Inaugural ‘Hickory Salonnière’ brings together leading lights in Scottish hospitality and design

The Dovecot Studios Panel at the first Hickory Salonniere

KEY representatives from Scotland’s architecture, design and hotel sectors gathered at one of the country’s landmark arts institutions this month for the first in a series of stimulating discussion dinner events looking at trends in the hospitality industry. 

Hickory, Scotland’s largest and fastest-growing independent catering business, hosted its first ‘Salonnière’ at Edinburgh’s celebrated arts venue and tapestry studio Dovecot Studios, attended by an invited audience from across Scotland’s hospitality and design sectors and exploring the question ‘What part does design play in hospitality?’

The discussion, which was chaired by Dovecot Studios Director, Celia Joicey, was based around the importance of design in the hospitality industry and brought together some of Scotland’s most prestigious brands, who have collaborated on interior design.

The well-received and thought-provoking event kicked off with an introduction by Joicey to Dovecot Studios, the world-renowned tapestry studio in the heart of Edinburgh, beforepresentations from the three Salonnière panel guests – Emma Jackson, Regional Director of Sales for the newly opened Virgin Hotels in Edinburgh; Lauren Hughes-Glass, Associate at Ica; and John Glen, Bute Fabrics Managing Director.

A consensus was reached through the panel discussion and subsequent audience Q&A session over a private dinner, held within the former Ladies Swimming Bath at the Infirmary Street arts venue, that hotels were moving towards giving tourists and visitors a ‘luxurious home-from-home feel’ through fabrics and design.

Meanwhile, accentuating a hospitality venue’s heritage and ‘story’ was also seen as a key driver for design decisions, as shown at  Virgin Hotels Edinburgh where the build project successfully navigated the challenges of working with A, B and C-listed buildings in the Old Town to create the international company’s first ever UK hotel, which opened in June this year.

‘Thinking local’ was another primary objective, from working with local designers and suppliers to making sure projects were sympathetic to and understanding of the local area.

Celia Joicey, Dovecot Studios Director, said: “Hickory’s Salonnière is a terrific initiative to link up professionals from so many different but inter-connected worlds. It was a privilege to chair the inaugural discussion, which connected experts from architecture, design and hospitality, and explore how Scottish textiles, from Dovecot tapestries to Bute Fabrics, can provide a platform to collaborate and grow future business opportunities.”

Stephanie Stubbs, Hickory Managing Director, said: “Our first ever Hickory Salonnière was a resounding success and we’re so grateful to all the people behind the scenes who made it possible, from the Hickory staff preparing dinner and serving guests to everyone at the fabulous and unique setting of Dovecot Studios. We’re already hard at work preparing for our next Hickory Salonnière in the series, which will be an invaluable forum for identifying and addressing future trends in the industry.”

Future Hickory Salonnière events will be held in similar design-led environments across Scotland.

The success of the first ever Hickory Salonnière follows a string of high-profile business wins for the Edinburgh-headquartered firm. It was recently announced as the exclusive catering partner for the multimillion-pound Sands Centre events venue in Carlisle, its first foray south of the Scottish border.

With an emphasis on sustainability, Hickory’s mission is to deliver the best events and hospitality experiences.  This is achieved by providing the highest-quality ingredients that are sourced locally by their professional culinary team and delivering the best quality seasonal food.

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