Choose your dates:

  1. Sunday, March 3, 2024

  2. Monday, March 4, 2024

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

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.”

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 FirstBuild experts 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 on March 7 and entries will be accepted through April 20. 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.

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