Mikki Chin of OBMI Cayman
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Mikhail, known to most as Mikki, is the Senior Architect at OBM International (OBMI) and is licensed to practice in New York and Florida, she is also a PMP holder and LEED AP. Originally from Jamaica, she has travelled extensively, studying at the Caribbean School of Architecture and the University of Miami, then working in the US, India and Malaysia, before moving to Cayman. An active volunteer in the community, when not designing homes Mikki is heavily involved with Rotary Central and teaches 'reading construction drawings' at the prison's Freshstart programme. A creative through-and-through when not at work you will find Mikki with either a paint brush or a colourful Bob Marley cocktail in hand.
MC: I always intended to return to the Caribbean and Cayman is exciting because of its synergy of classic Caribbean architecture and modern, contemporary designs. As an architect, it offers me the best of both worlds.
RL: What are you trying to achieve with your designs?
MC: Building a home is a very personal experience, and I enjoy getting to know my clients and turning their dreams into something tangible that they will live in and love for years to come.
RL: What is the new direction in architecture?
MC: Although not new for OBMI, there is a general industry shift toward more environmentally responsible designs.
One of the reasons I joined the OBMI team was because of their respect for the land, people and culture in which they work.
RL: What is the most important lesson that you have learned?
MC: It’s essential to learn about the client’s lifestyle when designing. Most of my job is listening to the client’s dreams, aspirations and budget concerns, then applying my skills and experience to create their vision. I take on the role of a detective, putting the puzzle of their dream home together.
MC: I’m currently working on several high-end residential projects in Cayman. These homes are extraordinary not only because of their sites and unique design elements but because they have allowed me to combine the latest smart home technology with sustainability features and luxury amenities.
RL: What has been your favourite OBMI project? Why?
MC: We recently completed a beautiful home in Vista del Mar. Working with the clients was wonderful as they were very energetic and engaged. This level of involvement on the homeowner’s part helps to move things along smoothly and ensures they can realise their dreams in the design.
RL: What trend in architecture is here to stay?
MC: In traditional residential architecture, every room had a specific function. Today it’s far more common for clients to request open floor plans which allow natural light to filter across spaces, create a greater ease of movement and making it more conducive to entertaining – so I believe open floor plans are here to stay.
RL: What are the hallmarks of an OBMI build?
MC: OBMI prides themselves on designs that work with their environment rather than sitting on top of it. Although it can be challenging to pull off, we strive for sustainable designs that are an extension of their environment, enhancing them while also providing living spaces that are comfortable, memorable and personal.
RL: How do you achieve your 'feel good factor'?
MC: I am a strong believer in contributing to society. Cayman has been good to me so it feels good to be able to give back to the community. For the last two years I have been heavily involved in Rotary Central and volunteer on a biweekly basis at the prison teaching inmates how to read construction drawings, via the Freshstart program with our partners Phoenix Construction with the ethos of giving second chances.
MIKKI'S TOP TEN
Barrington Watson 'Conversation'
I'm really interested in other countries and international authors, currently Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favourites.
Alila Hotel, Indonesia
Italian Cafe, Jamaica
The Architects Apprentice by Elif Shafak
Way to spend the day
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