Inspiration Abounds at HD Summit

The 14th annual Hospitality Design Summit, hosted by Contract‘s sister publication, brought together more than 400 architects and designers, sponsors, and other attendees at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, in sunny Southern California. HD Summit is an invitation-only gathering of senior-level executives in the hospitality industry, and is the only industry networking conference focused on ideas outside hospitality: It is designed to inspire attendees and help sharpen their leadership skills. And how could one not feel inspired in this setting?


View from the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.


Panoramic view of the cliff-side resort from the beach.


The three-day HD Summit kicked off with a reception on the Dana Lawn.


…and a bar with a view.

The many motivating speakers at HD Summit included David Cooper, the managing director of sales at Stewart Lending Services and who, despite losing his sight in a ski racing accident in 1995, has traveled more than one million miles around the world; Neil Pasricha, head of leadership development at Walmart Canada and in his free time, creator of the blog, “1000 Awesome Things;” Nirvan Mullick, the filmmaker behind “Caine’s Arcade” and founder of the non-profit Imagine Foundation; Pico Iyer, world traveler, essayist, and novelist; and Philippe Petit, a French high-wire artist who gained fame in 1974 for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. 


HD Editorial Director Michael Adams welcomes attendees.

One of the highlights of HD Summit included the talk by Mullick about how, in 2011, he met then nine-year-old Caine Monroy, who was creating an arcade out of cardboard boxes and everyday objects in his father’s auto parts store in Los Angeles. Inspired by Caine’s creativity, Mullick not only became Caine’s first customer at the arcade, but went on to create a documentary about it. If you have 10 minutes, it’s absolutely with watching:

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

Following Mullick’s talk, HD Summit attendees were invited to look under their tables and discover stacks of cardboard boxes as well as tools and accessories they could use to create their own arcade games. The resulting games were judged by a jury, including Mullick, and winners were selected in several categories, including “WTF.” Winners were announced later that evening at dinner and presented with cardboard trophies, and all the “games” were displayed and open for play at the reception following.


One team built a clever play on tetherball.


Other teams got creative with the accessories provided to enhance their games.


More “games” created by attendees.

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