DE­SIGN­ING A BET­TER SPACE

CK Ar­chi­tec­ture cre­ates beau­ti­ful build­ings and ex­cep­tional in­te­ri­ors

CEO Middle East - - CON­TENTS -

Sus­tain­abil­ity is a big is­sue in ar­chi­tec­ture – how does CK em­brace this im­por­tant phi­los­o­phy?

We use ma­te­ri­als that are na­tive to their en­vi­ron­ment – build for pur­pose – and es­sen­tially ‘speak the same lan­guage’, as they need to cre­ate an over­all ef­fect that makes sense. We have forged and main­tain strong re­la­tion­ships with some of the world’s best sup­pli­ers of top-end ma­te­ri­als. So, we know where we need to go to get the best leather that matches the re­quire­ments of a specific pro­ject or where to source the best fab­ric so­lu­tion. We work with spe­cial­ist sup­pli­ers from all over the world to se­cure the best-in-class ma­te­rial re­quired to de­liver the op­u­lent ex­cel­lence our clients ex­pect.

What are the pil­lars of CK Ar­chi­tec­ture in terms of its de­sign and style phi­los­o­phy? We de­sign and build liv­ing or workspaces that res­onate with the de­sires and DNA of our clients. We take time to de­con­struct their vision and then reimag­ine it by plac­ing the space in the con­text of its lo­ca­tion and nat­u­ral sur­round­ings. We then cre­ate the con­nec­tive tis­sue that links the client’s vision with global best prac­tices while adding the lo­cal con­text to make it more re­al­is­tic – closer to home sort to speak. Our phi­los­o­phy is to give clients what they want, while en­sur­ing the four fun­da­men­tals of func­tion­al­ity, aes­thetic ap­peal, dura­bil­ity and sus­tain­able eco­log­i­cal ma­te­ri­als are seam­lessly in­te­grated dur­ing the process, from de­sign to de­liv­ery.

How do you fos­ter a cul­ture of cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion at the com­pany?

First and fore­most, you have to de­fine cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion if you are ask­ing for it.

For me, in­no­va­tion is any process, de­ci­sion, ac­tion, method­ol­ogy or tech­nique that pro­vides a faster, cheaper and bet­ter so­lu­tion to a prob­lem. And cre­ativ­ity is the tool that you use to achieve the above. In ad­di­tion to this, I try to give ex­am­ples of cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tions we did in the past and try to lead by ex­am­ple as much as pos­si­ble .

And ob­vi­ously, the most im­por­tant thing about any cul­ture implementa­tion is award­ing the one who is achiev­ing the tar­get level of in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity in any form. That gives the mes­sage to the team that cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion are not op­tional; they are part of our ser­vice cul­ture.

Do you feel a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards the en­vi­ron­ment, also be­cause ar­chi­tec­ture makes such a long-last­ing im­pres­sion on a land­scape, com­mu­nity, city space?

Ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign are a con­flu­ence be­tween science and the arts. It’s the di­chotomy that con­nects the ra­tional with the emo­tional. One is de­pen­dent on the other and the two need to work to­gether seam­lessly and in per­fect har­mony to pro­duce stun­ning out­comes.

And the fact is that the fun­da­men­tals of ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign are the same. The only dif­fer­ence be­tween them is scale. Ar­chi­tec­ture is about po­si­tion­ing a home next to a for­est, a ho­tel next to the beach or a high-rise build­ing in the ur­ban sprawl of a city. On the other hand,

in­te­rior or prod­uct de­sign is about a cor­ner in the house, a room wall or the glass on the ceil­ing of the atrium.

In both cases, we use ma­te­ri­als that are na­tive to their en­vi­ron­ment – build for pur­pose – and es­sen­tially ‘speak the same lan­guage’, as they need to cre­ate an over­all ef­fect that makes sense. So, it’s not about speak­ing French out­side and Ja­panese in­side. Ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign need to speak the same lan­guage, even with a dif­fer­ent ac­cent – but not two dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

As a leader, what mo­ti­vates and in­spires you the most?

Be­cause of my back­ground and ex­per­tise in the de­sign and end-to-end de­liv­ery of highly be­spoke liv­ing and work­ing spa­ces for high-net-worth in­di­vid­u­als (HNWIs) I draw in­spi­ra­tion from the Fer­rari brand story.

There are 1 bil­lion cars on the world’s roads to­day, and yet, the 10,000 Fer­raris sold each year are those that turn heads and make peo­ple dream. All Enzo Fer­rari wanted to do was de­sign fast rac­ing cars – in­stead what he did was to cre­ate a highly in­spi­ra­tional and iconic life­style brand.

What’s the sin­gle big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing your in­dus­try to­day?

There is no doubt that the times are chal­leng­ing, how­ever, it is en­cour­ag­ing to ref­er­ence a re­cent UBS bank study, ac­cord­ing to which Dubai is among the world’s top 20 cities with the most fair prop­erty prices and an in­fras­truc­ture that is con­ducive to do­ing busi­ness.

At the end of the day, clients al­ways seek value across three key vari­ables; speed, cost and qual­ity, not al­ways in the same or­der. It’s about pri­or­i­ties. As a client, you can de­cide which two you’re most con­cerned about. Fast de­liv­ery and price may not give you the qual­ity you wish. If you opt for qual­ity and price you may not get the de­sired de­liv­ery time.

With our cus­tomer-cen­tric phi­los­o­phy, the real chal­lenge is to keep up the high qual­ity best prac­tices in de­sign and con­struc­tion and also do it in a fast track man­ner hav­ing the en­tire client ex­pe­ri­ence in mind.

What char­ac­ter­is­tics must a leader of a cre­ative com­pany pos­sess?

To be a leader you first need to do some­thing. To do some­thing you need to know what to do. To know what to do is about clar­ity.

Clar­ity is about vision.

Vision is about imag­i­na­tion.

Imag­i­na­tion is vi­su­al­is­ing some­thing that is not there and know­ing how to make it hap­pen.

It is like a foot­ball game – in your mind, you play it and win it be­fore the ac­tual game.

Win­ning or los­ing does not mat­ter as long as you learn from los­ing.

In chal­leng­ing times, what must a busi­ness do to sur­vive? How has CK been af­fected by Coro­n­avirus?

These are dif­fi­cult times but I be­lieve if a busi­ness gets its ba­sics right and has been con­sis­tently pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional ser­vice to its cus­tomers it can ride through even the most chal­leng­ing times. With re­gards to the COVID-19, we are fol­low­ing di­rec­tives is­sued by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO), the UAE Min­istry of Health and Preven­tion, Dubai Health Au­thor­ity and our in­dus­try bod­ies to en­sure all safety mea­sures are in place and in line with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

What projects are you most proud of to date?

At CK Ar­chi­tec­ture In­te­ri­ors we have an edge for al­most im­pos­si­ble, risky, dif­fi­cult jobs which re­quire many dif­fer­ent ser­vices.

The Anan­tara Spa in Palm Jumeirah is a good ex­am­ple where we have ex­tended the build­ing by one floor on an ex­ist­ing ter­race for al­most 10,000 square feet while the ho­tel was in op­er­a­tion and we did this in less than four months. An­other chal­leng­ing work was in the Polo Vil­las where we had to man­age to com­bine two ex­ist­ing villa with a cen­tral ma­jlis and de­liver it. Other ex­cit­ing projects we have de­liv­ered re­cently in­clude Burj Khal­ifa Trio apart­ments, Blue­wa­ters pent­house, six high­end villa de­sign and build in Palm Jumeirah, a Da­mac villa in Akoya, Revo Café in Anan­tara and Moven­pick Ho­tels, Turk­ish Air­lines Of­fice build­ing in Dubai, Te­tra Pak In­no­va­tion Cen­tre and Fer­rexpo of­fice.

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