From April 26-28, 2022, HD Expo + Conference, the largest U.S.-based hospitality event of its kind, gathered 5,000 designers, architects, brand executives, hoteliers, developers, purchasers, and other attendees from 36 countries at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to experience new products, engaging conversation, and strategic networking events. Topics during the conference, curated by Hospitality Design (HD) magazine, ranged from culture as community-building, sustainability, and wellbeing to business advice, project case studies, and the future of the industry.
In addition to 450 exhibitors, activation spaces included the HD Park, which featured all CEU-accredited sessions and was sponsored by Williams-Sonoma Business to Business and Shaw Contract; the DesignWell Pavilion, designed by INC Architecture & Design and was home to discussions on wellness, sustainability, and DEI-driven ideas; and the HD Social Hub, which was crafted by 21c Museum Hotels and included sessions that explored topics such as designing with soul and redefining the lifestyle market. From student scholarships to booth and product awards, the three-day trade show was an ongoing showcase of the best in hospitality and panels forecasting the future.
“This year’s show was a full celebration of the hospitality design community,” says Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, editor in chief of HD magazine, and SVP, Design Group, Emerald, the brand’s parent company. “The energy on the show floor, the standing-room-only panel conversations, and the packed networking events—it was so great to bring the industry back together again.”
Timely + Thoughtful Conversations
Throughout the 35 sessions, design luminaries and rising stars alike shared insights and inspired audiences as they explored global trends, concepts, and products to stay ahead of and on top of industry news. Highlights included: Women in Design which featured a powerhouse panel of female leaders at the HD Social Hub, including Gina Deary, KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group; Anita Summers, the Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry; Tenaya Hills, Bunkhouse Group; Melissa Haft, Overmoon; Dionne Jefferson, Marriott International; and Cindy Kaufman, Shaw Contract; The definition of luxury continued to evolve at the Brand Identity: Exploring the New Luxury panel where creatives and brands examined its myriad iterations—simplicity, beauty, and singular experiences—and what that means in terms of ever-evolving guest needs; and the ever-popular networking event, the HD/ISHP | Owners’ Roundtable, gathered more than 40 influential hospitality owners and brands with attendees for candid conversations about current projects and development plans for the future.
COMMUNITY + CULTURE
Stimulating panels invigorated the show floor where community was an essential subject. The HDAC Series: Culture as Catalyst featured Openbox’s Marquise Stillwell discussing culture as a community-building tool, and the power of art, music, activism, and design as catalysts to bring us all together. Community was also a key component of Making Design More Democratic, where panelists Victor Body-Lawson, Body Lawson Associates; Jenesis LaForcarde, Jenesis House; and Sequoyah Hunter-Cuyjet, Determined by Design talked about expanding inclusivity and accessibility in design, from creating affordable housing to using architecture for good.
Additionally, the Concepts We Love: Projects Through the Editors’ Lens highlighted a handful of projects that are influencing design, including the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York from Matthew Goodrich, Goodrich; Pater Noster Lighthouse from Erik Nissen Johansen, Stylt Trampoli; and Bond Collective’s latest co-working space in Downtown Los Angeles, presented by Elide Grabowski Rathbone, Bond Collective; and Fotografiska | NeueHouse’s pipeline of new community-oriented projects, led by Adriana Marianella.
AWARDS + SCHOLARSHIPS
The NEWH Young Entrepreneurs Breakfast was an opportunity to hear from past Wave of the Future honorees about their career beginnings, challenges, and opinions on the industry’s future. The NEWH Harvey Nudelman Scholarship, sponsored by Fabricut and FR-One, was awarded to Catherine Gabriel, an interior design student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Thi Kim Nhi Phan, a hospitality management student at Arkansas State University, received the second annual HDAC Diversity in Hospitality Scholarship Award. As part of HD Expo’s support of HDAC, it promoted a new program to raise funds for this scholarship.
For every social share attendees made, $10 was contributed to the Diversity in Hospitality Scholarship provided by the Hospitality Diversity Action Council (HDAC) and NEWH, underwritten by Emerald X, LLC. To date, the program has earned 174 percent over the expected goal.
Best Booth Awards
Aaron Anderson, the 26 Co.; Selena Durbin, Las Vegas Sands Corp.; and Kavitha Iyer, IHG Hotels & Resorts, led the jury to select the Best Booth Winners for this year’s show. Quality & Company took home the top prize. Booths from Williams-Sonoma Business to Business, Bryan Ashley, and Valley Forge Fabrics were also among the winners across nearly a dozen categories. View the full list of HD Expo + Conference Best Booth winners.
IIDA/HD Expo Product Design Awards
Winners of the 25th annual IIDA/HD Expo Product Design Awards were also announced. Entries were judged by a jury of IIDA members including Mari Ansera, HGA; Mike Johnson II, Perkins&Will; and Jason Valentin, One Line Design Studio who selected the Oak Eye Dining Chair designed by Alain Van Havre for Ethnicraft as the Eric Engstrom Best of Competition winner. Other category winners included Astek, Phillip Jeffries, Fabricut Contract, Nanimarquina, Janus et Cie, Room & Board, Duravit, and Vestaboard.
To round out a successful show, the winner of the HD Passport $5000 Cash Giveaway was Jennifer Cronauer of AOA.
HD Expo + Conference will return as a three-day event to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on May 2-4, 2023.