April 15, 2010 // Franchising.com // Milan, Italy – As a reflection of design leadership and innovation, W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster, today announced a partnership with Design Miami/ Basel, the most prominent and substantive forum for international design. This new alliance kicked off this morning at Salone del Mobile in Milan, where Design Miami/ Basel announced its annual Designers of the Future Award, which is now known for the first time as the "W Hotels Designers of the Future Award." The renowned Award, launched by Design Miami/ Basel in 2006, recognizes young, emerging designers whose work reflects exceptional innovation and beauty in limited-edition design. It is the perfect pairing for W, whose history is rooted in innovative design and who is dedicated to searching and showcasing what's new and next in design. With the support of W Hotels, Design Miami/Basel is able to expand the benefits the Award brings to the winners' works, which will now live on after the fair in various W Hotels globally.
"Design is at the core of W Hotels and is a source of innovation that has and will continue to set us apart from other brands," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader of W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "We are very excited to partner with Design Miami/Basel to work together in identifying and collaborating with rising stars in design. Salone del Mobile, where the best of the best – including some of W's notable design partners – gather to exchange and celebrate new design ideas, is the perfect setting to announce this all."
The 2010 "W Hotels Designers of the Future Award" looks beyond pure product and furniture design to embrace work that is even more conceptually and technologically vanguard, bridging multiple areas of practice, including art, sociology, science and experiential design. The 2010 Award winners include: Berlin-based studio Beta Tank; British artist Graham Hudson; London and Berlin-based studio rAndom International; and American post-industrial design studio Zigelbaum Coelho. The selection committee was comprised of Ambra Medda, Director, and Wava Carpenter, Associate Director, Design Miami/; Marcus Fairs, Editor-in-Chief, Dezeen.com; and Mike Tiedy, SVP, Global Brand Design & Innovation, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, W's parent company.
"We are tremendously pleased to welcome W Hotels into the Design Miami/ community of exceptional brands and partners," said Design Miami/ Principal Craig Robins. He adds, "Design Miami/ and W Hotels share a common respect for quality and innovation, and together we will be able to grow the scope and prestige of the Designers of the Future Award."
When W opened its first hotel in New York in 1998, it created a new era of hotel design and established itself as the clear leader in the contemporary lifestyle hotel space. Every W Hotel demonstrates a passion for cutting-edge design, rooted in its location and interpreted in a contemporary cool way that is brought to life through unique collaborations with upcoming as well as renowned third party and in-house designers. From the Ottoman-referenced glam of W Istanbul to the design inspired by the dual personality of the British man at the upcoming W London - Leicester Square (Fall 2010), each new W Hotel begins with a design philosophy formed by Starwood's in-house design team and is then fueled and delivered by a unique collaboration between the designers, architects, graphic designers, and W's Global Fashion and Music Directors.
W's rapid and unrivaled global growth brings opportunities for new design partnerships with established as well as upcoming designers. For W St. Petersburg, which will mark the debut of W Hotels in Russia when it opens this Fall, W has partnered with acclaimed architects and designers Antonio Citterio & Partners to blend contemporary style with Russia's elegant traditions, while the innovative and award-winning Dutch design firm Concrete has created a design that parallels the personas of the English at work and at play for the soon-to-open W London – Leicester Square. W's first hotel in Paris, W Paris - Opera will debut in early 2011 with interiors by Rockwell Group Europe (RGe). Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director of RGe, the Madrid satellite office of New York's Rockwell Group founded by David Rockwell, is leading the design, which takes its inspiration from Paris, the City of Light, combined with the energy of New York, where W was born.
These new hotels will join W's already prestigious European and Middle Eastern portfolio, which includes W Istanbul by architect/designer Geomim and W Doha Hotel & Residences, which merges traditional Arabian imagery with W's signature contemporary cool, by London-based United Designers. W's European flagship and first hotel in Western Europe, W Barcelona, was designed by Ricardo Bofill in the shape of a giant sail and has already become a modern day landmark of the Barcelona design-scape.
Rounding out W's roster of current designer partners are Clodagh (W Fort Lauderdale); Tony Chi (W Santiago); Glamorous Corp. and g+a (W Hong Kong); Graft (W New York - Downtown); Yabu Pushelberg (W New York - Times Square renovation); Thom Filicia (W Atlanta – Buckhead and W San Diego and W Los Angeles - Westwood renovations); Patricia Uriquola (W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island); and Patrick Jouin (W's experimental Extreme WOW Suite of the Future installation).
W Hotels is an innovative, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 37 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand's sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, stylish retail concepts and signature spas. With more than 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to more than double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for Downtown New York, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Bali, Koh Samui, and Verbier, among other international destinations.
Design Miami/Basel is the most prominent and substantive forum for international design, representing a convergence of commerce and culture. Its annual shows in Basel, Switzerland (June) and Miami, USA (December) bring together the most influential designers, collectors, dealers, curators and critics from around the world.