Guy Dittrich

The Seminar Programme at HI Design Europe is world class and is included in your delegate package. Hosted and moderated by Guy Dittrich, variety and quality are guaranteed. 4 sessions are delivered over the two business days, providing insight, education, inspiration and a bit of fun. The first session normally sets the scene with the latest regional market info. from a top industry analyst. This may be followed by a keynote interview with a design legend. We also like to put a handpicked panel of hotel design pro's together to fight their respective corners on a contentious design issue. Finally, something thought provoking or a little left-field is thrown into the mix. Audience participation is always actively encouraged and tends to take things in a whole new direction, the merest whiff of controversy being doggedly pursued by our mischievous host...

Guy Dittrich, Freelance writer, Presenter and Moderator.

Freelance writer, presenter and moderator, Guy Dittrich is an independent commentator on hotels and design. He has been our expert moderator since HI Design began 11 years ago and is now an Event Partner for HI Design MEA

Please Scroll
Rolf Schmidt
08.30 - 09.20

Europe Market Update: What’s Happening and What’s Driving it?

Rolf Schmidt, Founder and Managing Owner of TOPHOTELPROJECTS

TOPHOTELPROJECTS connects a global community of suppliers and decision makers around the design, building, furnishing and operation of hotels - that’s your business! They deliver high-quality project information about hotel brands, helping owners, developers, investors and manufacturers to make the best-informed regional business decisions. This information helps Buyers and Suppliers to direct their regional strategies.

TOPHOTELPROJECTS Founder and Managing Owner, Rolf Schmidt will be presenting our opening ’scene-setter’ session. Drawing on the up-to-the-minute hospitality intelligence of THP, Rolf will reveal the factors behind the local and regional trends which feed the decisions of those who drive our industry. Rolf will be well-known to those who rely on the THP data suite and to HI Design regulars.

Please Scroll
Rob Wagemans
14:50 – 15:50

Keynote Session - An Appetite for Disruption

Rob Wagemans, Founder / Creative Director of Concrete

Rob Wagemans is one of the Industry’s true innovators with an appetite for disruption. Founder and Creative Director of Concrete Amsterdam, his infectious passion has driven some of the most pioneering hospitality projects of the last few decades. Foremost amongst these is the truly ground breaking citizenM concept. His close business partner, Hans Meyer put it rather well as he introduced him to collect his Outstanding Contribution gong at the AHEAD Awards Europe last year: "Rob is one of the few people that senses the Zeitgeist perfectly and he understands where the world is heading. Call him when you want to go beyond what's out there today. Don't call him if you want to re-decorate your hotel and have the wall painted."

Rob will share what’s behind the Concrete approach to design in the hospitality sector along with their work in retail, commercial, residential, cultural, wellbeing and brand identity. Our moderator Guy Dittrich will then step in to quiz him and open up the discussion to include questions from the audience.

Please Scroll
James Wallman
08.30 - 09.30

Changing Times, Changing Rooms

James Wallman, author, futurist, journalist, activist and keynote speaker.

People today are wealthier, better travelled and more cultured than ever before. They don't just want to work harder and longer to get more stuff. Their expectations of work, of life, of travel, soar ever higher. We are witnessing the end of the 20th century's greatest invention, the materialism that drove the consumer revolution and the rise of capitalism. It's giving way to a new era of experientialism, where people seek fulfilment, identity, status and meaning through experiences. The Experience Economy, fuelled by this emerging value system, is leading towards ideas of disconnectivity, the search for tranquility, ‘unfocussed’ creativity, personal self-improvement and the new Transformation Economy. Futurist James Wallman, the man who first identified this key socio-cultural trend in his best-selling book Stuffocation (now in 7 languages), will unpack what's happening and why, describe where it's going next, and what it means for you at a personal and professional level.

Please Scroll
Patricia Holler, Senior Interior Design Director, Marriott International Alex Kravetz, Principal, AlexKravetzDesign Peter Joehnk, Principal, JOI Design Federico Toresi, Senior Director, Interior Design - Luxury Brands, Europe, AccorHotels
13.05 - 14.05

Panel Discussion: What’s behind that wall? The new world of Refurb’s, Renovations, Re-Use and Restorations

There’s a lot of it about – refurbishment, renovations, re-use and restorations all present their own and very different challenges (and opportunities) compared with new build projects. What of the legacy portfolios of the major hotel brands, how easy or not is re-positioning these vis-à-vis the new competition. What is the real refurbishment cycle? Do you need a designer for a refurb’? Plastic surgery or full gut job – how far back do you go with a renovation? Are conversions the future for Europe’s hotels? Will today’s offices be the hotels of the future? What’s behind that wall? Learn about the surprises a patrimonial property might have and consider, do we need ‘museum’ hotels? We are joined by speakers from two of the world’s largest hotel groups and designers with significant experience to explore this topic with you.


Patricia Holler, Senior Interior Design Director, Marriott International

Alex Kravetz, Principal, AlexKravetzDesign

Peter Joehnk, Principal, JOI Design

Federico Toresi, Senior Director, Interior Design - Luxury Brands, Europe, AccorHotels