Reflecting Back

What are you most proud of regarding the Studio?

JK: “One of the aspects that I am most proud of is how Studio Indigo serves as a fantastic platform for our designers and architects to express themselves. Our creative freedom really allows our team to grow and continually evolve. It really results in the most thrilling projects – I’m never bored!”

And personally, tell us a story you are most proud of?

JK: “From leaving New Zealand as a young architect to now steering an exceptional team and design studio is something I am very proud of. That journey has been full of unforgettable experiences; where I’ve had the privilege to interact with remarkable individuals, including clients, colleagues and true experts in their domains, to having the opportunity of realising some exceptional projects, all which have contributed to where I stand today. Mike has also played an instrumental role, not only as a mentor, but offering opportunities to flourish as a professional”.

What has been one of your career highlights at Studio Indigo?

JK: “Launching our first large-scale superyacht, JOY will always hold a special place in my heart. It marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the studio, which we’ve organically nurtured and expanded. That project possessed all the ingredients of an extraordinary yacht- an energetic and collaborative client, and exceptional team at Feadship (the shipyard) and the talented Bannenberg & Rowell. Winning a World Superyacht Award for JOY was really the icing on the cake”.

Lessons Learned as a CEO

15 years ago, you started as an Architectural Assistant at SI. It’s been now 3 years since you have taken the helm as CEO. What are some lessons you have learnt as a CEO?  

JK: “It’s really been a profound learning experience. A key lesson includes the importance of adaptability. Embracing uncertainty and turning challenges into opportunities.

Another is to listen to your gut – it’s a can be difficult to trust your intuition but learning to listen to that is so important. Also, it’s vital to develop resilience so you can maintain a balance between internal and external perspectives. There will always be external factors that are beyond our control, such as market shifts and unforeseen events like the pandemic. Approaching these with a calm head and resilience is paramount”.

What would you say is your leadership style?

JK: “I’d describe my leadership style as understated, yet action orientated. I believe in leading by example rather than just managing. Inspiring my team to excel is a priority and I want everyone to feel comfortable approaching me with any concerns. Approachability is key to fostering a collaborative work environment”.

How do you keep evolving?

JK: “I think having a sense of curiosity and a zest for learning is the key to continuous evolution. We should always strive to improve, both professionally and personally. This, combined with a deep understanding of our ever-changing environments, ensures that growth remains a constant. I am also incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a great leadership group of directors and associates who all bring their own unique perspective”.

What gets you up in the morning?

JK: “A key driver for me is the pursuit of my goals. I’m inherently ambitious, despite being more of an introvert. I’m determined to build on the Studio’s success to take us all to greater heights. I also find great joy in learning and engaging in a team environment, where I can exchange ideas and thoughts with brilliant minds”.

Personal Pursuits

On a more personal note, what do you do for fun or to relax?

JK: “My ultimate source of relaxation and enjoyment is travel. Disconnecting from the daily grind, spending time with my family and exploring new destinations is my favourite thing to do. Just this August I went on a road trip across the West coast of USA”.

What was your first job?

JK: “My very first job was working in my parent’s bookshop. However, once I started school, I worked at a big retail store doing everything from stacking shelves on the shopfloor to working as a cashier”.

What architect or building inspires you?

JK: “I think Thomas Heatherwick is really stands out as one of the great designers of our time. He is not bound by conventions and his fearlessness is really the ultimate expression of originality. It encapsulates the conceptual and exciting aspects of architecture that we all cherish during our university years. On the other hand, I love Frank Lloyd Wright. He has a real rigour to design and attention to detail that seeps right through to the furniture and interiors”.

What’s Next?

JK: “To build on our reputation for design excellence and continue the diversity in our work. Expanding into exciting new frontiers of high-end luxury design whether its into product design or working on the next space hotel – who knows, the sky is the limit!”

In Memoriam of Queen Elizabeth II