A bold new vision for an African hotel
Posted: 07 August 2017
For 100% Design South Africa 2017, Source Interior Brand Architects (Source IBA) has set out to envision a contemporary African hotel in partnership with House and Leisure. The 100% Hotel installation will explore the typologies, textures and material technologies that typify our continent, distilling a unique concept that Source IBA calls the Afrotel. Repeated geometric patterns, bold shapes and layered textures are some of the quintessential African elements that have inspired international design movements. With the Afrotel, Source IBA seeks to revive pride within the African hospitality market. We chat to creative director Mardre Meyer about some of this thinking. What is the concept of Afrotel? As African designers working mostly in Africa, we have always used this vibrant continent as an endless sourcebook of great inspiration, creative direction and cultural sensitivity. We passionately believe that this vibrant space deserves its own hospitality directions. This particular stand is really just that starting point of a much larger Afrotel concept. What are the key factors being used in Afrotel? For the larger hotel rationale, we look at five key elements: locale, resources, skills, culture and offering. For this particular stand, we created an environment that could be a hotel bedroom on an urban edge, blurring the lines between business hotel and resort. Any particular materials or design styles being used? The materials selection is fairly conservative, as we need to look at what would be reasonably available and maintainable in various locations. As a style direction, most elements are freestanding items as an ode to Africa’s reputation for eclecticism and also to facilitate easier installation programmes. How is accommodation different in Africa compared to the rest of the world? Currently it is not. But it should be, as travellers in Africa have very specific needs. For example, internationally there is a focus on ‘limited service’ or ‘self-service’ hotels. In Africa, we prefer people. International business hotels rely on developed urban settings with great facilities all round; African cities are still developing, so the hotel needs to provide a greater array of services. Why is it important to relook at design when it comes to the hotel industry in Africa and how does your stand do this? There are both intellectual and some very practical reasons for this. As an ideology, developments become part of their communities far better when they are built on the foundations of that locale and become a celebration of their setting. On a practical level, Africa is developing at a rapid rate but still has infrastructure challenges. The opportunity is to develop hospitality models that are far more responsible and pro-active in handling resources.
For more unmissable happenings at 100% Design South Africa 2017, read our highlights here.