AHEAD Europe 2019

2019 Judging

AHEAD Europe is adjudicated by an independent panel of experts, comprising leading hospitality architects, designers, owners, operators, developers and industry commentators.

The judging process for AHEAD Europe has been carefully developed to ensure a rigorous, robust and balanced procedure is followed to select the final winners in each category.


Call for Entries
02 Apr 2019
Entry Deadline
30 Jun 2019
Judging Panel Announced
TBC Jul 2019
Shortlist Announced
07 Aug 2019
Judging Day
TBC Oct 2019
Awards Ceremony
18 Nov 2019

Judging Panel

Stuart Adolph - Chair

Senior Vice President, Development, Europe - Sydell Group

Stuart manages the London development office for American hotel developer and operator the Sydell Group and was responsible for delivering the Ned in partnership with Soho House & Co. The Ned won 4 AHEAD awards in 2017 including the top accolade of best hotel. Sydell are currently developing the first NoMad hotel outside of the USA in Covent Garden and are actively looking for further opportunities and collaborations in London and Europe.

For nearly 25 years Stuart has held hospitality design and development management positions including for Hilton and Champneys as well as working on high quality residential and a holiday residence resort for a private estate in Suffolk.

Stuart’s broad experience of hospitality design and development allows him to examine not only the aesthetics of the design of hotel spaces but also to consider how a design works for operational function and efficiency and most importantly for the comfort and enjoyment of the hotel’s guests.

Joining the judging panel for 2019 Stuart is excited to be seeing, experiencing and debating the merits of each of the entries this year.

Geraldine Dohogne

Founder - Beyond Design

Geraldine Dohogne is a concept designer by passion, whose love for creating unique spaces has grown over the years. Involved in every phase of a new hotel project, she is in charge of conceptualizing, creating environments and bringing them to life.

Geraldine believes in the power of beautiful interiors to transform daily life. Her interiors are designed to be intimate. It is all about instinct and emotions. For this, she always aims to understand the history of the location, spending time in the country and meeting locals. Respectful of the culture and traditions of the area, the designs of her spaces are the result of intense sourcing (magnificent local materials, antique furniture, crafts and natural fabrics).

She prides herself on her attention to detail, her obsession with quality and her love for the designs of local craftspeople. The search for timeless minimalism and apparent simplicity are central to her work, as is the love of tactile and raw materials.

​Rami Fustok

Founder - The Mandrake

Rami Fustok is a businessman and hotelier; born in Beirut and educated in London. The Mandrake is his first hotel venture and fulfils a lifelong dream to create a truly unique space that celebrates life. Fustok's artistic roots in street culture alongside with undying passion and imagination and carefully selected collaboratives have shaped this multi-sensory immersive hotel.

Fustok's vision for The Mandrake is very much about orchestrating an alternate reality; one that balances darkness and light, hedonism and healing. In doing so, he has created a spiritual, otherworldly, decadent and sensual space in the heart of Fitzrovia.

With a focus on enticing the senses, making them dance, and creating a culture that would stand alone; Fustok pulled inspiration from everything around him; music, interactive theatre, design, cinema, art, spirituality and travel. The result of Rami's vision is a surreal and urban oasis, somewhere that is both soothing and enticing from morning until midnight.

The hotel was launched in September 2017 and has since won multiple awards throughout the industry, such as being the only UK venue to win the Global AHEAD Awards for best outdoor space.

Nathan Hutchins

Founder - Muza Lab

Fascinated by the soul of buildings from an early age, Nathan’s lifelong love of architecture, art, travel and adventure has inspired an approach to design that develops meaning through layering and a belief that thoughtfully crafted spaces help us to engage and connect with our environment. Nathan believes in quiet luxury with its sustainable and ageless quality, authentic values and power of discovery which stimulate, comfort and delight, and he is exacting in his pursuit of this in all his work.

Emma King

Head of Interior Design, Design & Engineering, Europe - InterContinental Hotels Group

Emma leads InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Interior Design team in Europe and is responsible for the design, development and product quality of all new openings and refurbishments.

Since joining IHG in January 2013, Emma has become an integral part of the Design & Engineering team. She is leading the design of IHG’s big capital investments including InterContinental London Park Lane, InterContinental Paris Le Grand and Regent Berlin. She is tasked with the integration of the innovation program at IHG, and has worked on the repositioning strategy and implementation of the new generation Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn and the Crowne Plaza Brands.

Emma and her team have been instrumental in positioning the Hotel Indigo brand with a “neighbourhood story” led design for each site. No brand has been left untouched, with IHG’s long stay offering, Staybridge Suites, also being redesigned with investment potential in mind.

Elodie Noël

Director, Design & Technical Services, Luxury Brands, Europe - AccorHotels

Elodie brings to Accor over 18 years of hospitality experience with her demonstrated background in interior design and architecture, with a passion for luxury and lifestyle. Since she joined Accor Luxe team, she oversees all design and project development with over 15 brands, shaping international luxury, lifestyle, and full service hotels for a wide range of owners and developers.

Most recently as Area Director Design, Construction & Technical Services with the Radisson Hotel Group in Paris she was responsible for the whole repositioning of existing properties and technical pipeline in Western Europe. Graduated from Camondo Design School, Paris, she started her international career as Interior Design Director in Prague. Back in Paris, she led complex hospitality projects with design Studio Francois Champsaur, further with Elliott Barnes Interiors, with a constant search for excellence. Through close collaboration with luxury hospitality brands, she has helped to deliver signature projects in the Western Europe and North West Africa region.

With a 360° approach on design, guest experience, sustainability, Elodie was rewarded for creative campaigns joining design journey and brand positioning.

Her vision is constantly seeking to deliver outstanding tailor made experiences and genuine emotion to the Guest.

Stefan Rier

Co-Founder - noa* network of architecture

Stefan Rier graduated in interior design from Centro Studi "AndreaPalladio", Verona, Italy, and in architecture from the Technical University Ferrara, Italy. He first worked as an architect and project leader with Arch.Demetz, then moved to Bergamo to work with Prof. Massimiliano Mandarini and finally in Milan with Matteo Thun. He received his professional qualification as an interior designer and architect from the Universita di Genova. Stefan has been focusing on a series of projects from sustainable housing to hotels, extending to interiors, landscaping and bespoke furniture design. He is now a member of the Architectural Chamber of Bozen/Bolzano.

Iain Watson

CEO & Co-Founder – David Collins Studio

Iain is a founding member of David Collins Studio. Over the course of three decades, he has helped to steer The Studio from its original incarnation – a staff of two, David and Iain, working from David’s living room – to a 60-strong globally-recognised brand and a leader in the design and delivery of architectural and interior design projects.

From the outset, Iain played a key role in establishing the foundations of The Studio. He brought commercial rigour to the mix, complementing David’s creative ideas and vision, while acting as the guardian of the David Collins Studio brand and helping to develop the three core strands of the business: hotels & restaurants, retail, and residential.

Under Iain’s stewardship, David Collins Studio has steadily expanded its scope and scale: from designing a single retail space, to overseeing the delivery of the Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo worldwide store roll-outs; from creating a destination restaurant like Pierre Koffmann’s La Tante Claire, to realising a 253-bedroom hotel in Seoul.

Throughout, Iain has never lost sight of The Studio’s guiding principles: creativity, craft, collaboration, and a near-obsessive attention to detail –

“I have always been passionate about protecting our Studio, playing a part in both its commercial and creative aspects,” he says. “Maintaining the Studio’s financial independence has enabled us to be strategic in our choices. We have always striven to take on creatively rewarding projects with clients who share our vision.”

Outside work, Iain’s great love is fashion, and his profound understanding of beautifully made objects has given him an innate understanding of the world of luxury –

“We’re in the business of delivering a feeling. We have always understood the importance of providing a series of touchpoints for people who move in the world of luxury. You might buy a handbag in Alexander McQueen, drink a cocktail at The Wolseley and then spend the night at The Apartment at The Connaught. As the David Collins Studio brand has evolved, we have created our own unique ecosystem within the world of luxury.”

For Iain, one of the most rewarding and compelling aspects of his work is being able to support exceptional artisans -

“We love working with talented people who are as passionate about creating beautiful things as we are. Now, as we look towards developing product ranges, this is even more relevant. It’s a very exciting time for David Collins Studio.”

Christopher Webb (Chair)

Vice President, Architecture, Design & Construction - Hilton Worldwide

Chris Webb leads Hilton’s Architecture and Design team across multiple offices, overseeing and guiding design projects across Hilton’s Europe, Middle East & Africa region. He has been designing and shaping international luxury, lifestyle, and full service hotels for a wide range of owners, developers, hospitality companies, celebrities and brands for over 20 years. Directing the design of all Hilton branded hotels in the region, he lead the design of the first Waldorf Astoria, as well as most recently the category defining Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, Hilton’s first lifestyle hotel.


The application of design and architecture to deliver great guest experiences are at the heart of AHEAD.

The criteria for success are based not only on creative excellence, but also on commercial viability.

As well as projects that are aesthetically impressive, the judges will be looking for evidence that winning designs have also met the needs of client and customers alike.

The judges will be looking for submissions showing rigorous and appropriate design, demonstrating a sensible use of budget to contribute to the guest experience as well as the 'theatre' of hotel life while satisfying the client brief.

Submitted material should demonstrate clearly why the project is thought to be worth an award in its chosen category and how the design sets the project at an award winning level.

Click here to see our AHEAD Checklist, which guides you through the entry process.