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id50 2021: Celebrating contributions to design and architecture across the Middle East

id50 celebrates individuals who have made positive impacts to design and architecture across the Middle East

Bernard Khoury

Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury founded his architecture practice DW5 in 1993, with post-civil war Beirut and its urban landscape becoming his workshop and source of inspiration. Khoury’s work demonstrates exceptional creativity and flexibility and a firm stance against conforming to norms; instead, he focuses on creating his own narrative by producing buildings that reflect the less ‘sugar-coated’ stories of Beirut. Besides DW5, Khoury co-founded the Arab Center for Architecture and has lectured across a number of prestigious academic institutions, from Europe to the US. Over the past 20 years, his office has developed an international reputation and a diverse portfolio of projects, both regionally and in more than 15 countries the world over. He delivered two residential projects in Lebanon in 2020 and is currently working on the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Gyumri, Armenia and Paris.


Founded by Natalie Mahakian and Achraf Mzily in 2018, Bone is a young Dubai-based practice that offers a new contemporary language within the design landscape of the UAE. Coming from the complementary frameworks of architecture and interior design, its work ranges from commercial and residential projects to landscaping, eliciting a dialogue through architectural gestures, sensorial earthy materiality and detailing. By rejecting conventional design stereotypes, Bone freely explores design while still applying methodical theory to its projects, creating novel spaces that can functionally and aesthetically serve different purposes, and reinterpreting the way common spaces are defined. Having recently completed Terra, a Mediterranean eatery reminiscent of a lush courtyard, Bone is currently working on F&B concepts in Dubai Design District and Alserkal Avenue, in addition working across private residences, hospitality projects and industrial design.


Established in Jeddah in 2015, Bricklab is dedicated to the examination of design as it intersects with the social, political, economic, and cultural networks that form our built environment. It was founded by Saudi architects Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz, and the duo brings together dynamic and diverse backgrounds in architecture and planning, as well as history and theory. These frame the practice, whose aim is to pose research-driven questions to make meaningful contributions within socio-political and economic contexts. Working across multiple scales, the duo has since produced objects, designed coffee shops, redeveloped historic buildings and curated and exhibited across platforms such as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Salone del Mobile in Milan, Art Dubai and Shubbak Festival, in addition to consulting on city-scale masterplan developments. Bricklab was awarded the Art Jameel International Design Award for its proposal for Hayy:Cinema, soon to be the first bespoke home of Saudi and international independent film in the Kingdom.

Carl Gerges

Lebanese architect and musician Carl Gerges founded his architecture studio Carl Gerges Architects through an approach that adopts an authentic manner of work, diligently focusing on preserving each project’s  social, environmental and historical conditions. Advocating honest and contextual designs, the studio begins its design process by delving into the client’s stories and identities, basing the scope of work on the project’s core values and DNA. Anchored in a deep respect for sustaining natural resources, the studio avails itself of these earthly fabrics. Additionally, it handles heritage with intimate sensibility, preserving the project’s site and architecture. Gerges has completed a number of residential projects across Lebanon, with others currently under construction, including the historical Villa Nadia in Lebanon, a residential project in Lagos, Nigeria and a cultural project in Paris. His studio is also working on residential projects in New York as well as hospitality, educational and residential projects in Beirut.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones is partner at 10 Design, which has completed a number of landmark projects across the UAE. He has over 20 years of international experience on major projects throughout the Middle East, Asia, the UK and the US, and is currently based in Dubai. Jones has extensive experience on the design, delivery and management of projects across all stages, including mixed-use developments, masterplanning and residential, retail, commercial, education and civic projects. He has worked with a wide variety of clients including international developers, private clients, government bodies, and universities and college trusts. Presently in the region, he has been managing the design and delivery of landmark mixed-use projects with Dubai International Financial Centre, Al Barari, Emaar, DMCC, Meraas, Mirage, Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana, TECOM, and Swiss Property. Having completed projects such as the Bluewaters Residences and Mosque in Dubai and the Al Seef Contemporary Area in Dubai Creek, 10 Design is currently working on La Reserve Residences in Dubai, the Jefeira Seafront Masterplan and Residential Development in Egypt and the Hyatt Centric Yalikavak Bodrum in Turkey.

Dana Alamri

Saudi architect Dana AlAmri is the co-founder of Jeddah-based design and architecture firm WATAD Studio. Alongside partner Yahia Kandil, WATAD has worked across a variety of sectors including residential, commercial and hospitality, including the studio’s celebrated Travertine House in Jeddah’s Al Khalidiyyah district. Prior to launching WATAD, AlAmri completed her thesis in social housing and the potential regeneration of the slums in Jeddah. AlAmri’s work has a strong focus on the user experience, space and light, while the studio additionally participates in a number of community initiatives as well as working with the municipality to help improve urban conditions in the city. AlAmri believes that great architecture lies in empowering individuals and building strong and successful communities.

Dara Towhidi

Architect Dara Towhidi is a partner at Foster + Partners and currently oversees the UK firm’s Dubai office and several high-profile projects in the Middle East region. A graduate of the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, he joined the practice in 1997 and has since worked on projects across the globe – including Kamakura House in Japan, Bund Finance Centre in Shanghai and Dubai Design District’s Creative Community, as well as The Index tower in Dubai, the House of Wisdom in Sharjah and, most recently, the masterplan for a luxury hospitality resort island in Saudi Arabia. Towhidi also plays an active part in the design community in Dubai, speaking widely at conferences and industry events as well as holding a role on the American University in Dubai’s Advisory Board for Architecture.


Lebanese designers David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem have established a global presence since setting up their studio, David/Nicolas, in Beirut in 2011. Through an interdisciplinary approach and retro-futurist design aesthetic, the duo has since staged several exhibitions and collaborated with established international brands like Vista Alegre, CC-Tapis, Moooi, Pierre Frey and de Gournay. The pair work in a salon-style studio environment and have fostered a creative space where their individual ways of creation can flourish. Their Orquestra tableware collection for Vista Alegre was awarded the Red Dot Design Award. Since 2016, they are represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Their solo exhibition, ‘Supernova’, was shown in both Paris and New York and is continuously expanding into a wide range of carefully crafted pieces. David/Nicolas are continuing to work on private and commercial interior projects, as well as furniture pieces for various international brands.

Fadi Sarieddine

Lebanese architect Fadi Sarieddine set up his eponymous multidisciplinary atelier in 2013 alongside his wife Lilas Bitar. Fadi Sarieddine Design Studio’s work ranges in scale from architectural projects to interiors for offices and retail, restaurant and residential projects, and also creates furniture designs. Sarieddine’s experimental approach challenges the fundamentals of traditional design; he examines the use of unconventional materials by taking them out of their natural context and applying them as a new medium, thus giving them a new identity, while also designing to allow the user to interfere with the objects by transforming them in accordance with his or her needs. Sarieddine is currently working on The Hive in Dubai, the first co-living community project of its kind in the city.

Faysal Tabbarah

Nominated by Jonathan Ashmore – Anarchitect

Born in Aleppo, Syria, Faysal Tabbarah is Associate Professor of Architecture at the College of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah, and co-founder of the architecture and design studio Architecture + Other Things (A+OT), alongside Nada Taryam. Tabbarah’s teaching, practice and research interrogates the relationships between regional environmental and architectural imaginaries to develop alternative building practices that are rooted in their surrounding material and cultural environments. Tabbarah’s recently completed projects include Drowsy Coffee on the foothills of Al Hajar Mountains in Khorfakkan, in collaboration with The Attic Design Studio, as well as a commission for Kvadrat. Upcoming projects in 2021 include: Water in the Green, the competition-winning entry for Sabeel Water Fountains at Expo 2020; a farmhouse in Ajman, UAE; and a contribution for the Kuwait Pavilion at the 17th Venice Biennial of Architecture.

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