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Hilden Style Awards: Meet The Judge – Gemma Ralph

With less than one month to go before the end of our annual Style Awards, things are hotting up with some fabulous entries already in.

The Hilden Style Awards 2016 opened for the fourth year running back in May with a brand new look and a brand new set of judges. This year, we’re looking for the unsung heroes in interior design in independent restaurants, independent hotels or B&B’s and, for the first time, small to medium care home establishments.

If you think your venue excels in interior design then be sure to enter the Hilden Style Awards today by submitting a photo of your venue and filling in the accompanying form.

In our latest Meet the Judge posts, we’re talking to Gemma Ralph; Deputy Editor of Hospitality Interiors Magazine.

Judge - Gemma Ralph - Editor of Hospitality Interior Magazine

About Gemma Ralph

Passionate about the design industry, Gemma graduated from the University of St Andrews with a degree in English before going on to work for a number of magazine titles including Surfacing and Furniture News. With a keen eye for design and interiors, she’s spent the last three years at Hospitality Interiors combining four of her favourite things; travel, writing, interior design and food!

What made you decide to be a judge this year?

The Hilden Style Awards offers a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the diversity and creativity that is at the heart of the independent sector – it’s a real privilege to be a part of this positive platform.

What do you think will be some key trends over the next 12 months?

Interiors with provenance are really taking off in a big way. From locally produced textiles or furniture to artwork from local creatives, it’s becoming clear that guests connect with and remember characterful spaces with a unique narrative. I think that designers are going to be coming up with increasingly creative ways of strengthening this connection.

In terms of hotel design, ‘wellness’ is another key driving force at the moment. This entails more than well-executed spa and gym facilities, but takes into account in-room health and wellness amenities, air purification, wellness technology, flexible lighting, ‘curated sleep experiences’ and so on.

In a highly competitive hospitality market, how do you think the design and style of a hotel or B&B may influence the decision to stay?

Rightly or wrongly, the growth of online travel agents and booking sites means that venues must impress on first glance. That’s not to say the most luxurious or aesthetically pleasing interiors will necessarily come out on top, often it’s those quirky, characterful details that will catch people’s attention.

A lot of modern restaurants don’t use table linen anymore. How important do you think table linen is as part of the restaurant’s design?

I think it really depends on the venue. Fine quality table linens have traditionally implied class, helping to create that luxurious fine dining experience, and will always have their place, I believe. Many venues today, however, favour a more relaxed, raw, or industrial style with which table linen can appear incongruous.

How important do you think stylish design is within the care home setting, taking into account that it needs to be functional and practical?

I feel it’s tremendously important to offer comfortable, pleasant surroundings that contribute to residents’ wellbeing. Designers and manufacturers are proving that interiors and products can create a high-end residential feel, without compromising on functionality or durability.

What do you think will set an entry apart from the rest this year?

An interior that is unique, purposeful and well executed is a winner in my book.

How to Enter our Hilden Style Awards 2016

We have three categories to choose from this year:

  • Most Stylish Restaurant
  • Most Stylish Hotel or B&B
  • Most Stylish Care Home

So if you think you can beat the competition in the style stakes and you have a small to medium establishment with 10 venues or less, use your best photo and submit your entry on our dedicated entry form here.

Entries close on Friday 2nd September – so be quick!

Good luck!


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