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Breaking New Design Grounds

Consumer expectations constantly change as societies evolve, and businesses need to keep pace with this change in order to stay ahead in the game. That’s the value proposition of Studio X, a boutique interior design and brand experience agency set up by two British entrepreneurs in Hong Kong.

Breaking New Design Grounds

“In China, and other economies in the region, many people have begun to reassess how they wish to spend their time and their money and this change in attitude has placed challenges on mall operators, shopkeepers and restauranteurs to come up with radically new ideas in order to attract customers and generate loyalty,” Rufus Turnbull, Founder and Creative Director explained.

“There is a huge opportunity for Hong Kong, sitting on the doorstep to many of these rapidly changing markets, to become the de facto capital of design and innovation services for Asia Pacific.”

The company was set up in May 2016 and, in almost a year, has already managed more than 40 projects with a roster of clients that includes several global brands.

Studio X’s focus is to help clients create ground-breaking retail stores, F&B solutions, leisure and entertainment environments, but there is more to its services than meets the eye. One of the company’s latest projects was an invitation-only cinema in Beijing and, other than designing the building and the interior, the commission also involved producing the naming strategy and graphical identity. They even designed the staff uniforms and developed a digital ticketing platform to complement the project.

“It’s a holistic design approach that means we don’t just look at things in an interior decorative mode. We are looking at the brand; we are looking at the consumer; and we are looking at how to bridge the gap between the two,” said Sam Bradley, co-Founder and Project Director.

Turnbull is an industrial designer by training, while Bradley is trained in interior architecture. They describe Studio X as “innovation-focused”, and its goal is to help clients improve business performance by challenging the status quo.

“The consumer market is changing more quickly than ever before, so that’s where we step in. We focus heavily on understanding what consumers want and then we customise our creative approach on each project in order to disrupt and innovate.”

Turnbull and Bradley have a staff of five equipped with skills in interior architecture, visualisation, graphic design and digital experience. They plan to slowly grow the headcount to around 10 by the end of 2017.

In addition to in-house resources, Studio X also works with freelancers and collaborators for certain projects. They point to Hong Kong’s bourgeoning startup community as a great source of potential collaborators.
Turnbull and Bradley have been living in Hong Kong for five and three years respectively, and they both find the city to be an enjoyable place to work and live.

“Hong Kong is a really fun city to live in with a great climate, mountains, beaches and low tax, all of which make it easier to attract the best staff,” Turnbull said.

Bradley agreed. “There’s the proximity to Asia and the amount of travel you can do within two hours. Once you’ve been here a few years, it’s quite difficult to think about leaving,” he said.

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Founded in May 2016 and has been commissioned more than 40 projects within a year
  • Specialised in developing retail store, and entertainment spaces and other branded environments.
  • Looking to increase its staff size from five to ten by the end of 2017

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