Featured Speakers

Minsuk Cho - Founder, Mass Studies

Architect Minsuk Cho founded the Seoul-based firm Mass Studies in 2003. He has been committed to the discourse of architecture through socio-cultural and urban research and mostly built works, which have been recognized globally, with representative works including the Pixel House, Missing Matrix: Boutique Monaco, Bundle Matrix: S-Trenue, Ann Demeulemeester Shop, Korea Pavilion: 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and Daum Space.1, Osulloc: Tea Stone/Innisfree, Southcape: Clubhouse, and Dome-ino. Active beyond his practice, he has co-curated the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale, and was the commissioner and co-curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, which was awarded the Gold Lion for Best National Participation. In late 2014, PLATEAU Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, held their first ever architecture exhibition, highlighting his works in a solo exhibition titled "Before/After: Mass Studies Does Architecture." Cho is an active lecturer and speaker at symposiums worldwide.

Rashad Bukhash - Chairman, UAE Architectural Heritage Society

Rashad Bukhash has more than 30 years’ experience in the fields of planning, directing, managing, and supervising of modern architectural projects, conservation of historic buildings, museum designing and management, and landscaping projects. With his background in both architecture and conservation of historic buildings, he supervised the conservation of more than 215 historic buildings in Dubai and the Emirates. He also supervised the design and execution of more than 200 modern buildings including universities, colleges, public buildings, parks and community facilities. In his previous role as Director of Architectural Heritage and Archaeology Department for Dubai Municipality, Bukhash supervised the design and execution of 14 museums in Dubai, among them, Dubai Museum, Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House, The Heritage House, Al-Ahmadiya School, the Falcon Museum, and Sarooq Al-Hadid Archaeology Museum. Bukhash also wrote and supervised more than 36 books on architecture, history and traditional architecture of Dubai and the UAE. During his tenure at Dubai Municipality, Bukhash won many prizes, including; the best employee of Dubai Government in 1998, the prize for Scientific Excellency in 2002, the champion of sustainability in the Gulf States in 2008, the UAE Excellency award 2008 in architecture, and the best architect of the year in the Arab region from the Arab Cities Organization in 2010.

Tariq Khayyat - Head of Region – Middle East, Zaha Hadid Architects

Tariq Khayyat is the Head of Region - Middle East at Zaha Hadid Architects. Joining the office in 2005, he has been involved in as well as lead a number of the office’s high profile projects in the Middle East and Asia. Khayyat’s role as Head of the Region involves overseeing all current projects within the region as well as fulfilling the role of Project Director for a number of ventures and responds to the solid growth in demand from new and existing clients across the region; providing even greater levels of assistance, coordination and communication with the firm’s increasing client base throughout the Middle East. Khayyat was awarded his Master of Architecture with honours from the Design Research Laboratory of the Architectural Association School, London in 2005. He is a frequent guest lecturer and jury member in the UK, UAE, Cyprus, and Jordan. Khayyat was the Project Architect for the competition winning design of the King Abdullah II Performing Arts Centre in Amman, Jordan. He was also the Project Architect during the early design stages for the Changsha Meishihu International Cultural Centre Project Museum building, and the competition winning design of Bee’ah HQ in Sharjah which is due for completion in 2018. Further projects include the Al-Haram Mosque expansion proposal in Mecca, the Lusail Hotel in Qatar, as well as the Dubai Financial Market in the UAE.

Patrick Bean - Design Director, LACASA Architects & Engineering Consultants

With a Master's in interior design from Manchester University and more than 22 years of hospitality design experience, Patrick Bean boasts an extensive and diverse portfolio. As the Director of Interior Design at Lacasa, Bean aims to achieve a balance of design, aesthetic and function while fully expressing his clients' vision. His experience spans diverse markets including MENA, Asia, and Europe, having worked on the Address Boulevard Hotel, Dubai, UAE; the Radisson in Liuzhou, China; and the Marriott in Minsk.

Tarek F. Ardakani - Director of Operations, Emkay Interiors

With more than 20 years of experience in the fields of interior design, interior architecture and interior fit-out, Tarek F. Ardakani has been involved in the design and execution of several hotels, healthcare units, F&B units, retail units, banks, offices, villas, and apartments. His skills range from developing design concepts and project management to business development and marketing. An architect by training, Ardakani is an International Associate Member of AIA and an active member of the APID. Currently the Director of Operations at Emkay Interiors, Ardakani is involved in the management of more than 100 people along with day-to-day activities both on and off project sites.

David Lessard - Director of Hospitality, Perkins+Will

David Lessard is Director of Hospitality at Perkins+Will Dubai. With more than a decade of experience in the design, management and execution of innovative hotel and lifestyle projects, Lessard has actively contributed to the realisation of several award-winning works with ongoing projects in Morocco, Oman and Seychelles.

Sneha Divias - Founder, Sneha Divias Atelier

Born in Portugal, Sneha Divias holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Porto and has attended courses at Delft University of Technology and Istanbul Technical University. Divias specialised in Interior Design at New York University and has experience working with renowned architecture and design consultants in Lisbon and Dubai working on projects globally prior to founding the Atelier in Dubai. This background that spans across borders, has proven an innate skill for successfully delivering projects with very high standards of demeanour and intuitive elegance. Divias is able to integrate the business objectives of the clients into strategic solutions with an approach that is both creative and pragmatic. In 2017, the Atelier was a finalist at the Index Design Awards, shortlisted for SBID Awards, won the CID Awards Residential category, an International Property Award for Apartment Design Arabia and Divias won the CID Designer of the Year award. Sneha Divias Atelier was also featured in the Architectural Digest Middle East AD 50 list that recognises talent in the region. Divias is a fully qualified architect who has focused on specialised interior design services such as high end residential and hospitality projects. She develops projects from scratch to completion, working on all phases from concept to detail design and tender. Divias is the culmination of a devotion of 10 years of design experience with a matchless eye for detail, a passion and commitment to quality and perfection. A passionate and urbane architect with a highly creative brain and detail oriented, Divias has a true entrepreneurial vision in how she helms the Atelier.

Victor Siriani - Managing Partner, Avid Intellectual Property

Victor Siriani is the Managing Partner at Avid Intellectual Property and has more than 15 years’ experience in intellectual property (IP). Siriani has been instrumental in raising awareness on the importance of IP in the Middle East and has been vocal on the steps that organisations should take in building a sound, long-term IP strategy. Siriani has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Windsor, Canada and a Masters in Law from the University of Liverpool, UK with a focus on IP and Technology. His master’s dissertation was on 3D printing, its consequence and long-term outlook on IP law.