Meet HOK: a Global Design, Architecture, Engineering, and Planning FirmSunday 11 August 2019
HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm. They design buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. Their team of designers is rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities. CovetED will now be showing you the interview with this amazing design company while at the same time introducing you to some of their best accomplishments in the areas they work upon.
As hospitality designers, HOKbegins each project by understanding what makes its location a destination. What is the history of the site? Who are the local people? What is the art scene? What is the political situation? – are some of the questions that they make, because for them it’s very important to learn about each new culture before design even starts.
From the several accolades the firm has collected, they highlight the 2019 Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects, the Best Airport in the Middle East and the 2018 Healthcare Design Awards. Recently, they went on a four-year “business trip” to Shanghai to harvest hotel projects for their New York design team from a rapidly growing China market.
“The most challenging time in my career was right after the economic crash of 2008. I was working in New York at the time and I was afraid to answer the phone for fear that another client was calling to halt a project. Ultimately, I went on a four-year “business trip” to Shanghai to harvest hotel projects for our New York design team from a rapidly growing China market.”
Although HOK doesn’t have an official to-do list, they feel that they still have a lot of things to accomplish. There are over 200 countries in the world and they’ve been to less than half, so, according to HOK, they still have so much to learn and do. Recently, they have been working on two projects. The design for the St. Regis Belgrade that is rooted in regional inspirations, from the river that bifurcates the city to the local metal craftwork. And the Xiamen Tefang Portman Seven Stars Bay Resort, which is inspired by the grand hotel traditions of the French resort. It is a large resort with three independent hotels. They have developed three different narratives for each design: a French historic re-creation, a young family renovates a historic French hotel and the French village. The property will open later this year.
The hotels they design are always branded, such as the award-winning Rosewood Abu Dhabi. In terms of the architect and designer, HOK is their brand. As the design lead on their projects, HOK works with speciality consultants to ensure our design is properly executed.
According to HOK, they usually have two separate clients on each project: the owner/developer and the hotel operator. The owner/developer is the one who brings the vision, goals, and values to the project. They usually have a contract directly with them.
The hotel operator represents the brand, which defines the guest they are designing for. It is the operator who will introduce them to their next owner/developer.
For HOK, in the future, their designs will be more inclusive and thoughtful. This is possible to achieve by seamlessly bringing together a breadth of disciplines including planners, architects, interior designers, landscape architects and designers of every scale from lighting and graphics to staff uniforms and tabletops so that no detail is left to chance. They would like for all projects to reflect their concern for the global environment at every scale. HOK is known as one of the fast company’s most innovative architecture firms.
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