As the interior designer and associate of Gensler, Florent Duperrin, prepares to take his place on the judging panel of the European Hospitality Awards 2017, we find out about the part he has played in high profile projects in London and the Middle East, his design philosophy and the key to successful hotel design.
What experience can you bring to the table as a judge of the European Hospitality Awards?
As a designer, I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years across three continents, which has given me the opportunity to learn about diverse cultures and people and adapt my skills to suit. Hotel brand and hospitality design is about culture, helping a brand to evolve and adapt but still retain their identity. While looking at hotel design, you need to immerse yourself in the brand their culture and blend it with the local culture.
What qualities do you think make a hotel or resort stand out?
Predominately, it is the attention to detail and personalized service. A hotel should enhance your life, transport you to another world and make you feel special, like when you wear new clothes. It should be well tailored, comfortable and make you feel great.
What attributes does a person need to excel in the hospitality industry?
You need to understand expectations and deliver the unexpected. Designing a hotel is an art, like writing a book. The hotel needs to deliver a good story, the narrative needs to be subtle and the story needs to be solid and engaging. You need to live and immerse yourself in the experience you are trying to deliver through the design concept. The client needs to buy into your story and their operation team need to deliver it.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the hospitality industry?
Hospitality is about delivering a unique experience and delivering the unexpected. The hospitality world is fast changing; there are new challenges every day. You need to constantly evaluate what is the level of design quality and what defines quality.
How do you think people’s expectations of hotels and their staff are changing?
The hotel staff should be treated as well as the guest. Great and well-designed back-of-house facilities mean the staff will contribute to delivering a great hotel experience. The staff should be trained to understand hotel design concept and support it and be proud of it.
How do you think the hospitality industry is evolving?
It is hard to summarize such a big question but guests are now more demanding, giving feedback on their stay to friends and through social media almost instantly. People no longer want cookie-cutter designed room and public spaces play a more vital role. Connectivity to the local life also has a big part to play. The big operators should stop expanding their brands and focus more on adapting their current ones.
Images: Hyatt Regency Houston – architecture and interiors by Gensler