They think, ideate, and create something magnificent. This can be a house, a park, a fancy hotel, a mall, a township, or just anything that impacts space we live in and are surrounded by. Design Middle East presents ‘Creative 30’ that includes the most celebrated, influential, and powerful designers and architects in the region who’re continuously working towards a better world
1 Isabel Pintado
Senior Vice President, Africa, China, Middle East, Thailand Regional
Managing Director, Bangkok, Dubai, Shanghai, Wilson Associates
Isabel Pintado is one of the most influential names in the design industry. She epitomises a style of harmonious natural and contemporary elements. With an invaluable familiarity of the region’s culture and business landscape, she generates opportunities for Wilson’s global design studios, having more than two decades of experience in the business, with nearly 20 years of which she has spent living in the Middle East. The team is currently working on numerous projects in the hospitality, F&B, and residential sectors. To name a few: The Westin Hotel & Resort in Ras Al Khaimah; Marsa Al Arab in Dubai, a renovation of Pai Thai at Al Qasr Resort, MGM Hotel as part of The Island project, refurbishment of the Palace Hotel Downtown, a famous nightclub in Ho Chi Minh City, CHILL Sky Bar as well as an exclusive boutique luxury spa in Abu Dhabi, among others. Pintado kindles her creativity by trekking in the mountains, camping in the desert, and hosting dinner parties for friends. Much of her inspiration is found through her love for travelling, watching people on the street, and visiting exhibitions by an eclectic roster of artists and designers.
2 Jason Burnside Partner
Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ)
Jason Burnside is a highly successful architect and specialises in the education sector delivering projects that are not only aesthetically pleasing but are also highly functional. Examples of his most recent work can be seen in the Dubai College with the completion of the new reception building and refurbishment of the D block, previously the administration building, as well as the addition of a 140-seat lecture hall on the campus site. Burnside’s desire to create great architecture is clear to see within his vast experience which ranges from concept through to award-winning built projects and, as one of the longest-serving architects in the firm, he has designed and delivered some of GAJ’s high profile projects including Serenia Residences on The Palm Jumeirah, Mysk Al Mouj in Muscat, and Emirates International School, Dubai. Burnside was made a partner at GAJ in 2008 and has led the design of more than 20 schools in the region since taking over the role of an educational specialist in 2011. As a team leader, he aims to deliver holistic projects that are highly functional, energy-efficient, and engaging. He is currently working on a number of different projects including the new Citizen’s School in Dubai, the Arcadia Secondary School also in Dubai and the ISG School in Saudi Arabia as well as the new SPACE (sports and performing arts centre of excellence) at Dubai College.
3 Joe Tabet Founder/Managing Director
Joe Tabet is a multi-award-winning architect with over 20 years of extensive experience in worldwide architecture, construction industry, master-planning, and urban design. Tabet successfully maintains JT+Partners as a world-renown consultant since its establishment in 2015. The firm has delivered iconic, environmental and socially sustainable projects globally from Morocco to Seychelles, Lebanon, India, Sri-Lanka, Angola, Cameroon, Zanzibar, Egypt, Portugal, Montenegro, North/East/Central Africa, KSA, UAE, spanning residential, hospitality, commercial, mixed-use, masterplan developments. Fervently believing his staff is key and future partner in ensuring JT+P’s continuing success, Tabet supports and challenges his staff, driving them to achieve their objectives. A firm supporter of gender balance and empowering women, Tabet evaluates his male/female staff based on work performance and earned merits, providing the same opportunities/ motivations for career growth/development.Proactive in full commitments to CSR, Tabet is passionate on raising awareness on sociable/sustainable communities, giving his staff good health/ financial benefits, fostering future generation, conducting business ethically and fairly and supporting worthy causes. From his ongoing portfolio, the Ritz Carlton Saadiyat and the five-star Atoll Resort in Abu Dhabi both expected to start operation in 2022. Lately, as the lead design consultant for a 378ha development in Zanzibar, the work started on the first phase including the overall masterplan concept as well as one of the five-star hotels. From the under construction and completed projects spread across the UAE and overseas some of the noteworthy projects are— the 219 keys Premier Inn hotel in Dubai, three residential buildings on Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi, the first 515 keys Hampton by Hilton resort and the Hillside private residence in Ras Al Khaimah, the 84ha One World master plan in Lucknow India, the Cove boutique resort in the Seychelles, and the five-star Red Sea Island Resort in Egypt.
4 Janus Rostock Vice President, Middle East & Africa,
Practice Lead Design + Planning & Economics
Head of Concept Architecture, AECOM
Janus Rostock is an award-winning architect, urban designer, and master planner who has led and delivered multiple high-profile projects across several continents over the last +23 years. He specialises in large-scale, complex multidisciplinary projects, and master plans with a human-centric design approach. Having received his M.Arch from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Copenhagen, following a year at l’Ecole d’Architecture de Paris Belleville, Paris, Rostock worked for Henning Larsen Architects and KHR. He moved to Dubai and joined Atkins in 2006, where he was part of the team delivering the Dubai Promenade and Cape Town Waterfront master plan. In 2008, he moved back to Denmark to start up Atkins’ architecture and design department in Copenhagen. He returned to the UAE in 2011 where he led the design of Dubai Opera and the Opera District, KIFAF, Prince Sultan Cultural Centre, and Qiddiya, to name a few. Since joining AECOM in July 2018, Rostock has grown the firm’s almost 100 strong master planning, urban design, and landscape practice, which is focussed on solving the region’s most complex challenges and designing solutions that help people and communities thrive. Rostock and his team are currently involved in several of the regions highest profile projects including, the masterplan and public realm design for Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai Harbour, NEOM, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh TOD, and Riyadh Complete Communities. Rostock has accumulated extensive international experience as the lead concept designer on projects in the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Iran, India, Azerbaijan, Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He is a founding board member of the Danish Green Building Council and a board member of The Danish Management Society (VL-94) MENA.
5 Ignacio Gomez
Design Director—Middle East, Aedas
With over 16 years of professional experience in architecture, Ignacio Gomez has been responsible for project design and management, specialising in master planning, hotel and leisure, residential and cultural projects across the Middle East. With over 17 years experience as an architect, since relocating to the Middle East in 2006, Gomez has established himself as a significant design architect in the region with a growing portfolio of projects recognised for their excellence Gomez completed his Master of Architecture and Engineering with Honors in Polytechnic University of Madrid, ETSAM and a postgraduate programme in Museography and Exhibition Spaces at Foundation Antonio Camuñas, Centro Superior de Arquitectura, Madrid, Spain. Prior to joining Aedas, he worked for Godwin Austen Johnson as partner and design director. Over the past few years, Gomez has been responsible for many key projects and as a design director at Aedas and in his previous practice, he is responsible for establishing the overall design direction in the region.
6 Paul Bishop
Owner and Founder, Bishop Design
Paul Bishop is one of the most celebrated designers in the region. Possessing an unprecedented wealth of experience over 23 years, Bishop has established himself as an unstoppable force in the interior design industry. Bishop has achieved a Master’s in Interior Architecture from Manchester University and two bachelors; one in interior design from Kingston University and one in furniture and product design from Brighton School of Art. He founded Bishop Design by Paul Bishop in 2004 and he is the innovative powerhouse behind the studios latest projects including the revolutionary dining destination Torno Subito for world’s best chef Massimo Bottura, Wavehouse for Atlantis and hospitality leaders Solutions Leisure, Buddha Bar in Mauritius as well as the firm’s first hotel opening Studio One. Currently working on 30+ projects across the globe, Bishop is contributing his tireless efforts and versatility to projects including a dynamic F&B concept for Jumeirah in the magnificent Al Qasr Hotel, six hospitality venues in Mauritius, three developments in India, plus latest dining offering to the W Hotel in Paris.
7 Joakim De Rham
CEO and Founder, Swiss Bureau Interior Design
With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Joakim De Rham is one of the most influential design leaders in this region. After graduating from Ecole d’Architecture Athenaeum Lausanne in 1996, he moved to Sao Paulo and shifted to pursue a career in interior architecture, where he worked with one of the most influential interior designers in Brazil, Sig Bergamin. It is here that Rham refined his craft and fell in love with the industry. Coming back to Switzerland inspired, Rham ignited the flame of a lifelong vision and created his own interior design company with his partner, Siavosh Adeli. In 2003, he moved to Dubai to establish his second design company, Swiss Bureau. One of his most significant projects to date is the design refurbishment of the “Room of The Emirates” in the United Nations in Geneva, which has honourably received numerous awards and nominations. He is currently working on an exciting series of confidential projects within the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and more.
8 Pallavi Dean
Founder and Creative Director, Roar
Pallavi Dean is the founder and creative director at Roar. A former professor of interior design at the American University of Sharjah, Dean strives to implement the latest theoretical and practical research into the firm’s designs. The flagship projects include the Delano Dubai hotel, UAE offices for media firm Edelman, and The Nursery of the Future for the UAE Prime Minister’s Office. Dean collaborated with Artemide to launch ‘Interweave’ an interactive lighting system for this year’s Euro Luce in Milan. Most exciting of all, the design firm is also collaborating with psychologist Briar Jacques on a piece of detailed research into workplace usage and design in the Middle East. It’s under wraps at the moment but will be unveiled very soon.
9 Rabih Geha
Founder, Rabih Geha Architects
Rabih Geha is a Lebanese architect and founder Beirutbased practice Rabih Geha Architects. After completing his BA in Architecture at the American University of Beirut, Geha travelled to Paris where he gained a master’s degree in architecture and design from l’École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI). After leaving ENSCI he worked with Rudy Ricciotti in Marseilles and Odile Decq in Paris. In 2006, Geha returned to Beirut and launched an experiment-driven and research-oriented workshop at l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux- Arts, where he still mentors Lebanon’s next generation of architects to this day. With Geha’s guidance, students have taken home several honours. Simultaneous to his teaching work, in 2006, Geha opened his design firm—Rabih Geha Architects. Their projects are diverse in terms of sectors and include works in Lebanon, Nigeria and KSA. Some of their award-winning projects include clubs ‘BAU’ and ‘2Weeks’, and the retail ‘Images d’Orient’ flagship in Beirut.
10 Kerem Cengiz
Managing Director—MENA, LWK+PARTNERS
Within a culturally dynamic global practise, Kerem Cengiz is part of a leadership group evolving LWK+PARTNERS from a 34 years old, hong kong rooted architectural practice, into a globally integrated design studio and has led the MENA operations since it’s established in Dubai in 2018. Cengiz brings over 20 years of award-winning international experience across all aspects of design, real estate development, project, and design management as managing director. Cengiz’s outstanding work and leadership have helped him secure many significant and high-profile projects across the UAE, GCC, and MENA region against other globally recognised international practices. This has earned Cengiz and the teams he’s led , the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award for Innovation in 2017, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2009, and two category wins at Cityscape Global 2019, in Dubai. His global exposure brings skills required to lead this important period of the practices’ history, guide and mentor his team, secure and deliver major projects, develop pipelines of work, often with complex stakeholder and partnership relationships, leading the design and delivery of significant, high-quality designs, and developments ranging across all major sectors of the industry. Cengiz believes that architecture as a discipline is going through a very interesting phase in this part of the middle east, transitioning from the purely commercial developer-led design industry to more focussed components like the public realm consideration and sustainability being given equal importance. He thinks this is the right time to develop opportunities across the MENA region, as the built environment is taking a new direction.
11 Jesper Godsk
Founder, LW Design
In 1999, Jesper Godsk founded LW Design with a stroke of inspiration. The design firm has completed 20 years. Godsk has developed over a hundred hospitality projects from the ground up. During its time in the industry, LW Design has concluded multiple successful interiors projects. According to Godsk, the design would be nothing without imagination and a drive to reach for the stars, but at the same time, embodying a creative idea requires a balance between comprehension and practicality. The LW Design team consistently evaluates whether the end product aligns with the initial concept because the design is about the people who will use it. The firm holds an impressive clientele and a massive portfolio including over 200 restaurants and 60 hotels. The Accor Group, Al Futtaim Group, Dubai Airport, Emaar properties, and Emirates Airlines are just a few names among countless others.
12 Chris Barnes
Owner and Founder, Broadway Interiors
Starting his career as a construction project manager in the UK, Chris Barnes achieved MCIOB qualification in 1991, before moving to Dubai to expand his creative abilities. Barnes continues to make an impact in the F&B sector, refurbishing five restaurants for Le Meridien Hotel and Conference Centre with Bebemos, and Beef Bistro listed in the top 20 restaurants in Dubai on Trip Advisor. His latest design for industry leaders Solutions Leisure ‘District Bar, Lounge and Bistro’ was recently launched in JBR, together with the iconic, multi-award-winning LSB and Asia Asia brands in Russia. His Black Tap craft burger restaurant designs are now present in six countries across the GCC and Europe with more outlets in the pipeline! The firm’s commercial portfolio this year lists high profile public projects such as the Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre, DEWA Academy, and government projects in KSA.
13 Shaun Killa
Design Partner, Killa Design
Shaun Killa is an award-winning architect with international experience spanning over 25 years. Throughout his career, Shaun has focussed his design philosophy on sustainability, with an emphasis on innovative low carbon buildings with unique structures, challenging the norms of designing recognisable projects. Killa is a RIBA Affiliated member and participates as part of the advisory committee for University of Sharjah’s School of Architecture, Dubai School of Architecture, and British University in Dubai (BUiD) for the Masters in Environmental Design Program (MSc). During his time as director of architecture at Atkins Middle East, Killa worked on several high-rise commissions such as the Bahrain World Trade Centre, the world’s first large-scale integration of wind turbines into a building, which contributed to the green building movement in the Middle East. He co-founded Killa Design office in 2015, where he worked on signature projects, including the award-winning designs for the Museum of the Future and SRG Tower, the Address Jumeirah Gate Hotel, a W hotel in India, Vida hotel in Marina, Aykon Twin Towers, and the Office of the Future, the first occupied printed building in the world.
14 Mustafa Khamash
Managing Director, Kart Group
Mustafa Khamash has worked with renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid for the Architectural Biennale of Venice and Scandinavian Pavilion projects, as well as Philippe Starck for his private residence, consolidating his solid international experience in the luxury interior design industry. In 2004, Khamash founded Kart Group, a Dubaibased luxury interior design atelier and a fine modern furniture importer for homes and offices. Passionate about art and sculpture, Khamash has been executed bespoke commissions for prestigious clients, most notable of which is Vision | Mission, a stunning mise en abyme installation inspired by Dubai’s visionary leaders: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, which occupies prime position in Dubai Design District.
15 Sneha Divias
Founder, Sneha Divias Atelier
Sneha Divias is known for her consistency and sophisticated style in a sea of changing trends. After earning her Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Lusiada University of Porto, Divias completed a series of architectural courses at the Delft University of Technology and Istanbul Technical University. Later on, she attended New York University to specialise in interior design. Then, Divias started practising in Lisbon and Dubai prior to establishing her own Atelier in Dubai. Portuguese-born Divias holds quite the impressive portfolio, from luxurious villas to hospitality projects, such as the Banyan Tree Residences and Dubai Holding Offices from boutique hotels to creative spaces like OliOli and White & the Bear, Sneha has done it all. There are many upcoming projects that she has in store as well such as a Nursery in Abu Dhabi, a Villa in Saudi Arabia, a penthouse in Dubai, a multipurpose room and reading area for Warehouse 421, and more.
16 Jennie Binchy
Design Director, Binchy and Binchy
ARB, RIBA chartered UK architect, and Bartlett graduate Jennie Binchy began her career working for environmental and urban engineers in London and Hong Kong. She then specialised in education design under Gollifer Langston Architects, winning a RIBA Award before moving to Dubai in 2008. Hands-on, with an eye for details, material exploration, and a passion for developing each project uniquely regardless of size or genre, Jennie Binchy co-founded Binchy and Binchy a boutique architecture and interiors studio in 2015. Recently, Binchy and Binchy showcased a series of collectable art pieces at Downtown Design 2019, named ‘Ten Tables’ and symbolise the design philosophies of Binchy’s ongoing projects. Current projects include an extensive Training Centre complex and hotel in Oman, a chain of French/ Arabic Bistros in Dubai due to open in January 2020, an Aviation Training Centre opening November 2019, in addition to a luxury private residence and several confidential projects
17 David Lessard
Partner and Design Director, H+A
David Lessard’s portfolio includes notable works with internationally acclaimed firms such as Perkins+Will, Allied Works, and Rafael Vinoly Architects. Having been based in Dubai for over a decade Lessard has actively contributed to the realisation of several award-winning buildings from concept design through to construction completion with a diverse typology of projects located across the region and beyond. Lessard’s design ethos adheres to a philosophy that form and material are a direct response to context, culture and environment. Understanding the local vernacular and respect for the human scale are essential undertones to his design thinking. He believes design can create opportunities for well-being in all senses of the term – enhancing the way we work, live and play through thoughtful designs that are relevant, creative and fit for their intended purpose. Lessard has held a seat on the AIA Middle East Chapter Board of Directors. As Membership Director he has contributed to the growth of the regional chapter, which in his tenure has become the largest international chapter worldwide.
18 Jonathan Ashmore
Founder and Director, ANARCHITECT
With over a decade of professional experience working for internationally acclaimed Architectural practices in Europe and the Middle-East, British chartered architect Jonathan Ashmore founded design practice ANARCHITECT. A post-graduate of the renowned Bartlett School of Architecture in London, Jonathan is an elected member of the RIBA Gulf Chapter and a British Council Cultural Excellence Fellowship Mentor. Ashmore is also an active design critic and regular architectural speaker across a variety of professional platforms and international academic institutions. His diverse portfolio of built work spans residential, leisure, hospitality, workplace and cultural projects of which several have received international design awards with work regularly published around the world in the global design press.
19 Yahya Kaddoura
Lead Design Architect, Atkins
Yahya Kaddoura has delivered a wide scale of projects in the Middle East, ranging from master planning and urban design to architecture with a wide range of functionality: hospitality, commercial, and residential, since 2013. Kaddoura is currently working on the design and delivering of the Emaar x Elie Saab residential tower, which will be soon occupying the marina skyline. In addition, he has worked with Meraas on the iconic Blue Water (Caesar Palace Serviced apartments), and Wasl (on both plots of Kifaf Development), exceeding the client’s expectations in delivering the first plot, which helped to win the two adjacent plots. Kaddoura’s passion for learning and nonstop research in the field reflects a continual path of personal and intellectual development. One of the researches and experimenting in architecture tackles sustainability in efficient design spaces and dual-functions through kinetic and adaptive architecture, e.g. a theatre, transforming to an exhibition /event hall (similarly used in Dubai Opera house). The research is done to understand and develop the schematics and structural features of what would become the X MOSQUE, which would expand or contract to adjust the size according to a number of people in it.
20 Emma Stinson
Co-Founder and Creative Director, Studio Em
Sharjah-born Emma Stinson is one of the most recognisable faces in the industry. As cofounder and creative director of Studio EM, Emma Stinson has designed projects for many of the regions leading F&B and retail brands, including international heavyweights such as Michelin star chefs, Marco Pierre White and Vineet Bhatia. Having started Studio EM in 2011 at a young age, Stinson leads the way in the pioneering movement of the Boutique interior design practices in the region with Studio EM firmly establishing themselves as one of the leading boutique firms in the region. Having worked in the UAE for the last 15 years, 2019, saw Stinson and Studio EM move heavily into Saudi Arabia with seven new restaurants coming up, a cultural centre, a new gym complex, and retail outlets all planned within KSA during the next few months.
21 Michael Magill
Managing Director/Creative Director, RSP
Michael Magill trained in the UK where he worked for a prestigious architectural practice in London. The Royal Institute of British Architects awarded Michael’s design of the Downe Hospital in Ireland as the Best Regional Building in 2011. Prior to joining RSP, Magill was employed in a number of high profile international architectural practices and led design teams, which have won numerous international architectural competitions. Michael Magill opened RSP Dubai branch in 2009, and has since then expanded an initial design team of nine to over 70 professional staff today. RSP boasts of 1,300 professionals making it one of the largest architectural practice in the world with its international headquarters in Singapore and 12 design hubs globally. Some of the award-winning projects include Al Rajhi Bank Headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Khalifa University Campus in Abu Dhabi; Nakheel Mall and Palm Tower on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Other notable projects that Michael has led in the past two years include a large high-end mixed-use development with waterfront resorts, residential communities and a fashion institute in the east coast of Sri Lanka, a 30-storey hotel tower in Manchester, a highly exclusive and first of its kind 85-key wellness and rejuvenation centre in UAE, master plan of a 45-acre hotel resort project in Northern India and a newly awarded residential Marina village in Abu Dhabi.
22 Indu Varanasi
Founder and Design Director, IRD
Born and brought up in India, Indu Varanasi discovered her ability to meet aesthetic design with function. Varanasi has a degree in Architecture from JNTU in Hyderabad and a Master’s Degree in Design and Architecture from SPA, New Delhi in 1993. Starting her career in architectural practices in India and Dubai, she discovered her love for the ‘detail’ and the finer aspects of design and gravitated towards interior architecture. Under her leadership, the company’s design portfolio has grown from Interior Architecture to Public Space design and customization of FF&E. She is also doing some international projects spanning Tanzania and Saudi. Some of her successful projects from the region include Dewa auditorium, Amity university, and Novo Cinemas.
23 Boran Agoston
Design Director, SIE Consultants (SIEC)
Boran Agoston graduated from Sarajevo University with a Master of Science in Architecture. He is an Affiliate Member of the Australian Institute of Architects with 35 years of international experience. Agoston worked on the prestigious Dubai Metro project while he was working for Aedas. Boran later joined RMJM as a managing director and design director in 2013. He then helped form SIEC as design director in November 2014, where he played a pivotal role in establishing a six-person company that now has over 100 employees. The list of projects Boran was involved in while at SIEC is extensive and includes the Baniyas Point Hotel, Pulse Town Homes, SZR Tower, SZR 21 Show Room, Saadiyat Island Resort, The Pulse Gate Mall amongst others. His design approach is based on an architecture that has a modern sense of both tranquillity and spatial continuity.
24 Richard Fenne
Principal and Regional Executive Chair, Woods Bagot Middle East
Richard Fenne is a RIBA and ARB registered architect. He also holds a position on the Woods Bagot Strategy Council, a global group that develops the overall strategic direction for the business. His professional experience of over 18 years ranges from inception to completion of developments covering a multitude of sectors including cultural, civic, mixed-use, workplace, hospitality and education. Since joining Woods Bagot Middle East studios in early 2011, Fenne had led some significant and notable projects including the multiaward- winning IRENA HQ building and Etihad Eco Residences in Masdar City and Shams Meera, an innovative mid-market residential development in Abu Dhabi. One of Fenne’s current major projects is the Dubai Exhibition Centre development, which will be the UAE’s leading exhibition venue and the main venue of Expo 2020 Dubai.
25 Sotirios Tsoulos
Design Director, RMJM Dubai
With extensive experiences in Scotland, Austria, Greece, UAE, Malaysia, and Turkey, Sotiris Tsoulos is the design director of RMJM Dubai. Tsoulos combines on-site knowledge and experience with the contemporary architectural principles of sustainable design, human scale and understanding of the Urban environment. He is a supporter of simple architecture, economical design in every respect and modularity. His portfolio ranges from large-scale urban projects and Olympic Games arenas to archaeology, office buildings, hotels and housing. His experience includes designs for developments in numerous cities across Europe, Asia, and Middle East
26 Firas Alsahin
Co-Founder and Design Director, 4SPACE
One of the most-recognised faces in the F&B design industry, Firas Alsahin is a fully accredited SBID (Society of British and International Design) professional. As a cofounder of 4SPACE, Alsahin never stopped achieving his goals. His passion for design resonates to all his projects in the field of F&B, Retail, and Hospitality sector. He always considers his designs to be futuristic, minimalist, functional, sustainable, and social. Some of his recent projects include Charcoal Garden in Shatha Tower Media City, Kava & Chai outlets in Mall of the Emirates and DIFC, Al Dawr Al Masry in Jeddah, Tutus Kurniati, a retail project in Nakheel Mall, amongst others.
27 Laila Al- Yousuf
Design Director and Partner, SAY Studio
Laila Al-Yousuf has spent many years within the design industry while working for global design practice, Perkins + Will, and has been recognised previously for her exceptional work, having designed for Google, Adidas, Ford and IBM. Finally realizing her dream of starting her own design practice, SAY Studio, with business partner Matthew Sexton in June 2018. As the design director and partner of this new, dynamic firm, she has led the team to some landmark wins such as PwC, Natixis and Facebook to name a few.
28 Carla Conte
Creative Director/Founder, Brand Creative
Carla Conte is considered a retail and environmental branding specialist with experience in designing shopping centres, retail destinations, beauty, wellness and fashion brands, food experiences and cinemas. Conte’s instinctive yet highly strategic design expertise is the major force behind the work she has produced in North America, Latin America, the UK, Asia and presently the Middle East. Having worked over a decade for one of North America’s top branding agencies, Carla’s experience in the field is truly one that spans the globe and shows impressive variety in terms of project scale and type. In 2011, she founded Brand Creative which platforms multidisciplinary design thinking and currently has a team of 18 designers across three countries.
29 Ellen Søhoel
Founder and Director, XBD Collective
Ellen Søhoel is the founder and director of the XBD Collective, which is comprised of several sub-divisions including ‘XBD Interior’, ‘XBD Architecture’ and ‘Bishop Design Residential’ which was an extension of previously co-founded brand ‘Bishop Design LLC’, originally established in 2004. Now with the latest addition of ‘XBD Collective London’, Søhoel continues to create customised signature interior designs both regionally and internationally to a wide variety of brands, businesses, and private clientele. Originally hailing from Oslo, Norway, Søhoel holds qualifications in Marketing and Business Development, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. After moving to the UAE in 2003, and now with 16 years of expertise, the Norwegian designer has completed hundreds of projects across all sectors and designed for some of the most prominent names in hospitality, residential and commercial design such as ‘Emaar’, ‘W Hotel’, ‘The Fairmont Hotel’ and ‘Dubai Properties’, to name a few.
30 Asmaa Said
Associate Director, Stickman Tribe
Asmaa Said is the associate director of boutique design firm, Stickman Tribe. Said runs Dubai’s multi-disciplinary office, working on signature projects globally in over 10 countries and 23 cities. At Stickman, she has worked with some of the world’s most reputable operators and developers such as Marriott, Shangri-La, Accor, Starwood, FRHI, and Hyatt to name a few. Leading a team of 15 designers and architects in Dubai, over the past 12 months alone, she has delivered highprofile projects such as Waldorf Astoria Maldives, Mercedes me Chengdu, Shangri-La Oman renovation, Hyatt Place Xián, The Ritz-Carlton F&B, and Conrad Hilton Kuala Lumpur F&B. Said is currently working on a multitude of exciting projects including a full scope hotel in Seychelles and a unique standalone brewery, Pirate Life, scheduled to open in 2020, in Perth, Australia.