Nikki Hunt on Chinoiserie
How did Blink Design Group begin?
I was inspired by my friend Bill Bensley when I first visited his studio in Bangkok. I thought I’d also like to have my own firm one day and have as much fun as he was having. So I left WATG as the youngest partner, packed up and moved to Bangkok to start Blink Design Group. Eight years later, we are fortunate to have grown into four studio locations with projects from Istanbul to Seoul and throughout Asia, working with brands such as Alila, Regent, Rosewood and Six Senses.
When it comes to the design process, do you play by any rules?
Most certainly. I always trust my first instincts when it comes to the design of the project – from the best way to approach the site to the interior style. This is why I’ve named the firm Blink; it’s about the power of first impressions where, at the blink of an eye, we all form ideas that are surprisingly correct.
As a designer, what inspires you?
I find inspiration from my clients and the environments that I design in. For example, the feeling of tranquility and the sub-tropical climate of the site has inspired the design for the new Alila Salalah that my team is working on.
Could you tell us more about your latest project, Alila Salalah?
We just started working on the project and I’m thrilled. The site is on an amazing stretch of land overlooking both the sea and a tranquil estuary. Our design reflects the tranquil nature of the site but it also embodies one of Alila’s brand pillars of reinterpreting local culture through modern design.
What is your design style?
It is contextual and modern in the sense that it is inspired by the place itself but with a modern flair.
Who – designers or not – have influenced your work today?
Two people close to me who have influenced and inspired my work are Jaya Ibrahim and Ralf Ohletz. Jaya had an incredible flair and understanding of how to create a seamless luxury experience. Ralf, with whom we designed the Regent Bali (now known as Fairmont Sanur) and Regent Phuket, has the uncanny ability to create incredible hotels that are game changers, like The Setai in Miami and The Chedi Muscat.
What words of wisdom would you give to those who are planning to enter or are already in the design and creative world?
As designers one could say that ideas are our currency. It’s essential to understand that to be good you don’t have to be different. But to be different you have to be good.
The founder and creative director of Blink Design Group, Clint Nagata believes in the importance of first impression as the hope and foundation of a lasting idea