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The future of hotel meeting spaces


Chandelier of the future: a kinetic ceiling

Speakers at yesterday’s Design Inn Hotel Design Symposium revealed the big trends in meeting spaces.

Over 200 designers, hoteliers and suppliers converged on Doltone House Hyde Park to crystal ball gaze about what’s next in hotel design.

A panel on ‘Meeting spaces, more than just a ballroom’ highlighted the way hotels are evolving in the space more than ever before.

The panellists – including Woods Bagot’s Wade Little, Opera Studio Design’s Carmen Glenister and Ace Hotels’ Trey Shores – revealed the ways meeting rooms were embracing their surrounding environment.

Little said that keys to ensuring the happiness of modern delegates are access to power for charging devices, creating ‘accidental bump space’ where people can run into each other and chat, access to high speed WiFi and an overall sense of informality, rather than staid, traditional meeting spaces.

Glenister continued on to say that natural light, plants, larger spaces and sustainability are going to be features of the meeting rooms of the future.

“It’s about bringing in the outdoors, fresh air and a connection to nature especially through sustainable materials,” she said.

Glenister said the key for hotels is to be ‘one of a kind’ and that rather than buying pieces of art to position in the spaces, the space itself should be an artwork.

She said meeting spaces need to be crafted for the feeling they will evoke in the people who use them and that there should be an identifiable narrative around the experience that people can tap into.

She also said that the spaces need to be easily converted for cinema experiences, fashion parades, group exercise, night clubs, and in the case of one hotel in Berlin, a recording studio.

“Old school chandeliers will be a thing of the past in new builds; projections, LED walls, interactive panels [O LED] and kinetic ceilings would take the place of traditional light fittings to enable the entire space to be themed,” said Glenister.

All three speakers agreed that there had been a push towards ‘unconventional breakout spaces’, in the form of lobbies, cafes and bars being used as breakout spaces, as opposed to dedicated breakout rooms in hotels.

That was also highlighted by Shores, who said the lobby of the Ace Hotel in New York City, which features popular café Stumptown Roasters, was a roaring success and alongside being a breakout space, was doing around ‘$4 million in revenue’ a year.

“People want natural light, flexible spaces and a lively atmosphere,” he said. “And [as such], public spaces are becoming an extension of meeting spaces.”


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