Activist hotelier Katherine Lo merges hospitality and social change with Kengo Kuma collaboration

by Jane Kitchen | 12 Jan 2018
Beyond the eco-minded design and community-oriented offerings, through the power of our programming and content, we will take a moral stance and catalyze productive, positive change
– Katherine Lo

Katherine Lo, daughter of Langham Hospitality Group chair Ka Shui Lo, has transformed the group’s Eaton brand into Eaton Workshop – a global lifestyle business including a wellness component.

Lo used her background in activism, anthropology and film to create Eaton Workshop, which includes four distinct parts: hotel, house, media and wellness.

The first hotel is set to open in Washington DC early this year, with locations to follow in Hong Kong, San Francisco and Seattle.

Each Eaton Workshop will offer the physical resources of a hotel, modern-day social working club, radio station, cinema, wellness centre, restaurants and bar, retail, art gallery, event spaces and more. Leong Leong and Kengo Kuma are among the architects commissioned by Lo, while Gachot Studios, Parts and Labor Design and Avroko will provide interior design services.

“The brand is the manifestation of me ‘following my bliss’ so others can follow theirs,” said Lo.

“Beyond the eco-minded design and community-oriented offerings, through the power of our programming and content, we'll take a moral stance and catalyse productive, positive change through dialoguing, following the recent examples of tech companies refusing to serve extremist violent racist ideologies.

"We're an ethical business, welcoming those who share our desire to build a better world and protect not just the planet, but one another.”

Each site's aesthetic is designed to tell the specific story of the site’s history, heritage, neighbourhood and location – such as an indoor Redwood forest park planned for the San Francisco Eaton Workshop.

The brand will focus on sustainability, creating partnerships with organic bath products and organic mattress companies, installing rooftop organic gardens and wind turbines, and practising aerobic food waste decomposition.

The 209-bedroom hotel will include a wellness centre with yoga, meditation and alternative treatments, as well as an event space, coworking club for 370 members, rooftop bar, restaurant and cinema.

“Recent political events make our first hotel in DC that much more trenchant,” says Lo. “The Eaton we are creating will be a safe space and sanctuary for all: international, people of colour, LGBTQ and more.”

Wellness programming at Eaton Workshop is inspired by new-age practices and experiential learning traditions, including community-building yoga and meditation classes, alternative therapies reiki and acupuncture, and sensory experiences such as infrared saunas and sound baths.

The brand will also offer “vegetable-forward” and detox food and beverage, as well as hosting guest speakers from the health and wellness industry.

The Eaton Hong Kong will be located in the emerging Kowloon neighbourhood, and is inspired by the gritty retro nostalgia of its neighbourhood.

Described as reflecting “a dynamic collision between postcolonial east and global youth culture,” Eaton Hong Kong will open in the summer and will have 465 bedrooms, including two with recording studios, a rooftop pool and yoga studio, radio station, rotating art gallery, speakers auditorium, event space for 700 and a coworking club for 320 members.

Eaton Workshop  Katherine Lo  Langham  social change  hospitality  wellness 
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