Ministry of Design Founder-Director Colin Seah is one of the world’s most highly awarded architects. Here he shares some of his tips for hotelier who want to maintain their design edge.
1. What are the key design trends that hoteliers can’t afford to ignore?
Authenticity for sure. That’s top on my list. People want real experiences, not generic ones.
2. What are you working on at the moment and will you be giving us the first look at Design Inn?
We are working on a 280-room business hotel for Frasers Hospitality in Brisbane, aimed at the younger jetsetters and due to open in Q1 2015. The other project is a resort for Starwood. W Retreat Phuket comprises 80 villas, restaurants, spa, gym, etc, and we get to master plan it, design the architecture and interiors, so that it’s completely holistic. Due to open 2018.
We are also working on two heritage project hotels. One in Beijing by the Forbidden City. The other one is in a reclaimed cinema in historic Penang, Malaysia called the Majestic Hotel which we will be presenting.
3. Which hotel chains are getting it right at the moment?
Andaz, ALILA, W, Park Hyatt, Public and Delano.
4. And standalones – who is taking worthwhile risks and pushing the boundaries?
LOH Lik Peng from the unlisted collection.
5. What can Australia learn from what is happening in Singapore?
I think Singapore as a point of exchange has had to learn how to embrace different ideas from all over the globe, then transform these into something relevant for Singapore. It’s a good skill to have; it’s almost alchemy like in nature.
Colin Seah is appearing DesignInn on October 8, 2014 at Doltone House Hyde Park in Sydney.