The deadline for the Bespoke Access Awards competition has been extended to Tuesday 27 February 2018.
The Awards, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in association with Bespoke Hotels, are an international competition to design fully accessible hotel rooms, to continue improving access to properties worldwide for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, as well as all other guests. The Awards aim to challenge the perception of hotel facilities set aside for disabled people, which can often be viewed as joyless, poorly designed and over-medicalised.
The Bespoke Access Awards were established in 2016 and were the first of their kind. In their opening year, teams of designers from countries as far afield as Hong Kong, Russia and Canada submit entries across a range of categories. The overall winners, awarded the Celia Thomas Prize worth £20,000, were Motionspot & Ryder Architecture, who devised ‘AllGo’, a unique, universal approach to hotel room design system to ensure that all hotel rooms are functional, flexible and accessible.
The scope of the competition has been broadened for its second year to cover five strands of inclusive design: Architecture, Product Design, Service Applications (digital), Service Applications (training), and Inclusive Employment.
Prizes will be awarded for the most imaginative, innovative and potentially actionable ideas in any or all of these strands, with the overall winner of the Celia Thomas Prize receiving £20,000.
The competition aims to reward entrants who address guests’ experience from the front door to any room or service within a hotel; it includes the process undertaken before a visitor arrives, or during check out.
The Paralympic Gold Medalist and Peer Baroness Grey-Thompson, whose interest in design was fostered by her father, an architect, will judge the competition together with the distinguished architect Alan Stanton, winner of the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture. Alongside them will be Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People; Baroness Celia Thomas, Patron of the Access Awards Graeme K Whipper MBE, Disability Specialist for Channel 4; Alastair Hignall CBE, Trustee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation; Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive of Design Council; and Paul Gregory, MCIBSE, MSLL, Global Specification Director for Dyson.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony on 18 April 2018.
Entries are open internationally to everyone. The organisers particularly welcome entries from designers and architects with disabilities themselves. Collaboration between people with disabilities and design professionals is also encouraged, as is collaboration amongst design disciplines.
Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People, said: “Once again, we have been thrilled by both the quality of interest and diversity of their origin, and are pleased to be able to extend this opportunity further. The competition continues to provide inspiration and spark the creativity of budding designers and architects across the world. On behalf of the panel, I am looking ahead with keen interest to selecting the latest round of winning ideas.”