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Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

730 565 Pauline Brettell
HIX panel discussion: Designing hospitality for the ‘WFHotel’ generation

One of the stand-out moments from HIX 2021 was undoubtedly the installations that were displayed in the Hotel Tomorrow gallery. Designed collaboratively by Conran and Partner, Areen Design and stroop design, the aim was to reflect the coming together of co-working spaces and hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who spent six months following the designers, moderated the panel discussion on the HIX Talks stage that explored every corner of the concept in detail. Pauline Brettell writes…

Hamish Kilburn, Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

HIX 2021 has been two years in the making – like the entire hospitality industry, the event was subjected to Covid-19 cancellations and delays – but finally, last week saw the experiential trade show in the spotlight at London’s Business Design Centre. True to its manifesto and guiding principles, HIX presented us with not only new products and practical design solutions to marvel over, but it also opened discussion and debate around issues of direction, design and, of course, sustainability.

The spaces in which this spirit of debate and conversation were most visible, were the two installations, along with the discussions that were taken to the HIX Talks stage as a result.

The first of these immersive settings was the WFHotel installation, which presented designers with the challenge of re-looking at the hotel as a “new productive, fluid and well workplace”, and all that that means. It was a collaborative installation by the design studios of Areen Design, Conran & Partners, and stroop design. The three hand-selected studios worked together to present us with emerging possibilities. The designers representing the studios,  Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stoop joined forces with editor Hamish Kilburn on the HIX Talks stage to explain the process and discuss the thoughts and ideas that resulted in the set, and just how the conversation developed into one that hopefully initiated debate and discussion rather than coming up with a formulaic answer or response. “The access we had into these studios was unprecedented,” said Kilburn. “It allowed us to follow the process from concept through to completion, to understand how each area of the installation evolved and mutate over time. “For me, though, the most inspiring element of this project was how it changed from being a competition between three studios to a purposeful collaboration, which really helped enforce this year’s theme of HIX: ‘all together now’.”

Although the project was a collaborate effort, each designer was able to create their own section within the overall installation. While there is clearly a need to overlap and integrate, the installations and the conversation that followed could be broadly divided into community and function, comfort and cocooning and wellness and nature. “It was inspiring to see how each design studio approached the brief differently,” Kilburn explained. “Conran and Partners injected the energy of community when they decided to launch workshops on their pod on the hour so that the space would transform in time. Meanwhlile, Areen Design created an art installation-style safe cocoon nest that brought down the heart rate. stroop design, very much inspired by its own situation of launching recently with no physical base, was inspired by nature – and unveiled its co-working pod as a walk-in-the-park experience. Outside these three areas, the studios worked together to help set the scene, using visuals and sound as tools for transformation from one area of the show to another.”

Discussing the question of community and function, Conran & Partners developed an interactive and community based focus to the design question. As explained by Tina Norden, while hotels have clearly always had to design for people, this concept took it a step further, encouraging the people using the space to define it and refine it, according to function and needs. Rather than over designing a space, the circular workspace was stripped back to allow for flexibility – flexibility of space and design being a key them throughout the discussion – to allow the people using the space to use it according to their needs in that moment.

The theme of wellness was explored by stroop design. Identifying the ‘work from wherever’ fluidity that has emerged out of the pandemic, and combining it with the importance of nature, especially in the urban built environment, was the focus. Stroop spoke about the need to maximise the ‘pockets of nature’ presented to us, along with the importance of nature in our wellbeing and therefore the importance of integrating that into the workplace and in so doing, ensuring a work, wellness balance.

Becoming a lot more introspective, and really championing the ‘circle of life’ motif that ran through all three installations, Areen Design created a soft and fluid quiet space, a space to cocoon. It was a place for thought, which provided an important counterbalance to the busy communality of the other spaces. Heightened by soft surfaces and lack of colour interference, this space gave a heightened sense of calm, and was a design devoid of unnecessary distraction.

“Not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of collaboration – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.”

Having identified the differences, it was soon clear in discussion that the overall installation was all about collaboration and commonality. It was a process that, as mentioned by Kilburn, started out as a competition; a call to arms for three design studios to compete and establish who could come up with the best workplace solution. However, not long after being presented with the brief and exploring initial ideas, the conversation soon developed from one of competition into one of teamwork – and this ethos was a positive note that sounded throughout the discussion.

There was, as already mentioned, a clear theme or key word which emerged out of this discussion; flexibility. The need for flexible spaces and flexible design, to accommodate flexible purpose and mood. Coming out of the pandemic, lines and boundaries have been blurred as our personal spaces have had to be more multi-functional. We are now projecting those experiences onto what we want from public and hospitality spaces, specifically when it comes to design requirements around our co-working space. All three designers discussed at length the need for the need for that concept of flexibility to be applied to the design process as much as to the design itself. People have had to find the ‘space’ at home for work, play and wellness, and now expect hotels to deliver the same. A successful co-working space is about more than providing a socket to charge your phone, people are demanding a place that allows them to be creative, to work, to be responsive.

Tina Norden, Balkaran Bassan and Vince Stroop on stage at HIX

Image caption: Balkaran Bassan, Tina Norden and Vince Stroop were on the HIX Talks stage last week, explaining how their WFHotel concepts developed. Image credit: HIX

Another key theme of this discussion was that, along with the spirit of partnership, there developed an understanding of what we have in common rather than differences, so while on the surface the studios offered three very different design solutions, there was, as discussed by Tina Norden, Conran and Partners, “the red thread that ran through the designs”. The points the installations had in common were as important as their differences, and in fact ideally, aspects of all were required for a successful WFHotel space. The singularity of purpose, that red thread, strengthened the individual designs as they all presented us with different aspects of that flexible new space.

All three designs brought something different into the mix and highlighted the different elements that are required when we are looking critically at hotel design for tomorrow, a tomorrow which is rapidly becoming today. As with a lot of subjects, the questions around co-working spaces and design requirements where already happening before society got locked down, but Covid-19 and the ensuing shifts in society have accelerated this discussion. The WFHotels installation can therefore be seen as a starting point, and possibly even a challenge to start thinking more critically. As Bassan, succinctly put it, these installations should be seen as “conceptual thought bubbles,” that float into other conversations rather than a prescriptive solution.

The entire installation was described by stroop design as a “palette cleanser” from the main exhibition hall – it was a place to decompress after the hard sell of the main event where people where visually vying for space. In this space it was palpably quieter, and a lot calmer. There was a sense of community and common purpose, yet within that there remained space for so many different threads to be followed and discussions to be had.

If it was about creating an experience, then the circle of life swathed in fabric by Areen Design certainly did that, and as you walked into and quietly took time to explore the folds of fabric, you were confronted with the words of Haruki Murakami; “you won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about”

The storm isn’t over, and the world is certainly not the same, but the conversation about what that means for the industry is certainly taking place as we try and work out exactly what the storm is all about. Hopefully, we are able to take back the narrative, and ensure that with some conscious and considered design we can somehow  charge the conversation with an increased positivity and energy.

And the suppliers…

The designers have expressed their sincere gratitude to the companies that and people who helped them throughout this process (and in some instances at very last minute) to achieve each their visual goals. Below is a nod to those brands; the often forgotten or at the very least, under-amplified, manufacturers that are vital part of the puzzle.

Conran and Partners: (We have requested a suppliers list and will update this article shortly).
Areen Design: Alt Collective, Table Place Chairs, The Romo Group, Villa Nova, Latham Timber
stroop design: Technogym London, Elite Wallcovering by Article, Leaflike, Gubi, Ligne Roset, Astro Lighting, Romo Fabrics, Solid Surfaces, The Alt Collective, The Sunbeam Group

Main image credit: HIX

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Amada Colossos Resort – large in size, made personal by design

To understand whether or not a hotel on a ‘colossos’ scale can still create a boutique look and feel, editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to the Greek island of Rhodes – known as the Island of Sun – to check in to the 699-key Amada Colossos Resort

Exterior of Amada Colossos Resort

The most eastern Greek island – just 12 miles from Turkey, which can be seen vividly from the Old Town – Rhodes has become famous among tourists for its medieval city, which is twice the size of Dubrovnik; fascinating architecture; stone-paved alleys and beautiful, untouched natural landscape.

In recent years, due to its easy accessibility from the UK and wider Europe, the island has become somewhat of a tourism hotspot. In 2018, it was reported by Statista that Rhodes had 49,451 hotel rooms, the second largest reported figure among the Greek islands that year.

Among them is the beachfront Amada Colossos Resort, where, on the eastern coast, early risers during the small hours of the morning can capture the moment the Mediterranean Sea meets a bubble-gum pink sky as the sun starts to emerge on the edge of the horizon – a much welcome change of scenery from the craggy, grey autumn I left behind in England.

Since 1980, when the hotel first emerged as a 408-key hotel, it has evolved into several new chapters thanks to a series of renovations. Nothing, though, was quite as impressive or dramatic as than the €50m reconstruction and redevelopment project in 2017, which was implemented by architecture studio F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS and completed in 2018.

Exterior image of Amada Colossos Resort

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Aris Soulounias, Colossos SA CEO, a veteran and experienced hotelier, had the vision to create a resort that would offer, through a spectrum of locally inspired and meticulously selected details, a ‘modern philosophy of luxurious seafront holiday’; an irresistible combination of five-star living and authentic Greek hospitality.

Landscaped to blend into its natural setting, the hotel now shelters no less than 699 guestrooms (varying from 17 styles), all decorated in natural materials with a contemporary twist. To cater for the number of guests, the hotel features 16 bars and restaurants that are dotted throughout the resort, a 140-metre outdoor pool and even its own water park. The challenge, therefore, for the wide team at F. & K. KYDONIATIS & PARTNERS was to maintain a cohesive design narrative throughout – and this required a sensitive yet personal approach.

Inside one of the 32 sea-view junior suites, guests enter to a sense of calm, which, in one of the 12 Sea-View Executive Suites, is enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling balcony doors that frame an enchanted vista of endless sea, which is complimented by the colour scheme that includes punches of turquoise and blue.

Guestroom with handmade headboard inside Amada Colossos Resort - Sea View Executive Suite_2

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Clever use of cove lighting aptly elevates the space, while also blurring any potential hard boundaries. Blended together with natural materials, such as a handcrafted wooden headboard from Bali and walls that have been painted with a modern lime wash effect to create a natural tone and texture, the suite feels earthy yet spacious, complete with a contemporary walk-in wardrobe, framed with LED strip lighting, a large living area, a luxurious bedroom and a balcony that stretches the entire width of the suite.

The bathroom, meanwhile, complete with Ideal Standard taps and shower fittings, is beyond simply a practical space. A large window, with panel-controlled blinds, allows natural light and a cohesive design style to flood into the space, as well as opening up yet another opportunity for guests to soak in the unmatched view of the sea below. “The first question was how to bring water into the building,” architect Konstantinos Kydoniatis tells Hotel Designs. “We opened up the bathrooms to give a feeling of more space and tried to orientate everything towards the sea. When visitors arrive, they will understand that they have come very close to the sea. That you can see the sea from many parts of the resort. That you can touch it.”

Bathroom inside Amada Colossos Resort Sea View Family Room (With sliding doors)

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

It would be easy with a hotel as large as Amada Colossos Resort for its design language to be muted or overshadowed by its size. However, like many answers in design, the solution came in the form of art. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice abstract sculptures and art pieces that reflect the property’s sense of location. Taking the art narrative deeper, I am told that in fact all the art sheltered within the building had been commissioned by Ms. Roula Soulounia, who was instrumental in the interior design process and the selection of the artworks adorning Elite Collections Suites and Villas as well as resort’s premises.

Sustainability fit to scale

Don’t let the hotel’s size fool you Despite its scale, the Amada Colossos’ commitment to sustainability is refreshing. Going much further than simply banning plastic straws – although the hotel has taken the liberty to introduce 450,000 pasta straws – decisions such as installing energy-efficient windowpanes, heat-recovery chillers to reduce energy costs of air conditioning units, prove that the hotel is, from its foundations, a non-greenwashing, sustainable core.

In addition, the outside walls have been fitted with an external thermal insulation composite system and all interior walls have been painted with European Eco-Label paints. The hotel also used 40,000 metres of energy-saving LED tape around the premises (just another 295 metres and it would have completed a marathon). Around the resort, a total of 14,000 low-energy LED bulbs have been fitted, and by introducing reverse osmosis and nanofiltration technology, not only is the tap water in rooms and common areas drinkable, but guests save 450g of CO2 emissions (equivalent to six km of driving) by consuming their three-litre daily water quota.

Outside, the landscaping has been done with local Mediterranean plants, minimising irrigation needs.

Sunrise image of pool at Amada Colossus in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

As an added touch, screens in the lifts reference these sustainable milestones, which ensure the message around conscious hospitality is being heard loud and clearly, without it feeling too forced.

The real power of F&B 

And now we come to the real answer on how a large hotel can indeed still shelter an apt boutique look and feel. The power of F&B has long been explored in the arena of hospitality, but nowhere can it set different scenes than in a large resort, and often it is the make or break moment of whether a hotel will cater for modern demand travellers. In charge of the main restaurant as well as three á-la-carte restaurants (Greek, Italian and Asian) is Executive Chef Konstantinos Vasileious, who along with his committed team ensure that the hotel’s extensive menus hit the notes, which they do precisely in every dish.

The three á-la-carte restaurants are positioned next to each other, but could not be more different in their design. The Greek restaurant appropriately feels more like a Greek house than a hospitality establishment, with authentic artwork and ceilings made from used crates. The Italian restaurant, meanwhile, features a beautiful tiled floor and orb-like lighting with matt black and wooden furniture to reflect a contemporary image. Lastly, the Asian restaurant has been designed with a sharp eye to feature Asian-inspired lighting that plays on different textures.

Asian-inspired F&B outlet in hotel in Rhodes

Image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

If trends are to be believed, with travellers expected to journey deeper and for longer in the future, hotels such as Amada Colossos Resort have the ability, flexibility and space to offer something for almost everyone. As I check out – turning over my shoulder to capture the postcard-perfect view one last time – I feel confident to conclude that the owners and management team behind this hotel work tirelessly and effectively, through design as well as service, to ensure that each guest’s experience is unique, comfortable and memorable – you don’t get much more boutique than that.

Main image credit: Amada Colossos Resort

Trip lighting from LEDS C4

Live from HIX: LEDS C4 presents ‘best choice’ of new products

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Live from HIX: LEDS C4 presents ‘best choice’ of new products

LEDS C4 is presenting its ‘best choice’ of new products at Hotel Interiors Experience (HIX). Editor Hamish Kilburn heads over to stand U36 to learn more about the Tubs, Trip and Noway collections…

Trip lighting from LEDS C4

LEDS C4 is at Hotel Interiors Experience (HIX) this week in London. The lighting company over on stand U36 at this year’s event – and has also lent a few items to Hotel Designs on stand U54. LEDS C4 is an official sponsor of this year’s edition, supporting the organisation with an interesting series of discussions involving famous names such as Tom Dixon. For this London event, the brand will highlight some of the best sellers from its Decorative Collection catalogue – and here’s what caught our eye…


The design by Nahtrang Design is a set of geometric lines that make versatility its main strength, with almost endless composition possibilities. Its linear forms combine to create visual poetry in the form of latticework. The Tubs collection has four families: pendant, table, wall and floor. Each piece is a living element that can be infinitely extended; they can also be built in smaller versions that adapt to more limited spaces.

Recently, the collection was extended with a new felt fitting, providing spaces with a greater decorative element and improved acoustic quality.


LEDS C4 has opted for the Trip collection at the HIX event: a family of wall lights that decorates and illuminates. This soft, diffuse and asymmetric light point adapts easily to any space: “When the piece and the light effect it produces are designed in full harmony, the possible applications of the luminaire are endless”, explains LEDS C4.

Trip is intended to decorate with its mere presence. To do so, it’s available in two sizes (300 and 460 mm), in metallic gold and black, and there is the option of combining two or three luminaires. It’s made from steel and aluminium.

The glass version, TRIP GLASS, connects the design of the piece with light effects, and transparency is the key to its design. It comes in three diffuser colours: Amber, Fumé and Opal. Measuring 270mm, it uses E14 bulbs with IP20 protection.


LEDS C4 will also present the Noway collection, which is now available this year with a new pendant version. Not only does Noway boast a character based on simplicity and purity, but it also provides visual comfort through high-quality indirect lighting.

Noway, which is a design by Francesco Vilaró, is a luminaire with notable dematerialisation, fully ceding relevance to the light through a surprising effect of weightlessness and lightness that helps it offer high visual comfort with minimal material. This collection offers different options, from purer versions to other more complex choices, playing with a double shade (the colours of which can be combined) and with light effects to provide more visual presence. It’s available in black and gold finishes, with or without a floor counterweight.

LEDS C4, which will also display its Tubs lighting products on Hotel Designs’ stand on U54, 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: LEDS C4

luxury bedroom in shades of grey with orange accent

Cult Hotels and Hypnos collaborate in pursuit of sustainable luxury

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Cult Hotels and Hypnos collaborate in pursuit of sustainable luxury

Cult Hotels’ ambition to bring its game-changing new concept to the market includes providing guests with an exceptional sleep experience with Hypnos Contract Beds…

luxury bedroom in shades of grey with orange accent

Cult Hotels is the brainchild of Julian Dunkerton, Co-Founder of fashion giant Superdry and the highly successful Cotswold’s hotel and restaurant portfolio, The Lucky Onion. Dunkerton said it was his ‘ambition’ to bring a ‘game-changing’ new concept to the market, which included providing his guests with an exceptional sleep experience by working closely with Hypnos Contract Beds.

The George in Cheltenham is the first hotel within the design led Cult Hotels collection. Located across five Grade II listed Regency townhouses, the 46-key hotel has undergone a total refurbishment. You’ll still find sweeping staircases, ornate coving, and elegant panelling, but they’re now paired with bold colours, mismatched textures, and industrial design.

statement wallpaper in moody hues in a cult hotel guestroom

Image credit: No.131/The Lucky Onion

As someone who sees life as a world of opportunity, Dunkerton is clear that Cult Hotels, named after his first fashion brand, fills a gaping hole in the market. Centrally located with easy access to great restaurants, Cult Hotels aims to provide its guests with wonderful rooms at affordable price points. The quality of the refurbishment is impressive, and all their rooms feature top of the range Hypnos beds, epic showers, and super-fast WiFi. A moody palette of deep blues and greys, brightly tiled bathrooms and a selection of Penguin paperback classics at each bedside all add to the boutique vibe.

We’ve focussed on the raw ingredients and cut out the fluff,explained Dunkerton. “What we are offering is a truly amazing stay. Brilliant as boltholes for business travellers and anything-but-ordinary bases for weekend escapes.”

The Lucky Onion was founded in 2006, on the ethos of great design, high quality food and drink and exceptional service. “Cult Hotels and The Lucky Onion family are all about delivering an exceptional experience to their guests and we are delighted to be a part of their story,” said Carolyn Mitchell, sales and marketing director, Hypnos Contract Beds. “You can count on a fabulous night’s sleep in any one of their properties, as each room is furnished with a Hypnos Lansdowne Cashmere mattress for the ultimate in comfort and luxury.”

No. 131 is The Lucky Onion’s flagship hotel and restaurant, providing the perfect balance of sophistication and fun. A trio of beautiful Georgian townhouses set in the heart of Cheltenham, it is classic on the outside and contemporary British on the inside. The 36 guestrooms are all styled with bold, statement prints, period bathrooms and sumptuous Hypnos beds for a touch of old-fashioned luxury.

luxury hotel bedroom in shades of grey with bold patterned cushions

Image credit: Cult Hotels

Uniquely combining the luxury of a hotel with the independence of a bed and breakfast, No.38 The Park is a home away from home. The 13 individually designed guestrooms feature home comforts with luxury ensuite bathrooms. A peaceful setting for couples and families alike. The Wheatsheaf is an idyllic ivy-clad British Inn located at the heart of the beautiful sleepy Cotswold village of Northleach, providing the perfect countryside retreat. The 14 guestrooms are classically decorated with an industrial twist, again each with an enormous emperor size Hypnos bed, deep freestanding bathtub and beautiful period bathroom making them the ideal escape from the daily grind.

As well as its determination to deliver unrivalled comfort and hospitality, The Lucky Onion and Hypnos also share a commitment to sustainability. Dunkerton said: “Sustainability is important to me as a human being,” pointing towards the purchase of electricity from the right company as being a simple and easy way of making a huge difference to the environment. “I’m proud to say we were an early adopter of renewable energy. We use Ecotricity – what they do is spectacular. We all have an obligation to start this journey.”

The same ethos is applied when selecting bed suppliers to partner with. Hypnos Contract Beds was the obvious choice, it is an industry-leader when it comes to matters of sustainability and the environment, priding itself on producing beds which are 100 per cent recyclable and never need go to landfill as a result.

“We’re sustainable in every part of our business and we aim to help set the sustainability standards for the bed industry,” said Richard Naylor, Sustainable Development Director, Hypnos Beds. “We make the most comfortable beds in the world, and that comfort is delivered with the utmost integrity.”

As a pioneer of sustainable bed making, Hypnos was the first carbon neutral bedmaker in the world. As a family owned business and Royal Warrant Holder, Hypnos is committed to making beds in a way that can be enjoyed by generations to come. Each bed is handmade in England, using over 100 years of knowledge and passion in design and craftsmanship to build the most comfortable, stylish, and sustainable beds. In 2020, Hypnos was delighted to be presented The Queens Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development.

Hypnos 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: Cult hotels

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Lifestyle brand Locke opens second hotel in Dublin

Set to become a new hub for culture and entertainment in the city Beckett Locke brings its home-meets-hotel concept to the centre of Dublin’s thriving docklands area…

Orange couch and indoor plants at Beckett Locke hotel

As a brand that isn’t prepared to waste time procrastinating, Locke is seriously catching up to – dare we say ‘taking over from’ – the conventional lifestyle brands that have for decades dominated the international hotel design scene. Following the launch of Zanzibar Locke, which was hotel brand’s first property to emerge outside of the UK, the stylish brand has now opened its second hotel in Dublin.

Tucked behind the 3Arena, Beckett Locke is a 241-studio aparthotel, which aims to inspire and connect travellers through mindful design, activated social spaces, a locally led cultural programme and disruptive food and drink concepts that celebrate the character and social fabric of its locality.

Set around a naturally lit atrium, Beckett Locke features a neighbourhood co-working space, artisan coffee shop, restaurant and intimate cocktail bar in addition to meeting and event space for up to 100 people. Beckett Locke’s beautifully designed apartments (which range from 23sqm to 53sqm) each feature fully-fitted kitchens, as well as living and dining space, making them suitable for short, medium, and long stays.

“We are thrilled to open Beckett Locke, our second home in Dublin, and the third international property in the Locke family,” said Stephen Mccall, CEO of Locke’s parent company edyn. “Dublin has always been an important city for us, and we’re excited to bring Locke’s distinctive and vibrant personality to the rapidly expanding Docklands area. The Locke experience ranges from cultural programming to creative partnerships and our ambition is to establish Beckett Locke as a creative hub for guests and locals alike.”

Designed by the London studio of globally renowned design firm AvroKO in collaboration with local firm C+W O’Brien Architects, the interiors of Beckett Locke take their cue from Dublin’s maritime history and the Docklands’ deep industrial heritage. The layout of the social spaces are inspired by a traditional Docklands market hall, and include a co-working area, meeting rooms, cocktail bar, coffee shop and restaurant, all set around a central glass atrium. The assimilation of local narratives flows into the apartments, which feature black steel, exposed concrete and rust-coloured soft furnishings, which evoke the intrepid colourways and history of the Docklands. Unique to Beckett Locke, each studio apartment has been designed in-house by edyn Development Studio.

glass walls and wooden table provide contrasting surfaces at Beckette locke hotel

Image credit: Beckett Locke

The hotel also houses three new food and drink concepts by Alan Clancy’s native restaurant group, NolaClan. North 7th Coffee will fuel the co-working space from the early morning and throughout the day, serving artisan coffee, delicate pastries, and hearty sandwiches. Meanwhile, The Belis restaurant will offer a contemporary Irish take on classic dishes using freshly sourced ingredients. Nestled in a decadent theatre-like setting, complete with rich red velvets and draped chain canopy, Sam’s Corner will shake up handcrafted cocktails inspired by Beckett Locke’s namesake, playwright Samuel Beckett.

Beckett Locke will also host an evolving cultural activation programme where locals and guests can participate in talks, events and workshops hosted by local businesses and creatives. This will be complemented by an evolving cultural activation series, which will invite local creatives, brands, and businesses to host talks, workshops and events.

Locke’s hybrid ‘home-meets-hotel’ concept has proven popular among guests seeking flexible accommodation for a night, to a month or longer. Each apartment provides the space and comfort of home, which includes fully fitted kitchens, adaptable living areas where guests can dine or work, and ample storage, all with industry-leading design and guest experience at its core. This is combined with the social attributes of a lifestyle hotel, including buzzy co-working spaces, original food and drink concepts and a team of local house hosts.

Main image credit: Beckett Locke

Guestroom inside Mollie's Motel

Mollie’s Motel & Diner: 100 new sites planned for next 10 years

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mollie’s Motel & Diner: 100 new sites planned for next 10 years

Following the successful launch of two Mollie’s, the new, affordable motel and diner concept has appointed leisure property specialist, Fleurets, to support ambitious plans to expand to 100 sites over the next 10 years through site search and acquisition, both in roadside and city centre locations…

Guestroom inside Mollie's Motel

Originally conceived by Nick Jones MBA, the Founder of Soho House, Mollie’s launched in 2019 with a Motel, Diner and Drive-Thru in Buckland, Oxfordshire, followed earlier this year by the second at Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, where the group invested in excess of £15 million. The third is expected to arrive in 2022 and will shelter a larger hotel in the former Granada TV Studios in Manchester city centre, with a Soho House located above on the building’s top floors.

A further 10 locations have already been earmarked as part of the immediate expansion plan.

Exterior of Mollie's Motel & Diner

Image credit: Mollie’s Motel & Diner

Exclusively designed by the Soho House interiors team, Mollie’s mission is to forge a new ‘budget luxe’ proposition within the travel and leisure industry – focusing on stylish, affordable stays, contemporary design, excellent service, innovative tech, sustainability and destination dining inspired by the retro American roadside diner.

Mollie’s has two formats and are seeking two- to three-acre freehold sites in strategic edge-of-town or roadside locations with the opportunity for 75-plus bedrooms, 145-plus cover diner and car parking. The city centre model will focus on prime city centre locations with high prominence with an opportunity for more than 100 bedrooms, 145-plus cover diner and 125-plus cover lounge/bar.

With significant investor support, the brand’s aims to grow to 100 sites in the next 10 years. To achieve this, it has retained Fleurets to support the expansion plan through site search and acquisition, both in roadside and city centre locations.

“We are delighted to be working with Mollie’s to grow this exciting challenger concept in the hotel and leisure market,” said Paul Hardwick Head of Hotels at Fleurets and Kevin Conibear, Head of Urban Markets at Fleurets. “Mollie’s has reinvented the perception of the roadside hotel and diner, with high quality accommodation and dining, but at affordable prices. The customer response to Bristol has been hugely positive and this is a welcome addition and enhancement to the vibrancy of our city centres and edge of town, roadside locations.”

Mollie’s Motel & Diner is now backed by a new strategic shareholder cohort and led by Managing Director, Darren Sweetland (Soho House, Tesco Plc).

> Since you’re here, why not read about the latest expansion plans from Soho House?

Main image credit: Mollie’s Motel & Diner

The Brit List Awards in Pictures

In pictures: Inside The Brit List Awards 2021

730 565 Pauline Brettell
In pictures: Inside The Brit List Awards 2021

The winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 were announced last night, inside a spectacular setting. The evening, which included more than 500 designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and brands, was full of glamour and a fair amount of glitter. Pauline Brettell and editor Hamish Kilburn were at the centre of the action to capture the atmosphere inside the awards ceremony…

The Brit List Awards in Pictures

Surrounded by the design, energy and vintage glamour of the roaring ’20s, London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, was a fitting platform for The Brit List Awards 2021 – an awards ceremony, unlike any other, that focused on and celebrated the individuals who are moving design, architecture and hospitality into the new ‘roaring ‘20s’.

Much like the 1920’s, there is an energy that this decade is harnessing, coming out of a period of disquiet and uncertainty, which feels like it is mirroring that same positivity of the era – a chapter in design and hospitality that was characterised by economic growth, accelerated consumer demand and saw the introduction of new trends in lifestyle and culture (sound familiar?). If those glamorous black-and-white photographs are to be believed, all this was done alongside the consumption of copious amounts of champagne – the parallels are clear.

2021 stands as the fourth year of The Brit List Awards, and this year felt significant, as we appreciate and rewarded all the creativity that surrounds us despite – or possibly because of – the year of enforced hibernation that has preceded the event. Importantly, this hibernation brought with it a healthy dose of introspection, as the industry realigns and refocuses on design priorities and responsibilities that have become integral to the design and hospitality processes. Here at Hotel Designs we feel it is important to ensure that the social considerations facing the industry – sustainability, wellness and technology, for example –  don’t just become another strap line, but are instead a continuing part of the discussion and debate. We hope this has been mirrored, in part, by the award categories.

Choosing last night’s venue at PROUD Embankment as a place of performance and celebration, was a deliberate coincidence, as Editor Hamish Kilburn explained in his opening address. “Proud,” he said, ” a relevant emotion that I sincerely hope you are all feeling right now as we gather, scarred and not broken, to celebrate the UK remaining an international design and hospitality hub.” And he was right, pride was bursting from the audience because darling… life is a cabaret, and although it may feel like we have been through a protracted intermission, the takeaway from last nights ceremony is that the main performance is about to begin!

> Since you’re here, why not read the winners’ story from The Brit List Awards 2021?

While the awards ceremony was about celebrating excellence, it was also a much-needed coming together of an industry that evolves through collaboration, craft and creativity. The event was a ‘who’s who’ – and our photographer was on the floor to capture what happened behind the red curtain. Right on cue, following the announcement of the winners, here are the obligatory social snaps from the from The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards will return in 2022, with applications and nominations remaining free. More information will be available shortly.

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards 2021

A contemporary suite with brushed gold lighting and bath in room

Sneak peek inside ME Barcelona

730 565 Pauline Brettell
Sneak peek inside ME Barcelona

Meliá Hotels International has announced the Spanish brand’s first five-star hotel opening in Barcelona in more than a decade, with the 164-key ME Barcelona set to open on November 25, 2021. Pauline Brettell went behind closed doors to have a look inside…

A contemporary suite with brushed gold lighting and bath in room

Situated in the heart of Barcelona, on the elegant Passeig de Gràcia, ME Barcelona is one of the city’s most anticipated openings of 2021 as it brings with it the brands trademark contemporary luxury, while taking inspiration from its exclusive location. The hotel, comprising of 164 guestrooms and luxurious suites spread over 14 floors, is completed with a statement rooftop patio and pool on the eighth floor that opens onto its distinctive skyline with iconic views of Plaça Catalunya and La Sagrada Familia. The new ME hotel is set to combine innovation, local art, music and technology in an exciting new space, inviting guests in to experience the local scene through its cultural programme, and exclusive bespoke experiences.

contemporay design in natural tones with yellow accents at Me Barcelona

Image credit: ME Barcelona

“ME Barcelona represents a step forward for ME by Meliá, along with recent major openings such as the stunning ME Dubai, the work of the late architect Zaha Hadid, and the exotic ME Cabo,” says Alba Bustamante, Global Brand Marketing Director of ME by Meliá. “All these hotels have consolidated, at an international level, the new definition of contemporary luxury close to the art and culture of the brand.”

Keeping clearly focussed on its design ethos, ME Barcelona is home to interior pieces by globally renowned designers that include Ronan & Ewan Bouroullec, Patricia Urquiola and Jaime Hayón. The stylish rooms feature neutral tones with yellow hues, clean lines, and large windows illuminating the space, all accentuated by the bright translucent bathrooms. Each guestroom presents bespoke details – from the decorative glass bottles, a design classic made by Josep Ma Jujol, Antonio Gaudí’s close collaborator, and the Oscar Tusquets tables, to the suspended bedside lamps and the vibrant Roll Club armchairs by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal. Every detail of the hotel has been thoughtfully considered and inspired by Barcelona’s love of design.

Aside from its design credentials, ME Barcelona also brings with it a unique and diverse culinary offering in the shape of BELBO, a unique space that includes three restaurants for a delicious and exclusive gastronomic experience. Terrenal, the flagship restaurant will serve dishes created with local produce; Luma is set to become a temple for the Barcelona cocktail scene; while Fasto will be a new setting to indulge in unconventional and unforgettable Italian cuisine.

The hotel has also collaborated with Manuel de la Garza, founder of Égoïste Spa, to curate a Spa and wellness centre which reflects a philosophy focused on personalisation, pampering, and luxury, where guests and visitors will enjoy tailored treatments. This oasis of wellness offers a wide range of treatments which blend ancient traditions with the most sophisticated beauty and wellness techniques. Keeping the focus on guests health and wellbeing, the hotel also has a gym with the latest Technogym equipment.

state of the art gym in ME Barcelona

Image credit: ME Barcelona

Incorporating both wellness and sustainability into the overall design was important, and ME Barcelona maintains the sustainability commitments of the brand ME as part of Meliá  Hotels International’s portfolio. As part of this commitment, ME Barcelona has consciously opted for auto-sufficient energy and renewable sources, which means the hotel will produce the entirety of its hot water supply, the rooftop pool will be heated by the same method during the winter season, and solar panels will provide the hotel’s energy, ultimately reducing the environmental impact and minimising its carbon footprint.

The clear design vision of ME Barcelona has been inspired by its location as well as the design history and energy of the city, combining contemporary art with innovative design, through the architectural work of Barcelona studio FITARQ as well as the interior design concepts and development of Mur Arquitectos and ASAH. This collaboration has transformed and created a new property and modern design that maintains all the brand hallmarks of ME.

Main image credit: ME Barcelona

The Brit List Awards 2021 Winners story

Winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Winners of The Brit List Awards 2021 unveiled

On November 3, The Brit List Awards 2021 welcomed more than 500 interior designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers when it took over London’s famous cabaret venue, PROUD Embankment, for an awards ceremony unlike any other, which crowned nine individual winners and celebrated the UK remaining a leading international hotel design and hospitality hub…

The Brit List Awards 2021 Winners story

Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to find the top designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain came to a dramatic climax on November 3, when more than 500 of the industry’s top names came together at PROUD Embankment for a night of celebration, timeless glamour and frivolous fun: The Brit List Awards 2021 – the awards ceremony had arrived.

“Welcome to PROUD,” roared editor Hamish Kilburn who hosted the awards ceremony, “a relevant emotion that I sincerely hope you are all feeling right now as we gather, scarred and not broken, to celebrate the UK remaining a leading international hotel design and hospitality hub.”

The shortlist, which was unveiled in September, included the names of 130 individuals and projects – the most finalists in the campaign’s history – across nine categories. From here, the judges whittled down the not-so-short shortlist in order to confidently decide this year’s winners.

Following Publisher Katy Phillips and Kilburn’s opening addresses, the evening was divided into two sections. Following tradition, first came the formal unveiling of The Brit List 2021the official publication, produced by Hotel Designs, which includes the profiles of the top 25 interior designers, architects and hoteliers who are a operating in Britain.

In addition the individual awards, The Brit List 2021 can be read here.

The event then continued, with the event’s partners and sponsored invited on stage to announce each winner.

And the winners are… 


The Brit List Awards winner Tina Norden and Maximilian Hotel in Prague

Highly Commended: Geraldine Dohogne, Founder, Beyond Design
Winner: Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners


Mark Bruce, Architect of the Year 2021 and a render of NoMad London

Highly Commended: Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture
Winner: Mark Bruce, Director, EPR Architects


THE PIG guestroom and Robin Hutson, Hotelier of the Year 2021

Highly Commended: Olivia Richli, General Manager, Heckfield Place 
Winner: Robin Hutson, Founder, THE PIG Hotels


L11 Tuneable white light engine by Franklite

Highly Commended: Sonance audio systems
Winner: L11 Tuneable white light engine, Franklite


Two seperate images of beds from Silentnight Group

Highly Commended: The Global Collection, manfucatured by Mosa Tiles (supplied by CTD Architectural Tiles)
Winner: Silentnight Group Hospitality


Close up and lifestyle shot of the Metamorphis collection by The Monkey Puzzle Tree

Highly Commended: Hypnos Contract Beds
Winner: The Metamorphosis collection, The Monkey Puzzle Tree


A design moodboard and image of Sophie Sheppard, The Rising Star Award winner of 2021

Highly Commended: Matthew Maganga, University of Kent
Winner: Sophie Sheppard, Junior Designer, Concorde BGW Group


Bill Bensley, Founder, BENSLEY, winner of International Awards, The Brit List Awards 2021

Highly Commended: noa* network of architecture 
Winner: Bill Bensley, Founder, BENSLEY


Design-led kitchen and Ariane Steinbeck, winner at The Brit List Awards 2021

Winner: Ariane Steinbeck

> Since you’re here, why not also view the ‘in pictures’ story from The Brit List Awards 2021?

Thank you to our Partners!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

A modern guestroom inside Canopy by Hilton in East London

Canopy by Hilton makes UK debut in East London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton makes UK debut in East London

Complete with panoramic views over Aldgate and a locally infused interior design scheme by ACME, the 340-key Canopy by Hilton London City opens echoing the spirit of one of the capital’s most vibrant, eclectic neighbourhoods – and becomes the brand’s debut hotel in the UK…

A modern guestroom inside Canopy by Hilton in East London

Canopy by Hilton London City has opened, marking the brand’s UK arrival. Set within the multi-million-pound Minories development, close to Aldgate station, the eco-conscious 340-room hotel, designed by ACME, provides the perfect base for design-conscious travellers looking to immerse themselves in London’s lively East End.

Rooftop view over London

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

“We are pleased to expand our portfolio with Hilton to open the first Canopy by Hilton hotel in the UK,” said Neil Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, 4C Hotel Group. “Convenience and quality are at the core of our business, we carefully select hotels that are perfectly located in major key cities, so our customers have easy access to major tourist attractions.  For our business travellers we ensure that our hotels are always located near key transport links.  This hotel is the perfect collaboration for us, with an incredible location right in the heart of London’s buzzing East End.”

Following the opening of Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero earlier this year and the arrival of Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana, the hotel joins a growing portfolio of more than 30 lifestyle hotels across the globe – a number which is set to double in the coming years.  Each hotel is inspired by its local neighbourhood and designed to give guests an authentic experience, steeped in the culture of the surrounding area.

“Canopy by Hilton continues to expand its presence across Europe with recent openings in Paris and Madrid, and we’re thrilled to be bringing the brand to London – one of the most dynamic cities in the world,” said Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, EMEA, Hilton. “With Hilton set to open 30 hotels in the UK in the next five years, Canopy by Hilton London City is a stunning new addition to Hilton’s lifestyle portfolio and symbolises our commitment to providing exceptional accommodation in the very best global destinations.”

Phil Cordell, Global Head, Canopy by Hilton added: “Canopy by Hilton is all about championing local neighbourhoods – and what better place for its UK debut than the vibrant East End of London.  With its rich textile history and thriving arts scene, the surrounding area provides no end of inspiration for this incredible hotel, and we can’t wait to welcome guests to experience everything it has to offer.”

The hotel’s interior design reflects the rich culture of the area’s historic textile industry. Inspired by the Huguenot silk weavers who settled in Spitalfields in the 17th century, thoughtfully decorated guestrooms and dining spaces feature floral patterns and woven fabrics reminiscent of the techniques employed by the Huguenots.  In celebration of Whitechapel’s contemporary arts scene, artwork created by neighbourhood artists adorns the public spaces throughout the hotel. The bathrooms have been designed to reflect a contemporary atmosphere, with fittings specified by Crosswater.

Corridor inside Canopy by Hilton hotel in London

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Local inspiration continues throughout the hotel’s dining outlets. East End-inspired dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients are served at the hotel’s specialty restaurant Penny Squares, which takes its design inspiration from the quilting technique popular in the textile industry.  Meanwhile, Freedom Café, named after Freedom Press Publishing House in Whitechapel High Street, provides the perfect place to relax, work or socialise over a craft coffee or East End-inspired cocktail at the heart of the hotel.  Guests can also enjoy daily tastings at Freedom Café, featuring appetisers and drinks from local distilleries, craft brewers and wineries.

> Since you’re here, why not read about Canopy by Hilton’s first hotel to open in Spain?

There are currently 32 Canopy by Hilton properties open around the globe, with a further 29 hotels under development across 15 countries and territories.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

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Current bathroom trends: The interior trend of nuanced whites

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Current bathroom trends: The interior trend of nuanced whites

Bathroom trends in 2021 (and beyond) are steering towards wellness spaces that are full of character, personality and timeless style. It has been suggested that to achieve this, designers need to inject a bit of colour – but not always, as we discover when looking at some of Duravit’s latest innovations…

04_Moodboard_Off_White_Happy_D.2_Plus sm

It is sometimes considered and believed that white creates a cold and lacklustre impression. However, used correctly, the colour represents calm, purity and lightness.

It therefore forms the basis for a range of furnishing styles; striking wall colours can infuse a room with character that work especially well when combined with a subtle understatement in white. Off-white colours, and underused tone that can create an understated, authentic atmosphere, are used to counteract a sterile atmosphere.

Image caption: XViu asymmetric washing area option with Viu above- counter basin positioned on the left and a generous vanity unit finished in high-gloss white varnish. | Image credit: Duravit

Image caption: XViu asymmetric washing area option with Viu above-counter basin positioned on the left and a generous vanity unit finished in high-gloss white varnish. | Image credit: Duravit

Unlike pure white, the fragmented white tones lend the room warmth and a pleasant brightness. The bathroom looks larger, and a cozy atmosphere is created by combining calming natural tones and materials.

So, with bathrooms fast becoming so much more than practical spaces, creativity can come in all different sizes and colours – including white.

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

Main image caption: Happy D.2 Plus sets the scene with its light tones and injects current trends in terms of colours, design, and finishes. | Image credit: Duravit

Weekly digest: Global hotel growth, a Nobu debut & a live roundtable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly digest: Global hotel growth, a Nobu debut & a live roundtable

Huddle in everyone… Editor Hamish Kilburn here to serve up your weekly dose of hotel design and hotel development news and features. This week on the editorial desk we unveiled our latest live roundtable, explored the art of lighting; shared hotel development news from several hotel groups and, in addition to this (and more), we rounded up the latest products that have emerged on our radar…

In the week before the industry gathers for The Brit List Awards 2021 – we are ready to put on a show – the energy pulsating through the veins of the hotel design and hospitality industry, on an international scale, is pointing towards signs of serious recovery. From brands announcing that they’re doubling their current portfolio of hotels by 2025, to other leading groups that have, this week, debuted in new territories, it suggests that 2021 will be rounded off with ambitious plans laid out on the table. And following the industry’s awakening since its forced hibernation, why not be aggressive when strategically looking ahead?

In the meantime, while hotel groups and brands jostle for position on the international stage, suppliers have come out of the wings, performance ready, with new products to attract designers’ attention. In addition, industry experts are excited about the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. One wellness guru, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, exclusively reveals some game-changing qualitative research that we are excited to share with you!

To make sense of the latest headlines and features, from all corners of the industry, here are our top stories of the week.

St Regis to almost double portfolio of hotels by 2025

luxury st regis resort built over the sea

Image credit: St Regis

Hotel brand St Regis Hotels and Resorts has announced ambitious plans to expand its portfolio of luxury resorts in desired destinations for the next generation of luxury travellers, including locations within the Caribbean, North America, North Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

St. Regis currently has 49 hotels and resorts open worldwide, with a further 29 hotels and resorts in its pipeline, representing expected growth of nearly 60 per cent over the next five years in both urban and leisure destinations.

Read more.

Inside Rosewood Villa Magna, the brand’s debut hotel in Spain

facade of Rosewood Villa Magna in Madrid

Image credit: Rosewood Villa Magna

Set in the heart of the Spanish capital city’s distinguished Salamanca district, the reimagined icon, now Rosewood Villa Magna, represents a milestone for the brand as well as Madrid’s hospitality landscape.

Renowned Spanish architect Ramón de Arana led the remodel of the building’s striking façade and entryway into the hotel, adding a sense of grandeur to the arrival experience via a striking staircase and a pair of reflecting pools that draw attention to the centuries old, 30-metre-high cedar and carob trees adorning the property.

Read more.

Industry insight: Digital interactive art – technology for tomorrow’s hotel

Image caption: 'Internal Visions' by Daniel Kersh. | Image Credit: Daniel Kersh Studios

Image caption: ‘Internal Visions’ by Daniel Kersh. | Image Credit: Daniel Kersh Studios

Technology is shaping the way in which hotel buildings are built and designed. Inside the hotel, technology is altering how guests use and journey through spaces as well as how they view interior design. In our latest article in the Hotel Designs Lab series, Ari Peralta, Founder of Arigami, explores the rise of digital, generative and interactive art; a new genre that has the potential to transform guest experiences.

Read more. 

Nobu expands its footprint in Saudi Arabia

street view of new nobu hotel in saudi arabia

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Nobu, the global lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has just revealed plans to launch a new hotel, Nobu Restaurant and Nobu Residences in the Eastern Province city of Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, by 2024. Here’s what we know.

Read more.

Live roundtable: The art of lighting

Image credit: Dish Creative/James Munson

In Hotel Designs’ first live roundtable since the beginning of the pandemic, in association with Dernier & Hamlyn, we gathered leading interior designers to discuss the art of lighting in 2021 and beyond – from downlights to pendants and the pitfalls in-between. Scroll down to meet the panellists and to catch the conversation.

Read more.

Product watch: Venti20 collection by Gessi

art deco inspired bathroom fittings

Image credit: Gessi

“Great design has emotional power and an innate ability to instil beauty into everyday objects,” states bathroom brand Gessi when discussing the new Venti20 range, which captures the essence of the era and allows us to rediscover the spirit of the ‘Roaring 20s.

Read more.

Aeon: A wellness hotel setting new standards in architecture & design

Exterior of Aeon, designed by noa network of architecture

Image credit: Alex Filz/Noa architecture

Designing the Aeon hotel, which shelters an innovative wellness concept that plays on striking architecture and thoughtful design, was all about connection and context for the architects and designers at noa* network of architecture. It was also about shifting and blurring lines, looking at the boundaries between inside and out – the visible and the invisible – between dream and reality. The studio’s use of colour in the interiors does exactly this; it creates divisions, yet blurs the lines. There is the feeling of standing firmly on the ground, while at the same time being able to touch the clouds.

Read more.

Since you’re here…

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

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Image of design-led lobby inside The Socialist in Copenhagen

The Socialist: A new Tribute Portfolio hotel hits Copenhagen

730 565 Pauline Brettell
The Socialist: A new Tribute Portfolio hotel hits Copenhagen

Tribute Portfolio, Marriott Bonvoy’s collection of characterful, independent hotels, makes its debut in Scandanavia with the arrival of The Socialist, a new design-driven hotel in Copenhagen. Pauline Brettell takes a closer look inside…

Image of design-led lobby inside The Socialist in Copenhagen

The Socialist is a new addition to the Marriott Bonvoy collection and is located in the heart of Copenhagen. This boutique hotel is housed in a city landmark, a former transformer station. Its city-centre location gives guests direct access to the rich diversity the Danish capital has to offer, from shopping in Stroget to experiencing the attractions of Tivoli; the buzz of Vesterbro or the freedom of Christiana.

The urban boutique hotel is all about a vibrant social scene that is centred around its bar, restaurant, lounge and wine cellar, about creating a vibrant urban intersection, a place where ideas and perspectives meet, which is illustrated throughout the design. The hotel’s restaurant, Bobo Food Studio, headed up by visionary chef Boris Buono, serves up New Nordic cuisine with a focus on organic, local produce, while in the restaurant’s wine cellar, guests can enjoy small tasting plates accompanied by a stellar wine list.

Moody, dark restaurant inside The Socialist

Image credit: Image credit: Filipe Wiens

Lighting and sound is important throughout the design and has been considered in all areas of the hotel, from the dramatic industrial lobby lighting, through to an emphasis on both natural and focus lighting in the guestrooms and suites.

Image credit: Image credit: Filipe Wiens

Each of the 31 guestrooms and suites have been creatively designed as an expression of its urban environment. All of the rooms also feature modern touches of technology, including Dyson hairdryers and Nespresso coffee machines.

The Tribute Collection, now with more than 32 hotels in its portfolio, is all about independent design, and connections. With its attention to detail and design having been ‘created for and by Copenhagen’s’ creative community’, The Socialist is an exciting new addition to this collection.

Main image credit: Filipe Wiens

A green bedroom with luxury bed inside Rosewood Villa Magna

Inside Rosewood Villa Magna, the brand’s debut hotel in Spain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Rosewood Villa Magna, the brand’s debut hotel in Spain

Set in the heart of the Spanish capital city’s distinguished Salamanca district, the reimagined icon, now Rosewood Villa Magna, represents a milestone for the brand as well as Madrid’s hospitality landscape. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside…

A green bedroom with luxury bed inside Rosewood Villa Magna

In July this year, we released the news that the Rosewood Hotels and Resorts brand was to arrive in Spain, taking over the iconic Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid. Months later, and the brand hasn’t wasted any time at all – following a comprehensive refurbishment and redesign, Rosewood Villa Magna has officially opened.

Located on Madrid’s most coveted boulevard, Paseo de la Castellana, amidst the city’s finest shopping, dining and cultural attractions, the historic property has been a beloved local landmark since it originally opened in 1972, evoking a convivial spirit and charm that captivated visitors from both near and far. Newly infused with a dynamic design scheme that honours the original hotel and the vibrant city in which it sits while simultaneously incorporating contemporary style and comforts, as well as elevated amenities, world-class gastronomic experiences and an unmatched standard of service, the revived Rosewood Villa Magna has been carefully conceived to usher in a new phase of ultra-luxury hospitality to the city of Madrid and Spain at large.

facade of Rosewood Villa Magna in Madrid

Image credit: Rosewood Villa Magna

“At long last, we are thrilled to formally introduce Rosewood Villa Magna as Madrid’s most extraordinary place to stay, gather, dine and delight,” said Charles Morris, Managing Director of Rosewood Villa Magna. “Working together with our brilliant partners, we were careful to preserve the historical nature of the property, while at the same time adding a modern and residential design ethos and intuitive service style that is synonymous with the overarching Rosewood brand. It is a joy to be able to welcome visiting guests and the local community alike to join us as we celebrate this new beginning and the bright future ahead!”

“Madrid is the ideal destination for Rosewood to plant its flag in the beautiful country of Spain.” – Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

“With its thriving culture, rich history and robust art and culinary offerings, Madrid is the ideal destination for Rosewood to plant its flag in the beautiful country of Spain and we are especially thrilled to bring the brand to this dynamic city with the relaunch of the iconic Villa Magna hotel,” said Radha Arora, President of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and co-chief development officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “Rosewood Villa Magna is the latest demonstration of the brand’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy: a transformation of a famed 19th century building into a contemporary gathering place designed for both travellers and residents, that further embraces the local surroundings in all aspects of the project from architecture to service to food and beverage experiences. We’re immensely proud to open our doors today and provide a new and discerning destination for our affluential explorers to enjoy.”

A team of talented designers completely refurbished Rosewood Villa Magna, showcasing a clear commitment to contemporary design, architecture, landscaping and art, while subsequently channeling the original spirit of the Anglada Palace, the 19th century building which was the first to occupy the hotel’s supreme site, as well as the original Villa Magna hotel.

Renowned Spanish architect Ramón de Arana led the remodel of the building’s striking façade and entryway into the hotel, adding a sense of grandeur to the arrival experience via a striking staircase and a pair of reflecting pools that draw attention to the centuries old, 30-meter-high cedar and carob trees adorning the property. The property’s iconic gardens have been transformed by prolific landscape designer Gregorio Marañón to underscore and maximise the privileged green spaces that the hotel enjoys in the heart of the city. A significant number of trees, bushes and plants, including species original to the old Anglada Palace, have been planted to create distinctive outdoor areas across the expansive grounds, many adorned with pergolas, sculptures, fountains and other furnishings to facilitate myriad settings in which to gather in groups or relax on one’s own. The robust assortment of leafy species further allows for the property to continuously evolve over time, as they adopt different chromatic tones in the different seasons of the year.

Revived interiors have been brought to life by Australian firm BAR Studio. The refreshed accommodations and public spaces pay homage to the original palace and hotel, securing a powerful sense of familiarity and nostalgia amongst legacy guests and local visitors, while infusing a new, contemporary character throughout the building that answers to the expectations of travellers today. True to Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place philosophy, wherein the destination inspires each element of the property, subtle references to traditional Spanish architecture, art, design and culture can be discovered through the patterns, fabrics, materials and colour palettes that comprise the hotel. Complemented by the use of stone, iron and glass materials across all of the different rooms, the result is a truly unique visual experience that sets the hotel apart from the existing hospitality landscape. The interior design is complimented by the hotel’s extensive art collection that has been selected and commissioned by English firm ArtLink. Many of the pieces serve to tell the stories of the fascinating personalities who walked the corridors of the original Anglada Palace, while others are reminiscent of Madrid’s overarching aesthetic and Spain’s signature fashions, including a standout, specially commissioned work by Jacky Puzey in the lobby.

Expertly designed to evoke the essence and sentiment of the Salamanca district’s finest private homes, the guestrooms, suites and signature suites are among the crown jewels of Rosewood Villa Magna. The 154 accommodations, consisting of 101 guestrooms, 49 suites and four signature suites, have been built to balance the ambiance of a contemporary Spanish villa with the signature aesthetic of the original Villa Magna hotel. The exterior of the façade frames each guestroom with an avant-garde touch, while inside, a chromatic colour palette provides a muted background to give preference to the room’s large windows overlooking the Paseo de la Castellana, allowing the striking views to take centre stage. The clean, simplistic style is blended with modern luxuries, including bath amenities by Maison Caulieres and the linens by Rivolta Carmignani, and a residential feel for the utmost in 21st century hospitality.

Nowhere is this expert design more evident than within the hotel’s signature suites. Named after and inspired by the original Anglada Palace, Anglada House is the hotel’s largest suite, located on the top floor and featuring two bedrooms, dedicated living and dining rooms, a private gym and sauna and an expansive private terrace. Also located on the top floor is Salamanca House, which includes a bedroom, living room, dining room, dressing room and full bathroom and can be combined with adjacent rooms to create up to a four-bedroom accommodation and the largest private terrace in the capital, stretching 140-square-metres.

The hotel’s four distinct dining outlets come together to create the city’s newest and most discerning destination for inspired culinary experiences, delightful to all palates, for all occasions. Each outlet and offering references local influences, with a focus on unmatched quality and service and menus committed to sustainability and the freshest ingredients. From authentic Spanish tapas on the terraces and in the gardens, to casual business lunches and post-work cocktails, to formal events and celebratory evenings out, there are countless opportunities for guests to enjoy exceptional food and beverage with friends and family.

Headlining the hotel’s food and beverage program as its signature restaurant, Amós is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jesús Sánchez and is poised to quickly establish itself as a highlight of Madrid’s culinary landscape. The thoughtful interior design concept and accompanying terrace, brought to life by Spanish architect Alejandra Pombo, creates a space that is both stunningly special and supremely comfortable in which to enjoy an inspired menu that brings together the unique offerings of Northern Spain’s Navarre community and Cantabrian Sea. Revolving around an eye-catching open kitchen, Las Brasas de Castellana is the hotel’s all day dining destination, serving everything from classic tapas and small plates to more elaborate meals. The dedicated bar and lounge concept, Tarde, was meticulously designed to reflect the warmth and spirit of an English club through an elevated atmosphere that is equal parts cultivated, casual and cool.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts currently manages 27 one-of-a-kind luxury hotels, resorts and residences in 16 countries, with 25 new properties under development, including hotels in destinations such as Amsterdam, Rome and Mexico City.

Main image credit: Rosewood Villa Magna

Roundtable: The art of lighting

Live roundtable: The art of lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Live roundtable: The art of lighting

In Hotel Designs’ first live roundtable since the beginning of the pandemic, in association with Dernier & Hamlyn, editor Hamish Kilburn gathered leading interior designers to discuss the art of lighting in 2021 and beyond – from downlights to pendants and pitfalls in-between. Scroll down to meet the panellists and to catch the conversation…

Roundtable: The art of lighting

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on lighting this month – and following the recent virtual roundtable on ethical lighting – the editorial team along with Dernier & Hamlyn invited a handful of designers together to explore where designers’ are putting their focus when decoratively lighting hotel spaces.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: What key elements should designers focus on when lighting public areas?

Darren Orrow: Lighting is an integral part of the guest journey and experience, it helps tell a story and create the ambience. Lighting treatments should be tailored to suit each area’s function and be controllable from morning to evening. The colour temperature and warmth of light must be considered in all areas but in particular areas for relaxation, lounging and dining.

With regard to architectural lighting it is about the light effect as opposed to seeing the light fixtures, downlights are often best kept to a minimum. Many fantastic lighting schemes are created from predominantly decorative and integrated lighting treatments, with accent lighting only used to highlight specific task areas and displays where they can add highlights and drama. Decorative lighting is so important in public spaces from both the point of view of their visual aesthetic and the contribution of light to the overall ambience. Table lights and standard lamps encourage guests to sit and relax.

There are a number of hotel operators with lighting guidelines that need to be followed for areas such as reception and check in, which need to be well lit to carry out admin tasks, often overnight when the rest of the lobby lighting is at a very low level / in sleeper mode. So, local lighting to such task areas is preferred in order to not overlight the area. Stair areas also have minimum light level and uniformity requirements.

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading the conversation with leading designers on the art of lighting. | Image credit: Dish Creative/James Munson

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading the conversation with leading designers on the art of lighting. | Image credit: Dish Creative/James Munson

HK: When pitching to clients, how much detail do designers go into regarding lighting schemes?

DO: I would say that in the last eight years, lighting designers are being engaged in the project really early on in the process. While the interior designer has an initial vision before we are involved – establishing the overall ambiance and decorative details –the best schemes are the ones where a lighting designer is involved in the concept stages of the hotel. Any later than that, then the opportunity to get really creative with lighting becomes limited.

Mimi Shodeinde: With a supplier like Dernier & Hamlyn, I would send them a concept that I have and then the team in the factory come back with suggestions. After this, I will go into the factory and we will together go through drawings and produce models. This is when the concept really develops.

Gemma McCloskey: I think when designers start to look at interior architectural plans and spaces, when they are establishing elements such as the ceiling and wallcoverings, they innately consider where the lighting is going to be integrated. Like Darren said, we also make a conscious decision to stay away from downlights. When looking at the layers of the interior/architecture you start realising which lights would work. Once you have that finalised, and FF&E you can then start allocating where the lighting can be placed before speaking to a lighting consultant in order to qualify how much light we need and advise us on technical details.

Una Barac: From my perspective, we try to get lighting designers on board as soon as we are appointed on large hotel schemes. We do explain to the client that, yes, we have engineers ourselves, but in order to get the successful layering you need a lighting consultant on board straight away. We also recommended that they are kept on board as a guardian role, especially when a contractor can really dumb it down. And if someone is not there keeping a watchful eye on value engineering then all that work can go to waste.

HK: Guy, you have completed simply stunning projects inside iconic, heritage buildings. What have been some of the challenges you have faced – and more to the point, what were the solutions?

Guy Oliver: I think there’s a tendency to over-light spaces. Everyone demonises downlights, but in a banqueting scenario, downlights are a good thing in order to make the food pop on the table. In a beautiful restaurant, they have remote control pin spots because they want to make, for example, the flowers or the food stand out. There are always these wonderful layers of lighting in heritage buildings, such as majestic chandeliers, wall lighting and these modern spots – it creates a really nice juxtaposition.

For me as a designer, it’s all about creating an atmosphere. He is the opposite, he likes to under light a lot of space. Take the Chiltern Firehouse, for example, you’re finding your way around because it’s deliberate to create a dark, moody and sexy ambiance. For me as a designer, I am designing a mise én scene.

I think strip lighting is overused. When you are sitting in a space for a long period of time, linear lighting can burn into your retina. There are other ways you can dramatically light a space, and there’s a hotel in Paris which is a perfect example. Instead of adding that harsh strip lighting under the bar, instead they just added decorative lighting on the shelves, which just highlights certain hotspots. Lighting does not have to be complex. I was in a beautiful palazzo in Malta, where I noticed a single light bulb in the entrance hall, and it was one of the most atmospheric places I have been to because it [the light] bounces off the paintings, mirrors and silver.

“Sometimes lighting can flatten a painting, and it’s really about getting the textures and layering into place.” – Guy Oliver, Managing Director, Oliver Law.

The Wigmore at The Langham London - Dernier & Hamlyn's luxury lighting

Image credit: The Wigmore/Dernier & Hamlyn

HK: Would you say art is a key area you are looking at when injecting sensitive lighting into a space?

GO: Don’t get me started on picture lighting… you could do a whole roundtable discussion on it. I think you should work with artists in spaces. Designers need to consider the period of the space they are in as well as the period of the object that they are trying to illuminate. Sometimes lighting can flatten a painting, and it’s really about getting the textures and layering into place. Sometimes, the painting itself can become the lighting source.

DO: It also depends on whether it’s framed in glass or the size of the piece. For us, it’s a nightmare when the artwork is chosen too late. The wall light needs to be ordered to match what art is going where. Ideally, we like to ask our clients to map out what’s been supplied and the materials being used.

HK: Does this then create a challenge when hotels want to shelter an art residency instead of having fixed pieces?

GO: Sometimes a client doesn’t know what they want, or, as you say it’s a hotel that wants to start an art narrative by launching a residency. Sometimes, clients are collecting art as they go. A simple and flexible solution for this is to put a clock point on a wall where the painting is roughly going to be. From there, you can get any painting and movie it around the clock point so that the picture light is on the frame. Often, I see spaces where the lighting is highlighting the wall and not the painting, which is a classic error in my opinion.

HK: How far can we take lighting in hotel design? It’s come a long way from simply being a decorative element in a room?

MS: Art was my first calling, and this has absolutely enforced my work. As designers, our minds are our largest tool. Essentially, if you can imagine it you can create it. I love working with bespoke products – it’s very rewarding seeing your concepts come to life. We are working on a few new lighting pieces with Dernier & Hamlyn. It’s a lot of fun, seeing my sketches come to life.

Akram Fahmi: I am working with an artist at the moment who made a paint that you simply cannot purchase. We are using this in a restaurant concept with the aim to really tell a story about this paint and artwork. For this, we have inversed the concept by playing with shadows instead of ‘light’, allowing this feature to become a dynamic statement, which changes as different light is added to it.

Working with the artist from the beginning has been a really nice journey. Often, we, as designers, will design a space not knowing exactly what the art is until later on in the process. However, this way, we were able to really ensure that the art, the colour and the lighting really weaved themselves into the DNA of the interior design scheme.

“Often with bespoke lighting we have to really do the leg work to find a supplier who will be able to design the product within the time frame while also being on budget.” – Alex Holloway, Co-Founder, Holloway Li.

MH: As a bespoke manufacturer, our boundaries are set by the imaginations of interior and lighting designers. Some of the more interesting projects we have worked on have included incorporating egg whisks into a pendant for a restaurant, believe it or not.  We’ve also used branches from the trees on a golf course to wrap around large parchment shades to help bring the outside feeling into a large space. And for another project we used scent bottles filled with different coloured waters for a perfumery company. We’ve also worked with a vast range of diverse materials such as Vellum, ceramic tiles, plaster, fibre glass, resins and the notoriously challenging shagreen.

Alex Holloway: In a lot of the hotel projects I worked on, we were not given the luxury of a lighting designer in the budget. We are also quite restricted on our FF&E budgets and our time on a project. Often with bespoke lighting we have to really do the leg work to find a supplier who will be able to design the product within the time frame while also being on budget. In one project, I remember speaking to four different manufacturers who simply could not make the lead time.

UB: Even on high-end refurbishment projects, we sometimes don’t get the luxury of a lighting designer. When we work on residential schemes, clients sometimes give us 12 weeks. We need to know, straight up, what your lead times are.

Mark Harper: It all depends how quickly we are brought into the team. If it’s left until the last minute, then of course we have still got to do all the research and development because a lot of what is being specified is unique. Research and development takes time. The sooner designers can get manufacturers on board, the better it is.

AH: What is great about the projects we get to work on is that as well as picking from the mix of decorative off-the-shelf products, you can also develop your own products within your projects. We have set ourselves a task each time we work on a project to create at least one bespoke element, which creates a unique language around the project. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, it also really allows our design team to understand a lot more about lighting as a result – it’s a fantastic learning curve.

“We are being asked to promote biophilic design, which is really looking at all senses.” – Una Barac, Founder, Atellior.

UB: It’s interesting. We have used lighting manufacturers to help us with lighting calculations and lighting advice when the client has chosen not to use a lighting designer. The reason being is that otherwise, engineers will just kill it – the first thing they would say is that decorative does not come into the deluxe level calculations and if you want to pass building control you have to have a certain amount of down-lighting. So, we have used friendly suppliers to help us when faced with these situations.

Image caption: Nobu Restaurant inside Nobu London Portman Square. | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Nobu Restaurant inside Nobu London Portman Square (lighting manufactured by Dernier & Hamlyn). | Image credit: Jack Hardy

HK: There seems to be a louder conversation happening around sensory design at the moment. What’s lighting’s role in this movement?

UB: More and more we are being asked to promote biophilic design, which is really looking at all senses. When doing so, obviously, we have to look at utilising daylight and generally creating a better, healthier environment.

DO: We are also seeing this. The challenge we are seeing is that real plants need the right quality and amount of light in order to stay alive. And sometimes the light needed is not always the light you want in a moody bar or restaurant, for example. So sometimes, we have a different light to switch on when the restaurant is closed. We are also seeing a lot of clients using real plants where you can touch them and faux plants where you can’t, which makes the whole space easier to maintain.

GM: There is a line where it becomes too gimmicky, and sometimes it’s just best to let the light do what it naturally wants to do.

“We are now looking at really simple solutions like a tuneable, soft bedside light.” Darren Orrow, Director, into Lighting.

GO: Anyone who has control over the lighting, from an operational perspective, has to firstly understand atmosphere.

GM: If it’s suitable for the hotel brand, playing on the senses through lighting design can be really interesting. However, for most hotel brands, I fear it will enter a gimmicky territory.

DO: The whole circadian rhythm conversation is really interesting. It’s colour mixing white light. Controls can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. In a hotel room, I believe the control should be with the guest, to be able to tune their lighting how they want it. We are now looking at really simple solutions like a tuneable, soft bedside light. For other hotel clients, we are looking at integrating the real flame effect from candles into the bathroom lighting scheme, creating a spa-like look and feel in the evening.

AK: I think you need to find a balance. You can inject high-tech software with a user-friendly interface. I think guests miss having a switch, and especially in a hotel, the controls need to be simple yet intelligent.

HK: And finally, what would you say are your biggest bugbears in lighting design?

DO: For me, as a lighting designer, the wrong lightbulb being used in a beautiful fitting. The specification of the lightbulb needs to come from the lighting design and/or the interior designer.

GO: Lighting lifts. Anything that comes as standard, forget it when lighting lifts. One of the cheapest tricks is to install a light panel, which literally look like you are in an operating theatre. If you put a panel under it, it softens the lighting. Sometimes people add lighting on the skirting, but it’s a very difficult space to light.

GM: Corridor spaces where designers don’t accept darkness, if that’s suitable for the space. Forcing lighting into spaces is often a big pitfall.

Key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Most designers prefer to have a lighting designer on board if budgets allow
  • Bespoke lighting manufacturers want to be involved at the earliest stages of a project
  • The wrong type of lightbulb can be a disaster
  • Getting the right balance between over and under lighting is key
  • The Wigmore in London does great chips!

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

Bamboo wall lantern

Product watch: Vaughan presents the Ellisfield Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Vaughan presents the Ellisfield Collection

Lighting and furniture brand Vaughan unveiled its latest range, the Ellisfield Collection, at Focus 21 in September. Here’s our editor’s pick of our favourite pieces…

Featuring renditions of beloved classics, such as the Bamboo Lantern and the Windermere Chandelier, as well as contemporary pieces, the Ellisfield Collection by Vaughan is a British design masterpiece.

Bamboo wall lantern

From the tapered legs of the Colemore chest of drawers to the compelling simplicity of the Thackam bookcase, the collection artfully combines beautiful and practical design.

“Throughout lockdown, creativity has been such a source of comfort and joy to me, the result you can see in the pieces here today” explained Lucy Vaughan, Chair and Co-Founder, Vaughan. “From a familiar table that I would see in my grandmother’s house, to a chest of drawers that for years has been placed next to our sitting room, each design brings me a feeling of being at home. Inspired by the aesthetic of the arts and crafts movement, as well as containing considerable Japanese and Chinese influence, the pieces we’ve made have come from a wealth of different backgrounds – undoubtedly adding to their uniqueness ands complexity.”

Editor’s pick

Here’s what stood out in the collection among the editorial team at Hotel Designs:

Leckford table lamp

Leckford table lamp by Vaughan

Image credit: Vaughan

Large in scale, this table lamp has a sophistication and monumentality to it. Initially modelled in clay by our design team, this ceramic piece is then given a striking antiqued finish glaze.

Windermere chandelier

Windermere chandelier in gilt

Image credit: Vaughan

Based on an original antique, this chandelier focuses on a foliate design and has been decorated with individually pressed and formed maple leaves in a gilt finish.

Morestead table

Morestead table by Vaughan

Image credit: Vaughan

Based on an original antique found in Lucy’s grandmother’s house, this piece centres around an Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Composed of two tiers, it has a wonderful decorative feel to it thanks to the knurled legs, and is finished in acacia wood.

Compton table

Based on an antique original Lucy and Michael bought at auction, this table harks back to the Aesthetic Movement, and has a personal link – ideal when giving character to a lobby/lounge. Available in both an ebonised wood and a light oak finish, it is finely decorated with fretwork detailing.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the Chawton Collection by Vaughan?

Vaughan 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 caption: The Bamboo Lantern. | Image credit: Vaughan

Blue Badge Access Awards collage

Calling all accessible hotels – Blue Badge Access Awards is back!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Calling all accessible hotels – Blue Badge Access Awards is back!

The Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAAs) is the only dedicated global award scheme that promotes stylish accessibility in hospitality establishments, something that Hotel Designs cannot champion loud enough. This year, the categoryImagining Innovations for Disabled Guests’  includes a £20k prize fund…

Blue Badge Access Awards collage

The Blue Badge Access Awards, which set the gold standard for access in hospitality by rewarding UK venues and people for ‘accessibility with style’ are inviting entries for 2022.

“Mobility – or the lack of it – shouldn’t mean you can’t have style,” said Fiona Jarvis, Co-Founder, BBAA. “If you’re a hospitality venue or person who has gone the extra mile to make your venue accessible to everyone, and in doing so you have treated disabled people as customers, rather than ‘compliance issues’, then we urge you to enter the awards, and join us at next year’s ceremony at Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester.”

Previous winner Ed Warner, CEO of Motionspot, said: “Nearly one in five working-age UK adults have a disability. Being accessible AND stylish aren’t incompatible – they are the key to ensuring you haven’t excluded 20 per cent of your potential market. There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, while ‘accessible tourism’ is estimated to be worth £12 billion per year.

“Whether your motivation is simply to ‘do the right thing’, or to expand your business,” added Jarvis, “we are here to recognise and celebrate you. And if you’re not yet in a position to compete for one of our Access Awards, Blue Badge Style are here to advise, support, inspire and encourage you.”

The venue for the 2022 Awards – Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester – opened in 2020, and features 18 Liberty Bedrooms, setting a whole new standard for accessible bedrooms in hotels. “The aim,” says Robin Sheppard, who co-founded the Blue Badge Access Awards and conceived the Hotel Brooklyn brand, “was for any visitor to Hotel Brooklyn – able or disabled – to regard the Liberty bedrooms as an upgrade, not a lesser option. So we’re thrilled that The Caterer Magazine has recognised that in their own awards scheme, and we’re equally delighted that the 2022 Blue Badge Access Awards will be held here.”

The award categories for 2022

There will be nominations, submissions and awards in each of the following categories:

  • Best Upmarket Bar
  • Best Budget Bar
  • Conran Award for Best Upmarket Restaurant 
  • Best Budget Restaurant
  • Best Boutique Hotel
  • HEWI Award for Best Luxury Hotel
  • Historic England Award for Best Venue in a Listed Building
  • Above & Beyond Award (includes Hospitality & Corporates, venues and/or people)
  • Access Champion of the Year
  • Training Initiative of the Year Award
  • Best Accessible Toilet
  • The Exception Award – Most Ludicrous (‘accessible’) Loo
  • Euan’s Guide People’s Choice Award

The Conceptual Design Award 2022: 

There is a prize fund of £20,000 for these Awards:

  • Innovative Inclusive Hospitality/Hotel Design Concept (open to architects and designers)
  • Most Inclusive Guest Innovation (open to all)

Anyone can nominate a venue, person or organisation for an award (venues/organisations may nominate themselves). Nominations are encouraged from anywhere in the world. You can request an entry form by emailing BBAA.

Main image credit: BBAA/Hotel Brooklyn

Hotel design | Four Seasons Napa Valley bedroom with wooden headboard, white sheets and black and white striped carpets

In pictures: Four Seasons arrives in Napa Valley

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Four Seasons arrives in Napa Valley

Following much anticipation, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, which Hotel Designs first bookmarked earlier this year as one of 2021’s hottest openings, will finally open its doors in just a few weeks time. Melania Guarda Ceccoli explores whether or not it has been worth the wait…

Hotel design | Four Seasons Napa Valley bedroom with wooden headboard, white sheets and black and white striped carpets

Food, wine and spirits, plus wellness-inspired amenities and authentic service that works in harmony with design: Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Napa Valley has arrived. Opening officially on November 1, the new resort will welcome its visitors to the heart of California’s renowned wine region, to live an experience where wine, wellness, cuisine and relax come together. Napa Valley is the first and only resort in the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio that is set within a working winery. The 85-key hotel is located at 400 Silverado Trail, situated in the historic, charming town of Calistoga, tucked into the base of Mount Saint Helena at the top of Napa Valley and surrounded by hundreds of acres of vineyards.

The resort project, followed by one of the world’s most celebrated interior designers Erin Martin, in conjunction with Hirsch Bedner Associates(HBA), was conceived to give a private and regenerating atmosphere like a sanctuary. The spacious rooms and suites live the indoor-outdoor spaces in their entirety with gardens and private outdoor terraces in continuity with the interior furnishings in sophisticated and warm tones. The exclusive retreat is the Estate Villa, an independent building of almost 315 square metres with three bedrooms, a free-standing building nestled at the edge of the on-site vineyard, which features indoor-outdoor living and dining, a private garden, and a swimming pool. Throughout the property, couples, families, friends, and travellers alike will enjoy a vast array of services and experiences, including two outdoor swimming pools nestled amid the vineyard, the fully supervised Kids for All Seasons program, a regulation bocce ball court, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities complete with vineyard views, Technogym equipment, and programming.

“This is an exciting moment for our Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley family as we open up reservations and begin planning guest visits,” adds General Manager Mehdi Eftekari. “The property proudly delivers an authentic luxury retreat without pretence, bringing a distinctive, laidback wine country ethos and style of hospitality that can only be found in the illustrious Napa Valley. Scenic vineyard views, exceptional wine and cuisine, holistic wellness, high design, immersive experiences, and so much more await guests at this ultimate wine country oasis.”

The Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Napa Valley features an on-site, fully operational, organically hand-farmed 4.7-acre vineyard and winery and a farm-to-table dining experience by acclaimed Chef Erik Anderson. With the warmest microclimate in Napa Valley, the Calistoga AVA is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

There are four types of rooms available: Guest Rooms, Suites, Speciality Suites and Accessible Rooms.  Scattered throughout the resort, the stylish and well-appointed ‘Guest Rooms’ offer the very best in comfort and privacy, while providing a peaceful retreat in which to relax and unwind throughout your stay.

Luxurious guestroom inside Four Seasons Napa Valley

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The ‘Suites’ are expansive and provide all the extra space you could need for your stay, with separate sleeping and living spaces. Meanwhile, the Speciality Suite, with multiple rooms that are artfully furnished for work, play or rest, provide the very best in privacy for families and groups of guests who require extra space.

As with all Four Seasons’ properties, F&B plays a major role in both design and service. Led by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Erik Anderson, TRUSS Restaurant + Bar brings a spirited, modern fine dining experience with a farm-fresh a la carte menu, genuine hospitality, an elevated yet laid-back, indoor-outdoor environment, and sweeping views of the Calistoga vineyards and Palisades Mountains.

A large private dining area inside Four Seasons Hotel Napa Valley

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Shaun Acosta, Executive Resort Chef, oversees the open-air Campo Poolside, conveniently located between the Resort’s two picturesque pools overlooking the vineyards, serving delectable Cal-Mexican fare and poolside favourites that change with the seasons to highlight Napa Valley’s bountiful, fresh produce.

To enrich the wine-country getaway, guests at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley can explore a world-class vineyard and Elusa Winery. No other wine-country resort integrates the grape-to-glass experience so thoroughly. Guests will be invited to explore the winemaking process, from harvesting the grapes to sorting and selecting the optimal fruit to blend and ageing the wine. In guided tastings, guests will learn the subtle yet distinct differences between floral and woody, balanced and rounded, fruit-driven and terroir-driven wines.

Designed as a tranquil oasis, Spa Talisa is centred on holistic healing for the mind and body, featuring rejuvenating offerings that take guests on a wellness journey through a beautifully landscaped outdoor relaxation garden.

Outdoor pool at Four Seasons Napa Valley

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Featuring a modern yet organic aesthetic, the spa, which shelters eight well-appointed treatment rooms, incorporates a mix of cool blue tones, warm wood, and abundant natural lighting against striking black and white design, creating an eye-catching yet soothing environment throughout this standout stone structure.

In addition to currently operating 121 hotels and resorts, and 46 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has more than 50 projects under planning or development.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Minimalist bathroom: Kaldewei Superplan Zero_Milieu

‘Bathroom blockbuster’: SUPERPLAN ZERO shower surface by Kaldewei

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
‘Bathroom blockbuster’: SUPERPLAN ZERO shower surface by Kaldewei

The SUPERPLAN ZERO by bathroom brand Kaldewei is a sustainable, aesthetic floor enhancement with elegant lines. The enamelled shower surface – with reserved, stylish detail  and extremely comfortable underfoot – has the potential to become a blockbuster in the bathroom. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Berlin designer, Werner Aisslinger, to learn more… 

Minimalist bathroom: Kaldewei Superplan Zero_Milieu

Superplan Zero has a story behind its development: Kaldewei has always paid attention to customer requirements in terms of shower surfaces and as such have translated these needs into this new product. Installed at floor level, the shower surface becomes part of the bathroom floor and because of the very narrow edges it is possible to tile directly up to the shower edge with almost invisible joints. The waste is placed close to the wall so that standing comfortably and moving safely on the Superplan Zero is guaranteed. The new shower surface is characterised by its elegant and precise lines and is easily accessed from three sides, without having to step up or into the surface.

The base is sustainable, extremely long-lasting and 100 percent recyclable steel enamel. The exquisite glass surface is applied to the steel using a special process and this is what gives it such a luxurious finish. Kaldewei is the only steel enamel manufacturer that produces the enamel, i.e. the basic substance for the glass coating, in-house and using a secret formulation. The quality and durability of these surfaces are legendary.

There are more than 50 different dimensions from 70 to 180 centimetres, diverse surface variations and a wide range of colours, all of which make the Superplan Zero even more attractive. Whether in large or small bathrooms, building owners, planners and installers have full flexibility. The shower surface is available with the almost invisible, anti-slip surface finish Secure Plus, upon request. The Superplan Zero is 100 percent compatible with all the sealing sets, assembly systems and waste fittings from Kaldewei.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes this shower floor different from anything else on the market?

Werner Aisslinger: For starters, it’s super flat and elegant. The maximum body of water is absorbed by the Superplan drainage system even though it looks level, even and flat. Other shower floors have the drain system either in the corner or in the middle of a huge rectangle. Superplan Zero, however, comes in a great many sizes –far more than many others?

Dancer on top of Kaldewei shower surface in front of black backdrop

Image credit: Kaldewei/Bryan Adams

HK: Can you tell us more about the development of this product – where did the idea come from?

WA: Superplan was part of a product range developed in 2005 – it was a best-selling range for Kaldewei, and 16 years later they wanted to update it. Kaldewei wanted to update the whole range; they wanted to take it to another level to develop Superplan Zero, creating an extremely flat shower floor. The problem with the development was we needed to make it possible to get rid of the water, we needed to take into account facts such as power showers and the amount of water they use per minute or per second and how many litres of water this is and how to dispose of the water. We wanted to go to the limits of what is possible and what is necessary. To make what is possible with a shower floor and to show the world – it was a complex design job. Working together with the engineers from Kaldewei we needed to arrive at a design language that would at the same time keep a feeling and reference to the original Superplan. Matching all the worldwide norms and demands then going to the limit of an extremely flat shape involved a lot of computer work so it was not easy. None of the work was done by hand – we needed to do a lot research and carry out a lot of computer assimilations.

HK: What challenges did you face developing products during lockdown?

WA: I would say the lockdown situation didn’t change so much; although it’s always nice to meet in person it was ok because we were meeting on line. In this case it was all about the data, we produced data, the engineers produced data and then we compared all this on line and with on line calls, so it was easy to switch from a pre corona time to lockdown.

It was not a drama for the evolution of the product to work like this. The challenge was more to compare all the world wide regulations and bathroom floors and the technology of Kaldewei with the moulded metal material, trying to create a design that had a long lifecycle in terms of product and design language to still be a long runner and long term seller within the market.

> Since you’re here, why not read about Kaldewei’s new washbasins that bring sensuality to the bathroom?

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/Bryan Adams

Stylish dining room interior with design wooden family table, black chairs, teapot with mug, mock up art paintings on the wall and elegant accessories in modern home decor. Template.

Newmor launches vibrant collaboration with mural artist Lois O’Hara

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Newmor launches vibrant collaboration with mural artist Lois O’Hara

Fresh out the blocks from its rebrand, Newmor Wallcoverings has launched a vibrant and playful collaboration with mural artist, Lois O’Hara, as part of the brand’s Newmor Designer range…

As part of Newmor Wallcoverings’s ongoing range of collaborations with artists and designers, the company has launched a colourful and joyful collection of large scale digitally printed murals designed by Lois O’Hara, specifically for the commercial interiors market.

Stylish dining room interior with design wooden family table, black chairs, teapot with mug, mock up art paintings on the wall and elegant accessories in modern home decor. Template.

O’hara’s brand ethos explores how colour can have a positive effect on how people feel when they use spaces. Her unique colour combinations and use of shape and movement form her signature style. The designer has transformed many public spaces and has partnered with exciting brands including Habitat, Pantone, Westfield, Brighton City Council, London Design Festival, and Urban Outfitters, to name a few.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with Newmor Wallcoverings and having the opportunity to showcase my work in a new format,” she told Hotel Designs. “To see my designs in different interior spaces has been exciting! I hope the artwork inspires others to think more positively.”

Image credit: Newmor Wallcoverings

Newmor launched the Newmor Designer collection as part of its commitment to bridging the gap between artists, craftspeople and commercial interiors. Artists such as painter and fashion designer, Iona Crawford; interior design duo 2LG; weaver Ptolemy Mann; artist Stephen Walter; and The Patternistas are currently represented. All of the designs can be custom coloured, scaled, and printed onto any of Newmor’s wallcoverings, including metallics, textures and window films.

“We’ve seen an increased interest in adding bespoke elements to interior design schemes,” commented Eleanor Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Newmor Wallcoverings. “The Newmor Designer collections are fully customisable, and we believe this flexibility contributes to their popularity. We can even work with the artists directly to develop completely unique designs based on a client’s brief.

We are launching the Lois O’Hara collection at a time when designers are reconsidering the use and functionality of public spaces. It’s so important that our time spent in offices, hotels, restaurants, and healthcare interiors is positive and uplifting, and we believe Lois’ joyful designs are the perfect addition to our collection for that very reason.”

Newmor Wallcoverings 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: Newmor

The Reykjavik EDITION_Tides Restaurant

The Reykjavik EDITION arrives in Iceland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Reykjavik EDITION arrives in Iceland

Opening in preview on November 9 2021, The Reykjavik EDITION is expected to set a new hospitality standard – one that matches the natural magnificence of the destination –  as Reykjavik’s first truly luxury hotel experience. The 253-key hotel combines the best of the Icelandic capital with the personal, intimate and individual experience that the EDITION hotel brand is known for. Melania Guarda Ceccoli writes…

The Reykjavik EDITION_Tides Restaurant

Cool cafes, culinary hotspot, an epic music scene and a vibrant nightlife: we are in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland – land of hot springs, mineral waters and natural fjords. With typical finesse, the long-awaited arrival of The Reykjavik EDITION further cements EDITION Hotel’s uncanny ability to land in just the right place at the right time. Opening this November, The Reykjavik EDITION will shelter a personal, intimate and individual experience that the EDITION hotel brand is known for. The result is a spirited and sophisticated urban hub with 253 rooms, an outstanding line-up of bars, signature restaurants and nightclub and, in true EDITION hotel style, the introduction of a new kind of modern wellness concept.

“More so than any other place in the world, it’s a real opportunity to get in touch with earth and nature.” – Ian Schrager, Founder, EDITION Hotels.

The Reykjavik EDITION hotel is the first true luxury brand entering the market which has facilities and services like no other. First appearing on the map when American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik in 1972, Schrager, who was following the event at the time, says he was taken aback by the country’s unspoiled, natural beauty.  “In Iceland, you’re getting to see things you won’t see anywhere else,” says Schrager, the visionary pioneer of the boutique hotel concept. “More so than any other place in the world, it’s a real opportunity to get in touch with earth and nature and we’re proud to further expand the EDITION brand in an incredible place with an incredibly exciting hotel that gives you a true sense of place.”

From the outside, The Reykjavik EDITION hotel is a striking addition to this downtown neighbourhood. Its ebony façade of shou sugi ban timber has been charred to be blacked using an ancient Japanese technique, and blackened steel frames is a clear nod to Iceland’s dramatic lava landscape.

The Reykjavik EDITION_Exterior

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

The double-entrance lobby is accessible either from the pedestrian Harpa plaza, or the harbour. The latter features a canopy, its underside illuminated by 12,210 glass LED nodes.

As with all EDITION hotels, the lobby is a dynamic, social space that subtly reveals a sense of place and sense of time. Here, basalt stone – or volcanic rock – is prominent, appearing on the flooring, which has been laid with an intricate pattern inspired by Icelandic geometry, and a standout sculptural reception desk. The lobby lounge features a central open-flame fireplace which is the hearth of the space, surrounded by seating and a collection of custom-made furniture in intimate seating groups, such as the JeanMichel Frank-inspired armchair in white shearling and Pierre Jeanneret-inspired chairs in black velvet.

Inside the entrance of the hotel, ISC has collaborated with local artisans to create a totem sculpture of stacked, columnar basalt slate from the south of Iceland. Rising close to four meters high, the sculpture’s inspiration is found in the traditional Cairns that act as landmarks across Iceland’s countryside. Dramatically lit by both electric and candlelight and surrounded by a basalt bench, the totem is layered with lush black sheepskins, black damask and silk pillows, becoming a gathering place to see and be seen, at the centre of the lobby. Right next to this, inspired by the spectacle of the aurora borealis (Northern Lights), ISC has video mapped the Northern Lights and has created an immersive, three dimensional and atmospheric digital artwork of beautiful green and purple dancing waves. Located in the lobby, it stirs a reaction and emotion, similar to witnessing the natural phenomenon in the Icelandic night sky…but in the comfort, warmth, and intimacy of the lobby and lobby fireplace.

Accessible from the lobby, the ground floor is also home to Tides, the signature restaurant with private dining room, and café with homemade baked goods, and Tölt, an intimate bar that takes its cues from The London EDITION’s award-winning Punch Room. Tides, which has an outdoor terrace and its own waterfront entrance, is helmed by Gunnar Karl Gíslason – the chef behind Dill, Reykjavik’s much-celebrated New Nordic Michelin-starred restaurant. In the mornings, breakfast is a fresh, healthy mix of clean juices, pastries, fruit, cereal and skyr (Icelandic yoghurt) supplemented by an à la carte menu of hot dishes and a selection of open-face sandwiches. For lunch and dinner, Gíslason serves modern Icelandic cuisine, with subtle hints of traditional cooking methods, focused on seasonal local products and the highest quality of global ingredients mainly cooked over an open fire. Alongside an extensive global wine list, expect dishes such as a vertical salad topped with fried oyster mushrooms aged soy sauce and roasted almonds, whole Arctic char stuffed with lemon, dill and garlic butter, baked Atlantic cod, grilled potatoes, mixed herbs and butter and lamb shoulder braised and slowed grilled, pickled onions mint and apples, and for dessert, Tides carrot cake, buttermilk ice-cream, carrot and sea buckthorn jam, with roasted caraway oil. There is also a weekend brunch menu and three nights a week, The Counter, overlooking the theatrical open kitchen, will serve an eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings for up to 10 people. Meanwhile those looking for something more casual can pop into the bakery and café for a coffee and a selection of freshly baked crowberry scones to delicious sourdough or rye bread sandwiches where guests can dine in or take away.

On the opposite side of the lobby, Tölt – named after the unique fifth gait Icelandic horses are best known for – is a cozy bar.

The Roof is located on the hotel’s seventh floor and offers panoramic mountain, North Atlantic Ocean and old town vistas. A versatile space that can be divided by a glass door for private events allows it to be the best place from which to enjoy the endless bright summer evenings as well as the magical northern lights in the colder months. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto a large wrap-around seasonal outdoor terrace, scattered with comfortable seating and a large fire pit, while the slick all-black interiors create a discreet background that doesn’t detract from the views. Here, the casual vibe is supplemented by a small menu of comfort foods like grilled flatbreads, toasted sandwiches and fresh salads.

The Reykjavik EDITION_The Lobby Bar

Image credit: EDITION

The guestrooms and suites have been designed as warm retreats, each with floor-to-ceiling windows and some come complete with an outdoor terrace. From its prime corner spot on the 6th floor, the one-bedroom Penthouse Suite – with its own private terrace has magnificent harbour, Harpa and mountain views that are further complemented by bright, light-filled elegant interiors of plush custom furnishings in creamy oatmeal tones. The Penthouse Suite is also accessorised with an oversized bathroom with Italian white marble and a central fireplace too.

The Reykjavik EDITION hotel offers modern meeting and event spaces, including flexible studios, a boardroom with natural light, bleach oat-wide plank floorings, and a grand ballroom with pre-function space.

Also, on the lower ground floor is a gym. Alongside three treatment rooms, a hammam, steam room, sauna, and plunge pool which offers hydrotherapy, there is also a central lounge with a spa bar, which by day serves a fresh healthy menu of post-workout Viking shakes, champagnes and, delicious moss vodka infusions alongside snacks like volcano bread with black lava salt.

Main image credit: EDITION Hotels

COMO Le Montrachet Exterior 3 Square

Image exclusive: A look at COMO Hotels’ debut property in France

730 556 Hamish Kilburn
Image exclusive: A look at COMO Hotels’ debut property in France

The COMO Group has announced that its debut hotel in France, COMO Le Montrachet, is slated to open in 2022 – Hotel Designs has been given access to the first exterior images of the highly anticipated hotel property, taken by photographer Martin Morrell. Scroll down to have a peek… 

COMO Le Montrachet Exterior 3 Square

With 14 luxury hotels worldwide, including properties in the Maldives, Bhutan, Thailand, Australia, Turks and Caicos, Italy and the UK, it was only ever a matter of timing and , crucially, the right location for the arrival of the The COMO Group’s first hotel in France.

Well, the wait is almost over, but not without a the group creating a bit of healthy tension. COMO Le Montrachet, which will be situated in the sought-after Côte-d’Or region, will open in phases, with phase one scheduled to be completed in 2022, evolving the hotel judiciously over the years to come. With this new addition to the portfolio, COMO aims to bring its contemporary flair to Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy, providing ‘unparalleled access’ to some of the most famous Grand Cru vineyards. Nestled around the most charming village square, guests are invited to experience the ‘COMO way of life’.

For this project, the COMO Group will again collaborate with esteemed designer Paola Navone to complement the historic 18th century property with her contemporary touches. This launch marks the brand’s second European opening after COMO Castello Del Nero in Tuscany, which was also designed by the Italian designer.

Arranged across four heritage buildings, 31 rooms and suites will be converted into chic sanctuaries starting with Villa Christine. The phased opening of the hotel will also see a COMO Shambhala Retreat, the first of its kind in France.

COMO Le Montrachet

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts/Martin Morrell

With COMO’s renowned emphasis on cuisine, guests of COMO Le Montrachet can expect exceptional dining options and exquisite wine experiences in one of the most beautiful settings.

And that’s not all. COMO is making all the right noises for us to believe that is the just the start of the group’s well-timed expansion. “With the recent sale of COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach, this announcement underlines our strategy to develop pioneering properties in new destinations,” said Olivier Jolivet, CEO of the COMO Group. “Besides Europe, we will also add a new luxury resort in the South Pacific to the portfolio next year.”

Watch this space.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts/Martin Morrell

Winners of TOP ID - NEWH

NEWH UK Chapter honours design excellence at TopID Awards 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NEWH UK Chapter honours design excellence at TopID Awards 2021

Starved of live events and face-to-face networking, the British design community gathered on October 20 at Roca London Gallery in Chelsea for the 2021 TopID Awards, powered by NEWH UK Chapter. “Drum roll please – and the winners are”…

Winners of TOP ID - NEWH

As the seasons change and a new year approaches, it is clear that a new design landscape has emerged, placing increased emphasis on the ‘contactless journey’ and the importance of natural materials in connecting interior spaces to the outside world in order to foster a sense of space and wellbeing.

While adapting to a myriad of challenges, the industry’s dedication to exceptional design has not wavered. In acknowledgement of this fact, each year NEWH, an international not-for-profit network for the hospitality community that provides scholarships, education, leadership development, professional recognition of excellence and business development, has the honour of recognising design excellence within the UK through its TopID Awards. The prestigious accolade is determined with consideration to both the quality of a firm’s work and the support and dedication provided to NEWH membership and events, allowing winning practices to be celebrated internationally across the vast NEWH network.

In February of this year, NEWH UK Chapter bestowed the 2021 TopID Awards to three deserving studios. Unfortunately, at the time, lockdown regulations prevented the opportunity to present these awards physically. However, on November 20, the practices were aptly celebrated (in person) in spectacular fashion at Roca London Gallery.

This year’s winners

Dennis Irvine Studio

Dennis Irvine Studio, led by Dennis Irvine who recently became Director at Richmond International, was an award-winning interior design practice that specialised in hospitality and residential projects, both in the UK and internationally. Working in collaboration with a diverse range of partners – from international private clients, to residential developers and hotel operators – the multidisciplinary team had a world-class reputation for creating spaces that acknowledge cultural context whilst appreciating the spirit of a brand or individual – a reputation that Irvine has taken with him.

Dennis Irvine

Image credit: Dennis Irvine Studio

From conception through to delivery, the studio provided a comprehensive, holistic range of services including initial feasibility and space planning, interior concept, tender documentation, bespoke FF&E design and procurement.

The Estate House is the signature restaurant and bar at Jumby Bay, the exclusive island resort located off the northeast coast of Antigua. This 1830s plantation house and centrepiece of the island was extensively refurbished by Dennis Irvine Studio to create a luxurious fine-dining experience that celebrates the island’s local spirit and rich history. In keeping with the local architecture, an airy courtyard and surrounding terrace connect the main restaurant, bar, and private dining areas.

Whilst each space has its own identity, the entire project has been carefully curated to deliver a considered and elegant design, conscious of contemporary comforts whilst also being sympathetic to local design and traditions. Originally designed as a Rosewood resort, the Estate House references the brand’s ‘Sense of Place’ philosophy, with the interiors capturing the essence of island life whilst creating a serene, sophisticated environment for discerning travellers.

A wine tasting room inside The Estate House

Image credit: The Estate House, designed by Dennis Irvine Studio

Goddard Littlefair

Established in 2012 by Martin Goddard and Jo Littlefair, Goddard Littlefair is a luxury interior design practice based in London and Porto, Portugal. The company’s talented international team delivers award-winning hospitality, residential and wellness projects across the globe, creating sophisticated, stylish interiors with the people that inhabit them at the forefront of every design decision.

Jo and Martin from Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: Mel Yates/Goddard Littlefair

The brand’s ethos seeks to combine aesthetic perfectionism and boundless curiosity with a team-playing, service-driven attitude. “The firm’s unique selling point is the ability to knit smart, sensual design with a healthy dose of pragmatism,” said The Irish Times.

Goddard Littlefair is currently working on some of London’s most high-profile residential developments including One Park Drive, Southbank Place, Ebury Square and Grosvenor Waterside, as well as luxury spa projects in London, Prague and Tripoli. Their burgeoning hospitality portfolio includes projects for Corinthia, InterContinental, Principal, Cadogan and Hilton Hotels, with projects in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, York and across Europe.

Originally built in 1912, Villa Copenhagen is an impressive new hotel opened within the capital’s historic Central Post & Telegraph Head Office. Epicurean – Goddard Littlefair’s emerging F&B sister company – was called upon to transform all five of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets within this iconic building, in addition to casting their creative eye over a selection of public spaces, including the wellness and pool area and various meeting and event spaces.

The vision for the F&B venues was to create five distinctive destinations with several points of difference; introducing something new and fun to the marketplace whilst honouring Scandinavian design sensibility and recognising the specific locale. Styled to be familiar yet magical for the Danish market and authentic to guests, each space channels unpretentious mid-century design with beautifully crafted references to both past and present.

Image credit: F&B areas inside Villa Copenhagen, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: F&B areas inside Villa Copenhagen, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Nous Design

Nous Design, founded by Director Nir Gilad, is an international design company creating experiences that tell a story, connecting people to places through their emotions via tailor-made design solutions.

Starting each project with fresh eyes, their design inspiration begins by listening, and then combines the client’s aspirations with the unrevealed potential of the location, to produce a unique multisensory experience.

Whether evoking calming stillness in a spa or a dynamic statement at a rooftop bar, ​Nous Design places the future guest at the heart of the narrative and considers how to connect and immerse them in the story.  Their aim is to ‘gift’ the guest another five minutes in their day or perhaps increase their work productivity when away from their day-to-day environment.

Based in London, this award-winning interior design company is currently working on projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia that vary from standalone restaurants and spas to luxury resort hotels and city-centre hubs.

Immersed in the natural beauty of the Galil and Golan mountains in the north of Israel, Setai Hotel award-winning hospitality experience that comprises 158 luxury suites with direct access to individual infinity pools. The spacious public areas include lounges, restaurants and an upmarket spa with 14 unique treatment rooms arranged in a circular building around a central skylight.

Working closely with local builders and manufacturers, Nous Design created an environment inspired by the surrounding countryside and using native materials. The reception area is one such example, with decorative partitions that imitate eucalyptus trees and guide guests’ view towards the lake vista, creating an oasis feel.

The restaurant continues this theme, with wooden louvres and a large central table displaying the richness of the local Middle Eastern cuisine through decorative elements from the region, whilst creating a relaxed but refined environment.

Setai Hotel by Nous Design- copy

Image credit: Setai Hotel, designed by Nous Design

NEWH UK Chapter, which Hotel Designs is a media partner for, hosts a plethora of events throughout the year, including an up-coming brunch at HIX Event and the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo in December.

Main image credits: Dennis Irvine Studio/Goddard Littlefair/Mel Yates/Nous Design

1 Hotel Toronto - collage

Inside 1 Hotel Toronto, the city’s new sustainable masterpiece

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside 1 Hotel Toronto, the city’s new sustainable masterpiece

New York-based design studio Rockwell Group has unveiled the interiors of the new 1 Hotel in Toronto, Canada’s first ‘mission-driven hotel’ that celebrates the beauty of the city’s natural environment in an urban package that sets a new hospitality standards in sustainable luxury…

1 Hotel Toronto - collage

Two years since whispers of the 1 Hotel brand marking its territory on Canadian soil, Hotel Designs is finally able to take a sneak peak inside 1 Hotel Toronto – and it was worth the wait!

Rockwell Group’s design concept for new the latest lifestyle hotel to emerge on the city’s hospitality scene reframes the city – turning its urbanism inside out, responding to the question: “What if a luxury hotel was an inviting portal to the natural world, instead of a flight from it?”.

“Our vision for the hotel invites guests to celebrate Toronto’s ecology through materiality and locally-made artwork.” – David Rockwell, Founder, Rockwell Group.

“We have long admired 1 Hotels’ sustainable and eco-friendly ethos, and we are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to design the new 1 Hotel Toronto with a biophilic emphasis,” said David Rockwell, Founder, Rockwell Group. “Our vision for the hotel invites guests to celebrate Toronto’s ecology through materiality and locally-made artwork.” Every corner of the design narrative unconsciously reflects a strong sense of place. The material palette for the hotel, for example, takes inspiration from the muted colours of Lake Ontario and the contrasting tones of the passing seasons and features reclaimed timber, native plants, board-formed concrete, and local marble.

The hotel’s lobby welcomes guests to a warm and nest-like space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which create a light box at night, as well as a feeling of seamlessness between indoors and out. The entrance to the hotel is framed with a mix of granite and limestone boulders, maple trees, local plants, warm wood, and a trailing green canopy, all reminiscent of Canada’s natural landscape.

1 Hotel Toronto lobby - with a sustainable design scheme

Image credit: Brandon Barre

It features 4.5 metre-high ceilings, reclaimed Elm wood flooring and shelving sourced from a dismantled barn in Ontario. Additional sustainable design details include a living green wall, found objects, local stone and reclaimed furnishings from materials such as elm wood and teak root.

Plants and natural materials in lobby lounge of 1 Hotel Toronto

Image credit: Brandon Barre

A stone wall with wood-like striations – carved out of glacial activity along the Eramosa River – serves as the backdrop to an art installation designed by Toronto-based artists Moss & Lam behind the check- in desk.

Once first impressions have been made, guests can discover that 1 Hotel offers an all-round dining and drinking experience, with a selection of two restaurants and two bars spread throughout the hotel.

The modern 1 Kitchen has a vintage vibe and is located in a glass-walled conservatory-like space with a vaulted wood ceiling and curved trusses hung with greenery. Sourcing all food ingredients from within a 50 km radius, 1 Kitchen is a neighbourhood destination that welcomes both hotel guests and locals alike.

In harmony with the local and crafted design scheme, Madera is an organic Mexican restaurant follows the design cues of the hotel, with sand-blasted textured wood, greenery, wooden dining chairs crafted by Benchmark, reclaimed live edge wood tabletops, artistic handmade vessels, and modern, vibrant lighting.

Harriet’s is the city’s newest rooftop hotspot featuring an open concept sushi bar with sliding glass walls and a retractable roof, to get the best out of the breathtaking city and lake views. The design details recall Toronto’s flora and fauna, with a woven rope ceiling interspersed between wood beams, reclaimed Elm wood flooring and leather and lambskin accents.

Harriets on rooftop of 1 Hotel Toronto

Image credit: Brandon Barre

The light and airy guestrooms at 1 Hotel Toronto feature sliding barn wood doors dividing the bedroom and bathroom. The studio added warmth to the Carrara marble bathrooms by utilising Hickory wood surrounds for the vanities. A natural wood accent wall is added behind the bed, with a leather headboard. An art piece comprised of a fallen tree fragment, sourced by a local wood studio, completes the design.

On the collaboration with 1 Hotel, Rockwell Group’s Founder David Rockwell says “We have long admired 1 Hotels’ sustainable and eco-friendly ethos, and we are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to design the new 1 Hotel Toronto with a biophilic emphasis. Our vision for the hotel invites guests to celebrate Toronto’s ecology through materiality and locally-made artwork.”

Main image credit: Brandon Barre

Zany project insitu

Product watch: L11 tuneable white light engine by Franklite

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: L11 tuneable white light engine by Franklite

Introducing lighting brand Franklite’s latest development in LED technology, the L11 tuneable white light engine, which has been shortlisted in the ‘Best in Tech’ category at The Brit List Awards 2021…

Franklite remains at the forefront of the lighting industry as a result of the hard work and dedication of its technical team, who continue to develop the latest in technology and custom design projects. The UK-based brand’s latest unveil takes LED technology to a whole new lighting level, the L11 tuneable white light engine.

Zany project insitu

The product is an innovative and unique take on a traditional candle lamp – designed and manufactured at the brand’s factory in Milton Keynes and tested in our in-house laboratory. The technology offers a smooth transition between amber and cool white from 1,700 to 3,650 kelvin.

Designers now have the capability to easily control the transition of light colour temperature wirelessly through an app or hard-wired within a building management system. With a dimming range from 100 per cent down to one per cent, users are able to create the perfect ambience with a simple touch of a button all while providing customers with the ultimate sensory experience.

The L11 tuneable white light engine is designed to fit a wide range of decorative fittings including chandeliers, lanterns, pendants and wall brackets. The technology can be replicated into the manufacturing of our LED plates for Franklite’s Woburn shade family, and custom designed projects.

Other benefits to using the light engine include a high quality of light across the whole CCT spectrum, increase in light output which exceeds retrofit LED lamps available on the market, longevity and reduced maintenance costs. This dedicated LED technology contributes significantly to energy efficiency with an 80 per cent saving using only 11W.

Franklite L11TW Overview

Image credit: Franklite

Franklite only partners with reputable brands such as eldoLED, Bridgelux and CASAMBI and as a member of the Lighting Industry Association Quality Assurance our quality system and product compliance are audited yearly to ensure it maintains the high level of standard expected.

The L11 tuneable white light engine can also be accompanied by maintained emergency gear within Franklite’s extensive range of wall brackets and flush ceiling fittings. With the essential functionality uniquely hidden, users are still able to comply with health and safety guidelines whilst providing guests with the ultimate luxury experience.

> Since you’re here, why not read about what else is new from Franklite?

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

Main image credit: Franklite

Raffles Udaipur - aerial view

Now open: Inside the first Raffles hotel in India

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside the first Raffles hotel in India

Set to bring a ‘legendary hospitality’ experience to the romantic city of Udaipur, Raffles has unveiled its first hotel in India, which shelters 101 rooms inside an architectural marvel…

Following the brand’s announcement earlier this year to more than double its portfolio of hotels by 2023, Raffles Hotels & Resorts has opened its first hotel in India. Raffles Udaipur, a flagship hotel in the group’s portfolio, offers a fresh perspective on the city of Udaipur and region of Rajasthan, from a 21-acre private island set in the middle of the serene Udai Sagar Lake.

Raffles Udaipur - aerial view

Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, the expansive property is reminiscent of a magnificent country estate, with beautifully manicured, ornamental gardens and panoramic views of the surrounding hills, tranquil lake and a 400-year-old temple.

Luxury lobby, Raffles Udaipur, wiht high ceilings and palatial decor

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

The influence of the island’s flora and fauna can be seen in the intricate details of the country estate, ‘greater flamingo’ being the most prominent one. The hotel is meticulously adorned with a variety of flora, ranging from the fragrant white frangipani and the night-blooming jasmine to stunning spider lilies and the peepal tree that holds great religious significance.

The hotel itself is an architectural masterpiece of 101 luxurious rooms, suites and signature suites that elegantly interweave western cultural references with Rajasthan’s royal heritage and elements of Mughal architecture. Guestrooms have uninterrupted lake views, private gardens, balconies, plunge pools and an east-west design aesthetic with murals, handcrafted furniture and other crafts by local artisans.

“I am proud and delighted to see how Raffles Udaipur has opened to such acclaim and established itself as a market leader in such a short space of time,” said Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles & Orient Express. “As a member of Raffles’ close-knit global portfolio, it is bringing to life our shared vision of true hotelcraft.”

Under Culinary Director Prasad Metrani, Raffles Udaipur is a culinary aficionado’s paradise with fresh, new flavours to relish every day. At Sawai Kitchen, the Indian speciality restaurant, guests can expect to be graciously served the lost recipes from the region’s royal households, reinvented for modern tastes. Harvest, set to open before the end of the year, offers an interactive farm-to-table dining experience with produce foraged from the estate farm, spotlighting the region’s food traditions; while culinary enthusiasts can enjoy a co-cooking experience at Rasoi, the cookery school. The Raffles Patisserie offers freshly baked breads, classic French desserts, signature Raffles pastries and more. Guests can dine under the crystal clear sky, overlooking the breathtaking views of the lake at the Belvedere Point. Mindfully crafted alfresco dining experiences, framed by the picturesque hills that surround the lake, draw inspiration from the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and space.

Long Bar, Raffles Udaipur

Image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

For a sophisticated and discreet experience, guests can linger over intimate conversations or take a book to read at The Writers Bar, while indulging in bespoke artisanal and classic cocktails, as well as a champagne & caviar menu. For the elegant Afternoon High Tea experience, guests can anticipate exquisite savouries and desserts, along with specially curated teas from the Kangra hills in Himachal Pradesh and the best coffees from Southern India, introduced by the Tea Sommelier. In contrast, the iconic Long Bar, a hallmark of the Raffles brand designed with European wood and leather, with engravings by local artisans, is a perfect place to socialise. It offers fine Indian spirits, single malts, local brews from across Rajasthan and the signature Udaipur Sling – the Singapore classic remade with fresh produce from the island and home-made syrups.

The Raffles Spa, a space full of natural light with an embroidered canopy to encourage a sense of nurturing, offers a private escape, with authentic treatments and personalised programmes that prioritise both emotional and physical well-being. The fitness centre is well-equipped for an invigorating work-out and the swimming pool invites guests to take a languorous dip, while enjoying a beautiful sunset.

Raffles Udaipur, as with every Raffles hotel around the world, reflects the cultural and natural heritage and mood of its location, offering unforgettable experiences, from a celestial cruise under the moon, to guided farm tours, astronomy, yoga and meditation. Raffles’ legendary service is delivered by private butlers and thoughtfully tailored to individual travellers’ needs.

“Whether you are looking for a rare place of extraordinary discovery or a romantic getaway with captivating sunsets, Raffles Udaipur is the ideal choice,” said Abhishek Sharma, General Manager. “With breath-taking views of the lake from every room, the chance for long, leisurely, romantic walks around our magnificent gardens, and experiences like star gazing and full moon rituals, we are a sanctuary for travellers on a quest for peace and rejuvenation.”

Guests can also choose this island location as a memorable setting for special events and celebrations. The Grand Ballroom of 9,000 square feet, including pre-function area, multiple outdoor gathering areas and an on-site temple, is set to make landmark moments simply unforgettable.

Speaking about the opening, Puneet Dhawan, ‎Senior Vice President of Operations – India & South Asia, Accor, said: “India is a strategic focus with long-term growth potential for Accor and it’s an exciting time for us as we present the iconic Raffles brand to the market. The rich cultural heritage, the regal past, and the grand architecture that gives the city its splendour all contribute to the Raffles Udaipur experience. Discerning travellers will now be able to experience the bespoke and immersive hospitality that is quintessentially Raffles. We look forward to warmly welcoming our guests and allowing them to discover what we have created, a confluence of Raffles’ global ethos and local Indian sensitivities.”

Main image credit: Raffles Hotels & Resorts

Bathroom design | Contemporary hotel bathroom, with moody interiors

Collaboration goals: KEUCO & TEAM7 create luxe bathroom concept

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Collaboration goals: KEUCO & TEAM7 create luxe bathroom concept

TEAM 7 and KEUCO have combined heads to form a luxurious bathroom furnishing concept, which has resulted in the striking interiors of EDITION LIGNATUR…

For more than 60 years, the Austrian company TEAM 7 has been creating exquisite, meticulously handcrafted, solid wood furniture for every area of the house. However, one room was missing; the bathroom. This issue was solved by forming a partnership with KEUCO; its expertise in washbasins, light mirrors, accessories and fittings led to the creation of EDITION LIGNATUR.

Bathroom design | Contemporary hotel bathroom, with moody interiors

Created by leading design agency Tesseraux + Partner; each piece of EDITION LIGNATUR bathroom furniture is individually crafted and produced. The collection includes, single or double washbasins which can be recessed or table-top, sideboards, tall units and benches. All of the furniture is made from one of three premium natural woods: light oak, Venetian oak, (which gets its extraordinary appearance from natural embellishments produced by the shipworm) and noble walnut.

The wood grain of each piece of natural wood used for EDITION LIGNATUR furniture has to look good together with the grain of every other piece. To achieve this they take the time beforehand to arrange the individual slats that make up the natural wood panels to make sure they look good together and to produce a harmonious overall picture in the bathroom. This first procedure is a specific step called ‘painting with wood’.

As the base units made of premium woods, it is possible to combine washbasins made of Varicor or ceramic. A free-standing fitting that was designed specifically for the round Varicor basin stands raised in the middle of the washbasin.

The washbasins can also be combined with KEUCO wall-mounted fittings. KEUCO accessories put the finishing touch on the harmonious overall picture.

The EDITION LIGNATUR light mirror has very special features: The luminous colour can be infinitely adjusted and dimmed from warm white to daylight-like illumination (2700 – 6500 Kelvin) by pressing a touch-sensitive key panel. This makes it possible to adapt the light to the mood of the user and also allow you to see for example, when applying makeup what the effect would be outdoors, in the office or in a restaurant as the mirror’s light shade causes the light to fall pleasantly from above. After showering, a smart detail ensures that the integrated mirror heater guarantees fog-free vision in a matter of seconds.

> Since you’re here, why not read about KEUCO’s IXMO Shower series? 

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

David mason interview - scott brownrigg | Hotel Designs

A young designer’s interview: Q&A with David Mason, Director, Scott Brownrigg

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A young designer’s interview: Q&A with David Mason, Director, Scott Brownrigg

In the second interview in an exclusive series between Hotel Designs and NEWH UK Chapter, that aims to bridge the generation gap between designers and architects, editor Hamish Kilburn moderates an interview between young designer Marissa Miltiadous and David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg

David mason interview - scott brownrigg | Hotel Designs

 It’s a hard-knock life being a young designer in the current climate. Jobs for juniors are scarce, while opportunities for students entering the workplace are few and far between. However, it’s not like we haven’t been here before ­– meaning that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

David Mason, Head of Hospitality at Scott Brownrigg encountered a similar start to his career to that of today’s students. In the ‘90s, when Mason was optimistically graduating from university, somewhat naively expecting life to fall into place, the UK was heading into a recession. In short, the landscape for young designers looked pretty bleak. Determined to stay in the design profession, Mason took a role with a graphics company and through hard work, a bit of luck and saying ‘yes’ to almost every opportunities that would strengthen his portfolio, Mason found himself on the radar.

Following stints at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Fox Linton Associates, Woods Bagot and consulting independently, in 2016 Mason found ‘his people’ at Scott Brownrigg, entering the studio first as a Project Director, and later (in 2018) became a Director.

Now heading up the hospitality division at the company, he agreed to take part in our next young designer’s interview, this time with Marissa Miltiadous holding the mic, a post-graduate Part 1 designer who, in 2019 won an NEWH scholarship for her ‘studio of fresh thought’ concept.

Marissa Miltiadous: When did you first realise you wanted to be an interior designer?

David Mason: As a youngster, I enjoyed building things and I had an innate creative side. My parents were super supportive and let me follow my dream.

Interior design is so far from being just about decoration. I learned this when specialising in interior design at college. I then received an undergraduate degree from University of Birmingham. Looking back, it’s been an amazing and long journey, full of exciting and unexpected moments that have kept me on my toes and always growing.

“Young designers should not be disheartened by rejection.” – David Mason, Head of  Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg.

I graduated in 1993, just as the nation was in the throes of recession. It was a terrible time to enter the market but determined to stay in the design field which I loved I worked as a graphic designer. Two years later I went back to university to study for my masters and then, off the back of that, I applied to London firms. The rest is history. I recognise the hardest part is the first step. Young designers should not be disheartened by rejection, it can often be luck and timing. Interior projects are fast moving and we often need more people should a number of projects go live at the same time. The industry is opening up, albeit slowly, but it is still showing encouraging signs of recovery from the pandemic.

Hamish Kilburn: What about you, Marissa?

MM: I was 14 years old when I realised that I wanted to be an interior design ­– there were signs younger. [As a child], I would constantly move things around to make spaces look more exciting. I didn’t register at the time that I had a passion for how spaces looked. When I went to university it all fit and I was able to channel my natural instinct towards colour and take my passion further.

MM: What lessons did you learn when entering the workplace?

DM: To be honest, it’s a constant learning process. Every day is different. The most significant lesson I learned as a young designer was understanding that university only sets you up so far but the job is very different in the workplace. My university experience was about pushing students creatively. Our job, in reality, is hard. We are responsible for a lot of components and that’s what makes it great.

When you are design student, you don’t necessarily see the bigger picture. And then, when you enter the workplace, you have to all of a sudden see the large canvas.

Purple lighting in large, swanky bar in London

Image caption: Hard Rock Hotel London, designed by Scott Brownrigg | Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

MM: How does Scott Brownrigg help young designers get the recognition they deserve?

DM: We celebrate our designers as part of a collaborative team. We include junior designers in our meetings ­– especially during lockdown with the use of seamless software to keep the team together. We also like to include our research and development team in many of our conversations so that we are always moving forward. Internationally, we present our work to our peers, and allow everyone the opportunity, regardless of job title, to have their input. That way, we ensure that everyone is part of the process.

We welcome opinions and everyones voice. We encourage these opinions. That’s where discussion leads to great design – and that, in my opinion, is how we can grow as designers.

MM: What is Scott Brownrigg’s approach to sustainability?

DM: It’s a massive topic for our industry – so much so that we actually have a sustainability and wellness team within our business to keep us on track. It’s always on our agenda. There’s still an outlay for the client – we work on research to ensure that it’s beneficial for the client. For some clients, sustainability is an absolute must and many recognise It goes beyond towel washing and removing miniatures from the bathroom. It’s much larger and starts earlier. We look at carbon-neutral building practice and analyse key factors and requirements to bring down our impact.  Being a multi-discipline practice, we have an advantage because we closely with our architects. We are finding that there’s a mutual synergy between everyone involved in our projects to produce buildings that have been designed consciously.

The more that this develops, the more the client starts demanding sustainable approaches, the quicker the costs will come down and that in itself will allow for sustainable design to be much more achievable. You have to get the client on board from the beginning. If you can take the client on a journey with you it allows them to see the the benefit for all.


MM: What advice would you give to designers beginning in their careers, particularly now during the pandemic.

DM: Let’s face it, you have been locked away, and that’s not natural. You should be clawing at the walls to get out to see and experience hospitality again – and that should not be limited to what social media wants you to see.

When I started as a junior designer, we read books, flicked through magazines and then went to see the latest new bar and restauarant openings and the spaces that inspired us ­– even if that meant just ordering a soft drink at the bar because we had no money. So, my advice would be to go and see everything and soak it all in again. As a result, it will not only broaden your mindset but also give you more to play with when it comes to interview. With everything opening back up again, it’s such an interesting time for hospitality and if you want to be part of designing the next era, you have to experience what is happening now!

Also, I know it’s hard at the moment, but keep applying for jobs! When I interview people, I want to know who they follow and who (and what) they are inspired by. People often can’t answer it, which surprises me.

Another big bugbear is when people don’t research our company. Do your homework. Visit the website, go see our projects. Ultimately though, don’t give up, it will happen.


MM: What challenges do you see impacting the industry? 

DM: For me, during the pandemic there were so many articles about where hotel design is heading – and a lot of them were quite negative. As far as I am concerned, now is such an exciting time for the design industry! Think about it… the festival of design post-war. They built the southbank and created this movement towards new development and design in the wake of a major depression. Now is the time to think completely outside the box. In a blink of an eye, our perspectives have changed. We made lockdown work; we adapted and now that we are coming out of lockdown, we can re-write design and what was ‘the norm’.

MM: What projects are you currently working on?

DM: We are working on a number of hospitality projects with two of our hotels about to start on site.. It’s great timing as it gives our team the opportunity to see the project develop, from demolition, 1st/2nd fix to completion. It’s the only way for the team to see  a hotel come together and truly understand what they are drawing. Site knowledge is invaluable, and lessons learnt will be carried through to future projects .

We have also just started on two master plans, one of which will be a major mixed use development with a hotel, ballroom, conference facilities, spa and F&B outlets  as well as an experiential project & hotel with a well known lifestyle brand.

MM:  Finally, tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you?

DM: I am grade two on the violin (you asked…)

> Since you’re here, why not read our first interview in this series, between James Ingram and James Dilley?

Main image credit: Scott Brownrigg

A dramatic bar inside RG Naoxs

Inspired by nature: RG Naxos unveils fresh look

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inspired by nature: RG Naxos unveils fresh look

Design studio THDP has completed an extensive renovation inside RG Naxos, set in Giardini Naxos. The new look was inspired by nature to draw out the best of Mediterranean culture…

RG Naxos, located on the shores of Giardini Naxos in Scilly, Italy, emerges following a major interior revamp sheltering a cohesive interior design narrative that sensitively celebrates the destination’s culture to re-establish itself as a modern hospitality masterpiece.

A dramatic bar inside RG Naoxs

Giardini Naxos, founded in 734 BC by colonists from Chalcis in Euboea, was the first Greek colony in Sicily. Ancient Naxos was destroyed in 403 BC, and the centre that rose in its place in the Middle Ages became a thriving fishermen’s village. In the late 19th century elegant villas were built, used as holiday mansions by the upper classes.

The Greek heritage that remains in Sicily can be seen in the architecture of a few very important buildings, but today it is regarded a popular seaside resort. With its distinct identity and its various cultural and religious events that take place throughout the year, Giardini Naxos is a natural tourism hotspot.

While the natural beauty of the location made it an interesting place to visit, it was the fashion house of Dolce & Gabbana that arguably put Sicily on the fashionista map, and spread the island’s crafts worldwide by incorporating iconic Sicilian images in its bold prints like the colourfully decorated horse cart, ripe lemons and oranges. This was an early inspiration for the interior design concept created for the hotel by THDP, the London based interior designer and architectural practice with a team of 50 per cent British and 50 per cent Italian designers (the best of both worlds). The design team consisted of Nicholas J Hickson and Manuela Mannino (Founders of THDP) and Simone Bretti (design) and Francesca Benedetti (architect).

Making a sensitive nod to the destination’s history and modern culture, in order to inject apt sense of place, the interior design studio THDP decided to centre the concept of its design for the hotel around the location’s unique topography. “Inspired by the natural beauty of the volcanic beaches, the sea, mount Etna’s super-natural presence and the features of the island of Sicily, the vision was to bring them into the centre of the hotel,” explained Benedetti. “By adding local decoration, artworks and colours, the goal was to add character – a deep sense of authenticity and a refined and resort-based palette of natural tones with touches of colours of the sea.”

Detailed local research guided the narrative of the entire  project, commencing with the refurbishment of the main public areas – the lobby, lobby bar and guest check-in area – before retouching the F&B areas, including the main restaurant and the pool dining and bar spaces.

The lobby was a large and open space, which was previously decorated in a heavy baroque style. “The concept from the outset was to re-activate this space, giving it a new heart and focal point – and to be appealing to both guests and to walk-in locals,” said Bretti. “From concept stages, we considered adding a new lobby bar to the centre of the space, being both a visual anchor but also dividing the space and making it feel more intimate.” With the new layout smart workers and leisure guests can meet using a polyvalent area which can hosts all thanks to the different typology of seating. The style is elegant and authentically Mediterranean with sea colours and Taormina’s stone colours melting indoor and outdoor colour palette.

Lobby/lounge inside RG Naxos

Image credit: Giorgio Baroni

The reception has been inspired by the Sicilian attitude of welcoming and it has been translated in three large reception desks with dark grey lava top fabricated by Nero Sicilia.  The rear feature wall is tiled with hand-painted local tiles by La Fauci. The accent decorative lights are from Aromas del Campo and are of copper and rattan, thus from the very beginning of their journey the guest is surrounded by an authentic and local experience.

The restaurant, Panarea, has materials, features and shapes that remind guests of antique craftsmanship, incorporating hand painted tiles in the niches at the entrance with traditional motifs from La Fauci.  The buffet area has screens featuring irregular but geometric shapes hanged from the ceilings that recall ancient Greek terracotta jars. The artisan tributes continue on the walls covered with a braided woven leather cowhide effect inspired by ancient Greek sandals.

Contemporary restaurant inside RG Naxos

Image credit: Giorgio Baroni

La Sciara Restaurant’s design, meanwhile, has been inspired by the existing wallcovering of lava stone: the space has the darker tones echoing those of the Mount Etna volcano, the dark ominous stone is counterpointed by the vibrant blue and red glazing – recalling colours of the sea at night, foreboding, dark yet attractive and welcoming.  The metalwork in the restaurant is a rich copper tone, accented by rich blue lacquers, and the table top feature rich glazed textures applied with glass onto the lava stone, all by Nero Sicilia. The entire space naturally calls to mind dining in a more elegant and finer restaurant.

The Fluido Bar is located on the pool terrace, just outside La Sciara Restaurant offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea and the unique grey volcanic sandy beaches. The pool bar is characterised by a contemporary, indoor-meets-outdoor styled residential look and feel. The walls are finished in a cement-coloured panels by Cosentino, the bar top is white Dekton and the bar front is feature tiles in raw and glazed lava stone by Nero Sicilia.

A light and bright bar outside RG Naxos

Image credit: Giorgio Baroni

The bar serves pre-dinner aperitifs with signature cocktails, open to guests and locals, the ambition is to become a destination bar for the hotel adding to its local night scene. The seating is part dining, part informal lounge sofas with outdoor furniture by Etimo & Varaschin. The flooring is a grés-tiling from Gruppo Florim, who also provided the surround to the pool and its interior. Large ecru umbrellas offer shade to the guests during the summer times. THDP created a warm garden style lighting effect, selecting outdoor weathered wall fittings by Aldo Bernardi and suspended light by Faro Barcelona.  The large pergola and pavilions are custom designed and supplied by Corradi.

> Since you’re here, why not watch a panel discussion on bathroom design that THDP’s Nick Hickson participated in recently?

The hotel emerges from one of the most difficult periods in hospitality history wth a fresh look and feel, which will no-doubt take it – and the destination – into a new era that puts emphasis on craft, authenticity and simply travelling for longer.

Main image credit: Giorgio Baroni

Lanserhof in Sylt bathroom and suite

Lanserhof to open first island hotel in Spring 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lanserhof to open first island hotel in Spring 2022

Lanserhof, Europe’s leader in innovative health, has announced that it will open its first island hotel in 2022. Located in Sylt, the 55-key luxury hotel will be designed by internationally renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven, and will shelter a cutting-edge wellness experience under a contemporary roof. Here’s what we know…

Lanserhof in Sylt bathroom and suite

Arriving in 2022 in Sylt – AKA the ‘Hamptons of Germany’ – Lanserhof, a leading brand in innovative health, has unveiled that its debut island hotel will feature just 55 rooms and shelter design by internationally renowned architect Christoph Ingenhoven.

Sylt, an island in the Frisian archipelago in northern Germany, has long been treasured for its famous healing climate and restorative sea air, which can provide significant relief for allergy and respiratory disease sufferers. Reachable by air via Düsseldorf year-round, with just 15,000 inhabitants, the island offers 40 kilometres of fine sandy beach and three shifting sand dunes, the only ones left in all of Germany. Set on UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wadden Sea, Sylt is home to some of the continent’s most astonishing wildlife and flora and fauna; whale watching is possible during the summer months while harbour porpoises can be spotted off the coast year-round.

Render of shoreline at Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Lanserhof Sylt, a €120 million project more than five years in the making, will offer the brand’s signature approach, which combines cutting-edge diagnostics with natural healing methods, overseen by Medical Director and Cardiologist Dr. Jan Stritzke, a specialist in cardiological rehabilitation for acute and chronic illnesses. “At Lanserhof Sylt, the magic of a new beginning can not only be felt but experienced,” explained Dr. Stritzke. “Surrounded by the unique and ever-present nature of Sylt, the new health resort awaits guests in a place where modern, flowing and natural architecture radiates tranquillity and at the same time combines modern cutting-edge medicine with the help of state-of-the-art equipment and alternative naturopathy. The natural and traditional combined with the new and modern are thus reflected in both the architecture of the resort and at the same time in the medical concept. This is something very unique. For this new Lanserh of experience we have built a great team of physicians, therapists, sports and nutrition scientists and beauticians. I can’t wait to introduce it to our guests.”

Wellness pool inside Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Housing 55 rooms and suites beneath Europe’s largest thatched roof, the resort will have a combined guest area of more than 20,000m2. In addition to the main building, the resort will feature two interconnected saltwater indoor and outdoor pools complete with counter-current system and a five-story freestanding spiral staircase centrepiece. A continuous glass facade, the largest on Sylt, will give the impression that the thatched roof floats above, giving the property a weightless character that blends seamlessly into the rolling dunes and landscape beyond.

Render of luxury bedroom inside Lanserhof Sylt

Image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

The guestrooms range upwards in size from 39m2 double rooms and all feature their very own private balcony cut into the thatched roof of the building. These balconies are the first of their kind, creating an abundance of light within the room while providing a tranquil spot for guests to enjoy the healing sea air amidst panoramic views of the sea and sand dunes ahead. Selected rooms will feature beds with innovative FreshBed technology to ensure the perfect night’s sleep, in addition to a unique, human-centric lighting concept to keep guests in harmony with the natural biorhythm.

The hotel has been constructed using entirely sustainable, non-emitting materials. The design finds inspiration from the surrounding area and climate, as well as in the construction of Frisian houses, which typically feature low storeys, glass, wood and thatch. Natural, curved shapes mirror the island’s sand dunes, while a pared-back aesthetic featuring wood, earthen tones and organic materials allows the magnificent setting to take centre-stage.

The timeless, unique nature of Sylt in combination with the new, modern Lanserh of property with its flowing, corner-less architecture has a health-promoting effect on body, mind and soul, just like the traditional naturopathy and state-of-the-art cutting-edge medicine contained in the Lanserhof Concept.

Main image credit: Ingenhoven Architects

Hotel design | luxury pool in Langham Jakarta

A capital move: Langham arrives in Southeast Asia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A capital move: Langham arrives in Southeast Asia

The Langham, Jakarta has opened its doors inside a stylish and contemporary 65-storey building in the heart of the city, marking the brand’s bold debut property in Southeast Asia…

After years of anticipation, The Langham, Jakarta has officially opened in Indonesia’s capital city. The slick 65-storey hotel is strategically located within the new prestigious complex of District 8 at SCBD (Sudirman Central Business District) in close proximity to the city’s most important financial, cultural and entertainment centres. 

Hotel design | luxury pool in Langham Jakarta

“The opening of this beautiful hotel in Jakarta is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to delivering the very best product, facilities and service in this international gateway city,” said Brett Butcher, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “Partnering with Indonesia’s premier developer Agung Sedayu Group, we have been able to create something truly remarkable to welcome our guests to one of the very best hotels in the world. We are taking luxury to new heights and I couldn’t be prouder to include The Langham, Jakarta to our collection.”

Designed by the Singapore-based Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart (SRSS), The Langham, Jakarta embodies classical design elements, effortlessly fusing glamour with urban sophistication.

Upon entering the arrival lobby on the ground floor, all eyes are drawn towards the magnificent chandelier depicting 3,000 fluttering crystal butterflies, some of which are suspended by intricate wire work. Titled ‘Haven’ by Lasvit, the renowned designers of dazzling bespoke light installations from the Czech Republic, the chandelier takes its inspiration from the Indonesian rainforests where butterflies fly freely thereby creating an ethereal aesthetic in the remarkable space.

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The elaborate construct of Haven is evident in the beautiful champagne-coloured lattice that is reminiscent of a Monarch butterfly’s wings. On the 62nd floor at the Sky Lobby, a second but no less dramatic 10-metre high chandelier, also by Lasvit, commands the attention and admiration of the guests. All other senses will be mesmerised by the curated collection of art throughout the hotel showcasing the finest works from Indonesian artists, painters and photographers which include John Martono, Hanafi, Jumaldi Alfi, Jay Subyakto, and Chaerul Umam.

The Langham, Jakarta shelters 223 guestrooms with majestic floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views of the city, state of the art in-room entertainment complemented by smart technology, opulent marble bathrooms featuring rain showers and free standing soaking bathtubs.

Poised to be highly sought after by luxury aficionados, the elegantly appointed 336-square metre Presidential Suite features a spacious living room and dining area ornamented with contemporary furnishings. The dominant use of the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship is evident from the intricate wall panels, sculptures, paintings and timeless artefacts that tastefully adorn each room.

Other highlights of the impressive suite include an Italian-marble bathroom with an oversized bathtub, twin vanities and separate spa bath, bespoke amenities, an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the city. Fitness enthusiasts, meanwhile, can take full advantage of the in-suite gym with a trainer on demand for private sessions; attending to the guests’ every whim with personalised yet discreet service is a dedicated 24-hour on-call butler service.

The Langham Club lounge at the hotel’s 59th floor is designed as a sanctuary for guests who prefer a discerning level of comfort with panoramic and unobstructed views of Jakarta. The Club lounge will offer complimentary food and beverage presentations and will feature a writer’s corner, a reading library and private arrival and departure facilities with dedicated butlers for personalised service.

The Langham, Jakarta - Club Lounge

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The Langham, Jakarta features exceptional celebrity restaurant partnerships that include Tom’s by Tom Aikens, the culinary maestro who has guided his restaurants to accolades by the Michelin Guide. T’ang Court, inspired by its Three Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant namesake at The Langham, Hong Kong, will make its debut in Southeast Asia and world-renowned Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto from New York City will satiate gourmands with haute Japanese cuisine at Morimoto.

LANGHAM JAKARTA, Toms restaurant

Image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

The Langham, London was the first hotel that served afternoon tea in 1865 and since then, guests continue to cherish this afternoon indulgence at all The Langham hotels around the world. In Jakarta, The Langham’s afternoon tea legacy continues at Alice where guests may bask in the beautiful environs at the grand dining emporium. And for those familiar with the Artesian at The Langham, London – recognized as the World’s Best Bar for several years – will be delighted to know that its latest outpost will be at the dazzling rooftop of The Langham, Jakarta.

For those seeking a respite and needing a recharge of the body and mind, Chuan Spa will provide treatments inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies in a serene, meditative setting. The 670 square metre (7,211 square foot) spa will offer private treatment rooms as well as a fully-equipped fitness centre and Jakarta’s highest indoor infinity pool with spectacular views of the city.

The Langham, Jakarta will be the new iconic venue for social events, weddings, high-level conferences and luxury product launches. Showcasing more than 2,100 square meters of flexible space, including a magnificent 688 square meter ballroom and a beautiful outdoor garden, there are an additional 11 meeting rooms that may be configured for events requiring different capacities.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the new design scheme inside The Langham, Boston?

The hotel opening is just the beginning of an exciting journey for Langham Hospitality Group, the umbrella company of The Langham Hotels and Resorts and Cordis Hotels brands. The group currently has more than 30 projects currently either confirmed or in a developed stage of negotiation from Asia, Europe and North America to the Middle East.

Main image credit: Langham Hotels & Resorts

Industry insight: Best hotel flooring options

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Best hotel flooring options

With hotels expecting to stand the test of time, in function as well as aesthetics, choosing the right flooring for each area is integral. Luxury Flooring are on hand to offer a guiding light on which materials work best…

What is the first thing you notice when you arrive at your hotel? Is it the extravagant chandelier draping over the front desk or the parquet style floor in the front lobby? Exceptional design starts with a floor, especially in places where you want to impress your guests.

The lobby

The lobby is the first thing your guests walk through when they enter your hotel, and often form their assumptions on what the rest of it looks like. Give your guests a memorable first impression with Luxury Vinyl Tiles. LVT comes in a variety of imitated materials ranging from wood, stone and tile. Along with styles such as parquet, chevron and herringbone, that show class and versatility.

The Lobby at The Londoner hotel

Image caption: The lobby/lounge inside The Londoner | Image credit: Andrew Beasley

Serve your guests with parquet style luxury vinyl tiles. Parquet flooring first graced the palace of Versailles in 1684, France, and became increasingly popular throughout Europe. The flooring style was installed in grand homes of the wealthy and could only be installed by skilled craftsmen. It’s durable, water-resistant which is a perfect fit for a lobby with it being incredibly bust 24/7.

This floor is made to look modern with a traditional twist, you can go in any direction with its unique pattern. Minimalistic hotel? Pair a light, parquet LVT with light-coloured walls and taupe furnishings to give your lobby an airy feel. Or if your hotel is on the traditional side, opt-in for a dark, chocolate brown LVT with daring red and royal green interiors.

The bedroom

The bedroom is the one room where guests can relax and wind down. At the end of the day, they want to come back to a room that’s cosy and comfortable, right? One of the first things they do is take their shoes off. And with the floor being the first thing they touch, it’s important to provide them with luxury and comfort.

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Solid wood; prized for its elegance, beauty and individuality. The material graces grand halls, statement lobbies and penthouse suites, making it one of the most luxurious flooring choices out there. Solid wood flooring is becoming increasingly popular in the hotel industry, especially with it being installed in more bedrooms. Parquet style flooring is making a statement in Parisian hotels and slowly shifting across Europe with its versatile and expensive design.

Solid wood comes in a variety of colours and statement patterns ranging from herringbone, chevron and parquet. Pair these floors with cashmere-coloured sheets and soft linen curtains for a space that’ll teleport you to a sanctuary in the Maldives. For a city vibe, industrial-like décor and open-brick walls will look effortlessly stylish against chocolate brown oak.

Solid Oak is a hard material, so make sure to dress it with soft rugs. Add gowns and slippers for extra comfort and luxury, you want to make sure your guests feel at home!

The bathroom

The bathroom is the one room in your hotel room that needs to be stylish and practical. Stylish bathrooms have taken the interior world by storm by having brass accents, limestone walls, smart showers and toilets. But the main thing hoteliers need to consider is the flooring.

A cool, contemporary bathroom inside golf resort in Palm Springs

Image credit: PGA National Resort & Spa

The best option for bathroom flooring in hotel rooms is stone vinyl tiles. They are durable, water-resistant and have good gripping properties. Stone vinyl tiles are modern and come in a wide range of colours and styles while imitating the natural look of stone. If you want to achieve a rustic look with authentic tile, then go for colours such as ambient grey or blue slate.

Every floor is catered for every hotel, it just depends on what kind of hotel you’re in. If you’re a chain and want an all-rounder, LVT flooring is the one for you. If you own a mini or boutique hotel, solid and engineered flooring are more desirable options. It all just depends on how many people stay with you.

Main image credit: W Hotels

Hypnos Chillington Sept 2021_10879 1

Sustainability & comfort combined: A new mattress collection from Hypnos

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainability & comfort combined: A new mattress collection from Hypnos

Experts in sustainable luxury, British bed maker Hypnos Contract Beds unveiled the next chapter of its sustainable story with the launch of its new ethical Origins collection for the hospitality sector at this year’s Independent Hotel Show. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Hypnos Chillington Sept 2021_10879 1

With up to three-quarters of hotel guests willing to spend more per night to stay in a hotel that demonstrates authentic green credentials, The Hospitality Origins Collection by Hypnos Contracts Beds arrives right on cue. It represents a new era of sustainable sleep solutions for the sector, providing hoteliers with a truly eco-conscious bed for their guests.

No new comer to unveiling sustainable solutions in the industry – with its carbon-neutral certification and eco-packaging solution – the brand’s latest collection is a harmony of conscious design with supreme comfort.

Hypnos Chillington Sept 2021_9983_9982 - for social

Image credit: Hypnos Contract Beds

We’re told that the collection comprises of three luxury, durable mattresses. The first model, launched at the Independent Hotel Show last week is the Woolsleepers Elite – a hand-finished pocket sprung mattress, featuring 11 layers of sustainable comfort with each mattress including more than eight full fleeces of 100 per cent British wool. Considered a super-fibre, as well as being naturally antibacterial, wool is also incredibly breathable, responding to natural fluctuations in body temperature by wicking away moisture, making it a perfect material for beds.

Upholstered in beautiful unbleached, naturally fire-retardant woven cotton and viscose ticking, the mattress also benefits from 1,400 ReActivPro™ pocket springs and 3,000 Adaptiv™ springs that are designed to evenly distribute weight across the expanse of the bed, flexing to individual body shapes for optimum support and personalised comfort for hotel guests. 

Encompassing Hypnos’ decade long commitment to responsible sourcing and manufacturing, The Hospitality Origins Collection is a reflection of the company’s commitment to working only with likeminded ethical partners to ensure the provenance, authenticity and traceability of all materials. By only using wool from Red Tractor assured farms, hoteliers and those specifying for hotel projects can be confident that Hypnos is working with sheep farmers who are committed to animal welfare and regenerative farming and know that Hypnos is paying them a fair price, on time, something many brands don’t do. 

Hypnos also supports farming communities around the world through CottonConnect and the Better Cotton Initiative, with education and training ultimately leading to reductions in pesticides and water usage.  And their certified factories have met the Global Recycled Standard to ensure materials have been collected and recycled responsibly so they don’t pollute our seas and lands.

“With a rise in hoteliers opting to incorporate more natural elements into their properties through the use of biophilic design – which has become more important over the last 18 months, we are incredibly excited to share our latest vision which has once again pushed the boundaries for sustainable sleep,” Carolyn Mitchell, Sales and Marketing Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, told Hotel Designs. “Our aim is to support hoteliers by providing a luxury, ethical sleep solution. Our robust sustainable beds will appeal to consumers who’s environmental principles are increasingly driving their booking decisions.

“Through The Hospitality Origins Collection, we are continuing to champion sustainable, ethically sourced British materials and working with partners including Red Tractor Food and Farming Standards to ensure high levels of animal welfare and land management. The collection ensures that every part of the supply chain is accounted for ensuring that everything from the farm to the factory floor is as sustainable as it possibly can be.”

Hypnos 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: Hypnos Contract Beds

An airy dining area inside One&Only Portonovi overlooking pool and sea

MINIVIEW: Inside the first One&Only resort in Europe

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Inside the first One&Only resort in Europe

Perched on the dramatic Adriatic coastline, One&Only Portonovi marks the luxury hotel brand’s arrival in Europe. Inside, it weaves pristine mountain terrain and medieval history into a modern design, imagined by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

An airy dining area inside One&Only Portonovi overlooking pool and sea

Located in the charming village of Portonovi, on Montenegro’s stunning Adriatic coastline, One&Only’s first resort in Europe is an ultra-luxurious escape in a truly unique corner of the world. Its close proximity to the Montenegro’s town of Tivat and the historical city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, gave the interior designers at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) a plethora of sources of inspiration in order to create a meaningful sense of place inside the 113-key hotel.

Hotel Design | Exterior of One&Only Portonovi

Image credit: Rupert Peace

With architecture and initial concept design by Denniston Architects, HBA collaborated to craft the interiors and bring the space to life. Drawing inspiration from the regions stunning natural scenery and traditional monastic architecture, HBA creates an understated, modern design that celebrates the resort’s key asset – sweeping vistas of the fjord-like Boka Bay.

Being the design firm’s very first One&Only resort and HBA Singapore’s first project in Montenegro, particular care was taken to adapt to regional expectations in both design and process. Helping to bring this outstanding project to fruition were HBA’s design departments – Illuminate Lighting Design, CANVAS Art Consultants, HBA Graphics, and SOCIAL F+B – who together channeled the company’s core principle of championing local culture and tradition within a modern design that resonates with the global elite.

A breathtaking view of the idyllic Boka Bay instantly captures the gaze of guests when they enter the resort’s reception, giving a profound air of exclusivity and bliss to the space. An ambience of royalty exudes from the room with elements of monastic architectural heritage. Barrel vaulted ceilings in a shimmering platinum tone finished with wood marquetry encompass the space, along with aged, tumbled stone walls and floors. Two oversized hearths flank the attached lobby lounge, completing the traditional castle aesthetic.

A high-ceilinged marble lobby with leather furniture

Image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

This medieval feel is woven into a contemporary tapestry with modern European decorations, detailing and contemporary artwork, adding soft touches of playfulness to offset the formality. Above the heads of guests as they enter hangs an opulent canopy of hand-blown glass in smokey, amber tones fixed to a frame of intertwining branches forming the shape of a mimosa tree, from which Montenegro’s eponymous national flower sprouts. This nod to regional culture is repeated in the drapery that dramatically frames the vistas of the bay, with a mimosa-inspired floral motif and asymmetrical layering of sheers adding a sense of theatre. At the centre beneath the canopy of mimosa lighting sits a striking boulder sculpture crafted in likeness of the region’s dramatic topography of jagged cliff edges and jutting rocks.

From the reception, guests can venture over to Caminetti, the resort’s intimate bar to relax in its comfortable and luxurious surroundings. Drinks are ordered from a burnt terracotta bar upholstered in leather furnishings and enjoyed in comfortable seating surrounded by natural walnut millwork and stained wood furniture. The space channels the grandeur of the lobby area with grigio marble floors surrounded by columns cladded in backlit art depicting a forest scene. Warmth is diffused through the cool grey colour palette with copper tones and a grey shagreen leather in the fireplaces, Maya Romanoff wood marquetry wall coverings and accents of antique brass. 

A modern luxury bar inside One&Only Portonovi

Image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

Moving on from the lobby, guests continue on an artistic journey across the rugged landscape of Montenegro; while waiting in the lift lobby, they can busy themselves by admiring the dramatic artwork depicting a hiker trekking through the majestic cliffs and mountain ranges that sit at the resort’s doorstep.

Exuding a sense of residential welcome, One&Only Portonovi’s beautiful guestrooms offer a luxurious home-away-from-home experience. A cozy and romantic ambience is communicated through a warm colour scheme of natural wood flooring and millwork with strokes of grey and burnished bronze.

Each room is fitted with fireplace that straddles the bedroom for an added air of opulence. Windows designed to maximise the mesmerising views of the bay serve to unify the indoor and outdoor spaces, fostering an open, exhilarating feeling. In the bathroom, no effort has been spared to encourage relaxation: an extended lounge space homes a comfortable window-side daybed and central chaise lounge. But the true element of surprise and awe lies within the daybed, which, upon request, can be magically converted into a couples’ tub, designed to face the blissful panorama of shimmering Adriatic waters.

Bathroom inside One&Only Portonovi that overlooks sea and mountains

Image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

The resort shelters various destination restaurants, which together offer a wealth of choice in cuisine, style, and experience. La Verandah serves up a delicious menu of traditional Montenegrin dishes for both buffet and a la carte settings. To emulate the relaxed and open atmosphere of this dining concept, the design adopts a crisp, Mediterranean colour scheme, with dark indigo blue textures and lacquered panels juxtaposed with antique bronze detailing in the light fixtures. The laser-cut grey Carrara marble tiles lining the floors bring to mind the rich stone patterns seen in traditional regional architecture. Surrounding the tables, seats woven in alternating dove-grey fabric and deep caramel and chocolate leather upholstering are arranged.

For a taste from the other side of the Adriatic Sea, guests can indulge in the refined Italian flavours offered at Sabia, a restaurant headed by renowned Michelin-starred chef, Giorgio Locatelli. The interiors were designed by SOCIAL F+B, an HBA department, in collaboration with the celebrity chef, who chose a light, fresh colour palette with warm sand tones to reflect the elegant, modern menu. The neutrals used throughout the space are accentuated with accents of seafoam blues and dove greys. A colourful light fixture hanging above the bar features hand-blown glass containing grains of sand, conjuring up images of a warm day at the seaside.

SOCIAL F+B was further tasked with the design of the innovative pan-Asian fusion restaurant Tapasake Club, a space exuding an atmosphere as lively and exciting as its cuisine. Concrete flooring is marbled with meandering metal inlay, mimicking the craquelure of ‘wabi-sabi’, a traditional Japanese aesthetic that celebrates beauty in imperfection. A warm and luxurious feel is cultivated through the use of artisanal bronze and dark mahogany detailing on the raked spatulata plaster ceiling and naked red brickwork in the walls. Complementing this golden, autumnal colour palette are neutral fabrics with olive and orange accents and ombre aqua sheer wall partitioning separating the dining tables. Behind the live edge wood bar counter are a row of amber glass display shelves showcasing the intriguing choice of liquors on offer.

A luxury suite with balcony that overlooks sea

Image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

Completing the wellness experience, the Chenot Espace is a world-renowned health and wellness centre within the resort. The spa area features silver travertine marble walls with a honed finish and washed grey oak floors, along with a burnt orange and grey fabric scheme.

Hotel Design | Arches inside a luxury spa and pool area

Image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

From the spa’s lavish hammam baths, tiled with a shimmering gold mosaic framed by traditional Turkish stone, to the expansive indoor pool and a room crafted from grigio marble walls and dark grey non-slip simulated stone tiles accented with copper and antique bronze details, this area has been designed, utilising the senses, to take wellness to the extreme. A spray of sunset tones in the glass mosaic surrounding the pool light niches casts a warm shimmering aura through the water. 

> Since you’re here, why not read about One&Only Mandarina?

The arrival of One&Only in Portonovi was described by the team at HBA as a ‘labour of love’. As a result of deep research and development mixed together with intuitive design that speaks the local language, the designers have created a timeless escape that carries the One&Only brand into new territories.

Main image credit: Rupert Peace (styled by Florence Rolfe)

Modern fireplace in contemporary setting

Sculptural warmth: Fireplaces with form as well as function

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sculptural warmth: Fireplaces with form as well as function

Handcrafted, iconic and sculpted for maximum aesthetic and function affect, the emblematic fires from FOCUS have turned up the heat in the international hospitality design arena…

Modern fireplace in contemporary setting

FOCUS, which was founded more than 50 years ago and has been pushing boundaries ever since, is renowned for its emblematic fires which have been exhibited in leading museums of the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The dramatic suspended flues with pivoting hearths are instantly recognisable by their sculptural shape. These award-winning fires are so often specified for their form as much as their energy efficiency and heat functionality. All fireplaces from FOCUS – whether lit or unlit – are iconic in their designs, which are handcrafted from highest quality steel by artisans in the South of France.

There are more than seventy designs in the FOCUS collection and each and everyone is a masterpiece in its own right. Suitable for installation in a vast range of projects from ski lodges, spas and boutique hotels to luxury five-star establishments, FOCUS fires add a certain dash of French panache. FOCUS has installed their sculptural fires throughout the world in a large variety of hotels from Nordic cabins to Australian beach resorts; from retreats in the Baleriacs to a converted railway hotel in Holland, every region has an approved partner to ensure the highest standard of service. FOCUS is recognised by the architectural and interior design community who regularly specify the fires for their projects.

Contemporary villa with masterpiece fireplace

Image credit: FOCUS

Odourless and with zero particle emissions, the new gas models can be installed in reception areas of large hotels, restaurants and establishments open to the public. Equally the new Ecodesign Ready wood-burning fires with closed glazed hearths offer high energy output meeting the very highest standards and regulations across Europe.

FOCUS 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: FOCUS

Hyatt Centric brand debuts in UK with Cambridge opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Centric brand debuts in UK with Cambridge opening

The opening of Hyatt Centric Cambridge, situated in the same sustainable development of Turing Locke, marks the brand’s arrival in the UK. The 150-key hotel has been designed by AvroKO to reflect the destination’s storied history. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Envisioned by the same interior design studio, AvroKO, that was responsible for the creation of the recently opened Turing Locke, Hyatt Centric Cambridge also shares the same postcode as the new aparthotel. Both hotels have recently opened their doors inside the new sustainable development in the neighbourhood of Eddington, but as far as the design narrative goes, both hotels stand alone offering something different.

The milestone opening of Hyatt Centric Cambridge marks the debut of the brand in the UK (and the 10th Hyatt hotel in the country). Situated just outside the centre of Cambridge, renowned for its leafy parks, magnificent architecture, picturesque River Cam and stunning historic centre, the 150-key lifestyle hotel provides the perfect launchpad for adventurous travellers to explore the buzzing city, which is sharply becoming somewhat of a hotspot for hotel developers.

Located two miles northwest from the city’s historic heart, guests can explore the quaint cobbled streets or enjoy an afternoon punting on the River Cam, passing by stunning University colleges.

Set around a central courtyard, the hotel’s modern, inviting architecture and interiors, designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects dRMM, reflect the destination’s storied history. The social lobby features floor-to-ceiling windows flooding the space with bright, natural light, and modern furnishings with natural, wood finishes. A carefully curated selection of artworks nods to the scientific history of Cambridge, adding vibrant flashes of colour to the communal spaces.

“We are thrilled to open the doors of Hyatt Centric Cambridge. Cambridge is one of the most iconic cities in the UK thanks to its magnificent architecture, university buildings and historic centre. The hotel’s location allows curious guests to make the most of what the destination has to offer,” said Martin Newbould, General Manager, Hyatt Centric Cambridge. “We are excited for our guests to enjoy the hotel’s array of facilities including our distinct bar, restaurant and coffee shop, which offer savvy travellers share-worthy experiences.” 

A blue large bedroom inside the Hyatt Centric hotel in CambridgeThe 150 chic guestrooms mix understated grandeur with art deco touches. Warming mustard velvets mix with bold, calming blues, all complemented by rich walnut wood touches. 57 guestrooms offer a stunning courtyard view, 30 of which are deluxe rooms offering an even more spacious stay. Rooms include a selection of thoughtful amenities, featuring a flat screen television with Bluetooth capabilities, an alarm clock radio with Bluetooth pairing, Bee Kind bath amenities, cosy bathrobes and more.


Four distinguished dining options offer a diverse mix of international cuisine, using local produce from established Cambridge brands. Guests can kick-start their morning at KOTA’s coffee shop, with artisan baked goods, third-wave coffee from Saint Espresso roasted on-site, as well as revitalising juices and smoothies.  

KOTA restaurant will focus on the Finnish concept of charcoal cooking and community dining; catering for guests and locals throughout the day with fresh, bright brunches leading into light daytime dining, and a chargrilled evening menu complemented by botanical cocktails.

Public areas of Locke/Hyatt Centric Cambridge

Image credit: Edmund Dabney

The Dutch offers classic cocktails with a twist, serving lip-smacking flavour combinations inspired by exotic drinks from all corners of the globe. Guests can indulge in delicious light bites and sharing platters including cured meats, British cheeses and antipasti.

The seasonal roof terrace is the perfect spot for a sundown and provides unparalleled views to match. Created by the team of mixologists, guests can sip on imaginative, botanical cocktails which mix aromatics, fresh infusions and shrubs. The menu also includes a selection of refreshing craft beers all from local breweries, as well as nibbles and small bites.

Meeting and event space

Guests can make the most of the comfortable co-working area, which offers free Wi-Fi and all the hotel’s amenities on hand. Two adaptable meeting rooms, spanning 44sqm and 24sqm, boast large windows and high-spec audiovisual equipment for meetings, conferences and events for up to 30 people.

The seasonal roof terrace will also cater for larger events, hosting up to 150 guests for drinks receptions, presentations, networking and many other social gatherings.

The hotel also includes a fitness centre offering state-of-the-art equipment and free weights, so guests can maintain their healthy lifestyle whilst on the road.

Main image credit: Edmund Dabney

Hotel Designs | A pastel pink bathroom - Crosswater Infinity furniture

Infinite bathroom furniture ideas from Crosswater

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Infinite bathroom furniture ideas from Crosswater

Infinity, Crosswater’s new bathroom furniture collection, is focused on client customisation. Seamlessly blending practicality and functionality, the new range gives interior freedom with plenty of design possibilities, as bathrooms become much more than just practical spaces

Hotel Designs | A pastel pink bathroom - Crosswater Infinity furniture

Modular, smart, and stylish, Infinity is a wall hung storage collection that provides the ‘perfect bathroom furniture collection’ by  Crosswater. Whether clients want optimal organisation, exposed shelving, or luxe coverings to conceal endless clutter, Infinity boasts an extensive number of design combinations that result in beautifully bespoke cabinetry at an off-the-shelf price.

The Infinity design journey is surprisingly simple, requiring just four steps:

Step one: Choose your base

Available in matt white, windsor oak, matt black, storm grey matt, and white gloss, the Infinity vanity unit comes in six sizes, ranging from 500mm to 1400mm. Each size unit has a specific configuration, providing a different combination of drawer units and shelving units.

These combinations allow customers to choose a unit that will best suit their bathroom needs or desired aesthetic, whether that’s prioritising drawers to hide skincare essentials or opting for more exposed shelves to display decorative accessories. There is also the option of a pull-out drawer, a great choice for those wanting quick and easy access to every inch of storage space.

Step two: Pick your worktop

Calm neutral colours in modern bathroomThere are six worktop sizes available that match any base unit configuration. With a choice of three colours, carrara marble effect, polar white, and windsor oak, each worktop is crafted from a hard-wearing solid surface material that is easy to clean and impenetrable to dust, dirt, and bacteria.

Step three: Select your handles

Four handle finishes are on offer, including chrome, matt black, brushed brass, and brushed stainless steel. In addition to complementing the contemporary bathroom unit, these handle finishes will perfectly match Crosswater’s extensive brassware options.

Step four: Finish with a tile front

Image credit: Crosswater

Available in three finishes, carrara marble effect, marquina marble effect, and cement effect, the tile front is the showpiece of the Infinity unit. Designed to replicate natural materials for a truly authentic aesthetic, each tile varies slightly in its tone, pattern, and colour. For the indecisive shopper, Crosswater recommends investing in all three tile fronts, enabling a quick and simple design update whenever the bathroom needs a refresh.

> Since you’re here, why not read about the Artist collection from Crosswater? 

Crosswater, Headline Sponsor of The Brit List Awards 2021, is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Crosswater

Hotel Designs | A mint and soft pink tonal tiles in the kitchen

Surface design trend: Tonal tiles in all shapes & sizes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Surface design trend: Tonal tiles in all shapes & sizes

As we pivot into a new design season, we take a look at CTD Architectural Tiles’ latest tonal collection, which is right on trend…

As interior design schemes in the commercial and hospitality sectors become more adventurous and demanding in terms of aesthetics, interior designers, architects and developers are calling for a breadth of co-ordinating product choice when it comes to surface design.

Hotel Designs | A mint and soft pink tonal tiles in the kitchen

Offering its customers true design value and flexibility, CTD Architectural Tiles boasts a vast and varied product portfolio comprising of numerous co-ordinating collections, ensuring project briefs can be achieved with ease. Corresponding colour palettes, textural contrasts and pattern arrangements can work in harmony across different collections, producing schemes that deliver both style and practicality.


The Varadero patterned hexagon tile collection and the colourful Poitiers range are often specified thanks to their corresponding tones. From the cool mint hues and soothing blue shades to more neutral greys, the collections pair effortlessly. The contrast in the finish from glossy to matte and pattern to plain colour ensures the completed scheme will have the ideal balance of character and style whilst still co-ordinating exquisitely.

Inspired by the warmth and colours of the Mediterranean, the BOW and Terra collections complement each other exceptionally well. The soft terracotta tones of Terra, available in a range of formats for a variety of layout options, and the pops of colour and curved shape of the BOW tiles provide the perfect solution for walls and floors in hospitality, commercial, retail and residential projects alike.

Hotel Designs | Minimalist design of room with tonal design scheme

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

Enhance a scheme by adding complementary colours and patterns to these ranges through the popular Poitiers and Varadero collections. For an effortless earthy palette with a hint of inspiration from nature, introduce a deep green and soft blues to the clay tones of Terra, or for a more daring approach, combine tonal variations of pink and red with a neutral grey base for a statement scheme that’s guaranteed to add wow-factor.

CTD Architectural Tiles 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: CTD Architectural Tiles

Yi-Zhen Twenty2Degrees

Meet Yi-Zhen Jones, Associate at twenty2degrees Design Partnership

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet Yi-Zhen Jones, Associate at twenty2degrees Design Partnership

Recently promoted, Yi-Zehn Jones is shaking things up inside the creative and forward-thinking design studio we all know and love, Twenty2Degrees Design Partnership. Following the completion of The Fellows House in Cambridge, the interior designer sat down with editor Hamish Kilburn to explain what working life is like inside one of London’s leading design firms…

Yi-Zhen Twenty2Degrees

There are few hotel design studios who can tell a story quite like Twenty2Degrees Design Partnership. Led by Joe Stella and Nick Stoupas, the duo are known for keeping the party alive (throwback to the negroni tap that was displayed and fully functional at their set at Sleep & Eat 2019) while also driving the industry forward. Having completed hotels such as The Dixon, The Artisan and Hilton Bankside (among others), the design studio secured its place in the hospitality design history books.

Recently, the completion of The Fellows House in Cambridge, which shelters a deep narrative I described in my review as “a history, chemistry, literature and art lesson packaged up in one unforgettable hospitality experience”, put the design firm front and centre as the city becomes a major hotel development hotspot. When researching the designers who were behind this sharp project, I came across interior designer Yi-Zhen Jones, who has recently been promoted as Associate at Twenty2Degrees. Move over, lads, Jones’ taking the reins and leaving her mark…

Lobby area inside The Fellows House

Image credit: The Fellows House, Cambridge

Hamish Kilburn: What’s it like working for a cutting-edge design firm like twenty2degrees?

Yi-Zhen Jones: Before I joined twenty2degrees just over two years ago, the majority of my experience was with global architectural & design firms which was a good learning opportunity. Now, as part of the twenty2degrees’ team, I am working in a specialist practice with an international hospitality portfolio of the highest level where we have the depth of hospitality expertise to work on varied projects and I can learn from and engage with people who really understand everything it takes to design a great hotel.

More than this, the directors really encourage everyone’s engagement and ideas. We are a small, very collaborative team which means there is a sense of freedom and creative expression but at the same time of personal responsibility. We all have our areas of expertise but we can pitch in and help each other out wherever necessary – we have a great team. We work hard but we are also able to maintain a great balance between work and personal life which is strongly encouraged by the directors. Twenty2degrees has been a refreshing change of pace.

HK: Can you explain your new role – how does it differ from your former role – at the design studio?

YZJ: “My role is evolving. As senior designer, I was involved in almost all the projects at some point – that’s the nature of a boutique firm, we are all hands-on. Now, as associate, I am more deeply involved in certain projects and taking on more of the decision making, but always in consultation with the directors.

HK: What projects have you recently completed – and what are you currently working on?

I have been working on The Fellows House Cambridge, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton which opened in June. It is an apartment-style hotel designed to offer a home-away-from-home, infused with the legacy of the university fellows and the cultural soul of Cambridge. The question for us had been how to achieve this without being too literal and while the design narrative is sometimes thought-provoking, it is also playful and layered to feed guest curiosity.

Currently, I am busy on Hyatt Regency projects in London, Paris and Nairobi, as well as the Marriott Brussels and a new Kempinski in Cameroon. We have an incredible variety of projects and there is never a dull moment.

HK: You recently participated in a panel discussion with us on sensory design, which will be published shortly. Why as an industry have we not given this topic the same attention as we are currently giving it?

YZJ: I think perhaps that the pandemic has something to do with this. We have spent 18 months enduring lockdowns which on the one hand deprived us of new experiences but on the other gave us the space to connect with our senses. As a result, people are now more aware about the benefits of sensory stimulation.


HK: Name one trend you hope that never returns?
Designing for Instagram

HK: Name one hotel brand that is impressing you as a real disrupter on the hotel design scene?
YZJ: Birch

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
YZJ: Simple. A trip home to New Zealand to have a proper Christmas on the beach again when travel restrictions are eased

HK: What’s one thing people would not know about you?
YZJ: In my former life as an artist I was quite a prolific cross-stitcher

HK: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
YZJ: Still doing what I love, designing great hotels!

HK: As a woman in a leadership position, what more can we do to practice (not just promote) equality in our sector?

YZJ: I consider myself lucky at twenty2degrees where people are judged by their talent and contribution to the business. However, I do think diversity in all its forms as well as gender equality need to be addressed in our sector and that this is a challenge that needs to be made to everyone in leadership positions. The more voices that are represented and heard the better and more interesting our industry will be.

HK: Young designers are struggling at the moment – what advice would you give young professionals?

YZJ: Keep your creative spark alive, whatever it takes, and don’t become disheartened. Actually, it was quite a difficult marketplace when I graduated with my master’s degree. It took me the best part of a year to find my first full-time placement and then another year before I started working on hospitality projects. Ultimately, if you are interested and determined, you will break into the industry.

Main image credit: Twenty2Degrees Design Partnership

Hotel Designs | Liquid Layers collection by Moooi in minimalist room

At one with nature: Liquid Layers by Moooi Carpet

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
At one with nature: Liquid Layers by Moooi Carpet

Hotel Designs has identified a common thread between the latest collections launched by Moooi Carpets: nature and the organic natural world. But it is one fluid range, Liquid Layers designed by Claire Vos, that has made quite the splash…

Hotel Designs | Liquid Layers collection by Moooi in minimalist room

Bringing the outdoors in is the interior design trend that just keeps on giving. For Moooi Carpets, the rise in demand for biophilic design has allowed its design team to create interesting and vivid carpet collection.

Most recently, one new range from the brand has particularly sparked designers’ interest as it’s inspiration comes from looking beyond what we see on the surface. Cue the launch of Liquid Layers, designed by Claire Vos and conceptualised by objects of nature morphed and liquified into new patterns.

What happens when you deconstruct the shapes and colours found in nature and morph and liquify them into new patterns? Imagine a carpet collection inspired by the objects of nature, in which each design highlights a different mineral or organism, such as the marlstone, a tulip, or a pebble. Well, in the Liquid Layers collection, nature becomes fluid.

For this colleciton, Vos created a design technique where the possibilities are infinite, resulting in a unique approach towards pattern design surprising layer by layer.

The carpets are available in shapes organic and round. Carpets Tulip and Agate come in the shape organic; an unexpected round overlapping shape, very different from traditional carpets. Carpets Marl and Pebble are round and provide softness to angular spaces and gives minimalist interiors character.

Moooi Carpets 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: Moooi Carpets

A subdued design scheme inside Ace Hotel Sydney guestroom

Ace unveils design details for its debut hotel in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ace unveils design details for its debut hotel in Australia

Atelier Ace has announced that Flack Studio is the primary design partner for Ace Hotel Sydney, which will open in 2022. The 264-key hotel will be housed inside the site of one of Australia’s first ceramic kilns – we wonder where the designers will source their inspiration from…

A subdued design scheme inside Ace Hotel Sydney guestroom

Muti-disciplinary interior design and architecture firm Flack Studio, founded in 2014, has been announced as the primary design partner for Ace Hotel Sydney, which, when it opens in 2022, will mark Ace’s first stake in the southern hemisphere.

With a ground floor restaurant, bar and cafe in the hotel’s communal lobby and a restaurant and bar on the rooftop, Ace Hotel Sydney will invite the ready rhythm of Surry Hills inside — an active commons for culture, commerce, art and community. The hotel itself will be housed in the area’s historic Tyne House brick factory — the site of one of Australia’s first ceramic kilns.

“Though its culture and character are all its own, we’ve always felt a strong a affinity with Australia — its intrepid optimism and renegade spirit resonates with Ace’s roots on the Pacific Coast of America,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. “We love the country’s distinctive brand of modernism, particularly in the use of local organic materials, and were lucky enough to find a perfectly modernist partner in Flack Studio. David’s eye for colour and space is completely singular — a dream design collaborator for our first hotel in Australia.”

“Flack Studio embraced organic materials to create spaces honest to this history.”

Inspired by the rich history of Surry Hills and the warm, cinematic colour palette of the Australian landscape, the design of Ace Hotel Sydney acts as a call and response with the city’s past — superimposing its eras and evolutions in a contrast of natural textures and tones. From the razor gang wars and underground liquor trade of the 1920s and 1930s, the modernist art boon of the 1960s and through to the Gay Solidarity Group protests of the 1970s, the neighbourhood has long served as home to the most trailblazing and resilient voices of modern Australia — a culture coalesced from Surry Hills’ vibrant migrant communities. Flack Studio embraced organic materials to create spaces honest to this history — from the acoustic textural straw walls of the hotel’s guest rooms to the striking ochre red off-form concrete staircase in its lobby.

A respect of craftsmanship is threaded throughout the building, with many of its furnishings, artworks and interior details created uniquely for this project. Guestroom furniture, joinery and lighting have all been carefully custom designed by the design studio, with textile-adorned window seats designed to invite conversation in each space.

“Surry Hills has been home to so many culturally important movements and people, and has always been a home for creatives and migrating cultures,” added David Flack, Founder and Director of Flack Studio. “We wanted to preserve the creative, slightly renegade energy of the space since its origins as one of Australia’s early brickworks. We were committed to creating a warm space that brought together Australia’s cultural history with Ace’s unique, community cultivating approach to hospitality.”

> Since you’re here, why not read about the opening of Ace Hotel Brooklyn?

Still to come… Ace Hotel Sydney will be announcing the full details of its food and beverage program — including the additional design partner for the rooftop restaurant and bar. Stay tuned for further details in the coming months.

Main image credit: Anson Smart

Image of klink weights on table

How fitness brand Klink is taking on the hospitality industry

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How fitness brand Klink is taking on the hospitality industry

With fitness, wellness and wellbeing all high up on the agenda for modern travellers, a major challenge for interior designers and brands is working out how to cater to these demands while also utilising space. Cue the arrival of Klink, a new modular fitness solution designed for the future hospitality arena. Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Nikita McCoy, the brand’s Founder, to find out more…

Image of klink weights on table

If ever there was time for people from outside the conventional parameters of the industry to emerge with new, revolutionary ideas and concepts, it is now. Post-pandemic, the industry has re-opened with a new perspective, in search for purposeful solutions to ensure brands remain at the front of the curve of new trends and behaviours around how people travel and use hotel space.

Image of detachable weight on table

Image credit: Klink

Although, we are learning (and narrating) as we go, we do know that guests checking in to hotels have spent more than 18 months locked in to the confides of their own homes – working, living and exercising within their own space – which has no doubt changed guests’ behaviour on a generic level.

So, with change whistling through the crisp Autumn, I met up with with Nikita McCoy, an NHS nurse who had the revolutionary idea to launch Klink, a new brand that is setting a new standard across the fitness scene by offering something entirely different for the premium hospitality industry.

“I felt there was a need for more compact, stylish equipment.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

Stacked Klink weights

Image credit: Klink

Hamish Kilburn: So, Nikita, tell us more about how Klink was born…

Nikita McCoy: Klink was born over the first lockdown; right at the beginning on the Covid-19 Pandemic. While hiring equipment from our local gym, I felt there was a need for more compact, stylish equipment. I wanted to have something simple to use, good quality while also practical. Being an engineer, my husband soon started to work on this after I brought the idea to his attention. His [engineering] flare enabled us to bring this hazy vision to life very quickly. Working on our design was a positive distraction to the reality of Covid-19 during lockdown, especially as I was working as a nurse at this time.

HK: Are the days of small, compact hotel gyms (that are constantly congested) over for the bleisure (business/leisure) traveller?

NM: Gyms will always have their place, as they are a positive space to be in. For us, it is about aiding an effective workout with high quality equipment in an environment that is suitable for the user. I believe that Klink would be a great addition for any premium wellness space, especially in a hotel suite or guestroom where a people can have easy access to their own equipment to use within their own time. In-room equipment is something more hoteliers are investing in. Exercise equipment should be as much of an essential as a mini bar!

HK: Tell us more about the technology behind Klink – how do the mechanisms work?

NM: Klink is patent pending and our modular system sets us apart from the rest. We have unique locking technology that isn’t only effective but also easy to use. The simplicity of our mechanisms is in keeping with our brand. Twist it, click it, lift it!

“All our components are manufactured and sourced from UK businesses, and this is something we are extremely proud of.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

HK: Why was it so important for the brand to keep all aspects of design and manufacturing local?

NM: After recently starting our own engineering business in 2018, we fully understand the importance of local manufacturing. All our components are manufactured and sourced from UK businesses, and this is something we are extremely proud of. It’s more important now than ever to support and grow our own economy. I also like building working relationships with other UK-based manufacturers and suppliers and seeing what we can do together to achieve business goals.

HK: In your opinion, what is driving the demand for wellness and wellbeing in the luxury hotel market?

NM: The pandemic has changed so many aspects of our world. Health is very much at the forefront physically and mentally. Individuals seek out exercise more so now than ever. The hotel environment is a great way to relax, recharge and wind down but that doesn’t mean exercise has no place. Hoteliers are engaging in this shift change and aiming to provide their guests with in-room personal workout spaces. A lot of individuals enjoy exercise as a way to start and boost their day. This should not be compromised and accessed easily. No hotel would want bulky fitness equipment cluttering rooms. Therefore, it’s essential that it flows with the theme of the space – the design of the products need to be sleek and functional. Klink ticks all these boxes.

“We are proud to have the only marine-grade quick-release, adjustable equipment on the market at this time.” – Nikita McCoy, Founder, Klink.

HK: Why are Klink products ideal for both the luxury hotel market and the marine industry?

NM: Klink products have their place in many different settings. Ideal for the home where space is a premium and the customer would like a large variation of weights without a rack of dumbbells. In the luxury hotel market we can provide what we enjoy the most and bespoke our equipment to brand and utilise our custom storage solutions. Klink is functional and aesthetically pleasing and can fit into any luxury interior design theme.

Regarding the marine industry, we can bespoke manufacture all of our Klink range in 316 stainless steel also known as marine grade steel. In doing so, we offer extra corrosion protection against the elements. We are proud to have the only marine-grade quick-release, adjustable equipment on the market at this time. We are a perfect fitness addition to the yacht world. Add some of quirky colourful storage cases to secure your equipment and you have an ideal space saving solution.

HK: What’s next for Klink?

NM: As a new company, we are focusing on brand awareness and guiding our product into the areas it belongs. We have some exciting collaborations to come and look forward to showcasing how versatile and fantastic our product is. There’s much more of Klink to come in the days ahead, so watch this space!

Klink 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: Klink

Panorama suite at Six Senses in the desert

Exploring the newly opened Six Senses Shaharut

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exploring the newly opened Six Senses Shaharut

Fitting seamlessly into this austere landscape the Six Senses Shaharut, Israel’s first luxury property in the Negev Desert, manages to combine an extreme luxury that fits seamlessly into the equally extreme environment out of which it organically emerges. Pauline Brettell writes…

Panorama suite at Six Senses in the desert

With its secluded setting, Six Sense Shaharut sits on the edge of a dramatic cliff with panoramic views of the Negev Desert and invites guests to immerse themselves in this environment while enjoying traditional desert hospitality and rich Nabatean history.


Image credit: Six Senses

Made up of 60 bespoke suites and villas, including one three-bedroom retreat, the resort spreads itself out across the lunar landscape. There is of course a signature Six Sense spa, offering guests a rejuvenating retreat while keeping sustainability as its core value. Fully rejuvenated, you can also choose from a range of curated experiences, from an immersive Kibbutz visit to a stargazing session, camel treks through the Negev or floating in the Dead Sea. This is a breathtakingly beautiful and truly authentic desert experience that will be sure to satisfy any pent-up wanderlust.

The design of Six Senses Shaharut has been uniquely inspired by the nomadic structures found in the Negev Desert. The suites and villas are nestled into the ground and designed to take advantage of the Negev’s natural beauty, while minimising the impact on its surroundings. Combined with the integration of sustainable processes and technologies, the structures seamlessly blend in with the desert landscape. Moving inside, the furniture and fittings have been sourced from local artisans to complement the unique weathered rock formations and use natural stone, wood, and copper. Using both local and reclaimed materials, each piece, and each suite, has its own story to tell.

The Six Senses Spa offers six (yes there is a pattern emerging) treatment rooms, a variety of wellness programs, along with the Alchemy Bar for mixing botanicals. There are Visiting Practitioners specialising in Chinese medicine, osteopathy, energy healing and more. The resort has two wonderful pools, including a freshwater infinity pool with desert views and a bar serving refreshing juices – from locally sourced ingredients of course!

While the spa is all about rejuvenating, the resort ethos is all about sustainability. On site, the Desert Activity Centre incorporates Six Senses’ Earth Lab scheme, showcasing the resort’s approach to sustainability in its efforts to reduce consumption. All sustainability work and community development happening around the property and in the region are on display here, and guests are even able to learn a few take-away life hacks that will enable them to be more eco-conscious when they get back home.

indoor pool at six senses

Image credit: Six Senses

For guests looking for more than some sustainable pampering, the resort is also home to camel stables, lush gardens, and an open-air amphitheatre hewed into the natural terrain and transformed into a Six Senses ‘Cinema Paradiso’ beneath the stars.

A crafted restaurant that fits in with the design scheme of the Six Senses hotel

Image credit: Six Senses

The food on offer at the resort is a mix of Israeli and Mediterranean cuisines which embrace the Six Senses culinary philosophy – fresh, local, and seasonal food, harvested from the resort’s own organic garden or from local farmers at the nearby kibbutzim. From fresh Mediterranean fish, roasted beetroot, almonds, raw tahini, Samar date honey, and olive oil to Tabun smoked lamb ribs, freekeh and garden kale, the food on the menu at Six Senses Shaharut is an integral part of this desert experience. Guests can also request a private chef for in-villa dining or venture out on an authentic Bedouin dining experience by Chef Amir Kalfon, paired with the region’s best wines, a fire pit, and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a Nubian ibex.

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which is part of the IHG Hotels & Resorts family, manages 16 hotels and resorts and 25 spas in 19 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 31 properties into the development pipeline. 

Main image credit: Six Senses

Newmor projects and David Johnston

Made in Wales: Celebrating a new chapter for Newmor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Made in Wales: Celebrating a new chapter for Newmor

In an exclusive and well-timed interview with Hotel Designs, David Johnston, Managing Director of wallcovering company Newmor, meets editor Hamish Kilburn to explain more about the Welsh brand’s new look…

Wales is famous for its rugged coastline, mountainous National Parks and elegant language. Beyond the beautiful beaches, the Welsh people are also known as some of the friendliest – which set a comfortable tone for my latest interview.

Newmor projects and David Johnston

What, in all honesty, I was not aware of was that Wales, a modest country that has more sheep than people, is also home to the UK’s largest independent commercial wallcovering manufacturer.

Established in 1967, Newmor (one of Hotel Designs’ recommended suppliers) is privately owned and proud to be family-run to this day. Its roots may be local but the company’s presence on the international hotel design scene is anything but restricted. The brand operates in more than 70 countries worldwide through a vast network of international distributors and regional sales offices.

Now in its mid-50s, Newmor has earned the right to go through something of a transformation – so it was a great time for me to catch up with David Johnston, the brand’s Managing Director, who through his 24-year career at the brand has been able to see the brand’s operations from various perspectives. “I became Managing Director just over two years ago and I believe my journey from the factory floor to senior operational and commercial management has given me a unique insight and appreciation of what we do,” explains Johnston. “In my previous role, as commercial director, I extended Newmor’s reach in international markets, and as Managing Director I have been able to put in place an infrastructure to build on that – so now is absolutely the right time to refresh our branding.

“Our relaunch allows us to bring a focal point to the brands core values in colour and design as well as renewed appreciation in its heritage.” – David Johnston, Managing Director, Newmor.”

When looking at the general landscape – and considering the enormous culture shift our industry has recently endured – it’s an apt time for any brand to consider a new look. But for Newmor, pre-pandemic, the idea of development and evolving with the industry has always been a focus. “I think it’s important to highlight that the rebrand has been a culmination of three to four years development,” says Johnston. “We took a hard look at ourselves and what we wanted to become both as an employer in the local area and as well a key supplier to the global interiors market. Our relaunch allows us to bring a focal point to the brands core values in colour and design as well as renewed appreciation in its heritage.

“The brand firmly believes that design, pattern, and colour have the power to change how people feel in an interior space.”

Newmor designs and manufactures its products at its own facility in Welshpool. The business is a family business in every sense as the brand’s skilled workforce have decades of experience. And from talking to David, it’s clear that the brand firmly believes that design, pattern, and colour have the power to change how people feel in an interior space. As experts in design and manufacturing, the team’s vision is to celebrate pattern and design in commercial installations globally, whilst reducing life cycle cost and the impact on the environment.

And by looking at the company’s capabilities and ambitions, Newmor is well placed to provide solutions suitable for any project or budget. There are thousands of designs and colour options within its portfolio, a dedicated design team to create custom solutions, all backed up by an impressive warehouse of stocked wallcoverings – a facility that has been invaluable in a post Brexit world.

Image caption: Newmor Bespoke wallcoverings at Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas. | Image credit: Newmor

Image caption: Newmor Bespoke wallcoverings at Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas. | Image credit: Newmor

I asked Johnston to give me 10 words to describe Newmor. He came back with this: Innovative, creative, approachable, authentic, adaptable, specialist, reliable, durable, agile and UK made. “I believe these ten words encapsulate the business’ values and ethics accurately and signifies the customers journey when working with us,” he adds.

Whether it is large format bespoke digital prints, fully fire rated durable fabric-backed vinyl wallcoverings, an array of printable films or creating write and wipe walls, Newmor has the capability and infrastructure to supply the most demanding commercial sectors. And it’s the third word, ‘approachable’ that, despite a modern makeover to its brand, keeps Newmor a much-valued recommended supplier.

Newmor 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: Newmor


LISTEN NOW: Art’s role in design – a DESIGN POD special

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LISTEN NOW: Art’s role in design – a DESIGN POD special

Calling all design and architecture enthusiasts, the latest episode of DESIGN POD has dropped! Listen now to episode eight of the podcast for all designers and architects on-to-go to find out what happened when editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde met Patrick McCrae, CEO and founder of ARTIQ, a brand on an unapologetic mission to towards equality in art and beyond…


Episode eight of DESIGN POD is now available to listen to on all major podcast platforms. In this episode, which is in association with Bathroom Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn along with co-host Harriet Forde investigate art’s role in design. To do this, the duo welcome Patrick McCrae – some might say the king of the art scene in the UK – onto the Minotti London sofa to explore more about ARTIQ’s mission towards equality.

Before we started to really understand art’s role in this eclectic arena, it was integral in the conversation to understand ARTIQ’s role when it comes to creating exceptional spaces around the world. “We tend to work a lot with designers and architects as a triumvirate team to pull together at times quite complicated art schemes to help articulate a design narrative.”

Minus one or two hilarious moments, the conversation with McCrae was fuelled largely by his undisputed passion to create an equal arena for all emerging talent within the creative industry. “I set the company up when I was 21,” he said. “Often, creativity is seen as a hobby and therefore it is not paid properly. It’s not uncommon for artists to work for exposure and not cash. I set this business up to show that the journey of an artist can be economically viable.”

Listen to the full episode below:

Main image credit: DESIGN POD/Hotel Designs

Tom Middleton, Sound Architect

Tom Middleton: “Sound in design is finally being taken seriously”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Tom Middleton: “Sound in design is finally being taken seriously”

Ahead of joining editor Hamish Kilburn on the Innovation Stage at the Independent Hotel Show for a panel discussion about sensory design on October 4, Tom Middleton speaks to Hotel Designs about the role of sound design in sleep performance, hospitality and design…

Tom Middleton, Sound Architect

Tom Middleton is no stranger to the Hotel Designs brand. The sound architect is a true polymath who wears many hats in the hospitality industry. He is  a pioneering electronic musician, an award-winning sound designer, a DJ and producer, a certified sleep science coach, trained in mental health first aid, and is Co-Chair on the AFEM Health Group.

In his music career, which took place prior to his journey in wellness and wellbeing, he toured the world and performed to millions, observing the positive affects of sound while sharing the stage with the likes of Mark Ronson, Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

Most recently, while the industry became fuelled by collaborations, Middleton began exploring sound’s role in other arenas. In addition to working with leading brands, designers and architects, last year he joined an exclusive panel discussion with Hotel Designs LIVE that started the conversation around sensory design in hospitality.

Further to this insight, Middleton is preparing to join a panel discussion, moderated by editor Hamish Kilburn, at the Independent Hotel Show that will direct the narrative towards how hotels can use the senses in a new era of authentic hospitality. Before that session, we spoke to the sound architect about sleep performance.

Hamish Kilburn: How did you first become interested in the topic of health, wellness and sleep in relation to music?

Tom Middleton: Initially from honest feedback from composing pioneering ambient music in the ’90s. People reported using our music to help them relax, sleep, give birth (and – voted best album for ‘the bedroom’!) and even process trauma.

At the peak of my career touring with a relentless international travel schedule my sleep became severely disrupted. I trained as a sleep science coach to better understand sleep architecture and hygiene and then integrate science to inform music designed to help address human problems such as de-escalating anxiety and stress, improving sleep, boosting productivity and performance.

I’m currently on a neuroscience and psychology of music Masters program to deepen my knowledge in this fascinating area that can add tremendous and measurable value.

HK: How has the ‘functional music for wellness’ industry evolved in recent years?

TM: As a pioneer in this area, I’ve been gratefully observing exponential interest, investment and growth in this area of functional music with more and more apps, platforms and experiences delivering wellness and health focused solutions.

I am delighted that the sleep music I have designed for the #1 mindfulness app Calm is helping millions sleep better every night. Beyond domestic and hospitality sectors, I’ve personally expanded into providing science-based, bespoke music, sounds and sound rituals for functional beverages, functional skincare, mobility, workplace, education and healthcare… and it won’t be long before we get to space travel.

Calm bedroom with pastel interior design scheme

Image credit: Unsplash/Collov Home Design

HK: Are you seeing growing interest in sound design from hotels and hospitality businesses?

TM: It’s finally starting to be taken more seriously, but still a way off the perceived value of say interior and lighting design. It’s taking a long time, as the industry is still stuck in the mindset of background music playlists, mostly as an afterthought and always for the lowest possible price.

For our business it has never been busier with many projects in various stages of development, and we’re looking at retrofitting solutions as well as more future-facing connected/IoT/integrated smart sensory room solutions.

HK: What makes good sound design for a hotel environment?

TM: Taking a ‘humans first’ approach to design – thinking about everyone using the space is so important. A multi-sensory, integrated, congruent, considered, empathetic design approach. Aligned with the core values, and complimentary to the interior and F&B, appropriate to emotionally connect with the guest personas.

Designers should think about the human/guest journeys and the micro moments experienced within environments that could be enhanced with surprising, delightful, beautiful, engaging, magnetising, useful, or therapeutic sound-scaping.

HK: What feedback has there been from consumers so far?

TM: So positive! It’s wonderful when someone says, ‘I had the best night’s sleep’, or ‘it helped reduce my anxiety and stress levels’, or hearing it helped someone focus before a meeting.

One fun aspect that gained a lot of talk on TripAdvisor was the soundscapes I designed for the lifts within Yotel New York. The challenge was that lifts are enclosed spaces, where guests often feel awkwardly silent. The solution was to take cultural cues from New York’s theatre district, classic TV, film and musicals. As a result, we were able to transform this typically uncomfortable 15 seconds avoiding eye contact to pure delight and joy as a positive memory was triggered – think Pink Panther theme tune or the Pinball Song from Sesame Street – as people walk out of the lifts smiling, chuckling or humming along.

“Science shows that sound, music and noise reduction strategies can all help you sleep better.” – Tom Middleton, Sound Architect.

Yotel Times Square, New York


HK: Why should hoteliers invest in sound design?

TM: If hotels are selling sleep, then ensure you can deliver the promise of the best sleep ever. Science shows that sound, music and noise reduction strategies can all help you sleep better.

A congruent, focused wellness strategy for sound, integrated with the other sensory elements, tuned or personalised for the specific environment, time, geographic location and the people using it will add measurable value to a hospitality experience and boost the bottom line.

It’s now a matter of corporate social responsibility to put the mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing, as well as entertainment and performance, at the forefront of guest experience.

Tom Middleton, Hamish Kilburn, Mark Bruce (Director, EPR Architects) and Marie Soliman (Co-Founder, Bergman Interiors) will join the Innovation Stage at the Independent Hotel Show on October 4 to discuss, in depth, the sensory experience in hotel design and hospitality.

Main image credit: Tom Middleton

Person in factory eating

Editor checks in: The unethical merry-go-round in design I want to jump off

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor checks in: The unethical merry-go-round in design I want to jump off

Somewhere between furious and frustrated are where editor Hamish Kilburn’s emotions currently sit after learning about the inexcusably unethical design processes behind many products that are in demand of being specified in hotel design projects globally. But will the industry wake up to realise the human cost of a low-priced product?

Person in factory eating

Interior designers are taught and trained to create consciously; to look beyond aesthetics, to consider elements such as materiality and sensory touchpoints, in order to transform empty shells into meaningful spaces. By doing so, students arguably hold the key to unlock hospitality’s innovation and future. The initiatives I have seen emerge recently from young designers – most noticeably when judging the Accor Design Awards – are a breath of fresh air. Some are equally completely unrealistic, which is why, in their raw and brilliant state, they should be nurtured for when technology, behaviour and society inevitably catches up (which they will).

Something changes, though, when a student enters the workplace. Firstly, they start getting paid fairly for their efforts. As a result of being part of something far larger and greater, the freedoms of having ownership of a project in its entirety are, however, lost. That void is filled with hurdles you simply cannot simulate, no matter how many modules you take, such as outrageous client demands, brand standards, and your creativity feeling, at times, somewhat muted. If you are a young designer in this position, I’m afraid it is just part of the process, and in relation to other graduates who are struggling to find the first step on the ladder, you are winning. Perhaps, tough, I can offer you some words of wisdom that may or may not help you on your journey. They come from a close friend of mine who recently shared these strands of advice with a colleague of his who was about to embark on a new chapter in their career.

His advice was:

  • Nobody likes a drama-queen. You might be dying on the inside but try to come across as cool and in control and you will be admired by everyone.
  • Think about the ‘now, next and future’ – carve your plans into these categories and give each one equal attention.
  • Stand your ground when you really believe in something.
  • Balance art with science. Art alone will divide people. Science alone is cold and lacks emotion.
  • Nobody will argue with the data (mostly)

There were actually more than five (at least 15 points in total) but I digress, which wasn’t but should’ve been his next top tip of what not to do. For the purpose of this piece, I want to focus my attention on the fifth statement: “Nobody will argue with the data (mostly)”.

Well, it has come to my attention recently – in fact, like you, I have been aware about it for a while but ignorantly let it sail past my radar without any action or comment being taken – that some manufacturing processes, in this rule-lacking race to bring down the price of products, are deeply and abhorrently unethical. I would like to say that they’re not adhering to ethical standards and/or guidelines, but the truth is that there are no such parameters currently in place. “Blame the brands,” some may argue, but even the companies using these factories that offer a good price are, sometimes with the best intentions, blinded – or choose to shut their eyes – so cannot focus the lens on the social and human costs behind these deals.

One gentleman who is all too aware of the damage that can be caused by moral-abandoning factories is Chris Stimson, the Co-Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, which I now champion and will amplify hard because of its unapologetically clear stance on ethical manufacturing. I was hosting an exclusive roundtable, exploring this very topic with Stimson and a handful of leading lighting designers, when relayed to us his up-close and personal account with factories that treat their staff badly – he has been arrested three times before (think fly-on-the-wall, Panorama eat-your-heart-out kind of content)!

“I freely admit that I spent the early years of my lighting journey on the wrong side of ethical manufacturing. I knew plenty about lamps, but nothing about the people who made them, or the real conditions in most Asian factories.”, he said. “I made lots of ignorant and naive errors – until I personally witnessed exploitation in factories making bulbs for western brands.

“Unfortunately, sustainability and ethics aren’t quite the same thing. A brand can tick every box for the climate and the circular economy, and still act in ways that most consumers would find entirely unacceptable.”

Sadly, as briefs become more specific, deadlines become tighter and budgets have to work harder. Therefore, the demand for cheap specification in this fast-turn-around society takes precedent. As a result, this is one area of the interior design arena that will unfortunately continue to fall into what will soon be disrepair. The people who suffer most will be the people working in the factories, often hundreds of miles away from their families, who have little to no choice but to accept the disgraceful working conditions that are sheltered in some of these factories that many well-known brands with deep pockets for PR and marketing use, perhaps unaware of the truth that is locked from view.

To all brands, internationally, that are currently using marketing tools to amplify ethical, feel-good messages: I urge you to consider thoroughly which factories you decide to partner with. Ask difficult questions. Become a nuisance. Demand the data to back up the grand statements you will undoubtedly receive when hearing about care of and working conditions for the factory workers. This is the only way to separate quality craftsmanship from cheap labour. Even then, with the best will in the world and by asking all the right questions, brands can be lied to and fed misinformation.

As designers, I believe it is your duty to challenge manufacturers and brands – and if you have access, then also the manufacturing process behind products.

However, even with the best will in the world, you will get so far before you find a black hole of information. This is why it is so important for brands to know what happens under the roofs of the factories that are producing their products – the more information you can gather in this area, the better equipped you will be to help create an ethical design landscape that doesn’t sacrifice the welfare of people over price (and quality).

It’s a difficult yet important road to travel for the greater good of design and humanity, but it is not all doom and gloom. I am pleased to see that brands are, it seems, working hard to amplify craftsmanship and authentic design. In a recent roundtable I hosted, I learned that Ennismore is only interested in working with brands that can prove their products have been made ethically. Perhaps, I hope, the tight-knit design team at the studio is setting the tone for others to follow.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Unsplash/JKN

A wallcovering of palm trees infront of modern sofa and warehouse setting

Sneak peek: New AW/21 wallcovering collections from Arte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn