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One Space Announces Retirement of Co-founder James Oliver

07 2 月 2024

One Space Announces Retirement of Co-founder James Oliver

Back in the days when junk trips were a ‘thing’ in Hong Kong, I first met James Oliver on one such day at sea organised by a mutual friend.

A cursory reading of James’ CV at the time – Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and Regional Head of Technology Infrastructure; formerly with British Telecom; etc. – does not begin to describe his exceptional talent and visionary grasp of the world around us; nor does it capture his uncanny knack for seeing opportunity, whilst never losing sight of the need to attract, respect, reward and retain talented people who have integrity and energy.

In the Summer of 2004, when I was the Director of Asia’s first and only Master Degree programme focusing on interdisciplinary creativity & teamwork, James approached me with a revolutionary interdisciplinary idea of his own that he’d been mulling: Banks, hedge funds, brokerages and other such businesses were being underserved by us architects and interior designers – and by IT and AV designers too – who, taken together, had not fully harnessed the enormous potential interdisciplinary synergies that were so essential to the functionality and purpose of trading floors, workplaces and client suites.

James’ ideas resonated my own design philosophy. After all, the digital world was blooming all around us in rapid-fire, often alienating, ways. As an architect driven by a passionate focus on how our environment shapes human behaviour, I could see that the future-ready, technology-rich and sometimes frenetic workplace environment was one that must struggle to merge these two worlds – physical and virtual.

So, I was in! The concept began to take shape as a viable business idea, and One Space was born on 8th December 2004.

Some 19+ years on, it is therefore with profound respect, deep admiration and ongoing gratitude that I announce today the retirement of my business partner and One Space Co-founder, James Oliver.

As was announced earlier this month in the media and other channels, One Space is entering a new stage in its life. This evolution under new ownership of the well-reputed One Space model is demonstrative of James’ foresight: We believe more strongly than ever in the unique value-adding philosophy that underpins the One Space brand. We are eager to adapt ourselves to the changing business climate, and our clients’ priorities remain at the forefront of our pursuit of design excellence.

The vision lives on, and all of us at One Space in Hong Kong and Singapore thank James for his leadership, passion, intellectual rigour and generosity. Our friendship will endure and James’ outsized imprint on the company’s legacy will remain indelible.