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The Fashion Stone collection makes a powerful statement with its sheer simplicity. Packed full of sass and contemporary style, this is the ideal tile choice for creating a minimalist look and feel.

Interior design trends to watch – on the tiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Interior design trends to watch – on the tiles

There we go again, dropping the ‘t’ word into your morning scroll of interior design. While we’ve got your attention, though, if you were interested to find out what the latest tile trends for hotels, we asked Ben Bryden, Sales and Marketing Director at RAK Ceramics UK, to take a look for us…

The Fashion Stone collection makes a powerful statement with its sheer simplicity. Packed full of sass and contemporary style, this is the ideal tile choice for creating a minimalist look and feel.

Practical, versatile and stylish flooring solutions don’t get much better than porcelain tiles. Strong and durable, this is a material that is suited to all area, from hotel lobby to guest bathrooms. Practical matters first and the key ingredient for such surfaces is durability.

Ease of maintenance and cleaning is another essential element, while an element of slip resistance is also important when specifying flooring. This is what makes tiling, and porcelain tiles in particular, such a popular choice for all sorts of surface applications.

The manufacturing process of porcelain, which uses a finer and denser clay combined with high temperature and high pressure, results in a material that is far stronger than other types of ceramic, which is what makes this a material that is highly suited for flooring. Bathrooms benefit in particular from the properties of porcelain, which because of its density is extremely resistant to humidity and water.

Another major reason for the popularity of porcelain for hotels is the sheer versatility of the material. Colour and style choice is almost endless and finishes are also variable, giving designers a huge amount of creative freedom and enabling the material to be chosen for almost any application. Tiles can be printed or embossed in numerous ways and solid floor tiles can be mixed-and-matched in patterns and colours in any number of ways. They can be chosen to match or contrast with wall tiling and splashbacks for a cohesive look and can be chosen to replicate the look of many hardwoods and natural stones for the ultimate luxe look.

Image caption: Solid, durable and extremely versatile, RAK Ceramics Curton are stone-look porcelain tiles that make a highly attractive visual impact. | Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Image caption: Solid, durable and extremely versatile, RAK Ceramics Curton are stone-look porcelain tiles that make a highly attractive visual impact. | Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Tiles with a subtle or a bold marble-effect pattern work well when teamed with materials such as wood, bringing nature indoors and creating a calming, timeless and high-end look that works well across all areas, from public to more private. Porcelain also offers a wonderful opportunity to introduce pops of colour to the setting, with vibrant colourways offering a brilliant way to catch the eye and turn a specific area into a focal point.

Installation of the tiles themselves is also straightforward, with mega slabs from RAK Ceramics minimising grout lines and creating a luxe look. Such slabs offer endless design possibilities in commercial situations such as bars and restaurant areas, creating a seamless finish.

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

Main image caption: The Fashion Stone collection makes a powerful statement with its sheer simplicity. Packed full of sass and contemporary style, this is the ideal tile choice for creating a minimalist look and feel. | Image credit: RAK Ceramics

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Should hotels do a better job of reflecting their communities?

To conclude our editorial series with ADP Architecture, Studio Director Amrit Naru looks at how a hotels and their design can sensitively reflect a locations local culture…

Interior visualisation of ADP's new hotel in Kyiv

Ask someone to name a place they’re looking forward to visiting once lockdown eases, and there’s a wide range of answers you might hear. They might mention a local pub or café. They might be looking forward to getting back to the gym, seeing a sports team play, or popping in to see a friend. They’re unlikely to mention a hotel.

And there’s a perfectly good reason for that: hotels aren’t typically designed for their local community. They’re arguably designed for everyone but the local community: tourists, business travellers, visitors for one reason or another. In contrast with the back-and-forth of a transport hub, we look at hotels as a one-directional interface between a specific locale and the wider world, where the wider world touches down for a few days before returning home. The only transport hub that seems to bear comparison here is a docking station for UFOs.

This kind of view fits the traditional way of looking at hotels – but of course, it neglects the wide range of purposes that hotels can actually serve. Very few hotels are simply places to stay: they can include bars, restaurants, conference centres, spas, and plenty more. It’s easy to look at these facilities simply as added value for guests, but they’re just as likely to be used by locals.

Explore these opportunities further, and you open up a whole new way of thinking about what a hotel can be. Far from a semi-private site with clearly defined boundaries – like a house or an office building – it becomes permeable, integrated with its community, with spaces which are as much defined by their surroundings and local flavour as by the people who travel to them. This kind of approach can reverse the (un)popular image of a hotel, making it the beating heart of a neighbourhood that benefits everyone.

Take, for example, a recent ADP project on a former industrial site in Scotland. When several plants closed in the 70s and 80s, hundreds of local workers lost their jobs, and the area lost key places that had given it purpose. It’s the sort of post-industrial community that’s been crying out for regeneration of the genuinely beneficial kind, providing spaces that benefit and support an existing community rather than driving them out. So when we were appointed to design a new hotel there, we saw an opportunity to create real value for local residents and businesses.

Our public consultations confirmed this: many locals voiced their worries that a hotel of the traditional sort could detract from the area, and that a radically different approach was needed. We took these concerns on board, asking consultees what sorts of facilities would be useful to them, and designing a scheme which is as much a community hub as a hotel. The proposals include a range of spaces open to the community, such as a gym, restaurant and bar. Public realm was also key to our designs, and we explored various ways to bring local residents onto the grounds, giving the landscape an open, accessible feel that interacts sensitively with the riverbank bordering the site.

The very flexibility of this approach means that it can work for any community, in any location. We’re currently delivering a hotel for Radisson in Kyiv, Ukraine, which includes a hybrid lounge/coffee/restaurant space with an open design – reflecting a wider openness to the surrounding neighbourhood. By breaking down the boundaries between types of spaces – and using the ground floor of a hotel as a fuzzy threshold – it’s possible to encourage the kind of unplanned interactions and sharing of spaces on which communities thrive.

Of course, embedding a hotel in its locale isn’t just down to the architects and engineers who design it. Marketing teams have to strike a careful balance between promoting the hotel’s brand and responding to the spirit of a place, the unique “vibe” that defines a district. The most effective way to do this is to make flexibility central to your brand: Hotel Indigo, an IHG brand that I’ve worked with in the past, does this particularly well by using the sights and sounds of their urban locations to inform every detail of the hotel’s design, from public spaces to private rooms. IHG is certainly not the only client I’ve worked with to take this approach, with companies such as Radisson and Hilton offering similar “lifestyle” brands.

The risk here is that a design can simply mimic its environment, becoming a pastiche rather than a reflection. Again, engagement with the community is key. It’s impossible to tap into what makes a city like Newcastle or Marrakech, Sydney or New York special without taking cues from the people who call those cities home – especially when clichés about “the typical New Yorker” are so widespread. Our redevelopment of Oxford Castle – including a Malmaison hotel converted from a Victorian prison – is a classic example of this, reflecting a part of the city’s culture and history which has very little connection to the more famous university, and integrating hospitality with bars, restaurants, shops and a visitors’ centre.

Getting this right means paying attention to the details, and taking a holistic approach. Employees aren’t just brand ambassadors: they’re community ambassadors too, trained in the kind of local knowledge that adds serious value for guests looking for hidden gems nearby. A local hiring policy takes this a step further, ensuring that your staff have a genuine connection to the hotel’s surroundings while creating jobs that support the area’s economy. Bookable spaces for businesses and a local supply chain complete the picture – transforming an out-of-place visitor from out of town into a place in its own right, with the town’s blood running through its veins.

“Staying local” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, and it’s sure to be a phrase that resonates with us for many years to come. By bringing hotels into a deeper, richer conversation with their surroundings, we can help give a much needed boost to communities which have suffered through lockdown. It’s also a surefire way to protect our industry from relying too greatly on travel – making it stronger, more adaptable, and better equipped to deal with an uncertain future.

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

Image caption: Interior visualisation of ADP’s new hotel in Kyiv. | Image credit: ADP Architecture

VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest April hotel openings

The industry is gearing up for a summer of hospitality, is the feeling the editorial desk at Hotel Designs has as it selects the most exciting hotel openings expected in April 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Blink and you will miss it! With vaccine updates, hotel re-opening strategies being across social media and conversations moving towards re-engaging with the post-corona consumer, all signs on the editorial desk lead to a summer of hospitality – whether that be abroad or enjoyed domestically.

This prediction follows a flood of press releases, together referencing hope, optimism and prosperity for international hotel design and hospitality. Regardless on whether we will be allowed to travel ahead of the summer boom, hotels are being developed in preparation for the travel demand that is shortly inevitable as we reach the one-year anniversary since many nations closed their boarders in order to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

We have been sharing our VIP arrivals now for four months, but it seems as if many brands have waited until now when it comes to unveiling new arrivals. Following an in-depth look at the landscape, here are our VIP arrivals for April.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Image of bar in curved tunnel-like structure

Image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

Spread across four exquisite Maltese townhouses and their ancient vaults, dating back to the 1600s, Iniala Harbour House & Residences has 22 uniquely designed rooms and suites, and will be the latest opening from philanthropist Mark Weingard. The hotel, which overlooks the famous Grand Harbour, will set new standards for eye-catching urban design.

Iniala Harbour House & Residences, which is slated to open its doors in April, mixes tradition with more contemporary touches offering an eclectic mix of design concepts that subtly reflect Valletta’s unique heritage and charm. Created by three world-class design studios – Autoban from Turkey, A-Cero from Spain, and Malta’s DAAA HAUS – the hotel’s historical details will be beautifully preserved, with each townhouse having a distinctive identity. Using three different designers offers a true variation of interiors for all guests’ tastes.

Kalesma Mykonos

An image of infinity pool in Mykonos hotel that is opening this April

Image credit: Kalesma Mykonos

Set to elevate the desirable island of Mykonos to new heights, Kalesma is a 25-suite and two-villa luxury hotel, which is expected to open in late April. ‘Kalesma’, meaning ‘inviting’ in Greek, is perfectly suited to the ethos of this boutique, privately-owned property. The whitewashed collection of houses have been created to resemble a charming Mykonian village, tumbling down a slope to Ornos Bay, just a short walk from the beach. The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by laid-back weekly supper clubs. Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionados dream – offering sleek and minimalist interiors using locally-sourced materials, evident at every turn.

Ca’ di Dio, Venice

Ca’ di Dio, which is expected to open in April, is located in a unparalleled position, at the entrance to the Arsenale area, known as the Contemporary Art District of Venice, a place linked to the prestigious Biennale. The fascinating history of the building dates back to 1272, and the project has been curated by the studio of the internationally renowned architect Patricia Urquiola, with the aim of creating an original and distinctive concept: a Venetian “house”, linked to the history of the city. 

Although contemporary in style, which is unusual for Venice, when strolling through the common areas, guests will be able to admire the bright travertine and perfectly preserved frescoes. The hotel features many places for guests to relax whilst staying in Venice; an ‘altana’ – covered roof-terrace, common in medieval Venice, which is the perfect place from which to admire the sights of the city, two internal courtyards, which will be home to one restaurant serving light and quick snacks throughout the day, and a spacious reading room. There will be a second, outdoor restaurant overlooking the lagoon, towards the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Sophisticated deluxe room inside Mandarin Oriental Madrid

Image credit: Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid

Following the most ambitious and extensive renovation to take place in its 110-year history – it took three years for Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and the French designer duo Gilles & Boissier to complete their collaborated masterpiece – Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is ready to serve its guests. The 153-key luxury hotel is expected to appeal to both local and international guests, while preserving the striking Belle Époque character of the original building in keeping with the original spirit conceived by Cesar Ritz.

In addition to the Spanish arrival, Mandarin Oriental will also be opening properties in Luzern, Switzerland and on the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2021.

W Algarve – look out, Portugal!

Render of private pool overlooking Algarve in hotel that opens in April

Image credit: W Hotels

W Hotels is about to land in the Algarve, which marks the brand’s debut in Portugal. Located just outside of Albufeira and perched on the iconic cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel is a combination of urban glam meets beach life in a region famous for its beautiful, secluded coves, year-round sunshine and enticing cuisine. Guests can expect pulsating beats, vibrant flavours, and bright contemporary design.

The hotel will shelter 134 guestrooms and suites plus 83 residences, all ocean facing and boasting spacious balconies. Atlantic colours and asymmetrical forms that mimic the nearby cliffs define the design; it is the Algarve reinterpreted by W. 

Facilities will include a state-of-the-art fitness centre ‘FIT’ and an ‘Away’ Spa with seven treatment rooms, plus outdoor pools. To refuel and replenish there will be an authentic Portuguese Algarve-inspired dining restaurant, plus a classic and modern Italian restaurant.

Taking the luxury up an additional notch are the ‘Extreme WOW Suites’ with a rooftop terrace where luscious gardens surround an elevated lounge seating spot, DJ booth, dining and bar area, and an infinity pool from which guests can soak up the incredible sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom design is inspired by the beautiful Benagil cave and the picturesque Algarve fishing villages.

Berkeley Park Hotel, Miami 

On April 1, 2021, Berkeley Park Hotel will rise as the newest member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, and the first MGallery property in Florida. A highly anticipated four-star boutique hotel, the 80-key property sits along one of Miami Beach’s most coveted sectors known by locals as the Collins Park “Arts Corridor” for its direct access to world-renowned art institutions, and just steps from white sand beaches. With a timeless Mediterranean façade from 1936, the hotel pays homage to the city’s architectural roots with all the modern amenities that discerning travellers expect.

“We are thrilled to continue expanding our North American portfolio with the addition of the Berkeley Park Hotel – MGallery,” said Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America. “With its ideal location, striking architecture, and vibrant spirit, the hotel is a tremendous addition to Accor’s Miami portfolio, which also includes Faena Hotel Miami Beach, SLS South Beach, SLS Brickell, SLS LUX Brickell, Hyde Midtown Miami, Mondrian South Beach, Novotel Miami Brickell, and Pullman Miami Airport.”

Main image credit: Iniala Harbour House & Residences

*Some dates as listed above may be subject to change due to travel restrictions following Covid-19 and national lockdown developments.

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Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Finolhu, where Ibizan style meets Maldives hospitality

Hotel design goals! Following a show-stopping kaleidoscope-inspired transformation, Finolhu emerges from the pandemic with a new status: the first member of the Design Hotels in the Maldives. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores what sets this hotel aside from its distant neighbours…

Image of villa overlooking sea from bathroom

There is something comforting and familiar about the Maldives. One has come to expect a barefoot luxury experience on each of the various islands that are dotted around the Indian Ocean. It is fair to say, I think, that is is one of the few places you can travel to on earth where you feel as if you have totally escaped from life as you know it.

The region is naturally stunning, and has over the years attracted luxury hospitality brands to arrive in order to shelter sanctuaries by the water’s edge. And as beautiful as these hotels are, there are few that stand out from the rest.

Finolhu, which first opened in 2016, is a unique jewel that is one of the few exceptions in the region and has, as such,  become a travel bucket list destination in its own right  – international model Cara Delevingne and singer Rita Ora are among celebrities and influencers who have previously raved about the destination’s playful spirit. It is therefore no surprise that the five-star hotel recently became Design Hotels’ first member in the Maldives.

Image of beach-side reception in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

For many reasons – one of which being it sheltering a distinct european-style energy – the hotel is what modern travellers have come to expect when checking in to to the post-pandemic hospitality scene – think casual beach club vibes with an exceptional entertainment programme in one of the Indian Ocean’s most stylish settings.

The naturally beautiful private island of Finolhu, which translates to “sandbank”, was acquired by Germany’s Seaside Collection in 2019, and is guided by a distinctively European-style hotel philosophy that embraces the types of carefree, beachside get-togethers that we know from the likes of Ibiza and Mykonos. Pairing European hotspot nostalgia with cool contemporary surroundings on a paradise island, Finolhu is the ultimate hangout – and it is this effortless, non-curated style and energy that sets it apart from other hotels in the same region.

“Each Seaside Collection property celebrates individuality, and Finolhu is no exception,” explains Gregor Gerlach, owner and Managing Partner of Seaside Collection.

Image of luxury pool in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The hotel, which was already a luxury travel hotspot, has recently undergone a transformation in order to further blur the line between luxury and lifestyle. This refurbishment was overseen by award-winning London-based design studio, Muza Lab, which has previously designed interiors for brands like Belmond and Ritz Carlton. Founder Inge Moore created a kaleidoscope design concept, taking inspiration from the fragmentation of light on the blue-toned water and the many purple, pink and apricot colours of the sunset. “In translation, the word ‘kaleidoscope’ means ‘seeing beautiful forms’,” explains Moore. “This playful alternation of patterns, geometry and colours is what guests will now experience when they visit Finolhu.”

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Each of the 125 guest villas have been redesigned, embracing the kaleidoscope concept that is featured throughout the resort, characterised by a mesmerising blend of colours and symmetrical patterns that complement the island’s natural beauty.

The two spacious two-bedroom Rockstar Villas, which are the most sought-after villas on the island, are bright and colourful, and are perfect for large families or groups of friends. They come equipped with their own private wine cellar, bar and a guest experience host.

Image of stylish Ibiza style suite in the Maldives hotel

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

The Beach Villas and the new Beach Pool Villas are a great option for those seeking more space and privacy; all of the villas have their own beautifully landscaped gardens, and many have now been upgraded to feature their own private swimming pools.

Another distinguishing feature of Seaside Finolhu is its iconic Beach Bubble. The first of its kind in the Maldives, the bubble is located in a secluded spot along Seaside Finolhu’s marvellous sandbank, and is exclusively available for guests wishing to enjoy a uniquely romantic night under the stars.

The freshly designed Fehi Spa (Fehi meaning green), consists of 10 treatment rooms, each surrounded by the lush greenery of the island. Guests can expect to journey back to nature with treatments that use local ingredients, such as coconut oil and coconut milk, which can be found on the spa menu, including Fehi’s signature Maldivian Healing Treatment, that involves a coconut oil massage, a warm sand poultice and a coconut milk polish.

Fehi’s east-meets-west approach includes a range of holistic treatments, like crystal chakra balancing, Ayurveda treatments and singing bowl massages, which can be found alongside more traditional restorative treatments.

The hotel’s newly appointed Michelin-trained chef, Memo V. Hernandez, will lead Finolhu’s culinary experiences across each of the resort’s four restaurants, where every table comes with a spectacular view. The culinary team brings an exquisite mix of artisanship, individuality and international flair with fresh produce and ingredients being a key focus behind the cuisine.

Image of western style interiors inside restaurant in the Maldives

Image credit: Image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

Guests are taken on a gastronomic journey with modern Japanese and Asian cuisine at Kanusan; flavours of the Middle East and North Africa at the Arabian Grill; Italian, Asian, Maldivian and fresh seafood dishes at Beach Kitchen; and fresh seafood platters at Crab Shack.

The Beach Bar is the heart of the resort, bringing European beach club vibes, where laid-back beats and exotic cocktails can be enjoyed throughout the day and late into the evening, and weekly white parties, DJ sets and monthly full-moon parties take place along the sandbank.

By injecting Maldivian-inspired touches with ultra-luxury modernity, Moore and her team were able to redesign the hotel in order to showcase contemporary design mixed with a distinct organic edge. Natural raw materials such as ropes, clay and timbers are being incorporated into Seaside Finolhu’s refreshing new colour palettes to create a visual harmony that enhance the hotel’s unique style.

Main image credit: Finolhu/Brechenmacher & Baumann

An armchair in front of glass window

Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: ILIV launches the Kelso & Harlow textiles collection

The Kelso & Harlow textiles collection by ILIV has been woven in a charming village on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire and draws on the centuries-old tradition of British textile weaving…

An armchair in front of glass window

The Kelso & Harlow collection by ILIV has been born out of traditional craftsmanship. Manufacturing to high ethical standards, from all-natural, wool fibres without the use of harmful chemicals, the brand proud to be using many traditional machines that do its fine work in the time-honoured way.

Despite its traditional manufacturing process, the new collection is completely suitable for modern-day commercial use. With its highly durable make-up natural dirt repellence, acoustic absorbance properties and its superior fire resistance, Kelso & Harlow is the environmentally friendly choice for all types of furniture and interiors, offering a sophisticated and organic look.

Image caption: The Kelso collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

Image caption: The Kelso & Harlow collection is available in 51 colours. | Image credit: ILIV

“We are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment from our energy consumption and carbon emissions to our waste management and recycling facilities,” explains the ILIV in a press release. “By weaving our 50 per cent British wool collection, Kelso, here in the UK, we have reduced our carbon footprint, whilst offering our support to local British farmers.”

Kelso & Harlow is available across 51 colours, constructed using a mix of melange and greige woven yarns from commercial greys to corporate greens and vibrant blues to striking yellows and oranges.

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

Main image credit: ILIV

Image of Riggs Wet bar

Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel review: Checking in to Riggs Washington D.C.

Sheltered in a former bank in the capital city, Riggs Washington D.C. is emerging from the pandemic as a statement hotel that offers a new kind of luxury on the east coast. Writer and cine​matic storyteller Ollie Wiggins checks in to the Caroline Harrison suite and interviews interior design legend Jacu Strauss in order to understand the hotel design narrative that is not what it first seems…

Image of Riggs Wet bar

The highly anticipated Riggs Washington D.C. opened its doors in early 2020, but considering the unforeseen circumstances around the pandemic that shortly followed, the hotel’s grand opening period was cut short as hospitality worldwide hunkered down for a turbulent year. So, for the sake of this review, I am prepared to erase 2020 from our memories in order to instead celebrate the arrival of what has already become one of Washington’s most exciting hotel openings of the decade. This 181-key hotel aims to offer unparalleled luxury and a breath of fresh air to the thriving and modern metropolis. 

Sitting down with Jacu Strauss, the Creative Director of Lore Group and the brainchild behind Sea Containers London and Pulitzer Amsterdam, it becomes immediately apparent how important the setting was and is to him – he is clearly passionate about DC. “It’s just a really beautiful city,” he says. “Great architecture, and noticeably lacking skyscrapers, it has a certain rhythm to it.” With Jacu’s projects across the world, he’s famous for putting time, energy and resources in to research an area and its needs. Keen to avoid what he describes as a “cookie cutter approach”, it is about the neighbourhoods, the greater contexts of the city and its people. With D.C., he felt he’d found a real gap in the hospitality market. “You have lifestyle brands as well as more traditional, institutional luxury hotels that are really established here and do what they do perfectly,” Strauss explains. “But we wanted to bridge that gap between lifestyle and luxury and become an institution that sits alone.”

It would have been all too easy to make this imposing gothic building into another institutional hotel. And there is no escaping the fact that it is sheltered in what used to be a bank – the ceilings are enormous for starters. The name of the hotel is synonymous with banking throughout DC; many presidents banked with the brand and it even provided the bank loan the US government needed to buy Alaska. Strauss freely admits that he is not the first to turn a bank into a luxury hotel, citing The Ned in London as a prime example. It is perhaps for this reason that he is keen to make sure the building is not tied to its former use. “We really wanted to depart from banking and make it about other things as well,” Strauss explains. “We wanted to celebrate both the legacy of the building and history of the city through unexpected details and a thoughtful approach to guest experience.” So it is perhaps no surprise then that he says he wants to evoke the spirit of the bank, preserving and restoring much of the beautiful old building with playful nod’s to it’s rich and storied past. It is in this way he hopes that the building will reflect a sense of timelessness, which he hopes will give the hotel longevity. 

Upon entering the hotel on F street, I am immediately struck by how authentically period the building feels. Whilst Strauss said he was keen to avoid the sense that the building was stuck in the past, it is hard to imagine the entrance hall has changed at all in the 130 years since it was built. The original marble floors and columns, for example, have not lost their shine or luster. The intricate recessed carvings on the arches of the barrelled ceiling have been meticulously restored and the gold trim on the American eagle that presides over the entryway is as bright and splendid as one would hope.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building's past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The lobby/reception area has been designed to give a sensitive nod to the building’s past. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

To the right, the commanding entrance hall is replaced with a warm and welcoming check-in area. There is still the impressive sense of space and grandeur from the high-vaulted ceilings and federalist columns, but the marble floor has been replaced by a luxurious blue carpet. Comfortable arm chairs and soft furnishings help temper the building’s stark gothic feel without taking away from the majestic first impression. On the wall hangs an enormous medallion of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess of money, modelled on an insignia Strauss discovered when first exploring the building. It gives the impression of inventing without betraying that the designer was keen to create; whilst a new addition to the building, the medallion feels timeless and totally in keeping with the property’s past. Behind a desk and a gold trimmed screen are the friendly reception staff. Whilst a new safety feature for the current pandemic, the gilt edged dividers feel true to the former use of the building and one can imagine the bank’s customers standing in front of them as they discussed the handling of their finances.

“The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern.”

Upon checking in, I am taken first to the Riggs suite, once the boardroom of the bank, now an impressive function room with enviable views of the city. Here, a room that could have felt stark with its hard lines and gothic arches has been made to feel luxurious and comfortable. The wooden parquet flooring gives the air of a stately home, where marble would have felt too austere and carpet too subaltern. Upholstered chairs around a long dining table reinforce this feeling of luxury and recall the room’s former use. On the walls of this room, no doubt once occupied exclusively by men, now hang the portraits of inspirational looking women in a variety of styles and from different cultures. In fact, the room is full of feminine touches including the soft green carpet, delicate oak furniture, copious plants and plush velvety sofas and cushions. It is part of Strauss’ efforts to neutralise what he sees as the overly masculine world of banking with feminine touches.

“Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies.”

I am fortunate enough to be staying in the Caroline Harrison Suite. The general manager proudly explains that whilst many hotels in the city have suites named after presidents, Riggs is the only hotel in the area that has chosen to name its suites them after first ladies – yet another example of the way Strauss has injected elements of femininity into all aspects of the hotel’s design. The room is a rich blue with sumptuous, heavy-velvet curtains, a sofa and pillows with a design that calls to mind the ornate patterns of the dividers that separated customers from tellers. The carpet, whilst pristine, has been made to look distressed as though it is itself part of the building’s history.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: The living room inside the Caroline Harrison Suite. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Throughout the room are an eclectic collection of objets; lampshades in the form of dogs, contemporary takes on classical urns, a porcelain lantern with an Asian feel. Strangely, they help anchor the building in its Washington location by creating the sense that these pieces may have been gifted to the first lady by visiting dignitaries on some state visit from long ago. This feeling is complemented by the Jasperware plates and medallions hanging on the wall that celebrate significant events in the nation’s history; the signing of the declaration of independence and the start of JFK’s ill-fated presidency. Behind the luxurious four-poster bed is a feature wall with fun and quirky wallpaper that calls to mind the illustrations in a children’s book or the work of Ken Done. It contrasts aptly with the block colours and bold design choices in the rest of the space. 

The other three first lady suites, named after Ida McKinley, Louisa Adams and Angelica Van Buren have their own distinct styles and decor. The Van Buren is particularly striking with its rich red walls and velvet curtains complimented by ornate gold furniture. Of particular interest, too, are the classical busts that adorn the shelves, all of classical female deities, as well as contemporary artwork inspired once again by the profile of Juno Moneta. 

Each of the hotel’s other rooms are designed to offer something personal and unexpected. Whether it’s the colour of the wall or the shape of the space, each one feels different and offers something unique to the guest so that no two stays are ever quite the same. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create the unique headboards in the guestrooms. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Perhaps most striking in each room are the custom made headboards, the shape suggestive of the ripples of theatrical curtains. To achieve this unique style, Strauss collaborated with longtime friend George Benson to create these stunning pieces. The abstract swirling pattern used on both the headboards and wallpaper is inspired by a detail on a painting Jacu saw whilst at the Met Gallery in New York and was created by Benson’s company Voutsa specifically for the hotel. It adds a fun and cheeky dimension as well as a sense of movement to what were once the bank’s offices. Eagle eyed guests may spot that the pattern is also used on the inside of the bespoke umbrellas that are provided in each room. 

Next to the bed are small oak bedside tables with green leather inlay designed to feel like the writing desks that would once have been used in this building. To achieve a strong and timeless lighting scheme, Strauss collaborated with bespoke lighting brand Chelsom in order to ensure that each space was effortlessly lit in order to radiate the hotel’s luxe style and distinct personality. For example, gilt desk lamps sit on top of the bedside tables to reinforce the writing desk association and invite you to imagine the bank clerks hunched over their work in the previous century. Each room also contains a replica bank safe complete with the insignia of Juno on the outside and housing the minibar and room’s safe inside. It is the most overt reminder of the building’s former life as well as a fun talking point for guests. 

Since you’re here, why not read about Chelsom’s Edition 27 lighting collection

“I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency.”

Inside the bathrooms, the Italian Carrara marble tiles on the floor and walls create a sense of grandeur and security. Even the shape of the shiny metallic taps is reminiscent of the handle of a safe and reinforces the idea that one has walked into the bank’s impregnable strong room. The deep free-standing bath makes for a luxurious bathing experience and I can’t help wondering if the powerful rain shower head is a nod to Obama’s request that one be added to The White House for the duration of his incumbency. 

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image credit: Luxurious bathrooms inside the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Strauss said that he wanted each of the rooms to feel like a safety deposit box, with the contents of each being unique and valuable. This certainly comes across and is particularly evident from the door to each room. Every door features the front of a safety deposit box, complete with a non-working keyhole and golden circular medallion bearing the likeness of Juno Moneta. On the walls and floor, the sumptuous, rich, red carpets evoke a feeling of warmth. They contrast directly with the imposing lobby of the building and give the sense that you are exploring a more intimate and sequestered part of the hotel. On the walls of the corridors are a collection of paintings, some depicting classical figures and others in a more contemporary style as if these pieces have been placed here by customers trusting the bank to protect their artistic investments. The lifts too are worthy of note, featuring marble floors and mirrors covered in silver leaf, which gives them an opulent antiquarian aspect. 

In the bar and restaurant it is clear that Strauss has attempted to bring something new to the city. “There may have been a certain standard of food and beverage outlets here that became quite institutionalised, and not necessarily in a good way,” he admits to me.  “So, it didn’t have much diversity, and going against that convention – especially in an area of the hotel that is typically most criticised – was really changing. DC is becoming a real foodie city.” Strauss’ aim was to provide something “bright and elegant, inspired by the grand cafes of Europe,” and that is certainly case here at Riggs. The high-vaulted ceilings provide a massive sense of space and the circular marble tables together with the trendy wooden and velvet chairs would not feel out of place in a continental eatery. It is no coincidence that the chairs themselves are the colour of money, in America at least. It would have been easy to use an overabundance of green throughout the hotel for its pecuniary associations and the decision not to do this in the rest of the development feels remarkably restrained. 

The luxury of space in the bar area has provided one of the largest  challenges in converting this part of the building. With the huge height of the room, Strauss and his team were keen to make sure the scope of the space was being fully utilised. To that end, Strauss installed massive velvet curtains, so weighty that their use necessitated reinforcing the wall. He also commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine – its bright colours and whimsical design are suggestive of the works of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear. Yet despite their sheer scale (they come in at an eye-watering two storeys high) everything in the room feels perfectly in proportion. Even the six foot four inch gilt chandeliers that Strauss designed himself help to make the space feel intimate without taking away from the sense of grandeur. 

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image caption: Jacu Strauss commissioned a bouquet of oversized fabric flowers from Ukraine, which has become a statement piece in the public area of the hotel. | Image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

I journey downwards to the subterranean Silver Lyan bar, described by the hotel manager as an adult playground. It’s not hard to see why, the theming is fun without being gimmicky and the low ceilings, dark lighting and deep red chairs give the air of that most uniquely American thing: a speakeasy. There are also an array of fun little touches around the bar; secret messages hidden as optical illusions in the wall panelling, lighting inspired by classical Asian designs and hundreds of sporting trophies in cases across the walls, which Strauss is quick to tell me were all won by female athletes. 

Across the hall is the gym and fitness area, which perhaps rather tauntingly has an oversized gumball machine outside, which feels uniquely American and once again helps to play with the sense of scale and disrupt the sense of solemnity in the building. Despite the restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19, I can’t resist sampling one or two. The gym itself has enough equipment to ensure that even the most ardent of fitness fanatics can ensure they get a good workout and the marble pillars hardwood floors provide a sense of decadence as you sweat your way towards your fitness goals. There are also fun touches around the room, like the leather punching bag, that invites one to imagine a circus strongman with a handlebar moustache hard in training. There is also the door to what once would have been the bank’s strongroom, with its intricate mechanism, bolts and rivets on display.

As I check out, I am reminded of something Strauss said to me, that a hotel should provide an elevated experience rather than simply being “a home away from home” and Riggs Washington D.C. is certainly not that. It is a building that has always been about showmanship that has left lasting impression of strength and security.

Strauss’ next project, the Lyle in D.C., will be much more about calm and comfort – think mattresses like marshmallows that he describes as the “most comfortable” he has ever slept on. Yet here, the way The Lore Group has managed to turn what could have been a stark and austere building into something welcoming without losing any of the sense of grandeur is impressive. To summarise, Riggs DC embraces its past whilst remaining pitch perfect for its current use, ensuring its future place in the city for years to come. 

Main image credit: Riggs Washington D.C.

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Wallpaper goals: Adding personality in public spaces

With all this talk around hygiene and reassuring the post-corona consumer, to avoid spaces looking too clinical we need to start talking about how we inject personality back into the public areas. Cue the arrival of Arte’s latest wallcoverings collections that give off some serious haute couture vibes and a splash of wallpaper goals…

Image of tiger on walls in warehouse

Many hotel spaces have now evolved to become community hubs, appealing to not only business guests and tourists, but equally people looking for an experience, whether that be a spa day, a business breakfast or a social lunch. Consumers are savvier and more informed, looking for something more substantial than a comfortable stay, so it’s important to ensure any public space is decorated in a way that appeals to all senses and creates a unique, stand out interior.

Gone are the days where a hotel lobby was acting merely as a transitional space for check-ins; this is the first place guests will see when they arrive and the last place they will see before they leave, therefore it’s important to make a lasting impression. This is an area with the highest traffic in the entire hotel; it’s one that guests will move through many times, therefore it needs to be both functional, but also stylish, atmospheric and vibrant.

Hotels are recognising the value in utilising and maximising their large spaces to attract footfall above the guests staying at the hotel. Interior designers are experimenting with different aesthetics and textures to add interest to these spaces, elevating not only the design, but also the common perception of what a hotel should like; dreary walls, covered in a singular paint colour or outdated wallpaper are being swapped for statement designs, playful patterns and distinguished textures.

From small boutique hotels like the art deco inspired Hotel Victor Hugo in France, with interiors by Laurent Maugoust featuring the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Crane pattern in their lobby to larger hotel groups such as the Hilton Tanger City Centre in Morocco, designed by Jaime Beriestain Studio featuring the geometric Sapphire Maze in one of their restaurant spaces, Arte’s designs have been expertly used by interior designers in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants around the world for over 40 years to transform public spaces into places with character and personality.

Wallpaper is one of the simplest ways to refresh and add interest to a space, yet, it can be one of the most impactful. With materiality and texture at the heart of Arte, many of their wallpaper designs push boundaries of what is known as ‘traditional wallpaper’ and incorporate innovative techniques and finishes from heat embossed 3d fabrics, printed textiles and natural materials including silk, raffia and sisal to denim, velvet and leather, the possibilities in both texture and design are endless.

Lush and rich, jungle and tropical foliage designs such as Palmera, Abanico, Java or Silk Road Garden, as well as the more paired back florals of Wildflower or Grow will work equally well for an all-over scheme or a statement wall to give a sense of comfort by bringing the outdoors in through motifs and colours seen in nature, adding life and light to a space and allowing us to maintain that connection to nature.

Image caption: Java | Image credit: Arte

Many interior designers are abandoning the traditional rules of decorating and embracing the idea of combining different wallpaper designs in the same space, mixing textures and bolder designs with different colours across the walls, layering with other decorative items in the space, for a dramatic, maximalist scheme. Arte’s collections are designed in a way that offers a comprehensive palette of colours, ranging across a wide range of textures, prints and patterns – allowing for designs to be combined and mixed in a way that results in a playful, but cohesive scheme.

Intreguing and interesting textures can be found across the collections, including heat embossed 3d patterns as seen in Intrigue, Enigma and Eclipse, as well as the rich velvet, suede and leather textures of Velveteen, Les Cuirs and Lush. The 3d, heat embossed Caisson design from the Eclipse collection was used by designer Gensler to dress the walls in the Baton Rouge Hotel, resulting in an interior that not only looks elegant and gives the illusion of French panelling on the wall, but one that feels warm and comforting. Aside from being extremely durable and long-lasting (with the added bonus of acoustic qualities), these heavier textures are a great way to add both flair and warmth to a space, be it a restaurant or a hotel bedroom; creating a relaxing, yet stylish space.

Arte’s wallcoverings are not only creative and innovative, but each collection offers a myriad of possibilities for transforming a public space, be it through colour, pattern or texture, making it easy for designers to create spaces that are sophisticated, impactful and engaging.

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

Main image credit: Arte

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Bespoke possibilities in luxury design

To specify or not to specify, that was the initial question that editor Hamish Kilburn put forward to our expert panel of designers and lighting masterminds for our latest roundtable, in association with bespoke lighting brand Dernier & Hamlyn, on bespoke possibilities in luxury design…

Main image for virtual roundtable on bespoke possibilities in luxury design

There are a plethora of well-documented benefits linked to selecting bespoke products in a luxury brief – it eliminates the need to flex or drastically change the interior design scheme, for starters. Bespoke is therefore, in many if not all scenarios, the best and most preferred solution among leading designers where budget is no barrier. Or is it? In association with the bespoke lighting experts at Dernier & Hamlyn, we recently invited a cluster of leading interior designers and world-renowned lighting experts in order to explore the bespoke possibilities in luxury design. As well as understanding today’s perception of ‘luxury’ among clients and guests alike, we were intrigued to also understand the pitfalls designers should avoid when deciding to go bespoke.

Meet the panel: 

Hamish Kilburn: How have hotel operators’ perception of luxury design changed over the past few years? Is what used to be considered luxury now standard? And what does this mean for designers in ensuring their schemes exude luxury?

Justin Wells: We pontificate over luxury so much – it’s just like defining colour! Firstly, it’s very important to know your audience – and that includes understanding cultures and demographics. In our experience, luxury in North America has been around legacy brands. In more perhaps progressive markets, such as South East Asia, for example, they are certainly trying to reposition luxury to be more lifestyle. In the region of the Middle East, which is where I am now, the perception of luxury is to make up for lost time. Elsewhere, in more mature markets, such as Europe, there’s certainly a reinvention happening at the moment, which is very exciting.

HK: You talk about perception, which makes me want to bring in social media and this demand for ‘accessible luxury’ into the conversation. Has that damaged the integrity of luxury hospitality?

Simon Rawlings: It’s interesting, we’re finding that luxury is becoming more standardised, certainly when it comes to peoples’ expectations of luxury. With many brands and experiences that are global, we’re really seeing that each region’s differences are disappearing, which is actually quite boring when you want to emphasise differences.

 “Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.” – Simon Rawlings, Creative Director, David Collins Studio.

Luxury is a difficult thing to pinpoint and it can be as simple as beautiful service in an ordinary space. Authentic luxury has to be very particular to that project, and to standardise luxury is dangerous.

Also, we will never get a brief that says ‘we want to be a luxury hotel’. Instead, it will be the ideas and thoughts around sustainability, aims to stand out from the crowd that, combined, lead spaces and projects to look and feel more luxurious. The idea that luxury is lavish and excessive is an outdated mindset. For us, it’s been an interesting and exciting time recently because a lot of the briefs we have received in the last few months show that people are really willing to invest in good design.

“The luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now.” – Kirsten King, Design Director, Bergman Interiors.

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Image caption: Interiors inside Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, designed by David Collins Studio, which features bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Jack Hardy

Kirstin King: For us, the luxury element 10 – 20 years ago would have been more around the materials and finishes, but it’s less and less about that now. Instead, it has become much more about lifestyle. We have to think more intelligently to really understand the local craftsmen, and in doing so we need to pair things back to allow the ambiance to naturally reflect luxury.

Paul Nulty: For us, luxury lighting design is something that fires all the senses. Whether it’s visual or a composition. If it’s heightening the senses and the emotional connection with that space, then it feels luxurious.

HK: Similarly, how have guests’ perceptions of luxury design changed over the past few years?

Hamish Brown: We have always worked with private clients, and our understanding on what luxury guests need and demand stems from experience in residential. The key difference that consumers are expecting now is that sense of place. Across all brands, the industry went through a brief moment of standardisation, but now we are seeing brands really understand and celebrate cultural difference. For example, if you take two Four Seasons properties in two locations within one country. By both capturing the local flavours of their unique destination, it sets them aside from each other. That in itself becomes luxurious, bespoke and individual. And then, what happens is that the brand’s DNA gets threaded into the design scheme through consistent service – it’s no longer a look or an aesthetic but much more a feeling.

HK: With the sheer number of options that suppliers offer in their standard ranges these days, why is the demand for bespoke design in luxury projects still growing?

Jo Littlefair: I think that bespoke design, both in hospitality and high-end residential, gives you the flexibility to respond to a project individually – it’s a great way to bring in local vernacular. It’s really important for us to give a strong identity. In our studio, nothing is a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, we respond to everything individually – and I think bespoke design gives you that ability to scale and size things perfectly. It allows us to really craft interiors as opposed to just select them.

Mayfair Townhouse peacock entrance

Image caption: a 67-inch peacock sculpture adorned in 25,000 Swarovski crystals sits inside the Mayfair Townhouse, designed by Goddard Littlefair | Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

SR: We’ve started specifying more than we have ever done. Yes, of course, there’s still the demand for bespoke, but there are so many incredible designers who are creating some really awesome things that we love to embrace and collaborate with them on. With the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, for example, one of our goals was to specify as many statement pieces as we could. As someone who has always championed bespoke everything, I don’t think by specifying you get a lesser product, and I don’t think the clients think anything less of it either. It’s changing, and there are a lot of us who have our own collections so we will specify our own products for certain projects.

“The quality of the end bespoke product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

Tina Norden: I would say that there are regional differences. Particularly in Asia, clients may believe you can get the product cheaper but sometimes the quality of the end product is not necessary as high as something that has been crafted over many years. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful as an interior designer. You need the right manufacturer you can trust that allows you to see the prototypes – we have all been there when that simply isn’t an option.

With the late Sir Terence Conran traditionally being a furniture designer, we have always had – and shown huge respect for – the work that furniture designers do. I guess that sometimes people don’t appreciate how much time specifiers take to get products just right.

HK: You’re right, Tina! Trust is vital – and the relationship now between quality suppliers and designers is stronger than it has ever been, is it not?

Mark Harper: We are seeing and contributing to more artisan people who are being specified. For us, as a bespoke lighting manufacturer, we do what we do to the highest level of quality.

HK: At what point in the design process do you decide bespoke is the best option?

PN: Designers go bespoke when they cannot find a product on the market that achieves the look, feel and quality that they are looking for. Perhaps the bespoke product will give a slightly different glow, but for me it comes back to the senses. It’s relevantly simple, and yet extremely complex at the same time.

Shayne Brady: At the end of the day, it is a case-by-case basis – and it depends on different factors. We often have clients come to us with a specific vision. In Bob Bob Cite, for example, the client wanted to create a full suite of bespoke wall and ceiling lights. Bespoke is great when you are working in a space that has high volume because you can customise each product to fit the space.

Image caption: Bob Citi Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Citi Citi

Image caption: Bob Bob Citi diner, designed by Brady Williams Studio, which includes bespoke lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn | Image credit: Bob Bob Citi

HK: Do bespoke projects always have to be the statement design pieces?

TN: In lighting terms, quite often it is. Ultimately, it is really coming down to the client and the location. Quite often in Europe, making something bespoke can actually feel a lot more special. Whereas in Asia, it feels more luxurious to select something from a high-end brand as a feature piece.

HK: And surely if you have a really ambitious idea that is pretty unconventional, bespoke becomes your best and sometimes only option – and Kirstin I am thinking about your project, The Engine Room…

KK: It was a really interesting project for the team here. The idea was an indoor rowing club that was sheltered in a converted church. The budget was low and therefore we recycled a lot. For example, the juice bar was made out of church pews. I would say 60 per cent of that project was lighting. As the guests were working out, the lighting would move and react in order to enhance performance. We worked very closely with the lighting designers to create that effect.

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

Image caption: The Engine Room, designed by Bergman Interiors | Image credit: The Engine Room

HK: That is a great example of using the demographic of where you are and thinking outside the box, and elevating the five senses. Are designers now approaching projects more holistically with sound and smell in mind?

“For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days.” – Tina Norden, Partner, Conran and Partners.

TN: Yes, very much so. A few weeks ago, at Hotel Designs LIVE, we discussed how sound was being used in experience. For me, sound and lighting are very closely linked – maybe that’s me going back to my clubbing days. It’s all enhancing the overall ambiance.

PN: Multi-sensory lighting and design is the future! We started offering sound design in some projects. Going beyond acoustics, we are very interested to understand how sound can help enhance the consumer journey and we are seeing this now in hospitality. The third element of that is smell, which is becoming really important. Lighting, sound and smell work together, almost as a set of sub-consultants in design and architecture.

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

A bespoke lighting scheme by Nulty Lighting for the Earth Hotels concept at Downtown Dubai | Image credit: Nulty Lighting

HK:  That’s extremely difficult to get right when all of those elements are very personal.

PN: Absolutely, and that’s why you have to really understand the brand from the outset of the project and what you want that user experience to be.

TN: That’s the key, it’s about being specific and designing for the demographic. You are not trying to please everyone.

“There will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.” – Justin Wells, CEO, Wells International.

Blue co

Image caption: The Maximilian Hotel in Prague, designed by Conran and Partners

SR: I was doing an interview recently where I was asked when we come out of this pandemic whether or not people are going to struggle with noisy areas, and it’s an interesting point. At the same time, I met a sound identity designer. There are so many people listening in on podcasts these days. Ultimately, it made me realise that you can close your eyes but you cannot close your ears.

JW: We are trying to create thriving spaces and there were a lot of social collisions in these areas before the pandemic. However, now there will be dialogue about creating separation – which removes barriers and planning. In many ways, that’s allowing brands to reinvent themselves.

“Our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space.” – Shayne Brady, Director, Brady Williams.

SB: In between the second and third lockdown here in the UK, the guests were really appreciative and enjoyed the restaurants that had more space – not from a Covid perspective, but more from a luxury point of view. Actually, our clients reported that spend was greater on the tables that had more space. Perhaps we don’t need as many covers as we used to have.

HK: Do you therefore think that F&B spaces will be larger and take up more space?

SB: It will be more of a dialogue, for sure. There are more questions around capacity and what the sense of luxury means. Not being confined is luxury to me because that makes the experience far better.

“When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.” – Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder and Director, Goddard Littlefair.

JL: Pre-pandemic we were thinking about de-compression. We are very aware that people need that disconnect. The pandemic has definitely amplified that. When we come out of this, there will be a need to decompress even more.

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Wells International | Image credit: W Hotels

Image caption: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, designed by Justin Wells | Image credit: W Hotels

HK: And now for a word that brings shivers down our spines: trends… what are the topics and movements that are dominating your conversations at the moment?

MH: We have seen an increase in enquires and requests for natural materials and clean lines with a traditional twist. What we are going to see now is the bigger picture; it’s about longevity and sustainability. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that LED technology has come on leaps and bounds and I expect that to evolve further and faster than perhaps ever before.

SR: LEDs are a nightmare, though, because the colour temperature on every single LED is different. So, trying to marry the interior design is very difficult. We still end up using filament bulbs because you just can’t rectify it.

PN: One big trend we are seeing is towards wellness – certainly towards business hotels and using lighting to mitigate jetlag. Lighting using circadian rhythm has a huge role to play in that. There’s a hotel in Reykjavik where the lighting is tied in to the alarm clock, and it illuminates before the sound of the alarm clock goes off in order to wake the guest up gently.

HK: Is that extremely expensive? For me, the benefits of circadian rhythm in lighting is so obvious, so why is it therefore not in more hotel design schemes?

PN: It’s more expensive and of course if you’ve got a 300-key hotel then it adds up. However, the benefits of that technology are being more and more proven.

HK: Do you worry about suppliers copying a bespoke design after seeing it in your projects? Does anyone have any examples of this they can/would like to share?

HB: Yes, you see that in parts of Asia and it’s not ideal, but it’s unfortunately part of our work that is always there.

 TN: I think there’s an opportunity there. If we work together with the manufacturer on a product going forward then it beats them at their own game.

HK: The ‘Norden’ chandelier, you heard it here first! Other than the ‘Norden’ collection, what’s lacking in lighting at the moment?

HB: Being able to visual prototypes in lighting is very important and be able to adapt and mold them in that creative process allows us to do more things.

SR: I agree. The first thing we want to know is what type of light the product will give off. If there was a tool to establish that, it would help us understand which light a fixture will give. For me that comes before what the product looks like. Some way of understanding the type of light the fixtures give off would be so invaluable.

“The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff.” – Paul Nulty, Founder, Nulty Lighting.

SB: That is interesting. We are working on a project at the moment where they have that already for furniture, but something similar in lighting would be very helpful.

PN: I agree with you. The issue is that designers love the materiality of stuff. It’s trying to engage with the intangible stuff. So many people disregard the quality of light. Quality of light and quantity of light are independent and are, I believe, misunderstood.

KK: From my experience, this should happen before we get fully into a project. Maybe it should happen even earlier!

striking bar with marble surfaces featuring distressed mirrors

Image caption: Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of London life above, The Spa at The Lanesborough was sensitively designed by 1508 London | Image credit: 1508 London/The Lanesborough

HK: Let’s finish by talking tech. The advancement of render software is incredible; it has given designers a tool to be more accurate and as a result allowed them to make informed decisions ahead of purchasing. However, it does also mean that clients now expect to see sharp renders in pitches. Does this ever narrow the window for new ideas to come into the project once it has been won?

HB: It’s such a hot topic at the moment within our studio and we have invested in a lot of technology at the moment to really confront this. You are correct in terms of narrowing down the window – and there is always a debate in our minds as to how far you go in the pitch. Right now, I think renders should happen later in the process and there has to be a visualisation tool that is a half-way house. That journey has to be a process – and that’s how you get a perfect space.

HK: And you are all competing against each other to win projects… Does it require across the board, designers stating that they will only present sketches?

HB: It would be amazing to have a conversation with designers to establish how far we should all be going in a pitch.

HK: It’s catch 22. As tech improves and the clients and consumers’ knowledge of design expands then so too does the demand for wanting to see more in a pitch.

KK: I agree totally. Sometimes the client demands a minimum of three renders in the pitch and it is a huge cost. You want to win the project and you know that everyone else will be producing renders.

SB: It depends on the client. Some clients do not understand the concept of your pitch unless it is a perfect CGI. More and more, these days, the client is very involved and there is a collaboration from start to finish. If you can hook a client with a great idea that is where it should be won.

JW: We always go quite analogue in our pitches. We use vignettes to highlight certain areas. We then, during the pitch, talk about these spaces and elements, which become frameworks. The aim of the pitch is for the client to establish how we think and how we work. If we win a pitch, we will then produce more emotive non-photo realistic renderings. The next set of renders will be marketing quality.

Dernier & Hamlyn, the sponsor of this roundtable, 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.

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
DESIGN POD episode 2, with Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, has landed

LISTEN NOW: For episode of two of DESIGN POD, in association with Bathrooms Brands Group, editor Hamish Kilburn and co-host Harriet Forde invite Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to discuss architecture beyond boundaries…

Promo image of Ep 2 of DESIGN POD

Hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn and co-hosted by designer Harriet Forde, DESIGN POD’s latest episode, entitled ‘Architecture Beyond Boundaries’, is now available to listen to all major podcast platforms such as SpotifyAmazon Music and Acast – and welcomes Christos Passas, Director of Zaha Hadid Architect (ZHA), as the guest professional for the episode.

As well as discussing how ZHA stretches what is possible in design and architecture, the episode also dives deep into the legacy that the late Zaha Hadid left behind, whose outstanding contribution to the architectural profession has been acknowledged by professional, academic and civic institutions around the world, including (but not limited to) the Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women. “It is no coincidence that this episode has been released in the wake of International Women’s Day,” explains Kilburn. “Hadid’s vision was one that captured the imagination of more than industry professionals; her unapologetic, pioneering mindset continues, to this day, to resonate with every individual on the planet who believes in and strives for equality in all sectors.”

“When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard.” – Christos Passas, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects.

Passas, who first joined the international architecture and design studio 23 years ago and recently won Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2020, agreed to be interviewed by Kilburn who was keen to understand more about how the studio has changed since the passing of Hadid as well as getting the low-down on the studio’s latest project, The Opus in Dubai, which Hotel Designs exclusively reviewed the design of last month. In addition to this, Passas describes what he looks for in  the young talent that walks through the ZHA doors. “The collaborative nature within our team is something to be learned from,” explains Passas in the interview. “We have always found a certain amount of pride and encouragement to be a company that is very much proactive on an individual level. When it comes to younger generations, I always look for people who are not afraid to work hard and for those who are able to test their ideas with others while working for the good of others.”

Listen to DESIGN POD on SpotifyAmazon MusicAcast, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

640 426 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside the largest overwater residences in the world

Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, located on the Baa Atoll, has launched the largest overwater residences in the world with a major renovation of the resort’s two-bedroom over water pool residences…

Birdseye view of Private Pool Residences Collection residence

Setting a new precedent in naturally inspired design and luxury living, the renovation of the seven residences at Anantara Kihavah sees a careful preservation of the element of space while marrying a light and airy interior refit with smart technology home comforts.

Each overwater residence is generously spaced at 1,500 sq. m. and comes with the addition of a new fully equipped gym, a couples’ spa treatment room, a fully equipped professional kitchen with wine fridge, expanded outdoor decks and larger swimming pools. This follows a multi-million-dollar redesign of the two-, three- and four- bedroom beach pool residences in 2020 just before lockdown, with the four-bedroom residence at a commanding 2,000 sq. m. 

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Spa Treatment Room View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Two-bedroom overwater pool residences

The two newly completed two-bedroom overwater pool residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows across its entirety, guaranteeing vast views of the ocean. Fitted with a professional working kitchen in the living and dining room, each en-suite bedroom at either end features ample individual outdoor living space, whilst the extended infinity pool tiled in natural Sukabumhi stone and shaded outdoor dining sala is the ideal hangout for shared leisure activities.

Anantara Kihavah Two-bedroom Over Water Pool Residence Exterior Aerial

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

With fitness and wellness being a bigger focus than ever in the modern-day traveller’s needs, the redesign of these residences sees the addition of a gym, fully equipped with the latest in TechnoGym machinery, and a couple’s spa treatment room. Both rooms are fitted with retractable blinds, allowing for natural sunlight by day and unfiltered stargazing at night. Whilst relaxing with a signature Anantara Spa massage, a view of the marine life just beneath the residence, is made possible with the strategic placement of glass panels underneath the spa treatment beds. Glass-bottomed whirlpool bathtubs have also been fitted in each bathroom, providing therapeutic massages even during bath time.

Staying true to the heritage of the Maldives, each residence features Kajan thatched palm roofs and Balau hardwood flooring spanning the entire length of its expansive outdoor deck, accompanied by netted hammocks suspended over water.

Two-, three-, and four-bedroom beach pool residences

Anantara Kihavah’s beach pool residences start from 1,330 sq. m for the two-bedroom option to 1,770 sq. m for the three-bedroom residence and 2,000 sq. m. for the four-bedroom pool sanctuary.

Surrounded by foliage and bright bougainvillea accents, occasional sights of coconut trees jutting through floors or ceilings is testament to the resort’s commitment toward preserving the natural beauty of the island, whilst optimising each residence’s space.

Anantara Kihavah - Guest Room Three Bedroom Beach Pool Residence Exterior View

Image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Like the over water pool residences, the architecture of each beachfront residence reflects Kajan palm roofs and Balau decks. The newly extended swimming pools are now fitted with massage jets, whilst an outdoor Sala Thai provides shaded relief for lounging and dining.

A light neutral palette uplifts a previously dark wood scheme, presenting an atmosphere that is at once comfortable and relaxed, yet modern and luxurious. Rattan details, woven straw carpets, Maldivian motifs and teak wood furniture further accent the distinctively tropical vibe of each room. Floor-to-ceiling doors of the main living and dining area effortlessly slide open for views of the tropics.

Further embodying island living at its most luxurious, a water feature wall designed to mimic that of a real waterfall, is the highlight in each revamped bathroom newly fitted with intelligent toilet technology. Wellbeing and fitness are also not forgotten – with each residence fitted with its own private double-bed spa treatment room and gym featuring a complete range of fitness equipment.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

 

Main image credit: Anantara Kihavah

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Soho House: A sneak peek of upcoming openings

Soho House, which shelters members-only Houses targeted towards ‘creative souls, has unveiled renders and details of projects that are expected to open this year. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Render of lounge inside Soho Beach House in the Caribbean

Following a challenging year for all sectors in hospitality, Soho House, which was founded in 1995 by Nick Jones, has emerged from the pandemic with a teaser that showcases an optimistic year – with six new Houses that will soon become part of the members-only brand’s ever-growing footprint.

Aside from opening its first property in 1995, key milestones include the brand’s first countryside property (Babbington House in 1998), its arrival in the US (with the opening of its first property in New York in 2003), the brand’s venture into Europe (with the opening of its Berlin property in 2010) and the brand’s first opening in Asia (both in Mumbai and Hong Kong in 2019).

Fast-forward to the present day, and as the brand’s 27 Houses are awaiting the return of modern travellers, we take a look at the new destinations and Houses that are expected to open this year.

The Strand, London – coming soon

Just down the road from the original House – 40 Greek Street, Soho, London – 180 House, which will be located on The Strand, will become the brand’s 10th property in London. Just a short walk from Somerset House, the property will shelter a club, three floors of co-working space, and a rooftop pool with views of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Canouan – opening Q1, 2021

The opening of the brand’s property in Canouan will mark its arrival in the Caribbean region and will be located on the secluded island of Canouan, which is part of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The renders of the 40 bedrooms and a gym show a paired back design that celebrates barefoot luxury and the authentic charm of the Caribbean.

Tel Aviv – opening spring, 2021

Located in a former convent in the historic Jaffa neighbourhood, the property will feature a pool, terrace, and 24 stylish bedrooms expected to reflect the life and soul of the destination.

Rome – opening summer, 2021

In recent months, there has been a lot of development interest in Rome – with brands such as Rosewood and Bvlgari Hotels also announcing debut arrivals excepted in the next few years. Located in the San Lorenzo district, the debut Soho House property in Rome – the brand’s seventh property in Europe – will shelter 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, with unparalleled views stretching across the Eternal City from its rooftop, terrace and pool.

Paris – opening summer, 2021

For a brand that is known for amplifying creatives (connecting travellers and locals alike) in thriving neighbourhoods, it makes a lot of a business sense for the members-only lifestyle brand to expand its portfolio with a property in Paris. In the former red-light district of Pigalle – steps from the 19th-century cabaret Moulin Rouge – the brand’s property in Paris will shelter 35 bedrooms, a gym, and a courtyard garden overlooked by a pool terrace.

Austin – opening summer, 2021

On South Congress Avenue, Soho House Austin will become the brand’s first property in Texas and the 10th Soho House territory in North America, and will feature a rooftop pool, 46 bedrooms, and a members screening room.

Since you’re here…

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Main image credit: Soho House

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

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

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

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

Image of panelists for first session of Hotel Designs LIVE

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

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

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

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

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

On the panel: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEUCO Black adds an elegant touch in a modern bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
KEUCO Black adds an elegant touch in a modern bathroom

When it comes to stylish modern furnishing, black surfaces and finishes catch the eye offer a luxurious appearance especially in the bathroom, explains bathroom brand KEUCO

If black is destined to be a key colour in your bathroom; KEUCO has an extensive range of products within their Black Concept collection.

KEUCO EDITION 11 bathroom furniture is available with a stylish black metallic-pigmented lacquer finish. The rectangular vanity units, sideboards, high and low storage units in this collection are all designed to be handle-free with a soft-touch closing system.

This noble matt-black look exudes an air of elegance and extravagance, yet the velvet matt quality of the bathroom furniture ensures the room maintains a cosy atmosphere. The black finish on this collection is easy to care for as each surface has anti-fingerprint protection.

It’s not only furniture that is available in stylish black the inventive IXMO shower range is also available with a PVD brushed black chrome finish. IXMO combines aesthetic design with functionality; as the single fitting elements allow a variety of functions, the number of visible fittings required is actually reduced. This allows greater freedom when planning the layout of the shower and bathtub in the bathroom.

The large rectangular EDITION 11 head shower creates a minimalistic look, the light metallic shimmer of the brushed black chrome surface works equally as well on light and dark surfaces, displaying to perfection the modern yet honest design elements of EDITION 11.

EDITION 11 fittings and accessories in brushed black chrome create an elegant contrast when combined with white ceramic washbasins;

The Black Concept is available in all areas of the bathroom, the ROYAL LUMOS light mirror has a black all-round anodized rim, and the two LED illuminating sources (main illumination and washbasin illumination), can be dimmed intuitively via the control panel. There is also an option to vary the colour of the light and activate the mirror heating option preventing misting.

The colour theme flows through the bathroom including accessories. KEUCO shower shelves are the perfect combination, a stylish design that provides practical storage space for the shower. There are two wall mounted variants plus one that can be hung over the shower wall, these spacious shelves are made of grey-black powder coated aluminium. (The shower shelves can be mounted on the wall without drilling by using the easy-to-use two component adhesive.)

The iLook_move cosmetic mirror with brushed black chrome PVD coating adds the finishing touch to this darkly accentuated, colour coordinated bathroom design with matt-black surfaces, metallic optics and luxurious KEUCO bathroom furnishings resulting in a sophisticated interior.

Since you’re here, why not read about KEUCO’s stylish hand sanitisers?

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

Main image credit: KEUCO

Viceroy at Ombria in the Algarve, Portugal

Adaptation is the design trend to celebrate in 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Adaptation is the design trend to celebrate in 2021

Hotel Designs goes behind the scenes of one of the leading design firms, Wimberly Interiors, to understand what hotel designers are expecting to be the major design trends of 2021…

Viceroy at Ombria in the Algarve, Portugal

Since 2021 started, we have deliberately put an emphasis on trends – from surface design trends to architecture trends and recently predicting what colour palettes will be popular this year and in the future. Instead of rolling our eyes, which is often the reaction when the trends are mentioned, we are embracing new ideas and meaningful solutions following what has been the largest disruption to hospitality in living memory.

In order to understand how designers worldwide are thinking right now about the future, we have heard from seven leading professionals from Wimberly Interiors. Here are their predictions…

“I would say personalised boho. A lot of natural, raw materials and earthy palettes with an emphasis on plants brought indoors in any shape or form, to take us back to nature after being locked in for so long.” – German Mendoza, Associate and Senior Designer, London.

library/lounge in Rosewood Baha Mar, reflecting soft design trends

Image credit: Rosewood Baha Mar

“My interiors prediction for 2021 is ADAPTATION! As this year has laid down in front of us a path of restaurant, hotel and venue closures and abandon, 2021 will be the year of taking those left behind spaces and turning them into something new, exciting and hopeful.” – Josh Held, Vice President and Director of Entertainment, New York.

“After being part of Fortis 2019 [WATG and Wimberly Interiors’ internal rising star program], my eyes have been opened to the need for resilience in interior design. More than just a trend, it is gaining momentum and is ultimately about the use of materials – tactile, natural, honest and, most importantly, local. Interior design is moving rapidly towards a sense of place and appreciation of available materials and products with a low carbon footprint. It is this availability of resource that is key to the future of design beyond trends.” – Damien Follone, Senior Associate and Senior Designer, Restaurant and Bars, London and The Brit List 2020 Designer.

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Image credit: EDITION Hotels

“After a chaotic 2020, we’re predicting that 2021 will be all about calm and comfort.

“Natural and organic materials and cool neutral colours with touches of earthy tones are on the way in. Think stone, wooden finishes, recycled and plant-based woven fabrics, and touches of greenery.

“We’re also going to see more open, uncluttered spaces that balance a minimal aesthetic with comfort, warmth, and a feeling of ‘home’ – especially in hospitality design. Objects that are both beautiful and functional, or possess special meaning rather than being purely decorative, will take prime position.

“Blending old and new with curated feature pieces will also continue to dominate the interior design space. Over the past few years, we’ve seen consumers move towards buying better made, longer lasting statement pieces as opposed to their faster, in the moment or ‘on trend’ counterparts.” – Rachel Johnson, Senior Vice President and Studio Director, London.

A soft interior scheme and trends reflected in lobby/lounge of Kempinski Jinan

Image credit: Kempinski Jinan

“Wellness has topped trends lists for years – and not just in the travel and hospitality industries. As we begin contemplating our post-pandemic (or next-pandemic) world, wellness is going to be bigger than ever and take on a much more holistic form: health, safety, and resilience will become one, and we’ll see designers collaborating more freely with new and unexpected industries and professionals. In the short-term, it’ll mean opening windows in guest rooms, saying goodbye to individually packaged plastic bottles for products or water, and ensuring a better relationship between the indoors and out through integrated design.” —Margaret McMahon, Global Director, Wimberly Interiors

“Within hotels, I think there will be a real move towards creating spaces where people feel private and protected. Interior design will feel cozier and more residential, while still providing all the finishing touches that guests have come to love from hotel environments versus the home. Luxury hospitality in particular already has a head-start on this, with spaces often designed with exclusivity in mind.” —Liana Hawes, Creative Director, Wimberly Interiors New York.

“2021 will bring a consciousness of how we conceive private spaces by giving them more flexibility. Think ‘light furniture’ that adapts to different situations with concealed extra functionality to accommodate luxury, comfort and purpose, such as a chair that doubles for dining and working. As many continue to spend increased hours at home, the role of the artwork, textured and natural materials, and botanical wallcoverings will become extremely important – especially in spaces that have prolonged hours of use. As Joan Miró said, ‘A simple line painted with the brush can lead to freedom and happiness.” – Paolo De Simone, Associate and Senior Designer, Wimberly Interiors Singapore.

Main image credit: Wimberly Interiors

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour trends: A return to nature is calling

A year after hospitality lost its colour due to the outbreak of Covid-19, we’ve asked brand strategist Emma Potter to inject our pages with some vibrancy. Here, she explores colour’s role in post-pandemic hospitality and hotel design…

Colourful and quirky lobby/lounge in hotel with blue furniture and industrial stairs

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in human behaviour. We have adapted well to new ways of working and new ways of communicating with our friends, family and colleagues, but how will the hospitality industry connect with the post-corona consumer? Through colour and savvy design is how.

I think it’s fair to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions from worry and anxiety with the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020 to frustration and confusion with the ongoing uncertainty as we enter a new year. Arguably it is in times like these where we are able to see just how powerful a tool colour is – used correctly and purposefully, it has the ability to control the emotional noise that surrounds us.

Image of pink colour on walls and black outdoor furniture indoors

Image credit: Stefen Tan/Unsplash

Like many other sectors, the hospitality industry has been hit exceptionally hard all over the world but I’m sure the appetite that many have to travel, see and experience new destinations remains pretty solid. Having been cooped up in our homes and restricted to our local areas (in some cases only a 5km radius from our front door) as human beings, we are craving a change of scene; to get away from our daily routine, and to have shared experiences with loved ones that help us reset, recharge and refocus.

As we continue to move through 2021 – a year of optimism and solutions – I believe colour will play an increasingly significant part in hotel design. Whilst the world is undergoing one of the largest global ‘resets’ in decades – with many people re-evaluating their lives, how they use their homes, where they want to live, their choice of career, right down to the way they wish to show-up and be present in the world – this is also a tremendous opportunity for hotels to ‘reset’ and re-open refreshed and reinvented.

In some instances, that may be a guest that’s looking for a high-end, luxury and high-tech experience that gives them the power to control and operate everything contactless. For others, who crave environmentally values, they will want to immerse themselves in nature and find a destination that has focused on bring the outdoors in, adopting a more biophilic style to their architecture and design. Moreover, perhaps hoteliers have taken this time to become more conscious to source all their products locally and from sustainable sources. In all cases, the two types of customers are very different and demand a different colour schemes and design style – and yet, they are often sheltered in the same hotel, which creates somewhat of a challenge for the design team. But it’s not impossible. One hotel that manages to perfectly balance both sustainable approaches and extreme luxury is Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, which was reviewed in 2019 by Hotel Designs.

Image of Jade Mountain and the Pitons

Image credit: Jade Mountain

Given the fact we’ve had so much screen time in the past 12 months, post-pandemic it’s likely we will see a surge of the environmentally values based consumer – and the hoteliers and designers who inject this feeling with purpose will the ones who come out on top.

“Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is an expensive decision to get wrong.” – Emma Potter.

In addition, just as colour has the ability to create an effective and productive workplace, it also has the authority to evoke an emotion and a positive memorable experience during a guest’s stay. Remember, guests are making decisions based on their emotions and therefore colour can often influence our emotions and change our behaviour – so it’s imperative for a hotel to get their colour scheme right to establish true, meaningful connections with their guests.

Common pitfalls to avoid when choosing colour

Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is hugely complex and an expensive decision to get wrong. It’s important to think about what the hotel brand stands for; who their ideal guest is (who do they want to appeal to), what do they want their hotel to offer that others don’t, what behaviours do they want to elicit, what feeling’s do they want to evoke, what memories do they want their guests to take away with them – all of these elements and more need a huge amount of consideration.

“Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’.” – Emma Potter.

So, when choosing a colour scheme, consider this:

  • Brilliant white – I would recommend that you avoid choosing brilliant white to paint a space, whether it’s big or small. From a psychological standpoint, white may be perceived as perfection to bring a sense of calm and quite; yet on the flip side it makes a space feel sterile, cold and lifeless. It reminds me of stark, clinical hospitals. Instead, check out the brands, such as Arte, that celebrate imperfection in nature.
  • Over saturation – Just as it’s important not to saturate a space with brilliant white, it’s equally not advisable to saturate a space with any ‘one’ colour. All colours, with the exception of pure greys, have positive and negative psychological aspects. Of course, grey may make us feel safe because it has the capacity to help us blend in with the background but for me it’s quite non-descript and when surrounded by it for too long depletes my energy levels, resulting in me feeling drained and lethargic. Equally if I was immersed in a red space initially, I may feel energised and excited but if I remain in a red room for a long period of time, I’m likely to become agitated and annoyed because I’ve been over stimulated by the colour.
  • Think about the space as a whole – When designing for a space it’s easy to get carried away with the colour scheme on the walls, but it’s important to think about the space as a whole. There are many elements to consider, from the walls, carpets, and cabinetry, to soft furnishings (including fabric type and textures as well as the construction of and / or print pattern), to lighting, glassware and the many accessories that adorn and embellish an environment. Think about the design journey and space as ‘one’ and the experience you with so take your guests on will flow.
  • Tonal harmony – A colour scheme will always come together and be a success when the colours chosen relate and come from the same tonal group. When colours don’t harmonise it generally creates a sense of confusion or disharmony which guests will pick up on innately, but what they won’t always be able to identify or articulate is ‘why’ they feel this sense of discomfort. In essence it all comes down to selecting a colour palette that has tonal harmony.
  • Trends are not timeless – I imagine that, certainly when it comes to residential design, opting for a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ is more common than we realise – perhaps a client has picked out the colour because they have seen it in a magazine. Yet to help us choose the right colour scheme it would be good to understand how, as humans, we relate to colour – be that psychologically, personally and symbolically. Additionally, it makes senses to understand the influence of both the positive and negative traits, plus the application and proportion of colour used to create the desired results. Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’, and not tuning into your intuition to discover your own. There are many well-respected paint-manufactures who make trend predictions at the beginning of every year like Pantone, Dulux, Farrow and Ball or Benjamin Moore – these are great places to go for inspiration, but in the end, make sure you select a colour palette and design style that’s right for your brand and the experience you wish to create – in the end it’s all about creating an immersive and memorable customer journey.
  • Create sense of place – Achieving a strong sense of place in hotel design without straying into cliché territory is often a major challenge in any project. Colour can be a subtle way to reflect the natural landscapes as well as the personality of the destination. Take the newly opened Moxy Miami South Beach, for example. Gregg Keffer, Partner and Studio Leader at Rockwell Group delibrately chose a vibrant colour and design scheme that broke boundaries while capturing the “bright, carefree sophistication” of South Beach.
Image of ensuite in stylish Moxy room

Image credit: Moxy Hotels

Clever ways of injecting colour to enhance wellbeing  

The idea of connecting hotel design and hospitality with nature is not new, yet in response to the pandemic there has been some discussion of the re-emergence and rise of biophilic design – it’s become mainstream! This builds on the idea that as humans we have an innate attraction to, and love of, the nature world. This would possibly explain why people will happily pay more for a room with a view of never-ending, undulating mountain ranges or the expansive horizon of the sea because these vistas will most likely deliver an incredible glowing sunrise to start your day whilst sipping on a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, or to end your day with a mesmerising sunset whilst enjoying a chilled glass of rose or perhaps a gin and tonic as a sundowner.

Jungle-inspired interiors showcasing various tones of surfaces

Image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

In essence, ‘biophilia’ means ‘love of life’, however, when it comes to biophilic design this does not mean putting in a few plants as a token gesture. It means embracing all elements of biophilic design, a true engagement of all our senses – sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell – to help us understand and absorb what’s going on around us. Take art outside the frame, using tiles from the likes of CTD Architectural Tiles. Use natural materials such as wood, maximising natural light, making organic shapes a priority, and using a range of plants to create a sense of the great outdoors – all of which helps to balance our emotions and support our emotional wellbeing whilst introducing a natural range of tones, shapes and colours.

Blue colour on walls with rattan bed

Image credit: Conran and Partners

In this way, not only do we create a space where guests feel safe and secure, we enable them to better connect with themselves by creating a peaceful, tranquil environment, making it a memorable meaningful experience that they’ll want to come back for, time and time again, year in, year out. After all, that is the end goal, right?

Main image Upsplash

Case study: hospitality and privacy combined in a listed patrician house

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Case study: hospitality and privacy combined in a listed patrician house

The comfortable apartments have been individually designed and offer guests a stylish interior with feel-good hospitality that appropriately nods back to the buildings heritage…

Carl Wunderlich, was a colonial goods merchant and mayor who built his imposing municipal residence in 1798. Alexander Hugenberg took over the listed municipal mansion, they lovingly converted it into an extraordinarily stylish lifestyle and event location.

Their modern take on the historical building opened its doors in 2019.  It’s a perfect place to unwind whilst still upholding the history and tradition of the building. The comfortable apartments have been individually designed and offer guests a stylish interior with a feel-good factor.

Outside of traditional building

Image credit: Michael Gregonowits

One can stay for a few days, several weeks or even months. The extraordinary design, with its combination of modern and vintage elements generates a warm, cozy atmosphere. In keeping with the style of the mansion, washbasins and toilets from the Starck 3 range were fitted in each of the apartments. This bathroom classic, created by designer Philippe Starck for Duravit, harmoniously rounds off the interiors.

The location also features a restaurant, which can be booked for both private and commercial functions offering a range of options for individually planned events. The extensive garden with its terrace is an ideal venue for celebrations, as are the inner courtyard or vaulted cellar. The in-house library with fireplace is the perfect place for a small group to spend a cozy evening.

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

Main image credit: Michael Gregonowits

Render of two isolated pod-like buildings made of wood

Architecture trends for 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Architecture trends for 2021 & beyond

To cut through the noise of emerging architecture trends, we hear from architecture firm SB Architect’s President and Principal, Scott Lee, and Senior Vice President and Principal, Bruce Wright…

Render of two isolated pod-like buildings made of wood

Last week, we published our close look at surface trends, where it was concluded that strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is “well-placed to weather the storm” without a major supply-side rethink.

Following this feature, SB Architects, an award-winning international architecture firm focusing on designing soulful and inspiring destinations across hospitality, residential and mixed-use, has stepped up to release what its team believe are the top architecture trends that are emerging in 2021.

“One positive thing to come out of this pandemic is that design and architecture will be more responsive and intuitive to the needs of humanity unlike ever before.” – Scott Lee, President and Principal, SB Architects.

Undoubtably, the Covid-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark across every industry, shifting priorities, and dramatically impacting how the firm – and industry as a whole – approaches design as well as how architecture trends are defined. “2021 will be a year of transformational growth for society – and how we design our world in response to the recent events will create lasting change for years to come,” said Scott Lee, President and Principal, SB Architects. “The architecture community must shift our way of thinking about how society will function moving forward, with a focus on designing spaces for our physical and mental wellbeing. I believe one positive thing to come out of this pandemic is that design and architecture will be more responsive and intuitive to the needs of humanity unlike ever before.”

Experience-driven design

SB Architects sees experience-driven design continuing to thrive in the years ahead. Our lives are filled with experiences that are all fulfilled virtually – from ordering food online to work and school. To make an impact, spaces must be adaptable and designed to enhance our wellbeing and offer a physical experience that elevates the offering from the virtual – a moment of ‘wow’ so to speak. Spaces will be designed to entice occupants to feel energised and experience the natural surroundings of a space to reconnect with nature.

Arches at Miami Design District by SB Architects.

Image credit: Miami Design District by SB Architects

The firm sees this architecture trend extending into the retail space, too. Retail development can no longer just be basic, cookie-cutter boxes in an open space; it needs to be a multi-faceted community and cultural experience. Retailers have and will continue to get creative with strategically curated facades to inspire and arouse curiosity – the idea that retail is entertainment.

Going private in public

People want to feel connected and be able to socialise in a way that feels safe. Guests are going to be socialising outside for the foreseeable future, and the coming year will showcase innovative design solutions that speak to this pressing need. This will lead to a rise in zoned dining in hotel spaces including pavilions and landscape barriers to create safe spaces for eating in public.

Hotel Villagio, restaurant

Image credit: SB Architects/Hotel Villagio

A street well-known for restaurants may close on Friday night so that it is walkable with seating outdoors, and food trucks, dining al fresco, and micro-restaurants with takeout windows will likely become more popular. Hyper-personalisation has always been a luxury signifier, but the current climate is pushing for innovation, SB Architects anticipates a rise in interesting private dining options and chef-to-table experiences.

 Hybrid hotels: the rise of ‘bleisure’ travel

A trend at the intersection between hospitality and residential is the aparthotel – hotel rooms that function like an apartment, reducing the amount of guest to staff interaction.

Render of outdoor pool surrounded by mountains

Image credit: SB Archtiects/Pendry Park City Residences

This trend is experiencing a comeback and gaining traction for a number of reasons; the locations are desirable, guests can stay for extended periods of time to experience ‘living like a local’, and a huge majority of the population is working from home, meaning that ‘staycations’ and localised travel, for ‘bleisure’ (business and leisure) are rapidly growing in popularity.

render of ground-level f&b area, open to nature

Image caption/credit: Render of Speciality Restaurant | SB Architects/Conrad Hotels & Resorts

In a similar vein, SB Architects anticipates branded private residences will continue to grow in popularity. Buyers will gravitate to luxury hotel brands that they trust from the hospitality space, with residences that offer a suite of unique and boutique offerings the most in-demand with buyers, given the increased focus on customising residential spaces and spending more time at home.

“This focus on intentional wellness translates into adopting more empathetic design.”

Intentional wellness

Human beings have an innate biological affinity to nature. Biophilia, spending time immersed in natural environments, is proven to reduce stress and improve a person’s well-being. In terms of the built environment, the crisis has reinforced the belief in the positive power of nature, placing it front and centre of the hospitality experience through outdoor facilities, natural light, and fresh airflow.

Presidential Bathroom_St. Regis Los Cabos_HBA

Image credit: HBA San Francisco/SB Architects/St Regis Los Cabos

It also reinforces a broader trend for intimately scaled environments that emphasise privacy and personal space. People are taking a slower and more considerate approach to travel and are looking to bring that same sense of peace and tranquility into their personal space.

Over the next few years, SB Architects anticipates an upsurge of people prioritising exercise and wellness into their homes. This focus on intentional wellness translates into adopting more empathetic design – or design that acts as a conduit of an experience and not an architectural statement.

 The science of feeling good

The current global pandemic has instilled a sense of uncertainty and unease, and hotels are going to be relied upon to provide a space to escape, disconnect and retreat in comfort. Today’s traveller is looking to check-in to a hotel and find the same level of comfort, if not more, than they have at home. Most people are now living a relatively ‘smart’ life, using AI daily, with smart assistants managing and automating a lot of day-to-day tasks – from waking them up and turning on the heaters, to ordering their groceries – so, a ‘smart’ hotel room is almost expected.

“Once the pandemic eases, SB Architects predicts a rise in ‘tech-free’ packages to allow guests to detox from being consistently connected.”

 Tackling tech-burnout

Technology was already evolving at an incredible rate but has gained momentum and taken on a lightning pace in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis. The global pandemic has proven to be a catalyst for acceleration and change.

Working remotely has created the expectation that one is always available, creating a ‘tech burnout’. Luxury hospitality is defined by choice, and guests want the choice of how they interact with technology during their hotel stay, whether that is being connected, offline, or somewhere in-between. Once the pandemic eases, SB Architects predicts a rise in ‘tech-free’ packages to allow guests to detox from being consistently connected, providing a chance to unplug and enjoy a no-tech experience without smartphones and computers. 

bar designed in natural wood overlooking the sea

Image credit: Kimpton Hotels/SB Architects

“The past year has given us a clearer focus of the ideal function of shared spaces and how architecture and design must be sensitive to the needs of occupants,” said Bruce Wright, senior vice president and principal of SB Architects. “Simply put, 2020 has underscored the fact that we need our spaces to do more for us – more flexibility in form and function and to inspire creativity and promote wellness. We are looking forward to meeting these new challenges.”

Main image credit: SB Architects/ascaya

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In pictures: Inside Six Senses Botanique, Brazil

The latest hotel to open in the Six Senses portfolio lies at the confluence of three river valleys in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains in Brazil. Hotel Designs takes a sneaky look inside… 

A guestroom inside Six Senses Botanique showing nature through floor to ceiling windows

Bookmarked by our editorial team as one of 2021’s hottest hotel openings, Six Senses Botanique, Brazil, which has been built from indigenous materials such as jacaranda and chocolate slate, has opened in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains, which is known as the “mountains that weep” due to the abundance of springs and rivers.

Image of the main building at the Six Senses Botanique hotel in Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

There was never any question that the merge in 2019 between Six Senses and IHG wouldn’t distort the integrity and much-loved personality of the leading wellness hospitality brand. And Six Senses’ latest luxury hotel is no exception. In fact, guests checking in are being told to expect “out-of-the-ordinary experiences and emotional hospitality”, with the Six Senses integrated pillars of sustainability and wellness at the heart of the operation.

A private garden inside the hotel in the wilderness

Image credit: Six Senses

The first phase of the resort evolution are most notably gastronomy and wellness – with new menus at Restaurant Mina, a new Fire Side lounge menu, an exclusive eight-course gastronomic journey paired with wines from the resort’s select Adega, a reconnection experience with an artisanal outdoor picnic, and pioneering therapies at Six Senses Spa.

The property currently offers seven suites in the main hotel and 11 private villas dotted in the hills around it. A further 16 villas are planned, constructed off-site in a modular manner using local materials and sited to minimise their impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. There will also be 37 branded residences, again constructed using an eco-friendly modular approach, available for purchase off-plan.

Through the ‘Eat With Six Senses’ philosophy, Six Senses Botanique will bring out the best of the region’s cuisine and seasonal produce, starting with “Farm to Table” herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the resort’s own organic gardens and farm.

Mina, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers modern, contemporary Brazilian dishes and 180-degree views of the mountains and valleys, with the suspended fireplace warming the dining room and rich wood floors underfoot.

The new Fire Side lounge meanwhile features a variety of drinks prepared with home-grown probiotics and a tonic with ingredients harvested from the surrounding vegetable gardens. 

The Adega (Wine Cellar) journey begins in the fireplace lounge, starting with a toast of bubbles with Chef Gabriel Broide as he himself explains the custom eight-course menu for the evening.

Reconnection Experiences offer guests the chance to reconnect with themselves and loved ones while exploring the local flora, fauna and timeless ways of living in tune with the natural world.

A luxury villa that shows a indoor private pool with stone surfaces

Image credit: Six Senses

Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the spa, which currently features four treatment rooms, a beauty salon, floatation pool, isotonic pool, sauna and steam room with rainforest mist.  New treatment rooms, relaxation and wellness areas, as well as a fitness centre will be added later this year.

Six Senses Botanique will appeal to guests seeking an eco-retreat in nature along with authentic Brazilian design, culture and cuisine. The property is blessed with seven water springs providing guests with their own mineral water. There is a water treatment station to return clean water back to nature. Mindful of making responsible decisions, the resort team also works with community members to see how they can contribute to a better quality of life for everyone, while preserving and celebrating local traditions and culture and the beautiful natural environment surrounding the property.

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses, which is clearly leading the way in innovative wellness travel, now manages 18 hotels and resorts and 29 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas, and has signed a further 27 properties into the development pipeline, including the highly anticipated Six Senses Ibiza which should arrive this Spring.

Main image credit: Six Senses

A large bar inside an airport

Introducing Atlas Plan by Atlas Concorde

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Introducing Atlas Plan by Atlas Concorde

Atlas Plan is the latest brand of Atlas Concorde, the first Italian ceramic group in the world, and produces large sized porcelain slabs ideal for interior design projects addressed to the Ho.Re.Ca. world…

A large bar inside an airport

The wide range of effects, finishes, colours, textures and veining allows architects and designers to satisfy every new design concept and to create unique and exclusive settings: luxurious marble-look hotel lobbies, industrial-chic concrete-look restaurants, elegant and essential stone-look outdoor areas, modern and hi-tech metal-look lounge bars.

The outstanding aesthetic quality of the ceramic material blends with its extremely high technical performance: strength and resistance to chemical agents and thermal shocks make porcelain tiles the ideal material for designing bars, restaurants and hotels with indoor and outdoor settings. Moreover, porcelain ensures the surfaces of counters, tables and worktops are resistant to everyday wear and highly hygienic for direct contact with foodstuffs.

Image credit: Atlas Concorde

The perfect coordination of Atlas Plan surfaces with the Atlas Concorde range of floor and wall tiles opens up a multitude of compositions for entirely covering and furnishing a room, to obtain a comprehensive look of great scenic impact or suggestive style combinations in tune with other materials.

The range of Atlas Concorde and Atlas Plan products also offers solutions that comply with anti-slip requirements (PTV 36+ under dry and wet conditions) and are therefore particularly suitable for the design of indoor and outdoor common areas.

Spazio Gourmet Sarajevo 350-m² restaurant in Sarajevo, designed by Studio Kon2re. The product used in this project is Bianco Dolomite by Atlas Plan: an intense and luminous marble look, characterised by delicate dark veins, which perfectly matches the light wood with natural shades.

Spazio Gourmet Sarajevo
350-m² restaurant in Sarajevo, designed by Studio Kon2re. The product used in this project is Bianco Dolomite by Atlas Plan: an intense and luminous marble look, characterised by delicate dark veins, which perfectly matches the light wood with natural shades.

Atlas Plan constantly invests in product innovation: two technologies that are an absolute novelty in the world of furniture and architecture have been recently introduced.

The Natura-Vein™ Tech technology offers the possibility of industrially recreating the typical veining of a natural material such as marble. Through-body vein technology thus increases the freedom of design for designers because it makes the marble look even more realistic, lending each project continuity of surface, edge and corners.

 

The Natura-Body™ Tech technology, on the other hand, reproduces the aesthetics of natural stones both on the surface and in the body of the slab. Material continuity between the surface and edges of full-body porcelain slabs is an aesthetic advantage that meets the highest design standards, both indoors and outdoors.

Image caption: Natura-Body | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Image caption: Natura-Body | Image credit: Atlas Concorde

Atlas Plan is available in the UK market with a wide range of products and an extensive network of certified and approved fabricators for the slab processing.

The Atlas Plan team is also available to organise certified CPD (Continuous Professional Development) presentations both digitally and face-to-face at interested architecture and design firms in London and across the UK.

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

Main image credit: Atlas Concorde

For further technical and commercial information you can contact the Key Account Manager Alberto Pagani, based in London, who will assist and support architects and designers in every request.

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New bathroom products from Gessi explore gender in design

New bathroom products from Gessi cater for designers trying to achieve masculine and feminine design aesthetics in wellness spaces. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

A moodboard of both masculine taps and feminine taps

Variety is the spice of life, is the message we are receiving when hearing all about Gessi’s latest news. The bathroom brand has made a name for itself by challenging convention in wellness spaces – think spotlight shower and spa-like bathrooms. But it’s recent launch goes another step further to look at shapes, furnishings, and colours associated to both masculine and feminine spaces – all while putting an emphasis on modern traveller demands, such as hygiene and wellbeing.

“Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living.”

Continuing the tradition of transformation started in 2002 with Rettangolo and the Private Wellness Program introduction, Gessi has announced a shift in bathroom architecture to accommodate the emerging needs of living. Gessi’s Private Wellness Program’s mission is to create spaces of wellbeing in the bathroom. The brand has expanded on this concept to offer separate bathroom areas dedicated to men and women’s distinctly different needs. In this vision, “the woman and man of Gessi” are conscious inhabitants of the contemporary home seeking exclusive areas, totally dedicated and reserved for themselves.

Anello_Ambiente#726 copia

Image credit: Gessi

In a statement, the bathroom brand explains the contrasting demands for men and women when it comes down to bathroom design. “Contemporary men and women relish their rituals of personal care and the need for moments of isolation and relaxation to unwind from the day’s stress,” the statement said. “While both genders seek peace, rebalancing, and regeneration in the bath space, their habits and use of this vital environment remain substantially different. The increasingly restricted shared spaces of domestic life create the need for a decompression room. In answer to this need, Gessi has introduced coordinated furnishing elements that offer men and women divided environments of wellbeing, personalised for their personality, daily rituals and style.”

In Gessi’s vision, wellbeing is achieved in the “appropriation of one’s own space by choosing its shapes, furnishings, and colours”. So everyone feels comfortable in a habitat that has been exclusively created for him/her. Like fragrances, jewellery, or clothing, the new Anello and Ingranaggio collections are designed differently to celebrate each gender and make the bathroom a place that honours men and women’s unique needs.

The design of Ingranaggio has a masculine soul and speaks of essential vigour. It reminds us that we are the perfect mechanism of our existence with its elegant handle shaped like a toothed wheel, evoking a gear in motion. The energy of a moving clockwork ideally transfers to the environment and to the user of this collection.

Ingranaggio_Ambiente#187 copia

Image credit: Gessi

Meanwhile, the Anello design has the feminine elegance and modern grace of a jewel and is notable for its distinctive circular handle. As a symbol of infinity and love, the ring becomes the promise of lasting beauty in her setting of peace and wellbeing.

An downward facing view of modern bathroom products

Image credit: Gessi

Each collection offers a variety of models and finishes perfect for further personalisation of your environment – “Anello, the woman of Gessi” and “Ingranaggio, the man of Gessi.” Gessi’s vision is to revolutionise the bathroom with products designed for men and women’s individual tastes that can also be combined harmoniously or switched to satisfy individual tastes, so to create one room with distinct wellness spaces for each.

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

Main image credit: Gessi

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Saar Zafrir

Amsterdam-based interior designer Saar Zafrir joins editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss his latest project to redesign The ReMIX Hotel in paris as well as his wider mission to ’boutique-ify’ large corporate hotels…

Headshot of Saar Zafrir

2012 was a pivotal year for Saar Zafrir, who changed lanes from a 12-year career in finance to take a year off. The next 12 months prepared him to ‘get into the game’, taught by his own passion to become an interior design, at first starting small with friends and family but soon being offered a pathway into the hotel design arena. With a new focus on hospitality and F&B design, Zafrir’s approach was born; to transforming established corporate-style hotels and hospitality groups into fun and lively boutique brands that speak loudly to the growing demands of the modern traveller.

A rich narrative told in the interior design inside Sir Savigny Berlin

Image credit: Sir Savigny Berlin

In fact, in less than a decade, the designer has catapulted himself as a unique creative and developer of hospitality projects throughout Europe, including the award-winning Brown Beach House Croatia (a former tobacco processing plant on the Dalmatian Coastline of Croatia, transformed into a signature Brown Hotels property) as well as Max Brown HotelsSir Savigny Berlin and Gekko Group’s Provocateur Berlin Hotel.

Image credit: Provocateur Berlin Hotel

Through savvy attention to detail, Zafrir creates more than simply beautiful spaces. His work gives spaces a second life, thus generating a new audience that can optimise revenues for hotel chains. The latest example is The ReMix Hotel in Paris., a new hotel that was slated to officially open this month located in Paris’ 19th arrondissement and a longtime property of Schroder’s Group. 

Schroder’s hired Zafrir to develop a new brand to revamp the pre-existing 259-key hotel property in Paris’ Parc of La Villette. With a colourful and eclectic design influenced by the retro and abstract flair of the 1980’s, The ReMIX Hotel is a far pivot from the previous concept behind the original Schroder’s property. Inspired by the 1980’s pop song ‘Forever Young,’ Zafrir has worked to reminisce the essence of the 80’s tune into a modern day design style. The result is a playful yet sophisticated atmosphere with vivid colours, mix of patterns and textures and custom-made furnishings. The ReMIX Hotel will be an anchor for drawing in new breaths of culture, art, entertainment and dining in Paris’ 19th arrondissement.

A bold bar with green and gold explored in the interior design

Image caption: Interior designer Saar Zafrir explored a distinct, loud ’80s interior design theme when redesigning the F&B areas inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

 

Hamish Kilburn: First things first, what inspired your career change from finance to enter the hotel design landscape?

Saar Zafrir: After 12 years within the capital world, I decided to take a year off. I used my shares to buy an apartment in Tel Aviv. During my year off, I decided to work on design and renovation. Whilst getting familiar with design, I taught myself how to use Sketchup, AutoCAD and congeneric software and I totally fell for it. The design was so brilliant that I began to design for both my family and friends. Two years later I bought partnership within the hotel industry and I sold my apartment. That’s how I got into the game.’’

HK: You’ve become known for modernising corporate-style hotels into fresh new brands. Is there any transformation project that you’re specifically proud of?

SZ: “Yes, ReMIX. ReMIX used to be an extremely dull cooperate hotel. We managed to transform it into a very exciting, fascinating hotel people love to visit, even just to take pictures.’’

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What is one trend that you wish will never return?
SZ: Terrazzo, for sure.

HK: What items during lockdown could you not have lived without?
SZ: “I would say both my oven and stove. I can’t choose.’’ 

HK: What makes a good design team?
SZ:
“Working together as a team to inspire each other along the way.’’ 

HK: Who is your interior design hero?
SZ: “Philippe Starck! He was the first to create something that really went out of the box.

HK: Tell me about the concept for your latest project: The ReMIX Hotel in Paris.

SZ: “The client presented us a very large building that needed total renovation. The building was built in the 80’s.

I had always dreamt of designing a hotel 80’s themed. I have always been a fan of the song ‘’Forever Young’’ by Alphaville. The design pitch was shared with the client and the investors of the project and they liked the idea very much. We wanted to bring back the 80s with the roller-skates, the pop, the neon and the rubiscos. The initial idea was to not just open one ReMIX hotel but more of them.’’

HK: What challenges did you face with this project?

SZ: The big challenge was to transform a very old and dull building into something that’s very exciting to look at. It has also been a challenge to convince the client of our initial design. Additionally, we were tied to a very tight budget. It has been a challenge to meet the client’s needs whilst taking the budget into consideration.’’ 

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

Image caption: a clever seating/bed in a guestroom inside The ReMIX Hotel in Paris. | Image credit: Marvin Gang

HK: Finally, can you tell me about some exciting projects you have in the pipeline?

SZ: “Yes, so we created a new brand called Cardo. Cardo is an autograph collection. It will appear in Rome (640 rooms), Paris (300 rooms) and Brussels (540 rooms). Cardo is a cooperate hotel that is characterised by super cool brands, an amazing F&B concept and Spa. I am convinced that it will soon become an evolutionary concept within the hospitality industry.’’

Main image credit: Saar Zafrir

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside W Melbourne, the brand’s second opening in Australia

In the heart of an eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne arrives, with design by Hachem, to shake things up a bit. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

Inside the F&B areas of W Melbourne

W Hotels, part of Marriott International, is on a roll and has officially opened the doors to Melbourne’s first W Hotel. Situated in the heart of the city’s eclectic dining and edgy fashion district, W Melbourne brings the community’s iconic laneway culture and emerging music scene to life. Inspired by the contrasts of the city, the hotel slowly reveals itself to visitors as guests peel back layers to unearth the unique personality of each space.

For W Hotels, the synergy between the brand and its new home in Melbourne is one that makes a lot of business sense. “Melbourne is the perfect locale for the playfully luxe spirit of the W brand and we could not be more excited to unveil this highly anticipated hotel to the world,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President of brand marketing and brand management, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “From its unique, locally inspired design to its eclectic lineup of restaurants and bars, W Melbourne is destined to redefine the luxury hotel scene here and become a must-go destination for travellers and local scene-stealers alike.”

Igniting endless possibilities

Australian architecture and interior design firm Hachem brings innovation and brand storytelling to life through their evocative approach to W Melbourne. Drawing on the city’s diverse and contrasting character, W Melbourne’s design inspiration is translated into vignettes of Melbourne’s streetscapes, letting guests uncover the dynamic city’s past from behind the scenes.

Upon arrival at W Melbourne, guests are introduced to the neighbourhood’s iconic laneways, famous for their graffiti street art and offbeat, eclectic characters. Victorian bluestone tiles connect the Living Room to the laneway, blurring the line between the exterior and interior, where the Welcome Desk stands ready to greet guests. A vast lenticular art installation by local painter and digital artist Rus Kitchin immerses viewers into a canopy of Australian flora and fauna growing above the famed Hosier Lane. The illuminated glass and wood of the Flinders Lane entrance is juxtaposed against the shadows of the hotel’s foyer.

W Melbourne has 294 luxuriously stylish guestrooms and 29 suites, with design details curated to reflect Melbourne’s fascinating history and culture. The hotel’s Wonderful, Fabulous and Mega category rooms are inspired by the neighbouring street-level newspaper kiosks that back to the 1960s.

Fabulous King suite inside W Melbourne

Image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning skyline views. The Marvellous rooms feature a vibrant wall graphic of a fairy wren, a bird native to Australia, pulling back a layer of fabric to reveal a colourful Melbourne scene. The graphic pays homage to the city’s roots as a fashion hub, with Flinders Lane at the centre of its textile trade. The 175-square-meter Extreme Wow Suite (W Hotels’ modern interpretation of the traditional presidential suite), is on the hotel’s highest floor at Level 15, and features a large balcony with expansive views of the Yarra River and an interactive music station – a fresh take on an old-school jukebox.

Celebrating the city’s eclectic F&B scene

W Melbourne’s distinctive restaurants and bars are all set to amplify Melbourne’s dining landscape with innovative, original takes on the city’s multicultural cuisines. All-day dining restaurant Lollo, under the culinary creative direction of celebrated chef Adam D’Sylva, offers a menu that’s designed to be shared and celebrates the chef’s mixed heritage. At the centre of the action and pulse of the hotel is cocktail bar Curious, with its design as impressive as the evocative cocktail list. The bar welcomes guests into a cocoon-inspired space formed by its overhead timber beams in a parametric sequence with low lighting and muted colour palettes. Signature Japanese restaurant WARABI focuses on the freshest seasonal produce with seating for only 30 diners and a private dining room for ten. Culprit channels Melbourne’s café culture into an original bar concept that adds a new twist to the dining experience with a sophisticated floor-to-ceiling charcuterie display and a Vermouth tasting tray.

Mixing work with play, guests will be captivated by 830 square metres of ultra-modern conference, meeting and event space at W Melbourne, setting the stage for spectacular events with fully adaptable conference equipment, world-class audio-visual facilities and contemporary cuisine from the expert in-house catering team. The jewel in the crown, the Great Room, is a 426 square-metre pillarless ballroom with an abundance of natural light and 4×5-metre LED wall. To celebrate the region’s diverse seasons and autumn as a popular time to visit, Melbourne-born visual artist, Ash Keating utilised soft pinks and violets to light up the Great Room ceiling for an enchanting experience for guests.

Meanwhile, FIT and WET on Level 14 will inspire the W ‘Detox. Retox. Repeat’ brand signature wellness philosophy, offering spectacular views alongside an ultramodern fitness facility, gold-roofed indoor pool, poolside bar and DJ booth.

It’s an exciting time for the W Hotels brand. Having already established itself as a leading disrupter to the conventional hospitality scene, its latest openings in both Melbourne, Ibiza and Nashville are statement examples of the luxury lifestyle brand marking their territory in new and exciting travel hotspots.

Main image credit: W Hotels/Marriott International

Outside luxury pool and spa

Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: Tech talk, art escapes & beyond the surface of trends

‘Ey-up’, Hamish Kilburn here to deliver your weekly briefing. Over the last couple of days, we have showered our readers with exclusives, the latest news and insightful features. For those of you on-the-go, here are this week’s hottest stories in one easy-to-consume story…

Outside luxury pool and spa

If you only read one of our stories this week, make sure it’s this one! This week’s stories that have dominated the Hotel Designs website include an exclusive sneak peek of a major hospitality project in Silverstone (UK), a feature that tackles how the pandemic will affect hotel development, an inspiring interview about a hotel in Italy that will simply take your breath away and two – yes two – trend forecasts around surfaces and technology. Oh, and we also take a glance at some of this month’s hottest hotel openings. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

FEATURE // How will the pandemic affect hotel design and development?

Modern and clean interiors inside Ruby Lucy

Image credit: Ruby Lucy

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the pandemic. To help us separate fact from fiction, Tom Bishop, Director of Project Management at Concert, is here to offer some clarity and perspective on the current Covid-19 situation. We wanted him to answer the fundamental question to understand once and for all how the pandemic will impact the hotel design community. Here’s what he had to say…

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INTERVIEW // Meet the visionaries behind Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke on steps

Image credit: Katja Brinkmann

This feature was a strange one for me because, if Covid-19 hadn’t entered on its wrecking ball last year, it would have followed my review of the hotel under the spotlight.  Almost a year after my flight was cancelled, plans to review the luxury lair are unsurprisingly still on hold. While we wait patiently, though, it felt fitting to catch up with Pascale Lauber & Ulrike Bauschke in order to understand the context and challenges that come with such a magnificent project…

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TECH MAD // CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as myself and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE // Inside flagship hospitality development at Silverstone

Villas overlooking the Silverstone Racecourse

Image credit: Escapade Living

When we were told that we were going to be the first to publish about Bergman Interiors – the design firm that cleaned up at The Brit List Awards 2020 – teaming up with Twelve Architects and Escapade Living on a new hospitality development in Silverstone, we were so excited. And then we saw the renderings of the luxury villas overlooking the iconic racetrack and that took the anticipation up a level. Take a look for yourself in our exclusive feature that takes a glance at what this hospitality project will look like…

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HOTEL OPENINGS // VIP arrivals in February 2021

Render of NoMad London

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later in the season, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Without further a due, here are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month.

Read more.

FEATURE // Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

A blue abstract art installation

Image credit: Melia Rhodes/Elegant Clutter

Are you swooning over staycations or dreaming of distant lands? We are all feeling the desire to escape from it all. I started the week in search for that holiday away from my thoughts by catching up with Elegant Clutter’s Creative Director Harry Pass to find out how art in hotel design can be a wonderful way of elevating a sense of escapism…

Read more.

TRENDING // Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

And finally, here’s a meaningful and relevant trends forecast that goes way beyond the surface… “Strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is well-placed to weather the storm without a major supply-side rethink,” says Meghann Day, partner, HBA San Francisco. In this exclusive feature, the designer walks journalist Oriana Lerner through what’s ahead for surface design trends in 2021 and beyond…

Read more.

That’s your lot! Join us next week when we will take a look at W Hotels’ latest opening in Australia and we share our in conversation with Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir. Also, keep one eye open for our podcast DESIGN POD, which will drop with episode one shortly…

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Render of NoMad London

VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in February 2021

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP arrivals: Hottest hotel openings in February 2021

Hot off the heels of our two-part series on hotel openings in 2021, Hotel Designs is serving up the hottest, most spectacular hotel openings to expect in February. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

Render of NoMad London

For many of us, the idea of checking into a hotel in February 2021 is an unrealistic expectation. The UK hospitality sector is feeling the brunt of a third national lockdown, while Europe and many other regions around the globe are also restrained from large gatherings. The world may look very different now from this time last year, but behind the scenes designers and architects are putting finishing touches on tomorrow’s hotels.

From where we are sitting, most new hotels that are expected to open this year are holding off until later in the season, but there a handful of gems are expected to arrive early to the party. Without further a due, here are some of the hottest hotels that are opening this month:

W Nashville

In true W style, ready to cause disruption to conventional hotel design and hospitality, W Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of The Gulch. “Striking the music city chord,” the hotel is expected to open with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces. “Expect the unexpected” is how the brand is teasing this special 346-key arrival, with a high-energy urban experience paired with our Whatever / Whenever® approach to hospitality and Southern comfort you can expect in downtown Nashville.

AC Hotel Maui Wailea (Hawaii)

AC Hotel in Maui render of pool bar

Image credit: AC Hotels/Marriott International

Perfectly placed and featuring two white sand beaches, AC by Marriott Maui Wailea offers scenic views of South Maui. 110-key hotel will shelter a ‘stylish comfort’ and will be complete with an infinity pool and a restaurant serving European cuisine, among other amenities.

Six Senses Botanique

Wooden interiors inside a suite of Six Senses Brazil

Image credit: Six Senses

Six Senses is gearing up to open its first property in the Americas. Situated in Brazil’s Mantiqueira region – known as the “mountains that weep” – Six Senses Botanique showcases its surrounding beauty from a hillside amid 700 acres (283 hectares) of lush, mid-tropical Atlantic forests.

Formerly known as Botanique Hotel & Spa, the hotel was born out of Fernanda Ralston Semler’s vision to set a new benchmark in luxury hospitality that was completely home-grown, recognising local traditions and culture, as well as its natural setting. The hotel was constructed in 2012 by regional architects and designers using indigenous materials such as jacaranda wood, natural stone, and chocolate slate. The slate is mined just once every 17 months and the hotel’s bearing walls incorporate three-ton boulders from the adjacent river. The massive 120-year-old wooden beams are reclaimed from farms in nearby Minas Gerais. Huge glass panels line the rest of the construct to evoke a sense of “outdoors inside” with uninterrupted views of Mantiqueira’s valleys and mountains.

NoMad London

Although we have been updated that this boutique gem is preparing to cut its ribbon in Spring of 2020, February was supposed to be the month when NoMad arrived in London, which is sheltered inside a heritage shell. Just days ago, we caught up the visionaries at EPR Architects, which teased our editorial senses before we are allowed to officially check in.

Located metres from Covent Garden, NoMad London will take residence inside the historic, grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. Designed by New York-based interior design studio Roman and Williams, the transformation of the storied 19th century building draws inspiration from its history and location in Covent Garden, as well as exploring the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York.

Keep an eye on the Hotel Designs website for all the latest hotel opening news. On the editorial desk, we are hopeful and anticipate the lockdown regulations to relax somewhat. With this in mind, we expect more noise on the hotel design scene from March onwards. In the meantime, you can read all about this year’s hottest hotel openings in part one and part two of our editorial series on hotel openings. 

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: NoMad London

Fabrics in a concrete room

Sekers Fabrics becomes exclusive brand partner of FR-One (UK)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sekers Fabrics becomes exclusive brand partner of FR-One (UK)

Collaboration goals, fabrics brand Sekers has become the exclusive brand partners of FR-One in the United Kingdom. Here’s what we know…

Fabrics in a concrete room

FR-One is the industry leader in Inherently Fire-Retardant furnishing fabrics, offering maximum safety by providing a wide range of self-extinguishing multi-use* drapery, bedding and accessory fabrics which meet all necessary UK and Marine (both IMO and MED Module E Certification) Standards, making FR-One a great choice for contract, marine and residential projects.

“This new relationship brings together two of the market leaders in the supply of contract fabrics to the commercial and hospitality industry,” said David Lawton, Group Sales Director at Sekers. “With FR-One’s enviable product range, rigorous testing and one standard that meets all attitude, we are confident that clients old and new will continue to utilise and enjoy FR-One’s stunning collections. Trend-setting colours and designs, beautiful upholstery ranges, fabulous sheers and attractive dim- out collections, all backed by Sekers long standing reputation, loyal sales force and technical knowledge brings us to the beginning of an exciting chapter!”

RE-Invent, let’s reshape the future of FR Fabrics

With the new partnership comes a range of new and exciting fabrics. FR-One has a strong interest in the requirements of our consumers and our environment which has led them to re-use, recycle and ultimately RE-Invent their own collections.

The new RE-Invent range features six collections of upholstery, drapery and bedding fabrics; Re-Vive, Re-Store, RE-Delis, Regal Velvets, Resurgence, and Moon. It showcases three new fabric constructions, manufactured from recycled polyester, fully certified and compliant with the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).

This concise range includes timeless and proven best-sellers that have been thoughtfully reinvented for today’s consumer to encourage appreciation of the value of quality and proven products.

The ranges; Re-Invent, Edition 1 and Edition 2 are sampled in our new stylish dual branded binders and/or pattern books. All of the designs and sample cuttings can be accessed via the FR-One link on the Sekers website, including all three e-binders.

RE-Vive

As FR-One’s first 100 per cent recycled fabric, certified by the Global Recycling Standard, RE-Vive is a wide width dim out that is best suited to contract drapery applications. Featuring a sumptuous touch and drape with a silky smooth finish, this collection is available in a broad and versatile colour palette.

Re-Delis

FR-One’s best-selling ‘Delis’ has been reinvented in a renewed wide width and recycled format suitable for contract drapery applications. Re-Delis is 300cm wide and features a matte, dry and natural look and touch, emulating a beautiful raw linen. Composed of 52 per cent recycled GRS certified polyester, this collection is a brilliant choice for today’s conscientious market.

Two twin beds in a modern setting

Image caption: Re-Delis | Image credit: Sekers

RE-Store

A trio of wide width textured dim outs in GRS certified recycled polyester, the RE-Store collection features RE-Juvenate, RE-Boot and RE-New, three designs well suited to contract drapery applications. RE- Juvenate features a small basket weave texture subtly combining matte and shiny yarns, RE-Boot is composed of fine multi-coloured yarns delivering an elegant sheen when caught in the light and RE- New has an organic, dry and tactile look and feel, bringing sophistication to any interior.

Regal Velvets

A grand collection of multi-use* signature jacquard velvets in three striking designs; Regalia, Remain and Requiem, are available in a beautifully succinct and rich colour range. Regalia is an all-over abstract design that gives great visual texture and movement, reaching 100,000 rubs on the Martindale rub test. Remain is a classic key design with a hidden optical zigzag twist, while Requiem is a small-scale irregular spot effect with an intentionally fuzzy look and feel. Both Remain and Requiem achieve 70,000 rubs, boasting strong durability.

Red velvet interiors in guestroom

Image caption: Regal Velvets | Image credit: Sekers

Resurgence

This collection presents two unconventional vinyl qualities: Register and Refined. Both mirror the look and texture of natural woven linens in the form of boundlessly durable engineered vinyl, boasting 100,000 rubs on the Martindale Rub Test. Both designs are compiled together with a range of FR-Ones carefully curated sheers, drapery and upholstery* fabrics – all in a soft, enduring and neutral colour palette.

Moon

FR-One’s best-selling and timeless multi-use* velvet has been refreshed with a deeper colour palette, now available in a total of 39 rich and on-trend colourways, including a range of metallics, neutrals and jewel tones. Moon’s excellent durability and luxurious touch will enhance the appearance of any interior.

A navy blue studded headboard

Image caption: Moon | Image credit: Sekers

*NB All FR One upholstery fabrics to be used within the U.K. will require additional FR treatment to pass the following standards:

  • BS 5852: 2006 Part 1 Ignition Source 0 & 1, Part 2 Ignition Source 5 (Crib 5)
  • BS 7176: 2007+A1:2011 Medium Hazard, incorporating BS EN 1021-1: 2006, BS EN 1021-2: 2006 When tested over CMHR Foam – density approx. 35kg/m3

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

Main image credit: Sekers

A drawing wallpaper of a ladder on a wall

Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Surface trends for 2021 & beyond

Strict pre-pandemic industry standards mean that hospitality design is “well-placed to weather the storm” without a major supply-side rethink. Meghann Day, partner, HBA San Francisco, walks Oriana Lerner through what’s ahead for surface design trends in 2021 and beyond…

A drawing wallpaper of a ladder on a wall

Travel won’t look the same for months, at least. With a tentative return to ‘normal’ still in the medium-term future and experts predicting a full global industry recovery for hospitality likely still years away, patched-together design solutions and austere Plexiglass screens won’t cut it. Essential business travellers, the guests who are willing and able to travel during the pandemic, and those venturing out once vaccinated still expect the ‘hospitality’ in the hotel stay.

Designers have to find ways to meet those standards without making spaces seem clinical or isolated. That requires some creative thinking of how layout and surfacing can work together for an optimal guest experience that keeps hospitality truly hospitable.

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

It’s crucially important to understand that while cleaning standards have become more enhanced and brought to the forefront due to the pandemic, hotel owners and operators won’t be binning their supplier list, and designers don’t necessarily need to do a major rethink of what materials to use. Rather, it’s about effectively communicating what is often already in place and a heightened awareness of surfaces, materials, and surroundings.

“While beautiful, marble is usually not a surface option for high-traffic hotel spaces. In many ways, the hospitality industry is quite proficient in materiality with respect to sustainability, sturdiness and hygienic design,” says Day. “For example, high-touch surfaces are sealed, and we already put glass tops on wood. We’ve been designing to the necessary level of cleanability for the last decade.”

Image of geometric book shelf in suite

Image credit: Will Pryce

Fabrics are already strictly regulated for cleanability and moisture content, as well as being treated in various ways to improve durability and stain resistance. We will see more of easy-to-clean and antimicrobial fabrics, carpeting and wallcoverings in the year ahead that are luxurious and beautiful.

Even with few supply issues with the ‘what’ of surfacing (Day adds that during the pandemic there are and have been some logistical challenges getting orders filled on time due to Covid regulations in factories), there are plenty of changes to the ‘how’. Each project will be unique, depending on location, type and opening date, but occupancy limits and social distancing require creative use of surfacing.

Don’t worry about having to add permanent wayfinding into design. Day says no clients have yet asked her to incorporate that into flooring or wallcovering in a hotel, and she doesn’t see that coming in the future, either. Quick changes to regulations make temporary solutions such as removable signage a more practical option if it’s needed.

An image of a large lobby area with a large mural of a cat on the wall

Image credit: Will Pryce

The more elegant solution for enforcing social distancing? Taking advantage of surfacing designed for separating spaces without leaving them looking or feeling subdivided. Screens and greenery have long been used in compact spaces to create the feeling of privacy or individual space. Now they have a starring role in doing just that. “There are companies now branching out into screens that really are design elements, not just practical necessities,” says Day. And, she adds, some of them have quick ship programs that will get product onsite in four to six weeks.

The flexibility of screening is another advantage. Many projects are in locations where phases of reopening dictate multiple changes to occupancy, layout and amenity options in public spaces. “Phase one could be just eight to 10 occupants allowed in the lobby at one time,” says Day. “By Phase three, those spaces would have a layout that is designed to allow more space between people [not to return to pre-Covid design] but would not have occupancy restrictions.” Bars and restaurants would also have a phased approach. Day sees greenery as another way to gently encourage people to keep their distance.

A luxe pool area at the top of a hotel

Image credit: Will Pryce

Conference rooms will likely see less use of these techniques. Portable chairs and multipurpose layouts in many larger spaces mean they are essentially adaptable. Simple rearrangement of seating and so on can satisfy social distancing requirements.

Overall, Day doesn’t anticipate major changes to the materials palette, but there are some innovations and trends she sees as emerging in the near future.

A stronger finish: Additional sealants

Day predicts that antibacterial sealant options will improve. These will provide an extra layer on top of products already being used to treat surfaces.

Intimacy without isolation: Screen play

Screening elements in public spaces, such as lobbies and lounges, allow for privacy without the feeling of being alone and act as partitions for social distancing.

Hilton Guadalajara Midtown restaurant_HBA_credit-Lindsay Lauckner

Image credit: Lindsay Lauckner

Even more glass

Seamless and with top-notch cleanability, glass may take a greater role in surfacing. Look for it on bar tops, as a topper for other materials, as panels that create visual separation, and as operable walls to invite nature in as décor and to promote reciprocal indoor/outdoor flow.

Nature-inspired tones

Greens, blues and earthy hues connect us back to nature. In deep tones, these colours evoke a sense of calm. We will see more spaces enveloped in nature-inspired tones, from painted wall panelling and wallcoverings to drapery, mixed with warm woods and natural stone.

Throughout February, Hotel Designs is positioning surfaces under the spotlight. To catch our exclusive HD EDIT on all the latest surface products to launch, click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Will Pryce

Two images of lighting in kitchen and lighting in lounge

Franklite launches 15 new lighting product ranges

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Franklite launches 15 new lighting product ranges

With designers requesting for variety and choices, Franklite has introduced 15 new lighting ranges, each with its own variations within the brand’s new supplement…

Two images of lighting in kitchen and lighting in lounge

Over the last few months, following a busy 2020, the team at Franklite have been working tirelessly to design a range of products that are not only functional and efficient, but also beautiful and creative. In continuation of Catalogue 26, the brand is launching 15 new product ranges each with its own variations within the new supplement. Here’s our sneak peek of the collection, including our editor’s pick.

The Allium range is perfect for adding style and sophistication to any space. This range consists of two spherical pendants and two half-sphere flush ceiling lights in chrome with elegant, multifaceted crystals on wire stems. The organic curve of the cable adds to the floral aesthetic of the pendant, giving the impression of a stem or vine, perfectly paired with natural interior design elements.

Cut-out image of the Allium range from Franklite

Image credit: Franklite

For those looking for something a bit more contemporary and industrial, the Wain pendants are ideal. These rustic matt finish ‘wheel’ pendants on a chain suspension will compliment a space with wood tones such as exposed ceiling beams and wall panelling ideal in open plan living areas or restaurants. Designed to be used with decorative LED lamps these pendants are available in an eight and 10 light option depending of the size of the space.

Cut-out of Wain lighting product from Franklite

Image credit: Franklite

Editor’s pick

The Prophecy, Hotel Designs’ editor’s pick out of the collection, is a comprehensive range of modern matt black fittings with smoked glass spheres. There are three semi-flush fittings, two pendants for a longer drop, a matching wall bracket and a three light floor lamp. The pendants in the Prophecy range have adjustable arms which allow customers to style the pendant as they like. Whilst the bold, smoked globes create a moody and minimalist aesthetic.

For a more subtle, yet extraordinary, industrial pendant we have the Precis range. These elongated dome shaped pendants feature a sturdy, smooth cement outer shell. With two interior options, either in a copper or satin nickel finish, this pendant will go with most kitchen accents.

Cut-out of Precis in the Franklite range

Image credit: Franklite

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

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Franklite

CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CES 2021: Best hotel design tech trends

Technology’s role in hotel design has arguably never been so relied upon. If you happened to miss CES 2021, fear not as editor Hamish Kilburn and wellbeing expert Ari Peralta – together, an editorial dream team – are here to share the best hotel design tech trends that emerged from the show…

Each year, Las Vegas becomes the centre of the tech universe as CES opens its doors to the latest breakthrough technology products that are taking over and in the process changing modern consumer behaviour. From flying ubers to rollable smartphones, wearable screens to a wearable phone mask – to say that these inventions are far-fetched is an understatement. But if you cut through the noise, you will also discover high-tech solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality landscape.

As millions of people around the world spend more time at home, they yearn for balance and seek an escape from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life. The potential for technology to create more moments of wellbeing, and making it easier to unwind, destress, and find peace, is the driving force behind our article. This year’s event, which took place virtually due to the Covid-19 outbreak, unsurprisingly had a big focus on touchless and clean technologies. To make sense of the best hotel design tech that emerged throughout the show, here are our top five editorial picks.

Pandemic-inspired “CleanTech” is everywhere

A clean, comfortable lifestyle is vital today as consumers navigate the New Normal Way of Life resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Straight in to address the elephant in the room, the show made a nod to the seismic shift in attitudes towards hygiene, especially in public spaces, by presenting some interesting solutions for the hospitality industry. Many brands showcased new hygiene products using UV lighting – an area that we explored recently in a roundtable – while there was also an emphasis on personal air filtration spaces.

So far we’ve seen dozens of cleaning gadgets, from antimicrobial backpacks to truly insane UV-light-spewing, air-purifying robots. There are portable UV light cleaners for your car, for your glasses, or for anything else. Components designed to zap germs have been folded into a slew of air purifiers, wireless chargers, and refrigerators, launching a new breed of multi-use Swiss Army gadgets.

Image caption: Air-purifying robots by Samsung

Image caption: Air-purifying robots by Samsung

Even the gadgets that don’t directly do any cleaning are being designed to be cleaned more quickly. Phone cases, screen protectors, laptops, and touchscreens made from antimicrobial material that encourages swift and thorough sanitising. “Antimicrobial,” “antibacterial,” and “antiviral” are all vying to become the “gluten-free” of consumer gadgets.With the need for cleanliness and hygienic surfaces at the forefront of consumers’ minds, TOTO NEOREST and WASHLET+ showcased cleaning technologies that work synergistically and are especially important in this new normal way of life that consumers are experiencing.

Image caption: The TOTO NEOREST features state-of-the-art hygiene technology

Image caption: The TOTO NEOREST features state-of-the-art hygiene technology

Another technology being heavily used is eWater or electrolysed water. eWater is a well-known cleaning agent, which reduces the need for harsh cleaning chemicals. Electrolysed water is produced by electrolysis of the chloride ions in ordinary tap water. It is completely free of added chemicals and harsh cleaning agents. 

Touchless products are here to stay

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably be touching things less often, at least until everyone has been vaccinated. Today, consumers are intensely concerned about infectious disease transmission when they visit hotels, airports, shopping centres, schools, offices, and other facilities. Guests want the security of knowing they can safely use products without the worry of coming into contact with Covid-19.

At this year’s CES, we saw a number of products, from toilets to video doorbells, that no longer require you to touch them in order to use them. While touchless products aren’t new, the pandemic certainly has accelerated its development over the past year. LG’s Instaview refrigerator — the one with a large door you can knock on to see inside — now has a window that’s 23 per cent larger, allowing you to see more of what’s inside. Kohler introduced the Sensate touchless kitchen faucet two years ago, but now the company is bringing the same technology to the bathroom. Arlo’s newest doorbell is touchless, and when it detects a visitor, it will emit a noise and turn on a light to let the person know that they don’t have to press the button on the doorbell itself. 

Advanced image processing – going from 4K to Beyond 8K and new transparent TVs

Each year, TVs become narrower and more defined, but in 2021 the demand for a tech-flooded TV system has gone one step further with a concept for Samsung for a transparent TV. For us, we believe this is just the start as we predict – just like Jason Bradbury did when he checked in to a hotel 30 years into the future – that surfaces will soon become personalised for the user.

CES 2021 saw Samsung present its new transparent TVs

Image caption: Samsung presented its new transparent TVs

There are so many use cases for this ‘transparent’ TV technology in hospitality, retail and other environments where business owners are looking to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience. This new wave TV technology combines the uniqueness of a see-through display with the unrivalled form factor and picture quality of micro LED technology. Micro LED technology uses self-lighting pixels that can be turned on and off individually for exact control of image brightness and quality, delivering infinite contrast ratios optimised for high-dynamic-range content.

 AI-powered health and wellness

If you were not checked in on your wellness and wellbeing before 2020, chances are you will be now. The latest tech trends suggest more and more products will start to emerge that will enhance sleep, exercise and healthy lifestyles in general as demand for these solutions grows.

This year’s show saw everything from rechargeable smart bottles to ‘stress cancellers’ as well as new sophisticated sleep performance devices. A few years ago we spoke about the Internet of Things (IoT), the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. Well, it’s happening now. The IoT is not simply about devices being connected, but it is about the benefits it delivers to end-users, be it consumer or enterprise.

The BioButton from BioIntelliSense is a small piece of technology that works like a sticker to track things like body temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate – some of the key indicators that can show the early signs of Covid-19. 

The Moflin AI pet robot uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to learn motions and make cute sounds. It’s really aimed at kids and adults as a companion robot, which may sound a bit weird until you think about the pandemic and how many people are facing isolation in this day and age.

Another featured product that uses AI is the Timekettle . What’s special about them is that they are capable of translating more than 93 foreign languages. So someone with an earbud in their ear could listen to another person speaking in a foreign language and get an instantaneous translation.

Biometric and multi-sensory bathrooms

Last year, we caught wind of the Alexa-activated shower from Kohler. In 2021, the bathroom brand returned with a shower of the future. Within this, the Stillness Bath was introduced – a square tub  that combines light, fog and aromatherapy to create a spa-like experience. In addition, and circling back to ‘clean design’, there was a flurry of touchless products, including shower toilets and faucets. 

Image caption: Bathroom brand Kohler impressed the audience with its tech-forward Stillness Bath

Image caption: Bathroom brand Kohler impressed the audience with its tech-forward Stillness Bath

Themis is the new CareOS small, connected mirror that acts as a personal wellness assistant. It offers patented, playful touchless user interaction combines with a unique connected mirror that addresses personal care, beauty, practical life, and the whole spectrum of wellness including ‘mindwellness’, hygiene and preventive healthcare. You can even monitor your biometrics anywhere on your smartphone with the companion application.

TOTO’s Flow Sky toilet can measure excrement. Their new biometric toilet scans your body and key outputs, providing wellness recommendations as a result of the simple routine act of sitting down on the toilet.

Right, that’s enough toilet talk for one article…

Since you’re here…

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

Click here to sign up to our newsletter.

Main image credit: Samsung/TOTO/Kholer/Care OS

Collage of Kobe fabrics

Look for the month from KOBE: Ceramic collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Look for the month from KOBE: Ceramic collection

KOBE is starting 2021 as it means to go on; with enthusiasm and optimism – thinking ahead towards a better year for everyone. The fabric brand’s ‘look of the month’ in January takes inspiration from the Ceramic collection…

Collage of Kobe fabrics

Leaving behind a sombre 2020, we step into 2021 with enthusiasm and optimism for a better year ahead for everyone.

The New Year brings new collections from KOBE, and are happy to take inspiration from one of the brand’s favourites – Ceramic a 100 per cent natural velvet with a fetching colour palette.

Colour palette

Mixing soft and warm variated tones of terra and peach, sophisticated neutrals, along with browns, greys and black. The contrasts of white with warm wood colours gives a balanced feel for a clean, clutter free setting.

Colour mix

Ceramic is available in four colourways, each having an alluring combination of hues that blend into each other with perfect harmony. This gives a choice of many variations in colour combinations in balancing out the complementing and contrasting colours to create unique personal interpretations.

Accessorise with personal style

A contemporary interior style doesn’t have to feel “empty”. Accessorising with personality and styles that reflect you and your interior style, adds a touch of personal statement to your interior.

Matching plains

Ceramic is suitable for both curtains and upholstery use. It can easily match with many Kobe plains, creating beautiful colour combinations with Scala, Volterra or other plains such as Chacar, Levanto or Potenza, used together can create stunning interior styles.

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

Main image credit: Kobe

Image of shoes by the modern bed

Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Weekly briefing: an exclusive hotel review in Dubai & full steam ahead for Marriott

Kick your shoes off and get comfortable. Welcome to your weekly briefing with me editor Hamish Kilburn. This week’s round-up features an exclusive design review of Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’ in Dubai, exclusive details behind the launch of a new lifestyle hotel brand and Marriott’s 2021 ambitious expansion plans for the Asia Pacific region…

Image of shoes by the modern bed

It’s not been the smoothest of starts to the year, with many of us still working from home, balancing work around disruptive lifestyles.

Meanwhile, the editorial team at Hotel Designs have been busy preparing for our next Hotel Designs LIVE and we are weeks away from launching our brand new podcast for the design and architecture community.

But enough about us… when it comes to keeping up to date with the latest headings that are shaping the future of our industry, we’ve got you covered with our weekly briefing! Here’s our round-up of the hottest the stories of the week.

Exclusive design review: ME Dubai, Zaha Hadid’s ‘legacy project’

An exterior shot of the Opus

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

Known as Hadid’s ‘legacy project’, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials epitomises the studio’s unique design style. We sent renowned furniture designer Rock Galpin to the vibrant metropolis to exclusively review the new Dubai hotel.

Keep your eyes peeled, as we are going live with our ‘In Conversation With’ Christos Passas, the architect behind this project, next week. 

Read more. 

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Image credit: Marriott International

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

Read more.

EXCLUSIVE: Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam with a fresh eye for design

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, here you can see quirky interiors in a render of the hotel's lobby

Wink Hotels has arrived in Vietnam, entering the hospitality arena by opening its debut hotel this March. Hotel Designs exclusively catches up with AW2, the Parisian based architecture firm, that designed the brand’s design scheme.

Read more.

Sandals remembers Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart (1941 – 2021)

Image credit: Sandals

It is with regret that we report on the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Company Chairman and Founder of Sandals and Beaches Resort. The master marketer made Sandals a household name and brought opportunity to the Caribbean.

Read more.

Cutting through the noise // 7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

Image credit: Unsplash

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

Read more.

One month to go: Hotel Designs LIVE

Main image for Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE returns on February 23 to keep the industry connected and to serve our readers with relevant and engaging conversations that are unlike any other. With just over a month before the virtual event, here’s why you should attend.

Read more. | Participate.

Since you’re here…

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

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Main image credit: ME Dubai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An exterior shot of the Opus

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

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

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

First impressions count

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

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

An image to show the expansive atrium inside the ME Dubai

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

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

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

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

Close up of furniture in the atrium at ME Dubai

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guestrooms and Suites

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

Aura Room

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

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

“No wall was perpendicular to another.”

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

Personality Suite

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

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

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

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

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

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

The F&B experience

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

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

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

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

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

An industrial-styled gym in ME Dubai

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

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

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

Over and out,

Rock.

Main image credit: ME Dubai

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Marriott International to open almost 100 hotels in Asia Pacific this year

Following Marriott International announcing its 800th hotel opening in Asia Pacific, the group is expected to open almost 100 more properties in the region this year alone…

Luxury pool at Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

Last year, despite the pandemic putting a halt on travel demand, Marriott International opened 75 new hotels in Asia Pacific, representing more than one opening per week across the region. This year, the hotel group is expected to continue this growth in the region. In a recent press statement, Marriott announced announced its ambitious plans to open nearly 100 new properties in the area in 2021.

“I am proud of the way we have continued to grow and have moved quickly to adapt to the challenges that arose from the pandemic. With the launch of new global industry hygiene standards in April 2020, innovative offerings such as work anywhere packages and hyper-localised marketing and sales strategies, our nimble and forward-thinking approach will continue to lead us through the recovery,” said Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International. “We are grateful for the continued resilience and positivity demonstrated by our associates and for the confidence our guests, owners and franchisees continue to have in us. We remain well-positioned to meet the travel demands of our guests across Asia Pacific and the rest of the world.”

Greater China has led the global recovery to date, and the company expects to soon celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the opening of JW Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in spring 2021. With this hotel opening, Shanghai has the distinction of reaching this important milestone for the company in Asia Pacific.

“Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025.”

According to a joint report by consultancy Bain & Co. and Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury unit, Mainland China is on track to become the world’s largest personal luxury market by 2025 even seeing year-over-year domestic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic. To leverage this trend, Marriott International continues to strengthen its luxury portfolio with expected openings in 2021 such as W Changsha, W Xiamen, St. Regis Qingdao and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Jiuzhaigou. With the anticipated opening of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China will be the first country in Asia Pacific to house all of Marriott International’s luxury hallmarks.

Pool at Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Image credit: Marriott International/Ritz-Carlton Reserve, China

Marriott’s leisure bookings in China have been particularly strong, up over 25 per cent year over year in the third quarter in Mainland China, demonstrating the resiliency of demand once consumers are comfortable that the virus is under control and restrictions can safely be lifted. The company is introducing more travel experiences across its brand portfolio, including at popular leisure destinations such as Mianyang in the Sichuan province with the expected opening of Sheraton Mianyang, as well in the culturally-rich destination of Nanjing with the anticipated opening of The Westin Nanjing Resort & Spa.

Beyond Greater China, Marriott International continues to strengthen its footprint, with several expected brand debuts across Asia Pacific in 2021. In Japan, W Hotels is expected to debut with the opening of W Osaka, while The Luxury Collection is also slated to debut in Australia with the opening of The Tasman in Hobart. The iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is expected to celebrate its debut in the leading resort destination of Maldives in early summer, bringing legendary service to the picture-perfect archipelago.

A render of the first Luxury Collection hotel in Australia

Image credit: Marriott International/The Luxury Collection

Further expanding Marriott’s presence in breathtaking resort destinations, the JW Marriott brand is slated to bring its warm luxury experience to Jeju Island in South Korea with the planned opening of JW Marriott Jeju in late 2021. The company’s signature wellness brand, Westin, is also highly anticipated to debut in one of India’s top beach destinations, Goa, this summer.

Since you’re here, why not read ‘The Hot List’, referencing the most significant hotels openings expected in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year?

To support domestic travel in Japan, the company plans to open six additional Fairfield by Marriott hotels throughout 2021 along ‘Michi-no-Eki’ roadside stations aimed at revitalising the country’s local sightseeing spots. Japan expects to have more than 30 Fairfield by Marriott hotels by the end of 2023. Touted as one of the best cities in the world for art, culture, music and food, Australia’s Melbourne is expected to see the opening of the country’s second W Hotel with W Melbourne in spring and the opening of Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands in early 2021.

Pool area at Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands overlooking city

Image credit: Marriott International/Melboure Marriott Hotel Docklands

“The strength of our pipeline is testament to the long-term growth prospects in Asia Pacific,” said Paul Foskey, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we are pleased with the signings we have achieved across the region during the year. We have full gratitude to our owners and franchisees for their belief in the resiliency of travel and the strength of Marriott’s portfolio of brands.”

Main image credit: Marriott International/Domes Zeen, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chania

7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative hotel hygiene solutions

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

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

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

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

Room To Breathe – for peace of mind

Man using hygiene friendly way to steam clean curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

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

KEUCO sanitisers – for the design-savvy

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

Infra-red touchless taps – for the tech-savvy

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

Image credit: GROHE

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

Blueair Blue Pure 411 – for the boutique guestroom

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

Rimless DirectFlush WC – for seamless cleaning

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

UNILIN Evola Collection – for robust surfaces

A grey stone like surface that is hygienic

Image credit: UNILIN

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

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

Robot service… too soon? 

An image of a robot looking up

Image credit: Alex Knight/Unsplash

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

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

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

Main image credit: Jean Philippe/Unsplash

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Colour & pattern trends for 2021 and beyond

In order to establish some positivity in what is otherwise a rather bleak hospitality landscape at the moment, we’re leaning on Parkside to lift the lid – and the mood – on colour and pattern trends that are shaping interiors over the next two years…

Contrasting green and light brown tiles

“There’s got to be more to colour in 2021 than PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating,” we hear you say. There’s nothing wrong with these two contrasting hues, but thanks to our relationship with tile specification brand Parkside, we can go beyond the surface to discover some rather exciting trends that are emerging.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing the biggest disruption to modern life in many generations, our response looks to shield us from the economic uncertainty, social isolation and endangered health. A desire for interiors that can accommodate agility as well as provide retreat to make us feel calm and safe, will shape the colours, surfaces and patterns we see.

Encouraging a positive emotional response that helps to relieve feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, colour is playing a more influential role, with palettes that offer depth and richness. From saturated, digital tones to rich and authentic natural colours such as moss and deep forest green, colours are bolder and help users connect to the space in meaningful ways.

These colours can be grouped into clear themes that bring cohesion to a colour, texture and surface palette. Parkside has identified two key themes for 2021/2022 in Nature’s Purity and Retro Pop.

Nature’s Purity explores the positivity of nature’s influence on our interiors. As we seek a deeper connection to the natural world, it looks towards colours, surfaces and patterns that respond to this. Warmer, earthy ones are paired with natural materials that evoke a sense of purity and perfection. Lending itself well to creating an immersive hospitality experience through new neutrals and natural textures such as marble and wood, Nature’s Purity fosters a link to the outdoor world that helps to instil calmness and serenity in any commercial interior.

Selection of Parkside tiles

Image credit: Parkside

Retro Pop sees a return to nostalgia, with the bold, geometric patterns of the 70s resurging, this time with a sunnier palette rooted in citrus yellow. Sweet pastels add energy and help to build playful spaces that encourage wellness, collaboration, connection and socialisation. Bringing fun and joy to workplaces and retail, Retro Pop sees ceramics, satin finishes and terrazzo clash for fun combinations that retain a feeling of positiveness.

Through more than 1,500 tile designs, Parkside can provide designers with wall and floor tiles to bring these trends to commercial projects. Whether the faithful colours of the Matrix collection or marble, wood and textile effects; Parkside supports its solutions with a range of services including waterjet cutting, colour matching and bespoke digital print.

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

Main image credit: Parkside

Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sneak peek: inside SLS Cancun, a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel

The new beachfront sanctuary in Cancun, which officially opens on February 1, features 45 suites, ocean views and world class design led by famed architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Hotel Designs takes a look inside…

Having designed a myriad of hotels around the world, Piero Lissoni brought his iconic design magic to Cancun to bring to life sbe’s vision of a “barefoot-chic tropical” hotel. SLS Cancun, which opens in early February, is a perfectly timed arrival as the SLS brand is one at the centre of the Ennismore and Accor merge to become the largest and fastest growing global player.

Complete with bright contemporary spaces intertwined with Italian décor, reminiscent of his hometown in Italy, the hotel shelters just 45 striking suites. From oceanside floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the ocean and tones of deep ocean blue and vibrant turquoise to an open-floor concept lobby featuring soft, white-washed wood and light stones, Lissoni’s latest property evokes a feeling of calmness as the space connects the interior and exterior as one. 

“This hotel is like a cocktail,” Lissoni explains. “We’ve incorporated a few different ingredients: the local culture together with that of America and Europe. And we’ve bound the style of the latter to that of Mexico. So the light and the presence of art works, antiques and local craftsmanship dialogue with those of other worlds. And I think we’ve come up with a cocktail that’s particularly interesting.”

SLS Cancun guestroom render in Cancun hotel

Image credit: SLS Hotels

Guestrooms and suites are described by the hotel brand as “sparkling and shining” that promise to “take your breath away”. Each area is modern with sleek lines to compliment azure waters of the ocean that are effortlessly framed.

Meanwhile, the public areas feature a contemporary lobby bar, and to further stretch the theme of barefoot luxury, the hotel experience focus is steered towards a luxurious poolside scene, sandy beach and  the state-of-the-art fitness centre and spa.

Complimenting the overall design of the hotel, LEYNIA is an Argentinian grill, led by chef Jose Icardi, which is inspired by flavours from Japan, melding the rustic allure of open flame cooking.

The opening of SLS Cancun becomes the brand’s fifth property in North America, as the brand enters into an exciting era that will no-doubt promise thoughtful growth to further enhance the “new kind of luxury” that the brand has created.

Main image credit: SLS Hotels

Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Embracing nature – a 2021 trends forecast we can relate to

With the aim to inspire a deeper connection with nature, this 2021 trends forecast by Modieus consists of four key themes, which are grounded, green utopia, textured layers and crafted…

Developed post lockdown, each this trends forecast reflects our freedom from isolation; it embraces nature, craves the simplicity and inspires a meaningful sense of peace.

Grounded

A new appreciation of the truly important things in life make us feel grounded. To some extent this reflects the collective state of people who have experienced Covid-19 lockdowns. Down to earth colour palettes, warm natural hues, create a sense of stability, balance and a foundation stone for change.

A mustard armchair on a honey-mustard rug and brass light

Image credit: Modieus

Warm earthy tones, soft, natural and soothing to create a sense of calm and comfort. Natural and cool beige, neutral with a faint green undertone will calm the senses. Nature will be intensified with mossy, sage greens paired with turmeric and citrus yellow hues.

Reflecting on nature’s influence, we see a fresh take on yellow. To feel optimistic, we turn to yellow. Pale citrus yellow, soft creamy butter and stronger turmeric yellow.  Spring and yellow floral hues reflective of gardens reinvigorating our interest in colour that inspires feelings of much needed optimism.

Green utopia

Embracing sustainability and wellness. We have grown tired of social media and digital devices so are reconnecting with nature’s beauty. We will continue to seek solid interactions with loved ones, family and friends, and give greater focus to what is around us immediately.

A large modern sofa in a contemporary setting

Image credit: Modieus

Green foliage and dappled light revives us. This palette’s green hue also includes shades of brown within green hues, such as discoloured grasses or new foliage on old branches. Inspiration is drawn from plants and the foliage of leaves, vegetables, cacti and flowers.

Issues of sustainability have never been so important and the pandemic has allowed time to accelerate our thinking moving forward. The textile industry is changing rapidly. Using resources more responsibly is the unifying theme of this trend.

Textured layers 

The textured layers trend is all about looking to the unseen and the finer details. Stone will be simple, concrete, minimal and almost cool. Terracotta will return, in modern hues, softer and paler. Colour will feel monochromatic, to emphasise small details to shine like matt and gloss.

A green room with jungle-like carpets

Image credit: Modieus

Engaging with imperfections of authentic natural materials that have been used, worn or look tarnished. Rusted metals, dark woods with irregular grain patterns. Fabrics will feel unblemished or unprocessed like raffia, recycled denim, hemp and hessian.

There is a tactile and visual dryness to these colours, which reflects the wider Australian environment of the bush and desert. In line with embracing a natural aesthetic, colour palettes will begin to reflect more warm earth-fired colours such as metal ores, russet shades, soft terracotta and browns.

Colour palettes will be layered and monochromatic. Sun-kissed colours are paired beautifully, such as soft dusky pink, also a gentle optimistic colour.  With a blue undertone, dusky pink is ideal for injecting warmth into palettes of grey and blue.

Crafted

Recognising the provenance of goods and how they are made has fuelled the Crafted trend.  There is a shift in thinking as we look to shop locally to avoid lengthy shipping delays from overseas suppliers. We’re looking at craftsmen for special custom pieces that are unique to our needs and taste.

An image of a crafted lobby

Image credit: Modieus

Aesthetically, a bespoke crafted style, embraces artisan-made, ethically produced, imperfect-looking pieces that are robust and enduring. Designs are fluid and loosely drawn.

Fabrics and products have a rawness that shows the hand of the craftsperson in their creation. In Australia we expect to see more indigenous patterns and collaborations with respectful references to Indigenous art, land and country.

Main image credit: Modieus

Confessions of a lighting designer – what is lighting design?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lighting

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

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

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

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

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

Lighting for hospitality

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

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

Lighting experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lighting is digital

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

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

Internet of Things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misunderstandings

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

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

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

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

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

The future

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

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

Main image credit: neolight

TRENDING // bathroom tap trends emerging in 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TRENDING // bathroom tap trends emerging in 2020

According to UK Bathrooms, taps in a range of metallics and subtle brushed finishes are trending in the bathroom for 2020 and beyond…

Gone are the days when your choice of tap colour was high shine chrome or high shine chrome.

Taps with matt or brushed finishes are flooding into the most contemporary bathrooms in a varied palette of muted metallics and monochromes, transforming pieces of brassware into elegant design statements.

“A wide range of tap finishes are emerging as part of the trend for statement bathrooms.” – Graeme Borchard, Managing Director, UK Bathrooms.

Metallic finishes in gleaming hues ranging from copper to bronze have moved into the bathroom over the recent years, as brassware became more experimental – and #bathroomselfie started trending on Instagram. Now it’s the turn of subtler, more gentle shades, as brushed and matt finishes are launched across taps of every tone. “A wide range of tap finishes are emerging as part of the trend for statement bathrooms,” explains Graeme Borchard, MD at UK Bathrooms. “There’s a real desire for spaces which are bold and luxurious, but also unique and personal.”

Adding a tap – or other brassware – with a brushed, matt or textured finish to the bathroom instantly creates a sophisticated, tranquil feel, thanks to their delicate and understated nature. Due to the wide variety of shades which have recently become available, there’s now a tone to harmonise with every bathroom scheme. Brushed nickel, for example, is a mellow version of classic chrome, the soft silvery colour working beautifully with bathrooms in cool, watery hues that have blue, green, turquoise or white bases. For bathrooms decorated with warmer colours like pink, coral or yellow, muted brass and bronzes will blend in with the dusky, sunset feel of the space.

As well as their chic appearance, taps lacking the traditional high shine have practical benefits too, accumulating fewer watermarks and finger prints, and requiring minimal polishing, so are joyfully low maintenance.

Want to make more of a statement? Matt black and white taps have also taken hold of 2020, the striking shades packing more of a punch than brushed metallic tones, but with a minimal texture that doesn’t reflect light at all.

Matt monochromes work in any bathroom setting. A matt black tap absorbs light, forming a shadowy silhouette against the surface behind it – team it with matching brassware to create a pared-back take on the industrial, New York loft-style bathroom trend. Matt white taps speak of elegance and crispness, a point of difference against other glossy white ceramics in the room, while also working alongside them. Against surface materials like marble or tiles, white taps let the walls take centre stage, while black taps add a shapely focal point.

Matt textures work best on taps which have simple, modern shapes, so the material is emphasised and can be fully appreciated; a bevy of new releases from key bathroom brands combine brushed or matt finishes with clean, contemporary styling.

Taking influence from modern architecture, hansgrohe has added Matt White and Matt Black to its FinishPlus range, which also includes Brushed Bronze and Brushed Black Chrome, and can be applied across the sleek Metropol and Talis E ranges. Crosswater’s MPRO collection is also all about minimal shine finishes, its basin taps – as well as other coordinating showers, valves and accessories – can be coated in Matt Black, Matt White and Brushed Stainless Steel or Brass. Colour Your Bathroom by Abacus has the option to apply on trend Matt Black, Brushed Bronze and Brushed Nickel across its entire collection of taps and more, while VitrA’s angular Origin range carries Matt Black and Brushed Nickle on more than 150 products.

Finding a tap with a finish that will complement but not overpower your bathroom has never been easier – choose a single piece for a sculptural statement or use textured metal across the entire space to fully embrace this year’s hottest bathroom trend.

UK Bathrooms 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: UK Bathrooms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Architextural

Diverse applications

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

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

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

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

Environmental benefits

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

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

a clean living room with black wallcovering

Image credit: Architextural

Less day-to-day disruption

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Architextural

Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

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

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

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

The Curtain

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

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

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

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

Kimpton Fitzroy

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

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

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

Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Burlington injects art deco grandeur in new range

As part of our editorial series exploring the wider context of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection, Hotel Designs understands more about the 1920s and ’30s, art-deco inspired pieces that the bathroom brand has launched to the market…

Characterised by the unmistakable shapes and colours synonymous with the 1920s and 1930s style, the Art Deco range by Burlington was inspired by architecture and vintage tableware.

Charleston

Drawing heavily on the linear and geometric designs of the early modern art movements, the elegant fan-like shape of the Charleston pattern creates an eye-catching focal point. Complementing the traditional silhouette of Burlington’s ceramics, the delicate monochrome illustration is ideal for those wanting to add a unique embellishment to their bathroom interior.

feature in a basin

Image credit: Charleston, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Vienna

A design that exudes confidence and charm, the vibrant appearance of the Vienna pattern blends a classic retro colour palette with the geometric shapes reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Inspired by the yellow ochre and black shades in vintage tableware, Vienna brings a playful nod of the roaring twenties into today’s bathroom.

Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Image credit: Vienna, Art Deco collection by Burlington

Martinez

Inspired by the iconic Martinez Hotel balcony in Cannes, the hand-illustrated pattern fuses both linear and circular detailing, resulting in an exquisite and attention-grabbing decoration. A subtle incorporation of gold echoes the distinctive balcony design, leaving a lasting impression.

Burlington 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: Burlington

Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury interiors with Minotti furniture

Image credit: The Torii range of the 2020 Minotti Collection

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

Oki Sato: Traditional, lightness, and secureness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: How long did this process take?

OS: I believe this process took about nine months.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Minotti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Aloft Hotels/Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

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

A modern shower.

Image credit: Aqualisa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Aqualisa

IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orange entrance to the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

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

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

Render of minimalist reception overlooking city of Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

A very minimalist guestroom

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

a modern suite overlooking Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

A minimalist spa inside the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

Main image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Selina

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

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

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

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

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

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

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up of the centre console of the Bentley car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

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

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

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

The champagne cream interior with led lighting of the car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

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

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

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

Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the top:

Headboard

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

Bedding

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

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

Bed base

Image credit: Nimb Hotel - Deluxe Balcony Room

Image credit: Nimb Hotel – Deluxe Balcony Room

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

Mattress

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

Side tables

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

Lighting

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

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

Final touches

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

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

Image credit: Design Equals

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

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

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

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

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

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Main image credit: The Mayson

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern n