Leaders hone in on trends, social media’s influence on design

NATIONAL REPORT—Hotel Business recently caught up with architecture and design firms for insight into the latest industry trends, challenges and what’s on the horizon. Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), TPG Architecture and HOK all weighed in on what’s in store for the hospitality space.

All firms agreed that the industry is saturated with hotel brands, making it difficult to differentiate and, as a result, for architects and designers to stand out among the crowd. For Darrell Long, partner at HBA Los Angeles, sincerity is key.

Darrell Long
HBA Los Angeles

“The irony is that there is only a sliver of light between them all [brands], so to create an honest design and experience, context [again]becomes king,” Long said. “I know, the idea of context isn’t sexy or disruptive, but great—or even good—design at its least common denominator is form and function. It’s what is carved and extruded and organized.”

According to Long, this context needs to serve a purpose. This can come from the property site or its historic attributes, and even in the brand identity standards, all of which should be part of the design narrative.

“It’s the treasure map that everyone’s lost or forgotten. The days of stretching our minds and experiences into a story are considered antiquated, and that is completely and horrifically wrong,” Long noted.

He continued, “There needs to be a backlash of creative idealism against the likes of Pinterest, for example, to ensure that we are not just regurgitating our own ideas or, worse yet, regurgitating everyone else’s ideas, which are the loss of creativity and the acceptance of plagiarism. While this might sound the doom-and-gloom alarm, it’s not. The ship is turning back to the cerebral side.”

Ownership of ideas comes with leadership, and leadership starts with action. Long said that a lot of this leadership loss is because of the digital climate and social media’s proliferation, especially among younger workers.

“I would love to see the industry embrace more creativity; I understand that statement is wildly and irrepressibly ambiguous—I get it,” he said. “Think of the three-legged stool theory: One leg is creative, one leg is time allocation, and one leg is quality. Theoretically, you can only have two legs in any given project.”

Long added, “So what suffers? Creative delivery, and it goes something like this: ‘I’m not going to think hard; I’m just going to go to my favorite website or app where I keep all of my favorite images, so I can be inspired by my own favorite items because I don’t have time.’ In other words, we really need to unplug, pick our brains and pick up a pen.”

Julia Monk, senior principal/director of hospitality design for HOK, mentioned the “Pinterest factor” of design as well, noting the inclination to source inspiration online, which is often stale and oversaturated with content.

Darrell Long
HBA Los Angeles

“Design is much richer than a moment captured in a photograph,” Monk said. “We find that often we must re-educate the marketplace about the importance of our services, our value and our processes.”

She continued, “Our challenge as architects and designers is to carefully understand the brand to which we are designing as well as its competition, so that we can push the brand boundaries without crossing into brand blur.”

Other leaders recognized social media and the struggle for individuality, highlighting its power to stunt creative thought.

“I look up from my desk and see a sea of staff members on their respective phones or tablets just hitting the follow button,” Long said. “So, a good trend, particularly in younger staff members, would be to stop following and start leading. All in all, brilliance plus time equals complacency. That’s where we are, in search of something new—not necessarily contemporary, just something new.”

Shay Lam, managing executive for TPG Architecture, said that not only those in the design community but guests themselves take to online platforms, knowing full well what’s trending and what’s not, making it that much more pivotal for hotels to evolve in this area.

“With an active community of self-aware guests making decisions over social media, it’s hard to keep up with the trends; every hotel is trying to do something unique,” Lam said.

Lam did note that some interesting hotel features he has come across, however, include modular construction, personalized guestroom entertainment and even hotel radio stations.

“I love hotels or hostels that help to democratize travel, while still creating a cool vibe that attracts a savvy guest. Some brands are doing away with the [terrible]minibar altogether in order to create a bigger or better buzz at the lobby bar. I am also seeing Coral Peach replace Millennial Pink as the couleur de rigueur,” Lam said.

Monk highlighted some specific trends as well, naming biophilic design, hotel renovations and transformational design.

“Connect with nature for our well-being by the incorporation of natural light, vegetation, living walls, natural textures, natural materials and nature views into our designs,” she said.

Shay Lam
TPG Architecture

As for hotel renovations, she said that these are on the rise due to changes in global economics and since brand differentiation is essential to maintaining a competitive market edge.

Monk noted that transformational design is “design that changes us, the environment or others. This can range from destination education to philanthropic travel and beyond.”

These trends can help hotels set themselves apart, but all leaders agreed that the real, comprehensive trend lies within a company’s people and their ability to pave the way for future trends and instilling a culture of individuality.

“I hope to see more inclusive design, design that reaches beyond the basics of what is required by law to create democratized design solutions that are beautiful for the full range of human diversity,” Monk said. “In other words, the new exclusivity will become inclusivity.” HB

Top Architects & Designers

Ranked by dollar volume of total hospitality design fees ($M) for 2018
* represents combined fees for all real estate project types
n/a = information was not available

Based on surveys submitted to Hotel Business

1. Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA)
TOP EXECUTIVE: René Gross Kærskov, co-CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $131.9
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 550
RECENT PROJECTS: Hotel Villagio, Yountville, CA; Niccolo Chongqing, Chongqing, China; The Sifang, Nanjing, China

2. HOK
TOP EXECUTIVE: Bill Hellmuth, FAIA, chairman/CEO $
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): 59.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 128
RECENT PROJECTS: Academia of Athens, Autograph Collection, Athens, Greece; Atlantis Sanya, Haitang Bay, Sanya, Hainan, China; St. Regis Belgrade and The Residences at the St. Regis Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

3. Wilson Associates
TOP EXECUTIVE: Beth Campbell, CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $41.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 31
RECENT PROJECTS: Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado, Puerto Rico; Four Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Renaissance Xi’an, Xi’an, China

4. HBG Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Rick Gardner, AIA, practice leader
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $27.5
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 6
RECENT PROJECTS: Choctaw Grant Resort, Grant, OK; Ho-Chunk Gaming Resort, Wittenberg, WI; Ho-Chunk Gaming Resort, Black River Falls, WI

5. Cooper Carry
TOP EXECUTIVE: Keith Simmel, AIA, principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $26.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 8
RECENT PROJECTS: Alpharetta Technology Center Hotel and Conference Center at Avalon, Alpharetta, GA; Columbia Place, Washington, DC; Midtown dual-brand AC/Moxy Hotel, Atlanta, GA

6. DLR Group
TOP EXECUTIVE: Tom Mitchell, global hospitality leader
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $17.8
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 117
RECENT PROJECTS: Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District, Minneapolis, MN; AC Hotel Sunnyvale Cupertino, Sunnyvale, CA; The Rose, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Rosemont, IL

7. The Gettys Group
TOP EXECUTIVE: Andrew Fay, president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $16.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 175
RECENT PROJECTS: The Edwin, Chattanooga, TN; The Madison D.C., A Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC; The Rose Hotel, Rosemont, IL

8. D Hospitality
TOP EXECUTIVE: Dae Oh, CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $13.5
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 80
RECENT PROJECTS: Delta, Allentown, PA; Sheraton, Columbus, OH; DoubleTree by Hilton, Appleton, WI

9. Rottet Studio
TOP EXECUTIVE: Lauren Rottet, founding principal/president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $13.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 10
RECENT PROJECTS: The Conrad, Washington, DC; Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla; Calvary Court, College Station, TX

10. Baskervill
TOP EXECUTIVE: Robert Clark, president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $12.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 93
RECENT PROJECTS: Hotel Indigo Gainesville at Celebration Pointe, Gainesville, FL; Westin Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA ; Marriott Century Center Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

11. Leo A Daly
TOP EXECUTIVE: Mark Pratt, AIA, VP/global hospitality practice leader
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $12.1
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 21
RECENT PROJECTS: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport, Newark, NJ; Marriott Des Moines, Des  Moines, IA; Aloft El Paso, El Paso, TX

12. Base4
TOP EXECUTIVE: n/a
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $11.0

# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 75
RECENT PROJECTS: n/a

13. DiLeonardo International
TOP EXECUTIVE: James Lehouiller, managing partner/CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $10.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: n/a
RECENT PROJECTS: Hilton Resorts World Manila, Manila, Philippines; Marriott Hotel & Spa, Mystic, CT;  Grand Hyatt, Dubai, UAE

14. Jonathan Nehmer + Associates
TOP EXECUTIVE: Christine Shanahan, principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $10.1
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 120
RECENT PROJECTS: Marriott Louisville Downtown Hotel, Louisville, KY; The Blake Hotel, New Haven, CT;  ARC The.Hotel, Washington, DC

15. Alternate Resources
TOP EXECUTIVE: Tammy Miller, founder/president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $9.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 15
RECENT PROJECTS: Resorts World Casino, Monticello, NY; Hilton Garden Inn, Frederick, MD;  Best Western, Rutland, VT

16. Simeone Deary Design Group
TOP EXECUTIVE: Lisa Simeone, NCIDQ, co-owner
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $6.8
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 10
RECENT PROJECTS: St. Jane Chicago, Chicago, IL; Kansas City Crossroads, Kansas City, MO;  Electra (designed under a consulting agreement with Gensler), Las Vegas, NV

17. Axis/GFA Architecture + Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Cory Creath, CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $6.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 15
RECENT PROJECTS: Hotel Trio Healdsburg, Healdsburg, CA; Hotel Paseo, Autograph Collection, Palm Desert, CA; Kimpton La Peer Hotel, West Hollywood, CA

18. BBGM/Monogram
TOP EXECUTIVE: Bahram Kamali, AIA, senior principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $5.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 5
RECENT PROJECTS: The Draftsman, Autograph Collection, Charlottesville, VA; JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Arlington, VA; InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf,
Washington, DC

19. Goettsch Partners
TOP EXECUTIVE: James Goettsch, chairman/co-CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $4.7
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 1
RECENT PROJECTS: Grand Hyatt Bogota, Bogota, Colombia; Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Andaz Shenzhen Bay, Shenzhen, China

20. Premier Project Management
TOP EXECUTIVE: Mark Matz, co-CEO/COO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $4.5
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 50
RECENT PROJECTS: Ritz-Carlton Atlanta Downtown, Atlanta, GA; Hilton Boston Back Bay, Boston, MA; Renaissance Nashville, Nashville, TN

GSB Inc. Architects & Planners
TOP EXECUTIVE: Ronald G. Smith, president/CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $4.5
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 8
RECENT PROJECTS: Hotel Vin, An Autograph Collection Hotel, Grapevine, TX; Fairfield Inn & Suites, Tucumcari, NM; Holiday Inn Express, Chanute, KS

22. GREC Architects LLC
TOP EXECUTIVE: Greg Randall, managing principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $3.8
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 4
RECENT PROJECTS: The Hoxton Chicago, Chicago, IL; The Hoxton Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA;  The James conversion, Chicago, IL

23. Flick Mars
TOP EXECUTIVE: James Flick and Matt Mars, partners
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $3.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 4
RECENT PROJECTS: Windsor Court, New Orleans, LA; Moxy Hotel, Chicago, IL; Delta Hotel, Basking Ridge, NJ

24. Studio 11 Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Kellie Sirna, co-owner/principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $3.3
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 63
RECENT PROJECTS: Hutton Hotel, Nashville, TN; Hotel Ketchum, Ketchum, ID; Perle on Maple, Dallas, TX

25. //3877
TOP EXECUTIVE: David Shove-Brown & David Tracz partners,
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $3.2
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 35
RECENT PROJECTS: Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta, Alpharetta, GA; Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown, Annapolis, MD; Sleepbox Lounge Dulles International Airport, Washington, DC

HVS Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Christine Shanahan, principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $3.2
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 55
RECENT PROJECTS: Marriott Louisville Downtown Hotel, Louisville, KY; The Blake Hotel, New Haven, CT;  ARC The.Hotel, Washington, DC

27. C2 Limited Design Associates
TOP EXECUTIVE: Craig J. Smith, partner/co-creative director
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $2.9
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 48
RECENT PROJECTS: Orchard Lake Country Club, Orchard Lake, MI; Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO; Baltimore Country Club, Baltimore, MD

28. TPG Architecture
TOP EXECUTIVE: Shay Lam, managing executive/studio creative director
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $2.6
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 10
RECENT PROJECTS: Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue New York, New York, NY; Courtyard by Marriott,  New York, NY

29. Degen & Degen Architecture and Interior Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Jeffrey S.Degen, AIA, NCARB, managing principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $2.5 1
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 2
RECENT PROJECTS: Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Sag Lodge, Pray, MT; Residence Inn by Marriott Redwood City San Carlos, San Carlos, CA

30. Architecture Incorporated
TOP EXECUTIVE: Gene Weissman, VP
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $2.1
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 12
RECENT PROJECTS: Hilton Washington DC National Mall at L’Enfant Plaza, Washington, DC; Winchester Comfort Inn & Suites, Winchester, VA; Old Town Hotel, Alexandria, VA

31. Thomas Hamilton & Associates
TOP EXECUTIVE: Thomas Hamilton, president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.9
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 65
RECENT PROJECTS: n/a

32. Hotel Design Partners | Architects
TOP EXECUTIVE: Tony Patel, principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.8
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 8
RECENT PROJECTS: Hilton Garden Inn, NC; Hampton Inn, FL; TownePlace Suites by Marriott, FL

33. EDI International
TOP EXECUTIVE: Andre Landon, AIA,
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.6
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 20
RECENT PROJECTS: Wyndham at the Arches, Moab, UT; Wyndham Scottsdale Phase 2, Scottsdale, AZ; principal/design director Hampton Inn Marble Falls, Marble Falls, TX

Arnold and Associates Inc.
TOP EXECUTIVE: Michael L. Cogburn, AIA, VP/architect/senior consultant
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.6
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 61
RECENT PROJECTS: Arizona Biltmore Hotel – a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Phoenix, AZ; JW Marriott Houston Galleria, Houston, TX; Marriott Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem, NC

35. Dever Architects
TOP EXECUTIVE: Thomas J. Dever, president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.3
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 7
RECENT PROJECTS: Home2 Suites by Hilton, King of Prussia, PA; Home2 Suites by Hilton,Warminster, PA; Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, Marple, PA

36. Barrett Design Studio
TOP EXECUTIVE: Celia Barrett, principal designer/CEO
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.1
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 14
RECENT PROJECTS: The Pearl Hotel, Rosemary Beach, FL; Hilton Garden Inn/Home2 Suites combo,  Memphis, TN; SpringHill Suites, FL 

37. Cauhaus Design
TOP EXECUTIVE: Tobin Schermerhorn, principal
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 4
RECENT PROJECTS: Bloomington Renaissance, Bloomington, MN; Charlotte Renaissance, Charlotte, NC; Boulder Marriott, Boulder, CO

MatchLine Design Group
TOP EXECUTIVE: Lesley Hughes Wyman, principal/partner
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 26
RECENT PROJECTS: Hilton Embassy Suites, Amarillo, TX; Hilton Embassy Suites, Denton, TX;  Taylor Lofts, Dallas, TX

Kaczmar Architects Incorporated
TOP EXECUTIVE: Stanley J. Kaczmar, AIA, CEO/chairman
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $1.0
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 3
RECENT PROJECTS: Tru by Hilton, Cleveland, OH; Best Western Plus, Cranberry Township, PA; Levis Commons Home2 Suites, Perrysburg, OH

40. Innvision Design Studio
TOP EXECUTIVE: Chris Parker, president
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $0.8
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 28
RECENT PROJECTS: Hotel Indigo, Harrisburg, PA; Cambria, Mt. Pleasant, SC; Hampton Inn suites,Sparks, NV

41. Hoefer Wysocki
TOP EXECUTIVE: Mitch Hoefer, CEO/partner
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $0.6
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 4
RECENT PROJECTS: Aloft/Element Hotel at One North, North Kansas City, MO; Element Hotel, Leawood, KS; Microtel by Wyndham, Iriving, TX

American Hotel Register Company
TOP EXECUTIVE: Deidre Schwartz, director of design
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $0.6
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 62
RECENT PROJECTS: SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Ocala, FL; Holiday Inn Express, Fayetteville, NC;  La Quinta Inns & Suites, Burlington, WA

43. DMAC Architecture
TOP EXECUTIVE: Dwayne MacEwen,founder/creative director
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): $0.4
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 1
RECENT PROJECTS: Midtown Athletic Club & Hotel, Chicago, IL

44. Neo Design Studio
TOP EXECUTIVE: Lisa Marechal, managing member
$ VOL. TOTAL FEES 2018 ($M): n/a
# of PROJECTS COMPLETED 2018: 3
RECENT PROJECTS: Marina Point, Big Bear Lake, CA; Stewart Residence, Sierra Foothills, CA; hotel conversion (confidential), Eugene, OR


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