Architecture and design with a sense of place and style
Who is he?
Peter Remedios brings more than 30 years of experience and expertise in the field of high-end hotel/resort design and luxury residential projects to his role as design principal and managing director of Remedios Studio. Now headquartered in Hong Kong, he has spearheaded the designs of prominent city and resort hotels across Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, the United States and Europe.
Remedios started his career in the US in the late 1980s as a junior partner at the design firm Chhada, Siembieda Remedios, where he was heavily involved in the interior design of the ground-breaking Four Seasons New York project. It was this experience working with visionaries that eventually inspired him to set up his own design studio. As president of Remedios Siembieda Inc in Long Beach, California, he won the prestigious Park Hyatt Beijing project, thereby expanding his footprint and securing recognition as a top Los Angeles-based hotel interior designer for the Asian market.
He frequently traveled between the US and Hong Kong while working on The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto project, as well as a number of projects on the Chinese mainland and other parts of Asia, including the Shilla for the Samsung group. In 2010, he moved from his base in California and set up Remedios Studio in Hong Kong. Some of his other works in Asia include Zhongda 9 in Xi'an and Morpheus Macau.
Since then, he has helped Remedios Studio garner a reputation for innovation and creative design. Within his creative playbook, he displays an infectious passion for design, directing, mentoring and motivating his highly creative design team to achieve excellence.
Tell us about some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of and explain the reasons.
What is important in my work is that we are in some ways custodians of the culture of the place we work in and I want to reflect that in our projects. This is why I am particularly proud of The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto project that took on the challenge of expressing Kyoto culture in a modern way. We spent a lot of time researching the city's ancient Heian period culture, and I tried to define Kyoto in one word and came up with the word "mysteriousness." To me, Kyoto is something that is mysterious with many layers to the culture. The question was how do we take something so intangible and turn it into something tangible that people can feel in the design. My work is modern and timeless and finds its expression by distilling the essence of the culture or the vernacular architecture to create an appropriate look and feel. In the case of the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, I think it was particularly successful. One of the greatest compliments I received is that most Japanese guests visiting the hotel simply assume that it was designed by a Japanese designer. That to me is validation that we appropriately expressed the complex, ancient and mysterious culture of Kyoto as distinct from the Zen culture. The hotel also received many accolades, including the prestigious Virtuoso Award for best hotel design and the Asia Hotel Design Awards, and has become of the flagship Ritz-Carlton hotels in Asia.
What project are you currently working on?
We are currently starting an exciting new Ritz-Carlton project in Suzhou. Suzhou is a 2,500-year-old city also called the "Venice of the East," and we are doing thorough research to get an in-depth understanding of the culture to create a compelling design story. At the same time, we have been working to relaunch the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto in their upcoming renovation, which will give us the opportunity to further develop our design story for that hotel. We are also currently involved in completing the renovation of the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong as well as a very luxurious villa project for a high net worth client.
Describe your design style.
I prefer not to have a pre-scripted design style, as I am guided by a design philosophy. I firmly believe each project should have its own unique personality with a strong design story that reflects the vernacular architecture, a cultural identity, the history or a unique, outside-the-box architectural and design concept to create icons with an appropriate "sense of place" or "sense of style."
I believe the challenges to the designer go beyond the obvious replications of any given style to the more exciting but harder to achieve approach of evoking the look and charisma of that style, thus capturing the imagination and creating unique moments. Understanding the importance of the end user to the success of our clients' projects, the true value that we bring is the creation of a holistic design that seamlessly integrates the architecture and design disciplines to curate immersive and superlative end-user experiences.
Where are you most creative?
Passion is the overriding ingredient of good architecture and design and should define one's life rather than just considering it a career or job. I eat, sleep, and dream design and architecture all the time. I never shut off. Ideas come to me very rapidly and often even in the middle of the night. I get very excited about it and cannot go back to sleep. Oftentimes, I like working late into the night when everybody is asleep, as I can fully focus on what I am doing and be very engaged with no distractions. When you are driven by an unbridled passion, work ceases to be work and you simply have fun, and I believe you do your best work when you have fun. I am inspired by my surroundings and am sensitive to subtle new answers that play on a person's emotion, as I firmly believe design is highly emotive. For me, creativity never stops.
What does your home mean to you?
Home is a place of refuge, where you feel secure and at peace. It is an environment that nurtures my soul and spirit and allows me time to dream. To be a good designer and architect, you need time to dream. I tend to be more low-key at home because my ideas can keep changing as time goes by, so I try not to be too specific in my own home because I know I will get tired of it. It is low-key but the level of attention to details and usability of the space is very high.
What do you collect?
I don't collect anything specifically, but whenever I see interesting things while traveling I like to collect them. It can be something that is craft or beautifully designed. What is important to me is the appreciation of the forms, the materials or the craftsmanship that went into making that object. If I see something interesting or unique about a place I usually buy it. For instance, if I am on a trip to Italy it can be Italian linen or Venetian glass. When I see a beautiful object resulting from an artist who spent a very long time creating it or a craftsman that spent a lifetime perfecting his art, I appreciate that and these are the kind of objects that I like to collect.