Interior Architecture Reconsidered: The Future of the Hospitality Industry 26th July 2021 | IN EXPERT INSIGHT | BY SBID

The post-pandemic environment has forced us to reconsider our understanding of the traditional definitions of living, working and leisure. Particularly for the Interior design industry, these questions necessitate an investigation into the pre-established typologies in both the private and public realms. Hosted by SBID’s founder & CEO, Vanessa Brady, the webinar series intends to examine specific typologies, the conflation of their boundaries, the emergence of new definitions of interior space and the consequential impact on the people who commission, design and use them.

EPISODE ONE: The Future of Hospitality Design

For episode one, the focus is on the hospitality and travel industries which have faced considerable challenges during the pandemic. The limited mobility and opportunities for interaction between people during this period have meant that demand has waned. On the other hand, continual restrictions has created a pent-up need to escape and to bolster one’s well-being. Guest speakers, Kar-Hwa Ho, Head of Interior Architecture at Zaha Hadid Architects; Douglas Grieco, Senior Director of Architecture and Design at Hilton Hotels; and Mari Balestrazzi, Director of Operations for Environments at Airbnb address how hospitality as an industry foresees a fundamental change in the services that it is expected to provide, and how design can evolve to navigate these restrictions, while satisfying the needs of current lifestyles.

hospitality industry, Interior Architecture Reconsidered: The Future of the Hospitality Industry
Key discussion points:
  • One key thing that the pandemic has underscored is the need for adaptability. While the focus has been on the immediate need to adapt to rules that keep changing constantly, how do the effects impact the way hospitality services are programmed and physically designed?
  • For many, what was missing during this period of enforced isolation, was the sense of community and connection. While we have experienced the advantages of virtual connection, how do we design or program experiences in a meaningful and global way?
  • With leisure/personal time being monetized and commodified with a decline in business travel, has the design of experiences become the starting point of a design brief as opposed to the physical accommodation of its functions? Would we envisage the involvement of interior architects at an early brief development stage to allow for pro-active engagement rather than a reactive response to a pre-determined program?
  • With the hindsight of the last year and a half behind us, would you approach your current role any differently? What are the key changes?
    Kar-Hwa Ho

    Kar-Hwa Ho | Head of Interior Architecture at Zaha Hadid Architects

    Kar first worked with Zaha Hadid in the 1980s on a number of competitions and architectural projects. For eleven years he worked with Kohn Pedersen Fox as the Senior Associate Principal responsible for the design and implementation of mixed use, commercial and retail projects across the USA, Asia and UK. He ten spent eight years with Louis Vuitton Malletier in Paris, as the Design Director in charge of the establishment and development of LV stores across the Asia-Pacific Region. Kar re-joined ZHA in 2014 to set up and lead the new ZHA Interior Architecture cluster that strengthened ZHA’s architectural offer to include bespoke interiors, furniture and product design for both private and public projects.

    Douglad Grieco - Hilton Hotels

    Douglas Grieco | Senior Director of Architecture and Design at Hilton Hotels

    Douglas is a brand and innovation leader with a strong entrepreneurial background. He has worked for 2 Pritzker prize winning architects, holds 2 Masters Degrees and led Design for W Hotels. With Hilton Hotels, as Senior Director of Architecture and Design for Latin America, he is on the team responsible for growing the LATAM region through hotel projects and brand extensions. Specifically, Douglas is leading Design for Collection, Full serve and Lifestyle brands in Central America and South America. He also teaches Hotel Design and Brand Development at Yale, Columbia, and Parsons New School for Design.

    Mari Balestrazzi - Airbnb

    Mari Balestrazzi | Director of Operations for Environments at Airbnb

    As Director of Operations for Environments, Mari oversees the team that designs Airbnb’s offices worldwide, and collaborates with real estate developers to create new models of housing that support Airbnb’s goal for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way. Before assuming her role at Airbnb, Mari held numerous positions within the hospitality design industry; most recently she was Vice President of Design Services for Hyatt Hotels in Chicago, where she oversaw design for Hyatt’s portfolio of full-service hotel brands throughout the Americas region.

    Cover image credits: Project by Zaha Hadid Architects

    From online panel discussions and podcast interviews, to Accredited CPD webinars, SBID provides access to exclusive industry content. Email [email protected] to get involved and share your professional views on the interior design profession!