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Creating the Ruby Hotel - Interview with Matthew Balon

Matthew Balon interview

We are delighted to have interviewed Matthew Balon, the Head of Design at Ruby Hotels, who tells us about his design methods, where he finds inspiration, and the up-and-coming trends for hotel interior design. The Ruby Hotels is a boutique hotel chain with multiple locations across Europe. Each hotel is uniquely decorated, its design, the brain child of Mathew, is inspired by the eclectic history and people residing in the city it calls home.

We love that all the Ruby hotels have their own unique concept - What are your inspirations behind the themes and designs for each Ruby?

It’s important to tell a story, not any story, but a good story. Research is where it begins for me, delving into the history of each location. Really spending time on this step helps to uncover inspiring events and people that ultimately inform the interiors of each hotel.

What is your favourite site/magazine/blog for design inspiration?

While there are many great designers featured regularly online, I tend to find inspiration more often from craftspeople. Instagram is a great way to find niche makers who share their experiences and struggles in producing unique handmade items, often inspired by historical practice.


Image: © Ruby Hotels.

The pandemic has significantly affected the way we live and travel - how do you think this impacted your design?

Apart from pairing down seating and following local safety guidelines, I haven’t changed the way I work. I don’t think we should be designing specifically for the pandemic long-term. Flexibility in hospitality design has always been important though, and that won’t change!

What do you think is the latest trend for hotel interior design?

I’m not particularly trend oriented. Design tends to be cyclical, so in predicting trends a good method is to look about 30 years back. Expect those design statements in slightly altered form coming back in the near future.


Image: © Ruby Hotels.

It’s an exciting time post-pandemic - can you tell us about Ruby Hotel’s plans for the future?

We had our biggest year in 2021 in terms of openings, so the pandemic hasn’t slowed us down! Moving into new markets is always exciting and brings with it unique design challenges. I’m very much looking forward to our first project in Florence, Italy. It is such a beautiful city, and I can’t wait for guests to see what we have in store for our lovely, historic building.

How is your experience dealing with The Contract Chair?

The Contract Chair has so many options that blend seamlessly with the many vintage pieces we use. The wide variety of finishes and fabrics they offer makes it easy to find bespoke solutions for tricky situations. Our office is paperless, so a great user-friendly website with all the relevant information we need is crucial. The Contract Chair really delivers in this arena. All in all, we’ve had a great working experience with The Contract Chair. Their pieces can be seen at Ruby Luna and Ruby Ella, as well as at our soon to be opened Ruby Rosi in Munich and Ruby Claire in Geneva.

Thank you so much, Matthew!


Image: © Ruby Hotels.

For more details on this project, please see here: Ruby Hotels

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Banner image of Matthew: © Bianca Keck

Topics: Interior design interviews, Designer Interview

By Tiffany Chan on 08/03/22 11:28
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