5 minutes with Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk and Peter Joehnk of JOI-Design GmbH


 Names: Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk and Peter Joehnk
 Company: JOI-Design GmbH
 Positions within company: Co-Managing Directors
 Website: www.joi-design.com












. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
We are both qualified interior architects. JOI-Design was founded in Hamburg in 1984 by Peter and then in 1993 Corinna joined the firm as an interior designer, progressing to Managing Director in 2003 when she opened our new branch office in Switzerland. Professional communication in Germany is quite formal, so during work situations we referred to each other using our surnames until we formed a business partnership in 2003 and the practice’s name changed from “Joehnk Interior Design” to “JOI-Design”. Around the same time our private relationship blossomed and we married in Hamburg in 2004. And now, JOI-Design has been successfully designing hotel interiors for 30 years.

. How would you describe your personal design style?
At JOI-Design we have adopted the phrase “Shaping Atmosphere” as our mantra because this idea is at the heart of everything we do as hospitality designers. We, along with our industry colleagues, are aiming to shape just exactly the right “atmosphere” that will not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of the guests who use the spaces.

. Where does your design inspiration come from?
Our work involves a lot of travel and we use these opportunities to observe changes happening across the world. We notice the many different manners, cultures, behaviours and needs of our changing society – we love watching people, exploring and debating about what we see. Also we share our lives 100% both at work and home, and sometimes the main design input comes more from one side and for another project it comes from the other side, but there is no project where either one or the other of us goes it alone – so we stay faithful to our values – but always in a different way!

. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Wellness – or a “back-to-nature” approach – remains a strong, enduring movement. Until recent times masculine management has dominated the design of hospitality spaces, but this is now shifting to include the feminine perspective. And of course new technologies and the rise in use of social media has had an enormous impact on how and where we spend our time working, socialising or relaxing. There is now much more fluidity between these different areas of our lives and, especially in hospitality spaces, we can often be doing more than one at the same time! So the design of spaces is perhaps becoming less defined by just a single type of use or occupant. Our view is that guestroom design will more consciously address the ‘yin and yang’ balance of travellers, especially as more of us are mixing business and pleasure, by blending hi-tech flexibility with personal wellbeing and rejuvenation.

. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.
The research we did for our book “Colours for Hotels” gave us an inside perspective into colour trends. Since then we’ve noticed that combinations which previously were considered to clash are now seen as fun and imaginative – if used with discretion, of course!

Hotel lobbies that feature a living room space where guests can work as well as relax have become quite prevalent – so much so, in fact, that the desk and chair conventionally found in guestrooms could become a thing of the past, especially in budget properties.

Innovative lighting that captures the imagination has become an increasingly essential component of a successful hotel design. This trend will continue to grow in popularity – along other “sensory” stimuli that impact the guest experience, for example scents and acoustics.

In an effort to make hotels appear more individual and cosy, materials and finishes from the residential sector are sometimes used; however this is risky as they don’t tend to have the resistant qualities required for hotels and can quickly look worn and therefore less appealing to guests.

Hospitality design does not need loud and flashy new design ideas. Guests in hotels, bars, restaurants and spas want to feel safe and secure – and maybe even stress-free – since typically these are places where people go to relax, recover and savour a gastronomy, wine, or spa experience.

. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?

Stay open-minded! It’s really important to keep on top of the latest technological advances too so that as a designer you can have an intelligent, informed perspective about what should be integrated into a design – or be left out.

. How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

Awards schemes are a very important arena for showcasing the best talent across the globe, as architects and designers we often work in a bubble so it’s good to see what our peers are up to. We would be very honoured if we were to receive this award, as it would reaffirm our reputation as hotel design specialists in the international arena.
. What projects are you currently working on?

A new bar at the O2 Berlin
Historical hotel refurbishment in Hamburg
Swiss Alpine resort – refurbishment
Luxury health resort in the mountains of Germany – reconstruction and extension
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To spend more time with family and friends… in our new home.

. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Corinna: Style Hotel, Vienna / Hakkasan, London
Your favourite book / film / song? Corinna: “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
Your favourite food and drink? Corinna: Sushi. Peter: German currywurst!
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? Corinna: running my own small hotel where I would enjoy chatting and welcoming each guest with personal care. Peter: repairing old tractors… while still, of course, designing hotels!