It’s been a little more than a year since Advaya Hospitality President and CEO John Russell and Principal and Chief Development Officer Chris Jones announced the launch of MODO Hotels, a musically inspired brand that will develop hotels in both the United States and India. The pair, along with their partners from India-based Auro Hospitality Group, announced it would develop, acquire, franchise, and operate full-service and select-service hotels that used music and music culture as its backdrop and offered a “cost-defying” design.
“Our hotels will be a lavish departure from others in their price category,” Jones said at the time.
Advaya sought the help of SR3 Design, a Beverly Hills, Calif., design firm, to implement its design and theory into a reality. “They created a wonderful idea and concept for a room,” says Ryan Oxford, director of global development at SR3. “So much of that room is derived by how it is actually constructed, as well as how it is actually going to be rolled out. They had a lot of great theory. What they didn’t have was the expertise to construct and implement that design. That’s where we came into play.”
Oxford says that the idea for the MODO prototype is being able to construct several different rooms that can be rolled out over certain properties. “It’s more than just a prototype of a room,” he says. “That’s what makes MODO interesting, because you’re actually creating a brand.”
MODO is a unique brand. Inspired by music, Jones set up a design that has a fashion-forward, Bauhaus-inspired look, beautifully designed rooms and common areas, and range of amenities. MODO’s custom-curated collection of vinyl, CDs, and MP3s are intended to provide guests with a distinctively musical experience. In addition, it has an international flavor.
Because MODO will be both new-build properties and conversions, and will be located in two different and distinct cultures, developing the prototype for construction created a unique set of challenges. “The room has been strategically designed so that it can be modularized into any situation, whether it be a new-build or a renovation,” says Melissa Messmer, design director at SR3.
There are two types of MODO properties—MODO and MODO Zip. MODO Zip is a simplified version of the flagship brand that will be determined by rating and location. “But the furniture is all constructed exactly the same for every hotel,” Messmer says. “We can adapt any type of electrical, wall conditions, or construction conditions that we find ourselves going into.”
MODO Zip will mostly be new construction so the prototype is basically a room in a box. “It can go into any construction,” Messmer says.
“The only thing that is going to be ‘attached to the wall’ is the bathrooms, and even those components are modularized such that everything is built offsite and then moved into place,” she continues. “Whether it is an existing bathroom or a new bathroom, we have to help the constructor redesign based on those configurations.”
Messmer says that the plan for adjusting the design to configurations is mainly a function of bathroom design. For the rest of the room, SR3 must make the furniture work based on the conditions that are present.
Because MODO is just starting out, what the rooms look like exactly will depend on the location and type of building. “It’s going to be interesting, based on what type of properties come up,” Messmer says. “For example, with new-builds we can really make it look like what the designer’s intention was—and that’s a Bauhaus loft look. But when we get into the renovations with drywall, we’re going to make the walls look like they’re concrete walls.”
Bringing in the musical element is a different story. In fact, that element of the design is best represented in the technology of the room. Although, looking at the rendering of the room design, one may feel as though they are inside an MP3 player. “We’re not trying to brand MODO as another Hard Rock Hotel or anything like that,” Messmer says. “We’re trying to bring in the technology of people who are listening to the latest music today.”
That harkens back to the hotel brand’s extensive library of CDs and MP3s, but also its collection of vinyl records for those who are into the old style of listening to music. “We’re trying to broaden the spectrum of technology so you can have one person listening to music on an iPod and another listening to it on vinyl,” Messmer says.
The idea of the music is to bring in an entire range of music and how people enjoy it. MODO is not intended to glorify musicians. Instead, it is intended to glorify how people enjoy listening to music.
Messmer admits that there are small and subtle music references in the design. Oxford agrees. “Music is a heavy part of the branding,” he says. “When you get into the actual design elements of the rooms and public spaces, I think it’s fair to say it’s actually more of a Bauhaus feel.”
“It’s more a vibe of music as opposed to something like a poster of Jim Morrison on the wall,” Messmer adds. “It’s not going to be that obvious.”
But what is obvious is the abundance of methods to listen to music. For example, the bathrooms will have hookups for MP3 players. Throughout the hotel, guests will have ample means of listening to the latest music as it debuts, even on that same day. “They’re really coming up with ideas that we want to incorporate into the designs that help people enjoy music,” Messmer says, “and not only music, but also fashion and art.”
One of the unique aspects of MODO is the fact that it will debut in both India and the U.S. For Messmer and SR3 that presents a number of challenges due to the difference in construction in both countries.
“That’s one reason for the modularization,” Messmer says. “India is actually going to be a lot better with concrete walls than the U.S. That’s how it’s used to building.
“Trying to get a drywall box of a room to look like it is made of concrete and steel is actually quite challenging,” she continues. “We are developing some products with different vendors to help with that.”
“When we brought our expertise to the table, Advaya realized there are a lot of issues designing and constructing the hotels’ rooms,” Oxford says.”
But with proper execution, it will soon be time to crank up the tunes.