Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

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: Matrix Fitness
Unrelenting drive to be the best at what we do underpins activity throughout our vertically integrated business life cycle.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
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
The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Interview: Elizabeth de Portzamparc
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Interview: Blurred lines
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

features
"I want to demonstrate that creativity is our true capital as humans "

Rather than feeling fearful and helpless about the future, we must design a way out of the environmental problems we have created, argues the innovative Dutch designer, artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde

Olga Polizzi went to Rome Art School before joining the design department at Forte Hotels
Olga Polizzi is director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels and also owns two of her own hotels
"On Via Sistina, everything breathes history. At the same time I wanted to reflect the modern hunger for the fantastical - Tommaso Ziffer"

Following the highly anticipated launch of Rome’s Hotel de la Ville, Rocco Forte’s director of design reflects on a fascinating project

cladkit product news
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
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 ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
cladkit product news
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB