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Blink Design Group Marches Into Greater China At Double-Time As New Shanghai Office Drives Growth And Boosts Client Relations

July 21, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

BLINK Design Group has reached double figures in upscale hospitality design projects under construction or on the drawing board in China, vindication of the firm’s decision to open a Shanghai office 18 months ago. 
Resorts and hotels for world-class brands Rosewood, Renaissance and Regent, including the creation of Regent Place Xi’an and the redevelopment of the flagship Regent Taipei, are current highlights of the group’s China portfolio.

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Torch bearers: BLINK Design Group raises the bar for a collaborative and strategic approach to luxury design in China with stunning creations like the Miaonong Resort, Ningbo. 

BLINK, founded in Bangkok and with studios in Singapore and New Delhi, has not looked back since opening an office in Shanghai’s prestigious French Concession in November 2012, on the heels of winning one of architecture’s most prestigious awards, the Hospitality Design (HD) Magazine Award for the World’s Best Luxury Hotel for the Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay Resort.

BLINK founder and senior creative director Clint Nagata said opening the Shanghai office had proven “absolutely the right thing to do” to offer better service for BLINK’s growing roster of Chinese clients and to provide the firm with a business development foothold in China.

Mr Nagata said the Shanghai office was the ‘connector and co-ordinator’ of BLINK’s relationships in China, part of an overarching strategy whereby Singapore is the group’s international talent hub, Bangkok is the design engine with over 60 talented designers, and New Delhi is the source of technical and project management support and expertise.

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Luxury beacon: BLINK’s Shanghai office basks in the reflected success of icons in the making such as the Courtyard By Marriott Jiujiang. 

“We are delighted to have 10 serious hotel projects in China on the books and more in the pipeline, for a ‘who’s who’ of hospitality brands,” Mr Nagata said. “As well, over 90% of our business is coming from referrals and repeat business, results of what we set out to achieve in the beginning – creating a collaborative partnership with our clients and offering luxury that’s handcrafted.

“We were intent on targeting China, but the response from clients in China and the word-of-mouth in the development community about what we are doing has been gratifying as well as humbling.”

Under construction now are: Rosewood Clearwater Bay Resort & Residences, Sanya; DoubleTree by Hilton, Benxi, a 200-key property set to open in the famed hot spring resort in 2015; Renaissance and Courtyard by Marriott Resort, Hailing; Qianshen Spa & Hotel, Hefei; and Sheraton Beijing West Mountain Resort.

Projects in the design phase comprise Dongxian Lake Ningbo Resort; Marriott Wenchang, Hainan Island; Courtyard by Marriott Jiujiang, Guangdong; Regent Place Xi’an; and Miaonong Resort, Ningbo.

Mr Nagata said credit was due to BLINK’s new managing director, Christopher Chua, who had been instrumental in getting the Shanghai office open and quickly humming.

Mr Nagata said he relished the challenges of working with the ‘realities’ of mainland China. “It is forcing us to adapt and change for sure,” he said. “They might not have the depth or heritage in modern five-star luxury compared to more mature markets, but there is a great thirst and enthusiasm in China for high quality and bold hospitality design.

“We also take great care in matching our BLINK project directors with new clients. This is an intuitive process based on years of experience, instinct and respect for the personalities involved.

Mr Nagata said the Shanghai office has been invaluable as a client service hub, allowing BLINK to have a team on the ground and, therefore, to be able to respond in person to clients’ requests or concerns.

“We’re finding that in China the client wants to be guided through the process. Our office in Shanghai has allowed us to be accessible and to do just that.”

 

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