Meet the judges for CID Awards 2013

Meet the judges for CID Awards 2013

With CID Awards quickly approaching, we’ve finialised our judging panel and asked some of them what they’re most looking forward to

With all of our attention on CID Awards 2013 set to take place on Monday, September 16 at JW Marriott Marquis, it was time to sort out the details. And there is a lot to tend to in the weeks leading up to the ceremony. With numerous great projects thrown into the ring, it’s time the judges start taking a serious look at the many creative nominated projects.

At CID, we wanted to make sure our all-star judging panel would provide unique perspectives from various angles in the industry. From designers to fair directors, we hoped to ensure a group of winners that resulted from well-rounded and educated opinions.

The panel of judges stands strong at 10 and involves: Cyril Zammit, fair director, Design Days Dubai; Dariush Zandi, architect and owner, Total Arts; Marcos Bish, managing director, Summertown; Linsey Thomas, interior design teaching fellow, Hariott Watt University; Pallavi Dean, design director, Pallavi Dean Interiors; Tara Rogers, co-founder and managing partner, Mojo Group; Alan McCready, managing director of Middle East operations, ISG; Sarka Olivova, senior designer, Preciosa; Khalid Shafar, head designer, Khalid Shafar; Paul McElroy, partner, Kinnersley Kent Design; and Rima Alsammarae, editor, Commercial Interior Design.

We also wouldn’t be able to have such a great event to look forward to without the help of our sponsors, who managed to guarantee a memorable night waiting to be had. Additionally, there will be entertainment at the event, so those attending can carry the fun through the night.


Cyril Zammit
Fair director, Design Days Dubai

Tell us about yourself?
With a base in marketing and cultural management, I had the chance to work for various companies abroad. Born and raised in France, my positions brought me to Prague, London, Montreux, Zurich, Abu Dhabi and now Dubai. I always enjoyed meeting cultural players as they tend to influence our daily life from an aesthetical point of view. In 2011, I was asked by Ben Floyd, co-founder of Art Dubai, to bring rare and collectible design to Dubai. In March 2012, we launched Design Days Dubai, the only fair in the Middle East and South Asia, dedicated to limited edition pieces.

Is this your first time judging?
I was asked to be part of a panel of judges in the past. The exercise is interesting because you have a clear view of what the regional talents are. It easily differentiates the way the designers want to embellish our environment and sometimes where they felt less creative or bold and simply reinterpret an existing idea.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
I hope to see great design where a true identity can be immediately spotted. I would probably have no mercy for any “deja-vu” feeling as our globalised world is often creating an average middle-range taste that limits creativity. I hope the contestants will fully appreciate that the Middle East offers them the (almost unique) chance to work on a carte blanche basis, where everything is possible.

What are you looking for in winning projects?
Design at its excellence where aesthetics meets function, where creativity meets engineering. The constestants are creating a space for one to feel and live in an engaging environment. Therefore they have to demonstrate their talents in space management and attention to details. One of my favourite rules in design is to hide complexity behind simplicity.

To learn more about Cyril, visit


Pallavi Dean
Design director, Pallavi Dean Interiors

Tell us about yourself?
I am the design director of the boutique interior design firm Pallavi Dean Interiors founded in 2011. The firm specialises in commercial and hospitality projects and has recently completed event facilities for the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City and the commercial headquarters for telecommunications company Tunisiana.

I was born in India, raised in Dubai and spent years working in London; my designs reflect these eclectic influences. My portfolio includes a string of high profile projects in the Middle East, North Africa and the UK, across hospitality, commercial, retail and residential design.

I am an architecture graduate and a LEED Accredited Professional. An active member of the UAE design community, writing for industry publications, assisting with key trade events and mentoring students, I have also been a professor of interior design at the American University of Sharjah. My work was recognised in 2010 when I won the Middle East Young Interior Designer of the Year award.

Is this your first time judging?
No, I was a judge last year as well. I have also served on the judging panel for competitions held by INDEX.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
Designs that are holistic–interiors that respect their context and culture while creating real value for their clients.

What are you looking for in winning projects?
I am looking for work that will help shape the design identity for the region, as well as designers that are innovative and sensitive to user requirements and have a proven track record of built work.

To learn more about Pallavi, visit


Dariush Zandi
Architect and owner, Total Arts

Tell us about yourself?
I come from an architectural and artistic background. I’m a photographer and author of books and a regular contributor to media and I lecture on current issues in these fields. I have founded and manage an art center with several artistic, creative and cultural outlets in Al Qouz, Dubai.

Is this your first time judging?
It is my second time for CID. I have judged for 2012 CID award, 2011 Index Majlis competition, and the 2010 Cityscape architectural award, among others.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
To judge a very few but highly creative designs created with honesty to serve their end user’s need in the simplest fashion. I personally cherish a down to earth, creative use of ordinary, everyday and available local materials, resources in naturally landscaped atmosphere.

What are you looking for in winning projects?
I ask questions like: how creatively the design issues have been addressed, how materials fit into the space and how environmentally sound are they? Whether the furniture is in harmony with each other and the built environment and how cohesive are the textures, and colors? I look at proportions especially the punctuation of surfaces, like doors, windows, skylights and the way they are treated, and how they relate to the next-door space, and in this regard how cleverly fluid are the finishes, such as the way they transmit light, air, nature, privacy and our physical and psychological being.

To learn more about Dariush, visit


Marcos Bish
Managing director, Summertown

Tell us about yourself?
I am one of the original founding partners of Summertown Interiors, which we co-founded in 1997. Since its inception we have seen Summertown develop into one of the UAE’s leading fit out contractors, respected for its exceptional client service, project excellence, green credentials and sound business principles.

I was always a passionate advocate of sustainability long before the issue became “fashionable,” and I aim to educate and inspire other organisations to adopt similar green principles.

Is this your first time judging?
I am honoured to have been invited to be a judge for the second time at the Commercial Interior Design Awards.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
The calibre of design work in the region just keeps getting better and better and my expectations this year are that we will see just that. I am also looking forward to seeing how sustainability is being embraced by the design community–as we see more and more green projects now coming to fruition in the UAE.

What are you looking for in winning projects?
As a fit out contractor, the quality of work must start first and foremost with a foundation of superior design. Exceptional designers understand how to conceptualise their work within the possibilities of project execution, while still pushing design boundaries, honouring a client’s brief and respecting the local environment.

To learn more about Marcos, visit


Sarka Olivova
Senior designer, Preciosa

Tell us about yourself?
I am from Czech Republic. After my studies in lighting design, I began working with Preciosa as a lighting designer. Preciosa’s head designer, Mr. Jaroslav Bejvl Jr, became on of the top 50 most influential designers in the Middle East. His work is very inspiring and he always aims to create something new, which is not such an easy task nowadays.

I have been working with Preciosa for more than seven years. I really enjoy my work because every day is different, [and allows me to] work on [new] designs for customers, from modern lighting design to classical ligting design.

For me, it is really nice to see how the chandeliers or lighting objects are manufactured, from the first design to final form.

Is this your first time judging?
Yes, it is my first time being a judge. It is a real honour for me. And not only for me, but for the whole company.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
I am looking forward to meeting new people who work in a similar branch as I. It is a really great opportunity to see creative designs that bring to life a little bit of freshness – it also means trying to revive my own ideas. For me, nature is very important; it is an endless source of inspiration.

What are you looking for in winning project?
I would like to see something fresh. Fresh is for me something that can´t be a new design [per se], but it can be an old design in combination with new ideas. It must catch my eyes or my attention at first sight – like love.

To learn more about Šárka, visit

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