Clint Nagata Reflects on an Incredible 2022 for BLINK Design Group

Clint Nagata Reflects on BLINK Design Group's Incredible Success in 2022

2022 has been outstanding for BLINK Design Group and its founder, Clint Nagata, even by the design visionary and pioneer of placemaking’s high standards. For this feature, Clint reflects on his highlights and the company’s achievements and give us an insight into his design philosophy.

BLINK has scooped an impressive selection of regional and international awards for its work on hotels and resorts, raising the bar for excellence in hospitality design.

In Asia, BLINK won the award for Best Guestrooms at Ahead Asia awards for Roku Kyoto, Hilton’s first LXR resort in the Asia Pacific. BLINK’s concept is “steeped in the culture of Kyoto but presented with a beautifully restrained hand”, described by one judge as “fresh and contemporary whilst still honouring tradition.”

“The framing windows draw focus to the lush mountain landscape and flood natural light upon the series of lacquerware and wooden craftsmanship incorporated to create a rich cultural backdrop,” the judges said.

The dining area inside Roku Kyoto

Roku Kyoto was also a finalist for Best Resort at the Ahead Asia awards while also scooping Best Resort at Kohler Bold 2022 and Best Hotel Interior at the International Property Awards.

Further afield, Roku Kyoto was a finalist in the US at the prestigious 42nd Gold Key awards for Best Luxury Guestroom and Best Luxury Lobby. BLINK also made the finals for its Regent Phu Quoc project for Best Luxury Resort at the Gold Key awards.

The spectacular main water feature at Regent Phu Quoc

Regent Phu Quoc, the new jewel in the crown of Regent Hotels, required the creation of something special on Vietnam’s premier paradise island. The all-suites and villas luxury beach resort utilised a multi-dimensional approach for every major guest-facing space, deliberately spread horizontally and stacked vertically so that all guests enjoy an optimum view of the natural setting.

Clint casting his experienced eye over some architectural details

Nagata says the initial architectural ideas were steeped in the Vietnamese vernacular. One of the key elements in the master plan is the courtyard-like villas, each with its own infinity pool and plunge pool and layers of privacy and intimacy. This is inspired by another key feature in the Vietnamese vernacular known as Gian Nha.

In the UK, at the 6th Brit List Hotel Design Awards, Nagata and BLINK were shortlisted in the International Award category.

In the Middle East, BLINK’s interiors for W Dubai – Mina Seyahi won the Ahead 2022 award for Best Guestrooms, as well as being a finalist for Best Newbuild Hotel. And at the Commercial Interior Design Awards 2022, W Dubai – Mina Seyahi also saw BLINK shortlisted as Interior Designer of the Year.

The swimming pool at W Dubai Mina Seyahi

W Dubai – Mina Seyahi saw BLINK created a stunning modern bohemian vision inspired by traditional Dhow boats, the romance of travel and the ancient Arabic storytelling tradition of Al-Halqa, in the heart of Al Mina Al Seyahi, the legendary ‘Port of Travellers’ district of Jumeirah Beach.

Roku Kyoto, as well as the Fullerton Ocean Park Hong Kong, both made DestinAsian magazine’s prestigious 2022 Luxe List. Of the latter, DestinAsian enthused: “Hong Kong Island’s Southside area looks like it’s been pulled from a Chinese watercolour painting, all rambling mountains, squiggly islands, golden beaches, and blue-green seas, which makes it all the more surprising that no one has thought to build a hotel here before now.

Filling the gap for a luxury leisure resort within easy distance of the city centre is The Fullerton Ocean Park, which opened in July with a prime waterfront position overlooking Aberdeen Harbour and the South China Sea. There’s a glorious outdoor infinity pool, a lush Bamford spa, rooftop pool suites, rooms with balconies, and a clutch of tip-top restaurants.”

And to round out a year of success for BLINK and its founder, Nagata was also delighted to take out Singapore’s coveted Interior Designer of the Year 2022 Designers’ Choice award.

Clint in relaxed mode with a broad grin on his face

Nagata said he was humbled and honoured by his firm’s success and its brilliant team. As Founder and Creative Partner, Nagata’s passion for travel, hospitality and design is the inspiration behind BLINK Design Group’s vision.

Born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in a Japanese American family, he has spent a lifetime imagining concepts, delivering smart and considered spaces, and wowing guests in some of the world’s most desirable destinations. After 13 years with WATG in Honolulu, Nagata relocated to Thailand 17 years ago.

BLINK has since expanded its presence in Asia with studios in Shanghai and Singapore, and in 2017 acquired the Jaya Interior Design Business (JID). Nagata spearheads a collective of bold thinkers with an open-minded approach that nourishes collaboration and creativity.

Clint sat on some white stone stepsUnder a guiding philosophy he has dubbed ‘placemaking’, Clint Nagata steers projects from conception through to completion based on big ideas rooted in a deep dive into the culture, people and design vernacular of a place.

“My design philosophy is to take both out clients and guests on a journey that tells the story of a place through a modern design lens,” Nagata says. “We seek to create wonderful interior-based designs that capture the spirit of the place through simplicity, balance, and proportion.”

“Throughout the years, I have never been one to get caught up in trends and trends come and go. I have always felt a strong desire to be timeless and believe in simplicity, balance, and proportion. These design traits have always been synonymous with our designs regardless of the location.”

“At the start of every project, we make it a point to look at the project through the lens of a local, as if we were born and raised there and not through the lens of a foreigner. To be successful, the design needs to resonate with locals and visitors alike. Although it seems quite simple, it can be challenging and requires us to deep dive into the place in order to understand the true elements that define the uniqueness of a place through its history.”

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