2016 Agenda

9.00        REGISTRATION




10.05      PANEL DISCUSSION: Designing for the Arts – The Flourishing Middle East Cultural Scene

Over recent years, countries in the Middle East have employed impressive resources to encourage art and culture in the region. They have vied to attract established museums and art galleries – not just to encourage arts and artists to the Middle East but to attract the attention of the world. The arts have therefore experienced a building boom across the region, with billions of dollars directed to the building of museums, theatres, opera houses, and centres for the visual and performing arts. The world has already been impressed by Qatar’s cultural institutions, in particular the Museum of Islamic Art and the Arab Museum of Modern. Abu Dhabi’s plans for a cultural district featuring world-class museums such as the Louvre and what is set to be the world’s largest Guggenheim on Saadiyat Island are well on the way to completion. Dubai’s much anticipated Opera House recently opened its doors to global fanfare and The Museum of the Future project has recently broken ground. Often such buildings constitute a piece of art in itself. They are architectural and engineering masterpieces, and they are often the most challenging buildings to build. So what does it take to design a museum or gallery? How does the Middle East become a progressive force, create its own cultural identity and stamp its own mark on the global map? And how can designers on such projects innovate while ensuring regional content remains relevant?

Ahmed Khadier, Founder & Managing Director, PRAGMA. architects | planners

Phillip Jones, Principal | Managing Director – Middle East & North Africa, B+H Architects

Shaun Killa, Design Partner, Killa Architectural Design

Kevin McLachlan, Partner | Head of Interior Design, Godwin Austen Johnson

David Daniels, Principal Architect, SSH


10.45      CASE STUDY: Dubai Opera

Among the projects that have emerged from the arts and culture boom, Dubai Opera’s recent launch was a triumph. Dubai Opera has pushed the limits of design and innovation and demanded outstanding teamwork and collaboration across multiple disciplines. Its key feature and greatest design challenge is its distinct ability to transform internally to host opera, theatre, concert, exhibition, banquet and conference occasions. So how was this achieved? The project’s lead designer will share his experiences and how he went about such a mammoth task in this brief case study.

Janus Rostock, Regional Design Director, Head of Architecture, Urban Design & Masterplanning, ATKINS


11.05     TAKE 10…INSIGHT & INNOVATION IN DESIGN: Planning for Communities – Design in the Urban Space

 Ivar Krasinski, Founding Partner & Design Director, EDGE


11.15     PANEL DISCUSSION: Connecting Communities – Integrated Neighbourhood Design

As the UAE’s urban population continues to expand and the market matures, we are watching the UAE’s cities transform before our eyes. We are now seeing a change in the way that commercial and residential areas are being designed – with a move towards affordability, liveability, flexibility and sustainability. On a city scale, in the recent past, there was a trend to create self-contained/mixed-use communities where people live, work and play, and in the UAE, where cars dominate the cities, this often means that places are segregated and, at times, result in non-active streets and neighbourhoods or isolated ‘islands’ in the midst of these bustling cities. In Dubai in particular, there still seems to be a disconnect between certain pockets of the city. In order for communities to grow and for the UAE’s residents to benefit from integrated neighbourhoods something needs to change. Many developers are now re-examining the way that they design residential and commercial developments with a view to offering its eventual inhabitants an environment focussed on two key factors – lifestyle and flexibility – through sustainable design. But how will they connect and integrate these neighbourhoods to the next? How can communities become connected?

Jason Chia, Senior Landscape Architect & Urban Designer, Perkins+Will

Jonathan Ashmore, Founder | Director, ANARCHITECT

Ralf Steinhauer, Director – Middle East & North Africa, RSP

Ignacio Gomez, Design Director – Middle East, Aedas


11.55      COFFEE BREAK


12.40      PANEL DISCUSSION: Midscale & Budget Hospitality – Designing without Compromise

In a region that is renowned for its luxury hotel offerings, we are now in the midst of a transition towards a more diverse hospitality market, thanks to evolving consumer behaviour and a call from regional authorities to expand and diversify hotel offerings. Capitalising on the soaring demand for quality midscale and economy accommodation in the GCC, many international and boutique hotel operators are in the process of entering the market or have already launched new budget and midscale properties here in the Middle East. With diversification, comes opportunity and architects and interior designers across the region have taken on these projects with gusto. However, projects of these nature come with a varied set of challenges and designers need to use clever and creative ways to ensure that despite a project being for the ‘budget’ market, they aren’t compromising on materials or creativity when it comes to design and build. So how are architects and designers ensuring that they are designing without compromise and what are the trends that are leading their decisions when crafting hotels in the Middle East’s midscale and budget market?

Justin Wells, Principal, Studio HBA

Maliha Nishat, Design Director Interior Design Studio, dwp | design worldwide partnership

Christian Merieau, Managing Director/Partner, MMAC Design Associates

Joe Tabet, Managing Director, JT+Partners

Veena Kanchan, Design Director, VS Design Studio


13.20      TAKE 10…INSIGHT & INNOVATION IN DESIGN: The Branded Environment – Enhancing Interior Experiences with Graphic Design


Carla Conte, Creative Director & Founder, BR&ND CREATIVE



Benjamin Hubert, Founder, LAYER


14.00      IN CONVERSATION WITH….Benjamin Hubert