Marlowe Condominiums lobby in downtown Houston, Texas. Designed by Contour Interior.
The evolving landscape of the hospitality industry is dominated by changes in the way we live, work and relax, and the way in which designers conceptualize and create spaces has shifted to accommodate those changes. No longer can a space simply be beautiful; it has to provide a service, an experience and oftentimes provide a restorative atmosphere. With today’s increasing demands we want to experience more meaningful, fulfilling connections with our interior environments. In this way interior designers become user experience designers, crafting each space to provide the best possible experience a patron can have and shaping the way they interact with, navigate and experience the space.
Whether we’re talking about hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, museums or ski lodges, interior spaces are expected to set the mood or atmosphere patrons can expect to have, whether that be bright and spacious or dark and intimate. Possibly the two most important expectations placed on interiors is that they must be aesthetically pleasing (a requirement left largely up to personal preference) and they must be functional. Knowing this, let’s dive into our list of hospitality furniture design trends for 2020.
Booths and Banquettes
In restaurants we are seeing a rise in 1/2 circle and 3/4 circle booths and banquettes that encompass the whole table. These booths will also likely have high backs that allow both large dining parties and singular patrons a level of privacy not easily equaled in other dining seat options. Rounded booths and banquettes with high backs are a great way to keep people close together while simultaneously providing a feeling of privacy. Booths and banquettes are also easily customizable and can be fitted and designed to meet any design styles or space restrictions. An array of tufting options, fabrics and other materials and shapes can be explored to make each space’s booths or banquettes perfectly tailored to the look and feel of their business.
Custom banquette seating for Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and Texas Steakhouse. Designed by Fernandez Design.
Cleverly designed furniture that serves multiple purposes is also on the rise. Charging stations in hotel desks and nightstands, coffee shop tables or on the underside of bar tops provide a place for busy commuters or out of town business people to charge their phones, laptops and tablets in between meetings or travel destinations. Multi-functional furniture is an excellent way to save on space and to meet the needs of diverse clientele who may require different needs during their visit. More and more we are seeing a blur between work, socializing, recreation and networking in hospitality areas as they transform into networking spaces, coffee spaces, bars, restaurants, and co-working spaces. With multi-functional furnishings, hospitality spaces provide a place to mingle, work, network and relax – all in the same area.
Shifts towards minimalism have brought parallel shifts towards maximalism. Perhaps in retaliation to the trend of “less is more,” some spaces have opted for the adverse theory of “more is more,” choosing to mix and match patterns, bold colors and mixed materials which provide vibrancy and interest both visually and texturally. These adventurous choices will then become the defining characteristic of the space and provide the bulk of it’s design identity. Mixed materials can, of course, be done on a smaller, less dramatic scale through mixing simple, classic fabrics or shapes with detailed upholstery or statement chairs or barstools.
Communal seating are with multiple textures and finishes. Designed by M. Ford and Associates, Inc.
Designing interiors on a sustainable scale plays an integral part in all of the emerging trends. Minimalism, essentialism and the like have called for people to place large value on things with purpose, and a renewed interest in sustainability has led many to refurbish antique, secondhand and existing furniture to give it a second life. Simply changing the upholstery on chairs, barstools or benches can make them look brand new and save quite a bit of money in the design budget. Similarly changing paint, stain or the finish on your furnishings can make an old piece look brand new while saving money and resources. Incorporating antique and vintage pieces where appropriate is also a great way to responsibly source furniture and make a statement in your decor.
Shifting trends in the hospitality industry are brought about by the constantly changing demands of customers, and businesses are required to adapt. What is important here is that regardless of emerging trends, creating a unique experience is key to setting yourself apart while implementing the right furniture keeps customers happy and comfortable, resulting in longer visits and returned business.