Residential designer Yoo expands to Southeast Asia as demand for branded homes soars

Khun by Yoo, inspired by Philippe Starck, is one of YOO Worldwide’s early design forays into Bangkok

Residential design brand YOO is slated to open its Southeast Asian headquarters in Bangkok in efforts to capitalise on buoyant demand for branded residences in the region.

Asia Pacific’s rambunctious property scene — more than 25 percent of the world’s under-construction branded residential developments are based in the region — informed Yoo’s expansion to Thailand.

“We see huge opportunities for growth in Asia,” explained James Snelgar, partner & head of business development, YOO Worldwide. “We really feel the market is ready for our unique brand of design. We challenge, innovate, disrupt and bend rules, allowing our clients’ projects to stand out, adding greater visibility and value to their developments. We’re about ‘the space’ — inside and out — and this is what drives YOO’s design.”

Rich Millar, YOO Worldwide’s vice president of business development for Asia Pacific, and Justin Dunne, F&B concept curator for YOO Hotels & Resorts, will drive the company’s regional expansion from the Bangkok office.

Founded by international property entrepreneur John Hitchcox and designer to the stars Philippe Starck, YOO has partnered with Bangkok-based ONYX Hospitality for its hotel operations. The first Yoo2 hotel, a joint effort between YOO and ONYX, is due to launch in Phuket in 2020.

“We are not entirely new to the region, but we are looking to shake things up a bit and grow through our new presence in the region,” said Snelgar.

“Our designers will work with leading development companies to bring their visions to life and we will nurture creative talent in Bangkok to build a new team of designers based here,” he added.

YOO claims 13 percent of the world’s total portfolio of branded residences. These include Khun by Yoo, a partnership with Thai development giant Sansiri that currently boasts the highest per-square-metre price in the upscale Bangkok district of Thonglor. The project is set to transfer later this year.