Empty shelves

It seems that for some unexplained reason, designers in general are in love with designing shelves. For example, I will give a lot of attention perhaps to just the detail of the lighting and proportion of shelves on the wall. But when this beautifully built shelf is finally placed on site, we then must ask ourselves — what goes in there?

Case in point: We have just recently put together the final piece of our atelier expansion, an exciting and inspiring process for us. Just like the thrill of renovating our own home, it was an exhilarating ride to see all the details materialize and have the site handed back to us.

Surprisingly, the most tiring part of the renovation was not the details of the site work, but rather the staging of accessories. Over here, we call it styling, but no matter what you call it, it is both the hardest and most rewarding part.

Luckily, over the years we have collected a lot of books, object d’art and photos, and finally these trinkets found a home on these empty bookshelves, a perfect final touch.

Not-so-empty shelves in our office
Not-so-empty shelves in our office

Although seemingly minor, this type of detail is undoubtedly an important part of every hotel design. As the concept of hospitality moves more towards “comfort” and “residential,” the less we are concerned only with bed throws, cushions and decorative lacquer boxes … and more with the everyday touches that provide us with a sense of warmth during our travels. It could be the carefully chosen books on the shelf, the cup on the table, the scent in the room or fresh flowers by your table.

For my own home or office, I have had my whole life to curate what goes onto these shelves. But when it comes to a hotel, the thought put into just accessorizing becomes almost like an independent design project.

I can never stress enough how much I appreciate such level of styling; in fact, it is beyond words how much this extra bit of attention means to the difference between a simple hotel room and a room that feels like home with a personality.

After all, what good is an empty shelf?