Dina Lamanna, design principal, hospitality interiors at HOK, prides herself on being adaptable to her clients’ needs. She will be on the InspireDesign panel at Hospitality at Market.
“Thoughtfulness never goes out of style,” she said. “For me, it’s about design solutions. When clients give feedback, I want to understand why they’re asking us to do that. Is there a better way to help them problem solve? We want to be in the trenches with owners, developers and brands and get the most we can out of each project. No matter the scale, location or size, that thoughtfulness and design solution process is important to me.”
On the pulse of emerging trends, Lamanna sees how hospitality and residential design have become intertwined.
“Memorable experiences occur from those residential cues. You don’t want to walk into a hotel, and have it feel hotel-y. You don’t want it to feel carbon copied. Instead, you want it curated and personalized to you even though there may be 800 rooms in the property,” she said. “It’s about creating personalized moments right now. I’m working on the Four Seasons Private Residences Nashville, which has 172 units. Instead of having completely solid cabinet fronts, we have a few with glass fronts and integrated lighting. In each residence, the guest gets to decide what they want to display, whether it’s tchotchkes or liquor.”
Lamanna referenced her work on the InterContinental New York Barclay, showcasing a prime example of residential touches that make the guest feel at home.
“When you walk up to the guestroom, it’s not your typical solid door; it’s an ornamental door knocker so it feels like you’re arriving at your apartment or residence for the stay,” she said. “When you can weave in residential and personalized nods, it does become memorable. A lot of us are designing that way. It’s not the norm yet and quite exciting to see those details through the design process.”
In addition, Lamanna appreciates lighting’s ability to transform a space. “It takes any design from good to great or not-so-good to aspirational. It’s a must-have,” she said. “It’s about highlighting materials, what’s important and where’s an area for social, dynamic activity. Lighting supports all of these areas. Whether it’s an urban hotel or a sea resort, you have to have a layer of lighting to support design—it brings everything over the finish line.”
Lamanna will share her expertise as a panelist on the InspireDesign panel at Hospitality at Market, “The Intersection of Residential and Hospitality Design.” Here’s a preview of what she’ll share among her fellow designers:
“I will highlight the Four Seasons Private Residences Nashville project as it’s a new-construction tower in an emerging market,” she said. “The property has amazing panoramic views of the hustle and bustle, and the river is adjacent. The whole idea is that you are most likely going to be an upper-tier residential buyer and it might be your pied-à-terre, a second residence. The guest has the best of both worlds—an urban retreat or oasis from the city, but two or three blocks from energy bursting at the seams.”
In the design process, Lamanna asks herself, “How do you make it feel relevant and regionalized?” She added black walnut, which is available in the state, and infused that into the millwork selection. There’s also a smoke tinge to the glass, a nod to the rustic chicness of the area.
“We also added curated moments, and there’s a huge advocacy for great service. Elsewhere, it’s about natural light, a landscape integrated inside and in the outdoor spaces,” she said.
She also added artistic flair through works by local makers. “It’s an aspirational environment and stems from ideas from the region,” she said. “That is interesting for us and might be a model to use for a Four Seasons hotel. The residents who are in that market are craving something not so cookie cutter like white and beige stamped out. The brand is investing in Nashville, TN, for a reason. They want that flavor, and we try to make sure each choice we made felt appropriate to Nashville.”
As a visual creature, there’s a lot that inspires Lamanna in her daily work. “Maybe a decade ago, great design was restricted to the very top end of the spectrum—five stars or five stars-plus,” she said. “I’m encouraged by the shift in bringing a lot of that design to three- and four-star properties in North America. It’s not out of reach and it’s attainable. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be great design.”
The energy, the spectacle and the opportunity to meet new people is what attracts Lamanna to Hospitality at Market.
“It’s a creative mega wheel of people circulating in the same space, and it’s the genesis of collaboration,” she said. “I’m encouraged meeting new people, seeing new sources and finding different solutions to current projects or potential projects. I’m also appreciative of the way Market is set up, how the booths are curated and how people give it their best to understand the patrons, viewers and designers. It’s not just the products, it’s the parties too. It’s an art installation for a couple of days.”