Zaha Hadid Architects, a UK-based, world-famous international architecture and design firm founded by Zaha Hadid, sees Georgia as an interesting market. Harry Ibbs, Global Head of BIM & Workflows at Zaha Hadid Architects, held B2B meetings with Georgian construction and development companies during the course of the Smart Building Conference held at the Tbilisi Marriott hotel on 22 November.
Dirsi, Axis and other leading players on the local market presented their projects to the renowned global architecture company and discussed partnership opportunities. Kate Tabatadze, Managing Partner at Property Georgia, talked to Harry Ibbs about his views on the Georgian market.
Why is Georgia an interesting market for Zaha Hadid Architects?
At the moment, there are a lot of opportunities in the Black Sea region, in the countries of the Caucasus and Caspian Sea regions, while in the West and the Far East, we have seen strong growth, it is now an interesting time for the Caucasus. You are having a good transitional period, and the country is politically stable, which is important. For Zaha Hadid it is a pleasure to come to Georgia, a beautiful country with rich culture and ancient history, and the country which is regarded as the birthplace of wine. I am meeting with potential clients here to explore the market.
How do you see your projects being cost-effective in a small country like Georgia?
The world saw the success of the Baku Opera House. It has become an iconic landmark in Azerbaijan of similar size of Georgia. The potential is healthy in the Caucasus region and the success of Baku is evident, the Opera House is the face of the latest HUGO BOSS global marketing advertisement, as well as, arguably the success of the project contributing to a growth of cultural and architectural tourism to the country to celebrate the world class design.
We have clients in Ukraine, as well and Zaha Hadid Architects has carried out projects in Slovakia, which has a similar economy to Georgia. Our projects have the highest sale and lease prices per square meter in every market we enter, whether it is New York, China, Turkey or Slovakia. Regardless if Georgia has a price cap for architectural services, paying a little extra with Zaha Hadid always results in a higher return. I say this with confidence, because we have a track record to show for it. Is Georgia ready for Zaha Hadid? Of course, it is. Zaha Hadid is ready for Georgia, and for the Caucasus region.
What has been the most important factor that made you come to Tbilisi and explore the options here?
Tourism is definitely one of those factors. The Georgian population is around four million, and only last year you brought up to 8 million foreign visitors to the country. The number may increase to 9 million this year, and may even reach 11 million over the coming years. This shows me that people around the world are attracted to Georgia and this region as a whole. Ten years of stability and peace have paid off, and now Georgia is becoming a popular destination. You have a unique language, unique people, unique foods and wines, unique landscape and unique architecture.
Today’s Smart Building Conference is about the future, and Tbilisi is a city which embraces future, as do we at Zaha Hadid Architects.