A new, exciting year of design is ahead of us. Now more than ever before, people are craving phenomenal, visceral, and connected experiences in every part of their lives, whether that’s in a workplace that feels like a clubhouse or a sports stadium that anchors a vibrant, 24/7 mixed-use entertainment district. In 2024, we as designers will find success in reclaiming human connection and immersive designs that drive loyalty, boost sales, and improve vibrancy with a shared sense of inspiration and belonging. Here are some of the design trends I see taking shape in 2024.
Hospitality will take new shapes
In a world where most purchases can be made with the click of a button, the design landscape is evolving to keep pace in the form of shoppable hospitality. Consumers can easily buy products they enjoy during an outing and brands can sell through experiential
retail. Although guests still want convenience, they’re increasingly seeking out unique, multisensory experiences and places that enrich and enhance their lifestyles, which include eco-friendly practices.
More hotels will introduce entertainment experiences while also sharpening programming around health and wellness. Hotel lobbies create a great location for pop-up art galleries and Peloton bikes can already be found in hotel rooms across the United States. Technology will continue to play a bigger role as hotels look to personalization, mobile services, and automation to improve the experience of both the guests and the hotel staff. Accommodations that are integrated into the community fabric—while delivering the convenience, value, and amenities that travelers want—are uniquely positioned to surpass guest expectations.
A renewal of the classics
Retro design has been having its moment in interior design. Food and beverage outlets have been especially keen on allowing nostalgia to take center stage. The retro diner and the vintage vinyl bar are back in reimagined ways. From well-curated art pieces to deep wood tones, these interior details bring new invigoration to classic designs. The idea of digging up old memories and bringing them back to life allows the design to feel like a new class that touches the past in a modern way. As individuals continue to put aesthetics on the same level as their food and beverage options, carefully selected choices for both will be imperative for restaurants and bars looking to make statements.
Wellbeing initiatives in unsuspecting places
Wellbeing is no longer a feeling left to the mission statements of spas and retreats. Feeling good is being thought of more holistically, fusing mind, body, and spirit, in many new ways. Hotels, training facilities, sports arenas, and stadiums are all incorporating wellness into their venues. This is often complemented by sustainable design that weaves people and their surroundings together. People are seeking a holistic, integrated approach to health—one that prioritizes their safety and wellness and is embedded into their local communities. Many projects are now striving to reach the WELL v1 building standard. Developed over 10 years, WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. In a 2022 study found in Building and Environment, WELL Certification considerably boosted occupant satisfaction with the workplace, improving overall satisfaction by nearly 30%.
Technology will play an even greater role in the venue experience
As our physical and digital behaviors continue to converge, design for the built environment will require not just advanced technology, but an entirely new digital mindset. As the nature of how people interact with space rapidly evolves, understanding how we experience technology, use new applications, and adjust behaviors to adapt to change is critical. AI is transforming the idea of immersive design. It’s a symbiotic relationship between how people engage and what they hope to see. Valuable user data can continue to make personalized experiences for guests to increase loyalty to teams, brands, and venues. If AI is an amplifier of human abilities, designers can now be served options faster, reducing some of the manual work of making and shifting efforts to curating and refining. Striking a balance between tech-centric hospitality and allowing guests to “unplug” when desired will be crucial to visitor satisfaction.
Hybrid spaces will host more
Genre-spanning venues will continue to evolve to offer different experiences and explore what it means to house multiple offerings under the same roof. Not only is it about offering various experiences to keep visitors coming back for more, but multi-use spaces can provide additional revenue streams at times when they would otherwise be dark. These multi-use spaces allow designers to create a layered experience. The same concepts can be applied to cities. Cities continue to undergo a period of massive transformation as they look for ways to reinvigorate downtowns and avoid disinvestment and flight. These crises can present an opportunity for cities to stimulate innovation, build sustainable infrastructure, and partner with the private, public, and civic sectors. The future of cities is being defined by their ability to create multi-functional, hybrid 20-minute neighborhoods that successfully address the interconnected issues of thriving workplaces, attainable housing, and safe and accessible transportation. These functional community spaces also serve as an answer to the loneliness epidemic that continues to have negative effects on the United States in a post-pandemic landscape.
Maximalism will receive a refined touch
Designers are embracing a “more is more philosophy” with maximalism. Now, that maximalism will receive a refined touch, but still think of grand gestures, imaginative experiments, and diversity of scale, color, and shape. Refined maximalism marries the idea of excess with the idea of curation, intending to communicate with the same clarity as minimalism.
Inspired shared experiences
The amount of office space required pre-COVID will most likely not be seen again. In response to today’s “normal,” designers are taking cues from hospitality projects to create more communal experiences that entice employees back into the office. Leading global organizations are realizing the impact that a purpose-built headquarters can have on employee experience and business outcomes. Creating—or recreating—a headquarters is a powerful way for an organization to connect its ethos and vision to its physical presence and organizational aspirations with tangible outcomes. By taking a holistic approach to the physical design and visitor experience, a built-to-suit headquarters can be a vital tool for expressing brand identity and culture to engage employees and promote shared purpose to customers, shareholders, and the community at large. Collaborative and communal workspaces will continue to look different than the classic conference room.
The sports industry will continue its transformation
The sports industry is currently undergoing significant changes. At the professional level, there’s an increased focus on revenue generation through television rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales. Meanwhile, colleges and amateur sports are looking for new means to boost revenue streams and better develop their athletes with public-private partnerships and dedicated training facilities. Across all levels, sports venue design is breaking down barriers between arenas and cities by integrating into surrounding communities through mixed-use districts. Ultimately, the industry is focused on enhancing the fan experience while exploring new revenue opportunities. The barriers between arenas and cities will become more porous and multi-use as sports districts redefine city living. As sports venues become integrated into urban cores, the perimeters separating arenas, stadiums, and cities will dissipate.
Dedicated facilities for women’s sports will continue to gain traction around the world. With the rising success of global events like the Women’s World Cup and leagues like the WNBA and NWSL, the development of dedicated facilities and investment in women’s sports is accelerating. In addition to dedicated stadiums and arenas, training and performance facilities that cater to the specific needs of female athletes, from training regimens to rehabilitation, will be highly sought after.