will meyer hd expo + conference panel discussion

HD Expo + Conference 2024: Four Takeaways From Day One

On the HD Expo + Conference show floor, thousands of attendees engaged in innovative product displays and thought-provoking sessions across three activation spaces: the DesignWell Pavilion crafted by Hilton, the Social Hub designed by Wimberly Interiors, and HD Park, where all CEU sessions are held. Here, we gather key takeaways from conversations hosted on day one.

1. Dial up flexibility and creativity

Lisa White, director of strategic forecasting at WGSN, presented six major factors—society, technology, environment, politics, industry, and creativity—that will impact interior products and spaces in 2025. A key discussion point from Big Ideas: WGSN’s 2025 Trends Forecast: Be flexible and focused, preserve your resources, and foster creativity. When it comes to flexibility, White says “it’s no longer one size fits all. The future will be multi-layered and adapted for all” and that businesses should “develop smart and caring solutions that will cater to different needs.”

As for creativity: “More people are exploring creativity with purpose and tapping into playfulness as a form of self-care, connection to others, or just for fun,” she says. She recommends that businesses “engage all of the senses, tell the stories behind the product, and create playful experiences that will be remembered.”

2. The rise of members clubs and branded residences

In Trendspotting: Innovators to Watch, the panel spoke about everything from shoppable hotels and immersive spaces to new membership models and bespoke branded residences. “The successful private members clubs are those who have an identity that attracts a certain type of member—you’re selling a certain kind of lifestyle,” says Will Meyer of design firm Meyer Davis. “A club is its members.” Another rising trend is branded residences with “activities, service, and amenities that make you want to live there,” says Huxley Hogeboom of Left Lane Development.

3. Wellness is a space to watch

During the Trendspotting panel, the group also discussed the changing wellness landscape and how it “no longer means doing your own thing,” says Rado Ivanov of Marriott International. “People are looking for experiences. Spas are becoming more and more popular, and not just in resort destinations.”

Dakota Development’s Vedi Aslanyan mentioned how wellness has evolved and “now it’s about trends, and people expect that from the hotels and gyms they go to—with things like cryotherapy, hot cold plunges, and infrared therapies. When they go to a hotel, they expect the same level of experience of services they have at home, or are looking for new things to try.”

4. Communities and consumers are dictating design

Each year, HD honors a handful of rising stars with the coveted Wave of the Future award. In Next Wave: Rising Stars on Building Community and Placemaking, recent recipients engaged in a conversation on new ideas shaping the industry. One point is how consumers are shaping design. “People dictate what a space is,” says Tenaya Hills of Bunkhouse Group, who “learned the hard way [when] we did a lounge for cocktails and snacks, but people wanted to eat there so we had to adjust the tables to dining height.”

Nick Solomon of AvroKO shared a similar sentiment, commenting on how “we are dealing with the savviest and most informed consumers, and now there are thousands of brands with something for everyone. From a designer’s point of view, we have to really up our game and get smart, but that means we’re moving the needle by finding ways to be more innovative. It feels like the most exciting time for hospitality.”

Seconding Solomon was Paris Swann of Universal Creative, who notes that whether it’s “working on LEED projects or affordable housing or community projects, we’re held to a higher standard.”

“The younger generations will hold our feet to the fire,” Hills adds.

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