A passion for using local talent, culture in projects
Who is he?
Rahul Shankhwalker is a Partner with HBA, one of the world's finest hospitality design companies. "I am a passionate designer, But I am equally passionate about travel, cuisine and running."
Tell us some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of.
GrandPark Kodhipparu private island resort is one of the projects I'm most proud of. The resort showcases sophisticated architecture, state-of-the-art interior and high ceiling of palm-fringed roof. Contemporary exterior with Maldives' traditional influence of wood and rattan, inventive rustic appeal and inviting peaceful atmosphere. Neutral tones, natural fundamentals and spacious social settings balances the unrivalled beauty of the cobalt sea and tranquility.
Grand Park City Hall in Singapore is another favorite vacation project. It is an architectural landmark in the civic district of Singapore, right in the center of the city. There is a century-old heritage gem – the St. Gregory Place's row of old shop houses – within the hotel. My design infused the old-world charm with modernity, visitors and guests can experience the city state's story within Grand Park City Hall.
Room interiors take a modern local twist that showcase Peranakan-patterned floor tiles paired with colonial-inspired details infused throughout. Every room is designed to be intuitive and boasts technological conveniences that include touch-sensitive lamps, charging ports for smartphone devices and energy efficient ceiling fans.
It was also one of the first hotels in Singapore to incorporate technological enhancements for a seamless hotel guest experience. You can download an app and gain instant control with mobile key functions such as pre-arrival registration, self check-in, mobile key access to your guestroom. Controlling lights and in-room climate cooling is made easy with mobile app and in-room touchpad control. Offering commanding views over the Lion City's iconic skyline, the guest rooms and suites of this luxury lifestyle hotel are a place for respite, away from the city's hustle and bustle.
What project are you currently involved in?
We are designing some great resorts around the region. An ecologically and socially responsible resort in Goa, India. I have a family farm in Goa. Its remote, quiet and very secluded. A great place to calm the mind and just think. I am very happy to work on this project, a place I am most familiar with. I am also working on a 10-hectare private island resort in the Maldives, and a boutique hotel in Vietnam.
Describe your design style.
I would say my design style is responsive. It responds and adapts to what the end user needs. In that my designs take different forms in response to who it is for. I love integrating local craftsman ship in my designs. I feel this is a great way to support certain communities and their art for that are on the verge of extinction.
Where are you most creative?
On my family farm in Goa. It's remote, quiet and very secluded. A great place to calm the mind and just think.
What does your home mean to you?
My sanctuary. My safe space.
Do you collect anything as a hobby?
I do. I collect fountain pens. A quirky fact is that I have never used anything to draw, sketch of write with other than a fountain pen and a strange one is that I love to smell fresh ink on paper. There is something divinely calming about it.
Where would you like to go most in Shanghai?
I love shanghai. It's been a while since I went there. But my favorite thing is just to walk around the streets and get lost.
What will be the next big design trend?
Building with materials and talents that are very local. I design hotels and resorts in many diverse parts of the world and some rather remote. There isn't a place I have designed in that does not have material or craftsmanship unique to the place you can build with. Local. Local. Local. Our planet needs us to build consciously.