Category Archives: Hospitality Design

Glitz, Glam and Gold

Sarah Pelham

Trend longevity has become unpredictable in our fast paced, high tech world. In fact the most marked change in trends over the years is the speed through which they cycle. For that we can thank advances in communication, production, transportation and the evolution of social media.

But even with these advancements, more often than not, our trends are still inspired by repeating history, the current overall mood of the world, and new consumer demands. Trends evoked from these factors tend to hang around a bit longer. For example, by allowing history to repeat, it gives us a basis to reflect, tweak and revisit past generations. If the mood of the world is in a recession, then it brings out insecurities which, in turn, trickle down into design in the form of safe choices, like a prevalence of neutral safe tones. Currently, the quick paced evolution of technology has consumers demanding “the latest & greatest” products with a keen awareness of their environmental impact.

So what trends did I find at HD Expo this year?

All that glitters is gold
At HD Expo 2015, all the glitz of Vegas shone bright! The hospitality color of the year was GOLD in an array of shades, leaving Marsala, Pantone’s color of the year, just a memory. While there were considerable pops of orange accents with warm grays, gold stole the show. Beaming gold metal finishes, fabrics, wall covering, furniture, lighting and accessories filled the exhibition hall. The mixture of warm gold tones and greens was a popular partner for an eclectic sense, while gold, black, grey and cream had a classic feel. Overall the mood of the color gold is one of success, achievement and triumph. It’s associated with abundance, prosperity, luxury, sophistication and elegance, indicating times are good in the world!


Geometry abounds
Getting their fair share of the limelight were geometric shapes in a myriad of products. In conjunction with the classic mood found in the gold tones, classic shapes such as the Greek key, herringbone, octagon, hound’s-tooth and zigzag emerged both in true form and in abstract interpretations. Geometrics were on the floor, on the walls, in the furniture, in the fabrics and in the lighting forms. From the Greco-Roman use of simple zigzags and triangles to cover surfaces to the mid-century modern use of bigger, bolder shapes with less intricacy, geometric patterns have dominated for centuries. Today’s geometrics are bolder in scale than ancient Greek and Roman applications and have a more classic, sophisticated feel than the mid-century modern forms, giving the shapes a clean renewal with strong lines and simple colors.


Enticing textures
Multi-level dimension was found throughout product offerings. Surfaces had depth, whether they were carved, layered, molded, twisted or tufted. You wanted to touch them and examine the texture. In most instances these products came from natural, flat materials that were manipulated into 3-dimensional surfaces, allowing designers to develop spaces that reflect our continuing desire to bring the outdoors inside. Surfaces possessed both the warmth and variation that we are attracted to in nature. Whether they were clay abstract sting-rays or solid pieces of oak charred and layered to create sculptural character, the textures created the connection with nature and the world around us.


At the core
Looking a little deeper into nature and the awareness of our environment, manufacturers and designers continue to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Other hot topics included biophilic design and the use of alternative materials that change the way we design. RH Contract featured tables manufactured from reclaimed Douglas Fir while Phillips Collection showed the Seatbelt Chair made of scrap material. Innovations and products discussed included temperature sensitive glass, translucent concrete, electronic paper, magnetic ink, solar paint, wallpaper that charges your phone and transparent alumina that’s three times stronger than steel. The consumer demands on the market are supporting nature and sustainability as a hallmark of design as opposed to what many thought was just a trend 15 years ago. At Interface we continually break new ground on our mission to reduce or eliminate waste and harmful emissions while increasing the use of renewable materials and energy sources. As one of my Interface associates Lindsey James proclaimed, “Think like nature, because it’s her world.”

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The New Definition of Luxury

Amy Milshtein

What does today’s luxury traveler want? Interface explored this question during “Cocktails and Conversation” at HD Expo in Las Vegas. Three panelists, David Ashen, principal, dash design, Teri Urovsky, vice president, interior design, Marriott International, and Jon Kastl, principal, Champalimaud, along with moderator Stacy Shoemaker, editor in chief for Hospitality Design magazine, discuss the trends.

All three panelists agree that the definition of luxury has shifted. “Hotels were competing on design but now it’s about service,” says Ashen. The more personalized the better. He points to a recent trip to China where the concierge sent a pre-check in email asking for his room scent and beverage preferences. Kastl agrees that this elevated level of service will be the norm. “Restaurants and mini bars will be agile in catering to guests specific needs.”

While service aims to please the individual, the hotel’s physical design evolves to reflect their specific location. “It’s about experience instead of materials,” says Urovsky. This means that cookie cutter properties will be a thing of the past, a challenge that Urovsky relishes. “All of the Ritz Carltons looked alike for a long time,” she explains. “Now we strive for a distinguishable sense of place.”

To tell stories about the local experience the designers suggest paring down materials and removing layers. “High end design can’t be overwrought,” says Kastl. “Heavy draperies, thick brocades and even fussily packaged bathroom amenities are a thing of the past.”

Don’t get him wrong; luxury travelers still expect luxury finishes. After a day spent touching the glass on their iPads, this group craves natural textures and simple palettes. “Anything to connect the guest to the outside world is good,” says Ashen, who suggests reorienting the bed to face the window instead of the wall. Urovsky points to indoor spaces that flow naturally to the outside, a possibility even if the property sits on the 150th floor. “We use floor-to-ceiling windows,” she says.

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Guestroom Designed by Wilson & Associates. Photography by Don Riddle.

The less-is-more trend is seen worldwide except for one glaring exception, China. All three panelists suggest that you bring the bling to places like Beijing and Shanghai. “They are in their ‘Great Consumerism’ stage,” says Kastl.  Hong Kong, however, remains more Western in its aesthetic.

No matter where they go, the luxury traveler still values health and wellness. Hotels cater to them with spa-like bathrooms, juice bars, local food choices, and fitness centers. “A lovely spa or fitness center adds value,” insists Ashen. But what if sits mostly empty? Ashen doesn’t care. “Everyone likes that it’s there. If you do use the gym, it feels private and exclusive.”


Spa designed by Bensley Design Studio. Photography by Ken Kochey.

Technology continues to play an important role, but as with design, less is more. If you can hide it away, it’s even better. For instance, people still want a great TV but Kastl suggests hiding it behind paneling so it can “go away.”

“We don’t put the technology in people’s faces,” says Urovsky, who suggests plug in portals that are subtly built into furniture. Tablets that control room temperature, window coverings and the television should be simple and intuitive to use. And say goodbye to the desk. “Who works at the desk anymore?” asks Ashen, who opts for couches, lounges and other soft seating that mimics coffee houses.

But don’t stop there. The future of the high end get away may be just that—a complete departure from everyday life. For example Ashen points to one of his favorite properties, Natura Cabana in the Dominican Republic, ten eco-friendly, beachfront cabins with no radio, television or air conditioning. “It’s a total escape.” Because isn’t the freedom to unwind without distraction the true definition of luxury?

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Hospitality Design Inspiration


Join us as we follow 2 designers from concept to execution as they create custom hospitality vignettes for HI Connect. 

Design Force Corporation
Designers: Joanne McGillvray IIDA, ASID

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1. What is the inspiration for your vignette at HI Connect Design?

Our vignette is centered on intuitive technology and innovation. It’s an accolade to the advancements of manufacturing techniques and technology available in our industry and when combined with beautiful aesthetic it provides the ultimate in luxury experience.

2. How does the flooring contribute to the overall design concept?

Unexpected design and product application. Incorporating carpet tile instead of broadloom in a luxury guestroom setting. Plank format allowed us to create ombre design with no particular pattern repeat.

3. Does sustainability figure prominently in your design concept? If so, please elaborate.

Not directly but in using carpet tile instead of broadloom we understand that there would be less quantity required for installation verses broadloom creating less waste. Carpet tile can also be replaced one at a time as needed instead of an entire room of broadloom if carpet gets damaged or soiled. That can be considered sustainable when speaking about the life cycle of a product.

4. Why did you choose to work with Interface Hospitality as a supplier for your design concept?

We consider Interface to be one of the innovators for carpet tile and the new technologies available to our industry.

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Joanne McGillvary_Headshot_web2As Design Director for Design Force, and over 20 years experience in the field of interior design, Joanne is greatly involved with the firms strategic business focus and quality initiatives including design excellence and diversification. Specializing in Hospitality design, her experience and expertise spans the Destination Resort, Boutique, Luxury, Convention and Full-service hotel arenas as well as Culinary, Lifestyle and Retail environments. Her passion is to find innovative solutions, by fusing functional and mindful planning with beautiful aesthetic to deliver revenue driven results that successfully connect the customer with the brand.

The W Group
Designer: Whitney Fisher IIDA, NCIDQ

1. What is the inspiration for your vignette at HI Connect Design?

This design pays homage to the history and growth of Nashville. Rustic elements reference the early days of Nashville when settlers inhabited the area while more refined traditional elements reference The Hermitage, Belle Meade Plantation, and Cheekwood. Conversely, metallic, modern elements indicate the recent growth and sophistication of Nashville’s current climate. The artwork will feature a modern twist of the history of the Hermitage and the growth of Nashville.

2. Why did you choose to work with Interface Hospitality as a supplier for your design concept?

Interface was chosen because of their innovation in Hospitality Guestroom carpet tiles. We liked that they offer a plank tile that can emulate the idea of wood flooring and are able to create an accent inset easily to highlight a seating or bed area. Operationally this type of flooring is great because the ease of replacing a tile if there is a stain that can’t removed. The fact that there is little waste when used is also a bonus to the overall budget and project.



Whitney Fisher_head shot_webWhitney is principal interior designer of The W Group. Graduating from Fider accredited O’More College in 1986 with highest honors. With more than 25 years of extensive practice in the commercial interior design industry. She has acquired numerous awards throughout her career, including the Lodging Hospitality Design Award, the ASID Silver Award, and two IIDA Gold Awards. . Publications in which her work has been featured include Hotel Business Design, Lodging Hospitality, Contract Magazine, Her work was judged “Best Design for a Spa” by Spa Finder, and the firm’s Hershey Country Club project was among five finalists in the Remodeling/Renovation category in Golf Inc. Clubhouse Competition. Fisher also has served on furniture and fabric design review committees for new introductions. She also is as an attendee for the Hospitality Design Summit for 4 years for top designers and is by invitation only.

Additional HI Connect Vignettes

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Explore Nature’s Edge

Sarah Pelham

With today’s fast paced life styles, when people escape their daily rat race, they want a memorable experience. People tend to disconnect during vacation, and when away, guests have more time for exploring. Both visual and tactile senses play a big role in experiencing new destinations. Finishes should be touchable, beholding textures with warmth and depth. The use of color can enhance the guest experience. For example, using colors that permit the texture and touch of materials to take the forefront allows one to experience and engage in their surroundings rather than passing them by. A trend of tone on tone, organic, calming hues with a few pops of accent colors are currently prevailing in the market. This stems from the human desire to connect to our surroundings. One of the reasons we love nature so much is our inherent connection to the outdoors and to natural elements that make us feel at peace and welcomed in a space.

At Interface Hospitality, we find that nature continues to influence color trends, especially these more subtle hues. Picture the shifting sands of a desert plain, the sky against a moonlit storm, or the ocean meeting the shore. Both time and nature work hand in hand to create a softened beauty that is peaceful and tranquil. The colors are earthy; the materials are organic; and the finishes are textural in feel.

With all these elements in mind, we have created a warm, understated, yet refined palette. All the products play on the edge, taking motifs that are found on nature’s own floor to create plush patterns rich in texture, and giving you an endless number of looks and combinations to create your own floor. Whether you are looking to the ocean, the sky or the forest for natural, textural elements, they can all be found in the subtle tonal variations of the products in this palette. Looking a little more in-depth at the products that make up the textural Nature’s Edge palette, you will see we combine three different collections, Over the Edge™, Urban Retreat,™ and Net Effect™. These products were inspired by the changes we find in nature from one edge to another, such as moss growing between rocks on the forest floor.

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Each collection is made up of a combination of different products. Over the Edge takes the union of textural transitions and detailed patterning to create three products, Lofty™, Edgy™, and Steady™. Lofty combines high and low yarns, creating a luxurious texture, rich in design detail, reminiscent of a hand carved rug. The second product, Steady, is a very dense, tightly woven, low profile product. It is a great understated companion with a multi-directional basket weave texture. The final product, Edgy, is the transitional tile. Edgy ties everything together by taking the plush high yarns of Lofty and the low profile yarns of Steady and mixing them in one tile.

Net Effect takes the detailed pattern motifs away and focuses more on a sophisticated textural transition between three different tiles. Inspired by the sea and how sea foam blends on sandy beaches, using Net Effect allows you to bring this aesthetic into your lobby or down your corridor. This enables your guests to continue experiencing the abstract suggestions of the ocean. Each product offers a slightly different note. B601™ has a more pronounced texture with shimmering ends on top of deeper tones. B603™ is a more dense construction with tonal coloration. B602™ serves as the transition between the two tiles, combining both constructions in one piece. With B701™ and B703™, Net Effect takes you even deeper, to the ocean floor where the sandbars form linear planks. Using the new skinny plank format of 25cm x 1m, these products mimic both sandbars and boardwalks in size. They each have unique vertical textures and the colors undulate from tile to tile.

Urban Retreat follows the same format of combining three different tiles UR101™, UR102™ and UR103™, to create a floor rich in textural transitions. If you are looking for that small pop of color, UR101 is the perfect product. If you need a bolder pop of color, add UR103 to create a variety of bandwidths across the floor.

These collections can stand on their own or be mixed with each other to create unique floors that bring nature into a space. While other design trends come and go, nature inspired elements continue to remain strong. The calming power nature has on our interior environments is unlimited. Consider using the floor to bring nature to the edge of your property while creating a memorable experience for your guest.

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Over the Edge™ and Urban Retreat™ Bring Glamour to Carpet Tile

Amy Milshtein

Guests at four- and five-star hotels expect luxury. From lobby to corridor, ballroom to guest room, the trend for high end hospitality is warm, plush and textural interiors. Now designers can create this residential feel underfoot with new products from Interface Hospitality. Over the Edge, Urban Retreat and RMS 506™, showing at Boutique Design New York this month, bring to carpet tile the elegance, texture and color once only associated with rolled goods. “Complex textures and colors on a tile are unique to Interface Hospitality,” notes Sarah Pelham, Creative Project Manager with the company. “We believe these products fill a distinct gap in the high end hospitality flooring market.”

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Over the Edge

Inspired by the textural transitions found in nature, fashion, architecture and art, Over the Edge combines versatility and luxury with the practicality of carpet tile. Three different tiles – Lofty™, Steady™ and Edgy™ – make up the product offering and each plays a unique role in creating a signature interior.

Reminiscent of a hand-carved rug, Lofty combines four pile heights in one tile. The high, medium and low piles blend to create unexpected yet plush texture and movement. Steady, a tightly tufted, low-profile product represents the opposite of Lofty. Dense, with one pile height tufted into a multidirectional basket-weave texture, Steady offers rich, understated elegance. Bridging the gap, Edgy allows designers to transition easily between the two. The high pile of Lofty tiles mix with the low, dense yarns of Steady, creating a distinct stepping stone. All three tiles are designed to work together or alone, and come in different sizes to accommodate any space from a grand ballroom to a narrow corridor.

Over the Edge is offered in a variety of patterns that range from organic to traditional to contemporary. There are 10 suggested colorways, but the tiles can be colored in as many as 12 colors or as few as three, so the opportunity for color customization is boundless. “The whole offering allows for incredible variation,” reports Melissa Tully, Director of Hospitality A&D Market Development, Interface Hospitality. “There are no rules. You could use the same three products in the same colorations and come up with a variety of completely different floors.” To insure proper installation, complex designs are shipped with a template to guide contractors.

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Urban Retreat

Urban Retreat is another offering that focuses less on specific pattern and more on texture. Plush and luxurious, this product line features an organic look that transitions easily between hues. With a pile height that is lower than Lofty’s and higher than Steady’s, Urban Retreat’s story is in its coloration.

“Tiles come in two, three or five colors,” explains Pelham. Designers can play with the pieces to create effects both subtle and dramatic. “The five-color tile is the transitional piece.” It can gradually blend the two other tile colors or be used to create an accent stripe.

Intended for public spaces like ballrooms, lobbies and corridors, Urban Retreat and Over the Edge would be equally at home in a luxury guest suite where a unique, distinctive look is desired. For standard guest rooms, Interface Hospitality offers RMS 506, a carpet “plank” that is available in fat (50 cm by 1 meter) and skinny (25 cm by 1 meter) sizes. Each plank of RMS 506 features four colors that are blended to mimic natural wood tones. The product’s shape allows designers to create a variety of patterns from herringbone to ashlar. “RMS 506 is meant to complement the other offerings,” says Tully. “With it designers can create a natural transition from public space to private.”



All three of these offerings feature a natural, warm elegance that fits well in residential-inspired, high end hospitality. “It’s all about being more tonal and textural,” explains Tully. “That’s been the biggest focus shift we’ve seen in our product line. To meet high end hospitality demands our designs have transitioned to a more neutral and less ornamental look.” Both Tully and Pelham agree that this trend is a global phenomenon.

And a perfect match for Interface Hospitality.

“We are the only carpet company that makes a transitional, textural offering in a tile,” says Pelham. “Our intention was to create a floor you couldn’t design with a broadloom. We want people to be amazed at what you can do with carpet tile.”

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