Two former architects at Dubai-based firm Perkins+Will have teamed up to launch a new design firm, H+A, which will focus primarily on healthcare and hospitality-driven projects across the region.
Stas Louca (pictured, left), managing director and founding partner will head the healthcare division of the business, while design director, David Lessard (pictured, right), will oversee all hospitality projects within the firm’s portfolio. The architects will work together on crossover projects incorporating elements of both sectors.
Launched in response to the growing demand in healthcare and hospitality projects across the Middle East, as well as the integration of the two specialist sectors, H+A will provide multidisciplinary services including consulting, architecture, interiors, and landscape design.
According to research released by MENA Research Partners (MRP), private healthcare across the GCC region is predicted to expand 8.7% annually, reaching US$94 billion by 2021.
Additionally, 73% of existing luxury hotel stock and 61% of the GCC’s current luxury pipeline is expected in the UAE, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2018. The global luxury travel market is predicted to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.5% up to 2022, reaching values of $1.154 billion.
Commenting on the launch of the new firm, Louca said: “This next career step made complete sense to me, having previously worked in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, Australia and Singapore and most recently having worked at the very top level of architecture in Dubai for over four years.
“The basis for the H+A inception is a mission to bring the Middle East a specialised firm that can service both our healthcare and hospitality clients with a team of experts in their respective fields. There are clear synergies between healthcare and hospitality projects and our practice will explore ways to promote healing and wellness through design.”
Lessard added that the firm will address the growing demand for the integration of the two fields.
“We feel the region is ready for a firm specialised in hospitality design. One that truly understands luxury and lifestyle with a broader knowledge of how hotels function and operate. We understand the importance of the guest experience and are increasingly seeing a push towards well-being. Luxury and comfort are now synonymous; with wellness resorts becoming increasingly popular, globally. We will be looking at implementing what we know about hospitality design into healthcare and vice versa, so our leadership team reflects these skillsets.”
Louca also explained that healthcare “requires an entirely unique set of skills as an architect”.
“The industry shortcomings are abundantly clear and we are determined to eradicate recurring issues faced by some clients. Healthcare requires an entirely unique set of skills as an architect and designing as an expert that doesn’t cut corners in this sector is crucial.
“This is healthcare and people’s lives are ultimately on the line – it’s not simply a question of quality versus cost. Couple that with what we now know about the environmental impact on healing, and hospitality integration is a natural progression.”
Louca has previously headed AECOM’s architecture department as well as being healthcare practice leader for Perkins+Will’s Middle East office in Dubai. He has worked on a number of healthcare projects including King’s College Dubai.
Lessard has similarly worked with international architecture studios including Allied Works, Asymptote, and Rafael Vonoly. As former director of hospitality at Perkins+Will, Lessard project’s include The Chedi Ras Al Khaimah and DT1, as well as the Yas Viceroy Hotel while working with Asymptote.