Starry Night


During the first day of Boutique Design New York (BDNY), Artaic revealed the winning mosaic of this year’s Design ‘N Gather competition, sponsored by Bostik, on the rooftop of The NoMad Hotel in New York. Architects, designers, and industry leaders gathered inside the elegant Cupola event space to watch the unveiling of “Starry Nights,” designed by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. and a 2018 Boutique 18 honoree.

Permanently installed within the Cupola—which was originally designed as a water tower and features turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts architecture—the mosaic is an abstract depiction of a starry sky with low hanging tree branches entwined in lights. Hints of gold glass tile accent a color palette of moody blues, blended purples and night sky pinks.

starrynight“Starry Nights” by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. Photo: Jenna Bascom Photography

“I wanted to bring the outdoors in, evoking the experience of a star-lit dinner inside the walls of the Cupola. It’s a simulation—as if you are dining outside surrounded by trees with the city’s lights peeking through,” says Iyer, who used Artaic’s Vitreous Glass tiles and Bostik’s Hydroment Vivid Grout to create her design. “I didn’t want to compete with what’s already fabulous. New York is the ultimate hero and inspiration—this mosaic is meant to complement its iconic skyline, a lasting interpretation of a memory that you can’t easily recreate.”

At the reception Artaic also introduced the People’s Choice Awards, where the popular choice designer was presented a dinner for two in the Cupola. This year, that award was given to Kate Lux, designer of “Monarchy,” which reimagines the nomadic journey Monarch butterflies make throughout their lifespan.

Through a blind judging process, the competition’s 10 finalists (out of more than 250 entries) were selected in September based on the originality, execution and successful interpretation of thematic elements relating to this year’s location.

This year’s panel of judges included:

Jake Lamstein, senior vice president and chief development officer, The Sydell Group
Jean-Gabriel Neukomm, principal, JG NEUKOMM Architecture
Joanne Yong, senior vice president & principal, Wilson Associates’ New York studio
Joyen Vakil, svp of design & development, MGM
Michelle Finn, president of Hospitality Media Group
Rob Polacek, chief creative officer, Puccini Group
Scott Banda, director of marketing & business development, Bostik North America
Ted Acworth, ceo & founder, Artaic

Some of this year’s esteemed judges at the reception (left to right): Ted Acworth, ceo & founder of Artaic; Rob Polacek, chief creative officer, Puccini Group; Jean-Gabriel Neukomm, principal, JG NEUKOMM Architecture; Michelle Finn, president of Hospitality Media Group; Joyen Vakil, svp of design & development, MGM; Jake Lamstein, senior vice president and chief development officer, The Sydell Group; Scott Banda, director of marketing & business development, Bostik North America. Photo: Jenna Bascom Photography

Founded in 2013, the annual competition encourages designers from all disciplines—ranging from architecture, product and furniture design, fashion and interior design to photography, painting and any other creative field—to create a unique piece that will have a lasting impact on the space. Participants can design up to two original mosaic renderings using Artaic’s proprietary software, Tylist, and any of the company’s Vitreous Glass tile selections and Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout color variations. This year, entrants were provided a design template for the inside of the Cupola as well as background and inspiration to help get their creative juices flowing.

See below for a glimpse at the entries that earned top honors in this year’s competition.

Starry Nights
Winner: “Starry Nights” by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

The Monarchy
People’s Choice Winner: “The Monarchy” by Kate Lux, architectural & interior designer, Stantec. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

The Big Apple
Honorable Mention: “The Big Apple” by Ashley Clayton, designer, Maude Group. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Finalist: “Clouds” by Kathleen Hogan, architectural designer, Spiezle Architectural Group Inc. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Blue Room
Finalist: “Blue Room” by Jeremy Noonan, creative director, Noonan Studio LLC. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Finalist: “Eternal” by Sandie Turchyn, independent artist, Sandie Turchyn Watercolors. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Mourning Doves
Finalist: “Mourning Doves” by Sandie Turchyn, independent artist, Sandie Turchyn Watercolors. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Finalist: “Rosehips” by Lynn Heitler, artist & co-founder, LYNNEL Art to Form. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Moonlight Owls
Finalist: “Moonlight Owls” by Barbara Rush, artist, Barbara Rush Fine Art. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Mosaic Network
Finalist: “Mosaic Network” by Diana Q Saul, architect, Diana Q Saul. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

The Glade
Finalist: “The Glade” by Paul Phillips, architect, FPLA. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Want to see your mosaic design permanently installed in an exclusive location? Visit for additional details, including submission criteria and competition rules.

Emerald Expositions Acquires BD Events


ST Media Group International and Hospitality Media Group (HMG) announce the sale of BDNY and HX: The Hotel Experience to Emerald Expositions. The Boutique Design team is committed to producing a phenomenal trade fair for our customers this November. BDNY:

Best of BDwest Awards Revealed

Twenty-two products for hospitality interiors and 10 trade fair exhibits were honored in competitions at this year’s BDwest, April 4-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The annual Best of BDwest Product Design recognizes designers and manufacturers of products that demonstrate functional and aesthetic progress, as well as innovation in their respective categories. Winners and finalists were selected by a jury of three design professionals; they were:

Marcie DeLaRosa, owner, DeLaRosa Studio Inc.
Gordana Jordanovska, founder, Studio GOGA
Nicole Smith, associate, ForrestPerkins

The winner for Best of Show was MBRACE (shown) by DEDON. For a full list of winners and finalists in each category, click here.

A separate panel of judges awarded honors for Best Exhibit at the trade fair. Displays were selected based on creativity in design, visual impact, effective and efficient use of materials and an outstanding use of space, color, texture, lighting and graphics.

Judges for the Best Exhibit competition were:

Alexandra Bruemmer, design director, West Coast, DesignAgency
Melissa Knock, project manager, FesPar Enterprises
Alex Kuby, senior project designer, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA)
Chris Williams, studio director, associate, EDG Interior Architecture and Design.

Winners and finalists for Best Exhibit were:


RH Contract
Summer Classics
Pivota Hospitality


Williams Sonoma
Sustainable Materials

The honorees in both competitions will be featured in the June edition of Boutique Design magazine.

Another grand development getting underway in DTLA

The 1,100-foot, $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand Center that opened last year in L.A.’s Financial District wasn’t the only mega-project on the DTLA development table. According to multiple sources, the $950 million, Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project originally intended for a 2007 groundbreaking (but stalled by the recession, design changes and financing delays) is expected to finally move forward this year.

Designed to complement Gehry’s landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall sitting directly across the street—and essentially create a neighborhood around it—the mixed-use development on Grand Ave. entered the building permit phase in August last year, signaling a 2018 construction start.

New renderings of the project, now known simply as The Grand, were released in January by Gehry Partners and developer Related Cos., showing a 314-room Equinox Hotel nestled among restaurants, retail and a cinema in one tower, and condos and apartments occupying another. An art installation by Gehry highlights the ground-level space between the towers.

We may learn more about the development’s hotel component at BDwest, where Sam Suleman, executive vice president, Equinox Hospitality, will participate as a panelist for the conference session “Hard Brands, High Designs: Innovating the Look and Feel of Global Flags,” on Wednesday, April 5. In the meantime, check out the detailed renderings of The Grand—and of the clever projection trick Gehry has in store for its occupants and guests—in this January 21 L.A. Times article.

Q+A: NEWH’s Scholarship Winner


Cheryse Carter, winner of the this year’s $5,000 NEWH Women’s Leaders Scholarship, touches on a variety of topics including her hopes of opening an environmentally sustainable bed and breakfast; social issues such as gendered pay inequality; and her impressions of the hospitality industry abroad in an interview with Boutique Design assistant editor Sarah Chaplin.
A Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality major at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Carter will be honored during the “Boutique Design Power Players: Women Leaders in Hospitality Breakfast and Panel Discussion,” Thursday, April 5, at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the Boutique Design West (BDwest) trade fair.


When did you first decide you wanted to study hospitality and what drew you to the industry?

I enrolled in college at the age of 25 and am the first member of my family to hold a collegiate degree. I had been a waitress for 10 years and found myself wondering what else I wanted to do with my life. Ironically, I enrolled in school thinking that I was going to be entering an entirely new industry only to later discover the truly vast array of career opportunities that the hospitality industry has to offer. I enjoy working with and around people. There’s never a dull moment in this industry, it’s ever-changing, fast-paced and there is abundant room for personal and professional growth.

You’re juggling a Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality major. Why is taking such a multidisciplinary approach important to you, and how do you see this impacting your management style and on-property skill set?

I secured two associate degrees prior to my transfer into the Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality program at Kennesaw. It was the multidisciplinary structure of the program that piqued my interest, as it truly covers the most relevant facets of such an expansive industry. This is especially important to me because I have a deep passion for exquisite food, the environment and exemplary customer service. By creating a bridge of knowledge that both encompasses and connects these disciplines, I’m setting myself up for success in terms of enhancing my ability to effectively communicate with different departments, understanding the intricacies of various operations and ensuring a cohesive work environment within my organization.

How did you first become involved with NEWH? What prompted you to apply for the scholarship? What was your reaction when you were notified you’d won?

I learned of NEWH through my program and was encouraged to apply for this scholarship by my program director, Dr. Christian Hardigree. When I received the phone call, I was in complete shock. It was a cloudy day, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the clouds literally parted. Words can’t possibly express the depths of my gratitude for being bestowed with such an honor.

Tell us about your career plans. What companies would you like to work for and why?

Currently, I’m considering attending graduate school where I would earn a master’s degree in Hospitality Management from Georgia State University. I’ve also considered applying for Ritz- Carlton’s Voyage Global Leadership Development Program. In addition, I have a newly deepened interest in becoming a master sommelier. I’m taking a course on Exploring the World of Wines during my last semester in college and upon learning that the Master Sommelier exam is considered the hardest in the world, I’m compelled to take the challenge. I enjoy traveling, botany, geography, sustainability and wine, and thus believe that it’d be a perfect career path to pursue. Becoming the 25th woman to ever hold the most exclusive job title in the world is extremely appealing because I know I could do it.

You mention in your essay for the scholarship that it’s your dream to open an eco-friendly bed and breakfast. How do you plan to make your future B&B environmentally sustainable, and why is that mission important to you?

Indeed, my dream is to own and operate bed and breakfast that offers the luxuries of an upscale lodging facility but with a unique and sustainable design. I envision a property in the mountains, close to a body of water. If I were to build the establishment from the ground-up, I’d procure all building materials from sustainable sources, including recycled and upcycled material, while simultaneously keeping in mind quality, visual appeal and longevity.

If I were to purchase an already existing property, I’d invest in renovating the building to meet LEED and Green Globe certification standards. I’d utilize energy-efficient lighting; large and small appliances; water heaters; and shower, sink, and toilet fixtures. I’d also implement gray-water irrigation and the use of rain barrels. I would be mindful of window and foliage placement, establish an organic edible garden and design a vegetative parking lot and driveway. I’d be sure that every room has a recycling receptacle in addition to a trash can and I would have an intricate composting system on the property. Menu items would be as locally sourced as possible so as to support nearby businesses as well as lessen the facility’s ecological footprint.

The hospitality industry is a huge contributor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and to the astronomical amount of waste that is buried in landfills and polluting our waterways. I want to help change that. I want to show people that you can still have luxury without it being at the expense of the environment.

How has the time you’ve spent abroad in Italy and Iceland changed the way you view the industry? In your view, what could U.S. hoteliers learn from their European counterparts and vice versa?

Sustainability seems to be an underlying theme in the Old World, while American culture seems to focus more on mass production and profitability. In the Icelandic ecovillage, Solheimar, where I completed my internship, the water is heated by geothermal energy, which was an entirely foreign concept to me. There were also water and wind turbines that helped to generate the village’s electricity and all of their vegetables are organically grown in a greenhouse. Sugar is used less in their recipes and meat is not the staple of every dish.

I learned how to make bread and pizza dough from scratch, how to make my own marmalade and spaghetti sauce, and even how to make almond milk. Experimenting in the kitchen became a therapeutic outlet for me and I learned a lot about different cuisines and culture from my housemates, as well. I lived with people from Belgium, Scotland, Denmark, France, Poland, Romania, Germany, Iceland, Chile and even different regions of the U.S. (Washington D.C., California and Chicago). It was wonderful to get to experience such a wide array of customs and rituals across so many boundaries all under one roof!

Italy, too, was incredible beyond words. I traveled to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Sorrento, Capri, Siena and Perugia, while living in the hills of Tuscany in a town called Montepulciano. I floated through the canals of Venice on a gondola and got to attend the World Art Expo. I walked through the cobblestone alleys down to the local grocery every other day and cooked regularly, growing a deeper appreciation for the authenticity and freshness of the Italian cuisine.

What do you think are the biggest challenges ahead for the hospitality industry? What are you on a mission to change in your career?

I believe that some of the biggest challenges that lie ahead for the hospitality industry include breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling in terms of gender equality and finding solutions for environmental sustainability, specifically in terms of food waste, water pollution and trash disposal. I have an acute interest in making an environmental difference.

What do you think the hospitality industry could do to give back? Are there any specific causes you feel strongly about?

Corporate social responsibility is at the heart of the hospitality industry; people are our business. From collaborating with local communities and encouraging volunteerism, to advocating for special interests and engaging in philanthropic endeavors, the hospitality industry is a business titan that has the ability to make life-changing impacts on a global scale. I encourage our industry to continue to give back as much as possible. This could include education incentives and workshops for both employees and community members, charitable donations and conservation efforts.

What’s the first thing you want to see at the BDwest trade fair in April?


Is there anything else you hope to see or do while you’re in Los Angeles?

I actually have family throughout California and Oregon, many of whom I have never met before but have long been connected with through social media. Three of my cousins are flying down from Oregon and I am very excited to finally get to meet them. I am so incredibly blessed and am very much looking forward to exploring a little bit of the West Coast for the first time in my life; I have a feeling that my southern accent will be magnified immensely in Southern California!

Schooled in Design


Want to see the future of hospitality design? Then be sure check out the restaurants and hotels envisioned by five students from the Art Center College of Design (ACCD) at Boutique Design West (BDwest), April 4-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Two sixth-term students in the Experience Design–Thematic Dining course explored small-scale fine dining in Los Angeles. They were tasked with creating restaurant designs that addressed the complete dining experience from arrival at the site to tipping the valet.

In addition, three third-term students who completed the Environmental Design 3 course explored issues related to small-scale hotels in the context of branding and LA’s urban fabric. They were asked to design a boutique hotel, proposed in conjunction with a non-hospitality lifestyle brand, within an existing building.

Below are the students’ final presentations, representing a culmination of their work in the respective courses at the Pasadena, California-based school. Their work will also be displayed at the ACCD booth (No. 1453) on the BDwest trade fair floor.



Inspired by the moments of seasons, Ikkoan invites guests to experience moments of tranquility and harmony from wagashi and nature.

Inspiration: Chikara Mizukami
“I am always in pursuit of ways to express those undetected moments.”

Unlike other wagashi masters, Mizukami draws inspiration from more than the four seasons –– moments that are more delicate and subtle. The four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter are divided among the 12 months. In Japan, there are also 24 intervals (sekki). These 24 intervals are divided by 3 into 72 ephemeral seasonal moments (ko).

Chef Mizukami feels and senses the seasonal fluctuations as he makes wagashi. By expressing the elusive moments in the calendar year, the perception of daily changes, or an understanding of 72 seasons, he aspires to remind us of the unacknowledged beauty that surrounds us each and every day.

First Floor Lounge Dining
Guests are welcomed at the reception as they enter. Guests with reservations proceed to the second floor, while walk-in guests will be seated in the lounge dining. The wagashi may be purchased at the first floor behind the reception.

Guests may casually seat in the lounge garden by flipping the built in mats. Wagashis and teas may be purchased at the retail area. The sky light invites guests to mediate and appreciate every moment the sky changes.

Guests who are seated at the second floor may watch the nature play each moment. The shadows cast from the facade change slowly every moment. Guests may enjoy the sunset while different dishes of wagashi are served at the specific time from golden hour to night.

In Bushido, there is a saying that one cannot be loyal to two masters. “While Western confectionery is itself the main item in a dessert, wagashi on the other hand, plays a minor role in supporting Japanese tea. In other words, wagashi’s sole purpose is to enhance the taste and enjoyment of Japanese tea,” said Chikara Mizukami. Using his philosophy, the space acts as the supporting role, while the moments in time becomes the main role.

Hinoki Wood
Board Formed Concrete
Precast Concrete
Washi Paper
Fumed Chestnut


A Night in Future Scandinavia
A scientific sensorial culinary journey that transports guests forward in time. Inspired by the idea of a pod situated in a Scandinavian forest, the experience encourages an existential self-realization in our roles as humans in the future. As guests indulge in nuances in layers of flavors, they are no longer where they physically and mentally expected to be.

Inspiration: Jordan Kahn
Experimenting and challenging restaurant culture, Jordan Kahn is a chef based in Los Angeles who specializes in gastronomic cuisine. With chemist approaches, Jordan creates a theme for each restaurant and meticulously curates the dining experience with his involvement in cooking, plating, ceramics, and architecture.
Machine Forest
A cerebral sci-fi approach to Scandinavian food where the visionary becomes reality. Inspired by Scandinavian birch forests, guests are greeted by preserved birch tree trunks. The dining area is situated in a raised platform inspired by a future pod, surrounded by trees represented by LED fluorescent pillars. A large atrium allows longer pillars to extend to the second floor, creating an open atmosphere.

As guests approach, the restaurant is clad in ceramic panels in combination with a subtle glow through frosted channel glass. The entrance features a light installation with birch trunks to symbolize the Scandinavian environment. The elevator that takes guests up to the bar is surrounded by smoke encased in glass, making it feel alive. Along the way to their table, walls are cladded in black basalt stone and ceramic tile panels. A dropped ceiling in a powder coated perforated steel adds contrast to the roughness of the stone. Combinations of metal and stone bring the natural qualities of Scandinavia with the futuristic theme to the dining experience.

Mutina Rombini Triangle (Red/Grey)
Mutina Rombini Small Triangle (White)
Black Granite
White Oak
Powdercoated Perforated Aluminum
Provenza Provoak (Bianco Sabbiato)
Brushed Steel
Black Lava Rocks



The hotel aims to capture the various styles within the COMME des GARÇONS brand. The brand is known for its outlandish designs, as well as its more minimal lines. Through different media we were able to create a juxtaposition between the two classes. The overall tone of the hotel is driven by the minimalistic nature of the brand. Big moves of black, whites, and greys captures the brand’s simplicity. It also acts as a neutral palette to only then be adorned with bold colors and bright brass which takes after the more avant-garde side of the brand.

To accentuate the brand’s more provocative side, we made use of interesting materials, like felt made with copper and dog hair, to symbolize the quirkiness of the brand. The steel cold-rolled patina, and the WINCOS film (a film that becomes more translucent depending where you stand) plays on the eeriness of the brand. The composition of simple to wild materials is what makes this a COMME des GARÇONS hotel.


Sisley Paris is famous for combining high technology and the best part of plants to provide the best products. They believe even the smell of the products make people feel youthful. So in Sisley Paris Boutique Hotel, the experience is designed to make people feel youthful.

Blooming flowers are the inspiration for the form language to express growing. Using natural materials and real plants and also blooming flowers as a visual metaphor for designing furnishings and space.

The guest room is a “growing” space where guests enter from a very low and narrow ceiling then jump to a bright and spacious living area. The space opens up. It combines Sisley’s laboratory aesthetic and the feeling of nature. The materials also transition from marble and polished concrete to wood flooring and carpet.

Wood Veneer
Wool Carpet
White Oak Flooring
Calacatta Marble
Translucent Resin Panels
Polished Aluminum
Arstyl Wall Tiles


Embark on a journey to Oasis.

Hermés is a luxury French brand that holds traditional standards for high quality craftsmanship combined with the strengths of today’s techniques. This combination of traditional values and modernity is what has kept this luxury brand so successful for the past 200 years. Hermés pursues a commitment to the creative men and women whose work helps them to see our world in a new light, challenging and consolidating the foundations of our shared culture. The creators at the company believe their products to be desirable because they reconnect people to their humanity. They want their customers to feel the presence of the person who crafted the object, while at the same time the object brings them back to their own sensitivity, because it gives them pleasure through the senses. What Hermés is always searching for is this ideal of beauty, of perfect shape. The right thing, the good thing and the beautiful thing. Hermés’ love for all things beautiful is translated in their brand as well as the importance of theme and imaginative story telling.

Spatial Concept
One of Hermés’ popular luxury item is their exquisite hand crafted silk scarves. The story behind the Hermés Hotel Experience is a journey of a scarf through the desert and into an oasis. It’s an abstract concept that is played within the form language of every spatial experience. From the entrance to the guest room, each visitor will go through a guided check-in experience, through each hotel space, transitioning them from desert to oasis. Guests will be handed their personal room key right outside their room, the “destination.” The design language of the guest room mimics the form of a scarf wrapped around a woman’s neck. It creates a focal point in the space towards the bed, the ultimate destination. The warm oranges and cool blues in the space complement each other as sand does to water. It is open, organic, luxurious, light and close to nature; expressing the essence of Hermes.

Guests will be greeted by an Hermés check-in tour guide. This is where guests begin their journey through oasis, in a rocky environment that mimics the mood, textures and atmosphere of a rocky terrain.

The lounge captures the essence of the flora nature in a desert oasis. The wooden structures mimic the sun’s rays shining down on the guests and plants beneath it. Each pod holds comfortable seating and food service for private/public guests. The reflecting pool beneath the pods introduces the element of water to the journey.

The grand oasis waterfall is a key moment in this outdoor pool area. Guests can go for a swim while enjoying the soothing sounds of the waterfall. This space mixes a contemporary architectural atmosphere with the natural elements of an oasis.

Hallway to Guestroom
Here is where guests reach the end of their journey and reach the beginning of their “destination” experience. The guests will be given their room key right outside their door by their personal tour guide and left to experience the end of their journey privately in their rooms.

BDwest Closeup: Steve Rugo, Rugo/Raff Architects

Q&A with session moderator STEVE RUGO, RUGO/RAFF ARCHITECTS

The principal of this Chicago-based multidisciplinary firm serves up food for thought on the new menu for restaurant design, why there’s a great divide between what makes for a hot-list dining experience on the East vs. West Coast, and a taste of the topic he’ll be addressing as the moderator of the Food & Design panel, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Wednesday, April 4 at BDwest in the Los Angeles Convention Center.



There are big differences. Each city’s dining scene has its own vibe—and that’s not just about what’s happening inside the restaurant world. It’s a manifestation of the local lifestyle and culture. It’s also tied to the weather. Whether locals or visitors, people in LA are outside more; they’re unencumbered; they dress more casually. If a man does wear a suit to events like the BDwest Opening Reception or the B18 & Up-and-Coming Hoteliers Celebration, it’s typically with a tee shirt—something he most likely wouldn’t do in New York. If a man puts a tie on in Los Angeles, people look at him and probably wonder what’s wrong.

Local culture also inspires what kinds of restaurant, and dining design, resonate. Since 80% of U.S. fruit and vegetables are grown in the area, locals have been raised with the idea of “farm to table” food so it’s not a trend, it’s just a given. So, that changes the materials, color palettes and lighting that complement the fare. The California food scene is very much about the food and service, not design for its own sake.

Culturally, LA’s vibrant multicultural makeup means that “mom and pop” casual dining has become one of the city’s foodie highlights. From food trucks to unassuming strip mall venues, some of the most memorable meals are hidden in unlikely places. BDwest attendees can walk to unforgettable eats in DTLA. If they don’t mind a long walk or a short subway or a taxi trip, it’s well worth going to the Arts District, where we’re opening a bistro concept, Jolie, and that’s also home to some of the best food trucks. In the opposite direction is Koreatown, which even iconic chef David Chang points out as one of the best food scenes in the world.

That’s partly why I saw potential in the space that became Dialogue. It was in a renovated strip mall in Santa Monica, and while co-owner Michael Simkin wasn’t initially convinced, it was clear to me and to chef Dave (Beran) that we could transform this former fast food restaurant into an immersive fine dining experience. LA is ready for the idea of a 21-course tasting menu in a space like that (Dialogue was named Best New Restaurant by Los Angeles Magazine). We made some major changes to the layout and transformed the space into an intimate 18-seat venue with formal/informal fusion decor.

Ultimately, the blurred line of inside to outside makes a huge impact. For example, if we are designing a space where the weather outside can be brutal and cold, we would not add any windows so that the emphasis then becomes on the plate in front of you and not the outside environment. The design becomes about escapism and helping you forget the howling wind or snowstorm outside. That’s really the biggest difference.

The interior of The Aviary NYC. Photo: Courtesy of The Mandarin New YorkThe interior of The Aviary NYC. Photo: Courtesy of The Mandarin New York


Actually, we didn’t start in that business. Over the years, we did several restaurants around Chicago that were owner/chef driven—more neighborhood type spaces. We were focusing on single-family houses, rehabs and other urban/suburban projects in 18 states. One of our residential clients, investor Nick Kokonas, and his wife were blown away by the food at Trio, a small but outstanding restaurant in Evanston, Illinois with a then-up-and-coming chef, Grant Achatz. Kokonas wanted to give him the chance to go out on his own. As a result, a small restaurant group was formed and Alinea was born. Since the original Alinea (which we redesigned in 2016), we’ve also created Roister, Next, and upcoming Progression restaurant in the Chicago area, as well as The Aviary NYC and The Office NYC, all under the Alinea Restaurant Group banner, as well as other restaurant projects.


In Chicago, we’re currently designing a large supper club and bar event space in Chicago’s United Center. It’s going to have a retro feel with balconies, an atrium for outdoor dining and private dining rooms. Our latest project for Alinea Group, Progression, will be a music-led venue. We’re also working on some evolutions of the Japanese noodle restaurant Ramen-san for Lettuce Entertain You. And finally, we’re collaborating with a New Orleans chef who is moving to Chicago to work on a restaurant that focuses on Israeli/Lebanese cuisine.

Dialogue Restaurant
The dining area at the Dialogue Restaurant. Photo: Courtesy of Dialogue Restaurant


We want people to understand that collaboration is key. It’s paramount that the chef, client and designer all be able to communicate openly. Dealing with a chef-driven property is much like designing a complicated multimillion-dollar house; there is a huge team of people, and you all have to get to the same page or it’s not going to work out well.


Almost everybody is asking for an “Instagrammable” spot. One of our upcoming projects has that social media component designed in, with photo booths that print the date and name of the event on the picture. A digital copy can be instantly loaded to a person’s account. When I attended Design Week in London, there were a lot of well-known designers taking photos in front of the Woolsey sign outside and posting them on social. Everyone is caught up in this; we are all doing it. It’s simply a part of the process now, whether that’s good or bad.

The Office NYC at the Mandarin Oriental New York
The interior of The Office NYC at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Photo: Allen Hemberger


I want to walk in and think wow, this is REALLY comfortable and inviting and enhances what I’m there to do as opposed to dominating what you’re there to do. I am not as crazy about loud spaces. Granted, I like to look at pictures of hyper-dynamic venues; I don’t know if I want to sit in them.

To find out more on restaurant design from Rugo, Dialogue executive chef Dave Beran and the restaurant’s co-owner Michael Simkin, come to their panel discussion “Food & Design” at Boutique Design West (BDwest), April 4, 1:30 – 2:30 PM, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

View the complete Agenda here

Debuting Spec-writing Master Class Series

Hospitality designers and specifiers can hone their spec-writing skills in the new Smart-Specs Interiors™ master class series at BDwest this year. Expert panelists in each of five product categories—Carpet, Guest Room Casegoods, Upholstered Seating, Guest Room Lighting and Fabric—will outline unique considerations and best practices for writing clear, supplier-ready specs for hospitality design projects.

Presented in association with NEWH, the Hospitality Industry Network, the series is designed to help designers and specifiers avoid costly errors and delays and achieve optimal project results.

“There’s so much about our industry that is not taught in school,” said NEWH executive director Shelia Lohmiller. “This is a great opportunity for design firms to send their junior designers, and for experienced designers and procurement professionals to get a refresher on the latest manufacturing techniques.”

Presenters for the fully accredited Smart-Specs Interiors™ sessions include seasoned designers, purchasing agents and product manufacturers for companies including Applied Textiles, Benjamin West, Bray Whaler, Carver & Associates, CF Kent, Chapman Hospitality Lighting, Creative Resource Associates, Fabricut Contract and S. Harris, Flick·Mars, ForrestPerkins, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), JLF Collections, Lexmark Carpet, The Light Annex, MTS Seating, Neil Locke & Associates, Ramsey & Associates, Royal Thai, Studio Partnership and Vaughan Benz.

Moderators for the new sessions are Becka Chester, president, Hospitality Design Specialist, for Fabric; Ted Brumleve, senior director, Wyndham Hotel Group, for Guest Room Casegoods; Michelle Finn, president, Hospitality Media Group (HMG), for Carpet; Jeanne Varney, lecturer, Cornell University, for Upholstered Seating; and Steve Rice, president and founder, Rice Consulting, for Guest Room Lighting.

“Smart specification writing fulfills a critical need in today’s hospitality design industry, and we are excited to present these courses from the manufacturer, designer, brand and purchasing agent perspective,” said Finn, who heads HMG, the company that produces BDwest and sister trade fair Boutique Design New York (BDNY). “The response to this new series has been overwhelming among BDwest registrants, and reinforces the value of these sessions to our industry.”

The Smart-Specs Interiorsâ„¢ master classes are among more than 35 sessions in the BDwest 2018 lineup, featuring more than 160 hospitality experts from across the industry.

View the complete Agenda here

BDwest Closeup: Matt Mars, Flick∙Mars

The co-founder (along with James Flick) of this Dallas-based hospitality and leisure design firm provides unique insights on the next hot projects, what excites him about the broad range of lifestyle hotels on the studio’s boards and why Boutique Design West (BDwest) has been a can’t-miss event since its launch in 2012.


From our perspective, secondary markets are still hot for the boutique lifestyle projects we are involved with. New builds in cities like Chicago are very exciting for our firm.


The focus is still on lifestyle hotel branded properties; “local-centric,” experiential properties; and small boutique-style projects designed to appeal to millennials and lifestyle travelers. Our team is looking forward to seeing the range of new properties in and near Downtown Los Angeles when we’re attending BDwest April 4-5.


2017 was the best year we’ve had in terms of growth and project size since James and I launched Flick∙Mars in 2005. We’re getting lots of new projects, including an independent hotel we’re doing for Tavistock Group, and we’re expanding our offices. We’re very bullish about 2018.


We’re fortunate to have a generous budget for the Tavistock project. But, equally important is the fact that our client really supports creative freedom. It’s great when we’re able to work with a “visually articulate” client who appreciates our ability to push the boundaries of design. When the entire team is creatively driven, strong and inspiring, everyone brings their A-game.


We get to be nimbler. We’re more free to explore different design opportunities. We don’t have to worry about feeding a big machine. We keep our workload manageable by selecting only intriguing projects. Our boutique size and philosophy is also a win for clients because they know they’ll have the attention of senior management. The key is to be organic, grow our market and to not lose sight of the design work that brought us success.


It’s more about personal networking and building relationships. Some of that can be done in our offices, but a trade fair such as BDwest offers another way to connect. Because this event is intimate and the boutique booth sizes make vendors approachable, we can be efficient with our time. The standard scale of the exhibits also puts the focus on products and enables us to have personal interaction with suppliers. We respect what they bring to the design process and value them as team members. We appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about our needs and see what new solutions and inspiration they’re showcasing. As designers, we’re asked to do the impossible every day. It’s important to know the suppliers and identify the right firm for the project.


Obviously, our track record, reputation and portfolio open doors. But it’s important to network and to keep abreast of what clients want. That’s one reason BDwest is a must for us. We appreciate hearing from the brands about what they want from their design partners. The intimate scale of this fair, like its sister Boutique Design New York (BDNY), gives us the opportunity to meet the owners speaking on panels and attending social events, as well as connect with our existing clients. In fact, BDwest helped build and cultivate our relationship with several new clients, including White Lodging. I love the comraderie. It’s always energizing to walk the trade fair with clients and talk shop. BDwest attracts a very informed community. Being part of that really deepens our rapport with clients, as well as firms from all sectors of the hospitality design, architecture, purchasing and consulting community.


We grew our staff size by 25% last year, which is a challenge because we seek elevated talent. Personality is key to our studio dynamic so finding the right person with skills and the energy level we want makes hiring a studied process for us. That’s another reason we make sure events such as BDwest get on our whole team’s calendar. The education component is crucial for young designers learning the fundamentals of their craft, including spec writing and other vital skills. Initiatives such as the pioneering Smart-Specs Interiors™ sessions are a great way to help bring team members up to speed. That’s why I’ll be sharing my insights on writing the perfect carpet spec.

The caliber of BDwest’s speakers means that, as a principal, there’s a lot for me to learn, too. I love hearing other designers’ success stories and gaining insights about their best practices for creating great design and improving their studios’ processes and performance.


The Boutique 18 (B18) awards. One of our senior associates, Lindsey Seboldt, is an honoree this year. We’re really proud of her work, and this is fitting recognition. The exposure this will give her, and our firm, is invaluable. The B18 award recognizing rising hospitality design stars is one more example of how Boutique Design and BDwest are helping to identify and support up-and-coming talent, as well as cultivate and nurture relationships and expand professional development.

Hear Matt Mars’ insights as a presenter for the Smart-Specs Interior™ session focusing on guidelines for writing the perfect carpet specification. That panel is set for 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Wednesday, April 4 in Conference Room 306 at the Los Angeles Convention Center as part of BDwest 2018. Joining him will be moderator, Michelle, Finn, president, Hospitality Media Group, LLC, and fellow presenters Gina DiRoma, director of sales, West Coast, Royal Thai; Jennifer Ramsey, president, Ramsey & Associates; and Jennifer Wellman, vice president of architecture and design sales, Lexmark Carpet.

View the complete Agenda here

Omgivning remaking historic DTLA restaurant space

Along with the wave of hotels breathing new life into century-old DTLA buildings comes an even bigger wave of restaurant renovation projects in the surrounding blocks. One of the most intriguing is the former Dutch Chocolate Shop on W. Sixth Street, which local architecture/interior design firm Omgivning is at work reimagining as a restaurant and lounge.

(If you joined us last year for the NEWH Hospitality Fashion Challenge Runway Event during BDwest, you’ve seen Omgivning’s work. They’re the design team behind the Exchange LA venue, in the former Los Angeles Stock Exchange building.)

Plans call for preserving the handcrafted tiles that cover the former chocolate shop’s walls, arches and vaulted ceilings—a design modeled after a German “bierstube” by Pasadena tile maker Ernest Batchelder. A leader in the American Arts and Crafts movement, he was commissioned to create the elaborate interior in 1914 by a developer hoping to popularize hot chocolate. The space later became a cafeteria, and was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in1975.

While the name and opening date of the new restaurant have not been announced, it is expected to debut later this year.

Up-and-Coming Hoteliers Unveiled


Boutique Design has revealed the winners of its fourth annual Up-and-Coming Hoteliers award.
The honorees for 2018 are:

Brian De Lowe, Brad Korzen
and Alex Samek, co-founders, Proper Hospitality, Venice, California
Michael Fuerstman, co-founder and creative director, Pendry Hotels, Orange County, California
Nobu Matsuhisa, chef and co-founder, and Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, co-founders, Nobu Restaurants and Nobu Hospitality, Miami Beach, Florida


“Our latest Up-and-Coming Hoteliers demonstrate once again how powerful individual voices can be in the hospitality industry,” says Mary Scoviak, executive editor, Boutique Design, and conference director, HMG.

Scoviak adds: “Like our previous honorees, these thought leaders have combined creativity with operational innovation to create hotels that define what’s on travelers’ bucket lists. Size doesn’t matter; vision does.”

The latest winners will be feted along with next year’s class of the Boutique 18 at a celebratory ceremony on Wednesday, April 4, from 6-8 p.m. at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles following the first day of BDwest 2018.

Trade fair attendees will also have the opportunity to gain insights into the future of the industry from both groups of on-the-rise hospitality stars during panel discussions at the two-day conference.

DTLA marching toward 8,000 hotel rooms

Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown, Project photos by Matt Walla

The hospitality development pipeline for Downtown L.A. continues to hum, as city and convention center officials pass the halfway mark on their quest to reach 8,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the LACC by the year 2020.

The addition of 889 guest rooms in the InterContinental Los Angeles tower, a component of the 73-story Wilshire Grand Center that debuted last year, was a major step toward that goal. Another was the April opening of the 350-key Hotel Indigo, also a new-build, in the Metropolis mixed-use development near LA LIVE.

InterContinental Los Angeles - Sky Lobby InterContinental Los Angeles – Sky Lobby

This month a wave of smaller hotels—each an intriguing renovation or adaptive reuse project—will begin to debut in the downtown core. Sydell Group’s NoMad Hotel is first, opening this week in a former bank building and boosting inventory by another 241 rooms. And the re-opening of the iconic Hotel Figueroa in early February, following a two-year, top-to-bottom transformation, will add 268 keys.

By mid-year, the 1924 Case Hotel building on S. Broadway should reopen as a 148-room Proper Hotel. A block north, the newest Hoxton Hotel is under construction in the 10-story L.A. Railway building (near Ace Hotel), with 164 guest rooms. And the list goes on: a Park Hyatt in the $1 billion Oceanwide Plaza development across from the Staples Center, and a W Hotel across from LA LIVE, are also in the works.

Bottom line, there’ll be much to see when we convene for BDwest in April—both this year and next! Get registered now for this year’s event, and watch for an announcement coming soon about guided tours of new DTLA hotels for BDwest attendees.

Two SBE Hotels Planned for DTLA


Angels Landing Tower
Downtown Los Angeles is slated to get two high-profile hotels in a new high-rise development. Planned for the Angels Landing site in the city’s Bunker Hill neighborhood is a $1.2 billion, mixed-used complex that will include a pair of hotels operated by locally based SBE: a 289-key Mondrian, and a 192-key SLS.

Wheels for the project that would include those hotels began turning late last month, when Los Angeles City Council selected Angels Landing Partners LLC—a team of three minority-owned real estate firms—to acquire and develop the 2.24-acre Angels Landing site. As part of its plans for that site, the development team (consisting of the Peebles Corp., MacFarlane Partners and Claridge Partners) said it intends to build the tallest residential building in the western United States.

Specifically, the team’s development plan calls for the construction of two adjacent high-rises of 88 stories and 24 stories, respectively, along with a three-story podium. In addition to the two SBE hotels, the complex will also include 425 rental apartments, including affordable-housing units; 250 condominiums; restaurant and retail space; and a charter elementary school.

“Our team is inspired by the great opportunity to transform the Los Angeles skyline with our iconic building, enhance residential life downtown, and forever change how large buildings are built in Los Angeles by insuring that all residents and businesses receive equal access to career and business opportunities,” says Don Peebles, chairman and CEO of the Peebles Corp.

Construction on the complex is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed by late 2024. The project’s design team is being led by Handel Architects and OLIN. Handel will oversee the building design, while OLIN will spearhead the landscaping.

LA Hotel To Debut Renovation

The London West Hollywood | London Bar | Richmond Intl.


In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills is set to take the wraps off an $11 million makeover this month. Richmond Intl., which spearheaded previous renovations at the 226-key, all-suite hotel, is responsible for the new London Bar and updated Boxwood restaurant, while AKA Architecture + Design spearheaded the redesign of the rooftop pool deck.

The London Bar’s focal point will be an island bar visible from the main lobby that will feature studded leather panels, a polished marble stone top and a plant-life wallcovering. The space will also include a skylight, a latticework frieze inspired by the iron-work frames of orangeries and hanging lanterns. The bar also serves as the new threshold for the hotel’s Boxwood restaurant.

The Boxwood restaurant at The London West Hollywood hotel. Photo: Courtesy of The London West Hollywood

The redesigned Boxwood dining and sitting rooms will have the capabilities to be divided and offer blackout shades, allowing guests to hold private receptions. The restaurant will feature bespoke furniture designed specifically for the space.

AKA’s rooftop pool deck design, meantime, retained the space’s existing palm trees and fountain and added Victorian-style loungers positioned on a large living wall. The painted wood decks are being replaced with a natural wood palette, and square modern planters are being replaced with eclectic groupings of classical and urn-type planters, reminiscent of an English Garden.

This project follows a $27 million upgrade completed in 2015, which added Premier Suites, the 11,000-square foot Penthouse Inspired by Vivienne Westwood, a 110-seat screening room and a new fitness center.

Chao Wins Pioneer Award


Longtime Disney executive Wing T. Chao has been named recipient of the 2018 Pioneer Award by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) in partnership with the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS). The award was established in 1996 and recognizes individuals for their contributions, achievements and improvements to the hospitality industry.

Chao is a renowned master planner, architect and developer, He is currently working on numerous integrated resorts, theme parks, hotel, retail, entertainment, commercial, convention and exhibition projects.

Chao’s career at Disney began in 1972, and he later became vice chairman of development for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Asia Pacific. He also served as executive vice president for master planning, architecture & design at Walt Disney Imagineering.

During his 37-year career with the company, Chao led development teams consisting of Disney Imagineers and leading architects and designers on such projects as Disney theme parks, resort hotel rooms, restaurants, retail spaces, entertainment venues, office buildings, mixed-use developments and convention spaces at the company’s resorts in California, Florida, Hawaii, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. Chao also spearheaded the design for four Disney cruise ships.

“As ISHC celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018, we wanted to honor an individual known for innovation in hospitality,” says Stephen Hennis, ISHC Pioneer Award chair. “Wing T. Chao without a doubt has had an incredible career and brought to life inconceivable ideas through his work at Disney that will impact generations to come. Wing is still actively contributing to the hospitality industry and continues to drive innovation. We are honored to present him with the ISHC Pioneer Award at ALIS.”

ALIS 2018 will take place Jan. 22-24 at the JW Marriott and Microsoft Theater L.A. Live in Los Angeles.

Studio Twist Names Winner


Studio Twist has named KNA Design’s Andrew Pancer the winner of its Anniversary Design Competition. Coinciding with the manufacturer’s five-year anniversary, the contest was announced at BDwest 2017 and Pancer’s winning design, “It’s All Greek to Me,” was shown at BDNY. (The Los Angeles-based designer was named to the Boutique 18 last year .)

Competition judges included Scott Bodenner, wovens designer and owner of New York-based textile studio The Bodenner Collection; Chuck Chewning, principal at Savannah, Georgia-based Charles H Chewning Interiors and director of interior design at the Italian textile company Rubelli; and Libby Patrick, founder and ceo at Atlanta-based interior design firm Sims Patrick Studio Inc.

Founded and led by Michelle Wildenhaus, Studio Twist manufactures top-of-bed products, including knit blankets, bed scarves, throws and pillows for hotel, spa, healthcare and assisted-living environments. The company is headquartered in Kennesaw, Georgia.


Fifth annual West Coast trade fair and conference honors innovators in FF&E development and presentation, April 5-6, in Los Angeles

Twenty three manufacturers of FF&E and other design elements for hospitality interiors received Best of BDwest Product Design Awards at Boutique Design West (BDwest), held April 5-6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Six BDwest exhibitors received Best Exhibit honors.

The Best of BDwest Product Design Competition recognizes designers and manufacturers of products introduced to the hospitality design market in the past year that demonstrate functional and aesthetic progress and, above all, innovation in their respective category. Winners are selected by a jury of design professionals and featured in Boutique Design magazine.

The 2017 Best of BDwest Product Design Competition winners are:

Winner: MDC Wall for Zintra Acoustic Solutions


Winner: TorZo Surfaces for Balsa Fusion
Finalist: CPS Garten Corporation for Compact Wood

Winner: Modern HD for Clock Two Carbon
Finalist: JVA Art Group for LIDA (Live Interactive Digital Art)

Winner: room360ç by FOH for Matte Black Stainless Steel Collection
Finalist: JACLO for Exposed Shower system in Matte Black

Winner: Valley Forge Fabrics for Wrigley
Finalist: Fabric Innovations for Custom Throw Blankets
Finalist: P/Kaufmann Contract for Sheer Intuition

Winner: Materials Inc. for Grafix
Finalist: Tai Ping Carpets for Silken Axminster

Winner: Sandler Seating for Marshmallow by Tonon
Finalist: D’style Hospitality Furnishings for Landon End Table

Winner: eos LightPanel Systems for CURVED LightPanel(TM) System
Finalist: HB Lighting for Bulldog Table Lamp

Winner: DEDON for BRIXX
Finalist: Textillery Weavers for recycled sunbrella indoor/outdoor throw blankets

Winner: Maya Romanoff for Cozy Collection
Finalist: MDC Wall for Thom Filicia Collection
Finalist: Sonite Innovative Surfaces for Travel-Custom Bespoke Mural

Winner: SONNY+ASH for Augmented Reality
Finalist: in2green for Stacy Garcia Indoor/Outdoor Throws

This year’s competition was judged by Liza Koeda, Principal, CoberKoeda; Michael Medeiros, Creative Director, KNA Design; and Zara Vardanyan, Interior Designer, DESIGN360unlimited.

“The Product Design Competition depicted one step further to what we call innovative design,” said Koeda. “The latest textures, colors and technologies were introduced in such a clever way to capture depth, and the submissions have pushed the boundary to create new designs that fit today’s lifestyle. Seeing all of these great products takes us to this question– what’s next?”

“We had a record number of entrants this year, and commend our winners and finalists on raising the bar on product design excellence for hospitality application,” said Michelle Finn, president of Hospitality Media Group, producers of the event, and SVP, ST Media Group. “The breadth, product innovation, technological advancements, design form and function was recognized and applauded by our judging committee.”

Additionally, six BDwest exhibitors received Best Exhibit honors at this year’s trade fair. Displays were judged on creativity in design, visual impact, effective and efficient use of materials and the outstanding use of space, color, texture, lighting and graphics.

The 2017 Best Exhibit at BDwest winners are:

Winner: RH Contract
Finalist: Williams Sonoma

Winner: S. Harris/Fabricut Contract
Finalist: Applied Textiles
Finalist: TUUCI

Winner: Poppy

Exhibit judges included Gordana Jordanovska, Owner, Studio GOGA; Rachel McCaslin, Interior Designer, HOK; Katie Novelen, Interior Designer, Tandem; and Roberto Aybar-Imbert, Senior Designer/Project Manager, DESIGN360unlimited.

Exhibit space grew to 40,000 square feet, with 244 participating manufacturers and marketers of furniture, fixtures, lighting, seating, wall coverings, accessories and other design elements for hospitality interiors.

The two-day event featured an expanded conference program with 31 sessions—eight with CEU accreditation—and 100+ speakers; social events presented in partnership with NEWH; a student portfolio review and awards presentation celebrating the Boutique 18 and Up-and-Coming Hoteliers in the design industry; and a hard hat tour of the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown at Wilshire Grand Center.

Both awards programs will resume at the eighth annual Boutique Design New York (BDNY), November 12-13, 2017, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Information about exhibitors, social events, conference sessions and speakers—as well as attendee registration and exhibitor information—will be available at as details are confirmed.

To learn more about exhibiting at BDwest or BDNY, contact Cassie Maurer at 513.263.9316 or email

BDNY, BDwest Again Make TSE’s Fastest 50

Trade fairs honored in three growth categories

Boutique Design’s trade fairs for hospitality design professionals, BDNY and BDwest, have made Trade Show Executive (TSE) magazine’s Fastest 50 list for 2016. The announcement marks BDNY’s fourth appearance on the roster and BDwest’s third.

Both shows were recognized for their growth in number of exhibitors, total attendance and net square feet for the third consecutive year. Of the 87 trade shows TSE recognized for 2016, only 15 were honored in all three categories.

Last year’s BDNY drew more than 6,900 hospitality design professionals for its seventh run at the Javits Center in New York, representing a 19 percent increase in attendance over the past year and continuing a pattern of double-digit, year-over-year growth since the trade fair/conference’s inception in 2010. In addition, that show’s exhibit space grew by 37 percent to 112,000 sq. ft., encompassing 615 manufacturers and marketers of FF&E and other design elements for hospitality interiors.

Similarly, the fourth annual BDwest drew 2,400-plus attendees to the Los Angeles Convention Center last spring, marking a 60 percent increase in participation over the past year’s event. Exhibit space grew by 22 percent to 41,500 net sq. ft., which included 260 manufacturers/marketers. The trade fair has experienced double-digit growth each year since its 2013 debut in San Diego.

Both BDNY and BDwest are produced by Hospitality Media Group. This year’s BDwest will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, April 5-6 in LA.

The James to Debut in West Hollywood

The James West Hollywood-Sunset is set to make its debut in California in May. Designed by international multidisciplinary firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and owned and developed by Los Angeles-based CIM Group, the property marks the first new-build hotel in West Hollywood in 30 years, as well as the brand’s first hotel on the West Coast.

A guest room at The James West Hollywood-Sunset. All photos: Courtesy of The James West Hollywood-Sunset

The 286-key hotel, to be managed by Denihan Hospitality Group, will showcase commissioned artwork throughout, including a “Dreamcatcher” piece created by high-profile artist Janet Echelman, who is best known for creating large-scale, fluid sculptures out of unlikely materials such as fishnet.

Stephen Apking, interior design partner at SOM, will discuss working on the project at the “New In The West” session at Boutique Design West (BDwest) on Wednesday, April 5, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Accommodations at the latest James will be comprised of 251 guest rooms and 35 suites—including two penthouse lofts with interiors by LA-based Lawson-Fenning, two bungalow suites, nine James and nine Jimmy suites, and 13 one-bedroom suites.

Design details at The James West Hollywood-Sunset.

The hotel’s dining offerings will include signature restaurant, Fi’lia, helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwarts, as well as market-style eatery, Farmspoke. Two other F&B concept will also be on tap: the Bar Nur lobby venue and the Bar Nur Up rooftop concept.

Housed in two towers on the corner of Sunset and La Cienega boulevards overlooking the Hollywood Hills and LA basin, the previously announced property will also feature a pool and deck, 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space, a business networking lounge, a James Club, and a 24-hour fitness center.

The James
A guest bath at The James West Hollywood-Sunset.

In addition to the West Hollywood hotel, The James flag plans to open a property in New York’s NoMad neighborhood this summer. (There are currently two James hotels: one in Chicago and another in New York’s SoHo.)

Waldorf Astoria to Debut in Beverly Hills

Pierre-Yves Rochon creates luxury hotel’s interiors

Developers of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills in California have offered a sneak peek inside the new luxury hotel. Slated to debut June 1 at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, the 170-key property will feature interiors by noted Parisian interior design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). The 12-story hotel—whose exteriors are by Gensler and PYR parent company Perkins+Will—also marks the Hilton brand’s first new build on the West Coast.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
A guest room at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

“Modern elegance is the signature look we have created for the soon-to-be iconic Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills,” says Rochon, PYR’s namesake founder. “By using richly upholstered furniture in soothing tones of celadon, taupe and white, accented by spectacular pieces of bespoke art works, we have created an environment for travelers that is both sophisticated and relaxing.”

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
A guest bath at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

That aesthetic will be reflected in the hotel’s triple-height lobby, which will feature a contemporary art deco look, hand-painted murals, custom Strass crystal chandeliers, Lalique installations and an array of other artworks.

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
A corridor at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

The hotel’s accommodations— consisting of 119 deluxe rooms and 51 suites—will overlook the Hollywood Hills or the urban canyon of Century City. Each will be decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto oversized private balconies. On the hotel’s third level, Villa suites will open onto private garden terraces.

Owned by Alagem Capital Group and clients of Guggenheim Partners, the hotel will join the luxury brand’s portfolio of 26 hotels and resorts upon its debut.