“Creativity is Everything” is the mantra that has fuelled AJC Design’s work since its inception in 2007. A vivid, unhindered imagination is at the core of every one of our compelling projects, no two which are the same. That’s why our company logo depicts a hardy walnut shell. While one half references our own passion for dreaming up one-of-a-kind designs and our dedication to making them a reality, the other is an ode to our clients, whose ideas and visions are just as integral to the design process.
Built on communication, this mutual, respectful relationship is the foundation for all of AJC Design’s intricate, timeless interiors. We are energetic and honest and keep our clients well informed, involved, and comfortable, learning and laughing along the way.
Alicia Cannon, founder and principal of New York-based AJC Design, flaunts a signature style that melds dramatic, pop-inspired pieces with tailored, classic settings, fostered by her collaborations with the likes of luxury brands and urban artists.
Cannon’s vast expertise spans full-service and luxury hotels, inviting private residences, and vibrant workplaces. Consider the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, awash in coastal Connecticut charm; the Lanes, a multi-use, ground-up Long Island City residential building capped with a rooftop terrace; or the Long Island headquarters of the brand-new Opal Wealth Advisors
In 2015 Cannon was named one of Hospitality Design’s Wave of the Future honourees, the same year that she won a Stevie Award Bronze, attesting to how she infuses each of her projects with both professionalism and ingenuity, her top priority always capturing and nurturing a client’s vision. That’s why the Woman Business Enterprise-certified designer loves spending ample time getting to know every single one of them personally and embarks on a true partnership to unite functionality and rich, aesthetic details.
Recent AJC Design work includes the Sheraton Mahwah in New Jersey, which draws on the hotel’s past as the former Ford Motor headquarters; the Sheraton Wilmington South hotel, complete with soaring atrium; the lobby at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio that calls to mind the Spanish Colonial era; and a design competition culminating in two guestroom schemes for the Bellagio in Las Vegas that telegraph the Italian village of Bellagio in Lake Como. AJC Design has also completed the Thayer Hotel in West Point, New York, Hotel Indigo in downtown Brooklyn, and the Westport Inn in Connecticut, and is currently working on the Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel, slated to open in 2020, as well as the Thayer Resort and Spa scheduled for 2022.
Cannon is a graduate of the Pratt Institute, where she cultivated her childhood passion for transforming humdrum interior spaces into enduring, matchless designs.
Last month, I shared stories from my earliest hospitality experiences and my reflections on the new journey to hospitality in this COVID-19 era. I recommended one should embrace opportunities for simpler vacations with your loved ones with the resources you have.
Now, as hotels begin to reopen, they are going to look and feel a lot different as they satisfy guests’ needs for safety and cleanliness. What does all this look like? Here are my predictions about what you might expect at your next hotel stay in the next few years.
Trend 1: Q-Level Accommodations.
Some hotels have club lounges, designated and restricted spaces where guests have access to special amenities. Now, apply that concept to COVID-19 times. Instead of club lounges, hotels might create a Q or Quarantine-Level of their hotel on a floor with designated entry and exit points. This area of restricted rooms and spaces would serve as a place where guests who arrive sick or get sick can still enjoy their hotel stay without contaminating the rest of the hotel property and getting other guests sick.
Trend 2: Health Concierge Service
Imagine you’re on day 2 of your vacation and you start to feel sick. Is it sun poisoning or something more serious? Instead of checking-out, make a quick 15 minute appointment with an on-site nurse, part of the hotel’s concierge team. The nurse can take your vital signs, even administer COVID-19 testing, and determine if you need additional medical attention.
Trend 3: Push-up Bar Replaces Mini-Bar
For decades, the mini-bar, filled with snacks and drinks to enjoy in your room, have been hotel room staples. Now with increased room sanitation and cleanliness standards, the mini-bar is a germ haven. Combine that with another obvious germ haven – the hotel fitness room. Hotels may opt for replacing mini-bars and adding easy-to-clean, in-room fitness amenities, aesthetically pleasing. Examples might be fitness technologies, like Mirror, where you can do in-room workouts without any equipment, or towel bars that double as push-up bars.
Trend 4: Hotel Apps 2.0
Hotels have already been using their hotel apps to enable making reservations, check-in/check-out and access to your guest room. Take that concept one step further; this same app now controls almost everything you do in your room. Using your smart phone, you can adjust the lighting, room temperature and HVAC, control the television, even order room-service and extra towels. While it might create a bit of tech learning curve at first, guests can be reassured that the high-touch areas in their room like remote controls and light switches are as clean as they keep their phone.
Trend 5: Bar Kiosks.
Now that many hotels are removing mini-bars from guest rooms, where can one go for a drink? Hotel bars and restaurants will be redesigned to reinforce social distancing. Instead of the 20-foot or 30-foot hotel bar, you may see a series of shorter bars placed throughout the hotel lobby or restaurant. Or you might see seating barriers that limit the amount of people in an area of the bar. So how to get the bartender’s attention to order a drink? You guessed it, order through your hotel phone app.
While it’s an uncertain and difficult time in the hospitality industry, it’s also an exciting time as an interior designer. I love finding creative ways to design exceptional hotel spaces. I look forward to partnering with hotel developers to redesign their hospitality spaces, balancing safety with clean and modern design.
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