Radical Innovation reveals 2019 finalists

Radical Innovation, a competition and year-round community that challenges designers, hoteliers, and students to pioneer compelling ideas in travel and hospitality, has announced the finalists for its 13th annual edition. The three finalists are: Infinite Explorer by SB Architects, San Francisco, Volumetric High-Rise Modular Hotel by Danny Forster & Architecture, New York, Connectic by Cooper Carry, New York. The three firms will compete in a live pitch presentation at the New Museum in New York City later this year. After the presentations, a live audience vote will be held to determine the grand prize winner of $10,000 and the runner-up prize of $5,000. All of the finalists will have an opportunity to meet industry experts who can help further their concept.

Infinite Explorer is a hospitality concept that helps travellers connect with remote destinations using the American West’s defunct passenger rail lines. Many of these railways span untapped, locations, but provide no footing for hospitality development. The Infinite Explorer offers a unique opportunity to transform the existing infrastructure of the under-utilised spaces, making the unreachable, reachable. Each stop along the route is designed with an immersive programme of activity, including outdoor adventures, wellness and dining.

Meanwhile, Volumetric High-Rise Modular Hotel will be the world’s tallest modular hotel, combining modular efficiency with architectural innovation. AC by Marriott at 842 6th Avenue, New York City, set to open in early 2020, will leverage the advantages of modular construction, using cutting-edge proprietary technology to address potential drawbacks. 80 percent of the building’s square footage will be shipped in — precisely constructed and complete down to the curtains, TV, sconce and even art — from a factory in Poland. The project will also use VR software and off-site quality control to streamline the building process. DF&A and its tech partner have patented a ‘Time Machine’ technology that trains 3D cameras on each module at five different points in the construction process, meaning contractors and architects can keep up to date on what’s being built. Furthermore, the technology syncs those images to the VR plans, which means off-site stakeholders and on-site factory workers can examine what a module looks like at a particular stage of the process.

The third finalist, Connectic, employs modular construction techniques to fill under-utilised spaces by way of collapsible units that are flexible and adaptable. The concept could be used to build a pop-up hotel in remote area or to help solve problems of density in urban cores. Interstitial spaces between buildings, parking lots, pocket parks and above buildings would also offer an opportunity for hotels of the future to use Connectic’s model to increase the volume of available keys and amenities, conflating multiple revenue streams into a single solution.

Finalists were selected by a jury of hospitality and design experts: Claude Amar, Managing Director, The John Hardy Group International; Wing T. Chao, Founder, Wing T. Chao Global Advisors; John Hardy, President/CEO, The John Hardy Group; Michael Medzigian, Chairman & Managing Partner, Watermark Capital Partners, LLC; Jena Thornton, Principal, Hospitality, Kinzer Partners; Simon Turner, Managing Director, Alpha Lodging Partners, LLC; and James Woods, WeWork. The Radical Innovation jury selected the finalists based on creativity and design, as well as their potential feasibility and ability to impact the industry. Three professional finalists were chosen from a selection of nearly 50 entries submitted from more than 20 countries.

In addition to the three professional finalists, the jury selected one student submission from among the many entries. This year’s student winner is Rooftop Hotel Gardens by Ruslan Mannapov and Airat Zaidullin from Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering (KSUAE) in Russia. They will both be invited to join the professional finalists on-stage at the New Museum to present the spatial hospitality concept. They will also receive a $1,500 cash prize and the opportunity to pursue a graduate assistantship in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, provided by long-time Radical Innovation supporter UNLV. The total two-year value is estimated at more than $50,000.

Additionally, the jury selected two honourable mention student entries including: Michal Witałis from Poland’s Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow for his ecological remote destination concept, Revo, and Sharareh Faryadi from Iran’s Ferdowsi University of Mashhad for her ecological desert protection concept, Nebka Protective System.

Radical Innovation is produced by The John Hardy Group with support from founding sponsor Global Allies as well as Beyer Brown, Castell, Canyon Equity, Craft House, DFL Legal, Greenview, Hilton, HLI, Kinzer Partners, Martin Stringfellow Associates, Rivur, Robert Douglas, The Son And Sons Brand Agency, UNLV School of Architecture and WeWork.