Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, hoteliers around the world designed their hotel lobbies to serve as social hubs – pleasant places to lounge around, get a drink and mingle with guests and locals. Boutique hotels styled their lobbies as living rooms where guests could feel at home as much as possible, with all the usual props of a cozy living room on display. Coronavirus was not a household name back then and social distancing was not an issue.
As soon as COVID-19 swooped down on our society, it became obvious that if hotels are to survive in the new times and continue to attract customers, they will need to apply almost the opposite strategy – rather than makes us feel all comfy and at ease, their top priority now is to keep us at a safe distance from everyone else.
These days, hotels and resorts around the world are issuing statements to that effect, promising to keep their guests safely apart by using all sorts of dividers and signs as well as by rearranging their furniture. Crucially, however, most of them also stress that there is another challenge at hand right now – making sure that improved safety doesn’t come at the expense of everyone’s psychological comfort.
Rather than turn their own lobbies into battlefields, hotels are looking for smart ways to boost their social distancing measures – without their clients ever noticing it. Marriott International and Hilton Hotels & Resorts, two giants of the hospitality industry, both claim in their statements that they are going to try and retain the vibrant character of their shared spaces by using more natural materials and plants in their design.
There also seems to be a consensus among experts that the hospitality industry will need to move on from carpets, cushions and other absorptive elements that can’t be kept clean very easily, and instead go for hard surfaces and other minimalist, wipe-clean objects and furniture. The general shift in public space design will likely also include directional solutions – making sure people walk a certain way rather than another.
Large planters and planter boxes meet all these criteria. They will serve the purpose as barriers or obstacles so people don’t go the wrong way, but at the same time they will decorate any space – especially with plants in them. They are also very low-maintenance, and extremely easy to clean.
If you are an interior designer or a hotel manager but not a fan of oppressive dividers, curtains and the like, then by all means take a look at our fiberglass planter collection! For starters, why don’t you have a look at our square or rectangular planters?