Tribe Hotel Group – an artfully curated guest-centric and refreshingly affordable design hotel alternative, created for the modern business traveller, the nomad and the free agent – has launched its first hotel, Tribe Perth.
December 1st, 2017
The modern traveller isn’t a particular age. They don’t buy a particular brand of suitcase, or subscribe to a specific magazine. They can’t be defined by the places they travel, or by the people they meet. The modern traveller, however, consistently seeks one thing — connection.
This is something that architect and designer Travis Walton appreciates. “I travel a lot for work,” he says. “So I’m in hotels all the time, and I’ve started to really focus on what I want.” When his multi-disciplinary practice Travis Walton Architecture (TWA) was approached by Tribe hotels to launch its first location, Walton knew it was an opportunity to re-define the Australian hotel typology, based on his own wide range of travel experiences.
The project, right at the edge of West Perth’s expansive Kings Park, is a modular construction. Each room was completely assembled off-site — finishes, fittings and all — and craned into position. “We got involved about three years ago,” Walton explains.
Whereas a traditional approach would see designers start from the arrival spaces and communal areas and work back to the rooms, this method required Walton and his team to start from the rooms and move out. “So it was actually the inverse, which had its challenges in trying to create an identity for a brand solely in the room in isolation, when the guest experience is always going to be the arrival, reception, lounge, lift lobby then the final destination is the room.”
Becoming involved at this early stage allowed TWA to re-imagine the standard hotel room layout. Space was at a premium, as the modules needed to remain small, relatively lightweight and affordable — ultimately reducing the room rates. Re-working the layouts, the team moved the bulkhead, with air-conditioning and services, away from the entry hall, ensuring a full height experience from door to window. The desk was placed away from the outer walls, meaning the peripheral vision enjoys more than a blank wall. But it’s the clever storage solutions that show Walton understands the modern traveller. The beds have been customised to create recesses for two full-sized suitcases at the end and two pairs of shoes on either side. Plenty of storage space has also been carved out in the bathroom for those travel items that never seem to have a place in traditional hotel rooms. These are the subtle, yet important things that you might not appreciate if you weren’t a regular traveller.
Just a couple of clicks and you’re on. For Walton, these are the moments that make all the difference. “When you travel, unless you’re in a remote destination where you’re literally staring at crystal clear water, most of the time, you’re maintaining your everyday routine. A hotel should support that.”
The communal areas are designed as social spaces and co-working spaces, where travellers can open up their laptop and feel comfortable working away, or can share a drink or a coffee with their fellow travellers. Rather than being transient spaces, they’re designed to be inhabited and enjoyed in a connected way. A curated library of art, design and cultural books are accompanied by customised Moroso Pipe chairs and generous sofas. The lobby, reception and bar and dining areas are far from boring, with an amazing collection of lighting — from hanging pendants and theatre spotlights to gorgeous floor lights — wall finishes and furniture. Walton has approached them much more as food and beverage spaces than a conventional hotel lobby. It takes a deft touch to marry so many bold pieces and details into large open-plan spaces such as these, TWA makes it work.
Tribe Hotel Perth, with its exciting modular room design and focus on sociable, connected spaces, is a genuine innovator in the market. “I think it does focus on what people are trying to get from a hotel experience. We’re in a mobile world. We spend most of our time on our phones, on email. We’re not bound to a desk. We’re moving around. As an approach to design and an approach to the hotel experience, it’s going to be quite disruptive.”
Explore a list of some of Sydney’s new design hotels.
This article originally appeared in Indesign #71 the ‘design pharmacy’ issue. See the full list of specs for the Tribe Hotel Perth.
INDESIGN is on instagram
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
You can probably count on one hand, the number of firms that have exported design services from New Zealand into Australia. Firms like Warren and Mahoney, whose ‘one studio’ approach has made it possible to grow exponentially, while still running a tight, talent-rich team.