The new HASSELL Principal talks about technology, fashion and taking a multi-disciplinary approach to design.
17 May, 2018
Meet Robert Price: a Gensler alum who has joined HASSELL as a Principal in the China region. Originally from the US and with experience working in Hong Kong and North America, Price moved to Shanghai to establish Gensler’s offices there. While at Gensler, he worked on the Shanghai Tower and the Shanghai Dow Center, among other significant projects.
Now that he has joined HASSELL, he will remain in Shanghai, working on regional and international projects and seeking opportunities in the commercial and workplace sector. “My China experience leverages an interdisciplinary approach to design. The HASSELL structure offers unfolding and transformational opportunities to implement our strong urban planning, interior design and architecture disciplines on complex mixed-use projects, mostly found in the China market,” he says.
Price has much more to say about his role moving forward, about new directions in design in Hong Kong and China, and more. Find out what he has to say below….
What are you most excited about when it comes to working for HASSELL?
The short answer: people. We possess a unique talent pool across the region, which can maintain and expand our global accounts.
What are you working on at HASSELL now that you’re on board?
Co-working is a hot trend, impacting many aspects of workplace design. I am involved with many new co-working concepts, across the region, by Chinese and international developers. Another vital project I am now working on is a new tower in Shanghai’s Jing’An area, by a Singaporean developer.
Why is it important to approach design from a holistic point of view?
Because we design spaces where people live (physically and metaphysically). Understanding a people’s historical, cultural, and even existential context, is critical to successful design, beyond simple aesthetics. Understanding ‘place’ is an integral element to proper design concepts. Place is orientation, perspective, and outlook, not simply location.
I intend to foment amongst my staff the curiosity necessary to execute bold, lasting and successful designs. Even our understanding of success must evolve, beyond just profit or portfolios. At a certain point, one has to transition from wanting to be successful, to wanting to be significant. I want HASSELL to be significant.
What new design directions do you see coming out of China?
Because China’s workforce trends younger than in western countries, technology integration and its use in the workplace could take off and begin to set new standards globally.
What’s happening in this region that most intrigues you?
Fashion strongly influences interior design. Hong Kong is one of Asia’s fashion capitals, yet we are slowly seeing Chinese fashion’s point of view on the streets of Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities. This trend will impact interiors. For example, workplace interiors in China sometimes are bolder, with aggressive tones and textures often found in fashion seen on the streets.
What are some of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on in the past?
Shanghai Tower is one of my career-defining projects, not because of the sheer scale and its fame, but because I was one of the few Gensler employees to see the project from competition phase through completion. Shanghai Tower required architecture, planning, interiors, and a host of other disciplines to complete.
A close second is Shanghai Dow Center. At the time it was built, it was a state-of-the-art R&D facility. Eight years later, the project has held up well. It’s still seen as the ‘gold standard’ for R&D campuses. At completion, Shanghai Dow Center was one of the first sustainable (LEED) projects in China.
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