Shortlist revealed for the 2018 INDEX Architecture & Design Awards

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 aweinspiring catalogue of exceptional builds and spaces. “These projects and the genius minds driving them are the key to this region’s future, not only as a forwardlooking 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. 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. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre March 26th to 29th, the four-day festival of design is promising a hugely diverse and creative catalogue of furniture, furnishing and décor suppliers, an OFIS-sponsored Design Talks schedule featuring the pinnacle of local and international design minds, and bespoke live demonstrations and experiences brought to Dubai exclusively for the show.

Included amongst those features will be the first ever Ventura Dubai; a pool of more than 40 up-and-coming and established European designers, labels and studios, chosen specifically by Dutch design agents Organisation in Design for their debut Middle Eastern Ventura Project. Dubai follows in the footsteps of Milan, London, Berlin and New York in being chosen to host one of the globally-renowned design gatherings.

INDEX will explore the theme of Design for Expression: how interiors can be used to illustrate individuality, and runs alongside sister events WORKSPACE and SURFACE Design Middle East. To register to attend for free or to find out more, visit