Middle East Lighting Design Summit 2019

29-30 April 2019
Roda Al Bustan, Dubai
United Arab Emirates

2018 Speakers

Michael Grubb |
Michael Grubb

Creative Director Michael Grubb Studio

Gerd Pfarré |
Gerd Pfarré

Managing / Design Director Pfarré Lighting Design

Paul Miles |
Paul Miles

Principal Lighting Designer & Partner Light Touch PLD LLC

Nikos Moskofidis |
Nikos Moskofidis

Associate dpa Lighting Consultants FZ LLC

Regina Santos |
Regina Santos

Associate Lighting Designer Godwin Austen Johnson

Hrvoje Cindrić |
Hrvoje Cindrić

Associate, Middle East Urbanism Leader Arup

Nadine Atta |
Nadine Atta

Director of Design The First Group

Tanas Khoury |
Tanas Khoury

CEO Light Concept LLC

Stuart Allen |
Stuart Allen

Managing Director & Founder Allen Architecture Interiors Design

Ellen Søhoel |
Ellen Søhoel

Founder XBD Collective

George Katodrytis |
George Katodrytis

Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture American University of Sharjah

Patrick Bean |
Patrick Bean

Director of Interior Design Lacasa

Utku Baskir |
Utku Baskir


Martin Valentine |
Martin Valentine

Global Design Director Ligman

Paolo Toppan |
Paolo Toppan

CTO Success Electronics

Victor Patrick Andrews
Victor Patrick Andrews

Managing Director Ruud Lighting Arabia

Giammaria Ravetti |
Giammaria Ravetti

President Spacecannon

David Michael Lippold
David Michael Lippold

Director LiteIP / Luceco

Dr. Nabyl Chenaf |
Dr. Nabyl Chenaf

Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture, Art and Design American University in Dubai

Gerald Strickland |
Gerald Strickland

Director Middle East Lighting Association

Jan Denneman |
Jan Denneman

Principal Global Lighting Association

Basel Kotob |
Basel Kotob

Practice Leader HOK

Melani Sabhaney |
Melani Sabhaney

Partner & Design Director Interspace

Waleed Fakousa |
Waleed Fakousa

Senior Associate CD+M Lighting Design Group

Celine Salman |
Celine Salman

Design Director Paramount Hotels & Resorts

Alan Wildes |
Alan Wildes

Senior Landscape Architect LMS International Landscape Architecture

Mark Vowles |
Mark Vowles

Director Nulty+

Faraz Izhar |
Faraz Izhar

Senior Lighting Designer KEO International Consultants

Richard Fenne |
Richard Fenne

Principal Woods Bagot

Juan Hildebrand |
Juan Hildebrand

Managing Director Schwitzke Middle East

Rikus De Kock |
Rikus De Kock

Senior Lighting Designer Illuminate Lighting Design

Isabel Pintado |
Isabel Pintado

SVP & Managing Director Wilson Associates – Middle East & Africa

Jennie Binchy |
Jennie Binchy

Director Binchy and Binchy Architecture

Linsey Thomson |
Linsey Thomson

Assistant Professor of Interior Design Heriot-Watt University

Vinod Pillai |
Vinod Pillai

Principal of Lighting Design LW Design Group

Jeroen Kortekaas |
Jeroen Kortekaas

Head of Architecture BLUEHAUS GROUP

Andrea Sensoli |
Andrea Sensoli

Principal Architect ASZ architetti

Omid Rouhani |
Omid Rouhani

Project Director Aukett Swanke Architectural Design

Tobias Honey |
Tobias Honey

Senior Design Manager VE Experts

Benjamin Malhotra |
Benjamin Malhotra

Creative Director ODG

DJ Armin |
DJ Armin

Managing Partner ZAS

Firas Alsahin |
Firas Alsahin

Managing Partner 4SPACE Interior Design

Hervé Collignon |
Hervé Collignon

President and Founder HOOKS Strategy & Innovation

Praveen Thampi |
Praveen Thampi

Creative Director The Ministry Of Light

Farah Naz |
Farah Naz

Team Leader, Sustainability Associate Buro Happold Asia India and Middle East (AIME)

Faysal Alhaffar |
Faysal Alhaffar

Senior Lighting Designer, Project Manager Umaya Lighting Design

David Andrew Dunn |
David Andrew Dunn

Lighting Expert Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities

Lotfi Amara
Lotfi Amara

Associate & Head of Interior Design RSP

Maja Kozel |
Maja Kozel

Principal Designer Maja Kozel Designs

Bassel Omara |
Bassel Omara

Senior Design Architect / BIM Manager Dorsch Gruppe, Abu Dhabi

Alan Mitchell |
Alan Mitchell

Creative & Managing Director neolight

Cameron McPherson |
Cameron McPherson

Design Director IHG

Deepu Raj
Deepu Raj

Principal Designer LET Design Lighting Consultants

Nader Gammas
Nader Gammas

Founder Nader Gammas Lighting Design

Rodrigo Roveratti |
Rodrigo Roveratti

Design Director LA LUZ

Michael Grubb

Michael Grubb

Creative Director, Michael Grubb Studio

Michael Grubb is Creative Director of Michael Grubb Studio and former UK Lighting Designer of the Year.

Over the last 19 years Michael’s projects have been featured on BBC TV and Channel 4 as well as in the national and specialist press. He has won accolades including the National Lighting Design Award, Lux Award, RIBA White Rose, Landscape Institute Award and Design Week Award.

In 2011 the Olympic Delivery Authority appointed Michael as its Learning Legacy Ambassador for Lighting. The programme showcased the lessons learned from London 2012.

In 2015 Michael co-founded the RE:LIT project, a charity initiative that works with manufacturers to take superseded, damaged and ex-demo lighting equipment from their shelves and make use of them in community projects.

Michael is a member of the International Association of Lighting Designers, Society of Light & Lighting, Chartered Society of Lighting and a guest lecturer at the Arts University College of Bournemouth.

Project History

South Park Plaza, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, UK
Bath Abbey Footprint Project, UK
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland
Wonderlab, Science Museum, London, UK
Swansea Tidal Bay Lagoon, Wales, UK
Moscow Parks Lighting Strategy, Russia
Westminster Bridge Road Regeneration Project, London, UK
Elephant Park Regeneration, London, UK
Arts University Bournemouth, UK
West Downs Campus, University of Winchester, UK
Vincent Van Gogh Travelling Exhibition, Amsterdam & Worldwide
UCL East Campus, QEOP, London, UK
Pier Approach & Lower Gardens, Bournemouth, UK
LiveWorks Public Realm, Newcastle, UK
Gardens of Light Festival, UK
New Museums Lighting Masterplan, University of Cambridge, UK
Disobedient Objects, V&A, London
London Landmarks Feasibility Study, Sky Arts, London
Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track, Weybridge, UK
Lavazza Visitor Center, Turin, Italy

Gerd Pfarré

Gerd Pfarré

Managing / Design Director, Pfarré Lighting Design

Gerd Pfarré founded Pfarré Lighting Design in 1998, an independent lighting design practice based in Munich.

After completing an apprenticeship in carpentry and cabinet-making and working as a freelance interior designer, he joined the design team of Ingo Maurer in the early eighties.

Since 1998, Gerd is a professional member of the International Association of Lighting Designers IALD. From 2002 until 2005 he served as a Member of the IALD Board of Directors, in 2012 Gerd was inducted to the IALD College of Fellows. He is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences around the world, and a juror in the field of lighting design.

From 2011 until 2013 he was the co-editor of the print edition ILLUMINATOR. His studio is a recipient of over 100 national and international design awards, such as the most prestigious award in Lighting Design, the Radiance Award of Excellence. On the occasion of the 40th Lighting Design Awards in London 2016, Gerd Pfarré was named "Lighting Designer of the Year“. The projects of Pfarré Lighting Design have been featured in more than 400 publications worldwide.

Paul Miles

Paul Miles

Principal Lighting Designer & Partner, Light Touch PLD LLC

Paul Miles has been working in the lighting industry for over a decade. During his development Paul has experienced working in many aspects of lighting, including Project Management, Lighting Consultancy, Independent Lighting Design & Working for world renowned European Luminaire Manufacturers.

In 2007 Paul relocated from the United Kingdom to the Middle East where he developed a lighting design department for WSP Middle-East. After the successful completion of various projects including the interior FOH Mall areas of Mirdif City Centre, Paul now is Principal Lighting Designer and Partner at Light Touch PLD L.L.C.

Notable Completed Projects

  • Mirdif City Centre, Dubai
  • Fujairah City Centre, Fujairah
  • Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai Pullman Hotel, Dubai
  • Al Reem Island Beach and Yacht Club
  • Deira City Centre Mall
  • Almas Tower office
  • Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia
  • D1 Tower
  • Palazzo Versace, Dubai
  • Jeddah Pearl, KSA
  • The Beach, JBR Walk, Meeras
  • Al Jaddaf Mixed Use Developement - Swiss Hotel,
  • Hilton Double Tree and Park Inn plus Service Apartments
  • Dhow & Anchor, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
  • Al Falah Mall, Abu Dhabi

Nikos Moskofidis

Nikos Moskofidis

Associate, dpa Lighting Consultants FZ LLC

Following his graduation from the Democritus University of Thrace with a degree in Architectural Engineering in 2007 Nikos started working as a lighting designer.

Over the last 10 years Nikos has collaborated with several design practices gaining substantial experience in all stages of design till project completion by working in residential, hospitality, leisure, public spaces, heritage and
landmark projects.

Nikos joined the dpa Dubai office in 2014 and is currently involved in some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the region.

Nikos believes strongly in the collective creative process and contributes to dpa’s diverse team, throughout the entire design process with his creative thinking and ability to communicate his ideas.

Regina Santos

Regina Santos

Associate Lighting Designer, Godwin Austen Johnson

Having attained a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, a Bachelor of Science in Architecture & Urban Planning and a Master of Science in Architectural Lighting Design, Regina decided to commit to her passion and specialize in lighting design for the last ten years after 12 years of professional experience working with architecture. In Dubai since 2010, Regina is an Associate Lighting Designer at Godwin Austen Johnson Architects and head of the lighting design department, with a comprehensive portfolio of work from public spaces to hotels, commercials and residential projects.

Hrvoje Cindrić

Hrvoje Cindrić

Associate, Middle East Urbanism Leader, Arup

Hrvoje is an urban planner and designer, leading Arup's urbanism team in the Middle East. He has been involved in projects ranging from small place-making interventions to city-wide regeneration strategies, and from large greenfield developments to strategic plans in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.

He is a passionate believer in creating spaces and places for people first and a keen proponent of regeneration, compactness of urban environments and people centred use of technology. He is committed to helping create better urban environments in the Middle East, through challenging accepted norms and nurturing innovation. He combines his professional awareness in urban planning and design with his interest in anthropology, human geography, psychology and history in order to better understand and make the most of their interdependencies.

Nadine Atta

Nadine Atta

Director of Design, The First Group

As a graduate of Architecture, Nadine has been exposed to building In-Out design, and also has an enhanced understanding of space planning and functionality. Her design abilities are always adaptable, and most definitely not defined by style or budget as she can switch between luxurious to affordability in order to consistently deliver perfection.

Currently the Director of Design at The First Group, Nadine is in charge of mixed use and hotel projects. She has more than 11 years’ experience in the region dedicated mainly to interior design and fit out work execution.

Nadine has successfully delivered more than 3500units in the UAE and is currently working on another 1500units. Her participation in projects lies between design and execution of the fit out works, including day to day follow ups with involved parties such as contractors, consultants and clients. Her current position also allows for more involvement in terms of budgeting and financial reporting.

Tanas Khoury

Tanas Khoury

CEO, Light Concept LLC

Tanas Khoury is the CEO and founder of (Light Concept LLC) lighting design firm based in Abu Dhabi city, capital of United Arab Emirates. Light Concept LLC was established in 2007.

Tanas achieved his BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from Birzeit University, Palestine in 1984. He has 20 years of experience in lighting design and latest lighting technologies.

His vast experience contributed to his appointment as one of the GE-EDISON Award 2011 jury panel which took place in Cleveland USA, 2012. To top it all off, he received the innovative lighting project award of year 2013 by Light Middle East exhibition in Dubai, UAE and shortlisted for the Lighting project of the year 2014 by Middle East electricity exhibition in Dubai, UAE as well as LUXLIVE Middle east which took place in Abu Dhabi in 2016.

Tanas is a professional member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD).

Stuart Allen

Stuart Allen

Managing Director & Founder, Allen Architecture Interiors Design

Stuart Allen acquired the Middle East wing of UK design company Artillery four years ago to found award-winning consultancy Allen Architecture Interiors Design (AAID). In just seven years working in the region, Allen has established a world class portfolio of projects, a team designing and delivering innovative, ambitious and highly prestigious commercial projects throughout the Middle East, and a studio in London catering to international clients.

With extensive experience of delivering luxury hospitality, residential and retail interiors, Allen has built a reputation for AAID as a consultancy that values integrity and transparency, and delivers thoughtful, bespoke design solutions of unsurpassed quality and attention to detail. He inspires clients to maximize the potential of their projects through close collaboration, and works with local contractors, suppliers and artisans to achieve the high standard of work that has become a hallmark for AAID.

Allen is passionate about nurturing young talent, and supports employees’ development through workshops, off site seminars and in-house mentoring.

Completed and current projects:

  • Reit Retail Extension - Dubai, UAE
  • Boston Group Consulting Office - Dubai, UAE
  • Ministry of Economy Planning Office - Riyadh, KSA
  • Dubai Holding - Dubai, UAE
  • General Electric Aviation TOW Center - Airport Road, Dubai
  • ROGO’s Restaurant - Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • British Airways Lounge, Dubai Aiport, Dubai, UAE
  • BP - Dubai, UAE
  • White & Case - Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, UAE & Riyadh, KSA
  • Booz & Co - Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Willis, Aldar HQ - Abu Dhabi and Sama Tower - Dubai, UAE
  • Torishima - Dubai, UAE
  • Index Tower Residential facilities - Dubai, UAE
  • Waldorf Astoria - Ras Al Khaima, UAE
  • FGB- Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi & Wealth Management, Dubai
  • RBS / Coutts - Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Northern Trust Bank - Sowwah Square, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • McKinsey - Abudhabi
  • MorningStar, Mumbai
  • Wood Group PSN - Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Arbuthnot Latham - Dubai, UAE
  • FGB Headquarters, Abu Dhabi

Previous experience:

Fifteen years USA based experience specialising in retail, residential, hospitality and corporate including: Kramer Design Group, New York as design director and lead VVTTdesigner for commercial retail projects worldwide.

Ellen Søhoel

Ellen Søhoel

Founder, XBD Collective

Ellen Søhoel, former Bishop, is one of the Founding members of the International Award Winning company ‘Bishop Design LLC’ which established in Dubai in 2004.

Ellen possesses an innate desire to create customized signature Interior Designs both regionally and internationally and as Managing Partner for 12 years in Bishop Design, she has won over 40 Awards worldwide. Ellen has, through her 14 years in Dubai, completed projects across all sectors within the industry, and designed for some of the most prominent names in Hospitality, Residential and Commercial such as W Hotel, The Fairmont Hotel and Dubai Properties. She is also well known for completing some of the most luxurious Private Residences in the world.

Recently, Ellen has established ‘XBD Collective’, a multi-disciplined Design Firm that offers creative Architectural, Interior and Landscape Design Services.

‘XBD Collective’ is set up as a collection of multiple design disciplines including the new brands, ‘XBD Architecture’ and ‘XBD Interior Design’. ‘XBD Collective’ also incorporates the established award winning ‘Bishop Design Residential’. The Collective Group has been formed as a result of a high demand to expand the services within the organization, as well as natural evolution of continued growth.

George Katodrytis

George Katodrytis

Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture, American University of Sharjah

George Katodrytis is an architect involved in practice, teaching and research. He is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He studied and taught at the Architectural Association in London and he has been a visiting professor at various schools around the world. He built a number of projects in Europe and the Middle East as well as published widely on contemporary architecture, urbanism, cultural theory and digital media. The work addresses the ‘city’, especially as it is evolving in the 21st century. He is the co-editor of the Architectural Design issue ‘UAE and the Gulf: Architecture and Urbanism Now’ published in March 2015.

Patrick Bean

Patrick Bean

Director of Interior Design, Lacasa

With a Master's in interior design from Manchester University and more than 22 years of hospitality design experience, Patrick Bean boasts an extensive and diverse portfolio. As the director of interior design at Lacasa, Patrick aims to achieve a balance of design, aesthetic and function while fully expressing his clients' vision.
His experience spans diverse markets including MENA, Asia, and Europe, having worked on the Address Hotel on the Boulevard, the Radisson in Liuzhou, China, and the Marriott in Minsk.

Utku Baskir

Utku Baskir


Utku BASKIR has studied Industrial Design at Istanbul Technical University. He has got Master in Design and Master in Arts degree at Domus Academy Milano, started his career at Audi Group performing lighting and sonic design.

In 2002 he has founded AYDINLATMA MERKEZI® (ARKILIGHT®) following his family’s design background. The company has been developing a network of ‘Lighting and Design Professionals’ offering wide range of possibilities for Architectural Lighting Solutions and design services:      creating atmospheres, effects and experiences with light featuring an ‘Individual Touch’ to the project. Each project challenge has been managed as a multidisciplinary design and engineering practice. 16 years of experience honoured the team to serve worldwide references such as FAIRMONT, RITZ CARLTON, CONRAD, HOLIDAY INN, DECATHLON, COCA COLA and more.

Utku and his team aims at reflecting their energy on:

Design Oriented, Well Engineered, Value Added LIGHTING SOLUTIONS.  

Utku has served as Vice President of Industrial Designers’ Society of Turkey and won design awards in the field of industrial design. Based on his experience in multidisciplinary design, his passion is to highlight the effect of ‘light touch’ in life and architecture.

Martin Valentine

Martin Valentine

Global Design Director, Ligman

Martin Valentine was appointed Global Design Director at Ligman Lighting in 2018 and has worked in the field of specialist lighting design for over 25 years. A Masters graduate from the Bartlett School of Architecture, he has worked within the client, independent design practice, multidisciplinary consultants and now lighting manufacturer sides. At Ligman, Martin’s role has a strong focus on the European, Asian, Australasian, Middle Eastern and North American markets. His work encompasses standards, quality, technology, training and events, defining R&D for future interior and exterior product ranges and interfacing with the international lighting design community and clients.

Previously, as Lighting Expert for Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Martin’s work included publishing the award-winning new Abu Dhabi Government public lighting design standards and best practice, leading the implementation of an Emirate-wide Sustainable Lighting Strategy and overseeing the lighting design on the Municipality’s mega-projects. He is also Head of the Advisory Board & Course Director at The Lighting Institute: TLI was recently launched in the Middle East offering lighting education courses as well as establishing the first Association, Community and Voice representing quality lighting and quality lighting design for the region.

Paolo Toppan

Paolo Toppan

CTO, Success Electronics

Mr. Paolo Toppan is a telecommunications engineer, who established an European engineering company specialized in wireless sensor networks solutions. With a more than a decade of international experience in research and business development in the field of modelling, implementation and testing of distributed heterogeneous wireless networks, his constant interaction with leading companies in the ICT sector has allowed him to be at the forefront of the latest technological developments in ICT, especially in relation to security and IoT. Paolo has implemented solutions for various security and B2B applications and has led the development of the ILCS NIKKON wireless sensor network infrastructure. His latest projects are on artificial intelligence applied to fault prediction in the industrial IoT

Victor Patrick Andrews

Victor Patrick Andrews

Managing Director, Ruud Lighting Arabia

V. P. Andrews was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia and is a graduate of Electrical Engineering and holder of post graduate lighting certificate from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. He has 35 years experience in the lighting industry in various positions in Australia, the U.S.A., Great Britain and in the Middle East, latterly having been based in the Dubai, United Arab Emirates since 1991. Currently he is the managing director of Ruud Lighting Arabia (LLC) which was incorporated in Dubai in 2004.

Giammaria Ravetti

Giammaria Ravetti

President, Spacecannon

Born in 1968, after graduating in law, he obtained 4 master's degrees in  Public Relations, Marketing and Finance. Since 1995 he has joined the company Spacecannon signing important projects as General Manager:

New York Tribute in Light September 11
Bruxelles Dexia Tower
Winter Olympics in Turin
Kuala Lumpur Petronas Tower
Shanghai Formula 1 Race Track
Dubai Burj Khalifa Opening Cerimony
Taipei 101 Tower
Venice Casino
Bogotà Colpatria Tower
Riyadh Al Faisaliah Centre
Hong kong Symphony of Lights
Singapore Helix Bridge
Budapest First millennium
Berlin Millenium New Year's Eve
Dubai Princess Tower
Italy Pavarotti Concert and Eros Ramazzotti Concert
Denmark Museum of Modern Art
Iceland Yoko Ono's Peace Tower


Starting in 2012, he became owner of the mark and now President of the Company Spacecannon, inaugurating the new path of activity with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Since 2010 he has been working on developing new lighting concepts in the United Arab Emirates area, with the aim of procuring profits for his clients through his lighting solutions.

He recently oversaw the lighting of the centenarians of ENI Group for the Municiplity of Venice.

Named in 2014 as one of the best Made in Italy entrepreneurs in the world.

David Michael Lippold

David Michael Lippold

Director, LiteIP / Luceco

David served a 5 year Electronics apprenticeship with GEC Marconi gaining an HND in Radio Electronics, before attending Bristol University where he completed a Joint Honours degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.
From University David joined various global organisations such as, Deloitte, FW Thorpe/Thorlux Group as Managing Director and became a Main Board Director of FW Thorpe plc in 1998.
David began work on the LiteIP Wireless Control system in 2010.  LiteIP Ltd was incorporated in 2014 and became an independent business in 2016.
David is the owner and Managing Director of LiteIP Ltd and is also the System Architect and is named as the inventor of several Patents associated with wireless lighting controls.

Dr. Nabyl Chenaf

Dr. Nabyl Chenaf

Professor of Architecture and Dean of the School of Architecture, Art and Design, American University in Dubai

Dr. M. Nabyl Chenaf is a professor of Architecture and Dean of the school of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University in Dubai. Before that, he worked as the Editor of the Arabic/English edition of l”ARCA magazine of Architecture, Design and Visual Communication.

He taught Interior Design, Architecture and Urban Planning since 1989 year of completion of his Ph.D. from Nottingham University - UK.

He served as the president of the national committee of pedagogy of town management and urban techniques in Algeria, as well as a member/chair of organizing and scientific committees in several international conferences on Architecture and Urban Planning. He is a peer reviewer for research funding institutions and has been regularly involved in research supervision and juries for international competitions in Architecture and Urban Design.

Dr. Chenaf designed several buildings and urban settlements including new neighborhoods, rehabilitation of squatters and restoration.

Finally, Dr. Chenaf delivers training workshops in town management and planning to senior decision-makers and operators in the field in several countries.

Gerald Strickland

Gerald Strickland

Director, Middle East Lighting Association

Gerald Strickland works with regional and global stakeholders to align international energy efficiency and environmental regulations with a focus on the lighting sector. On behalf of a number of lighting associations, he has played a key role in securing mandatory legislation for the phase out of inefficient lighting across the European Union and in the Middle East region. Gerald has served as an advisor to the Australian Department of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, the National Reform & Development Commission of the People’s Republic of China, the UN Environment & Development Programs, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency and numerous leading international lighting manufacturers.

Jan Denneman

Jan Denneman

Principal, Global Lighting Association


Innovation, transformation, strategy, growth and entrepreneurship. Networker, partnerships, stakeholder management. Strong people motivator and team builder of international alliances, based on transparency and creating trust. Focused on making things happen.

Basel Kotob

Basel Kotob

Practice Leader, HOK

Basel Kotob is an Architect with over 25 years of experience in Design, Project Management, Operations and Business Development.  He has worked on large scale mixed use, residential, institutional, commercial, and hospitality developments in the Middle East and in North America.

He holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona.  He is a registered architect in the Province of Ontario, Canada and a LEED accredited professional.  He is currently the Practice Leader for Architecture at HOK in Dubai.

Melani Sabhaney

Melani Sabhaney

Partner & Design Director, Interspace

Melani Sabhaney brings with her 24 years of expertise as a design consultant. She started her career in Bangalore, India and worked with reputed builders and companies.

She curated an art gallery called Atelier in Bangalore, hence worked with various artists in India.

After moving to Dubai 16 years ago, Sabhaney worked with renowned consultants such as NEB and DesignTeam UK until 2005 when she started her own practice, Interspace, along with her business partner, Paul Ninan. The 12-year-old firm has worked with high profile clientele in hospitality, luxury residences and retail across the GCC, India and the Far East.

She has a practical and empathetic approach to design.

Her strong belief  in maintaining relationships has a proven record with repeat projects from multiple clients and with more than 132 stores for the same gold and jewelry group.

Waleed Fakousa

Waleed Fakousa

Senior Associate, CD+M Lighting Design Group

Waleed Fakousa is the head of CD+M’s architectural lighting design studio in Dubai, and the managing director of The Lighting Institute.

With more than a decade practicing lighting design in Europe and the Middle East, Waleed believes that elevating the awareness & understanding of light within the design community is a key factor contributing in appreciating the quality and value of the profession.

He has designed and worked on a cross-section of award winning international projects in Europe and the Middle East varying from shopping malls, public realm, museums, offices, hotels & healthcare.
Waleed holds a Masters degree in architectural lighting design from Hochschule Wismar, Germany, since 2009.

He is striving to improve and solidify the role of the lighting community in the MENA region and how we, as a profession, can greatly enhance the lives of others through knowledge transfer and education.

Celine Salman

Celine Salman

Design Director, Paramount Hotels & Resorts

Celine Salman is the Design Director at Paramount Hotels & Resorts, a luxury lifestyle hotel brand originating from Paramount Pictures film studio in California.

Celine leads the design management and development of the properties, integrating the brand DNA of California Lifestyle and Hollywood Glamour with technical and operational requirements into innovative and engaging hospitality experiences.

Having worked on several sides of the industry – as owner, operator and designer – Celine brings a unique perspective to each project. Paired with an MBA from IE Business School, her philosophy is to pay attention to the details while keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Senior Landscape Architect, LMS International Landscape Architecture

Alan is a Landscape Architect from Ireland, who relocated to work with Atkins Abu Dhabi in 2014. He has been working with public realm and landscape design for over 10 years having graduated from the School of Landscape Architecture in University College Dublin.

To date, he has spent time working in offices in the Middle East, India, Dublin and Australia. His portfolio of work includes sites such as MBZ City Public Realm design, Dublin’s Northwall Quay Master Plan and the Herberton Regeneration Masterplan in Dublin.

Most recently Alan was engaged as a Public Realm Design Manager for Yas Bay development in Abu Dhabi.

During his time in the Middle East, he has been involved with all stages of Infrasturcture and Masterplanning projects across the GCC region. Projects ranging from Public Realm associated with Retail, Residential, Hospitality, Infrastructure, Bridge and Road integration.

Mark Vowles

Mark Vowles

Director, Nulty+

Since graduating with a degree in Industrial Design, Mark has been involved in the lighting industry in some capacity for the past 14 years. Most recently, Mark partnered with Paul Nulty in 2015 to bring the award winning Nulty+ to the Middle East market with studios in Dubai and Beirut. Retail lighting is a core component of the Nulty+ portfolio with high profile clients such as Bloomingdales, Victoria Beckham, Selfridges and Stella McCartney to name but a few. At Nulty, we understand the fast paced and cutting-edge nature of retail; our team of creative and knowledgeable designers allow us to deliver schemes beyond the client’s expectation on time and within budget!

Faraz Izhar

Faraz Izhar

Senior Lighting Designer, KEO International Consultants

Faraz is an award-winning Architectural Lighting Designer working for KEO International Consultants  - one of the biggest multi-disciplinary practices in the region. Faraz has  over 11 years of experience in a wide range of lighting design projects and applications.  

In 2002 after graduating as an Architect, Faraz started off his career in the mainstream Architecture before the world of lighting lured him in. He made his shift to work as a Lighting Designer in 2004. After working for a couple of Dubai based offices, Faraz joined KEO’s Abu Dhabi’ Design Division in 2008. Faraz’s responsibilities include managing the complete lighting design packages for the projects within KEO’s Design Division. Faraz’s Architectural Lighting support extends to KEO’s Landscape Planning and Infrastructure Divisions, and to KEO’s Dubai, Kuwait and Doha offices as well.

Faraz’s experience varies extensively and covers lighting for residences, corporate offices, hospitality, facades, schools & universities, automotive showrooms, museums, religious and community buildings, landscapes, public realm, lighting for sports, transport terminals and lighting master planning. Faraz has worked closely with Municipality of Abu Dhabi City and has been a vital member of the team which provided the studies to develop new Street and Public Realm Lighting Standards and Regulations for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as per the international best practices.

Faraz is also an associate member of IALD and stays actively involved in the IALD activities specific to the region”.  Recently Faraz has been selected as one of  the top “40 under 40” Lighting Designers of 2017 globally by one of the prestigious publications of the industry - The Lighting Magazine based in the UK.

Richard Fenne

Richard Fenne

Principal, Woods Bagot

Richard is the Studio Chair and Principal of the Dubai Studio at Woods Bagot and is an experienced RIBA and ARB registered Architect and Principal with over 15 years of wide-ranging international experience.

His experience ranges from inception to completion covering a multitude of sectors including cultural, residential, workplace, hospitality and education.

Since joining the Dubai studio in early 2011 Richard has led some significant and notable projects
including the IRENA HQ building and a ground-breaking large scale residential development at Masdar City. In addition to providing studio and project leadership he is the Middle East Client Leader and is also a committee member of the Middle East Council for Offices (MECO), an external group dedicated to improving the quality of office developments in the region.

Richard has excellent design capabilities and demonstrates strong leadership, communication and technical skills along with commercial acumen. Richard is passionate about design and is committed to producing projects of the highest quality.

Key Achievements:

  • Key Project Leadership; IRENA HQ, City Walk, Neighbourhood One Residences, Shams Meera
  • Workplace Architecture Leader for the Middle East and Europe
  • Regional Sustainability Leader
  • Cityscape Awards Judge
  • Dubai Studio Chair
  • RIBA Regional Representative
  • Abu Dhabi University External Examiner

Juan Hildebrand

Juan Hildebrand

Managing Director, Schwitzke Middle East

Juan Hildebrand has been responsible for the design department in Dubai since 2017. Argentinian by birth, he is unquestionably an expert when it comes to intercultural understanding and a passionate designer specializing in retail and product design. Since 2006, he has been part of the Schwitzke & Partner team and was a head of department at our Düsseldorf headquarters for more than ten years.

Rikus De Kock

Rikus De Kock

Senior Lighting Designer, Illuminate Lighting Design

Rikus graduated with Bachelor of Science in South Africa. He started his career by manning the lighting set up in the auditorium of his almamater when he was still a student. Soon, he was recruited to join an acapella group on their African tour as a lighting technician, where he toured all over South Africa and Qatar.

His first big break was at the Doha Tribeca film festival, one of Qatar’s largest entertainment events that attract well over 50,000 guests annually. From then he flourished to manage the stage lighting for many concerts and events, including Samsung S4 launch, Sarah Brightman Concert, Cat Stevens and Qatar National Day.

After being in Africa for a few years, Rikus launched his career in UAE where he directed the lighting for prominent events such as the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Dubai Art Week.

Based from Illuminate Dubai, Rikus brings fresh perspectives to entertainment and staging venues.


  • Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority - Quartetto di Venezia 2016
  • NYU Abu Dhabi Amir ElSaffar 2016
  • Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority – Bait Al Oud graduation 2016
  • Dubai Nikki Beach - summer opening 2016
  • ADF Festival in the park 2016
  • Dubai Art Week - Manal Al Dowayan Art exhibition 2015
  • Red Bull Air Racers - Abu Dhabi 2015
  • Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2014
  • Sarah Brightman Qatar 2014
  • Qatar Foundation Convocation Ceremony – QNCC 2015 Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2013
  • KKnK Arts festival South Africa 2012
  • SAB year end function 2012
  • Samsung S4 launch JHB 2012
  • IBM conference JHB 2012
  • Cat Stevens 2012
  • Qatar Foundation gala dinner 2012
  • Clay Paky launch 2012
  • Tribeca film festival 2012
  • Tribeca film festival 2013

Isabel Pintado

Isabel Pintado

SVP & Managing Director, Wilson Associates – Middle East & Africa

Isabel epitomizes a style of harmonious natural and contemporary elements. She is a seasoned interior architecture professional with an invaluable familiarity of the region’s culture and business landscape combined with an in-depth knowledge of the industry.

As Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Isabel leads the Dubai design studio, oversees the design direction for each project, and generates opportunities for Wilson’s global design studios.

For as long as she can remember, her passion has been for design. Isabel 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 designer.

Jennie Binchy

Jennie Binchy

Director, Binchy and Binchy Architecture

British Architect Jennie Binchy graduated from The Bartlett, UCL in 2002 with commended design work and achieving the highly coveted drawing prize. After working in London for five years at Gollifer Langston Architects, she moved to Dubai in 2008, settling in a contemporary design practice as Associate Architect and Head of Interior Design.

Her projects won several design awards, including Commercial Interior Design – Office of the Year 2012 and Education Project of the Year 2014, and her department was highly commended for “fresh talent and unique style’.

Completing many projects, including award-winning designs for GEMS, GE and Xerox, with 15 years’ experience Jennie co-founded Binchy and Binchy, a boutique Architecture and Interior Design office, which began practicing in 2016. Binchy and Binchy’s first completed project won Best Interior Design – Food & Beverage Category, Project of the Year 2017 at this year’s Commercial Interior Design Awards.

Linsey Thomson

Linsey Thomson

Assistant Professor of Interior Design, Heriot-Watt University

Following a decade of being based in the UAE, Linsey has a 50/50 split of industry versus academia experience across the commercial design GCC sector. Involved as a commercial interior designer working in depth across the full band width of a design project, Linsey shifted in 2012 to higher education teaching at the British, Heriot Watt University in Academic City Dubai, where she steers and inspires enthusiastic and talented students across the Built Environment and Design undergraduate programs.

“At Heriot Watt we nurture designers and engineers of the GCC future. It is imperative exposure and practical experimental design involving lighting, acoustics, construction, building services technology, creative thinking, and graphical representation can imbed significantly into these thirsty minds.”

Vinod Pillai

Vinod Pillai

Principal of Lighting Design, LW Design Group

Vinod began his career as an architect with an award-winning architectural firm in India, specialising in high-end hospitality projects. His introduction to lighting was incidental, as part of the pursuit to respect and accent the architecture he loved creating. His body of work ranges from high-end commercial to boutique residential to deluxe hospitality projects, in Australia, India, China and the Middle East.

At LW, he is the Principal in the Lighting Design department with his involvement in all phases of design - from design conception and development to completion and commissioning of the project. Vinod has also been an active member of the lighting academia lecturing design courses at the reputed University of Sydney and conferences in the Middle East.

Jeroen Kortekaas

Jeroen Kortekaas

Head of Architecture, BLUEHAUS GROUP

Andrea Sensoli

Andrea Sensoli

Principal Architect, ASZ architetti

Andrea Sensoli has professionally grown in Florence, Italy, where Renaissance heritage and modern lifestyle combine a very inspiring cultural environment.

In Architecture, this was expressed by the so called Florentine School, in which belonged to prof. Pier Luigi Spadolini, who tutored Andrea to his degree with honors in 1993.

After five years of apprenticeship with renowned firms like Studio Archea and Claudio Nardo, he started his own practice developing residential and retail projects. With the new century, important brands appeared among his clients, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.  

In 2002, the individual activity turned into corporate, founding ASZarchitetti Ltd with the three partners, Cecilia Morosi, Iacopo Mannelli and Andrea Rettori.

In 2008, following the increasing workflow towards international projects, ASZ started its branch in Dubai and, in the same fashion, it moved to Shanghai four years after. This is when the business in Luxury Retail spread up to all the major brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Burberry among the others.

In answer to this overwhelming importance of the luxury retail, in 2015 Andrea decided to create SUPERFUTUREDESIGN*, as a new and separate commercial brand, dedicated only and exclusively to Creative Service, from concept design to brand awareness and art direction. But the two brands represent two facets of the same thought.

Andrea and his partners are driven by a profound love for design and for their office. They like to exercise themselves from web design to master-planning. Passing through product design furniture design, private houses, besides luxury retail.  Their professional ethic stands on solid principle. Their attitude “to look from a different angle” is always enlightened by coherence with their very roots: in their projects, they have always wanted to give shape to the dichotomy between heritage wisdom and post-modern lifestyle, in a dynamic balance between high-tech elements and tectonic masses.

Now Andrea Sensoli is the architect principal in both ASZarchitetti and SUPERFUTUREDESIGN*. With 20 years of professional experience, he represents the two brands and supervises the overall activity. He is mostly based in Dubai, close to his team in the latest challenge, opportunely traveling to the other offices of the network.

Omid Rouhani

Omid Rouhani

Project Director, Aukett Swanke Architectural Design

Omid has received a Master of Architecture from the University of Arizona and a Bachelors of Arts with Honors in the architecture from the University of Central England.

Since graduating, Omid has designed, presented and successfully completed more than forty architectural projects in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates.

Key Projects:

  • The View, The Palm, Dubai
  • Frond C Villa 113, The Palm, Dubai
  • Frond N Villa 77B, The Palm, Dubai
  • Penna Building, Dubai
  • Frond J Villa 72, Jumeriah Beach, Dubai
  • Frond J Villa 12, The Palm, Dubai
  • Emirates Hills P78 Villa, Dubai
  • Frond F Villa 2A, The Palm, Dubai
  • Frond F Villa 2B, The Palm, Dubai

Tobias Honey

Tobias Honey

Senior Design Manager, VE Experts

Tobias is currently responsible for the concept design and delivery of VX’s most exciting and prestigious master planning, retail and mixed-use developments in the region.

He has over 10 years of retail and mixed-use design experience, through his tenure at respected global architectural firms such as RTKL and BDP, plus at the country’s largest developer.

At VX, Tobias leads a number of talented architects and engineers to produce world-class developments which meets the needs of the present whilst also ensuring their relevance and success in the future.

Tobias specializes in the conceptual design phase of projects, but through his keen interest for materiality and detailing, is also responsible for the final execution of projects onto site.

His drive for knowledge of the latest industry trends is vital to keep VX’s designs fresh and relevant. Tobias’s passion for all spectrums of design, from interiors, landscaping, lighting and product design helps develop a more enriching connection between people and the spaces they inhabit. The humans scale and end-user focused experience is what he is most concerned about, whilst ensuring that an impressive ROI for developers is also achieved.

His excellent design and management skills are fundamental to the continued success of the firm.

Post-Graduate Diploma in Architectural and Construction Management
BArch Architecture
BA (Hons) Architecture and Town Planning
LEED Green Associate

Benjamin Malhotra

Benjamin Malhotra

Creative Director, ODG

A seasoned international creative professional with over 15 years of hands-on expertise in delivering award winning campaigns and compelling interior, product and graphic design work, Benjamin (Ben) Malhotra is the Creative Director at ODG.
Ben’s outstanding strength is his exposure to multidisciplinary creative art forms from a very young age that enabled him to hone his skills through practical learning. It also instilled in him a unique sense of aesthetics and a nuanced approach to critiquing design that inspires him to define his individual imprint in all that he undertakes.
Striving to push his boundaries and to create captivating works that stand out for their identity and character, Ben is driven by an unquenchable sense of curiosity that reflects in his works.  
Ben has been working with ODG since 2011, focusing on the design aspects of retail stores and F&B projects. He has played a key role in driving the fast-paced growth of the company, which is now recognised internationally as a leader in travel retail design. He has contributed to several international award-winning projects.
He grew up in Italy where he graduated with honors from the Universita' degli Studi di Firenze - Facolta’ di Architettura followed by a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design & Product Development from Politecnico di Milano.

DJ Armin

DJ Armin

Managing Partner, ZAS

The Managing Partner of ZAS Group of Companies, DJ began practicing Architecture after obtaining a Doctorate in Architecture, a Master in Urban and Regional Planning in Paris at Sorbonne University and a Master of Architecture from Tehran University.

His extensive design and management expertise of large scale & complex, mixed-use, high rise, and master planning projects has led to the successful completion of several large neighborhoods, infrastructure, cultural, corporate, institutional, residential, hospitality, passenger terminals, city centers and private/public sector projects.

Having been actively involved with private clients as an expert advisor on Master plans, he has also represented as an Expert Witness on Master Planning for a private developer against a semi-government Master developer from Abu Dhabi, and was also retained by the Government of Libya to masterplan the alternative Tripoli downtown, 10 square kilometers of area.

DJ has over 35 years of experience in managing and designing various projects in countries like Canada, Caribbean Islands, France, Ivory Coast, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Oman, Kurdistan, Iran, Morocco, India and Angola. His knowledge is broad and varied, and he has contributed in expanding his company’s operation in the Middle East, opening of ZAS International office in 2004 in Dubai.

Firas Alsahin

Firas Alsahin

Managing Partner, 4SPACE Interior Design

Firas Alsahin is a Managing Partner and Design Director of 4SPACE – a dynamic, multi-talented, and multi-awarded design studio delivering quality architectural and interior design services in Dubai. He is a fully accredited Society of British and International Design (SBID) design professional and a member of World Confederation of Businesses (WORLDCOB).

Mr. Alsahin started his career as a Managing Partner and an Interior Architect in 1999. His hard work and perseverance for more than a decade have paved way to finally venturing overseas. He established 4SPACE in Dubai with his Managing Partner Amjad Hourieh in 2012. They work with local and global brands to design comprehensive environments with an effective commercial purpose.

As a founder of 4SPACE, Mr. Alsahin has never stopped achieving his goals. Multiple awards have been receive over the past years that have made his name and his company well known in the design industry – locally and abroad.

His passion for design for design resonates to all his projects in the field of commercial, retail, hospitality, and F&B sector. His personal style has always been unique and elegant, and he always considers his designs to be futuristic, minimalist, functional, social and sustainable.

Through proper motivation and dedication, Mr. Alsahin has managed 4SPACE to withstand the challenges that come its way, and achieve a perfect work-life balance.

Hervé Collignon

Hervé Collignon

President and Founder, HOOKS Strategy & Innovation

Hervé is a seasoned expert in Innovation and Design Thinking methodology, with over 25 years of experience in multinational and the creative industry in the US and France.

He helps organizations embrace design approach as a strategic and innovation tool, and has worked with clients like Bulgari, Edwards Lifesciences, Tarkett, Kellogg’s and Etihad Cargo, to name a few.

He facilitates Design Thinking workshops for companies that want to bring human centered innovation into their process. Hervé was also a professor at EM Lyon Business School from 2013-2014.

Educated in design at Ecole Supérieure de Design Industriel in Paris, Hervé also holds the IBM Global Sales School Diploma, a Marketing Certificate (Manchester Chartered Institute of Marketing) and a Design Thinking Certificate from d-School in Stanford.

Professional background highlights:

  • Founder of HOOKS Strategy & Innovation since 2013
  • Global Design Leader at PGT Healthcare (PG JV with Teva)
  • Principal Design Manager at Procter & Gamble
  • Global Design Manager for IBM Product Lifecycle Management (Partnership with Dassault Systemes)
  • Design Manager for IBM Europe Middle-East and Africa
  • Creative Director at Com’in
  • Design Junior at Smart Design

Praveen Thampi

Praveen Thampi

Creative Director, The Ministry Of Light

A Bachelor of Electronics & Communication Engineering, Praveen Thampi completed his Masters (M.Tech) in Illumination Technology from M.I.T, Manipal with flying colours & started his career as a Lighting Designer with Philips Lighting in the year 2000. He then went on to do his M.B.A in International Business from Apollo University, before the inception of his own Architectural Lighting Design & Consultancy firm called The Ministry Of Light, in 2004. With offices in Hong Kong, Mumbai & Dubai, The Ministry of Light is today one of the Largest Architectural Lighting Design firms in Asia-Pacific, with a Team of Architects & Interior Designers trained & specialized in Lighting Design. He is a Member of the Indian Society of lighting Engineers (ISLE) & IALD –International Association of Lighting Designers.

He believes that Light is one of the most Ancient & yet one of the most complex Technologies known to Mankind which is still evolving; and Lighting is a combination of Several fields which Includes Lighting Science, Quantum Physics, Physiological Neuroscience, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering & Optical Science. He believes that to be a Successful Lighting Architect one has to have a good understanding of Art & Architecture along with In-depth Knowledge on the above mentioned Fields.

He is a born Artist & has a special talent in understanding & analyzing Building Architecture. Over the years he has “Conceptualised & Designed” the lighting for several world renowned Monuments & Heritage structures.

The 2003 Discovery on Non Image Forming (NIF) effects of Ocular light offered options for lighting solutions addressing both the Lighting needs for Vision and the Physiological effects of Light on the Human Circadian Rhythm. Praveen Thampi is one of the Pioneers who adapted the Findings of the Physiological Effects of Light on the Human Circadian Rhythm into 24x7 Office Lighting Design wherein People working in 24x7 Call Centers across India were provided with Higher Colour Temperatures of Light in their Workspaces to enhance their Performance, Reduce Fatigue levels & Keep them Fully Active especially during Night Shift Operations. Such lighting solutions resulted in a win-win condition for the employee and the employer as it improved the health and well-being on the one hand and increased productivity on the other. In 2004 he won the IESNA Illumination Design Award & the Philips International Lighting Design Award for the JP Morgan Chase Bank Call-centre at Mindspace, Mumbai for his Innovative Office Lighting Concepts. In 2010 & 2013, he won the E&Y Economic Times Award for ‘Excellence in Architectural Lighting Design”

He is one of the few Lighting Consultants worldwide who specializes & Spearheads Innovative & Sustainable Office Lighting Techniques by blending the ASHRAE Standards, CEN, CIBSE LG7 Guidelines & IGBC LEED Standards and follows the New Lighting Quality Standard Concept – LQS for all his projects. In 2008 the firm designed the Lighting for the Suzlon-One Earth Campus in Pune which is one of the Highest rated Platinum Green Buildinsg as per the USGBC LEED NC Standards & is also the First Platinum rated Green Building Worldwide that Complies 100% to the CIBSE LG7 Guidelines.

The Ministry of Light takes up the Lighting design for various Application Areas including Facade Lighting of Buildings, Monumental Lighting, Office Interior Lighting, Shopping Mall Lighting, Retail Lighting, Landscape Lighting, Township Lighting Masterplans, Hospitality/F&B Lighting, Stadium/Sports Lighting, Airport/Seaport Lighting, Street/Bridges/Tunnel Lighting etc. The Firm celebrated its 10th Anniversary in January 2014 & over the decade has Successfully designed & Executed over 300 Projects across Asia-Pacific & Over 35 Mln Sq.ft of Office Interior Lighting.

Farah Naz

Farah Naz

Team Leader, Sustainability Associate, Buro Happold Asia India and Middle East (AIME)

Farah Naz oversees Sustainability in Dubai, UAE for BuroHappold Engineering in Middle East Region.

Farah has worked in the construction sector in UK, USA and UAE. Her work encompasses sustainability strategy for building and city level urban planning, resource efficient planning, Health and Wellbeing Agenda for Smart Cities, and delivering Liveability for the Arab Cities in the Middle East. Her experience also includes developing green city initiatives with the Copenhagen Government and sustainable policy level work.

She works as technical specialist in building performance evaluation for passive and low energy for projects in UK and Europe.

Currently working on sustainability strategy for the Museum of the Future, Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City, Beeah Headquarters and EXPO 2020 Sustainability Pavilion. Farah was key in strategizing the first zero energy building in UK which won the RIBA Sustainable Buildings Award in 2015.

She is a Chartered Engineer registered with Engineering Council, UK, a board member of the Emirates Green building Council (EGBC), CIBSE UAE chapter, Member of CIBSE UK Resilient Cities Group and CIBSE Council, UK.

Faysal Alhaffar

Faysal Alhaffar

Senior Lighting Designer, Project Manager, Umaya Lighting Design

David Andrew Dunn

David Andrew Dunn

Lighting Expert, Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities

David has over 30 years’ experience in design and construction and implementation of lighting projects in the UK, Europe and the GCC. He has extensive knowledge of lighting, and associated electrical infrastructure, for Highways, Internal Streets, City Beautification, Landscape and Multi-Function Sports areas. He has been a Contractor, Consultant and Client over his long career, and as such understands lighting from various points of view. He has a deep understanding of developing a design to bring the best out in the point of interest and ensuring that the viewer looks that little bit longer to find that wow factor.

He contributes technical and sustainability articles to national and international magazines and presents papers at National and International Conferences.

David is currently a member of the advisory board and a course director at The Lighting Institute as well as being a member of The Institution of Lighting Professionals and the Institution of Engineering Technologies.

Lotfi Amara

Lotfi Amara

Associate & Head of Interior Design, RSP

Maja Kozel

Maja Kozel

Principal Designer, Maja Kozel Designs

Maja (pronounced Maya) is the passionate principal designer at Maja Kozel Designs. A UAE-based spatial design studio. Maja, who is of Dutch origins, has a degree in spatial design from the prestigious Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam the Netherlands.

Maja worked in the Netherlands after graduating and then moved to Hongkong. As an architectural designer she worked in a boutique design called WDA design in Hong Kong for three years on commercial, residential, retail and transportation projects. Since 2008 Dubai has been Maja’s home and she worked at P&T Architects and Engineer, Gemaco Interiors and Outcast Interiors. Dubai gave Maja a unique opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and, be a part of this fast-paced world and she soon fell in love with the city.

In 2014 Maja did what everyone else thought was daring (even slightly crazy) and courageous; she started on her own as a Spatial designer in Dubai and was one of the first who was licensed with the Dubai Design District. She followed the footsteps of her father, who also owned his own practice in the Netherlands and who was admired for his work on historical buildings. Maja has in her spatial design portfolio a variety of indoor and outdoor Spaces, which includes interior design, furniture design, product design and exhibition design. Through hard work and dedication Maja made a name for herself and has some impressive projects such as; the HQ office design of Booking.com Dubai, The HQ office design of the Heart of Sharjah, the HQ office design of Shurooq Sharjah Investment and Development Authorities and one of her favourites a music studio in Dubai which was her first project.

To Maja, design is truly about the experience of a space. The quality of light, the acoustics and the first thoughts you have as you enter the space are all very important part of design decisions. Her design philosophy is to create sensitive designs which are practical, socially responsible and sustainable and artistic expressions in their own aspect. Where possible Maja aims to recycle and repurpose materials to create sustainable designs. In 2016, she won two awards for the cabinet design for Surge for Water, most sustainable award and highly commended award. Apart from Projects, Maja enjoys participating and giving back to the community. She loves reviewing student work and has visited universities such as the American University of Sharjah and Ajman University. She has volunteered at the Student Design Challenge two years in a row. Recently, she has been invited to be part of the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) of the Ajman University of Science & Technology, which is a great honour for her. She has also been invited to be part of the judging panels for the CID Awards in 2016, which together with a team of professionals she reviewed and discussed the projects that were submitted. Maja has also been part of the installation #EMO_DCI during the Dubai Design Week in 2016 that was commissioned by the Netherlands as being part of the DCI.

Bassel Omara

Bassel Omara

Senior Design Architect / BIM Manager, Dorsch Gruppe, Abu Dhabi

Bassel Omara is the Senior Design Architect & BIM Manager leading Concept Design Department in Dorsch Gruppe - Abu Dhabi. His dedication as an Architect extended beyond professional career by conducting professional speeches in various events, and has succeeded to be nominated twice for “Young Architect of the Year 2015 & 2016” over the Middle East region.

Professionally, he has worked intensely for both the public and private sectors on various projects as airports, military, hotels, schools, stadiums, retail buildings, resorts, banks, office buildings, touristic villages, social & sporting clubs, residential buildings & theatres. Philosophically, his work encompasses a diverse selection of projects that reflects his vision of creativity, sustainability, and never limiting.

Bassel made waves in the local architecture scene for his development of the ‘Sheltainer’ project – a collaborative initiative that included other Dubai-based architects Mouaz Abouzaid and Ahmad Hammad. A concept that can be built anywhere and intended for destitute communities, Sheltainer picked up a MEA Award as highly commended sustainable project of 2017.

Bassel holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from Ain Shams University, Egypt - 2008 with a cross-culture design studio certificate from Clemson University, USA.

Alan Mitchell

Alan Mitchell

Creative & Managing Director, neolight

Cameron McPherson

Cameron McPherson

Design Director, IHG

A dedicated hospitality specialist, Cameron has over 30 years of experience in all facets of the industry including operations, corporate management, and development. He has Bachelor Degrees in Business and Interior Design, as well as Advanced Diplomas in Hotel Management and Culinary Arts. He is a passionate and motivated believer in “Out of the Box” thinking, innovation and creativity.

Currently based Dubai, for the past 7 years, with InterContinental Hotel Group. Cameron previously was with Carlson Hotels Worldwide based in Singapore. He has worked in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Middle East and USA in hotel technical services and operations.

Deepu Raj

Deepu Raj

Principal Designer, LET Design Lighting Consultants

Deepu Raj holds a Masters of Technology - Lighting Design from Manipal University. Inspired by an international lighting designer, Deepu moved to Dubai in 2003 to work as an architectural lighting designer with a leading local firm and his breakthrough came about in 2005 by winning an international lighting design competition based out of Qatar. This led to paving the grounds to setting up LET Design Lighting Consultants in the same year. Within a span of just 12 years, LET Design Lighting Consultants has grown to be one of the biggest lighting consultants across the Middle East, Africa and India.

Today LET Design Lighting Consultants have two corporate offices in Dubai and India and is a recognized consultant with almost all leading hotel operators around the world.

Nader Gammas

Nader Gammas

Founder, Nader Gammas Lighting Design

American born Nader Gammas holds a B.Sc. in Architecture from the University of Jordan, and a MFA in Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design in New York. He currently lives in Dubai and works between Dubai and New York. Nader setup his studio with an interest in illuminating built environments

Rodrigo Roveratti

Rodrigo Roveratti

Design Director, LA LUZ


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