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Up Close with Don Taylor, Swire Properties’ Director, Office


Photography by Jason Capobianco
Styling by Tasha Ling

Don Taylor is Swire Properties’ Director who oversees the development, leasing and management of the office portfolio. He has a clear vision for the future Taikoo Place and believes the attraction and retention of millennials at work is critical to its success. “We are almost designing workspaces and creating an environment for people who haven’t started work yet, so we need to inject that vibrancy and energy,” he says. His energy and enthusiasm are definitely infectious.

With the cameras turned off and the lights cooling on set during the shoot, Don Taylor relaxes. “This is one of my favourite bars,” he says, gesturing to the chic stripped-wood and brass interior of Taikoo Place’s Mr and Mrs Fox. “I’m partial to the fresh oysters, a great steak as well as a decent red.… what more could you want?” He’s right, with ‘The Den’ a private dining area as well as a restaurant and bar split over three levels, it’s an ideal place for a post-work drink, dining and socialising; which, of course, is exactly what it is used for Taikoo Place.
“It’s about blurring the line between private and work life”

With a versatile space for the visual and performing arts in ArtisTree, and a tasteful open-air space in Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place is more than just a workplace. “We want to create the kind of environment where people stay, have drinks and eat after they clock out,” Don explains. “It’s about blurring the line between private and work life. If people socialise with their colleagues, invariably they are talking about work (or someone at work) so we are creating an environment which is not only conducive to work but to entertain and socialise as well.”

“What millennials require from their office is completely different from the last generation. They don’t want corner offices, they want variety, flexibility, which affords a work-life balance.” He adds, “This location, this venue, is already amazing, but in five years, it will be materially different and a whole lot better. We never stop trying to enhance the overall environment which is why we have appointed international architects and design firms like Hugh Dutton Associés based in Paris and Gustafson Porter who designed the Diana Memorial in Hyde Park, for the redevelopment of Taikoo Place.”

For the age-old question of how the busy seem to have infinite time for work and play, Don is here to answer.

Don fuels himself to stay motivated and productive through his love for sports, taking this energy with him everywhere he goes – especially to the office. “If you are fit, healthy and full of energy, I think that can be infectious and carries through to the team.” He adds, “you can take a lot out of sports which can help you run a team effectively. You learn who needs to be pushed, and who needs to be nurtured. You meet a lot of characters in this business with differing skill sets so it’s about finding the right balance within the team. Success is knowing the strengths of your team and playing to it.”

If he is not entertaining, Don hits the running trail over lunch. “I love exercise, and particularly running the trails in the Hong Kong countryside - I find it very therapeutic. For those working in Taikoo Place, it’s so convenient, one hundred metres down King’s Road, and you are at the foothills of Quarry Bay and Tai Tam Country Park. It’s a beautiful run and a perfect loop back to the office. There aren’t many office locations that afford this accessibility to nature.”

Staying active at all times may well be the formula of success embodied by Don. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this professional whirlwind doesn’t just lie on the beach in his time off. “I like to have active holidays: I get very restless when I’m sitting down doing nothing,” he says. “I’m a city person, I love to experience the energy, food and culture of a city. But I enjoy the countryside and water too, somewhere to hike and explore. Tokyo would be my go-to for a weekend getaway. New York, Toronto and London also make the short list. But only in summer,” he laughs. “I can’t run in the snow, it slows me down.”

Special thanks to Canali (full suit with shoes); Adidas (top) and DYNE from Lane Crawford (trousers) for the stylish fashion attire; Public for the fabulous venue.

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