22nd November 2018

Sleep + Eat 2018

Sleep + Eat 2018 – Kensington Olympia, London

Battling through a cold and rainy Tuesday in November, I made my way from the South Coast up to London to attend the Sleep + Event, deemed “The only edited hospitality design event in Europe”

Entering through a digital walkway of hundreds of faces; the regular and new faces of the Sleep + Eat community, the main hall and mezzanine were filled with colours, fabrics, lights and the buzz of the design world professionals taking it all in.  Having studied the conference details before arriving, I knew I’d made it in time for one of the seminars in the SLEEP theatre so alluring stands would have to wait.  I followed the map and made my way to the auditorium to find a seat.

Next up was the open panel discussion on the future of global hotel design.  Hosted by Guy Dittrich, Editor of Sleeper magazine with a panel of 5 designers to start the discussion:  Irina and Olga Sundukovy, Therese Virserius of Virserius Studios, Geraldine Dohogne from Zannier Hotels and Jeff Copolov from Bates Smart.  With a wealth of knowledge and experience between them I was intrigued to here their insights into where the industry was going.

These were the key points I pulled from the session:

  • There has never been such a strong emphasis on “experience” as there is now in the hotel design world.  Consumers know what they want and rather than fitting themselves within a place, they expect a hotel to meet all their needs.
  • Wellness is becoming paramount in all aspects of life, and that goes for hotels too.  Details like quality of sleep is just as important as eating well and having space to exercise.
  • It was questioned how sustainability can be considered with ever changing fashions.  The answer being that the bones and fibre of a building should be built sustainably, with details such as soft furnishings being more transient.
  • Hotels are much more about a community.  They’re a place for the public to habituate and not just residents.  Be it in the restaurant, spa or just meeting in the lobby.
  • The traditional lobby area is becoming more of a multi use, collaborative space for meeting, working, eat and drinking.

Designers final thoughts

  • Don’t design a hotel, design an experience that people can transition between spaces.  Designs are more customer led now than operations defined.  “Let imagination define the experience”
  • Therese Virserius said designing a hotel should be about creating a story.
  • Geraldine Dohogne and Jeff Copolov are strong advocates of using local techniques, such as building, fabric dying, and using arts and crafts skills of the area so the final design marries well with its surroundings.

The exhibition itself had some great suppliers showing their products and there were “Eat” and “Sleep” designed sets from some key Interior Designers which really complimented the event well.