AHEAD MEA is judged by an independent panel of experts, comprising leading hospitality architects, designers, owners, operators, developers and industry commentators.
The judges for AHEAD MEA are acknowledged industry leaders, who represent a wide spectrum of the disciplines involved in delivering new hotel projects across the region.
Marc Dardenne joined Jumeirah in September 2016 as Group Chief Operating Officer and oversees group operations across its international portfolio. He has a long and established career as a hotelier, having worked internationally for more than 30 years.
He has been instrumental in the development of a number of brands and curated guest experiences across a range of diverse hospitality assets including hotels, branded residences, serviced apartments, resorts and clubs.
Dardenne’s appointment hailed his return to Dubai after 5 years in Singapore. His experience has enhanced the Jumeirah management team as well as Jumeirah’s continued evolution as a leading hospitality brand. A Belgium national, Dardenne has lived and worked in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East and is fluent in French, English and German.
The creative powerhouse behind Bishop Design LLC, the international multi award winning boutique firm, is owner and founder, Paul Bishop. Paul is widely regarded as one of the UAE’s leading commercial and hospitality designers in the UAE and is noted for his ability in creating such diverse and unique concepts such as La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie, UAE brand Caramel Restaurant and Lounge which is soon to open its first European location in London as well as working with world renowned chefs Massimo Bottura and Jean Edern Hurstel for new F&B venues Torno Subito on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai and Restaurant Edern soon to open in Paris, France.
Paul’s ability to further incorporate international concepts into the UAE F&B industry such as BOA, KOI and Toro + KO from the USA, Scalini’s in London and Ketchup Burger Restaurant & Bar from Russia is a further testament to his extensive knowledge and experience within the Interior Design industry. Following such success, Paul has recently integrated his skillset further into the hospitality industry as well as his portfolio with multiple hotel’s currently under design with operators such as Rotana and Hilton including boutique hotel brands soon to be revealed in the Middle East.
With over twenty years of creative experience spanning hotel, retail, residential and commercial projects, Marcos Cain has spearheaded hospitality concepts and projects across Asia, Australia and the Middle East - from award winning boutique hotels, to iconic newbuilds such as The Cook, The Meet, The Brew at the Kerry Hotel, Pudong, and Hotel Jen in Beijing. His most recent projects include the Waldorf Astoria in the Maldives, The Ritz Carlton Amman and Katara Sharq Village.
A passionate spokesperson for hospitality and F&B design, cain is a regular guest speaker at events on innovation and sustainability. His accodales to date include; the Asia Hotel Design award, Middle East Interior Design award and the International House and Property award, and he has been recognized across a large range of categories, from best hotel and restaurant to luxury urban escape.
Pinar Calimano is Director of Design for InterContinental Hotels Group, overseeing and inspiring the design delivery for hotels in the Middle East and Africa region. A seasoned hospitality design professional with a multidisciplinary background, she is passionate about creating guest journeys that inspire, delight and emotionally engage guests.
Calimano began a career in hotel management in her hometown of Istanbul, though, following eight years with international hotel operators, her desire to create hospitality concepts took her to US, where she received a degree from the New York School of Interior Design.
She has worked as lead designer for international firms in New York and Dubai, and on hotel projects operated by Marriot, Starwood, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Movenpick and Hyatt International, as well as regional developers such as Nakheel, Al Mulla Holding and Dutco.
Design Director Claire Craig established WA International’s Dubai office in 1996, which subsequently became one of the region’s most well known design consultancies. She leads a team of international design professionals, and has contributed to the interiors of properties in Dubai, across the UAE and abroad.
Craig brings to the team an enthusiastic approach to design, and keen leadership guided by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Having worked previously in Canada, USA, Saudi Arabia, London and Egypt, she embodies the spirit of an international and culturally diverse designer.
Craig has witnessed the evolution and growth of the region, and her contributions to projects including the Address Downtown, One & Only the Palm, and The Westin, Al Habtoor City have helped make the UAE a renowned hospitality and travel destination.
With a background in architecture, it is her love and passion for all things design that has led her to this profession, and aided her in creating original and distinctive properties.
Pallavi Dean is the founder and creative force behind Pallavi Dean Interiors, a boutique design consultancy. The company’s mission is to create experiences through design, and has an international portfolio spanning three continents, flagship projects include the new Delano in Dubai, Paramount Hotels and Resorts in Doha and the Edelman HQ in Abu Dhabi.
A trained architect and sustainability specialist, Dean has won awards for her work across sectors including the commercial, hospitality and residential markets. She was born in India, raised in Dubai and spent years working in London, and her designs reflect these eclectic influences. A former professor of interior design at the American University of Sharjah, she strives to implement the latest theoretical and practical research into the firm’s designs.
Dean debuted her furniture line Tension in 2016, a line that documents her design journey to date.
Carol Finnie of dwp creates bespoke interior designs suited to clients’ individual needs. With over 26 years experience, she has successfully completed a diverse range of projects, and spent part of her career in the US as project director for the renovation of The Pierre Hotel in New York.
Taking inspiration from her many interests, and combining functionality and creative design with commercial realities, she is adept at communicating how excellence in design maximises value for the client.
As Regional Portfolio Director for the Middle East, Finnie has a detailed, passionate and thorough approach, and contributes critical analysis, planning and design guidance to each project. Her ability to execute experiential spaces, customised to the culture she’s designing for, means that she treats every project in a unique way.
Her expertise in construction methods, subconsultants, coordination and cost analysis, combined with her knowledge of materials, ensures the client's design vision is delivered on time and to a high standard.
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.
A seasoned interior architecture professional, Pintado 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.
Sheri Y. Smith joined Marriott International in 1986, and currently serves as Senior Director of Interior Design for Global Design Middle East and Africa. With over thirty years of experience in the design industry, her passion for excellence and forward thinking design has resulted in memorable guest experiences around the globe.
Smith manages interior design decisions throughout the Middle East and Africa, and is responsible for instilling each property with unique character. Her expertise ranges from site market analysis to acquisition, conversion, renovation and new-build projects. She has further contributed to product branding, positioning and strategic brand product implemetations. Her international experience spans the Americas, Asia, Europe, and MEA, with her work present throughout the luxury, lifestyle, full and select service markets.
Over the past 15 years he has successfully produced one of the most diverse portfolios; designing luxury and lifestyle hotels with some of the best international hospitality brands. He has created distinctive and original environments which reflect the Client’s aesthetic vision. He has travelled the world collecting experiences from Shanghai, Paris, the Maldives, Los Angeles, Singapore and recently Dubai. In Dubai, he leads a multicultural team of over 60 designers, inspiring and guiding them on their journey to achieve successful and unique projects, cultivating their skills and creative diversities.
David’s keen sense for design and dedication is shown with his handling of multiple projects while delivering the high standards and quality in projects that can be seen all throughout the world. Speaking English, French and Dutch coupled with his life experience gives David a cultural sensitivity and uniqueness that each of his projects and clients demand.
The judging process for AHEAD MEA has been developed over the past 20 years to ensure a rigorous, robust and balanced procedure is followed to select the final winners in each category.
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 January 2017 – February 2018 are eligible for entry to AHEAD MEA 2018.
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.
Further guidance on specific criteria for individual categories is given here and during the entry process.
Entry costs for AHEAD MEA are 1120 AED for the first submission, then 560 AED for additional entries.
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)
GROHE products can be found in iconic hotel developments all over the world. Thanks to unique versatility in design and functionality, innovative technology and endless possible applications, GROHE products are perfectly placed to meet the rigorous demands of the hospitality sector.
We want guests to feel at home. When they visit a hotel, they expect a standard beyond that of a normal domestic bathroom. They want to be inspired. This is what we do.
The Definitive Source for Site, Garden, and Casual Furnishings ®
An industry leader in design-driven furnishings for more than 35 years, JANUS et Cie serves hospitality, contract and residential clients with a dedicated focus on outstanding quality, superior craftsmanship and unparalleled service. In the years since the company's founding in 1978, CEO Janice Feldman and her exceptional team have transformed JANUS et Cie from a single showroom in Los Angeles to a comprehensive global design resource with sixteen flagship showrooms throughout North America and in Singapore and Sydney, as well as field offices and select dealers throughout the world.
The company's namesake—the Roman god JANUS, whose two faces look both forward and back—is the foundation of a unified mission rooted in tradition, heritage and craft, yet equally dedicated to innovative materials and progressive engineering. This inspired long-term view is realized through the lens of a unique corporate culture that encourages curiosity, creativity and collaboration in the pursuit of excellence.
JANUS et Cie offers a diverse catalog of over 6,000 pieces—each design remarkably distinguished in concept and form. Acclaimed by the most discriminating designers, architects and juried competitions, this powerful body of work has inspired for decades a demand for beautifully imagined casual furnishings to be used both indoors and out, and has influenced an entire industry in the process.Visit site
The Laufen Bathrooms AG is a Swiss company specialising in premium complete bathroom solutions. Established in 1892 in Laufen/Switzerland, it operates internationally manufacturing bathroom ceramics and faucets and distributing bathroom furniture, accessories for the bathroom, bathtubs and shower trays.
But Laufen has never forgotten its roots – founded as a pottery factory, ceramics have always played a central role in the drafts of the designers and architects Laufen work with partners like Kartell, Alessi, Konstantin Grcic, Stefano Giovannoni, Wiel Arets, Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, Toan Nguyen and others. The products combine Swiss quality with a free spirit and the idea of extracting new forms from the traditional ceramic material to new and independent bathroom concepts.
Laufen is proud to be a part of the global hospitality community, working with specification partners around the world on inspirational hotel projects. We are also well-known for being a highly innovative company with 125 years of expertise in ceramics. It is no coincidence, that Laufen invented the revolutionary SaphirKeramik, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined, and extremely robust.
Furthermore the bathroom specialist has solutions and modern materials at its disposal to realise the made-to-measure bathroom. For example to fulfill the exacting requirements of architects, planners and engineers who design high-quality private residences as well as public and semi-public buildings, such as hotels.Visit site
Roca is a company engaged in the design, production and commercialisation of products for the bathroom space, as well as ceramic floor and wall tiles for architecture, building and interior design. Its origins date from 1917, when the Roca family started building their first production plant in Gavà (Barcelona). In the centenary of its establishment, the company employs over 22,600 workers and has 78 production plants, with presence in more than 170 markets in five continents.
Thriving on its pioneering approach to bathroom manufacturing, Roca offers solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and issues faced by designers. Roca also collaborates with prestigious architects and designers including Armani, David Chipperfield and J. Mariscal, among others. Additionally, the company works to promote environmental initiatives; developing new products focused on water conservation, including the award-winning W+W combined washbasin and WC product.
The brand is expressed in the Roca Galleries, a network of showroom spaces designed by acclaimed architects such as Zaha Hadid, which demonstrate Roca’s enthusiasm in shaping the future of bathroom spaces. Roca has been involved in hospitality projects for Sheraton, Four Seasons and Hilton hotels, amongst others.Visit site
Villeroy & Boch is one of the world's leading premium brands for ceramic products. The family business, which was founded in 1748 and is headquartered in Mettlach/Germany, stands for innovation, tradition and exceptional style. As a renowned lifestyle brand, Villeroy & Boch offers products from the sectors Bathroom and Wellness and Tableware, and is active in 125 countries.
As a proven partner for high-quality bathroom solutions, Villeroy & Boch works with architects, planners and interior designers – from the first draft to the final version. Its modular PROJECTS system offers collections and products for individual project requirements with clear pricing and thematic-area segmentation. Working across the globe, the company can point to numerous completed installations across a range of design briefs with different project requirements.Visit site
HI Design MEA brings the region’s top hotel interior design people together: The big-brand Owner/Operators and Interior Design Agencies looking for new products and the right regional collaborators.
Its proven format of face-to-face meetings, quality networking, product demo and world-class seminar programme make this 3 of the most worthwhile days you can have as a hotel design professional.
Each event sells out earlier every year. To find out who comes, how it works and what you can expect to achieve, get in touch today: email@example.comVisit site