Homes and Hotels
From exploring idea of tours and guides I am intrigued in how we navigate our way around spaces, particularly in homes and hotels. I am interested in how they are structured and designed for our movement, why and where furniture is placed and what we portray about ourselves through furnishings and decoration.
The disparity between hotels is immense, which is why there are different set standards determined by a star rating. Researching on Airbnb, you can compare the prices of different accommodation, and see that there is effectively an invisible star rating dependent on what the host offers (pool or rooftop views perhaps) their location and furnishings.
I want to know where the line is drawn between home and hotel because of the plethora of home networking sites. It seems that many people are willing to open up their homes to strangers. So can we prepare our houses for stranger staying? There are issues of trust, sanitation and privacy to consider. I spoke to a friend’s mother who said she would never have anyone to stay she didn’t know in her house because of,
“Security, obviously you’ve got all your possessions, money and valuable things left around and also you don’t know what their personal habits are, they might not fit in with yours and if they’re going to use your kitchen. Are they clean are they tidy? And using all your facilities I just don’t think it’s a very good idea. And you don’t know what sort of personal sanity they’ve got, they might do some sort of wacky things in the night or something….”
When it comes to opening up their homes I think some people follow quite a ridged hotel business model to give themselves distance from a guest, where as there are plenty of people who are less unconcerned about the condition their house and who stays.
To gain a little more insight I went to look at two very opposing hotels. The first was the Premier Inn, which was as expected, highly standardised with no variety between the rooms and minimal furnishings. Everything is colour coded in their signature white and purple, and the furniture is basic and unadorned. The overall style is no-frills, disinfected; and supplies your basic needs: bed, bathroom, and generously, tea-making facilities.
I undertook a transformation for the second hotel visit from poor student to wealthy, engaged woman. I was given a tour by the hotel’s concierge in a renowned 5 star hotel in Central London of two suites each starting at £1500 a night. Both consisted of a living room, bedroom, walk in wardrobe and bathroom. Each had its own style and signature decoration and some of the furniture was especially created for the rooms. There were fresh white towels, bathrobes, magazines artfully placed on the coffee table (Vogue etc.), soaps, two T.Vs, flowers and butler service. Marbled floored bathrooms, thickly carpeted bedrooms, and carefully chosen paint for the walls with old-fashioned touches such as skirting boards, borders and crown molding. The overall feel was, grandeur, elegance and comfort nonetheless at an inflated cost.
Thus, with a growing culture of home networking or as I will name it ‘Domestic Tourism’ how can the model of a hotel inspire us to adapt our homes for temporariness? I would like to design subtle and economical alterations to modify our homes for someone staying. A lot of what hotels provide is a carefully planned and branded experience, so I want capture this with a third party facilitator to these existing sites.