Using locally produced furnishings is becoming a popular trend in hotel design. Not only are there environmental benefits, such as lowering consumption of petroleum by eliminating long-distance shipping, it also promotes local economies and job growth.
Michael Suomi, principal and director of design at New York City–based Stonehill and Taylor, says using products made in the United States doesn’t have to mean higher costs. “We are coming to a point where certain products don’t cost more to produce in the United States if you take into consideration their comprehensive cost, from packing to shipment, delivery, customization and modifications, and compare to products made overseas,” he says.
When Stonehill and Taylor redesigned the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis last year, the firm focused entirely on local manufacturers. “We first made sure prices, quality, and craftsmanship were comparable or superior before giving preference to local manufacturers,” Suomi says. The result in Minneapolis has been a success financially and it built a lot of goodwill in the local community. “When you support the local economy,” Suomi says, “they support you in return.”