The architects throwing out the rulebook on hotel design

CNN  — 

Commissions, with their long lists of client requirements, don’t always let architects experiment. Competitions, on the other hand, allow them to throw away the client briefs and create something game-changing.

Now in its 11th year, Radical Innovation is a competition giving architecture firms – and students – the opportunity to put their own original twist on hospitality design.

“It began as an experiment because I wasn’t seeing a lot of creativity in the hotel business,” says John Hardy, CEO of The John Hardy Group, the development consultancy behind the annual competition. “I thought that a lot of the most creative ideas came from people who were not in the mainstream hotel industry.”

The competition has attracted an increasing number of sophisticated submissions from around the world.

Some designs take an entirely new approach to hospitality, while others put their own spin on current trends, such as sustainability and adventure travel.

“I think some people are creating trends that didn’t exist before and others are responding to trends because they are passionate about them,” Hardy says.

‘Balance between radical and feasible’

Chosen from over 65 entries, this year’s finalists represent the latest in hotel design and offer a glimpse at the future of travel.

Hardy and the members of the jury, which includes architects, hospitality executives, and developers, assess submissions on “their radical nature, their feasibility and the quality on their presentation.”

The jury looks for projects that are innovative but within the realm of possibility, Hardy explains.

“It’s a razor’s edge – the balance between radical and feasible,” he says. “We’re not just doing this to have fun We’re actually trying to make things happen.”