Warren Foster-Brown Founder and Managing Director, FBEYE International
What projects are you currently working on? We currently have 25 hotels we are designing in eight Asian countries and two very large private residences in Singapore and France. These include The Park Hotel, The Farrer Park Hotel and Hilton Hotel both in Singapore, Swissotel Singapore, Amari Hotel and Shama Branded Residences in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. We are also working on the Westin Resort in Nusa Dua in Bali, Westin Sonata Hotel in Manila, Philippines, the Taj Exotica Resort in Goa, India, and The Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They are all at various stages; some are previous clients or operators. They feature different designs and some are due to open later this year. What projects have you recently completed? The most recently completed project is the InterContinental Singapore. This was a five year major renovation which embraced the old history of the hotel while implementing modern conveniences guests have come to expect. Recent F&B projects include Saint Pierre, Singapore, for celebrity chef Emmanuel Stroobant. This is a boutique dining experience for this highly acclaimed chef, TV personality and author, and our second restaurant for Saint Pierre. Additionnally, we have designed and recently launched Shoukouwa for the Emmanuel Stroobant group, a five star Japanese fine dining restaurant with a main dining capacity of 8 persons with a 6 seater private dining room in a contemporary style. Other recent hotel projects completed include the Le Meridien Dhaka and Westin Singapore (both new builds), W Retreat and Spa in Maldives (Renovation), Diamond Hotel in Manila, Philippines and the Four Seasons Resort in Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives.
What companies have you worked with for the above projects? Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts Starwood Hotels and Resorts Emmanuel Stroobant group Four Seasons Hotels and Resort What direction do you feel interior design is heading towards in general terms? As a brand, we do not have a set design and do not follow trends, each of our projects is unique and fulfils the direction and brief given by the owners or operators. Our portfolio ranges from classical European to contemporary, eclectic to streamlined. As always, projects are somewhat driven by cost, so finding materials that have a luxury look and feel but are a fraction of the cost of its counterpart is a large part of the FF&E undertaking, but each country, each city and each town have their own individual look, and if you compare most of the mid to large chain hoteliers, they have brands stretching the full spectrum of tastes and age groups, all of which we cater to. Trends going forward? In Asia especially there now seems to be a move towards three and four star properties, where the main ‘public’ areas of the hotel, reception, bar, all day dining, meeting rooms, are condensed to one main floor so guests can experience all in one space and staff requirements and movements are not stretched over several floors. What are your favourite recent schemes please describe key elements. Le Meridien Dhaka is a particular favourite of mine recently as it is very playful and full of
local, cultural artwork, adding to the sense of place in the hotel. From the point of entry, you can track the history of the region through wonderful pops of colour and textures. Intercontinental is also close to my heart as this was a project where we researched for many hours to establish and understand the culture that went into the Peranakan history of the hotel (Peranakan is unique to Singapore and encompasses cultural references from India, China, Colonial and Malaysia). To bring an old dame back to her former glory was a wonderful project to be involved with. What products/services could you not live without when designing? Technology is all very well and good, CAD design has helped enormously in the production and time to produce documents, as has Photoshop & on line portals, however nothing can replace the human element so my response would be my team, my wonderful and creative team of designers. Work should be fun, enlightening and rewarding, with a good team behind you this is all possible. The ability to discuss, thrash out ideas and be candid with each other where needed is something no product or service will ever take away. Any final thoughts? We are about to start a project in America. It’s very exciting for us as despite winning awards in the US this is an untapped market and a first, project wise. After covering most of Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe, it’s always interesting to see how different countries carry out projects, rules and regulations, thoughts on design, so we look forward to the challenges ahead.
Design Et Al 97
The 10th Anniversary Issue of design et al Magazine.