Can you tell us about your company?
GEORGE MILLER-RAMOS Traditionally, Gensler opens offices following our clients. Most clients that take us to a new country are corporate clients who want to open corporate offices. The majority of our portfolio to date has been in the corporate interiors realm. We are now finishing a 30,000sqm project for AT&T. We are also finishing the second phase of a large financial institution. The second phase is over 15,000sqm. We worked on a project with Facebook for two years, and soon we will start a project for Twitter. We also have a client in the medical industry. We are pursuing opportunities with other tech companies. We believe another strong sector is tech and fintech. Now that we have established here, we are branching out. We are starting a large hospitality project in Cabo in collaboration with our office in Los Angeles. We are actively pursuing other hospitality opportunities here. We have a strong team and continue to attract talent. Gensler operates in three sectors: work, lifestyle, and community. We also have a few master plans on the table currently in Monterrey and Hermosillo. We are operating in those three sectors now within five years of being here.
RICARDO COMBALUZIER We are currently developing a building for the Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) in Mérida, a development in Sisal, Yucatán, which is a mixture of housing and tourism complex with a note similar to Airbnb and with the concept of glamping. We are developing housing. We have two boutique hotel projects, one in Matanchén, Nayarit and the other one in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro. We have played our part, and while the business model is complicated, we have had numerous achievements, which won us recognition in local architecture biennials. The National Biennial of Architecture was the project of the year for the Expansion group; however, projects would benefit from more public sector compliance and making sure that these institutions do not abandon projects undertaken.
What can you tell us about the Mexican real estate industry and what your company brings to it?
GMR Gensler has been around for a while. I do not see it as just another architecture firm. I have little interest in that. There are hundreds of people that know the market better than I do. What I want to do here is something more aligned with a think tank, or something that brings in people from fields other than architecture to shape the way we think. I am interested in bringing in new ways of thinking to how we approach projects. We have teams that do consulting, and they tend to bring more of an anthropology background, understanding human behavior. We attract people from programming and digital design. We have graphic designers and landscape architects. This is what makes us different from conventional firms. We hope this will attract the best talent in the country to come work with us.
RC Architecture, by definition, must be sustainable. As a trend, that concept has served to raise awareness, but sometimes certifications are only based on the technology used to achieve this sustainability. However, for the above to work, there must be good design. The building must be correctly oriented to take maximum advantage of the sun's energy and make more efficient the use of energy overall. The design must understand the environment, connect with the city and meet the needs of the user. The previous municipal administration in Mérida has already begun to take steps to address the problem. Much more can be done but it is the first step, and now there are areas where development is limited due to private properties. It is necessary to do efficient governance even if there are political costs. No politician wants to assume the political cost when there are many resources and interests of powerful people who can remove support to the projects. We want to encourage investment in consolidated areas where there are already services present.