In this episode of the Hotel Design Podcast we welcome Siobhan Barry, Design Director at Gensler. Like everything we see with hospitality design lately, projects are grounded in ‘experience’ - something that Barry says is essential to satisfying today’s customer.
Good thing that she has had plenty of experience doing just this sort of thing since the 1990s. That’s when she spent a considerable amount of time working on nightclub related projects, where experience is essential. Glenn and Siobhan discuss the rise of bottle service, which transformed the nightclub scene, and how they’re developed. They also discuss how selling real estate changes the economics of this side of the hospitality business, and how music, décor, and customers’ desires have changed since that era.
They talk about how design must appeal to both women and men while creating a scene in both restaurants and nightclubs that facilitates mingling and more. Siobhan shares how to create an interplay between the different elements of design to create the perfect foundation for people to make those connections against the pageantry of it all.
Then they move onto hotels from the nightclub world by chatting about the Ian Schrager effect on hotels and hospitality. Glenn and Siobhan layer on how culture is pushing the hotel experience to change, especially when it comes to satisfying that screen need and how business and leisure trips are melding.
Siobhan shares some detailed tactics for designs including table heights, depth of seating and more. It is an essential lesson that many designers do not seem to get right. Afterall, it’s more critical than ever, especially as folks tend to want to hang out more in public spaces. Designers must create a great, comfortable environment which prompts people to spend more money. Siobhan and Glenn use the Citizen M in New York as an example for this and talk about the balance between the science and heart of design. Then Glenn and Siobhan discuss the dichotomy of the hotel experience vs. shared economy type stays. Siobhan shares a story about her experience with Airbnb and how it underscores to her the importance of knowing what your brand is, how it should be communicated to a target audience, and how everything should be geared with that specific point of view.
Technology is also discussed, of course. But in this case, they chat about how it is used in the design process and how it helps create common ground quicker between developers and designers - like a virtual model room.
They wrap up discussing an airline lounge project that Siobhan loves and how it’s changing the notion of what that product is supposed to be. Listen and find out how.
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