Cover Frank Leung of Via, his multi-disciplinary studio

These visionary architects are creating innovative, forward-thinking and luxurious spaces

From Hong Kong to New York, these visionary architects on the 2021 Asia’s Most Influential list are bringing life to the city. Considering the environment and community, history and even emotion, they have created award-winning properties that not only provide shelter but also make people feel good.  

Jean-Michel Gathy, Malaysia

Malaysian-based Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy has been creating the most exclusive spaces for high-end hotel and resort brands, including Aman, St. Regis, Four Seasons, and even the residential superyacht M/Y Nord. With his consulting firm, Denniston, the esteemed architect and designer has for decades been pushing the boundaries of luxurious experiences, establishing the use of features such as private plunge pools, spa-like bathrooms and luxury tent accommodations.

His most anticipated project, Aman New York, is set to open in August 2022 at the 100-year-old Crown Building in Manhattan. For the urban property, Gathy has combined east and west, Aman’s DNA and New York’s energy. The result? A five-storey penthouse, the three-storey Aman Spa, the Jazz Club, among others. Gathy has more in store for 2022, including Cheval Blanc in Seychelles and Jumeirah Bali in Indonesia. 

Read Jean-Michel Gathy’s full profile here. 

Frank Leung, Hong Kong

Frank Leung sums his design philosophy to Tatler thus: “I’d like to think we all work for happiness; to design is to bring delight into every project we do.” The architect has been dreaming up spaces “imbued with an emotional resonance” for commercial and private clients in Hong Kong through Via, his multi-disciplinary studio.

Leung’s recent work, the social club Yíshè at Atrium House, takes inspiration from Chinese courtyards to redefine modern communal living, with its layered brick structures surrounding a central pool. “Our design scheme establishes a new form of social space rooted in a sense of community through reinterpreting the vernacular typology,” he says to Stir World.

Recently, the creative has also been expanding Via’s portfolio with commissions from the Airport Authority and the World Wide Fund and future projects in Macau, Nanjing, Jakarta and other cities in Southeast Asia. Among his firm’s notable projects are the multi-use space ArtisTree and residential properties Peak One, Novum West and 28 Aberdeen Street.

Read Frank Leung’s full profile here. 

Ko Shiou Hee, Singapore

Ko Shiou Hee co-founded K2LD with a vision to nurture the future. Guided by this principle, the firm works on community projects, along with residential, commercial and hospitality spaces. “Beyond providing shelter, architecture is an expression of our understanding of the world, of cosmology and of our built environment,” he says.

Early this year, K2LD announced the completion of the East Campus of McKinnon Secondary College. For its students, the firm created a four-level structure with an emphasis on learning hubs for collaborative work and flexible learning. Together with Kengo Kuma & Associates, K2LD is also working on the Founders’ Memorial, an integrated gallery and gardens that highlights the values of Singapore’s first-generation leaders and underscores its path to independence. It is set to open in 2027. 

Read Ko Shiou Hee’s full profile here.


Discover the changemakers, industry titans and powerful individuals who are making a positive impact on the region in the Asia’s Most Influential list from Tatler.

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