Beyond Luxury: Ahead of the Trends in Design and Hospitality


Vera Iconica Founder and CEO, Veronica Schreibeis-Smith, was recently featured on a panel at the BITAC 2023 conference discussing trends in luxury hospitality design. Alongside three other industry leaders, Veronica explained the importance of staying ahead of trends, and seeing further down the road to anticipate the wants and needs of your clients:

“You have to know years in advance what your customer is going to want,” Schreibeis-Smith said. “And I think that if you can understand what people value, and more importantly, how values are shifting right now, that’s the only way to innovate and come up with products.”

The panel discussed how rapidly consumer desires are changing, with an awareness and desire to integrate wellness concepts and features into their experience. They explain how trends they predicted would be slowly phasing in over the next five or ten years are happening now, and are accelerating.

“People don't want luxury for the sake of luxury anymore. They want ... something else," explains Shreibeis-Smith. "What is that 'something else'? That's different for each person."

In our projects, this has held true. Some clients are seeking a healthier environment and optimized air quality; some want customized spaces to inspire their meditation and mindfulness practice; some are focused on quality and old-world craftsmanship; while others want a greater connection to nature and the outdoors. Generally, a wellness oriented client will want some or all of these features and will be more interested in subtlety, simplicity and experience than the traditional glitz associated with luxury.

In hospitality and spa design, we see this continuing to advance. Will customer demand and expectations drive the industry to showcase their use of non-toxic and VOC-free materials and finishes, better, safer cleaning products, mold remediation measures, advanced air filtration, and beyond?

We predict yes.

And that the developers and entrepreneurs that lead this trend will be rewarded for their foresight and vision.


For more info on the the BITAC conference and highlights from the discussion, on the latest in wellness design trends, check out this article in Hotel Interactive



Vera Iconica Selected for Mountain Living's Top Architects 2023

Starting off 2023 with a bit of good news. We've just been told that Vera Iconica Architecture has been chosen for the Mountain Living Magazine Top Architects List.

It's nice to be recognized, and, perhaps even more exciting, it's great to see the concept of Wellness Architecture--of designing buildings that help people reach their ideals for health, wellbeing, connection, and that enhance body, mind and spirit--becoming more accepted and often sought out by discerning clients.

And of course, though we've grown and are now working on projects all over the world, the mountains will always be our home, and mountain architecture our first love. Our Jackson Hole office remains our headquarters, and we've recently opened a Denver office to better serve the area.

What to see what we've been up to? Click here to see more of our residential architecture projects.


From Environmentalism to Wellism - The MSU Lecture

Recently, Vera Iconica founding principal wellness architecture pioneer Veronica Shreibeis-Smith, was invited to lecture at Montana State University. Veronica takes you through her journey from starting out as a young architect and environmentalist to becoming an industry leader, designing and building her unique brand of holistically-minded architecture. She has coined the term 'Wellism', which describes how a space can not just contribute to planetary wellness, but can combine ancient principles and modern innovation to empower and inspire the people that experience it.

MSU has posted a video of the talk and we highly recommend tuning in. In the presentation, you will learn:

  • About the most important lessons throughout Vera Iconica's journey in pioneering the Wellness Architecture concept.
  • About how the growth in our population has brought us to an inflection point, and why this is hopeful for our future and the future of our planet.
  • What it's like designing simultaneously for the real world and virtual reality, and why Deepak Chopra thinks this is the future of wellness.

And be sure to watch the Q&A at the end for the thought provoking and challenging questions from the MSU students.

CLICK HERE to watch the lecture


Wellness Architecture Finds a New Home in Deepak Chopra's Metaverse

This week marks the launch of a new experiment in architecture, wellness, and VR. Seva.Love, the 'NFTs for Good' platform founded by Deepak Chopra, has partnered with Metaverse developers Utopia to build a new virtual reality experience, the Chopraverse. This digital universe is built around the Vera Iconica designed Deepak Chopra House of Enlightenment as the central building that will be the home for virtual gatherings, educational resources on wellness and lifestyle, NFT art galleries, and much more.

Utopia is the Web3 brainchild of Alejandro Saez, Maria Bravo, Eva Longoria, and Javier Garcia, aiming to use web3 innovations to promote meaningful causes, and philanthropy and to help businesses bridge the virtual and physical worlds. By joining with this team to bring our brand of design to the Chopraverse, we are excited to share Wellness Architecture in a new way, with a new audience of people.


The Deepak Chopra House of Enlightenment

It started as a design for a 2 bedroom house on the water, surrounded by gardens. A home for Deepak Chopra and his family, built to the highest standards of Wellness Architecture. Moments of beauty and peace overlap with the necessities of daily life while being constructed with pure, natural materials, sacred proportions, and advanced systems to maintain air and water quality.

Your daily routines give you views of the courtyards and encourage you to walk the gardens or do a sunrise meditation looking over the lake. Deepak wanted this wellness house not only for his own health and well-being but also as a showcase for what is possible; an example, leading the way into a future where we build our homes and design our surroundings so that they optimize our lived experience.

With the launch of the Chopraverse, the House of Enlightenment has become part of a larger, bolder vision. Many see the blockchain-powered Metaverse as being the future of our digital experience. While the current version of web3 is focused primarily on gaming, no one knows how it will evolve, what it will become, and in what ways it will intertwine with our daily lives. Right now the Metaverse is more a concept than reality, and because of that can be shaped into whatever people can dream. Deepak Chopra sees an opportunity to build something great:

"ChopraVerse is creating homes for multidimensional living, nourishing the body, mind, spirit, and environment as a unified experience in awareness. It will give everyone an opportunity to generate their own abode for the return to wholeness and healing,” he explains. Part of the vision for the project is that people will not only be able to experience the House of Enlightenment digitally but will be able to buy the plans for the house as an NFT and then build it in the real world.

Will you someday be living in your own version of the House of Enlightenment?

Designing for a Digital Future

As architects and designers, translating your design for a virtual world introduces a new set of challenges and opportunities:

  • How do you create the connection to nature, light, and air in a world where our sensory experience is altered? 
  • What does it feel like when you stroll through the gardens, walk in the front door, sit down and meditate with the sound of fountains in the background and a view of the sunset over the lake? Can you experience the feel and texture of the materials, even though you can't touch them?
  • And, perhaps most importantly, what can we do in the virtual world that we can't do when subject to real-world limitations? Are we striving to make it feel like real life, or is there an enhanced version that can bring us new experiences and perspectives?

For the ChopraVerse, this is just the beginning. We’re excited to see it come to life and look forward to watching it develop and begin to realize its visionary ideals.