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Exclusive Interview with Joel Butler, Event Manager of SleepTuesday 13 December 2016
Created to inspire its audience to think about design in new ways, Sleep, Europe’s definitive hotel design and development event, challenges itself to elevate the visitor experience every year. With a stimulating and insightful conference programme, innovative installations and an exhibition of cutting-edge products specifically aimed at high-concept hotels, Sleep attracts influential speakers, creative talents, and leading contract brands from around the world. Since its launch 11 years ago, the event has become the “must-attend” show in the industry and grown increasingly international in scope. Sleep takes place every November in London’s Business Design Centre.
“Weaving together the themes of every year’s Sleep event is a thread: stories about the nature of hotels, how we live in them, the memories we share – and those we keep secret….”
“From its first steps, Sleep has been imagined with the values of a very specific “tribe” in mind – those who are passionate about hotel design. The aim has always been to develop something more than an exhibition – the event is a space to think, find fresh inspiration and experience creative design first-hand… a place to predict the future!”
Joel Butler, Event Manager of Sleep, feels it is important to have a clearly defined concept that shapes the direction of each event’s content. From the exhibition – where quality is prized – to the installations and the conference discussions, a cohesive theme leads to a more thought-provoking and relevant experience for the enthusiastic community of hotel designers and developers. “In 2015, the overall topic focused on storytelling by exploring the ideas of wonder, fairy tales and narratives,” he disclosed, “but then 2016 brought a swing of the pendulum with a more grounded subject, The Science of Tribes – the social science of measuring people’s values and attitudes as defined by the Sinus Institute. Our aim was to go beyond the expected Millennial and Generation X classifications and explore how hotel experiences can be designed, built and developed for these different ‘tribes’ of guests. The translation of each group’s desires, lifestyles and aesthetic preferences into physical settings is quite a bit more complex than merely looking at an age range.”
Five international design firms each created an amazing Sleep Set guestroom inspired by the characteristics of each tribe: Studio Proof – Performers; Gensler – Digital Avant-garde; WOW Architects – Intellectual; Aukett Swanke – Sensation Oriented; and Mistui Designtec – Established
Every interpretation of the hotel experience revealed a walk into another world, a unique place where a person can escape day-to-day monotony, lasting memories are made and the inherent intimacy of living within the boundaries of a guestroom becomes a virtue.
Sleep’s popularity on the international stage continued to flourish in 2016 with global participants across its exhibition, conference and installations, industry leaders who questioned the norms and envisaged the future of hospitality.
Butler confirmed that the 2017 event will again offer a refined curation of the best in hospitality. He likened the team’s future aspirations to the music industry’s theory of the “Madonna curve” or the “Bowie bounce”: the importance of constantly changing when you’re at the top of your game rather than doing the same things and until they become predictable.
“Sleep 2016 created the best visitor experience and most inspiring content yet,” he explained. “Once again, we celebrated record-breaking visitor numbers and exhibitors who have already re-booked, and once again, Sleep defined itself as the only show of its kind. What we did in 2016 worked very well, but we must continuously challenge ourselves to reinvent Sleep each year and keep it fresh.”
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