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and InterContinental Hotels, Arnold developed a passion for travel in the early 1980s, particularly within the Europe, Africa and Middle East region, which continues to this day. “There are many highlights, when you


consider my 46 years in the business,” reflects Arnold. “I owe everything to sheer hard work and a willingness to travel extensively, but certainly, my travels to Egypt in the 1980s were inspirational.” He also cites visits to Tehran and Beirut as being hugely influential on his love for travel. He also lists his pioneering work on the Pyramid Hotel in Dubai – now known as the Hotel Raffles Dubai – and other properties in 1990, which were Arnold’s first assignments in the UAE. Another career highlight was designing kitchen, foodservice and laundry facilities in a series of Starwood Hotels properties through the 1990s in Poland and Eastern Europe. Arnold’s 1990s project work on the Grand Hotel Stockholm main kitchen masterplan and detailed design was, he says, “one of the very best client/ consultant collaborations” in his career, highlighting the extraordinary “attention to detail respected by all parties.” Elsewhere, his work on the restaurant Zuma London – “superb interiors and excellent client direction,” says Arnold – for chef Rainer Becker, and his designs for approximately 25 food and beverage outlets at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, managed over a two-year period before a $1.5 billion construction, were other milestones in his career. And yet, all that aside, Arnold’s


proudest professional achievement is simply in “leaving education without a degree and becoming the head of a highly respected kitchen, foodservice, laundry and waste management design consultancy.” This has enabled him to develop a dedicated team of consultants and technicians that have “embraced technology and become highly proficient contributors to our project delivery,” he says. “Clients, end-users and design


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teams we work with are the biggest influence on us and how we do business.” Being able to listen to, and


understand clients, is the most important business lesson Arnold has learned along the way, he says. “I endeavor at all times to get into the mindset of our clients.”


In the face of tragedy Success, while hard-won, was well earned, but Andrew Humble’s death after a two-year battle with cancer


“I remain totally committed and will do all that I can to ensure the company continues to develop and prosper"


was extremely difficult for Arnold and his team. The company has, however, continued to honor Humble by building a lasting legacy in his name. “When you lead a business together for so long, there is a total understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We had huge respect for each other. I miss the trust we had in each other's capabilities – and the pride we shared in the way in which a number of our colleagues joined us from senior school and have become highly competent and trusted foodservice design consultants, leading assignments,” says Arnold. “When Andrew passed away, we knew


we had the strongest and most skilled team in the history of the business. The values that he and I instilled into the business are respected. My co-director Ed Bircham FCSI and other senior team members share the company ethos and will ensure that the business continue to develop when I am ready to slow down.” Now 64, slowing down, is not on


the cards for Arnold. “This business is my life. I remain totally committed and ambitious and will do all that I can to ensure the company continues to develop and prosper. Ed Bircham FCSI and I are incredibly proud of our teams based in the UK and Johannesburg,” he says. His immediate goals are, he says, “to ensure that our team is adequately resourced to deliver mega-projects,” including The Red Sea Development Company resort in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The simple pleasures The cut and thrust of project work is something that still fires Arnold – particularly when those initial sketches begin to take shape. “I very much enjoy the brief definition period and like being on site to review progress,” he says. “My passion is developing hand sketches that define operational flow and functionality. It really works to bring that freshness and personality. BIM/Revit goes on to enable the design – it's fundamental, it dictates your specifications and elevates the equipment – but there’s nothing better than the feel of a sketch. If I have a sketch pad and pen, working with a chef and the design teams, I am at my happiest.” Away from the office, Arnold finds


that having “a close family and good friends” is a vital part of life outside of the business. “I enjoy collecting second- hand vinyl, focused on rock, jazz and classical music.” Having served as the chair of a car


club, Arnold also has “a small collection of classic cars” including an Aston Martin DB MK III and a Gilbern GT that has been in his family since 1966. “Older cars need care and maintenance and I enjoy tackling maintenance work that is not highly technical. My idea of motoring heaven is walking through the paddock areas at the Goodwood Revival, admiring the best sports racing cars in the world,” he says. Whether on two wheels, or four – or simply driving a successful business – Arnold continues to blaze a trail.


NICK DAWE


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