British creatives have left their fingerprints on every world city – especially Hong Kong, where I’m based as UKTI’s Director of Trade & Investment. But why is British creativity so well-loved around the globe?
I caught up with the leading architects here to find the reasons why. They identified strengths of UK companies - not just those in the creative sectors – which can give us the edge around the world.
We create unique projects according to Simon Bee who has worked all over the globe. “At Benoy, we never try to impose a house style on a project. We make sure that the personality of the place, the project, the client shine through. That way we create something special and different. Something that the world has not seen before like “The Beach” which is now an iconic open air venue in Dubai or Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.”
We adapt to local culture explains Satoshi Ohashi from Zaha Hadid speaking of their Galaxy Soho urban village in Beijing . “When you want to build things in this part of the world, you really need to come here and work with local people, so that you can understand what the culture is and how things are done here. That’s how we create projects that local communities really embrace as their own.”
We future proof our work says Perry Ip of Foster + Partners, which is good news for Hong Kong with (amongst many other things) its airport and cruise terminal designed by Normal Foster. “We design our buildings to be flexible enough so that they can adapt to the changes of technology that we are unable to predict.”
We are green according to Matthew Potter of Wilkinson Eyre. “For Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, every decision was tested against how it would affect the environment. Ignoring the challenge of sustainability is just not an option nowadays. And done in the right way, better efficiency can also make buildings not just cleaner, but cheaper to run.”
We aren’t afraid of a challenge says Keith Griffiths of Aedas. “Sometimes you have to make bold changes to your business to respond to opportunities. We have developed a large base in Hong Kong to be close to the China. We’ve done that to really get to grips with the varied cultures and needs in China and we know from our growing number of clients that it’s working.”