September saw a diverse and talented group of designers come together at the newly opened Pan Pacific London, for a roundtable hosted by luxury flooring manufacturer, Amtico, and chaired by Hospitality Interiors’ Can Faik. The lively discussion spanned everything from post-Covid working practices and the impact of social media on design to the value of flooring as a wayfinding tool and sustainability.
With everyone spending more time on Teams and Zoom calls during the pandemic, face-to-face meetings were becoming more challenging. Finding other methods of showing off products and collaborating with Designers on calls was difficult. However, alongside the obvious challenges, for Alex Kravetz Principal and Creative Director of Alex Kravetz Design, the pandemic has affirmed the efficacy of pre-existing working practices, he adds; “it’s a faster and more effective, more connective way of working. I think it’s a better way for us to move forward, plus it means a very tight team, and a very tight team of suppliers that work with us. Then, it’s orchestration that happens all the way through the day. Communication is the key.” Alex Kravetz, Principal & Creative Director of Alex Kravetz Design.
The role of flooring
Flooring was also a crucial component during the pandemic, in the differentiation and wayfinding especially in the hospitality sector. “We’ve seen that reflected in the projects that we do – it’s very much about wayfinding, and clients have been using flooring as a very subtle directional tool.” Sophia Wise, Regional Commercial Manager - UK & Ireland at Amtico.
The impact of social media on the hospitality industry is undeniable, but how do designers take this into account when designing a space? Some commented that for some clients they focus on those beautiful photographic moments, for others it's client-driven a lot of stories are woven together from the iconic designs rather than being engineered for a prime Instagram point.
The power of designer/supplier relationships
The importance of strong relationships between designers and suppliers is more important than ever, with difficult questions or requests being asked, it is reassuring to know you are in good hands. “I think building a relationship with suppliers who you know you can go to when you have tight deadlines, particularly through the whole sampling process, is really important." Alisa Connery, Design Director at 1508 London.
As more companies are focusing on sustainability, responses to this topic were particularly illuminating and highlighted the divorce between the desire to adopt sustainable practices, and a genuine commitment to overcoming the financial and organisational challenges this poses. In contrast, some commented that it’s not just about the product being sustainable – it’s about how you make it.