Prague’s Maximilian Hotel reopens following redesign by Conran and Partners
One of Prague’s most established boutique hotels, Maximilian, has reopened after a refurbishment programme by Conran and Partners.
Tony Matters, Creative Director at Faber, and Steven McGee, Managing Director UK Construction South at ISG, swap questions to understand how the A&D community can respond to the changing needs of today’s guest.
How can designers achieve the right balance when it comes to designing a versatile hospitality space that can cater to an array of needs?
TONY MATTERS, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, FABER DESIGN:
Hospitality spaces are no longer just somewhere to enjoy a meal, drink or good night’s sleep. Our lives are no longer split neatly into work, rest and play. More often than not, these three activities happen simultaneously, so hospitality designers are tasked with creating spaces that accommodate the many aspects of our muddled-up lives. When executed well, multifunctional spaces can be a real hit. They offer a solution to a problem, allowing us to carry out the activities we have to do, without compromising the activities we want to do.
Technology is a big part of building versatility into design and the more nomadic a space is, the more important the role of technology has become. In these instances, design should be a celebration of the blurred boundaries between the different aspects of our lives.
Technology is a big part of building versatility into design and the more nomadic a space is, the more important the role of technology has become
Many coffee shops and hotel lobby areas are already accommodating the growing number of remote workers, with work stations, charge points and impromptu meeting areas integrated into their design. They are no longer transient spaces, but instead provide a comfortable spot to enjoy a drink, connect your laptop and catch up on your emails in between meetings.
At Faber, we have witnessed a proliferation of integrated social and functional spaces. Many of our clients are choosing to open businesses that merge two activities into one, like a barbershop and a coffee shop or a gym and a prosecco bar, so that people can get a little pleasure out of what might normally be a chore.
The key to creating a successfully versatile hospitality space is finding an idea with longevity and genuine utility. Will people just visit once because it’s a novelty and never come back? Or are you providing a solution to an everyday problem?
The key to creating a successfully versatile hospitality space is finding an idea with longevity and genuine utility
Decide who your customer is before you begin the design process; this will help you to make important decisions early on. The layout of your venue, your seating strategy, service style, décor and menu will all help determine how your customers use the space, so multifunctionality should be part of the design brief from the outset.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you’ll never please everyone. Instead, identify the customer you want to serve, and if you can simplify just one aspect of their complicated lives – even just for an hour or two – they will keep coming back.
“What do design teams need to think about when it comes to ensuring their rationales respond to the changing needs of guests?”
STEVEN MCGEE, MANAGING DIRECTOR UK CONSTRUCTION SOUTH, ISG
At ISG, we’re noticing that our hospitality customers want their spaces to work harder and become more versatile to accommodate a collaborative environment.
The rise in community spaces shows no sign of abating. Co-working, co-living and co-learning is increasing in importance for the hospitality industry and is becoming an integral part of society. Networking is now just a secondary benefit of the sharing economy; the real driver is to build a community.
At ISG, we’re noticing that our hospitality customers want their spaces to work harder and become more versatile to accommodate a collaborative environment. One of our current customers is taking co-working and co-living to the next level. The project comprises a hotel and apartments in an up-and-coming area of London. What’s different about this space is that the guests of the hotel, as well as the apartment residents and the wider community, will all be able to use the communal spaces.
Creating a sense of community is becoming more and more significant to the hospitality industry, with open-plan areas and comfy spaces for relaxation, work and collaboration getting more common. We are seeing hotel projects in the pipeline that include community spaces, open to residents in the local area and creating social hubs. Customers are sourcing spaces in developing locales, where there is more space and better value for money. The interior design themes are typically modern, edgy and stripped back. The trend for exposed services works well, with the often-industrial nature of the space’s surroundings.
With the rise of community, hotel design needs to be open, transparent and inclusive
It’s not just hotels that are embracing co-working. Coffee shops are used by workers on the go for convenience, but they don’t always have the appropriate facilities, so now the food and beverage industry is seeing co-working cafés spring up.
Design teams need to take heed of the type of environment that hotels want to emulate and be aware of trends in the market. Right now, less is more. Breakout spaces are being made to work harder, and becoming the norm for communal hospitality areas. Ceilings are being shunned in favour of the exposed services look. It’s important to keep on top of these trends to deliver to customer and guest expectations.
Hospitality is reacting to the changes in how we work, live, learn and socialise. With the rise of community, hotel design needs to be open, transparent and inclusive. When delivering a project, we keep the end user in mind. And with the changing nature of hospitality and how people are using and interacting with the spaces, that has never been more important.
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