Apartment complex developments depend on their leasing office and shared amenities to give their customers a sense of their brand and values. Those spaces also say something about the company’s aesthetic. Hidden Lakes Apartments in Kentwood, Michigan initiated a two-year remodeling of their clubhouse, game room, leasing office and outdoor pool in 2015.
Wolverine Building Group project manager, Landon Jones, contacted r.o.i. Design to design the interiors. The project celebrated its grand reopening in November 2017.
In addition to selecting all finishes, r.o.i. Design selected all art and furnishings, supplying many of them. The clubhouse lounge furnishings look amazing! Great job, thanks to Ronda Geyer, our Procurement and Purchasing Manager.
Some other favorite elements of the remodeled space include:
- Large format wall tile and a wall hung credenza in the Lobby
- New LED chandeliers in the Clubhouse Lounge
- Recessed wall fireplace and built-ins in the Leasing Office
- Wall finishes in the Restrooms
Manufacturing giant Hutchinson Worldwide has one of their anti-vibration plants in Grand Rapids, MI and that location was selected to be the location for their North American Innovation Center, 616 Fab House. The facility includes a 100 year old factory that originally began as Corduroy Rubber. The historical nature of this plant was in part the reason it was selected as an innovation center as it showcases the historical presence of Hutchinson in the US.
© Tiberius Images
Through a competitive process, r.o.i. Design was selected as the design team to plan the innovation center and over a year the plans developed to include 13,400 square feet of a renovated third floor space. In that space there are video conference rooms, executive conference rooms, training rooms, lounge space, exhibit space and hospitality. In addition to the innovation center space, a new entry tower and approach to the 616 Fab House was designed. Working with Architectural Concepts, Ken Watkins, r.o.i. Design provided complete design and construction documents.
© Tiberius Images
r.o.i. Design’s goal in the design was to celebrate the structure, including the vintage wood beams and columns, the original brick and wood floors, in contrast with the clean, new modern additions of glass, steel and technology. LED lighting was added using fixtures that blend with the historical envelope, providing light and drama without adding unneeded decoration.
Steelcase’s MediaScape products were installed in the space, allowing for multi-faceted video conferencing between Hutchinson offices and their global customers.
© Tiberius Images
The modern space was enhanced with reproductions of historic photos that tell the French and American story of Hutchinson and Corduroy Rubber.
r.o.i. Design is grateful for this opportunity and were very impressed with the focus and dedication of the Hutchinson team and look forward to their continued growth and contributions.
From January 20, 2016 mlive article: French auto and aerospace supplier opens North American innovation center… “The 616 Fab House, which formerly served as a storage area, was built in just under eight months with Pinnacle Construction serving as general contractor and R.O.I. Design handling architectural and design services. About 10,000 square feet of unused space on the third will allow for future expansion.”
© Tiberius Images
The 616 Fab House is Hutchinson’s second innovation center, with the other being the 507 Fab House, located in Montargis, France, near Hutchinson’s Paris world headquarters, according to a company news release. That facility was built by the legendary Gustave Eiffel.
The innovation center, 616 Fab House is part of Hutchinson’s 30-acre campus, is dedicated to research, development and innovative thinking for all of Hutchinson’s divisions.
“It is our intent to use the 616 Fab House as a place to connect using our state-of-the-art video and audio conferencing systems to bring customers together with Hutchinson’s global capabilities,” said Hutchinson North America President and CEO Cedric Duclos. “Additionally, we aim to use this space to foster innovative thinking and brainstorming. Using our touch screen technology and a variety of meeting spaces, we provide a setting that inspires creative, problem-solving thinking that drives Hutchinson’s business forward.”
Remodeled Bathroom (Image from laterooms.com)
It isn’t easy to be cool. And hospitality design is a cutting edge market. A national hotel brand knows design and technology are key factors in property improvement plans.
Properties that want to maintain their status with a national hotel brand undergo regular inspections to make sure their property meets the standards of the brand. During the recession a few years ago, there was some leniency in compliance, but since 2011 national brands are less likely to look the other way. There has been a conscious attrition of properties by the savvy big names who know that they have to compete in each market by scrutinizing and discerning customers.
Today’s customers are technically plugged-in. They are informed and that doesn’t give a hotel property much wiggle room when it comes to meeting expectations. National brand websites promote an experience that needs to be delivered whether in Anchorage or Miami.
Hotels that want to establish a relationship with a national hotel brand have a rigorous review. Existing hotels that haven’t updated their properties in the last 3-5 years are being challenged by the costs related to required updates.
The areas that challenge the existing property and could be higher priorities on a PIP (Property Improvement Plan) include:
- From registration to check in, in-room stay and checkout, the customer expects to control their experience through their online capabilities.
- In-room TV’s are monitors with streaming TV, and customer access to their business and personal sites needs to be immediate.
- Customers want the ability to make their home for a night meet their needs. Whether that means writing a business report, taking along a pet, eating in, exercising in or conducting a virtual business meeting.
- If properties haven’t updated since 2011, they are faced with changes in customer expectations in lighting, bedding, finishes and furnishings (in that order).
- Not that long ago the pool and fitness center was a “must have”, and while still preferred for general business and personal accommodations, it is out-ranked by giving the guest enough room in their room to be able to exercise. Resort hotels still need fitness centers, pools and spas.
- While today’s guest doesn’t need a real front desk, they do need at least the ability to find a small meal, a beverage, the equivalent of a local concierge or “helper”.
Hotel developers who are building today, find the requirements by a national hotel brand to be both more specific and strict, but also more consultative. Brands are very eager to have strategically placed and built properties and those requirements come with costs, so most hotel companies want to appear to be and in most cases, be helpful.
r.o.i. Design is seeing an emerging trend in national hotel brands that further separates those properties from the boutique hotels and the resort hotels. The boutique and resort hotels are able to provide unique style and services based on a developer or regional preference. Customers are discerning and are deciding if their stay requires a national brand, a boutique hotel or a resort experience.
Today, wall art and décor in interior design is significant; it has the interest of the guest and is taking a larger portion of the remodeling and new construction budget.
Corridor Photo from HotelArts. CA
This trend in part is based on the emerging custom wall paper and specialty graphics category that is merging wall finishes with wall art. Technology has made custom printing and custom manufacturing fueling creativity in hospitality interior design.
Wall art is seen in public areas but also in corridors, sleeping areas, and vanity areas. It can be also seen on advertising, marketing and TV’s within the guest suites.
What is considered viable wall art now?
Guests accept items hung on the wall or covering the wall to be viable “décor” when
- The subject matter reflects the local area in content or creator
- It is graphic design reflecting either property brand or current trends
- The “art” is recognizable as current style in trend based on their own experience of media and current events
- The technology or method of producing is current and of interest (i.e. custom wall paper or oversized graphics)
How does an owner create a wall art program?
- Most interior design firms now provide art selection and art design services.
- Local graphic designers and art galleries are prepared to offer custom programs.
Image from The Guardian Pe. CA
What is the ROI of a wall art program?
A wall art program can promote and connect with regional organizations in either content or reference. This connection exposes the property to a non-user audience, promoting future business.
A wall art program can be copyrighted and be considered an asset of the property, being used in marketing, advertising and social media. Reprints can become “products for sale” through the property’s channels.
When a hospitality property can further describe their brand through visuals, that can also be considered “art”, it creates emotional and lasting impressions with their customers.
Wall art in hospitality is one of many ways properties are trying to be personal, expressing their values and interests. Art makes personal connections, a valuable asset in building customer loyalty.
Updating an interior by changing wall art and décor is far less disruptive than changing an architectural finish. It allows owners to “update” without upsetting room rentals.
Hospitality properties have guests who spend the holidays with them; sometimes by choice and sometimes not, sometimes in small groups and sometimes not. It is a time for properties to show what they are made of and fill in the gaps for holiday guests.
During the winter holiday, staff is called on to be even more personal and intentional. These holidays show how well a properties staff is hired, trained and managed to support an experience that is worthy to be considered a celebratory time. A time when emotional connections can be made.
Guests who decide to celebrate the season with you want the property to give them the holiday they couldn’t have at their own home. Decorations, uniforms, sentiment, menu items, activities, the works!
It may be less important to recreate their particular traditions than it is have a hotel tradition. Properties and resorts who create a branded event and all the anticipation building up to it, have set the stage to a wonderful memory. But an event alone won’t be enough.
Elf – Style Sleep Tight Goodnight
- It may be guests with little to no family decide to celebrate with you. That means the staff has to make a personal connection with guests, recreating family and intimacy.
- It may be guests who are taking the whole family to your site expect you to recreate “home”. This group needs greater flexibility in food service, identified hosts and personalities that can help them through their reunions.
- It all cases guests are ready to be surprised by joy, generosity and the ability to share.
Holiday Surprises for Customers of WestJet
An example of the type of success that can be had is described by blogger Alexander Kellerman who wished this celebration happened in a hotel verses in an airport-http://www.hotelierinc.com/is-the-hotel-industry-losing-its-hospitality/#more-1340
There is no bluffing during the holidays. The guests have high expectations and vulnerabilities. Meet those needs and you have a guest forever.
With the increase of new hotel and resort projects, as well as robust remodeling, owners and construction project managers are re-examining how they fulfill the millwork and casegood category of their building projects.
r.o.i. Design describes millwork as casegoods that are fixed to the architecture. Casegoods (typically described in the furniture category) and millwork are amortized differently on the balance sheet and quite often supplied by different sources. This area of procurement is a challenge but also an opportunity.
Aside: The debate about buying US or non-US continues, but the more foreign manufacturers merge their offering with state side distribution, the point of manufacturing is becoming less of a political, economic issue. We all need each other, globally to make our businesses work, within reason. Logistics and the chain of ownership continues to be the defining component to value and control.
r.o.i. Design can contribute to this dialogue with these observations:
- Understanding: When the customer understands that the total cost of a product includes, freight, handling, staging and delivery-the criteria may change. The age old mantra, “you can have 2 of the 3 – 1. design, 2. price or 3. schedule” still holds true.
- Flexibility: And when the project team is willing to look at qualified suppliers outside their list of typical vendors, value can be realized.
- Cost Analysis: Overseas products may show up with a reduced unit price, but the cost and risk to get those products to the site, as designed and on time is not always as manageable. We see this situation being improved incrementally and by situation, but as of October 2015, we don’t make price or lead time promises on overseas product without considerable confirmation and agreement.
- New Materials and Technology: While process and manufacturing styles for US manufacturers are consistent, their emerging ability to use new materials and technology are offering a value that competes with the “all in costs” of overseas manufactures.
- Design-Assist: When project budgeting can take advantage of qualified suppliers, early in the process, value is realized. Sharing the designing of products with the makers of the products only makes sense to our customers.
In the last few years, r.o.i. Design has specified “new materials” with great success.
- Textured melamine panel products offer a huge advantage for larger projects.
- The big names in laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, Pionite and Nevamar) have done there homework and laminate, an affordable option, is becoming a more viable option to wood or stone in today’s designs.
- And the combined use of solid surface veneer with laminates has created options for look and feel not available even a year ago.
- Upholstered casegoods are a viable option. Technology and design has created a category of fabric that defies wear, responds to robust cleaning and is easily replaceable. Fabrics are merging with hard surface options.
r.o.i. Design has it roots in manufacturing for hospitality and while we only have a sample shop today, our interest, relationships and experience in casegoods and millwork continue to bring value to our customers.
We negotiate with our customers and their contractors to determine how we best can bring value to their millwork and casegood procurement.