“Snoozebox is about bringing an innovative new concept to the hotel and events market. We accommodate our guests right at the heart of the action, making their event experience bigger deeper and longer. It has taken leadership in design and innovative thinking to create a truly portable hotel” says Lorcán Ó Murchú, CEO of Snoozebox.
The brief for Snoozebox would have given many designers sleepless nights. But the Design Council recommended tangerine knowing its team positively thrives in tight corners and small spaces.
The product was a portable hotel room offering outstanding accommodation right at the very heart of the action; a sophisticated, private space for people attending an outdoor music festival or sporting occasion, for example.
The tangerine team was told each Snoozebox would measure just 3.6m x 2m x 2m. The room had to offer adaptable configurations, ranging from a king size and singles to a twin or four bunks – all ensuite and with the beds folding away to provide a day room. And to make the design challenge really interesting, the whole thing must fold in half for easy transportation!
Matt Round, tangerine Creative Director, dug deep into his huge experience of delivering outstanding experiences in very tight spaces. He was part of the team that produced the world’s first fully flat airline business class seat for British Airways, an award-winning design that had seen tangerine become a go-to company for airlines looking to squeeze extra value from the confines of an aircraft cabin.
Round took the brief from Snoozebox’s Ian O’Doherty as he was about to take off on a flight to Tokyo. “As the wheels left the ground, my pen hit the sketch pad,” Round recalls. By the time he landed in Japan, he’d come up with an ambitious proposal that went far beyond the original demand for a series of adjustable beds.
His idea was to redefine the whole room experience – everything from the design of the fixtures and fittings to the colour palette and the atmosphere.
From initial sketches, the tangerine team began the process of creating Snoozebox. Ollie Price and Lucas Tretout worked on the engineering alongside senior designer Dan Flashman. Monica Sogn was the ‘colour, material and finish’ expert.
“Relationships are key to getting design right,” says Round, “relationships between space and mass, light and shadow, form and structure, texture and tactility, people and place, customer desires and business objectives. These relationships become even more important when designing small spaces.”
The design process moved from drawings to two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD), to the latest three-dimensional CAD and full-size cardboard models.
Then, in a process Round describes as ‘loving into shape’, the tangerine team, Snoozebox and coachbuilders ASGB began constructing the actual hotel rooms. It proved a tough task. “The effect of one small change can have huge ramifications which can lead to a whole series of significant changes which affect the entire space,” Round explains.
The biggest challenge was the fold down beds. The design concept had them hidden within super-sleek metal frames integrated into the walls. Initially, the idea was deemed impossible by the coachbuilders. But by exploiting the specialist laser-cutting and folding processes of manufacturers PressFab, tangerine’s ideas became reality.
Now, when guests first enter the room, they are greeted with a finely upholstered sofa on one side and an elegant writing desk on the other. The beds, cleverly concealed in the structure, can be accessed with pull-down handles disguised as shadow lines. So when the time comes for sleep, the space transforms into a bedroom for up to four people in a variety of configurations. Shelves and hanging space are also incorporated in the design.
The bathroom is no less innovative. The space has been designed as a luxury wet room with a flared wall giving a sense of spaciousness and freedom of movement, but also ingeniously providing a dry hanging area for towels and clothes. High-tech tiling comes with a built in flexibility to withstand the vibrations of transportation.
The flexibility of the Snoozebox accommodation is reflected in three different finishes to suit different clients: Industrial Chic, Neutral Couture and Fresh Perspective. Colour, material and finish expert Monica Sogn has sourced flooring and fabrics from some of Europe’s top fabric houses including Kvadrat and De Ploeg with textiles specially commissioned from Botany Weaving in Ireland.
Sogn even looked to South Africa to find just the right botanical prints for the cushions. The 1952 classic Norwegian ‘Birdy’, re-launched by Northern Lighting in 2013, provides the feature lighting with LEDs recessed into the walls. “The whole experience,” she says, “now offers grand-scale sophistication in the tightest of spaces.”
For tangerine Snoozebox represents the latest success in the agency’s mission to deliver ‘ground breaking innovation and design that makes consumers happy and businesses profitable.’ “We have worked closely with Snoozebox to create a sophisticated and extraordinarily flexible room,” says Matt Round, “which now positions Snoozebox with the opportunity to lead in their market with this new product.”
Good Design Australia
IDEA Award - Gold
Radical Innovation Awards Finalist
SBID Inteligent Design