International hospitality design superstar and previous judge at the 2012 Perspective Awards, Jean-Michel Gathy speaks about designing hotels and resorts in ever-changing China
Jean-Michel Gathy is the architectural genius behind many of world's greatest hotels and resorts. His work always seems to be one step ahead of the design curve, creating iconic and stunning spaces for travellers across the globe. With accolades including Cheval Blanc Randheli in Maldives, The Setai in Miami, Amanyara in Turks-and-Caïcos, and Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland, it is easy to see why he is considered by many as a sort of 'architectural rockstar'.
He himself sees his role not only as that of a designer but also as an innovator: "It is important to constantly discover new concepts and be ahead of the ever evolving trends. Being a leader and knowing what travellers want before they know it themselves is what I do.”
Gathy brings over 30 years of architectural experience in the hospitality industry to his role as principal designer at Denniston Architects. An architectural master who designs everything by hand rather than with the use of a computer, Gathy believes that hand-drawing helps him to connect with each individual project. "Designing is an art, and art is about emotions and following your gut. My design process is slow, drawing by hand expresses my immediate connection with the project," he says.
These hand drawings have been transformed into three-dimensional works of art across the globe, with a high concentration of projects being completed in China. He is the man behind many of the country's finest hotels and resorts, including an exercise in Jiangnan architecture, the Fuchon Resort; the imperial urban oasis in the heart of Beijing, Aman at Summer Palace; and the monastic-inspired hideaway, The St Regis Lhasa Resort. "China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world, and luxury hotels and resorts have to have a presence there, otherwise they are wasting their time," says Gathy.
This is an excerpt from the "The Hospitality Master” article from the October 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.
To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.