What Makes Hotel Design Great with Henry Reeve 5th May 2022 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID

In this week’s interview with SBID Awards Product Design judge and Director of Design at IHG, Henry Reeve talks about the most important design and functional aspects of hotel interiors, key product specifications that influence choice and shares his personal sources of inspiration.

How can interior design influence greater guest experiences in hotel environments?

Good Interior Design I feel can make or break a guest experience. You need both form and function, yes of course we want to wow our guests with incredible atmospheres rich in detail and finesse but there is little point creating a spectacular environment if the space just doesn’t ‘work’. It’s easy to create that spaces that impress but are poorly equipped or ill-thought through and don’t accommodate guests needs and functions. I think one of the most important aspects of hospitality interior design is to ensure our guest don’t ever feel stupid. Our guests are in an unfamiliar environment, and we want them to feel at home, to relax and unwind. Designs must be intuitive, how many times has one had to desperately search for the light switch, or struggle to find a plug socket or worse cant find the wardrobe!

How do you approach product specification for hospitality projects? What are your key considerations?

Specifying product particularly recently has become even more tricky,  there is a wealth of options out there but so many factors go towards influencing choice, yes of course shape and form but external factors are now more than ever influencing specification, lead times, environmental impact, over-use and of course cost are playing a huge role.

hotels design, What Makes Hotel Design Great with Henry Reeve
Hotel Indigo Bath

Why is product innovation so essential for the interior design sector, and how can we expect the relationship between manufacturers and designers to evolve going forward?

Constant innovation is mandatory in this sector, the world is moving fast and constantly looking to what’s next. Environmental factors are becoming ever more influential on both consumer choices and economic too. I feel this will become in time a far more important aspect of specification than it perhaps once was. Product life-cycle too is something I am interested to see how the wider industry addresses, how is product recycled/re-used when coming to the end of its life?

hotels design, What Makes Hotel Design Great with Henry Reeve
QO Hotel

What inspires you both professionally and personally?

Inspiration comes from anywhere, but I must admit that Travel is certainly one source of inspiration to me that I am thrilled is now possible once again. To experience how different cultures use spaces opens ones eyes to new possibilities.

Finally, what advice can you give to designers entering the SBID Awards?

Put your best work forward, ensure photography is exemplar and try to explain your work in a succinct way. I look forward to seeing some wonderful entries!

Questions answered by Henry Reeve, Director of Design, IHG.

hotels design, What Makes Hotel Design Great with Henry Reeve

I’m Director of Design at InterContinental Hotels Group focusing on Kimpton and Hotel Indigo. Previously I was Associate Director at forpeople, and a Creative Director and Designer at a number of guest experience, retail, and event agencies based across London. I have worked for clients as diverse as Nike, Lotus, Peugeot, Mulberry, Bollinger, Pfizer, Coca-Cola & McDonalds. I trained as a Mechanical Engineer at Bristol University and as a Designer at Central Saint Martins, in my spare time I love to make things.