March 21, 2022
Designing the Welcome Back
The consensus that emerged from the conversation was the melding of the office and hospitality worlds. “Hospitality in its truest sense meaning is the friendly and generous entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers; it’s now the new everything,” said Kathryn Clark, senior hospitality and workplace designer, B+H Architects. “There is a convergence between workplaces and social spaces fueling demand for new spaces and experiences with people at the heart.”
Stephanie Deshaies, BrandED chair, NEWH, The Hospitality Industry Network, brought up the specific example of a client who scrapped the idea for a traditional cafeteria for a large tech campus, opting instead for something more like a hotel lobby. “Now it is a lobby, and the employees are the guests,” she shared.
The exchange goes both ways, says Kate Buska, vice president of brand development and communications at Practice Hospitality, a hotel management company. “Hotels and hospitality have seen private work and social spaces bleeding into them for years,” she said.
Clark spoke to the imperative to use design to draw workers back to the physical office, “When people leave their houses, where are they going? We need people to reemerge back into a collective world around them and be comfortable there.” Misia Tramp, vice president of strategy & insights, A Seattle based marketing consulting firm, Metia, suggested that this reflects a pent-up demand to move beyond COVID, “From the data I’m seeing there’s a ‘let’s move forward’ attitude.”
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