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INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Designing fitness spaces after the pandemic

Hotel Designs continues putting ‘Spas’ under the spotlight by asking Flair Studio how the design of fitness spaces will change post-pandemic…

The fitness industry has been badly hit as a result of the COVID–19 spread and in the current situation it is exploring innovative ways to save itself from being irrelevant through online apps and zoom sessions from home.

And while training equipment sales for the private consumer are booming, gym clubs, fitness and wellness studios are all going to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

In fact, going to a club and exercise is no longer safe for obvious reasons as people couldn’t use the same equipment unless everything is wiped out, the air conditioning is turned off and some distancing measures are put in place.

The current situation could give designers the opportunity to reimagine the fitness experience and the spaces in which it will take place after the Virus has become more contained and manageable. Obviously, exceptional hygiene measures have to be put in place and paired with air treatment systems which favour the usage of outside air ventilation and the increase of air exhaust.

empty fitness studio

Image credit: Pixabay

At the beginning, design opportunities will probably start from smaller, independent and community integrated boutique fitness centres rather than the larger clubs. This is also due to most of the large clubs being usually located into dark basements wit forced air systems and artificial lights, something that was well epitomised by Simon Rawlings, creative director at David Collins Studio, even before the lockdown: “I want somewhere that feels inspiring,” he explained. “I don’t want to work out somewhere that’s like a nightclub but spend time somewhere that’s calming. I like daylight – it soothes my brain.”

Another important design aspect will be to bring in residential elements into these spaces not only to smooth the transition and create a sense of comfort but also to provide wellness experiences that the users can feel their own. As personal training and one-to-one sessions will be probably more common during the short term, the environment will focus more on authenticity, easiness, intimacy and understatement, rather than on brand awareness and bold, theatrical features.

I am sure people will go back to exercise together at some point as doing the same work out from your living room can become a bit boring and the weather to exercise in the park can be unpredictable.  I am also confident that initially, smaller boutique wellness and fitness centres which are more integrated within their communities will be able to regain business sooner by reconnecting with their customers and delivering a more comforting ant authentic experience.

Flair Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Encouraging guests to enjoy outdoor spaces will help hotels to thrive again

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Encouraging guests to enjoy outdoor spaces will help hotels to thrive again

To launch this month putting ‘Outdoor Style’ through the editorial lens, Hotel Designs asks The Fine Cotton Company how hotels can make their outdoor spaces more comfortable…

Alongside special occasions, escaping the every day and getting back to nature is often a reason to book a stay in a luxury hotel. 

As we all look to the future, our expectation is this will become a key reason for guests to choose their hotel, with the thought of enjoying the freedom of outdoor space, breathing in the air and soothing the soul being front of all of our minds right now.

Considering that hoteliers now would be smart to consider how they can support their guests to enjoy their outdoor spaces for longer. Whether it’s taking afternoon tea on the terrace, lounging by the pool, walks in the garden or doing yoga classes on the lawn providing their guests with soft blankets and comforting throws in natural fabrics to keep them cosy will enable their guest to enjoy the spaces for longer.

Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Contemporary stone washed cottons, such as those in the Portofino waffle blanket collection, make great choices for gardens, spas and pool areas as they are washable and easily laundered.

And for a more traditional choice, super soft merino wool blankets like the Keswick and Kendal ranges draped across the backs of chairs or left in baskets for guests to help themselves to as they take a stroll make excellent additions.

Luxurious merino wool wraps like are also a thoughtful and stylish way to keep your guests (warm and ) comfortable. Our clients often ask us to have them monogrammed with their hotel logo as they make a popular choice for guests to purchase to take home to remember their stay too.

Outdoor spaces we can all enjoy with freedom feels a while away right now, but those hotels who can offer this retreat as part of the hotel experience will inevitably attract new guests in the future.

The Fine Cotton Company is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: The Fine Cotton Company

Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Editor Checks In: Emerging from pandemic paralysis

As the lockdown measures continue to the halt the industry’s reawakening from its slumber, editor Hamish Kilburn confronts the pandemic from a new vantage point…

The front cover of this month’s US Condé Nast Traveler has managed to harmonise the opinions of the uncertain, and no-doubt anxious, hospitality, design and travel industries worldwide.

“See the world in a new light” was the entirely relevant theme that the always forward-thinking Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Stevens, chose to run. I like to imagine the decision was made while working from home, after a new-found mindset enabled the self-isolating editorial desk to take a deep exhale before thinking about future issues, both in print as well as the complexities that lie ahead for the now-suffering travel industry.

“My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism.”

I say this because, as well as cheerleading Stevens’ sharp and at-times eccentric writing style from afar, I too am trying to broaden my horizons to look past the pandemic paralysis. My role, I feel, is to identify how we, the international hotel design and hospitality industry, can emerge from the hibernation with a positive mental attitude when looking towards the future with (dare I say it) optimism. As I write this, I am reminded by a friend that Issac Newton discovered the law of gravity while in self-isolation from the Great Plague of London. The point being that a change of focus – a welcome break from studio life, commuting hell and general disruption from our typical weekly routine – may just allow us to bury our heads into new drawings to metaphorically sketch the route towards a fresh, creative destination that is waiting on the other side.

Going back to drawing board is not only relevant for designers and architects, but also hoteliers in order to maximise service with design. In this month’s exclusive roundtable, it was mentioned that many hotels are using this time to enter a ‘re-opening’ mindset. For some leading luxury establishments, which opened nearly a decade ago, their doors being forced shut is an opportunity to confront challenges and to tweak and enhance the hotel’s design and service so that when it reopens, it is more relevant to tomorrow’s travellers and their hefty demands.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the pandemic will impact the industry in the long-term. But one thing, among others, is  crystal clear: post-pandemic, the definition of hospitality as we know it will change, perhaps permanently, to become more of an inclusive lifestyle where formalities are dissolved. Many designers, of course, such Geraldine Dohogne, the former Head of Design at Zannier Hotels, have caught on to this already, and are using this time to plot the ambiance of hospitality and lifestyle brands that will arrive in the future to challenge the conventional shells of yesterday’s luxury hotels.

Exhibitions, as we know them, are being forced to confront the inevitable change of scenery that lies ahead in the next chapter. HIX, for example, has themed its debut event ‘All together now’. The all-new interiors event that takes place in November at the Business Design Centre is encouraging designers to go as far as “unlearning what they know about industry” in order to explore new behavioural patterns and shifting perceptions that are dictating tomorrow’s hotel design landscape. The aim, with a dynamic exhibition line-up and inspirational speakers, is to inspire new and meaningful concepts to allow our industry the freedom to continue churning out boundless possibilities for tomorrow’s hotel guests. Sleep & Eat has also announced its return to London Olympia in November with its focus being on collaborations. “As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things,” explained the show’s director, Mark Gordon.

During the turbulent times that we are currently self-isolating in, Hotel Designs is committed to ensure that the industry is supported. Therefore, in direct response to the COVID–19 pandemic, we have launched an ‘Industry Support Package’ to help brands to engage with the hospitality sector spanning designers, architects, hoteliers, developers and those that supply to the industry. The exclusive package includes, among other benefits, three pieces of editorial content. If you would like to learn more on how you can take advantage of this one-time offer, please email Katy Phillips.

As the pandemic forces us to get used to a ‘new normal’ and to, as Stevens puts it: “see the world in a new light”, Hotel Designs has launched its official podcast. Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally– and will launch episode 1 shortly after the lockdown measures are relaxed.

In the meantime, the editorial team will keep you updated on all the latest developments in the COVID–19 crisis, while also supplying you with some inspirational content to speed up that much-needed change of perception. And, just for laughs, here are some images that capture freer times…

We will be released back into the wild again shortly… In the meantime, feel free to keep in touch with our team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, because we are all in this fight together.

Editor, Hotel Designs

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels/tibodhermy

SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The challenges of creating the modern spa

Spas are often considered an essential part of a hotel offering. To kickstart Hotel Designs putting ‘spas’ under the editorial spotlight this month, Beverley Bayes, Creative Director at Sparcstudio explains how to create a modern spa in 2020 and how to avoid the common pitfalls of design and build…

Spas are synonymous with luxury and over the past decade have become an essential ingredient for many investors who are planning major hotel developments and refurbishments.

As we enter a period that looks beyond the post-COVID-19 lockdown, the desire for spas to provide space and light with the ability to relax in nature will become even more important factors within the remit of spa design.

In our drive to create spas that are authentic, unique and inspiring with a real ‘sense of place’ there are a number of key considerations.  Firstly, the move away from standardisation of the spa experience reflects the path that hotel brands are increasingly taking which is driven by guests desire for authenticity (which also accounts for the rise in popularity of AirBnB).

Authenticity and uniqueness are established at the early concept stage in terms of developing the experience and the guest environment. There maybe elements about the site or historical factors that inform the concept, for example the botanic references throughout The Spa at South Lodge were inspired by botanical history dating back to the 1800’s. Frederick DuCane Godman, a British naturalist and plant collector built the original house and surrounding gardens with over 360 species of trees and plants sourced from the Azores, Caribbean and Central & South America. This helped to layer the build with authenticity and great storytelling.

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: The Spa at South Lodge, designed by Sparcstudio

The selection of materials and finishes that are relevant to the location and the creation of bespoke designed elements, such as furniture and lighting also adds to the feeling of authenticity. The curated spa can also act as a great gallery environment – involving the commissioning of local artists and Artisans add to the uniqueness of the spa and its sense of place.

Location, location, location

The positioning of the spa itself is key if you want to take full advantage of the vistas, natural light and links to outside spa space, gardens or a even a roof terrace. Thankfully spas have largely emerged from being consigned to the hotel basement, reflecting their increasing importance as part of a hotel’s overall wellness offer and the rise in global spa tourism where spas are destinations in their own right. The Aqua Sana Forest spa concept that we helped develop transformed the Aqua Sana space – planning model from inward facing experiences, to experiences that reached out into the forest with the inclusion of in-out pools and panoramic saunas surrounded by trees. At the Sherwood Forest site, we created the first sauna on stilts which takes ‘forest bathing’ to a new level.

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Image caption: The outdoor pool at Aqua Sana Longford Forest

Well considered space planning

This is the ‘bedrock’ of a successful modern spa, which I liken to a giant multi-layered jigsaw puzzle, where in order to create a unique and beautiful customer focussed journey and experience, a comprehensive understanding of the operational and technical issues is required.  The siting and sizing of staff/back of house spaces as well as air handling, pool and thermal suite plant is as important to the location and flow of guest spaces and experiences and is essential in the delivery  of a smooth running seamless and profitable operation.

We always look to create an intuitive guest journey obviating the necessity for lots of signage. We also strive to minimise corridors and build in glazed vistas into experiences to help orientate and build sense of anticipation. Special attention needs to be paid to the creation of  ‘signature spaces’ AKA ‘the money shot’. This could be the main pool area or perhaps a feature cabin and is the ‘go to’ shot for spa press, travel writers and beauty editors.

How have spas changed recently

We are witnessing a shift within luxury spa design away from formal, minimalist spas, towards spas that have ‘heart and soul’ that are about comfort, relaxation and reconnecting with nature, and are designed to appeal to the senses; aroma, fire, water, light and planting which are all key elements to incorporate. These trends draw on the concept of ‘barefoot luxury’ and are all delivered in a way that is inspiring, yet practical in a European setting by bringing the outside – in.

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

Image caption: Dormy House Veuve Clicquot Nail bar, designed by Sparcstudio

The concept of luxurious materials has changed away from plush and bling. Use of natural, raw materials will become more commonplace as spas aim to recreate the kind of ‘barefoot luxury’ that guests experience on luxury, island resorts. The design style will reflect this ethos with the use of marbles such as ‘Forest Green’ in a honed finish (rather than the highly polished black and white marble) recycled end grain timber panelling and green slate and Terracotta tiles in interesting formats. New luxury is about nurture and care, handmade and bespoke design.

New additions, design developments, and how this caters to new customer demand.

Spas have changed massively  A contemporary spa design is far less regimented and is freeform, natural and personalised. Thankfully we are moving away from deep relax rooms that have rows of beds (referred to as ‘chapels of rest’ by some therapists!) to a greater choice of relax zones and experiences scattered throughout the spa.

Image caption: The Whisper Room inside Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

Embracing far greater usage of external garden spaces and natural chemical-free experiences is also key. This could be as simple as relaxing in a herb garden or by a wood burning fire, stargazing from a hot pool as can be seen at the most recent spa development to open in the UK at Carden Park.

Thermal suites and pools are evolving to offer bespoke experiences, rather than standardised designs formed from modular components. There is a move away from thermal suites that are a series of doors leading to enclosed heat cabins, into thermal suites that are light filled glazed spaces, as can be witnessed by the rise of the ‘panoramic saunas’ – such the organic bespoke sauna we designed at ‘South Lodge’. It’s curving forms were inspired by the rolling hills of the Sussex South Downs, over which it looks.

“We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Water, water, everywhere

Water will of course continue to play a key role in spa, with its subliminal calming influence.

In a spa the body is fully immersed in water – we spend a lot of time considering this cleansing and the healing processes involved. We also look to connect wherever possible to the surrounding landscape and outside bathing continues to rise in popularity, whether in be in large bespoke hydropool, an in-out swim pool or individual Japanese style hot tubs.

Image caption: Entrance to the in-out pool and lounge area at Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House, designed by Sparcstudio

‘Natural’ swimming pools also offer a sense of freedom and escapism whilst tapping into the popularity of ‘wild swimming’. These fresh water, naturally filtered pools and ponds are set to become an essential element for any forwarding thinking, eco-conscious spa developer. These are friendly to the environment and a unique spa experience for all guests keen to embrace the outdoors.

“We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities.” – Beverley Bayes, Creative Director, Sparcstudio.

Changing face of spa – the spa as a private members club

Undoubtedly post lockdown there will be an even greater desire to be fit and well. ‘Health is the new wealth’ will be the new mantra, and spa and wellness facilities will have a bigger role to play . Spa design will need to adapt and evolve to meet new requirements and sensibilities, which will include a requirement for more personal space. We also anticipate that there will continue to be overlaps or a blurring of the lines between fitness, wellness, spa and medical facilities. High-end gyms such as Third Space integrate spaces for relaxation and wellbeing with the inclusion of thermal suites and relaxation spaces.

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga room

Image credit: Third Space hot yoga studio, designed by Sparcstudio

The sensuous Hot yoga studio that we designed at  the Tower Bridge site has shaker style paneling and end grain Juniper log paneling that emit a soothing aroma when heated. Whilst a more natural sensuous spa environment can transport  users from a world of work and worry, the integration of intelligent use of technology in a discreet enabling way, will be even move important in the post Covid world, Touch technology via wristband enables hand-free access to zones and areas, can open a locker and pay for lunch or products.

Moving away from the concept of a spa as a once in while treat, we anticipate that there could be an increase in the Spa as a Private members club similar to the model that can be experienced at The Club at Cottonmill Sopwell House Hotel, where spa becomes as regular a  visit  as the traditional gym.

Sparcstudio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Dormy House raised infinity pool, designed by Sparcstudio

Virtual roundtable’s response: “Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially”

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable’s response: “Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially”

Following the expert opinions being amplified in Hotel Designs’ first ever virtual roundtable, exploring the long-term impact of COVID–19 to the hospitality and design industry, Room To Breathe shares its response from a hygiene perspective…

The virtual roundtable discussion on the future of the hospitality industry after the COVID–19 pandemic raised several serious questions and issues and made us think about what is on the horizon.

Few markets have felt the full force of this global pandemic more than the hospitality sector; it has decimated trade, scattered the labour force and threatened the very existence of the supply chain. It has also had a huge effect on working practices and will have for many years to come.

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

Michael Bonsor, the Managing Director of Rosewood London, explained it perfectly: “This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” Never before have travellers, holiday makers and businesspeople been faced with such unpredictable circumstances making it difficult for them to seek satisfaction and reassurance that their wellbeing is being addressed. Personal and social hygiene awareness has increased exponentially, with a growing scepticism of what and what is not clean.

Whether we are at our workplace, attending leisure facilities or travelling for business or pleasure, we all now have a heightened awareness of how we interact and will now expect and demand a higher level of service from Providers that takes cognisance of the perceived risks as a result of this. Capturing this feeling of assured safety every time must be the focal point for customer satisfaction.

standard hotel room

Image credit: Pixabay

When it comes to the future of public spaces and their design, we must understand the effects of Social Distancing and how much it has affected the perceptions of consumers. Fiona Thomson said: “Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.”

The hospitality sector must do something to insulate itself from the aftershock of COVID–19 and prepare for the inevitable increase in customer fears and ultimately demands for their wellbeing. Is carrying out the same cleaning protocols more frequently by an already stretched Housekeeping department going to provide the reassurance required? In a word, no. By taking steps to show commitment to your customers health is now, for hoteliers, more than ever, of paramount importance.

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

Discussing sustainably and it’s future, Bonsor highlighted: “Respecting the world around us has never been so important.” An important element is the very need of removing harsh chemicals and disinfectants from the housekeeping protocol and procure alternative solutions that are safer, more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Future-proofing your customers environment is more that just fogging.”

After all the dust settles from COVID19, will there be any winners in the hospitality sector? Not sure that the word ‘winners’ is appropriate, but those that look into the future wishes of their customers, their health and their wellness will be the ones who will see the benefits. Bonsor went on to mention that they were engaging with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. He suggested that: “The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them.” This is very true, to be honest, and is the only the first stage. There are other key factors that need to be considered, especially the training aspect for Housekeeping staff. Future-proofing your customers environment is more that just fogging.

At Room to Breathe UK our system provides ongoing, continual, long term management of viruses, bacteria, moulds, fungi, VOC’s and allergens. Systems that offer the ’28 day’ efficacy tend to be electrostatic spaying of a chemical solution. This will be wiped away when the surface is cleaned! Whereas our antimicrobial coating is permanently bonded and produces a mechanical kill which again avoids the use of toxins, poisons or leaching effect chemicals.

man steaming curtains

Image credit: Room To Breathe

Our comprehensive four-step process covers every aspect of deep cleaning but most importantly it looks at prevention which is key in future-proofing all environments for your customers.

The first step involves an initial industrial air purge followed by a combination of steam cleaning above 40℃, ultra-low-penetration air (UPLA) vacuuming and the application of our unique decontamination fluid which is deadly to pathogens (but is safe to all higher living organisms) is fogged into the area ensuring every surface coated. Additionally, by using innovative UV technology we can rid mattresses, pillows and soft furnishings of undesirable micro-organisms within seconds.

Step Two is where our antimicrobial coating “BioTouch”, will be is applied. The BioTouch formula bonds to a clean surface and when viruses and bacteria land on the protected surface, the cellular structure is ruptured (not poisoned) and becomes defunct. The only way BioTouch can be removed is by it being chipped off. Where there is a risk of this, on door handles, light switches for example, we can easily reapply to maintain the coatings efficiency.

When it comes to bedding and soft furnishings the third step of our process involves using our own unique formula, Protext solution provides a layer of invisible protection which permanently interrupts the life cycle of dust mites and bed bugs. Our method avoids the use of toxins so whilst lethal to bugs and mites does not pose a risk to the client. This is also applied to all fabrics and soft furnishings.

For full prevention and reassurance, we install filterless air signifiers providing the final level of protection, this final stage secures continuous air sanification. Using technology originally developed by NASA, our sanifiers seek out contaminants and pathogens within the air and on surfaces and neutralise them.

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

On completion certification is provided and displayed either outside or within the room to provide that peace of mind to Customers and employees alike. A Room Information Pack is provided for guests to simply explain the RTB system, providing that peace of mind.

In order to maintain the certification, Steps One and Two are carried out every four months in accordance with our terms & conditions. On-site training is also provided to Housekeeping staff in order to ensure the efficacy of the RTB system is maintained. This is no more onerous to staff and in fact will simplify their cleaning protocols.

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

Main image credit: Room To Breathe

MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
MINIVIEW: Equinox Hotel, New York – the world’s ‘fittest’ hotel

The luxury fitness and wellbeing brand Equinox opened its debut hotel to sit proudly in the epicentre of New York City’s Hudson Yards, an iconic architectural marvel that reflects a new style of neighbourhood. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores… 

Until recently, the Equinox brand was limited to the cluster of exceptional fitness and wellbeing clubs in major cities dotted around the world.

However, in June of 2019, the affluent brand hit a major milestone by opening its first ever hotel –not a surprising move considering the link between wellbeing, fitness and hospitality that has strengthened over the years.

The hotel is sheltered within a 14-storey limestone and glass skyscraper designed by architecture firm SOM, and is situated in the heart of Hudson Yards, a major up-and-coming neighbourhood along Manhatten’s westside that is arguably most known for Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel, an elaborate honeycomb-like structure that rises 16 stories. Adjacent to the giant public space, Equinox’s new hub has settled in and is setting standards.

Designed by David Rockwell and Joyce Wang to evoke comfort, creativity and focus, the ‘world’s fittest hotel’, as Hotel Designs labelled it ahead of its opening, is an ideal hub to meet, eat, sleep and connect. Extraordinary environments, such as a co-working community space, and thoughtfully chosen elements come together in order to reimagine how people move, eat, sleep, work, and live.

Sunset pool

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

From the moment guests arrive at the 212-key hotel, and throughout their stay, they are immersed in a world that the brand describes as “infinite possibilities”.

When it come to specifying the luxury elements inside, selecting products and materials that fit perfectly with the Equinox aesthetic was paramount. In addition to Zaha Hadid Design sofas in the public areas, all guestrooms feature the brand’s proprietary sleep system that ensures the best quality sleep. Complete with total soundproofing, a total-blackout window system, the areas also include CocoMat all natural fibre mattresses and Scandinavian-style duvets that allow temperature regulation. In true Equinox fashion, each guestroom and suite comes with a foam roller, yoga mat, blocks and straps, whilst the mini bar contains a juice press and magnesium-based sleep supplements.

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Elsewhere, in the presidential suites, British brand Lusso Stone was chosen by the nominated interior designer to supply its Vetrina stone bath. With an ergonomic design, smooth contours and matte black finish, the timeless piece complements the hotel’s vision of performance and regeneration. “The Equinox project is something we are incredibly proud to be a part of as it allows us to showcase our designs in a truly unique setting in the beautiful and exclusive project in New York,” said Mike Manders from Lusso Stone. “We’re constantly evolving as a company and we make sure that we know exactly what we want to develop next. Whether it’s a new design, expansion or the latest bathroom collection, we want to be leading the charge in design and innovation.”

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Fresh, seasonal flavours, market-driven menus and dynamic social spaces work in harmony to create modern and clean F&B areas. On the menu, as well as in the architectural design aesthetic, discipline and decadence merge.

The modern and contemporary bar area

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

Upstairs, the iconic rooftop bar operates in an open-air casual setting, and all activity happens around the dramatic Jaume Plensa sculpture, a startling monolith on the terrace’s infinity-edge water feature.

Large structure that sits on rooftop at the edge of an infinity water feature

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The hotel’s immersive 27,000 square foot spa area, which was the brainchild of Joyce Wang Studio and spa design and consultancy firm TLEE, maximises the most valuable commodity, time. The luxury wellness facilities include tailored treatments, an indoor salt water pool, hot and cold plunge pools, and our E.scape Pods — private relaxation areas that capture unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

Light and bright pool area in the spa

Image credit: Equinox Hotels

The overall design of the brand’s debut hotel transcends hospitality and elevates the art and science of fitness – it is clear why the hotel has been described as an ideal place to meet, connect, train and sleep, with all four of these elements playing a vital role in the overall performance of the design and service.

The arrival of the Equinox Hotel New York, along with a number of luxury boutiques and high-end restaurants that have opened, has given the Hudson Yards life as the neighbourhood continues to evolve and take shape.

Main image credit: Equinox Hotels

PRODUCT WATCH: Crosswater’s MPRO introduces matt white finish

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Crosswater’s MPRO introduces matt white finish

Designed with modern bathrooms in mind, Crosswater’s iconic MPRO taps will be available in matt white finish from as early as July 2020…

The dynamically crafted MPRO collection by bathroom brand Crosswater, which combines the finest components and materials, is now available in matt white finish.

The matt white finish is added to the five existing finishes in order to continue the evolution of the iconic product range.

The established choice for high quality bathrooms, the MPRO collection delivers the very best in brassware engineering. Combining superb function and precision design, the result is a complete collection of bathroom mixers, valves, and showerheads that meets the exacting demand of today’s modern bathroom.

The matt white finish joins five other finishes that complete the MPRO collection, including brushed brass and matt black. All exquisite finishes are offered across the entire MPRO collection, including a complete set of coordinating accessories.

The finest components and materials ensure that MPRO delivers on flow performance, and as importantly safety and water efficiency, with WRAS and TMV2 certification.

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

Main image credit: Crosswater

CASE STUDY: Designing the lighting for the Al Munz Mall, Oman

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Designing the lighting for the Al Munz Mall, Oman

The Al Munz Mall is without doubt the premier shopping mall in Oman. Masiero, the leading high-end decorative lighting company, whose hallmark is great flexibility thanks to its in-house production and project management capabilities, had a key role in making the Al Munz Mall even more unique…

Lighting brand Masiero approached the project of Al Munz Mall in Oman with the LIBE model in the Dimore catalogue, which is a round wooden pendant with a dramatic light effect emanating from the opaque crystal lozenges on its diffusers.

The lighting company developed a cascade composition reaching down from a large ceiling plate with a shiny finish, which creates wondrous reflections and plays of light. The ceiling plate is a key feature, in that its entire structure hangs from the glass ceiling. Masiero’s technicians had to assess and deal with the impact of the whole structure in terms of weight, compatibility of materials and reflectiveness of the glass.

The result was a great success: Masiero managed to create a ceiling plate which is functional, aesthetically pleasing and at one with the central structure of this cascade of light.

One notable feature of this installation is the magical effect as you look up into the ceiling: the reflections of the lights create a starry sky on the glass ceiling.

Masiero is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: MASIERO

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: A warm welcome is everything!

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: A warm welcome is everything!

With first impressions often making up a significant part of a guests experience, Darren Tothill, a consultant for Castrads, explains the importance of making your entrance warm in hospitality…

There is almost nothing worse than walking into a hotel – whether it’s for business or leisure purpose – to a frosty lobby or guestroom. By simply creating a welcoming experience that is warm and inviting will ensure that your guests’ time in your hotel starts the way in which you mean for it to continue.

Cast iron radiators from the likes of Castrads offer dependable performance, timeless style and versatility. Fully bespoke, we have an unrivalled range of models and finishes to work with practically any interior.

Our radiators are designed to fit right into properties of all ages. With unique finishes exclusive to Castrads, and stunning registered designs for products only we produce, there’s no shortage of options to add warmth and interest to your property.

We offer an unmatched range of finishes from our cost-effective signature range, which is designed to blend into every interior. Our Bare Metal collection provides truly artisan finishes. Furthermore, we work under license with Benjamin Moore, Little Greene and Farrow & Ball to provide the full palette from these prestigious paint companies.

For sophistication and control, we offer a carefully curated range of exquisitely crafted and finished valves to match your radiator. Thermostatic valves automatically control the heat of a room, saving money and fuel, while manual valves are the perfect choice where radiators should be either on or off.

lounge area with green sofa, geometric rug and iron cast radiator

Image credit: Castrads/My Hotel Chelsea

Genius smart valves allow granular control of every radiator in your hotel with AI-powered learning technology, smart valves can be individually colour matched to your cast iron radiator for the perfect finishing touch.

Genius Hub‘s technology also saves 20 – 30 per cent on your energy bills. The Genius Hub system allows you to reduce energy consumption by only heating each room of the building when it is needed. Whether you’re running a Bed & Breakfast, a Hotel or a Guest House, using tools like the Genius Hub will reduce your energy bills, save you money in the long run, and will help provide your customers with a much better service.

When The Culpeper pub, in Spitalfields, East London, refurbished its upper floors into a restaurant and boutique hotel, we collaborated with its designers on a finish called Bronze Verdigris that was custom-matched with the turquoise leather they were using for the upholstered banquettes.

My Hotel, in the heart of Chelsea, which is located a stone’s throw from our Fulham Rd showroom, came to us to match some of its existing cast iron radiators in the contemporary Victorian building. For this project, we used our Princess model which has a traditional school design with elegant flared feet and wide, open curves in a Pewter finish which matched the calm soothing palettes of each guest room.

Castrads is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Castrads/My Hotel Chelsea

PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TOTO’s latest award-winning ‘shower toilet’ designs

Hotel Designs explores the latest designs of the WASHLET, TOTO’s signature product that has been on a wellness journey of evolution ever since it debuted in the early ’80s… 

The WASHLET is TOTO’s signature product. First launched in 1980, this innovation has revolutionised bathrooms across Japan for nearly four decades.

Now, it introduces the elegant WASHLET RW and SW, which is part of the new Prime Edition collection.

“TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London.”

Differentiated only by shape, the RW is rounded and SW is a square-shape; the functions remain the same. Both WASHLETs recently won the prestigious iF Design Award 2020. TOTO WASHLETs can be seen in more than twenty five-Star hotels in London with many more specified throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The WASHLET design has now become a byword for hygiene.

Toilet in situ of modern bathroom

Image credit: TOTO

The new and elegant WASHLET RW & SW are the culmination of TOTO’s wealth of expertise: With nearly 40 years of WASHLET production and more than 50 million units sold have contributed to both the RW & SW models forming TOTO’s new Prime Edition. Offering both familiar and new comfort technologies, these models give people an opportunity to enjoy an exclusive product at an attractive price.

“The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.”

Some designs have transformed people’s living habits so dramatically that we think of them as milestones – like the smartphone, internet, email, television, etc. These inventions have taken our daily rituals in a new direction.

The invention of WASHLET is one of these – it is changing our everyday habits in the bath. Many users describe using TOTO WASHLET as enriching to their lives. The Japanese market leader has been honoured multiple times as the world’s number-one brand in shower toilet sales.

Image credit: TOTO

The RW & SW models from the Prime Edition is a new milestone: It combines all of TOTO’s proven hygiene features in one product, allowing people to enjoy the ultimate in wellness, hygiene and comfort in their own bathrooms. Additionally, the remote controls for the RW & SW are available with multi-lingual options and easy to view symbols.

‘Clean Synergy’ is the term TOTO coined to describe the interplay of the Ewater+, Premist, Tornado Flush and Cefiontect technologies, all of which are only available from TOTO and make using WASHLET a truly unique experience. The two Prime Edition models also offer an automatic flush option. They also also come equipped with these TOTO-exclusive features:

  • Ewater+ to clean the ceramic and wand jet with sustainable electrolysed water
  • Premist covers the toilet bowl with a fine mist of water, making it more difficult for dirt and waste to stick
  • The powerful Tornado Flush to thoroughly clean the entire toilet bowl
  • The long-lasting, special Cefiontect glaze guarantees a beautiful, long-lasting surface and keeps bacteria and waste from accumulating in the bowl
  • A side nightlight for added comfort
  • Descaling feature with either an automatic programme or manual descaling
  • Autoflush: The SW and RW are also available with an automatic flush option – in combination with TOTOs frame system and push plate
  • Easy to clean: It’s possible to remove WASHLET from the toilet bowl with a single grip to clean between WASHLET attachment and ceramic toilet
  • Clean Case: WASHLET unit is now made using silicone-based material, making it more difficult for dirt to accumulate

Image credit: TOTO

Save water and toilet paper too

The demand for shower toilets is higher than ever. In addition to offering unparalleled levels of hygiene, they also reduce the amount of toilet paper people need to use.

Hygiene is important, as well as environmental impact. TOTO WASHLETs also offer an important plus in this area. Whoever uses WASHLET also uses less toilet paper. It’s important to remember that producing toilet paper or the corresponding pulp involves clearing forests, using water and electricity, as well as chemical bleaching agents.

While more water is needed for intimate cleansing with WASHLET than with a conventional toilet, this additional consumption is by no means comparable to the amount needed to produce toilet paper. Conserving resources and giving as many people as possible around the world access to wellness and comfort in the bathroom.

TOTO is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: TOTO

First glimpse at concepts to be explored at Sleep & Eat 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
First glimpse at concepts to be explored at Sleep & Eat 2020

The organisers of Sleep & Eat have lifted the curtain on this year’s show, which returns to Olympia London on November 17 and 18…

With an aptly tweaked concept to specifically support hospitality businesses across the spectrum with the aim to lift the trammelled spirits of the hospitality community, Sleep & Eat has announced a number of new elements to this year’s show.

New for this year, there will be an array of meeting and networking platforms designed to generate conversations and connections between all members of the hospitality community, which will include series of one-to-one meetings organised in advance through the show’s new portal. Initiatives such as these will be combined with a unique collection of experiential Sets, a Conference bringing industry leaders together, this year to debate the shape of hospitality after COVID-19, and an international Exhibition. The organisers have also revealed that, for the first time, the event will be delivered in collaboration with major international Hotel Brand Partners, Accor, IHG and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

“As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things.” – Mark Gordon, Director of Sleep & Eat.

“Sleep & Eat 2020 celebrates 15 years of leading thought and exciting innovation, and we have taken this opportunity to consult the industry on how it would like us to do even more of what we do so well – bringing the community together and looking forward – when coronavirus has slammed the brakes on their world,” says Mark Gordon, Director of Sleep & Eat.“ As we emerge from the crisis, there will be a vital need for new collaborations, new engagements and different ways of doing things. Sleep & Eat’s 2020 programme of lively, inspiring and thought-provoking features integrated with constructive and grounded opportunities to do business on an individual and company scale, will be just the tonic the industry craves. Watch this space for more announcements of receptions, business networking and roundtables!”

New to the event will be two immersive wining and dining spaces. Boxx Creative, the award-winning consultancy behind a number of global hospitality ventures, will be designing the eat experience with Michelin star chef, Oli Marlow, in residence. Superfutures Design, whose founder, Andy Martin, was the creator of the award-winning hotel design for PURO Hotel Group, and worked with Oliver Peyton and the Hart Brothers on some of London’s best-known bars and restaurants, will be serving up the Sleep & Eat bar experience.

Image caption: Una Barac, Founder of Atellior

Also new this year, a Lounge Bar, to be designed by luxury residential and hospitality firm, Atellior, will take centre stage on the main exhibition floor. Significantly larger than previous Sleep & Eat bars, it will provide a spacious gravitational hub for visitors eager to catch up with colleagues and enjoy a rekindling of social life.

“We are really excited and honoured to participate in Sleep & Eat as this is the leading event in the hospitality design industry and a great opportunity to showcase our work, meet and catch up with number of developers, operators and peers in the industry,” explained Una Barac, Founder of Atellior. “We love the way the show has grown in the recent years to include restaurants and bars. Now more than ever, it is important to see how hospitality industry will evolve and being a part of this, at Sleep & Eat, is truly momentous!”

The architectural and design practices who will be delivering one of Sleep & Eat’s perennial favourites, the guestroom Sets, have also been announced. They will be: ReardonSmith Architects, Perkins and Will, AD Associates and Chalk Architecture.

Image caption: Heleri Rande.

The Conference, entitled Redefining Freedom, is being created as a jump-start to the heart of hospitality. Once again, Heleri Rande will be at the helm after her highly successful curation of last year’s conference which played to packed audiences. “No one knows what the world will look like come November, but one thing is certain – our behaviour will have changed,” she says. “The rules of social distancing that are keeping billions at home right now will alter how we act, interact and re-act. What this means for hospitality remains to be seen. How will the travel preferences of different generations be altered? What will be the new normal for hotels, restaurants and bars? What sort of freedom will we be allowed to practice? These are just some of the issues we will be exploring.”

The exhibition will showcase the latest products and services from exceptional companies, some familiar, others waiting to be discovered. Amongst the returnees, will be Germany’s Baulmann, a leading manufacturer of decorative lighting which develops and manufactures lighting concepts for hotels, restaurants, bars and cruise liners, and luxury British fabrics company, Arley House. Sleep & Eat newcomers will include Vaughan, the eminent designer & manufacturer of lighting, furniture and accessories whose UK projects include The Ned, Gleneagles and Firmdale Hotels, and Ahmet Kasapoglu Mobilya, which offers project-specific manufacturing of the highest quality.

Main image credit: Sleep & Eat 2020

The design challenge keeping creativity flowing during lockdown

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The design challenge keeping creativity flowing during lockdown

Parkside Architectural Tiles has launched a lockdown challenge, asking designers to create innovative tile designs…

We have all seen – and probably have been nominated to take part in –the various challenges that are currently doing the rounds on social media. From the 5K Challenge to the Hospitality for Heroes Campaign, each hashtag has a purpose that goes further than taking a selfie for ‘The Gram’.

Hotel Designs has identified a new creative lockdown exercise for the design community that will keep the creative juices flowing during lockdown.

Parkside Architectural Tiles, which only a month ago was on display at London Design Week, has launched the Lockdown Tile Design Challenge. Have you always wanted to have your own tile design produced but never had the opportunity? Well now’s your change, as the three winners will get their tile design printed onto a 15x15cm tile.

Submit your entry by 5pm (BST) on May 8, 2020

The three categories, which will be judged by three guest judges and Parkside Architectual Tiles’ very own sales and design directors Richard France and Mark Williams, are:

Category one – Freestyle
Guest judge: Charlie Luxton
Let your imagination run wild – anything goes (Parkside’s words, not ours).

Category two – Geometric
Guest judge: Kirsty Thomas, Tom Pigeon
A trend that isn’t going anywhere soon, geometric tiles continue to rein on the commercial interior scene. This is your change to show off your creative edge in a category that is all about shapes.

Category three – Colour 
Guest judge: Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours
If you are mad about colour and colour combinations, then this is the category for you!

How to enter

1) Create your design either by hand or electronically, making sure it’s in a square format
2)Submit your entry via Instagram DM or via email by 5pm on May 8, 2020, specifying which category your are entering

Top tips: Your design can be colour or monochrome, although Parkside Architectural Tiles has suggested using colour in the colour category. Each design can be entered into more than one category and you can enter more than one design. The winner of each categopry will be decided based on a combination of judges and Instagram votes. The Instagram vote will take place from 9am (BST) on May 14, 20. The winners will be announced on May 17, 2020. Good luck!

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

PRODUCT WATCH: The Amphora furniture collection by Desforma

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: The Amphora furniture collection by Desforma

The eye-catching new furniture collection by Desforma was inspired by the Neolithic period, which began 12,000 years ago…

The idea of the Amphora Collection by Desforma was to follow the shapes of  a traditional amphora container. The grace and elegance of this historical piece has been adapted to create the most exclusive pieces.

Despite the dynamic design, the collection has a backrest that was shaped to fulfil the human back curves, making the furniture not only aesthetically pleasing but also comfortable. Each piece of the collection can be used as a striking centrepiece that compliments extraordinary interiors.

Image credit: Desforma

Every step of making these furniture pieces requires the highest quality craftsmanship; to achieve these sculptural shapes, every detail has to be made extremely precise.

Interestingly, achieving the iconic, gracefully curved back within each piece’s structure would have been impossible without the brand’s exclusive spheric construction technology. Created by the founder of Desforma, the technology has been the company’s best kept secret.

Desforma is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Desforma

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Oh, how the check-in desk has changed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Oh, how the check-in desk has changed

Today’s lobby, as well as its check-in desk, has to be a multi-functional area in order to live up to modern travellers’ demands. Hotel Designs asks USM Modular Furniture how its latest commercial desk system is suitable for tomorrow’s modern hotels…

A lobby is one of the first thing that guests will see when arriving at the hotel. This means that the reception area presents an opportunity: to shape how guests see your company with an environment that represents your company’s brand, style and ethos.

The design of the USM Haller modular system is the perfect piece of furniture to build a unique reception desk that can be designed for the hotels specific needs and can also be reconfigured if the needs of the reception area changes.

The check-in/reception desk has to fulfil a number of functions: workstation, point of contact for members of staff, and a scene setter for new visitors. The USM Haller system lets you build a reception desk that performs each of these functions for your business flawlessly. Design a completely unique reception desk with built-in storage or display features, tailored to the environment of your reception area.

Image credit: USM Modular Furniture

Colour is one important factor: choose from the 14 classic USM colours to set the tone for the area. Cool grey or dramatic black is ideal for contemporary spaces; minimalist pure white suits fresh, clean settings; bolder yellows, reds and oranges give a more playful introduction.

Shape and structure are also important – and completely customisable. Choose a rigid, closed front for a more traditional set-up, or open the piece up a little with front-facing display modules for magazines, pieces of art, or your company’s own products. For even more playful and welcoming designs, let your imagination run wild: incorporate more open shelves, glass display pieces, or a mixture of different colours.

Bring a stylistic unity to the reception area with a full suite of furniture built on the same principles of elegant simplicity as your reception desk. The USM collection includes a hugely versatile range of surfaces from which you can build bespoke coffee tables and magazine display stands with a beautiful colour-and-chrome finish, mirroring that of the reception desk.

You can also use the USM Haller system to design additional storage and display pieces for the area: freestanding pedestals for documents and stationery; display cases for awards, art and your products; shelving for reading material or any other kind of piece to meet the specific requirements of your business.

The design of the USM Haller system is fantastically simple, however it is the Swiss precision in which the components are made that give the furniture the strength, versatility and clean lines that have made USM a design classic. Launched on to the market in 1965 the USM Haller system has become a watchword for timeless design all over the world. Its acceptance into the Design Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York (USA) at the end of 2001 was a high distinction and confirmed the artistic character of the product. The design classic is used in offices, the home, public buildings as well as hospitality.

USM Modular Furniture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: USM Modular Furniture

SPOTLIGHT ON: Lighting public areas in Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: Lighting public areas in Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus

As Hotel Designs conclude putting ‘Public Areas’ under the spotlight, Illumination Physics shares how it gave Radisson Blu Hotel Cyprus’ arrival experience a new meaning with innovative lighting solutions…

Illumination Physics is famous for integrated façade lighting, however that is not all we do. Radisson Blu Hotel’s Chandelier in Cyprus shows a different side of our activities, albeit with the same focus of project specific custom design.

The hotel opened its doors to the public in October 2018. One of the new breed of hospitality venues in the rapidly expanding Cypriot leisure market, this Radisson is actually the first business hotel set in an evolving economy. The influx of ex-patriot investment and the opening of casinos in Cyprus for the first time has created an exciting but competitive market in which the developers must make strong visual statements if they are to stand out in the rapidly changing business landscape.

The Radisson Blu is illuminated externally with dynamic lighting by illumination Physics to draw guests’ attention, as the sense of arrival is critical to their experience. Like most modern hotels, the Radisson Blu has an integrated shopping mall. To succeed, this mall needed a point of difference, both in spectacle and personality.

“There are 4,032 pendants in total descending out of a matt black sky.”

A big statement was required

Therein lay the genesis of the grand chandelier that was conceived of by local architects Fluid Design and Cypriot lighting designers Archtube.

Grand in concept and dimension, the chandelier occupies five hundred square metres in two vast displays that occupy the entire ceiling of the mall, surrounding the elevator core and, in turn, surrounded by the retail hub.Bold in vision, the chandelier is comprised of pendant polished hardwood elements protruding downwardly from the plane of the ceiling in five variable lengths from 0.3 metres to 1.1 metres. The display is comprised of groups of 16 pendants which are repeated. Approximately 10 per cent of the pendants are self-illuminated rods of light in lengths of 700mm lit and 700mm lit + 400mm unlit, specially created for the project by illumination Physics. There are 4,032 pendants in total descending out of a matt black sky. The chandelier occupies five hundred square metres.

Since the geometric design of the chandelier was set, the challenge was to design and manufacture the illuminated pendants. Our challenge was to design the pendants so that their elegance and function befitted their purpose. To meet the challenge, we proposed the following:

  • All fixtures should use white light only with a colour temperature of 2700K.
  • All fixtures were to be 50mm in diameter.
  • A gradient in the illumination level over the length of the fixture was desirable (some early tests had been done with continuous linear LED illumination, but the result resembled the homogenised image of a fluorescent tube, which was entirely the wrong image.
  • No shadows should occur within the pendant.
  • The majority of the fixtures should have an illuminated section of 700mm, contiguous from the plane of the ceiling to the bottom of the pendant.
  • A lesser quantity of the pendants would have an illuminated length of 700mm PLUS an unilluminated section length of 400mm.
  • Both types were to terminate into the ceiling with no visible fixings.
  • A diameter of 50mm should be chosen.
Close up of the lighting installation on the ceiling

Image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

With regards to drivers and dimming, there were several options that were discussed. The most elegant solution presented itself to us, namely that we could create 63 groups of fixtures and have individual dimming control over each group. Further, illuminated pendants could be allocated to these groups in such a way so that a sea of slow motion could be created – this option is what we eventually selected.

With regard to the driver protocol, the client requested DALI to interface them with their in-house KNX control system. The first task was to get the optical design and illuminator working perfectly.

Since the illuminated pendant must provide a perfect shadowless view from any angle, the only way to achieve this was to illuminate the 50mm cylinder axially using a single point of illumination. This could only be done from the top end of the pendant so that the light source could be completely concealed either within the non-illuminated section of the pendant or above the plane of the ceiling. It became apparent that none of the commercially available lenses would be good enough so a custom composite optic was designed for the project. This was crucial because we needed to manage the gradient of intensity precisely. We specified an obvious gradient but with maximum and minimum levels of luminance. The LED lens was designed to interact with a reflector which closed the lower end of the tube. With the aesthetics solved, we moved on to practical issues.

Complex yet totally practical, maintenance for function is simple, and cleaning (always a challenge with chandeliers) is facilitated by the bayonet mount that allows a pendant to be taken down in seconds. The downlights that augment the overall lighting level in the mall are neatly concealed amongst the forest.

Now that the decision had been made to have dynamic dimming, some fundamental choices were required. illumination Physics already manufactures a range of LED driver options. Our choice would be influenced by practical considerations.

The space above the ceiling would be effectively inaccessible so the notion of placing drivers and data in the void was not an option that provided practical maintainability. We dismissed the idea of incorporating an individual driver for each pendant. It was far better to centralise the location of larger drivers capable of controlling many pendants in an easily accessible location away from the ceiling void.

Close up of lighting installation

Image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

This decision had a consequence because the ELV cables would be long and we would need to manage any losses. The LED engines required constant current supply so voltage drop was manageable with correctly dimensioned cables. The perfect solution presented itself – the 24V illumination Physics HP-LED Driver 12. Twelve groups of five luminaries could be controlled from one rack-mounted driver. These were to be installed in multiple locations to minimise the cabling. We make both a DMX and a DALI version of this unit and since DALI was being used elsewhere at the Radisson, we went with that protocol.

The lighting effect fulfils the promise of the initial design. Like a vast inverted forest, the timber and illuminated pendants both add great interest to a grand space, providing an aspirational design looking to the future.

Illumination Physics is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: UNSEEN VIEWS (Charis Solomou Architectural Photography)

Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs launches its official podcast for designers & architects

Six months in planning, DESIGN POD is the contemporary podcast for all on-the-go interior designers and architects globally…

Hotel Designs’ official podcast, DESIGN POD, will be presented by editor Hamish Kilburn and interior designer Harriet Forde

The topics and personalities amplified on the podcast will give texture and perspective on the key issues that face modern A&D professionals as deadlines become tighter and briefs become narrower.

“I am so very excited to be starting DESIGN POD with Hamish,” says Forde, “and I am looking forward to discussing some interesting topics with great guests.”

In each episode, Kilburn and Forde will welcome influential designers, architects and experts to share their opinions on the conversations and challenges that are shaping our industry. Together, they will embrace innovation while balancing the important issues we all face as modern designers and architects, but are often too busy with life to explore fully.

“Since November, we have been working on the concept of DESIGN POD, in order to introduce an engaging and entertaining media platform for the industry,” explains Kilburn. “I cannot think of a better co-host than Harriet Forde, interior designer and the current President of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), who always makes me think, smile and laugh when we discuss our fabulous industry.”

Episode 1: Choosing your lane in design, architecture & business (coming soon)

Whether you are working for a brand, independently or are about to embark in a new journey, choosing your lane – your style, if you like – is an integral and pivotal moment of any design/architecture process. With the COVID–19 crisis adding further uncertainty to all industries around the globe – and arguably hitting the hospitality, building and construction industry the hardest – balancing consistency with creativity is key. To explore this topic in depth, from a creative and business perspective, DESIGN POD welcomes the former Creative Director of HBA London, Constantina Tsoutsikou, onto the show, who has recently launched her own venture: Studio LOST.While we are surrounded by a plethora of voices in design, it is very important to differentiate oneself and take a stand, like Hamish and Harriet are doing with DESIGN POD,” explains Tsoutsikou. “Focus on the values that are important to you, and in time , your work will be an illustration of these, and become what you are known for.”

During lockdown, please tweet us at @HotelDesigns if you have a topic you would like to us to explore.

Hudson Valley Lighting collaborates with designer Becki Owens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hudson Valley Lighting collaborates with designer Becki Owens

Designers can create a fresh interior style with the new collection from Hudson Valley Lighting and designer Becki Owens, which combines modern design with Californian bohemian influences…

The new collection by Hudson Valley Lighting is inspired by the unconventionality of bohemianism found in designer Becki Owen’s Californian hometome of San Clemete, as well as her love of contemporary clean lines blended with coastal, mid-century shapes.

Each piece is adaptable and timeless, giving a new lease of life to everyday spaces and providing a focal point to the room that lures you in.

From a young age, popular designer, blogger and trendsetter Owens had her sights set on being an interior designer. Owens was inspired by her parents, who she watched remodel homes, leading her to getting her degree and designing model homes for large developments.

Now she can be found working on projects in residential design, creating simple, clean and elegant environments that she is passionate about, from kitchen makeovers to new builds. Her large social media following is tangible evidence that people are captivated by her designs, and so they have every right to be deemed “Pinterest-dream-home-worthy.” In her collaboration with Hudson Valley Lighting, she brings her well-loved signature style to a collection of modern and sophisticated pieces; the perfect accompaniments to any space or style.

Key Pieces from the Exclusive Collection

Ivy Pendant (Small)

The smallest of the Ivy Pendants features a large clear piece of glass in a simple yet powerful teardrop shape. Three pins strongly hold together the expertly-crafted curve of the shade. Complemented with a choice of a stylish chain or classy gooseneck arm to fix Ivy in place and give the pendant that smart and sleek finish. Available in three sizes, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Ivy Pendant (Large)

Making its presence known loud and clear is the large Ivy Pendant. Regardless of its impressively large size, it completes the room without being aggressive as the simple and sophisticated glass teardrop design naturally brings balance to the room. The pendant is complete with three pins which grasp the finely-crafted bulb. Effortlessly finished with a modern hanging chain or an ageless gooseneck arm, allowing the large Ivy Pendant to become the elegant focal point of any room. Available in three sizes, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Interior shot of chandelier above dining table

Image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting

Ivy Sconce

A little bit different from the rest is the Ivy Sconce. Despite it usually being found around the edges of a room rather than in the apparent centre, it demands to be seen and radiates subtle elegance and charm. A perfectly curved arm cradles an immense teardrop shaped glass which is mounted sturdily by three pins. Owens and Hudson Valley Lighting bring a touch of fresh modern design to the sconce; a type of fixture that is essentially an antique, and was historically found with candles and oil lamps. A classy way to bring light to any space. Available in one size, and two finishes: Aged Brass and Polished Nickel.

Hudson Valley 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. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Hudson Valley Lighting

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The role main areas play in tented lodges & camps

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The role main areas play in tented lodges & camps

As the modern luxury traveller demands more one-off experiences, there has been rise in demand for lodges and camps. Hotel Designs asks the experts at Bushtec Creations to explain how designers can utilise a hotel’s main areas in these accommodation styles…

In short, your main area can be whatever you want it to be. Having a successful main are however, now that is where the secret lies.

First impressions are the ones that last. The moment a guest steps into the main area, a tone or impression will be set that they will expect from their stay, and it helps to dare to push the boundaries and be different. When it comes to luxury tented main areas, Bushtec Safari and Bushtec Creations has many years’ experience and products well suited to be used whereby the guests’ first impression will surely be one of amazement with the type of luxury, comfort and beauty these classic tents hold.

When it comes to tented resorts or tented hotels, first you need to determine how many guests your tented lodge/camp will be accommodating so that you can make sure you have a spacious enough main area. Then, you need to consider the design you are trying to create, specially for the roof, and aim to keep the same design flowing straight throughout your camp.

You also need to consider your location and space you have available for the development of your camp, so as to determine whether you will have one large main unit, or rather a main area made up of several smaller tents.

Image credit: Bushtec Creations

Think about what you want included in your main area. We have done several camps with main areas and not 1 camp is the same. You can have a main area that only includes a dining facility, you can have a main area that consists of multiple functional areas including a reception area, a lounge where your guests can relax, socialise, read books, access the restrooms, be near a bar area where your guests can sit and enjoy refreshments. Apart from this, you can even decide to include a sushi bar, which will take your main area to the next level.

Now let’s speak ambience. Want to add a fireplace but not sure if it can be one in a tent? Of course you can! With Bushtec Creations anything is possible. Adding a fireplace is also dependant on your location, you won’t necessarily want to add a fireplace if you are located in the desert at 40 degrees for most of the year, however with that being said, most locations can do with a fireplace and you can’t go wrong with adding one.

Now that we have covered the inside characteristics of your main area, let’s have a look at what you can do outside. That’s right, there is more! Most main areas will include a swimming pool on the front deck with some sort of remarkable view, cocktail table spread across the deck with umbrellas and even a fire pit to have memorable nights covered by a billion stars.

Your kitchen can also form as part of your main area and be enclosed for aesthetic purposes, however this also varies from one lodge owner to another. Alternatively you can have your kitchen apart from your main area connecting it with a walkway to create easy access for your personnel.

The options of connecting your main area with your accommodation units also plays a part in the entirety of your lodge/camp. You may want to connect the units with walkways throughout your entire camp, or you can leave your units separated should you wish to not stop wildlife from moving throughout the camp.

With all of the various considerations involved in creating your perfect tented lodge/camp, you still don’t have to feel overwhelmed as our Bushtec Creations team has years of experience to guide you through the process from start to finish. We have our own passionate in-house design team who does regular site visits across the globe. Several discussions will be held to determine your exact requirements and the latest technology is used to create a virtual render of your entire camp to showcase your project so that you will know what to expect.

In closing, your main area plays a substantial role in your tented camp/lodge and is ultimately where your guests will get together to relax, eat and socialise. This is where you want them to feel at home and keep them coming back for more. A tented lodge main area is the biggest asset not only for you as the lodge owner, but also for your guests.

Bushtec Creations is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Bushtec Creations

LAUNCHING: a new lighting brand with a human-centric approach

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LAUNCHING: a new lighting brand with a human-centric approach

Hotel Designs has the industry scoop of a new, innovative lighting brand that has launched with the aim to create striking architectural lighting solutions for hotel and hospitality market… 

humanlumen is a nouveau lighting brand with a difference. Led by a collective of lighting professionals and experts with a broad range of experience, the company is on a mission to create effective and efficient lighting solutions that are as positive for people as they are for the environment and businesses.

Spanning a distinct range of sectors, including hospitality, residential, education, health care, retail and leisure, the brand understands the structural form of lighting and takes a mindful approach to provide creative concepts.

The concept of the company came about from a need to do things in a different way; with an aim to change the landscape in which interior designers and consultants approach their lighting concepts. It is driven by a desire to provide human- centric lighting design and products.

Image credit: humanlumen

“With the use of innovative software design, alongside the vast range of products that we design and manufacture, we will offer relevant and creative solutions.” – Andrew Boydell, Humanlumen

At the helm is Andrew Boydell, a principal with more than 24 years experience working within the construction sector on high-profile interior projects both in Europe and the Middle East. His most recent role was Regional Director for Future Designs in the UAE, a designer and manufacturer of high quality luminaires and bespoke lighting solutions. Prior to that he was General Manager at The Nordeon Group UAE, global architectural lighting specialists.

Image credit: humanlumen

Boydell has ambitious plans for the brand. “Our creative team is based in Clerkenwell in the heart of London’s design scene, the obvious choice with all the experience we have collectively in the local and international lighting market and our aim is to develop the brand globally,” he explains. “With the use of innovative software design, alongside the vast range of products that we design and manufacture, we will offer relevant and creative solutions.”

The humanlumen product portfolio encompasses more than 3000 lighting designs including a high-specification downlight, track and spot and linear pendant range. The mix also accounts for both indoor and outdoor use to serve a vast range of lighting schemes.

Humanlumen, which is based in Clerkenwell, is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Humanlumen

Bespoke bathroom design and exquisite lines with Unidrain

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bespoke bathroom design and exquisite lines with Unidrain

Offering Danish design ethics and Nordic minimalism, Unidrain has achieved the impossible: to make bathroom drainage sexy…

For most designers, the ultimate aim is to create something that is aesthetically pleasing, a product or building that can be displayed to demonstrate their creativity, the exquisite lines and symmetry of the finished object.

Very few are delighted when they create a demand for a product that is barely visible, one that you cannot see. However, this is where Unidrain is different.

Creators of an almost ‘invisible’ drain the demand for this product has grown year on year, not only in commercial properties such as spas and hotels but in private residences too.   The desire for stylish and elegant design in the bathroom continues to grow.

Modern, white bathroom

Image credit: Unidrain

Specialist drains are currently a sought after item, including bespoke, custom-made, extra-long, colour-matched or ‘invisible’.  The Danish architects and designers behind Unidrain have always paid particular attention to the small details within interior design and this devotion is now extended to bathroom drains.

“Every element has to play its part and work together; to fit precisely,” explained Kenneth Waaben, designer at Unidrain. “By maintaining the highest of standards, has enabled us to create a product that is both technical and stylish, which fulfils the bathroom design desires of our customer.”

“Invisible” drains

One of the most popular of the specialist drains is the ‘invisible’ drain.  The concept is that one should not be able to see the drain within the bathing area; it should be hidden and if it is seen it will appear as a narrow groove in the floor.   This ‘invisibility’ is achieved by matching the tiles used on the bathroom floor.

The advantage of a specialist drain is that they can be adapted; they can be used on a variety of surfaces such as marble, with different frame solutions and can be created in extra-long versions.

Dream bathroom becomes reality in Østerbro villa

Trine and Claus moved from New York back to Strandøre on Østerbro. They were entirely renovating their house and a specifically designed bathroom was at the top of the list.  This is an ideal example of how a bespoke designer drain can be used to create a dream bathroom.

The couple knew what they wanted:  a floor of white, marble-like tiles with two showers placed opposite each other.  They went into great detail about what they needed and how it had to be aesthetically pleasing.

They wanted the tiles to appear uninterrupted; they required a single long drain that not only fitted across the two showers, but had to be ‘invisible’.

“This required a drainage solution, which had to be able to handle large quantities of water, be aesthetically attractive and include the right tiles.” said design consultant Carsten Brandt

Unidrain were the only company that were able to deliver a solution that met all three parts, one that also offered the ability to combine both technology and aesthetics. The couple were able to proceed with their dream bathroom because Unidrain could deliver these specialist bespoke drains.

They provided a module 1100 Custom drain, which is extra-long at just under 1.8 meters it fit the specific dimensions of the shower cubicle. It is a solution that is often chosen by project builders, but which can also easily be used in private homes.

Elegance in design

In order to make the extra-long drain ‘invisible’ it had an integrated marble-look porcelain tile fitted on top.  It was almost impossible to see the drain as the tile match meant it blends in with the floor, with an added advantage of being easy to clean. The result was an elegant and stylish dream bathroom.

The (Modul 1100) is a flexible solution for bathrooms of all shapes and sizes, it can be customised as you can order floor drains that differ from the standard sizes; enabling you to create an exclusive look. This is an option that more people are choosing.  Customised drains are especially suited to institutions and large bathrooms, as they can be made to an exact measurement and Unidrain bespoke can be made to order to any size.

Unidrain is one of Hotel Designs’ 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: Unidrain

IN PICTURES: Four Seasons Hotel Doha unveils complete redesign

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Four Seasons Hotel Doha unveils complete redesign

The new urban sanctuary, Four Seasons Doha, was created by the world-renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, who took inspiration from the sky, sea, sand and earth…

Four Seasons Hotel Doha has unveiled the details of its complete interior design overhaul, courtesy of award winning and world-renowned interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon.

Following extensive renovations of the guestrooms, suites, floors, lobby and dining outlets, the hotel has been reshaped into an unmatched luxury destination at the heart of Qatar’s capital city.

Within what is being described as an ‘urban sanctuary’, a refreshed colour scheme, including a rich spectrum of blues and beige in the guestrooms, evoke the earth, sprawling skies and Gulf views of Doha, while verdant colours and patterns in the new Tea Lounge pay homage to the splendours of nature. The redesign continues to establish an elevated sense of place and time through a blend of classical and contemporary elements, and touches of Middle Eastern influences from the region, visible through the opulent and colourful chandeliers as well as the ornate furniture detailing. Qatari artwork from the owner’s original collection has been kept on the hotel walls whilst nearly all the curtains have been revamped using a Damask pattern. 

“I wanted to bring a new dimension of modernity to the property and enhance the guest experience with uplifting design elements and spaces.” – Interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon.

The lobby and dining outlets: The beauty of nature 

The renovation of the hotel strikes a harmony between the world of man and the beauty of nature that is reflective of the city itself. Rochon was inspired by the unique landscape of Doha and this is evident through the colour scheme of the hotel’s public areas and dining outlets. The feeling of the outdoors blends into the interiors with the creation of open-plan space and expansive glass windows.

Image caption: The grand entrance is muted aptly with a theme of bringing the outdoors inside | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: The opulent entrance is muted aptly with the design scheme’s relationship with nature | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

“We were inspired by Doha and its relationship with the outdoors,” commented Rochon. “We researched the local culture and the artistic elements that might tie into the story of the hotel. I wanted to bring a new dimension of modernity to the property and enhance the guest experience with uplifting design elements and spaces.” Rochon also noted that throughout the design process, they sought to respect and honour the existing classical architecture by Frank Nicholson, blending classical and modern forms. Careful consideration was also taken to create a more residential feeling, while also paying homage to Middle Eastern influences. 

The lobby has been enhanced with a grandiose door reminiscent of grande dame entrances, and the lobby has been redesigned as an open-plan space, allowing light to flood through the foyer as well as boasting views of the Arabian Gulf. A hand blown glass chandelier, alongside an array of handmade and bespoke Italian furnishings, adorns the Lobby’s ceiling whilst also creating a magnificent focal point in the space.

The new outdoor terrace at the Seasons Tea Lounge bridges the indoors and outdoors and allows guests to enjoy varying atmospheres with distinct personalities. The designer sought to create spaces where individuals or small groups could congregate, with the lounge exuding the classical touches of a Parisian cafe and the al fresco spaces adorned in a spectrum of green sheaths. Subtle nods to the Middle East are dispersed throughout the lounge, seen in the marbled floor inspired by Islamic mosaic tile-work, which lies underneath oriental sofas, silk cushions and cashmere patterned fabrics surrounding openwork tea tables. Individual seating areas were created to accommodate several business or leisure groups at once, each offering an intimate, residential ambiance.

As well as a complete redesign of the interiors, the hotel introduces the expansion, as well as the redevelopment, of its diverse dining and lounge concepts. Arabica, located on the ground floor, returns with a  contemporary new look and coffee and dessert bar. Neutral and calming in its colour scheme, the space houses marble furniture that echoes the octagonal shape of the conservatory.

Guestrooms and suites: Reflecting sky, sea and sand

As a dynamic cultural destination with a thriving cosmopolitan district, Doha has direct access to a beach and beautiful blue sea. The redesigned rooms follow a soothing spectrum of blues and beiges reflecting the colours of the sky, sea, sand and earth. Rochon aimed to evoke a feeling of timelessness whilst also creating an atmosphere in the rooms that is welcoming, uplifting, peaceful and comfortable for guests, with a powerful sense of place.

Image caption: Two majestic sliding doors break up the space in the suites | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: Two majestic sliding doors break up the space in the suites | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

All the rooms and suites are furnished with discreetly integrated and energy efficient technologies to enhance the guest experience and bring a new dimension of modernity to the hotel. All accommodations now feature automated curtains and lighting systems as well as temperature management preservation technology within the newly installed windows.

Image caption: The guestrooms and suites have been inspired by sky, sea and sand | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Image caption: The guestrooms and suites have been inspired by sky, sea and sand | Image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Meanwhile, the suites offer Hermès amenities and continue to pay homage to Qatari heritage with mother of pearl inserts in the bookcases and bathrooms, decorative plates in the libraries, headboards with relief geometric patterns and doors with oriental touches of worked wood and brass hardware, all whilst complementing a contemporary rejuvenation.

Since its opening in 2005, Four Seasons Hotel Doha has remained an architectural icon in Doha’s skyline. The 237-key neo-classical building is located on Doha’s waterfront at the heart of the city, and its latest renovation has secured its position as being one of the destination’s finest hotels.

Main image credit: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Checking in: Hôtel Chais Monnet, Cognac

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in: Hôtel Chais Monnet, Cognac

Four years after Hotel Designs got the on-the-boards industry sneak peek of Hôtel Chais Monnet, editor Hamish Kilburn checks in to the luxury hotel in the heart of Cognac…

Positioned in close proximity of Cognac’s Charente River, Hôtel Chais Monnet took chief architect Didier Poignant of Paris-based Ertim Architects four years to plan, and a further 26 months to convert into a reality.

Built in the 19th century, the site that was the childhood home of Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union. The building had sat uninhabited since 2004 before the decision was made to transform the trading house into a majestic, five-star getaway, combining traditional architecture with cutting-edge contemporary design.

The luxury spa hotel was described as a “modern take on traditional French luxe” when Hotel Designs first caught wind of the project in 2016. In simple terms, the restoration has given the buildings on site a new lease of life.

I would go one step further, though, to say that it has reopened up the destination’s history books, perhaps to a different chapter. For starters, during the restoration process, the architectural plans included adding a new contemporary structure ­­– a rare find in and around the low-level city of Cognac.

Image caption: The arrival experience allows guests to capture the two original buildings on the site that used to be wine cellars | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Image caption: The arrival experience allows guests to capture the two original buildings on the site that used to be wine cellars | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Despite the property being centrally located – only a ten-minute walk down to some of the great cognac houses in the region – the hotel’s space is not sacrificed, nor is it limited in its ambitious design. Guests arrive through a long driveway, past two retro Citroen 2CVs, and enter the hotel via a walkway that cuts through the two original limestone buildings, which used to be wine cellars. Bridging together these structures at the end of the pathway is a magnificent glass-box building. Inside, the lobby, which evokes a strong first impression and proof that architecture styles of different eras can, in fact, work in harmony.

Image caption: The hotel is a classic tale of old and new architecture meeting in harmony | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Although this was very much a heroic rescue operation to retain the site’s heritage, the layout of the hotel allows for a modern design scheme to filter into all areas. Separated off the side of the lobby, making it ideal for locals as well as guests to enjoy, is the characterful Cognac Bar. As well as serving more than 400 varieties of the spirits (I counted them), the bar features quirky lighting, residential-style furniture and idiosyncratic artefacts for good measure.

Image caption: The Cognac Bar | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

The majority of the hotel’s facilities – the 92 guestrooms, 13 suites, a wellness area and two restaurants – are sheltered in new-build glass structure that is covered with corten steel tendrils. The striking and unrestrained design of the framework compliments the contemporary, light and airy interiors that can be found in each guestroom and suite. With a safe colour scheme of whites, cream and the occasional accent of red in the soft furnishings, the rooms very much channel the spirit of Cognac to evoke a home-from-home, relaxed residential look and feel. Elements such as a rose-gold clocks from Karlsson and arresting chandeliers above the beds add a contemporary layer to the design, while subtle biophilic references in the artwork inject the strong sense of place, far removed from metropolis life.

Image caption: One of the hotel's stylish guestrooms | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Image caption: One of the hotel’s stylish guestrooms | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

The bathrooms, complete with geometric-patterned surfaces and large bath tubs, are contemporary spaces. Quality brands in these generously sized areas include Kohler and Allia Paris basins, Grohe taps and showers and quality WCs from Ideal Standard.

Beneath the guestrooms and suites, the hotel’s spa wellness facilities include an impressive 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool, which allows guests to soak in the natural landscape while enjoying R&R from exploring the city. In addition, the spa also features a modern jacuzzi, a sauna, a handful of massage therapy rooms and a state-of-the-art gym.

Image caption: The 25-metre indoor and outdoor pool inside the hotel | Image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

In the two restaurants below, the sites heritage – and its connection to wine – is deeply ingrained in the design scheme. In the gourmet brasserie, Le Distillerie, a wooden ceiling and beams evoke a casual dining experience that is aptly centered around seasonal eating and using fresh, locally sourced produce. The hotel’s fine-dining option, meanwhile, is located on the lower level. Les Foudres, provides an unparalleled entrance that welcomes guests to dine amongst ancient Cognac barrels in the building’s historic Chais.

Since opening its doors in 2018, Hôtel Chais Monnet has become rooted into the community that surrounds it. There’s no better example of this than its recent initiative to freshly prepare and deliver 365 cooked meals to the town’s hospital during the COVID–19 pandemic. Cognac-born pastry chef Isabelle Bovy has paired up with the hotel’s very own pastry chef Camille Roché to create a substantial yet balanced menu to sustain and satisfy these health workers.

The two chefs created a delicious menu which included a starter of quinoa salad, followed by a main course of beef and Grenailles potatoes and finishing with a sweet and sticky lemon cake. “We have enough kitchen space to ensure that everyone can cook safely,” commented Hôtel Chais Monnet’s General Manager, Arnaud Bamvems. “If we can help those in need, let’s do it!”

My conclusion of Hôtel Chais Monnet is that looks can often be deceiving. Its compelling old-meets-new architectural style has unlocked the opportunity for a modern luxury hotel to operate seamlessly on a historic site. Its carefully and sensitively curated design scheme allows for an effortless flow between all areas so that guests and locals alike can be part of the renaissance of Cognac.

Main image credit: Hôtel Chais Monnet

Hypnos receives prestigious Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hypnos receives prestigious Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development

Ethical British bedmaker, Hypnos, is celebrating after receiving the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in Sustainable Development for its pioneering commitment to sustainable and ethical manufacturing…

Hypnos has been awarded The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. 

This respected achievement is the second Queen’s Award for the company after it won one in 2017 for International Trade.

Hypnos’ latest accolade comes after a decade long commitment to sustainable production and operation, and in recognition of a series of ground-breaking sustainable innovations and design. Indeed, Hypnos’ beds are some of the most sustainable in the industry being 100 per cent foam free and 100 per cent recyclable. They also use only natural and sustainable materials, such as FSC and PEFC certified timber, meaning its beds need never go to landfill sites. 

Highly celebrated, the Queen’s Awards is only given to those who can demonstrate outstanding sustainability achievements and whose environmentally-sound products and management of the company benefits the environment, society and the economy.

Image credit: Hypnos

James Keen, Chief Executive Officer at Hypnos, said: “Through passion, dedication and commitment we have created a wide-ranging, impactful sustainability plan that is industry-leading and reaches every area of the business. We are incredibly proud that our work here has been recognised with this Queen’s Awards, our second within three years.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and we’re not afraid to challenge the way the bed industry does things for the benefit of the environment and communities around the UK and the world. In fact our Partnership with Red Tractor is a prime example of this. This industry-first collaboration with them has allowed us to use 100 per cent British wool that’s traceable right back to Red Tractor assured farms, creating a new level of authentic traceability.” 

Image caption: Hypnos uses 100 per cent British wool that’s traceable right back to Red Tractor assured farms | Image credit: Hypnos

The ethical manufacturer’s green operating practises were also taken into consideration as part of the award win. Hypnos was the first bed maker to comply with the internationally recognised PAS2060 Carbon Neutrality standard, as well as the ISO 14001 environmental management systems. In addition the company has installed a biomass heating system to help save around 74 tonnes of carbon a year, all of which were seen favourably as part of its sustainable efforts.

 James Keen, adds: “This award is a great honour and really shows the value of investing in and in operating your business ethically. It’s certainly inspired us to do even more to develop our sustainable plans for the future and we’re already working on some interesting concepts for the years ahead.”

Hypnos is one of Hotel Designs’ 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: Hypnos

FEATURE: Renovating public areas with stylish lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Renovating public areas with stylish lighting

To round-off our weeks putting ‘Public Areas’ under the spotlight, we are focusing our lens on the opportunities of lighting. Recommended Supplier Vaughan compares the different ambiances its lighting products can create…

Public areas are one of the key spaces to set the tone of a hotel. As soon as a visitor walks through the doors, it is important that they are met with a certain ambience and style that reflects the rest of the hotel.

At Vaughan, we are grateful to be included in numerous hotel projects and renovations – including Grantley Hall, The Langham and Le Bristol Paris.

Grantley Hall is a Grade II listed building, built by Thomas Norton and his son Fletcher Norton, 1st Baron Grantley in the mid-18th century. It has an eclectic history, not just physically – with extensions added in both the 19th and 20th centuries – but also in terms of its use.  Initially a family home, it was turned into a convalescent home during World War II. Then between 1947 and 1974, it was under the ownership of the West Riding County Council where it was used as an adult education residential college.  In 1974, it was transformed once again into a training and conference centre thanks to the North Yorkshire County Council in 1974.  Finally, Valeria Sykes bought the house in 2015, and went on to establish Grantley Hall as the hotel it is now known to be.

The downstairs hallway of Grantley Hall undoubtedly showcases the tone of the rest of the hotel: refined and elegant, with rich, red velvet lined chairs, pleated shades and brass tones throughout. The defined lines of the Georgian architecture are mirrored and maintained in the candlestick table lamps, as well as in the geometric forms of our Regency Hall Lanterns. A sleek combination of brass and glass, the lanterns work well in this space – the glass actively reflecting light across the space and the brass adding to its warmth. Their even separation and display straight down the centre of the hallway echoes the uniformity of Georgian architecture, while marrying with the antique frames, table lamps and picture lights.

The Palm Court at The Langham is very different in style to Grantley Hall, but has an equally beguiling history. Built between 1863 and 1865, it was opened on 10th June, 1865 by the Prince of Wales. The largest and most modern hotel in London at the time, it went on to entertain the likes of Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Toscanini and Sibelius, as well as provided the set for the Sherlock Holmes story ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’. In World War II, it was used in part by the Army until it suffered damage by bombs, and after the war it was purchased directly by the BBC. Since then, it has seen two further owners, and two renovations, with its most recent one thanks to the Hong Kong based Great Eagle Holdings.

Image caption: Langham Palm Court/Vaughan

Decidedly more contemporary in feel, this image of the Palm Court shows two chandeliers hanging either side, almost reaching the floor, and brass pieces attached to the wall to create a floral-themed, decorative display. Studded armchairs arc around a table, behind which is a high-backed sofa, and to each side of the sofa is a side-table upon which sits our Woodville Table Lamps. Similar to Grantley Hall, the brass elements neatly come together and create cohesion: the Woodville Table Lamps appear strikingly similar to the salt and pepper shakers on the table, and work well with the brass installation behind.  Cushions on the sofa similarly reflect the floral themes on the wall, while the glass chandeliers add a further sense of drama and light.  Indeed, it is these chandeliers that provide the brightest, most white light in the room, and create a satisfying contrast against the balmy glow of the table lamps.

Le Bristol Paris, like Grantley Hall and The Langham, also has a history to it. Named after Bishop Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, who was an 18th century traveller known for his love of comfort and unwavering standards, it remains one of the most treasured hotels in Paris. Recently refurbished during a six-year stint from 2012 to 2018, it now contains additional Vaughan pieces such as the Saltwood Tripod Table Lamps shown here. A traditional lamp, cast in bronze by a father-son duo in England, it works well in this scene, with the pair neatly framing the painting. Neither predominantly traditional, like Grantley Hall, nor contemporary, like The Langham, Le Bristol Paris appears to combine and weave different styles together – whether that be with a fringed sofa against a historic oil painting, or an antique-inspired lamp on a glass table.

Although Grantley Hall, The Langham and Le Bristol Paris are assuredly different in style, what they share in common is their success in establishing an ambience and theme the moment a visitor walks through their doors.  Whether that be maintaining a traditional, Georgian feel as in the Grantley Hall hallway, a glittering, intimate space as in The Langham, or a fusion of both modern and traditional as in Le Bristol Paris, they all establish this in their public areas, as a reference and precursor to the rooms hidden within.

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

Main image caption: Le Bristol | Image credit: Vaughan/Claire Cocano

FEATURE: Specifying tiles for outdoors areas & public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Specifying tiles for outdoors areas & public spaces

With Hotel Designs focusing its attention on ‘Public Areas’ this month, CTD Architectural Tiles writes about making the right choices when it comes to specifying durable tiles that look the part…

When it comes to design, the hospitality industry demands some of the most aesthetically pleasing outdoor environments in the commercial sector.

From luxurious outdoor swimming pool areas to glamorous receptions, restaurants and bars, the flooring and surface choices that are made within exterior hotel design will play a vital role in the success of the overall appeal of the hotel.

From large luxury projects to smaller boutique hotels, CTD Architectural’s approach to service and design remains the same. Thanks to its ever-expanding portfolio of exterior tiles, CTD Architectural is able to source the latest products to deliver premium quality for both appearance and performance.

Image caption/credit: CTD Architectural Tiles” Porcelain Pavers collection

20mm porcelain tiles for outdoor environments

20mm porcelain is increasingly used in designs for luxury commercial and public realm projects, including swimming pool surrounds, balcony decks and pedestrian walkways – particularly in the hotel industry.

An extensive range of 20mm-thick porcelain tiles, the Porcelain Pavers collection by CTD Architectural is specially suited to outdoor environments. Recreating architectural materials such as cement and stone, the range comprises 22 different tiles to meet all the technical and design requirements for exterior applications.

For a variety of inside / outside combinations, the Porcelain Pavers collection is guaranteed to deliver on practical and aesthetic qualities. Along with the excellent technical qualities of thick porcelain, the Porcelain Pavers collection is extremely durable and resistant to breaks and scratches as well as being fade and frost resistant. Boasting a +36PTV (wet) slip-resistant structured surface, the tiles are also extremely low maintenance thanks to their exceptionally low porosity.

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

Image caption/credit: CTD Architectural Tiles’ Albaroc range

Anti-Slip tiles for swimming pools

Made effective by their slightly textured surface, anti-slip tiles are the perfect complement to other materials, such as stone, wood and concrete. An essential for high-traffic public areas, particularly around outdoor swimming areas, CTD Architectural’s range of anti-slip tiles has all the technical qualities to meet any project requirement without compromising on aesthetics.

From natural stone-effect finishes to imitation wood designs, each of the collections are guaranteed to help architects, interior designers, developers and specification professionals deliver on any manner of swimming pool project brief.

CTD Architectural’s stylish Albaroc range is inspired by the hard dolomite stone found on the Mediterranean coast. Available in three natural stone-effect colours and two different surface finishes, this collection includes a full range of complementary stair treads, risers and strips – ideal for creating a fully cohesive, effortlessly classic look in exterior and interior spaces of all sizes, and offering peace of mind where safety is a must.

Image credit/caption: CTD Architectural Tiles’ Natural collection

Tiles inspired by nature

Nature has been a source of inspiration for designers for a number of years and has now developed into all areas of interior design, including surfaces. A seamless marriage between rustic influences and the trend for contemporary design has inspired a number of CTD Architectural’s most recent tile designs, to enliven outdoor spaces of all sizes.

An effortless stylish addition to any outside space, wood flooring is renowned for its beautiful, natural finish. Although undeniably a popular choice, natural wood isn’t always practical in high footfall public areas. Wood effect tiles celebrate the unique beauty of the natural material and combine the importance of a realistic finish with the practical benefits of ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Offering the warmth and beauty of real wood, CTD Architectural’s Natural collection of wood-effect exterior tiles promise a refined finishing touch to any outdoor scheme. Available in three different light, mid and dark wood tones, the collection is comprised of matching edge profile and angle pieces for swimming pools with skimmer systems and boasts an anti-slip finish of R11C Class for total safety.

To replicate the classic beauty of natural stone in any outdoor space, CTD Architectural offer two beautiful ranges: Petra and Roca Polar. Petra has a timeless appeal with a choice of three different colours, along with the added benefit of an anti-slip Class C porcelain surface.

Reproducing the exquisite characteristic features of natural quartzite stone, Roca Polar is an exceptionally beautiful collection. Available in either a matt or structured finish, the simply yet elegant tile is ideal for those looking to create a luxurious outdoor space and comes complete with corresponding pool edge and stair fitting pieces and corners for a truly unified scheme.

When it comes to specifying tiles for outdoor and public areas for all sizes of hotels, CTD Architectural is able to provide products and technical solutions for architects, designers and specifiers to help ensure the project runs smoothly, looks impressive and conforms to the highest technical standards.

CTD Architectural Tiles is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: CTD Architectural Tiles

PRODUCT WATCH: Laminam by Casa Ceramica

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Laminam by Casa Ceramica

The large format thin porcelain slabs in the Laminam range by Casa Ceramica are a skin for surfaces and structures, which allow the designer to think outside the box and be innovative, meaning that the ability to achieve previously restricted offerings is now here…

Large format thin porcelain is a versatile material for use in architecture and furnishings, both indoors and outdoors.

They can be used in construction, as a real architectonic skin to clad walls, building facades or floors, and in interior design, as kitchen or bathroom countertops and tables. Producing porcelain slabs with sizes ranging from 1200 x 1200 to 1620 x 3240mm and thicknesses from three to 20mm. There are hundreds of designs with multiple surface finishes.

Image credit: Catania. Habitat Home

Produced using advanced technologies, it teams reduced thickness and large size with high resistance to mechanical stresses, to chemicals, to wear, to scratches, and to deep abrasion, it is hygienic by nature, resistant to frost, fire, mould and mildew, and to the effect of UV rays. All the characteristics and chromatic properties of the slabs are unchanging, designed to stand the test of time in all atmospheric conditions. A revolutionary slab that does not neglect environmental friendliness: natural raw materials, sustainable technology, entirely recyclable products are at the heart of this material’s green philosophy.

The slabs are created with natural materials like quarry clays, granite rocks and ceramic pigments, they do not release any substance into the environment. A revolutionary slab that does not neglect environmental friendliness: natural raw materials, sustainable technology and is an entirely recyclable product.

Casa Ceramica is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Casa Ceramica

Naturalmat wins the Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development

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Naturalmat wins the Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development

The Devon-based company, Naturalmat, has won the prestigious award for sustainable development just months after winning The Eco Award at The Brit List Awards 2019…

Following its memorable win at The Brit List Award 2019, Naturalmat has won the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

Naturalmat’s committed team, based in Devon, have been quietly crafting organic, beds and mattresses from sustainable and renewable materials in Devon for more than 20 years. Its mission is to create a healthier sleep environment to benefit not only the health and well-being of those using the products, but also a greener supply, manufacture and disposal process to benefit the wider environment.

The Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development is awarded for commercially successful products, services and management that benefit the environment, society and the economy.

The business grew from the founders – Mark Tremlett’s and Peter Tindall’s desire to harness the luxuriousness of natural materials and avoid the synthetic man-made materials prevalent in the industry. Initially creating mattresses for the marine industry, they saw the poor quality of the plastic foam mattresses used on high spec boats, and developed an alternative that was comfortable, sustainable, organic and all-round superior, making use of local resources. When Mark Tremlett had his own child, they realised that the situation was shockingly the same in the nursery industry, with babies sleeping on polyurethane foam pads covered in plastic. Safer Sleep Guidelines are still clear about reducing the risk of babies overheating – so a breathable, natural fibre mattress from Naturalmat remains a safer choice for parents in the UK and abroad looking for a healthy alternative. Once Naturalmat was established in the worlds of marine and nursery, the business started manufacturing larger mattresses – up to emperor size – for adults looking to furnish their own bedrooms with organic materials, and hotels looking for sustainable alternatives to the mass-produced mattress industry.

Two men holding either side of a mattress in a factory

Image credit: Naturalmat

By developing products that use raw materials from sustainable, renewable resources we drastically reduce our reliance on the petrochemical industry. The majority of the global bed and mattress industry uses synthetic foams and fabrics such as polyurethane foam, polyester and other materials that are derivatives of oil. Not only are these materials not sustainable, they are not as efficacious in their application as natural fibres, which are inherently more breathable allowing heat and moisture to dissipate, making for a healthier sleep environment by reducing the risks of overheating or allergen build up. Unlike much of the UK mattress industry, Naturalmat does not use fire retardant (FR) chemicals in products and are proud to have developed a product range that meets the relevant British Fire Safety Standards without the use of any FR additives.

The company works with local organic farms within a 50-mile radius of its factory in Topsham, Devon to source all of the wool it requires, ensuring a local resource is used in a local product. Wool is a is an extremely versatile material; not only is it a perfect natural insulator, keeping you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cold, but it is also a natural fire retardant. Wool slows down the burn rate of the fabric significantly, which means it adheres to the British Fire Safety Standard but does not give off any toxic gases and it will naturally biodegrade at the end of life. This reduces air, water and soil pollution, contamination and ultimately deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals.

Naturalmat’s organic and sustainably made offering is unique, which is why more and more consumers in both the UK and internationally choose to buy from Naturalmat. Naturalmat supplies organic beds and mattresses to the hotel industry all over the world, with clients including Hoxton Hotels, Z Hotels, Qbic, as well as working with the very large international hotel chain in Six Senses Resorts, which leads the way in sustainable, luxury tourism. Through exporting its products Naturalmat is promoting British wool and driving foreign wealth back into the British economy. Overseas customers are willing to spend with Naturalmat as they are reassured by its quality, reputation and sustainable credentials.

Naturalmat is one of Hotel Designs’ 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: Naturalmat

Chelsom honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade

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Chelsom honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade

Lighting brand Chelsom has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for the second time in three years in recognition of outstanding export achievements over the past three years.

Having achieved 59 per cent growth in international sales over three years, Chelsom has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

As Britain’s most coveted commercial prize, the Queen’s Award of Enterprise celebrates and encourage business excellence in the UK.

Chelsom designs and manufactures decorative lighting for the global hotel and marine industries. Innovative in-house designs, high quality manufacturing and excellent service levels have contributed towards winning prestigious projects in more than 70 countries across the world. Exports now account for around 58 per cent of all sales and Chelsom has built an exceptionally strong client base including major hotel operators such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, IHG, Hilton, Accor, Marriott and on the marine side, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Virgin Voyages, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Will Chelsom, Managing Director, has been instrumental in driving the Export division of the business and diversifying into the marine sector. He says: “We have achieved impressive export growth across multiple markets particularly in North America, the Middle East and Europe. Significant investment in our international sales team, corporate branding and overseas exhibitions have helped raise our international profile and undoubtedly contributed to our success. Winning this export award is a huge honour but it is also confirmation that our innovative product design, overseas sales strategies and all of the accompanying hard work by our superb teams around the world is paying off.”

“We are honoured to receive this award on the back of 2019, our most successful year to date, as it acknowledges the hard work, dedication and passion that every employee has shown in helping to drive the business forward internationally,” added Robert Chelsom, Chairman. “I am delighted to see that our third generation family business is continuing to expand and develop, cementing us as one of the major global players in the industry.”

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

Main image caption: Chelsom supplied the striking chandelier inside Celebrity Cruises’ vessel The Edge, which was designed by Kelly Hoppen | Image credit: Chelsom

PRODUCT WATCH: Jackie by Granorte proves to be no wallflower

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PRODUCT WATCH: Jackie by Granorte proves to be no wallflower

Inspired by geometric forms, the pop art shapes of Jackie by Granorte bring sustainable chic to walls…

2020 sees four new designs from the STORYWALL collection of cork wall tiles from Granorte. STORYWALL is inspired by traditional designs from cultures across the globe which are then applied onto cork using direct digital print graphics.

One of these new ranges is the modern-day pixel construction of Jackie. Designed by Carlos MedonVa, Jackie plays on the simplistic form of geometrics. Inspired the iconic pop art images of the 1950-60’s, each tile consists of contrasting half circles and backgrounds dissected by a pinstripe. In a choice of two on-trend colour combinations – Jackie Soul and Jackie Blues – that delicate line details draw the eye vertically and horizontally conjuring a balance between engagement and peaceful aesthetics.

Jackie is created from 100 per cent agglomerated cork which is then sliced before being sanded, printed and finished with CORKGUARD, a matt water-based lacquer. The tile’s lightness makes it a safe and easy to use material that can be applied in both domestic and commercial settings. The use of cork on walls improves acoustics and helps to retain warmth while providing a natural biodegradable and recyclable option.

“We have seen a demand for calming interiors that provide a comforting retreat for end users,” explains Paulo Rocha, R&D, Granorte. “Jackie is a prime example of how our wall tiles can achieve this through thoughtful design without compromising on sustainability, something that is core to Granorte’s values.”

Available in 300 x 300mm format and 4mm depth, each panel is treated with CORKGUARD for a wall tile that provides an easy to maintain, sealed surface. The range also holds an AGGLOPURE accreditation, meaning no harmful formaldehyde is added at any stage of the manufacturing process.

Main image credit: Granorte

The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

As Hotel Designs continues to position Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, the art consultants at Elegant Clutter share how to transform a vanilla lobby into one that oozes charm, character and personality…

It’s a fact. People talk about art. And hotel architects and designers want people to talk about the art in the hotels they have meticulously designed. But how do they do this?

One way is by making sure that the artwork they specify for hotels is not vanilla. For some people a ‘filler’ piece of art is tantamount to blasphemy but perhaps is sometimes an evil necessity. Or is it?

The team at Elegant Clutter think not. Surely, it’s a question of imagination and creativity not just budget and lead times. Elegant Clutter are a different kind of Art Consultancy that take advantage of their extensive studio facilities and in-house team of artists and artisans to originate and produce their own artwork as well as source artwork from other partner artists.

The benefits of being able to create one’s own artwork are many. More than anything the possibilities are truly boundless. As Harry Pass, Creative Director at Elegant Clutter says, ‘we are only really limited by our own imagination’.

But how does one start with creating an installation or a painting that is going to get noticed and talked about? Well, one way is to test the idea and see how people respond to it. Much in the same way that car companies design concept cars to test people’s reactions to new ideas,  Elegant Clutter do something similar.

It may seem unlikely but the team at Elegant Clutter also operate a successful Thai restaurant aptly named ‘The Art Kitchen’. Like all restaurants the décor is a key part of the dining experience, but it is not typically Thai. Concept artwork is showcased on the restaurant walls to gauge its impact and whether it gets people talking. Guests are also able to buy the artwork.

In this way Elegant Clutter have been able to confidently introduce concepts such as a reception installation of hand pressed brass blossom for Hilton Berlin and unique three sided frames for Hotel du Vin, Brighton.

three-sided framed picture

Image caption: Three sided frame developed for Hotel de Vin, Bristol | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter’s artisans are also adept at playing with different techniques and materials to offer never-seen-before media mashups. This approach has spawned gold leafing to a hand painted canvas in order to make it ‘shine’. This solution addressed the lack of natural light in the lobby of the Hotel de Vin in Stratford. In a similar manner, traditional oils were used as an embellishment to the metallic surface of an etching for The Soak in London’s Grosvenor Hotel.

Image caption: Gold leaf and canvas in Hotel de Vin, Stratford | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Elegant Clutter has used industry shows and events to test new product concepts including a layered routed and printed timber artwork as well as reverse printed antique mirror. These have all been conceived and produced in house and have subsequently featured in artwork schemes for Great Scotland Yard, De Vere and Conrad Hotels in London.

A very clear reflection of the attitude that hotels really do present boundless possibilities for art is perhaps the Elegant Clutter stand for the 2016 Sleep event at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The concept was named ‘One Painting – a hotel lobby created from a single piece of art’. Elegant Clutter were awarded the stand of the show in recognition of the audacious thought that art can be integrated to almost anything. People talked.

Image caption: Winning Sleep stand 2016 by Elegant Clutter.

Where there is no public opportunity to trial an artwork concept the artists at Elegant Clutter are given free-reign to use any part of the building to test a material, an idea or a technique. Feedback comes organically from visitors or other staff working on the premises.

The 25 Hour Hotel in Dusseldorf benefited from this approach after the artists canteen was used to sample a larger than life-size nude study. Ultimately the art was applied directly to a textured canvas wallpaper in a style that reflected a traditional life drawing. It is now a key talking point in the 25 Hour Hotel restaurant.

Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand.

Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

The M Gallery Hotel in Cheltenham also benefited from an art piece developed in the same way. Having experimented in the studio with carefully hand bent copper Tony, a very skilled craftsman in the team, was able to bring the heritage of this hotel to life. When known as the Queens Hotel, the world record for the world’s largest pancake was set in its kitchen. Tony made this recipe into a unique art installation.

Image caption” World’s largest pancake recipe replicated as an art installation in the M Gallery, Cheltenham restaurant | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

This test and learn approach doesn’t just allow the art consultant to confidently propose art that will capture the guest’s attention but also ensures the artist involved has mastered the production process.

What this also means is that ambitious artworks can be completed to tight deadlines and the know-how developed means that costs can be controlled. The result is that a client can have original bespoke artworks in all areas of the hotel despite challenging budgets and time frames. Ollie Griffin, Commercial Director at Elegant Clutter, believes that this leaves no need for the dreaded ‘filler’ and makes sure that all the artwork really does get people talking.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Elegant Clutter/Radisson Blu

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The meaning of hospitality in a hostile world?

Designer Peter Mance, who the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, takes a thorough look at why design in hospitality will change post-pandemic… 

Me: “Alexa, define ‘hospitality’.”
Alexa:The definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

A new viral guest is in our midst, and I’m wondering how we address this invisible and disruptive reality. COVID–19, and the attendant fear it has spawned, will not disappear easily. A whole new level of trust and confidence will be necessary for hotel owners, operators, developers and their guests. What will we need to do to remove hostility from hospitality?

For the design community, some of these issues raised will be the very antithesis of the methods we have used to design in the past. Those carefully nurtured public spaces of “blurred permeability”, the vibrant blending of social and co-working use will need to be “de-tuned” for a while.

In the absence of government directives and guidance, what should we be considering as our new rules? Below, I’m going to venture some thoughts and questions of my own in order to understand how we may behave when we are sanctioned to open our doors and welcome guests again.

The arrival experience

  • Will our default still be a warm greeting and our guests simply assume “business as usual” or will new modes of caution and protocol be required?
  • Will travel and booking documents be sent ahead to demonstrate “cleared to travel” status?
  • Will some type of Orwellian biological implant, electronic tag or a Smartphone App be adopted as the standard to signal a guest’s viral status on arrival?
  • Does the near-future hotel have to provide an air-locked refuge with Hazmat suits discarded at the door; or perhaps a quick sanitising spritz at the entrance and handwashing while masked attendants carrying out temperature scans while verifying travel papers?
  • What happens and what protocols are required if the arriving guest presents with a temperature?
  • Do we need to establish a quarantine zone within the hotel or have an agreement in place with Hotel “Nightingale” for any self-isolating travellers?
  • Should we provide our guests with new gloves, new masks, wipes and protective clothing each time they enter the hotel?
  • How does any “health-check” equipment integrate with an elegant lobby, and do we invest this with the hospitality message we wish to convey?
  • How do we reassure our guests, and will the previous tropes/conventions of a welcome cocktail, chocolates in the room, or warm cookies be deemed enough?
  • And perhaps finally, we will have the opportunity to design sexy and attractive hand sanitiser dispenser we’ve wanted to see.
Image caption: CQ Gracechurch St - Club Living Room 2

Image caption: Living Room inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

In the same way that past acts of terrorism brought hastily improvised metal detectors and bag checks to the front door, the reality of the post-pandemic world will necessitate some type of intervention to ensure that staff, guests and reputations can be protected.

Hopefully, these will not be the ugly, ad-hoc installations, which were imposed for sound security reasons, that outwardly signal exclusion and fear.

Hotels have prided themselves on being sanctuaries for travellers. With great and inspired design they, have carefully curated the ambience, experience and style of hospitality they offer. The industry has made huge strides to dissolve boundaries and transform hotels into locally connected, bustling hubs of social engagement.

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Image caption: The lobby, inside Club Quarters Hotel, San Francisco

Guest check-in and the lobby

For the road-weary business traveller, the previous advances of self-check-in and the keyless mobile app independence will be shunned. The traveller will not be allowed to pass unobtrusively to their guestrooms. My suspicion is that not only the hotel operator, but also our various government agencies, will wish to know all guest movements and interactions. It will be in the interest of everyone to be much more inquisitive and intrusive.  So, what will be necessary for the new digital/human interface during check-in?

Within hotel lobbies, I can envisage that solo seats will enjoy a welcome return. And with greater social distance perhaps, there is an up-side in that we will have the mental space and aural stillness, to again reconnect with our inner landscapes. It will be a chance to appreciate our surrounding, their design and to reflect more on the purpose for travel – whether for business or pleasure.

Corridor and guestrooms

  • Will the superficial re-selection of fabrics for inherent biological resistance, non-porous surfaces, and disinfectant fogging be all that is required to purge and protect guests?
  • Do we now have to designate a set of rooms converted into daily isolation suites?
  • What are our new questions to the MEP consultants?
  • What level of air filtration and recirculation will be acceptable in our viral future? Particularly pertinent considering the lessons learned from recent Cruise ship experience.
  • What hygiene improvements must we demonstrate in our already high standard of room cleaning?
  • Will we come value and prioritise the efficient and simplicity of layout as a virtue in guest rooms design?
  • Will a curfew be imposed with guests confirmed to rooms to ensure social distancing?
  • How will room service adapt, and will we now demand active in-room monitoring of our guests?
  • Will the nightly turn-down service include taking our guests temperature and fulfil other health-check procedures?
  • Will we designating long-stay quarantine rooms and what provision for beside equipment, room evacuation, or health care staff may be required>
  • How will two-metre distancing be implemented within our typical corridors? Perhaps as simple as adding a passing space, as we seen in narrow country lanes.
  • What will be our new lift/elevator etiquette?
Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

Image caption: Guestroom inside The Jewel Hotel New York

In the short term I suspect we will all be looking to learn a lot from our colleagues in Health Care. Adopting many of their routine approaches to hygiene as our new standard. We will be looking at the selection of fabrics and surfaces, the use of inherent micro-bacterial defences, improved air filtration and a great deal more observation of guest’s welfare.

“I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”.” – Peter Mance, Director, MAAPS Design and Architecture.

My sense is that the returning traveller will be acutely sensitive to their environment and will appreciate the safe refuge and assurance which hotels can provide. We can all readily recognise that our reasons for travel, for whatever purpose, has the potential to be disproportionately risky, both for us as individuals and the hotels. While we can be certain that our inveterate desire to travel will return, our guests will be highly concerned for their own wellbeing, as well as conscientious on behalf of their colleagues, family, friends and wider communities.

Guests will want to be assured that the behaviours and operations of hotels are confident, safe, detailed and robust. Trust will be paramount for all brands. I strongly believe that good design can help in re-establishing the inherent trust and meaning expressed by the word “hospitality”. Gently at first, cautiously breaking down barriers and carefully communicating to our guests that we have their welfare at our heart and the right precautions and procedures in place.

We can reasonably anticipate as a business and community that we’ll successfully adapt. The ingenuity of humankind a huge advantage, and it responds so well to adversity. We’ll discover the blessings and opportunities that this global reset will offer – perhaps an even more resonate connection with our local communities.

We will continue to appreciate the attentive care and hospitality offered by hotels, and we will continue to travel to experience the wonders of our planet. Business will be done, and the value of face-to-face encounters will remain important. We instinctively thrive on curiosity and trust and will acutely appreciate the value of such interactions.

Design will continue to act as an intrinsic intermediary link between the traveller and host, helping set the scene to convey the values and brand essence of our hotels.

Our work as designers remains primarily concerned with guest interaction and experience. Underscored, as always, with a thorough understanding of the hotels operational, functional and experiential ethos. Added to this will be the new concerns of hygiene, security and protection.

For newly commissioned and refurbished hotels, we can expect that thoughtful and embedded demonstrations of sustainability along with a deep, genuine connection to the local community will be implicit.

For all the gloom and fear this pandemic has instilled, our present physical reality remains remarkably familiar. Ironically, our natural environment appears to be thriving and enjoying this imposed worldwide pause. Once again skies are clear, stars sparkle, and nature gently and effortlessly reasserts itself.

Within this present hostile environment, our hospitality instincts remain generous and hospitable. We are an ingenious and resourceful community. We will adapt and we will prevail.

MAAPS Design and Archtiecture is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Sketch by Peter Mance derived from the courtyard entrance canopy of Trump’s Washington DC hotel, which remains open as it is “designated as an essential business” |
Main image credit: MAAPS Design and
Architecture

The fabrics of Backhausen’s ‘Made in Austria’ heritage

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The fabrics of Backhausen’s ‘Made in Austria’ heritage

With its DNA firmly rooted in Austrian heritage, Backhausen’s quality and style of fabrics is a result of the brand’s authentic craftsmanship. The company’s Maria Florencia Caruso shares its narrative…

Austria, a place known as the home of music, culture, the waltz, ski resorts, palaces, outstanding museums and dramatic landscapes.

However, the country’s history of craftsmanship, attention to detail, precision, art and design is often overlooked. Products ‘Made in Austria’ tend to combine luxury with dependability – redefining, quality, reliability, sustainability, heritage and design.

Backhausen is an Austrian-heritage manufacturing company specialising in premium quality fabrics using natural fibres. The company’s mill is located in the Waldviertel region – more specifically in Hoheneich, which is located in lower Austria and literally translates as the “forest district”. In addition to its breathtaking nature, the Waldviertel has a rich history, culture and know-how in weaving textiles.

The factory, which is located in between rolling mountains and hills in Austria

Image Caption: Backhausen’s factory is located in Waldviertel region, and sits inbetween rolling hills in the countryside | Image credit: Backhausen

“Backhausen’s designs are inspired by an extensive archive developed throughout its 171-year history.”

The brand’s products are designed, manufactured and packaged in Austria. At Backhausen, ‘Made in Austria’ is exemplified through the art of weaving and craftsmanship. The key to creating every woven fabric at Backhausen is its committed team, which uses skills and techniques passed from generation to generation. Backhausen’s expertise is to manufacture elaborate, intricate and diverse fabrics on state-of-the-art Jacquard looms, constructed using infinite design concepts. Jacquard fabrics distinctively incorporate complex patterns and colours into their weave, can feature a raised, luxurious brocade motif and are often reversible.

Furthermore, Backhausen’s designs are inspired by an extensive archive developed throughout its 171-year history, in collaboration with acclaimed local architects, artists and designers. The archive is a treasure trove of daily inspiration for Backhausen’s designs and is part of Austria’s cultural history. The patterns and designs that form the influential archive are protected and not permitted to leave the country without official permission. Through this archive, Backhausen gives ‘Made in Austria’ a deeper and greater meaning.  The company’s strength is finding the right balance between tradition and modern technology through experience and creativity.

Backhausen products give ‘Made in Austria’ an international perspective with its brand pillars of craftsmanship, sustainability, heritage and individuality.

Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg Imperial Palace and State Opera House in Vienna are all renowned Austrian landmarks in which Backhausen’s fabrics can be found. Internationally, Backhausen textiles can be seen in first class hotels, theatres, restaurants, cafes, renowned landmarks and high-end residential projects.

The company is in partnership with designers from different industries and backgrounds, in addition to the use of its fabrics for interior upholstery and curtains. The fashion designer, Arthur Arbesser commissioned Backhausen to produce exquisite jacquard fabrics for two of his collections shown at Milan Fashion week and the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Backhausen fabrics can also be found in elegant modes of transport, as they are certified for aviation and marine interiors because of their durability and luxuriousness.

Backhausen’s bespoke options allow designers to express their individuality and creativity by creating project-specific patterns and motifs. Sagmeister & Walsh designed the Colour Room, in creative partnership with Backhausen, for their exhibition “Beauty” at the Vienna MAK (Museum of Applied Arts).

“‘Made in Austria’ is much more than a label.”

To expand on Backhausen’s versatility and its diverse project collection, its textiles are featured on the big screen set designs and decoration. Its influential film portfolio includes the 24th film in the James Bond series, James Bond 007: Spectre (2015) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) by Wes Anderson, a four-times Oscar winning film, one of which was for set design.

‘Made in Austria’ is much more than a label: it represents a passion for art, heritage, tradition, craftsmanship, design and quality. Backhausen’s well-crafted Austrian-made fabrics enhance and inspire with timeless beauty, versatility and durability.

Backhausen is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Backhausen

Zen by Woven Image: Inspired by the calm and simplicity of Japanese gardens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Zen by Woven Image: Inspired by the calm and simplicity of Japanese gardens

Woven Image has introduced Zen, a beautifully tactile three-dimensional acoustic wall panel as part of the Tangible Alignments collection, referencing textural vertical surfaces…

Zen by Woven Image is an innovation in non-woven wall panelling, Zen is specially designed to provide a floor to ceiling acoustic solution for commercial office interiors.

Suitable for standard direct fix wall applications as well as functional operable walls where panels could be installed double-sided, Zen provides a high quality solution with a beautiful tactile surface.

The design of Zen mimics the lines, curves and grooves of a Japanese zen garden evoking a sense of simplicity and calm. The concept of Zens peaks and valleys echos architectural corrugated surface details such as timber slats, stainless steel batons and textured cement or plaster feature walls.

Zen is available in nine colourways from essential neutral tones of cream, frost and onyx to directional mid tones of blush and forest accented with on-trend ivy, indigo and deep burgundy hues.

Whilst the product can be easily machine or hand cut for installation, at 2800mm high, Zen panels can be installed without a floor-to-ceiling join line. Furthermore, to assist with ease of installation, Zen is trimmed on all edges with a subtle beveled cut that allows for easy butt joining along a continuous wall with minimal visible seams.

Performing to commercial Industry standards for interior wall linings, Zen achieves excellent environmental credentials, including Global GreenTag (GreenRate Level A), with the use of post-industrial waste streams and low VOC emissions.

Zen provides acoustic benefits with an NRC result of 0.30 for a direct fix application. Increased performance in high demand acoustic applications can be achieved via an acoustic infill such as Woven Image Aire panel.

Main image credit: Woven Image

PRODUCT WATCH: Floor-level channel shower made of superior Kaldewei steel enamel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Floor-level channel shower made of superior Kaldewei steel enamel

Kaldewei Nexsys is said to be the easiest way to get an exclusive channel shower…

There is no easier or more secure way of having the extremely flat design of a channel shower in a bathroom than with the Kaldewei Nexsys shower surface with its exclusive colours and metallic accents.

The shower – available in 20 different sizes, with three surfaces, in many colours and with elegant design covers – is not only a shower surface of exceptional aesthetic but also a complete, virtually installation-ready system. The familiar Nexsys four-in-one system is already preassembled at the factory, inclusive of sloping support, waste channel and sealing tape.

Tile becomes shower becomes tile: it is only on closer inspection that you can see where the tiling ends and the shower surface begins. Thanks to the large choice of bathroom colours and matt shades of the Kaldewei Coordinated Colours Collection, the Kaldewei Nexsys can be integrated with XXL tiles at floor level, allowing it to disappear completely into the tiling.

Image credit: Kaldewei

The Nexsys brings extra glam factor into the bathroom with a variety of surface finishes for its elegant design cover: The polished gold, polished stainless steel or brushed rose gold versions particularly underline the elegance and value of this exclusive channel shower. An easy-clean finish is available on request, further adding to the shower’s comfort and convenience. In addition, all matt colours can be treated with Kaldewei’s virtually invisible anti-slip Secure Plus finish – for a high level of safety underfoot.

Hardly any other Kaldewei bathroom solutions have won so many awards for their excellent design as the Kaldewei Nexsys shower surface and the Kaldewei Miena washbasin bowl which was designed by Anke Solomon. These accolades range from the “iF DESIGN AWARD” and the Red Dot Award to multiple wins at the ICONIC AWARDS. Perhaps that is why the innovative channel shower and the delicate-looking round or rectangular washbasin bowl enter into such a fascinating “Perfect Match”, the term Kaldewei uses to describe the harmony between design language and uniform materiality.

With installation systems that are preassembled in the factory, the Kaldewei Nexsys ensures that installation is easy and time is saved on the building site. Thanks to the familiar 4-in-1 system, all elements are already connected with each other, inclusive of waste channel, sloping support and sealing tape. The included insulation tape guarantees optimum sound insulation. Thanks to its ultra-low built height, floor-level installation is possible even with limited construction depth. With all these advantages it comes as no surprise that the Kaldewei Nexsys is a favourite not only with architects and bathroom planners but also, first and foremost, with installers who save valuable installation time with the channel shower, allowing them to increase their efficiency on the building site.

The Kaldewei Nexsys is available in a wide range of bathroom colours and the elegant shades of the Kaldewei Coordinated Colours Collection. This means that the channel shower can be a standout feature in the bathroom, producing surprising contrasts.

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

Main image credit: Kaldewei

In Conversation With: Geraldine Dohogne, former designer at Zannier Hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Geraldine Dohogne, former designer at Zannier Hotels

The designer behind many of Zannier Hotels’ authentic properties, Geraldine Dohogne, is expanding her horizons to go solo on the international design scene. Speaking exclusively to editor Hamish Kilburn, the designer unveils the truth behind her unorthodox arrival into the industry, discusses the challenges she encountered when designing many of Zannier Hotels’ success stories and explains why the meaning of ‘lifestyle’ in design is rapidly changing…

It comes as somewhat of a surprise – I was almost lost for words – when Geraldine Dohogne tells me that she didn’t have any design experience whatsoever prior to when she was handed the reigns to become Zannier Hotels’ Head of Design. In fact, she was not a designer at all, nor was she some talented ‘inner designer’ who was trapped in an architect’s title, which is not uncommon in this industry. Armed with simply an international business degree and a naturally acute eye for detail, Dohogne proved that you didn’t require a design degree to become a top-notch designer.

Open air design, with bath overlooking desert

Image caption: The open-air design of Zannier Hotels Sonop allows a connection between nature and its guests | Image credit: Tibodhermy for Zannier Hotels

That’s not to say that anyone can be a designer – far from it. Spending time with Dohogne, who accurately, in my opinion, describes herself as a designer by passion, allows one to see beyond the brilliant brand her name has been aligned to for years.

We meet in Mayfair’s The Conduit, an airy private members club that was once described by GQ Magazine as a place that provides the brightest minds with the opportunities to meet up and thrash out new ideas. It all sounds wonderfully fitting as it has also become one of Dohogne’s favourite places to work from in recent years.

“I was Zannier Hotels’ first employee.” – Géraldine Dohogne.

Although it may read shocking to some that a curious mind with no design background was asked to lead an entire luxury brand’s design ethos, Dohogne, for many reasons, was the perfect person for the job. For starters, she arguably knew the DNA of Zannier Hotels better than any established designer on the scene did. “I was Zannier Hotels’ first employee,” she explains. “I started in development and also did my time in operations before working in the design department. I mostly worked on my own, doing all the ordering and specifying by myself. It was at this point when I truly believe that my degree in international business kept me organised, focused and on track.”

It’s hard to believe that the premium hotel brand that has been so influential on the luxury travel and design scenes only launched its first property in 2011. It all started in The Alps with the opening of Le Chalet in Megéve. However, considering at the time the brand had already purchased land, properties, and had projects on the drawing boards in Asia and Europe, Zannier Hotels was considered an international player from the moment it was born.

“Without even knowing it, I was always interested in and inspired by design,” – Géraldine Dohogne.

Its unorthodox approach to luxury in both design and service soon gave it its esteemed award-winning reputation. The same way of thinking, I see, is shared – dare I say inspired – by the designer who is sat casually and confidently in front of me in a cosy beige jumper and blue jeans. “Without even knowing it, I was always interested in and inspired by design,” she says, “My curiosity in interiors and luxury travel was married up to the brand’s vision.”

For all designers, however many years’ experience they have amassed (or not), all projects come with a number of different challenges. One of Dohnogne’s most memorable projects was 1988 The Post, an intimate hotel in Ghent, Belgium, that shelters no more than 38 keys. The boutique hotel has been inspired by the old post office building’s 19th century architecture and charm. “Inside, all the fabrics, materials, lighting and colours were inspired by the atmosphere of a post office and from the building period,” the designer explains. The rooms were decorated in a warm style – with high ceilings, dark green walls and antique furniture – complementing the building’s former life.

Masculine looking luxury room

Image caption: 1988 The Post became one of Dohogne’s most challenging design briefs, because of the building’s irregular architecture and heritage in Ghent, Belgium

Although each hotel under the Zannier umbrella is unique to the destination, each follow the same journey of discovery when it comes to establishing the interior scheme and overall narrative. “We always look beyond the obvious,” says Dohogne. “Most of the antiques are sourced locally, which can be harder in some places than others.” For the brand’s most recent hotel in Namibia, more than 550 antiques were handpicked by Dohogne and injected into the property’s interiors that were uniquely constructed on stilts atop of natural boulders in the middle of the Namib desert.

Right when you thought Zannier Hotels had reached its limit of creativity, it is about to open the authentic doors of its next hotel, which will be situated in Vietnam. It’s 75 suites and villas will be sheltered under three various architectural styles, each of them melting into the lush natural background while referencing the local Ede and canal houses that are culturally embedded in Phu Yen (Vietnam). “Most of the villas and suites will have private pools and the public areas will be on the 1km-stretch of beach,” she explains. “The restaurants will really re-discover Vietnamese cuisine.”

Minimalist nature-infused public areas

Image caption: A sneak peek of the interiors inside the soon-to-open Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang, designed by Dohogne | Image credit: Zannier Hotels

While Dohogne continues to piece together Zannier Hotels’ vision of future properties with timeless interiors, in January 2020 embarked on a new, personal and profession journey; branching off to become a solo designer no restricted to hotel design. “It’s a new challenge,” she says, “but when you are challenged, you can bring much more to the drawing board. There is a gap in the market for high-end lifestyle projects in Europe and beyond.”

Quick-fire round

HK: What’s a trend that you hope will never return?
GD: I believe that if you want a project to be ‘timeless’, it should not follow a trend.

HK: What’s the most difficult project you have worked on?
GD:
1988 The Post was challenging because it was an existing building.

HK: What is the one item you cannot travel without?
GD: My Swimming costume and my noise-cancelling Bose headphones.

HK: What does luxury mean to you?
GD: A place where you can disconnect with technology and the world, and where you can feel at home.

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
GD: Antarctica, Japan and Argentina.

HK: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
GD:
Always show your work to a lot of people, and always question yourself until you are 100 per cent sure.

HK: When you pitch an idea, do you keep an open window?
GD: Yes, because the world has changed so much from the beginning of a hotel project to the end.

For more than year now, Dohogne has been setting up the foundations of her own design studio. What strikes me is the link between the authenticity of Zannier Hotels’ expansion and the journey that the designer is also on. Although there is yet a comment as to what projects she is working on, it is clear that Dohogne is meaningfully expanding her reaches to purposefully design a new era of high-end lifestyle social areas and workspaces. Her journey in design continues…

Main image credit: Géraldine Dohogne

Designing the boutique hotel in uncertain times

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing the boutique hotel in uncertain times

As the current pandemic forces the industry to address change in how we work and how the world communicates, Harris Jackson Design offers some advice on how boutique hotels can re-open strong…

We are currently experiencing very different times and are all aware of how the hospitality industry is dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 closures. But is there a magic answer as to how we can best prepare for when the lockdown lifts?

We can see that many establishments are helping out their local communities and establishing stronger links with other surrounding businesses thus creating a support network that will continue into the future. On a positive note, this pandemic enforced closure does give Hoteliers an opportunity to push the reset button. One can challenge the norm of how they have done things previously to improve in areas that they feel are necessary.

Proprietors should use the time during lockdown to train, innovate, reinvent and raise establishments to an even higher level. It is with this in mind that Harris Jackson Design would like to help those boutique hotel owners offering a 30 per cent discount on our services if clients sign up before the end of June 2020. We would like to look forward to celebrating your re-opening once the threat has passed.

Aside from the obvious difficulties & practicalities of trying to keep an establishment ticking over we are here to help you re-group, refresh and ready your hotel for your opening with as little expenditure as you may feel necessary. How can we use this enforced closure period to our advantage and use the opportunity to take stock and make the guest experience even more special?

In preparation for a re-opening there are many ways in which Harris Jackson can assist in creating a fresh new environment. We can create completely new concepts to fit within your brand guidelines for rooms, suites, communal or F&B areas or help refurbish standard rooms and give them a fresh new clean look ready for when your guests stay.

It is not just a case of a new coat of paint but changing colour schemes to give an area a whole new look. This can be achieved by introducing new soft furnishings in throw cushions, bedspreads, artwork & accessories. For more permanent architectural finishes one can always over tile or over lay textual finishes or cladding. New products on the market can add a whole new dimension to a tired looking space.

Simple vinyl textures or specialist wallcovering designs can be inserted into panelling to create a whole new luxurious feel at minimal cost. Phillip Jefferies have some beautiful feature designs that work excellently in small spaces but can also create stunning feature walls without much disruption. Some perfect examples of these are Yacht Club. A stunning pleated wood veneer design overlaying a subtle silver background. While not a vinyl the design can be inserted in harder to reach areas where little fingers cannot touch. Another example is Fretwork, which has, as the name suggests, a fretwork design in the same veneer finish but in this stunning imperial blue colourway.

Alternatively, paper whole walls with this simple but beautiful vinyl linen effect, London Linens by Phillip Jefferies, which is supremely washable and contract quality. Adding a little texture to a wall can warm an environment up and make it feel less clinical. Or if you want to create more of statement just one wall in this Vinyl Crocodile Clutch will add an element of luxe. All the time adhering to a hospitality contract requirements.

Perhaps it is time to declutter and really streamline not only the brand concepts but also the interior feel of a space. We want our spaces to feel luxurious & homely, but we will want them to be both environmentally and psychologically friendly after all we will have been through. We want to relax and feel safe knowing that the service provider has covered our every desire & need.

Gone are the days of excessiveness for excessiveness sake. I feel that in the coming months & years our expectations of what we want from a hotel environment will change. The time out away from our busy lives will mean we re-address what is important to us all. Perhaps this will mean opening up our windows so that beautiful garden views can be observed creating more light and space. So that we can sit back and breathe in the fresher air.

Let’s continue to look at using more sustainable fabrics in our FF&E moving back to what nature intended.  Specifying furniture that is from sustainably sourced timbers as Hill Cross Furniture are doing.  Hill Cross provide high quality sustainable furniture to the contract marketplace. From 100% sustainable banquette seating, to environmentally friendly finishes and materials.

One of their sustainable materials is called Smart Board. It is a flame retardant, moisture resistant OSB board that is produced from timber sourced solely from within the UK reducing the carbon footprint. Reducing our Carbon Footprint will be an even greater concern going forward as people decide to not fly abroad and stay nearer to home.

Kvadrat have a wonderful collection of sustainable but contract semi sheers that look stunning floating in the breeze at large windows overlooking the outside. The first being Cocoon by Sacho Hesslein.  Inspired by the web-like cocoons created by silkworms, this fabric is constructed of two layers with floating yarns between. The delicate weave construction is fixed by partial ledgers to form a soft translucent sheer and comprises of 100% Polyester FR although it by no means resembles this. The double-layered textile creates a subtle but unique gentle experience.

Izolo design by Walker Greenbank Anthology is a collection of sumptuous fabrics with a sleek satin slub look, with colourways inspired by a collection of precious stones and rich metallic tones. This luscious textile is double width and made from flame retardant 100% Trevira yarn meaning it is perfectly suited for hospitality.

There is no doubt that COVID–19 will change the way we work, how we live and how and where we travel. But let’s use this to our advantage. Harris Jackson are more than willing to help the boutique hotel industry entice the customer with a whole new way of looking at things so that ultimately, we can provide our guests with a new “peace of mind”.

Harris Jackson Design is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Harris Jackson Design

PRODUCT WATCH: The Linden collection from Heathfield & Co

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: The Linden collection from Heathfield & Co

Inspired by the purity of spring and botanical forms, Heathfield & Co’s Linden Collection references natural textures throughout…

This considered curation of table and floor lamps, wall lights and ceiling fittings in the Linden Collection from Heathfield & Co come together to deliver a harmonious and fluid range of striking pieces with a contemporary edge.

Each unique piece combines organic shapes with soft sculptural lines and tactile surfaces. Ripples, flutes, scalloped edges and subtle crackle patterns feature in a delicate palette of muted greys, neutral greens and off whites.

Delicate sweeping arms lead to seed shaped convex glass shades in both the four and six arm Mila round pendants. Inspired by a blossoming flower bud, each glass shade is gently fluted from the edge towards a central point, allowing the directional light to shine through.

Finished in pure white, the petal like structures of the Elder table lamp is beautifully tapered from the base and has a deeply tactile form. Each soft ridge runs vertically, allowing light to fall and create unique contrasts and shadows across the ceramic.

Image caption: Fero and Aster in the Linden Collection | Image credit: Heathfield & Co

The refined curves and soft edges of the Aster table lamp make it one of the most organic forms in the collection. Echoing the symmetry of Aster in a slightly taller form, the Fero table lamp combines the same soft edges with an additional angular section. Aster and Fero both draw inspiration from subtle textures in natural minerals, rocks and stone. The lightly grained surface enhances the depth of each lamp, adding a distinctive and tactile finish.

Heathfield & Co is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Ivy, Alba, Camellia and Laurel in the Linden Collection | Image credit: Heathfield & Co

CASE STUDY: Furnishing InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Furnishing InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

Architect Jean-Philippe Nuel specified Ligne Roset furniture when sensitively converting a former paupers hospital into the luxury hotel that is InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu…

In order to successfully convert such an historic and emblematic site (it was originally a paupers hospital) into a hotel, Jean-Philippe Nuel drew on the dichotomy between the sobriety of the building’s interior and the richness of its architecture.

And he chose furniture with this in mind, working with Ligne Roset Contract. For this spectacular renovation project which demanded six years of collaboration, the company manufactured, using semi-artisanal methods, almost 600 pieces of furniture in its factories in Briord, which are only 60 km distant from Lyon.

Image caption: The lobby inside InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

The encounter between Ligne Roset and Nuel started in the 1980s, when the architect imagined his first hotels. It was also during this period that Ligne Roset began a strategic turning point by opening up to the equipment of high-end hotel establishments.

Together, they imagine tailor-made furniture that will equip a large number of hotels and establishments in France: Hôtel Duo (Paris), Radisson Hotel (Nantes), Intercontinental Marseille, The Ponant ships, MGallery Paris Molitor and Trouville.

From the Long Island chair and armchair in the bedrooms to the Tessa chair in the restaurant and the Luca Soft bridge and armchair in the ‘conciergerie’, there is a clear, dynamic link between the quality of manufacture and the restrained design of each of these models, which were dressed by Nuel in contemporary, sober yet nuanced coverings. Specifying Ligne Roset furniture throughout the hotel allowed Nuel to covert a treasured historical icon into a welcoming luxury hotel.

Related Products:

Long Island chair
Long Island armchair
Tessa chair
Exclusif settee
Andy settee
Vik high chair
Luca Soft bridge
Luca Soft armchair
Tadao bridge (wooden legs)
Feng large 1-arm settee
Mobidec footstool
Stricto Sensu settee

Ligne Roset is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu

Designing bespoke feature lighting for public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Designing bespoke feature lighting for public spaces

Continuing to focus the editorial spotlight on ‘Public Areas’, Hotel Designs asks lighting design studio Inspired By Design how bespoke feature lighting can take a hotel’s communal areas to the next level…

In all types of projects whether hospitality, residential or commercial – and especially where there is a large ceiling void – a bespoke lighting feature is often commissioned to both illuminate the space and to complete the design.

Assuming the design of the feature light is decided, the following factors should be addressed in order to ensure the project is a success:

Dimensions

The first requirement for the design is knowing floor to ceiling height and the overall dimensions you require the fitting to be to best suit the area. Length and width are critical as you’ll need to decide how much of the void you wish to fill. Do you want a long and slim fitting or a more expansive fitting?

Synthesis

Since the fitting is such an important feature for the space, although it may be a dramatic statement piece, it also needs to synthesise with the overall design of the scheme.

Generally, if working with metal structures, it is important to either match or complement the finishes used in the design. Therefore, we would request a control sample finish or RAL colour that we can work with. The same applies to shade material finishes or even coloured crystal if used in the design.

Weight

With the design, materials and dimensions in place, it’s important to consider how much the light will weigh.

Can the ceiling hold the weight of the fitting? We will provide an accurate weight at quotation stage to ensure at first fix stage that the ceiling is suitably reinforced. It is very important at this point, if the building has a glazed atrium then you need to discuss with our team appropriate methods of hanging and fixing the chandelier.

Alternatively, in a public space you may want to consider a winch. The advantages of a winch are that if fitted at the first fix stage it enables installation to be quicker and more efficient. The added advantage is that a winch enables you to change light bulbs or clean the fitting in the future with lower down time for that area.

Level of visual impact

For many larger fittings especially in lobbies, the fitting will be visible from multiple levels, it’s important to ensure that it remains aesthetically pleasing from all visible angles to ensure that if viewed from a higher point that they are not just seeing wiring or fixing chain and also to ensure that the lights are not shining directly in people’s faces at any point.

Design concept

Armed with this information and an approval of quotation we can then work to issue drawings showing our interpretation of your design concept. This stage tends to take the longest time as there is usually a lot of back and forth involved to get the final concept ready for sign off.

Production and delivery

Once everything is approved and signed-off, we can start production on the piece according to the agreed timeline and provide regular updates to keep you in the loop.

Included in the quotation, we would generally account for transport depending on the location, mode of delivery and also if any special installation is required. If necessary, relevant certification can be provided during the production stage.

Finally, the piece is securely installed and the vision is made a reality to be admired for years to come.

Inspired By Design is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Inspired By Design

Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Crown Group secures land for debut project in the USA

The $500 million mixed-used development plans for Crown Group‘s 43-storey tower high-rise in downtown Los Angeles include 160-key hotel…

Australian residential developer Crown Group has taken the next steps in its first move into the US market, where it plans to develop a $500 million mixed-use high-rise condominium and hotel tower that will bring a touch of the enviable Aussie lifestyle to LA’s burgeoning Downtown district.

Crown Group is progressing entitlements with Los Angeles City Hall for the proposed tower, which is earmarked for the southeast corner of South Hill and 11th streets at the convergence of Downtown’s financial, fashion and South Park districts. Crown Group has formed a joint venture with a Singapore-based company, Magnus Property Pte Ltd, and one of Indonesia’s biggest property developers, ASRI, the premium lifestyle brands division of Agung Sedayu Group, which has won 20 awards for 33 projects since they were founded in 1971. Some of ASRI’s most notable developments include The Langham Jakarta (the first in Southeast Asia), The Langham Residences (the first Langham-branded residence in the world), as well as premium estates such as Fatmawati City Center and District 8 in the heart of Jakarta’s CBD. The joint venture group settled on the Downtown site in November 2019.

“We want to humanise tall buildings.” – Archtiect, Koichi Takada

The striking 43-storey tower, designed by world-renowned architect Koichi Takada, is destined to redefine the Downtown skyline and will embody Crown Group’s philosophy of melding inspired architecture with a futuristic vision of a new way of living, to become an iconic landmark for the city. The project at 1111 Hill Street is expected to be completed in 2024. 

“It is our desire, through a nature-inspired approach to architecture, to transform an old warehouse district into a living breathing neighbourhood in LA,” Takada explained. “We want to humanise tall buildings, to celebrate the pedestrian activities and consider how people experience it,” he said. “We want our tall building designs to be more engaging for the public, and to contribute to the community by activating and creating a connection with the neighbourhood.”

The high-rise sections of the building will comprise 319 condominiums with an exclusive residents’ retreat over the top two floors and a façade design that references California’s gigantic ancient redwood trees. A dramatic street canopy will ground the tower and incorporate a “breathing green wall”, designed to improve the city’s air quality and introduce a unique landscaping feature to the Downtown streetscape.

Crown Group’s LA office is also in discussions with several luxury hotel brands to incorporate a 160-key hotel in the low rise of the building, which is set to become one of the city’s’ most desirable getaways.

Crown Group CEO Iwan Sunito said the flourishing Downtown district of LA had experienced a significant transformation over the past decade. This is evidenced by LA Live’s expansion, Warner Music and Spotify establishing offices, headline retailers such as Apple, Vans and Paul Smith launching flagship stores, a bevy of iconic restaurants opening venues and numerous residential, hotel and commercial developments underway.

“It’s rare to find the central district of a large cosmopolitan city on the verge of such significant change,” he explained. “Downtown is experiencing a once in a generation revival – led by the heightened convergence of tech, media and entertainment in Los Angeles. There’s a great deal of investment and it’s exciting to think of what Downtown will be like in another few years’ time. It will be a highly sought-after place to live.”

Crown Group Head of US Development Patrick Caruso said the development would offer an appealing point of difference for buyers in Downtown LA and bring a new version of condominium living to the district.

“It’s a fast-evolving part of the city yet there is limited choice when it comes to well-designed homes,” Caruso added. “We anticipate that this new mixed-used development, which will offer attainable luxury living with never before seen facilities including an exclusive rooftop residents’ retreat, collocated with a quality branded hotel will be very well received by those looking for a new condominium.

“It’s clear that buyers are seeking more diverse offerings, so our fresh and unique Australian approach of functional resort style-living melded with sophisticated architectural design will fill a significant gap in the market.”

Established in Sydney in 1996, Crown Group has built its reputation on delivering iconic luxury developments and today has a $5 billion pipeline spanning five cities and two continents. 

Crown Group and Koichi Takada Architects are the creative pairing behind a series of major residential apartment projects in Australia including a stunning condominium and hotel tower called Arc by Crown Group in Clarence Street Sydney, which has won numerous international awards.

In 2019 they completed the sell-out Infinity by Crown Group, with its famous looped shape, at Green Square, just 4km from Sydney centre. Koichi Takada has also gained worldwide recognition for designing the stunning interiors of the National Museum of Qatar in the Middle East, which were unveiled in 2019.

Main image credit: Crown Group/Koichi Takada Architects

Duravit presents world exclusive “c-shaped” technology

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Duravit presents world exclusive “c-shaped” technology

Bathroom manufacturer Duravit has unveiled its new patent-pending c- shaped technology…

The brand-new c-shaped technology from Duravit has been created as an extension of the Happy D.2 Plus series by sieger design.

This evolution of the patented c-bonded process guarantees that the ceramic washbasin and furniture run in perfectly parallel lines with no overhang or recess and a precise gap of 4mm. Made entirely of DuraCeram and specially finished, c-shaped has all the benefits of a ceramic glaze, it’s robust and easy to, whilst at the same time offering new scope for bathroom design within the wet environment.

Happy D.2 Plus is available in two new versions and is a continuation of the elegant, expressive style of the collection which offers a lighter or darker mood.

c-shaped is available with a ceramic, glossy white outer edge in combination with a vanity unit or metal console in chrome. c-bonded now comes with a new, rounded outer edge in the same colour as the vanity unit or to match the metal console in Black Matt. In each case they are based on basins with a narrow, typically flat edge and harmoniously integrated tap platform. The basins are available in three widths (575, 775 and 975mm). A white acrylic cover conceals the fittings beneath the basin, guaranteeing perfect aesthetics from any angle.

Image caption: Happy D.2 Plus bathtub in Graphite Super Matt (80), c-bonded vanity unit and metal console in Black Matt, furniture unit in Brushed Walnut (69), mirror in Radial finish and C.1 faucets | Image credit: Duravit

The floor-standing, height-adjustable metal consoles with integrated towel rail can be delivered with an optional shelf or built-in drawer.

A further option is a seat (width 625 mm) featuring an integrated drawer that can be added as a practical extension of the console on the left or right. Duravit also offers a cushion in matching greige made from a woven fabric suitable for wet rooms.

Wall-mounted vanity units with two drawers provide additional storage space. These are available in a total of eleven carcass surfaces, one can choose between luxury wood or matt surfaces in light or dark. The Graphite Super Matt variant also comes with an anti- fingerprint coating. A high-class interior furnishing system in Maple or Walnut can be selected as an option.

The new washing area variants can be ideally combined with all elements from the Happy D.2 and Happy D.2 Plus design series, ensuring a consistent design for the all bathroom furnishings. Happy D.2 Plus offers a consistent colour concept with toilets and bidets in Anthracite as well as bathtubs with seamless panelling in Graphite Supermatt – harmonising perfectly with the black metal console and dark furniture surfaces.

Earlier this year Duravit was due to unveil the stunning new additions to its Happy D.2 Plus series. As trade shows and exhibitions have been postponed, Duravit is presenting a preview of the products that will now available in the UK from July this year.

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

Main image credit: Duravit

7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 innovative bathroom products in hotel design right now

While designers and architects work from home, sourcing online inspiration as showrooms are temporary shut, Utopia Projects has identified a handful of innovative bathroom products that have recently launched… 

While many of this year’s international trade shows are being forced to cancel, and designers and architects are finding new sources for product news, here are seven products that bathroom specification experts at Utopia Projects believe are creating new wellness waves in the industry.

1) Vado’s Booth & Co range

Image credit: Vado/Booth & Co

The Booth & Co brand has introduced a longer warranty, which is appealing for designers who want to future-proof their client’s bathrooms. From a commercial aspect, the brand is a good choice if the designer’s brief is to achieve a traditional look and feel. 

2) Wetroom Materials’ Unidrain Glassline

Unidrain Glassline is a unique system which integrates the wet room drain, slope and glass for a 100 per cent watertight solution. It allows you to create a wet room with a one-way slope/fall towards a drain against the wall and has a large range of drain finishes available. With a one way fall you don’t need to cut tiles towards the drain making it perfect for large tiles or stone and you don’t stand on the drain whilst showering

3) Impey Showers’ Aqua-Dec

Image credit: Impey Showers

The Aqua-Dec EasyFit Wetroom Floor Former is an extremely strong 22mm thick GRP floorboard replacement with four pre-formed drainage gradients to provide a level access wetroom floor suitable for tiling. The EasyFit drain plate can rotate 360 degrees and avoid all underfloor wet room obstructions. The eccentric drain also features three locating rings, to provide superior hold between the Dec and the rotating drain plate.

4) Laufen – The New Classic

Image credit: Laufen

A collection of perfectly shaped innovations for the bathroom, The New Classic radiates the practicality of the harmonious form and combines it with contemporary style. The collection, designed by Marcel Wanders, is a clear formal expression of modern elegance comes into being which celebrates the bathroom as a place of cleanliness and purity. The award-winning technological quantum leap of Saphir-Keramik turns every piece into a witness of progress, new level, and has been rewarded with the most prestigious design awards.

5) Vado’s SENORI

The Sensori collection introduces pioneering technology to “reinvent the bathroom experience.” Sensori’s purity of design is accentuated by discreet, ambient lighting in a spectrum of colours to denote the perfect temperature.

6) Laufen’s Cleanet Riva shower toilet

Image credit: Laufen

The Cleanet Riva shower toilet features an integrated, high-quality ceramic design and technically sophisticated, user-friendly solutions. The key feature of the premium toilet is its wide range of intuitive shower functions. The Cleanet Riva uses a clever operating concept on two levels: In everyday use, the shower toilet is operated by pushing or twisting the stainless steel rotary button at the side. The user can also select the basic or detailed settings using the touch screen remote control. The Cleanet Riva is the only shower toilet to feature a multi-stage hygiene concept in which the whole water circulation system is also thermally cleaned at regular intervals.

7) Dornbracht’s Vaia collection

Image credit: Dornbracht

VAIA spans a bridge between traditional and modern style elements. Its basic design exudes the spirit of a classical fitting, yet the slender lines of the open silhouette anchor the series firmly in the present. VAIA is notable for its elegant yet simultaneously progressive design. With its well-balanced iconography, it is always open to new concepts.

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

Main image credit: Vado

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

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VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE: COVID–19’s impact on hospitality and hotel design

To understand the long-term impact COVID–19 will have on the hospitality and hotel design industry, editor Hamish Kilburn asked a handful of leading designers, architects and hoteliers to remotely partake in Hotel Designs’ debut virtual roundtable…

Meet the panel

There is no doubt about it, the industry is suffering as the COVID–19 pandemic forces businesses around the world to either close entirely or adopt working remotely into studio life. With many questions emerging around the current crisis, Hotel Designs puts the pandemic under the harsh editorial spotlight in its debut virtual roundtable. Editor Hamish Kilburn confronts some of the industry’s leaders in order to gain some perspective over how hospitality and hotel design will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term.

Hamish Kilburn: How has the pandemic affected working life?

Fiona Thompson: Design is all about collaboration, and we are learning a whole new way of doing that. We typically work in an open studio, for example, and we experience the projects as they are being designed. In the physical sense, our team is not able to do to that at the moment. We moved out of London a few days before the ‘lockdown’ was introduced, and we are all currently very well connected. I can’t say it’s the same, but it is working and we are adapting.

Michael Bonsor: To put it bluntly , this [COVID–19] has decimated the industry. The concept of hospitality, which is third largest employer in the UK, has stopped. We are now questioning how long this will last for. The government stepped in with the incredible furlough package, which has protected so many jobs.

Conor O’Leary: Hospitality is what we do – we look after people. Guests from all over the world stay with us, eat with us and enjoy the plethora of outdoors activities that we offer. Well, we are not doing any of that at the moment. None of our team want to be sitting at home on any furlough arrangements. We totally understand the frustration, but we are where we are.

Geoff Hull: From an architect’s perspective, while on-site activity has been put on hold, there is a lot of design work, and collaboration work with specialists, that is ongoing. We are hoping that we can come out of this, in three months, with some dynamically designed projects planned so that we are ahead when we are allowed back on site.

James Dilley: As a designer, the backdrop of wallpapers and artwork in colleagues and clients kitchens, bedrooms and lofts is sometimes inspiring and sometimes sobering. On a serious level, I personally miss the face-to-face and often serendipitous interaction of a physical studio. 

“This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: How has working-from-home changed your mindset on communication? 

GH: I think we are communicating better at the moment, and how people have come together is awe-inspiring. We work with a lot of non-UK designers at EPR Architects who would usually insist on flying over on a first-class ticket to see us. However, with these meetings being able to happen virtually instead, there is a question on the need of so much travel. I genuinely am looking at this positively.

JD: I have recently been pre-occupied with the way that people “home” themselves has been rapidly evolving, and layering this revolution in how we work, particularly from home, will make this even more exciting. If life is evolution peppered with revolution, this is the latter.

MB: Prior to this happening we were over communicating with the team, to ensure that everyone had all the information they needed. With those employees that have been put on furlough packages, we may not be engaging with them to work, but we are engaging with them to keep everyone updated. We have a core team of 30 people in the hotel who are making the property safe and they are doing fun things in the hotel to keep everyone engaged and informed.

HK: When do you expect your hotels to re-open?

MB: The global market has to be stable for a hotel like Rosewood London to re-open. We can’t just rely on the local market because there is not enough demand to go around. For me, I would rather the government measures were prolonged a little while longer so that it gives time for the world to reset.

CO: Not only does the world need to reset, but we also have to understand how happy people are to travel.

MB: We might open a part of the hotel, like the the bar and restaurant, in June or July. Things are getting pushed back as the social season is cancelling in the UK. Meanwhile, Austria has just announced that they will begin to slowly reopen some businesses, which could be an indication of things to come, but hotels and restaurants are at the end of that cycle.

CO: We don’t see a hotel bedroom being open until July. It’s slightly different for us here. We don’t see there being much point in having the restaurants and bars open without having guests in – we don’t have that passing traffic and footfall. We may get some of our activities open for our members, but it’s not a game-changer for us. We will know more after Easter, but the second question to that is what that looks like when we open. It’s going to be focused on local custom which will be a lower volume level. Suddenly our entire business model changes.

HK: Generally speaking, hotels are targeting an international audiences. Will this change post-pandemic? 

CO: Our business model is built on a summer of international guests, and that may be different going forward. We are privileged in our geographical location – Gleneagles is built on an 850-acre estate. For now, all our strategies are short-term and everything is changing all the time. We are staying in touch with the team. We have always been conscious about where we sit in the community, and that’s great in the good times, but also more important in the times like these to ensure we stay in touch and support.

MB: 40 per cent of our market comes from America. This pandemic will reset how we think about travel and will require us to confront problems such as mass tourism and over tourism in many destinations around the world. That may be a small silver lining in this global crisis. We are re-forecasting and re-strategising every four hours right now, because who knows how this is going to go?

“I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: How will hotels catering to ‘bleisure’ travellers be impacted from the pandemic?

JD: The ‘business hotels’ will come out looking very different. I have spent many years just hopping on a plane to a destination to see a client or a site. Over three months, working from home will start to feel normal. I cannot see how the business take-up of those rooms will not drop significantly, because it will be luxury and almost indulgent to have this face-to-face time when we have learned to cope without it. That is the biggest impact.

In terms of leisure, when this passes I predict there will a spike because people will be anxious about being coped up and will want to compensate. After that, people will settle down and I predict that people will question whether they need to travel as much as they were. I think there will be a spike in leisure hospitality experiences closer to home.

HK: What about the way in which we design public areas, will this change?

FT: Perhaps in the short-term. Of course people will be conscious of hygiene and numbers of people in meetings may end up being limited. It’s very difficult to tell how quickly it will reset, and whether or not it will go back to normal. I certainly don’t have the answer right now. In business travel, we are utilising the internet and technology at the moment, so there will arguably be less need to travel as much at the end of this.

“Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: Has COVID–19 taken sustainability off the radar?

CO: One of the core aspects for me with sustainability is to think local. I think there will be huge shift in supporting and buying local, which is one of the pillars of sustainability. There has to be an element of trust, and I predict that consumers will want to know more about where things have come from.

MB: I would say that any good operator will continue with more gusto now in eliminating single-use plastics, reducing energy consumption and looking local for products and services. Respecting the world around us has never been so important.

FT: I would hope the focus hasn’t shifted. Sustainability is such an important topic and it should be engrained into mindsets enough now that there is no reason for it to be shelved, especially when it comes to designing projects. It almost calls for it to be more apparent.

Image caption: The Old War Office in Whitechapel. Executive Architect for this high-profile Restoration and Conversion mixed use project was EPR Architects

HK: What’s social media’s role in all of this? 

CO: Gleneagles is being cautious when it comes to social media. We are trying to be positive without being glib. We are very aware that the wider Gleneagles family is suffering. Our messaging has shifted to be more focused around the community with zero selling and zero brand promotion. Our team is working with local councils in order to help amplify their messages.

MB: At one point, we wanted to create content around what you could do at home , such as cooking recipes and fitness workouts etc. However, as the story has evolved, we have decided to pause messaging and just wait. What we are doing has more of a charity angle. We have just teamed up with James & Cranwell for its Hospitality 4 Heroes campaign to raise money for the NHS during the crisis. You have to be so careful with tone right now in everything you do. It’s wise to be slightly quieter than normal. But we are looking at markets that are coming back. Five or six properties in Asia, for example, are re-opening, and we are looking at how we can engage with those markets, but it is a slow process – and while some areas around the world are recovering, others are being hit hard.

“It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were.” – Michael Bonsor, Managing Director, Rosewood London.

HK: Will any sector come out looking stronger at the end of the COVID–19 crisis?

MB: We were speaking before the closure with a company that fogs large areas of public spaces. The fogging treatment protects the area for up to 30 days. This product lands on surfaces and protects them. I think we will utilise the same technology going forward. Also, from a positive point of view, there will be more emphasis on re-training staff regarding sanitisation and anti-viral measures and the courses they can complete.

To put it another way, we are back at the ‘opening stage’ again. We opened the hotel eight years ago and we are at that moment again. It’s a good time to look at everything and to not just set things back to how they were. We have been talking in great deal about this. Those cities that will come out of this stronger will be the ones that have sharp responses to this problem.

“To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

Image caption: A suite inside Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel, designed by Richmond International

HK: Will this pandemic create a desire for more minimalist design?

FT: It will certainly be a design driver. After all, space is luxury. To have lots of unnecessary elements in a room design has had its day! Clients and guests will have expectations when it comes to easy-to-clean surfaces. It will be interesting to see how long concerns last when this is all over, because people’s behaviour does tend to revert back to how they used to use spaces.

“This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

Image caption: Concept render of W Edinburgh, designed by Jestico + Whiles

HK: How will the industry rebuild itself from this?

CO: We’ve had evolutions and revolutions in the past. People want to leave their houses and there will be spike in demand for hospitality products when we are able. Well-managed businesses will survive. The risk is in the mid-sectors. Equally, innovation comes through during hardships.

JD: We were in a position before all of this when hospitality was changing; the industry was not the hotel with the capital ‘H’ everywhere. Yes we have the grandeur five-star hotels, and they had their plan, but hospitality was and is generally becoming more universal and accessible.

There was a phenomenon that was happening that was very exciting: hotels were becoming continuous with other uses, such as a cinema or a radio station as well as other things. They were becoming more open and permeable.

As well as entertainment, we have seen hotels opening co-working spaces. They were becoming conjoined with this long line of what you might call ways of living. The merging of those ways of living was becoming blurred. The fluid boundaries were becoming exciting. I think this revolution is going to be layered on top of that where the hotel has to morph to become much more extended and fluid. This is going to further loosen the modern definition of hotels and hospitality.

If you would like to respond to some of the areas we have discussed in this virtual roundtable, please do so by tweeting @HotelDesigns.

The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

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The hospitality social media campaign sweeping the nation

James & Cranwell, a luxury hospitality headhunters company, has presented the ‘Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge’ in aid of NHS workers during the COVID–19 pandemic…

The Hospitality 4 Heroes Challenge is a simple social media champaign that has emerged during the COVID–19 pandemic with the aim to raise funds for the NHS front line workers.

Set up by Warren James and Matthew Cranwell, the campaign asks the nation to upload a short video on social media doing something related to hospitality. Viewers will then be able to click a link which will direct them to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to support the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.

“This is our way of giving back to the incredible superheroes at the NHS,” explained Warren James in the video that launched the initiative.

How to join the campaign:

  1. Upload a short video to introduce yourself, followed by a ‘how to’ video of your chosen hospitality-related challenge
  2. Share on your social media accounts, including the GoFundMe link and the hashtag #hospitality4heroes
  3. Tag three people in the post who then have 24 hours to complete their own challenge

The target is to raise £10,000 through the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge. “Whilst everyone’s priority is staying home and staying safe, we know that everyone is looking for ways to help,” the duo explain on the GoFundMe page. “We believe the Hospitality for Heroes Challenge is a powerful way to do that, whilst having some fun in the safety of your own home.”

The duo nominated Michael Bonsor (Managing Director of Rosewood London), Tom Booton (Head Chef of The Grill at The Dorchester) and Thomas Kochs (Managing Director of Corinthia London). Other individuals who have completed their challenges include Vincenzo Arnese (Head Sommelier at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and Martin Siska (Director of Scarfes Bar). The campaign is attracting the wide-spread attention of the industry as social media continues to play a crucial role during the COVID–19 pandemic.

The NHS Charities Together represents 140 member NHS charities throughout the UK, and funds from its COVID–19 appeal will help support the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and volunteers supporting COVID–19 patients in ways above and beyond that which NHS funding can ordinarily provide, including wellbeing packs and costs associated with travel, parking, accommodation and volunteer expenses.

Main image credit: Hospitality 4 Heroes

1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
1 million room nights donated across America during COVID-19 Pandemic

Hilton and American Express will donate one million hotel room rights across the USA to frontline medical professionals leading the fight against COVID-19 pandemic…

Beginning next week, Hilton and American Express will make rooms available without charge to doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to sleep, recharge or isolate from their families through the end of May.

Hilton is initially working with 10 associations who collectively represent more than one million healthcare workers to provide access to the program, designed to support individuals who would otherwise have to spend their own money on accommodations.

“During this crisis, we have seen so many examples of medical professionals working in the most challenging circumstances, sacrificing their own needs for the greater good. They truly are heroes,” said Hilton President and CEO, Christopher J. Nassetta. “We are honored to extend our Hilton hospitality to them during this difficult time.”

American Express, Hilton’s long-standing strategic partner, is investing alongside Hilton in the donation of the hotel rooms, which will be provided at or below cost by Hilton’s network of independent owners and franchisees.

“Our medical workers who are courageously and selflessly serving on the frontlines in the coronavirus crisis represent the best of who we are,” said American Express Chairman and CEO, Stephen J. Squeri. “We’re honoured to support this initiative with our longtime partner, Hilton, to provide the heroes in our communities a place to rest, recharge and help keep their loved ones safe during this time.”

William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the room donation will be welcome relief for the thousands of medical staff enduring long hours under challenging circumstances.

“Knowing that there is a safe, clean and comfortable hotel room waiting for you at the end of a long shift can make all the difference in the world right now,” Dr. Jaquis said. “The kind of compassion and caring that Hilton and American Express are offering has never been more welcome.”

Rooms will be available across a variety of Hilton brands, including Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton and others. Hotels will be staffed by Team Members who have received additional training on relevant health and safety measures to safeguard their own and their guests’ well-being. Hotel rooms and common areas will continue to be sanitised using industrial grade cleaners and updated cleaning protocols. In some high-demand locations, room availability may be limited at times. Nassetta credited owners from Hilton’s portfolio for joining the effort. “Across the United States, owners of Hilton hotels of every brand are eager to support their communities and be part of the solution. They have been instrumental in making this response possible.”

Main image credit: Hilton/American Express

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

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Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 4)

Marking the conclusion of Hotel Designs’ series to discover hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style, editor Hamish Kilburn metaphorically explores some of the world’s most detached destinations…

For four weeks now, I have researched some of the world’s most secluded hotels that are self-isolating in style. Part four in the series has taken me to the furthest-reaching regions where social distancing comes naturally.

Following on from parts one, two  and three in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation to explore a handful of hidden, untouched luxury gems.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, New Zealand

View overlooking lake and mountains

Image credit: Eichardt’s Private Hotel

Eichardt’s Private Hotel, a Queenstown icon, provides fine accommodation in five luxurious suites in an historic building situated on a premium lakefront position.

The hotel under the historic building reflects contemporary, provincial elegance — its modern features in perfect harmony with distinctive antiques and luxurious furnishings. The opulent suites invite guests to soak up a sense of quiet before exploring one of the world’s truly remarkable locations. The confident strokes and flawless symmetry, which are the hallmarks of New Zealand designer Virginia Fisher, are married seamlessly with every amenity you would expect in a world-class hotel.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Image credit: Saffire Freycinet

Saffire Freycinet provides an authentic and immersive connection to the magnificent Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. Distinct in its design, exclusive in its features and set apart by its approach to individually tailored experiences and service, Saffire features 20 private suites, a luxury day spa, an unforgettable culinary offering and so much more.

Amanemu, Japan

Image credit: Amanemu

On the shores of Ago Bay, Amanemu’s rustic ryokan-inspired retreat is where Japan’s ancient hospitality ritual finds its contemporary expression. Mineral-rich waters from a natural hot spring enable guests to embrace the tradition of onsen bathing – while nourishment in culinary form reflects a region famed for rare delicacies. Surrounded by Unesco pilgrim trails, sacred forests and the diving culture of the pearl-rich Pacific, here, rejuvenative stays and wellness experiences are imbued with a deeper cultural sensibility.

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

Image credit: An Lam Retreats

An Lam Retreats Ninh Van Bay is the perfect destination for personal comfort, relaxation and rejuvenation from the bustling life, ideally for those seeking a genuine retreat. The resort is ideal to connect with nature with contemporary chic architecture meeting natural elegance in interior designs, blended with a Vietnamese touch of each villa makes your own private hideaway.

Zannier Hotels Sonop

Image credit: Zannier Hotels

Built entirely on stilts connected through sturdy elevated wooden decks, Zannier Hotels Sonop’s tents are covered by an elegant canvas, designed to harmonise perfectly with the surrounding environment. Shaped in an oval formation facing out towards the spectacular landscape, the tents offer comfort to cater for today’s discerning travellers whilst also avoiding soil erosion and ensuring the preservation of the insects, fauna and flora that make up the Namibian desert dune ecosystem.

White Pearl, Mozambique

Nestled in a sheltered bay on Mozambique’s Lagoon Coast, poised amongst the dunes on timber stilts, our 22 luxurious suites have been sensitively designed to take advantage of their beautiful natural setting, while protecting the fragile eco-systems beneath them. Cool, clean lines, contemporary furniture and a palette inspired by the surrounding coastal landscape, make for a getaway out of this world.

Main image credit: Zannier Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Pixabay

Bill Bensley has designed a ‘human zoo hotel’ concept

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Bensley

PRODUCT WATCH: LUCCA – Etiva & Panaro by Sekers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: LUCCA – Etiva & Panaro by Sekers

Sekers’ LUCCA is a versatile collection of two textured semi –plains; Panaro, a luxurious chenille with a soft worn look and matte appearance and Etiva, a mid-scale basket structure with a subtly lustrous finish…

LUCCA collection from Sekers is available in an extensive palette of 40 colours, ranging from sophisticated neutrals to sumptuous jewel tones.

Incorporating FibreGuard, an advanced finish that helps protect the fabric against spills and stains without having to resort to specialist cleaning, Lucca resists the toughest of stains, including red wine and ballpoint pen.

Supplied with a crib 5 flame retardant backing and with a Martindale abrasion performance of 50,000 and 100,000 rubs respectively, Lucca meets all relevant UK, American and IMO standards for upholstery. Lucca is a handsome addition to any interior and is the ideal choice for the marine, hospitality and leisure markets.

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

Main image credit: Sekers

Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

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Inside JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

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

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

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

Render of outside terrace

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

Render of modern, light guestroom

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Unconventional public areas

To mark the change of focus of Hotel Designs’ editorial lens, editor Hamish Kilburn goes on a journey to discover some of the world’s most unconventional hotel lobbies and public spaces… 

From striking rooftop bars above bustling metropolises to home-from-home hot-desk sanctuaries, the design of hotel public areas have evolved to capture not only a property’s rare personality but also a brand’s ethos and character.

While luxury hotel etiquette and demand has changed, one thing has remained firm for the operators and designers alike: you only have one opportunity to make a lasting first impression, which is arguably most true when it comes to designing the hotel lobby and public spaces. It’s a fine balancing skill to master. Designing a space suitable and accessible for everyone, but creating skilfully and meaningfully designing public spaces that add drama in all the right areas without coming across too strong can take a well-designed hotel into the realms of extraordinary masterpieces.

To kickstart Hotel Designs firmly positioning Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, here are nine uniquely designed lobbies and public spaces that each aptly amplify a hotel’s purpose and charm.

The Ritz Carlton – Astana

Image credit: Ritz Carlton

With a unique yet graceful design, The Ritz-Carlton – Astana is a natural extension of the square around the nearby Bayterek Tower, a monument and symbol of modern Astana. The property features an architectural lighting scheme designed by Nulty Lighting with carefully positioned luminaires in the soffit, which graze light across the fins for a dappled effect. In the restaurant, surface-mounted spotlights nestle within a bronze trough that cuts through an otherwise architecturally clean ceiling, complemented by a suspended rail with adjustable spotlights, which drops from the same detailing to provide a focus along the continuous marble counter, drawing the eye through the space.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York

Image credit: Public Hotel, New York

Featuring what our editorial team are unofficially concluding as the largest sofa in the world, PUBLIC, designed by legendary designer Ian Schrager, has all the necessary ingredients of a successful urban retreat. The New York-based hotel is known for being refined, sophisticated, smart, simple, yet flamboyant and provocative all at the same time. Its public areas, complete with high ceilings and modern comfortable furniture, attract locals and guests alike to work, socialise and simply chill out in a comfortable setting.

The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

The ground floor inside The Standard London was inspired by the groovy 70s, a decade full of character with Psychedelic Furs (the early years), Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and the debut of The Muppets and Star Wars capturing the movement.

The Standard London’s lobby/lounge features fabulous circular fixtures and quirky furniture that set the scene. The carefully curated library pays homage to the building’s original use. Look down and you’ll notice a sumptuous orange rug leading the way into the hotel, look up and the bright red ceiling offsets the striped wooden walls and the blue mural behind the reception – forcing you to take everything you thought you knew about maximalism and throwing it out the window. The muted lamps and pot plants only enhance the boldness of the lobby’s design.

AKELARRE Hotel

Image credit: AKELARRE Hotel.

Architecture studio Mecanismo was responsible for the construction and interior design of AKELARRE Hotel. The carefully and meaningfully designed public areas evoke a sense of calm with a clever use of curves. The design concept was to use elements that coexist in harmony with the surrounding environment, to connect the interiors with the striking views of landscape that surrounds.

The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong

Image credit: The Murray Hotel

The Murray Hotel was a preservation project undertaken by Foster + Partners, the brief being to design a 336-key luxury hotel within the shell of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks that was built in 1969.

The hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant both reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces feature high-end luxury furniture from Minotti, including Aston sofas and Lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables. A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.

Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

Image credit: Nobis Hotel Copenhagen

The patterned-geometric rug, cosy leather seating and contemporary white lighting reflects Scandi modern living. The home-from-home lobby inside Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, designed by Wingårdh Architects, shelters subtle deft touches, clean lines and playful colour while balancing the well-to-do elegance of the original building.

The Langham, Chicago

Image credit: Langham Hotels

The Langham Chicago, designed by Richmond International, is part of the former IBM tower, the final masterpiece of architect Mies Van Der Rohe and a well-loved feature of Chicago’s skyline, which the design team respected while creating a new, luxurious hotel inside its magnificent shell.

The designers opened up the reception with double-height spaces and introduced views of the city and the Chicago River. Materials such as bronze and travertine reference the original building, while decorative elements including onyx and velvet were inspired by the architect’s residences. The result is a warm, elegant hotel that honours its past.

nhow London

‘London Reloaded’ was the interior design concept for nhow London. The design studio Project Orange stretched that broad theme to its limits when imagining the look and feel of the the lobby inside the 190-key hotel. Although the arrival experience is impressive and memorable, we believe that the corridors, which often become ‘dead spaces’ are a true reflection of the studio’s ability to uniquely narrate a story with interiors. Inspired by a London stroll in the park, the corridors feature detailed HD carpets by Brintons and has been brought to life with humour. Each floor, facing the lifts, features a stencil of a bike chained to a fence. As guests move up each levels of the hotel, another part of the bike is removed, which is a playful nod to the reality of most, if not all, for cyclists in the city.

Proper Hotel San Francisco

Image credit: Proper Hotels

The flagship property of Proper Hotels is nestled in a landmarked flatiron-style building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district., and features captivating interiors by designer Kelly Wearstler. The designer’s luxury residential style is arguably most felt in the lobby, which has been created using a clash of patterns, colours and textures alongside European furniture pieces from a number of design movements in history.

Main image credit: AKELARRE Hotel

Getting a sense of Hotel Indigo’s new explorer initiative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Room to Breathe

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

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

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

Family on bed

Image credit: Room to Breathe

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

What can be done?

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

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

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

Image credit: Room to Breathe

A cleaner solution

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

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

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

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

Step One – deep clean

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

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

Fogger in room

Image credit: Room to Breathe

Step Two – Anti-microbial coating

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

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

Step three – Bedding and soft furnishings

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

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

Step Four – continuous air sanification. 

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

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

Certification

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

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

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

Cost 

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Room to Breathe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All image credits: Denniston/AMAALA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

render of luxury guestroom

Image credit: Aloft hotels/Marriott International

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International/Aloft Hotels

GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GROHE adjusts production across Europe amidst pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: GROHE

Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Annual Hotel Conference unveils 2020 programme

As the world continues to adapt in response to the current pandemic, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC), which is due to take place later this year, has shared a sneak peek of this year’s programme…

Over the last 18 years, The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC) has become one of the leading events for the UK hospitality industry.

In a statement, the show said: “The immediate future is uncertain, but we do know that the uncertainty won’t last forever and when it disperses there will be a new normal where originality, information, passion and adaptability will be king. The importance of face-to-face meetings, handshakes, clinking glasses, and embraces will resume, even within the context of a new normal.”

The programme, which is available to view on The AHC website, is full creativity but also addresses the areas fundamental to the industry’s recovery. The conference content has always been rooted in delivering practical knowledge that delegates can take back to their hospitality businesses and implement and the event organisers remain steadfastly true to that promise. “We have a relentless focus on researching, shaping and delivering content that is relevant and fresh from speakers who are well-informed, interesting and stimulating,” the statement added. 

In light of the current circumstances, The AHC is making adjustments to significantly reduce the cost of attending The AHC for hoteliers to ensure they are able to join together with the rest of the UK hospitality community to learn, network and be inspired. The AHC was created by hoteliers for hoteliers and it is vital you are able to be part of the experience. 

The event is due to take place on September 21 & 22 at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. For more information and to register, please visit www.theahc.co.uk.

Main image credit: The AHC

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Heritance Aarah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Heritance Aarah

Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Outstanding Property Awards’ 2020 winners announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Render of glass skyscraper

Image creditL Brookfield Properties/
One Manhattan West

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: The Shed/Rockwell Group

Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Sottini debuts new 2020 bathroom range

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Sottini/Ideal Standard

Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotels that are self-isolating in style (part 3)

The editorial series continues with part three, as editor Hamish Kilburn mentally checks in to some of the best hotels that are self-isolating in style…

The weeks are starting to feel like years. As the number of cases of COVID–19 increases day-by-day, so too do our social restrictions. From our new-found goldfish bowl perspective on the world, travel is beginning to feel like a distant memory.

Following on from parts one and two in this series, Hotel Designs continues to start the week during lockdown with some Monday motivation, – a non-permanent day-dream, if you like – to explore some of the world’s hidden luxury gems. Here are a handful of hotels that are naturally self-isolating in style.

Dharana at Shillim, in the Western Ghats of India

Lounge overlooking greenery

Image caption: Spa Pool Villa’s Living Room | Image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Spread over 3,000 acres of its own fertile valley, Dharana at Shillim used a completely local work force to respectfully build 23 rooms and three Presidential Villas within the forest. Each room celebrates the nature they’re in while also paying homage to Indian local design. The roofs are made out of tin, as a reflection of the village homes surrounding Shillim, and also to heighten the sound of the rain during monsoon season, reminding guests that nature rules here.

Treehotel, Sweden

Glass-mirrored structure hanging from trees

Image credit: Treehotel Sweden

The mirrorcube structure was launched as an “exciting hide-out among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings.” Its base consists of an aluminium frame around the tree trunk and the walls are covered with reflective glass. The interior is designed from plywood with a birch surface. The total of six windows provide a stunning panoramic view. A 12-meter-long bridge leads up to the tree room.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Luxury suite with sensitive interiors

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls

Nestled within a 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) wild game reserve, Matetsi Victoria Falls is arguably the most self-isolated hotel in the world. The hotel has been constructed to blend into its natural surroundings. The interiors, designed by local designer Kerry van Leenhoff, have been sensitively created to evoke sense-of-place at every turn.

Artist Helen Teede spent much time on site at Matetsi in order to find the inspiration of a unique collection of 18 paintings entitled ‘Mapping Matetsi’. Having done extensive walks and drives in the area, Teede divided the cartographic map of Matetsi unit seven into 18 parts and drew it to scale on each canvas, adding her own impressions of the river, the landscape and the pathways walked in the area, both man and animal-made. These 18 paintings hang separately in each suite. However, put together and these pieces of art actually form the aerial map of the reserve.

Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Luxury pool inside the hotel

Image credit: Severin*s – The Alpine Retreat

Severin*s is an uber-luxe hotel in Lech, situated in the Arlberg region which is part of Austria’s largest inter-connected ski areas. It set a new design standard in an otherwise predominantly traditional hotel landscape – Severin*s oozes James Bond glamour with pine interiors, fires in the rooms and fur throws.

The luxury hotel shelters just nine exclusive super-suites, each with private terraces and mountain views, a private four-bed Residence and an indoor luxury spa. 

Heritance Aarah, Maldives

Luxury pool on stilts in the middle of ocean

Image credit: Aitken Spence Hotels

The design of Heritance Aarah compliments the group Aitken Spence Hotels’ policy of sustainability by implementing components such as fuel saving generators, energy saving LED lighting, water saving fixtures and energy efficient air conditioning. The premium all-inclusive resort boasts 150 villas, six restaurants, five bars, a PADI dive centre and the first of its kind IASO Medi Spa.

Main image credit: Dharana at Shillim

Marriott debuts multi-purpose-built property in South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

PRODUCT WATCH: Atlas Concorde’s debut decor collection by Piero Lissoni

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Atlas Concorde’s debut decor collection by Piero Lissoni

The global specialist in premium porcelain tiles and wall tiles, Atlas Concorde, has unveiled the new Reverse Canon collection with Piero Lissoni

Atlas Concorde presents the new Reverse Canon collection. The collection is signed by Piero Lissoni, architect and designer known for his unmistakable style and the elegance of his creations.

Canone Inverso reflects a combination of fluidity, materiality and interprets the vision that Atlas Concorde had given Piero Lissoni: create decorative elements for wall and floor tiles.

The designer explains: “The four compositions of the Canone Inverso collection are the variants of a model, a scheme that is composed and recomposed to create a harmonious relationship that like in a musical score is formed by the assembly of different notes, or rather the forms that make it up”.

Image credit: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

The company adds: “we gave the designer our range to be freely mixed and matched, to create a ‘decor collection’ to be presented individually or to be used in combination with our different collections and surfaces.”

The project is divided into four porcelain tile mosaics inspired by the world of cement and minimalist stones, in shades ranging from warm white to beige with traces of clay and dove grey, from greys in cooler and lighter tones to the darker anthracite and smoke.

Each module of Canone Inverso’s four mosaics has its own particular geometry, in some cases deliberately asymmetrical to create new patterns. Each module also constitutes a colour in the collection, obtained by mixing hues of similar shades selected from the Atlas Concorde range of minimalist cement-effect and stone-effect designs: Boost and Dwell (cement effect), Raw (cement plaster effect), Arkshade (minimalist cement effect), Kone (minimalist limestone effect).

The graphics of the individual tiles recall the cement and stone concept and refer to the collections they derive from, in perfect colour and stylistic harmony. Aesthetically, the surfaces have an almost smooth touch or a slight three-dimensional structure with a perfectly matte texture.

Image credit: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

An important added value of Canone Inverso is the possibility of creating refined combinations of each mosaic with Atlas Concorde collections.  In particular:

Canone Inverso 1 matches the colors that compose it: Kone White, Arkshade White, Boost White and Dwell Off White.

Canone Inverso 2 goes well with the nuances of Arkshade Dove, Kone Beige, and Arkshade Clay.

Canone Inverso 3 combines with Kone Pearl, Kone Silver, and Raw Pearl.

Canone Inverso 4 reflects the color moods of Dwell Smoke, Boost Smoke, and Arkshade Lead, obviously in any format and in the matte version.

Canone Inverso finds its natural application wherever there is not only the need to decorate floors and walls, but above all, a desire to redesign spaces with decorative elements that act as furnishing elements.  A new tool to interpret ceramic tiles in a creative and personalized way, in line with the latest demands of high-end interior design.

Atlas Concorde 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: Ceramiche Atlas Concorde S.p.A.

VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
VIP Arrivals: hotels opening in April 2020

Despite COVID-19 putting the brakes on hotel development activity, Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn wants to still celebrate the hotels that were originally planned to open in April so that we have something to look forward once the crisis is over…

It was all going so well. Only last month I wrote that 2020 was shaping up to be a year of expansion for many hotel brands.

A few weeks after publishing that article, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic following the COVID–19 outbreak. Now with businesses and homes in lockdown – something that everybody is having to comes to terms with – hotels that were originally planned to open in April have hit a temporary red light, but we still want to shine the spotlight on a handful of them away.

Villa Copenhagen

CGI rendering of a light and open classy brasserie

Image caption: CGI rendering of The Brasserie inside Villa Copenhagen

Sheltered inside what was the century-old Central Post and Telegraph Head Office, the 390-key Villa Copenhagen was originally planned to open in April. Traditional Danish and international F&B areas have been designed by London-based studio Goddard Littlefair with the aim to promote wellbeing and sociability. It was described in an interview with Jo Littlefair as “the destination’s answer to The Ned, London”. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the hotel will offer a conscious approach to luxury with a focus on all things eco-friendly.

W Ibiza

Render of green and blue exterior of the hotel

Image credit: W Ibiza

The brainchild of BARANOWITZ + KRONENBERGW Ibiza was slated to open in April. Located off the beaten track, the 167-key hotel strikes a pose on the palm-fringed beachfront of Santa Eulalia. As the only global brand on the island, the design brief was to fuse together the parallel realities of Ibiza with a magnetic pull that turns up the sass.

The design scheme has opened up the public spaces to become a flexible social hub, the hotel becomes a place that nurtures human connections, and through the use of subtle levels creates touchable distance between each functional area. “The idea is that the energy descends into the unconventional pool area,” Alon Baranowitz told Hotel Designs in an exclusive interview. “As you move up levels, the lobby/lounge area becomes more reclined, but the open architecture scheme allows for a clever connection between all spaces.”

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Render of luxe villa on the water

Image credit: Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Sources have told Hotel Designs that there are no new guests arriving in any of the hotels in the Maldives at the moment, and that hotel staff are being told to self-isolate for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, Soneva Fushi is preparing to launch new overwater villas, which were expected to be up and running in April. The one- and two-bedroom villas of the refreshed Soneva Fushi will feature private pools, sunken seating areas, catamaran nets strung over water, and retractable roofs.

Six Senses Shaharut

Villa over looking desert

Image credit: Six Senses

Following a significant year of growth for the hotel brand that aggressively extended its luxury portfolio with a number of openings around the globe, Six Senses is preparing to open its first hotel in Israel.

Perched on the edge of a cliff in the south of the Negev Desert, the 58-suite hotel will pride itself of on eco-living, going as far to ban cars on the property as well as all outdoor lighting to further minimise light pollution.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Utah

Image credit: Aman/Amangiri

A five-minute drive across the desert from Amangiri, Camp Sarika’s collection of 10 elegant and spacious one- and two-bedroom pavilions was slated to open in April. Complementing the clean lines and natural material palette of Amangiri’s suites, the generously proportioned pavilions each have indoor living and dining areas, as well oversized terraces with fire pits and heated plunge pools.

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

Main image credit: Aman/Amangiri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Brintons

Naturalmat launches 500 thread count, organic percale bed linen

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Naturalmat launches 500 thread count, organic percale bed linen

Made by hand in Devon, Naturalmat’s new luxury 500 thread count, organic cotton percale bed linen is the answer to a good sleep, which is what we all need right about now… 

Naturalmat, the award-winning brand in organic and ethically made mattresses and beds that has been supplying the industry for more than 20 years, has launched its keenly awaited luxurious, new wholly organic bed linen.

All Naturalmat’s new bed linen is a premium 500 thread count cotton percale which is delightfully soft, crisp and more luxurious than high street brands. This, combined with its organic credentials, offers a unique combination.

The organic bed linen collection has been a long time in the making. This is because Naturalmat distinguishes itself in its singular quest to deliver a luxurious, wholly organic, ethically made yet affordable offering… a bed linen collection that meets the most stringent organic credentials.

“From the outset at Naturalmat we have made it our purpose to deliver a luxury yet ethical and organic alternative offering,” said the company’s CEO, Mark Tremlett. “This is more important than ever now as we have become increasingly aware of concerns over environmental impact and the importance of sustainability. I am excited that Naturalmat can finally deliver consumers a high quality yet affordable bed linen which meets the most stringent social, ecological and healthiest organic criteria.”

The new bed linen collection is GOTS-certified – GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a worldwide standard for organic fibres incorporating both ecological and social criteria. From the time the cotton seed is planted to growing it without pesticides or chemicals, through to harvesting and processing it is done in a way that doesn’t deteriorate the land and looks after the welfare of workers. Naturalmat sources the cotton from a mill in southern India – known to produce the best quality cotton for some of the most prestigious brands in the world.

The mill is fully certified organic and is unique in that it carries out the entire production process… here they spin, weave, wash, finish, cut and sew the cotton to create and realise the Naturalmat organic bed linen collection. This is reflective of and entirely in keeping with Naturalmat’s ethos – all its beds and mattresses are made completely from scratch at its Devon-based bedworks which generates its own Green electricity and only sources its wool from organic sheep farms within a 50 mile radius of the bedworks.

The buttons on Naturalmat’s organic duvet covers are made from nuts produced by Tagua Palms which grow naturally in equatorial rainforests and enables local people to make a living from the nuts produced by these trees. The Tagua tree has such an economic and sustainable status that it’s saving rainforests. The resulting button is as hard wearing as polyester but has as beautiful a finish as ivory.

Naturalmat’s fitted sheets are unique in that they have capacity to accommodate both a super thick mattress as well as a topper yet are elasticated the entire way around – not just the corners. This elasticated perimeter stretches or contracts under the mattress to provide a perfect smooth, wrinkle-free sheet atop… whether it’s to fit mattress only, or a super thick mattress combined with topper. With the increase in prevalence to combine topper with mattress, these sheets are versatile enough to suit both and ensure there’s no need to purchase new bed sheets due to the addition of a topper.

Naturalmat 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: Naturalmat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern award-winning bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Goddard Littlefair

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: VIP suite security in luxury hotel design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: SALTO Systems

Privacy and discretion

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

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

Physical security

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

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

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

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

Electronic security

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

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

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

Designing for VIP guests

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

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

Main image credit: Toren Consulting

Hotel Designs launches new initiative to help businesses through uncertain times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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