Hotel design has captured media attention in recent months thanks to some interesting new partnerships which have arisen as designers seek new ways to make their mark. Among these moves have been the announcement of a partnership between YOO and Onyx Hospitality Group, and the rise of dwp|signature where specialists join hands in creating outstanding design.

Given that merely having beautiful interior design is unlikely to be sufficient in itself, the collaboration between YOO and Onyx Hospitality serves to augment the former’s strength as a developer and not just a design firm.

The difference between us and other design companies is that we come from a very strong development background, we are developers, we’ve got this DNA of developers in our blood, and it means that we get the developers’ agenda, we understand it,” said James Snelgar, Partner & Head of Business Development, YOO Worldwide.

When asked about the choice of Onyx as partners, James spoke of the company’s excellent track record: “Because they are a very credible, safe pair of hands. They’ve been developing and operating hotels in this region for many, many years,” he explained.

The opportunity to work in Bangkok is also attractive, as the city is at the heart of a fast-growing region which is of particular interest to designers and developers.

We operate in the four corners of the world, and over the years we have been watching this market as a whole region and realize that a large part of the world is sort of focused on this area, just the sheer volume of growth and buildings that are coming into the market, combined with the fact that it’s an increasingly design continuous brand aware market, with very savvy consumers,” said James. “We have a product which is always flexible, but we don’t come along with a gun to somebody’s head and say it has to be done our way – that’s not our approach. When we have a project, the project is the hero and we work with our partners, truly collaboratively, to create the product. But just because it works in Shanghai and New York or Paris, it doesn’t mean to say it’s going to work here – we don’t know by ourselves, but with a local partner who has local intelligence, we can get it right. Then we tailor the design to be sensitive to local styles, tastes, and culture – and we think that for this market, that our product will resonate with the consumers,” he added.

Driving the company’s regional expansion strategy is Rich Millar, YOO Worldwide’s Vice President of Business Development (Asia Pacific), and Justin Dunne, F&B Concept Curator for YOO Hotels & Resorts. Titans in their respective fields, Rich and Justin will bring their creative talent and expertise to Southeast Asia and YOO’s regional headquarters in Bangkok, which is also home to Onyx. In late 2017, YOO and Onyx launched a pair of distinctive hotel brands, YOO Collection and Yoo2, with the first Yoo2 hotel due to launch in Phuket in 2020.

Khun by Yoo, inspired by Philippe Starck and developed by Sansiri, will also transfer later this year – and currently sets the highest price per square meter on Thonglor. Other notable Asian projects include 8 Conlay in Kuala Lumpur and a number of multi award-winning residential and hospitality projects in Hong Kong, including Mira Moon.

In contrast, dwp takes another approach in bringing together a group of talented artists such as Anne Carson, renowned for her bespoke sophisticated residential design, Jordy Fu, an artist based in London, Gary Szillich, whose expertise lies in culinary concepts and experiences, and Matthew Campbell Laurenza, renowned for inspirational sculpture, objets d’art, and custom-made accessories – hewn from stone, wood and precious metals – which have become the focal point of dwp’s perfectly curated and inspirational spaces. It is through partnerships with design masters such as these that dwp|signature collections have been uniquely developed to take design customization to the next level.

dwp|signature collections are for clients with specific requirements and defined tastes who want something extraordinary,” said Brenton Mauriello, Group CEO of dwp.

Meanwhile, dwp is also expanding in Yangon through the work of famous interior design expert Mya Myitzu, who has integrated the artisan craftsmanship of Myanmar into trailblazing modern interiors.

The foundations for the future of hotel design are clearly set out by dwp with extraordinary design collaborations and global growth.