What inspires innovative hotel design?

9 June 2024
Posted byBy

As part of Melbourne Design Week, Belle Magazine and Lancemore Crossley St. Hotel hosted Associate Director Candice Bradley and her industry peers, which included Belle Editor-in-Chief Tanya Buchanan, The Stella Collective founder and interior designer Hana Hakim, and photographer Rhiannon Taylor, for an intimate and stimulating conversation about drivers of inspirational hotel design.

Here are four takeaway messages from the event.

Associate Director Candice Bradley. Portrait by Gavin Green.

Mastering front and back-of-house

Balancing the practical behind-the-scenes elements with the front-of-house factors is crucial in designing a hotel that is both beautiful and operationally successful. From the outset, our design process considers both back-of-house and front-of-house requirements in tandem. As Candice shared, “Planning is like solving a puzzle – once you arrive at a seamless and integrated plan, it unlocks the key elements of experiential hospitality. It’s about creating an environment where the operational complexities disappear, leaving guests to experience the magic of a perfectly orchestrated stay.”

Every detail, from the back-of-house logistics to the front-of-house aesthetics, is meticulously planned to work in harmony. This connection ensures that the service feels intuitive and spontaneous. The true art of hotel design lies in this balance, where practicality and beauty coexist, creating the illusion that service is seamless and effortless.


Designing with context

A hotel’s context is the fabric of much of its design. Lancemore Crossley St. brings this concept to life by performing onstage and offstage, taking full advantage of its prime location within Melbourne’s key arts and cultural hotspot.

Surrounded by the Theatre District, the Paris end of Bourke Street, and the many restaurants of Chinatown, these project threads are vital – they are the key drivers for the project’s narrative.

“Every project and property tells a unique story, whether it’s the vibrant pulse of a city or the tranquil rhythm of a landscape,” explained Candice. “We draw on these elements to inform the design, ensuring that each detail, from grand gestures to the smallest elements, responds to a sense of place. The challenge is translating these intangible moments into a design that works and communicates with the guest.”

Lancemore Crossley St., a refurbishment to an existing building, demonstrates these moments through the playfulness of the art story, especially the video art in the lift, and by fostering community inclusion with furniture from local designers, and the selection of mini bar and bathroom products sourced from local makers.

Lancemore Crossley St. Hotel. Photography by Tom Blachford.

Innovative hotel design

A forward-thinking approach to hotel design is about creating spaces that offer a connection to place, deeply rooted in the local culture and community. It’s about blending timeless elegance with modern innovation, ensuring all elements, from architecture to interior design, reflect the unique heritage and story of the destination.

Carr focuses on personalised experiences, where every detail is thoughtfully curated to cater to the individual preferences of our guests. “Sustainability is at the core of our design. How can we be conscious about sustainability through materials and practices to create aspirational, responsible interiors? We are invested in understanding innovative technologies and prioritising wellness as vital for how we engage with work and play. I like to embrace the unexpected, striking a balance between fun and rigour,” added Candice.


Lasting impression

For Candice, the success behind a hotel is the story that lingers long after the guest has departed. “It’s that feeling you get when you’re back at home or work, reminiscing about the hotel you visited. The ambience, the unique design elements, and the thoughtful details leave a lasting impression. If you find yourself reflecting on your stay long after you’ve left, then the hotel has truly struck a chord. Our goal is to create spaces that resonate deeply, blending comfort and elegance in a way that makes each visit memorable. This is at the essence of Carr, crafting interiors that remain with you.”

Lancemore Crossley St. is woven with narratives of the past and the vibrant energy of the present. A striking example is the off-centre chandelier resting precariously on an ottoman in the lobby. Once gracing the renowned Georges Department Store on Collins Street, this forgotten gem was rediscovered and revived. The public and private areas are rich with layers of art and theatrical references, seamlessly integrated with architectural and urban elements that reflect the locale’s unique character. This blend of history and contemporary flair made it the perfect setting for the evening’s discussion, a place where stories come alive and inspire.

Thank you to Hana, Rhiannon and our moderator Tanya, for this stimulating and resourceful conversation.



Connect with Candice to uncover your future hotel aspirations.