Name: Otto Ouyang Xin
Company: Bilkey Llinas Design
Position within company: Partner
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I graduated from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University in Shanghai, China and have since worked for over 30 years in high-end hospitality projects throughout South East Asia. I am based in Hong Kong where I am a senior partner at Bilkey Llinas Design (BLD). I joined the company’s founding partners, Robert Bilkey, Oscar Llinas and Mauricio Salcedo in 2000 and together with our design team, we have been very fortunate to design a large portfolio of luxury hotels as well as prestigious residential developments throughout the region and worldwide.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
In order to be able to design a wide range of projects, it is essential that we, as designers, understand the environment, culture and target end user, together with the developer’s and operator’s vision. We then need to develop the design functionality and character that is best suited for the particular project. Once these parameters are understood, I enjoy developing a design theme that combines Chinese and Western cultural and architectural elements when appropriate. Also, it is always important to be able find the right balance between a contemporary approach and achieving a timeless design that can withstand the test of time; this motto defines BLD’s philosophy and approach to creating a unique design experience for every project
Where does your design inspiration come from?
The design inspiration always come from the personal experiences and the surrounding environment. Take Marriott Hotel Xuzhou as an example, the lakeside location and beautiful, dynamic mountain views provided the initial inspiration for the design.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I believe the hospitality industry, now more than ever, will continue to search for ways to maximize customer experience and comfort whilst streamlining development and operational costs. This will continue to be the determining factor for the viability of most future hotels. As such, we as designers, must continue to strive to produce innovative concepts that meet the growing technological demands and expectation for high standards of comfort and design dictated by today’s discerning clientele. However, we have the responsibility to achieve these goals within budget and with great care for our environment.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
1) Principles of Health and Safety.
2) Cultural and Aesthetic.
3) Integration with the environment.
4) Reasonable use of the Resources.
5) Feasible cost.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Strive to develop an interior design that has a symbolic relationship with its local culture and surrounding environment.
How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
There is great value to being recognized for design excellence. In the first instance, the awards provide motivation for the designers to strive for success. The International Hotel & Property Awards provide a platform for design recognition by the industry on the global stage for both the project’s designers and their Design Firms.
What projects are you currently working on?
Hospitality and Residential projects.
What was your favourite project to work on and why?
Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.
Traditional Chinese Jiangnan architecture is seamlessly integrated with lush landscape and the interiors, providing guests with a tranquil and relaxing experience throughout the resort.
What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
Hilton Beijing Tongzhou, China
The project took a total of ten years to complete, within which the design concepts had t be adjusted several times due to Operator’s evolving requirements. Finally, the hotel officially opened in October 2020.
Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
Traveling and life learning are indispensable.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
The hospitality industry has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result, we need to be extra vigilant and hands on the business aspects of our operation. To that effect, we must be flexible and recognize the need for change.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
I always feel that the inspiration comes from life and my own personal experiences, and communications with friends. Moreover, traveling and reading always give me continuous and unexpected inspirations.
Your most treasured possession.
I have travelled with Mr. Robert Bilkey and Mr. Oscar Llinas over the past twenty years and took more than 80,000 photos which are my most treasured possession.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
My favourite hotel is Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.
My favourite restaurant is Songshan Tea House of Hyatt Regent Dongguan Songshan Lake Hotel.
Your favourite book, film & song?
My favourite book is ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’.
My favourite movie is ‘The English Patient’.
My favourite song is ‘Besame Mucho’.
Your favourite food and drink?
Cantonese cuisine and Longjing Green Tea.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Listen to music, read a book and drink coffee in a peaceful corner.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I would be a writer if I were not a designer.
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If you think you have what it takes to complete in The International Hotel & Property Awards, submit your application by clicking here.