What is top-tier hospitality? Christopher Chua of KulorGroup shares that at the apex of opulence, trendsetters are creating unforgettable experiences for clients.
More and more luxury travellers are becoming acquainted with KulorGroup, a full-service hospitality management company and design firm that takes care of every aspect of its projects, from conception to execution. Brand identity design, architecture and interior design, and technical services are among its core offerings.
“I find great satisfaction in seeing a design through from concept to completion,” says Chua, co-founder and creative director of KulorGroup. “I handle all aspects of our work with major hotel groups, such as Hilton, IHG and Accor, as well as smaller unique hotel and resort projects like Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives.”
As he enjoys creating unique experiences using his knowledge and expertise, he has a special affinity for projects that present new challenges, such as starting a new brand or building property at a unique location. Keen to know more, we caught up with Chua.
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What sets KulorGroup apart?
Most people view brand identity design, architecture, interior design and technical services as independent disciplines. By fusing them, we streamline the full spectrum of hospitality consulting and design projects.
In addition, we understand that hospitality cannot simply be black or white. Our goal is to become the new vanguard of design, combining technical knowledge and operational experience to increase efficiencies beyond mere aesthetics.
Which of your projects do you remember most vividly?
Our work on a heritage brand in Aspen, US, required technical expertise, branding and interior design skills. Using timeless designs that improve operational efficiency, we modernised it to bring its values into the future. It is now being rolled out internationally.
I am passionate about resorts. Some of my most memorable projects include luxury private reserves, working on brands such as Lux* Phu Quoc, Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives, M Gallery by Accor in Indonesia, and a private island reserve in Belitung, Indonesia. For these projects, I developed daring and innovative designs and helped my clients find their place in a vast market.
One Ubud project presented challenging terrain. To understand the site deeply, I had to climb up and down the slopes to the Agung River in the rain. Despite being completely drenched, it was a magical moment that let me sense the context of the location, the weather, and the atmosphere. Such moments inspire me to create concepts that touch the hearts of guests and evoke the same magical experience within them.
What other adventures have you undertaken?
Listening, understanding and empathising are important to me. Some clients are in the hospitality business for the sake of financial gain or trophy projects while many others do it for the sake of their families or out of passion. I start by considering what the project is all about and why they are pursuing it.
We are currently working on the Lux* Resort Phu Quoc in Vietnam. Our first meeting with the client took place at an isolated area bordering a nature reserve. Back then, it was a long walk through the marshes, resulting in sweat-soaked clothes, and riding a traditional fishing boat that looked like it was about to sink. After a two- hour journey, I asked the client why he wanted a resort there. He showed me the crystal-clear waters, the pristine beaches, and a majestic mountain. Suddenly, I understood. Good fengshui, good vibes: he wanted to share them with the world.
We spent the next few days exploring his treasure trove of items he had collected over the years: giant tree trunks that had fallen due to deforestation, twisted wood branches blackened by lightning, and rock boulders from excavation sites. I was in love immediately. His desire to combine the old with the new and thus make his resort sustainable in the purest sense was understandable. This project was for him and the land. It was my job to ensure that his dream came true.