Zoku Loft, a hybrid living/work space for the traveling professional that's conceived as a game changer for the hospitality industry, captured the imagination of voters in a tight competition to win the ninth annual Radical Innovation Award on September 30 at the New Museum in Soho. The award comes with a grand prize of $10,000 to help further development in the marketplace. For Zoku, “the gift will unlock unutilized value to accelerate Zoku’s growth potential,” notes managing director and co-founder Marc Jongerius.
The Netherlands-based Zoku—Japanese for family, tribe, or clan—was one of two finalists selected from 50 entries. The company pitched its project before a captive audience of decision-makers followed by a question and answer period from the jurors. “The audience saw how Zoku’s concept is one that could make a difference in the hotel industry, by offering a new type of extended hotel to meet the market demand for a live/work space,” comments John Hardy, CEO of The John Hardy Group and founder of the Radical Innovation Competition.
Designed by the solution-based design and architecture firm Concrete , 133 Zoku Loft rooms are currently under construction in an existing building in Amsterdam and scheduled to open this winter. “Our aim is to take the focus off the bed when you enter a hotel room with a smartly designed Zoku Loft and also provide social spaces for communal areas to work, sleep, play and live in. Rooms range from 270-300 square feet,” says Hans Meyer, managing director and co-founder alongside Jongerius.
A cash prize of $5,000 went to runner-up Snoozebox , a portable hotel transported by truck to festivals and events in England. And $1,500 went to the student winner, Yasmin Abdelfattah Soliman of Effat University in Saudi Arabia, for her Adaptive Balloons refuge for people displaced by disasters.
The Radical Innovation Jury:
Michael Medzigian, CEO & Director, Carey Watermark Investors; Jena Thornton, Managing Director, Eagle Rock Ventures; Simon Turner, President of Global Development, Starwood Hotels; James Woods, COO, The Bowls; Wing Chao, Founding Principal, Wing T. Chao Architect; and John Hardy, CEO, The John Hardy Group; Claude Amar, Managing Director, The John Hardy Group International.