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Next Generation: HD Expo 2018 Conference Highlights

May 1, 2018
(Left to right) Adam Goldstein, Aliya Khan, Kenneth Villamil, and Matthew Goodrich

Adam Goldstein, principal, Studio Collective
Recently completed project: After three- years of design and construction, Hotel Figueroa opened in February in Downtown Los Angeles. Although we are still completing a couple of spaces, it feels good to have this one open.

Design details: It was a complete remodel of a hotel originally built as a YWCA in 1926 including all the public spaces, rooms, and suites. It had lived for the better part of the last 30 years as a tourist hotel with a very DIY Moroccan aesthetic. Our pitch to ownership was to strip away the layers of paint and remnants of the previous design to try and restore and highlight the property’s original Spanish Colonial design while at the same time adding in some modern details, furniture, and artwork to give the hotel a more contemporary feel.

A tropical mural clads the exterior of the Hotel Figueroa

On the boards: Hotels in LA, Napa Valley, and Laguna Beach, California, and Honolulu; a new private members’ club in Dallas; and restaurants in Maui, Punta Mita, and in the arts district of Downtown LA.

Advice you wish you had gotten when starting out: Nothing is sacred. Fight for what you believe in, but if you fight over every detail, you’ll just end up with a migraine and high blood pressure. Also, don’t burn any bridges. Design is a very small world and you never know when paths will cross again.

Aliya Khan, vice president of design, global design strategies, AC Hotels, aloft, element, Moxy
Recently completed project: We just finished working on a new generation of Aloft Hotels—Gen 4.0. It was a tremendous opportunity and learning experience since I worked on the original more than a decade ago. We took thoughtful insights from our owners and from the field about what they liked about the brand and how we could improve, using [the feedback] to reimagine the design to ensure Aloft stays unique in its category and relevant for the next generation of travelers.

A rendering of the new re:fuel F&B area of the Aloft Gen 4.0 refresh

Design details: Aloft has always been different by design. It is inspired by the essence of a loft space. Lofts are typically conversions from other industrial spaces, and this style runs throughout our hotels. The furniture is intended to be modern with the occasional inherited item. For the Gen 4.0 design, we’ve taken this concept and refined it to create a space that is minimalist, lighter, brighter, and airier. In addition, just like in a typical loft space, all the FF&E in this new design has a purpose. Finishes are less patterned and embellished. It’s about celebrating simple, plain materials.

W XYZ Bar at Aloft

On the boards: Two projects I’m really excited about this year are phase two of the Aloft redesign and a Moxy U.S. bedroom refresh.

Advice you wish you had gotten when starting out: Travel more. Not just for traditional tourism but to see how people live, engage, entertain, commute, dress, eat, drink, everything. Travel and observation are the best inspiration for design.

Kenneth Villamil, global vice president of product and brand development, Hyatt
Recently completed project: The Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid

Design details: The hotel is located right in the center of Madrid on the famous Gran Via Street, known as the Broadway of Madrid for its abundance of theaters and vibrant nightlife. The building itself is a historic landmark originally built in the 1920s during the golden age of film, theater, and radio. This period was the source of inspiration for the hotel’s interior design, art, and styling, as well as the concept behind the lobby level restaurant Ondas, which translates to waves, a play on radio waves and music.

The Fenix suite in the Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid

Hielo y Carbon

On the boards: Hyatt Centric has openings in Lima, Peru; Dubai; San Salvador, El Salvador; Santiago, Chile; and Portland, Oregon.

Advice you wish you had gotten when starting out: I wish I understood the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence earlier in my career. When I first started working in the design world, I was more focused on industry recognition for my work. I later realized the importance of having a deeper understanding of the target customer, as well as the importance of removing my personal bias from my design decisions. When you can translate a guest’s emotional needs into your designs, they are more likely to have a meaningful experience.

Matthew Goodrich, founder and principal, Goodrich
Recently completed project: We are currently working on a resort in Central America for an American operator. Our concept blends elements from both cultures to create a hybrid design language. Our goal is to design the spaces to provide guests an unfiltered experience of the nature surrounding them.

Design details: The design features traditional artisan craft techniques, and we are sourcing and developing materials and finishes locally. Custom furniture will be made near the project site, and we’re planning to have artists in residence to create site-specific works for the property.

A sketch of the poolside bar and restaurant at the forthcoming Central America resort

On the boards: A new West Elm hotel in Oakland, California. There’s a gallery to showcase local art, and we’re collaborating with Bay Area artists and designers to create pieces specifically for the hotel.

Advice you wish you had gotten when starting out:
Everyone you meet has something to teach you. If you pretend to know something, or you assume your perspective is the right one, you lose the opportunity to learn a new or better way. Approach every interaction with an open mind and you will continue to learn.

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