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Architecture shapes our world in big and subtle ways – architectural masterminds at the forefront of the world’s most imaginative and groundbreaking projects changing the skylines and transforming cities for a better future for their inhabitants. Many of the industry giants’ lofty ambitions and philosophies often extend beyond their creators’ lifelines, inspiring admirers and imitators long after the trailblazers of innovative thought had passed on. With recent years seeing more than a few obituaries of some of the world’s most remarkable architects, the larger legacy of their philosophies continues to live on in the posthumous works carried on by their firms and successors. We take a look at the legacies of some of these notable visionaries who continue to shape the world built around us. In part two, we look at the architectural wonders left behind – Kerry Hill and Michael Graves.
Australia-born architect Kerry Hill who had set up his office in Singapore in the early 1970s has become a legend over the course of his four-decade career focusing on hospitality, cultural, civic and institutional design projects all over Asia and Australia. A pioneer in sustainable tropical architecture, Hill’s works combine cultural and climatic responses to create buildings that are appropriate to their context, imbued in cultural tradition and evoking a complete sense of place.
Hill passed away in the second half of 2018, but his posthumous works continue to express the emphasis on sensual qualities of architecture, as Hill believed in architecture’s ability to evoke all five senses to fully engage the user with the surroundings. In many ways, Hill’s holistic and deeply contextual approach to design had pioneered the contemporary resort-style architecture in Asia, with Hill’s works on properties for luxury hotel brands, like The Datai Hotel in Langkawi, which won the 2001 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aman Resorts in multiple locations, The Lalu Hotel at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan, and many others becoming the models for tropical resort architecture around the world.
One of the most revered architects and a champion of universal, accessible design, Michael Graves left a lasting legacy of projects that merge creativity and functionality and aim to promote well-being. Having designed over 350 buildings around the world over the span of his career, Graves distinguished his designs with playfulness and bold colours – a sense of whimsy that boded well with the Walt Disney Company who had appointed Graves to design a handful of its properties and sister hotels.
With a dual distinction of being an extremely successful household product designer as well as an architect, Graves’ collaborations with the department store retailer Target paved the way to now common partnerships between large retailers and designers from the worlds of fashion, architecture and home design. Carrying forward the Graves’ philosophy, Michael Graves Architecture & Design’s work continues to build on the principles of creating human design solutions that merge form and function through holistic solutions.
While the firm’s work continues to push the boundaries of architecture and interior design, it is MGA&D’s approach to product design that most embodies Graves’ legacy. MGA&D’s products from white noise sleep sound machines, to ceiling fans, to hospital furniture, cater to human comfort and utility above all, improving the user experience of often-overlooked everyday household products and pushing the boundaries of design with a human dimension. Read about part 1 if you missed it here.