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Physical Places

Hospitality is all about bringing people together, making everyone feel warm and welcomed. Hotel designers and architects have always designed for this, with the intention of creating shared and social spaces. However, as the world rethinks these spaces, designers are realizing the importance of physical spaces. Shay Lam, managing executive/studio creative director for TPG Architecture, weighed in about how to make use of public spaces while also implementing safety protocols.

“Hotels and hospitality spaces are centered on the guest experience. To create this memorable experience, the physical space needs to call on all five senses. This can only happen in the physical realm,” Lam said.

Shay Lam
Shay Lam

As for social distancing, it’s about including design elements to literally divide, but to also add hints of authenticity and local culture.

“Designing for safe social distancing can be as simple as creating beautiful barriers, screens or dividers between dining tables. Ultimately, the goal is to create more space between guests without taking anything away from the overall hospitality atmosphere,” he said.

Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue—Alec Zaballero
Citadines Connect Fifth Avenue—Alec Zaballero

“Creating a sense of authenticity stems from providing unique design elements that capture the essence of the brand or the locale. The design is even more effective when it aligns both concepts into one cohesive visual language,” he said.

Although designers are figuring out how to adapt, there is still much more to learn, especially as the design and hospitality worlds evolve together.

“Ultimately, the brand standards and guidelines have to change,” Lam said. “As designers, we need to find the right balance in our chosen concepts that emulates the brand, creates a memorable experience and emphasizes safety.”

Lam added, “It’s important to always connect the experiences that happen in the physical with the virtual. It’s also a great idea to create activities that leverage the outdoors. Take SoulCycle for example. They host cycling events outdoors as well as online classes. This provides guests various opportunities for engagement that drives connectivity overall.”