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Case study: a bespoke approach to lighting two hotels

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

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

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

The Curtain

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

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

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

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

Kimpton Fitzroy

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

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

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

Main image credit: Heathfield & Co

Discussing luxury furniture design with Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury interiors with Minotti furniture

Image credit: The Torii range of the 2020 Minotti Collection

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

Oki Sato: Traditional, lightness, and secureness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HK: How long did this process take?

OS: I believe this process took about nine months.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Minotti

IN RENDERS: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orange entrance to the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

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

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

Render of minimalist reception overlooking city of Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

A very minimalist guestroom

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

a modern suite overlooking Tokyo

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

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

A minimalist spa inside the hotel

Image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

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

Main image credit: Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi

Inside Selina Brighton, a new rough-edged boutique jewel

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Selina

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

Selina sign above the entrance

Image credit: Selina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Selina

5 minutes with: the founders of Avenue Interior Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modern interior design in a clean open bar area

Image credit: SLS Baha Mar

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

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

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

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

A blue interior scheme inside a junior king room

Image credit: The Ramble Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Avenue Interior Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up of the centre console of the Bentley car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

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

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

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

The champagne cream interior with led lighting of the car

Image credit: Bentley Motors

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

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

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

Main image credit: Studio Waldemeyer

Feature: specifying the hotel bed – sleep on it

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the top:

Headboard

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

Bedding

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

Image credit: THE PIG in Brockenhurst

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

Bed base

Image credit: Nimb Hotel - Deluxe Balcony Room

Image credit: Nimb Hotel – Deluxe Balcony Room

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

Mattress

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

Side tables

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

Lighting

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

Image credit: The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

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

Final touches

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

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

Image credit: Design Equals

Luxury outdoor terrace

The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Luxury Collection debuts in Abu Dhabi

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

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

Luxury outdoor terrace

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

Pool overlooking the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

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

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

Luxury Arabian-style suite

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Arabian style F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Luxury pool with palm trees in the desert

Image credit: Marriott International

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

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

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

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

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

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

a modern penthouse with copper bath

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Image credit: The Mayson Dublin

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

Main image credit: The Mayson

citizenM has arrived on the USA’s west coast

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

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

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

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

Image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

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

Main image credit: Richard Powers for concrete

Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the latest luxury lifestyle hotel in Mayfair, London

From the people who brought us the renowned Cliveden House and Chewton Glen comes The Mayfair Townhouse, which is slated to open this Autumn…

Curious, engaging and witty, The Mayfair Townhouse is said to deliver the unexpected and redefines what it means to be a London hotel – think  Oscar Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland.

Part of Iconic Luxury Hotels, this will be the fifth property in the portfolio, but promises to offer a new unexpected personality from what the brand is traditionally known for. Bringing a new lifestyle product into one of London’s most distinguished neighbourhoods – The Mayfair Townhouse is the new charismatic ‘kid on the block’ – a product that has never been experienced in Mayfair.

“We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels.” – Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels.

“There is nothing like The Mayfair Townhouse,” said Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, who has been instrumental in developing this outstanding lifestyle hotel for London’s Mayfair. “When the property debuts in Autumn 2020, you will see something that has not yet been done. We’ve created a product – a personality – that’s exceptionally unique to our collection at Iconic Luxury Hotels. We’re looking to give London and travellers from all over the world, something fresh, something totally different and something totally unexpected. This is a new and exciting chapter for Iconic Luxury Hotels, and as we welcome our second property in London, we look forward to creating remarkable memories in the heart of Mayfair.”

Render of the entrance to the bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

A carefully stylish, imaginative home for the modern traveller – the essence of the new Townhouse invites discerning travellers who appreciate an intuitive, perceptive level of service and a guest who above all, has a refined palette for curiosity. Without the traditions of a regular hotel, there is no room at the Townhouse that has not been thoughtfully curated. The hotel bridges the gap between ritzy high-end lavish hotels and the corporate enterprise properties that currently stand in Mayfair.

When guests walk through the doors of this new Townhouse, expect the unexpected. Moments of surprise await around every corner of the fifteen connected Georgian buildings that line Half Moon Street, which was once the setting for Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Built from 1730, Half Moon Street was a colourful haunt for bachelors, bohemians and artistic types in Victorian London. During this time many of Half Moon Street’s townhouses were split into residential apartments for the elite to live before marriage. Iconic fictional characters, Oscar Wilde’s Algernon Moncreiff and Bertie Wooster in P. G. Wodehouse’s comedies resided here. Moments of this history and culture are immersed throughout The Mayfair Townhouse’s discreet address, and quickly become the central pillars of design and personality of the eclectic house.

A refined Mayfair restaurant inside the hotel

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Dandy is the cornerstone theme and design language of The Mayfair Townhouse – building on the historic connections with Oscar Wilde, Half Moon Street and the dandy lifestyle associated with Mayfair. Capturing this playful spirit to create a new era of the Dandy, Goddard Littlefair has helmed an authentic, quick-witted design of the Townhouse. Telling the tale of Oscar Wilde’s world through an imaginative design, Goddard Littlefair has revived the interiors of the townhouses of which seven are Grade-II listed, bringing to life the Georgian spirit and blending this with a contemporary rhythm. The fox, the hotel’s mischievous motif, is woven throughout the hotel, from the art collection showcasing a series of fox images, to intricate design elements throughout the property.

The design delves into the personalities of the original inhabitants of the area, taking inspiration from characters like Wilde and his contemporary aesthetes, and also the flamboyant aesthetic movement of that period. The result? A contemporary Georgian style interwoven with English eccentricities, capturing the adventurous mischief of the dandy. Twists of the unexpected, curiosities, and a humorous, playful design tone resonate throughout the hotel through various fabrics and colour palettes, to create a flamboyant dressing on the residential townhouse.

Luxe dining area

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

If the walls could talk. Art plays a pivotal part of the hotel, with Minda Dowling, a leading art specialist, curating unique and unusual pieces for The Mayfair Townhouse to further bring each space to life. The hand-picked collection includes both known names and emerging artists, to celebrate different creators of our time all with their own wow factor. Take Clarita Brinkerhoff’s peacock sculpture for instance – the piece sits at 67 inches high and is made out of 25,000 Swarovski crystals. Guests are invited to learn about the art through special QR codes that have been developed – so guests can scan and absorb details.

The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of the Townhouse. This is where you’ll find refuge from the bustling streets of Mayfair. A theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that creates a place to see and be seen. Dandy Bar epitomises bespoke cocktails. Take The Mayfair Dandy for example – an avant-garde take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists of the area, or AR Lenoble Brut Champagne, Oscar Wilde’s favourite. Of course, the design evokes the dandy spirit. Lampshades have silk pleated shades, seating is covered in printed velvets and leathers with marble, brass and high gloss timbers adorn the room. The flamboyance of feathers in flapper outfits and the traditional gentleman’s pocket inspires the design of the Dandy Bar.

A London hotspot bar

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Flavours of whimsy yet practicality make its way through the Townhouse’s individually designed guest rooms and suites. From the functional Classic Rooms, to the indoor-outdoor living themed Garden Suites, to the Dandy muse ‘Penthouse Suites’ – every corner of each room is thoughtfully designed and appeals to what the discerning modern traveller is seeking today.

Super luxurious guestroom/suite

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Expect to find the highest quality linens and robes, superb bathrooms, luxury mattresses, his-or-her toiletries, good lighting and intelligent use of space. Little touches reflecting the hotel’s quick-witted personality include minibar contents from local artisans, flamboyant spare socks, takeaway mints and in-room cocktail kits using the dandy’s ingredient of absinthe.

A very plush yet minimalist bathroom

Image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

With no traditional restaurant at The Mayfair Townhouse, you’re invited to the Lower Ground floor – a vibrant space located downstairs off the entrance lobby. Appealing to the modern nomad traveller, this is a place to work, explore and connect with the personalities of the time, and enjoy breakfast. Take in the whimsical characters on the walls as you enjoy this convivial Library-esque space. Beyond the walls lies a further dining room, which instils a feeling that it belongs to the residence’s owner. Your own private versatile oasis which can be used for private dining, or a ‘meeting of the minds’ gathering place.

From Autumn onwards, The Mayfair Townhouse is where you’ll find both luxury and the joy of the unexpected. Guests come for the exceptional service and inspiring atmosphere and leave with a renewed confidence that choosing personality over conformity is always worth it.

Main image credit: Iconic Luxury Hotels

Is this the most isolated hotel in Sweden?

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

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

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

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

A dramatic view capturing the lighthouse and houses surrounding them

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

Entrance to the building

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

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

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

Ship and artwork in hallway

Image credit: Pater Noster

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pater Noster

RPW Design unveils next stage of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
RPW Design unveils next stage of Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

As well as being responsible for designing the guestrooms inside Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, which we are expecting to get a mock-up at the end of August, RPW Design has revealed the renovation of the hotel’s conference and banqueting space…

The refreshed interiors of the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s meeting and event spaces seamlessly breathe fresh life into the historical Georgian property.

In order to appeal to both the social and business clientele at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, RPW Design has artistically designed different identities for each of the conference and banqueting rooms. These offer guests a more varied collection of options to fulfil their individual requirements.  To ensure the hotel remains quintessentially British, RPW Design chose to specifically work with British manufacturers and suppliers.

“We are delighted to unveil the results of the collaboration between The Four Seasons Hampshire team and RPW Design,” says Elizabeth Lane, Partner at RPW Design. True to our convictions as a firm, the results are testament to our ability delivering designs that will stand the test of time.”

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Four Seasons Ballroom 

Intended to be both adaptable and flexible the Four Seasons Ballroom, the largest room in the renovation, focuses on neutral colours to complement the natural light that brightens the room. In order to create a stylish aesthetic and reconnect with the property’s magnificent architecture and picturesque countryside location, RPW Design has chosen sophisticated furnishings and light fittings to complement the soft tonal colour scheme of the overall refurbishment. By choosing neutral tones the design lends itself to personalisation of the space for a variety of clients’ needs.

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Circulation Area 

The design of the circulation area showcases RPW Design’s distinctive flair with a marvellous ceiling installation by Haberdashery, composed of 1,100 floating bone china leaves in natural white with 14 carat gold finishes. This spectacular yet organic display emphasises the central visual axis and circulation, welcoming guests into the Mandeville Ballroom.

Image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hampshire

Mandeville Ballroom, Beckington Room and Bathurst Room

In order to create a sense of intrigue whilst maintaining a very classic design throughout, RPW Design has carefully chosen contemporary crystal chandeliers for the Mandeville Ballroom, Beckington Room and Bathurst Room by Vaughan and Dernier & Hamlyn. Within these rooms, classic soft blues and greys complement the neutral shades, providing an elegant contrast and breathing fresh life into the space.

Shrewsbury Room 

RPW Design has not only modernised the hotel’s spaces but reconnected it with the area’s rich history. Drawing inspiration from the surrounding Dogmersfield Park, RPW Designs has collaborated with Scottish fabric artisans Timorous Beasties to develop a beautiful bespoke chocolate-coloured velvet with gold printed bird motif upholstery for all four walls of the Shrewsbury room. This gives the room warmth and a luxurious feel, coupled with the unique carpet design which incorporates oak leaf canopies. Styled in this way, the Shrewsbury Room can now act as a multi-functional space lending itself to be a ‘mini cinema’, a meeting room or simply a lounge.

Main image credit: RPW Design/Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Inside Bermonds Locke – an alternative hotel experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

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

Image credit: Locke

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

Rendering of bar with lots of plants around it

Image credit: Locke

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

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

Main image credit: Locke/Nicholas Worley

TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
TREND ALERT: 2020 outdoor/interior design styles

Whether you are designing for a small patio, a city-sized rooftop area or a large piece of land, each outdoor living trend can be adapted to suit any interior/exterior style, writes Paisley Hansen…

Following on from predicting 2020 interior trends at the backend of last year, here are some ideas that will help designers and architects maximise their outdoor space in style.

Biophilic design

For years, the biophilic design ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ has been gaining in popularity. It began as a concept for commercial properties to bring nature indoors and has been expressed in the form of living walls and communal green spaces.

According to Stephen R. Kellert at Metropolis Magazine: “Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive.” It is not enough to simply be outdoors; a purposeful design for an outdoor living space should complement and connect you to your outdoor space.

Hardscaping

The man-made features used in outdoor spaces are the basis for landscape design and generally are installed first. These include paths, walls, and patios. If you are not working with a professional landscape designer, it is wise to sketch your intended design and play with ideas on paper before you rent a bobcat.

Currently geometric designs for garden beds and patios are popular, however a curvilinear design is timeless. The style of your home will help you determine the design for your outdoor spaces.

Plant materials

It is wise to plan your garden on paper also, rather than plant, dig up and plant again. Make use of your public library, horticulture sites and the agriculture department of universities in your plant zone to compile lists of trees, shrubs and flowers that will grow in your area. Merely loving tulips will not make them grow well if you live in southern Texas. The biggest trend in plantings over the last decade is the installation of plants that are native to a climate instead of fighting to keep a plant alive in an inappropriate zone. Not only does this end up saving money it also discourages nuisance plants–especially those that become invasive.

More plant trends

Choosing a type of garden previously meant flowers or vegetables, but this has changed significantly in the last decade. Combination gardens are easy to grow and the variety of flowers, herbs and veggies that are available to home gardeners will help you create a beautiful garden for all your needs. Match plants according to the amount of sunlight and water for companion planting.

Furnishing outdoor space

The current trend in outdoor furniture is the use of natural materials like rattan, wood, or wood-like, along with wicker elements – just look at Minotti’s new 2020 collection.

Lifestyle shot featuring Minotti sofas outside

Image credit: Minotti

Styles range from mid-century modern and classic coastal to contemporary. The perennial favourite in outdoor furniture is the porch swing. The nostalgia associated with a big porch, a wooden swing and a warm summer night is classically American. With fewer front porches these days many people are finding alternatives to the hanging porch swing.

Furniture designs

Adirondack chairs have been fashionable for centuries and the style is popular even today, though many current pieces are brightly painted for a fresh new look. Egg chairs and barrel chairs are trending right now as is flexible outdoor seating. Furniture that can be moved around the yard for various occasions allows you to invest in a few quality pieces rather than buying furniture for every spot in the garden. When creating a fashionable outdoor area, choose what appeals to you. If an all-white garden gives you a sense of peace and harmony that should be your goal to create. For others, a riotous mix of colours may be your happy place.

Additional trends

The trends in lighting are currently focused on overhead string lights hung in outdoor-café style. Lights can also be strung on the perimeter of your space to give more definition to the area. Up-lighting beneath a specimen tree or shrub will highlight the structure of the special plant or vignette of plants. Fire features run the gamut from huge stone fire pits to small, gas-fuelled tabletop models. Water features are also available in a multitude of sizes and shapes.s

Current trends in outdoor design can be specific to a style or be an eclectic mix of styles. The most important part of outdoor design is making it fit your lifestyle.

Main image credit: Taylor Simpson/Unsplash

Insane hotel concepts for the post-pandemic world

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

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

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

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

The human zoo hotel, conceived by Bill Bensley

Image credit: Bill Bensley

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

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

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

The hotel of the future according to Gettys Group

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

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

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

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

Al fresco guestrooms

a room in the middle of nowhere

Image credit: Zero Real Estate/Appenzellerland

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

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

Main image credit: Zero Real Estate

PRODUCT WATCH: LED neon strip lighting in the spa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Timage

Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside the first ‘luxe lifestyle wellness resort’ in Grenada

Opening on October 1 2020, The Point at Petite Calvigny will be the first dedicated luxury lifestyle and wellness resort on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Editor Hamish Kilburn writes…

With just three design-led villas and 12 suites nestled on an 11-acre estate on the south coast of Grenada, The Point at Petite Calvigny is the island’s new ultra-luxury resort.

The resort, which slopes down to Benji Bay, features a privately accessed secluded beach, a state of the art gym and wellness centre including The Petite Spa, five swimming pools, a beach bar and restaurant and a private marina.

Chris Ashby, the property’s owner who, in collaboration with Adriana Hoyos Hospitality, took it upon himself to design the interiors following his extensive travel experience, fell in love with the raw, natural beauty of this part of Grenada and its stunning views. This ultimately inspired him to create the luxury ‘cloistered sanctuary’ where the outside world is left at the ‘entrance/gate’. “The Point is the first luxury resort in Grenada that is totally focussed on wellness,” Ashby explains. “We offer discerning travellers the perfect combination of luxury accommodation in a peaceful setting with the ability to design their stay exactly as they wish. I am proud to say that The Point is owned by a Grenadian, was built by Grenadians and is staffed by Grenadians.”

No effort was spared in creating the perfect ambiance, which included changing the orientation of the buildings following recommendations from a Feng Shui consultant who advised that they be aligned ‘with water in front and mountains in the background’. As a result, all the buildings stand in an optimum location in order to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, the unspoilt marine sanctuary of Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island.

Image caption: The hotel has been configured to capture uninterrupted views of the waters of Benji Bay, Woburn Bay and the private resort of Calvigny Island. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

The Point at Petite Calvigny, which was developed by C.A.C Partners Ltd., has been built to the highest eco standards without compromising on comfort or luxury. There are many hidden eco-friendly elements such as environmentally compliant building materials; super insulated walls, UV filters on windows and doors to minimise energy consumption; rainwater harvesting to provide drinking water and a wastewater treatment system that produces water to irrigate the gardens.  All toiletries are vegan friendly and free from parabens, sulphates and phosphates while the spa incorporates local products such as scrubs made using natural, local ingredients.

“Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light.”

Reflecting the wellness focus of the resort and Grenada, all accommodation has been named after crystals such as Citrine and Blue Lace. Designed in a contemporary West Indian style with warm wood finishes, all the rooms are spacious and bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows that allow for magnificent, unobstructed views of the bay and nearby islands. Inside the rooms, nautical artwork further reflects the property’s unique sense of location, as does the lighting and sensitively designed furnishings.

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point

Image caption: The clean design of the interiors feature interesting lighting, natural materials and a large nautical map of the region. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Each of the three split level villas have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a private infinity pool and deck with a grilling station. The 12 single-floor suites have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, private balconies and share two large free form swimming pools, a swim up bar and outdoor grilling station.  A selection of fresh herbs are available for guests wishing to add a little extra flavour to their barbecue.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point.

Image caption: Exterior image of one of three villas available at the resort. | Image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

Both the villas and suites have fully custom kitchens, dining and living rooms and internet-based TV. Extra touches such as oil diffusers, mood lighting, high quality hypo allergenic bedding, insulation to reduce sound and black out curtains help to enhance sleep performance.

The Point is specially designed to promote rest and rejuvenation. To take this up a level, and in order for the service to match Ashby’s aim, a complimentary consultation with the hotel’s ‘Vibe Director’ is available to each guest in order to create a stay that is perfectly attuned to their specific needs.

Places like this sanctuary within the Caribbean are highly coveted. The Point Private Residence Club is the first and only luxury residence club on the island of Grenada.

In conclusion, every detail of The Point has been specially designed and curated for the discerning eye – from the location and architecture of the residences to the carefully manicured tropical gardens and exceptional experiences – it is a paradise that is naturally self-isolating in its own unique corner of the world.

Main image credit: The Point at Petite Calvigny

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

W Hotels to open second hotel in Brazil

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

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

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

A series of renders of W Sao Paulo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRODUCT WATCH: hansgrohe expands its FinishPlus range

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

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

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

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

line of finishes

Image credit: hansgrohe

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: hansgrohe

Industry insight: 4 reasons why hotels need more mirrors

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

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

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

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

All eyes on you

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

Image credit: Mirror Mania

You look fabulous

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

To make a lasting impression, shine

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

Light + spacious = clean

Light and bright modern interior space

Image credit: Mirror Mania

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Mirror Mania

Sleep & Eat 2020 Introduces ‘hotel guestroom 2035’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Pixabay/Sleep & Eat Virtual

Feature: a new era of luxury hospitality has begun

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

Rejecting traditional wealth values

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

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

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

Image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

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

Main image credit: Birch/Red Deer/Adam Firman

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester to re-open in August

Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester, which will host MEET UP North on May 6, 2021, has sensibly decided to delay its reopening until August 28, allowing its team to put…

Following the government announcement on June 23, which highlighted that the hospitality sector could re-open once more from July 4, The Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester started to work on its re-opening plan.

The Manchester-based luxury hotel, which will host MEET UP North on May 6 2021, was among one of the first hotels in the UK to close its door to the public and offer its rooms to NHS key workers during the Covid-19 crisis. Having operated throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period due to hosting NHS professionals, the hotel has already had first-hand experience of operating under rigorous guidelines and processes in order to protect the NHS team and its own volunteers in the building. In a statement, the hotel said: “This has given us valuable insight to how to do things even more safely than we used to before the virus outbreak.

In order to adapt its protocols to face the post-pandemic world, the hotel released a statement, which said: “Even though our doors are not officially open, members of our sales and commercial team have returned to the business and will be dealing with any guest enquiries as we head towards our re-opening date of the August 28.” 

Within the statement, the hotel outlined some of its new health and safety measures, including increasing the frequency of sanitising all public areas and facilities, PPE, increased signage and contactless check-in.

MEET UP North, which was forced to postpone this year due to the Covid-19 spread, will take place in Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester on May 6. To find out more about the event, and how to secure you tickets, click here.

Main image credit: Stock Exchange Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image credit: Hilton Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Hilton Hotels

Marriott International opens 800th property in Asia Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Marriott International

FEATURE: Geberit lifts the lid on bathroom hygiene

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: Geberit lifts the lid on bathroom hygiene

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

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

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

Going touchless?

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

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

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

Modern, sleek bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

Importance of the washroom space

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

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

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

Product innovations

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

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

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

Image credit: Geberit

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

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

Image credit: Geberit

Hygiene as a selling point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main image credit: Geberit

Morris & Co. collaborates with architectural designer Ben Pentreath for AW20 collection

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morris & Co. collaborates with architectural designer Ben Pentreath for AW20 collection

Ben Pentreath, renowned architectural and interior designer, collaborates with Morris & Co. to create a joyous collection of colour and iconic pattern, new for AW20. Hotel Designs explores…

Ben Pentreath’s Queen Square collection for Morris & Co. is the result of a seamless meeting of minds between an iconic brand and one of the country’s most sought after interior designers.

The latest collection, which was named after the street that sheltered the Morris & Co factory and showroom, features designs across 18 fabrics and 18 wallpapers and creates nostalgic familiarity.

“It was a wonderful experience to be let loose in the Morris & Co.” – Ben Pentreath, architectural and interior designer.

Now, more than ever, the world is in a reflective mood, finding pleasure in the simple things; an ethos shared by William Morris, who designed from a place of appreciation and understanding. With a love of the English countryside and the beauty that surrounds us, this collection showcases the longevity of expertly crafted design, filling our hopes and hearts with positivity.

“I’ve always loved the designs of William Morris, and we’ve used his superb, timeless papers and fabrics in many of our decoration projects over the years,” said Pentreath. “So it was a wonderful experience to be let loose in the Morris & Co. archive: we’ve taken many original patterns, and recoloured them in a palette of my favourite colours, to cast his designs in a completely new light.”

Claire Vallis, creative director at Morris & Co. adds: “Working with Ben has been the most wonderful experience – his knowledge and clear vision have been instrumental in how we’ve used the products. Combining our passions to create his vision has been phenomenal, and seeing patterns that we know so well in a completely different light is incredibly exciting. We’re delighted with how joyful this collection is.”

Preserving the integrity of Morris’s production methods has been paramount throughout this collection, with all 18 wallpapers surface printed on paper to retain their original look and feel. Similarly cotton/linen cloths provide the closest match to archival Morris & Co. design books, with each design screen printed for an unrivalled intensity of colour.

Queen Square will be styled exclusively by Ben at his stunning Dorset home, with photography featuring in the collection’s design books. Revival designs such as Blackthorn and Daffodil appear alongside the much- loved Willow Bough wallpaper and the favourite scrolling frescos of Bachelor’s Button fabric and wallpaper. Saturated colours exult at the wonder of life, leaning towards an altogether brighter future and the enduring legacy of exceptional design.

Morris & Co. 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: Morris & Co.

IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Parkside’s discussion about colour & wellbeing

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the discussion in full:

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

Bathroom inspiration: 400 colours by Bette to choose from

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Bathroom inspiration: 400 colours by Bette to choose from

German bathroom manufacturer Bette offers its baths, shower trays and basins in more than 400 colours – and also creates bespoke colours for large projects…

Bathroom brand Bette can create its baths, shower trays and washbasins in more than 400 colours because of the way its products are made.

Each item is individually manufactured in titanium-steel, before its durable BetteGlaze enamel finish is applied and fired. Bette mixes colour pigments into the BetteGlaze enamel finish, prior to application, which is why such a huge range of colours, including gloss, matt, shimmering and glittering options, are available.

Bette’s unique finish not only allows more than 400 colour options, but the glazed titanium-steel results in products that keep their good looks for many years, are easy to clean, 100 per cent recyclable and come with a 30 year warranty, making them ideal for both contract and residential projects.

22 matt colours

Some of Bette’s most popular colours are its 22 exclusive matt options. These colours are often selected for Bette’s flush-to-floor shower trays, as well as its baths and basins. The colours take their inspiration from natural stone colours, and also include matt white.

Bespoke colours

In addition, if customers working on large projects require a specific colour that Bette does not currently produce, the company offers the option of creating a bespoke colour.

Bette’s approach to colour

Sven Rensinghoff, head of marketing at Bette comments: “Our glazed titanium-steel baths, basins and shower trays can be given attractive visual depth through the colour selection. Our goal is to not only use colour as a decorative element, but to support the spatial effect of our products.

“Coloured products can provide eye-catching dashes of colour, for example, the spotlight can be put on the washing area by selecting the round BetteCraft washbasin in luminous green or a soft shade of blue. Eye-catching special effect colours, such as our Midnight black glitter colour, or the ever-changing Forest colour, can create impact and visual interest that changes as the lighting alters.

“In addition to innovative and eye-catching colours, Bette also offers a wide range of timeless, discreet shades including pastels, earth and stone colours and matt options. These can help to radiate a calming effect and convey a natural cosiness and are some of our most popular colours. For example, more than 40 per cent of Bette customers currently choose timeless, natural, matt colours for their Bette glazed titanium-steel shower floors.”

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

Main image credit: Bette

Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Six Senses to open second hotel in Italy

Six Senses Antognolla, which marks the brand’s second opening in Italy, will shelter more branded residences than it will rooms…

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced its latest project in the group’s expanding portfolio with Six Senses Antognolla, set in Umbria, the green heart of Italy.

Opening in 2023, the same year as the hotel plans to open its debut London property, Six Senses Antognolla will welcome guests to a rural escape against the backdrop of olive groves, vineyards and cypress-topped hills.

The castle, borgo and estate are being reincarnated with a sustainable focus. There will be 71 rooms and 79 branded residences, a diverse wellness and cultural offering, 18-hole golf course, equestrian centre, cookery school and organic farm. Encompassing a 1,335-acre (540-hectare) site, the surrounding contours and forest provide privacy and exclusivity, while the variety of facilities and activities make it a year-round destination. 

The redevelopment is being headed by VIY Management (VIYM), a London-based investment firm focused on luxury hospitality and mixed-use real estate projects and Alessio Carabba Tettamanti, an investor in Antognolla and the owner of the luxury Umbrian estate Tenuta di Murlo. The masterplan is by Woods Bagot, ranked sixth in the BD World Architecture 100. Interiors are by Tokyo-based Design Studio SPIN, known for transforming the interiors of renowned hotels and restaurants into the most luxurious venues. 

“We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses.” – Jim Ryan, development director, Antognolla

 “We are thrilled to start bringing our collaborative plans with Six Senses to life. Antognolla is a unique project in Italy in terms of its concept; combining a luxury hotel in a medieval castle, stylish serviced residential properties, an exceptional golf course and a luxurious spa complex – all of which will be operated by a world-renowned international hospitality brand,” said development director Jim Ryan of Antognolla. “We are delighted that our vision of the project is in line with that of Six Senses, and we have a truly unique opportunity to carefully preserve and develop this area of historical and cultural significance.”

A new chapter in this rich history has now begun. The 71 guest rooms and suites will be located within the historical castle and traditional old borgo buildings. The 79 residences, which will soon be available to purchase, range from apartments and two-bedroom villas to six-bedroom farmhouses, combining the heritage of Umbria with the comfort of modern living. All accommodations offer a unique home-from-home retreat thanks to the location, design features and abundant resort facilities. Old or new, everything blends seamlessly with the surroundings.

Six Senses Spa will be located within a contemporary wing of the new main building, and will offer wellness programming that incorporates sleep health, nutrition, movement and self-discovery.

Running through the centre of the estate, the 18-hole golf course has been designed by renowned designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. With long, cliff-lined fairways, undulating greens and pesky lakes, the course has been installed to provide year-round playability and quick-drying surfaces. Drainage water is captured and recycled, boosting the course’s eco-credentials.

The charm of Umbria’s ancient towns and villages is complemented by its cuisine, which is renowned for superb ingredients and authentically rustic dishes. Guests and residents will enjoy the very best of local produce, including herbs, olives, fruit and vegetables grown on the estate itself.

Main image credit: Six Senses

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

Driving the industry to search for and specify sustainable art, Artelier explores sustainable artwork in luxury contexts…

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values.

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values. What once was more of a fashionable trend has rightly become a major cross-sector movement, and increasingly diverse industries are promoting eco-conscious practices. Most importantly, consumers are holding companies accountable for their claims, and want them to do more than swap out plastic straws or reuse cups. This has led to a push for innovative new concepts, uses of materials, and structural changes, so that the needs of projects are met in a significantly more sustainable way.

Within sectors such as luxury hospitality, a major question has arisen over how to deliver the exquisite interior design that a discerning clientele have come to expect, whilst also being sustainable. Naturally, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive – much of cutting-edge luxury design now favours natural materials and a stripped-back simplicity, which lends itself to sustainable products. A key way of sustainably creating adding luxury to these spaces are intelligently curated artworks. Sustainable artworks can bridge the gap between creating a stunning aesthetic experience and promoting environmentally responsible design.

As art consultants, Artelier have discovered first-hand how art can enhance and deepen a project’s focus on sustainability. Here, Artelier’s curators offer their insight into the dilemmas faced by luxury industries, and explore how inventive artists can create sustainable artworks by transforming humble materials into stunning installations.

The dilemma of decorating sustainably

After the architectural and engineering efforts in new-build projects, it is critical for the interior design to likewise be sustainable, whilst creating the right aesthetic impression. Few luxury items, however, can offer sustainability, since often they are made from materials like precious metals and rare marbles. Artworks are in themselves luxury items, and can meanwhile be produced with full sustainability in mind – artists can take basic and sustainable materials and through their craftsmanship make them luxury items. Rather than being a ‘token’ sustainable element, a newly commissioned artwork can reflect the owner’s own sustainable philosophy as each aspect of producing the artwork can be transparently low-impact.

The idea of bespoke items and artworks has long been at the height of luxury, and so many private clients have supported artists through commissioning artworks. In their pursuit of the bespoke and one-off, patrons have championed low-volume craftsmanship for their willingness to pay for artworks to be hand-made specially for them. In recent years, technology has advanced so much that a similar visual effect can be achieved – eye-catching surfaces can be cost-effectively created by companies with faux metals, resins and plastics. Whilst they meet the tastes of clients and can be seductively beautiful objects, the materials used to create these effects are not sustainable. When private clients instead choose to invest in commissioned artworks, they not only receive an ultra-bespoke interior feature, but a significantly more sustainable option.

Image credit: Artelier


Natural materials

While some contemporary artists actively use ancient craft techniques, more broadly many artists authentically engage with sustainability through using exclusively natural materials. Taking humble and widespread materials such as wood, they are able to creatively transform them into fine art. The artworks communicate the natural beauty of earth’s resources, and deeply connect viewers with the environment by making them experience nature in new and surprising ways.

One such artist is Christian Burchard, who creates wood sculptures from a tree species native to the area surrounding his studio in Oregon, USA. His expressive carving creates poetic and dynamic sculptural compositions. He aims to show viewers the essence of the wood’s natural structures, allowing the material to ‘speak its own language’, rather than imposing onto it. Artelier commissioned a collection of Burchard’s work for superyacht Pelorus (115m). The client and the interior designer used a neutral palette within the interiors, as they wanted a pure and natural design that utilised organic materials. They approached Artelier for us to identify artists that were in tune with their own materials, and would contribute to the sustainable feel of the overall design.

Artist Stuart Ian Frost’s creates site-specific installations from natural, and often foraged, raw materials. Each installation is created specially for its landscape, and Frost seeks to evoke the particularities of the individual environment. He draws inspiration from local geographical features and the raw materials themselves, but also often looks to incorporate the culture and architecture of the area. Like Burchard, Frost’s artworks seek to present nature in an unfamiliar, yet illuminating way, encouraging the viewer to challenge their own perceptions of the materials. His large-scale sculptures playfully incorporate pattern and organic shapes to transform the raw materials, giving them a newfound vitality. Meanwhile, his smaller scale artworks use foraged natural materials, such as bird quills, and represent them in expressive geometric designs.

Found materials are also central to British multi-disciplinary artist Sir Richard Long, who uses basic materials like mud or rocks to create sculptures, paintings, and installations. In so doing, he pushes the boundaries of which materials are typically considered suitable for fine art. Many of his artworks are created while on walks in landscapes, a primordial engagement between man and earth, and are left to be reclaimed by nature. His gallery artworks likewise present a visceral engagement with natural resources, such as his paintings created from mud from the Riven Avon in England; Long uses his bare hands to paint, preserving his gestures by leaving his hand and finger prints visible.

In such ways, many artists are naturally resourceful and low impact, by their use of foraged and natural materials. Conceptually, many of these artists are also inspired by how the natural world can be represented to viewers, in a way that emphasises man’s harmony with nature rather than dominance over it. Within a sustainable project, these artworks bear special significance, as they symbolise the objective behind incorporating sustainability – a re-evaluation of how humankind interacts with the environment, and how we can better preserve and respect natural resources.

Sustainability in the world of hospitality

As modern, eco-conscious people travel the world, they seek hotels that are likewise committed to sustainability. Hoteliers and hospitality designers must respond to this demand, and while efforts to promote environmentally conscious operations like reducing washing or plastic waste are worthwhile, sustainability has to be a key concern from the initial stages of hotel design to be more deeply effective.

However, when considering the sheer scale of hotels and how hotel areas will be used, ensuring sustainability throughout the hotel poses more obstacles than in private spaces. Many materials, for example, need to be more hard-wearing: carpets that use synthetic fibres are easier to clean, and often need to be synthetic in order to comply with fire safety regulations. Meanwhile, while materials like marbles or metals can be used sparingly in private properties, they are simply not sustainable at the quantity required for hotels.

Image credit: Artelier

For a hotel project to be truly sustainable, sustainability has to be a core consideration from the inception of the project. It has to be considered in everything from structural materials and utilising natural sun and ventilation, to being rigorous in sourcing reputable interior suppliers who prioritise sustainable production. In order to make sustainable hotel design more than simply tapping into a trend, new hotels have focus on longevity – much negative environmental impact comes from the waste of replacing worn-out features.

Considering this level of care to incorporate sustainability, it is essential that decorative aspects are not an afterthought to the project. After great effort has gone into sustainable design solutions, artworks can be overlooked, and in reality not be that sustainable. Whilst on an individual basis each artwork’s sustainability may not be a major source for concern, together they can make a significant impact. If every room features artworks as well as the lobby, stairwells, and spa areas, irresponsible sourcing and using even small amounts of unsustainable materials can quickly add up. It is essential, therefore, to work coherently with specialist art consultants who are able to make sourcing sustainable art straightforward, and curate the entire collection for minimal environmental impact.

In addition, sustainable artworks bring many benefits to the hotel project. If a hotel decides to compromise on luxury materials in favour of sustainability, and opt for a more neutral, pared-back approach to interior design, the artwork can become the accent or focal point in the space. Sourcing art is further a great opportunity for supporting local artists, as artworks can be created from local materials and shipping costs are minimised. Supporting sustainable artists also makes for an engaging way for the hotel to promote its values and reflect its context.

Image credit: Artelier

Communicating sustainability through art

With the move towards environmental concern, many mass-producing companies have tried to meet this demand by providing ‘sustainable’ products. However, is there really space for this in the future, when increasingly the move towards sustainability goes beyond natural materials, but also sustainable practices in the studio? Clients are trying to achieve a sense of connection in their projects, and so the individualism of makers is in itself becoming increasingly more valued. Bespoke artworks are a more authentic and personal way of decorating. A specially commissioned artwork can symbolically convey the central concerns of a client, and communicate their focus on sustainability.

Image credit: Artelier

Ever since artworks were created by ancient civilisations, artists have used their work as a traditional form of visual communication, that goes beyond simply decorative enhancement. Art engages the viewer’s attention and creates atmosphere, producing an immediate and non-verbal understanding. A basic material transformed into a large-scale art installation instantly conveys to viewers the artist’s commentary on man’s relationship with the natural world. For instance, in a commission for the headquarters of a company at the forefront of recycling innovation, Artelier commissioned a mobile sculpture that embodied the company values. Created from sustainable steam-bent wood, the mobile constantly evolves and transforms, representing the concept of recycling forms.

Art offers a way to combine luxury with truly sustainable practices, and is one of the few products to be able to do so. But it more than simply decoration – art is able to tell a story. It communicates the deeper essence of the project, and is an evocative way of representing its sustainable values. The skill of the art consultant is to be able to source artworks that stay true to the project’s commitment to sustainability, and curate them in such a way that conveys the message to a wider audience.

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

Main image credit: Artelier

IN PICTURES: Inside the soon-to-open Hotel Fariones, Lanzarote

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: Inside the soon-to-open Hotel Fariones, Lanzarote

The new five-star Hotel Fariones, which will open in Lanzarote in September of this year, will shelter laid-back luxury. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a sneak peek inside…

Hotel Fariones will open in Lanzarote on September 1, having undergone a significant refurbishment under the privately-owned PY Hotels & Resorts family that also owns the acclaimed Princesa Yaiza resort.

Located in the centre of Puerto del Carmen on the southeast coast of the island, the hotel boasts an enviable beachfront location surrounded by palm trees with direct access to an idyllic sandy cove and the extensive Playa Grande beach. 

Featuring 213 contemporary rooms, guests can choose from a range of categories, all with outdoor terraces and many with panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean. There are a range of spacious suites accommodating up to four adults, including the impressive 150m² Royal Suite Fariones with an expansive outdoor terrace and private Jacuzzi.

Image of interiors of suite in the hotel in Lanzarote

Image credit: Hotel Fariones

A spectacular sea view infinity pool and two heated outdoor Jacuzzis encircled by palm trees provide a tranquil setting at all times of day. 

A rooftop pool and lounge bar will launch in the second phase of the hotel’s opening. The rooftop will provide one of the best locations to watch the sunset in Lanzarote, with views over Fuerteventura and The Isla de Lobos.

rooftop pool in hotel

Image credit: Hotel Fariones

The hotel will offer a variety of restaurants to suit every palate. The main à la carte restaurant, Restaurant Atlantico, will serve fresh local fish and shellfish with traditional Canarian influences, whilst a snack bar will serve light lunches on a sophisticated outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean. A buffet restaurant will launch in phase two, along with Kaori restaurant specialising in Asian Haute Cuisine.

Stairway to ocean front

Image credit: Hotel Fariones

Open year round, Hotel Fariones is the ideal destination, with a quirky interior design scheme that is complimented further by Lanzarote’s 365 days of sunshine. 

Image credit: Hotel Fariones

FEATURE: inside Timothy Oulton’s self-isolation dome

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: inside Timothy Oulton’s self-isolation dome

It may not be a hotel, but Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome was meaningfully created ahead of its time to shelter a luxurious home-from-home. Its dynamically designed interiors are enclosed under a dome structure – and its naturally isolating features meet the new demands of modern travellers…

Originally conceived as a refuge for visitors, Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome, which is nestled at the centre of a mature lychee garden in southern China, has evolved into a living, breathing test bed – the kind of experiment in sustainable architecture, materiality and hospitality that can only happen meaningfully over the course of time.

The current global situation has only served to push this testing bed to new extremes, with co-founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws establishing the garden their base for 2020, allowing them to continue working whilst riding out the storm.

“The Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard.”

Designed and built entirely by the practice, the Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard. It uses sustainably sourced FSC and reclaimed timbers alongside high performance glazing to create a soaring column free space that can be internally configured to suit the varying needs of visitors who arrive from all four corners of the globe, with guests typically staying for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Inside the luxury dome

Image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio

More recently however, Oulton and Laws have found themselves part of a small group, residing permanently in the garden; using the dome as a base from which to continue working on projects whilst simultaneously contemplating what the future holds for hospitality and design post-Covid 19. Time spent in the dome living, working and hosting local industry leaders as their businesses began to emerge from lockdown has proved an invaluable insight. It is precisely Halodome’s ability to offer a hospitable environment bridging the gap between living and visiting that has stimulated so much interest in the design this year.

“Furthermore, it [the Halodome] can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature.” – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio.

“The hospitality sector in is in a deep period of reflection and transition,” Laws told Hotel Designs. “Hoteliers are looking to pivot their businesses and adapt to the new normal. At the same time, there is an opportunity for the industry to actively turn towards a more sustainable future. What the Halodome does rather successfully is offer a multipurpose space that meets unique new demands – it is in itself a bubble, cocooning its occupants safely in a manner that can be easily adapted to individual or group needs. Furthermore, it can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature in a really unique setting.”

The Halodome’s ecological, logistical and long-term fiscal credentials undoubtedly play a part in concept’s appeal to the sector. The prefabricated building can be shipped anywhere in the world in just three containers, which can be combined with the shipping of pieces crafted by the studio’s sister company – the global furniture manufacturer Timothy Oulton – to offer an entire hospitality solution where needed. Its passive energy design principles take careful consideration of sun control, ventilation and insulation, combined with modern, high performance and recycled materials, to create a building with a smaller ecological footprint and ongoing energy cost savings.

Hoteliers have found themselves charting unknown territory and the Timothy Oulton Studio team believes concepts like the Halodome can help to navigate these choppy new waters.

Timothy Oulton 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

Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio

PRODUCT WATCH: AXOR Edge, transcending boundaries in bathroom aesthetics

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: AXOR Edge, transcending boundaries in bathroom aesthetics

13 years after the first collection with French designer Jean-Marie Massaud, Hotel Designs speaks to the designer about AXOR Edge; a striking symbiosis of geometrical form and precision manufacturing…

Using a new ultra-precise manufacturing process ordinarily reserved for diamond milling and space construction, the collection still transcends boundaries in aesthetics and technology. Asymmetrically combined cubes set smooth polished surfaces against intricate texture to yield a design that is strong yet delicate.

black scene showing the AXOR Edge range

Image credit: AXOR Edge/hansgrohe

Design: geometric, architectural, and asymmetrical

The collection is defined by avant-garde expression, celebrating the interplay of perfectly proportioned plains and edges in an asymmetrical form. Partially enriched with a fine texture, the three-dimensional mixer offers a more tactile experience with water. For those who prefer a more minimalistic appearance, AXOR Edge is also available without texturing.

Every element of the mixer, including the handle and the spout, has perfect 45° chamfers. Ordinarily recognised in the field of construction as a safety measure, here the chamfers pay testament to the small architectural details and overall virtuosity of design.

Technology: precision at the heart of design

Especially developed for the production of AXOR Edge, a state-of-the-art diamond-cutting machine assures accurate planes and contours. The diamond-tipped tool, which is more commonly seen in the space and laser industries, is used here to mill the chamfers with the same high base quality required for diamond milling.

With high speeds of 60,000 revolutions per minute and hyper-controlled temperatures, allowing a variation of barely 0.1 degree, the result creates tolerances that are 600 times finer than conventional methods of milling brass: ultraprecision. Line by line, precision-pointed pyramids are created in this way, reflecting the interplay of light and shadow in a such a way to inspire a pause in a world of fast-moving transience.

Jean-Marie Massaud tells Hotel Designs: “In my collaboration with AXOR, we always seek to provide a better user experience. With AXOR Edge, we have answered the demand for refinement and uniqueness. More than a mixer, each product in the collection is a jewel, a masterpiece, a unique architectural object drilled from a brass block and then dressed with personal finishes. A real functional piece of art that shares your intimacy for life – that’s my understanding of luxury.”

Close up of tap

Image credit: AXOR edge/hansgrohe

AXOR Edge is available for the washbasin, bath, bidet and with shower thermostat modules. Manufactured in the vacuum chambers of the AXOR production plant, AXOR Edge is available in five polished AXOR FinishPlus surface colours, from Polished Brass to Polished Black Chrome.

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

Main image credit: hansgrohe

3D printing in bathroom brassware design: GROHE publishes first RIBA-approved CPD seminar

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
3D printing in bathroom brassware design: GROHE publishes first RIBA-approved CPD seminar

GROHE published the seminars 3D Printing for Advanced Bathroom Fittings on July 2 and 8, sharing its expertise on 3D printing manufacturing innovations and its potential to transform the bathroom design landscape…

GROHE, global supplier of complete bathroom solutions and first leading European sanitaryware brand to launch 3D-printed taps, is now able to share its expertise on the innovations behind 3D printing manufacturing and its potential to transform the bathroom design landscape, with the architect and design community via its newly RIBA-approved CPD seminar.

3D Printing for Advanced Bathroom Fittings dissects 3D printing technology, its place in the manufacturing sector and its ongoing growth across many industries due to its ability to create small batch custom manufacturing in a much more sustainable and accessible way. The seminar delves into GROHE’s application of the technique and how the brand has instrumented a new design freedom for interior architects and designers, providing them with the opportunity to procure customised products for bespoke client specifications in the future. The session also sheds light on the positive sustainability impact 3D printing can have on reducing CO2 emissions and saving water thanks to less wastage and more efficient use of raw materials.

“Now we have acquired first-hand experience and understanding of 3D printing, we want to share this knowledge with architect professionals to challenge the status quo around manufacturing processes and help inspire a more widespread shift in thinking when it comes to considering sustainable options.” – Glen Wilson, Head of Projects at GROHE UK.

“Sustainability, along with quality, design and technology, are at the core of GROHE’s brand values and are implemented across all of our processes; from carbon neutral production across all our global plants and our pledge to remove all plastic packaging by 2021, to the exploration of alternative sustainable production methods and the consequential development of its Icon 3D range”, says Raj Mistry, GROHE Marketing Director at GROHE UK, who developed the latest training seminar. Glen Wilson, Head of Projects at GROHE UK adds, “Now we have acquired first-hand experience and understanding of 3D printing, we want to share this knowledge with architect professionals to challenge the status quo around manufacturing processes and help inspire a more widespread shift in thinking when it comes to considering sustainable options. The more information architects have at their fingertips, the more they will understand the potential of this technology for bathroom specification”.

Bookings for 3D Printing for Advanced Bathroom Fittings sessions are available for all design professionals to book now. All RIBA-registered architect attendees who complete the sessions will acquire one hour of continued professional development.

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

Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Designs LIVE – what you missed

The debut Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place during lockdown on June 23, broadcasted four engaging virtual seminars. Editor Hamish Kilburn and publisher Katy Phillips share the highlights…

On June 23, hundreds of leading designers, architects and hoteliers from around the world tuned in for the debut of Hotel Designs LIVE.

The new one-day virtual conference, hosted by editor Hamish Kilburn from his hometown of Whitstable in England, broadcasted live conversations with industry experts on topics such as technology, public areas, sleep and wellness. In his opening speech, Kilburn explained how the concept emerged. “Hotel Designs LIVE (sponsored by Technological Innovations Group) was born in the chaotic realms of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “It is our way – and we believe the most meaningful method – to keep the industry connected while also keeping the conversation flowing.”

Seminar 1: technology

To kick-start the event in a spectacular fashion, Jason Bradbury made a dramatic entrance, on a hover board (we wouldn’t expect anything less). The former presenter of The Gadget Show, who has built an international career as a futurology and tech-trends corporate speaker, took the microphone to start the conference’s debut session entitled: Technology’s role in tomorrow’s hotel.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Hamilton LitestatTechnological Innovations GroupNT SecurityAir Reviver and Aqualisa.

Seminar 2: public areas

Following a quick-fire interview with Technological Innovations Group, the event’s headline sponsor, and after Jason Bradbury took the mic the debut session entitled Technology’s Role in tomorrow’s hotel, Kilburn launched the first panel discussion of the day, which was entitled: Will public areas ever be the same?

Emma King (Head of Design (Europe) IHG), Alon Barronwitz (Director at Baranowitz + Kronenberg) and Geraldine Dohogne (Founder of Beyond Design) got comfortable on the virtual sofa to discuss the difficult reality of public areas post-pandemic. The main takeaways were adapting as designers to meet modern consumer demands to create flexible and clean spaces, while embedding discreet technology to enhance the guest experience. The panel also discussed the need for intuitive public areas for ‘bleisure’ guests.

Stylo Graphics, which sponsored the session, asked the panel whether they have managed to implement directional signage controls and physical distancing measures to safeguard guest and staff wellbeing whilst maintaining great guest experience. King responded: “We have adjusted layouts of public areas and included social distancing measures in our hotels. To do this effectively, we have ensured that the colours and styles we have used are in keeping with our brand standards.”

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Inspired By Design and Falcon Contract Flooring.

Seminar 3: sleep

Up next, steering the conversation away from the pandemic, Kilburn focuses the editorial lens on sleep with a session entitled: Designing the guestroom to evoke a better night’s sleep, which was sponsored by Silentnight Group.

In order to explore this area of the hotel experience, he welcomed Darija Aziz, the in-house designer for Zedwell Hotels, to discuss one particular project that centres its entire model around sleep performance; Zedwell Piccadilly.

Zedwell has been designed with sleep at its core but also to promote health and wellbeing in every form,” Aziz explained. “Rooms were designed to eliminate clutter and remove anxiety, hence no TV or complicated controls. Interestingly, all the guestrooms have no windows in order to eliminate central London noise and bright lights.”

Adding context to the conversation, and bringing technology back into the discussion, Kilburn welcomes sound architect Tom Middleton into the seminar who explained that technology generically exposes the wrong frequency, and the fact that influences such a circadian rhythm needs to be more considered when designing the guestroom to evoke sleep performance.

The seminar included PRODUCT WATCH pitches from Silentnight Group, Atlas Concorde and Franklite.

Seminar 4: wellness

To aptly conclude the series of seminars, Kilburn hosted the session entitled: The future of wellness post-pandemic, and shared the screen with Beverley Bayes (Director of Sparcstudio), Michael Lahm (Vice President and COO of TLEE Spa and Ivaylo Lefterov (Hotel Development Director at Miris), which is the developer behind Svart, the world’s first ‘energy positive’ hotel.

As well as looking at hygiene, the panel discussed the demand for biophilic design, Covid-19 friendly materials such as copper and pushing the limits of wellness. In addition, injecting personalisation (and bespoke elements) in design and service.

Short-term, the pandemic has put a question mark on F&B in spa areas, but the general thoughts of the day were that healthy cuisine was a link that connects wellness and wellbeing.

When asked what each of the panelists look for in a spa experience, the general consensus was a meaningful treatment and seamless execution and experiences within the spa that balance indoor and outdoor spaces.

The seminar included an insightful PRODUCT WATCH pitch from hansgrohe.

Following the success of the inaugural virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE is back for a second edition, which will take place on October 13. The themes selected for the next event will include the evolution of discreet technology in hotel design, sustainability in design and architecture, reassuring the hotel consumer post-pandemic and adding personality in public areas.

Tickets for Hotel Designs LIVE will be available shortly. To discuss sponsorship opportunities for any of the sessions above, please contact Katy Phillips or call +44 (0) 1992 374050.

#HotelDesignsLIVE

PRODUCT WATCH: Chandelier by Buster + Punch

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: Chandelier by Buster + Punch

With lighting playing a vital role in all first impressions, Hotel Designs takes a closer look at the modern interpretation of Chandelier by Buster + Punch

Designers and architects are often willing to think outside the box in order to evoke a lasting first impression.

When it comes to lighting in public areas, however, often opting for a simple, clean and striking design scheme can make the brightest statement. A pendant chandelier, for example, will complement a modern and contemporary interior design style.

Chandelier by Buster + Punch is an eye-catching lighting display that can work in many lifestyle and luxury settings. Designers can choose from classic diamond or cascade formation, as well as a 19-pendant drop or a 31-pendant drop.

The dimmable lighting product aims to immediately set the tone by allowing users to personalise the brightness so that they can achieve the right ambience in all public areas. As well as the lobby and dining areas, designers may wish to add the pendent chandelier in the stairwell in order to add a new layer while acting as a decorative feature that also provides much needed functional lighting.

The bespoke heavy metal chandelier is a stylish LED light for large stairwell spaces or living areas.  The chandelier is teamed with the brand’s critically acclaimed LED Buster bulbs available in gold, smoked or crystal finishes. The brand’s heavy metal solid metal pendants are available in smoked, bronze, steel or brass.

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

Main image credit: Buster + Punch

Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mandarin Oriental to arrive in Vienna in 2023

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a luxury hotel and branded residences in Vienna, Austria that is scheduled to open in late 2023…

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna will be housed in a heritage building that originally served as the city’s commercial law court from 1912 to 2003.

Mandarin Oriental, Vienna is located in a peaceful street in District One of Vienna within the Ringstrasse. It is in easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, Vienna State Opera and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

“On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites.”

The conversion of the property is already underway, and the restoration will preserve many of the building’s original design elements. On completion, the hotel will comprise 151 guestrooms and suites surrounding a courtyard in the centre of the property, incorporating a restaurant, bar and outdoor garden. The property will also house a Spa at Mandarin Oriental featuring a series of treatment rooms, a swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. A range of adaptable banqueting and meeting spaces will be available for events and social occasions.

The 17 Residences at Mandarin Oriental will be located on the top two floors of the building and will have private access to the roof, with several of the apartments offering outdoor terraces and stunning citywide views. These will be some of the most exclusive apartments in the city, with owners enjoying Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service and direct access to the hotel’s facilities.

“We look forward to extending the Group’s presence into one of Europe’s most popular destinations for art, music and culture and introducing the city to Mandarin Oriental’s exemplary quality of service,” said James Riley, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental. “This iconic redevelopment of a historic building in a prime location, will offer guests a truly memorable experience, and fits ideally within the Group’s increasing portfolio of central European hotels.”

The project is owned by Brisen Group, headquartered in Geneva and operating in the European real estate investment and wealth management sectors. London based designers, Goddard Littlefair, which recently completed Villa Copenhagen, have been appointed to create the hotel and residences interiors.

“We are delighted to partner with Mandarin Oriental, one of the world’s best luxury hotel brands, on this project. Mandarin Oriental’s reputation for providing an unparalleled level of luxury service and attention to detail, matches our own wish to create an exceptional luxury hotel and residences in the heart of Vienna,” said Mr Dimitry Vallen of Brisen Group.

Main image credit: Mandarin Oriental

Unveiled: the 2020 Indoor Collection by Minotti

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Unveiled: the 2020 Indoor Collection by Minotti

It may not be the unveiling that the Italian furniture brand had in mind, but the 2020 collection of indoor furniture pieces by Minotti reaffirms its identity and reputation in the luxury interior design arena. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

Celebrating the arrival of a new collection by Minotti has become somewhat of an annual phenomenon at Hotel Designs.

The grand unveiling has traditionally taken place during Milan Design Week. This year, however, while the industry has been forced to adapt to social distancing guidelines following the outbreak of Covid-19, the brand has instead launched the 2020 collection virtually. And while the manner of which the pieces have been unveiled has been disrupted, the same cannot be said for the new line of furniture, which are all (in true Minotti style) characterised by the purity of their shapes and volumes, defined by rigorous geometries with an architectural appeal.

The 2020 Indoor Collection reflects a contemporary, modernist style and extends the identity of Minotti, connected to the same high-quality sartorial savoir-faire found in haute couture, used to craft a range of products that are increasingly exclusive. The new upholstered seating systems, seats and furnishing pieces are combined with a sophisticated tailoring thanks to the exquisite materials and the exclusive textile collection.

Each item evokes a silent elegance – Minotti needs not shout – with a strong international vocation in terms of style and design, though entirely Italian in its imprinting. This is the common thread in all the projects, designed by a strong team coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with the Minotti Studio.

With Rodolfo Dordoni, nendo, Marcio Kogan/studio mk27, Christophe Delcourt and GamFratesi, the 2020 Indoor Collection looks West, to the sophisticated Mid-Century atmospheres of California; East, to the formal minimalism of Japan; and North, to the striking rigour of Scandinavia, all filtered by Minotti’s own well-defined sensitivity and personality. The Collection develops a language that embraces the know-how of the tradition related to the world of upholstery, with a high level of sartorial craftsmanship. It features sculptural complements and seating elements with a strong personality that look back to the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, reinterpreting their spirit, and was created for use in interiors located at different latitudes, in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Statement pieces of the 2020 Indoor Collection, coordinated by Rodolfo Dordoni with Minotti Studio, include:

Connery – Rodolfo Dordoni design

Image credit: Minotti

Contemporary, with a strong architectural appeal and pure lines reminiscent of the Mid-Century American spirit, the Connery seating system sports an exquisite aesthetic and design that instantly catch the eye.

The clever combination of fine materials and sophisticated details adds a hint of couture to its design. An extremely versatile seating system, in terms of both composition and combination of materials, Connery has a distinctive personality also expressed in the pairing of original square and round chaise-lounges.

Torii– nendo design

Luxury interiors with Minotti products

Image credit: Minotti

Airy, with constructive details linked to Japanese tradition, the Torii modular seats play with round edged volumes, thin profiles and the apparent formal simplicity of an extremely detailed design. The metal structure of the legs of the seats and tables is Nendo’s nod to the image of the “torii”, the entrance gate to Shinto shrines in Japan.

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

The Torii family includes sofas – with high or low backrest and a linear shape, rounded at the arms – inclined sofas with a combination of two different depths, armchairs and lounge and dining little armchairs, ottomans, coffee tables, and a slender, oval-shaped console table, ideal for placing anywhere in the living area.

Blazer – Rodolfo Dordoni design

Striking interior setting featuring Minotti seats

Image credit: Minotti

A virtuous combination of its design appeal, visible in the rigorous geometry of its volumes, and the haute couture approach exemplified by its precise, meticulous sartorial craftsmanship, Blazer is one of the creations that best expresses the most authentic artisanal attitude of Minotti.
All the surfaces of the elements feature stitching, designing evenly-spaced bands on the covering of the base, cushions, armrests and backrest, and creating a quilting effect that identifies its look and instantly provides a sensation of comfort.

The system includes seats with a depth of 108 cm and chaise-longue elements with a depth of 143 cm – with high and low backrests and armrests.
The system is complemented by a series of cushions in different sizes and headrests, which can be freely positioned, decorating the seats and offering maximum comfort.

The wide range, comprising sofas with strong character as well as modular elements, allows for the creation of original configurations, freely customisable thanks to the extensive choice of elements and exclusive coverings available.

EDITOR’S PICK: Daiki – Marcio Kogan/studio mk27 design

Inspired by the Brazilian architect’s many trips to Japan, the Daiki seats are born out of Marcio Kogan’s deep passion for Japanese culture and are conceived as a real tribute to Japanese design.

The Daiki family includes armchairs with a deep seat, available both with and without armrests, and footstool. Created using sophisticated wood crafting techniques, the curved shell comprises two elements joined at a 45° angle, with a sloping backrest that guarantees maximum comfort. In palisander Santos or flamed ash veneer with Liquorice colour stain, the shell offers a snug fit for the cushions, and sits on a metal frame with legs in a Black-Nickel finish. In the version with leather upholstery, the cushions are quilted with stitching, while in the fabric version they only feature stitching.

Daiki offers a design that also explores and reinterprets the American Mid-Century atmospheres in its bold, clean lines, precious materials and balanced proportions.

Fynn Collection – GamFratesi design

Image credit: Minotti

Scandinavian values meet Italian tradition in Fynn, a project created by combining fine cabinet-making in the wooden elements and sophisticated upholstering with fabric or saddle-hide.

The signature element of the Fynn seats is the armrest, elongated and slightly curved, rounded and smooth to the touch, 100 per cent handmade. Its precise, well-defined line identifies the whole family of seats, in the two Fynn and Fynn Saddle-Hide versions. Covered with the exclusive fabrics and saddle-hides in the collection, it fully expresses the high level of the elegant sartorial process which has always been Minotti’s distinguishing mark.

The family comprises armchairs, lounge and dining little armchairs, benches, footstools and coffee tables.

Mattia – Rodolfo Dordoni design

Single Minotti armchair

Image credit: Minotti

Mattia is inspired by the reinterpretation of a creative sign from the early Seventies, offering a modern take on a design from the Minotti archive.
The finely contoured shell accommodates the seat, opening up like a corolla to host the original roller feature of the backrest. Formal solutions reminiscent of sculptures and the balance between the rigid structure and the suspended volume give life to seats with a soft, enveloping look.

The family comprises a three-seater sofa, an armchair and swivel lounge armchair, available with leather shell and fabric upholstered seat and backrest, or with total fabric or leather covering.

Conceived as precious details to streamline and lighten the design, the steel feet jetting out from underneath sport a Black-Nickel finish. The swivel base of the lounge armchair is available in the same finish.

Liam – Rodolfo Dordoni design

Contemporary low table in front of Minotti sofa

Image credit: Minotti

With its clean lines, exquisite materials and sophisticated finishes, Liam adopts an architectural approach to design, expressed in its rational shapes.

The family of Liam coffee tables is characterised by the airy 1 cm square steel structure, which designs a lightweight volume, defined by a polished Pewter colour finish. It hosts a top in Calacatta marble, Grigio Orobico marble, Black pâte de verre glass or brushed oak with Moka colour lacquer finish. In some elements, it also accommodates a lower, wooden surface for holding books, magazines and objects, also in brushed oak with Moka colour lacquer finish. Liam comes in a range of different sizes, with a square or rectangular shape, which can be used together to design original configurations, also matching them with tops of different materials.

Flirt – Rodolfo Dordoni design

Designed as a jewel-sculpture, with its metallic glints, the Flirt coffee table adds a bright touch to interiors. The structure, made entirely from a sheet of polished stainless-steel, is bent to form two “C”s facing one another, offering two semi-circular tops on different levels. Like an artist’s multiple, Flirt only comes in one size and is varnished in Black-Nickel or Gold. The screws that join the two C-shaped elements serve as decorative details, enhancing the metal sheet.

In conclusion, the new Indoor Collection was designed imagining those living in them, their gestures and daily routines, tactile sensations, exclusive materials, the effect of the light as it illuminates a wooden or marble surface, and the gleam of a metal detail. Sophisticated furnishings, like a tailored suit, made to fit the user’s personality and taste, in line with Minotti’s design tradition. The different cultural backgrounds of the designers merge and contribute to give shape and voice to the “Minotti project”, which gathers the creative stimuli of the designers and is an exceptional example of contemporary style.

Hotel Designs will be publishing its round-up of the Outdoor Collection 2020 by Minotti shortly. Minotti London, which is exclusive style partner at MEET UP London, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Minotti

GOING LIVE: Discussing colour & wellbeing with Parkside

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
GOING LIVE: Discussing colour & wellbeing with Parkside

Placing colour and wellbeing under the spotlight, editor Hamish Kilburn will join Parkside Architectural Tiles’ live at 16:00 (BST) today for the virtual panel discussion entitled: Curative Colour: the power to heal (click here to register)…

Parkside Architectural Tiles is hosting a webinar to celebrate the upcoming launch of its new ceramic wall tile collection. Inspiring creativity, Matrix offers a range of 23 colours, accompanied by matching grouts and trims, that will allow the design community to curate co-ordinated looks or mix and match colours to create striking design statements.

Click here to secure your virtual seats in the audience.

Chaired by Joanna Watchman from workinmind.org, experts in wellbeing in the workplace, key designers and industry professionals will discuss how colour can improve wellbeing and be incorporated into thoughtful design. Joining Watchman on the virtual sofa will be Ben Channon, associate architect and head of wellbeing at Assael Architecture; Constantina Tsoutsikou, founder of Studio LOST who will bring a hospitality and public space perspective; Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs; and Vanessa Konig, Konig Colours.

The webinar will be recorded and sent out afterwards to all registered attendees. If you have a question in advance for our panel then please pop this in the ‘questions and comments’ box when registering or email the team here.

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

Main image credit: Parkside Architectural Tiles

FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FIRST LOOK: Bespoke by Burlington floods personality into the hotel bathroom

The new Bespoke by Burlington collection, which was designed in collaboration with Julie Ingham, marks a ‘new era’ for the leaders in traditional bathrooms…

With the launch of Bespoke by Burlington, Bathroom Brands Group Projects has just stretched the limits of possibilities when it comes to customisation in bathroom aesthetics.

Representing a new era of classic bathroom design, Bespoke by Burlington is a distinctive and unique collection of coloured and hand-decorated ceramics. Offering true customisation, the new products provide architects, specifiers and designers with an unsurpassed level of individuality, placing Burlington at the very forefront of modern-day bathroom design, whilst remaining true to its historic influences and style.

“The new Bespoke by Burlington collection marks a really exciting turning point for us as a Group,” explained Mick Bone, Director of Group Projects at Bathroom Brands. “Burlington’s products, in particular the Edwardian collection, have long been favourites of specifiers, designers and architects, especially within the hospitality market. Now, we can offer them even more choice when it comes to customisation, whilst maintaining the enduring quality and sought after authentic traditional style that Burlington has become known for.”

Image caption: Oriental Blossum from the Bespoke by Burlington collection

Drawing inspiration from the decorated and coloured ceramics of bygone eras, Burlington worked in collaboration with British designer Julie Ingham to create the Bespoke by Burlington collection. Made to order by skilled craft workers in Staffordshire, in England, using the finest materials, the collection is presented on a selection of Burlington’s best-selling Edwardian basins and WCs.

From the intricate hand-illustrated patterns of the Art Deco, Floral, Seascape and Cityscape decorated designs to the bold and captivating shades of the Confetti Pink, Alaska Blue and Moon Grey ceramics, the wide choice of stunning pieces broadens Burlington’s portfolio to now encompass bolder colours and exquisite decorative details, offering the opportunity to deliver truly unique projects.

Ideal for commercial, hospitality and residential design projects, Bespoke Lettering provides the ultimate opportunity for personalisation. Customers may choose between three lettering styles and a choice of two locations on selected basin sizes in Burlington’s Edwardian basin collection, the perfect individual finishing touch a bathroom scheme.

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

Main image credit: Burlington

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Mirror, mirror on the wall, how do I meaningfully design reflective surfaces?

Reflective surfaces mirror a fascination for us all. Whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed reflection over the mantel place they each are seemingly a portal to another world. Designer Peter Mance, the director of MAAPS Design and Architecture, explains…

For interior design, mirrors and reflective surfaces are a material superpower and an integral component of how MAAPS reimagines and designs space.

Once solely a mystical surface and religious metaphor for divine interpretation by Scryers and Soothsayers, mirrors are seemingly a portal to another world. As such, reflection continues to carry a residual sense of visual mystery, fascination and wonder, whether viewed across a becalmed lake or through an ornate framed mirror above the mantel.

In the context of architecture and interiors, mirrors retain a magical ability to bend, extend, and morph our perception of and our relationship to inhabited space. Hovering between two and three dimensions, and in the fleeting moment of transparency, mimicry, and illusion, one’s imagination and perception of reality both instantly undergo four remarkable kinds of spatial transformation through a looking glass. This is what Plato refers to as a “visual spirit” which zips from the eye to a mirror, is reflected back to the observer’s face, thence to the mirror again, and finally back to the eye…

Compressed History

The first mirrored surfaces recorded are in found in polished artifacts dating back to 600BC. Hero(n) of Alexandria (15 to 75AD), a Greek mathematician and engineer who invented the steam engine, extols the many virtues and practical applications of refraction and reflection in his work of Catoptrica.

His explorations and observations form the philosophical foundations of perception and understanding of visual reality.

Later, and more menacingly, the power of reflected light was deployed in warfare by Anthemius (of Tralles) in ~500AD. Adopting a central hexagonal mirror and an encircling corona to guide the light of the sun to a single point of focus, Anthemius created the “burning” mirror – effectively the first analogue laser capable of incinerating approaching fleets or armies.

Greek explorations seeking answers to the secret of light and perception, and later taken up by Arabic scholars, were lost; then rediscovered and translated into Latin to be studied anew throughout Europe during the Renaissance period. Murano in Italy became the epicentre of glass and subsequently mirror technology during the 15th & 16thC. It is no coincidence that Venetian artisans evolve the highly coveted skill of applying tin backing to glass sheets

As Italy’s economic dominance wains during the 17thC, France’s unrelenting desire to acquire the secrets of mirrors finally succeeds when three Murano masters are bribed and transported into France. The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles is the first dramatic spatial expression of this transfer of knowledge and breaks the Venetian monopoly of this magical surface. The captured technology of mirror making is here wielded by the Sun King as a regal platform, reflecting and multiplying the ornate splendour of this spectacular room and the expansive gardens beyond – representing a kingdom of infinite opulence.

Public/private view

Mirrors in a public place provide a collective shared view and simultaneous private view. We are constantly intrigued, anticipating what may happen consciously when these parallel views states and individual perceptions of realities collide. A tantalising, fractured kaleidoscope of splintered shards of illusionary reality are experienced as space and time are transformed by these glamourous and beguiling surfaces.

Humankind are one of the few species that can intellectually comprehend reflection and identify ourselves in a reflection. It is interesting to note that we often describe our internal mental landscape and moods using outward spatial perceptions – to reflect, to gain a sense of perspective.

The mirror is a unique facet of a noetic experience within the places in which we dwell and inhabit. Providing an internalised realm of calm meditation of what we see. Sometimes pleasurable, occasionally surprising or reassuring, often strangely disconcerting, the act of catching oneself in a reflective surface is so fundamental to our continual assessment of ourselves. The viewer, through their observation is necessary reflected, and the conscious moment of evaluation, place, and time, is instant.

Use in space

Designing with mirrors is to invite a space to transform and open. The use of a large statement mirror can make a small room appear much larger than it is, particularly if the mirror encompasses an entire wall, is placed in a central location, or even if it is shaped like a window to create the illusion of openness and space beyond.

Image caption: Jewel Hotel Guestroom, New York | Image credit: MAAPS/RHA

Depending on the size, shape, placement, and ornamentation of a mirror, it can serve a variety of different aesthetic and functional purposes in an architectural or interior setting. Mirrors can act as spatial camouflage, layering, collapsing, and disrupting the passage of light.  Within interiors mirrors can be considered as deliberate object, or as a mass surface, a portal, or as a focusing device.

Glancing views providing anticipation of approaching spaces, providing visual intrigue and pull, a sense of discovery, and self-animated movement. Mirrors positioned close to the line of the ceiling visually appropriate illusionary volumes and breath into the implied space beyond.

Image caption: Mirage installation for Hungary’s 2014 Sziget Music Festival | IMage credit: Studio Nomad

Ultimately, mirrors possess a chameleon quality and can dramatically transform a built space, where an interior either expands or dissolves and our visual experience of perception is shifted. Whether mirrors serve to accentuate an existing interior, lead you visually through to another space, tease and stimulate our curiosity, keep the imagination engaged, or simply to characterise a newly built space, they are versatile devices and instruments of light.

Mirrors in bathroom

Image caption: The Infiniti Bathroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Therefore, it is only natural as designers that we want to celebrate reflection within the interior as both a quality of physical and mental space. In a constrained bathroom, 900mm wide, we played the Infiniti game and applied mirrors to directly opposing surfaces. The smallest room transforms into a meditative space for expansive contemplation.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Soane’s s use of light and mirrors is perhaps the most captivating aspect of the museum interior for us. Many of the principle rooms are delightfully augmented and subtly rendered with natural lighting effects and carefully positioned mirrors. Perhaps seen to greatest effect in the Library, Dining Room and Breakfast Room.

Soane’s use of light is a distinctive and consistent trait of his architecture and interiors. He produced complex, multi-layered effects with light and shade by innovatively deploying forms and structure to marshal the play of light. Creatively implementing devices, still in use today, such as top-lighting, strategically aligned mirrored surfaces and vistas, along with coloured glass to transform the experience of the spaces he designed.

Soane’s spatial techniques were instrumental and one of the contextual sources of inspiration for our use of mirrors with the guestrooms at Club Quarters Lincoln’s Inn Fields hotel.

Mirrors in modern guestroom

Image caption: Club Quarters, Lincoln’s Inn Fields Alumni Guestroom | Image credit: MAAPS

Perception of light

Lebbeus Woods’ notes on “Measuring Light” (April 30, 2012) are apposite when considering our relationship and engagement with the reflected self. As with Sir John Soane, it is the handling of light that is important. “Light is a natural phenomenon the complexity of which reveals the structure of human consciousness. Objects, including building, in their absorption and reflection of light stimulate a human’s neural networks, in effect activating the brain. The more complex and nuanced the stimulation the more the brain comes to life. Shape, edge, texture, colour, shadow, highlight – play with and against one another – effectively enable the brain to make the most subtle distinctions, thereby imbuing human experiences with a richness and complexity that defines it… the perception of light is central.”

The mirror can therefore be viewed as an instrument that reveals the presence of light and therefore giving it a precise measure and place in our conception of interior space. As designers for Zoffini we have taken to heart Woods’ sensibilities of light and aligned it with Anthemius’ articulated mirror instrument to create our own variant of a “Shift Mirror”. Breaking the reflected surface, to redirect light, and to offer an altered sense of perspective.

Image caption: Shift Mirror, Crown Mirror, and Sutton Fire Surround for Zoffini | Image credit: MAAPS

In conclusion, it is not at all surprising that we have come to appreciate the mirrored surface as such a wonderful and adaptive material in the world of design. The mirror is an oddly passive, introspective, intrusive, and energetic surface. Not just because it reflects the environments and people around it, but because by the very nature of its reflective quality transforms the way we see the world that surrounds us.

Though we may have rationally put away all mystical metaphors, mirrors will remain analogous with the stuff of magic and imagination – from mirrors on walls used by manipulative stepmothers to joining Alice with her Looking Glass portal to step through into a different world.

Written and pondered while listening too: The Beat – ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, Benjamin Britten – ‘Narcissus from Six Metamorphoses after Ovid’, Need For Mirrors – ‘Reverie’, Maurice Ravel – ‘Miroirs III’, Harold Budd – ‘The Serpent in Quicksilver’, Bomb The Base – ‘So Special (Toob’s Special Special Mix), John McCarthy & Ken Currie, BBC Something Understood (06/03/2016) – ‘On Reflection’; Reading Mark Pendergrast – Mirror Mirror, Lebbeus Woods blog notes from Slow Manifesto, Jonathan Miller – On Reflection, Stefan Buzas & Richard Bryant – Sir John Soane’s Museum, Team Yellowtrace – Mesmerising Mirrors in Art & Architecture, David Hockney – Secret Knowledge… at home.

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

Main image credit: David Hockney – Viewers Looking at a Ready-Made with Skull and Mirrors

Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Lighting design: guests’ demands come first

Following the industry emerging from the pandemic, lighting brand Franklite explains how guests are at the heart as the hospitality industry enters unchartered waters…

It’s important to understand how the right light can be used in different environments. For instance, in a hotel, light can be used to create an ambience and welcoming feel when paired with the right decor and natural light.

The right light can create a warm and friendly atmosphere; however, the wrong light can easily detract from a nicely decorated room.

Lighting in hotels should be installed with guests at the heart. The entire guest experience starts as soon as you arrive at the front desk of a hotel. If you are arriving late at night, the lighting should be warm and welcoming, helping you to feel relaxed and comforted. This is in contrast to when arriving in the morning, where there should be plenty of daylight or if not possible, bright white lighting, to help you feel energised and awake.

Image credit: Franklite

It’s important to make the best use of light in each space, to create a relaxing atmosphere throughout the entire hotel. For example, the lighting in the restaurant will require different lighting at different times of the day. During the day, where natural light changes are more noticeable, different scenes make it easy to adapt and maintain the right light level. At night, the lighting may be needed to assist in creating a romantic setting.

Understanding these nuances has been the key to Franklite’s success, having manufactured and distributed decorative lighting products from our purpose-built premises for more than 45 years. The brand is renowned, both in the U.K. and abroad, for the quality and versatility of its lighting, a reputation built on using only the finest components in the manufacturing process.

The lighting brand has evolved into a company offering a diverse range of decorative LED lighting products for both interior and exterior, domestic and contract applications, including all areas of hospitality and especially in hotels.

Franklite was one of the first manufacturers of energy saving chandeliers within the U.K. lighting industry. The brand understands the importance of keeping up to date with changes in regulation, the development of super-efficient light sources, and changing interior design trends.

Along with its constantly updated catalogue range, Franklite is able to offer bespoke LED lighting solutions for special projects, ensuring your design is ahead of the game and adding that ‘WOW’ factor when required. The company has dedicated contract sales and technical teams with many years of experience in lighting to assist with all your requirements.

If you would like any assistance or advice on using our products in your next project, please contact us on 01908 691818 or visit the website.

Main image credit: Franklite

 

STAY luxury accomodation

FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: How ‘hometels’ and long-term stays will thrive

The extended stay portion of the lodging business continues to see strong demand. But are extended stay brands doing enough to keep up with travellers’ evolving tastes and needs? Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Sam Ghosh, Vice President at STAY

A few weeks ago, during Hotel Designs LIVE, former presenter of The Gadget Show Jason Bradbury boldly told me that the hotel model as we know it will change forever in the post-pandemic world.

STAY luxury accomodation

With this in mind, I caught up with Sam Ghosh, who is the Vice President of STAY, a residential brand offering serviced apartments in iconic and well-connected locations that shelters the comforts and convenience of home, while combining the luxuries of a boutique hotel. With the recent opening of STAY Camden and with new properties on the horizon, Ghosh seemed like an apt person to speak to in order to understand the ever-evolving needs and demands of modern travellers.

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Image caption: (Left) Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY. (Right) Image credit: STAY Camden

Hamish Kilburn: Hi Sam! So, we have identified that there’s a growing accommodation trend of ‘hometels’, but how does STAY fit within this landscape?

Sam Ghosh: STAY is the residential brand from LABS Collective. Located in Hawley Wharf, STAY residences cater to extended stays offering access to LABS flexible workspaces, which is particularly beneficial for business travellers. The design led  apartments are created to optimise sleep, productivity, and play, ideal for the mobile workforce. 

STAY is a brand that was born with the hybrid ethos in mind – rooms are complete with kitchens with considered design. Guests can also enjoy a concierge service, housekeeping, and premium facilities such as access to a gym. Residents are actively encouraged to make use of the generous communal areas plus it’s on the doorstep of one of London’s most exciting new developments, Hawley Wharf, when it opens in late 2020.

As we emerge out of lockdown, we’re actually seeing a higher demand for serviced apartment living and flexible office space strengthening. Hawley Wharf offers this cautious half step between home and returning full time to offices. Cutting out the commute with STAY and offering a variety of community areas and programming in LABS, we are providing room for people to feel comfortable together again. With careful safety and hygiene adaptations to the space we are creating a comfortable environment for people to re-socialise and feel part of a community.

HK: Can you explain the design scheme inside a STAY property? 

SG: The head of architecture and design for LABS Collective, Yaara Gooner, is the creative eye behind our carefully designed spaces. She leads a team of dedicated in-house designers and architects that magically transform our properties, whether LABS workspaces or STAY residences, to create hubs of enterprise, designed for wellbeing, productivity, and growth. 

The design of STAY Camden holds the need for our long-term guests to relax, work and entertain. Each apartment has been designed to provide superior comfort to each guest, created by combining natural materials, including marble, stone and natural oak with soft furnishings and brass touches. The majority of our furniture has been sourced by Menu, a Scandinavian design brand providing a distinct Nordic influence across the property. 

Within the communal areas, plants also complement the warm colour palette. Nature is imperative to our design process and plants are used for their aesthetic quality and ability to increase productivity, memory retention and decrease stress. They’re also fundamental to creating safe and healthy spaces for our guests and members. Owing to their air purifying qualities we have selected greenery for our public spaces, known to absorb 75 per cent of airborne pollutants. 

Luxury room

Image credit: STAY Camden

HK: Can you tell us more about the new safety measures in place?

SG: As a business, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests and new standards have been incorporated into LABS Collective’s shared workspaces and serviced apartment environments. The measures in place remain so long as the threat of COVID-19 does, but also inform our strategic approach to design and operations in the long term. STAY Camden in fact remained open and operational since the pandemic began, accepting new bookings for guests seeking mid to long term accommodation, prioritising those categorised as key workers or those displaced from their primary place of residence. 

We have gone above and beyond the recommended Government guidelines, elevating our standards to ensure that members and guests can enjoy our spaces with total confidence and to support the wellbeing of our whole community. As an example, at Hawley Wharf, Camden where LABS members and STAY guests share the same entrance, visitor screenings are in operation on arrival as well as one-way systems to ensure seamless movement throughout the building for all.

For our STAY residences, we have totally reworked our guest protocols to translate the best practices in safety and hygiene standards to the apartments whilst providing comfortable accommodation that feels like home. These new measures include reduction of touch points across STAY’s three apartment buildings, including the use of a digital link to pay instead of the regular chip and pin machine, and digitising the guest registration form to reduce the proximity of interaction needed at the time of guest check-in.

A barrier spray is applied to all furniture that provides long term coverage to kill pathogens on contact. Upon guest check out, the apartments receive a 48 hour deep clean, including the use of Pro Zone machines to cleanse the air and eliminate bacteria. In preparation for new arrivals a ‘seal of reassurance’ will be applied to the front door of each apartment. Guests will have to physically break the seal to enter the apartment, safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been entered into after a deep clean.

“We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.” – Sam Ghosh, Vice President, STAY.

HK: You mention an increase in the demand of guests/members wanting to use the Hawley Wharf campus due to the LABS and STAY offering. Are you doing anything further to aid this flexibility of working and living?

SG: With many central London offices remaining shut into the Autumn and beyond, we know that businesses are looking for shorter obligations and for safe spaces to bring their workforce back in comfort in residential zones. We also know that people are desperate for interaction after such a long time working at home.

Recognising the important part that flexible workspaces are playing in this transition to normality, LABS and STAY have launched a new membership which offer a cautious half-way step between working from home and returning fully to the office. Residential spaces like STAY which allow access to LABS flexible workspaces cut out the commute and the vast community areas provide ample room for people to feel comfortable together again. The STAY at LABS membership starts at £2,425 a month and includes a one bedroom apartment at STAY Camden and a Roaming membership providing access to all LABS workspaces. 

We are also working to put additional measures in place across all our LABS spaces in London where we have on-site provisions (such as showers and bike storage) for those walking and cycling to work. To support entrepreneurs and start-ups returning to the workplace successfully, LABS has set up a new incubator initiative which provides discounted office space for qualifying small businesses. Initiatives like this will be integral to a future generation of thriving companies and talent.

Main image credit: STAY Camden

Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Renovation revealed: Marriott Cancun collection reopens

Following a recently completed interior design renovation project, The Marriott Cancun Collection (JW Marriott Cancun and Marriott Cancun) is reopening calming spaces to cater to modern travellers’ demands in the post-pandemic climate. Editor Hamish Kilburn gets a closer look inside…

Only last week, I positioned Mexico’s region of Riviera Nayarit under our editorial spotlight to focus in on the hotel development projects that will soon be completed, and how the senstive renovation of its landscape will enhance the its appeal among modern luxury travellers. 

On the completely other side of Mexico, 2,427 km east of Riviera Nayarit, you will find Cancun, a destination famous for its white sand beaches, near-perfect weather, and bright blue waters. Among of the assemblage of hotels in the city are the sister resorts Marriott Cancun and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, both of which have undergone renovations recently to their public areas, guestrooms and suites and are welcoming guests back into the refreshed spaces in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Together known as Marriott Cancun Collection, the resorts have been given the green light to open their doors as a part of Quintana Roo’s phased re-opening strategy. JW Marriott Cancun opened June 8 and is already hosting guests, and Marriott Cancun Resort is trailing right behind with an expected opening date of July 1.

Large, spacious F&B area

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Having debuted the trendy, Tulum-inspired SacBé Beach Shack last summer and its new lobby in January, Marriott Cancun Resort’s renovations, paired with JW Marriott Cancun’s extensive $40 million upgrade to all 447 ocean-facing guestrooms, set the stage for a roaring first quarter.

New renovated suites shelter stlish array of furniture and clean wooden floors

“There’s no greater feeling than welcoming our guests back with refreshed, inviting spaces that lay the foundation for an exceptional vacation experience,” said Vice President and General Manager Christopher Calabrese. “We continuously strive to elevate our offerings, and that started with JW Marriott Cancun’s design-forward room renovation. When taken in combination with Marriott Cancun’s new lobby, the final touch of an earlier renovation, it feels like two virtually new hotels.”

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Dubbed ‘The Great Room,’ Marriott Cancun’s airy entryway complements the chic design of the resort’s 450 guestrooms. The colour palette includes marbleised beige and cream accented by shades of indigo and turquoise that are inspired by Mexico’s natural beauty. The lofty space features clean, crisp lines, modern furniture of varying textures and cream shades, along with the resort’s signature paneled windows that peer out to the palm-lined grounds and the ocean beyond.

Also in the pipeline for 2020 is Hana, a Polynesian restaurant set to replace Argentinian eatery, La Capilla. Hana, a play on the Hawaiian word for family, will feature intricate wood detailing on the ceiling and distressed brick accents, along with pops of yellow. The contemporary furniture, wall planters and Polynesian-inspired images are intended to transport guests to the most exotic corner of the world, while SacBé Beach Shack is influenced by Tulum’s bohemian atmosphere. The new beach club offers a fusion of local flavours and traditional Mexican cuisine. Here, local street food is served to guests on swinging bar stools set beneath driftwood rods and adjacent to macramé hammocks, hand-painted art and dine-in-the-sand tables.

Low tables in stylish new renovated bar/restaurant

Image credit: Marriott Hotels

Next door, JW Marriott Cancun’s stylish room interiors pay homage to the intricate textiles found in ancient Mayan garments. Meanwhile, the room’s aerial-view photographs are indicative of the region’s famous cenotes, or natural sink holes. Meticulously carved wood accents, architectural light fixtures, herringbone-patterned floors, luxe rainfall showers and free-standing soaking tubs with complimentary lavender bath salts are now standard in all guest rooms. The property also remodelled its exclusive Club 91 lounge with navy blue and olive-hued furniture in combination with coral reef ceiling décor, providing guests a glimpse into what lies beyond the hotel’s shores.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.

Main image credit: Marriott Hotels

CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Breathing new life into a ruined monastery in Naples

Kaldewei bathroom solutions perfectly blends a stylish mix of historical and modern styles inside this restored monastery in Naples, Italy…

It took one year and two months and a handful of premium Kaldewei bathroom products to restore a ruined monastery in Naples into a stylish, modern residential abode.

From the terrace, your gaze sweeps across the mountainside vineyards, olive groves and lemon trees, across the “lower town” of Naples to Vesuvius, the harbour and the Gulf of Naples as far as the island of Capri.

In the midst of this unique landscape, on Vormero Hill, Giovanni and Janine have turned their dream home into reality. They bought the ruined 14th century monastery, completely restored it and fitted it out with a stylish mix of modern and a timeless design. For the bathroom and guest WC, the couple chose Kaldewei’s steel enamel bathroom solutions that connect the historical and modern in a very unique way.

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Image caption: The exposed shell of the 14th Century monastery before its sensitive renovation

Even as a teenager, Giovanni knew that one day he wanted to live with his family, right beside his parents’ home on Vormero Hill. Vormero is the 13th district of Naples and is known as the “upper town”. The houses stand on a green hill and can only be reached by cable car and, in part, only via steep stairs. This is where Giovanni grew up, and this area is still home to three generations of his family. “La famiglia” was also the reason why, after studying and working abroad, he returned to Italy. He and his wife Janine, whom he met on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, began with renting a small house next door to his parents’ home. When the hunt for a suitable property, for his own growing family produced no results, he decided to buy a ruined monastery nearby and rebuild it as a family home.

Special challenges: preservation order and logistics

After thoroughly checking the terms of the preservation order and establishing that the monastery had indeed been used as a residential property in the past, Janine and Giovanni started turning their dream into a reality. The restoration of this ancient building presented the young couple with many challenges. The strict provisions of the preservation order, for instance, specified that the same materials used to build the monastery around 700 years ago, such as chalk and regional sandstone, also had to be used for the restoration – no cement was used at all. In addition, the hilltop location, surrounded by vineyards, called for some special logistical solutions. 150 steps had to be scaled when transporting the required building materials and products. As a result, throughout the entire construction period of 15 months one person was solely employed to constantly drive up and down the hill with a tracked vehicle.

Giovanni gave up his job and devoted himself to managing the building site for a year. To help them implement their ideas, the couple called in the architect Antonio Gravagnuolo, who specialises in listed projects, and the German interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann. Together, they created a unique house that skilfully blends the past and the present.

“The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape.” – interior designer Stephan Poeppelmann

When tradition and modern collide

“We wanted to retain the character of the ruined monastery. That’s why it was particularly important for us to use traditional materials as much as possible both for the building and the internal restoration and to work with suppliers from the local region,” Janine says. The interior planning corresponded with those wishes: restrained and respectful of the ruin’s history – but at the same time incredibly brave.

Talking about the concept, Poeppelmann says: “In keeping with the building’s past life as a monastery which was now to be restored as a home and be a part of the landscape, we didn’t remove corners and niches in existing walls, for example, but used them as spaces to integrate shelves or seating. The colours are restrained and are reminiscent of the vineyard landscape. The main colours are a delicate pastel green and warm shades of brown.” Ancient floor tiles which were salvaged, undamaged during the building work were also used in the interior design concept, as were lots of little apothecary bottles made of coloured glass, some of which have been integrated into the walls, or serve as decorative elements and vases around the house.

Kaldewei bathroom solutions: perfect match between product and room design

“Today’s bathroom is a multi-purpose space with the highest standards of design. The harmonious fusion of architecture, design, functionality and perfect light produce the optimum solution in the bathroom,” adds  Poeppelmann, describing the design approach for the bathroom.

Modern, quirky bathroom

Image credit: Kaldewei Cono

In fitting out the spacious bathroom, the designer was inspired by the former monastery’s distinctive vaulting. “Naturally, we were impressed by Kaldewei’s natural and classical yet modern shapes. Since we had a round-arched ceiling in the bathroom, we wanted to pick up on that shape with the bath and the washbasin. That’s why we decided on the Centro countertop washbasin, whose interior echoes the rounded shape, and the Meisterstück Classic Duo Oval bath,” says Janine, explaining the decision behind their choice. With its seamless panelling, the bath, made of elegant Kaldewei steel enamel, is the classic archetype of the freestanding bath. The Centro countertop washbasin with its spacious surround, designed by Anke Salomon, also exudes a sense of purity and simple elegance.

luxe bath on colourful tiles

Image caption: Kaldewei Meisterstueck Classic Duo Oval bath

The Kaldewei trinity in the bathroom is completed with the floor-level Scona shower in a restrained Pearl Grey matt. This shower surface fits harmoniously into the colourfully tiled floor, while the round, centrally-positioned waste cover made of steel enamel also picks up on the round-arch shape. The space-saving wall-hung Cono washbasin works well in the guest WC. The characteristic design element of this rectangular washbasin is the square waste cover which is also enamelled. “With the Kaldewei steel enamel bathroom solutions we have created a perfect match between product and room architecture,” says Stephan Pöppelmann.

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Image caption: Kaldewei Scona

Whether for a new-build or refurbishment, Kaldewei shower surfaces, washbasins and baths are a hit with builders worldwide. The enamelled bathroom solutions meet high aesthetic standards and, thanks to the huge range of different designs and sizes, they fit perfectly into virtually any room. As a material, Kaldewei steel enamel is exceptionally long-lasting and low-maintenance. Poeppelmann enjoys working with Kaldewei bathroom solutions: “The products are robust. At the same time, they have smooth, seamless lines. Thanks to the wide range of colours, I can pick up on current trends, if required. In addition, high-end design with a modern look should also always take functionality and the day-to-day habits of its users into account.”

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

CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Lighting The Hoxton Southwark

A stone’s throw from the River Thames and London’s South Bank, the Hoxton Southwark opened its doors in September last year. The design team at Ennismore specified lighting products from Heathfield & Co to create a vibrant interior design scheme…

Hoxton Southwark, which opened last year, became the eighth property in the brand’s series.

The new-build hotel contains 192 rooms, various meeting and events spaces, and its two popular restaurants; Albie, an all-day dining spot and Seabird, a rooftop seafood restaurant with spectacular views across the capital.

Alongside owners Ennismore, Heathfield & Co’s experienced team of project managers, product designers and engineers worked on this incredible project for a year, supplying bespoke lighting across the hotel’s public areas. Aimed at creating a vibrant and welcoming space, the clients brief included vintage references and classic styles, which the team designed, developed and manufactured, resulting in 22 completely bespoke pieces, from table lamps and wall lights, to multiple ceiling fittings and pendants.

Unique materials and specialist finishes come together in the production of this beautiful collection of bespoke lighting, each manufactured and assembled in Heathfield’s UK warehouse. A custom brass finish created specifically for the project will organically develop over time, harnessing the natural antiquing process.

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

Main image credit: Hoxton Southwark/Ennismore

 

Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Monkey Island Estate opens private residences

The six new private residences open at Monkey Island Estate in Bray amid post-pandemic luxury consumer demands expecting a surge of self-isolated escapes… 

YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate, which Hotel Designs reviewed shortly after it opened last year, has unveiled six new private residences.

Endearingly named to reflect their individual nature, the residences blend classic style and the warmth of a period home with contemporary and luxury comfort, each with its own intriguing history and story to tell. Guests staying in the residences can enjoy the freedom, space and privacy of staying with loved ones, whilst taking advantage of the hospitality and services of the hotel, just a stone’s throw away.

The residences

Long White Cloud is an embodiment of homely elegance, where Edward Elgar is known to have stayed and composed some of his greatest works.  More recent residents include Formula One racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. The magnificent 19th Century property has four large bedroom suites accompanied by an impressive kitchen and a charming garden, ideal for alfresco dining in the summer months. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, Long White Cloud also offers a private pool and jetty, ideal for those who may wish to arrive by boat.

Brook House embodies another spacious offering with four generously sized suites, a lavish living room and a large garden with private outdoor/indoor swimming pool perfect for hot summer afternoons.

Sundial Cottage with its secluded secret garden is quaint yet spacious, steeped in the same exciting history as Monkey Island itself.  Sundial Cottage boasts three gorgeous bedrooms with a kitchen-diner and cosy living room. Those staying in Sundial Cottage will share the same four walls as the famed Sylvia Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds.

Bray House is a bijou gem just steps away from Bray’s church, offering the ideal country bolthole for those looking to escape the city. The three-bedroom residence has undergone multiple transformations over the years from stable block to cobblers’ shop, antique centre and family home.

Dormer Cottage enchants guests with standout features including wooden beams, a welcoming open fireplace and a dramatic silk-clad wall. The 500-year-old one-bedroom residence offers guests immediate access to the heart of Bray.

Lavender House also sits in the heart of the village offering three bedrooms. With an impressive double fronted cottage façade believed to date back to the early 1700s, the impressive property was once home to several local families in three terraced cottages.

Monkey Island, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Surrounded by elegant gardens, Monkey Island is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located less than an hour’s drive from Central London. The addition of the Private Residences offers those who want to enjoy this historic landmark and the delightful village of Bray even more opportunity to do so, in true comfort, style and privacy.

Main image credit: YTL Hotels’ Monkey Island Estate

How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How hotels are keeping sustainability front and centre

To celebrate sustainability in practice, Hotel Designs asks Paisley Hansen to investigate what hotels are doing today in order to preserve tomorrow…

Everyone strives to be as kind to the environment as they can and hotels are no exception. As a matter of fact, with the amount of traffic they receive, hotels going green has been a significant inspiration for other businesses to follow suit.

To keep up with changing times, hotels have implemented many environmentally-friendly practices.

Utilising the power of the sun

There’s no doubt about it–solar energy is hot. If you’ve ever received a money-saving solar quote, or switched over yourself, you know how well it works. Hotels have made the same choice and decided it’s worth their while to invest in eco-friendly energy sources. Solar power is a no-brainer and it’s smart business to implement it now.

Image credit: Pixabay

Doing less laundry

Years ago when you’d book a hotel, you would get clean sheets and towels each day. Many hotels are now frowning on this wasteful practice, unless you specifically request it. Towels can be left to dry and reused the next day. This uses less water, detergent and saves the hotel money.

Lathering up in Bulk

Remember when you were a kid and hotels had all those fun little amenities? Although people loved to collect miniature bars of soap and tiny shampoo bottles, many hotels have opted to install bulk shampoo and soap dispensers. This is popular in Europe where each shower contains a press container that releases gel to be used as shampoo and body wash. These containers mean less packaging and plastic waste.

Economical lighting solutions

Hotels are changing the way they provide lighting to reduce their carbon footprint. Many have decided to install LED lighting throughout the property. You may also come across motion sensor lights that turn on as you walk down a hallway, much like what you see in a supermarket freezer section. You may even find these upon entering your room, which is a big help if you check in after hours.

Image credit: Pixabay

Watching waste

Many hotels offer a continental breakfast and the patrons love the money they save on a meal. In the past, a lot of trash was generated by the use of paper cups and plates, so now, many hotels use glass dishes and coffee mugs with a tub to collect dirty dishes. This reduces an incredible amount of trash. Hotels are also placing recyclable bins around the property to collect plastic, metal and glass items, so don’t throw them in your regular trash can!

Going Chameleon

In many parts of the world, you’ll find hotels that are virtual chameleons. What this means is that they blend in seamlessly with their surroundings for many specific reasons. These hotels have made a conscious decision not to mar the landscape and instead, keep the area looking pristine. This practice is also animal-friendly as it doesn’t disturb, or interfere, with the rhythm of wildlife in the area.

Recycling water

Along with doing less laundry, more hotels are opting to save water through a process called greywater recycling. This procedure allows lightly used water, such as that used in showers or sinks, to be reused again for non-drinking purposes like irrigation or toilet flushing. Other hotels worldwide also collect and reuse rainwater in much the same manner.

Cleaning with a conscience

All these improvements sound wonderful, but what happens at the hotel when you’re not there? Green practices are now taking place at hotels behind the scenes, as well. That’s where environmentally-friendly cleaning products come into play. Hotels no longer feel that they need to use harsh, caustic chemicals when cleaning rooms. Many products have been developed that are made of lemon, vinegar and plant-based sources that still kill germs and sanitise rooms.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

Environmentally-friendly practices in hotels are becoming the norm, as they well should. From solar energy, to water recycling and protecting natural habitats, looking for better options is everyone’s responsibility. Using hotels as an example, find out how you can live greener in your own home.

Main image credit: Pixabay

In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (Lockdown) Conversation With: Design legend Jean-Michel Gathy

If the renders on the boards are anything to go by, Jean-Michel Gathy, who is widely considered as one of the industry’s finest, has embarked on one of his most ambitious hospitality projects to date, to design Amaala Island. Editor Hamish Kilburn learns more…

There is not a hotel designer or architect alive today who has not heard of the name Jean-Michel Gathy, and for good reason. The creative mastermind, who doesn’t just design but more reinvents hotel experiences, has been repainting the backdrop of luxury for what is coming up to three decades.

Not shy of his ambition – he once stated that he wanted to be the first person to design a hotel on the moon – Gathy’s approach to a project is all-encompassing, allowing him to further push (and at times break through) conventional barriers.

Arrival experience, luxury

Image credit: Capella Sanya, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

His latest project, Amaala Island will be an ultra luxury resort destination spanning three sites, a first for the region of Saudi Arabia. Designed to evolve and elevate the very best in travel, the island is an ultra-luxury destination that focuses on curating transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea.

To find out more about the project, and in homage to the designer’s award-winning career, I managed to speak to the architect/designer.

Hamish Kilburn: Jean-Michel, how will the ultra-luxe Amaala Island – aka the “Diamond of the Red Sea” – challenge conventional island developments?

Jean-Michel Gathy: The development of ‘The Island’ will be an immersive and interactive art-inspired jewel. 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.

“It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you.” – Jean-Michel Gathy

HK: How does your approach differ when designing a destination from you’re designing a hotel?

JMG: Constant travel is a huge part of the job. It allows me to observe and to be constantly inquisitive about my surroundings. Travelling builds a subconscious library of ideas, which are expressed in my work and helps my ideas remain innovative and fresh. It’s not a matter of a specific place; it is the fact that when you travel, your mind is continually challenged by the happenings around you. It’s not about where you travel, either – what counts is that you explore. No matter where you are, every country has something new to offer in terms of inspiration.

Luxury spa area that frames unspoilt view through rustic blinds

Image credit: Image credit: The Chedi Muscat, Oman, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: What have been some of your design highlights in your career?

JMG: Perhaps the one for which I am most renowned is the overwater hammocks or ‘basking nets’, which I initiated in the Maldives at the One&Only Reethi Rah in 2000. Until then, you would find balustrades around the terraces of villas. I decided to alter that – if anyone was going to fall off the terrace, they could fall on to the nets. And I put scatter cushions on them.

Image credit: One&Only Reethi Rah Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

Today, just about every hotel uses this idea. Another pioneering step was turning standalone tents for safari-style camps into a commodity. The accommodation at these hotels used to be basic but this started to change after I designed luxurious tents for the Amanwana in 1990. I am also known for my oversized, dramatic swimming pools such as the one on the roof of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Large, oversized swimming pool

Image credit: The Setai Miami, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

HK: What has been the most demanding request you have received from a client to date?

JMG: I guess I take every client that I work with as a challenge more than a demanding request.

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

JMG: I would love to travel to Iceland to see its rugged landscapes, glaciers, rough seas, hot springs and volcanoes. I’d also like to visit the south of Chile and the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia, which has extraordinary wildlife and endless forests.

HK: What’s your biggest indulgence when travelling?

JMG: Collecting art – I like to collect and invest in local artwork whilst on my travels.

HK: What lesson would you teach to your younger self?

JMG: The pathway to success is never easy, it takes hard work, dedication and passion.

HK: If you could design a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JMG: I’d love to design a hotel in Antarctica. There’s an ice hotel in Sweden, but that’s only open four months a year, so I want to do one that permanently remains ice.

HK: What’s been your favourite year on the international design scene?

JMG: To be honest, every year working with my team at Denniston has been and is special to me.

HK: What’s one item you cannot travel without?

JMG: I travel light, but I always ensure I have a cashmere scarf for the plane, and a sweater (I’m a big cashmere fan). I also travel with my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: How is the perception of luxury changing – and how is this evolving the way in which you create spaces in the luxury arena?

JMG: Before, hotels were just a place where you go and relax. Today, guests are connected: they want spas, they want food and beverage, they want activities, they want things to do. The hotels where you arrive and lay on the beach and do nothing have progressively disappeared, because life is such that people have become more and more active. I think luxury property clients are now asking for more than simply great rooms. They want retail facilities, a cinema, an extraordinary spa, award-winning F&B offerings and outdoor activities all integrated into the hotel.

“In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley.” – Jean-Michel Gathy.

HK: What’s the value of having designers and architects in your practice?

JMG: There are many good architects, but we have a specific niche. I’m going to compare us to branding: thousands of people buy Toyotas, but few people buy Bentleys. I believe that we are more Bentley than Toyota. This doesn’t mean that a Toyota is not a good car. In terms of reliability, price strategy, and brand positioning, Toyota is a fantastic commercial car – but I prefer a Bentley. Designers are the same; many prefer commercial projects and properties, because their interest is financial. They just want to make money, which means they’re not romantic about their projects. Then you have other designers, which is where I belong, who are more interested in the success of the project, the excitement of the journey of designing a hotel, and having the pride of making something fantastic, even though you earn less money.

Restaurant overlooking ocean in the Maldives

Image credit: One&Only Maldives, designed by Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

HK: Has the way in which you source inspiration changed over the years?

JMG: I’m someone who designs from the heart so my style is one that’s charismatic. It’s not an ego trip like the architects who design for themselves. I design elements that are a composition of dramatic effect; I create large and dramatic space, in opposition to intimate areas, so the space is always dynamic. Secondly, I design for the sensation you get out of it. I want every space in the hotel to be comfortable and for my clients to come back and say, I like this space. Sometimes they don’t know why they like it, but if they walk in and feel good, I know I’ve succeeded.

And succeeded Gathy has in widening the path of innovative hotel experiences in far-flung destinations around the world. While his past hotel projects have firmly etched his name into the architecture, design and luxury hospitality history books, his latest ideas and concepts that are currently on the boards highlight Gathy and Denniston’s ambitions. Inspired by his worldly perspective of design and architecture, I believe that Gathy’s aspiration is yet to peak as he continues to think big with the future landscape of luxury international hotel design patiently waiting in his sketchbook for its cue to emerge.

Main image credit: Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston

PRODUCT WATCH: TIG launches Virtual Experience Space for smart spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
PRODUCT WATCH: TIG launches Virtual Experience Space for smart spaces

Technological Innovations Group (TIG) the EMEA sales agency offering integrated technology solutions for residential and commercial smart spaces…

On the same day the company has been announced as headline partner of Hotel Designs LIVE, TIG has launched its Virtual Experience Space to showcase the impressive portfolio of AV, UC, IT and control solutions it represents.

The Virtual Experience Space is an immersive online space as part of the company’s new website that has been carefully designed to welcome and deliver an engaging and life-like experience for consultants, integrators, specifiers and end-users.

By embarking on a ‘walk-through’ tour of the virtual space, accompanied by vocal explanations, visitors will understand how the ecosystem of solutions available from TIG integrate to transform smart spaces in any corporate, residential, hospitality, education or healthcare environment.

Visitors will also benefit from TIG’s technical specialists, who are on hand to support them as they specify futureproof deployments, by recommending the most appropriate suite of solutions. TIG’s range of solutions have been chosen to complement one another to create superior, fully integrated and tailor-made smart spaces – whatever the client’s brief.

The world-class brands that TIG represents include:

  • Collaboration and residential smart space technology from Crestron
  • Remote monitoring and power distribution solutions from GUDE
  • Innovative tools and software from Hoylu for remote collaboration and accessible digital group learning
  • Stylish control panels for the hotel and home from Black Nova
  • Multi-user, multi-screen, multi-location visual collaboration platform from Oblong
  • User-friendly yet advanced meeting scheduling and management software from NFS
  • Made-to-order furniture from Salamander Designs that fits in perfectly with specific AV products
  • And, most recently, Embrava, whose Desk Sign and Blynclight ranges display employee and workspace availability, and indicate whether desks have been recently disinfected before next use

Robin van Meeuwen, TIG’s CEO, told Hotel Designs: “Here at TIG, we have been able to bring together experience, people and innovation through a collaboration with some of the finest technologically advanced brands to create a portfolio of class-leading solutions. These brands have been carefully selected for their contribution to the creation of tomorrow’s smart spaces – whether they are in the workplace, a university, a hotel, a hospital, or any other home, leisure or business environment.

“Our Virtual Experience Space will exhibit the best AV, UC, IT and control solutions for the constantly evolving way in which we live and work. It provides a solutions-based approach to answering how we can futureproof our smart space deployments, with a focus on efficiency, adaptability, safety and security. We look forward to welcoming our valued partners and customers to this revolutionary digital space!”

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the opening of TIG’s ‘real-life’ Experience Spaces in London and Frankfurt has been rescheduled for September 2020. To explore the new Virtual Experience Space, visit the website. Following this, visitors are invited to arrange a more detailed ‘real’ visit, hosted one-to-one by one of our expert salespeople, by emailing.

Main image credit: TIG

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

Hotel Designs has always championed creative art outside the conventional framework. Here, art consultant Ollie Griffin from Elegant Clutter explains the importance of narrative when choosing art for hotel interior design…

Art Consultancy is a fine art in it’s own right. Many people have an opinion on art, welcome or otherwise.

How many times have you heard someone’s throwaway comment when regarding a critically acclaimed artwork, ‘I could have done that’? Maybe they could, but the fact is they didn’t.

A key part of the Art Consultants job is to ensure the artwork makes the right connection with the hotel guest. Using the art as a story-teller is a great way to engage the guest. Hopefully it will make them think. Or smile. Or both. They may even learn something about where they are staying or eating.

The importance of research

There really is more to art than meets the eye. Elegant Clutter starts any artwork project with extensive research into the story of the hotel, location or people involved with it. There are usually a multitude of untold stories that can make great inspiration for an artist. They just need to be uncovered.

Elegant Clutters Creative Director, Harry Pass, reminds us to, ‘skip the artwork research stage at your peril’. He insists that his team meticulously research and he takes a personal sense of pride in the comprehensive proposals submitted. This is the crucial first stage of any Art Consultancy project. A well thought out art narrative can help add an intriguing and subtle thread to a hotels interior scheme.

And if the story is a heavy one then a bit of humour can help communicate it. The artists at Elegant Clutter were challenged to create some original artworks for the bedrooms of Malmaison Oxford, a former prison. Their contemporary graphical artworks depict a jailor locking up prison cells for the night featured the slogan ‘Lights out at 10’.

Seaside surrealism and modern opulence

Seaside surrealism and eccentric curiosity helped Elegant Clutter create a Brighton hotel that truly rocks. Just a few considered, quirky and nautical-inspired pieces, designed and made by EC, have totally transformed the main restaurant space at the Hotel de Vin, Brighton.

In a separate recessed area, the eccentric seaside odyssey continues. Every type of captain, from sea to spaceship, adorn the walls in a series of striking framed prints. Humour is key to the set of artworks which hopefully make people smile as well as offering a link to the sea. There are many different levels of story-telling. Some more obvious and others woven subtly into the layers of the artwork.

Image credit: Hotel Du Vin Brighton/Elegant Clutter

Another subtle piece of story-telling was involved in developing the artwork for the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden. Elegant Clutter approached the artwork with modern opulence in mind. The Fritz Felix Restaurant effortlessly captures the beauty and culture of its forest surroundings.

A delightful blend of eras past and present, its mix of classicism and modernity creates a wonderfully refined, informal dining space.  The main restaurant, designed by Robert Angell Design International, features four oversized geometric artworks, painted and bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter. Reflecting the ever-changing seasons, these remain a constant view through the impressive sliding windows.

Image credit: Fritz Felix Seasons/Elegant Clutter

An abstract landscape painting was also created for the open kitchen area and a collection of pencil sketches of local architecture were commissioned for the bar. All telling the story of the locality.

Spa town renovation

Original period detailing, combined with beautiful bespoke artwork supplied by Elegant Clutter, brings the heritage of the M Gallery Hotel, Cheltenham alive.

Image credit: MGallery/Elegant Clutter

What began with thorough research, has resulted in a striking display of artwork that perfectly complements the existing aesthetics.  All of the framing and detailing are designed to fit seamlessly with the hand-crafted period interior, while providing a contemporary, playful twist.

Various artwork techniques were explored to create a totally distinct look. You’ll find everything from hand-sketched originals and printed porcelain, to vinyl silhouettes and digital murals. The bedroom artwork collection was designed by recreating the original hand painted wallpaper uncovered in the grand staircase and re-imagining it as a kaleidoscope.

City culture

Creating artwork for Radisson Blu, Leeds was a perfect fit for Elegant Clutter. With a shared belief in pushing the boundaries of hotel design, what resulted makes quite an impression.

Trevillion Interiors briefed the project in an open and dynamic way, with ‘Leeds stories’ to become the central focus. The brief allowed for complete creativity and what stands now is an impressive interior that truly reflects the heritage of this vibrant city.

One of the most striking pieces has to be the oversized, spray-painted mural of Leeds legend Peter O’Toole. The exposed wall contrasts with the smooth charm of this iconic figure, creating an industrial yet intimate feel.

Image credit: Radisson Blu/Elegant Clutter

Another statement piece constitutes a second wall mural but applied with a combination of hand painting and digital mural. The team at Elegant Clutter photographed typical street scenes of Leeds but from a very stylistic perspective. These images made up a landscape of commuters, street artists and families that were used to add interest to a previously unused and soulless atrium. The graphics and hand painted shadows adorn the three levels of bedroom walkways to create a unique atmosphere.

Other artwork references more of Yorkshire’s icons, including its famous financial district. This story was brought to life using real digitally printed penny coins to make up the image.

A similar inspiration was used on the Moxy Hotel Dusseldorf located in the banking sector of the city. Elegant Clutter have transformed the siding lift doors in a frivolous and charming way. To get to your room, you first have to get through the bank vault!

Just a bit of fun

When a story is treated a little irreverently and the client has the confidence to run with it Elegant Clutter are allowed to have a bit of fun. Working on the ETC Venue site in Chancery Lane one of Elegant Clutters free-hand artists set about painting a brick wall. With a bit of imagination the result was a glimpse at how one of the local legal fraternity may spend their breaks from court.

Sometimes it just feels right to put a smile on people’s faces by putting a smile in their face. Another art installation destined for an ETC Venue site in New York was conceived to do just that. This piece was inspired by the kindred spirits that are New York and London – and it seems more poignant than ever right now! I believe that sometimes we need art that just makes us smile.

There is a lot more to art than meets the eye so next time you hear someone disrespecting an artwork perhaps it’s worth reminding them to take moment to look a little deeper. It’s quite likely there are some interesting stories involved and at the very least some subtly veiled humour to appreciate. If they just gave it a little thought.

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

IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN VIDEO: Preparation and design solutions for a post-pandemic world

Hotel Designs took over the Montgomery Group Series yesterday, interviewing Design Equals’ Katie McCarthy to understand how how the hospitality industry should be preparing for a post-pandemic world…

“Who would have predicted this time last year that we would be here, giving you [the audience] live webinars and putting Preparation and Design Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World under the spotlight,” explained editor Hamish Kilburn when he introduced the next episode in the Montgomery Group Series. “But, we are here, and we are not afraid to put it under the spotlight.” Kilburn then introduced Katie McCarthy, Founder and Design Director of Design Equals to the hundreds of individuals who tuned in for the live discussion.

If you missed the live session, here’s the full interview:

The 40-minute interview covered all angles, including common pitfalls to avoid when designing on a budget, the realities of re-opening after lockdown measures become more relaxed and the long-term impact of COVID–19. In addition, Kilburn asked McCarthy about Design Equal’s innovative initiative ‘Design = in a Box’, an industry toolkit that the design studio has launched that addresses the main areas of priorities, which are safety, space and style.

The session came as Hotel Designs prepares to go live to its international audience on June 23 with Hotel Designs LIVE, a virtual conference that will include four engaging seminars with world-renowned designers, architects, hoteliers and developers on the global hospitality and design scene.

Montgomery Group Series is a cluster of weekly webinars with Q&As from leading industry figureheads, aimed to help keep the community updated, inspired and motivated during these difficult times.

Main image credit: Hotel Designs/Design Equals

HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
HD launches a one-day virtual conference, Hotel Designs LIVE

Hotel Designs LIVE, which takes place online on June 23, will consist of engaging seminars by the leading figures on the international hotel design scene, while also putting the latest products and innovations under the spotlight…

If you are designer, architect, hotelier or developer, secure your complimentary place at Hotel Designs LIVE here.

Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website, has launched Hotel Designs LIVE, a one-day virtual conference to serve the industry during the Covid-19 crisis.

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

“Not even lockdown will prevent Hotel Designs from creating conversations like no other,” explains editor Hamish Kilburn who will host the virtual event on June 23. “The concept of Hotel Designs LIVE is to use a new method to engage with our audience, and will so do that by hosting  thought-provoking discussions and identifying the latest products on the market in a concise and meaningful way.”

Designers, architects, hoteliers and developers who wish to attend the free conference can do so by registering online. The seminars, which will be divided into four relevant sections throughout the day (technology, public areas, sleep and wellness), will include discussions and insights from leading individuals on the international hotel design scene.

What’s on the agenda? 

 

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

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

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

Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel being formed from train carriages on bridge in Africa

The train hotel, which will be called Kruger Shalati, is under construction on the Selati Bridge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park…

Talk about a one-off travel experience. Unmatched views of the South African wildlife in Kruger National Park will soon be spectacularly framed from the vantage point of a new 31-key luxury hotel that will be formed from a set of 13 restored train carriages on a disused bridge.

Kruger Shalati is expected to offer a unique luxury accommodation in the re-envisioned train which will pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago while welcoming new explorers from near and far. The hotel’s location marks where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s (the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.)

Render of train on bridge

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

Renderings of the new hotel show how the carriages will merge together and perch over the Sabie River on the Selati Bridge. The glass-walled, large train rooms will allow for infinite views along the length of the majestic river below, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. Despite the architectural challenges, its renderings suggest that the hotel will feature decking, carious view points and even a private plunge pool.

African-inspired Interior design in luxury guestroom.

Image credit: Kruger Shalati

“Even though we’re experiencing a nationwide lockdown, the excitement of the outdoors grows stronger and stronger,” the hotel wrote in a statement on Instagram. “We’re looking forward to heading back to construction on the Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge. and experiencing the beauty of its surroundings.”

The hotel, which is described on its website as “an express entryway to freedom, relaxation and meaningful connection,” is still under construction.

Main image credit: Kruger Shalati

IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
IN PICTURES: New photography emerges of ME Dubai at the Opus

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared new images of Opus, an innovative glass-façade building that was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects…

Home to newly opened ME Dubai, the Opus, which conceptualised in 2007 by Zaha Hadid Architects, explores the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior.

The late Zaha Hadid herself presented this project as the only hotel in which she created both its architecture and interiors, which gives it a special significance among the architecture firm’s portfolio of work.

“The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right.”

Spanning 84,300 square metres (907,400 square feet), the Opus was designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole – taking the form of a cube. The cube has been ‘eroded’ in its centre, creating a free-form void that is an important volume of the design in its own right. The two halves of the building on either side of the void are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level and also connected by an asymmetric 38 metre wide, three-storey bridge 71 metres above the ground.

Striking architecture of the cube like building

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

“The precise orthogonal geometries of the Opus’ elemental glass cube contrast dramatically with the fluidity of the eight-storey void at its centre,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.

The cube’s double-glazed insulating façades incorporate a UV coating and a mirrored frit pattern to reduce solar gain. Applied around the entire building, this dotted frit patterning emphasises the clarity of the building’s orthogonal form, while at the same time, dissolving its volume through the continuous play of light varying between ever-changing reflections and transparency.

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The void’s 6,000 square metre façade is created from 4,300 individual units of flat, single-curved or double-curved glass. The high-efficiency glazing units are comprised of 8mm Low-E glass (coated on the inside), a 16mm cavity between the panes and two layers of 6mm clear glass with a 1.52mm PVB resin laminate. This curved façade was designed using digital 3D modelling that also identified specific zones which required tempered glass.

During the day, the cube’s façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city; whilst at night, the void is illuminated by a dynamic light installation of individually controllable LEDs within each glass panel.

Furniture by Zaha Hadid Design is installed throughout the hotel, including the ‘Petalinas’ sofas and ‘Ottomans’ pods in the lobby that are fabricated from materials ensuring a long lifecycle and its components can be recycled. The ‘Opus’ beds are featured in each guestrooms, while the ‘Work & Play’ combination sofa with desk are installed in the suites. The bathrooms incorporate the ‘Vitae’ bathroom collection, designed by Hadid in 2015 for Noken Porcelanosa, continuing her fluid architectural language throughout the hotel’s interiors.

Modern, angular guestroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The ME Dubai hotel incorporates 74 rooms and 19 suites, while the Opus building also houses offices floors, serviced residences and restaurants, cafes and bars including ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant and the MAINE Land Brasserie.

modern bathroom

Image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Sensors throughout the Opus automatically adjust the ventilation and lighting according to occupancy to conserve energy while ME Dubai follows Meliá Hotels International initiatives for sustainable practices. Hotel guests will receive stainless-steel water bottles to use during their stay with drinking water dispensers installed throughout the hotel. With no plastic bottles in guest rooms, and a program to become entirely plastic free in all areas, the hotel is also reducing food waste by not serving buffets and has composters to recycle discarded organics.

Main image credit: Laurian Ghinitoiu

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.

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

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

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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.

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

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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.