Since Sleep & Eat’s conception 15 years ago, the Sleep and Eat Sets have become a truly beloved trademark of the event. Created each year by a different cohort of talented designers, Sleep & Eat’s hallowed show halls have witnessed the full spectrum of design innovation; from West Ham inspired concept rooms, to big-brand collaborations with national crown jewels such as The Natural History Museum.
As the Sleep & Eat team gear up to unveil how these perennial favourites will be presented virtually for the first time in the show’s history, we’re looking back at some of the Sleep & Eat Set masterpieces that have dazzled us through the ages. Which is your favourite?
Twenty2Degrees – Guestroom
At last year’s show, London design agency Twenty2Degrees wowed visitors with a guestroom set exploding with colour, energy and vitality. Sporting the tagline ‘Dance, Sleep, Work, Play’, the vibrant hotel guestroom offered a flexible space for the social; a haven to accommodate the requirements and moods of any guest.
Throughout the room, guests can expect to stumble upon hidden delights aplenty. Venture to the corner cupboard to find an indulgent selection of books and alcoholic beverages, or slide out the hidden drawer beneath the television to reveal a personal electric guitar and DJ decks. In the designer's words: 'Distorted riffs softened with plush fabrics, warm timbers set against a vibrant zing, a hotel room that’s more than one thing'.
>> See more of Twenty2Degrees recent hospitality projects
Miaja Design Group – Guestroom
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. In response, Miaja Design Group created a room at Sleep & Eat 2019 which challenged the common belief that social interaction is impaired due to the technological devices that openly or insidiously invade our lives.
Miaja’s guest room encouraged people to gather and share experiences that cross the boundaries between Dream and Reality. Conjuring the experience of a picnic in the forest, the guestroom’s carpets were designed to look like sand, and headsets playing Isabelle Miaja’s own spoken poetry were offered to visitors seated in circular gatherings on raised plinths. Though guests encountered technology at every step, Miaja’s design invoked a feeling of togetherness and connectivity throughout.
>> See more of Miaja Design Group’s recent hospitality projects
NAME Architecture – Restaurant Concept
Also at last year’s show, NAME Architecture, a global practice with expertise in maximising the architectural potential of spaces, created a restaurant concept allowing guests to personalise spatial interactions in order to satisfy a variety of social requests. In their concept, a continuous plane – the table - is the new plane for social interaction. Guests were able to choose to activate the social experience of their choice according to where they were sitting on the table.
>> Discover NAME Architecture’s new socially distanced restaurant concept
3Stories – Anticaff
In 2018, 3Stories created a striking yellow set that claimed to rethink what a traditional British Cafe is, and what it means today if you take away the food and drink. The London-based designers described their ‘Anticaff’ as ‘a communal, abstract space for everyone. A space to socialise and be sociable without relying on social media.’
In shades of yellow and looking much like a cinematographic set, it tempted visitors to stop and stay, to contemplate the playful interpretation of the traditional concept of the British caff, or simply to get lost in the mind-bending effects of the mirrored ball above the table.
>> See more of 3Stories recent hospitality projects
Denton Corker Marshall - West Ham Concept Room
In collaboration with West Ham United, Denton Corker Marshall devised a new concept hotel room for Sleep & Eat 2018.
West Ham are a community, deeply entrenched in history and ritual. A group of unique individuals unified by moments in time and memories. It was this sense of collective and personal memory that Denton Corker Marshall wanted to evoke as part of their concept room, to enable a guest to get a glimpse into what it means to be a West Ham fan.
Their West Ham concept room was created from two main spaces, one to reflect the collective, group experience associated with football matches and a second to create a more personal individual experience. Central to the space was a thought-provoking memory installation, where slightly illuminated translucent curtains surrounded a collection of personal stories and memories collected from West Ham fans. The colour of West Ham, a deep claret, was used throughout, creating an intense backdrop for the concept room.
>> Learn more about the creative concept behind the Set
HBA x National History Museum - Guestroom
Also at 2018’s show, international hospitality design firm, HBA, were given the opportunity to develop a guestroom concept for a brand whose story had never been told within the hotel design space before; the Natural History Museum. A well-known and much-loved brand which each year attracts thousands of visitors.
Directed by then-Creative Director, Constantina Tsoutsikou, the HBA built their Sleep Set around the notions of travel, discovery and collections, creating a profile of a collector and designing “their room”. Just as the museum was conceived in the spirit of sharing findings from the natural world with a public eager to discover them, the concept for the HBA’s room was accessible and layered with discoveries. A dynamic space for the naturally curious mind, the road warrior and the trailblazer.
The Romanesque architecture of the Natural History Museum building was itself an inspiration. Patterns from the natural world and ornamental motifs found within the building’s awe-inspiring architecture were translated into bespoke engravings on fittings within the Sleep Set. Classic materials such as natural woods, grass wallpaper and linens, which might have been found in Darwin’s camp room, were used throughout. The HBA designers also injected the palette with new, high-tech materials that have strong environmental credentials – an aspect that is particularly important to us in our 21st Century understanding of conserving the world’s resources.
Bespoke bedside tables were decorated with educational books and unique gemstones. Each drawer of the bedside tables had wooden dividers containing different kinds of preserved animals borrowed from the Natural History Museum.
>> Read Constantina Tsoutsikou’s 7 Tips for Sustaining Your Hospitality Design Business in Uncertain Times
For 2016’s show, the designers each created a room for a global ‘tribe’ characterised by their shared values, lifestyles and aesthetic preferences. Designing for the status-conscious and well-to-do ‘Established tribe’, Mitsui Designtec created a guestroom replete with beautiful features and materials, but it was the experience of engaging with all the senses which offered what this group most wants. Something beyond that which money can buy.
Spatial boundaries were deliberately blurred between indoors and out, and within the room itself, lighting was soft and calming. A large soaking tub took centre stage and an amenity closet, or “Five Senses Library”, provided for every guest’s sensory gratification.
Designing for Intellectuals, a tribe of culture-seekers and critical thinkers, Singapore-based WOW Architects created a space in which guests can make the most of the luxury of time. This was a room where design norms were overturned to pose the question: “Which is your preferred reality?” The bathtub was the focus of the room - a place for contemplation and recharging – the desk was reinterpreted as a cosy window-side seating area, the W.C. became a library and a living wall and fish tank brought the natural world inside. The bed was placed on the ceiling, yet seen through a concave wall mirror, it reverted to being on the floor.
Designing for experience-driven individuals who reject traditional social conventions, the London office of Aukett Swanke created a completely immersive environment for the Sensation Oriented tribe – people who rarely stay in hotels, prefer to travel in groups and want to escape into event-based experiences.
The designers conceived the room as a ‘bivouac’, a temporary dwelling, and drew on ideas of landscape and topography to consider how people adapt these for their social purpose - with shapes, textures and colour palette defining gathering and personal spaces within. While the room was a complete internal environment, this was a design that naturally lends itself to larger temporary settlements.
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