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dwp CEO Brenton Mauriello: “It’s the death of ‘design by divas’.”

dwp has rolled out dwp|signature, a collaboration platform with international design masters that expands the firm’s customisation capability to the next level. CEO Brenton Mauriello tells us more.



BY Asih Jenie

12 July, 2019


Bangkok-headquartered global design firm dwp concluded the first quarter of 2019 with style by launching a new office in Yangon helmed by designer Mya Mytzu, and a new bespoke service called dwp|signature.

dwp| signature which offers greater design customisation in collaboration with a curated selection of international ‘design masters’, which includes American interior designer Anne Carson (dwp|anne carson), multi-hyphenate London-based Chinese architect Jordy Fu (dwp|jordy fu), Bangkok-based culinary concept specialist Gary Szillich (dwp|gary szillich), and American artist Matthew Campbell Laurenza (dwp|matthew campbell).

The dwp|signature collection also includes PR and communication service dwp|buzz and branding service dwp|elegance. dwp CEO Brenton Mauriello shares more:   

Brenton Mauriello dwp CEO

dwp CEO Brenton Mauriello

 

 

I’m interested in dwp|signature’s branding. Tell me more about the ‘|’ in dwp|signature. I find this sign to be very millennial in a way and ‘dwp|’ is imbued on your collaborations under the service. What does this signify? And why do you use all lower caps?

dwp|signature is a platform to bring the very best design talent across the world together for the benefit of our clients. We believe that exceptional design comes from collaboration, and while dwp is one of the world’s premier design firms in its own right, we always seek to improve and collaborations allow us to do that.

We think it’s very reflective of the times – digital connectivity, free flow of information, sharing of ideas for the benefit of all – it’s time not to fight it but embrace it. For us, it’s the death of ‘design by divas’- that’s boring and limited. Collaborations open design horizons.

dwp stands for design worldwide partnership. We chose that name for its inclusiveness. It’s not about a person having their name above the door, it’s about design, any type of design. And it’s ambitious – worldwide! We chose a lower case as we didn’t want to be imposing, dominant, be about us! It’s about design!

98 Wireless in Bangkok by dwp|anne carson

 

How did the service come about? What shift in the market prompted you to package this collaboration with a distinct dwp|signature branding? How do you see this service grow in the Asian region?

There is so much talent out there. I meet designers across the globe and they often struggle for a platform to be noticed even when they are amazingly talented. We thought that a collaborative approach branded as dwp|signature would provide that platform and, quite frankly, it’s a win win win situation (designer, dwp, client). Together we challenge boundaries and our drive design outcomes, it’s extremely exciting.

We thought to provide distinct branding for our collaborations under dwp|signature as the collaborations deserve to be recognised in their own right.   It’s a partnership of ideas from different designers in different fields for different projects so while it’s part of dwp it’s not about dwp only.  

Cafe Claire by dwp|gary szillich

 

What does this service offer that other bespoke design services don’t?

I think it’s the breadth of design that dwp|signature offers. We have architects, jewellers, concept designers, f&b experts, fashion designers. Also, the designers come from all around the world, UK, China, US, Australia, Thailand each bringing their own design ethos.

No one dominates, and we can have multiple designers on any one project. Perhaps most importantly we are committed to the idea of working together with the design and project at the centre of what we do.

We are creating a very broad family backed by the institutional strength and design of dwp. Very few ‘bespoke’ services can match that depth of design capability.

W sculpture by dwp|jordy fu

  

Who chose/curated/courted the design masters included in dwp|signature, and is this a growing list? What do they have that complement DWP’s expertise to navigate the ASEAN market?

I as CEO have really been at the forefront of the ‘courtships’ but our founder Scott Whittaker is also involved. Interestingly, while not a designer myself, the masters I speak to immediately recognise the possibilities and are excited by it. When they then speak to Scott we really get buy-in as he is all about design, as are they!

Yes, the list will grow. I am very interested to collaborate in the furniture and accessories arena however dwp has always been more entrepreneurial than strategic; if someone or something exciting crosses our path we won’t say no!      

Soaring Skies sculpture by dwp|matthew campbell

 

Can you share some exciting projects you have in the pipeline from dwp|signature?

We have several projects underway, but most are subject to non-disclosure agreements so we can’t give much away. One exciting project is based in Vietnam where we will establish an unrivalled level of luxury residential living. dwp|anne carson is based in New York, is working on the project.

dwp is undertaking the architecture and interiors while Anne is working on the interior concepts. Importantly, we work seamlessly as one, dwp|anne carson is fully integrated with dwp – one IT system and design process.

A private residence in New York by dwp|anne carson

 

Can you share your observation on the current state of investments across ASEAN?

I am the current President of the AustCham – ASEAN chamber of commerce representing 9 chambers and business councils in ASEAN – so I have a lot of exposure to the various investment trends across the region.

As in the past, the story is mixed across ASEAN with some countries firing like the Philippines and Vietnam, and others who are seemingly treading water, including Thailand.

Overall there remains great opportunity in ASEAN and investment is picking up. Interestingly the current trade turbulence between China and the US is having a positive impact on some ASEAN countries as investors seek to diversify away from China.

 

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“…[It’s] the death of ‘design by divas’- that’s boring and limited. Collaborations open design horizons.! “

Brenton Mauriello

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You just opened dwp|minteriors with Mya Myitzu in Yangon. Why Yangon? How do you see Myanmar’s architecture and design industry?

Yangon is an untapped hot spot for design. It has so much potential it just needs time and the right environment so that the industry can grow. We all recall there was a great rush into the market when there was a change in the political structure however that came to a halt when it was clear the changes weren’t as deep or as long-lasting as we had all hoped.

Mya Myitzu. Photo by Khaing Pwint Phyu, courtesy of Mya Myitzu. 

However dwp is from SEA, we know things go up and down but we are here for the long term. Our commitment to Myanmar is strong and we have several clients there who support us. Now with dwp|minteriors and Mya, she is such a powerhouse, we can really build on our capabilities there and like in Thailand, Vietnam etc. dwp can be a driver behind the growth of the design industry!

Peninsula by dwp|minteriors

 

Your next expansion is to Europe and US by 2020. Can you share more? What prompted this expansion?

dwp is a diverse firm with capabilities across disciplines (interiors, architecture, and sectors, hospitality, residential, health, education etc). We believe that tapping some of the more established markets for very specific design capabilities will enable us to leverage this knowledge into our growing markets.

But it also works in reverse, we think our skills in creating lifestyle spaces whether hospitality, residential or retail is unrivalled and we want to take that to London and New York! Let’s bring a little bit of the excitement of Asian design to these markets.

 

Image courtesy of dwp unless otherwise stated. 

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