“I’m trying to really understand what’s best for the business,” said the 52-year-old Australian, who more recently orchestrated the design of iconic integrated resorts such as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and the just-completed luxury Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila.
“It’s not necessarily just how to make it look good. Today, I’m really thinking of it as a business, as opposed to just a pure design… Sometimes there is a lack of vision. Certain designers just do something quite beautiful, which is lovely. But it doesn’t necessarily make a lot of money for the client and it doesn’t necessarily mean longevity like a timeless space.”
With studios in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and her home in Odense, Denmark, where Drummond has been holed up with her son and six dogs since March, the 50-person strong team has some 24 ongoing projects with just two big clients in the Philippines and Dubai. While mainly focused on the adviser-client management side, overseeing the design and employing the talent, Drummond is also working on a few local projects: She is helping a retailer struggling to drive traffic convert some space into F&B with takeaway options, and a boutique hotelier reposition to a Four Seasons-like serviced apartment model.
“They get to give their spaces a new identity,” Drummond added. “Some developers will do that, while others, recognizing they are not getting international tourists, are repositioning for the stay-cationers. That’s very much what I see happening in Europe.”
Perhaps even more demanding, Drummond said, was learning how to homeschool her son, and she was quite surprised at how well she has adapted. She hasn’t traveled since March, has taken up horseback riding, all the while becoming adept at working with clients via remote technology.
“I do a lot more upfront walkthroughs and animations for my clients,” she explained. “It’s my storytelling way of conveying to them when I can’t be there face-to-face. So, I’ve had to become more clever technically, which is never a bad thing.”
HOTELS spoke to Drummond in mid-November get her take on the evolution of design, as well as how changing consumer needs are driving her thinking on new projects and repositioning opportunities.
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