T+L Design Awards
Travel + Leisure’s esteemed jury, including designer Thom Browne and TUMI’s Jerome Griffith, review the standout features of the 10th-annual Design Award winners.
T+L Design Awards jury moderated by Chee Pearlman. Text by Heather Smith MacIsaac, with Honorable Mentions, Jury, and Product Descriptions by Katie James. Edited by Luke Barr. Reported by Katie James, with Sara Greenfest, Stirling Kelso, Courtney Kenefick, Mimi Lombardo, Mario R. Mercado, and Tom Samiljan.
Best Cultural Space Elena Garro Cultural Center, Mexico City
Designed by Fernanda Canales + Arquitectura 911sc
In more ways than one, the Elena Garro Cultural Center has turned on a bright light in one of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhoods. The architects chose to preserve an early-20th-century house by encasing it in concrete and glass, thereby creating a new forecourt that frames the restored masonry façade of the older building, and glows like a lantern at night. New reading rooms and a lush exterior garden, designed by landscape architecture firm Entorno Taller de Diseño, honor the Mexican poet and author for whom the center is named—as do floor-to-ceiling walls of books, visible from the street. elenagarro.conaculta.gob.mx.
Best Restaurant Höst, Copenhagen
Designed by Norm Architects
Local, organic, sustainable—the prime ingredients of New Nordic cuisine are also the hallmarks of Höst, designed by Norm and the design brand Menu. Rough plank ceilings and tables, gypsum brick walls, recycled windows, cutting boards as wall art, and furry hides bring farm to table—literally. Spindle chairs in three variations and dinnerware, all in a palette of white, gray, and black, introduce a purity of form as clean-lined as the food on the plate. In a thoroughly urban setting, rustic and modern find kinship. newnorm.dk.
Honorable Mention: Best Restaurant Lobster Bar, Paris
Designed by Mathieu Mercier
Casual, nautical, and unpretentious—tableside light fixtures from a 1950s ocean liner, custom-made brass tables, a hand-drawn fresco by Swedish illustrators Bjorn Altdax and Karl Grandin of Vår—this new Paris restaurant is perfectly suited to its lobster-roll menu. lobsterbar.fr
Best Bridge Høse Bridge, Sand, Norway
Designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects
At the request of the citizens of Sand, Norway, who wished to connect their town to a vast woodland, architects Sami Rintala, Dagur Eggertsson, and Vibeke Jenssen devised a deceptively simple link. The rigorous steel structure is as tough as the bedrock to which it is anchored, but stretches of wall are, by turns, panels of solid Cor-Ten and sheets of porous stainless-steel mesh. The effect of closed and open space over rushing water delivers, in a span of 70 feet, a uniquely varied audio and visual passage—and an elegant interplay of the man-made and natural.
Best Hotel, 100 or More Rooms London Edition
Designed by Yabu Pushelberg/ISC Design Studio
The newest collaboration between Ian Schrager and Marriott International epitomizes modern luxury. Behind the handsome Georgian façade of the former Berners Hotel lie public spaces whose architectural grandeur is accentuated by magnificent fixtures and strategic lighting, yet tempered by modern, low-slung, monochromatic furnishings. Ornately framed photographs and paintings hang, gallery-style, along paneled walls in Berners Tavern. Guest rooms are walnut- or oak-lined cabins of calm—peaceful retreats from the hubbub of the city. edition-hotels.marriott.com.
Best Museum Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron
In the land of riches that is the East End of Long Island, the Parrish is a building brave enough to be humble. Harking back to the agricultural structures that once dominated the landscape, the museum’s shape evokes that of a barn, if an extraordinarily long, twin-gabled, and finely detailed one. The line it draws in an open meadow is striking in its simplicity; inside, the central corridor is flanked by galleries, while a wide, covered terrace at one end extends a friendly invitation to step into a world of American art. parrishart.org.
Honorable Mention: Best Museum Musée Louvre-Lens, Lens, France
Designed by Kazuyo Sejimam and Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA
Clad in glass and lightly reflective anodized aluminum, the Paris Louvre’s newest satellite museum in the former coal-mining town of Lens quietly dissolves into its surroundings, which includes a public park designed by Catherine Mosbach. Its massive Grande Galerie provides a single room in which works are organized chronologically along its length and geographically across its width. The most unique aspect, however, is the multimedia Discovery Area, which overlooks on-site restoration workshops and museum reserves—areas that are historically off-limits to visitors. louvrelens.fr
Best Resort Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park, Portugal
Designed by Luís Rebelo de Andrade for Arquitraço
The 13 cottages and tree houses of this resort step lightly on the land, the latter stretching their long forms out into the forest like elegant praying mantises, the better to bask in and honor a pristine environment of centuries-old trees and hot springs. The wood-and-slate modular structures, assembled on site to adjust their footprints to the individual terrain, are otherwise generous in design. Large plate-glass windows pitch guests into the treetops, while skylights above beds perfectly capture the stars. pedrassalgadaspark.com.
Honorable Mention: Best Resort Hotel Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
Designed by Federico Rivera Río
The newest resort from Grupo Habita elevates the cool factor of Puerto Escondido, a once-sleepy fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Sixteen secluded palapas come with contemporary built-in bedframes, sliding reclaimed-wood doors, and private saltwater dipping pools. Teal geometric floor patterns and red surfboards propped ever so casually provide pops of color. Outside, round basket-weave chairs and curvilinear chaise lounges bring added dimension to the breezy sitting areas. hotelescondido.com
Best Transportation TAM Airlines First Class Cabin
Designed by Priestmangoode
Present in this design are all the notes one associates with a luxury class of travel: spacious seats that extend into beds, individual monitors, and tailor-made reading lamps. Priestmangoode deviates from the norm, however, in devising a cabin that aims to dispel claustrophobia. The four-seat arrangement is more domestic living room than airline cabin, with sofas replacing standard footstools to enable more natural socializing among those traveling together. Warm materials, including wool, leather, suede, and zebrawood, maintain a feeling of homeyness.
Honorable Mention: Best Transportation CitiBike, New York City
With 6,000 bikes, 332 stations, 350,000 users and counting, New York City’s new public bike-share program is a long-awaited improvement for both residents and visitors alike, allowing access to the city in a whole new way. citibikenyc.com
Best Hotel, Fewer Than 100 Rooms Gangtey Goenpa Lodge, Gangtey Valley, Bhutan
Designed by Mary Lou Design
Taking its cue from the 17th-century monastery a quick walk from its front door, Gangtey Goenpa slips discreetly and respectfully into its remote hillside location. Composed of two traditional farmhouse-style buildings connected by a single-story hall, the lodge incorporates Bhutanese textures and patterns. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the main lounge frame a spectacular vista; soft leathers bring warmth to the 9,000-foot elevation, as do individual fireplaces in the 12 guest rooms.
Honorable Mention: Best Hotel, Fewer Than 100 Rooms Freehand Miami
Designed by Roman & Williams
Set in a classic 1930s Art Deco building, this Miami Beach hostel finds effortless sophistication in the otherwise kitschy concept of “summer camp for adults.” Built-in bunk beds fill 62 private and shared rooms, which also feature wooden ladders and nautical-inspired accents. Bocce courts, Ping-Pong tables, and board game-filled sitting rooms maintain a youthful, laid-back atmosphere, but the hostel’s specialty cocktail lounge and garden, the Broken Shaker, is grown-up fun. thefreehand.com
Best Retail Space Reality Lab Issey Miyake, Tokyo
Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka
Tasked with showcasing the work of a group of young in-house designers for Issey Miyake known as the Reality Lab, Tokujin Yoshioka has succeeded in creating an interior that is as innovative as the work on display. The space is influenced, in part, by the fact that Yoshioka formerly designed accessories for the brand and is a longtime collaborator of Miyake’s. Clinically smooth, pale walls and aluminum bands in bright blue and green contrast with rough concrete, referencing the science and artistry that fuel any lab. Like 3-D expressions of a physics problem, steel display stands and tables strike cantilevered poses. A long, low, blue display shelf allows the In Ei Issey Miyake collection of collapsible paper lamps to strut the runway like the supermodels of lighting that they are. isseymiyake.com.
Best Travel Clothing Adidas by Tom Dixon
A collection of multifunctional, unisex clothing and accessories designed for weeklong adventures. Standout pieces include a reversible shirt jacket, a lightweight windbreaker, and a coated backpack that unzips fully to reveal its compartmentalized interior. From $168; eastdane.com
Best Watch Samsung Galaxy Gear
Wearable technology that would make James Bond’s Q proud: answer calls, check the weather, take photos, draft messages, and more, all from your wrist. Compatible with a range of Samsung Galaxy mobile devices and available in six different colors, the new Galaxy Gear also features a pedometer, an auto-locate function, and a customizable clock. $299; samsung.com
Best Luggage Victorinox Travel Gear Spectra 2.0 Dual-Access Extra-Capacity Carry-on
This suitcase has an ultralight, wide-body frame and front-zippered organization panel that allows for easy access to a laptop, tablet, passport, and more. $350; victorinox.com
Best Camera Canon PowerShot N
Exactly what you want in a standalone point-and-shoot: a small, compact frame; a user-friendly interface; and sophisticated, mobile connectivity for uploading photos on the go. $300; usa.canon.com
Best Travel Accessory Flight 001 4-in-1 adapter
Don’t get caught abroad with your batteries down. This compact device features four color-coded plugs that provide easy identification for use in more than 150 countries. $25; flight001.com
Best Headphones Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
Bluetooth technology allows these headphones to connect wirelessly—and elegantly—to a smartphone or iPod. $79.99; plantronics.com
Best Travel Bag Quiksilver Travis Rice Platinum Pack
Engineered for winter activities, this rugged multifunction backpack features a vertical and horizontal snowboard carry, a probe and shovel holder, and a fleece-lined goggle pocket. $120; quiksilver.com
Best Speaker Mini Jambox by Jawbone
With its single-piece aluminum encasement, available in nine different colors, this latest Yves Béhar design is a sleeker, more portable version of its predecessors. $180; jawbone.com
Best Travel Beauty Product Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
Easily packable under-eye patches provide a concentrated dose of soothing, all-natural ingredients to help reduce puffiness and counter the effects of jet lag. $30; skyniceland.com
Design Champion Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
He is the leader of a family that has long played a preeminent role in both travel and design, and if there is a reason for this it can be found in Chicago. Hyatt is headquartered in the shadow of Louis Sullivan and Mies van der Rohe skyscrapers; architecture is in its DNA. When the company opened the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, in 1967, the hotel’s light-filled atrium was a revelation, and an inspiration for future properties from Hyatt, and other companies as well. “It changed the experience of our guests and our employees,” Pritzker says of the Atlanta atrium. “It was as if we had found a key to happiness and optimism.” That key was excellent design, and can be seen and felt in all the company’s properties—from Andaz Papagayo, in Costa Rica, to the hugely anticipated Park Hyatt New York—and in his family’s creation and support of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. For all of these reasons, for his vision, ambition, and generosity, we honor T+L’s 2014 Design Champion, Thomas J. Pritzker. —Luke Barr