Chen-ling Tsao

Chen-ling Tsao

Brooklyn, NY, US


Revealing Hidden Labor

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                        “One of the great pleasures of staying in a hotel is spending time in a spotless, neat, and organized space that you don’t have to clean. That doesn’t, however, mean the work disappears—when we’re not looking, someone else is doing it.”

––––––– David Brody, “Housekeeping by Design”

            Housekeeping is arguably one of the vital components integral to the infrastructure of hotel management, yet it is an activity which is usually hidden from the public. Hotels are most often presented as flawless interiors to their customers, yet hiding the labor of workers, especially housekeepers, who consist mostly of female immigrants.  Maintenance workers are among the main users of a hotel’s facilities, yet their needs are seldom considered by designers and developers. How might we imagine a design that can accommodate both its workers and its guests, a design that does not sacrifice comfort for either party?

?  In this hotel design, the workers are not excluded, but rather, the starting point from which this thesis emerges. Through the use of ergonomic furniture, minimalist designs and healthier material specifications, there is less physical strain and a reduction of chemical detergents, all of which will improve the mental and physical health of workers. Happier and healthier employees will provide better service to guests, creating a mutually beneficial experience for everyone involved, including guests, developers, and workers alike. Designing from the perspective of labor, might produce both unexpected and generative benefits for all.

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Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US