Safemark was proud to be included as safe supplier to the Hi Connect show in Nashville, Tennessee, a unique show organised by Hotel Interactive with built out fully constructed vignettes created by the vision of leading hospitality designers, architects and purchasing professionals. And those who attended got to step into actual guest rooms and see products in the context in which they belong; in a real hotel environment.
During the show in Nashville I spoke with the team from FODA Design: award winning Principal Jennifer Kleen and interior designer Jeremy Jones. For more than 15 years, FODA has designed some of the world’s leading spas and resorts and have developed excellent relationships with the hospitality industry’s leading operators, consultants, and developers. With a focus on the luxury market they pride themselves on bringing a sense of place to their work and using materials in new and innovative ways.
I was glad to hear that business is growing for them, mostly in Central and South America but lately in the last six months or so they have seen a rise in domestic projects. We supplied our EN5.3 Executive 17” laptop compatible safe for their vignette, which was one of the most popular stands at the show.
Here’s some of the feedback they gave me.
How did you get involved with Hi Connect?
We received a call from Jay Viola from Hotel Interactive. He called us because we were on his list as we visited the year before. He had checked up on who we were and our work he asked if we would be interested in participating this year. We said we would think about it, and then we said yes! And we’re glad we did because this has been a tremendous experience for us.
How long has that process been? When did you start all of this?
The call from Jay came in September 2012 and we hit the ground running at that point because we knew it would be a complicated process to get the team involved to get a good solid concept and also to spend the time, love and energy that we have done to make the concept come to fruition.
Talk to me about your interaction with the vendors. Did you choose your own vendors or were you given them by the organisers?
It’s been a mix. We found a lot of our own vendors. We ran into a few stumbling blocks with some of them and we went back to HI Connect and asked if they had anyone else we could use. We also had a purchasing agent involved but 80 per cent of the vendors came from us.
We included some vendors that we had never worked with in any way before through HI Connect - there were a couple of holes but HI Connect helped us to fill some of those. HI Connect also introduced us to some of their global sponsors for this event such as Panasonic as well as Safemark of course.
So you have a mix of familiar vendors and new suppliers as well. That’s good as it creates many more interactions and possibilities. We try and talk to designers to find out what their thought process is about where the safe is going to go so that it is in a good spot for the guest. As designers, what’s that process with you when thinking about the safe and your selection of case goods?
This particular room is slightly different from our normal design as we had a choice to put in a closet with a safe as opposed to an armoire because this room is all about making everything efficient in one area. We have a sleeping zone and a living zone so the guest can concentrate on those experiences rather than on some of the more functional things such as storage and ironing that normally in a residential situation would be in a separate room altogether. We wanted to keep the safe off the floor and as high as we could get it as we didn’t want guests to have to go down on their knees to put in their belongings. That was just one of the many ergonomic considerations that we looked at for this room.
When it comes to including the functional items we need to have a safe, we need to have a mini-bar, and we need to have closet space with ironing board and iron. It’s always a lot nicer to have a specific functional area planned out to make the rest of the space more luxurious. And that is what we try to strive for because that is the market we know and enjoy. Putting all those details together for a luxury guestroom is a lot more challenging.
How has the show been and how have people responded?
It’s been great and very supportive. It’s been exciting to watch people get excited about your design and being able to talk people through it. It’s been well received with many saying they want to stay in the room literally.
We have had people come in and ask if our furniture was for sale and a lot saying that we are their favourite booth and that they really love the details of the design.
Would you do it again?
Yes, if what happens is going to happen and if we get business out of this. If we even get one or two projects then definitely we will do it again.
From the standpoint of manpower and the standpoint of getting to see a vision form, or a dream if you like, come to fruition that is something that we would definitely like to go through again. It will probably come down to timing and the amount of projects in the office. It’s been a wonderful experience in that we can act like a client. We like that. And thank you for donating your Safemark safe!
Throughout the HI Connect event all participants were invited to vote for their favourites in a number of different categories. FODA Design’s vignette – Upscale Guestroom – was voted People’s Choice Award, Best Guestroom! Safemark congratulates the team at FODA for this outstanding achievement.
Tel: (404) 501.0471
Jennifer Kleen, Principle