Judging

CRITERIA • PANEL • KEY DATES

Judging

The judging panel for AHEAD Asia - comprising architects, interior designers, hoteliers and industry commentators - follows a carefully developed judging process to ensure a rigorous and balanced approach, with the criteria for success based not only on creative excellence guest experience but commercial viability.


PANEL

Adrian Battisby

Partner, Senior Director of Interior Design - LW Design

Adrian leads the Interior division overseeing both Dubai and Hong Kong studios. He is a creative innovator and leader in design, sensitive to the client and project needs, Adrian’s expertise in spatial design hallmarks drama with contemporary elegance.

Adrian’s numerous accolades include AHEAD, ID and CID. His creative thinking and process combines practical business sense, ingenious planning and original storytelling, active in the design community, Adrian has contributed on the jury for AHEAD MEA, and World Interiors News London, he is a confident speaker within the design community he participated in design thought leadership discussions at Hi Design, HOFEX and Downtown Design.

Alvaro Paredes

Principal / Design Director - DesignLab

Partner at DesignLab, Alvaro Paredes began his career in his native Spain and London before moving to Asia to work with a prestigious hospitality design firm. With nearly 15 years of design expertise in residential and hospitality projects, he has cultivated a flexible style, combined with an interest in the local culture and architecture of the different countries where DesignLab is working. His portfolio includes prestigious brands such as Aman Resorts, Park Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental in different locations as varied as Europe, Asia and Middle East.

Ankur Choksi

Principal & Co-Founder - Studio Lotus

Studio Lotus is a globally recognized, multi-disciplinary design practice founded in 2002. Spanning the domains of Master Planning, Architecture, and Interior Design, the work of the award-winning practice is grounded on the principles of Conscious Design—an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences, an inclusive process, and keen attention to detail.

While overseeing the overall direction for the studio, Ankur is presently streamlining the practice for large-scale Integrated Hospitality and Adaptive Reuse interventions, along with homes for a select few clients. Deeply invested in the nature of the practice at the studio, he works closely with the leadership group to hold the values & culture, the design process, leadership development & training, integration of technology, and strategic organisational structuring. Ankur has studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and has extensively worked in the domains of graphic design, exhibition and museum design prior to co-founding Studio Lotus.

Ankur believes in and is excited by the idea of storytelling through the studio’s work. He pursues a design approach that draws from regional context and culture, and in the integration of the hand-built, to highlight the tactility and grace of local material and artisanal skills. He advocates adaptive reuse of the already-built as a starting point for sustainability in architecture. Some of the Studio’s significant projects
which celebrate these ideas include the design for RAAS Hotels—in Jodhpur, Kangra and Lake Chhatrasagar; the Baradari at City Palace ; four marquee projects within the Godrej Trees Project in Vikhroli—all adaptive reuse intervention within the legacy of an industrial site, Clubhouse for Antara—a first-of-its-kind senior living community in the city of Dehradun, the Stepped House—a family home in Coonoor developed in absolute synergy with the land it sits on. More recent hotel projects include public spaces for the Taj Theog in Himachal Pradesh and the Taj Guras Kutir in Sikkim, an upcoming jungle resort
at Bandhavgarh for the Oberoi group, a boutique 15-key resort at Havelock Islands, and a 50-room hotel in the heart of old Mussoorie.

Keen to share the learnings of the practice Ankur actively engages with academia and the design community. He has served as a visiting faculty member, guest lecturer and juror at institutions such as NID, CEPT Ahmedabad, MSU Baroda, MIT Pune, NIFT Delhi, and other schools. Industry platforms where Ankur has spoken on the studio’s work and ethos include India-NOW, organized by AIA New York in 2022. He was also on the international jury at the World Architecture Festival in 2021 and the WAF China Awards in 2020, and a panelist at Talking Architecture hosted by WAF in 2020. Ankur has been an advisory board member at FIND (Design Fair Asia), Singapore; and was also a panelist at FIND’s Global Summit, where he discussed the critical role of culture in improving architecture and leaving behind a viable inheritance.

Bill Barnett

Managing Director – C9 Hotelworks

Bill Barnett is a globally recognised hospitality, tourism and real estate advisor. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Asia-based C9 Hotelworks. In addition to being a leading consultant, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.

With over 35 years’ experience in the Asia Pacific region, he has an extensive background in hotel operations, development and asset management. His past employment highlights include Senior Corporate roles at international hotel chains and publicly listed companies. Bill is considered to be one of the foremost industry experts in the hotel residence sector.

To date, Bill is the author of four books on travel, property and hospitality: Slave to the Bean, Collective Swag, It Might Get Weird and Last Call.

Billie Khoo

Senior Design & Projects Director, Architecture, Design & Construction, APAC excluding China - Hilton Worldwide

Billie Khoo is the Senior Design & Project Direct for Hilton Architecture, Design & Construction (AD&C), APACx It is a diverse region that spans North Asia, Southeast Asia, Australasia, Pacific Islands and the South-Asia subcontinent.

Educated in Singapore and a trained architect with a Master of Architecture, Billie has worked with established regional and international hospitality design firms such as SCDA, Maps Design and Wilson Associates during her career of 21 years. She has wide-ranging experience in both masterplanning, architectural and interior design aspects of hospitality creation.

Billie and her team are responsible for design overview of all Hilton’s 18 brands in the APAC for both pipeline projects and capital expenditure projects. This involves ensuring that the hotels and resorts achieve their brand equity and are relevant to the markets. It also includes a constant review of brand standards and designs for the regions and to have the finger on the pulse of the hotel developments and hospitality trends in globally.

Since joining Hilton in 2012, Billie has worked with the AD&C team to deliver successful openings and property rejuvenation across all brands, and she continues to be intimately involved in flagship hotels in gateway cities. Some of the hotels include market-leading ones such as such as Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, Conrad Osaka, Roku Kyoto and Waldorf Astoria Bangkok. She is currently working on Waldorf Astoria Tokyo Nihonbashi, Waldorf Astoria Osaka and Waldorf Astoria Jakarta which will be the next flagship properties for Hilton Worldwide.

Being in a region of high growth in the travel industry, Billie is also involved in Development for the technical review of new opportunities in the constant drive to grow the number of new hotels and rooms with an operator that has one of the largest pipeline in the world.

Cedric Jaccard

Founder & Principal Design Director - Avalon Collective

Cedric Jaccard, Founder and Principal Design Director of Avalon Collective, leads the interior design studio with a presence in Singapore, Bangkok, and Shanghai.

With a unique fusion of architectural and retail expertise, Cedric redefines design by embracing a diverse perspective, challenging norms, and crafting unparalleled design experiences.

Bringing over two decades of expertise in hospitality, Cedric's portfolio includes iconic projects like Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Four Seasons Pudong (China), Kempinski Hangzhou (China), Hilton Singapore Orchard, St Regis Singapore, Andaz Nanjing Hexi (China), JW Marriott Seoul (South Korea), Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua (Indonesia), Four Seasons Maldives (Male) and Four Seasons Suzhou (China).

Through Cedric's leadership, Hilton Singapore Orchard bagged the award in the Suite category at AHEAD Asia 2022, with further awards following elsewhere. Adding to the accolades, the completion of Andaz Nanjing Hexi in 2023 earned two awards at AHEAD Asia 2023 in the Guestrooms and Event Spaces categories, showcasing Cedric's unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of design innovation.

Chris Godfrey

CEO - HBA

Chris Godfrey is an award-winning Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Chartered Architect, with over 22 years’ experience producing highly considered and finely crafted designs. Educated at the Glasgow School of Art, Chris set up his first design studio at age 29, Scape Architects, which achieved international acclaim. In 2014, Chris went onto establish HBA Residential in London, a boutique division of Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) before his appointment as CEO of the HBA Group in 2022.

Chris leads 25 HBA offices worldwide. He continues to apply his principles throughout the firm in cultivating a holistic design approach and retains a passion for the education of the next generation of designers, having lectured in Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Art in London and Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore.

David Hodkinson

Design Director - Studio Noor

Design Director and one of the two founders of the studio, David is an award-winning architect and interior designer, with over 22 years of experience.

British born David received his Master’s in Architecture and Interior Design from the Royal College of Art in London prior to setting up Studio Noor at age 26.

David is a focused, passionate designer who brings a fresh design eye to each and every project. His continual interest to explore new materials, design narratives and a more bespoke design language has resulted in successful projects with well know hoteliers and operators such as Adrian Zecha, Aqua Expeditions, Raffles, Saltbae, One & Only, Design Hotels amongst others.

Together with his business partner Luc Lejeune, David has taken Studio Noor from a local Vietnam dimension to all corners of the world, with their signature tailor-made hospitality projects.

Kesaté B. Tadesse

Principal/Managing Director – AvroKO (Bangkok)

Kesaté B. Tadesse is a principal and managing director at AvroKO's Bangkok Studio, specialising in luxury hospitality projects throughout Asia and the extended region for established and emerging brands. He oversees design, strategy and overall culture and operations of the studio to develop world-class hospitality environments for clients.

Kesaté has over 17 years of experience working on and leading architecture and interior design projects ranging from hospitality and residential to commercial and retail spaces for clients across the private and commercial sectors. Having worked on projects in the US, China, South-East Asia, and the Middle East, his designs integrate a global perspective while emphasising the unique characteristics of local environments. He's worked on large-scale architecture projects as well as community-based projects—including collaborations with local artists and design-build projects in rural areas.

Kesaté graduated with Bachelors of Architecture (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from City University of New York and has taught architecture at the university level in Thailand.

Michael Wang

Managing Director & Chief Design Officer - Apara Hotel Design & Project Management Group

Michael is leading the Apara Hotel Design and Project Management Group with field experts including all design disciplines required to put a quality hotel together. With his extensive experience in overseeing all aspects of the complexity of hotel projects from initial design planning through opening and post opening, he is able to pass his knowledge of "what to do" and equally important, "what not to do" in investing and building a hotel.

Prior to Apara, Michael was with Marriott over 26 years where he formed and led, Global Design Asia Pacific at Marriott International. Under his leadership at Marriott, he and his team opened over 1,000 hotels and worked on more than 700 hotels in the pipeline in Asia Pacific across 23 countries.

Michael is a Registered Architect of State of Maryland in the United States and a member of American Institute of Architects and holds a BA from the University of Houston undergraduate architectural program. He also successfully led the Marriott E-Cornell University Certification program for "Hotel Planning the Marriott Way" in 2019 and since 2014, Michael had conducted countless "Hotel Design and Planning 101" lectures throughout Asia to share his expertise and knowledge on hotel design. As part of his passion for learning, he recently completed the MIT program on Artificial Intelligence for Business, Harvard Business School program on Driving Performance and Cornell program on Business Negotiation Skill.

Paul Semple

Director – Matthew Shang Design Office

Paul Semple has worked with his life collaborator Matthew Shang for more than 15 years. That collaboration lead to the pair re-establishing their hospitality focused ID studio MSDO in 2020.

With more than 20 years of experience Paul has worked throughout South East Asia, China, the Middle East and Australia, and since 2004 has been based in Singapore.

Paul has overseen and led projects ranging from opulent luxury retail spaces, large scale hospitality venues, city hotels, small resort properties and award winning bar projects such as Manhattan Bar, Atlas and 28 Hong Kong Street.

Paul has honed his skills with a diverse range of firms, from the boutique design studio Distillery to one of the world’s largest developers and led the global hospitality team at Hassell for more than 5 years. Paul has journeyed back to his own studio where intimate, client focused and joyful design is the driving approach that he brings to his work and the ethos that is the foundation of MSDO.

Piya Thamchariyawat

Senior Creative Director / Principal - EDG

Piya is a Principal and Senior Creative Director for EDG Design based in Singapore. With over 20 years of experience with the firm, she is an industry maven who is involved in all facets of the design process, leading the design team through each phase of work from initial concept until project completion.

As the creative lead for EDG’s hospitality and F&B projects in the region, Piya brings true international expertise to bear and each project she embarks on is conceptualized to create an evocative journey for the guest, told through the lens of a deeply rooted design narrative.

Many of Piya’s projects have earned awards and accolades from the design community including AHEAD, and her involvement has ensured that EDG is a preferred consultant for brands including Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Accor and Alila, as well as scores of independent hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Simon McHendry

Head of Development & Projects – Swire Hotels

Simon is a seasoned hotelier with over 28 years of leadership experience in luxury hotels. As Head of Development & Projects for Swire Hotels, he brings valuable knowledge and a strong hospitality network to the role.

Previously, as General Manager for EAST and The House Collective properties, Simon excelled in managing finances, ensuring profitability and ROI. He has strong ownership relationships and represents owners and Swire Hotels positively in the community. Simon is a trusted senior leader who achieved exceptional financial and guest service results, received prestigious awards including years of Michelin recognition, and contributed to design innovation and operational efficiencies in new hotel openings.

Stephen Luk

Regional Vice President, Design Services - Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Stephen Luk is the Regional Vice President of Design Services for Hyatt’s ASPAC region. He is also specifically supporting the expanding Hyatt development in the Greater China and Australia portfolio. He and his team steer Hyatt’s design and brand concept, hotel planning and development, and hotel opening and transition across all Hyatt brands in the region. The goal is to ensure that, through a collaborative and inclusive process, realise brand focused, creative, and economic design solutions that enhance preference for our guests, our owner developers, and our colleagues and associates.

Stephen spearheaded the first Hyatt Centric in Melbourne Australia. He is also currently bringing the first Caption by Hyatt, Hyatt House, JDV by Hyatt and Unbound Collections by Hyatt to Australia. He is supervising the design and development across Hyatt’s 27 brands in the Asia Pacific region.

Before spending six years at Hyatt Hotels, Stephen spent more than five years in Shanghai with another international hospitality brand. He has also spent 13 years practicing in both hospitality Architecture and Interior Design in New York City. He obtained his Master degree from Columbia University in NYC and Bachelor degrees from University of Melbourne.

Vincent de Graaf

Co-Founder & Design Principal - Aim Architecture

Vincent graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning in Amsterdam and a Masters in Interior Design in Maastricht. With nearly 20 years of working experience stretching over multiple respected offices in urban planning, architecture and interior, and in both Europe and China, Vincent is both an exceptional architect engaging with traditional concepts and cultural ‘big picture’ ideals, and uniquely capable of seeing a project from the inside out. He has a Dutch practicality and warmth, and his design practice fuses strength with optimism and new, inspired considerations of community.

Yee Pin Tan

Head of Design - Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Yee Pin Tan is Head of Design at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. In this role, Pin supports and leads all creative teams responsible for project design, branding, marketing, sustainability, spa and wellness and IT.

Pin’s role covers all design-related areas that support the global expansion of Six Senses. She also ensures overall consistency in implementing the brand’s vision and alignment for design concepts, quality of messaging and corporate goals.

Bringing more than 26 years of experience in hospitality design, Pin has worked alongside industry icons such as Ed Tuttle in Paris, where her talents were honed designing the Aman resorts worldwide. Pin also spent three years based in Singapore as the Design Director of Jaya. Here, she expanded her work and experience across different luxury hotel brands. These included the opening of the Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li – a historic property comprising old Shikumen buildings in the French Concession – and more recently, the extensively-redesigned Raffles Maldives in Meradhoo.

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