The success of the region’s first ever consumer Design Awards last October, hosted by Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, showed that it was high time we had an event that celebrated and honoured design excellence and innovation – not just from the UAE but from around the world, too. Working in partnership with luxury trade show Downtown Design, this year’s awards ceremony will be held in Dubai on Wednesday October 28. With schemes such as the emirate’s inaugural Design Week and Downtown Design putting regional craftsmen and companies on the global stage, it’s exciting to be part of the city’s shift onto the international design scene, and to champion both local and emerging brands alongside long-established giants in the premium market. For weeks, readers have been clamouring to place their nominations, and I’m thrilled to announce that the voting lines are now open. Go online to Harpersbazaarinteriorsawards.com and start electing the brands that epitomise each of the 12 categories to be celebrated at the ceremony, including best regional furniture brand, most eco-conscious store and best interior designer. As an editor, it’s such an honour to reverse the role and see what the readers have to say. Giving voice to your votes and the judges’ decisions, the Design Awards is an authoritative expression of the brands that both consumer and industry experts believe to be the best. And while shortlisting the brands you’ve nominated as supreme in their sectors will be no easy task, making those difficult decisions is an exciting prospect, especially when these seven esteemed judges will be joining me on the jury panel.
Acif Marble Table Lamp by Lee Broom
BRIGITTA SPINOCCHIA FREUND | The beautiful fomer Bazaar Interiors cover star (May/June 2015), Brigitta has years of industry expertise, leading the luxury design portfolio of Candy & Candy for seven years as creative director before launching her own practice, Spinocchia Freund, in London. She’s worked on projects all around the world, including Dubai and Qatar, and recently debuted an elegant linen collection available online for Middle East consumers.
LEE BROOM | The award-winning Brit is a prolific designer, having created over 40 commercial and residential interiors, over 75 furniture and lighting collections sold in 120 stores across 40 countries, as well as guest designing for powerhouses like Christian Louboutin, Mulberry and Matthew Williamson. “I am honoured to be judging this year’s Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Design Awards,” he says. “There is so much phenomenal talent emerging from the Middle East and these awards are a great opportunity to recognise this. I am passionate about supporting my fellow designers and I am pleased that Harper’s Bazaar Interiors is providing such a positive platform from which to do so.”
LYNDALL FERNIE | As lead tutor at Chelsea College of Arts (CCA) in London and Dubai, Lyndall will provide an invaluable academic viewpoint to the judging process. After a successful career as a fashion designer for the luxe Italian labels Moschino and Versace, she turned her hand to interior design, qualifying at CCA. “The quality of design in Dubai is fantastic and I’m looking forward to being immersed in such a creative selection process,” she enthuses. “Nowadays there is a wide spectrum of exceptional products to choose from. These brands have had to work extremely hard to be achieve this status, so recognition is vital.”
NEZ GEBREEL | Counting David and Victoria Beckham as former clients, Nez has an impressive portfolio of strategic development, from launching football academies to successfully steering major fashion projects. Now CEO for Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), she’s harnessing the creative resources of the Middle East to further the fashion and design industry in the region. “DDFC’s mandate is to establish Dubai as the emerging design capital of the world by nurturing talent and providing a supportive community,” she says. “Independent awards such as these play an important role, offering regional and local brands the opportunity to be recognised and awarded by key members of the design industry, as well as by consumers.”
RUE KOTHARI | As editor in chief of Bazaar Interiors last year, Rue oversaw the Awards during its debut. This year, she’s back on the panel as fair director of Downtown Design, bringing her expert insight and wide knowledge of both regional and international luxury brands. “I’m very happy to be involved with the Awards again,” she says. “To be able to recognise those brands who continue to provide beautiful, intelligent solutions for consumers in the Middle East, and to support the next generation of regional designers, is a privilege.”
SACHA WALCKHOFF | Sacha – who is looking forward to “this feast of fashion and design” – became a household name after stepping into the shoes of Monsieur Lacroix in 2009, when he handed the reins over to his assistant of 17 years. Tasked with rebuilding the brand mid-recession, the creative director of the Parisian powerhouse exemplifies innovative ideas, design excellence and careful brand building – everything the Design Awards represents. christian-lacroix.com