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Technology

NH Hotel Group unveils hotel room of the future

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
NH Hotel Group unveils hotel room of the future

The innovative concept of The Mood Room allows guests to customise their guestroom using a tablet to control lighting, music, curtains and temperature to suit their emotions and specific needs…

NH Hotel Group, Signify and CYBEROBICS have launched Mood Room, the “room of the future”, at NH Collection Berlin Mitte, the first hotel to feature the concept since a pilot project at NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding in Spain and now featuring new fitness options.

This follows technology expert Jason Bradbury’s hotel review with Hotel Designs where he identified future hotel design trends, one of which was intelligent rooms.  Designed around three parameters – personalising guests’ experience, connected technology and sustainability – Mood Room enables guests to regulate the lighting, music and temperature to adapt the mood to their own tastes. Using only the touch of a tablet, guests can choose between six main pre-set modes and 19 moods to help them sleep, work and relax better, and enjoy a unique technological experience.

“Digitalisation is already an intrinsic part of everyday life in many areas,” said Maarten Markus, Managing Director Northern Europe NH Hotel Group. “Hotels must not be left behind; we need to be even more determined to open the way to change, testing out new services and solutions and offering them to our customers. With the introduction of Mood Room in our offering, our Northern Europe business unit now has a magnificent new easy-to-operate product, making a hotel stay an even more pleasant experience”.

“Guests can choose between six main pre-set modes and 19 moods to help them sleep, work and relax better, and enjoy a unique technological experience.”

For Signify, too, this partnership is an excellent example of how interconnection is generating entirely new models in the hotel industry: “The four Mood Room at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte are like a window into the future”, says Karsten Vierke, PR Manager of Signify in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Smart lighting and interconnection are becoming the order of the day at home and at work. Naturally, these changes should not suddenly stop at the hotel door. For me, a really satisfactory hotel stay involves a combination of good service, atmosphere and convenience. By working with our partners in climate control, lighting, music and fitness, we’re showing how smart technology and automation can create a whole new hotel experience.”

One of the new and distinctive features of the Mood Room at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte is the sports and exercise settings provided by fitness and lifestyle brand, CYBEROBICS. By selecting the “Set the Tone” mood, guests can interface with CYBEROBICS’s workout exercises, choosing between four different fitness videos: Yoga Power, Six Pack Attack, Quick Fit or Just Relax. Again, the system chooses the right type of lighting and mood for the occasion.

For Oliver Schulokat, CEO of CYBEROBICS, the Mood Room ties in perfectly with the new move towards ‘on-demand fitness’: “Digitalisation will have wide-ranging consequences for the way people train in the future to improve their physical fitness,” he said. “Our goal is to promote with CYBEROBICS that evolution, making fitness available to even more people and in this way turning it into a natural part of their everyday lives. That’s why CYBEROBICS covers all areas of life—at home, at work and in the hotel when we’re away. We see the NH Hotel Group as a generator of innovation in the hotel industry, using digitalisation to take its guest experience to a whole new dimension. At this point we are seeing many points of contact with CYBEROBICS’s vision. We’re therefore very happy to be launching this partnership”.

The Mood Room project, presented for the first time at the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding, has taken sustainability, connectivity and customer experience into account as key factors. Thanks to Philips RoomFlex, the Mood Room™ has become a totally individualised stay experience. Philips RoomFlex is a fully programmable system for controlling lighting in the hotel rooms, which can be easily integrated into the sensor technology and other systems, such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, visual protection and booking software.

LIVE FROM MILAN Foster + Partners and LG unveil world’s first rollable LED TV

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIVE FROM MILAN Foster + Partners and LG unveil world’s first rollable LED TV

Architectural firm Foster + Partners has collaborated with LG to design and launch the world’s first rollable OLED TV during Milan Design Week…

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

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

“The design is a creative response to the challenge of creating invisible technology that is unobtrusive with a quiet sculptural presence,” said Mike Holland, Head of Industrial Design at Foster + Partners. “It dematerialises the screen, which can be automatically rolled in and out of a discreet minimalist rectangular enclosure when needed, offering a sense of liberation to design interior spaces.”

The television is omnipresent in most living spaces, and with screen sizes getting bigger it often dominates a room even when not being used. The new LG OLED rollable screen allows freedom from walls and offers a sense of liberation to design interior spaces. It features a sculptural minimalist rectangular volume crafted from aluminium, which contains the rolling mechanism and integrated speaker, fronted by matching tonal fabric. The ultra-thin screen rises from the top of this box, supported by a sprung steel backing and slender arms. The minimal detail and simplicity of design allows it to become part of a variety of interior spaces.

The stand will be on display at Tortona Zone, Superstudio Più from April 9th to April 14.

Main image credit: Foster + Partners/LG

Milan Design Week 2019: What’s on

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Milan Design Week 2019: What’s on

This week, hundreds of designers from all corners of the world will descend onto Europe’s soulful design hub that is Milan for the Salone del Mobile furniture fair, the Euroluce lighting show and other events happening within the city walls. Editor Hamish Kilburn cuts through the noise to identify what to bookmark over in Milan…

Design lovers are arriving in Milan today to attend what is arguably the most significant event in the design calendar.

From April 8 – 14, the Italian city  centre transforms into a creative hub that witnesses product launches, emerging trends, which this year are expected to be themed around health and wellbeing, bringing the outdoors indoors and creating closer human interaction.

Salone del Mobile, which is arguably the main event of the week, will be split into three categories this year there are: Classic – Tradition in the Future, drawing on the values of tradition, craftsmanship and skill in the art of making furniture and objects; Design – products that transmit functionality, innovation and a great sense of style and finally xLux – the section you’ll want to spend most of your time at – the luxury section devoted to timeless objects in a contemporary key.

Meanwhile, Euroluce the International Lighting Exhibition. The show, which has run every two years since 1976, presents the most innovative solutions in the field of light for interiors and exteriors.

As the shows open their doors, here are a few events to bookmark:

Sebastian Herker – Milan man of the moment

Image credit: Sebastian Herkner/Freifrau

Hot off the heels of becoming Maison Objet’s Designer of the Year, Sebastian Herkner is moments away from launching new products in Milan. On the both upcoming shows Salone del Mobile and Euroluce in Milan, the studio will showcase new products for brands like Ames, Dedon, Emu, Freifrau, Gloster, Pulpo and Thonet as well as designs for our new partner Vibia.  The studio will also present collections for Schönbuch, Wittmann and Zanotta.

Turri – architectural furniture

Image credit: Turri

The furniture company has confirmed that it will launch a new collaboration with architect Daniel Libeskind who will be on the company’s stand at Salone del Mobile on Wednesday April 10 to discuss the new project with the company. Until then, the furniture company thats motto is ‘The Italian way to Beauty’ is keeping extremely tight-lipped about what we can expect.

Swedish Design Moves – HEMMA goes wild

Image credit: Swedish Design Moves

Swedish Design Moves returns to Milan this year with HEMMA gone wild – a sequel to the 2018 exhibition, HEMMA – Stories of Home.

Curated and designed by Joyn Studio, HEMMA gone wild invites visitors to experience an abstract and playful vision of home, from hallway to living room and onwards through an unfolding scenography that showcases the best of Swedish design, drawn by curiosity and a mood of mystery.

Humanscale – Human touch

Todd Bracher, long-time collaborator with Ergonomic leaders Humanscale, and Studio TheGreenEyl have designed an immersive, interactive experience. Bodies in Motion will invite visitors in to explore human movement, as represented through dramatic beams of light. The display can be seen in the historic vaults located under Milano Central Station, as part of the third edition of Ventura Centrale.

USM

The Swiss furniture innovator USM will be returning with their mega-structure at the Fair in collaboration with UNStudio. Visit their stand (A07/B06) in hall 20. If you’re visiting on Tuesday, CEO & Great-Grandson of USM’s founder Alex Schaerer will be on the stand, as will Ben van Berkel, UNStudio founder and Ren Yee, Head of Design/Strategies, UNStudio. If you would like an interview with Alex, Ben or Ren let us know and we will help make arrangements.

Minotti 

Returning to the fair, the Italian furniture company in familiar surroundings will launch its 2019 Collection of luxury and timeless pieces. The premium furniture brand, which was Hotel Designs’ Exclsuive Style Partner for Meet Up London, will unveil all on its stand. Minotti will premiew the new collection, coordinated entirely by Rodolfo Dordoni, which also includes some products designed by Christophe Delcourt. The collection is a return to its roots, but with a vision of the future, to innovate while staying true to our style and our traditions. The inspiration for a collection marked by an intriguing layering of influences and styles, for a timeless elegance that is nonetheless strikingly unexpected.

Brodie Neill – Plastic in the ocean

Image credit: Brodie Neill

Following the sustainable Gyro table – a circular table featuring a top made from inlaid fragments of recycled ocean plastic, designer Brodie Neill will launch yet another public statement to highlight climate change. He will unveil a contemporary hourglass filled with microplastic instead of sand during Milan Design Week in order to highlight the issue of ocean plastic pollution.

Nendo – Breeze of Light

The Japanese studio Nendo will present a new lighting display entitled Breeze of Light. This installation, in collaboration with Daikin, evokes the sensation of a comfortable breeze by the movement of light and shadows, not actual air. A virtual flower garden is illuminated using 115 individually-controlled spotlights directing light on 17,000 flower-shaped polarising films. Changes in shadow intensity of the flowers produce the effect of a breeze passing through the garden.

Tom Dixon

Going against the grain, Tom Dixon took the decision not be showcasing products at Salone del Mobile. Instead, he’s opening his own restaurant and his furniture, lighting and accessories will feature throughout the restaurant’s dynamic mise en scene.

Salone Satellite 

Exhibition hall

Image credit: Salone del Mobile

As Hotel Designs continues to support young emerging designers, the Salone Satellite is to place to be if you want to discover new talent. Back for its 22nd edition, this year’s theme ‘Food as Design Objects is aimed to challenge designers to debate climate change and

Ahead of the event, Claudio Luti, President of the Salone del Mobile, had this to say: “At this particular time of great success for Milan, it is important to consolidate the Salone del Mobile’s powersof attraction, offering its visitors not just a wide range of products, but, especially, opportunities for international interface and for reflection on the relationship between creativity and business.”

Milan, the moral capital of a thriving design hub, has opened its doors as designers, architects flood in. The small city with a large personality is ready to witness many moments that are about to written and no-doubt go down in design history.

Main image credit: Salone del Mobile

Duravit launches personal touches with Viu and Xviu

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Duravit launches personal touches with Viu and Xviu

The Viu and XViu series from Duravit, both giving the modern bathroom a personal touch, feature V-shaped profiles in Champagne Matt to introduce an individual and unmistakable design statement…

Duravit and sieger design present a complete bathroom range – Viu ceramics and XViu furniture plus matching bathtubs – which exudes forward-looking design. The post-industrial elegance of the pieces emerges from the interaction of soft, organic forms with a precise geometric detailed finished.

A sharply defined contrast arises from surfaces that combine the finest ceramics, glass and metal with matt lacquers or high-quality woods.

The new range includes the entire bathroom: the washing, bathing and toilet area. Significant design features and special details re-occur throughout and are the defining elements of the harmonious interior design.

The highlight is a washing area based on the patented Duravit c-bonded technology. The exterior is a strict rectangle, while the interior features gentle organic curves with a spacious inner basin and generous shelf. The edge running along the tap platform continues creating an outer line. The subtle detail of the horizontal overflow within the basin underlines the horizontal alignment of the external shape. The ceramic on the inside is reminiscent of the softness of water.

Some surprising details: The white ceramic cover of the push-open valve is flush with the inner basin in the open position. The prominent contour of the supporting metal console with its V-shape profile in elegant Champagne Matt or avant garde Black Matt creates dynamic interest. Uniquely individual combinations can be created thanks to the glass shelf which is available in four colours.

From a different angle, the three-dimensional feet of the metal console are visually transformed into fine lines. This level of perfection extends to the smallest detail. The acrylic panelling on the underside of the basin conceals the fixing structure, cables, and connecting hoses, with the result that the elaborate technology, for example for the D.1e electronic tap, does not impact the design.

Fully glazed from beneath, the Viu washbasins, available in five sizes, as well as a handrinse basin, are also ideally suited as individual solutions. Their shape follows the design of the c-bonded washbasin.

The alternative variants for the washing area, with furniture washbasin, built-in washbasin, or above-counter washbasin and matching vanity unit with pull-out compartment or two drawers, feature striking V-shaped lateral aluminium profiles.

These are also available in Champagne Matt and Black Matt and lends to the XViu furniture range’s striking contour. Tonal as well as contrasting options can produce different combinations. By using a variety of materials including a range of high-quality real-wood, lacquer and décor finishes you can create a wealth of stylish collections from “Silver” to “Dark”.

Door variants in semi-transparent smoked glass are available for tall and semi-tall cabinets, which have technically correct subtle, smooth hinge straps for a soft opening and closing of the doors.

The mirrors and the mirror cabinets with their fully-mirrored sides reflect the individual design language of XViu. The models fitted with a sensor switch offer dimmable lighting and the variant with icon control on the mirror surface, a first for mirror cabinets, also features the ambient light mode and colored light switching function: at a luminosity of more than 300 lux, the light color can be continuously adjusted from 2,700 (warm light) to 6,500 kelvin (cold light).

Heating is available for all mirrors and a standard feature for icon variants.

A further highlight of the XViu series is the free-standing bathtub, which creates an eye-catching centerpiece. Here, too, the prominent metal frame with the familiar V-shaped profile comes in Champagne Matt or Black Matt as a contrast to the high-gloss white acrylic.

It supports the free-standing bathtub (two sizes: 160×80 cm and 180×80 cm), which is a precise rectangle when viewed from above. It has an ergonomic and organic free form interior, with a precise finish and perfect aesthetics. It subtly integrates the outlet, which underlines the sophisticated design.

The interplay of the basic geometric shape, with precise lines and optimized gentle inner shape
is a key feature of the toilet in the range. Metal push buttons positioned on the sides allow the removal of the seat cover, making cleaning easier.

The technically-demanding realisation of the open flushing rim thanks to improved Rimless® technology ensures outstanding flushing performance. SensoWash Slim is available as an option for the toilet. The combination with the Duravit A2 electronic actuator plate and matching wall-mounted element provides operating comfort of the highest standard.

The new D.1 and D.1z faucets, along with the electronic D.1e variant, perfectly match the design. The XViu bathroom programme is available in 34 finishes and combines well with the ceramic series VeroAir, ME by Starck and P3 Comforts. Viu ceramics can also be combined with the XSquare, L-Cube and Brioso furniture series.

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

Timothy Oulton unveils lavish SS19 collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Timothy Oulton unveils lavish SS19 collection

The luxury design company, Timothy Oulton, which prides itself on being an authentic and daring source of energy and inspiration, unveils its SS19 collection… 

Driven by a burning desire to create experiences that touch people in a significant way, while living by the motto that “life is better with a bowler hat”, Timothy Oulton has unveiled its SS19 Collection , an assortment of items that have been designed with the idea that truly authentic materials and human-scaled design have the power to change how people feel.

With the belief that great creativity is both enduring and yet perennially fresh, the SS19 collection sees Timothy Oulton bring its authentic handcraftsmanship approach to a gamut of new visceral and richly sensorial materials, which include seleneite crystals, printed velvets, sheepskin, deep handfinished leather and reclaimed Edwardian parquetry. “I like good design, whether traditional or modern,” Oulten said in press material around the collection. using original time-honoured techniques, the studio prides itself on using only the best traditional methods in its products.

The newly unveiled collection includes an update on Timothy Oulton’s innovative lighting range. Continuing last season’s foray into natural minerals and rocks is the Selenite collection of pendants and sconces. For the large Selenite pendant, more than 560 individual crystals are affixed by hand to create a dramatic stalactite-type effect.

“We look for the most authentic, sensory materials and then think how best we can use it.” – Timothy Oulton

Meanwhile, the Inception mirrors – now available in three separate sizes – give a nod to the ’70s. Inspired by the era’s infinity mirrors, each Inception piece lights up to reveal a seemingly endless line of reflections, appearing smaller and smaller as they fade into the distance. When turned off, it becomes an elegant, everyday mirror.

Timothy Oulton's Speakeasy Monaco Bar & City

Image credit/caption: Timothy Oulton’s Speakeasy Monaco Bar & City

“It always starts with the materials first, we look for the most authentic, sensory materials and then think how best we can use it,” said Oulton when commenting on the inspiration behind the new designs. “Great interiors have the power to change how you feel, so whether it’s down time or entertaining, it’s about engaging the senses and feeling alive. That’s an energy that we try to embody in all our products, and it was very much the driving force behind our 2019 Collection.”

Among the stand out pieces is the eye-catching Studio Sofa, an addition to the Metro collection, which can now be finished in Acid Jungle velvet fabric, which is, as Oulton describes: “an expression of modern-urban cool”. The new fabric, which depicts a jungle scene against a night-time backdrop, is deliberately not pattern-matched, meaning that no single item within the collection is the same.

Also new to Metro, is the smart and sophisticated City armchair, a leather swivel chair that can transform any room into a multifunctional space. And the rugged yet elegant new Milano chair, with its minimalist oak frame and luxuriously thick leather, is the perfect way to inject style into an urban apartment. The Milano takes its cue from the Italian design movement of Rationalism and in particular the work of Gruppo 7, a group of architects who wanted to reform Italy’s architecture in the 1920s to strike a balance between classicism and industrially-inspired design. The Milano chair embodies the movement’s simplistic yet well engineered furniture with its clean lines and modern, comfortable sit.

Building on the ruggedly refined palette of the Loft range, Timothy Oulton introduces for the first time the Buck’dN Brok’n leather onto the Westminster Button sofa, its classic Chesterfield model. Previously featured on the iconic Saddle Chair, Buck’dN Brok’n is characterised by its deep scores and scratches that evoke an aged and storied life. The idea of a life well lived is also embodied by the new Edwardian collection, featuring tables and mirrors fashioned from reclaimed parquetry oak and mahogany that originally formed the floors of Edwardian dance halls in the UK.

A warm, weathered oak frame and luxuriously thick leather bring a relaxed and welcoming feel to its minimalist silhouette. Milano is perfectly suited to
contemporary interiors and evenings by the fire, just make sure the whisky’s ready nearby.

Extending the range of Timothy Oulton’s offering, the collection changes gears with the wildly luxurious long-haired Yeti Sheepskin, newly available in black and brown. Yeti is showcased on the rustic new Cabin bench, inspired by the cosy feel of traditional forest cabins, and the Trio chair, a creative reinvention of a traditional slipper chair with generous proportions.

Timothy Oulton's Loft Vignette3 Cabana Yeti

Image credit/caption: Timothy Oulton’s Loft Vignette3 Cabana Yeti

While the new collection’s dynamic accessories arguably takes centre stage, the company is also dedicated to produce sustainable items with its Noble Souls collection, which launched last year. Including three sofas within the collection, all of which have different profiles, the feather-filled sofas come in a variety of fabric finishes.

With more than 40 galleries around the world – from New York to Hong Kong to Sydney, and a flagship in Chelsea, London – Timothy Oulton continues its plan of opening new stores in great cities around the globe, with recent additions including Seoul and Abu Dhabi.

In addition to launching innovative products, the studio has also been responsible for the completion of hospitality projects such as 1880 members’ club in Singapore, The Blue Room at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and Glazebrook House Hotel in Devon, England.

The latest collection from the brand is a refreshing insight into the mind of the visionary behind the brand. Oulton’s journey, which started in 1976 when he set up his first boutique antiques shop that was owned by his father, has led him to become one of the industry’s most creative individuals. Continuing tradition, each Timothy Oulton piece in the SS19 collection is inspired by the past, but reconceived from a modern perspective, producing yet another uniquely authentic collection that further pushes the boundaries of interior design.

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton’s Metro Collection Studio Sofa with Acid Jungle velvet fabric 

Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opens

The opening of Nobu Hotel Los Cabos marks the hotel group’s debut into Mexico…

Officially open today, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, debuts 200 stylish guestrooms and suites. Both WATG and Studio PCH have blended Japanese minimalism with locally sourced Californian raw materials, such as custom furniture pieces, wood-soaking tubs, teak and stone materials, shoji-inspired closet doors and Japanese inspired lanterns.

The first Nobu Hotel in Mexico, perched beachfront on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, houses elegant meetings and event spaces, a luxurious spa with Natura Bissé products and, what all Nobu Hotels must have…a spectacular Nobu Restaurant and Bar with ocean views, making this the third Nobu restaurant in Mexico.

Light and bright public dining area

Image credit: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos

The natural growth of Nobu Hospitality, built on service, image, and reputation, offers the complete spectrum of hotel, restaurant and residence management for unique projects around the world.

Founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, with operations spanning five continents, the Nobu brand thrives in the world’s capitals as the ultimate destination lifestyle experience.

Also set to open in 2019 are properties in Barcelona and Chicago, with Warsaw recently announced for 2020.

Main image credit: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos

Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

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Accor’s Aparthotel brand Adagio arrives in London

Hotel Designs attended the official launch party of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford last night, which marked the brand’s official arrival in London, UK… 

Adagio has celebrated the opening of its first London property by hosting a show-stopping party that was attended by more than 150 people.

The 100-key Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford, which informally opened in October of last year, is located just a few miles from London’s main airport Heathrow and is the fourth hotel within in the brand to open in the UK, with more in the pipeline.

“This is an important milestone for us, with many more openings in the UK to be announced,” said Karim Malak, CEO of Aparthotels Adagio at the event. “Our target is to have 20 properties in the UK by 2023.”

Aparthotels Adagio London Brentford’s public spaces have been created as an open area for guests to meet and collaborate. Each apartment offers a fully equipped kitchen, spacious bedroom and living area with a flat-screen smart TV. Guests also have access to a bar, virtual concierge, fitness centre, laundry facilities, business services and onsite parking.

Image credit: Accor/Adagio

The West London property is part of Brentford’s Kew Eye Tower GWQ development. The aparthotel is the fourth UK opening for the brand following launches in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool. The aparthotel brand is planning further properties in London Stratford, Leicester (opening by the end of 2019) and Glasgow (opening by the end of 2020).

The opening of Aparthotel Adagio London Brentford emerges as part of the brand’s strategy to open 10 new hotels this year and to double the amount of properties it has within its portfolio by 2023.

Hotel Designs will be investigating the rise of aparthotels when it puts Hotel Concepts under the spotlight in August. If you would like to contribute to this topic, please get in touch with the editorial team.

Main image credit: Accor/Adagio

SPOTLIGHT ON: Vaughan unveils timeless wall lights for guestrooms

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Vaughan unveils timeless wall lights for guestrooms

The lighting experts at Vaughan has recently unveiled a series of wall lights available in three different finishes… 

Vaughan have recently designed a collection of wall lights specifically for guestrooms called the Malden and Medway reading lights.

Vaughan’s recently unveiled reading lights are perfectly suited for directional bedside lighting. The products are available with either a stepped backplate (Malden) or flat backplate (Medway) and come in a choice of three finishes; brass, bronze or nickel finishes with optional covering in brown or black leather.

With a highly flexible and adjustable goose neck arm with an LED spot, the Malden and Medway reading lights have quickly become an essential requirement of a guestroom.

In a recent project, Vaughan assisted with decorative lighting for the stunning transformation of the beachside hotel, Carbis Bay Hotel near St Ives, Cornwall. Vaughan supplied a collection of Vaughan products perfectly suited for the light and spacious bedrooms with sea views and one of the key products in every guest room were the Malden and Medway reading lights.

For more information on the Vaughan collection, please contact the contract sales department – contract-sales@vaughandesigns.com

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, click here.

SPOTLIGHT ON: IHG pilots new lighting technology

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SPOTLIGHT ON: IHG pilots new lighting technology

The new lighting technology that is being piloted by IHG is designed specifically to help guests sleep better…

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has partnered with Healthe® by Lighting Science, a global leader in innovative LED lighting solutions, to pilot the use of state-of-the-art circadian lighting to help guests sleep better while travelling.

Crowne Plaza® Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG property to install the JOURNI™ Mobile Task Light in guestrooms. Designed using Healthe®’s patented GoodDay® and GoodNight® spectrum technologies, JOURNI allows access to the alertness and focus-enhancing spectrum during the day, and then easily change to the warm, sleep-enhancing spectrum at night. This versatile, dual-spectrum luminaire can help you to effortlessly bring energy-efficient, circadian lighting right to your hotel room.  Ultimately, JOURNI also helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm or 24-hour internal body clock which effects important biological functions such as sleep, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.

Committed to investing and leading the way in the latest innovations and technologies to help guests sleep better, IHG already has programs in place across its brands based including:

  • Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts Sleep Advantage™ Programme has been designed to improve the quality of sleep during hotel overnights, improving the quality of the following day. The bed linens provide unbelievable softness and the programme’s unique This Works aromatherapy line contains pure essential oils that help the customer to recover from the day’s stress and to sleep more soundly.
  • EVEN® Hotels lighting profiles allows guests to change the colour of the lighting in their rooms to blue, red, green or yellow to either energise or relax
  • The Holiday Inn® Pillow Menu gives guests the option to choose between a varied range of pillows, from firmness to type and even filling

“At IHG, we want to make sure our guests are getting the best night’s sleep possible across our 5,600 hotels and portfolio of more than 15 brands,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience Shared Services, IHG. “We are continually testing ways we can enhance the guest experience, loyalty and ultimately, owner value. Our circadian lighting technology pilot is the latest example of the work we are doing to innovate the guest experience. We’re excited to be the first hotel company to pilot Healthe®’s JOURNI product and are already working on what’s coming next.”

Main image credit: IHG

FEATURE: “Industrial bathrooms are here to stay,” say bathroom experts

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FEATURE: “Industrial bathrooms are here to stay,” say bathroom experts

Following ISH this month, PR and marketing firm Esprit breaks down why industrial bathrooms are not going anywhere soon in international hotel design…

Historically a 20th Century style, the industrial trend has a new look and feel.

No longer relegated to offices or loft style apartments, industrial design elements can be seen all over the home even in the bathroom.

“This somewhat harsh, gritty, uniquely urban, style has evolved.”

The original industrial trend has been around for years; but this somewhat harsh, gritty, uniquely urban, style has evolved.  The most obvious aspects such as rough textures, weathered surfaces, concrete, exposed brick and pipe work can look a little harsh in the home.  The use of muted and matt colours, such cool greys, blacks and anthracite work well, helping to achieve a “softer” Industrial look.

The use of metals including steel and aluminium, in both product design and construction, sets the scene, whilst dim lighting and brushed metal drains with matching bathroom accessories completes the industrial vibe.

Image credit: Kaldewei

The versatile, Nexsys Shower Solution is an innovative, award-winning four-in-one system which can be installed immediately, there are 17 different surface colour options including Cantania Grey Matt and City-Anthracite Matt, these can then be combined with five different waste channels variants.

The delicate filigree design of the free standing Miena washbasin made from a single layer of Kaldewei’s superior steel enamel perfectly complements an industrial style bathroom, due to its simplistic form and shape.

The industrial look in the bathroom can be further enhanced with a radiator from VASCO.  Providing a combination of energy efficiency and warmth VASCO radiators are available in variety of contemporary colours and textures; including Metallic Grey, Grey Aluminium, Anthracite Grey and Slate Grey.

Select from edgier, textured radiators such as the Bryce or the Carre which can be supplied as a curved radiator and further endorses this trend with its narrow bar design.

Image caption: Happy D2 from Duravit

Dark, industrial colour accents never fail to impress. By adding a contemporary, monochrome element, AQATA’s Matte Black Collection is a new addition to their successful Design Solutions range, available on DS400 shower screens and DS440 double entry shower screens. As well as matte black profiles and steady bars, there are also three glass patterns; grid, horizontal and border designs available.

In collaboration with sieger design, Duravit’s latest Happy D.2 Plus series reflects current industrial trends in colours, design and finishes. The above-counter washbasins striking individuality comes from the new striking two-tone colour variants of Anthracite Matt and glossy White. The colour concept of Happy D.2 Plus extends to toilets and bidets, with the interior of the toilets finished in glossy Anthracite for optimum hygiene.

Duravit’s Stonetto shower tray is designed to give the appearance of stripped back, water–worn stone, available in lighter shades, when used in anthracite or concrete gives the bathroom an edgier industrial feel.

Image of various industrial products from the range

Image credit: Unidrain

Finally, for maximum impact, Unidrain’s award-winning Reframe Collection brings together the finishing touches to an urban bathroom with their Scandinavian inspired designer accessories including; soap shelf, towel bar, toilet brush. The Reframe Collection mixes sleek design with metallic tones, available in five different colours including; Black, Copper, Brass and Brushed and Polished Stainless Steel.

Hotel Designs will be focusing the spotlight on the bathrooms this May and is currently acccepting editorial ideas. To submit your news/feature ideas, please email the editorial desk.

Main image credit: Aqata

Rosewood Hotels arrives in Hong Kong

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A new global icon for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is established at the most distinguished address in its home city of Hong Kong…

Rosewood Hong Kong has opened as a magnificent new ultra-luxury property in the heart of the Victoria Dockside district on the shores of Victoria Harbour. Situated on one of Hong Kong’s most significant waterfront locations in Tsim Sha Tsui – Kowloon’s dynamic, culturally compelling heart – the property is set to become a grand icon for the city, celebrating the area’s role as Hong Kong’s new creative and cultural epicentre.

The opening of Rosewood Hong Kong is a defining milestone for the group, solidifying its stature as one of the world’s most dynamic hotel brands and a leader in global style.  This showpiece of the brand’s highest aspirations epitomises Rosewood’s essence and represents the complete manifestation of a differentiated and modern expression of ultra-luxury hospitality.

Exterior of hotel

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

From the brand’s inception 40 years ago as a fine private home that opened its doors to guests, each Rosewood hotel continues to be guided by A Sense of Place® philosophy and the concept of the hotel as a living canvas celebrating artistry in all its forms.  This spirit reaches its zenith at Rosewood Hong Kong.  Guests can experience the first urban outpost of the brand’s pioneering wellness concept; gastronomic innovation showcasing locally grown and artisanal ingredients; masterworks by the world’s most highly acclaimed artists; and supremely stylish, residentially natured gathering and living spaces – all within a masterfully designed and meticulously curated journey in architecturally bold environs commanding the harbour.

“The site is the former Holt’s Wharf, dating back to 1910.”

Rosewood’s opening in Hong Kong marks the evolution of another meaningful historic legacy.  The site is the former Holt’s Wharf, dating back to 1910, which subsequently became New World Centre, a lifestyle magnet for the city in the 1980s, which holds a unique place in the hearts and minds of local residents as a place of discovery and wonderment.  New World Centre – a proud expression of Hong Kong’s evolution – was the creation of Dr. Cheng Yu-tung and Dr. Henry Cheng, the grandfather and father (respectively) of Rosewood Hotel Group Chief Executive Officer, Sonia Cheng.

“With Hong Kong evolving from a business and financial centre to become a true global cultural capital, I wanted to create an iconic property that not only showcases the city’s rich history but also reflects its bright future,” says Cheng. “New World Centre was conceived as my grandfather’s ultimate gift to Hong Kong, a celebration of its progress, vibrancy and spirit.  I hope that Rosewood Hong Kong enhances this legacy and helps fulfill his and my father’s vision for the city that they loved. Rosewood Hong Kong sets bold new benchmarks for design, guest experience, cuisine, and culture. Our ambition is to create a new world standard for ultra-luxury hospitality and a focal point of the vibrant Hong Kong lifestyle, reflecting its incredible dynamism, style and diversity.” 

The Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed, 65-storey exterior pays homage to the city’s impressive verticality.  Renowned hospitality designer who designed the London property Tony Chi of New York studio tonychi has created an immersive experience for a new age of elevated residential hotel living. An homage to Rosewood’s origins as an aristocratic manor, Chi has conceived the entire hotel as a “vertical estate” which incorporates significant green spaces and outdoor areas throughout.

“More than 80 per cent of Rosewood Hong Kong’s rooms boast standout harbour vistas.”

Masterful and important art throughout the property includes works by internationally acclaimed artists Henry MooreDamien Hirst and Bharti Kerr, as well as China’s Wang Keping and homegrown Hong Kong artist Wilson Shieh. Significant works are juxtaposed with an eclectic, whimsical approach to decorative arts throughout the hotel.

More than 80 per cent of Rosewood Hong Kong’s rooms boast standout harbour vistas, with the remainder featuring verdant Kowloon Peak views overlooking the fabled Lion Rock and scenic mountains. Generous “salons” on each guestroom floor from the 24th level up feature carefully selected objets that reflects Hong Kong’s richly layered past.

“For me, Rosewood Hong Kong is the majestic ‘estate on the harbour’ that pays reverent homage to the great founding family that built and operates it, and also the legacy of its surrounding community,” says designer Tony Chi. “Having designed Rosewood London — an elegant mansion in a royal city — and being in the process of refreshing The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, in New York, an iconic residence in Manhattan’s Upper East Side; there’s a remarkably rich and overarching sense of continuity and a sense of place that binds all these properties together.”

Generous space and residential luxury are the hallmarks of Rosewood’s 322 light-filled guestrooms, which start at 53 square metres and include the Grand Harbourview Rooms, boasting panoramic views of Hong Kong Island. Elevated homely comforts include curated interior details, considered amenities, generous marble bathrooms with a freestanding soaking bath, separate, freestanding vanities and twin showers, as well as spacious walk-in closets.

Rosewood Hong Kong is home to the highest number of suites of any Hong Kong luxury hotel and also some of the largest.  The 91 suites, starting from 92 square metres, offer carefully curated stays, bespoke services, and inspired interiors. Suite guests enjoy exclusive services including access to Rosewood’s Manor Club executive lounge, personal butler service, monogrammed pillow cases and robes, and personalised amenities from arrival to departure. On each floor, the 123-square-metre Grand Harbour Corner Suites offer glittering panoramic harbour views from every vantage point.

Rosewood Hotels Cafe

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

In addition, Rosewood Hong Kong features 18 of the most outstanding signature suites in the metropolis, each with its own unique character. The crowning jewel amongst them, the 1,000-square-metre Harbour House boasts spectacular views from private sky terraces on the 57th level and unique décor and design. Enhancing the lavish interiors, a garden oasis features harbour view sun decks and private lap pools.  Located on the same floor, the Harbour House and Garden House can be combined, offering an entirely private five-bedroom retreat complete with state-of-the-art private gym.

Extended stays will be catered to by 186 exclusive Rosewood Residences, set to launch this Spring.  Uniquely designed for longer-term stays, the Rosewood Residences will offer a separate private entrance and dedicated club facilities, including an indoor swimming pool and private fitness centre, along with a host of special services and amenities for guests.

 

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Marriott International announces three-year growth plan

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The hotel giant Marriott International’s growth plans include the openings more than 1,700 hotels around the world… 

Marriott International has presented the company’s three-year growth plan, which includes opening more than 1,700 hotels around the world, at its meeting with institutional investors and security analysts at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The hotel giant has outlined its plan to add between 275,000 and 295,000 rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms already under construction. The company disclosed that its new room openings during this period could contribute $400 million in fee revenue in 2021 and $700 million annually when stabilised. The company’s three-year growth plan assumes, but does not forecast, comparable hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of one and three per cent, compounded annually.

“Starwood has made us a more formidable competitor, providing a more valuable loyalty program, brands with strong appeal to loyalty members and owners, talented associates, terrific locations, particularly in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region, significant cost synergies and meaningful scale,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and chief executive officer. “We launched our newly branded loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, just last month. The program reached 125 million members as of year-end 2018 adding roughly 50,000 members per day.”

Given the assumptions for its three-year plan, the company could produce the following results:

  • Diluted earnings per share of $7.65 to $8.50 by 2021, a compound growth rate of 11 to 15 per cent over 2018 adjusted results;
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA) increasing by six to nine per cent compounded, with net income increasing by five to eight per cent compounded, each compared to adjusted results in 2018;
  • Cash available for shareholders could total $9.5 to $11 billion for the three years (2019 through 2021);
  • Shareholders could see $1.9 to $2 billion in dividends, assuming a continued 30 percent payout ratio, and $7.6 to $9 billion in share repurchases over the three-year period.

Marriott’s growing pipeline of new hotels is fueled by the strong profitability of its hotels, the broad selection of powerful brands available for development, its rich loyalty program, lower costs from the company’s meaningful scale, and the strong confidence of its owners and franchisees. The company disclosed that 70 per cent of its portfolio of open and signed pipeline projects is held by owners with multiple Marriott properties, and roughly one-third is held by owners with ten or more Marriott branded hotels. Marriott’s development pipeline reflects an increasing number of legacy-Starwood branded hotels. Since the merger date, the pipeline of legacy-Starwood brands has increased nearly 25 per cent to represent nearly one-third of the legacy-Starwood portfolio’s system size.

“In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach.”

The company will also discuss its success improving the Sheraton brand. With more than 155,000 rooms, Sheraton is the company’s most geographically diverse brand and the company’s third largest brand globally measured in both rooms and fees. The brand contributes significantly to Marriott’s overall scale and effectively reduces costs for all the hotels in Marriott’s worldwide system. More than one-quarter of Sheratons are already under renovation or committed to a renovation. In 2018, Marriott launched a new Sheraton brand strategy, guestroom prototype and design approach, and just a week ago, unveiled the new Sheraton logo, signaling change to owners, operators, guests and Sheraton associates. Since the acquisition, Sheraton’s RevPAR index has improved to over 100.

“Our new three-year plan, with Starwood fully integrated, demonstrates how our fee-based, asset-light business model generates even stronger and more sustainable cash flows. This allows us to invest profitably in our core business at high rates of return and also return significant amounts of capital to shareholders,” said Leeny Oberg, Marriott International’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our proven business model combined with opportunities to leverage our significant scale from the Starwood acquisition uniquely position us for additional shareholder value creation.”

Main image credit: Marriott International

Autograph Collection Hotels to grow by 25% in Europe in 2019

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Autograph Collection Hotels to grow by 25% in Europe in 2019

Autograph Collection Hotels set to grow in europe by more than 25% this year, debuting in 10 new destinations…

Autograph Collection Hotels, Marriott International’s diverse and dynamic portfolio, has announced plans to welcome 12 one-of-a-kind hotels to its European portfolio this year, each hand-selected for their distinct perspective on design and hospitality.

Hotels set to debut as part of Autograph Collection Hotels this year, include: Aegon, Mykonos, a stunning beach resort complete with harmonious spa and private beach club; Hotel Universo, a sixteenth-century palace in the medieval walled city of Lucca near Florence; Schloss Lieser, a fairy-tale castle in Germany’s Moselle region, an idyllic landscape famed for its wine-growing; Academia of Athens in Greece, with design inspired by Greek Philosopher Plato; and The Shelbourne, the enduringly iconic hotel that’s been at the heart of Dublin society since opening in 1824. Each hotel truly is a product of passion and a personal realisation of its individual founder’s vision, making each one singular and special: Exactly Like Nothing Else.

Launched in 2010, the hotel brand has become a pioneer in the independent hotel space and has rapidly grown from five hotels to more than 160 in nine years. Continuing to grow around the globe, Autograph Collection’s global pipeline comprises nearly 100 properties.

Image credit: Academia of Athens, Autograph Collection_Suite

“With the depth and diversity of Autograph Collection Hotels, we have the unique opportunity to create one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences for travellers,” said John Licence, VP Premium & Select Brands Europe, Marriott International. “The brand’s significant growth momentum throughout Europe solidifies it as an established leader in the independent hotel space, and we are thrilled to welcome 12 exceptional hotels to our European portfolio in 2019.”

At a time when Booking.com revealed that 53 per cent of global travellers plan to take more weekend trips in 2019, Autograph Collection Hotels is offering travellers rich immersive moments that leave a lasting imprint, with five restored architectural gems slated to join Autograph Collection Hotels in Europe this year.

Exemplified by the latest addition to Autograph Collection’s portfolio of London hotels, The Dixon – just opened in January – was originally designed as a Magistrates’ Court and police station in 1905 by John Dixon Butler. The building has undergone extensive restoration to restore its original features, including its spectacular grand courthouse. A stunning interior design concept showcases the hotel’s passion for art with curated artworks set against a backdrop of contemporary and heritage design.

Situated in the Moselle region of Germany, Schloss Lieser resides in a breath-taking castle originally built in 1885. Linked to pivotal moments in both German and Dutch history, previous owners include Clemens Freiherr von Schorlemer-Lieser, a wealthy politician who was related to the Dutch Royal Family. Over the centuries, politicians regularly gathered at the castle to discuss the future of Germany. In 2007, the castle was transformed into the independent, boutique hotel it is now.

Championing Individuality through Distinct Perspectives on Design

Autograph Collection hotels advocate for the original and individual through unique perspectives on design, enabling travellers to make a serious travel statement, even on the shortest of getaways. Academia of Athens, set to become Autograph Collection’s third property in Greece when it opens later this year, is inspired by its namesake, historical landmarks and the vibrant culture of the contemporary city. Global design and architectural firm HOK juxtaposes the heritage of the city of Athens with a bold and modern exterior. Inside there are visual cues from ancient Greek scholar Plato’s Three Orders; Science, Philosophy and Arts, with each principle brought to life throughout various spaces within the hotel.

“Ten of the 12 planned openings in 2019 will mark the brand’s debut in new cities and resort destinations.”

Autograph Collection Hotels Expected to Debut in 10 New European Destinations This Year

Autograph Collection Hotels is set to continue adding to its existing roster of 47 properties across 17 countries in Europe, with new destinations that provide one-of-a-kind hotel stays for even the most discerning global traveller. Ten of the 12 planned openings in 2019 will mark the brand’s debut in new cities and resort destinations, offering more choice and trip inspiration than ever before. New destinations include Lieser, Germany; Athens and Mykonos, Greece; Lucca, Italy; Montreux, Switzerland; Paris and Reims, France; and Seville, Spain.

The planned opening of Sapphire House late in 2019 in the vibrant city of Antwerp will mark Marriott International’s first hotel in the city. Expected to provide travellers with insight into the city’s traditions and fascinating past in gem-trading, Sapphire House will invite guests to discover the quirks of this inconspicuous destination. Occupying the site of the city’s original Royal Exchange, known as Den Grooten Robijn (The Great Ruby), Sapphire House will be a stunning addition to Antwerp’s boutique hotel scene.

Autograph Collection Hotels Leave a Lasting Impression with ‘The Mark’

Ensuring every stay is unique, Autograph Collection Hotels’ handpicked portfolio of properties each offer their own unique ‘Mark’ – a signature moment within the hotel that is bespoke for each property and enhances the guest experience. No two hotels share the same story and therefore none share the same Mark.

Scheduled to join the brand in autumn 2019, Hotel Querencia de Seville, in the Old Town of Seville will perfectly represent the Mark concept. The hotel’s unique offering of music, arts, crafts, creative gatherings and artisanal workshops will bring a flare of Spanish craftmanship and everyday life to visitors, guaranteeing guests a genuine cultural experience.

The anticipated spring opening of La Caserne Chanzy in the heart of Reims will provide guests with an immersive environment to explore the gastronomy of Reims. A restored firehouse will be transformed into a new restaurant – La Grande Georgette – offering reinvented local gastronomy, signature dishes and cocktails using evocative smoke, and even a food truck fashioned from an old fire engine.

Main image credit: Aegon, Mykonos, an Autograph Collection Hotel 

MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

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MINIVIEW: Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton

Opened late last year, Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton, with all its unique design qualities, is a mere shadow of the stereotypical chain hotel you would expect check in to. Editor Hamish Kilburn dives deeper into its Chinese design story to uncover how the boutique 104-key hotel came to be… 

As a boutique hotel, the concept of a ‘floating city on the sea’ can be seen throughout the hotel design of Joyze Hotel Xiamen Curio Collection by Hilton. Combining the local cultural elements of Minnan with urban design techniques, the hotel narrates the historical changes of “the fishing village” that it neighbours. Tasked to merge architecture with interior design was Hong Kong-based design firm CCD (CHENG CHUNG DESIGN).

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

Surrounded by mountains and seas, with the Dongping Mountain in the North, and the coastline of Huandao Road in the South, the hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. The villages in Zengcuoan are divided by walls, and the houses in the villages are scattered around. The floor plan of the hotel follows the arrangement of the villages, as different zones are divided by walls and intersected by landscapes between different areas. Look down from the above; each area is like a box, representing a household with different personalities and designs. Guests enter the hotel as if they are on a village tour, complete with alleys, walls and landscapes.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The entrance of the hotel incorporates the local culture of ‘brick wall’, which is a very unique way of building a wall in Minnan architecture that uses stones and bricks of different shapes to overlay and build simple and beautiful walls.

According to the legend in the end of the Ming Dynasty that, there was a major earthquake occurred in the Southern part of Minnan region. After the earthquake, the native people used the local materials such as bricks, stones, tiles and gravels collapsed from the natural disaster to build the unique wall. And thereby, this way of wall-building has been widely practiced and followed in the region.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The designer also used the mansion method to design the hotel lobby. The first sight of the guest after they get off from the drop-off area and enter the hotel is not the hotel lobby, but a door that is several meters wide, and if they are entering a mansion house. Then they will see the brick wall, followed by cultural exhibition area, then other landscapes and finally the lobby bar and reception.

“Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.”

The design concept of “Floating City on the Sea” is expressed through the subtle design method.The façade of the wall is constructed with boxes, and it transforms from empty to solid, presenting a feeling of ‘floating’, the orderly change of the gradient also presents a sense of rhythm swinging with the current. A corner of the reception desk floats into the air, becoming a warm chandelier, floating on the sea, and the entire hotel is like a floating city on the sea.

In comparison to the hotel, every box in the space is the composition of the hotel as a floating city. Under each box, there is a light to create a sense of levitation.

“The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home.”

The design incorporates natural comfort and childhood memories, vintage chandeliers, metal-trimmed glass doors, wooden tables and chairs; it brings guests back to the restaurant where they used to go with their parents. Here, the curious people walk into the old days of Xiamen.

Image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

The design of the guestrooms are natural, warm and cosy, creating a sense of home. Meanwhile, it also tries to open the space as much as possible as to form a transparent visual experience. Getting rid of the traditional framework, and strengthen the interaction of spatial functions through subtle design, so that each area can be used alone and connected.

After the entrance is the cloakroom and the luggage rack, which is designed to make the walkway more functional and to make the largest use of space. In detail, it also closely follows the concept of floating city, as the wash table and the bed are suspended from the ground.

The city view and beach outside the window is one of the hotel’s business cards. The wash table, mini bar and operating desk form a small living room, so that guest can sit in the living room and enjoy the scenery with tea, just like the local residents. The texture of the old buildings in the city is projected onto the walls of the guestrooms, and the patterns of the old buildings in Gulangyu are carved into ceramic tiles, which become time fragments to record the traces of the years.

Main image credit: CCD/Cheng Chung Design (HK)/Curio Collection by Hilton

Sekers launches KOROWAI

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Fabric specialist Sekers has announced the launch of KOROWAI, a new inherently FR curtain collection inspired by the pristine rainforests of West Papua New Guinea…

Drawing inspiration from gently swirling water found in quiet bends of a meandering river, raindrops striking the surface of a stream during a tropical downpour and the structures of the rainforest itself, Korowai from Sekers is a varied and sophisticated offering of four elegant designs.

Available in a flexible palette of 25 colours, ranging from vibrant turquoise and lime to classic neutrals and cool metallic tones, Korowai is the perfect addition to any contract interior.

Woven in 100 per cent inherent FR polyester, the Korowai collection is suitable for all aspects of the contract market from hotels to cruise ships. Meeting all relevant UK and IMO standards for curtains, accessories and bedding, as well as German, French and US standards, this washable collection is the ideal resource for any contract application.

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

In Conversation With: Damien Perrot on defining ibis Hotels’ new design era

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The world’s most iconic budget hotel brand is undergoing a major redesign following the growing demands of the modern traveller. To understand all the design details of the new generation of ibis Hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor, to find out more about how the new ibis was conceived in three separate designs…

With more than 1,170 economy hotels open worldwide, ibis has become somewhat of a trailblazer in the congested budget sector of the hotel industry. Opening up in neighbourhoods that before the ‘70s may well have not existed for the modern traveller, the company’s aggressive expansion into tier two cities bridged the gap between travellers and the freedom to explore the world while on a budget.

With the aim to ‘shake up budget hotel standards’, the brand, which is known for its basic and standardised design, is now in the process of reinventing itself to become more flexible to cater to a wider demographic. Using interior design as its tool, Ibis’ latest face lift includes new guestrooms, F&B areas and living spaces. “Its transformation is primarily based on customer behaviour and how guests instinctively use the spaces,” said Steven Taylor, Chief Brand Officer at Accor in the official statement from the brand. “Today, the brand is a truly vibrant place where travellers and non-staying and local customers alike can dine, sleep, work and feel welcome.”

Leading the extensive brand renovation is Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor. “I wanted to achieve a design that was living, vibrant and real,” he told Hotel Designs. “The objective, in terms of design, is to attract people and allow our guests to have a great experience that will naturally encourage them to return.”

“Perrot launched competitions in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world.”

The design, marketing and brand team came together with the ambition to rethink ibis as if it was created today. “The simple fact was that we felt obliged to confront the way in which our guests’ behaviour and lifestyles have changed,” explained Perrot. “Our idea was not to radicalise the form, but instead to create a concept in line with that of the modern travellers’ needs of today.” In order to keep the thoughts open and fresh, Perrot launched design competitions open to all in America, Asia and Europe in order to garner inspiration from all corners of the world. “The brief being light in context around what we wanted was key as we did not want to restrict the designers’ creative flow,” adds Perrot. As a result, the brand was able to handpick the designers who put forward realistic and brand-worthy solutions to the challenge.

Following the competition, the new ibis was to be divided into three concepts drawn up from three separate design studios. Studio Innocad from Europe, Studio FGMF from Latin America and Studio Soda from Asia together were Perrot’s answer to the new generation of ibis hotels.

Studio Innocad – Europe

Flexible living area with hammocks by entrance - blue and while tiles

Image credit: INNOCAD Architecture

The concept is a modular, flexible and customisable approach for architecture and interior, for renovation as well as new construction of ibis hotels. Designed around the fluid transition between inside and outside, the different settings of social spaces invite travellers and locals to explore several atmospheres and areas and are importantly not limited to be in one design during their customer journey.

Studio FGMF – Latin America

Modern Scandinavian room with flexible living spaces

Image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Urban living comes to the heart of the hotels with the design concept from Studio FGMF while the street outside becomes an integral part of the lobby. Unveiling a new pedestrian walkway, the hotel concept is gallery of local inspiration.

Meanwhile, the guestrooms have been imagined to be comfortable in a modern style, featuring a bookshelf as a centrepiece. A functional layout opens up new possibilities for guests to relax in the home-from-home setting.

Studio Soda – Asia

Modern, opening living areas

Image credit: Soda Studio/ibis hotels

Flexible, modular and contemporary, the concept that was imagined by Studio Soda is one that offers everything the modern guest is looking for; comfort combined with warmth. The lobby has been specifically designed to welcome the outside world, with a terrace area that extends out onto the street. The result is a public area that is welcome and free for guests to eat, relax, work or play.

“When we are rethinking ‘the new’, it is essential to forget what it is today,” explained Perrot when confronting the challenges of the project. “After the big idea in terms of design, the question is how can we apply that into our existing hotels. That’s a really big challenge, but I think we have succeeded.

Portrait of Damien Perrot

Image caption: Damien Perrot, Senior Vice President, Design Solutions for Accor

“The other challenge is to not be distracted by trends. Each design concept that was accepted stayed true to the DNA of the brand, which is very modern. Throughout the project, I want to demonstrate that modernity is in line with a new way of living.”

With the ambitious plans to redesign all hotels in the ibis portfolio by 2022, the aim is not for all hotels to be identical to one another. Instead, each property is aimed to have its own quirky personality. “Each concept is not 100 per cent defined. But the designer will apply the concept on projects and select different furniture and lighting to suit the hotel,” said Perrot. “In order to be able to roll this out globally, we have to have guidelines and style book. Each document helps the designers to roll out this concept. In those guidelines, we explain the boundaries that can and can’t be broken to achieve the final design of the individual hotel.”

Each hotel to adopt the new design concept will be better equipped and better designed to personalise the overall guest experience. The refreshing, and very different, designed concepts suggest heavily that ibis strongly believe a good hotel experience is much beyond experiencing a good night’s sleep. To achieve that overall home-from-home experience, the brand has redefined its public areas, F&B environment and guestrooms allowing its guests to tailor-make their own travel experience when checking in.

Main image credit: FGMF/ibis hotels

Kohler announces plans for Milan Design Week 2019

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Bathroom brand Kohler has lifted the lid on its sensory plans for Milan Design Week from April 9 – 13…

Kohler will return to Milan Design Week to host an enticing sensory experience inside the historic Palazzo Del Senato (via Senato, 10, 20121 Milan, Italy). The large-scale immersive exhibit will showcase the bathroom brand’s bold approach to design and its products through an artful combination of water, technology, texture, and color. The installation will be open April 9 through April 13 from 10am – 7pm daily.

“Milan Design Week is the ultimate celebration of creativity and innovation among the global design community,” said Jim Lewis, Vice President of Kohler Kitchen and Bath Global Marketing. “The energy and spirit of the event make it the perfect place to explore new ideas and celebrate our latest design expressions with an inspirational audience of designers from around the world.”

Nature will play a pivotal role with the inclusion of a “digital garden” at the entrance of the exhibit as well as an infinity garden that whimsically juxtaposes Kohler’s Smart Home collection. Kohler’s space will also feature a bar and lounge area for guests to relax and recharge.

Additionally, Kohler will use the Palazzo as the platform for the launch of the company’s second global design theme, Experiential Luxury, an examination of the details and layers that create rich and dynamic environments.

Products featured at this year’s exhibition include the latest from Kohler Co. brands KOHLER, KALLISTA and ANN SACKS.

Image credit: Kohler

Smart home/Smart hotel

Intelligent Toilets offer the perfect combination of sophisticated design and unmatched technology to deliver the finest in personal comfort and cleansing. Extensive customisation – from ambient lighting and wireless music to temperature control, create a truly personalised experience.

Digital Showering transforms users’ daily routine by allowing customisation down to the tiniest detail. It invites users to orchestrate spray experiences, steam, music and lighting to create a personalized escape. Kohler’s portfolio of Smart Room products help create the world’s smartest bathrooms.

Color, material, finish

With a full range of colors, Kohler finishes visually set the tone for any space’s story and convey a unique personality. A two-tone finish with etched patterns – launching on the Components Collection – offers a beautiful, subtle gradient between two finishes with a precise graphic pattern. A wide range of colors and detailed graphics continue to draw the eye in for a beautiful, decorative impact.

Steeped in Japanese culture, Kensho conveys the story of decorative stitching known as sashiko by using patterns etched in stone. It also leverages the Italian etching technique known as acqueforti, marrying metals and marbles to create a distinctive level of ornamentation. The shape is gorgeous, the real stone adds texture and variation, and the decorative techniques are stunning.

With precise cuts and ultra-flat surfaces, the Parallel Collection of faucets and accessories brings sophistication to the modern bathroom through controlled expression. The dichotomy of round and square forms is unified by characteristic angles that deliver beautiful reflections and precise alignment. Smaller details deliver character originality and heighten the collection to a higher level of sophistication.

In partnership with parent company, Kohler Co., ANN SACKS debuts The Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLAB, an innovative tile series that employs Kohler’s unfired pottery cull as its medium, transforming the waste into a responsive tile body. Handcrafted in the WasteLAB located in the Kohler, Wis. enamel factory, the bespoke collection was one of the initiatives spun from the Kohler Innovation for Good program.

Main image credit: Kohler

 

Oceana to debut in Q2 following $25 Million transformation

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Already underway with a $25 million head-to-toe transformation, the current Oceana Beach Club Hotel has announced it will re-emerge as the all-new Oceana in May 2019

A secluded haven for world travellers, celebrities and titans of industry since opening across from the beach on fabled Ocean Avenue in 1996, Oceana Beach Hotel is expected to shake up the West Coast scene this summer as it reopens its doors.

The new Oceana will evoke a stunning beachside home-away-from-home and deliver a rare private residential experience in Santa Monica’s most coveted neighborhood north of Wilshire Boulevard – where the sun-kissed ocean meets the prestige of walkable Montana Avenue. Oceana will feature an all-new entrance and lobby; 70 striking guest suites with ocean views and custom high-end furnishings; a private indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar curated by a famed Santa Monica restauranteur; lush outdoor courtyard lounge with swimming pool and stylish social gathering space; a state-of-the-art fitness studio and spa; and space for intimate events.

“We are thrilled to soon welcome world travelers to the new Oceana that will offer exclusive access to the best of Santa Monica’s celebrated beach lifestyle,” said Jim Lippman, Chairman & CEO of owner and operator JRK Hotel Group. “With an authentic take on intimate, residential-style luxury steps from the Pacific Ocean, Oceana will bring a new caliber of five-star hospitality to the iconic beaches of Southern California.”

“The lobby will feature mesmerising views of the Pacific Ocean”

Oceana’s new design from interior designer Anna Busta of Busta Studio in New York City will see elegant modern design captivate the senses across every inch of a beachside home-away-from-home. Busta, which specialises in high-end home interior design, will employ the design principals from her private residence work to bring Oceana to life with custom high-end furnishings commissioned for the hotel; a rich yet soothing color palette where soft ivories, silvers and blues meet blackened steel and gold metal accents; bold geometric patterns and extensive wood finishes; and a custom art program in collaboration with Los Angeles artists and international photographers.

A grand two-story entrance clad in ivy will usher guests into the privacy of this intimate Santa Monica hideaway. The lobby will feature mesmerising views of the Pacific Ocean and outdoor courtyard lounge with pool while offering a stunning living room setting with a hanging glass light installation by Alison Berger, contemporary fire pit and cerused oak wood ship lap paneling.

Seventy guest suites – many offering ocean views – will feature hanging swings beside front doors; a sumptuous color palette with soothing neutrals, blues and bold geometric patterns; all custom high-end furnishings and accent pieces including rich velvet sofas, four-poster beds, luxe minibar cabinets and hand-tufted rugs from Nepal; captivating artwork commissioned from Los Angeles artists and international photographers; Loro Piana bedding and Frette linens; spa-inspired bathrooms with Bottega Veneta amenities; and a state-of-the-art technology package.

Guest suites with living rooms average a spacious 850 square feet and eight room types range from studio suites (500 square feet) to two-bedroom ocean-view suites (up to 1,700 square feet). Select suites will feature ocean-view balconies and amenities including luxury soaking tubs, walk-in closets, pull-out queen sofa beds, fully-stocked kitchens and connecting options.

A sleek indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar curated by a notable Santa Monica restauranteur will be a members-only destination unto itself that is available exclusively to hotel guests. Fashioned in soft pastels inspired by ocean sunsets that paint the sky just beyond its windows, the restaurant will serve New American cuisine rooted in hyper-local ingredients from the world-famous Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available as well as an overnight room service menu.

An outdoor courtyard lounge will evolve from a chic daytime relaxation and social gathering space to a posh evening hideout available exclusively to hotel guests. Framed by lush greenery and blooms from landscape architecture firm Perry Guillot of the Hamptons, the outdoor courtyard lounge will offer a swimming pool, alfresco dining and cocktails, fire pits and James Perse upholstered teak furniture.

 

Oceana is owned and operated by JRK Hotel Group, a division of Los Angeles-based JRK Property Holdings which is a real estate investment firm specializing in the ownership, management, leasing and redevelopment of properties in primary and secondary markets throughout the U.S.

TECHNOLOGY FEATURE: It pays to be social

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We are living in an era in international hotel design where it pays to be social. To put social media under the spotlight, digital specialists in social media and web design at Arise explain how to use social media platforms effectively… 

When it comes to generating sales for your hotel, direct bookings are often much more profitable and valuable in terms of returning customers than bookings made via Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com or Expedia. OTA commission rates seem to creep up each year, with some sites charging as much as 30 per cent in commission.

While third party booking sites have their uses, direct bookings are key for maximising your profits and giving your guests a taste of your establishment before they even arrive. Of course, driving your customers to book directly with you is easier said than done…

One of the most effective, but criminally underutilised tools you can use to drive new customers to your website is social media. We often find that the clients we work with are overwhelmed by the prospect of digital marketing, unaware of its potential or unable to devote the amount of time needed to launching and maintaining effective marketing campaigns.

“We managed to increase the revenue generated via their website by an incredible 823 per cent in just four years.”

To demonstrate just how powerful social media can be when used as a marketing tool for hotels, let’s take a look at Losehill House Hotel & Spa. Four years ago, this luxury hotel and spa located in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District was not present on social media at all. They did have a website, but it was nowhere near the standard that guests could expect from such a high-end, reputable establishment. After creating a new website for the hotel, and giving them a presence on Twitter and Facebook, we managed to increase the revenue generated via their website by an incredible 823 per cent in just four years.

Social should reflect what makes you unique

Setting up social accounts and including a link to your website in your bio/about section is a first step, but this alone does not make up a social media strategy. Each hotel is different, and as such will need a unique approach to social media which not only reflects the hotel as a brand, but also achieves everything they want to in terms of sales and marketing. In the case of Losehill House, we focused our efforts on showing off the unique aspects of the hotel, spa and award winning restaurant, while trying to connect with customers looking to book imminently, and cultivating an audience of potential guests.

Getting potential guests onto your website can be something of an effort, but it’s one worth putting in. The ultimate aim of social media activity is getting the right people onto your website, and converting them into paying guests. Having high-quality and (most importantly) relevant content on your website is a key asset when piquing an audience’s interest, this content could include:

  • Exploring the unique aspects of your establishment
  • Information about the local area
  • Exclusive offers

You’re adding value to the guest experience, you are developing your brand voice and you are giving people another reason to visit your website.

Advertising features are a powerful aspect of social media

Getting the type of customer you are looking for to click on your content is not easy without being able to manage your different social platforms’ built-in advertising functions. Having a social advertising budget is highly advisable, but depending on the size of your hotel, this doesn’t need to be large at all. Providing you have accurate targeting parameters, it’s not difficult to make the most out of a modest budget. Facebook and Instagram in particular allow for highly tailored adverts, enabling you to reach users with the same demographics as your ideal guests. If, for example, you are a luxury hotel , you can target users that have expressed an interest in specific luxury brands and destination travel, narrowing by age, location and profession. This power to put your hotel right in front of the eyes of the exact people you are looking to connect with should not be underestimated.

A strong social media presence allows you to build an audience, and keep them engaged with your brand. This has obvious benefits for new customers, but also helps you to develop a relationship with existing customers in order to capture repeat bookings. This is especially important for destination hotels or resorts, as guests are more likely to choose a hotel based on your brand, reputation, customer service and unique features. Different social channels allow you to work on all of these factors.

Having a clear strategy

Over the past five years we’ve discovered that in this industry a clearly defined social media strategy, when carried out consistently, pays real dividends. If you’re conspicuously absent from social platforms then it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon, or if you are already on social then make sure you have confidence in your social media strategy and the resource to put (and keep) it in place – this way you’ll be on the path to freedom from unnecessary OTA commission and able to reap the benefits of an engaged social media audience.

Main image credit: Arise/Shutterstock

25hours to arrive in Denmark in 2021

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Adding to its 13 hotels in Europe, 25hotels signs a milestone contract to unveil a new hotel in Denmark designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio…

Hotel Group 25hours Hotel Company is preparing to expand its arm deeper into Europe by signing a long-term lease agreement with the Hines real estate company for a building in Copenhagen’s Old Town that will offer 243 rooms, a wellness area and a large, landscaped courtyard.

“We are currently aiming to open in June 2021,” said Florian Kollenz, chief development officer of the 25hours Hotel Co. “Copenhagen has always been a favored destination…We have extensively studied the hotel market for the past five years and have reviewed a number of projects. It has finally worked out for us after several attempts and we couldn’t be happier. The combination of location, size of the property and development partner is simply unique.”

The former university building—next to the Round Tower—was home to the Faculties of Theology and Law until 2017, and was the Royal Porcelain Factory from 1775 and a printers and paper factory from 1885. All these influences will be reflected in the hotel concept. Local architects from BBP Arkitekter in Copenhagen and British interior designers from Brit List winner Martin Brudnizki Design Studios are working on this with the support of the in-house creative team.

James Robson, Hines’ Nordic regional head, said 25hours Hotels will “offer something unique” in central Copenhagen. “Købmagergade’s popular location and the dynamic combination of brands we are looking to partner with will create an attractive destination for international tourists and the domestic market,” he said. “This is a very positive investment in Copenhagen and reflects the city’s growing appeal as an international destination.”

The company already has hotels in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. In 2020, the company is set to open the 25hours Hotel Firenze and the 25hours Hotel Dubai.

Main image credit: 25hours

GROHE Shapes the Future of Water 500 innovations at ISH 2019

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GROHE welcomed guests to its innovative stand showcasing the ‘Future of Water’ at ISH 2019… 

Consumers are fundamentally changing how they define and use their living spaces in both the home and in the hotel environment. GROHE has identified five mega trends as consumers have risen from passive consumption to taking control over the creation of new living spaces and have become creators themselves in seeking simplicity and intelligent product solutions. Today, more than ever, product innovation and design depend on an empathetic understanding of these trends as consumers are inclined to choose integrated solutions over single products. GROHE gave an impressive account of its journey in reflecting the five mega trends in its offering to consumers and customers during its keynote event at the start of the ISH trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany. With a record number of 500 single new products GROHE surprised its customers and consumers with solutions that actively shape the future of water.

3D metal-printing will revolutionise the water experience in the home

A unique formula of granules has been exclusively developed by GROHE for its 3D metal-printers located at its Hemer manufacturing site in Germany. “The design of our new faucets GROHE Atrio Icon 3D and GROHE Allure Brilliant Icon 3D are beyond belief. They make the unthinkable possible,” Michael Rauterkus, CEO GROHE AG, said. “What you see is the future of design. For consumers, it’s the future of their own creativity and ultimate personalisation. We believe that 3D metal-printing will revolutionise the water experience in the home. It’s the ultimate blend of customisation and industrial production.”

 “Consumer expectations are changing to a great extent”- Michael Rauterkus, CEO, GROHE AG

Changing requirements as consumers become creators

The boundaries between the individual living areas are becoming more blurred. The kitchen is often part of the living room, the bathroom opens up to the bedroom and both are becoming important living spaces instead of purely functional ones. When designing their own living space, consumers pay much more attention to detail in the bathroom and the kitchen than ever before. Consequently, bathroom and kitchen products have become household furnishings that allow consumers to express their individual style and preferences. As the first European leading sanitary brand to launch 3D metal-printed faucets, GROHE breaks with the old principle of form following function and combines cutting-edge technology with spectacular design. It is an impressive statement of GROHE’s willingness and ability to shape the future of water and accompany its customers and consumers on their journey to create the living spaces they desire. “Consumer expectations are changing to a great extent”, said Rauterkus, as he delivered his keynote speech in front of 350 international journalists and invited guests. “GROHE is shaping the future of water, in terms of design and innovation, both analogue and digital, giving our customers and our consumers the building blocks they need to harness the power and the beauty of water – as a tailored experience wherever they enjoy water.” Whilst new living spaces evolve around the bathroom and the kitchen, consumers are often confronted with an unwanted complexity in the creation process.

Dramatic setting with tap

Image credit: GROHE

GROHE helps customers in seeking simplicity – creation without complexity

The search for simplicity in terms of easy and intuitive solutions is met with a new minimalism to people’s homes. GROHE clearly positioned itself as a leading global brand for complete bathroom solutions, supporting consumers in becoming creators without having to deal with complexity. Its products combine quality with a stunning range of colors and materials: from faucets, showers and ceramics, to kitchen faucets, sinks, accessories and flush plates. “Nobody else offers, across the whole product range, the quality and durability in so many colors that bathrooms and kitchens require”, emphasised Rauterkus. Essence, GROHE’s newly introduced and first ceramic line that includes bathtubs, is a perfect showcase of the new minimalism and search for simplicity, showing beauty in its purest form. The design line’s characteristics are its gentle organic forms that are based on their reduction to the essentials. But minimalism by GROHE goes far beyond design, it means also the intuitive handling and easy installation of products. The new GROHE Rapido SmartBox provides architects, planners and installers with an infinite number of possible solutions with just one concealed installation solution: For maximum efficiency and planning flexibility, the concealed installation can be combined not only with the innovative shower system GROHE SmartControl but also with thermostats and single-lever mixers, offering a universal solution for all requirements.

“Overall GROHE introduced a record number of innovations and more than 500 single new products that address the five mega trends.”

A new connected eco system for water security and water management

At ISH two years ago, GROHE launched its first Internet of Things (IoT) solution, GROHE Sense and GROHE Sense Guard. Today, GROHE is pioneering digitisation in the sanitary industry and extends its competence well beyond sanitary hardware solutions. At the ISH 2019 keynote, GROHE announced a new generation of GROHE Sense water sensors and the launch of GROHE Sense Guard Pro, which is optimised for use in multi-family homes and high-rise residential buildings. Installed on both the cold and hot water pipes, it offers water security and provides accurate water consumption data directly onto mobile devices via the GROHE Sense App. This also means that there is full visibility of water and energy consumption, allowing consumers to take control. Moreover, with the combination GROHE Sense Guard and Sense Guard Pro, the global brand is now able to help prevent water damage in 90 percent of the residential market. The GROHE Sense system has created a disruptive new business model for GROHE as well as for installers and new business partners such as insurance and property management companies. “We are creating an intelligent platform, the biggest ecosystem for water security and water management, which will allow our industry partners worldwide, such as insurance companies, to implement new business models”, said Rauterkus.

Largest innovation push of GROHE to date at ISH

Overall GROHE introduced a record number of innovations and more than 500 single new products that address the five mega trends ‘new living spaces’, ‘consumers become creators’, ‘simplicity seekers – the search for simplicity’, ‘taking control’, and ‘intelligent life management’. It is the biggest innovation push of GROHE so far – tailored to the needs of consumers as well as professional partners such as architects, installers, insurers and smart home experts. “As GROHE stands for Water, Intelligence, and Enjoyment, we are creating intelligent water solutions that transform lives for the better”, highlighted Michael Rauterkus. “Most importantly, we are transforming the experience of water itself”.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Orangebox refocusing hotel smartworking at CDW 19

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Leading workplace furniture brand Orangebox is preparing to exhibit new smart workplace solutions ideal for the modern hotel at Clerkenwell Design Week 2019…

With the aim to refocus smartworking, while identifying and examining disruptive technologies, furniture brand Orangebox is using innovation to design the workplace of the future. Demand has never been higher  for flexible and adaptable public areas within the modern hotel, and Orangebox has year after year offered freshly designed furniture for the workplace that is productive, innovative – and above all, flexible.

For Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, Orangebox will present an updated smartworking landscape designed to address the challenges and opportunities of disruptive technologies in order to meet the needs of 2020 and beyond.

birdseye view of workplace

Image credit: Orangebox

During the three-day festival of design and innovation in London, the company will showcase several new products framed by a clever smartworking narrative. As expected from previous years, it will also share its latest research and insight, with Jim Taylour, Head of Design & Wellbeing, and Nathan Hurley, key member and research & insight team, presenting their latest projects in a series of talks. These talks will be entitled:

The Magical Wellbeing Mystery Tour – Jim Taylour and James Pack will present an immersive session that explores some facts and myths that surround the largest revolution in office real estate.

SmartLearning: How iGen’s educational experience will impact the new workplace
– Nathan Hurley will lead a presentation on the changing world of higher education and the impact that iGen students will have on the contemporary workplace.

If you are interested in attending either of these presentations and/or would like some more information, please email events@orangebox.com to reserve your place.

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

Main image credit: Orangebox

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Checking In: MOB Hotel Paris, where it all started

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Checking In: MOB Hotel Paris, where it all started

On the doorstep of Paris’ infamous flea market, MOB Hotel Paris – the original MOB – is designed ‘for the people’. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to see where the MOB Hotels story started…

In order to understand MOB Hotels’ style, ethos and energy you must first, in my opinion, meet the man behind the brand.

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Cyril Aouizerate, the CEO of MOB Hotels, is a gentleman who eats, sleeps and breathes MOB Hotels, which he created last year and believes that a great hotel is designed around great people. “My desire to was create movement,” he told me when describing the brand’s origins. “My objective is to use the hotels in our portfolio to create a new vision in the world that a hotel is more than just a bed for the night. That is why, for me, understanding the culture of each of our hotel’s location is so important.” That movement started in Paris and has since moved into Lyon as well as there being plans for a 2020 opening in Washington D.C.

Hidden among red and orange buildings, the entrance to the 92-key MOB Hotel Paris is surprisingly understated and worlds away from the stereotypical view of postcard Paris. Instead being among of chic neighborhood of shops and cafes, the hotel is in the heart of an urban adventure, located just south of the Saint Ouen, north of the city centre. It’s not immediately obvious that the two buildings, which were disused telecom factories only a few years ago, would shelter a quirky design-led boutique hotel. But expecting the unexpected is something that all guests should prepare when joining the MOB way of thinking.

Much like the Flea Market that borders the property, the architecture firm BBC Architecte created MOB Hotel Paris around the raw energy and creativity of the brand. The lobby inside is complete with wooden trunks as pod-like reception desks and very wears a bohemian personality. Simple yet productive, the space is a relatively empty shell that is curated only with stylish pop-up-store merchandise.

Image credit: Mob Hotels

The first real indication of Aouizerate’s unravelled creative mind comes when walking through the lobby and into the open-planned, lounge-like restaurant. With interiors by Kristian Gavoille et Valérie Garcia, the walls tell a story of comedy with fruits and vegetables being personified and remembered with plaques – my personal favourite among them being “R.I.P Mister Eggplant, who died for Baba Ganouche.” Furthermore, the large curtains that separate the restaurant from the conservatory, at first, look like they are printed references of The Last Supper. However, on closer inspection, all is not what it first seems. Famous faces in both the design world, from the likes of Philippe Starck, and significant figures in popular culture, such as Barak Obama, have been printed on the fabrics to add character and offer a further reference to Aouizerate’s involvement in the design process and decisions.

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Image credit: Aldo Paredes

Upstairs and although the comedy is softened, the style of each guestrooms is equally as edgy while also remaining thoughtful to the needs and requirements of guests checking in. In the bathrooms, which are tastefully positioned without creating too many unnecessary barriers, include Duravit fittings, Geberit WCs and Villeroy & Boch showers. Although the mustard yellow carpets and peachy pink walls in the guestrooms may not be to everyone’s taste, the unique headboards that are made to reference theatre stage curtains cannot be ignored as a quirky and unique feature to entice guests to tell their own narrative.

Complete with a Fatboy beanbag, low-level furniture from IKEA and mobile spotlight lighting, the guestrooms are idiosyncratic to say the least, but also balance within them a sense of play and can adapted to suit the needs of whoever is checking in. With a strong message to bring guests together, there are deliberately no TVs in each of the rooms, but projectors and iPads can be provided on request.

Sneak peak into the bathroom

Image credit: Mob Hotels

The dictionary definition of mob is “a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence.” Although the brand isn’t planning on causing any violence or trouble, it certainly is ready to cause a scene. With plans for the brand to broaden out as far as Washington D.C., the Paris MOB is also expanding. Just down the road, the skeleton of a new kind of MOB is taking form. MOB House, which is expected to open in January 2020, will pride itself on a sheltering a different style. The hotel’s interiors are being imagined by non-other than award-winning designer and long-term friend of Mob Hotels, Phillipe Starck.

Other suppliers

Furniture in the restaurant: Tonet/Drucker
Outdoor furniture: Fermob
Furniture in guestroom: Fatboy/Sempre

Main image credit: Aldo Paredes

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Ritz-Carlton, Berlin reopens after 40m Euro renovation

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The recent renovation of Ritz-Carlton, Berlin showcases a chic, elegant design evoking 1920s Berlin with creative details and references to the golden era of German cinema…

The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin has announced the culmination of a 40 million euro renovation. The meticulous refurbishment, largely funded by its ownership Beisheim Group, heralds in a new era of elegance through refreshed guestrooms and suites, conference, wellness, lobby and lounge areas and the addition of POTS, a new restaurant. Each space evokes a vision of Berlin in the 1920s, with guests encountering creative details and thoughtful references to the golden era of German cinema.

“The recent completion of this meticulous 40 million euro renovation at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin marks a momentous occasion for this hotel, whose storied location has sat at the epicentre of history for over a century,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President, Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “Present throughout the hotel in details large and small, the new design beautifully captures the gilded glamour of Berlin in the 1920’s, while celebrating the city’s ever-changing spirit. Our Ladies and Gentlemen will continue to provide legendary service to our luxury travellers during their visit to one of the most unique cities in Europe.”

The hotel’s imaginatively redesigned guest rooms and suites are the work of G.A. Design’s Budapest team, as is the grand entrance guests experience in the lobby upon arrival. An ornate sweeping marble and ironwork staircase makes a statement, while sparkling crystal chandeliers evoke the flurry of flashbulbs that punctuate the annual Berlinale Film Festival. Radiating 1920s flair, one wall gleams with stylised champagne glasses while guests will find one of the recurring motifs of the new design at reception: an abstract representation of a screen, reminiscent of film star’s cloakrooms.

“It is wonderful to see how the architecture of the building, with its light sandstone façade, compliments the elegant interior design, forming a harmonious whole,” said Robert Petrović, General Director at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin. “We wanted to make our new Art Deco design story as personal as possible – our guests are our focus.”

Image credit: Matthew Shaw

In the style of early 20th century literary salons, the spacious lobby is the ideal place for guests to relax, exchange ideas or enjoy a game of chess. An eye-catching marble fireplace replaces real flames with a bold sculpture, while She Represents, a 1928 painting by artist Jeanne Mammen, hangs above the mantelpiece – a declaration of love for the vitality of Berlin women. The adjoining space, flooded with daylight, features views of Potsdamer Platz, providing an ambience of a retreat where guests can take a break from the bustling city.

The lovingly redesigned guest rooms and suites of The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin are epitome of modern luxury. Day meets night in the contrasting colours of full-height headboards, while geometric patterns symbolise the historical significance of Potsdamer Platz. As with the lobby, the rooms also echo the city’s great film heritage. Elegant wash and make-up tables suggest the wardrobes of early silver screen icons while the sleek honour bar offers a nod to their classic wardrobe boxes”. State of
the art technology is also thoughtfully woven into the experience, including touchscreens controlling all in-room electronics and convenient charging stations built into seating. In the Carlton Club Suite, shades of blue represent the moon and Berlin nightlife and in The Ritz-Carlton Suite, warm golden tones are a nod to the city’s sunny sides.

The Lounge creates the heart of the hotel, shining in new splendour with dazzling mirror accents across its marble floor.  Designed in the style of a South American hacienda, a Living Room lies in the heart of the bar with a stage for live music.  A vision in red and gold, the Fragrances Bar is home to the high art of mixology, centred around scents and where Heissen enthrals guests with his “fragrant” cocktail creations. An interactive experience, guests choose their favourite cocktails from a walk-through bar menu, the Hall of Fame, where each drink is inspired by a top-quality gourmet perfume. The bar’s design is based on elaborate perfume flacons with ingredients and spirits arranged in pharmacy bottles, reflecting the mixologist’s experimental work. Dark mirrors underscore the sensual approach and mystical character of the space, with six avant-garde Golden Age-inspired drawings by local artist Tina Berning lining the walls.

Re-envisaged by interior expert Carbone Design, the hotel’s newly modernized wellness space brings a hint of glamour to the workout and wellness experience. Guests can also take advantage of two saunas, a cosmetic treatment menu and state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The divisible ballroom of the Beletage conference area is ideal for lavish parties as well as corporate events. Inspired by the 1920s nightlife, Czech lighting designer Lasvit created large Bohemian glass lamps in striking shapes, giving special dimension to the space. Seven additional event rooms featuring state-of-the-art technology have a total area of 1,800 square metres.

Main image credit: Matthew Shaw

Duravit wins iF DESIGN AWARD for XSquare bathroom furniture range

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Duravit continues to confirm the success of its innovative bathroom products by winning an iF Design Award… 

Duravit was among the winners at this year’s iF DESIGN AWARD; the award went to the XSquare bathroom furniture series, created by Duravit in conjunction with the designer Kurt Merki Jr.

The XSquare furniture range is both impressive and striking, with contemporary, elegant style. The quadrant-shaped chrome profile which edges the furniture emphasizes its characteristic design. On the floor-standing model, the transition from the body of the furniture to the base is absolutely seamless.

The chrome profile accentuates the frame of both floor standing and wall hanging variants and continues around the corner radius of the washbasin, creating harmony and at the same time a distinctly unique touch. The vanity units, mirrors, and mirror-cabinet solutions from the range are also designed with the elegant chrome profile, enabling a luxurious washing area to be created.

Three new, special furniture finishes (Matt Light Blue, Matt Concrete Grey, and Satin-Matt Aubergine) plus the linen décor finish, complete the wide colour palette; there are 28 furniture finishes in décor matt or lacquer; satin-matt or high-gloss are also available.

Modern bathroom

Image credit: Duravit

The console panel is available in one of the cabinet colours or additionally in solid Natural Walnut which creates a variety of completely new and individual colour combinations for XSquare.

Two or even three colours can be used in combination with the lacquer finish, chrome profile and console panel creating new contrasts and high-class designs.

Handle-free fronts with push-to-open technology subtly highlight the elegant and inspiring overall design. The new furniture range has a striking effect, creating clearly structured features in the room.

For 65 years, the iF DESIGN AWARD has been a recognised trademark for outstanding design all over the world. The iF DESIGN AWARD is one of the most prestigious awards in the world. It is awarded once a year by the world’s oldest independent design institution, iF International Forum Design GmbH in Hanover. The 67-strong, independent, international expert jury selects the winners of the coveted quality seal from among 6,375 entries from 52 countries.

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

ISH PREVIEW: In Conversation With Utopia Projects on bathroom design

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With the increase in demand from hotel operators and owners for the bathroom to become the statement areas within the modern hotel, Hotel Designs’ editor, Hamish Kilburn, sits down with Utopia Projects’ project consultant, Stuart Adamson and director Howard Jones to break down how to create the perfect hotel bathroom… 

Having designed bathroom in hotels such as South Place Hotel London (the hotel that was the set of the NTA award-winning drama series, The Bodyguard), Kimpton Fitzroy London, Pullman London – while currently working on the highly anticipated The Brooklyn in Manchester, Utopia Projects has seen bathroom design go from a necessary facility within a hotel to an area of real design potential. With ISH just around the corner, I sat down with Stuart Adamson and Howard Jones Howard from Utopia projects to understand more about the company and its unique offering.

Image credit: South place Hotel London

Hamish Kilburn: Can you give us an example, from start to finish, on how you help designers create a hotel bathroom?

Stuart Adamson: The same process applies to each project from the earliest possible start, concept stage for new build is ideal. For refurbishment  projects, as early in the process as possible we sit with the designer to review proposed layout drawings and dimensions and discuss functionality, style, colour and budget before we issue a proposal with images and descriptions of all products, and review again as a fine tuning process.

“The three- to four- star projects are driven much more by water-saving products.” –  Stuart Adamson, Utopia Projects

HK: How are wellness trends changing the design of the modern hotel bathroom?

SA: Wellness trends are very much budget driven for the contemporary hotel bathroom. The likes of shower toilets are desired, especially to attract foreign visitor, into major tourist hubs. However, this is driven usually by five- or six-star hotels. The three- to four- star projects are driven much more by water-saving products tied to a good experience from the shower and a good aesthetic. Hoteliers look at maintenance issues also in relation to wellness trends. If there is the possibility of introducing product that is not tried and tested or with great warranty and service package attached, there can be a reluctance to commit to product that has an effect return on investment.

Howard Jones: I think there is more and more technology coming into bathrooms, bidet toilets are almost common place within most manufacturers offerings and certainly being asked for by clients in London. LED lighting under toilets, in shower door profiles, behind mirrors, inside vanity units etc. Bluetooth mirrors with built in speakers, digital showers.

Image credit: Kimpton Fitzroy London

HK: How is the evolution of technology changing the design of modern hotel bathrooms?

SA: Digital showers and hands-free functions for shower toilets are the main areas we have experienced. Push-button fittings for showers are becoming popular too. Anything that the user can use intuitively is a requirement. Simplicity is key!

HK: Can you share any tips in achieving the luxury look on a budget? 

SA: Give Utopia Projects a call and we will talk you through the process. Don’t be put off by brands that can appear expensive at retail cost, our relationships and contract led pricing mean that your budget can go along way with Utopia Projects.

HJ: Minimal/timeless designs on taps, showers etc. Large format wall tiles marble effect give the appearance of a marble slab.

“The most common pitfall is selling a design to a client before they know it’s a workable function.” – Stuart Adamson, Utopia Projects.

HK: What would you say were the most significant product launches of last year?

SA: Not sure they were many last year but the Kit 40 intelligent waste for Victoria & Albert is great! They allow for free-standing that usually comes without overflow to be able to be specified in the hotel market. The intelligent waste is also the overflow giving peace of mind that the bath won’t flood the room. This offers freedom of design that was previously restricted.

Image credit: Pullman Hotels

HK: In your experience, what are the most common pitfalls in bathroom design, and how can designers avoid them?

SA: The most common pitfall is selling a design to a client before they know it’s a workable function. That’s why we recommend early dialogue with Utopia Projects. We can talk through what is actually possible with you and allow the design team to propose a working solution that meets design and budget ER’s.

HJ: Answering from a residential perspective, not thinking about the drainage in the bathroom. Bathrooms tend to be drawn out as boxes with generic toilets, basins and baths plotted in the room. If more though is put into the location of each item with the drainage then its quite easy to achieve a simple layout which works.

HK: We recently worked with Jason Bradbury to help us understand what the hotel room of the future might look like. Can you predict for us what the hotel bathroom of the future will look like?

SA: Many manufacturers are looking to offer an integrated solution fabricated off site for shower cubicles/basin vanity units, using solid surface materials as a bespoke solution. So I see the future as simplicity of design, integrated fittings and accents of coloured brassware.

HJ: High-end hotels will be filled with automation, services similar to Amazon Alexa enabling voice control for your shower or bath fill. I think there will be more pod style hotels appear too as the demand increases.

HK: What’s the most bizarre brief you have worked on?

SA: One-off residential projects are the most bizarre as the client does not really know what they want and the architect pushes through to us to provide a solution; we then have to interpret clients’ tastes and style.

“Colour trends change so quickly that often by the time the room is installed the next trend is developing” – Stuart Adamson, Utopia Projects

HK: What has been the most challenging project to work on – and why?

SA: The most challenging was probably a refurbishment projects I did for a number of hotels for an international brand. The project was a partial refit of bathrooms over several sites. The challenge was site inspecting every room (more than 1,000) and recommending product to the current design and cost team; then communicating this to the six contractors that were awarded the projects.

Each project adapted as the work commenced on site, our expertise was used to lead the design and contract teams to find the solution to the product selection on site as they developed. It was challenging, particularly as communication across client/design team/cost consultants and installers/contractors all had to be managed along with their expectations on budget and timescale.

HJ: Two private residences in London. Each project had unique products in every bathroom. There was a total of around 20 bathrooms with the majority of the brassware being supplied bespoke by THG Paris.

HK: Colour in the bathroom, what are your thoughts on this?

SA: Accents of colour is the key. Simple and discreet to enhance the designer’s overall package. Colour trends change so quickly that often by the time the room is installed the next trend is developing. Stick to classic chrome/nickel or black.

HJ: I think its here to stay. Matt black has been around a number of years and is still popular, bronze, brass, copper all seem very popular too. The technology of the PVD plating now I think has given people new confidence in colours, gone are the days that gold would fade if sprayed with CIF.

HK: Which bathroom trend do you hope never returns?

Both SA and HJ agree: Avacado bathroom suites!

SA: Sanitaryware colours in general really date a bathroom. I always try to keep the bath as a no tap hole and use wall mounted bath fillers either concealed or exposed, or overflow fillers from a concealed valve. I hate with a passion to see deck mounted product on the bath, dirt traps and hard to clean. Toilet brush holders, as well, get rid of them! They’re unsanitary and ugly!

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

Main image caption: Stuart Adamson & Howard Jones

 

IHG announces voco arrival in the Netherlands

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Strong momentum for IHG’s newest upscale brand in Europe continues with signing in The Hague in the Netherlands…

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and UBM Development AG have announced the signing of the first voco hotel in the Netherlands which is planned to open in 2020. The signing is the first publicly announced signing in Continental Europe underscoring the strong momentum of the voco brand in the region since its launch in June 2018.

voco – Kneuterdijk 8 will be set in a beautiful building located in the city centre of The Hague that formerly housed a bank. The hotel will be in close proximity to the town’s famous sights, several museums, parks and the shopping mile.

Launched in June 2018, voco — inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin — combines the informality and charm of an individual hotel with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand. The signing of voco The Hague – Kneuterdijk 8 follows the recent openings of the first three voco hotels in the world — voco Gold Coast in Australia, voco Cardiff and voco Solihull in the UK – and continuing the strong momentum for IHG’s newest upscale brand in Europe.

With a listed façade dating from the 1920s and an expansive atrium, the property is quite an impressive sight to behold – naturally, all historic features will be retained and very carefully renovated. Inside, the hotel will be no less awe-inspiring – containing more than 200 exquisite rooms and suites.

“After its completion in 2020, the new hotel will serve as an exceptional meeting point for all.”

The new voco The Hague combines a very laid-back comfort, a relaxed approach and individual hospitality – which will be evident in both the culinary offerings of the hotel, and in every aspect of the Kneuterdijk 8 location. It will have direct access to the pedestrian area of Noordeinde welcoming tourists and locals alike. After its completion in 2020, the new hotel will serve as an exceptional meeting point for all, becoming a centre for travellers as well as a very accessible gastronomic and life-style hotspot.

Mario Maxeiner, Managing Director Northern Europe, IHG, comments: “The voco Kneuterdijk 8 in The Hague marks the first publicly announced signing of our new brand in Continental Europe. This signing continues the accelerated growth of the voco brand since we first launched it last June and we are looking forward to bringing its upscale offerings to more travellers who seek a reliably different guest experience. We see lots of potential for voco in Europe and are excited to expand its presence further across the region.”

“UBM Development is the leading hotel developer in Europe with more than 50 hotels realised over the past 25 years,” said Rolf Hübner, Managing Director of UBM Hotels Management. “This is our third hotel in the Netherlands as well as a very special project. Our business relationship with IHG started many years ago and has already resulted in the completion of 14 hotels. It is a sign of their trust and a reflection of our previous successful cooperation that they have also decided to cooperate with us on their first voco hotel in the Netherlands. voco is a perfect fit with UBM because it stands for individuality, and we, as a developer, demand the highest quality in terms of guest experience.”

voco is IHG’s newest upscale brand, launched in June 2018. It can be used for new builds, but it is also designed to be particularly suitable for owners to use as a conversion brand. It strengthens IHG’s offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025. The new brand will drive significant incremental growth for IHG, with an expectation to open more than 200 voco hotels in attractive urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years.

Main image credit: voco/IHG

Sustainable design transforms London boutique hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Sibley Grove

Key materials used in the project:

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

Reading lighting on side of headboard

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

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

 

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

 

Nokia-sleep-sleeping-pad_13-768x451

SPOTLIGHT ON: Technology products to look out for in 2019

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Ahead of Hospitality Tech & Innovation Forum which takes place on March 25 – 26, and to launch this month’s Spotlight On Technology, Hotel Designs has identified interesting technology products to look out for in 2019… 

Predicting the future is something that the team at Hotel Designs has become used to since the growing demand for designers and architects wanting to know all about the latest tech products that are on the market. Here are some slick examples of tech products that are taking international design into the future.

1) Bang Olufson – Beosound Edge

The speaker on a pink carpet

Image credit: Bang Olufsen

Described as “the perfect circle”, the Beosound Edge is a speaker and minimalist design object in one. Designed by Michael Anastassiades, the product has been conceptualised for intuitive touch and motion so that it’s an unbroken circle of clarity and beauty. Ideal for the contemporary hotel where design can be personalised, the product has been engineered to move and to be moved.

> Read more about Beosound Edge here

2) Hamilton Litestat – Smart Multi-room Audio System 

Modern kitchen with Hamilton's smart switch on the right

Image credit: Hamilton Litestat

Hamilton Litestat produces high quality decorative electrical wiring accessories, circuit protection, smart lighting controls and multi-room audio systems, designed and manufactured to meet the project demands of architects, interior designers and installers. Ideal for high-end suites, its Smart Multi-room audio system enables up to four separate music sources to be connected and controlled in four separate rooms or zones.

> Read more about Smart Multi-room Audio System here

3) Punkt – DP01 cordless phone

red phone sideways on

Image credit: Punkt

“I consider the voice a to be powerful instrument in human communication. Face-to-face conversation is best, but giving someone a call comes a close second,” said Petter Neby, founder of Punkt. With real, physical buttons, the DP01 is a mains-operated cordless phone that comes in three colours (white, black and red).

When the DP01 is not in use it sits face up in its cradle, so incoming calls can be viewed at a glance and outgoing calls can be dialled without picking it up. And its physical form is designed to allow it to sit stably on a desk without wobbling around: much more convenient for hands-free operation.

> Read more about Punkt’s DP01 here

4) Nokia Advanced Sleep Tracker

Image credit: Jason Bradbury

Mentioned during tech expert Jason Bradbury’s review of Eccleston Square Hotel, Nokia Sleep is a Wi-Fi enabled pad that fits under the mattress and provides insight into the quality of the sleep experience while offering environment control through IFTTT, an automation service for all internet-connected things. The new sleep sensor includes:

  • Sleep cycle analysis: sleep duration and interruptions; light, deep and rapid-eye-movement phases; and snoring tracking.
  • An individualized Sleep Score is provided to indicate how restorative a night’s sleep was, and educate users about what makes a good night’s sleep and how they can improve night after night.
  • Smart Home control via the IFTTT home automation platform. Nokia Sleep acts as a switch to automatically control lights, thermostats and more by getting into and out of bed. For example, users can automatically dim the lights when they get into bed.
  • Nokia Sleep synchronizes automatically with the Nokia Health Mate app so users can have all their health data in one place. The app provides data history, personalized advice and coaching programs, including one developed specifically around sleep.

> Read Jason Bradbury’s review of Eccleston Square here

5) DLAppTap

screenshot of the app

Image credit: Design Life/ DLAppTap

DLAppTap is an innovative iPhone and iPad app that allows hotels to easily sell their beautiful products to guests in their properties without the need for in-house retail operations. With DLAppTap, hotels can capitalise on new revenue streams, achieve ROI from refurbishments and improve and provide higher levels of guest-centric services.

The new hospitality-focused tool is an extension of the soon-to-be-launched DesignLife App, which, as the video below demonstrates, was developed to showcase residential products. The iOS app becomes a platform for individual hospitality venues thanks to encoded Near-field Communication (NFC) labels, which are discreetly attached to items available for purchase. After downloading DLAppTap, guests can view the specifications, measurements, costs, lead times, shipping and payment options for any labelled item they “tap” with their mobile devices. Purchases can even be added to their guestroom bills. Orders are automatically sent to manufacturers, with the hotel receiving 25 per cent commission.

> Read more about DLAppTap here

6) Modio – Guestroom Acoustic Control 

Sleeping girl on bed in front of product

Image credit: Modio

Made for hotels, MODIO introduces a continuous soothing background sound into the room, allowing guests to control its ambience the same way they control temperature and lighting.

The sound is similar to soft airflow, designed for comfort and engineered to cover a wide variety of hotel noises. Far superior to white noise apps or clock radio style products emitting nature sounds, MODIO is a commercial-grade device designed, manufactured and supported by a company with more than 40 years’ experience in the sound masking field.

Hotel guests will benefit from the same world-leading technology used by our corporate, healthcare and military clients.

> Read more about Modio here

7) Moasure 

Image credit: Moasure

Ideal for all designers and architects, Moasure’s patented technology uses motion to make measurements, leveraging inertial sensors and a proprietary algorithm to deliver an innovative new way to measure.

> Read more about Moasure here

8) Sumnuva

Image credit: Sumnuva

Somnuva has been designed to be as user friendly and intuitive as possible, and as such, the screens presented are as simple as possible whilst still allowing as much flexibility within the product as possible.

Somnuva worked with Cambridge Industrial Design to seamlessly blend innovative acoustic technology with a beautifully designed product that naturally fits in any living space.

The aesthetics of the hard sub-frame with delicate fabric sleeves were designed to  ensure that the directional acoustics weren’t affected, but that the users have flexibility to tailor and personalise their Somnuva

> Read more about Sumnuva here

 

Main image credit: Nokia Sleep/YouTube

Marriott to add more than 30 luxury hotels internationally in 2019

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Hotel giant Marriott International plans to add hotels across its eight luxury brands…

Marriott International has announced that it is projecting to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2019, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands. Through the world-renowned hospitality hallmarks of The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, W, The Luxury Collection, EDITION, JW Marriott and Bulgari, Marriott International continues to push boundaries, creating new guest experiences which meet the needs of the evolving luxury traveller.

With hotels in more than 60 countries and territories, the hotel giant is poised to expand its luxury footprint with more than 200 properties in the development pipeline, representing 20 new countries for the company’s luxury portfolio, from Sri Lanka to Bermuda and Morocco to Kenya.

“Our eight unique luxury brands provide distinct experiences that appeal to different types of luxury travelers, no matter if your priority is residing at the best address in town, completely immersing yourself in your destination, or prioritizing your wellbeing,” said Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer and Luxury Portfolio Leader, Marriott International. “From the world’s most iconic destinations to the ultimate undiscovered gems, we are focused on elevating travel with highly contextualized, nuanced brand experiences that signal the future of luxury by allowing our guests to indulge their passions while sparking personal growth.”

A global luxury study, conducted in partnership with creative agency Team One, revealed that luxury travellers of today are travelling not just to discover the world, but also to discover something about themselves. Edmundson continued: “When it comes to experiences, people today are seeking more meaning and personal significance rather than just the opportunity to indulge. Travellers have become active participants in the trips they are taking – they are more engaged and vested than ever before. Ultimately, global luxurians are becoming ‘creators’ in every aspect of their travel experience and for this group, travel is no longer a departure from reality, it is the reality.” With a rapidly growing global footprint and eight distinct luxury brands, Marriott International is uniquely positioned to deliver on these new expectations, inviting globally-minded travelers to look at the world through a new lens. “For our guests, we strive to go beyond offering moments of delight, to creating experiences that will profoundly inspire and transform,” said Edmundson.

Ritz-Carlton to set a new standard of luxury 

Known for its legendary service and refined design, The Ritz-Carlton will continue to set the standard for luxury. With six openings anticipated in the year ahead, the iconic luxury brand also expects to celebrate the opening of its 100th property. The brand is expected to make its return to Australia with the debut of The Ritz-Carlton, Perthand is slated to grow in China with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Xi’an. Showcasing the beauty of the Moroccan landscape and culture, The Ritz-Carlton Rabat, Dar es Salam is set to offer an oasis in the country’s vibrant capital, while The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City will invite guests to experience the city through a new perspective. With a mission to inspire travel and create memories for its guests, the brand also expects to see the completion of a major renovation of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park and to continue to work towards the inaugural voyage of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection in February 2020.

St. Regis anticipates grand debuts in global hotspots

Currently offering more than 40 hotels in 20 countries and territories, St. Regis recently celebrated the renovation of The St. Regis Rome along with the opening of The St. Regis Zhuhai, China’s premier tourist destination on the Pearl River Delta. In the coming year, St. Regis is planning to debut the André Fu-designed St. Regis Hong Kongwhere the award-winning designer will blend the brand’s timeless elegance with silhouettes representative of the city’s architectural and cultural diversity. The brand is also set to expand its footprint in Europe with The St. Regis Venice, which is ideally situated on the Grand Canal and offers a central location from which to explore the historic city. Finally, St. Regis is also expecting to bring its modern glamour and bespoke service to Cairo, a destination that has captivated travelers for generations and one which is quickly reclaiming its place as a hot spot for the global explorer.

W Rewrites the rules

Trailblazing its way around the globe, W broke the norms of traditional luxury in destinations including Brisbane, Amman and Costa Rica in 2018. The luxury rebel also rewrote the music festival rules, taking the festival experience off the field and onto fabulous hotel grounds with the global launch of WAKE UP CALL. Bringing people closer to the music than ever before, the brand’s signature music festival series made stops at W Hollywood, W Barcelona and W Bali. This year, the brand will live out its mission to fuel guests’ lust for life with eight hotels projected to open, ranging from Aspen and Ibiza to Muscat and Melbourne. W skillfully balances the power of a global brand with the relevance and personality of a local insider and continues to revitalize its global portfolio with multi-million-dollar renovations planned or underway at more than half its properties in North America, including W Washington D.C. and W San Francisco.

EDITION continues growth in iconic destinations

In 2018 the EDITION brand doubled its footprint, growing from four properties to eight with openings in Shanghai, Bodrum, Barcelona and Abu Dhabi. The in-demand lifestyle brand was created through a collaboration between boutique hotel creator and innovator Ian Schrager and Marriott International, which offers sophisticated design, a curated taste of the destination and modern service. Next up, the brand expects to redefine luxury with its recent opening in New York City’s Times Square and will bring its distinct perspective to West Hollywood with a scheduled opening in Q2 2019.

The Luxury Collection brings authentic charm to new destinations

Offering the promise of unique, authentic experiences, The Luxury Collection is a rapidly growing ensemble of 110 hotels in more than 30 countries and territories around the world. In 2018, the brand made its debut in Savannah with the opening of Perry Lane, expanded its footprint in Paris through Hôtel de Berri and brought distinct resort design to Los Cabos with Solaz, among other exciting debuts. With each hotel serving as a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures, The Luxury Collection anticipates debuting nine properties this year in coveted locations such as Okinawa, Cesme, Buckinghamshire, and Budapest.

JW Marriott Inspires the Passions 

JW Marriott offers differentiated luxury experiences at 84 hotels and resorts in nearly 30 countries and territories, including the recent opening of JW Marriott Nashville. Inspired by its legendary namesake, JW Marriott is committed to curating uplifting experiences for guests, delivering experiences and environments that help guests be fully present and bringing people together to celebrate life’s most meaningful moments. This year, JW Marriott anticipates continuing to bring its distinct style of warm service to established and emerging destinations with planned openings from the Maldives and Shanghai to Savannah, GA.

Marriott International currently encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,900 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 130 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world.

Main image credit: EDITION/Marriott International

Ruby Hotels to open first Nordic hotel

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The 142-room property in Finland’s Helsinki is the latest installment in ‘lean luxury’ hotel brand’s expansion plan…

Ruby Hotels, since unveiling plans for UK and international expansion at the end of last year, has announced plans for its first Nordic property in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, to open in the first quarter of 2021. The new hotel forms part of an expansion plan for Ruby Hotels to unveil a total of nine new hotels by 2021.

Set within a historic 19th-century building, in the same plot which housed Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the new hotel will be located in Helsinki’s charming Kruununhaka district. Enjoying a central position between the city’s main railway station and the hip district of Kallio, guests will be just steps from hotspots including the harbour and marketplace, Helsinki cathedral and the beating heart of the local nightlife, Tori Quarters.

A collaboration with Finnish project developer ICON Real Estate, the hotel will house 142 guest rooms, ranging in size from cosy ‘Nest’ rooms (13-15m²) to expansive ‘Loft’ rooms (23-38m²), a stylish 24-hour bar and breakfast area, a spacious outside terrace and – in a nod to traditional Finnish culture – Ruby Hotels’ first in-hotel Sauna.

“This works because we accommodate luxury in a relatively condensed space, similar to luxury yachts, and we forego unnecessary services,” explains Michael Struck, Ruby Founder and CEO. “Thanks to proprietary technical innovations, we plan, build and organize ourselves differently from conventional hotels. To be precise, we plan and build in a very modular way and centralize as well as automatize processes behind the scenes wherever possible. This helps us create a luxurious and unique hotel experience at an affordable price.”

A laid-back, contemporary design will take inspiration from the area’s Jugendstil art-nouveau style, with quirky touches such as the inclusion of a Marshall guitar amp in each room. Guests will be able to use the amp with their own guitar or one borrowed from reception, and will enjoy ‘Ruby Radio’, the hotel group’s own internet radio station.

Cutting-edge technology will be on offer throughout the property; in each room guests will find a personal tablet PC and smartphone pre-loaded with Ruby Hotels’ carefully-curated Helsinki city guide, social media apps and unlimited data and calls to use throughout their stay. A state-of-the-art self-check-in system will make use of tablets to reduce check-in time to under one minute, leaving guests free to make the most of their stay.

Just like the group’s other houses, the new hotel will follow Ruby Hotels’ ‘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.

The Ruby Helsinki development is a part of a half-city-block-sized (10,000m2) real estate project which will revitalise the neighbourhood, with a further 50-60 luxury apartments ranging from studios to 4-bedroom apartments also under construction next door.

Main image credit: Ruby Hotels

Victoria + Albert Baths introduce a new colour service

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The new colour finishes from Victoria + Albert Baths will be officially launched this month at ISH Frankfurt and London Design Week at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour…

In response to a strong demand for bespoke colour finishes, luxury British bathing brand Victoria + Albert Baths, is proud to now offer 194 RAL colour exterior finishes across the entire collection of freestanding QUARRYCAST baths and basins. This follows in the footsteps of the brand’s six popular standard paint finishes, launched in 2016.

Creating a bathroom to reflect your individual sense of style has never been easier – with the new colours and feet finishes, Victoria + Albert’s tubs are fully customisable. They are now able to offer more than 28,000 variants of their baths, and more than 5,000 basin variants. Customers can choose between gloss or matt finishes, offering an even greater choice.

The exterior paint finishes contrast with the crisp white QUARRYCAST interior of the freestanding baths and basins. Renowned by homeowners and designers alike for its durability, QUARRYCAST is naturally white, beautifully strong and easy to clean.

Living Coral coloured bath

Image credit: Victoria + Albert

The addition of a brightly coloured, freestanding bath or basin is the perfect way to inject colour into any bathroom space and creates a striking focal point. Whether you’re tapping into the botanical trend with deep greens and earthy tones, or are looking for a vibrant and eye-catching finish, such as this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year, Living Coral, Victoria + Albert Baths now offers an incredibly wide selection to choose from.

Each finish is multi layered using a specialist catalysed paint and is hand polished between applications. This technique results in an exceptional depth and lustre to the finish and is considerably more durable than hand painted surfaces. The full selection of available RAL colours will be available to view on the Victoria + Albert Baths website from March.

Main image credit: Victoria + Albert

Moxy NYC Chelsea opens an urban design jungle

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Refined yet playful, hand-crafted yet modern, the 349-key Moxy Chelsea reimagines the urban jungle, blending botanically-inspired design with Italian romance…

Rising 35 stories high into the New York City skyline, Moxy NYC Chelsea, the micro-room, macro-amenity hotel, developed by Lightstone and part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, has officially opened. Inspired by the surrounding Flower District, the hotel blends a botanically-influenced design with Italian romance and a touch of playful wit – perfectly timed to welcome guests on Valentine’s Day.

Creating an environment that appeals to both today’s modern traveller and locals, Moxy Chelsea was developed with a collection of public spaces designed to meet the community’s dining, drinking, and co-working needs—while providing guests access to New York City at a neighbourhood level. The 349-room hotel marks the second collaboration between Yabu Pushelberg, Rockwell Group, and architects Stonehill Taylor, the designers behind Moxy Times Square and three of the industry’s most admired firms.

The newly-constructed building’s architecture riffs off the neighborhood’s retro-industrial style and feels harmonious with its location, in the heart of the Chelsea Flower Market. The hotel blends into the lush flower shops that surround it, with a soaring three-story glass atrium revealing the vertical gardens within. Guests enter through the overgrown Putnam & Putnam Flower Shop, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, which is envisioned as a “botanical library,” with planter boxes suspended from the 15-foot wall, reachable by a wheeled ladder. The shop is run by husbands Darroch and Michael Putnam, whose couture approach to floral arrangements over the years has made them a staple at celebrity weddings, including the recent nuptials of Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk.

Image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

The guestrooms are drenched in sunlight and feature floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. For the design, Yabu Pushelberg replicates the clever functionality they created for Moxy Times Square, leavened with wit and humanised with a sense of craft. In all three room types — King, Double/Double and Quad Bunk — the furniture, which includes a writing desk and chair/luggage rack, can be folded up and hung up on Moxy’s signature peg wall when not in use. Other space-saving gambits include under-bed storage and a lava-stone sink and vanity area placed outside the bathroom. Tiles in the shower stalls are printed with cheeky phrases like “SOME REGRETS” and “WILD THING,” while a bulldog-shaped beer bottle opener hangs on the door. Additional bedroom features nod to the Flower District, like reading lamps that resemble garden lanterns and faucets that recall hose reels. Unique to Moxy Chelsea is the over-the-top MONDO Suite, an entertainment suite located on the 32nd floor. With soaring, double-height 18-foot ceilings and a wall of industrial-style windows looking out onto the Empire State Building, the room is equipped for entertaining and socialising. The suite can be combined with one or two adjoining king rooms to create a place to party and sleep.

The lobby atmosphere is enlivened by a design that reflects Moxy’s trademark cheekiness, such as classically sculpted figurines making unexpected poses, like twerking, taking selfies, and wearing sunglasses. A life-size, toga-clad Roman statue rests on a column, one arm extended so it can hold a guest’s phone and pose with them for a selfie. Throughout the lobby, ample seating options invite co-working and socializing, including modular meeting studios that morph seamlessly from daytime workplace to evening social space.

Decadent rooftop bar

Image caption: The Fleur Room – credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

TAO Group and Rockwell also collaborated on The Fleur Room, Moxy Chelsea’s rooftop lounge, topping off the hotel on the 35th floor with panoramic 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State building. The design features a copper-clad bar, glass chandeliers that resemble giant water droplets, and a massive disco ball salvaged from the notorious 1980s L.A. nightclub Vertigo. The real showstopper: The lounge’s glass walls descend at the touch of a button, transforming the space into an alfresco sky veranda.

“We’ve all read about how the modern traveller wants to satisfy their curiosity with unique experiences and personalised, insider access,” says Mitchell Hochberg, President of Lightstone. “Nobody really expects that at the Moxy price point. With Moxy Times Square, we proved we could flip the script; and with Moxy Chelsea, we’re taking it to the next level: We’ve doubled down on that formula—affordable rates, rooms with character, distinctive public spaces—and made it even more personal, more local, more genuinely New York.”

“With the opening of Moxy Chelsea, the Moxy Hotels brand continues to boldly reinvent the hospitality scene,” says Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Service Brands, Marriott International. “When you walk into a Moxy, you know you’re getting a killer bar experience with fun, playful programming; an in-the-know Crew; stylish and functional bedrooms; and experiential moments you’ll want to share with friends during your trip. Moxy Chelsea offers all of that, with a distinctly bold, New York twist.”

The Moxy brand now has 30-plus experiential hotels open across North America, Europe and Asia. Moxy is expected to open 20-plus more hotels in 2019*, in destinations including Paris, Nashville and Boston.

*subject to change depending on hospitality landscape and market conditions

Main image credit: Michael Kleinberg/Moxy Chelsea/Marriott International

FIRST LOOK: Apex unveils Insta-worthy London suite

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Apex Hotels has unveiled the Temple Suite in London that has been designed with Instagram in mind… 

Following the Hotel Designs’ series, Designing Instagrammable, Apex Hotels has revealed a sneak peek at the fabulous, ‘Instagrammable’ interiors that lie within the £6 million extension to its hotel on London’s Fleet Street.

The Temple Suite is considered the jewel in the crown of the multi-million pound extension, which also boasts four deluxe Grand Suites. Each one is perfect for those looking for a new type of luxury in the capital, and those who want to witness #interiordesigngoals first-hand.

While the Grand Suites are already available to book, the outstanding Temple Suite has been kept under wraps – but now the first images have been released, showing exactly what potential guests can expect when the space opens for booking on March 3.

It includes original fireplaces, bespoke furnishings in rich jewel tones, luxury linens and a bathroom (complete with underfloor heating) that’s just begging for mirror-selfies to be snapped.

Image credit: Apex Hotel

Set within a Grade II listed building on the capital’s Fleet Street, dating back to 1912, the Temple and Grande Suites sit alongside ‘The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas’ – a brand new stylish, decadent wine bar – and private dining rooms to really give guests a taste of the ‘suite’ life.

Guests can cosy up in the coolest of surroundings in the Temple Suite, which features a sophisticated grey colour palette that is injected with warmth thanks to the original parquet flooring and wall panelling.

There’s a chance to relax on Scandi-inspired, bold furniture upholstered in rich velvets and textured wools, whilst snapping away at contemporary features including striking pendant lighting, and the intricately detailed glassware and accessories dotted throughout.

Image credit: Apex Hotels

Before languishing in luxury with access to a personal concierge service, guests can be whisked straight into their suite for a private, queue-free check-in before settling in with a welcome drink, testing out the luxury linens and making the most of the sumptuous surroundings – including a totally personalised mini-bar.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to reveal the striking Temple Suite which, along with our Grand Suites, has come as a result of a meticulous, multi-million pound restoration and refurbishment of the stunning Grade II listed building situated right next door to our original Fleet Street hotel,” Karl Mitchell, General Manager at Apex Temple Court Hotel. “Not only are each of the suites entirely Instagram-worthy, with beautiful furnishings and facilities masterminded by our architects, ISA; each and every guest who stays within the suites will enjoy a totally bespoke stay – from a private check-in and access to a personal concierge, to a mini-bar stocked with their favourite tipples and much more. No two stays will be the same.

“Just imagine lazing in front of the fire with your favourite drink from the personalised mini bar…it’s just one of the blissful ways our guests can spend a stay at our magnificent suites.”

Guests looking for a new type of luxury in London can now book to stay at the 115 square metres of pure, opulent relaxation that is the stand-alone Temple Suite – or at one of the four Grande Suites.

 

5 ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue

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As consumers become more and more design savvy when checking in to a hotel, marketing expert Chloe Bennet from UK Services Reviews explores ways in which hotels can increase their profits with the perfect narrative… 

Storytelling is an invaluable component of any hotel marketing strategy. Sharing the right narrative is perfect for content marketing as well as creating a bio that allows hotels to connect with their audience. Here are six ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue.

People tell stories, and listen to stories, every day without even realising it. “Stories resonate with customers on a deep, human level. In order to succeed in this industry, your marketing efforts must go beyond simply selling hotel rooms at a certain price. You need to connect with your customer base on an emotional level, so that you can make yourself stand out in an overcrowded and competitive market,” suggests Jose Guenther, storyteller at Academized. The digital age has created a ton of opportunities for marketers to use storytelling, which is fortunate because many customers are wary of conventional marketing tactics.

“It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative.”

1) Visual storytelling and hotel marketing online

So how do we go about using online storytelling to increase hotel revenue? It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative. Guests checking in are a lot less concerned with basic elements such as amenities and information about the room. It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that in the digital age, guests are looking for visuals of what a hotel has to offer. Whenever you can, tell your story through high resolution photographs, combined with riveting narratives. Hotels should focus on interactive storytelling whenever possible, using things like short videos that shows off the hotel’s best features. It’s hard to go wrong with video content, as long as you keep in mind how short attention spans are online.

2) Shaping your digital story

A hotel’s number one job when crafting its story is to create a connection with its audience. Consumers tend to make purchasing decisions based on how they feel, not how they think. If a hotel wants to connect with its audience in this way, it has to get to know its guests first. Target the right segments, learn what they’re looking for, and create content that appeals to them and their needs. Segments and groups will respond differently to different forms of content, so don’t take a shotgun approach that tries to market to everyone at once. A great story told through the wrong kind of content will not be as effective.

3) Make your stories authentic

A hotel’s stories should feel real and have a natural flow to them. If a hotel can include stories from its guests, then that is even better. There’s no reason for a hotel to make stories up, instead hotels should have a wealth of stories and experiences to draw from. Make the story align with the strongest aspects of the hotel, whatever that may be.

4) Storytelling methods

There are a ton of different ways to tell your story, and you’ll probably find there are multiple ones that work for your situation and audience. Will you take advantage of the two-way communication that using social media offers? Maybe you’ll even put the call out to your audience to create some original content. Each hotel’s methods will depend on its audience and its goals. It’s critical that hotels have a goal that can be measured, so they can determine how effective its storytelling is. Data collecting should work to steer the storytelling strategy back on course if it needs correcting or adjustments.

5) Tell better stories by improving your writing skills

To use storytelling to increase your hotel revenue, you’ll need to be writing at a decent level. A lot of people don’t even realise where their writing weaknesses lie. Thanks to the online age, though, there are a number of effective websites out their to help professionals start writing the first chapter:

  • ViaWriting and MyWritingWay – Use these grammar resources to check over your copy for grammatical errors. Don’t risk leaving in mistakes that can discredit you and make you look like an amateur.
  • Big Assignments and Assignment Help – Check out these editing tools, they’ve been reviewed positively by Revieweal and can make your life a lot easier.
  • WritingPopulist and LetsGoandLearn – Read through these writing blogs and improve your knowledge about the writing process. Even if you’re an experienced writer you can find some helpful suggestions and tips here.
  • OXEssays and AustralianReviewer – These online proofreading tools, recommended at BestBritishEssays, are the perfect solution to leaving typos in your copy. Why risk leaving an error in when there are tools that can help?
  • SimpleGrad and State Of Writing – Try out these online writing guides. If you’re struggling with storytelling, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re rushing out drafts without following the proper writing process.

Guests have a myriad of options when it comes to hotels, so it’s crucial to get creative. Good storytelling can differentiate a hotel from the crowd and allow it to form an emotional connection with your audience by sharing its unique personality.

Main image credit: Pexels

Morgan makes a colourful splash

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New commissions from Morgan Furniture showcase appetite for bold and bright colours ahead of SS19…

With the 1970’s vibe in full swing, designers are looking to colours and patterns that arouse and inspire the imagination. Morgan, contract furniture and manufacture, shares two recent commissions that perfectly encapsulate the current taste for vivid, post-Scandinavian palettes.

A family of Chevy dining and meeting chairs brings the seventies into the 21st century with rich gemstone colours. While the collection itself owes its inspiration to the styling and elegance of an earlier era, its timeless silhouette can adapt to any aesthetic sensibility and contract environment. Turned timber legs and a fully wrapped seat detail combine to create a picture of comfort and simplicity.

The Chevy collection brings together five chairs and seven modish coffee tables, available in three heights.

Image caption: Chevy by Morgan Furniture

A pattern reminiscent of the 1980’s Memphis Group’s abstract geometry and Keith Haring’s pop stylings gives these Goodwood lounge chairs punch. Here the collection piece uses upholstery to showcase the graphic motif from fabric designer GP & J Baker.

With customisable arms and an optional high or low back, the Goodwood range invites guests to sit back and relax. The collection has ten chairs and four tables, available in two heights, three top sizes and a choice of glass, timber or marble inset.

Commenting on the two collections, Morgan’s Design Director Katerina Zachariades said: “When we’re developing the concept for a chair design, we look for inspiration in fashion, nature and architecture. This encourages us to use shapes that are enduring, as opposed to transient styling.

“All Morgan furniture is made to order for clients. Upholstery choices help designers’ visions to be brought to life while scale and base options allow for the chair design to be suitable for a variety of uses.”

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

Image caption: Goodwood range by Morgan Furniture

 

Tarkett confirmed as Event Partner for Meet Up London

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Flooring company Tarkett, with more than 130 years’ experience in the industry, has been confirmed as an event partner for Hotel Designs’ exclusive Q1 networking event, Meet Up London… 

As leading designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers prepare to attend Hotel Designs’ Meet Up London on March 28 at Minotti London, flooring company Tarkett has been confirmed as an event partner.

Mark Burton, National Sales Manager for Retail and Hospitality at Tarkett said about the announcement: “Tarkett has more than 130 years of experience in the flooring industry – with an impressive range of multi-purpose flooring options to suit any hospitality space “In the hospitality sector, it’s all about designing for a memorable experience. Tarkett believes that floors are the ideal playground on which to deliver this, by creating a truly experiential space for visitors. Designers can explore and personalise Tarkett LVT and wood, alongside DESSO carpet flooring ranges, to strengthen brand positioning and enhance customer experience, ultimately attracting and retaining guests and customers. We are delighted to partner with Hotel Designs at this prestigious event.”

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

About Meet Up London

 

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

Venue:
Minotti London Showroom,
77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY

Date: March 28, 2019

 

Evening agenda:

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

How to attend

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

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

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

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

Event partner: Tarkett

Leading designers and architects confirmed to attend Interior Design & Architecture Summit

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Two months before the inaugural Interior Design & Architecture Summit, the event has unveiled who among the architecture and design community will be attending… 

Following the announcement of the ‘Rising Ceiling of Creativity’ panel discussion at the event, the Interior Design & Architecture Summit (IDAS) has just announced the attendees list for the meet-the-buyers event.

Dexter Moren Associates, EPR Archtiects, Goddard Littlefair, MKV Design, ReardonSmith Archiects and Zannier Hotels are all among the leading design firms that have confirmed to attend IDAS as delegates.

The event, , is aimed to bridge the gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

About IDAS

The one-day event, which will take place on April 29 at Hilton Tower Bridge London, is designed to connect senior executives working within the sector with product and service suppliers for face-to-face meetings and business networking.

The Summit aims to support the design and architecture sector with a unique platform to help create long-lasting and mutually beneficial business connections.

The design and architecture companies confirmed to attend IDAS are:

Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio
Abode Architecture
Ana Engelhorn Interior Design Ltd
Anita Rosato Interior Design
Brompton Cross Construction
Burke Rickhards Ltd
Burrell Mistry Architects
CMT Design & Construction
CS Design
Dexter Moren Associates
DesignLSM
EPR Architects
Fiona Barratt Interiors
FL Interiors
Forster
Gauri Dole Design Studio
Goddard Littlefair
GA Design
GA Architect
Gereghty Taylor Architects
Gunter & Co Interiors
Harp Commercial Interiors
Hartmann Designs Limited
Harriet Forde Design
HBA London
Henry Prideaux Interior Design
Hyphen
InD Creations
Je Ne Sais Quoi
JPA Design
JCC
Jo Berryman Studio
Koubou Interiors
Kim Partridge
KCA International Designers Ltd
Lambart & Browne
LDA Design
LXA Projects
Materialise Interiors
Mangera Yvars Architects
MKV Design
Natalia Interior Design
NBBJ
NSI Design Ltd
Nine Yard Club
One Creative Environments Limited
Panache Interiors
Project (SW) Ltd
Rebecca James Studio
ReardonSmith Architects
Run for The Hills
RWD
Sapphire Spaces
Suited ID
Stop and Smell the Roses
Studio Mica
Tara Bernerd and Partners
Toca
Temza
Twinning Design
Wilson Associates
Watson Batty Architects
Woods Bagot
WS Design
Yasmine Mahmoudieh
Virserius Studio
Zannier Hotels

If you are an architect or interior designer and would like to attend the Summit, there are very limited spaces available. Please contact Kerry Naumburger on k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet the top architects and interior designers, contact Victoria Petch on v.petch@forumevents.co.uk – or click here to book your place.

Click here for more information about IDAS.

Media partner: Future Contractor & Architect

In Conversation With: Tom Lindblom, Gensler

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Lifting the curtain to peak inside one of the largest architecture firms in the world, editor Hamish Kilburn heads to Gensler’s UK headquarters to catch up with hospitality leader, Principal and Brit List 2018 finalist Tom Lindblom…

“Designing a hotel is a theatre production,” Tom Lindblom, hospitality leader and Principal at Gensler explains. “If you have ever been backstage at a theatre show, and have seen all the activity that’s going on, you will understand how many strings need to be pulled to ensure that what’s happening on the stage – front-of-house in our case – is going smoothly and flows seamlessly. The magic has to happen without the guests being aware how it is made.” This carefully chosen metaphor used to describe the realities – and often challenges – that modern architecture practices face is my first opportunity to really understand the man behind the vision of many projects in the UK, Europe and in the Middle East.

If we are to continue the theatre theme then I feel as if I have a front-row seat, exclusively invited to the opening night to critique Gensler’s award-winning performance. While the narrative explains how the company came to be one of the largest architecture firms in the world, the lead role is certainly up for interpretation. Lindblom, formally a museum and lighting designer, is one of 15 principals at Gensler and his stage is very much sheltered in the company’s London base in St Katherine Docks, with major plans for expansion. “Our expression is deliberately ‘one firm firm’, which suggests that we, the more than 6,000 employees at Gensler, are one team working across 48 offices around the globe,” he explains. “As a result of this shared mindset, our London office is able to share relationships with others around the world in order to eventually work on projects that would have otherwise gone to other architecture practices – it really is a key element to our global success.”

Gensler_Four Seasons_Kuwait

Image caption: Gensler’s Four Seasons Kuwait

Although the project briefs may change as the demands from operators and owners evolve, one thing remains constant in Lindblom’s eyes; team work really does make the dream work. “As an architect, the sooner you are working with an interior designer on a hotel project, the better the end result will be,” he says confidently. “Many see our industry as a triangle, but in actual fact it is a square,” he says. “That shape is between the owner, the operator, and the two designers – architecture and interiors – everyone needs to be reading off the same script.”

“The landscape of the hotel is as important as the architecture.” – Tom Lindblom

Whether we should design hotels that are Instagrammable is a topic that we are used to debating, I am keen to understand how, in Lindblom’s eyes, social media is dictating the design of the modern hotel. According to him, the pool in a resort hotel tends to be the ‘wow’ moment. “For a luxury resort hotel we designed in Croatia, for example, the ‘wow’ moments are a pool bar and grill and the water-front adult pool,” he explains. “The landscape of the hotel is as important as the architecture, and that’s why we work closely with landscape architects as well. At Gensler, we are very fortunate to have in-house landscape designers, which is often absolutely integral to the success of the project.”

Render of a pool and bar area outside

Image caption: Brizenica Bay Four Seasons Croatia Pool Bar / Credit: Gensler

Some of Lindblom’s most memorable curtain-call openings include St Regis Langkawi, Malaysia and the unforgettable unveiling of Four Season Kuwait at Burj Alshaya. Closer to home, though, since becoming one of the finalists at The Brit List 2018, Lindblom has been working on the interiors for a Hilton hotel project in Woking, Surrey. “There will be a great rooftop bar and restaurant, which is our answer to the operator’s brief, wanting to create certain ‘Instagrammable moments’,” Lindblom explains. “Our aim here was to open up the public areas to amazing panoramic views that can become an attraction for both guests and outside visitors.”

Gensler’s recently published Hospitality Experience Index concludes that hotel public spaces are changing. “Single-use public spaces are dead,” Lindblom claims. The report concludes: “The best hotels know that designing for today’s everything/everywhere customer doesn’t mean being everything to everyone -but it does require a new approach to understanding what guests want that goes far beyond business vs. leisure or millennial vs. boomer.” In response to this, Lindblom says: “Before we start drawing the shape and design of the building, we should be asking what experience we are trying to create.”

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What would you say, in your opinion as an architect, is the best designed city in the world?
Tom Lindblom: I love Paris and New York, but the city that made a big impression on me recently was Ljubljana, the Capital of Slovenia.

HK: What would you be if you weren’t an architect?
TL: A Sculptor

HK: What, in your opinion, is the worst designed hotel?
TL: There are too many to list

HK: What is your biggest bugbear when travelling?
TL: Wheely bags! I hate them!

HK: What is your favourite colour?
TL: Anything with stripes!

HK: Do you have a favourite project?
TL: They are all special, but I am really proud of the Four Seasons in Kuwait – I feel as if we need end credits to list all the people who brought that vision to life, all led by an amazing client.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image caption: St. Regis Langkawi / credit: Gensler

There is a certain ignorance that comes from reviewing hotels, one that typically completely ignores the foundation of what is, as Hilton Hotels puts it, the heart-of-house. “The back-of-house, or backstage of any hotel performance, has to be designed around functionality,” Lindblom explains. “Our job here is to design an area that will maximise service and overall productivity, which in turn leads to a seamless guest experience. Although these areas won’t have all the finishes that you see in front of the staging, they are a vital part of the production.”

In the backstage access-all-areas interview, I am eager to learn what it takes to be cast as one of the leads at Gensler. “Believe it or not, listening is the fundamental skill to be a good leader,” Lindblom says. “When we are failing, we are not listening, which interestingly is the same for both staff and clients”

For this interview’s dramatic final scene, Lindblom explains how his past experience as a lighting designer has helped him to sketch and create some of the world’s most impressive design hotels. “There is just way too much artificial light in the world,” he explains as he points to the light directly above our heads, which creates glare while we are speaking at the table. “The starting point for a lighting designer should be darkness. Then you build up from there, considering the light sources, the times of day, colours and finishes, and ultimately the intention for the spaces.” And like any hit Broadway or Westend show, the production fades on a cliff-hanger conclusion as we wait to witness the unveiling of Gensler’s next hotel project.

Editor’s round-up of Surface Design Show 2019

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Taking place from February 5 – 7 at Business Design Centre London, the Surface Design Show gave a platform to more surface material and lighting specialists than ever before. Editor Hamish Kilburn was there and reports…

More than 5,000 architects, designers and specifiers from 47 countries descended on London earlier this month for the much anticipated Surface Design Show. Over the course of three days, the show provided a packed schedule of insightful and entertaining panel discussions, informative CPDs and talks, trend forecasts and allowed exhibitors to display new products.

Presenters included New London Architecture and RIBA who hosted the Opening Night Debate; Chris Dyson who presented the PechaKucha Evening; Hannah Malein of Colour Hive; Oliver Heath of Oliver Heath Design and Daniel Hopwood representing Design Guild Mark, all kept visitors engaged as they educated on ways of thinking about materials, current industry issues and trends.

crowd gathering around the stand

Image credit: Surface Design Show 2019

There were a number of stand-out motifs among the 150 exhibition stands that displayed a positive look at where surface design is heading. The most prominent themes were:

Acoustic walls 

The surface experts at Armourcoat were at the show unveiling its new Acoustics Plaster System, which is designed with hotels and restaurant designers in mind with the aim to optimise the acoustics of interior spaces. While many acoustic surfaces are often bulky and not stylishly flexible, The Acoustic Plaster System offers a clean and smooth mineral surface that can be applied seamlessly over large expanses such as hotel lobbies or restaurants.

Meanwhile, anne kyyro quinn, which produces bespoke three-dimensional acoustic walls coverings, supplied the backdrop for the main stage. The handmade textile wallcoverings are natural, durable, versatile and are therefore suitable for commercial as well as residential projects.

Sustainability

Ethically handmade by master craftsmen, the premium patchwork cowhide rugs from Mosaic that were displayed on the stand were fabricated with 100 per cent recycled hides. Unlike other vendors which buy in full leather hides, Mosaic only use recycled hides from off-cuts of the luxury furniture and leather goods industry. The result, aesthetically, is a completely unique and customisable rug ideal for boutique hotels seeking characterful floors.

Elsewhere, Friends of Wilson displayed its Tessellate acousitic wall panel, which is made from 100 per cent polyester fibres containing a minimum of 60 per cent post-consumer recycled material (PET bottleflake).

Taking this concept into new territory were you designers Poppy Pippin and Emma Raybould over on the Spotlight Surface Live stand. Pippin’s Moss Tiles product has been designed specifically to encourage moss growth in order to improve air quality in the urban environment by absorbing carbon dioxide. Raybould’s silicastone design, displayed at the show, is an eco-architectural alternative to quarried stone for solid surfaces, which was developed at the University of Central Lancashire.

Since 2013 the Show has hosted the Surface Design Awards, now recognised as one of the most respected events in the design calendar. The 2019 Awards received 197 entries from 22 countries,
including America, Italy, China and India.

In a ceremony held over breakfast, the beautiful new Maggie’s Centre St Barts, London was declared the Supreme Winner, capturing the hearts and minds of the stellar panel of judges from the world of architecture and design. A beacon of design in the charity sector, the building by Steven Holl Architects was shortlisted in the Public Building Exterior category, gaining acclaim from the judges, including architect Christophe Egret of Studio Egret West, who stated “You really feel that a person dealing with cancer might feel elevated in this space”.

The 2019 awards ceremony was presented by architecture and design writer Aidan Walker, who cited the specialist focus of the show as key to its success now and for the future: “Surface Design has become one of the most compelling areas of innovation and imagination in design and architecture in the last few years. Driven by technology on one hand and the imperative for sustainability on the other, the application of new techniques and materials to cladding, walls, floors and ceilings has enlivened practice in a way unimaginable 10 years ago. Surface Design Show is perfectly positioned to express, exploit and support this rich seam of imagination and creativity. I see a great future for both the show and its Awards scheme.”

Hotel Designs was a proud media partner for the event.

Main image credit: Surface Design Show 2019

SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: Hotel Designs’ 30 under 30

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SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED: Hotel Designs’ 30 under 30

Hundreds of entries have been whittled down to just 40 talented designers and architects under 30… 

Following its search to find the industry’s next rising stars, Hotel Designs has announced the shortlist of its 2019 30 Under 30 initiative…

Nominations, which closed on February 15, came in from many leading design firms such as HBA London, The Gettys Group, WATG, Richmond International, Gensler and many more.

Further to being recognised as rising stars on the international hotel design scene, the shortlisted finalists will also be invited, courtesy of Hotel Designs, to Meet Up London to network among a sea of other leading leading names in the industry.

“Our aim for the 30 Under 30 initiative is really to bridge the age gap between designers, hoteliers, architects and key industry suppliers,” said Katy Phillips, publisher of Hotel Designs. “Our events are often attended by directors and principals of studios, but we would like to extend the invitation now to include the young talented individuals who are shaping the future of our industry.”

The shortlisted finalists are:

Adam Charlap Hyman – Charlap Hyman & Herrero

Adam  Crabtree – Chelsom

Alaa Mohamed – Pallavi Dean Interiors

Ali Bacon – The Gettys Group

Amber Peters – Bluehaus

Andre Herrero – Charlap Hyman & Herrero

Anya Gordon Clark – Dexter Moren Associates

Beatrice Fischel-Bock – Hutch

Catherine van der Heide – HASSELL

Charlotte Roe – WISH London

Daniela Anedda – M Studio London

David Jelensky – M Studio London

Gina Langridge – WATG

Gioia Corrada – M Studio London

Harry Allnatt – Richmond International

Jen Lees – HBA London

Jodie Hatton – Brintons

Jordyn Dickson – The Gettys Group

Josh Piddock – Project Orange

Karolina Samuilaite – Modus

Kate Jarrett – Scott Brownrigg

Kay Jones – Brintons

Lauren McEwen – Goddard Littlefair

Lily Kwong – Studio Lily Kwong

Lisa Liu  – WATG

Mahesh Parekh – ARA Design

Marion Pierru – Wilson Associates

Natasha Ahmed – Lulie Fisher Design Studio

Nicola Brook – Nicola Brook Design

Omar Nakkash – Nakkash Design Studio

Patrick McCrae – ARTIQ

Rasha All-Tekreeti – MMAC Design

Rebecca Quickfall – Jasper Sanders + Partners

Reem Moussalli – Dress The Space F.Z.E

Rosalynn Youdan – Jestico + Whiles

Sarah Murphy – Jestico + Whiles

Scarlett Supple – Soho House Design

Simona Miron – Gensler

Stephanie Riedl – B3 Designers

Yasmin Farahmandy – Gensler

Yosola Akinwumi – HBA London

About Meet Up London

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

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

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

Address: 77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY
Time: 6pm – 9pm

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

To purchase your tickets to Meet Up London, click here.

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

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SPOTLIGHT ON: March features announced

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Hotel Designs has officially dropped its March editorial features, which are Technology and Guestroom Lighting… 

Throughout March, Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On features will look at two highly topical features, namely Technology and Guestroom Lighting. These topics, which marry up nicely in many of the debates rippling through conversations in the industry, will be explored throughout the month in a series of editorials.

Technology 

Image of in-room ipad next to lighting controls

Image credit: Ecclestone Hotel London

Now that the industry seems to be doing away with gimmicky tools that serve little purpose for anyone checking in, the way has been cleared for sophisticated tech products to launch with the aim to amplify the overall guest experience. “Arguably, this topic has never been more relevant than it is today, which is why are exploring it so early on in the calendar.” commented editor Hamish Kilburn.

Guestroom Lighting

chandelier in a modern guestrooms

Image credit: Chelsom Lighting

Back by popular demand, Hotel Designs will continue March by shining the spotlight on lighting in the guestroom. “Thanks to certain advancements in lighting technology, we predict that guestroom lighting in 2019 will see some serious innovation,” Kilburn commented. “At the heart of this evolution, LED is still king!”

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

Main image credit: Moritz Waldemeyer

Mr. C Hotels to unveil first property in Q2 2019

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The new 100-key luxury property, which will be designed in conjunction with architecture firm Arquitectonica and Brit List winner Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, will open in Miami this spring…

The highly anticipated Mr. C Coconut Grove, the first Mr. C Hotel to debut in Florida from the fourth-generation hospitality leaders, brothers Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani, has announced that the property will open in spring 2019.

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to unveil Mr. C Coconut Grove to the community this spring,” said Ignazio Cipriani, Founder/President of Mr. C Hotels at the announcement. ” Our partners and associates have enhanced our vision and helped to bring this exciting project to life in such an iconic neighborhood as Miami’s Coconut Grove.”

Modern guestrom with palette of light blue and light oak

Image credit: Mr. C Hotels

Mr. C Coconut Grove is situated in the heart of one of Miami’s most notable neighborhoods and is set to provide guests with unmatched views of Biscayne Bay and the Coconut Grove skyline.

From its interior, the hotel draws inspiration from Italy’s iconic coastal style and hints at the aesthetic elements of a classic yacht. Interior design includes high gloss timber paneling, leather-upholstered blue and caramel headboards, nautical style dressers, playful and comfortable sofas and armchairs in a range of soft and airy blue, and white and pink fabrics throughout the space. Acclaimed architecture and design firm Arquitectonica, in conjunction with the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, combined the stylish European glamour and nautical aesthetic Mr. C Hotels are best known for with the tropical surroundings of South Florida.

In addition to its 100 guestrooms and suites with private outdoor terraces, Mr. C Coconut Grove also features the Bellini Restaurant and Bar, on the hotel’s top floor. The restaurant boasts a refreshing new Italian dining concept inspired by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani’s travels throughout Italy, and offers indoor and outdoor seating that exudes the intimate old-world atmosphere of coastal Italy while embracing a sleek and soothing Miami modern style.

Rooftop pool render

Image credit: Mr. C Hotels

For corporate meetings and social events, Mr. C Coconut Grove offers guests a top floor ballroom with panoramic views of the Biscayne Bay. The space can accommodate a seated dinner for approximately 150 guests and cocktail reception for 300 guests, with an additional pre-function space. A covered event space is also available in the hotel’s ground floor for up to 720 guests.

Other statement features include a rooftop pool and pool deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, state-of-the-art gym equipment with personal trainer and yoga classes available upon request, a Lobby Lounge with indoor and outdoor garden seating, and a private spa suite with a relaxation area, sauna and treatment room which can be reserved through the concierge team.

Main image credit: Mr. C Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel Montreal incoming this spring

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Architects Lemay and Sid Lee Architecture and interior design firms Gilles & Boissier and Atelier Zébulon Perron will complete Four Seasons Hotel Montreal this spring…

Heralding the city’s world renowned festival season and the biggest sporting event in Canada, the all-new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal has announced that it is confirming reservations for arrivals beginning June 1, 2019.

“We are so excited to join with our community in welcoming Formula One fans from around the world for the 2019 Montreal Grand Prix taking place June 7 to 9. The event virtually takes over the city, and we’ll be right there in the middle of it,” says Four Seasons General Manager Gonçalo Monteiro. “And that’s just the beginning of what promises to be a summer to remember in Montreal.”

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels

The design-led hotel is the result of a collaboration between architects Lemay and Sid Lee Architecture and interior design firms Gilles & Boissier and Atelier Zébulon Perron. The 169-key luxury Four Seasons Hotel Montreal is located downtown in the city’s Golden Mile Square, connected to Holt Renfrew Ogilvy. Just ten minutes by foot from the city’s Bell Centre, the hotel is ideally located for international visitors, regional weekenders and business travellers. In addition to MARCUS restaurant and bar, the hotel will offer an intimate spa and state-of-the-art fitness centre, a skylit indoor pool and a stunning fifth floor ballroom with outdoor terrace.

The guestrooms and suites will feature avant-garde opulence complete with chaise lounges, floor-to-ceiling windows, oversized beds and boldly designed bathrooms. The pièce de résistance is the two-bedroom presidential suite, which is positioned on the top floor.

The new Four Seasons hotel is one of nine luxury statements that the hotel group plans to open this year, including hotels in Bangkok, Athens and Costa Palmas.

The hotel group currently has 111 hotels and resorts in 47 countries – including recent openings in Desroches Island, Seychelles; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels

GROHE to shape the future of water with record number of innovations at ISH 2019

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GROHE, a Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier, will showcase a record number of innovations at ISH 2019, the world’s leading trade fair for the responsible use of water and energy in buildings…

For the first time, GROHE will position itself as a leading global brand for complete bathroom solutions, kitchen systems and intelligent water management at ISH 2019. The bathroom brand will reinforce its philosophy Water. Intelligence. Enjoyment by bringing the element of water to the forefront of its new innovations.

The event will open with a keynote speech from GROHE CEO Michael Rauterkus sharing his vision of how GROHE actively shapes the future of water; including, amongst other things, digitisation and intelligent water management.

GROHE strives to be a driving force in the sanitary industry’s digital transformation In recent years, GROHE has evolved from a premium brassware expert into a driving force of digital transformation within the sanitary industry, even offering its own Internet of Things (IoT) products. The smart water controller GROHE Sense Guard has arrived in the world of the smart home and secures the brand a place among the Top 100 Insurtechs in the Digital Insurance Agenda1. Digitisation is always impacting new areas of our lives. The change from a smart home to an intelligently connected home will be the subject of discussion at the Intelligent Living Summit, a high-profile ISH panel discussion that will take place on Wednesday 13thMarch as part of the show’s agenda of events. The Intelligent Living Summit will see GROHE partner with German companies Miele and Viessmann to discuss how your home can support your life in various and intelligent ways.

“Visitors to the GROHE booth at ISH 2019 will find inspirations to create their own personal at-home spa.”

New ceramic lines and a vast range of colours and materials The bathroom is being increasingly considered as a ‘living space’; somewhere we relax and unwind at the end of a long day. Therefore, more bespoke requirements and concepts are needed. Visitors to the GROHE booth at ISH 2019 will find inspirations to create their own personal at-home spa. These include minimalist ceramic lines that perfectly match GROHE brassware products in both form and function, as well as the GROHE Colours Collection, a range of GROHE taps and accessories in ten different colours and finishes that allow the utmost possible creative freedom for individualising the kitchen and bathroom.

Simply Universal – GROHE Rapido SmartBox Even behind the wall, GROHE can offer innovations with considerable added value to both installers and end users. The new GROHE Rapido SmartBox provides installers, architects and planners with an infinite number of solutions, using just one flush-mounted unit. It can be used universally for all of GROHE’s final assembly sets, regardless of whether that is a single-lever mixer, thermostat or SmartControl product. The GROHE Rapido SmartBox features three outlets for a wider range of shower options and a tailored showering experience. Installation is easy thanks to inlets for hot and cold water that are connected from below. It also offers subsequent adjustment options by up to six degrees, a minimum installation depth of only 75mm and other benefits that visitors can experience directly at the booth.

GROHE set to inspire visitors with a new booth concept GROHE can be found in the FORUM hall at Messe Frankfurt. Using three themed environments and putting the consumer at the centre of the experience, GROHE will present intelligent and sustainable solutions which have been integrated into a multitude of individual design options for the bathroom and the kitchen. Visitors will be able to experience GROHE products and innovations on all levels of the transparent, elliptical glass construction – live, interactively and with the help of multimedia.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Top stories of the week: design love from Bangkok, hide and seek architecture and a new hotel chapter

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With architecture and construction firmly in the spotlight, Hotel Designs has witnessed another jam-packed week full of interesting stories that highlights our love in design and architecture. Breaking down these headlines is editor Hamish Kilburn… 

New York, New York! Is there anywhere else on the planet quite like it? In the original metropolis where possibilities soar high above the bustling streets below, the hotel scene is staggering. It’s latest luxury neighbour is situated on 701 Seventh Avenue on the corner of 47th Street, Times Square, and features 452 guestrooms. With four levels of public space, the hotel is, much like the area it surrounds has already done over many decades, evolving with the trends to cater to the modern man and woman.

Changing perceptions has been a theme that has stitched together this week’s headlines – and I have been fortunate enough to be the first to tell many of this week’s main features. From spending quality time in the company of interior designer Celia Chu as she prepares to complete Rosewood Bangkok, to continuing to follow Nicky Dobree on her quest to open her first hotel; it’s been a great week to be part of the industry. To top it off, we are hours away from closing the applications/nominations process for our 30 Under 30 initiative. As a young editor (26 years old), I am personally proud to support this scheme – to support young talent in our industry – with every fibre of my body.

Here are the top stories of the week:

1) EDITION arrives in New York’s Times Square

black armchair infront of black wallcoverings

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

“The Times Square EDITION is an entirely new lens on Times Square. From an aerie above the hubbub below, you can engage, observe or withdraw. The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner. There is simply nothing like it,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

> Click here to read the full story

2) The interior designer behind Rosewood Bangkok

open and airy suite with peculiar angular architecture

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

As its highly anticipated opening is imminently on the horizon, the Rosewood Bangkok’s interior design story is one yet to be unveiled in detail. We caught up with interior designer Celia Chu to establish the narrative told within the walls of the soon-to-open 159-key luxury hotel.

> Click here to read the feature

3) Six Senses joins IHG

Aerial shot of a Six Senses hotel in the ocean

Image credit: Six Senses

The milestone moment, where IHG aquired Six Senses happened on Wednesday. As part of the IHG family, Six Senses is expected to expand to 60 properties within the next 10 years. This includes incredible new Six Senses hotels and resorts from a restored 14th-century fort in Rajasthan, to villas on a private island in Cambodia, and the brand’s first hotel in North America – a contemporary duo of twisting towers designed by Bjarke Ingles near the High Line in Manhattan’s West Chelsea.

> Click here to read the full story

4) Camouflaged hotel architecture of the 21st century

glass structure in the woods

Image credit: treehotel

As we continue putting architecture and construction in the spotlight, Hotel Designs reveals some of the world’s most spectacular hidden architectural gems.

> Click here to read the full story

5) From Concept to Completion: Restoring a 19th-century house to create Plaza 18 (part two)

Moodboard of ideas

Image credit: Nicky Dobree

In part two of our From Concept to Completion series, where we are closely following the design story of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project is beginning to take form. The building’s design is approaching the final stages before the grand reveal this Easter. Meanwhile, interior designer Nicky Dobree is able to step away from the project for five minutes – something I believe the designer is not accustomed to – in order to explain more about her relationship with the soon-to-be hotel.

> Click here to read the feature

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels

 

Kobe’s is pretty in pink

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It’s confirmed, the hottest shade of the year is officially pink!

The global authority on colour, Pantone has announced its ‘Colour of the Year’ 2019 as Living Coral, a vibrant pink alternative, while paint manufacturer, Farrow & Ball has released its must-have shades for 2019, one being the moodily-named Sulking Room Pink.

Luxury fabric specialist Kobe is focusing its attention on the wide variety of fabrics in the must-have hue.

“Pink is a great colour for brightening up a décor and Pantone’s Colour of the Year has always been an interior trend setter,” said David Harris, md at luxury fabric specialist Kobe. “Living Coral and Farrow & Ball’s Sulking Room Pink, a dusky variation of the colour, is the ideal shade for decorative accessories and soft furnishings and complements a whole host of other colours such as grey, cream and the popular ‘spiced honey’ spectrum.”

Kobe’s Shantung curtain fabric features an extensive selection of 50 shades, three of which meet the Living Coral and Sulking Room Pink criteria.

Kobe’s most established collection, Scala, boasts 205 fabric shades, including a whole section dedicated to Pantone’s colour of the year. Suitable for curtain use, Scala is a cotton, polyester and viscose mix featuring a beautiful drape, guaranteed to zest up a tired looking interior.

Suitable for upholstery and soft furnishings, Volterra is Kobe’s matte-look velvet and will add a serious sense of luxury to a drab space. With 54 shades to choose from, there are also several Living Coral variations in hues 42, 43 and 44.

The pictured sofa is upholstered in Kobe’s Real fabric.

Kobe’s UK operation is based in Crowthorne, Berkshire. The company has been supplying UK interior design and soft furnishing customers for 20 years and has a reputation for outstanding quality, innovative design and excellent customer service.

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

Main image caption: Kobe

Make hotels more instagrammable with UNILIN

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A recent British survey suggests that more than 40 per cent of millennials choose their holiday destination based on its Instragammability, so what can you do to make hotel interiors more instagrammable? UNILIN explains…

To find out, UNILIN, division panels, makers of Evola decorative panels have turned to Kel Wouters of So Buzzy, a social media marketing agency that counts Crowne Plaza Antwerp and Hotel BLOOM, among its clients.

“Instagram can give your hotel additional awareness and reach, and often just a small investment can have a major impact,” begins Wouters. “Hotels that are shared frequently are ‘top of mind’ and people will want to stay there and populate their own feed from the same place. It’s a positive circle for any hotel that can crack Instagram.”

Starting small can often reap surprising rewards. A simple yet amusing slogan on the wall of the entrance to washrooms at The Hotel’s (Brussels) restaurant reading ‘men to the left because women are always right’, became one of its most Instagrammed spots. Designers can use UNILIN Evola panels to such effect, choosing from 168 designs as the perfect backdrop to a ‘grammable’ slogan, or even creating a unique ‘selfie spot’ with custom digital print technology available on UNILIN’s HPL, melamine and edging tape.

Wouters continues: “Check what your audience is sharing and looking at on Instagram and respond to that when designing your spot. Think about light in the area and test it out beforehand. Ensure there’s an obvious link to your hotel. If guests are sharing your selfie spot but no one knows that it’s in your hotel, then it’s a wasted opportunity; share your account at the location and encourage people to use a hashtag.”

UNILIN can offer office space designers a flexible way to approach the entire fabric of their Instagram spot – walls, partitions, furniture and surface treatment – with different looks that all possess the same low-maintenance, splash-proof, scratch-resistant, fade-resistant and durable finish. perfect for giving any selfie spot a ‘loveable’ look and joining Evola in 106 matching decors, ClicWall is UNILIN’s instantly transformative wall panel system.

“Interior designers also need to look at what’s currently popular on Instagram, although they need to be careful with temporary trends. Replaceable accessories are the key. The ball chairs at Hotel BLOOM! regularly get new cushions in different colours to create a whole new vibe, and arty objects throughout the hotel are replaced at regular intervals,” concludes Wouters.

UNILIN Evola and ClicWall panels can be used as the perfect, lasting backdrop for any hotel looking to make itself more Instragammable.

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

The Sound Hotel opens to celebrate all senses in Seattle

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The Hotel Group and Hilton have announced the grand opening of The Sound Hotel Seattle Belltown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Woven into the fabric of Belltown, one of Seattle’s most vibrant and centrally located neighborhoods, The Sound Hotel celebrates the sights, sounds and tastes that are unique to Seattle. It occupies the first 10 floors of the 42-story Arrivé tower, one of the first mixed-use properties, featuring rental units, in the market.

“We are thrilled to see The Sound Hotel open its doors as the brand’s first hotel in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in a city like Seattle that is known for innovation, great restaurants and a thriving arts scene,” said Jenna Hackett, global head, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. “Just as Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, Tapestry Collection continues to rapidly expand as The Sound Hotel also marks the collection brand’s first of many 2019 openings.”

Design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) immersed itself into the hotel’s neighborhood, visiting local hotspots and meeting with the community, to create an authentic Belltown experience. Upon arriving at the hotel entrance, guests are immediately welcomed into an artist’s studio as stretched canvases, murals and finished concrete floors flow towards the reception desk. Guest rooms feature warm, wood-toned floors, echoing the feeling of a musician stepping onto a stage. Dark, moody bathrooms are reminiscent of backstage dressing rooms, with microphone lights, plush robes, metal accents and rich black linear tiles setting the perfect backdrop.

Modern guestroom in hotel

Image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Artistic elements are also featured on the exterior of the hotel. Watkins commissioned Seattle graffiti artist Weirdo, a.k.a. Jeff Jacobson, to paint an original mural on an exterior brick wall facing several of the guest rooms, effectively turning those rooms into some of the most desirable in the hotel. This larger-than-life piece features Jacobson’s signature vivid, post-Internet hyper-realism style and beautifully tells the story of The Sound Hotel through art.

The Sound Hotel features 142 exquisitely designed guestrooms with expansive views of the downtown Seattle skyline and Puget Sound, a ground level restaurant, Currant Bistro.

“The hotel’s design drew directly from the Belltown neighborhood’s deep roots in the arts and local music scene, mixed in with the natural beauty of the Puget Sound region,” said David Watkins, general manager, The Sound Hotel. “Warm, rich textures in our rooms offer visitors an authentic Northwest experience, while the artistic elements reflect Seattle as a bustling hive of creativity.”

Image of modern bathroom with large sliding wooden doors

Image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

The building’s seventh-floor Lupine Room offers 770 square feet of divisible meeting space, ideal for groups of up to 35. Featuring plenty of natural light, it can easily transform into an event space to accommodate an intimate gathering. In addition to the Lupine Room, Sound Bite Lounge is a relaxed, post-meeting gathering spot with a seasonal outdoor sundeck offering stunning views of the Space Needle.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

 

FINAL CALL FOR ENTRIES: 30 Under 30

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The deadline for entries for Hotel Designs’ 30 Under 30 initiative is tomorrow…

Time is running out for interior designers, architects and hoteliers to submit their entries for the 30 Under 30 list that will be unveiled at Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

Styled by Minotti London and hosted at the luxury furniture company’s luxury showroom, the event has launched the list with the aim is to bridge the age gap between interior designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers.

How to apply for the 30 Under 30 list

If you are/or know of a deserving designer, architect or hotelier who is 30 years old or younger, please send in your application/nomination to: h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk with the following:

  • 200-400 word bio, which acknowledges achievements to date and why you/he/she deserves to be recognised
  • Name of company you/he/she currently works for
  • Profile image

Deadline: February 15, 2019

The final 30 will be confirmed to attend the event on March 28 with Hotel Designs‘ compliments and the winners will be notified in due course ahead of the networking evening.

How to attend Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

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

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

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

How hotels can utilise this year’s bathroom trends

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With the bathroom trends for 2019 well and truly forecasted, interior designer Charlie Willaims from Heritage Bathrooms explains how hotels can inject these into the modern hotel…  

Luxurious, modern bathrooms are right at the top of the wishlist for homeowners right now, with many of these individuals now increasingly expecting to see this design-led approach when they book a hotel stay.

We have taken a look at this year’s five of key trends and how you can incorporate them to ensure your bathrooms remain at the cutting edge.

Mixed metallics

Metallics have been in vogue for a number of years now, and this trend is showing no sign of slowing down. The key to making it work in 2019 will be to vary the use of metals to create a standout look that will impress your guests.

Choose a distinctive metallic bath or statement copper brassware. Also consider using accent textures and shade with a traditional chrome mirror frame like Heritage’s arched mirror for a classic finish.

Biophilia

Pink bath in front of a floral wallpaper

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

For the uninitiated, biophilia involves bringing a little bit of the outside in – creating warm and welcoming spaces combining plants with natural woods and neutral tones.

A key way to bring this into a hotel space is to maximise natural light. Minimise blinds and curtains to allow the sunlight to pour in and then build a bit of colour on top of the neutral tones by adding an array of low-maintenance plants, or some nature inspired wallpaper.

Memphis Design

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

The 1980s is alive again and experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks to the Memphis Design movement.

It doesn’t need to be difficult to incorporate this trend, which makes the most of primary colours and geometry, in a subtle way. Pair a colourful roll top tub, like the Buckingham from Heritage, with some funky towel designs for a bit of pattern and intrigue.

Colour layering

Layered tiles in the bathroom

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Bringing a range of colours and shades into a bathroom space can make it feel warm and welcoming, while adding a little bit of interest and intrigue.

Make sure that you include a common thread which ties the room together if you’re going to implement this trend. A good example would be to layer a range of accessories in soft hues on top of a monochrome bathroom suite. This will also enable you to alter your colour scheme according to the different seasons.

Bold black bathrooms

Croc-scaled bath

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Dark shades can help bring a spa-like quality to a bathroom, creating an indulgent, high-end guest experience.

Make a statement by including a dark freestanding bath, such as the hand finished Alderley Croc Skin Effect from Heritage Bathrooms. Pair it with patterned tiles or wallpaper for an elegant finish.

Main image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Six Senses joins IHG

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IHG has welcomed a new family member to its portfolio of brands, with the acquisition of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas…

Six Senses, which is renowned for its wellness and sustainability offerings, with each hotel and resort set in locations of incredible natural beauty that will stop you in your tracks, has joined IHG.

Featuring properties in 12 countries, Six Senses is behind some of the world’s most enticing hotels, resorts and spas, including: a 19th-century wine estate in the Douro Valley (Portugal), breathtaking island resorts in the Seychelles and Maldives, beach-side retreats in IndonesiaThailandVietnam and Oman, a city escape in Singapore, and residences in the mountains of Courchevel (France).

Six Senses joins a growing number of luxury brands in the IHG family, including:

  • InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest luxury hotel brand, which recently celebrated the opening of its 200th hotel and was named World’s Leading Hotel Brand title for the 12th time at the World Travel Awards (WTA). This is a brand dedicated to those who appreciate and enjoy The InterContinental Life – the glamour and exhilaration of fascinating places, mixed with international know-how and local cultural wisdom.
  • Regent® Hotels & Resorts, also recently acquired and now undergoing a repositioning which celebrates the brand’s deep luxury heritage and revered legacy. Born in 1970, this collection of modern hotels and resorts is rooted in extraordinary living, with a legacy of luxury that endures to this day.
  • Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, the industry pioneer that first introduced the boutique concept to the U.S. The brand is now set to open in 20 new global destinations including Mexico CityParisBarcelonaBali and Shanghai, each of which will showcase bold, playful design, award-winning dining and surprising amenities to ensure guests have the ultimate boutique hotel stay.

Across IHG’s four leading luxury brands, guests can now enjoy nearly 300 luxury hotels around the world, with more than 100 set to open in the coming years.

As part of the IHG family, Six Senses is expected to expand to 60 properties within the next 10 years. This includes incredible new Six Senses hotels and resorts from a restored 14th-century fort in Rajasthan, to villas on a private island in Cambodia, and the brand’s first hotel in North America – a contemporary duo of twisting towers designed by Bjarke Ingles near the High Line in Manhattan’s West Chelsea.

IHG’s Chief Executive Officer, Keith Barr, said: “IHG’s growing portfolio of luxury brands is a collection of the very best in the travel industry. Each one offers something unique to our guests, and together they offer an unparalleled choice of locations and experiences. We’re incredibly proud to welcome Six Senses into our family of brands and look forward to opening more stunning hotels, resorts and spas – each one staying true to Six Senses’ world-renowned reputation for wellness and an unwavering commitment to purposeful travel.”

Core to every Six Senses hotel and resort is a Six Senses Spa, where guests can relax, reconnect, and completely refresh. Guests are guided on a personal path to finding harmony and balance, to ensure positive and lasting benefits. Unique to the hospitality sector, Six Senses has also taken wellness out of the spa and integrated it across the entire stay, helping guests learn something new and reconnect with themselves, others, and the world around them.

“This is an exciting new era for Six Senses,” said Six Senses Chief Executive Officer, Neil Jacobs. “IHG believes in our purpose to merge the two platforms of wellness and sustainability to promote personal health, and the health of the planet. Joining forces with IHG means we can use a wealth of systems and operational excellence to grow our brand and reach new markets without losing our quirky personality and playful touch.”

In the near future guests will be able to book their Six Senses stay through IHG’s booking platforms, such as the ihg.com website and the company’s leading mobile app, and benefit from the advantages of the IHG® Rewards Club loyalty programme.

With 15 of the world’s leading hotel brands and more than 5,500 hotels around the world, IHG offers travelers and members of its global loyalty programme IHG® Rewards Club, a hotel stay for all travel occasions.

 

The interior designer behind Rosewood Bangkok

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The interior designer behind Rosewood Bangkok

As its highly anticipated opening is imminently on the horizon, the Rosewood Bangkok’s interior design story is one yet to be unveiled in detail. Editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with interior designer Celia Chu to establish the narrative told within the walls of the soon-to-open 159-key luxury hotel…

The interior designer Celia Chu has worked for many leading international hotel brands across Europe, Africa and Asia & North America including The Grand Hyatt,  Hyatt Regency, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, to name but a few.

Since establishing the design firm Celia Chu Design, the combination of inspired creativity and comprehensive design strategy has been the main driving force and much of the time its competitive edge. Chu’s reputation of being a global modern designer, who can balance trendsetting statements with timeless style, inspired Rosewood Hotels, which turned to Chu to design its next luxury statement located in the ever-changing landscape of Bangkok.

With its luxury arm expanding 24 prestigious properties around the globe, being responsible for the interior design direction of a hotel branded by Rosewood requires a tenacious mindset. Balancing the interiors to be sensitive to the heritage of the brand as well as to be an ultra-modern, timeless hotel that challenges conventional design is a hurdle faced by most designers in today’s industry. However, designing a 159-key luxury hotel within the shell of a new architectural landmark – one which takes statement architecture to new global heights – was a totally new quest. Despite the boundaries, mental and physical, that were ahead when receiving the brief in 2016, interior designer Celia Chu took it all in her stride, and her vision slowly became the Rosewood Bangkok.

“It sometimes felt like I was writing a novel, taking one chapter of the story at a time.” – Celia Chu

Slated to open this Summer, the hotel has all the ingredients required to not only raise the awareness of the Rosewood Brand, but also to elevate the overall image of the city below. “To me, it’s important to first understand what kind of a story you want to tell and how you want the guests to feel,” says Chu. “When designing the concept, we become heavily involved with the culture, and all decisions have to come from the heart. Shanghai is a very modern city with a high population. As well as striving to achieve a more international look and feel, Bangkok is also very humble and it was therefore integral respect the nature of the area. I have kept this in mind throughout the entire project in order to create personal moments; it sometimes felt like I was writing a novel, taking one chapter of the story at a time.”

As well as the obvious, the sheer scale of the building and its angular architecture, there were other minor details of the site to consider when beginning the design journey. The first task for Chu and her team in the bustling Asian city of Bangkok, was to imagine a theme that would stand out from the other hotels in the area. While many designers would ‘go big or go home’, Chu opted for a more refined way of thinking. “Although it is hard to believe, because of the noise that the architecture renders have created, the site is actually very small,” Chu explains. “The design has always been very informed to feel, once completed, more like a luxury residence rather than a hotel. Therefore, the devil was absolutely in the detail.” Chu’s relationship with the architects, KFP Architect, became the fuel to the success of the overall project.

Exterior shot of the hotel

Image credit: KPF Architects/Rosewood Hotels

The building itself is visually striking – a bold move for Rosewood, which has traditionally decided to shelter its luxury abodes within classic buildings. The architecture of the 33-storey building was inspired by the Thai hand gesture of ‘wei’. “Working closely with the architects throughout the whole process, our goal for the interior design was to continue this theme of local gestures inside the property. “I love the building and our challenge was to ensure that both the architecture and the interior design blend into each other,” Chu says. “As an extension from the ‘wei’ on the exterior, in the interior design we have created all these different cultural areas, some more abstract on this theme than others. For example, while the architecture uses ‘wei’ as inspiration, there’s an area within the hotel that is inspired by another hand gesture used in Thai dance.” What many designers would consider a challenge when faced with the striking face of the architecture, Chu saw this as an opportunity to create an interesting chapter within the novel.

For Chu and her team, creating the residential look to create sophisticated tones throughout the hotel was key. To do this, she considered interesting surfaces, colours and textures. “I typically use a lot of materials the way that I design – I like to pile up layers from a base,” Chu explains. “For example, as a base I have used luxurious heavy materials such as marble, metal, leather, but to add layers I looked at traditional local materials such as wood carvings and textiles.”

Plush bathroom

Image credit: Rosewood Hotels

Within the design of a hotel of this scale, there is of course a larger context. Being a modern global designer is arguably more challenging than ever before. The double-edge sword that is technology and trends continue to divide opinions among the hotel designers in the 21st century. Chu’s experience highlights, like most, a challenge to establish ‘timeless décor’ in the ever-shifting landscape of design. “From the time we start a project start to time we finish can be up to eight years. With hotels that need to stand as a statement for a minimum of 15 years, this creates a variety of challenges when selecting styles and interior pieces,” says Chu. “My aim as a modern global designer is to support local artists, especially those who manufacturer locally. I believe I have an ethical duty to help establish the economy of where I am designing.”

Image caption: Celia Chu

If the beating heart of a luxury hotel is the lobby, then the soul within the body of the property is by far the guestrooms and suites. These areas within the Rosewood Bangkok will use night and day as an obvious theme. “Think modern Thai when imagining what the guestrooms and suites will look like,” explains Chu. “We have used a colour scheme to incorporate dark areas and light areas.” The result of this, I can envision, is a district residential feel, which echoes a similar style to that of the public areas.

While the surfaces will be layered, the lighting will be simple and effective. “Our aim in the lighting was to steer away from being complicated and instead create different light directions,” says Chu. “I find that designers are using more decorative lighting to make the whole system within the guestroom or suite easier to use.”

Lots of time they are trying to peruse an international look. In Bangkok we are trying to respect the humble nature of the area. Especially this client, we design the space I want to make it even more Thai with the history. Like writing a novel for a client. Maybe not on the scale of it, but we are certainly making an impact.

As Chu approaches writing the final pages of what she describes is her novel, complete with thick, textured and timeless pages, I am interested to go where few design enthusiasts dare to go. I am eager, before we say farewell, to unearth which area of the hotel Chu would consider to be her favourite. “That is so difficult to question, as all areas are so different and mean different things to me,” says Chu. “However, the living room/lobby lounge is such an interesting space. It is designed appropriately for an area where guests can enjoy afternoon tea and dinner. Locals too will enjoy this area, which I am very excited about. Therefore, I wanted to tell the story of the client’s memories and is inspired by a music box.”

The end of March will mark the grand opening of the Rosewood Bangkok. As Chu puts the finishing touches to her masterpiece ‘novel’, which will be unveiled to the world shortly, Bangkok’s presence as a rising modern design hub continues to develop in many interesting shapes, colours and sizes.

EDITION arrives in New York’s Times Square

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The Times Square EDITION is the brand’s second hotel to open in New York…

There simply has never been anything like it before in New York City’s famed cultural and entertainment mecca. Ian Schrager, in partnership with Marriott International, has introduced the sophisticated The EDITION Times Square, which will shelter the first Michelin-starred chef ever to grace the neighborhood, along with the creation of a new form of Cabaret theatre and a complete reinvention of billboard art.

Throughout the decades, Times Square has seen myriad changes and has taken on many iterations. By World War I, it was the center of culture, nightlife and entertainment. By the 40’s and 50’s, the Latin Quarter Nightclub presented festive floor shows that featured chorus girls and can-can dancers, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine and the Andrew Sisters. There was Tin Pan Alley, the Copacabana and the Theater District. There was Roseland, Birdland, Ella Fitzgerald, marathon dancing, hot jazz, Doo-Wop and the pop rock of the Brill building as well as the invention of the now gossip columns. It was a democratic “meeting place” and nothing exemplified the disorder of the city or the dichotomy of high and low art than Times Square. Sadly, however, the Great Depression and World War II took its toll on the area and Times Square began its decline. From the 60’s onward, the area was riddled with adult entertainment, prostitution, drugs, and crime. It wasn’t until the mid-80’s when the Marriott Marquis opened its doors and Disney debuted The Lion King at The New Amsterdam Theatre that the clean-up began with the redevelopment of new theaters, retail, hotels and eateries.

Despite Times Square’s notorious reputation, it has managed to maintain itself as a symbolic global, geographic and cultural icon. It had long been home to media giants as well as the center for theater, music, culture and entertainment. This adventurous mold-breaking, however, has disappeared. Today, Times Square and its overindulgent commercialisation that lacks the substance and sex-appeal that once distinguished its streets. It is hungry for a Renaissance and The Times Square EDITION will usher in a new era. The hotel and all of its unique offerings seek to preserve the essence of the area during its Golden Age when it was the microcosm of the best New York City had to offer.

“The Golden Age of Times Square elicited the feeling that anything was possible. New York was the City of Dreams, Times Square at its heart, where everyone came together with a common purpose,” said Schrager. “The Times Square EDITION is the embodiment of this storied past, resurrected for the present, providing hope for the future of this most beloved neighborhood.”

black armchair infront of black wallcoverings

Image credit: EDITION Hotels

From the moment you enter the hotel’s doors on 20 Times Square at West 47th Street, guests are transported to another world—a decompression zone. A long ivory hall with venetian plastered walls and ceiling and a floating custom green mirrored stainless sphere inspired by Anish Kapoor and the colors of Jeff Koons await you. Once gusts arrive at the Lobby and Lobby Bar, a series of black and white spaces, which is worlds away from technicolour scenes located on the streets. Each of these two extremes serves the other yet each stands on its own. But together, something new, original, and even stronger is created. Indeed, with this alchemic symbiosis, a new reality and a virtual fourth dimension is created. As guests move in and out continuously, the space becomes boundaryless. This clash of worlds, this surreal sense of space and time is best experienced on the outdoor terraces, appropriately named the Bladerunner Terraces, that frame the various public space floors. On the terrace off the Lobby Bar, guests can choose to be in your own private oasis escaping in a cocoon-like area or face the brilliance of flashing light and color of Times Square for the best light show in the world.

“The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner.” – Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

Off the Terrace Restaurant, a similar feeling awaits on expansive terraces that were inspired by the L’Orangerie at Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. The outdoor space in totality with thousands of plants, trees and ivy is perhaps the biggest indoor landscaping effort in the country was designed by Madison Cox and is literally, multi-level gardens in the sky. The public space interiors with their rich woods, lush velvets, waxed leathers, polished marbles and smooth metals are combined to create a chic, simple, hip, serene and luxurious setting, an antidote to the hectic life just outside the hotel’s doors.

“The Times Square EDITION is an entirely new lens on Times Square. From an aerie above the hubbub below, you can engage, observe or withdraw. The hotel is an oasis of sophistication brought to you through the insight of the incomparable Ian Schrager, my friend and partner. There is simply nothing like it.” Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International.

The first Michelin-starred chef ever in Times Square, John Fraser, is spearheading the food and beverage at the hotel to create a cacophony of dining experiences. The fine dining restaurant named 701 West is a gastronomic gem in a jewel box-like setting that is an explosion of color.

The Terrace Restaurant and Outdoor Gardens is an original take on a four meal, 18 hour-a-day restaurant inspired by traditional French brasseries and American chophouses but taken in a completely new direction by Chef Fraser.

The entrance to the Terrace restaurant will host the debut exhibit of specially curated candid portrayals of “the real New York City”, the one not seen by visitors, capturing energetic, gritty and poetic street and neighborhood scenes by renowned photographers Helen Levitt, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, Ruth Orkin, Arthur Leipzig and Cornell Capa to name a few. The following exhibit will shift to more current street scenes illustrating the culture and diversity that pervades the city today. The space will continue to house rotating photography and art exhibits by various well-known photographers and artists.

The Paradise Club is an inventive, chaotic, high production spectacle perfectly suited for Times Square. The brainchild of Anya Sapozhnikova, Justin Conte, Matthew Dailey and Kae Burke of House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn, this edgy and provocative modern-day Cabaret manifests the disorder of the City and adds a whole new dimension to the hotel and to Times Square.

The shows will be part theatre, part performance art with talent across many disciplines including dance, voice, aerial acrobatics, choreography, costume design and magic. There will be a regular ongoing performance based on William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. With no formulas, rules or any specific structure, but not for shock value, each performance at Paradise Club will be different from the previous one and different from the next. For a new twist on dining and entertainment, the menu will be original and creative from hot dogs to caviar and everything in between.

“Paradise Club is a place of aspiration… Invention and reinvention… A refuge to enjoy life and forget life and the perfect place to escape into fantasy,” said Schrager.

This one-of-a-kind cultural entertainment space also features the most sensational, immersive, colorful and kinetic lighting effects designed by Tony and Academy Award-winning Fisher Marantz of Studio 54 fame and inspired by a Lenny Kravitz video, as well as bespoke hand painted murals inspired by Bosch and Dali–a modern successor to the world famous Maxfield Parrish’s King Cole mural on Fifth Avenue. Perhaps the most spectacular element of the space is the full-blown production studio and control center that allows for live simulcasts and broadcasts around the world, as well as locally to a “Best in Class” 17,000 sf-8K-8mm Jumbotron outside of the building and a high definition digital screen on the stage. The exterior Jumbotron will also display rotating art by current video artists, cinematographers and animators.

Main image credit: EDITION Hotels

Camouflaged hotel architecture of the 21st century

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As we continue putting architecture and construction in the spotlight, Hotel Designs reveals some of the world’s most spectacular hidden architectural gems…

Following our search to unveil impressive architectural drawings that are currently on the boards, this week Hotel Designs is investigating architecture’s largest, most impressive, magic trick; to make a building disappear.

With hotel owners and operators around the world competing with one another to open in eye-catching buildings, and sustainability more considered than ever before, here are a few examples of buildings that impressively blend into their surroundings.

1) Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia

Image of one of the lodges blending into the surroundings of sand dunes.

Image credit: Shipwreck Lodge

Crafted around the enigmatic shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, there’s nowhere on the continent – or the world – quite like Shipwreck Lodge. The raw and rugged shells of each shack is matched in the interiors with shabby blinds and rough wooden walls. Adding comfort, the soft furnishings and fur throws make the inside feel cosy – almost a home-from-home. The impossibly remote slice of African wilderness, where towering dunes and wind-swept plains roll as far as the eye can see, is buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas.

> Read more by clicking here

2) Whitepod, Switzerland

Image of the pods on the slopes

Image credit: Whitepod

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the eco pods at Whitepod, complete with electricity, heating supplied by a pellet stove and fully fitted bathrooms, are quite literally on the side of a mountain. Each pod has been designed to be ecologically friendly.

> Read more by clicking here

3) Keemala Phuket, Thailand

Villa that is hidden in the woodland

Image caption: Tree Pool House at Keemala Phuket in Thailand

Categorised into four different tribes, the rooms and interiors at Keemala Phuket have been evenly designed to offer comfort and reflect Phuket’s rural beginnings.

Clay Pool Cottage – it is believed that people of this tribe excel in agriculture and have a strong bond to earth. The furniture is made from carved wood and clever patterns are imprinted to tell the tale of the tribe’s art and culture.

Tree Pool House – Living life at high levels, the people of this tribe can be found in trees. The interiors, therefore, include hanging furniture with embedded patterns throughout.

Tent Pool Villa – Seeking adventure through the art of hunting has been inspired in the design of this style of property. This reflects the tribe that is a born wanderer. The fabrics reveal ease of mobility while dark leather represents stalking instincts.

> Read more by clicking here

4) ÖÖD house – Rood Wood of Mayfield 

Image credit: Round Wood of Mayfield

The ÖÖD house – a stunning, 18 sq/m mini home/hotel facility clad in mirrored glass which blends to its natural surroundings – has been added to Round Wood of Mayfield’s collection of high end outdoor structures.

Originally envisaged as a “pop up” hotel guest room or Airbnb pad by Estonian company ÖÖD, it is now exclusively distributed and assembled by the timber and landscape specialists across the UK.

The stand-alone living space for both commercial and domestic clients, which also make ideal office spaces, guest accommodation or even yoga studios, blends beautifully into any setting courtesy of the striking insulated glazing that covers the front and sides.

> Read more by clicking here

5) Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Interior Designer Kerry van Leenhoff fused together design and nature effortlessly. The Zimbabwean created spaces that encompassed the concept of ‘life on the river’ using locally sourced material throughout. The resort, which Hotel Designs reviewed in October of last year, sits alone on a 123,000-acre plot of game reserve.

The future of Matetsi is bright: “We are working on a few things at the moment, which are really exciting projects,” van Leenhoff told Hotel Designs. “The design direction and our aim is to strike the balance between feeling isolated and feeling safe.” The new plans will further challenge conventional luxury lodges in Africa with a real focus on opening up the guests to undisturbed nature.

Read more by clicking here

6) treehotel, Sweeden

a camouflaged mirrored cube in the trees

Image credit: treehotel

The Mirrorcube was launched as an “exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings.” Its base consists of an aluminum frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass.

The interior is designed from plywood with a birch surface. The total of six windows provide a stunning panoramic view. A 12-meter-long bridge leads up to the tree room.

> Read more by clicking here

Main image credit: treehotel

Top stories of the week: futuristic hotel reviews, amazing architecture and rounding up MAISON&OBJET

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In the same week that the Surface Design Show opened in London and Dubai welcomes a new stylish neighbour (W Dubai – The Palm), Hotel Designs asked the former presenter of The Gadget Show, Jason Bradbury, to review a hotel 30 years in the future. Here are the top five stories of the week, as selected by editor Hamish Kilburn… 

This week, we published a story announcing yet another Hotel Designs’ traffic record. With January 2019’s readership peaking at more than 67,000 readers, the website has never been more popular internationally among designers, architects, hoteliers and industry suppliers. For that reason, this week has felt like a mini milestone on the editorial desk. Adding to that warm and fuzzy feeling, is our exclusive hotel review with Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of The Gadget Show. Equipped with a camera and the latest technology products, Bradbury spent the night in Eccleston Square Hotel in London future-gazing, as he reviewed the hotel in a unique format – 30 years in the future. Following on from MAISON&OBJET last month, the Surface Design Show, of which we are a media partner for, opened its doors at the Business Design Centre to a flood of new and exciting surface companies exhibiting its latest products. Ahead of that review going live, here are what I consider to be the top five stories of the week.

1) Jason Bradbury reviews Eccleston Square Hotel, London

Image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel/Twitter: @JasonBradbury

Healing heating, holographic entertainment and a toilet that tells you your food printer what snacks to make, technology expert and futurist Jason Bradbury spent a night future gazing in the technologically enhanced 19th Century luxury of Eccleston Square Hotel, London.

> Click here to read the full review

2) Editor’s round-up of MAISON&OBJET Paris and Deco Off 2019

Exhibition hall

Image credit: MAISON&OBJET

The streets of Paris at any time of the year ooze chic style, sophistication and a certain ‘je-ne sais quoi’. During January, though, it is a bustling haven for designers seeking inspiration on emerging trends, new pieces and exhaustive conversations. Between both Deco Off, which in my eyes is Paris’ answer to Clerkenwell Design Week, and MAISON&OBJET, an ocean of exciting products displayed from a plethora of exhibitors, Paris in January is quite simply unlike anywhere else on the design globe.

> Click here to read the round-up

3) W Hotels arrives on The Palm, Dubai

Image credit: W Hotels Worldwide

“The desert just got hotter,” is how W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., announced the opening of W Dubai – The Palm, located on the Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world and one of Dubai’s most iconic attractions.

> Click here to read the story

4) Deadline for 30 Under 30 applications announced

With less than two weeks before the deadline, time is running out for interior designers, architects and hoteliers to submit their entries for the 30 Under 30 list that will be unveiled at Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

> Click here to apply/nominate

5) 5 awe-inspiring hotel architecture projects currently on the boards

Birdseye render of the site

Image credit: Foster + Partners

To kickstart our month shining the spotlight on architecture and construction, Hotel Designs highlights five groundbreaking projects that are currently in planning.

> Click here to read the story

Main image credit/caption: Torno Subito at W Dubai – The Palm

Hyatt Regency Valencia completes multi-million dollar renovation

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The 244-key hotel’s renovation in Valencia California has been designed for the modern traveller in mind… 

Hyatt Regency Valencia and Dimension Development has announced the completion of an expansive renovation of Hyatt Regency Valencia, and the introduction of Greater Pacific, a destination dining experience. Focusing on providing guests with a modern and effortless travel experience, the project enhanced all 244 guest rooms and suites, the lobby, public spaces, and all indoor and outdoor meeting spaces.

The new welcoming lobby opens to the sights and scents of Greater Pacific’s bar. Guestrooms feature modern design elements with a focus on premium style and comfort. Guests will enjoy large work desks, ergonomic chairs, and spacious bathrooms with upscale amenities and glass enclosed showers. Select rooms feature balconies, or views overlooking the pool, golf course or mountains.

The hotel’s 16,000 square feet of meeting space has been updated with energy-efficient lighting and each indoor ballroom features 20 foot ceilings adorned with grand chandeliers. Newly redesigned outdoor meeting space includes lush flower gardens, vine-covered terraces and manicured greens.

The hotel’s new signature restaurant, Greater Pacific, features contemporary décor with Asian and Californian influences and brings fresh fare to the community well beyond the traditional restaurants in the area. Greater Pacific’s menu illuminates a rich variety of approachable flavors and boldly crafted recipes of this country’s most fruitful state.

Main image credit: Hyatt Regency

Melia Hotels International opens first property in Prague

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Meliá Hotels International, Spain’s largest hotel brand, unveils INNSiDE Prague Old Town, its latest property and first hotel in the Czech capital…

Designed by Spanish architect Meritxell Cuartero, INNSiDE Prague Old Town will open in March as the first Meliá Hotels International’s hotel in the Czech capital.

The hotel marks a new era for the INNSiDE by Meliá portfolio, fitting perfectly into the brand’s evolution of design-led lifestyle and resort hotels, to give guests more freedom to relax and explore, whether they are travelling for work or leisure.

Living/lounge area with low seating and contemporary wooden bookshelf

Image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

With a key focus on sustainability, INNSIDE Prague Old Town Hotel will provide 90 modern guestrooms, all featuring the attributes of the INNSiDE by Meliá brand. This includes in-room amenities, such as bathrobes, slippers and flip flops, a luxurious coffee machine, complimentary minibar, with fresh juices and local beer and Smeg fridges packed full of healthy treats, drinks and snacks. Superior+ rooms will also have high-end sound systems, complimentary streaming services and complimentary bike rental to encourage guests to explore the local area.

“INNSiDE Prague Old Town will be one of the first hotels to offer all of the new attributes and sustainable features of this stunning and fast-growing brand, which adds up to the attractiveness of this amazing city,” said Gabriel Escarrer, Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá Hotels International.” As the leading leisure hotel Group worldwide, our brands are also extremely successful in an increasingly leisure-inspired urban market, where the city of Prague stands out.”

With health and wellness a key focus point for the brand, INNSiDE Prague Old Town will offer a gym with state-of-the-art fitness suites and the latest digital fitness software. The hotel will have an open lobby space for meetings, whether social or business, as well as boasting creative meeting room spaces including a cinema, wellness studio and recording studio, which can be hired for events and functions.

The INNSiDE by Meliá brand portfolio already has 38 hotels in 20 countries, 20 in operation and 18 in the pipeline.

Main image credit: INNSiDE by Meliá

Maggie’s St Barts awarded Supreme Winner at Surface Design Awards 2019

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13 awards were presented to the winners of Surface Design Awards 2019… 

The winners of the 2019 Surface Design Awards have been announced, hailing the best and most impressive use of materials in, and on, architectural projects from around the globe.

The beautiful new Maggie’s Centre Barts, London has been declared the Supreme Winner, capturing the judge’s hearts and minds. A beacon of design in the charity sector, the building by Steven Holl Architects’ was shortlisted in the Public Building Exterior category, gaining acclaim from the judges, including Christophe Egret, who stated “You really feel that a person dealing with cancer might feel elevated in this space.”

Across 13 categories entrants to the Awards comprised a who’s-who in architecture and design from around the world. Zaha Hadid Architects, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Egret West and Chris Dyson Architects from the UK, Rockwell Group from the USA, and Kengo Kuma & Associates from Japan were among the shortlist.

Contemporary view of the lobby

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The Surface Design Awards, announced at the annual Surface Design Show, recognise and celebrate the best use of innovative surface materials in architecture and design internationally.

Launched five years ago, the Awards have grown year-on-year to become one of the most respected accolades in the design awards realm. The 2019 shortlist consisted of an impressive 43 projects from 9 countries, each entry an exemplary example of creative and innovative use of materials and lighting in both interior and exterior schemes. Some projects won nominations across several categories, resulting in 48 finalists.

The 2019 judging panel was co-chaired by Christophe Egret, Founding Partner at Studio Egret West, and Paul Priestman, Chairman at PriestmanGoode. The full panel comprised Cany Ash, Partner at Ash Sakula Architects; James Soane, Director at Project Orange architecture & interior design; Jeremy Offer, Chief Creative Officer at future-focused vehicle designers Arrival; Katie Greenyer, Creative Talent & Network Director at Pentland Group; Paul Edwards, Head of Creative Design at Airbus and Roz Barr, Director of Roz Barr Architects.

The Surface Design Awards 2019 winners in full:

Award: Retail Interior
Project: Aesop flagship store
Designer: Snohetta

Award: Retail Exterior
Project: Lava Stone Shopfront
Designer: STAC Architecture

Award: Public Building Interior
Project: Writ in Water
Studio Octopi with Mark Wallinger

Award: Public Building Exterior
Project: Maggie’s Centre St Barts
Studio: Steven Holl Architects

Award: Commercial Interior
Project: The Veil
Studio: Giles Miller Studio & Orms

Award: Commercial Exterior
Project: Morpheus Hotel
Studio: Zaha Hadid Architects/ Isometrix Lighting Design

Award: Temporary Structure
Project: TED Theatre
Rockwell Group

Award: Sustainable Interior
Project: SGS Berkeley Green
Studio: Hewitt Studios

Award: Sustainable Exterior
Project: Cultural Village
Studio: Kengo Kuma & Associates

Award: Light & Surface Interior
Project: Gymbox Mopheus Hotel Atrium
Studio: Zaha Hadid Archtiects/ Lightivity Lighting Design/ Isometrix Lighting Design

Award: Light & Surface Exterior
Project: Black Prince Road Story Wall
Studio: Michael Grubb Studio/ AF Lighting

Award: Housing Interior
Project: Powis Cloud
Studio: Lily Jencks Studio

Award: Housing Exterior
Project: Fajal House
Studio: Mole Architects

Main image credit: Surface Design Show Awards/Maggie’s Centre St Barts/Steven Holl Architects

W Hotels arrives on The Palm, Dubai

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The 350-key W Dubai – The Palm opens, complete with disruptive interiors, to design its own narrative and lead the ever-changing hospitality scene in the Middle East forward… 

“The desert just got hotter,” is how W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., announced the opening of W Dubai – The Palm, located on the Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made island in the world and one of Dubai’s most iconic attractions.

With its electrifying style, evocative design and eclectic destination restaurants, W Dubai – The Palm is the newest W Escape, the W brand’s playful spin on the traditional resort experience, is set to add a new beat to the already dynamic and pulsating city.

Guestroom overlooking Dubai

Image credit: W Hotels Worldwide

“Much like W has redefined modern luxury, Dubai is a city that is firmly in charge of writing its own narrative, fearlessly embracing the future through design, technology and global culture,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The energy and marvel of this incredible city make it the perfect destination for a W Escape – our unique take on a resort holiday – where the bold style, iconic service and signature scene of W come to play.”

“It begins with the hotel’s iconic “W” sign patterned to resemble an evaporated desert river bed.”

The dynamic design of W Dubai – The Palm celebrates the evolution of one of the most dynamic cities in the world, seamlessly juxtaposing the organic, natural curves of sand dunes and coastline with the marvel of the geometric lines of the city’s skyscrapers. It begins with the hotel’s iconic “W” sign patterned to resemble an evaporated desert river bed and the WHEELS (valet) area reminiscent of a falage, a cavernous riverbed covered by palm fronds. Leading guests into the hotel is a stunning display of Orsoni glass tiles in colors inspired by overgrown foliage which reflect the golden sun on the horizon. A head-raising, five-story atrium envelopes the Welcome Desk, a nod to desert fortresses and citadels of long ago. Golden trusses comprised of framed boxes sparkle throughout the space, representing different stages of modern construction in Dubai, a common sight of the ever-changing cityscape, and sit upon carpets that depict the island’s surrounding waters reflecting both construction and clouds. Completing the dramatic entrance is “The Soundwave” – a 6.5 ton, 30m long visual vector that represents a W sound wave. With 640 glass pieces, the towering fixture puts on a show of its own, illuminating in alternating intensities and colors to reflect the beats of the DJ in the neighboring W Lounge.

View of the pool and exterior of the building in Dubai

W Hotels Worldwide

The W Lounge (lobby) is a stage to see and be seen and celebrates the city’s well-known love of opulence with several geometric fixtures that mimic the raw, natural form of gold. An artistic interpretation of a traditional fire pit sits in the center of the W Lounge, signifying the bonfires that Bedouin tribes would gather around during their desert travels years ago. Connecting the W Lounge to the nearby VIP Lounge is a 13.5-meter sofa in muted earth tones, representing a desert mountain range – the skyscrapers of the past.

Vibrant bathrooms at W Dubai - The Palm

Image caption: Vibrant bathrooms at W Dubai – The Palm

All 350 guestrooms and suites offer uninterrupted views and dreamy amenities. Curved walls are intricately tiled to glisten like the lights and colors of the sea at various times of the day, bringing the shoreline into each room. Modern graffiti adorns the walls of every room, featuring lyrics in Arabic from an iconic song by Lebanese singer, Fairouz.

Arial perspective of a render of the W Dubai - The Palm site

Image cation: Aerial perspective of a render of the W Dubai – The Palm site

The hotel features a multiple of pools that sit in a wave-like pattern in the center of the Escape to form the W brand’s iconic WET® Deck experience, beach-facing, with views of the Dubai skyline. The W brand’s signature AWAY® Spa invites guests to ‘Stroll in and Strut out’ offering ten treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, experiential showers, a hammam and a couples’ suite. Guests are treated to a design inspired by the underwater perspective of a pearl diver, where iridescent shells reflect the sunlight that peeks through the ocean above. Lastly, guests can sweat it out at FIT (gym) which boasts state-of-the-art equipment overlooking the WET Deck, beach and skyline views, featuring abstract art inspired by the graceful forms of both jellyfish and the parachutes of adventure-seeking skydivers.

“As our first W Escape in the region, W Dubai – The Palm combines the city’s unique allure with the brand’s bold design and dynamic lifestyle and gives it a locally relevant twist.”

W Dubai – The Palm is set to infuse even more decadence into Dubai’s booming, multicultural culinary landscape with six beverage and food destinations. Translated as “I will be right back,” Torno Sobito is the first restaurant outside of Italy by global culinary genius, Chef Massimo Bottura – whose Osteria Francescana has been feted as the “World’s Best Restaurant.” The dishes and design of Torno Subito lean in to Dubai’s reputation for all things playful. Guests dig into Massimo’s favorite bites inside converted rescue boats and pedalos (paddle boats) and can choose a flavor from the roving gelato cart. Massimo, like W, has an eye for irreverence, which is evident in the options for decadent pasta bowls ordered by size: medium and large. Guests dine in a 60’s-esque wonderland, decked with woven green chairs, life sized beachfront imagery, bold metallic accents adorning the ceilings and walls, and lighting reminiscent of dressing rooms and marquees from the golden age of Hollywood.

Torno Subito at W Dubai - The Palm

Image caption: Torno Subito at W Dubai – The Palm

“We are excited to bring the W brand to Palm Jumeirah with the highly anticipated opening of W Dubai – The Palm,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “As our first W Escape in the region, W Dubai – The Palm combines the city’s unique allure with the brand’s bold design and dynamic lifestyle and gives it a locally relevant twist. With game-changing style, amplified entertainment and innovative culinary offerings, this W Escape will inject a fresh vibe into the local hospitality scene and offer the most sought-after luxury getaway for locals as well as global jet-setters.”

SoBe (short for South Beach) is an adults-only playground inspired by the eclectic and vibrant spirit of Miami. This is the only rooftop bar in Dubai where guests can watch the sun sink into the Arabian Sea with 360-degree views to watch as the Dubai skyline lights up each night. Serving up eclectic live DJ performances, imaginative cocktails, and even tattoo artists, there will be nothing else like it in the city.

LIV offers guests greener, lighter, fresher and brighter options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was designed using only upcycled materials, meaning no new materials were created to build the venue. The restaurant is sprinkled with artwork inspired by the patterns left on beaches by sand bubbler crabs, the official mascot of W Dubai – The Palm.

W Dubai – The Palm adopts a bold approach to take events from ordinary to extraordinary. Featuring more than 2,000 square meters of event space, W Dubai sets the stage for any elaborate occasion. The sprawling 1,215-square-meter Great Room boasts an extraordinary oval shape, sensually designed with rotating walls letting in (or blocking out) the dazzling Arabian sun. Custom lighting features allows W Dubai to personalize each event, lighting up the scene with a myriad of colors. The Green Room serves as a holding area for events and weddings and features light pendants reminiscent of wedding bands and carpeting adorned in henna-like patterns.

Kaldewei unveils new digital stand concept for ISH

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Kaldewei’s forum delivers an interactive brand experience, demonstrating its role as a digital pioneer. The leading bathroom manufacturer is exhibiting at ISH on stand D79 – Hall 3.1…

Kaldewei will be exhibiting on stand D79 – Hall 3.1 at ISH from March 11 – 15 with a completely new stand concept, demonstrating its unrivalled position as a leading bathroom manufacturer.

At its stand, divided into five themed zones, Kaldewei will be demonstrating its expertise in the area of design and functionality. The stand will be displaying its international references, flexible solutions as well as the latest trends. These will include; bathroom solutions in exclusive colours, revolutionary shower concepts and new installation and drainage solutions. Visitors will also be able to see for themselves the diverse digital services that Kaldewei has to offer. At the heart of the interactive stand, Kaldewei will be presenting a new app which will network and support trade partners better than before.

“Trade visitors will have the chance to see first-hand how Kaldewei sets industry trends.”

Kaldewei Forum: The exceptional deserves a special stage

Trade visitors will have the chance to see first-hand how Kaldewei sets industry trends with its bathroom solutions, raises standards and creates unique solutions for bathrooms of every size. The stand design – reminiscent of the iconic architecture of the Elbphilharmonie building, Hamburg – is divided into five themed zones and will deliver an interactive brand experience. At its heart, the Forum features a huge sphere which will provide visitors with a multi-sensory show. Lecterns and tiered seating in an open circle invite visitors to interact. Visitors can test the diverse digital options available, including the new app, using digital columns and tablets. Arndt Papenfuß, Director Marketing at Kaldewei, says: “The new Kaldewei Forum not only reflects our core competence of providing the highest-quality bathroom furnishings with individual, customised solutions made of superior
steel enamel, but also the structure and design elements of the new Forum highlighting our company’s strategic position, and – just like our product development does – actively placing our customers’ ideas and needs centre-stage.”

“At ISH, Kaldewei will be presenting a new app that brings all of these services together.”

Digital features for trade partners

As a digital pioneer in the bathroom industry, Kaldewei has been supporting its partners for years with a wide range of online services such as its Product Configurator, an interactive planning tool. It is also one of the very first bathroom manufacturers to provide BIM data – the new standard with regard to projection, coordination and cost control in construction. At ISH, Kaldewei will be presenting a new app that brings all of these services together. With this app, bathroom planners and on-site professional installers will be able to connect even faster with Kaldewei, giving them easier access to the premium bathroom manufacturer’s tools for planning, installing and assembling Kaldewei bathroom solutions.

Image of Kaldewei's shower tray

Image credit: Kaldewei

Global partner: Kaldewei iconic bathroom solutions

At ISH 2019, Kaldewei will be presenting its international references and flexible solutions for different markets worldwide, highlighting its expertise as a global partner for Iconic Bathroom Solutions. In addition, other walk-through areas of the Forum will present corporate themes such as sustainability – as a key element of Kaldewei’s identity – and will demonstrate the superiority of Kaldewei steel enamel.

System Expertise: Groundbreaking shower solutions

As an expert for floor-level shower surfaces, Kaldewei will also be presenting new options for customising its unique NexSys shower concept which skilfully combines the advantages of a seamless enamelled shower surface with the design of a tiled shower area with shower channel. Working closely with bathroom professionals, Kaldewei has continued to expand its trusty assembly system with new installation and drainage solutions – making the installation of floor-level showers even simpler, flatter and more flexible.

Exclusive Shades in the Bathroom: the most beautiful combination of form and colour

Kaldewei opens up a new dimension of bathroom design with the sophisticated matt shades of the Coordinated Colours Collection. Any move away from classic white is a positive step in the bathroom and a distinctive hallmark of individuality.
Kaldewei recently extended its exclusive colour world to its washbasin segment – allowing for an even more harmonious and personalised room design. Trade visitors can see for themselves how the coloured bathroom solutions – from the revolutionary NexSys shower system to the washbasin bowls from the Miena range – can be integrated elegantly into the overall design concept of modern bathrooms or, equally, be skilfully placed as visual highlights.

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

Technology expert Jason Bradbury reviews Eccleston Square Hotel in the future

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Technology expert Jason Bradbury reviews Eccleston Square Hotel in the future

Healing heating, holographic entertainment and a toilet that tells you your food printer what snacks to make, technology expert and futurist Jason Bradbury spent a night future gazing in the technologically enhanced 19th Century luxury of Eccleston Square Hotel, London

We’re living back to front. As technology marches inexorably forward, gaining speed at an exponential rate, it seems that the simple and the authentic have more value than ever before.

The resurgence of vinyl is a great example of this, independent coffee shops and organic grocers too – and so is a certain type of boutique hotel. In order to understand what a night in the hotel room of the future might be like, it’s necessary to appreciate why many of the standout disruptors in the current market are looking backwards, hiding their high-tech flaunts and instead focussing on experiences and simply good service.

Eccleston Square Hotel in London was the setting for my experiment in hotel room time travel. It’s a fine example of how well integrated smart technology can enhance a stay. Notable in-room features include LED clear-to-opaque glass in the bathroom, gestural lighting controls, a massaging bed and an improbably positioned outside/inside courtyard. All of these elements are design decisions that will have echoes in the rooms we will choose to book in the year 2049 (although few will have the Eccleston’s claim of being mere steps away from Winston Churchill’s front door).

Image of in-room ipad next to lighting controls

Image credit: Ecclestone Hotel London

 “The hotel room of the future will still rely heavily on technology, but it will be engineered for invisibility.”

30 years from now, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is currently the subject of deep moral conjecture will be commonplace. All retail, education, medicine, travel and data-centric areas of our lives will be handled by our personal Block-Chain driven A.Is. Much of our entertainment will be virtual visualisations; what we now call Augmented and Virtual Reality, immersive movies and games so convincing they’ll be indistinguishable from reality. It’s logical, therefore, to assume that when the mundane in life is handled by our personal A.I assistant and our persistent screen experience digital, we’ll seek out authenticity as an escape.

The hotel room of the future will still rely heavily on technology, but it will be engineered for invisibility. The down-lighters and wall switches that are currently in hotels will be replaced by neuro and mood interpreting imaging, ambient and natural light emulation, aimed at inducing calm and/or focus. Glass wall room dividers won’t just switch to opaque, they’ll transform into shimmering living jungle walls or expansive movie screens or personalised news feeds created by holographic projection. Think Minority Report, but without the need for gloves.

Modern bathroom

Image credit: Eccleston Square Hotel, London

In order to get a handle on all this future gazing, it’s sometimes helpful to have tangible examples to hand. The recently launched Magic Leap mixed reality headset offers insight into how a futuristic hotel room could be brought or augmented with ultra-high definition virtual assets. By 2049, several exponential leaps up the curve, the headset might be unnecessary, imaging handled by a projector and a glass room divider infused with highly refractive silver particles.

That’s entertainment, but what about the health and wellness opportunities offered by the hotel room of the next decade?

“Beyond just heating, far infrared light offers all manner of health benefits including immune system support, helping to alleviate stress, psoriasis and relieving joint and muscle pain.”

Astectherm is an example of an advanced technology that predicts the kind of hybrid between practical and health orientated benefits that might find itself in the guestroom in 10 years from now. I was able to install a working sample of this thin, flexible infrared thermal heating fabric between the electrically operated curtains during my Eccleston Square Hotel stay. More usually, lengths of Astectherm would be installed in walls or under floor and ceilings. Beyond just heating, far infrared light offers all manner of health benefits including immune system support, helping to alleviate stress, psoriasis and relieving joint and muscle pain. This system is an excellent example of an invisible technology that could offer in-room, spa-like health and wellness advantages for the future hotel room user checking in.

Hyper-personalisation will drive much high-end retail and leisure experiences in the future. The 3D printers that are still mainly the preserve of industry today will perhaps print bespoke, nutritionally focused meals in the kitchens of tomorrow. In order to compete, a morning in an Eccelston Square Hotel room circa 2049 will, for example, have to offer a high-end personalised breakfast and coffee experience. To give a sense of where our future caffeine fixes might come from, I tested the Ikawa Personal Coffee roaster in my room. As well as infusing the suite with a gorgeous aroma of freshly roasted green coffee beans, the tiny app-controlled machine offers concrete insight into the quick, delicious and bespoke snacks and meals we will come to expect in the near-future. In future in-room coffee machines, the ingredients will be determined by a stool and urine analysing toilet and other health monitoring wearables. If your morning bathroom routine flags a rise in your inflammatory markers, you might find turmeric in your freshly-roasted, non-dairy latte.

Image caption: Ikawa Personal Coffee Roaster – thanks to coffee gurus @Steampunkcoffeemachine & @Anyalou and Ben from imperialteas.co.uk

While we currently have the Apple Watch, in the future we’ll see far more discrete wearables, which will offer a much deeper insight into our general wellness. Take sleep for example, a critical part of any hotel room experience. At the moment, Some hotels offer a vague ‘good night guarantee’ based on little more than firm pillows. Eccleston Square Hotel already takes its bedtime more seriously than most, but as well as a mood lighting and an electronically adjustable bed, in 10 years time its beds might map guests’ REM and movement signatures. They high-tech beds might compare them to a block-chain powered pattern from thousands of my previous nights’ sleep, cross-referenced with a range of biological and psychological markers, blood sugar readings from bathroom analysis and wearables and even neurological data. And if this is all sounding a little too Sci-Fi, I took the liberty of installing a Nokia Smart Sleep sensor in my Eccleston Square hotel bed.

“The app data showed a high ‘Sleep Quality’ score of 90 per cent, only twenty seconds of snoring and a longer period of ‘deep sleep’ than on previous nights at home testing it.”

Perhaps it was exhaustion from setting up all the gadgets- or the massage – but the app data showed a high ‘Sleep Quality’ score of 90 per cent, only twenty seconds of snoring and a longer period of ‘deep sleep’ than on previous nights at home testing it. This level of detail, while insightful today will seem laughably trivial in ten years, but again, Nokia’s gadget is a fine example of where we’re heading.

Image Caption: Nokia Sleep Sensor. 2. Bed’s Massage Remote Control

The Eccleston Square Hotel has several rooms with distinctive private outdoor spaces. It achieves this by cleverly slicing up what would be larger areas and then giving each outdoor triangle the perception of space with large mirrored walls. This is another precursor to a future trend; the use of spacial sensory imaging, both auditory and visual, to create outdoor experiences, but on a considerably smaller scale. Looking beyond 2049 and it’s not implausible to imagine something like a Star Trek holodeck that transforms a tiny 24m² courtyard into an infinite forest in which you can jog by virtue of a 360° treadmill.

Image caption: Courtyard in Eccleston Square Hotel Room showing outside mirrored wall

It’s a contradiction for sure, but technology will deliver what the hotel guest of the future will desire most, authenticity. The design ethos, eco and energy awareness, food and customer service expectations of the discerning hotel guest a decade hence will still be central to their choice. What will change is the availability of bespoke, luxury personalised services, many of which will have echoes of a bygone age, a time when the gadgets that distract us today hadn’t been invented. Of course there will be no obvious gadgets in the hotel room of the future, just ‘real’ services and experiences. And when reality can’t be delivered, we’ll be happy to accept the perception of it.

Jason Bradbury can booked for futurology talks at jla.co.uk and found on YouTube  & Instagram. Thanks also to the lovely staff at Eccleston Square Hotel. 

 Main image credit: Twitter @JasonBradbury/Eccleston Square Hotel London

Crosswater becomes headline partner for The Brit List 2019

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Following the success of last year’s event, leading bathroom manufacturer Crosswater has become the headline partner for The Brit List 2019…

The Brit List, which is Hotel Designs‘ nationwide search to find the top interior designers, hoteliers and architects, has confirmed that Crosswater, part of Bathroom Brands‘ portfolio, will be the headline partner for the 2019 event.

“Operating in the UK, with its vibrant design community is an honour,” said Mike Bone, Director of Group Projects at Bathroom Brands. “So much of our success, as a business, is generated together with the creative visions developed by this community. Furthering our brand and products in the hearts and minds of designers and architects is critical to our future success.

“Our decision to participate as headline partner at this year’s Brit List is a demonstration of our commitment to support, celebrate and recognise the very best of interior designers, architects and hoteliers today.”

Attended by more than 200 interior designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers, The Brit List 2018 was hailed a success among the industry’s finest practitioners:

“The Brit List recognises the UK’s best Hotel Design talent and we at IHG are proud to be recognised for the hard work we have done to the interior design of our brands in recent years. We are humbled by the huge amount of design talent amongst the other winners. Congratulations to all involved.” – Emma King, Head of Interior Design Europe, IHG

“We are truly honoured to be included in the Brit List” – Bee Osborn, Creative Director, Osborn Interiors

“Some moments in your life are special.  Some are more special than others, so it was a very very special moment for me to receive the Brit List 2018 Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Award.  I propose to enjoy the moment as Britain remains the very heartbeat of stylist design of the globe.” – Robin Sheppard, CEO, Bespoke Hotels. Winner of Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

“I am delighted to have been recognised as one of Britain’s top 25 hoteliers in The Brit List 2018. My team and I are proud of our continued hard work and extraordinary attentiveness to our customers’ satisfaction here at The Gainsborough Bath Spa. It is important to me to go the extra mile for both my guests and staff to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and memorable stay with us in beautiful, historic Bath” – Brian Benson, General Manager, The Gainsborough Hotel and Spa

With further details around The Brit List 2019 to be unveiled soon, including how to nominate and how to apply for this year’s list, the concept will return to London this November. Venue and date TBC, for now.

Headline partner: Crosswater

The PuXuan Hotel and Spa opens in Beijing

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The hotel and spa in Beijing’s unique architecture form has been designed by acclaimed German architect Ole Scheeren…

Located a stones throw away from Beijing’s Forbidden City, The PuXuan Hotel and Spa has opened with the aim to become a new urban haven in the Chinese capital. The latest Urban Resort Concepts (URC) luxury hotel has been designed by internationally acclaimed German architect Ole Scheeren (formerly with OMA).

In collaboration with Shanghai-based design firm MQ studio, the hotel’s interiors will exemplify URC’s hallmark design principles, integrating luxurious and understated metaphorical design throughout a modern space, uniquely crafted with local, cultural references. The hotel’s artwork, curated by the Guardian Art Centre, will feature some of the finest contemporary Chinese art in the region today.

A collection of immersive half and full day programmes curated by The PuXuan that provides guests exclusive access to local, hidden gems and landmarks alike, ensures travellers to Beijing experience the breadth of the city’s history, culture and gastronomy.

Image credit: PuXuan Hotel and Spa

Comprising 92 guestrooms and 24 suites, each feature handcrafted and artisanal furniture by Hermès-owned Chinese lifestyle brand SHANG XIA and boast awe-inspiring views over either the Forbidden City or one of Beijing’s oldest neighbourhoods, DongCheng District.

A true oasis in the heart of the city, The PuXuan also features URC’s proprietary UR SPA that will offer bespoke treatments by CHA LING – “L’Espirit du Thé”, an LVMH brand that combines traditional Chinese medicine with French beauty, along with organic formulations by one of the industry-leading creators of wellness products COMFORT ZONE.

Set to become Beijing’s definitive dining destinations, Rive Gauche serves up unpretentious French classics with extraordinary savoir-faire whilst Fu Chun Ju serves some of the capital’s finest Cantonese preparations. With direct access on levels two and three of the hotel respectively, the openings of Rive Gauche and Fu Chun Ju are welcome and overdue additions to the culinary scene in Beijing, where guests will discover a new appreciation for local provenance as they enjoy seasonal menus that highlight the unique flavours of the finest, local and heirloom ingredients.

Other spaces include The PuXuan Club, offering a new level of privilege along with round-the-clock exclusive access to a handsome and fully serviced lounge, Tea Room, The Lobby Lounge, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and a variety of indoor and outdoor venues for both corporate and social gatherings.

Main image credit: PuXuan Hotel and Spa

Hotel Designs closes January with online traffic record

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The leading international hotel design website closes January with a record-breaking 67, 792 readers…. 

By exploring hotel openings and spas as its Spotlight On features during January, Hotel Designs has smashed its online monthly traffic record, which was previously hit in November, by amassing more than 67,000 readers to the website.

Hotel Designs, which last year attracted more than half a million readers, engaged readers with the following most-read stories during January:

Spotlight On: Major hotel openings for Q1 & Q2 2019
Inside the world’s first hotel room that determines room rate based on social media addiction
Nobu Hotels to arrive in Warsaw
In Conversation with Yasmine Mahmoudieh
Hotels at New Heights

“This is a fantastic start to 2019,” said publisher Katy Phillips. “I am absolutely thrilled that, yet again, I am being asked to comment on Hotel Designs smashing another online traffic record. As well as showing that our editorial team have their finger on the pulse when it comes to covering hot topics in our industry, this is a clear indication that this market is engaging positively with the content we publish.

“One area that Hotel Designs has always been strong in is having a face-to-face relationship with our audience. We are therefore looking forward to our next networking evening, Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 on March 28, which are aim will be to bridge the age gap in international hotel design.”

The news comes as the website steers its Spotlight On features to cover Surfaces and Architecture and Construction, two widely debated topics within international hotel design.

Click here to read editor Hamish Kilburn’s ‘Editor Checks In’ where he spends some time reflecting on January as a time when two worlds seamlessly collide.

 

5 awe-inspiring hotel architecture projects currently on the boards

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5 awe-inspiring hotel architecture projects currently on the boards

To kickstart our month shining the spotlight on architecture and construction, Hotel Designs highlights five groundbreaking projects that are currently in planning… 

Long before the Burj Al Arab made its magnificent entrance onto the shores of Dubai in 1999, architects have competed with one another to break into the clouds of possibilities within international design.

Although there have always been groundbreaking architectural projects to rise from the earth, the advancement of technology over the last 20 years in particular has enabled practitioners to take architecture into a new era. The result is game-changing. No longer are guests’ first impressions made in comfort the hotel lobby. Instead, mass opinions are divided when the architects, who strive to constantly push the boundaries of what is possible, unveil their masterplans. To celebrate the architects are the top of their game, here are five projects that are currently in construction, which will shelter luxury hotels.

1) Rosewood Bangkok 

Skyline of Bangkok, which clearly shows the Rosewood Bangkok building

Image credit: KPF Architects

The award-winning building, designed by KPF Architects, was inspired by the graceful Thai hand gesture of the wei. The distinct slant of the building has opened up the opportunity for terraces, shrinking floorplates, and unique, occupiable spaces. With interior design by Ceilia Chu Design, the 30-storey high-rise tower will feature two restaurants, two bars, a luxurious spa, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. In addition, the hotel will shelter residential-style meeting and function space and the top-floor Sky Villa event venue will boast panoramic views of the capital’s iconic skyline.

> Read more about the project here

2) art’otel London, Battersea Power Station 

Birdseye render of the site

Image credit: Foster + Partners

Phase three of a major part of the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station site has been designed by Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners. In addition to 1,300 new homes, the new development will include the 160-key art’otel London. The Skyline, which is the building designed by Foster + Partners that will shelter the hotel, will feature an outdoor rooftop pool and bar overlooking the chimneys of the iconic Battersea power station.
> Read more about the project here

3) Four Seasons Golf Resort and Residences, Goa

Render of striking public areas on the coast

Image credit: WATG

Architecture and design firm WATG were appointed to create the exterior of the 125-key hotel in order to include design details that celebrates the history of Goa through Colonial Portugese structure and contemporary form. The hotel has been designed to attract erudite travellers from around the world to experience beauty, relaxation and Indian hospitality. Using the rugged coast as an architectural reference, the firm’s renders tell a quintessential local design story that, when completed, will anchor the architectural theme throughout.

> Read more about the project here

4) KoolKiel, Germany 

Render of the complex which depicts the two high-rise buildings

Image credit: MVRDV

The most recent update on this project is that the mixed-use development building’s form will be determined in consultation with the community. The Koolkiel complex, which is being designed by MVRDV, will include two buildings that will be wrapped by customisable concrete panels. With the aim to amplify the city’s creative edge, each of these silhouette-like panels can be cast in different shapes. Although the brand and name is yet to be announced, a 250-key hotel will be sheltered in the complex.
> Read more about the project here 

5) Murcury Tower, Malta

View of Murcury Tower in Malta

Image credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The renovation and redevelopment of Mercury House, led by Zaha Hadid Architects, integrates residential apartments and boutique hotel within Malta’s most dynamic urban environment. Creating new public spaces and amenities for the island’s residents and visitors, the design responds to Paceville’s key urban challenges by investing in its civic realm and increasing its limited housing supply.

Derelict for more than twenty years, the 9,405 sq.m. site includes the remaining façades of the old Mercury House that date from 1903. Two underground vaults created during the Cold War are also within the site’s boundary.

The 31-storey tower of residential apartments and hotel is aligned at street level to integrate with Paceville’s existing urban fabric and to reduce its footprint, maximizing civic space within the new piazza.

Conceived as two volumes stacked vertically, the tower incorporates a realignment that expresses the different functional programmes within.

> Read more about the design here

Main image credit: WATG

Top 5 stories of the week: Lighting the mood, surface trends and Meet Up developments

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Concluding January and looking ahead to the future of lighting, surfaces and hotel development, Hamish Kilburn writes the top five stories of the week…

As January turns to February, there is much anticipation in the air around developing trends. The must-watch lists of hues, textures and materials that landed in my inbox on January 1 have filtered subtly into the designs of new hotel spaces. Designers working outside the box establish how they can create a timeless statement scan the floors of the trade shows. The next in the calendar is the Surface Design Show in London (February 5 – 7). Ahead of the show, this week we took a closer look at the trends on the walls, floors and ceilings. Closer to home, Hotel Designs had some developments of its own to announce. Here are the top five stories of the week.

1) 6 trends to look out for at Surface Design Show 2019

dark bathroom design

Image credit: SIBU

Taking place next week in London’s Business Design Centre, Surface Design Show will showcase the latest products and technology in surface design. Ahead of the event, as Hotel Designs is a media partner of #SDS19, here are top surface trends to be mindful of.

> Read more about the trends here

2) Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 Announces Early Bird Tickets

Until February 7, designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers will be able to purchase early bird tickets for Hotel Designs‘ highly anticipated Q1 networking evening, Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

> To book your tickets, click here

3) One-third of consumers believe lighting helps to eliminate January Blues

A study has revealed that one in three people believe that lighting is important to creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere before bed.

As the January blues well and truly set in for some, new research has revealed how lighting can have direct impact on mood and wellbeing in the hotel environment.

> To read more about the study, click here

4) SUSD gains planning consent for hotel and members club on the River Thames

render of the exterior of a manor-like building

Image credit: SUSD

SUSD, the developer behind two of London’s most successful hybrid destinations, The Curtain Hotel & Members Club and Devonshire Club, has just won planning consent, subject to finalising the S106 Agreement, for a third development, this time on the banks of the Thames near Pangbourne, Berkshire.

> To read more about the plans, click here

5) Editor Checks In: January ’19

To round up January – and to help understand the crossroads many designers are at – it felt appropriate to use the metaphor of two worlds colliding. I am, of course, referring to the opportunities that result from authentic collaborations.

> To read my editor’s letter, click here

If you would like to be kept up to date with the latest happenings and news in international hotel design, subscribe to receiving our newsletter here.

Main image credit: ITC Natural Luxury Flooring

Editor checks in: January ’19

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When two trendy worlds collide in January…

Excitement and optimism are both thick in the January air. My train carriage on the Eurostar is full to the brim of creative people. Half the passengers on board are interior designers on their way, like me, to Maison&Objet. The other half are fashionistas, bloggers and journalists preparing to arrive at Men’s Paris Fashion Week. Two worlds collide to converge in conversations around this season’s must-see designers and emerging trends to keep an eye on. It reminds me of yesterday when I published my exclusive interview with lighting designer to the stars, Moritz Waldemeyer. In 2007, the young, enthusiastic Waldemeyer found himself in the same unfamiliar setting when fashion legend Hussein Chayalan asked him to create a lighting installation unlike any other for one of the shows.

11 years on from Waldemeyer’s first dip into high fashion and, while trends have shifted, the core of our creative business remains concrete; we are never afraid to knock on doors to chase inspirational ideas.

Ever since 1995, when the show first launched, Maison&Objet has powerfully set the industry up for the year. Yes, recently have witnessed somewhat more of an upsurge in attendees compared to early years, but the show has always given apt context to many of the discussions that ripple through the rest of the 11 months as things undoubtedly develop from the ‘trends’ that ping through to our inboxes on January 1.

“Investigating three separate luxury travel markets over three weeks (aviation, rail and cruise ships), we launched the series Hotels At New Heights.”

Altering course for a moment in order to explore which other worlds are in fact colliding, the cruise industry in recent years has been reaching out to more and more hotel designers to imagine the interiors of future fleets. Investigating three separate luxury travel markets over three weeks (aviation, rail and cruise ships), we launched the series Hotels At New Heights with the aim to understand how our industry can benefit from coming together with other markets.

At the core of all of these topics, bringing the loose strands of ideas together through conversation, is networking. Following the success of Meet Up North and The Brit List 2018, I am proud to announce that our Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 event will take place in Fitzrovia’s trendy neighbourhood on March 28 at Minotti London’s stylish showroom. The deadline for suppliers, designers, hoteliers and architects to claim their early bird tickets is fast approaching (February 7), so click here to purchase your tickets.

I look forward to continuing this adventurous journey with you as Hotel Designs itself prepares to enter a new chapter.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Hamilton litestat confirmed exclusive headline partner for Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

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Hotel Designs has confirmed that Hamilton Litestat will be the exclusive headline partner at Meet Up London: 30 Under 30, which takes place at the showroom of Minotti London on March 28…

Hotel Designs has confirmed that Recommended Supplier Hamilton Litestat has become the exclusive headline partner of Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

The event, which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London’s showroom, is expected to bridge the age gap between designers, architects, hoteliers and key-industry suppliers by putting the spotlight on supporting young, emerging talent. 30 of the industry’s most inspirational practitioners will be invited with complements of Hotel Designs to attend the networking event.

“Hamilton Litestat is a keen supporter of young, up-and-coming talent and we’re delighted to be working with Hotel Designs to support talent rising through the ranks in interior design, architecture and the hotel industry,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing, Hamilton Litestat. “As an Industry Partner of the British Institute of Interior Design, we’re keen to develop lasting relationships with those that understand the importance of getting the finishing touches of an interiors project just right.

“We hope to build awareness through our partnership with the 30 under 30 Meet Up events and foster long-term collaborations with the next generation of talented industry leaders.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing, Hamilton Litestat

“Through both functionality and aesthetics, quality decorative wiring accessories and lighting control can achieve this. We hope to build awareness through our partnership with the 30 under 30 Meet Up events and foster long-term collaborations with the next generation of talented industry leaders.”

Suitable for all hotels, Hamilton Litestat produces smart lighting controls and multi-room audio systems designed to enhance the hotel guest experience.

Early bird ticket prices for Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

Suppliers: £99 + VAT (£150 + VAT after early bird offer expires after February 7)
Designers, hoteliers and architects: £10 + VAT (£20 + VAT after early bird offer expires after February 7)

To purchase your tickets, click here.

Venue:
Minotti Showroom,
77 Margaret St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8SY

Date: March 28, 2019

How to apply for the 30 Under 30 list

If you are/or know of a deserving designer, architect or hotelier who is 30 years old or younger, please send in your application/nomination to: h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk with the following:

  • 200-400 word bio, which acknowledges achievements to date and why you/he/she deserves to be recognised
  • Name of company you/he/she currently works for
  • Profile image

The final 30 will be confirmed to attend the event with Hotel Designs‘ compliments and the winners will be notified in due course ahead of the networking evening.

How to attend Meet Up London: 30 Under 30

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

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

Exclusive style partner: Minotti London

Exclusive headline partner: Hamilton Litestat

One-third of consumers believe lighting helps to eliminate January Blues

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A study has revealed that one in three people believe that lighting is important to creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere before bed…

As the January blues well and truly set in for some, new research has revealed how lighting can have direct impact on mood and wellbeing in the hotel environment.

A survey of 1,000 UK adults carried out by lighting supplier LED Hut, as part of the Brighter Britain report, found that one in three people believe that lighting – both natural and artificial – plays a crucial role in how they feel, encouraging feelings of comfort, security, and happiness.

More than one-third (31 per cent) believe that lighting is important when creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere before going to bed in the evening, which assists with their sleep.

Furthermore, 38 per cent feel that lighting in the bedroom during the morning can also allow them to feel alert, energises and ready for the day ahead.

The survey follows the hotel industry putting more and more focus on lighting in guestrooms. Last year, leading design firms such as Richmond International identified lighting as the next area within the hotel design that will see a vast transformation because of the advancement in technology. This adds to more and more hotel operators desiring to create environments that are naturally warm and inviting.

“Considering how important natural light is to generating vitamin D, and even assisting the circadian rhythms which govern our natural sleeping patterns, the potential lighting has to improve our wellbeing in a number of ways is clear,” said Paul Garner, ecommerce and marketing director at LED Hut“While it might be obvious that natural light helps to boost our mood, not everyone knows that artificial light also plays an important role when natural light isn’t an option.”

“There are new concepts emerging everyday around LED experimental lighting.”

The possibilities around lighting design in the hotel guestroom are almost endless. There are new concepts emerging everyday around LED experimental lighting, such as the Mortiz Waldemeyer Studio’s personalised lighting installation at Focus 18, which was named the Journey Of Colour. Sensational launches like these suggest that there is some movement on how we light the hotel guestroom of the future to balance functionality, wellness and excitement in all the right places.

If you would like to have your say on this topic ahead of Hotel Designs covering it as a Spotlight On feature in March, please tweet us @HotelDesigns.

Main image credit: Pixabay

6 trends to look out for at Surface Design Show 2019.

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Taking place next week in London’s Business Design Centre, Surface Design Show will showcase the latest products and technology in surface design. Ahead of the event, as Hotel Designs is a media partner of #SDS19, here are top surface trends to be mindful of…

The Surface Design Show, taking place on February 5 – 7, will again provide architects and designers with an exciting and inspirational range of surface designs and materials.

Speaking before the show opens trend forecaster and curator of the Show’s Surface Spotlight Live feature, Sally Angharad enthused: “There are a number of distinct trends coming out of Surface Design Show that visitors will pick up. Once again the Show will set the scene for the next year in terms of design ideas.”

Here are some of the 2019 trends to look out for are:

Scallop Shapes
Scallop shape tiles create decorative patterns in a combination of solid colours and patterned finishes. Blueprint Ceramics, Finsa and Viuva Lamego will both be exhibiting scallop shapes

Sumptuous Neutrals
Warm neutrals replace grey with shades of brown adding depth to tactile surfaces. Look out for Saint- Gobain, Off the Wall Coverings and ITC Natural Luxury Flooring.

Image credit: ITC Natural Luxury Flooring

Dynamic Patterns
A combination of tile formats creates complex designs for statement features. Exhibitors include Blueprint Ceramics and Viuva Lamego

Patina Effects
Weathered metals inspire luxurious patina effects on a variety of surfaces from flooring to finishes. PowderTech (Corby), MUUNA and Finsa will be stands to visit.

Indulgent Darks
Dark colours are key for glazed and tonal finishes to create dramatic yet welcoming effects. SIBU Designs, Grestec Tiles and Sterling Studios will be exhibitors to seek out.

dark bathroom design

Image credit: SIBU

Nature/Nurture
Organic materials translate into surfaces for walls and lighting that bring comforting textures indoors. Exhibitors include Freund, Innerspace Cheshire and PHEE. A range of new materials, prototypes and innovations can be seen on Surface Spotlight Live curated in collaboration by trend expert Sally Angharad and trend, colour & material forecast agency; Colour Hive.

Surface Design Show opens on February 5 from 6.00pm – 9.00pm; February 6 from 11.00 -9.00pm and February 7 from 11.00 – 5.00pm.

Main image credit: Blueprint Ceramics

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to arrive in Okinawa, Japan

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Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa, which will shelter 120 guestrooms and suites, is expected to complete in 2023…

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Berjaya Okinawa Development Co. Ltd. (“Berjaya Okinawa”) have announced its new development on the island of Okinawa. The project will debut as part of the development’s master plan as Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa.

Comprising a total of 100 acres (more than 40 hectares) of beachfront, the project site is located along the western coast of the island, approximately 31 miles (50 kilometres) northeast of Naha International Airport, with easy access by highway from the airport and close to tourist attractions. The Resort will comprise 30 acres (12 hectares) of the project development land area, with 120 hotel rooms, 120 residences and 40 villas. The project is expected to take approximately four years to complete with a total development cost of USD 400 million and estimated gross development value of USD 1 billion.

“Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa is another iconic project in Japan for the Berjaya Group, emulating the success of Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Kyoto, which officially opened in December 2016,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan (“TSVT”), Founder and Executive Chairman of BCorp. “I am sure that with the prestigious Four Seasons branding and management, along with its strategic location in central Okinawa, the hotel will be one of the best on the island of Okinawa.”

“We are proud to continue our successful partnership with Berjaya Group with another exceptional project in Japan, extending our presence in the region and offering both guests and residents more chances to experience Four Seasons,” says Bart Carnahan, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Together with Berjaya, we will not only create the very finest resort and residences of the highest quality, but will also offer a level of unparalleled service, one that is synonymous with the name Four Seasons around the globe.”

The master plan for Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Okinawa, including planning and landscape architecture, is developed by internationally renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm EDSA Inc, and world-renowned Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Kuniken will serve as joint architects of the project. Kengo Kuma’s work has been internationally acknowledged and he was chosen to design Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games recently; and Kuniken is the largest architecture firm in Okinawa.

The vision is to create a destination that portrays the cultural heritage of Okinawa island along with its natural landscape and resources. The Resort will be anchored by a resident beach club nestled on the east side, where guests as well as the homeowners will be able to access the natural beach. Additionally, the low-density layout of the resort will also allow guests and homeowners to access every amenity by foot, bicycles or golf carts. The resort facilities will include an all-day dining restaurant, specialty dining and lounge, retail shops and recreation facilities, as well as public grounds and gardens.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Resorts

Hotel lighting in the cruise vessels of the future

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In response to the final article in the series, Hotels at New Heights, Chelsom Lighting shares its expertise on how it has helped to light the cruise vessels of the future…

Sailing the world’s oceans on one of today’s state of the art cruise ships is just as luxurious and flamboyant as it was on one of the great liners from a hundred years ago. The boundaries of marine interior design, like international hotel design, are constantly being expanded by the world’s top design practices and the scope of things to do on board. The result is that many ships are beginning to surpasses many land based hotels and resorts. It’s no wonder the whole cruise industry is booming with millions of satisfied passengers returning year after year. However, in terms of decorative products which contribute to such amazing interiors, there could hardly be a harsher environment with its pitching seas, salt air and constant motion. It takes a certain kind of design, a certain range of skills, an amount of specialist technical knowledge and a lot of commitment to successfully service such a demanding industry.

Light and airy interiors in the cruise ship

Image credit: Crystal Cruise

Product design

The interior designers who create the spectacular interiors of today’s ships are real specialists in their field. They have an overall brief to be extravagant, breath taking, original and awe inspiring and in the case of public areas they can work on a massive scale within the huge spaces which can sometimes transcend three or four decks. Subtle and understated are rarely the design watchwords so there is often the need for sparkle, drama and statement. The product designer must embrace these interior concepts and interpret them so that they function perfectly within the marine environment. Nothing must be allowed to sway about in rough seas, components must not vibrate, everything must be bolted down so it never falls over, weight restrictions must be considered and installation or maintenance must be as simple as possible. For cabins, space is often a driving feature so scaling down individual components whilst still maintaining perfect ambient light levels is important. Switching and dimming options are also usually essential.

Team work

As a specialist marine lighting supplier, we respect our role as just one of the huge teams of contractors ensuring that a cruise ship has stunning interiors with product that functions perfectly over a long period in a challenging environment. Our team work extends to collaborating with interior designers, lighting designers, shipyards, outfitters and cruise operators all around the world. Whereas a hotel stays where it is, there is a date on which a ship sails away and everybody in the team focusses 100 per cent on that date which is final!

Stairway of a ship

Image credit: Regent Seven Seas

Technical

Some of the manufacturing and structural technicalities of marine lighting are testing to say the least but lighting technology itself plays an ever increasing role in cruise interiors. Energy saving light sources are of course mandatory but colour rendering, colour changing, easily controlled dimming and remote switching are all increasingly important and indeed successful. Mostly it’s about creating the most luxurious and inviting ambience but it’s also about ease of lighting control and ease of maintenance. We work as part of the team of marine experts to bring all the lighting requirements to fruition.

Installation

There can be literally thousands of contractors on a ship at any one time when it is in build. Every one of them is working diligently to complete their own task whilst cooperating with all those around them so nothing gets in the way or delays some other part of the process. We have our own specialist and qualified marine installation team who will be on board at the right time to take delivery of our lighting products, assemble on site, install and commission. This on board presence not only allows successful installation but also allows any last minute adjustment or changes which can occur due to the sheer scale and complexity of the working environment.

Chelsom is a 70 year old company with vast experience in the cruise ship sector. Its knowledge of and close relationship with the industry’s specialist interior design practices, shipyards and operators gives us the closest possible understanding of what the industry needs. The company’s own in-house marine specialists in product design, manufacture and installation ensure that it meets those needs. Chelsom is proud to be one of the world’s leading manufacturers of marine lighting today.

Chelsom are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Chelsom/Harmony of the Seas

Top stories of the week: Trending interiors, suites at sea and anti-social hotel rooms

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Following a bustling Maison&Objet and Deco Off, interior trends have been trending throughout this week’s headlines. Hamish Kilburn breaks down the top stories of the week…

Whoever thought that January was a soft landing was seriously mistaken – or didn’t work in the hotel design arena. My inbox over the last 25 days has been inundated with press releases from hotel groups announcing their vast expansion plans. This week alone, Melia Hotels International, Nobu Hospitality and Kimpton Hotels all announced dramatic plans to open new luxury properties in new destinations. Suggesting a serious change in travellers’ behaviour, the hotel industry is not the other luxury market that is adapting its strategy to cater towards the modern traveller. Concluding our series, Hotels at New Heights, I spoke to the hotel designers that have turned their heads towards the cruise industry.

Here are the top stories of the week.

1) Nobu Hotels announces plans to arrives in Poland

Exterior shot of the hotel. a new building located at Wilcza Street, designed by the Polish architectural firm, Medusa Group,

Image credit: Nobu Hospitality

Nobu Hospitality, a global luxury lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, has announced its continued global expansion into Warsaw, Poland…

On track to have 20 hotels within its portfolio globally by 2020, Nobu Hotels has announced plans to open Nobu Hotel Warsaw.

2) Inside the world’s first hotel room that determines room rate based on social media addiction

Light glowing red next to the bed of a hotel

Image credit: The Check Out Suite, Hotel

That’s right, a hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, has launched a new policy where the room rate is determined by how much time guests spend surfing on social media…

With the number of social media users worldwide in 2018 reaching a staggering 3.196 billion, up 13 per cent year-on-year according to Smart Insights, it was only a matter of time before hotels would launch schemes in order to help guests reconnect with the world around their screens. With the aim to take this initiative further, a hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, has actually launched a hotel room where its rates will be determined by how much the guest spends on social media platforms.

3) Top 14 most tagged interior design trends on Instagram

With so many interior design trends, it can be difficult to choose a style that fits a particular space best. While most of these trends intertwine, some are undoubtedly more popular than others.

4) Hotels at New Heights: suites on the high seas

Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin

Image caption: Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin

To conclude our series, Hotels at New Heights, I investigate why more and more hotel designers are taking to the seas to design the luxury cruise vessels’ suites of the future.

5) Meet Up London: 30 Under 30 launches early bird tickets

Until February 7, designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers will be able to purchase early bird tickets for Hotel Designs‘ highly anticipated Q1 networking evening, Meet Up London: 30 Under 30.

Main image credit: Image credit: Seabourn Ovation/Adam Tihany Studio

Architects and designers concerned to incorporate flame installations in design

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79 per cent of architects and designers avoid using flame installations in their projects, a study has revealed…

Architects and designers have growing concerns about including flame in their designs, a study has suggested. 

The research, which was carried out by Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation, revealed that the majority of respondents (79 per cent) said they had concerns when it came to incorporating fire and flame in their projects, despite the fact that they often form centrepieces of design work.

Health and safety was cited as the main concern (46 per cent), followed by energy efficiency (39 per cent) and cost (32 per cent). However, respondents also said if health and safety concerns could be addressed and the right technology was available, 53 per cent would be more inclined to use include fire or flame in projects.

“The research demonstrates that there is a definite appetite in the market for alternative ways of incorporating fire into the design of commercial spaces, especially methods that are safer and more cost-effective,” says Jonathan Smith, product marketing manager – Flame Technology, Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation.

“This is something that we are seeing more of in our own business, where the demand for our flame technology and flame effects products is increasing rapidly, giving architects and designers realistic flame options that add to the visual appeal of a space with none of the disadvantages.”

The study surveyed 250 architects and designers across the UK to gauge their opinions on the state of the industry, technology in the design process, and the use of flame in their projects.

The concerns around using fire are consistent with the industry’s overall challenges; architects and designers identified cost reduction (64 per cent), keeping on top of innovation (48 per cent) and health and safety (41 per cent) as their top issues.

The research also highlighted the use of other technologies in the design process with 62 per cent of architects and designs saying that smart technology was already having an impact or would be in the next six months. Almost one-quarter of respondents (24 per cent) said augmented reality would influence the industry within the next 18 months, while 23 per cent said virtual reality would affect it in the next six months. Robotics, 3D modelling and 3D printing, and the use of drones, were also cited as making an impact in the longer term.

Hotel Designs’ would like to know your opinion on whether you would avoid using flame installations in your design because of health and safety factors. Please tweet us @HotelDesigns to have your say. 

Main image credit: Glamm Fire’s Operetta 

Hamilton Litestat’s ‘satin’ metallic accessories bring PANTONE’s Colour Of The Year to life

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Satin Chrome and Satin Stainless-Steel accessories from Hamilton Litestat bring added energy to Pantone’s vibrant Colour of the Year 2019…

The 2019 must-have palette for interior design, fashion and furnishings is set to include PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, which has been named Pantone Colour of the Year.

Selected by colour trend experts at the Pantone Color Institute, Living Coral is described as an ‘animating and life-affirming coral hue’. As with such announcements and the subjective nature of colour choice, it has received mixed reviews. Amongst the debate and deliberation, the name ‘living coral’ and its wider social commentary on global warming and the state of our diminishing coral reefs has divided opinion. It’s certainly struck a nerve, with some in full support and others slating it as ‘another marketing ploy’.

Whatever your thoughts on the new Pantone Colour of the Year, there’s no getting away from its warm tones bringing energy yet calmness to a space. It’s buoyant, positive and light-hearted. When used in interior design, PANTONE Living Coral rugs, blankets and upholsteries can create a warm and nurturing feeling, while wall colourings and decorative accessories add a dramatic pop of colour.

The vivid sunset hue works well in monochrome schemes and finds a dynamic partnership with blue, reflecting coral’s harmonious relationship with the sea. In the home, it is complemented by Hamilton’s decorative wiring accessories in Satin Chrome and Satin Stainless finishes, whose metallic and reflective tones link to water and bring extra life and sparkle to the on-trend colour.

In addition to the satin chrome and stainless-steel finishes, Satin Brass and Hamilton’s cost-effective white plastic finish in the Hartland CFX design, create crisp, contemporary interiors. For a more coordinated alternative, Hamilton’s Paintables range allows you to exactly match the Pantone as a plate finish, with this option available in Hartland CFX or Sheer CFX.

With a wide range of designs and finishes, along with functionality to suit the modern, connected household or high-end hotel – including dual 2.4A USB double switched socket plates – Hamilton’s electrical wiring accessories provide the perfect finishing touch for any interior scheme, whatever the shade or design.

Hamilton litestat, which celebrated a major milestone in 2018 when the business reached its 50th anniversary, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Hamilton Litestat

 

Hamilton Litestat has the perfect accompaniment to Spiced Honey

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British electrical solutions provider Hamilton’s bronze electrical accessories a perfect match for Dulux Colour of the Year 2019…

Paint brand Dulux has announced ‘Spiced Honey’ its Colour of the Year 2019 as it forecasts the home colour trends for the upcoming year. The warm and earthy deep ochre hue is balanced by mid-brown and burgundy to create a contemporary and versatile shade that is complemented by sophisticated bronze, brass and copper finishes.

Each year, international design authorities gather to discuss global design trends that best capture the current times. Following a period of unpredictability, the warm, comforting and classic tone of Spiced Honey has been selected during expert trend analysis for signalling optimism, positivity, energy and transformation as we move into 2019.

“Hamilton’s bronze switch plates and sockets are available in Copper Bronze, Connaught Bronze, Etrium Bronze and Richmond Bronze finishes.”

The contemporary yet classic shade can be paired with diverse palettes and different materials to create a range of moods with a space, from calming through to energising. Bronze, brass and copper are particularly complementary materials, with Hamilton Litestat’s electrical accessories in these finishes bringing both contemporary and sophisticated accents to Spiced Honey for on-trend interior schemes.

“Brasses and bronzes are very much the finishes of 2019,” says Rob Matthews of interior design & architecture team, Matthews Mee. “The warm metallic tones bring a sophisticated, luxe finish to a space, whether that’s with a high shine or brushed matte finish, and complement Spiced Honey. Having featured Hamilton’s decorative wiring accessories in a recent five-star hotel project, I’m an advocate of the high-quality electrical solutions, with its Richmond Bronze finish adding subtle elegance and refinement.”

Hamilton’s bronze switch plates and sockets are available in Copper Bronze, Connaught Bronze, Etrium Bronze and Richmond Bronze finishes, while its Antique Brass finish also enhances Spiced Honey.

Offering a wide range of modern functionality – including dual 2.4A USB double switched socket plates – Hamilton’s solutions are specified in high-end hotels and residencies to deliver a sophisticated finish. All five brass and bronze finishes are available in Linea plate designs, as well as Hamilton’s Hartland CFX and Sheer CFX designs, while Antique Brass is also available in Hartland and Sheer collections.

Hamilton litestat, which celebrated a major milestone in 2018 when the business reached its 50th anniversary, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main Image caption: Matthews Mee brought elegant sophistication to the ‘Anne Boleyn Wing’ in Hever Castle, Kent, with Hamilton’s Hartland CFX® decorative plates in a Richmond Bronze finish. This renovation of the five-star period property aimed to bring together historical elements, modern comforts and contemporary style.

 

Marriott Hotels partner with LIFEWTR® in search for art and innovation

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With a new app, guests checking in to Marriott Hotels will be able to customise their rooms virtually with art and they will be able to share their AR rooms on social media…  

LIFEWTR® and Marriott Hotels have collaborated with the aim to bring more inspiration into the world through art and innovation, via new augmented reality (AR) in-room guest experience. As part of PepsiCo and Marriott International’s recent partnership renewal, LIFEWTR, the premium bottled water that exists to advance and showcase sources of art and creativity, is now the official in-room water for Marriott Hotels nationwide, encouraging guests to explore new worlds of creativity and inspiration within their Marriott Hotels guestroom.

EXCLUSIVE: New online platform now allows guests to choose their own rooms before checking in

Hamish Kilburn

The new platform, Hotel Room Chooser, enables hoteliers to own customer relationships and data, increase direct bookings, maximise brand experience and encourage loyalty…

Hotel Room Chooser is a newly launched online platform that allows guests to choose their own hotel room prior to check-in.

The technology, which was recognised and shortlisted for The Brit List 2018’s Innovative Use Of Technology award, has been developed by London-based Filter Digital. Its innovation has is already being utilised by several leading hotel brands and chains, including GLH.

The platform provides guests with a visual choice of location for their booking, so they can pick the best individual room or environment for their stay and enjoy complete peace of mind.

Guests using the service are presented with bespoke interactive floorplans, photography, 360 experiences and more so they have everything they need to choose the room they want – and the entire experience is also optimised for mobile.

A built-in notification system uses email and SMS to communicate with guests throughout the room choosing process, including confirmation once complete.

“Hoteliers using Hotel Room Chooser also benefit from integration with reception desks at individual locations.”

For hoteliers, Hotel Room Chooser has the flexibility to be either fully integrated into their existing CRM and booking journeys or sit outside of them as a post-booking process. It’s also fully scalable, with the option to add booking locations and apply multiple branding.

The platform is hosted externally, with live API and network integration possible – crucially, all customer data is fully encrypted via SSL, making Hotel Room Chooser extremely secure.

Hoteliers using Hotel Room Chooser also benefit from integration with reception desks at individual locations, all the while capturing customer feedback, with detailed real-time and monthly reporting available via an interactive dashboard.

And this new technology has the power to dramatically increase direct bookings. In a recent survey of 500 customers where Hotel Room Chooser was available:

  • 75 per cent of customers did choose their own room
  • 96 per cent found the experience enjoyable
  • 98 per cent said they would use it again

“We’re incredibly pleased that since its initial launch we have processed tens of thousands of bookings through Hotel Room Chooser, and it has been an unequivocal success for our partners,” said Filter Digital CEO Oliver Morrison. “In five years’, allowing guests to choose their own room will be a baseline offering, and hotel groups that aren’t able to offer this will be left behind as customers gravitate towards those that can provide this choice. We’re thrilled to be able to offer the platform for license to all hotel chains, particularly those looking to maximise the potential of direct booking channels.”

Put simply, Hotel Room Chooser taps into the growing demand of interactivty and guests wanting a personalised service from check in to check out.

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DLAppTap confirmed as sponsor of The Brit List 2018 Innovation In Technology Award

Hamish Kilburn
The newly launched app, which has been confirmed as the official sponsor of The Brit List 2018 Innovation In Technology Award, helps improve and revolutionise revenue streams for hospitality retail…

Following its official launch at the Independent Hotel Show last month, DLAppTap has been confirmed as the official Sponsor of the Innovation In Technology Award at the The Brit List 2018.

Taking place at BEAT London on November 22, The Brit List 2018 will welcome the industry’s leaders and visionaries and will unveil the top 75 influential interior designers, hoteliers and architects as well as unveiling the winners of the newly launched six new awards.

The award of which the company will sponsor, Inspiration in Design – Innovative use of Technology, has been launched at The Brit List 2018 in order to amplify the finest example of technology within hotel design and was judged by a leading panel of hotel design experts, including the President and Past President of the British Institute of Interior Design.

The innovative iPhone and iPad app allows hotels to easily sell their products to guests in their properties without the need for in-house retail operations. With DLAppTap, hotels can capitalise on new revenue streams, achieve ROI from refurbishments and improve and provide higher levels of guest-centric services.

“Having seen the impressive guest list for The Brit List 2018, we are proud to support Hotel Designs recognising and celebrating the industry’s most influential interior designers, hoteliers and architects working in Britain today,” said Justin Kandiah, Director of DLAppTap. “With technology evolving at such a rapid pace within international hotel design, we are proud to sponsor this year’s Tech Award and look forward to my partner, Jane Moriarty, and I handing out the trophy to the winner on the evening.”

How to attend this year’s Brit List and join the elite!

If you are a supplier to the hospitality industry looking to meet the top hoteliers, interior designers and architects at The Brit List, click here to book your place.

If you are a buyer to the hospitality industry (architect, designer or hotelier) and would like to attend The Brit List 2018, click here to book your place.

To discuss the various sponsorship packages still available, please contact Katy Phillips on +44(0)1992 374050

The Brit List 2018 Innovation In Technology Award sponsor: DLAppTap

Room Mate Hotels personalises the user experience with Amazon Pay

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By implementing this service, Room Mate believes guests will be able to enjoy a more unique, personalised experience before and after their stay…

Room Mate Hotels has improved its user experience and reinforced its position as a Visionary Brand with the introduction of Amazon Pay inside all of its hotels.

From today, guests will be able to quickly and easily book their stay in any of the hotels the international hotel chain operates around the world by using their Amazon log in information.

By implementing this service, Room Mate believes guests will be able to enjoy a more unique, personalised experience before and after their stay.

“At Room Mate we love breaking the mould, being different and surprising. We always rethink everything and this has made us a Visionary Brand,” said Victor Fernández, CEO of Room Mate Hotels.

“The introduction of Amazon Pay is a natural step in Room Mate Hotels’ growth, a fusion of technology and innovation created to make the experience of everyone that chooses us easier and adapted and so that we continue being visionary within the sector. We are very happy to be working with Amazon.”

This latest news adds to Room Mate Hotels’ ambitious expansion plans, with new destinations to be reached including Rome, Paris, Naples, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Lisbon.

At present the chain boasts 24 hotels and the new locations will see the size of the company double, going from having 1,522 rooms to having a total of more than 3,052 rooms in its portfolio.

Edouard Chabrol, head of Amazon Pay for France, Spain and Italy, added: “Amazon and Room Mate share a customer focus, management based on data and the capacity to innovate. We work to improve customers’ experience from the moment they make a booking.

“By integrating Amazon Pay, Room Mate enables its customers to make bookings in a more agile, convenient way, improving the conversion of its online channel.”

Launching tomorrow: DLAppTap

Hamish Kilburn
DLAppTap launches tomorrow at Independent Hotel Show to help improve and revolutionise revenue streams for hospitality retail…

Making its debut at London’s Independent Hotel Show on 16-17 October 2018 is DLAppTap. This is an innovative iPhone and iPad app that allows hotels to easily sell their beautiful products to guests in their properties without the need for in-house retail operations. With DLAppTap, hotels can capitalise on new revenue streams, achieve ROI from refurbishments and improve and provide higher levels of guest-centric services.

The new hospitality-focused tool is an extension of the soon-to-be-launched DesignLife App, which, as the video below demonstrates, was developed to showcase residential products. The iOS app becomes a platform for individual hospitality venues thanks to encoded Near-field Communication (NFC) labels, which are discreetly attached to items available for purchase. After downloading DLAppTap, guests can view the specifications, measurements, costs, lead times, shipping and payment options for any labelled item they “tap” with their mobile devices. Purchases can even be added to their guestroom bills. Orders are automatically sent to manufacturers, with the hotel receiving 25 per cent commission.

“Hotels are the shopping centres of the future,” says Jane Moriarty, founder of DesignLife Associates, Ltd. and marketing director of DLAppTap, “and this technology is set to revolutionise the retail aspect of hospitality.”

Visitors to the Independent Hotel Show can test the app for themselves at the Hotel Room of the Future exhibit conceived by Two’s Company Interior Design. To demonstrate that the labels will not distract from aesthetics, nearly every item in the concept stand will be discreetly tagged with nano-thin, film-like NFC stickers that store data and draw energy from mobile devices. Pieces to be encoded include the Nexus Armchair and two-seater sofa from Knightsbridge Furniture, with JAB Anstoetz’s Hideaway textile collection used for upholstery, curtains and accessories. Various items are crafted by Splinter Works, MRF Design and Langstaff-Ellis, the company building the room’s wardrobes. Minibar facilities are from A3 Solutions, and lighting from Heathfield & Co. Accessories from Cocoon Interiors and Buwier will be tagged, and even toiletries and bed linens from The Fine Cotton Co. These can all be scanned by visitors wishing to test the technology on their own devices.

Not only does this solution help guests get “the look” of their favourite hotel for their own homes, it also offers numerous benefits to hoteliers, designers and product suppliers:

Hoteliers

  • Financial: eliminates the huge investment required to launch and maintain online retail and procurement departments, as well as warehouses
  • ROI: opportunity to, at the very least, partially recoup expenses from new-build or refurbished hotels and restaurants
  • Brand extension: guests have daily reminders of a hotel’s lifestyle ethos in their homes
  • Organic advertising: purchasers will show their friends their hotel furniture “finds”
  • Loyalty: guests can earn hotel brand loyalty credits that can be exchanged for products
  • Maintain market-lead by keeping ahead of the curve: declining product sales may indicate interiors are perceived as tired, and therefore the hotel requires a design refresh
  • Exclusivity: a “white label” app can be created to provide consistency with a brand’s own corporate identity

Designers

  • Portfolio: a platform to showcase a design studio’s range of products across a variety of projects
  • Awareness: acknowledgement of a studio’s creative talents and contributions
  • Increased innovation: developers willing to pay more for bespoke designs that will increase a hotel’s cachet

Suppliers

  • Authenticity: encourages developers to use genuine items that can be ordered from original factories
  • Marketing tool: a gateway for purchasers to learn about the other products suppliers sell
  • Market research: products purchased (or not) reveal insights to manufacturers about consumer preferences

The DLAppTap team manages the retail process: establishing supplier trade accounts; uploading all product specifications to the app; determining if products require minimum quantities in order to be sold; and managing the guest experience when using the app.

Justin Kandiah, managing director of DLAppTap, says, “Not only does DLAppTap have the potential to turn hospitality retail on its head, it is also a win-win solution where guests’ homes have reminders of their treasured holidays, and the hospitality industry has a streamlined way to give guests what they want, increase revenue and build their brand awareness.”

The Independent Hotel Show with the Hotel Room of the Future takes place at Olympia London 16-17 October 2108.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of the Independent Hotel Show. 

Top stories of the week: Brit List deadline approaches, interactive reviews and art outside the frame

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Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn breaks down this week’s top stories…

Here we are again, just days away from London Design Festival and already the beady eyes of the design world are focusing their attention on Britain – as if their focus was ever elsewhere. In the week leading up to when London comes alive as it unveils more trends, products and fabulous discussions – all of which I will be following and sharing live updates on Hotel Designs – we have been at the centre of some major headlines. Our brand takes a leap in welcoming new interactive photography technology into our hotel reviews, and art outside the frames in the public areas was another hotly discussed topic. In addition, do not forget, the deadline to enter this year’s Hotel Designs Brit List is this Sunday, as is the cut-off date for purchasing early bird tickets. So, as I set my out of office ahead of London Design Festival – and advise people to tweet @hoteldesigns if you want to schedule a meeting with the team – here are the top five stories of the week.

1) BRIT LIST: Just three days left to secure your early bird tickets

There is just three days left in order to claim your early bird tickets to this year’s Brit List, which will take place on November 22 at BEAT London.

2) Art outside the frame in the hotel lobby

Earlier this month we discussed how the hotel lobby’s purpose in international hotel design has changed in recent years to cater to the increasing demands of modern travellers. What once was a place to sit and wait when checking in and out has now opened new possibilities to provide meeting areas, lounges, bars and even – in some extreme circumstances – nightclubs. At the forefront of this shift is the overall attention to detail when designing the lobby to create a lasting strong first impression – and much of this detail is focused on the walls.

3) New Amy Winehouse artwork revealed at Hard Rock Hotel London

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel

Despite its opening not being unveiled until Spring next year, Hard Rock Hotel London is fast becoming London’s most anticipated opening in 2019 as it has now revealed a sneak peek of the specially commissioned that will be put on display in the hotel’s 1,000 guestrooms and suites.

4) Four statement features for your boutique hotel

The word ‘boutique’ is symbolic of something that extra bit special. Therefore, when looking to create memorable rooms, making sure each of them features a design, theme or piece of furniture that aids their originality is key to transforming your residence from a basic place to stay to a special boutique hotel.

5) Stepping in before checking in

Check in at Hotel Indigo York

Surprises, when it comes to the overall hotel look, feel and experience, are not often well received among modern travellers when checking in to a design hotel. A hotel, thats photographs online do not reflect the reality, are setting their guests – and their business for that matter – up for a loss. Instead, modern guests strive for a seamless experience led by the clever design of the building and its interiors. Reflect this in the marketing, and you are on to a winner, will allow your guests to check in to a familiar home.

 

 

 

Hotel Tech Live

Hotel Tech Live: 3 weeks to go

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The Hotel & Spa Tech Live is closer than ever! There’s only three little weeks left before the big show, and we can’t wait…

Returning to the London ExCeL on the September 25 & 26, this is the event dedicated to growing your business and providing you with the very latest technology to transform your hotel and spa into the venue of the future.

Join us and witness the industry’s latest trends as well as the products and services that are paving the future. Have a look at some of the highlights that you’ll be able to find at this year’s show:

Artificial Intelligence
Grow your business the smart way, with the abundance of artificial intelligence solutions that are taking the hotel and spa sectors by storm.

Cyber Security
Guarantee your customers a sound night’s sleep and a stress-free stay, by keeping your security watertight in an increasingly digital world.

Augmented Reality
Enhance that all-important guest experience with the latest and most immersive innovations from the world of augmented reality!

Customer Loyalty
Whether it’s group discounts or a loyalty card system, discover the hundreds of ways you can keep your guests coming back, time and time again.

Guestroom Technology
Ensure that your rooms meet soaring expectations, as customer experience continues to be influenced heavily by the digital revolution.

Internet of Things
The IoT may be in its infancy, but the future of hospitality most definitely lies in devices and data, and so does the future of your business!

That’s not all! You’ll be able to find 250 cutting-edge exhibitors, hear from 170 industry experts, witness groundbreaking panel debates, network with high profile professionals and much more!

So, if you are looking to be at the forefront of the industry and find out the latest trends that are going to transform the hotel and spa sectors, then join us at the Hotel & Spa Tech Live!

Don’t miss out! Get your free tickets at www.hoteltechlive.co.uk

SPOTLIGHT ON: Storytelling in the hotel lobby

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Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn and Richmond International’s Fiona Thompson together investigate just how the hotel lobby has evolved in recent years and why, perhaps, the modern hotel lobby is having to work harder than it ever has done before…

I believe the best way to describe how a hotel’s design experience to a consumer or guest is to compare it to a novel. The front cover, or the façade of the building, is the first element that a reader or a guest will see. Despite having been taught throughout my childhood to never judge a book by its cover, my argument is why disrupt the inevitable? Guests are going to judge, consciously or subconsciously, what’s on show in- and outside the physical building. Once first impressions have been established, and readers and guests open the book, the real story can begin.

The first element of drama tends to be locked into the first chapter, or in our case, the hotel lobby. Fiona Thompson, the Principal of Richmond International knows all too well the importance of getting this narrative right to not only fit the theme but also slot nicely into the practical requirement in order for it to fulfil its job (and fulfil it well). “The lobby is key, it always has been. It’s the first thing people see so it sets the tone for the whole hotel,” Fiona explains. “The world has changed, as have peoples’ expectations. It [the lobby] is the most important part of the hotel, followed in my opinion by the guestrooms in terms of what the hotel is all about.”

Fiona makes a valid point, one that has become common knowledge in our industry and should not ever be forgotten: the world is changing, and design must continue to be prepared to deal with modern travellers in which ever form they check in as. “Beforehand, it was a lobby and a reception – a very functional space – whereas now it is anything but that really,” she says. “It can be a bar, a nightclub, a restaurant, a meeting space. It fulfils so many different functions. It’s also a valuable space when you consider that all areas of the hotel these days need to work a lot harder. If you think about it, it’s the only place that everyone goes to. Therefore, the lobby – the social hub, the heart, whatever you like to call it – has been designed in order for the hotel to utilise it in a commercial way.”

As someone who has passed through many hotel lobbies around the world, the ones that stand out are those that have a layer of subtle personality and charm to them. The Miami Beach Edition, for example, is a clever yet simple illustration of how to breath natural life into the communal area of the hotel – especially with sustainability being such a hot topic at the moment, with no indications of that changing any time soon. “I think it’s key that the lobby is referenced to its surroundings,” Fiona adds. “The environment and its location is absolutely integral to the design theme. People don’t want a big bland empty space anymore. Instead, it has to work for its location. I believe that W Hotels was the first major brand to really change things in the hotel lobby in terms of putting the bar and the community centre stage.”

Image caption: The Miami Beach Edition lobby/bar

If we were to further explore the metaphor of the hotel lobby being the first chapter in a novel, then, while there are great examples, there are also wrong way to engage your readers and guests. “It’s easy for boutique properties to create a lobby that has a great vibe and that is very interesting,” explains Fiona. “I think it’s much harder to create those vibes in a luxury hotel, because some guests still want the formality to be met by the concierge and having the privacy. The balance is to combine all of those elements, to give guests checking in the opportunity to have those facilities, keep the privacy but still making the lobby an energetic space. Otherwise you can risk alienating half of the people.”

As Fiona is talking, I can’t help but feel as if in my mind she is describing The Beaumont in London. The entrance is grand and for the likes of people like me, dashing into the hotel for a meeting, it naturally opens up to the bar and restaurant so that you never feel as if you are intruding into a guests’ personal area. However, guests checking in to the hotel can veer off to the right to be met by a private check-in desk and concierge. The design in the hotel is as seamless as the guest experience.

Let’s talk about themes of our novel, to explore a sci-fi motif of robots taking over, for example, which a few years ago the robotic arm started to turn the pages of the guest experience. “I think the first time robots were introduced into the hotel it was actually quite interesting because it’s different, I suppose,” confesses Fiona though I can’t help but notice a subtle grin, hinting there is a ‘but’ coming. “But I think that people want to interact with other people. I don’t really want a robot to escort me to my hotel room. The robot thing is impersonal and I don’t generally think that’s what the majority of guests really want.”

The once extensive novel of hotel design is probably best reflected as that of a picture book in the modern world. As we’ve explored recently in our Designing Instagrammable series, hotels that are ‘gems’ have carved out the opportunity for guests to experience striking moments. One way to do that is to bring the outdoors indoors. “If you’re in the right location then fantastic,” says Fiona. “Environmentally, an eco-friendly lobby will make guests feel fresher and cleaner and generally better for you. I will go further to say that the more you can open up the space the better. The natural environment is growing a lot, right through to air conditioning. Wellbeing is another big thing that is already coming through. The younger generation are much more conscious about that.”

As with any good story, we all have our favourites – ones that really connect with the reader and guests, usually as a result of challenging conventions. “For me, 1 Hotel Brooklyn and South Beach are really great examples of a hotel being location-specific,” says Fiona. “They are green, hotels designed with sustainability in mind, but they are very sophisticated. The lobbies are also hip, but not trendy and when you go there you see many different demographics of people and generations experiencing the hotel’s facilities alongside each other, which is a real sign of success in my books.”

And with that, I have my eye on the next book that I want to explore. Someone book me a last-minute flight to Brooklyn!

Richmond International are recognised as a Hotel Designs recommended suppliers. 

Main image credit: Nick Ingram
Main image caption: The lobby at The Beaumont Hotel, London designed by Richmond International

Porter24 leads hotel industry’s digital transformation

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The hotel brand’s digital concierge network expands to 100 hotels across the U.S…

Porter24, an interactive digital concierge and advertising provider, has announced an expansion plan which will allow guests with unprecedented on demand experiences at more than 100 premier hotels, including Hilton and Marriott properties, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Chicago and most recently New York City.

As guests increasingly expect digital options to elevate their travel experiences, hotels are turning to Porter24’s turnkey solution featuring state-of-the-art touchscreen technology with an easy-to-use content management system in order to meet this demand. The interactive screens provide tourists access to all their tourism needs – from discovering local business deals and eateries to finding the hottest nightlife and greatest attractions – at their fingertips.

“Our digital concierge network addresses the needs of both the consumer and advertiser by targeting travelers upon check-in at their hotel and throughout their stay with curated content that the visitors view as a seamless extension of their hotel’s service,” said Daniel Ramirez, Vice President of Porter24. “Porter24’s unique experience and targeted content provides marketers with a unique opportunity to provide a value-add that consumers want to interact with.”

The screens come in various sizes, between 50 and 65 inches, with custom builds to ensure every display perfectly aligns with each hotels unique personality. Users can also check the weather, track flights, learn more about what’s happening at their hotel and even take a selfie that can be sent directly to social media channels- for those who’d like to boast about their amazing trip to friends.

 

Hotel Tech Spa & Live

Virtual Reality is changing the game in hospitality

800 450 Hamish Kilburn

Hotel Spa Tech Live describes how Virtual Reality is changing the face of international hotel design and service…

Virtual Reality (VR) was once the realm of extreme gamers, but in recent years it has made some big promises about bringing disruption that will span industries. In hospitality virtual reality solutions are already being exploited to bring new and exciting customer experiences.

One key use of VR technology is to enhance the relationship between hotel and visitor. VR ad company Advrtas are exploiting VR in the hotel industry to elevate the consumer-brand relationship, with top of the range immersive experience used to promote luxury hotels.

In hospitality, being ahead of the curve with the latest technology can be the difference which sets you apart from your competitors.

Others, like 36 Zero VR, are using this high-end tech to offer virtual tours, engaging their visitors with the lure of information hot spots.

While offering VR services to your customer base may still feel very sci-fi for now, anyone working in hospitality needs to be aware of the waves it’s already making in the industry. In hospitality, where customers are always looking to be wowed, being ahead of the curve with the latest technology can be the difference which sets you apart from your competitors.

If you want to find out more about innovative technology for hotels, or meet the key players changing the game in hospitality, you need to be at Hotel & Spa Tech live – the UK’s most exciting event for the technology, systems, products, and services that are breaking new ground in the hotel and spa sector.

As technology becomes more critical to the hospitality industries, Hotel & Spa Tech Live provides you with an unprecedented opportunity to find the very latest cutting-edge supplies designed to create a truly unforgettable experience for your customers, from the innovators behind these industry-transforming solutions.

Hotel & Spa Tech Live takes place at the London ExCel on the 25th – 26th September 2018, and tickets for this amazing event are FREE! Find out more about the future of hotel tech and register for your ticket on their website.

In Conversation With: lighting expert Ian Cameron from Cameron Design House

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With lighting design having the ability to make or break a hotel concept, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sat down with the founder and creative director of lighting studio Cameron Design House to find out how the company is pioneering its way to becoming a leading lighting manufacturer, one bespoke light fitting at a time…

Recently, design company Cameron Design House has been making some serious ripples in international hotel design. Through its cutting-edge design, the company uniquely prides itself on everything that comes out of its factory being handmade. With this level of detail behind every product, I was curious to find out how the company is coping with the increasing demand, since the spotlight this year is well and firmly on lighting technology in international hotel design – pun intended.

Hamish Kilburn: Ian, what challenges do you face with everything being handmade?

Ian Cameron: As all of our pieces are handcrafted with a focus on perfecting the most intricate of details, each design involves a very specialist and creative manufacturing process. There are a number of different fabrication methods used for various designs, including the rolling, shaping or cutting of the metals. Although machinery is used for essential parts of the design process, every piece is assembled by hand, with the crystal profile diffusers all hand laid and every individual piece polished by hand. Meticulous attention to detail is applied to each design to ensure the electrical wiring is always hidden and the lighting element is concealed, enhancing the sculptural nature of each piece. As an example of our commitment to detail, each of the lantern diffusers on the Haara chandelier consists of 33 individually positioned, hand-drawn glass rods and for some of the designs like the Haara, two years were spent perfecting the design to ensure the highest quality product and finish.

HK: This year we are bringing back The Brit List, as we continue to celebrate the most influential British interior designers, hoteliers and architects. In your opinion, what does London have that others in the world lack in regards to design?

IC: London is a world leader in design, and always has been. In a world that is becoming more and more automated, British design and manufacturing couldn’t be more important.

HK: How big is the team?

We have expanded from a team of four to over 25 employees in just four years! It has been important for us to maintain a sustainable level of growth over these past four years and one of my personal highlights in expanding the team was being able to give my cousin a job in our workshop.

HK: Can you explain a little bit more about the Bespoke Design Service you offer and how that’s unique?

IC: We always take a design-led approach and allow the project to shape our process. At Cameron Design House, it is really important for us to work hand-in-hand with our clients to create a design that is not only visually beautiful but works with the requirements of the space. Custom sizing, configuration and finishes are available across our collection, however providing a bespoke product is not enough and we always provide a bespoke design service to ensure the piece perfectly complements the individual nature of the project. For the example when the Hilton in Minneapolis approached us, they were looking for a specific collection of lighting pieces to perfectly complement the vast space within the hallway. With that in mind, we worked closely with their design team to configure a group of Lohja lighting pieces that have become the centrepiece of the space.

HK: Where do you find your inspiration for the products you design and create?

IC: All designers probably say the same thing, inspiration is everywhere and in everything but it is true. I am constantly fascinated by my surroundings and draw inspiration from literally everywhere, from sci-fi films, to nature and brutalism. We joke around the studio about the ongoing study of the great mathematician and designer Buckminster Fuller but we really do study his work and others like him. The ongoing study always leads to new ideas and innovations – it’s evolution.

I have a strong Finnish heritage and I draw a lot of my inspiration from Finland as well as my travels abroad. London is a huge inspiration to me as well. In the past two years I have visited over 10 countries, and I think this has really helped me develop my vision and approach to new designs.

HK: How can a designer use lighting when designing a modern hotel in a heritage building?

IC: Take the building as inspiration and work backwards. Don’t let the piece overwhelm the space. It’s important to use the space as inspiration when designing the lighting and work closely with the interior design team to find the perfect design solution.

HK: It’s said that tech development in recent years has opened up the door wide on lighting design. How have your products developed with this technology?

IC: Technology has given us more flexibility with our designs and allows us to work closely with our clients to create a piece that will perfectly complement their project.

There are also environmental issues which need to be considered when designing in today’s design climate, it’s critical that this is deliberated through all stages of the creative process. Aside from the obvious responsible use of materials etc. our approach is to design products that are lasting not only in terms of function but also lasting in terms of design.

HK: Do you ever feel the pressure in having to push creativity’s limits?

It’s important to believe in yourself and not to listen to the critics. It’s the dreamers in the world who design and build it and so instead of feeling the pressure of pushing your creative limits it’s important to be confident in your own unique vision and let your surroundings inspire the direction of design. Taking time out to explore new places is essential to my creative process and a great example of this is our Helmi chandelier, it’s the latest design within our collection and was inspired by a fishing trip near my hometown of Turku.

Understanding lighting technology with Hamilton Litestat

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Following on from Hotel Designs’ Spotlight On’ feature of Technology last month, editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the marketing manager of Hamilton Litestat to explore lighting trends, clever ways to illuminate the guestroom and how products are changing…

Last month, Hotel Designs lit up the conversation around in-hotel technology and where trends are heading in the near future of hotel design. One conversation that came up time and time again was the idea of designers using lighting in more savvy ways to create a certain ambiance. With this in mind, I decided to ask the experts at Hamilton Litestat who are ahead of the curve and in-the-know when it comes to the future of lighting technology in the guestroom and beyond.

Hamish Kilburn: How has lighting recently become more of a focus in guestroom design?

Gavin Williams: Lighting has always played a significant role in the guest experience of a hotel. First impressions count and from the moment a guest sees the hotel building and walks into reception, lighting is being used to create a statement about the hotel.

Lighting control certainly doesn’t need to be complicated

Within a hotel’s guestrooms, lighting control provides important functionality. In the week, many guests are business people who need to use their rooms as a place of work during the day. Then, in the evenings – as well as weekend guests – they want to use the space to relax. Lighting control transforms these spaces between the different functional requirements, easing from bright work-appropriate lighting into softer mood lighting at the touch of a button or swipe of a finger.

This also applies to the function rooms, restaurants and bars within a hotel. The atmosphere – and therefore the lighting requirements – for breakfast is very different to an evening meal setting, so lighting control can support this space transformation too.

We take the brief and turn it into the desired solution with no headaches

HK: I think a lot of designers shudder at the thought of lighting control in the guestroom. Can you put their minds at ease by telling us what makes Hamilton’s products user friendly?

GW: Lighting control certainly doesn’t need to be complicated. From a designer’s perspective, all they need to do is tell Hamilton what effects they want to achieve, and our team will deliver a pre-programmed system to suit. Designers don’t need to know the ins and outs of how the system works, that’s Hamilton’s job! We take the brief and turn it into the desired solution with no headaches.

Our solutions offer a range of effects, so designers should consider the result they’re after and whether they’d like dimming control, the ability to mix light and colour with DMX options, or the ability to set scenes. If they’re unsure, they can visit Hamilton’s showrooms in Bristol or at the Mere facilities to talk through the options and see demonstrations so they have the confidence that the system will deliver their lighting ideas.

And, even more importantly, our smart lighting control solutions make things simple for guests too. They can be controlled by simple yet elegant button switches that are available in a range of designs, easy-to-use glass control panels or via an accessible app on a smart device.

We’ve found exhibitions such as Decorex, The Independent Hotel Show and the recently rebranded SLEEP+EAT particularly helpful for keeping abreast of the latest trends

HK: Do you keep track of trends, and what lighting products are most popular for hotels?

GW: Yes, we make sure we take notice of the lighting trends within the hotel sector, and the general design trends. Both are very important to our business. Our smart lighting control solutions can help achieve these looks, but as we also design and manufacture decorative wiring accessories, we offer switched plates and sockets with the latest on-trend finishes.

We’ve found exhibitions such as Decorex, The Independent Hotel Show and the recently rebranded SLEEP+EAT particularly helpful for keeping abreast of the latest trends. We exhibit at these shows and have both hoteliers and designers visit our stand, so we often find ourselves discussing current trends and themes that require lighting control. We also participate in the Hotel Designs networking events, which we find very useful. Hamilton’s solution is very flexible and can be programmed to deliver more complex solutions as and when new trends and requirements come in, but we’re also always happy to build a bespoke system to meet a specific design brief.

HK: Can you explain the creative elements with regards to what goes into designing a new product?

GW: Products are bought, not sold, so new product development must be driven by talking to customers and uncovering what is missing from the current market offering, or what is not working with existing products on the shelves. In terms of the crucial elements when designing a new product, function and form has always been important to Hamilton and balancing these two elements is something we pride ourselves on. We ensure our products deliver smooth, seamless and effective functionality in a product that’s attractive and well-designed.

In a hotel, the bulk of any lighting control system will be installed out of view in the hotel’s hub room. It’s only the control plates that are visible in guestrooms so, typically, a designer wants to create a special control plate, one that has a unique shape or finish to coordinate with other wiring accessories in the design scheme.

The majority of Hamilton’s products are manufactured in our factory in Bristol

As pioneers in the manufacture of decorative plates for switches, sockets and lighting controls, Hamilton has accrued 50 years’ experience in meeting the specifications of designers and hoteliers. We simply need some guidance on the function, style and finish that’s being sought, and we will interpret these wishes to provide a suitable solution. The Hamilton design team can offer 3D CAD drawings so that customers can view product designs from different angles and perspectives to ensure it meets the most exacting requirements. This also shortens the lead time from design to product sampling. We’re also happy to create highly finished sample prototypes for a designer to present to their client to help them buy into their design ideas.

HK: How are Hamilton Litestat products made?

Image caption: Gavin Williams

GW: The majority of Hamilton’s products are manufactured in our factory in Bristol: we’re a family-run business producing British-quality solutions. Our production facility includes complete CNC, Laser and Water Jet Cutting capability. In addition to our standard selection of finishes, we can provide bespoke premium finishes, including PVD, in a choice of finishes such as Nickel or Antique Gold. If required, we can print text or graphics on plates by Laser Etch, Pad Printing or Engraving. In short, it’s a mixture and both machine and hand finishing to ensure our customers get a quality product both in terms of design and manufacture.

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

Forum Events Ltd launches two new hospitality events

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The leading events company, Forum Events Ltd, has added Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation to its rowing portfolio…

Following the growing demand in innovation around catering and technology in the international hospitality market, the parent company of Hotel Designs, Forum Events Ltd, has launched two new industry events to its annual calendar.

Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation will take place on March 25 – 26, 2019 at Whittlebury Hall, Northampton, England, with the aim to bring together professionals and suppliers in both the catering and technology market.

98 per cent of those who have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show

Both events will comprise of separate one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities. The dedicated team at Forum Events Ltd will organise personalised appointments for the professionals and suppliers attending. Each supplier will have a series of 25-minute pre-arranged meetings with key decision makers throughout the two days, over lunch and during our networking gala dinner on day one.

“98 per cent of those who have attended our events say that they are a better way to find new suppliers than a traditional trade show and we are very proud to be ahead of the curve in launching these two highly focused networking opportunities,” said Sarah Beall, Managing Director of Forum Events Ltd. “By launching Catering Equipment & Services and Hospitality Tech & Innovation, we will help to bridge the gap between delegates and suppliers, while encouraging quality business relationships to be formed.”

Forum Events Ltd, which has recently been recognised in the top 25 SME companies for cultural leadership, hosts 27 events in total throughout the year that span across a number of industries. To find out more information, please visit the events page of the Forum Events Ltd website.

How to secure your place

There are limited spaces available for these highly targeted events.

If you are a supplier to the hospitality tech industry and would like to attend Hospitality Tech & Innovation, click here. Alternatively, please contact Craig Ross at c.ross@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 376726

If you are a supplier to the catering and equipment industry would like to attend Catering Equipment & Services Forum, click here. Alternatively, please contact Craig Ross at c.ross@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 376726

To register your interest as a delegate for Hospitality Tech & Innovation, click here. Alternatively, please contact Liam Cloona at l.cloona@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374089

To register your interest as a delegate for Catering Equipment & Services Forum, click here. Alternatively, please contact Liam Cloona at l.cloona@forumevents.co.uk, or call 01992 374089

 

Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center to feature X1 video experience in all rooms

1024 389 Hamish Kilburn

As part of technology being in the Spotlight this month, Hotel Designs takes a first look at the extremely tech-forward hotel, which will shelter 219 guestrooms, will open this winter…

Luxury hotel group Four Seasons has confirmed that Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, slated to open this winter, will include new software X1 in each of its 219 guestrooms.

Comcast Business announced the launch of X1 for Hospitality, a program that brings the unique features and personalisation of the award-winning, video platform to hotel guests.

“Four Seasons guests seek exceptional quality at every turn, and technology and entertainment are an important part of their experience with us,” said Ben Shank, general manager of the hotel. “Today’s luxury travelers want customised, personal experiences with fantastic and intuitive amenities. X1 is simple and user-friendly allowing guests to navigate and discover the programs they want to watch. With the voice remote, finding a channel, show or movie is now as easy as the click of a button and a simple voice command. We believe X1 will help elevate our guests’ in-room experience and create a truly world-class visit.”

Comcast made the announcement at The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC), and the launch follows a series of successful X1 for Hospitality trials at select hotels across the country.

“Comcast has the potential to disrupt the £2.3 billion ($3 billion) United States business TV market with X1 for Hospitality,” said Greg Ireland, multiscreen video analyst at IDC. “Products and solutions that have generated excellent results on the residential side can help businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, gain an edge in attracting new and returning consumers.”

The X1 product that will be featured at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center will include:

  • Approximately 300 channel options and a free library of over 50,000 TV shows and movies On Demand
  • Voice Control: Guests can use the X1 Voice Remote to search for networks, shows and movies, set DVR recordings, change the channel, get recommendations, navigate On Demand content and more.  Residential X1 customers used the voice remote more than 1.5 billion times in the first three months of 2018 alone.
  • Recordings: A two-tuner DVR, allowing guests to record their favorite programming while watching something else or save to be viewed at their convenience when they return to their rooms.
  • Multicultural: X1 is available with Spanish screens and menus and the X1 Voice Remote understands Spanish commands.  The platform also includes curated content collections like Black Film & TV, International, and LGBTQ.
  • Accessibility: Guests can say “accessibility” into the X1 Voice Remote or tap the “B” key to get to a menu with all of X1’s accessibility options.  Guests can also quickly jump into specific features by saying “captions,” “description,” “SAP,” “voice guidance” or “shows with description” to find any programs that are described.

Branded Channels: Hotels are able to include important promotional and informational content designed to inform and entice guests.

Wireless Charging from Chargifi

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHT: the need for wireless power in the modern hotel

1024 614 Hamish Kilburn

As part of this month’s spotlight on technology, Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the co-founder of Chargifi, Dan Bladen, to find out whether or not there’s a need for wireless technology in the modern hotel…

Creating a modern hotel with all the right technology is, at times, like walking on a tightrope. Too much and you will alienate guests into never checking back in. On the other hand, too little – such as no charging units next to the bed, which is a personal bugbear – and you’ll get lost in the crowd of hotels with a reputation of not listening to modern consumer demands. To make sense of what’s what, I sat down with the co-founder of Chargifi, who travelled the world before finding a solution.

Hamish Kilburn: At what point does technology go too far in hotel design?

Dan Bladen: The chief aim of any innovation is to provide a better experience and – with the primary focus being a seamless guest service – this is even more important for the hospitality industry. The personalisation that technology can provide is key to achieving the best possible hotel stay because every guest will have a different gauge of what constitutes ‘good service’.

However, like with every positive innovation, there is a small risk of not recognising the point whereby guests feel that data collection or video interaction is intruding upon their privacy. Hoteliers need to strike a good balance between being ‘thoughtful’ with the personalised technology features they provide, versus overloading a guest with complicated devices. That is one of the reasons why simplicity was very important to us when we were creating the Chargifi platform – we wanted users to be able to choose when they charge, to be able to power up in a straightforward motion, and to glean data to inform a personalised service without constantly disturbing a brand’s key customer base.

Dan Bladen using Chargifi

HK: What was your travelling experience in 2012 like?

DB: The idea for the business came about when my wife and I were travelling the world a few years ago. We realised that much of our movement was dependent on where we could get a decent Wi-Fi connection, yet we still constantly struggled to keep our devices charged.

When we got back, my friend, founder and non-executive director Charlie Cannell and I got together to address the issue. We talked about how we might be able to give venues like coffee shops, bars, hotels and airports the ability to offer customers a wireless charging service while gaining valuable insight into their customer’s behaviour. 

HK: What makes you think that by 2027 kids will not know what wire-dependent charging is?

DB: The launch of iPhone 8 and X was the tipping point for wireless technology – when Apple does something, everyone sits up and takes notice. It put wireless power on the map and now we are seeing wireless laptops (such as Dell’s latest designs), drones and electric vehicle charging pads launching on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. The result is that wireless tech is normalising.

Wireless is going on the same journey as Wi-Fi, and wired chargers will soon seem as outdated as using an Ethernet cable to log onto the internet. This normalisation is not only supported from within the wireless charging industry, but also by environmental considerations. The UK government has been rethinking how battery technology will work in the future for over a year now. Last week, Sir Richard Branson called for plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to be brought forward to 2025, pushing wider spread EV adoption. Escalations such as these will require wireless technology on demand or we will be looking at a major power jam… and necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

HK: What are the main benefits of wireless charging technology?

DB: Aside from the obvious benefits of no fuss, no cables creates a seamless charging experience.

With a smart wireless charging solution, brands can use data to get to know the customer better. Hospitality venues will be able to access customer data and real-time insights that are both relevant and don’t require lengthy and invasive guest interaction to procure. Hotels and restaurants can use this data to stay informed and as a competitive advantage. The Chargifi App, for instance, allows you to require a user to install your app to gain access to wirelessly charge their device – by gating this high-demand amenity hoteliers can encourage guests to download their mobile app. Basically, having a piece of technology that drives engagement 24/7, and not having to worry about it.

Another advantage is the increased dwell time and revenue as you are capturing a more receptive audience – interaction is guaranteed when you are servicing a need. Not only this but footfall or dwell time increase due to wireless power has the potential to create a point of difference. With eCommerce on the rise, encouraging people to come in, sit down and spend money is more important than ever – particularly for the hospitality industry that is so reliant on customers physically being on site. In our most