November 7, 2019

Trends Influenced by the Hospitality Sector

The Lounge Evolution – Leisure Space Within Malls 

Initially designed as large commercial spaces for showcasing shops, malls were once equipped only with minimal, uncomfortable seating; mostly within traditional food-courts full of standard F&B chains and non-atmospheric spaces.

This was just enough to encourage shoppers to dwell where they could feel forced to spend money on a meal or drink in exchange for sitting down.

Now, mall designers are introducing ample, comfortable lounges and hip new ‘food hall’ concepts, offering a much wider variety of eating and dining experiences within vastly improved aesthetic surroundings, leading to a much more relaxed environment where people just want to hang out.

The repurposing of formerly un-colonised or ‘dead’ areas of malls into spaces for interactive, cultural, work and social activities has given shopping malls a new lease of life.


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Instagram photo (reproduced with permission) of lounge design at The Hoxton, Williamsburg; a new beautiful hotel in NYC. 

The Lounge Evolution – Flexibility and Connectivity 

The demand for adaptable lounge spaces in malls is seeing a burgeoning growth in modular, moveable, shareable furniture, inspired by the current co-working trend which has been a runaway success almost everywhere. Rentable co-working spaces are now being integrated into the mall mix, and the type of furniture being used helps to create blended spaces that encourage socialisation as well as collaboration.

Technology as a means of personalisation is also high on the agenda for most large retailers, bringing the opportunity to add a touch of luxury to the customer experience. For example: customers no longer need to queue at the mall cafeteria when drinks and snacks can be ordered via a phone app. It pays to remember that people feel much better about spending when they don’t feel as if they’re being forced to.


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Instagram photo (reproduced with permission) of  an inspiring workspace design at Uncommon, Liverpool Street 

The Green Revolution in Shopping Malls – The Greener the Better 

Hospitality and commercial space designers are increasingly keen to prove their green credentials by incorporating sustainable, eco-friendly practices into their designs. The aim is to connect customers to a place’s local culture and history by using locally sourced, recycled and organic materials; handcrafted items and repurposed furniture in innovative and exciting ways.

Biophilic design connects humans with the natural world and helps improve feelings of wellbeing by counteracting the negative effects of artificial environments. Integrating elements such as water, greenery, wood and natural lighting into internal spaces helps purify the air and reduce pollution, as well as being easy on the eye; all of which is scientifically proven to improve people’s mental and physical health. The result is that we feel more relaxed. The more relaxed we feel in a place and the more associated memories with the natural world we have, the more likely we are to visit it again and dwell there for longer. Shopping malls are now starting to take this into consideration.

Storytelling Within Mall Design 

Nowadays, people are looking for a scenery shift towards more whimsical, experiential environments driven by storytelling, offering novelty and surprise to engage them in a more immersive way. Hotels have recently seen a trend for replacing high-contrast graphics with sensory-soothing natural elements and textures, ranging from soft, lush fabrics to highly textured surfaces.

In response, designers of mall and retail interiors are introducing more visually stimulating features to draw people in, combining these with natural materials, cool and warm tones intermingled and luxury-style experiences to help customers feel pampered and individually catered to.

Urban Personality in Mall Design – Trends Influenced by the Hospitality Sector 

Urban personality is about bringing exterior materials and street art indoors as part of a mall’s interior design, in ways that positively reflect the people and local environment it serves.

We’ve already seen this trend applied to hotel interiors, where historic site content is used to create memorable experiences with a sense of place and added authenticity.

The industrial aesthetic is an example of urban influence from a period when old warehouses first began to be repurposed and refurbished as hotels or restaurants but has since become a hackneyed style-trend that’s too often rolled out across hotels, restaurants and food-courts with too little thought for or relevance to a place’s existing surroundings or potential clientele.

Thankfully, interior designers now recognise the fact that urban environments can be as varied and unique as their inhabitants, and an exciting new period in mall design is on the rise…


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Instagram photo (reproduced with permission) of ‘Please Be Seated’ which is an exciting landmark project designed by Paul Cocksedge, supported by British Land plc at LDF19 this year