Main image: Hilton Guadalajara Midtown restaurant HBA. Photo: Lindsay Lauckner
With many countries still restricting travel, a tentative return to “normal” is still in the medium-term future. Experts predicting a full global industry recovery for hospitality is still years away, but patched together design solutions and austere Plexiglass screens won’t cut it.
How will designers find ways to meet these standards without making spaces seem clinical or isolated? It requires creative thinking of how layout and surfacing can work together for an optimal guest experience that keeps hospitality truly hospitable.
Meghann Day, a partner at HBA San Francisco, explained to Walls & Roofs Magazine what she believes will become surface design trends in 2021 and beyond.
Cleanability remains a key focus
“While beautiful, marble is usually not a surface option for high-traffic hotel spaces. The hospitality industry is quite proficient in materiality with respect to sustainability, sturdiness and hygienic design,” says Day. “For example, the sealing of high-touch surfaces and using glass tops on wood have been used before the pandemic, as designing to the necessary level of cleanability has been a focus for the last decade.”
Strict fabric regulations for cleanability and moisture content, and finding numerous ways to improve durability and stain resistance, are ongoing. We will see more easy-to-clean and antimicrobial fabrics, carpeting and wallcoverings in the year ahead that are luxurious and beautiful.
Social distancing and wayfinding
Companies are taking advantage of surfacing designed for separating spaces, without leaving them looking or feeling subdivided. Screens and greenery have long been used in compact spaces to create the feeling of privacy or an individual space. Now they have a starring role in doing just that. “There are companies now branching out into screens that really are design elements, not just practical necessities,” says Day. And, she adds, some of them have quick ship programmes that will get products on site in four to six weeks.
The flexibility of screening is another advantage. Many projects are in locations where phases of reopening dictate multiple changes to occupancy, layout and amenity options in public spaces. “Phase one could be just eight to ten occupants allowed in the lobby at one time,” says Day. “By phase three, these spaces would have a layout that is designed to allow more space between people (not to return to pre-Covid design), but it would not have occupancy restrictions.”
Conference rooms will see less use of these techniques. Portable chairs and multipurpose layouts in many larger spaces mean they are adaptable. The simple rearrangement of seating can satisfy social distancing requirements.
Overall, Day doesn’t anticipate major changes to the materials palette, but there are some innovations and trends she sees as emerging in the near future:
- A stronger finish: Additional sealants
Day predicts that antibacterial sealant options will improve. These will provide an extra layer on top of products already used to treat surfaces.
2. Intimacy without isolation: Screen play
Screening elements in public spaces, such as lobbies and lounges, allow for privacy without the feeling of being alone and act as partitions for social distancing.
3. Even more glass
Seamless and with top-notch cleanability, glass may take a greater role in surfacing. Look for it on bar tops, as a topper for other materials, as panels that create visual separation, and as operable walls to invite nature in as décor and to promote reciprocal indoor/outdoor flow.
4. Nature-inspired tones
Greens, blues and earthy hues connect us to nature. In deep tones, these colours evoke a sense of calmness. We will see more spaces enveloped in nature-inspired tones, from painted wall panelling and wallcoverings to drapery, mixed with warm woods and natural stone.
Perhaps some of these changes will be noticeable when South Africa is removed from the restricted travel list. We can only hope that it will be sooner rather than later, with the festive season looming.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation to www.hoteldesigns.net for the use of the information contained in this article.
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