Cem Kapancioglu, CEO of CK Architecture Interiors, discusses how architects and designers can contribute to building a more sustainable environment, in greener ways
Sustainability is a big issue in architecture – how does CK embrace this important philosophy?
We use materials that are native to their environment – build for purpose – and essentially ‘speak the same language’, as they need to create an overall effect that makes sense. We have forged and maintain strong relationships with some of the world’s best suppliers of top-end materials. So, we know where we need to go to get the best leather that matches the requirements of a specific project or where to source the best fabric solution. We work with specialist suppliers from all over the world to secure the best-in-class material required to deliver the opulent excellence our clients expect.
What are the pillars of CK Architecture in terms of its design and style philosophy?
We design and build living or workspaces that resonate with the desires and DNA of our clients. We take time to deconstruct their vision and then reimagine it by placing the space in the context of its location and natural surroundings. We then create the connective tissue that links the client’s vision with global best practices while adding the local context to make it more realistic – closer to home sort to speak. Our philosophy is to give clients what they want, while ensuring the four fundamentals of functionality, aesthetic appeal, durability and sustainable ecological materials are seamlessly integrated during the process, from design to delivery.
How do you foster a culture of creativity and innovation at the company?
First and foremost, you have to define creativity and innovation if you are asking for it.
For me, innovation is any process, decision, action, methodology or technique that provides a faster, cheaper and better solution to a problem. And creativity is the tool that you use to achieve the above. In addition to this, I try to give examples of creativity and innovations we did in the past and try to lead by example as much as possible .
And obviously, the most important thing about any culture implementation is awarding the one who is achieving the target level of innovation and creativity in any form. That gives the message to the team that creativity and innovation are not optional; they are part of our service culture.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility towards the environment, also because architecture makes such a long-lasting impression on a landscape, community, city space?
Architecture and design are a confluence between science and the arts. It’s the dichotomy that connects the rational with the emotional. One is dependent on the other and the two need to work together seamlessly and in perfect harmony to produce stunning outcomes.
And the fact is that the fundamentals of architecture and design are the same. The only difference between them is scale. Architecture is about positioning a home next to a forest, a hotel next to the beach or a high-rise building in the urban sprawl of a city. On the other hand, interior or product design is about a corner in the house, a room wall or the glass on the ceiling of the atrium.
In both cases, we use materials that are native to their environment – build for purpose – and essentially ‘speak the same language’, as they need to create an overall effect that makes sense. So, it’s not about speaking French outside and Japanese inside. Architecture and design need to speak the same language, even with a different accent – but not two different languages.
As a leader, what motivates and inspires you the most?
Because of my background and expertise in the design and end-to-end delivery of highly bespoke living and working spaces for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) I draw inspiration from the Ferrari brand story.
There are 1 billion cars on the world’s roads today, and yet, the 10,000 Ferraris sold each year are those that turn heads and make people dream. All Enzo Ferrari wanted to do was design fast racing cars – instead what he did was to create a highly inspirational and iconic lifestyle brand.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?
There is no doubt that the times are challenging, however, it is encouraging to reference a recent UBS bank study, according to which Dubai is among the world’s top 20 cities with the most fair property prices and an infrastructure that is conducive to doing business.
At the end of the day, clients always seek value across three key variables; speed, cost and quality, not always in the same order. It’s about priorities. As a client, you can decide which two you’re most concerned about. Fast delivery and price may not give you the quality you wish. If you opt for quality and price you may not get the desired delivery time.
With our customer-centric philosophy, the real challenge is to keep up the high quality best practices in design and construction and also do it in a fast track manner having the entire client experience in mind.
What characteristics must a leader of a creative company possess?
To be a leader you first need to do something.
To do something you need to know what to do.
To know what to do is about clarity.
Clarity is about vision.
Vision is about imagination.
Imagination is visualising something that is not there and knowing how to make it happen.
It is like a football game – in your mind, you play it and win it before the actual game.
Winning or losing does not matter as long as you learn from losing.
In challenging times, what must a business do to survive? How has CK been affected by Coronavirus?
These are difficult times but I believe if a business gets its basics right and has been consistently providing exceptional service to its customers it can ride through even the most challenging times. With regards to the COVID-19, we are following directives issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dubai Health Authority and our industry bodies to ensure all safety measures are in place and in line with international standards.
What projects are you most proud of to date?
At CK Architecture Interiors we have an edge for almost impossible, risky, difficult jobs which require many different services.
The Anantara Spa in Palm Jumeirah is a good example where we have extended the building by one floor on an existing terrace for almost 10,000 square feet while the hotel was in operation and we did this in less than four months. Another challenging work was in the Polo Villas where we had to manage to combine two existing villa with a central majlis and deliver it.
Other exciting projects we have delivered recently include Burj Khalifa Trio apartments, Bluewaters penthouse, six high-end villa design and build in Palm Jumeirah, a Damac villa in Akoya, Revo Café in Anantara and Movenpick Hotels, Turkish Airlines Office building in Dubai, Tetra Pak Innovation Centre and Ferrexpo office.
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