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Q&A

In Conversation with: Michael Seum, how Grohe recreated a classic

800 555 Hamish Kilburn

Grohe’s Vice President of Design, Michael Seum, talks about revisiting a classic, challenging the engineers and creating an icon in the new Atrio (as published in Grohe Magazine No. 2 2018)… 

Redesigning a classic is a task not to be taken lightly. It’s a design opportunity that involves walking a tightrope between respecting the past and opening oneself up to contemporary ideas. Grohe’s Vice President of Design Michael Seum, however, was delighted to step up to the challenge with the classic Grohe Atrio faucet. It was, he says, an exciting opportunity to build on the strengths of this Grohe icon while giving it a feeling of timelessness.

Grohe: What was the idea behind the new Atrio? 
Michael Seum: For me, the very definition of an icon is something you can draw from memory. We are calling this the icon of elegance and precision. The elegance is drawn from a single circle , or a cylinder right, which is one of the most feminine geometrical features you can find: pure and perfect. It;s a firmly contemporary design, but with the right interior decor strategy, it could fit in a classic or cosmopolitan environment. Because we’ve used such a simple, singular geometry, the precision has an analogue, tactile feel to it. So much of this world is digital and uber-connected that we felt like for our spa collection, we needed to have this tactility. And it’s done in such a way that even when you look at the design, all of the intersections are precise. Nothing is off-centre.

Image credit: Grohe

G: How is is driven by the technology that’s inside, like the cartridges? 
MS: The quality of the design comes through the craftsmanship and also the precision of our high-quality cartridges. There are three principles that we draw from: the cylindrical element that drives the entire line, an absolutely pure intersection of all these geometries, and lastly, the obsessive attention to proportion. We wanted a design that celebrates the quality of the Grohe cartridge – its the perfect expression of our design DNA.

G: How long, from first sketch to now, have you and your team been working on this? 
MS: We had a discussion about the possibility of having the spa geometry perfectly intersect, I think, about 18 months ago. While we came pretty quickly to the idea, the execution was actually the hardest part of the job; getting the engineering team to find a way to do that.

“It really is iconic, it’s beautiful, it’s flexible and it’s simple.”

G: What challenges did you have to overcome with the engineering? 
MS: The engineers saw the potential of the design. But they also saw that it was their responsibility to help us realise it. So I’m really pleased at how they’ve embraced the design vision and made all of the technical elements work, going through such meticulous, geometrical work with the Atrio. This is where the precision of the tactile feedback, the craftsmanship, the quality, the handmade aspects – it’s all due to their efforts.

Image credit: Grohe

G: How has the feedback on this product been so far? 
MS: We’ve had some sneak previews with a few long-standing customers and architects that we have very positive relationships with. We do a lot of work on projects that are two to five years – and the response when we put this on the table is just jaw-dropping. It really is iconic, it’s beautiful, it’s flexible and it’s simple. We designed something that allows architects or consumers to design spaces in so many different ways. The fact that the product is so simple means that it can work with different interior strategies. They see that immediately.

G: What plans do you have for the Atrio in the future? 
MS: We will launch it in Spa Colours over time. Because this design is so neutral, we believe that this is the vehicle for expressing new colour and finish possibilities in the bathroom. It’s a design that works in so many different environments, from classic to contemporary to cosmopolitan. It has transformatative affect in those spaces.

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

Main image credit: Grohe 
Image caption: Grohe’s Vice President of Design, Michael Seum

 

 

 

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

To identify what it takes to be at the helm of one of the most established luxury hotel brands, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sat down with Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Meliá Hotels International Gabriel Escarrer Jaume to discuss core values, sustainable goals and all things design…

Since first meeting Gabriel Escarrer Jaume three years ago at what was the newly opened ME London, things have changed – but the same visionary remains to steer Meliá Hotels International into new waters, while keeping the brand fresh and always ahead of the curve. But in addition to the more obvious evolution that a hotel chain experiences – with new openings hapenning all over the world – Escarrer Jaume is also leading strong initiatives throughout the brand. The brand is reducing water usage per stay by eight per cent, achieving 70 per cent overall green energy use, all while achieving sustainability certification for 52 per cent of hotels. In addition, he aims to generalise sustainability clauses and codes in agreements and relationships with suppliers, ensure 90 per cent of suppliers are local and reduce CO2 emissions by 18.4 per cent per stay. It seems as if our meeting at WTM 2018 has come an appropriate time, and in between international phone calls to suppliers and contractors while keeping track of the 325 open hotels within the portfolio, he joins me for a coffee.

Hamish Kilburn: Having read a lot about the hotel group’s plans, how are you achieving to reduce water usage throughout the entire hotel portfolio?
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume: Sustainability has to always played a major role for the family owned company – we have strong values. Water savings is key. We have been working to  help reduce water wastage mainly in the public areas. We also have plans to help save water usage in the rooms without it affecting the overall guest experience. The goal is to continue to reduce water wastage per stay by eight per cent year-on-year, and we have done so for the past three years.

 “I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world.”

HK: I believe that the group has 59 hotels currently in the pipeline, when will they be completed by?
GEJ: The goal is to have these open within the next two and half years.

HK: How has consumer behaviour changed in the last few years, and how have you adapted your hotels to cater to the modern traveller?
GEJ: It affects it a lot. In my opinion, sustainability has always played a major role in hotel design, but even more so now, it seems. I believe that our hotels have helped the modern traveller explore new areas around the world. Part of our business model has been to develop hotels in new destinations. As you would expect, we are now in places such as Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica etc. But we are also making an impact in places like Zanzibar, Tanzania and Cape Verde. We approach each new hotel with tremendous respect to the local culture and the environment.

HK: Africa seems to be a major focus at the moment, why is that?
GEJ: Yes, but you won’t find us in the capital cities as we, like lour guests, prefer to explore new areas that are not necessarily on the tourist map. Meliá Hotels were the pioneers in Cape Verde, for example. We feel as if we can do the same in Africa. Serengeti is a focus for us, as well as Arusha which will be announced soon. There is a huge potential to develop hotels in Africa – and in fact the third-world.

HK: With The Brit List 2018 on the horizon, why is the UK such a major design hot spot?
GEJ: London has so much to offer for creative minds. Like all of our hotels around the world, London is iconic in its design. When guests check into the ME London, we want them to recognise and to feel the design of British architect Norman Foster. All of our hotels around the world have been deliberately designed with local architects and designers. We are working very closely with Zaha Hadid Architects at the moment with a hotel in Malta. Paris’ Melia ME was designed by Dominique Le Roux. All of these hotels have been created, from the very beginning, by real local legends in design.

HK: Will Meliá Hotels International be making a splash in Malta?
GEJ: Yes, in fact we are working with Zaha Hadid Architects on that project at the moment, which is scheduled to open next year.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What’s your favourite colour?
GEJ: Blue
HK: What’s the number-one tool for success in hotel development?
GEJ: Location, service and product (sorry, that’s three)
HK: What can you not travel without?
GEJ: My iPhone, my iPad and coffee
HK: Who is your inspiration?
GEJ: My father who founded Meliá Hotels International
HK: How do you shut off from work?
GEJ: I love sailing – it’s so peaceful.

Meliá Hotels International is the leading hotel Group in Spain and the third leading Globally, and has over 50 new hotels in its current pipeline. The Group is continuing to invest in loyal markets such as Spain, continuing the regeneration of Magaluf with pivotal new opening The Plaza, whilst expanding into emerging markets such as APAC, where the Group is opening 20 new hotels before the end of 2020. In fact, it seems as if the hotel group is expanding all over the globe and delving into areas where no group before has dared to venture.

 

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Reaching new creative heights with artist Beth Nicholas

768 513 Hamish Kilburn

Having created striking artwork for some of the world’s most stylish interiors, was The Address Downtown artist Beth Nicholas’ most challenging project to date? Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sits down with the artist to find out more…

Known artist Beth Nicholas is used to seeing her masterpieces on the walls of some of the world’s finest examples of hotel design. Among working with clients such as Christian Louboutin, Langham Hotels and Waldorf Astoria, one of the most challenging briefs came recently when she was asked to create a large art installation for The Address Downtown Dubai‘s lobby area. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nicholas after the hotel had reopened and she could finally take a sigh of relief now that her art is the first impression for guests checking in.

Hamish Kilburn: What was the design brief?

Beth Nicholas: Essentially, I was just asked to paint big, really big. I have never had a commission that was 8.5 metres before – and it was gob-smacking figuring out how to do that. I don’t tend to get design briefs from clients that often. What I get instead is people asking me about specific colours. With The Address Downtown we developed a colourway that had both silver and gold in it, as well as my iconic blue.

Soho Myriad, who were the art consultants for that, really like to challenge their artists. Quite often, they ask you to produce something larger than what you would usually go, but this particular project took that to new heights, literally. I don’t think they have ever commissioned anything quite that large.

“Honestly, I have never seen marble like it; it’s utterly beautiful!”

 

HK: In regards to this particular project, what inspired you? 

BN: Honestly, I have never seen marble like it; it’s utterly beautiful! There is some marble in that entrance lobby that is purple and they have split the marble down the middle and turned it. The result is like a mirror image, a bit like when you were a child and folded paper over paint. My work resembles that material in a lot of ways with a lot of natural formations that are very similar to some of the lines and shapes within marble. I had been given a lot of information about the space and the rest of the colours that were used in the hotel. That inspired the work.

“To be honest, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”

HK: How long did it take?

The brief came about a year and half before I produced the work. The production of the pieces took three months, and my normal technique did not work. To be honest, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I had to hire a warehouse outside Newport. It was an old, former carpet warehouse and there were holes in the ceiling. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Autumn, so the rain had started. I would come into the space in the morning to find raindrops on my work. On top of this, I had to essentially create a new technique because my usual technique did not work at that scale. That was terrifying.

On top of all of that, my work takes a while to dry. As the weather was getting worse, my pieces would take longer to dry and I was running out of time. As a solution, I hired massive turbo air dryers – it looked like a scene out of Singing In The Rain – and eventually I figured it out, but it was certainly a challenge.

“I often think of my work in relation to that beautiful Japanese pottery, where they fill the gaps with gold.”

HK: Tell me more about how Wabi-Sabi has influenced your technique

BN: I have been in love with the aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi for a long time. Every time I describe what it means, it’s different. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that is very difficult to translate into English. Part of Wabi-Sabi is to appreciate the concept of transients that move and shape over time. I often think of my work in relation to that beautiful Japanese pottery, where they fill the gaps with gold. If you look at my work, you see similar cracks as you do in ceramics. I can’t produce a painting that is exactly the same as the last one, and so my work is very detailed. So Wabi-Sabi, for me, is the exploration of how things have changed and developed, which is why there is so my synergy between my work and the environment.

Nicholas’ work is evocative of oceans and the minerals beneath the earth as well as aerial photographs. The paintings are rendered in ink and applied to sheets of paper which are illuminated from behind, further enhancing their impact.

Since launching her eponymously-named company, Beth Nicholas Studios, in 2009, Nicholas’s paintings have won plaudits for their beauty and originality, are created through a unique method which she constantly evolves through trial and experimentation.

Image Credits: Portrait of Beth Nicholas © Mae Maciver; Beth Nicholas art commission at Address Downtown, Dubai, June 2018 © Nicolas Dumont, courtesy of Address Downtown ”

 

 

In conversation with Martin Pease, Managing Director WATG London

800 544 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with new Managing Director of WATG London Martin Pease to discuss what’s next for the integrated design firm’ …

As industry leaders go, Martin Pease is somewhat unconventional in many of his methods, which is possibly what attracted WATG to him in the first place. Just days into his new role as the Managing Director of WATG London, Pease looked comfortably in control as he welcomed me into the firm’s London hub in Fitzroy Square.

Pease joins WATG from Atkins North America where he was Head of Architecture and Building Engineering from 2014-2018. During that time, he grew the firm’s business by 40 per cent across six offices. Prior to that, he was Head of Architecture for Dubai-based Damac, the largest privately-owned property developer in the Middle East.

What does 25 years of experience look like?, I asked with interest as we kick-started the interview. “Under these rolled up shirt sleeves are a lot of bruises and scars,” said Pease as we sat down in one of the meeting rooms. “Clients are very demanding, and rightly so! When you’re spending a lot of money, you want to feel as if  you’ve got a trusted partner that gets what you’re about. In 25 years, I have been able to understand our clients’ businesses– maybe not as well as they do, but enough to grasp the touchpoints and the sensitivities in their market. 25 years of listening before talking and responding to clients in a way where that they know that you are putting them first has brought me to this moment.”

There’s something infectious about speaking to Pease. His hands-on leadership style is clear to see and also refreshing while his ability to always look ahead is inspirational. “I want to be involved in every aspect of the business because if you understand something then you can help and fine-tune what is a really strong business but can always be stronger,” he admitted. “The minute you think that you have achieved something and you’ve got it perfect, that’s the moment you should ask yourself ‘well what are we doing here? Is there something else we can do?’ because otherwise you stand still.”

Quick-fire round:

HK: Favourite colour:
MP:Somewhere between black and white.
HK: What’s your favourite hotel of all time:
MP:Chateau De Mercues
HK: Biggest bugbear in hotel design:
MP: Key cards that don’t work
HK: Favourite hobby:
MP: I paint and draw constantly
HK: Travel essential:
MP: My Ipod classic with all my audiobooks.
HK: Who inspires you daily:
MP: At the moment, Gareth Southgate.
HK: Favourite meal:
MP:A genuine Paella.
HK: Number one tool for success:
MP:You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Architects don’t listen enough.

Pease arrives to the firm weeks after the WATG’s Great Architectural Bake-Off, which he promises me was not planned as he admits he is not the best baker in the world. Following the firm bringing together the best architects in London for the competition, I wanted to know how Pease saw collaboration in our industry. “The strongest organisations have a very solid collaborative spirit,” he explained. “You need to learn from mistakes that you make, as well as the mistakes that other people have made. Plus, clients are exactly the same. You need to be collaborative and cooperative. I compare what we do similar to that of an arranged marriage. It’s not a casual relationship that you strike up for a few weeks. Our relationships last years, and beyond if you are lucky enough to get repeat work. We are a bit like swans in the sense that we want to ‘mate for life’.

Pease’s unique style is a perfect match for one of the leading architectural firms in the world. With more than 19 major openings planned this year, Pease joins the firm at an exciting time and I look forward to following his and the company’s journey with interest.

 

Andre Fu - Andaz Singapore

Q&A: Andaz Singapore designer Andre Fu

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Andre Fu gives a glimpse into the design process for the Andaz Singapore…

Q. What would you point out specifically as some of your personal design highlights of the hotel?
A. My favourite aspect of the hotel is perhaps in our vision to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shophouse is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Andaz Singapore.

In terms of particular spaces, I am very fond of Sunroom – conceived as modernist expression of the Peranakan house, it is an airy timber-lined lounge decked with lush hanging ferns. I am also drawn to the whimsical nature of 665 for its intimacy and the way it evokes the spirit of a bespoke tailors shop. The use of tropical plants within the hotel experience and how the way the curation of plants expresses a strong feeling of outdoor throughout is also a favourite aspect for me.

Andaz SingaporeQ. How would you say, in terms of design, Andaz Singapore is a combination of what Andaz and Singapore are both known for?
A. Andaz hotels draw direct inspiration from a location’s history, culture and architecture, and by distilling the best of its locale, allow guests to truly engage with a destination and experience it authentically, rather than merely visit.The expression of culture goes beyond the superficial adaptation of local elements or decorative motifs, but to engage in an experience that captures the spirit of the city.

Andaz Singapore
Q. How has it been working with such an iconic building by Ole Scheeren? What are the most challenging bits and how did you and your team work around those challenges?

A. The distinct architecture of the DUO building has posed many challenges to the designs of the project, in particular the relationship between the imposing internal structures against the curved façade of the building. Working with the unconventional shape of the building and the constraints of a thin footprint surrounding the building’s core have prompted us to bring down the scale of the experience, enhance the notion of intimacy and making each shop-house or venue unique in its design language. The resulting effect is a hotel that fully expresses the sense of journey, a journey that is accented with colours, textures, and expressive artworks. I believe the vision to bring the scale and create more personable spaces is a good example of hospitality going forward.

Q. What was your main design inspiration for Andaz Singapore?
A. I drew inspiration from the hotel’s dynamic location and the neighbourhood’s eclectic passageways and shop-house experiences. Our goal has been to re-interpret these qualities to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intention is not to replicate the experience, but finding a means to capture the spirit of it with an emphasis on modernity. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shop-house is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Singapore.

Andaz SingaporeIn keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, I’ve introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the slender shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling. The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine to celebrate the unique palette of the shophouse experience.

Q. What does luxury mean to you?
A. Luxury to me, is having a moment of stillness and not have so much on my mind. It’s a nice feeling having time to be really focused on a particular subject with the absence of distraction.

afso.net

Q&A: Leigh Hall of Manorcrest Group

In Conversation: Leigh Hall – Manorcrest Group

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Hotel Designs catches up with Leigh Hall, who heads up developer Manorcrest Group. The firm has vast experience in the hotel industry and is currently working on the current DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Hull. We talk to him about the ongoing project, the wider hospitality industry and his experience…

Hotel Designs: How many years of experience do you have as a developer?
Leigh Hall: I have been a developer for over 30 years now.

HD: How many years of experience does Manorcrest Group have working in the commercial sector/ on hotels?
LH: My business partner, Dean Wann, and I started our company in 1998 by building residential homes. We later moved into caravan parks and the commercial sector. We have been working on hotels for over 10 years now, we have a real passion for delivering quality brands that will add to the culture of the local community

HD: Can you name some of the hotel brands Manorcrest Group has worked on?
LH: We have and are working on a fantastic range of hotels in areas such as Lincoln, Hull, Grimsby and more. The brands include the DoubleTree by Hilton and Holiday Inn Express.


HD: You are currently constructing the DoubleTree by Hilton Hull hotel, can you give us any updates on its progress so far?
LH:
The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Hull will have 165 rooms and features a 1,000 sq m ballroom for large conferences and events – the biggest in the region by far. Regarding the progress of the hotel, the bedroom pods have been successfully delivered from China and installed by our highly experienced team, and the construction is on track for completion later this year, a great addition for the City of Culture.

HD: What other hotels are you working on at the moment?
LH: We are working on a major extension to the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Lincoln, which will introduce a further 47 bedrooms, 35 parking spaces and additional conference facilities. The 4000 sq m extension is now 70% complete. We are also considering sites in Sheffield and other cities.

DoubleTree-Kingston-Guest-RoomHD: Are there any other interesting projects you are due to work on in the future within the hotel sector?
LH: We’re looking into the possibility of another hotel site in Sheffield as we can see a clear gap in the market there and we’d like to introduce a 24-hour service hotel. We have ambitious growth plans to build and open a further four hotels in the next five years across the UK.

HD: What do you like about working in this sector/ delivering hotels?
LH: Hotels are exciting places to be and it is a fast paced and ever-changing industry. I enjoy seeing the hotel developments grow from the planning stages through to completion. As developers, we believe it is important to deliver innovative schemes which integrate well into the local community. It is also very satisfying to be able to support and contribute to local economies, as hotels inevitably provide jobs and we take great joy in using local suppliers throughout the construction process. Hotels are not just for tourists and commuters, we try to create destinations that local people want to use, we encourage people to visit our hotels and enjoy the facilities, such as the bar and restaurants on a regular basis. We work with blue-chip brands who are constantly innovating and more than ever we see there is a great appetite and demand for well executed hotels across the country.


HD: You also work on residential developments, are there any challenges with leisure compared to residential?

LH: There are so many elements to consider when developing a hotel. Residential developments are a lot more straight forward, whereas for a hotel you are working on a much larger scale scheme with hundreds of bedrooms, bars, restaurants, spa facilities, parking and so on, which all must be taken into consideration. It is both rewarding and challenging to run a development and construction company, Dean and I oversee each site keeps us very busy.

HD: Has there been an increase in demand for hotels? If so why do you think this is?
LH: The hotel sector is a growth story and we have plans to develop four more hotels in the next five years. There has been a boost in tourism in many cities and we have found that smaller cities such as Lincoln for example, have a high demand and need for more beds. Several years ago, people only stayed in hotels due to necessity because of work/ their commuting needs, but there has been a boost in leisure travellers who go to high-quality hotels for a getaway and to enjoy luxury. Even with the results of Brexit I don’t see this impacting the hotel industry in the next few years.

HD: Can you provide a figure for how much you are investing into developing hotels currently if possible?
LH: We are investing £35 million into the hotel sector throughout 2017.

Ana Garcia Maldonado

Q&A: Interview with Taylor Wimpey Spain’s Ana Garcia Maldonado

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It’s not a property’s location or indeed what it looks like from the outside, interior design is just as vital when choosing a perfect holiday home abroad to relax in style.

Ana Garcia Maldonado is leading Spanish developer Taylor Wimpey España’s highly experienced head of interior design who has worked independently with developers for almost 15 years.

Forget dated wicker furniture and terracotta colour palettes, the design of Taylor Wimpey España’s abodes are very much on trend and well thought out. Ana frequently attends all furniture and decoration fairs to maintain a creative flow of ideas and to keep up to date with Spanish design. Working alongside Taylor Wimpey España’s head architect, Pablo Live Sanchez and also her husband, Ana shares her trade secrets and what is it about interior design that she enjoys so much…

Q. What is your vision for the interior design of Taylor Wimpey España homes?
In all Taylor Wimpey España homes the first premise is quality, comfort, and an aesthetic mix of modernity and elegance that pleases a wide range of buyers. Our goal through decorating is to offer not a house, but a home.

Ana Garcia Maldonado - Taylor Wimpey SpainQ. What influences you in your design choices?
I try to follow and respect the line drawn by the Architecture Studio, which since the landmark Avalon development on the Costa del Sol, has been modern lines without leaving aside comfort and warmth of a home. When choosing colours and furniture, we usually take into account factors such as the name, location and even logo of the development, as each of them have their own identity.

Q. What are the key materials / pieces of furniture / brands / colour palettes that you are using for Taylor Wimpey España interiors at the moment?
We always look for functional furniture with light lines that does not detract from the spacious feel of each property. We like wood or matte finishes, natural tones and textures such as linen and cotton. For the walls we prefer a large canvases or mirrors, wallpapers with personality but still discreet, and playing around with the same colour tones in a single environment. We use an endless number of national and international brands in furniture, fabrics, papers, carpets, lighting, and choose brand depending on the budget we are allocated.

Q. What should owners avoid interiors wise when furnishing their holiday homes?
From experience I know that many clients give much more importance to furnishing the terrace than to the rest of the house, without taking into account the inclement weather. So my only advice is to equip the house with the same degree of comfort on the inside as the outside.

Q. Finally, how do you find working so closely with your husband on the architectural side?
It is a true privilege. We help and complement each other whilst enjoying our work. Can you ask for more?!

Visit taylorwimpeyspain.com for more information.

Ganesh Prasad Chelsom

Hotel Lighting Q&A: Ganesh Prasad – Chelsom Head of Technical

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Ganesh Prasad recently joined international lighting specialists Chelsom as Head of Technical. Having worked in India, the Middle East and the UK he brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of technical lighting with a speciality in LED light sources, their design and function.

Since he joined the company, Ganesh has noticed an interesting difference in the type and direction of technical questioning that comes from the interior design industry as against those from an architectural background. Questions tend to relate to creating ambience rather than the hard technical facts covering industry standards, detailed light output measurement etc.

Q: Are there any specific light level requirements for hotel guestrooms?
GP: To answer simply there is no specific legislation or standards relating to light levels in hotel guestrooms. However associations like CIBSE and SLL in the UK or IESNA in North America do set down guidelines rather than mandatory requirements. They would cover a suggested light level for task areas such as desk or reading areas like bedside or armchair. In essence though, the correct light levels for guestrooms are defined by guest satisfaction. The biggest single complaint registered by hotel visitors is the lack of sufficient lighting in guestrooms. Such spaces are multifunctional and designers should therefore build in sufficient light points with optimum light output to ensure guests can work, read, relax and live. There is one part of guestroom lighting which does however follow stringent regulations and that is emergency lighting for use during a power failure, fire or other emergency. Such requirements can be found in building regulations or codes which may vary according to region or type of property.

Q. If so how do we measure the light output of a decorative light fitting?
GP: The output from decorative light fittings is measured in lumens and it’s a numerical scale starting from zero which is complete darkness and going upwards. Photometric test equipment would be required in laboratory conditions to give an absolutely accurate lumen output reading but for example a 10W LED lamp will give an output of around 1000 lumens. Of course once that lamp is shrouded by a diffuser or fabric shade, lumen level will drop significantly.

Lighting Q&A with GaneshQ. Is there any difference between types of switch?
GP: Operationally there is no difference and when the switch is open, then the power is off and when the switch is closed the power reaches the light source. For aesthetic reasons, designers may choose a push button switch, a rocker switch, a toggle switch or a cord switch. Touch switches are another alternative but are often misunderstood in hotel guestrooms when the visitor looks frantically for a switch that isn’t there. Dimmer switches are of course another option and are usually of the rotary type or slide type.

I am often asked about two-way switching, in other words a light fitting that can be switched from the unit itself or from the entry point to the room. Technically it is entirely possible providing we are made aware of the requirement before manufacture so that a four core cable can be installed giving 2 separate lives.

Q. Dimming always seems complicated why is that?
GP: Dimming itself is not at all complicated. However there are many types of dimming systems and technologies in the marketplace just as there are many different types of dimmable lamps or light sources. Where confusion can arise is in the compatibility of the systems, the intermediate switching and the lamps themselves. This confusion arises particularly with LED light sources whose compatibility needs more care. The simple answer is ask a specialist such as Chelsom who can advise on the best lamp and dimming technology combinations which will ensure a full range of smooth dimming without flicker or noise.

Q. LED lamps seem to be the only way forward is this right?
GP: Yes! Legislation over recent years has banned the manufacture of higher wattage less efficient lamp types; LED’s consume far less energy than other lamp options; they last up to ten times longer than a compact fluorescent equivalent; they are dimmable; they now give out a wide range of colour temperatures including the same warm light as incandescent; they contain no toxic substance such as mercury nor give out any UV glare; they are instant start with no flicker and most importantly costs continue to come down through mass production.

Q. Can you explain IP?
GP: IP stands for Ingress Protection and ratings consist of 2 numerical digits on a scale of 0-9, the first digit covering solids such as dust or insects and the second liquids. Most interior hospitality lighting products should have an IP20 rating which basically means it is not possible to access internal electrics and live parts. Bathroom lighting would require, in certain cases, an IP44 rating meaning luminaires are fairly well protected against solid ingress and water ingress. What is important in bathrooms are the zones which are described in the attached diagram and which cover areas created by the bath or shower and areas within 600mm of the bath or shower. For zone 1 only low voltage fittings with a minimum rating IPX5 are allowed. For zone 2 fittings with a minimum rating of IPX4 are required. Outside zone 2 any luminaires can be used providing they are protected by an RCD.

Lighting Q&A with GaneshQ. What is colour temperature?
GP: The colour temperature of a lamp relates to how the human eye sees the colour emitted from a light source once it’s illuminated. The range is from a ‘cold light’ to a ‘warm light’ and the colder the temperature, the more blue is involved and the warmer the temperature, the more red is involved. The colour temperature itself is measured in Kelvins and the higher numbers are colder say 6000 Kelvins with the lower numbers being warmer say 2000 Kelvins. Recent scientific research has shown that a colder blue light makes you more alert as it gives the feeling of bright light in the middle of the day. Warmer red light is more relaxing as it replicates dusk at the end of the day. There are no legal or guideline requirements for colour temperature in hotel guestrooms but once again guest satisfaction is the driving force. The general consensus is that 2700 Kelvin gives the right ambience as it is the closest to incandescent light which we have all been used to for a hundred years.

Q. Is it easy to fit USB ports and will the same port charge all devices?
GP: A USB port requires sufficient space including a depth of about 30mm. As long as a table lamp base or wall light backplate has that space it is relatively easy to fit the ports. There are 3 different types of ports relating to the 3 different types of connector in the marketplace. We usually work with Type A which is widely used with most smartphones and tablets. The voltage required for all devices is 5V but the amperage varies from device to device. For example an iPad will take 2.1A and an iPhone will take 0.5A. You need to be sure therefore that the USB connectors are compatible with the higher load capacity in order to charge all devices.

Ganesh adds “I joined Chelsom at a very exciting time for guestroom lighting. Not only is LED technology developing extremely fast but dimming systems and guestroom lighting management systems are playing a large part. Lighting management can create huge savings in running costs whilst giving the guests a more satisfying stay at the hotel. The crucial thing is to talk to the experts and talk to them early in the project.”

marketing@chelsom.co.uk
01253 831401

chelsom.co.uk

Dennis Irvine - designer on Jumby Bay Estate House project

Q&A: Dennis Irvine – Estate House, Jumby Bay Resort

994 583 Daniel Fountain

Recently at the Rosewood Hotel in London – a world away from the shimmering blue waters and picture-perfect beaches of the Caribbean – Hotel Designs attended a press preview of the work being carried out at the Estate House; the signature bar and restaurant of the Jumby Bay Rosewood Resort, a stunning luxury retreat set on its own 300-acre private island two miles off the coast Antigua.

Having been given an introduction to the island and the resort by Rosewood MD Andrew Hedley, the resort is everything you would imagine of a Caribbean hideaway – accessible only by boat, a strong colonial feel with a touch of West Indian charm, and tropical paradise environs. And in January of this year, in a bid to bring that aesthetic to the bar and restaurant, the Estate House was closed for a complete overhaul.

Jumby Bay

“Already renowned as one of Antigua’s most sought after dining destinations, the reimagined Estate House will emerge as the Caribbean’s ultimate social club for gourmet fare, sophisticated mixology, and mingling from day to night,” Andrew says.

Heading up the project is Dennis Irvine and Hotel Designs had the pleasure of catching up with him to discuss the project and his work as a designer.

Dennis’ background in interior design is a rich one having grown up drawing and making, his passion for all things creative led him to studying interior architecture, to working with Mary Fox Linton to eventually setting up his eponymous design studio. It’s from this standpoint that Dennis was tasked with breathing new life into the Estate House, Jumby Bay.

Jumby Bay, Antigua

Combining the colonial impressions of the main resort with a contemporaneous perspective on the locale, the Estate House’s redesign represented a challenge of capturing the spirit of the island, something wholly embraced by Dennis. But was it hard to balance aesthetics and practicality? “Not really,” Dennis says. “Our design concept was the modern interpretation of the ‘colonial spirit’, so it was a matter of taking inspiration from history with careful curation and playful references that created an aesthetic which drew on the past and used modern materials appropriate to the environment,” he adds.


Retaining historical elements of the original structure, the redesign will pay homage to the Estate House’s roots in empire-era glamour with subtle nods to the island’s history and traditions throughout – something achieved through ‘putting in the hours as it were’. Dennis says: “Spending time in Antigua and absorbing local life was absolutely vital. Our team invested time and effort into researching this former plantation house’s history as well as the island’s traditions and landscape.”

A two-storey, vaulted ceiling will provide a dramatic entryway to the bar, while an airy courtyard, connecting the main restaurant, three private dining rooms, and the Wine Room, will serve as an idyllic outdoor lounge space to savour pre-or-post-dinner drinks, amongst tropical plants and a fountain made by a local artist. Curated local artwork depicting local Antiguan life, flora, and fauna, and vintage maps will adorn the walls, while sophisticated tableware and accessories in bespoke Ginori china, silver and crystal will offer a refined dining experience.

Indeed, Dennis tells HD that sourcing pieces from the island and its artists was one of the more challenging but at the same time worthwhile aspects of the project. “Working closely with local architect Andrew Goodenough, who has had a practice in Antigua for almost forty years was fundamental to getting this right. Engaging local people such as artist Dina Debozzi for trompe l’oeil island scenes for the Blue Room was very important to us too,” he says.

HD asks Dennis how working in what appears to be a remote location compares to working in Europe. “Although it’s remote, the reliability of communication is excellent, better than in London or Paris in fact. There are lots of logistical challenges though. Everything has to be shipped in which takes time, coordination and patience to ensure the project is delivered as originally envisaged,” he tells us.

Inspired by the island’s starkly verdant landscape, a colour palette of rich greens will be employed, and handcrafted furnishings in ebony, teak, rattan, and wicker will emulate the style of past travellers and explorers. Sweeping terraces will offer unparalleled views of the island landscape. In keeping with The Estate House’s new look, restaurant and bar staff will wear fashionable uniforms designed by acclaimed designer Emilia Wickstead.

Jumby Bay, Antigua

The design of the three private dining rooms – The Map Room, The Tent Room, and the Blue Room – will embody different facets of the island’s character. The Map Room will personify wanderlust and discovery through carefully curated objects and antique maps from the golden age of exploration. The Blue Room will feature hand-painted trompe l’oeil island scenes and rich blues inspired by the twilight sky. Draped fabric ceiling and walls in the Tent Room create a romantic Empire-era dining experience. Lighting throughout has been supplied by Croydon-based Dernier & Hamlyn, a collaborator with Dennis on previous projects.

So, has Dennis been given a free rein to bring a ‘design philosophy to the project?

“I was given a great deal of independence to translate spaces as I felt they should be. Having said that, we really appreciated the invaluable input we received from Rosewood who have been based in the Caribbean for many years. Selecting relevant and suitable suppliers is always key to the success of a project so working with an experienced procurement agent, in this case Argenta Projects, was crucial.”

Rejecting the idea of being tied to one style, he adds: “Good design is never formulaic. There will never be a Dennis Irvine Studio style. I am always very respectful of a building’s history if it has one. Or if it’s a new site will give very careful consideration to what else is happening locally so that, while making its own statement, the design is empathetic and complements its surroundings. If asked to sum up our ‘design philosophy’ it would be about respect. For the building and its environs, for the client’s brand and vitally for each other within our team.”

HD asks where this project ranks for Dennis in his portfolio of work. “It’s the first one that has been completed under the Dennis Irvine Studio name so it is my most rewarding in many ways.” Work on the horizon includes a country house hotel at Langley Park, Buckinghamshire. Judging by the work carried out by Dennis at the Estate House, it’s going to be a gem – and slightly closer to home…

rosewoodhotels.com/jumby-bay
dennisirvinestudio.com

GROHE interview with Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LWT and Michael Seum, Vice President Design Grohe AG

Interview: Paul Flowers (LWT) and Michael Seum (GROHE)

1000 625 Daniel Fountain

Paul Flowers (above, left), who was in charge of the GROHE Design Studio from 2005 to 2015, has been appointed Chief Design Officer at LIXIL Water Technology (LWT), coordinating the design of all brands belonging to LWT. Michael Seum (above, right) has joined GROHE as Vice President Design in 2015 and is now leading the GROHE Design Studio in Düsseldorf.

Q. Paul, after ten years at the GROHE Design Studio you have now taken on new responsibilities as Chief Design Officer at LIXIL Water Technology. At LWT, you are in charge of the design of all brands, including GROHE, LIXIL/INAX, American Standard and JAXSON. What do your new tasks entail and what are the challenges that you have to face?

Paul: I have learnt over my two decades of international design experience that people really are a brand’s most precious resource. My role is to orchestrate a Global Design Team and ensure we have the most talented people in our studios in Düsseldorf, New York, Tokyo and Bangkok. I intend to fuse creativity into the culture of each of the companies, elevate design and in turn show the value of design as we have done in the last ten years at GROHE.

A big challenge is the diversity of the separate brands as well as the varied technical requirements and individual design preferences in the different countries. We intend to share and combine our knowledge of global trends and experience. We have the challenge of keeping the brands true to their individual values and their aesthetic expression significantly different from each other, unique and preferred over our competitors.

I am very fortunate that I get to travel all over the world and have first-hand experience of different cultures and trends. Through insights, research and a consumer focus we will generate unique experiences, which are relevant and valued by the people who use our products.

GROHE interview with Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LWT and Michael Seum, Vice President Design Grohe AG

Q. Was it difficult for you, to pass the baton on and let someone else take the reins at the GROHE Design Studio?
Paul: When you have dedicated so much passion, time and energy to something, it becomes very personal and important to you. I have had an amazing time at GROHE and I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved in the last decade. The great aspect of my new role within LWT is, I will still be involved working closely with Michael Seum to take the brand to the next level.

I took considerable time to personally find somebody like Michael Seum, he is highly motivated, incredibly creative and is very experienced having already designed for some very impressive leading international brands.

Q. Michael, design is a key brand value at GROHE. The GROHE Design Team won more than 200 awards in the last few years. What is your design strategy for GROHE? Will there be a different focus or will you preserve the typical design characteristics?

Michael: GROHE has a special understanding of the value of design and it is clearly been recognized with so many external accolades. Paul has built a highly talented design team and, more importantly, has built one of the most efficient creative cultures I have ever been a part of. The designs envisioned in the studio get produced, there is very little loss of design intent and they are easily recognized as GROHE products.

Design will absolutely remain a strategic driver of brand value within GROHE. I will be working closely with Paul to ensure we do so. It’s great that Paul and I share many of the same philosophies, methods and discipline in our approach to designing products and brand experiences. I am excited to work with this team, ensuring design continues to increase brand value by creating strong emotional connections to our products and brand experiences through great design.

GROHE interview with Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LWT and Michael Seum, Vice President Design Grohe AG

Q. Before joining GROHE, you have already worked for renowned companies. Where do you see the challenges in designing for a sanitary company? Are there special requirements you need to consider when working with the element water?
Michael: Every company and industry that I have worked in has its own unique category challenges; for designers these unique challenges become the real opportunities for design.

For GROHE, we must exceed the rational expectations of consumers — they also have to embody the emotional needs consumers have in their homes –for example calming, relaxation, privacy and personal health and well-being. Beforehand amongst others at Whirlpool, Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, I gathered versatile experience in different industries, which I can now benefit from.

Q. Paul, what are the cornerstones of your cooperation with Michael? Could you tell us about the depths and contents of your working together?
Paul: Michael is very innovative in his approach to both solving problems and identifying consumer opportunities, which is imperative for a brand like GROHE and I trust his judgment 100% percent. We work very closely together and have structured weekly meetings and constant dialogue. We have a number of creative tools, which we use to ensure we are pushing forward and realizing our long-term strategy. From our well defined Brand Values, Style Segmentation and unique Signature Elements to our Design Quality Reviews, we have a very objective approach to reviewing and guiding the work of the Düsseldorf studio.

GROHE interview with Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LWT and Michael Seum, Vice President Design Grohe AG

Q. Michael, you already know the GROHE portfolio very well, do you have a favourite product yet?
Michael: Prior to coming to GROHE, I renovated my loft in Chicago with our new Essence line but if I had to pick another product it would be GROHE Blue. I read recently that for the first time we have more plastic in the ocean than we do fish. At the same time, we also have so many unhealthy beverage choices. GROHE Blue is a product that our consumers love; reducing plastic consumption/use while enjoying the healthy beverage options of high quality filtered still or sparkling water.

Q. Finally, a question for the both of you. Please briefly complete the following statement: Good design is…
Paul: Good design removes the unnecessary to allow the user to focus on the elements, which enhance the experience. It guides a user intuitively to get the most from a product or service, it anticipates a user’s needs and facilitates an emotional and unique experience which adds value to our lives. Good design is mindful of the precious resources it takes to make, package, transport and use the product…

Michael: We as designers face a lot of pressure to create unique, new, highly differentiated and exciting products. Good design considers the consumers’ overall desired experience, their emotional needs and the contextual needs within their homes. Good design is about meeting the needs of our consumers in both expected and unexpected ways.

All photos courtesy of GROHE Press
www.grohe.co.uk
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