EVERY DECEMBER, Boutique Design editor Matthew Hall turns over his editor’s page to me to welcome you to our special issue featuring the year’s winners and finalists of the IHM+RS Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design. Co-sponsored by Boutique Design and HOTELS magazines, this 34-year-old honor recognizes the best design work submitted in 19 categories as well as the Designer of the Year.
So, what’s required to be among the firms that get to take home one of the glittering star awards created by Swarovski for the Gold Key winners? This year’s nine-member judging panel had some definite ideas on that subject. They liked projects that were provocative, even polarizing. For judge R. Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner, MCR Development, like his fellow panelists, the words “been done” instantly knocked an entry out of contention. His favorites were “clever,” “unique” and/or “truly innovative.”
As judge John D. McMullen, Highgate Hotels’ senior vice president of construction, pointed out, hospitality clients
are looking for designers with fresh ideas that will differentiate their properties. Conceptually, anything’s on the table—with a couple of big caveats…