The infantile disorder of the decor

dior-minimal

One of the most significant corollaries of the guest experience in a charming hotel is its aesthetic vector. A large segment of travelers usually put on a pedestal the kind of hospitality remarkable for the expressive substance of their accommodation rather than for the essence of their hosting. Or, what is the same, the hospitality is judged according to a canonical and stereotypical image of the underlying charm of hotels where the guests spend their pleasant nights. At the slightest questioning of their uncritical attitude, everyone, hoteliers, and guests alike defend their love of the theatrical by using the color chart for an orthodox design or even a literary essay about aesthetics. There is as large a diversity of tastes as there is of colors

I have just read a biography of French perfumer Serge Lutens, who warns that although a lot has been written about taste, very little has been read. The author of Féminité du Bois, and architect of Shiseido fragrances is currently selling no less than 27 exclusive perfumes customized in flacons with the initials of each buyer, at his headquarter of the Palais Royal in Paris. Of course, these bottles cannot be purchased anywhere. Each of them offers an evening atmosphere, a winged mystery, ignorant of olfactory pyramids and nasal recipes. Lutens is achieving right now the culmination of an entire life dedicated to the acquiring of knowledge about art through the senses. Continue reading

The educated luxury

birdsOmotesando, the chicest street in Tokyo, is changing Louis Vuitton handbags and Chanel coats for Zara dresses and Gap jeans. There, as well as in many other places, bellies increasingly feel the pressure from belts and, so it seems, of luxury; what we understand as excessive luxury, nowadays seems by all means over the top. This consideration is seeping ever deeper into our consciences and some people assert that its effects will not be temporary, but that austerity, or a non-wasteful lifestyle, has no turning back. This is even considering that the acquisition of objects of brands such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton or Armani was a symbolic ritual of the Japanese middle class, an act of initiation of which without it there would be no sense of belonging to the group.

Alas, not. Luxury of this type is no longer sustainable, despite the environmental care these large firms devote to their finest products. During the years of the Great Depression working towards a sustainable consumption of goods and use of services may not have been priority. The whole world settled for cheaper industrial manufacturing and less indulgent with environmental damage, preferably made in China. However, what nowadays is on the post crisis, globalized and digitalized horizon, is a new vital culture imbued with variables so innovative and exciting, such as social responsibility, knowledge of purchase, global information, public involvement of consumed objects, and exaltation of the senses… Luxury, yes, but an educated luxury. Continue reading

Toying with the idea of non-reception

non-reception-air

Over and over again, the most bitter of all hotel experiences is the moment of arrival. When everything should suggest opening the doors of imagination and hospitality, we usually see something like a wall barring the way to happiness: the reception desk, the final frontier. No way to find the way! The Iron Curtain falls. So, “what can I do?”, wonders any innovative hotelier; perhaps it is the most convenient way to welcome the customers; maybe it is the most useful method to take their ID; surely it is the most practicable place from which to control visitors. Others, owners of small charming hotels, claim that furniture like this helps the communication with the newcomer, and no digital check-in could replace the warmth of human contact. Continue reading

Architecture of Light

piloña

Besides the purely functional criteria, the illumination of each room shifts depending on the aesthetic and sensory effect we want. Also, it depends on the time of day, which determines how some multi-purpose spaces should be transformed. Experimenting with light allows us to design some interesting projects playing with color, intensity, and even with the flashing beams. The transformative power of light draws attention to concrete objects or spaces. It creates atmosphere and engenders different feelings to guests. From bright to dim to all those discrete visual effects created by optical fiber, any hotel is the perfect scenario for this kind of delightful fireworks. Continue reading

Dream… and piss a lot

warhol piss

Everywhere people talk about innovation. Not necessarily as an unconditional embrace of technology, not as an outstanding pulse of scientific research, but by incorporating some improving elements or efficient initiatives in the production process. We all must be innovative to be better, to be different. Yes, innovation is the buzzword of these times.

Do we really know what it is that is forcing us to innovate? I’m afraid not much. Behind this hackneyed word remain hidden the old dogmas, the same bigoted attitudes, the inalienable conservative principles, and this stagnation always leads nowhere. Step by step, the concept of nowhere, a “non-place”, is becoming familiar to us. But indeed we Continue reading

Room of the Valkyries

valquirias

Since The Lord of the Rings trylogy, of which its first part was directed by Peter Jackson, tourism in New Zealand has not stopped growing exponentially. The national tourism authority would never have dreamed such an avalanche of foreigners would come with the premiere of the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf, Bilbo, Gollum and Aragorn, despite spending millions of NZ dollars on promotion. Just one film, only one impression, was good enough to entice us with those dreamscapes we enjoy now and forever.

The same feeling came to us some decades ago with the vision of 2001: A Space Odyssey. When the master Stanley Kubrick took us into science fiction ecstasy, we ran to Copenhagen for a few days to seeing with our own eyes the white, pristine, hotel lobby SAS, designed by the great architect Arne Jacobsen for the final chapter of the Continue reading