Clive Booker featured in Hotel Business Design

Clive Booker featured in Hotel Business Design
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Clive Booker, featured in March/April 2015 Hotel Business Design | Click to read this article full size.

 CLIVE BOOKER

Clive Booker, president/owner, DSI Hospitality, Inc. has been in the design business for more than 30 years and, while he’s seen the industry change, one constant remains—
the people. “Products can come and go, design whims can come and go, but the people in our business—suppliers, manufacturers, clients and the guests—really create the unique interest
I have in this profession,” he said.

Born and bred in the U.K., with a Miami-based design firm, Booker has worked on hotel projects all over the world. “My philosophy is to embrace much more of a global perspective
on what we do and how we do it,” he said. “Most of design is about solutions and the execution of our work, the more rudimentary fundamentals that are part of our business. We have the design side, but we have to articulate the design to different people, whether that’s contractors, owners or clients. It’s given me a lot more insight into the expectations of all those different groups and how we tailor what we do to meet the expectations.”

Booker noted that the firm prides itself on not having a house style. “In the international arena, we can attract a lot of clients with design solutions that are specific to their individual
needs. In hospitality, that’s what the traveler is really seeking,” he said.

When designing for hospitality, Booker noted that the concept must be relevant. “It has to have a foundation or story that is relevant,” he said. “I’m not saying one can’t design to
the trends that are here and now, but it’s how that design matures and evolves into something that has legs. The minute that clients get influenced by trends, it inhibits their ability
to look further down the road in terms of their relevance, and they’re obviously forced to renovate more often. It’s all a balance between creating that story and authenticity, but
also something that’s exciting, theatrical and appealing to the guest.

“The challenge for all designers is we’re bombarded with all sorts of exciting, new products and trends, but how can we create the relevance for the clients that has a life beyond
just the now?” he continued. As such, finding products and manufacturers with longevity is important to Booker, who noted that, when possible, he likes to source locally.

One such company is Studio Twist, whose bed runner is used at the Colony Club Hotel in Barbados. “They have done great work in terms of top-of-the-bed programs for
a number of our offshore projects,” he said, adding that it’s a National Women Business Owners Corporation. “We don’t use them because of that, but it’s a nice add.”

Another U.S. company is North Carolina-based Kellex, whose Brooklyn ottoman is featured in the guestrooms of the Colony Club Hotel. “We’re able to go custom with [the
ottomans] because of the quantities we have in the guestrooms,” said Booker. “They’ve become a stalwart for us—dependable, their mechanisms are always well done, they
have long life, the fabric has customization, and there’s great follow-up service.”

As for fabrics, Booker praised Momentum Group, noting that he might use a Momentum Group fabric on Kellex furniture. (For instance, the Kellex Brooklyn ottoman is
upholstered with Momentum’s Canter Vinyl, and the sleeper sofa features Momentum’s Tradition/Soy.) “Momentum has a great range of fabrics that is built specifically for the
hospitality industry that we know is going to have durability,” he said.

Meanwhile, Booker has used Palecek furniture for various projects over the last decade, including the Tamarind Hotel in Barbados. In this guestroom, the firm used Palecek’s
Metro Swivel Chair, Vinewood Side Table, custom Havana Mushroom Ottoman/Coffee Table, Chicago Bench and Soho Tapered Hassock Ottoman/Stool. “Palecek has a number of
wonderfully unique, organic designs, which invariably one might think are more trendy and less practical, but they’re born out to suit the rigors of the hospitality marketplace,” he said.
When it comes to outdoor furniture, Booker—whose firm frequently works on resorts— prefers Tropitone Furniture Company. “It’s a good go-to—it’s not the highest range in
terms of price, but it has a variety of products that meet the expectations of the end users in the locales we’re working in,” he said. Most of those spaces are indoor/outdoor so “they’re
subject to extraordinarily brutal sun and salt environments… Tropitone is one of the few companies that has responded well to the international requirements of that harsh environment,
and yet is able to meet the customization very well, particularly its ability to provide custom thicknesses for cushions, which our clients often require to provide the high levels
of differentiation and quality that they are trying to project,” he said.

—Nicole Carlino, Hotel Business Design