AHEAD Europe is judged 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.
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.
Alba Biedermann joined Design Hotels™ to manage the curation and qualitative growth of the member portfolio in EMEA.
She believes in visionaries with an imaginative spirit who dare to seek the unexpected and create original experiences for the traveler of tomorrow. Her multidisciplinary background and intuitive sense for aesthetics, culture and branding in the digital and physical space, let her shape the collection of Design Hotels™ members – and contribute to the strategic development and further evolution of the brand.
Previously, she has spent six years successfully contributing to developing a digital lifestyle agency in London and Germany where she worked with prestigious clients like Net-a-Porter, Alexander McQueen and Made.com.
As an Alumni of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Biedermann has a solid understanding of the hospitality industry. Her curiosity for the lifestyle sector and appreciation for sophisticated design led to a Masters in Fashion & Luxury Brand Management at Istituto Marangoni in London as well as Interior Design courses at Central Saint Martin.
Linda Boronkay was Design Director for Soho House responsible for UK, Europe & Asia regions. She was the winner of Britain's Best Emerging Interior Design Award while still at university and since then she has worked for some of the world's top design firms such as Tom Dixon, Martin Brudnizki, global studio Woods Bagot and Tara Bernerd & Partners.
She benefits from a distinctive and varied professional background that comes from working for some of the world’s leading hospitality companies such as Soho House & Co., Caprice Holdings, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Capital, The Morgans Hotel Group, The Howard Hughes Co., Virgin Hotels, Nobu and also from having created custom residences for high-profile private clients in 4 continents over 10 countries.
Guy Dittrich is happiest when he is either writing stories, getting people to tell theirs, or when he’s riding his bike.
An accomplished journalist focusing on hospitality and design, Dittrich has broadened his reach to encompass live, on-stage interviews with the talents of our time. Putting speakers at ease, he teases out the narratives and back-stories that bring speakers to life to entertain the audience.
His expertise is based on 15+ years of writing about properties and their designers around the world for magazines such as Wallpaper*, Condé Nast Traveller and specialist hotel design publication Sleeper, where Dittrich is Editor-at-Large. Utilising a vast database of knowledge and contacts, he is able to curate speaker line-ups for one-off events as well as longer conferences.
Clients using his skills include CitizenM, Design Hotels, Pandox, Bang & Olufsen, Herman Miller, Villeroy & Boch, Philips, Hansgrohe and Kohler. Key conference clients include Sleep (London), HI Design (Europe, Asia and MEA), Maison et Objet (Paris), 100% Design (London), HDE Expo (Shanghai) and the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Dittrich also hosts award ceremonies including the AHEAD Awards (Asia, Americas, MEA and Europe).
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.
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.
Prior to founding Dennis Irvine Studio, Dennis worked for several renowned London design studios. Working on prestigious and unique projects he honed his design skills, spear heading international projects from concept to completion.
Through global travel and engaging in multiple luxury commissions, Dennis has gained a wealth of design experience. Exposure to various cultures and collaborations has enriched his design aesthetic. His innate ability to respect and refine the client’s vision informs the studios ethos and principles. Passionate about all things design he leads his London based design team with integrity, honesty and inherent design flair.
Dennis was recently listed in House and Garden’s ‘Leading 100 Interior Designers’ and Country & Townhouse ‘Finest 50 Interior Designers’ and often speaks at major industry events and his work is often published in Sleeper, Forbes, AD, Robb Report, Hospitality Design & House & Garden. He has delivered worldwide luxury projects ranging from Wellness SPA’s, private residences, super yachts to restaurants and hotels for prestigious operators both renowned and independent. Amongst his client list are Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Luxury Collection, The Dorchester Collection and Waldorf Astoria Hotels.
Our studio Chzon was founded by Dorothee Meilichzon in Paris, 10 years ago.
Graduated in industrial design, Dorothee is committed to building concepts and writing new stories for each project. The studio is very attached to the historical context of the building, the shape of the space, details, anecdotes, that every new site is offering. Thereby every project is unique and situated in its context.
Linked to industrial design, and to the global experience of customers, Dorothee and her team draw every aspects of the interior design: the furniture, frescos, lamps, patterns and have those made by her precious artisans. She also lead the choice of dinnerware, staff clothing, graphic design of logos and menus.
The studio has worked on over 50 projects: bars, hotels, restaurants in Paris, London, New York, Venice, Cannes, Monaco, Menorca and Ibiza.
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.
Ana has been involved in the development of hospitality projects for more than 15 years on projects within Europe and Africa.
At Marriott International, Ana leads the team that oversees the new developments and design work in Marriot's properties in Southern Europe.
Her focus is on upper and upper upscale properties with a range of brands that includes Courtyard and millennial brand Moxy, core brands Marriott and Sheraton, to the personality-driven Autograph Collection.
As an Interior Design Director for Marriott over the last five years, Ana has had the opportunity to develop spaces that can give travellers at every level the unique experiences they didn’t even know they wanted.
Ana has a passion for traveling and, together with her work, has given me a true appreciation for the importance of cultural authenticity and thoughtful and innovative design.
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 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.”
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.
With nearly two decades of experience in executing hotel developments for several hotel chains in Europe, my passion for dining & nightlife was the prime unique selling point in recent years anchored to hotel brands in the upper lifestyle/luxury sector.
Having joined Benihana Q4 2019 (part of Minor International), I oversee the growth and operations for a group now in it’s 56th year of operations globally responsible for outside the US, Caribbean & South America.
To date, Benihana holdings has 19 locations across 12 countries with a solid growth trajectory of additional restaurants to openings in the next few years in Europe, Canada, Middle East & Asia.
The judges for AHEAD Europe are acknowledged industry leaders, who represent a wide spectrum of the disciplines involved in delivering new hotel projects across the region.
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.
Hotel projects completed between June 2019 – May 2020 are eligible for entry to AHEAD Europe 2020.
A hotel is defined as a commercial building, or combination of buildings, primarily dedicated to the provision of lodging / accommodation. Please note privately owned accommodations exclusively rented out for lodging via peer-to-peer sites such as Airbnb are not eligible for AHEAD.
AHEAD is unique in its celebration of the key collaborators in hotel projects: the developer / investor; operator; architect and interior designer.
Anyone can enter an award, but we recommend that the designers / architects responsible for the hotel compile the entry.
Hotel owners, operators, developers, investors, PRs and other representatives are encouraged to co-ordinate entries for the hotels they represent with the relevant designers/architects.
Submissions for AHEAD Europe cost £250 (+ VAT) each.
Photography should clearly show the design and / or architecture of the area of the property relevant to the category in which it is entered.
If entering more than one category please submit different photographs that reflect the category you are entering.
Before and after photos, CGIs and renderings, floor plans and / or CAD drawings can be included as supporting material where relevant.
Please do not submit CGIs / renderings in place of actual photography.
Please try and avoid use of advertising or marketing photographs e.g. posed models, elaborate table settings etc.
Please ensure that you have the appropriate copyright clearances for all photography submitted (see terms and conditions)