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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Adam Farmerie, William Harris, Kristina O’Neal, Greg Bradshaw

Principals of AvroKO

Notable Projects: 1 Hotel Central Park, New York; Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, California; The Scott, Scottsdale

AvroKO was originally established as an architecture and interior design firm, but the four principals, Adam Farmerie, William Harris, Kristina O’Neal and Greg Bradshaw have successfully expanded the business which now offers brand development, furniture design and hospitality management. The firm, which is based in New York, San Francisco, Bangkok and London, has worked for iconic hotels such as 1 Hotel Central Park, New York; Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa, California and The Scott, Scottsdale.

Every brand has its signature. How do you translate this into your design?

Kristina O’Neal (KON): Like location, a brand’s signature is always built into the design concept in one way or another. We usually like to make more subtle references and use signatures as inspiration rather than translating it directly into the design, but it certainly depends on the clients’ wishes and the collaborative process as to how we address that on a case-by-case basis.

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How do you incorporate local culture into your design?

William Harris (WH): We love to unpack the details of a location – and not just references of colour and texture but incorporating the history, nuances, and soul of a place into the design and into a concept that will resonate with the people frequenting the space. We tend to be inspired by the small, often unnoticed details of daily life, with which we then put through a modern filter and reinterpret into our designs. The power of myth and storytelling also influences us, which can capture a local spirit that can be translated into a design in a fresh and modern way.

What are the current trends in hospitality design?

Greg Bradshaw (GB): We are seeing a pull away from more formal spaces to a demand for experiences and spaces that are fresh, airy and light and that particularly have delightful, interactive experiences and programming built into the agenda.

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What are the challenges of doing multidisciplinary design?

KON: We actually see being multidisciplinary as a strength because one practice informs another, and keeping it all in-house creates a stronger design narrative altogether, dirt to spoons.

GB: The other benefit is that it allows us to be quite nimble with client requests. It widens the playing field allowing us to work with more people in a variety of creative ways.

WH: But to your question, the challenge is probably being careful to make sure we don’t stretch ourselves too thinly and that we offer quality deliverables for each discipline. We’ve had to figure out how to not just do each discipline, but to do it well – that will be something that we’re constantly analysing and auditing. But we’re confident that our teams are putting forth top-notch, thoughtful, creative ideas that are over-delivering on our clients’ expectations.

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Please tell us about AvroKO Hospitality Group (AHG).

Adam Farmerie: AHG was born as a direct response to our passions for food and hospitality. We created it initially to oversee and operate our first Michelin-starred restaurant venture, PUBLIC, in New York City.  Today, AHG has five restaurants and bars in NYC, one in Moscow and we’re currently expanding into London, Las Vegas and Auckland.

KON: Owning and operating our own restaurants and bars gives us the opportunity to learn about hospitality design and programming problems first hand. This process gives us more insight into designing for a hospitality-driven space which we can then share with our clients to improve functionality and overall guest experience.

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