Hotel accommodations that were once primarily rated according to comfort and luxury have had to reevaluate their installations in order to satisfy a broader audience and their new requirements. Hospitality design is one of the areas where the industry has been able to efficiently undergo transformations by introducing a variety of approaches through the continually evolving landscape of contemporary design.
Steel cages by Seung-Yong Song.
To that effect and in an effort to respond to today’s forward-thinking, W Hotels in collaboration with Design Miami havd initiated the W Hotels Designer of the Future Awards. Recognition is given to the outstanding work by young emerging designers in the fields of furniture, architecture, digital media and lighting and acknowledges technologically and conceptually vanguard projects across multiple disciplines. “Design has been the core of the DNA of the W Hotels brand since our inception in New York City nearly 15 years ago,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection. “The W Hotels Designers of the Future Award allows us to work with the best emerging design talent from around the world while providing a global platform of exposure for these young talents.”
The W Hotel Designer of the Future Awards 2013 winners were announced during Design Miami/Art Basel in Switzerland where the three selected designers unveiled their concepts. This year’s event was titled Making Connections, and the designers were sent in a research trip to new or renovated W Hotels in Bangkok, Verbier and Mexico. The recognition was based on their ability to “facilitate the exchange between local communities and the international visitors who pass through them, whether for business or pleasure”. “An appreciation for the distinct regional characteristics found in each destination through this award,” according to Mike Tiedy, Senior Vice President of Starwood Hotels, “allows W Hotels to recognize the best up-and-coming design talent from around the world …while showcasing their unique works to both guests and locals.”
1. Play Time – Spaghetti Junction stacking tables by Bethan Laura Wood.
2. Dami series by Seung-Yong Song.
3. Objects series by Seung-Yong Song.
4. Cabinet of the (Material & Virtual) World by Jon Stam.
The three winners of the 2013 Award were Seung-Yong Song from Korea, Jon Stam from Canada/Holland and Betham Laura Wood from the UK. As part of his residency, Song traveled to Bangkok where the fast pace of the city and its street food carts became an inspiration for a series of portable furniture. Stam worked in Verbier, Switzerland in what will be W Hotels’ first ski resort. Wood traveled to Mexico City and her designs combine different materials such as glass and metal using vibrant Mexican palettes and Aztec patterns. According to her “I want my project to celebrate the joy I experienced in Mexico with all these amazing colors and mixing of people. I loved being on the boats and river, and I want to reflect that”.
The designers will return to the different residencies to work on the projects, and the pieces showcased will be later installed in these hotels to address particular needs. In turn, W Hotels pledges to continue drawing attention to design practices that exemplify new directions in the design field. ■