KINDLING Collective: Design For Ukraine // Attend the launch at HIX 2022

In the wake of great disruption, great things will grow.

The last few years have seen the hospitality industry navigate a once-in-a-generation crisis, but through a remarkable process of adaptation, evolution and innovation, it has returned stronger and more dynamic than ever, ready to bring guests together once again as only hotels, restaurants and bars can.

And now is the time to recognise, plan for, and celebrate the inevitable return of Ukrainian hospitality, from sprouting seeds to the tallest trees.

In collaboration with international hotel specialists ReardonSmith Architects, MKV Design, and Ukrainian restaurant designer, Yova Yager, HIX has formed Kindling – a design collective to support, showcase, elevate and mentor Ukrainian architecture and design students during their country’s time of need. 

Hospitality has the unique capability to bring people together under a remit of communal comfort, inclusive service and resonant group experiences. In periods of recovery, moments like these are crucial; a universal language understood by all.

At HIX 2022 – taking place at London’s Business Design Centre on 17 and 18 November – this collective will announce the launch of a student design competition, focused exclusively on Ukraine, to envision the future of hospitality design.

Open to all Ukrainian architecture and interior design students, entrants will gain access to a series of mentorship lectures covering numerous aspects of the hospitality industry, whilst prizes will include internship opportunities with partner studios.

The Kindling collective fosters hospitality excellence in all its forms, recognising the social value of design and the emerging talent ideally placed to reimagine these spaces as centres of cohesive, post-war communities. Winners will be invited to attend HIX and the AHEAD Europe 2023 awards ceremony, where the hotel design industry’s leading lights will celebrate the year’s best projects. Winners will also be hosted by Yotel, ensuring them a warm welcome during their time in London.

“War changes everything around you,” says Yager. “You begin to appreciate what you always thought was given – safe walks in the city, access to drinking water, the ability to communicate with loved ones, to speak in a native language, and even the capacity to return home… But when the sirens start up, and people hide in bomb shelters, they continue to live, and, crucially, to continue their education. At such times, the primary things become secondary; education might not save your life at a time of war, but rather it is a question to the future: what comes after victory? That’s why I’m glad to be a part of Kindling; the opportunity for accessible education is extremely important in a modern developed society.”

“I have always been motivated by attracting the next generation of architects and designers into the world of hospitality design and, to that end, ReardonSmith Architects ran a European student award for a number of years,” says Patrick Reardon, Executive Chairman, ReardonSmith Architects. “Now we are delighted to be back, this time in collaboration with HIX. Our dedicated focus on architecture and design students in Ukraine, together with our decision to expand our mission into a programme of mentoring for all students involved in the competition will, I believe, add greater value and demonstrate our support for the hopes of the Ukrainian people for a future where hostility will be replaced by hospitality.” 

“I was delighted to be invited to join the Kindling initiative because it is a response that uniquely the hospitality design community can make to the devastating conflict in Ukraine,” says Maria Vafiadis, Founder & Managing Director, MKV Design. “All wars mean destruction. By contrast, architecture and design is about creation, and hospitality embodies the act of bringing people together, bridging cultural differences and giving people the chance to engage in positive new experiences. Our aim is to give Ukraine’s emerging architects and designers an opportunity to express themselves, learn and be part of a programme that looks to their futures.”

HIX celebrates of everything that makes hospitality incredible, and this collective effort will give a platform to the perspectives with the power to help bring communities together.

Kindling will be officially launched on Friday 18 November with a reception at 12:30 at The Mush Room. To attend, simply register for your free HIX ticket today.