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The future of hotel furnishing
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A hotel room is ideally a home away from home, a space that should be comfortable and functional, all while providing a special experience and escape from everyday life.

But while this basic concept of hotel rooms has not changed much over the years, hotel design and furnishings are greatly evolving. US-based firm specializing in hospitality furniture solutions, and EHL alumni, Lang Schwander Hotel Interiors, provide customized furnishing and design solutions to their clients. We have had the opportunity to discuss some of the key industry trends with founders Marcus Schwander and Sebastian Lang.

Hotel furnishing trends on the rise

Current hotel furnishing trends feature more dynamic guestrooms, more natural light through the use of windows as design elements, as well as a growing amount of integrated technology. New hospitality concepts, such as CitizenM Hotels, place more emphasis on common areas, as guests spend less time in their hotel room. This results in a more casual environment which encourages guests to leave the privacy of their rooms to socialize in the lobby or bar. According to Marcus Schwander, co-founder and Principal at Lang Schwander,

For hotels, it used to be that only a hotel guest could enjoy a property's amenities, restaurants, or activities. But today hotels of every caliber are opening their doors to non-guests, welcoming in anyone who cares to enjoy a drink or dinner in a unique environment...or even just take a selfie!

The aim of many hotels and chains worldwide today is to create a full and unique experience for their customers. Design therefore plays a massive role. Rooms and open spaces must catch the eye of the guests, and should provide all the necessities to meet their demands. Sebastian Lang, co-founder and Principal at Lang Schwander, explains:

The hotel furnishing world today is a much more dynamic environment than it used to be. Before, interiors looked more conservative, formal, and corporate-like; but today all spaces are becoming more natural and lifestyle-centric. From 5-Star hotels to chains, properties are striving to provide a holistic experience - from design to amenities - that can meet a guest’s every desire.

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Another major trend involves prestigious collaborations with luxury brands and high fashion designers to take the guest experience to the next level. Marcus Schwander shares:

Fashion designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Ralph Lauren to Versace are designing suites and entire hotel brands to provide guests the same kind of refined luxury experience as they weave into their garments. By incorporating different luxury brands into the DNA of a hotel, the aim is to expose guests to stylish amenities and hyper-lux accommodations.

How have hotel rooms changed in the past years?

The overall motto of today’s guestrooms is “back to basics”. Many unnecessary extras, such as lounge areas and large closets, are being eliminated and instead the essential features of the hotel room are being further improved. Bathrooms are now often open-concept areas and more space is allotted to the bed and desk. There is also a strong focus on technology. Sebastian Lang adds that...

Designers are breaking design expectations and re-conceptualizing spaces in brand new ways. The biggest trends might be eliminating walls, more creative room layouts and technology integration. With fewer walls, there is more natural light and more usable space. Hotels are expected to have reliable WIFI access, charging stations and media throughout, so designers are incorporating tech into their designs like never before.

The process of hotel furnishing

The process of furnishing a hotel typically goes as follows: the developer hires the architect, a general contractor, the interior design firm and a purchasing firm. The purchasing company will then hire different furniture, fixture and equipment (FFE) vendors and the general contractor will hire the millwork company. As the process is costly and time-consuming, the question is “How could this process be improved?”

According to Marcus Schwander: An alternative and more cost effective way to furnish a hotel would be the Developer hiring the Architect, General Contractor, Interior Designer and FFE/millwork provider who solves all logistics and installation and/or purchases millwork directly. This dynamic model is cost and time efficient if the suppliers can be trusted.

A great experience starts with a great environment

The furniture and design opportunities available to hotels are vast, and making the right choices is crucial, as they directly and heavily influence hotels’ service scapes. As the focus of service has shifted towards the overall experience offered, finding and implementing suitable furnishing trends can make or break the customer experience. Industry experts like Lang & Schwander are there to guide hotels along the way, by customizing solutions to each individual property and by ensuring that hotels can provide the best possible environment, and thereby the best experience, to their guests.

From EHL to founding Lang Schwander

The hotel interior firm Lang & Schwander was founded in 2007 in Miami, Florida, by two EHL alumni, Sebastian Lang and Marcus Schwander. The company aims to customize solutions that will meet the needs and demands of hotel clientele. They therefore provide high quality products and innovative solutions. From improving methods to ensuring superior products and services, Lang & Schwander strive to seek excellence in the field of hotel interior design.

Our biggest strength is consistently following up on our ideas and never giving up. Diversification at first was a big risk factor, so we agreed to maintain focus on solving problems one by one, and offering new specialties over time. Marcus and I started Lang & Schwander after graduating from EHL, and we’ve lucked out being as great business partners as we are friends. Among business partners, communication is key. , shares Sebastian Lang.

Want to have a look at the hotel room of the future? Check out the video below!

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