrinsic Equity’s family of KBB and design related brands.

      The iconic shower brand Aqualux was acquired from Dutch bathroom giant Fetim in late 2019 and early 2020 the company obtained the online hardware brand Ironmongery and More.

      Commenting on the acquisition, Group CEO Steve Lee stated “We are delighted to be able to take this bold, strategic move during such unprecedented times. Aqata has been part of the fabric of the British shower industry since it was established by Peter Brown in 1986. We are proud to have the opportunity to continue the great work of MD and owner Jayne Barnes who headed up Aqata for over 15 years following her father’s retirement in 2005”.

      Lee continues; “For many years we have admired what the Aqata brand represents to the independent bathroom retail market, the products are excellent and backed by a world class service. The position of the brand perfectly complements Aqualux, which has been synonymous with the large scale merchants and retailers for more than 40 years.”

      Lee explains “Aqata shower enclosures are British designed and hand crafted in its modern factory in Leicestershire. Whilst 2020 has seen major changes and uncertainty for the UK following Brexit and Covid-19, this acquisition offers great flexibility for our customers: a British manufacturing facility combined with the long established global sourcing model of Aqualux, this will ensure we can continue to provide a dynamic, speed to market offering with competitive pricing; all backed by a market leading service and significant inventory throughout our supply chain.”

      AQATA 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: AQATA

      Editor checks in: will design ever be the same again?

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Editor checks in: will design ever be the same again?

      Weeks ahead of celebrating the best British designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers in The Brit List Awards 2020, editor Hamish Kilburn warmly remembers a design legend, Sir Terence Conran, in his monthly column…

      I have procrastinated long enough over writing this month’s Editor’s Letter. Perhaps it was a case of word block. More likely it was the anticlimax I experienced after my previous column didn’t achieve the level of engagement I had hoped it would. That’s not to say it wasn’t read – it was, and its context has emerged in many conversations since – but it seems people were afraid to ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on a topic that carries such heavy stigma in a desperate and lonely landscape. Not only that, but we are all operating with fatigued resources while not having the faintest clue about what tomorrow will bring – and yet our role in all of this is to offer solutions.

      “He, the man who founded Habitat, the Design Museum and Conran and Partners, was very much that: a visionary.”

      Just when we thought we had reached the pit of all lows – locked away from each other, and somehow busier than ever – our phones light up with a newsflash from the BBC. The headline reads: Sir Terence Conran ‘visionary’ designer dies at 88. He, the man who founded Habitat, the Design Museum and Conran and Partners, was very much that: a visionary; a legend in every sense of the word who during his near 70-year career revolutionised design in Britain and Europe. And we have everything to thank him for, whether we knew him personally or not.

      Image caption: Sir Terence Conran (1931 – 2020)

      Architect Thomas Heatherwick said it best in Dezeen. “For me, Sir Terence Conran was one of a small handful of amazing people who dragged Great Britain out of the post-second world war gloom and modernised the country by revolutionising how we think about our homes, the products we buy for them and even the food we eat and how we eat it,” he wrote. “His impact and influence is around us every day and has been so successful that we don’t even realise where it came from. Without Terence, there would have been no Habitat. Without Terence, there may still not be excellent food in the United Kingdom. And without Terence, there certainly wouldn’t be any Design Museum in London.”

      Conran’s passing, especially in a year that has shaken the hotel design and hospitality industry on a global scale, begs the pertinent yet terrifying question which (let’s face it) is on all of our minds at the moment: will British design ever be the same again?

      ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ – not what you wanted to hear, I understand, but it’s the only honest answer we have at the moment. One could rightly argue that nothing will ever be the same as it once was. The industry will evolve as it always has done. And people, brilliantly talented and authentically charismatic people, will come forward to offer real-life solutions for the challenges we are currently facing.

      “I think it’s safe to say that British design and hospitality is resilient and evolving quickly to meet new demands of modern travellers.”

      There are no boundaries, and we can literally reimagine the world to design better and healthier cities, like WATG has done for the new New York concept it unveiled recently, transforming the concrete jungle into, well, a jungle!

      GIF credit: WATG

      In many ways, now is the perfect time to celebrate such innovative forward thinkers. Last week we opened the floodgates to unveil the shortlist for The Brit List Awards 2020. With more than 120 individuals and projects selected across eight categories, I think it’s safe to say that British design and hospitality is resilient and evolving quickly to meet new demands of modern travellers. We will proudly reveal and celebrate this year’s top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers in our virtual awards ceremony, which takes place on November 12 at 2pm (GMT).

      Aside from building up to our annual awards, Hotel Designs has also sheltered some thought-provoking conversations this month. In an exclusive roundtable discussion that will be published shortly, we heard from a developer who has become a distant friend of mine during the pandemic. He said that he can envision the day when travellers will design their own hotel experiences on their smartphones before they have even checked in. This will, he hopes, eliminate public areas being seen as clinical, functional and at times unwelcoming spaces, which they have unexpectedly become since the pandemic emerged onto the scene. Instead, this design concept will allow lobbies to be filled with personality once more and become, if you like, a sort of lounge area where guests can relax and unwind in.

      “This month I had the opportunity to physically check in to a completely contactless hotel experience.”

      Don’t underestimate technology’s role in the post-pandmeic world, is certainly a lesson I have learned during this turbulent time. As well as zooming in and out of virtual roundtable discussions, this month I had the opportunity to physically check in to a completely contactless hotel experience (the novelty was almost overwhelming). Following an opportune tech overhaul, Bloc Hotel Gatwick has been able to reimagine the hotel journey. With software from SymbiOT and hardware from Crestron, the hotel’s guests are now able to check in and operate their entire stay – everything from lift calls to light and temperature adjustment – by using their smartphones without even having to download an app. The video feature we filmed will be broadcast at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13, and will kickstart our panel discussion on the revival of smart technology in the post-pandemic world.

      Yet again, it has been an unstable and explosive month on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs. On behalf of the entire team, I would like to send our condolences to Sir Terence Conran’s family and friends. We have lost a British and world design icon, and his legacy lives on through those who were inspired by his immeasurable talent and class.

      Editor, Hotel Designs

      Main image credit: Dale Southfield Portraiture

      Checking in to Villa Copenhagen, a new brand of conscious luxury

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Checking in to Villa Copenhagen, a new brand of conscious luxury

      A much-anticipated addition to the Danish capital city, Copenhagen, transforms an iconic architectural landmark into a modern oasis of cool. Writer Collette Swindells explores…

      It is not often that a space of more than 25,600 square metres becomes available in the centre of a European capital – least of all in a city like Copenhagen, where it is often considered something of a luxury to have a separate shower and toilet in your downtown apartment.

      Instantly recognising the tremendous potential of the site, Nordic Hotels & Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, sought to transform the imposing old-world grandeur of the five-floor, Neo-Baroque former headquarters of the Danish Post and Telegraph into a fresh expression of what it means to be Scandinavian.

      Combining an impressive roll-call of talents including award-winning London architecture and interiors firm Universal, award-winning design studio Goddard Littlefair, specialist F&B design studio Epicurean, Danish architect Eva Harlou and Nordic jewellery designers Shamballa Jewels, the reconstruction weaves together three key themes of contrast, conscious luxury and happiness.

      The arrival experience

      Entering the somewhat unassuming frontage, adjacent to the Copenhagen Central Station, guests are immediately greeted with an expansive, light-filled, glass-roofed atrium lobby – appropriately named The Square – centrally adorned by a tongue-in-cheek ‘Whispering’ sculpture from Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

      A large lobby with glass ceiling and modern furniture

      Image credit: Stine Christiansen

      Cleverly designed to be a multi-functional space that welcomes both locals and foreigners, it artfully mixes classic Danish design elements with contemporary flourishes and finishes that unite the functions of the hotel boutique, lounge area, bar, self-service check-in and reception. It is a space that comes alive at night too, with live music and DJs cementing its vibrant personality, and other day-time pop-ups including a mobile piercing station from jeweller Maria Black.

      Direct access to most of the hotel’s F&B and public areas is available from The Courtyard, ensuring it is continually an animated, lively thoroughfare and meeting point for all.

      Relaxed public areas for all occasions

      To the city side of this, The Playroom acts as a further extension of the lobby lounge space, with even more intimate spaces and cosy pockets that encourage visitors to have fun with friends while playing board games, foosball and other table games on custom-made tops. Part grand parlour part secluded den, the space is also perfect for hosting large groups, with Epicurean ensuring a relaxed, cultivated atmosphere with its Carl Hansen furniture, vintage tiling, antique-style woodwork and panelling and patina mirrored walls.

      Image caption: The Playroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

      On the alternate side of The Courtyard, Kontrast, a contemporary brasserie, offers an equally smart take on mid-century styling, with subtle tributes to its former tenant. Replica carvings and window details from the original posthouse inspire wood panelling details, with reused and recycled materials cleverly woven in where possible.

      A diner style F&B area with tiled floors and globe like chandeliers

      Image caption: Kontrast | Image credit: Stine Christiansen

      Curved booth seats in warm brown leather tones are complimented with custom high chairs in striking hues that fill out the main dining area inside, allowing guests the chance to gaze into the large, open kitchen and bar. Bespoke tables are inlaid with brass, showcasing the level of craftsmanship and attention Epicurean brings to each fit-out, while also adding something new and fun to the traditional Scandinavian styling visitors might come to expect elsewhere in town.

      On the terrace, overlooking the main station, more contemporary woven textile furniture sits outside, alongside Tore Gustafsson’s menu of fresh, local and seasonal produce. Taking inspiration from the south of Europe and North Africa, Gustafsson – known for previously steering the helm of Copenhagen Meatpacking favourite Paté Paté – has built an impressive sustainable food profile across all the F&B outlets, with a focus on providing a ‘carbon-free’ experience.

      Sustainable hospitality solutions

      Part of the overall commitment by the hotel to four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Decent Work and Economic Growth; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption; and Production and Partnerships for the Goals – meat consumption at each outlet has been reduced, alongside overall food waste, with an innovative technology converting this into green energy. Fresh herbs and spices are also handpicked from the hidden rooftop garden, which sits next to a beehive from Bybi and the famed lapping pool.

      F&B areas

      Designed by Goddard Littlefair to reflect the local community’s relationship with food, drink and socialising, there are a plethora of options when it comes to F&B in the hotel. Breakfast is served daily in the former postage sorting room, Public, located on the lower floor which is accessed via a neon light-filled stairwell off The Courtyard. Descending into what feels like the belly of the grand building, you can hear the hum of the nearby train station, which provides a steady memory of its previous life.

      Image caption: Public | Image credit: Stine Christiansen

      Indeed Epicurean drew heavily from archival photos of the space in its former glory, invoking its archways, lighting, brickwork and paneling in their redesign. The expansive area, filled with rows of bespoke banquette seating and commanding repurposed copper arches, can also host larger functions and groups and extends onto the sunken garden, containing the entrance to the almost completed Rug Bakery.

      The original arrival point for the mail, the impressive terrace space is somewhat of a hidden gem for the hotel – exposed when the roof was removed from the loading dock – and a perfect place to enjoy the freshly baked local pastries Denmark is known for.

      The guestrooms and suites

      In contrast to the lively public and F&B areas, Universal took their starting point for the design of the guestrooms and suites from the art of Danish master painter Vilhelm Hammershøi – known for his understated composition, elegant lighting, muted palette and study of secluded moments and spaces.

      Mapping out the building’s original interior, the studio restored and reinstalled many of the key period features like the impressive windows, herringbone flooring, cornices, architraves and wood paneling. Each room and suite has been treated like a grand Danish residence, housing a sophisticated collection of custom-designed classic and contemporary furniture, alongside original pieces from known Danish designers Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Nanna Ditzel, Niels Otto Møller, Ole Wanscher and Borge Morgensen. Warmth and softness is key, with bespoke textiles, lighting and ceramics amplifying the comfort to create a calm refuge with more than a few touches of brilliance. Materials are locally and sustainably sourced where possible, with Kvadrat’s Sahco brand providing natural wool textiles that sit next to other highlights including biodegradable and recyclable linen headboards produced by Scandinavian interior textile studio Astrid.

      Image caption: Delux guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

      Image caption: Delux guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

      Each of the rooms has its own typography – there are 50 in total – with sprawling four metre-high ceilings on the lower levels and near floor-to-ceiling windows that give you various views of the city surrounds. The converted attic, with its exposed timber beams, differs only because of its unique character and obvious height limitations – but its roof-lit views of the city more than compensate for this.

      Of course all the usual five-star modern conveniences apply, with keyless entry, remote check-in, virtual check-out, and an optional white glove service available in each of the 381 rooms. In-room facilities are on-point too, with a considered range of local favourites that includes Mikkeller beer and chocolate, Great Dane Rum, Nordic winegums, Harahorn Norwegian gin, and ELG vodka.

      Image caption: Guestroom | Image credit: Villa Copenhagen

      Sustainability stays top of mind, with custom in-room guest amenities provided by Skandinavisk in a signature range that pays homage to the smell of wood-laden northern forests. Gone are the plastic-wrapped pairs of slippers, replaced instead by slides that can be bought in the hotel’s boutique store, together with a collection of other local, sustainable and notable designers.

      But if you really want to experience something different, then check-in to the ‘Universal Penthouse Suite’ which was designed across two floors with a central walnut and steel spiral staircase connecting the upper master bedroom with the lounge space on the lower floor.

      Added to this next-level option is the completely sustainable suite, the Earth Suite, designed by Eva Harlou using eco-friendly furniture and recycled materials and textiles. Denmark’s most expensive suite, the Shamballa Master Suite was designed by Shamballa Jewels and takes in 110sqm that includes the former Postmaster’s office and the best view of the adjoining main station.

      Sitting in a collection of seven other Shamballa suites, these exclusive retreats are due to be completed by the end of 2020 – a small casualty of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

      Luckily though, if you can’t afford the additional extravagance of the Shamballa suites, the lapping pool, with its centralised cooling system using excess heat from the hotel to keep it at a steady 34 degree, provides a welcome space to relax and unwind. Adjacent to the 24-hour fitness centre, sauna and wellness area, it is a colourful, secluded spot that sits beside the rooftops of Copenhagen and offers a cabana service from its Pool Bar.

      a rooftop pool overlooking Copenhagen

      Image credit: Stine Christiansen

      You might also like to take a walk through the five floors to check out the private collection of artwork – valued at more than US$2 million – that includes local and international artists like Per Kirkeby, Ian McKeever and Bent Stokke. Norwegian Stokke produced 383 unique charcoal artworks to be featured in each room, as well as along the many hallways and restored stairways.

      But perhaps the real jewel of the hotel is the Old Boardroom, available to be hired as a private function space for intimate dinners and gatherings, and still proudly displaying the plaque bestowed to the building by both Kings Frederick III and Christian X who both ruled the year it was inaugurated. Its restored tapestry-and-chandelier adorned space, with adjoining bar, sits in stark, refined contrast to the other over 2,000sqm of meeting and event room spaces that are decorated with more than 850 conference chairs produced using 2.75kg of upcycled plastic ocean waste and fishing nets. It is just another example of how the hotel holds dual respect and reverence for the past and the future – carefully balancing respect for each in the present.

      And like a home that becomes more of itself every day new memories are created within it, Villa Copenhagen, in all its imposing glory, is sure to become a welcomed part of the city’s new landscape: a reinvigorated icon that stands even taller than its predecessor.

      Main image credit: Villa Copenhagen

      Product watch: Overclay tiles by Casa Ceramica

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Overclay tiles by Casa Ceramica

      The inspiration for the Overclay tile series by Casa Ceramica comes from the earth, the authentic material par excellence and from the architectural marvels of the past…

      From the ziggurats of Mesopotamia to the terracotta army of Xi’an: raw clay is the oldest and most alluring construction material, found again today in both ambitious and innovative architectural projects.

      The enveloping dusky colours of the desert and the charm of the Mediterranean kasbahs provide the inspiration for Overclay by Casa Ceramica, a series of porcelain stoneware floor and wall tiles, with an authentic yet sophisticated flavour. Making this collection perfect for bringing character to both indoor and outdoor residential and commercial settings.

      This collection of floor and wall tiles, is available in seven colours, all of which are inspired by the authenticity of earth and the heat of the desert. Among the nuances selected are Rose and Cotto, two incredibly expressive, on-trend accents. Paired with these are five more muted tones off; Ecru, White, Grey, Taupe and Dark.

      The decorative study underlines the sophisticated character of the series through Petra, innovative shades of colour with graceful, material waves. Available in both cool and warm versions, in the 60x120cm and 30x120cm sizes, these shaded surfaces are perfect for bringing an engaging touch to any interior. These innovative and fascinating decorations are available in the of 60x120cm and are suitable even for floor installation.

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

      Main image credit: Casa Ceramica

      BIID becomes Industry Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      BIID becomes Industry Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020

      The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has become the official industry partner for The Brit List Awards 2020 for a third year running…

      The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), a brand committed to encouraging and supporting creativity and competence in the field of British interior design, has become an Industry Partner for The Brit List Awards 2020.

      The BIID are delighted to partner with The Brit List Awards again in 2020,” said Charlotte Davies on behalf of BIID. “The event is always popular with our members and is excellent opportunity to showcase some of the amazing design within the hotel industry. Our President Lester Bennett is excited to be invited to judge this year’s entries and we are all looking forward to what will undoubtedly be a different Brit List to what we are used to, but equally enjoyable.” 

      The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who are operating in Britain.

      As well as selecting the the top 25 designers, architects and hoteliers who will be profiled in The Brit List 2020, the campaign also selects individual winners of the following 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
      • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

      “We have always felt that there is a natural synergy between The Brit List Awards and the BIID, and we are therefore extremely excited that the brand has become our Industry Parter for the third year running,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “As well as helping us promote the event, including the applications process, the BIID have also been paramount to the quality of this year’s judging panel, with both President Lester Bennett and Past President Harriet Forde being on the international judging panel.”

      How to attend the virtual award ceremony

      If you are a designer, architect, hotelier or developer and would like to attend the virtual award ceremony, which will take place at 14:00 (GMT) on November 12 2020, click here.

      If you are a supplier and would like to attend the virtual award ceremony, which will take place at 14:00 (GMT) on November 12 2020, click here.

      If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to both the virtual event and the winners party will be available to secure soon.

      Weekly briefing: A sensational shortlist & the secret to a good night’s sleep

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Weekly briefing: A sensational shortlist & the secret to a good night’s sleep

      Only got a minute? Our editorial team have compiled the top design stories that they have published this week, including the shortlist of The Brit List Awards 2020 and an exclusive interview with designer Lisa Haude about tomorrow’s design challenges…

      With the industry re-strategising following further constrictions to social distancing, we appreciate that you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

      EXCLUSIVE: Shortlist unveiled for The Brit List 2020 

      This year, more than 120 individuals and projects were selected across eight categories. The winners will be announced at the virtual award ceremony on November 12. Now in its fourth year, The Brit List Awards is Hotel Designs’ the nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

      Click here to read the story | Click here to secure your seats in the audience at the virtual awards ceremony.

      1 in 3 Brits want to replace shower with modern system, survey reveals

      A survey carried out by GROHE has revealed British showering behaviours and consumer attitudes towards their bathroom. As indicated in the debut broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE, bathroom and wellness demands have shifted as we look ahead towards a post-pandemic world.

      Read more.

      In Conversation With: interior designer Lisa Haude

      A storyteller in her own right, designer Lisa Haude creates one-of-a-kind spaces that breathe a new level of authenticity into the projects she touches. Working predominantly with the larger brands, such Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International, Haude’s style is to celebrate the history of each hotel’s destination, which is channeled through an meaningful design narrative that is sheltered inside each project. 

      Read more.

      Bathroom goals: when sustainability meets design

      Sustainability meets design in Austria’s Winzendorf-Muthmannsdorf municipality. Surrounded by grapevines, and set on a sloping plot of around 1,600 square metres, is a detached house in harmony with nature. The distinctive and nature-loving architecture is in evidence outside, in the form of the charred larch cladding used on the façade. The client requested elegance and eco-conscious design everywhere, including the bathroom.

      Read more.

      New speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE

      Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: you can secure your complimentary seats in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, by clicking here

      Industry insight: a special sleep experience during Covid

      Chris Ward, Group Marketing Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, looks at how in addition to having Covid-compliant practices, hotels can offer a more discernible experience to guests by providing premium experiences that have sustainability at their heart.

      Read more.

      Case study: lighting InterContinental Park Lane hotel

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Case study: lighting InterContinental Park Lane hotel

      Located in the heart of London’s prestigious Mayfair, the InterContinental Park Lane hotel delivers elegant natural interiors, award-winning restaurants and bars, and unrivalled views of the Royal Parks…

      Alongside designers RPW Design, Heathfield & Co were delighted to supply both bespoke and standard lighting from their product range, as part of the development of the hotel’s exclusive Mayfair Collection.

      This luxurious range of guestrooms and suites are said to be ‘a refinement of the timeless elegance for which we are loved.’ With a careful attention to fine and subtle details, materials such as wood, leather and brass set the natural and comforting tone. Heathfield’s experienced team worked on a series of bespoke bedside ceiling fittings, inspired by their classic ‘Derwent’ design.

      image credit: IHG/Heathfield & Co

      The solid brass framework and Dandelion satin lampshades reflect in the panelled mirrors behind, perfectly framing the centre of the room. The Derwent Large cube pendant and Vivienne Clear glass table lamp create decorative features in the suites, enhancing the soft and elegant design.

      To see the project in full visit Heathfield’s website.

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

      Main image credit: IHG/Heathfield & Co

      1 in 3 Brits want to replace shower with modern system, survey reveals

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      1 in 3 Brits want to replace shower with modern system, survey reveals

      A survey carried out by GROHE has revealed British showering behaviours and consumer attitudes towards their bathroom…

      As indicated in the debut broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE, bathroom and wellness demands have shifted as we look ahead towards a post-pandemic world.

      The demands on bathroom design have risen significantly, with the shower gaining a lot more attention, being preferred over bathing by 64 per cent of UK participants surveyed in a recent study by global market research institute, Explorare, commissioned by GROHE.

      As many as 43 per cent are now viewing the bathroom as an indulgent space for wellness and relaxation with 48 per cent using the shower to help them relax, the survey found.

      Whatever our reasons for showering; whether it’s an invigorating way to start the day, a quick freshen up after working out or for pure relaxation, our needs vastly differ from person to person and even day by day, and showers need to be able to meet this demand.

      Alongside flexibility in design and functionality, the survey results revealed that safety and sustainability are two key factors consumers take into consideration when it comes to showering. 78 per cent said that having a shower surface that doesn’t get hot whilst they’re showering was a priority and similarly, 61 per cent deemed a thermostat that can balance out fluctuations in temperature an important factor in their shower’s performance. Meanwhile, around half (51 per cent) of Britons are actively trying to save water with 54 per cent seeking additional sustainable functions from their shower to help them live more eco-consciously in their day-to- day lives.

      The combined results of the study provide in-depth insights into consumer behaviour around showering and help bring to light some key customer profiles:

      • The “Hygiene Pragmatist”, who showers after exercise like 55 per cent of those surveyed, does not spend much time in the bathroom and favours a practical shower system that keeps water consumption to a minimum.
      • The “Wellness Lover”, who is looking for intelligent shower systems with lots of innovative features for a truly luxurious water experience
      • The “Freshness Enthusiast”, who prefers a shower system with comfortable user-centric features and high design standards.

      The bathroom is no longer a purely functional room used exclusively for personal hygiene. Expectations have risen considerably which has been accompanied by the increasing complexity of bathroom design and furnishing.

      Retailers, designers and installers can really build an understanding of their customer’s needs by exploring individual customer behaviour and combining this with their product and industry knowledge to make informed, relevant recommendations. At a time when 40 per cent of us are using the bathroom for some much-needed space and me-time, conveying the emotional added value of a product can create plenty of upsell opportunities, and ultimately result in a higher level of positive customer satisfaction.

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

      Main image credit: GROHE

      New speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      New speakers announced for Hotel Designs LIVE

      Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: you can secure your complimentary seats in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, by clicking here

      With just a few weeks to go until Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13, new speakers have been announced for the one-day virtual conference.

      Click here to read the agenda for Hotel Designs LIVE. | Click here to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE.

      Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by headline partner Technological Innovations Group, was born out of the idea to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during the lockdown period following the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. However, considering the noise the virtual conference created, the team at Hotel Designs have decided to return with part two. “The aim of this event on October 13 is to look beyond today’s pandemic in order to find real solutions for designers, hoteliers, architects and developers,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event. “To do this meaningfully, we have invited industry experts from around the world to sit on our virtual sofa.”

      Confirmed speakers include:

      • Bill Bensley, Founder of BENSLEY
      • Erik Nissen Johansen, Founder of Stylt
      • Erica Pritchard, Associate at HBA London
      • Eric Jafari, Chief Development Officer at Locke
      • Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST
      • Sara Gardiner, co-founder of Matetsi Victoria Falls
      • Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director of Anse Chasanet & Jade Mountain
      • Ari Peralta, CEO of Arigami
      • Fiona Thompson, Principal at Richmond International
      • Therese Virserius, Founder of Virserius Studio
      • Olivier Delaunoy, Technology Director at SymbiOT

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

      If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here.

      If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

      Product watch: wall hanging mirrors, made in London

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: wall hanging mirrors, made in London

      Alguacil & Perkoff was created with the aim to help create distinctive, beautiful and harmonious interiors through the design and careful selection of original and exquisite collections of mirrors.

      The importance of mirrors in hospitality is undeniable in a great number of ways. Obviously crucial in every room and bathroom for use by guests, they are also extremely valuable elements for the design of all spaces in the building. Equally important is the selection of the right partner to create and supply those mirrors.

      Mirrors not only bring light into a room and a greater sense of space, but they also provide designers with a wide range of unique and original decorative options to create beautiful feature points that reflect, complement or enhance the interior design.

      Mirrors used as unique feature points have a great aesthetic impact and require unique and at times minimalist or very dramatic designs, always with impeccable finishes.

      Although their design is important in their selection, mirrors in guest rooms and bathrooms often fulfil more practical requirements and are often required in larger volumes.

      Whichever the case may be, there are three key qualities that the supplier of such mirrors needs to possess:

      • Original designs and complete flexibility to customise them
      • High Quality with an understanding of budget constraints
      • Reliability and remarkable customer service

      Alguacil & Perkoff was created by founding directors Jose Luis Alguacil Rodriguez and Serge Perkoff with the aim to help create distinctive, beautiful and harmonious interiors through the design and careful selection of original and exquisite collections of mirrors.

      The team design and manufacture in London, UK . They have developed their own collections of modern and high quality hand-crafted wall hanging mirrors that proved rapid successes. Offering a variety of traditional or more modern shapes, their mirrors are either frameless or elegantly embellished with brass, copper, stainless steel or powder coated frames.

      Each mirror is fully customisable, including size, mirror tint, frame style / finish / colour, and backing material. They also create and/or fabricate bespoke mirrors on demand.

      Perkoff says: “We founded our workshop with an appetite for design, creativity and hand-crafting. We were not driven by trends but followed our instincts to create often minimalist, but always high quality, elegant and beautiful mirrors.

      Moving to source our components locally not only gave us complete control over quality and flexibility in design, but also allowed us to customise each and every one of our mirrors still maintaining reasonable delivery times and without ramping up costs or compromising quality.”

      Alguacil & Perkoff is building trust every day among the design community, placing a strong emphasis on reliability and customer service. They are today working on a daily basis with interior designers, architects or individuals who are seeking to acquire hand-crafted mirrors that fulfil their specific requirements to make their interiors more unique.

      Alguacil says: “Although attention to details is paramount to our work, our designs do possess a hand-crafted feel to them which is a signature of our work and our quality, and that makes each mirror unique. We have kept true to our original intentions and stayed away from finishes that make a mirror look like it has been mass-produced.

      We however love our work with designers, and do adapt and listen to the needs of our customers. It has lead for example to the development of a highly successful collection of ceiling suspended mirrors. Each is custom made and possesses a high quality finish both at the front and at the back of the mirror. Those can also be double sided if required.”

      Alguacil & Perkoff mirrors are safely shipped worldwide on a daily basis. They are today a reliable supplier of mirrors for all hospitality projects, with the capacity to supply large volume pieces from existing collections, or fully customised creations for more unique designs.

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

      Main image credit: Alguacil & Perkoff

      In Conversation With: interior designer Lisa Haude

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      In Conversation With: interior designer Lisa Haude

      Interior designer Lisa Haude, founder of PDG Studios, is known for her creative and unique approach to design. Editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with the storyteller to understand why she is considered one of the industry’s finest…

      A storyteller in her own right, designer Lisa Haude creates one-of-a-kind spaces that breathe a new level of authenticity into the projects she touches. Working predominantly with the larger brands, such Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International, Haude’s style is to celebrate the history of each hotel’s destination, which is channeled through an meaningful design narrative that is sheltered inside each project. 

      One of her recent projects – among many others – is AC Hotel by Marriott Washington D.C. Downtown, a hotel in the heart of the city that’s design marries together the architectural relevance of Washington D.C. with a modern twist.

      Image credit: AC Hotel by Marriott Washington DC Downtown

      “The one-of-a-kind light fixture that spans from the bar through the lobby space is actually a replica of the Potomac River from an aerial viewpoint.” – Lisa Haude, founder of PDG Studios.

      To learn more about the project, and the designer who brought it to life, I caught up with Haude, the founder of PDG Studios.

      Hamish Kilburn: What inspired you to be a designer? 

      Lisa Haude: I’ve always loved being creative. Thinking outside of the box and bringing a vision to life is such a rewarding experience and one that I treasure the most.

      HK: One of your recently completed projects was the AC Marriott DC. Can you explain for us the design scheme and what the challenges were for this project? 

      LH: With this project, we wanted to take the iconic, historical architectural elements of Washington DC and reinvent them with a modern interpretation. This was done by juxtaposing strong structural lines (which the building already had) and incorporating softer curves and fluid movement via furniture and unique, yet focal, point details. For example, the one-of-a-kind light fixture that spans from the bar through the lobby space is actually a replica of the Potomac River from an aerial viewpoint, which was reinterpreted in an artistic light form to provide soft, fluid lines and movement throughout the space.  

      Our biggest challenge with this space was working within a very small building that had many structural constraints. Although difficult at times, these challenges are what really allow us to expand our creativity and bring something truly unique to life! 

      HK: As well as high-end luxury you have also completed some recent budget hotels. How do you achieve adding personality on a budget? 

      LH: With a small budget, we focus on being strategic with how the funds are allocated, paying attention to every little detail and having a very strong design story that can be implemented from start to finish. This requires some flexibility and creativity as you work through the execution of the design with the contractor to ensure that the design intent is carried through and will make the most  out of the budget you are working with. 

      Image credit: Hilton Garden Inn Bozeman

      HK: Can you explain to us more about the projects you have on the boards? 

      LH: We are currently working on a historic/adaptive reuse property, a modern mountain get-away, and another very fun project that will be a nod to history but with a modern twist, among a few others! 

      HK: In your work, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on art. What is your secret to persuade the client to allocate enough budget for artwork? 

      LH: We believe that art is part of the design story and we are very intentional with the placement and selection of the pieces we use. We work closely with our owners to make sure we have some money carved out to include some unique pieces in the spaces, as they are the necessary cherry on top that helps complete the design. 

      Image of an art exhibition

      Image credit: Hilton Garden Inn Sunnyvale

      QUICK-FIRE ROUND

      HK: What is one trend that you wish will never return?

      LH: Wallpaper borders! This may be dating me slightly, but when I started in the design industry, a guestroom or residential project was not complete unless you had a wallpaper border in the space.

      HK: What items during lockdown could you not have lived without? 

      LH: Computer, iPhone and wine (and, of course, my daughter and dog!)

      HK: What makes a good design team? 

      LH: A team of like-minded individuals who respect each other and truly value each other’s input and love to collaborate.

      HK: Who is your interior design hero? 

            LH: I have so many people in the industry that I look up to, but today, the people I admire the most are those working around the clock to find safe alternatives and vaccines so that we may all soon be able to travel freely and be inspired by the people and places around us.

      HK: Describe PDG Studios in three words…

          LH: storytellers, authentic and collaborative! 

      “It’s important to plan for and design zones that allow for individual space.” – Lisa Haude, founder of PDG Studios

      HK: How have the challenges of the pandemic allowed you to challenge conventional design? 

      LH: We now need to be more adaptive and creative with how we approach design. In our current designs, we encourage the incorporation of more green and outdoor space (i.e. rooftop  terraces, balconies and courtyards), the use of larger windows/natural light sources and less toxic materials, such as natural materials and plants. It’s important to plan for and design zones that allow for individual space, where one can work and be conscience of the materials that are being used. Moving forward, it will be imperative to source materials that do not harbour germs and can be easily cleaned—and those people spending time in these spaces will want to know that! 

      Image credit: AC Hotel by Marriott Washington DC Downtown

      HK: How will smart tech evolve in the hotel guestroom post-pandemic? 

      LH: Easy/quick access to tech will become even more of a necessity. From the ability to work from your room via teleconferencing to the ease of being able to fully automate your room via your smart device, tech is most likely going to continue to evolve and become more mainstream and expected.  For example, the ability to turn on/off lights, control the AC /heat, open/close the door, etc., without contact (using voice activation instead) will be very desired and important to many people. The technology is already there for many of these items, but I believe there will be a greater push to make it more affordable and mainstream to the greater public in a hospitality-type setting.

      HK: Has sustainability slipped off the agenda in hospitality? 

      LH: I don’t think so. I feel like it is now even more important that we use products that are sustainable, locally sourced and easy to clean and maintain. I believe that this period of time has taught us all to take a step back and appreciate the people in our life and our surroundings. We have also become more conscience about our choices and how products are used and/or disposed of. 

      Main image credit: PDG Studio/Hilton Garden Inn Bozeman/AC Hotel by Marriott Washington DC Downtown

      In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

      Looking ahead, past the pandemic, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to understand how to build a meaningful hotel landscape…

      With the world the way it is at the moment, the conversation in the industry has steered sharply towards how architecture and design will be affected in the post-pandemic world.

      PLP Architecture is a firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London. Expected to be completed in 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

      As a result of the firms sustainable mission, the building will shelter mix of 42 native wildflower and some sedum species populate levels 34 and 42 – 44, protruding above the structure’s rooftop, seeking to create a sense of continuity between the tower and the outdoor public spaces and gardens on the ground floor. 

      Representing a number of firsts for London, such as being the first tower development in the City of London to harmoniously fuse private apartments with a luxury hotel, PLP Architecture’s collaborative approach with Yabu Pushelberg and developers UOL and Stanhope ensures the delivery of an integrated and seamless design at every level of building, helping to bring to life a bold, emblematic and creative new embodiment of urban expression for the capital. Most importantly, though, it has been built with tomorrow’s consumers and travellers in mind.

      So how are architects evolving to meet the hefty demands of modern travellers and budget conscious clients in the post-pandemic world? I spoke to Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to find out.

      Hamish Kilburn: How will coronavirus reshape architecture?

      Mark Kelly: Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself. As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency. Covid has specifically put extra focus on the health of the architectural spaces we inhabit – not just in the way they operate, but in the way they make occupants behave and feel.

      We are already seeing a shift towards greater implementation of technology to reduce levels of contact. There is also now a greater recognition of the benefits of architecture enhancing a state of health and wellbeing – achieved through more natural lighting and ventilation, improved climate control, larger areas of personal space more robust and cleanable surfaces, increased sizes and more options for circulation, clearer signage and better management of wayfinding – as well as more pragmatic inclusions like well-designed and integrated places for washing / sanitising hands and select use of screens and shields where required in areas of frequent interaction.

      “The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

      HK: How should the hospitality industry prepare for post-pandemic work in terms of architecture and design?

      MK: Though we are in very challenging times at the moment, we see opportunities for an exciting future across the industry – one that addresses the requirements of a post-pandemic world and also reinvents itself into a more dynamic, safe and inclusive environment for people to use and enjoy. Ultimately hospitality, as a service-based industry, has the goal of accommodating and providing comfort – not just for guests, although they are a clear priority – but for staff as well. Everyone involved has a right to feel safe and protected at all times.

      Image caption: Final mock-up room inside Pan Pacific London

      During the pandemic, we have seen some creative uses for hotels being implemented – including people using them as remote offices, exercise studios and other support for a newly mobile workforce. This has not only helped to counteract the problems associated with lower occupancy levels but started to address other issues that were present before the pandemic. The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces, but transform their business models to help further diversify and futureproof their assets.

      We see a real need to shift towards the inclusion of more local target groups, with a new and expanded reliance on the local population to add authenticity and ensure year-round activation and use of hotels. The pandemic has provided, and in some cases necessitated, an opportunity for the industry to expand from a more straightforward offering of overnight accommodation with perhaps a restaurant and gymnasium, into a truly community-minded hub where locals, tourists and business men and women alike interact and intermingle in an environment that entices each.

      Premium hospitality can remain a core function in hotels, but it will need to be flexible enough to adapt to take advantage of this exciting and beneficial adaptation into a Hospitality Integrated Business that brings together the workplace, wellness and placemaking.

      HK: What kinds of spaces will we be willing to live, travel and work in now?

      MK: Everyone’s goal is and will be to avoid contamination with the virus. As a whole, many of the types of spaces we will be willing to live, travel and work in already exist in limited quantities and going forward their designs will become more widespread through the adaptation and retrofitting of existing spaces and the creation of new ones.

      Image caption: Render of the hotel entrance at Pan Pacific London

      Density control is easier than ever now, and in hotels we believe that good design for the management of arrivals and departures in a reception space, for instance, can be easily integrated with new goals for sustainability to achieve environments that actively help prevent the spread of the virus and, ultimately, are healthier and more invigorating for everyone.

      The inclusion of more natural light, better ventilation, clearer wayfinding, more generous sizing, and adaptable personal spaces – all things we as a practice have been incorporating into our designs for many years – have become crucial visual indicators of safety that allow us to feel comfortable and protected at our homes, in our places of work, and while moving around outside of both.

      “No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

      HK: How can architecture mitigate pathogenic risks in an interconnected world?

      MK: Architecture will play a crucial role in supporting our control of pathogenic risks in our increasingly globalised world. Natural ventilation and better air management, including the use of HEPA filters, for instance, are already recognised for their ability to reduce infection rates and virus spread. Easy-to-clean materials, such as high-pressure laminates and other smooth, anti-microbial surfaces, enabling efficient management of contagion mitigation measures.

      Spatial use and organisation are also important, including the ways in which shared spaces (corridors, lounges, lobbies, dining areas) are activated. New developments in vertical circulation are poised to be a game-changer for taller structures in our cities. No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels, spaces, and even buildings and reduce risk associated with unnecessary interaction.

      Crucially, we believe that changes in architecture can be carried out subtly and effectively, preserving a sense of design identity and uniqueness, accommodating luxury and comfort, while embracing risk reduction and contagion prevention to ensure we can get back to close to what we define as our normal lives as possible.

      Main image credit: PLP Architecture/Pan Pacific London

      Product watch: N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) by WellTek

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) by WellTek

      WellTek, the leading London-based furniture company, has introduced N.A.P (Neuron Activation Pod) to the UK from Lo0ok Industries, a ground-breaking Finnish technology company…

      The N.A.P pod uses Neurosonic technology to increase the user’s wellbeing by helping to improve sleep quality, reduce migraine problems, relieve stress and many more ailments both physical and mental.

      N.A.P is not simply a silent capsule or traditional nap pod. The science behind this pod affects human natural relaxation and recovery mechanisms. The N.A.P technology guides the human body and mind mechanically to a meditation-like state that minimises and prevents stress-related symptoms. Sleep mechanisms are restored, and at the same time, many other stress triggers in the body and mind are corrected.

      The Neurosonic technology is based on sensory tissue stimulation, built-in elements transmit a very low-frequency (20-100 Hz) sinusoidal vibration, which is targeted simultaneously to the whole body. As a natural mechanism, vibration affects your body calmly via the autonomic nervous system and the mind. The treatment brings a new dimension to fixing stress-based symptoms and is used to enhance quality of sleep, to ease stress, muscle tensions and swelling. It activates metabolism and assists in both physical and mental recovery.

      Marco Kärkkäinen – Neurosonic Founder, Psychotherapist explains: “What does a zebra do when it has managed to escape the lion? It shakes itself. The purpose of this natural mechanism is to calm and relieve the stress reaction. Neurosonic produces this same natural effect – and thus takes relaxation and recovery to a completely new level.”

      There are four key effects on the human body and mind, all linked to the influence the technology has on the Autonomic Nervous System, i.e the part of the nervous system responsible for control of bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, heartbeat and digestive processes.

      Sleep Quality: N.A.P has a calming effect on the human body. The production of stress hormones is reduced and sleep mechanisms are restored. You calm down and fall asleep more easily. Nightly awakening decreases, and sleep becomes more restful and effective. 

      Pain Alleviation:  The neural network calms down, lymphatic circulation becomes more active and pain alleviates. Your body feels more relaxed and sleep mechanisms return to a more normal state, which causes many other things in the body and mind to be corrected.

      Stress Relieving:  Positive changes take place in the neurotransmitter action and the neural pathways in the alarm state calm down. Stressed people are able to fall asleep more easily and at night, the wake-ups that are being monitored are reduced or completely gone.

      Recovery:  Neurosonic relaxes your body effectively, by balancing the autonomic nervous system. At the same time, muscle circulation and metabolic restoration are restored at a faster pace. On average people report a 50 per cent reduction in recovery time from a strenuous run, work out etc.

      Neil Jenkins, Managing Director of Office Blueprint says: “Our product portfolio is committed to supporting healthy and stress-free office environments and N.A.P is an inspiring addition. When your mind is full, it is difficult to find the mental capacity to help relieve the stress from hectic lifestyles. A research based proven and safe treatment with no side effects, N.A.P is a truly remarkable product with transformative effects that will help employee wellbeing whether mental or physical”.

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

      Main image credit: WellTek

      Weekly briefing: a London review, ‘fit’ design & the power of art

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Weekly briefing: a London review, ‘fit’ design & the power of art

      Only got a minute? Our editorial team have compiled the top stories that they have published this week, including news on Moxy’s development, an exclusive review and our feature on the power of art…

      We appreciate you may not have time to read all the content that Hotel Designs has published this week. Therefore, here is our ‘editor’s pick’ of the juiciest stories that have been covered this week.

      “Fit is the new sexy,” and it’s here to stay in hospitality!

      Image credit: ACCOR

      In an exclusive editorial to celebrate the upcoming ‘WELLNESS’ concept coming to ‘ACCOR’ by Bergman Interiors, we took a closer look at the future of wellness in hospitality.

      Within the luxury market, wellness is not an expectation; it’s a dominant consumer value that is essential to the future hotel experience. This demand has inspired the collaboration between ACCOR and Bergman Interiors, in order to design wellness for tomorrow’s consumers.

      Read more. 

      EXCLUSIVE REVIEW // Checking in to No.5 Maddox Street, London

      Image credit: No5. Maddox Street

      Nestled between high-end art galleries and luxury boutiques – conveniently tucked behind Bond Street and metres away from Regent Street – is the discreet entrance to No.5 Maddox Street.

      Sheltering just 12 luxury apartments – all of which were renovated last year by the owner herself, Tracy Lowy – No.5 Maddox Street is part of the Living Rooms collection, which also includes The Laslett and Weymouth Mews. Offering what it claims is ‘the best of apartment living and hotel service’, it’s almost as if the collection was unconsciously designed for the post-pandemic world.

      Read more.

      Moxy makes it a hat-trick in Japan!

      Image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

      Moxy has opened its third hotel in Japan. Located in one of the main hubs of Osaka City, the new Moxy hotel will provide guests with what Marriott is describing as “a fun and playful experience” through lively communal spaces.

      “We are thrilled to be opening Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, which marks the third Moxy branded hotel to open in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “This opening is a testament to Marriott International’s commitment to continue expanding its footprint across Japan and Asia Pacific with the experiential lifestyle portfolio catering to the next generation of travellers.”

      Read more.

      TRENDING // bathroom tap trends emerging in 2020

      According to UK Bathrooms, taps in a range of metallics and subtle brushed finishes are trending in the bathroom for 2020 and beyond.

      Taps with matt or brushed finishes are flooding into the most contemporary bathrooms in a varied palette of muted metallics and monochromes, transforming pieces of brassware into elegant design statements.

      Read more.

      Feature: the power of art in hotel design

      Image caption: Cocktail series – tequila sunrise | Image credit: Michelle Lucking

      Image caption: Cocktail series – tequila sunrise | Image credit: Michelle Lucking

      More than ever before, there is a demand among modern travellers for hotel operators have to create destinations we feel a connection with; a place we want to spend time in. Interiors, therefore, need to captivate, inspire, and resonate with us. Art can do that and so much more; art has the power to stir our emotions and leave a lasting impression.

      That’s why, in a search for creativity post-lockdown, we decided to catch up with Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter, to see how the brand is engaging new artists and the process it applies when pairing artists to projects.

      Read more.

      Product watch: The Arena Collection by Crosswater

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: The Arena Collection by Crosswater

      The Arena Collection by Crosswater has been specifically developed to complement the most popular elements of modern bathroom design…

      Crosswater’s Arena Collection uses state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and the essential characteristics of traditional Scandinavian design.

      It excels in both form and function with a focus on slender space-saving proportions, ample storage and clean simple lines. From the beech wood effect of Modern Oak to the sleek finish of Pure White Gloss, the new 500, 600, 800 and 1000mm console units added to the Arena range will sit cohesively within bathrooms of all styles.

      Steel

      Embracing a subtle brushed texture with a linear grain, the Steel finish provides a modern twist on a natural finish. The blend of silver, grey and white gives a unique look, completed with an easy-clean anthracite finish drawer box. For a striking twist, pair the Steel designs with brushed brass detailing, wood accents and hints of greenery for a beautifully tied together scheme.

      Modern oak

      The wood-like finish of Modern Oak creates a warm and inviting aesthetic. Each piece features authentic elements including knots, inclusions and chalky-limed accents, with matching edging and a birchwood drawer set to finish. Modern Oak pairs effortlessly with Scandinavian influences, herringbone style backdrops and soft grey colour palettes – delivering a scheme that exudes charm and sophistication.

      Pure white gloss

      Take white bathrooms to a new level with the Pure White Gloss finish. Sleek and impactful, this classic colour reflects and maximises natural light into the bathroom. It has also been finished with an additional UV coating technology – meaning the surfaces will remain more resistant to scratches, heat, impact and yellowing, retaining the beautiful finish for longer. Complete the look with wicker accents, greenery and a soft tonal colour palette for an ultra modern interior.

      Portland grey matt

      Silky smooth, the Arena Matt Grey finish is the perfect option for family bathrooms. Thanks to its anti-fingerprint properties and scratch and impact resistance, it makes for a truly stylish yet practical choice. Portland is a medium, cool grey and its simple internal accents act as the perfect match for any colour brassware, handle or accessory. The furniture comes complete with a long-lasting and easy-to-clean textured anthracite melamine drawer box for added appeal.

      Combining form and functionality, each piece across the Arena Furniture collection is designed to look beautiful and be as efficient as possible in today’s contemporary bathroom.

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

      Main image credit: Crosswater

      Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Facet lighting by Studio Waldemeyer

      Hotel Designs learns how lighting designer Moritz Waldemeyer bent glass to its will in order to create FACET…

      In all its beauty and variety, glass is essentially an amorphous material with no regular crystalline structure.

      Yet through a design vision and mastery in glassmaking craft, the material can come to mimic its opposite, creating highly organised and consistent structures.

      As if trying to systematise the chandelier-making tradition, Moritz took the geometrical shape of the Classic chandelier outline and turned it into a diamond-like hexagonal glass building block. On its own, with just single pendant, or in combination of multiple items into a large chandelier, the FACET modules stand out as clear, disciplined and geometrical.

      The light source included inside every block allows the FACET system to be universal and almost unlimitedly extendable.

      Moritz Waldemeyer is an internationally renowned London based designer who’s work occupies a diverse range of creative spaces. 2004 saw his debut into the design world with an interactive chandelier for Swarovski. With a forward thinking approach and a philosophy of playful experimentation Studio Moritz Waldemeyer is forging links between technology, art, fashion and design.

      Led by Waldemeyer, the studio has taken on projects for Audi, Intercontinental Hotels, Rinacente and Wallpaper Magazines 2014 Handmade issue. Studio Moritz Waldemeyer has also created bespoke light studded costumes for Will.I.AM, Rihanna, Take That and the 2012 London Olympics handover Ceremony performers. Under Moritz’s direction the studio strive to create innovative concepts incorporating his signature aesthetic into each piece.

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

      Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

      Product watch: Maria Teresa chandelier by Masiero

      740 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch: Maria Teresa chandelier by Masiero

      The Maria Teresa chandelier by Masiero is an iconic product that comes from Venice’s historical tradition and each piece is characterised by uniquely shaped crystal glass pendants…

      The precious classical style of the Maria Teresa chandelier maintains its original, iconic look but adopts a new personality thanks to the fascinating creativity of colour and a varied range of lighting effects achieved by the latest control systems.

      Image credit: Masiero

      Each Masiero’s Maria Teresa is available in three different lighting technology: the classic, the Dynamic White LED that allows you to customise light temperature and the RGB_W Led that allows you to transform light in colours.

      In Touquet Paris la plage, for its renovation, the Grand Hôtel Le Touquet specified the brand’s red Maria Teresa chandelier, made with Murano glass, as the decorative fulcrum of its atrium.
      More recently, the bar of the Hotel, “Le Menko”, has been adorned with 10 black Maria Teresa chandeliers that gently illuminate the room and reinforce the Gatsby / art deco style of this new space.

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

      Main image credit: Masiero

      TRENDING // bathroom tap trends emerging in 2020

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      TRENDING // bathroom tap trends emerging in 2020

      According to UK Bathrooms, taps in a range of metallics and subtle brushed finishes are trending in the bathroom for 2020 and beyond…

      Gone are the days when your choice of tap colour was high shine chrome or high shine chrome.

      Taps with matt or brushed finishes are flooding into the most contemporary bathrooms in a varied palette of muted metallics and monochromes, transforming pieces of brassware into elegant design statements.

      “A wide range of tap finishes are emerging as part of the trend for statement bathrooms.” – Graeme Borchard, Managing Director, UK Bathrooms.

      Metallic finishes in gleaming hues ranging from copper to bronze have moved into the bathroom over the recent years, as brassware became more experimental – and #bathroomselfie started trending on Instagram. Now it’s the turn of subtler, more gentle shades, as brushed and matt finishes are launched across taps of every tone. “A wide range of tap finishes are emerging as part of the trend for statement bathrooms,” explains Graeme Borchard, MD at UK Bathrooms. “There’s a real desire for spaces which are bold and luxurious, but also unique and personal.”

      Adding a tap – or other brassware – with a brushed, matt or textured finish to the bathroom instantly creates a sophisticated, tranquil feel, thanks to their delicate and understated nature. Due to the wide variety of shades which have recently become available, there’s now a tone to harmonise with every bathroom scheme. Brushed nickel, for example, is a mellow version of classic chrome, the soft silvery colour working beautifully with bathrooms in cool, watery hues that have blue, green, turquoise or white bases. For bathrooms decorated with warmer colours like pink, coral or yellow, muted brass and bronzes will blend in with the dusky, sunset feel of the space.

      As well as their chic appearance, taps lacking the traditional high shine have practical benefits too, accumulating fewer watermarks and finger prints, and requiring minimal polishing, so are joyfully low maintenance.

      Want to make more of a statement? Matt black and white taps have also taken hold of 2020, the striking shades packing more of a punch than brushed metallic tones, but with a minimal texture that doesn’t reflect light at all.

      Matt monochromes work in any bathroom setting. A matt black tap absorbs light, forming a shadowy silhouette against the surface behind it – team it with matching brassware to create a pared-back take on the industrial, New York loft-style bathroom trend. Matt white taps speak of elegance and crispness, a point of difference against other glossy white ceramics in the room, while also working alongside them. Against surface materials like marble or tiles, white taps let the walls take centre stage, while black taps add a shapely focal point.

      Matt textures work best on taps which have simple, modern shapes, so the material is emphasised and can be fully appreciated; a bevy of new releases from key bathroom brands combine brushed or matt finishes with clean, contemporary styling.

      Taking influence from modern architecture, hansgrohe has added Matt White and Matt Black to its FinishPlus range, which also includes Brushed Bronze and Brushed Black Chrome, and can be applied across the sleek Metropol and Talis E ranges. Crosswater’s MPRO collection is also all about minimal shine finishes, its basin taps – as well as other coordinating showers, valves and accessories – can be coated in Matt Black, Matt White and Brushed Stainless Steel or Brass. Colour Your Bathroom by Abacus has the option to apply on trend Matt Black, Brushed Bronze and Brushed Nickel across its entire collection of taps and more, while VitrA’s angular Origin range carries Matt Black and Brushed Nickle on more than 150 products.

      Finding a tap with a finish that will complement but not overpower your bathroom has never been easier – choose a single piece for a sculptural statement or use textured metal across the entire space to fully embrace this year’s hottest bathroom trend.

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

      Main image credit: UK Bathrooms

      Industry insight: the power of art in hotel design

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Industry insight: the power of art in hotel design

      At Hotel Designs we have always championed the value of art, but in this feature we explore the power of art. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter, to learn more…

      More than ever before, there is a demand among modern travellers for hotel operators have to create destinations we feel a connection with; a place we want to spend time in. Interiors, therefore, need to captivate, inspire, and resonate with us. Art can do that and so much more; art has the power to stir our emotions and leave a lasting impression. It’s no wonder that so many designers turn to art to inject personality into an installation but commissioning the right piece of art for your project is a craft in itself.

      That’s why, in a search for creativity post-lockdown, I have decided to catch up with Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter, to see how the brand is engaging new artists and the process it applies when pairing artists to projects.

      “We go on a creative journey with our clients. We start by drawing out the narrative to reveal the story and spirit of a place.” – Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter.

      “One of the biggest advantages of being an art consultant is that we are not constrained by a house-style,” explains Howlett. “At Elegant Clutter we go on a creative journey with our clients. We start by drawing out the narrative to reveal the story and spirit of a place. We’re not about finding a theme; we are about how we amplify  character through artistic collaboration.”

      As well as a strong in-house artwork studio, Elegant Clutter has a growing portfolio of artists they are working with. Having nurtured creativity in others throughout her career, Howlett is particularly passionate about the process of discovering new talent. Her years of experience as a  judge on international under-graduate design competitions is a distinct advantage when researching new collaborations. “We are art lovers as well as art curators,” she adds, “so I get an enormous amount of joy in supporting emerging artists as well as introducing established artists to new sectors.”

      Quite often, Elegant Clutter is able to provide an already established local artist a brand new platform to showcase their work. The brand is currently working with swiss artist Etienne Krähenbühl to install one of his famous “Bing Bang” sculptures in the lobby of the new Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is directly connected to the Circle convention centre at Zurich airport. Working closely with Krähenbühl, Elegant Clutter will complete the installation using its own craftspeople to present the art in a way that integrates perfectly to the hotel’s specific situation. The sculpture is created with hard crafted oak, which honours the Butzenbüel, a small hill in parkland created as place of reflection near the airport buildings and the Circle complex.

      Art piece showing sculpture of a circle

      Image caption: A sculpture by Etienne Krähenbühl, which honours the Butzenbüel | Image credit: François Busson

      In addition to installing bespoke artwork in hotels across Europe, Elegant Clutter’s influence can be found in all sorts of installations. A good example is inside the American Express lounge at Heathrow airport. Here the brand is working with Minty Sainsbury, a London based artist specialising in architectural pencil drawings. Having studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, graduating top of her year in 2013, she went on to work in a London architectural practice. But she soon discovered that the drawing board no longer has a place in the modern architectural office, so returned to the pencil with the intention of keeping the art of architectural drawing alive. Sainsbury’s work can be found in iconic hotels such as Gleneagles but having the opportunity to display her drawings where they will be seen by travellers from the world over was a first. She explains the inspiration behind this commission.

      “Elegant Clutter wanted to capture London’s personality in two pictures that travellers from around the globe could relate to,” the artist explains. “So, I was asked to draw St Pauls which I have done many times and the Walkie Talkie, which was a first and a building I wouldn’t have thought of drawing if it hadn’t been for this commission. The two illustrations convey the classic and the contemporary side of  London perfectly.”

      “I discovered Michelle’s Instagram account during lockdown and was captivated by her beautiful seascapes.” – Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter.

      Howlett is constantly on the lookout for artists to collaborate with. This can be driven by the project brief, for example, researching local artists to tell a specific story with the art narrative, or discovering someone who has established a unique style and wants to extend their reach. Michelle Lucking is one such artist. She specialises in creating beautiful seascapes and underwater portraits. Her art explores the contrasting raw power and calm serenity of the differing states of water, and the technical challenge of capturing both its translucency and movement. In 2017, she won the prestigious Annie Longley Award at the annual British Pastel Society exhibition. She is also brand ambassador for the internationally acclaimed pastel company Unison Colour and now Elegant Clutter’s most recent artist signing.

      Howlett explains how she connected with Lucking during lockdown: “I discovered Michelle’s Instagram account during lockdown and was captivated by her beautiful seascapes. We spoke on the phone and had an instant connection. She has an established following within the residential sector, so I can see the potential for her work being displayed in beautiful boutique hotels. It’s really exciting and rewarding to introduce new artists to the commercial sector.”

      An art piece showing girl swimming in turquoise and orange bikini

      Image caption: Cocktail series – tequila sunrise | Image credit: Michelle Lucking

      Lucking’s work can already be found in private collections around the world. She told us why it was the right time to broaden her reach and why Elegant Clutter is the right fit for her: “I wanted to share my work with more people, but it was essential that I collaborated with a company who valued and supported independent artists. Elegant Clutter are true art custodians. I feel confident they have the skill in placing my work to enhance an interior space where it can connect to a new audience.”

      Celebrating artist talent is something close Hotel Designs’ heart. Elegant Clutter is in a unique position where it can use its project management, installation skills and its knowledge on the fine art of storytelling to introduce new artists into the world of contract interiors – a precious responsibility to keep art alive in hospitality design.

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

      Main image credit: Tim Perceval

      Siminetti shortlisted for SBID Product Design Awards 2020

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Siminetti shortlisted for SBID Product Design Awards 2020

      Surface brand Siminetti is among the impressive global design talent to have become a finalist in the SBID Product Design Awards 2020, for its entry into the Surfaces and Finishes category…

      Luxury surface brand Siminetti has been shortlisted for the SBID Product Design Awards 2020 in the Surfaces & Finishes category.

      Respected by the industry at large, success in SBID’s GOLD-rated awards programme is achieved purely for design, innovation and functionality of the entries. The finalists in each category therefore demonstrate the highest standards of design excellence for interior products within their field, spanning the commercial and residential design sectors.

      Consistent in its quest to recognise, reward and celebrate global interior design, this year’s SBID Awards has been the most globally represented edition to date; receiving entries from 49 countries around the world.

      Each entry undergoes an exhaustive two-tier judging process, where leading industry professionals evaluate essential elements such as compliance with the brief, budget, health & safety and fit-for-purpose design. Siminetti‘s product “Golden Pearl Drop” was shortlisted by this year’s revered international jury for both its technical standards and creative delivery.

      The Judges decisions are finalised by the third and final stage of judging, where the public are invited to vote for their favourite projects at www.sbidawards.com. Accounting for an influential 30 per cent of the results, the public and ultimate end-users of design have the final say in which products have what it takes to take home a prestigious SBID Award. With previous years seeing an astounding 225,000 unique voters, the voting will close on September 30 at 5pm (BST).

      You can show your support and vote for Siminetti‘s project by visiting the website.

      The Surfaces & Finishes category is for architectural and interior surfaces and finishes. These include but are not limited to panels, wallcoverings, stone, veneers, ceramics, wood, acrylic, glass, mouldings, paint and tiles.

      Siminetti’s Mother of Pearl Decorative Panels are the next generation in Mother of Pearl surface finishes. Handcrafted by Siminetti’s team of artisans, the ‘Golden Pearl Drop’ Decorative Panels capture the stunning natural beauty of Mother of Pearl that has for centuries been associated with luxury, sophistication and elegance. Utilising a combination of Siminetti’s ‘Bianco’ and ‘Golden Promise’ Mother of Pearl, every panel carries its own bespoke appeal.

      Founder and CEO of SBID, Dr Vanessa Brady OBE says: “Business has been disrupted for many during the pandemic, but I’m pleased to confirm that the interior design practice has remained relatively steady. The SBID Awards received submissions from more countries this year than in any other year, demonstrating the strength of SBID and the industry as a whole. We are thrilled to be the award that industry professionals want to win and for that, we are particularly proud and honoured, as an interior design body for trading standards, to continue showcasing the world’s best interior and product designs during these difficult days.”

      The winning entry in each category will be announced on October 23 and be awarded with a bespoke trophy as this year’s prestigious SBID Awards Winners. An Overall Winner will also be awarded for the product that scored highest overall from both the judges shortlists and public votes combined.

      Main image credit: Siminetti

      Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Inside Moxy Hotels’ third property to open in Japan

      Located in one of the main hubs of Osaka City, the new Moxy hotel will provide guests with what Marriott is describing as “a fun and playful experience” through lively communal spaces…

      In a city that is buzzing with an attitude that does not always follow the rules, the 288-room Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda has officially opened its doors. As Marriott International’s bold experiential brand, the new hotel features fun, playful and stylish experiences, designed to give guests everything they want and nothing they don’t.

      Render of outside of the Moxy hotel

      Image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

      “We are thrilled to be opening Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, which marks the third Moxy branded hotel to open in Japan,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “This opening is a testament to Marriott International’s commitment to continue expanding its footprint across Japan and Asia Pacific with the experiential lifestyle portfolio catering to the next generation of travellers.”

      Creating an environment that appeals to today’s modern traveller as well as locals,  the hotel’s chic design pays homage to the vibrant city of Osaka. The aesthetics of the hotel are inspired by a combination of the fashionable art of Umeda and the unique expressions of local Fukushima, known as the “mechanical arcade” that once supported the development of Japan’s electronic industry.

      Upstairs, the 288 guestrooms are cleverly designed to maximise space and allow guests the flexibility to adapt the room to their needs. Each room is equipped with the latest technology featuring a 55-inch flat screen television with screen casting ability, furiously fast and free Wi-fi, abundant USB ports, motion activated LED guidelight and backlighted glass panels to add ambience.

      The hotel also features several of the Moxy brand’s cheeky lifestyle touches. The signature Bar Moxy doubles as the hotel’s check-in counter, where guests are greeted upon arrival with a complimentary ‘Got Moxy’ cocktail. Buzzing with high-energy is The Terrace, an outdoor area where ‘Fun Hunters’ can eat, drink and socialise. The Lounge calls its charms through its graffiti art walls, modern furniture and ambient lighting, ideal for gatherings, special events or crafted cocktails, while Grab and Go allows guests to satisfy their cravings day or night. Guests can plug in and tune out in the Library or re-energise using the pink Moxy punching bag in the hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre that also features gymnastic equipment, spinning bikes and a full-circuit gym.

      With the opening of Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda, the animated brand, which now has more than 60 experiential hotels open across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, continues to make design-led hotel experiences accessible and affordable.

      Main image credit: Marriott International/Moxy Hotels

      Product watch // AXOR MyEdition: bathroom design that’s personalised

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Product watch // AXOR MyEdition: bathroom design that’s personalised

      With modern travellers demanding more personalised hotel experiences, Hotel Designs takes a look at MyEdition range of taps by AXOR, which have been designed in collaboration with Phoenix Design…

      For more than 25 years, AXOR has been a pioneer in the development and production of avant-garde design objects for luxury bathrooms and kitchens. This legacy is continued with AXOR MyEdition, a collection of taps created in collaboration with the Stuttgart-based design studio, Phoenix Design. The design is independent and recognisable, supporting the brand maxim “Form follows Perfection”.

      Image credit: AXOR

      Conceived as an expression of personality, self-realisation and individual creativity, the range features a variety of surface colours and patterns that enable the tap to be customised for an individual look.  The exclusive plate materials can be chosen from 15 AXOR FinishPlus special finishes, two glass plates and five special materials: metal, wood, marble and leather. This monolithic design makes individualisation possible by allowing more room for personal creativity.

      Image credit: AXOR

      This demand for personalisation has been furthered by AXOR with the recent launch of MyEdition 2.0. Offering maximum freedom in the choice of materiality for the mounting plate, it is now possible for designers to create their own plates to perfectly match wider bathroom schemes. Using approved specification templates for the designs and local craftsmen for the manufacture, personalised plates can be secured onto the existing tap and fitted as normal.

      In addition to its innovative aesthetic, the collection also offers a superior water experience. MyEdition is available with the innovative PowderRain spray – a first for washbasin mixers. With the advantage of micro spray technology, this new water method has six fine openings per nozzle (instead of one), transforming the spray into thousands of micro droplets that envelop hands in a gentle cocoon of water.

      AXOR MyEdition comprises nine products in total, including products for washbasins, bidets and bathtubs. It represents the next stage in AXOR’s journey in developing innovative ways to experience water.

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

      Main image credit: hansgrohe

      Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

      The 126-key hotel, which is in the heart of Shoreditch, has been designed by Fabled Studio and draws inspiration from East London’s past as a centre of craftspeople and makers. Hotel Designs takes a peek inside…

      East London lifestyle hotel, Hart Shoreditch Hotel London from Curio Collection by Hilton, which has recently opened, was designed in collaboration with London-based interior design consultancy Fabled Studio. The 126-key property seamlessly blends the vibrant heritage and modern-day creativity of East London, through its thoughtfully designed spaces.

      “Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space.” – Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio.

      Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

      Drawing inspiration from East London’s past as a centre for craftspeople and makers, the hotel’s design narrative is deeply rooted in showcasing the industries that thrived there including furniture makers, metal workers and silk weavers. In keeping with the Curio Collection by Hilton portfolio, the hotel will give visitors to London the chance to experience one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods and discover its unique history.

      Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

      “We set out to create a brand-new identity for a Shoreditch hotel and restaurant/ bar by delving deeper into the stories and history that the East End has to tell,” said Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio. “Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space. Natural textures and a muted architectural colour palette create a crisp canvas which we have dressed with soft sage velvets, woven linens and Kilim patterns to offer an elegant and mature space to enjoy.”

      Luxe guestroom

      Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

      Hart Shoreditch takes its name from one of the building’s previous occupants, The Harts, who were cabinetmakers in the 1800’s. The distinctive space encapsulates East London’s rich industrial and artisan past. Design details including a steel re-bar and copper staircase, and contemporary, bespoke mahogany lights have been designed to replicate cabinetmaker’s boxes and pay homage to the building’s earlier artisan life.

      Soft textures, furnishings and warm lighting will guide guests through to Tavla, the hotel’s bar where guests and locals alike will be encouraged to relax and spend time throughout the day and into the evening. Here, textured woven stools are mixed in with lounge chairs in muted tones and softened textures giving the space a modern, residential feel. The restaurant BARBOUN, boasts an industrial-luxe aesthetic with rattan and Thonet-style chairs and partitions inspired by the Victorian furniture makers workshops of Great Eastern Street. Warmth and softness is brought into the space through natural linen café curtains, drapery in deep oxblood and upholstery in nude leather; as well as the asymmetric architecture of the vast timber ceiling replicating the beamed structure of a factory warehouse. A striking steel re-bar and copper staircase sits towards the back of the space along with a central cascade of moon chandeliers.

      Guests can choose from nine room and suite categories, all of which feature a soft and elegant colour palette of white and grey with striking burnt orange and deep green accents. Predominantly contemporary in style with copper mirror detailing and simplistic modern furnishings, the guestrooms are warm and inviting with subtle design details throughout such as saddle-stitched leather strapping and copper rendered marmorino textures. Copper leafed bedside mirrors are embossed with woven lace etchings in a nod to the deep-rooted Huguenot history of nearby Spitalfields. Bathrooms feature a combination of materials which come together to create a sophisticated, urban space. Luxurious marble showers and rolltop baths with impressive views across Shoreditch are complimented by contrasting concrete vanities, herringbone flooring, bold geometric tiling and paired back brass detailing.

      Hart Shoreditch is also home to two unique meeting spaces which have been designed to emulate the look and feel of 18th century Huguenot townhouses synonymous with East London and its silk weaving past. A classic London aesthetic intertwined with modern textures and details set against soft green walls.

      Image credit: Hart Shoreditch

      Located in the heart of Shoreditch on Great Eastern Street, the hotel is conveniently situated just a moment’s walk from Shoreditch High Street underground station and within walking distance of the neighbourhood’s independent boutiques, vibrant bars, restaurants and famous markets such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

      Main image credit: Hart Shoreditch

      Stylish emerald green and golden poster above comfortable king size bed with headboard and pillows in dark green bedroom

      Upcycling: “Revamp, don’t replace,” says surface brand Architextural

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Upcycling: “Revamp, don’t replace,” says surface brand Architextural

      The trend for upcycling shows no sign of abating; businesses are increasingly looking to upgrade their interiors on a budget and without the upheaval of ripping out and replacing furniture, explains surface brand Architextural

      Stylish emerald green and golden poster above comfortable king size bed with headboard and pillows in dark green bedroom

      Upcycling taps into the trend for sustainability that continues to be big news; it is better for the environment for venues to make use of what they already have and give it a new lease of life, rather than replacing it wholesale and sending old furniture and fittings to landfill.

      This is where vinyl wrapping processes come into their own, providing a fresh new look in a multitude of styles, quickly and easily.

      Wrapping is a simple process, whereby an existing surface is covered with a self-adhesive film. Architectural finishes are highly engineered, durable films, designed to look and feel like real-life materials. The films are applied with heat, by skilled installers, to provide a realistic hardwearing finish. This allows clients to create bespoke furniture using less expensive materials, wrapping them to look like authentic marble, wood or concrete. With thousands of finishes available, the possibilities are vast.

      Modern loft living room with black steel slats 3d render.There are concrete floors , Decorate wall with pattern of black steel slats.Furnished with dark gray fabric chair.

      Image credit: Architextural

      Diverse applications

      Architectural films can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including walls, lifts, doors and FF&E.

      Such films are conformable for 3D applications, meaning their use is not limited to flat surfaces. Almost any surface can be wrapped, making films ideal for the commercial environment. What’s more, they can even be applied over existing substrates.

      As the surface finishes are conformable, they can be applied to curved structures to create eye-catching designs. This provides a key advantage over laminates that require edge banding, whereas films offer the opportunity to wrap fully over edges to completely seal them.

      “Wrapping is also highly durable – lasting for an average of 12 years on interior surfaces.”

      Environmental benefits

      On average, it costs seven times more to rip out and replace interiors. Refurbishment with architectural films is a way to upcycle existing fixtures and fittings, rather than send to landfill.

      It’s a budget-friendly option for architects when costs are being squeezed, allowing businesses to refresh a venue more frequently or at a lower cost. Wrapping is also highly durable – lasting for an average of 12 years on interior surfaces – meaning it can work out more cost effective over the lifetime of the product, when compared to fabric, paint or veneer.

      a clean living room with black wallcovering

      Image credit: Architextural

      Less day-to-day disruption

      It’s also easier for businesses, as vinyls are applied in situ, with no noise, mess or waste – allowing the venue can stay open throughout. Little equipment is needed, with minimal prep, meaning less downtime and inconvenience.

      All finishes are fire tested and meet building regulations. And as the product is a PVC solution, it is fully water and heat resistant, as well as and hygienic, all of which are important in high-traffic venues such as gyms, bars and restaurants.

      With a world of possibilities at their fingertips, companies looking to reduce costs and improve their sustainability would be wise to look at upcycling using self-adhesive finishes to refresh spaces with minimal disruption to the business.

      Architextural 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: Architextural

      Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

      To showcase Heathfield & Co’s bespoke approach to lighting design, Hotel Designs explores how the brand designed unique lighting schemes for two well-known hotels in London… 

      From cruise ships and shared working spaces, to five star hotels and restaurants across the world, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke portfolio showcases more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in commercial projects. Here are just two examples that illuminate the brand’s creative approach to lighting.

      The Curtain

      Located in the heart of Shoreditch, The Curtain is a 120-key go-to for London creatives.

      Starting with the client’s initial brief, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke team worked closely with U.S. based Duncan Miller Ulmann to design unique lighting to suit the sophisticated urban city aesthetic.

      From an initial project review, through to final delivery and site support, Heathfield’s dedicated project managers led every stage of the process, ensuring the budget was met and final designs were perfectly executed.

      Adjustable bedside wall lights, perforated ceiling pendants and picture desk lamps were among the bespoke products designed, developed and manufactured exclusively for this stylish hotel.

      Kimpton Fitzroy

      Combining contemporary interiors with the original features of its 19th century building, the Kimpton Fitzroy in Bloomsbury is a London hotel like no other.

      Collaborating with the creative teams at Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage Studio, Heathfield’s dedicated team of product designers and engineers created a series of extravagant chandeliers and sleek wall lights to complement the hotel interior. Specialist finishes and materials were developed and produced for the project to achieve a truly unique design.

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

      Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

      Editor Checks In: the price tag eliminating diversity in design

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Editor Checks In: the price tag eliminating diversity in design

      An independent investigation on diversity in design, carried out by Hotel Designs, has highlighted the potentially ‘unethical’ lengths that studios are willing to go to in order to win projects on the international hotel design scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

      Traditionally – as well as recently – in the international hotel design and hospitality arena, the word ‘unethical’ and the phrase ‘dirty money’ was targeted largely towards the abusers of power; a handful of hotel owners, for example, have used money laundering to fund ostentatious and, quite frankly, outrageous development projects in luxury addresses.

      However, it turns out that even some design firms have also been sheltering their fair share of unethical methods when it comes to business development, and I believe it is having a dramatic impact on equality within the industry – something that I was once proud of, but as I scratch beneath the surface, I am beginning to realise that we are at risk of this being nothing but a façade.

      In new supporting evidence, there have been an increased number of design firms that have been exposed of deliberately undervaluing the proposed cost of a project in what has been described as “a desperate bid” to win the client’s commission. And especially in these challenging times that lie ahead, it is apparent that the scales are no longer level and the playing field is no longer fair.

      “These allegations could drastically disrupt the design industry’s performance, as well as put several question marks on how ethical and diverse the industry is becoming.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs.

      It is understood that for some design firms, certain prestigious projects – or more accurately all projects won during these unstable economic times – are considered more valuable within a portfolio now that we are are heading into a recession. As a result, firms are strategically pitching to clients with a significantly lower cost on the table – eliminating any possibility to make a profit – in order to drastically further the chances of winning the account.

      One anonymous business development manager from a design studio, who Hotel Designs spoke to, described how he/she lost a commission for a recent project after a competitor allegedly undervalued the development by roughly 80 per cent to what he/she believed the project should achieve in design fees.

      Furthermore, another anonymous leading designer reached out to Hotel Designs with a claim that he/she has witnessed projects being won by competitors at up to 75 per cent lower than what he/she believed was a reasonable professional fee to complete the hotel project.

      In addition, other designers have come forward and claimed that they have witnessed situations whereby even suppliers have agreed to pay the design studio separately in order to be specified in a particular project, again this is with the understanding that being specified in the project’s design will generate positive PR around the brand as a result – effectively out-valuing the fee to the design studio.

      Although not directly linked, these drastic methods of securing new business have circled back towards further inquiries regarding how design firms are actually funding their existence in the already competitive market.

      If proven correct, these allegations could drastically disrupt the design industry’s performance, as well as put several question marks on how ethical and diverse the industry is becoming, especially, for example, if mystery backers are then funding the project on behalf of the design firm.

      What’s more, the risk design studios are willing to take in order to secure these projects rings deafening alarm bells in my head, because it will inevitably be the talented individuals – often juniors on low-pay packages – who will be working on the project and who will ultimately suffer the most.

      “Fees have seriously been trending lower after every recession when clients demand from firms.” – Anonymous designer.

      There are also concerns among the industry that Covid-19 – and the pressures that are attached to the pandemic regarding a lack of new business opportunities on the horizon – will create further desperation between design studios that are responding to client briefs.

      We have heard from a number of design studios regarding this, and many have decided to reduce project costs in ratio with the cuts they have made to staffing. One firm, again which would wish to remain anonymous, has confirmed that it has made a 20 per cent cut to all current project costs, and the studio has taken this decision in full knowledge that when or if the industry ever returns to what we recognised as normal, then the studio will work at full capacity but will only receive 80 per cent of the original fee. “We have seen this continuously,” said another anonymous designer. “Fees have seriously been trending lower after every recession when clients demand from firms.”

      So, you tell me, will greed take its toll, and will meaningful and creative hospitality solutions be overshadowed by a tempting lower project cost? I certainly hope not, as I believe the industry is still made up of solution-driven individuals who understand and respect the need for thinking long-term, despite living and working in what feel like desperate times.

      This is the first article within the series of this investigation. If you would like to speak to Hotel Designs – on or off the record – about diversity in design, please email the editorial desk

      Editor, Hotel Designs

      Bette supports hospitality with discussion on new hygiene demands

      Hamish Kilburn
      Bette supports hospitality with discussion on new hygiene demands

      Bathroom brand Bette supports the hospitality sector with HotelForum discussion on hygiene demands that have been created by Covid-19…

      As a member of the European Networking Architecture, German bathroom manufacturer, Bette, has created a panel of leading design and hotel industry professionals, which will discuss whether there are ‘new guidelines for hotel design, enforced by pandemic experiences.’ The discussion will take place in English as part of the hotelforum event on October 7 and can be accessed online.

      Sebastian Noack from Bette comments: “As a result of the pandemic, the demands on hygiene safety measures in hotels have increased massively. The panel discussion will consider whether this is an opportunity to plan, design and build crisis-proof hotels to help achieve a competitive advantage through hygiene-oriented design. We hope it will also be a useful opportunity to consider whether the increased expectations on hygiene standards will also have an impact on the choice of materials, as has been the case in the health sector.”

      The panel discussion will explore the positions of developers/owners, operators and designers on investment in high hygiene standards and if and how such investment can be refinanced.

      The panelists, in alphabetic, order will be:

      • Claus Dieter Jandel, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Deutsche Hospitality
      • Emma King, Head of Design, InterContinental Hotels Group
      • Federico Toresi, Global Vice President Design – Luxury & Premium Brands, Accor
      • Kirstin King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors
      • Marcel Wanders, founder Marcel Wanders Studio
      • Monika Moser, Regional Managing Director, Wilson Associates
      • Rogier Hurkmans, Regional Director of Operations, NH / Minor Hotels

      The panel will be part of hotelforum (www.hotelforum.org) and will be held on October 7th, with the discussion starting at 3.55 CET.

      Bette is a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. 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: Bette

      Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

      Following our official ‘first look’ of the 2020 Minotti Collection – and to mark putting furniture under the editorial spotlight this month – editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to one of the designers behind the collection; Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

      Airy with constructive details linked to Japanese tradition, the Torii modular furniture, designed by Nendo for Minotti’s 2020 Collection, plays with round-edged volumes, thin profiles and the apparent formal simplicity of an extremely detailed design.

      With an interlocking game, the horizontal elements within the furniture are laid on the vertical supports, ensuring a sophisticated visual lightness that accommodates the padded volume, characterised by couture craftsmanship.

      The Torii family includes sofas, armchairs, dining and lounge little armchairs, ottomans, coffee tables and console tables. To understand more about these pieces within the context of the timeless collection, I spoke to the visionary behind Torii’s creation; Oki Sato, the founder of designs studio Nendo.

      Luxury interiors with Minotti furniture

      Image credit: The Torii range of the 2020 Minotti Collection

      Hamish Kilburn: Can you describe the Torii range in three words?

      Oki Sato: Traditional, lightness, and secureness.

      HK: How does your design within this collection challenge conventional furniture design?

      OS: Generally, furniture legs are reinforced by connecting vertical members to horizontal members. On the contrary, the leg structure resembles a “torii,” a traditional gate of a Shinto shrine, with a horizontal member sitting on the two vertical timbers.

      Moreover, the ends of the horizontal member are designed to look like they are biting into the seat, reminding us of traditional “wood joinery” often seen in vernacular Japanese wooden architecture. The design goal was to maintain the visual lightness while expressing a sense of secureness with each component firmly locked together in unity.

      HK: In your own words, what were the major challenges when designing these pieces?

      OS: We had received a presentation from Minotti family for this project. This was our very first time to receive a presentation from the brand, despite having presented many times before. I think it was a challenge to design Nendo-like details to evolve Minotti family’s first rough concept and to exceed their expectations. 

      HK: Can you describe how the design evolved from initial sketches to the finished product?

      OS: After we received first presentation by Minotti, the initial sketch was drawn by Minotti. It was 100 per cent Minotti design at the very first moment. And then, the essence of Nendo was gradually added to the sketch through meetings and prototypes with the Minotti family.

      Minotti shared a specific image at the very beginning, which helped us to proceed prototype making faster than ever and we could devote more time to considering the details.

      HK: How long did this process take?

      OS: I believe this process took about nine months.

      HK: Can you explain more about the material you used in the upholstery?

      OS: Minotti’s high technology and extensive experience coordinated our idea to concrete shape. The brand arranged everything, including a selection of materials and the softness of the cushion.

      HK: What is it about Japanese design that attracts so many luxury brands?

      OS: I believe it is about light and shadow. Let’s say for Italians, when one says red, Italian designers can see a lot of different reds. They have hundreds of colours of reds, but not just red.

      On the other hand, I think the Japanese perceive more tones of light and shadow. I guess light and shadows are about minimalism, poetry which is one of  the values of Japanese design.

      Minotti London, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

      Main image credit: Minotti

      5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

      Following the launch of Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers, Hotel Designs catches up with Ian Gell, the brand’s head of new product design…

      The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK. In order to understand the technology behind the new products – as well as some of the major challenges that come with driving innovation in the bathroom – we spoke to Ian Gell, Aqualisa’s head of new product design.

      Hotel Designs: As Head of New Product Design at Aqualisa, what was the initial brief when creating the latest Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

      Ian Gell: We wanted to create a first truly Smart shower that would improve the showering experience even further and offer connectivity across our Quartz Digital collection in an ever-growing IOT market. We also wanted to develop a feature rich product at an entry level price. Aqualisa are known for designing world class showers and we wanted to go that one step further making our showers that little bit more special.

      A modern shower.

      Image credit: Aqualisa

      “From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

      HD: Can you explain some of the main challenges you faced when designing these products, and the solutions you came up with to rectify these?

      IG: The development of the app was the biggest challenge for us. From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging. There is no ‘off the shelf’ solution that you can incorporate and use so we had to develop something from the ground up that could communicate with all our products. As well as developing the app, we had to develop the software and hardware in our valves and controllers. Allowing all new controllers and valves to communicate with each other was key.

      HD: What makes this collection truly unique from anything else on the market?

      IG: Aqualisa invented the digital shower back in 2001 and we have been market leaders in this area since. Having a truly connected shower to offer is the icing on the cake for our well-loved brand as it enables so many exciting and innovative opportunities to become possible.

      HD: From concept to launch, how long did this collection take to design/create?

      IG: At the back end of November 2018, the designers picked up their pens for the first time and started creating some concept sketches and schemes however, the project really didn’t pick up traction until February 2019 and was launched in March 2020 so it took roughly a year. Most of the work has been developing a connected solution with some purpose. This resulted in the app being created and the hardware and software requiring a major overhaul to allow our product to become connected which took most of the time.

      HD: Technology in hotel bathrooms has traditionally divided consumer opinions? How user-friendly is the design of the Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

      IG: A smart shower provides a personalised experience with safe and precise water control.   Our smart and digital showers are in fact easier to use than most traditional showers. We have all used showers in the past where you need to stop and analyze the controls and work out what lever turns it on and what lever controls the temperature. Sometimes it’s the same lever and takes a bit of experimenting! In most instances, the user normally gets a cold wet arm whilst trying to get the water to the correct temperature for their liking.  This is not the case with our product.

      Our product is activated by a simple on/off button so there is no confusion. Furthermore, our showers can be activated remotely by remote control, through an app also by voice command (if you a have an Alexa or Google home device), so users can turn the shower on from outside the shower. All our showers will indicate when the desired temperature has been reached giving the user confidence the shower will be at the perfect temperature before entry.

      As well as having user benefits, our smart showers are quick and simple to install. As the hot and cold water is mixed away from the showering area, there are no bulky valves to fit into the wall. Our valves can be fitted out of site in a convenient location i.e. in a cupboard, in the loft space or under the bath resulting in easy access if needed.

      “Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

      HD: How does the range of products enhance the bathroom experience?

      IG: Smart showers are sleek and modern devices and will compliment any bathroom interior from the more classic approach to the most contemporary design. Quartz Touch is great for tech enthusiasts out there as an LCD display is present showing the user the exact temperature. The user can also access different menus allowing full control for flow. Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app. You can set your preferred flow, preferred outlet and temperature with a simple touch of a button.

      Our showers are also compatible with Alexa and Google so once the Aqualisa skill has been downloaded, Aqualisa showers can be added to people’s smart routines. For example, “hey google, start my relaxing bath routine” could turn up the thermostat, dim the lights and start filling the bath from your Aqualisa controller, all via that one command. With the smart technology out there, the options are limitless.

      HD: How have you designed these products so that they are eco-friendly?

      IG: There is growing pressure to find ways to reduce water consumption per household and per person. We all understand the benefits of reducing water usage and how it effects the environment and household bills. As showers are one of the biggest contributors of wastewater, we wanted our customers to be aware of how much water they were consuming from their shower.  As a result, we have incorporated a water usage dashboard into our app that shows how much water has been consumed for each user as well as the entire house over a specific period. This could be over the last week, month or six months. The app will clearly show who is using the most water and costs associated to them.

      We also have a water saving mode on our handset that reduces flow by around 20 per cent.  Our optimised spray pattern still provides an enhanced showering experience whilst using less water.

      Our Quartz Classic and Unity controllers have a boost function. The boost option allows users to have added flow if required or users can choose to have it turned off to a lower flow rate and save water.

      Our Touch and Optic controllers have three flow settings, Eco Medium and Max. Our Eco setting reduces flow by 40% compared to the Max flow setting.

      All of our packaging used for our smart products is made from fully recyclable material. Around 70% of the packaging components we use is made from recycled material. 100% of the waste produced during the production of our packaging is collected and recycled back into paper.

      HD: For hotels looking to renovate their properties in the wake of Covid-19, why is the Smart Quartz Collection a good option?

      IG: We are continuously improving the installation features of all our products but there is a particularly good replacement and refurbishment story with smart showers around less pipework and push fit cable connection. For example, the major benefit of upgrading from a traditional shower is moving the SmartValve, the brains of the system, completely out of the showering area – and potentially away from the guest bathroom altogether which is so easy for any future adjustment and maintenance.

      Also, freeing up more space in the showering area itself opens up much more design and décor flexibility.  Perhaps even more compelling in the post-Covid economy is the ability of hotel management to monitor water usage and costs, if necessary, adjusting the water flow through hotel bathrooms.  Assurances around hygiene and safety have surely never been a higher priority in terms of the hotel guest proposition and contactless smart shower technology clearly meets that brief.

      Aqualisa 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: Aqualisa

      The Brit List Awards 2020: entries close this week

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      The Brit List Awards 2020: entries close this week

      Designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers have until August 27 (this Thursday) to submit your free entry for The Brit List Awards 2020

      The Brit List Awards 2020 is Hotel Designs annual nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who are operating in Britain.