Hyla architects founder and principal architect Kan Loke Kwang insists that creativity is far more important than success.
When The CEO Magazine approached Han Loke Kwang and asked him whether he’d be willing for us to feature him in the magazine, he seemed confused and taken aback. “Why would you want to interview me?” he asked modestly. “I’m an architect, not a CEO.” But as Principal Architect at HYLA Architects, Han has a hands-on role in designing every project. And as the founder of HYLA, he has spent the past 25 years building a successful firm that the industry highly regards for its design excellence and professional service.
“I don’t measure success – creativity is more important,” Han explains. “For me, creativity means only looking forward, not back. I’m always looking at the next thing I want to do. What’s the next design? Even within a project, what’s the next part of the design that I want to do? Of course, I want to be happy with everything that I’ve worked on, but once it’s finished and I’m happy with it, then it’s over and I move on.”
Although Han is reluctant to think of himself as a successful businessman, he does have a clear vision for leading his team of 18 employees, including young interns. “I’ve never seen myself as the CEO, but for my office, I will call myself the ‘creative energy officer’,” he says. “I need to give this energy to all my staff so that they can be pushed and inspired to do their work.
“As a leader, I believe it’s critical to give design opportunities to my staff to maximise their potential. So, even at a very young age, I give them responsibilities and ownership of their projects,” he continues. “I want to push them to see how far they can go. I think that’s the best way to help people grow and learn.”
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