We do a lot of great things here at Hospitality Design magazine (HD Expo, Platinum Circle, HD Awards, to name a few), but one of the most rewarding is announcing our annual Wave of the Future honorees, whom we celebrate during our yearly NextGen event. This week we’ll be in Washington DC fêting a group of diverse and deserving individuals who are pushing boundaries, questioning the status quo, and changing the hotel industry.
That’s part of what made these 12 stand out to us. Hospitality is often slow to change, but this group is moving the needle. It’s exciting to see where they think design and hospitality will take us in the years ahead. And if their portfolios of work are any indication—which already very prolific—we’re in for an exciting ride. Here’s our 2017 class of Wave of the Future honorees:
Chris Alvarado from Two Roads Hospitality has elevated Thompson Hotels into a highly sought-after brand. Take the Cape, a Thompson Hotel in Cabo San Lucas (Alvarado’s proudest accomplishment) or the recently opened Thompson Nashville. By partnering with design firms that offer a contemporary edge, Alvarado is helping to reinvent the brand.
His coworker, Melissa Haft, has done the same with Two Roads’ Joie de Vivre. One of the oldest boutique brands in the industry, Joie de Vivre is inventive, quirky, fun, with a personality all its own. Much of that credit can be given to Haft, who impressively navigates these individual properties (including the just-debuted Hotel 50 Bowery) with skill and precision.
The Wroclaw, Poland-based BUCK.STUDIO comprising Pawel and Dominika Buck caught our eye with their simple yet thoughtful Dinette Bistro & Bar in Poland and continued to impress with the pretty in pink Nanan Patisserie. Those velvet walls and blush marble are sweet without being saccharine, and offer a welcome design surprise
Studio Tack, a quartet of designers including Leigh Salem, W. Brian Smith, Ruben Caldwell, and Jou-Yie Chou, have taken on the task of rehabbing former lodges and motels into chic properties. The Anvil Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming evokes nostalgia with a contemporary and rustic flair, while their recent 38-room Scribner’s Catskill Lodge reimagines the property’s former glory, now with a sleek upgrade
The Los Angeles-based duo Barbara Rourke and Jason St. John of Bells + Whistles have made a name for themselves on the West Coast by taking a personal, hands-on approach to their restaurant work, collaborating with some of the most well-known chefs in the industry and showing that restaurant design doesn’t have to be formulaic. In fact, it can exceed expectations.
The multilingual, multicultural Sabine Vessnow Khera brings a different point of view to the Sydell Group, thanks to years of travel and dabbling in other industries. She has an impressive résumé that celebrates unconventionality, which can be seen in the Line Hotels, Freehand, and NoMad. From Vessnow Khera expect an approach that subverts the status quo.
James Waterworth, a protégé of Martin Brudnizki and Nick Jones of Soho House, has a distinct eye for design. His work on Soho House properties in Barcelona and Istanbul, as well as his newly formed Charles & Co. with former Soho House colleague Vicky Charles, mixes sophistication with intriguing and meticulously crafted design concepts.