Stonehill Taylor’s Sara Duffy wins Creative Spark design award in New York

by | Nov 13, 2019 | Events

(From L to R) Robert Henry, Sara Duffy, Rolf W. Schmidt and Peter Fillat. (Photo by Jule Grass)

Sara Duffy took top honors for the TWA Hotel, a repurposed classic building at JFK Airport, in a successful TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event full of networking and inspiration.

In a conference room overlooking the iconic Hudson River, TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR New York brought together accomplished members of the hospitality industry at the Standard Highline in the city’s revitalized Meatpacking District. The event was a full day of valuable networking, relevant discussions, and poignant inspiration. 

Now in its fourth year in New York City, a main focus of the event’s discourse was whether the hotel market in America’s largest metropolis had become oversaturated with supply, and whether forthcoming regulations that make it easier to develop housing and potentially more difficult to develop hotels would harm the market further.

Other topics at the conference included the best way for the industry to embrace rapidly-changing technologies in the future, the overall state of the hospitality market in North America, and, of course, how to get the most out of networking, a subject that is vital at any TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event.

How to pack a networking punch, and more

The day’s events started with an informational speech from Michael Goldberg, who is an author, motivational speaker, educator, blogger, sales consultant, and… a boxer. That’s right, a boxer. 

“Networking is simply a proactive approach to meeting people,” Goldberg said, before going into nuanced advice on how to make the most of networking. 

Goldberg was one of several distinguished keynote speakers at the event. Others included David Kepron, a VP of design strategies within Marriott International; Paul Breslin, a managing partner of Panther Hospitality, and more. 

TOPHOTELPROJECTS Founder & CEO Rolf W. Schmidt gave a very informative presentation about the state of the hospitality market in North America, complete with useful and comprehensive information from the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database. 

The discussions, topics, and ideas brought forth by these speakers were varied and interesting, contributing expertise to a dynamic day of networking and connections.

And the winner Is….

A major highlight of the day was the Creative Spark competition, which presented a unique hospitality design competition to the attendees. 

By popular vote, the TWA Hotel project captured top honors. That stunning property was a collaboration between Stonehill Taylor — which did the guest rooms, guest floors, lobby lounges, gym, retail and Connie airplane bar and lounge — and INC Architecture & Design — which did the event and function spaces.

The project was an amazing repurposing of the famed Trans World Airlines Flight Center designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962. Designated a New York City landmark in 1994, the building is located on the premises of JFK Airport.

It has now been turned into a truly special hospitality experience, with the opening of the 512-key TWA Hotel in May 2019, paying homage to both Saarinen’s original design as well as the American Jet Age when it was developed. 

Architect Sara Duffy of Stonehill Taylor attributed her project’s success to the vast resources she had to work with.

“This whole project we really had to think of editing, editing, editing, because we had way too much to work with,” Duffy said. 

The other finalists were Peter Fillat owner of FILLAT+Architecture for the Moxy Washington, and Robert D. Henry owner and principal of RDHA for Hyatt House Harlem. 

To attend, address or sponsor TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR events, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.

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