In every issue of GO, an industry executive is asked five questions related to sustainability and design. The interviewee is given no prior knowledge of the questions, which are answered within a 5-minute time frame.
- TALK ABOUT DESIGN AES- THETICS IN THE HOSPITALITY SEGMENT IN 2016. HOW ARE DESIGNERS USING COLOR AND TEXTURE IN NEW WAYS TO CREATE MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES?
Most of the shifts still revolve around a move toward neutrals and playing with textures. Colors are being toned down and we’re seeing less patterned flooring choices that still wear well. We’re taming down the traditional rooms of the past. We’re also beginning to see a lot of architectural integration within designs. For instance, there’s greater focus on making spaces more interactive by integrating artwork and lighting into the design.
- WHAT FLOORING SPECIFICATIONS ARE DESIGNERS LOOKING FOR IN HOSPITALITY PROJECTS TODAY? HOW DO THESE DIFFER IN NEW BUILDS VERSUS REMODEL PROJECTS?
New builds obviously have a lot more flexibility, especially with flooring choices. Regardless, I’m seeing a lot more hard surface flooring being specified throughout the segment, even in guest rooms. I think people’s view on cleanliness is a big reason for this shift. Hard sur- faces are easier to clean and antimicrobial, so guests and employees feel better about their health and wellness, which is huge among consumers today.
- WHAT’S DRIVING SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IN THE HOSPITALITY SEGMENT?
We work closely with developers on integrating sustainable materials and practices into a project. While clients are typically on board with green projects, developers aren’t quite as easy to sway. New builds have more of chance of being designated a LEED project, for instance, than remodels do. But as a whole, at Gensler we try to do our due diligence to get sustain- able products in that don’t add cost.
- WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO YOU FEEL ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE A&D COMMUNITY?
Striving for mid- to lower-level certifications is the place to start. Hospitality is different than corporate and has been one of the last to jump on the sustainability bus. We’re trying to catch up and educate our clients. We’ve found that the boutique hotel market has been a driver in making green more relevant in the segment. They are usually very open to new ideas and doing things differently to bring sustainability into the mix in new and improved ways. Larger flags are taking notice of their success.
- WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ISSUE THE A&D COMMUNITY FACES WITHIN THE HOSPITALITY SEGMENT TODAY?
There are a couple of improvements to be made. Probably the largest issue, however, is finding reputable companies with domestically produced products that meet sustainability specifications. Hotels have typically renovated every five to seven years, so a lot of waste is created from the industry. Trying to find ways to reconfigure or reuse materials would be a great advantage. As we start moving back to more simple designs that have longevity, as opposed to overly trendy looks, we will be able to specify higher-quality products that can be utilized for longer periods of time.