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Design company counts on China, India for 15% growth

2010-08-10 12:32:26   Source:Archina

The Bangkok-based design firm design worldwide partnership (dwp), foreseeing steady growth in property investment in specific destinations, has set an annual growth target of 15%, helped by two major economic powerhouses, China and India.

 The Lilanz Creative Centre in Xiamen, China, has a contract value of about US$ 4-5 million.

The Lilanz Creative Centre in Xiamen, China, has a contract value of about US$ 4-5 million.

Chief executive Brenton Mauriello said the two countries had the highest economic growth with huge domestic investment. In China, the growth sectors for design jobs are currently retail and hospitality while in India it is health.

"One prospective arena in the two giant Asian countries is transport. They have large investments in airports and infrastructure in the near future," he said, adding that the company was also interested in designing the Blue Line mass-transit stations in Thailand.

During the first half of the year, dwp recorded US$20 million in revenue and expects the same amount in the second half. About $4-5 million in the first half was from China and $2.5 million from India.

 Mauriello: Green architecture a trend

Mauriello: Green architecture a trend

During the period, there was a slight drop of new jobs in Thailand but the shortfall was offset by overseas work. As a result, the company's design exports from its Bangkok office rose to 35-40% of total revenue from 25-30% last year, he said.

"Despite declines in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, we can balance our portfolio with an increase in other markets," said the chief executive of the design house with 12 offices worldwide and 450 staff, up 14% from last year.

Mr Mauriello said emerging destinations were now in Africa such as Libya whose economy has experienced the highest growth, Tunisia and Morocco. Domestic investors in these countries are also very active.

The continent will continue to grow over the next five years. Recently, the company obtained design commissions for the Kuwaiti mobile telecommunication operator Zain's businesses in Africa, and office buildings in Sudan and Kenya.

Currently, design jobs from Africa account for 5% and dwp expects the proportion to rise to 15% in the next three years, with the major sectors being hospitality, office building and residential development.

However, competition in the new markets is getting tougher as many American and European architectural firms that have suffered from the economic slumps at home are fighting for business to the point of triggering a price war.

"We will compete by taking advantage of our international presence, good designs and know-how to deliver projects," Mr Mauriello said, adding that dwp expected to get new jobs in Saudi Arabia this year and Libya and Kenya in 2011.

SevenHills Hospital, one of the largest medical complexes in in Mumbai, is among dwp’s recent projects.

SevenHills Hospital, one of the largest medical complexes in in Mumbai, is among dwp’s recent projects.

Some of the projects in Thailand that dwp won in the first half include three new hotels in Phuket, phase two of the Crystal Design Center, the renovation of 23 branches of Siam City Bank, mainly in Bangkok, and a rooftop restaurant at Central Festival in Pattaya.

It is also doing an interior design for Raimon Land's high-end 185 Rajdamri condominium on Rajdamri Road and a new lobby at the Stock Exchange of Thailand building, which was damaged during the May 19 riots.

"Green architecture is a new trend now in Thailand. It gains more acceptance from project owners and developers as it is energy-saving in a long run and builds a good image," said Mr Mauriello.

The three keys to green building, he said, are the use of local materials, the reduction of heat from sunlight and reduction in the use of energy such as downsizing parking space to promote more use of public transport.

"Many people don't know that about 40% of total energy consumption in the world is from buildings," he said.


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