• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Posts Tagged :

London

In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture

Looking ahead, past the pandemic, editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to understand how to build a meaningful hotel landscape…

With the world the way it is at the moment, the conversation in the industry has steered sharply towards how architecture and design will be affected in the post-pandemic world.

PLP Architecture is a firm behind some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable buildings, which will soon include Pan Pacific London. Expected to be completed in 2021 – and already being described as an ‘architectural marvel’ – the project’s vision is to balance a design that is sensitive to the Asian heritage of the brand whilst creating an ultra-modern, timeless hotel and complex that challenges conventional architecture.

As a result of the firms sustainable mission, the building will shelter mix of 42 native wildflower and some sedum species populate levels 34 and 42 – 44, protruding above the structure’s rooftop, seeking to create a sense of continuity between the tower and the outdoor public spaces and gardens on the ground floor. 

Representing a number of firsts for London, such as being the first tower development in the City of London to harmoniously fuse private apartments with a luxury hotel, PLP Architecture’s collaborative approach with Yabu Pushelberg and developers UOL and Stanhope ensures the delivery of an integrated and seamless design at every level of building, helping to bring to life a bold, emblematic and creative new embodiment of urban expression for the capital. Most importantly, though, it has been built with tomorrow’s consumers and travellers in mind.

So how are architects evolving to meet the hefty demands of modern travellers and budget conscious clients in the post-pandemic world? I spoke to Mark Kelly, Partner at PLP Architecture, to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: How will coronavirus reshape architecture?

Mark Kelly: Architecture is an inherently flexible process – always evolving while constantly questioning and reinventing itself. As such, it is well placed to respond to the current and seemingly ever-changing Covid crisis and, for that matter, other current and future global concerns such as the climate emergency. Covid has specifically put extra focus on the health of the architectural spaces we inhabit – not just in the way they operate, but in the way they make occupants behave and feel.

We are already seeing a shift towards greater implementation of technology to reduce levels of contact. There is also now a greater recognition of the benefits of architecture enhancing a state of health and wellbeing – achieved through more natural lighting and ventilation, improved climate control, larger areas of personal space more robust and cleanable surfaces, increased sizes and more options for circulation, clearer signage and better management of wayfinding – as well as more pragmatic inclusions like well-designed and integrated places for washing / sanitising hands and select use of screens and shields where required in areas of frequent interaction.

“The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How should the hospitality industry prepare for post-pandemic work in terms of architecture and design?

MK: Though we are in very challenging times at the moment, we see opportunities for an exciting future across the industry – one that addresses the requirements of a post-pandemic world and also reinvents itself into a more dynamic, safe and inclusive environment for people to use and enjoy. Ultimately hospitality, as a service-based industry, has the goal of accommodating and providing comfort – not just for guests, although they are a clear priority – but for staff as well. Everyone involved has a right to feel safe and protected at all times.

Image caption: Final mock-up room inside Pan Pacific London

During the pandemic, we have seen some creative uses for hotels being implemented – including people using them as remote offices, exercise studios and other support for a newly mobile workforce. This has not only helped to counteract the problems associated with lower occupancy levels but started to address other issues that were present before the pandemic. The current environment is a perfect opportunity for hotels to think creatively about ways to not just reconsider and reactivate their existing spaces, but transform their business models to help further diversify and futureproof their assets.

We see a real need to shift towards the inclusion of more local target groups, with a new and expanded reliance on the local population to add authenticity and ensure year-round activation and use of hotels. The pandemic has provided, and in some cases necessitated, an opportunity for the industry to expand from a more straightforward offering of overnight accommodation with perhaps a restaurant and gymnasium, into a truly community-minded hub where locals, tourists and business men and women alike interact and intermingle in an environment that entices each.

Premium hospitality can remain a core function in hotels, but it will need to be flexible enough to adapt to take advantage of this exciting and beneficial adaptation into a Hospitality Integrated Business that brings together the workplace, wellness and placemaking.

HK: What kinds of spaces will we be willing to live, travel and work in now?

MK: Everyone’s goal is and will be to avoid contamination with the virus. As a whole, many of the types of spaces we will be willing to live, travel and work in already exist in limited quantities and going forward their designs will become more widespread through the adaptation and retrofitting of existing spaces and the creation of new ones.

Image caption: Render of the hotel entrance at Pan Pacific London

Density control is easier than ever now, and in hotels we believe that good design for the management of arrivals and departures in a reception space, for instance, can be easily integrated with new goals for sustainability to achieve environments that actively help prevent the spread of the virus and, ultimately, are healthier and more invigorating for everyone.

The inclusion of more natural light, better ventilation, clearer wayfinding, more generous sizing, and adaptable personal spaces – all things we as a practice have been incorporating into our designs for many years – have become crucial visual indicators of safety that allow us to feel comfortable and protected at our homes, in our places of work, and while moving around outside of both.

“No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels.” – Mark Kelly, Partner, PLP Architecture.

HK: How can architecture mitigate pathogenic risks in an interconnected world?

MK: Architecture will play a crucial role in supporting our control of pathogenic risks in our increasingly globalised world. Natural ventilation and better air management, including the use of HEPA filters, for instance, are already recognised for their ability to reduce infection rates and virus spread. Easy-to-clean materials, such as high-pressure laminates and other smooth, anti-microbial surfaces, enabling efficient management of contagion mitigation measures.

Spatial use and organisation are also important, including the ways in which shared spaces (corridors, lounges, lobbies, dining areas) are activated. New developments in vertical circulation are poised to be a game-changer for taller structures in our cities. No longer a futuristic dream, loop circulation systems with horizontal movement will help optimise people movement across levels, spaces, and even buildings and reduce risk associated with unnecessary interaction.

Crucially, we believe that changes in architecture can be carried out subtly and effectively, preserving a sense of design identity and uniqueness, accommodating luxury and comfort, while embracing risk reduction and contagion prevention to ensure we can get back to close to what we define as our normal lives as possible.

Main image credit: PLP Architecture/Pan Pacific London

Checking in to No.5 Maddox Street, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to No.5 Maddox Street, London

Embracing change – and predicting a rise in demand for luxury apartments post-pandemic – editor Hamish Kilburn checks himself in review No.5 Maddox Street

It was the first time since the start of lockdown I had made the trip into the capital, but certain things were not how I remembered.

For starters, not a single person on the train journey had demanded for me to move my bag on the empty seat next to me. Pre-Covid, not standing on the commute would have been seen as a miracle. Five months after the government put us into a forced hibernation, the empty carriage felt lonely. I disembarked the train at St Pancras International, checked my watch – it was 08:59 on a Wednesday – I could hear the echo of an barren terminal in what was supposed to be ‘rush hour’.

On my walk from the station to Maddox Street in Mayfair, the stark reality hit: most of London’s iconic hotels were closed and lifeless. And yet, while the majority of hotels in the city were shaking up re-opening strategies and not cocktails, other accommodation offerings – like for example No.5 Maddox Street – were able to open fully because of their design scheme being friendly to social distancing.

I launched the Living Rooms concept in 1999 after recognising the modern traveller’s desire for privacy and independence.” – Tracy Lowy, owner, Living Rooms.

Nestled between high-end art galleries and luxury boutiques – conveniently tucked behind Bond Street and metres away from Regent Street – is the discreet entrance to No.5 Maddox Street.

Sheltering just 12 luxury apartments – all of which were renovated last year by the owner herself, Tracy Lowy – No.5 Maddox Street is part of the Living Rooms collection, which also includes The Laslett and Weymouth Mews. Offering what it claims is ‘the best of apartment living and hotel service’, it’s almost as if the collection was unconsciously designed for the post-pandemic world. “I launched the Living Rooms concept in 1999 after recognising the modern traveller’s desire for privacy and independence,” Lowy told Hotel Designs. “From concept through to the finished product, we sought to create the best of both worlds; design-led apartments that combine the services of a luxury hotel, complete with the privacy, space and the comfort of home.”

Image credit: No5. Maddox Street

The arrival experience at No.5 Maddox Street is unlike any hotel I have ever stayed in – there is no lobby, for example, which immediately creates an understated entrance with no room for drama. With no lift, meaning that No.5 Maddox Street is not accessible for everyone, I climbed the industrial-like stairs to check in.

While each apartment sheltered within the building is different, all of them are competitively spacious. In fact, the smallest apartment, at 27 sqm, is almost double the size of a typical London hotel guestroom, which adds to the home-from-home setting that Lowry has created. In addition, and something of a rarity in the city where space is a premium, many of the apartments feature decked terraces, balconies and open fire places.

A luxe masculine bedroom

Image credit: No5. Maddox Street

The property was given a refurbishment last year to mark its 20th anniversary. Impressively, No.5 Maddox Street remained open throughout. “As the refurb was mostly cosmetic, we remained open for guests and blocked apartments out in groups  – it was a bit of a game of Tetris,” explained Lowy.

“We sourced a lot of vintage design pieces which come with their own set of challenges.” – Tracy Lowy, owner, Living Rooms.

Although Living Rooms decided not to hire in a design firm for the project, Lowry carefully selected items that she believed would create an apt homely environment in the centre of the action. “We sourced a lot of vintage design pieces which come with their own set of challenges,” she said. “But we are lucky to have some great partners in that area that we can always count on to help us come up with the goods.” 

The apartments have been refreshed, nipped, tucked and brightened with modernised interiors. As well as vintage rugs by Larusi, the spaces feature one-of-a-kind furnishings from Les Couilles Du Chien and a curated selection of photography and artwork that reflects the rich history of the local area.

With as much emphasis on service as well as design, guests of No.5 are encouraged to ‘live like a local’. Those checking in can explore the city by using the constantly updated neighbourhood guide, as well as tapping up the knowledgable and friendly concierge service.

an open light kitchen

Image credit: No5. Maddox Street

As I checked out of No.5, following a relaxing and comfortable nights sleep, I am intrigued to understand from Lowy’s perspective whether or not the demand for this style of accommodation has increased following the pandemic. “Travellers, both leisure and business, are really seeing the benefit of the personal space we can offer,” she explained. “In this part of London, where hotel rates can be very high, we can often offer an entire apartment for the price of a hotel room.”

In conclusion, I agree with the term ‘hotel alternative’ when describing No.5 Maddox Street. Although I am not fully won over by apart-hotels stealing the limelight in hospitality completely, the apartments at No.5 Maddox Street are smartly designed to offer a discreet urban pad, suitable for one or two nights. They are warm and inviting but, in my opinion, feel more like you are staying in someone else’s home-from-home – similar to a stylish, well-stocked and well-hosted AirBnB, if you like.

Main image credit: No5. Maddox Street

Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

To showcase Heathfield & Co’s bespoke approach to lighting design, Hotel Designs explores how the brand designed unique lighting schemes for two well-known hotels in London… 

From cruise ships and shared working spaces, to five star hotels and restaurants across the world, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke portfolio showcases more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in commercial projects. Here are just two examples that illuminate the brand’s creative approach to lighting.

The Curtain

Located in the heart of Shoreditch, The Curtain is a 120-key go-to for London creatives.

Starting with the client’s initial brief, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke team worked closely with U.S. based Duncan Miller Ulmann to design unique lighting to suit the sophisticated urban city aesthetic.

From an initial project review, through to final delivery and site support, Heathfield’s dedicated project managers led every stage of the process, ensuring the budget was met and final designs were perfectly executed.

Adjustable bedside wall lights, perforated ceiling pendants and picture desk lamps were among the bespoke products designed, developed and manufactured exclusively for this stylish hotel.

Kimpton Fitzroy

Combining contemporary interiors with the original features of its 19th century building, the Kimpton Fitzroy in Bloomsbury is a London hotel like no other.

Collaborating with the creative teams at Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage Studio, Heathfield’s dedicated team of product designers and engineers created a series of extravagant chandeliers and sleek wall lights to complement the hotel interior. Specialist finishes and materials were developed and produced for the project to achieve a truly unique design.

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

Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern nomad traveller, this is a place to work, explore and connect with the personalities of the time, and enjoy breakfast. Take in the whimsical characters on the walls as you enjoy this convivial Library-esque space. Beyond the walls lies a further dining room, which instils a feeling that it belongs to the residence’s owner. Your own private versatile oasis which can be used for private dining, or a ‘meeting of the minds’ gathering place.

From Autumn onwards, The Mayfair Townhouse is where you’ll find both luxury and the joy of the unexpected. Guests come for the exceptional service and inspiring atmosphere and leave with a renewed confidence that choosing personality over conformity is always worth it.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

Ahead of speaking at Hotel Designs LIVE in October, Lifestyle hospitality brand Locke will open its third London property this September. Before then, Hotel Designs has managed to get a behind-the-scenes glance at the interiors inside Bermonds Locke

Designed to be lived in, and offering an alternative to traditional hotels in the post-pandemic world, each individual studio apartment inside Bermonds Locke is equipped with fully fitted kitchens and modern living space.

Combined with activated public spaces and a locally-led cultural programme, Bermonds Locke will simultaneously allow guests to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle hotel. The flexibility of the home-meets-hotel format appeals to a broad range of travellers across the leisure and business markets, for both extended and short stays. As the demands of contemporary travellers rapidly change, Locke’s burgeoning success and European expansion plans put it at the centre of the future of travel.

“We are delighted to open our third property in London with Bermonds Locke,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Locke aims to liberate guests from the confines of a typical hotel room by creating beautiful apartments that are designed to be lived in. The type of guest we’re accommodating wants to explore life as a local, and so the Bermondsey neighbourhood has played a significant role in defining the aesthetic, partners and programming.”

“Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.”

Image credit: Locke

Bermonds Locke marks the first collaboration for the brand with London-based interior architecture studio Holloway Li. Paying homage to nature’s wonder in both aesthetic and eco-responsibility, Holloway Li have created a living experience out of re-purposed construction materials in both the public areas and private apartments. Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces; whilst in the rooms bespoke bed frames woven out of blackened rebar are accented with linen canopies to infuse old ideas of the concrete jungle with a new sense of sanctuary.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Locke to pave a new design direction for the brand’s home-meets-hotel concept,” explained Alex Holloway and Na Li, Co-Founders Holloway Li. “By challenging the purpose of materials, we hope to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience – doing more, with less.”

Image credit: Locke

Bringing the changing gradient of the desert sunset to south London, Locke’s signature studios on the upper floors will be dipped in blue, beige and grey hues and saturated vibrant pinks on the lower floors. Responding to a narrative and concept developed by Heather Tierney from Wanderlust (the visionary behind cult US restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter), Bermonds Locke evokes the Southern California cool of Joshua Tree, the Mojave Dessert and Abbott Kinney – a culture and food destination comparable to Bermondsey Street.

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

Situated within walking distance of some of London’s favourite spots, guests can enjoy the energetic Bermondsey Street – home to some of the best bars, restaurants and art galleries in London. To the north of the property, guests can meander through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Maltby Street Market– the smaller, slightly more charming younger sister of Borough Market. As with all Locke properties, Bermonds Locke comes fully staffed by a team of House Hosts, offering excellent insight to ensure both long and short-term visitors have access to the best local knowledge and insider tips.

The opening of Bermonds Locke comes as the brand continues to expand both within the UK and internationally. With further openings planned in Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon, Munich and Copenhagen, Locke is also slated to open its fourth London outpost in Dalston in late 2020.

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

To coincide with the opening of Birch, which has been described as a ‘next-generation escape’ hotel just outside London, editor Hamish Kilburn considers how Covid-19 has challenged the luxury hotel market by hearing from international architecture and interior design firm Red Deer on the luxury hotel’s design story…

Even after lockdown, Covid-19 has created a distance between us, which is predicted to last for a while. Although we will meet again as we did before, architecture firm Red Deer believes that a new shift in the luxury market will emerge from our time apart.

“For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.”

Red Deer considers the term ‘luxury’ as degraded through overuse, and the parameters of what constitutes a ‘luxury hotel’ can be difficult to define. The concept can be specific to each individual guest, based on their own expectation, habits and culture. For Red Deer, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

“Millennials represent only about 32 per cent of spending in the personal luxury market, but by 2025 they are expected to make up 50 per cent of the total market,” writes Forbes contributor Pamela N. Danziger. “Some 130 per cent of market growth in the next seven years will be attributed to the Millennial generation.”

Rejecting traditional wealth values

The luxury industry has often been aligned with indulgence and excess rather than sustainability and connections. Quality craftsmanship and experiences may continue to command a premium price tag, however, Millennials are creating a new focus towards sustainability. Both Millennial and Gen Z groups’ expectations from luxury brands are very different from those of Gen X and Baby Boomers who favour traditional wealth values. Social connections and insider knowledge are of more importance to these younger consumers who are more likely to make value-based acquisitions and purchases. Luxury weaves its way through their experiences, free time, travel, community, self-growth and security.

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

“With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms.”

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

As the landscape for luxury hospitality has evolved, the onus is now focused on creating a unique and personalised one-to-one experience for guests. This bespoke experience is a key driver throughout the design of Red Deer’s projects. With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms and challenge the idea that uniformity was essential for large batch furniture specification.

The most prominent of these pieces is a bespoke valet stand constructed by Jan Hendzel Studio, utilising recycled plastic orbs by sustainable material designer Charlotte Kidger, textured vases by ceramicist Emma Louise Payne and hand-beaten copper bowls by metalsmith Lucie Naujalis. It’s a piece that is intimate and personal, telling a story of three different elements brought together in a single form that is simultaneously light and robust, whilst able to be easily taken apart when required and updated over time. It’s a piece designed to stimulate the guest’s senses and spark their curiosity.

Before the pandemic, the global luxury market was predicted to reach €1.3 trillion by 2025. As the hospitality industry enters a challenging period in Q2/3 2020 it is ever-important for the designers and hotel investors to consider the changing market needs and place social connections and insider knowledge alongside premium experiences at the forefront of their business models. Hotels aren’t just bedrooms with smart technology, but memory-making experiences that create value and loyalty.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Red Deer believes Birch to be an example of how hospitality projects should be approached, considering a long-term commitment to sustainability within a renovation or new build as a crucial component of architectural design.

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The ‘anything is possible’ approach in interior design

Timothy Oulton is a British designer who has mastered the ‘anything is possible’ approach greater than most when it comes to interior and product design. Hotel Designs gets comfortable in the Apollo to learn its secrets… 

Nothing epitomises the ‘anything is possible’ ethos that Timothy Oulton Studio is famous for better than Apollo.

It is a unique environment modelled to scale on the Apollo 11 spacecraft, encapsulated in a polished stainless steel shell and featuring luxurious, fully customisable interiors created in-house and by hand by the brand’s skilled cohort of makers and craftspeople.

Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

Recent research points to just 16 per cent of holiday goers now considering trips abroad, yet the urge to escape the new normal is a powerful force. For the luxury and ultra-luxury hotelier the question of how best to create an experience capable of satisfying this desire, wherever in the world, is more pertinent than ever.

As a commercial interior design studio serving the hotel and hospitality industry, this question is one the Timothy Oulton Studio team has considered from its own perspective. Since the global Covid-19 pandemic took hold, studio founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws have been asking themselves what the changed future looks like for a market as vital as the travel and hospitality industry, and for the individual businesses that operate within it.

“Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one.”

The practice is responsible for delivering unforgettable design concepts that enable its clients to attract, engage and wow visitors – impacting revenue streams by offering unmatched experiences. A potential answer to the question of what next? Marry the impulse to be transported to another world with a sensitivity to the needs of this one. 

An outdoor iteration of the Apollo is something Timothy Oulton Studio has been asked for on numerous occasions. Now, after a year of research, development and prototyping, it is ready to be bought to market and – when the ability to be outdoors in small numbers holds great influence over decisions about where we go and how – the launch seems appropriately timed.

“A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways.”  – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio

For hotels with surrounding land or existing glamping facilities the outdoor Apollo creates a phenomenal point of difference in the luxury market, while larger businesses can use it is an attention-grabbing centrepiece inside or out. At Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen the Apollo is used as a private dining space, enabling small group to drink and eat separately within the buzzy atmosphere of the wider restaurant – this is something that the studio team is expecting more of, as Laws explains. “Now more than ever people want to get away, both physically and metaphorically, and I think perhaps hoteliers are seeing an opportunity to facilitate that for people within their own countries, removing the need to jump on a plane,” he says. “A design like Apollo can pivot existing businesses in so many ways. 

“Being so unique and visually impactful also helps clients understand the value of this particular design – Instagrammability is front of mind for almost everyone in the industry. If it was prevalent before the pandemic it can only be more so now our circumstances have changed and we are out and about less frequently. You only have to take a glance at the breadstreetkitchen hashtag to see what a difference this kind of design makes to the popularity of a business.”

The Apollo can be viewed and bought at Timothy Oulton, Bluebird, 350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU.

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

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio/Image caption: Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio

Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel with Jason Bradbury

On June 23, Hotel Designs hosted its first ever virtual conference. To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, editor Hamish Kilburn welcomed tech influencer and the former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury to discuss technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel…

Following a warm welcome from editor Hamish Kilburn to officially launch Hotel Designs LIVE – and quick-fire Q&A round with the event’s headline partner, Technological Innovations Group – Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

“The last 10 weeks have defined the next 10 years of innovation.” – Jason Bradbury

Sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, the session started by Bradbury suggesting that the current coronavirus crisis  – and indeed all cultural changes in the past – opened up an opportunity for new technology to be utilised in the hotel experience. Using the case study of Bainland Park, which is a luxury escape just a few miles from his home in Lincoln, Bradbury explained how the resort is redesigning its concept to dissolve the conventional public areas altogether. “Bainland Park is completely self-sufficient, ideal for the post-corona consumer, and the architecture and design really does set the scene,” he said. “Before lockdown, the owners were intending to renovate the public areas. However, as a result of the pandemic, and the change of consumer demands, they are now eliminating the the communal areas completely. What’s most interesting is that this change has been driven in the last 10 weeks alone.”

“Technology that offer peace of mind and wellbeing are going to be central to the buying experience from consumers.” – Jason Bradbury

Another case study that Bradbury referred to when predicting technology’s role in the future hotel experience was Eccleston Square, a tech-savvy  boutique gem that sits in the heart of London. With the aim being to understand where technology is heading in hotel design, in 2019, Hotel Designs asked Bradbury to review the hotel 30 years in the future. “The technology in Eccleston Square is almost invisible, if you exclude the media lounge,” he explained, “which results in a seamless experience for the guests. However, post-pandemic, I wonder if in the future we are going to see more overt instances of technology [when it comes to cleaning], because that will make us feel safer as consumers.

During the seminar, Hotel Designs LIVE featured a PRODUCT WATCH segment, which allowed the audience to hear from key-industry suppliers within within the technology sphere to ultimately find out about the latest innovations and products that have appeared on the hotel design scene recently.

Below is the full seminar (in two parts), with PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Technological Innovations Group, NT Security, Air Revive and Aqualisa.

In part two (see below), Bradbury continued to explore, through technology lenses, what he believes will likely be the hotel of the future. In addition, he answered some tough questions on which piece of technology he believes should never have been invited, what tech item he simply cannot live without and how long he could go living without technology…

Born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis, Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technology Innovations Group, is Hotel Designs’ way to simply, meaningfully and virtually keep the industry connected while keeping the conversation flowing. Bradbury’s future-gazing session, where he predicted technology’s evolution in the hotel experience, kickstarted a full day of insightful talks and panel discussions on topics such as Public Areas, Sleep and Wellness, which will all be published shortly.

It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
It’s a hat-trick! Ruby Hotels announces third hotel in London

Ruby Hotels, which only recently entered into the UK hospitality market, has announced that it will open a 173-key property in London’s Notting Hill area in 2023…

Just months after making its London debut with the launch of Ruby Lucy on London’s Southbank, and while construction is underway to open a 153-key hotel in Clerkenwell next year, Ruby Hotels has announced that its third property in London will be based in Notting Hill.

Ruby Zoe, which is being built in conjunction with UK investor and developer Frogmore, will shelter 173 rooms.

Led by founder and CEO Michael Struck, Ruby Hotels has set its sights on further international expansion with a third hotel planned for London. The new-build, 173-bed property will be in the heart of colourful Notting Hill and will include a spacious street-front public area combining retail and hotel elements.

“Based on the model of modern luxury yachts, we accommodate our luxury in a relatively small area and simply leave out the unimportant,” explains Struck. “We also organise ourselves using our own technical solutions in a very different way to the rest of the industry. We plan and build in a modular way, centralise more, and automate consistently behind the scenes. As well as helping us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests, this approach gives us a leaner and more adaptable cost structure and means lower risks for our real estate partners. This combination of advantages helps us especially in these unpredictable times.”

After the successful opening of Ruby Lucy on the South Bank earlier this year and Ruby Stella set to open in 2022 in Clerkenwell, expanding to the west of the city is the next logical step for Ruby in the thriving London hotel market.

Jo Allen, Chief Executive of Frogmore commented: “We are delighted to have secured Ruby Hotels as an occupier on our Notting Hill Gate Estate. When we asked Gerard Nolan and Partners to market the hotel opportunity in our West Block we received 13 bids from 10 different hotel operators. We really love Ruby’s approach and vision for the project which we believe will complement the area. The Ruby Team have been fabulous to work with, have convincing development and construction competence together with the financial resources to deliver something special which I hope will be enjoyed by many.”

Ruby Zoe follows Ruby Group’s 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.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Robert Whitfield, GM of The Dorchester

With the UK hospitality industry drastically adjusting its strategy during lockdown, Hotel Designs takes the opportunity to re-connect with one of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands, Dorchester Collection. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Robert Whitfield, the brand’s Regional Director (UK) & General Manager of The Dorchester

For centuries, Mayfair’s leafy Park Lane has been the epicentre of London’s luxury hospitality scene. At present, though, the streets are bare and the extravagant entrances into opulent lobbies and extraordinary lifestyles remain (for the time being at least) sealed shut – and its not the kind of lock-in one is familiar with.

Among the five-star (currently empty) shells stretched along the east side of Hyde Park is The Dorchester, an iconic place that really does define its destination. Since its grand opening in 1931 – the same year the Empire State Building was completed in New York – the hotel, designed by architects William Curtis Green and Sir Owen Williams, has been setting new standards in premium hospitality.

89 years from when the famous doors first opened, the hotel stands majestically as ever having adapted sensitively to meet the demands of modern luxury travellers while also retaining its illustrious character. However, it, along with the rest of the hospitality industry, is facing unprecedented times, as the COVID–19 pandemic sends hospitality into paralysation.

To learn more about what the hotel is doing during lockdown, as well as celebrating its recent successes, I speak to the man at the helm, Robert Whitfield, who is the Regional Director UK of Dorchester Collection and General Manager of The Dorchester.

Hamish Kilburn: Robert, can you tell us a bit more about how The Dorchester is coping during the global health crisis, and how are you staying connected with your community?

Robert Whitfield: There is no denying that the global crisis has hit everyone hard, and sadly the hospitality industry is one of the worst to be affected. However, what it has re-affirmed for me is the true connection our team members have, keeping morale high and each other in good spirits. If you work in hospitality you have a natural instinct to want to be around people and make them feel at home, it’s in our DNA. So, we have channelled that passion into further helping our community.

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester-

Image caption: The living room inside the Harlequin at The Dorchester

The Dorchester is very proud to have established an ongoing partnership with Manorfield Primary School in East London, working closely with pupils and staff on a number of initiatives since 2019, including helping raise funds to go towards developing their learning kitchen and donating furniture for areas of the school. As part of our continued partnership and as a response to the current global health crisis, we are providing chefs from The Dorchester’s staff restaurant to cook for the faculty and children of parents who are part of the essential workforce. We are also offering recipe classes to the pupils of the school to help keep them engaged and interested in cooking.

Every evening, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue as a ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers. Employees of The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane, and Coworth Park have pledged their support to the NHS and are assisting in the donation and distribution of food and necessary supplies to those impacted by COVID-19.

Image caption: During the COVID–19 pandemic, The Dorchester illuminates in bright blue each evening as a nod and ‘thank you’ to the NHS and essential workers

Executive chef Stefan Trepp and executive pastry chef Daniel Texter, along with chefs Jordan Champions and Sanjam Nagpal, handcrafted Easter Eggs for distribution amongst patients and staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital to help them celebrate the Easter weekend.

Dorchester Collection has also donated £25,000 on behalf of its UK hotels to Hospitality Action, a non-profit who supports hospitality workers who are in need and to help feed their families. Several colleagues have also signed up to the Golden Friends scheme via Hospitality Action and are making regular check-in calls to hospitality retirees in isolation due to the crisis.

Image caption: The living room inside The Dorchester's Terrace Penthouse

Image caption: The elegant living room that captures a unique London skyline vista inside The Dorchester’s Terrace Penthouse

HK: How do you stay connected to guests when they aren’t able to physically come to visit the hotels?

RW: Several of our team members have fostered great relationships with our guests over the years and are in regular contact with them via calls and email. We are also engaged with our most loyal guests to keep them in touch with news and updates from the hotel.

One of the best ways for us to stay connected to our guests after they have stayed with us is through our social media platforms. We are transferring our team’s talents online, showcasing our chef’s recipes and how-to’s, as-well-as expert tips from our sommelier or florist. This is a fun way for our social community to still see the smiley faces of some of our team members and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Quick-fire round:

HK: What is your favourite luxury item that you own?
RW:
My MGB sports car

HK: What was the last hotel you stayed in and what was the purpose of the trip?
RW:
The Pendry in San Diego meeting up with my kids for the Presidents Day Holiday weekend.

HK: In three words, can you describe the Dorchester Collection family?
RW:
Caring, passionate, fun-loving! 

HK: What superpower would make your job easier?
RW:
Teleporting.

HK: Why is Britain such a hub for luxury hotels?

RW: The hospitality sector contributes hugely to the British economy, with the hotel industry in particular a significant contributing factor. The growth of the hotel market over the last few years here, and indeed looking at what’s to come over the next couple of years, clearly demonstrates how important Britain, and London in particular, is a world class destination for leisure and business travellers.

“You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

It makes sense, then, that some of the world’s most renowned luxury hotel brands are opening their doors in Britain. You also cannot deny that certain charm Britain has, which lends itself perfectly to hotels at the luxury end of the market – travellers are drawn to the rich history and heritage of a quintessentially British experience. Combine that with the fact that Britain occupies a vibrant position on the world stage and it’s a winning destination for the luxury traveller.

It is not just London at the forefront of luxury hospitality; across the country you have the best hotels in the world. Coworth Park in Ascot celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year and from the moment it opened became one of the world’s best country house hotels and remains at the top a decade later.

HK: How does The Dorchester differentiate luxury on the London hotel scene?

RW: There are many hotels that claim to provide the best in luxury, whether it’s the biggest pool, or most expensive wine list, but for The Dorchester our definition of luxury is: service. How do you feel when you come to stay with us? How can we go above and beyond what you were expecting? That is what is most important, everything else is just a given, and for us to be world leaders in service really is a testament our talented people.

HK: How has luxury changed since you started in hospitality?

RW: The biggest change has to be the level of competition, especially in London where all the global luxury players want to have a presence. And that’s a good thing. It has kept London’s hospitality scene at the top of its game.

Luxury used to be about the physical elements of a hotel. The décor, the facilities and this has evolved away from the material to the experiential. Personalised service and recognition is more valued. The guest is also more sophisticated and knowledgeable. Search engines allow access to so much information our team members need to stay up to date and have an intimate knowledge of the very best experiences that might appeal to our guests.

We look for ways to surprise and delight our guests with small and meaningful touches. Often, it is the small things that make all the difference.

“Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean.” – Robert Whitfield, Regional Director UK & General Manager of The Dorchester.

HK: How has travel enriched your life and made you into the hotelier you are today?

RW: I have been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Before I started my role at Dorchester Collection I spent ten years at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, and prior to this I worked for the company in California and Nevis in the Caribbean. Having that experience, learning how other countries approach service and operate day-to-day, has really helped inform my management style here in London. I was able to travel to a wide variety of locations from Bora Bora, to Bali, to Jackson Hole in Wyoming to the snowy peaks of Whistler.

I have developed an appreciation for different cultures and for diversity and the strength that this can bring to a business. It has also told me that service is about humility and caring for others. I am so proud to have worked with some extraordinary people who have shaped my career and taught me so much. Many lessons have come from my bosses, but also from the employees I have worked with.

HK: There has been a huge buzz around the re-launch of The Grill at The Dorchester. Why did you choose to relaunch?

RW: The Grill has been an integral part of The Dorchester since the opening in 1931, in order to keep the restaurant busy you need to ensure its identity and offering is relevant to your guests. We appointed Tom Booton, who happens to be our youngest ever head chef of The Grill, to lead the next chapter of the restaurant, supported by a fantastic team of fresh talent. The idea of creating an experience that would juxtaposition away from people’s  more traditional expectations of The Grill at The Dorchester was exciting and Tom was the perfect catalyst that made this come to life.

Image caption: Head chef of The Grill, Tom Booton and a few of his  special dishes on the new menu

Our aim was to create a more relaxed dining experience for guests through the development of new menus and a series of interior updates. The most prominent interior change is our statement ‘Pudding Bar’, which adds an element of theatre to the dining experience. Guests are invited to dine here for their final course to watch the pastry chefs in action.

HK: How will the newly adapted restaurant embrace the legacy of the 89-year-old hotel while also reflect the future of luxury F&B offerings?

RW: Our rich past matched with our ability to embrace ‘the new’ is deeply rooted in The Dorchester’s culture, and our guests are charmed by that.

At its core, The Dorchester has always been a hotel to celebrate. The new chapter of The Grill is no exception, and Tom’s dishes alone are a reason to come back to visit. Original features of the restaurant have remained, but new elements such as The Grill Bar, with a cocktail menu by award winning senior bartender Lucia Montanelli, and the Pudding Bar concept offer something new.

HK: You have, for the first time, a physical florist boutique within the hotel. Can you tell us more about this project?

RW: The Dorchester has become world-famous for its floral arrangements, all to the credit of our in-house designer florist Philip Hammond and his fantastic team. It is also a place of celebration. Guests come to celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries and all kinds of milestone moments in their lives. Flowers are a wonderful sign of celebration. We wanted to create a physical space where guests and visitors to the hotel could buy flowers and we found the perfect spot at the entrance to The Promenade.

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

Image caption: Philip Hammond, the Florist at The Dorchester

We coincided the boutique opening with the launch of ‘The Dorchester Rose’, which is a really beautiful new variety of rose. The rose took seven years to make and was created by Meijer Roses, a family company with a long tradition of creating the highest quality roses who selected The Dorchester to carry the name of this new variety. The rose now fills the entirety of The Promenade and the colour is perfect to complement the interior tones of The Dorchester.

Main image credit: Dorchester Collection

PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

Hotel Designs explores the latest designs of the WASHLET, TOTO’s signature product that has been on a wellness journey of evolution ever since it debuted in the early ’80s… 

The WASHLET is TOTO’s signature product. First launched in 1980, this innovation has revolutionised bathrooms across Japan for nearly four decades.

Now, it introduces the elegant WASHLET RW and SW, which is part of the new Prime Edition collection.

“TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London.”

Differentiated only by shape, the RW is rounded and SW is a square-shape; the functions remain the same. Both WASHLETs recently won the prestigious iF Design Award 2020. TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London with many more specified throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The WASHLET design has now become a byword for hygiene.

Toilet in situ of modern bathroom

Image credit: TOTO

The new and elegant WASHLET RW & SW are the culmination of TOTO’s wealth of expertise: With nearly 40 years of WASHLET production and more than 50 million units sold have contributed to both the RW & SW models forming TOTO’s new Prime Edition. Offering both familiar and new comfort technologies, these models give people an opportunity to enjoy an exclusive product at an attractive price.

“The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.”

Some designs have transformed people’s living habits so dramatically that we think of them as milestones – like the smartphone, internet, email, television, etc. These inventions have taken our daily rituals in a new direction.

The invention of WASHLET is one of these – it is changing our everyday habits in the bath. Many users describe using TOTO WASHLET as enriching to their lives. The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.

Image credit: TOTO

The RW & SW models from the Prime Edition is a new milestone: It combines all of TOTO’s proven hygiene features in one product, allowing people to enjoy the ultimate in wellness, hygiene and comfort in their own bathrooms. Additionally, the remote controls for the RW & SW are available with multi-lingual options and easy to view symbols.

‘Clean Synergy’ is the term TOTO coined to describe the interplay of the Ewater+, Premist, Tornado Flush and Cefiontect technologies, all of which are only available from TOTO and make using WASHLET a truly unique experience. The two Prime Edition models also offer an automatic flush option. They also also come equipped with these TOTO-exclusive features:

  • Ewater+ to clean the ceramic and wand jet with sustainable electrolysed water
  • Premist covers the toilet bowl with a fine mist of water, making it more difficult for dirt and waste to stick
  • The powerful Tornado Flush to thoroughly clean the entire toilet bowl
  • The long-lasting, special Cefiontect glaze guarantees a beautiful, long-lasting surface and keeps bacteria and waste from accumulating in the bowl
  • A side nightlight for added comfort
  • Descaling feature with either an automatic programme or manual descaling
  • Autoflush: The SW and RW are also available with an automatic flush option – in combination with TOTOs frame system and push plate
  • Easy to clean: It’s possible to remove WASHLET from the toilet bowl with a single grip to clean between WASHLET attachment and ceramic toilet
  • Clean Case: WASHLET unit is now made using silicone-based material, making it more difficult for dirt to accumulate

Image credit: TOTO

Save water and toilet paper too

The demand for shower toilets is higher than ever. In addition to offering unparalleled levels of hygiene, they also reduce the amount of toilet paper people need to use.

Hygiene is important, as well as environmental impact. TOTO WASHLETs also offer an important plus in this area. Whoever uses WASHLET also uses less toilet paper. It’s important to remember that producing toilet paper or the corresponding pulp involves clearing forests, using water and electricity, as well as chemical bleaching agents.

While more water is needed for intimate cleansing with WASHLET than with a conventional toilet, this additional consumption is by no means comparable to the amount needed to produce toilet paper. Conserving resources and giving as many people as possible around the world access to wellness and comfort in the bathroom.

TOTO is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: TOTO

The feature wall is back, but not as you know it

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The feature wall is back, but not as you know it

A Norfolk based brand has taken the concept of a feature wall and merged it with hand-crafted, industrial-like shelving so that it can be utilised in hotel public areas. River Bespoke’s Katie Haynes explains…

As the hospitality industry changes rapidly, hotels are looking for new and creative ways to elevate their spaces. Hotel lobbies are evolving into places in which guests gather to meet, network, work and socialise and interiors need to accommodate these shifts in behaviour.

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 in hotel design.

Hotels around the world are increasingly being seen as great design case studies exploring the stylistic directions for the whole interior design industry. They feature innovative concepts, shapes, colour schemes, novel materials or just play with the known to create something extraordinary and breath-taking. These bold hotel designs push us to embrace new interior perspectives.

At River Bespoke, we specialise in the creation of handcrafted bespoke feature walls from individual shelves. We’re all about simple, clean, elegant designs; living wall art that is ever-changeable as well as functional, adding interest to any space.

Whether on a solid or glass partition wall, our shelves work perfectly in delineating areas, whilst keeping them open, light and airy. River Bespoke accessorises and transforms a regular wall into a personalised art installation.

Case study: Palm Court, The Langham London

To date we have focussed on residential installations, but we’ve always said our bespoke feature walls would work equally beautifully in a commercial context. And now we’ve been able to prove it thanks to a commission from the world-renowned Palm Court, Langham Hotel, London.

Image credit: River Bespoke

We approached The Langham directly as part of a small campaign to target high-end London Hotels as a first step to enter the commercial sector. At our first meeting, we presented a few of our sample shelves and they immediately liked the concept and could envisage how it could work for them in an area they had been struggling with for some time. Palm Court, The Langham is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born more than 150 years ago. It had previously been updated with a timeless and elegant interior however the bar area was dark and didn’t have the same luxury elegance as the rest of the room.

“We have been wanting to update the bar in Palm Court for some time and were looking for something different and special, River Bespoke’s shelves fitted the bill perfectly,” – Karina Ellias, Director of Food and Beverage at The Langham London

They wanted a unique and eye-catching backdrop for their bar, that would not only look stunning but also work to provide much-needed storage and display capability for a busy, customer-facing area.

We worked closely with the hotel team to trial different layouts, material choices and finishing touches. With the addition of ambient surround lighting, beautiful textured wallpaper and distressed bronze mirrors, we have helped them to create a truly beautiful area to compliment the luxurious Palm Court and fulfil the brief.

“We have been wanting to update the bar in Palm Court for some time and were looking for something different and special, River Bespoke’s shelves fitted the bill perfectly,” said Karina Ellias, Director of Food and Beverage at The Langham London. “We now have a beautiful champagne bar completing the stunning Palm Court. River Bespoke were very easy to work with from the initial concept, design and renders to working with our team to install the shelves on the day. Fitting was easy and flawless.”

Other hotel projects

As well as The Langham, we have also been working with another flagship hotel in London. The two projects are very different and address two separate issues, however they share the collective aim of creating beauty from a plain wall or partition.

We are quickly gaining traction in the hotel design arena, and adapting with designers to plan and create functional and beautiful environments. We are looking forward to seeing our feature walls in more commercial spaces in the future.

River Bespoke is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: River Bespoke

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

To understand the long-term impact COVID–19 will have on the hospitality and hotel design industry, editor Hamish Kilburn asked a handful of leading designers, architects and hoteliers to remotely partake in Hotel Designs’ debut virtual roundtable…

Meet the panel

There is no doubt about it, the industry is suffering as the COVID–19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to either close entirely or adopt working remotely into studio life. With many questions emerging around the current crisis, Hotel Designs puts the pandemic under the harsh editorial spotlight in its debut virtual roundtable. Editor Hamish Kilburn confronts some of the industry’s leaders in order to gain some perspective over how hospitality and hotel design will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term.

Hamish Kilburn: How has the pandemic affected working life?

Fiona Thompson: Design is all about collaboration, and we are learning a whole new way of doing that. We typically work in an open studio, for example, and we experience the projects as they are being designed. In the physical sense, our team is not able to do to that at the moment. We moved out of London a few days before the ‘lockdown’ was introduced, and we are all currently very well connected. I can’t say it’s the same, but it is working and we are adapting.

Michael Bonsor: To put it bluntly , this [COVID–19] has decimated the industry. The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for. The government stepped in with the incredible furlough package, which has protected so many jobs.

Conor O’Leary: Hospitality is what we do – we look after people. Guests from all over the world stay with us, eat with us and enjoy the plethora of outdoors activities that we offer. Well, we are not doing any of that at the moment. None of our team want to be sitting at home on any furlough arrangements. We totally understand the frustration, but we are where we are.

Geoff Hull: From an architect’s perspective, while on-site activity has been put on hold, there is a lot of design work, and collaboration work with specialists, that is ongoing. We are hoping that we can come out of this, in three months, with some dynamically designed projects planned so that we are ahead when we are allowed back on site.

James Dilley: As a designer, the backdrop of wallpapers and artwork in colleagues and clients kitchens, bedrooms and lofts is sometimes inspiring and sometimes sobering. On a serious level, I personally miss the face-to-face and often serendipitous interaction of a physical studio. 

“This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: How has working-from-home changed your mindset on communication? 

GH: I think we are communicating better at the moment, and how people have come together is awe-inspiring. We work with a lot of non-UK designers at EPR Architects who would usually insist on flying over on a first-class ticket to see us. However, with these meetings being able to happen virtually instead, there is a question on the need of so much travel. I genuinely am looking at this positively.

JD: I have recently been pre-occupied with the way that people “home” themselves has been rapidly evolving, and layering this revolution in how we work, particularly from home, will make this even more exciting. If life is evolution peppered with revolution, this is the latter.

MB: Prior to this happening we were over communicating with the team, to ensure that everyone had all the information they needed. With those employees that have been put on furlough packages, we may not be engaging with them to work, but we are engaging with them to keep everyone updated. We have a core team of 30 people in the hotel who are making the property safe and they are doing fun things in the hotel to keep everyone engaged and informed.

HK: When do you expect your hotels to re-open?

MB: The global market has to be stable for a hotel like Rosewood London to re-open. We can’t just rely on the local market because there is not enough demand to go around. For me, I would rather the government measures were prolonged a little while longer so that it gives time for the world to reset.

CO: Not only does the world need to reset, but we also have to understand how happy people are to travel.

MB: We might open a part of the hotel, like the the bar and restaurant, in June or July. Things are getting pushed back as the social season is cancelling in the UK. Meanwhile, Austria has just announced that they will begin to slowly reopen some businesses, which could be an indication of things to come, but hotels and restaurants are at the end of that cycle.

CO: We don’t see a hotel bedroom being open until July. It’s slightly different for us here. We don’t see there being much point in having the restaurants and bars open without having guests in – we don’t have that passing traffic and footfall. We may get some of our activities open for our members, but it’s not a game-changer for us. We will know more after Easter, but the second question to that is what that looks like when we open. It’s going to be focused on local custom which will be a lower volume level. Suddenly our entire business model changes.

HK: Generally speaking, hotels are targeting an international audiences. Will this change post-pandemic? 

CO: Our business model is built on a summer of international guests, and that may be different going forward. We are privileged in our geographical location – Gleneagles is built on an 850-acre estate. For now, all our strategies are short-term and everything is changing all the time. We are staying in touch with the team. We have always been conscious about where we sit in the community, and that’s great in the good times, but also more important in the times like these to ensure we stay in touch and support.

MB: 40 per cent of our market comes from America. This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world. That may be a small silver lining in this global crisis. We are re-forecasting and re-strategising every four hours right now, because who knows how this is going to go?

“I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: How will hotels catering to ‘bleisure’ travellers be impacted from the pandemic?

JD: The ‘business hotels’ will come out looking very different. I have spent many years just hopping on a plane to a destination to see a client or a site. Over three months, working from home will start to feel normal. I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it. That is the biggest impact.

In terms of leisure, when this passes I predict there will a spike because people will be anxious about being coped up and will want to compensate. After that, people will settle down and I predict that people will question whether they need to travel as much as they were. I think there will be a spike in leisure hospitality experiences closer to home.

HK: What about the way in which we design public areas, will this change?

FT: Perhaps in the short-term. Of course people will be conscious of hygiene and numbers of people in meetings may end up being limited. It’s very difficult to tell how quickly it will reset, and whether or not it will go back to normal. I certainly don’t have the answer right now. In business travel, we are utilising the internet and technology at the moment, so there will arguably be less need to travel as much at the end of this.

“Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: Has COVID–19 taken sustainability off the radar?

CO: One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustainability. There has to be an element of trust, and I predict that consumers will want to know more about where things have come from.

MB: I would say that any good operator will continue with more gusto now in eliminating single-use plastics, reducing energy consumption and looking local for products and services. Respecting the world around us has never been so important.

FT: I would hope the focus hasn’t shifted. Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects. It almost calls for it to be more apparent.

Image caption: The Old War Office in Whitechapel. Executive Architect for this high-profile Restoration and Conversion mixed use project was EPR Architects

HK: What’s social media’s role in all of this? 

CO: Gleneagles is being cautious when it comes to social media. We are trying to be positive without being glib. We are very aware that the wider Gleneagles family is suffering. Our messaging has shifted to be more focused around the community with zero selling and zero brand promotion. Our team is working with local councils in order to help amplify their messages.

MB: At one point, we wanted to create content around what you could do at home , such as cooking recipes and fitness workouts etc. However, as the story has evolved, we have decided to pause messaging and just wait. What we are doing has more of a charity angle. We have just teamed up with James & Cranwell for its Hospitality 4 Heroes campaign to raise money for the NHS during the crisis. You have to be so careful with tone right now in everything you do. It’s wise to be slightly quieter than normal. But we are looking at markets that are coming back. Five or six properties in Asia, for example, are re-opening, and we are looking at how we can engage with those markets, but it is a slow process – and while some areas around the world are recovering, others are being hit hard.

“It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: Will any sector come out looking stronger at the end of the COVID–19 crisis?

MB: We were speaking before the closure with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them. I think we will utilise the same technology going forward. Also, from a positive point of view, there will be more emphasis on re-training staff regarding sanitisation and anti-viral measures and the courses they can complete.

To put it another way, we are back at the ‘opening stage’ again. We opened the hotel eight years ago and we are at that moment again. It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were. We have been talking in great deal about this. Those cities that will come out of this stronger will be the ones that have sharp responses to this problem.

“To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

HK: Will this pandemic create a desire for more minimalist design?

FT: It will certainly be a design driver. After all, space is luxury. To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces. It will be interesting to see how long concerns last when this is all over, because people’s behaviour does tend to revert back to how they used to use spaces.

“This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Concept render of W Edinburgh, designed by Jestico + Whiles

HK: How will the industry rebuild itself from this?

CO: We’ve had evolutions and revolutions in the past. People want to leave their houses and there will be spike in demand for hospitality products when we are able. Well-managed businesses will survive. The risk is in the mid-sectors. Equally, innovation comes through during hardships.

JD: We were in a position before all of this when hospitality was changing; the industry was not the hotel with the capital ‘H’ everywhere. Yes we have the grandeur five-star hotels, and they had their plan, but hospitality was and is generally becoming more universal and accessible.

There was a phenomenon that was happening that was very exciting: hotels were becoming continuous with other uses, such as a cinema or a radio station as well as other things. They were becoming more open and permeable.

As well as entertainment, we have seen hotels opening co-working spaces. They were becoming conjoined with this long line of what you might call ways of living. The merging of those ways of living was becoming blurred. The fluid boundaries were becoming exciting. I think this revolution is going to be layered on top of that where the hotel has to morph to become much more extended and fluid. This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.

If you would like to respond to some of the areas we have discussed in this virtual roundtable, please do so by tweeting @HotelDesigns.

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

IHG’s Hotel Indigo recently launched a new initiative to allow travellers to unlock the best experiences in Hotel Indigo destinations. To explore more, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hotel Indigo, which currently has more than 100 properties worldwide, has launched Clues to the Neighbourhood, which is a new concept that allows guests and locals to discover authentic experiences.

The new hospitality concept is a collection of items and artefacts that have been curated in partnership with historians, creative directors and artists, which are brought to life through artfully presented installations integrated into the hotel’s design. The clues allow travellers to explore a neighbourhood’s off-the-beaten-path experiences, whether that be a local museum, an unparalleled view, a music venue, a local boutique or a place where locals eat and drink.

Image caption: Clues to the Neighbourhood co-curated by Hotel Indigo Laura Mvula, Cloudy Zakrocki and other musicians, artists and local experts to provide off the beaten path experiences

To get more of an understanding into the new approach, and to find out more about the brand’s expansion plans, we sat down with Meredith Latham, Vice President, Global Hotel Indigo at IHG and Henry Reeve, Interior Design Director at IHG.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain how this concept marries up to Hotel Indigo’s brand values?
Meredith Latham: The purpose of Hotel Indigo is to ‘discover the world within the neighbourhood’, and each and every neighbourhood has a unique story. We deliberately launched Clues to the Neighbourhood in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one of the greatest storytellers of all time, William Shakespeare.

HK: Henry, I know the depth of research that goes in to designing new Hotel Indigo properties? Is Clues of the Neighbourhood a way of giving guests that same information?
Henry Reeve: As you know, we spend a lot of time learning about cultures and what makes a destination special when designing a new hotel. We do want to ensure that those stories are relayed to our guests authentically. Therefore, we spend a lot of time in the design department explaining to the front-of-house staff why we have made certain design decisions, such as the lighting, the carpets and so on. Also, we want to create these hotels not just for our guests, but also for locals, because we want to create spaces that truly reflects the destination they are built in.

HK: How is Hotel Indigo ensuring it keeps its boutique status during the huge expansion?
ML: We have a tremendous amounts of new openings on the horizon. Each time we renovate or create a new hotel, we look at the local culture to ensure that everything is coming to life in the right way.

HK: Why is it so important for a brand like Hotel Indigo to ensure that design and service work in harmony?
HR: You simply can’t have beautiful design with terrible service, and design will only get you so far. Ensuring the two elements to work together is critical. I believe we have some of the best staff in the business that really truly reflect the brand and the area.

HK: When you are scouting for new properties, what are you looking for in an neighbourhood?
ML: We are looking for a place that will allow us to provide a Hotel Indigo experience, that allows our guests – the explorers – to find curated and special details. Generically speaking, city centres tend to have very rich stories.

HK: What’s been the most interesting thing you have learned so far about a Hotel Indigo neighbourhood?
HR: Stratford is fascinating, and not just for Shakespeare. For example, Pashley Bikes were made here, and we have taken the vernacular of the bike and integrated it into the hotel’s design.

ML: For me, the internet aborts the opportunity to find things out in person. We are hoping to take our guests the extra mile to learn something new about the area.

HK: What’s the most challenging part of curating something like this, on this scale?
HR: For all of our neighbourhoods, we want to go deeper into the community to find something that perhaps stands out, such as a local distillery or authentic craftsmanship. This obviously requires a lot of detailed research, which can perhaps be challenging but also equally rewarding.

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Creating ‘sense-of-place’ in nhow London carpets

Carpet manufacturer Brintons were asked by design studio Project Orange to help them capture the theme of ‘London Reloaded’ in the carpets inside nhow London…

Brintons supplied carpets for key public areas and the Royalist Suite within the UK’s first nhow hotel, a four-star property under NH Hotel Group’s design and lifestyle brand, which is situated on the fringe of Shoreditch.

The hotel, which Hotel Designs was the first to check in to, exploded onto the London hospitality scene earlier this year. Themed ‘London Reloaded’, the interiors were designed by architect James Soane, combining “British icons with unconventional contemporary elements”.

Brintons worked with James Soane at Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange; together creating carpets to suit both the business traveller and tourist guest of the hotel. The bold, floral carpet designs seen throughout the corridors and staircases of the eight-floor hotel reflect the Walk in the Park theme, while the sharp modern ‘space invaders’ houndstooth that forms the design in the three meeting rooms called Laboratories enhance the hotel’s modern structure.

“Working with the creative brief ‘London Reloaded’, Project Orange continued their long-time collaboration with Brintons to develop original and playful designs that tell a story,” said James Soane, Director at Project Orange. “The guest corridor was pictured as a Walk in the Park – where the bedroom doors are painted different bright colours complete with brass door knockers along with a dark green carpet strewn with roses. This romantic and theatrical experience offers the guest an immersive experience unlike any hotel and is truly unique.”

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

Image caption: Brintons supplied thew carpets for the Royalist Suite inside nhow London

The East End’s coolest new hotel, plays homage to both the area’s industrial past and technological future. Throughout the hotel, bold and fresh design takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground. This quirky new offering is the fifth property in the nhow portfolio, joining hotels in Milan, Berlin, Rotterdam and Marseille.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Image caption: Brintons supplied carpets for all the meeting rooms inside nhow London, including the Tech Lab.

Loughton Contracts were commissioned to install the carpet for the project. “It was great to work with Brintons on such an amazing project,” added Craig Anstey, Divisional Director at Loughton Contracts. “The vibrant and luxurious carpet design worked perfectly with the eclectic and industrial look of London’s first nhow Hotel. I can’t wait for the next collaboration between Loughton Contracts and Brintons.”

nhow, commissioned Brintons to supply custom axminster carpets to run throughout the corridors, staircases and meeting room areas, and to create a bespoke axminster rug for the Royalist Suite, each echoing the contemporary feel of the hotel setting.

Main image credit: Brintons

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

UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UK hotels to become shelters for homeless people during COVID-19 outbreak

Hotels will be transformed into emergency safe spaces, outlines a new national action plan to fight the Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic…

In a new action plan drawn up by government outlines that hotels will be converted into temporary safe spaces after the government was accused of “sleepwalking” on homeless people’s vulnerability to Covid-19, reports The Guardian.

The strategy to safeguard the homeless is expected to be announced imminently following the lead of California in allowing vacant hotels to be requisitioned into homes for rough sleepers and those vulnerable to the virus.

Hotels, which are currently empty in the wake of social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, are being seen as a ‘ready-made solution’ during COVID–19 outbreak, and some hotel chains are already in talks with the government on converting their hotels into hospitals.

It has been reported, that, in practical terms, 45,000 ‘self-contained accommodation spaces’ need to be found in order to protect and shelter the UK’s population of homeless people and rough sleepers.

Although ambitious, this is not unachievable, as the capacity for housing homeless people in hotels certainly exists. London alone is to have almost 160,000 hotel rooms, with further 8,000 sheltered under 65 new hotels that are projected to open this year.

The news comes in after Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester block-booked its hotel rooms for NHS workers and InterContinental Hotel Group was the first chain to announced it was block-booking 300 beds for the next three months so that homeless people can self-isolate. The development has designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, and will mean two London hotels are given over to rough sleepers.

Main image credit: Pixabay

5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 new elements to look out for at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

At an exclusive press launch in London, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how the organisers of Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 are preparing to make this year’s festival of design bigger and better than ever before…

Members of the press gathered at The Charterhouse last week in the heart of London to understand how the 2020 edition of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) will once again demonstrate the vibrant creativity and originality of this three day celebration of design.

In London’s key hub for design and architecture, visitors can participate in new dialogues between showrooms and designers, hear from influential voices in the world of design and experience upcoming talent and innovating brands who are taking part. 

Here are five take aways from the press launch.

1) CDW Presents will be themed around ‘CLOCKWORK’

Each year, CDW presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Inviting some of the leading pioneers in the creative industry, these projects aim to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities. Often a response to the local area, CDW Presents allows visitors the opportunity to discover Clerkenwell in a new and imaginative way, often referring to the area’s illustrious past.  At the beginning of the 18th Century, Clerkenwell was the home of clock-making and the area quickly became a hothouse for horologists; for 2020 in recognition of Clerkenwell’s historical importance in the clock-making industry, CDW Presents ‘CLOCKWORK’ – a series of five large-scale horology-themed installations, each interpreting the area’s significance to the craft and the artisans that once lined the cobbled streets.  From a contemporary take on the traditional sundial to an installation inspired by the hourglass, the selected designers who include Pilbrow and Partners and Shape London,  have created ideas that play with and explore the notion of measuring time.

Scale Rule, now in its 5th year at Clerkenwell Design Week, continues to engage students from across London in design as well as young architects and engineers to realise those emerging ambitions. This year’s design concept for the NextGen pavilion exemplifies human impact upon the earth and in turn mankind’s responsibility to protect and shape it for better.

The domed structure illustrates a deconstructed planet, which is formed, fractured and reconfigured from natural materials including timber geometric segments. The pavilion celebrates sustainability through its modular production methods, recycled materials and future re-use. The pavilion encourages people to rest and socialise within its bounds making use of and leaving their positive trace upon the structure.

2) ClerkenWELL playing its part to inspire designers to think about wellness and wellbeing

On trend, Clerkenwell Design Week will be focusing on wellness, tying in with Mental Health Awareness Week which coincides with the festival. With the rise of nomadic working and a society that has 24/7 access to email, the ability to disconnect from our work can become increasingly challenging and in turn employers are recognising the need to improve their wellbeing offering.

From ergonomic furniture that helps physical posture, to acoustic pods that block out exterior noise, to workplace yoga and discounted gym memberships, more and more employers are taking steps to help their employees achieve wellness in the workplace. 

Clerkenwell Design Week will be hosting free activities and events throughout the area demonstrating how we can relax and de-stress during the day, from outdoor yoga sessions to meditation workshops.  Holistic counsellor Julie Strandberg will explain how decluttering your workplace can lead to better mental health.  Having trained under Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, Julie innovatively blends the KonMari Method with her own innate Scandinavian aestheticism.

Texaa, the Bordeaux-based specialists in acoustic products for architecture, marks its debut at Clerkenwell Design Week with a colourful tepee installation in Design Fields. This will also be the first time new colours for Texaa’s Aeria fabric will be seen in the UK. 

3) Conversations at Clerkenwell to amplify vegan interiors, colour and the environment

Render of a bandstand pavilion

Image caption: CDW Presents The Bandstand Pavilion, where many of the talks will take place.

CDW 2020 has commissioned architectural practice Fieldwork to design the Talks space, sponsored by Equitone, within Spa Fields.  Their concept reimagines the traditional Victorian bandstand as a focal point within the Park, a place for gathering, discussion, entertainment and shelter.   

Rather than a traditional forward facing seating arrangement, the nature of the bandstand form allows the focus point to be partially in the round and engage the audience as a discussion, rather than a presentation. Equitone panels clad the internal dome and the external cube at high and low level. A bold use of colour and CNC pattern formed façade panels aim to draw attention from the surrounding park, as a modern interpretation of a Victorian architectural style. The bandstand becomes a place to stand, lean and sit in participation, focussing attention on the speaker and engaging the audience and the park in its entirety. 

Conversations at Clerkenwell, the programme of panel sessions and debates exploring show content, trends and issues, is again curated by Katie Richardson. Lead speakers include Morag Myerscough, known for her expansive use of colour across both art and design,  designer and craftsman Sebastien Cox and designer Ab Rogers.

Increasingly focused on design-led issues currently underpinning the changing world as we know it, the programme this year will look specifically at topics connected to the workplace including design responses to mental health issues and an increased need for overall wellness. Trends – led curators Franklin Till present recent work on the importance of Play. Dulux Creative Director Marianne Shillingford reveals what shifts in colour trends will take place over the next few years. Other topics for 2020 include vegan interiors, retail marketing and how contract showrooms need to keep reinventing to succeed, restoration with Roddy Clarke and New London Architecture host ‘don’t move, improve’ – a series of presentations from architects looking at how re-used materials and conscious environmental design, create the perfect home for a modern family.  Hosted on a purpose built space on London Spa Fields the programme runs across the three days and a separate series of talks focusing on lighting will be held at Fabric.

4) New showrooms open for business

Each year Clerkenwell welcomes a host of new showrooms to the district and these make up a key part of CDW with installations, launches and exhibitions. This year, the festival welcomes Ideal Standard, VitrA and Fritz Hansen.  Many other showrooms will be hosting a variety of events, with this year seeing a focus on wellness, recycling and sustainability.  Ultrafabrics,  the Japanese-American performance animal-free fabric brand will be collaborating with award winning design duo PATTERNITY who are creating a tactile and immersive installation within Ultrafabrics’  showroom entitled ‘Closed Loop: The Future of Design’.  Plastic waste has rightly become a major issue and Camira Fabrics will showcase its latest fabric innovation using plastic sea waste as a key component.   Oceanic is a fabric born of the SEAQUAL Initiative to achieve a waste free environment. 

Other participating showrooms include Actiu, Ceramiche Piemme, Davison Highly, Havwoods, Interface, KI House, Modus, Moroso, Catellani & Smith, Sky-Frame, Solus, Tarkett, and Orangebox.

Parkside, a leading specifier of architectural tiles, will focus on colour and how we can use it as a way of improving our wellbeing in our work and leisure spaces. The showroom’s series of events will include a panel discussion, ‘Curative colour: the power to heal’, exploring just how deep our emotional wellbeing is related to colour and whether a genuine link to health improvement can truly be found.

5) Fringe activities for all

As well as hosting an abundance of furniture and interiors showrooms, Clerkenwell is also home to a variety of other creative practices including architects, branding agencies and craft studios.  In celebration of Clerkenwell Design Week, a selection of these local practices open their doors to the festival’s visitors and host workshops, displays and installations. At the Zetter hotel, Sophie Thomas, Creative Director of Thomas Matthews, will be showing a collection of beautiful glass vases made using recycled plastic ocean waste.

If you are interested in attending CDW 2020, head over to the website to register.

Main image credit: CDW 2020

PRODUCT WATCH: Edgy ‘Seville’ floor lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Edgy ‘Seville’ floor lighting

The Seville floor lamp by Christopher Hyde Lighting will add an edgy, contemporary look and feel to an interior design scheme…

Christopher Hyde Lighting is renowned for timeless design and quality, and has excelled at providing lighting for a wide range of interiors for more than 25 years.

Its handmade lights have been installed across the world, from luxury yachts, grand hotel, to Royal Palaces at home and abroad. The company’s range of products has recently been refreshed, bringing a new perspective to the proud heritage of the long-established brand.

“These edgy lights are part of a unique collection of floor lamps and table lamps which includes the popular spiral shaped ‘Granada’ lights.”

The company’s contemporary range of products brings a fresh outlook to the proud heritage of the long-established brand. The ‘Seville’ floor lamp with white exterior and its delicate warm copper leaf interior complete with a dimmer switch is shown here in a beautiful airy Los Angeles apartment. You can also purchase the ‘Seville’ table lamp can be also be supplied with a black exterior and silver leaf interior. These edgy lights are part of a unique collection of floor lamps and table lamps which includes the popular spiral shaped ‘Granada’ lights. Designers can pick and choose which exterior finish, black or white, that they would like to have with their chosen internal leaf gilt, copper, silver or gold and is now available with a short lead time.  These exciting pieces will compliment and be a talking point for all interior projects.

“They use 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and can pay for themselves through energy savings in just a couple of months.”

The Seville and Granada lights have captured a different take on the Christopher Hyde Brand and come with LED lighting technology. LEDs are the most energy-efficient bulbs. They use 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and can pay for themselves through energy savings in just a couple of months.  Whether a standard or bespoke light fitting we can produce LED designed candle with DALI or 1-10V and emergency light options are available also.

This range of floor and table lamps are featured in the new Collection 8 catalogue which has recently been launched. Collection 8 catalogue has a fresh take on the hugely popular traditional collections familiar to Christopher Hyde Lighting’s clients and shows how the brand has evolved with its distinctive contemporary collection.

Main image credit: Christopher Hyde Lighting        

5 Minutes With: Emma Masters, associate at Richmond International

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: Emma Masters, associate at Richmond International

Taking five minutes out of planning and designing luxury hospitality scenes of the future, Emma Masters, Associate at Richmond International, speaks to editor Hamish Kilburn about landscape changes, client demands and over-used words in the industry…

Hamish Kilburn: How long have you been involved in interior design, and how has the landscape changed from when you started to now?
Emma Masters: I’ve been working in the industry for around 16 years, 15 of those have been with Richmond International. In this time the industry has steadily changed, largely due to technological development, i.e. the changes in the ways we research subjects and destinations, to retrieve design references and influences. The proliferation of imagery shared internationally makes the world feel smaller and more accessible.

CGI and VR experiences are becoming a minimum expectation, having replaced hand drawn and coloured renderings. Whilst computer generated images provide almost an exact representation of the design proposal, hand drawings were very evocative and left some element of wonder to what would finally be revealed in reality.

We’ve also seen massive advances in manufacturing techniques, the materials used, and specialist finishes to the extent that we can add unique signatures to interiors.

There’s also certainly a greater awareness of our environment and the need to be mindful of our design impact, ensuring our designs have longevity, rather than being based on trends that will date and need replacing frequently.

Large, luxurious and grand penthouse

Image credit: London West Hollywood penthouse, designed by Richmond International

HK: What are your clients currently looking for in hotel design?
EM: We’re seeing a demand for public spaces that are transitional, for environments that work for social dining, meetings, shared workplaces and seamlessly blend together to create one holistic space.

Additionally, we’re regularly creating designs that are authentic to the location and with strong narratives – this helps us bring the interiors alive for their guests.

“We as a company have regular team meetings where everyone from junior designers to associates can contribute their ideas and participate in the building of the narrative of a project.” – Emma Masters, Director, Richmond International

Bath in modern marble bathroom, with skyline of Chicago in the background

Image caption: Bathroom in Langham Chicago suite, designed by Richmond International

HK: Where do you find inspiration to keep your designs fresh and meaningful?
EM: Trade shows like Salone de Mobile and Maison et Objet are a great source of new products and styles. I also get a lot of inspiration from travelling, working with artisanal manufacturer and, in general, a lot of research.

HK: How important is nurturing young talent for Richmond International?
EM: It’s a very important part of our company and something I experienced first-hand having started at Richmond as a junior designer. It was a hugely nurturing experience and I was able to work with talented designers who allowed me to explore my capabilities and mentor me in my development. We as a company have regular team meetings where everyone from junior designers to associates can contribute their ideas and participate in the building of the narrative of a project.

“F&B areas have also evolved to become destinations in their own right aside from the hotel and are a draw not just to hotel guests but the general public that wish to dine.” – Emma Masters, Director at Richmond International

HK: We had Terry McGillicuddy join us on the Vision Stage at the Hospitality Restaurant and Catering show. How are F&B areas in hotels evolving?
F&B areas now blur the boundaries between lobby lounge, restaurant, bar and meeting spaces. The public spaces are the heart of a hotel and the is a desire for them to be vibrant has activated a move away from the traditional lobby lounge space. F&B areas have also evolved to become destinations in their own right aside from the hotel and are a draw not just to hotel guests but the general public that wish to dine. They now have a different identity to the rest of the hotel, where it previously was designed to work with the overall feel of the rest of the hotel. F&B is now more independent and can have a completely different narrative that may relate to the food served, for example rather than being simply a functional part of the hotel.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
EM: String curtain dividers, they were everywhere and not surprisingly disappeared as quickly as they arrived after the realisation that they were really impractical for public spaces and looked neat for all of five minutes before tangling an unwilling hotel guest who had stumbled into one.

HK: What is one word that is overused in our industry?
EM: Two words admittedly and the phrase we all dread – Value Engineering.

HK: What would you say is the biggest catalyst driving change in the hotel design area recently?
EM: Sustainability and authentic experiences across the board.

HK: What would you be if you were not a designer?
EM: I had always wanted to be an art teacher until I went to St Martins for my foundation year. My tutor was very inspiring and introduced me to the idea of interior design as a career instead of teaching.

HK: What’s one lesson about the industry that studying didn’t teach you?
EM: My role at Richmond has been predominantly FF&E focused and I feel it can really complete and enhance a design. As an Interior Architecture student, spatial design was key, and furnishings were more secondary, but I feel one cannot work as a cohesive design without the other.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear in interior design?
EM: Designing to a trend and not for longevity.

Luxurious longe area in suite

Image caption: Metro Suite inside London West Hollywood, designed by Richmond International

HK: What has been your favourite project to date?
EM: My favourite project would have to be working on The London, West Hollywood Penthouse with Vivienne Westwood. Alongside the interior design we also worked closely with her team to develop custom fabrics, rugs and wallcoverings, as well as bespoke bath robes and towels. We worked with an archive of scarves that were then mounted and framed to use for the penthouse artwork.

Main image credit: Richmond International

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Amba Hotel Grosvenor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing Amba Hotel Grosvenor

The designers of Amba Hotel Grosvenor specified Curtis’ furniture pieces to create a timeless and luxurious interior feel…

Both quality of furniture and flexibility of service were crucial for the 344 bedroom refurbishment in the prestigious London hotel.

Having worked with the company for 20 years, Amba Hotel Grosvenor knew Curtis furniture was uniquely positioned to deliver on both counts.

With a dedicated Project Manager as a sole point of contact taking responsibility for the success of the project, and an Installation Manager based nearby, Curtis were always on hand to respond to changing timescales.  As is typical on a project of this scale, delivery dates shifted on a number of occasions, across all nine phases of the refurbishment.  The success story here was our ability to react to these changes to complement the good progress made on site by other contractors.

Large wide shot of the guestroom inside the hotel

Image credit: The Grosvenor Hotel

“Dealing directly with the manufacturer was the only way this project could have been so successful – we needed a partnership approach right from the start,” said Sheila Murphy from glh Hotels. “Curtis was responsive and positive, accommodating our requests and enabling timely completion of the project.”

With high quality furniture augmenting this beautiful refurbishment, room rates at the hotel have now risen, which will help secure a speedy return on investment.

Main image credit: Amba Hotel Grosvenor/Curtis

Editor Checks In: Colouring outside the lines, searching for creativity

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Colouring outside the lines, searching for creativity

Casting back to a two-dimensional art classroom, editor Hamish Kilburn has a few confessions to make regarding the creativity of his sketch book before rekindling his relationship with art in design…

As someone who regularly rushed his art homework in blue biro ink at the back of the school bus, reserving a seat in detention in the process, I am a disgrace to art enthusiasts everywhere. I had no time for the subject, or its storied history. Patience didn’t come naturally to me or my teachers. As far as they were concerned, there were two types of people in the world: people who could draw life-like hands to not look like Monster Munch on a portrait and people who couldn’t. In hindsight, though, I am regretful for not digging beneath the surface of the subject and for not paying more attention. I realise now that I would have loved learning about the likes of Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Minch and other hall-of-famers.

12 years later, I am writing about the very topic that made my eyes enthusiastically roll with disinterest when presented with the next homework assignment. Still unable to draw or paint anything to resemble anything or anyone, the ink from my biro-infected Year-9 art book has run into my career; its stain is in every hotel I review, every feature I commission, every conversation I have, and now even in one of my editor’s letters. The fact is, art is unavoidably everywhere. It is adding texture and meaning to the beautifully painted picture of an industry that refuses to colour within the lines and that is not afraid to veer off into new lanes in search for creativity.

This month, I attended my first ever fashion show, which is shocking considering creativity in interior design and architecture very often derives from unconventional threads in fashion. But the reality of manning the editorial desk, scrutinising which envelopes are necessary to open and which should remain sealed, quite often results in me avoiding the noise amplified through London’s landmark during London Fashion Week. That is until now.

“It was a fantastical depiction of a partnership between two worlds that often meet, art and fashion, but rarely hold hands in public.”

Having finally joined the stampede of fashion week, the first theory of the fashion world I crushed into a myth was being ‘fashionably late’. Unapologetic to the stragglers, the lights went down at 6.30pm on the dot to signifying the show starting, as we were pre-warned on the e-invitation. The perfectly timed, choreographed performance of artistic frocks commenced – and a late arrival would have almost certainly ruined the atmospheric mise én scene, as well as ones captured point of view.

Everyone’s eyes in the high-ceilinged lobby inside Sofitel St James London were fixed to the centre of the room. Detaching the audience from their day-to-day deadlines, the models marched forward, one by one, to showcase a moment. It was a fantastical depiction of a partnership between two worlds that often meet, art and fashion, but rarely hold hands in public.

It was the work of French artist Stephane Koerwyn who put these colourful pieces together, delicately connecting the stylish similarities between the two industries and creating a new layer of design in the process. Bright, colourful and bold dresses made from Aluminium illuminated the catwalk to celebrate the sustainability movements in both territories. We were able to appreciate the pieces in motion before they were displayed as statues throughout hotel in an exhibition of the artist’s work, which is now on display until June 2020.

Koerwyn is not the only creative who isn’t afraid to cross boarders into other industries. In all corners of our endless industry, designers and artists are raising the ceiling and filling the space with more iconic, standalone statements. Hotel Le Coucou, which I recently reviewed in the French Alps, is the brainchild of Pierre Yovanovitch – a former fashion designer – whose injection of houte couture interiors, has taken this slope-side 56-key luxury boutique to new heights of creativity where bear chairs, emoji-themed plates and ice-cube lighting become genius layers in luxury design.

Meanwhile, meaningful collaborations between suppliers and designers continue to catapult innovation in material, style and wider in design. A few years ago, a collaboration between sportswear brand Odlo and Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD) went under the radar of most designers. But in reality, it was a remarkable ‘two heads are better than one’ approach that led ZHD to vastly improve the form of a conventional sports ‘baselayer’, with new technology allowing the companies to create a seamless garment that adapted with the body.

Only last year, at Sleep & Eat 2019, Laufen’s A New Classic was launched. The collection of bathroom products and furniture was the unrivalled result of a partnership with Marcel Wanders, who further pushed the boundaries in bathroom design and aesthetics to create a collection that confronted gender. At the same time, Roca unveiled its next collection of timeless bathroom gems with fashion brand Armani and furniture brand Benchmark worked with architecture legend David Rockwell to transform the workplace with a new, ergonomic table.

Even as we speak, commercial furniture brand Morgan, known and respected for its carefully aligned collaborations, is (I am told) working on its next partnership that will be unveiled at Clerkenwell Design Week 2020 in May.

Before that, lighting brand Chelsom, which was recently specified in Riggs Washington D.C. and Great Scotland Yard Hotel, is preparing to light up a new collection of lamps, pendants and chandeliers that has been inspired by two years of thorough research. Meanwhile, luxury Italian furniture brand Minotti is weeks away from raising the curtain on the 2020 – 2021 collection of luxury indoor and outdoor furniture, inspired, no doubt, by the family’s travels and evolution of public spaces in hospitality.

As the list of conscious collaborations continues to grow, Hotel Designs is inviting the industry to celebrate creativity in all its colours at Meet Up London. Taking place on May 13, at the Minotti London showroom, our spring networking event will further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers with conversations like no other. Above all, though, we promise to inspire all avenues of creativity, even if that means colouring outside the lines from time to time.

During March, Hotel Designs will be putting ‘Lighting’ and ‘Bathrooms’ under the spotlight. If you would like to contribute to these topics, please do not hesitate to email me.

Editor, Hotel Designs

In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

Following some major global project wins, 1508 London’s entrance into hospitality was one that was led by a burning desire to reference local culture, unique design and organic materials in a new generation of luxury hotels. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins one of the firm’s Partner, Hamish Brown, in the London-based studio to learn more…

“There’s a real desire at the moment for brands not to be completely dictatorial about what their hotel should look like,” comments Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London, who warmly welcomes me into the studio moments before arriving himself having just walked off the red-eye flight from New York to London. “There are operational and functional standards, for sure, but in terms of design and aesthetics, there is so much more freedom now than there ever has been in hotel design.”

Could it be this movement that opened the door from residential into hospitality for the design studio? Or maybe it’s Brown’s ability to sharply define where the industry is at in this moment even while enduring transatlantic jetlag. Before then, the team at 1508 London were residential pioneers who had created a unique thread of new design standards on the high-end market around the globe; an appealing DNA for developers and operators in the hospitality arena.

It’s a refreshing experience, visiting a working studio that is – despite having already completed The Spa at The Lanesborough, awarded Best Hotel Spa 2019, and is currently working on new spaces for brands such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Park Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels and Jumeirah – still relevantly new on the international hospitality scene. It is perchance the gems that are on the boards, as well as the major project wins that the studio has achieved recently, therefore, that is causing the heads in the industry to turn towards the direction of 1508 London.

“I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

Most recently, the studio’s pipeline of statement projects includes Rosewood Doha, which is said to become “Qatar’s latest landmark five-star hotel”, the first branded residences in Beverly Hills’ golden triangle and the redesign of Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London, which will infuse a new, lighter sense of grandeur to elevate the guests’ arrival experience.

Render of two towers in doha

Image caption: Render of the majestic towers that will shelter Rosewood Doha, slated to open in 2020 | Image credit: 1508 London/Rosewood Hotels

The structure of the 70-strong designers at 1508 London is supported by four design directors, one of which, Akram Fahmi, was published in The Brit List 2019 following his recent move from his success at another studio. “We try as much as possible here to throw things up in the air, because I have always really hated the ‘one size fits all’ approach in design,” Brown tells me. “We start by first understanding the building’s context – the architecture and the local vernacular – and, as designers, it is our job to be able to draw inspiration from that.”

Brown, who The Times named as a ‘tastemaker’ in 2018, joined the firm in its infancy in 2010. Before that, he worked for a property development firm, swerving anything design-related succeeding a full-on interior architecture degree at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. “To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed after my studies,” he admits. “The modules were attempting to be sensible, but, in reality, they did not prepare me for what life is really like as a designer. It felt a bit like passing my driving test and then merging onto the motorway for the first time.”

Render of the outside of the building

Image caption: Render teasing what the front of Jumeriah Carlton Tower will look like when it majestically remerges back onto the London scene later this year. | Image credit: 1508 London/Jumeriah Hotels

After flirting with the idea of working in high-end residential and retail development, giving student life some time to deliquesce in the memory, Brown initially joined 1508 London as a Business Development Manager. Climbing the ladder rapidly, in 2011 he became Head of Projects, was promoted one year later to become Studio Director and in 2013, he joined CEO and Partner Stuart Horwood as a Partner. “Originally, we were just four people with one vision, and we deliberately didn’t have a house style.” Walking around the studio, I am presented to the brand’s perhaps most impressive creation: the carefully curated cluster of characters – AKA, the designers – who are all driven, I’m told, by the idea of producing better spaces. “We take pride in being very client-centric, and that’s not to put anyone else or any other studio in the industry down – we really do try to respond to briefs with creativity,” Brown adds.

In a recent exclusive roundtable discussion on the topic of meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design, Brown mentioned that the studio tries to always capture and create sense-of-place with every project it works on. “Intrinsically, we believe that the exterior and interior of a building should have a strong relationship,” explains Brown. “And that’s often the starting point on most projects. We ask about the location, the architecture and the materials. Quite often, our inquisitive nature then takes over and we will investigate more about things like the culture, the art and the food.”

Luxury pool area inside The Lanesborough

Image caption: Thoughtfully designed, The Spa at The Lanesborough shelters a luxurious hydro pool area. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

In regards to the company’s own sense-of-place, the studio is situated in the heart of the capital and has famous neighbours, sharing the same roof as fashion house Tom Ford’s studio and showroom. With 27 different nationalities under one roof, 1508 London is an outwardly thinking practice that is inspired by different cultures. “Britain is a design hub because of its education,” Brown says. “Our studio is a perfect example. There is a natural flow of talent in London, and that is because individuals from all over the world choose to operate here.”

“Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: Where do you feel most at home in London?
Hamish Brown: In South London, with my wife and two children

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
HB: Sri-Lanka

HK: Was there a designer/or designers who inspired you when you were studying?
HB: Zaha Hadid and Antoni Gaudi, I’ve always fascinated by their uses of materials.

HK: What is the most rewarding part of your role?
HB: Working with people, and learning about cultures. I have learned more about geography as a designer than I ever did at school.

HK: If you were not a designer, what would you do?
HB: I would restore furniture, which is what I want to do when I retire.

HK: How would you describe your four design directors?
HB: They are completely open-minded and expansive beyond belief. You give them a challenge and they will each respond in the most wonderfully exciting ways.

HK: What’s the last item that shows up on your bank statement?
HB: A tactical coffee a Gatwick airport.

One of Brown’s most valuable lessons that he has learned is the balance between design and function. “Although the first impression in a hotel usually comes from the look and feel, the last impression is of equal importance,” he says. “The lasting memory comes from the service and function. To make someone fall in love with their stay, to attract them in the way it looks, you have to be able to deliver on that promise – and that is where the symbiosis happens between design and function.”

For most designers, one project will stand out in the portfolio. For Brown, that project sits majestically on Hyde Park Corner, just a few miles from the studio, and was also one of the first luxury hotels I checked in to as a journalist. “Working with the hotel’s Managing Director at the time, Geoffrey Gelardi, on the design of The Spa at The Lanesborough was incredible,” he says. “He had unbelievable knowledge on how the back-of-house operated, which allowed us to design spaces with complete precision, and enabled us to learn exactly how each area should be utilised. Without a doubt, those lessons have been the major transition between residential and hospitality.”

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough is an urban sanctuary unlike any other. | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

The fact that we are sat around a beautiful oak table that I find out was rescued by the 1508 London team from an antique shop in Chelsea, exemplifies the studio’s respect for objects and restoration. “In many ways, you are only as good as your materials,” explains Brown. “This rug, even, came from a woman I met in the Middle East. She devoted her life to travelling to tribal areas, bringing groups of people together in the process to make these detailed rugs.”

“I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface.” – Hamish Brown, 1508 London

The studio is so passionate to learn about new materials and products that it even dedicates time, one day a week, to invite select suppliers into the studio. “This time is an opportunity for us to learn, which is fascinating,” he says. “I remember using a recycled car windscreen in a bar, which a supplier fused together in order to create a striking bubble-like surface. When you backlit it, the result was incredible. The point is, I would never have thought about doing that on my own, and it added a new layer to the high-end project.”

Inspired by the studio’s infectious ethos – as well as its ability to sensitively lead the industry’s evolution ­– I leave Brown and his team in peace to continue reshaping the international landscape of luxury hotels. My evaluation of Hamish Brown? He is a polite and modest man who you can effortlessly spark up a conversation with. Listening intently to hear his passion for design, architecture and the carving out of a new era of hospitality, I can conclude that we do, after all, have more in common than simply a memorable name.

Main image credit: 1508 London

Boutique bolthole brand days from opening second London hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boutique bolthole brand days from opening second London hotel

Pioneering hospitality brand, Locke, is to open its second boutique hotel in the capital next month, which is located on the Thames at London’s Millennium Bridge…

The 113-key Locke at Broken Wharf is expected to open next month, and it has set the scene for two more London openings in Bermondsey and Dalston later this year, in addition to international projects in Dublin, Munich, Berlin, Lisbon and Copenhagen. 

These openings build on the success of Locke’s existing hotels in East London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Locke takes its cue from the evolving and varied demands of the contemporary traveller – blending the advantages of a high-end lifestyle hotel with the space and flexibility of an apartment. Its dynamic social spaces comprise an all-day restaurant, bar concept and buzzy co-working area, which will be activated through a mind-expanding cultural programme spanning wellness, fitness, art and music. This customer-first approach creates beautiful environments designed for living, not just sleeping, where guests can tailor visits to meet their personal requirements: whether they book for three days or three months.

“Designed by Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski+Pons, each of the 113 studios have been considered with the guest, location and brand essence in mind.”

Situated on the banks of the Thames with breath-taking views of the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe, Locke at Broken Wharf draws inspiration from its surroundings with each studio accented by subtle aesthetics featuring natural tones, pastel colours and white marble worktops contrasted with brass details. Designed by Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski+Pons, each of the 113 studios have been considered with the guest, location and brand essence in mind. Having custom designed most of the furniture in each room. “Throughout the property I played with a little matte/gloss tension,” said Grzywinski, “employing the aspirational bling of chrome, smoked glass and polished copper softened by the warmth and enveloping tactility of timber, cane and butterscotch upholstery.” Generously-sized rooms and fully equipped high-spec kitchens create a sense of freedom truly unique to the hotel scene, where guests can enjoy the option of a short stay in a Locke Studio (average 29sqm) or retreat to one of the larger premium River Suites (average 33sqm) for a long term stay in London.

Created and operated by The Initiative, Deli Cat & Sons – a modern New York-style Deli with local flavours – will offer a selection of freshly baked bagels and salads, along with a vast selection of breakfast and brunch dishes, available for eating in or taking away. For those keen to prepare their own meals, cookbooks are provided with pantry essentials available to guests on request. Adaptable to the needs of a variety of local businesses and travellers alike, Locke also offers a smart co-working space comfortably nestled on the ground floor.

Main image credit: Locke

SHOW PREVIEW: Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SHOW PREVIEW: Clerkenwell Design Week 2020

Clerkenwell Design Week returns on May 19 – 21 for the 11th edition of the UK’s leading independent design festival, London’s most creative district…

Last year, 34, 185 individuals of the international design community flocked to the streets of Clerkenwell to attend one of the most-anticipated design festivals in the design calendar.

Since its beginnings, Clerkenwell Design Week has worked in synergy with the natural growth of vibrant Clerkenwell – an area full of design showrooms, practices and creativity – flourishing into the much-loved independent design event.

Now in its 11th edition, the festival has become a well-established, key event in the design calendar as well as a platform for brands to launch their latest products. In 2019, Established & Sons debuted works from renowned designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Konstanin Grcic, and the show welcomed high profile speakers like Sebastian Wrong, Benjamin Hubert and Neisha Crosland.

Talk with host and audience

Image credit: Clerkenwell Design Week

Building on the success of CDW’s 10th anniversary last year, for 2020, designers and architects are being told to expect a show full of the latest designs, innovations and creative ideas, striking installations celebrating the fascinating history of Clerkenwell, as well as hundreds of design-led fringe events, pop-ups, workshops, talks and showroom presentations.

This year, Morag Myerscough will be speaking as part of Conversations at Clerkenwell and joins Sebastian Cox on the line up so far.

A number of brands will be marking significant milestones at the 2020 show, including iconic British furniture company, ercol who will celebrate their 100th anniversary as part of CDW. ercol will be launching a collection of new pieces which have been designed and developed in collaboration with Norm Architects, these pieces not only reflect ercol’s heritage and craftsmanship but build further on ercol’s vision for the future. For CDW, ercol will present their new Norm collection, pieces from the Originals collection, the Pennon table, and pieces from the Von collection.

Renowned Danish furniture manufacturer, Fritz Hansen, will also be bringing to life their first UK standalone showroom, which has just opened on Cowcross Street in Clerkenwell.  The beautiful, two-floor space in the heart of London’s busiest district for architecture and design, will play home to the full collection of Fritz Hansen furniture, lighting and accessories. New pieces from Nendo see a chair created from household waste, Ant Deco is a re-imagined version of the classic Arne Jacobsen Ant chair and exciting new collections of accessories, as well as reissued pieces will be seen for the first time during CDW. The space is designed to be a restful backdrop for the Fritz Hansen universe and a hub for designers, specifiers and customers alike.

Presenting at CDW for their inaugural year, UniFor, the contract sector of Italian design brand The Molteni Group will be exhibiting an interactive workspace of the future in a stand-alone display at Design Fields, showcasing the new Touchdown unit by Studio Klass.

Focusing on sustainability at CDW, Cosentino will be encouraging visitors to recycle their guides and maps in special collection points around Clerkenwell. These will then be collated and turned into a sculptural papier-mâché installation after the event displayed in their showroom. Billi UK will be providing five drinking water points around Clerkenwell for the event, as well as distributing reusable bottles for free to CDW visitors. In a collaboration with Bee Midtown, they will also be helping distribute collector’s edition glass bottles to lucky visitors at random.

Bee Midtown will also be partnering with CDW to rejuvenate the Three Corners Adventure Playground on Northampton Road. As part of this, they will be offering seed planting in conjunction with Bee Wild, a project committed to encouraging bees into the area to pollinate plants, thus preserving the urban environment.

CDW Presents

Each year, one of the highlights of the show is CDW Presents, showcasing specially commissioned, site-specific street spectacles across Clerkenwell.

In celebration of Clerkenwell’s history in the clock-making industry, time will be a key focus for the 2020 edition of CDW Presents, with four large-scale horology-themed installations dotted throughout Clerkenwell.

Another highlight commission of CDW Presents is Scale Rule, a project focused on inspiring young people to become the next generation of designers, architects and engineers. 2020 will mark five years of the project, which brings together local school students and Clerkenwell-based architectural practices via a series of workshops to create and realise a design installation. For 2020, Scale Rule will return to its original location in the Garden of St James, creating a kinetic installation that responds to movement.

Showrooms

Growing in synergy over the eleven years of the festival, Clerkenwell has flourished as one of London’s creative hotspots. From CDW’s humble beginnings with less than 40 showrooms participating back in 2010, CDW now sees more than 100 showrooms participating in the event. Integral to the festival are the local resident design showrooms, providing an array of stimulating events from talks and workshops to major installations and parties.

number of lights to refelct different daylight in the day

Image credit: Light exhibition at Clerkenwell Design Week

Exhibitions

The sheer popularity of Clerkenwell Design Week is evident by the growth of exhibitors – with more than 200 brands participating for 2020. CDW’s exhibitions are hosted in distinctive spaces around the area linked by a route running through the centre of EC1. There are seven exhibitions, each with a different curatorial focus, ranging from cutting edge international design, to emerging talent, lighting, luxury interiors and the best of British design.

Main image credit: Clerkenwell Design Week

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

7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 savage hotel construction projects on the boards

To celebrate ‘Architecture & Construction’ firmly being in the spotlight this month, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have identified some of the industry’s most ambitious hotel projects that are expected to open in the next few years… 

The hotel industry is booming, is the verdict from the data analysts at STR as they reveal to Hotel Designs that there are currently 74,417 hotels on the boards in Europe alone.

In the next few years, millions of rooms will open in major cities, towns and far-flung travel hotspots around the world. In order to shelter these rooms and suites, architects are using new rendering software to challenge conventions like never before to conceive new exciting buildings that will have the power to transform skylines on an epic scale.

Ahead of Forum Events’ up-and-coming inaugural Building and Construction Summit next month, here are just a few hotel construction plans that we expect will disrupt the international hospitality industry as we know it when they complete with innovation, style and substance.

Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

render of the Mandarin Oriental Melbourne

Image credit: VA

Mandarin Oriental’s first hotel in Melbourne is taking shape. First realised in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects were asked to design the mixed-used 185-metre tower located in the heart of the city’s financial district. When completed, it will feature an all-day dining restaurant and a bar with a landscaped roof terrace. There will also be a variety of meeting spaces and an executive club lounge. A Spa at Mandarin Oriental will offer the Group’s renowned wellness,relaxation and beauty facilities, while further leisure options include a comprehensive fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

Rosewood São Paulo 

image of building camouflaged in trees

Image credit: Jean Nouvel

Opening later this year, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo. The hotel, which is being designed in collaborations with design and architecture legend such as Philippe Starck and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, will feature 151 guestrooms. The striking biophilically designed building will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area.

Shishi-lwa House

From one Pritzker Prize winner to another, architect Ryue Nishizawa has designed the concept of Shishi-lwa House in Japanese city of Nagano. Expected to open next year, the eight-key hotel’s aim will be to provide a sanctuary in a cluster of 10 interconnected pavilions made out of locally sourced jinoki cypress wood.

Downtown LA Jenga-like skyscraper

Render of the top of a building that has been made to look likke a jenga set

Image credit: Arquitectonica | JMF Developments & Co.

Architecture firm Arquitectonica‘s dream to evolve the city of Angels’ iconic landscape is becoming a reality after the company has recently got approval for the 53-storey building by the city’s planning commission. The condo tower with its cantilevering glass-bottom swimming pools. JMF Development Co. aims to have the building completed by as early as 2023.

25hours Hotel Paper Island

Slated to open in 2024, 25hours Hotel Paper Island will mark the brand’s arrival into the Copenhagen property market. Pulling out all the stops, the hotel company has enlisted the help of interior design guru Erik Nissen Johansen from Stylt Trampoli and architecture firm Cobe to imagine the concept of the hotel developed by Nordkranen and Union Kul.

Kisawa Sanctuary 

render of beach-front bungalows

Image credit: Kisawa Sanctuary

Taking the hotel scene in Mozambique back to basics, Kisawa’s founder Nina Flohr’s latest hotel is stripped-back luxury escape in the pipeline. Comprising of 12 luxury bungalows – each one furnished to echo cultural references of the island – the hotel is expected to open this Summer. “My mission for Kisawa is to create a level of hospitality and design that to my knowledge, does not exist today, a place that inspires feelings of freedom and luxury born from nature, space and true privacy,” Flohr. “We have used design as a tool, not as a style, to ensure Kisawa is integrated, both culturally and environmentally into Mozambique.”

Infinity London

Once you have worked out how to get in and out of what was surely the talked-about infinity pool concept of last year (via a spiral staircase “based on the door of a submarine” that rises from the pool’s floor), the next question is: who would be brave enough to peer over the edge? Infinity London is the brainchild of Alex Kemsley, a pool designer and technical director for Compass Pools. The 55-story high-rise in London, will provide 360-degree views of the city below and takes wellness to new death-defying heights.

If you are a contractor, developer or surveyor and are interested in attending the Building and Construction Summit, which takes place on March 16 – 17 at Radisson Blu Hotel, please email Daniella Batchelor or Josh Oxberry. Alternatively, you can call 01992 374048/04.

Main image credit: Arquitectonica/Kisawa Sanctuary/Rosewood Hotels/Compass Pools 

Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to Completion: Designing Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell (Part 1)

In the first article of a new series, editor Hamish Kilburn exclusively speaks to the designers at 3Stories to understand how the studio will sensitively convert an iconic neighbourhood pub into Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell… 

It’s been almost a year since IHG announced plans to open a 151-key Hotel Indigo in the heart of London’s design district.

Responsible for the interior design of the 151-key boutique hotel is Ben Webb and Jordan Littler who are the co-founders of 3Stories. The entire project, meanwhile, is being overseen by IHG’s Director of Interior Design, Henry Reeve, who was highly commended in the Interior Designer of the Year category at The Brit List Awards 2019. Reeve, who recently led the completion of Kimpton Fitzroy and Hotel Indigo properties in Stratford-Upon-Thames and Barcelona among other projects, is a sharp, dynamic designer who awarded 3Stories with one of the firm’s first hotel projects, Hotel Indigo Antwerp that opened in 2017.

Almost three years later, while the studio is working on on-going projects such as a Jo&Joe hotel in Liverpool, a Bistro in Brixton and a new music venue down the road in Kings Cross, Webb and Littler are putting their hearts and souls into sensitively restoring Clerkenwell’s much-loved pub, the Hat & Feathers, into a thriving hotel hub. 

I travelled to the duo’s Clerkenwell studio to exclusively speak to Webb about the plans of converting what is currently a building site into a statement hotel in the city’s design hub.

 

Hamish Kilburn: When did you win the project?
Ben Webb: August 2019

HK: How much time went into the pitch?
BW: We utilised the studios entire time, as we only had two weeks to come up with our concept.

HK: Can you explain for us how 3Stories developed?
Jordan Littler and I started our careers together 15 years ago and subsequently over that time worked for a number of different design agencies. In 2017 we both decided to join forces and essentially set up a company that specialises in hospitality design. 

HK: How did your pitch allow you to keep an ‘open window’ of ideas throughout the project?

BW: We kept the presentation quite broad, looking at all of the different areas in the hotel, meaning we didn’t present a finished design. This left more room for the client to use their own imagination and fill in the gaps. From a render perspective, we kept the visuals in a hand-sketch format as we felt a stunning photorealistic 3D was not required and the pitch was more about the ideas we could bring to the table. 

“Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local.” – Ben Webb, Co-founder, 3 Stories

HK: What is the significance of this project, the site and why do you believe you are the best designers for the job?
BW: My business partner and I have worked in Clerkenwell for the past 14 years and are therefore very familiar with the area. Our first design job was located opposite the hotel and we would use the Hat and Feathers pub as our local. We specialise in F&B which is a huge part of the project and therefore our knowledge in the market helped us sell the concept to the client. 

HK: What are the biggest challenges you expect to run in to during the project?
BW: An obvious answer, but I have to say budget. There are a lot of elements to this project especially surrounding the listed nature of the pub and therefore the budget maybe squeezed in certain places. 

HK: Can you set the scene for our readers on what the hotel’s interiors will look like?
BW: If you are not familiar with the Hotel Indigo brand it is all about creating the neighbourhood story. With that in mind the hotel’s interior takes lead from the areas architectural and design heritage. The bedrooms themselves (three types) are designed in relationship to Clerkenwell, giving the guest a choice when booking to stay at the hotel. We have also defined four restaurant concepts within the hotel that we are currently developing with the F&B consultants, all of which take on a different feel based on the level cuisine being served.

HK: Do you plan on using suppliers that are local to the area?
BW: 100 per cent yes. This project more than any, due to its location in Clerkenwell and being surrounded by so many suppliers. One of the bedroom designs is purely dedicated to the ‘supplier showcase.’

HK: What are you most excited about with this project?
BW: The fact that we can bring a lot of local knowledge to the design from the relationships with current suppliers down to our understanding of the F&B market in Clerkenwell. 

The project continues…

This is part one of Hotel Designs’ Concept to Completion series, following design firm 3 Stories and IHG throughout their journey to create Hotel Indigo Clerkenwell. If you have a question regarding the design of the project that you would like to put forward, please email our editor.

Main image credit: 3 Stories

Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hamilton Litestat announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP networking events

Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has been announced as Headline Partner for MEET UP London and MEET UP North….

Electrical Solutions and wiring provider Hamilton Litestat will once again support Hotel Designs as Headline Partner at two of its key industry networking events in 2020.

MEET UP London, which will take place on May 13, and MEET UP North that takes place in Manchester on July 6.

Having previously supported Hotel Designs with its annual The Brit List Awards event, Hamilton aims to further increase its business and product awareness amongst the site’s loyal audience.

“We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton

“A key part of the Hamilton business is engaging with those within the design, architecture and hotel industries, and the Hotel Designs MEET UP events are an ideal way to get face-to-face time with important players,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing for Hamilton. “We’ve found a supportive partner in Hotel Designs and The Brit List Awards was a great way for us to strike up meaningful conversations within the industry. We’re hoping that we can take that one step further with the MEET UP networking events.

Until January 31 (this Friday), EARLY RELEASE tickets to both Meet Up London and Meet Up North are available to purchase for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those who supply to the hospitality industry. The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

To book tickets to MEET UP London:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31)  | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

To book tickets to MEET UP North:

EARLY RELEASE SUPPLIER TICKETS*: £99 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.
EARLY RELEASE BUYER TICKETS**£10 + VAT (expires on January 31) | CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, or if you have any enquires regarding tickets, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

Early Release offer strictly ends January 31, 2020.

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.

 

In Conversation With: Hotelier of the Year 2019, Thomas Kochs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Hotelier of the Year 2019, Thomas Kochs

The Managing Director of Corinthia London, Thomas Kochs, has confidently evolved – and arguably led – the luxury hospitality scene in London for decades. Editor Hamish Kilburn joins the man of the moment who was recently crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019

London’s luxury market stands and operates alone on the global hospitality map. Although ‘competition’ is a rare word spoken among hotel operators in the city, there is no denying that the luxury hotels in the capital are all vying for the title of being the best and most interesting hotel in London.

One man who knows more than most hoteliers about the luxury hospitality scene is Thomas Kochs, the Managing Director of Corinthia London. In the last decade alone, the German-born hotelier has managed properties such as The Berkeley, The Connaught Hotel, Claridge’s and Hotel Café Royal. More than likely, it was this impressive portfolio that qualified him as the man for the job to take the helm of Corinthia’s flagship property in 2017.

Roof terrace that has modern furniture, a large chess board and the view of the London Eye

Image credit: Corinthia London’s Whitehall Penthouse

Since its opening in 2011, in a building that dates back 1885, the 300-key property has proven, time and time again, that Mayfair is not the only neighbourhood for premium hotels in London. Sitting undisturbed on the bank of the River Thames; a hop, skip and a jump away from London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Corinthia London faces, and in some suites frames, the iconic London Eye and the contemporary and eclectic South Bank.

Having just clinched the prestigious title of Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, Kochs is rightfully considered one of the best in his field. With an acute eye for detail, and a calm, collected yet dynamic approach to leadership, the hotelier has seen – perhaps even led – the evolutions of many hospitality trends driven by consumer behaviour and demands. “Design has evolved,” says Kochs. “10 – 15 years ago, hotels had more opportunities to impress through design. However, a good design formula alone is no longer enough in today’s market. There are some design-driven brands where the customer only checks in because of the design and aesthetic, but we don’t consider ourselves one of them.”

Spacious and luxury hotel lobby. Grand piano in the centre, and a large chandelier in the background

Image cpation/credit: Corinthia London’s luxurious lobby | Jack Hardy

Last year, Corinthia London was the backdrop of a BBC docuseries entitled: A Hotel for the Super Rich & Famous. The two-part series, which echoed a similar format of another series that featured Kochs when he was General Manager of Claridge’s, gave consumers a window into the inner workings of a luxury hotel.

As well as following the day-in-the-life of housekeepers, florists and the concierge, the cameras were also given access to creative meetings with the hotel’s Futurists-in-Residence, The Future Laboratory. The trend forecasters, who began their partnership with the hotel in 2018, believes the future of luxury is about intelligent encounters – think cool cultural exchanges, and the kind of exemplary food for the mind, body and soul that stimulates thinking. “These are dear friends of ours,” Kochs explains. “The Future Laboratory were trying to make the point that that consumers are too busy with themselves, to the point that only severe disruption would make them talk to each other.” One option suggested was to deliberately shut down one of the lifts. “That’s all well and good,” Kochs adds, “but that just doesn’t work in hotels. The aim of the partnership was to position ourselves as a forward-thinking hotel that also respects our history and brand values.”

Another common theme explored in the TV series was how decisions were made, and often changed. “Why would you stick to something that your mind is warning is not the right decision?” Kochs rhetorically questions. “I know it can sometimes be exhausting and an inconvenience to people around you, but it’s important to get it right and sometimes you just have to trust your gut.”

Quick-fire round

HK: Congratulations on your win at The Brit List Awards 2019. How does it feel, being Hotelier of the Year?
TK: It’s amazing, I have never been a hotelier of the year before.

HK: Why is Britain a hospitality hotspot?
TK: Because creativity, design and hospitality is deeply rooted in British culture.

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

HK: What’s the one item you cannot travel without?
TK: My Bottega Veneta holdall travels everywhere with me.

HK: What is the one hospitality trend you hope will not return?
TK: The idea that the most expensive is the most desirable. That was vulgar.

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
TK: Organic dog food, hand-cooked in Devon, for my new puppy.

HK: What is the most important element to get right in hospitality?
TK: The team is essential. The team here really do inspire me every day.

HK: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
TK: A GP in the countryside.

HK: If you were not living in London, where would you be?
TK: Somewhere with a beach, potentially Los Angeles.

HK: Who inspired you when you were early on in your career?
TK: It was more the feeling of quality hospitality that inspired me.

HK: What’s your favourite part of the hotel?
TK: I really like the Northall Bar. I like the high ceilings and the historic elements, but also there is space to breathe.

As a someone who has been at the top of the luxury hotel triangle in London since 2001, Kochs understands that the roles of a hotelier are changing, and evolving fast. “The structure of having your strategy, the next five-year plan and the budgets has remained the same, explains Kochs. But now, more than ever, you need to be really close to your team; understand your employees and what they are working on. You also need to spend time with the guests, and really consider the sense of location when doing so. The minute you lose interest in any of these components, you’re fighting a losing battle. That brings me nicely onto relevance. The hotel has to understand how to remain an exciting place. It is a beating heart; a live operation. It’s not something that we can put into storage and sell later. Instead, it’s happening now.”

modern, contemporary guestroom with green cushions and bed throw.

Image caption/credit: Corinthia London’s Duluxe King guestroom | Jack Hardy

It’s an interesting time for Corinthia Hotels. Following its announcement to debut in Dubai, which CEO Simon Naudi explained the ins and outs of in an exclusive interview last year. While the brand expands sensitively, the London hub remains the mothership of the group, where the DNA of its award-winning style and service was born and refined. “I do certainly feel the responsibility,” adds Kochs. “We are in one of the most exciting cities in the world, which is all too easy to forget because we have access to it every day. We are lucky and blessed that we identify trends before others. This, I believe, comes with experience. It’s crucial to stay alert and awake to consumer trends and shifts in demands so that we capture them both verbally and intellectually, which we can then communicate seamlessly through the hotel experience.

Render of luxe, light and airy suite.

Image caption/credit: Render of Corinthia Dubai | Corinthia Hotels

Considering its widely known reputation, it’s easy to forget that the hotel group currently only has one hotel on UK soil. “We have the advantage of being small,” says Kochs. “Look at what is going on around us. Everything is getting bigger. Travel to Vietnam, for example. You enter Saigon and the streets are a bit dusty, and souk is steaming on the side of the road. But then you are confronted with Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada; the same brands and products you would find on Bond Street.

“The hotel industry is not too dissimilar. The Corinthia brand is small, and we are quick in our decision making. There isn’t a corporate paralysation and we are not overly governed by brand guidelines. A large brand would argue that the opposite is their advantage, which can also be true.”

Dark spa with fire on the left and luxe sauna on the right.

Image caption/credit: The Spa inside Corinthia London | Jack Hardy

What I believe is most telling of Kochs’ style as a hotelier is the fact that, throughout our interview, he had a subtle, non-invasive watch on everyone else in the room. The self-proclaimed perfectionist continues to stand as a leading example for the brand that is slowly by surely expanding its luxury offering in far-flung destinations around the world.  Personally, I believe that Kochs’ attention to detail is what sets him apart – like how, during this interview, he paused politely to ask for the lighting to be lowered as the last of the London light filtered into the late afternoon. Despite his impressive background in hospitality, Kochs remains humble, warm and a worthy Hotelier of the Year.

Main image credit: Corinthia London

Case study: Specifying the surfaces at Juno Rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Specifying the surfaces at Juno Rooms

A range of striking porcelain and handmade ceramic tiles from Parkside have been used as surfaces at Juno Rooms, a lively entertainment venue in the heart of London’s financial district…

Known locally as a thriving hub and flexible event space, Juno Rooms is Urban Pubs and Bars’ debut property in the City of London.

Driving the venue’s transformation through the universal appeal of natural influences in pattern, colour and texture, leading hospitality concept specialist Harrison has created a unique interior for the multi-functional space that sees use from morning till late night. The all-encompassing design appeals to a more discerning and demanding city worker guest but also attracts a wide variety of clientele.

Surface specialists Parkside supplied approximately 250m2 of tiles for the project with the main floors in the bar area and toilets using the award-winning Kaste01. This concrete-effect porcelain tile offers high slip resistance and was used in standard large format at the bar surround and in rest rooms, as well as waterjet cut into a multi-tonal geometric design in the seated dining area.

Found on the walls of the impressive front bar, Harrison commissioned a handmade bespoke ceramic tile in a geometric pattern of colour-matched green tones. The walls of the toilets feature a specially sourced botanical pattern ceramic tile joined by colour-matched green ceramic wall tiles in a gloss finish.

At the entrance of Juno Rooms, Harrison tasked Parkside to source frost-proof hexagonal tiles, again in a unique green colourway.  For the steps of the entrance, Parkside provided another frost-proof tile, this time with high slip resistance, supplying it alongside a contrasting technical step edge for safety.

Ceri Shannon, designer at Harrison, said on the refurbishment of Juno Rooms: “We wanted to create a strong design that represented the interior’s need to be adaptable and appealing. Achieved through biophilic elements in the design, as well as authentic materials including exposed brickwork and wood, we also came to Parkside to help us achieve a ranging set of demands in our use of ceramic and porcelain tiles.

“We knew that Parkside could source us the products we needed, as well as handle the specialised aspects of the design such as waterjet cutting and colour matching. To have this all from one supplier makes a huge difference in a high-spec, multi-layered project such as this.”

Juno Rooms, is a bar and kitchen operated by Urban Pubs and Bars, a Sunday Times FastTrack 100 listed chain of 20 pubs, bars and restaurants across London.

Parkside will join editor Hamish Kilburn at the Surface Design Show for the panel discussion entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design.

The tile design company 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: Juno Rooms/Parkside

nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
nhow London opens and Hotel Designs is first in

Sensitively designed by The Brit List 2019 accredited firm Project Orange, nhow London has opened in Shoreditch to become a brave and bold accent on the capital’s booming hotel scene. Editor Hamish Kilburn is first in…

NH Hotel Group has arrived in the UK hospitality arena with the opening of nhow London. The 190-key hotel shelters many contemporary and quirky design statements to frame the interior design theme of ‘London Reloaded’, which was imagined and created by Shoreditch-based design firm Project Orange.

With six properties in Europe, the nhow brand aims to evolve the lifestyle hotel market by surprising and inspiring its guests through unconventional experience and design, which is unique to each hotel’s location. nhow London is part of the exciting new development 250 City Road.

Project Orange has been responsible for the interior design of the project from concept through to completion, and has specified British manufacturers as much as possible throughout the entire project. The ‘London Reloaded’ theme is prominent throughout the hotel with bold and fresh design that takes inspiration from traditional British icons, such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground.

All areas of the have an eccentric and contemporary take, with stand-out features including a Big Ben rocket sculpture in the lobby, tables in the ground-floor restaurant Bells and Whistles featuring cockney rhyming slang and oversized gold bell lights, a reminder of the city’s famous church bells.

Render of the ground-floor restaurant with green banquet seating

Image caption/credit: Render of Bells and Whistles restaurant | nhow London/Project Orange

Upstairs, the corridors have been designed to reference a walk in a typical London park. Featuring eye-catching designed HD carpets by Brintons, as well as colourful ‘townhouse front door’ style doors, this area of the hotel, which can all too often feel stale and unforgotten, has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Colourful textures confront contemporary art in the rooms, creating a dynamic version of London – think punk meets high-tech style, while graffiti appears alongside unconventional images of past monarchs.

As with all NH Hotels, everything in a nhow London is pleasingly unexpected. The nhow experience has arrived in London as the brand continues to make its mark on the European hotel scene.

Main image credit: nhow London

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Most anticipated hotel openings in 2020 (Q1 & Q2)

Kickstarting 2020, Hotel Designs takes a glance at some of the most significant hotel projects that are expected to complete in the next 12 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)…

If 2019 was anything to go by, then the next 12 months on the international hotel design and hospitality scene is going to be a jam-packed series of hotel openings in all corners of the globe. But with the industry churning out all kinds of hotels, it can be a challenge identifying the projects that will make the biggest impact.

render of open-planned lobby/lounge area in hotel overlooking the pool and the sea

In order to cut through the noise, the editorial team has sifted through the lists of projects on the boards in order to determine which among them are the most significant hotel projects that are slated to complete and open in 2020.

We start our series by putting the spotlight on the hotels forecasted to opening in Q1 and Q2.

Fusion Suites Vung Tau (Q1)

Render of rooftop pool and dynamic angular roof

Fusion’s latest hotel, Fusion Suites Vung Tau, is set to open in January in southern Vietnam’s popular coastal playground. The new 21-storey property features 171 well-appointed suites and apartments, a multitude of dining options, a spa, yoga studio, and a rooftop infinity pool. The property offers views of the ocean, and complements the setting with playful interiors dressed in sea green, ocean blue, and a wide range of ocean-inspired hues in between. The same sense of whimsy informs the building’s complex facade with pastel-coloured glass panels that zig-zag upwards. For dining options the hotel has the Fresh restaurant (open all-day), a rooftop bar, and market stalls in the lobby. The property’s 12 treatment room spa is inspired by the sea and features signature therapies based around salt. Conveniently located in the heart of Vung Tau, the hotel is just a short trip by boat or road from Ho Chi Minh City.

Mama Shelter Paris West (Q1)

Light room with living coral coloured decor

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Following a successful soft opening, Mama Shelter’s second hotel in Paris, located in the eclectic 15th arrondissement, will officially open in January 2020. With cutting-edge design elements by up and coming French designer Dion & Arles, featuring the playful design and vibrant colour palettes – guests can unwind in front of the open fire in the all-day restaurant or dine al fresco on the terrace, complete with its very own half-size basketball court. This will be Mama Shelter’s 12th property.

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester (Q1)

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn is scheduled to open in February 2020. The 189-key hotel is inspired by the New York Borough and chosen for its resonating similarities to Manchester, in terms of its buzzing industrial growth, as well as its strength of identity and culture.

Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Lore Group/Riggs Washington DC

The long-awaited brainchild of The Brit List 2019 judge Jacu Strauss, Riggs Washington D.C. is expected to open its illustrious doors in February 2020. The famed designer has invoked the spirit of the building’s former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features to reimagine the storied building for the modern traveller. The 181-room property features playful nods to the building’s rich past, drawing on the parallels between the activities that take place in banks and at hotels to offer something personal and serendipitous around every corner.

Atocha Hotel Madrid – Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Q1)

Render of gold and modern guest room with gold headboard and light grey bedding

Image credit: Tapestry Collection/Hilton Hotels

Tapestry Collection by Hilton is making its debut in EMEA and will soon land in two of the most iconic European cities.

Atocha Hotel Madrid will be the first hotel to join Hilton’s Tapestry Collection in Europe. It is located in the buzzing heart of Madrid, within walking distance from popular tourist attractions such as the Museo Reina Sofia and the El Reitro Park.

Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour (Q1)

Render of infinity pool over the edge of the building, overlooking the skyline of Sydney

Image credit: IHG/Crowne Plaza

The new build hotel features 152 modern guest rooms and suites suspended in a prime position just a short stroll to the CBD’s commercial & transport hub, the lively Darling Harbour precinct and the International Convention Centre. The new hotel will feature a heated outdoor plunge pool with vista across Sydney’s skyscraper as well as three restaurants & bars.

W Ibiza (Q2)

Render of a colourful exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza/Baranowitz + Kronenberg

Conceived and designed by BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza is slated to open in April ahead of the 2020 Summer season. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel will strike a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to marry the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

By opening up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

The hotel will open as part of Marriott International’s goal to add more than 30 new luxury hotels to its extensive worldwide portfolio in 2020.

The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton (Q2)

Render of 70s inspired furniture in bar and restaurant with modern touches

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

One of the world’s most historic cities, known for its one-of-a-kind beauty and unique dining, will soon welcome The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel will be located a few streets away from the historical districts of Chiado and Baixa, famous for their impressive plazas, vibrant restaurants and boutique shops, making it ideal for curious travellers seeking unexpected and authentic experiences.

Rosewood São Paulo (Q2)

Render of building that is blended into trees

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will launch its first South American property situated in the centre of São Paulo, featuring 151 guestrooms and 114 owners’ suites, two restaurants, including one located on a veranda overlooking hotel gardens and complemented by a bar and a caviar lounge. Recreational facilities will include two swimming pools with one rooftop pool and the other set amongst the landscaped grounds and a large spa and a fitness area. Hotel guests will also be able to access an adjoining music studio, screening room and luxury retail stores within the development. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts are collaborating on this project with leading international figures such as the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and designer Philippe Starck, to create a one-of-a-kind building.

The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon (Q2)

Render of rooftop garden in restaurant area in hotel

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

Set to be the first EDITION Hotel in Japan, the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon is slated to rise as part of the redevelopment of the former Pastoral Building, a mixed-use project comprising offices, residences and a medical centre. The 205-key hotel has been created in partnership with the globally renowned architect and designer Kengo Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium. It is expected to offer easy access to some of Tokyo’s most iconic sites, including the Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji fish market. Within walking distance to the buzzing nightlife and restaurants of Roppongi, The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon will further raise the bar in entertainment and gastronomy for the area.

voco Edinburgh (Q2)

Not only a capital city, Edinburgh is also the leading festival city in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a plethora of world-class attractions, sightseeing in Edinburgh is effortless, with visitors able to experience different centuries of history from street to street. IHG’s new voco brand is to open in Edinburgh on Torphichen Street, close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The hotel will feature all the usual comforts afforded by voco® properties, such as an indoor pool, eco-friendly bedding, a health club, and on-site bar.

The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall (Q2)

Establishing shot of the heritage property

Image credit: THE PIG

The Pig brand is going from strength to strength. Following its latest opening in Bridge, Kent, The Pig brand is heading west coast of cornwall. Inside a stunning Grade II-listed building, Harlan House, THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay is positioned near Padstow in Cornwall. Expected to open in June 2020, the hotel is just a short stroll from Harlyn beach, Constantine Bay beaches, Trevose Golf Club, and is also only a 10-minute drive to the sea-side honeypot of Padstow.

Ikos Andalusia (Q2)

Render of lobby area

Image credit: Ikos Resorts

Marking the brand’s arrival into Spain – and the first property outside Greece – Ikos Andalusia is slated to open in May 2020. The stylish resort is set amongst olive trees and has both modern features and local touches, such as traditional Moorish windcatchers perched atop its seven buildings. Individually commissioned pieces of art and colourful hand-painted tiles will be on display throughout the restaurants and guest rooms. A Cherry Blossom tree at Anaya restaurant, encircled by seating for guests to enjoy Asian dishes in an al-fresco setting, will be a particularly stand-out feature.

Six bars will be located around the resort’s lush gardens and pools serving cocktails prepared by award-winning Ikos mixologists, using branded international and local spirits.

The resort will boast eight outdoor and indoor pools, including kids’ pools, spa pools and adults-only pools, plus a number of private pools. Each of the outdoor pools will feature a cascading design overlooking the beach and Mediterranean Sea.

Banyan Tree Krabi (Q2)

Render of restaurant under roof on stilts overlooking lush jungle

Image credit: Banyan Tree Holdings

Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd, one of Asia’s foremost luxury hotel groups, has announced plans to open a new resort in Krabi in the second quarter of 2020. Currently under development in a serene location on Tubkaek Beach, Banyan Tree Krabi fronts powdery white sands and the shallow-shelved coast of the Andaman Sea. The new Thai resort will offer 72 pool suites and villas, among them seven two-bedroom options and one three-bedroom villa. Facilities include all-day dining, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, a beach club, a kids’ club, and a fitness center. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s holistic branding, the resort will also host a rainforest-themed spa.

Main image credit: W Ibiza

The Brit List Architects of 2019 (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Architects of 2019 (Part 1)

This December, Hotel Designs is profiling the individuals who made it into The Brit List 2019. We continue by referencing part one of The Brit List Architects of 2019 (in alphabetical order)…

The Brit List 2019 is Hotel Designs’ annual nationwide search to identify the top 25 designers, top 25 architects and top 25 hoteliers who are operating in Britain. The Judges, which are made up of experts in all pockets of the industry, gathered to decided who was eligible to make this year’s list.

The industry’s leading figures then gathered on November 21 at Patch East London, where The Brit List 2019 was unveiled and the individual winners were announced. 

Following from The Brit List Designers of 2019 Part One and Part Two, here are the first 15 The Brit List Architects of 2019…

Ben Adams – Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams has more than 20 years’ experience of working on large scale and complex urban projects. His work demonstrates architectural and commercial consistency, but projects are individually distinctive and the result of bespoke thinking rather than formulaic solutions.

Adams divides his time between guiding the overall design direction of the practice, generating new business, and R&D, providing a pivotal link between the studio’s design ethos, client requirements and future possibilities.

Ben Addy, Managing Director – Moxon Architects

Ben Addy founded Moxon in 2004, and since then has cultivated the practice into an award-winning, cross-disciplinary architecture firm, with a varied portfolio encompassing infrastructure, residential, commercial and hospitality.

Addy’s work combines design excellence, technical talent and a commitment to faultless delivery attracting major clients in a variety of sectors. Among them: Transport for London, HS2, Hauser & Wirth, the City of Westminster and Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar. Addy works closely with his clients to understand their needs and ambitions and strives to elevate them, resulting in distinctly individual work that is both clear in its purpose and appropriate to its context.

Catarina Pina-Bartrum, Project Director – LDS Architects

Making her Brit List debut, Catarina Pina-Bartrum has recently completed a 27-key boutique hotel, The Moorgate, which has been developed by Epic Properties. The small yet complex site called for a coherent solution to resolve issues of access, circulation and internal space. In addition, it required a concerted effort to create somewhere that provides not just comfort and security but character and charm, with a place that speaks to both its historical context and contemporary city life. The Moorgate is recognisably contemporary yet of its time and place, celebrating its context to create comfort, character and delight.

David Lee Hood, Associate/Architect – Goddard Littlefair

Associate and architect David Lee Hood joined Goddard Littlefair in 2013 and now heads up the studio’s architectural department.

As a flexible all-rounder, Lee Hood splits his energies equally between hospitality projects, including international hotel and restaurant schemes, such as the Restaurant & Bar Design Award-winning venue, The Printing Press for Principal or the award-winning refurbishment of The Gleneagles Hotel. He recently worked on the revamp of Hilton Munich City’s F&B offering, launching Juliet Rose to become the city’s new destination bar.

Geoff Hull, Director – EPR Architects (Highly Commended: Architect of the Year)

Geoff Hull has more than 30 years’ experience specialising in hotels and hospitality including new builds, conversions, refurbishments, restorations and heritage schemes in listed buildings for budget, boutique and luxury brands. Hull was responsible for the multi award-winning Rosewood London, which was recently a winner at Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, receiving the top honour within its category.

The architect continues to oversee a number of high-profile hotel projects of varying scale and complexity.

Gina Langridge, Project Landscape Architect – WATG

Showcasing the full suite of the firm’s services, the project to renovate Mitsis Summer Palace included upgrades to the site’s restaurant and pool amenities. It incorporated strategy, planning and landscape architecture. “The hillside situation of the hotel, with expansive views across the Aegean, was the inspiration for creating a space which seamlessly connects the guest with the horizon,” said Gina Langridge of WATG’sLondon Landscape Architecture team who was awarded a Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 earlier this year. “In contrast to other pools on the island, we made a bold move with the colour palette and opted for a dark tile – something that is quite unique to the property, which has bold features throughout including teal sun lounges and coral accents in the restaurant.”

Gordon Ferrier, Head of Hotels – 3D Reid

Gordon Ferrier brings more than 30 years of hospitality design experience on a wide range of hotel projects, covering new builds, refurbishments and conversions. Ferrier is currently working on Goodwood Hotel, Gleneagles Club in Edinburgh, Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Malmaison in Edinburgh and Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond.

James Dilley, Director – Jestico + Whiles

Having seen the London-based studio evolve over a quarter of a century, James Dilley holds a unique position at Jestico + Whiles. Specialising inboth architecture and interior design of hospitality projects, Dilley has been responsible for creating some of the world’s most innovative hotels, including Zuri Zanzibar, which is the only hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s prestigious Sustainable Design Gold certification.

Dilley is currently leading his strong team of architects and interior designers to complete W Edinburgh.

John Harding, Partner – Dexter Moren Associates

John Harding has been responsible for the delivery of a number of large and complex hotel and mixed-use developments. His excellent understanding of five star hotels, coupled with detailed technical knowledge and the ability to problem solve, means he is integral to the success of every project he works on.

Most recently, he has lead the team and has delivered the completion of L’Oscar in Holborn, London, and is currently the partner in charge to deliver phase three of the much anticipated art’otel, which will be sheltered at Battersea Power Station.

Jonny Sin, Associate Director – ReardonSmith Architects

Since joining ReardonSmith Architects in 2011, Jonny Sin has been a key member of the Beaumont Hotel award-winning team that transformed a Grade II Listed art deco style building into a luxury boutique hotel winning “Best Hotel in the World” opening 2014. Sin worked closely with British artist Sir Antony Gormley and was responsible for developing the unique architectural and technical solution to realise the artist’s vision of a monumental sculpture as a living space and extension to the hotel.

More recently, Sin was the project associate on a new-build 173-bed, five-star luxury hotel tower development in Battersea and has since taken a lead role in delivering feasibility studies for Park Hyatt and a new façade retained five-star luxury hotel in Mayfair, London.

Julian Lewis, Co-Founder/Director – East Architecture

With a multitude of social and community incentives, Park House is a new aparthotel and community leisure project in West Ham Lane,Stratford. Designed by East Architecture, and led by Julian Lewis, the nine-storey building holds a mix of uses, including 91 apart-hotel spaces, seven ‘residential’ units, community facilities, a gym and a new café and restaurant. The building is a London landmark project for hotel operator Roomzzz, marking the brand’s arrival in London.

Laura Turner, Architect – jmaarchitects

Laura Turner has just completed The Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester. Built between 1904 and 1906, the building is a historically symbolic institution, which was purchased by co-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs to transform it into a leading boutique hotel. “Several schemes to extend the building were explored with the client in virtual reality, arriving at an extrusion of the existing mansard roof form, set back from the building frontage and clad in monolithic zinc,” commented Turner. “A contemporary insertion routed into the building via a seven-storey sculptural staircase in place of the former 1980’s circulation core.”

Laurence Pinn, Associate – Tate Harmer

Tate Harmer is the studio responsible for The Eden Project in Cornwall, which last year won The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2018. Laurence Pinn joined Tate Harmer in 2011. He is design-led yet blends the best of both worlds, considering aesthetics and practical components of development to ensure concepts can become a reality. Laurence was theproject architect for the Eden Canopy Walkway project, and the Brunel Museum project, London, re-opening the historic Rotherhithe Sinking Shaft for use as a performance space.

Liz Pickard, Managing Director – Consarc Architects

Liz Pickard was awarded a European Laureate as one of the best emerging European architects in 2010. Consarc Architects has been led by Pickard for more than 20 years. She is an accredited RIBA client advisor and has worked with many clients in the private and public sectors. She teaches at the University College London Bartlett School of Architecture, as module director on the postgraduate course.

Luke Fox, Head of Studio – Foster + Partners

Luke Fox leads a team of designers in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of international projects at Foster + Partners.

Recently, Fox has completed The Murray Hotel in Hong Kong and won an award in 2017 for his plans for the mixed-used development plans,which will shelter Four Seasons Makkah, by reinterpreting the traditional dense building clusters and creating a new contemporary vernacular that respects its sacred location.

To read The Brit List 2019, click here.

Corinthia London sells luxury penthouse for £10m on one condition

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Corinthia London sells luxury penthouse for £10m on one condition

The perfect night’s sleep costs £10,750,000 apparently, according to one lucky person who purchased the penthouse of the Corinthia London as long as it was furnished with a Hypnos Mattress... 

For most guests, the perfect night’s sleep is priceless, but as Corinthia London recently found, £10 million pounds is a good place to open the bidding.

The London based hotel, which was designed by G.A Design and recently won Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2019, secured the £10,750,000 sale of its luxury penthouse on one condition – that every bed in the suite would be furnished with a Hypnos mattress along with the hotel’s luxury linen and throws. Once the stipulation was accepted, the multi-millionaire buyer confirmed the sale within 72 hours.

According to the Evening Standard, the businessman who purchased the property had previously viewed properties around Mayfair and Chelsea, but opted for The Corinthia because that is where he had enjoyed his best nights’ rest.

The purchase of the 3,703 sq ft trophy home is ‘the biggest deal in Whitehall in the last five years’ according to Simon Deen, Director & Partner at Aston Chase, the estate agents who managed the sale.

Chris Ward, Group Marketing Director at Hypnos Beds, said: “We are renowned for supplying high quality beds to some of the world’s most stunning, luxury hotels, helping them to offer an amazing sleep experience to their guests. This particular negotiation is testament to the long-lasting affect that a Hypnos bed can have on a guest, in this case, clinching a multi-million-pound sale.”

Hoteliers looking to achieve this level of comfort and satisfaction can look no further than Hypnos. The bedmaker’s commitment to the perfect night’s sleep goes far beyond comfort and encompasses its long-running commitment to sustainability.

As the world’s first carbon neutral bedmaker, Hypnos’ mattresses and beds are 100 per cent foam free and use only natural and sustainable fibres that are 100% recyclable at the end of their life and are free from harmful and allergy-related chemicals.

For more information on how you can bring the perfect night’s sustainable sleep for your guests or residents, visit the Hypnos website.

Hypnos 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: Corinthia London

MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: The Biltmore Mayfair, London

In the heart of London’s leafy neighbourhood, The Biltmore Mayfair, London has had a £60 million renovation – and it is unrecognisable…

The red-brick facade of The Biltmore Mayfair reopened its doors in September of this year as Europe’s first LXR Hotels & Resorts property. The 307-key hotel’s recent renovation has resulted in the building – and its interiors sheltered inside – becoming a new jewel in the prestigious neighbourhood, uniting 20th century grandeur with modern architectural details throughout.

The hotel combines exquisite contemporary accommodation, stunning views across the gardens of Grosvenor Square, and innovative culinary concepts by Michelin Star restaurateur, Jason Atherton, creating the ultimate urban sanctuary in the heart of Mayfair.

Red-bricked exterior of the hotel

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

Guests looking for an elegant escape can book into one of the 57 quintessentially British suites. Designed to reflect the iconic area, each suite’s panelled walls and distressed mirrored headboards feature references of leafs and nature. As well as referencing a timeless location, the hotel guestrooms also feature modern touches, such as Ruark audio systems that sit on the bedside tables. The dark furniture of red and blue creates a deep luxe scene, while accents of colour in the soft furnishings adds a sensitive layer. The layout of each room has been sensitively designed so that guests can take in the vistas of Grosvenor Square.

Quintessentially British suite

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

The bathrooms, specified by Utopia Projects, continue the luxury theme with marble surfaces complimenting muted gold towel rails. Clever spot lighting has been added either side of the twin vanity basins to create meaningful statement as guests demand for wellness evolves.

Luxe bathroom with marble and large bath tub

Image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

The Biltmore Mayfair is also home to the capital’s most sought-after new restaurant concepts from world-renowned restaurateur Jason Atherton:

  • The Betterment features a seasonally driven menu, from locally-sourced fish and meats that are wood-fired, to signature salads and plant-based dishes.
  • The Pine Bar operates as a sophisticated bar with classic cocktails, exceptional wines and delicious bar snacks, including home-cured charcuterie.
  • The Tea Lounge, located within the hotel lobby, is ideal to enjoy one of London’s finest afternoon teas, and indulge in a selection of homemade sandwiches.  Guests can also enjoy sweet delicacies including a Dorset spice apple cake and lemon and lavender macarons, in the Writer’s Corner.
  • Finally, within the heart of the hotel is The Terrace. Open all year round, the relaxed, alfresco area is surrounded by stunning floral arrangements, sweeping greenery and glimmering fairy lights, making it the perfect spot to drink and dine under the stars.

“We are delighted to be opening The Biltmore Mayfair, Europe’s first LXR Hotels & Resorts property, on London’s prestigious Grosvenor Square,” said Simon Vincent, President, EMEA, Hilton when the hotel opened in September. “Bringing contemporary luxury to Mayfair, guests will experience outstanding hospitality, including dining by Chef Jason Atherton, in remarkable surroundings that truly capture the spirit of London and British luxury.”

With a host of iconic landmarks and neighbourhoods on its doorstep, including the home of bespoke tailoring, Savile Row, and exclusive retailers on Bond Street – the hotel is a decadent retreat to experience the best that London has to offer.

Main image credit: The Biltmore Mayfair

In Conversation With: Marcel Wanders – “bathroom design can be poetry”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Marcel Wanders – “bathroom design can be poetry”

Ahead of Sleep & Eat 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to acclaimed designer Marcel Wanders to understand how he hopes his new collection and collaboration with bathroom manufacturer Laufen will create long-lasting poetry in the modern bathroom…

Designing interiors and designing an interior design product are two very distant things that should not be confused with the other. They both require two separate methods, and most of the time, two separate designers.

For an individual to be able to effortlessly switch between the two disciplines shows great versatility, creativity and passion. Combine these three elements together and you have something close to Marcel Wanders’ drive, determination and dedication when it comes to creating timeless interiors. “Designing a product is much like creating a new word in an empty sentence,” Wanders explains. “Depending on how the words are curated will determine the dynamics of the sentence, and in effect, the quality of the poem it becomes. I love seeing what sentences and poems designers will create with my empty words.”

“I wanted The New Classic to break into a new territory, which I think makes it interesting.” – Marcel Wanders.

If Wanders’ latest collection was to be described in one word only, he would use simply the adjective of ‘contemporary’, which balances both sides of the coin when it comes to sensitively depicting the delicate, classic lines with modern architectural details that seems to be the DNA strand within all the pieces in Lauren’s The New Classic collection, which first previewed in Milan earlier this year. “I wanted The New Classic to break into a new territory, which I think makes it interesting,” Wanders explains.

The collection, which makes its UK debut at Sleep & Eat 2019, is complete with washstands, countertop and vanity washbasins, WCs, faucets, bathtubs, showers and furniture to match, and arrives on UK soil after a healthy amount of anticipation in the build-up to the event, making it one of the most exciting product launches of this year’s two-day show.

“The idea is not about throwing away the past,” adds Wanders. “Instead, it is about trying to blend the past into the now and the future. I started with the concept of a table you would find in your Grandma’s home, for example, and used that as a strong metaphor to create the structure of the range,” explains Wanders. “I then added some soft, elegant shaping and the whole collection started to take form.

“Like all architectural fittings, The New Classic had to feel timeless and designed with purpose. I kept imagining these pieces in a house that’s just been sold. I wanted the new owners to feel as if they didn’t need to change the fittings, because they become the foundation of its design. Bathrooms are not meant to feel disposable or stuck in the past. The durability of the materials, therefore, was paramount.”

Originally, Wanders had designed this collection to be made from ceramic, but Laufen’s unique SaphirKeramik gave the design – and its creative process – unmatched strength. “SaphirKeramik is differnet because it allows you as a designer to create thinner products that don’t loose their strength,” says the designer. “Considering the design concept was to create elegant pieces, it was the perfect material.”

The major challenge when designing the new iconic statements was to ensure that the idea and design approach was also functional. “We are talking about minuscule changes that can totally change the way in which the product performs,” adds Wanders. “For me, this area of product design is interesting as well as complicated – and it takes time to perfect.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: If The New Classic was a music artist, who would it be?
Marcel Wanders: Puccini, because I think opera can also be contemporary.

HK: What item can you not design with?
MW: Honestly, I can design without anything. It is all in my mind.

HK: What would you say has been the most bizzare collaboration you have worked on?
MW: Antiques Capellini, because I don’t think anyone was expecting something so bold.

HK: Which bathroom trend to you hope will never return?
MW: Trends in general!

HK: What is the secret to a successful collaboration?
MW: Mutual respect.

For a designer who is well-known for entering meaningful collaborations, I am intrigued to know more about what makes this particular project special and memorable among the more than 1,500 other projects to his name. “I love to work,” Wanders projects. “It’s been the first time we have done a serious project of scale in the bathroom. I am so excited to see my designs injected into projects around the world.”

In regards to the humble designer behind Lauren’s The New Classic, I believe this collection has the narrative and strength to win the hearts of designers and specifiers and to become the great bathroom love story sheltered in many hotel projects in all corners of the globe, that we, as industry, will reflect on decades from now as a significant moment in bathroom design.

Laufen, which will be showcasing The New Classic collection on stand L10 at Sleep & Eat, 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: Marcel Wanders

A new chapter: Fabiia’s showroom opens in Chiswick, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new chapter: Fabiia’s showroom opens in Chiswick, London

Furniture brand Fabiia has opened its doors to a new London showroom just in time for Sleep & Eat 2019… 

Marking a significant milestone for the furniture company, Fabiia has opened its doors to a new showroom on the doorstep of the quaint yet thriving neighbourhood of Chiswick, London. The new showroom’s strategically placed location has become the company’s first base in the UK, and will shelter brands such as Miniforms, Lightyears, Normann Copenhagen, Schneid, Delightfull, Fast, Labbate and Sika.

“When we first decided to make the move from Dubai back to the UK, we were keen to pick out a prime location for what would become the Fabiia Showroom,” said Fabiia’s creative director Shija Walia. “Three months scouring the streets of London led us to The Light Box, a studio set two minutes from Chiswick Park and a stone’s throw away from the Chiswick train station.

“To put things in perspective, most of the last year was spent pouring over Fabiia’s signature line of furniture. The team divided its time traveling around Europe identifying the choicest manufacturing units alongside juggling multiple projects in the Middle East. We sure have kept ourselves busy, but the results are most definitely worth it!”

A heady mix of indoor and outdoor furniture, designer lighting, plus a signature Fabiia flair alongside our architectural Norse LED lighting invites visitors into a showroom that lives and breathes design.

Image credit: Fabiia

“What was once a pipeline dream has now finally taken shape in a one-stop location for all your contract furniture/lighting requirements,” added Walia.

The brand’s timely entrance to unveil a UK showroom unfolds as one of Europe’s largest and most talked-about hotel design trade show, Sleep & Eat prepares to get underway – of which Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of.

Main image credit: Fabiia

Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Urban development completes to welcome Hoxton Southwark

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands completes a new kind of hotel in London, the Hoxton Southwark

Architecture firm Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands has completed work on an ambitious mixed-use development in Southwark, which shelters Hoxton Hotel’s third property in London, Hoxton Southwark.

Complete with 192 rooms as well as restaurants, bars and function rooms and 4,000 m2 of flexible co-working office space, the facilities that are stacked within are shelters in a slender 17-storey building.

Owned by Ennismore, the hotel, which is clad in precast brick panels, is situated on the busy Blackfriars Road, nicknamed ‘Blackfriars Boulevard’ because of the way in which it has gradually become a destination in its own right over the past few years. The narrow site sits just to the south of a Grade-II listed, 1950s church and charming church gardens. The Colombo Centre – a small community sports hub lies to the west.

The basement contains logistics and kitchens with the ground and first storeys given over topublic areas that include restaurants and bars, banqueting and conference rooms plus a terrace that looks over the churchyard. Six floors of hotel rooms provide rooms of different sizes – ‘Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy and Biggy’ – ranging from 16-25m2. A further six floors of flexible office space provide new offices for start-ups and sole traders with the taller ceilinged 13th floor and winter garden breakout/crossover space for co-workers to mingle. HVAC and other plant is on the interstitial 14th floor and the top (15th) floor features a high-quality seafood restaurant and sky-barwith spectacular views over London.

Image credit: Lidschutz Davidson Sandilands

“The Hoxton has always set out to do things differently, and we are continually evolving as a brand in response to guest demands and the trends we’re seeing among travellers,” said Chief marketing officer of Ennismore, Martina Luger. “We’re quite unique as a hotel as we set out to position ourselves as a destination for both guests and locals, with everything from our open-door lobby culture to our events programme, Hox Friends initiative and destination restaurants being designed with both in mind. Working From_ will bring a whole new experience to the space and enhance our offering, helping us to continue to evolve.”

The building has a very permeable, active and attractive ground and mezzanine floor on the street with abundant planting and sitting out spaces that are sheltered by awnings and heaters for all season use. Chiming with Hoxton’s open-door policy, visitors are welcome to enter the building without having to check in and go up to the mezzanine function rooms and bar, the co-working suites or the sky bar and restaurant.

Alex Lifschutz, Director of LIfschutz Davidson Sandilands commented: “The hospitality sector is transforming in an interesting way and companies like Hoxton are at the forefront of an evolution. They are providing great places to stay, in a buzzy ecosystem, which makes them appealing environments to hang out and work, cleverly extending the concept of co- working.

“As architects we had to create internal layouts that enabled this, incorporating workspaces with lots of amenity space – relaxed lounge areas as you walk in…bars, restaurants, even a gallery. Combining all these elements to create an exciting new urban community that works for the people inside the building and for members of the local community to come in and exchange ideas and inspiration.

“We delivered a raw, warehouse aesthetic both externally and internally, presenting a facade that is in sympathy with the conservation area that the building stands in and also in keeping with the Hoxton brand.”

Following the building’s completion, LIfschutz Davidson Sandilands’ Catarina Pina-Bartrum and Ennismore’s Charlie North have been shortlisted for The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes place next week.

Main image credit: Hoxton/Ennismore

 

EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Meaningfully differentiating luxury in hotel design

To continue Hotel Designs’ series of articles to put sustainability under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn chairs an exclusive editorial roundtable, in collaboration with Minotti London, to understand how today’s leading designers are sensitively working to create a more meaningful luxury hotel design landscape. Joining us on the Minotti sofa to discuss this topic:

With the aim to conceive and design meaningful luxury hotels, there is undoubtedly a question mark on how designers and architects can differentiate their projects to stand out as timeless jewels. With the rise in technology and social media, competition for hotel operators and developers is no longer limited to a single neighbourhood; we have very much entered a global arena. But how are today’s leading designers confronting the evolving hospitality landscape, and just how significant is sense of place when approaching sensitive luxury projects? We invited a handful of the industry’s most distinguished innovators to Minotti London‘s alluring showroom in Fitzrovia to find out more.

Hamish Kilburn: What are the largest misconceptions when it comes to designing luxury?

Jo Littlefair, Director and Co-Founder, Goddard Littlefair: Travelling globally, and understanding global attitudes towards luxury is so important. We have clients that have huge misconceptions to whatever project they are developing. We still struggle when clients associate harsh golds and marbles with luxury, for example. I find it really disheartening, because for me, a non-material object like ‘time’ is a luxury. When approaching the design of any luxury hotel, it’s really important to keep in mind the attitude you are trying to create.

Hamish Brown, Partner, 1508 London: There are a few buzzwords that keep coming up in the studio. We don’t have a ‘house style’ as such, therefore we are really trying capture and create sense of place within each projects. It’s not about fashion but about style. If you look at the great Hollywood movie stars now and compare them to images of themselves 30 to 40 years ago, quite often they will look as relevant now as they did then. That is certainly to do with style over fashion. We look at ways in which classical details and proportions can manifest themselves within a design.

David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg: The definition of luxury is not the same for everyone. Some may see luxury in technology, while others believe it is in the foundations of a hotel. In our studio, we don’t necessarily design the ultra six-star luxury hotel, but many of our clients are interested in ‘luxury’, which can come from anything from the service down to the attention to detail. What is luxurious to one person is different to another.

Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director, HBA London: I think luxury is also about being generous as a designer. You always give more than what is expected and make sure that the spaces are comfortable and also have longevity. Where I can, I try to avoid anything too shiny. It’s becoming more apparent that the days of clients wanting to the interiors to show off wealth are behind us. Instead, well-designed luxury interiors are more honest and truthful. That in itself is a luxury mindset.

“We have realised that clients want luxury but almost on a shoestring budget.” – Constantina Tsoutsikou, Creative Director, HBA London

Image caption: (centre) Hamish Brown, (right) Jo Littlefair

HK: When did your clients start accepting a shift in consumer demands when it comes to luxury?

HB: I think it massively goes back to what that hotel means within its location as well as the characteristics of the building. There is certainly more of an acceptance from both sides. Some clients believe that what they want is a grand, sweeping entrance, whereas to really differentiate themselves and to make their hotel work within its location and to be relevant to the building, we suggest to park pre-conceived ideas and think about what would work for that particular hotel.

CT: We have realised that clients want luxury but almost on a shoestring budget. If you compare it to a good few years ago, budget expectations are certainly getting lower. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. At the same time, palettes are becoming more concise, that’s a good thing because designs are cleaner. There’s still a layering there, but the money that was being spilled into a hotel project before the 2008 crisis is not there anymore. However, the expectation certainly is. So, as designers, we have to work out how to manage that.

JL: Also, you cannot ignore the noise and influence of social media – it has a lot to answer for. That inaccurately convinces clients and developers that design is easy and disposable, and that it doesn’t take five minutes to produce a moodboard. But in reality, especially when considering sense of place, you’re thinking about a building and a brand. Putting these elements together requires a real curation of things. Otherwise, I have seen it when people go off on tangents and throw details into the canvas. Nothing ends up gelling and it becomes a messy clash of ideas.

“Trying to get the balance between the soft, the elegant while making these spaces feel comfortable places to work, sit and socialise is a challenge.” – David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg

HK: One of the most obvious changes in hotel design, and in the demand from guests, is in the public areas. How has this changed the way in which you specify furniture?

CT: Everybody is working from everywhere. We have a beautiful resort project, which is currently on the boards. As a result of the direct demand from modern travels, we are thinking about putting USB charging sockets on the day beds next to the pool. Generally, I think this is a positive step forward for hotels, which have a life on their own. I think it’s wonderful – and a real stamp of approval from the community – when the neighbourhood becomes part of the life inside a hotel. After all, nobody likes a dead public space.

“All of our furniture is designed at a deliberate height so that each piece can gel with other elements. As opposed to creating one iconic piece, we wanted to create a design DNA.” Digby Summerhill, Director, Minotti London

DM: It’s a hard balance to strike. When our commercial interior designers get asked create these multifunctional spaces, the way in which they design is very task oriented. Trying to get the balance between the soft, the elegant while making these spaces feel comfortable places to work, sit and socialise is a challenge.

Digby Summerhill, Director, Minotti London: We’ve always had modular systems that are flexible. All of our furniture is designed at a deliberate height so that each piece can gel with other elements. As opposed to creating one iconic piece, we wanted to create a design DNA; something that runs through an interior design scene. It’s not a coincidence that no individual item stands out in our collections. One thing I think is interesting is that we didn’t design any of these pieces with hospitality necessarily in mind. Instead we very looked at consumer behaviour and understood the demands of consumers within public areas.

HB: We are often trying to design public spaces to not look like public areas. The idea of a lobby/lounge going against what people would expect in a conventional hotel, to shelter intimate spaces, private nooks where people can work, is very appealing to me. I agree that idea of the community coming in and using the hotel is huge, but perhaps this is something that London has not got right in the past. In other cities there is much more fluidity and it works beautifully. Allowing furniture to adapt to how people are using is a big part of this, and an idea that is really exciting.

Image caption: (Left) David Mason, (Right) Jo Littlefair

HK: Let’s talk about sustainability. A study recently showed that 76 per cent of guests believe that hotels could be greener. Is consciousness the new luxury, as I suggested in my recent editor’s letter?

JL: We’ve been really encouraged recently to have had two projects come to us with sustainability at their hearts. Absolutely every decision has to have a sustainability angle. What we hope is that it continues through to the final touch points, because there will be financial implications along the way. Having filter taps in the room so that hotel guests can refill water bottles is a fresh approach that I love. The design utilities recycled parts of the existing building, giving a whole new meaning of injecting life back into a hotel. We are really thinking about those elements, including timelessness. I agree that it is about style. For us, it’s not about having a hemp interiors, it’s about creating luxury that has a slight assured sense of elegance and quality that has a higher purpose.

DM: The best way to differentiate luxury when it comes to sustainability is to be clever. Having a brief like this is rare, let alone working on two. So, designers, it is our responsibility to educate our clients and specify materials and items that don’t harm the environment or the end user. Behind this, it’s therefore so important that we understand the products and materials and what sets them apart from others in the market.

“Luxury is not just about design, it is about service as well and so many other things that are intrinsically layered on top.” – Hamish Brown, Director, 1508 London

HK: To me it’s very transparent when hotels use words without actions when it comes to sustainability. Is it the designer’s responsibility to ensure clients avoid greenwashing?

CT: You have to remember, we are designing spaces that will open in three years time. It’s a long time, and things change very quickly. You have to be ahead of the game and lead in that way so that the hotel is relevant when it opens. You have to ensure that the strategy you have in place is looking ahead and avoids the need for significant last-minute changes. On the other hand, as designers, we have a responsibility to influence the clients. But I think soon, it will become a necessity across the entire industry. I predict this will happen faster than we think, and it’s already started with wider conversations with local suppliers.

HK: What are you all doing at the moment to try and differentiate your luxury projects from others?

CT: I am always asking myself, how do I position this hotel in the current market, or in a wider sense, how do I position this hotel for an international clientale? This is because the competition is no longer just the hotel’s neighbour, it’s a global arena.

DM: I suppose it is now about experience. People desire luxury experiences. A hotel group has just bought the Fort of India. How incredible would that be; to stay and experience something totally unmatched like that. Travellers want authenticity and they consider that to be luxury.

HB: Sense of place cannot be underestimated. The definition of luxury differs from place to place and demographic to demographic, and you have to respond, beneath the surface, to understand what is happening in those locations. Luxury is not just about design, it is about service as well and so many other things that are intrinsically layered on top. When those elements and concepts interlock, that’s when you have a seamless luxury experience when service and design sit side by side and are harmoniously linked.

HK: Consumer demands of public areas have spilled out into outdoor spaces. Has this changed the way in which you design these areas together?

JL: We love integrating the outdoor areas so that they becomes a seamless flow where we can. I would say this is especially the case in food and beverage sector. We have recruited designers that only specialise in those areas so that we can get the operational flow right. That connection to the outdoor is integral to our overall wellbeing. Humanity is an element of luxury that we have not touched upon, because our disassociation with human relationships is becoming more enforced by our use of technology. I feel that human touch – it can be as simple as eye contact, and/or just being understood in a different country – is really important that we deliver with hospitality. And first and foremost, design and architecture should enable this.

“Usually I will use the sustainability angle as an added value and not the primary reason why we are specifying, unless the brief has an eco-friendly thread in its core.” – Jo Littlefair, Director and Co-Founder, Goddard Littlefair.

HK: Sustainability is becoming a buzzword that some would argue is losing its meaning. What makes a piece of furniture sustainable for you?

JL: At the end of the day we, as designers, have to ensure that the furniture looks fantastic – and it meets all the needs and demands from our clients as well as regulations. But it really does come down to how we communicate this with the client. We do have to choose our words carefully, but that’s the same as when pitching any idea to the client. Usually I will use the sustainability angle as an added value and not the primary reason why we are specifying, unless the brief has an eco-friendly thread in its core.

DM: Different cultures are going to be more interested than others, that is for sure. It is all about baby steps, and we do as much as we can.

Technology and manufacturing has been a massive help. Sustainable products and materials are now at a price point that works for a client and a luxury brief. To then specify a product that is eco-friendly and longer lasting than another becomes a no-brainer. I really believe it is changing. Clients are more aware of the value of reclaimed or reupholstered furniture. Having said this, it is also a balancing act. I am working on a hotel at the moment with the aim to reupholster the casegoods and the beds, and sadly it is actually almost as expensive as buying new pieces.

“I think if you can justifiably explain how a decision adds value, then cost can sometimes be reconsidered.” – Hamish Brown, Director, 1508 London.

HK: In regards to luxury, do you believe value outweighs cost?

HB: It’s a lovely idea, and my view is that value does outweigh cost. If you look at today’s market and the economy, there is a huge sense of getting value. It’s not always about cost. I think if you can justifiably explain how a decision adds value, then cost can sometimes be reconsidered.

JL: We get closer to understanding the deal that the developer has struck and the budget that has driven the deal, which underpins the whole project. Basically, our client has a figure that they cannot deviate from. So yes, it is common sense, and I do value beautiful furniture, and we do have to be ambassadors that push for quality so that these pieces don’t end up in landfill, but there is a bottom line figure discussion. As a designer, you are the piece of magic in the middle having to constantly and consistently value engineer the project.

HB: The most successful projects that we work on are the ones where everyone involved is upfront and honest with cost and there is a real transparency there.

HK: Has the weight on where the budget is spent in the hotel changed?

DM: It’s always in the ceiling!

CT: I have seen that generally, not enough budget is left for the finishing touches.

JL: For me, it’s artwork.

Following the exclusive panel discussion, the leading designers and architects were able to browse the showroom, which showcased, in an apt setting, Minotti’s 2019 collection of timeless indoor and outdoor furniture.

Minotti London will be the venue of Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London, which will take place in Spring 2020. More details will follow.

If you are interested in hosting our next editorial roundtable, please email Katy Phillips or call +44 (0)1992 374050. 

Checking in to Inhabit Hotel, sheltering a new level of eco design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to Inhabit Hotel, sheltering a new level of eco design

During the London hotel’s soft launch period, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover Inhabit’s debut property, which in the process earns his eco stamp of approval…

Last year, an insightful study revealed that the city of London had the eighth highest level of pollution in the world, making the sky 67 times brighter than it would be without the contribution of humans. In the same study, it was highlighted that a staggering 84 per cent of Brits spend less than 10 minutes a day enjoying peace and quiet.

Armed with these statistics, it came with great delight reading about a new hospitality concept of a fresh urban hotel perspective, where wellbeing and sustainable design was at the core of everything. Where the aim is for guests to leave feeling lighter, more free and inspired by taking the pace of life down a gear or two. Where time is luxury. Where Inhabit Hotel becomes a home-from-home.

After a chaotic experience navigating the London Underground, which I politely consider to be ‘the pits’ of all public transport with it being the most polluted place in the city, I arrived at Paddington’s new boutique hotel in the same state of mind as I imagine most guests do; slightly stressed showing early symptoms of rush-hour rage. Juxtaposing the hustle and bustle of the city’s zone 1, the hotel’s understated is guests’ first indication of a new kind of hotel.

The sixth-floor urban sanctuary is the brainchild of Nadira and Rihim Lalji, and is the cousins’ first hotel within the portfolio. Created by architecture firm Holland Harvey Architects and Caitlin Henderson Design, the 90-key hotel is designed with busy travellers in mind. My arrival experience feels more as if I am staying with warm hosts rather than a hotel. The lobby sits in perfect harmony between the F&B area, named Yeotown, and book-filled library.

The check-in desk is down-played, and marries nicely into the laid-back luxury design concept. While checking in, my eyes are drawn to a timetable that I am not familiar with; a yoga and mediation schedule, which I am told launched only this week but was very much part of the core plan for the hotel. “Wellness is at the heart of our brand,” says Nadira Lalji. “Every aspect of our hotel is aligned with what being well means to us. We think of wellness as more than a physical state, but a way of being. Our brand pillars, which stand for social connectedness, intellectual expansion and environmental responsibility, reinforce this belief.”

The ground-floor library is Inhabit’s answer to the rise in demand for public areas designed with bleisure in mind. The space encourages residents and members of the public to unwind, work and be inspired. The noise-free corner is complete with LED bulbs, which are 80 per cent more efficient in terms of energy used than traditional lighting. Occupancy sensors ensure that no energy is lost and guests are seen in their best light when they require it.

Image credit: Inhabit Hotel

Yeotown, is an innovative and thoughtful F&B area, perfect for guests on the move or as a venue for casual meetings. By partnering with food-wastage apps Karma and Too Good to Go, the area allows non-guests to pick up perfectly edible bargains which would otherwise be put into waste. The tables and chairs, made also by Holland and Harvey, have been created using materials honestly and in their natural state. “At Inhabit, we have specified oak flooring and joinery, all finished with a natural sealant to show off their natural colouring and tones,” said architect Richard Holland. “The floor is a natural stone from Fired Earth, which has beautiful variations and tonal differences.”

Upstairs, the sustainability story continues, which is most impressive when considering that the hotel is sheltered within a Grade II listed building. From Casper eco-friendly mattresses to the REN amenities that are made from recycled plastic – even the soft toilet paper is 100 per cent recycled – the guestrooms and bathrooms are quite obviously designed with conscious guests in mind. But on close inspection, it becomes apparent just how high up on the agenda sustainability is for the hotel. Taking the concept of ‘escapism’, one step further, each room comes complete with Studio ND phone charge and stowaway boxes, made from scrap materials, so that guests can break away from their devices.

Perhaps it was my perfectly timed stay to sit in-between speaking about this very topic on stage at the Independent Hotel Show – more likely it’s simply the sheer statement of an urban hotel having such an eco-focused message – that has put on a smile on my face when checking out following one of the best night’s sleep I have had in London for a while. I can’t help but feel totally relaxed and reassured that the bottom line of profit is not the only value when it comes to successfully operating a hotel. And it was this that inspired my latest Editor Checks In online column, where I argue that consciousness could very well become the new luxury.

Main image credit: InHabit London

Design studio twenty2degrees creates social flexible pop-up for Sleep & Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design studio twenty2degrees creates social flexible pop-up for Sleep & Eat 2019

twenty2degrees is one of six studios creating a concept guestroom pop-up ‘Sleep Set’ for this year’s Sleep & Eat 2019…

London-based hotel design practice twenty2degrees has designed a concept guestroom in a response to Sleep & Eat 2019′s theme of “Social FlexAbility”, which explores hospitality’s power to stimulate human interaction in our age of digital dislocation.

“We are not suggesting that human beings should return to a world without digital devices – far from it – but it’s a question of balance and making non-digital elements more fun so they can compete with smart phone obsession,” says Nick Stoupas, Founder and Partner of twenty2degrees. “We’ll be incorporating a music playlist and dynamic lighting as well as using a lot of bold colour, and materiality will be important. Then we are shaking it all up. Think neon illumination and timber, an industrial style black floor with a richly designed rug depicting fantastical flying creatures.”

“We followed certain paths of thought, then found new sources of inspiration and were able to flip the aesthetic.” – Joe Stella, Creative Director and Partner of twenty2degrees

twenty2degrees has worked closely with Ulster Carpets in the creation of the rug. Other supplier partners are: Hansgrohe (Brassware), Contardi Lighting, Tarkett (flooring), Solus Ceramics (stone marble), Hamilton (sockets & switches) and Altrock Surfaces (vanity unit). Peter Millard and Partners is supplying artwork, Bang & Olufsen the sound system and the build partner is Viriato Hotel Concept.

“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.”

twenty2degrees’ concept room, one of six Sleep & Eat Sets, will be located on the gallery level of Olympia London’s Main Hall.

Main image credit: twenty2degrees/Sleep & Eat 2019

‘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

The Mandrake welcomes new artist in residence

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Mandrake welcomes new artist in residence

London’s Mandrake Hotel will welcome celebrated photographer Haris Nukem from November 2 – 11 as he takes up residency in Studio 5 as part of the hotel’s Artist in Residence programme…

The Mandrake, known for its exquisitely designed spaces, provocative and thought invoking art, designed the Artist in Residence programme to celebrate both emerging and established artists and performers.

The hotel extends guests’ artistic interaction from merely viewing the artwork by providing a unique opportunity to interact with artists and witness the creative process. Guest are often part of the work itself, whether that be paintings, photography, tattoo or mural. By involving guests in this unique process, the hotel truly honours its ‘stay beyond yourself’ philosophy.

The programme, designed to allow guests and visitors an up close and personal account of the creative process of creating art, has hosted big names including Mark Mahoney, Azzi Glasser, Danny Minnick, Peter John De Villiers, Zoobs and Thomas Hooper.

Image caption/credit: Dopamine and Leadership Qualities by Haris Nukem

During his residency, Nukem will be creating one photoshoot per day within The Mandrake, where guests are able to interact and engage with Nukem and the creative process. The hotel’s dedicated art space, Studio 5, will showcase a selection of Nukem’s art for guests to view.

For an insight into Nukem’s residency, follow @mandrake_air to get behind the scenes access.

Main image caption/credit: We Need Heroes by Haris Nukem

Permission submitted to integrate 400,000 plants within façade of new London hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Permission submitted to integrate 400,000 plants within façade of new London hotel

Set to radically change the city’s landscape and add to its eco hotel offering, hotel developer Dominvs Group and architecture firm Sheppard Robson have submitted permission for a living wall to be the façade of a new London hotel, with the aim to absorb more than eight tonnes of the city’s gaseous pollution each year… 

Following Hotel Designs publishing the results of a new study that showed that 76 per cent of guests believed that hotels could be greener, the architecture firm of a new development in London has submitted planning permission to include 40,000ft² as part of its exterior shell.

The hospitality-led, mixed-use project designed by Sheppard Robson for Dominvs Group is characterised by one of the largest green walls in the world, creating a distinctive architectural addition to a gateway City site, while absorbing eight tonnes of pollution annually and setting the standard for urban greening in London.

Radical plans have been submitted to the City of London to create a 382-key five-star hotel, featuring the vertical landscaping, as well as 40,000ft2 of workspace, a sky-bar on the tenth floor, meeting and events space, spa and ground level restaurant and co-working space. Situated on a prominent site on Holborn Viaduct at the gateway of what will be the City’s “Cultural Mile,” the proposed building creates an opportunity to broadcast fresh ideas about how the built environment can address pertinent issues such as air quality, climate change and air pollution.

“Dominvs Group is incredibly proud of our proposals for 61-65 Holborn Viaduct which aim to play a major role in the regeneration of the Smithfield area,” said Jay Ahluwalia, Director of Dominvs Group. “With the City of London’s vision for the area and the creation of the Culture Mile, we feel this project will support and enhance the overall ambition for this exciting, new cultural destination as the creative heart of the Square Mile.”

“The wall will also significantly contribute towards improving local air quality, by trapping approximately 500kg of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) per year.”

Coming after our successful opening of The Dixon at Tower Bridge and the recent breaking of ground at Creed Court, St Pauls we hope our proposals demonstrate our ongoing commitment to providing developments of the highest quality in Central London. We also believe the building’s proposed Living Green Wall, the largest in Europe, could be an exciting, innovative and celebrated addition to London for years to come.”

By integrating 40,000 square feet of living wall within the façade, the building is projected to annually capture more than eight tonnes of carbon, produce six tonnes of oxygen, and lower the local temperature by three to five degrees Celsius. The wall will also significantly contribute towards improving local air quality, by trapping approximately 500kg of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) per year.

The project engages with the Urban Greening Policy set out in the GLA’s draft New London Plan, incorporating strategies to encourage more and better urban greening, while adopting measures for an ‘Urban Greening Factor.’ The projected Urban Greening Factor score of 1.37 exceeds requirements by 45 times and has the highest greening score in Greater London.

The development also includes new public green space, with the roof-top viewing gallery on the eleventh floor open to the public and featuring incredible views overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Grade I listed Holy Sepulchre, and over the city beyond. At roof level, the greenery continues to wrap around the building, with spaces designed for threatened native wildflower species to flourish.

Dan Burr, Partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “On a site that is so prominent, there was a real drive to inject some fresh perspectives on how to grapple with some on London’s most urgent environmental issues, including air quality and noise and dust pollution. Rather than having an isolated patch of greenery, we felt that an immersive and integrated approach would have the biggest impact on the local environmental conditions and making a better and more liveable city, as well as articulating a clear architectural statement.”

Hotel Designs will be exploring the topic of sustainability all next month. If you have story for the editorial team, please email editor Hamish Kilburn. 

Main image credit: Sheppard Robson

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

Editor’s round-up of London Design Festival 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor’s round-up of London Design Festival 2019

Strap yourself in for editor Hamish Kilburn’s annual round-up of London Design Festival (LDF). The 2019 edition was a thought-provoking insight into how the bare bones of the industry, led by innovative manufacturers working with open-minded designers and architects, are taking it upon themselves to design a better future of international hotels from the foundations upwards…  

“Most cities are experts in one or two disciplines,” said Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival. “But the breadth and depth of London’s expertise is unparalleled.”

For the 11th year, LDF was the epicentre of the design universe, publically displaying in full the ingredients to make the capital an incubator of ideas, creativity and something different.

Initially established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell and Evans, the festival has grown to encompass a broad range of activities, and attracts visitors from around the world: last year welcomed a record-breaking 588,000 direct visitors from more than 75 countries, generating almost one million visits.

Despite Brexit call-to-actions being plastered across the front of the city’s major newspapers, the festival’s spotlight this year was thankfully not on the political landscape (or landslide) of whether or not this is really happening, but instead the lenses were focused on conscious change for good. With designers being now more aware than ever before on the need for design responsibly, sustainable products, materials and initiatives were evident in all corners of the metropolis, at all of the four Design Destinations. “LDF celebrates and promotes London’s design excellence in a period when showcasing creativity is even more important, adds Evans. And installations around the city from the likes of Matthew McCormack, Sony Design and Paul Cocksedge were a visual reminder of how design can influence change and educate wide-spread audiences of all demographics.

Focus 19

Neatly kicking things off after Hotel Designs led an exclusive roundtable at Arte Wallcovering at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Focus19 extended its luxurious arm to welcome a select number of pop-up stands. Whether green is or isn’t this year’s colour is irrelevant. What’s more important for hotel creatives is following how suppliers are turning up the volume on how they are designing with purpose and further bringing the outdoors in using sustainable methods. One area where this is very apparent is in fabrics and large prints – both of which are never in short supply at DCCH. Arte arguably stole the show with the launch of four new collections. Following last year’s collaboration with Moooi, any collection to launch after would be a tough act to follow, but the wallcovering experts delivered and the results are extraordinary.

While fabrics were strong, so too was lighting. Pookey Lighitng’s installation designed by The Brit List 2019 judge Florence Rolfe was a vibrant LED light show. Meanwhile, David Hunt Lighting cut the ribbon on its new permanent hub within the DCCH, showcasing its bespoke service as well as its intricate lamps. As well as hosting a captivating talk with the lighting company’s founder, Vaughan, unveiled a new collection of simple, yet extremely chic sculptured lamps as well as a new range of Tribal Collection shades, that were first unveiled at last year’s show.

Elsewhere, collaborations from the likes of Barnaby Gates, Kit Kemp and others were on display under what will soon become the Design Centre Avenue, but during Focus was a pop-up exhibition of pure, untouched talent.

100% Design

Making its bold, colourful entrance, 100% Design celebrated its 25thbirthday with a bold line-up of speakers, including David Rockwell, Marcel Wonders and Daniel Shofield among others.

Following last year’s move to London’s Olympia, the show found its feet in historic halls as visitors flocked to see the plethora of interactive installations, cutting edge collections and plenty of products. The Two Lovely Gays unveiled an piece entitled Insta-interiors, which featured a playful mix of pastels. “Social media can has brought design to everyone in a way that we love,” the studio explained on its stand. But it can also be a confusing arena, with so many images and ideas vying for attention. Our hope is that it opens up a new freedom in design, promoting diversity and confidence.”

With a noticeable shift in behaviours, especially in public areas of the hotel, it is no surprise that there was a significant focus on furniture. Taking centre stage directly opposite the show’s doors was Benchmark with its latest collaboration with design legend David Rockwell. The Sage Collection has a specific focus on human health and wellbeing. Made with natural, sustainable and non-toxic materials, it meets the standards required for well-certified buildings. The collection includes slick sit-stand desks and tables, dining and meeting tables, high-low sofas, benches, occasional tables and storage.

Hamilton Litestat also exhibited its impressive answer to personalising the hotel experience, by being able to colour-match its products to suit any hotel design brief – something that I saw in person recently when visiting the studio’s Bristol-based hub.

Image credit: Paul Cocksedge’s Please Be Seated

designjunction

In the midst of LDF, just as the feet of the design community start to tire, the VIP party for designjunction comes alive. Offering exclusive access into the show 24 hours before it opens to the public, the event is typically a great opportunity to network as well as catching new products on the market. This year’s event unveiled its catwalk for trends alongside the exclusive Tom Dixon party. Taking place in what I can only describe as LDF’s most interesting design districts, Coals Drop Yard, the event arrived fabulously fashionably late (as ever) to the week-long party.

While the talent sheltered inside was fresh, the narrative of designing responsibly was solid and synonymous among many if not all brands exhibiting at the show. Furniture brands and lighting manufactures put an equally significant emphasis on utilising recyclable materials. Sixteen3, for example, showcased a dynamic range of contemporary furniture pieces that were made from 99 per cent recycled material, while over in the light tunnel, designer Huw Evans unveiled The CONCERTINA COLLECTION, which comprised of both furniture and lighting. Using natural timbers, English Ash and Cherry, the designer accentuated the drama of the product’s raw form by with carefully positioned up-lighting. Meanwhile, Qiang Huang used inspirations from dissembled bike parts to design an equally precise lighting piece. The product follows research that suggests that by 2020, it is estimated that there will be 10 million shared bikes reaching their scrap age, which equates to a staggering 1.6 million tons of solid waste, which Hauang believes can be reduced by designers looking more outwardly when it comes to recycling products and materials.

Whether or not designjunction created a larger mid-week statement than last year’s show on The Southbank is down to interpretation. There was, however, no denying that it sheltered something for everyone, including a number of engaging talks. For that reason alone, it is certainly not an event that should be skipped over when navigating around LDF in future.

London Design Fair

Keeping an understated mantra in the heart of Shoreditch, London Design Fair was this years’ stand-out show for Hotel Designs, because of its ability to allow the products and exhibitors to do the talking. The show, which took place on the iconic Brick Lane, featured meaningful themes, such as biophilic materials and design as well as showcasing the only bathroom pavilion during London Design Festival – highlights of which included Roca’s new collection with Armani and West One Bathrooms’ eco-themed stand.

In addition, the show included its worldwide theme, allowing regions in all pockets of the world to exhibit a little bit of their own personalities and creativity.

As a result, London Design Fair focused on form, function and looking forward, past tomorrow’s trends, to globally identify pieces that will really help to change and shape the landscape of international hotel design.

While the installations, projects and districts differed in style, the thread between each was very much about confronting convention and offering something different, an abstract reality, if you like, of London through the eyes of the creatives.

LDF provides a platform like no other that time and time again harbours creative talent and fascinating stories of product design in action. And with variety being the spice of the life, as so many wise bodies have announced before, this year’s exhibitions were in heavy supply of something different, something new and something fresh for everyone.

Main image credit: designjunction

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

Sleep & Eat unveils design details of this year’s VIP Lounge

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sleep & Eat unveils design details of this year’s VIP Lounge

‘Gather’ in the enigmatically designed VIP Lounge. Sleep & Eat announces collaboration with Megre Interiors to create a new design-led experience…

Sleep & Eat, one of Europe’s leading design and innovation event for the hospitality sector, has revealed an enticing glimpse of its new-look VIP Lounge. Created for the first time this year by an international design firm, the lounge will be brought to life by Moscow-based interior design studio Megre Interiors. With this year’s theme of ‘Social FlexAbility’, VIP Lounge guests are promised an experience like never before.

Named ‘Gather’ by the designers, the original oak panelled Olympia Club Room will be transformed into a whimsical flora and fauna-inspired space. Drapes, upholstery and even the flooring will be in a fabric depicting exotic flowers, specially designed for Sleep & Eat by Megre Interiors, cascades of fabric flowers will loop through the space and, in the epicentre, a large-scale light installation will flicker like a fire. This will be surrounded by orbicular seating –referencing the circular gathering places of human history and drawing a parallel to the primeval pleasure of coming together around a firepit.

“In an age marked by the impersonal, it’s vital to trust people over brands.” – Yuna Megre, Founder and Principal of Megre Interiors

Arriving in the entrance reception, guests will find themselves enticed into the space by a single thread of light. Inside, lighting remains low, shapes and forms are obscured and audacious texture and colour prevail. Collections of poufs as well as the circular seating will be underlit to glow like beacons. Vastly adaptable, this will be a room that gives its users the power to interact with it and alter as they wish, moving the seating around to suit their needs. It will be about the opportunity is to meet, talk, learn and relax, and to emerge better connected than before.

“The human soul blossoms fully only when we meaningfully connect with one another,” says Yuna Megre, Founder and Principal of Megre Interiors. “In an age marked by the impersonal, it’s vital to trust people over brands. To meet, to see, to know each other and embark on the adventure of creation together.”

The VIP Lounge will not be the only space at Sleep & Eat to be specially designed by an international design firm. Plans for this year also include the introduction of The Hub – yet to be revealed – as well as the much-loved Sleeper Bar which will host the late evening networking on day one and is this year being designed by Michaelis Boyd.

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. To register for a complimentary pass, visit registration.

Main image credit: Merge Interiors/Sleep & Eat

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

Huw Evans wins Rado Star Prize UK 2019 at designjunction 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Huw Evans wins Rado Star Prize UK 2019 at designjunction 2019

At an exclusive event held in the Light Tunnel, King’s Cross on September 19, Rado and designjunction announced the winner of the third edition of the Rado Star Prize UK…

The Judges’ Winner of the Rado Star Prize UK has been announced at designjunction 2019. Huw Evans, who impressed the judges with his entry Concertina collection, received £5,000 and a Rado True Thinline watch as a prize for the winning project.

“What an honour to win such an award,” Evans said following the announcement. “The Rado Star Prize will allow me a foot in the door of the industry and I’m very excited about what the future will bring.”

Evans is a 3D Design student from Plymouth University. Concertina was selected from a shortlist of ten designs, with each entry responding to the theme ‘Re:Imagine’. The theme explores the different ways in which design can enrich and enhance life: by evolving existing product forms through materials, function, technology, end use or even re-use.

Rado CEO Matthias Breschan said: “It’s the third time we’ve run the Rado Star Prize UK with designjunction and the standard of entries has been consistently high. This year, from a very strong field, the judges selected Huw’s Concertina Collection because of its original, sophisticated and innovative design. ”

The judging panel of high profile industry voices who selected the winner included top British designer Steuart Padwick; Editor at Elle Decoration, Ben Spriggs; Editor-in-Chief at Clippings, Rose Etherington; Vice President Product Development at Rado, Hakim El Kadiri and designjunction Event Director, Mark Gordon.

Main image credit: designjunction

 

London Design Festival medal winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival medal winners announced

London Design Festival has announced the four winners of the 2019 London Design Medals…

Launched with the aim to recognise the contribution made by the leading design figures and emerging talents in London and the industry, London Design Festival historically kicks-off the week-long design event by presenting four London Design Medals awarded.

The 2019 medals were presented yesterday at The House of Commons, Westminster, while the capital came to life for the start of this year’s design spectacular.

And the winners are…

London Design Medal: Tom Dixon OBE
Design Innovation Medal: Daniel Charny
Emerging Design Medal: Ross Atkin
Lifetime Achievement Medal: Dame Vivienne Westwood

A panel of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners met to debate and judge the possible recipients of the four medals. This year’s jury members were: Ozwald Boateng OBE, Ian Callum CBE, Sheridan Coakley, Njusja de Gier, Es Devlin OBE, Sarah Douglas, Ben Evans CBE, Dr Tristram Hunt, Domenic Lippa, Jay Osgerby OBE, Raoul Shah, Joff Sharpe, Justine Simons OBE, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Dr Paul Thompson and Jane Withers.

“Each year the jury selects four eminent people who have made a major contribution to design in the UK,” said Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director. “This year the winners are as interesting and deserving as ever.”

Tom Dixon OBE

The London Design Medal, supported by British Airways London City, is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.

This year’s winner, Tom Dixon, rose to prominence in the mid 1980s as a self-taught British designer. He set up the creative think-tank space, which acted as a shop front for himself and other young designers. By the late 1980s, he was working for Cappellini, for which he designed the iconic S chair. In the late 1990s, Dixon became Creative Director at Habitat and was responsible for rejuvenating the brand while maintaining Terence Conran’s vision of enriching everyday life through simple, modern design.

His works have been acquired by museums across the globe, including the V&A, MoMA and the Pompidou Centre. In 2002 Dixon established his own eponymous brand with own stores in New York, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Milan and Tokyo. More than 600 products are created by the company, ranging from lighting to furniture, from tableware through to fragrance, and are distributed to over 90 countries.

In 2007 Dixon launched Design Research Studio, an interior and architectural design studio. High‑profile projects include the Restaurant at the Royal Academy, Shoreditch House, le Drugstore in Paris and Alto in Hong Kong. In 2018, Dixon opened the Coal Office, his new London Headquarters, in King’s Cross. Created by Design Research Studio, the Coal Office functions as a multi-displinary hub, including an office, restaurant, design studio and shop all under one roof.

“I’m still confused as to why I won’t be getting the ‘Emerging Design Medal’,” said Dixon on the news of his win, “as it still feels very much like I have only just started – I’ve so much left to design! But I’m very touched to be noticed by this super Jury, thank you very much.”

Daniel Charny

Design Innovation Medal, supported by SAP, celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally. It honours an individual for whom design lies at the core of their development and success.

Daniel Charny is a creative director, curator and educator with an inquiring mind and an entrepreneurial streak. He is co-founder of the creative consultancy From Now On, where clients include Dartington Hall, the Design Museum, Google, Heatherwick Studio, Nesta and U+I. His most recent initiative is the creative education think-and-do-tank FixEd.

Charny is best known as curator of the influential exhibition Power of Making at the V&A, which drove him to found the award-winning learning programme Fixperts, now taught in universities and schools worldwide. Other projects include the Aram Gallery, the British Council’s Maker Library Network and the Central Research Laboratory accelerator. As Professor of Design at Kingston University he is interested in the roles of design and making for social benefit.

Charny is active internationally as a speaker and expert advisor, advocating his vision of design, creativity and making as essential tools to unlock a better future.

“Engagement, education and access to design are all critical to assuring the creative responses to a changing world that we all need,” said Daniel Charny. “I’m proud to represent this idea and delighted to be recognised for it in London, a city of unparalleled creativity.”

Ross Atkin

Emerging Design Medal supported by Storey, recognises an impact made on the design scene within five or so years of graduation.

Ross Atkin is a designer and engineer based in east London. His work focuses on two areas: helping disabled people to live more independently, and introducing design and engineering to children.

He maintains his own design and development practice, creating assistive technology and accessibility-focused products that span the digital-physical divide. These include: Sight Line, a system for improving the accessibility of roadworks developed in partnership with The Royal Society for Blind Children and Transport for London; MSE Genie, an app and connected hardware that allows a sensory room to be tailored around the needs and capabilities of the person using it; Responsive Street Furniture, a system created in partnership with Marshalls that enables pieces of urban infrastructure to provide assistance automatically, such as by making street lighting brighter, or by lengthening the duration of road-crossing signals; Smartibot, the world’s first A.I. enabled carboard robot; and LiftCheck, a system that allows lift users to see if the lifts they need to complete their journey are operational before they set off.

Atkin’s design practice is heavily informed by observational research. He regularly conducts participatory shadowing of disabled people as they make journeys around cities.

“I never thought the kind of work that I do would be recognised, so I feel doubly honoured,” said Ross Atkin. “It’s beyond my imagination to be in the company of true legends of design, and it also is an amazing privilege to be representing the world of inclusive design on such a prominent platform as London Design Festival. I look forward to more designers from that world being recognised in the future”.

Dame Vivienne Westwood

Lifetime Achievement Medal Winner supported by Fortnum & Mason, honours a significant and fundamental contribution to the design industry over the course of a career.

Vivienne Westwood was born in 1941 and moved to London 17 years later. She began designing in 1971 along with her then partner, Malcolm McLaren. In 1984, she launched her own fashion line and in 2004 the V&A hosted a Vivienne Westwood retrospective to celebrate her 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever devoted to a living British fashion designer.

Westwood has always used her collections and catwalk shows as a platform for activism. She has personally spent many years speaking out about the effects of climate change and over‑consumption – and inaugurated the ‘Climate Revolution’ at the 2012 London Paralympics closing ceremony.

Along with husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood actively supports the charity Cool Earth in its efforts to halt rainforest destruction. She has also campaigned for a number of NGOs and charities including the Environmental Justice Foundation and Friends of the Earth, and is an ambassador for Greenpeace: in 2013 she designed their official ‘Save the Arctic’ logo.

Since 2011 Westwood has worked with the International Trade Centre – a joint body of the UN – to produce accessories through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalised African communities. Westwood has written her ideas in a manifesto called ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’, rooted in culture as a stimulus to save the planet, and more recently designed a set of playing cards to set out a global economic strategy to stop climate change.

Main image credit: LDF 2019

London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

London Design Festival launches its annual celebration of design with an inspiring programme of more than 300 events, including Landmark Projects, Festival Commissions, Projects at the V&A and Special Projects. The highly anticipated festival comprises 11 Design Districts, four Design Destinations and one Design Route

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens once more.

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens. Each intervention will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s streets, exploring the power of design to shape our world and demonstrating the role it plays in how we live, feel and solve problems.

The V&A will once again be the official Festival hub and play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects and curated collection of displays. The Museum will also play host to London Design Festival’s thought leadership programme, Global Design Forum, which celebrates design with an inspirational line-up of talks, debates, daily tours and workshops.

“Over the past 17 years, the London Design Festival has continued to evolve and we are excited to launch this year programme, which will be our most ambitious to date,” said London Design Festival Director, Ben Evans CBE. “We hope audiences from the UK and further afield will discover something thought provoking and inspiring and celebrate our city’s diverse creative talent.”

The festival was established in 2003 by Evans and Sir John Sorrell CBE. 17 years later, London Design Festival has arrived to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world – an ethos shared by Hotel Designs with the upcoming The Brit List.

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: Please Be Seated/Paul Cocksedge

Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

Award-winning architecture and design studio, Michaelis Boyd, has revealed a glimpse into its vision for this year’s pop-up bar at Sleep & Eat 2019…

Sleep & Eat has unveiled the first teaser of Michaelis Boyd’s Sleeper Bar, which will be unveiled at this year’s event that takes place on November 19 – 20 at Olympia London. With the area at the show designed anew each year to embody the show’s theme, this year the challenge for Michaelis Boyd is to interpret ‘Social FlexAbility’.

“Our Sleeper Bar has drawn inspiration from The Man Who Planted Trees, a short story by Jean Giono which celebrates the power of the natural environment,” said Tim Boyd and Alex Michaelis ahead of the show. “The tale describes a shepherd’s long and successful effort to single-handedly reforest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in the first half of the 20th Century. Working primarily in timber, our bar is a study in sustainability; investigating the afterlife of the materials through scale, layering, adaptability and recycling. This has led us to create a space that will cater to all walks of life, adjusting to the needs of each individual, and making the bar a rich experience for each visitor.”

This year’s bar follows in the memorable footsteps of Sleeper Bars which have explored such diverse topics as tales of wonder, social tribes and guest loyalty. The theme for 2019 is intended to explore hospitality’s unique place in balancing our desire for human interaction with our need for privacy, an issue made all-the-more pressing by our digital age. Visitors to Sleep & Eat can expect to find a bar buzzing with people doing business, catching up with friends, quietly checking emails, or simply resting weary feet, especially during the late evening networking on day one.

As you might expect of an event recognised worldwide for nudging the hospitality design and development conversation forward, The Sleeper Bar will not be the only space at Sleep & Eat to be specially designed by an international design firm. Plans for this year also include the introduction of a Social Hub together with a new-look VIP Lounge.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of the show. This year, the exhibition will be open from 10am on November 19 with an evening drinks reception until 20:30pm, and from 10:00am-18:00pm on November 20.  To register for a complimentary pass, visit registration.

Main image credit: Michaelis Boyd

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.

Vibrant lobby design

7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

To launch this month’s spotlight on Lobby Design, Hotel Designs’ editorial team has scoured the globe to identify some of the world’s most unconventional – and most fascinating – hotel lobbies… 

A first impression is a lasting impression, especially when it comes to checking in to the modern-day hotel. And considering it takes the average person just seven seconds for their opinion to be anchored, ultimately right up until they cast their feedback after checking out, designing a hotel lobby is a balancing act worth getting right.

Vibrant lobby design

Regardless of a hotel’s theme, style and to a certain extent target audience, a well-designed lobby is an effortlessly functioning space – and in most cases considered to be the most vital working organ in the hotel’s body that is most relied.

Today’s modern traveller demands for the lobby to be an all-encompassing flexible portal; a home-from-home meeting place, which shelters a social atmosphere. And yet it must also include private break-out areas and accents of personality and sense of place in its design – just enough for something to catch their eye and be included in their first impression. While it is important to ensure that the lobby is multifunctional, ensuring that its design stays in its lane regarding its style is fundamental.

Here are some hotels that have gone further to challenge the conventional lobby design – and as a result designed their own lane.

1) Rosewood Bangkok

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs exclusively unveiled the design story of Rosewood Bangkok. Designed by Celia Chu, her task to design the 159-key hotel was made that much more daunting when having to create a hotel lobby that creates as large of an impression as the exterior does. Instead of competing with the architecture to be bold, Chu looked inwards to sensitively tell the story of Thailand in the words of locals. “The reception space is relatively small,” explains Chu, “but in this area we layer different eras from a timeline that represents Thai culture, with antique craftsmanship, modern polished luxury and artistic contemporary elements all piled up into one cohesive and welcoming space.”

2) Hard Rock Hotel London

Hotel lobby with memorabilia hanging on the wall

Image credit: Philip Durrant

Designed by Scott Brownrigg, The hotel lobby’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 the design firm 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,” Senior Designer Kate 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.”

3) Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

soft lobby area, which is open to the elements - and full of natural materials

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

There are two entrances at Matetsi Victoria Falls, East Camp and West Camp. Both are framed by three traditional Mokoro (dug-out) canoes, which hang from wooden beams and sway in harmony with the soft Zambezi breeze. With no need for a traditional lobby, guests are immediately welcomed into the indoor-outdoor public areas complete with a copper bar and durable outdoor sofas and chairs scattered in a home-from-home setting that has been designed around nature, and not the other way round. “We didn’t take out a single tree when designing these camps, because we wanted these areas to remain as close to nature as we could,” said interior designer Kerry van Leenhoff , a previous graduate from Cape Town University of Technology who was hand-selected by Gardiner and totally supported in all her decisions. Using the striking vista of the Zambezi River, which flows towards the tremendous Victoria Falls, dining tables are placed in such a way to make every meal one to remember. “The lobby areas have been designed in order to encourage guests to connect with people and nature,” adds van Leenhoff.

4) Plaza 18, Vejer, Spain

Almost one year after Hotel Designs started following designer Nicky Dobree’s journey to complete her first ever hotel design, Plaza 18 is now open. With a distinct residential style, the lobby sheltered inside the six-key boutique hotel is unlike any other in the world. “This entrance challenges the conventional ‘hotel lobby’ because there is no check-in at Plaza 18,” Dobree explains. “Instead, check in is done at the adjoining Hotel Casa del Califa enabling guests at Plaza 18 to enjoy the space as if it were their own home, which was my aim.”

5) 1K Paris

Strong vibrant colours and plants in modern and quirky hotel lobby

Image credit: 1K Paris

Bringing the lush forests of South America’s Andes Mountains to Paris, 1K Paris has a hotel lobby that will take guests into a new world. Complete with vibrant walls, ceilings, floors and furniture – and finished with tropical plants and timeless Peruvian artefacts – the area is cleverly also flooded with natural light. The lobby’s strong blue backdrop sets the ultimate tone for the abundance of colours that await guest’s unique journey ahead.

6) Raffles Singapore

Light and bright grand lobby

Image credit: Raffles Singapore

Reminiscent of extravagant parties that were once held there, The Grand Lobby inside Raffles Singapore, which has been sensitively designed by the New York-based Champalimaud Design, is a truly a legend reborn. The lobby includes floor-to-ceiling Victorian pillars and is bathed in soft daylight streaming through the skylight.

7) Ruby Leni, Dusseldorf

Darkly lit modern public areas

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Taking inspiration from the theatre that With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

Hotel Designs is spending this month with Lobby Design and Furniture in the spotlight. If you have a story, or would like to submit a comment, please contact the editorial team. 

Main image credit: 1K Paris

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