By Luc Mandret
For almost eight years, Régis Robin has been one of the pillars keeping the Archetype Group as solid as ever. He started his journey with the company in 2014 and held the role of Architectural Design Manager. Later, he was promoted to a senior position and was in charge of the architectural team for Industrial, Airports, and Infrastructure projects.
In 2019, Régis took over the role of Architectural Design Director and just a year later, he landed his current role at the company. Presently, he manages a team of 60 dedicated to delivering every piece of a project they’re assigned, and collaborates with various profiles of experts — from engineers to architects to project managers and drafters.
“keep doing a good job and go to the next step.”
Régis’s principle is honesty – “We don’t try to oversell or to hide something from our clients” whether it’s about the budget or whenever his opinions are asked, he’s always dependable. His dream is to stabilize what they have with the team, “keep doing a good job and go to the next step.” He hopes the world will see the quality of work Vietnam is doing and the potential the country can showcase.
In this month’s Meet The Experts episode, we had the opportunity to speak with Régis Robin — the Director of Design Operations in Vietnam for Archetype Group. He talked about the details of his function, his approach when dealing with new projects, and his advice for the younger generation.
Tell us about your role and responsibilities at Archetype in Vietnam
My role is to oversee the whole design in Vietnam and ensure all the projects are delivered on time, on budget, and to the highest standards of quality — from managing the architects to the structure, the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing), and basically everything in the master plan. In addition to that, I also make sure there’s good communication and collaboration between different disciplines. Otherwise, we cannot achieve the goal of the project and our client’s satisfaction
You manage more than one discipline and work with several people from different departments for every project. When does your job begin and when does it end?
Basically, it depends on the contract we sign. For instance, with industrial projects, we usually sign what we call EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management), which means that we start when the LOA (Letter of Award) is signed.
But sometimes, I step in even before the bidding phase, like what we did with the most recent industrial client that we were involved in before the formalities. As for where it ends, most of the job will finish with the construction design. However, we still have the responsibility to reply to all the requests from the contractors on design clarifications during the construction.
After every initial meeting with clients, ideas are thrown left and right. How do you approach new projects and what’s your process?
Firstly, when the client has a clear idea, that’s already a great start. For building reference, we usually get our client’s inputs first and their references, but we do not stick to that. It’s not because we don’t respect the client. It’s about our desire to think out of the box, that’s in the DNA of Archetype Group as a consultancy company. It’s a challenge we set for ourselves to think better and produce excellent ideas. iving what the client wants is important, but with all the accumulated experiences on so many different projects, we like to propose fresh concepts that will bring value to our client’s project. If the client doesn’t approve it, we can always go back or search alternative ideas.
The goal is to take the client’s requirements and mix them into a new idea that would challenge and put the client out of their comfort zone. That’s it. But if we go too far, we find the good in between. We then settle on something the client agrees on and implement it.
To me, the most essential part of the process is listening to what the client has to say. They usually share feedback about their past experiences in their previous buildings and would want us to improve from that for sure: listening – learning – leveraging. So what we do is we take everything and carry out the project the right way.
Tell us more about your creative journey. Where do you draw inspiration from?
On a personal note, I am also a photographer. That’s one of my passions at heart. I really enjoy doing it. I like to watch the work of photographers, and I also enjoy taking pictures during my free time. During my creative journey with Archetype, photography is at the core of my inspiration: when we are working on the sketch or the renders, I always see the pictures I would love to take of the design we are processing. I am capturing the photography of our final design, and I can create the shapes, curves, shadows, and frames myself. This process is fascinating.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
I would say listen, analyze and try to understand what’s in front of you. Communicate well because communication is key. But it’s kind of funny also, I would say be patient yet I am here today because I was impatient. Be patient, still, because a lot of the things the elders tell us are true, we just have to remain persistent to see it. And also, it’s good to be impatient because if you don’t push, you don’t get anything. You have to know what you want to make that happen.
I like one of Jack Ma’s visions about the different stages of your working life. He said, when you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss and join a good company to learn how to do things properly. When you reach 30 to 40 years old, if you want to do something yourself, just do it. You still can afford to lose, to fail. I believe there’s a lot to learn from failure. After that, Jack Ma said we should start prioritizing stability, family and future generations. Then work on sharing what you’ve learned in your life with others. One should not keep to themselves what they have, it should be shared. And finally, when we hit 40 to 50 years old, he suggests we should do things we are good at.
I also listen to Simon Sinek’s podcasts, which helped me widen my view on relationships. He also talks about leadership, optimism, confidence, and basically everything about life. His thoughts and the way he delivers them truly motivate me.
Thank you, Régis