Growing in China

Growing in China

Mark Dekker is Inbo’s new director Asia. His personal ambitions coincide with those of Inbo: growing in China, with good, sustainable, qualitative and meaningful projects. Mark sees more than enough growing possibilities for Inbo in China. “In the big cities in the east like Beijing and Shanghai growth is stabilizing. In 2nd and 3rd tier cities and their surroundings however growth is still strong. Even so in cities such as Chongqing and Chengdu in the west. In these cities more historical and cultural aware ‘transformation’ processes are replacing ‘tabula rasa’ practices. Speed and quantity are being replaced by more diverse typologies for specific target groups. This approach fits perfectly within the strategies and projects of Inbo. Our Chinese clients recognize and acknowledge this.”

Designing and building in China is quite something else than working in the Netherlands. “In my work, I have learned to adapt to the Chinese customs, which are very different from the Dutch. A nice example of these differences is in ‘building in a flexible way’. In the Netherlands we think about demountable and light structures, whereas Chinese people think of simple concrete structures, that can be easily demolished. Because of these differences we sometimes don’t understand the questions the Chinese are raising. The trick is not to ask more questions in order to give our own interpretation, but to really try to understand their questions.”

Living in Shanghai is also very different. Mark explains: “It is more dynamic, free and more flexible than in the Netherlands. Shops for example are almost always open. Taxis stop at just one hand sign and bring you anywhere. This gives a tremendous feeling of freedom to go wherever and whenever you want. Life in Shanghai is therefore less planned than in the Netherlands, with more time for spontaneity.”

“Changing city, changing country, moving away from good friends, making new ones, moving three times in three years, changing employer and the joyful news of becoming father this year enriched my life with unforgettable memories. In the years to come I hope I can continue this personal growth during my work for Inbo in Asia.”     

More information: Mark Dekker