Dezeen Magazine

Instagram design guide shows architects how to create "a visual sense of amazement"

Architects should make Instagram-friendly elements a central part of their designs for hotels, bars and restaurants to boost their chances of success, according to a new report.

Created by Australian studio Vale Architects, the Instagram Design Guide says that the image-sharing platform now plays a key role in the success of hospitality projects.

Architects and designers need to understand how designs can encourage guests to share their surroundings, and thereby boost the venue's profile and business, the report argues.

Add neons and "funky murals"

The report helps designers identity the types of customers their project aims to attract, and defines the things they are likely to share on social media. Tips include integrating "funky murals" and adding neon quotes to bathroom walls.

"Providing your guests with a visual sense of amazement, creativity and fun from the moment they step into your space, is the best way to set yourself aside from your competitors on social media," says the report.

The report's author, Scott Valentine of Vale Architects, got in touch with Dezeen after reading our story last week reporting architect Farshid Moussavi's comments about Instagram.

Clients are demanding instagrammability

Moussavi said that creating instagrammable moments "is now part of architectural briefs", and said clients had asked her studio to consider the platform when designing projects.

Valentine agreed, saying hospitality clients were increasingly demanding designs that encourage sharing on instagram.

"An Instagram wall is now the standard request by every client we've spoken to," said Valentine, who has worked on hotel projects across Asia and the Middle East. "They want a wall people can take pictures in front of."

Valentine said clients' requests are "relatively unsophisticated, which is why we put together our Instagram Design Guide. We want to encourage people to start thinking a bit more creatively, and encourage their designers to do the same."

Hotel guests want to "live the Instagram life"

The report includes case studies depicting typical resort users and their Instagram preferences.

One case study features Bob and Michelle, a couple with "very different ideas about what their holiday should look like."

While Bob wants to surf, drink beer and spend quality time with Michelle, she wants to "be pampered and live the Instagram life of fresh coconuts and lounging by the pool."

In response to this type of user, designers should focus on providing what Michelle wants, since "Bob's main job this holiday is to take pictures of Michelle."

"Michelle wants pictures of herself in the pool, of bright colours, and of fresh attractive food," the report says. "You'll also find her taking pictures of remarkable indoor and outdoor artwork like murals or inspirational signage."

First guide to Instagram for architects

Valentine wrote the design guide after a client in Indonesia told him that instagrammability was key to his project's success.

"A prospective client in Bali told us they wanted their project to be in the top ten most instagrammed locations in Bali," Valentine said.

"We're talking about one of the most photogenic islands on the planet, so that was always going to be a tall order."

"But it made us think. Instagram has more than 800 million active users, and in many ways, it's a prime PR tool for so many hotels, bars and restaurants."

Analysing hashtags

Valentine noticed there were no existing guides on how to achieve his client's wishes, so he wrote one himself.

"The only guides available related to how to get more followers, rather than how to actually design your buildings in a more photogenic and instagrammable way," he said. "We did a lot of our own research and data analysis around what works best."

When starting on a new project, Valentine's team analyses the social-media footprint of other similar venues in the area, paying particular attention to the hashtags used in comments on rival hotels, and the types of images users post.

"If we notice few people taking pictures in the guest rooms of a hotel, but lots of pictures in the hotel pool area, then this potentially tells us we should divert funds and design effort into the public area in our new hotel," he said.

Guide allows clients to get "bang for their buck"

"Equally if we notice a particular fondness for certain colours and textures we can start to understand how that could affect the project we are working on."

This research is then fed back to the client to help guide decisions on "where investment in the design may bring the most bang for their buck."

Other designers taking users' Instagram preferences into account include Coordination Asia, who recent project for restaurant chain Gaga in Shanghai has been optimised so design elements fit in a photo frame and maximise the potential for selfies.

Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger told Dezeen that he had noticed that the platform was influencing interior design.

Sharing experiences and creating memes

"I've seen this in a bunch of hotels and buildings that are designing that more into the space," said Krieger, the Brazilian software engineer and engineer who started Instagram with Kevin Systrom in 2010.

"It becomes this interesting hook to get people to experience [the space]. If you can have a moment that is well-framed and gets people to think 'this is something I want to share with people', it creates this almost meme effect, where people are like 'I want to be there and I want to see that thing'."

Speaking to Dezeen at the opening of the brand's new offices in New York last week, Krieger added: "I think what's interesting is to me it's less about the individual photo that gets shared on Instagram, but more about the experience of making that space yours."

Don't follow a formula

However Krieger warned that copying and pasting design tropes would lead to bland homogeneity.

"Hopefully it leads to a creative spark and things feeling different over time," he said. "I think a bad effect would be that same definition of instagrammability in every single space. But instead, if you can make it yours, it can add something to the building."

Instagram was placed at number 66 in the latest Dezeen Hot List of the most newsworthy forces in world design.