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Interview with Thomas Baert, President of ARCHITECT@WORK China

Mr. Baert, Architect@Work is coming to China for the first time. Can you tell us what A@W is about ?

Architect@Work is now a successful event in over 8 countries around the world. The architects and designers are embracing the concept and are asking us to expand into more countries.

Architects and designers are very busy people. They are creative and open to new ideas and like to know what the industry has to offer in terms of innovations. They like to be inspired and informed about these novelties and like to do this in a fun, relaxed and efficient way.

Looking at your website this looks like a very promising event and the only customized event for architects and designers in China ?

Exactly, We attract a limited number of high quality exhibitors to come and show their innovations and invite 4000 decision making visitors to join over 2 efficient days. All this in a relaxed atmosphere of networking in combination with top speakers during continuous seminars held during the event.

What we heard was that architects and designers are permanently invited to all kind of mass events in China by organizers who understand little of what the community really requires.

What is so different then to a regular exhibition ? Why is this unique ?

A@W is created by architects for architects. This community doesn’t like to go to big unpleasant construction fairs, they are looking for inspiration and are used to be and work in creative and comfortable environments.

That’s why A@W focuses on innovation and to present this, we created a unique layout: exhibitors present their new product in a small uniform booth to avoid spending all day going from big booth to another bigger booth looking for the right products.

In order to ensure optimal contact between exhibitors and visitors, visitors are automatically led along a route that winds its way through small, uniform modules. The first
contact takes place at the stand.

Why should architects and designers come to A@W?

I would say there are 3 main reasons. The most important is getting new ideas by checking the novelties presented by our exhibitors. Secondly, A@W is a gathering of the industry and the perfect networking event. Thirdly because of the A@W seminar program fully endorsed by AIA and USGBC (known of LEED). Both organization provide Education Units to their members having joined the seminars.

Shanghai@WorkYou mention about the fun and relaxed atmosphere, the networking opportunities. Can you talk more about it ?

On thursday September 6th we will host The ARCHITECT@WORK Night starting at 6pm. The place where visitors and exhibitors meet each other in a fun way with a glass and bite. During the whole event drinks and finger food are served, while exhibitors and visitors are sharing experiences.

How can visitors enter the event?

A@W focuses on quality instead of quantity! Therefore this event is on invitation only. Visitors need to register and we will approve every registration manually. That’s how we can guarantee the quality of visitors. This can be done by visiting our website www.architectatwork.cn

Which companies are joining and how do you do you select them?

We select our exhibitors carefully. Like with visitors, we prefer quality above quantity. For our first edition in Shanghai we only allowed 100 innovative companies who have specific products for the architect and design market.

Every application of a new exhibitor is judged by our Steering Committee. In different industries we have market leaders and high quality manufacturers on our exhibitor list. You can check the full list on our website.

Architect@WorkSome people think that China may not be ready for this concept ?

I could not disagree more. China is the paradise for architects and designers in the world. It can easily be called the most vibrant place in the world for our community. Every architect firm around the world is hoping to participate in this exciting world and to get a piece of the pie. The market has become more mature, developers need more differentiation and innovation is a must. We try to help with this.

Leed certification is becoming more and more important and USGBC is very ambitious for the Chinese market. It was a natural fit for A@W and USGBC to partner up considering our aligned values. Chinese people are more than any country open to change and new ideas. We have been very surprised about the positive reaction we get from the community on our initiative

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