With imaginative designs and thought-provoking debates, the 12th annual Sleep – Europe’s hospitality design and development event – returned to London’s Business Design Centre on 21-22 November.
Attracting a record number of visitors from the worlds of hotels, restaurants and bars, this year’s edition explored the central theme of Loyalty: Lessons in Love through a spectrum of hotel space installations, conference sessions and over 160 international exhibitors.
Exploring how design influences feelings of love and loyalty, four global teams of designers and fit-out contractors – Stonehill Taylor, Mkv Design, Il Prisma and 1508 London – each interpreted this theme for Sleep Set, the event’s annual guestroom competition. Developed in cooperation with loyalty research firm Ipsos Loyalty, the contest sparked a diversity of design responses, with Stonehill Taylor taking home the prize. The New York-based hospitality architecture and design studio partnered with contractor Yprt to bring to life Irus, a customisable space that balances the outward focus of being an open-minded citizen with the inward perspective of self-love and remaining loyal to values.
Continuing the overarching theme of loyalty, the Moscow-based Sundukovy Sisters created this year’s Sleeper Bar, which was developed around the idea that loyalty is born out of our inner and outer worlds converging. Their concept used reflection and light to suggest the infinity of humankind, while simultaneously capturing the inner world of each guest.
On the show floor, meanwhile, the lighting, flooring, furniture, art and bathroom markets were represented by quality, style and craftsmanship in abundant supply. Founder sponsor Grohe presented its Colours brassware along with its SmartControl concealed shower system, featuring a brand new Smartbox three-way diverter and push and turn button control.
“Sleep has a really high quality of visitors, about 80-90% are project specific,” comments Mark Harle, National Accounts Manager at Johnson Tiles. Mark Poulain, International Specifications Manager of Roca Armani, agrees: “We’ve had a stream of people, both existing and lots of new potential customers.”
Fabric brands were also out in force, with Loloey launching its natural New Zealand wool and bamboo silk rugs by Karim Rashid, a collection that draws inspiration from technology, architecture and design, while Romo Group showed off its latest fabric and wallcovering ranges. Style Library Contract, a supplier of fabric, wallcoverings, trimmings and paint to the contract sector, won the Best Stand of the Show award, while J & J Teixeira –a provider of custom, fully-integrated carpentry services – was given the Highly Commended award for its guestroom display.
Running parallel to the exhibition was Sleep’s conference programme, featuring keynote speeches from Tristan Auer, principal of Atelier Tristan Auer, Wilson Associates Paris’ first Haute Couture Design Studio, and New York-based architect Jeffrey Beers. Additional appearances by designers Eero Koivisto, Maria Warner Wong and Chiu Man Wong engrossed the room for two days.
For Design Beyond Space, conference curator, host and Sleeper’s Editor-at-Large Guy Dittrich was joined by Matt Utber, Creative Director of The Plant, UK, Candice Madrid-Dahlqvist, Design Director of Sweden-based Millkeeper Studio, and Kate Cox from GA Brand Design, to delve into the influence of graphics, signage, fonts and collateral in the hotel realm.
Meanwhile, discussing the Post Cool concept was Hannah Carter Owers, director of Universal Design Studio, Project Orange director James Soane, and Henrietta Thompson, Editor-at-Large of Wallpaper*. The panel explored what’s next for hospitality design, and how a more caring attitude enriches the guest experience.
Sleeper Editor Catherine Martin also sat down with Bob Puccini, founder of Puccini Group, designer and chef Ido Garini from Studio Appétit, and Simon Rawlings, Creative Director at David Collins Studio, to explore new dining concepts, sourcing local, and the rise of the slow food movement.
Sleep’s official event partner is the AHEAD Awards, which culminated in a ceremony on Monday, 20th November, while founder sponsor Grohe hosted its VIP Lounge for the 12th year running. 2017 also marked the final Sleep at London’s Business Design Centre, with the event moving to London Olympia In 2018, and taking place on 20-21 November.