Marriott International just added a new lair, located two stories below the company headquarters, devoted to innovation. The lab, dubbed “The Underground” will be equipped with Internet-enabled cameras and the ability for customers to provide the company with instant feedback.
The lab features a floor-to-ceiling white space for architects, designers, employees, and customers to use and experiment with new ideas.
“When we decided to transform this expansive unused space hidden beneath headquarters, we blasted through walls and left the old ideas of a ‘design space’ behind. We tapped into the best technology to create an ever-changing lab for innovation, experiencing ideas, exploring concepts, and receiving instant feedback from guests,” said Paul Cahill, senior vice president, brand management for Marriott Hotels. “The design concepts conceived and perfected will make the future of travel a reality, sooner.”
Visitors to the space will become a part of the design process as they test out designs and products relating to guestrooms, lobbies, meeting spaces, and food and beverage concepts.
Upon entry to The Underground, guests will traverse a gallery filled with projected images on walls. Opening into the floor-to-ceiling, white, 10,000 square foot, main innovation room, guests will find an ‘open contribution’ wall where they can impact the brand through new ideas and design likes and dislikes. An additional, “war room” offers functional space for private group meetings up to 40 people.
“This isn’t a space where sport coats are required or guests stand to the side while we speak. It is interactive and participatory,” said Karim Khalifa, senior vice president, architecture and construction, Marriott. “Marriott is dedicated to transforming the brand to make it relevant for a next generation of travelers – and we want these travelers to be a part of our transformative journey.”