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Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Ethical lighting solutions

With the aim to put ethical lighting – and not just sustainability – under the spotlight, Hotel Designs’ latest virtual roundtable welcomes Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, and a handful of leading designers and lighting experts to explore ethical product design. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Virtual roundtable - ethical lighting solutions

For years now, the buzzword that is ‘sustainability’ has been a constant tone; a consistent and unavoidable noise ringing in the ears of every designer, architect and hospitality professional – like tinnitus. Despite the topic remaining important and in its infancy regarding us seeing real change, in order to really clean up our act when it comes to designing consciously, it is not the only subject we need to consider and, if needs be, expose.

To really one day achieve a totally ethical arena for designers, architects and hotel professionals – we live in hope here on the editorial desk – we must also place product design under the spotlight. To do this, designers must not be afraid to question how raw materials are sourced as well as how each element of the product they are specifying is made. But how do we, as an industry, realistically achieve this when deadlines become tighter, briefs become narrower and so many other details need to be addressed on a project?

In addition to advising designers to specify responsibly, after moderating the below roundtable discussion, I no longer believe it is acceptable for brands to be ignorant on how their products are being made. The reason why I say this is because the consequences of such naivety, which emerge thousands of miles away from the first-world problems we face in the western world, can be (and are) unequivocally devastating.

Image caption: Susan Lake's lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Image caption: Susan Lake’s lighting design, sheltered inside Yotel Edinburgh. | Image credit: Yotel Hotels

Many brands, both large and small, that currently manufacture their products in Asia are (knowingly or not) fuelling modern slavery. One man who has seen the human cost of unethical manufacturing is Chris Stimson, Founder of lighting brand Well-Lit, who inspired the topic of our Hotel Designs next roundtable.

To panoramically explore ethical lighting solutions with might and purpose, we invited Stimson, along with a handful of designers and lighting experts, to discuss just how bad the problem currently is.

On the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Chris, why is ethical lighting so high up on your agenda? 

Chris Stimson: It’s based on my own experience. Previously I was based in China, and worked as a sourcing agent for western brands that were looking for manufacturers. Before LED bulbs for domestic homes were known, I was watching the research, travelling to trade shows and meeting the people who were developing the technology. I successfully connected the manufacturers with brands – and that went well for about two years.

Then in 2010, there was a dramatic shift in the market as mass production entered, and the price of LEDs and what manufacturers could achieve fell. I was literally told over night to halve my prices or I would be out of a job. It was during that time when I witnessed things that rocked me to my core; I saw things that could not be unseen. Over the period of just six months I realised I facilitated it. I was part of the problem, so I decided that I was in a position to do better. And this is how we started the lighting brand Well-Lit.

Well-lit light bulbs

Image caption: Well-Lit are one of the few lighting brands that is actively ensuring that the manufacturing process to make its products and components is ethical.

HK: As lighting experts and designers, how aware are you all about non-ethical practices when it comes to manufacturing?

Charlotte Flynn: I’ll be honest, before we had an introduction with Well-lit, we were not aware of the unethical side of lighting manufacturing. It really was new to us. At least knowing that brands, such as Well-Lit, were willing to bring this forward was comforting, but it was also pretty unnerving to think that, despite working with brands who claim to be ethical and sustainable, we actually had no idea just how bad the situation was. The reality is that many designers are unknowingly specifying products that have been made in barbaric conditions.

Metehan Apak: As designers, I think we have all noticed prices of products come down as demand rises. What cannot be ignored are the demands among modern travellers for sustainable design and hospitality. As a result, our clients are getting on board with our thinking to source sustainable and ethical products.

Arianne Ghezzi: We do pay close attention to the suppliers we are working with. There are a few items that we really care about when specifying and that’s usually around what happens in the background. Clients start coming on board when they realise that these ethical decisions often end up saving money when it comes to running costs. More and more, I have seen, that clients are also asking about the lifecycle of products and the recycling qualities of each product.

I also think that manufacturing tours are very usable for designers to understand how components are made and put together.

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

Image caption: Ennismore recently set new standards to only work with brands that can prove their ethical value. | Image credit: The Hoxton Paris

HK: I can imagine, though, it is very difficult for designers who are working towards a brief for a space to be aesthetically pleasing while also remaining on budget and for the materials to be sourced ethically. Realistically, can all three demands be met?

Susan Lake: It’s a very difficult tightrope that as designers we have to walk. We have to think about the larger picture but we also have to consider the budget, time and aesthetics. It’s reassuring to see that there are brands out there that do source and manufacture responsibly. Equally, it is our responsibility to really demand these credentials when we are specifying products. When it comes to ethics, though, to produce in an ethical way will naturally result in the prices going up.

HK: How do you qualify what is ethical – and what is the human and social cost of unethically made lighting?

CS: The situation around fast fashion really brought awareness to other industries. Even Apple – one of the world’s most recognised brands in the world – has huge problems with their manufacturing in Asia. For example, the brand launched a huge campaign about ethics and manufacturing. Well, on the day they released their press statement, a video emerged showing footage from inside a Chinese factory where the manager was throwing workers’ name badges on the floor for them to pick up at the start of their shifts. It’s incredibly difficult and if a brand like Apple is struggling then you can imagine how challenging it is for everyone else.

“It’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

Image caption: Public areas inside Hotel Zeppelin, designed by Dawson Design Associates. | Image credit: Viceroy Hotels

In terms of my own experience and what I have witnessed, the social and human cost of manufacturing [unethically] in my industry is devastating. I am seeing migrants working hundreds of miles away from their families for very low pay – sometimes even refused pay. The working and living conditions in and around these factories can be disgusting and dangerous. They are being made to work inhumane hours and their jobs are threatened on a daily basis because they can be easily replaced. I have seen what that can do so someone’s physical and mental health and it is disturbing. It destroys people, and yet it still doesn’t get spoken about.

For a lot of brands, it’s almost like ‘made in China’ is a dirty phrase. And it usually is, but it doesn’t have to be. My beliefs are that we all live on the same planet and we should be treated equally. It is as important to discuss ethical sourcing as it is to highlight sustainability and carbon emissions.

“Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult.” – Glenn Campion, Partner, LAPD

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design's simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

Image caption: LADP Lighting Design’s simple yet dramatic lighting scheme inside The Loft Restaurant. | Image credit: The Loft Restaurant

HK: In your experiences, are you being told the truth when brands tell you about their ethical credentials?  

Glen Campion: Finding and measuring metrics and data on the ethical standards of manufacturers is nigh on impossible. It’s not something that is published. Sustainability seems to be the key word in the briefs but trying to find out information on how the products are manufactured and the conditions of the factories is very difficult. I think there is a lack of accreditations. The only one I am aware of is the Green Alliance but I know that doesn’t cover everything, so there is a long way to go.

CS: That’s really important because there are no accreditations out there that define exactly what an ethical brand is. I can set up a brand tomorrow and convince a lot of people that we are doing everything the right way and it would simply not be true. The only time in my career that an organisation has really challenged me on what we do was when The Observer  were considering us for ‘ethical product of the decade’ in their ethical awards. They asked deep questions and requested evidence.

For designers, it is almost impossible to know if you are purchasing sustainable or ethically made products, it really is!

“It is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. – Chris Stimson, Founder, Well-Lit.

HK: It seems that price is a pretty good indicator then. How much more expensive are ethically sourced lighting products?

CS: When we designed the business, we asked how we could create an ethical product. We had to be a profitable, sustainable and ethical enterprise. By truly doing this, it became clear that there was no way we could afford large-scale PR or a large offices and teams in London. In fact, in 12 years, we have spent about £12,000 on marketing because every penny we have has to go into the design of the product.

What’s more is that we need to present our products at competitive prices to our competitors otherwise we are out of the game. The challenges of running a business like ours is extraordinary when competing against the large brands with deep marketing pockets.

Two big bulbs in lighting scheme for a bar

Image credit: Well-Lit

Glen was talking about supply chains and where raw materials come from. The truth is that it is impossible to find out in certain regions. We have tried, for years, and we can source about 85 per cent of our raw materials and then there is just a hole. Therefore, we cannot promote ourselves as a completely sustainable business – but we try everything we can to be as ethical and sustainable as possible, while being ahead of the technology curve when it comes to lighting innovation.

I also don’t think you can be a sustainable business without being an ethical business. The real sustainability crime is the sheer amount of the low quality, often broken, bulbs that we shipped from China to the western world. If you think about the carbon footprint of these products that end up faulty and subsequently replaced with another bulb that has done the same journey, it’s not an ethical solution.

We make everything by hand, and that gives us such a low failure rate. Yes, we suffer on the cost of that but there really is no other way for us to produce those products ethically.

HK: Charlotte, how have your conversations changed with other brands since learning about what Well-Lit does?

CF: When it comes to the supply chain of products, we have an in-house sustainability focus group. We set up a schedule and there are questionnaires sent out to our recommended suppliers about their supply chain of materials. And yes, we have seen the same, we manage to trace back materials half way and then it descends into a black hole. With lighting, Chris was the first to put this on our radar. We actually only work with Well-Lit at the moment because of our shared ethos around ethical sourcing.

Obviously, we do have the benefit of being in-house so we are able to make those pledges and they are transparently communicated and understood among the whole team here. However, I believe we can set a tone for the industry to follow. It’s been really key to ensure that this, sustainability and conscious sourcing, is within our brand standards at Ennismore.

HK: Why is more lighting not manufactured in the UK?  

SL: It really does depend project by project. Some clients, depending on their clientele and demographic, are more focused on ethics and environment than others. Those clients are willing to pay more for the products. It is easier to trace back materials when the products have been made in the UK, but it is tough because all businesses need to think about their profitability.

HK: Please tell me that brands can ethically manufacturer products abroad as well…

CS: Yes, it can be done – our brand uses very good factories in China while also manufacturing in the UK. There are certain items that you simply cannot manufacture in the UK, such as bulbs, while also retaining a price point that anyone would touch. One of the things that gets missed out in topics like these is that there are brilliant crafts people in Asia who are doing brilliant things. In terms of both technology and the governmental support given to these creatives, they are some of the best people in the world and yet their reputation is being tainted by the result of greed and poor quality mass production of products.

In terms of being able to manufacture in China, there is a lot of trust that come into it. There are just two or three factories that I would use because of genuine shared values when it comes to the manufacturing process and human ethical standards. The most important element for us is that the workers are passionate and buy into the products they are producing. If they are benefiting from the products they are creating, then they will produce better quality products. This ultimately results in a product that has more longevity.

HK: How has this situation become so out of control?

CS: In my experience, most LED bulb brands do not know what is happening. It’s not always that these companies don’t want to know but it’s more that they just assume everything is happening the way they think it is. The sourcing process for most companies is to meet suppliers while travelling to trade shows, perhaps stay on to visit a factory where samples can be made and prices can be agreed. They might do a factory inspection but a lot can be hidden and this process, in my experience, can be highly manipulated and deceptive.

HK: What can designers do to make the industry more ethical?

CS: Ask difficult questions and demand hard evidence. For suppliers, these questions should be directed towards the factories they are working with. Suppliers should know about the living and working conditions of the workers who are in these factories.

GC: I’ll be honest, when it comes to specifying, over the last 10 years the decisions from clients have been driven by cost. The choices on the lighting projects I have been involved in are around supply costs. There are so many components in lighting schemes that need to be measured and presented, so weighing them up against another product that is ethically sourced is not often asked for. It would be great, however, to promote ethical sourcing and really help to educate the industry on the effects of unethical manufacturing.

HK: I think you’re right, the more companies that put forward good, solid evidence around ethical production of products, the more the industry will naturally demand this being an essential. Ultimately, if all suppliers looked deep into their supply chain and if all designers were more inquisitive about the products they are supplying then the healthier the industry will become on a global scale.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs

A green-toned bedroom, with cork walls from Granorte

Cork surfaces: An authentic way to welcome in nature

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cork surfaces: An authentic way to welcome in nature

NATURALS is a collection of elegant natural cork floors by Granorte for use in high-end residential and commercial interiors…

A green-toned bedroom, with cork walls from Granorte

Using a natural cork veneer and underlay with a strong and stable HDF core, NATURALS brings the unique natural aesthetic of cork in a floor with a high-performance construction that’s suitable for commercial use.

“NATURALS is constructed with 80 per cent natural raw materials and contains no PVC.”

At the heart of NATURALS lie eight decorative agglomerated cork effects such as Standard and Champagner that echo mid-century cork tiles and the expressive natural linear patterns of Linea and Split. Each is available in a range of colours ranging from white through to dove blue, terracotta, mocha and slate grey. The result is a collection of 28 cork floors that can be used to bring a unique natural aesthetic to projects.

Paulo Rocha, Granorte, explains, “The calming influence of natural surfaces is well spoken about is being used to support wellbeing in all kinds of projects. From commercial offices to hotels, natural surfaces are a dominant theme, but not everyone wants a wood floor. NATURALS brings an organic aesthetic in a broad range of decorative effects that can lift natural palettes out of the ordinary.”

Every NATURALS look is protected with Granorte’s WEARTOP® finish, a water-based PU lacquer that provides a durable and easy to maintain finish. Beneath, a cork underlay with Microban® antibacterial protection provides additional support, improved acoustics and underfoot comfort.

The floor comes in 910 x 300mm planks featuring a commercially proven Uniclic® glue-free joint for floating installation. Made by Granorte in Portugal using waste cork from wine stopper production, NATURALS is constructed with 80 per cent natural raw materials and contains no PVC.

Granorte is a Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from being a Recommended Supplier, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Granorte

Bathroom brand GROHE publishes third sustainability report

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom brand GROHE publishes third sustainability report

To the surprise of nobody at Hotel Designs, GROHE has smashed its sustainability targets, and has announced an even greater sustainability commitment to the areas of water conversation and avoidance of plastics. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a deeper look at the bathroom brand’s unquestionable achievements…

Every minute, a lorry load of plastic ends up in our oceans. The health of the oceans often seems like a distant problem, but all life on earth depends on the marine ecosystem’s health – this becomes very clear when you consider that approximately 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the oceans. To mark this year’s Plastic Free July awareness campaign, GROHE published its third sustainability report, which outlines the brand’s continued commitment and efforts to sustainability, covering all aspects from business model and products to processes, employees and suppliers.

As evident in the newly published report, GROHE has been able to reduce its water consumption in production by 38.7 per cent, not only significantly exceeding its target of 20 percent first set in 2014, but also achieving it ahead of schedule. With projects such as the Less Plastic Initiative launched in 2018, the brand has also set itself the goal of eliminating plastic from its packaging. As a result, up until June 2021, 32 million pieces of plastic packaging have already been saved.

The report also provides an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at sustainability management at GROHE and the successes of recent years. In 2019, for example, 21,306 tonnes of the main materials used in the production process were recycled materials – a weight comparable to more than 106 blue whales. In this way waste is avoided, and, in the end, water that would be needed to produce new materials is also saved.

From linear to circular – GROHE paves the way for the economic model of the future

Building on its comprehensive sustainability measures of recent years, GROHE is now taking its sustainability strategy to a new level with the recent launch of four of the brand’s best-selling products as Cradle to Cradle variants.

This means that all four products have been tested for the use of environmentally safe, healthy and recyclable materials. The Cradle to Cradle approach goes far beyond the conventional recycling of products, as a tap, for example, is already designed and manufactured with the intent of using its components in its end-of-life-phase for the creation of new products.

GROHE Cradle to Cradle visual diagram

The circular journey continues – take-back processes for discarded C2C products

GROHE has taken a decisive step towards a circular future with the certification of its first Cradle to Cradle Certified products, but the journey continues. The brand is working on take-back processes for its discarded C2C products – an important step towards avoiding waste and saving valuable resources to help maintain the fragile balance of our ecosystems.

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: GROHE

The Brit List Awards 2021

The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2021 – entries close on Friday!

FINAL CALL for all designers, architects, hoteliers and brands to submit their free entries for The Brit List Awards 2021 (scroll down to read more about the categories and how to claim a complimentary ticket to the awards ceremony). Entries CLOSE on August 6 (this Friday)…

The Brit List Awards 2021

Following months of campaigning, designers, architects, hoteliers and brands have until Friday August 6 to submit their free entry for The Brit List Awards 2021.

The Brit List Awards, sponsored by Crosswater, is one of the most prestigious awards campaigns for designers, architects, hoteliers and brands in the UK to be associated with. Each year, Hotel Designs opens up the nominations and the nationwide campaign begins to find the best hotel designers, architects and hospitality professionals.

CLICK HERE to submit your free-of-charge application/nomination.

This year, following last year’s virtual event, The Brit List Awards will climax with a spectacular awards ceremony, which shortlisted designers, architects and hoteliers will be given a complimentary ticket to attend – but you have to be ‘in it to win it’. “For many reasons, The Brit List Awards has become an event that we at Hotel Designs are extremely proud of,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn who will lead this year’s judging panel. “Not only does it seriously help to raise the profiles of exceptional designers, architects and hoteliers, but it also credits the individuals – whatever their backgrounds – who are ensuring that Britain remains a creative hub of design, architecture and hospitality.”

Here’s a reminder of this year’s categories:

*In addition to the individual awards that are up for grabs, the top 25 entries in the interior design, architecture and hospitality categories will be profiled in the prestigious The Brit List, Hotel Designs’ annual publication that references the top 75 most influential individuals in British design, architecture and hospitality.

Click here to read about last year’s winners. Click here to read more about this year’s event and timeline. Click here to read our FAQs about The Brit List Awards.

You can now purchase your tickets to attend the live awards ceremony, which takes place on November 3 at PROUD Embankment (designers, architects, hoteliers & developers, click here. Suppliers, click here).

Main image credit: The Brit List Awards

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Now open: Inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Following our cheeky sneak peek inside the hotel that was published earlier this year, Ace Hotel Brooklyn is open – with interior design by Roman and Williams , and architecture from Stonehill Taylor

From the brand who shook up conventional public areas and encouraged the rest of the hospitality industry to open their doors to the community as well as travellers, Ace Hotels has officially arrived in Brooklyn.

Collage of interior images of inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Located in Downtown Brooklyn, the hotel stands on the cusp of Boerum Hill, above the ever-evolving intersection of everything: a geographical Venn diagram of intersecting energies, from the tree-lined streets and brownstones of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the art and culture clusters of Fort Greene, and all the way down to the restless East River. The property offers 287 guestrooms, an expansive in-room art programme, a public lobby with multiple bars and an art gallery, plus additional food and beverage outlets on the horizon. Designed by Roman and Williams, with architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Ace Brooklyn’s unique facade welds seamlessly with interiors inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists — with soothing and stylish custom furnishings outfitting its every alcove.

> Since you’re here, why not read a roundtable on the new era of lifestyle hospitality, featuring Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy?

“We see Brooklyn as it’s own city, filled with so much hope, possibility and excitement for the future,” said Brad Wilson, President, Ace Hotel Group. Ace Brooklyn has been a labour of love — a gorgeous building in many ways a reunion and a reinvention, and one we’re delighted to share with our guests and neighbours as the evolution of Ace Hotel. We’re proud to have filled its spaces with the talents of many collaborators across art, design and culture; it’s a testament and tribute to the irrepressible creative energy of the borough, and a firm investment in its future.”

Made up of metal, glass and precast concrete elements, the building’s rough-edged façade celebrates the natural beauty of its materials, along with the rugged handiwork of the builders who brought them together. The facade’s dramatic centrepiece is a custom ceramic mural crafted by iconic modernist Stan Bitters, coupled with a sculptural light installation designed by Roman and Williams in homage to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo — a beacon of modernist hospitality designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, which was sadly demolished in 2015.

Inside, interiors marry exposed concrete with other naturally textural elements — surfaces of douglas fir, oak, plywoods and leathers — to form organic, open shapes throughout. The lobby features vintage and custom seating throughout, with half moon windows illuminating the lobby bar in natural light. The bar is finished with an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić, and a discreet, large scale drawing by Tara Geer.

“After seven years, we are proud to unveil one of our most comprehensive architectural and interior commissions to date for Ace Hotel Brooklyn, our third collaboration with Ace Hotel,” added Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders and Principals, Roman and Williams. “We aimed to embrace a solid muscular design vocabulary, employing confident lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength. A primitive modernist philosophy guided us, it is expressed in the tactile spirit of the design. From the building’s strong and unadorned facade, to the celebration of raw old growth timber in the public screens, to the honest plywood furniture collection in the bedrooms, we aspire to be as energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself.” 

Drawing significant inspiration from Le Corbusier’s beloved workspace retreat Le Cabanon, the guest rooms at Ace Hotel Brooklyn were imagined as cabins of creative refuge: elegant and efficient, with the kind of breathing room that stirs up all sorts of possibilities. The furnishings are handcrafted from raw, understated materials — including custom sofas and chairs, classically-loomed cotton bedding and purpose-built, minimalist fixtures. Custom bed covers were crafted by Maine Heritage Weavers; bath products are from uka; in select rooms, acoustic guitars are provided by D’Angelico Guitars; turntables are made by Music Hall, with vinyl record selections courtesy of our friends at Rough Trade. Ace Brooklyn’s in-room art programme was curated by artist Niki Tsukamoto, and brings together a dream-woven assortment of original textile and fibre pieces from roughly two dozen artists, many based in the borough.

Guestroom inside Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Throughout the rest of 2021, The Gallery at Ace Hotel Brooklyn will showcase works by artists featured in the guestrooms, starting with a show of textile works by Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand in July and August 2021. The hotel lobby’s Ace Shop will also be featuring custom home goods and jewellery from a number of the artists on an ongoing basis.

Main image credit: Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Design London

Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design London to make its London Design Festival debut in September

Look alive, London! Design London will make its London Design Festival debut in creative Greenwich from September 22 – 25, 2021. Here’s what we know about the trade show…

Anticipation is building around the reopening of events and Design London is among the shows that are gearing up to showcase the best in design. The show will welcome the architecture and design community to the capital’s new favourite neighbourhood, North Greenwich, for its inaugural event.

Design London

Taking place from September 22-25, Design London, will be the largest official trade destination at this year’s London Design Festival marking a new phase for what was formerly known as 100% Design, the UK.’s longest running trade show dedicated to design. The dynamic and propelling show will be housed in Magazine London, a brand new, state-of-the-art venue on the Greenwich Peninsula overlooking Canary Wharf and just a short walk from North Greenwich Station and the shiny new Design District.

An essential platform for those looking to network and source the latest and most innovative furniture, lighting and design pieces during the annual festival, the four-day event boasts a jam-packed programme of engaging content and a highly curated selection of sought-after design brands from around the globe.


As part of the main programme there will be a timetable of talks curated by Katie Richardson, led by renowned industry influencers and thought leaders, each themed and addressing the most pressing topics to encourage debate. Design London is excited to announce British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori as its headline speaker and chief collaborator; he will open the talks programme on day one of the show and welcome guests through a kaleidoscopic tunnel of colour inviting them to take a seat in his joyfully designed auditorium, ‘Transparency in shades of colour’.

“I’m super excited to be part of Design London’s launch and to design my first ever dedicated talks space; meeting people and expressing my creativity is what I love most and this brings the two together,” says artist Yinka Ilori. “Community and creating spaces to make people feel safe and comfortable is so important, especially this year, and with Design London being the U.K.’s first major design show, it’s the perfect environment to unite, celebrate and uplift one another.”

Following months of grey, the show will offer visitors a welcome spectrum of colour through a vibrant lineup of speakers. Those who will succeed Ilori include Eley Kishimoto, and Pearson Lloyd. New London Architecture (NLA) will form a specialist panel to debate the future of our cities whilst commercial interior design studio Trifle Creative will join a workspace discussion. Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford will take to the stage with a cast of colour experts, Roddy Clarke will conduct a talk centred around sustainability in craft, and in a hospitality panel, speakers will discuss how hotels are reinventing themselves in a post pandemic world.

Exhibitor highlights

The expansive venue will house a multitude of international brands including Dutch furniture producers Artifort and Van Rossum; and esteemed Italian manufacturers Ethimo Design; Penta, and Artemide who will show their antiviral ultraviolet Integralis range alongside a selection of iconic pieces and new products from Bjarke Ingels (BIG) and Neri&Hu. The Association of Industries of Wood and Furniture Portugal (AIMMP) will present a Portuguese ensemble of brands; and Fritz Hansen’s focus on circularity will be complemented by a neighbouring pavilion of over 10 new Scandi names curated by Lifestyle & Design Cluster in conjunction with the Danish Embassy.

As part of a ‘world tour’ city-inspired collection, bathroom innovators Ideal Standard will create a cinematic experience; Industrial design label Buster + Punch is set to unveil a new look and a new line of home hardware; and bespoke sculptural lighting company Cameron Design House will reveal new contemporary brand Empty State as well as creating a spectacular installation with never-before-seen handmade chandelier, Kuulas.

[d]arc room will return to London for its fifth year with an established lighting area within Design London and a series of lighting talks led by experts. Exhibitors within this pop-up include Delta Light, John Cullen Lighting, Mesh, Nichia and Thorlux. Visitors to Design London can also expect to see work from award-winning London based design studio Haberdashery London; and architects and designers Beep Studio who will join forces with the show’s sustainability partner, Schneider Electric.

Brimming with festival-like content, Design London’s visitor experience will be enhanced by a series of street food vendors and designer bars by Campari which will line the banks of the Thames making it a one-stop shop during the busy London Design Festival.

“Greenwich Peninsula is one of London’s most fascinating and rapidly expanding neighbourhoods with a new Design District fuelled by creativity so we felt it was the best location for Design London,” explains Jedd Barry, Marketing Manager, Design London. “The district is peppered with public exhibitions and contemporary art installations and we’re excited to add to that with our cutting-edge content. We’ll be showcasing originality, diversity and innovation, and particularly look forward to celebrating the U.K. as one of the most important places for specification internationally.”

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of Design London. The full Design London programme and list of brands will be announced in due course. For more information visit the website.

Main image credit: Design London

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
3D-printed furniture – it’s a thing now!

Architect and designer Yasmine Mahmoudieh, following years of studying sustainable design and materials, has designed a piece of 3D-printed furniture with partner Nagami that has been created out of 100 per cent plastic waste…

The flow chair from Impact Design Now, which is available in seven shades, is one of the first 3D printed pieces with partner Nagami that is created out of 100 per cent plastic waste.

Collection of 3D-printed chairs

The Slice and the TriVase is 3D-printed out of plastic bottles from the ocean where 10 per cent of the production goes to Parley of the ocean’s charity organisation. ‘Parley of the Ocean’ is heavily involved in clearing marine plastics.

Following the launch of the innovative pieces of furniture, it seems as if this is just the beginning for designer and architect Yasmine Mahmoudieh whose previous work includes Standhotel and a new education and hospitality concept that was unveiled at imm Cologne 2020. “The collection that I designed is only the beginning of our mission to make the world more sustainable in our chosen field,” she explains. “We will also be launching later this year an online marketplace to gather all the recycled and sustainable materials researched over decades from exceptional individuals and companies in order to make it accessible to the architecture and design industry. We have a collective responsibility to educate our clients and make them aware that sustainable materials are not necessarily more expensive than traditional materials. My mission and goal is to have a positive impact on our planet by creatively using materials that are not harmful for the environment and human beings.”

Responsibility for hotels goes far beyond using some natural wood and conserving energy and water. Instead of having fine exotic woods, especially in the luxury sector, which we should preserve and not touch, designers like Mahmoudieh are demanding that we recycle existing materials, repurpose, and choose organic materials from nature like cactus, vegan leather, or the skin of apple. There are excellent natural products that will conserve all limited resources we have on our planet. “We constantly are trying to find materials from all over the globe or artists that contact us already to have their products available for our hotel and hospitality projects that we are working on,” concludes Mahmoudieh.

Main image credit: Impact Design Now

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Sustainability in luxury hotel bathrooms

With sustainability running through the core of the leading bathroom brand’s DNA, GROHE is arguably most qualified to discuss conscious bathroom design. Karl Lennon, Leader for A&D Projects, LIXIL EMENA at GROHE, therefor, is here to explore how luxury brands can go a step further to create a premium, sustainable and impressionable experience for its guests…

GROHE bathroom room shot featuring infra-red touchless taps

The hospitality industry is wholeheartedly embracing the transition towards a more sustainable future, with many groups and independents alike implementing their own targets and policies to drive more responsible, environmentally conscious hospitality and tourism worldwide.

While the motive around improving sustainable practices focuses on doing more to use less, hotels in the luxury sector face the task of doing more and going further in order to uphold their reputation and retain the trust and assurance from their esteemed clientele. This needs to be balanced in equal parts with solutions that produce tangible results with positive implications for the environment without taking away from the luxury experience for guests.

It goes without saying that when guests visit a luxury hotel property, they expect every fine detail to be considered. The aesthetic, the ambience, the service, the sourcing of goods: each single element must be well-measured and thought-out. Over recent years, as we have all become increasingly more informed and aware of the need to prioritise sustainable habits in our everyday lives, discerning guests have become more scrupulous with their hotel choices when travelling. Sustainability therefore needs to be treated as an integral part of the overall guest experience – approached holistically – with every design choice and fitting having purpose, meaning and environmentally friendly credibility.
When working with clients on premium projects, we advise that sustainability not only be an add-on or after thought but a narrative and journey that is seamlessly incorporated into every element of the customer experience, carried through all touchpoints from arrival to check-out. In designing the luxury sustainable hotel experience, it is not only investing in the elements the guests can see but those that can’t be touched or seen too. In these instances, communication and reputation play an enormous role in helping to convey these more hidden features and their benefits to prospective guests.

At GROHE, we have recently taken the next step in our sustainability journey as a brand by achieving Gold level Cradle-to-Cradle certification in four of our best-selling taps and shower products. By specifying Cradle-to-Cradle certified fittings, hotels can begin to incorporate more circular practises into their business. The Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) design concept is a model that contrasts the take-make-waste system and enables manufacturers to drastically reduce the use of new resources. A product is designed and manufactured with the intent of using its components in its end-of-life-phase for the creation of new products.

Image caption: A visual of GROHE's Cradle to Cradle

Image caption: A visual of GROHE’s Cradle to Cradle products

Cradle-to-Cradle products consider the material health of each of the components in their creation as well as how these components can then be repurposed at the end of their life, to prevent unnecessary wastage.
Whilst the sustainable impact of Cradle-to-Cradle products may not always be overtly apparent to the guest, they offer viable sustainably sourced solutions that highlight a carefully considered approach to the interior design of a hotel washroom or bathroom suite.

Similarly, the use of 3D metal printing can be particularly resource-efficient, pushing and defying the boundaries of design to create fittings that use less material and equally, create visual spectacles that are well-suited for premium projects. Through GROHE’s own exploration of this manufacturing method with its Icon 3D-printed series of basin mixers, it has been found that energy used for producing a 3D metal-printed tap is about 20% lower compared to the production energy used for a brass cast tap body.

In addition to creating a sustainable storyline that forms an integral part of the luxury customer experience, implementing features that puts the control in the guest’s hands is another approach hotels can implement to inspire and empower its visitors. Giving guests the option to switch their shower to eco mode for example or use LED temperature displays to encourage them to reduce the temperature of their water, is a powerful way of enabling them to make sustainably minded decisions, and feel good about these choices, as part of their hotel experience. Empowering guests in this way can help to form an alliance between hotel and guest and build a customer’s trust and loyalty in a brand they know truly values sustainability.

Spa and wellness zones are synonymous with luxury hotel settings but outdated designs and fittings can result in unnecessary over-consumption of precious resources such as water and energy. We are seeing the shift for more spas and wellness zones to move into the privacy of the guest’s suite rather than a communal space, and this presents lots of opportunities for hoteliers to make smart specification choices that optimise customer personalisation and experience whilst using resource conservatively and considerately. In the future, new sustainably-focused solutions and technologies from brands will enable luxury hotels to offer a more enhanced and personal spa experience in the comfort of the guest suite.

Design innovation is playing an enormous role in providing solutions that can help hotels achieve their sustainability targets whilst still providing their guests with unique, luxurious visits. The introduction of these technologies and capabilities is still relatively new but offer lots of potential in really helping to progress the status quo for luxury sustainable tourism and hospitality.

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: GROHE

Shalini Misra

Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wellness in design: tips from designer Shalini Misra

Ahead of her anticipated appearance at Hotel Designs LIVE, where she will join a panel of experts to discuss surface design, we caught up with interior designer Shalini Misra in order to understand how wellness and design are working together in this new era of lifestyle, luxury and wellness…

Shalini Misra

Interior designer Shalini Misra, who will be joining us on the virtual sofa at Hotel Designs LIVE in August in a panel discussion on surface design, recognises that her clients’ lifestyles are key to the design of the studio’s interiors and their wellbeing. Wellness is intrinsic to a successful and healthy lifestyle and the studio integrates it into their spaces by looking at the physical, emotional and aesthetic sides and drawing on effects for each of our senses – another topic we will explore at Hotel Designs LIVE. Wellness incorporates using sustainable natural materials, ample flow of natural light and air, intelligent use of artificial light, creating versatility in the layout to cater for social areas and pockets of privacy for personal reflection and headspace, adding value to clients’ existing pieces through upcycling, and using colour to fine-tune the mood of the spaces.

If you would like to attend Hotel Designs LIVE (free for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers, click here – booking form takes less than two minutes).

“Our surroundings affect how we feel on a daily basis and it has never been more important for us to embrace the concept of wellbeing – intrinsic, as it is, for our own happiness and ability to lead successful lifestyles in challenging times,” Misra says. “So for those of you who know us, you will not be surprised that as part of our styling process, and we place a great deal of emphasis on the idea of incorporating wellbeing into the projects we take on.”

Wellness not only relates to interiors but also to the wider environment, which the studio achieves through sourcing materials with sustainable attributes and using existing pieces such as vintage pieces.

Misra kindly shares her tips when injecting wellness in design – and which vital areas she looks at when designing her projects.


Sustainability and wellness in design travel together in parallel lanes. Opt for sustainable materials like linoleum, floral leather, cork for furniture and wall and floor finishes and incorporate existing pieces such as vintage items. The use of the latest technology also ensures efficient energy use in the spaces. Through computer calculations which map the sun’s movement you can decide how much cooling and heating is required for a space.

Healthy interiors

Colourful lounge inside Aberdare Gardens

Image credit: Aberdare Gardens/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Interior design can improve your health and wellbeing in so many ways. Ensure that the natural light and air flow of the spaces are effective. Create quiet peaceful private zones bringing nature inside. Always draw on natural materials and organise your space efficiently to create a smooth running of the environment. “We will always strive to ensure that our clients enjoy their homes and maximise their wellbeing by looking at the physical, emotional and aesthetic aspects of how the spaces in their homes work,” Misra says. “We will organise the space, in consultation with you, to forge its flawless running, using sustainable, natural materials wherever possible and ensuring an ample flow of air and natural light and also making the most intelligent use of artificial light.”

Colour and mood

The colour of a room can evoke certain emotions. Bold reds and yellows, for example, are known to be energising, stimulating and motivating. In contrast, blue is a soothing colour that calms the mind and promotes intellectual creativity, while green provides balance and harmony. Of course, neutral colours such as whites, greys and taupe, provide calm reassurance and a harmony between wellness and design. Through the use of colour a mood can be created which influences the clients’ emotional wellbeing. By using colour that is appropriate to the main use of each room, we can enhance the purpose of the space.

Making an impression is not only down to the first room you encounter, the whole design needs to have moments of impact whether through art, views through windows and internal spaces, architectural volumes or colour and texture.


With upcycling becoming such an integral part of any project, the studio looks at clients’ existing pieces and sees what can be repurposed, amended or relocated to ensure that no existing piece is wasted. This is an element of the sustainable side to our designs.


Through the intelligent use of lighting and the latest technology we create flexible moods for lighting, making the spaces versatile as well as beautiful.

Meditation areas

Image credit: Farm House project/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Image credit: Farm House project/Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

Depending on the size of your space, you may wish to dedicate an entire room to meditation. While turning an empty room into a holistic meditation space is certainly a great use of your environment, you don’t have to devote an entire room to wellness. Instead, you can carve out space in an existing room and create a versatile environment that lends itself to tranquillity and calmness.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a ‘low traffic’ area, that will allow you to meditate undisturbed. This might be a corner of a bedroom or space in a spare room. You can even turn a quiet part of your living area – or lounge – into a holistic meditation space if you wish.

Having a dedicated meditation space can certainly enhance your practice and encourage you to meditate regularly, but you can easily extend the design and style of your meditation space throughout your entire home. By doing so, you’ll create a calming, welcoming and tranquil environment that consistently enhances your well-being and reflects your unique personality.

Main image credit: Shalini Misra/Mel Yates

GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE supports energy and water saving with first digitally enhanced tap

Global bathroom and kitchen fittings brand GROHE, with sustainability as one of its core pillars, has upgrades its GROHE Plus collection of basin taps, which now offer precise control of water temperature with integrated LED display, environmentally conscious water consumption thanks to sensor-activated Eco Spray and an architectural silhouette that makes a design statement at the bathroom…

GROHE Plus tap with digital temperature display

With bathrooms becoming more than just practical spaces and while hospitality is catching up to the ethos of designers and architects to inherently design and specify in an eco-friendly way, the launch of the GROHE Plus tap deserves its place in the spotlight. With this unveil, GROHE now offers users the possibility to accurately control the water temperature of their basin tap using the innovations of digitally enhanced design. The digital upgrade within the existing GROHE Plus collection not only enables safe water enjoyment, but also supports users’ increasing desire for sustainable living. Using the principle of “nudging”, a concept from behavioural economics, users are made aware through a visual colour change displayed on the spout of the tap when hot water is flowing – often unnecessarily – in order to encourage users to avoid wasting energy. This design approach promotes responsible use of the valuable resource of water and saves energy at the same time.

The eco-friendly functionality of GROHE Plus is reinforced by its accessible Eco Spray setting. To switch from the standard spray to the more refined Eco Spray of just four litres per minute, which reduces water consumption without compromising on user comfort or experience, users can simply swipe their hand over the lit icon on top of the spout to activate the sensor-controlled system which will change the water flow. The GROHE Plus collection is also future-oriented in its hybrid design language, which skilfully combines round and square elements. This makes the range a real statement for every modern bathroom, both in terms of sustainability and design.

The dynamic design language of GROHE Plus is inspired by the arc, which symbolises both strength and lightness. Combining circular shapes with the crisp, clean lines of a cube, GROHE Plus creates an exciting architectural silhouette. At the same time, the design supports ergonomic comfort and invites interaction. The 90-degree swivel spout also increases user-friendliness and caters for a variety of different interactions and uses.

The combination of cubic and organic shapes not only distinguishes GROHE Plus aesthetically, but also makes the tap collection the perfect counterpart to both square and round ceramic lines such as GROHE Essence or GROHE Cube – all according to personal interior design style. To complete the harmonious overall look of the bathroom, the two-tone surface of GROHE Plus’ LED display made of chrome and high-quality acrylic glass in MoonWhite can also be found in several of GROHE’s shower collections too, such as the GROHE SmartControl thermostat and GROHE Rainshower SmartActive head showers.

In addition to the new digitally-enhanced models, the GROHE Plus collection includes a wide range of classic single- lever mixers in different sizes and with additional functions such as a pull-out spout, wall-mounted 2-hole basin mixers, taps for shower and bathtub, and a visually striking freestanding bathtub option. For even greater design freedom that meets the growing demand for personalised style in the bathroom, GROHE Plus is available in Chrome, SuperSteel and Brushed Hard Graphite finishes, the latter of which is accompanied by a black LED display.

Main image credit: GROHE

Forest for changfe at Somerset House, London

Scape Design unveils sustainable landscape concept at Somerset House in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Scape Design unveils sustainable landscape concept at Somerset House in London

Philip Jaffa who as Founder of Scape Design, is best known for experiential and environmentally sensitive landscape design in the international hospitality arena, has created an urban forest which is the centrepiece of the London Design Biennale at Somerset House this month…

Forest for changfe at Somerset House, London

Working in close collaboration with acclaimed artist, designer and Artistic Director of the Biennale, Es Devlin, who conceived the project, as well as with urban greening specialists, Scotscape, landscape designer Philip Jaffa has shaped an extraordinary journey of contemplation for visitors as they wander the pathways of Forest for Change leading to The Global Goals Pavilion where they will discover an interactive display of the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The forest will comprise more than 400 juvenile trees, the majority sourced from one of the UK’s leading tree growers. They have been individually selected for their differing canopy shapes, heights and forms to achieve a layered aesthetic and to shroud the glade where the Development Goals lie at the heart of the experience. To highlight the plight of trees in urban environments due to climate change, the team chose a diverse range of 27 nursery grown species with the aim of ensuring resilience in the London environment. These include many favourite common species such as Scots Pine, Hazel and Silver Birch.

Endorsing this decision, Tony Kirkham, MBE VMH, Head of Arboretum, Gardens & Horticulture Services, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says: “The only way to ensure future resilience of our new forest and tree plantings is to plant as much diversity of species as possible.”

Since the existing courtyard floor is an unmovable hardscape of cobbles, the trees will remain in their containers for the duration of the event and these will be covered in bark mulch mounds underplanted with forest floor species such as periwinkle, ivy and ferns. A sculptural array of logs and branches will also be spread across the ground to suggest the sights and smells of centuries-old woodlands and the stroll through the forest will be made to the accompaniment of birdsong in a soundtrack curated by pioneering musician Brian Eno.

“The invitation to wander through Forest for Change will be an opportunity for each visitor to find their way using intuition as their guide,” says Philip Jaffa. “Our disconnection from nature is at the heart of the global climate crisis, with such terrible effect on our planet, but forests have long been held as places of transformation and our hope is that the experience of our forest will contribute to inspiring change. The irony of constructing a forest in a courtyard where Enlightenment principles meant trees were forbidden when Somerset House was built has not been lost on us. The forest represents a challenge to the presumption that we are here to dominate nature, rather than as an integral part of it.”

The environmental impact of Forest for Change has been an important consideration throughout. All the trees will be donated to and replanted in London boroughs as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, creating a durable legacy for the forest after the Biennale and the cork and bark pathways will be re-used or recycled. The project will be carbon positive, planting sufficient trees after the Biennale to offset its carbon footprint three times over.

Forest for ChangeThe Global Goals Pavilion is being presented in partnership with Project Everyone, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to furthering awareness and engagement with the Global Goals. Lighting design is by John Cullen Lighting.

Main image credit: Somerset House/Kevin Meredith

Image of blue modern chair next to cork wallpaper

Connect your walls to nature with Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Connect your walls to nature with Granorte

Mat is a textured cork wall panel from Granorte that brings a strong connection to nature. Harnessing cork’s unique and distinct natural aesthetic, Mat is a stylish way to welcome natural finishes to walls. Using a decorative cork veneer and agglomerated cork base, the 100 per cent natural wall tile is available in a range of neutral colours that deliver a premium look in commercial interiors…

Image of blue modern chair next to cork wallpaper

Mat’s 100 per cent cork composition retains all the benefits of cork, providing a comfortable finish that feels great to touch, insulates from heat loss and absorbs noise. With a lightweight construction, the wall tile can be glued to any vertical surface. It is finished with Granorte’s Corkguard protective layer that provides a durable surface that’s easy to care for in commercial environments.

“Mat is a unique wall tile that explores cork’s textural and visual language to bring commercial interiors a natural wall finish that’s unique in every way,” says Paulo Rocha, Granorte. “Through a palette of colours that allow muted tonal contrasts with other finishes, including natural tones, Mat allows a distinct language to be created, while connecting the interior to the positive influence of nature.”

Granorte has been making cork products from the waste of wine stopper production since 1973 and the family-run company has established itself as a true innovator in cork, finding new applications for the natural and renewable material.

With a wide range of wall and floor products to furniture like the Moon Coffee Table and the NuSpa sanitaryware collection that’s robotically cut from giant blocks of agglomerated cork, Granorte remains at the forefront of cork manufacture.

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

Main image credit: Granorte

Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Island life: Kuda Villingili in the Maldives prepares to open

Located in the North Malé Atoll, in the Maldives, Kuda Villingili is preparing its international entrance with what we are told an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options – including a take on the famous Singaporean Hawkers street food market – an idyllic beachfront spa, and world-class facilities for those with a penchant for an adrenaline rush. As demand for hotel development in the region soars, let’s take a look…

In just a few days time, luxury travellers will be able to check in to Kuda Villingili, a much-anticipated luxury island retreat in the Maldivian archipelago. The remarkable five-star property located in the North Male Atoll, Kuda Villingili is the Maldives redefined; a unique, experience-driven concept, home to an impressive line-up of gourmet dining options, an idyllic beachfront spa, and an azure, spacious 150-metre pool, encircled by stylish sunbeds, cabanas and bars – take it from us, it’s stunning! 

Conceived with nature in mind by the Maldivian architectural firm GX Associates in collaboration with the Singapore-based interior design company URBNarc, the resort boasts 95 luxury villas – 36 overwater and 59 beachside. All are inspired by the sprawling nature of the Maldives and offer panoramic views of the pristine ocean, allowing for the natural sounds of the sea to awaken the senses.

The resort’s interiors authentically reflect the natural beauty that surrounds the island. Traditional Maldivian art pieces and textiles are dotted throughout, and the expert use of natural materials enhance the harmony between water, light and wind. Inspired by the ocean and local fauna, interiors feature custom, eco-friendly furniture and fittings (including carpets manufactured from recycled plastic bottles). This mixed-use resort development also offers a variety of accommodation types to meet the needs of all – groups, couples, solo travellers and families.


The diversity of cultural expression is celebrated throughout the resort’s gourmet offerings. With views of the idyllic beachfront, the resort’s signature dining establishment – The Restaurant – serves the freshest, handcrafted food for breakfast and offers three menus at dinner: Fire, Earth and Ocean. Inspired by the traditional American Steak House experience, Fire explores the art of grilling meats to perfection. Earth is an Asian-inspired concept that celebrates organic ingredients to enhance classic dishes like noodles and dim sum creations, and Ocean is a fine-dining experience championing seafood specialties, prepared with a European sensibility.

Arival jetty Kuda Villingili

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Relaxed, flavoursome and social, The Hawkers is an upscale three-stall street food market that sits poolside and serves up soulful, sharing style options. The open kitchen dishes up Indian-Arabic inspired flame-grilled kebabs, charcoaled tandoor, and mouth-watering shawarma, along with Thai-Japanese delicacies such as robatayaki grill and sushi, and Italian-Mediterranean favourites like savoury wood-fired pizza.

A South American take on the classic lunch beach menu is available at The Beach Club, together with daily live DJ sets and an extended list of refreshing frozen cocktails and rosé wines. The resort’s two bars, the Main Bar and the Poolside bar, both offer classic cocktails, mocktails and hand-crafted beers. And overlooking the lagoon, the resort’s cosy Cigar Lounge offers the finest international whiskies and cognacs and a wide selection of premium cigars in a warm, sophisticated and sumptuously leather-decorated ambience.

Over in the spa

Featuring oversized stone baths, organic and plant-based products by VOYA, the spa at Kuda Villingili is rooted in self-love, self-discovery and wellness. Boasting eight self-contained oceanfront spa villas, each promises a holistic journey to reclaim self-connection, self-care and balance through an array of therapeutic and mindful practices.

Image credit: Kuda Villingili

Restorative leisure pursuits include an elevated yoga pavilion, Technogym and a recreation centre with table tennis, billiards, karaoke & table games. There are two state-of-the-art tennis courts, beach volleyball and island excursions that range from surfing, scuba and stargazing to wildlife encounters, sandbank dining and big game fishing.

The hotel opens on June 6. As the Maldives continues to be on the ‘amber list’ for UK travellers, the opening has given modern travellers something to look forward to when non-restricted travel opens once more.

Main image: Kuda Villingili

In Conversation With: Architect Marcio Kogan, founder of Studio MK27

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Architect Marcio Kogan, founder of Studio MK27

To understand more about one particular new hotel in the Maldives, Xenia zu Hohenlohe, Founding Partner of Considerate Group, caught up with architect Marcio Kogan, the founder of Studio MK27

Architect Marcio Kogan is the founder of Studio MK27, leading a team of 30 talented individuals who he encourages to ‘rethink architecture’ and ‘place value on formal simplicity elaborated with extreme care and attention to details and finishings’.

With the its breadth of experience in hospitality design, the studio was asked to design a new resort in the Maldives. The brief was to design a shelter for a radical living experience; a temporary home in the exuberant infinite blues, wild life and open skies. “The volumetric answers are extremely delicate, respectful to its surroundings, trying to provide shadows and coziness,” it is explained on the firm’s website.” The aim was to ‘capture and amplify the landscape’s strength.”

Responding to the brief, Kogan decided that the architectural lines of the property must never break the horizon. “They speak low and elegantly,” he explains. “All buildings are visually permeable, melted, dematerialised, putting life and men in the centre of the experience.

And it is this experience that Xenia zu Hohenlohe, Founding Partner of Considerate Group, learned about when meeting the dynamic architect himself to understand more about what sets this hotel aside from other Maldivian hospitality gems.

Xenia zu Hohenlohe: What was your first thought when you were asked to design ‘yet another resort’ in the Maldives?

Marcio Kogan: In our office, we treat each new project as a precious gem, no matter the size. Of course, it needs to be of interest to us, but the main thing is, that the client is nice and we develop a good relationship with empathy.

I have never been to the Maldives before and when we began with the project, My colleague and I visited the islands with our client. We stayed in various resorts there so we had to travel with the sea plane everyday, which was not that much fun.

“My first idea for the project was inspired by a place where I used to go as a child.” – Marcio Kogan, Founder, Studio MK27.

XH: How did your Brazilian up-bringing – the connection you have to nature and your local tropical vegetation – influenced you when approaching the Patina project?

MK: When we visited the Maldives, it felt strange: I slept in rooms that could have also been in New York or in London or in Paris, very cosmopolitan but completely lacking the feeling of being in the tropics. That, however, is something that you always have in Brazil – you create something modern, contemporary, but always with the notion that you are at the beach. All Brazilians used to spend their childhood-vacation at the beach and my first idea for the project was inspired by a place where I used to go as a child. There, buildings are separated from the beach by a bit of woodland, giving the impression of a virgin island. This is the feeling that I wanted to bring to the Maldives.

Establishing shot to show architecture of Image credit: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Image credit: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

“The space is meant to be a joyful experience for the senses.” – Marcio Kogan, Founder, Studio MK27.

XH: Could you describe the main characteristics of biophilic design and what is your fascination with it? And how important is this to guests or how will it make their experience at Patina a different one because of it?

MK: For this hotel we re-created the relationship between humans and nature that has existed for thousand of years. In our architecture, there is no difference between the exterior and the interior. It is like a see-through curtain that dissolves the borders between indoors and outdoors. We also brought nature into the rooms through a commissioned artwork by a Brazilian photographer. The space is meant to be a joyful experience for the senses brought to life by natural materials such as wood, stone and organic fabrics and special light pendants that we designed.

XH: How is the design in keeping with the local vernacular?

MK: It has a lot to do with the hidden architecture. When we first went to Maldives, we not only visited various hotels, but also a local house, which you normally don’t see, as they are rather small and hidden in the middle of the islands. The houses are very simple, coral walls holding a thatched roof, mostly build in the centre of the islands. The houses are very simple, coral walls holding a thatched roof, mostly build in the centre of the islands surrounded by local nature. So for us, it was important to integrate this simplicity and the connection to nature into the project in a sophisticated way.

Inside the Beach House at Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

Image credit: Patina Maldives, Fari Islands

XH: What does the term ‘hidden architecture’ mean to you? 

MK: One of our main goals of our project was to hide it. Everything must be very timid – nature is more important than architecture – like the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer – our master- used to say: ”Architecture is not important, it is our family, our friends, life, the nature – that’s what counts.” The fantastic nature with the most beautiful sky and the impressive sea are the focus and it became our mission not to destroy any of the amazing surroundings.

XH: To what extent did you consider the subject of sleep quality in your design?

MK: First of all, it is very important to know, that all the interiors are customised in order to provide this special experience for the guests – including the bed, which is always the key element of the room. The bed forms the centre of the room, it has the best views and needs to be as comfortable as possible. At Patina, the headboard is soft, almost like a huge cushion that embraces you and the mattress base was designed as if it is almost floating.

In order to create the best possible interior, we set up a mock-up villa in Singapore with all details for the complete experience. It was a very detailed process with more than 200 items on the snagging list to be changed. Something that we never did before, but which proofed extremely important for the overall process.

“To be an architect, you need to know what is going on around you – you can’t be isolated.” – Marcio Kogan, Founder, Studio MK27.

XH: What travels inspired you in this project?

MK: Before the pandemic, I used to travel to Japan every Christmas season. This is not directly connected to the Maldives, but it’s one of the inspirations in my life. Another important place for me is Italy, which is another place that is inside my heart. There, I work with Italian brands and I also teach at Politecnico di Milano.

Everything in our life influences our work to some extent. To be an architect, you need to know what is going on around you – you can’t be isolated. You are a kind of sponge, that soaks up the influences around you, which I like very much. Once I was with a very important Brazilian architect, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and he said to one of his students: “If you just read architecture magazines, if you only visit websites about architecture, you will never be a good architect. You need to know about everything else, too”.\

XH: The Maldives has a number of new luxury resorts, what makes this Patina stand out?

MK: When I visited the Maldives before starting our project, I had a very strange feeling. I was completely alone there, and it seemed that everyone else was on honeymoon. Therefore, the first idea that came to my mind was to create a village: a place where you have restaurants, shops, a space for children and art installations. A place to see and to be seen, a place where people come together, an experience for the whole family.

“Understandably, in Brazil and the Maldives, this combination of indoor and outdoor is easier to put in place.” – Marcio Kogan, Founder, Studio MK27.

XH: Looking forward, what role can architecture play in bringing nature back into our lives, making people understand that we are part of it and not separate and where can key interactions lie in colder countries where outdoor living is not as easy as in the Maldives or Brazil?

MK: All our projects are having an integrating nature. Sometimes you don’t know where the interior stops and exterior architecture begins. Understandably, in Brazil and the Maldives, this combination of indoor and outdoor is easier to put in place. However, we had a project in Canada, in the mountains, and nobody imagined that we could create something similar there, but we did. We built some sort of glass box with amazing views and inner patios. Ok – it’s easier in Brazil where you can open everything up, but it worked.

Even in our rooms in the Maldives, you can open all the windows and if you are in a sea villa, it feels as if you are floating in the ocean.

Main image credit: Studio MK27

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product Watch: The Seasons Collection by Siminetti

During Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, Siminetti, which was a Product Watch Pitch Partner at the event, unveiled the sustainable and luxurious Seasons Collection…

Siminetti Seasons Collection

Hotel Designs LIVE was a fantastic experience for us; seeing the best the hospitality industry has to offer all in one place,” said Simon Powell CEO of Siminetti. The leading sustainable surface brand held a presentation during the sustainability segment during the one-day virtual conference event. Discussing the importance of sustainability in the luxury sector and how the brand’s new Seasons Collection is both sustainable and luxurious. For those who were unable to attend; below is an overview of the collection and how Siminetti strive to provide luxury surfaces that are not damaging to the planet.

Since its founding in 2010, Siminetti has strived to provide their clients with luxury surface solutions that are not only beautiful but kind to the planet. The process began with establishing relationships with suppliers who could ensure only the finest raw materials with respect for the environment and the communities who inhabit the source locations. Every supplier is carefully selected to ensure the brand’s processes meet strict ecological standards and their materials are sourced from sustainable, farmed locations wherever in the world they are grown.

Image credit: Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

Siminetti now has a prospering network of suppliers all over the planet. The brand’s Saltwater Pearl is sourced from Pacific communities who depend on sustainable relationships with the ocean lagoons in which they farm pearls or harvest them as a food source. Harvesting is done in line with local Government Fishery laws and a constant communication with our suppliers ensure we are informed and accountable.

Siminetti’s freshwater mother of pearl is primarily sourced from Asia. They are the largest producer of freshwater pearl in the world! producing some 1,500 metric tons per year. The farms traditionally harvest the shellfish that produce our mother of pearl for the food industry, the shells are then discarded as waste to landfill, due to being incredibly hardwearing the shells would take many generations to breakdown.

Siminetti’s expert artisans take these raw shells and transform their rough appearance to create stunning decorative surfaces. In their latest innovation, Siminetti has transcended the expectations of mother of pearl by producing their seasons collection. A series of patterns with shapes previously perceived to complex to be crafted from mother of pearl.

The collection has been designed in conjunction with Chrisanna of London, it is truly the next generation of mother of pearl sustainable decorative surfaces. Consisting of twelve designs inspired by nature, available in either their Golden Promise saltwater pearl or Innocence saltwater pearl on a Bianco freshwater base. Below is a selection of never before seen close up photos of the seasons collection showcasing the expert craftsmanship that goes into every one of their handmade decorative surfaces.

Siminetti’s Mother of Pearl Mosaics and Decorative Panels decorate some of the Worlds leading hotels, resorts, private residences and super yachts. From the Burj Khalifa, to Hollywood Boulevard and Harvey Nicholls, the brand supports some of the world’s leading brands ensuring they remain at the top of their industry. With an enviable history in designing and supplying one of the world’s most luxurious, sustainable, surface materials, Siminetti is renowned for supporting architects and designers with technical know-how and testing documentation, ensuring their clients complete peace of mind whilst embarking on their stylish journey.

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

Main image credit: Siminetti

Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Nobu exclusive, Rosewood footprints & sustainability explored

Editor Hamish Kilburn here with your weekly briefing. This week’s round-up includes an exclusive lighting feature, details about Rosewood’s second hotel in London and how to watch out latest panel discussion on sustainability beneath the surface…

2021 is shaping up to be an extremely exciting year on the hotel design front. Already this quarter, we have seen Zaha Hadid Architects complete an incredible architectural marvel in Dubai, watched Moxy Hotels turn up the volume with a landmark opening in Miami and we have even published plans for hospitality to launch into space.

As impressive as that all sounds, this week, the international development plot has thickened, with Hotel Designs leading the narrative around sustainability and the future of hospitality at Hotel Designs LIVE, Rosewood dropping yet more news around its second arrival in London and a study being launched that cuts through the noise to reveal new demands from modern traveller following the pandemic.

So, without further a due, here are the top stories from the last few days.

The industry comments on International Women’s Day

Gif of strong women for International Women's Day

Our nod to International Women’s Day is more of a formal bow or curtsy. For this year’s IWD, we heard from leading female designers, hoteliers and architects about how far we have come and, crucially, how far we have still got to travel in order to operate in an equal and fair global arena.

Read more. 

EXCLUSIVE // Case study: The bespoke lighting narrative inside London’s Nobu hotel

Image credit: Jack Hardy

Inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square – a hotel that has caused a lot of noise recently on the international hotel design scene – there is a bespoke lighting narrative that flickers unlike any other. We exclusively caught up with Lyn Newcombe, Head of Projects at Dernier & Hamlyn and Lewis Taylor, Design Director at David Collins Studio, to capture the full story.

Read more. 

Nearly half of Brits surveyed expect air purifiers in tomorrow’s hotel

A navy blue air purifier next to a navy blue bed

Blueair, which produces air purifiers that remove air pollutants like smoke, mold and allergens, recently participated as a Product Watch Pitch Partner at Hotel Designs LIVE. Here, the brand shares insights into how consumers feel about visiting hotels in a post-pandemic world.

Read more.

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

On February 23, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch Hotel Designs LIVE. Following an engaging panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, the spotlight for the second session of the day landed on leading design and hospitality figures to debate sustainability, a topic that continues to be weighed down by heavy stigma. Sponsored by Grohe, a brand that inherently has sustainability running through its DNA – if recent accolades are anything go by – the panel was inspired by the recent Q&A between Hotel Designs LIVE and eco warrior, Bill Bensley.

Read more. 

Industry insight: Biophilic spa & wellness design

maggies by thomas Hetherwick

Image credit: Thomas Heatherwick

As wellness evolves as we enter a new era of hospitality, we invite Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio, to discuss the growing trend for biophilic design in spa and wellness properties. It is inevitable that spa and wellness, post-pandemic will become an ever more important and integral part of our lives. We are entering a new era where ‘Health is the New Wealth’ and a healthy lifestyle is recognised as an important part of preventative medicine.

Read more.

In Conversation With: Lucienne Walpole, Vice President, SB Architects

Image of Lucienne Walpole

Since joining SB Architects in 2007, Lucienne Walpole has played a valuable role on the design team for a number of the firm’s most exciting hospitality projects. Combining her dual backgrounds in interior design and architecture, Walpole brings to the firm strengths in space planning as well as architectural design. Following Walpole’s participation in Hotel Designs LIVE conference, we caught up with the architect to learn more.

Read more.

The Chancery Rosewood, arriving in London in 2024

Render of Rosewood London in former US Embassy

Image credit: DBOX for Qatari Diar

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which currently manages 27 luxury properties in 16 countries with a further 21 hotels under development, has announced that its second hotel in London will be sheltered in the former US Embassy and will be named The Chancery Rosewood.

Read more.

And finally… 

If you haven’t yet had a change to listen to DESIGN POD, here’s the latest episode. Entitled ‘Choosing Your Lane’, we invite interior designer Constantina Tsoutsikou to join us as our first guest. Episode two, with guest Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, goes live on Monday!

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Image of natural looking hotel room

Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Sustainable luxury surfaces from Siminetti

As we have already established in our editorial series with the brand, Siminetti is renowned for its hand-crafted mother of pearl decorative surfaces. In the unprecedented circumstances of 2021, the brand’s products offer a unique form of decoration with qualities that enhance both public and private areas…

Image of natural looking hotel room

Siminetti produces luxury surfaces that are crafted with passion and viewed with awe. As explained in a Product Watch Pitch at Hotel Designs LIVE, all of its raw materials are sourced from ethically farmed and sustainable sources. This is to ensure our impact is with respect to the traditions of the people who inhabit the areas and ensure the environment is protected. Typically the shellfish industry farm foodstuffs, cosmetics and pearls for jewellery. Leaving the shells as waste material which is discarded to landfill. Siminetti takes this jewel in the rough to remove the harsh exterior and reveal the undisputable beauty within, resulting in not only a minimal environmental impact but a positive one reducing waste to landfill.

Image of bed in hotel room with Siminetti wallcovering

Image credit: Siminetti

The process in which the brand’s raw product is transformed into their beautiful surfaces however is not straightforward. All products are handcrafted with a key attention to detail. Rough imperfections are removed to reveal the stunning nacre. This is then cut into individual tesserae, hand-placed by artisans onto either mesh backings or paper sheet faces – for mosaics – or applied to one of their panelling substrates to create our inspiring decorative surface. Finally, the mosaic tiles and decorative surfaces are polished to bring out the stunning qualities of mother of pearl then sealed for increased strength, an enhanced finish and ease of cleaning.

Following the events of 2021, hoteliers and designers are looking for solutions to growing hygiene concerns. Siminetti’s decorative surfaces come made to measure up to a size of 1200mm x 2400mm with a strong panelling substrate. The substrate options include aluminium honeycomb, magnesium board or PVC foam in varying depths depending on your requirements. This results in an exact fitting solution that requires no grouting and is easily wiped clean in high traffic areas. The grout typically used with bathroom tiling can cause a bacterial build-up or capture viral pathogens. The brand’s paneling solution mitigates that risk whilst providing a luxurious aesthetic.

Image of luxury textured sustainable wallcovering from Siminetti

Image credit: Siminetti

This year, Siminetti unveiled its Seasons’ Collection. A series of decorative surfaces inspired by nature and kind to the planet. The collection consists of 12 designs which are all currently available in two colourway options; Innocence saltwater pearl or Golden Promise saltwater pearl with a Bianco freshwater base. These timeless designs will tie your décor back to nature, provide a hygienic – easy to clean surface, and inspire your customers.

The seasons’ collection entails a range of designs to complement any luxury setting. Breaking the traditions of what is assumed possible with mother of pearl. The inclusion of geometric, organic and abstract patterns sets the collection apart from any others on the market. Explore the twelve stunning designs on their website or their new brochure.

It is important to look at what can be taught by the disruption of 2020. Siminetti’s next generation of decorative surfaces present opportunities in the development of both luxury hospitality aesthetics and hygiene demands of more demanding guests. This benefit of improved maintenance and aesthetics, over traditional tiling, is furthered also by the surfaces ease of installation compared to traditional tiling.

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

Main image credit: Siminetti

ADP Third Space Concept

Feature: A green (and happy) recovery for hotels?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: A green (and happy) recovery for hotels?

If there’s one phrase that’s inspired equal parts optimism and frustration this year in hotel design, it’s the idea of a green recovery, writes Amrit Naru, Studio Director, ADP Architecture

ADP Third Space Concept

Last July, the UK government’s announcement of a funding boost to help with green industry was met with a mixed reception, and while the principle of green recovery has won wide support, there’s understandable skepticism about whether government and industry leaders can commit to going far enough.

And yet this looks like our best chance. It’s impossible to ignore the negative impact of the pandemic – but if we look forward, taking the new roadmap for lifting lockdown as a starting point for recovery, it’s possible that we can use it as an opportunity to build a very different kind of post-pandemic landscape.

The effects of climate change are increasing exponentially, from extreme weather events to desertification and species extinction. All industries participate in a system that’s allowed this to happen, and everyone therefore has a part to play in helping to stop it. The hospitality sector is certainly no exception: our work reaches communities all over the world, with more than 200,000 hotels generating an annual revenue of more than £400 billion, and employing people of every imaginable background. By interrogating how that money is raised, who it benefits, and what processes it drives, we can make sizeable and measurable change. And with the hospitality sector set to bounce back more dramatically than almost any other industry, we’re uniquely positioned to lead the way towards a sustainable, inclusive future for our planet and its people.

There’s another side to this story as well. Personal wellbeing has been one of the hardest-hit victims of the pandemic: the Centre for Mental Health estimates that up to 10 million people in the UK will need new or additional mental health support due to the crisis. I recently spoke on a panel addressing how hotels can support wellbeing in the future, with ideas ranging from room size and air quality to back-of-house facilities (a reminder that wellbeing is as important to staff as it is to visitors). It’s certainly my view that sustainability and wellbeing go hand-in-hand, and it’s this approach that ADP takes on many of our projects.

Image caption: Mixed-use leisure sketch scheme in Oxford. | Image credit: ADP ArchitectureIn fact, it’s precisely this idea which led to us developing a new tool that measures three key factors in the wider impact of a project: sustainability, belonging and engagement. The first is all about how a building relates to its environment. Does the project’s energy use support a zero-carbon strategy? Does the project support local wildlife, and encourage sustainable travel? The second – belonging – centres on the ways in which buildings connect people with places: a key consideration for any hotel. Thirdly, we consider whether a project is engaging, and whether it can provide that boost to wellbeing which is sorely needed in a post-pandemic world.

Answering these questions requires a degree of creativity in finding solutions, but it also demands honesty in acknowledging where we could have done better. This brings us back to that point about the green recovery – as an industry, we can be optimistic about our capabilities, but we need to be self-critical. It’s not enough simply to say that we support a green recovery, or even that we’re taking particular steps in that direction. We need to measure outcomes. We need to show that what we’re doing is actually making a difference.

This was a problem we encountered time and again when creating the SBE (“Sustainability, Belonging, Engagement”) toolkit. Identifying what needs to change is one thing; measuring it in an objective, consistent way is another. After months spent poring over research and testing our ideas against a range of our own projects, we created a toolkit which broke these “big issues” down into concise factors such as water use or connectivity to nature, and then broke each of these down further – creating a questionnaire which could output an easy-to-read score.

Questions cover every aspect of a project’s potential impact. Has the community been involved in the design? Are there measures to mitigate flood risk or the effects of climate change? What are the average floor-to-ceiling heights? The result is a robust and usable toolkit, one which ADP is now using on every single project we work on.

The SBE Toolkit is very much our own, but it reflects wider trends in the hospitality industry and beyond. One of these key trends – as I’ve already mentioned – is wellbeing. As we move out of lockdown and nationwide restrictions, hoteliers will need to think carefully about how they can balance safety measures with a sensibility that helps guests feel welcome and at ease. One approach is to use the WELL Building Standard, a certification process that takes a detailed account of the ways in which a building can promote health, safety and general wellbeing.

The advantage of using a recognised standard like WELL is that not only can you trust that the process is relevant and meaningful – your visitors and staff can, too. In fact, as tourists take a wider range of factors into account when looking for a hotel, it’s looking increasingly possible that measurements like the WELL Building Standard will become an important part of marketing. The ability to research a number of hotels quickly online has allowed people to consider factors like carbon footprint or media reputation in their search for the perfect stay – so it doesn’t seem far-fetched to expect wellbeing to play a growing role in the future.

A second key trend is flexibility. Working from home isn’t going away with the restrictions. Our experience living with Covid-19 has taught us that we can work from home more, and that doing so carries unique advantages in a society which is ever more globally connected. Hotels are going to play a special role in this “new normal” (apologies for using that phrase, but in this case it genuinely applies). As travel patterns resume, the technology which has allowed us to work from home will allow us to work from anywhere, including local coffee shops, leisure venues, and of course hotels. There will doubtless be a growing market here for co-working spaces built into the wider context of a hotel, as well as adjacent and related spaces such as serviced apartments, aparthotels, and long-stays.

Finally – and bringing us full circle – the word “sustainability” is going to be on everybody’s lips more than ever in the years to come. The pandemic has forced us to think more introspectively about the impact of our travel, and while the travel industry is predicted to come back strongly after restrictions lift, it’s surely a good thing that travellers will take that more thoughtful approach into the future with them. Thoughtful travel is bound to lead to more sustainable travel, and with sustainable travel comes a focus on sustainable hotels.

It’s therefore important that, as an industry, we’re as thoughtful as the people we serve. Hotels are currently among the most resource-intensive commercial buildings in terms of energy and water use per square foot. We need to work together to address this now, as we restructure our ways of operating for a post-pandemic world. We need to reach out to other areas of the tourism industry – from ecotourism to local workforces and communities – to form a united front against climate change. We need to be role models, even when it’s most difficult. The pandemic has presented unparalleled challenges for the hotel industry. As we emerge blinking into the light of a new world, it’s time to seize the opportunity to provide hotels which support the environment and the people they impact. If we meet this opportunity head-on, others are sure to follow us on the road to a green (and happy) recovery.

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

Main image caption: ADP Third Space concept. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: Sustainability beneath the surface

On February 23, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers from around the globe tuned in to watch Hotel Designs LIVE. In the second panel discussion of the day, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by leading hospitality figures to discuss sustainability beneath the surface…

Collage of speakers for Hotel Designs LIVE Sustainability talk

With so much noise around sustainability at the moment, it was about time that Hotel Designs LIVE, which was launched last year with the aim to keep the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 pandmeic, hosted a panel discussion that allowed designers, architects and hoteliers to go beneath the surface of conscious design and hospitality.

The virtual event, which took place on February 23, led with the ambition to go further than it has ever gone in order to define the point on meaningful topics and conversations.

Following an engaging panel discussion on the future of hotel design and hospitality, the spotlight for the second session of the day landed on leading design and hospitality figures to debate sustainability, a topic that continues to be weighed down by heavy stigma. Sponsored by Grohe, a brand that inherently has sustainability running through its DNA – if recent accolades are anything go by – the panel was inspired by the recent Q&A between Hotel Designs LIVE and eco warrior, Bill Bensley.

On the panel: 

Hotel Designs LIVE sustainability panel

The discussion dived in head-first with editor Hamish Kilburn asking the panel what their thoughts were on greenwashing, before moving on towards establishing where sustainability in hospitality is heading and whether or not the pandemic has been a positive or negative catalyst for sustainable solutions and eco-savvy product development.

Here’s the full recording of the panel discussion, which has been edited by CUBE and includes Product Watch pitches from Grohe, Havwoods and Siminetti:

As well as recently publishing our highlights from the first session of Hotel Designs LIVE, the full recordings of the other two sessions (‘ ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The hotel experience 10 years from now

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on February 23, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a panel discussion with leading designers and architects entitled: Floor 20, room 31, which virtually checked in to the hotel experience 10 years from now…

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

On February 23, 2021, Hotel Designs‘ editor Hamish Kilburn returned to host the third instalment of Hotel Designs LIVE, which launched last year with the aim to keep the industry connected and the conversation flowing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

  • Floor 20, room 31, checking in 10 years from now
  • Sustainability, beneath the surface
  • Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design
  • A new era of wellness

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place while adhering to the current lockdown regulations and kickstarted with an editor’s welcome from Kilburn who explained the need for the virtual event. “The industry’s new swear word, Covid-19, has temporarily brought hospitality and tourism to its knees, but in these challenging times we have seen the real power of designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers all working together to invent and implement meaningful solutions,” he said. “Hotel Designs LIVE was born in those confusing times, and our aim is simple: to create conversations unlike any other and keep the industry connected.”

The first session of the day, which was sponsored by Hamilton Litestat, was designed to look ahead towards what hospitality and hotel design will look and feel like one decade on from today, and was curated to confront recent cultural shifts that have smudged the sketches, so to speak, as to what the hotel of the future will look like.

On the panel: 

The conversation began with Kilburn asking the panel how accurate previous predictions were regarding the ‘hotel room of the future’. It was concluded that the word ‘experience’, in all sectors of hotel design, was used 10 years ago in order to meet the then new demand among modern travellers who were expecting a deeper and more purposefully driven hospitality journey. Related to this, a new era of luxury lifestyle brands started to emerge to blur the lines in luxury travel, which, following the most testing year the hospitality arena has experienced in modern times, takes us to where we are now.

When the conversation turned to technology, interior designer Martin Goddard led the discussion to argue that moving forward, he expects modern travellers will be burnt out by technology and hotel design in many areas will encourage human connection once more as well as injecting meaningful sense of location, which was evident in Hotel Designs’ recent hotel review of The Mayfair Townhouse, which Goddard Littlefair recently completed steering clear to reference obvious clichés in the design. “One of the best pieces of feedback I’ve received from that hotel is that it always felt like a cosy winter’s day,” Goddard said.

Interior designer Albin Burglund was able to offer a unique perspective when it came to predicting the future of hotel design from both a luxury design as well as a wellness perspective. “I agree with Martin that the industry will be cautious to inject technology,” he explained, “and this will largely follow consumers putting more of a focus on their own personal wellness and wellbeing.”

Chris Lee injected qualitative research into the discussion following a campaign he and his team completed last year for Sleep & Eat, which involved collaboration with Chalk ArchitectureHotel Hussy and students from the University of West London, presenting an interactive render for a ‘2035 guestroom of the future’ based on the groups prestigious upscale Wyndham brand. As well as the project “capturing the imagination” of the modern traveller, the guestroom design and layout challenged conventional hotel rooms – and despite the focus being largely on the ‘Gen-Z traveller’, the product was actually carefully designed for all generations as it allowed guests to select their own scene settings to reflect their mood or preferred environment. Following research into understanding the DNA of the hotel guestroom experience, technology had to be seamlessly blended in to the design scheme.

The discussion soon veered towards Covid-19 and specifically the pandemic’s impact on future design and hospitality. Rob Steul, with more than 20 years’ experience in architecture and design, used the upcoming luxury hotel in Leicester Square, The Londoner, as a prime example of how the industry’s already high standards put hospitality design in good stead for when hospitality and travel returns in the post-pandemic world. “Long before Covid-19, we had already considered elements such as air flow,” he explained. Burglund agreed while also questioning the short-term purposes of event spaces and questioned how these could be utilised and used during what has no-doubt been a testing time for hospitality worldwide.

Here’s a highlights video of the panel discussion, which includes Product Watch pitches from Hamilton Litestat, Chelsom, PENT Fitness, Blueair and Yeames Hospitality.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (‘Sustainability, beneath the surface’; ‘Safe & sound hotel design’ and ‘A new era of wellness’) will be available on-demand shortly.

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a fourth edition on May 11, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused Product Watch pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Galvin at Windows_Hilton Park Lane

Bring your vision to life and make it sustainable

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bring your vision to life and make it sustainable

Leaflike is on a quest to help customers with their sustainability agenda, switching to recycled planters, introducing hydroculture planting, flower rejuvenation programmes and green walls…

Galvin at Windows_Hilton Park Lane

Leaflike saw an increasing trend for sustainability within the Christmas packages last year, from a decorative tree made with recycled glass bottles at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock to beautiful wooden wreaths for Galvin at Windows, Hilton Park Lane.

Leaflike considers sustainability in every project delivered for customers, recognising that venues want to know where their products are from and that its ok to have them recycled and upcycled if it means they are more sustainable.

One customer has recently gone for all sustainability options including having herbs as table centre pieces and then using them in the kitchen for cooking thereafter. Using recycled plant pots made from either coconut shells or PCs, phones and microwaves. Plus, hydroculture planting using no soil or compost and a flower rejuvenation programme. These initiatives ultimately make them award winning and truly amazing with their global commitment to respect and preserve the planet.

In addition, we are launching a 40 by 40 initiative. Leaflike will plant 40 trees a year which in turn will provide 40 tonnes of carbon reduction over the next 40 years. We will be doing this through the national trust. You can track the company’s progress on its website.

The Waldorf Hilton has been a customer for more than five years and they recently adopted sustainable and recycled products in their venue including the famous Palm Court.

Guy Hilton, General Manager, The Waldorf Hilton explains how the brand has helped connect interior design with the outside world. “I have been working with Leaflike for five years at this venue and previous Hilton hotels as well,” he explains. “The key thing here was to establish the historical planting that takes it back to the glory days of 1908 when there was Tea Dance The room Palm Court, famous for its Tea Dance, we have worked hard with the team at Leaflike to bring palms back into the Palm Court! Across the hotel the plants and planting are in keeping with the style of the hotel.”

‘In these difficult times we have worked closely with Leaflike to consider interior planting that also covers the hygiene needs and distribution of hand sanitiser.’

Join Leaflike in its next webinar

Hear how Leaflike helps customers transform any space into something beautiful and place sustainable solutions in their venues. Visit www.leaflike.co.uk/cpd.

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

Main image credit: Leaflike/Hilton Park Lane

A textured grey surface from Granorte

Celebrating imperfections in design with Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Celebrating imperfections in design with Granorte

With the blend of Japanese and Scandinavian interior styling making itself felt in the Japandi trend, Granorte’s Wabi cork wall covering executes the look to perfection…

A textured grey surface from Granorte

Bringing the warmth and calming influence of natural finishes in elegant fashion to walls, Wabi is a wall tile from Granorte, made entirely of recycled natural cork, leftover from wine stopper production. Bringing new meaning to walls in private residences and commercial locations alike, Wabi takes influence from wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy of appreciating the beauty that can be found in the imperfect creations of nature.

The cork wall tile’s elegant aesthetic in a palette of 14 tones, ranging from peaceful hues of Ice and Snow through to hues of rich forest green in Leafs and deep ocean blue in River. Each colour is available in a texture from a selection of four. Whether the uneven and rough nature of Virgin cork, the virgin cork and shaves of Burl, pressed wine bottle corks in Corky or the linear effect of unused bark in Linea, it’s a powerful and fascinating look. Each design is available in 900mm x 300mm tiles treated using CORKGUARD, an extra-matt water-based finish that seals and protects to ensure lasting natural beauty.

Paulo Rocha, Granorte, says; “We’re really interested in finding ways to explore cork’s creativity. We believe cork is an interior finish that is more relevant today than it has ever been, but we also want to demonstrate that it can be applied in interesting and exciting ways that can lift interiors out of the usual. Cork really highlights that choosing natural and sustainable materials doesn’t have to be limiting in terms of creativity.”

Since the 1970s, the family-run Granorte been making cork products in its Portuguese factory, creating everything from classic floor tiles through to furniture, fabrics and even baths and sinks. Continual investment in the latest technology, including a seven-axis robot, has made sure that Granorte is at the fore of innovative uses for the material.

As we continue to look to create interiors that deliver a sense of comfort and assurance, cork’s natural origins, natural aesthetic, comfort, excellent acoustics and thermal insulation make it the perfect material.

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

Main image credit: Granorte

New architectural wrap patterns now available from William Smith

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New architectural wrap patterns now available from William Smith

William Smith Group leads the way in architectural wrap solutions with 500 3M DI-NOC patterns now in stock…

A major investment in 3M DI-NOC stock now places a choice of 500 patterns (half the entire 1000 pattern collection) at the fingertips of William Smith Architextural division’s customers.

All stock is available off the shelf, and by the metre, giving installers the advantage of more choice for their clients, readily available samples, and shorter lead times.

The new DI-NOC finishes available include an even greater choice in wood, colours, metallic, stone, and fabric, as well as 3M’s recently launched suede collection. More specialist finishes include abrasion resistant, matt, and exterior, to meet even more design requirements to create innovative solutions.

Since you’re here, why not read our exclusive roundtable on sustainability in surface design?

The investment of almost £300,000 in the addition of 350 patterns is a clear demonstration of the William Smith’s commitment to the UK market and to further enhancing support for its installers.

“This investment in additional stock represents our dedication to supporting our installers more than ever,” explains Architextural Marketing Manager, Lindsay Appleton. “Stock availability means we can offer greater access to material by the metre, and help our customers to win more projects by enabling them to offer sampling and prototypes to their customers.”

An open catalogue

Image credit: William Smith

Williams Smith Group 1832 Head of Marketing, Chris Bradley comments: “Our Architextural Division was created to drive awareness with architects, designers and specifiers about the concept of architectural wrapping as an alternative surface in redesigns. Recognition of the sustainability and cost saving benefits of wrapping existing fixtures and fittings, instead of replacing them, is growing in momentum in the UK and we are seeing rapid growth in demand for these products.”

“Architextural is leading the market, and is now the largest UK stockist of architectural films, from the two leading brands, 3M DI-NOC and Cover Styl,” concludes Chris Bradley.

Working in partnership with 3M, William Smith is the lead supplier of DI-NOC stock in the UK. To view the full 3M DI-NOC stock range or request samples visit the William Smith Group or Architextural websites. To request the new Architextural brochure email lindsay@williamsmith.co.uk. To book a training course and become part of the growing installation network, click here.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: William Smith Group

A modern bed with black lighting

Hypnos awarded carbon-neutral certification

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos awarded carbon-neutral certification

Bed manufacturer Hypnos has been awarded The Planet Mark – Carbon Neutral Certification for its decade-long commitment to carbon-neutral production…

A modern bed with black lighting

Royal warrant holder and leading sustainable sleep brand, Hypnos, has announced that its decade-long commitment to carbon neutrality and environmentally-friendly product design has been recognised with a prestigious The Planet Mark – Carbon Neutral Certification.

Having been carbon-neutral for over a decade and offset more than 9,550 tonnes of carbon along the way, Hypnos has demonstrated its pioneering and long-running environmental credentials.

The ethical company was the first bed manufacturer in the world to have become carbon neutral. Indeed, Hypnos has championed the importance of sustainability and carbon reduction across the bed industry throughout the last decade and is pleased to see a number of other bed brands starting to take their first steps into becoming carbon neutral.

The Planet Mark is committed to the United Nations Decade of Action, which covers everything from sustainable living to climate change and creating a circular economy. The Planet Mark is a highly distinguished sustainability certification for businesses in the UK and internationally, recognising continuous improvements within a company across a wide range of areas including building strong employee engagement to create a sustainable culture.

This certification comes shortly after the family-owned British bedmaker announced it had developed an innovative new recyclable, eco-friendly and carbon neutral packaging solution. Made from sugarcane, a renewable and carbon dioxide depleting resource, this new solution will be used for their beds and mattresses across its retail and contract factories, encouraging all bedmakers to adopt this technology to help eliminate plastic waste.

When it comes to carbon reduction and tackling its footprint, Hypnos has implemented a range of robust measures. This focuses on using renewable natural resources and making sure that all its product designs and ethical bed production are focused on low-carbon solutions. Its carbon offsetting and social responsibility programmes include working in the community with local schools and conservation groups, planting trees to sequester carbon and build biodiversity environments.

Richard Naylor, Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Beds, believes the time is right to receive such a nod to the brand’s eco-friendly DNA. “Our commitment to sustainable sleep is something which affects every single corner of our business,” he said in a statement. “From our sustainability-led culture, products and operations to working with fully traceable materials and certified farmers and growers in our supply chain, right through to how we actually package our finished products, we’re sustainable in every part of our business and we aim to help set the sustainability standards for the bed industry.

“We’re delighted to be able to add The Planet Mark to our list of credentials which we have built throughout our long journey to sustainable sleep. We’ve led the way when it comes to environmentally-friendly bed making for well over a decade and are excited about everything we have planned over the next decade as well.”

Steve Malkin, CEO and founder of The Planet Mark, adds: “Understanding and reducing the impact that your business has on the planet is absolutely essential and we know that Hypnos has been unrelenting in its pursuit of truly sustainable beds, delivering outstanding products for both its customers and the planet.

“We’re pleased to see such a strong commitment to the environment and to social responsibility from a well-known and respected British brand and it’s great to work together to achieve common environmental goals.”

For more than a decade Hypnos has ensured sustainability infiltrates every area of its business. For that reason, Hypnos’ products are made with 100 per cent natural and sustainable fibres, meaning they’re fully recyclable and don’t end up at landfill sites at the end of their lifetime. In addition, all Hypnos mattresses are free of harmful and allergy-related chemicals – with no use of any synthetic, chemical-based foams or memory foams.

Hypnos is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hypnos

Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Stylish sustainability in wellness

For our next magic trick – AKA virtual roundtable – we’ve invited industry experts to take on the topic of stylish sustainability in wellness. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion that is sponsored by GROHE, a bathroom brand that has put sustainability at the core of each and every decision for more than 20 years…

For years now, we have been scratching away at the surface of sustainability, persuading our clients to allow us to make conscious decisions to make as least impact on the environment as humanly possible when designing tomorrows hotels.

In this quest, Hotel Designs has exposed greenwashing and championed brands and designers who are challenging conventional thought processes in order to design better spaces, for the climate and the people they shelter.

One brand that is clearly and unapologetically leading the way towards a more sustainable future is GROHE. Having just been named one of the 50 sustainability & climate leaders and becoming a double winner at the German Sustainability Awards, there is no brand that is more qualified to help us put this often misunderstood topic under the editorial spotlight. And in order to make this conversation a multi-layered discussion between all segments of the hotel design community, we’ve also asked a handful of leading designers and architects to participate in this virtual roundtable, which is entitled: stylish sustainability in wellness.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: Patrick, before we start, why is GROHE able to hold these credentials?

Patrick Speck: Sustainability has been part of our core DNA for more than 20 years now – we have a 360-degree approach to sustainability that incorporates all parts of the process, from product design to packaging but also encompasses our suppliers, customers and our social responsibility alike.

At GROHE, we are quite fortunate to have sustainability as one of our brand pillars, and it was already there when I joined the brand more than 16 years ago. Our ‘GROHE goes ZERO’ initiative allowed us to became the first leading sanitary ware brand to achieve carbon-neutral production last April. This was a huge milestone for us. We also have a big fight against single-use plastics. Unnecessary packaging within packaging is not acceptable.

This DNA, especially with our purposefully driven younger generation who join our team, allows us to generate new and innovative ideas. We are always considering how we can be more sustainable.

Hamish Kilburn: In the last five – 10 years, what have you learned about manufacturing energy-saving products that reduce water consumption?

PS: One thing that we learned is that we cannot compromise performance when becoming more sustainable. This puts big pressure on how we design and engineer our products. We need to ensure that everything we do is going to save water and at the same time perform exceptionally well.

The other learning, I would say, is giving the consumer options. Take hand showers for example. We heard that, while there was a desire for energy-saving products, there were also consumers who were demanding a product that gave them a luxurious full spray. Our EcoJoy technology fulfils this need by giving a voluminous experience whilst using up to 50 per cent less water.

Also, behind the scenes, we worked on engineering ways that would reduce water consumption without impacting the performance of the product.

A modern and minimalist bathroom featuring GROHE products

Image credit: GROHE

Karl Lennon: When it comes to projects its very important that we support architects and designers with sustainable solutions. When recommending a product for a project we try, where possible, to provide solutions that are inherently water efficient so that it doesn’t always have to be an additional consideration for the designer. We know that a lot of the major hotel brands have these requirements in their brand standards and so we consider this very early in the specification process.

HK: This pre-existing idea that sustainable products don’t perform as well is really interesting. Is this still the case today?

Ariane Steinbeck: Not only did it impact the quality but it also had a price tag attached to it. So, in the beginning anything eco was more expensive. And then the brands, such as GROHE with the air infusion built-in, started to, as Karl said, standardise sustainability within products. You know their products are good and you don’t have to think about it because the quality is there. As specifiers, that’s what we are looking for!

Image of modern and clean looking bathroom

Image credit: GROHE

Emma King: The sustainable aspects should not impact the guest experience, so there has to be a balance.

HK: Despite brands using technology to ensure that quality is not sacrificed in eco-products, I get the feeling it’s still a challenge pitching these options to clients. What are your thoughts on this?

Sarah Murphy: That’s definitely an issue. In our design meetings, it’s always challenging to pitch a product that has the qualities we are looking for but is more expensive. However, it comes from the top down. If a brand is inherently sustainable, then we find ourselves as designers not really having to pitch too hard because the product, and the brand’s credentials speak volumes.

Equally, consumers are so aware and are seeking sustainable options. We are finding that because of this, it becomes an upsell to pitch a sustainable product that performs just as well.

Neil Andrew: I’m quite surprised that it’s not more standard already to add the air into the water. To echo what Sarah was saying, the next generation of consumers are going to be more aware of sustainable products. Eventually, I would like to think this would become the norm. Ultimately, if this was standardised then the cost would come right down.

SM: We sometimes have CPD sessions, where if people talk about sustainability it’s all just talk. But with GROHE you can really see that sustainability runs through the brand’s DNA.

HK: Constantina, you once told me that you have yet to receive a brief where the client wants a fully sustainable hotel. Has that changed?

Constantina Tsoutsikou: I’m glad to say that is no longer the case. We are working now on a project that has a strong focus for sustainability. What has changed in recent years is that when we are specifying bathroom products we will ask if there is a water-saving element because we might choose something from an aesthetic perspective but we do want to also ensure that it is eco-friendly.

“I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.” – Constantina Tsoutikou, Founder, Studio LOST

The demand for sustainable options has created a new requirement from our side. I have to say that clients, especially in the boutique scene, do want us to specify products that will save them money in the long term. I’m glad that we are all becoming a lot more aware, and that isn’t just when looking at a product and its performance, but also when considering how it is packaged. I would say that you can tell if a company is passionate about sustainability on the packaging.

PS: The amount of waste you generate from one delivery is crazy. I would say we have reacted to this with common sense and a distinct awareness.

NA: There is a perception of luxury through packaging – like a product wrapped in velvet, for example – and I am sure a lot of people still buy into that. What were designers’ reactions to when you changed packaging at GROHE?

KL: It’s an interesting point. We had a radical strategy change on how we supply customers. To be honest, every customer has a different requirement as to what they want from us. For pod and prefabricated projects, where exactly the same number of fittings and products need to be supplied in each room, we have explored bulk delivery. Rather than putting a box in a box, we can reduce packaging by supplying all of the same products in one box. In all honestly, there is really strong argument to introduce this in other projects.

AS: When the general contractor needs to certify his/her waste, there’s definitely a call for different types of packaging.

Luxe bathroom with huge bath

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Does a sustainable bathroom product limit your creative options?

CT: There are so many options, which are increasing by the day that we probably wouldn’t have a few years ago. I don’t think having sustainability in the background or forefront limits your creative options.

SM: When we ask brands to come in for CPDs, we do ask for them to hone in quite specifically on sustainability just so that we can take something away to go to the client with.

Since you’re here, Hotel Designs is hosting GROHE’s latest CPD module on hygiene on February 9. Click here to participate.

SM: Also, our past projects, like for example Zuri Zanzibar which was the first hotel globally to be awarded EarthCheck’s Gold certification, really help clients see what’s achievable. Okay, that was a very ambitious project, but when broken down everyone can learn from sustainable design and initiatives.

“Having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you.” – Neil Andrew, Director of Hospitality, Perkin&Wills.

NA: I wouldn’t say limit, but having a sustainability mind set certainly directs you. Take plating, for example, like gold and copper, when you come to recycle it becomes more difficult rather than if it was a solid brass or brushed stainless steel. On some of our projects, we are trying to steer clients in that direction. The one thing about plating and powder coating is that with more intense cleaning that the coating will wear off. In terms of shape and form, perhaps not but finishing there is a consideration there.

Also, I would like to see a more sustainable way of plating when it comes to disassembly.

KL: Our PVD quality finishing is more resilient and scratch resident than your standard chrome finish. Therefore, the longevity of the product is much higher. And of course, like you say, there are different processes. How the product is broken down is an interesting point that we can certainly look into.

PS: The way we coat and plate or products is always with longevity in mind which is also very relevant in terms of their positive sustainability impact. We do believe that we are ahead of the curve, and we are constantly looking to see which way the industry is going to establish more innovate methods in this area of product design that ultimately creates new possibilities for bathroom design.

HK: What major pitfalls should designers avoid when trying to implement sustainable design in wellness areas?

NA: My approach to design is to present a solution. I’m of the more minimalist school of thought. The most sustainable interior space is not to have any finishes whatsoever. Using too many finishes and interiors looking cluttered is a pitfall to avoid.

SM: We have had quite a few issues with powder-coated black finish because we have learned that it doesn’t last very long. This is solely down to how many times it is used and how it is used.

“There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.” – Ariane Steinbeck, Managing Director, RPW Design.

GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Hygiene is no-doubt an integral part of design. How will new demands born from the pandemic impact sustainability?  

CT: Usually, in public areas of hotels we will have touchless taps, but not so much in the guestroom until now but it could go that way.

AS: I’m always a bit hesitant with touchless taps. I always have to think about what happens to the project once we leave. There is nothing more frustrating than to specify a product that has a tendency to malfunction. Whenever we specify something we are making a commitment to our client. For us to be able to rely on a brand makes the specification much easier. There’s so much more to sustainability, it’s also about longevity and reliability.

NA: These conversations have certainly been amplified recently. We now get asked more about hygiene and the cleaning down of rooms a lot much more than the sustainability angle. I really like the taps that are operated through a foot pedal – not specifically in luxury hotels but it’s another option.

EK: Hygiene does not impact sustainable bathroom design unless the products can only be cleaned with environmentally harmful substances. This situation we are in at the moment might be a drive for eco-friendly cleaning products and bathroom elements being designed so they can be cleaned properly with these.

KL: When hygiene is mentioned, everyone’s first thought is ‘touchless’, but it is also just as much about how that product is looked after. At the design stage an important consideration is that the products we make are easy to maintain. In addition to this, whether it be a standard chrome finish or even our ceramics, most products will have intrinsic antimicrobial qualities that do not promote and can even destroy bad bacteria growth. For instance, with our Sensia Toilet we even have a technology called Plasmacluster. It works by releasing positive and negative ions, which make the bacteria harmless upon contact. So, there are more elements than just touchless that we are really trying to communicate at the moment.

A modern bathroom featuring the GROHE Sensia Arena toilet

Image credit: GROHE

HK: Do sustainable initiatives suffer in Value Engineering processes?

AS: The dreaded word ‘Value Engineering’. It’s hard to say to be honest. If somebody wants to save money, you can always find something cheaper but then it’s up to the client in order to maintain those products.

CT: Whatever project, there is always an element of reviewing cost. More often than not it is a finish that is taken out in the VE process. These things are usually pre-set before we have come on board and it’s always allocated the same. Perhaps this might change in the future as other factors, such as sustainability, become more of a focus.

NA: I always think it’s wise to keep close to the cost consultant. I will look at the large number and see where the money is being spent. However, there are unavoidable budget cuts.


HK: What more can we do to operate in a more sustainable wellness arena?

PS: From the product side, in our research and development we are looking at ways to further improve longevity and relevance. Which means technology for technology’s sake is no longer appropriate. Instead we are looking for project or user-centric. For this, our in-house design team is integral.

Also, the technology we are using, such as our 3D printing techniques, is allowing us to locally be more experiential and proactive in our quest to design and manufacture quality products for the hospitality industry. And at the same time, it’s helping the environment: In comparison to a brass cast body, you use less energy and only as much material as you need.

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Since you’re here…

More than 40,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on Hotel Designs. Our mission is to define the point on international hotel design, and we are doing that by serving relevant news stories and engaging features. To keep up to date on the hottest stories that are emerging, you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as receiving a weekly round-up of the top stories, you will also access our bi-monthly HD Edit –staying ahead of the curve has never been so easy!

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residential moss wall

Product watch: Leaflike has a green wall message of positivity

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Leaflike has a green wall message of positivity

With the demand for sustainable surfaces being at an all-time high, it’s an exciting time for Leaflike, which has been successful in providing planting solutions to hospitality venues for more than 20 years…

residential moss wall

Working with the likes of Savoy, Hilton Park Lane, London EDITION, Shangri-La Hotel and The View from the Shard, Leaflike transforms venues and provides a new arrival experience.

Providing design-led solutions, Leaflike remains on trend with green walls including sustainable artificial, moss and living, plus wall art, flower walls and ceilings, as well as 3D murals. Following the sustainability agenda and never compromising on quality, the brand delivers bespoke solutions including a free visualisation service.

Image of green wall outside of 54 Queens Gate

Image credit: Leaflike

You can also build your bespoke green wall with a theme, for example, orchids, tropical or fern based. Make it special to you with your preferred colour, plant or neon signage as a plugin feature with your logo, message or welcome sign.

Leaflike’s artificial green wall solutions are a sustainable option, UV protected and FR rated for ultimate safety of guests and longevity of the wall in direct sunlight or enduring outside conditions.

A stunning design-led moss wall was recently installed by Leaflike at a residential country mansion in Surrey. The feature wall was carefully hand crafted by our florists using natural moss and had a special message using calligraphy style text in ‘stand out’ lime green moss. This was very important to the client, it translates to ‘Be positive about what you want and it will be!’

For more than 20 years, Leaflike have helped customers to transform their spaces into something beautiful and more recently providing cost-effective packages during challenging times and adapting to new market solutions for Covid-19. Additional services include interior and exterior planting, Christmas packages and floristry.

Plants hanging from ceiling

Image credit: Leaflike

Rahul Sharma, Managing Director, The Regency Club, London, believes that Leaflike helped to transform his venue’s atmosphere. ‘”We felt the venue lacked warmth and character, so we brought in Leaflike to help us overcome this and ensure it was attractive on Instagram as well,” he said. “Ultimately what you have produced for us is our vision, you understood exactly what we wanted.

“There isn’t more we could have asked for, the service provided throughout was fantastic, the product is of premium quality and it adds to the look and feel of the whole place.”

Image credit: Leaflike

Leaflike will be hosting a series of CPD modules for both architects and designers alike. Hear why green walls are different and how Leaflike helped customers transform their space into something beautiful, placing green walls in their venues.

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

Main image credit: Leaflike

The complete eco furniture collection by ADRENALINA

ADRENALINA launches new eco furniture collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ADRENALINA launches new eco furniture collection

ADRENALINA presents LEO ‘The Green Warrior’, a beautifully designed eco furniture collection in collaboration with Russian designer Daria Zinovatnaya…

The complete eco furniture collection by ADRENALINA

Daria Zinovatnaya’s design signature is the stark and bare relationships between colour and geometry. This is brought beautifully into the world of soft furnishing with the refined finishes and the impeccable workmanship that is the hallmark of the ADRENALINA brand.‎

ADRENALINA is an Italian label of iconic sofas, armchairs and modular systems. Sustainability and the environment have been at the heart of what they do for many years. The notion of ‘eco-friendly’ and the activity of ‘sofa manufacturing’ would appear to be contradictory, considering that much of the padding used in sofas and armchairs is not recyclable.

The staff at ADRENALINA have clear in their minds that not being able to recycle paddings for sofas and armchairs should not be used as an excuse not to try to do your part for the plant.

So, the company started with banning plastic bottles and cups. Greta Thumberg’s quotes were hung from the walls. A sign was placed at the front of the building to remind drivers to turn off their engines when not moving.

Then it was the time for wooden frames. The wooden frames used in ADRENALINA’s iconic designs are FSC and Carb2 certified. FSC means that the wood is harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially and environmentally conscious, and economically viable. Carb2 indicates that the process used aims to reduce formaldehyde emissions, protecting the public from airborne toxic contaminants.

All ADRENALINA styles are made so that they can be easily disassembled and broken down and recycled where appropriate or conveyed to specific waste dumps at the end of their life cycle.

Great attention is also given to the use and subsequent disposal of iron and metal parts of each product. Remelting metals limits the opening and exploitation of new mines, reducing CO2 emissions.

The ADRENALINA design team keep a keen eye on all new eco-labelled or sustainable materials launched into the market. If suitable, these are picked up and tried in prototypes. These have included fabrics made from natural fibers and also fabrics made from recycled fibers. It has also included natural dyes and natural coatings (rather than chemical finishing). There is an ever-present drive to find new and better eco-friendly components to add to the ADRENALINA offering.

“This is a 100 per cent recycled, polyester fabric made from the plastic waste that pollutes beaches and oceans.”

ADRENALINA has never been afraid to take the unconventional path. One eco step after another, the new LEO line has now been launched. The new GREEN LEO is upholstered with Oceanic by Camira Fabrics. This is a 100 per cent recycled, polyester fabric made from the plastic waste that pollutes beaches and oceans. This fabric is made using SEAQUAL yarn.  Each yard of this quality contains the equivalent of 26 plastic bottles recovered from those had been littering our oceans. The resultant fabric is resistant to wear and tear. It is available in a palette of soft and delicate pastel colours.

Some might the say that the new line LEO “The Green Warrior” is just a drop in the ocean. We see it as enriching the world through beautiful design while helping to clean our acts and our Oceans, 26 plastic bottles at the time.

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

Main image credit: ADRENALINA

01_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

Efficient design epitomised inside The Casa/Studio Passive House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Efficient design epitomised inside The Casa/Studio Passive House

The award-winning design inside Casa/Studio Passive House is the brainchild of Margherita Potente and Stefano Piraccini. The project is regarded as the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

01_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

The Casa/Studio Passive House has taken residential design and technology into a new era – and an international jury has agreed to award the design studio behind this masterpiece, Piraccini + Potente Sustainable Architecture, with a The Plan Award 2020 in the category “Home Efficiency & Technology”.

06_Casa Studio_Passivhouse_© Daniele Domenicali

Image credit: Daniele Domenicali

“Passive House” is the name given to buildings that significantly reduce ventilation-induced heat losses and do not require a conventional heating system. Energy-efficient buildings of this type are certified by the Passivhaus Institute Darmstadt – an internationally renowned institute for the research and development of building concepts, building components and planning tools. Certification is awarded when specific requirements regarding architecture, technology and ecology are satisfied.

The project demonstrates that the energy performance of a Passive House can be achieved not only in new, insulated buildings, but also in conversions and renovation projects. Using the Passive House guidelines, buildings in need of renovation are upgraded and made more energy-efficient and earthquake-proof.

The building features a mix of building elements – wood (laminated and XLAM), steel, reinforced concrete masonry, and armed concrete. Attention was paid to the natural properties of each material to ensure optimum interaction between them. This enabled the building’s construction costs to be kept at a market-compatible level without neglecting qualitative aspects.

Most of the heating needs are drawn from passive sources such as solar radiation and the heat given off by people and technical devices. The Casa/Studio Passive House is not connected to the gas network and simply has a mechanically controlled ventilation system, which enables clean and filtered air fed in from outside to be enriched with heat from the extracted used air. By foregoing any combustible energy sources, the building does not contribute any emissions to the atmosphere.

This extraordinary building includes, amongst other things, the Duravit lines ME by Starck, Starck 1, L- Cube, Happy D.2, Luv, and Sensowash® Slim. A highlight is the DuraSquare washbasin with metal console in Black Matt, which stands out with its clear, pared-down design. For Stefano Piraccini it is not just an architects’ studio, but also his home. The architect had the washbasin installed on the bedroom terrace so he can enjoy the view of the Savio river during his morning routine.

Duravit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Daniele Domenicali

Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: ‘sustainable does not mean natural’ in surface design

With ‘greenwashing’ still an all-too-common term in the global ‘sustainable’ hotel design and hospitality arena, we gather a cluster of designers and architects to attend a virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, to discuss sustainability solutions in surface design. Editor Hamish Kilburn leads the discussion… 

With rapid population growth, urbanisation and the ability to purchase goods at our fingertips, we in the western world have become overall a wasteful on-demand society that on the whole is unfortunately not sustainable in our thinking.

More specifically in hospitality, while initiatives such as putting a curb on single-use plastics have been celebrated, ‘greenwashing’ has become a commonly used term in order to expose those whose veneer of a sustainable establishment is actually doing more harm than good. In order to grasp sustainability’s role in the future of hotel design, and to put forward viable alternatives, we must look beyond the semi-sustainable methods of yesterday and instead research consciously with aim to find new methods that are not just kinder to the environment, but will also enhance local relationships and improve aesthetic qualities.

As ever, it falls upon the design community to put forward innovative methods that make sense for the future projects that will emerge on the international hotel design scene. In this exclusive virtual roundtable, sponsored by Architextural, we handpicked designers and architects in order to question sustainability in surface design, and learned that ‘sustainable does not always mean natural’.

On the panel:

Before we delve into materials and far-fetched, eco-driven initiatives in surface design, in order to establish misconceptions, we should look at architectural wrapping has become increasingly popular in recent years. On the surface of the debate, using PVC is contentious and, despite it being the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, it is not particularly sustainable. However, used in the right way, surface manufacturer Architextural believes the process of wrapping can significantly help designers and their clients achieve a sustainable outcome when it comes to upcycling goods.

Hamish Kilburn: Lindsay, you’re the marketing manager for Architextural. Can you tell us a bit more about the brand’s sustainability credentials?

Lindsay Appleton: Architextural, is a new brand, part of William Smith Group, which was established back in 1832.  The concept of wrapping existing surfaces, instead of sending them to landfill, is contributing to a more sustainable future. In 2021, we have more than 1,000 patterns on the shelf, so as well as offering an environmentally friendly process, we also have a lot of variety in our ranges to suit most design applications in so many sectors – our products are incredibly versatile.

HK: Jack, you work for 3M, which manufactures Architextural’s product. Can you tell us more about this process?

Although the product is PVC it’s optimised to withstand wear and tear, UV, impact and it’s exceptionally conformable. Therefore, it can prolong the lifespan of products and eradicate the need for excess waste. 3M Architectural Finishes range is designed to meet aesthetic demand, while delivering functional benefits which can improve the sustainability of projects.

HK: What makes this process sustainable?

LA: The concept of wrapping using a PVC product, makes it a durable refurbishment solution. Rather than ripping out existing fixtures and fittings to be sent to landfill, upcycling what’s already there qualifies for all the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits around reusing existing furniture and reusing existing materials. The process is therefore much more sustainable, and there is less disruptive over having a traditional refurbishment. By upcycling what was already there, it is a sustainable way to reduce cost.

image of sustainable wooden headboard in bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

“Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.” – Harriet Forde, Founder, Hariet Forde Design

HK: What is driving the rise in upcycling surfaces – is this ‘trend’ purely linked to sustainability?

Harriet Forde: I think we are trying to address the natural desire of humans to evolve and change. We are always looking forward to the next thing that is happening. We are a visual animal and looking forward to see what is trending. However, we cannot expect revolutionise all the time. We have to be able to manage that in a way that is sustainable. Anything that allows you to reinvent without throwing out has got to be a good thing.

Una Barac: When I started in the industry some two decades ago, Wenge was a popular veneer. We, as designers, allowing for it to become so popular came very close to exterminating that entire species of a tree. This is why we will now use blackened oak as an alternative– so we will find sustainably sourced oak and we will treat to achieve that dark effect without having to travel the world to find exotic species of wood, cutting it down and flying it half way across the globe.

So, for me, there are sustainable ways to being true and authentic – and we are learning more all the time. We should be designing with location in mind.

HK: Before the pandemic, I believe clients were really starting to understand the value of sustainably sourced goods beyond them just being eco-friendly. How this attitude changed since the pandemic with hygiene creeping up on the agenda?

Ben Webb: It’s definitely come up in conversations, but it isn’t the driving factor behind us putting these spaces together. Clients, and in fact people in general, are so much more aware now than they were five years ago when it was just used to sound good. The awareness now – and the fact that it is written in a lot of these briefs from day one – is very important. You need to talk about it from the beginning of a project rather than at the end.

“The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist.” – Ben Webb, Co-Founder, 3 Stories.

It doesn’t have to be some crazy new material, but it could just be the fact that you reuse the furniture. The greenest, most sustainable products are the ones that already exist. Let’s not forget that there are a lot of products and materials that already exist. In the past, we have had that shift with warehouse-like interiors, but actually the larger discussion point is the products that have been produced and we could actually reuse them. Wrapping these products, for certain brands, is extremely important.

Hygiene is coming up in conversation but our lead times are around two years – sometime longer. Therefore, there is a bigger picture and we always have to look ahead.

HF: As a designer, you should set the parameter right at the beginning of the project with how much your intention is to be sustainable, because it ultimately impacts the budget, and clients often see you reusing as a way to save money.

Geoff Hull: A lot of reused materials such as plastics can achieve ergonomic and geometric forms in a slender and elegant way. Polymer products can also carry other non-porous and hygiene friendly surfaces particularly relevant in our current Covid conscious World.

Henry Reeve: One of the ways we try to be sustainable is to ensure that our designs stand the test of time, so that we are not ripping stuff out after a couple of year, because then by definition you are not creating waste.

“In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

We have introduced some interesting initiatives in some of our hotels. In the QO Hotel Amsterdam, for example, all the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Plastic is obviously a very durable material so this works perfectly. Also, in our Voco hotels, all the duvets are made from recycled bottles – and we have received really positive feedback from our guests regarding how comfortable they are.

One of the initiatives with furniture, is when they come to end of life with the hotel, but still in good conditions, we have donated our FF&E to housing projects and youth facilities.

When it comes to wrapping, we did implement this with the case goods inside some of the meeting rooms in InterContinental Park Lane. This was a time-saving a cost-effective process that really worked.

HK: And Henry, how do you sensitively communicate these initiatives this to guests?

HR: You have to be careful when shouting about renewables. There’s information there should the guests want to read more.

“We have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

Jeremy Grove: The way in which we try to work is that we see the problem being more of a design problem and not a material one. We need to understand what happens afterwards. Wrapping and giving a product a new lease of life. A product is only desirable when we are using it and once we throw it away it is then no desirable at all. So, we have to, if we are creating new products, ensure they don’t end up in landfill 10, 20 even 100 years down the line.

The Fox & Goose is a good example, because it was designed to be dissembled, using materials that could be taken back to source and regenerated into a better quality.

For us, it’s about doing what’s sustainable and what makes good business sense. It’s really important for us to work with clients who don’t always share our ethos so that we can teach them as the project develops. Working with owners, operators and developers, if we can help to change their mindset on sustainable even by just a little bit then we are contributing to our industry as a whole thinking more consciously.

Image caption: The sustainable Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

Image caption: The Fox & Goose, designed by Sibley Grove, was created to be dissembled | Image credit: Fox & Goose

“We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site.” – Maria Gutierrez, Project Architect at Holland Harvey Architects.

Maria Gutierrez: I find that we also develop as designers when we are able to work on two projects under the same brand. We are currently working on designing the second Inhabit in London and we have taken so many learnings from the first, which was a fully sustainable hotel sheltered inside a Grade II listed building. We found a company that will pick up all the materials that we’re stripping on the site. All the marbles, all the tiles. When you recycle, and upcycle, them they become beautiful statements of sustainability. We are upcycling all these materials and repurposing them to be the worktops in the new hotel. Learning from the first hotel, we are able to go even further with the next project.

And then we get to the process of Value Engineering (VE), in which sustainable initiatives always suffer.

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

Image caption: Inhabit London is grade II listed, designed by Holland Harvey Architects, is a fully sustainable hotel that confronts the ideology that heritage buildings cannot shelter sustainable spaces. | Image credit: Inhabit Hotels

BW: A lot of VE comes down to longevity. It may be a sharp cost now, but if something stands the test of time then its value increases.

 “I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in.” – Henry Reeve, Head of Interior Design, IHG (Kimpton/Hotel Indigo).

HK: What has caused the rise in demand for exposed concrete surfaces?

GH: We have had a few projects including Ace Hotel and Village Hotels where concrete was seen as an honest and robust material. Techniques with formwork and ingredients has enabled a menu of different textures, finishes and colours for new build projects (where re used concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate) or existing retained superstructure can also add character and historic reference to any project.

HK: How can using upcycled materials in surfaces add new layers to a design of a hotel?

HR: There’s definitely interesting materials that have caught our eye, especially around recycled plastic. Technology has moved on leaps and bounds and I have recently seen recycled terrazzo with chunks of plastic in. Chunks of marble and/or wood in a terrazzo material looks stunning and create a very luxurious feel. I am expecting to see more of that in the future.

“Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling.” – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director of Atellior

UB: Everyone seems to have a broader awareness. Even the largest brands can be very excited by ideas around upcycling and recycling. Here are a few examples. Park Plaza purchased an existing property which had almost 400 chairs that were made from cherry wood and upholstered with paisley patterns. We literally stripped them down with a local workshop that sanded the wood, painted each chair and then reupholstered them with a modern fabric.

Another example is a Hilton property in Bournemouth. The owner had procured antique furniture. In the spa, we decided to use one of these items – a desk – and we upcycled it which we then encased in glass because there were concerns with splinters. This piece of furniture became a beautiful focal point within the hotel.

BW: We have found that materials can have a dual purpose, when they have a very practical use but also very aesthetically pleasing.

“Just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable” – Jeremy Grove, founder, Sibley Grove.

HK: During R&D, what far-fetched materials have your teams discovered in new surfaces?

JG: For me, a lot of what we focus on is not really the far-fetched stuff at all! Our work we did with Selfridges is a great example, which allowed us to look at a material that is upcycled fishing nets and ropes.

However, just because it is natural does not mean it is sustainable. Take oak, for example. It takes between 75 – 150 years to mature. If we were using this in a shop fit-out intended to be used for just six months then it really isn’t sustainable at all. When designing, we as an industry sometimes neglect that a lot ecosystems rely on these natural materials. We have lost vast amounts of our oak and its solutions around these problems that I am interested in.

GH: Nothing ‘far-fetched’ comes to mind but quite often we get to use many recycled materials either through manufacturing and specification choices or through the use of existing on site materials. We have many listed building examples where we have dismantled (rather than demolish) parts of a building for re-use in its altered form (stone , timber flooring , mosaics , cornicework etc).

HF: Sometimes the product that does not have the best sustainably credentials, like PVC for example, can in fact be the most sustainable if it is long-lasting and by not changing it you are actually being more sustainable.

BW: We all have a collective responsibility and awareness when we are designing a new hotel because we are making a massive impact. As designers, we have to meet the brief and make these spaces look stunning, but we there is no harm to think a little deeper to try and design in a clever way to try and source the best, most sustainable products and materials.

MG: The world and customer is starting to become more interested in sustainability and is able to make informed decisions around travel, design and fashion. This widespread knowledge is making it easier for designers to discuss this with clients. It’s also a great opportunity for hotels to tell their narrative in a unique way.

UB: It’s about designers taking developers on a journey to set the brief and parameters and educating the client as you move forward.

HK: How has this movement change the way in which design and architecture is taught?

JG: In terms of how it’s taught academically, it has always been part of academia. The largest challenge is how we translate that into the commercial world and there is a disconnect between them. It takes real resolve to challenge some of these conventions. Design has to lead that journey.

GH: I believe the use of conventional and traditional materials and methods have developed and altered considerably over the last 25 years and there is a greater choice of materials which address form ,and  function as well as embrace recycling/upcycling credentials.

HF: At the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), we run an annual student challenge. When I was on the judging panel two years ago, the students were very focused on sustainability. In a student scenario, it is very idealislised and in the line of work there are a lot trip hazards along the way. CPD, though, is a really positive way to continually educate yourself in what is a continually evolving industry anyway.

Architextural is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

A cork surface from Granorte

Cork is turning Japanese with Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Cork is turning Japanese with Granorte

Harnessing the natural beauty of cork while bringing new meaning to its aesthetic, Tatami is a wall covering from Granorte, inspired by traditional Japanese tatami rice straw mats…

A cork surface from Granorte

Designed by Marco Carini for Granorte, Tatami creates its effect through contrasting 3D lines that can be installed in horizontal or vertical arrangements. Bringing subtle depth and texture, the cork tile blends the positive influence of nature with uncomplicated aesthetics to deliver a comfortable and calming wall finish.

Available in three colours that reference traditional colours of the mats in the deep brown of Tatami Midnight, wheat of Tatami Natural and sand-like Tatami Light; the wall tile is made entirely from lightweight agglomerated cork. Made from waste of the wine stopper industry, it retains all the properties of cork bark. Durable and with excellent acoustic and thermal insulative properties, agglomerated cork is a natural and renewable material highly suitable for interior finishes.

As the link between the wellbeing of occupants and the design of interiors is increasingly acknowledged and explored, cork is enjoying new relevance as an adaptable finish for walls and floors. Capturing the positive emotional influence of nature in a finish that offers superb levels of physical comfort and which can be shaped and coloured in many ways, cork could well be the interior finish of the future.

Tatami uses a water-based Corkguard finish that aids maintenance and enhances durability. The lightweight tiles are suitable for commercial use and supplied in a large 600 x 300mm format ready for glue-on installation.

Since you’re here, why not read about how sustainable surfaces can be a playful way to connect with nature?

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

Main image credit: Granorte

A Grohe logo

GROHE celebrates trio of international sustainability success

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE celebrates trio of international sustainability success

Bathroom brand GROHE has been named one of the “50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders” and has also become double winner at the German Sustainability Awards 2021 as sustainability continues to fuel the brand’s growth…

A Grohe logo

As part of its global initiative, bathroom brand GROHE is driving sustainability based on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. ”We at GROHE have a doer mentality: We don’t talk too much, we basically implement,” is how Thomas Fuhr, Leader Fittings LIXIL International and Co-CEO Grohe AG, describes how sustainability is implemented and translated into concrete action at GROHE in a documentary.

The short film is part of the global sustainability and climate protection initiative “50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders”, for which GROHE was elected along with 49 other international companies. As pioneers in their respective industries, the companies portrayed demonstrate how they are actively committed to a sustainable future grounded in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1 of the United Nations and, in doing so, inspire others to follow their example.

The GROHE brand also uses milestones from its 20-year commitment to sustainability to illustrate the innovative approaches to making sustainability the core of its business activities and how it views this transformation as an economic opportunity. GROHE’s considerable and effective contributions to sustainability along the entire value chain and its product offerings that allow consumers to live sustainably were also recently acknowledged by the jury of the German Sustainability Award, by honouring the brand in the transformation field “Resources” as well as its water system GROHE Blue in the category “Design”.

SAVE THE DATE: On February 9, Hotel Designs will join GROHE to host the brand’s next CPD session.

“Showing appreciation for our efforts by awarding us one of the most important sustainability prizes in Europe honours us to a high degree,” says Fuhr. “At GROHE, everything revolves around the most valuable and, simultaneously, scarcest resource: water. Acting in a way that saves resources and minimises our ecological footprint therefore has to be a matter of course for us.”

Behind the scenes of GROHE’s sustainability management

GROHE implements sustainability across all aspects of its business; it starts with product development, in which it combines an ecological approach with enjoyment through technologies such as EcoJoy. With GROHE’s EcoJoy technology, water consumption is reduced by up to half without any compromise on performance. Meanwhile, the development centre at the Hemer site with its 160 employees continuously researches and develops new innovations and approaches in order to create even more environmentally friendly products and solutions in the future. This will enable consumers to make their everyday lives more sustainable as easily as possible. However, the focus is not only on the use of water and energy-saving products as GROHE’s manufacturing processes are also optimised with sustainability in mind too.

Since April 2020, GROHE has been one of the first leading manufacturers in the sanitary industry to produce CO2-neutral products. With recycling rates of more than 90%, the brand is approaching a circular economy. Its latest initiatives such as “Less Plastic” particularly contribute to the conservation of resources and an avoidance of waste. As many as 23.5 million plastic packaging materials have already been saved as part of this initiative – a first milestone on the way to the goal of ultimately banning all plastic materials from product packaging by March 2021. The fight against the global problem of plastic waste is also complemented by GROHE Blue. The water system, which won the German Sustainability Award Design 2021 in the category “Icons”, offers chilled, filtered and, if desired, carbonated water straight from the kitchen tap – making plastic bottles redundant.

“Even though we have achieved a great deal in recent years, we are aware that we must continue to strengthen our commitment in order to shape the future of water in a sustainable manner,” adds Thomas Fuhr. “For us, sustainability is a continuous journey that we must continue with courage. I am proud that we are doing this as a team and that each individual at GROHE is making their contribution. Only like this can we pave the way to a sustainable economy, meet global challenges and improve people’s quality of life.”

GROHE is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: GROHE

A collage of interior design shots inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Case study: designing the bathrooms in the UK’s ‘most sustainable hotel’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: designing the bathrooms in the UK’s ‘most sustainable hotel’

Award-winning sustainable hotel, The Bull Inn, Totnes, which Hotel Designs reviewed recently, specified Bette shower trays and baths…

The Times and The Sunday Times’ Eco Hotel of the Year 2020, The Bull Inn, Totnes, selected Bette to provide shower trays and baths that fit with its focus on sustainability.

A collage of interior design shots inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

The hotel is the fourth brainchild of Geetie Singh-Watson, who opened the world’s first certified organic pub in 1998. She worked with Devon-based architect, Jackie Gillespie of Gillespie Yunnie Architects, to ensure that every aspect of the hotel is sustainable. This includes the pastel-coloured plaster walls, organic linens, innovative heating system and bathrooms.

“I particularly like the low profile and solid feel of the BetteSupra shower trays, and the fact that they come with adjustable frames.” – Jackie Gillespie, founder of Gillespie Yunnie Architects.

The stylish bathrooms feature white brick tiles with accents of muted gold. Each has either a shower, with Bette glazed titanium-steel BetteSupra shower tray or a comfortable double ended BetteStarlet bath, perfect for a relaxing soak. All the shower trays and the baths feature Bette’s almost invisible anti-slip surface, Anti-Slip Pro.

“We used Bette shower trays and baths because they combine high quality and lasting looks with sustainability, as they are made from natural materials and are recyclable,” commented architect Jackie Gillespie. “I particularly like the low profile and solid feel of the BetteSupra shower trays, and the fact that they come with adjustable frames. I have used the shower trays and baths on many projects and like the double-ended symmetry and comfort of the BetteStarlet bath, with central waste. It’s also extremely useful that both the shower trays and baths come in such a wide range of sizes, so we were able to select the right sizes for the rooms, including 1200 x 900mm shower trays in the majority of the bathrooms.”

Owner, Geetie Singh-Watson added: “We are committed to a philosophy of Doing Business Better, which drives us to really examine the best way to do things; to scrutinise our habits and our ways of being and buying. It was really important to me that we didn’t have plastic baths or shower trays and I believe that, if we always looked at the end of life of a product when we buy it, we would change the impact on the planet. The Bette products are not only 100% recyclable but will last for many years.”

Bette baths, shower trays and basins come with a thirty year warranty, are easy to clean and available in over 400 colours, including gloss and matt finishes. Made from natural raw materials, they are completely recyclable and verified to the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) as per ISO 14025 and to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Since you’re here, why not read our review of The Bull Inn, Totnes?

Bette is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: The Bull Inn, Totnes

Product watch: Kaldewei launches washbasin made of sustainable steel enamel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Kaldewei launches washbasin made of sustainable steel enamel

Premium bathroom manufacturer Kaldewei enhances portfolio with a new and luxurious highlight washbasin product. Asian-inspired, the Ming’s design is unique in its segment…

Its shape typifies both the traditional and the modern. The lines of this delicate washbasin bowl produce an elegant, sculptural shape ideal for a distinctive interior design. Moreover, it offers exceptional comfort thanks to its generous depth and a lastingly hygienic glass surface.

The Ming’s most striking design feature is its elegant shape. Convex curves form a sensual outline, the neutral black and white tones used remain unobtrusive, allowing for plenty of scope within individually designed washrooms.

Like all Kaldewei products, the Ming is made of superior steel enamel. This material features a flawlessly glazed surface and is extremely long-lasting and ultra hygienic. Steel enamel is 100 per cent recyclable and is one of the most sustainable materials available for modern bathroom fit-outs.,

This washbasin bowl is easy to clean and extremely resistant to external impacts just a few of the reasons why Kaldewei offers a 30-year product guarantee for its steel enamel products. The Ming is available in four different colours: lava black matt, polished black, alpine white and alpine white matt.

Guided by the motto “naturally connected”, legendary musician and award-winning photographer Bryan Adams has artfully showcased the new Ming washbasin bowl. His aim is to highlight connectedness and an awareness of hygiene in turbulent times. Applying a keen eye for detail, Adams gives us an intimate look at being together: with simple hygiene measures we extend our hands to each other – to our family, our friends and our partners. It’s a message that is both highly topical and timeless – and one which is perfectly reflected in the Ming’s classic design.

Kaldewei is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Kaldewei

Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainability in the bathroom – it’s all in the materials

The Swiss bathroom specialist, Laufen, has set new sustainability trends in bathroom design. Editor Hamish Kilburn investigates…

With unprecedented performance properties, the revolutionary SaphirKeramik, found in all Laufen products, bestows possibilities and versatility never seen before, enabling exceptional shaping where finely-defined curves and tight edge radii of 1-2mm are created.

This unique ceramic is considerably thinner and has an improved bending strength, compared to traditional bathroom ceramics. Laufen is now able to produce wafer-thin, yet exceptionally robust ceramic bodies, which in turn makes it more sustainable by reducing weight with a lower consumption of raw materials and energy, required for the manufacturing process. SaphirKeramik is not a replacement for any existing materials; instead, it broadens the range of forms of expression of the natural base material.

Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has developed into a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, because it permits a whole new design language within bathroom ceramics, which could not have been realised in the same way with conventional ceramics. Designed under the creative leadership of superstar Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, the contemporary ‘The New Classic’ collection interprets classical styles using Laufen’s innovative SaphirKeramik to help create soft, gentle feminine curves, alongside angular, masculine elements.

Since you’re here, why not read Hotel Designs’ tour of Roca and Laufen UK headquarters?

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Image caption: The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders for Laufen

Laufen is also taking responsibility for the its impact on the environment by developing ways to recycle wastewater. In collaboration with Austrian design studio EOOS and long-term research by Eawag, Laufen have developed a ground-breaking urine separation toilet that opens a new chapter in sustainable wastewater management: Save! Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Save! will revolutionise sanitation, reduce the environmental issue of wastewater pollution and provide a solution fit for the 21st century.

The key innovation in Save! is the “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design, which diverts urine to a concealed outlet using only surface tension. By trapping the urine – which contains a high number of nutrients – the device allows the liquid to be repurposed into a  fertiliser called Aurin.

"urine trap", created by EOOS Design for Laufen

Image caption: “urine trap”, created by EOOS Design for Laufen

The installation of urine separation toilets into hotels, public areas and residential developments will lead to sustainable and energy-saving wastewater management, seamlessly integrating the circular economy by efficiently treating the collected wastewater, recovering and recycling the preserved nutrients.

Laufen is committed to contributing towards the development of innovative technologies to solve this urgent problem, developing new, sustainable solutions that will help save lives and improve sanitation conditions in developing countries.

Laufen is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Laufen

A modern bed with black lighting

Hypnos launches carbon neutral eco-packaging solution

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos launches carbon neutral eco-packaging solution

Sustainable bed manufacturer Hypnos has pioneered a ground-breaking carbon neutral packaging that could help with carbon reduction efforts across the bed and furniture industry…

A modern bed with black lighting

After 18 months of intensive research and development, Hypnos has successfully developed another industry first by creating a new recyclable, eco-friendly packaging solution which will be used for their beds and mattresses across both its retail and contract factories. It comes as part of major efforts by the cutting-edge manufacturer to design its packaging from sustainable and renewable sources and eliminate the use of harmful, fossil-based products.

At the heart of the packaging is sugar cane, a renewable and carbon dioxide depleting resource. Sugar cane ethanol is combined with recycled plastic which has a carbon footprint that can be up to four times lower than that of normal plastic, helping those who use it to massively reduce their carbon footprint. The use of ethanol, a bi-product of sugar cane production and recycled plastics that form a green polyethylene (a more environmentally-friendly form of plastic), means the creation is carbon neutral and 100 per cent recyclable as well. Furthermore it’s incredibly durable and has superior technical properties to normal polythene, performing better on puncture tests.

Hypnos led the challenge by working in partnership with a specialist green polyethylene manufacturer to create the cutting-edge solution which could be a sustainability game changer across the entire bed and furniture industry. Indeed, Hypnos made the decision not to patent or trademark this revolutionary packaging for themselves. Instead the brand wants to share their innovation globally and are calling on industries around the world to ditch single use polythene and make the transition to this 100 per cent recyclable product.

“New government legislation requires that all businesses use plastic packaging that contains at least 30 per cent recycled plastic by 2022 or they will face a new Plastic Packaging Tax.”

Richard Naylor, Sustainability Director at Hypnos, comments: “We’re extremely proud of our sustainability credentials and it’s Hypnos’ commitment to creating ethical solutions which benefit the environment that has allowed us to invest in this revolutionary green polythene. We’ve been working hard to develop this innovation and continue to look at new ways we can make better sustainable solutions and choices, not just for Hypnos, but for the bed and furniture industry as a whole.

“We believe in fostering environmental responsibility wherever we can which is why we are keen to share this technology with other industries. Most bed manufacturers use plastic to protect their beds and products. If all the mattress manufacturers in the UK switched to eco polythene instead, it would save a staggering 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, so just imagine what could be achieved if bed and furniture manufacturers world-wide made this change!

“We are now calling on all bed and furniture manufacturers to change from fossil-based polythene, which can take thousands of years to decompose. Instead, we’re asking them to make the transition to this product to reduce our combined carbon footprints and help care for the planet. We’re happy to set up meetings and put them in touch with our specialist manufacturer so that they too can start to benefit from this pioneering sustainable, carbon neutral solution.” 

New government legislation requires that all businesses use plastic packaging that contains at least 30 per cent recycled plastic by 2022 or they will face a new Plastic Packaging Tax. With a ratio of 65 per cent renewable sugarcane to 35 per cent recycled plastics, the new eco polythene by Hypnos will take even more plastic out of landfill and incineration, stimulating increased demand for recycled plastics that can be turned into further reusable and sustainable materials. 

Hypnos has been trialling their green packaging on selected mattresses and beds for several months and from November has been rolling it out across its entire range. An essential part of the process is the removal and return of the packaging by Hypnos’ delivery partners as this allows it to be returned and recycled in perpetuity. As a result Hypnos is taking back its new packaging from retailers and hospitality partners wherever possible so that it can once again be recycled.

This latest development is another milestone in Hypnos’s successful sustainability agenda. From the use of renewable and traceable natural resources to carbon offsetting programmes, they were the first bed maker in the world to become carbon neutral, and have been continuously carbon neutral for a decade. In addition they have also been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development this year.

Furthermore, Hypnos’ beds and mattresses have been made from natural and sustainable materials, with no chemical-based foams and have been completely recyclable, ensuring they never need to go to landfill, for over a decade. And now, even the protective packaging its beds come in is entirely recyclable and carbon neutral too.

Hypnos is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hypnos

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for first Hotel Designs LIVE event in 2021

Following two successful events, Hotel Designs LIVE will return on February 23, 2021, with a global line-up of speakers who will appear in a series of four engaging panel discussions. Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, reveals all…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

It all started in June 2020. The temperatures in the UK soared to record-breaking highs, which helped the industry awaken from its forced hibernation with passion, energy and optimism. At the time, we were going live to our global audience for the very first time with the aim to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a successful debut, Hotel Designs LIVE returned in October 2020 with a new production crew, a fresh panel of speakers and a slightly different tone. UK hospitality was slowly being patched up; hoteliers were polishing off their post-war opening strategies that would reassure the post-corona consumer and the focus for designers  and archtiects was around adding personality to eliminate hotels looking and feeling like sterile shells in a post-pandemic arena.

Since then, though, a second lockdown and a carefully monitored government-led tiered system has left yet more dents on UK hospitality, with other destinations around the globe suffering from similar restrictions; hotels were forced to close or at least part-close once more and the industry felt the sting of the pandemic’s tail with more distressed assets were being announced. Meanwhile, the editorial desk at Hotel Designs exposed the desperate methods that some designers are using in order to win business in turbulent times.

So, with discussions and debates far from over on how the pandemic will impact the global hotel design and hospitality landscape, Hotel Designs LIVE is back with purpose! While the industry is still somewhat socially distanced, the first of three scheduled Hotel Designs LIVE events to take place in 2021 will further amplify conversations unlike any other with the help of what might possibly be the brand’s most renowned speakership line-up to date.

Here are our confirmed speakers (so far) for the event, as well as the topics that we will explore:

Secure your place in the audience for the editor’s welcome.

Secure your place in the audience for session 1: Floor 20, Room 31 – Checking in 10 years from now.

Secure your place in the audience for session 2: Sustainability, beneath the surface.

Secure your place in the audience for session 3: Safe & sound hospitality & hotel design

Secure your place in the audience for session 4: A new era of wellness in hotel design.

“With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.” – Hamish Kilburn, Editor, Hotel Designs.

In addition to the live interviews and panel discussions with handpicked industry experts – and to ensure that the event is bridging the gap between hospitality suppliers and designers, architects, hoteliers and developers – the conference also included structured ‘PRODUCT WATCH’ pitches around each session, allowing suppliers the opportunity to pitch their products and services in a ‘live’ environment to the hospitality buyers that are tuned in.

“While the industry’s Covid-19 restrictions continue to change lanes, Hotel Designs LIVE will continue to quickly adapt so that we can serve the design, architecture and hospitality industry with purpose,” said editor Hamish Kilburn who will host Hotel Designs LIVE for a third time in February. “With three Hotel Designs LIVE series planned for 2021, our aim is to further challenge conventional views and opinions in global hotel design and hospitality.”

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to secure your complimentary seats in the audience, click here. If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

Main image credit: Oladimeji Odunsi/Unsplash

A lonely chair on cork flooring

A modern tradition – introducing a new range by Granorte

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A modern tradition – introducing a new range by Granorte

As we continue our journey looking at innovative sustainable solutions, editor Hamish Kilburn casts his eyes on Tradition, a range of glue-down cork floor tiles from Granorte

A lonely chair on cork flooring

As we spend more time in our home during the new normal, we’re increasingly conscious of the materials and finishes we choose and the impact they have on our wellbeing. Materials that link us to the positive effects of the natural world are gaining popularity and helping us to feel calm and relaxed as we seek to feel protected and secure within our homes.

Cork, as we have realised for a while now at Hotel Designs, is an ideal surface to foster this connectivity and is one that not only links us to nature but helps to preserve it also. Cork’s unique aesthetic is deep rooted in the natural world and arguably, its status as a historic floor used in happier times cements its soothing and calming effect. Harvested from bark, rather than felling, cork comes from trees that live for hundreds of years, so it is a material that’s renewable and natural, and which also helps to sustain the balance of the atmosphere.

Granorte’s Tradition collection is as close to the original cork floors as is possible to find today. Possessing a history dating back over a century, cork tiled floors are the purest use of the material and to which Tradition stays faithful. With a natural sanded pre-finish ready for sealing, these stylish glue-down tiles are available in agglomerated designs that all provide a beautiful and richly organic cork aesthetic.

“While we have innovated to harness the benefits of cork with products that respond to today’s interiors in floating click floors and PVC-free LVT alternatives, it is the simplicity and pureness of Tradition that seems extraordinarily appropriate at the moment,” says Paulo Rocha, product and R&D manager, Granorte. “Tradition is a sustainable flooring choice that puts homes in direct touch with the natural environment – it is a simple execution of the material that feels all the more genuine and authentic for that very reason.”

Tradition is available from Granorte in a 4mm thick 600 x 300mm tile, manufactured in Portugal from 100% cork recycled from the wine stopper industry.

Granorte is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Granorte

Image of minimalist bedroom with earthy tones

Architectural films: the eco-friendly materials that are transforming hotel interiors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architectural films: the eco-friendly materials that are transforming hotel interiors

With eco-friendly materials fast becoming rising stars in the world of interiors, there are multiple benefits of using architectural films and how they can refurbish existing surfaces. Lindsay Appleton, from surface manufacturer Architextural, explains…

Image of minimalist bedroom with earthy tones

Gone are the days when wrapping was exclusive to vehicles; architectural films have opened up a wealth of design possibilities.

In a world where businesses need to keep up with the latest trends, refurbs are always high on the agenda, but contrary to popular belief, a renovation project doesn’t have to break the bank. Transforming a hotel interior has never been easier. From walls to partitions and even lifts, doors, columns and ceilings, thanks to architectural finishes you can wrap any surface. If you’re looking for an alternative renovation solution, why not consider self-adhesive films for a simple and cost-effective resolution for interior design projects?

You may not realise it, but you are surrounded by architectural films. Commonly found on intricate structures, self-adhesive films can be used in both domestic and commercial environments, including bars, restaurants, offices and more.

Third Wave Coffee Shop Interior

Image credit: Architextural/Third Wave Coffee Shop

Architects and interior designers turn to wrapping films for a number of reasons. They are durable, 3D-conformable, and can be quickly and easily installed with little noise, mess or waste and because they are lightweight, they can be applied in situ.

Wrap it, don’t rip it

The last decade has highlighted the importance of looking after our environment and architectural finishes can help tick that box too.

The traditional rip out and replace refurb methods result in existing interiors and materials being sent to landfill. Architectural finishes solve this problem. With a durability of 10 years plus, cost-conscious businesses have the option to renovate on a budget by simply wrapping the existing surfaces and upcycling instead.

With sustainability set to be a key trend in 2020 surface finishes can be used to make high-impact, sophisticated designs, in a variety of realistic finishes, ranging from textiles, concrete, marble, wood grain and more.

 On trend

With over a thousand patterns to choose from, the possibilities really are unlimited, making in-vogue design more than achievable with architectural finishes.

Mimicking the aesthetics of natural materials, architectural films offer unrivalled choice of on-trend patterns and an alternative method to upcycle existing substrates in an affordable, high-quality finish.

Believe it or not, concrete is increasingly becoming the go-to material for bathrooms. Replicating this trend using film can be achieved, without having to build a wall of concrete. Giving a robust, industrial feel, the tough yet stylish look can offer a focal point for wall design.

Ever pined for interior design that replicates the outdoors? Then a realistic wood finish should be high on your list. You may be thinking that the look, feel and touch of wood would be impossible to replicate; however, with the new dry wood collection from 3M DI-NOC architectural finishes, it is possible to look and feel like the real deal.

A chair in a lounge with dark surfaces on the walls and a bookshelf

Image credit: Architextural

Feature walls are also a must-have in numerous commercial spaces. We are starting to see more and more distinctive feature walls or partitions and vinyls can provide businesses with a creative way to stand out from the crowd as a more durable alternative to wallpapers and painted effects. It’s important to maximise feature wall opportunities as it can help to create a strong, dynamic impression within an interior space. The new ultra matt or suede range also ticks this box.

Cost benefits

The market opportunity for refurbishment projects is huge. Market growth is a key indicator that shows commercial businesses are keen to invest to improve their spaces, to not only enhance branding, employee satisfaction and also customers experience.

As it typically costs seven times more to rip out and buy new interiors, rather than refurbishing existing surfaces, architectural finishes offer a great way of keeping within a manageable budget.

Image of wood-like surface in modern bedroom

Image credit: Architextural

Companies looking to reduce costs and improve their environmental sustainability should perhaps consider upcycling the building’s doors, structures, partitions and furniture with self-adhesive finishes to refresh spaces without the loss of revenue or disruption to the business.

Architextural 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: Architextural

A messy bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Checking in to The Bull Inn, Totnes – a new standard in eco hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to The Bull Inn, Totnes – a new standard in eco hospitality

The award-winning indy hotel, The Bull Inn in Totnes, is a bare reminder that hospitality can be fully sustainable in both design and service. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in…

A messy bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

It is time we erase the myth that sustainable hotels are a compromise on luxury. No longer should it be culturally acceptable to greenwash your way into the headlines by simply replacing miniatures and enforcing a ban disposable plastic – this should now be common practice. Instead, hotels and hospitality businesses should be conjuring up new, innovative ways to make a difference, not only environmentally, but also locally within the community.

Cue the arrival of The Bull Inn, an eight-key British bolthole located in Totnes. This deliberately rough round-the-edges pub/hotel is the fourth brainchild of visionary Geetie Singh-Watson, who worked with local architect Jackie Gillespie to ensure that, from concept through to completion, that every nook and cranny – from the pastel-coloured, untouched rooms right down to the innovative heating system – is sustainable.

Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

A short stroll uphill from the town’s high street, the boutique jewel is positioned in an ideal location that captures the atmosphere of the town. Locals can claim it as their own while guests visiting can stay in the heart of Totnes, and while doing so are able to discover a comfortable and conscious slice local life.

Downstairs, the stripped back design of the pub – with earthy tones and quirky detailing – celebrates the building’s unique style and design narrative. Mismatched wooden furniture and authentic rugs work were either reclaimed or upcycled. The walls have been stripped back to create a deliberately rustic feel that makes the place feel immediately cosy.

This bare and minimalist design is also apparent in the guestrooms – there are no TVs or radios and each room has its own personality. After climbing the original stairs that are layered with meaningful art, the first thing I notice as I walk into my room is the original, slightly sunken ceilings, which further indicate that this hotel embraces its quirks and imperfections with confidence.

Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

The trendy rooms are scattered with antiques that Singh-Watson sourced or upcycled herself, and every supplier specified has been done thoughtfully. The side lamps, for example, were handcrafted by a Dartmoor wood craftsman. The beds, all made up with 100 per cent organic linens from greenfibres, were also sourced locally by Naturalmat, which won ‘Best in British Product Design’ at The Brit List Awards 2019 after earning Hotel Designs‘ stamp of approval for being a sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturer.

A close up of a bed inside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

The white brick tiled bathrooms with accents of muted gold – two rooms with baths and six with showers – feature quality brands such as Crosswater (fittings and showers), Bette (baths), Duravit (toilets) and Geberit (WC flush button levers). These modern areas are stylish, functional and eco-friendly, complete with organic shampoos and conditioner and sustainable waffle towels which were again sourced locally.

“Singh-Watson’s latest property is a sustainable statement that has certainly made a mark on the hospitality map.”

The roof has been fitted with solar panels, while the hotelier worked with the architect to develop an innovative heat recovery system to be installed in to lock in heat generated by the kitchen. The result is that the hot water from the guestrooms is heated from this new system that is fully sustainable.

The Bull Inn is so much more than an organic pub featuring a few well-dressed guestrooms. Singh-Watson’s latest property is a sustainable statement that has certainly made a mark on the hospitality map – it has just been named Eco Hotel of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times and was runner up in the National Geographic Big Sleep Awards 2020.

And image of Geetie Singh-Watson standing outside The Bull Inn in Totnes

Image caption: Geetie Singh-Watson outside The Bull Inn in Totnes | Image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

Standing modestly as a true, consciously driven hospitality gem, The Bull Inn in Totnes was rescued from a tired pub and transformed into a clutter-free, authentic pub and hotel that is timeless in both design and service.

Main image credit: Rachel Hoile Photography

A number of wall and floor light pendents

Product watch: Sustainable Kyoto lighting by Harris & Harris

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: Sustainable Kyoto lighting by Harris & Harris

Harris & Harris, an environmentally and socially responsible interior and product design studio, unveils the Kyoto range, a sustainable lighting family with Eastern influences featuring bamboo and opal glass…

A number of wall and floor light pendents

The Kyoto lighting range by Harris & Harris is a calming lighting family, will provide a sense of zen to any interior.

The designs are influenced by the Harris & Harris’s founders European and Asian heritage coupled with Modernism and 1960s Pop Design and their love of craft and texture

The lights are named after Japan’s historical city of Kyoto and comprises floor light, wall light, pendant and 2 sizes of table light for both residential and commercial settings

Hand made to order in England, the group of lights feature a mix of highly sustainable solid bamboo with bamboo sticks & string, reminiscent of a sushi rolling mat. A warm and soothing light emits from the matt opal glass globe, containing a low energy and efficient E14 G9 LED bulb. In the case of the floor and table lights, a woven power flex exits the bamboo ‘lily pad’ shaped base with an inline switch.

While you’re here, why not read more about how the conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born?

Main image credit: Harris & Harris

A chain-like art piece that hangs on the wall surrounded by moody interiors

Siminetti: Proud producers of sustainable mother of pearl surfaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Siminetti: Proud producers of sustainable mother of pearl surfaces

Siminetti is proud of its ethical and ecological credentials and takes the greatest care when sourcing its range of natural products, to ensure the brand meets strict ecological standards…

A chain-like art piece that hangs on the wall surrounded by moody interiors

Siminetti, a unique surface brand that sources its materials from sustainable, farmed locations wherever in the world they are grown, absolutely opposes the use of overfishing and exploitation of our worlds sea beds and actively engage with ocean charities who look to sustain our oceans for the betterment of marine life and the conservation for our futures.

The company only deals with raw material suppliers who have a full understanding of relevant practices and legislation to ensure consistent, high quality products – they must hold a fisheries export license when appropriate, comply with biosecurity laws, provide Certificates of Origin and demonstrate evidence of the specific harvest area.

While you’re here, why not check out Mother of Pearl decorative panels by Siminetti?

Siminetti have been hand crafting sustainable mother of pearl surfaces since 2010. This year, along side the celebration of the company’s 10 year anniversary, the brand is launching a new line (of sorts, the brand has been doing it for a while just not really spoken about it)! Siminetti Wall Art, utilising its stunning decorative panels in bespoke frames to add a luxury accent to any discerning space.

Image credit: Siminetti

The brand currently offers more than 30 decorative surfaces which can all be made into wall art. In 2021 this will be increasing, with a new line of decorative panels Siminetti are developing in conjunction with a renowned British surface designer.

As with all our mother of pearl, we are also ensuring the materials used to make our frames is sustainably sourced, with FSC approved timber to protect our planet for future generations.

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

Main image credit: Siminetti

Feature // Is Covid an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature // Is Covid an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

Following an engaging discussion about sustainability with Bill Bensley at Hotel Designs LIVE, we asked session sponsor Silentnight Group how Covid-19 will impact the industry’s stance on hygiene and eco-friendly behaviour. Sales Director, David Lawenson writes…

The past seven months has been challenging for the hospitality industry. The current global pandemic has hit the industry hard and reopening has been a confusing and staggered process. At a time where the current topic of the moment is cleanliness, could the post-pandemic environment be an opportunity for cleaner, greener hotels?

David Lawrenson, Sales Director of Hospitality at Silentnight Group believes that it could be the push that businesses in the hospitality industry needs to choose sustainable options. “Sustainability promotes a healthier environment, both inside and outside of a hotel property, and given the recent pandemic, this has never been more relevant.”

Image credit: Silentnight Group

In recent years, sustainability has shifted from a niche concern to a mainstream opportunity, and current trends are being driven towards sustainable practices. In response, we have seen a big shift in the way brands in other industries are responding to sustainability, and it could be time for the hospitality industry to follow. Becoming carbon neutral could soon be the minimum for hospitality suppliers, and there will be movement towards businesses becoming carbon negative too.

Silentnight Group are proud to be carbon neutral, and through their eco-friendly product development, progressive work practices and their partnership with the Marine conservation Society, they are determined to make the world a greener place, maintaining their position as a trusted mainstream brand at the same time. As a mass market manufacturer simply switching to ‘naturals’ like cotton or wool was not a commercial option for Silentnight.

Angela Moran Product Strategy Director at Silentnight explains: “Instead we took inspiration from the likes of Nike, Adidas and Patagonia and take single use plastics and turn them into new products. Whilst there is much media hype demonising plastic following Blue Planet, it’s not so much plastic per se, but the littering of plastic, particularly single use, that’s the problem.

“Circular economy thinking makes perfect sense for any business because ultimately it’s about being a resource efficient business. In nature there is no waste as everything is re-cycled. We’re taking another industry’s waste product and converting it into new comfort fibres, therefore adding value by making new consumer goods.”

Taking inspiration from the principles of the circular economy, Silentnight’s innovative Eco Comfort filling contains intelligent fibres made from recycled plastic bottles. Not only does each mattress prevent 150 plastic bottles from entering the waste stream, but the high-tech design process offers greater breathability and is available at an affordable price point. Thus far, the Eco Comfort filling has prevented a staggering 105 million plastic bottles from entering landfill and oceans.

Silentnight’s Eco Comfort 1200 Pocket mattress has been awarded a ‘Which? Best Buy’ 5 years running and is the brands best-selling mattress online, proving that sustainable design doesn’t always mean paying a premium for the consumer or sacrificing sales as a brand.

It could be said that the pandemic has handed the hospitality industry the opportunity to harness sustainable practices. With the many changes required due to government legislation, potentially fewer guests permitted into hospitality venues and a need to focus on being a resource efficient business, it could be a perfect time to introduce small changes that together, could have a big impact on the environment.

Silentnight Group, which provides sustainable sleeping solutions for the hospitality industry, was a session sponsor for Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

Main image credit: Silentnight Group

Hygiene vs sustainability: the ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hygiene vs sustainability: the ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences

Following Hotel Designs LIVE, where both topics were put under the spotlight, we asked session sponsor GROHE how hygiene and sustainability can work together to create a ‘new normal’ in hotel guest experiences…

Not so long ago, the average hotel guest might have put king size beds, room service and fine dining, or a room with a view at the top of their overnight experience wish-list. Today however things are very different. In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, hospitality businesses have had to swiftly adapt to this ‘new normal’ in a bid to stay afloat during what has been a treacherous time for the industry as a whole.

Whilst the ongoing pandemic continues to present uncertainty and new challenges, global leading bathroom manufacturer GROHE believes that the swift change in direction when it comes to hygiene and how this can in turn positively impact sustainability, can be viewed as an opportunity to improve guest experiences and establish better standards within the industry. Now is the time to optimise high-tech hygienic solutions and combine them with a sustainable stance to create the ultimate safe, relaxing and enjoyable hotel stay.

Image caption: GROHE Bau Cosmo E taps in commercial washroom.

Hygiene is key to making guests feel safe

After a difficult and unprecedented year, the world is beginning to embrace a ‘new normal’, tentatively looking ahead to the future at prospects of business trips, holidays and staycations. Creating a hygienic environment within our hotels and hospitality spaces is key to ensuring that guests feel safe and can comfortably enjoy their stay, whilst continuing to boost a nationwide confidence across the sector over the coming months.

GROHE has the perfect bathroom product selection, from advanced shower toilet systems and innovative infra-red solutions for taps and WC flushes, to help optimise hygiene across both guestroom bathrooms, and communal washrooms and spa facilities.

The GROHE Sensia Arena shower toilet for instance can provide a totally touchless experience as users can control and personalise washing and drying features from their smartphone as well as utilising the automatic functions. As the guest approaches the toilet, a sensor is activated to lift the lid. It then closes after use, followed by an automatic flush. Additional hygiene features such as its powerful Triple Vortex flush, rimless design and anti-bacterial surface coating which is applied to the toilet bowl, shower arms and nozzle guards, further help eradicate unwanted dirt particles by making it difficult for them to stick to surfaces. The Sensia Arena also benefits from GROHE’s ion technology known as PlasmaCluster which releases positive and negative ions into even the farthest hard-to-reach corners of the toilet bowl and in the air around the toilet, to inactivate bacteria. Meanwhile, an automatic odour extraction system is integrated into the toilet system to ensure the ambient air remains free from unpleasant odours. These state-of-the-art hygiene functions are particularly beneficial when shower toilets are used in communal spaces of hotels with increased footfall. They help to maintain superior hygiene standards between each use to supplement routine cleaning protocols carried out by staff.

Meanwhile, for hoteliers looking for a more cost-effective retrofit solution, the GROHE Bau Manual Bidet Seat can be installed quickly and easily. Compatible with most existing toilet cisterns, the seat and accompanying spray allows guests to opt for a more natural, gentler way of maintaining their intimate hygiene. The seat provides a simple yet effective solution as it does not require any electrical work as the spray is powered solely by water pressure.

Image caption: GROHE Manual Bidet Seat (close up).

Infra-red is also a leading go-to hygienic solution, primarily with touchless taps and automatic flushing in mind. “GROHE’S infra-red sensor taps allow for a truly innovative and hygienic way of washing your hands,” explains Karl Lennon, Director A&D Accounts EMENA at GROHE. “The sensor registers when your hands are approaching and automatically activates the flow of water. If the sensor no longer detects movement, the water will automatically turn off.” And so, with products such as the GROHE Bau Cosmopolitan E infra-red tap, no touching means minimising the risk of germs, bacteria and cross-contamination. It also ensures reduced water consumption, increasing sustainability credentials for hotel establishments without compromising on design or style.

It may seem that the future has been on fast forward in recent months and it’s true that these latest technologies are now being addressed as a matter of urgency. “Hygienic solutions have been on the market for a while now,” confirms Glen Wilson, Head of Projects at GROHE UK, “including the likes of infra-red technology and shower toilets. With such advanced technology already at our fingertips, the pandemic will likely spur on a new surge of innovations as the nation continues to establish this ‘new normal’ and the changing interactions with various aspects of our everyday lives, which will become relevant for both our homes and hotel spaces. As well as touchless technology, voice-activation and app-control will also be popular contenders for new ways of operating taps, appliances and other everyday items.”

How the ‘new normal’ can improve sustainability

This new demand for increased hygiene and a safe environment is not going to go away. And to some extent, this begs the question: why should it?

It is, after all, an ethos which the world should probably have been embracing even before the events of this year unfolded.
GROHE sees this increased need for hygiene as the perfect opportunity to improve sustainability credentials at the same time. For the hotel industry it can mean substantial savings on water and energy with infra-red taps and sensor flushing, as well as the potential for a reduction in the use of amenities such as toilet paper thanks to the new technologies available that are giving bathrooms a holistic, hygienic makeover.

Image caption: GROHE Sensia Arena shower toilet.

The possibilities go far beyond these tangible, instantaneous measures though, with GROHE exploring long-term changes too such as the world of 3D metal-printing in order to reduce excess waste in the manufacturing process.

“Sustainability has always been integral to GROHE’s brand identity,” explains Karl Lennon, Director A&D accounts EMENA, “and is one of the company’s key values. GROHE uses a 360-degree sustainability approach that incorporates employees, suppliers, customers, processes, products, as well as the company’s social contribution. All of GROHE’s products and manufacturing processes have been designed over time to conserve water and energy wherever possible and are constantly evolving.”

This gives the hotel industry an ideal opportunity to offer guests not only an ultimately safe and hygienic stay, but also an experience within a sustainable, eco-conscious hotel that does its bit to help protect our planet.

Keep informed with RIBA-approved training modules

The hotelier, architect and design community can keep abreast of the latest knowledge around the topics of sustainability and hygiene by using resources such as GROHE’s RIBA-approved CPD seminars on water-saving and 3D printing. In November, its roster of training modules will also be enhanced with a brand-new seminar dedicated to hygiene.

3D Printing for Advanced Bathroom Fittings dissects 3D printing technology, its place in the manufacturing sector and its ongoing growth across many industries due to its ability to create small batch custom manufacturing in a much more sustainable and accessible way. The session also sheds light on the positive sustainability impact 3D printing can have on reducing CO2 emissions and saving water thanks to less wastage and more efficient use of raw materials. Meanwhile, Water Saving Without Compromising Performance seeks to encourage greater awareness and action from the architect community when it comes to specifying water fittings for projects. Both seminars can be booked for online learning at www.ribacpd.com.

GROHE sponsored the session entitled: The revival of smart technology at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

Main image credit: GROHE

How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How conscious design studio Harris & Harris was born

Harris & Harris has earned Hotel Designs’ stamp of approval as an environmentally and socially responsible interior and product design studio…

Founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Alexander and Sharon Harris, Harris & Harris emerged onto the design scene as a sustainable breathe of fresh air. Working internationally, the studio creates chic yet playful designs focusing on craftsmanship and quality whilst minimising the impact on the planet – and it was this unique blend that caught our editorial attention.

The dynamic duo met in 2007 whilst working for an architecture practice in Melbourne, Australia. They moved to London in 2010 and later married and started a family whilst growing their dream design studio.

Prior to founding Harris & Harris, Alex worked for some of the biggest names in design; Terence Conran’s furniture company Benchmark, David Collins, Kelly Hoppen and Yoo, co-founded by Philippe Starck.

Sharon has a truly international perspective having worked as an interior designer in Singapore, Melbourne and London for blue-chip clients including China Construction Bank, Citigroup, Molton Brown and Goldman Sachs as well as the Dubai property developer Emaar.

In 2019, the team boldly stepped into a new territory by unveiling the conscious bedroom for the Independent Hotel Show London. The guestroom set that was designed sensitively challenged conventional hotel design from every angle.

The Harris & Harris team now creates inspiring and innovative designs for clients that include hospitality brands, interior designers and developers such as The Arts Club, Conran, Finchatton, Four Seasons, Hakkasan, The Hoxton and Soho House as well as private individuals. Products and projects reach far across the globe including Monaco, The Hamptons, Miami, Seoul, Munich, Limassol, Macau and Paris.

The studio’s Product Collection features more than 100 pieces of furniture, lighting, outdoor furniture and interior accessories, all designed in-house by the studio. The designs are influenced by the founders European and Asian heritage, together with their love of modernism, art deco, mid century and 1960s pop design.

Each product is handmade to order by skilled artisans and workshops and are named after the places Alex and Sharon have frequented around Singapore, Australia and Great Britain.

Image caption: The Raffles seating range, named after the iconic hotel, is a refined family that injects refined glamour into an interior space. The pieces are influenced by art deco style of designers, including Eileen Gray and Charlotte Perriand.

Aside from being a studio that shelters awe-inspiring design, Harris & Harris strives to be environmentally and socially responsible wherever they can and in all areas of the company. The studio developed the Product Collection to include as many of their self-initiated ‘Responsible Factors’ as possible:

1) Designed For Life Foundation

The studio established the ‘Designed For Life Foundation’ to donate a percentage of every sale from the product collection to charity. Their furniture and lighting is predominantly specified for luxurious hotels, bars, restaurants and high end private homes and the founders felt it was important to help balance this. So for every product sold from the Collection their clients are automatically donating to the following three charities concerned with providing those without the basic needs of food, water and shelter: FareShare – the UK’s national network of charitable food re-distributors, WaterAid – providing clean water and hygiene solutions worldwide and ShelterBox – an international disaster relief charity, providing emergency shelters.

2) Made in the UK

Most of the collection is manufactured in the UK. Being a London-based company, this helps reduce transport energy consumption, particularly when a project is also UK based. Producing in the UK also helps support local industry and communities.

3) Sustainable upholstery option

Most of the upholstered seating is designed to have the option of being manufactured with natural materials including coconut fibre, natural latex, wool & cotton wrap and feathers. This minimises the impact on the environment by reducing the use of harmful chemicals, plastics and oils as well being biodegradable at the end of the product’s life. Natural materials are also far better for the health and well being of those using the seating.

4) Made from recycled materials

Recycled materials have been introduced into many of the products. This includes working with the German manufacturer Magna to provide their ‘Glaskeramik’ material for table tops in the collection, which is produced from 100% recycled waste glass. Harris & Harris also works with London stone specialist Diespeker to provide their terrazzo material which includes crushed recycled glass and marble off-cuts. A selection of the products are produced from clay and terracotta which create very little waste as off-cuts and unused material can be easily reused in future production

5) Made from renewable, low-embodied energy and natural materials

Most of the products are made from abundant and sustainable materials. Harris & Harris uses timbers including Ash and bamboo, which is very fast growing and requires no fertiliser or pesticides. They use natural stone, glass, clay and terracotta on many of the products which have a very low embodied energy (the total energy within the material from extraction to finished product). The natural upholstery option minimises the impact on the environment as highlighted above and Harris & Harris work with UK based Alma Leather to provide their natural cow hides that have a sustainable 100 per cent vegetable tan finish. The studio will also be introducing a vegan option as an alternative to the current leather selection very soon

6) Made from FSC or PEFC-certified timber

Harris & Harris ensures its factories and craftsman only ever use sustainably sourced timber that has been given either FSC or PEFC certification. The studio will never use exotic tree species from non-renewable forests

7) Supplied with Low Energy LED Bulbs

The Azzero and Kyoto lighting ranges utilise efficient LED G9 bulbs. For the Wharf, Siloso and Chalford lighting ranges Harris & Harris works with the UK based lighting brand Tala to provide their long lasting and low energy LED bulbs. Tala bulbs look fabulous thanks to their old filament style design but with using the latest LED technology. Tala are committed to reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere and support reforestation programmes around the world

8) Built for longevity and durability

Harris & Harris work with well respected craftsman, factories and workshops who use high quality production methods, together with durable and premium materials, to ensure the product collection is created for a long life span. The team is passionately against a throw away culture and design all of their products to be resilient and long lasting that can be handed-down over generations rather than thrown away

9) Easily disassembled and recycled at end of life

Many of the products are easily disassembled and can be taken apart by hand (or are single-material) so they can be separated into their individual materials to be recycled, biodegraded or reused.

Harris & Harris was a PRODUCT WATCH pitch partner for Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on October 13, 2020.

Image credit: Harris & Harris

EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Space Copenhagen appointed to design revolutionary wellness hotel

Danish designers Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken of Space Copenhagen will mastermind the complete interiors for new wellness and eco hotel in Norway, Svart

Svart, which will become the world’s first energy positive hotel, has appointed award-winning Danish design firm Space Copenhagen to lead the property’s interior design.

Image credit: Svart

The 99-key hotel, which Hotel Designs first unveiled the concept of last year, will be located in Arctic Norway at the base of the Svartisen glacier and will house an indoor-outdoor spa, four restaurants, an education centre and a design laboratory. Developed by Miris and archtiecture by Snøhetta, the glass-fronted, circular property will float on stilts above the Holandsfjorden fjord. Following my hype already, the hotel is slated to open to guests in late 2022, and aims to be fully off-grid, carbon neutral and shelter zero waste within the first five years of operation.

The Denmark-based design studio Space Copenhagen, founded by Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken in 2005, has been charged with masterminding the entire interior vision for the new hotel. The duo will draw on their years of creative collaboration, with past projects including 11 Howard, Geist 2.0 and The Stratford London, to create an aesthetic which will reflect the project’s core values of sustainability, innovation and holism.

“It was essential for us to find a design partner that shared our vision, with the ability to create a truly stunning aesthetic that both complements and emphasises the natural beauty of the destination, without distracting from it,” said Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart’s Development Director and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020. “Longevity, human connection and a distinctly Scandinavian quality – themes which run through Bundgaard and Bindslev Henriken’s award-winning work – will be at the heart of the Svart experience. We could not have found a better fit for us in Space Copenhagen and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

“The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it.” – Peter Bundgaard and Signe Bindslev Henriken, founders, Space Copenhagen.

Image credit: Space Copenhagen

Providing Hotel Designs with an insight into their vision, founders Bundgaard and Bindslev Henrikson said: “The four elements’ intrinsic connection to Norse mythology has provided the design aesthetic, poetically and holistically bringing together the tactile materials of stone and wood from the earth, the transparency and fluidity of water, the magic warmth of fire and the ephemeral intangible qualities of air. The design aesthetic does not seek to mimic or filter the magnificence of the Norwegian landscape, but to be a humble backdrop to it. The building itself – an unbroken, seamless circle – will become a portal dedicated to enhancing human connection to nature, the seasons, and to time itself.”

With an approach they call ‘Poetic Modernism’, Space Copenhagen seeks to forge new paths by balancing opposites within their work. For the team, curiosity is a fundamental human condition and it is this transformative curiosity they will bring to Svart.

While you’re here: click here to read more about Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Director at Miris and judge for The Brit List Awards 2020.

Main image credit: Svart/Space Copenhagen

Spotlight on: November features (sustainability and art)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spotlight on: November features (sustainability and art)

Hotel Designs’ November editorial features have landed, which are Sustainability and Art…

A meeting of two relevant and engaging topics, this November Hotel Designs will position both Sustainability and Art under the editorial spotlight in order to continue  defining the point on international hotel design.

In lockdown, global daily emissions of CO2 fell by 17 per cent. And yet during this time, sustainability was temporarily removed off the agenda in order to make room for people to focus on cleanliness and hygiene. Next month, Hotel Designs will reach out to its Recommended Suppliers and key designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in an attempt to balance the scales. This follows editor Hamish Kilburn speaking to the eco warrior himself Bill Bensley at about eco solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality world.

In addition, following our catch up with Elegant Clutter about the power of art, Hotel Designs will investigate how art, which is not always restrained inside a frame, can effectively add personality in all areas of the hotel.

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

Main image credit: Villa Copenhagen

(IN VIDEO) Hotel Designs LIVE: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(IN VIDEO) Hotel Designs LIVE: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley

To kickstart Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13, editor Hamish Kilburn discussed sustainability and purposeful eco solutions for the post-pandemic world with designer Bill Bensley

Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group, took place on October 13. The one-day conference welcomed world-renowned interior designers, architects and hoteliers to discuss the future of our industry in four engaging panel discussions, which were:

• Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
• Adding personality in public areas
• Reassuring the post-corona consumer
• The revival of smart technology post-pandemic

The production of Hotel Designs LIVE took place in Technological Innovations Group’s Experience Centre in London, and was produced CUBE Video, a bold, innovative and strategic video and animation agency that believes in empowering businesses with creativity.

The event was launched with an editor’s welcome by Hamish Kilburn, where he discussed the aim of Hotel Designs LIVE. “This event, this concept if you like, has been designed to keep the conversation flowing and the industry connected,” he said. “It is our way to position under the spotlight what we believe to be are the most relevant and engaging topics that are impacting our industry right now. It’s also an opportunity to gain access – albeit virtually – inside hotels and design and architecture studios around the globe.”

Following this welcome, Kilburn introduced the event’s first session and speaker. In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, the event invited headline speaker Bill Bensley onto the virtual sofa.

Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design”, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can.

The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, joined Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. In this session, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group, Bensley and Kilburn discussed whether or not the Covid-19 crisis – which resulted in global daily emissions of CO2 to fall by 17 per cent – had effectively balanced the scales, and debated if hotel design could ever be completely sustainable.

Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Harris & Harris London and Schlüter Systems.

Below is the recording of the full session, which starts with the PRODUCT WATCH segment and leads into our exclusive interview with Bill Bensley.


Hamish Kilburn: What has been your favourite year in this industry and why?
Bill Bensley: Right now!

HK: What lesson would you teach your younger self if you were able to? 
BB: As my folks were both English and homophobic, perhaps I would have reassured a young Bill that being gay will prove to be the happiest life positive ever!

HK: What luxury item would you not live without? 
BB: My dogs, I have six Jack Russells and I couldn’t live without them.

So there you have it, sustainability doesn’t have to be a heavy burden in hotel design. Like Bensley has evidenced within this conversation, being conscious to the environment and implementing sustainable methods in design should be a playful, fun, and enjoyable process. By thinking locally yet still outside the box, we will be able to create innovative and purposeful solutions that will authentically meet the new demands of modern travellers.

The full recordings of the other three sessions (Adding personality in public areas, Reassuring the post-corona consumer and The revival of smart tech post-pandmeic) will go live shortly. 

SAVE THE DATE: Hotel Designs LIVE will return for a third edition on February 23, 2021. Session titles and speakers will be announced shortly. Once these have been announced, tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities, focused PRODUCT WATCH pitches or the concept of Hotel Designs LIVE, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

Sustainable surfaces: a playful way to connect with nature

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sustainable surfaces: a playful way to connect with nature

3DForms by Granorte is a sustainable collection of wall tiles with three-dimensional structures that can be used in various arrays to create one-of-a-kind textured walls that also benefit from the natural properties of cork…

Designed by Alzira Peixoto and Carlos Mendonca of SimpleFormsDesign, 3DForms takes inspiration from Portuguese ceramic wall tiles of the 1950s and 1960s, creating striking geometric pattern across the wall. Relying on the tonal contrast between shadows and highlights, 3dForms has a sculptural quality that changes emphasis as light changes throughout the course of day and night.

Made in Portugal by cork innovator Granorte, 3DForms uses a lightweight agglomerated cork compound made from 92% post-industrial waste derived from wine stopper production and is FSC certified. Protected with Granorte’s proprietary Corkguard® water-based finish, the tiles are easy to clean and protected from marks and stains and are suitable for use in commercial and domestic interiors.

A renewable natural resource, cork has excellent thermal and acoustic properties, helping 3DForms to contribute to improving energy performance, as well as a tangible reduction of noise within the room. The tiles are available in two sizes – 150 x 150mm and 300 x 300mm – and in three forms – Pyramid, Aztec and Ramp – allowing numerous patterns to be created. Each design is available in natural, pearl, terracotta, smoke and bluemoon colourways.

“3DForms delivers a striking alternative aesthetic to ceramic wall tiles,” says Paulo Rocha, product and R&D manager, Granorte. “From simply rotating designs to create subtly changing, rhythmic repeating patterns to unique combinations made up of any of the three forms in any size, it’s a playful way to welcome the cork look, creating a cossetting and comfortable feel that brings you closer to nature.”

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

Main image credit: Granorte

Stylish emerald green and golden poster above comfortable king size bed with headboard and pillows in dark green bedroom

Upcycling: “Revamp, don’t replace,” says surface brand Architextural

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Upcycling: “Revamp, don’t replace,” says surface brand Architextural

The trend for upcycling shows no sign of abating; businesses are increasingly looking to upgrade their interiors on a budget and without the upheaval of ripping out and replacing furniture, explains surface brand Architextural

Stylish emerald green and golden poster above comfortable king size bed with headboard and pillows in dark green bedroom

Upcycling taps into the trend for sustainability that continues to be big news; it is better for the environment for venues to make use of what they already have and give it a new lease of life, rather than replacing it wholesale and sending old furniture and fittings to landfill.

This is where vinyl wrapping processes come into their own, providing a fresh new look in a multitude of styles, quickly and easily.

Wrapping is a simple process, whereby an existing surface is covered with a self-adhesive film. Architectural finishes are highly engineered, durable films, designed to look and feel like real-life materials. The films are applied with heat, by skilled installers, to provide a realistic hardwearing finish. This allows clients to create bespoke furniture using less expensive materials, wrapping them to look like authentic marble, wood or concrete. With thousands of finishes available, the possibilities are vast.

Modern loft living room with black steel slats 3d render.There are concrete floors , Decorate wall with pattern of black steel slats.Furnished with dark gray fabric chair.

Image credit: Architextural

Diverse applications

Architectural films can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including walls, lifts, doors and FF&E.

Such films are conformable for 3D applications, meaning their use is not limited to flat surfaces. Almost any surface can be wrapped, making films ideal for the commercial environment. What’s more, they can even be applied over existing substrates.

As the surface finishes are conformable, they can be applied to curved structures to create eye-catching designs. This provides a key advantage over laminates that require edge banding, whereas films offer the opportunity to wrap fully over edges to completely seal them.

“Wrapping is also highly durable – lasting for an average of 12 years on interior surfaces.”

Environmental benefits

On average, it costs seven times more to rip out and replace interiors. Refurbishment with architectural films is a way to upcycle existing fixtures and fittings, rather than send to landfill.

It’s a budget-friendly option for architects when costs are being squeezed, allowing businesses to refresh a venue more frequently or at a lower cost. Wrapping is also highly durable – lasting for an average of 12 years on interior surfaces – meaning it can work out more cost effective over the lifetime of the product, when compared to fabric, paint or veneer.

a clean living room with black wallcovering

Image credit: Architextural

Less day-to-day disruption

It’s also easier for businesses, as vinyls are applied in situ, with no noise, mess or waste – allowing the venue can stay open throughout. Little equipment is needed, with minimal prep, meaning less downtime and inconvenience.

All finishes are fire tested and meet building regulations. And as the product is a PVC solution, it is fully water and heat resistant, as well as and hygienic, all of which are important in high-traffic venues such as gyms, bars and restaurants.

With a world of possibilities at their fingertips, companies looking to reduce costs and improve their sustainability would be wise to look at upcycling using self-adhesive finishes to refresh spaces with minimal disruption to the business.

Architextural 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: Architextural

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

Pater Noster, described as a ‘home on the horizon’, is an unedited destination in Sweden where no hotel designer has dared to design – until now, that is. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores how a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have given this island a new purpose…

In the outpost of the archipelago that form the Pater Noster islands – one of Sweden’s most windblown, barren and exposed places – you will find an unlikely hotel experience that rises from the point where two straits (The Skagerack and Kattegatt) meet.

It is marked by a lighthouse; a masterpiece that gave hope and guided seafarers safely for more than a century. Adjacent to it, the keepers and their families built their home, a small-scale community on an island dictated by the elements that had always been perceived as uninhabitable. Until now, that is.

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

A team of Swedish entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, designers and professional sailors have breathed new life into the lighthouse master’s old home, creating nine design-led guestrooms, accommodating up to 18 guests.

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

Award-winning design agency Stylt, which has completed projects such as Stora Hotellet and HUUS Hotel, in Gstaad, was responsible for the concept and interior design. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination”, says Stylt’s founder and partner in the lighthouse project Erik Nissen Johansen. “It’s all there – the remote location, the fantastic nature, the extreme weather conditions, the thrilling history – and soon, great hospitality with a dash of roughness and low-key luxury.”

With the project being so isolated in the middle of the sea, logistics were perhaps the main challenge. “The extra layer of freight combined with heavy winds made things interesting,” Nissen explains. “We had an incident when our new DUX beds arrived at the dock. It was a rough sea and we lost a large box in the water. It quickly disappeared, and all the legs to 24 beds were drifting towardsDenmark. Luckily, we managed to catch all of them with our smaller boats, but they will probably rust faster than normal.”

The interior design has completely been inspired by the destination, even down to the fruit bowl that is a repurposed piece of driftwood that washed up on the shores as the work was being completed. “When we were completing building the large dining table, a piece of driftwood just floated ashore,” Nissen tells Hotel Designs. “It was as if the island wanted to help.” The washed-up item was upcycled into a fruit bowl that now rests on a large dining table that was so large it had to be manufactured inside the property.

Image credit: Pater Noster

The artwork in the dining hall, shot by underwater photographer Christy Lee Rogers, hangs in a respectful bow to the hundreds of shipwrecks that surround the island. The photographic works together push the possibilities of movement, colour and light.

“This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.” – Mirja Lilja Hagsjö, Chief of Operations at Pater Noster.

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

The entire site, which is only about 250 metres long and 120 metres wide, includes a restaurant, a bar and outdoor café. “The spirit of the old lighthouse master is all over the place” explains chief of operations Mirja Lilja Hagsjö. “This is a home, not a hotel, filled with history.”

Pater Noster is an apt example how to meet the new demands within the world of hospitality, offering genuine guest experiences with a strong cultural heritage. Depending on the weather, the island is reached by boat or helicopter. It’s perfect for smaller groups looking for a one-off experience, hosting meetings and private parties as well as a range of activities such as deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving and visiting the legendary lighthouse itself.

The property is the result of like-minded people, all of whom have different crafts and skills, coming together with a common aim: to put the island on the travel bucket list of all modern travellers and explorers. These individuals behind the project are entrepreneur Olle Langenius, Mirja Lilja Hagsjö (Chief of Operations), Zana ”Sassa” Usorac – (F&B), Frida Langenius och Carl Sylvan – transportation and sea adventures and Erik and Elisabeth Nissen Johansen (design and concept).

Throughout August, Hotel Designs is exploring inspirational hotel concepts from around the world. If you would like to be included in this editorial series, please tweet @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pater Noster

Office Blueprint brings Naava Green Walls to London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Office Blueprint brings Naava Green Walls to London

Office Blueprint, a London-based furniture company, has launched Naava’s revolutionary green walls in the UK…

Naava, the Finnish health technology company, and Office Blueprint have partnered to introduce Naava Green Walls to the UK to transform indoor air and positively impact wellbeing.

Forward-thinking companies are looking for new solutions to create healthier environments for their employees. Wellbeing is at the forefront of workplace thinking in 2019 and almost every aspect of the workplace environment is under scrutiny. Ergonomic furniture helps stave off injury caused by sedentary work, varied types of workstations to accommodate different types of work and human-centric smart lighting systems. But air-quality is often left at the bottom of the list of elements to improve, despite the fact that most central business districts suffer from poor air quality.

Naava is a unique piece of smart furniture which combines nature and technology to naturalise indoor air, reducing harmful chemicals and optimising humidity. Following a series of tests and studies, the proven effect of working in the vicinity of a Naava Green Wall include a reduction in illness, less fatigue and improved cognitive performance.

Naava has designed an effective and stylish indoor vertical planter that houses beautiful green leaved plants specified for their non-allergen properties and their high performance biophilic air purification.

Living wall in a winter setting

Image caption: Made in Norway, Naava was founded in 2012

However, Naava is not just another living wall it is an intelligent piece of furniture: its functions are driven by technology. A remote system monitors Naava around the clock, utilising AI to analyse the environment and directing the Green Wall’s functions accordingly and communicating the precise condition of the plants with a service team who intermittently visit to manage any needs. The in-built lighting system replicates natural daylight, providing the plants with a steady supply of light and fading out each evening to allow the plants to ‘sleep’ overnight.

“One Naava vertical planter can purify up to 60sq metres of indoor air.”

The product works by absorbing indoor air through the plants’ roots and a natural soil-less growth medium, developed to avoid pests and mould. The microbes of the roots then purify the air of harmful chemicals, and small, quiet and unseen fans return the pure and naturalised air back into the room. One Naava vertical planter can purify up to 60sq metres of indoor air and would be the equivalent of having approximately 6,000 potted plants in the same space.

Image credit: Naava

Naava’s versatility and mobility enables its use across a number of sectors including offices, hospitality, retail and educational premises. Naava can also be a mobile system, enabling versatility and the option to be used to delineate space.

Neil Jenkins, Managing Director of Office Blueprint said: “With the average person spending 22 hours a day indoors it is of the upmost importance that toxic air quality is reduced. We are committed to healthy, inspiring and stress-free office environments which contributes to enhanced wellbeing and Naava fits perfectly with this mission and our existing product portfolio.”

Several peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that the patented and award-winning Naava is an efficient air purifier. In a Naava space people are happier and less stressed, make less mistakes and suffer less from indoor air symptoms (fatigue, headaches, eye irritation, respiratory problems). There is no other green wall that functions like Naava and Office Blueprint is delighted to be introducing Naava to the UK.

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

Main image credit: WellTek/Naava

Cork wall in a guestroom

Product watch: wall tiles by Granorte bring new meaning to natural aesthetic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: wall tiles by Granorte bring new meaning to natural aesthetic

With the natural aesthetic of cork, Decodalle wall tiles from Granorte offer something new for high-end interiors. Hotel Designs explores…

Delivering a rich collection of decorative cork veneers, Decodalle presents the depth and variety of finishes achievable in this natural and sustainable material, proving its association with retro finishes of the 1960s is dead.

Cork wall in a guestroom

Presenting a finish that’s not only intrinsically beautiful and diverse, but also warm, quiet and durable; Decodalle allows interiors a powerful natural aesthetic without compromising function. In fact, with its Parawax matt coating for resilience and lightweight agglomerated cork backing for easy fitting, Decodalle is a wall tile with impressive features all round. Greenguard certified, 100 per cent ortho-phthalate free and with no added formaldehyde, Decodalle also has the sustainable credentials to match its natural origins.

“When developing products, we appreciate the single biggest influence in choosing cork: its status as a natural and renewable material,” said Paulo Rocha, product and R&D manager at Granorte. “We look for ways to preserve as much of this reasoning within the development of the product, so if there’s an option for a more sustainable or less polluting material we’ll take it, even if it means more development.”

Decodalle is available in 14 cork looks in a 600mm x 300mm x 3mm format for vertical or horizontal application. From the natural forms of Expression and geometric blocks of Elements Rustic Black to the colours of Twist and conventional granulated looks like Forest and Grain, it’s a rounded collection that offers designers real opportunity to create a visual treat.

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

Main image credit: Granorte

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

Rejecting traditional wealth values

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

Back by popular demand, following last months debut event, Hotel Designs LIVE, which will take place on October 13, has  announced the renowned ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley as its headline speaker…

Last month, the industry gathered for Hotel Designs’ debut virtual conference, which broadcasted a series of debates and discussions.

Following the positive response, highlighting how well the virtual event was received, Hotel Designs LIVE (part two) will welcome yet more internationally renowned designers, architects and hoteliers in order to start relevant conversations like no other.

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary virtual seat in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13.

The next edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, will focus on sustainability, adding personality in public areas, reassuring the post-corona consumer and the revival of smart technology post-pandemic.

Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, explains: “When we launched Hotel Designs LIVE as a meaningful way to keep the industry connected throughout lockdown, it was our mission to select engaging and thought-provoking topics that would resonate with our audience. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will look past the short-term issues and solutions that emerged during the pandemic, and will instead focus the editorial lens on wider topics, with sustainability expecting to dominate the general tone of the event. It is important to for us to continue discussing new ways to challenge conventional ideas in order to find sustainable, alternative methods when it comes to design and service – and who better to discuss this than the eco-warrior himself, Bill Bensley?”

Affectionately known as the ‘Willy Wonka of Design’, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. Most recently, he made headlines for unveiling his plans to design a human zoo after publishing his white-paper on sensible sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer.” – Bill Bensley.

When interviewed by Hotel Designs in 2018, the award-winning designer described himself in three words as: “serious, inquisitive and wacky”. Bringing all that energy to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions, Bensley will join Kilburn on the virtual stage to explore how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. “Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer,” Bensley told Hotel Designs. “I am simply ecstatic to join Hamish Kilburn for Hotel Designs LIVE where we will talk about how, as an industry, it is essential for us to work together to design hotels with meaning, and rework conventional ideas and methods in the process – all to create a more profound and considerate international hotel design landscape that puts nature first.”

Hotel Designs LIVE takes place virtually on October 13. Bensley is first speaker of the event who has been announced, with the full panel being unveiled next week.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

The Brit List Awards 2020: meet the judges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Brit List Awards 2020: meet the judges

Now that nominations have officially opened for The Brit List Awards 2020, we would like you to meet this year’s judging panel, which has been carefully selected to include international experts in design, architecture and hotel development…

Here at Hotel Designs, it has become tradition, after nominations and applications have opened for The Brit List Awards, for us to then announce the judges.

In previous years, these experts were selected from all corners of the industry, including respected associations, award-winning travel journalists, stylists and developers.

This year, as well as continuing our firm relationship with the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) by welcoming both the President and the Past-President as judges, we have taken our search global to find this year’s individuals who will sit on the judging panel.

To enter or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2020 (for FREE), click here.

Without further a due, the judges for The Brit List Awards 2020 are:

Lester Bennett, President, BIID

As a Chartered Designer with 30 years experience, Lester Bennett, who has recently started his presidential year at the BIID, has covered many areas of design from running his own practice to being Design Director for the residential development company Westcity. He has built up a stunning portfolio of high profile residential developments both in the UK and overseas.

Ahead of the announcement that the BIID has become an industry Partner for The Brit List Awards for a third year running, Bennett Commented: “In these extremely difficult times, the BIID, as the professional body for interior designers, is offering real support and advice to our membership and by once again partnering The Brit List Awards, this opportunity to showcase the wealth of talent we have in the UK will, I am sure, further encourage a positive future outlook.”

Harriet Forde, Past-President, BIID and co-host, DESIGNPOD

Harriet Forde, who was an instrumental judge last year for The Brit List Awards as has recently been named co-host of DESIGNPOD with editor Hamish Kilburn, is the founder and director of interior design firm Harriet Forde Design.

Ahead of this year’s event, Forde said: “On behalf of the BIID, we are delighted to partner with The Brit List Awards for the third year running. In these challenging times, it is important to look ahead to occasions when we will be able to come together once again, to network with fellow design professionals and celebrate the outstanding level of design within the hospitality industry.”

Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronenberg, Co-Founders, BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG

Alon Baranowitz is a guest professor at Shenkar Collect of Engineering and Design at the Rishon Lezion College, and frequently lectures at the Technion Faulty of Architecture and Town Planning School.

BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG, which was co-founded and is led by Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronenberg, consists of a group of talented architects and designers, all of whome have graduated from institutions around the globe, bringing their worldly cultural experience to the studio’s creative work activity.

The internationally renowned design studio, which operates from Tel Aviv, was resonsible for bringing to to life hotels such as W Amsterdam, Wyndham Grand Frankfurt, Sir Albert Hotel and Mendeli Street Hotel, and has just completed the highly anticipated W Ibiza, which will open later this year.

“We are so pleased to be joining the judging panel for The Brit List Awards 2020,” the pair told Hotel Designs. “With the future of the hospitality sector high on the agenda, we look forward to discovering the best of British talent and who will drive our industry forward into a new and transformative time.”

Erik Nissen Johansen, founder/creative director, Stylt

Erik Nissen Johansen is the founder and creative director of global award-winning hospitality design studio Stylt in Gothenburg, Sweden.

For more than 25 years, Stylt has combined concept development, interior architecture, design and branding to create unique hotel and restaurant experiences for clients all over the world. Under Erik’s leadership, Stylt has won a plethora of awards f0r his portfolio that includes more than 400 restaurants and 250 hotels.

Storytelling is Erik’s tool for bringing experiences and brands to life. Stories are always the red thread in creating the concepts, guiding every aspect of development, from brand positioning to setting of the table. This results in consistent, engaging and memorable design, which in turn creates consistent, engaging and memorable customer experiences. A Stylt story can leverage the guests themselves as marketers, creating word-of-mouth publicity. Furthermore, story-based concepts are well insulated against fluctuating fashions.

Stylt’s completed and ongoing projects include The ANDAZ by Hyatt Dubai, 25h Hotel Düsseldorf, Downtown Camper by Scandic Stockholm, Smoki Korean Marriott Dubai, LEGO House Billund, Huus Hotel Gstaad, Lydmar Stockholm, Spedition Hotel Thun Switzerland, Klaus K Helsinki, Sonya St Petersburg, Stora Hotellet Umeå, The Well Oslo, Le Rouge Stockholm, Le Pain Français Gothenburg, Creekside Villa Canmore Canada and Stenungsbaden Yacht Club Gothenburg.

Ivaylo Lefterov, Hotel Development Director, Miris

With more than 23 years of experience in the luxury hotel development and management industry, encompassing everything from site allocation and acquisition, hotel design and construction to operations and marketing/sales, Ivaylo Lefterov has an eye for quality design and hospitality.

His experience covers the establishment and development of small boutique hotels and large scale resort projects such as The Mirage, Cape Town and Umhlaba Wildlife resort, South Africa, The Cliff Beach&Spa, Bulgaria,  Cibola Vista Resort, Arizona, USA; Villas Del Mar Palmar, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

Currently, Lefterov is working as development director of the Svart Hotel — the worlds first energy positive hotel. 

Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs

Hamish Kilburn, who will act as head judge and will also host The Brit List Awards virtually on November 12 for a third consecutive year, is the editor of Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website.

In his role, Kilburn has travelled the globe, to far-flung destinations, in order to review some of the world’s most impressive hotels, and has interviewed the masterminds behind their creations. As a result, he has gained a detailed understanding as to what it takes to be at the forefront of the industry’s development and evolution.

In addition to being at the helm of the editorial desk at Hotel Designs, Kilburn is a regular speaker and host at international design, architecture and hospitality events, and is co-host of DESIGNPOD, a new podcast to serve the A+D community.

So there you have it, the judges of The Brit List Awards 2020.

To enter or nominate someone for The Brit List Awards 2020 (for FREE), click here.

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

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

On November 12, the shortlisted finalists of designers, hoteliers, architects as well as key suppliers to the industry will gather virtually where The Brit List 2020 will be unveiled along with the individual winners.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050. Tickets to both the virtual event and the winners party will be available to secure soon. 


Crosswater | Hamilton Litestat | Duravit | Aqualisa | Schlüter Systems

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

Driving the industry to search for and specify sustainable art, Artelier explores sustainable artwork in luxury contexts…

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values.

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values. What once was more of a fashionable trend has rightly become a major cross-sector movement, and increasingly diverse industries are promoting eco-conscious practices. Most importantly, consumers are holding companies accountable for their claims, and want them to do more than swap out plastic straws or reuse cups. This has led to a push for innovative new concepts, uses of materials, and structural changes, so that the needs of projects are met in a significantly more sustainable way.

Within sectors such as luxury hospitality, a major question has arisen over how to deliver the exquisite interior design that a discerning clientele have come to expect, whilst also being sustainable. Naturally, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive – much of cutting-edge luxury design now favours natural materials and a stripped-back simplicity, which lends itself to sustainable products. A key way of sustainably creating adding luxury to these spaces are intelligently curated artworks. Sustainable artworks can bridge the gap between creating a stunning aesthetic experience and promoting environmentally responsible design.

As art consultants, Artelier have discovered first-hand how art can enhance and deepen a project’s focus on sustainability. Here, Artelier’s curators offer their insight into the dilemmas faced by luxury industries, and explore how inventive artists can create sustainable artworks by transforming humble materials into stunning installations.

The dilemma of decorating sustainably

After the architectural and engineering efforts in new-build projects, it is critical for the interior design to likewise be sustainable, whilst creating the right aesthetic impression. Few luxury items, however, can offer sustainability, since often they are made from materials like precious metals and rare marbles. Artworks are in themselves luxury items, and can meanwhile be produced with full sustainability in mind – artists can take basic and sustainable materials and through their craftsmanship make them luxury items. Rather than being a ‘token’ sustainable element, a newly commissioned artwork can reflect the owner’s own sustainable philosophy as each aspect of producing the artwork can be transparently low-impact.

The idea of bespoke items and artworks has long been at the height of luxury, and so many private clients have supported artists through commissioning artworks. In their pursuit of the bespoke and one-off, patrons have championed low-volume craftsmanship for their willingness to pay for artworks to be hand-made specially for them. In recent years, technology has advanced so much that a similar visual effect can be achieved – eye-catching surfaces can be cost-effectively created by companies with faux metals, resins and plastics. Whilst they meet the tastes of clients and can be seductively beautiful objects, the materials used to create these effects are not sustainable. When private clients instead choose to invest in commissioned artworks, they not only receive an ultra-bespoke interior feature, but a significantly more sustainable option.

Image credit: Artelier

Natural materials

While some contemporary artists actively use ancient craft techniques, more broadly many artists authentically engage with sustainability through using exclusively natural materials. Taking humble and widespread materials such as wood, they are able to creatively transform them into fine art. The artworks communicate the natural beauty of earth’s resources, and deeply connect viewers with the environment by making them experience nature in new and surprising ways.

One such artist is Christian Burchard, who creates wood sculptures from a tree species native to the area surrounding his studio in Oregon, USA. His expressive carving creates poetic and dynamic sculptural compositions. He aims to show viewers the essence of the wood’s natural structures, allowing the material to ‘speak its own language’, rather than imposing onto it. Artelier commissioned a collection of Burchard’s work for superyacht Pelorus (115m). The client and the interior designer used a neutral palette within the interiors, as they wanted a pure and natural design that utilised organic materials. They approached Artelier for us to identify artists that were in tune with their own materials, and would contribute to the sustainable feel of the overall design.

Artist Stuart Ian Frost’s creates site-specific installations from natural, and often foraged, raw materials. Each installation is created specially for its landscape, and Frost seeks to evoke the particularities of the individual environment. He draws inspiration from local geographical features and the raw materials themselves, but also often looks to incorporate the culture and architecture of the area. Like Burchard, Frost’s artworks seek to present nature in an unfamiliar, yet illuminating way, encouraging the viewer to challenge their own perceptions of the materials. His large-scale sculptures playfully incorporate pattern and organic shapes to transform the raw materials, giving them a newfound vitality. Meanwhile, his smaller scale artworks use foraged natural materials, such as bird quills, and represent them in expressive geometric designs.

Found materials are also central to British multi-disciplinary artist Sir Richard Long, who uses basic materials like mud or rocks to create sculptures, paintings, and installations. In so doing, he pushes the boundaries of which materials are typically considered suitable for fine art. Many of his artworks are created while on walks in landscapes, a primordial engagement between man and earth, and are left to be reclaimed by nature. His gallery artworks likewise present a visceral engagement with natural resources, such as his paintings created from mud from the Riven Avon in England; Long uses his bare hands to paint, preserving his gestures by leaving his hand and finger prints visible.

In such ways, many artists are naturally resourceful and low impact, by their use of foraged and natural materials. Conceptually, many of these artists are also inspired by how the natural world can be represented to viewers, in a way that emphasises man’s harmony with nature rather than dominance over it. Within a sustainable project, these artworks bear special significance, as they symbolise the objective behind incorporating sustainability – a re-evaluation of how humankind interacts with the environment, and how we can better preserve and respect natural resources.

Sustainability in the world of hospitality

As modern, eco-conscious people travel the world, they seek hotels that are likewise committed to sustainability. Hoteliers and hospitality designers must respond to this demand, and while efforts to promote environmentally conscious operations like reducing washing or plastic waste are worthwhile, sustainability has to be a key concern from the initial stages of hotel design to be more deeply effective.

However, when considering the sheer scale of hotels and how hotel areas will be used, ensuring sustainability throughout the hotel poses more obstacles than in private spaces. Many materials, for example, need to be more hard-wearing: carpets that use synthetic fibres are easier to clean, and often need to be synthetic in order to comply with fire safety regulations. Meanwhile, while materials like marbles or metals can be used sparingly in private properties, they are simply not sustainable at the quantity required for hotels.

Image credit: Artelier

For a hotel project to be truly sustainable, sustainability has to be a core consideration from the inception of the project. It has to be considered in everything from structural materials and utilising natural sun and ventilation, to being rigorous in sourcing reputable interior suppliers who prioritise sustainable production. In order to make sustainable hotel design more than simply tapping into a trend, new hotels have focus on longevity – much negative environmental impact comes from the waste of replacing worn-out features.

Considering this level of care to incorporate sustainability, it is essential that decorative aspects are not an afterthought to the project. After great effort has gone into sustainable design solutions, artworks can be overlooked, and in reality not be that sustainable. Whilst on an individual basis each artwork’s sustainability may not be a major source for concern, together they can make a significant impact. If every room features artworks as well as the lobby, stairwells, and spa areas, irresponsible sourcing and using even small amounts of unsustainable materials can quickly add up. It is essential, therefore, to work coherently with specialist art consultants who are able to make sourcing sustainable art straightforward, and curate the entire collection for minimal environmental impact.

In addition, sustainable artworks bring many benefits to the hotel project. If a hotel decides to compromise on luxury materials in favour of sustainability, and opt for a more neutral, pared-back approach to interior design, the artwork can become the accent or focal point in the space. Sourcing art is further a great opportunity for supporting local artists, as artworks can be created from local materials and shipping costs are minimised. Supporting sustainable artists also makes for an engaging way for the hotel to promote its values and reflect its context.

Image credit: Artelier

Communicating sustainability through art

With the move towards environmental concern, many mass-producing companies have tried to meet this demand by providing ‘sustainable’ products. However, is there really space for this in the future, when increasingly the move towards sustainability goes beyond natural materials, but also sustainable practices in the studio? Clients are trying to achieve a sense of connection in their projects, and so the individualism of makers is in itself becoming increasingly more valued. Bespoke artworks are a more authentic and personal way of decorating. A specially commissioned artwork can symbolically convey the central concerns of a client, and communicate their focus on sustainability.

Image credit: Artelier

Ever since artworks were created by ancient civilisations, artists have used their work as a traditional form of visual communication, that goes beyond simply decorative enhancement. Art engages the viewer’s attention and creates atmosphere, producing an immediate and non-verbal understanding. A basic material transformed into a large-scale art installation instantly conveys to viewers the artist’s commentary on man’s relationship with the natural world. For instance, in a commission for the headquarters of a company at the forefront of recycling innovation, Artelier commissioned a mobile sculpture that embodied the company values. Created from sustainable steam-bent wood, the mobile constantly evolves and transforms, representing the concept of recycling forms.

Art offers a way to combine luxury with truly sustainable practices, and is one of the few products to be able to do so. But it more than simply decoration – art is able to tell a story. It communicates the deeper essence of the project, and is an evocative way of representing its sustainable values. The skill of the art consultant is to be able to source artworks that stay true to the project’s commitment to sustainability, and curate them in such a way that conveys the message to a wider audience.

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

Main image credit: Artelier

FEATURE: inside Timothy Oulton’s self-isolation dome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: inside Timothy Oulton’s self-isolation dome

It may not be a hotel, but Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome was meaningfully created ahead of its time to shelter a luxurious home-from-home. Its dynamically designed interiors are enclosed under a dome structure – and its naturally isolating features meet the new demands of modern travellers…

Originally conceived as a refuge for visitors, Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome, which is nestled at the centre of a mature lychee garden in southern China, has evolved into a living, breathing test bed – the kind of experiment in sustainable architecture, materiality and hospitality that can only happen meaningfully over the course of time.

The current global situation has only served to push this testing bed to new extremes, with co-founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws establishing the garden their base for 2020, allowing them to continue working whilst riding out the storm.

“The Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard.”

Designed and built entirely by the practice, the Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard. It uses sustainably sourced FSC and reclaimed timbers alongside high performance glazing to create a soaring column free space that can be internally configured to suit the varying needs of visitors who arrive from all four corners of the globe, with guests typically staying for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Inside the luxury dome

Image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio

More recently however, Oulton and Laws have found themselves part of a small group, residing permanently in the garden; using the dome as a base from which to continue working on projects whilst simultaneously contemplating what the future holds for hospitality and design post-Covid 19. Time spent in the dome living, working and hosting local industry leaders as their businesses began to emerge from lockdown has proved an invaluable insight. It is precisely Halodome’s ability to offer a hospitable environment bridging the gap between living and visiting that has stimulated so much interest in the design this year.

“Furthermore, it [the Halodome] can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature.” – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio.

“The hospitality sector in is in a deep period of reflection and transition,” Laws told Hotel Designs. “Hoteliers are looking to pivot their businesses and adapt to the new normal. At the same time, there is an opportunity for the industry to actively turn towards a more sustainable future. What the Halodome does rather successfully is offer a multipurpose space that meets unique new demands – it is in itself a bubble, cocooning its occupants safely in a manner that can be easily adapted to individual or group needs. Furthermore, it can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature in a really unique setting.”

The Halodome’s ecological, logistical and long-term fiscal credentials undoubtedly play a part in concept’s appeal to the sector. The prefabricated building can be shipped anywhere in the world in just three containers, which can be combined with the shipping of pieces crafted by the studio’s sister company – the global furniture manufacturer Timothy Oulton – to offer an entire hospitality solution where needed. Its passive energy design principles take careful consideration of sun control, ventilation and insulation, combined with modern, high performance and recycled materials, to create a building with a smaller ecological footprint and ongoing energy cost savings.

Hoteliers have found themselves charting unknown territory and the Timothy Oulton Studio team believes concepts like the Halodome can help to navigate these choppy new waters.

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

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio

FIRST LOOK: 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti

Borders between the indoors and outdoors cease to exist in the 2020 Outdoor Collection by Minotti, which was marvellously coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni. Editor Hamish Kilburn shares his first peek of the collection…

Long before the pandemic disrupted our social lives, the industry had identified a rising interest in open-air living.

A demand for biophillic design, combined with a desire to explore new sustainable approaches and materials to evoke wellbeing, opened the door so that designers could flirt with nature to design innovative spaces.

Minotti, very much a pioneer behind changing the definition of premium outdoor furniture, has used this approach for some time now in its designs for furnishing open-air areas. The brand realised early on that spaces with an inviting, relaxing vibe – whether they are corners of urban nature, exteriors nestled in the lush green landscape or overlooking the tranquil waters – evoke a natural sense of luxury and escape.

The 2020 Outdoor Collection develops these principles with targeted design proposals, which originate from different design cultures but are conceived to co-exist in a harmonious dialogue. It focuses on the independence of the individual pieces, each with its own identity and original personality, but also with the versatility required to design compositions that can furnish large spaces, and to be mixed with other elements of different styles from the 2020 Outdoor Collection.

The collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, hosts pieces by leading international designers, such as GamFratesi, Marcio Kogan / studio mk27 and Dordoni himself. The outdoor furniture pieces are based on the main geometric shapes – square, rectangle, circle -, one of the characterising features of the 2020 Indoor Collection. The couture aspect, another leitmotiv of Minotti’s interior design projects, can be found in the sophisticated juxtaposition of the materials, in the choice of precious natural wood types, in the exquisite finishes, the textures and the tactile feel of the textile coverings.

Statement pieces of the 2020 Outdoor Collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, include:

Sunray – Rodolfo Dordoni Design

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Sunray designs a new, open-air landscape where exquisite design and carefully researched comfort join forces to create an intimate, relaxing atmosphere. With its enveloping design, the Sunray seating system is inspired by the desire to design situations that convey a sensation of intimacy and relaxation, in line with the concept of open-air living that imitates the comfort and beauty of indoor furnishing solutions.I

It is designed both to play a leading role in outdoor settings and to complement the other furnishing pieces in the collection.
It juxtaposes different shapes and materials: its airy surface in natural teak wood defines its horizontal line, while the curved backrest with interwoven cords gives it a dynamic allure.

The system, composed of pieces that can be used alone or combined together, offers a variety of compositional solutions thanks to the high versatility of its elements. The family is composed of armchair, sofa, end element with or without extending top, chaise-longue, loveseat, daybed with reclining backrest, and square and rectangular coffee tables.

Sunray Meg – Rodolfo Dordoni

Simple coffee table next to outdoor minotti sofa

Image credit: Minotti

With a simple and clean design but a vibrant personality, the Sunray Meg coffee tables add a distinctive splash of colour to outdoor settings.
The Sunray Meg family hosts a series of versatile, practical coffee tables in various sizes and heights that blend in perfectly with the most diverse compositions of the Outdoor collection.

The simple, airy design of the metal tubular structure in polished Bronze finish allows for its combination with all the products in the collection. Its distinctive feature is the colour of the top in stratified HPL laminate, available in glossy lacquered White, Rust and Khaki Green finishes, blending in seamlessly with the palette of the outdoor textile collection.

EDITOR’S PICK: Florida – Rodolfo Dordoni

Luxury outdoor minotti sofa on terrace

Image credit: Minotti

Natural teak is the wood chosen for Florida to complement the mood of the 2020 Collection and design living compositions blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

The wide range of elements in Florida allows for the creation of many linear or sinuous compositions that meet the increasingly common need to enjoy smaller, more intimate spaces, as well as convivial spaces also in outdoor environments.

The seating system presents itself as a carefully-designed collection of soft and geometric volumes, defined by profiles in eco-leather suitable for outdoor use, available in four colours – Light Grey, Dark Grey, Brown and Sand. The structure of Florida is in metal, appropriately treated to resist corrosion, and it is immersed in a foam padding, then covered in waterproof fibre and fabric, making it weatherproof.

The Florida coffee table features feet in solid natural teak wood and a top with shaped edge in Pietra del Cardoso, in a brushed finish. Due to its mineral composition, Pietra del Cardoso is exceptionally compact and extremely weatherproof.
The backrest cushions are attached to the wooden rear supports thanks to refined Pewter coloured metal frog fasteners, allowing for the quick release of the cushions and consequently an easy removal of the coverings. The feet are made of solid natural teak wood, as are the rear reinforcements that support the padded backrest.

Fynn Outdoor – GamFratesi

Low reclined outdoor chairs by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

In Fynn, Scandinavian values meet Italian tradition. A contemporary design for outdoor spaces in teak wood, crafted with fine cabinet-making workmanship.

With a completely innovative approach, the fine cabinet-making process used for the manufacturing of outdoor wooden furniture is applied to a family of outdoor furnishing pieces in solid teak, combining sophisticated workmanship with an ultra-contemporary design.

Characterised by an interwoven frame that hosts soft seat and backrest cushions, Fynn has in the armrest its signature element.
Elongated and slightly curved, rounded and smooth to the touch, it is completely handmade: its precise, well-defined line identifies the entire family, composed of armchair, lounge and dining little armchairs, benches, footstools, coffee tables in different sizes and a dining table.

The Fynn Outdoor armchair and little armchairs feature a distinctive ultra-lightweight aesthetic with a simple structure in teak. The frame is interwoven with wicker-effect cords in Mud colour, hosting a padded seat and backrest cushion, designed as a single element. The informal rigour with which Fynn Outdoor hosts the padded element designs a comfortable seat.

The bench completes the family. Its cushions sit on a frame interwoven with wicker-effect cords in Mud colour.
The coffee tables also share the same line as the wooden armrest, which designs a slight curve also found in the rounded sides of the top. The central part of the coffee table is enhanced by the presence of the top in Pietra del Cardoso, creating a sophisticated combination of materials.

Daiki Outdoor – Marcio Kogan/studio mk27

The low-level Daiki outdoor chair by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

The Daiki seats, born out of the Brazilian architect’s passion for Japanese culture, go outdoors, where the open-air space is conceived and experienced as an extension of the indoor living area: a veritable tribute to Japanese design culture.
The Daiki family includes armchairs with a deep seat, available both with and without arms, a dining little armchair and a footstool.

Created using sophisticated wood crafting techniques, the curved shell in solid teak comprises two elements joined at a 45° angle, with a sloping backrest that guarantees maximum comfort. In the outdoor version the shell offers a snug fit for the stitched cushions, and is set on a stainless-steel frame with Bronze-coloured varnished polished legs.

A design that also explores and reinterprets the American Mid-Century atmospheres, injecting new life into the style of contemporary outdoor furnishing with its clean, bold lines, exquisite teak working technique and balanced proportions.

Block Outdoor – Rodolfo Dordoni

Luxe white Minotti table

Image credit: Minotti

With its sculptural look and frame in solid wood inspired by Brutalist architecture, Block Outdoor stands out for its big personality.
Structured in the form of a block of solid wood, the base of the Outdoor version of the Block coffee table retains its solid volume in the shape of an “L” or an upside-down “T”, but it is proposed in natural teak.

The top, with smooth edges resembling a river pebble, and tactile finish, is available in Pietra del Cardoso or with a plastic look in White glossy lacquer plastic finish.

The Block Outdoor coffee table is available in two different heights, both with rectangular top.

Avery – Minotti Studio

Patterend rug by Minotti

Image credit: Minotti

With its modern vibe and reassuring, sophisticated colour, the Avery rug elegantly furnishes outdoor spaces. The Avery rug stands out for its woven mesh structure, made with special looms that are exclusively custom-engineered for Minotti. It is the result of a semi-artisanal crafting process, which involves assembling strips of material sewn with high tenacity yarn. The acrylic fibre used to make it respects and enhances its characteristics of permeability, breathability and suitability for humid environments.

In conclusion, by using the same designers and styles in both areas of the 2020 collection, Minotti and the masterful designers behind each piece have further blurred the line between indoor and outdoor furniture, and in the process have taken luxury furniture into a new era.

Main image credit: Minotti

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

The debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place during lockdown on June 23, broadcasted four engaging virtual seminars. Editor Hamish Kilburn and publisher Katy Phillips share the highlights…

On June 23, hundreds of leading designers, architects and hoteliers from around the world tuned in for the debut of Hotel Designs LIVE.

The new one-day virtual conference, hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn from his hometown of Whitstable in England, broadcasted live conversations with industry experts on topics such as technology, public areas, sleep and wellness. In his opening speech, Kilburn explained how the concept emerged. “Hotel Designs LIVE (sponsored by Technological Innovations Group) was born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “It is our way – and we believe the most meaningful method – to keep the industry connected while also keeping the conversation flowing.”

Seminar 1: technology

To kick-start the event in a spectacular fashion, Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton LitestatTechnological Innovations GroupNT SecurityAir Reviver and Aqualisa.

Seminar 2: public areas

Following a quick-fire interview with Technological Innovations Group, the event’s headline sponsor, and after Jason Bradbury took the mic the debut session entitled Technology’s Role in tomorrow’s hotel, Kilburn launched the first panel discussion of the day, which was entitled: Will public areas ever be the same?

Emma King (Head of Design (Europe) IHG), Alon Barronwitz (Director at Baranowitz + Kronenberg) and Geraldine Dohogne (Founder of Beyond Design) got comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss the difficult reality of public areas post-pandemic. The main takeaways were adapting as designers to meet modern consumer demands to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience. The panel also discussed the need for intuitive public areas for ‘bleisure’ guests.

Stylo Graphics, which sponsored the session, asked the panel whether they have managed to implement directional signage controls and physical distancing measures to safeguard guest and staff wellbeing whilst maintaining great guest experience. King responded: “We have adjusted layouts of public areas and included social distancing measures in our hotels. To do this effectively, we have ensured that the colours and styles we have used are in keeping with our brand standards.”

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Inspired By Design and Falcon Contract Flooring.

Seminar 3: sleep

Up next, steering the conversation away from the pandemic, Kilburn focuses the editorial lens on sleep with a session entitled: Designing the guestroom to evoke a better night’s sleep, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group.

In order to explore this area of the hotel experience, he welcomed Darija Aziz, the in-house designer for Zedwell Hotels, to discuss one particular project that centres its entire model around sleep performance; Zedwell Piccadilly.

Zedwell has been designed with sleep at its core but also to promote health and wellbeing in every form,” Aziz explained. “Rooms were designed to eliminate clutter and remove anxiety, hence no TV or complicated controls. Interestingly, all the guestrooms have no windows in order to eliminate central London noise and bright lights.”

Adding context to the conversation, and bringing technology back into the discussion, Kilburn welcomes sound architect Tom Middleton into the seminar who explained that technology generically exposes the wrong frequency, and the fact that influences such a circadian rhythm needs to be more considered when designing the guestroom to evoke sleep performance.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from