INTERVIEW WITH ANDREAS NEUDAHM, RENOWNED HOTEL DESIGNER

by Chris Fairbairn

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Andreas Neudahm: leading hotel designer image to be shared by Scottish PR

Andreas Neudahm (above) led the design project for the new Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh.

ANDREAS NEUDAHM is one of Europe’s most highly-regarded hotel designers.

Now boasting a 30-strong team (headquartered in Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), Andreas has designed hundreds of hotels for many of the biggest brands across the continent since 1989.

He led the design project for the new Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh from start to finish, taking many cues from Edinburgh and Scottish landscapes and landmarks.

Here’s his interview:

– How long have you worked in the hotel design industry?

I designed my first major hotel 28 years ago not long after graduating from design school.

– How many Leonardo Hotels have you designed in total?

At the rate they are opening it is difficult to keep up! My team and I have now designed more than 90 hotels for the Leonardo Group alone.

– What is your favourite room/space/part of the Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh?

At every hotel I design my primary focus is the bar. As I mentioned it is the heart of the hotel in my opinion and I especially love the example here in Edinburgh.

There are hidden images of salmon within the marble effect, matched by tiles reminiscent of a fish market. The light-shades are untreated oak and it ties together very nicely with the furniture around it. It encapsulates exactly the approach I wanted to take – and I hope visitors like some of these small touches.

The Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh is aiming to appeal to both leisure guests, given its location near to tram and train stops, as well as Edinburgh’s ever-growing corporate and business tourism market – fuelled by its proximity to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the under-construction Haymarket development.

– What is vital to the design process? 

I focus on separate sections nearly always starting with the customer’s first impression and the lobby area – as well as the bar, which has to be the heart of the hotel. For me these are where the lasting impressions are made, so from a design perspective are the most important.

My background is in carpentry and furniture, so I put functionality at the forefront. At the end of the day a hotel has to be practical, it has to work and it has to make money!

Too often I see designers designing for design’s sake – creating something that looks beautiful but doesn’t pay enough attention to the comfort of the customer or the business of the hotel.

– How do you design a hotel? 

I spend a few days simply being a tourist, taking in as much as I can. I even think it helps not being from the place I am designing the hotel in – as you see it all with fresh perspective. I then make sure that is reflected throughout the design – from major themes to small details.

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is a PR account manager with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood Partnership. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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