MILAN – St-W celebrates 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.
The theme of the very first MINDS event is Reshaping Hospitality. From 4 to 6 April, the brightest minds of the design world gather at Room Mate Hotel Giulia to enjoy complementary cocktails in the hours of the Italian aperitivo and listen to speakers such as Jesus Llinares, CEO of Andreu World; Peter Ippolito, co-founder of Ippolito Fleitz Group; and Natali Canas del Pozo, co-founder of El Equipo Creativo.
When questioned on what they consider to be their ideal hospitality spaces, our speakers decline to name favourites. ‘I like discoveries more than favourites,’ claims Ippolito.
However, the multidisciplinary architect eventually admits to having recently ‘fallen in love’ with a restaurant near his Berlin studio: ‘Panama Restaurant & Bar. It’s full of energy, stories and personality with a relaxed, self-confident and creative cuisine.’
I like discoveries more than favourites
Canas del Pozo on the other hand, maintains her neutrality. ‘I have to say that we usually end up having a special connection with the restaurants and bars that we design,’ she says, referring to the interior design studio she co-founded. ‘There is a lot of love and time put into the process and they become like little children, you cannot say which one you like most!’
‘Well, I think that you’re looking for a good experience, with diversity and authenticity,’ says Llinares. ‘Just like when approaching furniture design… Manufacturers and hospitality providers must work together to make the destination interesting, not just a place to rest.’
Canas del Pozo confirms this. ‘Our design process tries to respond in very specific spatial terms to our clients’ briefs or concepts. We work very closely with them, and many times have gotten involved with other important aspects of the business itself, for example the gastronomy or the name of the venue.’ (This close creative relationship is probably responsible for Canas del Pozo’s parental love.)
It’s about the personal touch, Ippolito agrees. ‘The biggest change that hospitality will go through in the near future is the transformation of globalized images into personalized experiences,’ he says.
‘I can envision different paths forward,’ adds Canas del Pozo. ‘Based on the growth of businesses such as Airbnb, one is a shift towards more “homey” locations. Big hotels as such could disappear and evolve into apartment-like buildings where guests live door-to-door and share facilities with real locals.’
‘The other would be a shift in the opposite direction – hospitality spaces that offer interesting experiences which would be impossible to have at home, totally free of elements that remind us of our daily routines.’
Big hotels as such could disappear and evolve into apartment-like buildings
But these shifts simply translate to new opportunities for designers, says Llinares. He explains, ‘The deep changes that are occurring in the international tourism and travel landscape challenge producers like Andreu World to make sustainable and personalized designs, to be flexible and adapt to the changing hospitality market.’ As a leader of the industry for over 60 years, the furniture design company CEO knows what he’s talking about.
‘Milan Design Week is always a week of inspiration, re-encounters, opportunities, and not to forget – wonderful food,’ says Ippolito. ‘MINDS as a focused platform brings together great people from the industry to not only self-reflect but to look ahead.’
Speaking of wonderful food, Jasper Udink ten Cate will be serving a delicious interactive artwork for MINDS guests and visitors to nibble on. Known as the , Udink ten Cate uses bright colourful foods and edible paint on canvases to create a fun dining experience ‘where a sense of togetherness will evolve’ as participants contribute to the creative process.
‘The guests are at the centre of the art,’ says Udink ten Cate. ‘They are the subject, and the end result is a piece to remember the moment: an object dedicated to the subject.’
An edible painting by the Creative Chef and his dinner guests
At the end of the evening, Chef Udink ten Cate will varnish the canvas and present it to St-W as a souvenir. So join us for a memorable evening to feed your mind, eat some art, and raise a toast to the 20th anniversary of St-W.