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In conversation with John Hitchcox

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British architect John Hitchcox tells us about what drives him, challenges he faces and gives us his take on luxury

When you’re the child of an admired professional, there are serious expectations of you. Some buckle under the pressure but some shine brighter and excel. John Hitchcox is the latter. The son of late architect Brian Hitchcox, the British scion has made a name for himself in the real estate and design industry, including establishing Manhattan Loft Company in 1991 and co-founding Yoo with French designer Philippe Starck. The 53 year old tells us what drew him to living spaces, all that he’s learned and what he loves about his work.

What drew you to living spaces? 
It was in the family. My grandfather was a property developer, my father [was] and my sister is an architect. I grew up on a small farm in the south of England and my earliest memories are of scaffolding, designs for renovations, and endless family chatter about building and design. That’s what initiated a love for all things design.

What did you learn from the Manhattan Loft Company established in 1991?
A lot! I learnt how little people are taught about the home – its layout, function, etc at school or in any other part of their lives. The role of the architect, developer, designer is equally important i.e. they assist in defining the space. Indeed, I would argue interior space is more valuable than exterior space since one spends more time inside their home.

What kind of projects excite you the most?
I used to say the next one, but as the years have passed, I enjoy the details of each and every one. The micro is as important as the macro now.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The scale and duration of many projects often take us through economic cycles, so one month I may start in a favourable position and yet finish in the reverse. In 2008, many of the projects we had undertaken were stalled. The solutions to overcoming these were varied and diverse.

Your take on luxury?
Luxury is a state of mind and an overused word.

What’s the one thing you do regularly…
I cycle in every city to get to know it. Touch wood, I haven’t been knocked off yet.

What did you learn from watching your father work?
I learnt a lot – from architecture and drawing to carpentry and site management – all the lessons have proven to be invaluable.

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