Hospitality Design - October 2015 - (Page 128)

2 1 hba hd visionary award It is of course impossible to pinpoint the birthdate of an industry, but when it comes to hospitality design, a day in the early 1960s when Howard Hirsch hired Michael Bedner as an entry-level "blueprint boy" will serve as well as any. For it was then that a remarkable partnership (as well as a warm friendship) began. By 1965, when Hirsch added Bedner to the firm's formal name, the team had committed itself to hotels, restaurants, and all things hospitality in a way no other major 128 October 2015 firm had done. Hirsch died in 1997, but his legacy was permanent: "Howard taught me that hotels need a sense of place and the spirit of theater," Bedner has said. Throughout the following decades, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) helped transform the industry from its tentative beginnings to its powerful and influential present. Its reach became international, and its design awards were innumerable. In 2013, Bedner (now chairman of the board emeritus) passed the torch to co-CEOs René Gross Kaerskov and Ian Carr, who have maintained HBA's steady growth and global expansion. The some 1,600 employees in 22 offices-including those in Moscow, Manila, Shanghai, and Jeddah-attest to their claim as the world's largest hospitality design firm. In expanding the firm, Kaerskov and Carr created HBA Studio (for more budget-minded clients), HBA Architecture, Illuminate Lighting Design, and HBA Canvas (an art consultancy), and saw sales increase 65 percent. They have also gathered fistfuls of design awards-including several from Hospitality Design-for their eye-popping hotels and resorts. Kaerskov, a native of Denmark, was HBA's CFO before taking the reins with Carr, a designer who helmed the HBA Asia office in Singapore for 12 years. Their left brain-right brain partnership, according to Kaerskov, strengthens the team. "We speak nearly every day about any number of subjects, and our jobs overlap more than you might think." Neither man is complacent about the future, citing the ever-increasing sophistication of hotel guests, global expansion into as yet untapped corners (South America is a tempting but challenging destination), and increasing competition as ongoing hurdles. "We see the whole world as our playground," says Kaerskov. "We'd like to be everywhere. Our internal tagline is 'We're global but local.'" But amid the energetic vision for the future, the legacy of the firm's creation 50 years ago still looms large. "Howard and Michael created the world's largest hospitality design firm," says Carr. "Pretty much anyone who is running HBA now was attracted to that. It was the place to be, and we want to 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - October 2015

Hospitality Design - October 2015
Online TOC
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Business Sense: Industry Insight
Sustainable Studio: Open Farm Community
Trends: Suites
Trends: Fast-Casual Dining
5 Questions for John Simeonidis
Profile: Neri & Hu
Trends: Scandinavian Inspiration
Trends: Rose Gold
In the Room
Special Feature: Chefs
Platinum Circle
Gary Dollens
Kemper Hyers
Nobu Matsuhisa
HD Visionary Award: HBA
Margherita Saint-Germain
Le Lapin
The Continental
Scone City
I Love Paris
Ad Index
Back Space

Hospitality Design - October 2015