In light of some recent recognition and the completion of a landmark project, it seems a good time to reflect on the ground KAZE has made over the past four years, and in particular the last twelve months. Vietnam is both a challenging and hugely inspiring place to be practicing interior design and architecture in 2014, and we are enormously proud of what we have been able to achieve, thanks to our talented team, pioneering and forward-thinking clients, and trusted local partners.
This month KAZE is delighted to accept a BID Gold Award for World Quality Commitment, awarded in honor of our commitment to quality, management and innovation. It is a multidisciplinary award, and winners are selected from a broad cross-section of industries including media, banking, commodities trading and aviation, making the recognition all the more valued. It symbolizes our firm belief in innovation, not as a vehicle for elaborate design but as a core tenant of a successful and sustainable business.
If we have learnt one thing over the past five years, it is that it is possible to innovate anywhere, within every budget and in every context. And not only is it possible, but it is essential. Part of our success has been our ability to reimagine and reinvent local materials in original and exciting ways – and it is in the way that we push boundaries. Our ability to do this, has proven so effective, it has become something of a rule at KAZE – use only local materials, and use as few a materials as possible. Not only is this a logistically sound strategy, but it has helped shape our clean and instinctive aesthetic, for which we are now being recognized.
This mantra was particularly important in the completion of our latest landmark project, Liberty Central Saigon. Following the success of the Liberty Hotel Riverside project, we were delighted to be invited to work with the clients again on Liberty Central Saigon, a project that exceeded its predecessor in both scale and scope. We had just 12 months, from initial concept to the hotel opening its doors, which it did on September 1st. Never was it more important to adhere to our belief in innovating from within. We used the perceived limitations to our advantage adapting, the abundant resources we have on our doorstep in contemporary and innovative ways to produce a finish that is simultaneously local yet global in scale.
It was also an opportunity for us to utilize the relationships we have forged over the past four years. Our designers work closely with the local contractors and have a unerring willingness to achieve, irrespective of the obstacle – of which there are often many! KAZE is and has been from the start, committed to achieving within the culture – be this using familiar materials in unfamiliar ways or playing to the skills of the local workforce rather than following a design trend beyond their expertise. This is how we achieve quality and consistency in a market where many believe it is not possible.
This extends to detail and décor. Where possible we work closely with local designers and suppliers and this becomes a two-way learning process. We as a team are realizing the capabilities and potential of the resources we have around us and local designers are raising their standards to meet the new demand. The resultant design is plugging a cultural gap many see as insurmountable.
In doing so, we are part of a new era of hotels in Vietnam, where local expertise, materials and design are championed. As a result, there is much greater synergy between stakeholders, and this is passed on to the consumer who benefit from beautifully realized, confident spaces.
This philosophy was recognized by the Asia Pacific Property Awards, who awarded KAZE Best Resort Design, for our refit of Mia Resort Nha Trang last year. It was an exciting but challenging project where the functionality of the newly-built space had to be reconciled with the architecture. We had to reimagine the guest experience and really consider the space in its final form, as a living and functioning environment. Similarly with the Sailing Club in Nha Trang, for which we also won an award for best Leisure Interior Design, it was a case of reimagining a space, but this time, a much-loved and familiar space, rather than a brand new one.
The Sailing Club is something of an institution and its 16 years of existence, had changed little. The client wanted to upgrade and add-value, but crucially they wanted retain the atmosphere and feel of the club. Our solution was to create something new within the space, something that would not compromise or compete with the beach front for which it is know, but offer an alternative. The result was a lush, tropical internal garden with private cabanas to retreat to and interconnected public spaces with views to the much-love sea-front. This not only increased capacity by 30% but, illustrated that subtle innovations from within are often much more effective than grandiose gestures. It is not a question of ambition, but of a focus on execution.
Our quiet pursuit of this strategy over the past five years has proven logistically expedient making projects more feasible and easy to maneuver in a sometimes challenging environment, and therefore much more likely to succeed and achieve their goals. And now, much to our delight, it seems to be earning us recognition from both the industry and beyond. For at the end of the day, in the words of a Vietnamese proverb, “ăn chắc mặc bền” – comfort is better than pride .