What is Minimalist Design in the Hotel Industry?
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- Minimalist design in the hotel industry takes the form of the minimization of unnecessary furniture, services and products in favour of an emphasis on space, freedom, and the ability to maximize revenue from every single square inch of the hotel (Marin, 2008).
- This takes the form of hotels getting more creative regarding the space utilized (i.e. creating more areas for commercialization) as well as creating more open space within their interiors that are not cluttered by needless furniture. Basically, the minimalist design focuses more on customization of guest experienced by removing amenities and services that are rarely used so as to reduce the overhead costs of the company while at the same time giving guests exactly what they need instead of amenities which they may never utilize (The Shock of The Old, 2005).
- As a result, minimalism in hotel design can be considered a reflection of a shift away from overly luxurious interiors and amenities towards greater functionality and maximization of space (Meyer, 2009).
- Do note that other iterations of minimalist design involve a greater emphasis on spacious interiors which are considered a luxury in an overly crowded urban environment.
Success of Minimalist Designs
- Based on the work of Broome (2008) which examined changes in present-day hotel designs, it was noted that minimalist designs have actually been quite successful as of late (especially in Europe) wherein lower overhead costs, an emphasis on spaciousness within the hotel as well as the maximization of floor space to bring in added income (ex: through the use of shops within the hotels) has been embraced by various hotel chains such as Marriott (Broome, 2008).
- While this trend has yet to be fully adopted in other hotel chains, the cost savings alone makes it a viable option as hotels scramble to minimize their costs during seasons where guest bookings are at an all-time low.
What feelings are being transmitted?
- When examining the design elements utilized in the minimalist design of hotels, it is immediately obvious that the openness and lack of clutter attempt to bring about feelings of freedom and solitude.
- Minimalist design elements focus more on functionality rather than pure luxury and, as such, imparts people with the feeling that they are in an environment that is fully functional and does not have as much “clutter” as what they are used to in their everyday lives (Hellman, 2010).
The main strength of the minimalist approach is its capacity to save hotels money by maximizing the use of open space while minimizing expenses related to useless furniture, services and products. By doing so, this enables the hotel to focus primarily on its operations resulting in the provision of better service.
In terms of luxury, aside from the large open spaces that minimalist designs provide, there is little in the way of actual luxurious elements. Since the design focuses more on space and functionality, the added luxurious amenities that are commonly associated with hotels are no longer put in place (Abramovitch, 2005). Customers that seek such amenities would not be able to get them in hotels that focus on minimalism and, as such, it is likely that these customers would go to other hotels in order to have such services.
One of the opportunities associated with this particular type of design is how some consumers prefer minimalism due to the lower costs associated with them. As such, through the use of the minimalist design in some hotels, these businesses could potentially attract customers that want the experience of staying at a hotel at a bargain price.
The problem with minimalist design is that there are no barriers to entry should another hotel attempt to utilize the same design element. As such, even if a hotel chain were to emphasize minimalist designs in their hotels, this competitive advantage would not last long.
Critical Analysis of Future Outcomes and trends from Minimalist Designs
- In most overpopulated urban centres free space has become increasingly scarce as urban planners and construction companies attempt to create a balance between the limited space for expansion and the need for convenience and affordability as desired by today’s modern-day consumer.
- The end result is a trend in minimalist design elements for hotels wherein subsequent construction and expansion maximize the use of limited space through the creation of high rise hotels and various other forms of modern-day architecture which focus more on expansive interiors and an emphasis on space.
- Siegel (2013) explains that the end result is a focus on functionality and design aesthetics through minimalism which have increasingly followed the trend of vertical construction (Siegel, 2013). One of the reasons for using minimalist design elements in modern-day construction of hotels is that it has been observed that high-rise hotels that focus on minimalist interiors are able to allocate huge amounts of additional floor space while consuming small portions of land. The end result is the creation of trend of large open spaces within hotels which contrast the cramped interiors that are common among many city dwellers.
- This is a design strategy that focuses on portraying a design feature (i.e. space) that is absent in most densely populated urban households and, as such, becomes associated as a form of luxury.
- What must be understood is that urbanism has created new societal problems in the form of subsequent increases in the number of resources consumed, the proliferation of environmental pollutants and an increase in social isolation as more people tend to live in the seclusion of their apartments rather than socialize with their neighbours.
- All of these factors are exacerbated by the limited amount of space people are subjected to. In effect, this has changed the context by which luxury has been defined wherein large open spaces that are clear of clutter and pollution are increasingly viewed as rarities in an overpopulated urban landscape.
- Through the popularization of minimalist design and vertical urbanization, this has resulted in the proliferation of large open spaces as a continuing design element in hotels as the ultimate expression of luxury.
- In response to these sudden impacts, new methods of construction are being implemented to address the various concerns that have cropped up as a result of the current trend in minimalist design.
- These changes include the utilization of vertical landscaping and open spaces in order to encourage societal activity and the implementation of “green technologies in construction to reduce pollution.
Life Circle Comparison
What is interesting about minimalism is that when compared to more traditional design elements, minimalist designs do not really have much of a limit in terms of life cycle since they place emphasis on maximizing functionality which is a business element that never goes out of style.
Abramovitch, I. (2005). On the scene. House & Garden, 174(10), 117.
Broome, B. (2008). Mount Rainier Artist Lofts entices creative people into the role of urban pioneers. Architectural Record, 196(10), 193.
Hellman, Å. (2010). Minimalist Wall Compositions. Ceramics: Art & Perception, (79), 77-79.
Marin, M. (2008). Keeping It Simple. Kitchen & Bath Business, 55(12), 20-21.
Meyer, J. (2009). The Minimal Unconscious. October, (130), 141-176.
Siegel, M. B. (2013). Minimalism and Its Contents. Hudson Review, 66(3), 535-542. The Shock of The Old. (2005). New York Times Magazine, 154(53089), 51.