It is all about details

It is all about details

In a previous blog I wrote something about typical Ukrainian detail (like walls running into the middle of a window), and since then I have thought I should write something serious about details, as details really make the design!

It is very obvious when you compare a 3-star, a 4-star, a 5-star and a super-luxury hotel that most of the essential amenities are in every hotel in all of the categories. Each hotel room has a bed with headboard and nightstands, a chair, a desk, a mirror, an easy chair, a coffee table, a wardrobe, a luggage rack, a full-length mirror, a picture and some lamps, and in the bathroom there is always a toilet, a basin and a shower.

However, the difference in monetary terms is that the 5-star room is maybe three times as expensive as the 3-star room, and in super-luxury hotels, the rooms could be 10 times as expensive as they are at a typical 3-star level. Invisible qualities (like the mix and weave of the carpet, the mattress and the construction details of furniture) could double the price. A handcrafted easy chair in leather with piping to hide the seams, in combination with heavy velvet upholstery and some throw cushions, with, inside, real springs instead of foam costs a minimum of three times as much as the typical 3-star easy chair in foam and fabric. But it is the feel of quality and the richness in details that gives a value to the guest beyond just fulfilling functions.

Especially in the luxury segment, there is no question that all functional amenities have to be perfectly executed. The added value of the design is instead about giving soul to the space! Design is about creating individuality and a look and feel that makes the interior a unique experience for the guest. Interior design creates the overall picture of the place, and it could be necessary to create a special woven fabric or design an individual lamp for a particular guestroom, as no existing product suits the ambiance that the designer wants to give to the space. Luxury is much more exhausting and costly than the standard ? for the investor, designer, operator and, in the end, for the guest. Perfection in original design is far more time-consuming than just looking for a product, which is more or less fit for the purpose.

Understandably, my colleagues are excited when we are working on famous luxurious hotels, but I have found that for our office, very often the luxury projects are financially much more difficult and risky than the 4-star standardized projects. When we start to fall in love with a project and we try out different approaches, discuss and optimize, get samples done and try to create the one and only, perfect solution, we often lose money, although the fees are higher. And I know that the risks of not making a reasonable return are higher also for the investor and the operator.

But on the other side, a luxury project is great for the ego, and it touches the designer?s soul. It may also appeal to the ego of the investors and operators. And, if it touches the soul of the hotel guest in the end, we all have done it right!