by Elisabetta Boldrini - Commercial Manager

«Change your mind»

Here I am back, or rather we are back because I write on behalf of the entire Gitaly team

You’ll wonder, what does ‘change your mind’ have to do with the subject of durability. Well, let’s take a step back. 

Until a few decades ago, the hotel management logic perfectly embraced the American model. The hotel life cycle was short and renovation took place within a couple of years. 

Any renovation or construction project started and was structured on the basis of this logic and philosophy. ‘We’ll change everything in a few years anyway’ was the slogan (to put it drastically). 

Today, I would say that this conception has been totally reversed. 

Evolution, change and new trends have led to a rethinking of hospitality formats. Management requires durable solutions and projects. Durability that takes on several meanings, but we will talk about this later. Be patient. 

There is an increased focus on sustainability, ecology, “go green” (how often do we hear that), quality is demanded not only in construction but also in the materials used in the project. 

Designing well means making people feel good and today design is moving in this direction. It is used as a means to improve well-being and the living quality.

The mindset has therefore changed, today we look at the future with a different eye; and here is the link that escaped us at the beginning of the paragraph. 

«4 shades of durability»

Yes, it is not 50. We have identified four but they can be many more.

I start with a question; how many years would you give this hotel? Would you be able to tell me when you think it was designed? (search on Google is not allowed). 

I don’t think you could answer either the first or the second question, I can’t even do it. Here comes the first meaning of durability understood as aesthetic durability. 

Let me explain. What we should do when designing a hotel is to avoid the passing fads of the moment. 

Fashions decay, our project and hotel should not do the same, we hope. 

You cannot design something at the risk of it being ‘old’ tomorrow. 

It is necessary to have a forward-looking vision, renouncing excessive gestures that can grow old prematurely and become obsolete in favor of functional solutions that people can understand intuitively and that can remain and be relevant over time.  

Just like this hotel, the N’Vy Hotel, which I now reveal… we designed in 2012.

We focus on something ‘evergreen’, to stay on the green theme. 

Simple lines, neutral colors and tubular structures without too many frills are preferable. Of course, style must not be overlooked; each hotel must have its own character, and this must be reflected in the design. It is therefore necessary to strike the right balance and design forward-looking solutions.

Let’s continue with our matters. Another durability aspect concerns the longevity of the elements that make up the project, the design of technically durable solutions.

The choice of materials, as well as the choice of design, becomes crucial. When we realize a piece of furniture or a custom solution, we think and focus on its function of use, only then we can identify the best performing materials to make it. 

For example, if marble is included in the project for a bar cabinet, knowing that the latter is a very delicate material that is easily damaged, and therefore not compatible with the bar use function, we propose alternatives that are aesthetically equal but better performing. In this way, the furniture  life cycle is extended considerably, and, at the same time, the maintenance and cleaning costs are reduced

For the restaurant or the public areas project, we choose washable and stain-resistant fabrics for seating. This allows guests to experience the spaces freely knowing that they will not upset the hotel manager too much should they spill their coffee on an armchair 🙂  

Joking aside, the choice of materials is fundamental, almost obvious to say, to ensure the solution will last and be optimized from a technical/functional point of view as much as from an aesthetic point of view. 

The use of materials, always considering durability, depends also on the Hotel target

For example, for the Victoria Hotel & Residence rooms project, as it is an edu-resort intended mainly for students and ski schools, more resistant, less delicate materials were used so that the solutions realized would not be ruined in the short term.

In addition, the design must be functional. Let me explain. 

Each element included in a project must be useful, usefulness that can be technical or purely aesthetic, it matters little. What matters is that it is designed well to fulfill its function, only in this way it will be durable and not fall into disuse. 

Of course, you need experience and knowledge of the different materials and their characteristics. You have to rely on the right people, and we are (advertisement for today done). 

"You can find the last two here"

Yes, I broke up, the sight of too long paragraphs made me anxious. Another meaning of durability is closely related to maintenance. As already mentioned, the quality and performance of the materials and design affects the cost of maintenance and the type of maintenance.

If the hotel owner is also ecologically and sustainably aware when it comes to cleaning and the products used to do it, the argument is amplified. 

For example, at the moment we are carrying out the Base Genève project which is moving in this direction. 

Norwood launched the innovative and eco-responsible “Base” concept for aparthotels

In 2017 we were in charge of the Base Vevey project, this year the Group has decided to entrust us with the Base Genève project. These two projects have in common the underlying thought. The concept in fact is very clear; build smart, sustainable, technological and comfortable hotels.

Although this year’s project is more or less similar to that of 2017, the customer has modified some solutions and fabric choices. Precisely, because the Group takes these issues to heart, each material and fabric proposed was subjected to prior approval so that the cleaning could be planned and the ecological products chosen to do it could be verified as suitable for the type of material proposed. In this case, more attention was paid to technical aspects rather than design.

Maintenance is a cost and an activity that all hotels have to bear/do. 

Evaluating these aspects prior, at the design stage therefore, can prevent not only damage to some of the solutions realized, but also reduce the costs to replace any damaged elements.

We got almost to the end, I was good this time. 

Sustainability. This aspect is closely linked to the other 3 facets of durability. ‘Being sustainable’ has become a real factor on which many companies base their competitive advantage and business. A theme that is becoming increasingly important in the Hospitality world

Therefore, in order to reduce waste, exploitation of resources and materials, chains, management, and hotel directors demand durable projects that lengthen renovation cycles by moving them to approximately every 12 years. 

Again, the key to achieving these goals lies in the design, in the use of materials and in the construction process. Recycling and conservation become important topics. 

Here is an example, please allow me. For the Victoria Hotel & Residence public areas project, in order to fully comply with the sustainable design concept, not all persistent elements were removed. 

In fact, some solutions have been readjusted to preserve the original materials. 

The handrail of the persistent wood-paneled staircase was not removed, but was encapsulated within black glass to give it a more modern connotation. 

I could give many other examples. This has reduced the disposal costs and ‘waste’ produced by the project,  with a positive impact on both the environment and wallet 🙂

OK, we are at end. Conceiving, designing and implementing durable projects is for us one of the key points in our work. 

Perhaps a little counterproductive, the renewal cycles are thus lengthened (good for you, bad for us), but we will never sleep soundly without knowing that we have done the best for our clients and without having the conviction that we have been able to optimize each project aspect.