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New Brands On The Block

(January / February 2017) posted on Sun Feb 19, 2017

Crafting the look behind today’s chicest just-launched flags means leading, not following. Three buzzy brands offer a master class.

By Oriana Lerner

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In Miami, neutral tones and boldly shaped furniture do play up the beachy vibe of the locale. In Montevideo, Uruguay, the signature element is a stained glass ceiling, where natural light coming through makes a centerpiece that connects the lobby, bar and restaurant.

Yes, it means more homework for designers looking at RFPs for these hotels, but going for the extra credit pays off.


“Find your Why” isn’t just a catchphrase for keeping New Year’s resolutions. For brands like AccorHotels’ just-launched JO&JOE, it’s a roadmap for a generation of places to stay that overturn conventional ideas of hotel functionality as much as defying tried-and-true aesthetic choices.

Irregularly shaped accents in JO&JOE's rooms aren't just cool—they're also storage and transport to a top bunk. Rendering: Courtesy of AccorHotels/JO&JOE

That started with going straight to the source for the lowdown on what guests really want—the brand was developed by an international team including students, psychologists, designers, hotel professionals, developers and even Instagrammers.

Game room
In JO&JOE, unpainted wood becomes a backdrop for vivid splashes of color. Rendering: Courtesy of AccorHotels/JO&JOE

Number one on that community’s wish list? Ditch the idea of a standard room in favor of a design flexible enough to accommodate apartment-, hotel- and hostel-style stays under one roof. “The spaces were designed to be easily adaptable to each person’s situation and budget, marketing to millennials’ desire for a personalized experience,” says Frédéric Fontaine, senior vice president, Global Marketing Innovation Lab, AccorHotels.

Frédéric Fontaine, AccorHotels. Photo: Courtesy of AccorHotels

Designers for projects like this are also going to have to battle disruptors, just like hoteliers looking over their shoulders at Airbnb. “The fact that (JO&JOE design firm) Penson never worked for a hotel brand was an important criteria to ensure the disruptive approach and no boundaries of the JO&JOE concept,” says Pascal Locatelli, senior vice president, marketing innovation & project, AccorHotels.

Pascal Locatelli, AccorHotels. Photo: Courtesy of AccorHotels

While each property (Paris and Bordeaux are set to open first, with 50 hotels planned by 2020), unconventional twists on every aspect of the space—think green not just on a wall, but also on all the furniture in front of it or lavender washes of color over a sink—work to reinforce the playful, “open house” mentality.


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