A unique design competition in London saw five international design houses using the ‘Science of Tribes’ social concept to reimagine hotel guestrooms.

Developed by Sinus-Milieus, an international psychological and social science research institute in Germany, the ‘Science of Tribes’ is a social model that offers a different approach to grouping people and the societies to which they belong. According to this social model, people are grouped based on a similar approach to life, value orientation and social situation in addition to similar lifestyles and preferences.

These uniquely imagined hotel guestrooms were the star attractions at a Sleep hospitality industry interior design show in London.

For the Sleep Set competition, the international design practices were each assigned one of the following ‘tribes’ to create a fantasy hotel room: Intellectuals, Digital Avant-Garde, Sensation Oriented, Performers and Established. Each team was given six months from concept development to finished product.

One of the competing design firms, Mitsui Designtec from Japan was tasked with creating a guestroom experience for the status-conscious and well-to-do ‘Established’ tribe. Designtec conceptualised a guestroom experience offering “everything money can't buy”, fulfilling emotional satisfaction and addressing all five senses.

Some of the highlights of Mitsui Designtec’s design included spatial boundaries deliberately blurred between indoors and out; a large oak soaking tub taking centre stage in the room; an amenity closet called the ‘five senses library’; dark oak sawn effect tatami-style zoned floor allowing barefooted guests to experience the changing pattern of the weave against the contrasting rough sawn timber; bathroom floor separated and finished with loose stones, offering the feel and sound of the pebbles beneath the feet; a green wall and hand-carved scalloped oak bath adding to the ‘outside within’ feeling; and a handmade walnut wardrobe with an upholstered brushed cotton lining.

The Mitsui Designtec team used multiple wood species to add depth and interest to a concept reflecting Japanese taste and elements. A total sensory experience was assured thanks to the earthy aromas from a preserved moss wall mixed with the scent of eucalyptus and lemon grass.

Mitsui Designtec’s biophilic room design for the Established tribe received the first-ever highly commended accreditation from the Sleep judges.