Looking to design a hotel experience that is more individual and more stimulating than the standard solution, to create a stylish home from home for the overnight traveller? If so, the edited show Sleep & Eat was the place for ideas from the richly decadent and decorated to the sleek and sophisticated, with new technology and individuality being the theme in rugs, lighting, murals, music installations, mini-bars, artworks and other essentials items that are either available from catalogues or, as with lighting from Cameron Design House and art from Verdegris Art Consultants, can be specially designed. Who knew that there could be so many options for double flush wc panels, as on show from Stamp? And what of innovative new technology with sprung mattresses being a thing of the past at Ammique, Grohe’s slender 3D-printed taps and baths that automatically empty when water levels become too high, avoiding that embarrassing overflow down into rooms below?
Among the highlights were the guest rooms by designers Miaja Design Group, twenty2degrees, HAT Design and Maria Tibblin & Co which were cracking with artistic and technical creativity, and the student showcase with the hospitality industry network NEWH showing the work of its four 2019 scholarship winners selected from second year students studying interior design and architecture at UK universities and placement students working within design firms, this year’s designers of the future being Aruzhan Makanova and James Ingram from Ravensbourne University and Marissa Miltiadous and Shafaq Sultan from Middlesex University. Four imaginative new ideas with James Ingram breaking out of the hotel room with his bold integrated hotel and artist’s studio ‘Stay-Arty’ proposed for a site in Shoreditch. All he needs is an imaginative backer!
While the main focus is on sleep, the eating side looks are how to make dining more sociable with NAME Architecture creating a social dining experience which could be considered a modern take on the traditional College dining hall and SpaceInvader has created a social space in which mobile phones will be forbidden and people will talk to each other. It even has that an old-fashioned thing – a telephone!
Given the current focus on environment and climate change, it was also good to see a focus on sustainability subtly embedded in the show’s operations including 100% use of renewable energy, use of recycled paper, measures to reduce single use plastics, recycling of signage and carpets after the event and support for the NEWH initiative. Good for the organisers, but a few of the exhibitors had plastic bottles of water on their stands. Something to avoid next year?