Behind the scenes: Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
30th April 2021 | Behind the scenes
The G.A Group recently completed a pitch for a Thai hotel chain, and in doing so, perfectly demonstrated the strength in our Resonance process – where brand narrative meets design thinking.
The brief was to move the positioning of the hotel upwards, rebranding it as an upper scale, international brand and from there, to create a design concept reflective of this new positioning.
G.A began reimagining Thai hospitality, focussing on its numerous strengths they developed ‘New Thai-ness’, a rebranding of the stereotyped gilded ornamentation and austere formality of Thai hospitality. Instead ‘New Thai-ness’ presents a refreshed and contemporary look into everything Thailand has to offer.
G.A paid particular attention to the target group of the hotel in their research, discovering that today’s luxury travellers value the experiential over the material. Wellness and self-betterment are held in higher regard than luxury goods. So to evolve, adapting to fit the needs of a new type of luxury traveller and repositioning the hotel as an urban resort with a strong and holistic lifestyle focus would be a crucial next step.
G.A established ‘New Thai-ness’ as an attitude, a forward-thinking force of balance, that embraces local nuance as well as global influence. Inspired by its surroundings, by locality, the environment and the local community. ‘New Thai-ness’ stays away from old clichés and presents itself, instead, as rooted in spirituality alongside modern cultural values.
‘New Thai-ness’ incorporates ‘sanuk’ in its rebranding of Thai hospitality. Sanuk is almost a way of life in Thailand, to be sanuk means to derive pleasure and joy from everything around you. G.A decided this was the core of ‘New Thai-ness’, a lightness of touch and a sense of genuine happiness that feeds into every part of the suggested hotel/lifestyle concept.
‘New Thai-ness’ became the manifestation of creativity and culture, a willingness to show life as it really is – raw, poetic and spontaneous. Thailand is a go-to destination for foodies, adventure seekers and for people looking for a slice of paradise, to draw in luxury travellers this hotel chain needed to reflect that.
“Expressing ‘localism’ can’t be like walking into a souvenir shop. It needs to be stepped-up, intelligent, somewhat abstracted” said South Korean award-winning hospitality designer D.B Kim.
From brand story to design thinking, the next step of this pitch was to show how this narrative would translate into design. Bangkok is a city of contrasts, where tradition meets modernity and chaotic city life meets the serenity of nature.
G.A envisioned simple, yet contemporary details offset against locally sourced and crafted materials. Clean lines contrasted with more complex local references and patterns. Inspired by both natural elements and the vibrancy of city life in Bangkok, the design would use materials that are textural interpretations of the surrounding landscape and translate the brand story seamlessly.