The LIV Hospitality Design Awards recognize the excellence in Hospitality Architecture, Interior Design enhancing exceptional Guest Experiences globally. The yearly catalog showcases the LIV Awards 2022 winners in the Architecture and Interior Design categories as well as the interviews of the professionals and students’ grand prize winners.
Switzerland – Zurich: The LIV Hospitality Design Awards 2023 is now open for submissions, inviting the global design and architecture community to showcase their brilliance and creativity in the field of hospitality design. Recognizing excellence in architecture, interior design, and guest experiences, the awards celebrate the diverse perspectives and innovations that shape the industry.
Renowned as an independent endorsement and an outstanding indicator of success in the hospitality sector, last year’s record-breaking 450 professional and student applications from 53 countries demonstrated the fierce competition and quality of entries received. A panel of 41 experienced architects, designers, and developers in hospitality evaluated the submissions through a multi-round voting process to select the winners in each category.
In the upcoming fourth edition of the LIV Hospitality Design Awards, a grand jury panel composed of experienced architects, designers, and developers in hospitality will evaluate the submissions and select the winners in each category. The jury members include Kavitha Iyer, Head of Design, Americas at Intercontinental Hotel Group; Luis Galofre, Director of F&B Design & Development CALA at Marriott International; Monika Moser, Chief Operating Officer at Campbell House; Mao Hua, Founder of EK Design and PP Design Gallery and Design Director of YuQiang & Partners Interior Architects Studio from China; Najee Syriani, Corporate Vice President Projects at Rotana Hotels; Marc Ledesma, Director F&B Design & Development MEA at Marriott International; and more.
Founder Astrid Hébert is excited about the upcoming edition of the awards, stating, “Celebrating the exceptional work of designers and architects is at the heart of the LIV Hospitality Design Awards. As we embark on the fourth edition of the program, we remain committed to promoting design excellence and recognizing the diverse perspectives and innovations that shape the hospitality industry. We are thrilled to welcome this year’s submissions and look forward to seeing the highest level of ingenuity from the global design community.”
The LIV Hospitality Design Awards is a groundbreaking program that stands out in the design industry. With 41 categories in the LIVING section and 25 categories in the EATING section, it’s a comprehensive program dedicated to rewarding those whose work unites creativity, and innovation, and enhances guest experience. The benefits of winning extend beyond recognition and prestige, as awardees gain new opportunities for PR and promotion, attracting new talent, and boosting team morale. Winning a LIV Award inspires confidence in guests and attracts new clients, making it an excellent investment for design professionals.
This year’s competition promises to be another exciting edition, and early submissions before July 15th, 2023, will receive a 10% discount.
Marcus at Baha Mar by Will Meyer Gray Davis
Discover the Winners of the LIV Hospitality Design Awards 3rd Edition: Honoring Exceptional Architectural Ventures and Interior Design Projects Shaping the Future of the Global Hospitality Industry.
Zurich, Switzerland – The LIV Hospitality Design Awards has announced the winners of its highly anticipated third edition recognizing exceptional architectural ventures and interior design projects that are shaping the worldwide hospitality industry today.
The program, which is an inclusive platform for exceptional projects within living and eating spaces, received over 450 professional and student applications from 53 countries. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of 41 experienced architects, designers, and developers in hospitality, who went through a multi-round voting process to select the winners in each category.
The LIV Awards celebrates the quality and diversity of projects from co-living spaces, boutique hotels, and beach resorts, to fine dining restaurants, lounges, and pop-up bars. Each project was evaluated on its own merit, rewarding the most striking designs and properties that stood out with new concepts, uniqueness, and design stories.
“Celebrating the best in hospitality design is more than just acknowledging outstanding work – it’s about inspiring and empowering designers to push the boundaries of creativity, sustainability, and innovation. At LIV Hospitality Design Awards, we strive to foster a global community of forward-thinking designers who are committed to shaping the future of hospitality design. With a record number of applications in the third edition, we are proud to be at the forefront of this exciting and dynamic industry, recognizing the designs that elevate the guest experience,” said Astrid Hébert, Founder.
The range of work was astounding with honorees in Architecture including Olson Kundig for the design for Comedor, a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin, Pure Design Studio for Avana Retreat set on a mountainside in northern Vietnam, emerging young talent from Savannah College of Art and Design, Tony Wu for Green Booster and Mansoor Al Harbi from American University of Dubai for Areesh Retreat.
In terms of interior design, the program awarded Ukranian design studio Yod Group for Terra Restaurant capturing the essence of Western Ukraine’s natural beauty and cultural richness, Not a Number Architects for MonAsty Autograph Collection drawing inspiration from the byzantine heritage of Thessaloniki, emerging interior designer Hyojung Cha from Pratt Institute for Mad For Garlic and Sarah Choudhary from New York School of Interior Design for Hotel Cirque in Montreal.
The third edition of the LIV Awards saw an array of distinguished honorees, including Kerry Hill Architect for Anantara Chiang Mai, Wilmotte & Associés for Maybourne Riviera, NELSON Worldwide for W Philadelphia Hotel, Faci Leboreiro for Green Grass Masaryk, Stickman Tribe for Ambros – The Ritz Carlton Amman, YANG & Associates Group for Qinhuangdao Marriott Resort, Emily W Design for Bussey Rooftop Bar, Yodezeen architects for Native House, and many more. For a complete list of winners, please visitlivawards.com.
The LIV Hospitality Design Awards recognize the excellence in Hospitality Architecture, Interior Design enhancing exceptional Guest Experiences globally. The yearly catalog showcases The LIV Awards winners in the Architecture and Interior Design categories as well as the interviews of the professionals and students’ grand prize winners.
You can view and download the PDF version freely below or buy it on your favorite Amazon online store.
International architecture and design firm MG2 was the Architect of Record for The Fairmont Olympic – Grand Restoration “LIV Awards Architectural Design of the Year,” and Shannon Suess was in charge of preserving the historic elements of the property while integrating new interior design concepts. Principal at MG2 in the Seattle office, we sit with Shannon to discuss her design journey and upcoming projects.
Could you tell us a little about your professional journey?
I began my 30+-year professional journey at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. My university program offered a diverse curriculum that included industrial, product, furniture, graphic, interiors, and architectural design. I learned the importance of understanding and integrating these specialties.
My first job was with The Jerde Partnership in Venice Beach, California, where I worked on international projects. That experience sparked my interest in the “authentic place” in design. For more than 10 years I designed hotels and resorts worldwide with WATG in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2016 I joined the Seattle office of MG2 to grow the firm’s Hospitality and Interior Design studio.
How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in Architecture and Design?
I took a weekend course in environmental design, which was offered by a local college to high school students. This was where I learned to fuse my skills in art and drafting. We were exposed to furniture design, space planning, and graphic arts. The class sparked a love of design and introduced me to architecture and interiors.
What was most important for you when planning this project?
As the Architect of Record, we focused most on preserving the historic elements, while integrating new interior design concepts.
What were the biggest challenges you and your team faced on this project?
The historic renovation of a landmark building is always exhilarating, but never without its challenges. No matter what you think you know about the structure, it will always surprise you.
At the Fairmont Olympic, one of those surprises was the terrazzo we discovered under the carpeting of the main staircase and landings. No one knew the hotel’s original terrazzo floors, which had been hand laid by artisans in 1924, still existed. Replacement carpeting had already been ordered, but the unearthed floors were too beautiful to cover up. With the help of a specialist, the flooring was refreshed. The hotel’s terrazzo staircase is as beautiful today as it was almost 100 years ago.
Where do you get your motivation and inspiration for your work?
I get inspiration from meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing new cultures—and all the other things that accompany travel. My love of hospitality design is a natural outcome. I’m a life-long learner and believe experiences shape your thinking. The more opportunities I have to travel and see the world, the more inspired I am. And the more I am able to move people’s hearts and minds through design.
What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?
We are currently working on renovations to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Hotel in Hawaii. We also have several projects in the pipeline—additional hospitality renovation work as well as new ground-up hotels.
Last, what would be your best advice to young talented Designers and Architects?
Don’t be afraid of failure. Learn to be in uncomfortable situations and lean into them. You’ll never know how successful you might be unless you try—and then try again. Good design comes from the exploration of ideas. Look at every project (no matter how large or small) as a way to enhance your skillset. Attack every single one of your projects with determination and an inquisitive mind.
Founders of the YOD Group in 2004, Volodymyr Nepiyvoda and Dmytro Bonesko decided to focus on “hospitality projects” as the industry is setting trends. Winner of the LIV Awards 2021 “Interior Design of the Year”, with the renovation of the Buddha-bar New York, we sit together to look at their professional journeys and upcoming projects.
Could you tell us a little about your professional journey? Where are you from?
Volodymyr Nepiyvoda: I came from a family of construction managers. I spent my teenage years on construction sites, where I learned how to work with my hands. Then I realized what one person could do was limited. To scale big, I decided to get a degree in architecture and started working for one of the largest Ukrainian restaurant chains. There I explored how the F&B industry works from the inside. After some time, I met Dmytro and decided to run the YOD Group.
Dmytro Bonesko: I was always into art and creativity. After graduating in industrial design and before launching YOD, I worked as a graphic designer, participated in game development, and designed interiors for private jets.
How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?
We founded the YOD Group in 2004 in Kyiv. From the very beginning, we chose the direction: of commercial architecture and interiors, hospitality design, and development. We wanted to create restaurants, bars, hotels, and spas because we believed that the hospitality sector always takes a step forward and sets trends. In private interiors, you depend on one person whose taste may be questionable. In hospitality, your judges are hundreds of demanding people and the market. Each time you have to create something innovative, a place with a unique vibe, you have to see the hidden potential of the space and evolve the concept. We aimed to do our best, to create interiors that turn visitors into habitues and help owners build their successful businesses.
How would you characterize your winning project? What is the main idea behind Buddha-Bar New York?
Buddha-Bar New York is our biggest project in the USA. The point was to rethink the idea of an iconic restaurant chain, which first opened in Paris in the ’90s. We aimed to express the Buddha-Bar brand DNA with authenticity in the New York context.
What was most important to you when planning this project? What were the biggest challenges you and your team faced?
The biggest challenge was to persuade the client to share our vision and step out of their traditional Buddha-Bar design approach. We aimed to find new ways to express the fusion aesthetic.
What does this recognition mean to you, and why do you think these awards are important?
It is a great honor. As a Ukrainian-based company that has created a significant project in New York and gained recognition from the Switzerland-based hospitality design award, we are sure that anything is possible when you work hard and create boldly.
Where do you get your motivation and inspiration for your work?
These days, we get our inspiration from our country. Our beautiful nature and our courageous people. It feels even sharper now that the war has come to our land.
What are you working on now?
The point is that we had to adapt our work to the current situation. After the full-scale Russian invasion started on February 24, almost all projects in Ukraine were frozen or put on hold. First of all, we made sure all our colleagues were safe, and then we continued to work on our projects abroad. We rely on them to pay our bills, pay salaries to our staff, and support multiple volunteer projects and the Ukrainian economy.
We are open to international cooperation with architectural and design studios all over the world. We can definitely enrich their projects with our experience and our vision.
What is in the pipeline for you?
We are on the furnishing stage of two hotels in the Carpathian Mountains. This is Western Ukraine, the safest part of our country, where life is going on almost as before. We are working on an Asian restaurant in Germany and a few restaurants in Dubai.
We believe that Ukraine will win and remain an independent country, and one day we will rebuild our projects in Mariupol, Chernigiv, and Kharkiv, which were destroyed.
Paul Bishop is the founder of Bishop Design, located in Dubai and Miami; the Design studio has received over one hundred awards both regionally and Internationally. Their design philosophy is rooted in creating cutting-edge interiors, all whilst exceeding Client expectations and enhancing consumer experiences across the globe. We sit with Paul Bishop to discuss his design journey, his inspirations, and upcoming projects.
Could you tell us a little about your professional journey? Where are you from and when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?
I am from London, UK but moved north to study Interior Architecture at the University of Manchester. After graduating with a master’s degree, I was fortunate enough to be presented with a work opportunity in Dubai. It was 1996 and nobody really knew where Dubai was or what it had to offer, but in my adventurous nature, I grabbed the chance and said “yes”. Fast forward 26 years, it’s been an incredible experience to be an integral part of the industry, helping to build and shape the region.
Deseo, LIV Awards winner in Interior Design Renovation.
In 2004, you founded “Bishop Design by Paul Bishop” your Interior Design practice, when did you decide it was time to start your own company? Why choose Dubai to locate your first Studio?
In 2004 the region was going through a massive growth surge where construction, real estate, hospitality, and entertainment sectors were thriving like never before. It was a no-brainer to me that as a designer, this is where I needed to be. I was offered another opportunity to be a Design Director for a company in Singapore. As incredible as this was, once I had weighed up the pros and cons and pondered about the direction this could take me, I decided now was the time to remain in Dubai and open my own studio, something I always intended on doing from the offset. This was a huge milestone in my career and understandably very scary but thanks to the strong reputation I had built with clients, they still wanted to continue working with me and so project by project Bishop Design grew.
In the last two years, you have won five Awards at the LIV Hospitality Design Awards: Congratulations! What do these recognitions mean to you, and why do you think these awards are important?
The LIV Hospitality Design Awards celebrate the best of design on a global scale, and it is events like this that continue to excite and motivate our team to keep designing such unforgettable experiences. The award itself reminds us of just how far we have come and is a testament to the work we create. Winning five awards with LIV Hospitality in 2 years confirms that what we are doing is commendable to an international standard.
BOHO Social, LIV Awards winner in Interior Design Middle East.
Looking at one of your latest projects “Nooa Restaurant” in Riyadh, what was the design brief from your client Advance Tastes? What was the most important for you when planning this project?
Nooa, meaning ‘perfectly natural’, was presented to us by the Client, who asked us to create a new restaurant concept with inspiration deriving from South African roots. Being a new concept meant we had to carefully consider both the local demographic and the brief without ever compromising on the offering and remaining considerate of Clients’ requirements.
A first of its kind, Nooa exudes a deeply rooted luxury, taking guests on a natural gustative journey, igniting energy and life to ensure one’s senses are awoken through a single sip of its botanical cocktail sensations. Stepping into Nooa is like teleporting to the beautiful city of Cape Town, one becomes immediately mesmerized by an assortment of striking visual attractions that beautifully portray the city, carefully curated to lure guests into the experience.
Nooa, LIV Awards winner in Interior Design Restaurant – Casual.
If you have to choose only one project you have been involved in, which one’s would it be and why?
Over the years, we have had the immense pleasure and opportunity to work with the biggest names in the hospitality industry, such as the world’s most renowned chefs Massimo Bottura and Dario Cecchini to name just a few, signing our name to projects such as the SLS Hotel Dubai, Ecos Hotel by HMH, Bagatelle and many more. When we were approached by a client, known for nightlife venues, and asked to design a spa and wellness venue we immediately wanted to bring the same excitement into this new sector. The narrative behind Blended Wellness and the journey it takes you on is authentic and powerful. We as people are all the same, regardless of our backgrounds, upbringings, and social status so the stripped-back rawness of the structure against the refined beauty embodies not only the philosophy of the brand but the subliminal representation of ourselves.
In general, what are your design principles? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Design is swings and roundabouts. Nothing is set in stone, and you must earn your worth. Only by being your authentic self can you attract the right people creating instant connections and relationships that will last forever, no matter where in the world you are.
Doing what I do, and being surrounded by the people and the energy that is generated keeps me inspired, I love living in the moment. For me, inspiration derives from indirect sources, not only interior design and architecture but from all creative disciplines, for example, food, music, stage and film buffs like Ridley Scott and Peter Greenaway, travel, the Deconstructivism movement, fashion gurus such as McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, JP Gautier, and independent artists. A lot of my time is spent traveling for work and this is a great way for me to become acquainted with other cultures; the spirits of the people, the local cuisine, and the music they listen to.
Torno Subito, LIV Awards winner in Interior Design Restaurant – Fine Dining.
Which Interior Designer most influences your work or your work habits?
Phenomenal Architects such as Adolf Loos, Carlo Scarpa, Bernard Tschumi, Nigel Coates, and the late Zaha Hadid remain at the forefront of key influences.. I would also include my peers in that list as interior design is constantly evolving, and boundaries continue to be pushed encouraging us to keep getting better.
What can you tell us about your ongoing projects?
We have an extensive mixture of ongoing projects ranging from hotels, high-end restaurants, spas, and casual outlets, right through to cinemas, entertainment spaces, and residences. From raw or refined to bold and eccentric our primary focus is to always ensure the client’s vision is successfully brought to life. Over the past 10 years, we have been working across Saudi Arabia which has given us competitive knowledge of the market and what consumers want. As the region continues to grow, our presence grows with it, and right now we have a lot of new and exciting projects about to launch. With ongoing ventures across the world, you can expect to see a lot of establishments opening, keep an eye on our social media platforms for more.
Last, what can we wish you for the future?
With numerous projects already in the U.S. we knew that it would be our next exciting challenge and chapter of Bishop Design. The people are warm and welcoming, full of passion, and that is exactly what we reflect in our work. We were looking to take our global presence to the next level and at the time I was back and forth between Miami and Dubai, due to ongoing projects, so the timing seemed fitting, and Miami’s ethos had already lured me in. To be part of its intrinsic creative flow is an incredible opportunity. It is an exciting adventure to contribute to this artistic wave and create new experiences across all sectors.
A self-described “hotelier at heart,” with over 25 years of operational hospitality industry experience, Monika Moser has a deep understanding of luxury hotel service and a unique cultural perspective. Chief Operating Officer of Campbell House, Monika has recently joined the LIV Hospitality Design Awards Jury board.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from?
The question of where “I am from” is not an easy one to answer nowadays. We have become citizens of the world, expatriates, global nomads and the classic answer to your hometown or origins has somewhat evolved.
My parents are both expatriated Germans (since the 1960s), I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and thanks to my father’s long career in the hospitality industry have moved numerous times in South America, from Cuidad Guyana (Venezuela) to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), to Quito (Ecuador), to Lima (Peru), to Macuto (Venezuela), back to Caracas (Venezuela)…
Circumstances made me earn my high school diploma in a small country town in Bavaria and continue with an apprenticeship in hospitality management in Frankfurt, before moving to Paris. I have been the longest now in France, 25 years to date, and I feel quite at home here…
You started your career working in the front office and then the housekeeping departments; why did you decide to switch from hotel operations to a Hospitality Design Firm?
Why not? In general, I believe that switching industries and gaining experience from a variety of trades is a great advantage for everyone involved. Then it comes to opportunities you should be able to recognize and seize at the right moment in your career.
Thanks to an important mentor in my professional career, I was given the possibility to open and manage the French entity of an international interior design firm in 2015. The skills needed for this position were definitively transferrable from the hospitality industry, such as people management and talent development, emotional intelligence, customer relation management, finance and accounting, strategic thinking… The hospitality industry is a pretty good university!
Since working in the design field, I enjoyed the immense creativity of the design teams, the can-do attitude when confronted with problems, and to participate to the development of a new project. In addition, exchanging with designers about hotel operations and the feasibility of their design creates very interesting debates!
What are your key focus and priorities as Chief Operating Officer of Campbell House?
As the COO my responsibilities are to ensure that Campbell House has the necessary operational controls, procedures, and people in place to ensure our operational efficiency. I work closely with our CEO Beth Campbell on strategic initiatives and help set the culture of a talent-first ecosystem and a growth mindset within the team.
We are still a young firm, and naturally, my focus now is our business development, our profitability, and the continuous emphasis on cash flow. In addition to this, I am always looking out for new talents to grow our team.
I believe that managing operations is not always compatible with being a designer. Design teams should be able to do what they do best: be creative and innovate. Operations must be streamlined support, not a constraint.
If you have to choose one of your/your team’s most recent projects, which one’s would it be and why?
We recently finished the Hakkasan Bodrum at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and it is now open to the public. The work on this project has been done through the pandemic and I am very proud of the team’s commitment and talent, even if circumstances have not always been easy. The site has breathtaking views of the Aegan Sea. Combining this Bodrum scenery with the modern Chinese aesthetic of the Hakkasan brand, and using wherever possible Turkey’s rich handcraft heritage, has been a wonderful challenge.
We are currently working on various other locations with the Hakkasan team and this shows the dedication of our House members and the loyalty of our clients.
You are leading Alumni Associations and volunteering in Board of Directors and Mentorship programs, what do you find the most fulfilling in all these involvements?
Indeed, I currently am the President of the French Chapter of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS), the President of the Alumni Association of the Hospitality Management Program (IMHI) of the ESSEC Business School and in that capacity, I have recently been elected Member of the Board of Directors of the ESSEC Alumni Association.
We are in a very individualistic society, where the collective is less important than the self. I believe that the group and the community can be great support along your career and specifically in difficult times. We are only stronger together and for that, we need to constantly be bridge builders. Being a bridge builder means helping create strong relationships, building trust between people, and offering continuous support to others.
Throughout my almost 30 years in business, I was lucky enough to meet amazing professionals. I find it very fulfilling to bring them together and provide various networking opportunities. Specifically, the younger generation of recent graduates and current students’ need our support, experience, and help to build their network.
On the other hand, I constantly learn from them about their aspirations, fears, and goals, and being a mentor to young graduates is very gratifying.
What can you tell us about your ongoing projects? What is in the pipeline for you?
We have a very interesting and eclectic pipeline, across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. The team is working on various hotel renovations and hotel rebranding, corporate workplaces, restaurants, etc. We see a pattern of fast-track renovation projects with tight budgets along with new luxury properties, a design firm must be flexible and excel in various competencies nowadays.
Last, what would be your advice to young graduate designers?
Over these past years, I have had many discussions with young graduates, who feel a sort of void after graduation. One might feel this after a great achievement, such as the successful completion of yearlong studies. It is however important to remember that this is only the beginning of – hopefully – lifelong personal learning and development.
Young graduates of any field must stay curious and continue to push themselves to more, go beyond their comfort zone and seize opportunities.
Also, being a great and talented designer is not sufficient anymore. We always look out for talents who are humble enough to recognize that they are only a part of the entire process in a project, empathetic enough to understand the difficulties of all parties involved, and who have that growth mindset to learn from any mistake and set back.
Architectureis a second life for Jodel BismarcMekemta. Currently working on his graduation project on “how to create links and encounters between people living in a hyper-rural town that is known for its tradition of welcoming refugees.“, we seat with Jodel to discuss his awarded design “YOYOEcoresort”.
Could you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from?
I am originally from Cameroon and graduated in architecture from a regional school called Ecole Africaine des Métiers de l’Architecture et de l’Urbanisme (EAMAU) based in Lomé (Togo). After that, I came to France to enrich my knowledge in the field of design, which deals with the question of the habitability of places in this period of transition.
I am passionate about concepts related to nature and, more precisely, bio-inspiration. This love for nature has allowed me to be the winner of several international competitions on skyscrapers, refugee shelters, sea-level projects, health care projects, and many others, all published in many international magazines. I have also collaborated with different architects on many projects. Thus, I can easily combine professional work and studies.
How did you discover your passion for architecture and decide to study at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble in France?
Architecture is a field that I must have been involved with unknowingly in my childhood. Indeed, my dear father is a handyman who introduced me to most of the construction work in our house. Over time, I developed a penchant for art and creative thinking. Then, my arrival at EAMAU in Togo marked the beginning of the affirmation of my passion for architecture. Its multicultural environment allowed me to develop my knowledge of architecture. After EAMAU, I went to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble to continue to mature this passion and consolidate it.
What was your design process when working on “YOYO’ ECORESORT”? What did you want to achieve?
My golden rule of design is to connect deeply with nature and the local context. So, as the design was intended to be fluid and symbolic, I was inspired by marine biomimicry to have a harmonious, ordered, and zoned design. Then I defined the zones to be preserved, and to be enhanced; I defined the types of circulation and the walking paths. Note that the design of the buildings was inspired by the local oysters which give a form of movement to the project.
The objective was to have a design that blends into its natural context and pays homage to the fishing people of the village of Yoyo. The creation of waterfalls at the center of the project is intended to call forth biodiversity and engage the senses of visitors. The use of natural and local materials, good wind orientation and clean forms make the design more economical and sustainable.
Can you please share with us, what becoming the winner of the “Emerging Architect of the Year” prize means to you?
Being the Emerging Architect of the year is a great honor for me. It is a way to signify that our work contributes to the community, inspires new users, and usable architectural concepts. It is also a satisfaction for me to see that projects that are deeply associated with nature have a word to share in the architectural ideation process. And , above all, it is an opportunity to be recognized and encouraged to work more towards building our society. Because for me architecture is a second life.
What are you working on now? When will you finish your studies?
I am in my last year of study. I am preparing for my master’s degree in Design, Resilience, and Living. My work is about how to create links and encounters between people living in a hyper-rural town that is known for its tradition of welcoming refugees. My idea is to use the marketplace as a means of creating a link and sharing for this hybrid population. I will finish my studies in June 2022 and get my master’s degree in design.
What can we wish for in the future?
I would like to keep the same love for architectural practice and innovative design, as I am convinced that good architecture is the right detail for our society. I would like to collaborate with starchitects and then become an experimental designer architect able to realize projects that educate and bring people together. Thus, I will be able to contribute to redesigning the urban landscape in my country, Africa, and the world.
A couple of years after graduating, Vu Hoang Kha founded A+ Architects in Vietnam in 2012. Top winners of the first edition of the LIV Hospitality Design Awards; Vu Hoang Kha shared with us his connection to nature and his source of inspiration for the “Tiny Club House”.
Could you tell us a little about your professional journey? When did you start working in Architecture & Design?
I graduated from the University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City and started my career journey in 2008. After four years of professional and teaching activities, I founded A+ Architects in 2012 and have managed it until now. The company has been operating for ten years with some success. For me, every day at work is happiness.
What was the design brief for the “Tiny Club House”?
The most important focus of this project is the respect for the context and the response to the requirements of the investor: camping space and a resting place for the homestay manager.
What do you see as the strengths of your winning project, “Tiny Club House,” and what does this award mean to you personally?
Tiny Club House is a practical design problem based on real needs. The design is close, connecting people to people and between people and places. Spreading the message of respecting the context, whether it is just a small project or just a certain space. And more than that, by respecting that value, we can bring designs with profound human values to the maximum development of the construction industry.
We are truly honored and proud to be recognized for this award. It strengthens our confidence and helps us stay strong in our profession.
What was most important for you when planning this project and what were the biggest challenges you and your team faced?
Tiny Club House was born based on the investor’s desire to have a space where visitors would come to connect and a resting space for the manager. Response to the requirements of the investor is most important. The biggest challenge of the building is space optimization for both of the above functions and designing the shape of the building to get close to the context.
The image of a flickering campfire has since become an ideal source of inspiration. We are always looking for a design that is both intimate, connecting people to people and between people and places. It brings a cozy feeling to those who come and sit back inside it. What’s most private, we choose to put it on. The bar is located on the ground floor. The second floor is a place to stay for the guardian of the homestay and use the solution to minimize its use. We decided to choose local materials such as pinewood, glass, etc., so that the building is slightly integrated directly with the inherent naturalness of the context.
Where do you get your motivation and inspiration for your work?
We are inspired by the beauty of the natural world that revolves around us every day and by the desire to experience the design and create a variety of spaces to serve people’s needs.
What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?
Always thinking creatively, we strive to find the best solution to the problems and limitations of each project. Therefore, we bring great value to our clients, not only financially and in terms of operations, but also as a successful brand, due to the unique visual communication of our buildings and architecture.
We pursue a sustainable design mindset – localized, in harmony with nature, inspired by local materials, and a friendly environment. In particular, we believe in the spirit of upcycling – giving old materials a second life. The responsibility of correcting the past by giving new life to old buildings has always been the mission of “A + Architects.”
Last, what would be your best advice to young, talented architects?
Firstly, for young people to dare to think and dare to do. From 25 to 55 years old is the most quality time of life. Young people need to take advantage of this time to live with passion and dreams.
Second, you must be ambitious and the dream must be big enough. That gives you more motivation to develop more, I hope there will be more Vietnamese architectural firms “reaching out” to the world, to inspire future generations about what Vietnamese people can do.
Third, the special thing about an architectural enterprise is that the corporate brand is associated with the founder’s personal brand. To start a business successfully, you need to build a reputation for yourself. Only by practicing integrity, and building and protecting self-esteem will young people find new opportunities and their “companions.” The company environment is a valuable asset for you to start a business; it is a product, a professional relationship, and necessary luggage for you later on.
Fourth, there must be a clear work plan. Everything you do must have a goal. From the big and general plan, you can break it down into small pieces and drastically implement each specific step to achieve the final effect.
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