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Hotel Design Trends We Love

Hotel lobby front desk
Say good-bye to the hotel lobby front desk.

Clunky check-in desks, energy inefficiency, and floor-after-floor of identical rooms are becoming things of the past in today’s hotels. Hospitality design is certainly moving in exciting directions! Here’s a look at some our favorite trends, as well as a round-up of hotels that showcase them.

Going Green/Eco-Friendly

A growing number of people are selecting hotels based on sustainability. While there are a number of hotels enhancing sustainability in creative ways, there are only five in North America to have achieved LEED platinum certification, and they are: Hotel Skyler, Proximity Hotel, Bardessono, College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, and W San Francisco.

Emphasizing the Past

Many people are drawn to properties that have an interesting history. Historic hotels have a charm that’s not homogenized, and according to a study commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, nearly 80 percent of American travelers prefer to stay in historic neighborhoods and buildings to experience a sense of authenticity in a destination. The National Trust created the Historic Hotels of America (HHA) program in 1989 originally with 34 member properties. Today, there 236 members representing the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. You can access the list and even make your reservations here.

Saying Goodbye to the Front Desk

The front desk we’ve always known is on its way out. Say good-bye to the barrier between hotel and guest, as well as tedious check-ins, as more and more hotels are inventing streamlined (and hopefully more enjoyable) check-in processes. At the Andaz West Hollywood, for example, guests relax on comfortable furniture enjoying wine, coffee or soda while roaming hosts with iPads check them in. In the Courtyard by Marriot’s recent lobby redesign, the big imposing front desk has been dumped in favor of “welcome pedestals,” where personnel handle the checkins and check-outs and other guests’ needs, too.

Blending Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Blurring the line between indoors and outside is a design strategy that’s here to stay for several reasons. More and more, people are aspiring to live green with access to fresh air and gardens. It’s also very possibly a backlash to technology since most of us are on computers all day. People want to get back to nature when they’re away from their work and home environments. Many hotels are expanding nature’s soothing embrace to ensure that guests can enjoy beautiful surroundings 24 hours a day. A great example is 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach which was designed to reflect the natural world, with 3,000 feet of living wall wrapping the exterior, made up of 11,000 local tropical plant varieties. Another one is Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark mountains – an 18,000-square-foot wilderness-inspired spa with aspen trees, river stones and moss flanking the hallway entrance.

Not only does GIO offer the latest in architectural tile and stone, we offer dedicated support – we’re  here to work with you!  Contact us to get our insights on trends in surfacing to enhance your next hospitality design project. 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Prayitno via Flickr Creative Commons. Click Image to view source.

GIO Looks at NeoCon 2016

NeoCon, an important three-day design exposition and conference for commercial interiors, brings together interior designers, architects, and furniture companies from around the world to showcase the latest design trends. The expo has evolved into one of the most recognized trade shows in the industry and this year was no exception, continuing to be at the forefront of changing commercial design and business trends.

The show is so large, that even if you were a lucky attendee, it would have been impossible to see every cool offering for commercial interiors. A cursory online search reveals a plethora of articles covering the show and highlighting NeoCon’s biggest hits, standout designs, award winners, and more. After scouring the internet for the most compelling NeoCon coverage articles, we’ve compiled a list what we think are the best. Whether you’re an armchair traveler, or you attended and would like to discover what you might have missed, here’s your one-stop for finding all the best sources for NeoCon coverage!

Best of NeoCon 2016 (Design Milk, June 21)

One of our favorite online design publications, Design Milk can always be counted on to deliver excellent coverage of current events in modern design. See Design Milk’s top choices here.

EnergyPod by MetroNaps – the world’s first chair designed specifically for napping.
EnergyPod by MetroNaps – the world’s first chair designed specifically for napping.

NeoCon in Review 2016 (Work Design Magazine, June 24)

This review by Work Design Magazine offers in-depth and insightful looks at a number of innovative products, as well as the design trends that spurred their invention. Get the story here.

A look at Knoll's Unscripted mobile storage elements that answers to the demand for flexibility in the workspace.
A look at Knoll’s Unscripted mobile storage elements that answers to the demand for flexibility in the workspace. Images courtesy of Knoll.

NeoCon 2016: standout designs from Chicago’s commercial design fair (Wallpaper*, June 17)
For a virtual eye-candy tour of Wallpaper*’s favorites, click here to enjoy a slide show of 21 standout designs.

'Meety' by Arper is a new adaptable table system that can be configured for a myriad of uses.
‘Meety’ by Arper is a new adaptable table system that can be configured for a myriad of uses.

Our Favorite Interiors Products from NeoCon 2016 (ARCHITECT Magazine, June )

This article highlights ARCHITECT’s favorite products from the show, chosen for their versatility and on-trend aesthetics. Click here to see ARCHITECT‘s top picks in furniture, textiles and flooring.

Plex by Herman Miller: a modular workplace lounge system can be transformed into armchairs, sofas, ottomans, and benches for individual or group settings
Plex by Herman Miller: a modular workplace lounge system can be transformed into armchairs, sofas, ottomans, and benches for individual or group settings

The Best New Contract Textiles and Accessories of NeoCon 2016 (Architizer, June 22)

This article in Architizer shows how NeoCon is “more than a launchpad for new furniture designs,” with a look at innovative solutions ranging from performance textiles to productivity accessories. Architizer offers up a visually appealing and inclusive piece on their top picks from these categories. Click here to get the scoop.

Clarus Flip from Clarus Glassboards: afun-yet-practical product that combines both acoustical and usable surface components.
Clarus Flip from Clarus Glassboards: a fun-yet-practical product that combines both acoustical and usable surface components.

Adult Jungle Gyms and Nap Pods: 20 Office Spaces That Wowed at NeoCon (ChicagoInno, June 14)

For a peek at the future of the workspace design, one needs to look no further than NeoCon. The focus of this year’s conference was “Design That Works,” with a particular emphasis on innovation in the workplace. ChicagoInno offers up a great visual tour showing 20 killer office spaces showcased at NeoCon. See them here.

An office jungle gym by Buzzi Space
An office jungle gym by Buzzi Space

Contract Names 2016 Best of NeoCon Winners (Contract Design, June 13)
Now in its 27th year, the iconic Best of NeoCon Awards continue to honor the best new commercial interiors products in the industry. In over 42 categories ranging from Architectural Products to Workplace Technologies, more than 40 jurors review close to 350 products beginning three days before NeoCon begins. Award recipient’s booths and showrooms are then flagged with Best of NeoCon Award signs during the Show. Head over to Contract Design to discover the winners.

Teknion received the top prize for its Zones furniture collection.
Teknion received the top prize for its Zones furniture collection.


GIO Tile is committed to being at the forefront of commercial design, bringing you only the finest commercial grade products, hand-picked from global sources based on our focused knowledge of what you need to to transform commercial spaces. Be sure to review our many products to find the right solution for your next project; and contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!


Gio Looks at Restaurant Design: How to Use Design Elements to Attract Millennials

“Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.” ~ Goldman Sachs

Blue Bottle Cafe Communal table


Millennials are not only the largest generation in U.S. and world history; they’re about to move into their prime spending years. With Millennials just on the cusp of commanding huge wallet power, restaurant brands are early in the adoption curve when it comes to figuring out how to attract this generation. These young customers are not a homogenous group, and while one size does not fit all when it comes to luring Millennials to a dining establishment, there is a common theme: interest in restaurant decor and how that affects the dining experience. Studies have shown that Millennials weigh a restaurant’s atmosphere higher in importance when compared with baby boomers. Here’s a look at some design elements restauranteurs are using to capture the Millennial appetite – and their wallets.

Gathering Places
Millennials are a social generation—and they socialize while consuming your products and services. They love communal tables or furniture they can move around to accommodate social groups. Restaurants that want to attract Millennials need some sort of gathering place inside the restaurant that allows for easy and comfortable socialization.

Digital Life
Millennials have grown up with digital devices and from an early age, smartphone use has been the norm. Mobile is the technology closest to their hearts, so accommodating technology within the four walls of the restaurant is important.

Natural Elements/ Sustainability
Millennials put a premium on sustainability, the environment and companies that care and participate in green initiatives. Natural, reclaimed and sustainable materials used in design elements appeal to Millennials aesthetically and emotionally. Authenticity is important to these young consumers and restaurants that want to attract them are tapping into these trends.

Open kitchens are a common element in restaurant designs that appeal to Millennials. Being able to see everything that is going on in the kitchen creates an atmosphere of trust, reinforcing the image of authenticity and freshness of ingredients.

Distinct Decor Elements
Quirky or funky design that excites the imagination appeals to Millennials. Distinct design elements that make the décor photogenic will encourage Millennials to share their experience on social media.

Photo Credit:  Click image to view source.

GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. We not only know tile, but we also deeply understand the needs of interior designers, architects, and commercial product specifiers. Turn to us for the latest solutions in architectural surfacing for your projects. We’re here to work with you!