Sleep & Eat 2019 to Explore the Power of ‘Social FlexAbility’ in Hospitality Spaces

Sleep & Eat, Europe’s leading hospitality design and innovation event, returns to London Olympia on 19th – 20th November. With the theme for 2019 of “Social FlexAbility”, the show will be delving into the contribution that design can make to human interaction in our age of digital isolation. Six Sleep & Eat Sets will brave this issue, presenting built concepts for hospitality spaces that offer flexible environments where users can activate the social experience of their choice. In addition, the Sleep & Eat Conference will include sessions that debate the topic and discuss the latest innovations in co-experience spaces. As in previous years, the event will also feature an international Exhibition. Reflecting the growing convergence between hotel, restaurant and bar design, the exhibitor line-up includes many companies which supply all three sectors, as well as cruise ships and spas.

Graphic by Sleep & Eat Set designer, twenty2degrees, for a bespoke rug by Ulster Carpets

One of the event’s favourites are the concept room Sets, designed afresh each year. Six international design and architecture firms based in London, Paris, Singapore and Manchester, are now fine-tuning their vision for concept room installations, aiming to deliver thought-provoking, inspiring and experiential Sets in response to the theme. They are: Miaja Design Group, Maria Tibblin & Co, twenty2degrees and HAT Design, who are each designing a guestroom, and SpaceInvader and NAME Architecture who are designing a bar and a restaurant respectively.

Graphic by Miaja Design Group, Sleep Set designer

The Conference will feature hospitality game-changers from around the globe, including Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International, Josh Wyatt, CEO of NeueHouse, and Christoph Hoffman, Co-Founder and CEO of 25Hours Hotels. Delegates will also have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with decision makers and influencers at the perennially popular Development Roundtables. This year, table hosts will include Charles Cresser, Development Director at SACO, Maria Adamo, Global Development Manager at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Richard Fewings, Senior Vice President of Design & Construction at Highgate, and Irene Hoek, Vice President of Global Residential Development at Rosewood Hotels.

Amar Lalvani
Christoph Hoffmann

The trend for hybrid spaces where guests socialise and work will be under the spotlight when a panel of operators gathers to discuss “Social FlexAbility”. Today, it’s a given for most hotels that public areas need to be engaging and offer strong food and drink concepts. However, what does that mean operationally and how must brands adapt to manage this efficiently? These are just some of the questions that Dale MacPhee, General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh and Business Women Scotland’s Hotelier of the Year 2017, citizenM’s London Area Manager, Eylem Ozgun, and Steve Pete, Co-Founder of Ormeau Baths and Founder of Think Hearts + Minds, will seek to answer, moderated by veteran hotelier and Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard.

The design of co-experience environments will also be under the spotlight when Harry Harris of SUSD, the developer behind London’s Curtain Hotel and Members Club, chairs a conversation between leading international designers. Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd, Kayla Pongrac from The Design Agency, Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski + Pons and Yuna Megre of MEGRE INTERIORS will consider how hospitality design can combat modern urban isolation by offering the experience of well-being from both a physical health perspective and from a sociological and psychological one.

Alex Michaelis and Tim Boyd
Kayla Pongrac

In addition, the Conference is promising to take delegates to the outer reaches of hospitality. ‘Under’ will consider what it takes to design great guest experiences underwater. In a discussion between Richard Coutts of Baca Architects and Ben Fitzgerald of Core Marine, the engineers behind Under restaurant off the Norwegian coast, the hospitality pioneers will share what’s involved in creating extraordinary guest experiences on, alongside and beneath our seas. In the ‘Above’ session, Johannes Torpe, Danish design activist and former Chief Creative Director of Bang & Olufsen, will consider what the future holds for the space tourism and how to go about creating the “unearthly” hospitality experiences on Earth. As a collaborator with organisations in the space industry, and an advocate for an unrestrained and intuitive approach to design as well as life in general, Johannes Torpe is a frequent speaker admired around the world for his unconventional and inspiring mindset.

Under restaurant. Image by Ivar Kvaal

Other sessions will include an F&B panel in which Karina Elias from The Langham in London will be joined by Lydia Forte, Group Director of F&B at Rocco Forte Hotels, Gustaf Pilebjer of Marriott and, from Hong Kong, Anurag Bali of Shangri-La International. The ingredients for this particular discussion will include the hot new concepts that travellers are craving and the thorny question – have hotels finally caught up with independent restaurants and bars in offering the same amount of social excitement and social media worthy content? 

The Conference will conclude with ‘Guilt Free Experiences’, a debate for our times when it’s hard to find a hotel brand without sustainability among its values. The speakers, Callie Tedder-Hares, Founder of Volume, James Dilley of Jestico + Whiles, Jonathan Ashmore of ANARCHITECT, and Sigurdur Thorsteinsson from Design Group Italia, will be asked to suggest what defines a true eco-hotel and whether luxury hospitality with its associated price tag can ever truly be a guilt-free experience.

Lydia Forte
Karina Elias

Sleep & Eat 2019 will also feature The Sleeper Bar, The Hub and the VIP Lounge, each designed by a major name hospitality design practice. 

Graphic by MEGRE INTERIORS, designer of the VIP Lounge ‘Gather’

The show will be open from 10am on Tuesday 19th with an evening drinks reception until 8.30 pm, and from 10am-6pm on Wednesday 20th.

For more information and to register for a complementary pass, visit

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