Pictured: Designers are interested in creating four-dimensional designs that play not only with visuals but also with sounds, scents and tactile sensations to create a more powerful atmosphere for hotels.
The majority of hotels are still focusing on traditional lighting designs, but even they have an opportunity to assist designers looking to work with technology. The key is the amount of data being collected by hotels, and how much of it is actually being put to use.
According to Darrell Long, design director for Hirsch Bedner Associates, hotels are collecting reams of information on every guest that passes through their doors, but very little of that information is being used to assist in the “cool” factor of design. With so much information available on guests, their needs and their preferences, hotel rooms can be outfitted with simple design solutions to cater to their personality and needs.
“The cool factor is the difference, and that difference is technology,” Long said. “People line up for new technology; hotels can use that to get guests to line up for their guestrooms.”
Apart from money, the biggest block keeping designers from tapping into this wealth of information is that design using technology is still a new architectural form, a form that Nick Albert, director at Illuminate Design Lighting, said will be considered a staple before long, comparing it to the invention of glass.
“[With glass] it was basic rectangles, squares and circle windows in the beginning,” Albert said. “Over time, sloped glass walls, curving walls, glass ceilings and more were developed and glass became a building block of design. The technology we are using to design with today, such as illuminated surfaces, doesn’t even have a name yet. We’re still just making rectangles and circles out of it.”