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Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to ME Dubai, the ‘legacy project’ of Zaha Hadid

We set renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin a comfortable mission to kickstart the year: to write the exclusive design review of ME Dubai, the brainchild of the late Zaha Hadid, which has become the destination’s latest architectural marvel…

Collage of ME Dubai, including the exterior of the building, the sleek bedrooms and the luxury pool area

Being a designer myself, and familiar with the pioneering and expansive body of work of Zaha Hadid since her very first project, I was very much looking forward to reviewing the recently opened ME Dubai, which is sheltered inside The Opus.

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style.

An exterior shot of the Opus

Image caption: Set in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa district, the Opus is a mixed-use mirrored glass building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that shelters ME Hotel’s latest property. | Image credit: ME Dubai

Inside the 93-key hotel you can find lighting, furniture, patterns, bespoke-shaped products, rugs and seamless features and detailing, all of which have been designed by the forward-thinking studio – it really is a celebration of Hadid’s full scope of work and will be remembered, no doubt, for this.

Following Hadid’s passing, Christos Passas, who recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, was responsible for the project that aimed to ‘leave its mark’ in the urban space of Dubai. “I think the idea of having a coherent approach, to both interior and exterior design, is very compelling and indeed it requires a whole lot of commitment by the designer,” he told Hotel Designs. “We were given the opportunity to transit intellectually and emotionally from an architectural, large scale project to the finer details of the building that have to do with the user interfaces and the experience of the visitor. Such a context can allow designers to develop more holistic experiences for the user and to express the clients vision in a much more consistent and eloquent way.”

First impressions count

Having recovered in awe from taking in the huge glass cube facade and amorphic structure of the building in person, the entrance into the hotel itself is subtle and aptly plays down your reaction to what is to follow, with its minimal led forecourt dot lights, at night, tracing a suggested route to the door for cars. The proceeding experience, as you head into the reception is simply quite special.

Approaching the lobby, I was not surprised to be suitably impressed by the vast and completely and utterly unique parametric design styling of the four-storey atrium.

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

Image caption: The expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai, which is a strong first impression. | Image credit: ME Dubai

“Here, all the rules are broken and re-written with inspiring results.”

Sweeping and fluid mezzanine balconies flow in rhythm around all floors, traced by a light channel and a sloped-in continuous glass railing at an impossible angle. There are so many examples of bold innovation and experimentation which demonstrate very advanced design vision and engineering feats indeed. Hadid’s undulating, fluid and visually engaging design typology references, for me, a soft bio mimicry that clearly push the technological boundaries of materials, fabrication and build possibilities. Here the rules are not only being broken they are being re-written with inspiring results.

Whilst the atrium is an addictive dream for any photographer, myself included, it does somehow feel perhaps lacking a little something if it’s aiming to house a ‘warm’ hotel reception. Therefore, I question whether the design in this space is too hard – are softer acoustics and materials absent? Some would argue that as a hotel lobby, the space is too sparse (or too white perhaps).

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

Image caption: ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). | Image credit: ME Dubai

The large oval-shaped seating zones carefully positioned around, which feature built-in sweeping curved sofas, provide neat social areas that create necessary micro enclaves of activity. These softer social spaces, within a vastly white atrium, work well but feel almost not enough to create warmth, softness and a welcoming feeling. In fact, it feels a little sterile – a tad cold – but nonetheless, no one can argue against this space being spectacular! When the hotel is up to speed, with a healthy occupancy and the vibrancy and colour of many guests, it may fill that void.

“If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.”

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Hotel Designs: What will you remember most about the hotel?
Rock Galpin: The dynamic and compelling relationship between architecture and interior design and the emotive impact that this parametric based design has when experienced first hand.

HD: What should guests experience when checking in?
RG: DESEO Restaurant, bar and pool complete with Ibiza DJ, and the Wagu steak and Rum sponge. The 18:00 ‘lights on’ till 00:00 where the building’s facade comes to life with LEDs – most notable is the inner ‘hole’ which is more intensely lit.

HK: What could be improved?
RG: The extreme, experimental interior is impressive to say the least, however, there needs to be a further appraisal of how people feel in this space; how they react, how they interact and their needs in order to improve guest engagement. Despite the staff being lovely, the service throughout the hotel was, when I checked in at least, a little erratic.

HK: What was your favourite area of the hotel?
RG: DESEO restaurant and bar and of course the atrium.

HK: Can you describe the hotel in a sentence or two?
RG: This is a unique and inspiring hotel to be experienced first-hand. If you love progressive architecture and interior design that pushes the boundaries, bringing interior typology and technology closer to us, then you will no doubt be impressed with ME Dubai.

Between spaces, an often-forgotten part of the hotel experience

There’s a lovely journey to be had when walking from your room to most parts of the hotel, as you’re pleasurably forced to walk along the atrium mezzanines taking in beautiful elevated views of the upper floors. Aside from the DESEO restaurant and pool area, there is a distinctive lack of outdoor space in the hotel, so you do feel somewhat incubated with some light passing through the atrium roof.

Guestrooms and Suites

I had the opportunity to explore two category rooms; the standard Aura room at 47m squared and the much larger Personality Suite at 92m square. There are two colour schemes. Desert is much more subtle – think spiritual and cool. Meanwhile, the Midnight Blue scheme is deeper and more intimate that also packs a masculine punch. Both are equally as beautiful and any decision for either style will be down to personal preference.

Aura Room

The first impression of the generously sized Aura room was of light – there’s lots of it – from floor-to-ceiling windows which span the width of the whole room. The beds are quite something! Not only are they large, but they are super comfortable, with an angled cushioned Alcantara headrest at 45 degrees, which works really well.

The built-in cantilever bedside tables are a well-considered feature – there are no ugly plug sockets in sight. Instead, these are hidden under the table with a useful, minimal touchtronic operated black light arm sprouting upwards from the tables, with two useful USB ports at the base. The bed base also features flat areas to the frame that extend useful seats, which works well with the complementary, asymmetric matching rug underneath.

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

As I started to look more at the interior, I was surprised to realised that no wall was perpendicular to another and that many materials are cut on the angle or applied in complex shapes. The full marble bathroom, for example, white in the Aura and black in the Personality Suites, runs on the diagonal in both directions, so the pieces are actually rhombus shaped. These features very much reflect the entire design approach, to experiment and push the limits of what has conventionally been done up until now.

Personality Suite

The Personality Suite, similar to the Passion Suite, is 92m square and is one of the hotels larger mid-level rooms. It’s differentiated by a separate lounge/dining area and two bathrooms, one with bath, double sinks and shower cubicle the other with toilet, bidet and another sink. The Midnight Blue suite felt special. The deep blues and darker colour scheme had more contrast to that of the Desert scheme. The black and white quartz streaked marble throughout the whole bathroom is beautiful, offset by the amorphic ZHA shaped double sink and mirrors, with parametric laser etched patination.

“The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive.”

All bathroom fittings are designed by ZHA and follow suit to studio’s typology. The technology in the rooms match the design form in being progressive, with touch plates on many walls for the double-skinned electric curtains and lighting throughout. In fact, download the ME Hotels App and you have full mobile electrical control of the entire suite, including the two large TVs.

The lounge area, complete with the boomerang shaped ZHA sofa and beautifully crafted dark wood desk blended in and, looks aesthetically harmonious. However, the comfort and desire to want to use this space was sorely missing. The sofas are extremely hard, no doubt to retain the sculpted form, but off-putting in terms of comfort and relaxation, where the lounge should be king.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites in the hotel.

Image caption: A ZHA designed sofa in one of the Midnight Blue themed suites. | Image credit: ME Dubai

The F&B experience

The F&B journey within the luxury hotel starts on the ground floor. Botanica, described as a gin bar, features an Italian accent throughout and doubles as a lunchtime restaurant. It occupies part of the lobby, where the reception dominates with its music, reverberation and activity that is heard through the pale-slatted wooden walls of the bar. The space is soft, comfortable and pleasant, lending itself more to a relaxed lounge bar/restaurant.

Meanwhile, Central is the designated breakfast restaurant that seems quite lifeless outside of breakfast time, inward looking to the Atrium, which gives you the opportunity to take more of those lovely views in. This would seem a hard, austere place for a morning bite, however, despite the reverberation from lower down, the experience was actually very pleasant being relaxed and quite peaceful.

Where the Botanica, on the ground floor, is perhaps lacking some atmosphere, DESEO makes up for it ten-fold – in fact it is real contrast in most ways and a very welcome part of the hotel experience. This is where the up-tempo vibes lives.

The design of the restaurant uses Downtown skyscrapers as a backdrop and contrasts this with a leafy green design scheme that is simply lovely. With a raised freestanding bar and a wooden pergola adorned by a thousand wind cones, the impression was of movement and energy, mix that with a DJ on an Ibiza-style white podium – his back to a rectangular pool lined by sun loungers one side, slatted cabana’s the other – you realise DESEO has what it takes.

The gym is a generous in size and a pleasant space to work up a good sweat. there is also a sauna, which is an intimate small, pined welcome addition. On the fourth floor, a little bit out the way, but worth a trip just for the quirky space complete with high tech curved glass, as it’s on the cusp of the atrium’s ceiling curving into the vertical inner ‘void’ wall is a specialist massage treatment facility.

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

Image caption: The hotel features a state-of-the-art industrial-style gym. | Image credit: ME Dubai

In addition, and not to be missed, there are two excellent restaurants, which are also part of The Opus building. The Maine is a big favourite of mine, from interior to food quality, and Roka restaurant is also a fantastic new asset to the local area.

Standing out in a city like Dubai, which is no shrinking violet, is one thing. But sheltering an interior design scheme that is equally as impressive as its architecture is an almost impossible task. The interior design scheme inside ME Dubai seamlessly compliments the buildings unique architectural form and meets, I would argue, the ever-changing demands of modern travellers and in-the-know locals alike.

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

To kickstart Hotel Designs’ mission to put ‘Safe Design’ under the editorial spotlight – and following a lot of confusion when it comes to which hotel hygiene solutions are most appropriate for the hospitality industry – here are a handful of innovations that will help hospitality back on its feet. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Despite modern hotels generally being clean and safe spaces, there is no doubt that hygiene will become of the many new demands from modern travellers in a post-pandemic world. In a recent panel discussion, hoteliers from around the world gathered to discuss how to reassure the post-corona consumer. One of the major conclusions was that the hospitality industry has become more interested in learning about new hotel hygiene solutions; methods and innovations when it comes to cleaning surfaces and killing bad bacteria that is airborne.

Covid-19 was the cruel catalyst that forced all industries to confront hygiene. With the pandemic forcing much of hospitality’s doors shut once more – and at the very least keeping guests at a distance – it was only ever going to be a matter of time before new products to emerge, all of which launched with claims of being  ‘unlike any other’ on the market.

To cut through the noise, here are seven effective hygiene products and services on the market that have caught our editorial attention in recent months.

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

What’s unique about Room To Breathe, aside from the technology, is the brand’s narrative. Before Covid-19 was even a headline, the team at Room To Breathe were planning on launching a service that would ‘transform indoor environments into hypoallergenic spaces’. The seven step process, which includes purging, deep cleaning, fogging, UV technology, protext, sanifying and testing, works to continuously maintain clean air and surfaces removing up to 99.999 per cent of coronoviruses including influenzas, bacteria, allergens, mould, germs & VOC’s.

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

One of major concerns hotels will have when introducing new hygiene protocols – especially when this shift in attitude confronts guests’ behaviour – will be finding solutions that do not interfere with the design of the space. KEUCO’s sleek sanitiser dispensers are suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

GROHE Bau Cosmo infra-red hygiene tap – close up lifestyle shot

Image credit: GROHE

With hygiene being a ‘top priority’ for the brand, so much so that it is launching its first CPD module on the topic this February, The GROHE Bau Cosmo E, a strong robust design made using composite polymer, uses motion sensors to detect movement, which then activates the water flow. A mixing valve on the side of the spout can be used to adjust the temperature if required and a temperature limiter can also be installed if desired. Once the user removes their hands from the basin, the sensors will detect this and stop the water flow.

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

Compact, energy-efficient and decorated with awards, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is an ideal air purifier for guestrooms and office spaces. The Simple ‘plug in and go’ product breathes clean air indoors. The Blue Pure 411, which was recently specified in all rooms at Page8 Hotel in London, uses Blueair’s proprietary HEPASlient™ technology to remove at least 99.97 per cent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size such as viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, smoke, and allergens.

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

The rimless DirectFlush toilet with the innovative CeramicPlus and AntiBac surface is a hygiene solution that has been launched by Villeroy & Boch. The brand’s new generation of rimless WCs offers particularly quick and thorough cleaning. A precise, splash-free water flow ensures the entire interior of the bowl is rinsed thoroughly to ensure cleanliness. The easy-to-clean DirectFlush WCs is ideal for both private households and commercial projects.

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

The need for a hygiene friendly finishes doesn’t mean that interior projects have to compromise on design, at least not when it comes to laminated boards and HPL materials from UNILIN panels. These surfaces can be cleaned several times a day by 70 per cent alcohol solutions without fear of damage, helping in the ongoing maintenance and daily hygiene of commercial environments.

With the UNILIN Evola Collection, specifiers can bring the feel and look of natural materials, brushed metals and terrazzo, explore the crisp ‘clean’ colours of pure white and bright fresh green, or embrace the soft-touch effect of Super Matt Black; creating surfaces that are at once beautiful and hygienic. What’s more, with more than 190 options, there’s really no limit to creativity.

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

Ever since I have written about hotel design, I have had to confront rumours that robots will replace front-of-house hospitality. Despite the human touch being is irreplaceable when it comes to service, we cannot deny that Covid-19 has created new challenges for designers and hoteliers when creating public areas. In a recent debate, it was suggested that, to feed an on-demand society’s expectations, the hotel lobby will become more theatrical in the post-pandemic world, as practical elements like ‘check in’ will take place online prior to stepping inside the building. Therefore, there is a strong argument that the role of front-of-house staff will also change following this demand and, suddenly, the idea of robot butlers suddenly doesn’t sound so radical.

As I write this, we have a journalist on the ground in Las Vegas to explore all the latest tech trends emerging in hospitality at the annual CES. We cannot yet conclusively answer as to whether or not we predict robots having a new role in a post-pandemic world, but we can certainly suggest that, considering all of the solutions above have developed from research and development, technology will very much be front and centre of all hygiene solutions in 2021 and beyond.

If you have a hygiene products that you would like to put on the radar of our editorial team, please email press releases and images directly to our editor. The HD Edit on ‘Safe Design’ will go live on February 20. Between on and then, you can re-watch our latest HD Live session on Reassuring the Post Corona Consumer.

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

Selection of tech set-ups for TIG

How integrated smart tech can enhance hotel experiences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How integrated smart tech can enhance hotel experiences

Whilst the hospitality industry is rapidly adopting smart tech during the pandemic period, the benefits go way beyond simple automation and touchless control. Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG), explains how selecting technologies that integrate with one another can provide hotels with the opportunity to elevate the guest experience to another level…

Selection of tech set-ups for TIG

Post-lockdown, guests will undoubtedly expect to see more technology in all areas of a hotel, that provides a safer but still very welcoming and ultra-personalised experience. Great examples of integrated technology will include digital signage in lobbies, bars and restaurants, gyms and conference rooms, that indicates the availability and cleanliness status of the furniture and equipment in these spaces. Guests will also expect to be able to use their own smartphones to check in, open their room, control their environment and in-room entertainment, and get in touch with the concierge.

But, with the hospitality industry not expected to recover much before 2023, hotels are being forced to reconsider their offering and find ways of staying ahead of the game. Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG) says: “Covid is forcing companies in all industries to innovate and, by marrying together the right smart tech solutions, hotels can completely change the way visitors want to use their space, above and beyond a place to stop and rest.”

TIG offers an ecosystem of class-leading technologies that can be bundled together to form tailor-made solutions, which will help cater to new consumer habits and an altogether enhanced user experience. As Malsot explains, “Technology integration can provide many more opportunities to be creative in the way hotels use their existing assets, by increasing the functions of a communal space or guestroom and thus offering a multi-faceted guest experience.”

For instance, during this challenging period of mass under-occupancy, and with the meetings and events industry in complete standstill, many hotels have taken to renting out guestrooms, conference rooms and communal spaces for individuals to use as an office. The ‘hotel office’ concept goes hand-in-hand with the flexible working culture which has developed in response to the pandemic. Rooms may also be hired out to serve as the backdrop for virtual events. Packages range from late check-out to single-day rental or even five-day Monday to Friday deals, with the option to extend and include overnight stays, use of the gym or luxury add-ons such as a butler service.

Ideal for visitors who are in the city for work and need a quiet place for a few hours or for locals who simply need to escape the distractions and monotony of working from home, this initiative can maximise the benefits of your hotel’s existing space and recover lost revenue. By combining the need for a dedicated working space with the amenities of your hotel, with perks such as a proper desk, a clean and peaceful private environment, high-speed internet, printing privileges and the latest integrated technology, hotels can provide a value-added service in today’s volatile climate.

“TIG understands the need for a human touch, to ensure it is truly beneficial to the user.” – Christophe Malsot, Director of Hospitality, Leisure and Retail for EMEA at Technological Innovations Group (TIG).

Little touches like cute stationary packs, free refreshments and loyalty rewards programmes are also a way to make your offering competitive, but they’re just the cherry on top, as the key to developing this kind of service lies in technology!

What users need first and foremost is to be able to rely on easy-to-use unified communications systems, impressive audio-visual facilities and remote collaboration tools that work with any device, so they can simply connect and hit go from their own laptop, tablet or smartphone.

According to Malsot: “Any crisis will unveil the need to go through a series of technological changes and transformations. But simply injecting tech without purpose is not the most user-friendly approach. TIG understands the need for a human touch, to ensure it is truly beneficial to the user. That’s why our solutions integrate to form bespoke bundles that match your clientele’s needs today and futureproof your offering.

“There’s a fine line between something working well, and something that is so seamless and intuitive that it transforms the entire experience and leaves your guests begging for more!”

TIG’s portfolio includes intuitive automation, beautiful control hardware, remote management, audio-visual equipment, best-in-class unified communications solutions, conference room booking software and show-stopping digital signage. Mix and match between:

  • Collaboration, unified communications and automation technology from Crestron
  • Intuitive contemporary control panels from Black Nova
  • Energy-saving power distribution and remote monitoring systems from GUDE
  • Luxury custom-design switches and sockets from Rhombus Europe
  • Status lights and signs from Embrava that indicate availability and cleanliness of communal facilities
  • Advanced conference room booking software from NFS
  • Made-to-order furniture from Salamander Designs that fits in perfectly with specific AV products to bring a space-saving and stylish finish

Unified communications tech from Crestron enables the guestroom to function like the home office, only better. The unmatched videoconferencing services facilitate easy-to-manage, hassle-free collaboration to professional standards, making remote working feel less remote! AirMedia enables secure, wireless content sharing from the comfort of a personal device. This integrates with Crestron touch screens and occupancy sensors to turn the system on with just one command or automatically, the moment a guest enters the room. Do Not Disturb signs help drive efficiency and increase motivation, with zero distractions.

Below is a video that captures editor Hamish Kilburn checking in to review the recent tech renvoation of Bloc Hotel Gatwick, in collaboration with Symbiot and Crestron:

Room booking software from NFS is an ultra-convenient and cost-effective solution, empowering hotels by streamlining the management of meetings, catering and resources. It offers search and reporting functionality, giving staff real-time visibility of how spaces are being used, and includes visitor management such as parking and building controls, as well as the booking of services like catering and AV. Its integration with Crestron also enables the in-room lighting and tech systems to automatically shut down when the room is no longer in use.

For the ultimate in comfort and ergonomics in any-size room, Salamander Designs’ AV furniture brings a compact, sleek solution which is as functional as it is beautiful. The innovative design of its cabinets, tables and mobile trolleys allow virtually all wiring, power supplies, components and cables to be hidden yet easily accessible, packaged within a customisable solution that perfectly matches your hotel’s style.

A white office room with a large tv and tablet device

Image credit: Salamander Designs

Malsot concludes: “In today’s climate of uncertainty, hotels that show forward-thinking will be the ones that reap the rewards. Tech is the glue that holds together many different aspects, and TIG is helping hotels across EMEA use this to their advantage. By building multi-purpose smart spaces where every device is seamlessly connected with an intuitive and user-friendly control solution, hotels can remain flexible, futureproof and confidently able to ride the storm!”

To help people understand how TIG’s ecosystem works, it has opened two Experience Spaces in London and Frankfurt, with more to come in Paris, Moscow and Johannesburg in 2021, where visitors can see the solutions in action.

Technological Innovations Group is the founding Headline Partner of Hotel Designs LIVE. The next online conference takes place on February 23.

Main image credit: TIG

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
(In video) Hotel Designs LIVE: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic

In the final session of Hotel Designs LIVE, editor Hamish Kilburn was joined by global industry experts to discuss the revival of smart tech after he checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience…

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE Session 4

The final session that took place during Hotel Designs LIVE was entitled: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic – and was sponsored by Grohe, a bathroom manufacturer that is clearly leading the way when it comes to utilising technology to create innovative bathroom solutions.

To introduce the topic to the audience, editor Hamish Kilburn shared a video feature that showed him teaming up with Headline Partner Technological Innovations Group to explore technology’s role post-Covid. To do this, they checked in to Bloc Hotel Gatwick, which has just undergone an extensive technology renovation and now shelters a completely contactless hotel experience.

Here’s how they got on:

Following this immersive hotel review, which was produced by the event’s official videographers at CUBE Video, Kilburn was armed with relevant questions to put forward to his expert panel about tech solutions for a post-pandemic world.

On the panel:

Within this session, the audience heard PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Grohe, Technological Innovations Group, Aqualisa, Hamilton Litestat and a sponsored question from Duravit.

Since you’re here, why not watch all four sessions from Hotel Designs LIVE – sessions one, two and three – on demand?

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

Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to a contactless hotel (with touchless tech from TIG)

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) has played a key role in helping BLOC Hotels develop and implement new ‘touchless’ hotel technology. In an exclusive video review, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to discover what the contactless hotel experience is all about…

The BLOC hotel at Gatwick Airport is a advanced concept in hospitality that offers a comfortable night’s sleep at a competitive price whilst embracing technology for the easiest and most convenient guest experience possible.

The ‘touchless’ technologies recently installed had the useful side-effect of being ‘Covid friendly’, as guests use their own devices for everything they need to do, from the moment they step through the door to their room right up to checkout.

Here’s Hotel Designs‘ exclusive video review of checking in to Bloc Hotel Gatwick, filmed by CUBE Video, ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE:

There are no keycards required. The guestrooms can be unlocked from a smart device, without even the need to download an app. Once in their room, guests can then control the door entry, lights, climate, blinds and television from their smartphone or tablet, and when it’s time to leave, they can use it to check out too.

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) worked with Symbiot to create this unprecedented hotel experience for BLOC, specifying secure Crestron hardware that eliminate the need for bulky onsite systems architecture.

A bespoke cloud-based room control management system was developed for BLOC by Symbiot that integrates with the hotel’s Property Management System and Point of Sale systems, to control the entire hotel experience and environment, using the class-leading Crestron technology provided by TIG.

Image caption: The new contactless experience is operated via a smartphone, without having to download an app. | Image credit: Symbiot/TIG

The challenge

Olivier Delaunoy, BLOC’s chief technology officer explained the challenges that were involved: “Initially we wanted to develop a completely new hotel stay experience that was seamless for our customers. But the technology we needed to control our rooms was not available as no one had attempted this before in the hotel industry!”

The solution

Delaunoy explains: “We had to adapt existing hardware and create inventive software to realise our vision. We needed the backbone of the control hardware to be resilient and secure. That’s why we chose Crestron hardware supplied by TIG and installed by an approved Crestron Integrator.”

The results

Phillip Pini, Head of Residential Sales UK, TIG is very happy with the outcome and explains: “What makes this ground-breaking is its seamlessness, its ease of use, and how convenient it all is. Guests simply use a web-based control system on their mobile device to control their surroundings, check in and out, and open their door – there is nothing to download, nothing else needed to access this clever system. Guests simply scan a QR code, put in their reference number, and away they go! What’s more, it is inclusive, with an option to cater to those who are still more used to analogue methods. This marks a huge shift at the right time!”

The control system can even be used to operate the elevator within the BLOC hotel and will show the guests to their room. Although Covid-19 was not foreseen when this system was designed, the reduced contact was a fortunate by-product. Olivier comments: “We did not go out initially to reduce the risk of infections, but what we’ve created suits that purpose perfectly and we’re now adapting our technology further to embrace that requirement.”

“In addition to this advantage, cost-savings can be achieved through streamlined housekeeping and maintenance. The Gatwick BLOC’s infrastructure can be accessed by management to provide operational insights, as well as real-time diagnosis of everything from lighting status to leak detection.”

BLOC plans to open more hotels and will install this technology in all its future properties. Symbiot is now selling and implementing the technology to other hotel chains, and it is being rolled out internationally.

Soon, it may be that this touchless, convenient and seamlessly advanced experience developed for BLOC by Symbiot, in partnership with TIG, will be a big part of the future for the hospitality sector.

Technological Innovations Group is the Founding Headline Partner of Hotel Designs LIVE. To find out more about how Technological Innovations Group can help your business develop and deploy pioneering solutions to modern challenges, visit the website.

Main image credit: TIG/BLOC Hotels/Symbiot

TIG opens new ‘Experience Spaces’ in Frankfurt and London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TIG opens new ‘Experience Spaces’ in Frankfurt and London

Technological Innovations Group (TIG), headline partner for Hotel Designs LIVE, has opened two of its brand-new series of Experience Spaces – in Frankfurt and London…

These innovative spaces will welcome integrators, consultants, specifiers and end-users and showcase TIG’s impressive ecosystem of AV, UC, IT and control solutions from brands at the forefront of leading-edge technology development, in a safe and socially-distanced way.

The new Experience Spaces will serve to demonstrate how TIG’s ecosystem of world-class brands work together to form bespoke bundles that match the client’s exact brief, and help integrators deploy fully integrated, tailor-made and futureproof smart spaces in a wide range of environments including corporate, retail, residential, hospitality, education and healthcare.

The locations of the new Experience Spaces were carefully chosen for their ease of accessibility and central positions in both Frankfurt and London. They are located in: 

WeWork – Fifth floor
No 1 Poultry
London
EC2R 8EJ
UK

Marienforum – Seventh floor
Mainzer Landstr. 1
60329 Frankfurt am Main
Germany 

Guests can book their personalised visit with one of TIG’s experts by going to: www.tig.eu/events#booking-form. TIG is committed to adhering to Covid-safety and strict social distancing regulations, and all meetings will be held in private with the most relevant TIG specialist on hand.

With ISE 2021 postponed, and many other industry events being cancelled, TIG is planning to host bespoke and small-scale events in its Experience Spaces over the coming months, which will offer an intimate and safe platform to see first-hand how the technologies that TIG represents integrate. These events will see safety measures in place and virtual elements to reach those unable to travel. 

The Experience Spaces follow the successful launch of TIG’s Virtual Experience Space back in June, when the opening of the real-life Experience Spaces had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Virtual Experience Space is an immersive online space as part of TIG’s new website that has been carefully designed to welcome and deliver an engaging and life-like experience for visitors. For those unable to attend the real-life Experience Spaces in Frankfurt and London, the Virtual Experience Space is still available to them.

TIG’s ecosystem includes:

  • Collaboration and residential smart space technology from Crestron 
  • Stylish control panels for the hotel and home from Black Nova 
  • The Desk Sign and Blynclight ranges from Embrava, which display employee and workspace availability, and indicate whether desks have been disinfected before next use
  • Remote monitoring and power distribution solutions from GUDE
  • Innovative tools and software from Hoylu for remote collaboration and accessible digital group learning
  • User-friendly yet advanced meeting scheduling and management software from NFS
  • Luxury custom switches and sockets from Rhombus Europe
  • Made-to-order furniture from Salamander Designs that fits in perfectly with specific AV products
  • And, most recently, show-stopping energy efficient LED displays from SiliconCore

Robin van Meeuwen, TIG’s CEO, comments: “The opening of our Experience Spaces in Frankfurt and London is the next big step for TIG! We have been excited about this development for a long time now. The delay due to Covid-19 has actually given us more time to plan these spaces even more carefully and ensure our fantastic brands are represented in the best way possible.

“Whilst it has been a big investment for TIG, we believe the best way to bring our technology to the customer is by letting them experience it first-hand. Our partners and customers deserve a space that showcases how technology can transform the way we live, work and collaborate. I’d like to say to them now that our team is ready and waiting to welcome you, discuss your deployments and provide a solutions-based approach to fulfil your client’s needs.

“This year has been a difficult one for many organisations, but we are confident that TIG can now be recognised as the place to come to help your clients overcome today’s challenges and feel prepared for tomorrow, with a focus on efficiency, adaptability, safety and security. We look forward to welcoming all our valued partners and customers to our new spaces in the UK and Germany – with Paris, Johannesburg and Moscow to follow soon!”

Head over to the website to book a visit to the new Experience Spaces, hosted one-to-one with our expert salespeople.

5 Minutes With: Karl Lennon, Director of Architecture & Design Accounts at GROHE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: Karl Lennon, Director of Architecture & Design Accounts at GROHE

Ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE – where GROHE are sponsoring the session “The revival of smart tech post-pandemic” – Hotel Designs catches up with Karl Lennon, Director of Architecture & Design Accounts at GROHE

Tomorrow, in an engaging panel discussion, Hotel Designs LIVE will explore the revival of smart tech post-pandemic.

Ahead of putting the spotlight back on technology, we catch up with the session’s sponsor, GROHE, to understand how sustainability and technology can work together to create a more meaningful hotel design scene.

Hurry! you have until 10am (BST) today in order to secure you virtual place in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE. Click here to participate.

Hamish Kilburn: GROHE has consistently been raising the sustainability bar in the hospitality sector for many years now but what’s one thing they are doing that sets them apart?

Karl Lennon: Several years ago, we began our journey into 3D printing and exploring how the growing use of this technology could be applied within bathroom design. Then in March 2019, we unveiled our Icon 3D tap range, a collection of 3D printed taps produced by printing metal using a powder bed laser melting process, a unique material developed by our R&D team. In terms of sustainability, it sees us starting to move away from a make-take-waste model and begin the shift towards operating within a more circular economy. Also, 3D printing allows us to create visual spectacles and masterpieces that just simply wouldn’t be possible with traditional manufacturing methods. We completely pared back on the design of our Icon 3D taps, incorporating design details such as ultra-thin profiles and hollow interiors that would not only push the barriers of bathroom product design but significantly reduce the amount of material required in the manufacturing process too.

Meanwhile, we’re also channelling our innovation back into the hospitality, architecture and design industry with our RIBA-approved CPD programmes. We cover topics such as 3D printing and water-saving to give tangible solutions and help hoteliers and designers realise the potential for these products in their market. I look forward to sharing more on the Icon 3D in our product watch tomorrow!

Image caption: GROHE Atrio Icon 3D | Image credit: GROHE

HK: How will the pandemic impact consumer’s relationships to wellness areas within hotels?

KL: As with many areas of the hotel experience, we will of course see more movement towards touchless activation of products within wellness zones, especially as these are public areas with higher footfall. The likes of infra-red sensors for various touchpoints will become commonplace but this should only enhance the experience and complement that desired sense of wellbeing and “switching off” for guests. This technology is already familiar to most of us, namely through public bathrooms, but expansion is likely to occur across almost all areas of a project. Even some homeowners will be looking to implement touchless operation into areas of their homes so there will be a greater expectation that these developments are in place when visiting a hotel or wellness facility. However, really only time will tell! This is a constantly unfolding situation and one we are learning about and adjusting to everyday so I think we are still finding our path for the future.

Image caption: Icon 3D printing design process | Image credit: GROHE

HK: Are there any exciting projects championing sustainability that you’ve worked on recently?

KL: We see more and more now that hotel operators that we are working with across the globe have made strong commitments to sustainability in the future, which is fantastic to see. We’re working closely with these partners to enable them to satisfy these goals in their new and existing projects by advising them with the right products and specifications. This of course aligns with our own sustainability objectives where we are trying to reduce our impact through carbon-neutral manufacturing processes and working towards plastic-free packaging next year. So I hope soon that there will be lots more exciting sustainable hotel projects paving the way for new standards in the industry.

HK: We have noticed that colour is being injected back into the modern bathroom. Why is this?

KL: Formerly a functional space that focused on personal hygiene, the bathroom has become increasingly considered as a tranquil retreat. Colours enrich our experiences and heighten our senses so the two marry well, as we seek to create more experiential hotel spaces for guests. We believe the growth potential for coloured bathrooms lies within brassware and the ability to coordinate all aspects; from taps and showers to flush plates and accessories, all perfectly coordinated in the same colour and finish. This can really add that edge of luxury which is what makes a hotel break so indulgent and appealing for guests.

HK: What are some major pitfalls designers can avoid when adding tech into the bathroom?

KL: I think the biggest pitfall is using tech just for the sake of using tech! There is such a thing as too much technology and it can really detract from the experience if not carefully considered. Good tech design is intuitive. Hotel guests don’t want advanced shower systems with complicated controls that they would struggle to operate without instructions – the shower is a place to unwind and refresh and guests want to take advantage of that luxury even more when enjoying a visit to a hotel. Therefore designers need to keep in mind that tech products need to be clear and easy to use for guests, in order to deliver a more enjoyable experience.

HK: When it comes to hoteliers or designers specifying sustainable solutions for a new project, where is best to start? What simple solutions are best to implement that have the biggest impact?

KL: Connecting with suppliers and manufacturers to fully understand what is available, and how specific solutions can meet your individual project needs, is a helpful starting point to generate ideas and knowledge of this area. In terms of solutions, a key place to start of course is water-saving products. As an example, at GROHE, all our products either come with standardised water saving features or can be adapted to reduce consumption. Subsequently, we work across a lot of LEED and BREEAM certified projects. Some key solutions to consider are dual flush plates, water-saving shower heads and also advanced thermostatic shower systems. Alongside reducing water consumption, looking at methods to refine energy usage is also an important focus area. In the guestroom bathrooms, innovations such as cool start taps that only use cold water when first activated instead of unnecessary heating of hot water are a simple yet effective strategy, as are infra-red taps.

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Less than 1 week until Hotel Designs LIVE

Calling all designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Hotel Designs LIVE is a free one-day conference that takes place on October 13…

On October 13, designers, architects, hoteliers and developers will virtually gather to attend Hotel Designs LIVE, sponsored by Technological Innovations Group in association with Crestron.

Whether you are in need of a guide to hotel design or you simply want to keep up to date with the latest conversations that are happening in the industry, Hotel Designs LIVE promises to keep the conversation flowing throughout and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

As well as broadcasting thought-provoking interviews and panel discussions, the one-day virtual conference will also frame a number of dynamic PRODUCT WATCH segments throughout the day in order to identify the latest product launches and innovations within each of the four topics areas that will be explored.

“When we first launched Hotel Designs LIVE in June, we made a pledge that the event will cut through the noise in order to broadcast what we believe are the most relevant conversations happening in the industry right now,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the event. “We have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to ensure that our next broadcast of Hotel Designs LIVE does the concept justice. This has included filming a segment with our new videography partner CUBE Video, working closely with our sponsors and suppliers and inviting relevant leaders and visionaries from around the world to sit on the virtual sofa in order to add value to the conversations we are airing.”

Here’s what’s coming up:

09:20 – 09:30: EDITOR’S WELCOME

Editor Hamish Kilburn will open by acknowledging the success and highlights from the inaugural virtual conference, which took place on June 23. In addition, he will discuss the rationale behind the four sessions that Hotel Designs LIVE will position under the spotlight for the second edition of Hotel Designs LIVE.

09:30 – 10:30: Discussing sustainability with Bill Bensley
(Sponsored by Silentnight Group)

In order to definitively understand sustainability in international hotel design, while also highlighting new, unconventional methodology in the process, Hotel Designs LIVE will welcome Bill Bensley as the event’s headline speaker.

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

The award-winning designer, who never fails to deliver innovative solutions when designing sustainable spaces, will join Kilburn to discuss how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature.

Click here to participate.

11:00 – 12:00: Adding personality in public areas
(Sponsored by Falcon Contract Flooring)

Following on from the inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, where the panel questioned the very existence of lobbies in the wake of Covid-19, this session will move away from pure sterile solutions and instead inject design back into the public areas. Kilburn will ask a handful of leading designers and architects how we, as an industry, can authentically create purposeful areas that evoke interesting first impressions.

Click here to participate.

12:30 – 13:30: Reassuring the post-corona consumer
(Sponsored by Room To Breathe UK

The industry may well be re-opening its doors, but recent studies suggest that the post-corona consumer is hesitant to re-explore the hospitality scene. In an engaging panel discussion, Kilburn will ask a number of leading hoteliers from all corners of the globe how tomorrow’s hospitality arenas can effectively and sensitively reassure modern travellers that hotels are safe spaces.

Click here to participate.

14:00 – 15:00 BST: The revival of smart tech post-pandemic
(Sponsored by GROHE)

To kickstart the debut Hotel Designs LIVE, tech-influencer Jason Bradbury, the former presenter of The Gadget Show, took us on a wild journey to understand the boundless possibilities when it comes to technology in hospitality. One of the main takeaways from the session was the importance of making technology invisible for the modern consumer.

Ahead of putting the spotlight back on technology, Kilburn checked in to a completely contactless hotel experience to understand tech’s role in tomorrow’s hotel. The full feature will be broadcasted to the audience attending ‘The revival of smart tech post-pandemic’. Here’s a teaser filmed and edited by CUBE Video.

Continuing this quest, but also grounding it in the context of hotel design in the wake of Covid-19, Kilburn will invite a number of expert designers to discuss, in detail, whether or not the hotel experience will ever be truly contactless, as well as asking how to authentically and meaningfully inject smart technology into a modern hotel.

Click here to participate.

Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

Throughout October we are, for the second time this year, putting the spotlight on lighting. To kickstart this series, we reach out to Gary Thornton, senior project designer at neolight global, to understand lighting design from the inside.

The profession of architectural lighting design is a relatively young industry, even though the practise of what we do in determining where there is light and where there isn’t has been around for centuries.

Of course back then this was simply people deciding where to put candles or, as far back as the 9th century, where to locate oil lamps.  But architectural lighting design as a more formal profession really only goes back to around the 1950s with the likes of Richard Kelly pioneering the practice, followed by people like Derek Phillips and Jonathan Speirs.

So what is lighting design and what is it that lighting designers actually do?  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to explain this to my friends who think we “choose where to put light bulbs”!

It can be easily forgiven that it is not a widely known profession.  There is no formal educational pathway and many people stumble into the profession from a semi-related field of design and find themselves “doing lighting design” before they even realise what it is (myself included!).

As an example, our office comprises lighting designers with backgrounds in product design, interior design, electrical engineering, film and television, photography, sculpture and architecture.  There are indeed well-established Masters degrees, or undergraduate courses in Theatrical Lighting Design, but this is not the case for Architectural Lighting Design.  Something that has been brought up again recently in our industry.

Lighting

Lighting concerns itself with how people perceive their environment, yet because light is intangible it has an intrinsic, and often underestimated, role in all aspects of visual design.

Working in a medium which remains invisible until it strikes a physical surface means that we lighting designers must be as concerned with the nature of the surface and the biology behind the human eye as with the light which strikes it.

Ambient illumination, direct light, reflected light, the use of colour, areas of relative darkness and contrast all contribute to how a space looks and how it feels, resulting in designs made up of layers of light.  The better lighting schemes consider what should be left unlit as much as what should be lit, so maybe we are just as much “darkness designers” as we are lighting designers.

Because of the immateriality, great lighting is rarely lauded.  If you walk through a space and it looks and feels great then chances are it is because of the lighting. Not to take away from the interior designer, architect, or landscape designer that has typically designed more of the physical environment, but certainly in how the colours appear, how the material textures catch your eye, whatever the mood it prompts or the visual aesthetic it provides, it is because of the lighting.

Poor lighting on the other hand gets no end of complaints.  Lighting that is overly bright or dark, too much glare, or feels cold and uninviting can make spaces feel uncomfortable so people don’t want to visit and spend time there.  Even the best interior design schemes can be marred by bad lighting, and at the extreme bad lighting can even be bad for your health depending on the time of day or the tasks required of the people using it.

Lighting for hospitality

At the core of neolight’s work is the hospitality sector, and one of my favourite spaces to illuminate is the All Day Dining restaurant within a hotel.  This is largely because it’s such a transformative space and great way to demonstrate the power of lighting.  An All Day Dining restaurant needs to be able to provide a bright and fresh environment for breakfast, right through to the warmth and relaxing ambience of an evening meal.

When you get this right, the space will look and feel like a different restaurant to the guests from morning to night.

Lighting experiences

Architectural lighting design really started an accelerated upward curve with the mainstream adoption of LED.  Since then light sources have been getting smaller and more efficient, and the fixtures themselves are increasingly packed full of technology.

Alongside this evolution of lighting technology has been an evolving expectation of the role of the lighting designer.  No longer are we providing simple scene-setting schemes with smooth dimming to meet the client expectations, now clients are looking for more engaging and dynamic schemes concealed within the fabric of the building, with light that entrains and supports your circadian rhythm, they want an experience.

Yes the experience is framed by the architecture, or informed by the interior design, or the service that you receive, but transcending across all of those to make it a good experience is good lighting design.

Lighting design = experience design.  And if that helps become popular on social media, then all the better.

To this end we are not just designers anymore.  We have to be artists and scientists, knowledgeable in Bluetooth and LiFi, experts in daylight and green building codes, understanding biology of the human eye, of the physics of light, and all manner of material properties.

And this is all before we even mention the Internet of Things, where we are suddenly being asked about the limitations of LoRaWAN as a protocol to control light fixtures with.

Lighting is digital

There is an underlying expectation to all of this that we are digitally savvy.  Lots of industries are going through change and digitisation, but lighting is changing right up there with them.  In order to keep meeting the expectations of a modern day lighting design, we have to be able to understand and design with all these evolving elements.

One particular attribute that I’ve taken on is learning to code due to the increasing overlap with disciplines that do require this, and at the very least we need to be able to coordinate with them. For example, this is a prototype app written in Python that communicates with light fixtures in a hotel room to automatically adjust the colour temperature and brightness based on personal circumstances, such as jet lag.

Internet of Things

We have gone through the exponential growth of LED and now we have even further miniaturisation of technology so there is virtually nowhere that LEDs cannot be integrated, and conversely almost anything, like a sensor or a camera, that can’t be put back into light sources.

Lighting is a prime choice for the IoT to piggy back onto as it has an already existing ubiquitous infrastructure of power and data.  This means that light fixtures can be used for monitoring space occupancy, improving shopping experiences, reporting crimes, and more.

But in order to be able to implement this we have to understand it, and that means lighting designers becoming experts in something else that isn’t traditionally “lighting”.  It’s becoming experts in data, cloud servers, and Bluetooth meshes as part of the whole IoT network.

And this isn’t a trend that’s going away. At a macro level Smart Cities are well underway around the world (we are working on a Smarty City strategy for a brand new city in KSA at the moment), and on a micro level it’s using your voice to control the lighting in your own home. Lighting is a key part of the future of connected services.

Covid-19 will undoubtedly accelerate the demand for contact-free environments. Why carry a physical ID or ticket and have to touch door handles, when AI could verify you and open the door automatically?  Why touch any number of surfaces and interfaces to check-in to a hotel, when facial recognition could automate this as you walk through the lobby and give you a “key” on your mobile phone?

In assessing these expected trends we see that lighting is well placed to provide this as part of the IoT. Retrofitting sensor-embedded light fixtures becomes much easier than ripping out ceilings, pulling cables, and installing new networks.

As part of this learning curve affecting lighting, designers are no longer just visiting project sites, but also visiting data centres that test these sensor embedded light fixtures and the data points that they capture to understand it first hand in order to be able to implement it as part of a lighting scheme.

Misunderstandings

As lighting becomes more understood it’s great to now be reading comments like this, highlighting the importance of lighting to a space.

But for every moment of understanding, we still work with wider design teams who still misunderstand what we do. Consultants that have heard of ZigBee or BLE, and so that’s how they want their lighting controlled – when in reality all they really need is a simple control plate.

Part of our role is taking a step back from the technology and really understanding the project needs. We won’t use technology for the sake of it, especially if it’s not needed and likely to end up not being used.  How often have you struggled with a fancy lighting control system in a hotel guestroom when a simple rotary dimmer switch would have been just perfect?

As lighting design finds its way into mainstream vocabulary, more buzzwords like “human centric lighting” have come to the fore, which is another misconception to overcome.

Human centric design is human focussed design. At the heart of this notion is what we have been doing for many years now.  Designing for humans.  Lighting for humans.  Lighting for, and with, people at the centre.

The future

Who knows what the limits are to where lighting will reach – even a few years ago we were barely imagining what we have today of subscription models offering Lighting as a Service, secure wireless data through light in LiFi, and even highly secretive LED spectrum recipes used in horticulture to maximise crop yield!

Of what I have no doubt is that as lighting design continues to advance and evolve, so will the humble lighting designer along with it.

Main image credit: neolight

Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Hart Shoreditch, London’s latest lifestyle hotel

The 126-key hotel, which is in the heart of Shoreditch, has been designed by Fabled Studio and draws inspiration from East London’s past as a centre of craftspeople and makers. Hotel Designs takes a peek inside…

East London lifestyle hotel, Hart Shoreditch Hotel London from Curio Collection by Hilton, which has recently opened, was designed in collaboration with London-based interior design consultancy Fabled Studio. The 126-key property seamlessly blends the vibrant heritage and modern-day creativity of East London, through its thoughtfully designed spaces.

“Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space.” – Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Drawing inspiration from East London’s past as a centre for craftspeople and makers, the hotel’s design narrative is deeply rooted in showcasing the industries that thrived there including furniture makers, metal workers and silk weavers. In keeping with the Curio Collection by Hilton portfolio, the hotel will give visitors to London the chance to experience one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods and discover its unique history.

Image caption: The lobby | Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

“We set out to create a brand-new identity for a Shoreditch hotel and restaurant/ bar by delving deeper into the stories and history that the East End has to tell,” said Steven Saunders, co-founder and director of Fabled Studio. “Gone is the tired aesthetic of exposed graffitied brick walls, filament lightbulbs and mis-matched furniture to create a bright, fresh and life-affirming space. Natural textures and a muted architectural colour palette create a crisp canvas which we have dressed with soft sage velvets, woven linens and Kilim patterns to offer an elegant and mature space to enjoy.”

Luxe guestroom

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch/Gary Edwards

Hart Shoreditch takes its name from one of the building’s previous occupants, The Harts, who were cabinetmakers in the 1800’s. The distinctive space encapsulates East London’s rich industrial and artisan past. Design details including a steel re-bar and copper staircase, and contemporary, bespoke mahogany lights have been designed to replicate cabinetmaker’s boxes and pay homage to the building’s earlier artisan life.

Soft textures, furnishings and warm lighting will guide guests through to Tavla, the hotel’s bar where guests and locals alike will be encouraged to relax and spend time throughout the day and into the evening. Here, textured woven stools are mixed in with lounge chairs in muted tones and softened textures giving the space a modern, residential feel. The restaurant BARBOUN, boasts an industrial-luxe aesthetic with rattan and Thonet-style chairs and partitions inspired by the Victorian furniture makers workshops of Great Eastern Street. Warmth and softness is brought into the space through natural linen café curtains, drapery in deep oxblood and upholstery in nude leather; as well as the asymmetric architecture of the vast timber ceiling replicating the beamed structure of a factory warehouse. A striking steel re-bar and copper staircase sits towards the back of the space along with a central cascade of moon chandeliers.

Guests can choose from nine room and suite categories, all of which feature a soft and elegant colour palette of white and grey with striking burnt orange and deep green accents. Predominantly contemporary in style with copper mirror detailing and simplistic modern furnishings, the guestrooms are warm and inviting with subtle design details throughout such as saddle-stitched leather strapping and copper rendered marmorino textures. Copper leafed bedside mirrors are embossed with woven lace etchings in a nod to the deep-rooted Huguenot history of nearby Spitalfields. Bathrooms feature a combination of materials which come together to create a sophisticated, urban space. Luxurious marble showers and rolltop baths with impressive views across Shoreditch are complimented by contrasting concrete vanities, herringbone flooring, bold geometric tiling and paired back brass detailing.

Hart Shoreditch is also home to two unique meeting spaces which have been designed to emulate the look and feel of 18th century Huguenot townhouses synonymous with East London and its silk weaving past. A classic London aesthetic intertwined with modern textures and details set against soft green walls.

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch

Located in the heart of Shoreditch on Great Eastern Street, the hotel is conveniently situated just a moment’s walk from Shoreditch High Street underground station and within walking distance of the neighbourhood’s independent boutiques, vibrant bars, restaurants and famous markets such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Main image credit: Hart Shoreditch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Architextural

Diverse applications

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

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

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

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

Environmental benefits

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

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

a clean living room with black wallcovering

Image credit: Architextural

Less day-to-day disruption

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Architextural

Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

To showcase Heathfield & Co’s bespoke approach to lighting design, Hotel Designs explores how the brand designed unique lighting schemes for two well-known hotels in London… 

From cruise ships and shared working spaces, to five star hotels and restaurants across the world, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke portfolio showcases more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in commercial projects. Here are just two examples that illuminate the brand’s creative approach to lighting.

The Curtain

Located in the heart of Shoreditch, The Curtain is a 120-key go-to for London creatives.

Starting with the client’s initial brief, Heathfield & Co’s bespoke team worked closely with U.S. based Duncan Miller Ulmann to design unique lighting to suit the sophisticated urban city aesthetic.

From an initial project review, through to final delivery and site support, Heathfield’s dedicated project managers led every stage of the process, ensuring the budget was met and final designs were perfectly executed.

Adjustable bedside wall lights, perforated ceiling pendants and picture desk lamps were among the bespoke products designed, developed and manufactured exclusively for this stylish hotel.

Kimpton Fitzroy

Combining contemporary interiors with the original features of its 19th century building, the Kimpton Fitzroy in Bloomsbury is a London hotel like no other.

Collaborating with the creative teams at Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage Studio, Heathfield’s dedicated team of product designers and engineers created a series of extravagant chandeliers and sleek wall lights to complement the hotel interior. Specialist finishes and materials were developed and produced for the project to achieve a truly unique design.

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

Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

Following our official ‘first look’ of the 2020 Minotti Collection – and to mark putting furniture under the editorial spotlight this month – editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to one of the designers behind the collection; Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

Airy with constructive details linked to Japanese tradition, the Torii modular furniture, designed by Nendo for Minotti’s 2020 Collection, plays with round-edged volumes, thin profiles and the apparent formal simplicity of an extremely detailed design.

With an interlocking game, the horizontal elements within the furniture are laid on the vertical supports, ensuring a sophisticated visual lightness that accommodates the padded volume, characterised by couture craftsmanship.

The Torii family includes sofas, armchairs, dining and lounge little armchairs, ottomans, coffee tables and console tables. To understand more about these pieces within the context of the timeless collection, I spoke to the visionary behind Torii’s creation; Oki Sato, the founder of designs studio Nendo.

Luxury interiors with Minotti furniture

Image credit: The Torii range of the 2020 Minotti Collection

Hamish Kilburn: Can you describe the Torii range in three words?

Oki Sato: Traditional, lightness, and secureness.

HK: How does your design within this collection challenge conventional furniture design?

OS: Generally, furniture legs are reinforced by connecting vertical members to horizontal members. On the contrary, the leg structure resembles a “torii,” a traditional gate of a Shinto shrine, with a horizontal member sitting on the two vertical timbers.

Moreover, the ends of the horizontal member are designed to look like they are biting into the seat, reminding us of traditional “wood joinery” often seen in vernacular Japanese wooden architecture. The design goal was to maintain the visual lightness while expressing a sense of secureness with each component firmly locked together in unity.

HK: In your own words, what were the major challenges when designing these pieces?

OS: We had received a presentation from Minotti family for this project. This was our very first time to receive a presentation from the brand, despite having presented many times before. I think it was a challenge to design Nendo-like details to evolve Minotti family’s first rough concept and to exceed their expectations. 

HK: Can you describe how the design evolved from initial sketches to the finished product?

OS: After we received first presentation by Minotti, the initial sketch was drawn by Minotti. It was 100 per cent Minotti design at the very first moment. And then, the essence of Nendo was gradually added to the sketch through meetings and prototypes with the Minotti family.

Minotti shared a specific image at the very beginning, which helped us to proceed prototype making faster than ever and we could devote more time to considering the details.

HK: How long did this process take?

OS: I believe this process took about nine months.

HK: Can you explain more about the material you used in the upholstery?

OS: Minotti’s high technology and extensive experience coordinated our idea to concrete shape. The brand arranged everything, including a selection of materials and the softness of the cushion.

HK: What is it about Japanese design that attracts so many luxury brands?

OS: I believe it is about light and shadow. Let’s say for Italians, when one says red, Italian designers can see a lot of different reds. They have hundreds of colours of reds, but not just red.

On the other hand, I think the Japanese perceive more tones of light and shadow. I guess light and shadows are about minimalism, poetry which is one of  the values of Japanese design.

Minotti London, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Minotti

First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First look: the ‘different by design’ vision of Japan’s debut Aloft hotel

W Design International has completed Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which is scheduled to open in October 2020. Before then, Hotel Designs got a sneak peek inside…

Showcasing innovative creations of Japanese and international artists under the concept ‘different by design’, Aloft Tokyo Ginza, which will open in October 2020, will mark the brand’s arrival in Japan.

W Design International (W/D/I), assigned by Sankei Building, initiated the overall design and realiastion of Aloft Ginza by combining old-school aesthetics inspired by Ginza’s social stories and industrial design. The new 16-storey boutique design hotel with rooftop bar is filled with radiant and iconic works by select artists. W/D/I curated a total of 11 artists whose installation-art was allocated to embody the ambience at Aloft Ginza.

With more than 16 years of experience on hospitality design projects across Japan and the Asia Pacific region, W/D/I is specialist firm in the hospitality design sector, providing strategic and creative solutions for projects in Japan and beyond.

“The guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe.”

True to its ‘Ginza Vogue’ flair, the eclectic style of the 205 loft-like guestrooms, including four suites, have been designed with a relaxing, rock-chic vibe. The hotel is the ideal accommodation for global travellers who love open spaces and stylish boutique design. “Ginza Vogue” also pays homage to Toshiro Mifune’s 100th birthday, a legendary Japanese actor who was loved by film fans internationally.

The ‘different by design’ scheme has been achieved largely by W/D/I collaborating with lightning, audiovisual and music design by WORKTECHT to create one-off meaningful experiences. The atmosphere created was inspired by the Miyuki-Zoku movement from 1964, where Japanese teenagers expressed a cutting-edge and sophisticated style (the suffix “zoku” means “subculture” or “social club“). Meanwhile globally in 1964, pop art changed the art world. Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein became superstars, and many of them collaborated. W/D/I visualised this Ivy-fashion and rock spirit for “Neo Miyuki-Zoku” in 2020.

Aloft Tokyo Ginza is located less than a five-minute walk away from both Ginza Station and Higashi-Ginza Station, and will open aptly while the city is preparing to face the greatest sporting event in modern times, the Olympics Games, ideal for savvy international travellers who are expected to attend.

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

Following the launch of Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers, Hotel Designs catches up with Ian Gell, the brand’s head of new product design…

The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK. In order to understand the technology behind the new products – as well as some of the major challenges that come with driving innovation in the bathroom – we spoke to Ian Gell, Aqualisa’s head of new product design.

Hotel Designs: As Head of New Product Design at Aqualisa, what was the initial brief when creating the latest Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

Ian Gell: We wanted to create a first truly Smart shower that would improve the showering experience even further and offer connectivity across our Quartz Digital collection in an ever-growing IOT market. We also wanted to develop a feature rich product at an entry level price. Aqualisa are known for designing world class showers and we wanted to go that one step further making our showers that little bit more special.

A modern shower.

Image credit: Aqualisa

“From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

HD: Can you explain some of the main challenges you faced when designing these products, and the solutions you came up with to rectify these?

IG: The development of the app was the biggest challenge for us. From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging. There is no ‘off the shelf’ solution that you can incorporate and use so we had to develop something from the ground up that could communicate with all our products. As well as developing the app, we had to develop the software and hardware in our valves and controllers. Allowing all new controllers and valves to communicate with each other was key.

HD: What makes this collection truly unique from anything else on the market?

IG: Aqualisa invented the digital shower back in 2001 and we have been market leaders in this area since. Having a truly connected shower to offer is the icing on the cake for our well-loved brand as it enables so many exciting and innovative opportunities to become possible.

HD: From concept to launch, how long did this collection take to design/create?

IG: At the back end of November 2018, the designers picked up their pens for the first time and started creating some concept sketches and schemes however, the project really didn’t pick up traction until February 2019 and was launched in March 2020 so it took roughly a year. Most of the work has been developing a connected solution with some purpose. This resulted in the app being created and the hardware and software requiring a major overhaul to allow our product to become connected which took most of the time.

HD: Technology in hotel bathrooms has traditionally divided consumer opinions? How user-friendly is the design of the Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

IG: A smart shower provides a personalised experience with safe and precise water control.   Our smart and digital showers are in fact easier to use than most traditional showers. We have all used showers in the past where you need to stop and analyze the controls and work out what lever turns it on and what lever controls the temperature. Sometimes it’s the same lever and takes a bit of experimenting! In most instances, the user normally gets a cold wet arm whilst trying to get the water to the correct temperature for their liking.  This is not the case with our product.

Our product is activated by a simple on/off button so there is no confusion. Furthermore, our showers can be activated remotely by remote control, through an app also by voice command (if you a have an Alexa or Google home device), so users can turn the shower on from outside the shower. All our showers will indicate when the desired temperature has been reached giving the user confidence the shower will be at the perfect temperature before entry.

As well as having user benefits, our smart showers are quick and simple to install. As the hot and cold water is mixed away from the showering area, there are no bulky valves to fit into the wall. Our valves can be fitted out of site in a convenient location i.e. in a cupboard, in the loft space or under the bath resulting in easy access if needed.

“Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

HD: How does the range of products enhance the bathroom experience?

IG: Smart showers are sleek and modern devices and will compliment any bathroom interior from the more classic approach to the most contemporary design. Quartz Touch is great for tech enthusiasts out there as an LCD display is present showing the user the exact temperature. The user can also access different menus allowing full control for flow. Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app. You can set your preferred flow, preferred outlet and temperature with a simple touch of a button.

Our showers are also compatible with Alexa and Google so once the Aqualisa skill has been downloaded, Aqualisa showers can be added to people’s smart routines. For example, “hey google, start my relaxing bath routine” could turn up the thermostat, dim the lights and start filling the bath from your Aqualisa controller, all via that one command. With the smart technology out there, the options are limitless.

HD: How have you designed these products so that they are eco-friendly?

IG: There is growing pressure to find ways to reduce water consumption per household and per person. We all understand the benefits of reducing water usage and how it effects the environment and household bills. As showers are one of the biggest contributors of wastewater, we wanted our customers to be aware of how much water they were consuming from their shower.  As a result, we have incorporated a water usage dashboard into our app that shows how much water has been consumed for each user as well as the entire house over a specific period. This could be over the last week, month or six months. The app will clearly show who is using the most water and costs associated to them.

We also have a water saving mode on our handset that reduces flow by around 20 per cent.  Our optimised spray pattern still provides an enhanced showering experience whilst using less water.

Our Quartz Classic and Unity controllers have a boost function. The boost option allows users to have added flow if required or users can choose to have it turned off to a lower flow rate and save water.

Our Touch and Optic controllers have three flow settings, Eco Medium and Max. Our Eco setting reduces flow by 40% compared to the Max flow setting.

All of our packaging used for our smart products is made from fully recyclable material. Around 70% of the packaging components we use is made from recycled material. 100% of the waste produced during the production of our packaging is collected and recycled back into paper.

HD: For hotels looking to renovate their properties in the wake of Covid-19, why is the Smart Quartz Collection a good option?

IG: We are continuously improving the installation features of all our products but there is a particularly good replacement and refurbishment story with smart showers around less pipework and push fit cable connection. For example, the major benefit of upgrading from a traditional shower is moving the SmartValve, the brains of the system, completely out of the showering area – and potentially away from the guest bathroom altogether which is so easy for any future adjustment and maintenance.

Also, freeing up more space in the showering area itself opens up much more design and décor flexibility.  Perhaps even more compelling in the post-Covid economy is the ability of hotel management to monitor water usage and costs, if necessary, adjusting the water flow through hotel bathrooms.  Assurances around hygiene and safety have surely never been a higher priority in terms of the hotel guest proposition and contactless smart shower technology clearly meets that brief.

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

Main image credit: Aqualisa

IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

Legendary designer Jean-Michel Gathy infused a contemporary and traditional aesthetic in Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, which is sheltered inside the city’s latest landmark building…

Soaring above Tokyo with panoramic views of the Imperial Palace, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi is poised to reach a new height of luxury in its design statement with Japanese traditions melded seamlessly with a modern European aesthetic.

The 193-key luxury hotel is the design brainchild of Jean-Michel Gathy, legendary principal designer at the award-winning hospitality and design consultancy firm Denniston.

On the top six floors of the new 39-storey tower plus two additional floors (Ground Floor and 3rd Floor) adjacent to the Imperial Palace–the capital’s literal and figurative heart, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi will be a restful haven for travellers delivering a new level of luxury experiences at the city’s latest sky-high social scene. The hotel will feature 193 well-appointed guestrooms and suites, a prestigious spa sanctuary and a 20-metre pool on the highest floor as well as four distinct F&B concepts.

“The cultural diversity of the country has drawn me to create a contemporary expression of the traditional values for this project.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

Orange entrance to the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Gathy skillfully presents authentic Japanese elements throughout the design in respecting Japan’s culture, traditions and heritage, while incorporating the finest elements and absolute DNA of Four Seasons. “The cultural diversity of the country has drawn me to create a contemporary expression of the traditional values for this project without arrogance or a sense of overbearing,” the designer commented. We aim to ignite the feeling of a home away from home with an inviting, warm and welcoming atmosphere in the most dynamic city.”

Reflecting the vibrancy of Tokyo, a traditional Japanese red-orange lacquer box featuring solid timber panels acts as the frame to the hotel entrance at the busiest district of Tokyo. Gathy has created an experience of sensory excitement from which travellers will discover the city’s intriguing blend of ancient and hypermodern.

To replicate the Japanese aesthetic, Gathy has personally curated a defining art collection to celebrate the distinctive craftsmanship and artistry, which embodies the traditional foundations of the country. Distinct examples can be found in the combination of the Japanese floral art Ikebana, hanging natural fibre/fabric artwork and the timber panel featured at the entrance to awaken the overriding strength of connection between east and west.

Board the lift to the reception lobby on the 39th-floor where an extraordinary view is revealed through a glass curtain wall fronted by a rock installation on a shallow pond. “To truly respect the tradition and interpret the tranquility of Japan, the water feature serves as a buffer area to deflect guests’ eyeballs as it may be considered as discourteous to look straight down into the Imperial Palace.” shares Gathy who leads his team to plan scrupulously and strike a balance between the pursuit of aesthetics and the preservation of culture and respect for traditions. The six-metre high ceiling and cosy nooks and crannies provide capacious space for the reception, while the colour theme of gold and black delivers a subtle and warm welcoming atmosphere to Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi.

Render of minimalist reception overlooking city of Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

The links between contemporary West and the traditions of Japan have contributed to the reception area where guests can discover the hidden details before experiencing the dynamism of Tokyo. In response to the Four Seasons’ core value of “East meets West”, the Japanese calligraphy with the meaning of “season” is harmoniously blended in a typical European pendant chandelier and ingeniously displayed on the bottom part of the dome. The Japanese Zen garden subtly sculpted and reflected on a 3-dimensional wall by the artist Pongsatat Uaiklan (Dong) sits behind an elegant Italian cat-leg cabinet decorated with Japanese blocks.

Distinct Japanese touches immerse guests in the local landscape, the flowing and multidimensional design can be found throughout the 193 guestrooms at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. Blending the art to the room flawlessly, Gathy appointed the Japanese award-winning photographer Namiko Kitaura to capture the bespoke fabric artwork displayed as the backdrop in each guestroom.

A very minimalist guestroom

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

All rooms and suites are tailored for intimacy with an innovative open-plan layout. The sophisticated Japanese aesthetic flows through the interiors which are illuminated by natural light during the day and with bespoke modern light fixtures to reflect the after-dark glamour of Tokyo.

a modern suite overlooking Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Celebrating an authentic wedding in the heart of Tokyo at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, the ballroom and the function rooms adjacent to the chapel promise magical settings for every moment of celebrations. 

Natural light and elegant décor at the chapel invoke an ambience of romance and peace with distinctive European touches. Incorporating private rooms for the bride and officiant, and offering seamless connectivity to the Ballroom Foyer, Grand Ballroom and each of the smaller function rooms, the Chapel can host not only the ceremony but all other types of wedding events, from intimate family brunches to gala receptions.

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

The Grand Ballroom’s windows draw natural light into the spacious interior. The chandeliers and cascading lights without concrete shapes echo the beauty of nature and evoke the contemporary transition of Japanese culture. Gathy shares his vision for the project: “Inspired by the hotel name, Four Seasons, we are trying to reflect the essence of traditional literature and poetry – flow of the Seasons.”

Gathy applies his deft touch to create a serene sanctuary for THE SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi with the selection of a gentle and relaxing colour tone. The massive 3D natural fibre or fabric art installations in the spa lobby and pool area billow and sweep outward as if caught in a gust of wind, which offer a sanctuary of tranquility amidst bustling Tokyo for a journey of rejuvenation, relaxation and the pursuit of wellbeing.

A minimalist spa inside the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Gathy proudly leads his team to interpret the luxury brand DNA of Four Seasons with great respect to the culture and tradition of the country while celebrating the cutting-edge creativity and contemporary design ethos of Tokyo as a dynamic city. Gathy continues his innovative design inspiration which draws upon aspects of the country’s rich culture to the brand and his previous completion – Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River will also open on October 1 2020.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

Selina Brighton is a 31-key boutique hotel that is about to open its doors to an experience-led hospitality adventure on the South Coast. Ahead of its opening, editor Hamish Kilburn takes a peek inside…

Selina, the experience-led hospitality group for the modern nomadic traveller, has opened its third property this summer with the launch of Selina Brighton in the heart of the vibrant, boho city centre.

The timely arrival of Selina Brighton offers what is describes as the ‘ultimate staycation in 2020 and beyond’, and boasts unparalleled sea views from each of its 31 uniquely designed private rooms, suites and shared rooms. 

Playful, colourful and just a little bit cheeky is what we seem to be gathering from the hotel’s style – we’ve also been told to expect the unconventional.

Image credit: Selina

“We’re thrilled to bring our unique Selina concept to one of the most exciting cities in the UK, and in such a thriving and bohemian neighbourhood full of culture, individuality and a place to cultivate hedonism and escape social restrictions,” said General Manager, Hugo Carvalho. “We can’t wait to open our doors and provide a new hub for the Brighton community; a fairground for daring and unadulterated fun.” 

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

Designed to reflect Brighton’s ocean-front location and the city’s creative spirit, interior designer Tola Ojuolape collaborated closely with Selina’s workshop team, using materials that represent and embrace the community. As a result, each of the rooms has been given a quirky and whimsical twist, offering something new and unique to the accommodation sector in the city.

31 rooms range of categories including lofts, suites, family rooms that accommodate up to four, standard and micro-sized double rooms, with a further 19 opening in 2021 including shared community rooms which fit up to six guests. 

Social spaces are inherent in each of Seina’s properties, and the brand will be hosting specially curated programming, engaging workshops and unique pop-ups throughout the year in its Brighton property that are in-line with new social distancing guidelines.

The aptly named restaurant, The Old Pier, is set to become a Brighton favourite, serving a range of delicious dishes with a side of sea views, including sourdough focaccia with whipped burrata and fermented honey, Mexican style cactus salad and mac’n’cheese croquettes with truffle mayo. 

The understated lobby area will also be utilised as a social space for guests and locals alike, offering a grab and go coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up, as well as a sizable retail space selling products from local brands.

In addition, and to answer modern demands, a co-working space will also be launching for locals to use as a community hub with artwork created and curated by local artist Amy Isles Freeman, whose work themes around female sexuality, freedom and joy.

Selina currently operates +70 urban, beach, jungle and mountain-side locations across 20 countries worldwide and is developing a global infrastructure for nomads and remote workers who want to make the world their classroom, office, and playground.

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

Following the completion of a handful of luxury hospitality projects in the States, Avenue Interior Design has become known for its refusal to be defined by any one style, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews the firm’s founders…

Avenue Interior Design, led by founders Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Manhan, has positioned itself as a small yet mighty powerhouse in an industry full of giants.

Most recently, the firm spearheaded the design for Palms Casino & Resort’ renovation ‘From Dust to Gold’, and brought their skills to boutique properties such as The Ramble in Denver, La Serena Villas in Palm Springs as well as SLS Baha Mar.

With the world of hospitality slowly re-opening, there remain concerns and hesitations among operators and travellers on what will become of the industry. I speak to DeRosa and Manhan, two level-headed designers who understand and respect how design evolves around cultural shifts, in order to explore how the pandemic has affected hotel design decisions.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s dive straight in, how will public areas look in the post-pandemic world?

Ashley Manhan: Business and convention travel will likely lag compared to leisure travel as we see safer at home orders lift. Convention travel has been a critical component for many hotels as occupancy and F&B revenue are strongly tied to properties located near convention venues or for properties that have large meeting facilities.

A luxury F&B interior area with plants and cute seating

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

Andrea DeRosa: Accommodating large groups and conventions may require smaller breakout rooms with improved air circulation and potentially live streaming speakers to these smaller rooms. On the F&B front, buffets and family-style plating will likely be put aside for individual plates or packaged meals.

HK: What new/different materials might go into hotel builds now?

AD: Given that COVID-19 transmission has found to be primarily airborne, much consideration is going into upgraded air filtration systems. Increased ventilation and better filtration will be essential components of healthy building strategies. Additionally, we may see the use of mobile and handled UV disinfection systems for sterilisation and disinfecting of high use spaces. In terms of interior finishes and materials, and those selected for FF&E, designers will face the added challenge of selecting materials that can withstand more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

AM: In terms of lobbies, our current clients are requesting short-term solutions for partitions and countertop shields at transaction points, check-ins, and other places social distancing may not be feasible.

Fitness spaces will likely decrease in size- a trend for some properties already in major urban areas with access to specialised gyms and studios. Look for more in-room fitness options and equipment like yoga mats and lightweight dumbbells.

Restaurants face some of the largest obstacles in terms of social distancing and the use of PPE by diners. Restaurants will surely seat fewer guests to accommodate for social distancing protocol. Menus may go digital or restaurants may offer apps to place orders from your own device. Larger service counters for pickups or extended “grab and go” options maybe also be more prevalent as people warm up to the idea of eating out again.

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

AD: In the short term, we are seeing many hotel brands unrolling programs to build guest confidence and implementing quick, sometimes temporary solutions now while permanent solutions are analyzed and explored. Long term, we anticipate pandemic related measures to be modifiable to give operators the option of adjusting to meet current health risk levels. Such modifications may include digital occupancy signage, movable partitions, and digital projections indicating recommended social distances in queuing areas. A large part of the equation is understanding guests’ demands, expectations, and associations with these changes. There will certainly be varying levels of concern depending on where in the country/world the guest is traveling from. Those guests from the hardest-hit areas are likely to expect greater measures than those traveling from areas less affected. Ongoing observation of guest behavior will inform decisions owners and operators make for long term modifications to their properties.

HK: How can hotels shelter these new hygiene protocols without disrupting the design or the experience?

AM: Taking into consideration that guest safety and wellbeing is, and always has been, a top priority for any property, the next priority remains firmly rooted in good design. Ownership teams require that our commitment to creating a hospitality quality experience remains the top priority just as it was pre-pandemic. Modifications to properties should be subtle, flexible and well-intentioned. This includes careful consideration to the function of the space, the circulation of guests through the space as well as more obvious elements like materials, furnishings and even wayfinding. Creating more space for guests to comfortably, and naturally, socially distance may be as simple as removing a few clusters of lounge chairs in a lobby or replacing a communal table with a series of smaller, movable tables that can be situated individually or easily paired together.

AD: Incorporating decorative, movable screens or drapery also allows for social distancing flexibility while providing a thoughtful, well-designed element to the space. Graphics, signage, and font styles can be utilised in a way that provides informative guidance on precautions or protocol in a way that is consistent with the design language of the brand or property. For new build properties, especially food and beverage venues, you will likely see more fluid floor plans with fewer permanent features to allow for flexibility in furniture layouts and the function of a space.

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

HK: Have you already begun incorporating any changes into the hospitality projects you’re working on?

AD: Many of the modifications we’ve made for our current projects have been temporary or short term solutions that will allow our clients to adhere to guidelines as outlined by local jurisdictions. Before making more costly or broad-sweeping modifications, our clients are waiting to gauge guests’ expectations and behaviours to ascertain what long term modifications should look like. For instance, the addition of automated faucets and hand soap dispensers seem like a logical move, however, for many properties that have been without revenue for the last few months, the expense of a modification requiring any construction or electrical work may be out of the budget. Scale is a monumental consideration as well. The cost of making such a change in a hotel with 50 keys is likely more feasible than making that change in a hotel with more than 1,000 keys.

HK: Have you made any changes to guestrooms in the projects you are working on?

AM: Guestroom size, function, and programming have also been a hot topic amongst designers and Ownership teams. In recent years the emphasis was on creating public spaces so dynamic and engaging it drew people out of their rooms and into the lobby, restaurant, bar, pool, etc. Guestroom sizes were generally shrinking and the furnishings were becoming paired down and multi-purpose in their design. It will be interesting to see if guestroom sizes increase to become more of a mini-sanctuaries that offer personalised guest experiences.

Hotel Designs will be discussing topics such as adding personality in public areas and reassuring the post-corona consumer at Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13. If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, click here to participate for free.

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: Bentley & Studio Waldemeyer’s fresh approach to lighting design

To celebrate its 100 year anniversary, Bentley Motors approached Studio Waldemeyer to help the brand create all aspects of illumination on the most sophisticated concept car in the company’s history…

The vehicle Bentley Motors showcased to mark its 100 anniversary displays the future of luxury craftsmanship with seamless fusion of materials and intelligent curation of technology, whilst introducing light as a new luxury material – all highly relevant when centering the focus back to lighting solutions for tomorrow’s hotels.

Bentley, which is a brand that has flirted with hotel design for many years with a handful of luxury hotel brands sheltering ‘Bentley Suites’, approached Studio Waldemeyer to join their design team and help design and engineer all aspects of illumination on the show car.

The car manufacturer’s challenging design brief required a completely new approach to light design and engineering. Studio Waldemeyer created an innovative tool chain, seamlessly merging the latest in parametric design tools from the world of computational architecture with electronic circuit design software. This approach not only allowed the perfect 3D integration of light in the complex surfaces of the car, but also the turnaround of the project in record time.

Close up of the centre console of the Bentley car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The Bentley EXP 100 GT is by far the most complex and challenging project for Studio Waldemeyer up to date and represents the perfect combination of artistic expression and technical innovation the studio is know for.  Entering a new creative discipline the studio has yet again helped to raise the bar of innovation, in this case producing the most sophisticated illumination in the history of vehicle design.

Starting at the very prominent front grill, the illumination continues along the central spine into the interior space and finishes off with the sophisticated treatment of the rear horseshoe panel and 3D rear light clusters. While the approach to the project was that of a holistic 3D body of light, each area had its own challenges – be it the exotic materials, complex curvatures and the interaction with specialist design teams and craftspeople.

Attention to detail was paramount – the flying B logo required a weeks worth of hand polishing before receiving the tiny bespoke LED component that illuminates its wings. Different approaches were taken for every material – be it the hand woven silk or the 5000 year old river wood. The interior contains two hand blown crystal pieces that visualise the inner workings of the car’s AI. Collaborating closely with Cumbria Crystal, Studio Waldemeyer worked on the 3D design, implementation and illumination of this central feature.

The champagne cream interior with led lighting of the car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

The biggest research effort went into the external illumination. Starting from the sculpted surfaces of the car’s exterior, thousands of LEDs had to be placed at precise locations, requiring large numbers of different bespoke circuit board designs. This is a unique problem for an industry that is normally geared to make large numbers of a single design. Since no design tools existed for this task, the studio created their own: merging parametric 3D software with PCB design programmes. The manufacture of these unique pieces of electronics was done in Italy – a country famous for its long tradition in fine craftsmanship.

The concept car created a splash far beyond the automotive world and continues to receive praise in the press – garnering coverage in publications such as Wallpaper and Forbes – whilst collecting some of the most prestigious design awards in the process.

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

Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

To kickstart putting ‘beds’ under this month’s editorial spotlight, Rosie Littler from Design Equals takes her grandma’s advice when specifying the bed in hotel design…

My Grandma always me some wise words that resonate: “Spend your money on your bed or your boots,” she said, “because if you are not in one, you are in the other.”

But when it comes to hotels, how important is the bed you choose and how do you make such a subjective comfort item desirable to all?

For hotels the bed is often the showstopper of the room that attracts attention and boosts bookings. But so many components frame the perfect bedroom setting. Design Equals offer design services – both commercial and residential – with a specific focus on boutique hotels.

Here are our top tips to consider when planning your next ‘Pinterest perfect’ guestroom.

From the top:

Headboard

Shape. Size. Texture. Fabric choice. It ALL matters. And it can really set the tone of your overall look. Make it a real feature to reflect the emotion you want to create within the room. It is a good opportunity to experiment with luxurious fabrics and compliment with cushions.

Bedding

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Now this is a personal passion project of ours. We love love love beautiful bedding. But it comes at a cost. And we believe you do get what you pay for. Contemporary cottons, laid back linens and sumptuous satins make your guests experience memorable. So many of our residential clients ask us to create that hotel bedroom feeling and so often it will be the linen subconsciously they are referring to. But it needs to be fit for purpose. Durable, easy to launder and look new time after time. Work with wonderful suppliers to ensure you are getting the best value for the products you need.

Bed base

Image credit: Nimb Hotel - Deluxe Balcony Room

Image credit: Nimb Hotel – Deluxe Balcony Room

This is where you can up-sell your rooms if you have the space. Kings, Queens and more allow you to put a premium on your room rate. But in a bed base there is also the opportunity for flexibility. There are hundreds of bed frames to choose from and we are always really thorough with our clients when selecting bases as there are a couple of key things to consider. Height, durability, functionality and sustainability all need to be thought through consciously.

Mattress

It does not matter what grade, star or rating your property has, every establishment that rents out a room for the night is fundamentally selling a good night’s sleep on a clean mattress. Quantifying the cost of your mattress to the price per night principle will help you realise why buying a quality mattress is best for your clients and your business. We have a range of quality suppliers with an extensive choice. By working with a quality manufacturer, you are also gaining invaluable insight into what your guests really want as these companies are champions at customer research. Take the time to try different mattresses and think about the best mattress in your budget that reflects the quality of your stay.

Side tables

This is the opportunity to introduce unique features and give your guests an opportunity to place a morning coffee, bedtime book or dare we say it mobile phone on. The functionality of these pieces of furniture is not to be overlooked and can irritate paying customers if they are not fit for purpose.

Lighting

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Set the mood and the style with beautifully procured lighting and make sure the switches are in a convenient place. That feeling of having to get out of bed to turn the light off is annoying. Make your hotel an escape from the mundane. Whether you are refurbishing rooms or starting from scratch it’s always a good idea to bring in a quality electrician from the get-go.

Final touches

Cushions, throws, accessories, aroma. Small things, big impact. This is an opportunity to bring your brands personality through into your hotel rooms. And make it really special. Draw on the senses by using aromatherapy diffusers and carefully chosen bathroom products to elevate your offering. It is also an opportunity to up-sell products to your guests. The addition of beautiful throws and plumped feature cushions can add the finishing touches to your hotel room that makes your customers want to photograph, post on social media and recreate in their own home.

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

Image credit: Design Equals

Luxury outdoor terrace

The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

Luxury in the desert, Al Wathba, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa’s Arabian-style resort celebrates Emirati culture through design, cuisine and memorable desert experiences…

The Luxury Collection, part of Marriott International, has welcomed Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa to its unique ensemble of iconic hotels, marking the debut of the portfolio in the UAE capital.

Luxury outdoor terrace

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa is located deep within the expansive landscape of Abu Dhabi. With a design reminiscent of a historic desert village, it is an intimate retreat suffused with natural beauty, unique tranquillity, and rare experiences.

Pool overlooking the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

“We are delighted to welcome Al Wathba, Desert Resort & Spa to our ensemble of hotels that define the destination and offer our global explorers an authentic desert experience alongside warm Arabian hospitality,” said Guido De Wilde, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International. “Abu Dhabi’s legacy as an international cultural destination with a rich history and heritage, together with the diversity of its dramatic landscapes, offers a unique opportunity for us to guide our guests on transformative journeys that touch their spirits and enrich their lives.”

Inspired by native architecture and the destination’s rich history, the resort’s 103 guestrooms and villas feature traditional Arabesque flourishes, mashrabiya detailing, and Bedouin accessories. Understated interiors and neutral tones sit in harmony with the desert landscape that wraps around this extraordinary hideaway. The villas come with spacious indulgence, private plunge pools and a patio that boasts unlimited views of the surrounding Arabian Desert.

Luxury Arabian-style suite

Image credit: Marriott International

Six dining venues and bars lend themselves to a range of unique epicurean experiences. Bait Al Hanine offers a generous menu, including a wide selection of Lebanese classics, for all-day dining. Al Mabeet features authentic Emirati cuisine in an understated desert setting. Hayaakom, a Bedouin inspired lounge serves afternoon tea and sandwiches. Terra Secca is a trattoria-style, classic Italian restaurant that offers guests a theatrical view of the kitchen and chefs. Al Mesayan, an intimate rooftop bar serves as an ideal spot for stargazing or dune watching, while Panache offers a relaxed pool respite.

Arabian style F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International

Nestled within a picturesque garden, the hotel’s spa is seen as the pinnacle of the entire hotel experience. Guests at Al Wathba can enjoy a range of health and wellness rituals in a contemporary setting, whilst harnessing age-old techniques. With 11 treatment rooms, the spa also boasts relaxation areas including a healing crystal salt sauna, traditional Turkish hammam, unique cryo experience, an open-air yoga pavilion, invigorating ice shower as well as steam rooms, plunge pools, and snow caves.

Luxury pool with palm trees in the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa joins The Luxury Collection brand’s rapidly growing portfolio in the UAE which includes iconic hotels such as Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai and Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Ajman.

Main image credit: Marriott International

Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Behind the scenes: designing the ‘hottest boutique hotel’ in Dublin

The Mayson is said to be Dublin’s ‘hottest new boutique hotel’ and one of the most modern and architecturally striking hotels added to the Dublin skyline. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks it out…

Located in the heart of Dublin Docklands, The Mayson is an exciting restoration project by ODOS of 45,000 square feet.

It now shelters a 94-key hotel, as well as destination bars, restaurants, a gym, ample event space and an outdoor courtyard.

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The Mayson is a redevelopment of two protected structures – one formerly a town house built in 1860 and the other an industrial warehouse dating back to 1870. Architects ODOS have kept the original features and fixtures such as the fireplaces and the restoration of the old Valence & McGrath pub including its shop front and worked in collaboration with ODON on interiors.

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

“This exciting restoration project is a redevelopment of No.81 and No.82 North Wall Quay,” said David O’Shea, founder of ODOS. “ Both buildings were in a dilapidated condition and had not been used in over two decades. The concept was to redevelop these strikingly unique buildings by drawing on their existing, inherent characters. The ambition for No.81 was to retain a public house on the ground floor, resulting in intervention to the existing structure and restoring the original features. No.82 is one of the few remaining warehouse structures on the north quays and presented a rare to establish this forgotten building.”

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

The hotel also features an unusual ‘living’ wall where plants grow up through an internal courtyard, adding to the unconventional off-beat ethos of The Mayson. Offering a rooftop restaurant with views of all over Dublin, Ryleigh’s restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and The Mayson Bar, which serves food all day long, there is a wide variety of food available.

Main image credit: The Mayson

citizenM has arrived on the USA’s west coast

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
citizenM has arrived on the USA’s west coast

Designed by architecture and design firms concrete and Gensler, citizenM Seattle has opened its doors, marking the brand’s arrival on the west coast of the USA…

Inspired by the neighbourhood and the boundaries between analogue and digital blur, citizenM Seattle has opened its quirky doors.

The seven-storey building is positioned on the corner of John Street facing Denny park and Westlake avenue that runs all the way towards lake Union. The area is home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon and characterised by the iconic Space needle.

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

The concept design of the architecture and interior was led by Rob Wagemans from concrete, the firm behind other citizenM properties in areas such as Amsterdam, Munich, Shanghai and Copenhagen. The project work was executed by the Seattle team of architecture and design firm Gensler.

All 264 rooms are prefabricated modular units stacked on top of each other, creating a building with a series of large bedroom windows which are typical for the architecture of citizenM.

The ground floor public areas are spacious with lots of daylight coming from the large store front windows facing the street.

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

The bar with a large bottle rack and skylight above it, together with the elevator core wrapped in a bespoke art piece by local artist Jeffrey Veregge make this a remarkable citizenM.

Main image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

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

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

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

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

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

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

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pater Noster

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

Ahead of speaking at Hotel Designs LIVE in October, Lifestyle hospitality brand Locke will open its third London property this September. Before then, Hotel Designs has managed to get a behind-the-scenes glance at the interiors inside Bermonds Locke

Designed to be lived in, and offering an alternative to traditional hotels in the post-pandemic world, each individual studio apartment inside Bermonds Locke is equipped with fully fitted kitchens and modern living space.

Combined with activated public spaces and a locally-led cultural programme, Bermonds Locke will simultaneously allow guests to enjoy the benefits of a lifestyle hotel. The flexibility of the home-meets-hotel format appeals to a broad range of travellers across the leisure and business markets, for both extended and short stays. As the demands of contemporary travellers rapidly change, Locke’s burgeoning success and European expansion plans put it at the centre of the future of travel.

“We are delighted to open our third property in London with Bermonds Locke,” said Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn. “Locke aims to liberate guests from the confines of a typical hotel room by creating beautiful apartments that are designed to be lived in. The type of guest we’re accommodating wants to explore life as a local, and so the Bermondsey neighbourhood has played a significant role in defining the aesthetic, partners and programming.”

“Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces.”

Image credit: Locke

Bermonds Locke marks the first collaboration for the brand with London-based interior architecture studio Holloway Li. Paying homage to nature’s wonder in both aesthetic and eco-responsibility, Holloway Li have created a living experience out of re-purposed construction materials in both the public areas and private apartments. Concrete testing cubes destined for landfill find new purpose serving as a plinth for a six-metre long terrazzo tables in the ground floor workspaces; whilst in the rooms bespoke bed frames woven out of blackened rebar are accented with linen canopies to infuse old ideas of the concrete jungle with a new sense of sanctuary.

“We are really excited to be partnering with Locke to pave a new design direction for the brand’s home-meets-hotel concept,” explained Alex Holloway and Na Li, Co-Founders Holloway Li. “By challenging the purpose of materials, we hope to highlight how a circular material economy can generate an incredibly unique aesthetic and a new kind of living experience – doing more, with less.”

Image credit: Locke

Bringing the changing gradient of the desert sunset to south London, Locke’s signature studios on the upper floors will be dipped in blue, beige and grey hues and saturated vibrant pinks on the lower floors. Responding to a narrative and concept developed by Heather Tierney from Wanderlust (the visionary behind cult US restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter), Bermonds Locke evokes the Southern California cool of Joshua Tree, the Mojave Dessert and Abbott Kinney – a culture and food destination comparable to Bermondsey Street.

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

Situated within walking distance of some of London’s favourite spots, guests can enjoy the energetic Bermondsey Street – home to some of the best bars, restaurants and art galleries in London. To the north of the property, guests can meander through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Maltby Street Market– the smaller, slightly more charming younger sister of Borough Market. As with all Locke properties, Bermonds Locke comes fully staffed by a team of House Hosts, offering excellent insight to ensure both long and short-term visitors have access to the best local knowledge and insider tips.

The opening of Bermonds Locke comes as the brand continues to expand both within the UK and internationally. With further openings planned in Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon, Munich and Copenhagen, Locke is also slated to open its fourth London outpost in Dalston in late 2020.

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

Insane hotel concepts for the post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Insane hotel concepts for the post-pandemic world

To celebrate Hotel Concepts being this month’s ‘Spotlight On’ feature, here are some insane hotel renderings that offer drastic solutions for hospitality and hotel design in the post-pandemic world…

Let’s face it, it’s going to be a while before the industry reflects the same buzz and energy as it did before the Covid-19 outbreak. Protocols around cleaning and social distancing are inevitably changing the way in which hotels are used and perceived. With this month’s Spotlight On feature being on Hotel Concepts, we have decided to look past incredible architecture and have instead identified three new perceptions on how hospitality and hotel design can adapt post-pandemic.

A pre-warning: they are a little ‘out there’, but how else is the industry expected to develop, evolve and challenge conventional theories?

The human zoo hotel, conceived by Bill Bensley

Image credit: Bill Bensley

Earlier this year, the eco warrior Bill Bensley – who is confirmed as our headline speaker at Hotel Designs LIVE – responded to a hotel brief by designing a hotel where guests are caged while wild, exotic animals roam free. The ‘human zoo’ hotel concept, which will be targeted to luxury travellers who are seeking for unparalleled experiences, will shelter 2,400 ‘human cages’ that will actually look more like high-end, design-led guestrooms that frame an uninterrupted and uncorrupted view on natural the wildlife below.

The site where the hotel is being conceived is situated on a 2,000-hectare plot, which will reinstate wetlands to encourage biodiversity. With the concrete aim being firm to free wildlife from captivity, Bensley’s concept has recently reached a milestone, gaining approval from Southern China’s Communist Party to relocate abused animals from zoos in the country, to be released onto the roughly 2,000-hectare piece of land where the ‘human zoo’ will be located.

Although the concept was drawn up before the pandemic, it is an interesting idea nonetheless to flip the luxury consumer journey upside-down. By doing so, the Bensley has yet again put the emphasis on wildlife, nature and sustainability, all of which have experienced neglect amongst the chaos of Covid-19.

The hotel of the future according to Gettys Group

The (potential) future of hotel sleep, as imagined by Gettys Group

Image credit: RC Aradio of Blue Core Creative/Getty Groups

Since June of this year, Getty Group has been developing concepts that aim to address the significant industry-wide challenges posed by Covid-19. 325 hotel owners, designers, architects, and hospitality educators are participating in the research, including brands such as citizenM, Four Seasons, Hilton, IHG and Marriott.

Technology and personalisation (two topics we will explore in Hotel Designs LIVE) continue to play important roles. ‘BedXYZ’, which is described by Gettys Group as an “optimised and gamified sleep platform,” involves temperature-regulating engineered fabrics in the guestroom. Meanwhile, touchless technology will allow guests to control the room’s lighting, scent, sound, temperature and even the firmness of the bed via their smartphone.

Al fresco guestrooms

a room in the middle of nowhere

Image credit: Zero Real Estate/Appenzellerland

This isn’t anything new; Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, for example, is an architectural marvel with its innovative concept to remove the fourth wall in order to open up the interiors to the natural elements. However, new hotel concepts have emerged recently that are showing completely open-air rooms in the middle of nowhere. One of the developers that is leading the way is the aptly named Zero Real Estate. The theory behind the layout, with the bed being perched on a wooden platform, is that the natural landscape becomes the backdrop. Removing surfaces altogether to eliminate boundaries is a drastic strategy in the post-pandemic world, which will not work for everyone, but it certainly works to deepen one-off experiences for luxury modern travellers.

If you have a hotel concept that you would like us to explore, please tweet us @HotelDesigns. If you would like to participate in Hotel Designs LIVE, where many of the above topics will be explored, click here.

Main image credit: Zero Real Estate

Office Blueprint brings Naava Green Walls to London

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living wall in a winter setting

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Naava

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: WellTek/Naava

PRODUCT WATCH: LED neon strip lighting in the spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: LED neon strip lighting in the spa

To understand the creative possibilities and boundaries of lighting design, Hotel Designs asks Timage Architecture to share why LED neon strip lighting should be considered in the spa and wellness area…

We have long promoted the benefits of buying a marine-grade product for architectural application and have a dedicated Timage Architecture side to our business which focuses our product range for this specific audience.

The quality of materials and design consideration that goes into a product originally destined for yacht application is generally much greater than its architectural counterpart.  The materials not only offer a better overall aesthetic but also are very durable and can sustain a more aggressive installation environment.  These characteristics sit well with those looking to source sustainable product solutions for the hospitality sector.  Our products are more suited to clients looking to buy once, perhaps paying a small premium over an alternative product but being sure that they will not have to revisit the item once again after a season or two of use.

Nowhere in a hospitality setting is the above situation truer than in a spa.  The humidity levels, use of chemicals and temperatures can all culminate in poor product performance or failure, especially with regards to lighting.  Too often steam rooms have failed strip lighting under the seating or showers have fittings with a few diodes out.  These maintenance issues can have a negative impact upon the customer’s experience and overall perception of the spa.  Our marine-grade lighting can help resolve this problem, offering the hospitality sector a reliable and beautiful solution.

Our range of neon flexible LED strips is one of the best examples of these transferable products.  The neon strip lights are produced to the length required for each installation and the connectors are then injection moulded to ensure a safe IP68 underwater rating.  Lengths up to 20 metres can be specified if powered from both ends and a 24Vdc low voltage input makes them a safe product should any of the outer skin be breached.  The strips are available in a huge variety of colour temperatures as well as fixed colours.  In addition, RGB, RGBW and RGB pixel chasing versions can also be specified.  The RGBW models can be supplied in several white colour temperatures to sit alongside the coloured chips.  RGBW offers the ultimate flexibility for a lighting plan allowing the user to select custom blended colours or run colour sequences whilst still maintaining the option of a high-quality white light.  This year sees the addition of CCT technology or Correlated Colour Temperature to the range which allows users to adjust the strip from warm through to cool white at the touch of a button.  CCT is a great choice for spaces that may have a dual function requiring different ambient lighting styles or simply for those who like to tweak and change their lighting settings from time to time.

We have a large range of spa lighting solutions in addition to the neon strip lighting mentioned above and can supply luminaires for swimming pools, communal areas, shower enclosures and exterior zones.  Our lighting is always made from marine-grade materials and features the latest LED technology, rigorously tested for harsh environment application.  Please contact us for further product information or advice on spa lighting.

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

Main image credit: Timage

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

The 80-key W Gramado is expected to open in 2023 and will become the second W Hotels property to open in Brazil. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

For some months now, the highly anticipated – and Covid delayed – opening of W Ibiza has taken the spotlight. In June, Hotel Designs welcome the project’s designers and architects from BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERG to debate the future of public areas at Hotel Designs LIVE.

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

While the noise amplifies as the hotel is finally able to open its vibrant doors, the cutting-edge hotel brand has announced its next venture. W Gramado will become the brand’s second hotel in Brazil and fourth in the Southern Cone of Latin America.

The news was announced after the brand signed an agreement with KJP Participaçoes LTD to bring the W Hotels brand to Gramado, a mountain resort town in the Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.

“To have a cutting-edge W hotel in Rio Grande do Sul, a destination ready for the brand’s bold design, signature Whatever/Whenever service and innovative programming is exceptional,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International.

Renders of the hotel’s design scheme, or any information on which architecture/design firm has been appointed for the project, have yet to be announced – but here’s what we do know.

The 80 room hotel, W Gramado, will be located in the Swiss Village, the highest point of Gramado, known for exceptional views into the valley and hills beyond the city center. The property borders Orchids Park and is located less than one mile from the main attractions of Gramado. The property is planned to occupy a single four-story building with sustainable architecture with vegetation features that are indigenous to Orchids Park. The adjacent W Residences will be developed in a cluster of low-rise buildings within walking distance of the hotel.

The hotel is set to offer guests the world’s most lust-worthy resort experience in a wildly different way, and provide Brazilian visitors an exciting new lodging option that embodies the W Hotels brand’s “work hard, play hard” philosophy.

W Gramado will bring a lodging alternative that does not yet exist in the city, which will provide its guests and owners of W Residences an experience normally only offered in the most sought after global travel destinations. The hotel plans to provide several food and beverage options, both indoor and outdoor; an exclusive Wet Deck, AWAY Spa; FIT Fitness Centre, as well as a rooftop bar that will be at the highest point of Gramado, boasting a view across several surrounding cities. For corporate and social events, the stunning property will provide 500 square meters of meeting space and event centre.

“W Gramado will help put the city firmly on the map as a sustainable luxury destinations with the arrival of W Hotel & Residences,” explained George Brody representing the owners of the Swiss Village. “I believe the city is perfectly set up to welcome future generations of travellers with this exciting addition to Orchid Park.”

KJP Participaçoes LTD expects to begin construction in early 2021 and aims to complete and open the hotel in Q1 2023.

Main image caption: Renders of W Hotel Sao Paulo, expected to open in 2021 | Image credits: Marriott International

PRODUCT WATCH: hansgrohe expands its FinishPlus range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: hansgrohe expands its FinishPlus range

New for 2020, hansgrohe expands its FinishPlus range to include on-trend Matt Black for an extended number of product lines…

hansgrohe’s latest additions to the FinishPlus range of showerheads, basin and bath mixers, shower hoses and accessories, allows for a seamless and cohesive design aesthetic across the whole bathroom.

Perfect for styling with white or coloured ceramics, crittal-style shower screens and statement lighting, Matt Black offers pared-back, refined elegance; emphasising the striking silhouettes of hansgrohe’s award-winning brassware. The Matt Black finish will be available from September as existing stock, ensuring immediate availability and minimal delivery times.

line of finishes

Image credit: hansgrohe

When opting for FinishPlus, users are guaranteed to enjoy all the quality features they have come to expect from hansgrohe. Offering the ultimate in bathroom customisation, FinishPlus provides modern alternatives to the classic chrome standard, elevating bathroom design and welcoming individuality. With FinishPlus comes the opportunity for a homogeneous design scheme. From the basin mixers and showerpipes, through to overhead showerheads and valves, hansgrohe ensures all brassware parts are available in one consistent colour. Alternatively, the flexibility of FinishPlus means contrasting finishes can be contrasted for a truly unique visual effect.

All FinishPlus surfaces offer exceptional robustness, durability and scratch-resistance; the result of the exhaustive research and development of the wider Hansgrohe Group. Produced in hansgrohe’s state-of-the-art PVD (physical vapor deposition) chambers, the surfaces are hand-finished by expert technicians. Brushed or polished until immaculately smooth, they offer the perfect finishing touch to any luxury bathroom. Since the finishes are manufactured at hansgrohe’s own plant, all products can be reproduced in the same surface finish for up to 15 years after purchase.

FinishPlus is comprised of five colour options that suit a range of bathroom styles, including: Matt Black, Matt White, Gold Optic, Bronze and Black Chrome. All colours are also available in both the polished and brushed finishes, to ensure maximum personalisation when designing a new or renovating an existing scheme.

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

Main image credit: hansgrohe

Industry insight: 4 reasons why hotels need more mirrors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: 4 reasons why hotels need more mirrors

Looking beyond pure aesthetics, Mirror Mania explores why all hotels of all styles and sizes need more reflective surfaces… 

As interior styles change and evolve, there are few interior features that stand the test of time like mirrors. Sure, the frames may change – but what never ceases is our love affair with the looking glass.

There is something captivating about mirrors. Bespoke mirrors in particular have that certain charm. A mirror that is designed for a specific space cannot fail to impress. But in case you need persuading, here are 4 reasons why your hotel or hospitality setting needs to make more use of mirrors.

All eyes on you

Let’s not forget how effective mirrors are at improving your ability to see all around an area. Mirrors reflecting busier areas, in receptions or hallways, can make it easier for crime detection – especially in areas where security cameras can’t cover. If you do have a physical security presence, they’ll be able to use mirrors to improve surveillance.

Image credit: Mirror Mania

You look fabulous

Let’s face it: our always-on culture (cameras, that is) means we always want to look our best. That means being able to check our reflection several times before we go out – in the room, hotel bar and before we head out of the door.

To make a lasting impression, shine

We can’t help but associate a beautiful mirror with opulence. To leave a lasting impression on our guests, we need to do exactly that – impress them. A bright mirror draws us in while amplifying the atmosphere of the room. A cosy snug, slick living room or minimalist bathroom – any space can be illuminated with the right mirror.

Light + spacious = clean

Light and bright modern interior space

Image credit: Mirror Mania

Light, spacious areas naturally feel cleaner. A well-placed mirror can go a long way to opening up a room, without risking the vast feel of an empty space. Reflections can be used to accentuate features, adding more grandeur to a reception area by reflecting ornamental pieces or even fresh flowers.

You may be looking around your space now and wondering how you can incorporate a mirror into the layout, or design. Integrating a mirror into the perfect surroundings isn’t always easy – so let the specialists at Mirror Mania do it for you!

In addition to our stock of beautiful mirrors, we can also handcraft mirrors and glass to your specific specifications. Made in our British workshop, our glass craft is shipped all over the world. We are proud to adorn the walls of some incredibly luxurious homes and hotels. Let us brighten up your space too.

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

Main image credit: Mirror Mania

Sleep & Eat 2020 Introduces ‘hotel guestroom 2035’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sleep & Eat 2020 Introduces ‘hotel guestroom 2035’

International hotel groups, students, architects and designers are collaborating to create concept guestrooms of the future, which will be unveiled at Sleep & Eat 2020

Sleep & Eat, which recently announced the plans around this year’s virtual event, has unveiled the hotel brand partners that will be working with award-winning architecture and design firms in the creation of this year’s ‘guestroom sets’.

The firms are: Accor, partnering with Perkins and Will; IHG, working with AD Associates; and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, collaborating with Chalk Architecture, Hotel Hussy and students from University of West London. In addition, ReardonSmith Architects is creating a guestroom for a hotel group yet to be launched in collaboration with students from Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague led by the directors of hotel creative consultancy, HoCoSo, and branded by Delight Lifestyle Brand Agency.

The designers and Hotel Brand Partners have been tasked with not only showcasing the best of innovative hotel design today but also, in this 15th anniversary year of the event, giving us a glimpse into what to expect from our hotel guestrooms over the next 15 years. Each Hotel Brand Partner has selected one of its brands for this forward-looking adventure into design innovation: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – Wyndham; IHG – Voco; and Accor – Mővenpick Hotels & Resorts.

Since this year Sleep & Eat will be a virtual event, the design projects will culminate in simulated digital walk-throughs allowing visitors to explore the concept in detail, navigate around the room and enjoy an interactive three-dimensional experience.

For the hotel groups, this is a unique opportunity to work with design firms that are new to them and to imagine the future for their brands.

“This year’s theme captured our imagination and enticed us to participate in Sleep & Eat 2020,” explained Chris Lee, Director of Architecture, Design & Construction for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We have been given the opportunity to approach guestroom design with a truly open mind and to bring our vision to life. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to work with our extended team including the inspiring designer Paul Nicholson at Chalk Architecture; Katie Brinsmead-Stockham for Hotel Hussy; and Professor Layton Reid and his students at the University of West London.”

Emma King, Head of Design at IHG, said: “We have built many concept rooms in the past but this is different – the opportunity to conceptualise a room so far into the future,” she said. “Sleep & Eat is a great chance to showcase new design and we’re really pleased to be working with AD Associates on this.”

Accor’s Vice President design for Lux and Premium brands, Federico Toresi, added: “This is a great opportunity for Accor to continue imagining the future of hospitality through design. Today, more than ever before, it is vital to create hotels that are aligned with expectations of our guests whilst fully reflecting brands’ ambitions and their promise.”

Ever since their introduction, the Sets in all their iterations have proved a perennial favourite among visitors as a thought-provoking take on the hotel experience, cultural values and human desires. They have also been a rare opportunity for architects and designers to explore conceptual thought and interrogate societal and environmental issues.

Neil Andrew, Head of Hospitality at Perkins and Will, says: “For us, innovative sustainable design is pivotal to our industry, now more than ever, so our Set will be exploring the role the sector can play in meeting the environmental targets we so urgently need to reach.”

Jonny Sin, Director of ReardonSmith Architects, echoed this sentiment: “We are living through a time of re-calibration when some existing trends will accelerate and others will be re-thought. This makes it particularly meaningful to be working with students who will be the managers and owners, as well as influential guests, of hotels in 15 years’ time.”

Katharine Le Quesne, MD of HoCoSo, added: “Engagement with tomorrow’s stakeholders has been key. Based on our relationships, we handpicked a team of students from two of the best hospitality schools in Europe, to inspire the creative process.”

The four guestroom Sets will be joined by immersive wining and dining experiences as well as by a virtual lounge bar and hotel lobby, and the new on-line platform will enable all event participants and registered attendees around the globe to pre-arrange meetings at the event.

Sleep & Eat Virtual will take place on 17-19 November. For more information and to register, visit the website.

Main image credit: Pixabay/Sleep & Eat Virtual

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

Rejecting traditional wealth values

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

For the Birch hotel project, a 140-key hotel that is set within 55 acres of nature just outside of London, Red Deer deconstructed the meaning of a hotel and pieced it back together to ensure that no element was intrinsic without careful consideration. The obvious need for a bed and bathroom are present, however, more attention was given to the contemporary ‘luxuries’ such as a TV, telephone and smart lighting systems to ascertain their place in a luxury hotel for an increasingly younger generation of guests.

“With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms.”

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

As the landscape for luxury hospitality has evolved, the onus is now focused on creating a unique and personalised one-to-one experience for guests. This bespoke experience is a key driver throughout the design of Red Deer’s projects. With Birch, the firm felt it crucial to collaborate with local artists and makers to create some unique pieces in the rooms and challenge the idea that uniformity was essential for large batch furniture specification.

The most prominent of these pieces is a bespoke valet stand constructed by Jan Hendzel Studio, utilising recycled plastic orbs by sustainable material designer Charlotte Kidger, textured vases by ceramicist Emma Louise Payne and hand-beaten copper bowls by metalsmith Lucie Naujalis. It’s a piece that is intimate and personal, telling a story of three different elements brought together in a single form that is simultaneously light and robust, whilst able to be easily taken apart when required and updated over time. It’s a piece designed to stimulate the guest’s senses and spark their curiosity.

Before the pandemic, the global luxury market was predicted to reach €1.3 trillion by 2025. As the hospitality industry enters a challenging period in Q2/3 2020 it is ever-important for the designers and hotel investors to consider the changing market needs and place social connections and insider knowledge alongside premium experiences at the forefront of their business models. Hotels aren’t just bedrooms with smart technology, but memory-making experiences that create value and loyalty.

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Red Deer believes Birch to be an example of how hospitality projects should be approached, considering a long-term commitment to sustainability within a renovation or new build as a crucial component of architectural design.

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

FEATURE: nautical lighting trends in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: nautical lighting trends in 2020

On or off the water, lighting technology is evolving rapidly. Voltra Lighting explores this year’s most prominent nautical lighting trends…

Every summer, discerning guests seek out the thrill of sailing away on luxury vessels to explore breathtaking far-flung destinations around the world.

In order to meet the sky-high expectations of these jet-setters, yacht owners and luxury cruise liners invest in the most sophisticated decor elements from custom linen and drapes to designer furniture and premium cutlery. But, what is often forgotten is that to enhance your charter vessel’s interior design composition and experience, creative lighting schemes are a must.

That’s why designer lighting brands, such as Voltra Lighting, offer just the right visual and chromatic accents to enhance the look and feel of your stylish marine vessel. Crafted to deliver homogeneous illumination throughout the luxe spaces of yachts and superyachts, its hallmark design is sure to compliment your vision of hi-tech and intimate lighting.

According to designer and naval architect Adam Voorhees, “lighting plays such a critical role in how we understand a space..and how we can control and direct an experience in that space.” Mirroring this thought, especially over the last few years, superyacht lighting has grown to become an essential piece of the yacht design or refit process. From stunning chandeliers, wall lights, and decorative lamps to floor and furniture inlays, there are so many innovative solutions that are mushrooming when it comes to lighting up yachts.

If you are considering using high-end lighting to create the perfect atmosphere within the cabins and lounging areas of your yacht, then here are some upcoming trends to keep in mind:

  • Natural stone lamps: Unique and modish, lighting fixtures fabricated from naturally occurring rock are increasingly being considered a statement decor accessory. These lamps evenly illuminate the surroundings without dazzling the eyes; thus enabling guests to navigate safely over to the deck for a relaxed evening of stargazing.
  • Smart lighting: These intuitive and connected vessels of light are programmed to respond to movement, external environmental conditions, or direct user input; making for an advanced way to light spaces up.
  • Marine light sculptures: Many lighting designers, simply through creative placement, turn tasteful lighting fixtures into works of art. This ensures that the installation remains the focal point of the yacht’s interiors.
  • Charging bays: Particularly useful considering the space restrictions in private yachts, Voltra has bay chargers that charge up to eight lamps simultaneously. It is easy to put anywhere on a flat surface and requires only one power-point per bay.
  • LEDs grow in popularity: Not only are LEDs less sensitive to vibrations of the yacht but also incredibly flexible (can be adjusted to the mood or time of the day) and provide the same (or better) quality of light as incandescent lamps.

Iconically cordless

The right mood lighting can offer the perfect backdrop for a candlelight dinner or a late evening aperitif, on the front deck of your luxury boat. But most yachts and superyachts do not have wired electricity on the deck, upfront.

Enter the ambiance-setting manna from heaven – advanced cordless lighting.

Timeless both in form and function, Voltra’s range of portable lamps are excellent design objects for your yacht’s open-air spaces. Here are some of the many reasons why our portable lamps are found in some of the finest locations across the world:

  • Battery-powered: Voltra’s future-proof light installations are an incredibly customizable and intelligent way to incorporate lighting into any design project. Being battery-operated it does away with design limitations relating to the location of available electrical outlets.
  • Rated IP 65: No need to worry about damage due to water spit and harsh winds, as our lamps are incredibly dust and water-resistant. Voltra’s iconic range is also made from materials that are anti-corrosive in the face of high humidity.
  • Customisable lighting: Voltra’s exquisite lamps feature power, light modes, and the freedom to change lumières, placing the power in the hands of the guests to set the ambiance they prefer.
  • Adherence: All Voltra lights have a silicone border on the bottom, which ensures that they adhere to any surface. And since each of our handcrafted lamp units weighs upwards of a solid 609g, it is unlikely to “slide” or fall easily during oceanic turbulence.

Ultimately, be it a private yacht charter or a corporate event at sea, if you wish to create an intimate ambiance for your onboard guests, think Voltra cordless ambient lamps.

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

Main image credit: Voltra Lighting

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Rosewood announces new hotel in Shanghai

Shanghai is a strategic addition to the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand, expanding its footprint in Asia. Rosewood Shanghai will join nine properties in operation and six in development across the continent…

Following recent announcements from the luxury brand to open hotels in St Barths, Madrid and Sardinia, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Shanghai-based property development company, Lonsen Land Group, to manage Rosewood Shanghai.

Building which will be the rosewood hotel in Shanghai

The new 200-key hotel in mainland China, which will join nine properties in operation in the continent, is set to break ground in 2022, with an expected opening in 2028.

Ideally situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Jing’An District and Suhewan area, an emerging business and cultural hub, Rosewood Shanghai will offer travellers unparalleled access to the city. The announcement of Rosewood Shanghai underscores the brand’s careful, selective growth strategy in Asia and across the globe, as well as the strength of its impressive property pipeline, which is now the most robust in Rosewood’s history.

Occupying prime real estate within a mixed-use project designed by renowned international studio Foster + Partners, Rosewood Shanghai is set to transform the city skyline. Occupying the top floors of the site’s landmark building, which will be one of the tallest complexes in the city’s Puxi district at 320 meters, the hotel will deliver unique design conceived to showcase its expansive views of the metropolis. In keeping with the brand’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy, the destination’s storied history, rich culture and dynamic spirit will serve as additional inspiration for the property’s design ethos and bespoke programming.

“The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality.” – Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group.

“As we continue to grow the brand throughout Asia and specifically mainland China, Shanghai has long been a priority destination in which to plant the Rosewood flag,” said Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “The country’s largest city and economic hub, Shanghai embodies several of our key brand values – innovation, creativity and originality. We are thrilled to bring a new standard of luxury to the region and thank our partners at Lonsen Land Group for the opportunity they’ve given us to do so.”

Rosewood Shanghai will offer 200 guestrooms and suites, five food and beverage establishments and Asaya, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ revolutionary wellness concept.

“For many, Shanghai is known as “Mo Du”, the Magic City; cherished for its rich cultural heritage, modern lifestyle offerings and captivating social scenes,” says Mr Ruan Xingxiang, chairman of Lonsen Land Group. “With the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy and referencing to the success story of its trophy property in Hong Kong, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts makes an ideal partner of us to reinvent Shanghai’s charm as a destination to the affluential explorers from around the world.”

Rosewood Shanghai will join Rosewood’s collection of distinguished city and resort properties in Greater China, which currently includes Rosewood Hong Kong, Rosewood Beijing, Rosewood Sanya and Rosewood Guangzhou. Additional projects in development in the region include Rosewood Chengdu and Rosewood Ningbo, both set to open in 2023, along with Rosewood Shenzhen and Rosewood Taipei, which are planned to open in 2024.

Main image credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE: ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley confirmed as headline speaker

Back by popular demand, following last months debut event, Hotel Designs LIVE, which will take place on October 13, has  announced the renowned ‘eco warrior’ Bill Bensley as its headline speaker…

Last month, the industry gathered for Hotel Designs’ debut virtual conference, which broadcasted a series of debates and discussions.

Following the positive response, highlighting how well the virtual event was received, Hotel Designs LIVE (part two) will welcome yet more internationally renowned designers, architects and hoteliers in order to start relevant conversations like no other.

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, click here to secure your complimentary virtual seat in the audience for Hotel Designs LIVE on October 13.

The next edition of Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place on October 13, will focus on sustainability, adding personality in public areas, reassuring the post-corona consumer and the revival of smart technology post-pandemic.

Editor Hamish Kilburn, who will host the event, explains: “When we launched Hotel Designs LIVE as a meaningful way to keep the industry connected throughout lockdown, it was our mission to select engaging and thought-provoking topics that would resonate with our audience. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will look past the short-term issues and solutions that emerged during the pandemic, and will instead focus the editorial lens on wider topics, with sustainability expecting to dominate the general tone of the event. It is important to for us to continue discussing new ways to challenge conventional ideas in order to find sustainable, alternative methods when it comes to design and service – and who better to discuss this than the eco-warrior himself, Bill Bensley?”

Affectionately known as the ‘Willy Wonka of Design’, Bensley is a dedicated eco-warrior and a highly qualified jack of all trades – gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. Most recently, he made headlines for unveiling his plans to design a human zoo after publishing his white-paper on sensible sustainable solutions.

Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer.” – Bill Bensley.

When interviewed by Hotel Designs in 2018, the award-winning designer described himself in three words as: “serious, inquisitive and wacky”. Bringing all that energy to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions, Bensley will join Kilburn on the virtual stage to explore how design, architecture and hospitality can coincide with nature. “Sustainability is at the core of everything I create as a designer,” Bensley told Hotel Designs. “I am simply ecstatic to join Hamish Kilburn for Hotel Designs LIVE where we will talk about how, as an industry, it is essential for us to work together to design hotels with meaning, and rework conventional ideas and methods in the process – all to create a more profound and considerate international hotel design landscape that puts nature first.”

Hotel Designs LIVE takes place virtually on October 13. Bensley is first speaker of the event who has been announced, with the full panel being unveiled next week.

If you are a designer, architect, hotelier  or developer and would like to find out more about Hotel Designs LIVE, or book on to any or all of the above sessions, you can do so by visiting the event page.

If you are a supplier to the hotel design industry and would like to promote your latest product or services to the Hotel Designs LIVE audience, please contact Katy Phillips via email or call +44 (0)1992 374050.

IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: inside Bellonias Villas, Santorini

With Greece becoming a popular go-to destination post-lockdown, Hotel Designs explores the interior design story of Bellonias Villas in Santorini, created by Greek firms K Studio and Interni by Moda Bagno…

Natural, simple elegance is at the heart of Bellonias Villas, which is made up of 26 beach suites scattered alongside the black volcanic Kamari beach, on the east coast of the island of Santorini overlooking the mountain of ancient Thira.

This boutique hotel is also home to Elia Restaurant, a pool-side cocktail bar, and its own private stretch of beach, making it the ideal choice for couples and families who seek stylish, unpretentious luxury and beachside relaxation in a peaceful part of Santorini.

This is a contemporary project that conveys the passion and creativity of the local owners, in combination with the innovative & fresh thinking of up-and-coming Greek architects & artists. The exterior bar, pool area, restaurant and reception were designed by Athens-based design gurus K Studio. Interiors are by Greek company Interni by ModaBagno. Drawing inspiration from the unique landscape of Santorini, the designed environment is composed of natural materials such as wood and stone, with a contemporary aesthetic.  

Stylish white interior suite overlooking the sea

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

The hotel’s beach suites reflect this philosophy of modern elegance paired with the traditional beauty of simplicity. Pressed cement floors and built-in beds and sofas are complemented by selected designer pieces and artistic details adding flashes of colour to a largely monochrome backdrop. This fusion of traditional Cycladic elements with a modern design concept creates a sophisticated environment with a warm, natural feel. 

The 26 suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes including: 

The honeymoon suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Located on the upper level of the hotel, framing direct sea views from its balcony and its private outdoor hot tub is The Honeymoon Suite. An indoor staircase separates the upper level bedroom from the lower level, which features a spacious bathroom, a fully equipped kitchenette and a living area for lounging. 

Superior Sea View Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

These suites offer direct sea views from a furnished balcony or terrace, and sleep two adults in an airy open plan space, with double bed, a fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. Sea View Suites are located either on the upper level or on the ground floor. 

Apartment Suite

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

Apartment suites, expected to be in popular demand post-pandemic, have a furnished garden view terrace or balcony, and come in a variety of sizes, comfortably accommodating up to five people – perfect for families. There is one bedroom, plus a separate living space that can become a second sleeping area if required. A fully equipped kitchenette with dining area and bathroom complete the apartment.

Studio Suite

Small but perfectly formed, the Studio Suites sleep two adults in a double or twin beds, with furnished garden view balcony or terrace, fully equipped kitchenette and bathroom. 

Elia Restaurant

Image credit: Bellonias Villas

With an inspiring open air setting, and delicious food by award-winning Chef Christos Papageorgiou, Elia is one of the finest dining options in Santorini. Set between the seafront of Kamari beach and the hotel’s chic pool area, the restaurant has a stylish yet unpretentious ambiance and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Within the hotel, a wellness area includes whirlpool tub, gym, steam, sauna and treatment room is available for guests to book on request. 

A note from the editor: If the industry has learned anything during its forced hibernation over the last few months, it’s that simplicity and authenticity is going to be a significant demand for consumers checking into the post-pandemic world. Stripping interiors to reveal a minimalist design, exposing the architecture of a building, and injecting personality into private and public areas with interesting lighting concepts, and stylish art and the use of meaningful colour – much like what Bellonias Villas does so effortlessly – is going to be 

Main image credit: Bellonias Villas

FEATURE: inside Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow airport’s £4.2m renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: inside Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow airport’s £4.2m renovation

For optimists, the timing couldn’t be better for Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport Hotel to unveil the result of its £4.2m renovation, which now shelters new guestrooms, meeting areas and a few Covid-friendly adaptations. Editor Hamish Kilburn takes a look inside…

Following a number of openings and completed projects that have emerged since lockdown, I, like many, am feeling optimistic about the future of hospitality post-pandemic.

The latest significant project that has opened its doors following an extensive renovation is Hilton Garden Inn London Heathroom Airport Hotel – and I am pleasantly surprised by the attention to detail in the design scheme as I step inside to have a look round.

Although Hilton Garden Inn sits below some of the more desirable brands in the Hilton cluster, the hotel is fit for purpose – it is positioned steps from Hatton Cross Station, and offers easy access to all terminals at Heathrow Airport. What’s more, the newly refurbished hotel, which is the brainchild of Swedish design team DOOS, is warm, comfortable and even knocks on the door of luxury. 

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

As part of the £4.2 million renovation, all guestrooms have been refurbished, with 205 undergoing a light refurbishment and 159 undergoing a full refurbishment and upgrade to Deluxe King Rooms. Additional areas of focus include the reception, restaurant, bar, and gym. Four innovatively designed meeting rooms within the pavilion conferencing area in the gardens of the property have also been completely renovated. Further enhancements to the MICE offering include the creation of three additional meeting rooms within the main building and the renovation of a further three meeting rooms, creating a total of 10 bespoke meeting areas. 

Each guestroom boasts the brand’s signature bedding featuring fresh, white duvets and crisp linens creating the perfect balance between comfort and support.  All bedrooms are fitted with optimum design elements to create a restful stay with stylish headboards, sophisticated lighting fixtures that fill the open space and soft furnishings. The theme is maintained through the upgraded Deluxe King Rooms which offer a larger en-suite bathroom and more luxurious settings, with additional plush sofa and unique lounge design features. The new bathrooms have been completely renovated and now feature large walk-in showers and modern, spacious vanity countertops.

A total of 10 new and newly refurbished meeting and conference rooms have been added to the hotel’s offering. Three brand new distinctive meeting rooms are available in the hotel’s main event space, with the existing three rooms boasting full renovations. The refurbishment continues through the outdoor Pavilion event space located in the gardens of the hotel, where four modern and professional rooms with their own personalities have been created. With these built-for-purpose event amenities, Hilton’s professional spaces offer slick technology, modern menus and expert planners and service teams who are on hand to help guests create special and memorable experiences for up to 300 people. A new shop area has also been completed offering grab & go food, freshly brewed Piacetto coffee, refreshing cold drinks and convenient amenity travel items.

In-house guests at Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport will find greater convenience and more personalised experiences with Hilton’s refurbished health and wellness facilities, including a light and spacious purpose-built gym with state of art cardio and strength equipment by Technogym including the new high-intensity Technogym Bike where you can join interactive live spin classes from One Rebel studios in London.

In response to the impact of Covid-19, the property has responded by implementing key protocols relating to cleanliness and hygiene. This has been done with the protection of customers, employees and collaborators in mind. The hotel is the first in the UK to receive the Certificate of Assurance from Bureau Veritas for its measures in response to Covid-19 prevention, as well as being a part of the rigorous Hilton CleanStay programme.

Owned by Pandox AB, Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport offers amenities including complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, a 24-hour business centre, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, full cooked-to-order breakfast, craft cocktails and shareable plates for dinner, that appeal to those travelling for business or leisure.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

A milestone opening underscores the continued development of the Marriott International portfolio in Asia Pacific with brand debuts expected across the region throughout 2020…

Months after claiming to open more than 30 luxury properties in 2020, Marriott International has announced the opening of its 800th property in Asia Pacific, the JW Marriott Nara, marking the brand’s the entry into Japan.

The company also expects the EDITION and Aloft brands to debut in Japan before the end of the year. Across the Asia Pacific region throughout 2020, the Moxy brand anticipates its first hotel opening in China.

“We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism.” – Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International

“We remain confident in the resilience of travel, our owners and franchisees, guests and associates as well as the future prospects of lodging in Asia Pacific, our second largest market, ” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, Asia Pacific for Marriott International. “We are encouraged by recent trends, especially in China, where demand has been driven primarily by domestic tourism, and we will continue to focus on strengthening our footprint in this important, growing market.”

The group in Asia Pacific has, on average, added close to 80 hotels per year in the last three years, with its pipeline growing by nearly 10 percent annually over the same time period. In the first half of 2020 alone, the company recorded 73 new signings, including 43 in the Greater China region.

“These highly anticipated brand debuts are a testament to the confidence that the owner and franchisee community has in Asia Pacific, as well as Marriott International’s long-term vision, especially in today’s challenging business climate,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “Our owners and franchisees trust and choose Marriott International because of our overall reputation for product quality, our powerful and differentiated portfolio of brands, our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program with more than 142 million global members, and our proven track record of operational excellence.”

In the last three years, the hotel group in Asia Pacific saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of conversion hotels added to the portfolio on an annual basis. Conversions allow owners and franchisees to plug into the Marriott system at a quicker pace compared to opening a new build hotel. This year, the company signed Singapore’s first two Autograph Collection hotels – Marriott International’s dynamic collection of independent hotels that champions individuality – both anticipated to fly the Autograph Collection brand flag in 2021.

With six billion domestic trips made to China in 2019 alone, largely attributed to a rise in average disposable income, demand for brands positioned at a moderate price-point has gained momentum among both travellers and hotel owners. To meet this growing demand and support franchisees, the group has introduced an “Enhanced Franchise” model. Under this model, Marriott will appoint a general manager for the first year of a hotel’s opening to help train and equip franchisees to leverage Marriott’s powerful systems.

Marriott International recently debuted the AC Hotels by Marriott brand in Asia Pacific with three AC by Marriott hotels in Malaysia earlier this year and the AC Hotels Tokyo Ginza earlier this month. AC Hotels by Marriott celebrates the beauty of modern design with its European soul and Spanish roots with hotels that are intuitively designed. Also in Japan and situated on the edge of a 1,300-year-old garden set on former royal palace grounds, the 158-room JW Marriott Nara is the first offering from the JW Marriott brand in the country. Additionally, expected to open by the end of this year, the EDITION Toranomon in Tokyo is slated to be the brand’s debut in the country.

With millennials expected to return to travel first, the anticipated opening of the Moxy Shanghai Xujiahui this year is expected to be an ideal addition to the vibrant cosmopolitan city. The millennial-focused Moxy brand features lively public spaces, minimalist design elements and rooms fitted with custom furniture that offers a playful style of traveling.

Note from the editor: while milestones like these should be celebrated as exceptional achievements, it’s also worth understanding that, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for hotel development, hospitality and tourism in this region specifically is expected to suffer. It is therefore my hope that familiar hotel brands, like the ones that Marriott International shelters, will re-engage with the modern traveller, giving them much needed assurance to explore destinations beyond their reach once more in the post-pandemic world.

Main image credit: Marriott International

FEATURE: Geberit lifts the lid on bathroom hygiene

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FEATURE: Geberit lifts the lid on bathroom hygiene

While the fallout from Covid-19 has been felt everywhere, it’s fair to say that the impact has been particularly felt in the hotel industry. Here, Sophie Weston, channel marketing manager at Geberit, discusses the ‘new normal’ and examines the significance of the bathroom space in putting hygiene front-of-mind – and how existing product design and innovation can help shape the future for hotels…

From July 4, hotels began the process of re-opening their doors after more than three months of lockdown – and, just like everywhere else, guests are seeing an entirely ‘new normal’. Among the new measures implemented by many hotels are keeping check-in as short as possible, introducing queueing systems and minimising lift usage.

Yet one of the biggest shifts for guests is a move towards a more touchless experience. Using phone, emails and guests’ apps, alongside contactless payments and pre-payments, are all initiatives being encouraged where possible. As the general manager of  The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City – used by medics during the height of the pandemic as a self-proclaimed guinea pig for the industry – observed about this new trend: “…(it) is completely against a hotel’s nature of being hands-on and kind. We used to be known for the human touch — but now we’re all about no touch at all….”

Going touchless?

What the pandemic has taught us is that direct contact with others or surfaces can easily spread the transmission of the virus. This has been responsible for a huge change in consumer behaviour – according to research, 80 per cent of consumers expect to now change the way they engage with publicly available technology[1].

But what of the hotel washroom – a natural focus for the highest standards of cleanliness and where hygiene is particularly crucial?

Just last year, for example, P&G Professional found that 78 per cent of hotel guests believed cleanliness to be the most important factor when deciding where to stay.[2] Indeed, a ‘fresh smelling bathroom’ and ‘an immaculate bathroom’ were the top two choices for UK travellers when searching for a hotel room. This survey was undertaken in September – a lifetime ago in Covid-19 terms. So one can only imagine just how even more critical the washroom space will now be for our hotel guests.

Modern, sleek bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

Importance of the washroom space

It’s worth touching briefly upon the history of the bathroom and its evolution alongside disease prevention to put the significance of the space in a little more context. Today’s bathrooms developed alongside the 1950’s cholera epidemic, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and tuberculosis outbreaks. Back then, wallpaper, floorings and finishes were all designed to minimise the spread of bacteria and to promote health and hygiene; the need for bathrooms to be easily cleaned was a crucial consideration.

In later years, when antibiotics and hygiene standards improved, the emphasis shifted from disease prevention in the bathroom. Bathrooms evolved into more sensory spaces, with trends like textured bathrooms in the 70s and into the 80s where carpets and toilet seat covers were ‘stylish’ additions in the space. More recent decades have seen the transformation of the bathroom into a sanctuary, with innovations such as bluetooth and infra-red technology developing alongside this. And hotels have, too, adapted their bathrooms in line with these consumer trends over the years.

So what will the legacy of Covid-19 be in the ‘new normal’ bathroom and what will this mean for the hotel sector?

Product innovations

With touchless technology likely to be the new norm, this is, too, something we at Geberit are now seeing unprecedented demand for from our customers. Manufacturers have, of course, been producing touchless products for many years. Infra-red wall-mounted taps, for example, such as Geberit’s Brenta and Piave products, optimise hand hygiene in high footfall public washrooms and work in conjunction with a pre-wall frame system. Likewise, touchless WC flush controls like Geberit’s Sigma80 and Sigma10 incorporate innovations such as a sensor that allows the unit to flush as soon as the toilet has been used. Making the washroom space touchless wherever possible will be a huge consideration for hotels, particularly in high footfall public areas.

But it’s not just this infra-red technology that can help put hygiene front-of-mind. More simple product developments from manufacturers – for instance, Geberit’s KeraTect Glaze – make cleaning easier with a non-porous and smoother surface; such glazes can also help prevent staining of the ceramics and create a high-gloss, effect.  Solutions like this not only help maintain high levels of hygiene but also, crucially, really help to enhance the look and feel of the bathroom as a ‘clean’ space.

Similarly, developments such as Geberit’s Rimfree ceramic appliances and TurboFlush technology can eliminate tricky corners and hard-to-reach areas around the pan, with removable toilet seats also helping eradicate any hidden areas where dust and bacteria may proliferate.

Image credit: Geberit

Another area we’re predicting real growth in is wall-hung toilets and sanitaryware. Lifting the toilet from the floor naturally makes maintenance and cleaning much easier; and once again, with no hard to reach areas, dirt and dust accumulation is significantly reduced. Alongside this, we predict a strong future for the growth of the shower toilet, with products such as Geberit AquaClean providing guests with the ultimate hygienic experience.

Hotels will, naturally, have to look at all these considerations alongside the wider guest experience of the washroom space. Hotel washrooms are increasingly seen as a place of sanctuary; indeed at Geberit we produced a White Paper in 2017 on the importance of establishing the bathroom as a sensory space and a retreat from our ‘always on’ world. As the trend for selling ‘experiences’ and creating an escapism for guests continues, so too will the value of creating a unique, positive guest experience. And this will need to be carefully balanced when incorporating any new designs and technology.

Image credit: Geberit

Hygiene as a selling point?

The future will no doubt look quite different for hotels as they start to rebuild business – but there are encouraging signs. Knight Frank is confident about the sector’s potential recovery from Covid, predicting occupancy growth beginning slowly in Q3 followed by substantially stronger growth in Q4 as travel confidence returns.[3]

The industry has, of course, been looking at new standards and new ways of working during the peak of the pandemic. The UK Housekeepers’ Association (UKHA) announced the launch of a new ‘Housekeeping COVID-19 Secure Standard’, designed to provide an industry-wide approach to cleaning and offering a clear process for housekeepers and accommodation managers to follow – in line with government guidelines. With more than 700 members at UKHA, the standard will be available to hotels across the sector.

Meanwhile, the AA’s Covid Confident accreditation scheme, announced in June, is aimed at boosting public confidence as lockdown measures ease with premises indicating that they have the necessary health and safety measures in place to reopen to the public.

What will be significant about this focus on hygiene is that, while the vast majority of hotels will undoubtedly always have had the hygiene of their guests as a priority, it has never needed to be a unique selling point. Until now.

At a time when the pandemic has thrust hygiene into the spotlight, the onus is now on manufacturers and hotels to work together to find not only hygienically-optimised products but solutions and designs that also reinforce the perception of a clean space.

As one US architect observed, what is significant about these periods of disease is that “architects are often inspired to come up with fresh ideas during these moments.” And this will need to apply to manufacturers too, as we continue to innovate and work in partnership with the hotel sector to help them adapt to these new times.

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

Main image credit: Geberit

Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

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Hotel Designs updates in-house event calendar

In the wake of pandemic, Hotel Designs has made a few amendments to this year’s in-house event calendar. Editor Hamish Kilburn explains…

The internal whole team at Hotel Designs and Forum Events have been working tireless, reacting to the latest government guidelines, in order to organise premium networking events that are safe and effective for designers, hoteliers, architects, developers and key-industry suppliers.

Ahead of officially opening nominations for The Brit List Awards 2020, here’s some clarification around the latest amendments to this year’s in-house events.

Hotel Designs LIVE | October 13, 2020 | Virtual event

The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on October 13 (more details on the line-up and how to participate coming soon).

In order to continue to create conversations like no other, Hotel Designs has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.  

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

The inaugural Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place online on June 23, defined the point on international hotel design’s most relevant topics with the help of some of design, architecture and hospitality’s leading figures as well as identifying the latest product innovations on the market.

#HotelDesignsLIVE

The Brit List Awards 2020 | November 12, 2020 | Virtual event

The Brit List Awards is back for another year to identify the leading interiors designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers operating in Britain.

Following last year’s spectacular event, the nationwide search to find Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects has begun.

Unlike previous years, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, The Brit List Awards 2020 will take place as a virtual event on November 12, with a live winners’ party (MEET UP London) scheduled for January 28 2021 at Minotti London.

Simply click here to apply/nominate free of charge for The Brit List Awards 2020.

Sponsors:

#TheBritListAwards2020

MEET UP London/The Brit List Winners’ Party | January 28, 2021 | Minotti London

For Hotel Designs’ first live networking event staged since lockdown, The Brit List Awards 2020 is gatecrashing MEET UP London.

Sheltered safely inside Minotti London’s premium and spacious Fitzrovia showroom, MEET UP London will welcome the shortlisted finalists and winners of The Brit List Awards 2020. As well as celebrating Britain as a design and hospitality hub, the event will be themed ‘Inspiring Creativity’. To aptly mark this, Hotel Designs has invited an award-winning sound designer and functional music innovation Tom Middleton and award-winning research entrepreneur Ari Peralta to become headline speakers at the event. 

Applying principles of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology, the visionaries will respond to MEET UP London’s theme by immersing our audience into a sensory experience like no other before. This will be followed by an engaging talk discussing how and why sound should be considered when designing the hotel of the future. From Jet Lag to Mindfulness solutions, their unique collaboration represents the synergy and creativity needed to future-proof hospitality.

MEET UP North | May 6 | Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

In response to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, MEET UP North has been forced to postpone its plans until next year. The event, which is Hotel Designs’ leading networking evening in the north, will return to Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6, 2021.

Considering the vast amount of hotel projects currently on the boards in the north – many of which are slated to complete and open this year – the theme of MEET UP North will be Manchester On The Boards. The city, which has hosted the concept since its launch in 2018, will once again welcome leading designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and suppliers for the industry’s leading networking event in the north.

Sponsors:

If you would like to sponsor any of our upcoming events, please email Katy Phillips, or call +44 (0) 1992 374050. 

In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

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In Conversation With: Penta Hotels’ new MD, Rogier Braakman

In February 2020, weeks before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, the new Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide was announced. Following what we can only imagine was a turbulent start to his role, Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Rogier Braakman to understand his plans for the lifestyle hotel group…

It’s hard to recall that a few months ago, before the words ‘furlough’ and ‘pandemic’ were being splashed across the daily news channels, the industry as a whole was feeling rather optimistic about 2020. New colour trends were being predicted, hotel groups were expanding, and, in February 2020, the news broke that Rogier Braakman would take over from Eugène Staal to become Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, marking a new era for the group. 

As regions were seeing record-breaking levels of development, Covid-19 sent its shockwave through all industries – arguably hitting hospitality the hardest – which decimated sales and marketing strategies as businesses went into survival mode. “It is the biggest burden of every business owner being forced to suspend operations for an undefined time,” explained Braakman in a press release that was released at the time. “Since opening, we have operated our hotels 24/7, 365 days a year, and hadn’t had to close for a single day. Yet, instead of carrying out our initial plans, we have been working around the clock to temporarily suspend operations in many hotels, restructure our processes and ask for many intense sacrifices from all team members and stakeholders. Despite all this, we have been putting a lot of effort in bringing in new innovations and improving our product throughout all hotels.”

Following the lockdown, and after what can only be described as one of the most challenging months for all hoteliers, I sat down with Braakman (virtually) to understand more about his role.

Hamish Kilburn: Where were you self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

RB: I make a weekly commute between our family home in the Dutch forest and our Frankfurt Penta office, always adhering strictly to all Covid-19 regulations. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy my family life and the positively contagious Penta-spirit!

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Berlin | Image credit: Penta Hotels

“But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.” – Rogier Braakman, Managing Director, Penta Hotels.

Hamish Kilburn: What makes Penta Hotels a unique lifestyle hotel brand?

RB: Penta Hotels are characterised by our lively neighbourhood brand that emits a happy camper ambience. The positive attitude of our staff and our unique interior design makes us a model host. We have created a comfortable environment for our guests with a relaxed atmosphere centered around our buzzing Penta Lounges in every hotel, which function on a 24/7 basis where all our guests’ needs are catered for in one space. But what sets us apart from other lifestyle brands is that our ‘neighbourhood’ promise extends to the wider community and environment, which we have committed to protecting through various initiatives and our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. In keeping with the Penta spirit, we don’t ever do single acts of charity, but instead offer ways that our guests can take part in giving back so that they too can feel a part of our community. However, lately we have had the tendency of exchanging the word ‘lifestyle’ more and more with the word ‘lively’, which we believe nowadays is more spot on.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain a little bit about Penta Hotels’ plans for expansion?

RB: Our focus is to grow our brand in prime locations in secondary cities or secondary locations in primary cities across Europe. Expansion should arise as a result of our strategy, rather than the other way around.

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: Suite inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: You mention that lockdown has allowed you to look at new innovations and improving your product throughout all hotels. Can you elaborate on this?

RB: With the pandemic we’ve had to adapt quickly to the new normal, or as I heard an entrepreneur recently say, a ‘temporary abnormal’. In just over a month, we managed to think up and execute our Between Us campaign, based on the notion that although Covid-19 has forced more physical distance between us, it can be seen as an opportunity for bonding and creating solidarity between people. Through this campaign we are allowing our guests to feel comfortable, safe, but also have fun with social distancing. It includes the VIP Rock Star Service where we’ve mapped out routes guests can take around the hotel and Penta Lounges that limit interaction with others, cashless payments, and introduced excellent hygiene training for our staff members that includes no housekeeping, but also exciting perks like free Take Care package on entry, and free bag of snacks every morning at your door.

The campaign sets us apart from our competitors because it shows we are seizing the pandemic as an opportunity to learn how to better accommodate our guests, by finding new ways to create a safe and comfortable space. So far, guest feedback has been really positive.

Image caption: Meeting room inside Penta Hotel Paris | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What advice would you give the rest of the hospitality industry at this time?

RB: Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a predator and it will stay around for a while, so we are having to take a real ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude as we adapt to new circumstances. In order to do this, we have to stay strong and try our best to turn this crisis into a success by playing to our strengths, as well as recognising which things weren’t working well even before the crisis. Our strengths have always been a positive attitude and creative approach, and we are making sure to always be direct with each other, not beat around the bush, and take immediate actions to make our hotels safe.

Hamish Kilburn: How will lifestyle hotels, which typically focus heavily on utilising public areas, differ post-pandemic?

RB: This predator is going to remain for a long time – so we’re going to need to work with it. We have revisited our business operations and figured out how best to safely and securely reopen, and although we do not want our hotels to serve as extended intensive care units, we need to make sure that all hygienic measures are in place and that people feel safe. Luckily, we don’t have small lobbies and most of our Pentalounges are extensive spaces in which we’ve been able to encourage social distancing with our Between Us campaign, by mapping out distanced routes and introducing cashless payments.

We do not want our brand standards to vaporise due to all these extra precautions, so we had to redefine our new operating standards within the ‘temporary abnormal’. This means taking serious precautions that alter the Penta experience, including no more housekeeping, and training our staff on additional hygiene procedures. For example, when you check in, you’re given a ‘Take Care’ bag from Penta, and we’ve even made our own ‘Penta Pointer’ which is similar to a keyring that can be used to open all access points within the hotel, therefore reducing the risk of being contaminated. We’re also doing trials with heat cams to see how our guests are responding, and introduced the Penta Hotel app, which isn’t fully in place yet, but it means everyone can check in from home using their own device, or even chat to our reception team.

Image caption: Fitness area inside Pentahotel Leipzig | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: What does lifestyle in ‘lifestyle hotel’ mean to you?

RB: A lifestyle hotel means ensuring all our guests are happy campers, and however brief or extended their stay, they are made to feel part of our community. Instead of custom reception areas we have created social spaces in every hotel called the Penta Lounge, areas with 24/7 service where guests can check in, but also chill out, do some work or play on our games consoles. At our hotels, there is always an initiative that guests can take part in that benefits the wider community and environment, and our social staff members are always willing to engage with any problem a guest has

Hamish Kilburn: What do you love most about the hospitality industry?

RB: What I love best about hospitality is working with people, and I was drawn to Penta because it is an appealing and distinctive hotel brand centered around people, with a buzzing community spirit. I believe success comes from guest satisfaction and high-quality service, which is only possible when you have a team of brilliant staff members that communicate well with one another and our guests. I share Penta’s vision for a modern approach to hoteliering, where giving back to the community and providing a relaxed, neighbourhood feel is at the centre of its brand. Penta has had a rocky climb in the last year or so but our positive staff with their can-do attitude, have really helped with recent difficulties. Their team spirit and desire to truly make Penta a success has made me feel extremely supported and inspired my confidence that we will continue to succeed in the future.

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Image caption: The lounge inside Pentahotel Moscow | Image credit: Penta Hotels

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain Penta Hotels in three words?

RB: Relaxed, positive, friendly

Hamish Kilburn: If money or development were not obstacles, where in the world would you like to open a hotel?

RB: Every self-conscious city with a sustainable, interesting and appealing backcountry deserves a Pentahotel.

Penta Hotels, which has 28 operating properties across Europe and Asia, represents a new generation of neighbourhood lifestyle hotels offering modern-minded individuals and business travellers comfort and style in a relaxed atmosphere. Known for its unique interior design and attitude, the lifestyle brand stands for true innovation in the industry’s upper- midscale segment.

Main image credit: Penta Hotels Worldwide

IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

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IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

To officially mark the launch of the brand’s new Matrix collection, Parkside Architectural Tiles invited editor Hamish Kilburn to get comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss colour and wellness in design, architecture and hospitality… 

If the pandemic was a colour, it would arguably be a dull grey. While hospitality is reopening its doors, and designers are making their way back into studio life, the need for colour has never been greater than it is right now.

Cue the launch of Matrix collection by Parkside Architectural Tiles, which was inspired by the brand’s desire to create a range of colours that would allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

Its launch has allowed us to question colour and its relationship to wellbeing in and outside the hotel. To start the conversation, Parkside welcomed experts in the international design and architecture arena to participate in an exclusive panel discussion where all colourful opinions were welcome, and indeed encouraged.

Chaired by Joanna Watchman from workinmind.org, the experts on the virtual sofa were Ben Channon, associate architect and head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture; Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST, who brought a hospitality and public space perspective; Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs, who was able view the topic through editorial lenses; and Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours, who collaborated with the brand to create the new collection.

Here’s the discussion in full:

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

Gessi unveils holistic Architectural Wellness program

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gessi unveils holistic Architectural Wellness program

Gessi Architectural Wellness is a revolutionary concept, which allows the customer to immerse emotionally in the fusion of light and water, perfectly merged into “holistic” wellness areas. Hotel Designs explores…

The bathroom brand Gessi has become synonymous with wellness with its aims to create unique environments, characterised by authentic beauty, innovation and technology that represent the best in bathroom design.

Architectural Wellness was born from Gessi’s passion and research for innovation, technology and architecture. The creative solution brilliantly blends all these elements together. Architectural Wellness matches the most advanced attainments in lighting engineering by the historical brand Artemide with the science of water by Gessi.

Gessi Architectural Wellness is a revolutionary concept, which allows the customer to immerse emotionally in the fusion of light and water, perfectly merged into “holistic” wellness areas.

The large shower that helps to evoke wellness

Image credit: Gessi

Harmonising design, customisation and “five sense wellness” functions to a new level, the Binario System of the Program provides for the ceiling installation of rails similar to those used in the lighting industry. In these locations, customisable in number, length and shape, the user can place modules with different functions: waterfall, atomisation, rainfall, designer lighting spots by Artemide or chromo-therapy lights and sound loudspeakers. Gessi has developed the lighting technology with Artemide following a long-standing collaboration in this field. The technical ceiling rail, where the chosen elements for lighting, water and sound are fitted, can be arranged and customised in almost infinite ways even adding new modules. It can even be extended beyond the shower area in order to provide lighting and sound to the bathroom and it could create architectural compositions.

A wellness setup with bathroom and outdoor space

Image credit: Gessi

The System provides for the greatest liberty in customisation of the wellness experience by allowing the user the management of manifold water and light functions according to the his/her needs and pleasures.

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

Main image credit: Gessi