August 3, 2020

Beyond COVID: Hospitality for a New World

In late April, NEWH – the Hospitality Industry Network – put out a call for submissions to their TopID firms. The ask? Contemplate the future of architecture and interior design and create conceptual submissions for potential inclusion in BEYOND – a special edition of NEWH Magazine. The competition covered 11 different hospitality categories, including guestrooms, conference center, and more. Below, our winning submission in the Hotel Public Spaces category.


Over the last several months our lives have been turned upside down … and inside out. For many of us, this time has also established a renewed appreciation for the outdoors. An outdoor stroll, a nice book on a grassy knoll, a place where this crisis is out of mind.

With this concept, we take the prototypical hotel and turn it upside down … and inside out.

JFK danger and opportunityThe hotel as we know it is turned upside down, putting the lobby on the top floor. We blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors, effectively turning it inside out. As they arrive, guests are drawn to glass elevators accessible on the building’s exterior. From here, they are transported directly to a lush, rooftop garden. This is your newly conceived lobby, your safe arrival, your smile moment. This garden space reimagines the hotel lobby as a natural, safe sanctuary of greenery. Of course, you can check in and access food and drinks without human contact if you wish, but the experience is not about technology (it’s there, just invisible), it’s about a blend of distinct, inviting pockets of activity.

The garden progresses from public to private spaces as you move away from the sheltered lobby. Vegetables and herbs are grown on-site for the kitchen and guest consumption. Looking for the bar? It’s in the garden, complete with voice-activated cocktail dispensers.

post-COVID hotel rootop lobby

The lobby itself reinforces connection to outdoors. Glass walls disappear, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor space. The indoor lobby is a glass house, with panoramic views from an eyrie perspective. The use of natural materials makes the space warm and authentic, with a changing palette throughout the year as the garden goes through its natural cycle.

post-COVID hotel garden

With the lobby, registration, and food and beverage relocated, the ground floor is freed up to provide garden guestrooms with lush, outdoor terraces. These rooms are accessed directly from the sidewalk via keycard.

This upside down, inside out, concept gives guests a chance to feel connected to the natural world, regain a sense of serenity, and take a breath of fresh air.


Visit NEWH to see all of the finalist concepts.

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