We’re getting ready for our BIG event HI Connect Design coming this April 10-12, 2013 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN and it promises to be the most exciting event ever to hit the hospitality industry.
HI Connect Spotlight - FODA Design
Today we speak with Jennifer Kleen and Jeremy Jones of FODA Design as part of our series focusing on the hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros that are part of HI Connect Design 2013.
Monday, January 28, 2013
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We’ve got dozens of built out fully constructed out vignettes created by the vision of leading hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros. And those in attendance will get to step into their master creations, get a tour and see products in the content in which they belong; in a real hotel environment!
HI Connect Design offers attendees an incredible opportunity to view, first hand, original concepts designed by industry designers and purchasing companies in collaboration with suppliers shown in context within a real environment of a guest room, bathroom, and public spaces such as Bar/Lounge, Spa/Fitness to name a few. This is a truly the most collaborative effort ever at any hospitality event.
As part of our countdown to HI Connect 2013 we’re interviewing the people that are bringing their creative vision to life. Read the story below, or for a more fully in-depth interview listen to their story below.
For today’s interview, Editor-In-Chief Glenn Haussman speaks with Jennifer Kleen and Jeremy Jones of FODA Design who are creating an upscale guestroom during the three exciting days of HI Connect Design.
Glenn Haussman: I am so glad to have you guys here. So, all right, I gotta be honest with you. I am an upscale kinda guy. Well, I keep telling myself I’m an upscale kinda guy, and I love going to upscale hotels and upscale guest rooms, and I see a lot more of these types of properties going that way, too. Even mid-scale hotels are sneaking into the upscale realm it seems these days. What are you seeing in the world of upscale hotels in terms of your relationship to design?
Jeremy Jones: Well, I mean I think honestly a lot of the market is going upscale in general. I think the traveler today demands a lot more from the properties that they stay in. They want full-service amenities even if they have a limited-service property they’re staying in, so the standards, even for some of these box hotel properties like Courtyard or Hilton Garden Inn, they are finding travelers demanding a lot more out of their property design, similar to something that a few years ago might have been more appropriate in a Ritz Carlton or something like that. There’s a lot more going on in the design world these days.
Glenn Haussman: Yeah, it’s really incredible to me by how much even those select-service hotels, as you were saying, have become almost like full-service hotels. I’ve been attempting to coin the phrase “quasi full-service” hotels for the last number of years because it seems that even select-service hotels have a lot of full-service amenities and services, and you’re seeing that now, for example, with the increasing food and beverage in the lobby areas and all of that. But in the guest rooms we’re seeing a lot more being put into them as well, I think, as amenity creep comes down from other levels. Jennifer, what are some of the exciting things that you’re seeing in upscale bedrooms these days?
Jennifer Kleen: Well, I think it all stems out of people being more discerning. There’s a higher level of education, and so people do tend to expect a little more from a guest room. Obviously technology plays a huge role in that and but keeping it user friendly since people are staying in a hotel. It’s not their home. They need to be able to work it. And bedding has come a long way in terms of giving someone a duvet as opposed to just a coverlet or a comforter and actual linens that’s red count, things of that nature, because – in our opinion it’s because people are now aware of it and have the opportunity to own that in their own home. They’re going to look for that when they’re staying in a hotel as well.
Glenn Haussman: Yeah, totally agree. Now you said two words that I like a lot – user friendly. So how do you, when you’re going through a design process, make sure that the hotel room could be maximized by the guest that’s staying in there? ’Cause I’m sick and tired of not being able to see the TV from my desk. I can’t stand it when the chair is too short for the desk. So what are some of the things that you guys are thinking about when creating a room?
Jeremy Jones: Really, No. 1 is gonna be connectivity. Some recent properties that we’ve worked on we’ve done TVs on movable mounts so that they can be visible from the desk or from the bed with Jack Pack connectivity so you can plug in your laptop. You can watch YouTube videos. You can use the TV as your monitor, trying to simplify the buttons and controls, especially in upscale and luxury guest rooms. You really get a lot of complexity in there. Sometimes you can’t turn on the lights; sometimes you can.
Glenn Haussman: I know that pain.
Jeremy Jones: Yeah, so trying to keep some of those things more simple and then certain ergonomic types of things, desk heights, chair heights, those kinds of things. You don’t mess with success. You can pretty much follow the standards on that.
Jennifer Kleen: Yeah, you wanna keep it flexible, too, and in terms of people bring their suitcase, some people wanna live out of their suitcase. Some wanna have drawers. So you’ve gotta keep the room flexible, if you will. I mean I said that. And then some of the things that we’ve noticed that guests like are drapery controls from the bed. It’s kind of a hit or miss with that, but it seems to be one of the things they want.
Glenn Haussman: Yeah, I agree with you. I think that that is starting to become necessary at the upscale and above level because you’re lying in bed, you’re hanging out, and then you don’t really wanna have to get up and walk over there to pull those shades closed. Now if we could get someone to actually make those shades close enough so no light could come in in the middle then we’re really talking, but at least if I have a button to push I can keep being as lazy as humanly possible, one of my greatest goals in life, of course. I wanna know what some of the things are that you look at out there in the world around you that kind of inspire you that then you could bring back into creating a cohesive design in the guest room?
Jennifer Kleen: Well, it’s an interesting question and as designers we get asked this a lot, and it’s hard to nail it down because everything influences you. I think people would say that in general as you kind of evolve in life, but for me it’s definitely traveling and it’s getting to know people and playing off what you learn about cultures and each person’s desires, and then personally one of the things that inspires me or I bring to the table is I like to collect things, and those things inspire me – jewelry or geodes or seashells – just things that you look to for textures and patterns, and it’s that simple for my intake or my inspiration.
Jeremy Jones: Really as far as inspiration, where I get inspiration from, I mean it really comes from everywhere. We’re doing today a diamond-quilted tufting pattern in a chair in one of our bars right now that I pulled directly from a Lamborghini interior.
Glenn Haussman: Nice.
Jeremy Jones: Or, well, the fashion, automobile, and automobile design, furniture from around the world, architectural history. There was a fountain design that I recently worked on, and that fountain came out of my memory from a Carlo Scarpa building in central Italy that I saw 15 years ago that was designed 40 years ago, so it just comes from everywhere.
Glenn Haussman: I like what you said about taking things out of like cars, for example. I just saw recently a car commercial that was bragging about when they did their interiors they took it from other places like fashion and hotels and other places as well, so I think it’s great that we’re seeing a lotta intermingling of ideas between people.
Jennifer Kleen: I like to have those things in play. I mean that’s the point. It’s like everything – if you’re – I think it’s part of what you’re trained as a designer to do is to just draw from everything and see the world differently, so you do take those things in there in your everyday existence.
Glenn Haussman: So you must find it fascinating when you guys see things so clearly and the people that you happen to be with in a group that are not designers have no idea that they’re even looking at something, right?
Jennifer Kleen: And they get frustrated because you’re pointing it all out, like, “We don’t care. We don’t wanna talk about that.”
Glenn Haussman: Now, as we know, you guys are doing the upscale guest room at HI Connect. Is there anything that you can share with us right now about what you’re thinking about in creating the ultimate vision here?
Jeremy Jones: Well, we’re definitely pulling in some regional reference. We’ve done some research into what are anticipated to be hot-growth markets for the next decade and beyond in order to sort of select a region where we’re doing our basic design of our guest room.
Jennifer Kleen: We have a strong connection with our interior and our exterior because we believe that’s a huge part of the experience for the guest when they’re in a guest room to give them that sense of place – excuse me – and reference materials and a color of how it plays strongly off of our sense of place in just letting that balance the materials as well as – with color there.
Jeremy Jones: We went to the – we went – we attended the show last year. We were impressed and everything, but we felt that we wanted to take it – how can we set ourselves apart and how can we do things a little differently, how can we do things the way FODA does things, so we are excited to show what our team has been able to develop.
If you are interested in participating in this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect Design™, coming this April 10-12, 2013, please contact us immediately at (631) 424-7755 x150. You may also go to our website for more information and to see the photo gallery of HI Connect Design™ 2012, please visit us at HIConnectDesign.com.