Unlock Your Potential

The Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design is one competition where each entry can have major ROI. Every submission is reviewed by an esteemed panel of dream clients and industry influencers, from leading brands with mega pipelines to the hottest up-and-coming hoteliers. The masterminds behind the winning designs will take center stage at an awards gala this fall in New York, and all project winners and finalists will be profiled in the December 2019 edition of Boutique Design magazine.

It’s important to set aside some quality time in your packed schedule to start your entry ASAP. Not sure where to begin? Read on for tips on how to craft a submission that will stand out from the pack. It’s time to get the recognition your design work deserves. You’ve earned it.


A star entry requires thoughtful planning. Read the submission guidelines and FAQs before starting the process. Having trouble picking the perfect project? Find out what ticked the boxes of last year’s judges in Boutique Design magazine.


You have less than a dozen photos to make your statement. If chosen as a winner or finalist, these images will illustrate your project in the magazine—so high quality (and hi-res) is a must. “Invest in some show-stopping photography,” says 2019 Gold Key judge Jay Stein, ceo, Dream Hotel Group. “As a judge (and when I’m a potential client) I want to feel like I’m there, so make sure the quality is worthy of all your hard work and highlight those less-than-obvious details that make the project so original.”


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you still need a well-written project description that highlights which aspects of the design demonstrate excellence in concept and execution. Don’t just tell the judges what it looks like—entries that explain the why factor get the double take.


All finalists are required to submit a project participants list, which includes other interior design firms that may be involved, as well as architects, owners/operators, developers, purchasing agents and all suppliers.


That means leaving the design firm off to ensure fair judging and including the project name and location so your files stay organized in our system. Remember, we receive hundreds of entries!


Our team is happy to help guide you through the entry process. Email Keisha Byrd with questions.

Enter Here Guidelines



Starry Night


During the first day of Boutique Design New York (BDNY), Artaic revealed the winning mosaic of this year’s Design ‘N Gather competition, sponsored by Bostik, on the rooftop of The NoMad Hotel in New York. Architects, designers, and industry leaders gathered inside the elegant Cupola event space to watch the unveiling of “Starry Nights,” designed by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. and a 2018 Boutique 18 honoree.

Permanently installed within the Cupola—which was originally designed as a water tower and features turn-of-the-century Beaux-Arts architecture—the mosaic is an abstract depiction of a starry sky with low hanging tree branches entwined in lights. Hints of gold glass tile accent a color palette of moody blues, blended purples and night sky pinks.

StarryNight_Blog“Starry Nights” by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. Photo: Jenna Bascom Photography

“I wanted to bring the outdoors in, evoking the experience of a star-lit dinner inside the walls of the Cupola. It’s a simulation—as if you are dining outside surrounded by trees with the city’s lights peeking through,” says Iyer, who used Artaic’s Vitreous Glass tiles and Bostik’s Hydroment Vivid Grout to create her design. “I didn’t want to compete with what’s already fabulous. New York is the ultimate hero and inspiration—this mosaic is meant to complement its iconic skyline, a lasting interpretation of a memory that you can’t easily recreate.”

At the reception Artaic also introduced the People’s Choice Awards, where the popular choice designer was presented a dinner for two in the Cupola. This year, that award was given to Kate Lux, designer of “Monarchy,” which reimagines the nomadic journey Monarch butterflies make throughout their lifespan.

Through a blind judging process, the competition’s 10 finalists (out of more than 250 entries) were selected in September based on the originality, execution and successful interpretation of thematic elements relating to this year’s location.

This year’s panel of judges included:

Jake Lamstein, senior vice president and chief development officer, The Sydell Group
Jean-Gabriel Neukomm, principal, JG NEUKOMM Architecture
Joanne Yong, senior vice president & principal, Wilson Associates’ New York studio
Joyen Vakil, svp of design & development, MGM
Michelle Finn, president of Hospitality Media Group
Rob Polacek, chief creative officer, Puccini Group
Scott Banda, director of marketing & business development, Bostik North America
Ted Acworth, ceo & founder, Artaic

Some of this year’s esteemed judges at the reception (left to right): Ted Acworth, ceo & founder of Artaic; Rob Polacek, chief creative officer, Puccini Group; Jean-Gabriel Neukomm, principal, JG NEUKOMM Architecture; Michelle Finn, president of Hospitality Media Group; Joyen Vakil, svp of design & development, MGM; Jake Lamstein, senior vice president and chief development officer, The Sydell Group; Scott Banda, director of marketing & business development, Bostik North America. Photo: Jenna Bascom Photography

Founded in 2013, the annual competition encourages designers from all disciplines—ranging from architecture, product and furniture design, fashion and interior design to photography, painting and any other creative field—to create a unique piece that will have a lasting impact on the space. Participants can design up to two original mosaic renderings using Artaic’s proprietary software, Tylist, and any of the company’s Vitreous Glass tile selections and Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout color variations. This year, entrants were provided a design template for the inside of the Cupola as well as background and inspiration to help get their creative juices flowing.

See below for a glimpse at the entries that earned top honors in this year’s competition.

1 Starry Nights_Kavitha Iyer_Winner
Starry Nights
Winner: “Starry Nights” by Kavitha Iyer, senior design manager, Marriott Intl. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

2 Monarchy_Kate Lux_People's Choice Winner
The Monarchy
People’s Choice Winner: “The Monarchy” by Kate Lux, architectural & interior designer, Stantec. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

3 Big Apple_Ashley Clayton_Honorable Mention
The Big Apple
Honorable Mention: “The Big Apple” by Ashley Clayton, designer, Maude Group. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

4 Clouds_Kathleen Hogan
Finalist: “Clouds” by Kathleen Hogan, architectural designer, Spiezle Architectural Group Inc. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

5 Blue Room_Jeremy Noonan (1)
Blue Room
Finalist: “Blue Room” by Jeremy Noonan, creative director, Noonan Studio LLC. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

6 Eternal_Sandie Turchyn
Finalist: “Eternal” by Sandie Turchyn, independent artist, Sandie Turchyn Watercolors. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Mourning Doves
Finalist: “Mourning Doves” by Sandie Turchyn, independent artist, Sandie Turchyn Watercolors. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Finalist: “Rosehips” by Lynn Heitler, artist & co-founder, LYNNEL Art to Form. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Moonlight Owls
Finalist: “Moonlight Owls” by Barbara Rush, artist, Barbara Rush Fine Art. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Mosaic Network
Finalist: “Mosaic Network” by Diana Q Saul, architect, Diana Q Saul. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

The Glade
Finalist: “The Glade” by Paul Phillips, architect, FPLA. Image: Courtesy of Artaic

Want to see your mosaic design permanently installed in an exclusive location? Visit designngather.com for additional details, including submission criteria and competition rules.

BDNY 2018 Highlights


It sounds arrogant to call BDNY more of a hospitality (af)fair to remember than a trade fair. But for anyone who was at the Javits Center in New York Nov. 11-12, it was clear that there was everyone in sight was buzzing about this New York experience. Whether you were unable to attend or just want to relive the high points, read on for some of the most unforgettable moments from these two days of inspiration, education, connection and, yes, fun.
The “wow” moments started with two sold-out events before the fair even opened: a site tour of the AC Hotel New York Times Square and the Kickoff Party at 583 Park Avenue. At the tour, the owners, operators, designers and suppliers attending came as much for the behind-the-scenes intel being generously dished out by executives from Marriott Intl., OTO Development, Halpern Architects and BHDM Design as for a look at the handsome, architecture-led hotel. The party was a great place for the industry to connect.
At the fair itself, the Instagram moments all over the trade show floor—several thousand posts, actually—were easy to spot, from the eye candy in each booth to the seven Designed Spaces. Those were: AVEC Lounge by Wilson Associates; Melange:Assembled by Studio Partnership; Ouroboros Lounge by BAMO; Reverie by Studio 11 Design; Rooftop Garden Party by Duncan Miller Ullmann (DMU);The Story of Hue by Marriott globaldesignamericas and Taste Travels by Marriott globaldesign.
BDNY’s conference program packed the rooms downstairs with industry insiders eager to learn about topics across the industry, from select service design to audiovisual technology to investment to what’s new for major hotel brands. Among those attendees were executives from companies such as Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), there to support colleagues who were speaking. Venus Williams (yes, THAT Venus Williams) did the same, attending The High-Performance Design: Shaping Up Interiors for Today’s Fitness/Wellness-Conscious Guests discussion on which V Starr Interiors’ vice president Sonya Haffey was speaking along with Adam Glickman, principal, Parallax Hospitality, Kim Matheson, senior vice president, WTS Intl. and Ingo Schweder, founder and chief executive officer, GOCO Hospitality.
Our Boutique Design Power Players: Women Leaders in Hospitality breakfast and panel discussion, moderated by BD’s executive editor Mary Scoviak, was another sold-out event full of no-filter insights from panelists Glyn Aeppel, president and chief executive officer, Glencove Capital; Cindy Andrews, president, Sunbrite Outdoor Furniture; Beth Campbell, chief executive officer, Wilson Associates; Julia Monk, senior principal, director of hospitality design, HOK; Rachel Rangelov, senior vice president of design and construction, Longview Senior Housing Advisors and Teri Urovsky, vice president, design and project management, Marriott Intl. The conversation flowed freely from topics such as tariffs and what it’s like to compete for international projects to new trends in luxury design.
By the time attendees left the show (some of them to attend the Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design gala, if they managed to grab tickets before it sold out), they’d gotten a 360-degree look at the hospitality design world from the perspectives of designers, clients, purchasing companies and suppliers.

Discovery, Travel Channel stars among BDNY panelists

Recognize some names from (design) reality TV on our speaker lineup? The panelists from B. Garcia Designs and Danny Forster & Architecture are indeed Blanche Garcia, the principal designer featured in five seasons of the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible series, and architect Danny Forster, the Emmy-award-winning director/producer who hosted and produced the Discovery Channel series Build It Bigger, among other television projects.
Blanche Garcia
Blanche Garcia
Danny Forster
Danny Forster
Garcia, whose design for the TRYP by Wyndham hotel within a historic art deco building in Newark, New Jersey, was featured in Boutique Design, joins turnaround experts from Floss Barber, J. Banks Design, P3 Design Collective and Parker-Torres Design for “Revolutionary Renovation: Detailed Solutions for the Toughest Design Challenges” on Monday, Nov. 12. They’ll share strategies for breathing new life into tired properties and underperforming interiors—and detail tips for dealing with the surprises inherent in reno projects.

Forster’s design for the upcoming AC by Marriott NoMad in lower Manhattan, featured in the October issue of BD, is the subject of the Sunday, Nov. 11 session, “Tower of Power: Look Inside the World’s Tallest Modular Hotel.” He and fellow panelists from Concord Hospitality, Marriott Intl. and Skystone Group will discuss in depth the construction techniques and modular methodology that are growing in popularity among hospitality project owners—not just for low-rise, wood frame hotels, but for high-rise steel structures as well.

Emerald Expositions Acquires BDNY


ST Media Group International and Hospitality Media Group (HMG) announce the sale of BDNY and HX: The Hotel Experience to Emerald Expositions. The Boutique Design team is committed to producing a phenomenal trade fair for our customers this November. BDNY: https://stmedia.com/files/marketing/pdfs/bd/ST_HMG_Acquisition%20release.pdf

Gold Key Finalists Unveiled



If you took the time to submit any of the more than 400 entries to the 38th annual Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design, you’re probably already skimming down to the link revealing this year’s finalists. Fair enough. Every one of the projects considered in the 2018 competition is a piece of some design firm’s collective soul. Behind each beautiful space, each Instagram moment, there’s a backstory about the all-nighters trying to make the deadline, the missed meals/events with family and friends while looking at the materials library one more time to find that perfect fixture and the what-do-we-do-now crises when a plaster wall crumbles or a snag in permit approvals puts a project on hold—sometimes for years. With the bar for hospitality design set as high as it is currently, should every firm that entered assume it had a chance to be a contender? Frankly, yes.

That’s not just Zen talk. I’ve got the metrics to back that up. This year, we instituted a preliminary review to curate the field of submissions down to a shortlist that would be reviewed and voted on during the in-person judging held in New York at the end of August. The prestigious 12-member judging panel didn’t find much to cut. Obviously, some projects ticked all the boxes for excellence in the overall concept, execution, innovation and wow factor. But very few failed to provide elements that were thought-provoking and worth that, “Can we see that again?” comment from the judges. (For this competition, judges who had any interest in a project had to recuse themselves from the room during the discussions. And, all submissions are anonymous.)

Okay, it takes a long time to have a serious discussion about projects in 21 categories as well as selecting the Designer of the Year. But, this year, the conversation about how hospitality design is changing and how these projects are driving that change ran from the late morning well into the evening. The best part? No one was ready to stop. The ideas presented in the entries provided the theme of the judges’ dinner conversation at The Grill at the Seagram Building, a very special evening co-sponsored by Gold Key title sponsors Valley Forge Fabrics and RH Contract, and co-hosted by Neil Locke & Associates—and in emails to each other in the days that followed.

So, what were the takeaways? As you’ll see in the finalists’ list, a few names show up with several nods, but, for the most part, 2018 was not a year when one approach or one project just dominated. While it’s no surprise to see a range of concepts and styles, what’s different now is that form and function have never been more closely intertwined. Judges’ complaints about difficult circulation patterns, problems with proportion and scale and a failure to “pull through” a narrative into the overall space as well as the details were key factors in deciding who made the cut.

Another major misstep: anything that looked like get-‘er-done sourcing. As the judges pointed out repeatedly, with all of the innovative hospitality FF&E on the market, every element the designer specifies should tell some aspect of the conceptual story. No showstopping feature counterbalanced boring basics. “Didn’t we see that same sofa two entries ago?” or “The carpet looks too corporate and the furniture looks ordinary” kind of comments equated to “next”—regardless of the category or budget.

What they did like: (No surprise) original thinking. That’s a concept that’s taking on new meaning. As in fashion, hospitality design has certain trends. How hotels look can be a response to everything from the economy to how safe/adventurous society is feeling at the moment. Maybe it’s time we accept that there are going to be some fundamental solutions—laid back lifestyle lobbies; public space libraries; guestrooms with shelving units instead of pegs or armoires. The lesson this year’s Gold Key judging taught was that the designers who add ideas that make their expression of those trends fresh really are saying something new. With the emphasis on experience and continuity, overall, there’s less ascetic minimalism and a lot more layering. This year’s judges, like a lot of travelers of all psycho- and demographics, are just done with the dorm room. But, they’re just as “past” anything that smacks of being over the top. Real-life lifestyle looks can be not only appealing but inventive.
View the finalists here
Our thanks to all of the visionaries who shared their passion for design and served as this year’s Gold Key judges:

Gary Dollens, global head design/product and brand development, Hyatt Hotels Corp.
Nigel Hatcher, vice president, design & project management, luxury brands, Marriott Intl.
Lori Horvath, managing director, project & development services, Jones Lang LaSalle
Daniel Hyde, president, Artist Guild Hotels
Matoula Karagiannis, vice president, design, Sydell Group
Michael Kitchen, vice president of acquisitions & development, Aparium Hotel Group
David McCaslin, executive vice president, Hersha Hospitality Management
Michael Medzigian, chairman and managing partner, Watermark Capital Partners, LLC
Jagruti Panwala, president and ceo, Wealth Protection Strategies; vice chairwoman, AAHOA, 2018-2019
Thomas Prins, principal, TQP Capital Partners, LLC
Shirli Sensenbrenner, senior vice president, design + development services, Two Roads Hospitality
Larry Traxler, senior vice president – global design, Hilton

The winners will be announced at the Nov. 12 Gold Key gala that caps off Boutique Design New York, our ninth annual trade fair and conference being held at the Javits Center in New York Nov. 11-12. Join us as the industry honors the best in the business.

Gold Key Awards Gala Details

NEWH Owners’ Insight Panel with HMG’s Michelle Finn

NEWH Owners Insight_3

Michelle Finn, President of Hospitality Media Group, moderated last month’s NEWH Owners’ Insight panel held during the day at the 14th Annual HOSPY Awards. This panel focused on the future of Las Vegas hospitality and included Kara Sifferman, Western Region Project Director, Virgin Hotels, Sean Tanner, Director of Design, Boyd Gaming, Glenn Nowak, Associate Professor Architecture & Design, UNLV School of Architecture, Corey Nyman, Director of Operations, The Nyman Group, and Kevin Ball, Vice President, Golden Gaming Corporation. They discussed topics such as clinical tourism, walkable streets, the fantastic design community in LV, and how Vegas bounced back from the 2008 market crash. These panelists believe that in the future, Freemont and Downtown will come together and the new focus for food & beverage will be food halls.

NEWH Owners Insight_2

This year’s HOSPY Awards celebrated Kimberly Daoust, Principal at Tandem, and other individuals and firms for extraordinary achievement in architecture, design, and development in the hospitality industry. The event raises funds for student scholarships in architecture, interior design, construction, hotel management, gaming management and culinary arts.

To learn more about @NEWH, the 14th Annual HOSPY Award recipients and view more photos from the event click here: https://newh.org/chapters/las-vegas/hospy/2018-hospy-winners-photos/

AAHOA to lead Select Service Summit at BDNY

Whether you’re a member of the world’s largest hotel owners association, or a designer looking to win their commissions, you’ll want to take part in BDNY’s new “Select Service Summit” on Sunday morning, Nov. 11. It’s the first session on the 2018 agenda, one that conference director and BD executive editor Mary Scoviak calls “a profit game changer.”


Why? AAHOA members own nearly half of all hotels in the U.S. And with changing dynamics in the select service sector, many of those owners are shifting their focus—and resources—to design as a point of differentiation. This session, Scoviak says, will ease the learning curve for both parties.


“Many AAHOA owners don’t yet have a short list of design firms and may be new to the vetting process,” said Scoviak. “And many designers haven’t pitched this powerful group before. The Summit session will shine a light on the skills they need to win select service projects, and provide invaluable brand knowledge to inform their pitches.”


Association president and chief executive officer Chip Rogers will moderate the discussion with panelists Ashley Ewing Parrot, director of brand strategy, boutique & lifestyle hotels, Vision Hospitality Group; Chet Patel, senior vice president, Baywood Hotels; Hitesh (HP) Patel, president, Capital City Hospitality Group, 2018-19 chairman AAHOA; and Nimisha Patel, executive vice president, AAHOA.



BD welcomes 100+ attendees to Drinks by Design D.C.

More than 100 hospitality professionals attended Boutique Design magazine’s first Drinks by Design event in Washington, D.C., held Sept. 13 at the historic Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.


A celebration of hospitality design in the D.C. region, the reception was held in conjunction with the NEWH DC Metro chapter, which celebrated its 25th anniversary by awarding $100,000 in scholarships to ten students with hospitality majors, including:


Victoria Ajayi, George Washington University

Keon Halley, Virginia State University

Wanlin He, University of Delaware

Noah Hedrick, West Virginia University

Nadia Hines, Morgan State University

Shirin Jafarinasab Kermani, George Washington University

Megan McDanald, Virginia Tech

Anna Nikitina, George Washington University

Elvis Reyes-Nativi, Northern Virginia Community College

Nathalie Ngassa, Morgan State University


The event also featured a preview of the ninth annual Boutique Design New York (BDNY) trade fair and conference, to be held Nov. 11-12 at the Javits Convention Center. Attendees included hospitality professionals from //3877, ForrestPerkins, Hilton, HVS Design, Marriott Intl., P3 Design Collective, Park Hotels & Resorts, RD Jones & Associates, Streetsense, Studio Partnership and more, who had the opportunity to tour the Hillwood gardens and museum during the event.


Sponsors for Drinks by Design D.C. included AVIXA, Beechwood Custom, Bryan Ashley, Century Industries, Chemetal, Composition Hospitality, Delta Faucet, Fairmont Designs, Faulkner + Locke, Garden on the Wall, HB Lighting, Hubbardton Forge, Pierpoint, Swavelle Hospitality, Wendover Art Group and Yellow Goat Design.

A celebration of design in the Orlando region

Boutique Design welcomes 100+ hospitality professionals to Drinks by Design Orlando

Hospitality designers from such companies as The Carroll Adams Group, Design Poole, HHCP Architects, NBC Universal Creative, Walt Disney Imagineering and Wyndham Destinations gathered in Winter Park, Florida, on August 9 for a celebration of design in the Orlando region.


More than 100 hospitality professionals attended the Drinks by Design reception, hosted by Boutique Design magazine in advance of the ninth annual Boutique Design New York (BDNY) trade fair and conference.
This was the third Drinks by Design event held at the award-winning, Baker Barrios-designed Alfond Inn, which is owned by Rollins College, a private coeducational liberal arts college in Winter Park, outside Orlando. Net operating income from the Inn is directed to The Alfond Scholars program fund, the College’s premier scholarship fund.


Sponsors for Drinks by Design Orlando included Bryan Ashley, Century Industries, Encore Hospitality Carpets, Fabric Innovations, Faulkner + Locke, room360 by FOH, Indon Intl., Norcross Furniture Company, Studio Twist, Sunbrite Outdoor Furniture, Vaughan Benz and Wendover Art Group.