LouisvilleKy’s 21c Museum Hotels and GE Appliances’ FirstBuild Join Forces to Create The Hotel Room of the Future

Photo from 21c's website

Crowd-sourced contest opens today

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two rule-breaking Louisville-based companies have joined forces to transform the hotel guest experience. 21c Museum Hotels and GE Appliances’ FirstBuild™ are seeking the next great idea for The Hotel Room of the Future.

Today’s travelers aren’t looking for just any place to lay their heads. Hotel guests today are more engaged, tech-savvy, design-aware and sensitive to their surroundings than ever before, yet the average hotel room and experience hasn’t changed much in the last several decades.

“After an engaging meeting with the FirstBuild team last year, we were inspired to find ways to continue the relationship,” said Craig Greenberg, president of 21c Museum Hotels. “Since our inception, 21c has been an innovator and disruptor in the hospitality space, changing and challenging the industry with an emphasis on a fantastic guest experience and access to contemporary art. Our hope is that the FirstBuild community’s innovative ideas can be integrated into 21c Museum Hotels, transforming the guest experience and enhancing The Hotel Room of Future.”

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21c Museum and FirstBuild are calling on designers, makers, engineers, artists and more to submit their inventive, functional designs to create the ultimate hotel stay. The winning concept will display innovation in guest experience—like comfort, entertainment and information—by integrating at least three innovative appliances and overarching design. Key focus areas could include cooking, refrigeration, cleaning, guest convenience, entertainment, lighting, acoustics and air/water conditioning, but contestants are limited only by their imagination and existing available building practices.

“At FirstBuild we create next-generation appliances by collaborating with our online and local community. Working with 21c Museum Hotels on this design challenge provides a unique opportunity for community members to look beyond the home to create for a hotel stay,” said Larry Portaro, director at FirstBuild. “We are excited to see the submissions we receive and how they will come to life in 21c Museum Hotels.” Interested participants will have the opportunity to engage with both 21c and FirstBuildexperts and view a room at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville on Tuesday, March 21 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three entrants, determined by both community voting and a panel of expert judges. Prizes include a cash prize up to $2500, a 21c Museum Hotel experience at any of the group’s six museum hotels, the opportunity to visit the FirstBuild microfactory and selection of a FirstBuild-produced product. More details about prizes can be found on the contest page.

Judges include 21c Museum Hotels Founder and CEO Steve Wilson; FirstBuild Director Larry Portato; principal for design firm Deborah Berke Partners Terrence Schroeder; Louisville Metro Chief of Civic Innovation Grace Simrall and others. The winner will be announced mid-April.

The contest will launch via FirstBuild.com on March 7, and entries will be accepted through April 2. During that time, entrants will have the opportunity to interface with the FirstBuild and 21c design teams to ensure their entry fits within the rules and expectations of the challenge.

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21c Museum Hotel and FirstBuild hope to integrate winning concepts into a guest room at 21c Louisville in the coming years.

To learn more about The Hotel Room of the Future Challenge, visit http://cocreate.firstbuild.com/21c.

About 21c Museum Hotels

21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning Louisville, Kentucky-based boutique hotel and restaurant group, was founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The couple opened the first 21c Museum Hotel in 2006 along downtown Louisville’s West Main Street, rehabilitating a series of 19th century warehouses. Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c is an inventive union of genuine hospitality, careful design and culinary creativity — all anchored by a multi-venue contemporary art museum with thought-provoking exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a full roster of cultural programming. 21c operates hotels in Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Bentonville, Arkansas and Durham, North Carolina, Lexington, Kentucky and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A 21c Museum Hotel is under construction in both Nashville, Tennessee and Kansas City, Missouri, and projects are under development in Miami, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana. The company is equally focused on creating unique, chef-driven restaurants that are as much a part of the community as the hotel. 21c operates a diverse roster of restaurants including Proof on Main at 21c Louisville, Metropole at 21c Cincinnati, The Hive at 21c Bentonville, Counting House at 21c Durham, Lockbox at 21c Lexington, Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge at 21c Oklahoma City and Garage Bar in Louisville, Kentucky. Visit www.21cMuseumHotels.com for more information.

About FirstBuild

GE Appliances’ FirstBuild is a global co-creation community that harnesses the brainpower of the maker movement to change the way major home appliances are conceived, designed and manufactured. A physical state-of-the-art microfactory in Louisville, Kentucky and online forum, FirstBuild speeds products from mind to market and enables customization through small batch production, without the costs and risks of traditional mass manufacturing. For more information about how to get involved, visit FirstBuild.com.