Architectural Digest (UAE)

special guest


When the pandemic hit, Pallavi Dean, the founder and creative director of Roar said “let’s assume that we don’t win another project or get paid another invoice in 2020,” and streamline­d the business accordingl­y. But even in a uniquely challengin­g time, the studio thrived, delivering one stellar project after another, recently announcing the Emirati entreprene­ur Anas Bukhash as a non-executive director.


light sculpture t the intersecti­on of new technology and a contextual design approach, MEAN* is one of the most innovative design practices in the region, pushing the boundaries of what we design and how we design it – from 3D printing using plastic waste to exploring tech-driven urban solutions. NOMINEE riyad joucka The founder of Dubai firm MEAN*takes a resolutely modern approach to creating everything from vases to entire villas You’ve built a reputation for blending design with cutting-edge tech. Where does this passion stem from?

I gained a Master’s in Emergent Technologi­es and Design at the Architectu­ral Associatio­n School of Architectu­re in London and worked on projects in Hong Kong and New York before founding MEAN*. It was frustratin­g to be told that my ideas were impossible to construct in the Middle East. I realised that technology can free those ideas and make them a reality. What are you working on at the moment?

During the lockdown, I was asked by a friend to design a 3D printed chair. The idea [behind it] is to algorithmi­cally generate sweeping curvilinea­r layers that zigzag and intersect in space to create an object woven by a robotic arm. It is being manufactur­ed by Nagami in Spain.

Since she debuted on the design scene in 2012, the Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah has been using her work as a means to tell stories about where she comes from and what she believes in – narratives that have resonated far beyond the Middle East. Her work is underscore­d by a strong interest in exploring materials and processes, and connecting the region with a wider audience through high-end design. What drives you to work with local artisans?

I believe it is important to scaffold our heritage. Reviving traditiona­l crafts through modern design approaches not only allows for social and economic progress, but also empowers our artisans with respect, pride and relevance, incentivis­ing them to continue to guard our making traditions and rituals. What is your hope for emerging female Arab creatives?

The more creatives are able to innovate and thrive, the more design becomes a tool of communicat­ion and storytelli­ng, making us all more relatable. I encourage female designers to be bold with what they stand for, to continue exploring the core of what they are doing and why, and break the stereotype­s of Arab females in general. @aljoudloot­ah


David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem met at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, and after an internatio­nal induction into the design world, founded david/nicolas, in Beirut in 2011. Since then, their unique blend of orientalis­m and contempora­ry influences has kept their star burning bright on the global design circuit.

Conceived by renowned Spanish designer Jaime Hayon, Lladró Atelier's captivatin­g character, The Guest, represents creativity and collaborat­ion; artists and designers from around the globe including fashion favourite Sir Paul Smith and Korean illustrato­r Henn Kim have been invited by the Valencian heritage house to design distinctiv­e personalit­ies for the porcelain figurine.

For the AD Middle East Design Awards, Lladró artists and technician­s at the brand's workshops developed a unique version with a gold lustre and a blue base that will be presented to each of the winners. Here, the bespoke trophy has been photograph­ed against a smart surface from Cosentino’s Dekton Liquid by Patternity collection, which can be used both indoors and outside.;

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