Last week, TV Tokyo filmed a segment on the aloft project and they took some footage of Brian McGuinness, Vice President of aloft hotels, and I discussing the status of the project. Brian and I decided to use the time productively, tuned out the cameras, and flew around the island looking at everything and discussing possible changes and updates.
The following numbers track to the image above:
4. (while editing this post, I decided to start with the last location we visited, because it is was a really interesting moment from my perspective) We are starting to see the virtual design influence the real-world design even before opening the hotel up for consumer feedback. Our designers Cory and Makaio placed a floorplan of the hotel lobby on the floor of our virtual lobby to use as a reference (just like we scatter reference photos around where we work), and it seems that the aloft team took quite a liking to that concept. While I am sure, should they implement it, that it will be much more subtle and beautiful than our white blueprint slapped on the floor, they are seriously thinking about bringing the floorplan into the flooring somehow at the entrance. A small thing, but really neat to see the virtual impacting the real already.
1. One concern was the amount of stone in the back area where the pool was going. We did not want that area to be too “heavy” on the eye. We discussed whether it made sense to bring the sunflower theme into the stonework to bring some color, or whether all the items for the swimming pool like deckchairs, tents, and plantings would solve it. For right now, we are trying to the latter approach and seeing if that will do enough.
2. In the interior of the aloft hotel, Brian mentioned that there would now be a gas fireplace in the lounge in place of the candles. We also discussed whether it made sense to have a decorative, non-functional pool table in the Second Life build. The pool table would be true to the Starwood design, and their ideas around games in the lobby, but if it wasn’t actually playable should we keep it? We decided to preserve it because an important part of the mission here is to show the design of what will exist in 2008 as currently planned.
3. similar to our discussion, Brian wanted us to soften up some of the stone in the quay up at the front. As you can see in the picture, we are trying some different techniques such as bringing in more grass elements, and we may add more trees/vegetation. We also discussed adding some vines to the walls, and for that we’re just going to have to try a few things to see what works. Vines are done with textures (pictures) within Second Life – you would not want to create a 3D model of every branch and leaf – but the danger is that they can look flat and unrealistic if you’re not careful.
Giff Constable aka “Forseti Svarog”