The shortlist is today revealed for the 2018 INDEX Architecture & Design Awards – the Middle East’s leading independent celebration of generation-defining new builds, renovations and interior spaces.

Spread over 14 categories, the annual prize-giving will honour the vision, hard-work, innovation and pizzazz of the region’s leading design and architectural firms, with projects across the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors all earning nominations.

Now in their fifth year, the awards – the ceremony of which takes place on the second evening of the INDEX exhibition, March 27th – will also reward the creative minds driving design forward, with awards for Rising Star, Design Leader and Design Firm of the Year.

Leading the charge are Dubai-based firms DWP and Bishop Design, with five nominations each. Wilson Associates, whose new self-styled office in Dubai Design District is in the running for Best Commercial Project, have four, as do Swiss Bureau Interior Design.

Notable projects in the running include the new Renaissance Hotel Downtown Dubai, the Fairmont Quasar Istanbul, the Mirror Pavilion in Isfahan, Iran, and the self-styled family home of Gensler designer and last year’s INDEX Rising Star winner, Yasmin Farahmandy.

Samantha Kane-Macdonald, event director at INDEX, said: "It is always nigh on impossible to whittle down our award entries to a final shortlist and this year proved no exemption; not only did we have a record number of entries – with 147 individual submissions from more than 70 different firms – but were faced with a truly awe-inspiring catalogue of exceptional builds and spaces.

Pictured: Design Leader of the Year nominees (from left) Sejal Patel (Gensler), Martin Lesjak (Innocad Architecture), Carol Finnie (DWP), Chris Barnes (Broadway Interiors), Isabel Pintado (Wilson Associates), Joakim de Rham (Swiss Bureau), Muhammad Al Salmy (Hoehler & AlSamy), Daousser Chennoufi (Draw Link Group), Paul Bishop (Bishop Design)

"These projects and the genius minds driving them are the key to this region’s future, not only as a forward-looking part of the world for people to live, work and thrive in, but also in further cementing its status as a hotbed of sublime architecture and design that many other continents look to for inspiration.

"To be able to celebrate the people that give this industry its dazzling reputation is always a massive honour for us. Our two most popular categories this year were Design Leader of the Year and INDEX Rising Star, which itself pays testament to the degree of expertise and ability in architecture and design across the board." 

The final shortlist is now in the hands of eight expert judges. Benjamin Piper, Partner & Design Principal, Killa Architectural Design; Carol Finnie, Head of Design, dwp; Indu Varanasi, Design Director, IR Design; Justin Wells, Head of Lifestyle Interiors, Woods Bagot; and Maliha Nishat, Head of Interior Design, Marriott, make up half of the judging panel.

Spread over 14 categories, the annual prize-giving will honour the vision, hard-work, innovation and pizzazz of the region’s leading design and architectural firms, with projects across the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors all earning nominations

They are joined by Marcos Cain, Principal & Founder, Stickman Tribe; Mike Lewis, Director Design Studio, Meraas Development; Chris Johnson, Managing Principal and Creative Director, Gensler; Matteo Bianchi, Matteo Bianchi Studio; and Jo Hamilton, founder of Jo Hamilton Interiors.

All the winners will be announced at the INDEX Architecture & Design Awards ceremony – where Boss Design; Hawa Sliding Solutions; Windows, Doors & Facades; the IE School of Architecture and Design and OFIS all sponsor categories – on the second evening of this month’s INDEX exhibition.

The full shortlist is as follows...


Best Café, Bar & Lounge Design Project

  • Bishop Design: Larte
  • Broadway Interiors: LSB
  • Light Space Design: Drop Coffee
  • WA International: Poppy

Best Healthcare / Wellness Design Project

  • Brand Creative: Rosanno Ferretti
  • esadore Creative: Intercontinental Hotel Resort Spa, Fujairah
  • Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai
  • Splyce Interior Design: Dr Joy

Best Institutional, Sports or Educational Design Project

  • ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers: The American School of Creative Science
  • ELIEMETNI: Eco Nursery
  • Hoehler + alSalmy: History of Science Centre
  • Swiss Bureau Interior Design: Tecom Auditorium

Retail Design Project of the Year

  • Amitis Design
  • Bluehaus Group
  • IL Architecture + IN Architects
  • Kinnersley Kent Design

Best Refurbishment Design Project

  • Draw Link Group: Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Tunisia
  • Pallavi Dean Interiors: Shababeek
  • S2 Interiors: VX Studio
  • Sharon Jutla Interiors: Pizza Express

Fit-Out Contractor of the Year

  • BW Interiors
  • Gemaco Interiors
  • ISG Middle East
  • La Sorogeeka Interiors
  • Plafond Fit Out LLC
  • Summertown Interiors

The Index Rising Star Award

  • Anita Bir, Hirsch Bedner Associates
  • Brylle Anthony Relevo, VX Studio / Opaal Interiors
  • Dilara Ajun, ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers
  • Israa Mahmoud, 10Concepts
  • Kamsin Mirchandani, Swiss Bureau Interior Design
  • Muhammad Habsah, Dar Al Handasah
  • Natasha Ahmed, Lulie Fisher Design Studio
  • Rawaa A. Abdulkarim, DWP

Best Restaurant Design Project

  • Bishop Design: Toro + KO
  • Bishop Design: Waka
  • Creneau International Middle East: Cho Gao
  • Wilson Associates: Fairmont Quasar Istanbul

Best Residential Design Project

  • AAC Interiors: Family Home
  • Bishop Design Residential: Alef Residences, Signature Apartment
  • Signature Developers: 118
  • Yasmin Farahmandy: Meydan villa

Best Hospitality Design Project

  • DWP: DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay
  • Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai: Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai
  • WA International: Renaissance Downtown Hotel
  • Wilson Associates: Fairmont Quasar Istanbul

Best Cultural Design Project

  • Godwin Austen Johnson: Al Seef
  • Lulie Fisher Design Studio: Manarat Al Saadiyat Gallery
  • Noor Architecture Atelier: The Mirror Pavilion
  • SSH: Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre

Best Commercial Design Project

  • DWP: The Smart Dubai Office
  • Ochre: Dubai Holding
  • Swiss Bureau Interior Design: UNBOX
  • Wilson Associates: Wilson Associates Studio & Office

Design Firm of the Year

  • Bishop Design LLC
  • DWP
  • Pallavi Dean Interiors
  • Swiss Bureau Interior Design

Design Leader of the Year

  • Carol Finnie, DWP
  • Chris Barnes, Broadway Interiors
  • Daousser Chennoufi, Draw Link Group
  • Isabel Pintado, Wilson Associates
  • Joakim de Rham, Swiss Bureau Interior Design
  • Martin Lesjak, Innocad Architecture
  • Muhammad Al Salmy, Hoeler + AlSalmy
  • Paul Bishop, Bishop Design
  • Sejal Patel, Gensler

Index Partners

  • African Association of Interior Designers

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  • BCFA

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  • AEC Online

  • Architecture and Interiors Panorama

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