“I wanted to be an architect since the age of 6.” Dexter Moren
Dexter is recognised as an industry leader in the hotel & leisure sector. He is the founding director of Dexter Moren Associates, London and Moren Williams Lotter Forsythe, South Africa. He is a graduate of London’s Architectural Association and New York’s Columbia University. With over 20 years experience, Dexter has worked with the majority of leading brands in the UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East and more recently Asia. He has been invited to speak on design and sustainability at key industry events such as Property Week Hotels UK, Architects Journal Hotel Design, New London Architecture and the Sleep Hotel conference, in addition to judging the European Hotel Design Awards. His approach to design has also been profiled in the Architects’ Journal and Hotel Report.
THC: What inspires you and why?
Dexter: I’m inspired by every new opportunity as each presents a unique challenge for creative thought. I’m also inspired by the people I work with, the DMA team, clients & consultants as each bring a new perspective on that challenge.
THC: How did you get into your business?
Dexter: I wanted to be an architect since the age of 6. The first project I won for the company I joined out of architecture school was an iconic hotel on Durban beachfront & I learnt a great deal from that client. When I moved to the UK that knowledge helped secure the first hotel and from that seed many longterm relationships have sprouted and with them a succession of hotel projects.
THC: What are you working on right now?
Dexter: DMA has evolved to both architecture & interior design services & London remains our single biggest market with 20+ projects at various stages of activity, from Hilton Bankside on site, to Gansevoort London in detail development & Tower Bridge Magistrates Court just commencing design, amongst others.
THC: How do you see your space evolving?
Dexter: We are increasingly working internationally, in Europe, the Gulf, Russia and my personal favourite new space, Africa, where we’re presently designing exciting new projects in Cape Town, Dar es Salaam & Nairobi.
THC: Who’s your hero or icon?
Dexter: I used to say Louis Kahn because I learnt architecture from 2 of his disciples when just qualified & was greatly influenced by his work but now I have many heroes for many different reasons. The team I work with and my wife are my new heroes along with the many designers who, though too numerous to mention, provide daily inspiration & stimulation. Nelson Mandela has to be a role model for the desire, not easily achieved, of fulfilling the Christian principles of honesty, integrity & forgiveness in all I strive to do.
THC: Where’s your favourite spot around the world?
Dexter: I’ve always loved the South of France but with each visit I get more attached to Cape Town which has the scenery, the food & wine, the climate & the worlds friendliest passport officers.
THC: What’s your favourite injection of culture into a brand?
Dexter: At the expense of sounding narcissistic I think the work our Interiors team achieved in imbuing the presence of the museum quarter of South Kensington into the Ampersand is exemplary & has resulted in a lot of enquiries from brands seeking to incorporate the “neighbourhood” storey in a subtle sophisticated manner.