Quick Q&A: Juan Carlos Rodriguez Artigas, Wilson Associates

● Can you tell us a bit about “Perspective: To See and To Share”? What did you hope to achieve at Sleep + Eat?

“Linked to the duality of the events title – Sleep + Eat, our concept for the auditorium space was titled “Perspective: To See and To Share,”which represents both the physical and intellectual perspectives of a shared learning experience. Our intention was to create a liberal space to exchange knowledge and engage with the lectures and talks of the event, as well as enjoy the company of peers.”

● How do you go about creating a peaceful ambience and what is your thinking behind the summer evening concept?

“It was last May, when we started to think about the concept for the space. I was sitting on a park bench having lunch after relocating from Spain to London, enjoying one of the few sunny days the city sees during this time of the year. In fact, it’s so unusual for the city to see warm, sunny days that everyone told me not to get used to spending my days basking in the sun, as they are few and far between.

“For me, it was that moment that sparked the idea of summer, and how the season tends to bring happier moments for many than the darker, colder months of the year. As Sleep + Eat takes place towards the end of November, I toyed with the idea of channelling the sunniest and warmest days of summer and placing it right in the middle of fall.

“Partnering with Bright Potato, we fused various elements that would emulate some of the staples of summer, a beautiful rooftop garden, blue skies, greenery, and bright colors. It was the matching of these elements, along with the assistance of our suppliers that allowed us to create the Eat Theatre, transforming it into a calm space to sit and relax with others, even when it was not in use.”   

● What direction do you see the interior architectural design industry going in and are any trends developing? Why can hotels no longer afford to just design ‘nice spaces’?

“The biggest challenge we face as designers is the continual engagement and loyalty from clients. Today’s technology and fast-paced mentality has created a constant craving of new experiences that must be met in order for a space to continue thriving once the novelty of it has worn off, and it is our job to provide this experience.

“As designers, we have a duty to create an emotional tie with the guests, not just to create an aesthetically pleasing space.

“We must ask ourselves: why would I want to repeatedly visit a location? Is it the lighting? The scent? That comfy sofa? Or is it the sum of all its parts? How do all of its elements work hand-in-hand to craft a space that creates memories or defining moments? Does the space change from day to night, whether physical or through a change in ambience? Will the restaurant be part of the hotel narrative? Are we developing a destination?

“These are all questions every designer must ask themselves as they do research to develop, and ultimately create an original and memorable experience within a hotel and the hospitality industry as a whole.”

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