The power of pragmatic design strategies in hospitality design By Ar.Khozema Chitalwala , Principal Architect and Designer, Designers Group


Intuitive and rational. Designing hospitality spaces need an artful fusion of practicality dependent on its purpose and its sentiment, and thus, this means that the designer needs to have a symmetry of the balance of the diverse elements of design. It is all about the outline of the experience for the guests as well as the brand story and concept of the brand, communicating their promise to serve the end group. 

The foundational character of any design is its practicality. A pragmatic approach is adapting to a more practical path, not limited to the conventional application of book-read knowledge and theories that are conveyed to us in our institutions. The understanding of the users’ needs and wants, to find a middle ground between idealism and realism, is where the fruition of a project comes in. Depending on the typology of the hotel that is being designed, a balance between functionality, vibe and aesthetics has to be struck to define the hotel in totality. This balance differs from space to space, led by its use, to top it all. 

Against popular opinion, inevitably, a customer always judges a book by its cover. Being the only space in the hotel that everyone does go to, it is imperative that the reception and lobby space make an unforgettable impression, because the first one, is really the last one and the only one that matters. Instilling a sense of exuberance and drama comes in handy when designing the social centre and the heart of the hotel, setting the tone for the rest of the spaces. Add a theatrical sense can be done by introducing state-of-the-art sculptural lighting in the voluminous spaces, imparting an interesting interplay of light and shadow. This also induces energy into the lobby area and leaves one feeling positive. Subtle interventions in terms of textiles used in soft furnishings- the different prints, patterns and thematic colours, will overlay a chic statement to the space. The use of murals, and offbeat materials as cladding on walls or on the reception desk, to give it an unconventional look will imbue elegance into the space. 

With high footfall in restaurants or the dining area of the hotel, durability and versatility play an important role in determining the theme, design, materials and finishes for this space. Sturdy furniture and heavy-duty surfaces, make it easy to maintain and endure for longer periods of time. Buffet setup can be kept to a minimum with changeable modules so that these units can be experimented with and played around with to introduce variety and change to the users. Lounges and bars, on the other hand, can be kept fairly intimate and snug by laying with different lighting methods and plush classy textiles in furniture. 

Acting as a relaxing haven, to escape from the ordinaries and hustle culture, the private guestrooms and suites are better suited to have plush and relaxing interiors for the guests to unwind and lighten up within. The rooms can be kept minimal with concealed and soft lighting, creating a cosy, subdued and mellow environment in the room. Comfortable and affluent furnishings alongside ergonomic and functional furniture blend together to present an efficient bedroom, tailor-made to the users’ requirements and experiences.

In a nutshell, circling back to the emotions of a space being linked to its functionality, it is the key behind designing optimal and aesthetically pleasing environments, hence enkindling valuable responses and experiences. A balance between all space-making elements and architectural features fosters the right stability and harmony in these hospitality spaces.