The heart is in the building

iwanIwan Sunito’s heart-felt innovative designs and brilliant entrepreneurial streak cast him as ‘Sydney’s King of Property’.
Text by Jan Yong | Photography by Crown Group

Former Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono described him as ‘King of Property in Sydney’ (translated), and he was the recipient of the prestigious EY (formerly Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Australia award. Iwan Sunito, Co-founder and Group CEO of Crown Group, a major property developer in Australia has certainly reached the pinnacle of success in his career.

An architect by profession, Iwan’s journey to the top in his adopted country, Australia, has been attributed to his upbringing, his mentors and wife, and his own unique vision of ‘always redefining the perimeter of innovation in property design’.

“My vision is to always redefine the perimeter of innovation in property design and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity of creating great homes. In the future, I’d like to further explore business in Indonesia,” he told Asian Property Review.

Iwan was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth – of all places, he grew up in a small, remote, almost unheard-of place called Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan. His family home was a stilted house above the water. Years later, he likes to joke that when people say they live on the waterfront, a luxurious home by any measure, he would say, “that’s nothing compared to my house where I grew up, it was on the water.” He counts it a blessing to have grown up in that environment. More so, he credits his parents for instilling in him principles to live by which stood him in good stead when facing challenges. “My dad taught me ‘endurance’, and my mum encouraged me by saying, ‘Next year, you can do better’. These words always remind me of the oldtime favourite song “Ming Thian Huei Geng Kao” and “Tomorrow will be better”.” Others who have shaped his thinking include some of his lecturers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) like Russel Jack and John Gamble. In business, he has mentors like Robby Djohan, the former Chairman of Garuda Indonesia and Bank Mandiri; and Ciputra, the founder of Ciputra Group, one of the largest property developers in Indonesia.

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