Pallavi Dean (pictured) founded her boutique interiors studio in 2011, having previously been an associate at architect firm Godwin Austen Johnson. The LEED accredited designer is also an active member of the UAE design community and has contributed countless reports to the field of design and research. In the past year, her business has grown in terms of its scope of work and is currently working on international residential projects and large-scale hotel apartment schemes in Dubai. The award-winning designer also likes to give back to the region’s design community by role modelling for younger women and being an assistant professor of interior design at American University Sharjah.
Andre Meyerhans leads his Dubai-based studio Andre C Meyerhans Architecture + Design. Having won a number of awards for various regional projects such as the New Garhoud Bridge in Dubai and Al Nadi Tower, Meyerhans previously worked for star architect Santiago Calatrava. He has also created brand architecture for Alfred Dunhill, Cartier, Hugo Boss and Christian LaCroix. He holds a Masters in Architecture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and an MBA from London Business School. Meyerhans is also a member of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects.
Cristiano Luchetti is a former architect who now lectures in the profession at the American University of Sharjah. He feels that the profession must combine many disciplines, including engineering, philosophy and design. “An architect must be competent in literature in history, be skilled in drawing and a good mathematician,” he said.
Last year’s Architect of the Year Salim Hussain works at Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf and feels an architect’s job is to turn philosophical concepts into bricks, mortar and concrete. “Architecture is about more than just building and it is that ‘more than’ bit that I am interested in,” he said.
Bart Leclercq is a senior engineer at WSP and has been a judge at the awards on many occasions. Among the projects he has been involved in are the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain which has been recognised across the world. In-depth submission and detailing are important in nominations, he feels. “What I really like is when you can see, by looking at images and schematics and by reading the text, the amount of detail an engineer or architect has put together. You can see the thought process they have undergone.”
Paul Priest is head of the MENA studios for Benoy and was winner of the title of Principal of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards 2014. He is responsible for developing a leading projects across the region and recent successes include The Beach outdoor retail and leisure facilities in Dubai. He was also placed fifth in the regional section of Middle East Architect’s most recent Power List.