The Evolution of Boutique

What is boutique? The term ‘boutique’ is French for shop. It’s been used to describe a beautiful version of a shop, with a more relaxed and one of a kind feel. Interestingly enough as our world becomes more uniform, small towns in Ohio mimicking small towns in Arizona, our individualistic nature yearns for differentiation.

Our shopping habits demand something different and the market responds. As more and more boutique shops emerge, the word “boutique” takes on a new meaning.

Within the hospitality industry boutique represents a property in the independent sector of the market distinguishing itself from larger chains. Boutique hotels pride themselves on providing their guests with a more intimate and comfortable stay and do so by using a creative vision unique to the design seen in big hotel chains. Nowhere is this more evident than at Boutique Design.

Boutique Design New York 2013 was inspirational. Offering examples from various industries and showcasing how boutiques are turning to fine art to stand out and give them a creative edge. One space in which this is evident is at the New York Palace’s lobby lounge, designed by the design and planning firm Champalimaud, with the highlight of the space being the chandelier made from hundreds of pieces of glass-blown spheres hanging from the ceiling. This piece truly acts as a glowing lantern floating in the center of the space emanating light upon the more dark interiors in the space.

New York Palace's Lobby Lounge

Another boutique property pushing boundaries is The Alexander in Indianapolis, which has teamed up with the local contemporary art museum to display a 50-piece art collection in its public spaces. The collection illustrates how art and boutique properties are becoming more and more intertwined which could forecast the future of boutiques.

Lastly, while many boutique properties are using decorative art as a way to create a more unique atmosphere, they are also using it as a form of functional art in these spaces as well.

One great and inspiring example of this from Boutique Design New York can be seen in the St. Regis Shenzhen, which has been undergoing a design transformation headed by the design group CCD – Cheng Chung Design, are the sculptural chairs located in the hotels restaurant Elba. These chairs help to add a modern and one of a kind feel to an already exotic design by combining fine art with interior design to create a more functional yet creative feel.

St. Regis Shenzen room





Though boutique hotels seem to be changing in their demand, they are also going back to their roots as being types of unique shops with the fine art pieces that are inhibiting the spaces more and more. This goes to show that while boutique hotels may be in high demand and that the market is changing, they still remain unique and creative spaces for guests.

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