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“Technology is inseparable now from our existence”


would never have anywhere else, so there is an opportunity to create a new inspiring experience, like theatre or entertainment, and to propel people into living in a space that they would never have experienced at home or in other places. GS: How would you like to see hotel design change? KR: Well, first and foremost, a good hotel now should be about its function and its performance. Everything should be intuitive. A simple card in your pocket should open the elevator doors for you and stop at your floor without you having to push buttons, it should intuitively light your route along the corridor and open your room door for you. Seamless navigation. And then the room itself. At the moment


originally designed to deter the cavalry from wiping their noses on them. Gradually these things are toned down because we no longer need them as a function but they’re still there. Tey serve no purpose, they’re just decoration. And hotels continue to focus on style, not on relevant design. GS: How can designers improve hotel interiors? KR: With hotels, what we used to do is walk into the lobby and the lounge, soak up the atmosphere and get a feel of what the hotel is all about. But now, what we tend to do is walk into the hotel and try to get a signal for our mobile devices! So today, even when we’re inside the hotel, we’re spending fifty percent of our time experiencing somewhere else, in a virtual space away from the hotel. Designers need to figure out how to get guests to engage more with the hotel; to make the physical


experience compete with the virtual experience that guests are connecting to. Tat means the things around us need to be as advanced and intelligent, as exciting, as visually stimulating, as enjoyable and as seductive as the things we can connect to in the virtual world. Now there’s a schism, where the physical world is having to catch up with a digital world that’s moving exponentially. GS: You have designed several hotels. What makes them different? KR: I love the larger experiential impact a hotel can have on peoples’ lives. I know that masses of people have access to my designs, and they aren’t just looking at them, they are physically immersing themselves inside my concepts. With hotels I design from micro to macro (from the lamp to the bed to the interior to the architecture). I believe guests should have a temporary experience that they


the downside of hotel room design - and this is something I’ve been pushed into a lot - is that everything is done according to an existing plan. I’ve already mentioned this but we can easily fall into a trap of simply accepting that that’s the way it should be: the bed goes there, we must have a couple of side tables, and a lamp, a table and an armchair in the corner and so on. Tere’s very little consideration about what actually happens in a room in terms of social behaviour. And what actually happens, especially in small rooms, is that you end up doing virtually everything on or from the bed. Te bed is still a bed but it should also become something more; a performance functioning product. You could, for example, have a long table that slides back and forth or the ends could become a desk. It’s not about replicating a domestic environment. It’s about giving you a seamless, fantastic experience for just a couple of days. GS: Do you think your design work is too extreme and unconventional for most hoteliers? KR: Tere is a perception about me and my work that might frighten some hotel operators away. Te more conservative hotelier would be concerned because I use a lot of colour and many assume that my work is always large scale and therefore expensive. But that’s simply not the case. I’ve designed micro-rooms that are cosy and comfortable and totally affordable. Te first one I did for example was seven years ago. it was called the Prizeotel in Bremen. It was two star and only 39 euros to stay, anytime. It became number one in Bremen on TripAdvisor. Te second we did in Hamburg, the third in Hanover. Rezidor have just bought the brand so we’re going to do a lot of them now. Tose rooms are just 15 square meters and that’s the kind of thing I’m good at. Small, low budget but very energetic and positive.


GS Magazine 35


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