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Aedas chairman Keith Griffiths is targeting 60 hires as firm expands

Rapid urbanisation in China is providing architecture and design practices with unique opportunities to show their mettle and grow their companies.

Design firm Aedas is one of many companies eagerly eyeing opportunities to expand in the mainland and is looking to fill 60 vacancies – mostly new positions to support its expansion – in its busy Hong Kong office.

“We are currently expanding in China, where urbanisation is occurring at a rate of 30 to 50 million people per annum, or two cities a month,” says Keith Griffiths, chairman of Aedas International.

Aedas has 26 offices around the world, with nine in Asia that employ 1,500 people in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, master planning and urban design. The firm is driven and guided from its Hong Kong office – its largest – which employs 750 staff and oversees all of Aedas’ global activities, including projects across the Middle East and the Americas.

The firm’s projects cover a wide range of sectors. Its infrastructure projects include the design of the Xiamen International Cruise Terminal, as well as rail stations and depots for 18 railway lines in Asia. Its hotel projects include Macau’s Four Seasons and The Venetian hotels. Other projects cover areas such as sports, culture, residential, commercial and health care.

Joining Aedas’s international team has many advantages. Its global platform for creative excellence in design, for example, enables its designers to plug into the latest information and delivery systems, helping them to produce truly outstanding design solutions. “Our platform also gives our staff access to world-class creative thinking and real local expertise from all around our network,” Griffiths says.

The company is also in a position to cross-train staff by offering exchange opportunities across its network. With projects in a number of countries, exchange opportunities allow for global exposure, while the firm’s fast expansion offers the chance for training and promotion.

As part of the creative industry, Aedas seeks designers who are talented, innovative, adventurous and driven. “There is no ‘house style’,” Griffiths says. “We celebrate the value of truly tailored creative solutions that demonstrate global diversity. We place creativity and creative thinking above everything. We recruit inspired, independent people who are passionate about design and want to excel.”

Applicants should also have a deep social and cultural understanding of the communities for which they design and must intrinsically understand the end user. “We believe a great design is a diverse design. It’s a product of its environment,” Griffiths says.

Staff members are also encouraged to challenge the status quo by innovating and using cutting-edge thinking to push the boundaries of what is possible, while embracing diverse influences from the global network.

Applicants should be able to speak fluent English and Chinese, have good communication skills and be good listeners. Integrity is also a basic requirement.

Griffiths says the company provides an excellent working environment for high achievers. Fresh recruits will receive mentoring, followed by a wide spectrum of training opportunities covering self-improvement and career development. Staff are also encouraged to regularly attend design forums and summits.

“They are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities for personal and professional development, to fully participate in the Aedas community, and to live the values we espouse,” Griffiths says.

A Caring Company since 2007, Aedas runs a corporate social responsibility programme and ensures staff are given enough time off to get involved. Activities range from helping schoolchildren with garden design, handicrafts, painting and other creative activities to renovation and interior-design services for children’s centres.

“As a team, we get involved in a number of volunteering activities that help our staff connect with each other and the local community,” Griffiths says.