Originally published in Interiors & Sources

01/29/2014

3 Tips for Working in Rising Asia

With high-end projects sprouting up all over China and India, now is a great time to explore the world of international practice. Here are a few tips for a smooth cultural assimilation.

By Robert Nieminen

 
  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2014/0214/I_0214_Web_FldNts_1.jpg

    The St. Regis Hotel in Chengdu, China, designed by DiLeonardo. According to Principal Robert Macaruso, overseas clients are now asking design firms to blend cultural viewpoints with a sense of Western timelessness. The lobby of the St. Regis uses modern sculpture to capture the city skyline and leather to add sophistication.
    photography courtesy of dileonardo View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2014/0214/I_0214_Web_FldNts_2.jpg

    The St. Regis Hotel in Chengdu, China, designed by DiLeonardo. According to Principal Robert Macaruso, overseas clients are now asking design firms to blend cultural viewpoints with a sense of Western timelessness. The lobby of the St. Regis uses modern sculpture to capture the city skyline and leather to add sophistication.
    photography courtesy of dileonardo View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2014/0214/I_0214_Web_FldNts_3.jpg

    The Ritz-Carlton Bangalore, designed by WATG, includes a number of Western-style amenities, including a luxury spa, a club lounge, and a rooftop helipad—thought to be the first in India.
    photography courtesy of watg View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2014/0214/I_0214_Web_FldNts_4.jpg

    The Ritz-Carlton Bangalore, designed by WATG, includes a number of Western-style amenities, including a luxury spa, a club lounge, and a rooftop helipad—thought to be the first in India.
    photography courtesy of watg View larger

For the architect or designer working abroad, globalization is more than just a corporate buzzword; it’s a palpable concept that produces both opportunities and challenges thanks to the rapid growth of emerging markets in recent years.

“Globalization has become the norm for a lot of design firms like us,” said Paul Phillips, AIA, LEED AP, and principal at Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey (KCCT). It’s no wonder, either, given the pace at which many second- and third-world countries are now developing. The Harvard Business Review predicts that developing markets could account for more than 70 percent of global economic growth over the next few years, with China and India accounting for 40 percent alone.

As more North American firms begin to establish a presence overseas, learning to adapt and develop successful business models is vital. We spoke to a few design firms with extensive experience abroad to determine what to keep in mind—and what to avoid—when working in China and India.

reset your pace of business
Respecting the customs and traditions of different cultures while visiting or working in another country is a no-brainer, but as Westerners, we often make the misguided assumption that assimilation will be nearly immediate and that projects will follow similar timetables to those at home.

“American architects fare much better when they take time to absorb and understand local culture and show patience in their international business dealings,” said William E. Alisse, AIA, principal at TPG Architecture, London. “Once you secure respect and cooperation from the local design community, you can aspire to the many rewards of working abroad—larger-scale project opportunities, expanded global resources, newfound markets, and the chance to grow and evolve alongside your increasingly multinational client base.”

Depending on which country you’re working in, the design and construction process can take much longer than one might expect, so be prepared for the long haul. Brad McNamee, AIA, senior vice president at WATG, learned this lesson firsthand while working on a Ritz-Carlton project in Bangalore, India.

“I think for India, in particular, you’ve got to have patience,” he emphasized. “It took almost seven years to get [the hotel] opened from when we started the design work, which is significantly longer than most projects.”

In China, on the other hand, the decision-making process is much quicker—perhaps too fast—according to McNamee. “The demands are almost unrealistic in getting things completed,” he said. “They’re pushing much harder for most of those projects in most cases.”


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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