By Kristin Bentley

Portland-based Ankrom Moisan Architects launched a new design firm on Wednesday called The Society, which will be an independent company focusing on designing interiors for hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Ankrom Moisan Executive Vice President Karen Bowery says the aim is to become a select group of hospitality designers that can help hoteliers and restaurateurs predict guests’ experiences that are designed in both compelling and authentic ways. “What happens inside hotels is all about the story,” Bowery said. “Design is about capturing the spirit, soul and emotional energy of that story. We create shareable moments. The market wants it, and we’re bringing it. That’s the game changer.”

The hospitality market is hot, especially on the West Coast and especially with really unique hotels going up in urban areas, in mixed-use developments, and in renovated buildings with character and a sense of place

“The hospitality market is hot, especially on the West Coast and especially with really unique hotels going up in urban areas, in mixed-use developments, and in renovated buildings with character and a sense of place,” Bowery said. “Hoteliers want more than interior design; they want their consultants to be stylists, experience curators, and set designers.”

The 10-member team will be a collection of interior designers, brand strategists and architects based in Seattle and Portland, working with clients all across the country. The stand-alone business will focus solely on hospitality, while looking to develop original and forward-thinking ideas in order to influence the sector through design.

Bowery believes The Society will promote change to the industry. She says the team that was put together is passionate about living, breathing and inspiring great hospitality.

Dave Heater, the president of Ankrom Moisan, agrees that launching The Society is a bold move that will expand the firm’s creative boundaries with offices in Portland and Seattle, and now San Francisco. “Hospitality design influences everything we do, and as our firm continues to elevate design, The Society will add to the creative services we offer our clients,” he said in a prepared statement.

The firm is currently involved in projects up and down the West Coast; from San Diego to San Francisco, and up to Seattle. While details on these projects remain confidential at this time, Bowery says the properties are unique and are with hoteliers who value creativity, while using their hotels to create memorable experiences for their guests. “That’s where we want to play and where we’ll do industry-leading work,” she added.

The Society is expected to collaborate well with the hotel industry’s new lifestyle and boutique brands that provide services to its guests with a touch of both luxury and exclusivity. According to an article by Travel + Leisure, lifestyle hotels are becoming a new trend due to their appeal through creativity that provides young entrepreneurs affordable access to art and design while maintaining high standards of service.

While the services provided by the hotel industry continue to evolve, the market remains steady as new supply attempts to catch up to the region’s demand. JLL’s second quarter 2016 Lodging Investment Outlook report shows Seattle as having the third highest market of hotel rooms under construction, behind New York and Denver, based on a percent compared to existing room supply. The number of hotel rooms under construction nationally has steadily increased over the past 12 months, rising to 3.3 percent of existing rooms supply currently from 2.6 percent a year ago. In Seattle this number is almost eight percent, showing a comparatively high level of future development.