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dwp Profiles – Elizabeth Valkovics

Design shapes culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” – Robert L Peters.

Elizabeth was recently appointed Design Director, Dubai. Her responsibilities include Hospitality & Workplace Design. She has been living in Dubai for four years.

Why does the culture of dwp resonate with you?
Design excellence, global presence and influence. I love being part of a global brand and the support and shared knowledge that brings.

What are your hopes and ambitions in your new role
I want us to be the ‘go-to design firm’ for creative solutions. I believe in a work-hard/play-hard approach. I want dwp Dubai to be a place people say: “You work for dwp? Wow, I’d love to work there.” I want us to produce the most creative solutions with the highest quality packages and have a really great time together doing so.

What do you hope to achieve personally?
I want to be an integral part of the team here in the Middle East and see us grow and develop and become stronger as a design team. I want us to be closely knit, working together to be the best talent in the region. Being American/British, I’m also excited to see the expansion to the UK and the US.

What are you working on now and what excites you about these projects?
The Gran Melia Hotel in Jeddah KSA and Hilton’s new office in Dubai. Gran Melia is exciting because, as an operator, they are quite fluid with their brand standards. Which gives us a lot of creative freedom. The kinds of projects we work on in this region are so exciting. It’s a fast-paced place in terms of design.

What sums up your design philosophy?
I believe in strong teamwork, great communication and a multidisciplinary approach to creativity and design.

How do you deal with emails?
I love the idea of checking emails in the morning and at the end of the day and crack on with meetings and reviews in the middle. This doesn’t always work, but I try.

Do you sleep with your phone next to you?
I do, but with Do Not Disturb on a timer. I like the alarms associated with the “Bedtime” app or I’d put my phone in another room.

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Run, do yoga or a HIIT workout on the beach. On the weekend – make pancakes!

What gives you energy?
Healthy habits: good food, sleeping patterns.

What daily habit or practice helps your creativity?
Design current events and magazines. Also online platforms like Dezeen, Yellowtrace as well as daily design & business podcasts.

You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
Switch off, meditate, spend more time with my family…

Do you see yourself as artist or an interior designer?
I started out as an artist. So I think I’ll always view myself as that first. What I loved – and ultimately why I made the move into the design industry – was the concept of “form & function” rather than “art for arts’ sake.” I love that we have the ability to impact human environments; how people live, travel, shop and eat.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Everything happens for a reason. Look forwards rather than backwards.
What advice would you give an artist or architect to improve themselves or their work?

Always stay curious and ask lots of questions. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.

Don’t hesitate to contact Elizabeth for more information elizabeth.v@dwp.com.

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