Psychology of spaces  at the 196+ forum Milan

Hospitality & Design take centre stage in the new edition of the 196+ Forum Milan, scheduled for 14 and 15 April 2024, before the Salone del Mobile. Luca Cerretani, managing director and head of Italy at PKF Hospitality Group, reveals the various themes that will be addressed.”We will discuss new hotel concepts,” he says, “the importance of designing a hotel that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, the significance of communal and outdoor spaces, and how to consider and study the psychology of spaces.” The 2024 edition will maintain the event formula. The two-day event includes the Walk & Talk Tours in the afternoon of Sunday 14 April, “two brief tours to visit new hotel openings, new hospitality concepts, showrooms and authentic venues in Milan. Both Walk & Talk Tours will end at the 21 House of Stories Navigli, where there will be a welcome aperitif, a networking opportunity that will take place on one of Milan’s most beautiful new panoramic terraces.” On Monday 15 April, the conference dedicated to architecture and design in the world of hospitality will take place. “From keynote speakers to various panels, we will address different topics, from the importance of functionality in design to the psychology of spaces.”

Hotel Design Awards

The event also includes the Hotel Design Awards. “These awards are given to hotels that opened between October 2022 and April 2024, and stand out most in terms of architecture and design.” For this edition, there are over 40 candidates from 13 different countries (Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the Netherlands). Hotels are selected based on the originality of the hotel concept, architectural quality (both of the building and façade), integration into the surrounding environment, interior design and innovation (planning and construction, design, functionality and technology, as well as related processes, environmental /sustainability).

Design and sustainability: from friction to synergy

According to PKF, the strongest trends in hospitality design aim to create “an experience for guests that starts from the hotel and makes use of all spaces with precise, functional objectives, and with a focus on the revenue generated by each space,” comments the manager. “The trend of outdoor spaces and the integration of nature within the structure continue to play an increasingly important role.” Given that sustainability is becoming increasingly central, it is natural to ask what the point of intersection and friction between design and sustainability is. Cerretani notes that, “as discussed during the 196+ Round Table Italy+ a few weeks ago in Milan, sustainability is no longer a choice but an obligation, and a fixed expectation from the investor to the end guest. The friction seen in the past few years will become an inevitable synergy where design contributes to sustainability and consequently to guest satisfaction.”

The offer will continue to grow in 2024

Meanwhile, 2024 looks promising from the perspective of investments and projects in Italy. “We will see numerous luxury openings in major cities such as Milan, Rome, Florence and Venice.” This is not the only trend to pay attention to. According to the manager, “the most interesting trend we discussed in 2023 is the focus on secondary cities by investors and operators, which we will see from 2024.” Looking at the investment map, Naples is an interesting case where “Radisson, Rocco Forte and W will arrive, opening the market to other international investors and brands. The acquisition of the former Hotel Golden Palace in Turin by REAM SGR is an important operation for a city that still has few accommodation facilities compared to the ever-growing demand,” notes Cerretani. These are just some examples of the numerous operations planned in so-called secondary cities “where we will see significant growth in new offerings in 2024 and 2025, driven by demand from both domestic and international tourists.”

Stefania Vicini

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