Q&A: Perkins and Will appoints Neil Andrew as new Director of Hospitality

The London studio of global architecture and design firm Perkins and Will recently announced that Neil Andrew will join as its new Director of Hospitality.

Harnessing over 15 years of experience in the field, Andrew will play an integral role in evolving the firm’s hospitality portfolio, which currently involves Margate Seafront Hotel in Kent.

Previously, Andrew spent nine years working in Dubai. During this time, he managed a team of 25 designers at an internationally renowned architecture firm, leading the design and delivery of interiors for some of Dubai’s top hotels.

Andrew then turned his focus to sustainability in design, specifically focusing on the reuse of salvaged building materials.

This experience supports Perkins and Will’s approach to sustainability, with the firm recognised as being a trailblazer in sustainable design since the early 2000s.

We spoke to Andrew himself to find out more about his new appointment.

Congratulations on the new role. What are you hoping to bring to Perkins and Will from your previous roles?

I’ve garnered a varied set of experiences throughout my career with a strong focus on hospitality in recent years, working across the sector with both large brands and more boutique offerings.

I also have worked within in the experiential world of design, and that has led me to question what guests take away from time spent in unfamiliar spaces in new locations.

Experience-driven design runs much deeper than aesthetics. I’m looking to couple my understanding of hospitality design with Perkins and Will’s strong focus on innovation, to truly address the somewhat drastic changes that are now required of the hospitality industry if we are to combat issues such as climate change, people’s wellness and incoming travel restrictions.

What’s first on the to-do list?

I actually jumped straight into design as we have ongoing projects. Following that, I’ve been introducing myself to the hospitality team and everybody within the company. Perkins and Will is 2,600 strong globally so I’ve been developing my internal network to share ideas and knowledge with others. It’s proven to be quite a steep, yet enjoyable learning curve as I get to meet everybody around the world.

Sustainability is also at the core of what we do and so it has been a deep dive into learning more in that field. I’m looking forward to applying more of that to our hospitality projects.

Can you shed some light on the projects you’re currently working on?

At the moment, our main focus within the hospitality team is hotels, working on properties in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Europe and the US. However, we are starting to cross-pollinate with other teams within the company to look at the shifting landscape of live-work-play and what new spaces will emerge from that.

Within these projects, are there any particular elements that clients are asking for?

Yes, we have a project in London currently on site that has multiple F&B outlets, and also sites where informal co-working spaces with be found adjacent to the lobby, but I would say it’s also up to us as hospitality experts to suggest to the client what they should include.

In the future, hotels will have to look at methods of diversification so that they are not purely dependent upon tourism, and so we should look for and suggest possible ways in which they can engage the surrounding community.