Interview: Vince Stroop, principal of Stonehill Taylor

Stonehill Taylor was selected as the winner of the 2017 Sleep Set design competition, which this year asked entrants to design a concept around the theme of ‘Loyalty: Lessons in Love’.

Boutique Hotel News caught up with principal of Stonehill Taylor Vince Stroop to ask about the firm’s winning concept, ‘Hotel IRUS’…

Can you give us a quick overview of the concept behind IRUS?

The IRUS is a pop-up travel concept rooted in the growing trend toward having an “immersive experience”.  It  derives its name from an abstraction of the word “iris,” the part of the anatomy that lends color to the human eye, and blended with the concept of “us” as in all of “us” within the global community.  Although the room or personal pod was conceived to be isolated in an abstracted forest, the space is just as suited for a rooftop within the urban jungle of New York as it is clustered to create a community on the seaside of Turkey.  The guest is given a toolbox to allow the user to transform the space for sleeping, eating, or relaxing as they see fit.  The components in the room are flexible and the materiality is designed to be from the region and respect local culture.  We see IRUS as the future of a global movement to create personal sanctuaries around the world–the evolution of the modern-day hotel room. 

What do you think your key to success was at Sleep?

I think for us the key element to a successful Sleep-Set was pure and simple — it was passion.  We were motivated by the competitive element of course, but deep down we had a “belief” and a strong story to tell. One that was layered with so many rich elements.  We were asked to respond to brand loyalty… so what better way to do that than to create a Brand?

You mentioned in your presentation at Sleep that the design team behind IRUS came from around the world. How does having a multinational team influence a project?

Having a vast wealth of cultural backgrounds within our studio, brings a layer of sensitivity to our approach in design.  We are able to draw from a variety of resources and different ways of thinking to create a blended and thoughtful response.

What is the most exciting thing about designing for the hospitality industry?

There are so many dynamic elements to a hospitality project, but the most exciting is to try and forecast a need that the modern traveler doesn’t even know they wanted…until they arrive and have that moment of “Ah… Of course I need this!”

What are the biggest changes that Stonehill Taylor has seen over the years working in hospitality design?

The growing trend toward even smaller, micro style guest rooms that are deliberately encouraging the use of public space programs and engaging within the community.

Stonehill Taylor is renowned for its focus on sustainable design. Why is sustainability becoming an increasingly important part of design in the hospitality industry?

Sustainable issues have become increasingly more important due in part to the younger demographic taking a very active role in how their actions impact the environment and ultimately inform how they want to live.  This growing conscientiousness must filter into the hospitality industry if it wants to remain relevant.  An example of this is to encourage innovative design that sources locally and has an apparent “truth” to it.

What’s in store for Stonehill Taylor going forward?

I am hoping to really expand on the concept and base beliefs that have led to The IRUS.  Although it is just a simple approach, it has some far reaching innovative aspects that I think we as a studio can develop further.

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