Industry Profile: Mathew Dalby of yoo


As Studio Director for prolific design brand yoo, Mathew Dalby certainly knows a thing or two about international audiences. With a background in architectural practices, and experience in developing projects world-wide, Mathew will be will be sharing his gems of wisdom with us during his seminar at this year’s Decorex. With the show only four weeks away, we wanted to find out more about yoo’s successes, Mathews plans for the event, and what lies ahead for this pioneering design studio.

Can you tell us a little about the history of yoo?

Yoo was formed by John Hitchcox and his friend Philippe Starck in 1999, it unusually combined design, marketing and branding into a single offering for developers wishing to deliver something unique to their home markets. Over the past 14 years we have worked with international developers to design landmark residential and hotel projects all over the world. The yoo Studio was formed to work closely with all our star designers and I was brought as the Studio Director three years ago.

Barkli Virgin House, Moscow Russia, Kelly Hoppen for yoo

How did you come to work in the world of interiors?

After completing a degree in Interior Architecture, I went on to run my own multi-award winning architectural practice. Since then I have been instrumental in the design and development of a wide range of projects from luxury hotels and multi million pound penthouse developments, to award-winning eco-homes and world-famous wineries.

I was drawn to yoo by its global appeal and the opportunity to adapt the yoo style to so many diverse cultures. Since working with Yoo Creative Directors; Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders, Jade Jagger, Kelly Hoppen, Anouska Hempel and Steve Leung on brand specific projects, it has given me unique design insight and knowledge that could only come from working with the world’s best.

yoo Solarium at The Lakes by yoo

If you could describe yoo in 3 words, what would they be?

Design-led, discerning, original.

What is the biggest challenge in your working life?

Everything is a challenge, but I enjoy that. Completing a tough challenge is always much more rewarding than something that is straight forward. I always put 100 per cent into my projects so if it isn’t challenging then something has gone wrong!

yoo Solarium at The Lakes by yoo

As a speaker at this year’s Decorex, could you tell us a little about your plans for the show?

My plan for the show is to talk about the differing approach when designing for an international luxury audience in different continents, countries and cultures; highlighting the various considerations which designers need to take into account.

yoo Solarium at The Lakes by yoo

You will be speaking about designing for an international audience for the seminar, what would be your best piece of advice on this?

My best piece of advice would be to be mindful and respectful of where you are, colour and symbols can carry huge cultural significance. We have a global outlook on design but with very a intuitive local sensibility.

At yoo we acknowledge the varying tastes across the globe and this is partly why yoo looked to work with different Creative Directors. Kelly is really popular in Asia and Russia and Jade is extremely prolific in India due to her affinity with Goa through her jewellery business, which is located there. Philippe is renowned across the globe, however his is a very avant-garde form of design which appeals to a particularly discerning consumer. Wanders & Yoo, our brand with creative director Marcel Wanders is gaining popularity in the Chinese market, especially with the imminent launch of the Mira Moon Hotel in Hong Kong.

Interiors of The Dockhouse at The Lakes by yoo

If you could sum Decorex up in 20 words, what would they be?The luxury interior design festival for those in the know.

What is it like working with some of the industry’s most renowned designers such as Marcel Wanders and Steve Leung?

As mentioned before, working with these extremely talented designers has given me a unique design insight and knowledge that could only come from working with the best. Every designer brings their own design vision to each project, which enhance and diversify the overall yoo portfolio.

yoo Solarium at The Lakes by yoo

Are there any new projects on the horizon for yoo?

We have just launched our hotel business, yoo Hotels. The growth of this sector of our business will be an important focus over the next three years. The Yoo Hotels offering includes hotel operations as well as design. This really is the next big project for yoo – it is a natural expansion from our core business of designing hotels and residences with concierge style facilities.

We are also focussing on the launch of hotels and residences such as the Mira Moon Hotel, in Hong Kong which will be launching in the autumn of this year and Echo Brickell in Miami.

Lodha Fiorenza, Mumbai, India, Jade Jagger by yoo

What does the future look like for yoo?

The future looks very exciting for yoo as we are constantly meeting new clients and coming up against new challenges. The future is bright for us, and we are all looking forward to it. I’m just happy to be a part of something so spectacular.


Register for Decorex 2013 to hear more from Mathew Dalby in his seminar at the show as part of our international seminar program