Designer in Profile: Henry Reeve, Director of Design & Innovation for IHG

Name: Henry Reeve
Company: InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Position within company: Director of Design & Innovation
Website: IHG , 2Kul Design Agency , Lange & Lange

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

I perhaps unusually originally trained as a Mechanical Engineer before realising my passion for design and trained at Central Saint Martins College of Art in Design in London in Industrial design. From there I have worked across a whole host of disciplines from Retail, Exhibition, Event and ultimately Hospitality design. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s most design forward thinking companies, such as Nike, Uniqlo, Bollinger and Lotus Cars and of course IHG. As varied as my background is, I have always focused on creating spaces that aim to deliver a truly memorable and unique consumer experience be this walking past a shop window or indeed sleeping in a hotel room.

How would you describe your personal design style?

Selective, Refined and rich in personality

Where does your design inspiration come from?

Everywhere, I don’t think it’s something you can switch on and off, inspiration can come from the strangest places. I’m lucky in that we work with some of the very best design agencies in Europe and the guys at 2Kul and Lange & Lange really came up with some wonderful designs for Hotel Indigo Warsaw. In addition the wider IHG Interior Design team (made up of Emma King & Caro Cundall) are always sure to inspire!

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Perhaps a more minimal aesthetic, Less but better.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.

1) Hidden technology
2) Tonal not Primary
3) Block not Pattern
4) A move from Industrial
5) A continued exploration in unusual materials

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

Sometimes good design is just solving a problem (It’s easy to overthink design sometimes)

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

Very important, they’re a superb global platform to get the work of our agencies out into the wider world.

What projects are you currently working on?

There really is too many for me to list, but perhaps the one I’m most excited about (partly because it’s my home town) is Hotel Indigo Bath. A grade 1 listed Georgian property in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has enormous site challenges, but is shaping up to be something truly stunning.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To open a record 10 new Hotel Indigo properties across Europe, all of which are underway…

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
My Grandfather’s gold pocket watch

Your favourite holiday destination?
The Maldives takes some beating when you want to escape

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
Right now, of course has to be Hotel Indigo Warsaw, and our restaurant Florentin

Your favourite book / film / song?
Rogue Male (A quite old book about an English gentleman escaping across the English countryside) / We’re working on a beautiful project in Paris and I recently re-watched Amelie and forgot quite how good it is / Song? Impossible to answer I think! depends upon the mood

Your favourite food and drink?
Probably Shepherds Pie & an Old Fashioned

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? 
With my family in the Countryside

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Probably a frustrated architect