Design Director, Gensler Shanghai , USA
D.B. Kim is an accomplished design leader who has spearheaded high profile projects of all budget ranges, influenced hospitality and product design, and developed global hospitality brands that intersect with a variety of sectors, from restaurant and wellness to residential and workplace designs.
Kim’s recent work was as a Vice President of Global Hospitality Design for the Wanda Group in Beijing. Kim has directed and mentored Wanda Hotel Design Institute ltd (HDI) during his contracted years to overhaul a 200-person design team. He also successfully opened 31 newly built luxury hotels. Kim’s contributions were not limited to designing, he instructed and fostered a new creative vision for the Contemporary International Aesthetic for the future of Wanda Group. Kim also established Wanda's luxury hotel branding strategy and pushed the company to expanding globally, won a total of 8 international hospitality design awards in excellence, and spearheaded initiatives to expand the company's worldwide footprint and image in the international market: London, Madrid, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Brisbane, and Sydney, scheduled to open in 2018 – 2020.
Kim’s design career started in 1987; however, he embarked his hospitality design career in 2001 at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as a Vice President of Design for the Westin, W hotels, and Sheraton. Kim developed new global branding strategies as well as architectural and interior design for over 250 properties. He successfully transformed the look and feel of the Westin brand into a positive interpretation of modern luxury. He also targeted all design direction on a global level and affected the growth of the brand, improving the level of uniqueness and sophistication. Further, Kim has introduced a new select-service hotel brand The Element and a prototype Westin hotel product, which included establishing standards for fitness centers, spas, retail stores, F&B outlets, meeting facilities, ballroom, special event rooms, all related in- room visuals graphics, White Tea scent/ brand signature scent products, and uniform designs.
D.B. Kim was born in South Korea. He was educated from SCI-Arc/ Southern California Institute of Architecture and MCAD/ Minneapolis College of Art and Design, earning a master degree in architecture and bachelor degree in design.
A career hospitality designer, D.B. Kim is a frequent flier both by profession and by nature. And his immersive approach to travel has served him well when designing luxury properties. Kim’s sophisticated, risk-taking designs make lasting first impressions. Designing in-house for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide or in collaboration with Daroff Design + DDI Architects, Kim has spent nearly two decades updating the look and feel of life outside the home.