The future of hospitality design will be local and sustainable

NEW YORK - The 11th annual Radical Innovation Award ceremony was held last night at the New Museum in New York City with professionals in hospitality, finance, design, branding, and development voting on the most innovative hotel concept for the future.

A record five hospitality concepts were presented live on stage from three professional finalists—Vertical Micro-Climate Resort from Arno Matis Architecture, the Play Design Hotel and Living the Till from EoA—in addition to two student honorees, Hyperloop Hotel by Brandon Siebrecht and Garden House by Caspar Schols. Finalists were chosen from more than 65 international entries based on the creativity and feasibility of their proposals.

Winner: Living the Till

A unique treetop hotel resort concept, Living the Till, involves a temporary nomadic structure, allowing for seasonal inhabitation in remote areas.

Hovering 30 feet above the forest floor, the structure features a mesh platform supported by a series of cables that can be delivered to any location by helicopter and installed by a team of climbers.

The concept encourages a sustainable lifestyle as well with natural ventilation, composting methods and access to natural resources.

Each installation could have as many as 24 “pods” in one place for a season, said Malcolm Berg, principal and owner of ‎EoA.

Forests, he said, would be the best environment for the project as the trees not only offer natural infrastructure for installing the tents and nets, but they offer things to see at multiple levels.

By elevating accommodations and public spaces on nets, Berg said, the design would put no stress on the trees and minimal stress on the ground itself. Installation would take about 10 days, he estimated.

“This project was perhaps the most serene of entries—the escape it provides is both rare and welcomed in the fast-paced modern world,” says John Hardy, CEO/President of The John Hardy Group and Founder of Radical Innovation. “Living the Till is the perfect antidote to city dwelling.

Runner Up: Play Design Hotel

The Play Design Hotel was the only one of the three that has already opened. The property in Taipei has five guestrooms, each one dedicated to a different design scheme.

Conceived as an inhabitable design gallery, designer Ting-Han Chen said, the Play Design Hotel functions as both an incubator and living lab for local designers. The idea connects local designers to international travelers, who, in turn, are connected to the country’s culture through design.

The guestrooms have interior furnishings, fixtures, and accessories are selected from local brands with cultural significance or interesting narratives for guests to experience firsthand—or purchase. Guests can even select the furniture for their room in advance on the hotel’s website.

The guestrooms are flexible to accommodate various furniture and design items, and can be reconfigured into different settings for different uses by changing or replacing the furniture.

Second Runner Up: Vertical Micro-Climate

Using natural thermal and solar technology, this mountain-top resort concept near the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada, provides a warm and bright year-round indoor/outdoor tropically-inspired environment.

Resort grounds are naturally brightened by concave-shaped towers that use reflective guardrail systems to redirect additional light downward. Natural light apertures on the deck slab refract additional light into the suites and indoor amenity spaces. The hotel is designed to run solely on hydro-power and maximize natural sunlight.

Geothermal heat warms cliff-edge pools, while greenhouse-like pool cabanas make the retreat space enjoyable even in a wintry climate—which Arno Matis said will help northern regions keep valuable tourism dollars in low-demand seasons.

“The technology we’re showing can be applied to many places,” Matis said in his presentation, noting that the technology involved in bringing the hotel to life already exists in other buildings around the world, like the Heliostat in Sydney.

Matis estimated that the project would only cost about 10 percent more than a normal LEED-certified building to construct.

Student Winner: Hyperloop Hotel

This hotel concept uses sustainable, modular design in the form of shipping containers that double as traveling guest suites in a “hyperloop” like the one proposed by Elon Musk for high-speed travel.

The containers are customizable in terms of layout and design. Each guest room is broken into four separate functions such as sleeping, bath, living, and flex. Each of these functions has three options for configuration—business, premium, and luxury. Guests can travel and dock at one of 13 hotel destinations across the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The entire experience may be managed via a customized app.

Student Honorable Mention: Garden House

Built with Douglas wood, the Garden House contains an inner shell of double-glass and is topped by a steel roof. The outer shell is fully insulated, and the space is heated by a small, efficient Norwegian wood stove. These qualities eliminates the need for artificial climate control, making the cabin adjustable to all seasons and climates—eliminating the waste of energy and dissolving the barrier between the indoors and outside.