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Sustainability

Light, bright room features soft finishes and warm wood tones

Sheraton brand “reinvents experience and design” with new guestrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sheraton brand “reinvents experience and design” with new guestrooms

Sheraton Phoenix Downtown has completed a renovation of 1,000+ guestrooms, which feature the brands reinvented experience and design… 

Evoking a timeless comfort that welcomes guests into a light and bright room, the new guestrooms inside Sheraton Phoenix Downtown feature soft finishes and warm wood tones.

Light, bright room features soft finishes and warm wood tones

The well-lit rooms are accented with black and metallic accents. A platform bed and crisp white bedding centres the space of curated furniture that feels reminiscent and as welcoming as a friend’s guestroom.

A houndstooth chair gives a pop of classic Sheraton pattern while the new 65-inch televisions are mounted to a noise cancelling, woven fabric paneling that make for statement wall. A height adjustable table makes a quick transformation to a standing desk through integrated height controls and a bench running beneath the tv provides additional sitting. The bathroom features a walk-in shower or bath surrounded by neutral porcelain walls while a light wood tone vanity and backlit mirror with modern polished chrome fixtures and black finishes complement the guestroom design.

Rooted in its community-forward ethos, Sheraton’s design approach embraces community-fluid spaces that feel warm and inviting from a statement bar serving coffee creations in the morning and spirited sips in the evening to restaurant concepts that satisfy both purpose and cravings. In addition to fresh guestrooms, Sheraton is also redefining what the hotel lobby is by making it downtown’s best-positioned co-working space, with everything from Community Tables with lockers and charging tabletops, to uniquely designed studios for groups of varying sizes.

Once unveiled in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, the luxury hotel will have completely revamped the guestrooms, food and beverage, programming, and a lobby which will be home to the property’s Club lounge.

Main image credit: Sheraton

Bill Bensley launches ‘Sensible Sustainability Solutions’ White Paper

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bill Bensley launches ‘Sensible Sustainability Solutions’ White Paper

Why? Because thinking about sustainability is the right thing to do…

Last year, Hotel Designs put sustainability and designing conscious spaces at the root of many of its editorial and feature concepts, including speaking on the topic at the Indepdnenet Hotel Hotel London where editor Hamish Kilburn unveiled new research on consumer demands for hotels to be more eco-friendly.

Following this, designer and architect Bill Bensley has unapologetically published White Paper research entitled: “Sensible Sustainability Solutions”, which is aimed towards the for the global hotel industry and incorporates more than three decades of experience from designing more than 200 hotels around the world.

“Let’s all lose the greenwash and do something real.” – Bill Bensley

Deeply passionate about conservation, sustainability and philanthropy and a man who seriously walks his talk, Bill wants to shout his message from the treetops for all to hear.  “I am done with designing lavish hotels just to put heads on beds.  Every hospitality project that we have on the drawing boards right now has a purpose and a candle to light.  Those of us in hospitality – be it designers, owners or operators – have the power of reaching thousands of people through our hotels and spreading this message of purpose.  We should shoulder more responsibility concerning issues such as education, clean accessible water, alternative energy, energy consumption, food waste, wildlife protection and conservation,” he said.  “Let’s all lose the greenwash and do something real.”

The concise Sensible Sustainable Solutions White Paper outlines 20 suggestions for hotel designers, owners and operators on designing better hotels to help fight climate change and make the world a better place, covering three core pillars:

  • Build with a purpose – hotels with a strong sense of local community, educating guests and employees, creating new experiences and championing environmental issues – all of this can increase profits.
  • Think locally and sustainably – including everything from branded amenities, water bottling plants, sourcing locally and farming/landscaping in a way that is sensitive to both the community and environment.
  • Build sensibly – the keys to building smart in terms of building materials and energy conservation through architecture, as well as aspects such as upcycling and using solar panels to harvest the sun. An amazing statistic: in ONE HOUR the sun provides more power than the entire world needs in one YEAR!  Think about that!

Bensley explains: “By issuing my standards to all hotel companies, I am sharing an unbranded, open-source archive of lessons which we have learnt about hotel design, purposes, and sustainability. Everything here is, I believe, low hanging fruit for the hospitality industry. It is my dream to have a positive impact on our planet’s future by harvesting that fruit. In the next five years, more than 15,000 new hotels will be built. For each of those, every hotel operations company will have a set of standards that they issue to architects like me, explaining how they want their hotel to stand apart from the rest. Very few, surprisingly few, of these standards specify concrete statements or changes regarding sustainability.

“It is my hope that “Sensible Sustainability Solutions” will give hoteliers ideas to create, hand-in-hand with hotel operators, eco-friendly hotels – not just greenwashed – using ideas which align with owners’ rigorous standards. We promise it can be done, as we use these on every project! I have long believed that hotel design should take advantage of that human attention by way of teaching, providing experiences, and setting examples of sustainability.  Through these ideas, we can save money, improve communities and better our environment. We really must understand, NOW, in the 11th hour of life on earth that our world requires some serious rethinking. We are in the midst of the world’s sixth extinction, and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to save our planet.

“There is a fundamental illusion in the world today, that we are separate from nature, when the reality is, we are nature.  This fundamental misunderstanding is what is wreaking havoc on the world’s environment; our society points to us as the superior life form on the plant. Why should anyone protect nature if they don’t think they are part of it?  In focusing on our economy we have forgotten our age old wisdom that cross-culturally, from Eskimos to Aboriginals, says in a nutshell – if you disrespect the balance of nature, a price will be paid!”.

How? By Employing common sense

By way of this White Paper on all that Bensley has learnt in more than 30 years of designing and building hotels, he is sharing ideas, suggestions and lessons in building and running hotels sustainably, as well as using hotels as tools for change, both in terms of the environment but also for the communities they can support.

Throughout the paper the designer cites examples of hotels he has designed that showcase these principles, including Four Seasons Tented Camp and Four Seasons Koh Samui in Thailand, Capella Ubud in Bali, the Siam Bangkok, Rosewood Luang Prabang, JW Marriott Phu Quoc in Vietnam and his co-owned Shinta Mani and Bensley Collection Hotels in Cambodia.

Main image credit: Bensley/Shinta Mani Siem Reap

VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP ARRIVALS: Top hotels to open in February 2020

With the aim to cut through the noise in a contemporary tone, Hotel Designs has the scoop on which statement and game-changing hotels are expected to open in February, 2020…

The hotel industry never ceases to amaze with its ability to break through hard barriers to take design, architecture and creativity to new heights and levels.

Following Hotel Designs’ two-part series published last month, where it shared the major hotel openings of 2020, the editorial team have narrowed down the search even further to identify the hotels that will arrive onto the international hotel design scene this month. From architectural firsts in Dubai to long-awaited heritage hotels in London – and the start of a family of hotels in Manchester – the industry, in all corners of the globe, is about to display a spectacular performance of how far design and architecture briefs can be stretched.

Here’s February’s top picks…

Hotel Brooklyn, Manchester

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels/Hotel Brooklyn Manchester

As Hotel Designs prepares its troops for its annual northern networking event to take place in the city that is fast-becoming a hotel developer’s dream, Hotel Brooklyn is ready and waiting in the wings to unveil its contemporary design.

Designed by Squid Inc – the team behind the renowned Hotel Gotham – the long-awaited Hotel Brooklyn will shelter 189 rooms that are 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.

If Hotel Gotham, its older sibling that opened in 2015, is anything to judge by, then we expect a playful hotel that is not afraid to bend, even break, the rules of hospitality for its guests.

ME Dubai

Image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Following the opening of The Morpheus last year, and Hotel Designs’ interview with one of the lead architects behind the projectZaha Hadid Architects is preparing to celebrate yet another groundbreaking moment in architecture.

The London-based firm’s latest project, the Opus, is days away from entering onto the international hotel design landscape with arrival of ME Dubai. The 93-key hotel will feature dramatic, signature furniture in the lobby, lounges and reception area, which were either designed or personally selected by the late Zaha Hadid.

Zedwell, London

Image credit: Zedwell London

Opening it’s doors February 2020, the first Zedwell will be housed in one of central London’s most iconic venues; The London Trocadero. Holding in excess of a staggering 700 guestrooms, the flagship Zedwell will be one of the largest hotel openings in the capital within the last decade.

As well as large in size, the hotel is also clever and ahead of its time for many reasons, such as installing high-tech soundproofing, filtered air to enhance the overall guest experience.

Artist Residence, Bristol

Image credit: Artist Residence

The founder of Artist Residence, Justin Sailsbury, is known today as a true pioneer in sustainability and meaningful design who spends hours on end browsing ebay and other search engines for vintage-gem furniture and casegoods to layer into his hotels.

Following the success of the London property, the brand is expanding – and so too is his message to other independent hoteliers in the industry. Entering into tier two cities around the UK, allows the brand to stay in its unique lane of offering a residential, friendly and quirky hotel and hub. The bustling city of Bristol is the next location on the list, with the opening of Artist Residence Bristol moments away.

Arctic Bath in Lapland, Sweden

Image credit: Arctic Bath Sweeden

Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.

The idea of a floating sauna first came to Harads resident Per-Anders Eriksson during the opening of Treehotel in 2010. At first, the vision was a glass cube on a raft. Bertil Hagström, who designed Treehotel’s The Bird’s Nest, took over the idea and in 2013 he and Johan Kauppi designed Arctic Bath’s floating, circular building.

The Guardsman, London

Image credit: The Guardsman Hotel/Tonik Associates

The Guardsman is a purpose-built luxury London boutique hotel that is expected to offer the atmosphere, discretion and personal service usually associated with a private members’ club.

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

Hotel Designs is currently researching and writing the next article in this series, which will identify the top hotels that are opening in March, 2020. If you are working on a hotel project, or know of a hotel, that would qualify, please email the editorial team

Main image credit: ME Dubai/Zaha Hadid Architects

Hypnos sows the seed for conservation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos sows the seed for conservation

British bed manufacturer and Royal Warrant holder, Hypnos Beds, has donated and planted 200 tree saplings to Castlefield Wood…

In partnership with Queens Award-winning Chiltern Rangers, a Buckinghamshire based social enterprise committed to protecting the Chilterns landscape with the community, Hypnos Beds has donated and planted 200 tree saplings to Castlefield Wood. 

As part of its decade-long commitment to supporting the environment and boosting sustainability within the industry, Hypnos’ recent donation to the Chiltern Rangers is a part of its carbon offsetting programme, to support carbon neutrality. To date, the bedmaker has gifted over 1,500 trees since November 2014, and there are plans to donate even more in the future.

Throughout the course of the day’s (January 13) event, volunteers from Hypnos, Chiltern Rangers, and local school children from Castlefield School, were tasked with raking, cutting back trees and litter picking. The aim of the day was to improve the woodland edge, creating a greater habitat for wildlife. Much of Castlefield wood was destroyed in storms during 1990, but with a programme of replanting and regeneration, it is a much needed Local Wildlife Site.

“As one of the region’s most environmentally-conscious manufacturers, we understand the necessity to protect our local environment,” said James Keen, managing director of Hypnos Beds. “Since becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral bedmaker nine years ago, we’ve been committed to providing the very best in sustainability to our customers.”

John Shaw, managing director of Chiltern Rangers, said: “Protecting and enhancing the Chilterns environment and landscape with the help of our local communities are our priorities. This includes ensuring sites like Castlefield Wood are home for all types of wonderful wildlife for many years to come.

“We’re incredibly delighted by Hypnos’ donation, and the relationship and commitment shows great promise for the future. As an organisation that focuses on sustainable environmental programmes, we knew that Hypnos Beds’ core values align implicitly with our own.”

By donating and helping to plant the trees, Hypnos is hoping to encourage other manufacturers to invest in the physical landscapes surrounding them and take an interest in the importance and upkeep of local biodiversity as part of their community.

Andrew Kann, headteacher at Castlefield Primary School, was delighted by the event and believes the children will learn a lot from the experience, and commented: “As a school in the local area, the children are going to benefit from playing a part in the planting of the saplings and returning to watch them grow into trees, as well as what wildlife might create long-term homes of the woodland area as a result. We feel it is vital that children grow up understanding nature and the importance of green issues, and this generous tree donation will help us to ensure they are being taught about the importance of sustainability for the future of our environment.”

Main image credit: Hypnos Beds

CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing London Marriott Hotel Kensington

Recommended Supplier Curtis has recently supplied headboards, TV units, wardrobes, desks, vanity shelves and mirrors in London Marriott Hotel Kensington…

In line with the design brief to create a stylish and modern ‘bleisure’ hotel, Curtis was specified to create bespoke furniture for London Marriott Hotel Kensington.

The company supplied furniture in xylocleaf MFC, hand-selected pressed European walnut, including upholstery, and polished stainless steel.

Due to the complexity of the room design for this stunning hotel refurbishment, the client needed to find a supplier whom they could trust to work closely in partnership with the main contractor.

Having worked with the furniture company before, the client chose Curtis to supply the hotel because it is a quality UK-based supplier with large manufacturing capability, it prides itself on having a meticulous project management process, tried and tested since 1998 and its solid partnership approach with a strong customer service record.

“The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail.”

Each room needed to be supplied over four separate visits to allow other contractors, such as decorators and electricians, in to complete their work in the correct sequence.  Curtis, already known to the client for our eagerness to be flexible and provide great customer service, worked in close partnership with the main contractor to ensure our timings fitted into the schedule perfectly.

“The initial stages had tight lead times and Curtis pulled out all the stops to ensure we could get moving as quickly as possible,” explained David Elliott from County Contractors. “We were impressed with how smoothly everything went, and with the quality of finish and fitting of the furniture.”

Curtis manufactured, supplied and installed bespoke furniture, including:

  • Upholstered headboards
  • Gladstone oak MFC TCMF trays with black powder coated legs
  • Statement hand-selected pressed walnut features on TV units, sideboards and wall panels
  • Xylocleaf MFC bedsides
  • Fenix NTM desks, with solid ash legs and mirror panelling
  • Upholstered luggage benches
  • Co-ordinating wardrobe areas with Gladstone oak drawers with leather handles, xylocleaf minibar units and black powder coated hanging rails
  • Metal-framed mirrors with integrated glass vanity shelf.

In the suites, slotted privacy walls and swivel TV units in hand-pressed walnut add to the impressive combination of beauty and function.

The effect of all these different co-ordinating materials is of a luxurious design with consideration given to every detail and how it will impact on the guests’ experience.  Thoughtful design doesn’t come better than this.

Curits 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.

Feature: A well-designed accessible hotel bathroom can look and feel elegant

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: A well-designed accessible hotel bathroom can look and feel elegant

UK Bathrooms investigates the leading bathroom manufacturers who are creating stylish and accessible hotel bathroom products…

The UK hotel business is thriving, and whilst that’s great news – and despite awareness generated by the Blue Badge Access and Style Awards – there is still a lack of genuinely accessible hotel rooms, particularly outside of capital cities.

Despite the demand hoteliers remain wary of creating accessible guestrooms, for fear of putting off non-disabled customers and because of concerns over installation costs. However, they be missing out on significant business opportunities each year. Guests with accessibility needs would certainly travel more, for work or for pleasure, if more accessible rooms were available, businesses are missing out on a huge opportunity to attract a range of potential clients, meeting the needs of all without lessening the experience of existing customers.

“There is absolutely no reason why a well-designed, accessible hotel bathroom cannot look and feel like a luxury upgrade.” – UK Bathrooms

According to UK Bathrooms, one of the leading online store for premium designer bathrooms, there is absolutely no reason why a well-designed, accessible hotel bathroom cannot look and feel like a luxury upgrade. A beautiful, stylish space can be created that appeals to all guests, creatively designed and appealing to everyone, regardless of ability.

With more than 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and a total spending power of £249 billion a year its certainly worth businesses considering investment in this area.

An accessible hotel bathroom can be characterised by certain improvements to comfort along with a number of design options. Intelligent planning of taps, fittings and furnishings is required to create an accessible space.  The bathroom should be large enough for the guest to move around in if they are a wheelchair user and the layout of the room should allow for a clear turning circle of 1500 mm, its also important that the bathroom door opens outwards into the bedroom.

Toilet flush controls should be positioned towards the front of any cistern and on the side that is most easily accessed. Handles should also be easy to grip, and the toilet seat should ideally sit about 400mm from the floor.  A level access shower is often the best option and a shower seat is recommended. Again, easy to grip and accessible controls should be made available.

At UK Bathrooms, accessible bathrooms mean you do not have to compromise on design and comfort. Luxurious, elegant bathrooms can be created using the best in designer bathroom products available. A perfect example of this is the O. Novo Vita collection by Villeroy & Boch.  Its many attractive details blend harmoniously with the bathroom design taking every consideration of comfort, practicality, hygiene and appearance into account. The extended wall mounted toilet from this collection gives a greater degree of accessibility to the toilet space and is easier to reach.

An alternative WC to consider would be the VitrA V care Comfort Intelligent Rimless model. It combines the convenience and ease of a wall mounted WC with the comfort and cleanliness of the bidet. Fitted with an automatic seat and lid that senses approach, its heated seat can be warmed and ready for the ultimate in bathroom luxury and your guest experience.

When it comes to wet room panels, then Matki offer a superb choice, in a variety of sizes, the shower panels offer full flexibility when planning an accessible hotel bathroom yet retaining a stylish elegance.  This Matki Wet Room Shower Panel can be supplied with a shower seat option.  There is also a vast array of walk in shower trays to complete the accessible bathroom and with their ultra-flat design hoteliers can create more room for guests to move around and still retain a luxury feel. Additional features such as a rain shower head will provide the ultimate spa experience.

Don’t forget discreet handles near washbasins, toilet, bidets and showers these can blend harmoniously with the bathroom interior.

Your hotel accessible bathroom will look and feel luxurious to all guests, it will provide a high level of comfort and style ensuring that your business maximises all revenue opportunities.

UK Bathrooms 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: Villeroy & Boch

Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: What is driving the digital bathroom trend?

As Hotel Designs continues to put technology under the spotlight, Nick Brown, hospitality channel manger for GROHE UK, explains why digital modern bathrooms are going to be trending for a while… 

In recent years, the hotel guest experience has undergone a mass transformation.

As seen in Hotel Designs’ Year in Review of the most significant products to launch in 2019, digital technology is now commonplace throughout a hotel from app-based digital check-ins to slick entertainment systems providing music, TV and concierge support at the touch of a button.  The hotel bathroom is the natural next step in the evolution of the smart hotel, offering convenience, comfort and relaxation for the customer. Digital or smart fittings in the bathroom are now being specified to help increase functionality and usability in the bathroom, and in many cases, enhance the luxury atmosphere that so many visitors are now seeking from their travel experiences.

As far as interiors go, it is usually the crème de la crème of hotel designs that spark the trends for residential interiors. However, with digitalisation, the roles have been reversed to some extent. The integration of digital and smart concepts in the home is much more readily available now than they were even a few years ago, and with increased understanding as to their benefits and how to use them, the uptake from the mass market has become more profound. As most consumers are now much more in touch with tech and the digital world, hotels can really benefit from integrating smart features and there is even a growing expectation from savvy travellers for these elements to be included as standard.

“In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms.” – Nick Brown, hospitality channel manager, GROHE UK.

The rise of lifestyle hotel brands over the past few years has certainly helped spur on the desire for digital. Designers of these spaces are instilling character and innovations such as smart technology into both guest rooms and communal areas to create an enhanced, unique atmosphere. These experiential hotels are generating enormous appeal particularly with millennial guests and are consequently being shared in abundance on social media platforms. The hotel bathroom already has its own corner of the social media sphere, with the most luxurious and aspirational designs reaching hundreds of thousands of users around the world. Like bespoke design and idyllic aesthetics, digital products offer this same element of aspiration and can really help create a unique hotel experience, a trend which is trailblasing travel experiences for younger generations.

From the perspective of hoteliers and facility management teams, the trend for digital products in the bathroom stems from growing pressure on hotels to reduce their footprint and integrate fittings that will generate more efficient consumption of water and energy, as well as being mindful of how much single-use plastic waste they are generating. In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms which can be monitored via an app as well as set to run for a limited amount of time, helping to reduce on water consumption and costs whilst preventing against water damage from the tap being accidentally left on.

Many of the leading global hotel groups are beginning to implement their own sustainability targets and initiatives and are therefore turning to suppliers for smart solutions that can help them to reduce consumption without comprising performance as well as use app connectivity to monitor and manage their usage. Hotel conglomerates such as Hilton have subscribed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, which encourages the implementation of 17 targets to be in place by 2030. GROHE and its parent company LIXIL can work hand in hand with hotels supporting these initiatives as it too has pledged its support to the programme.

The challenge for meeting this new trend for digital is that bathroom interior fittings must still be beautiful and elegant, as well as functional and innovative. Each aspect is valued of equal importance and is key to creating an aspirational bathroom setting that will create a lasting memory in the minds of the guests, both for its looks and the experience it offers. Of course, sustainability will remain a dominating factor too as digitalisation continues to transform hotel bathrooms. Guests are becoming more and more conscious of the footprint they leave when travelling and will welcome encouragement from their hotel to help them be more eco-conscious during their stay. In 2020, basin mixers with LED temperature displays will emerge on the market, acting as a subtle but impactful reminder that guests can make small changes such as turning the temperature of their water down by just a few degrees to help reduce their energy consumption. Infra-red operated eco-modes will also be available on basin mixers which will see hotels actively offering guests more conscious choices when it comes to managing their carbon footprint and water usage.

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, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: GROHE UK

UNILIN’s new designs add comfort with nature in surfaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UNILIN’s new designs add comfort with nature in surfaces

UNILIN division panels has unveiled four new decors in its Evola range that work together to bring comforting, calm of nature into commercial surfaces and interiors…

With the growing pressures of a fast-paced world, the need for comforting nature-inspired interiors has surged in popularity, and recently identified in Hotel Designs’ trend forecast for 2020 and beyond.

It is predicted to be a continued key emphasis for designers over the coming months. The light schemes that dominated last year’s trends are eclipsed with the dark and black tones of nature’s varied palettes.

“Using our advanced technology and manufacturing processes, we’ve been able to create an astounding range of calm, nature-inspired ranges that are predicted to be popular for 2020.” – Sofie Coulier, UNILIN division panels.

“Our Evola range, like the fashion, styles and interiors that inspire the range, continues to evolve to satisfy the demands of designers looking to create new frontiers in interiors,” explains Sofie Coulier from UNILIN division panels. “Using our advanced technology and manufacturing processes, we’ve been able to create an astounding range of calm, nature-inspired ranges that are predicted to be popular for 2020.”

Sustaining and refreshing interiors could be attributed to the very practices that UNILIN source their materials. Scratch and stain-resistant, safe from fading and easy to wipe down. All Evola melamine-faced chipboard are made from 100 per cent circular wood, including a minimum 85 per cent recycled content.

Free A4 samples of all Evola decors can be ordered on request from the UNILIN division panels’ website.

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, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: UNILIN

Checking in: Heckfield Place

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Heckfield Place

Former senior stylist for House & Garden and The Brit List Awards 2019 judge, Florence Rolfe, checks in to the award-winning Heckfield Place to discover how the hotel is anything but ‘greenwashing’ in both its design and operation…

I recently received a dream invitation to the highly acclaimed country manor hotel Heckfield Place. Naturally, I obliged.

The Georgian Manor House, which is set within a 438-acre estate, is now a hotel that holds a substantial reputation in the market for its extremely elegant and sophisticated interior style.

Cleverly designed by Ben Thompson (a protégé of Ilse Crawford), a surveillance and understanding of the natural surroundings seem to have inspired a subtle colour palette. Not much pattern to be seen here (which I love), but instead a clever use of varying textures that combine to create a relaxing and peaceful environment for guests.

Located only one hour outside of London, I couldn’t wait to get there. As I approached the spectacular Georgian Manor House I was welcomed by the concierge dressed in a plain, rather cool looking linen pinafore and shirt (designed by cutting edge London based label Egg) who took our bags and offered to park our car for us. We were greeted again in the grand hallway by a member of staff offering a delicious welcome refresher.

Wooden staircase

Image credit: Heckfield Place

No sign of a traditional desk check-in. Instead, we were immediately given a choice of an initial tour of the building or to go straight to our room. Tempted by the sound of murmuring voices at the bar and the smell of a roaring fire, I decided to opt for the latter after arriving in darkness. Corridor walls are lined with carefully curated art works from the owner’s private collection. Windows along the corridor are decorated with delightful white lace sheers for added privacy. Over-sized decorative pots on the window-sills force you to notice their eye-catching shapes and interesting textures.

Every single design element has been so carefully considered. On the approach to our room, the concierge pulled the room key from a small envelope that had my name embossed on it. If that isn’t considered luxury attention to detail,  I don’t know what is! Whilst on the subject of details, the electronic door lock (often very unattractive) has been beautifully disguised behind a plain white linen hoop.

Mustard walls in guest room looking through into bathroom

Image credit: Heckfield Place

As our guide opened the door, an immediate warmth overwhelmed me. I was not only confronted with a few of my favourite interior design comforts, but any amenities that were waiting for us had been so carefully thought about and beautifully styled – a tray of apples and a bag of chestnuts became a work of art. A clear intention to steer away from plastics was consistent throughout the room. Any homemade treats left for us in the minibar were presented in jars (home-made Ribena) or paper bags (containing salted almonds or coconut macaroons).

This was no ordinary minibar: a dark and mysterious, rather chic looking kettle sat on the top with a secret drawer beneath. It cleverly pulls out of the minibar with a connector to hold the kettle.

Coat hooks have been styled with woven baskets that hang ready and waiting for you take to the spa (or to collect any items that you might have foraged from around the grounds). Vases of dried flowers (grown and dried on site) are dotted around the room amongst carefully considered clientele coffee table books – ready for you to fall into a large, comfortable sofa and indulge.

Soft pastel colours on bed and on armchair

Image credit: Heckfield Place

The addition of the Fiddle leaf fig plants are something that I don’t always see in hotel rooms. Effective, as it is now considered that house plants are thought to be a calming influence in a space. A contemporary natural rush woven headboard runs across the width of the bed, creating a back drop that highlights the antique bedside tables on either side. Overall, the bedrooms feel stylish and homely. Everything from the furniture to the lighting to the styling has been carefully thought about with detailed consideration and most importantly with the guest in mind. I really didn’t want leave!

After an extremely peaceful nights sleep, breakfast was only a short walk away. An impressive dining room with full panoramic views of the grounds means that you can sit, relax and enjoy your eggs (collected fresh from the farm earlier) just the way you like them!

After breakfast I took a walk around the ground floor as I was intrigued to explore during the day. Daylight floods in through the main hall and along the corridors bouncing off the grand interior architecture throughout. Two enormous airy yet cosy drawing rooms still adhere to the muted colour palette. Thompson has stuck to linens in soft greys and neutrals on both the curtains and chairs, adding punch here and there with pastel coloured velvet cushions. Fires are lit throughout the day during the winter, making this an ideal spot to sit and enjoy a cuppa after a long country walk.

A wood panelled private dining room with a grand marble fireplace also has full views of the estate. It also hosts an array of beautifully arranged floral arrangements by florist Kitten Grayson, including a stand out dried floral wreath that hangs over an enormous oak dinning table.

I jumped at the chance when I was offered to go on a tour of the farm. Heckfield Place has become well known for its contribution to sustainability and the farm follows biodynamic principles. Guests are advised to wear willies, which are provided for by the hotel –  downstairs you are spoilt for choice with black Hunter wellies laid out for you, in every size possible.

In my opinion good hotel interior design is about creating a home away from home: to feel that you can walk in somewhere and simply fall into bed or onto an extremely comfortable sofa – a peaceful retreat. Heckfield Place seems to have got it just right. The aspirational photography featured on its website and Instagram account is only a hint of the true inspirational experience this place so effortlessly shelters.

Main image credit: Heckfield Place

PARIS PREVIEW: What to expect at MAISON&OBJET and Deco Off 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PARIS PREVIEW: What to expect at MAISON&OBJET and Deco Off 2020

As Paris prepares to welcome designers from around the world for Maison&Objet and Deco Off, editor Hamish Kilburn previews what he expects to be the most significant products to launch at both shows… 

Maison&Objet and Paris Deco Off never fail to attract and engage a large international crowd, and with just days until this year’s shows open, 2020 is going to be no exception.

Despite the two events contrasting in style – one dominating the volume of Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord Villepinte on the outskirts of the city with a variety of brands, and the other spilling out into the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés – together they work harmoniously. As a pair, they are undoubtably two of the hottest events in the design calendar, intriguing more than 80,000 design enthusiasts to descend onto the streets and trawl through the exhibition halls of Paris.

Many would argue, myself included, that both shows have become the go-to destinations to garner and guage the product launches and new styles from leading suppliers that are expected to dominate the market over the course of the rest of the year. It is for that reason, and the fact that there sea of interior design trends flooding the market, why Paris a quality trip worth taking in January if you are looking to cut through the noise for interior inspiration.

However, as someone who has walked the six halls and the narrow streets, it’s wise to approach Maison&Objet and Paris Deco Off as a marathon, and not a sprint. In order to give you a headstart, here are just some of the product launches and new collections that we expect will create the most noise this month.

Zaha Hadid Design: Hall 6 — Stand P38 (M&O)

Image of abstract glass plate

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Design

Interpreting the ordinary into something unexpected. Referencing Zaha Hadid’s process with each new project – ZAHA HADID DESIGN (ZHD) continues to examine its significance within the dialogue of contemporary design by interpreting both the present and the future, and by continuing to share Hadid’s story.

ZHD, which has been led by co-directors Maha Kutay and Woody Yao since 2013, has an extensive cross-disciplinary portfolio which includes design in fashion; jewelry; limited edition furniture; interiors; exhibitions, installations, sculpture, and set-design.

NANOLEAF: Hall 1 — Stand G49 (M&O)

Image of lounge funky lights above comfy sofa

Image Credit: Nanoleaf

Founded in 2012, but only recently exciting the hotel industry with its modular lighting design, is NANOLEAF. The lighting company prides itself on creating innovative lighting solutions that are smarter by design. By infusing artistic design and technological innovations in their products, NANOLEAF brings excitement, convenience, and joy to the way people experience light. NANOLEAF is a green technology and “IoT company” changing the world with innovative lighting solutions.

The newly introduced Unified Light Panels Line with interconnectivity will give users complete design freedom to create all new creative configurations, from abstract geometric layouts to perfect replicas of their favorite characters and shapes. The Unified Hexagons invite users to truly tap into their imagination to personalize their lighting designs.

NARDI: Hall 6 — Stand M111

Birdseye view of pink outdoor furniture

Image credit: Nardi

NARDI Italian manufacturer of outdoor furniture 100 per cent Made in Italy that is furiously waving the sustainability flag. The company, which was founded in 1990 and based in Italy, is specialised in designing and producing high-quality designer furniture in resin for outdoor use in the residential and hospitality sectors. All of its products, designed for people’s wellbeing and relaxation, are made in a production chain that is entirely “Made in Italy” and are eco-friendly. High-quality resin processed using cutting-edge systems is combined with aluminium, synthetic fabrics, padded elements and glass to make products with a design that is original and almost completely recyclable.

OGO Furniture: Hall 6 — Stand C80 (M&O)

An aray of quirky seatsOGO is a brand with roots that comes from the Spanish islands. The mild temperatures have marked the serene and peaceful character of the company’s products, so that guests can enjoy the open air.

Nacho Timón and Ana Llàcer, both Valencian designers, together with the OGO creative team have developed an original collection created to be practical and useful. A key aim for OGO is to not limit designers when decorating a space. Exhibited at the show, LOLA by OGO is a minimalist, versatile and unique piece that is ideal for a contemporary hotel lobby.

PEDRALI: Hall 6 — Stand J2 / K1 (M&O)

Studio image of four varying sized chairs with blue and pink background

Image credit: PEDRALI

Since 1963, PEDRALI has produced seats, tables, complements and lighting exclusively manufactured in Italy through a design process, which combines tradition and innovation, engineering excellence and creative brilliance. The latest collection, Folk, is the result of an accurate research aimed to create industrial design products made of metal, plastic materials, wood as well as upholstery.

Following the cornerstones of a 100 per cent made in Italy production philosophy, the company’s activity is joined by a profitable collaboration with numerous designers that has allowed the company to achieve an award-winning status in the international contract market.

Arte Showroom – 6 Rue de l’Abbaye (Deco Off)

Showroom with large colourful, jungle-like wall

Image credi: Arte

Following the unveiling of an army of new and adventurous collections in 2019 – as well as hosting an insightful roundtable – Arte’s showroom in Paris is preparing to lift the lid on more new wallcoverings for 2020. Arte wallcoverings adorn the walls of both residential homes and project interiors in more than 80 countries worldwide. Every year, an in-house team of experienced designers creates several new collections. All of these new products must be innovative and trendsetting while also being of superior quality. The wallcoverings vary from urbain sophistication to dramatic exuberance, but they always retain the same tasteful elegance.

If 2019’s eclectic mix of surfaces is anything to go by, then the showroom will be well worth a visit during Paris Deco Off.

Designers Guild – 4 Rue Vide Gousset (Deco Off)

Residential set with grey sofa and plants

Image credit: Designers Guild

Designers Guild is introducing a distinctive new season abundant with an elegant mellow richness. Spring 2020 examines the influence of the early twentieth century garden designers and their innovative use of natural wild planting – pushing the boundaries of style just as its artistic and literary counterparts of the Aesthetic Movement also did. Discover a decorative fabric collection of floral prints, elaborate embroideries and complex geometrics, plus versatile textured wallpapers and four new plain and essential fabric textures. Imagined in every organic hue, from earthy sepia, birch and hemp, to celadon, emerald and topaz with hints of azalea and turmeric. With beautiful new home accessories too, a new paint collection inspired by the soft, soothing shades of nature and new collections from the company’s brands.

Jab Anstoetz – 25 Rue du Mail (Deco Off)

Yellow and pastel coloured chairs around white modern table

Image credit: Jab

Since 1946, Jab Anstoetz has been showing its true colours in textile furnishings at the highest level of quality. The Bielefeld-based group of company’s portfolios is continuously growing, setting new trends in interior decoration with a sure instinct. Among its range: textile furnishings, wallpapers, flooring lines (carpets, wall-to-wall carpets, LVT), high-quality curtain rods, blinds and panels, upholstered furniture as well as exclusive accessories.

Jean Paul Gaultier – 325 Rue Saint-Martin (Deco Off)

Colourful chair and curtain in front of leaves

Image credit: Jean Paul Gaultier

This time the influences in Jean Paul Gaultier’s new collections are taken from the pop universe, where the fortune teller and the work of the macrame makers blend naturally into magical landscapes of floral opulence and the third dimension and other graphic waves. The introduction of the first two outdoor fabrics continue the mix of playing with nature, but still with a nod to the influence of pop and even rock.

Kobe – (Deco Off)

Modern furniture with glass windows

Image credit: Kobe

Kobe is a successful editor of soft furnishing fabrics and wall-coverings for domestic and contract interior markets and will be among the leading suppliers exhibiting in the neighbourhood during Paris Deco Off. Kobe has showrooms and offices in major European cities and has a passion for interior design is paramount, with a strong focus on innovative high-quality products.

Rubelli – 11 Rue de l’Abbaye (Deco Off)

Catering for all contract needs, Rubelli is keeping tight-lipped around the launch of its new textile and wallcovering collections in Paris later this month. The company is, however, promising us new textures and new colours that are both smart and iconic, timeless as well as contemporary. The collection will be one to be seen, to be touched, to be experienced, to be loved. Following last year’s show, where the company launched a colourful display of new textiles, wallcoverings and partnerships, the showroom is expected to be among one of the most popular during Paris Deco Off 2020.

Zimmer + Rhode (Deco Off)

Green and yellow armchair in front of red backdrop

Image credit: Zimmer + Rohde

Raising the curtain on the ZR autumn collection – CIRCUS. The CIRCUS collection combines spectacle with precision and skill, whisks you away to a magical world, and shows that a great passion lies behind every true virtuoso.

If you or a company you know of are launching a new product or collection in Paris later this month, and you would like it featured on the Hotel Designs website, then please contact the editorial desk with description and high-res images.

Main image credit: Kobe

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Concept to completion: Journey to design Conrad Punta de Mita

In the first article of the first concept-to-completion series of the year, Hotel Designs exclusively invites SB Architects explain the unique design concept of Conrad Punta de Mita, which is slated to open later this year…

Situated within what is being called ‘Mexico’s next major ‘it’ destination’, Riviera Nayarit, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is months away from opening.

Render of the building, featuring the outside f&b areas and the exterior of the rooms

Co-developers HRV Hotel Partners and Contact Development Company envisioned a modern design and destination that highlights and enhances the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

In 2016, architecture firm SB Architects was commissioned to transform the former La Tranquila Resortin Punta de Mita, Mexico to redesign and refresh the existing buildings to become Conrad Punta de Mita. The brief included repositioning the lobby and lobby bar, as well as the addition of new low-rise guest room buildings. In answer to the ever-evolving food and wellness travel market, the firm was asked to also design a three-meal restaurant, specialty restaurant, pool bar and grill, beach grill, sunset bar, adult pool bar, spa, and conference centre.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Riviera Nayarit boasts more than 200 miles of sun-kissed beaches, provides a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains, and is one of the only places in the world where you can find all four groups of mangroves; White, Red, Black and Buttonwood.

“People and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.”

One of SB Architects earliest and clearest project goals was to create a rejuvenating resort that places people at the centre of the design and harnesses the ambiance of the site. Weaving Conrad Hilton’s key brand attributes into the design, people and place were the primary sources of inspiration, drawing from the rich, multi-cultural identity of Riviera Nayarit.

People thrive best in environments that allow them to connect authentically to nature and the sophisticated, the contemporary architectural design, with seamless transitions between interior and exterior spaces, provides a fluid, natural and relaxed guest experience. Dovetailing with the dramatic scenery, resort bungalows, pavilions, and cabanas are nestled in coastal vegetation, overlooking ponds or the Pacific Ocean beaches and Litibu Bay coves. Influenced by Mexico’s rich history and unique culture, indigenous artwork integrates with luxurious amenities to create a sense of barefoot resort elegance. In each motif lies a story, a statement and a valued part of the local Mexican identity.

Image caption/credit: Render of exterior spa | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

A tranquil respite from Mexico City’s energetic pace, the 324-key hotel boasts serene natural landscapes, aquamarine waters, and uninhabited isles. Facilities include three dining venues, three pools; adult, family, activity; spa and 45,000 square feet of combined function space; including 30,000 square feet outdoor event space, 10,000 square-foot ballroom, and 3,000 square feet of breakout rooms, each with ample pre-function terraces.

Hotel Designs continues to follow the project, through concept to completion, as it heads towards its official opening later this year.

Main image credit: SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

render of the exterior of the building

Six Senses to arrive in London in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to arrive in London in 2023

The hotel, which will mark Six Senses’ debut in the UK, will reside in the iconic former Whiteleys department store in West London…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced the brand’s highly anticipated debut property in the UK with the opening of Six Senses London in 2023. Residing in the former art deco department store – Whiteleys – in Bayswater, West London, the 110-key hotel will  celebrate the building’s origins, while making space for modern living and shelter a Six Senses Spa.

render of the exterior of the building

Inspired by the building’s origins, the interiors of Six Senses London will be designed by internationally celebrated AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects EPR and combine nostalgic nods to classical detailing and art deco along with modern streamlining. To add a touch of local culture to the preserved Great Exhibition mood, contemporary art from British artists will be showcased throughout the hotel.

The redevelopment of Whiteleys is headed by a Meyer Bergman-advised fund, with the preeminent residential real estate developer Finchatton as development manager. In collaboration with the British architectural firm, Foster + Partners, renowned for its eco credentials and responsible design approach as architect, this historic landmark will become a sensitively restored mixed-use development. The original Grade II façade, central courtyard and dome will all be preserved, as will the majestic internal staircase (modelled on the La Scala opera house in Milan), which features as the centerpiece on the ground floor of the hotel.

“Much of the lobby’s character derives from its verdant, elegant and eclectic style.”

The Six Senses brand philosophy of connection to people and nature is central to the convivial and biophilic tone of the ground floor. It will feature a cosy lobby bar and lounge, all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen and seating area in the courtyard. Much of the lobby’s character derives from its verdant, elegant and eclectic style. Imaginative planting, textured fabrics, bespoke flooring, reclaimed wood furniture and upholstery in natural tones with glass display cabinets flanking its walls cleverly bring about coziness in 1,300 square metres of public space which encourages guests to socialise, eat, play or simply be.

“I feel nostalgic when talking about Whiteleys. I grew up in the neighborhood and my parents used to bring me here,” says Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs. “It is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to this heritage and bring our brand values to life in this part of town, while celebrating our first port of call for Six Senses in the UK.”

In today’s hyper-connected world and stressed lifestyle, the Six Senses Spa will play an integral part in the hotel’s offering. In a space reminiscent of an old-fashioned London underground station, the spa journey will mirror the different energies of the city life, from the sensory stimulation and movement of the street to the stillness and calm of a quiet café or park. In this way, lively and vibrant areas flow into more serene and silent ones to offer energising and restorative sensations; a perfectly balanced environment in which to achieve overall well-being. On the second floor, residents and members will access a new kind of social and wellness club. Away from the density and intensity of the city, this space will feature a central bar and lounge, coworking spaces, a restaurant and wellness rooms, and offer pioneering programme to encourage growth, reflection and reconnection.

Marcus Meijer, Chief Executive Officer of Meyer Bergman commented: “We are very excited to announce the partnership with Six Senses. It’s a key element in the transformation of Whiteleys as well as the wider Queensway regeneration plan. The Six Senses brand stands for luxury, design, wellness and sustainability, values that form the keystone of our vision for this vibrant part of London.”

With unrivaled experience in delivering intelligent and inspiring urban solutions, Meyer Bergman is a privately-owned real estate investment management firm with a portfolio of real estate projects across Europe and the US. London head-quartered Finchatton specialises in creating bespoke homes for the world’s most discerning clientele around the world.

Main image credit: Lightfield for Foster + Partners

Resort in the Cayman Islands achieves Silver LEED certification

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Resort in the Cayman Islands achieves Silver LEED certification

Developed by Dart and designed by SB Architects, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and The Residences at Seafire in the Cayman Islands have achieved LEED Silver sustainability certification…

Following a rigorous certification process, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and The Residences at Seafire have achieved LEED Silver certification, becoming the first resort in the Cayman Islands to be awarded the sustainability certification.

“LEED certification provides a thorough framework to create environmentally responsible, resource-efficient and cost-saving green buildings,” said Cameron Graham, Dart President of Development Delivery. “As testament to Dart’s commitment to sustainable development in the Cayman Islands, both the resort and residences feature best-in-class green design and construction.”

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

Maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a globally recognised green building rating system that provides third-party verification for sustainable design, building practices and operations.

As one of less than 200 LEED Silver certified resort-residential properties worldwide, Seafire conserves natural resources through the use of geothermal air conditioning, sustainable LED lighting, a 170 kilowatt solar array, rainwater harvesting and extensive native landscaping.

The goal for SB Architects when they first received the architecture brief in 2012 was to craft a modern Caribbean aesthetic that sets the tone for future development along Seven-Mile Beach and across Grand Cayman. As the designers of the tallest structure on the island to date, the team mindful of our responsibility to create an authentic architectural language that responds to the site, light, views and water, while setting an appropriate tone as the island looks to its future.

The 10-story structures were designed in a contemporary architectural language, with an emphasis on clean lines, simple massing, horizontal design elements and expanses of glass. Angled balconies along the long wing of the hotel building capture views and ocean breezes. Horizontal roofs are true to the contemporary aesthetic, yet sculptural elements that pop upward and outward break up the roof plane and soften the rooflines as they touch the sky. A multitude of details – trellises, angled balconies, structural elements that form a series of frames – create an intricate interplay of light and shadow across the facades that will change constantly throughout the day so that no single view the hotel looks exactly the same. In harmony with the ethos of the hotel’s sustainable aims, natural wood and stone soften the angles, bring warmth to the structures and ground the resort in the natural environment.

bar designed in natural wood overlooking the sea

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

As Kimpton Hotels’ first resort property, the resort was designed to reflect the playful spirit and welcoming atmosphere of the brand. The landscape design, which fills the void between the architectural masses, is inspired by the flow of water and natural island breezes that flow through the property. Pathways, retaining walls, plantings and pool edges follow undulating lines as they make their way from the hotel entry to the sea.

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

“In addition, the project features several examples of recycled materials,” Graham added. “Concrete from the demolition of the former Courtyard Marriott hotel was recycled into fill material for the new site, and the Community Bike and Walking Trail uses pavers made with recycled glass produced at Dart’s glass crushing facility.”

The more than 32,000 plants featured in the landscaping around the resort were sourced from Dart’s nursery and include a number of indigenous and native plants.

Dart’s growing hotel portfolio also includes The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Comfort Suites and Le Soleil d’Or in Cayman Brac.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

gold hue in room full of ice and a bed

In Pictures – 30th Icehotel opens in Lapland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Pictures – 30th Icehotel opens in Lapland

Hotel Designs receives the first images as the original Icehotel opens in Lapland for the winter season with spectacular new designs and features to celebrate its 30th anniversary…

Built from 30,000 cubic metres of ice, which is the equivalent of 110 million ice creams, the iconic Icehotel in Swedish Lapland has opened its doors for another winter season. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the hotel shelters new layouts, suite designs, activities and features including a special ice-carved observation deck built above the hotel.

gold hue in room full of ice and a bed

It has been 30 years since Icehotel founder Yngve Bergqvist started a journey that would lead to the world’s first hotel made entirely out of snow and ice and during this time more than one million guests from all continents of the world have visited. The latest incarnation of the hotel is now open until the ice melts in the spring and the water returns to the Thorne river.

33 artists from 16 countries have spent an intense couple of weeks in the village of Jukkasjärvi, creating the hotel (made entirely out of ice and snow from the free-flowing Torne River) under the guidance of the hotel’s new Creative Director Luca Roncoroni.

Bar made from ice

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

This includes two British teams; father and daughter duo Jonathan and Marnie Green and professional sculptor Robert Harding, both of which have created Art Suites for Icehotel before.

The Green family’s suite is themed around a West End production called A Night at the Theatre, with ice-carved curtains, reindeers waiting in the wings, an impressive scale model of the hotel entrance in the centre and a frozen bed nestled amongst miniature theatre seats in the auditorium, with six life-size ice seats for guests to sit on behind.

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

Harding’s Bone Room celebrates the natural melting process of the Icehotel each spring as it slowly dissolves back into the Torne River, and aims to highlight the beauty found in the cycle of life with giant ice-carved bone sculptures overlooking the frozen bed, each glowing from within thanks to an under-floor white light.

Image credit: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

The Main Hall “Brutalism” celebrates the construction of the hotel, the Ceremony Hall “Gingko” plays homage to the Chinese Ginkgo Tree (which symbolises hope, strength, longevity) and features 30 stars carved into the ceiling, one for each year of Icehotel, whilst the IceBar “TorneLand” is a tribute to the hotel’s 30 years of frozen fun, with ice-carved roller-coasters, games and hot air balloons surrounding the bar.

The full list to artists are as follows:

Main Hall: Brutal Experience
Jens Thoms Ivarsson: designer, artist and previous Creative Director at Icehotel,
Mats Nilsson: Stonemason and craftsman

Ceremony Hall: Gingko
Nina Kauppi: design studio owner, Sweden
Johan Kauppi: design studio owner, Sweden

IceBar: Torneland
Luc Vosin: landscape artist and interior designer, France
Mathieu Brison: urban planner, artistic director and architect

The Day After
Marjolein Vonk: art director, stylist and artist, Netherlands
Maurizio Perron: sculptor and artist, Italy

Subterranean
Jörgen Westin: artist and industrial designer, Sweden
Daniel Rosenbaum: artist and designer, Australia/ Canada

Feline Lair
Brian McArthur: artist and sculptor, Canada
Dawn Detarando: artist and sculptor, Canada

Ruossut- The Light You Can Hear
Anna Öhlund: photographer, sculptor and artist, Sweden
John Pettersson: lighting designer, Sweden

Clear Water
AnnaSofia Mååg: artist and sculptor, Sweden
Niklas Byman: entrepreneur and former Icehotel ice-production technician, Sweden

ECHOS of the Torne River
Francisco Cortés Zamudio: artist, Chile/Germany

White Santorini
Haemee Han: designer and landscape architect, USA/South Korea
Jaeyual Lee: architect, USA

Bone Room
Robert Harding: artist and sculptor, UK/South Africa/Spain

Spring Dream
ZhaoLei: artist and sculptor, China
ZhaoYong: artist and sculptor, China

Golden Ice
Nicolas Triboulot: designer, France
Jean-Marie Guitera: sound and game designer, Australia

Kaleidoscope
Natsuki Saito: ice sculptor, architect, designer, Japan
Shingo Saito: ice sculptor, Japan

A Night At The Theatre
Jonathan Paul Green: production designer, UK
Marnie Green: art student, UK

Tip Of The iceberg
Franziska Agrawal: industrial designer and artist, Germany

Warm Up
Tomasz Czajkowski: interior designer, Poland
Aleksandra Pasek: psychologist and writer, Poland

The 6th Feeling
Vladimir Barsukov: sculptor and photographer, Russia
Ekaterina Barsukova: designer and sculptor, Russia

To mark the 30th anniversary, the hotel has built a special ice-carved observation deck, offering views of the surrounding frozen landscape across the Torne River from which the ice is harvested. Plus, the hotel has also built a new sculpture at the enterence to the winter hotel; a four-metre tall tower that guests can climb.

Main image: Asaf Kliger/Icehotel

Year In Review: Hotel Designs’ top products of 2019 (Part 2)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Year In Review: Hotel Designs’ top products of 2019 (Part 2)

Hotel Designs continues looking back to reflect on some of the major statement products of 2019 with part two of its Year in Review of the best products to have launched in the last 11 months (edited by Hamish Kilburn)… 

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit in the company of design legend Marcel Wanders. While discussing his latest innovations, he effortlessly defined the relationship between suppliers and designers perfectly.

He said, and I quote: “Designing a product is much like creating a new word in an empty sentence. 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.”

This almost accidental explaination somehow put a new perspective on how I view and consume the news of product launches. Much like expanding ones vocabublary on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs HQ, following the latest products that emerge in the arena of international hotel design is a never-ending journey full of discovery.

I for one am looking forward to seeing how designers and architects use these products to create, as Wanders would describe, perfectly balanced sentences that are perminantly inked onto the pages of a well-rounded collection of hotel design poetry.

Following part one, which was published earlier this month, here’s part two of our Year in Review:

LG and Foster + Partner’s game-changeing LED TV

Launched during Milan Design Week, architectural firm Foster + Partners unveiled the world’s first rollable OLED TV in reaction to the rising demand for discreet technology. Raising the bar in consumer technology, the new LG SIGNATURE OLED TV R, the world’s first rollable TV.

The practice designed the TV’s external geometry and finishes as well as playing an active part in creating specific internal mechanisms. The screen technology is set to redefine the idea of the television and the living spaces it occupies.

Signbox’s sustainable solution

Gold sign with Bamboo edges

Image credit: Signbox

Hybrid from Signbox is a premium modular outdoor sign system that combines the relentlessly durable and sustainable qualities of exterior-grade composite bamboo with powerful materials, such as painted MDF, glass and slate, that bring both sign scheme and setting to life.

Phillipe Starck’s new vanity and mirror line with Duravit

Mirror and modern basin

Image credit: Duravit/Philippe Stark

The bathroom line by Duravit and Philippe Starck  launched in August, unveiling compact designs that claimed to accommodate any bathroom, particularly with hospitality and commercial spaces in mind. Cape Cod Guest exudes the same aesthetic as its predecessor but is now available with a narrower vanity and mirror, bringing larger-than-life design into more intimate spaces.

Minotti London’s indoor/outdoor 2019 collection

luxe and modern furniture

Image credit: Minotti London

Hot off the heels of being at the centre of the action as the style partner for Meet Up London, Minotti has yet again raised the level of furniture design with the unveiling of its 2019 Collection during Milan Design Week.

Collection after collection, year after year, Minotti’s unquenchable passion can be sensed from all corners of the design-hub city.

For the 2019 Collection, the furniture company conceived a new stylistic code, a new vision of the interior with surprising suggestions and atmospheres which play host to our new designs. Its intention is to provide food for thought in a surprising, creative, practical and dynamic way, to all those who choose our brand around the world.

The new collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, brings a new vision of the living area to life, in which seating systems and furniture outline structured spaces and reveal new geometries in a continuous alternation of curves and straight lines. The result is a surprising variety of compositional solutions featuring unexpected combinations of textures and materials.

Knightsbridge celebrated 80 years with collaboration with Timorous Beasties

New to 2019, Knightsbridge exhibited its Caravelle collection at Sleep & Eat 2019, which was redeveloped to celebrate Knightsbridge’s 80thanniversary and its rich history, taking influence from a past mid-century piece of furniture.

The Caravelle collection consists of an armchair, two-seater and three-seater settee that have the clean lines and organic curves that the period became renowned for. It’s deep seat cushion provides a luxurious seat whilst the beautiful clean styling allows it to be specified into workplace, hospitality and care sectors. The collection is covered with exquisite fabric featuring jungle creatures and foliage from visionary textile designers Timorous Beasties.

Crosswater’s unique, high-signature finishes

Colourful bathroom

Image credit: Crosswater

Bathroom manufacturer Crosswater’s high-quality signature finishes and textures enable hotels to express their own brand through their bathroom designs. Combined with lighting and interior design elements, each bathroom can be created to perfectly suit the personality of the hotel, often without the need to change existing sanitaryware.

Twists and turns from Christopher Hyde

Image credit: Christopher Hyde

A new handmade pendant ‘The Lucerne’ is a satin brass adjustable frame incorporating LED with bubble glass. “This exciting new piece is great for over tables and bars and will compliment and be a talking point for any interior,” said the brand in a press release.

Meanwhile, the dynamic collection of the ‘Granada’ and ‘Seville’ lights has captured a different take on the Christopher Hyde Brand. With inner finishes available in gold, silver and copper leaf these lights are given added luxury.  This exciting collection comes with LED lighting technology.

If you know of a product you believe should be involved in Hotel Designs’ ultimate throwback, please email h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk

render of hotel in the middle of water next to snow-capped mountains

The world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel to open in 2022

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel to open in 2022

The 99-key Svart hotel will incorporate stilted, circular design, and will be positioned atop of the Holandsfjorden Fjord, allowing guests to enjoying an unparalleled 360-degree view of the Svartisen Glacier…

The world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, Svart, will open in Norway’s Arctic Circle in 2022. The property will have a 360-degree view of the Svartisen glacier and the sensational Northern Lights. A low-impact, ground-breaking design will allow the project to produce more energy than it uses, consuming approximately 85 per cent less energy than a traditional hotel.

render of hotel in the middle of water next to snow-capped mountains

The 99-room property will shelter a total of four restaurants, a 1,000-square-metre spa, two electric boats, a sustainable farm, an education centre and a design laboratory on-site.

landscape image of the hotel in the water aside the mountains

Image credit: Snøhetta Plompmozes Miris

Located deep within the arctic wilderness of Norway’s Meløy municipality, Svart will perch atop the crystal-clear waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord, at the base of the glacier itself. A glass-fronted, circular design will provide a panoramic view of the fjord, glacier and in the winter months, the spectacular Northern Lights, all without compromising on guests’ privacy.

“The hotel will be built upon a weather-resistant wooden supporting structure.”

Inspired by the Norwegian Fiskehjell (a wooden structure used to dry fish) and Rorbue (a fisherman’s traditional seasonal home), the hotel will be built upon a weather-resistant wooden supporting structure. This will be constructed using poles that stretch several meters below the fjord’s surface, dissolving the boundary between land and fjord. This ensures zero land impact and reduces seabed disruption to the absolute minimum.

A collaboration between MIRIS, Snøhetta and Powerhouse, Svart will be the world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel, meaning it will produce more energy than it uses. It aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and zero waste within the first five years of operation.

To reach these sustainability goals, several cutting-edge design choices have been made. Architects working on the project first conducted an extensive mapping-out of how solar radiation behaves in relation to mountainous context throughout the year, in order to optimise energy output. The findings influenced the design of the hotel, with hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces strategically placed within a circular design to exploit the sun’s energy no matter the time of day or season.

The hotel’s roof will be clad with Norwegian solar panels that were produced using clean, hydro-energy. This will further reduce overall carbon footprint, while energy-intensive building materials such as structural steel and concrete have been avoided as much as possible.

Guests and visitors will be able to discover the science and technology behind the making of Svart in the hotel’s very own education centre and design laboratory. The centre will demonstrate these processes on a smaller scale as well as educate on waste management, glacier protection and sustainable farming.

The 1000-square-metre, indoor-outdoor spa will offer a variety of holistic treatments, from the traditional and Norwegian, to the medically and technologically cutting-edge. All Svart therapists will use 100 per cent sustainable, locally-sourced products.

Guests of Svart will enjoy exhilarating arctic experiences year-round, from ice climbing on the glacier to practicing yoga in the midnight sun. Svartâ’s two electric boats will be charged by the surplus energy produced by the hotel, and will provide transfers by water.

The hotel’s wooden supporting structure will also double up as a boardwalk to be enjoyed during Summer, also acting as a storage space for boats and kayaks which guests can take to the water from directly beneath their hotel room.

Main image credit: Snøhetta Plompmozes Miris

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection arrives in the Seychelles

North Island in the Seychelles joins The Luxury Collection as the portfolio’s first private island destination…

Following Marriott International’s ambitious plans to unveil more than 30 new luxury hotels in 2019, The Luxury Collection has announced the arrival of North Island, Seychelles into its portfolio of world-renowned hotels and resorts. With just 11 villas, Africa’s most exclusive private island is located 30 kilometres from the mainland and is accessible by a scenic helicopter flight or an hour boat ride, giving guests an immediate sense of escapism.

make-shift picnic with red cushions on the beach overlook undisturbed ocean

Following its history as a coconut plantation, the granitic island is now a sanctuary for endangered species; luminous beaches and clear blue seas welcome nesting sea turtles, and the Palm forests are home to giant Aldabra tortoises and rare Seychelles white-eye birds.

The island has been expertly designed and with pioneering conservation programs, offers the highest standards of hospitality, earning them status as an award-winning sustainable travel destination. With a mission to demonstrate that luxury with a conscience can co-exist, sustainability lies at the heart of North Island’s philosophy and will be further embraced and supported with The Luxury Collection. The operational responsibility of the resort will remain with ASMALLWORLD, the world’s leading travel & lifestyle community.

“North Island has always skilfully combined a sustainable and environmentally conscious management philosophy with the ambition to provide a truly immersive, barefoot-luxury experience,” said CEO of ASMALLWORLD, Jan Luescher. “Whilst maintaining our identity and ethos, our work with The Luxury Collection will allow us to maximise our awareness in our continued efforts in pioneering sustainable luxury travel.”

Eleven private guest and family villas line the island; each villa has been created using local materials harvested during the island’s rehabilitation process, expertly balancing luxury and simplicity. An haute-couture Robinson Crusoe aesthetic has been applied through interiors celebrating the sheer indulgence of volume and space.

“We’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.” – Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham.

“North Island is one of the most rare and luxurious destinations in the world, making it a natural fit for The Luxury Collection and our global explorers who seek authentic experiences and connections to both pristine nature and elevated personalisation,” added Global Brand Leader at The Luxury Collection, Anthony Ingham. “This is the first private island within The Luxury Collection portfolio, and we’re delighted to be expanding our footprint of captivating destinations with storied pasts and protected futures.”

The island not only offers a calming refuge from the modern world, but also an invigorating, refreshing getaway connected to the island’s natural beauty. Aquatic explorers can take part in snorkeling, diving, fishing, sunset cruises, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing. Bespoke guided excursions for those looking to explore the granite peaks or coral reefs are also available. Whilst on land, forest trails can be explored by foot, bicycle or private buggy, or guests can simply relax on one of the island’s four pristine beaches located at each end of the compass. The island is also the ultimate playground for families and children, with a Beach Buddy program tailormade to interests and hobbies. Parents are invited to take part, or can find their own relaxation whilst children remain supervised.

The North Island Spa is dwarfed by giant granite peaks, enjoys an open sea breeze and overlooks turquoise waters. Guests are invited to the spa on arrival where they are immediately immersed in ‘island life’ with each tailor-made treatment starting with a ‘barefoot ritual’. A private consultation to create a bespoke spa experience is then formulated as part of a holistic journey of visual and textural contrasts, arousing the senses and rejuvenating mind, body and soul.

Main image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Concept of huts on an island

CASE STUDY: Design story of eco hut concept in Finland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Design story of eco hut concept in Finland

Revolutionary wooden eco cabins in Finland carefully specifies products in order to create a functional space that is modern and timeless…

Following an eco study showing that 76 per cent of holidaymakers felt as if hotels could do more to be greener, a new eco-friendly concept of wooden cabins has been designed to revolutionise our way of living, which could also inspire fundamental change on the international hotel design scene.

 

Concept of huts on an island

Majamaja is a range of prefabricated, eco-friendly, self-sufficient wooden cabins. At just 25 square metres, each space ensures guests have everything they need to live comfortably without depleting the Earth’s resources.

Complete with solar cells on the roof to provide electricity for the lamps and a water tank under the floor to provide clean drinking water, the thought process behind the revolutionary invention started with the concept of designing a completely self-contained holiday cabin. It had to be 25 metres square and when guests stepped through the door everything they needed had to be easily accessible. For example, the dining table is also a bed that can in turn disappear into the wall to create additional space. Guests can take a shower or cook in the knowledge that you are not drawing unnecessarily on the planet’s scarce resources.

Image of hut on the beach

Image credit: Majamaja/Unidrain

The man behind this eco-friendly living space ‘Majamaja’ is the Finnish architect Pekka Littow, from the architectural agency Littow Architectes. “The island has not been civilised,” he said. “That means no infrastructure, no sewerage etc. So I started to think about how to build a home in a place like this. I drew inspiration from various places, including the military’s use of off-grid systems, and came up with the idea for this cabin where the thinking is ‘less is more’. The cabins are self- sufficient, while everything is super-functional and takes up as little space as possible. Fixtures and technology are combined in different ways.”

The result is a collection of wooden houses that run on solar energy and have water tanks that purify and re-use the water. “The cabins are ideal for those parts of the world where clean drinking water andsewerage are far from the norm,” said Tuomas Autio, one of the co-founders. “We have built a few cabins in Helsinki, with more on the way, but our goal is to create Majamaja villages all over the globe. Theenvironment will really thank us for that.”

“I have chosen to install linear drains from Unidrain, as they are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.” – Pekka Littow, Littow Architectes

While the invention may be Finnish, Danish design is well represented in the form of minimalist linear drains from Unidrain, which are a perfect fit for the small cabins, where less is more. “The Danish design style, which is very minimalist, fits very well into these homes,” added Littow. “I have chosen to install linear drains from Unidrain, as they are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The dimensions fit so well that I was able to design the shower cubicle around the drain. The result is really great and I am getting good feedback on it.”

image of shower drain and bottle of shower gel

Image credit: Unidrain

The sustainable cabins come in prefabricated kits as they have adjustable feet, none of the cabins need foundations; which allows them to be easily erected wherever required.

Main image credit: Majamaja

Hotel specifies flooring made from 540 recycled bottles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel specifies flooring made from 540 recycled bottles

The newly rebranded DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa, which has just opened in the historic spa town, has specified a revolutionary carpet underlay company that uses recycled bottles within its flooring solutions… 

The newly rebranded DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa, which has just opened in the historic spa town, has specified SpringBond as the underlay of choice in its transformed spa facility.

Following a £15m programme of refurbishment throughout the hotel, the Harrogate Spa now has 540 recycled plastic bottles sitting under its carpeted areas.

Used in the relaxation lounge, SpringBond, which is manufactured in Yorkshire, fits with the spa’s desire to incorporate the rich heritage of the region, and bolsters its sustainability credentials as well as improving indoor air quality.

Following approval from four world leading adhesives companies – FBall, Uzin, Ardex and Xchem – SpringBond FR, SpringBond’s heavy contract double stick underlay system, is going from strength to strength in the hospitality and leisure sector.

Close up of man fitting the carpet underlay

Image credit: SpringBond

Launched at the Harrogate Flooring Show and during the INDEX Exhibition in Dubai in September, SpringBond FR is ideal for use in hotels, hospitality and leisure establishments. The revolutionary carpet underlay is available in 7mm for double stick or stretch fit applications and is made from recycled PET plastic bottles (up to 120 per roll) and other single use plastics, offering maximum performance with minimum environmental impact.

“SpringBond is a perfect alternative to PU foam,” said James Taylor, Managing Director of SpringBond. “It’s a greener and safer choice when compared to many traditional underlays so is getting the attention of a lot of hotel brands, especially, at the moment, with consumers becoming savvier about brands’ green credentials. We’re in a fortunate position to have such a topical product and are looking forward to demand continuing to increase.”

SpringBond underlay is fully recyclable at the end of its usable life – creating a closed-loop manufacturing cycle – and contains no harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds), promoting better air quality in buildings.

The company is a partner of non-profit organisation Plastic Oceans, which addresses plastic pollution.

Main image credit: DoubleTree by Hilton

World Architecture Festival 2019 welcomes 2,300 professionals

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
World Architecture Festival 2019 welcomes 2,300 professionals

World Architecture Festival 2019, sponsored by GROHE, welcomed 2,300 professionals from 75 countries and hosted 39 exhibitors…

At this year’s World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, founder sponsor GROHE celebrated another year of success, welcoming more than 1,000 visitors from the international architecture and design world to its dynamic booth.

“We are proud to be a part of some of this year’s nominees for the Building of the Year Award,” says Stefan Schmied, Vice President Global Projects Grohe AG. “Being able to contribute to some of the finest buildingsaround the world continues to be an inspiration and an honour. We are very happy to see those buildings getthe professional acclaim they deserve.” One of the annual highlights of the festival is the announcement of the World Building of the Year 2019, which was this year awarded to LocHal Public Library in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The scheme was designed by Civic Architects (lead architect), Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau and Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse.

Blue and yellow stand

Image credit: GROHE

A platform for professional exchange

As founder sponsor of the festival, GROHE values WAF as a key opportunity to meet with the industry’s topspecialists and, of course, potential partners and customers. As in years past, the 2019 festival proved that the event is the place to be when it comes to professional networking and exchange about innovations, trends, and future developments in architecture and the built environment. “As founding sponsor, GROHE is thrilled and immensely proud to see how WAF has developed over the years,” says Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LIXIL. “What makes this festival so unique is the ability to engage in discussions with architects from all over the world and explore developing macro trends such as urbanisation, sustainability, health and wellbeing. We’d like to thank the architectural community for the positive feedback to the products we have shown at our booth. Many of our solutions have been createdfrom the insights we’ve gathered in the previous years.”

Investing in the future of water

As one of the most sustainable brands of the sanitary sector, GROHE is dedicated to supporting research that explores the future of saving and preserving our water. As part of its efforts, GROHE has been donating money for the Water Research Prize which was awarded at WAF this year for the second time. This year, the researchinitiative “Recycle Build Brazil” convinced the jury including Paul Finch, Programme Director, WAF; Paul Flowers, Chief Design Officer LIXIL and Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands with their proposed sustainable architectural solutions for a school in the Brazilian Saõ José dos Campos area. By using recycled materials and implementing intelligent rainwater harvesting systems, the project not only improves the lives of the schoolchildren but also raises awareness of their interaction with water. Starting with the school building as a pilot project, there is also a longer-term proposal for the enhancement of 400 local low-income housing units.

The Water Research Prize is based on the WAF Manifesto. It describes the most important challenges for architects within the next ten years. Proper handling of water is a top priority, which is also a key commitment for GROHE.

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, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Civic architects, Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau, Inside Outside – Petra Blaise Stijn Bollaert

COMO Cocoa Island reopens in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
COMO Cocoa Island reopens in the Maldives

The iconic resort in the Maldives makes a powerful statement about luxury to enhance simplicity, wellness and balance…

COMO Cocoa Island will reopen to guests after a substantial renovation on January 9 2020. The resort’s 2019 renovation emphasises the island’s natural elegance, while giving guests even more space and time to focus on their wellbeing. “The moment I first encountered Cocoa, something about its spirit snagged me,” says Christina Ong, owner of COMO Hotels and Resorts.

 “When I walked to the end of the island, and looked back along its sandbank, it felt so graceful and healing — an effect I wanted to amplify for every guest when I first created the resort in 2002.”

The island had previously belonged to a German photographer called Eric Klemm. Since the 1970s, Klemm had let the palms grow. The wild hibiscus was thriving. The lagoon was so healthy, its waters were favoured as a breeding nursery by the islands’ marine life.

A new Pilates studio has been added. The yoga studio, which sits in an elevated position to take in the 360-degree lagoon views, is open-sided to allow for the natural flow of sea breezes. The hydrotherapy pool is now among the most significant such facilities in The Maldives, and is used for specialised water-based treatments, including joint-mobilising massage and injury- free exercise.

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

The Retreat’s spa manager, with the company since 2002, will continue to design every guest program from the moment of arrival. This is made possible by the intimate size of the resort: just 34 overwater villas, all of which have been recast top-to-bottom with clean-lined, contemporary interiors by Singapore-based Lekker Architects.

“Natural materials have been used throughout: kajan thatch roofing, Maldivian coral-rock walls, and wood.”

Clean villa that uses natural materials in its design

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

Natural materials have been used throughout: kajan thatch roofing, Maldivian coral-rock walls, and wood. The clean-lined, light-soaked aesthetic makes for meditative spaces to relax, sleep and recover. Some rooms have pools; all have platforms from which guests can step directly into the lagoon.

To complement the wellness experience, COMO Shambhala Cuisine is available on all menus, allowing guests to pursue vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, nutritionally-rich and additive-free wellness diets during their stay.

“The Maldives have become a highly competitive market,” says Olivier Jolivet, CEO of the COMO Group. “Luxury hotel companies keep raising the ante, from building ‘reclaimed islands’, to tunnelling out underwater wine cellars. Sometimes we forget that nature is powerful, and simplicity has a very important role to play in modern luxury. COMO Cocoa Island is like a jewel in the COMO Group portfolio: it has a unique soul, which we strive to match with the grace and passion of our staff.”

When it opened in 2002, Cocoa Island became COMO’s first private island in the Maldives. In 2014, the company expanded into Thaa Atoll with the opening of COMO Maalifushi. This is a much larger, family-oriented resort, and the first five-star property in this more remote area, which is a 60-minute seaplane flight from Malé.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

Surface Design Show brings back ‘New Talent’ to support emerging creatives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Surface Design Show brings back ‘New Talent’ to support emerging creatives

Back by popular demand at Surface Design Show, ‘New Talent’ supports emerging creatives, specialising in producing interior and exterior surface materials and lighting design…

Surface Design Show, which takes place from February 11 – 13, will bring back New Talent, with the aim to support emerging talent in surface materials and lighting design. The area offers attendees the chance to see the next big innovations in surface design.

New Talent is curated by Chief Creative Director at Trendease International Jennifer Castoldi. All of those chosen to exhibit in New Talent have been in business for five years or less, and with 37 exhibitors showcasing, compared to 16 last year, the section has grown substantially.

“We are thrilled to have collaborated with Trendease International; Jennifer has brought togethersome of the most exciting new designers with the freshest ideas in material design to New Talent,” said Christopher Newton, Director of Surface Design Show. “We can’t wait for visitors to immerse themselves in New Talent’s designs, textures and materials.”

Many of the New Talent exhibitors are using traditional craft techniques and combining them with contemporary design. Charlotte Relf is an experimental embroidery artist who uses exaggerated stitches to add detail and energy while Royal School of Needlework graduate Frances Stone uses various experimental embroidery techniques such as gold work, crewel work and beading to create her range of foot stools, chairs and cushions. Charlotte Clayton Design, meanwhile, combines knitting with automotive interior design for her surface designs and Farr Designs marries photography and contemporary design using hand screen prints and digital technology.

The sheer wealth of approaches to surfaces is one of New Talent’s strengths from Janine Partington’s emphasis of carving and hand painted leathers to Trifold, a company which has designs constructed of thermal and acoustic layers, folded via means of a traditional origami tessellation to research-based designer Megan Cowley, who creates mild steel moulds using water jet technology, which are then transferred onto glass.

Wallcoverings are well-represented in New Talent this year, Olenka’s luxury British wallpapercollection features natural motifs of leaves and flowers whilst Catherine Griffiths’ work takes in boldwallpaper designs as well as fabric and cushions with inspirations as eclectic as Celtic mythology, the Renaissance period and European architecture. West by Design specialises in intricate hand-painted wallpaper inspired by the English countryside and King Kong Design creates site-specific corporate wall art and custom wall panels for retail, public and residential installations.

It’s no surprise given the current climate emergency that exhibitors in New Talent are focussed on nature or sustainability. This focus is reflected throughout the whole of Surface Design Show with its theme of Close to Home: looking beyond aesthetics and designing with a conscience. Jonel van Schalkwyk uses a painterly style to create surface designs featuring human-sized plants while designer Paula Nerlich has a strong focus on circular biomaterials and exploring vegan compostables

and foams from industrial and household food waste. Atticus Durnell, the brains behind the That’sCaffeine brand, has created a material made from recycled coffee grounds, that imitates granite stone. Brussels-based Studio Gilles Werbrouck also takes a novel approach to material reuse, making knitted textiles from unconventional material such as video tape or dead stock from fashion designers.

Tickets are free to professional and trade visitors. Register here.

Main image credit: Surface Design Show/King Kong Design

 

What makes Versa Wallcovering sustainable without sacrificing style?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What makes Versa Wallcovering sustainable without sacrificing style?

Launched in 1999, Versa Wallcovering is a leading wall covering brand for commercial interiors, finding the balance to find the perfect formula to create sustainable and stylish surfaces. Business Development Manager Paul Gibson explains… 

Innovative, creative, sustainable, classic to contemporary and subtle to sensational are the driving principles for Versa Wallcovering. Our award winning design studio continues to develop new proprietary embossings, as well as a balance of core classic textures, with more specialty patterns for healthcare and hospitality.

Our products are classic, affordable, yet sophisticated and on trend. Unique embossings have always been the focus for the brand, along with a broad distinctive range of silks, linens, and textural patterns.

Versa has always been the industry leader in sustainability, from the first to switch to low VOC water-based inks, to the award winning Second-Look reclamation and recycled content program, to the first manufacturer to certify to NSF/ANSI 342, and part of the global industry wide EPD.

All Versa Wallcovering products are low VOC, meeting CA01350; produced with an environmentally preferable non-ortho phthalate; and utilize recycled inks. The company has implemented an aggressive waste reduction program, minimising manufacturing material scrap and reducing overall energy and water consumption through improved operational efficiencies.

Versa Wallcovering is the only US brand to manufacture base film from raw materials. This allows most products to have colour thru film, which enhances durability and overall performance.

The company has a strong international global presence, with a distribution network spanning more than 70 countries and a world-class manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China.

VersaGuard and Versa Impact are part of Versa Wall Protection. We are the only company to offer specifiers an option in wall protection products.  With the addition of Versa Shield 20in early 2020, Versa will have three different levels of wall protection based on budget, and need for any interior space.

Versa PVC-Free will be another industry first, with a non-PVC product which performs extremely well, is cost effective, and takes color and embossing like vinyl. PVC-Free Impact will be a first, in a flexible attractive wall protection product.

Versa Wallcovering 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: Versa Wallcovering

Checking in: Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

With his aim fixed on understanding how one jaw-dropping location can harbour two very different – but no doubt both luxury escapes – editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to Saint Lucia to review the wonders of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain…

On the western stretch of Saint Lucia, an island that last year welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, two incredible design gem stones can be found. While the two hotels are very different in style, the experience of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain comes as one.

Not only are the hotels two of the region’s most sought-after places to check in to, but they also stand as a permanent reminder of an unforgettable journey, which is full of discovery, challenges and sustainable solutions that is still ongoing for husband-and-wife team Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy.

“I’m a man that looks for logic,” says the critically acclaimed architect Nick Troubetzkoy as he peers over the evening’s dinner menu to take in the sweeping views of the sun disappearing over the edge of the horizon. The last of the day’s light reflects off the luscious jade-green mountains, which are commonly referred to as The Pitons. Jade Club literally takes the concept of fine-dining to new heights, as it is perched majestically on the hotel’s top floor. It doesn’t matter where you sit, you somehow always manage to catch the postcard perfect perspective of the twin mountains. Nothing here has been designed by coincidence, which is refreshing. “Designing a hotel requires logical and thoughtful steps throughout the entire process,” Troubetzkoy smirks as he leaves a pause in the air for effect. “The game rugby on the hand is not a logical game – you pass the ball backwards for starters” And just like, as England prepares to execute its World Cup campaign, I catch my first glimpse of the legendary architect’s sense of humour, and his dislike for design without purpose.

Image credit: Jade Mountain

For guests checking in, the adventure of both Anse Chasanet and Jade Mountain starts shortly after the plane touches down on the island’s soil. For the Troubetzkoys, though, the adventure started in the ‘70s, when the couple visited the tropical destination and fell in love with the island’s pristine, Caribbean Sea-facing, west coast.

Drivers in Saint Lucia don’t lie. When warned that you’re going to endure a bumpy ride, that’s a cue to buckle up. The exact location of both hotels is the first indication that these magnificent properties have been designed meaningfully, from concept through to completion, in order shelter ultimate and unquestionable privacy and luxury. That kind of treasure comes at a cost, which in this case is an uneven road and a toe-curling drive over a cliff-edge. It’s the only road that has access to the hotels and it’s a thread that connects them from the heart of Soure Friee, a charming and friendly town, which is home to many of the staff – and prevents trespassers.

Anse Chastanet

Anse Chastanet sits at the foot of the mountain and is, in part, hidden within the surrounding forest that covers a staggering 77 per cent of the island. The hotel’s open-air design in both the public and private areas invites nature in at every opportunity. This is where the Troubetzkoy’s quest began, to create and develop the luxury hotel experience. Purchased in the ‘70s, the 49-key hotel was the Troubetzkoy’s debut luxury resort. Their plans to redevelop the hotel was in order make room for a new level of premium accommodation in Saint Lucia, the Caribbean, and indeed the world.

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

B.T. (Before Troubetzkoys), the Anse Chastanet was a collection of a few huts scattered along the beach, reflecting a conventional and arguably unmemorable Caribbean hotel. Years later, the Troubetzkoy family transformed it into a thriving multi-award-winning resort that operates as one of the Caribbean’s most premium destinations – and for good reason. “As far back as when we first opened, I remember asking our guests why we didn’t see very much of them outside their one-with-nature rooms,” says the architect. “I was told by them, that they were simply relaxing, breathing in the air, basking in the surroundings and enjoying a wonderful sense of calm and peace. When you compare that experience to being boxed into a traditional glass enclosed hotel room, breathing recirculated, machine-processed air, the difference is enormous.”

There is no doubt about it, the resort is of its time, but that’s also its charm; a space that feels lived-in with a warming home-from-home character that is amplified further by the caring and considerate staff. A home that has no boundaries between interiors and exterior, designed to reflect the topography of the land. A home that celebrates literally the very definition of nature in design. Anse Chastanet is a wonderful, colourful, playful and unpretentiously luxurious hotel – and it was here where the idea for Troubetzkoy’s next project, Jade Mountain, was born.

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

There are references of the same design ethos in the foundations of both Anse Chasanet and Jade Mountain. The Royal Palm, Anse Chasanet’s most premium suite, is an excellent example of this, and is located half way up the mountain where the two hotels almost meet. The open-air concept carves out an understated premium scene, very much opening up the space to allow for the 260-degree views to do the hard work, while the Caribbean-infused interiors frame nature and sense of place in all its majesty. Famous art pieces by both local and international artists add personality into the space. The walls in the are covered with vibrant paintings by postmodernist German painter, Elvira Bach. But what is most impressive, in my opinion, is how the structure of the suite, including the bathroom, has been carved out in such a way, with a logical eye, so that, just like Jade Club, guests can almost always see The Pitons from each and every corner, which adds scrutiny and challenges to the standard cookie-cutter approach when it comes to designing luxury suites.

“One day, while the plans for the hotel were still in early development, he looked at his collection, turned towards me and commented that ‘Jade Mountain’ had a nice ring to it.” – Karolin Troubetzkoy

Jade Mountain

“Do you know why we called it Jade Mountain?” asks Karolin Troubetzkoy who, as well as being the co-owner of the resort and is very much the brains behind its incredible initiatives, is also the current President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism. “Everyone always gets it wrong. They think it was simply the views of The Pitons. But actually, for years my husband created and collected these amazing miniature mountains, which were a luscious shade of jade. One day, while the plans for the hotel were still in early development, he looked at his collection, turned towards me and commented that ‘Jade Mountain’ had a nice ring to it.”

Image credit: Jade Mountain

What makes the hotel unique to any other design story – or any other hotel around the world for that matter – is how decisions were made, and quickly changed. “I wanted to create individualised spatial environments that would enable guests to forget about the furniture or the fact that they’re in a hotel room,” explains Nick Troubetzkoy. “In essence, I want our guests to forget about everything but experiencing the psychology of the space on an emotional almost spiritual level.”

Image credit: Jade Mountain

The term ‘jewel of the crown’ feels appropriate when describing its position on site. The magnificent structure of rough concrete imbued with locally quarried stoneappears once guests make it up the stairway to heaven by either foot or complimentary shuttle bus, and walk across the long, suspended private bridges that lead to what the hotel describes as ‘sanctuaries’.

Editor Hamish Kilburn soaking in the views from JD1 Galaxy Suite at Jade Mountain

All 29 sanctuaries frame the unparalleled vistas of The Pitons. While each area has been individually designed, they all share a few common themes. The lack of right angles in the design, for example, removing the fourth wall and creating an open-air concept helps keep the relationship between guest and nature together, while the interior walls are finished in a crushed blush toned coral plaster quarried in Barbados. Because of these indoor and outdoor moments working in harmony, there is a natural rhythm to guests’ stay without the need for clocks or televisions. Almost all sanctuaries feature infinity pools – and, by far, the most impressive spaces are the Galaxy Sanctuaries. JD1, which became my luxe home-from-home (and my handstand hangout) felt like an oversized luxurious penhouse apartment. Following my move up the mountain from Anse Chasenet, it’s the first time during my trip where I recognised luxury manufacturers and suppliers, such as Duravit W/Cs and premium seating by Janus et Cie and Dedon.

And that’s not all. At Jade Mountain, unlike many other luxury hotels that claim to be eco-friendly, sustainability is a core value and not greenwashed simply as a marketing tool. While Anse Chasanet shares the same ethos, the living areas of each sanctuary in Jade Mountain are finished with more than 20 different species of tropical hardwood flooring and trims harvested in an environmentally meaningful way. The resort’s technicians actually visited the Rain Forest of Guyana and personally chose which trees to be used. A multitude of hardwoods have been used including Purpleheart, Greenheart, Locust, Kabukali, Snakewood, Bloodwood, Etikburabali, Futukbali, Taurino, Mora and Cabbage Wood.

The consciousness of the resorts stretches beyond the design. 30 per cent of all produce at both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain is grown on site, just a few miles away from the hotels. It’s also here where the resort grows its own coco beans, so that both properties can make their own mouth-watering chocolate for guests to enjoy.

While hotel designers continue striving to cater to the heavy demands of the modern traveller, perhaps there is something to be said in stripping away unnecessary technology and opening up interiors to nature to ultimately allow the natural experience of a pocket of paradise to stand the test of time.. After all, luxury will never go out of style.

Main image credit: Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet

GROHE joins forces to reduce plastic waste

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE joins forces to reduce plastic waste

Recommended Supplier GROHE has united with the Pacific Garbage Screening Project as it continues its eco mission… 

Soon after announcing that it will go carbon-free in manufacturing by 2020, GROHE has shared its support of the Pacific Garbage Screening (PGS) project of architect Marcella Hansch. Together with an interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, engineers and marine biologists, the trained architect is working on the development of a water platform that will collect plastic waste before it damages the ecosystems in oceans and rivers.

The vision of clean water through the reduction of plastic waste is also of vital importance for GROHE. For one of the leading suppliers for full bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings, sustainability and avoiding plastic play a leading role in the brand’s manufacturing processes and product development. For example, with the GROHE Blue filtered tap system, disposable plastic bottles are a thing of the past. By using GROHE Blue, a family of four avoids an average of 760 plastic bottles per year1 – a benefit not only for consumers but also for the environment. In addition to self-initiated projects, GROHE also wants to contribute to the field of sustainability through co-operations, such as the alliance with PGS. Therefore, GROHE will not only support the project financially, but representatives of GROHE and PGS also plan to join forces to draw the public’s attention to the worldwide plastic problem and to forward-thinking solutions.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Marcella Hansch and PGS. The enormous amount of plastic waste in rivers and oceans are a collective problem and represent one of the greatest challenges of our time. This is why we directly decided to promote such an important project for the reduction of plastic waste,” explains Thomas Fuhr, CEO of Grohe AG, confirming the commitment. “We are particularly impressed with howpassionately Marcella Hansch and her team dedicate themselves to their mission. They not only want to create a solution that extracts plastic from the ocean, but also encourage people to change their minds.” The collaboration with GROHE is also significant for Marcella Hansch. “Partnerships are incredibly important for us, because we can only tackle a global problem together,” she said. “We are excited about the commitment of GROHE to avoid using plastic and reduce plastic as much as possible with regard to their products but also in their productionchain. That is why we are very much looking forward to working with them.”

During a dive, Marcella Hansch encountered copious amounts of plastic waste instead of fish. She immediately realised that there was an urgent need for action. This led to an in-depth study of a technical solution for the reduction of plastic waste in the oceans in her thesis. Since then, the idea has continuously evolved: to prevent the pollution of the oceans, PGS concentrates on the moment where plastic waste enters the oceans. Specifically, the focus is on a floating platform. Its design makes it possible to extract plastic particles from the water. Since it is assumed that around 80 per cent of plastic waste in the oceans is generated on land2 and rivers are regarded as major pathways, the platforms are to be used in rivers and estuaries.

Sustainability as an integral part of the GROHE brand

GROHE pursues a 360-degree sustainability approach that in equal measure encompasses employees, suppliers, customers, processes, products and its societal contribution. In this way, the global brand not only develops resource-saving product innovations that enable consumers to live more sustainably but also aims to become the first leading manufacturer in the sanitary sector with CO2-neutral production in 2020. The use of green electricity, photovoltaics and combined heat and power plants is of decisive importance here. From 2020, the sanitary brand will support two compensation projects in order to offset CO2 emissions, which have thus far not been reducible. For its continuous efforts, GROHE has once again been nominated for the top 3 “most sustainable big companies 2020” at the German Sustainability Award.

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, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: GROHE

CASE STUDY: How YOTEL utilised space in design and hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: How YOTEL utilised space in design and hospitality

In the wake of a plethora of announcements regarding hotel openings to expand the YOTEL portfolio, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the hotel brand’s CEO, Hurbert Viriot, to understand more about the company’s ethos and methods to grow… 

It’s safe to say that the international hotel design and hospitality scene transformed dramatically in 2007 and 2008 – the exact cause of this is still up for discussion.

Undeniably, though, it was influenced by the financial crisis and driven largely by a change in behavior among frequent travellers, which resulted in the industry having to rethink its foundations.

One hotel group to react to this was YOTEL, which opened its debut property strategically within Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second busiest airport which last year recorded 46.1 million passengers pass through its terminal doors. “The original concept of YOTEL Air Gatwick was quickly followed by hotel openings in Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol,” said Hubert Viriot, CEO of YOTEL. “Essentially, it was in these three hotels where the business DNA was set.”

“Hotels that were built 10 years ago and beyond, they are very inefficient pieces of real estate.” – Hurbert Viriot, CEO, YOTEL.

Today, YOTEL is known globally for its comfortable and affordable hospitality offering; a modern hotel experience, it calls it, that shelters smart thinking, smart design and smart prices. The design concept is compact, and functional without changing lanes to look or feel budget. This design ethos of what the brand calls its cabins was led by the unique demand of a guest checking in to an airport or urban hotel. “Most people travel several times per year, and the average length of stay in our hotels is very short,” Viriot added. “They travel looking for an experience, and they are very well informed with access to smart phones etc. Their budget accommodation has reduced because people travel more often, and the structure of a ‘budget hotel’ is different. Formally, the bulk of your travel costs was transport and accommodation – and consumers would save a proportion of money left over for pleasure. That has changed, which is driving the industry to change with it.”

Image credit: YOTEL NYC

The launch of a fresh design hotel concept to cater for short-stay travellers looking a low-price point flipped the current hotel model on its head. “Hotels that were built 10 years ago and beyond, they are very inefficient pieces of real estate,” explains Viriot who is talking about large guestrooms and non-essential, low-income-generating retail and F&B areas. “Once we remove those areas and make the room or cabin design more compact without taking away the quality, then we are able to keep our room rates low.”

When it comes to the design details of any short-term hotel experience, the most important element to get right is bed. Inspired the lay-flat beds inside modern planes, YOTEL believed that including an adjustable smart bed, complete with cool action gel memory foam mattresses, was something its guests would appreciate.  “The beds and mattress meet our customer requirements,” said Viriot. “You can recline and adapt the bed to your liking, so we had to find a mattress that also adapted in this way, as well as regulating the temperature of the body to ensure for a good night’s sleep. Ultimately it [YOTEL] is about providing those essential luxuries.”

Image credit: YOTEL

Since the success of the modern airport hotels, the group has expanded into the hearts of cities, taking with it the compact design of guestrooms to ensure the room rates remain lower than competitors. But what is arguably more impressive is the group’s ability to design sustainable spaces, which is none more so apparent as it is inside the newly opened YOTEL Amsterdam Noord.

The brand’s first hotel in mainland Europe, YOTEL Amsterdam Noord is at the epicentre of the up-and-coming Buiksloterham neighbourhood, built on the sunny bank of the Tolhuis Canal. Home to start-ups and creative businesses, the area is also brimming with hip bars, experimental festivals and modern architecture, making it an ideal base for modern travellers.

As well as featuring the space-saving adjustable beds, the cabins are also equipped with refreshing amenities from Urban Skincare, rejuvenating rain showers, adjustable mood lighting, free super-fast WiFi, HD SMART TVs with Chromecast and much more.

At the centre of the action, guests will find KOMYUNITI, which is something new for the brand. The hotel’s relaxed all-day social space spills out on to an alfresco waterside deck. The light and airy restaurant and bar will offer a menu of small and large plates, sharing platters and snacks with ingredients sourced from local partners and coffee seasonally selected by speciality roaster, Workshop Coffee. An inviting place for guests and locals to both work and play, KOMYUNITI will also run a programme of neighbourhood events such as yoga and running clubs along with film screenings under the stars at its cosy outdoor cinema.

Developed by Being Development,and designed by Studioninedots, also based in Amsterdam Noord, the hotel also boasts top notch sustainability credentials. Benefitting from a unique water system which collects, stores, filters and recycles water, the hotel also utilises energy saving LED lighting and sensors to ensure nothing is kept running when not in use. Guests who arrive by electric car will also be able to charge their vehicles at one of the hotel’s 10 charging points.

Image credit: YOTEL

So, what’s next for the outward-looking brand? Well, there seems to be no end to YOTEL’s vision. Considering that aparthotel growth is currently outpacing hotel expansion, the hotel group has launched YOTEL PAD, it’s answer to combine the best of serviced appartments with the hotel experience, again limiting unnecessary cost for both operator and guest. It has taken its deisgn DNA to expand the process, injecting compact design, while utilising space.

The new concept has already been rolled out across North America and soon to enter on the European scene in Lake Geneva. “The Lake Geneva region is a natural location to introduce YOTELPAD into Europe,” explains Viriot. “Centrally located and concentrating an unusually high proportion of global organisations, the region is home to an exceptionally mobile, dynamic workforce and welcomes frequent international business travellers, visiting their headquarters or attending conferences at the UN or elsewhere.”

YOTEL currently operates seven airport hotels in London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris, Charles de Gaulle, Istanbul Airport (2), Singapore Changi and seven city centre hotels in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Singapore, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. YOTEL is expanding rapidly with new projects under development globally, including Porto, Glasgow, London, Dubai, Geneva, Long Island City, Miami, Park City, Mammoth, Atlanta and Melbourne.

Main image credit: YOTEL

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

Morgan to unveil a stripped-back sustainable furniture at Sleep & Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morgan to unveil a stripped-back sustainable furniture at Sleep & Eat 2019

Morgan will unveil the Kaya lounge furniture collection next week at Sleep & Eat on stand C60…

Taking its name from sacred forests spread along 200 km of the Kenyan coast, Morgan’s new Kaya lounge collection finds its roots in the openness, honesty and purity of trees. The crafted timber frames, gentle curve and soft upholstery are designed to provide relaxed luxury.

Simplicity is further embodied in the upholstery, which features only the most essential elements, sculpted and fitted to provide enveloping comfort. Juxtaposing soft informality with timber’s clean geometry required a precise balancing act.

With an emphasis on space and light, the collection evokes an atmosphere of ‘komorebi’, the Japanese word for the sunshine filtering through leaves. As with a lush woodland, Kaya’s serene frame finds strength in numbers. Individual timber sections have been kept small with multiple lightweight supports in place of a single, larger component.

While Kaya draws inspiration from nature, technology played a crucial role in its production. The frame’s smooth, curving lines were made possible with Computer Numerical Control (CNC). Morgan uses any timber which is removed to help heat its manufacturing facility with a biomass boiler.

“Relying on trends in the design world means whatever you produce will be bound by the tastes of a certain point in time,” Katerina Zachariades, Morgan’s design director, commented. “At Morgan, we like to look to things which have stood the test of time, from artwork of various styles to elements of the natural world.

“With Kaya, we wanted to look beyond the heavy materials and density of the built environment, peeling back the surface to reveal the pure form within.”

The Kaya collection is versatile, intended for interiors from hospitality through to the workplace. While the smaller lounge chair caters to projects requiring a smaller footprint, the larger lounge and high back chairs maintain a greater presence and impact within spacious environments such as lobbies, breakout areas and gallery spaces.

Main image credit: Morgan

Sustainable bamboo signage from Signbox

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainable bamboo signage from Signbox

Continuing this month’s spotlight on sustainability, Hotel Designs has identified Signbox’s Hybrid Sign System, made from Bamboo, the most sustainable wood in the world… 

Hybrid from Signbox is a premium modular outdoor sign system that combines the relentlessly durable and sustainable qualities of exterior-grade composite bamboo with powerful materials, such as painted MDF, glass and slate, that bring both sign scheme and setting to life.

Engineered with components that are tailored from the ground up to support single post, twin post or fin bamboo structures, frame, branding panel, secure base fitting and optional illumination, Signbox Hybrid is a fusion of elegant, yet hardworking materials and aesthetically-pleasing, versatile system design.

There are two product choices:

  • Branding backboard, single backboard, we will colour this backboard according to your branding.
  • Five-Wayfinder planks for different elements of wayfinding instruction. Upload your artwork for each panel. If you need help with artwork please contact Signbox. The company will colour the five panels according to your artwork.

Hybrid sets the scene, effortlessly

Easy to design and with seamless, step-by-step installation, Hybrid creates groundbreaking impact and effects that blend with the environment – effortlessly.

Its graceful lines and nature-rich components make Hybrid the perfect modular sign system for discerning environments from landmark commercial buildings, hotels and hospitality areas to woodland settings, school and university campuses and ecologically-conscious public spaces.

If you need help with artwork please contact Signbox.

Signbox 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.

GROHE pledges to have carbon-neutral production by 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE pledges to have carbon-neutral production by 2020

With the aim of becoming the first manufacturer of the sanitary industry to achieve carbon-neutral production by 2020, GROHE has once again stepped up its pledge…

Less than a month after editor Hamish Kilburn unveiled Independent Hotel Show’s Conscious Bedroom Report to highlight that a whopping 76 per cent of guests believe hotels could do more to be greener – and while Hotel Designs continues to put sustainability in the spotlight this month – GROHE has laid out its carbon-neutral plans.

Sustainability has been an essential element of GROHE’s corporate strategy for almost 20 years now. As early as 2000, the global brand for complete bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings committed itself in its “principles and guidelines for sustainability” to continuously improving all products, processes and services in terms of protecting the environment and conserving resources.

“In July, as part of the “GROHE goes ZERO” initiative, all five production plants worldwide as well as the logistics centres in Germany were converted to run on green electricity.”

Since then, the bathroom manufacturer has set new industry standards, applying its 360- degree sustainability approach that incorporates employees, suppliers, customers, processes, products and thecompany’s social contribution alike. With the aim of becoming the first leading manufacturer of the sanitary industry to achieve carbon-neutral production by 2020, GROHE has once again stepped up its pledge. In July, as part of the “GROHE goes ZERO” initiative, all five production plants worldwide as well as the logistics centres in Germany were converted to run on green electricity. With the start of the new fiscal year in April 2020, the sanitary manufacturer will offset unavoidable CO2 emissions through two compensation projects.

“For years now, we have been investing not only in research and development in order to produce intelligent, sustainable solutions, but also to a large degree in a resource- saving value chain.” – Thomas Fuhr, CEO Grohe AG

“More than ever, manufacturers like GROHE are in demand to take on responsibility and strive towards more sustainability,” said Thomas Fuhr, CEO Grohe AG. “For years now, we have been investing not only in research and development in order to produce intelligent, sustainable solutions, but also to a large degree in a resource- saving value chain. With GROHE goes ZERO, we are now setting an example for the entire industry: We are actively addressing the CO2 challenge by increasingly avoiding emissions and, if this is not possible, compensating for them.”

The sustainability initiative is seamlessly linked to numerous measures that are taking place at the GROHE plants, promoting the long-term reduction of the carbon footprint and conserving resources: The brand has invested in block heat and power plants, was awarded the silver certificate by the German Sustainable Building Council for the plant extension in Klaeng, Thailand, and built a state-of-the-art test laboratory in Hemer, Germany. GROHE also uses advanced technologies that increase sustainability, such as the material-saving 3D metal-printing process which has been launched this year.

As a result, GROHE has been able to increase its energy efficiency by 24 per cent and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by around 40 per cent since the introduction of its sustainability programme in 2014. This means that the global brand has already far exceeded its 2021 targets of 20 per cent respectively.

GROHE Supports Two Water Projects in India and Malawi

Supporting two offsetting projects is another logical step for GROHE to compensate for so far unavoidable CO2emissions: In the north of India, the operation of a hydroelectric power plant replaces electricity that mainly comes from coal-fired power plants. In the African non-coastal state of Malawi, a project repairs and maintains boreholes that are used to produce drinking water. With the help of selected offset projects, GROHE will support activities based on extremely stringent criteria, such as the Gold Standard, developed under the aegis of the WWF. In addition to avoiding CO2, the measures also contribute to a more sustainable, ecological and socialdevelopment within the projects’ environments.

“With GROHE goes ZERO, we are further expanding our leading position as one of the most sustainable brands in the sanitary industry,” says Thomas Fuhr. “But at the same time, we have by no means reached all of our sustainability goals; we can and must get even better.”

GROHE has received numerous awards for its commitment. Currently, the brand is one of three major companies that have been nominated for the German Sustainability Award. GROHE CEO Thomas Fuhr was recently awarded for his commitment to sustainability by the corporate network B.A.U.M., the German Environmental Management Association.

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, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: GROHE

GREEN WELLNESS CONCEPT: The eco-friendly luxury spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GREEN WELLNESS CONCEPT: The eco-friendly luxury spa

To continue the editorial team’s efforts to position sustainability firmly under the spotlight this month, Hotel Designs dives in to understand Recommended Supplier Starpool’s eco credentials in its wellness products…

While recent statistics have highlighted that consumers are demanding for hotels to do more to become greener, luxury spa manufacturer Starpool believes that hospitality businesses could benefit from the brand’s various products and wellness solutions, all of which are sustainable in their concept and design.

Biocompatibility

All of Starpool’s products are designed with eco-sustainability in mind. For example, the sauna wood is 100 per cent natural and untreated. The special working of the slats and the construction system employed limits the use of adhesives in the installation phase, thus optimising the healthiness of the surroundings.

Sustainable Production

Starpool’s products are manufactured with a low environmental impact with limited energy consumption from clean and renewable sources, recyclable raw materials and external emissions equal to zero.

Renewable materials

The company is proud that more than 75 per cent of its materials that goes into each product are made from recyclable materials. In addition, the simple system for dismantling the components makes it easy to recover the raw materials at the end of a product’s life cycle.

Natural, reusable packaging

All products under the Starpool brand are dispatched in fir wood boxes from the Fiemme Valley that can be collected and reused many times over, thus reducing the use of new packaging materials.

Image caption/credit: Sweet Sauna Vision/Starpool

Green Technology

The company uses software and hardware that adjusts and keep the temperature consistent. Its Green Pack includes self-closing doors and remote diagnostics, which enable approximately 20 per cent energy saving during standard operation and optimisation of energy loads. Controlling the power distribution allows you to avoid the overrun of the kW and obtain long- term savings.

Making a difference

Starpool sorts waste materials and, where technically possible, it regenerates the components of products that have been withdrawn and are no longer in use.

The company’s products are manufactured to the highest standard, using only the top-quality materials to deliver exceptional eco-friendly spa and wellness facilities that represent true luxury.

Main image credit: Starpool

Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort wins prestigious sustainability award

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort wins prestigious sustainability award

Continuing our theme this month to put sustainability under the spotlight, Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort has been recognised for its commitment to the environment, winning Best Sustainable Residential Development, Portugal at the European Property Awards… 

Luxury real estate development Ombria Resort in the heart of the Algarve, which is slated to open in 2021, has been honoured at the 2019-2020 European Property Awards.

Announced at the awards ceremony in London, the destination won the coveted new category recognising excellence in sustainability, the Best Sustainable Residential Development, Portugal, with the Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort project.

“We have definitely seen a shift across the last decade in the requirements of prospective buyers – they are much more focused on sustainability.” – Julio Delgado, CEO, Ombria Resort.

The European Property Awards is considered one of the most prestigious and recognised programme celebrating the highest levels of achievement across the real estate industry. The Sustainable Residential Development category, introduced this year for the first time to reflect the importance of sustainability in real estate, judged developments on their economic, environmental and social responsibility with Ombria Resort demonstrating strong practices in each area.

Reflecting the resort’s overall ethos Carved by Nature, Ombria Resort has a deep commitment to pioneering sustainable tourism; incorporating environmental, economic and socio-cultural values into innovative, everyday actions that will ensure the natural and cultural surroundings live on for future generations.

“We are thrilled to win this prestigious achievement and be leading the way in sustainable residential developments,” said Julio Delgado, CEO, Ombria Resort. “We have definitely seen a shift across the last decade in the requirements of prospective buyers – they are much more focused on sustainability, the natural environment and supporting local ecosystems. Our commitment to sustainability and a respect for nature is at the heart of everything we do, so to have such an accolade to recognise our efforts is truly an honour.”

The Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort is a collection of 65 one- and two-bedroom freehold apartments serviced by Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, set within the Viceroy at Ombria Resort 5-star hotel, located in the heart of the development which spreads over 150 hectares in the inner Algarve. Ranging in size from 70 to 173 sq.m of gross internal area, the apartments are fully furnished and equipped to exacting five-star standards.

Designed as an elegant Portuguese village with all the charm and character of a long-established settlement and blending seamlessly into the hills, the resort eature a unique, sustainable vision of NZEBs (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings), which will lead the way for the Portuguese market – including creating a national case study for the use of geothermal energy.

Its pioneering shallow geothermal system will use water to transfer heat energy found just below the ground surface for climate control, hot water supply and swimming pool heating. Reverse heat pumps utilize the stable temperature of the ground as the main source of energy to produce heating in the winter, cooling in the summer and hot water throughout the year, safely and responsibly. The strategy for a sustainable, efficient Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system is based upon achieving high levels of user-friendly comfort while ensuring low energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Bioclimatic architecture, both innovative and traditional, allows for energy to be conserved wherever possible, with heat gained or lost through materials with low heat transference coefficients and age-old design tricks to protect from the sun.

Other innovative sustainable programmes at Ombria Resort include a comprehensive recycling programme, electric vehicle charging points and the conservation and cultivation of the local flora and fauna.

Adopting and implementing sustainable trade practices and supporting local suppliers with many building materials such as stones, tiles, plasters and insulation materials sourced regionally and nationally, vastly reduces Ombria Resort’s carbon footprint. The overall aim is to become a member of the community and actively contribute to the preservation of local traditions, generating new jobs and business opportunities. Activities at Ombria Resort will include an area for organic farming, honey harvesting facilities, astronomical observatory, paths for nature walks, mountain biking, and other sports facilities.

Main image credit: Ombria Resort

Eco gem: The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Eco gem: The Tongsai Bay, Koh Samui

In search of eco gems, as we continue putting sustainability under the spotlight this month, journalist Sara Darling has committed to long haul, and Asia is firmly on her agenda. Removed from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Koh Samui is Darling’s next adventure as it is home to one of the world’s few fully sustainable boutique hotels, The Tongsai Bay…

Koh Samui, just east of mainland Thailand, is a relaxed island, famous for its giant temple of the Big Buddha- a 39ft golden Buddha erected in 1792 at Wat Phra Yai. It is also the home of what I have found to be one of the world’s most sustainable boutique hotels.

The Tongsai Bay, on the north east tip of the beautiful island, is a family run business which has been welcoming visitors since 1987, and is the ideal  tranquil break that is full of many sustainable and thoughtful moments thanks to its design, architecture and day-to-day operations.

Nestled amongst 28 and a half acres of greenery, the secluded property consisting of low rise apartments, bungalows and cottages are spread in the valley of a private cove. Only 15 minutes from the airport, it is a short hop north of the popular Choeng Mon beach, and a ten minute transfer to the buzzy restaurants, bars and shopping in Fisherman’s Village.

Paying attention to all the small details, the hotel has a modern rustic feel, which blends Eastern and Western philosophies with science and spirituality; However the subtle decor is more homely than pretentious and enhances the brand’s ethical stance. For example, the art throughout the property, which has been created by the hotel’s resident artist Mook, uses recycled materials – and paints my first indication of a sustainable and eco-friendly picture.

Meanwhile, the elegant, airy villas have private pathways and pools which are interspersed amongst the greenery. Along with cottages, villas and suites, there are low rise blocks, all which maximise the uninterrupted sea views, and are designed to utilise the natural sun and shade within their open spaces.

With a low-key, back-to-nature environment, the 83 chalets and villas that cascade down to a private beach on the Gulf of Thailand, have also been designed to enhance their natural surroundings, so guests can enjoy the birdsong, crashing waves and sound of crickets on their terrace. The terrace cottages all offer an outside “bath with a view”, four poster gazebo, bar, dining area and sun loungers, along with a freshwater plunge pool for ultimate luxury while feeling at one with the elements.

“Dedicated to improving its carbon footprint, Tongsai Bay has abolished the use of all plastic – providing re-fillable glass drinking bottles and lemongrass straws for guests.”

Great care has been taken to integrate the buildings into nature. They are furnished in contemporary Thai style – dark wood tables and beds, hardwood floors, along with modern showers, hairdryer and walk-in wardrobe.

Dedicated to improving its carbon footprint, The Tongsai Bay has abolished the use of all plastic – providing re-fillable glass drinking bottles and lemongrass straws for guests. It also applies energy-saving measures throughout, stocks guestrooms with environmentally-friendly toiletries made by local supplier, and only changes bedding when requested.

Other eco-conscious details include washing-up liquid and cleaning products produced from leftover peelings, and mosquito deterrent created with natural citronella and lemongrass. Staff are trained to be environmentally aware and the hotel prides itself on upcycling and composting everything it can- including the waste of the compost toilets for fertiliser, and recycling cooking oil.

These simple approaches go a long way in making a difference to the future of the planet, and the ethos is subtly carried out across the site. From a bay that is free from mechanical water sports, to avoid pollution, to the two fresh water pools.

Image credit: Tongsai Bay

In regards to food, as much produce as possible is home grown for the Tongsai, at an impressive, off-site organic garden which provides ingredients for the bar, kitchen and spa, and is open to guests by arrangement. Packed with edibles including exotic fruits, herbs and vegetables, they are cared for using sustainable agricultural practices, and knowledgeable gardners.  The breakfast “Happy Juice” prepared by larger than life Khun Pu is an essential kick start to your day.

A visit to Thailand is not complete without a massage, and the onsite Prana Spa provides a wide range of luxury, innovative treatments for a traditional  taste of Thailand. The scents and oils are provided by the same organic company as the bathroom products, and you can get transported to another world either in one of the cosy spa cottages or shady daybeds on the beach.

For a deluxe stay in a hotel that really puts the environment first, along with friendly staff, The Tongsai Bay is a great place to escape from the rat race where guests can feel at one with nature and themselves.

Main image credit: Tongsai Bay

Parkside unveils “most sustainable tile material on the market”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside unveils “most sustainable tile material on the market”

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ month with ‘Sustainability’ under the spotlight, we investigate Parkside’s Sequel Vibe, a material from yesterday made for tomorrow…

While the company settles in to its new design studio in the Cotswolds, Parkside has launched Sequel Vibe, the most waste-efficient and sustainable tile readily available to designers and architects to date.

Answering a demand for sustainable and stylish tile solutions without compromise on design and aesthetics, Parkside was keen to include a collection that lived up to sustainable credentials while appealing to the creative spirit of designers and architects.

Sequel Vibe is the work of the team at Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces. Alusid started its life as a research project at the University of Central Lancashire by Dr Alasdair Bremner and Professor David Binns that aimed to explore the ways waste and low value materials could be reused rather than ending up as landfill. It was also important that the process used to manufacture would use less energy and added chemicals than conventional tile manufacturing.

This research led to Sequel Vibe, created using 98 per cent recycled materials from post-consumer glass and pre-consumer vitrified ceramic carefully bound during a low-impact, ingenious manufacturing process. The glass element is sourced from bottles, windows and car windscreens that have reached the end of their useful life cycle, while the porcelain is sourced from sanitaryware and fine china tableware manufacturers.

Since its launch at Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, the range has continued to endear the design community it was aimed at. With its unique subtle nuances in colour and texture, the finished tile is a perfect companion for designers and architects wanting a modern, contemporary twist for interiors. During the manufacturing process, tiles take on a unique shade and patina making each one an individual work of ceramic art.

There are three glossy organic shades available; Greenwich Green, Paddington Pink and Shoreditch Blue, each bringing a contemporary twist to design schemes. Three size options are available: square (100x100mm), metro (200x100mm) and large metro (300x75mm). The colours chosen are a step ahead of palette trends predicted for the design market for 2020 and work as a great companion for multiple design schemes and styles. If designers are looking at alternative colour options, then these will be considered for large scale orders.

“Sequel Vibe was a great addition to our tile offering, with sustainability and aesthetics at its core,” comments Sarah Holey, the marketing manager for Parkside. “The collection would be a great option for feature walls in reception areas or would look stunning as a bar front but its adaptability as a wall tile is enormous, and ready to take on the most creative of architects and designers on commercial and hospitality focused projects.

“As well as being sustainable products themselves, when Sequel Vibe tiles come to the end of their useful life they themselves can be recycled within the very same process used to create them.”

The Sequel Vibe collection can be seen at all four Parkside design studios in Chelsea, Clerkenwell, Leicester and the recently opened Cotswolds location, where the Parkside team will be able to provide help and advice.

Main image credit: Parkside

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

New research suggests that hotels are not doing enough to be eco-friendly

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New research suggests that hotels are not doing enough to be eco-friendly

New research published by the Independent Hotel Show London has revealed that 76 per cent of holidaymakers feel as if hotels could do more to be greener and become more eco-friendly. Editor Hamish Kilburn took to stage to present the findings and writes… 

I am sick to death of hotels – large and small, chains as well as independents – doing the bare minimum in order to claim that they have become more sustainable. Yesterday, I took my frustration over the ‘greenwashing effect’, which so many businesses are guilty of, to the stage at the Independent Hotel Show London to deliver the Conscious Bedroom Report. And here are some of the new stats that have emerged.

Times are changing, and hotels – like all other businesses and sectors worldwide – need to change with them. A report by the conscious bank Iriodos reported that in 2017, UK consumers spent an estimated £83.33 billion on ethical goods and services. And given the recent developments in climate change awareness, that number has increased drastically. While 76 per cent of consumers who were surveyed believe that hotels could do more to become greener, a whopping 72 per cent hoped hotels could also provide local produce.

Question: Are you more likely to book a room if a hotel has a clear sustainability policy? Would your preference change if you were given an incentive? Of the 2,000 individuals who were polled in the survey (64 per cent female and 36 per cent male), the answers to these particular questions were divided. While 57 per cent responded in the affirmative, 43 per cent were not converted by sustainability policies in and of themselves. Furthermore, this plunged to just 16 per cent once an incentive of some sort was involved. When asked why, however, many responded that protecting the environment itself was a strong enough incentive.

It seems, more recently, that sustainability has gone on tour to become a global concern and conversation and not one that is restricted to regional areas. 14 per cent of consumers surveyed admitted to being more aware of their environmental impact when away from home. Interestingly on the flip side, the same number that they believed to be less mindful. 72 per cent, though, managed to keep their beliefs consistent when both travelling and when at home.

“62 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling frustrated by single-use plastics in their room.”

The report also stated that “180 million plastic cotton buds are flushed down the toilet every year in Britain.” For many, and certainly myself after reading that statistic, it is unfathomable for hotels to still be providing guests checking in with single-use plastics. 62 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling frustrated by single-use plastics in their room. 26 per cent claimed not to be bothered and 12 per cent argued that they didn’t notice whether or not single-use plastics were in a hotel room during their stay. Whats more, plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers and straws will be banned in England from April 2020.

“73 per cent of guests asked did not consider a hotel to look ‘budget’ by using large dispensers.”

From recent discussions I have had with hoteliers on how to activate sustainable change without diluting the quality of service, there is a concern that replacing miniatures in the bathrooms with large dispensable bottles will look like a hotel is scrimping. However, 73 per cent of guests asked did not consider a hotel to look ‘budget’ by using large dispensers. If you needed further reassurance, a large proportion of the top luxury hotels in London have replaced bathroom miniatures with large dispensers and are, as a result, feeding back to the editorial desk at Hotel Designs zero complaints. “We ensure that the product remains high quality,” one hotelier said. “And in order to illuminate the opportunity for guests to complain, we ensure that each bottle is always topped up.”

“78 per cent of those surveyed embraced the rag ‘n’ bone revolution.”

The report also examined the design element of a hotel guests’ experience. 78 per cent of those surveyed embraced the rag ‘n’ bone revolution. 22 per cent maintained to feel ambivalent at the thought of restored furniture. In regards to art, which is further being taken outside the frame in hotel design with new innovative design scenes coming into vision, seeing locally sourced pieces around a hotel is becoming more of a demand among travellers. 61 per cent of guests said that they did appreciate the use of indigenous arts and crafts, and only six per cent were non-plussed.

The Conscious Bedroom Report is a step in the right direction. Although positive to see that consumer demands are very much in line with ensuring that the international hotel design scene becomes more conscious both socially and environmentally, it also exposes an industry that is behind many to become sustainably driven.

“In short, the value of becoming a more conscious hotel operator, designer and architect far out weighs the cost.”

EDITOR’S COMMENT: “Never before has it been more transparent than it is now to see hotels either choosing not to embrace and adopt new eco initiatives or doing the bare minimum and greenwashing. I believe that in order to really make an impact on the international hotel design scene, examples need to be set. Examples like Heckfield Place, The Langham London and Inhabit London. All of which, interestingly, are sheltered in grade-listed buildings. The excuses are fading.

“By the industry creatively thinking about how they can add sustainability into their core values, hotels and hotel designers will naturally open themselves up to local suppliers, businesses and communities that surround them. In short, the value of becoming a more conscious hotel operator, designer and architect far out weighs the cost. We have an opportunity to make a real change and the statistics in the Conscious Bedroom Report just highlight further the changing demands of modern travellers.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs

The seven-page report was unveiled in an exclusive panel discussion, hosted by Kilburn. He was joined by Alex Harris, the creative director for Harris + Harris London; Olivia Richli, the general manager for Heckfield Place; Sue Williams, the general manager for Whatley Manor and Xenia Zu Hohenlohe, the managing director of Considerate Group.

The Independent Hotel Show London continues…

Next month, Hotel Designs will be putting sustainability under the spotlight. If you have a story for the team, please email h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk

Main image credit: Inhabit London

 

EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Adding personality in hotel public areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Adding personality in hotel public areas

In partnership with Arte Wallcoverings, editor Hamish Kilburn invited some of the leading hotel designers and architects to Design Centre Chelsea Harbour for a live debate on how to add sustainable personality in the ever-evolving arena of public areas. In addition to being involved in the engaging conversation, the designers, directors and principals were also the first to see Arte’s five new collections, which were officially launched a few days later at Focus19 during London Design Festival… 

Design experts around the table:

Regardless of style, size or star-rating, recent hotel openings suggest that public areas are evolving, and fast. No longer an empty air pocket in the building’s structure, the lobbies that are being created or renovated today are unconventional active spaces, designed to flexibly accommodate all guests whether they are checking in for business, for leisure or in many instances, for both.

Hamish Kilburn: How have the ways in which consumers use public areas changed?

Fiona Thompson (FT), Principal, Richmond InternationalGenerally, how guests behave in hotels has changed. The demographic is completely different. At one point, hotels were quite intimidating places, and not very accessible. That’s been one of the most significant changes I have seen. Hotels have become much more outward-looking and much more accessible to everyone. People now use spaces how they want to use them. Therefore, public areas, in general, have a greater sense of informality.

Vitalija Katine (VK), architect, Jestico + WhilesOne of the largest changes I have noticed is the accent of activation points in lobbies. The activation point of, for example, pop-up bars and pop-up receptions can be positioned and adapted easily in the lobby. I think the public space of a hotel has been the highlight of the last four years, because people are lounging in the lobby as opposed to using it simply as transitional space.

David Mason (DM), Director of Hospitality, Scott BrownriggThere’s a lot more awareness now about the ecological message that hotels are trying to amplify. Also, with the appeal to millennials, there’s much more awareness on the public areas. I imagine there will be a lot more focus on some kind of hotel standard where we really start to look into what is going into hotels, and that will come from hotels aiming to achieve an environmental space. Although hotels are already acting to be more eco-friendly, I think it will become even more of a focus.

Caroline Cundall (CC), Director of Interior Design IHG – Europe: How people work and specifically how people hold meetings has changed massively. That has had a large affect on our lobby spaces. More and more people are roaming around with small laptops and lobbies are much less formal than they used to be. Hotels are recognising the value in attracting more than just the guests staying at the hotel, and the current boutique influence is a catalyst in all of this.

Sam Hall (SH), Global Head of FF&E, GA GroupI have seen more awareness in hotel operators in understanding how space is used. There are many examples of hotels that use every inch of the space as a revenue generator. CitizenM, for example, feels very intimate because the space is broken down. The grand volume of entering a hotel is behind us, perhaps not in Asia or the Middle East, but in Europe and elsewhere for sure. Space is at a premium and every inch of it has to make money. Designers are using the materiality to make spaces feel softer and warmer. These grand areas full of marble are not really where it’s at anymore. Instead, designers are trying to make these soft and reduced acoustics, so it feels more comfortable.

“It doesn’t matter what word you throw on it, what people want is a well-designed space.” – Arianne Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design

Arianne Steinbeck (AS), Managing Director, RPW DesignThe launch of W New York on Lexington Avenue in 1998, designed by David Rockwell, was a pivotal moment. Before that, it was unheard of to serve drinks in the hotel [public areas] and play music. And now everyone is doing it. That was the start of this boutique look and feel that we see today. It doesn’t matter what word you throw on it, what people want is a well-designed space. I think that everyone in the industry has upped their game across all brands, which is a result of consumer demands. To be honest, I’m surprised it took so long.

HK: Are you saying that there is less of a space for grand and open lobbies on the international hotel design scene?

AS: I think there will always be a space for this style of hotel. Personally, I love hotels that remind you that they are a hotel, where the service element absolutely completes the overall experience.

SH: I agree with you, and it’s about the coming together of quality and luxury, working as one.

FT: But even some of the smaller luxury resorts capture that feeling of grand luxury. It all comes down to that amazing sense of service, but it is perhaps delivered in a more modern way.

“All these hotels that feature over decoration to differentiate from others will disappear.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International

HK: Trends is a sensitive term in hotel design. But do what extent do emerging trends come into your decisions when selecting wallcoverings on a project?

AS: It’s come full circle. When I started in the ‘80s there were a lot of patterns on the wall. And then it washed out to a symphony of beiges. Now we seem to be coming back to a little bit more colour and pop. In a few years’ time we might perhaps look at this ‘greyeige’ situation again. That’s why we have all these different brands, because there is room in this industry for individuality.

FT: There is going to be a move away, for sure, of this extraneous design for the sake of it. All these hotels that feature over decoration to differentiate from others will disappear. The young generation want something that is a bit more meaningful. All these words get thrown around: timeless, authentic, and I’m not really sure what they all mean. There is going to be this move away and everything will have more of a purpose.

Hotels are typically big environmentally bad beasts that use power and electricity and decimate environments. Therefore, I predict there will be a call for them to be more responsible, and this filters down to the materials being used to design them.

HK: From a product point of view, how does Arte select trends?

Siobhan Kannenberg, Commercial Manager UK & EIRE, Arte Wallcoverings: As a brand, we don’t really have a specific style. You can always recognise Arte by the quality, but we try to cover all basis. Trend-wise, sustainability is becoming more and more important for our customers, so we are using more natural materials and that is certainly what is called for. Also, I am really excited to see tactile patterns are coming back around.

CC: The fashion industry has always had a huge influence on design. There’s so much talk about recycling in the fashion industry at the moment. Like for example reusing materials, and this is already something that hotels are looking at.

FT: The fashion industry is always half a season ahead. However, things are going to change because they are being challenged. It will be interesting to see how this will filter down into the design sector.

SH: Where brands could go wrong is using sustainability as a selling point, whereas I believe it should be the foundation of the brand and not the feature. I’m hoping that everyone will end up speaking the same language in design to use for purpose and just naturally recycle materials. One of the key benefits of wallcoverings is that it is so easy – and much more affordable – to change and update interiors.

AS: I have no problem reusing something from a previous renovation that still looks good. You don’t always have to throw everything out. Sometimes the casegoods, for example, are on par or better than what you could buy new. And with the right wallcovering, the space will look fresh and retouched.

SK: When we are designing our Arte collections, we like to think of wallcoverings as our showstopper. Is that accurate?

FT: I think it hasn’t been in the past, but actually bright colours and patterns are becoming the centre stage.

HK: In all honesty, how much of the budget, time and consideration goes on the wallcovering decisions – and can you talk me through that process?

CC: You can never estimate these things. The fact that Arte has many wallcoverings that are quite distinctly statement pieces is interesting. If an interior designer would put that into specifications there’s no way that would be changed. It’s the one thing that would be a focal element to a scheme. And if that’s an initiative that everyone agrees on then it will go ahead.

DM: Designs are moving massively forward. From what I remember 20 years ago, the range and difference is incredible. There are so many interesting things you can do now with the wallcoverings, and I have been introduced to such a vast range of materials.

AS: It’s also worth mentioning how much more you get in a product these days. Digital printing changed the pace of innovation. You can have so many awesome effects with digital printing, and I expect to see more of that.

HK: What would you say is the biggest misconception from a client’s point of view?

ALL: That the client can do it better!

SH: In all seriousness, all of these interior designer programmes make it look so easy.

HK: How has the evolution of social media changed the ways in which your briefs from clients are coming in?

FT: I don’t think it’s any different from years ago when we were asked to create ‘wow factors’. It’s just a different terminology. I ban Pinterest. It is too easy to find information these days. I really encourage our designers to go out and see hotels in person, because I don’t want them to lose that discovery process.

AS: I always have to ask which page on Pinterest a look came from, because if it’s from the first page, I don’t want to know.

DM: You’re right, and when they see hotels, I encourage them to find something new than what they have seen online. Too often people are looking for the same shot, the same framing that they have already seen on social media, and it is stripping creativity from the process.

We were actually given a brief for an independent hotel which was solely to create an instagrammable hotel, which would never have happened only a few years ago.

We were challenged quite a lot by Hard Rock International when designing the London property. The brand is American and very bold. To be fair to the client, although we did go backwards and forwards, we did manage to convince them to tone down the ‘instagram moments’ for an audience in London.

VK: We are asked quite often by clients what we consider to be ‘our moments’ in the design. The attention that the ‘Instagram moment’ is getting is much larger and much more exposed to the general public. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. What works in one region does not necessarily work in others.

HK: With the rise in demand for hotels to feel more boutique and independent, how are the materials you are using in the public areas changing?

SK: From Arte’s point of view, there seems to be a lot of misconception that vinyl is what is asked for from the big brands. Actually, with the influence of independent and boutique hotels, hotel groups are more willing to use range of products and materials. As manufacturers, we see vinyl an essential material for corridors for obvious reasons, but it’s a different story in the lobby. People don’t really touch the walls, so there is the ability you can have more fun with a variety of materials.

CC: Fire regulations is key for the country you are in. As long as a material and product has passed its certification, I totally agree.

HK: How do you predict public areas further changing in the next 10 years?

CC: More people will start to work remotely. Working in London, there isn’t anywhere comfortable to sit and have a meeting with a few people. I think that should be the next focus, to have more discreet places to have a meeting – and hotels could harness this well.

SH: I think that there is more that can be done around connectivity. Public areas can still further become even more accessible.

FT: It will be totally connected to how we work and live. People don’t have the formality so much of going to an office anymore. The behaviour of ‘hotdesking’ is interesting and public spaces in hotels can really respond to that.

Following the exclusive panel discussion, the leading designers and architects were the first to browse Arte Wallcoverings’ five new collections (Expedition, Wildwalk, Essentials – Les Nuances, Velveteen and Sketch (HookedOnWalls)) before they were officially launched a few days later at Focus19.

In Conversation With: British designer Bim Burton

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: British designer Bim Burton

Following the unveil of his latest collaboration with bathroom manufacturer Kaldewei, Bim Burton sits down with Hotel Designs to discuss sustainability in design and the inspiration behind ‘those bath chairs’… 

Bim Burton is an innovative modern furniture maker and designer, creating timeless design with space saving ideas. Taking this year’s themes of (Re)act at designjunction, Bim and Kaldewei worked together to create, exclusively, for designjunction, a series of recyclable, sustainable unique bath chairs in three different styles.

These were showcased within the Installations area, located in Lewis Cubitt Park, Kings Cross, London, throughout designjunction, which was very well attended and hosted cutting-edge designers, breakthrough brands, an unrivalled talks programme and unique design experiences.

Kaldewei steel enamel baths are 100 per cent recyclable, made from Kaldewei’s ownsuperior steel enamel and have been ingeniously crafted to Bim’s unique design -creating beautiful, designer chairs for designjunction’s visitors to relax in.

Hotel Designs: Why did you want to be part of designjunction?

Big Burton: I was really flattered to be asked to take part in designjunction this year. I was recommended by British Designer Steuart Padwick, the creator of the breathtaking sculpture “Head Above Water’ also on show in London. Designjunction is one of the best destinations during the London Design Festival (LDF), so obviously, I just couldn’t say no.

Image credit:: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

HD: Where did the idea to create bath chairs come from?

BB: The theme this year is (Re)act and renew so when designjunction asked me what I would design, I immediately thought of the bath chair as it’s an object which is notonly functional but has the chance of a second life. The Kaldewei bath makes a great exterior for seating and I thought this was relevant today with the theme re- use as well as being great for an outside seating area.

HD: Why is sustainability so important to you?

Sustainability should be important to everyone. Kaldewei’s baths are 100 per cent recyclable so perfect for this product. During my time as a designer, I have recycled many objects into practical and interesting pieces of furniture.

“I’ve found Kaldewei to be very enthusiastic when working with their baths.” – Bim Burton

HD: Why Kaldewei?

BB: Again, this was a recommendation, this time from designjunction. I’ve found Kaldewei to be very enthusiastic when working with their baths. I couldn’t believehow well made and strong they are, I would definitely recommend them as a bath for their design and durability alone. Kaldewei were very generous in providing me with the chance to realise my design idea of turning baths into chairs – to reuse baths as seating. Kaldewei provided their steel enamel baths for me to cut and workout different ways to use the parts as chairs. I turned them up, sideways, and discovered how many variations I could make. I am very grateful for them trusting me and my imagination.

HD: How did you find working with steel enamel?

BB: Cutting the steel wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had imagined, cutting the steel with the right tools is very forgiving!

HD: What was the biggest challenge?

In a word – “time”. There just isn’t enough of it. Time is so precious, I usually havevery little of it to bring a project together.

HD: What was the most enjoyable part of the project?

BB: I’ve enjoyed working with the challenge of the bath shape and its material, as well as having the freedom to use my creativity bringing to life my design – transforming the baths into bath chairs!

HD: What’s happened to the bath chairs now that the event has passed?

BB: Good question! They will probably go for sale. I already have a list of people who would like one… so let’s see.

From Inside to Out is in collaboration with – Kaldewei, AJ Wells, Agua Fabrics & AHEC.

Main image credit: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

This September, editor Hamish Kilburn has seen a rise in biophilic and eco design at London Design Festival as he prepares to go on stage at next month’s Independent Hotel Show (October 15) to put the topic firmly under the magnifying glass…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not a naturally born eco warrior – and I don’t believe anyone who was born pre-Millennium is either. That’s not to be confused by someone who doesn’t care about the environment. It just means that I, like others, have had to learn – and learn quickly – about the many strands attached to this very real issue before being comfortable speaking about it publicly.

“Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier is melting down by back vertebrae by vertebrae.”

Last year I was privileged to be among the first to interview Martin Pease as the Managing Director of architecture and design firm WATG London. While the interview was memorable, it was his response to one particular question that stayed with me. When asked what the number-one tool for success is, he said: “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Since then, I have made it an editor’s prerogative to listen to many, not just one or a few, before finally being prepared to make sense of chaotic and stigmatised issues. And here I am preparing to dissect what is the most chaotic and complex matters our industry has perhaps ever faced: climate change and finding sustainable, ecological and realistic solutions to create harmony between design and nature.

Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier melting down my back vertebrae by vertebrae. According to NASA, most of the warming has occurred in the last 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Meanwhile, The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass, having lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016.

Designers, architects and suppliers have traditionally been good listeners when it comes to reacting to meeting the needs – and in this case requirements – of consumers. This month has been no exception. London Design Festival 2019 once again attracted the attention of the design world. Firstly, it awarded Dame Vivienne Westwood with the Lifetime Achievement Medal.

Despite my initial concerns, it was not Brexit that was dominating the theme of every conversation in and between the many social events. Instead, it was the boundless possibilities of biophilic design; discussing, at length, who was using nature innovatively for good to create warm and thoughtful interiors. I have my favourites, as do we all, but it feels like it’s creating a free-flowing movement of ideas.

I would argue that we are not quite yet surfing on the crest of the sustainability wave. Although we have the resources to hand when we catch it, we are reliant on each other – developers, owners, operators and investors – in order for it to finally, one day, become common practice to receive a brief to design a fully eco hotel.

Cue next month’s Independent Hotel Show, where I will have the heavy responsibility to lead the discussion on how our global industry can work together to build more conscious and considered hotels. While I can’t promise miracles, I can guarantee that my expert panel and I have turned over every stone to ensure that we offer realistic visions of a sustainable future on the international hotel design scene.

It’s already started, with hotels such as The Pig pledging publically that almost all food that can’t be supplied by the gardens is then impressively sourced within a 25-mile radius. And Monkey Island Estate in Bray-on-Thames, which features its own smoke house among many other intriguing elements in the garden, with still plenty of space for further expansion.

My conclusion (for the purpose of this Editor’s Letter if nothing else) is that it is not rocket science. It’s simply about the industry collectively using creative thinking to offer new and functional solutions. Call it, if you like, the true art of modern hospitality.

Main image credit: Act Studios

ibis Styles launches hotel design challenge in search for emerging creatives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ibis Styles launches hotel design challenge in search for emerging creatives

ibis Styles and Glug have launched a nationwide competition, giving designers the chance of winning £1,000 for the best hotel design concept…

Known as one of the UK’s leading eco hotel brands, ibis Styles has announced a new design challenges, asking designers to create a moodboard for their dream hotel concept, giving the creative candidates the chance to showcase their skills and unlock a possible £1,000 prize.

Aiming to uncover creative potential in dormant designers, they are hosting a mood-boarding workshop on 18th September at ibis Styles London Southwarkto share inspiration with those entering. Run by two award-winning designers, Clare Morton and Emma Fisher, the hands-on event will equip budding creatives with the know-how to create an eye-catching mood board surrounded by the vibrant West End themed design touches at the hotel.

To launch the ‘ibis Styles By Us’ competition, which closes at midnight on September 25, both Morton and Fisher have crafted and released mood boards for their own hotel design concepts. Emma’s pops with a myriad of eye-catching colours, patterns and geometric forms, and Clare has channelled her passion for Punk culture in hers with magazine cuttings and famous iconography.

Judged by Arun Rana, Design Manager for Accor Northern Europe, the creator of the winning mood board design will be awarded a cash prize of £1,000 and £500 worth of stays at ibis Styles.

“Every one of our ibis Styles properties in the UK is unique,” said Arun Rana, Design Manager for Accor Northern Europe, “bringing to life pop culture through fun themes, eye-catching aesthetics, so it’s really exciting to celebrate this through our challenge with Glug. We’re looking to discover new design talent and seeing how people express themselves through their mood board creations.”

Tickets to the ibis Styles By Us x Glug mood boarding event cost £5 and are available to book via Eventbrite here. To enter the ibis Styles By Us design challenge before the September 25, 2019 by visiting @glugevents on Instagram.

Main image credit: ibis Styles

Marriott International to eliminate single-use shower toiletry bottles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to eliminate single-use shower toiletry bottles

By December 2020, the hotel group will introduce new, large amenity bottles to reduce plastic waste…

Following on from IHG’s big announcement last month to ban miniatures, Marriott International is the latest hotel group to announce a change in policy when it comes to bathroom amenities, with the company announcing that it will replace single-use toiletry bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel in guestroom showers with larger, pump-topped bottles.

To date, the company has already rolled out larger bottles at about 1,000 properties in North America, and now expects most of its other hotels to make the switch by December 2020. When fully implemented across the globe, Marriott International’s expanded toiletry program is expected to prevent around 500 million tiny bottles annually from going to landfills; that’s about 1.7 million pounds of plastic, a 30 per cent annual reduction from current amenity plastic usage.

“This is our second global initiative aimed at reducing single-use plastics in just over a year, which underscores how important we believe it is to continuously find ways to reduce our hotels’ environmental impact. It’s a huge priority for us,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “Our guests are looking to us to make changes that will create a meaningful difference for the environment while not sacrificing the quality service and experience they expect from our hotels.”

“The group first began replacing single-use toiletry bottles in the guest bathrooms of about 450 select-service hotels with larger toiletry bottles that contain more product in January 2018.”

Already, more than 20 per cent of Marriott International’s more than 7,000 properties now offer larger-pump-topped bottles in guestroom showers, doing away with single-use bottles that often end up in landfills.

A typical large, pump-topped bottle contains the same amount of product as about 10 to 12 miniature, single-use bottles. Because miniature bottles are not usually recycled, they end up in the hotels’ trash bins – generating refuse that will never truly decompose in landfills. In addition to allowing guests to use as much of a product as they need, the larger bottles are also recyclable along with other basic containers, such as plastic soda bottles.

Marriott International first began replacing single-use toiletry bottles in the guest bathrooms of about 450 select-service hotels with larger toiletry bottles that contain more product in January 2018. Today, the estimated 1,000 hotels that have made the switch overwhelmingly report positive feedback from guests. Each brand will implement the larger amenity bottles in a way that is consistent with the brand experience and quality standards that Marriott International’s guests have come to expect. The company is already working on ways to reduce single-use items elsewhere in the guestroom.

This initiative furthers Marriott International’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact as part of its Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction platform that addresses social and environmental issues. As part of Serve 360, Marriott International is working toward several sustainability goals such as reducing landfill waste by 45 per cent and responsibly sourcing its top 10 product purchase categories – including guestroom amenities – by 2025.

The global shower amenities initiative comes 13 months after the company’s first global plastics-reduction initiative, which addressed disposable plastic straws. In July 2018, the company’s hotels across the portfolio began phasing out disposable plastic straws and stirrers and switching to an on-demand approach with alternative products wherever possible. As of last month, the company had met its goal, resulting in an estimated annual diversion of 1 billion plastic straws from landfills – a first step on its journey to further reduce the portfolio’s reliance on single-use plastics and other disposables.

The latest announcement expands Marriott International’s early 2018 initiative to switch single-use shower toiletry bottles to larger bottles with pump dispensers in five brands: Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield by Marriott and TownePlace Suites. In addition, four of Marriott International’s brands – Aloft Hotels, Element by Westin, Four Points and Moxy Hotels – previously implemented the pump-dispenser toiletry concept, while a fifth – AC by Marriott – is also preparing to make the change.

Main image credit: Marriott International

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 Hotels to debut in Canada

1 Hotel Toronto, which is being designed using reclaimed materials, will be unveiled next year as a design-led, sustainable urban retreat…

Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels Founder and CEO & Chairman of Starwood Capital Group, who earlier this year announced a new lifestyle hotel brand, has confirmed plans for 1 Hotel Toronto. The hotel, which is slated to open next year, is inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, the vibrant character of King Street West and the Toronto marketplace.

The hotel is being developed in partnership with Mohari Hospitality, a global real estate investment company and owner of the building which is currently operated as the Thompson Toronto. The downtown property will undergo an extensive transformation into a relaxing luxury sustainable 1 retreat.

“The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone.”

1 Hotels brings its sustainable vision to life by incorporating nature in its design and culinary collaborations, connecting with the local community to make a meaningful impact in the way people travel, eat, live and work. The hotel group purposefully reuses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone. The hotel’s design balances refined elements with a comfortably curated atmosphere, inspired by the creativity and craftsmanship of local artists, builders, chefs, and others. Its operating philosophy reflects our commitment to sustainability. 1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.

“1 Hotel Toronto will introduce the city to a new standard for an eco-conscious luxury experience, and is the first of its kind in Canada,” said Sternlicht. We look forward to sharing our mission to inspire conscious consumption with guests from across the globe as well as the local community. Our partnership with Mohari is key to the re-development of the project, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them.”

“1 Toronto is not just a place to stay; it’s a place to get inspired, focus, grow, connect and recharge.”

Mark Scheinberg, founder of Mohari Hospitality, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with 1 Hotels to open this luxury hotel and brand in the heart of Toronto. At Mohari, we look for innovative projects that are changing the hospitality market and 1 Hotel Toronto perfectly fits that mould.”

1 Toronto will be enhanced by a level of luxury and personalisation that puts guests in an urban oasis. It’s expected to become a place to unwind, connect, eat well, and discover warmth and community in an environment which embraces nature, making it a luxurious and welcome respite for business travellers and world wanderers alike.

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image caption: Independent Hotel Show Conscious Hotel Room sketch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels

As part of its expansion plans for 2019 and beyond, Versa Wallcovering has recently turned up the volume in amplifying its products in Europe. Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn sits down with the company’s new Business Development Manager (EMEA), Paul Gibson, to understand more about his vision and the latest sustainable wallcovering products on the market… 

Having worked with the likes of Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, IHG and Four Seasons, among many other brands, Versa Wallcovering is currently at a crossroads in its journey. Known in the US as one of the go-to contract surface brands, it has recently added a new element within in its strategy in order to expand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The individual who has been tasked to direct the traffic forwards in the EMEA regions is Paul Gibson. With more 15 years’ experience in the sector, Gibson is, in Versa Wallcovering’s eyes, the ideal industry expert for the job. “This is very much a clean page for Versa,” he says. “The company has always had an element of a presence in the UK through distribution, but they decided about a year ago to do a full-on sales attack in Europe.”

What seems to set the company aside from other conventional wallcovering brands is its sustainability qualities – not only in designing durable products that are built to last but also considering materials at manufacturing stages. “We have the technology to recycle and recover used vinyl and factory waste,” explains Gibson. “We cover it to be used in new products, which is a completely unique process. We have a range called Second Look, which is created using recycled materials. There are recycled materials in all of our products with no sacrifice in appearance, durability and quality. The other thing we have launching later this year is a PVC-free vinyl.”

Image caption: Paul Gibson, Versa Wallcovering’s Business Development Manager (EMEA),

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: A trend you hope to never return?
Paul Gibson: Artex on walls. It’s hideous.

HK: What is the wallcoverings market as a whole really focusing on at the moment?
G: I want to say sustainability, but more needs to be done first. I guess innovation of design.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
PG: Tokyo

HK: What is the number-one item you can’t travel without?
PG: My phone

HK: What’s the last transaction that will show up on your statement?
PG: Probably an ITunes download, or coffee!

HK: How has technology changed since you entered the market?
PG: I started in 2004, and there were silk vinyl copies that were plastic and shiny and it didn’t look real. Now, you can’t really tell the difference because they are so realistic. Just how far tech has come in a relatively short period of time is incredible.

One area in the hotel that benefits more than others from innovative and creative wallcoverings is the lobby – and a fairly simple way to give these public areas personality is to inject colour in them. “The days of having one tone of colour on a vinyl are almost over,” explains Gibson. “We have a very sophisticated printing process where we can print multiple layers.

“What people couldn’t achieve a few years ago they now can because tech allows them to. Digital wallcoverings is now moving more towards achieving more intricate detailed. Now are using digital printing methods in standard wallcoverings where we can print on a texture or print over a colour to create more varied effects.”

Versa Wallcovering’s latest collection, which includes Caba, Capri and Crush, is proof in the pudding that the company’s focus remains on hotels within all levels and its inspiration comes from nature – think stones, peacocks and floral aesthetics but with a modern twist. “Our design team are very good at looking outside our direct industry for inspiration is key,” adds Gibson. “They are visionaries who are thinking outside the box and I am very proud of the new collection that has been a result of that method.”

Keeping brand values close to home, the company’s ‘everything we sell, we manufacture’ policy keeps its products and service seamless and absolute. In addition, and as an incentive for designers to select more sustainable products at affordable costs, Versa Wallcovering promises competitive prices and endeavours to deliver samples the next day (where possible even same day).

Now that Versa Wallcovering has turned the page to enter a new chapter on a prosperous journey, its global reach of eco-sourced products has inspired designers, architects, owners and operators to think more about the materials used when designing the hotels of our future.

Versa Wallcovering 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.

PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Wellness & wellbeing in the open air

As Hotel Designs focuses its lens on Hotel Concepts, editor Hamish Kilburn learns how Gessi is leading the way in launching innovative bathroom products inspired by nature and the great outdoors… 

Internal and external, closed and open, domestic and nature scale: ideally designers can eliminate all barriers with the Gessi Outdoor line in order to create a single grand dimension of physical and mental wellbeing. The free-standing shower columns of the Gessi Outdoor Wellness Sy- stem were specically conceived for outdoor spaces.

They offer innovative combinations of materials, nishes and treatments, with the goal of recreating the stylistic and functional pleasure of the Gessi Private Wellness System outdoors, for a private oasis of wellbeing or in public spaces such as spas and resorts.

The rened and discreet lines of the Gessi Outdoor Collections are naturally inserted into the landscape, creating a continuity and happy union between interior and exterior, a harmonious fusion with nature.

With an elegant, modern and discreet appearance, the Gessi G01 outdo- or shower gives spaces a re ned and contemporary style. Self-standing and created in stainless steel, this model is a winner thanks to its slim and essential design, and gives a special atmosphere to terraces, gardens and pools, the geometric angled tubular structure terminates with a directional showerhead equipped with special holes for a rich rainfall jet. The showerhead is available with a smooth surface treatment or in four different knurled patterns, while the vertical tubular body is equipped with elegant ring-shaped controls in tone-on-tone or contrasting nish, available in smo- oth or knurled texture. For greater practicality, this model features a design handshower with magnetic attachment. Also for the outdoor world, Gessi offers customizable details and coordinating elements.

Gessi 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: Gessi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Zuri Zanzibar

FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Sustainable materials in signage design and interior finishes

In order to confront the growing issue of sustainability, Signbox explains how the company is putting in measures to ensure that its products are eco-friendly…

Sustainability is a hot topic when it comes to modern design for business environments, workspaces and, potentially, architectural signage. As a company we have always been interested in new technologies and new sustainable signage materials that could be used across a signage architecture scheme.

One of the fastest-growing, renewable resources in the world that Signbox, as a leading sign manufacturer in the UK with a reputation for creating powerful environmental signs, is now using is bamboo. Bamboo grows fast, it absorbs CO2 in large qualities and it’s a very hard ‘wood like’ species of grass. Pressed into sheet or beam form, it is beautiful, tactile, functional and structural. All these qualities make bamboo a material that’s ideally suited for use in construction and why not, in signage.

Why use Bamboo in signage design?

The type of bamboo that we have started using is called Moso, which is the fastest growing plant in the world; it reaches up to 20 metres within a couple of months and can grow up to one metre a day in the growing season. It takes the stem around four to five years to mature and achieve the hardwood characteristics sensitive signage design demands of its materials, i.e. hardness, strength and durability.

The advantage of using bamboo is that the mother plant doesn’t die when harvesting as with oak and other trees. 20-25% of the poles can be harvested each year without reducing the plantation or damaging the plants in any way. In contrast, by harvesting the mature bamboo plants the quality of the plantations actually increases.

This material is provided to us by Moso Bamboo surfaces, A UK market leader specialising in manufactured bamboo and the sole UK distributor for MOSO a world leader.

“We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo.”

Treated accordingly, bamboo is a very durable material. The special thermo-density process used by Moso increases the density from 650-700 kg/m3 to approx. 1150 kg/m3, significantly improving the hardness of this product. After pressing, the material is stronger and harder than almost any other hardwood in the world, making it a perfect hardwood signage alternative.

We are developing a new range of signs manufactured from bamboo, that has been treated with an anti-fungal and anti-rot treatment which makes it perfect to be used externally without further maintenance. This is the material Signbox’s signage design team used for this golf course exterior signage system.

We are now working on developing a new range of environmental signs and sign products from bamboo, but if you have any requirements for a bespoke, inspirational sign product, please contact our sales team.

LEDs and solar systems

You will have heard about LED systems, which are cost effective and energy efficient because they use less power to produce light. Signbox has been using LEDs successfully for many years for interior signage and exterior signage schemes, as LED display solutions, LED door signs, LED room number signs, illuminated LED signs, LED information signs and as LED stealth monoliths. Indeed, the range of LED illumination signage solutions that are now available to us and our clients is vast.

Now, solar signage is on the rise. Whenever we have been able to, we use solar in our signage schemes – just as we’ve utilised it with the signage for Dakota where all finishing touch signs and exterior signage that relied on LED illumination were controlled by solar switch.

100 per cent recycled acrylic sheet

If you’re conscious about the planet and you want your environmental signs to be manufactured from 100% recycled plastic instead of using the standard acrylic sheet, please let us know and we’ll ensure our production team uses GreenCast – an 100% recycled acrylic sheet from Amari Plastics. Amari provides a full range of sheet sizes, thicknesses, colours and product types, manufactured, tested and validated in the EU, which are perfectly suited to a wide range of exterior signage and interior signage design schemes.

For more information about architectural signage solutions manufactured from sustainable materials, please contact the Signbox team.

SLEEP & EAT: Sleep Set design and architecture firms unveiled

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SLEEP & EAT: Sleep Set design and architecture firms unveiled

Sleep & Eat has confirmed the designers and architects who will create this years Sleep + Eat sets, two of which were finalists of The Brit List 2018… 

Sleep & Eat, which takes place in Olympia London on November 19 – 20, has announced the architecture and design firms that will create the 2019 Sleep & Eat Sets. The roll call reveals an intriguing roster of new and long-established, multi-cultural practices based in Paris, London, Manchester and Singapore.

The firms are twenty2degrees, Miaja Design Group, Hat Design and Barreca Tibblin, who will each create a concept guestroom. Meanwhile, NAME architecture and Space Invader will both realise a restaurant and bar Set. With the theme for 2019 of “Social FlexAbility”, the six design and architecture companies have been challenged to design flexible and engaging spaces in that guests can activate the social experience of their choice. Once again, the Sets – a cult favourite amongst Sleep & Eat visitors – are poised to provide a conceptual playground which, this year, will explore one of the major issues of our technology-enabled age – connection with other human beings.

twenty2Degrees is one of the most prolific hotel interior design firms in London today. “We are thrilled to be a part of the creative team of designers involved with this year’s Sleep & Eat sets,” says Joseph Stella of twenty2degrees who was last year a finalist in The Brit List. “We look forward to delivering a design that not only encapsulates our studio, but also responds to the challenge of this year’s brief. Our aim is to design a space that feels fresh, excites those who visit and inspires others in the way that we have been when visiting The Sets in previous years.”

Headquartered in Singapore, Miaja Design Group has been bringing artistic design to hotels & resorts, luxury residential and F&B developments since 1995. The founder, Isabelle Miaja, says: “I am very excited to participate in Sleep & Eat 2019. Innovation and inspiration have always been a driving force for me in creating my designs and this event embodies these precepts.”

Paris-based Hat Design already enjoys a hospitality portfolio across Europe. Anne-Marie Sabatier believes that their quest is to design destinations and new experiences of wellbeing that engage all the guest’s senses. “With the prodigious opportunity offered at Sleep & Eat, we will be sharing our vision of relaxed aesthetics and transformable social collaboration,” she explains. “Sleep & Eat is an opening for HAT to a global audience, prestigious representation where functional business design matters.”

Barreca Tibblin was founded in London just last year, an interior design company combining the Scandinavian and French heritage of creative duo Emilie Barreca and Maria Tibblin.Maria Tibblin. “’Tradition of the future’ is my inspiration when designing a space,” says Tibblin. “It honours our heritage and welcomes the next generation. A timeless design combined with the creative sense of tomorrow. When I visited the Sleep & Eat event last year, I was so inspired and eager to be part of the show to share my ideas with a wider audience.”

Based in London and Paris, NAME Architecture is an award-winning architectural practice led by Nathalie Rozencwajg, whose experience ranges from landmark museums to residential spaces and luxury hotels. Rozencwajg was also a finalist in last year’s Brit List. “We are looking forward to contributing to a leading event in the hospitality sector and sharing our vision for the future of the industry,” she says. “Sleep & Eat is a driving force that bridges today’s solutions with visions for tomorrow and designing a Set is a unique opportunity to contribute to the debate and explore the power of design to personalise a social experience through a spatial one.”

Katie Edgar is the interior designer behind Oddfellows On The Park, Hotel Designs’ most recent interactive hotel review. “At Space Invader, we are always looking for new ideas that inspire us as interior designers,” says Edgar. “The Sleep & Eat event is a must for us as it combines new products, thought leadership, opportunities to speak to key figures in our industry and a chance to soak up the buzzing atmosphere. The opportunity to design a Set was a no brainer and a chance for us to come together as a design studio and create something special.”

Sleep & Eat 2019 returns to the National Hall, Olympia London, on 19th-20th November. For more information or to register for a complimentary pass, visit www.sleepandeatevent.com/visit/register-your-interest.

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat

 

TRENDS: Eco-friendly design ideas for the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TRENDS: Eco-friendly design ideas for the hotel bathroom

In the wake of protests in London, designers and architects have responded by becoming more conscious in their design decisions recently. Crosswater explains some of the benefits of an eco-friendly hotel bathroom…

Large or compact, traditional or modern, boutique or luxury, hotel bathroom design has become increasingly influenced by eco-conscious product innovations, in particular around the efficient output of water.

The hotel bathroom space is constantly evolving and guests and designers are looking for more than just basic fixtures and fittings. From rainfall showers, high-tech digital valves and multi-outlet systems that include the likes of body jets, dual-function shower flows and additional handsets, each of these products require hotel bathrooms to work harder than ever and use more energy to run.

In the current day and age, as energy is depleted at an increasingly alarming rate, it is more important than ever to find eco-friendly alternatives in hotel bathroom design that incorporate both water-saving and energy-saving features – designed to minimise the impact of the hotel industry on the environment. Although much of the waste is caused by bad habits, installing and maintaining water-saving bathroom fixtures is an enormously important step.

When it comes to specifying eco-friendly designs, Crosswater advises hotel designers to opt for products that are WRAS approved, as it is a calculable way to guarantee that bathroom suites will not only be saving water but also utilising it in the most efficient way possible.  These regulations require water fittings, such as valves and taps that do not cause waste, misuse, undue consumption or contamination of the water supply. Crosswater is dedicated to ensuring all of its products are as environmentally friendly as possible and over 200 of its products already proudly wear the WRAS badge of approval.

Designs such as the Neopearl shower flow regulators are the ideal option for hotels looking to make the next eco-friendly step. With amazing water-saving capacity, the functional regulator reduces water consumption to a maximum level whilst the unique flow regulator technology keeps the flow rate constant across the pressure and can be inserted directly into most fixed showerheads, handsets or basin monoblocs.

Eco-friendly toilets are also becoming an increasingly popular option as an easy and immediate way to save water in many hotels across the UK and globally. Installing eco-friendly   WCs   will   assist   in   conserving   natural resources as well as being environmentally friendly. The Crosswater Kai collection conforms to – and exceeds – required British and European quality, performance, sustainability and water saving regulations. The Kai WCs consume 33% less water by using the latest flush systems making them incredibly environmentally friendly.

The design of Crosswater’s Wild Rimless WC also makes for a fantastically economical option; the stunning collection of pure Italian designs are each expertly crafted with an innovative rimless bowl that is complemented alongside superior, tried-and-tested flush technology to ensure the very best in hygiene function, whilst reducing water consumption with an eco-friendly half or full flush. Featuring dual flush technology, it provides the option to regulate how much water is used, which helps to save even more water by simply adjusting the larger flush to the reduced water volume setting.

With hotel bathrooms continuously developing and improving their technology, it can be difficult to monitor the high volume of water used within bathrooms by guests. Installing rimless WC models can be a great way of avoiding water wastage and the rimless model is cleverly designed to get more flushing power out of less water. Additionally there are many other small ways to reduce environmental impact in hotel bathrooms.

Décor elements made of recycled material can assist in making bathroom spaces more eco-friendly as well as opting for taps and showers with aerators. The aerator is expertly designed to reduce the overall water flow by using pressure from air. It is also advised to swap bulbs with LED lights, this will help to save energy, and illuminated mirrors can also be used as a great alternative source of bathroom lighting. Crosswater’s Revive LED Illuminated Mirror is a highly innovative design that makes for a fantastic alternative to big lighting fixtures that consume far greater amounts of energy. In a hotel environment, this can be a great opportunity to create the option of mood lighting too.

In summary, there are many ways to transform hotel bathrooms to take a more eco-friendly approach. From recycling to using less energy, every little improvement adds up to change the world for the better.

Main image credit: Crosswater

A special linen order that didn’t cost the earth

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A special linen order that didn’t cost the earth

Mitre Linen recently supplied products to the Bardsey Island Trust, a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest… 

Recommended Supplier Mitre Linen has supplied Bardsey Island Trust with environmentally friendly duvets for the use of guests staying on the remote island, which is just off the coast of North Wales.

The duvets, part of the company’s new Eco collection, are made from recycled plastic bottles and so are fully consistent with the island’s commitment to protecting the environment.

“Until now, visitors have been asked to bring their own duvets with them,” said Caroline Jones from the Bardsey Island Trust, “Mitre’s Eco collection duvets mean we can provide them with truly green duvets made from waste plastic. This struck a chord with us as despite our tireless efforts to keep Bardsey clear of damaging waste, plastics like water bottles travel to us on the oceans from France and Spain, littering our pristine shoreline and creating a hazard for wildlife.

“Mitre Linen is doing something positive by taking bottles, just like those that cause such harm on the island, and turning them into something useful. By choosing to use the Eco duvets we are being consistent with our message to protect not only our special environment here at Bardsey, but to contribute in a small way to reducing the impact of single use plastics everywhere.”

Bardsey Island is one of 10 places taking part in a pilot project aimed at tackling marine plastic pollution on Cold Water islands by implementing innovative, community-based solutions. The initiative is part of the ‘Cold Water Islands Project’, a collaboration between Surfers Against Sewage and Parley for the Oceans.

Only four people permanently live on Bardsey island however, a range of holiday accommodation is available for rent during the summer months. These have compost toilets, no electricity and cold water that is supplied from a mountain spring.  All rubbish is taken away by visitors at the end of their stay.

“The island is such a special place and an internationally important haven for wildlife so we do all we can to keep it clean and as free as possible from any pollutants or artificial products,” said Jones.

Mitre Eco duvets and pillows have fillings made from recycled plastic bottles which are extruded into soft, non-allergenic fibres. This process produces around 70 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions, uses 70 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy compared to standard fibre production, but is as soft and warm as traditionally manufactured alternatives.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to supply our Eco duvets for the accommodation on Bardsey Island,” said Mitre Linen General Manager Kate Gough. “Part of our ethos as a business is to minimise our impact on the environment and be as sustainable as possible.

The Mitre Eco collection represents our best efforts to make a difference in a positive way. We are proud to be working with Bardsey Island, where the Trust is making huge efforts to operate sustainably in order to help protect the natural world around it.”

Mitre Linen 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: Mitre Linen

Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to arrive in Costa Rica and Iceland

The hotel brand, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, that recently joined IHG has announced two significant opens in both Costa Rica (2021) and Iceland (2022)…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announce two of the latest projects in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Papagayo in Costa Rica – opening 2021 – and Six Senses Össurá Valley in Iceland – which will open in 2022.

Six Senses Papagayo, Costa Rica

Commonly referred to as the Switzerland of Latin America, Costa Rica boasts miles of exotic beaches, some of the most extensive rainforests in the world, majestic mountains, volcanoes, lakes and meandering topography. The Six Senses Papagayo, located on the stunning 2,300-acre Papayago Peninsula, will be a private and eco-conscious destination, offering a new adventure for discerning travellers. The hotel brand is working in partnership with the California based Canyon Group – which acquires and develops boutique ultra-luxury resorts in exciting destinations – and the Garnier Group, one of Costa Rica’s best known and most reputable development companies.

Overseeing the design of the resort is award-winning London based architect John Heah. The site stretches from the highest point on Papagayo down to the forested beachfront which will be home to 41 secluded pool villas. There will also be 31 residences available to buy, with owners benefitting from full access to the resort’s amenities

Six Senses Össurá Valley, Iceland

Surrounded by mountain range the vast Össurá Valley and Vatnajökull National Park, the 70-key Six Senses Össurá Valley is owned and is being developed by the Álfaland Hotel ehf alongside its partners; architect John Brevard, fashion entrepreneur, Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and cultural entrepreneur, Jakob Frímann Magnússon.

Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials, the hotel will adhere to high standards of energy and water efficiency the region is known for. The welcome lodge will be integrated into the surrounding environment and include a library, a cinema room, a water bar and an Earth Lab showcasing the project’s sustainability efforts.

Main image credit: IHG/Six Senses

Man walking in front of light installation

Editor’s round up of Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor’s round up of Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

The streets of London’s Clerkenwell came alive once more for another three days of exhibitions, installations and product launches. Editor Hamish Kilburn rounds up Clerkenwell Design Week 2019 as the festival enters double digits…

There is no other design festival in the world that harnesses the natural swagger to be able to pull off taking over a much-loved iconic nightclub and a desolate crypt at the same time.

Man walking in front of light installation

But Clerkenwell Design Week is an anything but ordinary festival, taking over an entire district to celebrate London as a leading design hub that incubates ideas, creativity and talent. As a proud media partner for the festival as it turns 10 years old, Hotel Designs was in the centre of the action, and here are some of our many highlights.

Following on from last year’s incredible installation with Brinton’s Carpets on St Johns Square, Timorous Beasties’ iconic designs were this year in the Project tent. The design studio’s provocative textiles were woven into the fabrics of Knightsbridge’s stand. Celebrating 80 years of British manufacturing – which is a feat on its own – the furniture company’s design director, Jason Brown, designed a 60s inspired furniture set, combining rich mustard with Timorous Beasties jungle-like patterns. “Yesterday, today, tomorrow,” he said when asked to describe the timeless collection in three words.

From one iconic design brand to another, Zaha Hadid Design Gallery opened its doors to present ‘Shaping Reality Through Time’, an exploration of Fitz Hansen design evolution. As well as looking to the past, the exhibition also showcased a number of new products that were launched at Milan Design Week, including Plenum, which is Hansen’s first dedicated contract furniture piece.

Let there be more light

The feeling of celebration was in the air, which was arguably most felt in the Light exhibition that took over Fabric. The nightclub that famously closed its doors permanently a few years ago was taken over by striking light installations. Many of the new products on display were sustainably designed using materials such as cork and even cardboard in  both the base and shade.

Graypants’ latest flagship Scraplights, made from recycled cardboard and inspired by a collection of pebbles, are cut with a laser and are assembled by hand using non-toxic adhesive. In addition, each and every product is treated with a non-toxic fire retardant, making them ideal for hotel interiors.

Geometric light installation

Image credit: Black Edge Productions

Meanwhile, British lighting brand NOVE displayed its fresh approach on sustainability with pendants in the company’s Cork Collection. Also using the sustainable material was the stylish ARKKI SKIRT & DRUM lamps are lightweight and eco-frindly. The ingenious folding structure allows for a ”pearl necklace” to shine between the pieces, and the white inside of the shade makes it a good light source. There are several wood veneer finishes and a number of laminated paper colors to choose from, all applied on a folding structure of durable corrugated cardboard. The lamps are flat-packed for shipping and mount easily by joining the ends of the fan-like shade and adding a disk that completes the clever structure.

Living room with cardboard lightshades in different colours

Image credit: ARKKI Skirt and Drum

Another highlight from the exhibition – and no stranger to CDW – was Haberdashery. The lighting experts displayed the company’s personalised Dawn To Dusk lamps that evoke the memory of the rising and setting of the sun. As if you were lifting the sun from behind the horizon and placing it in the sky, the light transitions from off through deep red and warm white, to the bright light of midday.

Taking over what used to be the dance floor under the shadow of the main stage was a dynamic installation by LUUM, a company that prides itself on delivering spectacular light installations that stir a sense of wonder, excitement and energy – all of which was captured effortlessly this year with an interesting play on LED technology and geometric, abstract shapes.

Blending architecture with lighting, LEDS C4’s GROK exhibited in the walkway by showcasing its latest products that reacted perfectly with the nightclub’s rustic charm. Visitors were able to immerse themselves around the company’s latest collections such as Ely, the wall light designed by Luca Turrini, new pendants in the Voiles collection by Céline Wright and Circular, which was hung spectacularly over the stand.

Other brands in the Light exhibition included Optelma, atelje Lyktan, Bert Frank, EBB & FLOW, Syska, and XAL among many others.

Mood lighting

Elsewhere around the streets of Clerkenwell, the possibilities of lighting was a topic explored in full. For the duration of festival, artist Liz West took over Domus’ lower ground floor area with her latest work Live Colour. Working against a minimal backdrop of XL format Magnum slabs at Domus, West has imagined a space with blue, pink, green, red and yellow rotating washes of each colour, against white floor and walls, with ‘pure’ white light as part of the cycle to normalise the overall colour intensity.

Audience at seminar in showroom

Image credit: Sophie Mutevelian

The installation uses Rosco’s patented SL1 Mix LED technology to create accurate Rosco gel matches and intense, saturated colour. Through West’s multi-sensory art, visitors to Live Colour will experience pure colour in an immersive environment like never before.

“Live Colour’ plays with people’s individual perception of colour, challenging how they feel when immersed totally in one colour, then quickly drowned in another in deep contrast,” explained West. “Colour is a universal language that is understood by all, although we each bring to the work our individual memories and lived experiences of colour.”

Seamless bathroom style

CDW wasn’t the only birthday celebrated at the festival. Bathroom manufacturer Duravit marked one year in Clerkenwell by exhibiting its latest contemporary products, including the VIU range designed by Sieger Design as well as the masculine matt black furniture and basin options.

Meanwhile, hot off the heals from ISH 2019 and Hotel Designs’ exclusive with VP of Design Michael Seum, GROHE teamed up with tile experts at Mosa to display its latest collections.

Flexible and fresh working spaces

Following on from Hotel Designs’ panel discussion at the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam entitled ‘Designing For Bleisure’, CDW opened the doors to practical workplaces and furniture that many hotels and hotel designers can draw inspiration from. The modern BOB by Bisley, for example, allows the user to detach and personalise the unit to each consumer’s preference. Also exploring this concept in the Platform exhibition was HEX from Intarc Design. The interactive furniture solutions transforms with every use and has the functional ability to store tables, shelves, drawers and even include power supplies. Another stand-out piece that further blurred the lines between workplace and hotel design was the NAAVA living walls, which were displayed in the Design Fields exhibition. The wall is the only smart and active green wall that revolutionises the air consumers breathe.

man in front of installations made of plastic bottles

Image credit: Sophie Mutevelian

Key elements

Nestled on St Johns Square, which won the award for best suntrap of the week, Elements at CDW brought together a leading selection of ironmongery, hardware, switch plates and architectural accessories. Stand-out pieces included contemporary and colourful radiators by BISQUE and personalised light switches, electrical wiring accessories, circuit protection, smart lighting controls and multi-room audio that was on display on the Hamilton Litestat stand.

Inspiration for all 

Among the many engaging talks and seminars that took place over the two days was Morgan Furniture, which opened its showroom to a flood of a designers, architects and students to hear Tom Raffield talk about his latest lighting collection – and the art of steam bending. “Biophilic design is so important,” Raffield said. “I am really inspired by the fact that there are no striaght lines in nature.” Other sessions that went beneith the surface of sustainable design included Jo Ruxton’s Plastic in the Ocean talk at Humanscale and Material Matters by Grant Gibson and Gareth Neal.

One of the many traditional highlights of the festival for many is the Platform exhibition, which takes shape in the House of Detention. The exhibition recognises some of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming design talent. Exploiting the venue’s atmospheric architecture, Platform creates a stunning backdrop for a curated collection of international and cutting-edge design. Among the stand-out stands this year was fabric brand Monkey Puzzle Tree, which launched a new colour of its Passion Flower wallpaper. “We worked with artist Alexis Snell, a printmaker who works with beautifully unique linocuts to create Passion Flower wallpaper,” explained the brand’s Charlotte Raffo. “Known for her strange, dark, angular illustrations that look as if they’ve just emerged from a fairytale, Alexis’s work can been seen illustrating many books and her designs have also been commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum.”

Other brands who exhibited underground and projected emerging talent included Spitfire Furniture that combines aviation engineering with design, Trouping Colour, STORE and Russel Bamber.

Something fun to take away

Robot pole dancing

Image credit: Giles Walker/FUTURE Designs

The designer and manufacturer of luminaires and bespoke lighting solutions FUTURE Designs displayed ‘Peep Show’, an installation by kinetic artist Giles Walker. The installation, which featured robotic sculptures that dance, was created as a comment on the perverseness of some advancing technologies and their surveillance capabilities. Peep Show went viral on social media shortly after being shown in its opening exhibition.“There are parallels with the themes that run through my work and the physical creative process,” said Walker about the display. “Over the past 27 years that I have been making moving sculptures there has been a direct correlation between the technological progression of my work and the technological progression in the recycled material available. A lot of the mechanics found in my sculptures still come from under the bonnet of scrapped cars. So not only do my sculptures allude to displaced, rejected and redundant themes surrounding society, but they are also made of this very thing”.

The robotic sculptures included parts from the FUTURE Designs factory that were recycled to help create these thought provoking moving figures.

The 10th edition of CDW has been a celebration of a decade spent in EC1. The three day festival continues to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary creativity housed across London’s historic Clerkenwell. Representing the area’s dynamic energy and creative diversity, CDW has become a show like no other – championing the local community, established and up-and-coming design brands. Hosting more than 200 exhibitors, including more than 100 showrooms, seven installations, seven exhibition venues and a series of workshops, talks and walking tours, CDW 2019 certainly delivered.

Main image credit: Sam Frost

True-to-life surfaces from your local distributor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
True-to-life surfaces from your local distributor

UNILIN division panel surfaces, provide architects and specifiers with fast access to its UNILIN Evola decorative panels through a nationwide network of distributors…

Through UNILIN it’s easy to find your nearest knowledgeable distributor ready to help unlock the creativity of UNILIN Evola and its 168 decorative options, covering faithful recreations of natural materials to bold colours, concrete and brushed precious metals.

No matter what the look, all Evola panels share one thing in common; great performance. Offering a durable fade- and scratch-resistant surface and easy maintenance, Evola panels are a practical solution for any commercial interior. Available in HPL, melamine-faced chipboard and edging tape, Evola is a serious alternative to natural materials, offering a true-to-life look without any of the drawbacks.

Operating in the UK through a distribution network, UNILIN, division panels, provides its innovative, high-quality panels to interior architects, designers, fabricators and manufacturers. Also manufacturing read-to-paint panels, raw chipboard, doors, shelves and the innovative ClicWall MDF wall panelling system, the company produces more than 2.1million m3 of product annually at sites in Belgium and France.

Currently, the manufacturer’s chipboard is 100 per cent recycled, using 85 per cent recycled wood and the remaining 15 per cent from timber thinning and wood industry waste flows. UNILIN, division panels, also works with companies to take-back old fittings, minimising waste and re-purposing them with a new lease of life. This circular approach is gaining popularity with companies looking to make their sustainability actions more transparent.

With such positive environmental actions, as well as high-quality, innovative decorative panels that can be accessed quickly from distributors right across the country, UNILIN Evola is the ideal partner for interior projects of all shapes and sizes. A4 samples of all 168 UNILIN Evola decorative options can be ordered through the website.

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

Leading designers and architects spoke at the inaugural IDAS

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Leading designers and architects spoke at the inaugural IDAS

Taking place yesterday at Hilton London Tower Bridge, the Interior Design & Architecture Summit sheltered some interesting debates for designers and architects – all of which looped back to the elephant-in-the-room topic, sustainability in our hotels and cities…

The sold-out inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) took place yesterday at the Hilton London Tower Bridge.

The event, which allowed visionary designers and architects the ability to meet face-to-face with key-industry suppliers, included a speakership programme curated with the aim to put relevant topics under the spotlight.

IDAS 2019 started with an engaging presentation by Constantina Tsoutsikou, the Creative Director at HBA London, who discussed ‘Playfullness & Personality in Hospitality Design’. In addition to referencing key projects to exemplify her points, Tsoutsikou made reference to creative boundaries of modern designers. “Many designers have forgotten how to sketch by hand,” she told the audience. “If we rely on computers then we have forgotten a skill that is very valuable.”

“The reality is that the brief from hotels, investors and operators is never – or very rarely – to build a sustainable hotel.” – Constantina Tsoutsikou, the Creative Director at HBA London

Joining the visionary on the sofa, editor Hamish Kilburn followed the presentation with a live Q&A and it became clear that sustainability was to be a dominating topic to be explored throughout the day. “The reality is that the brief from hotels, investors and operators is never – or very rarely – to build a sustainable hotel,” Tsoutsikou explained. “When consumers start choosing hotels on this credential then developers will follow, and this is happening slowly.”

The designer explained how an ‘open window’ approach during projects – ensuring that the hotels on the boards evolve with ideas and themes throughout from concept to completion – has allowed her and her team to really inject each property they touch with ample personality and, of course, apt sense of place. “Take Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for example. It has a dutch soul,” she explained. We enriched the level of comfort in the atrium by creating ‘islands’, each providing a distinct experience within the Axis Lobby: reception, lounge library, tech lounge and cocktail bar. Each area is defined by a carpet with a design inspired by the sediment-laden islands and waterways between coastal dunes on the southern coast of the Netherlands.

From one inspirational creative to another, Yasmine Mahmoudieh was invited to take the second speaker session of the day, exploring Hotels of the Future. Following extensive research into the changing behavior of modern hotel guests, Mahmoudieh explained how she has seen – from both a design and an architecture point of view – a large demand in creating intelligent flexible spaces. Mahmoudieh explained that the hotels of the future will house all facilities – for working, living and socialising – under one roof. “New ways of living and working are being developed all over the world,” she said. “Therefore, the need for social interaction has never been as prevalent. It is partly due to social media and the alienation and the loneliness, especially young people feel.”

Returning back to the theme of responsible design, Mahmoudieh, when joined on the sofa by Kilburn, started to highlight the importance of sustainability in architecture and explained the value of finding new eco-friendly materials. “I-MESH, for example, is an innovative material invented to assume a leading position in the field of solar protection indoors/outdoors,” she said. “Its physical, technological, formal characteristics together with its high aesthetical potential makes it eligible as a proper architectural material. It outclasses metallic grids for its design versatility and sustainability; it’s an easily custom made mesh in line with the architectural thought, with the story of the commissioning client, with the brand.”

Following an afternoon of face-to-face meetings with suppliers from the likes of Marco Corona, Hamilton Litestat (recommended supplier), Mitre Linen (recommended supplier), Gessi (recommended supplier), Cole & Sons and many more, the audience gathered for the final session of the day. In the panel discussion entitled ‘The Rising Ceiling of Creativity’, Kilburn was joined on the sofa by Moritz Waldemeyer (lighting designer and recommended supplier), Charles Leon (architect and Past-President, BIID), Gilly Craft (interior designer and President, BIID), Yasmine Mahmoudieh (interior designer/architect) and Robin Sheppard (CEO of Bespoke Hotels). Looking at the creative boundaries faced currently by the industry as well as ‘futuregazing’ towards the hotel room of the future, the panel debated consumer behavior, sustainability in design and how to create authentic installations within hotel design.

Following the success of yesterday’s event, details around next year’s IDAS will be announced shortly.

Media Partner: Future Constructor & Architect

Media Partner: Treniq

Spotlight On: May’s features announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spotlight On: May’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its May editorial features, which are Bars and Restaurants and Bathrooms… 

Throughout May, Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On features will look at two highly topical features, namely Bars & Restaurants and Bathrooms – both areas of which are transforming drastically in order to cater to modern travellers’ demands.

Bars and Restaurants

Colourful and lavish restaurant

Image credit: Dukes Dubai

With Gastronomy evolving to be a major travel trend, the design of a bar and of a restaurant has never been so important. Hotels are recreating and reopening these areas to become just as much of an experience as checking in or walking into a stunningly designed guestroom or suite. Instagrammable moments can now be captured in a design hotel’s dining areas, once a space reserved for guests-only, which is now desired to be the life and soul of the city open for all to enjoy.

Bathrooms

Modern bathroom in a shell of wooden structures

Image credit: Kaldewei

With our highly regarded Recommended Suppliers, we will explore, post-ISH, the heavily congested arena of bathroom design. Will colour finally find its way into the modern bathroom, and will the bathroom spa become a popular choice for designers who want to recreate amazing spaces? We will go beneath the surface to uncover all the hottest bathroom trends and we will try to discover what the hotel bathroom of the future will look like.

If you wish to find out more, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk

Main image credit: The Cow Hollow Hotel, Manchester

CASE STUDY: Surfaces in flexible working areas

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Surfaces in flexible working areas

Creating a fresh new look for its offices and stores, Belgian supermarket giant, the Colruyt Group, has turned to UNILIN, division panels, to help it complete the circle and repurpose its old retail and office interior fittings…

The family-owned Colruyt Group is famed for its sustainable approach to retailing and is active in many initiatives positively impacting its entire supply chain.

As part of its drive towards a circular, sustainable approach – that it sees just as important as competitive pricing – the retailer has placed reuse high on its agenda. So, when it came to creating a fresh new look for its offices, it turned to its long-running relationship with UNILIN, division panels, to see what could be done:

“Our current chipboard is 100 per cent circular,” explains specification director, Christof De Poorter. “Comprising 85 per cent recycled wood, the remaining 15 per cent is sourced from thinning and waste flows from the timber industry. We save an average of 5,000 trees per day and reduce CO2 emissions by some 1.2million tonnes a year.”

Colruyt Group took this circular process one step further, delivering its old panels and shelves directly to UNILIN, so that they could be recycled and returned for use in its new offices. UNILIN undertook a sophisticated cleaning process involving a range of technologies including NIR (near infared), sifting, induction and magnetism, before working them into new Evola panels to be used within the retailer’s offices. Selecting H720 BST White Birch and 625 BST Silicon, Colruyt has selected a look that’s fresh, yet easy to maintain and resistant to the knocks of modern working environments. More importantly, it has brought new transparency to the materials it specifies.

“We sense just how important sustainability is to our customers and our circular approach helps them to take action,” continues Christof De Poorter. “Colruyt’s approach and commitment to taking every step possible to become more sustainable shows that consumers are no longer buying just a product, they place a great deal of importance on the complete production chain.”

Colruyt is not the only company to take advantage of UNILIN’s circular chipboard production with more and more organisations looking for positive actions on sustainability to increase transparency and gain competitive advantage.

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

Zuri Zanzibar becomes first hotel awarded EarthCheck’s Sustainable Design Gold Certification

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

Zuri Zanzibar, the recently launched design-led resort has become the first hotel in the world to be awarded EarthCheck’s Sustainable Design Gold Certification…

EarthCheck has awarded Zuri Zanzibar, the stylish beachfront 13-acre Jestico+Whiles-designed resort, a Sustainable Design Gold Certification. The resort, which is located in Kendwa, on the the idyllic northern west shores of Unguja, provides a seamless blend of contemporary design, sustainable architecture and authentic African flair offering world-class gastronomy, wellness and responsible tourism.

“We’re extremely proud of being the only resort globally to receive Gold Certification in EarthCheck’s highly-esteemed Sustainable Design Programme,” said Jean-Francois Laporte, the Zuri Zanzibar Project Director comments on receiving the award. “This accolade reflects our unwavering commitment to sustainability, by making positive changes to reduce our environmental footprint and improve social impact

“This award is also testament to the fantastic team behind the construction of Zuri who all shared the joint vision of creating a truly magical resort with ecology at its heart, without compromising on design and style.”

Striking views over the coast

Image credit: Zuri Zanzibar/Adam Letch

The EarthCheck BPDS Final Certification Report found that “Sustainable design principles were integrated from the outset with the building concept respecting the original terrain configuration and utilising local materials and local architectural traditions.”

EarthCheck is the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism. Zuri Zanzibar achieved a Gold certification in EarthCheck’s Design Programme which facilitates environmentally, socially and economically sustainable design and construction management of collective buildings and associated infrastructure. Results are determined by operational data from global clients which benchmark their environmental, social and economic performance.

As part of the certification process, the resort was assessed by an independent third-party auditor who appraised Zuri Zanzibar against the ten key performance areas of sustainability approach, energy, water, solid waste, land use planning & biodiversity, sustainable materials & resource conservation, indoor environmental health & pollution control, transport, social, cultural & economic wellbeing and innovation.

Stewart Moore, CEO and Founder of EarthCheck stated: “Achieving EarthCheck Design Gold places Zuri Zanzibar as an industry leader that has benchmarked its design and sustainability performance against internationally recognised criteria and demonstrated responsible business practices across their operation.

“This award highlights the long-term commitment that Zuri Zanzibar has shown to the communities and environment of Zanzibar and has allowed the resort to take practical, meaningful action to provide a quality holiday experience for their guests. We look forward to continuing to support their environmental efforts for years to come.”

Main image credit: Zuri Zanzibar/Adam Letch

meet-up-James-Soane-768x468

London School of Architecture confirms topic of talk for Meet Up London

768 468 Hamish Kilburn

London School of Architecture’s James Soane will take the stage at Meet Up London to talk about repairing the future of international hotel design… 

Meet Up London confirmed last week that James Soane, Director of Critical Practice at the London School of Architecture, will be its headline speaker for the networking event which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London’s showroom.

Soane’s talk, entitled Repairing The Future, has been designed to cast a critical eye on today’s industry while looking at news ways in which we can include young designers to help create more practical and more ecological cities.

In an era where there is a marked quest for ethical choices, Soane’s talk will confront the distrupters in that stand in our industry’s way when creating more sustainable cities. Considering our own values, he will identify opportunities that demonstrate alternative and sustainable ways of designing, living and adapting.

In addition to welcoming leading designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers of all ages, Meet Up London will also carry a light theme to support young creatives. Attending the evening, courtesy of Hotel Designs, the 40 shortlisted finalists for Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 initiative will find out on the night who among them have made the final 30 Under 30.

About Meet Up London

More than 200 hospitality professionals are expected to attend Hotel Designs’ highly anticipated Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.

Following the success of previous networking events, such as The Brit list 2018 and Meet Up North, Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London will adopt the theme of 30 under 30. The leading hotel design website has asked its readers to nominate designers, architects and hoteliers of the age of 30 and under who are fast climbing the ranks to become leading practitioners.

Meet Up London, which is being styled exclusively by Minotti London, will provide a unique opportunity to network over drinks and canapés with the largest names in hospitality, interior design and architecture.

Address: 77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY

Evening agenda:
18.00: Guests arrive
18.30: Welcoming speech from editor of Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn
18.45: Unveiling of Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30
19:00: Presentation by London School of Architecture’s James Soane: Repairing The Future
19:15 – 21.00: Networking over complimentary drinks and canapés

If you are an interior designer, architect, operator or hotelier and would like to attend the Hotel Designs Meet Up London: 30 Under 30, click here to book your place.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to attend the event, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or on z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or email z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk.

Sustainable design transforms London boutique hotel

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

Each guestroom of the newly renovated Fuller’s Fox & Goose has been consciously designed to allow for the highest degree of sustainable and ethical sourcing…

Interior architects Sibley Grove has completed work on a collection of hotel guestrooms for the brewery, Fuller, Smith & Turner at The Fox & Goose business hotel in Ealing, London.

All products and materials used in the project have been assessed on five fundamental principles: aesthetic quality, build quality, value, environmental impact and social impact. The bespoke joinery has been designed for disassembly making it easier to reuse the materials in the future. Meanwhile, the upholstery and dressing items have been created using fabric with recycled content from mills in the UK or mainland Europe. Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM products have been used throughout, including suspended ceilings from Armstrong, Tiles from Mosa and carpets from Ege Carpets.

Sibley Grove strongly believes that design should be a vehicle for positive change – both environmentally and socially. “A chair that looks great, is affordable and well made, but achieves this through being manufactured in a factory with poor employment rights and a lack of safety equipment is a failed product,” says Sibley Grove director, Jeremy Grove. “Likewise, a product from a great factory using sustainable materials that is poorly made and overpriced is an equally failed product.”

“We’re making a continuous effort to tackle some of the issues that are rife in the design industry.

“In today’s world, regardless of budget, it’s unacceptable to knowingly create stuff that is harmful to the environment or reliant on an exploited labour market. Cradle to Cradle is a great system for designers to measure and manage the impact of the products they specify as it takes into consideration material health, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.”

Image credit: Sibley Grove

Key materials used in the project:

Major suppliers include Castlebrook (furniture), Mosa, Ege, Hansgrohe, Armstrong and recommended supplier Chelsom Lighting.

Reading lighting on side of headboard

Image caption: Chelsom Lighting were used as a sustainable lighting product for the project

The project uses materials, fixtures and fittings that are considerate of the environmental and social impact, with no additional cost to the client. The guestrooms are light, bright and open space with contemporary detailing. In addition, the space is functional and practical, perfect for business customers.

 

Sibley Grove is an interior design studio founded by Kate Sibley and Jeremy Grove, based in Totnes, Devon. The company has a deliberately open and collaborative approach to design, bringing together local suppliers with global companies and clients who share our commitment and ambition to design things better.

 

Alila in Bali achieves zero waste to landfill

800 456 Hamish Kilburn

The luxury lifestyle brand, Alila Hotels & Resorts, which pledged the sustainability initiative in August 2016, has announced it has now achieved zero waste to landfill among four of its flagship properties…

Alila Hotels & Resorts has succeeded in piloting a zero waste to landfill initiative across four of its flagship properties in Bali: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Ubud, Alila Mangis and Alila Seminyak, and will now replicate the initiative other Alila-branded properties.

Man walking through garden

Image credit: Alila Hotels & Resorts

The ambitious plans, which started in August 2016, were put in place following the wide-spread coverage of Bali’s waste crisis, which highlighted that much of the population’s waste ends up in overflowing landfills, contributing to the production of harmful toxic methane gas. The luxury lifestyle brand realised that the waste in Bali that does not make it to the landfill is either dumped on the side of the road, in rivers or ends up polluting both the ocean and beaches.

“In order to tackle waste at its source, the brand introduced methods so that it could recycle materials into useful resources.”

With the aim to ‘do its part’, Alila Hotels & Resorts decided to approach the issue in a new way. In order to tackle waste at its source, the brand introduced methods so that it could recycle materials into useful resources. The centrepiece of its Zero Waste Policy is an Integrated Sustainable Resource Recovery Facility (iSuRRF), an on-site laboratory where all waste streams are transformed into higher value products and services through a series of simple yet proven mechanical and biological engineering systems.

For example, plastics, glass and ceramics are shredded and crushed to produce aggregate, sand and fibre that is then reused to produce green building materials. Meanwhile, metals and high-value plastics are recycled. Uneconomical waste plastics, such as wraps and films, are converted into a light crude oil that is distilled down to diesel, kerosene and gasoline for reuse in the hotel.

In addition to the laboratory, each of the four hotels used in the pilot now feature a composting section and an organic garden.

Beyond its own zero waste efforts, the hotel brand also pledges to involve the community in order to be a catalyst for other businesses to put in place eco initiatives. Speaking at an exclusive event in London, Doris Goh, Head of Brand and Marketing for Alila Hotels & Resorts, said: “It has taken one year longer than we originally anticipated, because of how thorough we have had to be, but we are so proud to unveil to the world that we have achieved zero waste to landfill.”

All properties in the Alila Hotels & Resorts portfolio are operated to EarthChecks standards. Since adopting these regulations, the four Bali resorts have collectively reduced their wastage that would have otherwise have filled 64 20ft shipping containers.

Main image credit: Alila Hotels & Resorts

Students from Peru Receive “Water Research Prize” at the World Architecture Festival

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GROHE and the World Architecture Festival (WAF) awarded the winner of the International Water Research Prize in Amsterdam, the Netherlands…

Hotel Designs Recommedned Supplier GROHE and World Architectural Festival presented the Water Research Prize to Benen Desmaison who accepted the accolade on behalf of her students of the Pontificia Catholic University of Peru (PCUP). She received the prize money of £10,000, sponsored by WAF and founder partner GROHE. The presentation of the prize took place at the three-day festival’s kick-off.

GROHE and WAF awarded the prize to a small-community water management system in the Amazon Rainforest. The area has the world’s highest precipitation rate per year, yet just under a third of its population has access to water. The PCUP team has developed a solution that collects, stores and processes rainwater using pipes. The project won against twelve competitors. The finalists on the competition’s shortlist were selected out of a total of 60 submissions.

Work on the production of a rainwater storage system continues

Commenting on the win, Desmaison said: “We are very grateful for this award as it will allow us and the communities in the Amazon Rainforest that work with us to continue to explore alternatives for the provision of water to peri-urban and rural areas. We aim to use this opportunity to work on the production of a rainwater storage system made using local materials and knowledge that can be easily integrated with traditional architectural typologies.”

“First, when we were identifying projects with water scarcity issues, I could not imagine that the Peruvian Amazon would place on the shortlist,” said Michael Seum, Vice President Design at GROHE. “However, this carefully considered project highlights that less than a third of the population has access to water and the proposal of a communal water management system integrating pre-existing water networks sounds like a pragmatic and innovative solution. We are proud to present the £10,000 prize money for this research project.”

The Water Research Prize, which GROHE and WAF use to support the PCUP team’s existing research, is based on the WAF Manifesto published last year. It describes the most important challenges for architects within the next ten years. Proper handling of water is a top priority. Other categories include topics such as the ageing of society and health, climate, energy and carbon, ethics and values, power and justice, smart cities, building technologies, recycling and virtual worlds.

“At GROHE, we want to contribute to a better understanding of how water relates to its built environment. As such, we’re more than happy to support an architectural award that honours relevant research initiatives,” said Christopher Barger, Senior Vice President of Global Projects at GROHE. “I would like to thank the students of PCUP for bringing this specific water-related issue in the Amazon Rainforest to our attention. In addition, I want to congratulate them on the innovative solution that they have developed for this problem.”

In addition to other Manifesto-related awards, the WAF also honours numerous architecture awards. In 2018, a total of more than 500 projects from over 50 countries have been shortlisted for awards in more than 30 categories. During the three-day event the finalists present live to the panel of international jury across three days of live judging. As in the past year, GROHE sponsors the “World Building of the Year Award”, which will be presented on 30th November. In addition, GROHE supports the awards in the categories “Hotel and Leisure” and “Housing and Residential”.

 

Now open: Seychelles eco camp comprised of recycled shipping containers

Hamish Kilburn

The new Cosmoledo Eco Camp in the Seychelles has been designed to minimise impact on the environment while maximising guest comfort… 

Part of the exceptional and adventurous, brand-new Blue Safari Seychelles concept, Cosmoledo Atoll has opened. The resort is comprised of just eight sympathetically restored shipping containers which adhere to the ecological ethos of Blue Safari Seychelles and have been repurposed and intelligently redesigned to form luxury accommodations in the untouched atolls in the Seychelles.

Cosmoledo Eco Camp is the only accommodation available in the wild Cosmoledo Atoll, a cluster of 21 islands located 1,030km (560 nautical miles) from the Seychelles main island of Mahé. It is one of the most remote groups of outer islands in the Seychelles, its perimeter covered with vast, sand flats dotted with islands of various shapes and sizes. A nature lover’s paradise, the ecosystem is pristine and unspoilt.

“Interiors use local woods and a palette of soft neutrals to ensure each pod blends in seamlessly with the sand, surrounding palm trees and dune shrubs.”

Cosmoledo Eco Camp forms part of the new Blue Safari Seychelles concept, which aims to promote conservation of the outer atolls through low-impact eco-tourism projects. It is committed to the preservation and protection of the natural resources of the Seychelles outer islands.

Each of the eight Eco Pods has been beautifully designed to minimise environmental impact while maximising guest comfort. Interiors use local woods and a palette of soft neutrals to ensure each pod blends in seamlessly with the sand, surrounding palm trees and dune shrubs.

A fully retractable front wall means guests can look right out onto the ocean from every aspect and enjoy sea breezes – although air-conditioning is available – and the covered terrace makes a blissful spot to share a drink as the waves lap nearby. Old tree trunks have been repurposed as tables and fishing nets as hanging lamps.

“The camp is completely eco-friendly with the eco-pods sitting on precast plinths rather than cement slabs. All the amenities are eco-friendly, and all cleaning products are fully biodegradable,” explains owner Keith Rose-Innes. “The entire eco-camp can be completely removed without any footprint. It is temporary, and we have chosen the best possible position where there are no nesting birds.”

The Cosmoledo Atoll is famous for its blue waters and fly fishing, with many Giant Trevally, Milkfish, Bonefish and Barracudas in the waters. The undiscovered section of coast is full of raw coral reefs.

Each Eco Pod in Cosmoledo Eco Camp sleeps two adults, has 38 square meters of space.

Hotel lobby, dark and mysterious

MINIVIEW: Inside Denmark’s first chemical-free hotel

800 531 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Herman K, Denmark’s first chemical-free hotel, is a converted station situated in the heart of Copenhagen. Hotel Designs took a sneak peak at the raw architecture within the bespoke hotel…

Brøchner Hotels’ new 5-star luxury boutique hotel, Hotel Herman K, is the first hotel in Denmark where chemicals are not a part of the cleaning products and process. A natural step for the Danish leading boutique hotel chain, who aims to create unique and sustainable hotels.

The hotel, which is situated in central Copenhagen in a converted station, welcomes guests through glass doors and into a large high-ceiling lobby area. In the centre of the lobby is a striking art piece, comprising of various branches which together hang above a bar in the public space.

Large, open and simple guestroom

Juxtaposing the dramatic public area, the guestrooms and suites upstairs are clean, light and typically minimalist with a soft cooling grey and dark blue colour scheme which marry up with white marble surfaces and contemporary furniture.

Hotel Herman K’s new resources in its housekeeping and cleaning process, for the benefit of both the environment, guests and the staff. Brøchner Hotels has together with the Danish company ACT.Global, coated all the exclusive rooms and suites and has become the first chemical-free hotel in Denmark.

The rooms and suites are treated with ACT CleanCoat – an invisible and odourless coating that makes surfaces self-disinfectant, ensuring low-bacterial level, healthy indoor climate and cleaner air. “We saw that limestone and dirt simply did not stick to bathroom elements, to the same extent as before the coating,” explained Christian Lond, Director of Procurement at Brøchner Hotels. “Because of this, our Quality & Service team do not have to use cleaning products containing chemicals, and the cleaning itself is also less demanding.

In addition to the chemical-free unique selling point, the hotel’s tech edge allows for a seamless check-in process, while also allowing guests checking in to personalise their entertainment system, which all rooms featuring state-of-the-art screens and speakers.

The hotel is the fourth property in the Brøchner Hotels portfolio and opens with the aim to raise the bar of Copenhagen’s hotel scene.

Luxurious eco-minded boutique hotel re-opens

800 568 Hamish Kilburn

Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort sets new boutique standards following renovation…

The ocean-facing boutique hotel Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort champions locality and eco-minded initiatives. The barefoot Thai luxury hotel has recently completed a significant renovation to its 40 suites, public spaces and famous beachside restaurant. Eco-chic and dedicated to supporting the community whilst preserving the natural beauty of its surroundings – the hotel’s staff are entirely local, and its eco-architectural design minimises the overall environmental impact.

With sense of responsibility to sustain and be a leader in romantic relaxation for conscious travellers, the resort briefly closed over the first two weeks of June 2018 to give each of the public areas the full renovation.

Taking it one step further and looking beyond aesthetics, the ambition behind the renovation is to set inspiring new standards of quality in luxury hospitality. With sense of responsibility to sustain and be a leader in romantic relaxation for conscious travellers, the resort briefly closed over the first two weeks of June 2018 to give each of the public areas the full renovation.

Reopening with its fresh new look as a destination that draws a new blueprint of cutting edge cool in Hua Hin, the intimate suites orbit a spectacular 120-metre lagoon pool whilst the carefully considered architecture takes full advantage of natural light and cooling breezes. Certifying the resort’s carbon footprint is kept to a minimum, all food is locally sourced with sensitive waste management systems.

Leaving lasting impressions, newly installed eco-friendly air conditioning and smart showers blend into natural hues to create an organic ambience that retains a strong sense of place with Thai influence. New to discover is a wellbeing pavilion located above the high-tech fitness studio, high-speed internet connections, Bose Sound Wave 10 Bluetooth speakers and oversized spa tubs situated on the rooftops of the suites whilst recognising the importance of sleep is the hotel’s new collection of next generation LaZzzzz Beds.

“Great design sits at the heart of all we do and we’re lucky to have amazing talent working with us to bring our guests a whole new level of luxury, relaxation and romance,” said Srayut Ekahitanonda, CEO of Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort. “Our Barefoot Luxury concept introduces a softer, richer character to the resort, creating a space that suggests genuine refinement but with a casual, laid back ambiance that puts guests immediately at ease.’

Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort originally began as a restaurant which has become renowned with both local and international diners. Female Head Chef Supanee J. Ketbumrung leads the way serving a fragrant blend of local and international favourites that are seasonally sensitive, along with its own unique creations that make Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort a gourmet destination in and of itself.

Designing fabrics and soft furnishings with purpose

800 571 Hamish Kilburn

Threading together design and sustainability, textiles expert Michelle Tonta explains why sustainable development should be on the minds of all designers when innovating new fabrics, soft furnishings and even flooring…

I, like many designers, adore rich textural surfaces and luscious fabrics, but whilst colour, print and pattern are key principles of fabric selection for interior designers, sustainable development and practice is without a doubt the rising focus in today’s modern design.

Once perceived by many as just a passing trend, sustainable design has never been more important than it is today, but also, never before been so widely discussed. Shocking scenes in BBC’s Planet Earth II portrayed the devastating effects of plastic waste and global warming, prompting a national awakening to the consequences of our actions.

In a global effort to preserve the environment, new research indicates a rise in eco-friendly holidays, with increasing numbers making hotel choices based on its eco-friendly credentials. It is now prevalent that creatives and designers must design with purpose, marrying together stylish aesthetics with design processes that work in harmony with the environment, and not against it.

Woven textile designer and member of Cockpit Arts, Carmen Machado, is just one creative maker taking an active stand on the environmental issue of ocean waste. Machado’s practise consists of repurposing abandoned marine debris, namely ghost netting, and transforming this into unique, hand-woven textiles, suitable for upholstery as well as stand-alone art.

Image caption: Carmen Machado

Machado’s grid-like textiles truly capture the essence of the beach with the bright colours of the sun-bleached netting coming through within the weave. Again, whilst Machado has applied her innovative design process to create furniture and wall hangings, one could argue this interesting response to ocean waste would make for stunning interiors in a beachside boutique hotel. This would simultaneously raise awareness of the issue at hand.

grid-like textiles from Carmen Machado

Image caption: Grid-like textiles from Carmen Machado

Of her work, Machado says: “As an artist and concerned marine lover, my biggest interest is to find a way to both spread awareness about the truth of what we are doing to our oceans and give these materials a new life.”

“Together we set a new standard in large scale bio-based 3D printing, towards a more personal, beautiful and sustainable future” says Dutch company, Aectual. Using huge robotic 3D printers, Aectual prides itself on creating large-scale customisable sustainable floors. The smart robotic technology uses recyclable bioplastic (made from plants) to print the framework, which means there is zero waste in the process.

Manufacturing process of 3d Printing at Aectual

Image caption: Manufacturing process of 3d Printing at Aectual

The fact that this 3D-printed mould material can be fully recycled back into the print cycle presents unparalleled design opportunities for the hotel interior design industry. Originally launched during Dutch Design Week 2017, Aectual has created floors for the likes of Amsterdam Schiphol airport and the Loft Ginza Flagship store in Tokyo. This begs the question of why this sustainable approach has not yet been applied beyond public spaces, and into the world of hotel interiors.

Another fascinating method that could be applied to textile interiors is printing fabrics with ink made from soot particles! It may sound unbelievable, but, in response to the burdening issue of air pollution in India, Graviky Labs, a startup consisting of savvy MIT Media Lab graduates, last year developed a revolutionary technology, KAALINK, that converts carbon emissions from chimneys and vehicles into ink. The outcome has been named AIR INK – a range of markers and inks for designers and artists.

This ingenious transformation from pollutants to tools for art prompted product designer, Kelly Maj Gijsen, to approach the Graviky Labs team and ask if they had yet created ink for textile purposes; they hadn’t. This is where the collaboration began, and Gijsen worked with the team to create a version of Air Ink for use on fabrics. With these inks, Gijsen then produced a range of patterned scarves using 100 per cent organic cotton and dying  the fabrics with natural ingredients such as turmeric, indigo and pomegranate.

These are just three examples of innovative approaches with a nod to the environment in design today, and while the processes have not yet been practiced within the space of hotel interior design, the breadth of opportunity and scope for designing with a purpose is endless. We may not have a Stella McCartney of the interior fabrics world, raising awareness of ethical design, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it should be forgotten about.

These examples also show that sustainable design and process need not mean basic, as some assume, but has the potential to produce textile and surface design that is suitable for, and viable within the luxury interiors market.

Main image credit: Carmen Machado

Men;s feet on the edge of a carpet

Interface declares all its products are carbon neutral

800 504 Hamish Kilburn

All carpet tiles and luxury vinyl tiles at Interface are now included in new Carbon Neutral Floors™ programme…

Modular flooring company Interface is the first global flooring manufacturer to declare that all of its products– including all carpet tile and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) – are carbon neutral across the entire product lifecycle. The company is now offering its Carbon Neutral Floors™ programme as standard to every customer at no extra cost to help them meet their own sustainability goals, while also allowing them to reduce the emissions impact of their projects or spaces. Interface estimates it will offset 400,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2018 as part of the programme, equivalent to the carbon absorbed annually by nearly half a million acres of forest.

Interface is committed to reducing carbon emissions from building materials and products, known as ‘embodied carbon,’ which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. The Company also intends to initiate a new conversation in the industry and create opportunities for customers to directly address global warming with a flooring specification decision.

In keeping with its more than 20-year commitment to sustainability, Interface has taken a holistic approach to carbon neutrality, looking beyond carbon emissions from manufacturing to considering and calculating emissions across the entire product lifecycle. This begins with raw materials and continues through manufacturing, transportation, maintenance and ultimately end-of-life product takeback and recycling through ReEntry®, and other disposal methods. Because Interface has already reduced the carbon footprint of its products to the lowest levels in the industry based on publicly available data, it is economically viable – and more importantly, environmentally responsible – to achieve carbon neutrality through the supply chain of the products and the purchase of carbon offsets.

“Interface has spent the last 24 years focusing on eliminating our own environmental impact. As we embark on our new Climate Take Back™ mission, we now have a more ambitious goal to reverse global warming. We cannot do this alone, and our customers have come forward asking how they can participate,” said Erin Meezan, Interface’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

“Architects and designers, flooring contractors and end users are beginning to see that their decisions – the products they specify and buy – have a direct impact on our climate. By specifying Interface products, they can do their part to address embodied carbon. And, we need to work together to elevate embodied carbon as an opportunity and to shine a light on those that are taking the lead. Now with every purchase, our customers are joining us in this important endeavour,” Meezan concluded.

Through the Carbon Neutral Floors programme, Interface will also offer to provide information to each customer to help them understand the carbon impact of their purchase. For each flooring purchase, the company can calculate the estimated carbon reductions and present that documentation to the customer at the project or total global purchase level. For example, for every 1,000 square meters of Interface flooring sold, the company will offset carbon emissions equivalent to a car travelling 25,000 miles, or one trip around the Earth. Interface will also offer to provide tools to promote their leadership with key stakeholder groups, including their employees.

Survey says: Business travellers want to go green, but don’t know where to start

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Business travellers are on the look-out for greener places to stay.

Over half of business travellers (52%) would like to make more sustainable choices when they travel, but don’t know how, according to Booking.com’s global Sustainable Travel Report.

The report indicates that the green travel trend continues to gain momentum with a large majority of global travellers (87%) stating that they want to travel sustainably.

Beyond personal travel, making the right choices for the planet is also extending to the professional sphere, with many people now considering how sustainable their business travel choices really are.

Over half of business travellers questioned (52%) said they would like to make more sustainable choices when they travel, but also that they don’t yet know what steps to take.

Some business travellers are already taking eco-friendly steps, however, when it comes to transport for example, with over half (56%) trying to travel by rail or road rather than taking flights, and 65% using public transportation as much as possible while on a business trip.

Business travellers are also on the look-out for greener places to stay, with over two thirds (69%) intending to stay in eco-friendly accommodation over the next year.

Booking.com says one of the best ways to ensure a trip has less ecological impact is to keep things as local as possible, such as selecting accommodation with locally sourced, sustainable in-room amenity kits or with restaurants that serve locally sourced ingredients.

Making the best use of local resources not only provides a more authentic travel experience, but also helps to cut down the carbon footprint of a trip. Business travellers are increasingly recognizing this, with 70% favouring local products and services during their stay.

Of course, responsibility for eco-friendly travel choices rests not only with employees themselves. Booking.com says businesses are starting to take more responsibility and foster a more eco-friendly approach to business travel.

In fact, 40% of business travellers say it is part of their company’s values to use eco-friendly accommodation, and over a third (35%) say it is part of their company’s travel policy. That said, the majority of those surveyed (61%) feel that their company should do more to promote eco-friendly accommodation options.

Bill Bensley, designer of sustainable resorts: “Luxury is dead”

560 372 Adam Bloodworth

The first thing visitors see on Bill Bensley’s website is the word disruption in block caps. The word is scrawled over a photograph of two people in a taxidermy shop. One is surreptitiously singing into a vintage microphone, while the other looks on, anguished, and a dog looks away. Welcome to the mad design world of Bill Bensley, designer of luxury resorts, hotels, spas and, as his website exclaims, “sometimes even palaces”.

Bensley’s daring, innovative projects span the farthest corners of South East Asia, from Cambodia to Phuket, via a converted university in Vietnam, and a Malaysian Sultan’s royal palace. The designer resides in Bangkok and is infectiously wacky. Full of passion about conservation and the death of luxury, he is a dazzling conversationalist.

Bensley uses his wiry mind to reach new horizons in sustainable luxury. He believes “luxury is dead”, but he’s being provocative, because his environmentally and socially conscious escapes, while supporting and celebrating local communities, are also stunning, brimming with high design.

Bill’s latest project, Shinta Mani Wild, is opening later in 2018 (keep an eye on the website for dates). It will be a private nature sanctuary within one of Cambodia’s oldest wild parks. It is one of the last Cambodian habitats for bears, elephants, gibbons and tigers. Bill’s radical “luxury camp experience” occupies a previously unprotected spot of natural importance, and guests who go there will help fund the environment, whilst living in luxury tents. Waterfalls line the unchartered waters, and guests go out on exploratory trips in boats designed by Bill.

But despite the accolades that have pouring in over the years, Bill still admits his biggest fear is that “no one will come” as he prepares for the opening of his immersive wildlife resort experience.

Bill Bensley gave Hotel Designs his pearls of wisdom.

If I had to describe my personality in three words, I’d say Serious, Inquisitive and Wacky. People think interior designers are all self-important prima donnas! People also think interior design is easy to do…

Honestly i believe that luxury is dead. Our guests look to travel for a unique experience, and we know that environmental and societal sustainability is a growing part of that experience.

My biggest sustainability challenge is keeping forests intact. People understand what sustainability means now, and ‘green washers’ are looked down upon, and sustainability is taking new forms that last longer.

Talking to locals is imperative. We have a team that works in the communities we build in, who know the village heads and a good many of the families in the villages where we work. Usually we start with the government’s assessment of poor families that is split into category 1 and 2, with people in category one being the most at risk. Once we get this list, we go and speak with families about their needs and challenges and determine how best to support them.

Our new Cambodian project Shinta Mani is hard-wired into the local community. Where to start?  We have had a free hotel school for underprivileged young adults for the past 15 years AND dental services for kids, and wells, better foods, water filters… We have a hospitality training school, and we also support public schools in a variety of ways, and support poor students with scholarships to support their studies.

We work with Global Dental Relief to bring dental care to poor rural school children. Last year we helped over 2,800 students receive dental care and education. We usually run 3 clinics a year each for about 1 month.

We’ve also built 199 private homes. Along with 1,450 water wells, and we help families when emergency food aid, as well as providing no interest loans for people wanting to start their own business, or to students wanting to complete their university studies. So far, we have helped to start 60 family run businesses.

An ideal day spent at Shinta Mani…. Would be to go into the villages and see just how Cambodians really live, and perhaps do something to help. We are opening up a huge part of Cambodia that even the most well traveled has never seen. And it is SPECTACULAR.

The three essential ingredients for a hotel opening are…  An untold story, an original design and superb associates.

I’m most proud of… The mural of King Jayavarman, a Khmer King who reigned from 1181 to 1218, at the Shinta Mani Angkor Bensley Collection. We scaled his robe up by 100 times. The statement feature spans the courtyard walls from inside to outside. That crazy idea really worked out well.

The biggest mistake I have made in my career so far was… Building a yellow submarine in a swimming pool at a golf club in Singapore in 1985… Atrocious!

Every morning I wake up with…  One of my Jack Russels licking my face, wanting to go for a run.

I unwind every by… Running through fields and streams with my four dogs.

Shinta Mani Wild opens later this year. Bill Bensley is also currently working on the Rosewood Luang Prabang, Capella Ubud, and Yet Tu In in Veitnam

World’s first energy positive hotel to open in the Arctic Circle

560 355 Adam Bloodworth

The world’s first energy positive hotel is set to open in 2021 will generate enough energy over the course of six decades to pay for its entire construction, its day-to-day running and its own demolition.

The Svart Hotel also just so happens to be architecturally miraculous. At the base of a tremendous ice glacier, the sustainable project will by sympathetic to its community while pushing the boundaries of science.

The Svart, when completed, will be the world’s first ‘positive energy’ hotel in that is should, technically, cost the Earth nothing. On top of its miraculous energy generation stratgy, the hotel will consume 85 percent less energy than a traditional hotel.

The hotel will be built in the Norwegian region of Salten, and will glow by night like an extra terrestrial that has landed on the open ocean. A complete circle, the structural feat is as impressive on the eye as it is on paper and will have an upper and lower deck; the lower for boarding canoes and leaving the hotel for ice climbing and hiking, and the upper for living quarters.

The eponymous ‘svart’ is the local name given the dark blue ice that forms the Svartisen glacer, which can be seen from the windows. The hotel is built using local wood, inspired by the houses built by local fishermen and used to dry fish for local dishes.

The project is a collaboration between designers Snøhetta, Arctic Adventure of Norway, and Powerhouse energy.

Snøhetta called the hotel’s energy features “an absolute must in this precious arctic environment”

Snøhetta said in a statement: “Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site. It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature”.

“Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier, says Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen”.

The Pig hotel group announce three new hotels

The Pig hotel group reveal £30 million expansion plans for three new ‘effortlessly chic’ hotels

560 383 Adam Bloodworth

The Pig hotel group are expanding their litter from five to eight with the opening of three new properties.

The £30M expansion will see the group of boutique, quintessentially British hotels spread further into the British heartlands of Kent, West Sussex and Cornwall.

The hotel group have explained how they will upkeep the brand’s message of rustic, rural sophistication at their new destinations. For example, the fixtures and fittings will favour natural interior tones, to compliment the British countryside, so expect plenty of reclaimed wooden paneling.

The ‘shabby chic’ interiors at each new property are homegrown. They’re the work of interior designer Judy Hutson, the wife of Robin Hutson, the chief executive of the Home Grown Hotels group who own The Pig.

‘Effortlessly chic’

The Pig at Bridge Place, in the village of Bridge near Canterbury in Kent, will be the first of the new Pigs to launch in autumn 2018. The homely-feel hotel will inhabit a Grade 11 listed 17th Century manor house first built in 1638.

The building, which was a live music venue for 50 years, retains many of its original fixtures and fittings including Jacobean panelling.

Alongside the bedrooms in the historic house, there’ll be cosy ‘hop pickers huts’, with wood burning stoves, made from foraged and reclaimed materials.

The second and third hotels – in Arundel and Padstow – are due to open in 2019.

Robin Hutson sold the Hotel du Vin group in 2004

Both hotels will also assume Grade 11 listed buildings, which will be lightly modernised but also celebrate the histories of the local area.

In 2011 the hotel group acquired financial backing from businessman Jim Ratcliffe, of international chemical company Ineos, who continues to support the hotel’s growth.

Robin Hutson and his business partner Gerard Basset founded the Hotel du Vin group in 1994, but sold it a decade later. Hutson went on to launch The Pig group of hotels seven years ago.

Guests have fallen for the historic and stately destinations – which are currently in Devon, Dorset, New Forest, Hampshire and Somerset – because of their gently British theme, and their excellent on-site restaurants, which only cook and serve food caught or foraged from within 25 miles of the hotel, to leave a sustainable footprint and support their local communities.

ModeGreen - Case Study

Case Study: Mode:Green – the death of the hotel lobby

1000 659 Daniel Fountain

“In a world where customer service has evaporated, Mode:Green is still holding on to being proactive in maintaining high levels of customer service; they show up when needed, and you’re confident that they’re going to stand behind their installation” — Fergal Hayes, project director for Capital Expenditures with Starwood Hotels

In all markets, millennials are causing businesses to reinvent themselves. In retail, brands are forced to improve their online shopping experience. Fashion is speeding up. Workplaces are becoming more social and tech savvy. Now, hotels, too, are meeting the high expectations of millennials by using technology to transform their lobbies and take guest experiences to the next level.

As younger generations frequent hostels, dorms, and coffee shops, hotels are trying to attract them by injecting life into their formerly stagnant common areas. For example, as the lobby transforms into a destination where guests and locals can interact, the bar has now become a part of the front desk.

ModeGreen - Case StudyNew York’s W Hotel created a space like this and styled it as a tribute to Times Square, offering a lively atmosphere that could shift from daytime to parties with a custom DJ booth and features of the legendary landmark.

Putting Times Square Indoors
The iconic sights and sounds of Times Square originate from the lights, graffiti, interactive displays, and energy from tourists, street performers, and busy New Yorkers.

“The design of the living room at the W Hotel was leveraged from a design narrative that drew inspiration from its Time Square location,” said Fergal Hayes, project director for Capital Expenditures with Starwood Hotels, who contributed to overseeing the vision and completion of the W Hotel’s new lobby space. With Times Square as the motif for the W Hotel’s new lobby, a group of design teams working in cooperation with integration firm, Mode:Green, were tasked with capturing the New York landmark’s atmosphere and recreating it indoors.

Adding to the modern décor, neon lighting, vibrant signs, and graffiti were custom-designed for the space and were given digital life by Mode:Green: a digital countdown clock takes up a wall reaching about seven feet tall, and the lobby-lounge teems with vibrant sound from 32 independent zones and hidden, custom speakers. But it’s not just the bright lights that make the lounge so lively – the lounge has its own digital brain, capable of shifting its atmosphere for different guests and events.

Reinventing an Iconic Scene
All the Times Square advertisements, interactive billboards, and skyscrapers come from many different companies and the individual pieces weren’t designed to work together initially. In the same way, aesthetically, W Hotel’s team of designers were challenged to create a cohesive, yet diverse space as a tribute to the Big Apple’s famous landscape. For Mode:Green, this meant taking the technology from dozens of different manufacturers and making them all communicate with one another as a singular system.

Mode:Green was the technology expert for the project, collaborating with the design team to connect all of the dozens of LED lights and custom speakers throughout the lobby and inside the private booths with one another, as well as with the wall-sized countdown clock.

Doing so involved careful planning. The wiring and speakers are all hidden among the décor, where an invisible automation system makes everything simple to control. Using a touchscreen, the staff can activate and adjust every light and speaker to create the right atmosphere from a selection of presets, including Happy Hour, Morning, and Fire Alarm, which shuts off the music and brightens the lights for a safe exit. Guests in the private booths also have control over their own audio zone, so they can pump the music from the custom New-Year’s-Eve-Ball inspired DJ booth or turn it down for a quiet conversation.

Mode:Green specialises in this type of complex audio and lighting systems, geared towards a hotel environment that accepts rotating guests. “To bring the highly customised Times Square-themed lighting into the hotel lobby and DJ area, Mode:Green was hands-on from the beginning with the design team,” said Hayes. “The W Hotel is a completely custom space and Mode:Green was instrumental in helping to deliver the brand.”

The Final Countdown
In large, complex construction projects like the W Hotel’s lobby-lounge, a giant timer – much like the one that sits in the finished lobby today – ticks down to the collision between final days of construction and the opening day that welcomes guests.

Design work is completed early on, but the technical team races to get everything working, fine-tuned, and ready for prime time.

“Every project gets compressed towards completion, and Mode:Green completed the installation in a short amount of time and was quick to solve issues,” said Hayes. Mode:Green’s approach to creating a smart space like this involves detailed collaboration with the hotel’s teams, as well as the manufacturers. While unseen by guests, the technology is as important a fixture as the custom décor.

New problems often arise while working in the balance between design and technological smarts; Mode:Green had to make last-minute changes to accommodate the space as it came to life. “At the end, last-minute changes of speakers being switched out from the original design to more appropriately fit the space were required, and Mode:Green reacted quickly to make it work in time for the reveal,” said Hayes.

The W Hotel’s Times Square lobby-lounge welcomed guests on the deadline for its opening, without a glitch — despite New-York-fast changes that had to be made in the final construction days. “In a world where customer service has evaporated, Mode:Green is still holding on to being proactive in maintaining high levels of customer service; they show up when needed, and you’re confident that they’re going to stand behind their installation,” stated Hayes.

Hotels face a new challenge to create lobbies that are immersive, social environments. It’s a design and, now, a technological challenge, but the result can differentiate a brand and nurture a crop of new, young guests who will become loyal patrons.

Mode:Green has quickly become the trusted leader in providing integrated solutions to today’s top hotels. Landmarks like The New York Palace, and the flagship St. Regis New York have both undergone major renovations with Mode:Green at the forefront of technology integration.

modegreen.com

Bouteco Sustainable Tourism Report

Stylish and Sustainable: High-end hotels get green

920 540 Daniel Fountain

Social enterprise Bouteco has released their first ever global trends report ‘Stop, Think, Discuss’, offering an industry overview on sustainability for stylish hotels in the boutique-hotel sector.

Key findings include:
• 42% of respondents would pay more for a sustainable hotel but would not compromise on comfort or luxury.
• 64% of respondents consider environmental and green issues the most important when choosing a sustainable hotel. The remaining 36% prioritise social and community issues.
• 63% of respondents look for a dedicated or prominent section on a hotel website when considering the integrity of a hotel’s sustainability.
• 46% of respondents consider an international certification to be important, and these tend to be the more mature traveller.

It is the youngest and oldest travellers who care most about sustainability when choosing a hotel.

Partnering with Insignia, the Bouteco Trends Report surveyed hotel lovers worldwide — gaining valuable insight into travel preferences and offering ideas to hoteliers on how best to engage with and inspire today’s travellers.

Bouteco Sustainable Tourism Report

Highlighting stories of sustainability, Bouteco is designed to assist travellers in finding the luxury and boutique hotels making a positive change to their communities and the wider world. Travel expert and founder Juliet Kinsman along with the former editor of Green Hotelier, Holly Tuppen, set up the social enterprise to celebrate those inspiring positive change.

Bouteco Sustainable Tourism ReportSays Kinsman: “A sense of purpose and belonging — of spiritual reward, not just material wealth — are motivating consumers more and more. Bouteco wants to get the good guys noticed with our genuine, algorithm-free recommendations. Marketers have long been assiduous in applying insight when it comes to influencing what we buy; we hope our survey’s findings will spur all to proudly shout about sustainability stories and distinguish the stylish hotels with soul and substance.”

Adds Tuppen: “This survey confirms that ethical consumption is not the reserve of millennials; when it comes to travel, all age groups are turning towards more responsible and authentic experiences. We hope that this report persuades the luxury hospitality sector that there’s never been a more prudent time to implement and promote sustainable and social initiatives. Not only for the sake of employee retention and community wellbeing, but to generate better press coverage, more direct bookings and enduring guest loyalty.”

www.bouteco.co

Whitepaper: Sustainability enhancing 'competitive positioning'

Marriott unveils global sustainability, social impact plan

1000 479 Daniel Fountain

From human rights protections to sustainable hotel development, Marriott International has now launched a new sustainability and social impact initiative designed to foster business growth while balancing the needs of associates, customers, owners, the environment and communities.

Under Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, Marriott’s new Sustainability and Social Impact Platform seeks to continue the company’s 90-year commitment to the communities it serves, the planet and people worldwide.[CRF_Form id=’1′]

“As the global hospitality leader with properties and associates across 125 countries and territories, Marriott International has a global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good in all aspects of our business – from helping to reduce carbon and water use to providing our associates with human trafficking awareness training,” said Ray Bennett, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations at Marriott International and Serve 360 Executive Leadership Council Co-Chair. “We recognize that how we do business is as important as the business that we do. Incorporating environmental and social initiatives, including human rights awareness training, into our business is not only the right thing to do, it has a direct impact on our profits and beyond.”

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READ MORE SUSTAINABILITY STORIES
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Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Marriott created Serve 360 to guide the company’s commitment and deliver positive results through four priority areas or “coordinates”:

– Nurture Our World – Advancing the resiliency and development of our communities.
– Sustain Responsible Operations – Reducing the company’s environmental impacts, sourcing responsibly and building and operating sustainable hotels.
– Empower Through Opportunity – Helping people prepare for jobs in the hospitality industry.
– Welcome All & Advance Human Rights – Creating a safe and welcoming world for associates and travelers alike.

Marriott’s new goals are being woven into the company across continents, from its global development organizations to its global supply chain networks. Some of the company’s commitments by 2025 include:

– Reduce water by 15%, carbon by 30%, waste by 45% and food waste by 50%
– Contribute 15 million associate volunteer hours, 25% of which will be skills-based, to capitalize on personal talents and core business skills
– Train 100% of associates to know the signs of human trafficking
– Embed human rights criteria in recruitment and sourcing policies

“Building off our 2007 Sustainability goals, Marriott is proud to issue our next generation of goals, inclusive of social and human rights targets to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Tricia Primrose, Global Chief Communications Officer at Marriott International and Serve 360 Executive Leadership Council Co-Chair. “Associates and customers want to work for and do business with a company that aligns with their values and drives positive community impact. We are proud to be part of the solution,” she added.

More details about Serve 360 can be found at marriott.com/serve360

TOPHOTELS Guest Blog: Sustainability and hotel design

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TOPHOTELPROJECTS talks about hotel sustainability and how it’s shaping the design and construction of hotels around the world…

Sustainability has long been a buzzword within the design community, and hoteliers in particular have been latching onto the idea of the past number of years.

Not only is it a response to an increased awareness of climate change and the impact we as humans, especially those working in one aspect of the construction industry, have on the planet, but it is also a response to client demand, with more and more guests desiring sustainable tourism as a requirement in their holidays. An annual competition run by hotel consultancy firm the John Hardy Group called Radical Innovation Award takes submissions for innovative hotel designs that reimagine the hospitality experience, and this year’s entries and winners point to a significant upswing in sustainable hospitality that could well be the future of the industry.

The award has singled out a number of visionary projects as finalists, but many of the entries proposed radical ideas that threw out the rulebook of hospitality design. A common theme was that of sustainability, both in an environmentally friendly sense, but also in a cultural sense, where local culture and art is celebrated and promoted. This also points to recent trends in hospitality where local experiences are being sought by guests wishing to engage more with the place and people they are visiting.

Green or garden hotels were a big feature of a number of entries. Canadian firm Arno Matis Architecture proposed a project entitled the ‘Vertical Micro-Climate Hotel’, whose concept is to make the outdoor areas of hotels located in the harsh climates of North America habitable all year round.

One of the features of this hotel was the use of heliostat technology, a mirroring system which reflects sun back into certain parts of the building as required so as to make them habitable even in colder weather conditions.

EoA’s submission involved suspending hotel facilities from a treetop by using a system of cables to hold rooms in tent-form above a trampoline-like platform, giving the hotel a very small footprint above the forest floor and re-orientating the guest’s field of vision to that from the tree canopy. A Dutch architecture student submitted a project that he had built in his mother’s back garden which connects guests to nature while allowing them to sleep in a sustainably built and naturally ventilated structure.

The culturally sustainable aspect came in the form of the currently-operational Play Design Hotel in Taiwan, which champions local artists and designers by installing their creations into hotel rooms and encouraging guest to interact with them.

The idea came about after the developer noticed a lot of his artist friends were having to go abroad to showcase their designs, and he thought that it would be better to not only exhibit the work locally in hotels so that international guests could see them, but also to cultivate an environment of design engagement within the hotels themselves.

“I want people to experience the culture of this country. played a lot with the idea of using the hotel as a portal for people who want to learn about Taiwanese design, a space that is furnished with all of these local designers’ work. So, their work is not only shown but so it’s experienced. Design isn’t something you only put in a museum or gallery. It should be used. It’s for your everyday use,” says hotelier Ting-Han Chen.

More information on hotel sustainability can be found on TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialised service provider in the exchange of cutting-edge information of hotel construction in the international hospitality industry.

Chapman Taylor Mui Dinh Eco-Resort Hotels

Mui Dinh eco-resort masterplan wins approval

1000 407 Daniel Fountain

Chapman Taylor is pleased to report that the 1,100,000m² master plan design for the Mui Dinh Eco-Resort in Vietnam has received approval from the Vietnamese government.

Set on a beautiful site on the east coast of Vietnam, Mui Dinh Eco-Resort is designed to reflect the key elements of the surrounding environment – sand, sea, salt and sun. Intended as an unrivalled hospitality-led mixed-use development in Asia, the development is inspired by the rich local history of Mui Dinh, particularly that of the Cham tribal culture and architecture as well as the lost world of the last dynasty.

Mui Dinh eco-resort Vietnam
Six resort hotels and a boutique hotel provide a total of 7,000 rooms. 500 ocean-facing villas are also available, with all residents served by a leisure offering including a theme park, a casino, a beach club and a mountain clubhouse.

Chapman Taylor’s Bangkok studio is responsible for the design master plan for this striking coastal resort.

Director Oscar Martinez said: “We are delighted that the Vietnamese government has given its full support to our master plan and this ambitious and unique eco-development, which will transform this beautiful coastal area into a new exciting sustainable destination and give an economic boost to this region of eastern Vietnam.”

Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp – Luxury Eco-Chic in the Heart of the Delta

Wilderness Safaris’ Qorokwe Camp to open in December

595 268 Daniel Fountain

Qorokwe Camp, a new Wilderness Safaris Classic Camp due to open in the private, wildlife-rich 26,180-hectare (64,692-acre) Qorokwe Concession in Botswana in December 2017, will offer the perfect blend of luxury eco-chic within a beautiful Okavango Delta setting.

Designed by lead architect, Joy Brasler and interior designer, Michelle Throssell, Qorokwe Camp is situated along the banks of a beautiful kidney-shaped lagoon. The nine elegant tented suites, one of which is a spacious family suite with its own splash pool, and the main area, which comprises a dining area, lounge, library, bar and infinity swimming pool, are built on raised decked platforms (about two metres/six feet off the ground). This not only provides spectacular views of the lagoon and surrounding bushveld, but also enables the vegetation to thrive underneath the suites – a unique environmental advantage as most rooms create ‘dead’ space beneath.

According to Joy Brasler, materials chosen to build the camp include steel frames with infill panels to insulate against heat and cold, canvas and timber decks. Detailed timber ceilings are perforated with light to mimic the experience of being beneath the trees at the side of the lagoon so that the entire camp experience blends in with its beautiful natural surroundings. “The language of the infrastructure is seen as an elemental and contemporary response to an insertion in this landscape – the interiors are a response to the colours and activities of Africa, with the emotive use of materials, colour and form,” she said.

Michelle Throssel reiterated that their combined inspiration came from the natural setting, stating that the palette of colours and materials was motivated by the Botswana landscape, resulting in a rich mix of bleached timbers, darker stains and accents of rust and burnt orange. “By introducing a combination of organic shapes and textural diversity from live-edged timber to steel and canvas, we have created a warm, enveloping space providing comfort and luxury in an understated way,” Michelle added.

In line with Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to operating with as light an eco-footprint as possible, Qorokwe will be 100% solar-powered and all water will be heated by means of thermodynamic solar geysers, further helping to mitigate the camp’s carbon emissions. “We are also excited to have used a new building technique for the Delta, one that comprises an entirely steel sub-structure,“ said Qorokwe GM, Daniel Crous. “Although this is more expensive than building with wood, we believe that it is a more environmentally and economically sound method in the long run – requiring less ‘reconstructions’, as well as being easier to remove, thus leaving less of an environmental footprint. In addition, using steel removes the threat of termites and therefore there is no need to put chemically treated wood into the ground where it may affect the immediate environment.”

Owned by the Maun-based Calitz family, the Qorokwe (meaning “the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water”) Concession is a spectacular and highly productive mix of fertile Okavango habitats. Qorokwe’s diverse landscape includes scattered acacia and mopane woodlands, open seasonal and permanent floodplains and is fringed on either side by the picturesque channels and islands along the Gomoti and Santantadibe Channels. Guests can explore the exclusive concession on day and night game drives and nature walks led by highly-skilled guides, as well as enjoy mokoro and boating activities, depending on the water levels.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Calitz family to reveal this exclusive new land-based camp and private concession – a highly-productive game-viewing area that has been unutilised for the past four years. The beauty of the landscape and our experiences in the Qorokwe Concession to date are such that we know our guests can look forward to exceptional wildlife experiences, in addition to a world-class and original camp offering,” said Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.

Studio Saxe - Hotel Nalu-Nosara

Sneak Peek: Eco-focussed, sustainable Hotel Nalu-Nosara

999 569 Daniel Fountain

A young, up-and-coming architecture firm – Studio Saxe – has completed a boutique hotel and yoga studio set into the tropical landscape of Nosara, Costa Rica.

The project is another in a long line of sustainable buildings from a practice that blends contemporary design with local craftsmanship, embracing the natural environment that surrounds and frames the architecture.

Nosara has become a destination for visitors from around the world for health, wellness and surfing and so the owners of Hotel Nalu-Nosara, Nomel and Mariya Libid, wanted a design that reflected the attitude of their guests. The yoga studio, which has also become incredibly popular as a multipurpose gym space, is enveloped by lush vegetation on all sides and therefore becomes a jungle retreat for exercise and relaxation.

Guests at the hotel are provided with individual pavilion ‘homes’ rather than rooms, located just a few minutes’ walk from the ocean. By breaking up the mass of the
traditionally monolithic hotel, the architects were able scatter living spaces amongst the trees and create a sense of privacy while surrounded by the natural world. Each
pavilion has been carefully positioned following meticulous research into wind and sun patterns, while ensuring they are all provided with an individual view out to the
landscape.