AHEAD Global 2019


Each finalist for AHEAD Global has already undergone a highly rigorous, thorough and professional process to win an AHEAD regional award. Once all regional awards have taken place, each regional AHEAD winner will submit a film demonstrating why it is worthy of the ultimate accolade: an AHEAD Global award. You will also have the opportunity to edit all material submitted for the original entry.

Public online voting will commence on Thursday 3 January, allowing anyone with a verified account to have their say. All votes will be anonymous. Further, the Global judging panel will also review all material and will convene on Monday 28 January to debate the merits of the finalists and cast their final votes.

The winners will be decided by aggregation of the public and judges votes.

Submission deadlines:

- Editing original material period: 5 October 2018 – 14 December 2018

- Film entry closing date: 14 December 2018

- Submit all films to Melanie Page (m.page@mondiale.co.uk)

Films will be published online for public voting from 3 January 2019. Voting closes at 5PM UTC on 23 January 2019.


Aliya Khan

Vice President of Design Strategies - Marriott International

Aliya Khan is Vice President of Design Strategies at Marriott International. Focusing on AC Hotels, Aloft, Element and Moxy projects, she drives the efforts to define the design strategy for these brands and positions each with a distinct personality. Prior to joining Marriott International, Khan worked in numerous roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She holds degrees in both architecture and industrial design.

She was responsible for several award‐winning projects, including the opening of the W Montreal, renovations at the W Mexico City, and the Le Meridien properties in French Polynesia. She also lead the renovation of the iconic St. Regis New York and oversaw the design partnership efforts between St. Regis Hotels and Bentley Motors.

Most recently, before joining Marriot, Khan took a break from the hotel industry to lead Design and Development for NeueHouse, and was responsible for the opening of their award‐winning Hollywood location.

​Beat Fornaro

Area Director of Portfolio Development - Design Hotels

Beat Fornaro is Area Director of Portfolio Development for Design Hotels™. He is responsible for the curation of the hand-picked portfolio of one-of-a-kind properties across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With his multidisciplinary background of 15 years in hospitality and tourism. Beat held positions in the US, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is passionate about forward-thinking hotel concepts that engage local culture with international hotel standards to create exceptional guest experiences. In his role, he looks for hoteliers who act as elicitors for the guest’s personal enrichment.

Before joining Design Hotels™, Beat worked many years in Sub-Saharan Africa, where he has been responsible for creating and implementing hospitality related projects in challenging environments. Among others, in partnership with his alma mater, École hôtelière de Lausanne, he has built a hotel school in Angola.

Celia Geyer

Senior Vice President Design & Project Development – Belmond

Celia Geyer is an architect with experience working on a wide range of projects from residential, commercial to luxury hotels and resorts.

She is a talented designer whose strength lies in successfully integrating architecture, interior design and master planning. Celia is currently Senior Vice President Design & Project Development at Belmond. Previously, Celia held the position of Senior Director of Architecture and Design for Hilton Worldwide in the Global Design Services team. Her region of responsibility included EMEA where she looked after projects across the Hilton Brands working alongside both the Development and CapEx teams.

Prior to working for Hilton, Celia was an Associate Vice President for WATG in their London office, where she was responsible for high profile projects across EMEA. Celia qualified in South Africa from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (formerly UPE). She is a registered architect in South Africa and the United Kingdom and she is also a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in the UK.

Christopher Webb

Vice President - Architecture, Design and Construction, Hilton Worldwide

Cristina Laurijssen

Director of Design and Project Services – Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Cristina Laurijssen is Director of Design and Project Services for the Americas and Europe at Rosewood Hotel Group. Based in London, Laurijssen is currently overseeing the design and construction of future Rosewood Hotels in key cities across Europe.

Trained and certified as an architect in the United Kingdom, Laurijssen has over twelve years’ experience in architectural practice, designing and has completed projects ranging from luxury residential and hotel resorts to Olympic stadia, in offices based in Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Athens and Andalusia, Spain.

Her love for travel, different cultures and the open and adventurous spirit of people involved in the hospitality world drove her to specialise in hotel design. Since joining the operator side of the hospitality business at Hyatt Hotels International, Zurich office, in 2010, and as Design Director for EMEA at Fairmont Raffles International, from 2013 to 2015, she has had a special interest in the conversion of heritage buildings into city hotels, having also worked extensively in newbuilds and renovations.

With an international background and a diverse life experience, Laurijssen speaks English, Spanish and German fluently. She believes that there are exceptional opportunities in the design of hotels to create treasured experiences for guests and simultaneously make valuable contributions to the communities around them.

Elisa Rodríguez

Design Director

Emma King

Head of Interior Design, Design & Engineering, Europe

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 InterContinental 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.

Prior to joining IHG Emma was Director of International Interior Design at Marriott International and focussed on providing specialist guidance for submitted designs across the Marriott Brand family.

An Interior Architect by training at Cardiff University and despite over 20 years’ hotel design experience, she believes that there is always more to learn!

Gordon Anderson

Director – Blue Moon

Gordon has spent 25+ years in Hotel Design, Operations and Procurement. He has worked for established global brands including Marriott, Radisson and Hyatt and smaller Independents in Europe and the Middle East. After 13 years as Director of Projects Procurement for IHG, he founded Blue Moon Hotels Procurement in Summer 2014.

Guy Dittrich

Freelance Writer & Moderator

Freelance writer, presenter and moderator Guy Dittrich is an independent commentator on hotels and design.

A long-term contributor to Sleeper magazine, Dittrich also regularly writes on hotels and design for Wallpaper*, Condé Nast Traveller and a variety of trade publications including Business Traveller, TTG Luxury and Hospitality Inside. Additionally he writes copy for hospitality-related businesses such as The Future Laboratory, STR Global, Herman Miller, event organisers, various hotels and tourist boards.

Dittrich programmes and moderates the conference element at Sleep in London each November. He performs a similar role for HI Design events in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia. He has also presented and moderated for corporate businesses including Design Hotels Arena, CitizenM, Pandox, Bang & Olufsen, Villeroy & Boch, Philips.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe and having lived in both London and Munich, he now works from Brussels. Prior to his career in writing and moderation, Dittrich was the UK Managing Director for Design Hotels. He has been a member of the judging panel since 2006.

Isabel Pintado

Senior Vice President & Managing Director - Wilson Associates Dubai

A seasoned interior architecture professional, Isabel has invaluable familiarity with the region’s culture and business landscape, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the design industry.

She leads the brand’s Dubai design studio, overseeing the design direction for each project, and generating opportunities for Wilson’s global design studios. Much of her inspiration is drawn from her love for travelling, watching people on the street, and visiting exhibitions by an eclectic roster of artists and designers. Her style is one of harmonious natural and contemporary elements.

Jason Holley

Director – Universal Design Studio

Jason Holley is Director of Universal Design Studio, an award winning architecture and interior design practice based in London. A qualified architect, Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Kingston University and a Diploma in Architecture from Westminster University. He has taught at the Architectural Association and Westminster University and is currently an external examiner for Interior Design at Kingston University. He has delivered talks and lectures internationally.

Since joining Universal Design Studio in 2005, Jason has led the studio to expand its portfolio of cultural, hospitality and retail projects. It works internationally on both private and public commissions including hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, galleries, workplace and residential properties. Universal uses a bespoke approach for each client, creating inspiring places with a powerful visual impact that are rich in intellectual rigour and creativity.

The studio is currently working on At Six hotel in Stockholm, transforming a Modernist Bank Headquarters into an independent luxury lifestyle hotel. Most recently Jason led the design of Ace Hotel Shoreditch London, and a permanent gallery at the Science Museum charting the history of modern communications.

Javier Hortal

Regional Director of Technical Services EMEA – Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Julia Monk

Senior Vice President / Director of Hospitality Design – HOK

Kenneth Villamil

Global VP: Product & Brand Development – Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric & The Unbound Collection Hotels

Combining his background in brand strategy and interior architecture, Kenneth Allen Villamil is responsible for the comprehensive global design strategy for Hyatt Hotel's Luxury, Premium, and Lifestyle brands. Providing thought leadership and creative direction to advance each brand, ensuring they translate into memorable guest experiences around the world.

Prior to his role at Hyatt, Kenneth specialised in creative solutions and strategies for retail, hospitality and luxury lifestyle brands. He has spent the last 16 years honing his skills at a number of branding and architecture firms, including Gensler's 'Lifestyle Design Studio' and most recently with Starwood Hotel's Luxury Brands Studio; overseeing St Regis, W Hotels Worldwide, Le Meridien and The Luxury Collection Hotels. Kenneth has been recognised for his accomplishments in both Interiors/Architecture ‘International Interior Design Association Award,’ "Gold Key Award" and in Branding/Communications ‘Silver International Broadcast Design Award.’ He has also been awarded Hospitality Design Magazine’s 2014 “Wave of the Future Award.”

Khirstie Myles

Larry Traxler

Senior Vice President, Global Design Services – Hilton Worldwide

Larry Traxler serves as Global Head of Design Services, overseeing Hilton Worldwide design efforts for all Luxury, Full and Focused Service hotel brands. Larry and his talented Global Design Team work closely with developers, architects, and designers to ensure that the unique style of each and every iconic Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand is reflected across the properties within its global portfolio.

Larry has amassed more than 20 years of international hospitality design experience working on Luxury, Boutique, Full-Service and Focused-Service hotel segments. Most recently he ran the Architecture & Design Department for Hyatt Hotels North America & Caribbean. Prior to that Larry served as the Design Director for Ian Schrager Hotels, Wilson & Associates, and Hirsch Bedner & Associates focusing on hotel design and development operations. His career began in the experimental architectural design office of Jordan Mozer & Associates. Larry holds a six-year professional Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minor Professional Practice award from the University of Cincinnati's - College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning.

​Margaret McMahon

Senior Vice President — Wimberly Interiors

Margaret McMahon leads and manages the firm’s interior design practice. Margaret’s 30 years in the design industry have produced an impressive portfolio of projects and an equally impressive list of loyal clients.

Under her vision and leadership, Wimberly Interiors has grown, launching new studios in New York, Miami, Dubai, Shanghai and Los Angeles, alongside the established studios in London, Singapore and Honolulu.

Prior to joining WATG, Margaret was the managing director of Wilson Associates’ New York office and former president of the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH) New York chapter. Margaret is a frequent speaker at industry-related conferences and events. Her work can be seen frequently in international design publications such as 'Interior Design', 'Hospitality Design' and 'Boutique Design'.

Margaret was recently inducted into 'Hospitality Design’s' Platinum Circle for excellence in hospitality design, promoted to be the firm’s first female Senior Vice President, and elected to the Board of Directors of the employee-owned firm.

Margaret’s natural talent to pinpoint details, analyze conceptual designs, and integrate reality with emotion makes her a revolutionary and inspiring figure in the field of interior design.

Mark Bruce

Senior Design Director – EPR Architects

Mark is Senior Design Director of the hotels and hospitality team with extensive experience across the sector, and particular expertise with listed buildings, refurbishments and resort hotels. He brings a strong, practical and pragmatic commercial approach honed throughout a 19 year grounding in the hospitality construction industry. He is responsible for an impressive number of hotel projects and leads a dedicated team of highly experienced, motivated and talented hotel designers and deliverers.

Mark is a qualified Architect (RIBA) and was educated at both the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art where his passion for truly transformative and regenerative projects was first nurtured. He immediately found that a career in hospitality design allowed him to combine this passion with his love of remarkable buildings and interest in hotel architecture within a sector that demanded bespoke and thought-provoking solutions.

Mark has since dedicated his career to specialising in hotel design and delivery working with many of the mainstream hotel brands as well as having the opportunity to use his skills in undertaking a number of unique hospitality projects.

Whether designing efficient hotel and bedroom layouts, revitalising grand hotel buildings, repurposing a retired ship in to a unique stay-over destination or designing an exclusive and homely 40-bed ranch in the New Mexico Desert – Mark brings a particular flair with an informed, yet inventive, commercial approach.

Mark has developed exceptionally refined project leadership skills through a proven track-record in imaginative and sensitive refurbishment of existing building stock. He has successfully delivered numerous complex hotel and resort refurbishments over the years, many within challenging multi-phased and live hotel environments for exacting stakeholders.

When re-purposing a Historic Department store into hotel accommodation or restoring a 330 year old Country House for the modern expectations of the hospitality user – Mark’s approach is always to equally consider the guest experience as well as the commercial aspirations of the owner/investor.

Mark understands the hospitality industry and possesses a contagious enthusiasm for every project.

Michael Goodman

Managing Director – EDG Design

Paul Wiste

Head of Design & Engineering, South East Asia and Korea – IHG

Pinar Calimano

Director, New Hotels & Design MEA - IHG

Serdar Kutucu

Vice President – Brand, Marketing & Communications – Design Hotels

Serdar Kutucu is Vice President – Brand, Marketing & Communications at Design Hotels, responsible for the boutique collection’s brand management, creative services, digital marketing and communications.

Prior to his current role, Serdar was Director of Business Development at Design Hotels and oversaw the substantial growth of the company’s hotel portfolio, in particular across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With a deep understanding of hospitality, the guest experience, architecture and design he has been working as a consultant for many years and created several sophisticated hotel concepts.

Serdar has a wealth of experience in marketing and strategic consultancy with national and international companies, and holds a Masters Degree in International Business Administration from the University of Vienna.

Tom Hupe

Director of Hospitality – Perkins+Will

Tom Hupe is Director of Hospitality at the global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. Tom brings almost 20 years’ experience of working exclusively in the hotel and leisure sector. During this time he has been responsible for the design and project delivery of a diverse range of hotel projects, alongside feasibility work, design audit work and hotel design consultancy.

The impressive array of hotel projects that Tom has been responsible for range from the economy to the luxury hotel sectors. He oversaw the conversion of Sea Containers House on the south bank of the River Thames into a 359-room Mondrian hotel for Morgans Hotel Group. He was responsible for the delivery of the award-winning luxury hotel at Coworth Park for The Dorchester Collection, as well as the 600-room Sofitel London Heathrow and the Marriott Hotel, Leicester.

Within Perkins+Will, Tom oversees hospitality projects whilst acting as a point of contact for operators, developers and agents and providing firm-wide specialist hotel design advice. Alongside this role, he is also a founding partner of the British Hospitality Property Association.

Vince Stroop

Principal — Stonehill & Taylor​ Architects

Vince Stroop joined Stonehill & Taylor as Principal in 2014, bringing with him over 20 years of experience leading the design of prominent public and private spaces, including hotels, libraries, luxury residences, wineries, and restaurants. He specialises in hospitality in New York, and has worked in a variety of destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Moscow, Hong Kong and London.

His projects include work for prominent hospitality brands like Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, MGM Resorts International, Kerzner International Resorts, and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. He believes that design is a highly interactive and collaborative process; the best projects are those that embrace a team approach to every challenge. His work extends beyond the art and science of architecture, and includes diverse interests such as urban planning, graphic identity, website design, and education, having served as studio instructor at the School of Architecture at Woodbury University.

Previously, Vince was the founding partner of A2 Studios, a multidisciplinary architecture firm in California. He then led architecture and interiors as Principal at BBG-BBGM, and was a Studio Leader at Jeffrey Beers International.