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Latest concept in hotel wellness design is the Five-Star Bedroom Spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Latest concept in hotel wellness design is the Five-Star Bedroom Spa

The five-star private spa by Starpool is the latest concept in hotel wellness design that brings modernisation and beauty to the most ancient spa rituals…

Inspired by luxury living, the private spa suites by Starpool offer unique relaxation experience for body and mindthat goes well beyond customers’ expectations in terms of functionality and design.

Awarded with the ‘Best of the Best’ by Reddot Design Award, the iconic Starpool SweetCollection combines high technology and style for a tailor-made environment dedicated to wellness.

The SweetSpa is designed exclusively for luxury hotels that aim to offer only the highest standard spaexperience to their guests. That is the company has incorporated its new sp.a_system to the SweetSpa, where guests can choose from four wellness paths for four wellness goals.

Image credit: Starpool

How sp.a_system works

The sp.a_system helps the user by informing him/her on times and conditions of use of each spa facility. Just choose your goal from one of the four wellness bracelets (relax, tonic, purify, excite), put the bracelet on and follow the guidelines. The facilities in the SweetSpa are marked with a wellness sign that matches the ones displayed on your bracelet, so all you need to do is follow the wellness path and enjoy the private spa experience.

Also, for those of your clients that are jet-lagged or looking for a stress relief solution, the SweetSpabedroom setting provides another luxury facility, designed exclusively for body and mind regeneration– Zerobody.

Zerobody is a dry floatation cloud for deep relaxation and enhancement of sleep duration and quality. The Zerobody cloud is at the forefront of wellness technology, providing multiple health benefits such as muscle and joint pain reduction; improvement of memory capacity and skills; reduction of chronic insomnia and headaches.

How Zerobody works

During the floating experience, your body causes to regulate its temperature and gravitational alignment – two activities that alone absorb 90 per cent of our resources. Once on the Zerobody cloud, your body is free to use the extra energy for quicker muscle and jet lag recovery and reduction of mental pressure. All you need to do is lie down and enjoy the ultimate body and mind recovery booster.

Image credit: Starpool

In combination, Starpool’s new sp.a_system and Zerobody Relax make the SweetSpa unique wellness concept that brings the spa relaxation to the next level of five-star luxury.

Starpool 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: Starpool

Conran and Partners designs spin on flexible working spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Conran and Partners designs spin on flexible working spaces

Design firm Conran and Partners has completed new flexible working spaces within the lobby that are sheltered inside Crowne Plaza Paris – République…

Conran and Partners has completed a significant redesign of the lobby spaces at Crowne Plaza Paris – République. The launch marks the first step in a wider roll-out of a new concept-design blueprint for the brand in Europe, aiming to deliver a distinctive guest experience globally.

The lobby has been reinvigorated as the brand’s exible work and meeting concept, ‘Plaza Workspace.’ This contemporary hub was developed to meet the changing needs of modern business travellers seeking more comfortable public and semi-public spaces in which to work and relax. Regarded as the largest design innovation in the brand’s history, Crowne Plaza Paris – République is the first hotel to launch the Plaza Workspace in Europe.

Throughout Plaza Workspace there is an abundance of tech savvy elements: tables feature integrated wireless phone chargers and high-speed Wi-Fi is available to address the growing trend in flexible work and life preferences and people’s desire to work from anywhere. Plaza Workspace also includes The Studio, a bookable-by-the-hour meeting space to cater for private meetings and events, complete with its own bar counter and break-out lounge seating. The studio’s design maximises the flow of guests through the spaces, allowing them to transition seamlessly between work and down time.

The former main entrance of the hotel has been relocated from the Place de la République to one side of the building, giving the arrival experience a more private feel with access via a courtyard in the style of a traditional Parisian apartment block. The signature bar is now in a more prominent position closer to the outside terrace, which runs along the hotel’s principal façade.

In contrast to a conventional arrival experience, guests are initially welcomed by a centrally-located monument wall. This wall – referencing the original Haussmann-era architecture of the area – serves to orientate the guest, dividing the space between the ‘plaza’ (the informal and relaxed bar spaces) and the ‘gallerie’ (the refined and elegant recep on and studio spaces). Among the book selection adorning the shelves of the lounge and Plaza Workspace are titles on Haussmann’s contribution to the remodelling of Paris.

Conran and Partners have also completed the design of the European adaptation of the ‘WorkLife’ concept guestroom, a design patented in the United States, which will serve as the basis for the wider redesign of rooms and other non-public facing areas of the hotel in the future.

The Place de la République is famous as the site of the statue of Marianne – the personification of the French Republic – commemorating the founding of the First Republic of France in 1792. The square is important as one of the key locations where Parisians congregate during times of national significance.

The hotel occupies an exceptionally attractive and restored Haussmann building, formerly a department store, Les Magasins Réunis. It is located at the point where three different arrondissements (3rd, 10th and 11th) of the city meet. A couple of original Haussmann features are s ll visible, including the staircase, wrought-iron balustrade and doors onto the original caged lifts at higher levels. Conran and Partners’ design also responds to the different – yet complementary – feel of each adjoining arrondissement (‘Fashionable’ (3rd), ‘Bohemian’ (10th) and ‘Modern’ (11th).

“Within the individual elements of a project there are always opportunities to work with manufacturers to create distinctive furniture commissions and bespoke materials,” said Simon Kincaid, Partner at Conran and Partners and a shortlisted finalist for The Brit List 2019. “For each new development, we study the locale and create a narrative, drawing on our experience of blurring the boundaries between work and leisure to create strong, characterful places.”

Image credit: Anna Stathaki

Conran and Partners’ approach was based on a thorough analysis of Crowne Plaza’s success in the Americas as well as among its European target market. The practice developed an architectural strategy focusing on key elements within a typical guest stay. A series of seating typologies and a hierarchy of signature elements was created which enabled key functional elements to be located, while defining specific design features and focal points. This has given hotel guests and visitors a wider variety of spaces to encourage more dwell time.

The approach has also sought to reinterpret the idea of a ‘plaza’ as a place where people can meet and relax and applied this to the various spaces within the hotel, encouraging guests to move between different types of spaces. The design also responds to changing consumer behaviour, in particular exible working and the ‘always on’ and ‘on-demand’ workplace culture. Spaces and services have been created to facilitate more business- related functions within the plaza workspace, both formal and informal, as well as helping to bring people into the hotel.

“The spaces in Place de la République are tech savvy, while acknowledging the need to embed humanity in the design to create a comfortable place to work and relax,” continues Kincaid. “The narrative we created for Crowne Plaza Paris- Republique is based on the concept of ‘New Modern’. It seeks to demonstrate that business hotels can be exciting by offering guests kind, personal touches, while introducing new, meaningful experiences for them to share and – above all – to appeal to the senses as far as possible.

“Our design narrative has informed the choice of furniture and accessories and even the rug design and the artwork selection (developed in collaboration with Double Decker Artwork Consultants), which seek to reference the various key art movements and ar sts closely associated with Paris since the mid-nineteenth century. Materiality and palette are central to our design thinking.”

Libby Escolme, Global Vice President, Crowne Plaza, commented: “I have always loved travel and staying at an inspiring hotel is o en why I am excited about a business trip. Today’s traveller wants to stay somewhere that inspires them, where innova ve design creates great spaces that work well. We have collaborated on this project with Conran and Partners, a best-in-class design rm, and I feel genuinely excited about how our new hotel spaces will enhance a guest’s stay with us.”

Main image credit: Anna Stathaki

 

 

Laufen expands BASE bathroom furniture collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Laufen expands BASE bathroom furniture collection

Swiss bathroom manufacturer Laufen has extended its popular BASE bathroom furniture range, with the addition of new vanity units for the Ino washbasin collection. The extensive furniture range is timelessly simple and graceful and features Laufen’s trademark attention to detail in carefully thought-through functionality, high-quality materials and the latest colour schemes.

Bathroom furniture helps to create a tidy, uncluttered atmosphere in the bathroom, allowing bathroom accessories and towels to be unobtrusively tucked away out of sight.

The latest additions to Laufen’s BASE range are not only designed to complement the company’s fine-profile SaphirKeramik Ino washbasins, designed by French designer Toan Nguyen, but are cleverly created for an even more refined and sophisticated bathroom ambiance.

A key detail of the new BASE furniture collection is the recessed inverted metal strip handles, which extend for the entire width of each unit. This ensures intuitive, safe handling and also prevents dust and grime from collecting. The handles will be available in two colour variations: anodised aluminium and black aluminium.

The furniture itself is available in matt or gloss white, classic furniture colours which stand for purity and tranquillity. Other available colour variations are light elm and dark elm, plus the new colour option of traffic grey. For special bathroom designs, Laufen offers many other on trend colours in a matt finish on request. All furniture colours can be combined with either handle colour option.

The range features high-end vanity units in a variety of dimensions, along with a generously proportioned tall column cabinet. For the 900 mm-wide Ino washbasin unit, Laufen offers a choice of a wall-mounted frame with one drawer or a floor-mounted frame with two drawers. Smaller washbasins can be combined with vanity units in two sizes with either a left-opening or right-opening door. Further storage space is provided by the matching tall column cabinet, with a vertical strip handle running the whole height of the cabinet.

Laufen 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: Laufen

Coventry’s Telegraph Hotel unveils new interiors

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Coventry’s Telegraph Hotel unveils new interiors

Operators behind the transformation of the former Coventry Evening Telegraph building into the city’s first four-star hotel have revealed the first completed interiors of Telegraph Hotel….

The £20 million project on the Telegraph Hotel has seen an iconic 1950s building turned into an 88-key boutique hotel embracing its Mid-Century architecture. The hotel features a 160-seat convention room, meeting rooms, 110-cover restaurant and two ground floor bars as well as an expansive rooftop bar and events space which overlooks Belgrade Square.

The released photographs show one of the smallest bedrooms, which has been prepared early as a sample room to enable the finessing of the design. The hotel will open in September 2020 ahead of Coventry being UK City of Culture and is already taking bookings.

The hotel has been developed by Complex Development Projects (CDP) and operated by Bespoke Hotels, the UK’s largest independent hotel group which also operates Gotham Hotel and Oddfellows On The Park.

The guestrooms and public space interiors have been designed by Squid Inc, highly praised for their recent work on Manchester’s award-winning Hotel Gotham. The company has taken inspiration from the building’s history as a thriving newspaper and printworks, as well as the Mid-Century architectural style for which Coventry is famed.

The project is a flagship for the city’s drive to boost the tourist economy and will be one of the major physical legacies of 2021.

“The Telegraph Hotel will bring something truly unique to the region and we have looked across Europe for our inspiration,” said Brian Harrabin of CDP. “ This is the first glimpse of the completed product.

“This will be Coventry’s first four-star hotel since the Hotel Leofric, which was built in the rebirth of Coventry in the 1950s.  It is apt that we are restoring a much-loved 1950s landmark building and recreating the glamour of that Mid-Century era.

“The hotel recaptures the optimism of the era for the renewed confidence in Coventry’s future that we will be celebrating in 2021. In many ways we wanted to signal to the outside world that Coventry has done it again – the improvements to the city in recent years have been immense.

“All the en-suite rooms will be a treat to stay in, offering much more than merely a nod to the 1950s in styling. In a world where most hotels appear the same, it will be very different.”

The project has been supported by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Main image credit: Telegraph Hotel

Just for fun: What comedians really think about hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Just for fun: What comedians really think about hotels

With consumer demands ever-evolving, we asked Recommended Supplier STAAH to investigate the truth about what comedians really think about hotels…

Buffet breakfasts, wake-up calls, tea and coffee making facilities and the five-star service, comedians from around the world go uncut and talk about what they think of staying at a hotel. Here’s what we found.

Michael McIntyre

An English comedian, writer, and television presenter, Michael McIntyre talks about Buffet breakfasts, wake-up calls, tea and coffee making facilities and the turn-down service.

Amit Tandon

Amit Tandon is a stand-up Comedian from India, who tells stories and makes observations about daily life. In this video he talks about how he gets excited about five star hotels, but never feel at home.

Erik Griffin

Erik Griffin is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor known for such television series and films. In this video Erik Griffin has a couple of complaints for the hotels he frequents.

If you have any funny experience staying at the hotel, feel free to share it with the team at STAAH. Email them at marketing@staah.com

Main image credit: Pixabay

In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Britain’s design legend Martin Brudnizki

Last year’s crowned Interior Designer of The Year at The Brit List Awards, Martin Brudnizki, invites editor Hamish Kilburn to his Chelsea London studio to explain some of the major milestones in his career as well as how he logistically manages his time in a truly international market…

Design gems are not hard to come by on the British hotel design scene. You have only to open the pages of last year’s edition of The Brit List – and this year’s shortlist for that matter – to find the top 75 influential designers, architects and hoteliers.

However, design legends are less common. It’s not a question of talent or ability, but more a reflection of style, class, personality and being about to really set oneself aside from others in the heavily congested international hotel design market.

There is only – and will only ever be – one Martin Brudnizki, for example. Last year, Hotel Designs’ The Brit List crowned the acclaimed visionary as its Interior Designer of the Year – and for good reason. “Brudnizki is an international leader, standing as an icon as well as inspiration to so many young aspiring designers,” commented last year’s expert judging panel. “His recent work in University Arms Cambridge is a credit to his studio’s ability to give a building a new lease of life in the most sensitive and creative way.”

Image caption/credit: The Library designed by MBDS/University Arms Cambridge

Almost one year later, while the editorial team at Hotel Designs are gearing up for yet another spectacular awards ceremony, I aptly caught up with the Brudnizki in his Chelsea studio in London to find out more about our ‘poster boy’s’ journey to become one of the world’s most celebrated interior designers of the moment.

“I grew up in Stockholm; my mother was a stylist and my father an engineer and I think this blend of approaches to living and design, in particular, rubbed off on me,” Brudnizki explains. “My mother is incredibly stylish and filled our home with beautiful colours, patterns and objet. My father on the other hand, worked in a very precise and thought-through way. Both aspects of their personality has certainly informed the way I work today.”

Brudnizki’s early career in design saw him working at the likes of David Gill Gallery and David Collins Studio before branching off and putting his own practice in 2000, Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) in 2000. “I learned a lot during my time in other places,” he adds, “which has served me well when establishing my own studio.”

“We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.” – Martin Brudnizki

Since then, MBDS has become one of the leading international design studios, with bases in London and New York and projects including The Beekman, University Arms and Four Seasons Athens. But, like all designers, Brudnizki remembers the milestone moments; the hotels and buildings that captured his and his team’s incredible imagination, usually sheltered in iconic shells. “All the projects we work on are exciting and help shape the future of the studio however, there are a few that really stick out as being pivotal,” the designer explains. “Scott’s in Mayfair presented us with the opportunity to design our first fine dining restaurant, it also cemented our relationship with Caprice Holdings, who have since become important clients of ours. Working with Nick Jones on Soho Beach House Miami was exciting as this saw us introduce the successful Soho House brand to a new region. The Beekman in New York opened in 2016 and helped stamp our mark on New York. It’s located in a beautiful building and we were lucky to garner a lot of attention from it. Finally, Annabel’s in London has proved incredibly popular for us. It’s such an iconic club so we felt very honoured to be asked to redesign its incarnation. We have a number of up-coming projects that I also hope shape our studio’s story. It’s an exciting time.”

Dividing his time between both London and New York has given Brudnizki the unique freedom to position himself in two of the world’s most respected design hubs. “Both cities have very unique identities,” Brudnizki explains. “They are both are melting pots of culture and excitement and whilst very different, they both present wonderful opportunities to mark your mark.”

“Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste.” – Martin Brudnizki

From the outside looking in, the luxury market in hotel design may look like a desirable place to start when setting out to build a reputation as being a leading designer, but it also comes with risk to cater to the ever-changing demand of the modern luxury traveller. For Brudniki, the true art of luxury travel is a reflection of his own experience and personality. “Luxury travel to me is being able to combine a sense of curated experience with spontaneity; finding new places but also the having the flexibility to be adventurous and go off piste,” he defines.

Since winning at The Brit List 2018, Brudnizki’s vision on a new hotel brand has come to life in the shape of Mr C Hotels, which opened in Miami earlier this year – and has, as a result, put him in the running for the second consecutive year for this year’s awards. “Mr C is situated in a modern new build in the green surroundings of Coconut Grove,” he explains. “New builds have many benefits, including up-to-date technology and no listed statuses to content with however, new builds often lack the characterful details of older properties. With this in mind, we often have to dig deeper to find a strong narrative to wrap the hotel’s design in. For Mr. C we looked to the landscape of the region and the glamorous boating heritage and incorporated elements of this into our scheme.”

As well as technology, another area that has peaked recently in popularity among developers as well as designers and architects is the value of sustainability and designing consciously. “I think it depends on the project and the client, Brudnizki admits. “We are working with Six Senses on their new hotel and resort in Kitzbuehel Alps and the whole design is focused on sustainability and using organic and local materials. This is to mirror the brand’s values so we’ve had an interesting time researching new materiality and local artisans who can help reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint and up their sustainability accreditation.”

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: Where is next on your travel bucket list?
Martin Brudnizki: Portugal.

HK: What is the number one item you simply cannot travel without?
MB: A silk eye mask.

HK: What is the last item that will show up on your bank statement?
MB: Probably food from Bayley & Sage.

HK: What is your favourite place to unwind in London?
MB: My home in Parsons Green. As a travel so much, it’s nice to just come home and relax in the peace and quiet.

HK: What trend do you hope will never return?
MB: International Beige.

HK: Where are you travelling to next?
MB: My New York Studio next week.

Before I leave the designer in peace to create with his team the hotel interiors of the future, which include hotels in London, Austria, LA and Cape Town (among others), I am interested to explore, on the surface at least, new materials that have emerged on the designer’s radar. “I am really interested in straw marquetry at the moment; it’s such a beautiful natural fibre that can be used in the most unusual of places, such as walls and furniture,” Brudnizki says.

MBDS itself is incubating a strong network of talented designers that will further position Britain as a globally regarded leading design hotspot. With his name on the door of two dynamic studios – and also in the minds of I would argue all aspiring interior designers – Brudnizki is leading the ever-evolving industry into new territory.

The shortlisted finalists this year’s The Brit List have been invited to The Brit List Awards 2019, which takes on November 21 at Patch East London (Aldgate). To purchase limited tickets, click here

Main image credit: Luca Marziale

Lighted mirror, mirror on the lobby wall

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighted mirror, mirror on the lobby wall

While it has become common to specify a lighted mirror in the hotel bathroom, Hotel Designs turns to new Recommended Supplier Electric Mirror to understand how the product can also be utilised in public areas… 

In conclusion to Hotel Designs’ time putting lighting in public areas under the spotlight, we have noticed one company is looking to disrupt the conventional idea that the lighted mirror is reserved for the hotel bathroom.

Electric Mirror, which is leading a clean and innovative path in lighting and mirror technology on the international hotel design scene, has taken the accessories to entirely new places and spaces, creating a memorable experience from the moment the guest enters the hotel.

An Electric Mirror Savvy SmartMirror in the lobby connects guests with hotel features, nearby attractions, and airport schedules. A custom Cameo lighted mirror in the restaurant or lounge brings light and life to the room’s décor theme.

Image credit: Electric Mirror

Lighted mirrors suspended from the ceiling of the hotel’s salon provide optimal lighting to let stylists help their clients look their very best. Dimmable lighted mirrorsin the spa create a peaceful, tranquil space. Corridor lightingon the guestroom floors help guide the way to the guests’ rooms.

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

For general enquiries, contact the team at +1 425.776.4946 or sales@electricmirror.com. For the Director of Sales, Europe, call +46.790195074 or email gelareh@electricmirror.com.

Main image credit: Electric Mirror

Solar-powered solution for exterior waymarking

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Solar-powered solution for exterior waymarking

Combining the best in technology and sustainable design, Recommended Supplier Signbox has just unveiled the Smartscape Solar bollard… 

With greenwashing being the hot topic of this week following new research that was published at the Independent Hotel Show, leading sign manufacturer Signbox has unveiled a sustainable and creatively designed waymarking product that will help to create a more conscious hotel exterior.

The uniquely-designed solar system comprises; four integrated PV panels to ensure light is captured from all angles, an intelligent lithium-ion battery, two motion-detecting PIR sensors and two LED lights. One LED runs continuously at a low level to ensure that the bollard itself can be seen from a distance, and the other, a downlight reflector, is activated within 5m close proximity on each side of the unit by one of the PIR sensors which illuminates the pathway.

As the bollard is solar powered by it’s own integrated PV panels, trenching (installation) and running costs associated with mains powered solutions are eliminated and maintenance costs are drastically reduced.

The bollard is available in three housing material options to suit a range of applications; extruded aluminium, sustainable hardwood and performa-cast polymer. With both the aluminium and polymer versions offering a vast range of colour options, as well as the option of embossing the polymer housing, this versatile solution is perfect for any modern green sustainably focussed project.

The SmartScape Solar Bollard is designed, developed and manufactured in a UK-based, ISO 9001:2015 accredited production facility.

The standard product has a base plate mounting but there is an option on the aluminium finish and the polypropylene finish for a more cost effective root mounting fixing that can be buried and possible minded in place. We can send a technical specification on this if required.

This product does comply with the new requirements for “bat friendly lighting”. Bats can not feed at night with light pollution in an upwards direction.

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

Get creative with Creations from Wilton Carpets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Get creative with Creations from Wilton Carpets

In creative shades of fjord, demerara, burnt copper and gunmetal, the Creations colour palette is the foundation of many striking woven carpet designs from Wilton Carpets, now curated in ‘Creations; Ready to Weave’, a brochure now available from the Wiltshire manufacturer.

Demonstrating the impressive versatility of designs made with the Creations palette, the brochure charts the ability of Creations to enhance the cool, elegant interiors of hospitality and leisure settings, mansion apartments and high-traffic commercial spaces.

From the vitality and spirit of modern patterns to the contemporary interpretation of traditional motifs, Creations delivers functional base tones and gorgeous radiating highlights for carpets that are not only beautiful but commercially viable too.

As part of the Ready to Weave concept, the Creations palette can be used in any combination of the 12 colours available across any design – library or otherwise – bringing designers the opportunity to deliver a bespoke look that’s perfectly matched to their interior and ready within just four weeks.

“Creations was created as a reaction to the cool and calm greys and blues that have gained traction in commercial interiors,” explains Damian Roscoe, creative director, Wilton Carpets. “The move away from richer, regal bases to these new colours, along with flashes of ultra-popular ochre, green and icy blue working as beautiful highlights; provides a thoroughly modern colourbank in-tune with today’s interior palettes.”

Using Creations as a base for many of its new woven axminster carpet designs, including Havana, Nova Scotia and Urban, Wilton Carpets has underlined the important role that this new ultra-usable palette is playing in its design direction. The ‘Creations; Ready to Weave’ brochure illustrates this beautifully and promises inspiration for designers looking to bring beautiful carpets to their commercial projects.

Main image credit: Wilton Carpets

Editor’s round-up of London Design Festival 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor’s round-up of London Design Festival 2019

Strap yourself in for editor Hamish Kilburn’s annual round-up of London Design Festival (LDF). The 2019 edition was a thought-provoking insight into how the bare bones of the industry, led by innovative manufacturers working with open-minded designers and architects, are taking it upon themselves to design a better future of international hotels from the foundations upwards…  

“Most cities are experts in one or two disciplines,” said Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival. “But the breadth and depth of London’s expertise is unparalleled.”

For the 11th year, LDF was the epicentre of the design universe, publically displaying in full the ingredients to make the capital an incubator of ideas, creativity and something different.

Initially established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell and Evans, the festival has grown to encompass a broad range of activities, and attracts visitors from around the world: last year welcomed a record-breaking 588,000 direct visitors from more than 75 countries, generating almost one million visits.

Despite Brexit call-to-actions being plastered across the front of the city’s major newspapers, the festival’s spotlight this year was thankfully not on the political landscape (or landslide) of whether or not this is really happening, but instead the lenses were focused on conscious change for good. With designers being now more aware than ever before on the need for design responsibly, sustainable products, materials and initiatives were evident in all corners of the metropolis, at all of the four Design Destinations. “LDF celebrates and promotes London’s design excellence in a period when showcasing creativity is even more important, adds Evans. And installations around the city from the likes of Matthew McCormack, Sony Design and Paul Cocksedge were a visual reminder of how design can influence change and educate wide-spread audiences of all demographics.

Focus 19

Neatly kicking things off after Hotel Designs led an exclusive roundtable at Arte Wallcovering at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Focus19 extended its luxurious arm to welcome a select number of pop-up stands. Whether green is or isn’t this year’s colour is irrelevant. What’s more important for hotel creatives is following how suppliers are turning up the volume on how they are designing with purpose and further bringing the outdoors in using sustainable methods. One area where this is very apparent is in fabrics and large prints – both of which are never in short supply at DCCH. Arte arguably stole the show with the launch of four new collections. Following last year’s collaboration with Moooi, any collection to launch after would be a tough act to follow, but the wallcovering experts delivered and the results are extraordinary.

While fabrics were strong, so too was lighting. Pookey Lighitng’s installation designed by The Brit List 2019 judge Florence Rolfe was a vibrant LED light show. Meanwhile, David Hunt Lighting cut the ribbon on its new permanent hub within the DCCH, showcasing its bespoke service as well as its intricate lamps. As well as hosting a captivating talk with the lighting company’s founder, Vaughan, unveiled a new collection of simple, yet extremely chic sculptured lamps as well as a new range of Tribal Collection shades, that were first unveiled at last year’s show.

Elsewhere, collaborations from the likes of Barnaby Gates, Kit Kemp and others were on display under what will soon become the Design Centre Avenue, but during Focus was a pop-up exhibition of pure, untouched talent.

100% Design

Making its bold, colourful entrance, 100% Design celebrated its 25thbirthday with a bold line-up of speakers, including David Rockwell, Marcel Wonders and Daniel Shofield among others.

Following last year’s move to London’s Olympia, the show found its feet in historic halls as visitors flocked to see the plethora of interactive installations, cutting edge collections and plenty of products. The Two Lovely Gays unveiled an piece entitled Insta-interiors, which featured a playful mix of pastels. “Social media can has brought design to everyone in a way that we love,” the studio explained on its stand. But it can also be a confusing arena, with so many images and ideas vying for attention. Our hope is that it opens up a new freedom in design, promoting diversity and confidence.”

With a noticeable shift in behaviours, especially in public areas of the hotel, it is no surprise that there was a significant focus on furniture. Taking centre stage directly opposite the show’s doors was Benchmark with its latest collaboration with design legend David Rockwell. The Sage Collection has a specific focus on human health and wellbeing. Made with natural, sustainable and non-toxic materials, it meets the standards required for well-certified buildings. The collection includes slick sit-stand desks and tables, dining and meeting tables, high-low sofas, benches, occasional tables and storage.

Hamilton Litestat also exhibited its impressive answer to personalising the hotel experience, by being able to colour-match its products to suit any hotel design brief – something that I saw in person recently when visiting the studio’s Bristol-based hub.

Image credit: Paul Cocksedge’s Please Be Seated

designjunction

In the midst of LDF, just as the feet of the design community start to tire, the VIP party for designjunction comes alive. Offering exclusive access into the show 24 hours before it opens to the public, the event is typically a great opportunity to network as well as catching new products on the market. This year’s event unveiled its catwalk for trends alongside the exclusive Tom Dixon party. Taking place in what I can only describe as LDF’s most interesting design districts, Coals Drop Yard, the event arrived fabulously fashionably late (as ever) to the week-long party.

While the talent sheltered inside was fresh, the narrative of designing responsibly was solid and synonymous among many if not all brands exhibiting at the show. Furniture brands and lighting manufactures put an equally significant emphasis on utilising recyclable materials. Sixteen3, for example, showcased a dynamic range of contemporary furniture pieces that were made from 99 per cent recycled material, while over in the light tunnel, designer Huw Evans unveiled The CONCERTINA COLLECTION, which comprised of both furniture and lighting. Using natural timbers, English Ash and Cherry, the designer accentuated the drama of the product’s raw form by with carefully positioned up-lighting. Meanwhile, Qiang Huang used inspirations from dissembled bike parts to design an equally precise lighting piece. The product follows research that suggests that by 2020, it is estimated that there will be 10 million shared bikes reaching their scrap age, which equates to a staggering 1.6 million tons of solid waste, which Hauang believes can be reduced by designers looking more outwardly when it comes to recycling products and materials.

Whether or not designjunction created a larger mid-week statement than last year’s show on The Southbank is down to interpretation. There was, however, no denying that it sheltered something for everyone, including a number of engaging talks. For that reason alone, it is certainly not an event that should be skipped over when navigating around LDF in future.

London Design Fair

Keeping an understated mantra in the heart of Shoreditch, London Design Fair was this years’ stand-out show for Hotel Designs, because of its ability to allow the products and exhibitors to do the talking. The show, which took place on the iconic Brick Lane, featured meaningful themes, such as biophilic materials and design as well as showcasing the only bathroom pavilion during London Design Festival – highlights of which included Roca’s new collection with Armani and West One Bathrooms’ eco-themed stand.

In addition, the show included its worldwide theme, allowing regions in all pockets of the world to exhibit a little bit of their own personalities and creativity.

As a result, London Design Fair focused on form, function and looking forward, past tomorrow’s trends, to globally identify pieces that will really help to change and shape the landscape of international hotel design.

While the installations, projects and districts differed in style, the thread between each was very much about confronting convention and offering something different, an abstract reality, if you like, of London through the eyes of the creatives.

LDF provides a platform like no other that time and time again harbours creative talent and fascinating stories of product design in action. And with variety being the spice of the life, as so many wise bodies have announced before, this year’s exhibitions were in heavy supply of something different, something new and something fresh for everyone.

Main image credit: designjunction

Knightsbridge poised and ready for 80th Birthday celebrations at Sleep + Eat 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Knightsbridge poised and ready for 80th Birthday celebrations at Sleep + Eat 2019

2019 marks the 80thanniversary of Knightsbridge, the award-winning British furniture manufacturer. In order to mark this landmark the company they will celebrates its extraordinary history on stand number E92 at Sleep & Eat, Olympia London (November 19 – 20, 2019)…

If you are planning on attending Sleep & Eat 2019, then make sure you head over to the Knightsbridge stand (E92) where the team will be celebrating 80 years strong as one of the leading British furniture design and manufacturing companies.

Committed to British market-led design, Knightsbridge is one of the very few British contract furniture companies to invest in an in-house design and development team – and new collections for 2019 pay homage to its history taking inspiration from archive pieces.  

Wellbeing has long been established as a benchmark in workplace design, with forward thinking companies providing biophilic, sustainable design that creates healthier environments for their employees. The properties of wellness and biophilic design are now being seen more and more in hospitality and hotel environments; indoor spaces are inspired by nature whilst furniture is designed to be ergonomic aswell as stylish. Knightsbridge will be reflecting this trend on its stand with furniture covered with beautiful fauna & flora designs.

As hotel, bar and restaurant suppliers, Knightsbridge’s hospitality collection contains furniture designed to suit a variety of styles, needs and tastes. Crafted using timber from renewable sources, the company’s portfolio embraces a collection of style-forward products that are ideal for a wide range of environments such as waiting rooms, foyers, dining rooms and lounges.

New to 2019, Knightsbridge will be exhibiting its Caravelle collection which was redeveloped to celebrate Knightsbridge’s 80thanniversary and its rich history, taking influence from a past mid-century piece of furniture. The Caravelle collection consists of an armchair, two-seater and three-seater settee that have the clean lines and organic curves that the period became renowned for. It’s deep seat cushion provides a luxurious seat whilst the beautiful clean styling allows it to be specified into workplace, hospitality and care sectors. The collection is covered with exquisite fabric featuring jungle creatures and foliage from visionary textile designers Timorous Beasties.

Hotel Designs is a long-standing proud media partner for Sleep + Eat, and will at this year’s show to identify key product launches, emerging trends while catching the engaging talks and discussions that will be sheltered in one of Europe’s leading hospitality events.

Main image credit: Knightsbridge

UNILIN injects maximalist luxury vibes new finishes

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UNILIN injects maximalist luxury vibes new finishes

UNILIN develops products inspired by everything from reclaimed wood, through trending colours, to concrete and brushed precious metals such as gold to create an ideal setting for all hospitality scenes…

Nothing can match gold for injecting glamour into our living and working spaces and the material is now a favourite for high-end interiors looking to deliver a maximalist luxury vibe. However, for most projects the ‘real deal’ is beyond grabs and this is when UNILIN Evola decorative surfaces come into their own.

With UNILIN Evola’s brushed gold decor, space and furniture designers working in retail, hospitality, commercial office spaces and even high-end residential projects can capture the magic with versatile surface finishes in scratch, wear and stain-resistant HPL. Used to create ultra-luxe splashbacks and surrounds in washrooms to stylish feature panels on furniture, or even as a detail highlight on door handles; UNILIN Evola brushed gold brings the look without breaking the bank.

“There’s no doubt that high-end luxury is a major driver in interiors and our brushed gold is the perfect way to get the look while keeping a lid on your budget,” says Jurgen Plas, marketing manager for UNILIN, division panels. “With decors such as brushed gold, marble, ceppo and brushed bronze, the Evola collection can answer the demand for glamour with highly-functional surfaces that are not only cost-effective alternatives, but also functionally better.”

Teamed with the black of a UNILIN MDF door panel to create a fan inlay in radiant gold, offset beautifully against the marble of carrara creamy wall panels, brushed gold brings a look straight out of 1920s decadence. Or bonding it to shelf edges set against the walnut backdrop of Lorenzo, sees the very same elegant gold-effect take on a luxury modern edge: brushed gold can lift any space beyond the ordinary.

With many of the 198 décors in the UNILIN Evola collection completely exclusive, UNILIN, division panels develops products inspired by everything from reclaimed wood, through trending colours, to concrete and brushed precious metals. All UNILIN Evola décors are available in HPL, melamine-faced chipboard and edging-tape; each product providing exceptional quality and a surface that is scratch and UV resistant, as well as easy to look after. With authenticity and practicality, UNILIN Evola is a serious alternative to natural materials.

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

Main image credit: UNILIN

In Conversation With: Andrew Sadler from CTD Architectural Tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Andrew Sadler from CTD Architectural Tiles

Editor Hamish Kilburns sits down with the Andrew Sadler, CTD Architectural Tiles specifications sector manager, to discuss how the industrial trend in surfaces is evolving, sustainable wall covering solutions and how tech is driving a new age in tile design… 

2019 is proving to be a pivotal year for surfaces. While trends are being replaced for a burning need for designing with purpose, sustainability is being discussed widely in more ways than ever before.

Meanwhile, art on the international hotel design scene continues to spill outside the frame, and often onto the walls. To understand more about how surface suppliers are coping with the rise in demand for vivid wallcoverings that can completely change an interior designs space, I spoke to CTD Architectural Tiles’ specifications sector manager, Andrew Sadler.

Hamish Kilburn: Can you explain how the industrial trend (especially in wallcoverings) has evolved recently?

Andrew Sadler: The industrial trend has developed mostly due to production technology. The introduction of ‘Continua Plus’ has allowed the production of larger sizes than ever before, which has been a real change in the trend, and the products specified. The first generation slabs were marble-based designs but now we are seeing more industrial design themes such as concrete and metal coming through. See Maiora Concrete 2.4 x 1.2 metre slabs.

Some factories are however are embracing the desire amongst specifiers and clients for authentic production techniques. We can see this in both our Zelij and Croma ranges.

Image caption: Zelig from CTD Architectural Tiles

Another development has been the fusions of traditional ceramic techniques and new industrial design concepts. This is best captured in a range like Diesel Glass Blocks, where a 1950s style glass brick has been captured in ceramic tile using decade-old glazing techniques updated for the 2020s.

HK: What would you say is the biggest pitfall among designers when specifying wallcovering?

AS: With tiles, the biggest pitfall among designers is probably understanding that the tile is just one element of a system. Consideration needs to be given to the substrate the tile is being fixed to and how the area is tanked to mitigate water ingress and potential failure. CTDA work with both Schluter Systems and Jackon to offer the specifier peace of mind through provision of a wide range of wetroom and substrate solutions. From a design perspective, trying to replicate the popular brick bond or herringbone/parquet style of floor tile used on walls can cause a challenge when the room is fitted with spotlights. All of a sudden the lipping on the tiles, unevidenced on the floor becomes all too apparent.

HK: Why are surfaces within public areas more important now than ever before?

AS: The public areas are the key selling areas of the space – the face of the project – so an aspirational appeal is crucial. This appeal needs to married however with a floor surface that is safe to use to protect the client from slips and trips and the hotel from litigation or reputational damage. We have seen the adoption over recent years in the UK of the Pendulum Test as the acceptable measure of a tile’s slip resistance. The implication of this is that we are seeing public spaces being fitted with tiles that have a higher slip resistance than was previously the norm. Whilst this is great from a safety perspective, it does cause challenges with cleaning these spaces as the more textured surfaces are more attractive to dirt. We see therefore a move away from lighter tones (whites, creams and ivories) towards darker tones (grey and anthracites) where the floor does not reveal its secrets so easily.

HK: How sustainable are CTD Architectural Tiles’ products?

AS: There are many advantages to ceramic tiles against alternative materials. Made from water, clay and fire – these elements give rise to a natural and quality material which is free of toxic substances, making it a strong alternative to materials such as plastic laminates or vinyl. Ceramic also has a very long life cycle and is therefore sustainable from a longevity point of view. There also isn’t the need for excessive maintenance, which makes it more advantageous than wood or parquet flooring for example.

HK: How was nature used as inspiration in your latest collections?

AS: Launched earlier this year, our Amazonia collection is the epitome of how botanical influences are finding their way into the commercial and hospitality sector. A celebration and seamless marriage between rustic handmade influences and the trend for biophilic design, the Amazonia collection is versatile and unique. Combining botanical patterns with a pared-back, nature-inspired palette to enliven spaces of all sizes, the collection offers endless opportunities to combine and mix distinctive tiles.

Image caption: Amazonia Grey Hexagon from CTD Architectural Tiles

For a more floral take on the botanical trend, ranges such as Maiora’s Custom Décor’s offer the possibility to create true feature walls with over-sized tiles – see p36 in this catalogue.

HK: How is technology allowing you to create more immersive products?

AS: One of our key launches this year was our 20mm-thick Porcelain Pavers collection, which is a testament to the advances in technology having a direct impact on the options that are available. The Porcelain Pavers collection is made up of 22 different tile ranges and each and every product meets all the technical and design requirements for exterior applications as well as indoor applications. The 20mm thickness means that it is extremely durable and resistant to breaks and scratches as well as being fade and frost resistant. Boasting a +36PTV (wet) slip-resistant structured surface, the tiles are also extremely low maintenance thanks to their exceptionally low porosity.

Image caption: Porcelain Pavers from CTD Architectural Tiles

Offering the added benefit of easy installation, the 20mm ranges can be installed in a number of different formats depending on the environment and project requirements. Providing the ultimate flexibility, the products can even be loose laid onto gravel, sand or pedestals, making them both accessible and re-usable. 

Advances in technology and production have also led to the introduction of a more diverse product portfolio in terms of styles, colours, patterns and designs. One of our most recent collections, Venice Villa, delivers the beauty of terrazzo captured in porcelain. The terrazzo look originates from using left over marble chippings into cement as a way to use excess product. A reinterpretation of this famous look, the Venice Villa collection is an exquisite contemporary twist on the traditional terrazzo trend, combining the appearance of crushed marble fragments with the excellent properties of fully body porcelain stoneware. Available in eight colourways in a polished, natural or structured finish, from monochrome Silver, Grey, Zinc and White to the more colourful options of Earth, Beige, Graphite and Ivory, the Venice Villa tiles offer an intriguing combination of colours that capture and reflect light, enhancing commercial spaces of all types. Expressing the beauty of the material that inspired the collection, the porcelain surfaces of the tiles combine the traditional look with modern materials making a surface that is easy to maintain and clean.

To find out more about CTD Architectural Tiles, please click here.

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Outstanding Property Award London’s Jesper Thomsen

Making its debut on the international design stage, Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL) has begun its global search to identify the most innovative design and architecture projects. As the exclusive media partner of the awards, Hotel Designs speaks to OPAL’s  co-founder to understand what sets the initiative aside from others. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

“What makes a building, a project, a person and/or a hotel’s design outstanding,” I ask myself as I weave between some of London’s architectural skyline statements while running embarrassingly late to meet with Jesper Thomsen. It feels like only yesterday we were both sitting down over coffee for the first time discussing the bones of what has now become the Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL).

Fast-forward to today, and I am on the jury –  as well as at the helm of a very special media partnership -imminently about to be asked to identify the ‘outstanding’ from the ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unique’ – all of which are buzzwords that are overused and I struggle at the best of times to define. Considering the vast amount of innovative architectural gems that have appeared in cityscapes around the world in recent years, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the entire weight of the industry’s judgement pressing down on my shoulders. It’s an interesting concept becoming a judge, and ironic that what follows is then the feeling – or apprehension at least – of judgement. But it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone when casting my opinion, as the awards now has significant number of jury members, all of which have been hand-selected to offer different perspectives from all corners of the industry.

By the time I make it to meet Thomsen, I have decided that, for me, something unconventional will be my winner, which is a word that I feel would best describe Thompson’s ambitions for OPAL, along with ‘bold’, ‘courageous’ and ‘about time.’

Hamish Kilburn: What was the aim when setting up OPAL? 

Jesper Thomsen: The aim was created out of a passion for creativity in the property industry. We aim to highlight and celebrate the most exceptional design projects in the world, raising their awareness and honoring its creators. Buildings last for decades, sometimes centuries, they tell our history and legacy, where we come from and where we are now. They are fundamental to our existence, so it’s essential that they are well designed and serves humanity in the best way possible.

We seek to reveal projects that are not only highly creative but show useful function, provide better living experiences for its users, and meeting the clients’ expectation. Class-leading projects that demonstrate innovation and embracing new technologies, setting new trends, respecting and protecting the environment, and pushing boundaries of human ingenuity.

OPAL was established with my friend and business partner Hossein Farmani, founder of the Farmani Group of companies, who has vast experience in the design awards industry since 1985. Having worked together in the past, the award feels like a natural progression of our combined experiences.

HK: Can you tell more about your experience in the industry? What’s your story? 

JT: I always wanted to become an Architect. Since a young age, I’ve been fascinated by design, and for me, architecture was the ultimate expression of human creativity and design evolution. However, my father was the third-generation owner of a printing and design practice in my native Denmark and got me interested in graphic design. At the time of A-level graduation in Denmark, I wanted to apply for the School of Architecture, but the ministry of education regulating the free admissions had almost no openings for new students due to a slump in that industry.

Instead, after one year as an apprentice in an architectural firm in Paris, I moved to London and began a Masters degree at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which related more to graphic design, I also supplemented my studies with photography. Following graduation, I was a creative director, designing websites for major companies during the dot com boom era. Here I gained considerable experience in digital marketing and branding. After a seven-year itch, I became tired of commercial design, and my love for the arts was calling.

I launched a private art gallery in Londons’ Knightsbridge, including spending one year developing and designing the gallery space. In this process, it felt like all creative aspects came together, and after completion, I would subsequently spend another seven years running the gallery exhibiting artworks by artists such as Damian Hirst and Bill Brandt.

I decided to move on from the gallery business, and fate got me involved in developing a few properties in Londons Knightsbridge, I spent nearly 3 years responsible for all operations, learning hands-on all the disciplines from interiors to architecture, planning, research, 3D modeling, materials, procuring and team management. It was a very creative period but also learning the hard way how complex the creation of properties really is. So my past really covers hugely varied types of creative practices. I’ve learned that creativity, in all its forms, is about ‘seeing’, sensing, letting your imagination unfold, and this can be applied to all its disciplines.

HK: Why is London such a significant destination to base these awards? 

JT: London has always been incredibly important for creativity and design in the built environment, spanning from historical landmarks up to today’s groundbreaking contemporary designs. Some of the most famous developers, architectural firms, and interior designers, have a base here and continue to inspire and influence the global property industry. The OPAL Award is open to entries from around the world, and we want to bring outstanding projects to London and celebrate them in our fantastic capital we are so proud of.

“OPAL offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design.” – Jesper Thomsen

HK: What sets OPAL aside from other design awards? 

JT: Many awards are confined to a single industry within the property sector; An Architecture Award, is for Architects, by Architects. An interior design award, is for interior designers, by interior designers and so on. OPAL reaches fully across the property sector. It offers a three-way synergy between our three main entry categories; Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design. These industries continuously collaborate to create exciting projects, each bringing their expertise, and combined, they deliver outstanding designs. We are also very proud of our talented jury panel who will evaluate the global entries, they are our backbone and aspiration to those who enter our award.

HK: What other destinations around the globe would you are design hotspots? 

JT: It’s incredible how major cities in Asia have become design hotspots. Shanghai for example, really pushes boundaries fuelled by a concentration of industrial partners and strong government support. As the countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games draws closer, the Japanese capital is in the middle of a hotel gold rush. Anything from boutique design hotels to glittering skyscrapers, a raft of new establishments are opening or are in the pipeline. Mexico City is also one to watch after being nominated for World Design Capital last year. I love their particular design language, elegantly fusing original colonial architecture with contemporary.

HK: What’s the number one thing you cannot travel without?

JT: This is an obvious one; my laptop. It’s glued to my fingertips at all times. I travel extensively, and this enables me to run operations and be connected at all times. Oh, and an online back-up of it too.

HK: What is your favourite hotel you have ever stayed in and why?

JT: There are so many. I recently visited Extremadura, a remote and less traveled part of Spain. Here, in the historic town of Cáceres, inside its UNSECO walled city and housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century palace is the stunning hotel Atrio. Striking white minimalist architectural features blends lovingly with the old stone walls and shiny black wooden floors. The surrounding streets have no tourist shops, nor huge crowds with selfie sticks you’d typically find in places of such beauty, just quaint, peaceful alleys defined by sandstone and ivy leaf clad palaces. The rooms and amenities are styled in a fashionable 60s Scandinavian design, Miles Davies’ Blue Note years playing softly in the background, a pleasing opposition to the striking view onto the empty medieval square below. Atrio is also home to a fabulous two-starred Michelin restaurant boasting one of the finest wine cellars in the world. I thoroughly recommend a visit here.

HK: What do you look for in an outstanding property?

JT: What really excites me about a great project is when the original vision of a completed building shines like a star, its purpose is evident to the eyes and the senses. Those projects are likely to be those who have seen mostly green lights during the creation process.

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

JT: My sights are on Mongolia, away from civilisation and buildings. When I take time off, I grab my camera bag and go shooting landscapes, happy to be off-grid. No place is better for me to clear my mind than to connect with solitary, vast open expanses or wild roaring oceans.

HK: What is your favourite restaurant/bar in London at the moment?

JT: I like Aquavit in St. James. Maybe I’m a bit impartial due to my Scandinavian roots, here you can eat classic dishes such as gravid lax in a beautiful, sumptuous setting. I also like the buzz of The Ned, the physical scale of it is bars, and restaurants area is incredible. I just had a sneak peek of the yet to be launched upstairs bar and restaurant of the Standard Hotel, a funky design offering fantastic views over Londons’ city to one side and the clock tower of St. Pancras to the other, so close it feels glued onto their windows.

HK: What trend do you hope never returns?

JT: Brutalist 60s’ architecture. Its primitive obsession with concrete made an austere generation of buildings where function superseded design, creating discouraging living conditions for its users. I don’t think architects and developers of that time really understood or considered the human factor as part of a design concept, that a building serves to improve peoples lives and its environment, not just a structure to keep you dry from the rain. They are genuine eyesores and should be demolished, and only the best examples should be preserved for the record. I doubt this trend will return anytime soon due to a much better understanding of peoples needs along with technological advancements in the building industry, 3D printing, new materials and simulation methods give designers today far more freedom, flexibility, and individuality to create exciting designs.

Main image credit: OPAL

Accessibility championed at inaugural Blue Badge Access Awards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accessibility championed at inaugural Blue Badge Access Awards

The Blue Badge Access Awards, which took place last night at The Langham London, has created a pivotal moment in international design by celebrating and championing thoughtful accessible design… 

Last night, the inaugural Blue Badge Access Awards were held at The Langham London with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Thirteen winners were awarded on the basis of celebrating thoughtful and stylish inclusive design and business practices across the world.

This year’s winners included Shakespeare’s Globe as the most Inclusive Employer and Sea Containers for Best Hotel, sponsored by HEWI.

The evening included a comedy set by British stand-up comedian, writer, actor, presenter, and disability-rights campaigner, Laurence Clark. Laurence was born with cerebral palsy and uses his line of work to alter the general public’s perceptions of disabled people. Alongside this, an inclusive fashion show was put on by Samanta Bullock, founder of SB. SB is an online department store that provides comfortable and fashionable universally-designed clothes with the focus on inclusion and benefiting the seated position.

The 2019 judging panel included Fiona Jarvis, CEO of Blue Badge Style; Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners; Alex Taylor, BBC Journalist; Paul Vaughan, Bespoke Access; Neil Heslop, CEO, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Karen Fewell, daughter of Arnold Fewell.

“Nowhere can be 100 per cent accessible but everyone can start somewhere,” said Fiona Jarvis, Founder of Blue Badge Style. “There is tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers. We are delighted to champion these venues with Blue Badge Access Awards and will continue to do so to amplify enthusiasm across the hospitality sector, as well as wider tourist attractions, museums, and public organisations.”

“Awards like this are profoundly important because they shine a light on best practice”, added Neil Heslop, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability. “Leonard Cheshire exists to improve life choices for people with disabilities globally, and accessibility is key to this. We work with cross-sector organisations every day in supporting individuals to live, learn and work independently, whatever their disability. We congratulate everyone who has been involved to date and hope many more join in, having been inspired by tonight’s winners.”

“We are thrilled to unveil so many exemplary winners at the first Blue Badge Access Awards and celebrate the great work of designers and architects around the world in inclusive design” said Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People. “It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda. No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be as high as a priority as it is now, and we want access to be just lionised in the future.”

The Blue Badge Access Awards are here to accelerate progress, and highlight that the importance of inclusive design should not be underestimated. It gives businesses and venues access to a market of over 1 billion people across the world, a group of more than 13 million people in the UK alone with spending power of over £250 billion.

Main image credit: Blue Badge Access Awards

St. Regis Hotels debuts on the Grand Canal in Venice

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
St. Regis Hotels debuts on the Grand Canal in Venice

The 169-key St. Regis Venice has opened following a two-year, full-scale renovation on the building with the interior design project led by London-based interior design studio Sagrada… 

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has announced the debut of The St. Regis Venice, which is located steps away from Piazza San Marco and boasting the largest waterfrontage in Venice. The opening follows an extensive project to restore the grandeur of the former Grand Hotel Britannia, which originally opened in 1895 – the same year as the inaugural Venice Biennale.

Many of the guestrooms and suites boast private terraces or Juliet balconies for sweeping views of Venice’s iconic landmarks. Situated across the Grand Canal from Punta della Dogana, the hotel marries its celebrated heritage with the St. Regis brand’s modern design and bespoke service throughout a unique collection of five Venetian palaces, with the oldest dating back to the 17th century. The hotel’s spacious secluded garden sets the hotel apart, making it a lifestyle destination where guests and locals alike can enjoy remarkable views of the Grand Canal. The St. Regis Venice marks the brand’s third location in Italy, joining The St. Regis Florence and The St. Regis Rome.

“Venice is one of the world’s most inimitable cities; one which has inspired royalty, artists, merchants and jet setters alike for more than fifteen centuries,” said Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International. “The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand, re-interpreting Venice’s rich history through a modern lens.”

Throughout its storied history, The St. Regis Venice, in its various guises, has played host to a roster of illustrious guests, global influencers and tastemakers. The five ‘palazzi’ that make up the hotel enjoy a position of privilege overlooking the Grand Canal, with Badoer Tiepolo being the oldest palazzo, which dates back to the 17th century. By the 19th century, palazzi Tiepolo, Barozzi and Regina were converted into the Grand Hotel Britannia, more recently known as Hotel Europa & Regina.

The Grand Hotel Britannia attracted notable intellectuals and socialites as well as renowned painters J.M.W. Turner, John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet, who in the autumn of 1908 was inspired by the hotel’s spectacular views during his stay as a guest and worked to capture the passage of light in his artwork. It is recorded in the book “Monet in Venice” by Philippe Piguet that Claude Monet’s wife, Alice, remarked in her daily letters to her daughter during their stay, “the views from our hotel room are the most magnificent of all Venice, and it’s all for Monet!” The hotel was also the first in Venice to have electricity in every room.

“The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand.” – Jenni Benzaquen, Vice President of Luxury Brands – Europe, Marriott International.

Each room has been reverently furnished to cherish the artistic and cultural heritage of the building, while also embracing the evolution of La Serenissima and the St. Regis brand’s spirit of modern glamour. The exquisitely-designed suites include a two-bedroom, art-inspired Presidential Suite – a true contemporary artist’s residence overlooking the Grand Canal – and a three-bedroom Penthouse Suite with a wraparound furnished terrace showcasing extraordinary views over Venice from three separate viewpoints.

The five Roof Garden Suites spectacularly combine garden-inspired interiors with uninterrupted vistas and contemporary touches while furnished terraces offer a quietly seductive atmosphere. Set against twilight tones, the Venetian Suites showcase crafted details of modern design, influenced by the artistic heritage of the city, while the colour palette of the Monet Suites pay homage to the reflection of light across the Grand Canal. As a hallmark of the St. Regis experience, all guests have access to the signature St. Regis Butler service. Honoured to maintain a long-standing tradition of making guests feel at home, the St. Regis Butler is poised to provide an ever-present, yet unobtrusive, serviceattending to guests’ every need.

Inspired by the Venetian masterpieces of former guest and Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the interiors of the refined guestrooms showcase a distinctive colour palette that represents how light changes throughout the day from dawn to dusk. The design of the public spaces pays homage to Carlo Scarpa, one of Venice’s greatest artists and architects. Venetian styling is seen throughout the hotel in tailored fabrics and custom, handcrafted furnishings inspired by the gentle curves of gondolas, the patterns of the Doge’s Palace, the pavements of St. George’s churchyard and the water flow of the canal.

An eclectic collection of artwork and sculptures will also be curated, bringing ancient Venice to today’s luxury travellers in a modern way. Paying homage to the hotel’s tradition of welcoming famed artists, The St. Regis Venice will host artists from around the world to take residence and create unique pieces inspired by the hotel and its beloved locale. The hotel’s first resident artist, Parisian Olivier Masmonteil, has been commissioned to create original artworks for the Grand Salon and the Monet Suites. The Venetian tradition of glassmaking also lives on, celebrated through a partnership with Glasstress. This unique partnership marries contemporary art and historical glass blowing techniques, inviting world class artists of various disciplines to collaborate with Murano Maestros (masters) to create one-of-a-kind glass works of art.

The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s strategy to expand its luxury portfolio with the addition of 30 new hotels in 2019. St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., has properties in more than 40 destinations around the world.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis

LIGHTING WATCH: Berkley Collection from Christopher Hyde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIGHTING WATCH: Berkley Collection from Christopher Hyde

Christopher Hyde Lighting beautiful Berkeley table lamp was recently supplied in the lobby area of a luxury hotel in Moscow…

The stunning and imposing table lamp allows the interior designer to put the finishing touches into their own five-star project. The design of the Berkeley collection features delicate cast brass details. Available in many different finishes from the ever popular french gold and antique silver to polished rose gold and soft bronze. Complimented by Christopher Hyde’s hand crafted silk lampshades the Berkeley table lamp is sure to brighten up any lobby.

The Berkeley range is on display at the company’s showroom at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour, London.

Christopher Hyde’s new catalogue is released soon and is available to order.

Christopher Hyde 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: Christopher Hyde

The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard Hotels brand arrives in the Maldives

The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives opens as the brand’s second hotel outside America and its debut hotel in Asia… 

Following the brand’s first venture outside The States to open in London, The Standard brand has spilled into Asia with the arrival of The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives. With 115 stunning private pool villas, The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives is a short sea plane ride away from Male, nestled between the Raa and Baa Atolls, on a naturally protected island.

The goal of every Standard project — be it a hotel, a rooftop discothèque, or a magazine — is to defy conventions, up the aesthetic stakes, and deliver an experience that can only be had at The Standard. While the Maldives has traditionally been seen as a ‘couple’s destination’, the famed hotel brand has approached the development with a fresh set of eyes. The resort offers an unmatched combination of relaxation, dynamic social life and vibrant cultural programming that also welcomes groups of friends or singles looking to meet others or just reset and recharge in Paradise.

Each of the 115 villas features its own private lounge deck and plunge pool, and guests can choose from one of six unique culinary offerings. The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives presents culinary options that are inspired by the bounty and beauty of the Indian Ocean and guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity. Both local and global cuisines are offered, and special, local ingredients – some grown on its very own island farm – are woven throughout the menu.

The Standard Spa is a haven for recovery or reboot, offering a communal hammam, aroma cypress steam room, chromotherapy and contrast shower, and ten private treatment rooms. Guests are able to drop in to a daily yoga or personal training session, or chill out at the Spa Deck and Tonic Bar plunge pool.

Of course, no Standard experience would be complete without nightlife, from tribal beats at a beach bonfire to a glass bottom nightclub. And a disco ball above your bath tub, for guests to enjoy their own private party.

The hotel brand, which was created in 1999, now has six hotels within its portfolio, which includes properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London and now the Maldives.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

In Conversation With: British designer Bim Burton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit:: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

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

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

HD: Why is sustainability so important to you?

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

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

HD: Why Kaldewei?

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

HD: How did you find working with steel enamel?

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

HD: What was the biggest challenge?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Bim Burton/Kaldewei

Sleep & Eat unveils design details of this year’s VIP Lounge

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sleep & Eat unveils design details of this year’s VIP Lounge

‘Gather’ in the enigmatically designed VIP Lounge. Sleep & Eat announces collaboration with Megre Interiors to create a new design-led experience…

Sleep & Eat, one of Europe’s leading design and innovation event for the hospitality sector, has revealed an enticing glimpse of its new-look VIP Lounge. Created for the first time this year by an international design firm, the lounge will be brought to life by Moscow-based interior design studio Megre Interiors. With this year’s theme of ‘Social FlexAbility’, VIP Lounge guests are promised an experience like never before.

Named ‘Gather’ by the designers, the original oak panelled Olympia Club Room will be transformed into a whimsical flora and fauna-inspired space. Drapes, upholstery and even the flooring will be in a fabric depicting exotic flowers, specially designed for Sleep & Eat by Megre Interiors, cascades of fabric flowers will loop through the space and, in the epicentre, a large-scale light installation will flicker like a fire. This will be surrounded by orbicular seating –referencing the circular gathering places of human history and drawing a parallel to the primeval pleasure of coming together around a firepit.

“In an age marked by the impersonal, it’s vital to trust people over brands.” – Yuna Megre, Founder and Principal of Megre Interiors

Arriving in the entrance reception, guests will find themselves enticed into the space by a single thread of light. Inside, lighting remains low, shapes and forms are obscured and audacious texture and colour prevail. Collections of poufs as well as the circular seating will be underlit to glow like beacons. Vastly adaptable, this will be a room that gives its users the power to interact with it and alter as they wish, moving the seating around to suit their needs. It will be about the opportunity is to meet, talk, learn and relax, and to emerge better connected than before.

“The human soul blossoms fully only when we meaningfully connect with one another,” says Yuna Megre, Founder and Principal of Megre Interiors. “In an age marked by the impersonal, it’s vital to trust people over brands. To meet, to see, to know each other and embark on the adventure of creation together.”

The VIP Lounge will not be the only space at Sleep & Eat to be specially designed by an international design firm. Plans for this year also include the introduction of The Hub – yet to be revealed – as well as the much-loved Sleeper Bar which will host the late evening networking on day one and is this year being designed by Michaelis Boyd.

Sleep & Eat, November 19 – 20 in the National Hall, Olympia London. The show will be open from 10am on Tuesday 19 with an evening drinks reception until 8.30 pm, and from 10am-6pm on Wednesday 20. To register for a complimentary pass, visit registration.

Main image credit: Merge Interiors/Sleep & Eat

THROWBACK: Duravit looks back on 2019’s top bathroom trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
THROWBACK: Duravit looks back on 2019’s top bathroom trends

As we hurtle into Q4 of 2019, Bathroom manufacturer Duravit is taking a look back at some of this year’s top bathroom trends that are still holding strong. From organic shapes to matte finishes, these are the looks to add a high-end touch to any designer bathroom into the coming season and year…

Organic elegance

Frank Lloyd Wright, an early pioneer of organic architecture, took his inspiration from nature.

The legendary architect integrated organic forms into his works, seeking to harmonise the object with the environment.

Duravit’s latest additions to its product ranges perpetuate this idea: sweeping lines and dynamic curves characterize new products like Viu/XViu and Starck T.

The Viu/XViu series by sieger design boasts a post-industrial elegance with a combination of organic forms and precise geometry. The highlight is a washbasin with Duravit’s patented c-bonded technology: the clear rectangular definition on the outside contrasts with gentle organic curves within, reminiscent of the softness of water.

The fluid transition from the round base to the geometric “T” shape is the defining design feature of the Starck T series, the first accessory line by Duravit and longtime collaborator Philippe Starck. It is reminiscent of an organic, branching tree structure. This simple yet chic design element runs through every part of the series as a subtle, recurring signature.

Colours, Materials, and Surfaces

Matte colors are reigning strong in interior design. In the bathroom silky, matte surfaces and wood create a soothing, warming atmosphere. Duravit’s new light and dark matt glazes for washbasins and toilets open up an even greater variety of combination options. Their velvety finish exudes a sophisticated elegance and creates contrasts with glossy individual pieces or zones with other pops of color.

The Happy D.2 Plus bathroom furniture, created by sieger design, is available in a total of 11 finishes for an individual look in the bathroom, featuring quality wood or fashionable matte surfaces in light and dark shades. Even greater customization options are afforded by the choice of six finishes for the console panel, enabling a whole range of creative combinations: monochrome, harmonious tone-on-tone, or contrasting.

These can be further enhanced with the expressive Starck T accessories in stylish Matt Black or Chrome to create a cohesive aesthetic. Ranging from toothbrush holders to towel hooks and soap dispensers, the range encompasses 16 high-quality accessories.

Smart Technology

Duravit’s tech-forward mirrors provide a bevy of features and intuitive ease of use that make them optimal for any bathroom setting. The features of the round Happy D.2 Plus mirrors in particular offer added comfort. Mirror heating and the ambient light and colored light switching function can be operated via icon control. The series also provides the opportunity for a perfectly matching double washing area: two mirrors can be paired at the factory for additional convenience.

Main image credit: Duravit

100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
100% not-for-profit luxury safari, Lepogo Lodges, opens in South Africa

The safari Lepogo Lodges, joins the ‘Not-for-Profit Conservation Tourism’ Movement and pledges to offset each and every guest’s carbon footprint…

Lepogo Lodges, one of Africa’s few entirely not-for-profit high-end safari lodges, has opened its very first lodge in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Noka Camp, which is set within the 50,000-hectare, malaria-free Lapalala Wilderness Reserve.

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

Image credit: Lepogo Lodges

Noka Camp consists of five stilted villas, including one villa especially designed for families. The villas are joined by a main lodge comprised of dining room, bar, lounge area and sprawling outdoor terrace, all perched atop a 100ft cliff overlooking the winding Palala River below and the endless bush ahead. The camp is entirely off-grid, with all energy self-generated by a bespoke, 250msolar walkway.

Lepogo Lodges have worked with award-winning Japanese Architect Yuji Yamazakion Noka Camp and its five stilted villas, designed to offer the highest level of luxury while bearing the lightest footprint on the surrounding environment. A glass-fronted design for the main lodge and villas maximises the incredible panoramic views seen at every turn, while the entire property has been built on small concrete pads, which ensure that no scars are left on the land.  Each villa is complete with heated plunge pool, unique ‘sky bed’ with glass floor over the ravine, sunken bathtub and underfloor heating.

Lepogo Lodges have collaborated with Sarah Ord Interiors on the interior design of Noka Camp. Reputed for her use of colour and eclectic designs, Sarah’s vision was to enhance and reflect the natural colours of the reserve. Noka’s light-filled interiors were inspired by the vast horizon of turning leaves on the terracotta-coloured cliffs, where the sky meets Africa. Walls disappear through the use of expansive glass panes, with each vista becoming a framed work of art on a grand scale. Sarah has made use of sustainable and South-African products, crafts and textiles wherever possible.

Lepogo Lodges will consist of two lodges, with a second property, Melote House, set to open in 2021. Ideal for multi-generational travel, Melote House will be an exclusive-use property sleeping up to 16 guests.

Entirely energy self-sufficient thanks to the property’s very own solar walkway, Lepogo Lodges will be the first luxury lodge in Africa to offset the carbon emissions from all guests’ travel, from the time they leave their home to the moment they return. Guests can also participate in conservation efforts, community outreach, school visits and more.

The owning family of Lepogo Lodges is committed to supporting community projects. For example, the Montebello Design Centre in Cape Town was founded by a close relative as a centre to support the disadvantaged, where students can learn valuable crafting skills and generate income to support their livelihoods. It flourishes today and has produced some remarkable talent, some of which Lepogo is proud to be able to showcase. Lepogo Lodges are also working closely with local communities, who have created bespoke soft accessories for the lodges, toys and clothing for the on-site curio shop and custom amenities including hydrating hair oil made from the fabled Baobab and Moringa trees.

The family is particularly passionate about the conservation of cheetah, pangolin and rhino, having been attracted to Lapalala as one of the leading private rhino sanctuaries in Africa. Lepogo Lodges have funded research and are working with Lapalala to establish the reserve as a centre of excellence for the release of wild captured cheetah in conjunction with The Endangered Wildlife Trust. A pangolin re-introduction programme will also begin in the coming months and the family look forward to supporting and working with the world renowned Lapalala Wilderness School.

 Main image credit: Lepogo Lodges

The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Standard London, Camden’s new kid on the block

In search of a new standard in design, creativity and urban hotels, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to London’s most talked-about hotels this year to explore another world. The Standard London has opened, making a bold statement on the capital’s new hospitality scene… 

Something significant is happening in London’s King’s Cross area. It’s been brewing for some time now, but it has only recently erupted.

During London Design Festival and London Fashion Week, the area was the backdrop of a scene of celebrities, models and the odd design editor or two falling out of parties and onto pavements. Soho and Shoreditch were desolate deserts in comparison. It’s the power of real estate like you have never seen before. Selecting its opening date carefully, The Standard has disrupted everything – and it’s about time too!

Although, for years, the district has evolved with the time, it was the expansions to King’s Cross and the new St Pancras International stations adjacent to each other that started the catalyst for change. Strangely enough, my father worked on the construction of both. I remember the odd non-official ‘bring your son to work’ day, the oversized hard hat specifically, as we meandered around the expansive building site unable to imagine the finished picture. “Soon, you will be able to travel from London to Paris in just two hours, imagine that” I remember my father saying overexcitedly. “Right here, where you are standing, is going to become London’s major international train station!”

Whether or not my pops really was one of the first to envision the area’s potential is irrelevant. The station opened and almost instantly the cool, quirky neighbourhood of Camden became even more of a hotspot for the mainstream, without much – if any – loss of its bold and bohemian personality. As a result, the capital’s hotel scene – quick to follow major travel trends – moved outward to put a roof over the raw and rustic scenes that its locals had created.

And here we are, welcoming the city’s new arrival, The Standard, which has been patiently waiting in the wings for some time now. And while all hotels have a story (some more worth sharing than others), The Standards’ narrative is as unique as the interior design scheme locked within; a perfect meeting of American soul and London’s ostentatious quirk.

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex in London’s thriving King’s Cross neighbourhood, the 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored by the legendary ORMS Architects in collaboration, in part, with Archer Humphryes Architects.

The 266-key hotel, which shelters 42 suites, sets the perfect stage for the brand’s first arrival outside America. Uniquely overlooking the iconic St Pancras Station, from street level it’s juxtaposition of architecture that shouldn’t but does work. On the north side is the traditional 19th-century iconic neo-gothic architecture, which has stood the test of time, and two world wars for that matter, unscathed. On the south side is the ultra-modern non-conventional structure, symbolising loudly that times are changing.

“Three new storeys have been added to the top of the building,” explains Simon Whitaker from ORMS Architects. “The form of which has been derived from the host building below, and clad in new stainless steel and glass panels. Two of these floors provide hotel bedrooms, whilst the top floor is dedicated to the new restaurant and bar, with a roof terrace above.”

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Upon entering, the lobby lounge sets the scene, with a carefully curated library that pays homage to the building’s original use. Further in, sound studio booths host weekly live music and talks. Executive Chef Adam Rawson’s street facing bar, Double Standard, designed by Shawn Hausman, the neighbourhood’s street-facing anchor for lunch, casual drinking and dining throughout the evening.

Although the colour scheme in the guestrooms and suites may not be to everyone’s taste, it is very much so mine. Not so much because of the tones used, but more so because they have been intertwined together with purpose – and unapologetically so for that matter. Complete with bespoke curved sofas and the King’s rooms featuring outdoor terrace bathtubs, the idiosyncratic charm of the hotel is certainly not limited to the public areas.

Image credit: The Standard Hotels

Before it opened, the hotel’s street level, red exterior lift was the ultimate teaser campaign. Now fully open, it shoots guests up directly to the 10th-floor where Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant showcases his live-fire cooking and where guests and visitors alike can enjoy the building’s 360-degree views of the city below all-year round thanks to the retractable awning.

No longer do party-hard followers of the brand have to travel stateside to experience The Standard’s retro maximalism. First launched in the late 90s with its debut hotel in Hollywood, which for the record remains to this day a go-to destination on the Sunset Strip, the hotel’s urban cool influence is London’s answer to keeping the Camden’s hospitality scene fresh, authentic and designed with purpose.

It’s next stop? The Maldives, next month in fact, which will be an interesting page to turn in what is an unmistakably climatic chapter for the now international hotel brand.

Main image credit: The Standard Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Armani and Roca launch Baia Collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Armani and Roca launch Baia Collection

With the new Baia collection, Giorgio Armani once again shows his commitment to promoting comfort and wellbeing, expressing his vision of the bathroom environment through a combination of elements that allow maximum flexibility and adaptability…

Particular attention has been paid to the ergonomics of each piece in the new collection by Roca in collaboration with Armani. The aesthetic intentionally references the past but the retro styling has been interpreted in a modern manner and incorporates avant-garde technology.

The result is a new versatile bathroom collection, which manages to be both contemporary and timeless, in accordance with Giorgio Armani’s well-known design philosophy.

The wide range of countertop and over-countertop washbasins offers endless combinations of brassware, allowing the adaptation of the pieces to suit every type of bathroom. The introduction of exciting new metallic finishes extends the embellishment on offer to help create bathroom spaces of increased sophistication and elegance. Two luxurious shades – a matte gold and dark metallic – are used in a revised version of the shagreen finish. The resulting shagreen matte gold and shagreen dark metallic adds a touch of unusual elegance. The basin options now also include a new, stylish pedestal model, which complements the rest of the collection and can be fitted with integrated metal towel rails in various finishes.

The range also includes a new line of classically inspired brassware: deck-mounted and built-in basin faucets, a bidet faucet, a thermostatic shower column faucet and a thermostatic freestanding bathtub faucet. These are all available in three finishes: greige, brushed steel and chrome. One of the unique features of this brassware range is that, in spite of its classical design, it is equipped with innovative technology; for example, thermostatic technology has been incorporate into the freestanding retro-inspired bath filler and the retro-look shower column, delivering thoroughly modern efficiency.

The highlight of the collection is an elegant piece of metallic furniture with washbasin and an integrated metal towel rail. This provides maximum functionality, while exuding a sense of comfort and convenience. Available both in off-white lacquered wood and greige oak-veneered wood, this piece will instantly endow any bathroom with an undeniably luxurious touch.

To complement the beauty of this iconic piece, the freestanding bathtub, which also has a retro look, makes a perfect focal piece for any bathroom. Updated with a contemporary appearance and paying special attention to ergonomics and comfort, the lines of this bathtub are soft and sinuous. It is also available in an elegant version embellished with four metal handles in three finishes – greige, brushed steel and chrome. These handles are beautiful and functional details which match the rest of the collection.

The importance of flexibility and the added benefit of ‘made-to-measure’ is evident in the shower tray, which comes in an extra-fine resin in custom-made sizes up to 2m x 1m, and is presented in a unique collection of textures and finishes.

A new line of toilets and bidets, both wall-hung and close-coupled, is now included in the collection in order to meet every design requirement. These are complemented with advanced technological electronic flush plates that feature unique glass finishes.

The wide-ranging collection also includes a line of accessories that incorporates towel racks and a wall mirror, both with rounded metallic profiles in various finishes. These recall the same design characteristics as the rest of the collection.

Throughout the Armani/Roca Baia collection, harmonious and fluid forms promote a feeling of comfort.

Main image credit: Roca

A new look and feel for Momentous

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new look and feel for Momentous

Momentous, the specialist logistics company that has recently become Recommended Supplier, has just launched a fresh new look and feel for its international business… 

Momentous, which is part of AGM Group, has just pressed the button on a new website that has been dynamically designed specifically to highlight the company’s three core areas of specialist logistics, which are:

  1. FF&E Logistics for Interior Design
  2. Event and Tour Logistics for the Performing Arts
  3. Fine Art Logistics and Installations

“Momentous provides a versatile service covering multiple specialist and complimentary disciplines.”

Momentous provides international transportation with customs management, digital condition reporting, bespoke case making and installation of pieces of art and sculpture in spaces with specialist lifting equipment. Consolidated storage with FF&E inventory management, distribution and installations for major interior design projects. Its events logistics team provide transport logistics and crews on-site for live events and storage of equipment, film sets and wardrobes. Momentous provides a versatile service covering multiple specialist and complimentary disciplines.

With decades of experience, the team includes project managers who are experts in their fields, experienced fine art technicians and logistics crews with decades of experience, ready to apply their knowledge to plan and execute your project just the way you need.

When it comes to the important aspects such as safety, compliance, equality and sustainability, it is good to know that Momentous is part of the AGM Group which means everything complies to the company’s ISO standards and governance.

“The company provides world class logistics management for its interior design, events and fine art clients.”

“As a group, Momentous offers companies an exceptional level of expertise and service for specialist logistics services,” said Russell Start,  Managing Director of AGM Group.” Momentous caters for projects that are more complex than most.”

The company, which originally began in the 1970s as an independent fine art shipping company, provides world class logistics management for its interior design, events and fine art clients.

These three areas have a clear synergy and are particularly relevant today as fine art is increasingly intrinsic to hotel and interior design projects. Furthermore, where event logistics are now just as relevant to hotel launches and art exhibitions as they are to the thriving live events market. Momentous provides all these services through a single source.

Giles Bristow, Project Manager at Momentous, commented: “Having all these specialist services available under a single Momentous brand, makes complete sense. It means that we provide a flexible and seamless logistics service, enabling us to condition report, pack, move, store and install just about anything for our clients.”

To request a quotation or to discuss your project logistics requirements please click here.

Momentous 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.

Sleep & Eat announces this year’s conference line-up

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sleep & Eat announces this year’s conference line-up

Sleep & Eat has revealed a conference programme that is set fair to live up to the show’s reputation as one of Europe’s leading hospitality design and innovation event…

With some of the speakers yet to be announced, Sleep & Eat’s 2019 programme already scales new heights and reaches new depths, grapples with hospitality’s response to one of our most pressing social issues and features some of the industry’s greatest influencers, dreamers and doers, including directors of  Standard International, Virgin Galactic and NeueHouse.

The Conference, which is free-to-attend, will run throughout the two days of the show, November 19 – 20 at London’s Olympia.

Exceptional by Design

Amar Lalvani, who as CEO of Standard International, has built the company into one of the most innovative hospitality enterprises in the world, will be flying in from New York to deliver the opening keynote. With his latest hotel opening just completed in London, and with plans to quadruple the company’s footprint to 20 properties in the coming years, he will tackle the challenging issue of how to continue running the group as a platform for creativity. If the strength of the brand currently is a clientele that sees value in a specific lifestyle, will that be enough to fuel aggressive growth?

Hospitality’s Opportunity: Social Connection

Sleep & Eat’s theme for 2019 is “Social FlexAbility”. In a world full of evidence that people are disconnecting from each other in favour of digital relationships, the event will be exploring if and how the hospitality sector and its designers can be in the vanguard of combatting this interactional shift, providing guests the opportunity to reconnect with others in-person as and when they want to by offering spaces where users can activate the social experience of their choice.

Josh Wyatt, the driving-force behind NeueHouse, the U.S. based provider of collaborative workspace, and previously the visionary behind Generator Hostels, will share his opinions in conversation with Conference Curator, Heleri Rande, considering how creativity and design can act as financial drivers for investors, and taking a look at how NeueHouse is using these to create a unique and non-replicable company. Wyatt admits to being shocked by the many executives who still don’t appreciate the importance of design. “I think that as we enter into an era of increasing digitisation, design is ever more important. You can build a somewhat successful company without; but you can build a great company with longevity if you understand that design is the physical foundation for your customers’ emotional experience,”he says.

The trend for hybrid spaces where guests can socialise, work and network will be under the spotlight when a panel of highly respected hotel operators gathers to discuss Social FlexAbility. Nowadays, public areas need to be engaging and inviting with food and drink concepts that complement both room and non-room areas. But what does that mean operationally and how must brands adapt themselves to manage this efficiently and within a reasonable timeframe? In a data-driven world do we still rely on our teams and human interaction to deliver on the brand promise? These are just some of the questions that Dale MacPhee, General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh and Business Women Scotland’s Hotelier of the Year 2017 and citizenM’s London Area Manager, Eylem Ozgun, will seek to answer. Veteran hotelier and Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard, will moderate this thought-provoking discussion, no doubt peppering the discussion with his own perspectives.

The design of co-experience environments will also be under the spotlight. Harry Harris of SUSD, the developer behind the Curtain Hotel and Members Club and Devonshire Club, will chair a conversation between leaders in hospitality design, including Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd, Matthew Grzywinski of N.Y. based architecture and design firm, Grzywinski + Pons and Yuna Megre, Founder of Moscow-based Megre Interiors which will look at some of the latest design solutions. In addition, the Sleep & Eat Set designers will be on stage to explain their approach to the design of their “Social flexibility” Sets – concept guestrooms, a restaurant and a bar that experiment with the theme and inspire visitors with what might be in their future projects.

Above and Below

The second day of the Conference is promising to boldly go not only into space but into the depths of Earth’s oceans. In the morning, Richard Coutts, Principal of Baca Architects, the UK’s foremost architectural practice designing on, near or under water, and Ben Fitzgerald, Director of Core Marine, the engineering firm which earlier this year worked on the headline-grabbing Underrestaurant share the platform. Ben Fitzgerald says: “At the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline lies Under – Europe’s first underwater restaurant that also doubles up as a research centre for marine life. The combined efforts of the design practice and the engineers into underwater architecture have pushed the boundaries of hospitality experiences below the waves. Far from being an aquarium for touristy expeditions, the magic of the North Sea wildlife captivates with all its awe, rain or shine. When the land is not enough – how do we design and engineer for the next frontier?”

The speakers from Virgin Galactic may share the sentiment but disagree with the solution when it’s their turn on stage in the afternoon. As the company is preparing to catapult the hospitality experience into space, Jeremy Brown and Martijn Brouwer will set the scene and talk about the absolute imperative of putting a personal approach to service front and centre of their delivery. The duo will explain how such an approach manifests itself operationally and in design considerations, both on and above ground in a conversation destined to fire imaginations and ensure the bucket list has just got longer.

Other sessions will include an F&B panel in which Lydia Forte, Group Director of F&B at Rocco Forte Hotels will be joined by a stellar group of her peers, namely: Gustaf Pilebjer of Marriott, Karina Elias from The Langham and, from Hong Kong, Anurag Bali of Shangri-La International. The ingredients for this particular discussion will include the hot new concepts that travellers are craving and the thorny question – have hotels finally caught up with independent restaurants and bars in offering the same amount of social excitement and social media worthy content?

In addition to the Conference, Sleep & Eat 2019 will include an international exhibition together with six concept room Sets, The Sleeper Bar, The Hub and the VIP Lounge, each designed by a major name hospitality design practice. The show will be open from 10 am on Tuesday 19 November with an evening networking reception until 8.30 pm, and from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm on Wednesday 20 November. For more information and to register for a complimentary pass, please visit registration.

PRODUCT WATCH: Versa Designed Surfaces’ CABA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Versa Designed Surfaces’ CABA

Versa Designed Surfaces’s Caba is a reflection and an adaptation of the times… 

The versatile design of Versa Designed Surfaces’ Caba changes appearance depending on color selection. Designers can choose the look of pleated fabric in neutral color treatments, flowing water in blues, windswept meadows in golds and greens, and wood bark in deep rich tones. 16 colorways provide endless options and a stream of design possibilities.

The designers at Versa experimented with the interplay of light and color to create this deep, three-dimensional embossing that projects luxury while withstanding the heavy traffic of corridors, public spaces, and retail and restaurant environments.

24 oz. Type II low-VOC vinyl on Osnaburg backing, Caba is 52”/54” wide and certified to NSF 342.

To read our In Conversation With with Versa’s Paul Gibson on sustainable wallcoverings in EMEA hotels, click here

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

Main image credit: Versa Designed Surfaces

PRODUCT WATCH: Latest innovation from Unidrain embraces contemporary corners

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Latest innovation from Unidrain embraces contemporary corners

With its products available across the globe, Unidrain is a world’s leading drainmanufacturer and nobody puts Unidrain in the corner! Unless of course it is the new Reframe corner shelf, which is the latest addition to the award-winning Reframe Collection created by Danish designer Kenneth Waaben

Unidrain’s latest product is further proof that stylish bathroom accessories are a key part of the company’s offering.

The award-winning Refrane Collection has expanded with the addition of the Reframe corner shelf. The ethos behind all the products, within the Reframe Collection, is a desire to improve and reframe the existing; the innovative new corner shelf is no exception.

Most bathroom shelving is linear as corners; in reality tend to not be an exact 90 degree angle. The beauty of the new corner shelf is not only visual but practical as it adapts to the shape of the corner in which it is placed. The shelf has an anti-slip barrier to ensure shower essentials do not slip when the shelf is wet, whilst discreet grooves enable excess water to drain away easily.

The shelf is created from a reinforced steel plate and is available in five different colour options; copper, brass, brushed stainless steel, hand polished stainless steel and black.

Unidrain is not your average drain company; in the last year they have won three prestigious international film awards for their corporate video, these now sit alongside over 12 other design awards.

Unidrain were established in 2003 and have gone from inventing the linear floor drain to creating a leading international brand, spreading Danish design ethics and Nordic minimalism to the rest of the globe. Unidrain products and accessories play a key role in the look and feel of the most stylish bathrooms on the planet, from five star hotels in the Maldives, to the award winning Herman K in Copenhagen.

Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio sold for €240m

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio sold for €240m

Benson Elliot and Schroders have acquired the three hotels that sit within the €240m Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio…

A joint-venture led by UK-based private equity real estate fund manager Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V, LP (“Benson Elliot”) and Schroder Real Estate Hotels (“SREH”, formerly Algonquin) has acquired three hotels (the “Portfolio”) totalling 1,183 rooms in Disneyland, Paris. The themed hotels, which are adjacent to one another, were acquired off-market in two separate transactions for a total investment of circa €240 million.

Dream Castle and Magic Circus, both four star hotels, were purchased from Austrian real estate developers Warimpex / UBM, while Explorers was purchased from a JV managed by SREH. The investment is structured as a 50/50 JV between Benson Elliot and a consortium of private investors advised by SREH.

“The Portfolio represents a collection of high-quality, cash-flowing assets being acquired at a substantial discount to replacement cost,” said Marc-Olivier Assouline from Benson Elliot Principal. “The hotels present opportunities to optimise value and grow income through targeted refurbishment programmes. Benson Elliot has built a strong track record in the hotel sector,with over €1 bn in hotel investments and dispositions in just the last five years. This transaction marks another partnership with the former Algonquin team, with whom we have worked successfully in the past.”

“The Disney market has experienced almost uninterrupted growth for the last 15 years.”

Disneyland Paris is Walt Disney’s only European theme park and Europe’s most popular tourist destination. The Disney market has experienced almost uninterrupted growth for the last 15 years, set to be driven further by Disney’s €2 billion expansion plan, which will be rolled out from 2021 and is the most ambitious project undertaken since the park opened in 1992.

Developed between 2003 and 2007, the Portfolio has a profitable trading profile and generates strong cash flow. Whilst the assets have benefitted from substantial investment, significant opportunities remain for the JV to create further value through the implementation of targeted asset management initiatives.

Main image credit: Disneyland Paris

Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Accor announces six new Mercure hotels by end of 2019 in the UK

The Mercure Hotels properties are being refurbished to a high standard and combine international standards of quality and service with a locally inspired look and feel…

Accor has announced that six UK hotels signed by Danish based real estate property group Proark will be opening under the Mercure brand by the end of 2019. The hotels are located in key locations in Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bedford, Telford and Harlow.

Previously operating under the Park Inn brand, these six hotels are in the process of being extensively refurbished by Proark and rebranded to Mercure.

The first three; Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel, Mercure Telford Centre Hotel and Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel, have this month opened under the Mercure brand, with the extensive redesign and refurbishment of each hotel due to fully complete by the end of October 2019. The remaining three hotels; Mercure Cardiff North Hotel, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel and Mercure Harlow Hotel are set to be branded as Mercure by the end of this year.

Every Mercure hotel takes its inspiration from the features, traditions and history of its individual location while sharing the consistent quality of an international brand. Each hotel features locally inspired artwork, design, décor and even textures encompassing elements of its area’s cultural and historic past.

For example, Mercure Birmingham West Hotel is inspired by the industrial and automotive heritage of the West Midlands. The hotel features black powder-coated metal designs fixed to the wall with industrial exposed fixings, alongside pieces of artwork which reflect the region’s automotive history. The hotel offers 168 guestrooms, and provides a convivial eating and drinking experience, alongside full on-site leisure facilities and extensive meeting and banqueting space.

The theme of Mercure Nottingham Sherwood Hotel meanwhile draws on the city’s historic lace making heritage, having been the world centre for the industry for more than 100 years. This is reflected in the artwork styles throughout the reception and lounge areas, featuring lacemaking artefacts. The hotel has 172 guestrooms, a 42-cover restaurant, bar and meeting lounge spaces.

Mercure Cardiff North Hotel is based in the docklands district, Tiger Bay, which was key to the export of coal, iron and tin from South Wales during the industrial revolution. The design of the hotel features copper aesthetic lining inspired by the Millennium Centre façade in Cardiff Bay, while curated display items include Welsh love spoons, miners’ hats and Welsh textiles. The hotel offers 132 guestrooms, a 32-cover restaurant and a café and bar lounge area.

Mercure Bedford Centre Hotel takes the Great Ouse River as its inspiration, which is seen as the jewel in the crown of Bedford and is popular for canoeing and kayaking. The design of the hotel features lots of timber features from canoes, water graphics and rowing illustrations. The hotel has 121 guestrooms available and provides a 20-cover restaurant, bar and café area as well as lounge and meeting spaces.

Ironbridge, the home of the world’s first iron bridge and a turning point in construction around the globe, provides the focus for the Mercure Telford Centre Hotel. The hotel takes its inspiration from this rich industrial and pioneering heritage and features metallic designs and artwork styles to convey wrought iron manufacturing. The hotel offers 153 guest rooms, a locally inspired eating and drinking experience, plus extensive meeting rooms.

The New Town of Harlow was built in 1947 as a hub for manufacturing and the technological industry and is where fibre-optic telecommunication was born. Mercure Harlow Hotel takes its inspiration from this pioneering spirit and the development of new technology is reflected in details throughout the hotel. The hotel offers 119 guest rooms and provides 7 meeting rooms, and ample on site car parking.

We are delighted to be partnering with Proark on these hotels and are proud to brand them as Mercure hotels,” said Jean-Marc Vendioux, Senior Vice President Managed hotels UKI. “ Guests can expect a hotel which provides an incredibly high level of personalised service and the quality they expect from a Mercure, elevated by the look and feel of a hotel rooted in its local community.”

Michael Brag, Chairman of Proark commented: “We have worked closely with Accor since signing this portfolio of hotels and are extremely pleased with the result of the refurbishments. Each hotel has the Mercure service and features guests expect but they offer local touches too, which we are confident will be well received by business and leisure travellers alike.”

Main image credit: Accor

Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Leading designers, architects and hoteliers to attend The Brit List Awards 2019

Here are some of the leading names that have confirmed to attend Hotel Designs annual award ceremony, The Brit List Awards 2019…

It’s been just seven days since Hotel Designs officially unveiled the shortlisted finalists for The Brit List 2019, and already design directors, principals and hoteliers from the UK’s leading firms and hotels have confirmed to attend the exclusive award ceremony, which will take place at Patch East London on November 21.

Among the leading designers who have already confirmed are design directors and principals from Richmond International, Project Orange, Harriet Forde Design, Harris + Harris, RPW Design, Scott Brownrigg and IHG.

In regards to architects attending The Brit List Awards 2019, Hotel Designs will welcome associates and directors from the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, WATG, Jestico + Whiles and Dexter Moren Associates.

Hoteliers confirmed to attend the annual awards ceremony include, among others, Good Hotel London, Limewood Group and Homegrown Hotels, Rosewood London, Cliveden House, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences London, The Dixon, Bespoke Hotels, Eccleston Square, Inhabit London and Hotel Gotham.

The nationwide search to find the most influential designers, architects and hoteliers operating in Britain began months ago when Hotel Designs opened up nominations and applications to readers.

Since then, an independent panel of expert judges have gathered to select this year’s individual award winners and also to confirm the 75 individuals who have made it into The Brit List 2019.

Head of Interior Design at IHG, Emma King, attended last year’s event and was one of the 75 names in The Brit List 2018. “The Brit List recognises the UK’s best hotel design talent,” she said at the time. “We at IHG are proud to be recognised for the hard work we have done to the interior design of our brands in recent years.”

The shortlist is available to read here.

“The Brit List is an unparalleled networking opportunity for all,” said editor Hamish Kilburn. “Bridging the gap between designers, architects, suppliers, hoteliers, developers, owners and operators has always been – and continues to be – the aim of every decision made by the team at Hotel Designs.”

How to attend

Suppliers: Click here if you are a supplier to the industry to secure your ticket for £150 + VAT.
Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers: Click here if you are either a designer, hotelier, developer or architect to secure your ticket for £20 + VAT.

If you would like to discuss various sponsorship packages available, please contact Katy Phillips via email, or call 01992 374050.

#TheBritListAwards2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat

2019 Industry Partner: BIID

The value of consciously designed HVAC when building eco-friendly hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The value of consciously designed HVAC when building eco-friendly hotels

Confronting huge pressure from the changing the demands of modern travellers, Gallant believes that the effort to build hotels consciously should start early on in the hotel design process. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to the company’s Business Development Director, Lee Bell, to understand more…

With so much emphasis on eco-friendly initiatives and designs, Hotel Designs digs beneath the surface by speaking to leading HVAC specialists, Gallant, to understand how developers and architects can start from the foundations up when designing and building an sustainable hotel building.

Hamish kilburn: Can you explain how the company has grown since 2000?

Lee Bell: The company has achieved successive years of profitable growth during its 19 years of trading and now employs more than 35 individuals and operates from three UK offices to provide the necessary support platform to accomplish our further forecast development over the next three years and beyond.

HK: How can hotels fulfil their guests’ demands for eco-friendly hotels with the right heating ventilation and air conditioning units?

LB: An eco friendly ethos is paramount to the design principles utilised to apply air conditioning systems to hotels as we strive for increased energy efficiency. This is achieved via, efficient use of diversity, effective time scheduled operation and integration of  heat recovery ventilation to adhere to regulations including BSEN378 whilst attaining BREEAM and ECA accreditation

HK: What sets Gallant aside from other companies within the market?

Gallant takes full, unambiguous responsibility for the entirety of its agreed demarcation of works this includes design, supply, commissioning, after sales service and maintenance, all underpinned by industry leading warranties.

HK: How have guest behaviours inspired your product designs and services to evolve?

LB: The guests desire for bespoke control and their familiarity and comfort with their own hand held device has focused our attention into differentiating via more sophisticated control options This emphasis can lead to a hotel guest eventually having the ability to:

  • Book and pay for a room on website(s).
  • Receive subsequent confirmation that the room is ready via email.
  • Being directed to their room via the app.
  • Unlocking the room with the app
  • Controlling the Lights, Blinds, HVAC, TV and Door Lock with the app.
  • Checkout from within the room.

Image credit: Gallant

HK: What are your thoughts on the future hotel room being a fully customisable and personalised space?

LB: Evolution of individual control solutions tailored to each specific individual will allow them to re create their own personal experience in any hotel room in the world. This will allow them to replicate preferred climate conditions and  media / TV content via a hotel rooms services as they would enjoy in the comfort of their own home.

HK: What is the biggest misconception people have of Gallant?

HK: The most significant misunderstanding of Gallant is that our scope of supply is only limited to that of comfort cooling.

HK: What are some common pitfalls designers/hotels fall into when specifying the products that you offer?

LB: The three main common pitfalls can be summarised as follows:

  1. A complicated, layered route to market providing the end user with a confused method of resolving issues that arise after the initial 12 month defect period.
  2. Unbalanced indoor / outdoor combination ratio’s resulting in too many rooms being over reliant on one condenser.
  3. The impact of an ill disciplined maintenance regime, which jeopardises warranty and increases the likelihood of guest complaints  and off line rooms.

Gallant 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: Gallant

Top furniture looks to come out of London Design Festival

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Top furniture looks to come out of London Design Festival

Are you sitting comfortably? Here is Hamish Kilburn’s editor’s pick of the most innovative furniture pieces that were exhibited at London Design Festival 2019…

With the design world watching, London Design Festival (LDF) once again delivered a spectacular performance full of colour, shapes and thoughtful design. Full of twists and turns – and too many highlights to mention – the nine-day festival included events, talks and installations that all explored how product design is changing to cater to the evolving behaviours and demands of modern consumers.

For the purpose of this article, I have selected my top picks from four of LDF’s leading exhibitions that made the most noise – and they were: Focus19, 100% Design, designjunction and London Design Fair.

Winch Design’s Arc Collection for Summit Furniture – weaving new design directions 

Winch Design and Summit Furniture introduced Arc, their debut collaboration, at Focus19. The two companies collaborated to create “the ultimate exterior furniture range”, which is inspired by the sea and the sky.

A signature feature of the range is laminated teak, which is woven between maritime-grade brushed stainless steel rods, alternatively undulating, they arc around the back of the seats in gentle rows. The final result is reminiscent of the woven rope traditionally used on sailing yachts. Winch Design is inspired by the patterns, colours and textures of the natural world, and every design that leaves the studio is imbued with its own unique spirit, identity and story. With dedication to storytelling underpinning their fastidious attention to detail and commitment to design perfection, Arc was brought to life. The name ‘Arc’ is visually evocative and brings to mind the long arcing lines of latitude and longitude, the curve of the horizon, of a full sail, and of the shapes in the sky made by sailors when navigating by the stars using the arc of the marine sextant.

Each piece in the collection complements the other, enabling the client to enjoy a unified, contemporary exterior look. Arc by Winch Design features a lounge chair, dining chair, bar chair, low coffee style table, sun lounger, bar cart, dining table and occasional table.

The low, deep seating style encourages a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, creating the perfect environment to enjoy a drink at sunset. The curve of the woven teak contrasts with the straight, smooth edges and clean lines of the cushions, keeping the overall impression fresh and contemporary. The fabric on any of the soft furnishings is completely customisable.

Ligne Roset – adaptable by nature

Creative and pioneering by nature, Ligne Roset’s bold and contemporary stamp was imprinted on Focus19 and left a lasting impression. The brand presented its iconic ‘Prado’ settle, which adjusts freely with weighted cushions that can easily be moved from sofa to floor. The result is a comfortable, non-conformist piece of furniture that can adapt as quickly as the travel trends and guest behaviours within modern, design-led hotels around the globe.

Andrew Martin – taking a walk on the wild side

Unveiling a multi-layered theatrical approach design, Andrew Martin – in try Andrew Martin style – let the leash off his new collections in his own jungle-covered installation, which was entitled: The Lost City of Ozymandias.

The new collections that were hidden in an enclave of treasure and travel included the Evans side table and Retrospective, in collaboration with Kelly Hoppen, which is a statement collection of more than 40 designs, which includes everything from furniture to lighting.

Benchmark – architecture meets biophilic furniture design

Image credit: Benchmark

Benchmark presented a new collection of furniture by award-winning American architect David Rockwell at 100% Design. The Sage Collection, designed for office and commercial environments as well as the home, has a specific focus on human health and well-being within the built environment and meets the standards required for WELL certified buildings. The tenets of biophilic design inspired the collection, with its natural materials, colours and textures, rounded profiles and inviting ergonomic shapes. These elements are intrinsic in the work of both Benchmark and David Rockwell, which, together with an interest in transformation and mobility, have resulted in a collection that offers moments of both refuge and prospect.

sixteen3 – recycled quality

 

Image credit: sixteen3

Exhibiting at designjunction, sixteen3 unveiled a number of contract furniture pieces that stood out for their eco qualities. Claiming that the product is made from 92 per cent recycled material and is 100 per cent recyclable, the Pop stools has been designed with purpose and is ideal for contemporary urban public areas. Another product launched at the show was Reece are armchairs that have been made from 83 per cent recycled materials and are 100 per cent recyclable.

Inspired by the evolution of the workplace to a more relaxed, social and mobile interior, the brand’s product portfolio offers a softer approach to working, with an extensive collection of seating ranges, stylish cafe chairs and modular space division systems.

Kolho Series by Matthew Day Jackson

Image credit: Made by Choice

As hotel public areas become less defined by hotel branding, and more attuned with the behaviour of guests, there is a opening for suppliers to become more daring with their designs; to take a practical item, like a piece of furniture for example, and bring it to life to make a bold statement. Cue the launch of Kolho Series by designer Matthew Day Jackson. Sheltered at London Design Fair, the new range of tables and chairs take their inspiration from the Apollo landing and a small town called Kolho in Finland.

“The serpent represents temptation and chaos which supports the flat plane of reason,” said Day Jackson. “The space between reason chaos is that of play. This is the space where our human animal truly shows its greatest self.

Hotel Designs’ official LDF round-up will be published shortly.

Main image credit: Made by Choice

Huw Evans wins Rado Star Prize UK 2019 at designjunction 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Huw Evans wins Rado Star Prize UK 2019 at designjunction 2019

At an exclusive event held in the Light Tunnel, King’s Cross on September 19, Rado and designjunction announced the winner of the third edition of the Rado Star Prize UK…

The Judges’ Winner of the Rado Star Prize UK has been announced at designjunction 2019. Huw Evans, who impressed the judges with his entry Concertina collection, received £5,000 and a Rado True Thinline watch as a prize for the winning project.

“What an honour to win such an award,” Evans said following the announcement. “The Rado Star Prize will allow me a foot in the door of the industry and I’m very excited about what the future will bring.”

Evans is a 3D Design student from Plymouth University. Concertina was selected from a shortlist of ten designs, with each entry responding to the theme ‘Re:Imagine’. The theme explores the different ways in which design can enrich and enhance life: by evolving existing product forms through materials, function, technology, end use or even re-use.

Rado CEO Matthias Breschan said: “It’s the third time we’ve run the Rado Star Prize UK with designjunction and the standard of entries has been consistently high. This year, from a very strong field, the judges selected Huw’s Concertina Collection because of its original, sophisticated and innovative design. ”

The judging panel of high profile industry voices who selected the winner included top British designer Steuart Padwick; Editor at Elle Decoration, Ben Spriggs; Editor-in-Chief at Clippings, Rose Etherington; Vice President Product Development at Rado, Hakim El Kadiri and designjunction Event Director, Mark Gordon.

Main image credit: designjunction

 

LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LIGHTING TREND WATCH: Chelsom’s elegant and contemporary orb

Orb from Chelsom is one of the signature ranges from the latest collection Edition 26, presenting a range of elegant contemporary fittings with timeless appeal that would be an impressive addition to a wide variety of interior schemes…

The Orb ceiling fittings feature matt opal hand blown glass globes teamed with Brushed Brass cups with a decorative laser cut Prince of Wales check pattern. Arms are in contrasting Satin Black fixed to central support rings.

Chandeliers are suspended from three fine strainer wires adjustable for height during installation and are available in a variety of sizes with a wall light alterative also available.

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

Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Moxy Hotels opens third property in New York City

Moxy NYC East Village shelters stylish and affordable design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and four new dynamic F&B areas…

Marriott International’s quirky lifestyle brand, Moxy, which currently has 44 hotels in America, Europe and Asia, makes it a hatrick in New York City, with the unveiling of its third property in the city that never sleeps. Moxy NYC East Village has opened in the heart of East Village, where rock ‘n’ roll, renegade art, LGBTQ+ activism, and generations of immigrants all merged to give birth to American counterculture.

Located on East 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, directly across from the legendary concert venue Webster Hall, the hotel features 286 design-driven guestrooms, co-working spaces, and tech-savvy amenities, as well as lively restaurants, bars, and cultural programming – all at an affordable price. Part of Marriott International’s experiential Moxy Hotels brand, Moxy East Village marks the third Moxy property developed by Lightstone, following the successful openings of Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea.

“Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history.”

With interior design by Rockwell Group and architecture by Stonehill Taylor, Moxy East Village is conceived as a vertical timeline, drawing inspiration from various eras in East Village history, from the earliest settlers to the punk era to today. Interior design is inspired by urban archaeology, with the hotel’s 13 floors loosely conceived as homages to different eras in the East Village’s past and present, as well as its future. Three check-in kiosks just inside the entrance are assemblages by local artist Michael Sanzone, made from found objects and materials. Behind the kiosks, striped tapestries hang on the walls and bleed onto the floors. Their alternating bands of graffiti and graphics recall shredded layers of wheat-pasted posters—the kind you might see peeling off a downtown building façade.

The guestrooms are, like all Moxy properties, smartly designed featuring the brand’s iconic peg wall. The rooms are completee with trendy hotel bathrooms, which include walk-in rain showers, glazed lava stone sinks and MUK amenities.

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Lightstone has once again teamed up with Tao Group Hospitality who oversees the four brand-new dining and drinking areas at Moxy East Village that offer a multitude of scenes all under one roof: Alphabet Bar & Café, Cathedral, Little Sister and a rooftop bar which will launch in Spring 2020. “I don’t think there are any places in New York where you can get an outdoor café vibe, a coffeehouse vibe, a dimly lit bar, a backyard rooftop party, and a grand dining room all in one,” said Noah Tepperberg, Co-Founder of Tao Group Hospitality.

Alphabet Bar & Café, situated in the lobby, serves as the social heart of Moxy East Village, comprising a bar, terrace, co-working lounge, and meeting studios that seamlessly transition from day to night. The seating includes plush sofas and swinging chairs; a Skee-Ball game provides a hit of nostalgia for the arcade era.  An interactive real-time graffiti installation lets guests use a tablet to draw their own tag or sketch a bit of street art, like a latter-day Basquiat or Haring, and see it projected on the wall. The iconic Strand Bookstore will have a cart in Alphabet Bar offering free books, and nearby Academy Records will offer free vinyl LPs and curated collections so guests can listen to the sounds of the East Village’s past, present, and future—to play on a retro turntable, provided in-room on request.  Alphabet Café serves an all-day menu of custom artisanal brews by Intelligentsia Coffee, freshly baked goods, composed salads, and seasonal panini and tartines.

The centrepiece of Moxy East Village is Cathédrale, a French-Mediterranean restaurant conceived by Tao Group Hospitality Chef/Partner Ralph Scamardella, in collaboration with Executive Chef Jason Hall. As diners descend from the lobby—via a staircase that resembles a fire escape between two East Village buildings—they’ll feel like they’re discovering an abandoned architectural treasure. That’s thanks to the show-stopping Rockwell Group-designed main dining room, a triple-height space covered by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi’s dramatic wire mesh sculpture that looks like the apparition of a grand domed ceiling. Named by Forbes as one of the 30 most influential European artists under 30, Tresoldi is revered for his installations in public spaces, including Etherea at the 2018 Coachella Music Festival. His ethereal sculpture for the ceiling of Cathédrale pays homage to the interior of the Fillmore East, once known as the “Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The delicate yet monumental sculpture, called Fillmore, is made from Tresoldi’s signature wire mesh and floats above the main dining room, creating a dramatic dialogue with the restaurant’s architecture. Tresoldi describes Fillmore as an “architectural precious wreck” and a “tribute to the legendary cultural background that influenced not only New York’s culture, but several generations worldwide.”

Under Cathedrale’s soaring, 26-foot ceilings, the space includes a blue-tiled, open-hearth kitchen hung with copper pots and equipped with a rotisserie grill. An outdoor dining terrace, with a retractable roof, also feels like a hidden surprise: channelling the improvised backyard gardens tucked behind many East Village restaurants. The Poster Room, a private dining space that seats up to 26, immerses guests in the psychedelic rock era, its walls and ceiling lined with backlit screen prints of vintage concert posters from the Fillmore East.  Cathédrale brings elemental cooking and a poised French-Mediterranean sense of hospitality to its striking setting. The menu is focused on well-prepared but simply arranged dishes that pay quiet deference to the cuisine of Southern France with traces of Italy, Spain, and Greece.

Located on the lower level, adjacent to Moxy East Village, Little Sister is an intimate, seductive, sophisticated lounge – an update from the underground clubs that defined East Village nightlife in the 1990s. Its clandestine, cavern-like feel is enriched by jewel-toned velvet sofas and plush banquettes, embossed leather accents, a glowing copper DJ stand, and a mirrored-copper bar illuminated by an overhead bank of backlit whiskey bottles. Wood-clad, barrel-vaulted ceilings evoke a hidden underground chamber where whiskey might have been stored in the bootlegger era. Legendary doorman Wass Stevens, will conspire to create an exclusive, in-the-know vibe at the ropes.

Opening in Spring 2020, the rooftop bar is designed to resemble a coveted New York City backyard garden, with strung garden lights, abundant foliage, and colorful patio furniture. A retractable roof allows the bar to be used in all seasons. Behind the bar, liquor bottles will be displayed in stacked plastic milk crates—not unlike those you’d spot on an East Village sidewalk. On one wall, interlaced with crawling ivy, will be a mural that overlays a map of the area with images from the neighbourhood’s musical and artistic history. The venue will be available for private events and hotel programming before its official debut.

Authentic, local, and experiential have all become buzzwords in the hotel business,” said Hochberg. “With Moxy Times Square and Moxy Chelsea, we’ve seen how putting visitors and New Yorkers in the same space can foster a sense of community. The East Village’s breadth of experiences and layers of history allow us to take that concept to a whole new level. Moxy East Village is multidimensional—a thrilling mashup that lets people honour the past, experience the present, and dream about the future. We’re embracing it all to create a true sense of magic.”

“Moxy is a brand that has always boldly broken the rules of a conventional hotel experience, and we’re excited to be able to bring our fun and spirited brand to New York’s iconic East Village to help evolve the hospitality scene in the neighborhood,” said Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader, Moxy Hotels, and Vice President, Distinctive Select Brands, Marriott International.

There are 96 Moxy Hotels in the pipeline opening in North America, Asia, The Caribbean & Latin America, and Europe.

Main image credit: Moxy Hotels

London Design Festival medal winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival medal winners announced

London Design Festival has announced the four winners of the 2019 London Design Medals…

Launched with the aim to recognise the contribution made by the leading design figures and emerging talents in London and the industry, London Design Festival historically kicks-off the week-long design event by presenting four London Design Medals awarded.

The 2019 medals were presented yesterday at The House of Commons, Westminster, while the capital came to life for the start of this year’s design spectacular.

And the winners are…

London Design Medal: Tom Dixon OBE
Design Innovation Medal: Daniel Charny
Emerging Design Medal: Ross Atkin
Lifetime Achievement Medal: Dame Vivienne Westwood

A panel of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners met to debate and judge the possible recipients of the four medals. This year’s jury members were: Ozwald Boateng OBE, Ian Callum CBE, Sheridan Coakley, Njusja de Gier, Es Devlin OBE, Sarah Douglas, Ben Evans CBE, Dr Tristram Hunt, Domenic Lippa, Jay Osgerby OBE, Raoul Shah, Joff Sharpe, Justine Simons OBE, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Dr Paul Thompson and Jane Withers.

“Each year the jury selects four eminent people who have made a major contribution to design in the UK,” said Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director. “This year the winners are as interesting and deserving as ever.”

Tom Dixon OBE

The London Design Medal, supported by British Airways London City, is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves within the industry and demonstrated consistent design excellence.

This year’s winner, Tom Dixon, rose to prominence in the mid 1980s as a self-taught British designer. He set up the creative think-tank space, which acted as a shop front for himself and other young designers. By the late 1980s, he was working for Cappellini, for which he designed the iconic S chair. In the late 1990s, Dixon became Creative Director at Habitat and was responsible for rejuvenating the brand while maintaining Terence Conran’s vision of enriching everyday life through simple, modern design.

His works have been acquired by museums across the globe, including the V&A, MoMA and the Pompidou Centre. In 2002 Dixon established his own eponymous brand with own stores in New York, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Milan and Tokyo. More than 600 products are created by the company, ranging from lighting to furniture, from tableware through to fragrance, and are distributed to over 90 countries.

In 2007 Dixon launched Design Research Studio, an interior and architectural design studio. High‑profile projects include the Restaurant at the Royal Academy, Shoreditch House, le Drugstore in Paris and Alto in Hong Kong. In 2018, Dixon opened the Coal Office, his new London Headquarters, in King’s Cross. Created by Design Research Studio, the Coal Office functions as a multi-displinary hub, including an office, restaurant, design studio and shop all under one roof.

“I’m still confused as to why I won’t be getting the ‘Emerging Design Medal’,” said Dixon on the news of his win, “as it still feels very much like I have only just started – I’ve so much left to design! But I’m very touched to be noticed by this super Jury, thank you very much.”

Daniel Charny

Design Innovation Medal, supported by SAP, celebrates entrepreneurship in all its forms, both locally and internationally. It honours an individual for whom design lies at the core of their development and success.

Daniel Charny is a creative director, curator and educator with an inquiring mind and an entrepreneurial streak. He is co-founder of the creative consultancy From Now On, where clients include Dartington Hall, the Design Museum, Google, Heatherwick Studio, Nesta and U+I. His most recent initiative is the creative education think-and-do-tank FixEd.

Charny is best known as curator of the influential exhibition Power of Making at the V&A, which drove him to found the award-winning learning programme Fixperts, now taught in universities and schools worldwide. Other projects include the Aram Gallery, the British Council’s Maker Library Network and the Central Research Laboratory accelerator. As Professor of Design at Kingston University he is interested in the roles of design and making for social benefit.

Charny is active internationally as a speaker and expert advisor, advocating his vision of design, creativity and making as essential tools to unlock a better future.

“Engagement, education and access to design are all critical to assuring the creative responses to a changing world that we all need,” said Daniel Charny. “I’m proud to represent this idea and delighted to be recognised for it in London, a city of unparalleled creativity.”

Ross Atkin

Emerging Design Medal supported by Storey, recognises an impact made on the design scene within five or so years of graduation.

Ross Atkin is a designer and engineer based in east London. His work focuses on two areas: helping disabled people to live more independently, and introducing design and engineering to children.

He maintains his own design and development practice, creating assistive technology and accessibility-focused products that span the digital-physical divide. These include: Sight Line, a system for improving the accessibility of roadworks developed in partnership with The Royal Society for Blind Children and Transport for London; MSE Genie, an app and connected hardware that allows a sensory room to be tailored around the needs and capabilities of the person using it; Responsive Street Furniture, a system created in partnership with Marshalls that enables pieces of urban infrastructure to provide assistance automatically, such as by making street lighting brighter, or by lengthening the duration of road-crossing signals; Smartibot, the world’s first A.I. enabled carboard robot; and LiftCheck, a system that allows lift users to see if the lifts they need to complete their journey are operational before they set off.

Atkin’s design practice is heavily informed by observational research. He regularly conducts participatory shadowing of disabled people as they make journeys around cities.

“I never thought the kind of work that I do would be recognised, so I feel doubly honoured,” said Ross Atkin. “It’s beyond my imagination to be in the company of true legends of design, and it also is an amazing privilege to be representing the world of inclusive design on such a prominent platform as London Design Festival. I look forward to more designers from that world being recognised in the future”.

Dame Vivienne Westwood

Lifetime Achievement Medal Winner supported by Fortnum & Mason, honours a significant and fundamental contribution to the design industry over the course of a career.

Vivienne Westwood was born in 1941 and moved to London 17 years later. She began designing in 1971 along with her then partner, Malcolm McLaren. In 1984, she launched her own fashion line and in 2004 the V&A hosted a Vivienne Westwood retrospective to celebrate her 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever devoted to a living British fashion designer.

Westwood has always used her collections and catwalk shows as a platform for activism. She has personally spent many years speaking out about the effects of climate change and over‑consumption – and inaugurated the ‘Climate Revolution’ at the 2012 London Paralympics closing ceremony.

Along with husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood actively supports the charity Cool Earth in its efforts to halt rainforest destruction. She has also campaigned for a number of NGOs and charities including the Environmental Justice Foundation and Friends of the Earth, and is an ambassador for Greenpeace: in 2013 she designed their official ‘Save the Arctic’ logo.

Since 2011 Westwood has worked with the International Trade Centre – a joint body of the UN – to produce accessories through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalised African communities. Westwood has written her ideas in a manifesto called ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’, rooted in culture as a stimulus to save the planet, and more recently designed a set of playing cards to set out a global economic strategy to stop climate change.

Main image credit: LDF 2019

Duravit and Philippe Starck unveils new generation of shower-toilets

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Duravit and Philippe Starck unveils new generation of shower-toilets

Duravit and Philippe Starck present the new generation shower-toilet, which is available in two versions: SensoWash Starck f Plus and SensoWash Starck f Lite…

Duravit’s SensoWash Starck f Plus and Lite collection has been designed by Philippe Starck to be conveniently operated via a remote control, or can be configured via an app. The innovative remote control with its flat, elegant design feels pleasant in the hand and the functions are controlled intuitively.

The technology has undergone further development and has been reorganized; all is now housed within the ceramic body creating a minimalist design for maximum shower-toilet comfort.  The flat seat now has a height of just 40 mm and the white cover located behind it forms a flush-mounted unit: contemporary design and comfort-enhancing technology in perfect harmony.

Comfort is guaranteed thanks to technical finishing touches such as the motion sensor for automatic cover opening set via the user ID in the seat, there are a wide range of additional options such as seat heating, shower flow and the controllable hot air dryer.

Image credit: Duravit

The associated SensoWash app enables individual configuration of the shower-toilet, or it can be optionally adjusted with the remote control. The flush function and odor extraction system can also be controlled via the remote or app if the wall-mounted element, is combined with the A2 electronic actuator plate.

As a result of the new rimless technology design and an optimised basin and siphon geometry, SensoWash Starck f provides improved water flow for perfect flushing results. HygieneGlaze 2.0, which kills 99.999 per cent of bacteria in a relatively short time, guarantees an optimum hygiene standard. 

The flat, heated toilet seat is made of an especially rugged material and like the cover, is extremely hygienic thanks to its scratch- resistant, pore-free surface.

The design of the new shower-toilet impresses with its pared-down aesthetics and timeless modernity: it is a perfect match for all Duravit design ranges. Developed and manufactured by Duravit and designed by Philippe Starck, the new SensoWash shower- toilet offers attractive pricing, easy installation, and an integrated, fully automated descaling function.

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

Main image credit: Duravit

 

London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
London Design Festival opens 17th edition in the capital

London Design Festival launches its annual celebration of design with an inspiring programme of more than 300 events, including Landmark Projects, Festival Commissions, Projects at the V&A and Special Projects. The highly anticipated festival comprises 11 Design Districts, four Design Destinations and one Design Route

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens once more.

London’s most iconic locations have transformed by a series of commissions and installations by internationally-renowned designers, as London Design Festival 2019 opens. Each intervention will add an exciting new dimension to the city’s streets, exploring the power of design to shape our world and demonstrating the role it plays in how we live, feel and solve problems.

The V&A will once again be the official Festival hub and play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects and curated collection of displays. The Museum will also play host to London Design Festival’s thought leadership programme, Global Design Forum, which celebrates design with an inspirational line-up of talks, debates, daily tours and workshops.

“Over the past 17 years, the London Design Festival has continued to evolve and we are excited to launch this year programme, which will be our most ambitious to date,” said London Design Festival Director, Ben Evans CBE. “We hope audiences from the UK and further afield will discover something thought provoking and inspiring and celebrate our city’s diverse creative talent.”

The festival was established in 2003 by Evans and Sir John Sorrell CBE. 17 years later, London Design Festival has arrived to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world – an ethos shared by Hotel Designs with the upcoming The Brit List.

London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.

Main image credit: Please Be Seated/Paul Cocksedge

SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

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SNEAK PEEK: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach

The new chic boutique hotel, which is located in the heart of Miami’s South Beach, is slated to open later this year – and will be Kimpton’s Fifth Property in Florida…

Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach is waiting in the wings to open as the boutique hotel company’s fifth in the Sunshine State, complementing its existing hotels in Miami Beach, Downtown Miami and Vero Beach. Featuring striking design by legendary Miami architect and designer Kobi Karp, the 96-key hotel is set to become an iconic addition to the South Beach scene.

Karp’s design takes its cues from the waterfront. Spanning over five stories, the hotel’s guestrooms surround a spacious central atrium. Meant to resemble the hull of a private luxury yacht lilted on its side, the lobby excites the senses with its custom-built light installations and is peppered with art displays, including light panels, abstracted shapes, and large format fabrics meant to resemble the ripples of the Atlantic Ocean. Guestrooms feature private balconies available for nearly every guest and design that is inspired by the oceanic environs.

Sitting atop of the sixth floor, the rooftop pool and two-tier roof deck features stylish décor and lounge area seating, utilising panoramic views of the ocean.

“In addition to what the Altamarea Group will bring in terms of an elevated culinary experience, we are excited to assemble a stellar on-property team for this project,” said Ronny Finvarb, Principal of Finvarb Group,  the property’s developer and owner. “We’re confident that through Kimpton’s collaboration with the Osteria Morini team and our collective expertise in the South Florida market, we’ll be able to create an amazing experience for our hotel guests and Miami locals alike.”

Osteria Morini, from Chef Michael White, will debut shortly following the opening of the hotel. Right off the lobby of the hotel, the restaurant will feature rustic Northern Italian fare in a light and breezy space, drawing inspiration from the area in which it is located off the canal, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It will be open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels

Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Michaelis Boyd unveils plans for ‘Social FlexAbility’ bar scene at Sleep & Eat

Award-winning architecture and design studio, Michaelis Boyd, has revealed a glimpse into its vision for this year’s pop-up bar at Sleep & Eat 2019…

Sleep & Eat has unveiled the first teaser of Michaelis Boyd’s Sleeper Bar, which will be unveiled at this year’s event that takes place on November 19 – 20 at Olympia London. With the area at the show designed anew each year to embody the show’s theme, this year the challenge for Michaelis Boyd is to interpret ‘Social FlexAbility’.

“Our Sleeper Bar has drawn inspiration from The Man Who Planted Trees, a short story by Jean Giono which celebrates the power of the natural environment,” said Tim Boyd and Alex Michaelis ahead of the show. “The tale describes a shepherd’s long and successful effort to single-handedly reforest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in the first half of the 20th Century. Working primarily in timber, our bar is a study in sustainability; investigating the afterlife of the materials through scale, layering, adaptability and recycling. This has led us to create a space that will cater to all walks of life, adjusting to the needs of each individual, and making the bar a rich experience for each visitor.”

This year’s bar follows in the memorable footsteps of Sleeper Bars which have explored such diverse topics as tales of wonder, social tribes and guest loyalty. The theme for 2019 is intended to explore hospitality’s unique place in balancing our desire for human interaction with our need for privacy, an issue made all-the-more pressing by our digital age. Visitors to Sleep & Eat can expect to find a bar buzzing with people doing business, catching up with friends, quietly checking emails, or simply resting weary feet, especially during the late evening networking on day one.

As you might expect of an event recognised worldwide for nudging the hospitality design and development conversation forward, The Sleeper Bar will not be the only space at Sleep & Eat to be specially designed by an international design firm. Plans for this year also include the introduction of a Social Hub together with a new-look VIP Lounge.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of the show. This year, the exhibition will be open from 10am on November 19 with an evening drinks reception until 20:30pm, and from 10:00am-18:00pm on November 20.  To register for a complimentary pass, visit registration.

Main image credit: Michaelis Boyd

Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Summit shortlisted for the EN Indy Awards

Hotel Summit, the original and leading meet-the-buyer networking event for hotel operators and key-industry suppliers, has been announced as a shortlisted finalists for the EN Indy Awards 2019 under the category of Best Brand Expansion…

As the result of more than 20 years’ serving the industry with its highly targeted and successful meet-the-buyer concept, Forum Events’ Hotel Summit has been shortlisted among just seven other applications in the Best Brand Expansion category for the 2019 edition of the EN Indy Awards 2019.

The announcement follows this year’s successful two-day event taking place in Heythrop Park in June, which included live on-stage interviews, moderated by editor Hamish Kilburn, with Marco Novella (Managing Director of The Lanesborough) and Pedro Colaco (CEO of Great Hotels Of The World), among others.

More than 60 procurement professionals from leading hotels around the UK such as The Beaumont Hotel, The Gainsborough Bath Spa and Cliveden House and 30 supplier partners attended The Summit that was sheltered within the 18thcentury hotel, which combines both elegant heritage design with contemporary areas.

“The event was amazing. I met some really great people and it’s always good to network and discover hidden secrets of the industries, and you only find them through events such as this. So, thank you for the invite and I am already looking forward to the next one!” – The Beaumont.

“Hotel Summit is an interesting event, delivering a mix of supplier meetings, seminars and networking opportunities in various areas of hospitality.” – Great Hotels of the World

“All staff were incredibly polite, friendly and helpful. The hotel was comfortable and very welcoming and I would be delighted to attend again” – Grasmere House

For more than 20 years, Hotel Summit has delivered tailor-made, unique events to meet both supplier and delegates’ individual requirements. Complete with carefully planned out itineraries for all attendees, The Summit is designed to bridge together relevant business relationships and opportunities between hotel operators/procurement managers and key-industry suppliers.

The next Hotel Summit takes place on April 27 – 28, 2020, at Five Lakes Resort, Colchester. If you are a supplier and are interested in exhibiting at next year’s event, please contact Jennie Lane by calling 01992 374098 or by emailing j.lane@forumevents.co.uk. If you are hotel operator or procurement manager and are interested in attending next year’s event, please contact Kerry Naumburger by calling 01992 374099 or by emailing k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk.

Bette launches British Institute of Interior Design CPD factory visit

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bette launches British Institute of Interior Design CPD factory visit

German glazed titanium-steel bathroom specialist Bette has launched a British Institute of Interior Design (BIID)-approved CPD and tour of its factory in Delbrück, Germany…

Recommended Supplier Bette has launched a CPD offering, which includes a tour of its factory in Delbrück, Germany. The CPD and factory tour provides a comprehensive understanding of the benefits, design and manufacture of glazed titanium-steel baths, shower trays and basins.

The site is the company’s exclusive manufacturing facility for more than 600 bath, shower tray and washbasin designs in a wide range of different colours.

Designers are provided with an in-depth look at the materials and processes used in manufacturing, along with installation and material experience workshops. Participants gain knowledge to help with the planning of bespoke bathroom designs, and information on the robust quality of the glazed titanium-steel products and acoustic and anti-slip solutions.

The CPD takes place over two days and includes return flights from London Heathrow to Dusseldorf, airport transfers to the Bette factory, accommodation and meals. There is no charge to undertake the CPD, which is available to BIID members.

To find out how to book the Bette CPD factory visit, or to enquire about planned future visits, contact Jean Francois on 0780 272 1881 or email JFMarty@Bette.co.uk

The German family-owned business was founded in Delbrück in 1952, and has specialised exclusively in steel-shaping and enamelling processes.

Bette’s assembly processes combine high-tech industrial production techniques with tailor-made manufacturing. More than half of the products are customised in line with customer preferences. Bette uses natural raw materials – glass, water and steel – to produce high-quality products in a wide range of different shapes, sizes and colours. The complete Bette range is verified ISO 14025 according to the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) relating to materials and products.

Bette 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: Bette

Parkside opens new Design Studio in the Cotswolds

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside opens new Design Studio in the Cotswolds

Hotel Designs headed up to the Cotswolds to attend the official opening party of Parkside’s latest studio opening…

Design-led tile specification company Parkside has formally opened its Cotswolds Design Studio. Surrounding by the quintessentially British surroundings of the undisturbed region of the Cotswolds, Parkside welcomes designers, architects, contractors, developers and select members of the press to attend the official opening party, which also marked launch of a new collaboration with Barneby Gates.

The new Design Studio is the fourth in the Parkside portfolio and again demonstrates the company’s dedication to provide inspirational spaces for the architecture and design communities. The ability to see the tile collections displayed and to have in-house support has been an invaluable element in Parkside’s existing Design Studios in Clerkenwell, Chelsea and Leicester.

The Barneby Gates tile collection sees the design duo’s stunning wallpaper patterns on extra-large format porcelain tiles. The bold and courageous collection focuses on colourful and playful patterns and represents Parkside’s mission to offer distinctive tile collections.

“Many of the intricacies of modern tile surfaces need to be seen up close to be truly appreciated and we have seen a continued demand from our clients to engage with our products first hand,” said Sarah Holey, marketing manager, Parkside. “Our Cotswolds Design Studio was an obvious progression in providing an invaluable hub for those looking for professional support from our Parkside team. There’s a wide choice of inspirational displays which will show visitors how tiles can provide impact and spark creativity for inventive interior projects.”

The newly unveiled Design Studio provides an impressive 300m² of space. Continuing the theme from its Clerkenwell Design Studio of treating tiles like pieces of art, Parkside have framed extra-large format porcelain slabs (measuring 3200 x 1600mm) around the edge of the space to provide a dramatic impact upon entering. Display boards of varying sizes sit in front and are grouped by style for easier browsing. A free-standing island unit in the centre of the space houses a meeting room for up to 14 as well as an informal meeting space on top with impressive views out over the rolling Cotswolds hills. The intention is for the space to be used as a hub for the design community with free wi-fi, great coffee and plenty of working space in a relaxed, creative environment.

Parkside 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

Egypt has most active project pipeline in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Egypt has most active project pipeline in Africa

The latest data published from TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION shows Egypt is home to 55 new hotel projects which further adds 15,485 new rooms to the region…

The hospitality market in Africa has been booming for some time, new statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database has provided an insight into the region’s future growth in development and overall tourism.

A recent report from TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION finds that Egypt is the country with the most active project pipeline on the entire African continent, with currently 55 projects in the pipeline, which is nearly double that of the next closest country, Morocco with 36 hotels on the boards.

This likely means Africa’s hospitality boom is being powered in part by the rise in tourism in Egypt, where visitors come from across the globe each year to enjoy unique historical sites and landscapes, as luxury travel for most becomes more about experience rather than product.

Some of the significant hotels currently in the pipeline in Egypt include The St. Regis Cairo, Hilton Secon Nile Tower and Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh.

Egypt is far from the only country in Africa with many hotels currently in its project pipeline. Below Egypt in the hotel development race (in order) is Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Algeria, South Africa, Cape Verde, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast.

On average, Africa’s top ten countries in terms of their hospitality market currently have in the region of 22 hotels in their pipelines, with Egypt standing out its 55 projects on the boards.

The most recent development data compliments The Egyptian tourism ministry’s strategy to target social media influencers to boost tourism in the area and promote it as a travel hotspot destination.

Main image credit: Marriott International/St Regis Cairo

Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Goa is about to welcome a 17-key luxury hotel designed to shelter holistic wellbeing

Slated to open in early 2020, Kings Mansion, Goa will combine heritage, architecture, design, Ayurvedic philosophies, state-of-the-art medical aesthetics and a global approach to holistic wellbeing…

Located in northern Goa, an area rich in tropical forests, historic Portuguese architecture, avenues of Banyan Trees, and vast, unpopulated sandy beaches, King’s Mansion will open early next year.

Recognising that today, wellness refers to a holistic state of being, where one’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health are in balance, the defining experience of King’s Mansion will be one of mindfulness, transformation, recovery and wellbeing.

Modern yet sympathetic architecture and interior design are key elements at the boutique hotel that not only honour Goa’s legacy and culture, but also serve as a welcoming nod to the growing international interest in India as an exciting and evolving luxury and wellness destination.

Image credit: Red Architects

The Indian entrepreneur and Bollywood star, Sachiin Joshi, bought the property in 2017. He is also the Chairman of corporate company, Viiking Ventures, a multi-faceted business working across various industries including film production, fin-tech and charter aviation; Moss Wellness, a leading spa consultancy with experience developing international five-star brands including Aman resorts and Four Seasons. Responsible for the overall design is Indian film producer and interior designer Gauri Khan and Rajiv Parekh, founder of Red Architects, who is bringing a new energy to a modern day India with his past and future projects on the boards.

The 17 luxury suites, which are set over 2,800m2, are being designed as private retreats. Each room will utilise the natural light with floor to ceiling windows, which will stretch out to views of private lush gardens. The large ensuite bathrooms will continue to balance a timeless and luxurious look and feel with the renderings showing a strong use of marble as well as statement matt-black fittings.

Covered pavilions and thickets of Frangipani Trees create pockets of rest and shade in the landscaped gardens, which are set against 50 metres of unspoiled golden coastline and the Arabian Sea.

Five dining and social areas offer guests the chance to explore India’s Ayurvedic culinary culture and international fusions. The hotel’s chefs will create daily menu plans for internal health and harmony, but with an understanding that food and satisfaction are not mutually exclusive. Continuing the theme, food will be cooked using fresh, locally sourced produce.

At the heart of the wellbeing experience will be the spa, which will open as a hidden oasis within the property. With five luxury spa suites, a large hydrotherapy pool, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, guests will discover a safe space to surrender, gain awareness and achieve conscious rest and peace.

Image credit: King’s Mansion

Designed to offer personalised, results-focused wellness programmes, the hotel will aim to further help travellers rejuvenate, reset and recover.

Main image credit: King’s Mansion

The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection announces opening of eighth hotel in China

With a design narrative that celebrates Chinese culture, the 290-key Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has opened… 

Following Marriott International’s plans to open more than 30 luxury hotels in 2019, the hotel group, which has recently debuted the W Hotels brand in Oman, has announced the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. Strategically located in the business district of the Guangxi Province, the opening marks the global brand’s eighth property in China.

The contemporary setting merges the rich heritage of the Zhuang Minority Group and showcases their history through beautiful décor, evocative catering and magnificent surroundings.

“The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture.”

“We are excited to introduce Nanning to our Global Explorers, allowing them to discover the destination, also known as the Green City and it’s abundance of lush foliage,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection. “As a culturally rich ethnic minority area in Guangxi Province, the destination is a perfect gateway for travellers to experience through the lens of The Luxury Collection.”

Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, takes inspiration from the lotus flower, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. The hotel’s interiors echo strong elements of the Zhuang culture such as farmlands, symbolizing happiness and prosperity. Na Lotus Hotel also features a 1,100 square metre Ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.

Indigenous and international cuisines are celebrated at Na Lotus Hotel’s four signature dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant offering a journey of flavors with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge is a popular social hub serves exclusive cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by distinctive sweet treats. Elsewhere, The Clouds features an all-day dining experience showcasing international delights, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant,  focuses on signature seafood and meat dishes prepared with local and seasonal produce.

Image credit: Marriott International

“As the first Marriott International luxury hotel in Guangxi Province Na Lotus hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel invites the guests to explore the charm of Nanning,” said Henry Lee, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Director, Greater China, Marriott International. “Na Lotus Hotel is a rare gem of the Zhuang Minority, and we are thrilled to uncover this hidden treasure for our global travelers who are sure to develop a deep connection with this fascinating destination.”

The opening of the hotel follows the hotel group unveiling its three year plan in March of this year. The strategy included adding 1,700 hotels, which would result in between 275,000 and 295,000 more rooms by 2021, supported by the strength of its record 478,000-room pipeline, including roughly 214,000 rooms that were already under construction when the press release was published.

Main image credit: Marriott International

TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TUI Blue to expand in Asia with debut hotel in Vietnam to open in Spring 2020

TUI’s flagship hotel group, TUI Blu, has announced plans to expand its portfolio in Asia, debuting in Vietnam next year with TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel…

With the opening of TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel slated to take place in March 2020, the hotel brand is set to become the world’s largest leisure hotel brand, slated to expand its portfolio to more than 100 hotels by 2020:

TUI Group’s existing portfolio of own hotels in Asia includes three Robinson Clubs in the Maldives and in Thailand and three Riu hotels in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In addition, TUI operates three concept hotels in the region. TUI Blue Nam Hoi An is the first hotel of the world’s leading tourism group in Vietnam. The resort, to be converted and extended in the style of the flagship brand, will expand TUI Group’s portfolio of long-haul destinations for European travellers.

“We see great potential for TUI Blue in Asia and have already started to pursue further growth plans. South East Asian destinations enable us to operate our hotels all year round, reducing our seasonal swing, and to tap into new target groups,” said Sebastian Ebel, TUI Group Executive Board member is charge of Hotels & Resorts. “We also work with local partners”, said Thomas Pietzka, Managing Director TUI Hotels & Resorts. “We are investing in our first hotel in Vietnam in cooperation with our new joint venture partner TMG, a company with many years of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector in Asia. They ideally complement the expertise held by TUI Blue, which will be in charge operating the new hotel.”

The TUI Blue Nam Hoi An hotel features 318 rooms and is situated in a beachfront location on the fine sandy Tam Tien beach on the Central Vietnamese coast. Holidaymakers can combine their stay with a visit to the coastal town Hoi An. Its well-preserved old town with numerous canals and diverse architecture is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. “Vietnam is a perfect hotel location for travellers interested in culture”, said Artur Gerber, Managing Director TUI Blue. “The country offers ideal conditions for guests wishing to combine their stay with authentic experiences in the region. From 2020, we will label corresponding hotel offerings as ‘TUI Blue For All‘.”

Main image credit: TUI Group

Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Orchard Hotel Singapore opens 360-degree experience in 1950s shell

Following a multimillion-dollar nine-month refurbishment across the hotel, Orchard Hotel Singapore has unveiled an enhanced 360-degree guest experience with reimagined dining, events and accommodation offerings…

Orchard Hotel Singapore has reopened with upgraded areas include the hotel’s 260 grand deluxe rooms, a grand ballroom, conference centre, lobby and F&B areas.

The history of Orchard Hotel Singapore dates back to late 1950s, where it began as a humble four-storey, 34-key hotel, complete with The Golden Venus home to popular tea dances and emerging musicians of the 1960s. Redeveloped in the 1970s to cater to the tourist boom, the original building was demolished in 1978, and the first inkling of the 656-key, twin-tower Orchard Hotel Singapore as it exists today, took its shape.

Guests are greeted with a new experience from the moment they step through the door and into the bright and enlivened lobby. The hotel’s iconic clock tower has been updated for the modern age with a contemporary chandelier-inspired art sculpture, bordered by two upgraded dining and drinking destinations. The Orchard Cafe renews itslegacy as a local dining icon with a vibrant new style and Signature Class buffet showcasing heritage-inspiredcreations and chef-curated classics. Bar Intermezzo has an air of sophistication with new and inviting interiors andcontemporary botanical-influenced cocktails that toast to Orchard Road’s past. Overlooking the lobby from thesecond floor is Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting Restaurant, which was also given its own extensive makeover in 2018. 

Modern cafe in the lobby

Image caption/credit: The Orchard Cafe | Millennium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

The 260 Grand Deluxe guestrooms in the hotel’s Orchard Wing have also been updated. Each well- appointed roomhas been elegantly designed to provide maximum comfort and easy living. With today’s sophisticated traveller in mind, the newly refurbished rooms are equipped with upgraded amenities including; six USB ports, both wired andwireless high-speed internet to ensure 24/7 connectivity and a Smart TV loaded with a variety of channels to keepthem plugged into current affairs. Unwind after a long day of shopping along the famed Orchard Road with a relaxingbath in the luxurious Japanese soaking tub (select room configurations) or call for one of 12 signature spice-based cocktails from Bar Intermezzo to be delivered right to the room.

Trends and technology favoured by the modern hotelier are now also included in the enhanced Orchard Hotel Singapore. Step into the future of hospitality with AURA and AUSCA – the hotel’s resident room service and chefassociate robots. While AURA (front-of-house Autonomous Service Delivery Robot) are in charge of delivering roomamenities, as well as the occasional mingling with guests in the lobby, AUSCA (the world’s first Autonomous ServiceChef Associate) is responsible for whipping up perfect eggs during breakfast service at The Orchard Cafe. Responding to the needs of today’s connected travellers, Bar Intermezzo transforms into a coffee bar during the day,providing a tropical co-working oasis for those seeking new connections, fresh ideas or simply a great cup of coffee.

New and improved event spaces for every occasion – the 11 refurbished conference and function rooms andspaces are now more versatile than ever. A key highlight includes one of Singapore’s largest pillar-free grandballrooms, occupying more than 10,000 square feet and six metres high, refitted with a luxurious fresh new look, two floor-to-ceiling LED walls (a first in Singapore), statement lighting, state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, an impressive foyer lined with floating orchid-inspired chandeliers and exclusive spaces divided for various uses. The conference centre has also been redesigned with five intimate meeting rooms and upgraded meeting facilities.Event planners will now have the luxury of choice with creative catering options from the hotel’s four award-winningculinary concepts – Hua Ting Restaurant, The Orchard Cafe, Mon Bijou and Bar Intermezzoas well as a Halal-certified kitchen, ensuring that all tastes and diets are catered for.

Main image credit: Millenium Hotels/Orchard Hotel Singapore

Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Curio Collection by Hilton debuts in South East Asia with hotel in the Maldives

The new 198-key property will form part of the first integrated resort in the Maldives…

Hilton has announced the opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, a free-spirited tropical escape that offers sun, sea, style and sustainability, creating a playful getaway for groups of fun-seeking friends, couples and families. Nestled within the idyllic Emboodhoo Lagoon, SAii Lagoon Maldives forms part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first and only integrated resort and game-changing retreat.

The opening of SAii Lagoon Maldives also marks the debut of Curio Collection by Hilton in South East Asia, and the fifth Curio Collection by Hilton property in Asia Pacific. With a total of 198 guestrooms and villas, the resort will be Hilton’s third property in the Maldives, making the global hospitality company the largest and longest-running international hotel operator in the Maldives. Hilton opened the country’s first internationally branded resort in 1997, and today, it operates Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which features 151 villas, suites and THE MURAKA Residence, as well as the 122-villa Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which was recently unveiled in July 2019.

“For more than 20 years, through the many firsts that Hilton has introduced in the Maldives, we have been sparking travellers’ imagination of waking up right above the Indian Ocean, or dining and even sleeping beneath the crystal-blue sea,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “In addition to putting the Maldives on the global map, we have brought meaningful opportunities for employment and we continue to make positive contributions to the livelihood and well-being of local communities. With the launch of SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, we are looking to further deepen ‘The Hilton Effect’ in the Maldives and continue to set new benchmarks for hospitality through innovation.”

“We are excited to welcome the world to SAii Lagoon Maldives,” said Martin van der Reijden, General Manager of SAii Lagoon Maldives and Vice President of Operations of CROSSROADS Maldives. “Guests will be able to experience the exquisite beauty of this destination, with plenty of places to stay and play. The architecture is quirky, and the interiors are daring. And yet, the resort also has a wonderfully inspiring ambience. We want everyone to walk into the resort and instantly feel a sense of excitement and exploration.”

“Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage.”

“The Maldives is a dream destination for global travelers and we are thrilled to pair its tropical charm with Curio Collection’s spirit of discovery,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “SAii Lagoon Maldives is a breathtaking resort with distinct character and direct access to the fantastic facilities at CROSSROADS Maldives. Supported by Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, guests of this resort are guaranteed memorable experiences in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.”

Every room at SAii Lagoon Maldives is adorned with a bright, contemporarily eclectic design that reflects the archipelago’s maritime heritage, complete with natural textures, driftwood décor and marine-inspired hues and views. Guests can choose from a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas.

The resort’s innovation is also showcased at its restaurants and bars. Miss Olive Oyl is a vibrant poolside Mediterranean seafood grill and bar, while Mr. Tomyam is an exciting Thai fusion eatery with an open kitchen and alfresco dining areas.

The resort’s ocean-view infinity pool and fitness centre will allow guests to refresh and recharge in paradise. A wide range of water sports and recreational facilities will also be available at The Marina @ CROSSROADS, a 30-berth marina and vibrant lifestyle district.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The changing colour of hotel bathrooms – going greener

In the second part of our colour series (click here for part one), Recommended Supplier UKBathrooms explain how and why designers should opt for greener designs in bathrooms…

Bathrooms make up a huge proportion of a hotel’s water and energy usage, which on average is 84 to 173 gallons per room per day, far higher than the average daily household usage of 66 gallons per day.

This explains why they’ve become the focus for many hoteliers looking not only to save money, but also to minimise their impact on the environment.

However, any environmental worries have to be balanced with the needs of guests. The seamless blend of sustainability and luxury, with little compromise to guest experience is the aim for hotel owners and trends show that this will be the case in the years to come. And ‘green’ considerations go way beyond the bathroom space, with materials used in bathroom products, transportation, waste produced during manufacture and subsequent biodegradable components all being important.

UK Bathrooms, is the leading, independent supplier of designer bathroom products and as such is seeing a change in trends of sales to hoteliers in the UK and internationally. “We’re seeing a trend to natural materials, as well as reclaimed and recycled, such as timber from sustainable forests and stone,” said Graeme Borchard, director of UKBathrooms. “We’re a leading supplier of premium brands. As a company they are ‘a champion of the value of water’, pioneers in environmentally friendly, luxury, bathroom products. Their ongoing research, and development in technology and design, means that hansgrohe produces superb products which are beautifully designed, highly efficient and sustainable.”

A great example of this is EcoSmart. Hansgrohe showers and taps equipped with EcoSmart technology use up to 60 per cent less water than traditional products, not only using less water, but also needing less energy to heat the water.  The Hansgrohe Raindance EcoSmart overhead shower provides guests with a relaxing and therapeutic experience whilst being eco-friendly.

By implementing greener practices, and ensuring guests are aware of these, hotels can make being eco-friendly even more attractive. Hotel bathrooms have a certain ‘luxury’ which people then like to emulate in their own homes, the choices that hotels make end up being reflected in homes around the world.

UKBathrooms 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.

Katy Perry’s stylist co-creates hotel suite to appease arguing couples

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Katy Perry’s stylist co-creates hotel suite to appease arguing couples

Katy Perry’s stylist has co-created a luxury hotel suite – to appease bickering couples who can’t agree when booking a room…

Taking the personalised hotel experience to a new level, Johnny Wujek, who is behind some of the singer Katy Perry’s most memorable looks, has teamed-up with fellow fashionista Kaitlyn Ham, to create a room to please all tastes.

The suite has been described as the ‘perfect compromise’ for couples with drastically different preferences, who crucially can’t agree on what they want from a hotel.

Hotels.com recruited the world-renowned fashion influencers to style the room in London’s The Curtain – in TWO completely opposing styles.

The ‘So Extra So Chic’ suite is split right down the middle and features Wujek’s maximalist décor on one side and the minimalist style of Ham on the other.

“It’s a touch of overgrown Great Expectations with a dash of California casual.” – Johnny Wujek.

Wujek’s extravagant ‘So Extra’ half of the suite features golden ornaments, monkey lamps and a luminescent mini bar.

The stylist to the stars’ side has also been accessorised with clashing prints, colourful rugs and dazzling wallpaper.

“I wanted my side of the room to feel exciting and ‘extra’ but also comfy and cosy,” explains Wujek. “It’s a touch of overgrown Great Expectations with a dash of California casual. Style is all about self-expression and, clearly, I have a lot to express.”

In contrast, Kaitlyn Ham’s ‘So Chic’ half includes a statement white leather lounge chair, bespoke line-drawing art, décor pieces in muted tones and a plush wool throw.

She said: “I took inspiration from modern mid-century design to create a space that feels open and calming. All the pieces were chosen for their style and functionality with a focus on quality. The space should feel modern and light, yet have an inviting warmth that makes it feel like home.”

The creation of the one of a kind room follows international research also commissioned by Hotels.com into different tastes when it comes to planning a holiday. One fifth of the 300 Brits polled in a 7,200 person study would choose a luxury hotel styled with gold, marble and velvet – if money was no object.

In contrast, just eight per cent would opt for a simple ‘shabby chic’ according to the research carried out through OnePoll.

It also emerged those polled would like see their hotel rooms include a free-standing bath (35 per cent), a walk-in wardrobe (26 per cent) and ‘incredible’ lighting (21 per cent).

Liz Oakman, senior director and general manager EMEA, from Hotels.com said: “No matter if it’s shades of grey or an explosion of patterns, we love that people want to stand out with their unique style even when they travel.

“At Hotels.com, we’re all about trying new things, so with the So Extra So Chic suite, style-loving travellers out there can experience both ends of the minimal, maximal spectrum. Now all that’s left is picking which side of the bed you’re on.”

This is not the first time fashion designers and stylists to the stars have filtered on to the hotel design scene. Earlier this year, the iconic fashion designer Jack Irving unveiled his first ever hotel design project, which is now sheltered in W London Leicester Square.

Main image credit: SWNS

Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Parkside launches Barneby Gates Collection of tiles

Parkside has collaborated with leading design duo Barneby Gates, on a collection that brings the pair’s stunning wallpaper patterns to porcelain tiles…

In the Barneby Gates collection, the trusted tile specification company, Parkside, has translated eight bold and courageous designs onto extra-large format porcelain tiles measuring 1000 x 500mm or 2500 x 1000mm, creating the effect of wallpaper on a high-performance, commercial-ready tile. Ideal for features in bar areas, spas, bathrooms and hotel lobbies; the range faithfully recreates designs such as Watermelon, Pheasant and Bolt from Mars.

With backgrounds in the home lifestyle press and decorative arts, Vanessa Barneby and Alice Gates (Barneby Gates), have forged a reputation for forward-thinking fabric and wallpaper designs that have received widespread acclaim. Whether reinventing traditional motifs for modern interiors with Deer Damask or taking on trends with Pineapple and Watermelon; the pair’s distinctive designs are notably outside of the norm. In collaborating with Parkside, Barneby Gates is bringing its unique style to a commercial finish that offers moisture-resistance, durability and easy maintenance.

“Our designs celebrate the life-affirming positivity of pattern and colour and we’re delighted to have worked with Parkside to bring our style to a broader range of environments,” said Barneby and Gates. “The notion of wallpaper on a tile is a great way to bring continuous pattern to areas where its traditionally been off-limits and we look forward to seeing our designs in commercial interiors wanting to make a statement.”

The Barneby Gates collection has launched at the opening of Parkside’s new Design Studio in the Cotswolds and will be on display throughout London Design Festival (14-22 September) at the company’s Chelsea Design Studio.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Barneby Gates’ designs to the Parkside portfolio,” added Mark Williams, sales and design director for Parkside. “The pair’s designs are certainly uplifting and have been at the heart of many fearless schemes, so we’re ready to see how they can be embraced in commercial locations with the practicality of a porcelain tile construction.”

At just 3.5mm thick, the Barneby Gates tile collection is suitable for internal walls, is easy to install and available to order exclusively from Parkside.

Parkside 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

UNVEILED: Amenities guests really want in the hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
UNVEILED: Amenities guests really want in the hotel

The humble shoehorn and bubble shower caps have long since been replaced by newer amenities. Here’s a list edited by STAAH of amenities that modern travellers have requested. Some are essential, some nice to have and others are (admittedly) over-the-top…

Free Wi-Fi

You don’t expect your guests to check if your property’s room includes power and indoor plumbing; it is a given.

Same with wireless and free internet. This is 2019, and we’re all connected. Wi-Fi is not a perk reserved for your loyal or business guests. It should be an amenity that’s available to all. Forcing guests to join your loyalty programme (a common practice) to access free Internet is also a no-no.

Adequate power points

Most guests today move around with an average of three to five gadgets. Therefore, they need to be charged. Hotels that feature easily accessible power points, including in the bathroom and by the bed, are a winner modern travellers.

Quality bathroom toiletries 

Thanks to airline restrictions, an increasing number of travellers (75 per cent if some statistics are to be believed) use the toiletries provided. So, anything sub par just won’t do. Here’s also an opportunity for you to infuse a bit of local into your rooms. Partner up with a local provider and weave in a story about the toiletries provided. With the increasing demand for conscious hotels – a topic that Hotel Designs will be exploring on stage at the Independent Hotel Show 2019 – the latest hotel groups to pledge miniature-free hotel bathrooms globally include IHG and Marriott International.

Hair dryer

This is so popular, it deserves a whole point of its own! Put yourself in your guests’ shoes, travelling with hair dryers is too cumbersome. Be kind to your guests and invest in a few for them. If you want to go the whole nine yards, add in flat irons and curling irons into the mix.

Laundry facilities

Another essential, especially if you market yourself as a family-friendly property. Who wants to go home after a holiday with bags full of dirty laundry? Communication is key, though. Eliminating unnecessary laundry is great, but there is no point offering eco-initiatives – such as advising guests to hang up their used towels if they don’t want them washed – if the staff ignore this when on a deadline to clean a room/suite.

Microwave and small fridge

There is a rise for ‘hometel’ concepts, such as Room2 Southampton. Not uncommon on the amenities wishlist at all, a fridge and a microwave are appreciated by travellers, especially families with babies and young kids. The pressure-sensitive mini bars that charge you even if you pick up a bottle to read the ingredients are not welcome.

Lint rollers and stain removers

A petty investment but a very thoughtful addition to your room amenities. Think of the business traveller running out of the door who spilt coffee on his shirt. Or, a wedding guest who inadvertently brought along her pet’s hair on her special dress.

Electronic chargers and adapters

Phone chargers are among the most forgotten travel accessories. And, landing in a foreign country without the required adapter to charge your battalion of gadgets can easily ruin your holiday from the get go. Here’s when hotels are expected to come to the rescue with chargers and adapters to borrow. If you can’t have one in each room, keep some aside on the front desk.

Coffee, tea and more

Coffees that are substandard and tea bags that are past their use by date just don’t cut it. Artisan teas, quality coffee (including plunger coffees) and other hot beverage options are almost a norm nowadays.

Add a cookie or packet of chips as a complimentary extra.

Entertainment

From books to board games and television (preferably with channels that are worth watching), hotels are expected to have downtime covered.  Check your list of amenities and see what you offer. The more, the better is the general rule.

There’s a new trend among hoteliers to add in fun extras such as musical instruments. Nothing like a guitar in the hotel room to wind you down.

Welcome extras

Greet your guests with a bottle of wine or a few truffles. Great way to kick start a relationship. And, if the guest is a loyal one, up the ante on what you offer – a free massage maybe?

STAAH 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.

 

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing

Colour has the power to raise or lower our heartbeat, impact our sleep and influence our overall wellbeing. There’s a tremendous amount of research that’s gone into the psychology of colour and the impact it has on our health. Kicking off our colour series, brand strategist Emma Potter explores how conscious consumers are of their relationship with colour, especially when checking in to a hotel…

Depending on our upbringing, gender, values, geography, and other influencing factors – colour can have very different meanings. For example, orange is often considered friendly, confident and cheerful (think Amazon and Orange); red is excitement, youthful and bold (think Coca-Cola and Lego); blue is trustworthy, dependable and strong (think Unilever and PayPal).  Colour evokes feelings and emotion, and choosing the right colours can make the difference between success of failure of a brand, business, and hotel environment – the colours that adorn and decorate these spaces will evoke feeling that make us connect.

Colour with purpose

Colour has the power to silently influence how consumers think and behave in an environment. Interior designers and hoteliers put a huge amount of effort into the hues they choose to decorate a spaced, be that a lobby, restaurant, bedroom or lounge area, as they appreciate the effect colour has on their consumers emotions. In order to create an appropriate scene for a certain target audience, it’s worth understanding the science of colour psychology and the tremendous ability it has to change entire moods.

A welcoming hotel reception and lobby has the ability to make or break a first impression when a customer walks through the doors. All sorts of creative elements are utilised to deliver the ‘Wow’ factor – this may include impressive sweeping stair cases (Plaza 18), bold curvaceous sculptures, wood-burning fire places that house a Italian marble mantel, sculptural sofas and alternative seating to make customers feel welcome and relaxed, and bold artwork – in some instances they may even look like a gallery.

Exploring colours that are timeless and evoke healthy wellbeing

Some may argue that using neutral colours (beige, cream, grey) will appeal to a broader market. While white may be a natural choice for a Greek Mediterranean style hotel (Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa), some people may associate white with cleanliness, whilst others may associate it with hospitals. Either way, white will significantly brighten up a room and will help to reflect light and colour.

Green typically symbolises growth and harmony, which is extremely grounding and brings us back to nature – think rolling countryside surrounded by lush leafy trees or blossoming flowers and open spaces. It is often associated with evoking a feeling of peace, trust and tranquillity, and it helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, whilst stimulating love, balance and harmony in the body. The ideal choice for rural hotels, some would argue. But it can also be injected into urban hotels, such as Nhow London, to add flair, vibrancy and electricity.

Image credit: Project Orange/Nhow

Blue symbolises trust and tranquillity, is often considered a calming colour, and goes well with grey and white to create a Scandinavian style. It’s reminiscent of flowing rivers, the ocean and the sky. The blue blossom of forget-me-nots help to stimulate mental clarity and creative expression, so floral arrangements also need to be considered from a design perspective. Perhaps the ideal choice for hotels by the sea or near water.

Oranges and reds symbolise energy, fire and passion, they resemble a sunset which represents creativity and emotion wellbeing. Mixing these colours with black would create a dramatic, mysterious ambience, perhaps lending themselves to Moroccan or Arabian interiors. However, where natural light is not in abundance, it may best to keep black to a minimum.

From the outset, a designer must work with the hotelier to decide upon the right colour palette to suit not only the style of the hotel, but the environment, ambience and setting they’re aiming to create, and the type of guest they’re aiming to attract.

Colour and the design process

There is no doubt about it, hotels are becoming more personalised – the recent renovation inside W London Leicester Square is a perfect example of this. As the saying in creative development goes: “Structure has integrity”, but designers – and guests checking in for that matter – are multi-faceted people, with multiple interests, so why just present one version ourselves? The core of our personality – or brand DNA / identity – will remain, but we give ourselves the permission to personalise aspects to make every room and space special and stand out in its own right. Be that through an aspect of design, a feature that’s maximised, lighting to create a mood, music to evoke a rhythm, technology to take us into the next millennia, temperature control to make it feel like a fresh spring morning or a hot summers day, it all plays its part in the personalisation process. I liken it to a menu in a restaurant – everything on the menu will reflect the chef behind the brand, but the choice each customer makes creates a unique, individual, memorable experience. Ideally one that each guest wants to talk about. In addition, lighting will change the atmosphere of a room or space, and this continues to be an ever-evolving trend.

Image credit: W Hotels

Design trends through the decades

I’m sure, like many of us, we’re more influenced subconsciously by colour than we realise. Thankfully 2019 has represented a year where bright new colours have returned to the trending palette.

A new word for me this year is ‘Biophilia’ meaning ‘an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings and the natural world’. To quote Angie Lee: “Biophilia is a design driver that engages the end user by connecting them to primal instincts about the relationship between humans and nature.” As the quest with technology continues to push the boundaries to supposedly make our lives better, more efficient, smarter and more connected – in reality what we crave as ‘human beings’ is connection, and being in nature, hearing the rhythm of waves, being able to touch natural surfaces like stone are wood, is what brings us to a state of consciousness where real life flows. No longer a place to pass through whilst checking in, I love the idea that the hotel lobby has become a place to connect and congregate. Moreover, now we often see artists being commissioned to create bespoke pieces for lobby areas, which ties the concept of ‘art and wallcoverings’ much closer together.

The return of bold colours in 2019

I appreciate that multiple shades and tones of grey have been in fashion for some time now and are timeless and therefore appropriate for the international hotel design scene, but consumers are beginning to become more drawn to bold, warm, vibrate colours such as pink and orange. So, it was heart-warming to see Pantone name ‘Living Coral’ as the colour of the year, described as follows ‘an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge’. It certainly adds vibrancy and a natural injection of warmth that has perhaps been missing in recent years.

“Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” – Albert Hadley

Global growth of the wellness industry

Spanning multiple sectors including personal care, beauty and anti-aging; wellness tourism; traditional and complimentary medicine; wellness real estate; and workplace wellness, global growth has sky rocketed in recent years, and at the end of 2018 the wellness economy was dubbed to be worth $4.2 trillion.

Moreover, the projected average annual growth rate for 2017-2022 has been noted at eight per cent for wellness real estate, 6.7 per cent for workplace wellness, and a staggering 6.4 per cent for spa facilities. Perhaps this is due to the human race living longer, poor health as we age, and the increased stress levels this induces? One thing is for sure, the wellness industry is a driving dynamic force that’s converging to create a more connected experience in all areas of our lives – personal, home, work, travel.

Whilst ‘Mindfulness’ may have grown in popularity in recent years, it seems 2019 is fast becoming the year of wellbeing and consciousness – in all areas and aspects of our lives. To quote Albert Hadley: “Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s own wellbeing.” Interior design is deeper than simply decorating, colour schemes have the ability to cleverly transform and/or evoke emotions and designing with purpose as a whole will result in space that is more functional, more inviting and more appropriate to the guests checking in.

Main image credit: Hilton Doubletree

Roca inspires with new Escuadra brassware range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Roca inspires with new Escuadra brassware range

Roca has added to its brassware offering with its latest collection, Escuadra. With its contemporary single lever design, Escuadra creates a stylish impression in any bathroom space…

A versatile choice, Escuadra is available in a range of brassware options, including basin, bidet, bath and shower mixer styles. “When it comes to brassware, there is now more choice than ever before. Many homeowners are moving away from the traditional mixer in favour of something more contemporary”, comments Claire Gay, Marketing Manager at Roca.

“Escuadra meets that demand, its sleek and minimalist design complements a range of basin shapes, making it a functional yet sophisticated choice for homeowners, installers, specifiers and retailers.”

Escuadra features many of Roca’s latest innovations, including the exclusive Roca EverShine® finish. The hardwearing coating ensures the tap retains its shine, along with discouraging limescale build up and preventing stains. Additionally, the ceramic disc cartridge has been thoroughly tested with over one million movements to assure customers that their brassware will continue to function for many years to come.

The basin and bidet mixers are equipped with Roca’s Cold Start technology; this prevents unnecessary energy consumption by only activating the boiler when the handle is turned to hot, this conserves energy and provides a cost-effective solution for homeowners.

To further enhance the sustainability of the range, Roca has utilised many water-saving functions. Soft Turn technology provides the highest levels of precision and puts the homeowner in complete control, with the ability to set the desired water flow and temperature. Furthermore, the integration of flow limiters restricts the water flow, which prevents wastage.

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

Main image credit: Roca

Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hard Rock Hotels arrives in the Maldives

The iconic music and lifestyle brand hits the high note with Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property… 

Following the opening of its first London hotel, Hard Rock International has announced its arrival in the Maldives, which marks the brand’s 30th property worldwide. Opening as part of CROSSROADS Maldives, the 178-key hotel is the country’s first and only integrated resort and is situated across the Emboodhoo lagoon.

“Hard Rock Hotel Maldives offers the beauty and serenity of the destination perfectly paired with the lifestyle and energy that only the Hard Rock brand can deliver,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of Hard Rock Hotels. “We’re excited to showcase the property’s unique experience and signature brand amenities to locals and visitors from around the world.”

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

Offering a variety of dining options, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives appeals to all appetites with a variety of food and beverage offerings, including the brand signature Sessions, where diners are treated to a world of contemporary flavors with indoor and outdoor seating, while The Elephant and The Butterfly presents Latin American-inspired cuisine in a picturesque oceanfront setting. Just steps away, the Hard Rock Cafe at the Marina CROSSROADS offers world-famous, all-American cuisine, live music, events and music memorabilia.

“Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia.”

Inspired by local Maldivian culture, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives infuses contemporary design features with tropical architecture throughout the property, alongside regionally-inspired, authentic music memorabilia, including items from regional sensations Chun Xioa and Khun Asanee Chotikul, as well as international superstars like Shakira and Justin Timberlake. Unique to this hotel, the two-bedroom Silver Family Suite allows parents and kids to stay together in style with bunk beds and direct beach access, while the 4,950 square foot Rock Star Villa features spacious outdoor living areas, an infinity pool, a tuk-tuk bar on the terrace, panoramic ocean views and even a private boat jetty.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotels

With venues in 75 countries, including 188 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops, 30 hotels and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognised companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.

Vibrant lobby design

7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

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7 unconventional hotel lobby designs

To launch this month’s spotlight on Lobby Design, Hotel Designs’ editorial team has scoured the globe to identify some of the world’s most unconventional – and most fascinating – hotel lobbies… 

A first impression is a lasting impression, especially when it comes to checking in to the modern-day hotel. And considering it takes the average person just seven seconds for their opinion to be anchored, ultimately right up until they cast their feedback after checking out, designing a hotel lobby is a balancing act worth getting right.

Vibrant lobby design

Regardless of a hotel’s theme, style and to a certain extent target audience, a well-designed lobby is an effortlessly functioning space – and in most cases considered to be the most vital working organ in the hotel’s body that is most relied.

Today’s modern traveller demands for the lobby to be an all-encompassing flexible portal; a home-from-home meeting place, which shelters a social atmosphere. And yet it must also include private break-out areas and accents of personality and sense of place in its design – just enough for something to catch their eye and be included in their first impression. While it is important to ensure that the lobby is multifunctional, ensuring that its design stays in its lane regarding its style is fundamental.

Here are some hotels that have gone further to challenge the conventional lobby design – and as a result designed their own lane.

1) Rosewood Bangkok

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs exclusively unveiled the design story of Rosewood Bangkok. Designed by Celia Chu, her task to design the 159-key hotel was made that much more daunting when having to create a hotel lobby that creates as large of an impression as the exterior does. Instead of competing with the architecture to be bold, Chu looked inwards to sensitively tell the story of Thailand in the words of locals. “The reception space is relatively small,” explains Chu, “but in this area we layer different eras from a timeline that represents Thai culture, with antique craftsmanship, modern polished luxury and artistic contemporary elements all piled up into one cohesive and welcoming space.”

2) Hard Rock Hotel London

Hotel lobby with memorabilia hanging on the wall

Image credit: Philip Durrant

Designed by Scott Brownrigg, The hotel lobby’s walls are plastered with memorabilia that reference the legacy of legends who stayed in Hard Rock Hotels in decades past, including Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Madonna. Balancing the history and heritage of the brand in a timeless style to avoid cliché moments was the first task for the design firm when confronting the motifs that will be sheltered in the new hotel. “We knew we had to represent the Hard Rock brand in an innovative way for the contemporary London market,” Senior Designer Kate Jarrett explains. “The hotel scene here is competitive so we knew we had to create something that tied into London and Hard Rock’s music heritage, while still being completely contemporary.”

3) Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

soft lobby area, which is open to the elements - and full of natural materials

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

There are two entrances at Matetsi Victoria Falls, East Camp and West Camp. Both are framed by three traditional Mokoro (dug-out) canoes, which hang from wooden beams and sway in harmony with the soft Zambezi breeze. With no need for a traditional lobby, guests are immediately welcomed into the indoor-outdoor public areas complete with a copper bar and durable outdoor sofas and chairs scattered in a home-from-home setting that has been designed around nature, and not the other way round. “We didn’t take out a single tree when designing these camps, because we wanted these areas to remain as close to nature as we could,” said interior designer Kerry van Leenhoff , a previous graduate from Cape Town University of Technology who was hand-selected by Gardiner and totally supported in all her decisions. Using the striking vista of the Zambezi River, which flows towards the tremendous Victoria Falls, dining tables are placed in such a way to make every meal one to remember. “The lobby areas have been designed in order to encourage guests to connect with people and nature,” adds van Leenhoff.

4) Plaza 18, Vejer, Spain

Almost one year after Hotel Designs started following designer Nicky Dobree’s journey to complete her first ever hotel design, Plaza 18 is now open. With a distinct residential style, the lobby sheltered inside the six-key boutique hotel is unlike any other in the world. “This entrance challenges the conventional ‘hotel lobby’ because there is no check-in at Plaza 18,” Dobree explains. “Instead, check in is done at the adjoining Hotel Casa del Califa enabling guests at Plaza 18 to enjoy the space as if it were their own home, which was my aim.”

5) 1K Paris

Strong vibrant colours and plants in modern and quirky hotel lobby

Image credit: 1K Paris

Bringing the lush forests of South America’s Andes Mountains to Paris, 1K Paris has a hotel lobby that will take guests into a new world. Complete with vibrant walls, ceilings, floors and furniture – and finished with tropical plants and timeless Peruvian artefacts – the area is cleverly also flooded with natural light. The lobby’s strong blue backdrop sets the ultimate tone for the abundance of colours that await guest’s unique journey ahead.

6) Raffles Singapore

Light and bright grand lobby

Image credit: Raffles Singapore

Reminiscent of extravagant parties that were once held there, The Grand Lobby inside Raffles Singapore, which has been sensitively designed by the New York-based Champalimaud Design, is a truly a legend reborn. The lobby includes floor-to-ceiling Victorian pillars and is bathed in soft daylight streaming through the skylight.

7) Ruby Leni, Dusseldorf

Darkly lit modern public areas

Image credit: Ruby Hotels

Taking inspiration from the theatre that With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

Hotel Designs is spending this month with Lobby Design and Furniture in the spotlight. If you have a story, or would like to submit a comment, please contact the editorial team. 

Main image credit: 1K Paris

Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

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Four Seasons opens in Philadelphia’s tallest building

Foster + Partners’ Norman Foster is responsible for the architecture and interior design of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Centre, which is sheltered in the 48th and 60th floors of the city’s tallest building…

The newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center is located on the uppermost floors of what is now the city’s tallest building and 10th highest in the United States.

The entire building and the interiors and furnishings of the hotel have been designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, while artistic director Jeff Leatham has created stunning floral art in his signature style. His designs are found throughout the property from the ground floor entry to the 60th floor hotel lobby. In addition, Tokyo-based teamLab has envisioned a giant digital floral experience as a modern expression of traditional Japanese painting techniques in the hotel’s arrival lobby.

Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“This exceptional new property represents the very best of Four Seasons,” said Christian Clerc, President, Worldwide Hotel Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “From architecture to design, artistry and innovation, culinary mastery and wellness expertise, we have worked closely with our visionary partners at Comcast and Liberty Property Trust to assemble an all-star team of virtuosos who are elevating Four Seasons service, quality and artistry to new heights.”

Framing what are arguably the best vistas over the city, the 180 guestrooms and 39 suites have been designed to reflect a timeless and relaxed style, while also to adding thoughtful and hidden technology throughout. For example, in partnership with Comcast, all guestrooms and suites also offer the award winning X1 Video Experience.

The hotel’s dining scene is on the 59th floor inside the Jean-Georges Philadelphia restaurant and the 60th floor inside JG SkyHigh cocktail bar. Norman Foster’s soaring space showcases the internationally acclaimed French-American chef’s signature cuisine within an atrium featuring 40 foot (12 metre) glass walls and a cleverly mirrored ceiling that reflects both diners and the city below.

Taking wellness and wellbeing to new height, the hotel’s 57th floor is a haven of health and wellness that includes an enormous indoor pool that “spills” into the sky; a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

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Chelsom creates bespoke lighting scheme for chic Miami hotel

Chelsom worked with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS) to create a bespoke lighting scheme for the guestrooms and public areas of one of Miami’s coolest hotels, Mr.C Coconut Grove

The overall design scheme of Mr. C Coconut Grove was completely individual in its entirety as to be expected from MBDS and the lighting pieces designed for the project were no exception.

A selection of Art Deco inspired fittings were created for the public areas including the reception and lobby and Bellini’s, the main restaurant and bar area. Channelling Miami chic at its finest, fittings for the restaurant include delicate glass wall lights with Brass detailing, decorative Art Deco table lamps with domed glass shades and Brass metalwork adorn the banquet seating teamed with classic Brass picture lights to frame the artwork. Toadstool shaped Art Deco lights with perforated Brass shades adorn the main bar area with a statement pendant above the bar making a dramatic visual impact. The custom designed fitting is an oversized shade style pendant in cream with Brass trim detail suspended from a Brass canopy. Oversized floor lamps adorn the lobby area with Brushed Brass and walnut table lamps with delicately concaved domed shades specified for the reception desk.

Key pieces for the guestrooms and suites includestatement bespoke ceiling pendants in Antique Brass with six opalglass globes branching from a central stem with larger double tiered versions specified for the suites. Bespoke floor lamps in Brushed Brass with a curved arm and decorative locking key joint are teamed with tapered cylindrical shades in cream linen supplemented by Art Decotable lampsand wall lights perfectly in-keeping with both the flawless interior scheme created by the team at MBDS and the historic building itself.

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

Main image credit: Mr C Coconut Grove/James McDonald

1 Hotels to debut in Canada

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1 Hotels to debut in Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: 1 Hotels

Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

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Germany, France and the UK lead European hotel project development

Latest hotel development statistics from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database show the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects that are currently in the pipeline for the region…

Germany, the UK, and France are currently dominating a “booming European hospitality market”, as stated in a report by TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION. The latest data to be published indicates that the three nations account for 50 per cent of the 1,514 projects currently in the pipeline in Europe.

Germany currently has 382 projects in its own pipeline, which means that it alone is accounting for around one quarter of the upcoming hotels in Europe. The UK, meanwhile, is hot on its heels, with 287 projects in its own pipeline. Meanwhile, there is a significant dropoff between the U.K. and third place France, which has 91 projects in its own pipeline.

Other destinations in the top 10 include Spain (72 projects in the pipeline) and Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, and Ireland, all of which have less than 70 hotels each in their project pipeline.

The report concludes that Europe’s strong performance is due to Germany being a significant driving force in the hospitality space, as well as globally dominant tourist destinations such as France, Spain, and the UK.

According to TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION, the 1,541 hotels currently in the pipeline for Europe will ultimately yield as many as 251,730 new guestrooms.

Main image credit: Pixabay

SPOTLIGHT ON: September’s features announced

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SPOTLIGHT ON: September’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its September editorial features, which are Lobby Design and Furniture… 

Inspired largely by the upcoming London Design Festival (LDF), Hotel Designs’ September features will delve into two areas are arguably mostly influenced by the social changes and trends in hotel design. In addition to attending the capital’s celebration of design, the editorial team will also lead an exclusive roundtable, in collaboration with Arte Wallcoverings, to public areas and the hotel lobby firmly under the spotlight.

Lobby Design 

In addition to publishing a series of editorial around the changing face of the hotel lobby, Hotel Designs has collaborated with Arte Wallcoverings to host an exclusive editorial roundtable ahead of the company unveiling its latest collection at Focus 19. The session entitled: Adding personality in public areas will be attended by leading designers and architects from the likes of Richmond International, 1508 London, IHG, Scott Brownrigg, RPW Design and GA Design among others to be confirmed.

Image credit: Image credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

Furniture

As well as covering the latest news from its relevant Recommended Suppliers, such as Curtis Furniture, Knightsbridge, Style Library, Roundwood of Mayfield and Morgan, Hotel Designs will also be on the ground at LDF ’19 in order to publish, live and direct, the latest furniture product launches on the international hotel design scene.

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

Main image credit: Rosewood Bangkok

Crosswater brings bold design to today’s modern bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crosswater brings bold design to today’s modern bathroom

This season, Crosswater dares designers to be brave in the bathroom. With one of the widest ranges of finishes across its portfolio of brassware, furniture, ceramics, shower enclosures and accessories, the bathroom manufacturer, which is also the confirmed headline partner for The Brit List Awards 2019, presents a bold collection of products and designs for projects that require statement in the bathroom…

Utilising a mixture of deep colours, bright patterns and retro styling with daring brassware finishes, a bold bathroom expresses personality through colour, texture and pattern.

A new bathroom scheme presented by Crosswater is brought to life with a bold botanical print and monochrome pattern tiled floor. The brushed nickel brassware stands out against the dark wallpaper and complements the stylish marble gallery basin. The grey furniture provides practical storage while also being a neutral, subtle grounding feature within this bathroom, as is the white wall hung WC. The entire style is finished with a stunning illuminated mirror and dramatic pendant lighting to make a real style statement.

Other ways of introducing this bold aesthetic into a bathroom design can include featuring eye-catching accessories, such as towel warmers and green plants.

By also incorporating a statement patterned wallpaper, bold colours and darker tones, any home is able to achieve a bold bathroom scheme. The overall finish is one that is creative, unique and playful – a statement room that has maximum impact.

Crosswater 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: Crosswater

The BIID announces LDF ’19 movements

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The BIID announces LDF ’19 movements

As part of London Design Festival (LDF) 2019, The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), which is an industry partner for The Brit List 2019, will be participating in a range of exciting talks and events across the capital…

Taking place from September 14 – 22, London Design Festival (LDF) brings together trade professionals and design enthusiasts from all over the world. The BIID is supporting some of the key trade shows that are taking place, with BIID members taking part in thought-provoking and informative discussions throughout the week.

“It’s a pleasure to be involved in London Design Festival again this year,” comments BIID President Harriet Forde. We are so excited to see our members participating in discussions, workshops and events throughout the week. This allows us not only to support our talented BIID Members, but the wider community of industry professionals and creatives working in the city.”

Focus/19 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

September 15 – 20, 2019

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is once again hosting Focus/19. The annual event has a packed programme of engaging talks, meet the designer sessions, discovery tours and workshops.

On Friday September 20 at 4pm, BIID Member Anna Burles of Run For The Hills will be hosting a design workshop titled, ‘Designers of the World Unite’at the Espresso Design showroom. Anna will be speaking on the importance of eco-sensibility within the design sector and encouraging fellow designers to do their bit for planet earth, offering a range of practical tips and insider insight into things big and small that we can all do to make a difference, whilst still delivering exciting, unexpected and original schemes for clients.

100% Design at Olympia London

September 18 – 21, 2019

Returning to Olympia for its 25thedition, 100% Design is renowned for showcasing emerging talent in the capital, featuring a number of new projects and collaborations that celebrate the best in design and innovation.

As part of 100% Design’s four-day seminar programme, Talks with 100% Design, BIID Past President Daniel Hopwood will be chairing a panel discussion titled, ‘20 ways to achieve #DesignGoals’. Taking place on Saturday September 21 from 12:00pm – 12:45pm in the auditorium, Daniel will be joined by BIID Registered Interior Designers; Anna Burles of Run For The Hills, Dee Gibson of Velvet Orangeand Mathew Freeman of Goddard Littlefair.

The lively discussion will see panellists share their tops tips to help you achieve your #designgoals. Panellists will draw on their own personal experiences to provide design insights and advice to inspire their audience.

designjunction at London’s Kings Cross

September 19 – 22, 2019

Designjunction presents the breakthrough brands having a direct impact on the future of design. Hosted in London’s Kings Cross, the four-day event includes an exciting talks programme and over 200 exhibitors.

On Friday September 20, BIID President Harriet Forde will be hosting a BIID Members’ breakfast at Blueprint Café from 9:00 – 11:00am. The breakfast will provide members with an informal tour of the event highlights and the opportunity to network with fellow designers.

Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

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Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

Work has commenced on a £1.4 million refurbishment programme at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in the heart of Dundee…

Over the coming months the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa‘s public spaces – including the reception and conference areas, as well as the hotel’s Metro Bar & Brasserie and Yu Spa – will be transformed, bringing a spectacular new look and feel to the hotel. The significant investment comes less than one year after the completion of a £2.4 million bedroom refurbishment.

The full programme of improvements is set to be completed in the New Year, with the hotel operating business as usual throughout the period.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see work starting on the latest round of refurbishment work at the hotel,” said Ronnie MacKay, the general manager at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. “The feedback from guests following the bedroom refurbishment has been exceptionally positive and, given that the plans in place for the public areas look absolutely fantastic, we’re confident our guests will be impressed with the finished result.

“The significant investment in the hotel over the past twelve months or so really underlines Apex’s commitment to constantly raising the bar and ensuring first-class standards for guests across the board. We’ll keep our guests informed of our plans every step of the way, but as the works continue over the coming months, we fully intend to operate business as usual until we unveil the finished product.”

Since late 2017, Apex Hotels has invested approximately £12 million in refurbishment works across its 10 UK hotels.

Main image credit: Apex Hotels

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

W Hotels Debuts in Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
W Hotels Debuts in Oman

The “lavish playground” of W Muscat is set to shake up the coastal haven with bold design, eclectic programming and Oman’s First Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar…

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International Inc., has announced the opening of W Muscat, the brand’s newest beachfront W Escape and the second to open in the Middle East this year. Set against the backdrop of the rugged Al Hajar Mountains, which form a stark contrast to the historic capital city’s lively waterfront, W Muscat sits at the intersection of the bustling Shatti Al Qurum area.

Modern, fresh and vibrant interiors of a guest room

The hotel opens as part of Marriott International’s plans add more than 30 luxury hotels to its portfolio this year, furthering the company’s global perspective on luxury travel with its ensemble of eight distinct luxury brands.

“Muscat is a fascinating and exciting city. Its cultural DNA honors millennia of tradition while looking to what’s new and next – an ideal match for the W brand,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “The arrival of W in Muscat marks a new chapter for both the brand and this buzzing metropolis. The hotel reinterprets Omani design and cultural traditions to create a modern, energetic and stylish Escape unlike anything the sultanate has seen before.”

“Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea.”

The architectural narrative of W Muscat immerses guests in the concept of exploration and the illustrious storytelling tradition of the nomadic Bedouin traveller. Its striking design is inspired by the diverse and vibrant natural locale – from the rugged mountain range to the vast Omani desert, the sparkling bay to the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Colorful hints of Muscat’s vibrant culture are interspersed throughout the spaces to evoke the mystery and adventure of the city’s rich heritage and storied past. W Muscat is a bold remix of traditional charm, natural beauty and the disruptive W DNA.

Bold design with Arabian themed interiors in the lobby lounge

Image credit: W Hotels

Welcoming guests upon arrival is a striking, nine-ton frankincense tree sculpture designed by renowned artist Pongsatat Uaiklang that pays tribute to Omani culture. Standing at an impressive 10 meters tall, the piece is made of solid stainless steel, welded from 28 winding pieces. In traditional Omani culture, frankincense was used to bless and welcome weary travelers after their long journeys. In that same tradition, guests are then ushered into the inviting Living Room (W’s signature take on the lobby) where they can relax and unwind in an Arabic Majlis, beneath an oversized installation of the Omani Kummas, chic headgears that are unmistakable marks of the Omani attire. Whether looking for a re-energizing iced tea or a cocktail, The Living Room is the perfect venue to see and be seen.

“Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks.”

All of the 279 guestrooms and suites at W Muscat provide uninterrupted views of the glistening blue water, with their design drawing inspiration from the ocean as well as the asymmetrical lines of the nearby mountains, caves and desert. These are contrasted with art deco detailing, reminiscent of traditional Omani charm. Asymmetrical corridors across the floors depict an artistic theme of ‘every girl has a story’ through locally commissioned holographic artworks depicting a female perspective of power, love, peace and beauty. Designed for an extra spacious and edgy stay is the EWOW suite (the brand’s take on the traditional Presidential Suite) which features subtle Arabic characteristics with a distinctive W edge. The corner Majlis seating showcases a Zanzibar-inspired print, a nod to the Omani Kumma or headgear, set against an inviting coffee table in celebration of Arabic coffee or Qahwa. The ceiling features tilted white paneling, evoking the intimacy of relaxing inside a tent. A saddle-like leather chair, bold mustard yellow stool, and faux fur wall are inspired by horse or camelback travel. Stacked luggage trunks comprise the MIXBAR (the W spin on the minibar) while a trunk closet lined with exotic silk links back to the narrative of the nomad.

An 1800 sqm beachfront pool offers unparalleled views of the Gulf of Oman and forms part of the W brand’s iconic WET experience. Here, guests can swim, soak up the sun and enjoy signature beverages while listening to live DJ performances. WET is the hottest place to cool off, take a dip, make a splash, and get your glow on. W Muscat will be hosting a FUEL Weekend in October – the W brand’s signature fitness and wellness retreat – where WET will take center stage. FUEL guests can expect next level, energy-soaked celebrity workouts, killer parties and delicious beverage and food offerings all celebrating the brand’s DETOX. RETOX. REPEAT. philosophy.

Elsewhere, the Escape’s AWAY® Spa offers 10 treatment rooms, a steam room, a hammam and a couples’ treatment room. The design is inspired by the ancient ritual of stargazing where guests are enveloped under a bejeweled night sky with the intimacy of cave-like comfort.

The highly anticipated Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar makes an Oman debut at W Muscat, bringing its signature flair for culinary prowess and inventive mixology to the rooftop restaurant and lounge. Overlooking the sweeping coastline of Shatti Al Qurum, the space interlocks both indoor and outdoor venues and celebrates the story of Bedouin travellers through innovative design and artistic representation. Ocean vistas are framed by an extraordinary rooftop infinity pool that invites guests to literally dive into the action and order a cocktail at the swim up bar. Siddharta Lounge By Buddha-Bar transforms from a daytime respite for lounging and relaxing amongst gorgeous views to a scene-setting hotspot when the sun goes down and the music turns up.

Trailblazing its way around the globe, with more than 50 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched.

Main image credit: W Hotels

4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

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4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

In a response to the industry insight on styling a hotel for design press article, Hotel Designs’ official hotel review photographer, ACT Studios, argues that 3D photography is where the future of hotel marketing is heading…

Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.

Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.

So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?

What is virtual tour photography?

Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer. 3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.

Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail. Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? It’s Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you. Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.

3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property, which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.

The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.

4 ways in which 3D photography can help your hotel business

1) 3D photography can improve your guest experience and ratings

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Oddfellows On The Park. Read full review here.

Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought. And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.

Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration. This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.

It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price. Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.

2) 360 photography can refresh your brand image

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of University Arms, Cambridge. Read full review here.

“The quality of the imagery is second to none.” – Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager, Hotel Gotham.

Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.

Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.

But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.

The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.

“Adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent.”

3) 360 virtual tour photography can help improve your occupancy rates

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Hotel Gotham. Read the full review here.

Recent research by TripAdviser shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking enquiry by 225 per cent. And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151 per cent and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238 per cent compared to properties with no photos

In addition, a study by Matterport concluded that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent and yield a 15 per cent increase in online engagement.

4) Virtual tours are an honest complement to photography that encourages trust

By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them. There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust, which then sees guests returning time after time.

If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then contact ACT Studios here.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Downtown Manhattan inspires new guestrooms inside Andaz Wall Street

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Downtown Manhattan inspires new guestrooms inside Andaz Wall Street

Hospitality-focused architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor recently completed the interior design renovation of the Andaz Wall Street’s 253 guest rooms in Manhattan…

Inspired by downtown Manhattan, the new interior design sheltered within Andaz Wall Street is modern, crisp and includes a number of twists. The designers at Stonewall Taylor contemplated what an artist loft and studio might look like for a Wall Street Executive turned artist.

The design team took great care to inject personal touches into the guestroom design, incorporating art pieces, distinct furniture and lighting, and the space’s signature moment: hand-sketched wall coverings and line work that reflects downtown Manhattan’s evocative and rich architectural forms. Sketched in-house, the overall concept adds a personal touch to the design that seems to come almost from the hands of the creatives who live and work in the neighborhood.

Clean and modern guestroom

Image credit: Andaz Wall Street

Starting at 345-square-feet in size, the guestrooms are among the most spacious in New York City. Each room offers modern design, hardwood floors, walk-in rain showers and 12-foot ceilings with oversized windows to let in ample amounts of light. Each room features veined quartz, end-grain bamboo, and grey wood finishes, plus elegant bay window seating for reading and relaxation.

Main image credit: Andaz Wall Street

Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Home comforts in hotel design

In August 2019, editor Hamish Kilburn concludes that trends are overrated when a project close to his heart reaches its highly anticipated conclusion…

I can’t quite believe it has been almost one year since we first started following the award-winning designer Nicky Dobree on her journey to complete her debut hotel design project. Before now, her undisputed talent was recognised for designing the interiors of 007-esqe luxury mountain retreats (Kevin McCloud’s words, not mine unfortunately).

But this year, she has injected her effortless style to restore a 19thcentury building in Vejer, Spain, which is known as Plaza 18 – and Hotel Designs has been there every step of the way.

Now that the season has ramped up to reach its peak, there’s no better time to put down the measuring tape, take a step back and reward Dobree’s “labour of love” as we cut the ribbon. More than 1,300 miles from Andalucia, the team in the London office are gathered around my computer screen as they impatiently wait for the folder to download, of which contains the final images of the new boutique hotel. Until now, you see, we have had to settle for shakey behind-the-scenes, unquestionably raw, photographs taken on location, as well as renders and sketches, which merely tease the luxury home-from-home concept in the making.

You’d be wrong to assume it’s an easy task working on a project of this scale. What the hotel lacks in the number of guestrooms (six to be precise) it makes up for in personality. And if anyone could sensitively re-establish the heritage property in order to give it a new lease of life, it would be Dobree.

“All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

‘Home comforts’ feels like an appropriate theme for this month’s column. Four years after capturing my first solo metropolis memory, which then drove me to chase my career in a number of cities in the UK, I’ve hit a crossroads and have decided to take the right-hand turn, which has result in me hurtling back towards my hometown of Whitstable in Kent. Nestled on the north-east tip of the Garden of England, where home comforts – think sea views that stretch over the horizon and unparalleled sunsets – are never in short supply, this feels like ‘home’ to me. “All that is missing is a luxury design-led hotel,” I think to myself as I run past the colourful beach huts (place your bids).

It seems I am not alone in chasing home comfort. Last year, a study published by Forbes showed that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 per cent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 per cent loss in hotel revenue. But as damning as this statistic may seem, hotels are fighting back to offer more home-from-home comforts married together with one-off experiences to capture travellers’ attention.

Examples of this can be found all over the Hotel Designs website this month, from our Miniview of room2’s ‘hometel’ concept in Southampton to a new ‘private members’ bar’-styled hotel that will open in London next year – and not forgetting the exceptional Plaza 18. Perhaps subconsciously, my year-long project with Dobree has led me to positively seek comfort in timeless style as opposed to chasing the short-term thrills of seasonal trends.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hilton Munich City completes $50 million renovation

Hilton Munich City is placing the finishing touches on a $50 million hotel transformation project, which includes a full refurbishment of the hotel, including all public areas, guestrooms, fitness centre and F&B areas…

Hilton Munich City, which opened a new F&B area called Juliet Rose earlier this year, has now been completed a full $50 million renovation. “We are thrilled to present this amazing, refreshed hotel to all our guests and clients,” said Dagmar Muhle, the general manager of Hilton Munich City.

“This way we are able to continue to innovate in the way we deliver our signature hospitality and provide our guests with an enhanced experience here at Hilton Munich City. We are also very excited to have been recognized as ‘Germany’s Leading City Hotel 2019’ at the World Travel Awards Europe 2019, a great achievement and confirmation of the services our team delivers on a daily basis.”

Juliet Rose is made up of four different seating zones, each with different stand-out features, plus two bars. The main ‘ceremony bar’ is a stunning, monolithic U-shaped design that guests coming from the hotel entrance see as soon as they enter the space, at the far end of a central approach. A second, smaller-scale coffee bar is made of the same dramatic moss-green and highly-polished granite, with the choice of material referencing the earthiness of botanical ingredients. The granite for the main bar has been book-matched to ensure dramatic textural veining from the front. Above and behind the main bar, the gantry structure is made up of brass sections, with an industrial/lab feel, underscored by an apothecary-style bottle display. The barman prepares cocktails at its centre, making full use of dry ice, bell jars and a sense of reveal.

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

“The overall design approach for the space was based on form and order, with drama, freedom and an opposing sense of randomness created by the furniture and accessorising’, architect David Lee Hood, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, explained. ‘When it came to structure, we added a number of new elements to the space to give a feeling of overall order and symmetry, whilst also ensuring playful visibility between zones via glazed screens offering varying privacy levels.”

The hotel provides a complement of services and brand amenities, including 483 guestrooms, nine meeting rooms, MONA restaurant, Juliet Rose Bar and a fitness centre.

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Is this the most fashion-forward lifestyle hotel in Bangkok?

SO Sofitel Bangkok, designed by Monsieur Christian Lacroix, claims to be the country’s most fashionable lifestyle hotel, and here’s why… 

An urban luxury, design-led hotel, SO Sofitel Bangkok is a modern fusion of East meets West, and is the ideal spot for style-conscious travellers in Thailand. Designed in a unique collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer, Monsieur Christian Lacroix, and five of Thailand’s top designers.

dark and sulty tones in one of the hotel's design-led suites

Touches of Monsieur Christian Lacroix are peppered throughout the property, from the playful staff uniforms, to the hotel’s logo and executive lounge, adorned with modernist artwork, colourful furniture and unrivalled views over the skyline. The elegant rooms are divided into the five elements of Chinese culture, with each designed by a different local artist. While metal rooms are washed in brilliant whites, those in water are rich, dark and intimate, to reflect the sensation of being underwater. Perhaps the most unusual are the earth suites, modelled on ancient grottos with deep blue walls decorated with sketches of mammoths and other exotic animals.

With a variety of restaurants and bars, including a traditional street market style food hall with live cooking stations, a sleek rooftop restaurant and a boutique chocolate café, SO Sofitel Bangkok’s dining offering is second-to-none. The award-winning Park Society offers culinary creativity with unparalleled views of Lumpinki Park, whilst the innovative Chocolab serves-up chocolates from Bonnat, the world’s oldest chocolatier in France.

Home to the hottest rooftop pool in Bangkok with panoramic views over Lumpinki Park. Style and elegance collide beautifully at SO Sofitel Bangkok, the Luxury five-star Hotel that’s setting a new standard for leisure hotels in Bangkok.

Main image credit: So Sofitel Bangkok

CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CitizenM has announced fourth arrival in London

Global hotel group, citizenM, announces the acquisition of a Victoria property for its fourth London hotel, opening in 2021…

citizenM has announced that construction will commence in May 2020 for a new hotel in London, following the demolition of the existing Denison House. The 226-room hotel, designed by concrete with architecture by ICA, will comprise basement and ground floor levels, with ten upper floors and will be built using citizenM’s innovative modular construction method.

Each of the rooms will be built and furnished one-by-one in an offsite factory and then moved to the site where they will be assembled to make up the hotel. Prefabrication enables faster construction and easier quality control, and also guides the architectural aesthetic of all citizenM locations. No matter how they’re assembled, citizenM buildings are recognisable in their surroundings for their identifiably square units, clean lines, and artwork on the facades.

citizenM’s hybrid hotels offer travellers luxury accommodation at affordable prices in hyper-busy urban centres. This latest addition, situated in the heart of London, will be close to major London tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Tate Britain, and offer great transport links within Greater London and Gatwick Airport – perfect for all mobile citizens.

“We are excited to have completed this transaction after securing planning consent in a prime location in Westminster. With three hotels already operating successfully in London, this new property will offer a fantastic addition to our existing portfolio and confirms our commitment to expand further in London’s most desirable neighbourhoods,” said Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM hotels.

The hotel’s interiors will be designed by citizenM’s Amsterdam-based partner Concrete, and will feature furniture from long-term collaborator Vitra. The guestrooms will include citizenM’s famous XL king-sized beds, powerful rain showers and large flat screen TVs. Guests will be able to enjoy the same creative technology that has marked citizenM as an innovative force in hospitality, from online check in to in-room mood pads.

The new Victoria-based hotel will be located at 292 Vauxhall Bridge Road and will be the fourth stand post of citizenM in London, following openings in Bankside (2012), Tower of London (2016) and Shoreditch (2016).

In Europe, the key target cities for new sites are London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

Main image credit: citizenM

Empty room with various styles of seating

In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Matthew Balon at Ruby Leni’s first showing

Ruby Hotels has re-entered the stage to take a second bow in Dusseldorf, Germany. The 170-key Ruby Leni, which takes shelter in a former 1950s theatre, is the hotel group’s seventh hotel to harness ‘lean luxury’. Editor Hamish Kilburn travels just south of the city’s fashion district to meet the group’s lead designer, Matthew Balon, the morning after the night before’s launch party to discuss design details, the significance of paper puppets and the brand’s highly anticipated 2020 arrival in London…

Empty room with various styles of seating

They say that to make any act truly memorable, the performer must enter the stage armed with a spectacular encore up his or her sleeve. In the case of Ruby Hotels in Dusseldorf, the main performance took place last year with the arrival Ruby Coco. The dynamic property is a contemporary urban hub that is nestled within the city’s main shopping district, just off Königsallee – AKA a fashionista’s heaven. The interiors inside are sharp, considered and give more than an apt nod to the fashion quarters that surround it.

[CURTAIN UP]

If Coco was used in the opening scene, engaging its captivated audience with the allure of couture costumes, then the encore is Ruby Leni, which is situated a mere 10 minutes down the road. Although the neighbourhood may feel quieter, its entrance certainly isn’t: a large marquee sign with the words ‘make it your own stay’ frames an appropriate first impression.

Exterior shot of the hotel, showing a colourful courtyard

Image credit: Ruby Leni

[PUBLIC AREAS ENTER FROM STAGE RIGHT]

With large, expansive public spaces that filter into plush private break-out areas, the hotel is designed for both locals and guests checking in. The character and soul has been channelled into the lobby/lounge, where the real story of the iconic 1900s building, which sheltered the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre, comes to life. “We looked at the materials, shapes and forms that you would associate to a theatre of that era,” says Lead Designer Matthew Balon. “We then separated that into front-of-house and back-of-house. We wanted to challenge that idea by merging those areas. For example, we have included stage cases in the lobby to really create an authentic feeling of being part of the production, behind the scenes.”

[GUESTROOMS ENTER FROM STAGE LEFT]

Upstairs, the sharp and stylish guestrooms have been designed around the original peculiar structure of the building, creating an interesting layout in each. The design and general make-up of the room, though, is a reflection of the others in the entire hotel group’s portfolio: crisp white beds, refillable toiletries and eco-friendly rain showers to match. The brand calls it ‘lean luxury’, which is posh for ‘uncomplicated, laid-back comfort’ – and it works, especially for bleisure travellers.

White, bright and contemporary guestroom

Image credit: Ruby Leni

Although you would recognise the rooms as ‘Ruby Rooms’ guests with eagle eyes will notice subtle differences, like the wood panelling for example.  “It’s been designed to also reference the story of the hotel,” explains Balon. “I looked into how sets were built and was inspired by the fact that guests in the theatre only ever see the pretty side. I wanted to show the back of the sets, the flats. I was interested to know how these things stood up and how they were constructed. That provided the inspiration for the wall panelling and the reinforced corner detailing.

Another quirky touch that sensitively helps set the theatrical scene is the art above the beds. Bolan initially wanted to do something with shadow puppets, which evolved into creating an immersive and playful paper puppet stage. “I really love introducing interior design elements that are fun and interactive,” says Balon. “We like to have fun with it and make an interesting element to guests’ stay.”

[APPLAUSE]

Image caption: Editor Hamish Kilburn (left) dragged the Lead Designer for Ruby Hotels, Michael Bolan (right), out on ‘stage’ the morning after the launch party before…

Quick-fire round:

Hamish Kilburn: What can you not travel without?
Matthew Bolan: My Darth Vader suitcase. I just love it!

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MB: Japan.

HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when checking in to a hotel?
MB: Queuing!

HK: What is the number-one tool for success?
MB: You have to create an emotional connection.

HK: What is the last thing that showed up on your credit card transactions?
MB: A round of drinks I bought last night. It’s your round at the next launch, I’m told…

Most hotel designers are working with many several brands and brand standards, and so it is interesting how Bolan, within his creative realms, can piece together many different stories with the same Ruby strand running through each. “It is all-encompassing,” he says. “What the brand stands for in regards to design is something I can really get behind. When I think about Ruby, I think of all the people who bring the brand to life.”

[CURTAIN CALL]

The brand’s design is spilling out of the seams and leaving a permanent stain on new destinations. The next hotel design hotspot to welcome the arrival of Ruby Hotels is London – to the Southbank to be more specific. “We have done a lot of research into the location, which is a really interesting corner of London,” Balon explains. “I can tell you that Ruby Lucy is going to be fun, colourful, unexpected and I am really looking forward to the opening party!”

Ruby Hotels first unveiled its unique concept with Vienna hotel Ruby Sofie in 2014, before opening two further hotels in Vienna, Ruby Marie and Ruby Lissi, as well as Ruby Lilly in Munich, Ruby Coco in Dusseldorf and most recently Ruby Lotti in Hamburg. In response to the success of these properties, the brand plans further openings including Ruby Lucy in London’s bustling Southbank in early 2020, as well as hotels in Zurich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Shanghai before the end of 2020.

[CURTAIN CLOSED]

Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hyatt Regency arrives in East Shenzhen

The 298-room hotel, Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian, aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energizing experiences to business and leisure guests alike…

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian in the east Guangdong Province, China. The new hotel aims to bring the Hyatt Regency brand’s signature intuitive service and energising experiences to business and leisure guests alike.

As part of a newly concepted Recreational Business District, the property is located in the heart of Yantian District, neighboring Dameisha Beach and Overseas Chinese Town East along a 12 mile (19.5 kilometer) golden coast.

“We sincerely appreciate the support from our owner Shenzhen Vanke Binhai Real Estate Ltd. and are excited to see the Hyatt Regency brand footprint grow in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA),” said Stephen Ho, president, Greater China, global operations at Hyatt. “We look forward to welcoming our guests to Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian with confidence for a world-class hospitality experience.”

Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian was designed by the renowned HEITZ PARSONS SADEK and features 298 contemporary guestrooms with varied dimensions ranging from 462 square feet to more than 2,300 square feet (43 square meters to 215 square meters). There are 20 suites, four Regency Executive Suites and one Presidential Suite, all of which are spacious and located on the 41st to the 50th floor. Select rooms offer gorgeous ocean views and all rooms feature high-quality amenities and panoramic French windows. Guests staying in Club Access Rooms and Suites can enjoy the exclusive Regency Club benefits on the 49th floor.

Modern and clean hotel guest room

Image credit: Hyatt Hotels

The hotel offers several fine dining restaurants that cater to varying tastes and group sizes, including XIANGYUE, a comfortable experience that is said to feel like dining in a country village and Market Café is a stylish all-day dining restaurant.

The hotel offers nearly 25,000 square feet (2,321 square meters) of meeting and event space in total, including a 12,916 square foot (1,200-square meter) pillar-free grand ballroom and five salons equipped with high-tech audio and video systems. Additionally, the ballroom foyer provides more than 6,500 square feet (612 square meters) of flexible pre-functional space to perfectly showcase the creativity of any event.

Guests can relax in the hotel’s refreshing outdoor pool or work out anytime at the hotel’s fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment.

“Inspired by the hotel’s surroundings, the hotel was built with the concept of bringing the forest into the city, offering guests a place to take a deep breath of fresh air and bask in the beautiful scenery,” said Mary Liu, general manager of Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian. “As a bridge between GBA and the Pearl River Delta area, Shenzhen is at the core of this booming region. We are delighted to deliver Hyatt’s well-known expertise in food and beverage and full range of services and amenities for a productive stay.”

More than 190 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in more than 30 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient personalised, high-touch business meetings to energizing family vacations.

Main image: Hyatt Hotels

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Discreet luxury unveiled by Nicky Dobree in the heart of Vejer

To complete the Concept to Completion series with Nicky Dobree, Hotel Designs is given the keys to finally unlock the majestic heavy doors of pure luxury inside Plaza 18… 

Up until now, the designer Nicky Dobree has been synonymous with luxury Alpine chalet design and most recently very high end residential design. Most recently she has turned her attention to Plaza 18, her debut hotel design project in collaboration with Vejer’s Hotel La Casa del Califa.

Large and expansive public area that is designed to look very residential

Set in the former 19th C merchant’s house Nicky Dobree has taken inspiration from this elegant building and brought new life back into this Grand Dame by respecting its history, but also lifting its character to provide an enriched experience for the modern traveller. Working with local trades and craftsmen, the building, which dates back to 1896 and stands on the foundations of an ancient 13th C Arab house, has been entirely restored using authentic organic building materials where ever possible.

“Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.”

Exterior of the hotel

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

Dobree was determined to restore and re-use as many of its existing features as possible. The original black and white floor tiles were therefore lifted and re-laid on newly levelled floors. The Montera (large glazed roof lantern over the entrance patio) was carefully dismantled and repaired to its former glory, which now floods the entrance foyer with light. The stone staircase and balustrade were also completely restored, as was all the metal work around the entrance gate. Many of the original shutters and windows were restored along with the front door. Meticulous care and attention to detail has been maintained throughout the refurbishment of this important historic property.

Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiors

Image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

The designer felt that her role was to curate this elegant old building and to bring it a new lease of life, enhancing its beauty with style and a subtle creative twist.

Plaza 18 has been a true labour of love with the inevitable obstacles of planning, working abroad and within a listed building. The trials and tribulations of restoring an old building and the rules and regulations that needed to be adhered to, to convert it into a commercial venture, has meant that the project took two years to get through planning and a further two years to compete.

The hotel is now the secret second home that one has always dreamed of, warm and welcoming with a strong sense of place, an oasis within an oasis.

Whilst the details adhere to the classical principles of the house, there is comfort and elegance through every door. Every room has a story to tell and contains pieces that have been lovingly curated by Dobree from around the world. This is evident from the moment you enter with the oversized black and white mirror by a South African artist which makes a dramatic statement in the entrance.  Dobree designed the bespoke console to sit beneath the mirror that complements the monochromatic entrance scheme.

In the patio whilst your eye is drawn up to the montera and the wonderful central staircase you cannot miss the large scale butterfly painting sourced from an antiques fair.

Stepping into the sitting room, there is nothing more welcoming than a well stocked drinks trolley, an honesty bar, that can be enjoyed by guests at Plaza 18. Standing proud above it is a painting of Admiral Lord de Saumarez who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar (a short drive from the hotel) alongside Admiral Lord Nelson.

“On a clear day the North African coast is visible.”

Leading off the sitting room is the main terrace with views across the old town, sierras and coast line. On a clear day the North African coast is visible. It is here that guests can enjoy breakfast, sitting on olive wicker chairs with outdoor fabrics that complement the vintage printed crockery. No detail has been missed.

Tall black bespoke doors with circular brass handles designed by Dobree create drama and continuity throughout. Behind each of these doors are interiors that are intensely layered and so inviting that everywhere you turn is a visual delight.   Here you will discover more of Dobree’s curated pieces such as a Japanese Boro Kimono or collage painting by Peter Clarke.

All the bathrooms have been beautifully designed using Spanish floor tiles and bespoke marble vanities with Lefroy Brooks deco style fittings echoing the elegance of the house.

The attention to detail is reflected in every aspect of one’s experience here. Dobree worked with a renowned perfumer to provide bespoke toiletries that have been specially formulated to create a signature scent for Plaza 18 and that are soft and subtle on the skin. The scent is inspired by the aromas that perfume Vejer, orange, bergamot, lavender and geranium. The base of olive oil and almond that nourishes the skin is local too.

Plaza 18 has a true home from home feeling that brings Dobree’s collective chic and timeless elegant style to Vejer. It is a place to feel at home, a place to disconnect and re-discover.

Hotel Designs has followed the construction of Plaza 18, Dobree’s first hotel project, from concept to competition. Click here to read part one. Click here to read part two. Click here to read part three

Main image credit: Plaza 18/Philip Vile

“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
“Alexa, send up my coffee”: It’s here, it’s real and you need to take it seriously

Amazon’s Alexa took up the job of hotel concierge with Marriott in mid-2018. It’s done well and is now ready for consideration by your property. STAAH writes…

At first, everyone felt it would be a bit much to expect guests to use Alexa to call housekeeping. But with 65 per cent of 25 – 49-year-olds using voice search at least once a day and 55 per cent of the households expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022, voice is become part of consumer routine. Even when they travel, it seems.

What is Alexa for Hospitality?

For guests staying at Marriott, many rooms have had a minimum occupancy of two since June 2018 when the hotel chain adopted to put Amazon Echo inside to enhance guest experience.

Amazon for Hospitality offers hotels and vacation rentals the opportunity to set up customised versions of Echo products that work like a digital concierge right in your room. These Echos are specialised to answer questions about your reservations, facilities such as pool or spa hours and local amenities. You can order room service or housekeeping too. Basically, anything that might lead you to dial for help on that in-room phone sounds like it will be a job that Alexa can tackle instead.

Guests can benefit from Alexa’s growing skill set. And if they have their own Amazon account they’d like to use during their stay, soon they can actually log in to the device to make the experience more customised.

Having done a good job at impressing guests at the Marriott, Alexa for Hospitality was invited into hotel chains such as Westin, Regis Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels or Aloft hotels.

How it works?

Alexa is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), using machine learning to deliver an experience that is personalised. In hospitality, this means a seamless integration to a hotel’s back-office systems, housekeeping, the concierge and front desk.

The Alexa for Hospitality system isn’t just the Echo devices in the room, however – it’s a suite of tools for configuring the Echo devices, available via a dashboard where hotels can update their information, enable skills, adjust settings and track usage. Hoteliers can also measure guest engagement through Alexa’s reporting and analytics platform.

The system is easy to install and activate. The device is muted and activates only when a guest’s check-in and activates it for use. It automatically disconnects after every checkout. Alexa for Hospitality is customisable and with its real-time reporting enables you to take actions that will leave your guest happy.

What’s the future?

The concept of smart speakers in hotel rooms is still in its infancy, but early adopters are gaining when it comes to the best measure of a hotel’s success – guest experience.

Alexa for Hospitality is now being trialled by vacation rentals such as Properly. It’s ready for the next phase in its growth, and founded on technology (voice search) that will be the next big thing in the world of internet. Are you ready for it?

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

Main image caption/credit: Alexa for Hospitality/Amazon

designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
designjunction’s speaker programme set to challenge, provoke and engage

designjunction, which is preparing to showcase more than 200 world-class international brands during London Design Festival, has just announced its speakership programme for 2019 which will be sheltered at Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross… 

This year designjunction will launch a brand new talks programme at the Everyman Cinema in King’s Cross, in association with Clippings.

Set against the millennial-pink backdrop of the cinema and curated by design and architecture writer and commentator Grant Gibson, the two-day platform (Thursday 19 – Friday 20 September) is set to challenge, provoke and engage with an eclectic range of topical issues that include: sustainability and the circular economy; the relationship between dyslexia and design; the need for increased diversity in design; and the importance of wellbeing at work.

In responding to this year’s theme Re(act), the two-day programme breaks the mould and opens up a discussion about what truly matters through a series of lively discussions. The diverse and considered programme includes debates and book clubs with a slew of the industry’s leading thinkers and expert voices including: renowned architect Nigel Coates, designer Sevil Peach, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of London design studio Industrial Facility, Founder of 1882 Emily Johnson, product designer Matthew Hilton and University of Cambridge researcher, Helen Taylor.

“By clicking here and using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London”

Thursday 19 September

Title: Wellness in the Workplace – Is It Anything More Than A Passing Fad?
Time: 10.00am – 10.45am

Speakers: Interior Architect Sevil Peach; Rosamund Pomeroy, workplace Scientist and Co-founder of brainybirdz; Fabienne O’Neil, Co-founder and Director of Cuckooz and Mark Eltringham, Founder of Workplace Insight. A panel of workplace experts – includingdesigners, journalists and workplace scientists – will unpick our current obsession with wellbeing and ask if it’s simply feng-shui for the new Millennium.

Title: Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor: Ella Doran and the Circular Economy
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

The award-winning designer Ella Doran discusses her latest project with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor, where she took fleeces from the sheep grazing in the park’s grounds and turned them into a variety of products that were then sold in the park’s shop. The project involved a host of manufacturing companies including Camira, Coakley & Cox and Alternative Flooring. The talk promises to touch on subjects such as sustainability and the importance of the circular economy.

Title: Lunchtime Book Club | Brinkworth: So Far So Good
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Adam Brinkworth, Founder of Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan, Co-CEO at Brinkworth
Chaired by Riya Patel, Curator at The Aram Gallery and Contributing Editor at ICON

To celebrate the launch of their new monograph – written by Graeme Brookerand with a foreword from Michael Marriott and Peter Higgins – Adam Brinkworth and Kevin Brennan discuss the award-winning practice ‘Brinkworth’ and chart how it has grown from a small workshop in East London into a globally renowned design and architecture studio, with clients ranging from Converse to All Saints.

Title: Dyslexia and Design
Time: 14.00 – 14.45

A high powered panel including designer Ab Rogers of ARD, product designer James Rokos, metal artist Simone ten Hompel and Cambridge University Educational researcherHelen Taylor will be discussing their dyslexia, looking at the impact it has had on their lives, their experience of the education system, and, ultimately, how it has enabled – rather than hindered – their careers.

Title: The Standard London: How the Capital Got its Hottest New Hotel
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

Housed in the former Camden Town Hall Annex a mere stone’s throw from the Everyman Cinema, The Standard London is the brand’s first hotel outside the US. It contains 266 rooms in 42 unique styles and has been described as ‘London’s hottest hotel open for 2019’. In a warm up to the Sleep & Eat show in November, Sleeper magazine’s editor Matthew Turner talks to some of the people that made it happen.

Friday 20 September

Title: Britain Can (Still) Make It
Time: 10.00 – 10.45

Speakers: Emily Johnson, Founder of high end ceramics company 1882; Joni Steiner, Founder of hi-tech furniture firm Open Desk; Furniture and Product Designer, Matthew Hilton and Richard Blackwell, Executive Director at Bisley

A panel discussion that looks at the future of British manufacturing, seeking to unpick the problems and the benefits of making things in this country and asking what role design can play, as well as pondering how technology is likely to disrupt the traditional model. Expect Brexit to be mentioned on at least one occasion.

Title: New Voices in Design
Time: 11.00 – 11.45

Organised in conjunction with Living Etc, this panel talk seeks to discover how new voices from diverse backgrounds can be encouraged into the design industry. It will include a combination of personal stories and policy ideas.

The panel promises to feature industrial ceramic designer and creative director ofThomas Goode, Peter Ting, as well as textile designer Eva Sonaike, Kevin Greenco-founder of STORE STORE and Ella Ritchie, director of Intoart, an art and design studio that works inclusively with people with learning difficulties.

Title: The Future: Design in Turbulent Times
Time: 12.00 – 12.45

Speakers: Central Saint Martins Graduates including Mael Henaff, Elissa Brunato, Benjamin Benmoyal and Graysha Audren.

A session of rapid fire presentations from recent graduates of Central Saint Martins, tying in with its show at the nearby Lethaby Gallery. What will the future of design look like? And what materials will we be using? Can design help society become both more sustainable and equitable?

This talk will be introduced by Carole Collet, Director at CSM LVMH Sustainable Innovation, and hosted by William Knight, former Deputy Director of the London Design Festival.

Title: Queer Culture and the City
Time: 14.00 – 14.45 

Renowned architect, designer and educator Nigel Coates discusses how LGBTQ culture has fundamentally changed – and will continue to transform – the shape of our cities. With Isabel Allen, editor-in-chief of the new architecture magazine, Citizen.

Title: Aperitif Book Club: Industrial Facility
Time: 16.00 – 16.45

To celebrate their recent Phaidon monograph, leading designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility discuss the studio’s history, which has encompassed an array of projects from office furniture forHerman Miller to a spray watering can for Muji via lights for Wastberg and, of course the brilliant Branca chair for Mattiazzi.

This year’s talks programme has been curated by design, craft and architecture writer Grant Gibson.

Grant has been published in The Observer, New Statesman, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, FRAME, Dwell, House & Garden amongst others.

During a long career in magazines, Grant has been editor of Blueprint, deputy editor of FX, and acting executive editor of the RIBA Journal. More recently he has been editor of Crafts and a contributing editor of the Dutch architecture title MARK. He was also the launch editor of the London Design Festival Guide and co-founded Real to Reel, the UK’s first film festival devoted to making and in 2019 he launched the critically acclaimed new podcast series Material Matters.

Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of designjunction. By using the code DJ700, readers of Hotel Designs are entitled a 50 per cent discount off tickets to designjunction, which takes place from September 19-22 in London… 

Main image credit: designjunction

A beautiful bathroom can also be an affordable bathroom, says Kaldewei

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A beautiful bathroom can also be an affordable bathroom, says Kaldewei

From budget to luxurious, Kaldewei offers personalised bathroom planning solutions to suit any project…

Studies show that there is huge demand for personalised bathroom design. Ideally, we would all prefer to fit out our bathrooms to suit our personal tastes and needs, without compromising on quality. However, individual bathroom dreams can clash with the reality of higher costs that exceed our budget. Bathroom specialist Kaldewei shows that individual comfort and personal taste in the bathroom doesn’t have to be about money.

The manufacturer, offers attractive bathroom solutions to suit every pocket, from starter bathroom to superior comfort bathroom to luxury bathroom. All Kaldewei showers, baths and washbasins are made of superior steel enamel, making them extra long-lasting, sustainable and beautiful.

Kaldewei’s Cayono model family is the perfect solution for those who value quality and comfort when fitting out their bathroom but don’t want to overstretch theirbudget. Shower, washbasin and bath are available for as little as £1,785. It’s not only the design of Kaldewei bathroom solutions that is a highly attractive and perfectly coordinated. Comfort is key as well: walk-in access is a great advantage of the floor-level shower surface, the bath has plenty of space for up to two bathers, while the washbasin features Kaldewei’s easy-clean finish as standard. Thedistinctive “Made in Germany” quality and the longevity – reinforced with a 30-year guarantee – are additional benefits for builders and developers.

For those who want even more personalisation in their bathroom are well-advised to choose the coloured solutions from the Cono design family. The characteristics of this product family are the perfect interplay of clarity and calm, combined with a clean-lined look – ideal for discerning individuals who wish to make their bathroom into a space in which to relax body and mind. The built-in Conoduo bath with its minimalist lines and centrally-positioned steel enamel waste cover is not only an eye-catching feature in the bathroom but, thanks to its size and two ergonomic backrests, also the ideal place for two people to enjoy a relaxing bath together. To coordinate with the bath, we have the floor-level Conoflat shower surface: flat design with no tripping hazard. The rectangular Miena washbasin bowl goes perfectly with the Cono family bath and shower. The lightness of the Miena, a design icon, creates a distinctive accent in this trinity of products. For that added special touch opt for a dark matt shade from the exclusive Coordinated Colours Collection. The coloured Kaldewei bathroom solutions produce a highly distinctive ambience and elegant look in the bathroom. The trinity of bath, shower and washbasin in City- Anthracite matt is available for as little as £4,194.

Image caption/credit: Kaldewei Miena washbasin bowl, Conoflat shower surface, Conoduo bath, all in City- Anthracite matt from the Coordinated Colours Collection, total price approx. £4,194.

Time is precious. For those spending a lot of time in the bathroom and wanting to turn it into a luxurious personal sanctuary for regeneration are happy to invest more money in it. The ensemble designed by Anke Salomon, consisting of the freestanding Kaldewei Meisterstück Incava bath and the Miena washbasin bowls is a clear winner: the narrow bath rim and the conically shaped panelling lend the bath an especially light feel. This is mirrored in the delicate Miena washbasin bowls. Miena is a perfect example of how to harmoniously combine stable steel and elegant glass. The overall look of the room is rounded off by the floor-level Xetis shower surface which virtually disappears into the bathroom floor. Ultra seamless look: thanks to an integrated wall waste outlet, no waste cover in the floor detracts from the minimalist design of this jointless shower in XXL format. The Kaldewei bathroom solutions in this luxury bathroom cost around £10,263.

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

Main image caption/credit: Kaldewei Cayonoplan shower surface, wall-hung Puro washbasin, Cayono Duo bath: total price approx. £1,785.

What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What to expect at the Hospitality Design Show 2019

The Hospitality Design Show, the UK’s ultimate event for the designs behind business growth, is hitting London’s ExCeL on September 18 – 19, and here’s what you can expect to find…

We’re excited to be partnering with the show this year! Uniting passionate hospitality professionals with the industry’s leading creatives, the Hospitality Design Show is the hub of the of the solutions that’ll revolutionise the look and feel of hotels.

At the show, you’ll find 320 seminars by an unparalleled speaker line-up, boasting the likes of:

  • Gonzalo Carpintero – Radisson Hotel Group
  • Colin Minto – Marriott International
  • Adelle Chilinski – Premier Inn
  • Jon Sharp – Hilton EMEA
  • Alexandra Tollman – Red Carnation Hotels
  • Tiago Venancio – Choice Hotels International

What’s more, you’ll be able to shop from 500 state-of-the-art suppliers, get involved panel debates that’ll provide you with all the design tips, tricks and techniques you could possible need, take advance exclusive show offers available to visitors only, and much more!

And don’t forget, your ticket is not only free, but also gives you unprecedented access to the Hotel360, UK’s leading hospitality event, running directly alongside. So, secure your free ticket today by clicking here and let the world’s leading innovators guide you to success!

INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INSIDE THE FACTORY WITH: Hamilton Litestat

Celebrating half a century of being the trusted, reliable and high-quality brand for switch plates and sockets, Hamilton Litestat’s is, without a doubt, an industry leader. The company’s Head of Marketing, Gavin Williams, invites editor Hamish Kilburn along to its headquarters in Bristol to share some of the tools behind its esteemed reputation and ongoing legacy… 

For more than 50 years, Hamilton Litestat, one of the first companies in the world to produce dimmable products and USB charging sockets, has been leading an innovative path.

Following large investment in both equipment and people – from the factory floor right through to the sales and marketing teams, the company remains one of the leading manufacturers for switch plates and sockets.

As a result of its ability to be ahead of the curve when it comes to product innovation without diluting the quality of its products, Hamilton has attracted and retained the attention of large chains such as IHG, Marriott, Millennium Hotels and Radisson among many others, as well as leading independent hotels.

Situated on the fringes of Bristol, the company’s headquarters, and workplace for over 100 employees, stands as an ever-evolving hub of innovation, technology and shelters a driving force that ships out roughly 200,000 products per month most of which are dispatched within 24 hours.

As the majority of hotels on the boards continue to strive to create more personal interiors, it is now more important than ever before for suppliers to offer a variety of products, all of which are stamped with the same quality – and no brand understands the value of this than Hamilton. “The interior designer is one of the key cogs in the chain,” said Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat. “Therefore, that has created a demand for adding a statement within fixtures and fittings.”

The factory itself is a well-operating formula balancing both practical facilities and creative break-out areas. The space on the ground floor has been designed to create a swift, seamless and free-flowing manufacturing process. The raw materials – metal and plastic sheets – are pressed on one side of the building using state-of-the-art technology. By laser cutting, one sheet takes an average of 30 minutes to cut, producing roughly 150 plates, which are then ready to be wired. This process, as well as the stringent quality control that follows, still to this day is carried out by a dedicated workforce.

“Quality is our number-one priority.” – Gavin Williams, Head of Marketing at Hamilton Litestat

If the lower level of the factory is where the components are cut and fitted together, then the upstairs is then reserved for innovation and fresh ideas. Housed inside a standalone chamber is the result one of Hamilton Litestat’s latest investments. Following popular demand and feedback gathered at international trade shows and from talking to loyal customers, the company has introduced its Paintable Range. With a new high-tech machine and colour expert to operate it, the company can now colour-match the products in the collection to replicate any tone or shade that an interior designer is working with. “Quality is our number-one priority,” says Williams. “So despite innovating, we will always over check the quality before releasing any product to the market. We have fantastic test facilities here in Bristol, which allows us to test the product continuously to and above the British standards.”

With lifestyle and people’s behaviour being a large factor and driver behind the launch of the company’s latest products, Hamilton Litestat’s headquarters also stages an area that assembles together new concepts. Inspired largely by trends – and in an effort to create a conversation with its customers – the product development team often share their vision on the company’s growing Instagram channel. “Having a full-time focus [on social media] allows us to follow trends, key words and connect with new clients from the many shows we attend,” adds Williams. “It also allows us to circulate in the wider world, engaging with perspective clients who would have otherwise never heard of us.”

With a reputation that spans across more than half a century for delivering quality products and a reliable service, Hamilton Litestat is equipped to handle almost any interior design brief. The company’s friendly team will be showcasing its breadth of products at upcoming trade shows, such as 100% Design, The Independent Hotel Show and Decorex International.

Hamilton Litestat 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: Hamilton Litestat

Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking In: Wyndham Grand Athens

With unparalleled views casting over the ancient city below, Wyndham Grand Athens opened in 2017 to capture the city from a unique perspective. Editor Hamish Kilburn checks in two years later to explore just how timeless the interiors really are…

It seems to me that Greece – and Athens in particular – is a magnet this year for influencers – my Instagram feed for starters is bursting at the seams with the hashtag #VisitGreece. And so, like all consumers, slaves to the travel trends, I felt obliged to check in on the action to discover hotel design Greek style.

Despite the destination’s pockets of derelict and forgotten-in-time in places, Athens’ authentic charm amplifies through the streets and outwards towards the barefoot-luxury islands. And with a recent report published by GBR Consulting revealing that at least 40 new accommodation units (hotels and room-to-let properties) arrived in the city in the first half of this year, it seems as if my social media is, after all, an accurate tool for measuring travel hotspots.

With the vast number of archaeological sites dotted around – and the 5th Century BC landmarks – I would argue that a good place to start is up high, soaking in the establishing shot from a rooftop bar, which features panoramic views stretching from the ancient acropolis right through to the port of Piraeus. Luckily for me, and after the recommendation from the hotel group’s President and Managing Director, Wyndham Grand Athens offers all of this and more.

The hotel, which is the hotel group’s first property in Greece, is situated on Karaiskaki Place, an area that was once seen as an area to avoid for tourists. However, following a stream of newly opened art galleries, modern coffee shops and restaurants, it became one of the destination’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods – a reputation that Wyndham Hotels only strengthened when it arrived in 2017.

Zeus International transformed the building owned by VIOHALCO, which formerly housed the Hotel Athens Imperial. The now 276-key hotel shelters timeless and dynamic interiors, balancing a healthy mix of warm and sharp public spaces combined with calming guestrooms and suites.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed into a neutral yet inviting lobby, which leads up to FOS Restaurant on the ground floor. The interiors inside FOS, which is the Greek for ‘light’, create an appropriate scene. The contemporary F&B scene sits under a large chandelier that is suspended from an expansive floor-to-ceiling atrium.

From one unforgettable public area to another, located on the rooftop of the hotel is the Above Bar and Restaurant. Complete with unobstructed views over the acropolis, making it one of the best roof-top restaurants in the city, this area is quirky and relaxed. Blue, mustard, grey and black contemporary Enka furniture confidently contrast the geometric flooring, creating a strong mise en scéne for any scenario.

Adjacent to the subdued design-led restaurant and bar is a modest pool, which also captures the same Insta-worthy panoramic views over the city.

The majority of the 249 guestrooms and 27 suites include views over the city and the Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill. The interiors feature soft silvery-toned wallpaper with accents of colour in the furniture and soft furnishings and some include windows that wrap around the room, adding further natural light in.

Image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

The stripped-back modern décor of the guestrooms and suites continues in the marble bathrooms. The yellow glow in the suites’ furniture becomes a motif as it is also echoed on the soft reflective surface behind the wide bathroom mirror, creating an ambiance of subtle contemporary luxury.

Although Wyndham Grand Athens is not the latest hotel to emerge on the hotel design scene recently, it is certainly a strong example of how a design-led hotel can significantly lift a destination to become a major go-to travel hotspot.

Main image credit: Marcelo Barbosa

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

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

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

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

The brief was simple (and came in after the show had viewed the studio’s interior design portfolio online): to design