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Shanghai studio celebrates tenth anniversary
11th October 2018

As the Shanghai team celebrate their tenth year in the country, studio head and APAC board director Sean Li reflects on the past decade and thinks ahead to opportunities in the future.

“China has a unique position within the global economy. In the last 30 years, China has maintained a distinctive culture while achieving an incredibly fast moving pace. Doing business here is a very different experience even for the locals.

“I am excited about our prospects going forward. Our proposition, based on creating great places, links well with the ambitions of people here, who dream of a better lifestyle and better living spaces.

“As global architects and urban designers, we find the market itself is big enough and new enough to allow us to explore new typologies, investigate new technologies and materials for developments, and bring our insight from around the world into a Chinese context.

“The uniqueness of China offers an innovative business environment that requires more flexibility and a willingness to take on new things.

“We have worked across multiple sectors in the last 10 years and have a comprehensive portfolio to look back on. What is fantastic is that we are sharing our learnings with colleagues around the global practice.

“The speed of construction is astonishing. It is hard to make a long-term plan because the market is moving so fast. Many large commerce companies here did not exist five years ago. However, we are well positioned to be part of China’s continuing urbanisation story. By understanding and predicting what the market may offer in the next 10 years we can continue to win work and support our clients.

“Broadway Malyan originated in the UK and has a sixty-year legacy to draw from. When we started in China, we were supported by our global studios. It has entrusted us to develop and grow our unique management structure and offers to the market, and we are able to share our learning with colleagues globally. This helps our practice to be truly international and it is a privilege to add to our corporate history.”

When Shanghai opened, there were 10 members of staff. Projects such as Shanghai Dulwich School, ID Mall, Qingdao International Finance Centre and Nottingham University Ningbo have helped to establish the studio’s credentials and presence in China.

The studio now has over 45 people. It has broadened its offer to include a more integrated approach to design, bringing together multiple disciplines and sector expertise from regional studios in Asia Pacific.

Sean added: “A key feature of our history is the contribution of a number of people who have helped to develop our office in Shanghai, from the original directors who set up the studio, to the people who work every day to design fantastic buildings for our clients.

"This includes group chairman Stuart Rough, who opened the studio with me, former chairman Melvin Davis, who relocated to Shanghai when Stuart succeeded him, and Jeremy Salmon and Harry Hoodless, who both contributed leadership and helped to build our reputation in retail and education respectively.

"It has been a truly collaborative effort, and their input has helped us to reach where we are today.

“I’d also like to thank our clients who have supported us for being ‘international’ as well as being ‘local’. I look forward to continuing to work together with them.”

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the Shanghai team invited key clients and colleagues from around the global practice to join them for a day. Guests attended one of three study tours; retro and culture (including Fuxing Art Centre, Rockbund Art Museum and 1933), new retail (including Taikoo Hui, Jing’an Kerry Centre and Lujiazui Harbour City 1862) and integrated workplace and hospitality (including Shanghai Tower, WeWork and Edition Hotel).

These tours demonstrated the latest trends in design and achievements in Chinese architecture.

In the evening, a drinks reception and meal were hosted at Pop American Brasserie on the Bund, which was endorsed and opened by Louise Cantillon, the Commerce Counsellor of Shanghai British Consulate General.

She said: "It is fantastic to be able to celebrate this important milestone with the Broadway Malyan team. Speaking to them tonight, it is clear that their passion for creating great places has not diminished and I am excited to see what’s next for the Shanghai studio."

Stuart Rough, group chairman at Broadway Malyan was in attendance and delivered a speech to guests. Reflecting on the growth of the studio, he said: “I feel very privileged to be here tonight. I started coming to China in 2004 as we started to look at the market and the opportunities with some of our European clients. In 2007, I met Sean and in 2008 we came here together to set up a new studio.

“It’s great to be here tonight to celebrate ten years in Shanghai, in what has been a milestone year for the practice, which has reached its 60th anniversary.

“It has been fantastic to watch the team develop over the last decade, delivering fantastic projects and building a successful portfolio. I’m very proud of what they have all achieved.”

Guests enjoyed views of the Shanghai skyline from the rooftop terrace and had the opportunity to spend time together.