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Designers in Profile: Otto Ouyang Xin and Oscar Llinas of Bilkey Llinas Design

Bilkey Llinas Design have been Shortlisted for 4 Categories in The International Hotel & Property Awards 2021. Read more about Partner, Otto Ouyang Xin below:

Name: Otto Ouyang Xin (Left) / Oscar Llinas (Right)

Company: Bilkey Llinas Design

Position within company: Partner / Principal


Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

Otto Ouyang Xin:

I graduated from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University in Shanghai, China and have since worked for over 30 years in high-end hospitality projects throughout South East Asia.  I am based in Hong Kong where I am a senior partner at Bilkey Llinas Design (BLD).  I joined the company’s founding partners, Robert Bilkey, Oscar Llinas and Mauricio Salcedo in 2000 and together with our design team, we have been very fortunate to design a large portfolio of luxury hotels as well as prestigious residential developments throughout the region and worldwide.

Oscar Llinas:

I graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and French, and achieved a Master’s degree in French Literature from UCLA. After working 10 years for an international design firm, my colleagues Mr. Robert Bilkey, Mr. Mauricio Salcedo and I created Bilkey LLinas Design in 1989 and have enjoyed working with clients on projects in 6 continents.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

In order to be able to design a wide range of projects, it is essential that we, as designers, understand the environment, culture and target end user, together with the developer’s and operator’s vision.  We then need to develop the design functionality and character that is best suited for the particular project.   Once these parameters are understood, I enjoy developing a design theme that combines Chinese and Western cultural and architectural elements when appropriate.  Also, it is always important to be able find the right balance between a contemporary approach and achieving a timeless design that can withstand the test of time; this motto defines BLD’s  philosophy and approach to creating a unique design experience for every project.

Oscar Llinas:

My personal interior design style is eclectic leaning towards contemporary.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

The design inspiration always come from the personal experiences and the surrounding environment.  Take Marriott Hotel Xuzhou as an example, the lakeside location and beautiful, dynamic mountain views provided the initial inspiration for the design.

Oscar Llinas:

A lot of my design inspiration comes from art, fashion design and contemporary architecture.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?                      

Otto Ouyang Xin:

I believe the hospitality industry, now more than ever, will continue to search for ways to maximize customer experience and comfort whilst streamlining development and operational costs.  This will continue to be the determining factor for the viability of most future hotels.  As such, we as designers, must continue to strive to produce innovative concepts that meet the growing technological demands and expectation for high standards of comfort and design dictated by today’s discerning clientele.  However, we have the responsibility to achieve these goals within budget and with great care for our environment.

Oscar Llinas:

I think the future direction of hotel design will be to include even more of the surrounding nature in the guestroom experience to help balance the advancing technological requirements of today’s guests. I also see an emerging trend toward making the hotel the destination itself, rather more than just the place in which it is located.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.

1) Principles of Health and Safety.

2) Cultural and Aesthetic.

3) Integration with the environment.

4) Reasonable use of the Resources.

5) Feasible cost.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

Strive to develop an interior design that has a symbolic relationship with its local culture and surrounding environment.

Oscar Llinas:

Successful interior design has to be a combination of function and aesthetics.

How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

There is great value to being recognized for design excellence.  In the first instance, the awards provide motivation for the designers to strive for success.   The International Hotel & Property Awards provide a platform for design recognition by the industry on the global stage for both the project’s designers and their Design Firms.

Oscar Llinas:

To be recognized by your peers in the industry is always great motivation to continue striving for excellence in every aspect of a project’s design and in a designer’s personal growth.

What projects are you currently working on?

Hospitality and Residential projects.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.

Traditional Chinese Jiangnan architecture is seamlessly integrated with lush landscape and the interiors, providing guests with a tranquil and relaxing experience throughout the resort.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

Hilton Beijing Tongzhou, China

The project took a total of ten years to complete, within which the design concepts had t be adjusted several times due to Operator’s evolving requirements.  Finally, the hotel officially opened in October 2020.

Oscar Llinas:

The J Hotel, Shanghai
The fire codes and restrictions in this high‐rise structure (the second tallest building in the world) were challenging because we were so limited in the materials that we could use for the project. We found new and innovative ways to use glass, metal and stone.

Which products/services could you not live without when designing?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

Traveling and life learning are indispensable.

Oscar Llinas:

Having access to computer software programs like, Sketch‐up, Auto CAD, Photoshop, 3D Max and Rhino, in conjunction with sources like Pinterest and Material Bank are a designer’s dream.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

The hospitality industry has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result, we need to be extra vigilant and hands on the business aspects of our operation.  To that effect, we must be flexible and recognize the need for  change.

Oscar Llinas:

To adapt our design criteria to meet the new health challenges presented by a global pandemic.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Otto Ouyang Xin:

I always feel that the inspiration comes from life and my own personal experiences, and communications with friends. Moreover, traveling and reading always give me continuous and unexpected inspirations.

Oscar Llinas:

I find inspiration from introspection – when I can quiet my mind, ideas develop.

Your most treasured possession?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

I have travelled with Mr. Robert Bilkey and Mr. Oscar Llinas over the past twenty years and took more than 80,000 photos which are my most treasured possession.

Oscar Llinas:

My harpsichord and my library of books

Your favourite holiday destination?

Otto Ouyang Xin:


Oscar Llinas:


Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

My favourite hotel is Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake.

My favourite restaurant is Songshan Tea House of Hyatt Regent Dongguan Songshan Lake Hotel.

Oscar Llinas:

My favourite hotel is: The Four Seasons Gresham Palace ‐ Budapest
My favourite restaurant is: Grissini’s ‐ Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
My favourite bar is: The Champagne Bar ‐ Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Your favourite book, film & song?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

My favourite book is ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’.

My favourite movie is ‘The English Patient’.

My favourite song is ‘Besame Mucho’.

Oscar Llinas:

My favourite book is: “‘Love in the Time of Cholera”

My favourite movie is: “The Illusionist”

My favourite song is: “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”

Your favourite food and drink?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

Cantonese cuisine and Longjing Green Tea.

Oscar Llinas:

Green Juicing.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

Listen to music, read a book and drink coffee in a peaceful corner.

Oscar Llinas:

Reading, playing the harpsichord, studying hieroglyphs.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

Otto Ouyang Xin:

I would be a writer if I were not  a designer.

Oscar Llinas:

I would be an archaeologist.

Bilkey Llinas Design have been Shortlisted for 4 Categories in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2021.

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