ReardonSmith leads design of Heya – a hotel room concept offering personalisation for each guest

Our objective was to create a guestroom that was advanced, yet still grounded in reality, which would offer tangible benefits for owners, investors and operators
– Jonny Sin

A new hotel room concept which "shapes around the visitors" looks to transform the overnight experience for hotel guests.

Called Heya, the concept was created by a team of designers, led by ReardonSmith Architects.

Using technology and innovative design, Heya can be dramatically reconfigured by guests to suit their purpose and is built around the idea that guests shouldn’t have to settle into their room: it should take shape around them.

The aim is to provide a flexible enough space to mould to unique preferences and "thoughtful enough to exceed expectations".

There are four different themes – or functions – which each Heya room can adopt to: Noor (leisure), Makena (business), Jin (wellness) and Charlie (long-stay).

For the concept, the team led by ReardonSmith had four design principles. As described by the architects, these were:

Versatility - The space was designed to accommodate four guest types that were identified as: Leisure, Business, Wellness and Long-stay. To assist the design, a narrative behind each guest type and a personalised name for each fictitious guest were created.

Another key design feature was a moveable wall that provides ultimate flexibility, allowing the room to be completely opened-up to the adjacent space for social functions. During the low season, the room can be easily transformed into a meeting or co-working facility.

Technology –This was fully integrated into the room using an Internet-of-Things approach but was not overtly on display.

Wellness - The streamlined room is full of natural daylight with special lighting to enhance wellness and the latest standards of sustainable and biophilic design were introduced. Furniture is high quality and materials are natural, but nothing is opulent, and everything had a purpose. In keeping with the wellness theme, a four-sense shower experience with an integrated steam room was included.

Personal – Increasingly, luxury is measured by the degree of customisation available. Heya gives guests the ability to choose from an array of amenities to personalise their stay. Technology delivered the ability to flex the room from party to work to family space at the touch of an app.

According to Jonny Sin, director at ReardonSmith, the concept is aimed particularly at Gen Z, born approximately between 1995 and 2010, described as "connected digital natives who believe customisation is the new luxury experience".

"Gen Z are a generation of ‘digital natives’ which grew up with the internet, social networks and mobile systems; they are globally connected, and their virtual and physical experiences frequently converge," Sin said.

"With a variety of worlds at their fingertips, they see consumption as access rather than possession, they prefer experiences over assets and see communications and community as vital aspects of their lives.

"At the beginning of the year, ReardonSmith were approached to design a “Guestroom 2035” concept for Sleep & Eat, a leading hospitality design and innovation event.

"We leapt at the chance, seeing this as an opportunity to absorb ourselves in fresh thinking and new learning.

"Our objective was to create a guestroom that was advanced, yet still grounded in reality, which would offer tangible benefits for owners, investors and operators and which was future proofed because it responded to the expectations of Gen Zers.

"We were privileged to work with an amazing team.

"HoCoSo, a company focused on creating solutions for the future of the hospitality real estate industry, and Delight Lifestyle Branding Agency were the first firms to join us.

"At our request, HoCoSo introduced us to a body of hospitality students at Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague. It was these students - the operators and guests of tomorrow - who acted as our client. Gen Zers defined our brief and directed our creative efforts.

"The result was Heya, an urban hotel room created for Generation Z. We selected this name because it provides strong reference to the versatile nature of the space we designed.

"'Heya' is the Japanese word for 'Room' and was traditionally a space that served as a living and dining room, and at night, a bedroom. It was a space that could be dynamically reconfigured. The word also happened to convey the inclusive values of our intended guests."

To find out more about the concept, click here.

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