ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo

Hospitality

New age travellers

Sameness and anonymity is out – it's all about fun and authenticity for Millennial travellers, says Rockwell Group partner Greg Keffer


What do Millennials want out of a hotel experience?
Modern travellers value experience and community over opulence and material possessions, and hospitality is beginning to reflect that. Millennials crave an authentic experience, rooted to its time and place.

Moxy is a great example of a brand designed for travellers who want a hotel to be a fun and coherent experience, not a sequence of formalised rituals. Our firm recently designed three key amenity areas for Moxy Times Square in New York. The restaurants, which are operated by the TAO Group, provide visitors with distinct experiences. Egghead is a compact, street-level fast casual spot. Legasea is a warm, intimate seafood brasserie on the 2nd floor. Inspired by classic amusement parks, the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge is a series of playful dining and lounge areas with views of the city skyline.

What don’t they want?
Sameness and anonymity. For decades, hotel brands focused on the homogenisation and streamlining of their properties. It was more about reliability and consistency and less about the enjoyment of difference. Difference was regarded as a flaw.

For example, we recently completed Hotel EMC2 in Chicago. The property is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The brand emphasises individuality. No two Autograph hotels are alike.

Our client approached Rockwell Group because he wanted something different from any other hotel. It’s great to have a developer that’s passionate about their project in a personal way and collaborates along the journey to ensure all the points align to make magic.

The hotel is located in a burgeoning science-driven district in Chicago, so our goal as designers was to capture the intersection of art and science. The design concept for the lobby, restaurant, amenities, and guestrooms celebrates the artist and scientist’s shared sense of discovery, creativity, and innovation. We balanced the two realms by focusing on the similarities between the artist and scientist – their shared sense of curiosity, creativity, and passion for innovation.

The double-height space of The Albert restaurant allowed us to play with this concept on a grand scale. We conceived a haphazardly-stacked collection of bookcases and dressers to not only give a more human scale to the dining room but also to form a fantastic structure hiding a secret staircase to a lofted lounge high above. Consistent with the concept of discovery, the bookcases playfully evoke an imagined home of a scientist and a poet packed to the ceiling with an eclectic collection of books, antiques, and art that they had collected throughout their lives.

How will their desires change the industry? 
Obviously, Millennials are tech savvy and able to access a lot of information. As a result, they are very sophisticated and well educated travellers. Moreover, they’re not interested in one-size-fits-all design. They want experiential spaces that will push us as architects to design hotels with distinct personalities that fit whatever one’s character, mood, and interests are.

The evolution of “mash-ups” is one of the most interesting design concepts to emerge today. We’re seeing different typologies merge, blur, and evolve into unique solutions that support how people live, work, and play today. As a studio, we’ve been looking at a wider range of projects – from hotels and restaurants to offices, theatres, and train stations – through the lens of hospitality. I think there’s a realisation that there’s a hunger for people to share social space in other environments. I think it’s partly a reflection of the physical isolation associated with social media and an acknowledgement of a basic human need.

An example is NeueHouse, a co-working environment in New York and Los Angeles. In both locations, we combined elements of hospitality, office and theatre to create a new type of workspace to house new forms of work habit. Essentially, the idea was to encourage and capture the serendipitous encounter by creating a series of inviting public spaces, where members can gather, socialise, and exchange ideas.

How do you approach designing for Millennials?  
Narrative and storytelling are more important than ever in hospitality these days as travellers demand luxury and a residential sense of comfort in addition to a unique, immersive experience. We pour over the history of the hotel’s location – and in some cases, the history of the building itself – to weave allusions to the past into our design concepts and details. There’s growing interest among hoteliers in anchoring their hospitality projects to the local culture and context or a specific place and time to make their guests feel as if they are stepping into a different world.

Hoteliers are also seeking other ways to address the needs of millennial travellers. Hilton commissioned Rockwell Group’s LAB, our in-house innovation studio, to create the Hilton Innovation Gallery, an R&D lab to showcase the company’s new hotel brands, products, and vision for the future to their key constituents (owners, operators, and employees), and inspire individuals to think differently about hospitality and the future of the service industry. It also enables Hilton to invite its creative collaborators and brand partners to test new products in a variety of event types.

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The Bacots moved to Serenbe in 2014, attracted by the sense of community
"We love being surrounded by people who teach us and make us better. Serenbe has also really enhanced our thinking about the value of nature and being outside on a daily basis"

Eliza Bacot and her husband Benton talk about living at Serenbe with their family

The museum’s first exhibition, Never-part, gathers stories told by Palestinians about their treasured possessions, investigating the connections between material objects and personal and collective identity
"This museum is not about being stuck in the past. It’s about inspiring the younger generation"

Kath Hudson takes a look at the many challenges of designing and building the Palestinian Museum on the West Bank ahead of its summer opening

Interior designers Knight Associates clad the cycle studio in mirrored stainless steel
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Kéré’s design is inspired by a tree in his hometown of Gando, Burkina Faso
Kéré told CLAD that the value of great public spaces ‘cannot be measured by money’
"Well designed public spaces are the foundation of a healthy society"

How he designed this year's Serpentine Pavilion

The Gaîté Lyrique Theatre, Paris
Judges praised Manuelle Gautrand for her suprising, bold urban architecture
"I have tried to use my European roots to re-enchant architecture and our cities"

On winning the 2017 European Prize for Architecture

AL_A’s design concept for the project was to ‘make visible the invisible through large moves and small details alike’
AL_A’s design concept for the project was to ‘make visible the invisible through large moves and small details alike’
"There is no other institution that would be quite so audacious in its commission"

Pulls off the V&A's new £55m courtyard

features
Bill HellmuthCEO, HOK Sport + Recreation +, Entertainment
"It’s a great time to be back in sports – it’s a piece of our practice we’ve sorely missed"

HOK re-enters the sports market

A whale jumps from a toilet into a paddling pool
"There was a huge amount to see at Dismaland, and I found the experience both enjoyable and unsettling."

It generated massive amounts of hype, as well as an estimated £20m for Weston- Super-Mare, but was Banksy’s Dismaland worth a visit? We found out

For the Bagel Garden, Schwartz used only materials she could buy in her neighbourhood
Martha Schwartz
"No one is taking the issue of climate change seriously. Some bad things will have to happen before there is a change"

The outspoken landscape architect on climate change, bagels and being controversial

cladkit product news
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
cladkit product news
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo