Amsterdam Tower: A Beacon for the Creative Class
By Jesse MacDougall Creative Director of Strategy and Brand Development, ICRAVE | October 30, 2016
In the last two decades, the boutique hotel revolution has stolen the show and has birthed an abundance of small batch hospitality concepts that have scaled out and fundamentally changed the way hotels look and behave. The Kimptons and W's have blazed the trail for FB&E hotels like the Ace and the Standard. European darlings like Citizen M have dared to dream small by making micro-rooms sexy with unapologetic modernism and vibrant, public spaces. Outliers, like the 21c Museum Hotels, exemplify the sort of programmatic innovation that begs the question - are hotels just hotels anymore?
On top of that, the home-share and swap economy - for better or worse - has redefined hospitality language. A 'receptionist' and 'concierge' have been merged and converted into 'Andy, your local host, avid cyclist, coffee lover, and occasional roommate'.
And further, consumer brands like Restoration Hardware, Equinox, and Virgin are leveraging their brand equity and lifestyle loyalists to command a new retail narrative in the hospitality space. We have yet to see how well those concepts will scale and challenge high-volume hotel brands, but recent hires tell a different story, and at the very least, will affect customer perception.
All of this indicates an evolution of the role a hotel plays - in a city, a neighborhood, or a specific community. Hotels can no longer afford to be homogenized billets where tourists park their luggage as they set out to see the sites. There is no applause for polite, 'contemporary', stain-resistant design. Instead, travelers are drawn to hotels that are destinations unto themselves - hotels that resonate with their preferences and purchasing patterns. Moreover, travelers expect a hotel to respond to its geographic context, participate in its community, and deliver significant offerings and programming that attract locals, and infuse the property with that coveted word: authenticity.
But how? In the following brief, we will look at three tactics that can infuse local relevance and help establish a point of view for a hotel development: Embrace WORK/PLAY Dynamics, Cultivate Local Talent, and Personify the Experience.
These tactics are all exemplified in the A'dam Toren development in Amsterdam, a project I have been involved with for the last three years as the lead designer for the Sir Adam Hotel, which occupies seven of the building's twenty-one floors.