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Sleep Event

What is Sleep?

Sleep is Europe’s leading event for the hospitality design, development and architectural community. It provides a platform for buyers to meet sellers from the hotel design sector. Every year, Sleep organizes a design competition, The Sleep Set, where design companies are asked to create a guestroom experience that pushes boundaries and explores new ideas. 

Every year, participants are given a theme within which to create a guestroom experience. The 2016 Sleep Set competition explored “The Science of Tribes.”

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Partnership: The Sleep Event and SINUS

The concept of starting the design process with a clear target group briefing is as old as marketing itself, but had not been considered as a basis for a design competition within the hotel industry. In 2016, SINUS partnered with UBM – one of the world’s leading business-to-business (b2b) event organisers – to explore the potential of socially targeted hotel design. We discovered that the SINUS Meta-Milieu target group model provides both a clear framework for understanding various travelers’ differing needs and expectations and a source of inspiration for designers and hotel owners seeking to push boundaries and inspire delight in their customers.

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The Science of Tribes

Driven by rising consumer culture, individualisation, and globalisation, societies worldwide have become more complex than ever before. SINUS has addressed this complexity by developing creative and scientifically rigorous approaches to grouping people and the societies to which they belong.

The SINUS method of identifying target groups is grounded in the ethnographic analysis of everyday life and attitudes towards work, family, leisure and consumption. Exploring similarities and differences in people’s basic values, SINUS researches individuals’ future plans, ideas, interests, and orientation role models, and cross-interprets the findings with objective social variables such as income, education and profession.

In an aim to make a multidimensional world easier to understand, SINUS has collated their findings to group people similar in their approach to life, value orientation and social situation, as well as those who demonstrate similar lifestyles and likings.

This year’s Sleep Set competition challenges each design practice to immerse themselves in the world of their assigned tribe. Our designers began their sleep journey with a Sleep Set roundtable and SINUS target group workshop…

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Target group workshop

"This is where we start the journey"

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In a liquid social reality, keeping your target groups in view from the very start of the design process is key to winning and keeping their loyalty. With the help of SINUS Meta-Milieus, it is possible to bring a bit more clarity to what distinct target groups want and need.

We began the target group development and hotel design process with a one-day workshop 6 months ahead of the main event.

Creative participants and designers met in London to take part in a very illustrative briefing by SINUS-Institut on the social-psychological DNA of each Milieu. SINUS took a co-creation approach, in which knowledge transfer sessions were followed by creative working sessions in order to provide a clear understanding to each team.  The challenge saw a pioneering collaboration between international design talents and social scientists, with five teams of designers and fit-out contractors each creating a room for a global ‘tribe’ characterised by shared values, lifestyles, and aesthetic preferences as identified by the SINUS-Institute social model.

For further information on the target group workshop:

”The teams were given 6 months time for concept and design development and international and local sourcing; the final hurdle of building stands to bear the close scrutiny of visitors from across the hospitality industry spectrum”

After 8 weeks, the 5 teams had already come up with conceptual outlines and revealed their visions of hotel tribes:

Design of the future

“The winner of the hotel concept competition was announced on November 23 2016, following individual presentations to the judges in front of the audience at the Sleep Conference, with the award going to the London team of global design practice Gensler for its innovative interpretation of local authenticity for the Digital Avant-Garde tribe.

Gensler winners: Joanna Varettas, Claire Richmond, Anna Kirkham, David Nicholls (Dornbracht)

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In a first, however, the judges decided to award a Highly Commended accreditation as well, specifically to Tokyo-based Mitsui Designtec for its beautifully crafted biophilic room design for the Established tribe.

Matthias Arnold, Senior Research Consultant at SINUS, found the experience of working with Sleep completely inspiring: “The chance to work with five top design studios from across the globe was a great opportunity. It showed that consumer research, and in particular our SINUS lifestyle model, is more than just a description of reality. The Sinus-Meta-Milieus release creativity for designers, using consumer insights as the foundation for imagination and experimentation, as well as a means of always remembering whom the ideas are actually developed for.”

Andrew Linwood of Areen Hospitality a member of the judging panel, spoke of the responsibility of his task. “Judging the Sleep Set was challenging. The theme of ‘Tribes’ effectively meant that each studio had a separate brief and so it was difficult to compare responses. However, the principles remained the same for each team - to reflect the characteristics, tastes and expectations of their tribe. In our assessment, two just edged ahead of the rest, with Gensler taking the lead due to their boundary-stretching approach and unusual ideas while Mitsui deserved a special commendation due to the extraordinary quality of their room. But I want to stress that all the designs were excellent in different ways.”

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Mitsui Designtec design for the Established Tribe

Designing for the status-conscious Established tribe, Mitsui Designtec will create a guestroom experience offering everything money can't buy, fulfilling emotional satisfaction, creating a family environment and addressing all five senses.

“Our journey aligns heritage and connoisseurship with all the senses. Flowing water, wavering lights, a breath of air, the rhythms of life. The destination is internal fulfilment and emotional connection.”


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WOW Architects design for the Intellectuals Tribe

Designing for Intellectuals, a tribe of culture-seekers and responsible connoisseurs, WOW will create a space in which the guest can make the most of the luxury of time, where it is possible to connect to the many layers of life.

“A retreat for uncertain times, the room as a haven of safety and comfort where guests select their preferred reality from a menu of options. The bath tub is elevated to the central character, stimulating a re-appraisal of the place of every element throughout the room.”


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Studio Proof design for the Performers Tribe

Designing for Performers who are high-achieving individuals and the economic elite of all the tribes, Studio Proof has created a fictitious member of the tribe, a driven professional who's also a pleasure seeker and early adopter. The designers have imagined her story.

“Jo Anderson is at the peak of her career and expects the best from life, including her hotels. Hotel Confidential offers exclusivity, intimacy, modernity - and unexpected delights. She lies back on the chaise-longue, reflecting on sea and sky…”

Digital Avantgarde

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Gensler design for the Digital Avantgarde Tribe

Designing for the “Milieu” of creative and individualistic global nomads, Gensler will create a guestroom experience to celebrate the experimental habitat and chameleon nature of the Digital Avantgarde tribe. 

“Like a paper aeroplane when thrown, not knowing how far it will go or where it will land, perhaps picked up and thrown again, our guests seek an instinctive, unscripted journey which continues to shape and influence their lives.”


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Aukett Swanke design for the Sensation Oriented Tribe

Designing for experience-driven individuals who reject traditional social conventions, Aukett Swanke will create a completely immersive environment for the Sensation Oriented tribe.

“This is a room in which to retreat and come together, offering an escape to real life, not from it. It could be anywhere, but while you are in it, you can only be here. A bivouac where guests create their own reality.”

Student Competition University of West London

(London, 8 November 2016) Sleep, Europe’s hotel design and development event, has announced a new collaboration for this year, with the University of West London (UWL), giving MA Luxury Hospitality Management students the opportunity to explore customer experience. In a competition which mirrors

the 2016 ‘Science of Tribes’ Sleep Set challenge for professional designers, all 33 students on this year’s course are creating an experience for a tribe as defined by the Sinus Institute social model which identifies social groups based on the shared values, lifestyles and aesthetic preferences of their members. The competition has been translated into a brand new module by UWL involving coaching by Sinus as well as appraisals by Sleep, and will culminate in a display of artwork and student presentations before a panel of judges drawn from the Sleep Set designers on Day Two of the event.

Working in seven groups, some of the students have submitted their “work-in-progress” ideas:


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Chocolate designed for Milieus

Reflecting on Sinus Institute`s new perspective of the world consumer tribes the so-called “Sinus-Meta-Milieus”, Studio appetite created a bespoke culinary concept. Five inspirational stories were developed and tailored to each of them by one of the most exquisite chocolate makers in the world – OIALLA chocolate.  


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   Digital Avantgarde

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