2 Design Innovations for the Future-Proof Hotel

2 Design Innovations for the Future-Proof Hotel

Dec 5, 2021

It’s no secret that hotel design has come a long way in just the last few decades – hotels are becoming more than just places to sleep and shower, but full-fledged destinations for relaxation, entertainment, and even health. But what can we do to make them even better? This article explores powerful innovations that will keep our hotels fresh and thriving for years to come.

What Is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design is the increasing trend of designing places for people to feel physically and psychologically comfortable. To achieve biophilic design, it’s important to take into consideration the natural environment that surrounds us, as well as the human body. Furniture should be made with sustainable materials like walnut, bamboo, and cedar. Colors should be chosen based on what Mother Nature provides – greens, browns, blues, etc.

How Does Biophilic Design Work?

Biophilic design reconnects people with nature by bringing natural elements into the interior. For example, it might include installing greenery that provides soothing color and texture to a space. This type of design is already common in hospitals and schools because it has been proven to reduce stress levels, promote creativity, and improve attention spans. This design philosophy is based on the idea that certain materials, shapes, and colors have a positive effect on human health. Biophilic design can be used in many ways, from making spaces more comfortable for guests to increasing employee productivity.

Benefits Of Biophilic Design For The Future

The future is all about designing spaces with an awareness and appreciation of nature and the human organism’s relationship to it. It is a key strategy in providing health and wellness benefits and maximizing productivity. The biophilic design encourages occupants to interact with the space, both physically and mentally, which can lead to higher satisfaction rates, retention, and increased employee productivity.  There are many benefits to incorporating biophilic design in hotels, but one of the most important ones is that it can lower anxiety levels for guests by providing a sense of security and calming their nervous systems. When designing a hotel, it’s important to try to incorporate as many natural materials as possible. This includes things like plants for indoor gardens, objects made from wood or other materials, and natural light sources that will help guests feel more grounded. We’ve written extensively about biophilic design in our previous articles, so if you need more detailed information, you can check them out.

The Future Of Hotel Design

We are living in a world that is constantly changing. The way that people travel has changed drastically in the past two years alone. We have more options than ever before when it comes to booking hotels, and our expectations have risen to meet this new reality. We expect companies to offer green initiatives, access to events happening in the city, quick check-in times, and even personalized customer service. We all know that the hotel industry has been going through a major change. As a result, hotels have had to innovate and design their properties in new ways so they can stay relevant. The need for diversification, sustainability, and personalization are just a few of the many considerations that come into play when designing the next generation of hotels. A new wave of innovation in hospitality has created a new standard for what can be expected from a hotel.  One of the most notable design innovations of the year are hotels that are seemingly living organisms. The new “Palace of Dreams” hotel in Xi’an, China has a facade resembling a dragon’s back. This new form of architecture is seen as an expansion of the ancient Chinese art of landscape painting by using mixed media to create an illusion that not only blends into its surroundings but also moves with them. The future of hotel design is based on three trends: eco-friendly, personalized, and experiential.  And by incorporating biophilic design into your hotel, you are offering your guests all three!  In biophilic design, you will find natural elements throughout your hotel. Some hotels might have a water wall, which allows guests to experience the sound, sight, and touch of water against rock or wood. You might also have a forest-like setting built into your hotel room that offers guests the feeling of being outdoors without leaving them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. This creates a fully immersive biophilic and natural experience that is sustainable and custom-tailored for your hotel, and that is exactly what will make it stand out. 

How Can You Incorporate Biophilic Design Into Your Hotel? 

Biophilia is all about shaping our environments so that they are more in line with what we are naturally drawn to. This includes making the building aesthetically pleasing, incorporating natural elements like plants, and using materials found in nature. Biophilic design is the practice of designing buildings in order to promote an environment that makes people feel better. Making a hotel biophilic is all about finding the right balance between modern design and natural materials. Interior designers will want to incorporate as much greenery as possible, from large plants to small succulents. Make liberal use of lighting that mimics natural daylight. A good color scheme for this kind of design is green, brown, or cream colors with pops of blue and purple. When it comes to furniture, choosing materials that are easily found in nature such as wood, leather and stone is a good way to go. Mixing up textures and using soothing, natural colors will create a peaceful and eclectic ambiance. Live edge furniture is one of the most popular options for this type of design.  As we’ve mentioned, plants are an essential part of biophilic design. There are many innovative ways that will let you invite nature indoors, and living and preserved wall gardens and moss walls are popular choices. 

Why Live Edge Furniture Is A Must

The first and one of our personal favorite design innovations for hotels is live edge furniture. The most common complaint with most hotels is the lack of a “home” feeling. To combat this, designers have come up with ways to create that cozy atmosphere that most people are looking for. One way they’ve been able to do this is by incorporating live edge furniture.  The appeal of this type of furniture is the rustic, rugged look and feel. Live edge furniture can be made from a variety of wood types, but the most common are hardwoods such as cherry, maple, and oak. The natural variations in color and grain make each piece unique from one another. What makes live edge furniture special is the uniqueness of every single piece. Each furniture segment is made from one fallen tree, sustainably sourced, and carefully selected. Our master craftsmen and women shape the wood and with a lot of love and attention to detail ensure they pull the best out of every single piece. Preserving the natural elements, nicks, knots, and texture, they craft the gorgeous live edge tables, shelves, and more.  Live edge furniture has become increasingly popular in many hotels for its novelty and environmental friendliness. It is also a cheaper option because live edge slabs are generally donated or salvaged. Designers can easily customize the pieces to match the hotel’s aesthetic more closely, which makes the furniture feel more like an extension of the space rather than a cheap afterthought. Live edge furniture helps create a sense of natural beauty and warmth. It’s perfect for hotels because it provides an alternative to the typical room design. 

Our Favorite Live Edge Furniture Pieces For Hotels

Introducing the Root & Repose collection by Naturalist. Perfect for hotels and ready to help your guests feel at home while lounging in a lap of luxury. This collection features a mini bar, credenza, and headboard with unique bamboo detailing. Each furniture piece can be personalized to match the style and vibe of your hotel. Made with premium quality materials and preserving the natural textures of the wood, this collection is the epitome of biophilic design. The pieces are made out of copper and sustainably sourced dark wood from Turkey. These one-of-a-kind pieces are designed to last and inspire with their timeless elegance. 

Wall Gardens: A Hotel’s Best Friend

In a world where nature is practically relegated to our backyards, hotels have been looking for new ways to make their spaces feel more fresh and inviting. Some hotels are going for the whole “backyard” thing-like at the Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Southpark Village, located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, which has a lawn and picnic tables with a grill, but others are looking past the greenery to what can grow right on their walls. In order to create an oasis from the concrete jungle, designers are finding ways of bringing nature indoors.  A hotel in Singapore features gorgeous wall gardens, which are vertical gardens that help to conserve water. The plants are located on the outside of the building and require no additional soil or special lights. They use recycled rainwater for irrigation and produce oxygen while reducing carbon emissions. Hotel rooms are usually small and densely used. With the space demands, it can be challenging to have plants inside. This is where walls gardens come in handy. Guests will still enjoy the benefits of greenery without sacrificing precious room space. The Wall Gardens are an exclusive feature of the Park Hyatt Vendome hotel in Paris as well. The walls of this luxurious building are alive with greenery that is nurtured by the water runoff from showers and sinks. As they grow, these plants clean the air, recycle water, and provide insulation.  This is a great way to make guests feel at home while also keeping the environment healthy.  It’s also a wonderful opportunity for hotels to create their own fresh produce gardens on-site! Plant-covered walls have been a popular feature of a variety of building surfaces in recent years. Not only do these walls look beautiful, but they also provide a wide range of benefits for the environment and the people who live there. The plants help to control indoor air pollution by emitting chemicals that break down formaldehyde and benzene from furniture, carpets, paint, cleaning products, and other sources.

Our Favorite Wall Garden Designs For Hotels

Following is one of our favorite hotel projects. Our team designed and installed beautiful wall gardens for the Andaz Wellness Suites. In accordance with the biophilic design principles and trends, we created a beautiful piece that now graces the hotel walls and helps their guests relax and enjoy a peaceful and calm atmosphere. We selected Flat Moss, Bun Moss, Reindeer Moss, and Provance Moss for this installation counting on the beautiful colors and texture varieties to provide a magnificent wall garden. We were thrilled with the result and the owners were thrilled with the fact that our preserved wall garden doesn’t require any additional maintenance. They are good to go without any soil, irrigation, or direct sunlight and they will remain green and vibrant for up to five years! 
Another special project we had the opportunity to work on was the Fire Island Beach Hotel. For this gorgeous hotel, we created a stunning moss wall with a logo. We used Pittosporum, Hedera, Flat Moss, and Bun Moss along with some foliage and a preserved palm tree to create a beautiful and lively environment. Combining bright colors and mossy textures proved to be a hit and our final result was a true work of art. The Fire Island Hotel Logo resting on a bed of moss and basking in the rays of sunlight made out of preserved plants added a breath of fresh air to this space.


As the world continues to change, hotels will need to do the same to stay relevant. Future-proof hotels that are designed with these innovations will be able to anticipate and prepare for the changes needed in the next ten years. And Naturalist is here to help. Our team is at your disposal and ready to make your hotel a modern biophilic masterpiece. Browse our website for more inspiration and to get acquainted with our biophilic design furniture and wall gardens and when you’re ready give us a call or stop by our showroom in Manhattan and we’ll get started on your project!