Trends move quickly in Hospitality, there’s no question about that. With two major Hospitality trade shows each year – HD Expo and BDNY – you can follow as trends emerge, grow, build off one another, and then disappear in a flash as something completely different explodes. It leaves you to wonder: What is really going to stick? What is going to take off and become a “thing” in hotel design? And when will something totally different take its place?
The flexibility of the hotel renovation cycle makes this possible. Experimentation with design, rethinking space planning, and strong construction pipelines are all pushing the rebirth of the hotel as a local community gathering place. Design trends emerge and change quicker than any other commercial interior.
So, what did we see at BDNY 2019 that is coming our way? Let’s take a look.
Don’t call it a comeback
Think about hotel design for the past 20-plus years. Are you conjuring up images of sleek, contemporary spaces and clean lines? Soothing color palettes, and a sense of un-fussiness?
Well, perhaps in response to years of a more modern aesthetic, it appears that traditionalism is peeking around the corner. But it’s not merely the traditional aesthetic of the 80’s—oh no! It’s a 21st century take on traditional design: Granny-chic. I’ve already seen it popping up on my own recent hotel visits, such as in the lobby of the Palihotel and the corridors of the State Hotel (both in Seattle). This style even has a name, in fact, coined earlier this fall by Emma Bazilian. So if you’re longing for a cozy, overstuffed armchair and a cup of tea, tucked under a fuzzy throw blanket, you might just be a grandmillenial.
At BDNY, there were no shortage of patterns that support that idea. Textiles. Wallcoverings. Floorcoverings. This modern, floral, slightly busy patterning can appear anywhere and often on more than one surface in a single space—which is actually the intent. So find yourself a cozy spot in your favorite boutique hotel and Instagram your heart out. The look of mismatched pattern-on-pattern-on-pattern chock full of “granny flowers” is hip, happening, youthful (of all things!), and it’s coming to a hotel near you.
How BOLD can you go?
On the other end of the spectrum are even bolder patterns that look like they’re jumping right off the floor or the wall. Last year at BDNY I reported on the influx of geometric patterns in multiple types of applications. This year makes last look like it was wearing training wheels.
Patterns this audacious and this intentional are used in a hospitality setting for a reason. Sure, color is important and is meant to evoke feelings and suggest moods, but think for a moment how a striking pattern – like one of those pictured below – is going to leave its impression on you. How are you meant to respond? These patterns will bring a liveliness that something quieter and more understated won’t. Bold pattern is an invitation to the hotel guest to have an exciting interaction with a space; it may even heighten your feeling of anticipation and connect you with the hotel brand in a way that leaves a lasting impression on your experience.
Biophilic design: growing like a weed
Continued research shows the impacts of biophilic design on the built environment. Interacting with natural design elements has a positive and restorative impact on occupants of the space that contains them. As I’ve discussed in blogs past, hospitality-specific research on biophilic design has even proven that people will linger in biophilic spaces longer than in conventional spaces.
The use of biophilic design principles continues to trend forward, and the examples this year at BDNY were well beyond mere plant material and the use of wood that we saw last year. There were more intricate patterns (bringing in analogues of nature) that represented different natural elements. In addition to increased dwell time, more hotel brands are reflecting the growing desire for a focus on wellbeing and wellness-focused travel. Designers and hotel brands alike are heeding the research, and the result is a beautiful mixture of natural elements in more unusual applications, all meant to enhance the hospitality environment where wellness is the intent.
BDNY has an eye-opening and mind-expanding effect on me. I often feel renewed, invigorated, and sometimes changed by the show. Coincidentally, that’s the same impact travel has on me. Travel is meant to move you, to open your eyes to things you haven’t seen before, or to see things you have seen, but in a new way. Design – and in particular hotel design – has the unique ability to enhance that impact, by creating a sensory experience that is new. Hotel brands and designers are working hand-in hand to craft those unique experiences and take you on a literal and figurative journey. How exciting it will be to watch these trends take flight inside the hotel environment!