Arch. Maria Nina Bailon Arce is the Senior Partner at Arce-Bailon-Arce Architects, a design firm she co-founded with her husband, Arch. Mariano Arce, Jr., in 1987. The firm has undertaken notable architectural and engineering design projects for both private entities and the national government.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas in 1981 and placed fifth in the PRC Board Exams in July 1983. In 2014, she was among the first 40 architects to be listed in the ASEAN Registry of Architects, and in June 2015, she was conferred as an APEC Architect. In the spirit of volunteerism, she has served as Secretary General and National Executive Vice-President of the United Architects of the Philippines, as Chancellor, and now as Jury of the College of Fellows.

A dedicated mother of three boys, two of whom are now architects collaborating with the firm, she has successfully balanced a thriving career and nurturing a family. She aims to continue this legacy by mentoring the next generation of architects through AYDA.

Yasemin Arpac, Founding Partner (interior architect), graduated from Tarsus American College in 1994 and from Bilkent University, the department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design in 1998.

In 2004, she established Ofist in Tunel, Beyoglu, alongside Sabahattin Emir. Her educational journey continued with studies in Design Culture and Management at Bilgi University. Apart from her teaching commitments at MEF University, Yasemin has contributed significantly to the design industry through her innovative projects at Ofist, which have garnered acclaim both locally and internationally.

Her work is characterised by a harmonious blend of functionality, aesthetics, and cultural sensitivity. Yasemin's leadership at Ofist reflects her commitment to pushing the boundaries of contemporary interior design, while her role as an educator underscores her dedication to nurturing the next generation of design professionals at AYDA with a holistic understanding of the field.

Santi Alaysius is an award-winning Interior Designer with over 20 years of experience, renowned for her work on prestigious projects like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Chicago, Marriott Yogyakarta, and Indonesia's first design boutique hotel, Kosenda Hotel. Her designs have been featured in Wallpaper UK Magazine, Hospitality Design Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, Elle Décor, and Home & Décor.

In the U.S., Santi has contributed to notable projects such as the USA Pavilion for World Expo 2005 in Japan and Jennifer Lopez's residence in Long Island. She is known for creating exceptional spaces using locally sourced materials, with a commitment to perfection in every detail. Her expertise spans diverse commercial projects, seamlessly blending art, fashion, and industrial elements to bring clients' visions to life.

Santi co-founded Domisilium Studio in 2009 with Hamphrey Tedja. The duo was recognized as Elle Décor Indonesia Magazine's A-list Interior Designers in 2013 and Gen-T by Tatler in 2019. They have achieved international acclaim, collaborating with brands like Nike, Marriott International, and Accor. Since 2013, Santi has also been teaching interior design at LaSalle College Jakarta.

In May 2018, Santi and her partner co-founded DMDIO, specializing in product and exhibition design, supporting both local and international brands. Santi holds degrees from The Art Institute of Seattle and The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, graduating with honors in Fashion Marketing & Management (2002) and Interior Architecture (2005). She began her career at Thom Filicia, Inc. in New York and Simeone Deary Design Group in Chicago, focusing on high-end residential, commercial, and hospitality projects.

Ou is a celebrated interior designer known for his creative prowess, earning him the title of Designer of the Year in 2019 across diverse design domains, from hospitality to high-end residential and co-creation workplaces. His design philosophy centres on "Non-Building Solutions," a groundbreaking approach that reimagines spaces sustainably, enhancing the value of existing structures and materials. Ou's concept development skills shine through in his captivating designs.

He climbed the ranks to become a Design Director and then a Partner at PIA Interior, showcasing his dedication and talent. His team has delivered striking projects across Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, and beyond. His work received international recognition, including a shortlist at the 2016 World Architecture Festival of Interiors for Airspace Huahin and winning the 2019 Restaurant and Bar Design award in London for Akira Back at the Marriott Marquis Bangkok. Ou continues to redefine interior design with his innovative and acclaimed creations.

IDr Lai Siew Hong is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Designer of award-winning interior design firm Blu Water. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur since 2010, the design studio focuses on hospitality archetypes and the design of hotels, resorts and F&B establishments around the region.

As the creative backbone of Blu Water, Lai believes in creating innovative spaces and solutions while crafting a meaningful narrative in each design brief. His creative process has kept the interests of a wide variety of clients over the last 30 years.

Today, he continues to be the mastermind behind some of the most stunning luxury hotels and resorts in the world; most recently recognised as Tatler Asia’s Most Influential MY 2021. Lai is also the immediate Past President of the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) 2022-2024.

His passion for nurturing young emerging talents have led him to mentor graduate students at China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, and he is now serving as the Master Coach for Interior Architecture and Design Programme at The One Academy. Internationally, he has been a valuable AYDA Judge since 2016.

Traversing diverse cultural backgrounds, Jennifer began her career in design-focused architectural firms in Australia. Recognising her passion for interiors, she established an interiors department within an architecture firm.

Her journey led her to London, where she contributed to the development of five-star hotels and private residences in Turkey, as well as heritage-listed properties in London’s Kings Cross. Jennifer's fascination with travel and exposure to varied cultures eventually led her to Singapore, where she worked for The Mill and specialised in the high-end luxury and hospitality market.

With over 16 years of experience in the industry, Jennifer's cultural diversity fuels her passion for creating bespoke solutions. Her work is characterised by visual poetry, reflecting a refreshingly cosmopolitan edge in beautifully-crafted expressions of splendour and sophistication. Her unique blend of cultural insights and professional experience makes her a valuable resource for our AYDA students from all around the world.

Tanya Karim is a Partner Architect at the esteemed architectural firm Tanya Karim N R Khan and Associates (TKNRK). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1990 and stands out as an educator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

She is a registered architect of RAJUK (Capital Development Authority) and a fellow member of the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) where she currently leads as the Convener of Women in Architectural Practice. Additionally, she is a member of ArcAAB (Architecture Alumni Association, BUET) and holds a position as a board member of Bangladesh Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI).

With an impressive 31 years of experience in architectural practice, Tanya Karim is a prominent figure in the architectural realm. Her firm, TKNRK, has garnered numerous awards, and their architectural projects have been featured in various international and local magazines. Tanya has led several international architectural tours, served as a visiting faculty member and advisor at prestigious institutions, and judged esteemed design awards such as the Berger Award for Interior Design, the KSRM Student Awards, IAB Interior Design Awards, and the Asian Paints Beautiful Homes Awards, among others.

Fluent in multiple languages including Bengali, English, Urdu, and Hindi, Tanya Karim continues to inspire and mentor emerging architects, bringing her extensive experience and visionary approach to the global architectural stage.

Suhasini Ayer is an Architect and Urban Planner, and the co-founder of the Auroville Centre for Scientific Research (CSR) Trust. This collaborative organisation works with multiple agents and agencies in applied research for sustainable settlement planning, solar passive architecture, appropriate building materials and technologies, water and waste management, and renewable energy.

She heads Auroville Design Consultants, a planning and architectural design studio focused primarily on planning, designing, and implementing applied research development projects within Auroville. This approach responds to the natural and human geography, local climate, and culture to evolve minimal and elegant built forms. The underlying theme in all the projects is creating integrative systems, including water, energy, waste, building materials, and technology, to create passive sustainable networks between people and the built and unbuilt spaces, empowering them to take responsibility for their environment.

Suhasini hopes to bring her sustainability perspectives to the AYDA participants.

Russell Dandeniya is the Principal Architect at Russell Dandeniya Chartered Architects and the Director at RDC Architects Pvt. Ltd., both of which are small, experimental, studio-based practices. Believing in a practice mode that fuses the client's pragmatic requirements with the architect's inner belief, Russell searches for Architecture that is minimal in resource use, sustainable in environmental response, and conscientious in dealing with the local climate, people, and place.

As an award-winning Architect, he remains humble and is an active contributor to the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), serving on the SLIA council for over 17 years in various roles & capacities, as the President of SLIA in year 2021/2023, also Zone – A Vice President in year 2021-2023 Architects Regional Council of Asia ARCASIA.

An activist within the Architectural community, Russell initiated many innovative programs and served as the Founder Chairman and Official Juror of the SLIA Online Design Awards Jury for 2019/2020-2021. This year, he hopes to share his experience with the next generation of the architectural community through AYDA.

Benjamin is currently immersed in the dynamic wine retail and bistro industry, where competition is fierce and consumer preferences evolve rapidly. In his role, he oversees the creation of immersive environments that captivate customers and enhance the brand identity of Wine Connection, the largest wine specialty retailer and European full-service restaurant in Singapore and Thailand.

Prior to his current undertaking, Benjamin’s Asia Pacific regional architectural exposure, spanning over 14 years of overseas postings to cities such as Chennai, Bangalore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bali, provided him with an abundance of multicultural, memorable and invaluable experiences, both personally as well as professionally.

Benjamin began his participation with the AYDA Panel in Vietnam in 2019. Through AYDA, he hopes to inspire young minds to contribute positively and sustainably, mitigating the built environment’s effects on nature.

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The AYDA Awards is part of Nippon Paint’s vision to nurture the next generation of Architectural and Interior Design talents. It serves as a platform to inspire students of these disciplines to develop their skills through cross-learning.

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