I have designed 24 hotels in cities from the most holy (the King David Hotel in Jerusalem) to the most worldly (the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas). But I’ve never designed a hotel room for the future and often wonder how one in, for instance, 2020 might look. Our vision of the future is based on past experiences, realities and the things we loved. When I was a child, I was fascinated with science fiction, which was, for me, at its best in James Bond movies—they married classic design with tomorrow’s technology. Similarly, this room is what I’d call futuristic retro, except the technology is already here, albeit in its infancy. The modern-day take on the Eames chair, for example, consists of engineered damage-resistant, large-format wood, which looks and feels like the real thing but is both cheaper to manufacture and fully sustainable. The photovoltaic glass, which serves as window, mirror, television screen and interactive touchscreen display, is more elegant (and already exists). The robotic bartender will make your rye Manhattan perfect up, just the way you like it, but uses wireless technology and voice recognition to do so.
Even with the technology, the keystone of luxury will always be the personal touch. Though a smartphone will instantly and wirelessly convey your preferences to the hotel’s infrastructure—which controls everything from lighting to temperature to mattress firmness—there will still be a concierge (human) to welcome you. You’ll control the environment; it won’t control you. The color scheme can be transformed by a responsive lighting system of organic LEDs woven into the ceiling fabric. You can say “sad” and the lighting will become cheery. You can say “sunset” and the bed will rotate for a perfect view. No matter the technology, luxury will still mean being able to do what you wish with elegance and ease, and in style.
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