Ritu Bhatia Kler, Managing Director, TID, India, shares more about her company, design solutions for the pandemic, trends, and the business opportunities out there.
Kindly tell us about your company.
Total Integrated Design (India) Pvt Ltd (TID ®) is a 25-year young global interior design firm having offices in India and partners in Singapore and Malaysia. We have covered various types of projects related to: Hotels, service apartments, spas, clubs, restaurants etc. We always study vital aspects like traffic flow and patterns, space planning, aesthetic appearance, and the pertinent social and cultural influences. We are committed to complete the job within the time frame, ensuring research done on new products in the market and visit the site on a need be basis. At TID, we do not just bring out the best in interior aesthetics. We provide everyday workable solutions because we believe that great design needs to function practically. Our success is also attributed to our total commitment to the project and the client.
Which trends in terms of technology are being adopted by interior designers in new architecture?
In homes people are using automation and can control the lighting from their phone, set automated timers on bedroom lights, and even manipulate natural light by insisting the blinds open at certain times. We hope this will be used more in hotels. Digivalet device exists for luxury properties but the use may increase now. 3D printing: It allows designers to experiment with new combinations of materials, shapes and structures that would otherwise be difficult with actual size objects that may not be instantly available. This will help in overall process and speed of mock-up checks. Software tools are being advanced to create prior visual images of the site and co-ordinate the construction process. Furniture: Modern furniture should be created to accommodate technology. Furniture should include charging portals and interactive screens. Flexibility and mobility in the furniture can be ergonomically a boon.
Does the term ‘sustainable design’ take on new connotations in the Covid-19 times? Please elaborate
We foresee that more attention to sustainable design will be there and hotels will adapt it in a large way post the pandemic. Sustainability will help bring in healthier greener way of life, since sustainability reduces the impact of built environment on climate change. People are realising environmental issues in reaction of climate change and air pollution dropping rates in coronavirus shutdown time. The impact is being seen with real examples. The acceptance of local materials, strategies and renewable energy with new buildings can be planned better. Moreover, physical distancing will be achieved in public spaces by implementing plants and green spaces. Design will also play a role in creating a theme to create some distance between people but without necessarily having a physical space as real estate is expensive and space can’t be left empty either.
How will you define trends in design globally as well as in India for hospitality establishments in terms of pandemic inspired hotels?
These are still speculations and need to be cross checked with Hotel Brands prior to implementation at a project level. These include: Hotels will be more dependent on AI Based, Technology & Virtual Content especially for check-in, check-out, and guest profile. Technology based sanitisation. Touch-free interaction. Entrance of hotels to have thermal check. Sensor based lighting control. Gesture based sanitary system. Multi-functional lobby and spaces. Passive MEP system. Air purifiers may be part of the design. More use of fabric with antimicrobial feature. Buffets may be temporarily suspended but one is yet to understand the long-term impact. Sourcing of local material and local labour where possible and subject to location of site, less of carpets / rugs more of tiles/marbles/ hard floorings and biophilic design demand would go up, more of natural light would be preferred.
Has there been a demand in redesign/restoration in terms of changes inspired due to stringent hygiene protocols because of Covid-19 in hotels?
Temporary implementation for physical distancing is being done like shifting of furniture in restaurants and encouraging room service due to temporary buffet closure. Some, like Ibis Kolkata have made meeting rooms into individual workspaces for the guest.
While companies are taking a hard look at their design and technology budgets, do you still see some opportunities in these unprecedented times?
There are opportunities though the pace may be slow. Projects that are at greenfield planning stage can start as it takes 3 to 5 years to build a hotel so in the meantime all planning, concept development and tender drawings can be done.
It is actually the ideal time for a hotel to renovate if they are shut and it can be done faster in a closed hotel than in a running hotel but the flip side is it is a large cost involved so it is purely an owners choice if they wish to take advantage of the time at moment and spend the money.
Hotels will always be required in future and as per various studies there has mostly still been a shortage in supply of rooms in our country but the current impact has been devastating to the industry so it’s a matter of survival till things get better. Tier-2 and tier-3 city, tourist spots, hillsides, religious circuits are all in need of more hotels especially in the 3- star and 4-star category. With future increase in domestic tourism, there is opportunity for hotels and resorts for the future.
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