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Ten minutes with…Chris Lohan

Architectural practice Benoy was founded in the UK back in 1947. Its global reputation is built on award-winning projects including Elements in Hong Kong, Shanghai IFC Mall, ION Orchard Singapore and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Their latest project – Hong Kong’s Hysan Place, was led by Benoy director Chris Lohan. LOFT caught up with him to find out more.

On vertical shopping…

This type of super-vertical retail arrangement is one of the most challenging to plan and we spent many rounds with the client discussing ways in which it should be approached. One of the major new elements that Benoy decided to implement which we thought would be key to the success of the mall was the introduction of the express escalator system facing Hennessy Road. This system allows shoppers to travel upwards quickly by skipping passed intermediary floors. This feature was not part of the tower architect, KPF’s original design so it was an especially complex technical challenge to include this massive structure so late into the design development of the building facade.

On street art design elements…

When we were presented with the challenge of a very vertical mall with relatively small floor plates we latched onto a number of themes. Four key words represented themselves more prominently than others and these were Neutral, Feminine, Young and Fun. We decided that “fun” could be represented as a series of surprises in unlikely places. Street art seemed like a perfect platform for this particular application.

On sustainability…

At Benoy we believe that all our solutions should respect a realistic approach to sustainability and we were delighted to embrace the clients shared visions for this. Where possible therefore we selected materials that were manufactured within a 500km radius of the site and or selected from sustainable sources. We are particularly proud of the timber floors which are sourced from reclaimed teak stocks taken from buildings which have themselves fallen into decay. As these timbers are more than two hundred years old and come from ancient forests they have stored historical value, are perfectly stable for construction purposes and have a beautiful natural patina giving an added level of character to the spaces which will only age well with the passing of time.

On the best bits…

All the brands both international and local have taken great care to expose themselves in the most interesting of ways and it’s important to note that we always strive to create a platform in which the tenants are the kings and queens of the experience with our public spaces forming the backdrop in which they can shine.

On working in HK…

Over my career spanning 20 years I have had the opportunity of working in Hong Kong, the UK and the US and have travelled extensively for both work and pleasure. Travel and the experiences it brings with it are essential for the creative mind and Hong Kong is an ever changing dynamo of a city that appears to be forever embracing the new, getting quickly bored and moving swiftly onto the next biggest thing making this a perpetually exciting place to live. I’m sure that time passes twice as quickly in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world and in the business realm things definitely seem to happen even faster.


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