Once again the best of Hospitality Design and Innovation Shines Through at London Olympia

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Sleep & Eat has confirmed its position as Europe’s leading hospitality design and innovation event across two days in London Olympia last month. The show offered designers, architects, operators and owners a unique chance to hear from the game-changers, to discover new products and expand their thinking, bringing the community together to celebrate the role of great design within the most successful hospitality enterprises around the globe.

Standing Room only at the Sleep & Eat Conference

In a conference that was generally acknowledged as the best yet, it was standing room only for many delegates. Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International, opened day one by sharing his experience of transforming an ‘ugly’ and unloved building in London into a hotel that is now headline news around the world. Christoph Hoffman, CEO of 25Hours Hotels and winner of this year’s AHEAD Outstanding Contribution Award, opened day two and, in conversation with Conference Moderator, Heleri Rande, talked about the importance of “soul”. While his group has so notably charted its own course, he declared himself inspired by the great luxury hotels of the world. “It’s about keeping the stories alive,” he said. Josh Wyatt, CEO of NeueHouse, also delivered a captivating keynote. “More than ever before, design is essential to survive as the world becomes more crowded. Design is a defensive necessity,” he told the audience. “In NeueHouse, we are forging places where commerce and creativity collide, where new enterprises that will shape our futures will be conceived by our users.”

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Panel topics were diverse and layered, from hotel F&B trends to managing and designing flexible public spaces and the meaning of eco in the luxury hotel experience, but all with an eye not just to the hospitality scene today but in the future.  Architect, Richard Coutts, and engineer, Ben Fitzgerald, took the audience to the under- and above-water frontiers of their work, presenting a project destined for Hobart Harbour – an underwater hotel with public park on top – and the Under restaurant off the Norwegian coast. The knowledge, skills, vision and technology exist to harness our lakes, rivers and oceans for greater hospitality experiences, claimed the duo Design maverick and disrupter, Johannes Torpe, considered the future of hospitality in space but, despite his collaborations with NASA and his passion for space movies, he argued that there was still much work to do before space could be accessible for most of us. Instead, he called on the audience to create unearthly places on Earth, citing his Red Mountain resort project in Iceland, a spa and wellness retreat that will offer complete escape into Icelandic nature.

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Sleep, Eat and Party in this year’s Room Sets

This year’s event theme of “Social FlexAbility” explored the power of hospitality to stimulate human interaction in our age of digital isolation. It proved to be just the challenge that six international architectural and design firms needed to create concept guestrooms, a bar and a restaurant which were inspiring in vision, intriguing in detail and astonishing in execution.

Other Set designers were HAT Design (guestroom), SpaceInvader (bar) and NAME Architecture (restaurant).

© Photography Mark Luscombe-Whyte

The Exhibition: Launches, Product Testing, Designer Talks and an Artist at Work

Over 160 design-led suppliers – established and up-and-coming manufacturers, artisans and fit-out companies – chose Sleep & Eat 2019 to showcase their products and launch new collections. Just a few of them were:

GROHE, the German supplier of premium bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings, returned to Sleep & Eat for the 14th year and presented its most eclectic and diverse product offering yet, including its ground-breaking Icon 3D metal-printed taps on their first official UK outing.

Bang & Olufsen, hosted a demonstration of Beosound Stage, Hansgrohe launched their Rainfinity range and Sunbury Design launched Perception Collection in collaboration with renowned print designer, Amelia Graham. Meanwhile, both Bette and Kaldewei gave visitors the opportunity to test their materials themselves, with wire brushes, hammers, nail varnish and naked flames.

Ammique, the world’s most technologically advanced bed, was at Sleep & Eat for the first time. The company launched its Platinum limited edition bed with a choice of three sensual fabrics created in collaboration with textile designer, Hannah White. Marlene Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of Ammique, says: “Having thought long and hard about taking space, we are utterly delighted that we decided to. We would unequivocally recommend anyone in the industry to consider investing in a stand at Sleep & Eat. It really is a show that delivers.”

Also new to Sleep & Eat, Marie Martin, the range of exclusive lighting by the Dutch company Lumière, presented its lush and extravagant lighting fixtures. Stemming from a passion for interiors, this collection arose from the desire to unite a love for antiques, Paris, colour and fully decorated spaces.

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Other familiar brands at the show included: Astro Lighting, Chelsom, Tucci, Perrin & Rowe and Roman Blinds. Newcomers included Eichholtz, ILIV Contract Textiles and Absolute Lifestyle.

As is its tradition, Sleep & Eat presented two awards for best-designed stands, this year judged by designers, Constantina Tsoutsikou, Yasmine Mahmoudieh and Ben Webb together with architect, Angela Dapper and event director, Mark Gordon. Hospitality artwork suppliers, Verdigris Art, with artist in residence, Marcus Aitken, was awarded Best Stand, and luxury wallcoverings manufacturer, Arte, was the recipient of the Best Space-Only Stand Award.

Speaking after the judging, Angela Dapper, Principal at Grimshaw, said: “It was great to see another successful year for Sleep & Eat, one of the highlights and most enjoyable shows in the hotel design calendar. It’s brilliant to get an update from suppliers whilst enjoying the showcase of design.”

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Network and Do Business

This year, the popular socialising spot, the Sleeper Bar, was joined by a co-working space, The Hub – a response to the theme of “Social FlexAbility”. Designed by the London arm of Wilson Associates, The Hub thrummed with the sounds of people connecting, turned up a notch when TopHotelProjects hosted their afternoon networking receptions there. In addition, the VIP Lounge was for the first time designed to be an immersive experience in its own right. MEGRE Interiors were the creators of “Gather”, an astonishing flora-inspired space centrally illuminated to suggest a fire around which visitors congregated in their droves throughout the event.

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

And what the visitors had to say……………

I attended Sleep & Eat for the second year running and could see how it had grown in just one year. It’s an inspiring show for hospitality designers, perfect for networking and meeting international designers and suppliers, with a conference featuring world-leading speakers.”

Geraldine Dohogne, award-winning designer of Zannier Hotels
Congratulations on the excellent programme. Hearing, seeing and interacting first-hand with industry influencers, hoteliers and creatives, and learning about their visions and challenges are invaluable.”

Jimmy Yang, Founder, Yang Rutherford
“A deceptively large open plan venue containing an array of all the elements needed to create a stunning interior for projects.”

Junaid Elgun, Associate Director, MKV Design
A great event and an excellent conference.”

Paul Greenwood, Tricon

© Photography by Rob Jones (www.instagram.com/hirobjones)

Mark Gordon, Director of Sleep & Eat, says:

What a fantastic two days! Once again, Sleep & Eat has proved to be where the European hospitality design community meets. Be it on our busy exhibition floor, at our late-night party and new networking events, or in our best-attended conference yet, we were delighted to see so many of the great and the good come together.

We would like to thank all our Sleep & Eat designers, visitors, exhibitors, sponsors and partners for creating such a special show this year. Also, we are of course especially grateful to our partners at Sleeper, AHEAD Awards, TopHotelProjects, Hi Design and the NEWH for their ongoing support.

We can’t wait to welcome the industry back next year. We have big plans!”

Sleep & Eat 2020 will take place on 17 – 18 November, at London Olympia.