MILAN – St-W is celebrating 20 years of shaping the global design industry with MINDS – a new platform for top creatives and industry leaders to share ideas on the latest trends and contemporary issues in hospitality.
From 4 to 6 April in the hours of the Italian aperitivo, the brightest minds of the design world will gather at Room Mate Hotel Giulia for complementary cocktails and listen to speakers such as Sabine Marcelis, material designer for installations, products, and interiors; Lyndon Neri, co-founder of interdisciplinary architectural design practice Neri&Hu; Kike Sarasola, founder of Room Mate Hotels and Be Mate, and Carlo Urbinati, founder of interior and design lighting brand Foscarini.
All three of these founders believe that hospitality is shifting towards creating experiences. ‘The idea of a hotel and the notion of lodging as we see it today will be dramatically different in the future,’ says Neri. Hotelier Sarasola agrees, saying that his biggest challenge is offering personalized experiences to each traveler. ‘That’s our obsession’, says Sarasola, ‘for guests to have the best experience possible, not only during their stay, also before and after it.’
The biggest challenge at Room Mate Hotels and BeMate.com is offering personalized experiences to each traveler
‘Reception facilities should evolve by offering strong personality and character to the “stay experience” of their guests,’ adds Urbinati. ‘In the hospitality industry, as for all products and services, differentiation will be an increasingly fierce competitive advantage.’
So what are their ideal hospitality spaces?
‘My favourite places in the world are Cartagena, Colombia and Ibiza,’ shrugs Sarasola. ‘I enjoy the way of life there, the climate, the sea… That’s where I go when I want to relax.’
Neri plays much less coy. ‘I like hotels or restaurants that give me a sense of domesticity,’ he says. ‘Hotels like in Stockholm, in Kyoto and in Antwerp. Though I am looking forward to some fresh air in Milan as well,’ he grins cheekily.
Urbinati, on the other hand, values privacy and exclusivity. ‘I prefer places that convey their own special atmosphere,’ he says. ‘When I want to take a break from business there is an intimate spot where I used to go with my kids – the Almhotel Col Raiser in the Dolomites of Val Gardena. I like it because it is located at 2106 metres, which means that when the cable car closes, you are isolated and in direct contact with the beauty of nature, surrounded by mountains and forests. Far from everything. It is a perfect place to think and be inspired.’
Another of Urbinati’s favourite places is the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam, designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni. ‘I particularly like its warm and welcoming atmosphere, in the perfect place of the Museum Square district… Its refined but sober elegance enhances the peculiarity of the architecture,’ he says.
The idea of a hotel and the notion of lodging as we see it today will be dramatically different in the future
These three industry leaders will be speaking alongside Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis in Sarasola’s Room Mate Giulia tomorrow evening, evidencing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for Milan Design Week guests. Marcelis has transformed the lobby of the hotel for the occasion, designing an installation of refined Italian nature using marble textures and verdant foliage for guests to experience inside the hotel. Her installation is open to the public 24 hours a day throughout Milan Design Week.
Join us for an inspiring evening with these top creatives and leaders in their fields – who are looking for some inspiration in turn. ‘Milan Design Week is a week to get inspired,’ says Sarasola. ‘And I'm looking forward to being inspired by all different kinds of people I'm going to meet!’ says Urbinati.