Over 250 of the industry’s most creative minds were in attendance at Design Inn Symposium at SkyCity Adelaide on Tuesday May 3, ahead of the 2022 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE).

Leading architects, designers, hotel operators, owners and major suppliers discussed key trends in hotel design and development across masterclasses, keynotes, panel sessions and project showcases, alongside site tours around the city and networking events.

Key sessions at Design Inn 2022 included The New Design Rules, hosted by Chada Partner and Creative Director Juliet Ashworth, covered hot trends including art, food and beverage, post-pandemic trends and more.

Wellness in Hospitality, hosted by Reece Brand Ambassador Manager Loren Inglis, discussed the wellness design trends setting the benchmark for 2022 and beyond.

In this session, speakers discussed everything from sustainable stays to everyday hygiene and the wellness journey for guests.

“As designers of hotels, I think it’s critical that we design healthy, relaxing and safe space for guests that really enhance physical and the mental wellness,” Dalman Architecture Managing Director, Richard Dalman, said.

Dalman discussed the use of open architecture in creating a comfortable, safe space for guests.

“A lot of our hotel are sealed boxes, we don’t really get to relate to the environment,” he explained.

“If we can kind of break down the areas and start to relate to nature a little bit, I think that’s a good thing. We can bring plant inside we can start to relate the inside to the outside world.”

Meanwhile DKO Architecture Director, Michael Drescher, discussed the little things that matter to guests – from shower pressure to lavender stations, connecting to apps and noise cancelling headphones for meditative purposes, being able to order a Peloton bike to your room, and being able to bring along your pet on your stay.

“It’s all those elements for rooms I think we’re really going to look at because it’s making sure you’re stay is warm – it’s like being at home,” Drescher said.

Designing with Country was an important topic of discussion at Design Inn with speakers . Considered Image Creative Director, Asher Milgate – whose photography of First Nations people was projected onto the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the countdown to Sydney’s 9pm Welcome to Country Fireworks display on New Year’s Eve 2021 – discussed the importance of engaging First Nations people throughout the whole project to ensure their voices are heard

“Aboriginal artists have a really specific understanding of space, and there’s a sensitivity that is cultural that we certainly don’t understand. I think in my childhood and having worked with First Nations over the last 10 years, I’ve been given glimpses of that,” he said.

“I think it’s really important when you go into that design brief, having that Aboriginal voice. If you actually want to engage with them, you’ve got to work collaboratively and step outside of your culture – as hard as that might be – and actually stop and listen to what’s being said.”

In a keynote session, Scott Carver representatives and FCAD Lead Consult and Creator Matthew Fellingham discussed the topic which was fundamental to the design competition process for 197 Church Street, Parramatta.

The popular Boutique Placemakers returned this year, hosted by Luchetti Krelle Principal Rachel Luchetti. This session looked at how boutique operators are addressing the ‘Next Normal’ from a design perspective, within their brands.

In this session, Lancemore Group CEO, Julian Clark, discussed the core elements of the Group’s hotel design and influencing factors.

“We take our cue from a design perspective from four different [areas] – one is our brand, one is the architecture of the hotel, one is the climate where the hotel is, and the other one is the vision that we have for the hotel,” Clark explained.

“Each hotel from a design perspective, has got a fair amount of individuality. We think, from a brand perspective, that gives us a consistency of experience … our brand is really all about the experience for the customer.”

The Sustainability In Design hosted by WMK Architecture Director – Client Services, Guy Blunden, looked at how being sustainable needs to be at the forefront from planning to build and opening; while ‘Hotel Chains’ Technical Insights’, hosted by Scott Carver Director, Angela Biddle, uncovered the top trends from some of the industry’s leading in-house design, engineering and technical directors.

The Design Inn Symposium was sponsored by Hansen Yuncken, the commercial construction business behind the $330 million Eos by SkyCity Adelaide build.

“Reinvigorating Australia’s local tourism and supporting the arts and entertainment sectors through world leading construction continues to be high on the agenda for us this year,” said Hansen Yuncken Construction Manager, Scott Brumfield.

“Our team of experts work collaboratively with clients to deliver leading edge landmarks like Eos by SkyCity to create spaces for people to connect, work, relax and explore our great country. We like to think of ourselves as ‘placemakers’, driven by complex, challenging designs that are built with pride.” 

The event also featured project showcases on QT Newcastle, AC Hotel by Marriott Melbourne Southbank, Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands, HotelMotel Adelaide and InterContinental Parramatta as well as in-person site tours of Sofitel Adelaide and EOS by SkyCity Adelaide.