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Architectural Design with Pop-Up Concepts In Mind

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By: Andres Osorio, Lead Hospitality Designer OBMI

One of the most popular tourism trends is the creation of unique and non-traditional experiential opportunities, in other words, something that is truly unique and only a select few people have the chance to experience, this is the pop-up concept. Although this trend is firmly planted in tourism, it is affecting how we architects are designing hospitality projects. One way we see this trend is through the use of pop-up venues. These are unique destinations known for locality, exclusivity, and inherently come with a sense of urgency. While hotels have been experimenting with pop-up rooms and entire properties for quite some time now, many existing hotels are incorporating the pop-up concept in their brick and mortar structures allowing creative and sometimes exceptionally rare programming to attract a new kind of clientele to the property.

I love pop-up concepts. As an architect, I often explore how I can rethink hotel spaces to accommodate a variety of experiences by expanding their use and purpose. I begin by looking at the commonly under-utilized areas, such as lobbies, meeting rooms, event, venues and outdoor spaces; deconstructing them to their most basic form.  Then strategizing with leading luxury brands and our clients, I determine the various ways we can break the traditional barriers of how their space is being used in order to activate it with programming that will bring the concept to life.

Transitioning the travel experience for the Millennials, hoteliers are asking architects to help them provide different experiences within the same place. In other words, make spaces transformational. New travelers aren’t seeking the same food & beverage experience twice, as architects we must respond to this need for change with flexible spaces. From roll-up walls and doors, to audio visual and lighting automated systems, architects can provide the foundation for hoteliers to offer memorable yet temporary programming.  Matching the pop-up concept to the hotel’s audience and the environment is crucial to properly execute the programming, as is pre-planning and awareness of how these spaces will be used and how frequently.

Temporary programming can include a multitude of options; there are pop-up shops, pop-up restaurants, even pop-up art exhibits. One notable pop-up concept is the temporary store for Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama in London which was a successful public exhibition that increased the awareness of the luxury collection to a large audience. The retail pop-up was designed by architect Marc Fornes, from theverymany firm, known for his work blending art with architecture into organic, thin-shell installations. This pop-up destination proved that short-lived, pop-up experiences could draw crowds of affluent audiences while providing opportunities for brands to expand their reach.

Pop-up concept venues can also be used to tie into neighboring events and destinations. As a part of Art Basel 2019, I was invited to partake in Casacor Miami which creates architecture and interior design installations part of the Miami Design Week experience. Making use of the blank canvas on Floor 10 of the newly constructed 700 Brickell mixed-use center, architects and interior designers created temporary residential interiors carefully curated to reinforce the themes of art, technology, and global culture. By invitation only and available for only one-week Casacor Miami has become one of the most sought-after events during a star-studded week driving traffic to the building’s hotel and F&B venues.

Whether a pop-up exhibit, a temporary restaurant venue or semi-permanent accommodations, these installations are a great way to provide both guests and locals with a unique experience. Working with an architect, it is important to plan how your space will be used and how you can push it even further to create short-lived destinations, and engaging experiences whether through the pop-up concept or other programming opportunities. Armed with a great designer and strategically using technology, your open spaces can be as flexible as your imagination allows.