YOO Worldwide opens regional HQ in Bangkok

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 20 February 2019

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Thailand: YOO Worldwide has announced that Bangkok will be the base for its regional HQ and has already confirmed the appointment of key executives and creative directors.

The new team has been appointed "to propel its residential design and hotel franchise business forward".

YOO describes its approach as "a bold vision to rethink and reimagine spaces through the concept of placemaking, which considers the entire environment, space and community rather than just the box in a residence or hotel".

This is also the first time the YOO brand will be available for design of private commissions, houses, bars, restaurants, show apartments, social enterprises and co-working spaces.

The UK-based company was created at the turn of the 21st century by developer John Hitchcox and designer Philippe Starck with "a mission to enrich lives through extraordinary living spaces". YOO now has 81 projects in 40 countries.

The team is now turning its attentions to south-east Asia, tapping into, amongst other trends, the soaring demand for high-end branded residences.

"We see huge opportunities for growth in Asia. We really feel the market is ready for our unique brand of design. We challenge, innovate, disrupt and bend rules - allowing our clients' projects to stand out, adding greater visibility and value to their developments. We're about 'the space' - inside and out - and this is what drives YOO's design," said James Snelgar, partner and head of business development, YOO Worldwide.

Driving the company's regional expansion strategy is Rich Millar, YOO Worldwide's VP of business development - Asia Pacific, and Justin Dunne, F&B concept curator for YOO Hotels & Resorts.

YOO's regional headquarters are in Bangkok where its Asia-partner for hotel operations ONYX Hospitality Group is based. In late 2017, YOO and ONYX launched two hotel brands, YOO Collection and Yoo2, with the first Yoo2 hotel due to launch in Phuket in 2020.

Khun by Yoo, inspired by Philippe Starck, developed by Sansiri will also transfer later this year - and currently sets the highest per square metre price on Thonglor. Other notable Asia projects include 8 Conlay in Kuala Lumpur and a number of multi award-winning residential and hospitality projects in Hong Kong including Mira Moon.

"We are not entirely new to the region, but we are looking to shake things up a bit and grow through our new presence in the region," says Snelgar. "Our designers will work with leading development companies to bring their visions to life and we will nurture creative talent in Bangkok to build a new team of designers based here," he added.

Branded residences are among the hospitality industry's fastest-growing sectors, and YOO is at its forefront with 13 per cent of the world's total portfolio.

"Fun, rebellious and innovative, YOO is disrupting traditional hotel and residence brands and attracting Asia's emerging generation of high-net-worth millennial buyers to its designed spaces. As Asia's affluent young investors demand greater personalisation, they increasingly want bespoke living spaces to complement their designer clothes, cars and gadgets," says the company.

"We don't believe in residences or hotel rooms," adds Snelgar. "We believe in spaces." 

YOO's Andrew Pang will be co-hosting a branded residences round table session at Serviced Apartment Summit Asia which starts in Bangkok tomorrow.

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