THINK_2019 – the year ahead for entertainment and lifestyle design

By Becci Finn

As we exit the 4th week of January most people have returned to work. So we thought this was a good juncture to discuss the year ahead for entertainment and lifestyle design.

Last week we touched on some of the broader challenges facing the Club industry when we discussed Pubs vs Clubs – why Pubs are streaking ahead and what Clubs can do to close the gap.

In this article, we look at entertainment and lifestyle design trends in practical terms.

What’s in and what’s out in 2019 and how to position yourself to be relevant without being a victim of design trend-setters ….


Instagrammable – The adjective having been recently made official upon entering the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘Instagrammable moments’ have transcended discovering a nice back-drop or view to now the early inclusion in a venue design brief.

Dipping your toe into the tepid waters of social media popularity can seem overwhelming, however, working with your design team early can drive fluid, appealing spaces in your venue that people talk and post about.

Hotels are at the frontline of the Instagram effect and Hotel guides are now pitting the Instagrammable moments alongside traditionally rated attributes like facilities, comfort and location. It is not such a stretch until your signature dish or artisan alcohol specials are being rated head-to-head with the ‘Insta-friendly’ design of your venue.

There are Instagram design guides. Venues are being rated on it. Google it!

Key take-away: Are you relevant in 2019? Can your team find an interesting spot to take an Instagram photo in your venue right now? You may be surprised!

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Don’t bother googling this one…. it will be one of the most over-used terms in the next few years and definitions vary, however essentially Biophilic design integrates, emulates and responds to nature.

Biophilic design considers views, light, climate and draws on the patterns, rhythms and textures found in nature to make our living environments more pleasing/beneficial/relaxing – depending on who you ask. The take-away for the forthcoming period is to look at the relationship of your venue to the outlook and aspect you have, find opportunities to bring light or simulate natural light moods to benefit the space.

The focus should be coming decisively moving on from the green-wall and instead using greenery to accent the space as a textural element that shifts and changes through growth (if it is living) or refreshed by moving locations and settings periodically.

Key take-away: Greenery as a friendly accent, not a dominant design feature…


In line with the trend for design to enable a deeper connection to nature, tired minds are hitting the spotlight.

Technology is prolific and we can easily forget to be grateful for hundreds of small ways each day when we have answers, photos and connection to almost anything imaginable at our literal fingertips. However modern life is chaotic, with 24 hour news cycles and overstimulation prevalent there comes opportunities to provide spaces to disconnect, calm and centre.

Hospitality is a great platform to provide ‘gentle’ experiences for individuals or groups to stop and enjoy a meal, sit in an oasis to enjoy a serene surrounding. Lively-ness is not the enemy either – we are not in the business of creating silent great-halls.

Vibrancy of people using a space can be contrasted with design that is soft, open and refreshing. It can be a singular idea for a small venue or a space within a whole for a larger one. This idea can stretch to the exclusion of televisions or advertisement screens in some spaces, this could form something to be noted to patrons to share opportunities to switch off and be present.

Key take-away: Provide spaces designed for retreat, soft on the sensors and the mind…


One of the tough lessons faced by Australian retailers in the tidal wave of online availability is that experience beats product. And in the world of lifestyle and entertainment design, the experience is the product.

This does not diminish the idea that a good food and beverage offering is central to growth and success in many venues. In fact, it highlights that the businesses that build on these offerings and offer a great experience have room to play a very big game.

The era of Uber Eats, Jimmy Brings give punters a couch-side hospitality offer without leaving home. However, as we become further spread around this global village away from our families and communities or busy lives diminish socialising time, an experience to remember and share becomes vital and sought after.

Great experiences are formed by many components – the venue ‘story’ & brand identity, delightful service, reliable facilities, events & venue design.

Experience together with a quality product extends the connection to your customers from the venue to the online platform to social media and consistent messaging reinforces the experience and opportunities to grow your market.

Key take-away: Start by putting one thing in place this year that your customers are not experiencing at any other venue around you…

Are you looking to refurbish or expand your venue to drive revenue and profitability at your Club?

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One continuous trend is for retail precincts to become ‘social destination experiences’.

The retail giants are bumping up their offer to compete for greater market share and dollar spend and they are doing it firmly into the territory of hospitality. The balance to these mega-centres are venues that diversify to offer something unique to their local community- creating a tailored ‘mini-hub’. Your ear to the ground knowledge of your patrons and your market let you offer specialised facilities that have the added benefit of entertainment and social connection thrown in.

Forming neighbourhood social hubs can build on much of what a venue already has in place, food, drink and room to enjoy it. Combine these aspects with some additional facilities like bookable rooms that suit both meetings for entrepreneurs & start up businesses or private social dining, modern ‘phone booths’ to take calls in a quiet space, perhaps a podcast or media facility to foster local creatives and micro coffee roasting or mini-deli can all expand the base offer into growth corridors.

Again the idea here is similar to the experience message – building ways to regularly connect and grow your market.

Key take-away: The work/life/play framework is shifting and being re-defined it is a perfect time to look at new ways to cater to the market…


Becci Finn is an Associate at GROUPN 

From the shiny potential within each new venue design to the simple pleasure of a smiling customer, Becci is passionate about Hospitality. With a feet-on-the-ground, ear-to-the-wind knowledge of what’s what in hospitality, Becci is often overheard claiming to be a ‘human barometer’ of interior design.

Click to get in touch with Becci or drop us line at GROUPN  +61 2 9369 3546



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