Woods Bagot will open the doors to two new design studios in Auckland, New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of their global expansion strategy.
The Kuala Lumpur studio will be managed by Director of Development in South East Asia, Matthew Gaal while Auckland will be under the supervision of Design Leader and Studio Chair Gavin Kain.
Explaining the reasons for establishing a permanent presence in Auckland, Gavin said New Zealand’s profile as an innovative, creative and forward-looking country with a strong economy fits well with Woods Bagot’s philosophy of designing environmentally sensitive and culturally appropriate spaces and workplaces that meet the current and future needs of the people who work, live, or visit a destination for multiple reasons.
Woods Bagot has been working in New Zealand for over four years on a number of high-profile projects through partnerships with local architects. This includes one of the country’s largest civic projects, the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) for SKYCITY, in conjunction with local architects Warren and Mahoney and Moller Architects.
The practice has also been an active driver in the largest current commercial project in New Zealand, the Downtown Auckland development, also delivered in partnership with Warren and Mahoney.
According to Malaysia head Matthew Gaal, there was a strong need to set up a local studio in Kuala Lumpur because of the country being at the nexus point of South East Asia. Thanks to its cultural and design vibrancy combined with its close proximity to Australia, Malaysia has the potential to become an Alpha plus city over the coming years as it continues to grow and mature.
He added that Woods Bagot already has a strong presence in places like London, America and Australia where more and more Malaysian clients are investing; the studio in KL will allow the practice to build local relationships in-country and assist their clients globally.
Setting up the new design studios will also help Woods Bagot service the portfolio of projects being executed in Malaysia and New Zealand. With senior staff permanently on the ground in these regions, clients can have regular face-to-face interactions with the person responsible for delivering their project, eliminating all issues of time zones, distance and communication.
The Kuala Lumpur studio, which is due to open in March 2016, is situated in Heritage Row, now known as ‘The Row’ and set to be the new design hub of the city.
The Auckland studio will be managed by Gavin with Studio Leader Troy Thomas, an experienced architect who has been with Woods Bagot for over 13 years.