We are generally a humble bunch at Hospitality Design magazine, but we have to admit that we had quite a year. From big events to even bigger issues, the hospitality industry bore a wealth of excitement seen in our pages and on our website over the last 12 months. During 2014, we looked at people shaping the industry, the trends that influenced hospitality, and projects that stand out.
We are not immune to listicles, and there’s no better way to bring the year to the close than to look back at our favorite stories from 2014. A completely subjective, no-algorithms-involved list that includes everything from the stories we liked writing and reading to the ones that changed the way we viewed the industry and (hopefully) influenced how our readers approached design.
From the editors, here are our top stories of the year:
1. An important tenet of HD is featuring projects and firms that showcase smart, thoughtful design elements. But it’s when we focus on the people behind the industry—designers, developers, architects, etc.—that we can truly understand what inspires them to create what they do. Our July People issue was the rare moment when we got to do just that. Showcasing 17 different stories, we got real insight into what shapes the vision of these industry stalwarts and how they maintain success without compromising who they are. The best part: These stories are thought-provoking reads for people of any background or profession.
2. There are many impressive chefs but none quite like Daniel Boulud. In our October Restaurant issue, editor-in-chief Stacy Shoemaker Rauen sat down with Boulud and his longtime collaborator Jeffrey Beers, joining them in a free-flowing conversation and deep dive into the restaurant side of hospitality. Talk about a journalistic coup—two living legends discussing candidly what they do best. It’s one of those great interviews where all you have to do is let two masters do all the work.
3. How many times have we heard about the Great Recession’s impact on the industry? We saw projects in development cease and renovations halted. Designers, too, felt the heat with many firms downsizing as work dried up, which is why reading about four firms that were built from the rubble of the economic downturn and are now thriving in July’s “Back from the Brink” article is so inspiring. These designers didn’t see the economic decline as a roadblock but rather as an opportunity. Now they run their own boutique firms, proving that there is always a place for talent and perseverance in this industry.
4. Chronicling the lives of our Platinum Circle honorees is always an annual highlight because we get to examine the lives and careers of those industry folks who have contributed mightily to the hospitality industry. This year’s list was particularly satisfying because two of the honorees, Art Gensler and Adrian Zecha, are not only longtime veterans of their particular fields but also made rare public appearances at the ceremony held in November. Speaking with all five for our October issue—including David Rockwell, Danny Meyer, and Lauren Rottet—was a pleasure for editorial director Michael Adams, as the result was for us to read.
5. Since we inaugurated the Guest Editor issue some years ago, the result has been fascinating each time. The issue becomes a kind of inadvertent autobiography of the designers. Read the issue cover-to-cover and you can piece together a profile that reveals their aesthetic in ways you might not be able to glean from their projects. This year, the choices of products, people, and projects not their own made by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, greatly increased our admiration and respect for them.
6. Also in our guest editor issue was an interview that, while naturally quite interesting, was also in equal part inspiring. Glenn and George caught up with former tech and business superstar Zita Cobb, who is originally from Fogo Island off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Cobb returned to her hometown in retirement to establish the Shorefast Foundation—part of which includes the 29-room Fogo Island Inn—to bolster her struggling community. Her ideas about developing “cultural and economic resilience,” are nothing short of brilliant, and even more refreshing because her model (with art, sustainability, and hospitality as key touchstones) can be implemented in any small community.
7. It’s no secret that an industry is only as strong as the knowledge and skills of its professionals. That’s why in our September education feature, we wanted to check in where it all starts—with some of the people, programs, and college campuses that are helping to educate and shape future hospitality designers. We can’t wait to see what the new generation comes up with!