Design outlook: Connection and storytelling key trends for 2022

Nichole S. Gehr

As tourists get the green light to travel to Australia and former quarantine hotels prepare to reopen to the public, many hoteliers are opting to transform their space to win business. Scott Carver Director – Interior Design, Angela Biddle, shares key trends in interior design that meet the demands of guests in 2022.

We’ve been observing some interesting post-pandemic shifts in the way we live, work, and relax with new kinds of spatial arrangement and design treatments.

Firstly, hotels have become remote working spaces; and guests can now seamlessly merge business and leisure by extending weekend stays into the working week. With dedicated workspaces often in common areas, gone are the traditional in-room desks common in corporate hotels of yesteryear — which means guest room sizes can be smaller. But they still need to work hard to be multifunctional, with ‘vignettes’ acting as cues for sleeping, light working and relaxing —often within a compact footprint.

Secondly, connectivity is paramount to facilitate flexible working. Both within rooms and in common areas, guests need to be able to plug in to their work sphere, physically and psychologically. At the same time, there is also a move towards disconnecting, particularly in destination properties. With wellbeing becoming more prioritised, some guests are looking for a guest experience where they can truly get away from it all.

Thirdly — perhaps aligned with the rise in popularity of regional tourism in Australia, thanks to the inability to travel abroad — we have seen more interest in local, sustainable design solutions. Sustainability in hotels is finally gaining momentum with most operators, and now many owners, leading policy with their own targets.

Complementing this is the desire to tell a local story — both an Australian story and where possible, a truly local one — of material, craft, and product, including objects and accessories in the guest room by local artists and artisans. Perhaps the silver lining of pandemic-related cost increases for imported materials and shipping rates is the opportunity for our designs to craft compelling stories which allows guests to truly connect to place.

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