Friday, January 29, 2010

Inspired by... Hotels

I think the majority of designers in the event industry trace a lot of their inspiration back to fashion... at least that is what I hear and read from my peers most often. While it is not to say that I am not inspired by fashion (I do love it), I am not moved by it in the same way that I think many designers are. I am so much more taken by environments - how unrelated things work together to define space or how textures and colors (or lack thereof) create context for life, movement and activity.

Some of the most inspiring environments for me are in hotels, and for good reason, as I actually see quite a few similarities between the design of a hotel and the design of an event. Like an event, a hotel must be designed to appeal to a large group of diverse individuals with different tastes, and still make them all feel comfortable as well as entertain them in a luxurious manner. Hotels, like events, are not solely created to be design environments - they are created for other purposes, so guests entering may not be looking for the nuance and intricacies of the design. As a result, often bolder or bigger elements must be introduced to capture the attention of the guests and give them a "wow." Finally (well, not really finally, but finally for this post!), both hotels and event environments have multiple related spaces which need to have a connected vision, but also an evolution of style for the guest to experience. Think: lobby, hallway, guestroom vs. ceremony, cocktails, dinner.

While there are so many hotels that I adore and that really move me, I can't stop pouring over the photos of the Crosby Street Hotel here in New York City. I was introduced to the parent company, Firmdale Hotels, on my trip to London last summer (I stayed in the Soho Hotel) and was OBSESSED with the decor in my room as well as the common spaces in the hotel. When I learned that Firmdale recently opened a property here, I was enthralled. Co-owner and designer Kit Kemp mixes colors, textures and even eras with ease and there are no two rooms in the seven hotel properties that are identical.

Hotel lobby: eclectic, but not intimidating

The personality of the designer shines through so you can see a connectivity between each property and each room, yet the individuality of the hotel based on location, size and client base is the guiding light of the design. It always has been and will be my goal to do the same... to use my client and the venue to give me the inspiration for the painting, but then to finish it off with my signature frame.

Common spaces: bold, but still inviting

Bedrooms: glamorous, but still comfortable

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