Radical Innovation’s 2017 Finalists Envision a High-Tech Future for Hotels

Radical Innovation, a competition that seeks out-of-the-box concepts in the hospitality sector, announced in June the three finalists who will battle for the 2017 Radical Innovation Award held Oct. 4 at the New Museum in New York City. The ideas—Vertical Micro-Climate, Living the Till, and Play Design Hotels—will compete for the title tonight in front of a live audience. The winner of the 2017 student category and honorable mention will be spotlighted as well.

Now in its 11th year, Radical Innovation seeks out entrepreneurs whose ideas revolutionize the hospitality experience with unconventional—but feasible—innovations. This year, the organization received more than 65 global submissions. The finalists curate plans that can alter the guest experience with lodging and services that can’t be offered at traditional hotels.

Past winners of the Radical Innovation Award include Driftscape (2016), a mobile hotel that uses drone technology to roam diverse but attainable locations, and Zoku (2015), a hotel with the social experience of an office. The first Zoku property opened in Amsterdam in mid-2016.

For more than a decade, Radical Innovation has sought out the ideas of innovators who advance the travel experience and serve as game-changers in the hospitality industry. True to form, the 2017 finalists provide a unique experience and avoid conventional services.


The 2017 Finalists

Radical Innovation-Vertical Micro Climate Resort

Vertical Micro-Climate, the first finalist, proposes using thermal and solar energy to create a tropical environment in the typically cold climate of Vancouver, Canada. Created by Arno Matis Architecture, the structures would consist of two concave towers that provide warm, bright, and natural light to the mountaintop property. Through the shape of the towers, natural light would be reflected to the outdoor pool area and pathways. Refracted light would also shine into the suites and throughout indoor areas, warming and brightening rooms naturally. Additionally, the pools and greenhouse-themed cabanas would be warmed by geothermal heat so that guests can experience a tropical setting on a Canadian mountainside.

Tall Forest of Sequoias, Radical Innovation

The second finalist, Living the Till by EoA Inc., supports a partially open-air sustainable lifestyle in vertical mesh structures situated 30 feet above the forest floor. Because they would be elongated and supported by cables, the construction won’t conflict with ecosystems or impact the surrounding area. The spaces would be seasonably livable and in remote areas for a truly unconventional experience. Living the Till would also support composting methods and celebrate the use of natural ventilation and resources.

And finally, Play Design Hotel created a namesake concept that originated as an inhabitable design gallery (top photo). The third finalist developed this idea into a studio for local designers to share their culture with international travelers. For guests not native to or familiar with an area, the space would create a connection between the traveler and the culture through the design of the furnishings and finishes, as well as the inclusion of accessories included specifically for their cultural significance.

Radical Innovation-Hyperloop Hotel

Although not competing, Brandan Seibrecht from the University of Nevada Las Vegas will present the winning idea Hyperloop Hotel for the student category. Using shipping containers as suites, Hyperloop Hotel has modular designs that are completely customizable in design and easily moveable. Controlling the experience can be done through an app.

Radical Innovation-Garden House

Receiving honorable mention is the Garden House, submitted by Caspar Schols from the UK-based Architectural Association School of Architecture. There, climate is controlled through a dual-shell exterior. The inner shell is composed of double glass and a steel roof while the outer is insulated and heated by a Norwegian stove. With these elements combined, the house eliminates the need for indoor climate control and makes the cabin adjustable for all seasons. Energy waste is reduced and it blurs the barriers between the indoor and outdoor.

The Competition

The winner of the 2017 Radical Innovation Award will be determined tonight at the New Museum in New York. Finalists will present their awards to a live audience, which will vote on the spot for the winner among hotel owners and executives.

A jury of seven hospitality industry leaders has been assembled to choose the winner. The grand-prize winner will walk away with $10,000 to expand their concept. The runner-up will receive $5,000, and Seibrecht will receive $1,500 and a scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality design.

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Robin McLaughlin is digital editor of LODGING.