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Gimme shelter

By Rebecca Lo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-17 08:39
Gimme shelter
Gimme shelter

Top: The hot spring resort in Benxi, Liaoning province, is Clint Nagata's latest construction project. Nagata says his company's edge is its novel approach to each project and creating a property that reflects the client and location. Among his projects are Conrad Sanya (middle) and Jumeirah Maldives (above). Photos provided to China Daily


Bangkok-based Hawaiian native Clint Nagata of Blink Design finds China an exciting canvas for his brand of hospitality design. Rebecca Lo talks to the architect and discovers what feasts for the senses to expect.

Related: A home to enjoy far from home

Hawaii has long been the US' vacation state. For architects and designers who specialized in creating fantasy getaways, there was no better place to hone their craft during the '70s and '80s when luxury hotel development on the islands was at its peak.

It was the environment that Clint Nagata was born and bred in. The founder and creative director of Bangkok-based Blink Design Group grew up in Hawaii's North Shore.

Gimme shelter

The 2013 BIFT Fashion Week 

Gimme shelter

Dorado Beach ,Ritz-Carlton reserve to open 

He studied architecture at The University of Hawaii and worked for 14 years at one of the state's largest firms, WATG, eventually becoming one of its youngest partners.

"I've always had a passion for art and design," says Nagata. "But I unintentionally discovered this side of the design world - designing hotels and resorts. At school, firms that specialized in these building types were often frowned upon, yet (the late Sri Lankan architect) Geoffrey Bawa has long been one of my main design influences and inspirations."

Bawa, initially known for institutional buildings across his home country, became associated with a tropical modern aesthetic that was perhaps best executed in hotel designs such as Heritance Kandalama in Dambulla.

When Nagata felt ready to spread his own wings, he knew that Asia offered the best opportunities.

"I spent half my time working with clients in Asia and I became inspired by the caliber of design firms here," he says. "I chose Bangkok as the perfect city to set up my own firm, because I see it as an Asian design hub when it comes to resorts and hotels."

Nagata feels that Blink's edge over its competitors is its approach to each project: He aims to create a property that reflects his client and the location.

"We collaborate with our clients across different disciplines, having a strong understanding from both ends of the table," he says. "Whether we are hired as interior designers or architects, we are often sought out to lead the design team to provide a clear concept and vision for the project."

Nagata stresses that good design is instrumental to the success of a hotel, and it is a point that most of his clients understand, too.

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