Boutique Design - July/August 2018 - 12
BD ON THE ROAD: LONDON
There's no business like show business-except for hotels. Landis
Smithers, The Standard Intl.'s (New York) recently appointed chief
creative officer, has a knack for the unconventional. Speaking at
Stylus' Decoded London event on June 26, he mapped out how his
flair for disruptive brand evolution honed at Grindr, Pepsi and
Playboy is transforming the very notion of what hotels can be. "At
this group, we think of ourselves as a stage, not a hotel," said
Smithers. "We program performances of art, fashion, music and
activism, not events. We're not a brand; we're a culture."
Smithers' expertise in aligning product, context and experience
into one cohesive story is reshaping The Standard's platform. While
specifics are confidential for its first international property opening
February 2019 at London's Kings Cross, no one's expecting beige
guestrooms or a white lobby. These spaces will feature the "design
language" the Standard team has developed in collaboration with
designer, Sean Hausman. He defines that as a code for consistency
that will be expressed in new ways across all properties-although
each hotel will remain unique.
"Think movie set rather than legacy strictures, with freestanding,
individual experiences," he said. So, what does that mean? Without
divulging details, he hinted that modernism, Brutalist aesthetics and
dramatic arrival spaces would be key terms in The Standard's design
lexicon. Complementing those efforts, Angela Dimayuga, creative
director of food and culture, is reimagining all of the group's F&B venues
in the context of distinctive cultural, culinary and visual influences.
Smithers contended that compelling, experimental collaborations with brands that share similar psychographics encourage
synchronicity between design, experience and emotion. Lord Jones
will open the first hotel cannabis dispensary in the U.S. at The Standard Hollywood, featuring the LA-based company's signature "chic
weed" edibles and lotions. (The two companies are also collaborating on an exclusive cobranded line of cannabidiol (CBD) products.) Prune Nourry's poignant sculpture "Amazon" was displayed at
The Standard High Line's plaza in New York as part of The Standard's
ongoing commitment to supporting women in the arts. In August,
the company's private retail label launches with quarterly drops
from design influencers.
The Standard has big plans, with two further international properties soon to be announced for a total of eight hotels and, according
to Smithers, "a presence everywhere in five to seven years." His vision
for next-generation hotels is "machines for living;" fun performance
stages where guests create their own worlds. "Everyone's finding
their own way of being creative. It's important to be able to express
your point of view."
He predicts narratives of extreme culture will accelerate how
people approach the unknown, while LGBT rights are advancing
gender-fluid roles and inclusivity. On the horizon is the rise of the
individual over mass crowdsourcing. It takes discretion to know
what brings value versus steering the ship the wrong way. "Being
disruptive is not a formula, it's an art," he said.
boutiquedesign.com july + august 2018
By AliciA SheBer