Chris Godfrey, world principal of HBA Residential—the residential arm of prime hospitality design agency HBA—just lately returned to the UK from Singapore to go up the corporate’s new London workplace, which opened final yr. A 3rd workplace is deliberate for New York by 2020. Right here Godfrey reveals his inspirations, profession path, and method to tasks that end in distinctive and complex environments for personal villas, penthouses, and Luxury buildings.
Inform us a bit about your profession earlier than HBA…
I initially educated as an architect’s apprentice earlier than occurring to review structure on the Waterproof coat Faculty of Structure in Glasgow, graduating in 1997. I then moved to London the place I labored solely inside the residential sphere for one of the best a part of 20 years till March 2014, when Hirsch Bedner Associates entrusted me to launch HBA Residential in Singapore. Instantly previous to establishing HBA Residential, I used to be founding artistic director at 1508 London, which has now grown to an internationally acknowledged, high-end residential design studio. Earlier than that, I ran my very own firm, SCAPE Architects.
Associated: Designer Highlight on 1508 London
How did you encounter “design” when rising up?
My father is an artist and architectural draftsman who was additionally pivotal in shaping my artistic basis. We lived in an strange terraced home in a small Yorkshire city, however he made the interiors distinctive with selfmade avant-garde decor. Over years and years, he painstakingly reduce out stunning images from design magazines and the Sunday newspaper dietary supplements, pasting collectively the items on each bed room wall. So I’d go to mattress surrounded by all this loopy stuff—nudes, artwork, archaeology, and structure mixed together with his personal hand drawings.
What was the enchantment of launching HBA Residential?
The invitation to launch HBA Residential was an unparalleled alternative. HBA is the largest and No.1 hospitality design agency on this planet, working globally with all the five- and six-star manufacturers. What’s much less well-known is that in truth it was in all probability already the most important designer of personal residences on this planet, however it had by no means publicized the actual fact—work got here in word-of-mouth by advantage of the form of shoppers who keep regularly within the accommodations HBA designs. I had lengthy been fascinated by working globally and was attracted by the prospect of creating the built-in design mannequin on its behalf.
Associated: 4 Seasons Resort Residences—Your Key to Kyoto
The corporate just lately opened an workplace in London. Why?
From the outset, we at all times deliberate to have three epicenters that might permit us to be only some hours’ flight to a challenge wherever on this planet. We’ll in the end have three studios however work as one crew, which suggests we will simply cowl a variety of time zones and repair our globetrotting shoppers from wherever they journey. Our imaginative and prescient is to remain small and intensely targeted, which permits us to work with a choose variety of shoppers and be reactive however managed, delivering every little thing but nonetheless managing every little thing.
Inform us about a few of your latest residential work…
We’re designing new 43,056-square-feet (4,000 sq m) homes for a distinguished dressmaker in Shanghai, an artwork collector in Mumbai, and a Miesian-style farmhouse in Delhi. We’re additionally designing a compound of villas within the Center East and a new-build home in The Peak, an unique Hong Kong neighborhood. Simply accomplished are the interiors of the penthouse inside a super-Luxury growth on the website of the Beijing Olympic Park, which will likely be among the many most costly non-public residences in Beijing. We presently have a few London-based tasks for our Asian shoppers and have simply began a brand new challenge in Lagos.
You latterly designed a home in Mumbai round an artwork assortment, inform us about this…
Central to the home—the center—is a six-story top-lit vertical gallery that unifies and enlivens the assorted parts of the home. All points of the household’s lives, together with faith, tradition, and artwork, have been fastidiously thought of and distilled into one thing distinct but harmonized. This house will likely be a household heirloom, a spot that should accommodate massive features and likewise be a non-public, safe residence. It’s a very private response that matches with the physicality and cityscape of Mumbai whereas being attuned to the mosaic of faith and household.
Associated: Why Hong Kong is Nonetheless on Prime of the World
How do you method a challenge typically?
We method every challenge from what I name “first ideas”—the what, who, the place, how, and why of design—there isn’t a substantial amount of distinction in designing for various shoppers internationally. We method every challenge in an open means and use our expertise to present shoppers what they need in a way they might by no means have foreseen. Most significantly, we hear and ask questions. Shoppers should be impressed and we search for inspiration within the on a regular basis situation of the “house.” That is the idea of the method.
What’s the HBA Residential “look”?
I don’t assume we’ve got a “look” as such—a challenge’s “type” being secondary and by no means predetermined. With the professional crew we’ve got in place, we’ve got the expertise and skill to create genuine stylistic options for our shoppers. That stated, our tasks may be decided by their robust sense of marrying clever architectural group and proportioning with a excessive degree of residential consolation and refinement.
In a world the place the time period “Luxury” is so overused, what units you aside?
What units us aside is our innate understanding that the notion of “Luxury” is private and subjective. As designers, we’re gifted the chance to create one thing that’s inherently luxurious by advantage of the truth that it meets the specifics of a short in an clever and distinctive method. I say that we “craft Luxury” or create “Luxury by design”—it’s acquired via our very private means of working. Ours is a principled, process-led, and “less-is-more” method—we glance to offer one thing bespoke in one of the best sense of the phrase, conceived and crafted only for you.
How influenced have you ever been by Asia in design phrases?
Very. Asia is extremely wealthy and numerous, each bodily and culturally. There’s a wealthy cultural heritage and likewise a want to embrace the brand new; the local weather propagates a selected way of life. These dynamics create an exquisite context inside which to design and had been a part of the draw for me. Apparently, my relocation to Asia, and subsequent return to London has led me to have a look at London in a deeper means. Britain and Europe nonetheless set the benchmark for high quality via heritage and royal seals, so we will leverage geography for our shoppers’ profit by bringing one of the best of British craftsmanship to Asia, and one of the best of Asia’s supply capabilities to Europe.
Associated: A Designer’s Information to Shanghai
What are your different design inspirations?
I’m impressed by others’ ardour and concepts—whether or not from shoppers, friends, crew members, or college students. Good shoppers make good tasks and it’s at all times inspiring when a shopper is actually passionate and engaged within the course of. Journey is a continuing supply of inspiration and, though enterprise journey is sort of demanding, I by no means tire of the fixed publicity to the brand new and ever-changing landscapes inside which we function.
Are there supplies, themes, or motifs that you simply return to time after time?
Architecturally, we at all times contemplate kind, order, and proportion and the way the inherent qualities of sunshine and house can evoke emotions of stability, consolation, private safety, and wellbeing no matter modifications in ornament. We additionally attempt to use supplies which can be becoming for the context. Native stone and timber prevail, however we additionally prefer to experiment with materiality in managed methods. My basic method to the design course of hasn’t modified, nonetheless the power to expertise vastly completely different individuals and locations, in addition to check my understanding of how you can work with many sorts of people, has supplied ‘wide-screen’ imaginative and prescient that continues to tell and evolve the oeuvre.