Enjoy new experiences in spacious, elegant and comfortable spaces that give us a sense of intimate hospitality and – why not? – that surprise us: this is what we expect when we decide to pamper ourselves in a spa with an outdoor hot tub, for example, or to stay in a five-star hotel. When we talk about architecture for hospitality, every element must be carefully designed to welcome and make comfortable those who will come to your hotel or facility. Where to begin with the design of these indoor and outdoor environments dedicated to hospitality? We asked the architect Alberto Apostoli of Studio Apostoli in Verona, who told us what the key issues of this type of project are and, above all, the importance that outdoor space will play in the near future.
Respect what nature has given us
Whether we're talking about a hotel with a pool or one with a wellness area, for Apostoli the starting point is always the same: a study of the space. “I start from the orientation: from the direction of the winds, the light, from the most beautiful visual cones to the most unsightly views. I carefully study the location of the rooms or places with respect to what is outside", he explains. "As we've seen, taking the 'outside' into account is fundamental during the creative process: I always try to combine the choice of indoor and outdoor furnishings with the philosophy that nature has already adopted in that specific place, finding solutions that are as close as possible to what is already available”. A long, complex work of research, which Apostoli defines as “the creation of well-being through architecture, which is not architecture for well-being, but precisely the opposite”.
What will change? Looking to the future
The current difficult situation has had a significant impact on our way of life and has also thrown the hospitality sector into a crisis because of the current restrictions on travel and the need for social distancing. “We have to accept the fact that we will have to live with this condition in the coming years. A topic that I have begun to explore is how hotels and spas will be designed in the future”, says Apostoli. In particular, he explains that he's thinking of a sort of ISO certification linked to the world of wellness, so a series of internationally valid standards that refer to quality management systems. The objective, therefore, is to "design an environment that is first and foremost easy to clean and monitor and that has sufficiently large pathways and accesses for optimal management of customers and operators", he explains. According to the architect, this process is already under way in the hospitality sector because those who build these structures are already used to designing with a logic not only devoted to formal aesthetics, but also to their functionality. “Architecture will have to be reviewed in the light of management, with a particular focus on health protection. Thus a new field of study has emerged that needs to be fully explored”.
Expanding spaces in an emergency: the role of outdoor living companies
For the future, therefore, outdoor space will play an increasingly central role in design. “In time, precisely because we must expand our spaces", confirms Apostoli, “the outdoors will become an integral part of our way of life". In this sense, companies working in the outdoor world can – and must – work actively to speed up this process. “Companies must pay attention to the fact that outdoor space cannot – and must not – be enjoyed only during the summer, but also in more or less extreme situations". What does that mean? “From a technical point of view, it is not an obvious thing, and few businesses work this way. In fact, they build ‘ephemeral’ equipment, furnishings and architectures that serve to create spaces to be used almost exclusively when the weather is nice”, Apostoli specifies. The challenge for the future will therefore be to focus on more advanced “all-season” technical solutions, and the various actors in the industry – architects, designers, companies – will have to offer customers a new more current idea of the outdoors. “We must go beyond the concept of outdoors linked to summer and spring", continues the architect, “to offer structures that have optimal durability and guarantees, and that go beyond the standard season that runs more or less from April to October".
To avoid restricting the use of outdoor areas to a few moments of the year, it will be necessary to invest in air conditioning, lighting and, finally, safety, in physical, health and obviously emotional terms, focusing on an outdoor space to be enjoyed in every season, emblem of Corradi solutions and the wide range of closures and accessories designed to withstand rain and wind. “The customer must feel safe", adds the architect, “so you must communicate that outdoor space is a solution".
Whatever the future holds, we will face it together looking for the best solutions to fully enjoy it.