Technology has impacted our lives. Companies such as Amazon have transformed the way we purchase goods and services, and the manner in which they are delivered to one’s door. While trucks and vans are set up in one’s mind for such deliveries, it’s not far off to when drones will be employed. Such advances not only affect the way we live but as importantly, the spaces we inhabit. Likewise, where once there was a morning and evening rush to get to work outside of one’s home, today workspaces and the locations themselves are as varied as the tasks now required.
Increasingly, developers are incorporating a ‘daisy chain’ system in their developments to further liveability and amenity space, whereby the petals are intrinsically linked, across various ‘fields’. A wellness centre, located in one building, can also be accessed by others under the same subscription model, or vice versa, members are able to access a day spa at another location. Music, films and other forms of entertainment is shared, whether its Netflix or Spotify, so why should the physical entities we inhabit be restrictive? As the internet and social media channels become increasingly overloaded, there is a groundswell of like-minded people to find their own ‘village green’, a place where there’s a commonality of values and aesthetics.
A shift is occurring in the industry whereby a curated approach to interiors, especially in hospitality and hotels, is gaining further traction, as opposed to generic designs found anywhere around the globe. There has to be a customised touch point, a sense of placemaking that captures the local spirit of that city. It shouldn’t be the same hotel that just happens to be somewhere else. Every hotel should provide a distinct experience that reflects the vision and influence of authentic local culture, rooted in and enhanced by thought-provoking design. Whether it be an incorporation of local artwork or craftspeople or a bespoke martini created especially for the hotelier by world-renowned The Everleigh bar, or even a customized fragrance from LeLabo, we are seeing a shift in the industry that incorporates art and lifestyle elements from design to execution.
However, some things don’t change. We appreciate the importance of the basic ingredients that make people want to return to the same hotel. There has to be a large and comfortable bed, number one. And two, a hot and reliable shower that’s easy to operate. And of course, there are also those technological advances such as the smartphone that makes the stay that much more pleasurable and efficient; from accessing one’s information via the cloud to dialling into a conference at the switch of a button.
The humble café bar that once was a standard feature in most hotels has ‘morphed’ into collaborative projects between hotel operators and your local hipster barista. These ‘Instagrammable’ locations set out not only to service hotel guests but to also create bespoke experiences for local and wider communities. Remembering that hint of citrus or that dash of almond milk in one’s coffee can make that experience not only memorable but establish a sense of branding for the hotel itself. We’re also seeing a broadening of the market. Rather than designing hotel rooms, predominantly all the same size, there will be much more varied offerings that take into account families travelling with children. Millennials and young families travelling the world are far more common, so why not create a family environment without compromising on design and aesthetics? Two adjoining rooms or suites with connecting doors and/or intercoms or even a subscription nanny service.
Cross-pollination, whether it’s embedded in a hotel or in a residential building, is a focus that the industry is accepting and embedding more of moving forward. The sense of ownership comes into question, with people utilising Uber or GoGet rather than feeling the need to have a garage at the base of their building or exploring the world via Airbnb for bespoke experiences. Other features, normally associated with a detached home in the suburbs, such as a workshop or toolshed, can, if well considered, be included in high-rise residential developments. And rather than being for the sole use of that development’s occupants, these amenities can be enjoyed by those living nearby. Bedrooms, bars and cafes will become more intertwined as those having a late night at a bar can avoid getting into a car and taking to the road.
The days have gone when a bed in a high-rise box was appealing to the market place. People want to express their personalities in their homes and gather with like-minded communities with supporting amenities. They’re open to adventurous ideas if they’re expressed in an exciting and innovative manner, but one that responds to the place and its unique context. As with the subscription model, where people find their own outlets, a certain hotel will be a ‘barometer’ for all the ‘subscriptions’ at one’s fingertips.