YUKI LEUNG, PROJECT MANAGER, TARA BERNERD & PARTNERS
Yuki Leung, Project Manager at Tara Bernerd & Partners, speaks to Can Faik about her experiences and current project, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Fort Lauderdale…
Tell me about your role at Tara Bernerd & Partners
I’m a Project Designer, leading our Asia teams across several different projects in Hong Kong and Japan. My day-to-day role involves working with Tara and the Directors to provide an overall design direction for the projects I oversee and then managing the teams to ensure it is executed effectively.
What projects are you currently working on?
Our focus at TB&P is mainly hotels, so I currently have three live hotel projects in the studio: one in Hong Kong, one in Osaka and a Four Seasons resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida completing in 2020. I’m also leading the team on a commercial residential development in Hong Kong called Duke Place, where we are designing the duplex apartments and an amazing 7,500 sq. ft. penthouse.
How important is the journey when it comes to designing a new hotel?
The journey is incredibly important. In order to create a unique design DNA for every project, you need to really understand the context of the building and the environment in which it is set. At TB&P, our design strategy always remains indigenous to the setting. Whilst we work on numerous projects across the globe, we always try to ascertain a thorough understanding of the location and culture of each project so that we can create spaces with a unique character that reflect what their guests want to experience.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Moving from Hong Kong to London and joining TB&P I have had a lot of amazing opportunities to work on different types of projects across the world and see the ‘bigger picture’ on hotel design. The hotel I am currently working on in Osaka has been an invaluable experience and enabled me to learn a lot about a new culture that I had not been familiar with before.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design?
I don’t tend to follow trends, however nowadays it is interesting to note the use of technology within hotel design. Whether it is iPhone key cards, USB portals instead of plug sockets, or enhanced lighting options, the developments in technology without doubt have an impact on our design approach today.
How important are public spaces in hotels?
They are hugely important. You only get one chance to make a first impression and public areas provide that first touch-point for the guest experience, creating an impression that sets the tone for the rest of their journey.
What is your favourite city?
I have so many! But Copenhagen for the architecture, design, transport and overall way of life.
What is your favourite hotel?
I recently stayed at the Hoshinoya Hotel in Tokyo and it was a truly unique experience that completely immerses you in Japanese culture. Tatami mats are used throughout, so guests are encouraged to take off their shoes upon arrival and there is a traditional open-air hot spring on the roof. Everything from the design, to the brand ethos to the traditional Japanese service is exceptional.
Who is your favourite designer?
Tadao Ando is a great inspiration to me. Although he uses predominantly raw materials within his work, he also creates spaces with real atmosphere that take visitors on a journey. The Chichu Art Museum hidden in the hills of the Japanese island, Naoshima, is well worth a visit. I also really admire SANAA Architects for their ability to create simple and minimal, yet visually impressive, environments.
What would be your dream project?
I’m always fascinated by the idea of community and the interaction between people and their environment, so to create another great hotel space that can be enjoyed by guests and locals alike would be a dream. I really enjoy my work in Japan and would love to have another project there.