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In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

Securing her place in the history books, Jo Littlefair came out on top last year at The Brit List Awards 2019, spectacularly winning the coveted title, Interior Designer of the Year. A few months later, she welcomes editor Hamish Kilburn into the Goddard Littlefair HQ to give him a glimpse into studio life…

“Jo, can I borrow you for just a second,” says senior associate and architect David Lee Hood as Jo Littlefair and I walk through the studio. “This archway,” he says pointing to a life-like rendering on his monitor, “what are your thoughts on adding in a line of colour here?” As he shows the before and after, it is a game of ‘spot the difference’ to the untrained eye. But for the multi-layered studio Goddard Littlefair, where the devil is so often in the detail, it could be the difference between winning a pitch or losing it, as any design practice operating on today’s international scene will confirm.

“We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

The short but important moment is proof, if ever I needed it, that Littlefair likes to naturally lead from within her team. And as we walk through the open-planned office that is flooded with natural light towards her workstation, I notice also that there is no door, and no boundary, between herself and everyone else in the building.

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

“We got to the point last year when, as we reached 60 employees, we decided Goddard Littlefair was too big as a studio,” she confesses. “We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more, because I would rather know about something – and be able to comment at a point where it is possible to comment – rather than get further down the line and it be too late. At the end of the day, leading this design studio with Martin Goddard has always been a collaboration, not just between himself and I but also our team.” As the designer is explaining, I notice that there’s a cordial and relaxed atmosphere in the Clerkenwell studio, and the strong relationship between the co-founders and their team is apparent.

Image caption: The bar inside Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, designed by Goddard Littlefair

“We look at the finer details, as you have just seen, that perhaps make a space look and feel more residential,” the designer explains. “Things like tabs on the curtain pole having a little leather strap and a metal rivet, and it’s those elements that give it quality and detail. It’s important that someone has thought about it in that much detail, and there is a reason why it’s leather and why it’s embossed, or whatever.”

“What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Recently completed projects within the studio’s portfolio include The Biltmore Mayfair  London, Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik , Sheraton  Grand Warsaw , the new F&B areas inside Hilton Munich City, The Lowry in Manchester and the Kimpton Charlotte Square. Having followed many, if not all, of these projects from concept through to completion, it’s fair to say that the studio believes that variety is the spice of life. “We don’t like being pigeon-holed,” explains Littlefair. “We have a great variety of style, which is fantastic. Also, we are not divas when it comes to our personal taste. What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.”

Modern award-winning bar

Image caption: The award-winning Juliet Rose at Hilton Munich, designed by Goddard Littlefair, has become the city’s new destination bar.

Despite the studio clocking up the air miles with unavoidable trips abroad for site visits and account management, in order for the team to understand the culture and fabrics of new destinations, the studio’s HQ is positioned slap-bang in the epicentre of the design community in London, just a few streets behind some of the city’s major design showrooms in Clerkenwell. “There is always a corner of London that you can find a narrative to that is really individual,” says Littlefair. “Whether  When? you are living, working and breathing in London, like many of our designers, the city becomes a fantastic place. I think that’s because it is made up of villages that have, over time, morphed together. As a designer working on a project here, the identity of what those villages were can really shine through.”

“I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Despite London having its place in the designer’s heart, Littlefair mostly finds inspiration in design from nature, and decompresses daily from city life, after a hefty commute, in Buckinghamshire where she lives. “It’s a very open community, close enough to London for work, but full of fresh air,” she explains. “My kids love it there, and so do I!”

But where was Littlefair’s inquisitive nature born, I wonder? “When I left university and went travelling, technology as we know it now didn’t exist; email had just come out for crying out loud,” she admits. “I used to pay to sit in a café to type an email home to say I’m alive. For me, that was about really cutting off from the world. My mum didn’t think I was going to come back,” she laughs, “I did some crazy things; I worked out on boats and I threw myself into experiential travel, albeit on a shoestring. I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person. Experiencing places and learning about people and cultures.”

Image caption: The Principal York's luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Principal York’s luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What trend do you hope will never return?
Jo Littlefair: Rag-rolled walls and transitional furniture.

HK: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
JL: Chile , Argentina and Egypt.

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
JL: Hard work, and you can’t teach taste. I learn something new every day, nobody can know everything!

HK: Who was your inspiration growing up?
JL: The reason I made it into interiors is because I used to work on super yacht designed by Terence Tisdale. I couldn’t believe that somebody got paid to put this together and design with  all those beautiful timber veneers and mirrors everywhere, which I had to clean! I spent four months in the Med working on this 64m Feadship  . It had everything and gave me an insight into luxury and interior design.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
JL: This is ridiculous but my cashmere jumper, which is so not me. You will always find a lightweight cashmere jumper in my flight bag!

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
JL: Whole beans for my coffee machine. Always buy a small bag because you want the freshest roasted beans for your coffee.

HK: What has the last year taught you?
JL: To keep everyone in the studio on one floor, so that we are working together. Also that quality far outweighs quantity.

“Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Back to today, and the studio is currently hard at work with a number of projects on the drawing boards. The studio is currently working on designing four restaurants and bars inside the soon-to-open 360-key Villa Copenhagen. “Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned,” Littlefair teases. “But it’s so not about men and women in suits. Instead, the whole project has been about understanding the Danish vernacular, the locals’ way of life.”

Other projects that the studio is working on include five star resorts on the Mediterranean coast line, the repurposing of a beautiful Viennese building to a 150 plus bedroom five star hotel and what may be the future best spa in London.

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant Cucina Mia inside Shertaton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant InAzia restaurant in Sheraton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

As two people who are, parallel to others in the industry, so thoughtfully leading interior design forward in terms of meaningful innovation, Goddard and Littlefair both feel pressure to adapt sensitively with the times while also maintaining a fundamental quality. And their approach to evolution is enlightening.  “Someone once told me that everything in life is a phase,” explains Littlefair. “I have learned to embrace change and see it as a positive. It is intrinsically scary to human nature, but when you learn that it is necessary to be a little bit cathartic about things, life runs smoother.” I would argue that it is this breath-of-fresh-air attitude that led the designer to win The Brit List Awards’ Interior Designer of the Year 2020.

“You have no idea how much the award means to me.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

“I just can’t believe it,” she said fresh off stage at the event in November when her new-found title was revealed in front of a sea of leading designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Months later, and the reality of ‘that win’ hasn’t quite sunk in. “You have no idea how much the award means to me,” she says now. “The line-up of people you had there was fantastic, they are my peer group and I am very respectful of what everyone else is doing. So, that people within this industry consider what we are doing here to such high regard means everything!”

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair's Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair’s Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

In a recent roundtable discussion that Littlefair attended, it was mentioned that all designers are having to work harder than ever before in order to differentiate from other styles and common motifs. As I sit around the table in the hub of her studio, I wonder how Littlefair and her team approach this topic when it comes to designing future hotels. “We are getting to the point where people have not seen a beautifully letter-pressed card before,” she says. “The ‘tech revolution’ has changed everything that we do and the way our work is perceived, but we can’t lose touch of humanity in the process.”

“We crowned a really worthy winner,” I can’t help by think to myself after I’ve said my goodbyes to the  Goddard Littlefair team. For me, it’s not necessary  necessarily? Littlefair’s work that is the most inspiring thing about but  the designer, but more her incredible journey, which was fuelled by hard-work, passion and determination, that I believe every single designer can learn from – or at least be energised by.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

Launching new lighting collections every two years is a challenge, but it also allows Chelsom to explore the industry’s trends and needs in order to create products that are relevant for the design community’s variety of projects. The company’s Will Chelsom explains… 

Within our business the design ethos leads and we are constantly buzzing with new ideas and new design directions.

I hope that our ranges have a cohesive feel and have the Chelsom handwriting on them no matter which space they are designed for, which country they go to or for whatever price level. It’s a wide design brief given that we supply the marine industry as well as the hospitality sector and we export to 70 countries around the world winning hotel projects from three-star to six-star.

Image credit: Chelsom

Along with all our standard product, a huge amount of sales come from the design and manufacture of bespoke lighting products. We are fortunate to have close working relationships with many of the world’s leading interior design practices and for most of them, product design is a part of their skill set. They constantly want to push the boundaries and are always looking for unique lighting to enhance their latest stunning scheme. We massively respect the breadth of their design skills meaning that whereas we as a company focus purely on lighting, they must work with every aspect of interior furnishings and decoration.

Image credit: Chelsom/The Alex

I believe that many interior designers come to Chelsom just because we are so focussed on our own field. We have worked in hospitality lighting for more than 70 years and so we understand not only the aesthetics of a product but its need for perfect and long-term functionality in what can often be a tough environment. The role of someone like us is to understand in the greatest depth the designer’s aesthetic product concept and its relationship with the space in which it sits. It’s also imperative to understand the balance between ambience and light output. The manufacturers’ role must be that of adding technical lighting expertise and manufacturing know how so that the three crucial aspects of design, function and cost come together perfectly.

Saying ‘no’ is not something that comes naturally to us. However, if we are the lighting manufacturer working collaboratively with a designer, we must sound the warning that a design concept will not meet the functional standards required or will be way outside budget constraints. For example we will say no if we know a light source in a confined space will overheat, a portable luminaire will tip over due to insufficient base weight, light output will be insufficient for the task required or compatibility with existing dimming systems is a problem.  Of course we will always find an alternative solution and that’s our duty in the whole scope of the project. On the budget side we have become experts in the value engineering process. There are so many manufacturing tweaks that can be made in order that little or no aesthetic difference can be seen but sometimes as much as 30 per cent can be saved in costings. This is absolutely NOT about reducing quality- it’s just about having the manufacturing skills to know-how the same look is achieved at less cost.

Whether it be hundreds of pieces of a black ceramic bulldog table lamp for guestrooms or a one off five-metre diameter chandelier that drops down three decks on a cruise ship, the skill set and infrastructure to deliver such custom product is paramount and hard earned through experience. Remember every custom piece of lighting is a prototype in that it’s never been manufactured before. It therefore needs all the experience of design drawings, technology skills, engineering capabilities, manufacturing prowess and finish detailing to bring that unique piece to a successful conclusion. Of course that means as a company we are tested and challenged daily but it also brings great pride when a piece of lighting that has never been seen before achieves the intended wow factor and does its job for years to come.

Chelsom 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: Chelsom

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

The lighting experts at Vaughan talk us through how the brand successfully lit the bathrooms in prestige projects such as Gleneagles, The Ned and St. Ermins…

Lighting brand Vaughan was one of the first companies to provide bathroom lighting that was both functional and refined when they began designing lights for this purpose more than 15 years ago.

Although bathroom lights need to be equipped with an IP44 rating, the company recognise that clients require a product that kept in line with their visual aesthetic.

Throughout the past 15 years, Vaughan’s bathroom lights have been featured in numerous hotel projects – from the Soho House Group to Firmdale Hotels, as well as stand-alone projects including Claridge’s and Grantley Hall. In the past year alone, Vaughan have provided lighting for more than 50 hotels across the United Kingdom and Europe. And here are just a a handful of them.

Nestled in the centre of London, the Ned is architecturally more than 100 years old – and was originally known as the Midland Bank building. Now renowned for being a hotel, the Ned is the shared project of Nick Jones, founder of Soho House & Co., and Andrew Zobler, CEO of New York’s Sydell Group. Thanks in part to its longstanding relationship with the Soho House Group, Vaughan supplied the Ned with the Sudbury Wall Light for a number of their bathrooms.

Made from solid cast brass, decorated with a scalloped edge and given an antique brass finish, it is one of Vaughan’s early designs – one which is more traditional in style yet still stands the test of time. Featuring a distinctive, ribbed, scroll-shaped arm, and beaded detailing, it showcases the variety of texture that is made possible thanks to the lost wax casting process.  Placed on each side of the whimsical oval-shaped mirror, the Sudbury Wall Light subtly complements the brass accents that Jones has implemented – from the door handle, to the bathroom taps, and the towel rack too.

Located in Perthshire, Scotland, Gleneagles formally opened its doors in 1924. Described as “a Riviera in the Highlands”, it was initially conceived thanks to the vision of Donald Matheson, General Manager of the Caledonian Rail Company, whose railway line ran through its picturesque terrain.

Following a refurbishment from 2015 – 2017, Hotel Designs reviewed the hotel, and noticed  Vaughan’s Seaton Storm Wall Lights feature in a number of suites.

Based on a traditional ‘hurricane lamp’ that was originally designed for candles, it comes with an elegant glass shade and is pictured here with an antique brass finish.  A delicate combination of hot forged brass and glass, the Seaton is a simple design, with minimal decoration, yet is executed with precision and care.  Similar to the bathroom interior at the Ned, the Seaton Wall Lights continue the theme of brass, and neatly unite themselves to the taps, mirrors, and drawer handles to create a cohesive room set.

The bathroom at St. Ermin’s offers a departure from the brass theme previously discussed, in a decidedly more contemporary interior with pink wallpaper, mother-of-pearl mirrors and sleek, black marble. Situated just around the corner from St. James’s Park in London, St. Ermin’s is an independent hotel yet is also part of Marriott International’s ‘Autograph Collection’.

Image caption: Vaughan’s Norfolk Wall Light can be found in the bathrooms at St. Ermins Hotel

For this bathroom, Vaughan provided the Norfolk Wall Light in a sleek chrome finish. Placed either side of each mirror, the wall lights are topped with a square fabric shade which softly diffuses the light.  Like the Seaton Wall Light, the Norfolk is a simple design and form – featuring a rectangular backplate, square candleholder and angular arm.  When combined with the oval sinks, cylindrical worktop legs, and rectangular mirrors, it creates a satisfying, playful interior – one that is predominantly focused on the relationship between different geometric shapes.  Made with a base metal of hot forged brass, the Norfolk is available in a number of finishes – from the chrome one pictured here to antique brass and nickel too.

Variety, as well as quality, are two central components to Vaughan. Product design is meticulously developed and lead by Lucy and Michael Vaughan, co-founders of the company, and their shared background as antique dealers is without a doubt an underlying influence in their creative process. “Our creative process is very much cyclical, updating and reflecting on products we’ve already made and antiques, which we have seen throughout our time as dealers,” said Lucy Vaughan.

For Vaughan, bathroom lighting is no exception – with a variety of styles, finishes, metals and shapes available to both retail and the trade, and a clear alignment with the brand’s existing lines. Ranging from the more subdued Beverley Wall Light to the more ornate, glass-art beauty of the Morillon Wall Light, Vaughan offers a wide selection of bathroom lighting to choose from, while remaining committed to their pursuit of quality and craftsmanship.

Vaughan 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 caption: Bathroom lighting by Vaughan inside The Ned

Elevating the bathroom experience with decorative wiring accessories

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Elevating the bathroom experience with decorative wiring accessories

You’ve thought of every detail to ensure a guest’s stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible… almost! In the bathroom, decorative wiring accessories are often an after-thought. There are a vast range of options on the market that can add the finishing touch to a design scheme, while smart controls ensure your guests have the most luxurious and convenient stay. Hamilton Litestat’s Gavin Williams explains…

Guests expect a lavish, indulgent environment when staying in high-end hotels. One of the first experiences they have when entering a room is reaching for the light switch. Decorative wiring accessories can add to, or unfortunately detract from, a design scheme and the guest experience.

The bathroom is a key area where the right wiring accessories can help add a luxurious finishing touch. Today’s eye-catching trend for bold colours, patterns and a mixture of materials can be perfectly complemented by the huge variety of finishes available in wiring accessories. One particularly luxe trend is that of dark, traditional wall colours, such as Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020, Classic Blue. These deep and moody shades are lifted by warm metallic finishes, such as bronzes and brasses. At Hamilton, we’ve seen an upturn in interest for our contemporary designs in elegant finishes, such as the Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX plates in Connaught, Copper, Etrium, Richmond Bronze or Antique Brass, which add the perfect finishing touch.

In order to get a coordinated look, switches and shaver sockets that come in high-shine metals to match taps and heating solutions are also popular and add a chic feel to the bathroom. Hamilton provides a vast array of contemporary and traditional plate designs in materials and finishes to complement the fittings, with Bright and Satin finishes in Stainless Steel, Chrome and Nickel favoured choices. This year, we’re also seeing a trend towards Matt White and Matt Black within monochrome design schemes.

“Hamilton’s Vogue range offers a contemporary slant on the traditional and minimalist white plastic plate, with rounded corners giving it an updated and stylised look.”

Guests delight at a quirky feature, so adding a ‘pop’ of contrasting colour with a wiring accessory can be very effective. Hartland CFX Colours comes in white, red and black gloss finish with both white or black inserts. Or, at the other end of the scale, you can make the switches and sockets almost disappear with Perception CFX, which is supplied in a transparent finish to allow a wall colour or paper design to show through.

If your guest bathrooms are of a clean and classic design, there are still options to avoid reverting to dated wiring accessories. Hamilton’s Vogue range offers a contemporary slant on the traditional and minimalist white plastic plate, with rounded corners giving it an updated and stylised look.

Getting the look and feel of the bathroom right is important, but adding more to the guest experience can really upgrade their stay. Smart lighting control helps create a better-than-home experience at the flick of a switch or swipe of a finger. A poll by interior design outfit Houzz indicated that a luxury bathroom experience is in high demand, with good lighting and a relaxing space top considerations.

Hamilton’s plug-and-play Smart Lighting Control solution can be programmed with different lighting scenes for varying tasks.Bright scenes make shaving or make-up application easier, while dimmed scenes help create are relaxing environment that’s perfect for a soak in the bath. Red, green or blue mood lighting can be added with DMX lighting control, or RGBWW delivers a ‘warm white’ light in a cost-effective way rather than the often stark white light typical of LEDs.

As people look to make their homes and bathrooms more luxurious, hotels can utilise designer wiring accessories along with smart lighting and audio control to provide an outstanding guest experience as only a hotel stay can.

Hamilton Litestat, which is headline partner at MEET UP London and MEET UP North, 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: Hamilton Litestat

7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

During London Design Week 2020, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is sheltering many of the product launches, teasers and conversations that are expected to make a noise on the design scene this season. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies some of the prominent styles, colours and trends to look out for… 

“We champion creative excellence,” said Becky Metcalfe, Head of Content at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (DCCH). “And we have certainly seen a move towards inform choices.”

Now that there is more demand among consumers for conscious and meaningful designs to compliment seamless service, hotel designers are widening their lenses to understand the narrative, craft and creative vision of new collections launched.

It is this change in behaviour that is enforcing most, if not all, of the strong styles that I discovered during my time at London Design Week 2020.

1) Botanical paradise on earth

With biophilic design being put front and centre at the moment around the world, conversations and the products that are launching are finding the balance between indoor space and the great outdoors – think exotic gardens where fragrance and sound are depicted in patterns and colours. Sanderson’s floral showroom, which houses hundreds of new designs this week, highlighted the creative possibilities that can emerge when designers open the door to outdoor influence with purpose. Other brands to leverage nature in design include Pierre Frey’s enriched wallcoverings, Abbott & Boyd’s capture of birds and Bec Brittain’s Taxonomy collection seen in the Tai Ping showroom that explores unexpected paradoxes inspired by the minutiae of insect anatomy and pleating techniques.

Offer with pink and black textured rug

Image credit: Taxonomy collection by Bec Brittain/Edward Fields Carpet Makers/Tai Ping

2) Land of the rising sun – everyone is talking about Japan

Considering the incredible oriental principles – not to mention the in-depth culture, heritage and authentic craftsmanship – it’s hardly surprising that many designers and brands are finding inspiration in Japan. There are parallels between the demand for simple, elegant luxury and the minimalist aesthetics of design in Japan (take a look at Muji to see this in action). Wallcovering brands such as Arte are exploring Japanese techniques and diverse styles, such as the Kimono pattern motif, to create new textured layers to their collections.

Intricate Kimono pattern detail in wallcovering

Image credit: Arte Wallcovering

Taking the theme in a different direction, Arteriors’ Trapeze Sconce is an effortless example of how Japanese influence can be balanced delicately in elegant lighting. With so much yet to explore, we expect more designers and brands to delve into the archive of Japan’s design heritage to invest in timeless practice and precious pieces.

3) Embracing imperfections

Admittedly, this isn’t anything new. In fact, designers, consumers and brands alike have been championing and demanding one-off products that can’t be replicated for as long as time. But recently, with timelessness and narrative playing so much importance in any design scheme – and while designers become more adventurous with materials – this look is everywhere. Lighting brand Vaughan is celebrating a proud authentic look and feel with its Chalk White collection, while wallcoverings brand Harlequin is keeping in touch with nature by using natural materials and creating an interesting weave structure.

Chalk-like chandelier

Image credit: Vaughan’s Chalk White collection is a curation of six products

Meanwhile, Parkside Architectural Tiles are showcasing their fantastical imperfect Spectre collection of tiles, which have proved a hit with designers and architects looking to add personality onto the walls of new and existing spaces.

Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

Image caption: Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

A relatively new brand thats DNA is very much focused on creating this look is Ilala, curated by Miranda Vedral, which proudly presented its idiosyncratic handwoven  furniture and lighting during the event.

4) Amplifying craftsmanship in all areas

There are more and more brands out there that are willing to collaborate with experts to produce the highest quality and the most interesting designs. With a digital overload from social media and a move to challenge the disposable mindset, brands such as Porta Romana have enhanced tactility in products and styles, which is putting momentum behind the sustainable movement.

Image credit: Porta Romana

5) Take a walk on the wild side

As we have identified before, the eco-conscious world is allowing for more adventurous influences to emerge to the surface. During the showrooms in Chelsea, there was a clear and defined theme of endangered species being used in wallcoverings, fabrics and soft furnishings. Some of the brands that are mastering this with style include Altfield, Anthology, Harlequin and Andrew Martin.

Image credit: Harlequin’s Mirador Collection

6) Warm colours are in!

Finally, in the doom and gloom of the current economic climate, designers and brands are discovering the warmer end of the colour spectrum. Designs from Edelman Leather, Vaughan and Zoffany are all setting their style compass to rosy red, which suggests there is a new confidence in the air. Grasping the statement-like benefits of using primary colours, British brand David Hunt Lighting has recently opened up its archives to find unique techniques and craft that has inspired their latest collections of pendants and chandeliers. In the Design Avenue – a hotspot for talent and unmatched styles – there was arguably no brand more colourful and bold than Timorous Beasties, but with their intricate signature of styles, would you really expect anything less?

Red, yellow and blue pendents

Image credit: David Hunt Lighting/Instagram

7) Home Heritage

An interesting theme to explore on the international hotel design scene – and one that no doubts divides the industry – there seems to be a move towards home-from-home comforts, but not perhaps as you would expect. We know that lobbies are becoming more lounge-like, but in addition there is an interest to explore storied providence. Brands such as Zimmer + Rhode, Samuel & Sons and Holland & Sherry are all using this to drive their latest designs, and I suspect more brands will keep this in mind when innovating new products in the future to add further meaning in design.

If you identified anything at the show that you believe we should be sharing our readers, please tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

Advancements in meaningful technology is allowing designers to be more creative when it comes to lighting spaces. But when it comes to bathroom lighting, a sensitive approach is best, as Electric Mirror explains… 

Lighted mirrors began appearing in five-star luxury hotel bathrooms more than 20 years ago.

As their popularity has increased, so too has their presence – today you can find lighted mirrors in millions of hotel rooms worldwide. So what’s new?

Today’s lighted mirrors come in virtually unlimited styles, from on-trend radius corners to custom designs that include asymmetrical shapes and added functionality such as built-in shelves.

The once-ubiquitous rectangular frosted-light window has given way to new light shapes and patterns, allowing designers to create lighted mirrors that match or complement anything from wall coverings to furniture.

Lighted mirror technology has continued to evolve as well. For example, Electric Mirror’s Savvy™ Smart Mirror, chosen for Marriott Autograph Collection’s Sinclair Hotel – America’s most technologically advanced hotel – includes Pro:Idiom and is PoE compatible.

And finally, lighted mirrors aren’t just for the bathroom vanity any more. Designers can offer hotel guests the beauty, convenience and luxury of a lighted mirror as a mirrored cabinet, a fog-free shower mirror, a makeup mirror, even a wardrobe mirror.

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

Main image credit: Electric Mirror

Le Méridien Hotels arrives in South Florida’s design destination

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Le Méridien Hotels arrives in South Florida’s design destination

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, along with national real estate developer Charles S. Cohen, has announced the opening of Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport…

Taking cues from the brand’s mid-century design aesthetic, the top-to-bottom conversion of the property that now shelters Le Méridien’s latest hotel brings to life Le Méridien’s distinctive French heritage and the allure of the Côte d’Azur to South Florida.

Located just steps from the city’s famed The Design Center of the Americas, the 12-story hotel, designed by David Ashen of dash design, features 245 thoughtfully designed guestrooms and suites. Throughout the exterior and interior of the hotel guests will find references to the sky and sea with design details such as a grand oculus in the lobby that frames the sky to pay homage the glamorous era of air travel, allowing guests to stargaze and view planes passing over. The guestrooms are minimal and modern in design with touches of blue and grey to reflect the destination, features custom-made headboards with mappings of the city inlaid into the wood veneer, and local photography captured by Elizabeth Gill Lui that celebrates the diverse architecture and environment of Fort Lauderdale.

“It was a true pleasure for us to partner with real estate developer Charles Cohen and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts,” says David Ashen, the founder of dash design, the interior design and brand consulting firm for Le Méridien. “The design we created supported the tenets of Le Méridien brand as well as the lifestyle that is emblematic for South Florida, both for its residents and visitors. Every detail was thought out: form, function, as well as beauty. The concept sets a standard that we are proud to have contributed.”

“With a nostalgic nod to the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1960s, Le Méridien inspires travellers to explore the world in style, savour the good life and enjoy experiences that offer something more than meets the eye,” said George Fleck, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing & Management. “The debut of this hotel is part of the brand’s significant growth strategy and further reinforces our brand’s commitment to ensuring that guests experience destinations around the globe through the lens of its European spirit”

Guests will have the opportunity to indulge in five culinary outlets throughout the hotel including the brands signature Latitude/Longitude Bar serving light fare at Le Méridien Hub and Cabana, as well as Toro Latin Kitchen, serving up a South American menu, La Bibloteca de Tequila which is an exclusive tequila bar and lounge, Constellation Café serving daily French fare, and the hotel’s outdoor bar offering Caribbean-style fare poolside.

For meetings and events, the hotel offers 25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art flexible meeting space within a prime location, in the epicenter of South Florida. Conveniently located minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Fort Lauderdale Everglades Cruise Port, the new hotel also neighbors Las Olas Boulevard, downtown Fort Lauderdale and the evolving Dania Pointe.

Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport will also offer guests a sensorial environment through the brand’s signature scent, which was developed with MALIN+GOETZ. Aptly named LM002 for airplane tail numbers, the alluring scent will be featured in the public spaces, as it is at all of Le Méridien’s properties globally. Paying homage to its French roots, the brand also has a signature soundtrack that will fill the Hub and public spaces, curated by French Bossa Nova band Nouvelle Vague.

“Being able to bring the Le Méridien brand to South Florida has been an exciting venture,” said Mr. Charles Cohen, developer and owner of Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale. “We’ve curated a team of esteemed professionals to bring the brand’s French flair to life while paying homage to the maritime spirit of Fort Lauderdale. The hotel’s design-centric appeal stands at the forefront – a visual story beautifully told by David Ashen with dash design, and the Pentagram team – and will be complemented by elevated dining experiences, innovative meetings and event spaces, and unrivalled service.”

In addition, Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport will offer guests a variety of amenities including a signature Club Lounge with views of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a fully equipped state-of-the-art 1,200-square-foot fitness centre and yoga room, an 82-foot zero-entry pool and an outdoor terrace called the “Water Club.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

Dorchester Collection unveils first foray into branded residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Dorchester Collection unveils first foray into branded residences

Mayfair-based developer Clivedale London has unveiled Dorchester Collection’s first branded residences in London…

With interiors by acclaimed Parisian design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku from Jouin Manku and fully serviced by neighbouring hotel, 45 Park Lane, Mayfair Park Residences are Dorchester Collection’s first foray into branded residences and set a new benchmark for the London super-prime market.

Located in south-west Mayfair, adjacent to Hyde Park and opposite the world-famous hotel, The Dorchester, ‘Townhouse One’ – a 3,334 sq. ft, three-bedroom duplex townhouse – offers the first glimpse inside this collection of 24 residences in the form of apartments, townhouses and a penthouse all fully serviced by Dorchester Collection. The eight-storey residential development seamlessly integrates the building’s Grade II listed façades on two traditional Mayfair Streets. Lee Polisano of PLP Architecture designed the residences, taking a scholarly approach to the refurbishment of historic Georgian façades whilst creating a contemporary counterpart, blending effortlessly into Mayfair’s eclectic patchwork of architectural styles.

Clean and spacious bedroom

Image credit: Clivedale London/Dorchester Collection

Accessed through its own private Georgian portico on Stanhope Gate, ‘Townhouse One’ features capacious Georgian proportions that exude a refined luxury. Marking the first time the innovative Parisian designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku have created interiors for a residential development project, the practice has created a luxurious, yet liveable space inspired by the fusion of classic and contemporary elements. The resulting design is one that exudes a strong sense of place – where historical references of English heritage and the period grandeur of the building’s Georgian origins are blended with exquisitely considered, custom interior architecture to create sumptuous interior spaces that are organic, elegant and evocative.

“We are thrilled to be part of the creation of Mayfair Park Residences and to work with Dorchester Collection again,” said Sanjit Manku, Founding Partner at Jouin Manku. “We’ve endeavoured to create a high-end interior with a sense of ease, relaxation, warmth and comfort with a little bit of sizzle and dazzle; a little bit of sparkle. A focal point of the new home is the blending of both natural and warm light throughout with coffered backlit ceilings illuminating the space and a six-metre-high bespoke light installation which extends down to the lower ground floor, melding the two levels together.”

Beyond the ornate décor of ‘Townhouse One’ lies a hidden gem; a 1,280 sq. ft vaulted garden filled with decadent alcoves, that span the length of the residence and is accessible from the kitchen and the bedrooms.

Tarun Tyagi, CEO at Clivedale London, commented: “Mayfair Park Residences marks a significant moment for Clivedale, and we are thrilled to be the first residential developer globally to partner with Dorchester Collection to create one of London’s most sought-after addresses. Our residents will become the first people in the world to enjoy the renowned services of a Dorchester Collection hotel in the comfort of their own home and we are excited to set a new benchmark for private residential developments. We are overjoyed how ‘Townhouse One’ reflects the unprecedented standard that will be seen throughout the wider scheme and hallmark quality that is synonymous with both Clivedale London and Dorchester Collection.”

Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane will provide exclusive access to a tailor-made array of services including housekeeping service, 24/7 concierge services, 24-hour in-residence dining, a Rolls-Royce town car and chauffeur service, sommelier expertise as well as secure valet underground car parking, all helping to facilitate every and any aspiration of a resident. Indulgent in both service and amenities, Mayfair Park Residences 10,000 sq. ft Health Club will comprise a state-of-the-art gym, 20m pool, sauna and steam rooms, hydrotherapy pool, two private treatment rooms and residents lounge, all fully managed by the team at Dorchester Collection.

“Our first venture into private residences is a pivotal moment in the history of our company,” added Christopher Cowdray, Chief Executive Officer of Dorchester Collection.” We have partnered with Clivedale as they are known for their pursuit of outstanding design excellence in prime locations. Mayfair Park Residences will offer its residents the best combination of a spectacular home close to Hyde Park with the highly personalised services offered by 45 Park Lane.”

Main image credit: Clivedale London/Dorchester Collection

Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum unveils the hospitality professionals attending

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum unveils the hospitality professionals attending

Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum, which falls under the Forum Events hospitality portfolio, takes place on January 27 at Hilton London Canary Wharf…

Forum Events, the parent company of Hotel Designs, is beginning the new year with the opportunity to start conversations like no other by hosting the Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum, a highly focused meet-the-buyer event that brings together hospitality professionals and suppliers.

The Forum consists of one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities throughout – all to enable attendees to create lasting business relationships.

With a combined annual budget of more than £200 million among the hospitality professionals attending, Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum, which takes place on 27 January at Hilton London Canary Wharf, is regarded as the go-to event for suppliers to extend their contacts in the ever-changing landscape of technology in the hospitality market.

audienceThe premium meet-the-buyer event will be attended by hospitality professionals from the following companies:

  • Accor
  • Atlas Hotels
  • Hotel Café Royal
  • Hilton
  • Apex Hotels
  • Best Western
  • Crowne Plaza London Docklands
  • DoubleTree by Hilton London Excel
  • Sloane Square Hotel
  • Grayshot Hotel
  • The Goodenough on Mecklenburgh Square
  • MARC Ltd
  • Old Thorns Hotel
  • Reset Hotels & Resorts
  • InterContinental The 02
  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts
  • Valor Hospitality
  • JKS Restaurants
  • The Arora Group
  • Trivelles Hotels
  • Ashley Hotels
  • Roseacre Pub Company
  • Your Space Apartments
  • Lester Hotels
  • Mils Hotels & Resorts
  • Circadian Trust
  • Knights Care
  • Hillbrook Hotels
  • Blue Orchid Hotels
  • Make Venue
  • Belmont Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
  • Sara Management Company
  • The Deckers Group
  • Cave Hotel & Golf Resort
  • Bills
  • MSC Cruises
  • Champneys
  • YOTEL
  • Wagamamas
  • Dorsett Hotels
  • Bulgari Hotel
  • Whitbread
  • Marstons
  • Pizza Express
  • Fullers
  • G1 Group Plc
  • Rank Group
  • McDonalds
  • Rileys
  • Fulham Football Club
  • Lucky Voice Karaoke
  • STAY Worldwide
  • Ambassadors Bloomsbury
  • Centennial Hotel
  • Canary Wharf Riverside Park Plaza
  • Costa
  • The Lodge Duxford
  • The Lodge Hotel
  • The Wesley Hotel
  • Waterfront Seaport
  • Zebrano

How to attend

If you are a supplier and would like to attend, please email Toby Ward or call 07930 402303.
If you are a delegate and would like to attend the event, please email either Emily Gallagher or Lucia Guilesano or call 01992 37485/94.

Editor’s round-up of Sleep & Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor’s round-up of Sleep & Eat 2019

Rounding off this year’s show season, editor Hamish Kilburn attends Sleep & Eat 2019 on the search for new product launches, sensational design concepts and more brands under one roof than in any other hotel design trade show in Europe…

It is often said that the sequel is never as impactful as the prequel. And although that may well be the case in the film industry, design is different. For the second year running, Sleep & Eat 2019 went west to found shelter at Olympia London, a hotly debated venue but a popular one no doubt during show season.

The show opened its doors on November 19 to offer designers, architects, operators and owners a unique chance to learn from the game-changers, while discovering new products and expand their thinking.

On the surface Sleep & Eat’s success from last year was matched with many of the same exhibitors taking the same positions as in 2018. The most significant statement from the 2019 show, however, took place in the lecture theatre, where a mix of interesting and colourful insights and debates became the highlight for many.

Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International, opened day one by sharing his experience oftransforming an ‘ugly’ and unloved building in London into a hotel that is now headline news around the world. Christoph Hoffman, CEO of 25Hours Hotels, opened day two and, in conversation with Conference Moderator, Heleri Rande, talked about the importance of “soul”. While his group has so notably charted its own course, hedeclared himself inspired by the great luxury hotels of the world. “It’s about keeping the stories alive,” he said. Josh Wyatt, CEO of NeueHouse, also delivered a captivating keynote. “More than ever before,design is essential to survive as the world becomes more crowded. Design is a defensive necessity,” he told the audience. “In NeueHouse, we are forging places where commerce and creativity collide, where new enterprises that will shape our futures will be conceived by our users.”

Image credit: Rob Jones

Panel topics were diverse and layered, from hotel F&B trends to managing and designing flexible public spaces and the meaning of eco in the luxury hotel experience, but all with an eye not just to the hospitality scene today but in the future. Architect, Richard Coutts, and engineer, Ben Fitzgerald, took the audience to the under- and above-water frontiers of their work, presenting a project destined for Hobart Harbour – an underwater hotel with public park on top – and the Under restaurant off the Norwegian coast. The knowledge, skills, vision and technology exist to harness our lakes, rivers and oceans for greater hospitality experiences, claimed the duo Design maverick and disrupter, Johannes Torpe, considered the future of hospitality in space but, despite his collaborations with NASA and his passion for space movies, he argued that there was still much work to do before space could be accessible for most of us. Instead, he called on the audience to create unearthly places on Earth, citing his Red Mountain resort project in Iceland, a spa and wellness retreat that will offer complete escape into Icelandic nature.

Sleep, Eat and Party in this year’s Room Sets

This year’s event theme of “Social FlexAbility” explored the power of hospitality to stimulate human interaction in our age of digital isolation. It proved to be just the challenge that six international architectural and design firms needed to create concept guestrooms, a bar and a restaurant which were inspiring in vision, intriguing in detail and astonishing in execution.

Yuna Merge, unveiled the VIP Area entitled ‘Gather’. The designer transformed Olympia Club Room into a whimsical flora and fauna-inspired space.

London-based hotel design practice twenty2degrees designed a concept guestroom to explore hospitality’s power to stimulate human interaction in our age of digital dislocation. Complete with a fully retractable bed and a tap that poured chilled negroni, the set utilised space, senses and colour.

“The process of designing the concept guestroom has been fascinating,” says Joe Stella, Creative Director and Partner of twenty2degrees. “Essentially, we were our own client freed from the usual constraints of commercial hotel design. We followed certain paths of thought, then found new sources of inspiration and were able to flip the aesthetic. We hope that the result of this creative license will be ideas that operators, owners and other visitors to our pop-up will want to take away with them and adapt for real-life projects.”

Other Set designers were HAT Design (guestroom), SpaceInvader (bar) and NAME Architecture (restaurant).

In the exhibition hall

Image credit: Rob Jones

More than 160 design-led suppliers – established and up-and-coming manufacturers, artisans and fit-out companies – chose Sleep & Eat 2019 to showcase their products and launch new collections. Some highlights included:

GROHE returned to Sleep & Eat for the 14th year and presented its most eclectic and diverse product offering yet, including its ground-breaking Icon 3D metal-printed taps on their first official UK outing.

Image credit: Rob Jones

Following Hotel Designs’ interview with designer Marcel Wanders one day prior, the team from Laufen unveiled the curtain on its latest collection, The New Classic.

Ammique, the world’s most technologically advanced bed, was at Sleep & Eat for the first time. The company launched its Platinum limited edition bed with a choice of three sensual fabrics created in collaboration with textile designer, Hannah White. Marlene Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of Ammique,says: “Having thought long and hard about taking space, we are utterly delighted that we decided to. We would unequivocally recommend anyone in the industry to consider investing in a stand at Sleep & Eat. It really is a show that delivers.”

Hansgrohe, which was an Event Partner at The Brit List Awards 2019 later in the week, launched its Rainfinity range and Sunbury Design launched Perception Collection in collaboration with renowned print designer, Amelia Graham. Meanwhile, both Bette and Kaldewei gave visitors the opportunity to test their materials themselves, with wire brushes, hammers, nail varnish and naked flames.

Morgan, which has just won Product of the Year at the FX Awards, unveiled a new stripped-back sustainable furniture collection, Kaya, which finds its roots in the openness, honesty and purity of trees.

Showing the design world it’s place as a premium shower supplier was Aqualisa, which was also an Event Partner at The Brit List Awards 2019. The company, which was the first to launch the digital shower to the hospitality market, was making noise with a range of new high-tech products.

There were cause of celebrations on the Knightsbridge stand as the British furniture company announced its 80th anniversary. In apt fashion, the brand displayed its design-led Caravelle collection, which was redeveloped to celebrate theanniversary and its rich history, taking influence from a past mid-century piece of furniture.

Also new to Sleep & Eat, Marie Martin, the range of exclusive lighting by the Dutch company Lumière, presented its lush and extravagant lighting fixtures. Stemming from a passion for interiors, this collection arose from the desire to unite a love for antiques, Paris, colour and fully decorated spaces.

Bette’s new Red Dot award-winning basin and luxurious circular bath made their UK debut at the show.

Image credit: Rob Jones

Other familiar brands at the show included: Astro Lighting, Roca, Interna UK, Chelsom, Grok, Northern Lights and Perrin & Rowe. Newcomers included Eichholtz, ILIV Contract Textiles and Absolute Lifestyle.

As tradition, Sleep & Eat presented two awards for best-designed stands, this year judged by designers, Constantina Tsoutsikou, Yasmine Mahmoudieh and Ben Webb together with architect, Angela Dapper and event director, Mark Gordon. Hospitality artwork suppliers, Verdigris Art, with artist in residence, Marcus Aitken, was awarded Best Stand, and luxury wallcoverings manufacturer, Arte, was the recipient of the Best Space-Only Stand Award.

Following the two-day event, industry experts gathered for an after-party style awards ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019, which is where this year’s winners of seven individual awards were crowned, as well as where The Brit List 2019 was unveiled.

With rumours circulating, it is down to interpretation whether or not Sleep & Eat’s second year at Olympia London was as or more successful than its first year. Whether or not the show ‘hit the mark’ in your opinion, there was no denying that it was a engaging two-days of talks, networking opportunities and interesting product launches.

Have your say by tweeting us as @HotelDesigns. What was your highlight of Sleep & Eat 2019?

Main image credit: Rob Jones

Chelsom to exclusively preview Edition 27 at Sleep & Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Chelsom to exclusively preview Edition 27 at Sleep & Eat 2019

Chelsom will once again be exhibiting at the annual Sleep & Eat event, which takes place at Olympia London on November 19 -20, 2019…

Lighting manufacturer Chelsom will be at Sleep & Eat 2019, Europe’s leading trade events for interior hospitality products providing an annual meeting for those at the forefront of hotel design, development and architecture.

This will be Chelsom’s2ndconsecutive year at the eventand this year they will be exhibiting a selection of stunning products from the latest collections, Edition 26, created specifically for the international hospitality and marine sectors.

In addition, Chelsom will also be providing an exclusive preview of brand-new pieces from the upcoming collection, Edition 27, as designed entirely in-house by Robert and Will Chelsom and will be available from May 2020 onwards.

“Sleep & Eat is the numberone UK show in terms of interior design for the hospitality market and we are very pleased to be back again,” said Will Chelsom, Managing Director of Chelsom. “Being able to see what the wider market is up to is really inspirational and it’s a great environment for companies to showcase their latest product designs and innovations. The show has become a key date in the diaries of many leading hospitality professionals so it’s exciting for us to be promoting a selection of new pieces from what is undoubtedly set to be our most eclectic collection to date.”

Chelsom 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.

‘Must see’ brands at Sleep & Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
‘Must see’ brands at Sleep & Eat 2019

With less than three weeks until Sleep & Eat 2019, here are just a few brands and products to look out for… 

More 160 design-led suppliers are now confirmed to be exhibiting at Sleep & Eat 2019, which takes place on November 19 – 20 at Olympia London. For many years now, the exhibition has been the place where both established and up-and-coming manufacturers not only choose to launch their collections, but where business is done and opportunities to network and socialise are numerous.

Reflecting the growing convergence between hotel, restaurant and bar design, the exhibitor line-up includes many international companies which supply all three sectors, as well as cruise ships and spas.

Following our sneak peek inside the doors of the company’s new UK headquarters, Laufen will launch The New Classic collection by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. Utilising Laufen’s innovative SaphirKeramikmaterial, the designer created a collection combining gentle, feminine curves with angular, masculine elements. “For the first time, the ultra-modern SaphirKeramik has been moulded into a classic and iconic form,” commented Wanders. “This lightweight yet resilient material gave us the unique opportunity to celebrate the beauty of ceramics with our elegant, soft lines.”

Dramatic view of the full The New Classic collection

Image credit: Laufen/Marcel Wanders

Morgan, the British designer and manufacturer of contemporary furniture, will be introducing its new Kaya lounge collection. Taking its name from sacred forests spread along the Kenyan coast, Kaya finds its roots in the openness, honesty and purity of trees. Morgan will also exhibit The Rakino collection of lounge chairs and tables designed by Tim Rundle, and The Goodwood collection designed by Katerina Zachariades in collaboration with artist Mark CcClure.

A Sleep & Eat newcomer, Prestigious Textiles, will be debuting with a range of prints, jacquards and velvets alongside a rich diversity of plains, semi-plains and sheers. The company will also present its new bespoke service, giving customers the freedom to take their design of choice and translate it onto any print ground using the latest digital printing technology.

Also new to Sleep & Eat, Marie Martin, the range of exclusive lighting by the Dutch company Lumière, will present its most popular lighting fixtures. Stemming from a passion for interiors, this collection arose from the desire to unite the love for antiques, for Paris, for colour and fully decorated spaces. Marie Martin’s range will feature lush materials – bronze, silk, brocade, and velvet – as well as abundant attention to detail and extravagant colour schemes.

Spanish architectural and design surfaces producer and distributor Cosentino will be showing a range of its brands. These include Dekton ultra-compact surfaces, Silestonequartz and Sensa by Cosentino natural protected stone.

German bathroom manufacturer, Bette, will exhibit its award-winning glazed titanium-steel baths, shower floors and washbasins, all of which come with a 30 year warranty. Available in an extensive range of sizes and colours, they are finished in BetteGlaze;  a durable, non-porous, scratch-resistant and easy to clean surface.

Muted coloured washbasins

Image credit: Bette

AHK, the Turkish supplier of joinery and fit-out contractor, will feature its indoor and outdoor loose furniture range and latest case goods collection. AHK will also reveal the AW Simulator – the game-changing meeting room pod that immerses users in a unique experience. Its advanced technologies include a panoramic digital view, exclusively designed expanding table, state-of-the-art AV system, and unparalleled acoustics and soundproofing.

Chelsom will showcase some of the dynamic and trend-driven designs within its extensive Edition 26 collection. Among the products are The Orb, The Icicle and Roma.

GROHE will be returning to Sleep & Eat for its 14th year. This year, the brand will showcase its most eclectic and diverse product offering yet. This will include its ground-breaking Icon 3D metal-printed taps, taking pride of place on the stand for its first official showcasing in the UK. “Sleep & Eat is a key event for us, one which has helped us to build very strong industry contacts over the years and where we continue to push the boundaries of innovation,” said Raj Mistry, Marketing Director of GROHE UK.

Image credit: Grohe

Terratinta – manufacturer of high-end Italian porcelain stoneware, inspired by Scandinavian design enriched with fresh and unusual aesthetic effects – will display its newest ranges of ceramic tiles, including Sartoria Artigiana, Sartoria Romanza, Hexa Mosaics, and Ceppo.

The Exhibition will also see the event debut of family-owned Irish manufacturer and fit-out specialist, Abbey Upholsterers, which works with numerous luxury hospitality brands as well as in luxury residential. At Sleep & Eat, the brand will be highlighting its hotel guestroom furniture collections.

Omexco – the Belgian manufacturer of high-end wallcoverings, specializing in sophisticated printing and embossing techniques – will feature its latest designs, Arubaand Portfolio. Aruba collection, inspired by the exotic Caribbean isle, recognises craftsmen who respect natural materials such as weaves of waterlily and raffia with a range of linen yarns and ecological non-woven wallcoverings, whereas Portfolio collection pays tribute to Omexco’s heritage and features a variety of natural yarns including pure linen, multi-coloured silky cotton and viscose.

Other familiar names exhibiting at Sleep & Eat will include Astro Lighting, Arte, Camira, Knightsbridge Furniture, Quasar, Roca and VitrA. An array of newcomers this year will include Absolute Lifestyle, Article London, Eichholtz, ELG Solutions, Iconic Images, ILIV Contract Textiles, Kaufmann Ceramics, Sahrai, Tarkett, and VICALVI Contract.

The event also encompasses a complimentary Conference, Development Roundtables and nine specially designed pop-ups including concept guestrooms, restaurant and bar Sets, The Hub – a co-working space, the VIP Lounge and the Sleeper Bar.

Sleep & Eat, November 19 – 20 in the National Hall, Olympia London. The show will be open from 10am on Tuesday 19 with an evening drinks reception until 8.30 pm, and from 10am-6pm on Wednesday 20. Click here to register.

Main image credit/caption: Sleep & Eat/Abstract forms, texture and objects study

One month until The Brit List Awards 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
One month until The Brit List Awards 2019

Calling all hotel designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers: Tickets are selling out fast for The Brit List Awards 2019, which is just one month away… 

There is just one month to go until Hotel Designs announces the winners of The Brit List 2019. The awards, which will be sheltered at Patch East London on November 21, is the climax of the publication’s nationwide search to find the UK’s top interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers.

Supplier tickets (£150 + VAT) can be purchased here.
Delegate tickets (£20 + VAT) can be purchased here.

Among the leading designers who have already confirmed are design directors and principals from Richmond International, Project Orange, Sibley Grove, Harriet Forde Design, Harris + Harris, RPW Design, Scott Brownrigg, David Collins Studio and IHG.

In regards to architects attending The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs will welcome associates and directors from the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, WATG, Jestico + Whiles, Holland Harvey Architects, EPR Architects and Dexter Moren Associates.

Hoteliers confirmed to attend the annual awards ceremony include, among others, Heckfield Place, Good Hotel London, Limewood Group and Homegrown Hotels, Rosewood London, Cliveden House, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences London, The Dixon, Bespoke Hotels, Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Eccleston Square, Inhabit London and Hotel Gotham.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

How to attend

Suppliers:
Click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket for £150 + VAT.

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers:
Click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect to secure your ticket for £20 + VAT.

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

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

Last year’s crowned Interior Designer of The Year at The Brit List Awards, Martin Brudnizki, invites editor Hamish Kilburn to his Chelsea London studio to explain some of the major milestones in his career as well as how he logistically manages his time in a truly international market…

Design gems are not hard to come by on the British hotel design scene. You have only to open the pages of last year’s edition of The Brit List – and this year’s shortlist for that matter – to find the top 75 influential designers, architects and hoteliers.

However, design legends are less common. It’s not a question of talent or ability, but more a reflection of style, class, personality and being about to really set oneself aside from others in the heavily congested international hotel design market.

There is only – and will only ever be – one Martin Brudnizki, for example. Last year, Hotel Designs’ The Brit List crowned the acclaimed visionary as its Interior Designer of the Year – and for good reason. “Brudnizki is an international leader, standing as an icon as well as inspiration to so many young aspiring designers,” commented last year’s expert judging panel. “His recent work in University Arms Cambridge is a credit to his studio’s ability to give a building a new lease of life in the most sensitive and creative way.”

Image caption/credit: The Library designed by MBDS/University Arms Cambridge

Almost one year later, while the editorial team at Hotel Designs are gearing up for yet another spectacular awards ceremony, I aptly caught up with the Brudnizki in his Chelsea studio in London to find out more about our ‘poster boy’s’ journey to become one of the world’s most celebrated interior designers of the moment.

“I grew up in Stockholm; my mother was a stylist and my father an engineer and I think this blend of approaches to living and design, in particular, rubbed off on me,” Brudnizki explains. “My mother is incredibly stylish and filled our home with beautiful colours, patterns and objet. My father on the other hand, worked in a very precise and thought-through way. Both aspects of their personality has certainly informed the way I work today.”

Brudnizki’s early career in design saw him working at the likes of David Gill Gallery and David Collins Studio before branching off and putting his own practice in 2000, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) in 2000. “I learned a lot during my time in other places,” he adds, “which has served me well when establishing my own studio.”

“We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.” – Martin Brudnizki

Since then, MBDS has become one of the leading international design studios, with bases in London and New York and projects including The Beekman, University Arms and Four Seasons Athens. But, like all designers, Brudnizki remembers the milestone moments; the hotels and buildings that captured his and his team’s incredible imagination, usually sheltered in iconic shells. “All the projects we work on are exciting and help shape the future of the studio however, there are a few that really stick out as being pivotal,” the designer explains. “Scott’s in Mayfair presented us with the opportunity to design our first fine dining restaurant, it also cemented our relationship with Caprice Holdings, who have since become important clients of ours. Working with Nick Jones on Soho Beach House Miami was exciting as this saw us introduce the successful Soho House brand to a new region. The Beekman in New York opened in 2016 and helped stamp our mark on New York. It’s located in a beautiful building and we were lucky to garner a lot of attention from it. Finally, Annabel’s in London has proved incredibly popular for us. It’s such an iconic club so we felt very honoured to be asked to redesign its incarnation. We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.”

Dividing his time between both London and New York has given Brudnizki the unique freedom to position himself in two of the world’s most respected design hubs. “Both cities have very unique identities,” Brudnizki explains. “They are both are melting pots of culture and excitement and whilst very different, they both present wonderful opportunities to mark your mark.”

“Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste.” – Martin Brudnizki

From the outside looking in, the luxury market in hotel design may look like a desirable place to start when setting out to build a reputation as being a leading designer, but it also comes with risk to cater to the ever-changing demand of the modern luxury traveller. For Brudniki, the true art of luxury travel is a reflection of his own experience and personality. “Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste,” he defines.

Since winning at The Brit List 2018, Brudnizki’s vision on a new hotel brand has come to life in the shape of Mr C Hotels, which opened in Miami earlier this year – and has, as a result, put him in the running for the second consecutive year for this year’s awards. “Mr C is situated in a modern new build in the green surroundings of Coconut Grove,” he explains. “New builds have many benefits, including up-to-date technology and no listed statuses to content with however, new builds often lack the characterful details of older properties. With this in mind, we often have to dig deeper to find a strong narrative to wrap the hotel’s design in. For Mr. C we looked to the landscape of the region and the glamorous boating heritage and incorporated elements of this into our scheme.”

As well as technology, another area that has peaked recently in popularity among developers as well as designers and architects is the value of sustainability and designing consciously. “I think it depends on the project and the client, Brudnizki admits. “We are working with Six Senses on their new hotel and resort in Kitzbuehel Alps and the whole design is focused on sustainability and using organic and local materials. This is to mirror the brand’s values so we’ve had an interesting time researching new materiality and local artisans who can help reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint and up their sustainability accreditation.”

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
Martin Brudnizki: Portugal.

HK: What is the number one item you simply cannot travel without?
MB: A silk eye mask.

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
MB: Probably food from Bayley & Sage.

HK: What is your favourite place to unwind in London?
MB: My home in Parsons Green. As a travel so much, it’s nice to just come home and relax in the peace and quiet.

HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
MB: International Beige.

HK: Where are you travelling to next?
MB: My New York Studio next week.

Before I leave the designer in peace to create with his team the hotel interiors of the future, which include hotels in London, Austria, LA and Cape Town (among others), I am interested to explore, on the surface at least, new materials that have emerged on the designer’s radar. “I am really interested in straw marquetry at the moment; it’s such a beautiful natural fibre that can be used in the most unusual of places, such as walls and furniture,” Brudnizki says.

MBDS itself is incubating a strong network of talented designers that will further position Britain as a globally regarded leading design hotspot. With his name on the door of two dynamic studios – and also in the minds of I would argue all aspiring interior designers – Brudnizki is leading the ever-evolving industry into new territory.

The shortlisted finalists this year’s The Brit List have been invited to The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes on November 21 at Patch East London (Aldgate). To purchase limited tickets, click here

Main image credit: Luca Marziale

Lighted mirror, mirror on the lobby wall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighted mirror, mirror on the lobby wall

While it has become common to specify a lighted mirror in the hotel bathroom, Hotel Designs turns to new Recommended Supplier Electric Mirror to understand how the product can also be utilised in public areas… 

In conclusion to Hotel Designs’ time putting lighting in public areas under the spotlight, we have noticed one company is looking to disrupt the conventional idea that the lighted mirror is reserved for the hotel bathroom.

Electric Mirror, which is leading a clean and innovative path in lighting and mirror technology on the international hotel design scene, has taken the accessories to entirely new places and spaces, creating a memorable experience from the moment the guest enters the hotel.

An Electric Mirror Savvy SmartMirror in the lobby connects guests with hotel features, nearby attractions, and airport schedules. A custom Cameo lighted mirror in the restaurant or lounge brings light and life to the room’s décor theme.

Image credit: Electric Mirror

Lighted mirrors suspended from the ceiling of the hotel’s salon provide optimal lighting to let stylists help their clients look their very best. Dimmable lighted mirrorsin the spa create a peaceful, tranquil space. Corridor lightingon the guestroom floors help guide the way to the guests’ rooms.

Electric Mirrors are 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, email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

For general enquiries, contact the team at +1 425.776.4946 or sales@electricmirror.com. For the Director of Sales, Europe, call +46.790195074 or email gelareh@electricmirror.com.

Main image credit: Electric Mirror

Solar-powered solution for exterior waymarking

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Solar-powered solution for exterior waymarking

Combining the best in technology and sustainable design, Recommended Supplier Signbox has just unveiled the Smartscape Solar bollard… 

With greenwashing being the hot topic of this week following new research that was published at the Independent Hotel Show, leading sign manufacturer Signbox has unveiled a sustainable and creatively designed waymarking product that will help to create a more conscious hotel exterior.

The uniquely-designed solar system comprises; four integrated PV panels to ensure light is captured from all angles, an intelligent lithium-ion battery, two motion-detecting PIR sensors and two LED lights. One LED runs continuously at a low level to ensure that the bollard itself can be seen from a distance, and the other, a downlight reflector, is activated within 5m close proximity on each side of the unit by one of the PIR sensors which illuminates the pathway.

As the bollard is solar powered by it’s own integrated PV panels, trenching (installation) and running costs associated with mains powered solutions are eliminated and maintenance costs are drastically reduced.

The bollard is available in three housing material options to suit a range of applications; extruded aluminium, sustainable hardwood and performa-cast polymer. With both the aluminium and polymer versions offering a vast range of colour options, as well as the option of embossing the polymer housing, this versatile solution is perfect for any modern green sustainably focussed project.

The SmartScape Solar Bollard is designed, developed and manufactured in a UK-based, ISO 9001:2015 accredited production facility.

The standard product has a base plate mounting but there is an option on the aluminium finish and the polypropylene finish for a more cost effective root mounting fixing that can be buried and possible minded in place. We can send a technical specification on this if required.

This product does comply with the new requirements for “bat friendly lighting”. Bats can not feed at night with light pollution in an upwards direction.

Signbox are 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, email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Vaughan wins “most stylish stand and product” at Decorex 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vaughan wins “most stylish stand and product” at Decorex 2019

Vaughan exhibited at Decorex this year and become House & Garden’s most stylish stand and product… 

The Vaughan stand at Decorex 2019 was created in-house by the company’s talented design team showcasing new sculptural wall and table lamps and ceiling lights in cast brass and selected new art pottery.

The product display was set against a background wall colour of dark grey/green with accents of gold, highlighting beautifully the quality of each product. Applied cast brass leaves on a branch flowed across the back wall together with a cluster of Arden wall lights with a spray of applied leaves continued the naturalistic theme throughout the stand.

The dramatic effect of the lit sculptural pieces against the dark backdrop, in particular the Wyvern wall light, received a very positive reaction from all the visitors to our stand and Vaughan were thrilled and honoured to be awarded the most stylish stand and product at Decorex by Ruth Sleightholme at House & Garden magazine.

The company has since taken the stand to the Independent Hotel Show, showcasing its latest product collections at the entrance of the event.

Vaughan 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: Vaughan

INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INTERACTIVE HOTEL REVIEW: Monkey Island Estate, Bray-on-Thames

Unearthing eight centuries of history, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to Bray-on-Thames’ Monkey Island Estate to interactively review a new kind of private countryside luxury…

Travel upstream from London and you eventually arrive in the quintessentially British surroundings of Bray-on-Thames, a quiet suburban village that is arguably most for harbouring two of the UK’s five restaurants that hold three Michelin stars.

But before the existence of award-winning gourmet F&B establishment, some 800 years prior, there quietly sat an empty island, which went on to soak up interesting eras. It was firstly an ideal setting for monks seeking peace on the banks of the river. It is said that after the Great Fire of London in 1666, materials from Oxfordshire, such as stone and brick, were transported down the river for rebuilding the city. On the vessels’ return, rubble would be spread around some of the Thames islands, which greatly reduced erosion and helped to strengthen the foundations.

A few decades later, in 1738, the land was purchased by Charles Spencer, 3rdDuke of Marlborough, who was rumoured to have paid palladian architect Robert Morris £2,277 to erect the first two buildings on the island in order to indulge his hobby of fishing. It took Morri three years to complete, but his work marks an important milestone in the property and island’s history – and it is arguably here where the narrative of what is now known as Monkey Island Estate really begins. But it was only recently when the story took on a new narrative, complete with the introduction of new characters, to become a completely unique boutique hotel.

In 2016, YTL Hotels acquired the land, and work began to restore the property into a modern and relaxed countryside abode. Inspired by the haunts of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike, New York-based Champalimaud Design was responsible to sensitively orchestrate the interior design of the hotel. Having completed the interior design of YTL’s debut UK property, The Gainsborough Bath and Spa, and more recently The Academy in London, the studio, while also sensitively restoring Raffles Singapore, was well-poised to develop the relationship further.

Unlike any hotel project that lead designer Jon Kastl has faced before, the geography of Monkey Island Estate presented its own unique set of challenges. “You have no idea how difficult it is to work on a island that has no direct car access,” he explains. “Everything had to be carried over the footbridge onto the island. And then, the other challenge was the age of the buildings, and dealing with the neglect of the building. They were in pretty rough shape, almost falling into disrepair.”

Guests’ first impression of the hotel is an understated – almost camouflaged – lobby area in a cosy ‘boathouse’ – the feeling of being taken away from the daily grind does not get much stronger than this so close to the centre of London. “The hotel is relatively small,” adds “

The short walk over the footbridge from the unassuming lobby to the public areas is one of wonder. Architectural landscape designer AV Design has created a majestic garden that compliments the various buildings.

Framing what should be in my opinion the postcard picturesque views of the River Thames, the pavilion building, which shelters the majority of the public areas, sets a relaxing setting – and echoes, on a balmy summer afternoon at least, the same peaceful scene that I imagine was once enjoyed by monks centuries ago.

Caption: The Restaurant | Image credit: ACT Studios

Although the bar and restaurant is, on the surface, seemingly conventional, the building has a few hidden gems. The Monkey Room, for example, stands true to its original form and structure – and even design. “The only thing we changed was the purple paint colours on the ceiling and add the furnishings,” says Kastl. The eye-catching murals on the panelling is all original which has been there from since when the building was first built.

Caption: The Monkey Room | Image credit: ACT Studios

Up the spiral staircase, The Whiskey Room is the latest area that has opened. Designed with the winter months in mind, the cosy and home-from-home atmosphere, complete with tactile wallcoverings, is an expected treat.

It is because of the fact that the 41 guestrooms and one originally restored suite are sheltered in a grade I-listed building that makes the design story even more fascinating. The design of each and every one of the guestrooms utilises the entire space, with some stretching out onto terraces which look over the river, while carefully blending in a modern style that becomes timeless.  “We just had to accept the smallness of the rooms when designing them,” Kastl explains. “We did things like designing miniature shelves and additional service space. We designed rails that lined the rolls for guests to hang items from. Because there is such a limited closet space, we had to rely on these rails.” The furniture is scaled appropriately so that it fits in the limited space neatly. Meanwhile, the blinds and curtains, supplied by Concept Contract Furnishings are deliberately not heavy, and instead naturally flood the rooms with light to make them look and feel more expansive.

INTERACTIVE tour of The Wedgwood Suite | Image credit: ACT Studios

Despite the guestrooms being impressive – and adding to the overall interior design story (and challenges) – the masterpiece of the hotel is perhaps sheltered upstairs in the Wedgewood Suite. “The room, from the panelling to the ceiling, was very much intact,” explains Kastl. “One of the challenges was that it has windows on three sides, so from a layout point of view it created a few headaches.” The ensuite bathroom has been re-gutted and given a fresh and modern look. “ The suite is the coming together of old heritage design and the new.

Moored on the river bank, the hotel’s spa is unlike any other in or around London. The facilities have been curated by Melissa Mettler who took inspiration from its riverine surrounds, past inhabitants in the form of royalty, liturgy and literary stars, as well as elegant architecture. The floating spa, which features two treatment rooms that are uniquely sheltered within a renovated barge, is a celebration of the power of water blended together with natural wellbeing and wellness.

Image credit: ACT Studios

I’m sure, for the designers as much as the operators, that the thought of completing Monkey Island Estate and opening again to the public was a distant day dream. But, considering the drastic rise in demand for wellbeing as well as wellness, the timing of YTL hotel’s countryside retreat could not have been more perfect. Checking out of Monkey Island feeling fully restored in mind, body and spirit myself, following a short by sweet trip to the floating spa before departure, the hotel locks in so many unique and thoughtful moments – and exceeds expectations to become one of the UK’s premium countryside retreats.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

LIGHTING WATCH: Berkley Collection from Christopher Hyde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIGHTING WATCH: Berkley Collection from Christopher Hyde

Christopher Hyde Lighting beautiful Berkeley table lamp was recently supplied in the lobby area of a luxury hotel in Moscow…

The stunning and imposing table lamp allows the interior designer to put the finishing touches into their own five-star project. The design of the Berkeley collection features delicate cast brass details. Available in many different finishes from the ever popular french gold and antique silver to polished rose gold and soft bronze. Complimented by Christopher Hyde’s hand crafted silk lampshades the Berkeley table lamp is sure to brighten up any lobby.

The Berkeley range is on display at the company’s showroom at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour, London.

Christopher Hyde’s new catalogue is released soon and is available to order.

Christopher Hyde 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: Christopher Hyde

The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

In search of a new standard in design, creativity and urban hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to London’s most talked-about hotels this year to explore another world. The Standard London has opened, making a bold statement on the capital’s new hospitality scene… 

Something significant is happening in London’s King’s Cross area. It’s been brewing for some time now, but it has only recently erupted.

During London Design Festival and London Fashion Week, the area was the backdrop of a scene of celebrities, models and the odd design editor or two falling out of parties and onto pavements. Soho and Shoreditch were desolate deserts in comparison. It’s the power of real estate like you have never seen before. Selecting its opening date carefully, The Standard has disrupted everything – and it’s about time too!

Although, for years, the district has evolved with the time, it was the expansions to King’s Cross and the new St Pancras International stations adjacent to each other that started the catalyst for change. Strangely enough, my father worked on the construction of both. I remember the odd non-official ‘bring your son to work’ day, the oversized hard hat specifically, as we meandered around the expansive building site unable to imagine the finished picture. “Soon, you will be able to travel from London to Paris in just two hours, imagine that” I remember my father saying overexcitedly. “Right here, where you are standing, is going to become London’s major international train station!”

Whether or not my pops really was one of the first to envision the area’s potential is irrelevant. The station opened and almost instantly the cool, quirky neighbourhood of Camden became even more of a hotspot for the mainstream, without much – if any – loss of its bold and bohemian personality. As a result, the capital’s hotel scene – quick to follow major travel trends – moved outward to put a roof over the raw and rustic scenes that its locals had created.

And here we are, welcoming the city’s new arrival, The Standard, which has been patiently waiting in the wings for some time now. And while all hotels have a story (some more worth sharing than others), The Standards’ narrative is as unique as the interior design scheme locked within; a perfect meeting of American soul and London’s ostentatious quirk.

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored by the legendary ORMS Architects in collaboration, in part, with Archer Humphryes Architects.

The 266-key hotel, which shelters 42 suites, sets the perfect stage for the brand’s first arrival outside America. Uniquely overlooking the iconic St Pancras Station, from street level it’s juxtaposition of architecture that shouldn’t but does work. On the north side is the traditional 19th-century iconic neo-gothic architecture, which has stood the test of time, and two world wars for that matter, unscathed. On the south side is the ultra-modern non-conventional structure, symbolising loudly that times are changing.

“Three new storeys have been added to the top of the building,” explains Simon Whitaker from ORMS Architects. “The form of which has been derived from the host building below, and clad in new stainless steel and glass panels. Two of these floors provide hotel bedrooms, whilst the top floor is dedicated to the new restaurant and bar, with a roof terrace above.”

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Upon entering, the lobby lounge sets the scene, with a carefully curated library that pays homage to the building’s original use. Further in, sound studio booths host weekly live music and talks. Executive Chef Adam Rawson’s street facing bar, Double Standard, designed by Shawn Hausman, the neighbourhood’s street-facing anchor for lunch, casual drinking and dining throughout the evening.

Although the colour scheme in the guestrooms and suites may not be to everyone’s taste, it is very much so mine. Not so much because of the tones used, but more so because they have been intertwined together with purpose – and unapologetically so for that matter. Complete with bespoke curved sofas and the King’s rooms featuring outdoor terrace bathtubs, the idiosyncratic charm of the hotel is certainly not limited to the public areas.

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Before it opened, the hotel’s street level, red exterior lift was the ultimate teaser campaign. Now fully open, it shoots guests up directly to the 10th-floor where Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant showcases his live-fire cooking and where guests and visitors alike can enjoy the building’s 360-degree views of the city below all-year round thanks to the retractable awning.

No longer do party-hard followers of the brand have to travel stateside to experience The Standard’s retro maximalism. First launched in the late 90s with its debut hotel in Hollywood, which for the record remains to this day a go-to destination on the Sunset Strip, the hotel’s urban cool influence is London’s answer to keeping the Camden’s hospitality scene fresh, authentic and designed with purpose.

It’s next stop? The Maldives, next month in fact, which will be an interesting page to turn in what is an unmistakably climatic chapter for the now international hotel brand.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

SPOTLIGHT ON: October’s features announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: October’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its October editorial features, which are Lighting in Public Areas and Art…

For the second time this year, as a result of ever-evolving LED technology and consumer demands, Hotel Designs is putting lighting under the editorial spotlight, this time specifically looking at innovative lighting schemes outside the guestrooms and suites. Lighting in public areas and art will be the main focus of conversations on the website throughout October.

Lighting in public areas

Due to popular demand, we have decided to revisit lighting as one of our Spotlight On features of 2019. Throughout October, will highlight key lighting trends that are happening in the public areas.

Art

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiorsWorking hand-in-hand with lighting in the public areas, we will position the spotlight to focus on art in international hotel design. This continues to be one of our most popular features of the year as we understand how art in the hotel arena is changing to create even more immersive spaces.

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

Main image credit: antonovich-design

LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

Orb from Chelsom is one of the signature ranges from the latest collection Edition 26, presenting a range of elegant contemporary fittings with timeless appeal that would be an impressive addition to a wide variety of interior schemes…

The Orb ceiling fittings feature matt opal hand blown glass globes teamed with Brushed Brass cups with a decorative laser cut Prince of Wales check pattern. Arms are in contrasting Satin Black fixed to central support rings.

Chandeliers are suspended from three fine strainer wires adjustable for height during installation and are available in a variety of sizes with a wall light alterative also available.

Chelsom 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.

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

In the second part of our colour series (click here for part one), Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explains how and why designers should opt for greener designs in bathrooms…

Bathrooms make up a huge proportion of a hotel’s water and energy usage, which on average is 84 to 173 gallons per room per day, far higher than the average daily household usage of 66 gallons per day.

This explains why they’ve become the focus for many hoteliers looking not only to save money, but also to minimise their impact on the environment.

However, any environmental worries have to be balanced with the needs of guests. The seamless blend of sustainability and luxury, with little compromise to guest experience is the aim for hotel owners and trends show that this will be the case in the years to come. And ‘green’ considerations go way beyond the bathroom space, with materials used in bathroom products, transportation, waste produced during manufacture and subsequent biodegradable components all being important.

UK Bathrooms, is the leading, independent supplier of designer bathroom products and as such is seeing a change in trends of sales to hoteliers in the UK and internationally. “We’re seeing a trend to natural materials, as well as reclaimed and recycled, such as timber from sustainable forests and stone,” said Graeme Borchard, director of UKBathrooms. “We’re a leading supplier of premium brands. As a company they are ‘a champion of the value of water’, pioneers in environmentally friendly, luxury, bathroom products. Their ongoing research, and development in technology and design, means that hansgrohe produces superb products which are beautifully designed, highly efficient and sustainable.”

A great example of this is EcoSmart. Hansgrohe showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology use up to 60 per cent less water than traditional products, not only using less water, but also needing less energy to heat the water.  The Hansgrohe Raindance EcoSmart overhead shower provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience whilst being eco-friendly.

By implementing greener practices, and ensuring guests are aware of these, hotels can make being eco-friendly even more attractive. Hotel bathrooms have a certain ‘luxury’ which people then like to emulate in their own homes, the choices that hotels make end up being reflected in homes around the world.

UKBathrooms 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.

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

Colour has the power to raise or lower our heartbeat, impact our sleep and influence our overall wellbeing. There’s a tremendous amount of research that’s gone into the psychology of colour and the impact it has on our health. Kicking off our colour series, brand strategist Emma Potter explores how conscious consumers are of their relationship with colour, especially when checking in to a hotel…

Depending on our upbringing, gender, values, geography, and other influencing factors – colour can have very different meanings. For example, orange is often considered friendly, confident and cheerful (think Amazon and Orange); red is excitement, youthful and bold (think Coca-Cola and Lego); blue is trustworthy, dependable and strong (think Unilever and PayPal).  Colour evokes feelings and emotion, and choosing the right colours can make the difference between success of failure of a brand, business, and hotel environment – the colours that adorn and decorate these spaces will evoke feeling that make us connect.

Colour with purpose

Colour has the power to silently influence how consumers think and behave in an environment. Interior designers and hoteliers put a huge amount of effort into the hues they choose to decorate a spaced, be that a lobby, restaurant, bedroom or lounge area, as they appreciate the effect colour has on their consumers emotions. In order to create an appropriate scene for a certain target audience, it’s worth understanding the science of colour psychology and the tremendous ability it has to change entire moods.

A welcoming hotel reception and lobby has the ability to make or break a first impression when a customer walks through the doors. All sorts of creative elements are utilised to deliver the ‘Wow’ factor – this may include impressive sweeping stair cases (Plaza 18), bold curvaceous sculptures, wood-burning fire places that house a Italian marble mantel, sculptural sofas and alternative seating to make customers feel welcome and relaxed, and bold artwork – in some instances they may even look like a gallery.

Exploring colours that are timeless and evoke healthy wellbeing

Some may argue that using neutral colours (beige, cream, grey) will appeal to a broader market. While white may be a natural choice for a Greek Mediterranean style hotel (Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa), some people may associate white with cleanliness, whilst others may associate it with hospitals. Either way, white will significantly brighten up a room and will help to reflect light and colour.

Green typically symbolises growth and harmony, which is extremely grounding and brings us back to nature – think rolling countryside surrounded by lush leafy trees or blossoming flowers and open spaces. It is often associated with evoking a feeling of peace, trust and tranquillity, and it helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, whilst stimulating love, balance and harmony in the body. The ideal choice for rural hotels, some would argue. But it can also be injected into urban hotels, such as Nhow London, to add flair, vibrancy and electricity.

Image credit: Project Orange/Nhow

Blue symbolises trust and tranquillity, is often considered a calming colour, and goes well with grey and white to create a Scandinavian style. It’s reminiscent of flowing rivers, the ocean and the sky. The blue blossom of forget-me-nots help to stimulate mental clarity and creative expression, so floral arrangements also need to be considered from a design perspective. Perhaps the ideal choice for hotels by the sea or near water.

Oranges and reds symbolise energy, fire and passion, they resemble a sunset which represents creativity and emotion wellbeing. Mixing these colours with black would create a dramatic, mysterious ambience, perhaps lending themselves to Moroccan or Arabian interiors. However, where natural light is not in abundance, it may best to keep black to a minimum.

From the outset, a designer must work with the hotelier to decide upon the right colour palette to suit not only the style of the hotel, but the environment, ambience and setting they’re aiming to create, and the type of guest they’re aiming to attract.

Colour and the design process

There is no doubt about it, hotels are becoming more personalised – the recent renovation inside W London Leicester Square is a perfect example of this. As the saying in creative development goes: “Structure has integrity”, but designers – and guests checking in for that matter – are multi-faceted people, with multiple interests, so why just present one version ourselves? The core of our personality – or brand DNA / identity – will remain, but we give ourselves the permission to personalise aspects to make every room and space special and stand out in its own right. Be that through an aspect of design, a feature that’s maximised, lighting to create a mood, music to evoke a rhythm, technology to take us into the next millennia, temperature control to make it feel like a fresh spring morning or a hot summers day, it all plays its part in the personalisation process. I liken it to a menu in a restaurant – everything on the menu will reflect the chef behind the brand, but the choice each customer makes creates a unique, individual, memorable experience. Ideally one that each guest wants to talk about. In addition, lighting will change the atmosphere of a room or space, and this continues to be an ever-evolving trend.

Image credit: W Hotels

Design trends through the decades

I’m sure, like many of us, we’re more influenced subconsciously by colour than we realise. Thankfully 2019 has represented a year where bright new colours have returned to the trending palette.

A new word for me this year is ‘Biophilia’ meaning ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings and the natural world’. To quote Angie Lee: “Biophilia is a design driver that engages the end user by connecting them to primal instincts about the relationship between humans and nature.” As the quest with technology continues to push the boundaries to supposedly make our lives better, more efficient, smarter and more connected – in reality what we crave as ‘human beings’ is connection, and being in nature, hearing the rhythm of waves, being able to touch natural surfaces like stone are wood, is what brings us to a state of consciousness where real life flows. No longer a place to pass through whilst checking in, I love the idea that the hotel lobby has become a place to connect and congregate. Moreover, now we often see artists being commissioned to create bespoke pieces for lobby areas, which ties the concept of ‘art and wallcoverings’ much closer together.

The return of bold colours in 2019

I appreciate that multiple shades and tones of grey have been in fashion for some time now and are timeless and therefore appropriate for the international hotel design scene, but consumers are beginning to become more drawn to bold, warm, vibrate colours such as pink and orange. So, it was heart-warming to see Pantone name ‘Living Coral’ as the colour of the year, described as follows ‘an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge’. It certainly adds vibrancy and a natural injection of warmth that has perhaps been missing in recent years.

“Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” – Albert Hadley

Global growth of the wellness industry

Spanning multiple sectors including personal care, beauty and anti-aging; wellness tourism; traditional and complimentary medicine; wellness real estate; and workplace wellness, global growth has sky rocketed in recent years, and at the end of 2018 the wellness economy was dubbed to be worth $4.2 trillion.

Moreover, the projected average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 has been noted at eight per cent for wellness real estate, 6.7 per cent for workplace wellness, and a staggering 6.4 per cent for spa facilities. Perhaps this is due to the human race living longer, poor health as we age, and the increased stress levels this induces? One thing is for sure, the wellness industry is a driving dynamic force that’s converging to create a more connected experience in all areas of our lives – personal, home, work, travel.

Whilst ‘Mindfulness’ may have grown in popularity in recent years, it seems 2019 is fast becoming the year of wellbeing and consciousness – in all areas and aspects of our lives. To quote Albert Hadley: “Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” Interior design is deeper than simply decorating, colour schemes have the ability to cleverly transform and/or evoke emotions and designing with purpose as a whole will result in space that is more functional, more inviting and more appropriate to the guests checking in.

Main image credit: Hilton Doubletree

Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

Chelsom worked with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the guestrooms and public areas of one of Miami’s coolest hotels, Mr.C Coconut Grove

The overall design scheme of Mr. C Coconut Grove was completely individual in its entirety as to be expected from MBDS and the lighting pieces designed for the project were no exception.

A selection of Art Deco inspired fittings were created for the public areas including the reception and lobby and Bellini’s, the main restaurant and bar area. Channelling Miami chic at its finest, fittings for the restaurant include delicate glass wall lights with Brass detailing, decorative Art Deco table lamps with domed glass shades and Brass metalwork adorn the banquet seating teamed with classic Brass picture lights to frame the artwork. Toadstool shaped Art Deco lights with perforated Brass shades adorn the main bar area with a statement pendant above the bar making a dramatic visual impact. The custom designed fitting is an oversized shade style pendant in cream with Brass trim detail suspended from a Brass canopy. Oversized floor lamps adorn the lobby area with Brushed Brass and walnut table lamps with delicately concaved domed shades specified for the reception desk.

Key pieces for the guestrooms and suites includestatement bespoke ceiling pendants in Antique Brass with six opalglass globes branching from a central stem with larger double tiered versions specified for the suites. Bespoke floor lamps in Brushed Brass with a curved arm and decorative locking key joint are teamed with tapered cylindrical shades in cream linen supplemented by Art Decotable lampsand wall lights perfectly in-keeping with both the flawless interior scheme created by the team at MBDS and the historic building itself.

Chelsom 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: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

SPOTLIGHT ON: September’s features announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: September’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its September editorial features, which are Lobby Design and Furniture… 

Inspired largely by the upcoming London Design Festival (LDF), Hotel Designs’ September features will delve into two areas are arguably mostly influenced by the social changes and trends in hotel design. In addition to attending the capital’s celebration of design, the editorial team will also lead an exclusive roundtable, in collaboration with Arte Wallcoverings, to public areas and the hotel lobby firmly under the spotlight.

Lobby Design 

In addition to publishing a series of editorial around the changing face of the hotel lobby, Hotel Designs has collaborated with Arte Wallcoverings to host an exclusive editorial roundtable ahead of the company unveiling its latest collection at Focus 19. The session entitled: Adding personality in public areas will be attended by leading designers and architects from the likes of Richmond International, 1508 London, IHG, Scott Brownrigg, RPW Design and GA Design among others to be confirmed.

Image credit: Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

Furniture

As well as covering the latest news from its relevant Recommended Suppliers, such as Curtis Furniture, Knightsbridge, Style Library, Roundwood of Mayfield and Morgan, Hotel Designs will also be on the ground at LDF ’19 in order to publish, live and direct, the latest furniture product launches on the international hotel design scene.

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

Main image credit: Rosewood Bangkok

The BIID announces LDF ’19 movements

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The BIID announces LDF ’19 movements

As part of London Design Festival (LDF) 2019, The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), which is an industry partner for The Brit List 2019, will be participating in a range of exciting talks and events across the capital…

Taking place from September 14 – 22, London Design Festival (LDF) brings together trade professionals and design enthusiasts from all over the world. The BIID is supporting some of the key trade shows that are taking place, with BIID members taking part in thought-provoking and informative discussions throughout the week.

“It’s a pleasure to be involved in London Design Festival again this year,” comments BIID President Harriet Forde. We are so excited to see our members participating in discussions, workshops and events throughout the week. This allows us not only to support our talented BIID Members, but the wider community of industry professionals and creatives working in the city.”

Focus/19 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

September 15 – 20, 2019

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is once again hosting Focus/19. The annual event has a packed programme of engaging talks, meet the designer sessions, discovery tours and workshops.

On Friday September 20 at 4pm, BIID Member Anna Burles of Run For The Hills will be hosting a design workshop titled, ‘Designers of the World Unite’at the Espresso Design showroom. Anna will be speaking on the importance of eco-sensibility within the design sector and encouraging fellow designers to do their bit for planet earth, offering a range of practical tips and insider insight into things big and small that we can all do to make a difference, whilst still delivering exciting, unexpected and original schemes for clients.

100% Design at Olympia London

September 18 – 21, 2019

Returning to Olympia for its 25thedition, 100% Design is renowned for showcasing emerging talent in the capital, featuring a number of new projects and collaborations that celebrate the best in design and innovation.

As part of 100% Design’s four-day seminar programme, Talks with 100% Design, BIID Past President Daniel Hopwood will be chairing a panel discussion titled, ‘20 ways to achieve #DesignGoals’. Taking place on Saturday September 21 from 12:00pm – 12:45pm in the auditorium, Daniel will be joined by BIID Registered Interior Designers; Anna Burles of Run For The Hills, Dee Gibson of Velvet Orangeand Mathew Freeman of Goddard Littlefair.

The lively discussion will see panellists share their tops tips to help you achieve your #designgoals. Panellists will draw on their own personal experiences to provide design insights and advice to inspire their audience.

designjunction at London’s Kings Cross

September 19 – 22, 2019

Designjunction presents the breakthrough brands having a direct impact on the future of design. Hosted in London’s Kings Cross, the four-day event includes an exciting talks programme and over 200 exhibitors.

On Friday September 20, BIID President Harriet Forde will be hosting a BIID Members’ breakfast at Blueprint Café from 9:00 – 11:00am. The breakfast will provide members with an informal tour of the event highlights and the opportunity to network with fellow designers.

Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

In August 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn concludes that trends are overrated when a project close to his heart reaches its highly anticipated conclusion…

I can’t quite believe it has been almost one year since we first started following the award-winning designer Nicky Dobree on her journey to complete her debut hotel design project. Before now, her undisputed talent was recognised for designing the interiors of 007-esqe luxury mountain retreats (Kevin McCloud’s words, not mine unfortunately).

But this year, she has injected her effortless style to restore a 19thcentury building in Vejer, Spain, which is known as Plaza 18 – and Hotel Designs has been there every step of the way.

Now that the season has ramped up to reach its peak, there’s no better time to put down the measuring tape, take a step back and reward Dobree’s “labour of love” as we cut the ribbon. More than 1,300 miles from Andalucia, the team in the London office are gathered around my computer screen as they impatiently wait for the folder to download, of which contains the final images of the new boutique hotel. Until now, you see, we have had to settle for shakey behind-the-scenes, unquestionably raw, photographs taken on location, as well as renders and sketches, which merely tease the luxury home-from-home concept in the making.

You’d be wrong to assume it’s an easy task working on a project of this scale. What the hotel lacks in the number of guestrooms (six to be precise) it makes up for in personality. And if anyone could sensitively re-establish the heritage property in order to give it a new lease of life, it would be Dobree.

“All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

‘Home comforts’ feels like an appropriate theme for this month’s column. Four years after capturing my first solo metropolis memory, which then drove me to chase my career in a number of cities in the UK, I’ve hit a crossroads and have decided to take the right-hand turn, which has result in me hurtling back towards my hometown of Whitstable in Kent. Nestled on the north-east tip of the Garden of England, where home comforts – think sea views that stretch over the horizon and unparalleled sunsets – are never in short supply, this feels like ‘home’ to me. “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

It seems I am not alone in chasing home comfort. Last year, a study published by Forbes showed that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 per cent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 per cent loss in hotel revenue. But as damning as this statistic may seem, hotels are fighting back to offer more home-from-home comforts married together with one-off experiences to capture travellers’ attention.

Examples of this can be found all over the Hotel Designs website this month, from our Miniview of room2’s ‘hometel’ concept in Southampton to a new ‘private members’ bar’-styled hotel that will open in London next year – and not forgetting the exceptional Plaza 18. Perhaps subconsciously, my year-long project with Dobree has led me to positively seek comfort in timeless style as opposed to chasing the short-term thrills of seasonal trends.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

Hilton Munich City is placing the finishing touches on a $50 million hotel transformation project, which includes a full refurbishment of the hotel, including all public areas, guestrooms, fitness centre and F&B areas…

Hilton Munich City, which opened a new F&B area called Juliet Rose earlier this year, has now been completed a full $50 million renovation. “We are thrilled to present this amazing, refreshed hotel to all our guests and clients,” said Dagmar Muhle, the general manager of Hilton Munich City.

“This way we are able to continue to innovate in the way we deliver our signature hospitality and provide our guests with an enhanced experience here at Hilton Munich City. We are also very excited to have been recognized as ‘Germany’s Leading City Hotel 2019’ at the World Travel Awards Europe 2019, a great achievement and confirmation of the services our team delivers on a daily basis.”

Juliet Rose is made up of four different seating zones, each with different stand-out features, plus two bars. The main ‘ceremony bar’ is a stunning, monolithic U-shaped design that guests coming from the hotel entrance see as soon as they enter the space, at the far end of a central approach. A second, smaller-scale coffee bar is made of the same dramatic moss-green and highly-polished granite, with the choice of material referencing the earthiness of botanical ingredients. The granite for the main bar has been book-matched to ensure dramatic textural veining from the front. Above and behind the main bar, the gantry structure is made up of brass sections, with an industrial/lab feel, underscored by an apothecary-style bottle display. The barman prepares cocktails at its centre, making full use of dry ice, bell jars and a sense of reveal.

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

“The overall design approach for the space was based on form and order, with drama, freedom and an opposing sense of randomness created by the furniture and accessorising’, architect David Lee Hood, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, explained. ‘When it came to structure, we added a number of new elements to the space to give a feeling of overall order and symmetry, whilst also ensuring playful visibility between zones via glazed screens offering varying privacy levels.”

The hotel provides a complement of services and brand amenities, including 483 guestrooms, nine meeting rooms, MONA restaurant, Juliet Rose Bar and a fitness centre.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

To complete the Concept to Completion series with Nicky Dobree, Hotel Designs is given the keys to finally unlock the majestic heavy doors of pure luxury inside Plaza 18… 

Up until now, the designer Nicky Dobree has been synonymous with luxury Alpine chalet design and most recently very high end residential design. Most recently she has turned her attention to Plaza 18, her debut hotel design project in collaboration with Vejer’s Hotel La Casa del Califa.

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

Set in the former 19th C merchant’s house Nicky Dobree has taken inspiration from this elegant building and brought new life back into this Grand Dame by respecting its history, but also lifting its character to provide an enriched experience for the modern traveller. Working with local trades and craftsmen, the building, which dates back to 1896 and stands on the foundations of an ancient 13th C Arab house, has been entirely restored using authentic organic building materials where ever possible.

“Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.”

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Dobree was determined to restore and re-use as many of its existing features as possible. The original black and white floor tiles were therefore lifted and re-laid on newly levelled floors. The Montera (large glazed roof lantern over the entrance patio) was carefully dismantled and repaired to its former glory, which now floods the entrance foyer with light. The stone staircase and balustrade were also completely restored, as was all the metal work around the entrance gate. Many of the original shutters and windows were restored along with the front door. Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiors

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

The designer felt that her role was to curate this elegant old building and to bring it a new lease of life, enhancing its beauty with style and a subtle creative twist.

Plaza 18 has been a true labour of love with the inevitable obstacles of planning, working abroad and within a listed building. The trials and tribulations of restoring an old building and the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered to, to convert it into a commercial venture, has meant that the project took two years to get through planning and a further two years to compete.

The hotel is now the secret second home that one has always dreamed of, warm and welcoming with a strong sense of place, an oasis within an oasis.

Whilst the details adhere to the classical principles of the house, there is comfort and elegance through every door. Every room has a story to tell and contains pieces that have been lovingly curated by Dobree from around the world. This is evident from the moment you enter with the oversized black and white mirror by a South African artist which makes a dramatic statement in the entrance.  Dobree designed the bespoke console to sit beneath the mirror that complements the monochromatic entrance scheme.

In the patio whilst your eye is drawn up to the montera and the wonderful central staircase you cannot miss the large scale butterfly painting sourced from an antiques fair.

Stepping into the sitting room, there is nothing more welcoming than a well stocked drinks trolley, an honesty bar, that can be enjoyed by guests at Plaza 18. Standing proud above it is a painting of Admiral Lord de Saumarez who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar (a short drive from the hotel) alongside Admiral Lord Nelson.

“On a clear day the North African coast is visible.”

Leading off the sitting room is the main terrace with views across the old town, sierras and coast line. On a clear day the North African coast is visible. It is here that guests can enjoy breakfast, sitting on olive wicker chairs with outdoor fabrics that complement the vintage printed crockery. No detail has been missed.

Tall black bespoke doors with circular brass handles designed by Dobree create drama and continuity throughout. Behind each of these doors are interiors that are intensely layered and so inviting that everywhere you turn is a visual delight.   Here you will discover more of Dobree’s curated pieces such as a Japanese Boro Kimono or collage painting by Peter Clarke.

All the bathrooms have been beautifully designed using Spanish floor tiles and bespoke marble vanities with Lefroy Brooks deco style fittings echoing the elegance of the house.

The attention to detail is reflected in every aspect of one’s experience here. Dobree worked with a renowned perfumer to provide bespoke toiletries that have been specially formulated to create a signature scent for Plaza 18 and that are soft and subtle on the skin. The scent is inspired by the aromas that perfume Vejer, orange, bergamot, lavender and geranium. The base of olive oil and almond that nourishes the skin is local too.

Plaza 18 has a true home from home feeling that brings Dobree’s collective chic and timeless elegant style to Vejer. It is a place to feel at home, a place to disconnect and re-discover.

Hotel Designs has followed the construction of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project, from concept to competition. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two. Click here to read part three

Main image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

With unparalleled views casting over the ancient city below, Wyndham Grand Athens opened in 2017 to capture the city from a unique perspective. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in two years later to explore just how timeless the interiors really are…

It seems to me that Greece – and Athens in particular – is a magnet this year for influencers – my Instagram feed for starters is bursting at the seams with the hashtag #VisitGreece. And so, like all consumers, slaves to the travel trends, I felt obliged to check in on the action to discover hotel design Greek style.

Despite the destination’s pockets of derelict and forgotten-in-time in places, Athens’ authentic charm amplifies through the streets and outwards towards the barefoot-luxury islands. And with a recent report published by GBR Consulting revealing that at least 40 new accommodation units (hotels and room-to-let properties) arrived in the city in the first half of this year, it seems as if my social media is, after all, an accurate tool for measuring travel hotspots.

With the vast number of archaeological sites dotted around – and the 5th Century BC landmarks – I would argue that a good place to start is up high, soaking in the establishing shot from a rooftop bar, which features panoramic views stretching from the ancient acropolis right through to the port of Piraeus. Luckily for me, and after the recommendation from the hotel group’s President and Managing Director, Wyndham Grand Athens offers all of this and more.

The hotel, which is the hotel group’s first property in Greece, is situated on Karaiskaki Place, an area that was once seen as an area to avoid for tourists. However, following a stream of newly opened art galleries, modern coffee shops and restaurants, it became one of the destination’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods – a reputation that Wyndham Hotels only strengthened when it arrived in 2017.

Zeus International transformed the building owned by VIOHALCO, which formerly housed the Hotel Athens Imperial. The now 276-key hotel shelters timeless and dynamic interiors, balancing a healthy mix of warm and sharp public spaces combined with calming guestrooms and suites.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed into a neutral yet inviting lobby, which leads up to FOS Restaurant on the ground floor. The interiors inside FOS, which is the Greek for ‘light’, create an appropriate scene. The contemporary F&B scene sits under a large chandelier that is suspended from an expansive floor-to-ceiling atrium.

From one unforgettable public area to another, located on the rooftop of the hotel is the Above Bar and Restaurant. Complete with unobstructed views over the acropolis, making it one of the best roof-top restaurants in the city, this area is quirky and relaxed. Blue, mustard, grey and black contemporary Enka furniture confidently contrast the geometric flooring, creating a strong mise en scéne for any scenario.

Adjacent to the subdued design-led restaurant and bar is a modest pool, which also captures the same Insta-worthy panoramic views over the city.

The majority of the 249 guestrooms and 27 suites include views over the city and the Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill. The interiors feature soft silvery-toned wallpaper with accents of colour in the furniture and soft furnishings and some include windows that wrap around the room, adding further natural light in.

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

The stripped-back modern décor of the guestrooms and suites continues in the marble bathrooms. The yellow glow in the suites’ furniture becomes a motif as it is also echoed on the soft reflective surface behind the wide bathroom mirror, creating an ambiance of subtle contemporary luxury.

Although Wyndham Grand Athens is not the latest hotel to emerge on the hotel design scene recently, it is certainly a strong example of how a design-led hotel can significantly lift a destination to become a major go-to travel hotspot.

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Pre-show interview with designer of The Conscious Bedroom

The Founder and Creative Director of Harris & Harris London, Alex Harris, gives Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, a sneak peek of The Conscious Bedroom that he and his team are designing for The Independent Hotel Show London 2019… 

It was at the beginning of 2019 when Harris & Harris, the London based multidisciplinary design studio, were first approached by the organisers of Independent Hotel Show to work on this year’s concept room set.

The brief was simple (and came in after the show had viewed the studio’s interior design portfolio online): to design The Conscious Hotel Room for the Independent Hotel Show 2019. The design studio leaped at the opportunity to design the concept room. “It was a seamless fit for the studio and their ethos of looking at the most environmentally and socially conscious way of producing luxury interiors and products,” Alex Harris, the studio’s Founder and Creative Director, explains. Arguably most importantly, though, the space at the show would give Harris & Harris the opportunity to showcase this mentality through the design and curation of brand partners who have similar ethics.

When designing the skeleton of the room, Harris was keen to explore creating a heritage feel. “We wanted it to feel as if the room was located within a historic building instead of a new build,” he explains. “This was to prove that sustainable design practices can also be applied to older buildings, which are more prominent in the UK. This was achieved through introducing Georgian style wall panelling throughout the bedroom and including some historic design references in the interior design but with a modern twist.” 

Parallel to curating sustainable focussed products and brands in the concept room – including factoring in elements like using local suppliers to reduce milage – the studio was also focussed on ensuring the overall design felt fresh, inviting and luxurious, all of which could be achieved whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the finished room on October 15, we caught up with Harris to understand more about the concept and his drive to design with purpose.

Hamish Kilburn: What sparked your passion for sustainability, both at university and beyond?
Alex Harris: I had the opportunity to gain work experience in 2005, prior to graduating from Bournemouth University, with the award winning furniture designer Russell Pinch (we grew up in the same tiny village in Gloucestershire). One day we traveled down to Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire as Russell was working on a new collection with them and I had the chance to see Benchmark’s incredible workshops, showroom and design office.

They are very focused on sustainability throughout their manufacturing process and the products themselves. Together with their passion for craftsmanship, this definitely resonated with me as a student and I knew that my final year project must represent this ethos that I witnessed with Pinch and Benchmark’s work.

I designed a (fully functioning) wooden wind-up LED lamp for my final year project, which I won an award for sustainability from my university. At the same time I approached the eco-design collective [RE] Design and had the opportunity to exhibit my lamp with them at the London Design Festival in 2006. Then in 2009 (after a stint living and working in Melbourne, Australia) I joined the Benchmark design team, four years after I had previously visited with Russell Pinch, so I had come full circle!

I then went to work for several interior designers in London who were focussed on luxury and not really concerned about sustainability, which was always difficult for me. I vowed that whenever I start my own design studio that we must bring together both ‘luxury’ and ‘sustainability’  to prove that they can work harmoniously.

HK: How will your concept The Conscious Hotel Room showcase environmental and social factors?
AH: We have thought about the design in terms of impact on the environment from floor to ceiling. It was very important to us that every element was considered, so we researched and approached companies that we knew could help us with this vision.

So we have organic and natural wool and linen fabrics, FSC certified timber flooring from Domus, bespoke 100 per cent recycled cardboard and plastic joinery pieces, many products that are made in the UK (to reduce ‘mileage’) such as our Harris & Harris furniture & lighting and the beautifully natural bed from Naturalmat, 100 per cent wool carpets from Axminster with their recycled car-tyres underlay (both also made in the UK). Handmade natural terracotta tiles, also from Domus, feature in the bathroom with Crosswater WC, basin mixers and showers with low water use. Edward Bulmer paint features on the bedroom walls that only uses natural ingredients. We have a boiling and chilled water tap from Quooker together with reusable water bottles at the mini bar, omitting the need for a kettle (as you only use the exact boiling water you need for a cup of tea) and of course no need for single-use plastic water bottles. Even the artwork we have curated with the art consultants ARTIQ has been chosen to minimise impact on the environment, with artists that use recycled materials and natural materials & processes.

“Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

The social factors that we have considered include making the space as wheelchair friendly as we can, with clear space around the bed, sofa, desk and bathroom vanity and a wide doorless opening into the bathroom with no change in floor level into the shower. Plants throughout provide better air quality and general well being. Natural materials are used wherever possible but in particular with the Naturalmat bed and linens from The Fine Cotton Company, to provide the best night’s sleep possible. Snacks and beverages will be sourced as locally as possible and that contain healthy ingredients.

HK: What are the challenges of creating a heritage feel from scratch?
AH: Our first approach was to introduce wall panelling and decorative mouldings throughout, this gave the feeling of a Georgian style property which also helped it feel warm, welcoming and luxurious. Materials, colours and patterns were also chosen to be simple and classic throughout and the furniture and joinery designs are pared back to give a timeless feel.

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

HK: What are the historic design references that are mentioned in the brief?
AH: As discussed above, the wall panelling and decorative mouldings, gave the feeling of a Georgian style interior. Our Harris & Harris furniture we have specified for the project; ‘Totterdown’ sofa, ‘Orchard’ Bench and ‘Clarke’ dining chair all have subtle references in their designs to 1920s/1930s Art Deco era and our Harris & Harris ‘Wharf’ lights (both table and pendants will be showcased) feature classic reeded glass. Cole & Son’s wallpaper ‘Flamingos’ that feature in the bathroom are a take on their archived designs from the 1960s as do the ‘Palm Jungle’ fabric on the scatter cushions. The herringbone pattern in the Axminster carpet is another classic design feature and the recycled cardboard tubing, used in the joinery and bed backdrop, gives a feeling of fluted columns that were used in Greek and Roman architecture.

“There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse).” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: Can a hotel be 100 per cent fully sustainable?
AH: Unfortunately I don’t believe we as human beings can ever be 100 per cent fully sustainable unless we go back to living in a cave! We can all do our bit to help minimise our impact, but we all consume and we all produce waste. There are so many ways in which hotels can embrace the three ‘R’s (reduce, recycle and reuse) and we are excited to showcase just a selection of examples of how this can be employed in the design of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom which we hope will inspire hoteliers for their current and future projects.

HK: Let’s talk about water consumption. So many hotel groups are pledging to reduce their water consumption by ‘X’ amount.. Which suppliers would you say are allowing this to be a reality?
AH: We are working closely with the British bathroom brand Crosswater who are supplying The Conscious Hotel Bedroom with their M Pro range which have WRAS and TMV2 certification. The WC has two flush types to encourage water management and the mixer tap features a Neoperl aerator that has a flow rate of only five litres per minute.

When I lived in Australia we received an egg timer from the local water company to encourage showers of under four minutes. This was such simple idea and gave a fun challenge to try and ‘beat the clock’ whilst saving water. We will be featuring an egg timer in the bathroom of The Conscious Hotel Bedroom.

“There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.” – Alex Harris, Founder and Creative Director, Harris & Harris

HK: What is the value of products that have been manufactured in the UK?
AH: We have many great craftsmanship skills and traditions that are hard to find abroad. Harris & Harris are passionate about producing the UK whenever possible and keeping these skills alive. There will be many UK produced products that will feature in The Conscious Hotel Bedroom and will be noted in our literature at the show.

HK: What can designers do to ensure an eco-hotel is still a trendy and fresh hotel?
AH: I think there is no reason why an eco-hotel cannot not still be trendy and fresh. Curating the products and materials specifically for The Conscious Hotel Bedroom galvanised this idea for us. Many brands now offer products which have less impact on the environment but still look fab. It is up to the designer to track these down and encourage their client to use in place of products that could be damaging to the environment.

HK: Can you explain the benefits of Smile Plastics?
AH: Smile plastics have kindly donated their ‘Dapple’ plastic sheets to us for the joinery pieces at The Conscious Hotel Bedroom. Dapple is made from recycled chopping boards and plastic packaging and with all of their ranges, Smile Plastics are produced from waste which would otherwise end up in land fill. With Dapple we felt it had the look of a natural material such as marble, to give a touch of luxury, particularly important in the bathroom where it features on the vanity joinery. Dapple is hard, dense and rigid, 100 per cent waterproof, rot-proof and strong weather resistance. It is solid and consistent, allowing for a decorative edge. It is also UV resistance and is food-grade and can be used for preparation of wet foods.

Harris & Harris will showcase The Conscious Hotel Room at the Independent Hotel Show 2019. In addition to this, Harris will also join editor Hamish Kilburn on stage to discuss this year’s major topic in a live talk entitled The Conscious Bedroom Report, which takes place at 11:30am on October 15, 2019.

Brand Partners (as of August 2019)
ARTIQ– art consultants and rental agency, Axminster- carpets, Cole & Son– wallpaper and fabrics, Crosswater- bathroom items including shower, basin, toilet and tapsCurran Packaging– recycled cardboard tubing, Domus – bathroom floor and wall tiles, timber flooring, Edward Bulmer – paint, The Fine Cotton Company – towels, gowns, slippers and bed linens, Harris & Harris London– furniture and decorative lighting, Naturalmat – bed, mattress and bed linens, Plant Plan – plants and moss/living wall, Quooker – boiling, filtered & chilled water mixer tap, Samsung– television and soundbarSmile Plastics– recycled plastic sheet material, Wandsworth Group – power, lighting sockets and faceplates

Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Franklite is the only UK company that is equipped to offer complete photometric files – and here’s why

Franklite, which believes it has the product to fit any lighting requirement, also one of the very few decorative and soft commercial lighting companies that has their own photometer and spectrometer and the only UK company which owns a Rigo 801-1500 near-field Goniophotometer – a cutting edge device used for measurement of light emitted from an object at different angles.

This investment now enables the company to offer complete photometric files compatible with designer’ssoftware in ELUMDAT .(ltd) and IESNA (.ies) formats.

Wojciech Miller, Franklites Technical Specialist states: ‘The Photometer allows us to gather information about the quality and quantity of light being produced by our luminaires. By utilizing this information, we are able to design and produce quality lighting products which also offer excellent energy saving credentials. In recent years lighting technology has evolved at a tremendous pace and with this investment it enablesFranklite to lead the field.”

Franklite 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.

DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN INSPIRATION: 7 Quirky hotels built into their surroundings

To continue putting Hotel Concepts under the spotlight, leading booking management service STAAH identifies seven quirky hotels that shelter one-off luxury experiences… 

Depending on the type of traveller you are trying to attract or designing for, sometimes a hotel needs to be nothing more than just a place to rest after a long day of exploring the surroundings of your destination.

For others, the right hotel is part of what makes the travel experience an interesting one. We have found some of the quirkiest hotels around to give you, your clients and/or your guests a memorable experience from check in right through to check out.

The Caves Resort, Jamaica

At The Caves Resort, Every room at the caves is unique and bursting with its own character, charm and heart-stopping coastal views. Sitting atop of some of the most incredible sea caves in the world, their 12 custom designed Cliffside cottages act as artful hideaways with all the comforts of home.

ICE Hotel, Sweden

Bed in the middle of iced shelter

Image credit: ICE Hotel

Staying in the largest ice hotel in the world is like living inside a diamond. Each suite is individually themed and hand carved by artists commissioned from around the world and a wide range of disciplines.  Spending a night in Ice Hotel is a surreal experience and a memory for life and in the morning you are awakened with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside.

Eco Camp Patagonia, Chile

At Eco Camp Patagonia, guests can immerse their in the stunning world of Torres del Paine National Park. Spend your days exploring this fragile paradise with trekking, multi-sport adventures, and wildlife watching, and your nights in harmony with nature in your very own dome.

Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji

Image credit: Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji/YouTube

At Poseidon Undersea Resort, the entire ocean is a playground. Activities abound for adventurers who wish to explore the unimaginable, like maneuvering a personal Triton submarine through a lagoon, exploring the ocean’s depths as the passenger of a 1,000-foot luxury submersible, and scuba diving in pristine waters. Those who seek solitude will find the epitome of relaxation when indulging in marine-focused spa treatments and meditation under the gaze of only the moon and stars.

Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Image credit: Aurora Express, Alaska, USA

Hotel and Motel lodging just can’t compare to the breath-taking views and unforgettable memories you’ll have when you stay on this amazing train (or once was)! The décor and majestic views to match will keep you wanting more.

The Aurora-Express is a Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska made out of authentic Alaska Railroad cars renovated to historical periods. Experience Fairbanks, Alaska in this nostalgic Bed & Breakfast overlooking greater Fairbanks, the Tanana Valley, & Alaska Mountain Range.

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Image credit: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Situated on the verdant banks of the Sweni River, modern autumnal-coloured furniture springs to life with vivid shades of green in one of the most intimate lodges in the Kruger. Sweni’s seven Suites are perched on stilts above the lush river and blend effortlessly into the surrounding trees.

Suites are open-plan (with curtains for privacy) with deep baths, splendid views of the river and lavish decks with daybeds and outdoor showers.

Hotel Endemico, Mexico

Image credit: Hotel Endemico, Mexico

They always say “good things come in small packages”. These little rooms pack a surprising punch once you step inside.

Hotel Endemico is a rustic retreat in Mexico’s wine country situated on a slope overlooking the Valle de Guadalupe. “Endemico” is a Spanish word meaning “part of the environment” and so each eco-pod is designed to show-off the rural landscape.

STAAH 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: Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London to welcome ‘private members’ club’ hotel in 2020

Slated to open in Q1 of 2020, The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club…

Presenting guests with what is being described as “a true home away from home experience”, the 53-key The Guardsman, which will sit on Buckingham Gate, London, and is being designed by architects Dexter Moren Associates and multi-disciplinary design practice Tonik Associates.

The hotel will be sheltered in an intimate property said to cut the same style and atmosphere as that of a private members’ club. The top three floors will encompass six exclusive residences. Designed as the perfect London pied-a-terre, they comprise a selection of one, two and three bedrooms, along with sumptuous living spaces, dining areas and fully fitted kitchens. The Penthouse has a wraparound terrace, whilst two other residences feature a more expansive outdoor space with planting and seating.

The hotel is set amongst some of London’s most historic and prestigiouslandmarks. The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are both a short walk away, while the neighbourhood has been the seat of government for a thousand years. The hotel extends down the quieter, more hidden, Vandon Street, giving the impression of a sanctuary.

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

From the moment guests arrive, they will instantly be made to feel at home by the discrete yet attentive service. Along with their choice of rooms or residences, they can request their preferred brand of drinks, menu items or bathroom products, all of which will be prepared ready for their arrival. The hotel has an unmistakably British feel that befits such a prestigious address. Interiors are contemporary and relaxed, complemented by a few carefully chosen, classic and sometimes quirky embellishments.

Meanwhile, bespoke furniture will fill the intimate public spaces and curated art adorns the walls. The individually styled bedrooms are exceptionally comfortable. Meticulously considered interior design and clever use of space ensure each room feels spacious, whilst flourishes such as custom-made furnishings and free-standing baths combine with more classic features like herringbone parquet flooring to continue the unmistakably British feel. State-of-the-art integrated televisions and speakers with Chromecast ensure all travellers’ technological needs are met.

Plush snug area

Image credit: Shiva Hotels

The spaces for dining and socialising are set over two levels, perfect for relaxing, reading, small gatherings or enjoying the carefully selected whiskeys and spirits as well as a sommelier curated wine list.

At the core of the hotel’s personality is the exquisite restaurant, open to residents and their guests only. Although a few select dishes will always be available, menus are developed daily from seasonal produce sourced from carefully selected purveyors, London markets and organic farms. The kitchen will be open all day, and room service will be available around the clock.

The Guardsman is owned and operated by Shiva Hotels and represents a new direction in this market for the group. “The Guardsman is designed for those who want the tailored, personal experience offered by a club, the flexibility and luxury of a hotel and the comfort and familiarity of a home,” said Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director, Shiva Hotels. “It will also have a conscience, wherever possible putting both its people and the environment at the centre of its decisions.”

Main image credit: Shiva Hotels

 

Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

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Feature: Designing the ‘live like a local’ experience

Hotel Designs spends time understanding a new hotel concept from SB Architects that is said to “switch on the senses, capture imagination and transport guests on a journey though a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes”… 

Luxury travelers are increasingly seeking unique, authentic and immersive experiences. They are becoming more curious and bold in their explorations and subsequently, their modes of transport. 

In Booking.com’s 2018 ‘Travel Predictions’ survey, they reported that 25 per cent of travellers were planning trips based on the journey rather than the destination, aiming to embark on an “epic road or rail journey”. 

Hyperlocalisation is no longer a trend, it’s a vital part of the guest experience, and design should interact with and enhance the local culture of the destination. The popularity of services like Air BnB shows no sign of slowing down, as inherently they provide what the guest is craving, a hyperlocalised ‘live like a local’ experience. As designers, we are tasked with creating a sense of place, communicating the unique story of the locale and designing adaptable spaces to provide hoteliers with the opportunity to reinvent and stay fresh. 

 Synonymous with ultra-luxury and glamor, we are experiencing a rail revival. The American West was built along rail lines that span the nation. What were once bustling railways are now silent and forgotten vestiges of our past. Many of these railways span untapped, truly breathtaking, locations, but provide no footing for hospitality development. The Infinite Explorer provides a unique opportunity to embrace and transform the existing infrastructure of these underutilized spaces, making the unreachable, reachable. 

Life aboard The Infinite Explorer is about the voyage, not the end destination. It’s a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience, designed to switch on the senses, capture the imagination and transport guests on a journey through a mobile-canvas of captivating landscapes.  

Embark on a five-night odyssey through one of the world’s most spectacular natural landscapes. Not only can guests experience a five-star service and luxury amenities onboard; including a dining and observation car; the exclusive itinerary will satiate the palate of the most intrepid traveler. 

Train travelers usually only capture a glimpse of the immense beauty that passes by outside their window, but imagine if you could step out of your cabin into the wilderness to feel, touch, and smell it? As the train weaves through a profusion of wildflower-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and crystal clear, aquamarine lakes, the train will stop, the side of the guest’s cabin will open up, and guests can step from their cabin onto one of the extraordinary platforms and experiences located along the route. Each stop along the route is unique and designed with an immersive program of activity, including outdoor adventures, wellness and dining; designed to astound, delight and capture the guest’s imagination at every turn. 

The Infinite Explorer grants guests the opportunity to slow down, disconnect and intimately connect with scenery that might otherwise be unattainable.  

The concept, and its infinite possibilities, has been shortlisted for the Radical Innovation Award. 

Main image credit: SB Architects

Looking for innovative signage for a project? Look no further

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Looking for innovative signage for a project? Look no further

Forum Events’ Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit takes place on September 23 – 24, 2019 at Radisson Blu, Stansted… 

Connecting senior executives working within the sector with product and service suppliers for two days of one-to-one meetings and business networking, Digital Signage & Interactive Solutions Summit, is the go-to networking event for designers looking to create immersive and interactive experiences via signage.

Forum Events understands that designers’ time is precious, valuable and limited. The event’s unique and highly focused concept has been created in such away that allows delegates to inform who they would like to meet prior to attending. The Summit’s dedicated staff then arranges all meetings in advance based on delegates’ preferences, by providing them with details on solution providers, products and services. 98 per cent of those how have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show.

“98 per cent of those how have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show.”

Why attend?

  • Pre-arranged meetings with solution providers of your choice
  • 25 minute meeting slots will be relaxed and civilised, with no hard sell
  • Attend a tailored programme of inspiring seminars
  • Easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions
  • You will be one of just 60 VIPs at the event, ensuring that you get personal attention
  • Attendance is entirely free of charge, which includes entry to our seminars
  • Attendance to our networking dinner
  • Accommodation at our luxury hotel venue

What’s included?

  • A full pre-arranged itinerary of one-to-one meetings
  • Complimentary seminars hosted by some of the industry’s most dynamic minds
  • Meals and refreshments throughout
  • Access to all presentation material
  • Wi-Fi Access

If you would like to attend the event, or would like to request more information, please contact Katie Bullot on k.bullot@forumevents.co.uk or call 01992 374093. 

NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NYC-based design firm uses technology to re-imagine the hotel bar

A sculptural “Cubic Sky” inside La Concha, one of San Juan’s most iconic technology hotels, takes spatial design, sound, and lighting to the next level…

Design firm Cactus transforms club Fifty Eight inside La Concha Renaissance Resort from an underused space into a must-see design destination using the latest innovations in digital technology and architecture.

A sculptural, full-ceiling, architectural installation which is capable of creating electrifying patterns and reacting automatically to live music and programmed controls. Created from hundreds of individual, custom-made light boxes, Cubic Sky combines architecture and technical innovation for a jaw-dropping display.

Each light box of the chandelier is capable of creating a wide range of color and brightness individually. The ‘cubes’ are networked together and utilize custom-built software that visualises data using a combination of graphic design, algorithms, and animation.

Cubic Sky can generate natural, ambient patterns, react automatically to live music, or be controlled with a custom, tablet-based interface which allows DJ’s, artists and hosts to adjust light patterns and create ephemeral and bespoke experiences.

During the day, subtle changes in light color and brightness create beautiful ambient patternsin the room, mimicking the passing clouds of the Caribbean right outside. In the early evening, the colors of the sunset from that day are reflected by the light colors and natural patterns on the ceiling, evoking the beauty of the surrounding area. At night, the lounge area transforms into one of the region’s most unforgettable nightclubs. The ceiling can react to the live music below, using inputs from the audio system to change thepattern, color and intensity of the lights.

Cactus is an experiential design studio that creates work at the intersection of physical architecture and digital technology. The studio works for visionary clients across a range of industries including media, fitness, medicine, entertainment, automotive and financial services. All client work is united by one objective – to imagine, design, and build what is next.

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM Amstel Amsterdam hotel opens in 1920s shell

citizenM’s third hotel in Amsterdam – 17th property worldwide – moves into a sensational location in a stylish 1920s building as location remains everything…

Returning to its humble roots, citizenM has opened its third hotel in Amsterdam, which becomes the Dutch brand’s 17th property globally. Staying true to the quest for triple-A urban locations, citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is tucked into Amsterdam’s historical canal ring, between the areas of Weesperbuurt-en-Plantage and Oude Pijp.

Designed by Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, the hotel is described as “a beauty to behold from the outside”. The property is a conversion of an existing structure dating back to 1928, built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The decorative red brick exterior with its multitude of elegantly slender windows stands out among the neighbouring buildings on Sarphatistraat. At street level, the hotel will distinguish itself even more with a bespoke art installation across the eight main windows. The artistic photographer duo – and our previous Schiphol collaborators – Freudenthal Verhagen have created a series of water-themed pieces inspired by Amsterdam’s centuries-long reliance on rivers and canals. It will undoubtedly become a notable photo-op in the neighbourhood.

Guests enter the hotel through existing doors, restored to keep the historical character of the building. Inside, they’ll reach a split-level check-in area and the famous citizenM living room with a 24/7 bar, canteenM kitchen, designated work areas, designer furniture by Vitra, and tall bookcases filled with interesting objects, art and browsable books. Amsterdam-based artist Pablo Lucker has created a special artwork for the entrance, as well as unique black-and-white wallpaper for the hotel corridors. The artist duo Pinar & Viola have painted the living room ceiling, and created four additional loose pieces for display. At the rear of the living room, double doors lead to a real hidden treasure – an enclosed courtyard with greenery and garden furniture, ideal for relaxing after a long day of business or sightseeing in the city.

Image credit: Richard Powers

Upstairs, 88 guestrooms have been designed especially to fit the existing structure. The sleek furniture is by Vitra, and the famous XL king-size beds are topped with luxury mattresses, duvets, and fluffier-than-snow pillows. Powerful rain showers wash away all travel fatigue, and large flatscreen TVs make for enjoyable viewing of the huge free movie libraries, international TV channels, or own-content streaming using the superfast free Wi-Fi. Room ambiance is controlled by a MoodPad – an iPad that manages everything from entertainment to blinds and temperature. There are also pre-programmed moods for relaxation, party, romance and movies. Art – an essential part of the citizenM in-room experience – is curated by the world-renowned Foam Editions, the gallery of FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam. The contributing artists are Isabelle Wenzel, Sanja Marusic and Lisette Appeldorn.

As always, citizenM sticks to its philosophy of ‘affordable luxury for the people’ by giving the guests everything they want, and nothing they don’t. There are never queues to reception, because there is no reception desk – instead, self check-in kiosks put a key in every guest’s hand in just one minute. In a prominent place nearby, guests will find collectionM – the carefully curated retail selection for the modern traveller, where essential travel items and stylishly amusing gifts make it easy to take a little bit of citizenM home. At canteenM, food and drinks are within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day, to satisfy thirst, hunger, and snack attacks of travellers from all time zones. In the living room, ultra-comfortable Vitra couches, tables and desks encourage the guests to leave the bedroom and relax, watch TV, enjoy a freshly shaken cocktail, and even meet up with friends.

Business travellers seeking a professional yet inspiring place to meet don’t need to leave the hotel. citizenM Amstel Amsterdam includes two societyM creative meeting rooms for up to 14 participants. The rooms are available for AM, PM and all-day sessions, and come with all tech essentials like AV equipment and cables for a multitude of devices; unlimited coffee, tea and water; stationery, designer furniture, and blackboard or whiteboard walls to draw on. societyM is bookable anytime online in just five simple steps, and catering is available on request.

citizenM Amstel Amsterdam – the 17th citizenM hotel in 11 years – is poised to become a favourite location in the Netherlands’ capital for leisure and business travellers seeking an affordable luxury alternative to traditional hotels.

Main image credit: Richard Powers

More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
More than 70% of Brits believe hotels can be more eco-friendly

A survey has revealed what Brits really think when it comes to hotels’ efforts to be eco-friendly… 

76 per cent of British holidaymakers feel hotels can play a larger role than they currently are in being ‘greener’, a study has found. The survey, carried out by Taxi2Airport, also concluded that most Brits will seek to walk, bike or use public transport to explore the destination around the hotel.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent have a strong desire to pack as light as possible. In turn, this will have an indirect positive effect on their flight, because if a plane weighs less – it increases fuel-efficiency and decreases the carbon emissions it produces. 66 per cent of the 1,468 respondents stated they will make a conscious effort to turn off the TV, lights, heating and air conditioning (AC) when not in use or present in the room.

Interestingly, since toiletries such as toothpaste, shower gels and shampoos are provided on a complimentary bases in a majority of hotels – it can be easy to use them wastefully as they are ‘free’. Bearing this in mind, 54 per cent will only throw away and/or ask for new toiletries once they have finished their existing set.

Fascinatingly, 67 per cent believed hotels should take the initiative to include a recyclableas well as non-recyclable bin, so they can separate any rubbish in their room between the two. Surprisingly, a sizeable 55 per cent of travellers would be happy if their hotel bathroom had a low flow shower head and toilet – both going a long way towards reducing water consumption.

Main image credit: Zuri Zanzibar

Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Trends forecast ahead of Independent Hotel Show London 2019

Ahead of the Independent Hotel Show London 2019, which takes place on October 15 – 16 at Olympia London, design partners and exhibitors identify four key areas predicted to be hot in hotel design… 

Now that registration is officially open for the Independent Hotel Show London 2019 – and following the announcement that Hotel Designs has once again come on board as a media partner for the show – here are a few trends that visitors should expect to see emerging during the two-day event.

Bold and bright décor

Soft, muted shades have been the preferred palette for hotel bedrooms and lobbies for many years, but it’s now time to ‘banish the beige’ and embrace bold and bright colours, says Gemma Tate, director of House of Sloane. “Gone are the days where all the rooms are filled with beige upon beige and look exactly the same,” explains Tate. “Boutique hotels are becoming more confident in their use of bold and colourful decor, mixing eclectic elements when styling individual rooms and giving the guest a captivating experience.”

As design partner to the Innovation Stage, House of Sloane is planning to fulfil the brief of ‘modern eclecticism meets maximalist glamour’ by kitting the stage out with bold hues, luxurious velvets, a dash of animal print and eclectic accessories.

Susi Bellamy, founder of her eponymous agency and wallpaper partner to the Independent Hotel Show, says the ‘trend for a more eclectic approach to interiors seems to be here to stay’ and notes a ‘growing appetite’ for brighter colours. “Jewel tones, acid brights and candy colours are omnipresent in hospitality interiors and add a joyful tone to spaces,” Bellamy says as she explains the three striking wallpaper designs – Grey Stucco, Grey Stucco Pebbles and Pietra Grigia – she has selected to hang on walls at this year’s show. “The palette of these designs means they work in harmony with one another and provide a versatile backdrop for a range of hotel settings,” Bellamy adds. “Grey Stucco and Grey Stucco Pebbles inject a pop of colour into a setting and feel very bohemian. Grey Stucco Pebbles layers some collage over the top of the design and is a slightly more eccentric choice for interiors that truly stand out. Pietra Grigia combines tones of pale greyish greens and works well alongside cream and neutrals. These designs are some of our bestsellers, owing to their adaptable colour scheme and understated elegance.”

Image caption: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Make a statement

If there’s no budget or time for a full re-design, investing in one eye-catching piece of furniture per room, or to place in a communal area is one way to refresh a hotel’s look and help your business seem on-trend. A similar impact can be found by painting or wallpapering a single feature wall or ceiling.

“Invest in a statement sofa or chair,” advises Tate. “This is potentially one of the first things your guests will see on arrival and actually says a lot of about a hotel. Be brave with your choice of colour and shape. This should be about what works for your brand and should be a part of your overall room design. We would highly recommend this is one of those high-ticket items that you don’t cheap out on. Eclectic pieces, hand built with quality craftsmanship that are sturdy and made to last is a winning combination. Anything else is a false economy.”

Felicity Randolph, of Cheeky Chairs, an exhibitor at this year’s Independent Hotel Show, agrees and believes that unique statement pieces lend themselves particularly well to boutique independent hotels. “With the ever-increasing influence of Instagram and Pinterest, consumers are seeking a more esoteric individual style of hotel,” Randolph says. “Independent hotels are perfectly placed to capitalise on this trend and offer something truly unique and unexpected.”

The company’s boutique collection of crafted designer chairs and bar stools feature naturally soft seats upholstered in striking designer fabric.

“Our approach has been very much along the lines of a fashion collection on the runway,” Randolph adds. “Our models are carefully chosen for a specific feature of their shape; perhaps it’s the subtle curve of their leg, the length of their back, their enveloping seat or the flick of their ankle. Each finished product is a unique combination of model, designer fabric and colour to create a truly unique statement piece.”

“If you are unsure of how to incorporate more colour and pattern into your interiors, consider having a single feature wall or using wallpaper in the back of a bookcase to provide a hint of colour and print,” says Bellamy.

Shot from last year's Independent Hotel Show London

Image credit: Shot from last year’s Independent Hotel Show London

Create a home-from-home

The way guests use hotels is changing and interiors need to accommodate these shifts in behaviour if they want to survive. Starchy, formal and defined areas are no longer in vogue. Instead, guests want to be able to access services wherever and whenever they want within a hotel, so designing multi-purpose, flexible spaces that can cater for these changing needs is key. “A home-from-home approach is where hotels are moving towards, expanding the lobby into a living room space, almost a common room area where guests can find intimate places to relax,” says Tate.

“Décor can also help hotels provide a more homely feel to spaces,” includes Bellamy. “Carefully selected ‘objets’ on mantelpieces, and soft furnishings like luxurious throws or plush cushions are an ideal finishing touch that transform a space to feel more homely and cosy.”

The home from home feel can also be achieved on a more practical level by making it easy for guests to settle in quickly by providing them with the tools to do so. “We also see a connection between home and life through technology which is here now and working, so an easy transition from home to hotel is essential,” says Nick Sunderland of Two’s Company, design partner for The Suite who recommends swapping light sockets to include USB chargers so guests can easily charge electronic devices during their stay.

A conscious approach

There is no doubt about it, sustainability is a hot topic. With everyone showing increasing concern for their carbon footprint, and investigating ways they can reduce it, it’s a topic that will be under the spotlight throughout the show. Hotels are no exception and forward-thinking hoteliers are keen to lessen their business’s impact on the environment in all areas, including design.

The Independent Hotel Show’s live installation this year is The Conscious Hotel Room where sustainability has been considered across “every inch of the room” according to Alex Harris, director of Harris & Harris, the multidisciplinary design studio in charge of creating it.

Brand partners, which include Axminster, Cole & Son and Naturalmat, will provide furnishings that include recycled, organic, natural or sustainably-sourced materials while others, like Crosswater, will showcase energy-efficient bathroom items.

“It was also felt important that the ‘mileage’ of each product was kept to a minimum by sourcing items that have been produced in the UK, an ethos which also helps support local businesses and communities,” adds Harris.

Sunderland of Two’s Company also regards sustainability as a key trend and will integrate this ethos into the design of The Suite. The area will feature tables from Nature Squared, which uses sustainable natural resources such as feathers, egg shells and seashells to create unusual surfaces.

“Conscious design doesn’t simply mean using sustainable furnishings and products, however. It also encompasses areas such as accessibility, so The Conscious Hotel Room has been designed in a way that is mindful of the needs of guests with mobility issues,” says Harris.

“Generous space was allowed around the bed, desk, and joinery as well as omitting the door to the dressing room and bathroom. Space was allowed below the vanity unit and a large wet-room style shower, with no change in the floor heights, making the bathroom wheelchair accessible,” Harris concludes. “Through articles in the media and better education, travellers are becoming more eco-savvy and are now demanding that hotels provide a more sustainable stay for them. Hoteliers need to keep up with this trend, which won’t be a passing fad but a new and better way of living. Hotels have the opportunity to be the best expression of sustainable living which can then inspire guests to live in a more conscious way when they return home,” he concludes.

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn will be on stage to host the opening session on October 15. More details on who will be joining him – and the topic he will be presenting – will emerge shortly. Register your place by clicking here.

Main image credit: House of Sloane

In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Michele Salvi, Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

Establishing shot of site against other buildings

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Instead of referencing architectural styles from around the globe, like the majority of other buildings in and around Macau, Morpheus ascended from its own unique environment juxtaposing its neighbouring buildings. “As our client says, Morpheus is a step into the unknown,” adds Salvi, “an unprecedented mix of challenges. More so than previous projects as parametric design tools methodologies have been used extensively in all design stages until construction.”

“It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Rewind six years, and it was the late Zaha Hadid herself who had originally signed off the plans for the project. “We started with the envelope and exoskeleton,” explains Salvi. “The massing was given by the brief, the limited footprint leftovers from the existing City of Dreams development and 160m height restrictions because of being in close proximity to the airport.”

To create a fitting first impression that allowed all guests to experience the full scale of the project, the design team decided to keep the public areas as open and exposed as possible. “It takes more than a comfortable room and premium facilities to make a hotel experience truly special,” Salvi explains. “We wanted people to physically experience the building, be amazed and discover something unexpected.” Examples of this can be found no further than the 12 panoramic lifts, which through the full-height atrium provides what can only be described as a breathtaking 45-second experience of defying gravity.

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Exterior shot of the hotel, with irregular details

Image credit: Ivan Dupont

The guestrooms and suites within the hotel are somewhat hidden in the non-uniformed design in collaboration with interior design studio Remedios Studio. “Most rooms are within the flat façade and corners, with unique suites in the transition between flat façade and the voids,” Salvi continues. “All of them are behind the exoskeleton, and the variation of its pattern provides shelter from direct sunlight and generates dynamic filter towards the city.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.

Main image credit: Jacopo Spilimbergo

CASE STUDY: Lighting and wiring a Grade II listed boutique hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting and wiring a Grade II listed boutique hotel

Hamilton Litestat reports on its lighting and wiring work inside The Lime Tree Hotel, a family-run business in a Grade II-listed building, located in south Belgravia, London…

Packed with original character and grandeur, The Lime Tree Hotel’s high ceilings, open fireplaces and original cornicing have been painstakingly preserved for almost two centuries, providing guests with a charming, elegant and warm welcome.

The hoteliers sourced quality designer accessories and refurbished the guest rooms, with each suite featuring different wall coverings to create a high-end designer boutique feel. To unify the varied design scheme, they wanted to standardise the style of lamps used, hand-selecting Astro and Pooky lamps, and continue this consistency with coordinated electrical wiring accessories. They needed a solution that would work throughout the property, complementing the look and feel of each room and providing that sought-after high-quality finish.

To be in-keeping with the rich heritage of the Grade II listed property, the Goodsalls wanted to avoid large multi-functional control plates that felt too modern. Instead they were seeking a solution that would give a more traditional, boutique feel with single and double plates of a standard size.

During the research process, the Goodsalls came across Hamilton at a major independent hotel trade show. The sleek, sophisticated profile of Hamilton’s Sheer collection of switch plates and sockets, which fit almost flush to the wall, interested the hoteliers and they enlisted Hamilton to support in the hotel refurbishment.

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

The Solution: Hamilton advised the Goodsalls on plate styles and finishes to suit the Astro lamps that were to be installed on either side of the bed in each guest room. Featuring a built-in reading light, the Astro lamps are a shade of bronze with crisp white shade. Hamilton developed a bespoke solution for the project, manufacturing its Sheer collection of plates in Etrium Bronze, a finish not typically available in this plate design but was an almost identical colour match to the finish of the Astro lamps. The minimalist flat plate Sheer design provides an elegant and understated designer solution.

Although deeply respectful of the building’s original features, the Goodsalls were well aware that guests expect modern functionality, such as USB charging, so Hamilton supplied 2.1A/1A dual USB double switched sockets for each side of the bed. A separate rocker switch was also installed alongside the USB plate that controlled the corresponding Astro bedside lamp.

For the main lighting in the guest rooms, a one-gang rotary dimmer acted as the master light switch, with a two-gang rocker switch to control the en-suite lighting. Both were finished in the sophisticated and on-trend Etrium Bronze finish for a coordinated look.

A matching 2.1A/1A dual USB double switched socket was also installed above the writing desk to support business guests that use the working area. Meanwhile, to keep functional wiring hidden away and the desk area clear, a double switch socket and telephone plate was installed under the desk.

The Result: Hamilton’s quality products, developed and manufactured in the UK, provided the perfect finishing touch to the Lime Tree Hotel. The design and finish of the switch plates and sockets match effortlessly with the hotel’s designer lighting accessories, while complementing and coordinating with the décor in each of the individual room designs. The hotel owners are delighted with the finished result.

“The quality and finish of the solutions supplied by Hamilton is exquisite and we’re proud to be able to offer this setting to our guests,” said Matthew Goodsall. “Throughout the process we have felt thoroughly supported, with the Hamilton team going the extra mile to supply samples that helped us to quickly reach a final decision on products and move forward with the refurbishment. The team’s enthusiasm, interest in the project and getting the finer details spot on has really added something extra to our final interior design scheme.

“Wherever possible, we wanted to source British manufactured products and support the UK industry, and we’re pleased to have been able to do this with Hamilton,” adds Matthew.“The team was big enough to take on our bespoke request but small enough to care; I don’t think we would have received this level of support from a larger company.”

Gavin Williams, Hamilton’s Head of Marketing, added: “This refined period property needed careful handling to ensure that the electrical wiring solution met the needs of guests while also adhering to the age and charm of the Grade II-listed building. We feel we found the perfect design and finish, and we’re delighted that hoteliers Matthew and Charlotte feel the same way.”

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List 2019 Awards: Meet the judges

Now that nominations have opened for The Brit List 2019 Awards, we would like you to meet our fabulous judges, handpicked in order to make this year’s process to find the most influential British designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers the biggest and best yet… 

The Brit List 2019 is back, once again launching its nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Nominations are now open (until August 9) and, what’s more, the process in which to apply remains completely free.

This year’s judges, who have all individually been hand-selected, each come from a different sectors of design, architecture and hospitality in order to keep the process fair, creative and open to all.

The judges for The Brit List 2019 Awards are:

Harriet Forde, British Institute of Interior Design President (Industry Partner)

Harriet Forde, BIID President

Harriet Forde, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs,  is the founder and director of Harriet Forde Design, which provides a comprehensive range of interior design services predominantly based in the commercial property and hotel industries, as well as the high-end residential housing market. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Forde. “Our past president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and I am excited to participate this year.”

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will also be hosting The Brit List 2019 Awards on November 21, is the editor of Hotel Designs, which is the leading international hotel design website.

In 2014, Kilburn started his career in the industry when, as features editor, he helped launch a new international hotel design publication into the market.

Since then, he has traveled the globe and has reviewed some of the world’s most impressive hotels. In his day-to-day role, Kilburn is responsible for curating the content for Hotel Designs, bringing his readers the latest happenings, reviews, and features in the world of international hotel design.

Jacu Strauss, founder and creative director of LORE Studio

Jacu Strauss, Founder of Lore Studio | Image credit: Emily Andrews

Jacu Strauss, who was recently interviewed by Hotel Designs, is the creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio.

A qualified architect with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry, Strauss’ portfolio of projects includes The Pulitzer Amsterdam and Sea Containers London among many others. The architect and designer is now dipping his toe into the world of hospitality and will soon be opening his first hotel in Washington D.C.

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, Former Deputy Decoration Editor, House & Garden

Florence Rolfe, who is a regular contributor to Hotel Designs, is an interior stylist and art director based in London. Her career began with Condé Nast on House & Garden Magazine where she spent several years producing their monthly features, leaving after seven years as Deputy Decoration Editor. Since then she has worked with some of the most renowned interior photographers, producing & directing imagery for some of the biggest luxury brands including The One & Only Resorts, Nobu Restaurants, Heal’s, Habitat, Marks & Spencer, And So To Bed, Ballymore Homes, TH2 amongst others, and has had her work published in various national magazines including Vogue, GQ & Brides. With a background in publishing, Florence knows exactly how to style an image to make it appealing to editors and consumers alike.

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb, Director of Development Management, Nuveen Real Estate

Edward Webb is the director of development management at Nuveen Real Estate, which is a premier global investment manager that has been helping clients meet their goals for more than 100 years, making the world a better place along the way.

Mel Yates, Photographer 

Mel Yates, Photographer

Starting out as a portrait photographer working with a long list of subjects such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Javier Bardem, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Mel Yates began to change direction and reconnect with his design background (originally trained as a product designer at Central St Martins) and now works internationally both as a stills photographer and video maker for numerous design related clients. In addition to photographing or filming designers such as Sir David Adjaye, Philip Treacy, Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon, Yates shoots environments, people and objects for advertising, books, brochures, editorial and hotel clients, as well as interior and architectural projects. Hotel clients include The Four Seasons, ME and One & Only Resorts.

The judges will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture, as well as selecting this year’s individual winners of the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, London where The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s Icicle

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s Icicle

Icicle was one of the most iconic lighting products to emerge from Chelsom’s Edition 26 collection, which launched last year… 

Inspired by Gothic style, Icicle from Chelsom is a true statement piece, which fuses cutting-edge design and impeccable craftsmanship with the latest technology. Dimmable integral LED light sources in the base of hand of Chelsom’s Icicle formed solid clear glass icicles throw light upwards giving a warm ambient glow whilst reflecting off the tiny silver leaf flecks within each of the unique glass icicles.

Alternate arms curve upwards or downwards to give a random feel to the heights of the icicle glasses which screw in for stability and perfect alignment. Wall and ceiling fittings are available, both finished with hand brushed brass metalwork.

Chelsom 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: Chelsom

Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels opens second hotel in Dusseldorf

Last night, Hotel Designs was invited to Dusseldorf for the official opening party of Ruby Leni, the disruptive brand’s seventh property. Ahead of the theatrical opening scene, editor Hamish Kilburn lifts the curtain to get a closer look backstage…

Following the hotel group unveiling its aggressive expansion plans last year, Ruby Hotels has officially opened its seventh hotel. Ruby Leni, the group’s second property in Dusseldorf’s central district for the disruptive Munich-based brand.

Shelted within a former 19th century hotel which later housed the iconic Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, the 170-key Ruby Leni enjoys a prime position not far from Dusseldorf’s famous Königsallee shopping boulevard and canal.

An expansive bar and rooftop terrace offers a stylish watering hole for guests and locals alike, while an on-property work space and library provide ample space for both work and relaxation. All guest rooms, which range in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for an ideal night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Dressing room style design

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

For guests in search of a longer stay, Ruby Leni offers RESIDENT rooms, which are more spacious and are equipped with a larger wardrobe, a small fridge and a coffee machine. Residents also get access to the residents’ kitchen and lounge. For longer visits, the hotel offers a special extended-stay rate, with significant price discounts for bookings of seven nights or more.

Drawing on both the surrounding area and the building’s creative past life, the design of the hotel is themed around the theatre world of the early 1950s, with antique furniture and artefacts providing a sense of place and history. Ruby Leni is in fact named after Helena from Goethe’s Faust; Gustav Gründgens’ groundbreaking production of the play premiered at the Schauspielhaus in the 1950s before it became a film classic.

As with all Ruby Hotels, a musical theme runs throughout the property with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room, which guests can use both with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception. By night, regular live music events at the bar provide a stage for local musical talent, while by day the space serves as a relaxed space for guests to enjoy an organic breakfast as they listen to the sound of the hotel’s very own ‘Ruby Radio’.

Cutting-edge technology is displayed throughout the property; in each room guests can find a personal tablet PC and smartphone pre-loaded with Ruby Hotels’ carefully-curated Dusseldorf city guide, social media apps and unlimited data and calls to use throughout their stay. A state-of-the-art self-check-in system makes use of tablet computers to reduce check-in time to under one minute, leaving guests free to make the most of their time in Dusseldorf.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel follows Ruby Hotels’ ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential.

For example, a trendy communal space serves an organic, locally-produced breakfast without the need for a kitchen or chef, and instead of overpriced minibars and room service, galley kitchens, vending machines and ironing stations supply guests with all of their needs. Likewise, a modular design sees Ruby hotels occupying mixed-use and former office buildings in the heart of the city, rather than the traditional, prestigious addresses with sky high rents typically favoured by hoteliers.

Ruby Hotels first unveiled its unique concept with Vienna hotel Ruby Sofie in 2014, before opening two further hotels in Vienna, Ruby Marie and Ruby Lissi, as well as Ruby Lilly in Munich, Ruby Coco in Dusseldorf and most recently Ruby Lotti in Hamburg.  In response to the success of these properties, the brand plans further openings including Ruby Lucy in London’s bustling Southbank in early 2020, as well as hotels in Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Waldorf Astoria arrives in Dubai’s Financial Centre

Waldorf Astoria expands presence in the Middle East with the opening of Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, treating guests to a unique check-in experience from the 18th floor as well as sky-high dining and wellness facilities…

With the aim to bridge the world together, with a French Riviera-style rooftop bar and pool and a 1960s, New York-inspired F&B areas, the highly anticipated Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has opened its doors.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, a complex featuring residences and office towers. Guests will enjoy a unique reception and check-in experience on the 18th floor, which is also home to the hotel’s dining and wellness facilities and acts as the true heartbeat of the hotel.  All 275 guestrooms, including 46 suites and 28 residential suites, offer unobstructed views of the downtown Dubai skyline, which can be viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows in each room.

“We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.” – Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton

“We are delighted to expand our luxury presence in the region with the opening of Waldorf Astoria DIFC which is located in an important economic hub within the region,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton. “Earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the launch of DIFC 2.0 which will add 13 million square feet of space to the Centre. We are pleased to be part of this rapidly growing district and look forward to delivering unparalleled experiences to guests staying in DIFC.”

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-modern style of the 1960s, the hotel exudes a contemporary elegance and understated luxury. With its stylish furniture, multifunctional design peppered with marble, ebony, brass and bronze materials, the hotel boasts a sleek and contemporary look.

In line with Waldorf Astoria’s legacy of culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria DIFC is primed to be a best-in-class dining destination. All restaurants and bars are located on the 18th floor, a stunning location from which to view the city.

Inspired by the original once located in the Waldorf Astoria New York, Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature restaurant which offers a twist on the legendary eatery. Diners can enjoy imaginative cuisine in a stylish, relaxed setting.

An oasis in the heart of the city, St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera in DIFC. This stylish rooftop lounge ⁠— with its pool, whirlpool, timber decking and bright colours ⁠— is perfect for drinks and light bites from day to night. Truly an urban escape, St Trop brings laidback poolside chic to Dubai’s financial district.

Peacock Alley is an elegant lounge and bar ideal for both sophisticated gatherings and informal gatherings. The term “Peacock Alley” was coined to portray the daily promenade of people through the original colonnade connecting The Waldorf and The Astoria hotels in New York City. The iconic venue is present at all Waldorf Astoria hotels worldwide ⁠— and this historical part of New York heritage is now in DIFC.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa ⁠— with its floatation tank, hydrobath, hammam and Vichy shower ⁠— is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of the city. Secluded on the 18th floor, the spa offers four treatment suites and the hotel’s fitness centre offers state-of-the-art equipment and views of Dubai’s skyline from 18 floors up.

luxe and large bathroom

Image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

The hotel offers five elegant, innovative settings, including a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen. The hotel also features spacious meeting rooms, a grand ballroom with a pre-function area and a sophisticated boardroom that is perfect for corporate meetings. All spaces have a residential, personal feel, providing the ideal setting for every type of event.

“We are thrilled to bring Waldorf Astoria to DIFC and offer True Waldorf Service in such a thriving and dynamic location within the city,” said Dino Michael, Global Head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “From Bangkok to Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria properties are set in landmark locations all over the world, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC is a remarkable addition to our growing portfolio in the Middle East and beyond.”

Waldorf Astoria DIFC joins two award-winning Waldorf Astoria properties in the UAE ⁠— Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah ⁠— and is the brand’s first city-based hotel in the country. Like all Waldorf Astoria properties in the world, Waldorf Astoria DIFC offers True Waldorf Service: graceful, anticipatory service from the moment a guest books through checkout.

Main image credit: Hilton/Waldorf Astoria

Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit 2019 bridges the gap between hotel buyers and suppliers

Forum Events’ premium meet-the-buyers event, Hotel Summit, put on yet another spectacular event with guest speakers including representatives from The Lanesborough, Great Hotels Of The World and Areen Design, among many others…

Settling in a new home, located in the quintessentially British surroundings in the Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park welcomed hoteliers, designers and suppliers alike for this year’s hotly anticipated Hotel Summit.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Lanesborough, The Beaumont Hotel and The Gainsborough Bath Spa and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas, making it the perfect venue for one of Forum Events’ leading meet-the-buyers concept for the hotel industry.

The two-day kicked off with an opening presentation with Rita Alves Machado, VP of sales and marketing for Great Hotels Of The World who joined editor Hamish Kilburn for a live interview on the topic of blesiure. “There should be more focus on public, intelligent areas when it comes to designing for bleisure guests,” Machado said. “For me, it’s about personalization, we look for that in our members, what they can do that will differentiate from others in an authentic way.”

Andrew Linwood, Head of Hospitality Design at Areen Design, aptly followed with a presentation entitled: How Design Adds Value To A Hospitality Brand. “Branding is not only the name above the door,” he said to the audience. “It’s about good design and good service working together.”

Meanwhile, Francisco Macedo, Operations Director for Clivedon House stood up in front of the audience to explain how to create a winning team, using personal anecdotes to explain how he has curated his army of staff in order to offer a seamless service within the hotel.

After a morning of face-to-face meetings with suppliers, delegates joined to attend a speaker session with Marco Novella, Managing Director of The Lanesborough, followed by a short live interview where Kilburn delved into what it takes to be at the helm of one of London’s most prestigious luxury hotels. “It’s been important to react to the right trends,” explained Novella. “Wellness, for example, is a very important factor for The Lanesborough, and our aim with the club and spa was very much to lead wellness and wellbeing.”

Following a lavish gala dinner and entertainment, delegates and suppliers gathered for a second day of pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings.

Partners:

ADI Trading Ltd, Airwave Europe, Alchemy House of Design, Birchall Team, Brushbox, Castrads, Discover Kangen Water, Elavon, Fortune Brands, Gallant, Good Energy, HCI, Hotel Champ, iBal Designs, Landmark Specialist Solutions, Ligne Roset Contract, Matrix Fitness, Mitre Linen, Out of Edan, Parkside, Phillip Jeffries, Portable Floormaker & Barlock Bars, Project Blinds, Riskmonitor Limited, Samsung Electronics, Tevalis Ltd, Timage, Toothbuckle, Virdor, Zennio

Next year’s Hotel Summit will take place in April 27 – 28 at Five Lakes Resort, Colechester. If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2020 event, please contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.

Britlist_28-800x602

Free to apply: The Brit List 2019

800 602 Hamish Kilburn
Free to apply: The Brit List 2019

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers who operate from or have a presence in Britain: The Brit List 2019, Hotel Designs’ annual awards, is free to apply for. Nominations/applications close on August 9.

In an aim to ensure that Hotel Designs’ nationwide search to find the best interior designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain, The Brit List remains completely free to apply for.

Simply click here to apply/nominate.

Britlist_28-800x602

The concept of The Brit List, which launched in 2017, results in 75 names, split into three categories (designers, architects and hoteliers), being listed as true movers and shakers. The list will be created around the nominations from the following awards that are up for grabs:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

“Now with suppliers able to participate in the awards element, The Brit List has allowed us to physically bridge the gap between industry leaders,” said Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

On November 21, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather at Patch East, Londonwhere The Brit List 2019 will be unveiled along with the individual winners . “We have, yet again, deliberately kept nominations for The Brit List 2019 free for all to apply in order to maintain a fair opportunity for all designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers who believe they deserve to be profiled in The Brit List 2019,” explains Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs. “As a judge, I am personally looking forward to leading another nationwide search in order to find and platform exceptional creative thinkers who are operating or manufacturing in Britain today.” Patch East, London is a fabulous venue for our non-traditional awards ceremony, and we look forward to welcoming the industry’s finest for a night of celebration and high-profile networking.”

Early-bird tickets for the award ceremony are now available to purchase: 

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)
Designers, hoteliers, developers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after August 4)

Please click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket NOW!

Please click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect and secure your ticket NOW!

The judges for The Brit List 2019

Last year’s winners of The Brit List, who were crowned at an exclusive drinks evening in London, included Martin Brudnizki from Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Conor O’Leary from Gleneagles and Robin Sheppard from Bespoke hotels, among many others.

Please note that there is NO FEE to nominate and/or apply for The Brit List 2019. 

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester unveils sneak peek of design

Stock Exchange Hotel, one of the most eagerly anticipated hotels in Manchester, will open on November 15, 2019 as a member of Relais & Châteaux…

The former Stock Exchange building, located in the heart of Manchester, is a striking example of Edwardian architecture from the 20th Century and is currently being meticulously transformed into a hotel which will offer a collection of 40 rooms, including two signature suites and a stunning 3,500 square foot penthouse residence. The food and beverage operation within the hotel will be overseen by chef Tom Kerridge.

The sneak peek of the hotel follows Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ premium northern networking event, which shone the spotlight further on Manchester being a hive of hotel development in the pipeline.

Co-owned by Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and hotelier Winston Zahra, the boutique property is set to open as a member of global hotel and restaurant fellowship, Relais & Châteaux and will be managed and operated by Manchester based GG Hospitality.

Having purchased the Grade II listed building six years ago, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs explained that their vision was to bring the building back to life: “We knew the Stock Exchange well from when it was a restaurant but it was only when we viewed it in its entirety that we realised the extent of the history there.

“Most people familiar with the building will know of the domed ceiling above the old trading room floor, but there are many other original features that will not have been seen by many, such as fireplaces, vaults and stained glass windows. For us it was critical that this heritage was protected, and it now sits at the heart of what we hope will be an exciting new concept for Manchester.”

Speaking about the association with Relais & Châteaux, co-owner and GG Hospitality CEO Winston Zahra said: “We are honoured to be the first ever Relais & Châteaux member in Manchester and one of the first properties in the 65 year history of the fellowship to become a member before its doors open. This is testament to all of the work the team has been doing behind the scenes. We have put a great amount of effort into ensuring the design for the property truly respects the history of the building.

“The values and foundations of Relais & Châteaux to protect and defend local arts of living are are reflected in every detail of our offering and we are committed to preserving an important part of Manchester’s heritage, while offering quality service in an exceptional setting.”

Philippe Gombert, President of Relais & Châteaux said: “We are very happy to count Stock Exchange Hotel as a member of our family and to be able to accompany them in the opening of this beautiful house. I am deeply convinced that Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Winston Zahra will revive Stock Exchange and its history in a remarkable way. This is a perfect example of what Relais & Châteaux is: properties anchored in their region, ambassadors of their heritage, but also passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.”

The hotel’s interiors have been designed by internationally renowned design studio Autoban.  Their bespoke design – a subtle arrangement of a light palette of colours, combined with luxurious materials, original marble, brass, glass and woodwork – ensures guests will experience spaces deeply rooted in the history and heart of the city, crafted around the remarkable stories of the building.

The collection of unique rooms and suites can be booked as individual rooms or combined into a number of configurations, creating interconnected spaces ideal for guests visiting the city for business or leisure and for families or groups. Whole floors can be hired with full interconnecting capability and the building is also available to be booked out in its entirety for exclusive use.

Render of a lobby

Image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

The Bradshaw, John Gass and Arthur Hope room collections pay respect to the architects who originally designed the Portland stone building which originally opened in 1906. Additionally, the Kent and Norfolk suite collections complement what will be a very unique accommodation offering in the city.

In addition to the room and suite collections, the hotel includes two signature suites – The 1906 Suite and The Boardroom Suite, measuring 1,070 and 1,700 square feet respectively. The signature suites are available for both short and long term fully serviced stays at the Hotel.

The 1906 Suite, named after the year in which the Stock Exchange opened for trading, is located on the newly constructed fourth floor of the building.  Comprising two bedrooms, this 1,070 square foot suite is a great space for families and friends who want to reside in the same room while retaining an element of privacy.

The Boardroom Suite, accessed via a private staircase off the main lobby of the hotel, is located in one of the most historically significant and architecturally preserved parts of the building – the original Stock Exchange boardroom. Designed to honour its past, the 1,700 square foot space boasts a number of original features, including marble pillars, wood panelling, an ornamental fireplace, stained glass windows, and the original Stock Exchange vault. Other features include a walk-in wardrobe, a large lounge area, dining room and small fitness room. The Boardroom Suite can be extended to 2,300 square feet with the addition of an interconnecting suite that also includes its own private terrace.

Complimenting the best accommodation available in Manchester, The House is an exclusive, fully serviced residence. With its own roof terrace offering views over and across the Manchester skyline, The House is a unique penthouse residence with superlative attention to detail, extensive amenities and spacious facilities, spread over 3500 square feet.

Ideal for both short and long term residency, The House encompasses three meticulously designed bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, breakfast bar, two separate lounge areas, a beverage bar and a stylish dining room. A fitness room completes this exquisite top floor residence, underpinned by the full range of services offered by the team of the hotel.

The heart and soul of the hotel will be a restaurant and bar overseen by chef Tom Kerridge, housed under the magnificent dome which for decades was the trading floor of the Stock Exchange. The space has been designed to be a social space where people can enjoy quality food in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

In addition to this, private dining and a variety of events will be catered for within The Vault and The Bank. The Vault sits in the lower ground floor of the building and will offer events for up to 120 people.  The Bank, with its own private entrance off Norfolk Street, will offer private dining experiences for up to 14 people in an intimate environment. The Bank comes complete with its own wine cellar which guests can enjoy as part of an overall dining experience. Both event spaces will cater for tailor made events depending on guest requirements.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore unveils botanical twist

Four Seasons Hotel Singapore goes botanical, unveiling reinvented interiors, including luxury suites, F&B and wellness areas…

Nestled within a city/country that is widely known as a modern metropolis that is leading the way in sustainable design and architecture, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has lifted the lid on its newly completed interior design renovation, celebrating the natural, verdant flora that the island is unmistakeably known for.

Somewhat becoming a major source of inspiration for the design team, the hotel is situated amidst lush foliage on the fringe of one of the world’s largest shopping street, Orchard Road, a mere five minutes away from the a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens. With the creative direction of celebrity Floral Art Director Nicolai Bergmann since April 2019, guests are greeted fresh florals in the Grand Lobby at arrival.

“Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents.”

The guestrooms and luxury themed suites alike were revamped in the last six to twelve months in preparation for the hotel’s Silver Anniversary. Replacing deep, rich palettes are now contemporary interiors that feature a natural colour palette of dusty cool blue tones and lime green accents, inspired by the water and tropical lotus leaves of the Singapore Botanic Garden’s Swan Lake. Each room also features a mural wall composition of traditional Peranakan tiles, adding an artistic touch and reminiscent of Singapore’s rich and multicultural heritage. Peranakan culture represents the union between two or more major ethnicities of the Straits Peninsula – a result of Singapore’s historical significance as a major trading port. Large floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the city and surrounding greenery, while white-colonial style doors and windows with plantation shutters, reminiscent of Singapore’s once-agricultural history, allowing for the natural light to brighten the rooms.

Comprising four distinctive residences – the Royal Suite, Governor Suite, Ambassador Suite and the Presidential Suite – the quartet of luxury suites unfurl Singapore’s legacy through subtle design motifs, natural textures and serene palettes of subtle sophistication that portrays and acknowledges the Garden City’s dynamic, cosmopolitan storied history.

The passion for a nature-enlivened, tropical ambiance continues from the private areas to the restaurants and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

Relaunched in March 2019 after a month-long revamp, One-Ninety, the breezy, botanical modern Asian brasserie teases with its Asian twist on wholesome Provençal cuisine. The adjourning resort-style alfresco Terraza is perfect for unwinding with a classic in hand and weekend tete-a-tete over a tri-terraced Floral Afternoon Tea that intrigues with flora-infused treats, launched in end-May 2019. Embodying the concept of “Xiang Le Zhu Yi,” or the principle of enjoyment and happiness, newly minted Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun is not only evocative of the pastoral lifestyle of Jiang Nan region’s traditional river villages through its rustic décor, but also through its authentic Cantonese cuisine.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Signbox wins FESPA award for third consecutive year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Signbox wins FESPA award for third consecutive year

Recommended Supplier Signbox has won an award for the third year in a row at FESPA Awards 2019…

Signbox, a leading signage manufacturer that works closely with architects and contractors to design and install the right architectural signs and signage, has won an FESPA award for the third consecutive year. The company received Silver for the outstanding and remarkable signage solutions we manufactured for IAG Cargo as part of rebranding its workspaces at London Heathrow and hubs in Dublin and Madrid.

Signbox received the Silver Award at FESPA’s annual Gala Dinner, which took place on Wednesday May 15 at Löwenbräukeller in Munich, Germany, during FESPA Global Print Expo 2019.

This refit for this winning project included an extensive list of signage solutions for the company’s buildings in the UK, Spain and Ireland. Our solution was devised to transform tired, lacklustre meeting rooms and spaces into calm, professional settings and to restyle exterior areas while rationalising an intelligent new brand and giving a fresh impetus to IAG Cargo’s high-traffic, 24/7 environments.

“In 2018, IAG Cargo undertook a significant global rebrand across over 200 stations worldwide,” said Adam Chaudhri, Head of Marketing and External Communications at IAG Cargo. “Part of that rebrand involved substantial signage and office changes at our stations. It also required significant team work, collaboration and a creative edge. Signbox, working with our in-house team, managed to execute a complete revamp of our business in just a seven week window. Incredible planning and flexibility meant that we maximised our impact and delivered a substantial project whilst being cost conscious throughout. The Signbox team were a major contributor to the success of our brand launch.”

IAG Cargo’s external signage comprised direct-to-surface printed ACM trays manufactured using our Durst P10 with HP latex-printed and laminated vinyl graphics completing the external cladding elements. Internal signs were printed using our HP Latex 3650 on Metamark high-tack with a scratch resistant over-laminate for easy maintenance within high traffic areas.

The result is a cohesive and impactful implementation of a large-scale rebrand that has significantly enhanced both IAG Cargo’s corporate identity and its workspace.

Main image credit: Signbox

FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Software and technology that is enhancing the overall hotel experience

To celebrate Hotel Designs putting the spotlight on technology, software and controls this month, the editorial team have compiled together all the latest and greatest technology pieces, both hidden and visible, that have launched to significantly help to evolve the overall hotel experience for the better.  

Edited by editor Hamish Kilburn…

Earlier this month, to celebrate the group’s 100th year anniversary, Hilton Hotels released a report supported by experts to reveal how the growing sophistication of technology and climate change will impact the hotel industry in the future. Using the results of the report as a metaphorical anchor, here is a selection of technology and software that is helping to shape the future of international interior design and, as a result, helping to improve the consumer journey within hotels.

Interactivity before checking in

With travel becoming more accessible to everyone, and the rise in alternative home-from-home accommodation, there has also been a rise of design-savvy guests checking in to hotels. Therefore, hoteliers may be interested to know that there is a range of software out there that actually allows the guest to interactively take a virtual tour of their hotel from behind a computer screen, mobile or tablet.

ACT Studios, Hotel Designs’ official photographer, is an innovative photography service that works with hotels to capture their interiors interactively. The company uses Matterport, a world leader in immersive 3D technology, offering a platform for the built environment that can easily capture, edit and share 3D models of physical spaces. The technology is able to fully capture the interior and the design of properties, including hotels and leisure destinations.

Matterport technology has already captured several spectacular hotels, resorts and travel lodges across the world. An example of this would be the Four Seasons Ty Warner Penthouse – located in New York that has hosted celebrity guests and has its own private spa room. An incredibly unique example is the Underwater Room at The Manta Resort and the Underwater Terrace – a floating underwater room as a private oasis located in the crystal clear waters of a conservation area in the Pemba Islands in Tanzania several hundred metres from shore. And up above in the clouds, Matterport has captured the Clouds Estate at Helshoogte Pass – a boutique hotel overlooking dramatic mountains in South Africa’s wine country.

Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel reviews which use the Matterport software include New Road Hotel, Hotel Gotham, University Arms and most recently Oddfellows On The Park.

Meanwhile, to improve the volume of guest bookings, STAAH is a channel management software, recognised as an innovator in hospitality technology solutions. STAAH has been using cloud-based products to help accommodation providers around the world power their online growth since 2008. Its award-winning products puts property owners in control by empowering them with technology that helps them attract, convert, analyse and maximise online reach and revenue.

Its latest products to emerge includes STAAH ReviewMinder, which follows a recent integration with booking.com API for review collection and STAAH Max App, giving users the ability to manage their property from their Mobile-On the Go. Find out more about the company’s June updates on products here.

Personalisation is key

In order to improve the holistic guest hotel experience, the evolution of behind-the-scenes technology has made a clear path for smart hotels, once considered the future, to emerge in the market. Guests checking in to a modern hotel can now expect to be able to adapt and personalise many elements, such as the AC or order room service using their phones, self check-ins are driving receptionists out of fashion, while smart door-opening solutions such as key cards or even mobile applications are fast challenging convention. Hamilton Litestat is an electrical solutions provider that designs, develops and manufactures innovative electrical accessories of the highest quality. With a vast product range, spanning consumer units, decorative switch plates and sockets, lighting control and multi-room audio, it is a one-stop-shop for all domestic wiring requirements to allow for guests to personalise their own stay.

Image of room with ceiling lights and display of Hamilton's switches

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

A British manufacturer, Hamilton Litestat has created an enviable portfolio of switch plate and socket designs to please the hotel interiors fashion industry, as well as smart lighting control and audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience. Its DMX control option allows a Red, Green or Blue colour-wash to be used as accent lighting to add drama to a space – ideal for guest rooms and restaurant/bar/public areas.’

Another emerging product that has emerged from the domestic market, and is quickly making its way into the boutique hotel sector, is Nanoleaf. The company’s canvas range allows guests to create their own masterpiece. Designed to add a dash of playful, ambient light to any room, the product, among other settings, reacts to the touch of the user. Via downloading the Nanoleaf app, guests can chose to change the colour of their wall tiles from more than 16 millions colours. What’s more, the product is drill free, easy to assemble and works with other smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Hoteliers interested in investing in a quality experience among high-paying guests may wish to include various portable devices for entertainment purposes. LOEWE’s mini yet mighty Klang M1 portable speaker is an excellent example of how a hotel can offer tech that gives the guests control. Thanks to its compact dimensions, exquisitely finished stainless steel case and genuine leather wrist strap, the Klang M1 is the ideal companion for guests on the go. Whether connecting to a smartphone, tablet or laptop – the Bluetooth signal is quickly detected and the devices are paired ready to stream your music. In the hotel suite, while working out or even exploring a destination on two wheels, the Klang M1 is available wherever, whenever.

Image of portable speaker (rose gold) on handlebars of bike

Image credit: LOEWE Klang M1

Technology in design

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs reported live from Milan the launch of LG’s latest innovation, the world’s first rollable LED TV. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners, the TV product evolved after the understanding that the modern TV is omnipresent in most living spaces, and with screen sizes getting bigger it often dominates a room even when not being used. The new LG OLED rollable screen allows freedom from walls and offers a sense of liberation to design interior spaces.

While some companies have decided to compact their technology, others have opted to go big or go home. Samsung, for example, has just announced that the hotly anticipated one-of-a-kind display, ‘The Wall Professional’, is available to order with select partners, as it marches forward with its innovation in LED and large-scale displays. A breakthrough innovation in multimedia content technology, The Wall Professional redefines the category, offering discerning customers the ultimate made-to-measure display solution fit for any business or living space. The Wall Professional is a bespoke display offering premium viewing experiences on a larger, grander scale.

Large TV display on wall with people looking (render)

Image credit: Samsung

Hidden technology

While it would be easy to focus the lens on technology that is only used and seen by hotel guests, it would not be a true reflection on the rise in technology within modern hotels. New back-of-house systems are now available to further provide more seamless service. Solutions from the likes of Infraspeak have been designed and launched for chaotic hotels that would benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs of maintenance.

Image credit: Infraspeak

As well as improving communication between maintenance staff and the hotel, Infraspeak is a communication tool that is now used in other areas of hotel, such as house keeping, F&B and even energy management. Click to here to read Hotel Designs’ interview with the company’s co-founder.

Main image credit: Nanoleaf

Chelsom head to the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, Miami

730 565 Katy Phillips
Chelsom head to the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, Miami

From today, June 19 to tomorrow, June 20 Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier Chelsom will be exhibiting at the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo which takes place at Miami Beach Convention Center.

This is the inaugural launch of the show which promises to focus on interior design and word is that it is set to be the USA’s premier trade show and conference for the international marine industry. Offering the newest and most innovative products and services, the show will provide inspiration whilst connecting hospitality professionals from all business areas.

Chelsom are supporting the show, showcasing pieces from their latest lighting collections, Edition 26. Designed by Robert and Will Chelsom, the collections harness and refine the latest trends in finishes and materials and have been created with the requirements of the international marine marketplace at their core.

John Hadley, Marine Director commented “Cruise Ship Interior Expo is set to be the number one global event for the marine industry and we are very pleased to be making our debut. Being able to see what the international market is up to is really inspirational and it’s a great environment for companies to showcase their latest product designs and innovations. Events such as these have become key dates in the diaries of many industry professionals from the wider marine industry so it’s a fantastic opportunity to show the leading Marine Interiors professionals a selection of our latest designs from what is undoubtedly our most different and design-led collection yet.”

At the start of the year, Hotel Designs published a series of articles focusing on hotels at new heights. Back then we looked at the increasing trend for hotel designers to take to the high waters to design the luxury cruise vessel suites of the future. Step forward Chelsom…

Chelsom has become one of the leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of decorative contract lighting to the international marine sector working on projects with all leading marine operators across all brands within each operator; including Carnival, Crystal Cruises, NCL and RCCL. Supplying both standard and custom designed lighting products, Chelsom has the expertise to enhance any cruise ship interior, whether new build or refurbishment, cabins to corridors and public spaces.

Chelsom will be at booth 519. For more information on the exhibition and to register to attend please go to: https://www.cruiseshipinteriors-expo.com

Chelsom 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, click here.

 

Image credit – Chelsom

INTERACTIVE REVIEW: Oddfellows On The Park

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INTERACTIVE REVIEW: Oddfellows On The Park

Located on the fringes of Manchester, Oddfellows On The Park is quirky, timeless and in its own admission ‘a little bit odd’. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes about the hotel that was designed to be disobedient…

By the looks of Manchester’s hotel development pipeline, creativity in British interior design and architecture is not limited to London. Despite Brexit uncertainty, this year alone, 835 new guestrooms will be introduced into the industrial city – with a further 11 more hotels slated to open between 2020 and 2021.

The booming hotel design scene in the northern metropolis has resulted in more interest around the outskirts of the city, and it is here – less than 10 miles from the Manchester’s Piccadilly – where Oddfellows Hotels’ latest property is situated.

A lamp shining from the head of a life-sized model of a horse and a chandelier made from bicycle chains hanging above the check-in desk is the first indication that Oddfellows On The Park doesn’t like to play by the rules. Tasked with the aim to stylishly go against the grain was design firm SpaceInvader, which is dedicated to creating spaces which fulfill their true potential, while unlocking the power to enhance human behaviour.

Opened in 2017, the hotel is sheltered within an 1861 traditional Victorian Gothic building, which was named Bruntwood Hall. The shell of the now 22-key boutique hotel was designed originally by an industrialist, John Douglas, who was inspired by a Scottish home; the original ceilings in The Stud Room Bar are testimony to this with subtle thistle design. Today, the iconic structure stands in plain sight, nestled within endless playing parks which feature archery, a golf course, and even a BMX cycling track – hence the cycling chain chandelier in the lobby.

In its history, Bruntwood Hall has served many purposes – from being a town hall during the war to becoming home to a film company and fashion designer. Now, though, for the first time in its winding narrative, the building has been redecorated, reconfigured and reborn to welcome guests into a luxury boutique hotel like no other.

Katie Edgar who heads up hospitality at SpaceInvaders led the design throughout the project. She and her design team conducted thorough research into the history of the building, the location and the inhabitants of Bruntwood Hall, in order to understand how to thoughtfully reference the building’s past. “The approach focused on respecting the character and beautiful features of Bruntwood Hall,” explains Edger. “We were inspired by them, and wanted to enhance them to design a romantic scheme that celebrates the history of the building and its unique position.”

Image credit: ACT Studios

In addition to sympathetically restoring the building’s original features, the design firm worked with architect Tim Groom, in order to incorporate elements of innovative and playful design that has become a signature of Oddfellows Hotels. “The aim was to create a space that allows guests to lose themselves in their surroundings and feel that the Hall is theirs for the weekend,” adds Edgar.

“Original 1860s encaustic floor tiles were uncovered in the reception area and revived to their former glory.”

The public areas arguably give the most significant nod to the building’s heritage. While Edgar and her team were restoring the building as part of its transformation, original 1860s encaustic floor tiles were uncovered in the reception area and revived to their former glory.

The Stud Bar, which is sheltered adjacent to the lobby area, is a small and intimate space dominated by the original statement ceiling complete with beautiful Jacobean-style decorative plasterwork. “The furniture here has been based around complementing, rather than competing with the overhead design,” said Edger. Comfortable high back chairs with fabrics supplied by Skopos and a soft approach to seating encourage guests to enjoy both the view out to the parkland and the historical building features.

Meanwhile, the corridors that are staggered over three levels feature an array of abstract art, creating fun and creative moments throughout guests’ journey to their rooms and suites. Just like the corridors, the guestrooms and suites are layered with texture and each have their own personality. The Tower Suite, for example, is a two-tiered design gem that adorns contemporary finishes such as playful wallcoverings and portraits hung with human bodies and animal heads.

The bathrooms in all 22 rooms and suites have been designed by Utopia Projects, which specified all of the sanitaryware for seven different room types and the spa facilities for the hotel. “Having worked with these designers before, and therefore having an idea of what they like, made this hotel a dream to spec,” said project consultant, Stuart Adamson. ” It’s truly genius how the designers have maintained the buildings country style but modernised it with complimentary elements like the hexagonal mirrors and tiles, although our favourite piece has to be the roll-topped, freestanding baths we supplied completely in white.”

Image credit: ACT Studio

On the top floor, the suites compliment the natural architecture of the building, featuring wooden beams and, with high ceilings, compliment natural arch shape of the roofing. The guestrooms feature over-scaled carpet designs, which are a stylish riff on the decorative plasterwork.

In a nod to the building’s Scottish heritage, the design team included thoughtful elements throughout, including new tartan upholstery, wools and tweeds, and original decorative thistles that are on display. “Heritage colours were specifically chosen to accent walls throughout the bedrooms and public spaces,” explains Edger. “Muted shades of greens, blues, purples and blacks were considered room by room and provide a back drop to conversational artwork and decorative lighting.”

The use of taxidermy would have been expected in the interior of the building’s previous iterations. And so to layer this sensitively within interior scheme was important, but as with everything in the hotel’s design, the use of taxidermy was anything by ordinary. “In a twist on this concept, we included elements such as bike handlebars mounted on elaborate wall plates,” explains Edger. “These have been utilised to provide another link to the activities that can be enjoyed within the building’s surrounding 100 acres of parkland.”

The Pigsty is the hotel’s premium spa that sits in a separate building adjacent to the rest of the hotel. Fittingly, the intimate salon features its own mudroom as well as two treatment rooms and has an engaging atmosphere within the social salon quarter.

Now managed by Bespoke Hotels, the UK’s largest independent hotel group that also owns Hotel Gotham, checking in to Oddfellows On The Park is a journey that celebrates oddities in spectacular fashion. With the combination of amplifying a unique style and through clever marketing to promote it, the Oddfellows Brand is taking its place in the northern hotel charts and it continues to push the boundaries of modern hotel design.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Laura Ashley, from homes to hotels

One strategic acquisition at a time, Laura Ashley Hotels is injecting quintessentially British charm into the hospitality industry. As Hotel Designs continues to put Hotel Groups under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to commercial designer Kay Cullen and head of brand Nimo Abdi about the company’s growing hotel portfolio…

The year was 1953 and celebration was in the air. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey while Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

In the same year, one lady and her husband launched a design and textiles company, Laura Ashley, in the Pimlico area of London. Using silk screens, the pair started printing placemats and scarves on their kitchen table. By 1984, the company that we all know and love today’s sales grossed $130 million.

In 2013, the company followed in the footsteps of many residential designers, by entering the commercial market. The British textiles company opened its first hotel and today, 66 years after the company was founded and having won the hearts of more than 300 million hearts around the world all searching for authentic quintessentially British designs, the brand has its sights on expanding its presence within the hospitality industry with a unique platform. “The fact that we already have a brand has been a significant advantage,” explains brand manager Nimo Abdi. “Our customers are brand loyal and that has encouraged us to invest further by acquiring hotels as well as launching the Laura Ashley Tearooms.”

As guests check in to a Laura Ashley Hotel, they are welcomed in a true-to-the-brand home-from-home setting – and location seems to be at the heart of every strategic acquisition. “Obviously we do want to create that ‘wow’ factor,” explains commercial designer Kay Cullen. “But our main ethos is in the heritage. I take a lot of inspiration from the original building and try to take that from an initial concept right into where you end up.”

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

The Belsfield Hotel in The Lake District is an example of blending new with old. “It’s an amazing Victorian building,” says Cullen. “It’s set right out there on the lake, and while a lot of inspiration was taken from that, it also had beautiful Italian ornate architecture that we wanted to enhance throughout.”

The hotel’s timeless architecture has been accentuated with the addition of a conservatory-like structure adding natural light and making the public areas look and feel bright, open and modern. “When we got there, everything was faced inwards, which was ridiculous,” explains Cullen. “We used Laura Ashley products that felt authentic and replicated how the building’s interiors would have looked but with a touch of modernity.”

Due to the often-hefty demands of modern-day operators and developers, most guestrooms and suites within international hotel design are imagined with the aim for them to be timeless – or as timeless as possible. Upstairs in Laura Ashley Hotels, however the guestrooms and suites are decorated with the season’s latest products, creating a ‘living showroom’ concept. “We have a design department that comes up with the main six-monthly seasons of products that we have,” explains Cullen. “I then work with that palate to understand and decide what goes into the hotels.”

The most recently completed hotel within the Laura Ashley Hotel portfolio is the conversion of the 66-key The Chace Hotel in Coventry. “It’s a building that’s hard not to fall in love with,” adds Cullen. “It’s got amazing William windows, original fireplaces. For us, it’s about bringing it back to life, which is part of my job that I love.”

Image credit: Laura Ashley Hotels

Laura Ashley’s love of creating beautiful spaces within the home has been well and truly extended to the hotel environment. Its current portfolio includes just one hote, The Belsfield Hotel in the Lake District. The Chace in Coventry and Burnham Beeches are currently on the boards, slated to open this year, with more hotels yet to be announced.

The future for the group’s footprint in the hotel design scene is now very much secure in looking for new unique buildings that with the help of its design team, they can turn into truly unmatched, British-themed hotels.

Hotel Designs becomes media partner for designjunction

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs becomes media partner for designjunction

Hotel Designs has become a media partner for designjunction, which this year takes place in and around London’s King’s Cross between September 19 – 22… 

Hotel Designs has announced that it will continue its long-standing media partnership this year for designjunction. The four-day exhibition will present more than 200 international design brands across multiple King’s Cross locations surrounding the striking UAL Central Saint Martin’s building.

Presenting the latest in cutting-edge design each year during the London Design Festival, designjunction is described as London’s leading contemporary interior design show, facilitating connections between architects, interior designers, retailers and exhibitors. Encompassing the best in furniture, lighting, jewellery and home accessories, the event is a place for industry leaders to gather with the widest variety of influential and international designers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be returning to this vibrant, connected part of London, and to once again be working closely with King’s Cross,” said designjunction’s Director, Mark Gordon in an earlier press release. “Coal Drops Yard has opened since we were last at this location, so there’s a whole new experience we can offer our visitors. This is an incredibly exciting year for designjunction and our return gives us the opportunity to continue working with the best designers in the industry to create fantastic installations.”

For eight years running, designjunction has attracted thousands of architects, interior designers, specifiers, retailers, buyers and consumers to its show doors. Each year its exhibitors make lasting connections with influential figures in the design industry, designed to create partnerships that are made to last.

Hotel Designs will be on the ground throughout London Design Festival with ‘LIVE FROM LDF’ capturing all the news from the exhibition as it happens.

Main image credit: designjunction

In Conversation With: Senior designer Kate Jarrett on Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Senior designer Kate Jarrett on Hard Rock Hotel London

Since becoming a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30, Kate Jarrett, senior designer at Scott Brownrigg has completed the Hard Rock Hotel London. Sitting down with editor Hamish Kilburn, Jarrett talks job satisfaction, preferred materials and the challenges that come with being a young designer in 2019…

The early summer vibes are in full swing; the sun is out over the capital and its latest hotel, Hard Rock Hotel London, has arrived.

Upon entering, the hotel is humming with activity. Guests are soaking in the iconic memorabilia hanging on the walls, while locals gather around the bar enjoying a post-work refreshment or two.

The Lobby Bar feels like an apt place to meet Scott Brownrigg’s Kate Jarrett, the senior designer on the project, who earlier this year became a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30. “This started with a passion for illustration, something I studied before moving to Brighton University to study Interior Architecture,” she says. “I then started as an interior designer and I haven’t looked back. I have worked across several sectors but my real passion is for hospitality design.”

“We have used drumsticks to create unique lighting over the concierge desk.” – Kate Jarrett

The completion of the new 900-key hotel, which is located a stone’s throw from Oxford Street, is the perfect stage for the designer to amplify what has become a milestone moment in her career. “We drew inspiration from the history of music and specifically instruments themselves, breaking them down in detail seeing how they have been made,” she says. “This was an unusual take on the obvious theme of ‘music’ and we never lost sight of this unique brief in our design. For example, we have used drumsticks to create unique lighting over the concierge desk.”

Drumsticks used as lighting in the hotel's lobby

Image credit: Philip Durrant

The hotel’s walls are plastered with memorabilia that reference the legacy of legends who stayed in Hard Rock Hotels in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna. Balancing the history and heritage of the brand in a timeless style to avoid cliché moments was the first task for design firm Scott Brownrigg when confronting the motifs that will be sheltered in the new hotel. “We knew we had to represent the Hard Rock brand in an innovative way for the contemporary London market,” Jarrett explains. “The hotel scene here is competitive so we knew we had to create something that tied into London and Hard Rock’s music heritage, while still being completely contemporary.”

Contemporary bar

Image credit: Philip Durrant

The F&B structure at the Hard Rock Hotel London originally took its inspiration from the original art-deco style ceiling of the Lyons Corner House that original stood on the site in the early ‘90s. “Great F&B and bars are key to the success of a hotel as they offer a destination for non-hotel guests too,” explains Jarrett. “For that matter, the expectations of hotel customers on what they want from the hotel experience has also changed. They want it to feel like a home, workplace and a space to socialise; the brief is more open than it used to be.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: If budget was no object, what product would you include in a project you are currently working on?
Kate Jarrett: An incredible art collection

HK: Best thing about being a designer in London?
KJ: The constant source of inspiration

HK: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
KJ: Japan – it would be like an experiential mood board. I already have a list of places I want to visit

HK: Where was the last hotel you saw that took your breath away?
KJ: I recently visited the Beekman in New York, and it really impressed me. That central atrium is like something straight out of a 1920s novel.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?
KJ: For me it represents a space that I want to spend time in, a collection of pieces whether its furnishings, art etc. that make me feel like I can sit back and slow down.

HK: What’s the last item that will appear on your bank statement?
KJ: Most likely ASOS… or coffee, as I’m always running around at the moment!

Without a doubt, it’s her ability to let the project do the talking that has made Jarrett the designer she is today. But the challenges of being a young designer in 2019 are far deeper than simply securing projects, or belonging to a leading firm. “London has a lot to offer, however it also means that you have to shout louder, metaphorically, to get yourself heard and to stand out in the industry,” says Jarrett. “Platforms like the 30 Under 30 I find career-affirming as they enable us to get our names out there and really help to showcase the talents of young designers.”

With sustainability arguably as big a talking point as any other at the moment in interior design and trends, Jarrett is insistent, where possible, on using naturally sourced materials within her projects. “I really enjoy working with natural materials,” she says. “Specifically, I like working with the tactile qualities of natural timbers, stones and the effects achieves by a neutral palette.”

“Scott Brownrigg has been really supportive and encouraging with the projects I have worked on.” – Kate Jarrett

At the root of Jarret’s decisions and place in the market is a design firm that has incubated and supported the young designer’s creativity to ultimately develop better places to live, stay and work. “At Scott Brownrigg, we are all encouraged to enrich lives through the environments we design,” she explains. “Scott Brownrigg has been really supportive and encouraging with the projects I have worked on. As a young designer it can be hard to establish yourself in a company, but Scott Brownrigg has really been great at championing me every step of the way. We’re a friendly, social bunch so I have also make some great relationships with colleagues along the way which has really helped.”

Aside from the Hard Rock Hotel London, current projects that Jarrett is working on that on the boards are firm proof that she is anything but a one-trick pony in the race. “We are working on an exciting hotel project in Stratford,” she explains. “This area is having a surge at the moment with lots of new developments, particularly in the hospitality sector. There are also some further Hard Rock projects we are working on; it’s great to get repeat work as it means we are doing something right!”

The fresh and vibrant interiors that surround the new hotel that everyone seems to be talking about are a reflection of the designer that Jarrett is becoming, or arguably already become. Modest, calm-natured and enthusiastic, Jarrett is, in my opinion, a credit to the firm that has helped support her on her way.

Main image credit: Tash Busta Photography

Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton arrives in Asia Pacific region

Interior design firm CCD has completed the first Canopy by Hilton in Asia Pacific Region, which opens in Chengdu…

Following recent reports of there to be 500 new hotels to arrive in China by 2020, Canopy by Hilton has just debuted in Asia Pacific by opening Canopy by Hilton Chengdu City Centre, with dynamic interiors by Cheng Chung Design (CCD). The first Canopy hotel in Asia Pacific – the property is located in the city that emphasises on the experience of ‘body’, ‘heart’, ‘senses’ and ‘enlightenment’.

The concept of the hotel blends Chinese and Western charms, intertwined with old-fashioned feelings and vitality, elegant and unconventional design, bringing guests a lively Chengdu style and the comfort and warmth of home, with contemporary moments thrown in for good measure.

Art instalment depicting people having their photos taken.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

“The design revolves around the story of ‘the scholar goes to the city to take the imperial exam’,” explained designer Joe Cheng. “Traversing the memory corridor of the imperial city, capturing the auspicious details hidden in the green brick wall, on the street view of the market, in the peddler stall and the courtyard.” The history of the hotel has been reconstructed, while exploring and re-writing the new story of the Imperial City memory.

A row of green bamboos is in front of the drop-off area of the hotel, which forms a shadow that can different from the outside world, leaving the prosperous shackles behind, creating a leisurely temperament that calms and slows you down. The design of the door canopy derives from the elements of the arch, and the bags of the ancient scholars, using columns of the wooden strips, interspersed, and laminated to reproduce the beauty of Chinese classical architecture.

Inside, the first floor reception hall is designed as an art exhibition hall, creating a humanistic space under the artistic conception. Up to nine metres tall,  the lobby is an abstract reflection of the historical streetscape of the old imperial city. The streetscape of the past is vividly displayed in front of the guests, under the large art installation of the roof, to open a dialogue of time and space.The chair hanging in the elevator hall is a reproduction of ancient ‘Gongyuan’ scenes by modern artistic techniques. Guests are guided along the roadways (corridors), which are complete with with green bricks, grey tiles and wooden doors.

Large, open and very minimalist lobby with brings as wallcoverings.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

In the guestrooms and suites, Canopy’s unique brand colour, bright orange, has been applied throughout the design. The panda in front of each guestroom in different poses gives a further nod to the unique sense-of-location and injects an element of humour. Inside, each room is represented through the quaint texture and exquisite details, showing the calm and unpretentious attitude of life, build a balance in the selection, composition and colour.

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The design concept of the guestrooms originated from the idea of “Gong Yuan”and inspired by the film “A Chinese Ghost Story” to connect the whole design to the project. The Canopy brand classic L-shaped bedside, as well as the bedside table inspired by the actor in “A Chinese Ghost Story” Leslie Cheung’s backpack, the shower space of the rice paper laminated glass, also comes from the classic scene of the film – Leslie Cheung breaking through the doors and windows made of Xuan paper, the designer has used the modern techniques to interpret the ancient paper doors and windows, so that the whole design is closely related to the story in terms of form, image and material.

Living green wall inside the hotel - with integrated bookshelf

Image credit: Canopy by Hilton

The hotel also features a number of food and beverage options, including TC Café, the Canopy Lounge and the Leisure Bar, which features a striking floor-to-ceiling living wall with integrated bookshelf to add further to the laid-back luxury feel and tone the hotel sets.

The Canopy by Hilton brand was established in October 2014 as a lifestyle offering under Hilton hotel group. The concept of the brand is guided by ‘lifestyle’, which is dedicated in creating a localised-luxury boutique hotel, providing personalisation.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Jacu Strauss, designer & founder of Lore Studio

An architect or a designer can become one of the most dynamic hoteliers, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the founder of Lore Studio and the mastermind behind some of the world’s most awe-inspiring hotels…

“Being a great storyteller is essential,” says designer Jacu Strauss as we start discussing what it takes to be a leader in design on the international hotel design scene.

It’s the first time we have caught up properly in a whirlwind three years. We catch up immediately where we left it in 2016, when the designer was putting the finishing touches onto The Pulitzer Amsterdam – an independent hotel project that allowed Strauss to break free with his creativity. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he says, “that through a cocktail of heavy research, team work and some brave risks turned out to be a tremendous success.”

Growing up in the diamond rich area of South Africa, Strauss moved to New Zealand to train as an architect at the University of Auckland before travelling to London to study at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

After graduating in 2008, Strauss worked as a senior designer at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, and started to add major hospitality projects to his growing portfolio. “My architectural training and education proved helpful and I was responsible for the project from concept development through to completion,” explains Strauss. “As we won larger projects, we were eventually given the green light to design Mondrian at Sea Containers on London’s South Bank. It was there where I completed my first hotel and, eventually, I was offered an exclusive role as Creative Director of what is now called Lore Group.

“Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics.” – Jacu Strauss

Following the completion of The Pulitzer Amsterdam in 2016, which continues to capture the attention of the world’s media on a mass scale with its timeless yet quirky interiors, Strauss went on to not only design hotels, but also own them by becoming the founder of Lore Studio. “I have not so much changed as become more attune to what does and doesn’t,” he adds. “I have tried to refine how guests and visitors experience our hotels, so it is more than just the visual. It involves a balance of senses that when you get it right means an enjoyable and memorable experience.”

Image of the designer flicking through a book on the floor

Image credit: Emily Andrews

Today, in between jetting around the world being inspired by life’s movement, Strauss and his team are working to complete a new independent hotel, RIGGS Washington DC, a hotel, slated to open in heart of the city at the end of this year, sheltered in what was the Riggs National Bank building. “Washington DC is a city with a particularly strong and quirky evolving hotel and F&B market,” he explains. “So much so, in fact, that there may be another hotel in DC to join the portfolio, but it will be completely different to RIGGS Washington DC.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND:

Hamish Kilburn: What would you like to be if you were not a designer/architect/hotelier?
Jacu Straus: A jeweller

HK: What’s the first rule to learn when designing a hotel?
JS: You can only open the hotel once, so make everything count!

HK: Where is the next hotel design hotspot?
JS: There is a great need for more hotels in urban centres that act as calm retreats for peace from the hustle and bustle of dense cities, but without being gimmicky.

HK: What one hotel would you have liked to have designed/or would like to redesign?
JS: I would have loved to be part of the design team of the Negresco Hotel in Nice. It’s so crazy and magical – I love it.

HK: What is the number one item you cannot travel without?
JS: Tabasco! I always have little sachets of Tabasco in my travel wallet. The little bottles are cute but the sachets are more convenient for travel. Tabasco makes everything taste better.

HK: What trend do you wish would emerge again soon?
JS: Decent table manners.

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in?
JS: Downtown hotel in Mexico City.

HK: Explain London in three words…
JS: Quiet, polite, multicultural.

HK: What’s your favourite colour this season?
JS: Rust. Something nice about earthier and natural  tones as we move away from sterile palettes.

HK: What’s the last thing that shows up on your credit card statement?
JS: Uber. It is the first item that appears and most of what is inbetween!

As someone as visual as Strauss, the urge the design came as almost a natural instinct. “I think I was always a designer,” he narrates. “My mother says I was always observing my surroundings as a child and I think to this day it’s perhaps one of the reasons that I am doing what I am doing. What I really think makes you a professional designer is being able to process criticism. That you learn over time and does not come naturally.”

“F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels.” – Jacu Strauss

As we converse over cocktails in a rooftop bar overlooking east London, it feels apt to discuss the rise of food and beverage facilities within hotel design. “I think hotels have historically been an important “pillar” in a city or town or community,” he explains. “But towards the end of the last century hotels became massive and exclusive only to its guests, and that meant it became inaccessible to their neighbours. Hotels are unique to their locations and I think guests have become more interested in feeling like they are part of a community even just for a night, than staying at a non-descript hotel that is removed from its surroundings. F&B is a tell-tale sign of how it was once the place to eat and drink, before it then became sterile. F&B, I believe, is once again thriving in hotels – as we’re proving this afternoon – because hotels are opening up to locals as well as guests making it feel less like a “hotel restaurant” and more like a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel.”

In reference to the quick-fire round above, Strauss is a man that believes in detail. “I have realised how important it is to research a new market thoroughly and avoid having a cookie cutter approach,” Strauss explains. “Designing a successful hotel is so much more than just choosing colours and fabrics. It is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people, and ensuring the longevity of a product. There are always things to improve on, but we believe you only open a hotel once.”

For the designer who has just as much in the pipeline as what’s already on his impressive portfolio, what makes him stand out his ability to be different. “At some stage,” he adds, “you need to ignore what others are doing and focus on your own task at hand and making decisions based our own hotel and not what others are doing.”

Another distinct characteristic that quite clearly sets Strauss aside from other hoteliers, designers and architects is his ability to effortlessly – on the surface at least – to balance work and life. Living his best life through both travel and work and sometimes a combination of both, Strauss is anything but a one-trick pony, constantly absorbing ideas, concepts and themes that time and time again capture the world’s attention each time the ribbon is cut. And for those wanting a snippet of the inspiration behind his designs, you have only to follow him on Instagram account.

Main image credit: Patrick Meis

Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam to return in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam to return in 2020

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, which debuted last month for the first time outside London, has announced that it will return to the Amsterdam next year on March 17 – 18… 

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, of which Hotel Designs was an official media partner for, has announced that it will return to ‘The Dam’ next year. More than 2,200 hoteliers designers and architects visited the inaugural edition of the the show in Amsterdam to be inspired and informed about the current trends in the hotel industry.

In addition showcasing the latest products and services through its 120 carefully curated exhibitors and providing ample networking opportunities, the innovative event at RAI Amsterdam on May 8 – 9, provided a hotbed of new ideas with the very latest trends presented and covered across multiple touchpoints at the show.

“As this was the first edition in continental Europe, we had no idea what to expect, but the experience the past two days has exceeded expectations,” said Portfolio Director, Miranda Martin. “It was a delight to meet such a great collection of progressive and enthusiastic hospitality professionals and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the 2020 edition in March!”

A Vision of the Future

The Hotel Vision Stage, the central education stage at the show saw hoteliers, trend forecasters and CEOs share their visions for the future of the hotel industry.

During a well-attended session, Dutch trend-watcher Vincent van Dijk shared a glimpse into the Hotel Room of the Future and presented the 10 important hotel trends for 2019:

  • Never wait at a counter again – checking in online or via an app is the new thing. And you’ll open your room via the smart key on your phone too. Easy does it!
  • The automation of in-room service is only going to get more popular, whether it’s simply closing the curtains or requesting the coffee machine prepare a cappuccino, everything will be managed via tablets and technology.
  • Tailored service based on big data is what it’s all about as every guest is unique!
  • Despite all the technology, personal communication remains important. If this isn’t via face-to-face interaction, consider instead a chat program that allows the guest to communicate with the hotel from the room.
  • Due to a lack of space, furniture will become increasingly flexible. For example, a coffee table that quickly becomes a desk where you can work on, or a TV which automatically becomes a mirror as you get closer.
  • Introduction of voice-controlled equipment in hotel rooms. “Hey Google, set air conditioning to 19 degrees!”
  • Shower toilets, as we already see them a lot in Asia, will become the new hygienic standard.
  • Due to air pollution in large cities, there will be an increasing need for systems that can provide clean air.
  • Eco-friendly and health conscious housekeeping without the use of chemical agents – healthy for employees and guests.
  • Green is the new gold! Key words for the hoteliers to keep in mind for the future are sustainability, low waste and water reuse.

A number of significant panel discussions also took place on the stage. Lead by STR Global, ‘The Year in Review’ saw, Eric Toren  (Hotel TwentySeven, Amsterdam) and  Gabriella Esselbrugge (Hotel De Dames van Jonge, Giethoorn) explore the need to spread tourists who come to Amsterdam throughout the country – something that fellow panellist René van Schie, who works on tourism development for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, deals with on a daily basis.

Elsewhere, Hotel Designs, which was an official media partner for the show, was on stage for a live debate on how the rise in ‘bleisure’ is dictating how the industry builds and renovates hotels and cities.

Three men on the Hotel Vision stage

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn leading panel discussion entitled ‘Designing for Bleisure’

During a panel discussion, Gladys Camphuijsen (The Pulitzer, Amsterdam), Annemoon Geurts (Kazerne, Eindhoven) and Veerle Donders (Zoku, Amsterdam) explained how they involve the local community in their hotels, be it by placing a large Christmas tree that the entire neighbourhood benefits from (The Pulitzer) or by organizing neighbourhood parties with beer and bitterballen (Zoku).

Christiaan Uittenbosch, founder of Smart Travel Lab, challenged visitors to think in terms of solutions instead of problems and even use them as a unique selling point within your company. When traveling, guests, especially millennials, are looking for positively-minded brands that are actively working on sustainability. QO Hotels, but also start-ups like Rotterzwam, were named as companies that have built their business by finding solutions to existing problems.

The Independent Hotel Show was concluded with a keynote speech by ex-Radisson CEO, Wolfgang M. Neumann (strategic hospitality consultant and chairman of Hotel School The Hague). In his speech, he emphasized responsibility to the planet and the generations after us. Concluding with the memorable words: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never spent a night with a mosquito.”

The Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam will return for the second edition in the RAI on 17 and 18 March 2020.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Global awards launches to challenge industry standards around accessible design

The Blue Badge Access Awards launches and questions why accessible design is not as large a talking point as sustainability currently is. Editor Hamish Kilburn attended the launch event in London and writes…

Blue Badge Access Awards has launched raising some much-needed debates around the current industry standards around accessible design.

The launch of Blue Badge Access Awards – a combining of two major design competitions – the Bespoke Access Awards and the Blue Badge Style Awards – took place at Home Grown Club in Marylebone. The occasion explained the purpose of the new global competition, which is to celebrate thoughtful and stylish inclusive design worldwide. It aims to inspire designers, architects, operators and developers to work together in order to build exceptional business and venues that make everyone feel like a “first-class citizen.”

“No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.” – Robin Sheppard.

Speaking at the event was Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People and in turn the winner of The Brit List 2018’s Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry. “It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda,” he said during a thought-provoking speech. “No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be so high on the agenda as it is now and we want access to be high on the priority list.”

With the support of charity Leonard Cheshire, the Blue Badge Access Awards aims to accelerate much-needed progress. This follows studies that show inclusive design gives businesses and venues access to a market of more than one billion people across the world, a group of more than 13 million people in the UK along with spending power of more than £250 billion.

Inclusive design has a history of inspiring great innovation, from the invention of the first typewriter, which was built to help a blind Italian countess write legibly, to the remote control, which was created to make life easier for people with limited mobility.

Categories include:

  • Arnold Fewell Award – The Most Inclusive Building/Interior Design
  • Best Hotel x 2 (Upmarket and Boutique, Bespoke Award)
  • Best Bar x 2 (Upmarket and Budget)
  • Best Restaurant x 2 (Upmarket – Conran award – and Budget)
  • Best Accessible Toilet
  • Ludicrous Loo
  • Above & Beyond (Includes Hospitality & Corporates)
  • Euan’s Guide Award
  • Best Venue in a Listed Building
  • Inclusive Employment Award (Leonard Cheshire)
  • Employee of the Year

“Nowhere can be 100 per cent accessible, but everyone can start somewhere,” said Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style. “There is a tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers.”

With categories ranging from Best Hotel and Best Bar, to the Leonard Cheshire Inclusive Employment Award, the Blue Badge Access Awards recognises the variety of ways that businesses can become more inclusive. The prize that nobody wants to win, ‘Ludicrous Loo’ demonstrates the challenges faced in a light-hearted manner, revealing bathrooms where accessibility is an afterthought.

Nominations of the Blue Badge Access Awards, which are open to anyone, anywhere in the world, are now open and close on June 30. Visit to website to cast your vote.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 7.

Main image credit: Blue Badge Access Award/Bespoke Access Awards

PRODUCT WATCH: Industrial chic Roma from Chelsom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Industrial chic Roma from Chelsom

Industrial chic Roma from Chelsom is one of the signature ranges from the latest collection Edition 26…

Roma from Chelsom is a selection of contemporary urban fittings that would be an impressive addition to a wide variety of hotel interior genres. The industrial chic light, which is part of the Edition 26 collection launched last year, is a timeless fitting ideal for luxury guestooms and suites.

Inspired by industrial designs, the Roma table lamp by Chelsom fuses cutting edge design with the latest technology. Available as part of a wider collection of coordinated wall, floor and ceiling lighting, Roma features tapered perforated metal shades finished in Golden Bronze with internal PVC Opal diffusers to give a dramatic and softly diffused light effect.

For further information or to request a catalogue please contact 01253 831404 or email sales@chelsom.co.uk

Chelsom 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, click here.

Main image credit: Chelsom

MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Hard Rock Hotel London

In spectacular fashion, as expected, Hard Rock Hotel London has opened its doors, adding 900 stylish rooms to the Capital’s hotel scene. Hotel Designs took a peak inside…

Positioned on the corner of Oxford Street at Marble Arch, Hard Rock Hotel London has arrived, catering to the needs of both business and leisure travelers from around the world. Designed by award-winning design firm Scott Brownrigg, the concept for the interior design was inspired from the heritage of the existing building, which was built in the mid 1700’s.

Drawing on the legacy of legends who stayed here in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna, the new venue pays homage to the site’s rich history through stylish interior design and carefully curated music memorabilia displays. It also is an inspiration to those who have yet to write their own story – Hard Rock Hotel London stands alone as a hotel haven for music lovers everywhere.

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Hard Rock Hotel London accommodates two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Cafe – the second Hard Rock Cafe to open in the Capital City. With 370 seats, the hotel’s Cafe is set to be the ultimate Central hang out. Combining elevated food and drink offerings with weekly live music performances that celebrate both local London and international talent, the Cafe offers an electric atmosphere, perfect for all occasions – from lunch meetings to after work drinks.

“As the original birthplace of Hard Rock, we are delighted to open a new hotel in London, the brand’s spiritual birthplace,” said Ian Fletcher, general manager of the hotel. “In true Hard Rock style, the property offers stylish and contemporary design, incredible in-room amenities, fantastic food and unparalleled service, with the thread that unites them all – music. We know all our guests have an unforgettable experience.”

Image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Meanwhile, the 42-seat Lobby Bar takes its inspiration from the original art-deco style ceiling of the Lyons Corner House, which originally stood on the site in the early 1900’s. As well as celebrating the site’s unrivalled heritage, the bar embodies Hard Rock’s musical roots, with an abstract installation designed to reflect a master disc and record player. Memorabilia, in true Hard Rock fashion, is suspended in the bar from the walls through guitar strings to replicate a ‘larger than life’ fret board.

‘It has been a great experience working with two established brands, glh hotels and Hard Rock International,” said Kate Jarrett, Interior Designer at Scott Brownrigg who was also credited as a Hotel Designs 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “We have enjoyed collaborating with them to create a unique and sophisticated offer for the London market. Combining the history of the central London location with the iconic musical heritage of the Hard Rock brand.”

With venues in 73 countries including 184 cafes, 237 Rock Shops, 28 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies – and the hotel brand’s most recent opening fittingly returns to where it all began.

Main image credit: Roberto Lara Photography

Canopy by Hilton to make its debut in France in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Canopy by Hilton to make its debut in France in 2020

Canopy by Hilton is poised to make French debut with two hotels in Paris (2020) and Bordeaux (2021)…

Hotel giant Hilton has announced its intention to introduce its upper upscale lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, to France. Two new hotels – Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero and Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons –  are set to welcome their first guests before the end of 2021, following management and franchise agreements.

“Paris and Bordeaux are exceptional destinations, and these new hotels are meticulously designed to celebrate their respective neighbourhoods,” said Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, EMEA, Hilton. “Hilton’s expansion in France is gaining further momentum, with plans to triple our portfolio in the next five years. The introduction of new brands including Canopy by Hilton is testament to the quality of partners we are working with to grow across the country.”

Canopy by Hilton hotels are thoughtfully curated to appeal to travellers seeking a locally inspired experience, with unique interiors that are influenced by the culture and history of the neighbourhood. Guests are welcomed by friendly Enthusiasts with expert local knowledge and recommendations and are invited to immerse themselves in the experience with local food and drink tastings and use of the complimentary Canopy by Hilton bicycles to explore the city.

“Travellers want a hotel to help them get the most out of travel and experience the best of a great neighbourhood – Canopy by Hilton allows our guests to do just that,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton. “Designed with their immediate surroundings, local art, culture and cuisine in mind, Canopy hotels redefine the lifestyle hotel category.”

Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero

The 123-key Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero is scheduled to be the first Canopy by Hilton to open in France. Slated to open in mid-2020, the hotel is located in sight of the place du Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, a cultural hotspot with several galleries and attractions such as the Palais Galliera and Palais de Tokyo museums.

Construction has already started on the property, which is being transformed into an open and inviting space in touch with Canopy’s local design influences.

The hotel is owned by a French institutional investor and will be operated by Hilton under a management agreement. The hotel is located at 16 Avenue d’ Eylau, Paris.

Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons 

Canopy by Hilton Bordeaux Chartrons is expected to open in early 2021. The new-build property will be constructed in the Chartrons neighbourhood, overlooking the Garonne River. Chartrons is famous for its waterside bars and dining, antique shops and vintage boutiques.

The hotel will offer multiple dining options, including a spectacular rooftop restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the river and Bordeaux’s city centre. The hotel’s design will draw on the area’s history as an industrial hub, made famous by its eponymous wine, which is produced in vineyards around the city.

The hotel is owned by SAS RE Hotels, an affiliate of SAS Groupe Reaumur France, and will operate under franchise agreement. The hotel is located at 85 Quai des Chartrons, Bordeaux.

The introduction of Canopy by Hilton in France marks Hilton’s fourth brand entry in France in as many years, following the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in 2017, Hilton Garden Inn in 2018 and Hampton by Hilton in 2019. The new Canopy hotels join spectacular European properties in Reykjavik and Zagreb, with a further hotel under construction in London.

Main image credit: Canopy by Hilton

Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami undergos major renovation

Kimpton EPIC Hotel in Miami is about to embark on an extensive renovation inclusive of its guestrooms and suites, lobby, and pool area…

Situated in the heart of Downtown Miami, with unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay, Kimpton EPIC will be fully reimagined with Miami-inspired elements, while maintaining its beloved sophistication and high-end feel. The finishes, furniture, and amenities will be acutely refined, and elegantly minimal with an organic sensibility.

High-impact artwork will evoke several elements including the natural components of the Earth while speaking to the Miami landscape and personality in a modern and abstract manner.

“Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area.”

Upon arrival, guests will experience a different approach to minimal and sophisticated elegance in the hotel’s reimagined lobby area. Hues in wheat, gray and white, with a layer of soft harbor blue, offer a modern and high-end beach palette in the arrival and reception area. Black and bronze metals, woven linen, marble and custom hardware featured throughout will exhibit the luxurious feeling that Miami evokes within.

Close up of modern furniture above abstract blue art piece in white suite

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Featuring eco-friendly materials, travellers checking in will notice driftwood-inspired slatted headboards, wood-look tile flooring throughout the guestrooms, marble base table and chairs and private patios with custom furniture, all overlooking Biscayne Bay. Art featured within the guestrooms will be local sourced, with a specific focus on highlighting Miami’s flourishing art scene.

Two EPICally detailed suites – a Hospitality and a Presidential, will both reside on the corners of hotel’s 30th floor. Complete with wrap-around balconies and sweeping views of the city lights, the bay, and ocean – both will feature curated, one-of-a-kind furniture, collected art and various functional considerations for entertaining and hosting.

“As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design.”

The high-end sophisticated feel of the property will extend into the hotel’s expansive 16th-floor pool terrace, with new European furnishes and a clean and modern color palette that has playful touches for an energetic pool vibe.

As with all Kimpton properties, the approach is a bespoke design. Virtually all furniture, lighting and artwork are custom and proprietary to the hotel. The hotel’s redesign, expected to be completed by the end of September, is masterminded by the talented in-house Kimpton design team under the helm of Ave Bradley, Creative Director & Global SVP of Design, and Diana Martinez, Senior Design Director at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

GROHE and Mosa partnership celebrates success at Clerkenwell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE and Mosa partnership celebrates success at Clerkenwell

GROHE enjoyed its second taste of Clerkenwell Design Week in partnership with tile manufacturer, Mosa…

Following a successful collaboration in 2018, GROHE and Mosa reunited once again to celebrate their common heritage around the topic of sustainability. “We are delighted to be able to share our passion for delivering sustainable solutions to the architect and design industry with a like-minded brand such as Mosa“, says Glenn Payne, Head of Projects UK at GROHE.

“Our partnership at Clerkenwell Design Week has highlighted our commitment to sustainability to key figures in the industry, whose influence could pave the way to more eco-aware specification in the future. We felt we offered a real point of difference to the customers and visitors who joined us across the three days, and are excited about the new prospects the event will bring“.

GROHE‘s dedicated projects team met with hundreds of visitors at the festival, from self builders and specifiers to architects and designers, generating some promising new business leads. The festival proved an excellent platform for the brand to leverage its already strong position in the A&D community, to reach new heights. As well as opening its showroom to the thousands of visitors who flocked to the festival last week, GROHE and Mosa also hosted several evening parties and events, including an exclusive dinner presented by GROHE’s partnering chef, Ed Baines.

The bathroom manufacturer has an ever-growing presence in Clerkenwell and thanks to the permanent displays newly revealed at Mosa’s showroom last week, the brand has now firmly cemented its place in the design-centric district.

Hotel Designs recently caught up with Grohe’s Vice President of Design, Michael Seum, following the company exhibiting at ISH 2019.

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

MKV Design completes chic hotel design in Mykonos

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MKV Design completes chic hotel design in Mykonos

Design firm MKV Design has completed the interior design of Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa, a new 44-key boutique hotel that overlooks the Aegean Sea…

Described as the “perfect setting for rare moments of romance, luxury and personalised service,” Mykonos’ west coast has welcomed the arrival of a new boutique hotel,Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa, designed by MKV Design. Just as Hora tumbles down the centuries-old cliff face, so the white Cycladic buildings of Mykonos Riviera are also terraced down the rocky terrain.

With a stepped pathway running through the resort like its spine, and many spaces opening directly onto the pathway, the development resembles a series of little village houses, albeit revealing contemporary pared-back design and many luxurious features when the doors are opened.

“This has been a very special project for us, given our role over the years as interior designer at the Riviera’s sister resort, The Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort,” says Maria Vafiadis, Founder of MKV Design and finalist of The Brit List 2018. “In this new project, we have created a retreat just a stroll away from the main town in which guests can feel completely connected with the most beautiful and transformative aspects of Mykonos – its natural landscapes, centuries old architectural character and its sense of simple luxury”.

A sunken pathway is the start of the journey through the site, leading to the reception lobby which sits below the elevated infinity pool, only opening out at the far end with a seating area and windows looking over the sea. The genius of the design in this space is the deep, glazed “windows” punched through the ceiling under the pool which transform the lobby into an ethereal underwater experience. By day, the space is constantly alive, shimmering with reflections of water and sunlight and animated by swimmers above. In the evening, it is illuminated by fibre optic lights embedded into the walls which shine upwards through the windows and pierce the water like hundreds of stars twinkling in the night sky. All this life is reflected and amplified by a fully mirrored reception desk, while a suspended sculpture plays with the notion of a diver plunging through the ceiling and recurring design features are established, such as polished concrete finishes and decorative marine rope.

Minimalist check-in desk with colours of turquoise in ceiling and reflection on floor

Image credit: Niall Clutton

The library is also directly off the sunken pathway. A fresh, calm room in which to relax or work, it is one of the very few spaces that looks inwards rather than out to sea. Above, the Blu Room is a space for small private events and guest breakfasts with a stunning custom-designed buffet table above which a parade of lights like elegant sunhats forms an eye-catching display. The Blu Room’s reversal of the island’s usual colour palette of white with blue highlights into a room of dense ultramarine blue emphasises its unique role within the resort as a semi-private facility.

Most of the guestrooms and suites overlook the Aegean Sea. Their interiors are bright, spacious and designed with a sleek nautical touch. A rope motif strung across the ceiling suggests rigging on a boat and splashes of Mykonian blue enliven the otherwise all-white palette; all the rooms enjoy an outdoor terrace. The bathroom area is finished in the iconic white marble of Naxos together with weathered timber, and the free-standing vanities are within the bedroom area, together with, in some rooms, a bath tub.

Bright, airy and clean guestroom

Image credit: Niall Clutton

Among the many room types, there are a number of suites raising the luxury experience to a further level, including suites with a heated jacuzzi on their terrace, duplex spa suites in which the lower floor is dedicated to pampering and fitness and the 70 sq metre Pool Suites, each with a private pool. A three-bedroom maisonette crowns the guest offering with its own infinity pool and a huge, fully furnished terrace.

The rooftop Pool Club restaurant and bar is the hotel’s all-day dining venue. Located opposite the pool and directly looking towards the sea, it offers a panoply of gently changing vistas, from the Mykonian sunset to the yachts and pleasure boats making their way in and out of harbour. The range of seating options is varied to suit loungers and diners, secluded contemplation and lively socialising. Once again, the colour palette is simple and belongs to Mykonos; the white ceiling of the pergola is criss-crossed with white rope and the bar is dressed in rope that sways in the Mykonian breeze.

Lafs, the Greek speciality restaurant, only opens in the evenings and its simple interior is therefore designed to feel cosy and be seen by the light of its many glass pendants and loosely woven raffia shades which cast shadows across the room. From its outdoor terrace overlooking Hora, diners feel like they can touch the town.  Lafs has the air of the best Greek in town – unpretentious, convivial and authentic.

View overlooking the pool and the bar

Image credit: The Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort

The 500 sq metre spa includes six treatment rooms, a thalassotherapy pool with therapeutic showers, a hammam, sauna, relaxation room and hairdressing salon. The interiors are pure and simple with polished concrete finishes predominating embellished by pebble channels in the floor and a sculptural wall to one side of the pool; although the spa is sunken, natural light penetrates the space via a small outdoor courtyard.

Main image credit: Niall Clutton

5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

Clerkenwell Design Week once again inspired designers, architects and Londoners alike to celebrate London as a creative design hub. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies five installations that took art outside the frame…

In seven exhibitions across London’s much-loved design district, exhibitors at Clerkenwell Design Week displayed the latest products and emerging trends on the market.

But in between each tented venue, creepy crypt and a deserted nightclub were a number of artists, designers and architects reflecting their creativity on the city’s streets. CDW showcased commissioned site specific installations across Clerkenwell. For CDW’s 10 year anniversary, visitors were asked to expect the most exciting street spectacles yet, and here were just a handful of the main attractions.

Once Upon A Time

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian/Once Upon a Time

The installation took inspiration from the rich and sometimes dark historical tales of Clerkenwell. For the initiative, CDW collaborated with Chelsea College of Arts, BA Graphic Design Communication students to create a series of graphic installations inspired by the stories relating to the significant locations. The six winning entries were selected by a judging panel including; Max Fraser, CDW Content Editor; Priya Khanchandani, ICON Editor, and David Barnett, Chelsea College of Art Course Leader, BA Graphic Design Communication. In conjunction with the project, Lansdown’s London hosted a number of historical walking tours during CDW exploring its past as a centre of making, from clock-makers to gin distillers.

Decade

Man looking at the installation on the streets of Clerkenwell

Image credit: Hakwood Adam Dale/Decade

The piece was a dramatic trail of 10, three metre high candle like beacons designed by pioneers within the creative industry. The installations, symbolic of birthday candles also formed part of CDW’s wayfinding strategy to help guide visitors across the exhibition route. With a nod to the area as London’s creative heart, each installation showcased the designers’ individuality and imagination.

Reflect Us

Created by Beau Kerouac in collaboration with ‘The Big Issue’, the installation intended to bridge gaps in society by confronting visitors with 10 door-sized gateways to eyes that are sometimes hard to look into, telling the stories of vendors from our city streets. Using AR technology, Beau Kerouac invited visitors to question how an act of respect; simply making eye contact, can change someone’s day for the better through shared experience.

Scale Rule

The large installation, which was displayed at St John’s Gate arch, responded to the theme of history and heritage by proposing a new structure that subtly draws on the historic form whilst bringing in materials and geometries that reference the design culture of Clerkenwell today.

The concept played with the idea of space and enclosure, by inserting a densely built timber structure within the void of the archway.  This was then carved away to allow a route through and to frame the historic features of the site. The timber frame was filled with moments of colour that intensify towards the top of the arch, drawing visitors’ gaze upwards towards the historic architecture. The colour was created by using recycled materials and fabrics that reference the design identity of the area.

While on the site, the pavilion highlighted details of the archway and drew parallels to the 10 year anniversary of CDW.  When moved to a new location, the pavilion will take with it the geometry of the archway to act as a casting of the original site.

Pareidolia

Man walking past light-like installation

Image credit: Jestico + Whiles

For their second CDW collaboration, Jestico + Whiles and Porcelanosa Group teamed up with Studio Fractal and Architainment Lighting to display a new and experimental immersive experience, which was entitled Pareidolia.

The immersive installation explored concepts of movement, memory and pattern with an impressive large-scale digitally fabricated installation made of Krion, a Porcelanosa product derived from natural minerals.

Hotel Designs was a proud media partner for Clerkenwell Design Week 2019. To read the editor’s round up of the entire festival, including news of the major product launches during the three-day-show, click here.

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian

London Design Festival unveils sneak peek of its 2019 collaborations and events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival unveils sneak peek of its 2019 collaborations and events

At an exclusive press conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the organisers and close partners of London Design Festival lifted the veil on just some of the collaborations, concepts and talent that will be displayed at the week-long festival between September 14 – 22. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

As Clerkenwell Design Week comes to a close, London Design Festival has been waiting impatiently in the wings to share what’s new for this year’s event. Sheltered within an apt setting inside the Victoria & Albert museum, which is the world’s leading museum for design and art, members of the press were given unprecedented access into some of the major collaborations, installations and talent that will be displayed during the week-long festival.

This year also marks 11 years with the V&A as a collaborating partner and the official Festival hub. During the Festival, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance will once again play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects by internationally-renowned designers.

london street with installation and colour

Image credit: Walala Lounge, Camille Walala,

“The 17th edition of the festival, which launched in 2003, is all about collaboration and bringing people together,” said Sir John Sorrell CBE, Chairman of LDF. Sir Sorrell explained that LDF 2019 has teamed up to work with Benchmark Furniture. The festival has already identified and paired together 10 cultural leaders with 10 visionary designers in order to celebrate the potential and opportunities that can result from seamless collaborations. The concept, entitled Legacy, will involve each designer and organisation working together to craft something inspirational out of Red Oak with the aim to promote raw, intelligent and sustainable design. The sustainable wood species grows abundantly in the American hardwood forests, and will be fabricated at Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire. The pieces will be presented as a group exhibition at the V&A in September, after which they will relocate to the homes or institutes of each of the commissioners.

The 10 designers and commissioners are:

  • Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, will work with Jasper Morrison
  •  Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group, will work with Marlene Huissoud
  • Yana Peel, CEO, Serpentine Galleries, will work with Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby
  • Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House, will work with Konstantin Grcic
  • Amanda Nevill CBE, CEO, British Film Institute, will work with Sebastian Cox
  • Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director, English National Ballet, will work with Martino Gamper
  • Dr Maria Balshaw CBE, Director, Tate, will work with Max Lamb
  • Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Art Gallery, will work with Raw Edges
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, Young Vic, will work with Tomoko Azumi
  • Sir John Sorrell CBE will work with Juliet Quintero
image of designers and cultural leaders

Image credit: LDF Legacy

Among the other installations to look out for at the festival is Matthew McCormack’s Falling Sky. The Canadian designer will exhibit a multi-story design-art installation featuring countless deconstructed, frost-like formations, conspicuously positioned over the heads of its onlookers.

Meanwhile, British designer Paul Cocksedge is transforming Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, with Landmark Project, Please Be Seated. Located in the heart of Broadgate – a diverse hub connecting innovation and finance – the project will be the most ambitious of British Land’s commissions to date.

led lights abstractly arranged with black backdrop

Image credit: Sony Design

Sony Design will translate innovation into perceptual experiences is the theme for the creation of this interactive robotic pendulum: Affinity in Autonomy, an immersive installation that will explore design, AI and robots.

Camille Walala will return to LDF in a characteristically colourful manner. The French-born designer has been commissioned by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland to energise and enliven South Molton Street, in the heart of London’s West End, with a bold and beautiful family of street furniture. Combining head-turning colour and geometric shapes in monumental proportions, the 11 unique benches of Walala Lounge will give visitors something unexpected to look at – and to sit on.

Director of the festival, Ben Evans, took to the stage to explain the value of the festival’s various different districts and destinations, including Focus19, Design, 100% Design, London Design Fair,  “Each exhibition and district during LDF has its own personality,” he praised. “London has the biggest creative economy in the world, and design is a key part of it. London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London’s design excellence in a period when showcasing creativity is even more important.”

Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans, LDF celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world. London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.

Main image credit: Paul Cocksedge

New ‘super boutique hotel’ in London to become leader in sustainability

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New ‘super boutique hotel’ in London to become leader in sustainability

Edwardian Hotels London has secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK that will help make its new ‘super boutique hotel’, The Londoner, one of the most environmentally friendly in the UK, with sustainability at its core…

Edwardian Hotels London has secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK to ensure its new super boutique hotel, The Londoner, situated in Leicester Square will be one of the greenest hotels in the UK.

The deal with HSBC UK breaks new ground in sustainability for the hospitality industry. It is the first Green Loan in the sector that meets the Green Loan Principles, which were set out in March 2018 to encourage and facilitate environmentally-friendly economic activity. The funding will be used to ensure the new hotel doesn’t just meet but exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

Thanks to the Green Loan, The Londoner’s impressive green credentials will range from use of construction materials with a low environmental impact, to new technologies including an innovative liquid film which will reduce evaporation and energy loss from the hotel’s swimming pool.

The hotel is also aiming to contribute to the sustainability of its neighbours by including a heat network connection. Initially, this will be linked to the Edwardian Hotels London-owned hotel next door to The Londoner, The Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire, but could also be extended to the surrounding area in the future. In total, the hotel is set to use 30 per cent less carbon than regulations demand.

 “Since its inception we have always had bold ambitions for The Londoner to write itself into the very fabric of the city, said Jasminder Singh OBE, Chairman and Founder of Edwardian Hotels London. “We have been dedicated to delivering a high-quality, sustainable, integrated hotel and this Green Loan supports that vision. We are delighted that this new property, designed to celebrate the character of the capital, has become the first in the hospitality industry to secure this.”

Rob King, Head of Sustainable Finance at HSBC UK, said: “HSBC has made a commitment to provide US$100bn of Sustainable Finance by 2025 to help businesses transition to a lower carbon economy. We are very pleased to have supported Edwardian Hotels London with a Green Loan to support the construction of this high profile hotel with very strong sustainability credentials.  Green Loans are an exciting development in Sustainable Finance which will encourage the investment urgently required to meet our carbon emission reduction targets.”

The Londoner is in a new hotel category of one. Boutique in feel, yet staggering in scale, at 15 storeys, the property will offer a multifaceted experience through its 350 exquisite rooms and suites, signature restaurants and dining offerings and with the bespoke meetings and event spaces infused with London character. It is scheduled to open in Spring 2020.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels