Hospitality Design magazine covers a lot of ground. We talk to designers and work with product manufacturers from all over the globe, each offering a unique point of view. In fact, there’s usually a moment in any interview where I say aloud, “I would have never thought of that.” That’s why I’m here writing blogs, and designers are out there crafting hotels, restaurants, wineries, university cafes, etc., and product companies are coming up with innovative digital printing processes, flooring made from plastic bottles, and solar chargeable products.
We were able to witness this firsthand examples of this work this week during our HD awards judging for our project and product awards. Both our product judges (Alicia Cannon, AJC Design; Meghann Day, HBA; and Stephanie Goto, STEPHANIEGOTO) and project judges (Larry Traxler, Hilton Worldwide; Dan Kwan, Wilson Associates; Lionel Ohayon, ICRAVE; Katherine Lo, Langham Hospitality; and Will Meyer, Meyer Davis Studio) were looking for the same thing: Projects and products that pushed the envelope; entrants that represent current innovators and the future of design.
Product judges sorted through more than 340 submissions in 10 product categories for our inaugural product awards. During the process they saw products “you could use anywhere,”; some that were “fun and playful,”; products that were “really sexy,”; and especially items that “were doing something that somebody else isn’t.” In addition, the judges were able to establish two new categories: technology and sustainability. But the driving force behind their choices was cohesive design that offered performance without compromising aesthetics. “It’s not about trend but functionality and the future,” Goto said during the process.
The project judges covered even more ground. This year, we saw a record-breaking number of project entries—560. The judges hunkered down in HD HQ all day, going through the 20 categories and parsing through the projects from guestrooms to public spaces to restaurants and beyond.
Our judges sought out projects that “didn’t follow the typical rules,” wanting to honor those that “pushed the needle a bit.” Their design sense was piqued when they saw projects that redefined hospitality—a ubiquitous criteria throughout the process. “It’s our job as designers to be inventive with programs,” Ohayon said. “Where are we going with design? We’re not just decorating a box, but it’s how you use the space.”
What does that mean? Well, we can’t wait to show you when we announce the product and project winners and finalists in the upcoming days. We’ll showcase these deserving honorees in our June issue, and then celebrate then once more during the HD Awards Ceremony on June 3rd in New York (stay tuned as tickets will be available soon at hospitalitydesign.com!)