A conceptual hotel room explores one of the major issues of our times: is technology taking over?
World-renowned French Interior Designer Isabelle Miaja has unveiled another innovative hospitality design in London. Singapore based firm MIAJA Design Group – internationally recognised for unique and distinctive luxury hotel designs such as LUX* North Male Atoll Maldives and So Sofitel Singapore – showcased their Nature & Asian Philosophy inspired guestroom set at Hospitality Conference Sleep & Eat 2019. The final set presented at the Olympia London showcases a luxurious hotel room with a conservationist ethos, featuring a series of customised Art & Design elements by Isabelle Miaja and carefully selected partners from all over the world.
The project brief was to explore one of the major issues today; the connection – and disconnection with other human beings as a result of the technology driven world we live in. Sociologists are raising concerned questions about the fact that people spend less time together physically and warning that technology is creating a parallel world distancing us from our humanity. Taking on the theme of “Social FlexAbility” MIAJA Design Group was challenged to design a flexible and engaging space where guests can activate the social experience of their choice.
MIAJA Design Group presents a room that gives wings to human relationships; ELEVATION makes peace with technology and indeed, fully embraces it, accepting that in years to come, it will become an even bigger part of the fabric of our society. The design explores positive aspects of technology; weaving natural materials and unique craftsmanship into this conceptual room.
ELEVATION Design Philosophy
ELEVATION is an artistic approach to design that explores what it means to be ‘elevated’ into different states of self-reflection, awareness and meditation, by creating a retreat that will encourage people to gather and share meaningful experiences, bringing elements of nature – the forest, water and fire – indoors. It also explores today’s concept of Transhumanism, a movement started in the sixties as an international philosophical movement of advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.
MIAJA Design Group’s Asian signature can be seen in the plush interiors of the room, with a free-flow space that follows feng shui philosophy and featuring eco-friendly natural finishes. “A bedroom, in essence, is designed to be a place of rest, away from the hustle & bustle of a life that has so much disruption and noise that we seldom find peace to regroup and relax. Our task was to create a space that invites gathering and human intercommunication as a way to counteract the sense of distancing technology in our lives. The notion that technology is a hindrance to human relationships, and a room full of gadgets furthers loneliness, is widely discussed. Technology is being accused of impeding closeness and real exchange between people. Our design gives the answer by creating a room that is both congenial yet allows the guest a sense of personal freedom to do what makes them happy" explains Isabelle Miaja.
A Unique Design Signature
Isabelle Miaja’s signature is to create unique art piece collections, giving a distinctive identity to each project. These personalised pieces become an intrinsic element of the final vision, adding a stamp of artistic authenticity. Based in Singapore for 25 years, MIAJA Design Group is also influenced by Asian design style, aesthetic and philosophy. ELEVATION pushes the boundaries of design with an open plan nature inspired ‘beach deco’ room that allows the visitor space to free their mind and enter into a dream-like state of wellbeing. Specially commissioned numbered pieces within ELEVATION include a tent suspended from the ceiling – a collaboration with eco-friendly brand Tentsile. The furniture is designed by SNS Group and conceptualised by Isabelle Miaja, pieces include the ‘Picnic’ Armoire, ‘Log’ Campfire Stools, ‘Invisible’ Console and ‘Marquetry Forest Wall’.
‘Phi’ – a Glass Art culpture Inspired by Italian Mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci’s The Golden Ratio’ is also a custom piece (1 of 8) by Lasvit & Isabelle Miaja. – exclusively on display during the two-day event. The spiral of hand-blown bubbles is swirling down portraying the exact shape of the Fibonacci sequence, which is strongly related to the Golden ratio. The glass bubbles visually resembling pearls and the swirl ends just above a basin created out of a giant clamshell.
Nature inspired elements include the180,000 year old ‘Tridacna Gigantea’ Fossilised Clamshell from Kenya restored by Marine Biologist Volker Bassen and a ‘bendable marble’ wall custom made for the installation by stone specialists MM Galleri. This manufacturer has created a new technique that cuts marble and other types of natural stone into super thin and pliable layers that measure 2-3 mm in thickness, without breaking the material, and allowing it to be bent. They also believe in sustainability; by cutting of the marble so thin, they can achieve beautiful designs with less material, therefore contributing to the effort to use less of our natural resources. The use of marble and shell in the design takes us back to a time when mother nature was being formed. Both use technology together with human craftsmanship to unearth natural wonders, reminding us how essential one is to the other.
Work by Fine-Art Photographer and Conservationist Adrian Houston is also part of the design. Increasingly concerned that so many of our indigenous trees are being affected by disease and global warming, Adrian Houston decided to embark on an ambitious project that would give trees a voice. “A Portrait of the Tree was conceived as a way of illustrating how trees connect us all on a universal level. The stories behind the chosen subjects are as important as the images themselves. Together they offer a powerful tool to help educate people, from children through to adults, about the vital role that trees play in all of our lives. After all, if there were no trees on the planet, we wouldn’t be here either.” Adrian Houston started questioning friends and public figures such as Richard Branson, actress Goldie Hawn, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Tony Kirkham, (Head of Arboretum at Kew Gardens) about their favourite tree – before embarking on a journey to photograph and capture the unique beauty of trees worldwide. ‘A Portrait of a Tree’ Artwork seamlessly becomes part of the essence of the room, another beautiful reflection of nature, captured by the camera’s lens.
The experiential room design invites the hotel guest to enter into an atmosphere of inner-reflection, people-connectivity and relax amongst elements of nature, as they sit around the ‘world’s most realistic electric flame and smoke effect campfire’ by Dimplex, guests can listen to an audio of ELEVATION Poem* by Isabelle Miaja with Bang & Olufsen Argilla Bright H9 headphones, entering a state of meditative contemplation with the best in sound technology. Charming outdoor living lifestyle details to be seen are hand-painted porcelain plates by Veronique Joly-Corbin, customised for the installation and featuring the words and imagery of ELEVATION Poem. The Leather Art Sculptures, Leather Stools, Coffee Machines, Tray, Thermos, Leather Mirrors and Log Racks by Italian Designer GIOBAGNARA and the Picnic Trolley by Madame de Victorine add an Art-Deco vibe. Designer wallpaper by Masureel add an element of luxury, contrasted by ‘Hand Tufted Carpet’ by Rugged, and Wall coverings by Durafit Floors.
As Isabelle Miaja concludes, harmony and balance are the key to her design: “ELEVATION is my answer. The beauty of a room created to instil peace; with careful attention to the materials used, to make it feel like a retreat. I believe that materials have their own vibration and a careful balance is what gives the room that instinctive “feel good” sensation from the moment you enter. Nothing is to stand out and call special attention that distracts from the overall design. Also true in nature; when something is out of place, the whole experience is marred. Like everything in the world that is beautiful, the secret is in its harmony. It took me a while to find my own path between the pros and cons of how the evils of technology are somehow counter-balanced by the benefits and possibilities it brings. Without technology, we would certainly miss out on many wonderful experiences.”
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.