Hay Karen, you’re a winner! [Video]

by | Mar 15, 2019 | Design, Events

Hospitality industry delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Singapore award top Creative Spark honors to IN-Dulge’s Karen Hay for her stellar project: Angelina Bar at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, Hanoi

A Scottish lady takes top honors for designing a whiskey bar. Who would’ve thought?

“Not a cliche at all,” beamed Karen Hay, Founder & Creative Director of IN-Dulge, whose stellar project Angelina Bar at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, Hanoi won the Creative Spark design competition at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Singapore.

Her entry beat out tough competition from the two finalists: Shenzhen Raffles Hotel by Adrian Battisby, Associate Director, LW Design; and Paramount Hotel Haiyan by Katie Yang, Project Director, HBA.

From left to right: Adrian Battisby, K. Hay, Katie Yang, Rolf W Schmidt, L. Reimann. Photo by Jule Grass.

The Angelina bar is a posh bar and whisky lounge, replacing the old Angelina bar at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. The intention was to create the best bar with the biggest selection of whisky in Vietnam.

Karen proposed a contemporary classic look with a Celtic edge as a concept that would truly be unique in this part of Asia. To ensure a seamless guest experience, IN-Dulge also designed the branding, selected artwork, proposed tableware and designed uniforms, and this was well received.

The bar revolves around whisky and it was natural to inject a cleverly Celtic edge to the detail, Scotland being the home of whisky, but we wanted to avoid the cliche of tartan upholstery everywhere. The name Angelina also ties in winningly with the term the Angel’s Share which refers to the 3% evaporation of the whisky during the maturing process in porous oak barrels.

She spoke to TOPHOTELNEWS right after her Creative Spark victory:

Thoughts on winning Creative Spark

Karen: Great, fantastic, and for all of the team involved, not just myself, but this is a really nice ending to a great project. That was the beginning for the hotel and for Angelina’s, but for us this is a nice reward for all the work that went into the project. As my granny always said, “if you’re gonna do it, “do it right, or don’t do it at all.”

Recipe for the design success of the project

Karen: I think the key elements for us was first of all, it was the property itself, it’s a beautiful hotel. As I said, it was opened in 1901, it’s steeped in history. It’s being rebranded as Raffles this year. So, we already had a beautiful place to work in and a lovely location which was Vietnam. So, we wanted to actually respect the heritage of the hotel, and that was very important that we kept that throughout the project. The place of Vietnam. So, we wanted elements of Vietnam in there as well. But when we decided it was a whiskey bar, we said well, you know, I’m Scottish, it’d be rude to do a Japanese whiskey after all, it had to be Scottish. So, we said let’s take some of the elements from Scotland. So, I wanted to work with the colors of the, as we say, the hillsides, the mossys, the heathers.

Then we wanted to work with some of our old suppliers, the Scottish suppliers, ’cause I know you know, working with, we’ve got some of the best wools in the world, beautiful wools. So, we worked with Bute wools from the Isle of Bute, and we worked with Timorous Beasties who are incredibly talented team in Glasgow, doing all the lovely wallpapers.

When you put the combination together between, you’ve got a lovely place, a location in Vietnam, you’ve got a heritage building and then you bring in all these nice luxury elements from Scotland. Even the people, we introduced the chef as well, one of the chefs was brought in from Scotland to help create the menu. So, we don’t stop just at interior design and obviously we did the branding, we worked on all the uniform designs, the tabletop selections, the menus. So, we try to cover everything.

Advice on entering Creative Spark

Karen: Definitely enter it, definitely enter it. It’s a great venue, it’s a great event to go to, it’s very focused, it’s very high-end, you got all the really, the top delegates in the room. So, you’ve got a very captured audience and it’s your chance to give 10 minutes to just really present your project, and keep it about the project, and present that project and then you’ve got a great audience and hopefully you never know, and it’s good marketing moving on, because of the forum that you have.

It’s not just about the event. It’s all of everything else that TOPHOTELPROJECTS will do, and so hopefully it’ll give us some new clientele maybe, a new project. I’ve already had a couple of offers today, a request today for some new projects, including a bar and a whiskey bar. Funnily enough.

About K. Hay

With 25 years of solid design experience in the design industry, covering UK, Asia and the Middle East, Karen was formerly the co-founder and Director of Stickman Tribe Ltd, a Dubai and Hong Kong based design firm. Remaining based in Hong Kong, she established IN-Dulge in 2016 with a cutting edge focus on interiors for hospitality, specialising in interior design and brand development for hotels, resorts, spas, restaurant and bars.

Creative Spark is a hotel design competition between three architects/interior designers, which is judged by delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR conferences. Shortlisted finalists present their innovative projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion.

For information on how to enter Creative Spark, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.


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