Carla M Arias

Carla M Arias
Assistant Professor of Interior Design, Canadian University Dubai


Aiham Al-Akhras

Aiham Al-Akhras
Director at Gartner


Ulrich Blum

Ulrich Blum
Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects


Sean Heckford

Sean Heckford
International Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Director for Parsons

As the International Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Director for Parsons, Sean is responsible for the Corporate Real Estate required to support the business enterprise. His area of responsibility includes all locations outside of North and South Americas, with focus being on the MEA region in line with Parsons global growth and delivery strategy. Sean primarily works from the Regional Head Office in Abu Dhabi and must remain extremely flexible and able to operate and manage the portfolio from anywhere as he travels. This requires him to be extremely flexible and organised, maximising the use of technology to deliver in a global environment. Optimisation of the Corporate Real Estate portfolio and budget management are both primary key elements to his role as well as the considerable amount of change management that this entails. Sean has a passion for improving the working environment in order to support business functions and individuals needs.

Nathan Hurley

Nathan Hurley
Realising Smartworking, Orangebox


Primo Orpilla

Primo Orpilla
Principle, Studio O+A

Twitter @Primo_Orpilla

Primo is the co-founder and principal of Studio O+A, an interiors firm in San Francisco that specialises in workplace design. Establishing the company with Verda Alexander in Silicon Valley in 1991, primo drew on an early interest in engineering and a feel for the growing tech economy to orient O+A to a rapidly changing work environment. Moving to San Francisco a few years later, O+A quickly gained a reputation for being a design firm an innovative as its clients – Facebook, Microsoft, Yelp, Cisco, Uber and many others.

A believer in design as an art form that embraces all disciplines, Primo grew his company from a two-person space planning operation to a full service design studio with 40 plus designers, project managers, graphic artists and branding specialists. The firms work has been recognized for over two decades with international press coverage and multiple design awards. In 2015 Primo and Verda were inducted into Interior Design Magazines Hall of Fame. In 2016 O+A won the Cooper Hewitt Design Award for Interior Design.

As a lecturer on design and the future workplace, Primo speaks at schools and design conferences globally. The course in workplace design he and Verda teach at IE university in Madrid seeks to pass on to a new generation of designers the philosophy of immersion in a client’s culture that has been a driving force behind every O+A project.

In recent years, Primo has taken up a new passion: product design. His company Orpilla, Inc designs multi-faceted, versatile workstations and office products for OFS, Kimball Office, Martin-Brattrud and IdeaPaint, bringing principles of customization and adaptability that made O+A famous to the level of indicial workspace.

Frank Rexach

Frank Rexach
Vice President & GM, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Haworth

Twitter @Frankinshanghai

Frank Rexach is Vice President and General Manager, Haworth Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa reporting to the CEO. Based in the company’s regional headquarters in Shanghai, Frank oversees Haworth’s operations throughout the growth markets..

Frank’s focus is on developing new business models that support the co-creation of organic spaces designed to adapt as client needs evolve.

Frank’s experience spans multiple industries with senior leadership roles in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America based in Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong and Sydney. Frank was born in Germany, is a U.S. citizen and a permanent resident of Australia.

Philip Ross

Philip Ross
Futurologist & CEO, Cordless Group & UNWORK

Twitter @Pjnross

Philip is an author, consultant and commentator specialising in the future of work. He predicts the way that new trends and forces such as emerging technology will shape how we work, live, learn and enjoy leisure.

He has written a number of books on the future of cities, work and workplace including The Creative Office, The 21st Century Office and Space to Work (all co-authored with Jeremy Myerson). He has also contributed to a number of other books including the Corporate Fool and the Responsible Workplace.

Viswesh Sathi

Viswesh Sathi
Director Strategic Services, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Haworth

As Director of Strategic Services for the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, Viswesh partners with clients to co-design business solutions to create, evolve and sustain their spaces.

Vish’s passion to help our customers achieve their business outcomes comes from his unique management experience having worked across diverse geographies across the world including the Middle East, Africa, China, India and Australia. Vish focuses on transforming blue sky thinking into new business models including the activation of developments, leveraging analytics to inform and manage furniture in spaces and ways to streamline the supply chain to support more efficient regional client asset management.


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