Travel tips from an architect: Kristen Whittle

Kristen Whittle

Kristen Whittle

We talk to Kristen Whittle, director of Melbourne firm Bates Smart, about his travel routines and tips when travelling for work. Whittle has been involved in a Tate Modern project and the Laban Dance Centre in London and Melbourne's award-winning Royal Children's Hospital.

Where do you travel regularly for work?

"In Australia, it's Melbourne to Sydney. Bates Smart is an architectural firm and has been based in Melbourne since the 1860s, and for the past 20 years we've had an office in Sydney. You can never underestimate the benefit of face-to-face meetings. Hong Kong and Singapore are the most regular international destinations. Both are hubs for the South East Asia property market, and we have a healthy and growing list of offshore clients."

How often are you away?

"For international business trips, every three to six months; within Australia, every month. I have three young children who like me, so I try to limit my trips."

Suitcase of choice?

"Mandarina Duck."

Pre-flight routine?
"I arrange the contents on the bed first and then pack. If I'm tired or have one of my kids harassing me during packing, I'll forget something critical like my shoes or all my socks. Quite funny but sad. At Melbourne Airport, I relax in the business lounge and jot down my to-do list and buy reading material."

Essential cabin baggage?

"Magazines, like Wired, The Economist, Monocle. I also pack a sketchbook to capture my creative thinking - I'll jot down a quick drawing and some words, which helps me organise and develop my projects while I'm away."

Onboard routine?

"I'm typically a good sleeper on flights, but I've recently started taking melatonin for long-haul trips. But I try to use my time wisely. As a design director, I use flights as my relaxing time. They really help me resolve pressing creative challenges my clients have given me."

Roll or fold?

"I'm a traditionalist when it comes to folding, but have nothing against rolling."

Aisle or window?

"I like the aisle for a bit more space, air and freedom to move and a quick escape."

Which airline do you fly  most often for work?

"For both national and international, I choose Qantas. I like the efficient and seamless business experience they offer and the professional service."

Favourite hotels for  business?

"In Sydney, it's hard to go past Pier One. When abroad, I like 1 Hotel in New York, Le Roch Hotel & Spa in Paris and The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong."


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