For hospitality interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates’ (HBA) principal, David Haughton, the earliest memories of a beautifully designed place stem from his backpacking trips across different continents. “When visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and Güell Park in Barcelona, and the Taj Mahal as a backpacker in 1987, I witnessed the beauty that these architectural wonders are,” he recalls. These simple inspirations find way in his works. HBA boasts of designing a wide selection of resort spaces from Four Seasons Seychelles, Park Hyatt Maldives, Jumeirah Maldives and Eagle Island Botswana. With works under construction for their new project on Anzara Nusa Lembongan, Intercontinental Hotel and New World Grand Bali Resort (all in Bali), David gives an insight into what goes into building these architectural structures.
A deck at Kanhura Maldives
David is a firm believer of organic designs. According to him, design should follow a certain module that makes it unanimous with the human body — that it should all feel like one element. “Nature forms my inspiration, since it presents our connection with humanity,” he states. The architect also believes that design in itself is an extremely personal and subjective journey. “We continue to evolve ideas through found objects, models, drawings, painting and photography. These are improvisational tools in which we question our existence in the world through visual language and knowledge.”
David likes to combine various methods of approach to design a space. He says, “We usually begin our storytelling with collages of images related to the indigenous people and ways of life for each region, then follow through with planning and sketches. I’m a very hands-on designer, so I encourage my team to build models for major focal points.” Having resided in Bali for over 20 years now, David explains how he takes inspiration from the local environs of the place. “All these years have given me the chance to explore the history and spiritual beliefs of this place,” he says, adding that the Balinese prioritise their spiritual relationship with their temple architecture.
The Europe Hotel & Resort in Ireland
He begins with explaining the idea behind some of their most popular projects. “We begin with examining the local space for each property — the elements that make up the surroundings of the property. Then work on a concept that will fit the region best,” he says. Of course, client goals and expectations are priority, but not before the needs of the guests, he adds. With a couple of projects lined up in the pipeline, David is most excited for his first luxury sailing Phinisi project. “The Phinisi project is a 125 feet traditional live-on-board yacht project and will be the beginning into further Maritime design specialty,” he says, adding that he hopes to provide patrons with a fusion of marine architecture and interiors.