T+L Design Awards 2010
Courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group
Design and architecture shape every facet of the travel experience, from hotels and museums to train stations, restaurants, and luggage.
of the same truisms about travel can be said about design. A change of place
may impart new vigor to the mind and the senses, but so too does a
fit-in-your-palm mobile computer, a futuristic spa experience, or an ergonomic
first-class airplane suite. Design impacts travel in ways small and
large—shaping everything from on-the-go fashion to city skylines.
+ Leisure’s annual Design Awards seek out
and celebrate both the practical and the beautiful under travel’s great global
umbrella. This year’s jury included fashion designer and television host Isaac
Mizrahi, design icon Terence Conran, and Amanda Burden, the ambitious director
of New York City’s Department of City Planning. Together with five other
esteemed jurors, they honed in on the year’s most compelling designs, in a
variety of travel-specific categories. And there were a few surprises.
Motel 6—yes, Motel 6—an American symbol of the affordable road trip long gone
to seed: Priestmangoode, a London-based architecture firm, threw out the old
and restructured the motel chain’s overall design. Nondescript roadside pit
stops have been transformed into chic accommodations with sleek white and wood
interiors and bright teal, orange, or blue wall accents. And while this year’s
Best Large Hotel winner’s makeover is smart, hip, and of the moment, Motel 6’s
prices remain dated; travelers can still enjoy comfortable accommodations, a
flat-screen television, and a cup of coffee for a mere $29 a night.
it comes to travel products, functionality and design go hand in hand. In the
Best Luggage category, the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Multiwheel won for its
maneuverability—a solid exterior and four wheels that turn 360 degrees.
Cheerful and inexpensive, Nixon’s brightly colored and affordable Time Teller P
Watches took the prize for Best Watch. And for the first time, Travel +
Leisure had a Best Car category; the Ford Fusion Hybrid won for, among
other elements, its eco-conscience design.
contemporary design doesn’t always mean new. A number of other 2010
Design Award winners, including the stunning Neues
Museum in Berlin (Best Museum), have emerged from years of painstaking preservation. In October
2009, the Neues completed a decade-long $255 million rebuild (the museum was
bombed during World War II). The ruins’ tattered frescoes, eroded columns, and
even bullet-pocked walls were meticulously restored and integrated into
opulent, airy, and thoroughly modern exhibition rooms.
simple architecture can transform travelers’ understanding of their
surroundings. This year’s Best Restaurant winner, Nomiya,
is a 22-ton glass pop-up dining destination atop the 1937 Le Palais de Tokyo museum
in Paris. Open until
July 2010, its 60-foot glass rectangle, partially covered with an etched metal
skin, has unparalleled panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine,
allowing guests to see the classic Parisian landscape from a new vantage point,
which is exactly what smart design should do—change the way we experience the