Shaper: Phil Jaffa

Show aired on 23rd August 2014

Transcript of the show

Phil Jaffa is founder and Creative Director of Scape Design Associates which opened its doors in 2000. Under his guidance and creative flair, Scape Design now leads the global luxury lifestyle market in landscape design. They push the debate, explore new possibilities and design world class landscapes for an audience that demands a new kind of luxury.

During the past 14 years, Scape has worked in 31 countries globally and completed 28 luxury projects to date, with a further 7 currently under construction. Their strong, contemporary designs have ensured a diverse global portfolio, which includes some of the finest landmark projects in the hospitality and luxury lifestyle markets. From Private Island Resorts to Luxury Branded Resort Hotels and Spas; from city hotels to urban residences; and from high profile retail and mixed use schemes to ground breaking leisure facilities. These are all created for some of the most entrepreneurial individuals and organisations in the development world.

Scape’s considers the social and environmental impact of what they create and many of their projects are considered to be forward thinking in their approach to sustainability.

For me, luxury is about experience. The landscapes that we have designed are intended to make you feel better than you felt before you went into them.

It is all about romance and I am a romantic at heart.

I have a degree in chemistry which seems to shock everybody.

The two years I spent travelling really hooked me into the world that I’m in now – 95% of our jobs are international. That willingness to jump on a plane and get excited by different cultures and beautiful landscapes is what Scape is all about.

I thought, if I never do this I will always regret it, but if doesn’t work out at least I can say I have given it a shot.

I created a very conservative business plan thinking that my first client probably wouldn’t come in for five months, but within five days the business plan went out the window.  I won three hotels in the first two weeks.

The recession of the late 80s/early 90s meant there was only a handful of people who made it into the real world of landscape architecture, and looking back now, we are still suffering from that. There is a void of people with this experience and that makes me more valuable.

I embraced the computer revolution very early on and I understood that I could do everything that I needed to do to service a client by myself. I have built my business around people who are all-rounders.

You live and die by the decisions you make in business.

I believe in sticking to what you know.  I know landscape architecture very well.