Introducing LW Aarhus, Denmark
What comes around goes around
LW Design has been shaping the hospitality industry since its conception in 1999. Known for its stand-out hospitality-focused design and architecture projects, the firm is well-established across the Middle East and is now rapidly expanding its reach into Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. They are driven by their commitment to straying away from old ideas and venture boldly into the new and unknown. LW Design is likened to a courageous explorer growing in the future.
Having developed over 300 hospitality projects from the ground up, LW’s eccentric design process and unparalleled attention to eclectic details are what drives its popularity. The emphasis lies on functionality; their definition – “the way it makes the audience feel”.
Over the last two decades, LW Design has repeatedly worked with numerous clients, which is evident in how they nurture relationships with people who want to work with them. What started as a small firm with an even smaller portfolio – now extends globally from private residencies to award-winning five-star hotels and resorts, working with leading operators such as Marriott, Accor, Hilton, IHG, Four Seasons, etc. and brands like Raffles, Edition, Waldorf Astoria, Vida and Zabeel House.
With the opening of the Aarhus office, LW brings all this global experience and these relationships to the European market. It is ironic, that CEO Jesper Godsk, who originates from Aarhus, chose the Middle East. He saw huge potential for the hospitality industry. When the market exploded and faced challenges of rapid growth, Godsk and his partners navigated LW through rough waters and contributed significantly to a design language that went beyond ‘glitter and gold’. They established a contemporary design language that formed the roots of the modern city we see nowadays. It is the past and the present at the same time.
It is that same trust and loyalty they pride themselves with today. Founder and CEO Jesper Godsk, together with four partners; Colin Doyle, Cristina Wakamatsu, Jimmy Hansen and Adrian Battisby grew LW from Dubai and ventured into the broader Middle East and now the world, having offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and its latest addition, Aarhus.
You may wonder how LW ended up in Aarhus, but it is actually a fair trade. For over two decades, LW has brought hygge – a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special – to the world through their designs making a positive impact on the daily lives of people. In return, LW takes their mastery in hospitality design to Europe, pinpointing Denmark as its beating design heart and setting up an establishment that is known as a home environment rather than an office. The building features a lounge, a communal bar and even an office labradoodle named Gunar. A different approach – so LW.
It literally is the home base for both Jesper Godsk and Jimmy Hansen, who travelled the world becoming experts in the hospitality industry over time and instead of giving up this international experience, they bring it home with them. So it made sense to embrace the future vitality of Aarhus with international flair.
LW Aarhus is keen to take time and establish the design team in Denmark. They allow themselves the luxury of time to absorb the DNA of Aarhus and the rest of Europe. Operators are keenly centred around nurturing the right partnerships to create exceptional lifestyle hotels that will contribute to innovative and high-end experiences. The team is playful and deliver exceptional results; they possess the modernity that can render nods to history and seamlessly combine contemporary design. They are brand storytellers. LW Aarhus consociates with appropriate global operators and progressively nurtures their relationships. They allow themselves to breathe so that they have the space to create a unique experience, whether in the luxury or lifestyle arena.
This is in contrast with the fast pace of Dubai, which is arguably the most aggressive emerging hospitality market, having all the hotel and restaurant candies in one city. It is a unique place that represents all available brands from all over the world, concentrated over less than 5.000 square kilometres. The UAE boasts an extensive cross-pollination of ideas that embrace various nuances of the region and the diversity of creative cultures living there.
Whereas many people may think that everything in Dubai is brand new, given the country’s young age, in fact, a lot is refurbishment. All this technical know-how and LW’s holistic approach being involved in a variety of commissions that blend considerate restoration and new build projects. LW Design is accomplished and skilled in a range of designs that embrace culture, history and modernity. design process is a strong asset when entering the European market that sees an exciting upturn in planned hotel construction in the next decade.
Furthermore, Godsk adds that restaurants and bars have always been the cornerstones in LW’s portfolio. Through the eyes of LW, life isn’t just consistent and flowing, but a collection of different moments. These can be big or small, and every choice they make influences how people look back at an experience and remember it. LW Design strives every day to make these choices count. This is what will sustain the future, and make people want to come back!
While working on numerous projects simultaneously, one is constantly challenged to be aware and exposed to what a space is and what it can be. Restaurants are great to avoid getting comfortable in your work as they demand you look at everything with a fresh perspective over and over again. That is why LW’s restaurants are all so different, he explains.
To achieve this, you need a communicative team that has extensive experience and brings immense value to their client’s investment. It is LW’s essence to work together. Each of their completed projects is a result of a joint effot between each department. Godsk believes that success is never built by a single person. LW Design nurtures their relationships and ensures that their friendship continues, as friends, associates, architects, designers, client representatives, developers – they always remain part of that family. Nurture is at the very heart of LW Design.
Design would be nothing without imagination and a drive to reach for the stars, but at the same time, embodying a creative idea requires a balance between comprehension and practicality.
The LW Design team walks the tight rope between both spheres, successfully executing projects with precision and refinement. This comes from their focus on a project’s build-ability. Design is the capacity to bring imagination to life in a manner that’s realistic to achieve. They look at the scale, technicality, development options, and most importantly, the budget. Sure, some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture looks like the stuff of dreams, but what separates it from fiction is resources, labour, and effort.
The new Aarhus office is a strategic addition to their global enterprise, which reflects their proud expansion plans. Although all the LW Design offices take the postmodern route for their project concepts, they prefer a traditional approach when executing the design process. The firm likes to be involved with each element of design development and will guide each client every step of the way. This customised process’s attitude reflects the LW philosophy: design is about the people who will use it. Therefore, the LW Design team always remain closely involved, consistently evaluating and ensuring the end product aligns with the initial concept – from Dubai, to Hong Kong, and from Sao Paolo all the way to Aarhus.