Nobody wants to feel like they’re at home when they’re traveling, however feeling foreign is not the best alternative either! The Four Seasons Hotels always seem to strike the perfect balance between capturing the spirit of the destination yet maintaining an atmosphere that’s comfortably familiar. Famous chefs have their test kitchens where new recipes are tried and tested, and writers have their libraries where new stories are born and developed; in the same vein, the Four Seasons now has their own dedicated R&D Studio – which is an interactive workshop style space where new concepts and ideas are brought to life.
Featuring graffiti adorned walls, communal meeting and workspaces, and multiple testing areas, the studio is designed to be a collaborative workspace where the hotel chain considers everything from table settings and lighting specs to staff wardrobes and bathroom amenities. There are work areas dedicated to the fundamental touch points that create the Four Seasons guest experience, including the Four Seasons Bed, a fully-functional bar for testing coffee and cocktail equipment, an atelier to sample and model employee wardrobes, and a table-top staging area to experiment with different combinations of glassware, tableware, and cutlery. There is also a space where the scents and aesthetics of bathroom amenities are put to the test.
The highlight of the studio is probably the Modular Room which includes three- dimensional replicas of guest rooms equipped with beds, closets, end tables, doorways, and chairs made entirely from cardboard. This allows the team members to visualize different layouts and their implications in a cost effective way. Dana Kalczak, Vice President, Design, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, explained, “The R&D Studio is a critical tool for us because it allows us to make detailed decisions in a holistic environment. When we bring everything together in this space, we better understand how the different elements energize and inform one another.”
“We use the R&D Studio to explore rooms that can serve multiple purposes – rooms that give our guests greater freedom and control to use the space as they choose. A guest room used to have fixed features – you sleep here, you pour coffee there, you work in one corner and relax in the other. But mobile devices have changed this dynamic. You no longer need to sit at a rectangular wooden desk to ‘work’ – you can just as easily email and take calls from a sofa or from the bed,” she added.