Harris & Harris: The Conscious BedRoom

Interior fit-outs can be hugely costly for the environment, particularly through large scale hotel builds, but if hoteliers work with designers to utilise products that use repurposed materials, natural elements or sustainable products, then this can help minimise the impact.

Harris & Harris's Creative Director, Alexander Harris has been passionate about sustainability since studying Product Design at university. His final year project was a wind-up lamp which he exhibited with the eco-design collective [Re]Design, as part of the London Design Festival 2006. When it came to founding Harris & Harris eight years later, Alexander knew that environmentally sensitive design and manufacturing practices had to form the cornerstone of the studio's manifesto and something that very few luxury focused brands seemed to be concerned with.

Harris and Harris Projects
Therefore, The Conscious Bedroom is a perfect fit for the Harris & Harris studio and their ethos of looking at the most environmentally and socially conscious way of producing luxury interiors and products. The space will provide the opportunity to showcase this mentality through the design and curation of brand partners who have similar ethics. It’s important to note the designers are also socially conscious; when launching the product collection, the team established the Designed for Life Foundation, where a percentage of all collection sales contribute to the foundation to help support charities that provide for those without the basic needs of food, water and shelter.

When it comes to The Conscious Bedroom, the studio's goal is that the design considers, showcases and also celebrates both the environmental and social factors of a hotel bedroom. Approaching the initial look of the room, Harris & Harris decided to create a heritage feel, as if the room was located within a historic building instead of a new build. This was to prove that sustainable design practices can also be applied to older buildings, which are more prominent in the UK. This will be achieved through introducing Georgian style wall panelling throughout the bedroom and including some historic design references in the interior design but with a modern twist.

The studio felt it was crucial that sustainability was considered across every inch of the room; not only the architectural finishes, furniture and decorative items but also areas which may usually be overlooked such as the artwork, bedding and even the floor underlay. Connections were made with a number of brand partners to provide products that included recycled, organic, natural or sustainably sourced materials or had low energy use such as LED lighting and low-flow taps & showers that reduce water consumption.

At the mini bar, there will be no kettle, allowing guests to pour the correct amount of boiling water into their tea or coffee directly from the mini-bar tap, which also provides chilled and filtered water for the refillable bottles, negating the need for single-use plastic bottles. It was also felt important that the 'mileage' of each product was kept to a minimum, by sourcing items that have been produced in the UK, an ethos which also helps support local businesses and communities.

In parallel to curating these sustainable focussed products and brands, Harris & Harris were focussed on ensuring the overall design felt fresh, inviting and luxurious, all of which could be achieved whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

When it came to the social factors of the Conscious Bedroom, the room will consider the health and comfort of the guest; a selection of real flowers and plants within the room, to give life to the space, improving air quality and the general well being for those using the room. Carefully selected art around the room to provide a sense of calm and interest and can help reduce stress and anxiety. A high-quality bed using only natural materials will provide the best night's sleep possible and healthy snacks and beverages at the mini-bar.

The accessibility of the room is also important, so those with mobility difficulties could use the room as easily as an able-bodied guest. Generous space will be allowed around the bed, desk, and joinery as well as omitting the door to the dressing room & bathroom. Space will be left below the vanity unit and a large wet-room style shower, with no change in the floor heights, making the bathroom wheelchair accessible.

Thanks to Harris & Harris' Brand Partners:

  • Artiq - art consultants and rental agency
  • Axminster - carpets
  • Cole & Son - wallpaper and fabrics
  • Crosswater - bathroom items including shower, basin, toilet and taps
  • Curran Packaging - recycled cardboard tubing
  • Domus - bathroom floor and wall tiles, timber flooring
  • Edward Bulmer - paint
  • The Fine Cotton Company - towels, gowns, slippers, bed linens
  • Harris & Harris London - furniture and decorative lighting
  • L'OCCITANE - toiletries and room fragrance
  • Naturalmat - bed, mattress and pillows
  • Plant Plan - plants and moss/living wall
  • Quooker - boiling, filtered & chilled water mixer tap
  • Samsung - television and soundbar
  • Smile Plastics - recycled plastic sheet material
  • Wandsworth Group - power and lighting sockets and faceplates

Harris & Harris have been careful to note that it is not just the build or fit-out of the hotel that harms the environment and the day to day use needs to be considered and how to reduce the carbon footprint per room, as well as the public spaces. Signage to encourage guests to re-use their towels or bedding when staying more than one night to reduce the laundry amount, refillable bottles should be provided instead of plastic water bottles, some lighting should be activated by sensors, hotels should provide fixed soap & shampoo dispensers instead of miniature toiletries, and a recycling bin should be provided in each room as well as all public spaces.

Through articles in the media and better education, travellers are becoming more eco-savvy and are now demanding that hotels provide a more sustainable stay for them. Hoteliers need to keep up with this trend, which won't be a passing fad but a new and better way of living. Hotels have the opportunity to be the best expression of sustainable living which can then inspire guests to live in a more conscious way when they return home.

Explore the hotel bedroom of today's conscious consumer, in partnership with Criton, designed by Harris & Harris at the Independent Hotel Show 2019. Register now.

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