We’re getting ready for our BIG event HI Connect® Design coming this April 2-4, 2014 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. Act Now and register to be a part of this amazing event.
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® 2014 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.
Act now to be a part of this game changing event. For more information relating to this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect® Design, this April 2-4, 2014 visit HI Connect® Design to learn more and register for this unique event that sets the new standard in hospitality tradeshows. Or call 631-424-7755 x150 for an immediate response.
For today’s interview, Editor-In-Chief Glenn Haussman speaks with Amber-Rhiannon Gibson from Lagom Interiors who are creating a Midscale Guestroom during the three days of HI Connect® Design.
Glenn: Midscale properties really get all the attention these days, don't they?
Amber: They do. I mean it's because of the economy. It seems to be where most of the focus is.
Glenn: That's absolutely right. I call it the sweet spot of the industry. That's where everybody really seems to wanting to build these days. They're very efficient to build. They're very efficient to run, and guests seem to love them. Guests don't really, as far as I'm concerned – except at the top levels – most people really don't care about having someone bring your luggage to the room. They don't want to have to pay for those kind of extra services. So we've got a situation where Midscale guest rooms are the place to be, and I'd say more rooms are being constructed in that segment than any other segment. But they're changing, aren’t they?
Amber: Well, they definitely are. Midscale guestroom – it is the focus of hotel design because it appeals to so many different types of people. Like you said, people don't want to have someone bring their luggage to their room. They're just in and out, or they're there for an extended stay. But still things have changed. As far as design trends, I feel like things have also changed. Since Midscale is our main focus in the hotel industry, it's more of an everyday man – but still a luxury traveler can appreciate it too. I feel like the design trend has gotten a little bit more simplified. And I feel that there tends to be a little bit of a European influence, a Scandinavian design, more simplified.
Glenn: So you can't say that all Midscale hotels have the same personality. They all kind of our different, and designs seem to be becoming more reflective of location, right? So if that's the case, how do you approach putting together a project?
Amber: How I go into a project is immediately upon entering the contract I'll go and see the space and get to know the location, get to know the little cafes, the quaint streets, and just talk to the people, and talk to the locals and see what type of tourism they have, and then talk to the people who actually work at the hotel or who are going to be involved in the hotel if it's a new build and just see about the people and the locale and the history of the place and then try and reflect that.
Glenn: That's pretty neat. So I like the idea of going to different local restaurants and stuff. I think that really is a bellwether for a culture in a neighborhood. Are you able to take some of the food ideas and that sort of thing and translated into something visual through design?
Amber: Okay, yeah.
Glenn: You know, like New Orleans is jambalaya and spicy foods or something like that.
Amber: Of course – and then you go to Maine and it's all like seafood.
Glenn: And I figure that somehow has got to translate into what you're thinking about that helps you to create a sense of inspiration for something that you're designing.
Amber: Of course. It's sort of like getting into character I guess for an actor. Design is you've got to get into the character of the location and the people and feel what it is to be in New Hampshire or feel what it is to be in Seattle and try and reinterpret that through design.
Glenn: So are you like Daniel Day-Lewis? When you start a project to get into character, and you retain that character throughout the entire project?
Amber: I am I guess. I carry a little piece of each project with me.
Glenn: That's great. I'd love to see you build like the Lincoln Hotel, and you'd be Abraham Lincoln for 18 months while you're working on the project. That is something that I think would be great.
Amber: Without facial hair.
Glenn: Right, yes of course. That would be a good thing. Okay. So Amber, I want to talk a little bit about you – your inspiration, where all these ideas come from. How did you first know that design was going to be your life's path?
Amber: Well, at a young age my family started taking me and my sisters all over the world. So I think being to over 43 countries has inspired my design considerably. Even just staying at the really neat hotels from a small hotel in Thailand to a four-star hotel in Shanghai.
Glenn: Yeah, so you've been all over the globe. You've seen all sorts of different types of hotels. So how do you translate some of those ideas into things that you bring back here?
Amber: Well, our world I think is becoming smaller. It's not just America that's the melting pot; it's the world that the melting pot. Just through technology, social media, whatnot. So I believe that it's very important to have a global worldly design no matter where the location of the hotel. You're going to have international travelers everywhere.
Glenn: Yeah, I would say even in Midscale hotels you want to kind of have that modern, international, cosmopolitan kind of feel but also steeped in the locality of the destination, like we just said. What's the coolest place that you've been, and tell me about the hotel experience there?
Amber: The coolest place I've ever been was probably Richard Branson's private island called Necker Island.
Glenn: No way.
Amber: It was really neat. It was originally built … it was going to be a recording studio for Paul McCartney. So it's a small island, and it has several personal estates there for Richard Branson. It's amazing. There are support walls but not really any exterior walls. You shower outside, and it's just my type of vacation.
Glenn: I think it's really funny that the really, really wealthy and the really, really poor shower outdoors. I see a lot of those kind of … not us guys in the middle. I gotta shower indoors. Well, sometimes I just go outside and I get buckets of water thrown on me from above. But other than that I always do all of my beating indoors. That's more of a decree from the universe then anything. Stay indoors as much as possible. All right, so man, that's pretty cool going to an island like that. Is there any particular hotels out there that you've seen around the world that you've seen and you go wow I wish I thought of that myself?
Amber: Oh everywhere. Every hotel I walked into there’s … even if it's a hotel but I've been in before, I always see something different. Details really interest me. As soon as I check into a hotel I take pictures of everything – the moldings, just light fixture details. It's all fascinating, and I think the details often go unnoticed, but that's what make a really special hotel.
Glenn: Yeah, I think you're right because one of the things I've found in the hospitality industry these days is everybody's a rock star, and everybody is awesome. So I think we're all starting from a very, very high level to begin with. Like everyone's at like 95, 96% there, and it's the attention to detail that I think really, really makes a difference in a property to take it up to that under percent mark that gets people to really want to come back, right?
Amber: That's right. I mean that holds true in design in every aspect. The little something extra that you offer to your clients, to your customer, it makes all the difference in the world.
Glenn: With Midscale guestrooms, you've got to be a little bit more focused on the price point things are coming in. Any advice on any tricks that you have to be able to create a high-quality look without having to spend that kind of money?
Amber: Yeah, I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for. But I think that standards in the design industry have changed. You won't find fabrics that are 50,000 double rubs that feel like sandpaper anymore. You can get … and things have become quite competitive also. So I just think if you shop around and know your product and you find a good designer, and a designer who knows his or her stuff, then you can find great value for a great design.
Glenn: Yeah, I agree. Great advice. So again, guys, coming up April 2nd through 4th in Nashville, Tennessee we've got HI Connect® Design. You've got to go check out HIConnectDesign.com. Amber, you're going to be working on a Midscale guestroom. Could you give us just a little bit of a tease? But I don't want to know all about it – just a little tiny tease to get everybody interested.
Amber: Okay, it's going to be a very clean, simplified design, but we're going all out on the artwork. So I think that that's another trend. You see the bed very clean and white, but other things shine. So we're making our artwork be the shining star.
Glenn: All right, I love that idea. Now before we go I've got to ask one question. Lagom, the name of the company that you work with – what kind of name is that? Where is the derivation from?
Amber: Well, it's a Swedish word. It doesn't really have an exact English translation, but it's a philosophy that comes from the Viking times, and it means in moderation or in balance. They’re the happiest people in the world, they say, so they believe having just enough. So I think that's a really good philosophy in my design.
Glenn: I think that's a great philosophy in design and a great philosophy in life.
Amber: That’s right.
Glenn: Everything in moderation – that's really the way to be. If you keep things centered I think you're going to have a much better existence. Any parting words of wisdom, Amber?
Amber: Nope, just like you said, everything in moderation and in balance, and you go forward and you’ll be happy.
Act now to be a part of this game changing event. For more information relating to this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect® Design, this April 2-4, 2014 visit HI Connect® Designto learn more and register for this unique event that sets the new standard in hospitality tradeshows. Or call 631-424-7755 x150 for an immediate response.