Hamish Kilburn, Hotel Designs


Our next Surface Design Show Isolation Talk is with Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs, the leading international hotel design website.

At the helm of all editorial decisions for the brand, Hamish reviews design-led hotels around the globe and publishes the latest news and engaging features around topical issues, such as new materials, designing with purpose and global hotel development.

Hi Hamish Thanks for letting us self-isolate with you, keeping in touch with our friends makes us all feel better.

Where is your isolation home right now? Just outside Whitstable in North East Kent.

I think we are now into the 7th week of lockdown - how are you coping with this new lifestyle? To be honest with you, with the nature of my role, I am used to working remotely. However, I am missing face-to-face meetings with designers, architects and suppliers.

You must have developed a daily schedule by now? Do you think this will be the norm for the future? Yes, to a point. I live by the sea, which naturally inspires me to write and be creative. I hope I can be here more after the lockdown measures have relaxed.

What tends to be the highlight of your day? Exercise! I am training for an Ironman, so long cycles and runs are becoming part of my daily routine and lifestyle.

What are you missing most? And what don’t you miss at all? I miss catching up with designers, architects and suppliers who are constantly challenging conventional design. I miss the buzz of travelling. I don’t miss frantically writing content in busy airports/train stations.

Are there some long neglected jobs that you intend to get around to doing during the lockdown? I should be more adventurous in my cooking – even now, I am using work as an excuse not to be…

It was great to have you presenting on the Main Stage at Surface Design Show in February, did you enjoy the experience? It was impossible not to have a great session with the panellists I invited onto the stage. Also, the audience gave off a great energy, which made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Your session was entitled 'Biophilic Materials in Surface Design'. Did you 'lift the lid on new, emerging and alternative surface materials' as you hoped to do? Absolutely! This worked because we explored this topic from design, architecture and supplier perspectives.


How will this huge interruption in business for the hospitality sector effect the drive to more sustainable hotel design? It is a question I am being asked a lot at the moment, but I believe that the sustainability movement is robust. From the designers and architects I am speaking to, sustainability is very much still on the agenda, and will continue to be long into the future.

Will the hotel design sector survive the lockdown? Yes, the industry is resilient – and so too are the people driving it forward. Also, the hospitality and design sector tends to attract problem solvers, so I have faith.

Which current hotel design projects particularly excite you? There are so many, but I am particularly loving how the Equinox brand is making its mark on the hotel design scene.

Can you share with us your 3 favourite hotels? That’s incredibly difficult, because I honestly don’t have favourites. However, I love the authentic design and charm of Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, Matetsi Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Gleneagles in Scotland.

It's been a great chat Hamish, thanks for letting us self-isolate with you!