4 design trends you need to know for 2018

Branded residences, like The Ritz-Carlton Residences Rancho Mirage, blend the line between resort and residential living.

Working within a range of hospitality segments, particularly in California's wine country, San Francisco-based SB Architects have identified some notable trends in hotel design for 2018 and beyond. 

“Travelers and homeowners are increasingly seeking out experiences that fulfill a higher need—something that emotionally connects a person to place,” SB Architects president and principal Scott Lee said in a statement. “What we are seeing is a demand for authenticity across our core verticals as it relates to the local community. This in turn is impacting the way we design our projects across the board.”

1. Experiential Luxury

The next generation of hospitality consists of providing exclusive experiential journeys. Club-like spaces in hotels appeal to various lifestyle categories and allow people to come together based on brand affiliation. Personalized connectivity before, during and after the experience drives loyalty to engage the traveler throughout the entire journey and throughout the entire year. With SB’s recent work in Los Cabos, through multiple projects—especially the St. Regis Los Cabos—this trend brought a new experience to a well-known destination.

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2. Next-Gen F&B in Wine Country 

Modern wineries are shifting from the traditional wine country architecture and layout. Architects are designing lounge and workshop spaces that allow guests to be engaged and entertained in an interactive platform with one another and the winery staff. The design emphasizes the grape-to-glass experience, and less on the tasting room. 

Hospitality options in California's wine country have been limited, leading many visitors to travel for day trips from surrounding Bay Area cities. However, just within the last year, architects and designers have started to evolve the lodging offerings to reveal contemporary vino-cultured sanctuaries. This fall, Vintage Estate in Yountville debuted the Vintage Inn, where SB partnered with local design firms to renovate and refresh the 80-guestroom property. On the horizon, SB is working on the expansion of the Farmhouse Inn and an upcoming winery resort project in Napa.

3. Branded Residential

The branded real estate category has seen tremendous growth in the past three years. These luxury developments blur the lines between resort and residential living, tying in the natural surroundings to create an authentic experience for buyers. Members and guests value authenticity, a sense of belonging and community of a place over singular experience. SB's recent projects in this sector include the Residences at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, The Lodges at Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort and The Ritz-Carlton Residences Rancho Mirage.

Sustainability continues to be top-of-mind for homeowners, and with custom homes designers are minimizing owners’ carbon footprint without sacrificing beauty. At the same time, the rising demand for transitional indoor/outdoor space in custom homes is steadily increasing, and nature is having a serious moment in design. Reclaimed wood panel installations, exposed concrete flooring, biophilic architectural elements and the incorporation of natural flora patterns in fabrics and artwork are all becoming more prominent. SB’s work with Ascaya in Henderson, Nev. is a reflection of the blurred lines between inside and out, with expanses of glass that disappear to create numerous arrangements of the flexible space. 

4. Mixed-Use Growth

The secret to successful mixed-use communities lies in the connectivity and interrelationship between the ground floor retail, the residents who call it home, the office workers who frequent it daily and the hotel guests whose experience is enhanced. SB’s work with West Farm (Omaha, Neb.) successfully integrates residential living into a busy commercial and retail setting. Upon completion, this complex project will feature live/work dwellings, a hotel, creative offices, retail and gathering spaces. SB’s design supports a multi-faceted, locally inspired development that respects and builds on the area’s cultural atmosphere. Situated within a dense urban area, West Farm also offers increased public access to nature with park greens, vibrant courtyards and a plaza at the heart of the complex that connects to retail and restaurant pathways. 

The lines between art and architecture, meanwhile, continue to blur. Many new mixed-use developments are getting creative with art integration, such as SB’s work with the Miami Design District, in which SB has collaborated with six local architects to design various buildings and their facades. SB created the architectural skeleton for the blocks, addressing building structure, overall identity and the movement of people through the space. Within this framework, each store has been treated as a distinct building, with individual retailers creating the entire façade. Palm Court, the second phase of Miami Design District’s expansion, achieved LEED Gold Certification for Core + Shell by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the project will complete its third and final phase, Paradise Plaza, this month.