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Product Design

Stay true to life with UNILIN Evola

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stay true to life with UNILIN Evola

Through a development process that examines the detail of original surfaces, UNILIN Evola brings decorative boards that look and feel true to life…

Every UNILIN Evola design starts with an original surface, from which begins an intensive process of design development. Using the original sample, UNILIN’s design and R&D teams begin to work together to create a surface that’s as close to the ‘real thing’ as possible, examining every detail and translating this into an easy to maintain surface that outperforms the original in many ways.

“If you want real wood, you’ll always choose the original example,” explains Ann De Blanck, product manager, UNILIN. “If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative with lasting looks and real-world performance, then you’ll turn to UNILIN Evola. Easier to look after and far more resistant to scratches and UV light, all of our decors are designed with one ultimate goal in mind – if you put our end product next to the real thing, then you won’t be able to see a difference.”

With 168 decors available in UNILIN Evola, variation is also a key ingredient in the development mix. By treating the original materials, adding saw cuts or patina to the original for example, UNILIN is able to achieve a unique variety that cannot be matched through digital manipulation. The process is always one of skill with a fine-line being tread between attractively authentic and hopelessly overdone.

“Our team experiments and tries things out by hand, day in and day out,” continues Ann. “For example, when the reclaimed trend was all the rage, we created a décor with cracks in the panel. We did this using a drum that we threw nails and screws into; as the drum turned, they made scratches in the décor. It’s this attention to treatment of original materials, rather than digital manipulation that gives UNILIN Evola its authenticity.”

This true to life look and feel is also down to UNILIN’s synchronous structures, where the surface structure follows the pattern perfectly and at a depth reflective of the original. Rustic finishes are given a deep texture that mimics the natural state of the material, while more refined looks have a surface finish that remains true.

“Every element of the design is determined and positioned in minute detail: the size of the knots, colour contrasts and the strength of the grain; it’s an assessment by many people over a long period of time. After all, each person views a design in a different way and the process allows us to be certain that the design is right. Décor development is not a pure science and a feeling for design and styling is essential,” concludes Ann.

The UNILIN Evola collection is available in 168 different decors in HPL, melamine and edging tape. With true to life decors and authentic embossed textures, in combination with a surprising palette of solid colours, the collection offers creative freedom.

UNILIN is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: UNILIN

In Conversation With: Harry Allnatt, Richmond International

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Harry Allnatt, Richmond International

Following Hotel Designs’ public unveiling of its 30 Under 30 at Meet Up London, editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with one of the winners, Harry Allnatt from Richmond International, to discuss challenges and opportunities that come with being a young rising star of the industry…

Among Hotel Designs’ celebrated 30 Under 30s, which were spectacularly unveiled at Meet Up London, is Harry Allnatt (29).

A unique and talented young creative whose ability is most certainly not defined by his date of birth, Allnatt is a senior designer at Richmond International. Having been at the firm for eight years, he is now a vital team member who has worked on some of the company’s most important hotel and hospitality projects in recent years, including Four Seasons Hvar, Langham Boston, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, P&O Britannia and many others.

The foundations of Allnatt’s career started following an early admiration of design. He attended Nottingham Trent University to study furniture design having been inspired by the ethos of the likes of Jasper Morrison. “My goal at the time was more to be an architect and, in my head, furniture design was like mini architecture.” he says. “As part of the course, in 2009, I was encouraged to partake in a placement year. Before I knew it, I was working for an architectural practice in Milan that specialised in hospitality and high-end design.” It was at this point in his career when Allnatt’s curiosity took over. “Why stop there, I thought. I started to think about more than the pieces I was creating, to the room and space around the furniture,” he explained. “Milan certainly enriched my interest in furniture design, but the placement year also exposed me to so many new projects, which led me into the path of interior design.”

As a result of his studies and the valuable experience he gained in the design incubator of Milan, Allnatt started to acquire a unique set of skills as a creative designer in order go beyond  decoration. “It’s actually really helped me to add value to projects, especially when required to design certain looks,” he said. “It also allows me to design interiors and furniture that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but that also meets operational standards – standing the the test of time and enabling staff to maintain excellent service.” An exceptional example of this is The Sterling Suite in The Langham London, which is frequently praised for its effortless functionality and timeless feel. Allnatt admitted to working on almost all of the six-bedroom suite’s casegoods and laughs: “I don’t think I could do that one again.”

The plush Sterling Suite at Langham London

Image caption: The Sterling Suite, Langham London

Approaching every project around peoples’ movements and behaviors, Allnatt’s ethos is a tight fit for Richmond International, which is known for being a company that designs awe-inspiring hotels that are also practical spaces. “I’m inspired by stripping things back to discover what is necessary,” he says. “To me, that’s what makes a beautiful project – and it’s this approach that is now very relevant in interior design. If a space is designed to be used well, then it will enrich the overall experience of the people using it.” Allnatt’s explanation gives credence to the obvious shift in how modern design is perceived by those checking in; the knowledgeable and more aware consumer.

Unchartered waters ahead

With its prestigious reputation on the international hotel design stage, Richmond International was asked to repackage its luxury hotel visions onto the high seas. With the aim to modernise all spaces, the team, led by Director Terry McGillicuddy, were asked by P&O Cruises to redesign two new ships, Britannia and Iona. “Britannia was by far the most challenging project, purely because of the amount I had to learn and work out on the job,” explains Harry. “I learnt quickly about the regulations from Terry, P&Os incredible technical team and the shipyard. However, going from designing for land to designing for sea was a challenge, but I am so proud that we were one of the first hotel designers to really tackle a project of that magnitude at sea.”

Simple, minimalist cabin on board P&O Britannia

Image credit: P&O Britannia

Following the success of both vessels, Allnatt, the retentive designer, is now a senior designer working on the firm’s next marine project, to create the interiors of a new luxury cruise liner of which the details are yet to be unveiled. “It really is like designing a city on the sea,” Allnatt laughs. “The beauty of it [designing cruise ships] is that we get to create so many different spaces – from the casinos to the theatres, cabins to bars.”

The challenges for young designers

Being young in an industry full of legends can be daunting, to say the least, which adds to weight on the shoulders of having to prove oneself as an individual. The somewhat right-of-passage feeling of unease and overwhelming responsibility that comes to us all in the start of our journey, was for Allnatt the time to stand out. “The industry is saturated with great designers, and the landscape is so subjective,” he explains. “Creating an identity and establishing yourself, inside and outside the company I believe is one of the major challenges that young designers have to face in our industry.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What’s your favourite colour?
Harry Allnatt: Blue, I love grey and all the different shades.

HK: What’s been your favourite year so far?
HA: 2018 was the year that shaped me the most. It’s been lovely having a local project in London and seeing it through from concept to site completion. Seeing something take shape on a daily basis has been very rewarding, but not without it’s problems.

HK: What is your favourite hotel?
HA: Rosewood London because it all ties together. The rose-bronze gallery from the courtyard entrance, the staff uniform… even the guest signage, which is an open book sitting on a plinth. There is an unmatched sense of discovery in this hotel. Details you notice makes the space more than just a good-looking luxury hotel.

HK: Are there any shortcuts or secrets for getting ahead?
HA: I wish I knew them. It’s as simple as working hard and soaking up information as a sponge. Being a designer is a lifestyle.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
HA: I would love to go to the Amalfi Coast.

HK: Who is your current design icon?
HA: Tony Chi and Yabu Pushelberg. They both fool you into thinking a detail is simple, but the process of making something look simple is complicated. 

Having worked on a variety projects, Allnatt is grateful to the company that supports him in becoming a rising star. “Without Richmond International I would not have been given these incredible opportunities to work on so many amazing projects,” he says while reflecting. “Working in collaboration with Vivienne Westwood’s team, for example, on the London West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, was an incredible experience. The aim was to merge fashion and design together, and during this project we created a feature console inspired by their prints and graphics – it was great!”

Large and spacious public area of plush suite

Image Caption: Penthouse of London West Hollywood

The sensitive designer who sits before me is a knowledgeable leader who makes the most of the opportunities that present themselves – and is, as such, a worthy name alongside 29 others who deserves to be included in Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30.

Water fountains made up by Laufen toilets

Laufen unveils new aesthetic and functional take on the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laufen unveils new aesthetic and functional take on the bathroom

For this year’s ISH in Frankfurt am Main, Laufen put the spotlight on design and hygiene along with highly functional and sustainable bathroom solutions…

Laufen has developed new possibilities for its SaphirKeramik, one of the most exciting bathroom material innovations of recent years. This particularly slim-profile and robust material has revolutionised the conventions of bathroom design, kick-starting a trend towards a lighter styling with a more pronounced graphic aesthetic.

Water fountains made up by Laufen toilets

Laufen is now working with the fourth generation of SaphirKeramik, showcasing in addition to its form and aesthetics some inspiring new possibilities for this material. Now that the Swiss bathroom brand has perfected the industrial process used to manufacture SaphirKeramik, it is able to offer new takes on the humble washbasin and even new applications for it, for example double washbasins in single-washbasin sizes, washbasin bowls with an integral overflow, or freestanding washbasins with a minimal footprint – new ideas that are simply unthinkable with conventional ceramic bathroom products.

To implement its design ideas, Laufen works with internationally celebrated designers such as Marcel Wanders, Patricia Urquiola and Konstantin Grcic. The result? Stunning yet practical everyday products for the bathroom environment that offer designers and architects exciting new opportunities when it comes to creating high-end bathrooms.

Laufen is building on the success of its shower toilets with a new version that focuses very much on the user benefits and concentrates on keeping the user interface as efficient as possible.

Image credit: Laufen

Taking responsibility for the future

It goes without saying that Laufen is also taking responsibility for the company’s impact on people and the environment, because the rational use of water and recycling wastewater are fundamental to our future and represent significant challenges and opportunities. To this end, the bathroom products manufacturer has begun a fruitful cooperation with EOOS to develop the Austrian design company’s revolutionary proposal for a new kind of waste-sorting WC (developed for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) into a marketable product. At ISH, Laufen presented this ground-breaking innovation that is set to revolutionise the sanitary industry and relieve pressure on the existing wastewater infrastructure in fast-growing cities all over the world.

Laufen has also formalised its responsibility for its use of resources and environmental impact in a new environmental product declaration (EPD). For this, the company has completed certification of the environmental quality of its complete ceramics range across all of its Central European manufacturing plants in accordance with ISO14025, EN15804 and EN16578.

The connected bathroom

Laufen is also busy developing trendsetting new bathroom networking and digitalisation ideas. In this area, the bathroom specialist is focusing on public and semi-public sanitary areas, where networked concepts bring the greatest benefits. The company now offers a complete solution for networking electronic washbasin faucets and urinal and shower controls in public facilities. And when it comes to incorporating elegant and discreet digital functionality in private bathrooms, true to form, Laufen has successfully combined technology with aesthetics.

In addition, the company has been working on improving and expanding its existing range, adding new products and new options in just about every area in its bid to offer bathroom designers more freedom and bathroom users superior benefits and greater choice.

Product innovations

The New Classic by Marcel Wanders

The New Classic is a new bathroom collection by Laufen. The celebrity designer Marcel Wanders was engaged to re-interpret classical styles using the material SaphirKeramik. Every item included in the ensemble brings together the designer’s flair and creativity with Laufen’s mastery of raw materials. The New Classic range encompasses washbasins, bowl washbasins, toilets, a bidet and bathtub, faucets, mirrors and accessories, as well as furniture. This individualistic collection won the iF Design Award 2019 for its sensual combination of aesthetics and function.

Image credit/caption: The New Classic in collaboration with Marcel Wanders

Cleanet Navia

The Cleanet Navia shower toilet focuses very much on user benefits and concentrates on keeping the user interface as efficient as possible. With its compact design, simple functions and attractive price, it is suitable for a very broad market. The Navia features the tried-and-tested intuitive operating concept, with a side-mounted controller for the standard functions plus an app to access the full functionality that Laufen previously developed for its popular Cleanet Riva shower toilet.

Sonar by Patricia Urquiola

When it originated Sonar, Laufen focused in particular on exploring the formal scope for new bathroom solutions afforded by SaphirKeramik. The expressive Sonar bathroom collection thus features novel washbasin designs that are simply not possible using conventional bathroom ceramics. Already the winner of an iF Design Award, the collection now offers even greater variety thanks to the addition of more washbasins, WCs, a bidet, a new bathtub and a suite of bathroom furniture, again created by Patricia Urquiola.

Image credit/caption: Laufen’s Sonar in collaboration with Patricia Urquiola

Val by Konstantin Grcic

Compact and demanding bathrooms call for intelligent equipment solutions, to make best use of the restricted space without appearing cluttered. The new SaphirKeramik washbasins that Laufen co-developed with designer Konstantin Grcic for the Val bathroom collection take on this challenge in a new and innovative way, concentrating particularly on compact and demanding bathroom layouts.

Kartell by Laufen

A 1970s revival is currently sweeping the fashion and furnishing markets – and entering the bathroom as well. But nobody is calling for a renaissance of the harsh colour schemes and frenzied contours that defined the decade – it took many years to rid the world of the final excesses of taste that flourished back then. The modular colour concept and timeless, simple design vocabulary of Kartell by Laufen represents a modern approach to bringing colour into the bathroom while observing the enduring principles of good taste. And with new options available, the possibilities of expression offered by this popular bathroom collection are now greater than ever.

Palace

Palace is a timelessly elegant bathroom classic for hotels and architect-designed bathrooms. The collection already enjoys an excellent reputation for problem-solving, flexibility and practicality, and Laufen is consolidating this reputation with the new pre-packed products. These new products include the Palace Slim Packs, comprising a washbasin and vanity unit, and the Palace WC Packs, which bundle every component required for installation in one handy packaged unit.

Base for Ino

Laufen has extended its popular Base bathroom furniture range, bringing out new vanity units for the Ino washbasin collection. The now more extensive furniture range is timelessly simple and graceful. The collection features Laufen’s trademark attention to detail in carefully thought-through functionality, high-quality materials and an up-to-the-minute colour scheme.

Leelo

With Leelo, Laufen has added to its existing mirror offer to create a flexible collection of mirrors that bring comfort and light into the bathroom. Leelo features a range of sizes and versions, each of which matches individually with a variety of bathroom designs and ambiances. Because of its understated styling, Leelo can be combined with all of Laufen’s bathroom series and bathroom furniture ranges.

The New Classic faucets by Marcel Wanders

In his creations for the new faucet line The New Classic, Marcel Wanders finds the perfect balance between an innovative design and an archetype for a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle – and takes the bathroom user on a journey to a bygone age. This versatile and technologically advanced range comfortably covers every bathroom requirement.

Sense faucets

A confident and gracious silhouette is the dominant design feature of the new Laufen Sense bathroom faucet line. With its extremely precise design vocabulary, the complete faucet range cuts an impressive figure, both in the private residential property and in the premium hotel and hospitality sectors.

Innovations

The Save! waste-separating WC
The Austrian design studio EOOS, Eawag (the Swiss Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and Laufen have joined forces to develop the ground breaking Save! urine-separating WC that is set to revolutionise the user interface in sustainable urban water management thanks to a new kind of passive separation technique. The Save! waste-separating WC is the next step in a concept developed by EOOS and Eawag with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’.

Laufen Advanced Control

Laufen’s Advanced Control concept improves hygiene, reduces response times, enhances services and decreases water and energy consumption, thus saving costs in public and semi-public washrooms. Starting from summer 2019, a cloud solution that networks smart washrooms and transfers data to building management systems will also be available.

Bespoke design

Specially developed tailored products feature precisely the sort of special sophistication in design and functionality that gives high-end interiors their unmistakeably individual character. This is why Laufen has been busy developing its know-how and production capacity to be able to provide bespoke solutions in the bathroom too. To this end, the company works closely with designers and architects all over the world who are looking for a customer-tailored solution for a building project. The most recent example of this is Omniturm in Frankfurt am Main, for which Laufen worked closely with the architects and project managers to develop special bespoke vanity units.

Laufen’s new products and innovations were showcased on its spectacular stand in Hall 3.1, Stand B51, for which the company has employed the talents of internationally renowned Swiss architects Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler. The two architects have been instrumental in creating a stand that reflects the roots of the Swiss brand while making it clear from the moment one sets foot inside that Laufen is one of the most influential bathroom fixtures and fittings companies in the world.

Laufen is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Iklwa

Two dynamic designers chosen to bring creative vision and ‘story of sustainability’ to life at Cadogan Hotel

800 597 Hamish Kilburn

Young designers Mac Collins and Antonia Packham were chosen from more than 3,000 designers to bring their creative vision to life at the Cadogan Hotel…

Luxury travel brand Belmond has chosen two talented young designers to bring their creative vision to life at its historic Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea when the property reopens later this year.

Mac Collins, a product and furniture designer and soon-to-be graduate of acclaimed design institution Northumbria University, and Antonia (Toni) Packham, a champion of sustainable design fresh out of Brighton University, were both chosen from more than 3000 designers who displayed their work at the New Designers exhibition in Islington in July.

Left: Mac Collin Right: Antonia Packham

Collins’ statement chair design ‘Iklwa’ – a visually intense ultramarine throne, informed by the aesthetic of Afrofuturism and created to inspire empowerment – was praised by judges as “a thought-provoking, culturally enriched and beautiful piece of craftmanship that demonstrates in its exciting use of colour and considered appreciation of shape an understanding of the power of design to evoke emotion, capture the imagination and pay homage to heritage.”

In selecting the winner of Belmond’s inaugural award, the judges were seeking to find a talented designer whose product embodies the authentic and timeless, luxurious and soulful nature of the brand. Such was the calibre of talent on display at the New Designers event that the judges also selected Toni Packham as their winner.

Packham’s forward-thinking and environmentally conscious approach to design has resulted in the highly innovative use of plastic found polluting our oceans to create unique, hand-finished and ultra-high-quality products, including kitchenware, using a highly skilled and zero-waste production process. Collecting discarded rubbish from the shores of beaches across the UK, Packham’s beautiful designs and intricate details captured the judge’s eye while the story of sustainability and craftmanship spoke to the spirit of the Belmond brand.

Collins and Packham will now have the opportunity to learn from Belmond’s in-house bench of design experts, as well as its wider network of leading creative professionals, craftsmen and women. They will then be commissioned to design a bespoke design to be manufactured for and featured in the Belmond Hotel Cadogan – making it a central part of Belmond’s art and design-led portfolio.

“We were blown away by Mac and Toni’s raw talent and fresh-thinking approach to design,” said Arnaud Champenois, Senior Vice President Brand & Marketing of Belmond. “We are extremely excited to champion two young British designers who we believe are set to shape the future of creative design industry.  Their work will now feature in one of the most beautiful hotels in London.

“At Belmond all of our properties, wherever they are in the world – from the Hotel Cipriani in Italy to the Copacabana Palace in Brazil – celebrate design and local craftsmanship with a quirky and contemporary twist.

“Which is why it has been brilliant to engage with the emerging new trends in creative design – something we are passionate about at Belmond – from 3D printing, to socially responsible design and multi-sensory experiences. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with New Designers to find more future stars of the industry and to ensure that Belmond’s designs continue to capture the imagination of tomorrow’s discerning travellers.”

Belmond assembled a panel of expert judges from their extended family of leaders within the design and creative industries to help select the award winners. Savina Torrisi, Architect, Senior Tutor and Graduating-Year Programme Leader for the Innovation Design Engineering Programme at The Royal College of Art, and Inge Moore, founder of renowned interior design studio Muza Lab, joined Belmond’s very own Art and Design Director, Joe Ferry – himself a former winner at New Designers – to discover and kick-start the career of one of the freshest new creative minds.

“I feel excited and overwhelmed to have been chosen by Belmond,” Packham said. “I think it’s amazing that a luxury brand is supporting new designers like myself and championing creative innovation. My designs are all about taking a waste material of apparently no value and turning it into something functional, individual and aesthetically beautiful. It has been said that waste is the result of poor design – by working with Belmond, I am excited by the opportunity to address this and raise awareness of the value of waste material.”

Collins added: “To have the opportunity, straight out of university, to create a product in my workshop in Newcastle and have it featured in a Belmond property in London is incredible. I want my work to connect with people in the real world and cannot wait to design something for a brand that shares my passion for heritage and love of true materials.”

Craftsmanship and design is central to the identity of Belmond’s family of 47 properties, trains and cruises across the globe. The company is a champion of the best designers around the globe, and has worked with a host of renowned designers and craftspeople – including famed British designer Matthew Williamson who recently designed the stunning Suite No. 67’ at Belmond La Residencia Hotel in Deià, Mallorca.

“It’s fantastic to see Belmond’s commitment to developing the next generation of young British designers. An opportunity like this has the potential to jump-start a very successful career,”  said British designer Matthew Williamson. “The British design scene is thriving with a diverse range of really exciting talent pushing new frontiers with innovative ideas. We need to see more businesses like Belmond backing home-grown design and craftsmanship through partnerships like this.“

Elsewhere, Belmond has collaborated with other remarkable creative talents, including British Designer Tara Bernerd and French mosaicist Jérôme Clochard on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.

The Cadogan has been closed since 2014 and is currently undergoing a £28 million pound refurbishment, designed to preserve the unique heritage of the Queen Anne Style property dating back to 1887, whilst updating the property to ensure its design retains a modern-day relevance. The iconic London hotel is steeped in history: it was famously the scene of Oscar Wilde’s arrest in 1895, as well as home to actress Lillie Langtry where she courted the future King of England.

The property is due to reopen in December, with London-based British talent and Head Chef of The Frog Adam Handling as Executive Chef, bringing his traditional yet modern British cuisine and zero waste philosophy to the Cadogan Hotel.

With the aim of also recognising Britian’s best interior designers, architects and hoteliers, Hotel Designs is introducing six new awards at this year’s Brit List. Details on how to enter will follow soon.