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Selected Speakers

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Jason Carlow
Associate AIA 
Associate Professor, American University of Sharjah 

Jason Carlow is an award-winning designer and educator, and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). His recent work investigates high rise architecture and the ways in which digital design and production strategies can address the problems associated with standardization and urban sprawl. He holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard, and a Master’s in Architecture from Yale. Prior to joining AUS, he practiced architecture and taught at the University of Hong Kong for ten years. His design work and research has been published widely and exhibited internationally in architecture biennials in Venice, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Sao Paulo. He is the recipient of design awards such as an AIA Honor Award, the German iF Design Award, the Red Dot Communication Design Award and the “40 under 40” Design Award for Architecture and Interiors in Asia by Hong Kong based Perspective Magazine. He is the co-author of the book, Cities of Repetition, forthcoming in 2019 by ORO Editions: 


Emanuela Corti
Founder Caravan Design Collective, SenseWear
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Emanuela Corti is a product designer, born and raised in the heart of the design-manufacturing district of northern Italy, Brianza and holds a Master Degree in Furniture and Textile Design from Milan Polytechnic; her studies and experience brought her to work in different fields of creativity, from graphic and product to interior and service design. She is based in the United Arab Emirates since a decade and she’s currently teaching at Ajman University in the College of Engineering. In 2012 together with her husband, Ivan Parati founded Caravan, a platform of dialogue across professionals with different expertise. Caravan’s work has been exhibited internationally (Triennale Design Museum in Milan, Design Museum in London, Tokyo, Moscow and Dubai). Emanuela is the brain behind sensewear, a collection of smart clothing embedding sensory therapies, a serial winner initiative that culminated in the establishment of Witsense, a startup dedicated to sensible innovation. Joining her design flair and the effort of a pioneering manufacturer in smart fabrics and clothing, ComfTech, the project recently received European Commission’s funding and it is currently on a testing phase.

Zeki Kadirbeyoglu
Founder, ZKLD Light Design Studio
Zeki Kadirbeyoğlu is Turkey’s leading architectural lighting designer for over 28 years of experience.  After co-founded Total Lighting INC. and worked as head of design for 17 years, he founded ZKLD Light Design Studio in İstanbul. Within the field of lighting, his team’s scope comprises the lighting design, product design and consultancy services for a wide variety of projects; including offices, retails, congress centers, museums, hotels, landscapes, facades, private homes, restaurants and urban master plans. 
Mr. Kadirbeyoğlu is a member of the Turkish National Committee on Illumination (ATMK), and a professional member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD). He has always been prominent among the lighting design and architectural community. He has been a speaker at many national and international universities, conferences and events including PLDC 2013, ILDC 2013, Designers with Light Forum 2015 and LuxLive Middle East 2016.
Maya Kozel
Principal, Maja Kozel Design
Maja Kozel is the principal designer of Maja Kozel Design, a spatial design studio based in the United Arab Emirates. Maja Kozel Designs focuses on ensuring that the client can enjoy every experience in a given space. Every feature and detail that can play a role in those experiences is considered when designing said space. From the nature and quality of the lighting to the acoustics of the space, no detail is too minute. Maja believes it is possible for a design to be practical, socially responsible and artistically expressive all at the same time. She believes in designing for the needs and desires of the client, not blindly following popular trends and fads. To that end, she draws inspiration from the rich history of the UAE, its people and its traditions. Sustainability, recycling and repurposing materials play a key role in the design process, and she has demonstrable success with this philosophy. In 2017, her lighting design ‘Tubo’ for the Surge for Water competition won the most
prominent award.
Agnes Koltay
Founder, Koltay Facades
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Agnes has a Masters degree in Architecture and a Second Masters in Facade Engineering. She worked at Zaha Hadid and later with large international engineering firms in facade engineering. She has been in the UAE since 2005 and started her own company, Koltay Facades, in 2011, in Dubai. The consultancy practice grew into one of the largest in the region and opened their second office in Singapore 2 years ago. Facade engineering consultancy projects include Burj Vista, Sky View, Fountainviews, The Opus, Dubai Design District, and many other landmarks in the city and worldwide

Priyanka Soni, Rima Chalba
Graduate Architects
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Priyanka Soni, born and raised in the U.A.E, has recently graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a Bachelor's in Interior Design. Stemming from a background that encourages curious intellect, Priyanka has always been interested in exploring the connection between human behaviors conditioned through built environment. Building and experimenting with materials has been a perpetual interest that was given a fresh perspective through architecture school. Currently, Priyanka is exploring new niches in design while freelancing alongside.   Rima Chalha, born in Lebanon and raised in the United Arab Emirates, graduated in May of 2018 from the American University of Sharjah with a Bachelor's degree in Interior Design. Creativity has always been a part of her identity and how she expresses her purpose. Her passion for human-centered designing was able to transform from rough sketches to experiential full scale spaces and objects when she joined one of the best design schools in the Middle east. Rima also finds great importance in connecting and building relationships with people who wish to explore their potential through creative work and education, so that she can learn from other people's ways and expand her knowledge on the connection between design and the human condition.

Hussain Aljabi
Product and Experience Designer
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Hussain Aljabi is a Product and experience Designer and a gallery exhibited artist with an architecture background. Using Design, Art and psychology Hussain uses his several mediums to try and tackle social complications that have grasped our modern way of life due to the rapid urbanisation

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Assistant Professor of Interior Design, Canadian University Dubai
Sophie A Johnson
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Sophie A Johnson is a designer, educator and PhD candidate. Having started her career in interior design she then moved into teaching and has taught across London's many design universities from Ravensbourne, Chelsea School of Art, Central St Martins and Wimbledon in the UK, to the Canadian University in Dubai. Currently she is undertaking her PhD at the RCA where she is focusing on the UAE National Villa and domestic living patterns and as a consequence considering the implications as a form of intangible heritage.