Celebrating a Decade of Cutting-Edge Architecture
10 Design has been in operation for a decade, and is fast becoming known for its culturally sensitive, innovative architectural designs
Writer: Dani Redd | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
As we celebrate 10 years since establishing 10 Design, it is almost difficult to believe the extent of creative design and built work that has been accomplished during this time,” muses Barry Shapiro, Managing Partner – Asia at global architecture firm 10 Design.
Shapiro moved to Asia in the nineties from New York, and has since lived and worked in Jakarta, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong, referring to it as one of the world’s richest and most diverse regions. He has lived and worked through three decades of rapid development, moving from a time when there was no internet or email in the office to web-based meetings that span the globe.
“From a professional standpoint, the pace of development and construction in Asia is extremely rapid and fast-paced,” Shapiro explains.
“Projects that take years to design, deliver and construct in the west take significantly less time in Asia. The scale of the work is also typically very large. In just the past decade with 10 Design, I have personally been involved in over 1,000,000 square metres of built projects which is extremely fulfilling.”
10 years of design excellence
10 Design is an international architecture and masterplanning practice with its headquarters in Hong Kong and offices in Shanghai, Edinburgh, Dubai, London, Miami and Shenzhen, which collectively employ over 200 architects and designers.
Its main services include architectural planning and design, while it specialises in mixed-used developments (allowing it to draw on its expertise in large-scale mixed use development, retail, office, residential, hospitality, transport, education, cultural, and civic projects). The practice typically works on projects from initial concept to design development, although in
certain cases will see it all the way through to tender stage.
“We established the practice in 2010 to create a studio that produces high quality, contemporary design, respectful of local cultures and rooted in maximising commercial value for our clients. Even more importantly, we have always strived to create a vibrant creative and diverse studio environment for our staff,” Shapiro says.
The Managing Partner believes 10 Design’s diverse global talent pool is central to its success.
“Our family of talent encompasses more than 30 nationalities, speaking over 40 languages and dialects across seven studios. We see this as a unique cultural advantage in today’s shrinking world. Global talent has fuelled 10 and will continue to do so,” he adds.
It is part of 10 Design’s ethos to embrace emerging talent across the globe – rather than a establishing a rigidly hierarchical workplace, it encourages a collaborative culture where ideas can be discussed and evolve. Furthermore, the practice’s global reach means it has the resources to quickly scale projects up or down as necessary, enabling it to work on projects ranging from individual building designs to the planning of an entire city.
Alongside its collaborative culture and talented staff pool, Shapiro believes that the company’s intimate knowledge of the region also stands it apart.
“Unlike many large international architectural consultants working within Asia that are based in the west and have branch offices within Asia, 10 Design was born and is headquartered within Asia,” Shapiro explains. “The partners have been living and working within Asia for most of their careers and we have a deep understanding of the unique cultures, processes and nuances of working within the region.”
This enables the practice to come up with designs that are sensitive to both the cultural and physical environment.
Shapiro also cites 10 Design’s relationship with partners and consultants as crucial to its success in designing over 200 projects in over 60 countries across the world, to high customer satisfaction.
“These projects are developed with great local consultants and collaborators that provide unique perspectives on local cultures, regulatory requirements and local expertise. These partnerships allow 10 Design to efficiently balance our strengths in design with a deep understanding of the countries, provinces and cities that we work in,” he says.
Over the past decade, 10 Design has worked on planning and designing projects in the hospitality, residential, cultural, retail, commercial, education, aviation and railway sectors. Its global reach has enabled it to undertake projects across Asia and the Middle East. To date, it has won more than 70 international design awards and completed over 20 major built landmark projects, with many more under construction.
One landmark residential project is the Narra Residences, located in the emerging Empire City neighbourhood of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. This 278-unit residence is formed of two towers and connected by a skybridge on the 20th floor, which provides the opportunity for resort amenities such as landscaped gardens, an infinity edge pool and unsurpassed views of the nearby Saigon River. 10 Design has also introduced the ‘Neighbourhoods in the Sky’ concept through installing a series of stacked apartment clusters or ‘vertical neighbourhoods’, which integrate courtyards, social spaces and sky gardens to help instil a sense of community. Narra Residences won the Residential High-rise Architecture Vietnam Award at Asia Pacific Property Awards 2020, and Second Award of Housing Multi-Family at International Residential Architecture Awards 2020.
Meanwhile, KL Gateway is a mixed-use development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, consisting of two office towers, five residential towers, a shopping mall and a series of gardens and plazas. The natural gardens derive their inspiration from the forested Malaysian landscape, while the undulating glass building façades emulate water. A landmark design element is a large glass ring that floats above the inner central courtyard, which becomes a lantern illuminated with LED screens and coloured glass panels by night.
Other fascinating developments include HK Harbourfront in Hong Kong, and Terminal 4 of Jakarta Airport.
As with many companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of the markets in which 10 Design is active.
One of 10 Design’s key goals in the upcoming months is to explore the ways in which design can be futureproofed to help mitigate such risks. It also intends to expand its reach across Southeast Asia, while seeking out opportunities in the EME regions and Americas.
Despite the disruption brought about by coronavirus, the conversation concludes on an optimistic note, with Shapiro expressing his utmost confidence in the practice.
“With 10 Design’s strength in design, level of client service and experience with the region, we are very optimistic about our future. While a significant portion of our work over the past decade has been within China, we are looking to expand our reach into the rest of Asia. We are also looking to diversify our expertise into new sectors and markets to expand our capabilities,” the Managing Partner concludes.