Kai Du joined Brewer Smith Brewer Group (BSBG) in the London office in March 2019, immediately starting work on the London + Regional Hotels (L+R Hotels) project, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. We visited him at the project site to speak about how he arrived here at BSBG in London, and how the project we recently announced is progressing so far…
“I previously worked for Foster + Partners,” Kai begins. “And I had reached a stage in my career where I was keen to continue working on design, but also to experience the delivery of high-end projects. BSBG’s reputation is exemplary for both the design and technical delivery sides of architecture and so for me the company seemed like the perfect fit. I interviewed with the group’s senior management and the rest is history. I spent some time in the Dubai Headquarters to understand the working practices and standards, and the set-up there really is very impressive. I’m proud to be working alongside such a talented group of people.”
Kai joins BSBG in London at what is still a relatively early stage in the expansion into the UK’s capital city for the group, but he explains his decision was made easy by the international reputation the group has. “Working with BSBG in London is something I consider a great opportunity. Whilst we are fresh to the market here, I think our reputation in London will go from strength to strength very quickly. It’s an exciting point at which to have joined the company. When we look at the portfolio of projects delivered over the last four decades, BSBG stands shoulder to shoulder with the best out there. So when you have that mindset, those standards in place and that level of project experience, it’s clear to me the direction in which BSBG is heading. From my experience, London has been waiting for the kind of expertise BSBG brings to the market for quite some time.”
Kai’s first project for BSBG is Nobu Hotel London Portman Square; a project recently announced on the BSBG blog. The project involves the refurbishment of the former Radisson Blu Portman Square, after which time it will become a high-end Nobu branded hotel managed by L+R Hotels. “My first project is the Portman Hotel refurbishment. We’re managing the project from London, with additional input from the global team. There is a wealth of expertise coming into this project from the BSBG side, and the wider team working to deliver the project is vasty experienced and hugely capable.”
With this project, Kai has moved out of the design studio of Foster + Partners, and on to a busy and complex construction site. This phase of the project cycle was one of the factors that proved so attractive in his decision to join BSBG. “It’s a fast-paced project, and it’s intensive work, but for me it’s incredibly rewarding,” Kai explains. “To see a project you’ve worked on in its earlier stages take shape each day on site is something we, as architects, love to have the opportunity to witness. And a lot of us don’t always get the chance to do that, so I consider myself quite fortunate!
“Complexity-wise, it’s a renovation which brings with it a whole set of unique challenges, especially as the building is Grade II listed. The construction programme is demanding, particularly for this scale of project and as lead consultant we have to ensure the level of coordination is first rate. At the end of the short programme we will deliver a sophisticated, high-end 5-star offering, fit to be branded as one of the world’s most exclusive hospitality brands (Nobu).”
For more information on the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square project, click here.