*notcot in tech , 11:30

Hotels: Experiments in Living- 03.09.11

newmainjam.jpg Hotels are where real life happens… and sometimes it’s dressed up like an escapist fantasy from your reality, but bottom line, they are a great way to explore the usability of objects and spaces… it’s like extended shopping? Staying in hotels begins to feel more like that childhood fantasy of hiding out/living in a department store or museum (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, anyone?) ~ i’m waiting for the moment when i can buy the furniture, wallpaper, faucet fixtures, etc as easily as the bed, robe, and alcoholic minis… Hotel stays are experiments in living. Imaging designing experiences from the furniture to the layout to the closet filled with clothes (like The Tourist when they check into Hotel Danieli and open the closet door) to a living room and desk with gadgets for the perfect party (or meeting)… A way to slip right in and try on what your life could be like. And of course everything is purchasable. It’s one thing to have artists paint a mural… but another to create, could-be-real experiences…

A perfect example is this weekend’s adventure with the Four Seasons Los Angeles and Jawbone Jamboxes! This is the only location in California where you can live with a Jambox before you buy. While Jamboxes have made quite the splash over the holiday season across the design/trend/gadget sites ~ and the packaging is beautiful (see the full poolside unboxing here!) ~ it is a fascinating partnership that Jawbone and the Four Seasons Los Angeles have. Upon checking in to a suite, you are offered one to play with for the duration of your stay. They will even show you how easily it pairs and what you can do with it when you get up to the room! (Seriously, i’m impressed how easy pairing was with my various devices!) And it boosts an impressive 85 decibels ~ perfect for everything from relaxing on the patio, to blasting tunes from your laptop, or watching youtube videos from your phone… all via bluetooth (or headphone jack)… or you can use it as a super speakerphone when bluetoothed to your phone, since it has a mic too! It’s a fun way to try it before you buy… or in my case, fall for it and buy during my stay… luckily the front desk has them in a few colors ready for guests who decide they need one too!

Now… interesting from a design side, they had custom cases made for the Jamboxes, a simple discrete little zip pouch carrying the Jambox and all its cables, as well as instruction manual… take a peek at the Jambox in Four Seasons’ context on the next page!

As you’re escorted up to your suite ~ upon arrival, after a quick tour of the space, they’ll introduce you to the Jambox!

fsjam2.jpg

Charger, USB cable, and headphone cable each have their own pouch… fsjam3.jpg

the Jambox is in its thin neoprene/magnetic case which comes with it… fsjam4.jpg

… and magnetically folds down to almost nothing! fsjam5.jpg

And just in case there are more questions/problems… the instruction booklet! fsjam8.jpg

Connected in moments to the Macbook Air! fsjam9.jpg

The desk set up fsjam10.jpg

People have been getting more creative on placements and partnerships for experiencing a product before purchasing. From buying kits of fragrance/makeup samples then using the cost towards a full size purchase ~ to pillow menus at hotels ~ to mattress manufacturers suggesting hotels to go try their beds… or the flip side, hotels selling the full bed set you’re sleeping on… Personally, the more i travel, i’ve found myself picking hotels based on fixtures, furnishings, layouts. Each and every ROOM is a different experience, really. From the tech to the furniture to the faucet to the linens to the toiletries… even the way doors/hallways are laid out… they all influence and change the way you interact and perceive of the objects in context of… REAL LIFE. I’d lie if i didn’t say all of these hotel explorations haven’t influenced the way i design/tweak my houses. How else do you know that certain doors look gorgeous but really are just TERRIBLE when you’re trying to stumble over to the bathroom in the dark? Or which ugly chairs are inexplicably comfortable and you just can’t get out of them! And where plugs and light switches are optimally placed…

what would YOU want to try (before you buy) in a hotel room for a night or two?

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