Radical Innovation Award Encourages Thinking Big

In June, Radical Innovation—a company that bills itself as a “hospitality concept incubator” seeking to upend the lodging industry’s current status quo with forward-thinking design—announced the two finalists who would be competing for the 2016 Radical Innovation Award, as well the 2016 student winner. The finalists, Driftscape and Nest Inn, will compete head-to-head during the final phase of the competition in October.

Now in its 10th year, the Radical Innovation Award is given following a worldwide call for entries. The main requirement of the competition is for entrants to push the boundaries of the hotel experience, and create a wild, yet still feasible, evolution to the hotel industry. Past winners include the Green Air Hotel (2014), a hotel that filters pollution out of the air, and Zoku (2015) a home-office hybrid that offers the services of a hotel with the “social buzz” of an office space. The first Zoku property is due to open this year in Amsterdam.

A jury consisting of top hospitality executives and design experts selected the two professional finalists, Driftscape and Nest Inn, based on their design and creativity. Finalists were chosen from entries submitted from over 20 countries.


The Finalists
The first finalist, Driftscape, created by HOK Canada, is a mobile, self-sustaining hotel that would use drone technology, providing guests the ability to roam or touch down in diverse locations unattainable to traditional hotels. Driftscape hotels are comprised of several modular units for ease of construction and mobility, and include the “Oasis” (formed of operational, community, and food and beverage units).

An additional aspect of Driftscale is “Driftcraft,” a single-volume guestroom unit that provides 360-
degree views to the outside world and is fitted for untethered excursions of two to three days. Driftcraft is designed to have a minimal impact on sensitive environments, preserving the integrity and authenticity of the travelers’ experience.

The other finalist, Nest Inn, submitted by Mm Architects Designers & Planners in France, re-imagines how people use urban parks and landscapes through a partnership between public and private entities. Nest Inn proposes introducing smart, flexible private spaces that will generate new experiences, as well as revenue, to solve problems caused by space shortages in cities and a confined urban lifestyle.

The completely customizable modular units that make up a Nest Inn can be connected and disconnected to accommodate a myriad of guest needs, creating suites, meeting rooms, and other spaces to provide a greater sense of wellbeing through connecting with nature and creating a sense of community.

While he will not be competing in the final showdown, Juan Orduz, who attends the University of Nevada Las Vegas, won the student category for 2016. Orduz submitted a design for the Space View Inn, which conveys a space travel theme and seeks to incorporate the concepts of inclusion and transcendence. Because typical space areas currently consist of small, confined spaces, Space View Inn is suggesting the use of an expanded truss system to support and create boundaries between different areas.

Space View Inn aims to allow guests to view incredible scenery and experience microgravity in a comfortable interior space. The concept also proposes a more inclusive, democratic form of space travel by introducing a lottery system, choosing people from various social classes, ensuring that ordinary individuals, as well the wealthy, can experience outer space.

The Competition Ramps Up
To determine the winner of the 2016 Radical Innovation Award, the finalists will be flown to New York to battle it out on the Radical Innovation stage in front of an audience of hotel owners, developers, executives, and designers. The audience will vote for the winner on the spot.
The 2016 jury consists of John Hardy, CEO of the John Hardy Group; Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood Hotels; James Wood, COO of The Bowls; and Jena Thornton, managing director of Eagle Rock Ventures, to name a few.

The winner will receive $10,000 to further their concept. Orduz will also present Space View Inn for the audience. He will receive a $1,500 cash prize, as well as a two-year full scholarship offer to the University of Las Vegas to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality design.