Architecture / Interior /

Hospitality Design Today

We witness how hospitality design evolves throughout the years; be it in the style, target market and further to the concept. In this edition, we interviewed notable hospitality designers from home and abroad — architects, interior and lighting designers — about today’s hospitality trends and how they did it.

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Domisilium

Hamphrey Tedja & Santi Alaysius, principals of Domisilium

Notable projects: Kosenda Hotel Jakarta, Rooms Inc. Semarang, ARTOTEL Yogyakarta

Hamphrey Tedja and Santi Alaysius are US-educated designers – Hamphrey studied architecture and Santi studied interior. They met during their years of work and decided to establish design firm Domisilium in 2009. The firm focuses on architecture and interior design for high-end residential and retail spaces, but in these recent years, we have enjoyed their contemporary design in hospitality projects, including Rooms Inc. Semarang, ARTOTEL Yogyakarta and Marriott Yogyakarta.

Each of your client has their own brand or signature. How do you translate that into your design?

Each client comes to us with a brand manual, which is essentially the DNA of the brand. The identity of some brands might be more resort-oriented while others put a heavy emphasis on art. We try to infuse those identities into the design and let our design revolve around those traits.

How do you incorporate local culture into your design?

Our designs draw inspirations from local culture through a wide use of local materials, enhancing local craftsmanship while also celebrating the local community.

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What is the current trend for hotel/resort design?

In recent years, the trend for hotel/resort design is aimed at defining what modern day luxury really is. Now more than ever, customers are paying attention to what differentiates one brand from another and it goes beyond strictly having a visually gorgeous space but also about feeling good in it. Modern day luxury is in the experience. This demands a strong story behind a brand to communicate a unique experience, a personalised service with staff who are empowered to deliver genuine hospitality and a meaningful connection to local culture to forge an authentic sense of community.

Can you identify any issues in the current hospitality design?

With the demographic shift in the industry, current hospitality design aims to cater to contemporary travellers that include not only millennials but also business travellers and design-minded individuals in their late 20s, 30s and 40s. Integration of local elements also remains a strong issue to incorporate in the current hospitality design. More importantly, alternative such as Airbnb, which initially disrupted the hospitality industry, has now inspired the players in the industry to adapt and reinvent the hospitality experience. This is seen through diversifications of accommodation concepts provided by brands, such as OneFineStay and Oasis, to name a few.

Which one of your hotel projects would you consider the most challenging? Why?

Designing for Marriott International in Yogyakarta was one of our most challenging hotel projects, mainly due to the demands to meet international quality on a local budget and with local craftsmanship.

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Are there any locations in Indonesia that are growing rapidly these days?

Industrial cities in Central Java such as Yogyakarta and Semarang are rapidly growing as seen in the numerous business opting to build their presence there. Semarang, in particular, is growing as proven with the expansion of the new Ahmad Yani International Airport that echoes the concept of green, floating airport. This insfrastructure development elevates the city as a gateway to national audience. Another region that is also growing rapidly is Kalimantan. Rich in valuable natural resources such as oil and gas, Kalimantan is responsible for generating seventy per cent of the government revenue.

Having worked for two hotels in Yogyakarta at a time, what do you think about the city?

Yogyakarta has a lot of potentials and is catching up with its development. Being a culture-rich with a wide array of talent pool, the city has a strong personality and is a source of inspiration. The city also offers an affordable cost of living and a relatively convenient traffic condition, which are influential to support the growth and productivity of the city.

Please tell us about these two hotel projects. What are the challenges in designing for boutique hotel like ARTOTEL and chain hotels like Marriott?

Since the DNA of those brands is vastly different, the challenges we faced were heavily influenced by that. With a boutique hotel like ARTOTEL, there is definitely more room for experiments. Whereas a chain hotel like Marriott undoubtedly has a more rigid identity to follow. Timeline and coordinations also took longer in Marriott considering the organisational hierarchy that we had to go through for design approvals. However, we also learned that Marriott in Asia Pacific region maintains a higher interior standard than that of the United States.

After having designed many city hotels, what is your next agenda for hospitality design?

We are currently working on something exciting outside Jakarta. This project is largely inspired by adaptive reuse of a building and the enormous potentials we observe coming from other cities in Indonesia. So, you can look forward to that!

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