Finding design inspiration

Finding design inspiration

Last week I was in London, where I had the pleasure of staying in the freshly renovated Fairmont hotel, The Savoy. It was quite enjoyable, considering all the press I’ve read about this “luxury renovation costing $400 million.” It was also wonderful to see that nothing had changed! It remains a symbol of venerable British lifestyle and hospitality.

The Savoy, Thames Foyer
But the reason I was in London was to participate in the Sleep Event ? both its conference and awards program (one of our projects was nominated, but unfortunately didn’t win).
Neil L. Worrell, Hilton (left), with Peter Joehnk, JOI-Design

Again, it was a great experience. What I liked most was the “Rapid Eye Movement” presentation in which young designers provided quick, five-minute snapshots of their design approaches and sources of inspiration. In turn, it was really inspirational for me! The influences drew upon a wide range of cultures and marketplaces from all over the world, ranging from Japanese vending machines to punk youths in London.

London graffiti

I’m not sure that all the ideas and inspirations would be suitable for a “normal” hotel, but nonetheless, it was fascinating to peek into the minds of other creative people and learn how they approach a new hotel scheme.

These short bursts of creativity opened my brain to a more expansive view of conceptual design. I believe that from time-to-time everyone needs mental refreshment and a change of perspective from their “business-as-usual” routines.

In our office, I try to let the young creative designers come up with their own ideas first before stepping in to show them which aspects will work, which might be a possibility and which ones are just too expensive. But their learning curve about standard design practices is rather quick, so ? as often happens with hotel designers ? certain features wind up being consistent from scheme to scheme. Therefore, the ideal remedy for keeping the mind fresh is finding ways to be exposed to the unexpected. 

It makes me wonder what techniques are used by the readers of this blog to keep their creative juices flowing. I’d love to hear your ideas!