The design world never stops innovating. We’re here to help you keep ahead of the game with our series of ‘trends to watch’ across the cruise, hotel, and aircraft interiors industries. Our latest blog looks at how the hotel industry is setting new standards when it comes to sustainability.
Sourcing natural materials
One of the biggest factors sustainably-minded hotel interior designers are considering is which materials to use and where they will source them. To reduce carbon footprints, transport costs and boost local economies, many are now also shopping closer to home. A significant element is also looking at using natural and organic materials to decorate interior spaces with products such as engineered wood, cotton, ceramics and mycelium, a natural material made from mushrooms that is beginning to be used by designers to make lampshades and other furniture. This is a key trend we expect to advance, with interior designers continuing to innovate with natural materials.
If you’re looking for new inspiration, at this year’s Sustainable Design Summit in November, there will be a session entitled ‘Materials innovation & collaboration in the supply chain’ which will look at the best ways to achieve sustainable spaces.
Lighting up an entire hotel uses a great deal of energy (and even larger costs given the increase in rates). Therefore, suppliers have been looking at ways to reduce how much electricity is used. Designers are investigating how they too can create the right mood and ambience within the hotel, all while thinking green first.
There are a variety of lighting solutions including energy-efficient bulbs and using renewable energy sources such as solar panels, but one of the biggest trends we have seen in recent years is the implementation of lighting sensors.
Many hotel chains have tasked their interior designers to implement strategies to put discreet sensors in hotel lobbies and public spaces. In guest areas, the sensor technology can be used to switch off lights when nobody is in the room.
Earlier this year Virgin Hotels launched its New York City Hotel and rooms have sensor-activated lights that are illuminated when guests walk by.
Let there be (natural) light
Interior designers are already using materials to bring the outside world in (more on that later) but a simple way to reduce the environmental impact and conserve energy is by replacing artificial lighting with natural lighting.
But how are hotel designers doing this? If they are starting from scratch and working alongside the architects, they are looking at the best ways to bring in as much natural light as possible. Adding larger windows is an obvious answer, as well as looking at the direction the natural light will flow into the rooms. In established buildings that are being given a refresh, it may be a case of moving windows within rooms if both design and budget allow, or simply ensuring that the windows are clear of furniture so as much natural light as possible can flood the room.
Reclaim and repurpose
Reclaimed furniture is set to be one of the biggest trends in hotel interiors as we move forward. Hotel designers are also opting to use materials such as reclaimed wood in hotel rooms – not only is it an environmentally-friendly option, but it can also often tell the story of the hotel, particularly if the wood has an interesting past life being made from a wine barrel or an old warehouse.
Repurposing adds an element of individuality to hotel furnishings which can be pleasing to the guests, enhancing their experience.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to recycling or repurposing furniture. What processes best support it? What exactly is lifespan planning when it comes to furnishings? Fortunately, the Sustainable Design Summit will cover all these topics in its ‘Materials, manufacturing, and design – The key 3 elements of lifespan planning’ session.
In addition to this, there will be plenty of suppliers on hand at the Summit as part of the zero-waste Product Showcase. The gallery-style display will feature hand-selected sustainable products, materials, and solutions from interior suppliers working within the cruise, hotel, and aviation industries.
Closer to nature
Embracing natural surroundings is one way to ensure we are aware of the changing world around us and maintaining a connection with nature is certainly a trend we have seen emerge in the design world; be that through using natural colour palettes and materials to imitate the outside world or by quite literally bringing the outside in.
Hotel designers are going green in every sense and harnessing the use of ‘biophilic design’ – the idea of bringing plants and the living world into the hotel spaces. Think amazing hues of green and natural foliage adorning the facades of the building as well as the hotel lobby or public areas that will evoke a sense of calm and wellbeing.
The Treehouse Hotel is located right in the heart of London but manages to create an oasis of greenery inside. Think living walls and hanging plants throughout. The hotel’s concept is to make you feel like you’re at ‘home’ rather than a ‘hotel’ and the biophilic decor offers a sense of calm for the eco-conscious.
Want to learn more about sustainable hotel design? Sustainable Design Summit unites the aviation, cruise, and hotel design sectors for a series of talks, roundtable discussions and a sustainable product showcase. Find out about the next event here.
Written by Kelly Ranson