|Evolving: The casegoods at the Crowne Plaza Key West - La Concha have a dark case with a burl wood inset. The decorative knobs are removable so that they can be interchanged as hospitality trends evolve.|
What do smartphones, tablets and laptops have in common? They don’t require a surface for guests to use them. But what does this mean for the casegoods currently populating hotels?
“Every type of casegood we know of right now is on its way out,” said Michael Suomi, principal and VP, interior design, at Stonehill & Taylor. Suomi is not saying the industry is doing away with casegoods altogether, but he admits that the traditional forms and functions of these products are growing increasingly irrelevant as society’s needs and habits reinvent themselves.
“With the ubiquity of mobile devices and wireless Internet we are having to rethink items like desks, armoires and tables and create different functions,” Suomi said. “Things are getting smaller, more mobile and multifunctional.”
|The Melrose, Washington, D.C. is a newly renovated 250-room hotel located five blocks from the White House. Its casegoods contrast a dark casing with a white lacquer front.|
Public areas in particular are expected to house fewer desks, offering more abundant and re-configurable seating in place of tabletops.
“The desk will be going away because people are working more casually on devices,” said Patricia Miller, VP, managing director and corporate director of hospitality at Leo A Daly. Miller believes that the future of casegoods in both public areas and hotel guestrooms will see increased access to plugs and USB ports to allow direct interfacing with TVs and work stations in a given property.
“These days, guests will sit anywhere, on the edge of chairs, on the floor, on the bed, and wherever they are in the room they will need access to outlets,” Miller said. “Nightstands, tables and casegoods should draw attention and provide access to outlets. The days of putting storage in front of outlets are over.”
Casegoods design is also gravitating toward looking as if they were built into a room rather than being free-standing, individualized pieces. According to Suomi, these designs lend themselves well to providing longer desk space where it is needed, and large storage units that can be placed in guestroom entryways that resemble built-in closets. Having strong hooks installed onto storage casegoods in guestrooms can help with luggage storage as well.
“Garment bags are increasingly the preferred form of luggage, especially for business travelers,” Suomi said. “You can remove clutter by allowing them to hang the bags without unpacking.”