The globalization phenomenon is seen as the world-wide movement to bring different countries and societies together, allowing for greater integration and contact. Products, ideas, transactions and information are now able to circulate more freely. Consequently, this results in a global society of similar standards, where faster communication between societies would mean rapid improvements in the global economy and living standards as a whole.
1.1 The Advantages of Globalization
Clear advantages resulting from globalization are the more efficient exchange of ideas and information between people and societies. Key knowledge and information in areas of science and technology can be shared more quickly, allowing for the development of new products and solutions to help us improve our daily lives. Much improvement can also be seen in the global economy due to the greater ease in financial transactions and free trade agreements between countries. In addition, more jobs are created due to the greater ease for countries to invest in the developing nations.
1.2 The Disadvantages of Globalization
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However, there are the downsides of globalization as well. Homogeneity and standardization are often seen, leaving little difference in the individual societies. Unique cultures of the individual societies are starting to erode as nations strive for progress and advancement to fit in with the rest of the world. One example is the traditions of the Masai tribe in Africa, which have been scrutinized and abolished by outsiders, is now lost due to globalized intruders of the land.
Developing countries are also in the risk of losing their cultural identity as they tend to embrace the influx of ideas and information with open arms, and in turn, neglecting culture heritage and traditions. An increase in consumerism and number of activities has also taken a toll on the environment shown by the dramatic increase in pollution levels and climate change.
Stress levels are also on the rise with the greater competition among people and societies as noted by urban Sociologist Georg Simmel in his book On Individuality and social form.
2. Impact Globalization has on Tourism
The tourism industry, being an important sector in the global economy is also affected by the increasingly intense waves of globalization. It has brought about both positive and negative outcomes and effects.
2.2 Advantages of Globalization on Tourism
One obvious advantage of globalization on the tourism sector is the increase in the number of travelers. As people become more aware of their surrounding countries and the different society out there, curiosity for the places would be sparked. Fueled by financial and social improvements, people's disposable income would increase, allowing them to travel more than before. The increase in the number of people travelling brings with them a demand for hotels, and at the same time opening up more job vacancies and boosting the country's economy.
2.2 Disadvantages of Globalization on Tourism
On the other hand, there are also disadvantaged of globalization on the hospitality sector. Due to the increasing demand in travelling accommodations, hotels are springing up all around, especially in the heart of the city where tourists would frequent. Such places are usually busy and noisy, with a similar surrounding environment as they have back home, which is not ideal as people go on holiday to get away from their hectic lifestyle and schedule. The busy setting decreases the quality of relaxation as tourists would not be truly able to let loose and relax. Therefore, there is a need for guests to be in a different environmental setting for them to truly relax.
2.2 How Globalization have affected Design in General
Globalization has affected design in many different ways; from skyscrapers, shopping malls, franchised restaurants and banks are coming to a standardized structure and design. Professor Roger K. Lewis posed a question on his paper Architecture and the Global City whether "When abroad, how often have you felt especially comfortable in a hotel room similar to others you have stayed in, felt relieved perusing a menu with foods you recognize, or enjoyed shopping in a store whose merchandise and interior design are like the store at home?"
2.2 .1 How Globalization have affected Design in Hotel Design
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The notion of luxury also evolved, from the simplistic mindset of material possession and wealth, to the psychological and spiritual aspect of life. Time and experience are now seen as prized commodities.
With the rapid reduction in space and land available, micro-hotels such as the capsule hotels are gaining popularity. Though capsule hotels are small in size, they serve the main purpose and function of temporary accommodation space: a space for sleeping. The limited available space is not only efficiently used; functional comfort is also taken into consideration. Convenience in location is also an important part of the capsule hotel, where it is located mainly in busy city area. Such hotels are popular among businessmen and tourists, who are looking for a cheap place to rest for the night.
The increased traffic in the cluttered and noisy urban jungle has also led to the revival of spaces for retreat from the chaotic urban setting. As global competition among people and industries increases, people are spending more time working. This result in higher stress levels and lesser leisure time for relaxation and entertainment. High levels of pollution in terms of noise and environment are also the reason why the demands of such 'escape' are increasing. Retreats are situated away from urbanization, where relaxation and serenity are prized characteristics.
Another growing trend is the eco-friendly hotels and resorts. In mind of the rising environmental issues and concerns, these hotels aim for earth-friendly solutions to the different problems faced, without sacrificing luxury and comfort. One common approach that is adopted by hotels is the use of non-toxic cleaning agents, recycling of waste from both staff and guests and the use of renewable energy.
3. Uniqueness amidst Standardization
Boutique hotels in general, aim to be unique and different setting themselves apart from the bigger, main stream hotels. Being in a much smaller scale of 3 to 50 guest rooms, boutique hotels are known for their personalized treatment of individual guests. Ultimately, boutique hotels aim to design for distinctiveness and diversity. What makes the boutique hotel more ideal is that it is close to the heart of the city, yet away from the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle.
The concept for the boutique hotel is to provide an escape for people from the busy urbanized setting of everyday life. The chosen site in the Minden Cluster of Tanglin Village fits with my concept as the surrounding environment is tranquil and peaceful, different from the cluttered urban setting which most hotels are located in, yet still close to the shopping district at Orchard Road.
The process of cleansing one's mind and soul is used in the design approach of my boutique hotel. From the noisy, busy city, one goes through a cleansing process of walking through the space to reach the ultimate destination of a quiet haven.
3.1 Cleansing of the mind and soul
It starts off in the lobby area whereby public areas such as the reception and dining areas are located close to the road where the traffic is, and private areas such as the room are placed furthest away from the road, where it is quieter. At the pool area from the lobby, one goes through a transition area to calm their minds and filter out distractions and stress resulting from the cluttered urban city. Ultimately, one reaches an area of peace and serenity; the rooms. It is a private haven for the individual guests, an area which is quiet and relaxed, free from distractions and the prying eyes of the public sector.
Water is used as the main element in my design as it brings about a calming effect and rejuvenation of the spirit. Water features are also used as partitions to enhance the feeling of being surrounded in an oasis. This will provide tourists with a place where they can truly relax and unwind from their daily activities.
3.2 Luxurious comfort
The layout of spaces is not aimed at solely to maximize profits, but more towards the wellbeing of the guests. Wide pathways and minimal furniture are purposefully allocated for the guests to maximize the comfort levels of the visitors.
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The use of space in the lobby is slightly different where spiritual calmness of the guests is translated in terms of enclosed areas with high ceiling, and the play of light and water elements.
The term relaxing space comes in many different forms and differs with each person. They can be in the form of an enclosed space with high ceiling, like those found in churches, or simply being outdoors, close to nature. These are the different kinds of relaxing spaces that are integrated in the boutique hotel design. Being located at the back of the site, away from prying eyes of the public, the use of nature and outdoors is implemented in the private area where the rooms are. The rooms are designed in blocks, differing from the original architecture of the lobby block, so as to allow for more efficient cross ventilation of spaces. With the use of plants as soft boundaries, constant fresh air can be expected when staying the rooms, ensuring comfort for the staying guests.
The question to ask is 'does globalization really improve our quality of life?' Advancing technology may have provided us with products and services to ease our problems in life, but globalization have also brought about different kinds of problems, such as the increase in stress level with the ever increasing fast-paced lifestyles of people. Increase in human activities and demands have also cause a strain on the environment with the worsening pollution and a change in the ecological system, along with a greater increase in stress level in people. Fast-paced lifestyles are seen all around the world, even when people are on holidays and being surrounded by similar hectic environments. So, have globalization then improve our life quality?