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Hospitality By Design

As a leading architecture firm spearheading local and global ‘resort design’ conversation, OBMI has reached a new milestone celebrating 55 years in the British Virgin Islands and 85 years as a firm. In honour of this achievement, OBMI’s Managing Director, Marvin Flax, and Chairman, Tim Peck, look back on the firm’s contribution to tourism development in the territory.

VIPY:

Congratulations on this firm’s latest milestone anniversaries! OBMI has been part of the success of a variety of developments throughout its long history here. What would you say was the most significant contribution to our hospitality industry?

Tim Peck: 

Since the firm established its local studio here in 1966, OBMI has been fortunate to have supported and driven the BVI’s hospitality and tourism industries from its early breaths to where we are now. It’s difficult to select one project, however, our early work in the 1970s with the design of Biras Creek Resort and Peter Island Resort provided a significant milestone at the beginning of tourism in the BVI. Since the initial development, OBMI has maintained ongoing relationships with each resort assisting them with refurbishments and extensions throughout their lifetime. 

VIPY:

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Those resorts certainly supported the territory as a leader in hospitality for the Caribbean. When you joined the firm in the 80s to lead the BVI office was the local resort development experiencing the same growth and what was OBMI’s involvement?

Tim Peck:

Yes, our firm was designing and leading an expert team of consultants for Long Bay Beach Resort which would be the largest resort in the British Virgin Islands at the time. For nearly three decades, our designers and project managers worked with the resort through many phases of expansion, including the design of the majority of residential villas on the hillside above Long Bay.

Reflecting back, our growth as a firm was running parallel to resort development in the BVI. Over the years our firm has worked with a number of locally owned hotels including Maria’s by the Sea on their first expansion, Treasure Isle Hotel with the previous ownership, and Village Cay Marina. In addition, OBMI was also responsible for the design work on the major repositioning of The Moorings, including the marina facilities, the hotel, and the restaurants.

VIPY:

Tourism seemed to have hit its stride over that time and helped us catch the eye of some global and premier hospitality brands. Was OBMI part of any of the key projects where some of these international brands added a BVI resort to their portfolio?

Tim Peck:

We were honoured to take on the role of trusted advisors and lead designers for the first Autograph Collection hotel in the Caribbean and Marriott International’s first property in the British Virgin Islands, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. As the first private resort to open in the BVI in more than 15 years, operations for the resort began in mid-2010 with the hotel, resort amenities and residences. The resort was hand-selected for its originality, character, and uncommon details, all synonymous with the Autograph Collection portfolio.

Our firm has since continued to contribute to the resort’s phased development for real estate expansion. Our vision for this next stage kept the architecture and design of the villas complementary to the property by speaking to a British Colonial-style with distinct touches of Caribbean in a village-inspired setting around the marina basin.

VIPY:

With such an impressive start and contribution to the resort development in the territory, how has your approach to design changed over the years?

Tim Peck:

While designers at the firm today leverage the latest in innovative technology and a larger network of trusted specialists, the practice’s design philosophy has remained as the foundation for the firm and its projects. Over the years we have developed a strong international hospitality design reputation, particularly in the luxury sector, and we recognize that the essential ingredients for designing unique destinations across the globe are found in the local culture and history. 

Eight decades of design innovation, expansion and prestige are credited to our ability to tell our client’s story using four basic “storytelling” tools: quality of design, service, heritage, and environment.

VIPY:

Your passion in your role for creating unique and authentic experiences that benefit your clients, end-users, the communities, and the natural environment where projects take place is evident. Is there any recent hospitality work that you feel embodies this distinctly?

Marvin Flax:

Our recent work on the refurbishment and renovation of Rosewood Little Dix Bay is one that comes to mind. As one of the Caribbean’s most legendary resorts, it was an honour to work alongside Meyer Davis and uphold the Rockefeller legacy with new world amenities. Since reopening, the project has received industry-wide acclaim for once again securing its reputation as one of the world’s greatest getaways offering a level of refinement, seclusion, and untamed beauty unrivalled in the Caribbean. 

Another standout is OBMI’s contribution is our involvement with Oil Nut Bay over the last decade. Victor International’s mission to create a sustainable luxury resort villa community that preserves the natural integrity and beauty of the island was very much aligned with our own values and design ethos. We feel privileged to work with David Johnson to develop the architectural character of the resort development and act as a local and trusted advisor to his team and clients. 

VIPY:

Those are wonderful legacy projects that you have contributed to, and we’re sure there are more in your pipeline. How would you describe your firm’s method for success to a prospective hospitality developer or operator over its last 55 years in the BVI and 85 years as a firm?

Marvin Flax:

OBMI provides a trusted, collaborative, and successful experience for our clients that stems from our active listening, intelligent interpretation, open dialogue, imagination, expertise, and precision. Our personal commitment to stakeholders is to realize their ideas and aspirations brilliantly, while successfully delivering on their business vision and purpose. Our dedication to delivering superior quality and service, while respecting the tradition and environment of where we live, work and play has and continues to propel OBMI as one of the leading design firms in the British Virgin Islands and across the world.

____________________________________________________________________________About OBMI:

OBMI is a global architecture and master planning firm widely celebrated for the design of distinctive high-end resorts and hotels, bespoke residences, and engaging urban areas. Since 1936, our mission has been to collaborate with clients to transform their visions into three-dimensional forms that are authentic, unique, and incomparably marketable. With architecture studios around the world and local experts on the ground, we’re the international design firm in your backyard.

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