Enthusiasm, expansion and esprit de corps: luxury hospitality design leader LW Design takes a leap into the future

Step into any of the four international offices of LW Design, in Dubai, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo or Aarhus, and you would hardly know the world has been through 18 months of the disruption and uncertainty of a pandemic. The mood is positively buoyant, and changes are afoot, with three new Design Directors bringing fresh energy to the group, the new office in Aarhus, Denmark, leading expansion into Europe and a raft of prestige interior design and architecture projects in the works.

Established in Dubai in 1999, LW Design is a renowned brand in the design domain, well-known for its immaculate creations that grace the hospitality industry. As the founder and CEO of LW Design, Jesper Godsk is the engine behind the spectacular hospitality and dining spaces that have emerged across the Middle East and beyond over the past 22 years. From the Zabeel House to Grosvenor House, Hyatt Regency to JW Marriott Marquis, and the Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, with more recent projects being The Dubai Edition hotel and the Waldorf Astoria, Jesper holds immense experience under his belt. It is with this expertise that LW Design carries forward to meet every new challenge.

For Jesper, Dubai offered immense potential to become the world’s next design hub. He utilised the city’s impressive spatial resources and unique heritage to develop spectacular resorts, hotels, showrooms, and F&B outlets. Jesper wanted to channel his creativity through guidance and leadership, and the region offered a canvas for him to practice his skill. Through leadership, he instils a sense of confidence in his design team, allowing them to reach new heights of creativity while staying within the lines of reality.

The LW partners – Jesper Godsk, Colin Doyle, Cristina Wakamatsu, Jimmy Hansen and newly appointed partner Adrian Battisby – have recently promoted senior team members to carry forward the boundless enthusiasm within the ever-growing studio. The new design directors – Rachel Kidd, Pooja Shah-Mulani and Andrew Harms – strive to advocate a fluid and flexible studio ethos where design teams intentionally challenge one another. They are keen to encourage imagination and talent and explore each other’s ideas so that the entire team is boosted to full potential with a broader spectrum of projects.

Adrian Battisby talks about the formation and collaboration of the teams, “The collective strength is so much more than the sum of each part; the team is a super-skilled hybrid model. The breadth and depth of experience, skill and of course originality and creativity. Our brand is incredibly strong and together they are working on a number of exciting international projects. I am looking forward to seeing these projects being globally recognised and to the growth in terms of size of the studio. It’s about taking LW to the next level.”

“Let me refer to a really great quote by Simon Sinek from his book Start with Why: ‘The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas, the role of leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.’ This is so true, and we are, happily in that space with a solid management structure in place.”

“As a team, we are like a family, a happy family,” says Pooja. “I am looking forward to strengthening our design vision, having the opportunity to push the creative boundaries on our projects. What will always be the same is the excellent team spirit we have at LW and our unique ability to create award-winning designs.”

This vital esprit de corps, combined with extraordinary intuitive leadership skills, compassion and razor-sharp thinking, have led to LW’s continued success – allowing the team to embrace the future and continue to mould Jesper’s legacy.

“Pooja, Andrew and I work together to ensure the LW legacy continues,” says Rachel. “We work alongside Jesper to ensure every project is of the expected LW standard whilst also continuing to grow and develop the Interiors division both in the Middle East and internationally.

Also in the trio of new directors is Andrew Harms in the role of Technical Design Director, who oversees the technical design team.

Andrew Harms: “I believe the three of us played a significant part in the success of keeping to our core principles in delivering to our clients and keeping the togetherness of the team. We now look forward to leading the way with optimism for our team and individuals to grow. Firstly, I believe the strength of it has come from the different ways the three of us approach situations. We very much appreciate and respect each other’s opinion which makes it very easy to move forward in a unified direction. With our combined experience, we can cover all aspects of a project, and I look to both Pooja and Rachel, not only from a strong design background but also both have a strong history with LW.

“Secondly and equally as important is our flexible approach. Now more than ever we deal with the challenges of changing project scheduling and client requirements on a regular basis. To stay agile, we have to be very flexible in how we approach every situation. LW has always had a tried and tested way of delivering our projects, which is now constantly being challenged and requires flexibility with our output to stay current and on top of our game”.

During the pandemic, Andrew, Pooja and Rachel have smoothly transitioned through a flexible approach and promoting solidarity and optimism within the team. The global pandemic has led LW Design to face challenging client requirements and schedules.

“With the legacy of LW we have a solid foundation,” adds Pooja. “We can only go up from here. We have been very successful in the region, echoed by our winning best interior design company of the year two years in a row. Our goal is to take the success story global. The financial climate has been challenging, but we are still doing unique projects in amazing places. We have a fantastic studio with talented designers and I’m proud to be leading this team with Rachel and Andrew.”