When we started HotelStudio, we had both shared leadership of a one-hundred member firm and felt that we were removed from the critically important creative work that carries a project from concept to completion.
HotelStudio enables both of us to stay involved from start to finish, collaborating with our clients and our team of consultants to deliver on our promise to make our clients proud.
We believe that the concept, programming and initial planning phases are the foundation of all successful hospitality development.
To unlock the stories held by a site or region, we look into the history, geology, culture, arts and crafts, and horticulture of an area. We then distill these phenomena into motifs to drive a unique expression of the place. These motifs are not absolute but are the guiding design and decorative principals that are applied in a subtly unifying manner across the hotel or resort.
Following an initial gathering to meet the team members and to hear the client’s goals for the project, schedule and budget parameters, and related decisions regarding positioning and brand strategy, a determination is usually made about the expectations for the design schedule and initial presentations of concept. This could occur immediately if the client would like for the team to stay for a few days to collaborate with the owner’s team and make an initial presentation a few days later. We prefer this model as the result establishes direction and approval by the owner, as the team breaks to work individually from their respective offices.
At this time, we will also comment upon the match between the owner’s interior goals and the provided interior budgets.
As interior architects and interior designers, our focus is what happens within. We may act as design architects in association with the architect of record, and have acted as both the architect of record and the interior designer on occasion (The Jefferson Hotel in Washington DC).
We believe that it is critically important to have the interior architects and interior designers in place and collaborating from the beginning of the project as so much of what shapes the massing, fenestration and detail of the buildings is determined by the requirements of the interior spaces. This early collaboration is very important to the eventual operating success of the hotel or resort as the resulting plans consider the operating requirements of service and maintenance.
For Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) design, the early planning of the various main spaces and the range of guestrooms is important in establishing character, quality, capacity, variety and serviceability. At this time, we would suggest specific furniture and fixtures to establish direction for further development and subsequent presentations.
We prefer to hold the contracts of the hospitality lighting designer and the professional renderer because of their particular importance to the success of the project. The lighting designer, in particular, is critical to the interiors, but also to the exterior of the buildings and landscape in creating mood and supporting wayfinding at night.
The interior rendering process is critical to the faithful presentation of the design story and proposal. Our management of, at least, interior renderings is important to communicating the fit and feel of important spaces and we prefer to manage the work of the renderer.
The actual production of a model room or rooms is the best possible way to establish consensus on the design and detailing of a guestroom, suite and corridor section. Fit and finish, lighting, furniture, bath and closet are produced as a standard for approval, as modified for re-selection, for the production and completion of guest floors.
This phase is the first look at the process and quality of the general contractor and is an opportunity for a quality control review of both the general contractor, its subcontractor and the performance of specified FF&E providers.
We highly recommend this step as the means to avoid surprises during completion, and as the establishment of minimum standards for construction quality.
Coordination of Other Consultants
There are numerous receptacles, devices, life safety signage, controls, vents and fire suppression equipment present in any commercial interior. The coordination of these elements is important to both the appearance of the interiors and to the building’s performance. We prefer close coordination with the architect, MEP, life safety and fire suppression consultants so that the esthetic interests of the hospitality interiors are well-served.
Client and Brand Presentations
On a scheduled basis, usually near typical phase completions, we will present our design for the different parts of the hotel or resort. Our presentation is comprised of illustrated drawings, FF&E images, actual finish materials, renderings of carpet patterns and samples of carpet construction, if applicable, and renderings, if approved by
ownership in advance.
Advancing though the phases, matrices of room types and budget estimates of FF&E will be presented to ownership and the brand, if required.
Over the design and production of hundreds of hotels, we have found that, unless there is clear agreement, from the beginning, regarding the inclusion and referencing of the interior architect’s and interior designer’s coordination and documentation in the architect’s and its consultants’ documentation, that pricing documents and contract documents will resist smooth construction planning and execution.
Our documentation, if well-coordinated in each phase of design and documentation, will allow for early resolution of conflicts and the production of coordinated drawings and specifications for the construction and finishing of the hotel or resort.
The FF&E documentation will be provided to the owner’s procurement agent for a final detailed budget estimate to be submitted to the owner for approval prior to procurement.
HotelStudio will participate in weekly project meetings by telephone and will travel for presentation meetings, if required and with travel expenses approved by the owner. A proposed schedule of presentation meetings and required days out-of-office will be part of any formal project proposal and will detail both suggested meetings and the deliverables for such meetings.
Construction and Completion
As a hospitality project approaches construction, HotelStudio is available to respond to questions from the design team, the project manager, the construction team and related trades and specialty contractors, and the procurement team. In the permit set review, we will endeavor to identify macro disconnects between our
drawings and those of the architect and its consultants, and reserve the right to depend on the architect of record’s review and coordination to provide a cross-referenced set to the field that specifically references HotelStudio’s documentation, as supported by the architect and its team.
During construction, we are available to respond to Requests for Information (RFIs), submittals, material and assembly reviews, and finish reviews. We require that the architect and its team endeavor to protect the design intent and details provided by HotelStudio’s documents.
Nearing completion, HotelStudio will provide observation reports regarding construction accuracy and quality. It is the owner and architect’s team’s responsibility to require action by the general contractor and its subcontractors to address inadequacies noted by the design team.
HotelStudio will coordinate with the procurement and installation team to be available for questions and the respond to questions regarding damage.
HotelStudio will search for and specify accessories for use in the hotel and provide it to the owner’s procurement agent for acquisition. HotelStudio will direct the development of an art program for the hotel or resort and
will present the proposed program to the owner for approval. The art program will flow from the research and distillation of local sources and will endeavor to retain local and regional artists for the art, sculpture, artifacts and crafts to be obtained.
HotelStudio will direct the art consultant to provide its selections, technical data, and mounting directions to the owner’s procurement consultant, which may provide questions to HotelStudio for answer or direction.
HotelStudio will review the installation and provide comments about our observations relative to the conformance with the documents, and also note any damage to the works.
The goal of HotelStudio’s practice is to deliver, within its scope of work and budget, the hospitality product that was presented to, and approved by the owner, by the design team near the beginning of the project. The importance of the early organization of the team, and its understanding of the owner’s clearly-stated esthetic, organizational and operational goals, bounded by the owner’s budget and schedule, is in the agreement by
the design team to work together to meet those approved goals.