Appealing and Long-Lasting Hospitality and Retail Design

Design doesn’t need to suffer in order to achieve performance
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Sponsored by ASI Group, Bison Innovative Products, Bradley Corporation, Cascade Architectural, CornellCookson, CRL, Geberit, Inpro, and Louis Poulsen
By Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED-AP
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While the square footage used by restrooms in hospitality and retail settings are not thought of as “revenue generating,” they go a long way in aiding or detracting from the intended experience of the establishment, building loyalty, aiding in customer retention, improving word-of-mouth marketing, and attracting new customers. At the big picture level, all of these factors do in fact generate revenue and even margins. Leon Shakeshaft, architect and partner, Arthur Gibney & Partners, Dublin, Ireland, has reinforced this, observing, “Last year, I had the pleasure of having a private tour of one of New York’s landmark office buildings. As I appreciated the architecture and the thought that went into the details of the building, I found a lack of harmony between the design choices in the bathrooms when compared to the rest of the building. At our firm, we recognize that all things being equal, the quality of bathrooms can be the differentiating factor when our clients seek to attract tenants. Good bathroom design does not have to cost more, but it pays great dividends.”

Inherent in the total design of a restroom, is attention to all the details of the materials used, the type and location of accessories, and the overall interior design scheme. In order to create a complete, coordinated effect, it is important for an architect to have different material product choices from the same building product manufacturer so that they can have a full palette of products to create their design. Such an integrated design of products means they more easily work in concert with the architect’s overall design intent by either blending in our standing out. The resulting look created in restrooms can thus exude a sense of high-end luxury, without a luxury price. More importantly, a coordinated, elegant design speaks to how much the establishment cares about its customers beyond the revenue they bring in.

One place this difference can be seen is in the products used for toilet stall partitions. Taller partitions with increased privacy and removal of sight lines offers a more appealing situation for many users. Similarly, a variety of materials can be used, such as phenolic partitions, which offer a variety of colors and patterns creating an enhanced, more elegant look, or metal partitions with integrated privacy systems built into them.

Photo courtesy of ASI Group

The coordinated selection of materials and finishes in restrooms, including the toilet stalls, can add a level of design excellence and elegance.

Cyrus Boatwalla of ASI Group has observed the trends in design and notes that, “A disconnect exists, at times, between how well a bathroom is designed when juxtaposed against the amazing structural designs, building envelopes, and curated appointments that are synonymous with modern buildings. The more beautifully a building is designed, if there is a lack of connection between the quality of materials and design elements in the washroom, it stands out even more. This can and will take away from the impact that the designers of the building intended to create. With a little more thought and assistance from manufacturers of washroom products, building owners can have access to a variety of choices that can connect those spaces and help them complete the intended impact.”


Retail and hospitality buildings are perceived by customers, business owners, and the public based on how well they are designed. Architects who pay attention to the details of the key areas of the exterior, interior, and restrooms can create the most well-received designs that will have building owners seeking them out for repeat work.

Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED-AP is a nationally known architect, consultant, continuing education presenter, and a prolific author advancing building performance through better,


ASI Group
Bison Innovative Products
Bradley Corp.
Cascade Architectural
Louis Poulsen


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in June 2022


Appealing and Long-Lasting Hospitality and Retail Design
Buyer's Guide
Introducing ASI’s Proprietary, Integrated Privacy System For Metal Partitions
We have elevated the standard for privacy in metal partitions. ASI’s partitions are engineered with built-in privacy and manufactured as one-color matched units. The result? A patent pending design with superior aesthetics and complete privacy without the need for any retrofitted components. Exactly what building occupants want and deserve.
ASI Accurate Partitions
Fabricoil© Coiled Wire Fabric Systems
Cascade Architectural is committed to serving the product and service needs of our architectural customers. Since 1987, Cascade has provided a full range of functional Fabricoil© woven wire mesh fabric systems to domestic and international markets. Suited for projects of any scale, exterior or interior, Cascade Architectural reflects our continued commitment to provide architects, engineers, and channel partners with aesthetically pleasing and affordable mesh systems.
Cascade Architectural
Bison Rooftop Deck Systems
Bison Pedestals are manufactured in Denver, Colorado. They are made with 20% post-industrial recycled materials and have patented features that improve performance and stability. These versatile, adjustable pedestal deck systems create level rooftop decks over sloped surfaces, support a variety of different surface materials, and can be installed over any structural surface.
Bison Innovative Products
Mills® Phenolic No-Site Partitions Eliminate Gaps
Bradley’s Mills® Phenolic No-Site™ Partitions eliminate gaps between restroom doors and pilasters for complete privacy. A rabbeted edge on both the hinge and latch sides of the door closes off sightlines, providing a flush finish. The integral No-Site design is available in 12 colors and four mounting styles.
Bradley Corporation
It’s Not Just Any Bathroom–It’s Your Vision
When you select finishes for your bathroom design, the details can make all the difference. That’s why we offer the widest range of flush plates—from touchless to remote-operated—in various designs and colors to help bring your vision to life. Let Geberit help you design a better bathroom.
SteelWeave Metal Mesh Security Grille
The SteelWeave™ metal mesh security grille protects businesses while enhancing their visual appeal. This grille is a rolling piece of art, with woven patterns that provide superior strength while allowing airflow and visibility. SteelWeave grilles feature durable type – 316 stainless steel, making them ideal for interior and exterior facing applications
Palisades S90 Bi-Folding Door
The Palisades S90 Bi-Folding Door features a slim 4-3/4-inch vertical profile and 1-7/16-inch-tall panel rails to reduce visible hardware and produce clean sightlines that maximize views. Door hinges are completely concealed to deliver a streamlined look. Its CW Performance Grade rating makes the system ideal for exterior applications.
Inpro Elevator Interiors
Right after your lobby, the elevators are the next thing people see. How are your elevators looking? If they're dark, dated, dingy, and damaged, it's time for a refresh. Whether outfitting a new cab or modernizing an existing one, Inpro offers elevator cab expertise and superior products.
A modular suspension system designed for various types of pendant installations
Dependant is a modular suspension system which can be used and customized for different applications. The system, designed by Kilo Design for Louis Poulsen, suspends various types of pendant designs, creating clusters of lights in hospitality settings, office and commercial spaces, retail environments, and private residences.