W has arrived! The opening of W Brisbane in mid 2018 marks the first of the iconic W hotels to relaunch in Australia. In addition, W Brisbane is the first five-star hotel to open its doors in the Brisbane CBD in over 20 years.
The new development in the Mary Street, Brisbane Quarter precinct houses this thoughtfully curated 312 room/suite luxury hotel and is sure to please. All rooms have river views, feature the latest facilities including on-trend technologies and entertainment options alongside dark and moody bars, superb restaurants, spas’s and pool areas, all woven into the layers of colour and pattern that capture the W brand’s outlandish and bold attitude.
The W brand, from the Marriott International stable, is renowned for its punchy, stand-out designs located in every corner of the globe. They stand out not only for their exceptional and innovative design but for their hospitality concepts – such as W Brisbane’s ‘Penultimate Extreme WOW suite’ (W’s version of the presidential suite) located on the 33rd floor and boasting a limitless panoramic vista from the river to the mountains and beyond – alongside creature comforts in every room and suite. Think flowing timber panelling, birdcage-like wardrobes and beautiful guest bathrooms (with fixtures supplied by Kohler and Agape).
Owned and developed by Shayher Group and displaying the distinctive design style of renowned interior design studio Nic Graham & Associates, Nic himself has worked on a number of W properties and tells us that each project always starts with a detailed narrative that is guided by the W Brand protocol. Key DNA touch points are addressed based on location and the key story for W Brisbane was ‘A River Dreaming’, an indigenous-based narrative of the Brisbane river.
Nic and his team tapped into Brisbane’s history, culture and key social aspects that support the brand goals of providing an engaging hotel experience from Food and Beverage through to each guests stay. They touched on the river and the effects on the landscape, the floods, the Queenslander heritage, flora, fauna, Australiana and Brisvegas.
“We were excited about the opportunity to weave an Australian narrative into this international brand that is so focused on design and modern culture.” says Nic.
This theme is apparent in every nook and corner of the hotel from the lobby to the dining venues, the unmissable pool, spa, and each and every glamorous room. Images and analogies of the river, its waves, and ripples pop up in various subtle and not so subtle colours at every corner of the property.
Mirrored ceilings and strong horizontal forms inspired by the river banks of Brisbane feature throughout, and wall graphics created in collaboration with Fabio Ongarato pay homage to the arts district that is located nearby while art installations by Australian artists including John Nicholson, Lucas Grogan, and Reko Rennie give it a special touch and complete the picture.
Re-entering the Australian market and Brisbane, in particular, was perfect timing for the Marriott International group as the city is growing rapidly and morphing into a more mature metropole. The year-around sunshine and the outdoor lifestyle attracts guests and travellers looking for luxurious experiences and mini-adventures, all of which they are bound to find in this property.
If only to admire the exceptional, unconventional design approach of the organic forms and curvilinear shapes, W Brisbane is well worth a visit. Or stay a little longer to enjoy The Living Room or Wet Deck bars, or fine dining at the signature restaurant Three Blue Ducks for a truly immersive experience. Whichever it is, W Brisbane should be included on your next visit to Brisbane.
W Hotels are set to open in Melbourne in 2020 and Sydney soon after.
All images courtesy of Toby Scott
Kohler Co and Virginia tech are celebrating a major win at the 2018 Solar Decathlon, held for the first time in Dubai, UAE.
“FutureHAUS” is a unique solar home designed and built by Virginia Tech research university, with the support and technical input of Kohler Co in the US. Beating 27 other universities from 11 countries, the FutureHas Virginia Tech team had just two weeks to build its prototype FutureHAUS house, that runs exclusively on solar power, in a public expo area next to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park.
The goal of the competition was to create a high performing solar home – seen as the smart, sustainable housing of the future – able to function in the extreme climatic conditions of the Middle East. A key requirement was that it had to be able to be mass produced in similar communities around the world.
True Aging in Place
FutureHAUS makes it possible for a family to theoretically stay in the same house for life and have the home grow and change with them.
“We’re demonstrating how a house can automatically adapt to the needs of every individual who lives in it,” said Joseph Wheeler, lead of the FutureHAUS project, as well as a professor of architecture in the School of Architecture + Design and co-director of the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech.
Kohler worked with Virginia Tech for two years advising on design and technical attributes that could achieve high functioning, smart solutions for both kitchen and bathroom.
The winning FutureHAUS, that enabled Virginia Tech to take home the $250,000 first prize, utilised factory-built cartridges to create living spaces that adapt to their inhabitants. Kohler provided technical advice and guidance on the water delivery system in the kitchen where metered amounts of water are delivered via voice control.
In the main bathroom the vanity top is 3D printed and utilises Kohler’s technological expertise to incorporate three sensors within the basin that employ the company’s Response touchless technology. Kohler has then coupled these sensors to three of its DTV digital showering systems.
What is the Solar Decathlon?
In it’s 16th year, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.
Virginia Tech was the only team from the US to compete in this year’s Solar Decathlon. The prototype houses were judged on 10 criteria: architecture, engineering and construction, energy management, comfort conditions, house functioning, sustainable transportation, sustainability, communications and innovation.
The Solar Decathlon supports Dubai’s stated goal to have the smallest carbon footprint of any global city by 2050.
Lush green foliage is an excellent way to soften the hard, straight lines that so often proliferate in a bathroom – think tiles, vanities, mirrors, windows, shower recesses etc
Just a single plant, from a fern to a succulent, will introduce a pleasing, relaxing ambience to the bathing space – but there are other benefits to including living greenery in the bathroom. Clean air and health!
Indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside, as bathrooms, by their very nature, contain many chemicals – from those emitted by surface materials to shampoos, soaps and chemical cleaners.
Plants are the perfect ‘green’ way of improving the quality of the air – they require little effort and negate the need for an expensive air purifier.
Experts at NASA have spent time identifying the best indoor plants for removing toxins – but make sure the plant you choose is also the best suited to your bathroom’s light conditions, temperatures and any draughts.
Here are six plants, recommended by NASA for removing air-borne toxins, that could be grown in the bathroom:
Keep them fairly dry and grow in indirect light. Fertilise during growing season. One of the easiest indoor plants to grow.
GOLDEN CANE PALM
Requires plenty of light and a good balance of moisture, fertiliser and warmth. Brings a tropical lushness to the bathroom.
(Aloe barbadensis mill)
Grow in indirect sunlight in a dry soil (like a cactus potting mix). Water during growing period but never allow to stand in wet soil (ensure pot has plenty of drainage holes). The leaves contain a gel that can be used on skin conditions and superficial cuts for its soothing, antimicrobial properties.
An easy plant to grow indoors and can be planted in hanging baskets to allow the leaves to cascade or can be trained to climb a stick or pole. Can tolerate lower light and requires a cool environment and a reasonable amount of water.
(Spathiphyllum mauna loa)
Grow in a warm spot away from direct sunlight – it will tolerate low levels of light. Water regularly so that the potting mix is moist at all times. Yellow leaves mean it is receiving too much light.
Will tolerate low to bright light conditions but keep away from direct sunlight. Requires minimal watering. Very hardy plants that even enjoy being pot bound!
Just one plant will make a difference to both the ambience and the air purity in your bathroom – but think about groups of plants, perhaps in a corner of the floor, or suspended from the ceiling in baskets.
Be prepared for a little trial and error initially, while you work out the plants that are happiest in the conditions that prevail in your bathing space.
Converge brings a new level of control – it’s the very latest in showering technology! This piece of ingenuity sees sleek design converge with space-saving smarts to create a truly multifunctional showerhead that features a cleverly integrated hand shower.
The 152mm diameter flat-faced showerhead is wall mounted and at first glance appears to be a simple, large format showerhead – but its exterior rim almost magically detaches from the magnetic docking station and becomes a very convenient, separate hand shower!
Converge, with its advanced spray engine, provides three powerful spray patterns while using only 9 litres of water a minute (WELS 3 star rated). The showerhead literally sculpts water!
Choose from the dense, luxurious Silk spray; or Infinity – three spray experiences in one (complete cleanse, refreshing massage and delicate rinse); or Full Coverage for a drenching, all encompassing spray.
In sleek polished chrome, Converge features a MasterClean™ spray face that simply wipes clean with a damp cloth, without any build-up of minerals. It also has Kohler’s premium finish to retain a long, enduring and unblemished polished chrome surface.
Converge, with its innovative 2-in-1 space-saving design is an exciting development for all those who love a luxurious, ultra-responsive shower but may have less space than they wish! The release of this product coincides with Kohler’s 145th anniversary – 145 years of ongoing revolutionary design and innovation for the bathroom.
Launched to great acclaim and garnering international accolades, Kohler’s ModernLife toilet suite has been recognised for its revolutionary approach to hygiene and ease of cleaning with the prestigious international Red Dot Design Award.
The key feature of the ModernLife back to wall toilet is its truly rimless bowl – a first in the Australasian market. In taking rimless technology to the next level, Kohler has introduced a beautifully engineered pan featuring a bevelled and chamfered edge. This bevelled edge is finished with Kohler’s patented CleanCoat™ technology.
The ground-breaking combination of the rim’s inward-sloping design and the finish of the edge means any liquid hitting this area will form small beads of liquid that will roll easily into the toilet bowl. In addition, the Vertical Quick Release seat means the seat can be removed with just a gentle pull (when vertical) making thorough cleaning both fast and easy.
It is these innovative features that create the new level of hygiene and easy cleaning that Kohler is introducing with the ModernLife collection.The smooth, sleek interior also means there are no ridges or channels in which germs or dirt can hide. And its 360˚ dynamic flush flow ensures the bowl is rinsed thoroughly.
In another first, Kohler has included an optional Elite Seat. This introduces new levels of comfort and convenience in the form of a subtle LED pinstripe light – to subtly light the seating area when dark, without creating too much light – and a fragrance sachet to gently perfume the air. Both are operated by two AAA, easily replaceable batteries. The ultra-streamlined Elite Seat has an easy fit invisible hinge (easy to install and quick to release for thorough cleaning) plus quiet close seat and lid.
The timeless form of ModernLife’s design is the essence of simplicity with the slight overhang of the lid creating a seamless look.
The ModernLife Back to Wall Toilet suite also features optimal water-saving technology with a mere 4.5/3L water consumption (4 star WELS rating).
The ModernLife toilet suite – with the option of the Elite Seat – is complemented by the ModernLife vessel basins (with and without tap hole) that emulate the simplicity of form and sleek profile of the toilet.
Discover the ModernLife design story here…
Last week, Kohler Australia sponsored and exhibited at the ninth annual Australian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), hosted and presented by HM Magazine at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.
The largest line-up of global Hoteliers in the nine year history of AHICE descended on Melbourne for the two-day event with more than 800 delegates attending the conference, including industry leaders, investors, consultants, developers, architects, designers and educators.
Boasting the strongest and most comprehensive speaker program ever produced for AHICE, world class industry members and speakers from around the globe joined the line-up to provide an informative and inspirational series of discussions and panels.
Early on the first day, former Starwood CEO, Frits van Paasschen, flew in from New York to give a keynote on the power of disruptors. This was a fascinating session looking at ‘change blindness’ and how a lack of agility and not focusing on potential disruptors can affect our strategic outcome as change in any complex system is inherently unpredictable!
Fritz Dirk Van Paasschen – ex CEO of Starwood Hotels giving his talk on ‘The Power of Disruptors.’
Another major keynote speaker was London-based Professor Toby Walsh (Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales), talking about how Artificial Intelligence will impact the hotel industry. He said: “AI has the opportunity to make us happier, healthier and wealthier. The smartphone in your pocket has more power than the technology that took us to the moon.”
Other international key note speakers included Michael Issenberg – Chairman and CEO APac – Accor Hotels; Tony Ryan – Managing Director of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Hotels & Hospitality, JLL and George Nicholas – Global head of hotels, Savills in London.
Tony Ryan – Managing Director of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Hotels & Hospitality, JLL – speaking on how the hotel industry is currently fragmented.
Over the course of the two days, a number of CEO’s inlcuding TFE Hotels Chief Executive Rachel Argaman and Far East Hospitality CEO Arthur Kiong gave an update on their brands and expansion plans, with a number of hotels in the pipeline for Australia in the near future.
Delegates experienced thought provoking updates and presentations by Tourism Australia Chair and Mantra Chief Executive Bob East; industry updates by organisations including Tourism Accommodation Australia chair Martin Ferguson and Q&A sessions with Travelodge Asia chairman Stephen Burt and Intrust Super Chief Executive Brendan O’Farrell.
With regards to F&B, Time Out Australia Managing Director Michael Rodrigues led a panel discussion on food and beverage issues and trends.
IHG Managing Director Leanne Harwood took to the stage next with HM editor-in-chief James Wilkinson to discuss her new role and ways to develop staff to take on leadership roles. Harwood said that the talent pool for top level jobs is getting smaller and smaller. “Hospitality isn’t just a part-time job, we do have great careers available for you,” she said.
IHG Managing Director Leanne Harwood at AHICE with HM Editor-in-Chief James Wilkinson
Staying on the topic of innovation, B-Hive founder Tammy Marshall delivered an educational presentation on the ‘7 Deadly Sins of Innovation’, and how to embrace them and use them to your advantage. She implored the audience to make sure that the innovations they were implementing were meaningful to their customers. “Don’t just innovate for the sake of innovating,” she said.
The technology discussion continued with tech experts Toby Berger, Revinate; Jeremy Holmes, Elements of Byron and Wayne Taranto, Crown Group in a panel discussion delving into the emerging tech that hoteliers should look into, including digital compendiums and in-room tablets.
Another marketing and social media highlight was PR Maven Kim McKay’s keynote on the business of influence and what hoteliers need to know about influencer marketing. On the topic of targeted social posts, she said: “Consumers are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad,” she said. Instead, consumers are looking to honest influencers for recommendations on products and services, she said.
Kim McKay of Click Communications talked about the power of Influencers.
With the sharing economy a hot topic in the industry, the session with Airbnb Country Manager Sam McDonagh inspired heated discussion among delegates before the final Q&S with ex Starwood CEO Frits Dirk van Paasschen returning to the stage.
At the end of the event, a number of exhibitors offered prizes for attendees. The lucky winner of an Exhale Kohler Slide Shower was Kate Quigley from Radisson Hotel Group, pictured with KOHLER’s Rachael Biggs.
Rachael Biggs with shower prize winner Kate Quigley of Radisson Hotel Group
The Kohler display featured some of our top hotel-spec’ed products including the Veil Intelligent Toilet, Hydrorail Showering Systems, Katalyst showers (Exhale, Awaken) and a new tapware range soon to launch.