As the hard-hit hospitality industry prepares to reopen under new government regulations, there is the necessity to rethink existing spaces. Social distancing is still a major issue and will seriously affect the very essence of hotels, restaurants and bars – perhaps indefinitely. How can designers adapt to these new rules and create impactful and effective spaces for the post-pandemic landscape?
Mix sits down with Dylan Wills, Associate at leading global firm Hirsch-Bedner Associates, specialists in creating beautiful hospitality spaces for clients from New York to Shanghai. Here, Dylan sheds a practical light on how hotels and restaurants can manage the inevitable changes that the industry is facing.
In 2019 we talked a lot about the ‘new hospitality’. Post-pandemic, will physical privacy and space become the most important design consideration for a Post-Covid hospitality world – and how will this be reflected in the aesthetic experience?
In the short term I don’t think there’s going to be a drastic difference within hotel designs and new builds. The main reason being that most of the the world’s hospitality companies have been closed down for the last two to three months. They’ve had zero revenue, and their annual figures for this year are going to be down. If you were an owner of a hotel, not having revenue for three months, would you want to invest large amounts of money to get your hotel open again? Of course, but you will see adaptability and flexibility – hotel operators now know that they need to be ready for anything that happens in the future.
The one thing you can do is use larger spaces differently. You can use things like furniture items and decorative items to create architectural barriers, allowing people to flow around the objects. In a lobby for instance, we can put furniture or pieces of art that make people circulate one direction or another but still enhance the look of the space.