Golden Lion for Best National Participation: United Arab Emirates "Wetland"

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Wael Al Awar, Kazuma Yamao. WAIWAI

waiwai is an architectural, landscape, urban, interior, and graphic design studio with offices in Dubai and Tokyo. Led by Wael Al Awar and Kazuma Yamao, the firm has worked on prominent cultural projects including the Jameel Arts Centre, CICOL and Hai d3 in Dubai; Otaru Harbor Café in Japan; Jeddah’s Hayy Jameel; and Wetland at the National Pavilion of the UAE, which was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021.

waiwai takes a highly contextual approach to address social, environmental, and technological questions through design. Dubai and Tokyo foster distinct perspectives on the built and natural environment, on the way we live and work with one another and with the world around us. waiwai adopts a strategy that is rooted in ideas of living in each city but that also relies on the careful, attentive eye of the outsider for a wider view.

waiwai was named among the top 17 architects and top 50 influential designers of the year by Nikkei Magazine in 2019, recognized by Architectural Record's annual Design Vanguard issue as one of the top 10 emerging firms in the world in 2018 and included in Architectural Digest’s top 50 offices in the Middle East in 2017 and 2022. waiwai was a Shortlisted Nominee for the Aga Khan Architecture Award in 2019. The firm’s awards include the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021; the Arab Architect Award in 2019; the New York Design Award 2018, Silver Medal; the Hong Kong Design Award 2018, Gold Medal; the First Prize at the AIA Middle East Design Awards in 2018; the London Design Award 2016, Silver Medal; and the SD Review Award, Tokyo, 2015, Shortlisted Nominee.



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