Whenever I eat in a new place I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Hotels and restaurants are constantly trying to stay ahead of the game, so change is everywhere- in menus, in decoration and even in crockery and tableware. If an idea is good it will soon find its way up north to one of my hotels. But its amazing how often designers who are trying to make something which is different, which stands out, forget about or ignore the fundamental principal of functionality.
I saw two prime examples of this this weekend. The first was in the new Boundary Hotel, in Shoreditch, designed by Conran. The hotel is in a former factory or warehouse, with large full length windows on every floor. Some of the corner rooms have six of these windows, which looked stunning with white walls and white blinds. I asked the Manager if the blinds were black-out blinds. “No”, she replied, “and this does cause quite a few problems”. I’m not surprised. The purpose of a curtain or blind in a hotel bedroom is to exclude the light and blinds which look good but which leave the customer in full light at four o’clock on a summer’s morning are not fit for purpose. Bad design, Conran.
The second example is the tea strainer pictured here. This ludicrous object has only three drainage holes, so that it takes time to drain and invariably spills tea over the table when it is removed from the cup. One new design which will definitely not be making its way up north.