As we step into the auspicious Chinese Year of the Dragon, we are anticipating a year of excitement and success. The dragon, revered as the most auspicious and powerful mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac, symbolises unprecedented opportunities and marks the initiation of a significant 20-year Feng Shui cycle dominated by the element of fire and completing a full 180-year cycle in 2044.

Dragon Characteristics and Chetwoods’ Approach

Aligned with the dragon’s attributes of intelligence, creativity, passion, energy, courage, and confidence, at Chetwoods we integrate these qualities into our role and approach within the architecture, art, and design industry. We blend creative architecture, sustainability, wellbeing considerations, and advanced technological solutions throughout the design and delivery process of every project.

The Wood Dragon’s Influence

The Chinese Year of the Wood Dragon in 2024 holds special significance for us, with its transformative power combining with the nurturing elements of wood. This synergy enhances opportunities for evolution, expansion, growth, improvement, and abundance. In our concerted effort towards sustainability, we advocate for the use of wood in construction, exemplified by a pioneering project for Rhenus in Baytree’s new logistics park in Nuneaton, UK.

This project sets new benchmarks in environmental and social responsibility within the logistics sector. It includes a three-storey 30,000 square feet office headquarters with a structure constructed entirely from CLT and Glulam. It is one of the first examples in the UK of timber being used in the build of a large-scale structure within an industrial and logistics setting

Global Expansion and Collaborations

Our Chinese office in Guangzhou opened in 2023, we look forward to expanding collaborations during the auspicious Wood Dragon Year.

The creative talent of our team in China is demonstrated in our collaboration with Jiang & Associates Design (J&A), on the transformative interior design of two Shenzhen Metro Group stations. The architectural language of the recently opened Dameisha Station evolved around a coastal theme to reflect the location of this vital new part of the transport infrastructure on Shenzhen’s popular ‘Golden Coast’ holiday destination.

We have previously collaborated with J&A on several other station projects in Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xian, with Huangmugang Station recently winning the prestigious Golden Bund Award for Best Public Space Interior Design, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards for interior design in China.

Anny Fan, Chetwoods’ Head of China Business Development, and a specialist in the management of architecture and design projects between the UK and China, appreciates how The Chinese Year of the Dragon represents unprecedented opportunities: “The diverse and exciting projects that we are engaged with in China is giving us the opportunity to showcase our passionate creativity, energy, and courage. Our strong partnerships with Jinmao Decoration and Jiang & Associates Design (J&A) have demonstrated our commitment to delivering projects that are both innovative and culturally sensitive, blending modern design approaches with a profound understanding of Chinese culture.”

The intelligence, creativity, and passion of our Chinese office also played a pivotal role in the interior design of a confidential scheme for a leading Chinese company’s Beijing headquarters, reflecting a harmonious blend of East and West. Working in collaboration with Jinmao Decoration, the team found inspiration in the peony – the national flower of China – using the different stages of the peony’s lifecycle to reflect the cultural importance and evolution and success of our client in the interior design of its offices.

Chetwoods’ Director in China Reza Esmaeeli said: “Our collaboration has helped us to understand the client’s corporate culture, and to develop the design within a clear understanding of the local and regional culture. Together, we were able to develop an international style for a coherent and sustainable design that integrates the East and the West, reflecting the client’s historic, cultural, and international status.”

Scientific Progress and Technological Innovation

Dragon Years historically boost scientific progress, and in 2024, this trend is amplified by the Wood Dragon’s association with intelligence.

A flagship initiative in this pursuit is a ground-breaking Circular Economy project, spearheaded by Laurie Chetwood in Surrey. This visionary project is poised to serve as both a test bed and a showcase for cutting-edge design and construction technologies during its entire lifecycle from initial design and development to eventual use.

“As architects we need to take the scientific research on board and design buildings that are clever, beautiful, and enjoyable. Today’s technology makes it possible both to incrementally tweak and improve human experience and response to architecture, and to measure and quantify it, in ways that would have been impossible even a few years ago.” Laurie Chetwood, Chetwoods Chairman

This transformative project stands out for its unique approach in digitally redefining the Circular Economy into a holistic circular lifestyle. By combining existing technologies in novel ways, it is championing a more sustainable and circular way of living. The project has already earned recognition, securing the prestigious Best Digital Transformation award at the Digital Construction Live Awards. It has also been shortlisted for the AJ100 Innovation of the Year award and the London Construction Awards Technological Innovation of the Year.

AI Integration

In line with the continual growth of artificial intelligence, we are exploring ways to harness its power for envisioning, creating, and optimising project concepts, designs, and deliveries. This reflects our commitment to pushing the boundaries of architectural innovation and embracing the integration of human and machine intelligence.

Looking forward to 2024

We are embracing this Year of the Wood Dragon as a year of vitality and competition. As problem solvers, risk-takers, and visionary leaders, we are poised to seize opportunities and inspire both our clients and the wider industry in 2024. We also look forward to continuing to collaborate and work with those that inspire us, and maintaining our innovative approach in creative architecture, sustainability, wellbeing considerations, and advanced technological solutions.

Our Chetwoods China team is led by Laurie Chetwood, Chetwoods’ Chairman, Tim Ward, Chetwoods’ CEO and a specialist in the industrial and logistics sector, Anny Fan, Chetwoods’ Head of China Business Development and Reza Esmaeeli, Director at Chetwoods.

Contact our China team directly:

Anny Fan
Head of China Business Development
WeChat: wxid_76te8uirmig912
Guangzhou, China


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