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Hilden Style Awards 2016: Meet the Judge – Lucy Forsyth

There’s now only one week to go until our Hilden Style Awards come to an end for another year. Back in May, we opened up this year’s Style Awards with a brand new look; including new judges, new prizes and a new category.

As the competition nears its final days, there’s still some time to enter so if you think your hotel, B&B, country house, guesthouse, restaurant or care home can beat out the competition in the style stakes then be sure to enter via our dedicated Style Awards page.

All you need to do is enter a photograph that shows off your establishment at its best along with the accompanying contact form. Once the finalists have been chosen, our esteemed panel of judges will decide upon a winner from each category.

For more information and entry rules and requirements, be sure to visit the Hilden Style Awards 2016 page. 

This week, we’re meeting the final judge, Vision Support Services’ very own Lucy Forsyth.

Judge- Lucy Forsyth - Healthcare Interior Specialist - Whitakers

About Lucy Forsyth

With a background in interior design, Lucy has worked for the healthcare division of Vision (formerly Whitaker Services) for over nine years. Transforming the brand from a textile supplier to incorporate fully bespoke and unique interior design solutions, Lucy has a passion for design and, in 2013, undertook a course with The University of Stirling to study the key aspects of design for dementia – now offering this practical advice and dedicated dementia solutions as part of the Vision offering.

Working closely with healthcare establishments, Lucy holds close relationships with architects, care groups and contractors in order to deliver a fully functional, practical yet stylish living environment for those in residential care.

What made you decide to be a judge this year?

This was a hugely exciting time to be part of the Style Awards – not least of all because of the brand new care home category. Working closely with care homes and groups, I deal with healthcare establishments on a daily basis and I know how the demand for stylish settings has increased in recent years. Care homes are usually judged on their practical aspects but never on their interior design choices so it’s an honour to recognise the hard work they are doing in this area to ensure the residents are in an attractive yet homely setting.

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

Historically, care homes have felt very clinical and uninspiring. However, there seems to be a collective understanding in recent years that a care home is ultimately exactly that – a home. We’re seeing huge steps being taken to provide a comfortable environment that does feel like home but also caters to the needs of the residents. Homelike comforts provide a familiarity to the residents and also a slice of nostalgia – whether it’s decorative artwork of local landscapes or landmarks or comfortable tub chairs, cleverly positioned so as to aid interaction.

Another big thing we are seeing in care home design is marrying up the outdoors with the interior. Ensuring communal living areas have plenty of natural light and easily accessible outdoor space helps to promote calm and relaxation. We’re seeing an evolution in care home design as they move towards a hotel or home-like feel.

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

In a social media and connected generation, it’s more important than ever to ensure hospitality establishments are well designed. Photo sharing apps and online review websites are some of the first places a potential guest will go to in order to determine whether they want to stay – not only to read the reviews of the customer service but also to look at images of the venue – both professional and past visitor photos. In a highly competitive industry, it’s important to offer something a competitor doesn’t and this usually means something extra in terms of design.

A lot of modern restaurants don’t use table linen; how important would you say table linen is as part of restaurant design?

Table linen is still highly sought after in many dining venues, although more modern eateries tend to bypass linen to fit a minimalistic and contemporary theme. Fine dining restaurants, and also care homes, do still value the importance of table linen as it promotes the idea of elegance, class and luxury. Table linen, however, does need to fit the theme of what the establishment is all about.

How important is stylish design within a care home setting, taking into account that it needs to be functional and practical as well?

It’s extremely important to consider both functionality and design in care homes. I’ve worked extensively to identify the most important factors to satisfy both of these areas.

The purpose of a care home is very different to that of a hotel – for example, in a care home it’s important to design seating areas which would draw the residents into the communal areas promoting easy resident management by care home staff or providing seating with strong, contrasting colours to make it easier for a resident with visual impairments or dementia to find.  Areas that are too busy or aren’t coherent can be detrimental to a resident and make it harder for the staff to care for them.

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

For me, it would be a functional space that is comfortable, satisfies the needs of the user but also provides something unique – something unusual and beneficial to a guest or resident.


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