World citizen, designer and champion of talent

Yang Di
Anthony Mallows is President and CEO of WATG. He is proud to call himself a designer, citizen of the world,  passionate collaborator and a champion of young talent.
Yang Di
World citizen, designer and champion of talent
Courtesy of WATG / Ti Gong

Who is he?

Anthony Mallows is President and CEO of WATG. He is proud to call himself a designer, citizen of the world,  passionate collaborator and a champion of young talent. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and had an interest in architecture and urban design from childhood. He moved to the USA for school and, after graduating from MIT, Mallows saw an opportunity to put his international expertise to good use working in the US. His journey that began in the US in the 1980s has since taken him to the Middle East, Europe, back to the US and now he is thrilled to be working in China.

Please share with us some of your works and name the one you are most proud of.

Over the last 30-plus years I have had the privilege of working on more than 65 projects across 30 countries. I am proud of all of them, but Masdar City tops my list. Masdar is a 600-hectare mixed-use development owned by the Abu Dhabi Government’s Mubadala Investment Company. Our vision was to develop the world’s most sustainable eco-city and we pioneered a ‘greenprint’ for how cities can accommodate rapid urbanization and dramatically reduce energy, water and waste. When complete, 50,000 people will live in Masdar City, with an additional 40,000 working and studying at Masdar.

World citizen, designer and champion of talent
Courtesy of Anthony Mallows / Ti Gong

Masdar City

Are you currently involved with any projects?

One of the things I appreciate most about my CEO role with WATG is the opportunity to collaborate with my team on projects. The projects I work on now are those that have a strong focus on sustainability and urban design.

What’s your design style?

I don’t have a particular ‘style.’ I appreciate great design — whether it’s classic, contemporary or innovative. Great design needs to be timeless and flexible. But most importantly, design must always focus on the end user. The difference between good and great is that ‘good’ tends to be trendy and focus purely on aesthetics, and ‘great’ design is more strategic, focusing on the psychology of the target customer/end user and combining those insights with an innovative, timeless design solution.

Where are you most creative?

I find creativity everywhere. It could be gazing out of an airplane window, meeting with my team or walking the dynamic streets of Shanghai. Everything that touches our senses can inspire creativity.

What does your home mean to you?

I currently reside in Southern California where our WATG headquarters is located. However, I travel over 200 days per year meeting clients and spending time in our WATG offices in London, Singapore, Honolulu and of course, Shanghai. My spiritual home is my mother’s flat in the South of France near the beach where we went for summer holidays when I was young. This is the place where I still go to relax and reconnect to history, the environment and my creative self.

What do you collect?

Books and wine. 

Where would you like to go most in Shanghai? 

I like Chongming Island to explore the forest, wetlands and eco-farms. And I love the Bund, Suzhou Creek, where our project Bellagio Hotel is located. 

What will be the next big design trend?

We are seeing more and more clients that want to explore sustainable design and construction, particularly in China. These aren’t necessarily fully ‘green’ builds, but rather ways to incorporate urban design techniques such as passive design, to better manage energy consumption, and landscape design to protect and leverage the local environment. Two of the biggest planning challenges today are, how to manage the migratory flow of people moving from rural into urban areas; and how to protect the world’s most precious environmental resources — our forests and oceans — given the growing population and the increase of travel and tourism.

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