For ten years architects Jeffrey Williams, AIA and Yann Leroy, AIA, and interior designers Kate Greenwood and Paul Greenwood—partners at BBG-BBGM—along with the firm’s Director of China Patrick Lo considered branching out on their own. Frustrated by the constraints inevitable at such a large international architecture and interior design practice, they aspired to a more personal, hands-on working environment.

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On January 2, they took the plunge and launched studioaria, an office still global in scope, with a similar client base of luxury hotel operators and commercial and residential developers, but scaled down to be able to offer the kind of individualized service such projects often warrant.

According to the five directors, their studio is the world and their aria is a unified voice. Divided into three, small interactive studios on separate continents, each with its own specialty, the boutique firm is uniquely positioned to service markets worldwide.

“We’re trying to bring a different take to the field,” says Williams, project manager and director of global business development, marketing and public relations, who with design director Leroy will be responsible for the firm’s architecture and urban planning services from New York City. Both Greenwoods will head up the interior design studio from Sydney. Lo will oversee the Shanghai studio as project manager and director of business development, marketing, and public relations for China.

Studioaria’s five directors hope to build their business upon long-established relationships. And while in the process of negotiating responsibilities for projects its principals initiated while at their former employer, the young firm is already working on its first substantial commission (still at the confidential stage)—received just one week after opening its doors.