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“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“COVID-19 pandemic will put sustainability on hold,” experts warn

Analysts at GlobalData have predicted that the global outbreak of COVID-19 will steer the UK consumer’s attention off sustainability…

Sustainability was the buzz word of 2019 and would have continued to increase in prominence in 2020. However, the COVID–19 pandemic will bring progress to a halt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“Making changes to materials, logistics and production processes to improve the sustainability of products and operations will slow, as sustainability is no longer top of retailers’ and consumers’ agendas,” commented Emily Salter, Analyst at GlobalData. “This is due to long-term adjustments being costly and many non-food retailers will be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales.”

Sustainability and single-use plastic will be less important to many consumers in the short term where hygiene and cleanliness is more of a priority to prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the outbreak, shopping habits were starting to shift – 74 per cent of nationally representative UK consumers surveyed in 2019 said they would prefer to shop at a retailer that has more loose fruit and vegetables. However, the prioritisation of health over the environment has led to a drastic increase in sales of anti-bacterial gel and hand wash in plastic bottles, with little regard for plastic-free alternatives or refills that may be available.

Salter continues: “Another issue is the problem of unsold stock that retailers will be stuck with, as all non-essential stores and some websites have ceased trading temporarily. Some items and ranges could be able to be sold at a later date, but this may not be the case for highly seasonal and trend-led pieces, raising questions about how these items will be disposed. Given Burberry came under fire for burning stock in 2018, retailers must be careful how they deal with this issue. Acting quickly, Kurt Geiger has announced it plans to donate some of its stock to NHS staff, clearing through the excess while also generating positive press.”

Additionally, during the outbreak consumers will be less likely or unable to buy second hand items – sales via some Facebook neighbourhood groups for instance are being discouraged or stopped, and willingness may decline after the crisis is over due to lingering concerns about the hygiene of used products.

Salter concludes: “Although sustainability will slowly become more important again once the spread of COVID-19 has ceased, the increased awareness of cleanliness and germs is likely to remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds and will continue to hinder the growth of sustainability initiatives, such as refill stores.”

Image credit: Pixabay

Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

Architect Bill Bensley responded to a hotel brief by designing a hotel where guests are caged while wild, exotic animals roam free…

Known for his bohemian and brilliant ideas when it comes to sustainability, architect Bill Bensley has perhaps new creative heights by designing a concept to flip the idea of a zoo on its head, allowing animals to run free while humans in put in cage-like rooms.

CNN reported that the first phase of the eight-year WorldWild project, which will consist of several different top branded hotels, is slated to open in as early as 2023.

The ‘human zoo’ hotel concept, which will be targeted to luxury travellers who are seeking for unparalleled experiences, will shelter 2,400 ‘human cages’ that will actually look more like high-end, design-led guestrooms that frame an uninterrupted and uncorrupted view on natural the wildlife below.

The site where the hotel is being conceived is situated on a 2,000-hectare plot, which will reinstate wetlands to encourage biodiversity.

With the concrete aim being firm to free wildlife from captivity, Bensley’s concept has recently reached a milestone, gaining approval from Southern China’s Communist Party to relocate abused animals from zoos in the country, to be released onto the roughly 2,000-hectare piece of land where the ‘human zoo’ will be located.

Bensley’s latest wild concept will give animals the luxury of 95 per cent of the land to roam about in, while humans will reside in just five per cent of the grounds in the hotel.

Turning the Zoo concept on its head when designing a new hotel approach has raised further questions as to how hospitality can help to educate people on how to conserve areas that would not otherwise be protected.

Main image credit: Bensley

Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

Hotel Designs has gained virtual access inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, which is expected to open in May as the brand’s second hotel to arrive in Orlando… 

Ideally situated on the doorstep Walt Disney World Florida, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been appropriately designed with warm interiors that are suitable and accessible to all.

The resort’s calm, inviting social spaces and amenities will include a Spa by JW, resort pool with splash pad, specialty restaurants, as well as a rooftop terrace boasting nightly views of theme park firework displays.

Render of outside terrace

Image credit: Marriott International

Inspired by its natural surroundings, the expansive 516-key JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has been thoughtfully designed to promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. The sophisticated décor includes indigenous woods, wicker, reeds and stone features from the inviting lobby to the airy guestrooms and suites.

“We are truly delighted to continue to expand our JW Marriott portfolio in Orlando, Florida,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President & Global Brand Leader, JW Marriott when the hotel’s opening date was announced. “The new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will bring a modern, luxurious and wellness-focused setting to our guests in Orlando, inviting them on an enriching journey of relaxation with experiences crafted with their holistic well-being in mind.”

Render of modern, light guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International

The guestrooms and suites feature lofted beds for an array of sleeping arrangements, spa-like bathrooms, and larger living areas, Family Suites are designed specially to make stays more comfortable and convenient for multi-generational families traveling with young children or any guests looking to come together and foster a true connection.

When the hotel opens, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa will provide guests with warm, uplifting service and experiences designed to deepen their journeys. The new resort is said to offer a luxury escape for travellers who come to feel present in mind, nourished in body and revitalised.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: COVID–19 pandemic is forcing an evolution in wellness

When we eventually return to ‘normal’ life following the worldwide pandemic of COVID–19, we will all have become acutely aware of how Mother Nature can rapidly alter the status quo and severely affect each and every one of us; where we go, who we see, what we do. Room to Breathe gives Hotel Designs an insight on what might change…

There’s no doubt about it, the personal and commercial effects of the current outbreak will be felt for years to come.

Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.

Whether we are at our workplace, attending leisure facilities or travelling for business or pleasure, we all now have a heightened awareness of how we interact and will now expect and demand a higher level of service from providers that takes cognisance of the perceived risks as a result of this. Put simply, COVID–19 will change the way we work, how we live and how and where we travel.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Few markets have felt the full force of this pandemic more than the hospitality sector. It has decimated trade, scattered the labour force and threatened the very existence of the supply chain. Travellers, holiday makers and businesspeople alike will now become even more difficult to satisfy and will seek to be given as much reassurance as possible.

A single night stay becomes your biggest issue as each and every night your new customer requires that peace of mind that your room is as safe as possible for them to stay in. Failure to address these new concerns could result in the long-term repeat visitor more likely to ‘go somewhere else next time’.

“By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.”

Family on bed

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Capturing this feeling of assured safety every time must be seen as the focal point for Customer Satisfaction.

What can be done?

So what can the hospitality sector do to insulate itself from the aftershock of COVID–19 and prepare for the inevitable increase in customer demands? What can be done to provide that ‘peace of mind’ that is desired?

Is carrying out the same cleaning protocols more frequently by an already stretched housekeeping department going to provide the reassurance required? In a word, no.

By taking steps to show your commitment to your customers’ health and wellbeing is now, more than ever, of paramount importance.

Image credit: Room to Breathe

A cleaner solution

A new approach to a new problem must be the way forward. It needs to address the worries and concerns of your customers but must, just as importantly, be cost effective. Imagine the cost of a ‘deep clean’ between every guest. This is neither practical nor affordable.

This is where Room to Breathe comes into its own. By providing a room that can demonstrate continuous and permanent ‘self-cleaning’ provision, you can provide customers with an unrivalled level of service and commitment to their needs and concerns.

“Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses.”

Originally developed to provide safe, clean accommodation for the millions of travellers who have a hypersensitivity to various toxins, pathogens and allergens, Room to Breathe also kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses (incl. influenza, SARS, MERS).

Step One – deep clean

An initial industrial air purge followed by a combination of steam cleaning above 40℃, ultra-low-penetration air (UPLA) vacuuming and the application of our unique decontamination fluid which is deadly to pathogens (but is safe to all higher living organisms) is fogged into the area ensuring every surface coated.

Additionally, by using innovative UV technology we can rid mattresses, pillows and soft furnishings of undesirable micro-organisms within seconds.

Fogger in room

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Step Two – Anti-microbial coating

Once the area has been decontaminated, our antimicrobial coating ‘BioTouch’, will be is applied. The BioTouch formula bonds to a clean surface and when viruses and bacteria land on the protected surface, the cellular structure is ruptured (not poisoned) and becomes defunct.

The only way BioTouch can be removed is by it being chipped off. Where there is a risk of this, on door handles, light switches for example, we can easily reapply to maintain the coatings efficiency.

Step three – Bedding and soft furnishings

Using our own unique formula, Protext solution provides a layer of invisible protection which permanently interrupts the life cycle of dust mites and bed bugs.

Our method avoids the use of toxins so whilst lethal to bugs and mites does not pose a risk to the client. This is also applied to all fabrics and soft furnishings.

Step Four – continuous air sanification. 

Installing filterless air sanifiers provides the final level of protection. Using technology originally developed by NASA, our sanifiers seek out contaminants and pathogens within the air and on surfaces and neutralise them.

By applying this four step process, we not only eradicate 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria, we also provide a continuous level of protection in between our Deep Clean processes.

Certification

On completion certification is provided and displayed either outside or within the room to provide that peace of mind to Customers and employees alike.

A Room Information Pack is provided for guests to simply explain the RTB system, providing that peace of mind. In order to maintain the certification, Steps One and Two are carried out every four months in accordance with our terms and conditions.

On-site training is also provided to Housekeeping staff in order to ensure the efficacy of the RTB system is maintained. This is no more onerous to staff and in fact will simplify their cleaning protocols.

Cost 

Based on an occupancy of 72 per cent, our cost model demonstrates that a ROI of 100 per cent can be achieved in the first year with a surcharge of just £15 per night per room.

We truly believe Room to Breathe is the next step in the evolution of the hospitality market. Our processes not only provide protection from unseen pathogens but are also proven to improve cognitive function, enable better quality of sleep and promote overall wellbeing.

So whether you are wanting ensure the highest level of protection for your customers or are looking to capture the untapped market for those travellers with intolerances or allergies then Room to Breathe could well be the answer.

Room to Breathe 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: Room to Breathe

IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Jean-Michel Gathy’s plans for Amaala Island, Saudi Arabia

Design and architecture studio Denniston’s Jean-Michel Gathy has been announced as the master planner of the ultra luxe AMAALA Island in Saudi Arabia…

Denniston’s internationally multi-award-winning architect, Jean-Michel Gathy, has released the first rendering showing what Ultra Luxe Amaala Island will look like.

Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, AMAALA, located along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast, is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

Rendering of 'The Palace', which will be situated on The Island

Image caption: A rendering of ‘The Palace’, which will be situated on The Island

Set in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve across three unique communities, the 3,800-square kilometres (1,460-square miles) year-round destination will include 2,500 hotel keys and more than 800 residential villas, apartments and estate homes, alongside 200 high-end retail establishments, fine dining, wellness and recreation.

“This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

“The Island development will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel,” explained Gathy. “Its lifestyle components, its landscaping, the museums, and art installations together with the art community will transform this island into the ‘Diamond of the Red Sea’. It will feature many different venues for permanent installations or temporary exhibitions and artistic performances. The graphic layout of its spine will be distinctive from the air and will be recognised internationally as an iconic landmark. The project features all elements programmed and reflects the areas, numbers and facilities. This is truly unique, nothing like it has ever been planned before.”

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a 'seven-star' hotel room

Image caption: A rendering showing the open-air design scheme of a ‘seven-star’ hotel room

Representing one of AMAALA’s trio of communities – Triple Bay, Coastal Development and The Island – ‘The Island’ will be the tranquil home of an exclusive art community, and an Arabic botanical garden filled with sculptural pieces. The new destination will house masterpieces across four key design elements: a contemporary art museum and academy, a Riviera-lifestyle artists’ colony, immersive artistic experiences, and art and sculpture co-creation opportunities.

The active community of The Island will be anchored by an artists’ village of working studios, artisanal shops, galleries, plus exhibition and performance facilities hosting a year-round calendar of immersive, and transformative works, representing the pillar of arts and culture. Fully aligned with Saudi Arabia’s ambitions for the future, the development of AMAALA is being rolled out across three key phases, with completion of the destination aimed for ahead of the realisation of Saudi Vision 2030.

AMAALA carves a unique positioning within the global hospitality portfolio, catering to select travellers looking for innovative experiential escapes,” said Chief Executive Officer of AMAALA, Nicholas Naples. “Our ambition is to create personalised experiences, catering to the individual needs of each guest. Entrenched in the philosophies of art, wellness, and inspired by the purity of the Red Sea, we are excited to be working alongside Jean-Michel Gathy and Denniston to bring to life our vision for The Island. It is here where our guests will embark on a transformational journey and feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, with opportunities for philanthropic art co-creation.”

In addition to the The Island, Triple Bay will offer a fully holistic wellness retreat, state-of-the-art diagnostic medical facilities and authentic treatments designed to feature the local environment. Triple Bay will also be home to a fully integrated sports and entertainment community.

Elsewhere, The Coastal Development is set to become the defining hub of contemporary art in the Middle East, playing host to a dynamic programme of exciting events from the global arts and cultural calendar.

All image credits: Denniston/AMAALA

Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Aloft Hotels arrives in Bali with new ‘future-proof design’

Aloft Hotels’ First property on the Island of Bali introduces the brand’s new ‘future-proof design formula’…

Aloft Hotels, Marriott International’s hotel brand for music enthusiasts and tech-savvy travellers, has announced the opening of Aloft Bali Seminyak.

Located in the heart of vibrant Seminyak, within walking distance to the beachm, the urban-inspired hotel features interactive social spaces and modern style, along with a fresh new social scene to Bali as the first Aloft hotel to open on the island.

“We are excited to be unveiling the Aloft Hotels brand in Bali,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International. “The new Aloft Bali Seminyak is set to own the stage as the hottest gathering hub for travellers visiting the well-known social scene of Seminyak. From its bold design to its live music programming, locals and guests alike can experience the next generation of hotels that will enhance their stay while vacationing on island paradise.”

Aloft Bali Seminyak embodies the brand’s new tech-forward design philosophy with a lively, industrial-inspired aesthetic intermixed with distinct local touches that complement the free-flowing open spaces. The hotel is home to 80 modern and stylish guestrooms, all of which have been designed with the brand’s signature artful and innovative loft layout in mind. They feature airy nine-foot-ceilings, Aloft’s ultra-comfortable beds and contemporary décor with Balinese accents. In addition, the hotel features eight guestrooms with direct access to a lap pool, complete with stunning views of a tropical hanging garden.

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

The hotel features a variety of dining and social spaces including its main attraction: The Kahuna rooftop restaurant, which serves up a fusion of eclectic fare with a playful twist on international and local cuisine complemented by mesmerising sea views as a backdrop.

The open and expressive lobby is adjacent to Re:mix lounge that provides locals and travellers a space to mix and mingle. The brand’s signature W XYZ bar offers signature cocktails and light bites for guests to enjoy over live music as part of the brand’s iconic Live At Aloft Hotels music series which offers emerging local artists a platform to showcase their musical talent.

Business travellers can make use of the two multi-functional, tech-forward meeting spaces equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, which can also be transformed into an intimate event venue accommodating up to 66 people.

Aloft currently operates 176 lifestyle hotels globally. There are 132 Aloft hotels in the signed pipeline expected to open in North America, Caribbean & Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

The bathroom brand GROHE has announced suspended production in Portugal and manufacturing sites in Germany to  run adjusted production schedules in reaction to the COVID–19 pandemic…

GROHE has implemented its next steps in taking action to protect employees across its European manufacturing sites.

Production in Albergaria, Portugal, will be suspended from 30th March 2020, reflecting latest government regulations and the intensifying situation in this region. It is currently planned to resume operations on 12th April 2020. The structured and orderly phasing out period for the production in Albergaria has started. Besides the European plants, the manufacturing site in Klaeng, Thailand, is also following strict procedures including those around temperature controls to ensure increased hygiene standards and safety for employees.

With its measures the GROHE brand wants to uphold the safety and health of its staff and support overall efforts to help contain the pandemic. For all sites, applicable regulations and measures are under constant review and subject to adjustments as necessary. Together with its business partners, the GROHE brand is closely working on managing stock and service levels across the EMENA region, taking into account the circumstances and requirements of individual markets.

“With the spread of the novel coronavirus we witness an unprecedented situation, across the globe. Over the recent weeks, the impact has increased on society and the economy alike. Given the overall dynamics, we have constantly evaluated the rapidly changing circumstances early on to determine necessary actions. It is now, that we are tightening existing measures to further protect our employees,” says Thomas Fuhr, COO Fittings LIXIL International and CEO Grohe AG.

GROHE is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: GROHE

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

The iconic Hotel Ritz, Madrid is expected to reopen later this year as the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, following the most extensive restoration in its 110-year history…

The statuesque property, which will become Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid later this year, was designed and built under the supervision of legendary hotelier César Ritz, and first opened its doors in 1910.

An extensive restoration is underway to significantly enhance the hotel’s facilities and services, while maintaining its unique character, encapsulated in the Belle Époque style of the original building.

Spanish architect, Rafael de La-Hoz, has been instrumental in providing the context for the historical restoration, while French designers, Gilles & Boissier, have overseen the interiors with the aim of increasing the property’s appeal to local and international guests alike while celebrating César Ritz’s pioneering spirit.

The re-design of the public spaces has focused on restoring the hotel’s many fine interior architectural features, while incorporating a number of valuable artistic pieces from the property’s collection, including crystal chandeliers, antique paintings and sculptures.

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Image caption: Rendering of the restaurant inside the hotel | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

The hotel has always been an integral part of society in Spain’s capital, and has been host to royalty, politicians, corporate leaders and celebrities. It is situated within the ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, an area defined by the most important museums in the city – the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art. The property’s location within a prestigious residential area close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and to El Retiro Park,  adds to its appeal.

“The meticulous restoration is designed to ensure that this legendary property is once again recognised as one of Europe’s greatest hotels,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.  “We are confident that the local community will be even more proud of this historic landmark, and we look forward to providing our guests with memorable experiences, in majestic surroundings, all underpinned by Mandarin Oriental’s exceptional service.”

Gilles & Boissier have created a sophisticated design for the hotel’s new guestrooms, encapsulating a classic but contemporary residential style for the 153 rooms including 53 suites. Within the suite inventory, there are several one-of-a-kind speciality suites, featuring unique design elements inspired by the hotel’s historic connections to the city, Spanish culture and art. A spacious Royal Suite and the Presidential Suite feature magnificent views over the Prado museum. Located in the top floor turrets are two new suites, each with private balconies and views over the Prado Museum and Lealtad Square.

Image caption: Rendering of the Royal Suite, designed by Gilles & Boissier | Image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Chef Quique Dacosta, one of the most celebrated chefs in Spain, was appointed to design, develop and oversee all culinary operations at the hotel’s five restaurants and bars.

The hotel’s new leisure and wellness facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, experience showers, a steam room and a contemporary fitness centre. A dedicated treatment room has been designed as a hidden sanctuary, providing a range of exclusive local and signature beauty and massage treatments.

As one of the most iconic buildings in the Spanish capital, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ideally placed for memorable social events. The ballroom and functions spaces, with their large windows facing the Prado Museum will be beautifully restored and designed to ensure the hotel is once again the venue of choice for weddings, private dinners and parties.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: A story of sustainable design inside Heritance Aarah, Maldives

The recently opened Heritance Aarah resort was the first property to be awarded gold for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Hotel Designs takes a peak inside the sustainable masterpiece…

Opened last year in the  Raa Atoll of the Maldives, Heritance Aarah has not sacrificed style or design in its quest to become the most sustainable hotel in the region.

The resort is owned and managed by Aitken Spence Hotels, which currently operates 23 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India, which are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands.

Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Four years in the making, the 150-key Maldivian resort shelters a design scheme that compliments the uninterrupted views that stretch across the horizon. The overall aesthetic, created by architect Mohamed Shafeeq, follows a strict approach of sustainability. With the aim to outshine other luxury hotels in the area, the hotel has implemented components such as fuel-saving generators, energy-saving LED lighting, water-saving fixtures and energy-efficient air conditioning.

Image caption: Beach Villa, complete with energy-saving technology | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

These operational achievements, married with thoughtful design, enabled Heritance Aarah to become the first ever property in the Maldives to be awarded the internationally recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, which complies with the US Green Building Council rating system and is awarded to properties that save energy, water and resources; generate less waste; and support human health.

“We are honoured that Heritance Aarah has been presented with numerous accolades after just a few months of opening,” said Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director of Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels. “Aitken Spence Hotels are known for distinction in the culinary field and Heritance Aarah’s 11 dining and drinking outlets introduces guests to flavours from across the world.

“Furthermore, our strategies to expand are led by guests’ expectations and design- led refurbishments to enrich the experience at our properties. A key priority is to ensure our resorts contribute positively to protect and preserve the environment and the ecosystems we operate in so we are proud that Heritance Aarah has been named as the first LEED Gold certified property in the Maldives.”

The resort’s 150 villas allow guests to wake up either atop of the turquoise ocean or beside it on the soft, sun-drenched shores – either way, the ocean is never far away. The intimate villas and suites, each with thatched roofs and calming interiors, seamlessly blend indulgent comforts with traditional aesthetics, adding a further layer to the unique sense-of-place.

Scattered around the property are the dynamically designed, contemporary F&B areas. The six restaurants and five bars, which have collectively won a total of 130 medals, house open-air dining options to once again frame the postcard-perfect views.

Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

The Medi Spa, with six treatment rooms, is situated Situated above tranquil lagoon waters. Its scaled-back design not only compliments the laid-back luxury approach of the resort, but also allows nature in to offer a holistic wellness experience.

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Image caption: The main pool | Image credit: Image caption: The interiors inside Falhu Bar, one of the 11 F&B options in the resort | Image credit: Heritance Aarah

Like all hotels at the moment (in all sectors), Heritance Aarah is feeling the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic – and recently released a statement on its website on this. In these no-doubt turbulent times, one thing is as clear as the waters that surround Heritance Aarah: the luxury nest, situated in one of the world’s most desired far-flung destinations, is waiting to welcome its next sea plane of luxury travellers (whenever that may be).

Main image credit: Heritance Aarah

Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL), which Hotel Designs is a media partner of, has announced the winners of this year’s international awards…

Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL)’s global search to find the best architecture, interior design and property development projects from around the world has come to a close as the winners have been announced.

With entries from all over the world, each project was anonymously peer-reviewed by the distinguished OPAL jury panel comprised of international industry experts, rating each project according to their individual merits. The final winners were chosen based on the overall score of all the Jury votes.

“Being on the judging panel for the inaugural OPAL has been an enlightening experience from beginning to end,” commented editor of Hotel Designs and OPAL jury member Hamish Kilburn. “The quality of projects that were submitted this year, in all categories, is a true reflection of the boundless creativity that our industry is famous for. As a result, OPAL has emerged as a prestigious international award that celebrates mind-blowing and functional design, which will inspire designers and architects around the world to reach new heights.”

OPAL’s ‘Project of the Year’ trophies were awarded to who the jury voted to be the single best projects in three categories:

Architectural Design of the Year: The Shed
Design/architecture by: Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

Image credit: The Shed/Diller Scofidio + Renfro (lead Architect) And Rockwell Group (collaborating Architect)

The Shed is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and presenting original works of art, across all disciplines, for all audiences. The building is designed to physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. Its eight-level base building includes two levels of gallery space, a versatile theatre, a rehearsal space, a creative lab, and a skylit event space. A telescoping outer shell can deploy from its position over the base building and glide along rails onto an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint for large-scale performances, installations, and events.

Interior Design of the Year: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Designed by: Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Image credit: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is located in Suichang, Zhejiang Province. It is a tea garden village with a thousand-foot cliffs of Jiulong Mountain. The minimalist design of the property was inspired by the local culture and craftsmanship, using natural materials to enhance a strong sense-of-place.

Property Developer of the Year: One Manhattan West
Developer: Brookfield Properties

Render of glass skyscraper

Image creditL Brookfield Properties/
One Manhattan West

Manhattan West is a seven-acre mixed-use development located in the heart of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards district. The 2,117,000 Sq Ft project completed in 2019 demonstrates our multi-faceted development capabilities – site assembly, master planning, development, leasing and operations. The site sits directly between the busiest train station in North America and New York City’s first subway extension in decades.

Speaking about OPAL’s award program, Jesper Thomsen, OPAL’s co-founder, commented: “Our esteemed jury members have worked hard to select the best projects. We are proud to present the winners of our inaugural year, celebrating the creativity and talent of incredible design projects from around the world, giving them the global exposure they deserve.”

Each winner receives the coveted OPAL Winners Seal to promote their award, a Winner’s Certificate, and a permanent profile on the OPAL online Winner’s gallery. OPAL has decided to postpone the Awards Ceremony due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation until further notice and hope all are staying safe during these troubled times.

The full list of winners can be accessed on the OPAL website.

Main image credit: The Shed/Rockwell Group

Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

Sottini, the Italian-inspired bathroom brand known for its elegantly crafted products, showcased new ranges at this year’s kbb event at Birmingham’s NEC…

Visitors who attended the Sottini stand at kbb were able to see new Sottini ranges, including Rienza washbasins, Caffaro WCs and Ceno fittings for the first time, as well as exciting furniture additions to the successful Fusaro range.

The striking collections have been designed to inspire, and build on Sottini’s existing collections.

The Rienza and Caffaro collections share the same design vocabulary so the basins and toilets work perfectly together. Both ranges add a sense of quiet sophistication to any bathroom, and are styled with a stunning simplicity. Ceno mixers feature sharp, flat surfaces and strong horizontal lines. The fittings are designed to be as versatile perfectly complementing other Sottini products.

Sottini also introduced elegant new furniture in the The Fusaro range, including wall-mounted vanity and basin units, all design-matched for the subtle, slim edges of the Fusaro washbasins.

Olivia Maycock, Retail Marketing Manager at Sottini said: “The introduction of the Rienza, Caffaro and Ceno ranges, as well as the new additions to our already popular Fusaro collection all culminate to bring a premium and stylish simplicity to any bathroom.”

Ideal Standard 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: Sottini/Ideal Standard

Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

Marriott International grows its footprint in South Africa with the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, the chain’s first multi-purpose-built hotel in the country… 

Marriott International has announced the opening of Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch, which marks the first purpose-built Marriott Hotel in the country.

Owned and developed by the Amdec Group, the hotel and apartments are situated in the bustling Melrose Arch Precinct and provide a premium destination for business travelers and a fully serviced extended stay destination.

“We are thrilled to open Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch and Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch, further strengthening our relationship with the Amdec Group in South Africa,” said Sandra Schulze–Potgieter, Vice President Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “The openings are part of Marriott International’s commitment to expand our footprint in Africa and deepen our brand portfolio in South Africa. The property is a strong representation of two brands which will deliver tailored services, sophisticated spaces and enriching experiences.”

Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch is the first Marriott Hotel in South Africa to showcase the brand’s new design touchpoints. The property features 306 guest rooms, including 10 Junior Suites. Each of the spacious rooms are thoughtfully designed with a balance of tailored utility and contemporary style for the traveler who believes that form is just as important as function. Local accents add a sense of place to the sleek aesthetic, while open workspaces allow for flexibility to connect anytime.

The hotel is home to spaces that spark brilliance and seamlessly blend work and play with state-of-the-art business facilities, such as the Greatroom – a contemporary space located in the hotel lobby designed for socialising, relaxing and working. Guests can enjoy an elevated experience through the Mobile Guest Services, delivered with the warm and professional service for which the brand is globally renowned.

The F&B areas include Archer Bar and Eatery – a charismatic social space, part bar and part coffee hangout, serving local craft beers, specialty coffee and creative mixology, and Keystone Bistro – a stylish restaurant serving international cuisine with a South African flair. In addition, the hotel features seven meeting rooms, a ballroom, pre-function space and a 24-hour fitness centre, complete with outdoor heated swimming pool and pool bar.

On the upper floors of the new build, Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch features 84 fully sized and equipped apartments, ranging from one-, two- and three-bedroom units, for travellers seeking a trusted, longer stay.

Main image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Brintons

In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Interior Designer of the Year 2019, Jo Littlefair

Securing her place in the history books, Jo Littlefair came out on top last year at The Brit List Awards 2019, spectacularly winning the coveted title, Interior Designer of the Year. A few months later, she welcomes editor Hamish Kilburn into the Goddard Littlefair HQ to give him a glimpse into studio life…

“Jo, can I borrow you for just a second,” says senior associate and architect David Lee Hood as Jo Littlefair and I walk through the studio. “This archway,” he says pointing to a life-like rendering on his monitor, “what are your thoughts on adding in a line of colour here?” As he shows the before and after, it is a game of ‘spot the difference’ to the untrained eye. But for the multi-layered studio Goddard Littlefair, where the devil is so often in the detail, it could be the difference between winning a pitch or losing it, as any design practice operating on today’s international scene will confirm.

“We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

The short but important moment is proof, if ever I needed it, that Littlefair likes to naturally lead from within her team. And as we walk through the open-planned office that is flooded with natural light towards her workstation, I notice also that there is no door, and no boundary, between herself and everyone else in the building.

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Lowry Presidential Suite, designed sensitively by Goddard Littlefair

“We got to the point last year when, as we reached 60 employees, we decided Goddard Littlefair was too big as a studio,” she confesses. “We have made a few changes to encourage people to come and talk to us more, because I would rather know about something – and be able to comment at a point where it is possible to comment – rather than get further down the line and it be too late. At the end of the day, leading this design studio with Martin Goddard has always been a collaboration, not just between himself and I but also our team.” As the designer is explaining, I notice that there’s a cordial and relaxed atmosphere in the Clerkenwell studio, and the strong relationship between the co-founders and their team is apparent.

Image caption: The bar inside Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, designed by Goddard Littlefair

“We look at the finer details, as you have just seen, that perhaps make a space look and feel more residential,” the designer explains. “Things like tabs on the curtain pole having a little leather strap and a metal rivet, and it’s those elements that give it quality and detail. It’s important that someone has thought about it in that much detail, and there is a reason why it’s leather and why it’s embossed, or whatever.”

“What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Recently completed projects within the studio’s portfolio include The Biltmore Mayfair  London, Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik , Sheraton  Grand Warsaw , the new F&B areas inside Hilton Munich City, The Lowry in Manchester and the Kimpton Charlotte Square. Having followed many, if not all, of these projects from concept through to completion, it’s fair to say that the studio believes that variety is the spice of life. “We don’t like being pigeon-holed,” explains Littlefair. “We have a great variety of style, which is fantastic. Also, we are not divas when it comes to our personal taste. What’s most important is that it has to be right for our client, the property and the location every time.”

Modern award-winning bar

Image caption: The award-winning Juliet Rose at Hilton Munich, designed by Goddard Littlefair, has become the city’s new destination bar.

Despite the studio clocking up the air miles with unavoidable trips abroad for site visits and account management, in order for the team to understand the culture and fabrics of new destinations, the studio’s HQ is positioned slap-bang in the epicentre of the design community in London, just a few streets behind some of the city’s major design showrooms in Clerkenwell. “There is always a corner of London that you can find a narrative to that is really individual,” says Littlefair. “Whether  When? you are living, working and breathing in London, like many of our designers, the city becomes a fantastic place. I think that’s because it is made up of villages that have, over time, morphed together. As a designer working on a project here, the identity of what those villages were can really shine through.”

“I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Despite London having its place in the designer’s heart, Littlefair mostly finds inspiration in design from nature, and decompresses daily from city life, after a hefty commute, in Buckinghamshire where she lives. “It’s a very open community, close enough to London for work, but full of fresh air,” she explains. “My kids love it there, and so do I!”

But where was Littlefair’s inquisitive nature born, I wonder? “When I left university and went travelling, technology as we know it now didn’t exist; email had just come out for crying out loud,” she admits. “I used to pay to sit in a café to type an email home to say I’m alive. For me, that was about really cutting off from the world. My mum didn’t think I was going to come back,” she laughs, “I did some crazy things; I worked out on boats and I threw myself into experiential travel, albeit on a shoestring. I literally had to work my way around the world, and it made me a different person. Experiencing places and learning about people and cultures.”

Image caption: The Principal York's luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image caption: The Principal York’s luxe, residential look and feel was designed by Goddard Littlefair

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hamish Kilburn: What trend do you hope will never return?
Jo Littlefair: Rag-rolled walls and transitional furniture.

HK: What’s next on your travel bucket list?
JL: Chile , Argentina and Egypt.

HK: What would you say is the number-one tool for success?
JL: Hard work, and you can’t teach taste. I learn something new every day, nobody can know everything!

HK: Who was your inspiration growing up?
JL: The reason I made it into interiors is because I used to work on super yacht designed by Terence Tisdale. I couldn’t believe that somebody got paid to put this together and design with  all those beautiful timber veneers and mirrors everywhere, which I had to clean! I spent four months in the Med working on this 64m Feadship  . It had everything and gave me an insight into luxury and interior design.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
JL: This is ridiculous but my cashmere jumper, which is so not me. You will always find a lightweight cashmere jumper in my flight bag!

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
JL: Whole beans for my coffee machine. Always buy a small bag because you want the freshest roasted beans for your coffee.

HK: What has the last year taught you?
JL: To keep everyone in the studio on one floor, so that we are working together. Also that quality far outweighs quantity.

“Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

Back to today, and the studio is currently hard at work with a number of projects on the drawing boards. The studio is currently working on designing four restaurants and bars inside the soon-to-open 360-key Villa Copenhagen. “Think of it as the destination’s answer to The Ned,” Littlefair teases. “But it’s so not about men and women in suits. Instead, the whole project has been about understanding the Danish vernacular, the locals’ way of life.”

Other projects that the studio is working on include five star resorts on the Mediterranean coast line, the repurposing of a beautiful Viennese building to a 150 plus bedroom five star hotel and what may be the future best spa in London.

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant Cucina Mia inside Shertaton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Image credit: The atmospheric restaurant InAzia restaurant in Sheraton Warsaw, designed by Goddard Littlefair

As two people who are, parallel to others in the industry, so thoughtfully leading interior design forward in terms of meaningful innovation, Goddard and Littlefair both feel pressure to adapt sensitively with the times while also maintaining a fundamental quality. And their approach to evolution is enlightening.  “Someone once told me that everything in life is a phase,” explains Littlefair. “I have learned to embrace change and see it as a positive. It is intrinsically scary to human nature, but when you learn that it is necessary to be a little bit cathartic about things, life runs smoother.” I would argue that it is this breath-of-fresh-air attitude that led the designer to win The Brit List Awards’ Interior Designer of the Year 2020.

“You have no idea how much the award means to me.” – Jo Littlefair, co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

“I just can’t believe it,” she said fresh off stage at the event in November when her new-found title was revealed in front of a sea of leading designers, architects, hoteliers and developers. Months later, and the reality of ‘that win’ hasn’t quite sunk in. “You have no idea how much the award means to me,” she says now. “The line-up of people you had there was fantastic, they are my peer group and I am very respectful of what everyone else is doing. So, that people within this industry consider what we are doing here to such high regard means everything!”

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair's Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

Image caption: Interior Designer of the Year, Goddard Litterfair’s Jo Littlefair with editor Hamish Kilburn at The Brit List Awards 2020

In a recent roundtable discussion that Littlefair attended, it was mentioned that all designers are having to work harder than ever before in order to differentiate from other styles and common motifs. As I sit around the table in the hub of her studio, I wonder how Littlefair and her team approach this topic when it comes to designing future hotels. “We are getting to the point where people have not seen a beautifully letter-pressed card before,” she says. “The ‘tech revolution’ has changed everything that we do and the way our work is perceived, but we can’t lose touch of humanity in the process.”

“We crowned a really worthy winner,” I can’t help by think to myself after I’ve said my goodbyes to the  Goddard Littlefair team. For me, it’s not necessary  necessarily? Littlefair’s work that is the most inspiring thing about but  the designer, but more her incredible journey, which was fuelled by hard-work, passion and determination, that I believe every single designer can learn from – or at least be energised by.

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

Following his article regarding cyber security issues in design, architecture and hospitality, Toren Consulting’s Mark Tucknutt, explains why the design of a hotel suite is only as valuable as its physical and electronic security systems…

It’s a common lament of any designer that if they’d been involved earlier, when designing a suite, they could have added more value for the client.

For us as hotel security consultants, the truth of this can be most apparent when considering VIP or Presidential Suite design; not only are some of the potential modifications difficult to achieve late in the design process but there is a direct link to the completed hotel’s ability to sell rooms to certain types of VIP and the rates that can be achieved.

I run a boutique security design consultancy, supporting developers and architects in designing hotels that meet the security requirements of planning authorities, hotel brands and hotel guests. I started my career in the Home Office where I designed security for VIP residences, before moving to the private sector and bringing that experience to hotel and private residential design and construction.

Security, including security design consultancy, is often considered to be a grudge purchase in construction projects. However in luxury hotels we’ve found that considering security alongside architecture and interior design means that a hotel is better equipped to attract the kind of guests that the owner and brand intended for its VIP Suite.

I’ve described below some of the areas that luxury hotels might consider during design and construction. Whether there’s value in building these security features, and more, depends of course on what your VIP guest profile is intended to be. We increasingly find though that hotel security isn’t just a concern of diplomats and dignitaries, it is also part of the hotel selection criteria for business travellers, privately wealthy individuals and of course celebrities.

Image credit: SALTO Systems

Privacy and discretion

Luxury hotels are known, of course, for providing discrete service to high profile guests. How easy it is for them to do so, however, can be significantly affected by the layout of the hotel. Considerations that we typically discuss with the architect and hotel operator include:

  • Can multiple suites be booked together, including a smaller room or rooms for the guest’s security team?
  • Are the suite entrance doors isolated from other hotel uses and general guest circulation?
  • Are the windows to the suite overlooked?
  • Are there separate, discreet, VIP entrance, exit and evacuation routes?

Physical security

The higher tiers of security-conscious guests consider the physical security of potential VIP Suites, or at least their security teams consider it on their behalf.

In this context physical security means walls, doors and windows. Depending on the anticipated guest profile, we may consult on and design security measures including:

  • Explosion resistance – protection against a nearby bomb, for example
  • Ballistic resistance – protection against an attack nearby, at the hotel or on the guest
  • Manual attack resistance – protection against covert or aggressive entry into the suite
  • Refuge areas – hardened spaces within a suite (sometimes known as panic rooms)

“At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels.”

Electronic security

Most tiers of hotel guest expect to be reassured by seeing electronic security in a hotel, including video surveillance cameras in common areas and electronic locks to guest room doors. Luxury hotels tend, though not exclusively, to feature at least more of the same; they’re more likely to have CCTV cameras in lift cabs and corridors for example.

VIP Suite electronic security tends to include the fundamentals that are present in other areas of the hotel, but with some unique enhancements including:

  • Additional intruder alarm sensors to doors and windows on the routes to the VIP suite
  • Monitoring of relevant cameras, intercoms and intruder alarm sensors in a VIP Suite security room, potentially instead of in the hotel security control room

Designing for VIP guests

At Toren Consulting, we include a VIP Suite Security Workshop in our scope of services when appointed to design security for luxury hotels. We also provide this as a standalone service, including follow-on design of specialist physical and electronic security measures.

We find that, even when there is an experienced hotel brand or operator as part of the project team, security can be overlooked. The list above should help you to ensure that you’ve considered most of the more important elements of VIP Suite security design, so that your hotel makes it easy for VIP guests’ security teams to recommend your property.

Main image credit: Toren Consulting

Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

The industry’s leading online platform, Hotel Designs, has launched a three-month introductory offer for companies, as the leading international hotel design website continues to support the hospitality industry…

In direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, Hotel Designs has launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry during the testing months that lie ahead.

“The aim of this three-month package is to simply support businesses that have been effected by the COVID–19 outbreak and that require a springboard of support,” explained publisher Katy Phillips. “While the hospitality market adapts, the ‘Industry Support Package’ will enable brands from all sectors of the market to share their latest news to our highly engaged readers via our various online platforms.”

The Industry Support Package, which is just £99 + VAT, includes: 

  • A comprehensive company profile page on Hotel Designs website to include full company details, contact information, product imagery etc.
  • Editorial coverage on the Hotel Designs website for a three-month period
  • Contribution to Hotel Designs’ ‘Spotlight On’ monthly editorial features
  • Social media support across all social channels – reaching more than 20,000 users
  • Exposure within Hotel Designs weekly e-newsletter sent to more than 12,000 recipients

The package is only available to new clients, and to take advantage of the offer, companies will need to be book by EOP on Friday, April 3, with activity commencing no later than Monday, April 13. 

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email Katy Phillips or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

ROCA launches Everlux brassware finishes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
ROCA launches Everlux brassware finishes

Roca’s new Everlux brassware finishes are a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating, which has excellent durability as well as being resistant to scratches and impacts…

Brassware is experiencing a revolution in terms of colour and Roca has introduced innovative new Everlux finishes in a variety of colours to complement its existing product offering.

The sophisticated Everlux finish is obtained by means of an innovative physical vapour deposition (PVD) process via the ionisation of metals and noble gases, which are combined to create a fine metallic coating. This coating, based on extremely hard metals such as titanium or zirconium, is uniformly deposited over Roca’s high-quality galvanised chrome plating, resulting in a surface with extreme hardness and extraordinary resistance to scratches, impacts and cleaning agents. Through this process, Roca has been able to create a range of colours with a gloss or matt finish to offer multiple combinations in the creation of sophisticated and highly resistant bathroom spaces.

Moreover, as this is a purely physical technique, the Everlux finish is developed without using harmful chemicals during the production process thus protecting the environment.

Close up of tap and sink

Image credit: Roca

There are now eight colour finishes available including, Titanium Black, Rose Gold, Gold and Chrome, which are all also available in a brushed finish to create a softer, muted look. The Everlux coloured finishes will be available for selected brassware lines including Insignia, Naia and Escuadra.

To complement the coloured brassware, Roca has also introduced colour options for its Beyond sanitaryware as well as introducing a range of accessories so consumers can achieve a fully coordinated look.

Roca 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: Roca

IN PICTURES: Kagi Maldives Spa Island reveals all ahead of opening

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Kagi Maldives Spa Island reveals all ahead of opening

The 1,500-square-metre wellness centre is slated to open in the Maldives’ North Male Atoll in September 2020…

New images have been released to show what the five-star Kagi Maldives Spa Island will look like when it opens later this year.

The 50-villa property will is said to provide “a 360-degree wellness experience”, which we first discovered a few weeks ago, has been designed by esteemed architect Yuji Yamazaki, who was the mastermind behind the world’s first underwater villa.

Outdoor pool overlooking ocean

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Set within a 1,500-square-metre, purpose-built wellness centre, Kagi’s Baani Spa will provide a personalised, outcome-focused wellness experience. Taking guests on a journey to ‘Release, Restore and Regain’, offerings will range from reiki, crystal and sound-healing, holistic health coaching and transformative ‘Wellness Sabbatical’ retreats. 

The fully-integrated wellness hub will sit at the centre of the island, and will be complete with an open-air, teardrop-shaped sky roof its core, the spa will appear to float atop the island’s turquoise lagoon waters.

outdoor bathroom

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Guests will be able to choose from three room types, a Beach Pool Villa, a Lagoon Pool Villa or an Ocean Pool Villa, all of which will be distinguished by their unique locations and will house a private pool, a sun deck and an expansive indoor-outdoor bathroom.

Contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

The spa takes its inspiration from the ocean, with its name, ‘Baani’, translating to ‘The Ocean Swell’ in the Maldivian Dhivehi language. Just as the waves slowly lap onto the shore, gently slowing down, guests will arrive at Baani Spa to slow down, unwind, release the stress of mundane life and start to restore their inner balance. Through the treatments, programmes and facilities on offer and like the swell of the ocean gaining momentum, one regains their energy and vitality. 

Main image credit: Kagi Maldives Spa Island

FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Chelsom’s bespoke approach to lighting

Launching new lighting collections every two years is a challenge, but it also allows Chelsom to explore the industry’s trends and needs in order to create products that are relevant for the design community’s variety of projects. The company’s Will Chelsom explains… 

Within our business the design ethos leads and we are constantly buzzing with new ideas and new design directions.

I hope that our ranges have a cohesive feel and have the Chelsom handwriting on them no matter which space they are designed for, which country they go to or for whatever price level. It’s a wide design brief given that we supply the marine industry as well as the hospitality sector and we export to 70 countries around the world winning hotel projects from three-star to six-star.

Image credit: Chelsom

Along with all our standard product, a huge amount of sales come from the design and manufacture of bespoke lighting products. We are fortunate to have close working relationships with many of the world’s leading interior design practices and for most of them, product design is a part of their skill set. They constantly want to push the boundaries and are always looking for unique lighting to enhance their latest stunning scheme. We massively respect the breadth of their design skills meaning that whereas we as a company focus purely on lighting, they must work with every aspect of interior furnishings and decoration.

Image credit: Chelsom/The Alex

I believe that many interior designers come to Chelsom just because we are so focussed on our own field. We have worked in hospitality lighting for more than 70 years and so we understand not only the aesthetics of a product but its need for perfect and long-term functionality in what can often be a tough environment. The role of someone like us is to understand in the greatest depth the designer’s aesthetic product concept and its relationship with the space in which it sits. It’s also imperative to understand the balance between ambience and light output. The manufacturers’ role must be that of adding technical lighting expertise and manufacturing know how so that the three crucial aspects of design, function and cost come together perfectly.

Saying ‘no’ is not something that comes naturally to us. However, if we are the lighting manufacturer working collaboratively with a designer, we must sound the warning that a design concept will not meet the functional standards required or will be way outside budget constraints. For example we will say no if we know a light source in a confined space will overheat, a portable luminaire will tip over due to insufficient base weight, light output will be insufficient for the task required or compatibility with existing dimming systems is a problem.  Of course we will always find an alternative solution and that’s our duty in the whole scope of the project. On the budget side we have become experts in the value engineering process. There are so many manufacturing tweaks that can be made in order that little or no aesthetic difference can be seen but sometimes as much as 30 per cent can be saved in costings. This is absolutely NOT about reducing quality- it’s just about having the manufacturing skills to know-how the same look is achieved at less cost.

Whether it be hundreds of pieces of a black ceramic bulldog table lamp for guestrooms or a one off five-metre diameter chandelier that drops down three decks on a cruise ship, the skill set and infrastructure to deliver such custom product is paramount and hard earned through experience. Remember every custom piece of lighting is a prototype in that it’s never been manufactured before. It therefore needs all the experience of design drawings, technology skills, engineering capabilities, manufacturing prowess and finish detailing to bring that unique piece to a successful conclusion. Of course that means as a company we are tested and challenged daily but it also brings great pride when a piece of lighting that has never been seen before achieves the intended wow factor and does its job for years to come.

Chelsom 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: Chelsom

Taylor’s Classics unveils new furniture for 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Taylor’s Classics unveils new furniture for 2020

Contract furniture company Taylor’s Classics has launched a number of new chairs into its Modern seating collection…

Recommended Supplier Taylor’s Classics has launched a number of new chairs into its Modern Seating collection.

New products include Benchairs 700 armchair (Benchairs collection), Sunburst dining chair (available in two different options: Straight leg and turned leg – Collection: Traditional Classics) and the Alex armchair (available in two options: Beech and Oak.

Selection of cut outs of seating

Image credit: Taylor’s Classics’ selection of new seating

The full list of products are below:

Max Side Chair

Based upon a classic design of the 1930’s our Max chair has a chrome frame with upholstered seat & back. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Max Armchair

The Max armchair is based upon a classic design of the 1930’s. It has a chrome frame with upholstered seat, back and arms. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating, it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Max High Stool

The Max high stool is based upon a classic design of the 1930’s. It has chrome frame with upholstered seat & back. Ideal for restaurant or bar seating, it is a great combination of style and comfort.

Luna Side Chair

Our oak framed Luna chair provides a really comfortable seating option for restaurants, lounge areas & bars. The chair can be upholstered in a fabric or leather of your choice and the frame polished in one of the standard Taylor’s Classics stains.

Sol Tub Chair

The Sol Tub chair is manufactured in oak and provides a really comfortable seating option for restaurants, lounge areas and bars. This chair can be upholstered in a fabric or leather of your choice and the frame polished in one of the standard Taylor’s Classics stains.

Benchairs 700 Armchair

Our new Benchairs 700 armchair has a beech frame and upholstered seat. It is a really comfortable chair with a relatively small footprint which means that it could be used for dining, bar or lounge areas. The chair is not a Benchairs original but we feel it fits in with the rest of the collection. The chair was designed by Kasper Meldgaard of design studio ‘Says Who’ in Denmark.

Manufactured to meet with contract furniture standards makes this chair suitable for dining or bar locations with heavy day to day use. This piece is one of many from our retro pub chairs collection and is available in a choice of finishes.

Alex Armchair

The Alex chair is available in two different frame options: Oak or Beech. The armchair has a small footprint but provides great comfort and is ideal for use in bars, cafes or restaurants.

Sunburst Dining Chair

We love Art Deco so are very pleased to introduce the Sunburst chair. We think a restaurant full of these chairs could look wonderful. It is a very comfortable dining chair and is available with either straight or turned front legs.

Taylor’s Classics 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: Taylor’s Classics

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Multi-sensory design in hotel bathrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Multi-sensory design in hotel bathrooms

Awareness of mental and physical wellbeing has never been greater, yet many of us still struggle to find the time, freedom and sanctuary we need to recover from the stresses of everyday life – until, that is, we check into a hotel. Sophie Weston, channel marketing manager at Geberit, explores the role that architects and designers have to play in sensory bathroom design in hotels, and examines, in particular, the issue of noise and its impact on our wellbeing…

According to Geberit research, nearly three quarters of us struggle to find the time to relax with the same amount telling us that they felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. It’s a damning snapshot of modern lives dominated by technology and our ‘always on’ culture. Good design is, therefore, increasingly less about how spaces look and more about how they make us feel.

Reimagining a new hotel space

We know from our research that the bathroom is the most popular place of escape from the pressures of modern life so perhaps, then, the role of the bathroom in hotel design should be even more crucial. A hotel bathroom or washroom should no longer be designed as a purely functional zone but as a relaxing space to unwind and one that appeals to all our senses. To do this, designers must understand the four key senses of auditory (sound), visual (sight), kinaesthetic (touch) and olfactory (smell) before applying this understanding to specify the bathroom solutions that can help mitigate the impact of each.

Solutions to a multi-sensory approach

There are many innovations and product solutions to help meet the demands of the senses in hotel bathroom design. For example, preventing overstimulation of the visual sense through simple orientation lighting, which helps preserve the sanctuary of sleep by eliminating the need to switch on additional lighting. Manufacturers have also developed solutions to support designers in meeting kinaesthetic demands, such as clean lines, sleek corners and the use of natural materials. Meanwhile, modern, efficient odour extraction technologies address the challenge of smell. Yet, it was the role of auditory that we were particularly interested in when we undertook a YouGov survey to establish the impact of unwanted noises on our wellbeing.

Noisier than ever?

Our ears work even when we’re asleep, with the brain continuing to process the sounds it detects, albeit in a different way. And when we are awake, we need to consider the impact that irritating sounds could have on our mental wellbeing – a dripping tap or flushing toilet, for example.

We surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the UK to get a greater insight on the impact of unwanted internal noise and, in particular, bathroom noise. As part of this research, we found that almost a third (30%) of respondents who had stayed in a hotel in the last 12 months had been disturbed by bathroom noise at night. What was clear, too, from our research was the impact of this; more than half (51%) of respondents cited unwanted internal noise as having a negative impact upon their wellbeing.

Noise is clearly an issue. So what solutions are available for architects and designers to meet these very obvious challenges?

From acoustically optimised pipework with noise reducing properties, to decoupled pre-walls for added noise insulation, manufacturers are constantly innovating sound-proofing solutions that help to mitigate the age-old issue of sound from flushing toilets and other unwanted bathroom noise. Acoustics is one of Geberit’s ten core research areas and our unique building technology and acoustics laboratory enables our team of acousticians to research products and technologies.

Wall-hung toilets with concealed cisterns and pre-wall frames decoupled from the construction, for example, prevent noise from travelling down the wall and through the floor. Opting for a toilet mounted using a frame such as Geberit Duofix can almost halve the decibels produced by a traditional floor standing toilet.

Likewise, sound optimised drainage piping can reduce noise transfer from flushing water, washbasins or showers. Geberit Silent db-20 is manufactured with mineral reinforced polyethylene for a denser materials and fittings to dissipate noise at impact zones.

Selling experiences

As the trend for selling ‘experiences’ and creating an escape for guests continues, so too does the value of creating a unique, positive guest experience to help build stronger memories and ensure customers keep coming back.

As we focus ever more on physical and mental health and wellbeing to help combat the stresses of modern life, it’s clear that good design in the bathroom or washroom space could be the key to unlocking better lives. And it is critical for designers to be aware of this opportunity.

Geberit 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: Geberit

IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IHG’s display of hope and love for locals in lockdown

The major hotel group IHG has amplified a statement of hope by lighting up many of its empty rooms with signs of love as the world faces prospect of lockdown. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Last night, while the majority of hotels around the world remained empty as the industry suffers the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, IHG put out a sign of ‘love’ and ‘hope’ across many of its properties.

Locals in destinations such as Davos, Amsterdam and Berlin watched as heart symbols were formed from guestroom lights in the windows of empty properties.

The display came after the hotel group, which has more than 5,900 hotels and approximately 884,000 guestrooms in its franchise, updated its cancellation policy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group has now waived cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

If you are a hotelier looking for answers, please read our recently published feature on how hotels can stay above the surface in uncertain times like these.

While the industry has temporarily fallen to its knees, as more and more nations announce lockdowns and self-isolation regulations, there is hope that the industry will bounce back eventually. After all, the world will need a holiday once this passes.

Image credit: Instagram/ems_at_cherries

BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: MEET UP London postponed until September

BREAKING NEWS: MEET UP London, which is Hotel Designs’ premium networking evening for designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers, has postponed this year’s event until September 15 in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak… 

MEET UP London was due to take place at Minotti London on May 13, but in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and Government recommendations, the event has been forced to postpone until later in the year.

Sheltering the theme of Inspiring Creativity, the networking evening will still welcome award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation expert Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta as headline speakers.

“The decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony.” – said editor Hamish Kilburn

In addition, given the timing of the postponed event, Hotel Designs will use the event as a springboard to unveil the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List Awards 2020. “We are used to adapting to the times here at Hotel Designs, and the decision to unveil the shortlisted finalists of The Brit List Awards 2020 at MEET UP London has come because we want to give the individuals a platform that lasts longer than one awards ceremony,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “In line with our theme for MEET UP London, Inspiring Creativity, it makes sense to celebrate the individuals who are proving to lead the way.”

MEET UP London 2020 is just the latest event that has been forced to postponed in response the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, Clerkenwell Design Week announced it has postponed this year’s event until July 14 – 16. Salone Del Mobile, which is arguably the most popular trade fair in the design calendar, was the first to announce a postponement, which was followed by the Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam last week.

Tens of thousands of people in the UK have been tested for Covid-19, with currently 1,950 cases. Meanwhile, the government has now put in place strict social distancing rules in an attempt to deal with the pandemic.

How to attend MEET UP London

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

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

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Event partner: Crosswater 

* Those eligible to purchase Supplier Tickets must be industry suppliers.
** Those eligible to purchase buyer tickets must prove that they are an interior designer, architect, hotelier or developer.
***Hotel Designs’ Early Bird promotion ends on March 31. After this time, tickets for designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will inflate to £20 + VAT and supplier tickets will inflate to £150 + VAT. 

TREND ALERT: Mixing & matching materials in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: Mixing & matching materials in the bathroom

After years of neutral colour palettes dominating bathroom interiors, Crosswater has identified the aesthetic benefits of mixing and matching materials…

Fast becoming hugely popular on the interior design scene, mixing and matching materials can create a striking and personal touch to bathrooms of all styles.

One company that has identified the shift in neutrals is Crosswater, which has just unveiled an extensive range of brassware and furniture that available in a variety of finishes, textures and colours to provide the perfect option to mix and match in an interior scheme.

One particular way to add visual depth, interest and warmth into a space is to incorporate a variety of metallic finishes. Gold, platinum, brass and copper are increasingly being combined as metallic accents and design highlights, while black is being used as a way to create a contrast to richer tones. Crosswater offers a range of brassware in matt black, brushed brass, stainless steel, chrome and brushed nickel finishes so that metallics can be mixed and matched to create a stylish and contemporary look in the bathroom.

For the ultimate way to mix and match materials in the bathroom, Crosswater’s Italy brassware collection is offered in 49 colour combinations and gives life to true customisation through blending metals, natural stone and marble.

Offering the very highest level of cutting edge design and innovative technology, the Italy collection celebrates the decadence and grandeur of early twentieth-century design. Eight exquisite metal finishes are presented alongside seven distinctive handle designs, to allow a combination tailored to the individual. Each high-luxe material is thoughtfully chosen to emulate the essence of ’20s style and provides the opportunity for a truly personal bathroom style through the method of mixing and matching.

With base finishes ranging from Brushed Black, Polished Metallic, Yellow Gold and Polished Rose Gold, and handle finishes including Quartzite Velvet, Polished Graphite, Crema Nuova Velvet and Polished Guatemala, there is a made-to-order colour combination to suit every design scheme.

Main image credit: Crosswater

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Sensitively lighting the bathroom

The lighting experts at Vaughan talk us through how the brand successfully lit the bathrooms in prestige projects such as Gleneagles, The Ned and St. Ermins…

Lighting brand Vaughan was one of the first companies to provide bathroom lighting that was both functional and refined when they began designing lights for this purpose more than 15 years ago.

Although bathroom lights need to be equipped with an IP44 rating, the company recognise that clients require a product that kept in line with their visual aesthetic.

Throughout the past 15 years, Vaughan’s bathroom lights have been featured in numerous hotel projects – from the Soho House Group to Firmdale Hotels, as well as stand-alone projects including Claridge’s and Grantley Hall. In the past year alone, Vaughan have provided lighting for more than 50 hotels across the United Kingdom and Europe. And here are just a a handful of them.

Nestled in the centre of London, the Ned is architecturally more than 100 years old – and was originally known as the Midland Bank building. Now renowned for being a hotel, the Ned is the shared project of Nick Jones, founder of Soho House & Co., and Andrew Zobler, CEO of New York’s Sydell Group. Thanks in part to its longstanding relationship with the Soho House Group, Vaughan supplied the Ned with the Sudbury Wall Light for a number of their bathrooms.

Made from solid cast brass, decorated with a scalloped edge and given an antique brass finish, it is one of Vaughan’s early designs – one which is more traditional in style yet still stands the test of time. Featuring a distinctive, ribbed, scroll-shaped arm, and beaded detailing, it showcases the variety of texture that is made possible thanks to the lost wax casting process.  Placed on each side of the whimsical oval-shaped mirror, the Sudbury Wall Light subtly complements the brass accents that Jones has implemented – from the door handle, to the bathroom taps, and the towel rack too.

Located in Perthshire, Scotland, Gleneagles formally opened its doors in 1924. Described as “a Riviera in the Highlands”, it was initially conceived thanks to the vision of Donald Matheson, General Manager of the Caledonian Rail Company, whose railway line ran through its picturesque terrain.

Following a refurbishment from 2015 – 2017, Hotel Designs reviewed the hotel, and noticed  Vaughan’s Seaton Storm Wall Lights feature in a number of suites.

Based on a traditional ‘hurricane lamp’ that was originally designed for candles, it comes with an elegant glass shade and is pictured here with an antique brass finish.  A delicate combination of hot forged brass and glass, the Seaton is a simple design, with minimal decoration, yet is executed with precision and care.  Similar to the bathroom interior at the Ned, the Seaton Wall Lights continue the theme of brass, and neatly unite themselves to the taps, mirrors, and drawer handles to create a cohesive room set.

The bathroom at St. Ermin’s offers a departure from the brass theme previously discussed, in a decidedly more contemporary interior with pink wallpaper, mother-of-pearl mirrors and sleek, black marble. Situated just around the corner from St. James’s Park in London, St. Ermin’s is an independent hotel yet is also part of Marriott International’s ‘Autograph Collection’.

Image caption: Vaughan’s Norfolk Wall Light can be found in the bathrooms at St. Ermins Hotel

For this bathroom, Vaughan provided the Norfolk Wall Light in a sleek chrome finish. Placed either side of each mirror, the wall lights are topped with a square fabric shade which softly diffuses the light.  Like the Seaton Wall Light, the Norfolk is a simple design and form – featuring a rectangular backplate, square candleholder and angular arm.  When combined with the oval sinks, cylindrical worktop legs, and rectangular mirrors, it creates a satisfying, playful interior – one that is predominantly focused on the relationship between different geometric shapes.  Made with a base metal of hot forged brass, the Norfolk is available in a number of finishes – from the chrome one pictured here to antique brass and nickel too.

Variety, as well as quality, are two central components to Vaughan. Product design is meticulously developed and lead by Lucy and Michael Vaughan, co-founders of the company, and their shared background as antique dealers is without a doubt an underlying influence in their creative process. “Our creative process is very much cyclical, updating and reflecting on products we’ve already made and antiques, which we have seen throughout our time as dealers,” said Lucy Vaughan.

For Vaughan, bathroom lighting is no exception – with a variety of styles, finishes, metals and shapes available to both retail and the trade, and a clear alignment with the brand’s existing lines. Ranging from the more subdued Beverley Wall Light to the more ornate, glass-art beauty of the Morillon Wall Light, Vaughan offers a wide selection of bathroom lighting to choose from, while remaining committed to their pursuit of quality and craftsmanship.

Vaughan 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 caption: Bathroom lighting by Vaughan inside The Ned

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Destination Hotels arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville, the latest boutique hotel to open in the Destination Hotels’ portfolio, pays tribute to local culture, history and arts with unexpected twists…

Quirk Hotel Charlottesville in Virginia is said to be the first boutique hotel in the area that has opened with a focus on curated art inspired by the city’s historic downtown.

Modern guestroom with colourful accents in headboard and art

Charming and distinctive by nature, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville delivers a warm sense of approachability and playfulness that appeals to curious travellers of all ages seeking a sense of belonging, and is the second rendition of the Quirk Hotel concept within the Destination Hotels collection, with its original location in Richmond, Va.

“After opening Quirk Hotel Richmond in September 2015, we are excited to bring to life our gallery concept and beautiful hotel amenities into a new, charming Virginia city,” said Kate Ukrop, co-owner of Quirk Hotel Charlottesville alongside her husband, Ted. “Alongside the Quirk Gallery in Richmond, I am looking forward to also being the director of Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, continuing to make art more accessible for guests across the Destination Hotels brand.”

The concept for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville stemmed from the desire to use art and history as central design elements to spark curiosity and conversation. This vision was realised by building a main hotel around two street-facing homes that date back to the 19th century. Incorporating the historic red and beige brick homes at 501 West Main St. and 503 Main St., respectively, Quirk Hotel Charlottesville embodies the Quirk Hotel reputation for “uncommon accommodations.”

Large, minimalist lobby area with contemporary art on walls

Image caption: An artist’s impression of the contemporary public areas | Image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

Creating a novel space where guests can genuinely embrace new people, places and culture, the hotel features original works of contemporary art by renowned artists. Adding unexpected surprises to every nook and cranny, the artwork is speckled throughout the entire property, some of which can be purchased at Quirk Gallery. The locally curated, bi-level gallery, features local, regional and national artists, and serves as a gathering place for artist talks, classes and openings, as well as private events.

Designed by national architecture and interior design studio ARCHITECTUREFIRM, the 80-key hotel showcases a minimalist, contemporary design, elevated by gold accents. Each guestroom has a signature look including original artwork throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and downtown Charlottesville, mini bars with locally sourced goods, and custom headboards designed especially for Quirk Hotel Charlottesville.

In juxtaposition to the contemporary art and design inside the main property building, the two 19th century historic farm homes resemble art relics of Charlottesville’s years past. Plans for the Vernacular style Red Brick House include a quaint café and an expansive barrel aged spirits bar, set to open in late April. The Federal style Beige Brick House is home to Laurie Nicole’s upscale beauty salon on the main floor, while the upstairs will be repurposed into a private room and loft suite.

A true to place destination where independent travellers can make their experience their own, the hotel features a new signature dining concept, a laid-back rooftop bar, an indoor lobby lounge, two spacious ballrooms, an in-house art gallery and two historic homes surrounding the property with added amenities.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels/Destination Hotels

EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EXCLUSIVE: Aqualisa unveils next generation of smart showers

Brand new smart shower products have catapulted Aqualisa out to the front of the smart shower market. Hotel Designs has the exclusive…

Almost imperceptibly, the smart home/hotel is becoming a reality. It’s a fully-fledged sector – not just a niche market anymore and bathroom brand Aqualisa has recognised and is responding to the emerging demands of a marketplace it believes will be increasingly driven by the benefits of smart technology in the bathroom.

The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK.

Bathrooms and wet rooms are fast becoming integral parts of today’s hotel experience, and new intelligent technology in is not only making possible to launch exceptional controls for ease of use, but also providing a stronger reliability and easy installation. The new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection ‘ticks’ all these boxes, with intuitive control, stunning good looks and an unsurpassed level of personalisation and convenience.

Image credit: Aqualisa

The established Quartz name, universally respected by the shower trade, has been retained for this exciting new ‘headliner’ range. This evolution of the original Quartz digital shower creates a new generation of showers with an exceptional level of connectivity, including breakthrough voice activation, added to its established and renowned performance quality.

Quartz was initially launched back in 2001 and has since become the best-selling shower in its category. The product story for this exceptional product has seen a number of style developments over the past twenty years. The latest chapter sees advanced smart technology adopting the iconic Quartz name to provide state of the art showering via a mobile app that brings Aqualisa fully into the emerging smart home environment.

Digital shower on wit marble wallcovering

Image credit: Aqualisa

Quartz technology has stood every test of time over the past nineteen years, consistently delivering the same high-performance showering experience.  Adding connectivity pushes the boundaries of smart technology and takes showering to new experiential levels. The next big thing for showering here in the UK has long been to establish Wi-Fi connection, app technology and voice activation as an integral part of the showering experience – all things that come as standard with the new Smart Quartz Collection from Aqualisa.

“The range consists of Quartz Blue, Quartz Classic and Quartz Touch.”

App technology allows the user to control the smart digital shower via WIFI, connecting through residential WIFI networks to the Aqualisa Smart Valve (ASV) using safe and secure best practice for IoT/Connected devices. It utilises the simplest on-boarding techniques possible to establish secure and robust connection with the ASV via WIFI.  It’s voice activation and personalisation of the new showers that will make it stand out against the competition. It integrates with established smart home eco-systems via voice control – using software like Alexa.

The range consists of Quartz Blue, the introduction to the smart showering revolution for the new collection, Quartz Classic, an already proven best seller now with added smart technology and top of the range Quartz Touch, which offers the most personal showering experience yet and to which devotees of the smart home will aspire. Every member of the family can activate their own personal shower requirement – created and saved on the App for the perfect, consistently repeated showering experience.

For installers, the new Smart Quartz Collection is a great proposition for new build, self-build or renovation projects, principally because the unique Aqualisa Smart Valve – the brains of the new smart collection – can be located up to 10 metres away from the shower itself, providing unbelievable flexibility in installation.  Installers will find this new product range easy to sell, impressing their customers with the benefits of connectivity – voice activation being a major unique selling point.

“’Alexa turn my shower on’ will quickly become a familiar command in homes/hotels with a new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection shower”, says Aqualisa CEO, Colin Sykes. “The Quartz excellence established from the early two thousands has now reached new heights and will offer users the most sophisticated showering experience available. Despite the advent of the smart home/hotel and the arrival of a myriad of smart products, the suggestion, even five years ago, that showers would take this huge step into the world of smart technology would have been difficult to imagine. Thanks to Aqualisa, this is now a reality. It seems the most natural development for them to take, but we’re delighted it’s us introducing this technology to the UK and Ireland.”

Aqualisa 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: Aqualisa

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

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

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

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

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

Here are five take aways from the press launch.

1) CDW Presents will be themed around ‘CLOCKWORK’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Render of a bandstand pavilion

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

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

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

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

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

4) New showrooms open for business

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

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

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

5) Fringe activities for all

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

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

Main image credit: CDW 2020

Amp by the side of white bed

Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ruby Hotels to open second Swiss hotel

The 220-key hotel, which is yet to be named, will bring the Ruby Hotels brand’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy to a central Geneva location…

In the wake of the brand’s loud debut in London with the opening of Ruby Lucy, Ruby Hotels will launch its second Swiss property in early 2022 in Geneva.

Amp by the side of white bed

The new 220-room hotel will follow the launch of Ruby’s Zurich hotel in 2021 and forms part of an ambitious expansion plan to unveil a total of seventeen new properties by 2023.

The new Ruby Hotel will be located right in the heart of the city, between the rue du Rhône and the rue du Marché – the two biggest shopping streets in Geneva. The hotel entrance will be in the famous Malbuisson Passage, with the Lake Geneva promenade just 200m away and the Geneva Old Town reachable on foot within a few minutes.

“We will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.” – Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck

“This works because we base our design on the model of modern luxury yachts and confine our luxury to a relatively small area, simply omitting non-essentials,” explained Ruby Hotels’ CEO Michael Struck. “Our management methods are also quite different from the usual practice in the industry as we utilise our own technical solutions. We plan and construct in modular form, adopt a more centralised approach and make a consistent effort to automate procedures behind the scenes. This helps us to make a luxurious and unique hotel experience affordable for our guests. In this way, we will be able to exploit a previously unfilled niche in Geneva, one of the most stable hotel markets in Switzerland.”

The hotel will be created from three existing buildings, one of which has a historic facade. The seventh floor will feature a roof terrace with an atrium at the centre, which will also be accessible from the public areas. The Molard tram station and bus stop is located in the immediate vicinity, which will provide the hotel with ideal access to local and long-distance public transport options.

The property will house 220 rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (14-15 m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (21-23 m²), a stylish 24-hour bar, a communal work station and a library. All guest rooms will showcase Ruby Hotels’ sleep-scientist-approved formula for a peaceful night’s sleep, with full soundproofing, blackout curtains, high-quality linen and extra-long and wide custom mattresses.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel in Geneva will follow Ruby’s ‘Lean Luxury’ philosophy: a top location, high-quality fittings, and outstanding design. All of this is offered at an affordable price by rigorously cutting out the superfluous and focusing on the essential. 

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Edgy ‘Seville’ floor lighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Christopher Hyde Lighting        

Company debuts first hypoallergenic hotel rooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Company debuts first hypoallergenic hotel rooms

Months ahead of Hotel Designs putting accessibility under the spotlight in a panel discussion at Hotel Summit, Room To Breathe has given the industry a sigh of relief by unveiling a six-step hypoallergenic process of cleansing air in hotel rooms… 

Regardless of size and status, all hotels with any sense will be putting in place harder measures around cleaning protocols in both the guestrooms and public areas.

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak is putting a burden on hotel owners and exposing those who are falling below the increased standards that consumers expect. As the pressure grows, the industry is in demand for a reliable solutions to cleanse the air in hotel rooms.

Cue the arrival of Glasgow business Room To Breathe, which Hotel Designs welcomed a Recommended Supplier last week as the company is transforming the hotel industry by launching the first hypoallergenic room.

With more  than two in five British adults suffering from allergies – and children being at greatest risk  of developing them – Room to Breathe looks to combine new and innovative technologies to offer a cleaner, less toxic, safer alternative to regular hotel rooms.

Man steam cleaning a curtain in a hotel

Image credit: Room To Breathe

“Room To Breathe have worked to create a new specialised six-step process of cleaning hotel rooms, including air purification, antimicrobial protective coatings to all surfaces and hypoallergenic bedding.”

The idea was the brainchild of Gordon Bruce, director of Insite Specialist Services. “So many people think that just a microfiber mattress cover and a good old fashioned hoover make a room hypoallergenic,” he told Hotel Designs. “But that’s just not true. You can’t exactly take your hypoallergenic pillows and air purifiers with you whenever you travel, and it means allergy sufferers end up with a stuffy nose and red eyes on holiday or on a business trip – not ideal.

“Working at construction services company Insite Group, I thought there must be a better way: and that’s how Room To Breathe came to be.”

Room To Breathe have worked to create a new specialised six-step process of cleaning hotel rooms, including air purification, antimicrobial protective coatings to all surfaces and hypoallergenic bedding. Their allergy friendly solution uses only non-biological cleaning products and environmentally friendly processes, removing up to 99.99 per cent of allergens, mould, germs, influenza, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odours.

Technology originally developed by NASA is used to remove bacteria, mould and compounds from the room, before an innovative UV technology is applied to rid surfaces and textiles of micro-organisms. An environmentally and allergy friendly antimicrobial surface coating is then applied to all hard and soft surfaces in the room, alongside a dust mite and bed bug treatment. A technologically advanced Air Purification system and hypoallergenic bed protectors are the final touches to create a fully hypoallergenic room.

Having perfected its innovative technique, the new company is now beginning the process of finding its first hotel partners, driving the next evolution in travel wellbeing.

Main image credit: Room To Breathe

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (Part 1)

While the entire world is feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Hotel Designs is here to start your week with some stunning hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style. Editor Hamish Kilburn emerges from his quarantined slumber to write part one… 

In uncertain times, it can become easy for designers and architects to lose focus on a creative vision.

The outbreak of the recent coronavirus COVID-19 is taking its toll on all creative industries, and has resulted in a number of major events, such as Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam, Hotel Summit and Salone Del Mobile Milan, to postpone all activity until later in the summer.

With the aim to simply lift spirits and steer those who are lacking Monday motivation back on course, here are a handful of remote hotels that will allow you to escape from the madness, even if it’s for just a minute.

Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Large bedroom overlooking the African wilderness

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges’ Noka Camp

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp. Just a short air transfer or a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, Noka Camp enjoys a remote spot within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve, home of the ‘big five’.

Lepogo Lodges is the very first luxury camp in Africa to offset the carbon footprint of every visiting guest, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Family-owned and operated, the project has been developed as part of a life-long dream to create a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa, with 100% of any financial gains made re-invested back into the reserve for the benefit of wildlife, conservation and the local community. 

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

walkway to suites

Image credit: Jade Mountain St Lucia

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

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

Zannier Hotels Sonop, Nambia

Image credit: Zannier Hotels/Tibod Hermy

Arnaud Zannier’s inspiration for Zannier Hotels Sonop’s design was conceived during his very first trip to the site and first view from the top of the boulders. Arnaud recognised that he had been fortunate enough to discover somewhere very special, likening the feeling to an old explorer discovering a destination for the first time – hence the property was designed to resemble a 20th Century tented camp for explorers.

The construction process was challenging due to the hotel’s remote location and protected surroundings. All building materials and interiors were manually transported up the huge boulders, by expert craftsmen from Namibia. Zannier Hotels only used a limited number of existing roads to the site, to ensure the human impact on the fragile flora was minimal. In addition, each piece of furniture, including twelve 30kg handcrafted four-poster beds, had to be carried by hand over the rocks and boulders thereby avoiding the use of disruptive machinery.

Hotel Chais Monet, France

Image of old and new architecture blending into one frme

Image credit: Hotel Chais Monet

The project was reported to have cost €60 million, and was the brainchild of chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects. But the result of the sensitive restoration to transform the traditional Cognac trading house site into a 15,000m2 luxury spa hotel, offering what it was described back then as a “modern take on traditional French luxe”, has given the buildings a new lease of life.

I would go one step further in saying that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. In the process, it has added a new contemporary architectural jewel ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city ­– one that is sensitive to its surroundings.

Four Seasons Nevis

Recently, the Four Seasons hotel underwent a complete renovation, which was led by TAL Studio. The hotel is situated on the pristine beaches of the remote Caribbean island where building regulations state that no building is allowed to be taller than a palm tree.

The hotel’s latest chapter of renovations includes the redesign of the resort’s main signature pool, construction of a new restaurant concept – On the Dune – that extends out on to the sand and the unveiling of additional improved spaces around the property for guests to enjoy a variety of new experiences and amenities.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Image of restaurant overlooking green countryside

Image credit: Cape Kidnappers

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is just that: a working farmstead of arable land and sheepherding, poised on the edge of a scenic bluff on North Island’s east coast so dramatic, idyllic and untouched that the views – and best enjoyed from the outdoor swimming pool or Jacuzzi. The hotel’s design is one that is considered to blend in harmony with the natural beauty of the area. 

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 reasons to attend Hotel Summit 2020

Hotel Summit, the original hotel meet-the-buyers event that last year was shortlisted at the Indy Awards, is gearing up to once again bridge the gap between hotel operators and suppliers with engaging talks and networking opportunities throughout… 

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has been bridging meaningful relationships between suppliers and hotel operators alike.

While uncertainty surrounding recent headlines is forcing industries to consider and control numbers at networking events over the coming months, Hotel Summit’s successful meet-the-buyer concept is an event that is capped to 150 people.

Here are five reasons to attend this year’s event:

1) The speakers

Hotel Summit 2020 speakership line-up

Hotel Designs is proud to be curating this year’s speakership programme, and has deliberately put certain subjects, such as accessibility, technology and sustainability, at the forefront of conversations. Editor Hamish Kilburn will chair a panel discussion entitled: Designing accessible spaces for modern travellers with the multiple award-winning hotelier Robin Sheppard and accessibility design expert Ed Warner. Alexandra Tollman, Director of Sales at Red Carnation Hotels, will speak to the audience about how to tackle sustainability to make travel matter, and to lift the spirits The Summit will also welcome happiness guru, Danny Bent, to explore the ‘happiness of being you’. The full line-up of speakers can be accessed on the Hotel Summit page.

2) Valuable pre-arranged meetings with suppliers

Qualified buyers (hoteliers, operators and procurement managers) attending Hotel Summit, Hotel Summit, which includes overnight accommodation and a gala dinner, are able to attend free of charge. The two-day event consists of a number of pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with key-industry suppliers of products that buyers have specified in knowing more about. These are carried out throughout the event, in-between seminars, and are designed seamlessly to benefit both supplier and buyer alike. To find out if you qualify as a delegate, please email Kerry Naumburger.

3) The venue: Five Lakes Colchester

establishing shot of hotel around countryside

Image credit: Five Lakes Colchester

Balancing the requirement for the event to be sheltered in an interesting venue that is easily accessible, Hotel Summit this year will take place in the serene Five Lakes Resort in Colechester, Essex. The 194-key spa and resort is run by AB Hotels group. The four-star hotel is located in 320 acres of parkland between Colchester and Maldon, has two restaurants, an indoor pool and spa and two 18-hole golf courses, which sits alongside a large exhibition hall and has 18 purpose-built meeting rooms.

4) Quality suppliers on board

Hotel Summit’s supplier list (so far) is full of key-industry brands from all corners of the industry; from technology software to fitness equipment, lighting to bathroom solutions. They are:

Portable Floor MakersAirwaveBirchall TeaVictoria + AlbertADI TradingCole & SonSicoLUQELJames Alexander Bespoke FurnitureRuark AudioMatrix FitnessMeikoHCIGood EnergyFalcon Contract FlooringSchluter and NT Security

5) Forum Events’ professional approach to synchronise business

Forum Events is respected and well-known for being one of the leading meet-the-buyer forums and summits providers in the industry today. Putting its clients first to create experiences that synchronise business, the company has been the root to many meaningful relationships that have formed in all sectors. The quality reputation of the company is enforced by a dedicated team for each brand. Everyone attending Hotel Summit is briefed prior to the event so that they are aware on who they will be meeting and when, to ensure that The Summit is facilitating relevant meetings that are business appropriate for both buyers and suppliers alike.

How to register for Hotel Summit 2020: 

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet top hotel professionals, contact Jennie Lane at j.lane@forumevents.co.uk– or click here to book your place.

If you are a hotelier and would like to attend the Summit for free, please contact Kerry Naumburger at k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

*Please contact Kerry Naumburger for complete delegates list.

Taste of the future: personalised water for all

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Taste of the future: personalised water for all

Yes, it’s a thing! Water Station from LUQEL offers a multi-stage filtration system, which allows every user to draw their favourite personalised quality water from more than 30 recipes with a simple press of a touchscreen. Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the company’s President to find out more… 

The benefits of keeping hydrated to drink the recommended two litres of water per day have been long-documented.

And while consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental implications from buying non-refillable bottles, with a recent study showing that 75 per cent of guests believe hotels should be doing more to be greener, the industry is, too, changing it’s stance on plastic and how it provides water.

For a luxury hotel brand, where operational measures to become more eco-conscious can to the naive eye look like budget-saving methods, ensuring service and design work in harmony is more important than ever before.

When it comes to offering a suitable water solution, there is one brand on our radar that is going above all others to meaningfully explore the qualities of clean water. LUQEL has created a concept, which will offer guests the ability to taste personalised recipes. To find out more about the benefits of personalised water–  as well as the journey to invent such technology – I spoke to the the company’s President, Josef Schucker.

“This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL

Hamish Kilburn: How would you describe the LUQEL solution?
Josef Schucker: At its heart it is unique water beverage technology using mineral ions in combination with a multi-stage filtration system. This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen. With no bacteria in the water or held in the machine, due to the unique way the water is processed.

HK: What is your favourite recipe from the Water Station?
JS:
I’ve recently switched to drinking our recipe “Smooth Times”. It is a fizzy water with a strong mineralise level, particularly sulphate which supports digestion and maintains cell function, it has been helpful since I started my detox at the start of the year. That doesn’t mean I still don’t use “Green Power” for my green tea first thing in the morning.

Image credit: LUQEL

HK: What inspired you to start the company?
JS: I saw so many washed-up plastic bottles whilst I was living out my childhood dream to sail and explore the most remote of places on earth. It made me see how careless humanity is with its plastic waste and with nature, and how senseless it is to drink bottles of water that are transported thousands of miles. “It’s so simple,” I thought. “Just turn on the tap and enjoy a glass of water.” I grew up in Germany where the quality of the tap water is safe to drink but it doesn’t always taste great. This isn’t the same for all countries and the idea to provide everyone with great tasting water started the development and the idea for LUQEL and the water station.

“Dr. Monique Bissen has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL.

HK: How did you go about developing/nurturing engineering talents for this new revolutionary concept?|
JS: During the search of a water station solution, I encountered the expert in this field: Dr. Monique Bissen, who is a qualified engineer working in the field of water chemistry and has more than 20 years’ experience in the treatment of water. She has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts. The product, technology and engineering has never been done before, it has brought together the best minds to achieve the solution we have, and to create a leading edge solution.

LUQel water system on table

Image credit: LUQEL

HK: Does Dr. Bissen share the same view on water and plastic waste as you?
JS:
She does, she believes the combination of water and plastic to be unhealthy. She is annoyed that many water-treatment devices used by people at home or at work to avoid plastic bottles still contain too much plastic that the water stored is constantly contaminated by the material. She envisages a pure, completely individually personalised water. This new water not only needs to be packaged differently, it has to be better and requires a completely new, plastic-free method of water treatment. We are certain that this can be achieved.

HK: What has surprised you during the development and launch of LUQEL?
JS:
The biggest surprise has been people’s reaction to tasting the water from the LUQEL Water Station. You wouldn’t believe that the recipes can taste so different until you try them. As the water can be hot to compliment teas and coffees, cold with a choice of still or sparkling that will balance with food and drink, all without adjusting any of the settings. It really has that wow factor and makes it exciting to drink water.

Josef pouring water from the station

Image caption: Josef Schucker, President of LUQEL

I started out to develop a machine based on those plastic bottles and to filter the water to provide quality drinking water. We’ve developed not only a proficient water filtering product, but it also enables the user to customise their drink to their personal taste.

HK: Just how safe is drinking water in the UK?
JS:
As water is a clear liquid it is often assumed to be clean and safe. Tap water in the UK is processed to a high standard by the water companies, but new elements are now entering the water table and are different to the bacteria that had historically been removed. One of those that will deteriorate the quality of the water are microplastics and that are increasingly enter our drinking water. Invisible to the naked eye, these tiny particles, whose effects we are only now beginning to discern, are causing irreparable damage to the environment and to fish and sea birds. The aim would be to separate drinking water and plastic, turn our back on standard water and embrace our individual requirements.

HK: Is the solution then to just remove the reliance on plastic water bottles and containers?
JS: The sustainability element is just part of the LUQEL solution, providing great tasting water to your individual taste will encourage you to drink more water. People choose to drink water only if they have exhausted all other options, carbonated soft drinks, coffee, tea. Sugar consumption has increased and even with the UK sugar tax or Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) introduced in 2018 this hasn’t deterred consumers from their favourite drink. LUQEL’s system guides you on the amount you should be drinking, tracks your consumption and welcomes you when you approach the water station with your LUQEL water bottle or NFC tag.

HK: Has this changed how you now drink water?
JS: I’m drinking more water than I used to and enjoy the variety of the selection of waters that I can try. I’d previously look for something refreshing or different as I didn’t want just “boring” water, that would result, most of the time, in a soda of some kind so this has been great for my hydration levels but also for my sugar intake.

HK: Who are LUQEL’s competitors?
JS:
There isn’t a product on the market that does all that the LUQEL Water Station does in one machine. There are plenty of companies that offer different levels of water filtration for the business or home, whether cold or hot at a set temperature, but not to the range or variations we have developed. We seriously believe this product will revolutionise the water market.

HK: What is the future roadmap/developments for the business?
JS: The Water Station we have developed is the first of a family of solutions to meet different capacity needs in the home, a business or whilst you are out and about. We are continuing to invest in technology to make the most efficient technological product we can and provide an enjoyable and exciting experience to our customers wherever and whenever they choose to do so.

HK:  What is your vision for the company?
JS: To ultimately see LUQEL water stations providing consumers with great tasting mineralised water and that they are drinking more water as their regular choice of beverage. From a sustainability aspect, it has to be that as a planet we have to reduce our reliance on plastic, ultimately helping the environment and for it to continue to be a great place for the next generations to enjoy.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Large, luxe suite

Luxury hotel opens in Portugal with focus on art, wellness & design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Luxury hotel opens in Portugal with focus on art, wellness & design

Led by local interior designer Sofia Andrez, the hotel’s design creates a sense of simplicity, serenity and balance, reflecting Longevity Wellness Worldwide’s core principles of restoration and regeneration…

Through its ground-breaking architecture and its minimalist interior design, the newly opened Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel offers guests the perfect space to focus on their health and wellbeing.

Large, luxe suite

A ground-breaking health and wellness property set in the western Algarve, with panoramic views of Alvor Bay, the property offers a world-class dedicated health & wellness clinic over two floors. The hotel has a total of 70 guestrooms and suites, combining simplicity and elegance with a contemporary and natural eco vibe, giving a primary attention to comfort and quality.

Open and spacious public area

Image credit: Longevity Wellness Worldwide

With wellness at the heart of the project, it was important to create a space where guests can improve their health and wellbeing, from the architectural features to the interiors. The distinct wave-like structure of the building symbolises Longevity’s focus on guests’ harmony and balance, as well as the water used in the spa (Salus per Aquae) as a source of health. Meanwhile the interior concept aims to create a sense of serenity and tranquillity through the use aqua-marine colours and neutral sandy tones inspired by the neighbouring sea and beach.

“This type of connectivity between your emotions and mind is transcendent and also extremely beneficial for your mental wellness.” – Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide.

Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel’s focus on ‘Art as Wellness’ is showcased through its partnership with local art gallery Lady in Red who will be exhibiting pieces throughout the hotel. LiR – Galeria de Arte is located in Adega de Lagoa winery and showcases a range of works from local, national and international artists. For Longevity Health and Wellness Hotel, the gallery has carefully curated a selection of works from a roster of artists. The 51 canvass and 12 sculptures works exhibited in the hotel include stunning water colour and oil paintings, sculptural busts and photography.

“Creativity expressed through art has the power to heal us and improve our overall mental wellness on a large scale,” said Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide. “This type of connectivity between your emotions and mind is transcendent and also extremely beneficial for your mental wellness. By unleashing our creativity and establishing human connection, art has an amazing power to boost wellness which should be a major priority in modern society.” 

Luxe, clean and simple hotel bed with glass bathroom

Image caption: Junior Suite

Interior designer Sofia Andrez approached the entire building as a place of wellbeing, ensuring synergy between the spaces of the hotel, from the guest rooms to the restaurant and treatment areas. Whilst meeting the different technical and functional requirements of each part of the hotel, the designer ensured the entire property fulfilled the brief.

The guest bedrooms have been designed to emphasise the hotel’s stunning views. The designer introduced shades of grey, white and beige which are complemented with simple touches of blue in the decorative cushions and bed throws.

In the restaurant, the designers have created an intimate atmosphere by introducing some darker tones and elements including the table bases, which offset the sand-coloured tops. Additionally, the wood-panelled buffet area and bench seats create a warm and inviting setting.

Within the spa, Andrez used organic materials such as the wooden floor lanterns and macramé ceiling lanterns that both help producing a relaxing atmosphere.

The colour scheme and sense of tranquillity has also been reflected in the furniture created exclusively for the hotel. The designer introduced bespoke pieces throughout the property, with 80 per cent of the furniture made in Portugal. By carefully selecting the right materials, fabrics and colours, the designer achieved an elegant and simple aesthetic. Whilst also reflecting the views and surrounding areas, it was important for the interiors to complement the unique architecture of the hotel. The use of curvaceous furniture such as the round sofas in the lobby mimic the wave-like structure of the building, creating a synergy between the interior and exterior of the hotel.

By focusing on simplicity, serenity and balance, the hotel’s design relates to the key pillars of the Longevity Wellness Worldwide brand. These five pillars are: treatments that are preventive, personalised, holistic, integrative and regenerative.

Main image credit: Longevity Wellness Worldwide

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels makes its long-awaited debut in Ireland

Hard Rock International debuts in Ireland with Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, which aims to brings the brand’s musical energy to the famed Temple Bar district…

With a presence spanning more than 76 countries, Hard Rock International continues its expansion into Europe with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin.

 

Red headboard, colourful art work and a white bed

The iconic red-brick property is located on Exchange Street Upper near the Temple Bar district, and shelters a theme that is a celebration of the rich cultural and musical history of Dublin, bringing Hard Rock’s signature music-infused vibes to the heart of the city.

The 120-key hotel is a contemporary reimagining of two historic buildings, combining the Exchange Building, a listed property built at the turn of the 20th century, and the adjacent Fashion House building, linked together by a newly built glass bridge.

“Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.” – Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International

Reflecting Dublin’s vibrant atmosphere, the rooms are furnished with electrifying colour schemes, paired with warm woods and bright stone. The fresh interiors are adorned with priceless Hard Rock memorabilia, expertly curated to include treasured possessions and instruments from some of Ireland’s most loved musicians. Irish favourites such as Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Hozier and U2 feature, as well as pieces from artists that have played truly memorable gigs in Ireland.

Image credit: Hard Rock International

“As Hard Rock furthers its expansion into Europe, we continue to target destinations that are culturally influential and perfectly aligned with our musical soul,” commented Dale Hipsh, Senior Vice President – Hotels for Hard Rock International. “Dublin connects to our deep musical roots, we are honoured to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to the city, its residents and visitors alike.”

Enda O’Meara, CEO of the Tifco Hotel Group, added: “We are greatly looking forward to the opening of Hard Rock Hotel Dublin. Our aim is to match the energy of this vibrant city through our world-class service offered by the people who truly make up the fabric of the hotel, and who will work passionately to deliver the best guest experience.”

Surrounding the hotel is an abundance of local attractions, heritage sites, eateries and bars. Within walking distance are the world-famous Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle and the renowned Temple Bar district. Also easily accessible from the hotel are several of Dublin’s cultural institutions, including the Olympia Theatre, the Gallery of Photography and the Irish Film Institute.

Following the opening of the hotel in Dublin, Hard Rock International portfolio plan to open Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam American will break into the entertainment capital of Europe in April 2020, located in a famous Art Nouveau building on the lively Leidseplein Square. Opening in May, Hard Rock Hotel Budapest will be situated in the heart of “Budapest’s Broadway” surrounded by the city’s famed cultural attractions. Hard Rock Hotel Madrid will follow, opening in a prime location opposite the historic Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in the Atocha district.

Main image credit: Hard Rock International

Bathroom brand AQATA launches debut ‘Look Book’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom brand AQATA launches debut ‘Look Book’

When looking for bathroom inspiration, AQATA believes that its very first Look Book is the ideal solution…

AQATA’s first ever Look Book highlights all its latest, most-popular bathroom products; including a fabulously curvaceous collection of shower screens, walk in shower enclosures, shower panels, sliding doors and coloured finishes.

The Look Book acts as a miniature version of the AQATA brochure, it has been broken down and split into sections, cleverly designed to show every style they offer. Full of fabulous and luxurious products, all initiatively designed and manufactured at AQATA’s factory in the UK, there really is something for everyone.

Image credit: AQATA

For those who are unsure about what they want and need inspiration. Then AQATA’s new Look Book is full of imagery and ideas that will point them in the right direction, enabling them to create their dream bathroom.

AQATA understands a bathroom isn’t just a functional space; it has to be aesthetically pleasing, stylish and also a sanctuary. The AQATA Design Solutions Range allows customers to personalise their showering area with a variety of options including a choice of coloured glass in Clear, Clear Plus, Grey Tint and Bronze Tint, combined with one of the coloured finish options from Chrome, Matte Black, Polished or Brushed Nickel it allows customers to truly make the enclosure their own.

The look book is the first of as series, a new edition will be released every season ensuring customers are kept up to date with all AQATA’s new and exciting product launches and features.

AQATA 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.

BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 postponed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
BREAKING: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020 postponed

BREAKING NEWS: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam 2020, which Hotel Designs is a proud media parter of, has postponed this year’s event in response to the latest developments in the coronavirus spread…

Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam was due to take place between March 17 – 18, but in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the World Health Organisation labelling it as a pandemic, the exhibition has been forced to postpone.

The event organisers have confirmed that the event is now due to take place on June 24 – 25, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam.

One week after the success of Hotel Restaurant and Catering Show, the organisers of the show have confirmed the postponement in a statement. “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to inform you that Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam will no longer place between 17-18 March as planned and has instead been postponed to 24 – 25 June 2020 at RAI Amsterdam,” the statement read. “This is due to the significant escalation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases across the Netherlands as well as yesterday’s announcement by the World Health Organisation that COVID-19 is now labelled a pandemic.

“The event is now due to take place on June 24 – 25, 2020 at RAI Amsterdam.”

“Whilst we have been paying close attention to the World Health Organisation and have been following the advice from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment leaves us with little option but to make the decision to postpone the event to later in the year when we hope the effects have subsided.”

The update comes after the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported by the Dutch authorities (as of March 11, 2020) amounted to 503. In just a week, multiple cases have been reported all over the country. Officially, the coronavirus entered the Netherlands on February 27, 2020 after a Dutch resident returned from the Italian region of Lombardy.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is expected to move to the ‘delay’ phase after the BBC reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has reached 460, after the biggest rise in a single day.

Main image credit: Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam

SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside Mama Shelter’s soon-to-open Luxembourg hotel

Mama Shelter is expected to bringing its playful hotel brand to Luxembourg in May of this year. Before the wild opening, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside… 

Hot off the heels of opening another hotel in Paris, Mama Shelter is expected to touchdown in Luxembourg this May, opening the brand’s 13th hotel since coming to the market in 2008.

Sheltering 145 design-led rooms, Mama Luxembourg will continue its commitment to providing its affordable boutique hotel offering to the Grand Duchy. In keeping with the brand’s playful philosophy, Mama Luxembourg interprets the spirit of its location through its bespoke design, while also offering guests a well-priced option from which to explore the city.

An important financial hub, with links to neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg is also home to several European Union institutions. Mama Works will offer local professionals and business travellers the flexibility to work from its new co-working space, offering individual working spaces and shared desks. There is also a ‘CineMama’, an intimate space with seating for up to 31 people which can also be used for presentations and screenings.

Wild and funky public areas, full of character and colour

Image credit: Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter’s instantly recognisable style continues throughout its new property. Taking inspiration from the region’s rich history, the ceilings are adorned with one-of-a-kind graffiti by renowned French artist – Beniloys – and each room has been individually designed by its dedicated in-house design team.

“Luxembourg is as beautiful as it is cosmopolitan,” said Jérémie Trigano, CEO of Mama Shelter. “We knew that combining these features with MAMA’s fun personality meant we would get a truly explosive result.”

Mama Luxembourg bridges the gap between the chic style of boutique hotels and openness of Mama’s playful philosophy. This unique DNA creates the perfect home-away-from-home for travellers and local professionals.

Playful public areas with wooden furniture and colourful design scheme

Image credit: Mama Shelter

“Luxembourg is largely known as a financial hub,” added Serge Trigano, president of Mama Shelter. “The Mama group wants to contribute actively to the discovery of the country’s culture, its landscapes and its castles. Bankers or teams from great financial institutions as well as Luxembourgers will always be most welcome and free to visit the Mama whenever they wish, to shed their suits and enjoy a meal or a cocktail in our restaurant or on our rooftop.”

The Mama Shelter journey started in 2008 with the launch of Mama Paris East. Founded by the Trigano family – co-Founder of Club Med – and world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter believed in launching in lesser-known, ‘out of the way’ neighbourhoods in iconic cities, allowing guests to uncover new and exciting cities. The founding Paris property was followed by Marseille to Lyon, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Belgrade, Toulouse, London, Paris West and Luxembourg. Upcoming openings include Bucharest, Bahrain, Dubai, Santiago de Chile, Rome, Lisbon and many more. In 2014, the international hotel chain, Accor, partnered with Mama Shelter to develop the concept and welcome travellers and locals throughout the world.

As with all of Mama Shelter properties, Mama Luxembourg aims to be a confluence for visitors and locals alike, providing a witty and welcoming ‘home’ in the city.

Main image credit: Mama Shelter

The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The St Regis San Francisco completes renovation

The luxury hotel in San Francisco’s new guestrooms, meeting and event space were designed in collaboration with Chapi Chapo Design to evoke renewed vibrancy… 

Toronto-based studio Chapi Chapo Design has completed a project to renovate the guestrooms and meeting spaces inside The St. Regis San Francisco.

Namesake of the famed St. Regis Hotel in New York City, founded by John Jacob Astor in 1904 and synonymous worldwide with design excellence, European-style elegance and personalised “anticipatory service,” The St. Regis San Francisco introduced a new dimension of luxury and gracious living to San Francisco, personified by the signature St. Regis butler service, when it opened in 2005.  The hotel remains the crowning jewel of the Yerba Buena cultural corridor, steps from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts and proximate to Union Square, the financial district and the Moscone Convention Centre. 

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to return to The St. Regis San Francisco,” said Boris Mathias, co-CEO of Chapi Chapo Design. “Our goal was to honour St. Regis’ distinctive heritage while refreshing the property with a design that captures San Francisco’s innovative spirit, rich history and natural beauty, and to create ultra-luxe guest rooms and event spaces that anticipate the needs of today’s discerning traveller.” 

luxe suite open up to striking vistas of the city

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The St. Regis San Francisco’s 260 rooms and suites were refitted with customised furniture, exclusive to the hotel. New room seating includes chairs and ottomans designed both for lounging and working.  Headboards picoted with rich leather paneling, suggestive of a luxury sports car interior, also serve as homes for the connections that power the rooms’ sophisticated technological upgrades.  San Francisco’s iconic hills and valleys are subtly referenced in wall covering that features the soft curves of a Richard Serra-inspired sculpture. Viewed through layered smoked desk glass, California’s glorious panoramas, as captured by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, evoke the dreamy intrigue of a Dashiell Hammett novel. 

Continuing the theme of wedding historic milestones to contemporary sensibility, the California Gold Rush of 1849 that put San Francisco on the map is referenced by a colour palette of silver, copper and iron, adding an alluring luster to the rooms’ ambience but setting off distinctive custom 3D computer graphic applications created by Christo Saba. The artwork pays homage to the innovative spirit of San Francisco with subtle visualisations of past luminaries and today’s tech industry giants.

Image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

The redesign also focused on enhancing The St. Regis San Francisco’s 15,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, creating refined, comfortable and innovative areas designed to facilitate conversation and collaboration.  Continuing to balance tradition and contemporaneity, the new custom carpet in the ballroom features a modern, earthy abstract pattern with unexpected bursts of color that ideally complements the room’s magnificent existing chandelier.

And with a subtle touch of whimsey that acknowledges the city’s storied geological uncertainty, Chapi Chapo Design fitted the hotel’s meeting spaces with tectonic-plate themed custom-designed carpet.  

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

Bathroom planning made easy with Kaldewei

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom planning made easy with Kaldewei

Planning a bathroom shouldn’t be hard work, believe it or not – it can be fun, explains the bathroom experts at Kaldewei

Some of the challenges when planning bathrooms is limited space, awkward angles and alcoves as well as layouts. However, with Kaldewei’s enamelled bathroom solutions, designers can create a dream bathroom – no matter how many odd angles.

Kaldewei, the manufacturer of steel enamel showers, baths and washbasins, has a very positive solution, which comes in four simple steps.

1) Alcove bathroom: floor-level showers – miraculous space-savers

Lateral thinking helps when fitting out an alcove bathroom because it often produces surprising new approaches that can greatly improve the feel of the room. For example, alcoves offer a great opportunity to create more shelf space in the bathroom or add some special design features to a particular area of the room. In bathrooms like this, floor-level showers are truly miraculous space-savers. Tucked into an alcove, they cleverly separate the wet area from the rest of the bathroom. In small bathrooms, this works particularly well on two levels, it highlights the beauty of the architecture as well as saving the home owners valuable space. Floor-level showers are available in many different sizes and designs – Kaldewei offers over 100,000 choices for designing a floor-level shower area alone.

2) Bathrooms with odd angles: find the perfect-fit solution

Home owners dislike lots of angles in the bathroom – but, there’s no reason to give up. With a little creativity, rooms like these can be given a playful look. Use bright, cheerful colours – they lighten the mood and make the room look bigger. A floor- level shower like the Kaldewei Conoflat will further boost this effect. It can also be fitted with a movable splashback that can be folded away to one side. Those who don’t want to get rid of their bath can choose a compact size that doesn’t take up more space. Kaldewei offers its showers, baths and washbasins in a standard design which brings harmony to the bathroom and upgrades it. If there are too many angles, they can also be concealed by a false wall. The toilet or a washing machine can be cleverly hidden away behind it, while the wall itself will provide space for a washbasin such as the Cono model made of long-lasting Kaldewei steel enamel.

Dark tiles in white bathroom with pops of blue colour

Image credit: Kaldewei

3) Galley bathrooms: open up the space with colour

Limited space doesn’t have to be a problem – it’s possible to design a dream bathroom even with a very long, narrow floor plan. A bath beneath the window, for example, will look great against the front wall. LED strips at the base of the bath will make it a really striking feature in a cramped bathroom. Those who like colour will benefit from a cheerful room that also has a positive effect on the bathroom’s ambience. Light colours work particularly well in small bathrooms; another tip is to match the colour of the shower with the floor tiles. This way, the floor and shower will seem to merge together. This makes the room seem more open, bigger and lighter. To go with the coloured shower, Kaldewei also offers many beautiful washbasins such as the delicate Miena washbasin bowl. The bathroom expert has more than 850 alternatives to the white washbasin in its portfolio – offering maximum flexibility when fitting out galley bathrooms.

4) Bathroom under the eaves: make clever use of slopes

Imagine lounging in the bath while gazing at the clouds: an attic bathroom can be fantastic. Bathroom expert Kaldewei recommends the use of an enamelled bath situated under the eaves – where there is no room for cupboards and washbasins. This allows for comfortable relaxation without losing valuable space in the bathroom. A false wall can be used to divide the attic bathroom into distinctly separate zones, creating calm and order and offering additional scope for the washing area. As an alternative to wall-hung washbasins, a countertop washbasin such as the Kaldewei Centro model can also work well in combination with a bath. This perfect combination, not only looks great but is also practical – thanks to the generous surround.

7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 interior trends to emerge from London Design Week 2020

During London Design Week 2020, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour is sheltering many of the product launches, teasers and conversations that are expected to make a noise on the design scene this season. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies some of the prominent styles, colours and trends to look out for… 

“We champion creative excellence,” said Becky Metcalfe, Head of Content at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (DCCH). “And we have certainly seen a move towards inform choices.”

Now that there is more demand among consumers for conscious and meaningful designs to compliment seamless service, hotel designers are widening their lenses to understand the narrative, craft and creative vision of new collections launched.

It is this change in behaviour that is enforcing most, if not all, of the strong styles that I discovered during my time at London Design Week 2020.

1) Botanical paradise on earth

With biophilic design being put front and centre at the moment around the world, conversations and the products that are launching are finding the balance between indoor space and the great outdoors – think exotic gardens where fragrance and sound are depicted in patterns and colours. Sanderson’s floral showroom, which houses hundreds of new designs this week, highlighted the creative possibilities that can emerge when designers open the door to outdoor influence with purpose. Other brands to leverage nature in design include Pierre Frey’s enriched wallcoverings, Abbott & Boyd’s capture of birds and Bec Brittain’s Taxonomy collection seen in the Tai Ping showroom that explores unexpected paradoxes inspired by the minutiae of insect anatomy and pleating techniques.

Offer with pink and black textured rug

Image credit: Taxonomy collection by Bec Brittain/Edward Fields Carpet Makers/Tai Ping

2) Land of the rising sun – everyone is talking about Japan

Considering the incredible oriental principles – not to mention the in-depth culture, heritage and authentic craftsmanship – it’s hardly surprising that many designers and brands are finding inspiration in Japan. There are parallels between the demand for simple, elegant luxury and the minimalist aesthetics of design in Japan (take a look at Muji to see this in action). Wallcovering brands such as Arte are exploring Japanese techniques and diverse styles, such as the Kimono pattern motif, to create new textured layers to their collections.

Intricate Kimono pattern detail in wallcovering

Image credit: Arte Wallcovering

Taking the theme in a different direction, Arteriors’ Trapeze Sconce is an effortless example of how Japanese influence can be balanced delicately in elegant lighting. With so much yet to explore, we expect more designers and brands to delve into the archive of Japan’s design heritage to invest in timeless practice and precious pieces.

3) Embracing imperfections

Admittedly, this isn’t anything new. In fact, designers, consumers and brands alike have been championing and demanding one-off products that can’t be replicated for as long as time. But recently, with timelessness and narrative playing so much importance in any design scheme – and while designers become more adventurous with materials – this look is everywhere. Lighting brand Vaughan is celebrating a proud authentic look and feel with its Chalk White collection, while wallcoverings brand Harlequin is keeping in touch with nature by using natural materials and creating an interesting weave structure.

Chalk-like chandelier

Image credit: Vaughan’s Chalk White collection is a curation of six products

Meanwhile, Parkside Architectural Tiles are showcasing their fantastical imperfect Spectre collection of tiles, which have proved a hit with designers and architects looking to add personality onto the walls of new and existing spaces.

Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

Image caption: Spectre collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles

A relatively new brand thats DNA is very much focused on creating this look is Ilala, curated by Miranda Vedral, which proudly presented its idiosyncratic handwoven  furniture and lighting during the event.

4) Amplifying craftsmanship in all areas

There are more and more brands out there that are willing to collaborate with experts to produce the highest quality and the most interesting designs. With a digital overload from social media and a move to challenge the disposable mindset, brands such as Porta Romana have enhanced tactility in products and styles, which is putting momentum behind the sustainable movement.

Image credit: Porta Romana

5) Take a walk on the wild side

As we have identified before, the eco-conscious world is allowing for more adventurous influences to emerge to the surface. During the showrooms in Chelsea, there was a clear and defined theme of endangered species being used in wallcoverings, fabrics and soft furnishings. Some of the brands that are mastering this with style include Altfield, Anthology, Harlequin and Andrew Martin.

Image credit: Harlequin’s Mirador Collection

6) Warm colours are in!

Finally, in the doom and gloom of the current economic climate, designers and brands are discovering the warmer end of the colour spectrum. Designs from Edelman Leather, Vaughan and Zoffany are all setting their style compass to rosy red, which suggests there is a new confidence in the air. Grasping the statement-like benefits of using primary colours, British brand David Hunt Lighting has recently opened up its archives to find unique techniques and craft that has inspired their latest collections of pendants and chandeliers. In the Design Avenue – a hotspot for talent and unmatched styles – there was arguably no brand more colourful and bold than Timorous Beasties, but with their intricate signature of styles, would you really expect anything less?

Red, yellow and blue pendents

Image credit: David Hunt Lighting/Instagram

7) Home Heritage

An interesting theme to explore on the international hotel design scene – and one that no doubts divides the industry – there seems to be a move towards home-from-home comforts, but not perhaps as you would expect. We know that lobbies are becoming more lounge-like, but in addition there is an interest to explore storied providence. Brands such as Zimmer + Rhode, Samuel & Sons and Holland & Sherry are all using this to drive their latest designs, and I suspect more brands will keep this in mind when innovating new products in the future to add further meaning in design.

If you identified anything at the show that you believe we should be sharing our readers, please tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

industrial looking suite

SNEAK PEEK: Inside the ‘first true design hotel’ in Warsaw

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SNEAK PEEK: Inside the ‘first true design hotel’ in Warsaw

The 117-key Nobu Hotel Warsaw is located in lively, culinary neighbourhood of central Warsaw and is slated to open this June…

Nobu Hospitality, the lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has announced that its first hotel in Poland will open in June of this year. 

industrial looking suite

Nobu Hotel Warsaw will have 117 sleek and spacious rooms, thoughtfully tailored meeting and event spaces, an expansive fitness centre and signature Nobu Restaurant and café.

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Situated on Wilcza Street, the creative hub of the modern-day city, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is an integrated mix of luxurious hotel and energised living spaces. The hotel’s neighbourhood is a walk away from the Old Town, originally built in the 13th century, which has been meticulously reconstructed since the Second World War, welcoming the intellectual traveller to rediscover its charm as an increasingly popular leisure destination. Etched into the city’s skyline, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is surrounded by a vibrant urban scene full of trendy wine bars that spill out onto the pavements in the summer months, as well as independent shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants, enriching the community with a sense of locality and present-day style.

“Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a really exciting project for us,” said Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer of Nobu Hotels. “The luxury hospitality market has been gaining momentum in Warsaw for a while. There’s a certain type of energy that extends far beyond the bricks and mortar – we’re very excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of lifestyle and hospitality development – and being from Poland originally, this opening is particularly exciting for our co-founder Meir Teper.”

The city’s first true design hotel, Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a combination of two wings: the ‘classic’ is housed in an Art Deco building, the former Hotel Rialto, which dates back to 1920s inter-war Poland and the ‘modern’ is an ultracontemporary, new build – designed through a transformational, cross-continental collaboration: a concerted effort between Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group, and California-based Studio PCH. Respecting the city’s history and resilience, the result tells the story of present-day Warsaw: open, modern and diverse.

Nobu Hotel Warsaw juxtaposes contemporary style with the adjoined classic Art Deco building’s character and distinct aesthetic, an important symbol of the city’s historical tissue. In the hotel lobby, crossing between the old and new wings feels like crossing two streets, with a sculptural spiral wooden staircase leading to the first floor. The new wing features sleek, meticulous Polish wood detailing in the lobby with a minimalist, charcoal grey marble reception desk; teak-timbers and polished-concrete adorn the walls, complemented by palette-rich terrazzo floors that together create a harmonious blend of natural materials and Japanese-inspired design. Outside, the strikingly designed window-box glass façade sits neatly beside the Art Deco wing, which draws on traditional Polish architecture. All public spaces throughout the hotel will house modern Polish art masterpieces from the Jankilevitsch Collection.

“The result is an interesting architectural form from the outside, and a variety of room sizes, on the inside.” – Lukasz Zagala, co-founder of Medusa Group

“The core of the hotel has been created by shifting seven floors aside to form a “V” shape”, said Lukasz Zagala, co-founder of Medusa Group. “The result is an interesting architectural form from the outside, and a variety of room sizes, on the inside. The movement of floors also allowed for spacious balconies with planted greenery, creating a vertical garden, as well as added privacy for the rooms. The deconstructed rounded corner block is a nod to the characteristic corner buildings which dotted Warsaw’s 19th century streets.”

“In keeping with its theme, the new wing’s suites are contemporary in design, using simple materials: raw concrete, wood, stone and glass, taking inspiration from Japanese design philosophy.”

The rooms span classic to ultramodern, representative of Poland’s rampant revival, allowing guests to choose the style to suit their taste. All room categories exude a sense of calm with Japanese design, and floor-to-ceiling windows with either city or skyline views. In keeping with its theme, the new wing’s suites are contemporary in design, using simple materials: raw concrete, wood, stone and glass, taking inspiration from Japanese design philosophy. Whilst those classic in style are located in a renovated tenement house, dating back to the 20th century and Art Deco in style: drawing on the traditions of old Warsaw architecture, interior design and art.

The Nobu Suite features separate living and dining room areas and a Japanese soaking tub, that looks out onto the city. A spacious 109 m², the room has a 98- inch home cinema and surround sound system that guests can stream to from smart devices, and like all of the other 116 rooms, comes with in-room amenities by Natura Blissé, a luxurious Yukata robe and a minibar stocked with classic Japanese favourites such as Matcha Kit Kats.

The property plays host to the Nobu restaurant and cafe, as with all the hotels worldwide, and is rooted in creating memorable experiences around exceptional food and locality. A stone’s throw from the bustling Hala Koszyki food hall, the area is fast becoming Warsaw’s foodie hub. The Nobu restaurant concept is based on Chef Nobu’s inventive, non-traditional cuisine which showcases high quality produce, colour and texture, cooking classic Japanese dishes created with South American ingredients. Executive Chef Yannick Lohou arrives fresh from Nobu Hotel Barcelona, with previous experience at Nobu Dubai where he began his brand journey. 

Dark restaurant, minimalist design

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

The hotel’s flexible 438 m2 first floor events space provides a stylish setting for large conferences and meetings and can be divided by a mobile wall with acoustic separation, to offer two independent spaces – the Sakura room at 266 m2 and Hikari room at 171 m2. Crushed glass walls allow plenty of natural light and an independent lobby complete with terrace, allows for total privacy. Further meeting rooms with state-of-the-art facilities exist on the same floor. These can be combined with a variety of bespoke services including planning, catering, business services and technology, including Wi-Fi and audio-visual equipment.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotel Warsaw

New ibis Styles hotel offers striking Art Deco interiors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New ibis Styles hotel offers striking Art Deco interiors

Having recently opened in the heart of Hounslow, ibis Styles London Heathrow Airport East offers stylish and affordable accommodation, inspired by the architecture of Hounslow’s Golden Mile…

The Art Deco-styled ibis Styles London Heathrow Airport East hotel celebrates the modern world with an eclectic blend of 1920s glamour.

The 125-room ibis Styles hotel has been developed in partnership with Splendid Hospitality Group, and designed by specialist Hotel & Leisure interior design company, Matthews Mee, whose previous clients have included Mercure, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Hilton’s DoubleTree.

“The inspiration was the Great West Road into central London and the Art Deco mid 20th century style of architecture,” said Design Director of Matthews Mee, Robert Matthews. “This includes the Hoover building, Firestone headquarters, Gillette factory and tube stations that line this main arterial route to London, celebrating the modern mechanical world with an eclectic blend of progress and handcrafted tradition.

The hotel is the whole package, the roaring 1920s narrative runs through everything from door handles to furniture, some details are obvious whilst others need more work such as bespoke woven carpets and wallpapers.

“Although the hotel’s story is based around the 1920s, the idea behind the interiors was that the hotel should not recreate the exact style of the Art Deco era but instead, use the upscale simplicity of form to create a contemporary interpretation of the style reminiscent of the age.”

Quirky Art Deco carpets, mirrors and furniture in lobby

Image credit: ibis Hotels

The lobby is bright, fresh and comfortably elegant with a touch of Romanticism. Remaining faithful to the hotel’s glamorous theme, the restaurant and bar blends classical features with modern touches, such as brass accessories and vibrant art with hard materials such as walnut and marble. The polished flooring and statement rugs also add to the multi-functional space and encourages leisure and corporate guests to relax and unwind in the decadent bar and lounge areas.

The practicalities of the hotel match the high standards of the design, with each of the spacious bedrooms fitted with triple glazed windows to ensure a completely sound-proof environment. A stand-out feature of the hotel is the availability of four accessible family rooms on each of the three floors, with two each at opposite ends of the corridor and the option to book them together to have interconnecting rooms. Bespoke ‘roaring 20s’ music and dance style bedhead murals are featured in each bedroom, along with Art Deco inspired dress mirrors to complete the sophisticated look.

Main image credit: ibis Hotels

5 Minutes With: Emma Masters, associate at Richmond International

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

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

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

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

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

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

Large, luxurious and grand penthouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxurious longe area in suite

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

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

Main image credit: Richmond International

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Finding balance in bathroom mirror lighting

Advancements in meaningful technology is allowing designers to be more creative when it comes to lighting spaces. But when it comes to bathroom lighting, a sensitive approach is best, as Electric Mirror explains… 

Lighted mirrors began appearing in five-star luxury hotel bathrooms more than 20 years ago.

As their popularity has increased, so too has their presence – today you can find lighted mirrors in millions of hotel rooms worldwide. So what’s new?

Today’s lighted mirrors come in virtually unlimited styles, from on-trend radius corners to custom designs that include asymmetrical shapes and added functionality such as built-in shelves.

The once-ubiquitous rectangular frosted-light window has given way to new light shapes and patterns, allowing designers to create lighted mirrors that match or complement anything from wall coverings to furniture.

Lighted mirror technology has continued to evolve as well. For example, Electric Mirror’s Savvy™ Smart Mirror, chosen for Marriott Autograph Collection’s Sinclair Hotel – America’s most technologically advanced hotel – includes Pro:Idiom and is PoE compatible.

And finally, lighted mirrors aren’t just for the bathroom vanity any more. Designers can offer hotel guests the beauty, convenience and luxury of a lighted mirror as a mirrored cabinet, a fog-free shower mirror, a makeup mirror, even a wardrobe mirror.

Electric Mirror is a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. 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: Electric Mirror

Render of large, luxury property

Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Corinthia Hotels announces debut hotel in Doha

Corinthia Hotels has signed an agreement to manage and operate a luxury Corinthia hotel in Doha to be built in the Gewan Island development…

As the final preparations are underway for Corinthia Hotel’s entrance into the Middle East, with the opening of Corinthia Dubai around the corner, the hotel group has just signed a deal to open a property in Doha.

Render of large, luxury property

The agreement with United Development Company (UDC) was signed by UDC senior officials; H.E. Mr Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater, Chairman and Mr Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board. Signing on behalf of Corinthia was Mr Simon Naudi, CEO, together with Mr Paul Pisani, Senior Vice President of Development and Mr Matthew Dixon, Area Managing Director Middle East. Under the agreement, Corinthia will manage and operate the first Corinthia Hotel in Doha which will be constructed by UDC.

Corinthia currently owns, operates or is developing a portfolio of luxury hotels in major destinations including London, Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, Malta, Tripoli, Khartoum, St Petersburg, Rome, Brussels, Moscow, Dubai and Bucharest.

Corinthia Doha is therefore poised to be a prominent structure in Gewan Island, overlooking the Island’s planned golf course and beach club.

Corinthia Doha will be established on an area of 13,000 sqm and will comprise 110 guestrooms, a banquet hall and outdoor patio with a 1000 people capacity, an all-day dining and specialty restaurants in addition to a luxurious spa facility. The development will also include luxury branded villas, a golf course, and a beach club, all to be managed by the Corinthia Hotel.

“This project is part of Gewan Island’s development plans and will ensure the Company’s sustainable growth and the creation of new opportunities and revenue sources over the long term,” said UDC Chairman H.E. Mr. Turki bin Mohammed Al-Khater.

H.E. Mr. Al-Khater also highlighted that partnership with Corinthia Hotels which boasts an extensive experience in managing and operating hotels worldwide, falls in line with UDC’s development strategy to support Qatar’s real estate sector and underscores the importance of constructive partnerships that support the national economy and facilitate foreign investment.

For his part, UDC President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of The Board, Mr. Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman, said that the leading reputation of Corinthia Hotels in the hospitality sector and its success in providing luxury hospitality services and facilities, and spreading its Mediterranean heritage culture internationally, are the main motives for choosing it to manage the new landmark hotel in Gewan Island.

Mr. Al-Othman also added: “Driven by UDC’s mission and vision, the agreement with Corinthia Hotels lays solid foundations for UDC’s expansion plans through investments in vital sectors such as real estate and hospitality that aim to optimize and sustain good shareholder value. This is further evidenced by the growth witnessed in the tourism movement in Qatar as a result of recent various government incentives, which in turn bodes well for UDC’s planned developments in its flagship projects; The Pearl-Qatar and Gewan Island.”

“Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”  – Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels.

Further echoing their excitement to be operating in the Qatari market, Mr. Simon Naudi, CEO of Corinthia Hotels said: “We are delighted to have signed an agreement with UDC to manage a luxury hotel in Gewan Island which promises to be a magnificent location. The energy, vision and quality of resources assembled by UDC for this project will ensure that Corinthia Doha will be another landmark property that will enrich our portfolio and will equally add value to Doha’s hospitality offerings.”

Gewan Island, UDC’s latest real-estate project, is situated next to The Pearl-Qatar, spanning 400,000 sqm. Once completed, the Island will accommodate 3,500 residents and a similar number of daily visitors. Gewan Island will be home to 714 residential units, including 641 apartments, 20 standalone villas located along a placid beach in a quiet and gated seaside community, as well as 21 beachfront villas with private beach, 26 waterfront villas that are equipped with private pontoons for private boats and 6 island villas, in addition to 11,000 sqm of retail spaces and several multi-use buildings.

Gewan Island will feature in addition to Corinthia Hotel, a golf course with a beach club, an air conditioned ‘Crystal Walkway’ outdoor promenade, parks and green areas, which will play a major role in attracting various new brands to Doha. The Island will also be home to entertainment facilities, a sports club and a mosque.

Main image credit: Corinthia Doha/Corinthia Hotels

Boutique aparthotel, The Gate, debuts in East London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Boutique aparthotel, The Gate, debuts in East London

With a Banksy in the lobby, Maple & Co café, 360-degree views of the city and quality suppliers specified throughout, aparthotel The Gate shelters the best of a hotel with a home-from-from look and feel throughout…

The Gate is a boutique aparthotel opening in Aldgate East, which offers the service and style of a hotel with the privacy of a self-service apartment.

Modern travellers’ needs and taste in accommodation are changing – people desire more choice than a traditional hotel versus self-catering apartments, and The Gate aims to bridge the gap between the two. The new aparthotel feels like an elevated version of your own home, with full-service amenities and flexible stay periods where guests can stay for one night or up to three months.

Situated in Whitechapel, just a one-minute walk from Aldgate East tube station, The Gate is directly influenced by the style and culture of the vibrant London streets it overlooks, connecting guests with its surroundings and the local East London community.

With 20 floors and 189 rooms, The Gate offers unparalleled 360° views of The Gherkin, The Shard and Brick Lane appealing to guests no matter the length of their stay. Partners include Maddox Gallery, who have curated the artwork around the hotel including a Banksy in the lobby and Retna, Bradley Theodore and The Connor Brothers pieces displayed in the private members lounge, making the property their new East London Gallery.

Apartments feature include cooking facilities, quality and comfortable Hypnos beds, Soundbars with Bluetooth connectivity, Nespresso machines, walk-in showers and rainfall shower heads, washing machines and dishwashers.

Yellow headboard, with luxe bed

Image credit: David Cleveland | Caption: Each of the 189 rooms feature Hypnos Beds.

Guests checking in for days or weeks can enjoy rooms designed to be modern and functional, but with artistic flourishes to create a distinctly homely feel. There are nine room categories each with a bedroom, fitted kitchen and living area, and some featuring a separate living space with a sofa bed. Room types include one and two bed apartments, accessible rooms, interconnecting family rooms and rooms with skyline views. No two rooms are the same with unique art and bespoke upholstery and new mid-century furniture designed in Europe.

The healthy-eating trailblazer Maple & Co will be opening its eighth location here, Maple & The Gate café, opening to the public on the ground floor including outdoor seating. The renowned New York fragrance brand, Le Labo, supplying in-room bathroom amenities and a boutique gym with Technogym equipment including Peloton bikes, which are also available in apartments by prior arrangement.

The Gate promises to combine a lifestyle hotel with apartment amenities to cater for a modern generation of long and short-term guests providing a Gateway to the capital.

Main image credit: David Cleveland

EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
EARLY BIRD tickets to MEET UP events now open

Early bird catches the worm, as discounted tickets to attend Hotel Designs’ MEET UP London (May 13) and MEET UP North (July 6) are now available to purchase…

During March, Hotel Designs is offering designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers to purchase discounted EARLY BIRD tickets to Meet Up London and Meet Up North.

The regional events, which last year bridged the gap between more than 400 design and hospitality professionals, are regarded as two of the industry’s most established networking events. “We are fully committed to host our networking events in locations and venues that are at the heart of the hotel design community,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “We hope that Meet Up London and Meet Up North, which include relevant themes and talks at both, help to build seamless relationships as well as inspire the industry to further push boundaries in design and hospitality.”

About Meet Up London 
Date: May 13, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Minotti London | Theme: Inspiring Creativity
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Following the success of last year’s spring networking eventHotel Designs is delighted to return to Minotti London for Meet Up London 2020, the publication’s first networking event of the year. The London Fitzrovia showroom, which recently played host to an exclusive roundtable, will shelter an evening like no other around the theme of Inspiring Creativity, with the concrete aim to further bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers.

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

About Meet Up North 
Date: July 6, 2020 | 6pm – 10pm
Venue: Central Manchester (venue to be announced shortly)| Theme: Manchester On The Boards
Headline Partner: Hamilton Litestat | Partner: Crosswater | Style Partner: Minotti London

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete in Manchester and open this year – Hotel Designs will be returning to the city of Manchester for Meet Up North 2020. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and key-industry suppliers for the market’s leading networking event in the north of England.

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

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

Early Bird offer strictly ends March 31, 2020.

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

Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

750 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sindhorn Midtown hotel opens in Bangkok

The opening in Bangkok marks the new hospitality brand’s debut in Thailand… 

Sindhorn Midtown, the flagship property of a stylish new Thai-inspired hospitality brand, opens in the heart of Bangkok’s Langsuan neighbourhood. 

Inspired by local artistry and designed for a sophisticated lifestyle, Sindhorn Midtown introduces a contemporary Thai hospitality experience for today’s business and leisure travellers alike.

Image of pool and skyline of Bangkok

Image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

“We’re thrilled to open our doors and introduce guests to our new brand of hospitality,” said Jee Hoong Tan, Sindhorn Midtown’s General Manager. “Sindhorn Midtown is a chic urban escape that welcomes guests with authentic warm Thai hospitality. With intuitive service, thoughtful amenities and sleek design, Sindhorn Midtown is setting a new standard in the market sure to appeal to savvy travellers.”

“Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability.”

Uncomplicated and harmonious, Sindhorn Midtown delivers modern living with the allure of relaxation, comfort and sustainability. Nestled within a pocket of greenery in the midst of the quiet Langsuan neighborhood area, the hotel offers a collection of 344 hotel guestrooms and suites and 49 serviced residence units within two sleek, modern towers offering urban views.

The hotel blends art-infused contemporary interiors with a calm vibe. Food and beverage offerings include Tr.EAT, an in-house eatery with the flavour and flair of the local neighbourhood; and Rhumba, a lively gathering spot offering a large selection of rum, mixed into classic and creative cocktails. On the 18th level, the Horizon Pool offers skyline views, cocktails and small bites; while the Fitness Center on the 19th level allows guests to stay fit 24/7 with the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Main image credit: Sindhorn Hotel Bangkok

CASE STUDY: Furnishing Amba Hotel Grosvenor

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing Amba Hotel Grosvenor

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

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

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

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

Large wide shot of the guestroom inside the hotel

Image credit: The Grosvenor Hotel

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

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

Main image credit: Amba Hotel Grosvenor/Curtis

VIP ARRIVALS: hotels opening in March 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP ARRIVALS: hotels opening in March 2020

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

So far, 2020 is shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands, such as Hotel Indigo, Le Meridian, Radisson Hotels, Hoxton and ME.

And there’s more to come from both large brands and independents as Hotel Designs identifies some of the most iconic and statement-like hotels poised and ready, waiting in the wings, to open in March 2020.

Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

The elegantly restored red palace in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni, set to open on March 4 2020. This quintessentially Puglian property is being meticulously restored to boast 11 individually curated rooms and suites with a cosmopolitan soul. Standing in stark contrast to the whitewashed buildings of Ostuni, Paragon 700’s red brick façade cocoons a lush garden and swimming pool, a rare green space in the heart of the city, that will offer guests a tranquil and exclusive oasis, just a five-minute walk from Ostuni’s main square.

Canopy by Hilton Hotel – West Palm Beach

Exterior of the modern structure around other buildings

Image credit: RP Architects

Designed by RSP Architects, The Canopy West Palm Beach Downtown is architecturally artistic with a soaring glass atrium that is home to a 60-foot fibre optic art installation resembling the long roots of a banyan tree. Locals and visitors alike will relish the hotel’s prominent location, within minutes of three world-class cultural venues, waterfront recreation along the Intracoastal Waterway, all the attractions of Palm Beach and Clematis Street’s famous nightlife. Travellers in town for business are only a short walk away from the Palm Beach County Convention Centre. Among the 150-room hotel’s standout features will be two restaurants (including one on the 13th floor rooftop) plus complimentary evening tastings each night of local specialities. Handcrafted cocktails and stunning city and ocean views are on the menu on the roof at Treehouse, which will offer the most photo-worthy dining experience in West Palm Beach. The Canopy’s ultra-flexible, 3,060-square-foot ballroom will combine convenience and wow factor for meetings, weddings and other special events.  

Generator Washington D.C. 

bunk beds overlooking Washington D.C.

Image credit: Generator Hotels

Generator, the award-winning, design led, culturally affluent and socially-driven provider of accommodation, is set to open a new property in  Washington, D.C. in March. After successfully breaking into the American market with their inaugural U.S. property in Miami Beach in 2018,acclaimed hospitality group Generator recently announced plans for their second stateside venture in Washington, D.CSituated in the heart of the city between Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, the property will boast the brand’s signature elements: ultra-comfortable private rooms and luxury suites, brilliantly designed shared accommodations, trendy F&B outlets and interactive programming, all at affordable price points in one of the hippest neighborhoods in the nation’s capital.  Generator is the perfect option for those who want to be in the heart of the city and its social scene, but don’t want to pay a fortune, with a unique mix of hip designed, super-friendly and centrally located spaces that ensure all types of travellers feel welcome.   

Maafushivaru, Maldives

Image of pontoon with restaurant and bar

Image credit: Maafushivaru, Maldives

Maafushivaru will be opening from March 1 after a total refurbishment of the island that includes five all-new villa categories (overwater and beach) as well as six new restaurants. 

The highlight of this stunning resort, is without a doubt, it’s castaway sister island, Lonubo, which is exclusively available for resort guests. Found just 500 metres from the shores of the hotel, Lonubo encourages guests to escape reality in an authentic Maldivian island experience. This miniature white sand isle is ringed by a vibrant coral reef with towering palm trees concealing a private beach villa for two.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

Rener of exterior of Japanese property

Image credit: Prince Hotels

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu will open in Kyoto, Japan’s former capital city. It is a conversion of the once Kyoto Kiyomizu Elementary School, which opened in 1869 and played a huge role in Kyoto’s history and traditions. The school will be reborn as a luxury hotel comprising of 48 guestrooms, restaurants, private baths and a gym. Guests of the hotel can explore the culture of Kyoto with shrines, temples and historic landmarks close by. The hotel will be a 10-minute walk from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto’.

Eclipse at Half Moon, Jamaica

Exterior wide shot of the shore

Image credit: Half Moon

Half Moon will open the highly anticipated Eclipse at Half Moon, which is being described as a ‘new luxury resort experience’ on March 1. Framed by the glistening Caribbean Sea to the north and the lush hillsides to the south, Eclipse at Half Moon is one of the most luxurious additions to the Caribbean in a generation. The new property features 57 luxurious and spacious accommodations, two restaurants, three bars, a market café, Fern Tree ­a Salamander Spa, a sweeping infinity-edge swimming pool, and private beachfront with a natural swimming cove. 

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

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: How guest behaviour is changing hotel design

To understand how important it is to react to changing guest behaviour, Paisley Hansen identifies some of the drivers that have significantly evolved the hotel experience globally…

Hotel design has evolved in the past decade. With the rise of technology and growing social awareness, designs need to incorporate new ideas and reflect the growing aesthetic demands of both the traveller and the hotel operator.

Following on from identifying interior design trends that are expected to shine this year, as well as hospitality trends that are emerging, here are some of the consumer catalysts that are dictating the future design of hotels everywhere.

Making a Reservations – there’s an app for that

From apps to websites, technology is transforming how customers are selecting their hotels. To understand how this trend will develop, take the time to research which are the best apps are being used to book hotels. Customers are looking for the best deal as well as hotels that offer more than just a simple room. “Instagrammable” hotels pull in a younger crowd, while those offering seclusion and privacy attracts a different demographic. Paying attention to how your consumers are utilising technology and social media will help create an innovative hotel design to attract more guests.

Redesigned check-in areas

In 2020, lobby design trends are expected to evolve to reflect the changing needs of the customer. The traditional check-in counter is disappearing in favour of residential-like lounges that incorporate exciting interior design ideas to welcome guests. Hotels are including simplified check-in spaces that offer perks to add a touch of luxury to the process. The use of bold colours and patterns are creating a welcoming dichotomy of hues and textures. These changes all come in to create a check-in experience that relies less on the traditional service and more on creating a relaxed atmosphere as guests transition in and out of the hotel.

image of child reaching out to touch arm of robot

Image credit: YOTEL

Interacting in a personalised guestroom

Smart technology is taking its place in hotel rooms. From finding ways to incorporate streaming TV services to smart controls, hotels need to innovate how guests are interacting with their room environment. Hotels that fail to modernise will feel the impact in the years to come. Outside of technology, the most important part of any hotel room is the bed. If the history of beds tells us anything, comfort and design will win out in the years to come. Creating an environment where guests can enjoy control over their room while relaxing will lead the way in room layout. Comfort and innovation need to be at the forefront of any design plans.

modern guestroom

Image credit: Freepik

Creating unique, one-off experiences

Travellers are looking for new ways to capitalise on their time away with experiences. Hotels can embrace this trend by utilising personalised services with artificial intelligence to help build customer profiles allowing for a more personal touch to each interaction. In the more general sense, hotels can look into providing a local experience via a tour or introducing local culture to the hotel design and/or menu. By incorporating local themes into the hotel design, hotels can provide a regional experience for guests without ever leaving the hotel. Hotels cannot afford to miss out on capitalising on this trend.

Taking care of mother nature

By including local features into the design, hotels can take advantage of one of the biggest trends of the year: increased ecological awareness. The environmental impact of tourism is weighing heavily on the minds of tourists as they travel. Guests are moving away from wasteful spaces, and hotels that embrace green policies are seeing an influx of customers. Hotels are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Customers can expect to see more of this as hotels reduce using single-use plastics and implement systems to decrease water usage across the board. Another aspect of this will be the incorporation of sustainable design, this includes sourcing local materials and putting energy management and reduced carbon emission plans in the design.

Main image credit: mrsiraphol/Freepik

CASE STUDY: Designing minimalist bathrooms for Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Designing minimalist bathrooms for Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The recently refurbished Nobis Hotel in central Copenhagen specified Unidrain in the luxurious bathrooms of its 100 hotel guestrooms…

When renovating Nobus Hotel in central Copenhagen, attention to the detail was imperative. Each of the bathrooms within the hotel have been created with Scandinavian elegance; as this chic minimalist design ethic helps to create an environment where there is a space to pamper oneself and relax whilst exuding a sense of wellbeing.

One of the main characteristics of each of the 100 bathrooms is a large bathtub surrounded by marble tiles. A large single mirror is positioned above the dark framed washing area and wash basin reflecting light back into the room. The shower cubicle maintains the minimalist feeling, as it is enclosed by a sleek sheet of glass. The water falls from the oversized shower head bouncing on the tiles beneath, before disappearing into the bespoke single drain.

At the architect’s request Unidrain created and supplied designer drains for the shower cubicles in the entire hotel. The drains for 80 bathrooms were fitted with Unidrain’s linear drains each with the customised solution option.

Here the classic steel Unidrain grating has been replaced with exactly the same marble as the rest of the bathroom, making the drain almost invisible to the eye. It is elements such as these Unidrain custom-designed solutions that make these stylish bathrooms completely unique.

At the Nobis Hotel, Unidrain worked in conjunction with its architectural advisor Dennis Bagge, to ensure that the clients every detail was met. For example twenty of the bathrooms in the hotel are particularly large and needed extra-long drains. This required a single drain to cover an expanse of more than two metres. Unidrain were able to create bespoke extra-long drains made to the client’s specific dimensions.

“When liaising with the architect on this project the bathroom solutions were easier to create. This was due to Unidrain’s reputation and ability to craft and install a single drain which would run from wall to wall covering a length of over two metres ” Unidrain Architectural Adviser Dennis Bagge.

These tailor-made solutions add the finishing touch and help to create the coveted wellness experience wanted in a bathroom today. This room has evolved more than any other in the home, from an outdoor WC, it transferred inside, initially as an enlarged broom cupboard, now it is no longer a room we have for practical reasons, but a space we want to spend time in to pamper and relax; be it in a home or a hotel.

Unidrain is a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. 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: Unidrain/Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel

The world-class design team of The Londoner ‘super boutique hotel’ consists of interior designers at Yabu Pushelberg, engineer experts at Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe

After seven years and a £300 million investment, The Londoner, the world’s first super boutique hotel, will open its doors in June 2020.

The property will take centre stage on London’s Leicester Square and is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London.

 The project is a feat of design, architecture and engineering that aligns with the vision of Edwardian Hotels London’s Founder and Chairman, Mr Jasminder Singh to create “a celebration of London; its history, aesthetic and people.”

Its 16 storeys will incorporate 350 guestrooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views, two private screening rooms, a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, alfresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit – plus an expansive ballroom suited for any occasion, a variety of meeting spaces and a results-driven gym and spa.

Edwardian Hotels London’s Design Architect, Rob Steul and architectural firm Woods Bagot CEO, Nik Karalis collaborated to develop the architectural design concept fitting of its cornerstone position on Leicester Square, and a guest experience with a ‘West End Story’ narrative at its core. Interior designers Yabu Pushelberg, engineers Arup Associates and artist Ian Monroe round out the world-class design team.

“From inception, Edwardian Hotels London saw the building as more than a hotel and sought to create an ‘urban resort’ destination of the highest architectural quality,” said Steul. From the wellness space below, to an extraordinary rooftop terrace overlooking Trafalgar Square, we developed a central core of meeting, eating, lounging and event spaces running vertically through the building around which wrap the guestrooms.”

“It is essentially two buildings intertwined – with the interplay between them creating a dynamic guest experience. Working closely with City of Westminster planners, we carefully considered the urban context of the site and responded with a building which fits its context in both massing and materiality.”

Engineers Arup Associates provided expertise across 16 different disciplines, from mechanical, electrical and public health to fire, acoustics, vertical transportation, accessibility and façade engineering.

Image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Due to urban planning height restrictions, the architects proposed a 30-metre subterranean series of spaces on six levels, creating the deepest habitable basement in London and among the deepest in the world – a factor that presented a number of architectural, structural and engineering challenges for the teams involved.

In order to reach down to the depths required, an excavator had to be specially designed and made by construction company McGee Group, who built the basement and building superstructure.

Portland stone predominates on the façade with a vertical pattern of punched bronze-framed windows trimmed in rich blue architectural faience tiles numbering over 15,000, which were both conceived and designed by artist Ian Monroe and individually hand-made by British company Darwen Terracotta. 

Each tile took traditional artisans up to six weeks to create, from the initial pour through to the final firing – and when in place, set at a specific angle, will reflect the natural light of the sky during the day and the dynamism of the area’s myriad of lights following nightfall.

A truly public work of art (a condition of the hotel’s planning approval) and Monroe’s first hotel project, the faience extends from the ground floor of The Londoner up and through to its roof.

Inside, a luxurious and contemporary experience crafted by world-renowned designers Yabu Pushelberg speaks to the backdrop and approximation of the city’s cinema district. Marrying charming wit with British sentiment, thoughtfully designed common areas, dining spaces and guest rooms enhance the motions of everyday life.

When talking about The Londoner’s guestrooms, George Yabu of Yabu Pushelberg said: “The Londoner was designed to play into the roots of Leicester Square as London’s historic theatre district. We created layers of programming up into the sky and deep into the earth that emphasise this extraverted, alluring, playful voice.

“Through subtle nuances, we gently infused this energy into the guestrooms because we wanted them to remain evident spaces for comfort and relaxation. Stylistically, we tapped into traditional British sensibility and a minimal, cohesive neutral palette.”

Ensuring sustainable luxury for future generations, The Londoner secured a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK, which will ensure it exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance.

The Londoner, a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection, is the latest project by Edwardian Hotels London, the privately-owned hotel group behind the development of The May Fair Hotel, the newly opened The Edwardian Manchester and a collection of restaurant and bar brands, including May Fair Kitchen, May Fair Bar, Bloomsbury Street Kitchen and award-winning Peter Street Kitchen.

Main image credit: Edwardian Hotels London

Case study: Designing furniture for the world’s first underwater residence

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Designing furniture for the world’s first underwater residence

The unique and complex architectural project to design the underwater residence, THE MURAKA by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, required a timeless, stylish and quality furniture brand to compliment the underwater world…

THE MURAKA by Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which opened in 2018, aptly translates in native Dhivehi to “coral”.

Its complex structure spans an area both above and below the surface of the Indian Ocean surrounded only by water. One of the many challenges faced throughout the project was to ensure that the interior design scheme complimented the architectural significance of the construction both under the surface as well as above.

Suite overlooking the ocean

Image credit: Justin Nicholas

The interiors were led by Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki, and choosing appropriate suppliers to reflect the interior design vision was an imperative responsibility. Minotti furniture was, therefore, thoughtfully specified in order to add an extra layer of sophistication and timeless quality.

What makes the room design unique is the varying uses of acrylic that has been incorporated into one unit. The bedroom is an acrylic tunnel that makes guests feel completely submerged under the waves. The acrylic that forms the living room is curved vertical glass, which allows guests to further marvel at the marine wildlife outside the sea-wrapping pod.

Underwater suite featuring luxury bed and furniture

Image credit: Justin Nicholas

Adjacent to the bedroom, a sophisticated lounge area shelters two Portofino armchairs facing the open ocean (seen above) that are paired with a Benson coffee table.

Many products from the Minotti collection were also chosen for the design of the spaces above the water. Particular care was dedicated to the large, ultra-bright living area, characterised by floor to ceiling windows and furnished with two Powell seating systems, some Quinn armchairs and a series of Cernobbio coffee tables.

Image credit: Justin Nicholas

In addition to the Aston stools, designed for the counter in the lounge, a row of Leslie dining chairs brightens up the dining area. The master bedroom features the Creed bed, with a matching pair of Creed Small armchairs, the Kitaj coffee table and the Prince Cord Indoor armchair. A large Florida seating system is the centrepiece of the open-air spaces.

Exterior shot of lonely suite in the middle of the ocean

Image credit: Justin Nicholas

The result of years of planning and construction, married together with a number of forward-thinking suppliers, is an out-of-this-world hotel experience that literally takes hotel concepts to new depths.

Minotti 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: Justin Nicholas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor, Hotel Designs

Robust, reliable & design-led mixer shower range from Aqualisa

791 658 Hamish Kilburn
Robust, reliable & design-led mixer shower range from Aqualisa

Innovative shower brand Aqualisa has launched a striking new range of dual control mixer valves, adding to its strong specification portfolio…

Fresh from sponsoring the The Brit List Awards 2019, bathroom brand Aqualisa has launched the Mian range, which offers a robust and reliable choice of dual control thermostatic mixer showers, suitable for all approved UK water systems.

Complete with a comprehensive five-year guarantee, the range successfully focuses on form, style and function, paying special attention to clean lines, simplicity, compact shaping and the overall feel of quality. As well as optimising the shower space available, the highly finished, modern shower designs are timeless and understated yet, also, eye-catching and sophisticated.

The Mian range of dual control mixer valves comprises of single, dual and triple outlet variants with a choice of wall plates and control dials. With a choice of components and accessories, the Mian range allows for the design and specification of bespoke shower systems for every type of project, large or small. Different combinations of valve, wall plate and control dials with a selection of handset and fixed shower heads, rails and wall outlets give style options and flexibility, but with the same guarantee of performance and reliability throughout the range.

“As one of the top UK bathroom brands, we are continuously striving to develop products that meet and exceed the requirements of national building regulations and recognised industry standards,” explains Jerry Gorman, Head of Specification at Aqualisa. “We know that cost-effective, stylish product solutions and flexible installations are of the utmost importance, and that is what the Mian collection delivers.”

The one piece flat backed brass valve can be securely mounted before the mortar and tile work is finished, while push fit wall plates, control shrouds and handles make the completed installation quick and straightforward

The Aqualisa customer care team has expert resource dedicated to contract and specification customers. A nationwide coverage of trained and approved service engineers will support you quickly and professionally with any on-site installation issue.  Mian showers are suitable for all approved UK water systems and carry a comprehensive five year parts and labour guarantee.

Main image credit: Aqualisa

Clean, simple lobby with marble check in desks and dark green walls

MINIVIEW: Inside Kimpton Hotel’s first Spanish boutique gem

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Inside Kimpton Hotel’s first Spanish boutique gem

The arrival of Kimpton Vividora Hotel marks the brand’s Spanish debut. The 156-key design-led hotel was poised to be the most exciting hotel opening in Barcelona in 2020. But has it delivered on that promise? Hotel Designs checks in to find out… 

IHG’s brand Kimpton has made an early statement in 2020 on the hospitality scene with the opening of Kimpton Vividora Hotel.

Clean, simple lobby with marble check in desks and dark green walls

Located in the heart of Barcelona’s cultural and historical epicentre; the Gothic Quarter, the hotel is attracts the energy from the pedestrian-friendly nature of the neighbourhood.

When it comes to the bold Barcelona-inspired design, the hotel is sensitively inspired by the textures, colours and historic details of the city. Kimpton’s Creative Director and Global SVP of Design, Ave Bradley, collaborated with local design agency El Equipo Creativo to infuse all spaces with an authentic Barcelona feel, contemporary details and local artwork.

The guestrooms and suites, complete with stylish furniture, warm wooden flooring and quirky details such as geometric headboards, look and feel comfortable. The spaces feature a textured interior design scheme that seamlessly works around original features of the building.

Image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

With three F&B outlets, the hotel’s answer to creating an authentic culinary experience is in sync with the destination’s reputation for quality and meaningful cuisine. Perched one floor above the lively streets, Fauna restaurant welcomes guests into a warm space reminiscent of an elegant Barcelonian home. Chef Ferran López’s menu is rooted in Mediterranean flavours and family recipes with a creative, Kimpton twist.

On the hotel’s ground floor, floor to ceiling windows offer a look at Cafè Got, which offers locally-roasted artisan coffee and light bites by day, and natural wines, artisanal vermouth and cocktails by night.

Relaxing cafe area with low-level furniture

Image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

The rooftop bar, Terraza de Vivi, features a striking pool with sun loungers, elegant lighting, pergolas and lush greenery and offers clever cocktails paired with creative small plates and expansive views of the city centre.

Born in San Francisco from an idea to anchor one-of-a-kind experiences, Kimpton now operates more than 65 hotels and 80 restaurants, bars and lounges across urban locations, resort destinations and up-and-coming markets in the United States, Canada, Europe, Caribbean and Greater China. Kimpton spaces and experiences centre on its guests, offering inspiring design that evokes curiosity to forward-thinking flavours that feed the soul. And the brand’s new Spanish hotel is no exception.

Main image credit: IHG/Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

Le Méridien Hotels arrives in South Florida’s design destination

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Le Méridien Hotels arrives in South Florida’s design destination

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, along with national real estate developer Charles S. Cohen, has announced the opening of Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport…

Taking cues from the brand’s mid-century design aesthetic, the top-to-bottom conversion of the property that now shelters Le Méridien’s latest hotel brings to life Le Méridien’s distinctive French heritage and the allure of the Côte d’Azur to South Florida.

Located just steps from the city’s famed The Design Center of the Americas, the 12-story hotel, designed by David Ashen of dash design, features 245 thoughtfully designed guestrooms and suites. Throughout the exterior and interior of the hotel guests will find references to the sky and sea with design details such as a grand oculus in the lobby that frames the sky to pay homage the glamorous era of air travel, allowing guests to stargaze and view planes passing over. The guestrooms are minimal and modern in design with touches of blue and grey to reflect the destination, features custom-made headboards with mappings of the city inlaid into the wood veneer, and local photography captured by Elizabeth Gill Lui that celebrates the diverse architecture and environment of Fort Lauderdale.

“It was a true pleasure for us to partner with real estate developer Charles Cohen and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts,” says David Ashen, the founder of dash design, the interior design and brand consulting firm for Le Méridien. “The design we created supported the tenets of Le Méridien brand as well as the lifestyle that is emblematic for South Florida, both for its residents and visitors. Every detail was thought out: form, function, as well as beauty. The concept sets a standard that we are proud to have contributed.”

“With a nostalgic nod to the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1960s, Le Méridien inspires travellers to explore the world in style, savour the good life and enjoy experiences that offer something more than meets the eye,” said George Fleck, Vice President of Global Brand Marketing & Management. “The debut of this hotel is part of the brand’s significant growth strategy and further reinforces our brand’s commitment to ensuring that guests experience destinations around the globe through the lens of its European spirit”

Guests will have the opportunity to indulge in five culinary outlets throughout the hotel including the brands signature Latitude/Longitude Bar serving light fare at Le Méridien Hub and Cabana, as well as Toro Latin Kitchen, serving up a South American menu, La Bibloteca de Tequila which is an exclusive tequila bar and lounge, Constellation Café serving daily French fare, and the hotel’s outdoor bar offering Caribbean-style fare poolside.

For meetings and events, the hotel offers 25,000 square feet of state-of-the-art flexible meeting space within a prime location, in the epicenter of South Florida. Conveniently located minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Fort Lauderdale Everglades Cruise Port, the new hotel also neighbors Las Olas Boulevard, downtown Fort Lauderdale and the evolving Dania Pointe.

Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport will also offer guests a sensorial environment through the brand’s signature scent, which was developed with MALIN+GOETZ. Aptly named LM002 for airplane tail numbers, the alluring scent will be featured in the public spaces, as it is at all of Le Méridien’s properties globally. Paying homage to its French roots, the brand also has a signature soundtrack that will fill the Hub and public spaces, curated by French Bossa Nova band Nouvelle Vague.

“Being able to bring the Le Méridien brand to South Florida has been an exciting venture,” said Mr. Charles Cohen, developer and owner of Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale. “We’ve curated a team of esteemed professionals to bring the brand’s French flair to life while paying homage to the maritime spirit of Fort Lauderdale. The hotel’s design-centric appeal stands at the forefront – a visual story beautifully told by David Ashen with dash design, and the Pentagram team – and will be complemented by elevated dining experiences, innovative meetings and event spaces, and unrivalled service.”

In addition, Le Méridien Dania Beach at Fort Lauderdale Airport will offer guests a variety of amenities including a signature Club Lounge with views of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a fully equipped state-of-the-art 1,200-square-foot fitness centre and yoga room, an 82-foot zero-entry pool and an outdoor terrace called the “Water Club.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

Biophilic design highlights of Surface Design Show 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Biophilic design highlights of Surface Design Show 2020

More than 170 exhibitors showcased the latest in surface design, with nearly 5,000 architects, designers and specifiers visiting Business Design Centre over the packed 2 ½ days of Surface Design Show 2020… 

Surface Design Show 2020, which took place at London’s Business Design Centre from the February 11 – 13, sheltered more surface material and architectural lighting designs than ever before.

With a focus on the trending topic of ‘Close to Home… Locally Sourced’, the show looked beyond aesthetics and into manufacturer’s impact on the environment, from the processes used in mining or manufacture, through to the carbon footprint sustained during sales and distribution.

Standout exhibitors at the show included InnerSpace Cheshire, which launched a new surface product that combined natural materials, such as cork, to create an authentic biophilic connection between nature and the built environment. Smile Plastics, meanwhile, showcased its ability to create exquisite hand-crafted panels from varied waste-streams. Following being specified by Harris + Harris London for the Conscious Bedroom that was unveiled at the Independent Hotel Show London, the innovative company was a first-time exhibitor at the Surface Design Show. The company uses typically non-recyclable materials with a sustainable approach resulting in a textured layer of consciously design, contemporary surfaces.

Monohrome table with flowers on

Image credit: Smile Plastic

Over the course of show there was a full schedule of insightful and entertaining discussions and talks. Biophilic materials and surfaces was a dominant discussion during the event. TEDx speaker Simon Gosling and sustainable architectural and interior designer Oliver Heath were among the professionals to put the topic under the spotlight. In an insightful panel discussion, editor Hamish Kilburn hosted a live discussion on the main stage entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design. Joining Kilburn on the sofa was Jeremy Grove (head of design and director, Sibley Grove), Richard Holland (director, Holland Harvey Architects) and Fraser Lockley (architectural consultancy manager, Parkside Architectural Tiles).

Co-located within Surface Design Show was the ever-popular Light School which educated visitors of the importance of the relationship between light and surface by bringing together leading manufacturers and suppliers with architects and designers looking to specify their products. A highlight of Light School was its stand out seminar programme – Light Talks; a series of sessions collated by the Institution of Lighting Professionals. The new Light Talks theatre was designed by Rebecca Weir’s Lightbout.iQ. The design featured a range of surface materials creatively lit to emphasise the essential link between light and materials.

As well as established brands, Surface Design Show is committed to supporting and promoting up-and-coming designers in the materials sector with its New Talent section which was expanded for 2020. Curated by chief creative director at Trendease International Jennifer Castoldi, the New Talent area allowed designers, who have been in the industry five years or less, to have a devoted exhibition area, giving them the opportunity to showcase and engage face to face with a hard to reach and targeted audience.

Red foldable material made into a chair

Image credit: Trifold, designed by Hannah Davis

Among the 32 New Talents was Trifold. The flexible furniture system that comprises of building blocks which make flexible working environments achievable, was a meaningful addition to the show. Designed with modern lifestyles – and ever-changing spaces such as lobbies – in mind, the on-demand system allows for flexibility. The sheet can be folded and manipulated into countless forms, the only limit being your imagination.

“Exhibiting at New Talent has given me great networking opportunities.” – Hannah Davis, creator of Trifold

The new product, which is the brainchild of Hannah Davis went on to win the New Talent Award at the Surface Design Awards. “Exhibiting at New Talent has given me great networking opportunities,” the designer explained. “I have engaged in many discussions regarding the Trifold system as well as the world of design with a range of industry experts. This has allowed me to expand my contact catalogue and explore new ways of thinking that I had not previously considered. I have made contacts with fellow exhibitors considering collaborations, which is truly valuable.”

Launched six years ago the Surface Design Awards has become an integral part of the show, growing in stature to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm. The 2020 Awards had more than 100 entries from 12 countries including as far afield as America, India and Australia. There were 14 categories in total, from Retail and Public Building to Commercial Projects and Housing, including new categories Public Realm and Affordable Housing. The entries comprised the best in architecture and design from across the globe; Giles Miller Studio, Mikhail Riches and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Steven Holl Architects from the USA, and Kris Lin International Design from China were among those shortlisted.

The impressive Krushi Bhawan from Bhubaneswa, India by Studio Lotus was named the Supreme Winner, as well as winning the Public Building Interior and Public Building Exterior categories. Capturing the admiration of all the judges Krushi Bhawan is a testament to design, created for the Odisha State Government’s Agriculture Department in India. The centre incorporates an eye-catching façade drawn from vernacular materials and narratives, which responds to the local climate and offers a glimpse into the region’s agricultural folklore and mythology, which has been envisioned at an unprecedented architectural scale.

 Surface Design Show 2021 will take place from 9-11 February 2021 at Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH

Main image credit: Surface Design Show/InnerSpace

Nobu Hotels announces 8 new properties in the pipeline

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Nobu Hotels announces 8 new properties in the pipeline

2020 is an exciting year for Nobu Hotels, with 10 hotels currently open and eight more in the pipeline across the US, Europe and Middle East, including regions such as London, Chicago, Warsaw and Riyadh…

Founded by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, Nobu Hotels continues to solidify its reputation as a global hospitality brand with instinctive design, discreet service and fine ingredients at its core.

With eight properties in the pipeline, here are what are expected to be the most significant openings in the near future…

Nobu Hotel Warsaw

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Nobu Hotel Warsaw 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, making this year the ideal time to explore modern Poland. The capital is evolving as a vibrant travel destination, and with nearly a dozen hotels set to open in Warsaw in 2020, none are as highly anticipated as Nobu Hotel Warsaw. Dynamic and distinctive, the new Nobu Hotel Warsaw is set in the heart of this historic city and will occupy a new building located at Wilcza Street.

Designed by the Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group, the property will also encompass the existing Hotel Rialto. The design will be a collaborative effort between Medusa Group and Californian-based Studio PCH, and will see a transformative architectural design for Warsaw, blending with the original Rialto building.

Nobu Hotel Palo Alto

Slated to be Silicon Valley’s most anticipated hotel renewal in some time, Nobu Hotel Palo Alto will unveil a completely brand-new hotel following its multi-million-dollar transformation.

The 73-room boutique property is elevating its façade, reception and arrival experience, wellness offerings, meeting venues and amenities, guest rooms and a signature Nobu restaurant to reflect the world-renowned standards of Nobu Hospitality. Standout highlights include high-tech guest rooms with Alexa and Toto Neorest washlet toilets, with 90-inch televisions in the eighth floor Ryokan guestrooms, and an elevated fitness studio.

Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Expected to open in summer 2020, the hotel is set in the heart of the city’s West End, in Portman Square W1. Steps from Mayfair’s vibrant restaurants and independent boutiques and on the edge of Soho’s world-famous theatres, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square will shelter 259 guestrooms and suites, a Nobu Restaurant, ballroom and meeting spaces.

Conceptualised by London-based architecture and design firm, David Collins Studio, in conjunction with Make Architects, the property will embody Nobu’s signature Japanese minimalism, drawing upon traditional weaving techniques, patterns and artworks.  

Nobu Hotel Chicago

Image credit: Nobu Hotels

Ideally situated in the vibrant area of Chicago’s west loop, Nobu Hotel Chicago will harness the essence of the energetic and iconic Midwestern town.

Offering 119 guestrooms and suites, Nobu Hotel Chicago will play host to a 10,000-square foot Nobu restaurant, opening out on to Randolph’s famed Restaurant Row. An exquisite 3,000 square foot, multi-use suite will be available for private social functions and meeting space, alongside an indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre, spa treatment rooms and a stylish rooftop indoor and outdoor bar and lounge.

Nobu Hotel Riyadh

Set in the heart of downtown Riyadh, Nobu Hotel Riyadh sports clean lines and a casual elegance, an urban oasis that is the very first five-star luxury boutique hotel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A 23-story glass panelled skyscraper, the property rises proudly above the storied skyline and is styled to reflect Nobu’s Japanese heritage, with a nod to arabesque architecture. Innovative printed, layered glass allows light to flood through the façade, complimenting the airy interiors and addressing its striking surroundings. 119 guestrooms and suites sit alongside a spa, fitness facility, executive club lounge, meeting spaces, ballrooms and the Kingdom’s first Nobu Restaurant.

Nobu Hotels are distinctive destinations, each offering a sense of place and a celebration of their own locality.  What they have in common, is that each is designed as a space in which to relax and savour an experience, in an atmosphere charged with a sense of being a part of something rather extraordinary.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotels/Make Architects

In Conversation With: Hamish Brown, Partner at 1508 London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Render of two towers in doha

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

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

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

Render of the outside of the building

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

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

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

Luxury pool area inside The Lanesborough

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: 1508 London

Image of faucet

Study reveals 1 in 6 of Brits use feet to flush the toilet in public

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Study reveals 1 in 6 of Brits use feet to flush the toilet in public

The study, conducted by QS Supplies revealed that four in 10 Brits frequently use their phone on the toilet, but 39.6 per cent never clean their phone…

It’s a fact of life: germs are everywhere, and there’s no escaping them. But does that mean we should surrender and accept contact with a never-ending germ army?

Image of faucet

Or do we fight the good fight and engage in as many germ-dodging tactics as we can? Some people fall firmly into one of these camps but most are somewhere in the middle – picking their battles based on what disgusts them the most.

QS Supplies spoke to 1,008 Brits to find out who are the germaphobes among us, what tactics we use to avoid germs, who lies about hygiene behaviours, and the ways we expose ourselves to more germs than we realise.

The study concluded that one in 10 of us take our own bedding to hotels in order to avoid germs, while 53.7 per cent admitted to pushing buttons with knuckles.

Unsurprisingly, the hotel bathroom was where the germ-phobic folks in the study feared the most, with a staggering 68.5 per cent admitting to hovering above public toilet seats over sitting and 26.3 per cent skipping flushing to avoid touching a public toilet.

Paper towels also come in handy for almost four in 10 Brits who use them to turn off taps and for over half of people who use them (or their clothing) to open the bathroom door.

“Overall, 37.2 per cent of people ‘often’ or ‘always’ take their mobile phone with them to the toilet.”

The majority of Brits have a device that they can take with them anywhere and often do: their mobile phones. Only one in five people said that they never take their mobile phone to the bathroom. Overall, 37.2 per cent of people ‘often’ or ‘always’ take their mobile phone with them to the toilet. What’s more concerning, though, is that only four in 10 of people have never cleaned their mobile phone.

The fight continues outside the bathroom. More than three-quarters of us wash food despite it being labelled ‘pre-washed’, while 27.7 per cent wash our hands after putting on shoes.

For those truly committed to the germ-dodging lifestyle more extreme measures can be taken, like taking your own bedding to a hotel (12.3 per cent) and taking personal cutlery to a restaurant (5.9 per cent).

Exactly one in 10 people classified themselves as a germaphobe. The bathroom supplies company took the germ-dodging activities and ranked them based on how much more likely self-confessed germaphobes were to do them compared to non-germaphobes. They found that taking your own bedding to a hotel is the biggest hint that a person may be a germaphobe, as almost 27 per cent of germaphobes have done this compared to 10.5 per cent of non-germaphobes.

Self-identified germaphobes were also 2.5 times more likely to have taken their own cutlery to a restaurant, 2.4 times more likely to wash their hands after putting on shoes, and 2.4 times more likely to flush the toilet using their feet. If you do all these things then you might just be a germaphobe.

Whether germaphobe or not, most of us have a germ-dodging quirk or two. Nine out of 10 people claimed not to be a germaphobe but still sometimes flush the toilet with their feet or pack their own bed sheets when staying in a hotel.

The bathroom produces many germ-dodging tactics but perhaps our guile is misplaced and we should focus on specific items in the home, like our kitchen sponges and mobile phones. Our phones may provide welcome relief from boredom, but they’re also a germ storage device with the capacity to undo diligent hand-washing hygiene.

While the results of the study shows that many Brits engage in crazy tactics to dodge germs, it’s worth noting that the very best defence against germs is simple: wash your hands regularly and properly. Also, maybe give your phone a clean once in a while.

QS Supplies 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: Pixabay

F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
F&B Special: Restaurants raising the bar in architecture & design

Say farewell to conventional restaurants, and say hello to a delicious and enticing world of pure imagination to the latest design-led restaurants to open. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes… 

Ahead of next month, when Hotel Designs will take centre stage at Hospitality Restaurant Catering show, I have good reason to believe that some of the latest restaurants that have opened recently (in and out of the hotel industry) have changed the landscape of hospitality.

And while, some may argue that we should be cautious to focus the lens on purely the F&B scene in fear of losing purpose on other areas within the hotel, it is also an undeniable truth that the new era of international hotels are using their restaurants and bars to drive in a local crowd in order to make the public areas a vibrant hub of activity.

Therefore, here are just some of the latest restaurants and bars to open, which have been designed holistically to improve the overall guest experience.

Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant

Located at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline, where the sea storms from the north and south meet, Europe’s first underwater restaurant is situated at a unique confluence. Marine species flourish here in the both briny and brackish waters to produce a natural abundance in biodiversity at the site. The Snøhetta-designed restaurant, which has just received a Michelin-star status, also functions as a research centre for marine life, providing a tribute to the wild fauna of the sea and to the rocky coastline of Norway’s southern tip.

The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it. With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.

“Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries, says Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment. In this building, you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline”.

 Burbank Restaurant at Roomers Frankfurt

Burbank is a new design-led, Asian-fusion restaurant by leading chef, The Duc Ngo. It is situated within Frankfurt’s chic Design Hotels member, Roomers Frankfurt by the Gekko Group. The restaurant is the third partnership between Berlin culinary innovator, The Duc Ngo, and Gekko Group’s founders, Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu. Burbank joins the group’s portfolio of leading destination restaurants including moriki Frankfurt, moriki Roomers Baden-Baden, and the Golden Phoenix at Provocateur Berlin Hotel. The Duc Ngo creates an inventive and unconventional menu at Burbank, fusing pan-Asian flavours with relaxed Californian and Latin American cooking. 

Beefbar restaurant, Le Coucou Hotel

Reviewed recently in Hotel Designs’ wider feature of Le Coucou Hotel, Beefbar restaurant is, like the rest of the property, sheltered within a unique design scheme. Pierre Yovanovitch, Wallpaper*’s Designer of the Year 2019, pulled out all the stops for this area, using it’s naturally striking vista as strong inspiration. The area is full of thoughtful nods to the hotel’s name, location and character of its owners. A wall of cuckoo clocks above the tables, for example, reflects the traditional decor of the region, and emoji-themed plates create humour in all the right places.

Hey Yo – Hong Kong

Think fresh, vibrant (and wear sunglasses) when stepping inside Hey Yo, which was a winner at the Bar and Restaurant Awards 2019. Inspired by the all the pastel colours of macaroons, the design team at Design Action & Associates took and adopted these colours in different areas of the shop, just like a pastry chef forming different shapes with flour and dough. The designer formed different shapes of design and furniture. Each arch window is painted with grey texture paint. The arch window on the front of the door, includes a bright neon sign which permeates the atmosphere. Beside the continuous arch windows, different colours of display shelves and display items are composed like a dream-like oil painting. Round countertops resemble Macaroons is in their unique hues, and chairs resemble coloured dough in contrast to shaped countertops.’

Wild Honey St James

black and white floors above striking chandeliers

Image credit: Sofitel London St James

Situated metres from The Mall in London, Sofitel London St James’ Wild Honey is a collaboration with renowned chef Anthony Demetre and a reimagination of his iconic restaurant concept. Located on the former site of the beloved bistro The Balcon, the dining room decor has been redesigned and refurbished by Jim Hamilton Design to echo its new direction.

Harlan & Holden Glasshouse Café

With biophilic design wrapping its branches around almost every sector, is it any wonder why design firm GamFratesi used nature as its primary inspiration in the creation of Harlan & Holden Glasshouse? We think not. The rehabilitative restaurant is inspired by a greenhouse. Breaking boundaries between interiors and exterior, the studio swapped windows for walls and used the surrounding landscape to create the space.

Main image credit: Under/Ivar Kvaal

Ultima Collection’s retreat in Geneva marks its first urban property

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Ultima Collection’s retreat in Geneva marks its first urban property

Ultima Collection announces the launch of Ultima Geneva Grand Villa, an urban sanctuary opening on April 1, 2020…

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Ultima Geneva Grand Villa will be a luxury residence available for private hire only, offering travellers a stylish gateway to the Alps.

Ultima Geneva represents what the brand is calling a “a new chapter” in Ultima Collection’s development, bringing the luxury comforts for that the Ultima brand is renowned to an urban environment. The Grand Villa is also the first of a series of properties to be located in and around Geneva, which, once opened, will offer both city centre and country destinations.

“The property features high ceilings and is bathed in natural light, offering a sumptuous home with a subtle yet elegant design narrative.”

The retreat will sleep up to 16 guests and will be comprised of one master bedroom, seven bedrooms and a one-bedroom guest villa, all of which are en-suite. Built over three storeys, the villa will be in keeping with Ultima Collection’s commitment to providing an environment of pure relaxation, conviviality and privacy. The property features high ceilings and is bathed in natural light, offering a sumptuous home with a subtle yet elegant design narrative. An understated mix of contemporary lines and traditional architecture will be complemented by the brand’s signature design aesthetic of leather and natural materials, nubuck, sumptuous textiles, and rare marble sourced from Italy and Brazil, punctuated with bold art pieces and statement soft furnishings.

The Ultima Geneva Grand Villa has also been designed with a variety of holistic spaces for those who want to incorporate wellness activities into their itinerary and truly rejuvenate. The villa includes a 200sqm wellness area where guests can choose from a plethora of holistic therapies, a fitness centre, an aesthetics clinic for more specialist treatments, as well as a heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. In addition, there will be both an indoor hammam and sauna for guests to enjoy heat therapies.

Ultima Geneva Grand Villa follows on from the success of the Ultima Collection’s existing properties in Gstaad, Crans-Montana, Megève, and Courchevel and will complement the collection by offering travellers the ultimate city break to their ski season itinerary in the winter, or an idyllic summertime getaway.

Main image credit: Ultima Collection

CASE STUDY: Designing meaningful carpets for The Lowry Hotel, Manchester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Designing meaningful carpets for The Lowry Hotel, Manchester

Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier Brintons was called upon to produce timeless carpets for the F&B areas and the junior suites inside The Lowry Manchester…

Dominating the skyline of Salford Queys, The Lowry completed an ambitious seven-figure refurbishment recently, which was led by The Brit List award-winning design firm Goddard Littlefair.

Supplying the carpets for the new Lounge Bar and Junior Suites within the five-star hotel. “Taking inspiration from the dappled reflections in the waters on the Irwell, the textured carpet design is reminiscent of the movement of water and creates an aqueous look and feel,” explained Jane Bradley-Bain, senior creative designer at Brintons. “The colours we selected creates a visual link with the outdoors, the muted contemporary palette that echoes the subtle hues of the rich teal and greys of the river feel very refreshing, clean and light.”

Brown sofa on light blue rug

Image credit: Brintons/The Lowry Hotel Manchester

The design firm’s creative vision for the interiors was inspired by Manchester’s industrial forms, geometry and heritage, including the shape of Trinity Bridge, located directly outside the hotel. Accompanied by Lowry’s own colour palette, as the artist famously kept to a base palette of only five colours, mixing them to achieve tonal shades that nonetheless stayed within a distinctive overall range.

The five-star renovation included an entire redesign of the hotel’s bar and restaurant. Retaining the incredible, unique riverside views and terrace, the new River Lounge Bar features soft hues, a new layout, bespoke furnishings and axminster carpets by Brintons. Long known as a luxurious hide-a-way for Mancunians in the know and home to impromptu performances from some of the hotel’s high-profile guests including Lady Gaga and Take That, the new venue encapsulates The Lowry Hotel’s fun-loving spirit at the confluence of city life.

As with the majority of hospitality refurbishment projects, the project team was required to work to tight deadlines, with no option of over-run, to deliver a complete high quality refurbishment on time with minimal disruption to the hotel’s business. For this reason, Goddard Littlefair chose to collaborate with leading carpet supplier Brintons whose QuickWeave collection of high quality Axminster woven carpets can be delivered in only six weeks.. Designs were recoloured using the newest colour pallet in the QuickWeave series – Oydessey, combining subtle ambient tones of graphite and gold with a touch of decadent luxe colours jade, amethyst and slate.

A contemporary design was selected for the River Lounge. The pattern features a textured design, which creates a sense of movement and fluidity, bringing a modern element that harmonises with the tranquil surroundings of the building.

Image credit: Brintons/The Lowry Hotel

As well as the new-look bar and restaurant, other developments include the refurbishment of the hotel’s luxury Junior Suites, which features Brintons QuickWeave axminster rugs. Taking inspiration from the strong lines of the Santiago Calatrava’s Trinity Bridge the geometric design features a steel grey and neutral colour palette, which complements the sophisticated interiors.

Named after on of the city’s more famous artists L. S. Lowry, the iconic property has 165 bedrooms and six suites, as well as a spa, restaurant and bar, and a variety of meeting and event spaces.

Main image credit: Brintons/The Lowry Hotel

Boutique bolthole brand days from opening second London hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Locke

Hotel Designs speaking at HRC next month

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs speaking at HRC next month

As part of Hotel Designs’ media partnership with Hospitality Restaurant and Catering, editor Hamish Kilburn will speak on both the Vision Stage as well as the TechX area of the show… 

With less than a month until the industry gathers at ExCeL London for Hospitality Restaurant Catering, Hotel Designs has announced its movements around the three-day event.

HRC (formerly Hotelympia) is the UK’s largest and most prestigious event for the hospitality and foodservice industry and is one event is split in to four shows: The Food Service Show, The Professional Kitchen Show, Interiors and Tabletop Show and Hospitality Tech Show.

All of the four shows within HRC offer food service and hospitality professionals the chance to meet with a range of leading suppliers, to taste, test and source new products and business services to drive their business forward for 2020 onwards. Learn more about what’s on at the show here.

The Vision Stage on March 3 (13:00 – 13:45)
Session: Designing Hospitality for the Modern Consumer

Joining a popular list of professional speakers, Hotel Designs will host the panel discussion entitled: Designing Hospitality for the Modern Consumer. With first impressions now being made before guests have even considered checking in or making a reservation, the future design of hospitality needs to evolve with the connected and eco-conscious consumer. How does an independent or group operator add personality, stay relevant and appeal to the experience and social media gripped customer? The design-savvy panel will explore the top design trends to engage the next generation.

On the panel: Hayley Roy, Harp Interiors | Rita Alves Machado, Great Hotels of the World | Terry McGillicuddy, Richmond International | Stefan Trepp, The Dorchester.

TechX Stage on March 4 (14:30 – 15:00)
Session: Comfort and Control – Tech’s Place in Hospitality Design

Following the panel discussion, Kilburn will engage the audience on the TechX stage with a TED-style talk entitled: Comfort and Control – Tech’s Place in Hospitality Design.

As hospitality design continues to evolve, exciting developments in technology will allow us to further push the limits of conventional hotels and restaurants, creating space for more creativity in their design. But are we thinking about technology meaningfully enough? Hotel Designs’ TED-style talk will investigate technology’s place in tomorrow’s hospitality.

HRC takes place between March 3 – 5, 2020. Head over to the website to register for your ticket.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower officially opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower officially opens

Hyatt Hotels has opened the fully renovated 280-key Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower, a hotel in the gateway to Barcelona’s new financial district…

Connecting travellers between Barcelona’s international airport and city centre, the opening of Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower  marks the second Hyatt Regency branded property in Spain.

Designed by renowned architect Richard Rogers who is best known for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Millennium Dome in London, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg, the hotel is one of Barcelona’s skyline landmarks. The 344-foot (105-meter) high and 29-story tower is topped by a stunning glass dome providing the top-floor restaurant with breathtaking 360-degree views of the city.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower offers 280 contemporary rooms including 41 suites, one Presidential Suite as well as twelve duplex suites, all offering beautiful views of the city skyline. The Presidential Suite is located in the tower on the 26th floor and includes two separate bedrooms, a private office, two large terraces and free access to the Regency Club and Metropolitan Health Club & Spa.

All rooms have ample space, each with walk-in closets, luxurious bathrooms and wall-to-wall mirrors. In addition, the hotel also offers 24-hour room service and around the clock laundry service.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower features a range of energising F&B areas. Terrum is a new and unique restaurant concept led by the prestigious two-Michelin starred chef, Oscar Velasco. Fresh and seasonal produce as well as excellent service allow guests to depart on culinary adventures. The Axis Bar invites guests and locals to indulge in cocktails and a variety of snacks and sandwiches in a sophisticated setting. A spectacular outdoor terrace completes the Axis Bar as a perfect place to enjoy the comfortable year-round weather in Barcelona.

The Azimut Restaurant offers a daily breakfast buffet with a wide range of nutritious and healthy options to start the day confidently.

Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower offers a variety of intuitive event and meeting spaces, including its own 500 seat auditorium. Additionally, the Cosmos Room can hold up to 1,800 people and 24 panelled meeting rooms. Furthermore, the hotel lobby offers a wide and open space to work and relax including a spectacular 2034-square-foot (189-square-meter) LED screen, one of the largest in Europe. The flexible meeting spaces backed by the brand’s signature service of personalized care and attention to detail ensures that event planners have seamless and high-touch gatherings.

Main image credit: Hyatt Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Grohe’s latest sustainable shower head

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Grohe’s latest sustainable shower head

The sustainable Rainshower 310 Mono headshower from GROHE is compatible with multiple shower systems…

Products with eco-friendly credentials are very likely to be high on the priority list of many bathroom projects for 2020.

Proving that water-saving showers can still deliver a premium performance, GROHE’s new Rainshower 310 Mono head shower offers an affordable way to upgrade your existing shower system, enhancing your shower experience without negatively impacting your water consumption. Equipped with GROHE’s EcoJoy technology, the water flow is limited to 9.5 litres per minute (compared to the standard 12 litres per minute), delivering a comfortable yet cost-effective water saving experience.

Installation of the Rainshower 310 Mono couldn’t be simpler as the head shower can be mounted with ease onto most shower arms with no need for complex tools or extensive behind-the-wall work. Its impressive 310mm diameter head, which can be swivelled in all directions thanks to a half-inch ball joint, offers the full face PureRain spray which encases the user in larger, softer droplets for a more relaxing and luxurious showering experience that is likened to being caught in a warm summer rain. Despite its statement size, the head shower features a particularly slim silhouette, allowing it to blend seamlessly into minimalist interiors. There are several model variants so you can choose the look that most suits your existing bathroom style: from ceiling- mounted to wall-mounted, round or square designs with matching shower arms, and white or chrome spray faces.

Its striking aesthetic, premium performance and impressive eco-credentials have resulted in the Rainshower 310 Mono achieving accreditation by the Water Regulatory Advisory Scheme (WRAS). This status ensures that the product meets all safety and quality regulations and is deemed suitable for installation in commercial buildings, hotels and new build homes as well as offering peace of mind to homeowners fitting the product themselves.

Main image credit: GROHE

Vienna House opens innovative bleisure hotel in Germany

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Vienna House opens innovative bleisure hotel in Germany

The new 96-key Vienna House hotel forms part of the Musikquartier Kronberg development project to open clear, relaxed designed spaces for bleisure guests…

Centrally located in the idyllic town of Kronberg, just outside the financial hub of Frankfurt am Main, the cosy and stylish Vienna House MQ Kronberg im Taunus is a retreat for business travellers, trade-show guests, music lovers and tourists visiting the city and the region.

“For me, Vienna House MQ Kronberg is a real hotel original,” said Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House. “With playful ease, the classy and timeless design, clear structures and inviting atmosphere meet the specific needs of the location,” says . “Thanks to the good working relationship with Daniel Rinck and his team at Contraco, this vision has become reality after just two years of construction.”

Entering the lobby is an experience in itself. In front of the large staircase hangs an imposing bell, nearly two metres in diameter, which not only serves a decorative purpose but acts as a carillon of sound and light when the cord is pulled. Guests will also notice the audiographic visualisation of a few bars from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Grand Fugue hovering above the free-standing reception tables. The common area continues in the living room on the first floor.

High-quality materials such as warm wood, leather, brass and velvet set the tone in the stylish guest rooms. The surroundings are reflected in the large windows, with window seats that induce reverie. Smart TVs, cosy beds, elegant furnishings, air conditioning and modern bathrooms with walk-in showers complete the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. The room categories cover the complete range starting from Classic to Superior and Executive.

Breakfast is served in the open kitchen with a large selection of varied and regional products. Real Viennese hospitality can be experienced at lunchtime and in the evening in the cosy restaurant and on the terrace. For the restaurant experience, Vienna House has for the first time entered into a partnership with the famous

The fitness area gives hotel guests an exclusive workout experience with cross-trainers and cardio machines made of wood, which are real eye-catchers. The mobile concierge provides various jogging routes to choose from and the reception team will gladly help in booking a tee time at the nearby Kronberg Golf Club.

At Vienna House MQ Kronberg, music and hospitality go hand in hand. The neighbouring concert hall, named after the great cellist Pablo Casals, will host concerts showcasing young talent from Kronberg Academy as well as world-class musicians and orchestras.

The hotel even has sufficient underground parking, two electric vehicle charging stations and bicycles for hire.

Vienna House is all about endless exploration, the European zeitgeist and modern hospitality. The brand is always bespoke and prides itself on, “always being down-to-earth and on the pulse of the times”.

Main image credit: Vienna House

Wyndham Grand arrives in Portugal

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wyndham Grand arrives in Portugal

With more than 9,200 hotels across more than 80 countries on six continents, Wyndham Hotels has just opened it’s first Wyndham Grand in Portugal…

The opening of Wyndham Grand Algarve, which is nestled in the coveted Quinta do Lago resort, marks the brand’s arrival in Portugal.

“We are thrilled to have expanded our upper-upscale offering for our guests travelling across EMEA,” said Dimitris Manikis, President & Managing Director for EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “From Georgia to Greece, Turkey and now Portugal, we now have even more options to suit our traveller’s needs combining one-of-a-kind experience with accessible luxury. This stunning location in the Algarve is the perfect spot to introduce our iconic brand to Portugal. With more than 20 million overnight stays recorded in the first eleven months of 2019 alone, the Algarve continues to attract more travellers and we are delighted to expand our collection in Portugal’s southernmost region.”

birdseye view shot of the property

Image credit: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Helder Santos, CEO of Dynamic Hotels, added: “We are excited about our collaboration with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and to introduce the Wyndham Grand brand to Portugal. The demand for quality accommodation and meeting space in the Algarve is continuing to grow, and working with the world’s largest hotel franchising company will further strengthen our position in the market and help us attract even more international guests.”

The hotel features 132 elegant suites with one or two bedrooms, luxury amenities, a balcony or terrace and complimentary Wi-Fi. The property offers multiple dining options, a full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pool, and kids clubs. Six renowned golf courses are nearby, as is Quinta do Lago’s sports campus, which offers tennis, swimming, football and much more.

Wyndham Grand is an ensemble of distinguished hotels that are approachable by design, with refined accommodation, attentive service and relaxed surroundings. The debut of Wyndham Grand in Portugal is the latest in the brand’s recent expansion to more sought-after destinations around the world. In 2019 alone, Wyndham Grand entered Georgia (Tbilisi), Croatia (Novi Vinodolski), the Greek Islands (Crete) and added other iconic properties in Turkey, California, Vietnam and Mexico. Other top destinations for Wyndham Grand include Shanghai, Istanbul, Salzburg, Athens, Manama, Chicago, Orlando, amongst others.

The brand’s future expansion plans include a pipeline of 20 additional hotels in various destinations, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Belize and a new dual-branded Wyndham Grand and TRYP by Wyndham hotel in Miami, Florida.

Main image credit: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

UNILIN has the perfect match this Valentine’s Day

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UNILIN has the perfect match this Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, division panel supplier UNILIN is enticing designers and architects to “find the perfect match” with UNILIN Evola

Edges can play a leading role in delivering a high-quality aesthetic. And with UNILIN, division panels, there’s no shortage of complementing and contrasting edging tape to bring your surfaces and furniture to life.

From a uniform look with perfectly matched edging tapes in texture and colour for every UNILIN Evola décor, through to contrasting pops of citrus, designers can use UNILIN edging tapes to show that it’s the details that matter in delivering a first-class finish in commercial interiors.

Sofie Coulier, UNILIN, division panels, says, ‘Edges are not often thought of as a design element, but they can really make or break the quality of finish, as well as add a sense of quirkiness or added luxury. By choosing a perfectly matched edging tape you can give a more authentic look, with synchronised texture and colour ensuring the very best in realism. Want to add a bit of personality? Add lime, lemon or orange pops as a surprise on the inside of drawers. Or for that ultimate luxurious look, edge shelves in metallic gold for a really custom-made, high-end feel.’

To make sure its UNILIN Evola edging tapes deliver authenticity, UNILIN, division panels, has gone to extraordinary lengths. For example, to emulate the original look of solid wood the manufacturer has developed edging tape with an end-grain print. The cross-section design gives a more natural overall result.

Not only has UNILIN, division panels, considered the detail in the design of its edging tapes, but also in performance. With standard melamine as well as an ABS specification that delivers high levels of impact-resistance for demanding interiors such as offices, hospitality and retail, specifiers and designers can be confident of lasting performance in virtually any application.

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

Surface Design Awards 2020: Winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Surface Design Awards 2020: Winners announced

The winners of the Surface Design Awards 2020 have been announced at the 15th Surface Design Show in London. Editor Hamish Kilburn was at the breakfast ceremony to catch the winners being crowned…

The final day of the Surface Design Show 2020 started in spectacular fashion, with the winners of the Surface Design Awards 2020 being crowned.

The Awards, hosted by author and independent event organiser Aidan Walker, celebrate excellence in architectural projects worldwide and the materials used in their creation.

The impressive Krushi Bhawan from Bhubaneswa, India by Studio Lotus was named the Supreme Winner, as well as winning the Public Building Interior and Public Building Exterior categories. Capturing the admiration of all the judges Krushi Bhawan is a testament to design, created for the Odisha State Government’s Agriculture Department in India. The centre incorporates an eye-catching façade drawn from vernacular materials and narratives, which responds to the local climate and offers glimpses into the region’s agricultural folklore and mythology, which have been envisioned at an unprecedented architectural scale.

Judge Paul Priestman of PriestmanGoode praised the project’s sense of place, stating “This building characterises part of the world. It’s a lovely reflection of culture using local materials.” Glenn Johnson of Collins Aerospace added “Somebody’s heart and soul is in this building.”

Across 14 categories in total, from retail and public buildings to commercial projects and housing, including new categories public realm and affordable housing, the Award’s entries comprised the best in architecture and design from across the globe. Giles Miller Studio, Mikhail Riches and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Steven Holl Architects for the USA, and Kris Lin International Design from China were amongst those shortlisted.

Launched six years ago, the Awards have continued to grow in stature to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm. This year’s shortlist comprised an impressive 39 projects across the 14 categories. Such was the quality of entries submitted that some projects won nominations across several categories. Demonstrating the truly international reach of the Awards, projects on the shortlist spanned 13 countries from 34 different organisations with emerging practices represented, as well as established firms.

The 2020 judging panel of industry experts was Co-Chaired by Paul Priestman from PriestmanGoode and Amin Taha from Groupwork. The judges were Nikki Barton, British Airways; Sean Griffiths, Modern Architect; Charles Holland, Charles Holland Architects; Glenn Johnson, Collins Aerospace; Daniel Mota Veiga, KEF / GP Acoustics and Steve Webb, Webb Yates Engineers.

The judging panel commended both the high quality and variety of entries within the field of surfaces and materials. The entries in the new affordable housing and public realm categories were particularly praised for their innovation and diversity in their respective sectors.

WilkinsonEyre and Zeidler Architecture’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge won in Public Realm after being admired for its avant-garde design. Goldsmith Street, based in the UK and designed by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley, was applauded for its warmth and community feel by the judges, and was announced the winner of the Affordable Housing category.

With sustainability at the top of the agenda throughout the design industry, the Sustainable Surface Exterior and Sustainable Surface Interior categories captured the judge’s attention. Crystal Palace Park Café by Chris Dyson Architects, with its external cladding in half round cedar shingles, was the exterior winner whilst Muse Acoustic Panels, by Woven Image in collaboration with Michael Young won in the interior category.

The Housing Exterior category had an outstanding level of bespoke entries. House on an Island, by Atelier Oslo and Kebony, was rewarded the winning position with judges admiring the building’s relationship with the nature that surrounds it. Winning the Housing Interior award, the elegant 20 Kings Road, London was highlighted for its complementary and sensitive use of materials.

Designed by Arup, University of Sheffield Concourse’s bold simplistic lighting was congratulated for making it a destination rather than an area to get through quickly, by creating a multi-use space to encourage students to sit, dwell and relax. Nikki Barton, British Airways, said Arup has “completely transformed and enhanced the space,” with the entry being awarded the Light and Surface Exterior award.

Captivating the hearts of the judges, the Yashoda Cancer Hospital’s open sky courtyard creates a focal point for the New Delhi hospital, and gives patients a place to escape and be surrounded by greenery. The pergola above the courtyard is made using a combination of colourful hanging glass panels which create a light-well filled with colourful shadows within the core of the hospital. The installation, designed by Studio An-V-Thot Architects, was highly commended for its commitment to creating a less-hospital-like environment for patients, being awarded the winner of the Light and Surface Interior.

Putting education at the forefront, Vora’s Can Rosés Temporary School claimed the Temporary Structures award for the redesign of an ancient Spanish farmhouse into a school for 3 years use. The judges were impressed by the innovative repurposing of an existing structure to create a school space with great character, which after the period of use will be easily dissembled.

The winner of the Commercial Building Exterior award was the expressive linear form of the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch by Ben Adams Architects, whilst Kingdom Design Studio by Kingdom Industry in the USA gained the Commercial Building Interior award. In an effort to be resourceful Kingdom Industry’s design utilised raw materials in such a way as to elevate their intrinsic quality, creating an experience for visitors through differing break-out spaces, materials and environments used throughout the space.

United Cycling LAB & Store, which distributes and sells high-end brands for the bicycle market in Northern Europe, was named winner of the Retail Building award. Its first ever flagship-store and showroom was designed by Johannes Torpe to reflect the underlying principles of the company, creating a space that fosters knowledge, learning and innovation.

Still to come at the Surface Design Show 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Still to come at the Surface Design Show 2020

As the final day of Surface Design Show approaches in London, there is so much still to look forward to, including an engaging panel discussion hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn

Celebrating 15 years, Surface Design Show (#SDS20) has once again stolen the limelight early in the season, with an impressive 170 exhibitors showcasing their latest products as well as a packed programme of 30 presentations from 50 expert speakers.

Among them is editor Hamish Kilburn who is preparing to take the main stage with Jeremy Grove (head of design and director, Sibley Grove), Richard Holland (director, Holland Harvey Architects) and Fraser Lockley (architectural consultancy manager, Parkside Architectural Tiles) to deliver the panel discussion entitled: Biophilic Materials in Surface Design at 12.30pm.

The show is a must-visit for architects, designers and specifiers looking for material inspiration from the UK and around the world. The 2019 show hosted 5,071 unique visitors, 80 per cent of whom were from the A&D sector, who came to explore the inspiring array of surfaces on display, be entertained and learn from the presentations on offer and network with like-minded industry professionals.

With sustainability at the top of the architecture and design agenda, the chosen theme for this year’s show is ‘Close to Home’. The theme has allowed the industry to look beyond aesthetics and into manufacturers’ impact on the environment, from the processes used in mining or manufacture, through to the carbon footprint sustained during sales and distribution. Designing with a conscience will also be examined, from reusing waste materials to looking at what happens at the end of a product’s life cycle. This topic is not only highlighted throughout the extensive talks programme but is also a focus within Surface Spotlight Live.

Hotel Designs’ ‘editor’s round-up’ of the Surface Design Show 2020 will be published shortly.

Main image credit: Surface Design Show