HD Talks

On Teamwork: HD’s 2015 Wave of the Future

Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Events, Trends | 0 comments

June is one of our favorite months here at HD in terms of discovering exciting up-and-coming talent in our industry. It’s the issue where we feature our annual Wave of the Future honorees, and also when we get to hear from them directly, at NextGen Forum, which was held a couple of weeks ago in Chicago.

Each talked about their most recent and upcoming projects, their challenges, and how they create a powerful experience for guests in the hotels and restaurants they design. But what really stood out was each designers’ attitude about collaboration—both on their own teams and with others they work with.

Cabanas at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach's rooftop pool.

Cabanas at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach’s rooftop pool.

Here are some of their thoughts on successful teamwork:

  • “It’s really important that everyone we work with has an open mind,” said Starwood Capital Group’s vice president of design, Liubasha Rose. She worked hand-in-hand on 1 Hotel & Homes debut property in South Beach with Meyer Davis Studio.
Continue reading →

Real Talk with Virgin Hotels’ Raul Leal

Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Events, People, Projects | 0 comments

Last week, the HD team headed to the Midwest—Chicago, to be exact—for our annual NextGen forum. The fanfare that week may have focused on the Chicago Blackhawks, but at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown, we were celebrating the next generation of designers.


HD‘s editor in chief Stacy Shoemaker Rauen with Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal during HD’s NextGen Forum.

While the event itself is always rewarding, one of the best aspects is when HD editor in chief Stacy Shoemaker Rauen sits down with a notable hotelier, designer, or industry expert to take a deep dive into hospitality. This year was no different. With the new Virgin Hotels Chicago only blocks away, CEO Raul Leal joined Stacy on the Renaissance rooftop to talk about his hospitality career that has spanned 30 years and the lifestyle hotel trend. Here are some highlights:

How he entered the hotel world
Leal has worked in the industry since he was 16 years old, planning to become a GM some day, which he accomplished. Continue reading →

Guest Post: What is Lifestyle, Anyway?

Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Events, People, Trends | 0 comments

By Nunzio DeSantis, executive vice president of HKS and director of HKS Hospitality Group

HKS' Nunzio DeStantis gives a presentation as part of the company's JoinUs series at its Dallas headquarters.

HKS’ Nunzio DeSantis discusses the term lifestyle during a presentation at the company’s Dallas headquarters as part of its JoinUs series.

Lifestyle. It’s an overused and watered-down label applied to just about every hotel concept these days. The term is slapped on like a one-size-fits-all moniker by marketers because it sounds cool and interesting, and I agree, they’re on to something. When you really dig in and think about it, the ideas and meaning behind lifestyle are multifaceted and complex—anything but a simple, one-size-fits all expression that means the same thing to everyone.

Lifestyle is dynamic, flexible, sometimes messy, and certainly not static. Lifestyle is about change, especially as we evolve and move through different stages of our lives. Lifestyle is also about choices because we find comfort in ritual. We are our choices. Let’s say you put a decal on your car or get a tattoo—it’ll probably reflect your lifestyle in some way. Continue reading →

Small Budget, Innovative Design

Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Projects, Trends, Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s hard to believe that HD Expo was nearly a month ago. While in Las Vegas, I moderated the “Design on a Dime” panel, focusing on well-executed design on smaller budgets. Panelists included Libby Patrick, president of Sims Patrick Studio; Lionel Sussman, vice president of global design at Marriott International; Lisa Zangerle, principal at SERA Architects; and Tom Horwitz, executive vice president for FRCH Design Worldwide. Each discussed innovative design solutions when cost is a factor.

The entrance to Marriott's Moxy Milan Malpensa Airport.

The entrance to Marriott’s Moxy Milan Malpensa Airport, which exemplifies the trend toward more engaging public spaces.

Here are six key takeaways from the session on making design a top priority, no matter the budget.

1. For hotels, weekend business is often driven by the pool bringing in families with children. However, some locations are finding a cost-effective alternative: transforming meeting rooms into kids’ play areas. “It about a fourth of the cost of a pool,” says Horwitz. Continue reading →

+tongtong, Toto Win Best of Show at 11th annual HD Awards

Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Events, Products, Projects | 0 comments

I’ve never met an awards show I didn’t immediately love. I’m the person who wins my Oscar pool every year though I haven’t seen any of the movies. I just love the pomp and circumstance, which explains why the HD Awards ceremony is one of my favorite of the year, and last night’s 11th annual event (sponsored by Durkan, Interiors from Spain, Garden on the Wall, Samuelson, HG Arts, Preciosa, Integra Fabrics, Kravet Contract, and Richloom Contract) exceeded expectations.

We take our awards seriously here at HD. Indeed, we had more project entries than ever before—560—and we introduced products this year, which saw more than 340 submissions. It was a good year to say the least, and made even better last night where we got to honor all of deserving winners and finalists and announce the Best of Show winners—our best kept secret.

Without further ado, here are last night’s big winners:


The Best of Show project winner: Drake Devonshire

With two wins for the property under its belt, the +tongtong-designed Drake Devonshire took home the projects best of show prize. Continue reading →