Werner Sobek is internationally synonymous with engineering, design, and sustainability, collaborating with leading architects such as Christoph Ingenhoven, Barkow Leibinger, Henn, Helmut Jahn, Populous, Sauerbruch Hutton, Ole Scheeren, UNStudio, and Zaha Hadid Architects.


Werner Sobek has over the past 20 years developed “Gradientenbeton”, aka graded concrete, an innovative type of concrete with air cavities inside. Compared to conventional concrete, Gradientenbeton weighs 50% less. The benefits are significant, i.e. a building made out of concrete will weigh 50% less than if made from conventional concrete. The materials from which concrete is made are becoming more scarce and only half of those materials are needed to make Gradientenbeton. There are major emission benefits also; the transportation to a building site is reduced by half, and when a building comes to the end of its life only half of materials need recycling. It is for those reasons Werner Sobek is awarded the 2021 OPAL special Award prize in Innovation. To learn more about Gradientenbeton, please see our awards presentation here.

Press release. London December 2021.

We congratulate the three “Designs of the Year” winners in Architectural Design, Interior Design, and Property Development, along with all the impressive Platinum Winners, Winners, and Honorable Mentions!

2021 was a year during which humanity mustered all its power to overcome a worldwide pandemic. However, even among these times full of adversity, architects, developers and interior designers across the globe excelled with groundbreaking projects and brilliant, revolutionary designs. Our esteemed OPAL jury panel comprised of leading industry professionals was moved and impressed by the shortlist of over 600 visionary entries from all around the world.

Marco Vanucci, OPAL jury member commented, “The OPAL Awards continue to celebrate design at its best. This year, the large number of outstanding designs entries made the work of the jury particularly challenging.I congratulate the winners and I wish every participant all success for their future work!”

The three “Designs of the Year” Winners and full list of Platinum Winners, Winners, and Honorable Mentions are displayed on the Winners page.

On the closing day of the 2021 Design Shanghai Convention, the Outstanding Property Award London presented the OPAL award hosted in partnership with the Asia Pacific Design Center and Techsize. The packed event was broadcasted online and viewed by 487,000 online viewers. With OPALs’ base in London, it was an opportunity to network property developers, interior designers, and architects and celebrate great property designs across the Asia Pacific region, and to bring awareness about OPAL’s philosophy and commitment to bringing exposure to the best property projects from around the world. While live events are on hold in most parts of the world, it was an opportunity to present certificates and congratulate the 2020 Chinese winners of the OPAL Award.

The event included honorary guests;

Ms. Jiawei Xu, Director at China-Britain Business Council, represented the OPAL award, along with jury member

Vincent Ko, development director at Sinic Holdings and OPAL Jury member.

Mrs. Shirley Qiu, General Manager of Techsize.

Mr. Pablo Galvez, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

Imagemaker, and master planning firm Chapman Taylor.

The winners were awarded across OPALs three disciplines: Interior Design, Architectural Design, and Property Development. The Asian winners received their awards in person. (insert names of the people who awarded the award) presented the OPAL awards to the winners and trophies were also acquired by some of the winners. The winners were interviewed respectively, congratulating them on their win.

The excellent turnout and great enthusiasm were made possible thanks to the participation of OPAL Award winners.

OPAL Award - Design Shanghai event

Mr. Li Yuyong, General Manager of EngineeringDepartment in Techsize China Operations Center. Mr. Vincent Ko, Building Research and Development Director at Sinic Holdings (Group) CO., LTD, a jury of OPAL.   Ms. CowCow Zheng, Secretary-general of APDC International Member communication center. Partner of HK PFD+ Design Mr. Pablo Galvez.  Coordinator of European Union Chamber of Commerce in China Mr. Peter Mackey, Director of Chapman Taylor Shanghai. Mrs. Shirley Qiu, General Manager of Techsize China Area. Mrs. Jiawei Xu, Director of Energy, Infrastructure & environment, CBBC China Mr. Yang Xiangguang, General Manager of Sales Department in Techsize China Operations Center.


 487,000 viewers watched online as OPAL Goodwill Ambassador Miaoyi Jiang, Gold Mantis, Deputy Dean of Design Research Institute speak to the press about the London-based OPAL Award to the Asia Pacific design community.


OPAL Design Shanghai event

British architect and master planning firm Chapman Taylor Design Studio presents certificates to winning firms.


OPAL event - Design Shanghai 2021

APDC and Techsize organized the extremely successful and well-attended OPAL event.





German engineering firm Transsolar, dedicated to design and build climate positive buildings, has been awarded the OPAL Special Award for Sustainability. The annual OPAL Special Award is rewarded to firms whose work and achievements are truly outstanding and make a game-changing impact in their sectors, a true inspiration for others to follow.

Transsolar, founded in 1992, with offices in Stuttgart, München, New York is dedicated to ensuring the highest possible standards in the built environment with the lowest possible impact on the environment. Transsolar develops and validates climate and energy concepts, emphasizing that the environmental aspect is key at every stage of design. The firm works with clients, architects, engineers, and consultants from the initiation of the design process. Transsolar goes beyond the mere concept of saving energy, focussing on energy-neutral ideas in areas such as natural ventilation, air quality, acoustics, well-being, and more.

The OPAL jury panel was particularly impressed by Transsolar’s human and holistic approach insisting that  Sustainability plays an integral part in every step of the design process.

Click here to view the awards presentation video including interviews with the Transsolar partners Thomas Auer, Volkmar Bleicher, Stefan Holst, Erik Olsen, and Matthias Schuler.

OPAL Special Award Transsolar


Outstanding Property Award London Announces Winners in the First Annual Edition

The Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL) has announced the winners in the inaugural edition of its prestigious awards program. Honoring the most brilliant talents and outstanding global projects in Interior Design, Architecture, and Property Development, it sets the stage for OPAL to take its place as a benchmark of design excellence across the industry. This announcement comes at an unprecedented and challenging time in history, where the Covid-19 pandemic is significantly impacting our lives. We hope everyone is staying safe.

With entries from all over the world, each project was anonymously peer-reviewed by the distinguished OPAL jury panel comprised of international industry experts, rating each project according to their individual merits. The final winners were chosen based on the overall score of all the Jury votes. View the full Jury list here.

The jury panel has selected one ‘Project of the Year’ within each industry category, given to the highest-rated project who will receive the handcrafted OPAL trophy. Following this rating in descending order are; ‘Platinum Winners’ and ‘Winners’ as well as ‘Honorable Mentions.’
A full list of this year’s winners is here.

OPAL 2019 “Project of the Year” are awarded to the single best project across the three categories:

Architectural Design of the Year:
The Shed
Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group

Interior Design of the Year:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Shenzhen Wanjing International Design Consultant Co., Ltd.

Property Development of the Year:
One Manhattan West
Brookfield Properties

Each winner receives the coveted OPAL Winners Seal to promote their award, a Winner’s Certificate, and a permanent profile on the OPAL online Winner’s gallery. OPAL has decided to postpone the Awards Ceremony due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation until further notice and hope all are staying safe during these troubled times.

Speaking about OPAL’s award program, Jesper Thomsen, OPAL’s co-founder, commented, “Our esteemed jury members have worked hard to select the best projects. We are proud to present the Winners of our inaugural year, celebrating the creativity and talent of incredible design projects from around the world, giving them the global exposure they deserve.”

To learn more about OPAL’s submission criteria and award structure, winner benefits, and more, click here. For any press enquiries, email hannah@farmanigroup.com



Outstanding Property Awards London


Outstanding Property Award Londons’ Jury member Michele Salvi at Zaha Hadid Architects in conversation with editor Hamish Kilburn of Hotel Designs:

Following the opening of the 770-key Morpheus Hotel in Macau, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Michele Salvi sits down with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss pushing boundaries, ever-changing public areas and how the pioneering practice is continuing the legacy of a design legend…

When Morpheus first opened to the public in June of last year as the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton” hotel, to the surprise of nobody, it quickly became one of the most talked-about new-builds of the decade.

Six years in planning, the ambitious brief that the team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) received by Melco Resorts Entertainment was to design and build the fifth and final tower to complete City of Dreams Resort in Macau.

“Morpheus is a step into the unknown.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Michele Salvi, Zaha Hadid Architects

To understand more about the challenges that were attached to such an enormous project – and to get a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the leaders behind many of the decisions – I join project architect and Associate Michele Salvi for one of his typical lunch hours in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district. “I love it here,” he says tucking into a fresh salad. “London’s vibrant culture scene makes Britain such a significant design hub.”

The architect, who operates from the ZHA’s London HQ and has recently been confirmed among other visionaries to be a jury member for the Outstanding Property Award London, is currently working on projects such as Mandarin Oriental Melbourne as well as several high-end competitions in Europe, Asia and Australia. And while these buildings that are on the boards are full-on commitments, there was nothing that could have prepared Salvi and the ZHA team for the opening of Morpheus. “Throughout the year there were many launch events with the hotel’s grand opening being the most important and expectations were high,” he admits. “The large atrium had been unwrapped from its scaffolding only a few days before and we had been working full speed with the interior contractors to deliver a project of premium quality right up until the last day. To be honest, it was a huge team effort.”

Morhpeus Hotel, Macau. Photo credit Ivan Dupont

What gives the 40-storey Morpheus its iconic free-form exterior shape are a number of delicately created pockets within the architectural structure. “We carved out three voids from this solid block to increase the amount of unique corner rooms,” explains Salvi. “By bending and curving the façade towards the centre, we enhanced visual connectivity and created unexpected crossing views between different areas of the building, such as two panoramic bridges that host restaurants.”

Photo credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand


Hamish Kilburn: How do you escape from the daily grind?
Michele Salvi: Sailing, when I can, and I love travelling

HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
MS: Hong Kong and Jordan are on my list. I would love to visit Patagonia and La Tierra del Fuego

HK: Renders or sketches?
MS: Both of them in every stage of design

HK: If I were to give you unlimited budget to design a hotel, where would it be in the world?
MS: I would love to design a floating hotel, always in motion rather than anchored to a specific context

HK: In your career, so far, what has been the largest change that has affected the way in which you design hotels?
MS: For me, this was when I started to use parametric tools, which could manage more information and has a much higher level of complexity

HK: Who inspired you when you were training to be an architect?
MS: Primarily Zaha Hadid. But also Frank Gehry and later on, from other creative fields, Ernst Haeckel and D’Arcy W. Thompson.

Photo credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

“Zaha’s loss was devastating.” – Michele Salvi, Associate, Zaha Hadid Architects

Despite Morpheus being no-doubt an impressive piece of architecture, it is perhaps the fact that it was one of the last projects that the late Zaha Hadid herself worked on that makes it an important building – and a poignant moment – in the firm’s journey. “Zaha’s loss was devastating,” says Salvi. “However, there is a strong sense of community within the company and we all share the responsibility to continue her legacy.” Salvi joined the studio just more than 15 years ago, first starting in the firm’s Italian studio before moving to London to work within – and later lead – a larger team. “I do feel as if I have contributed to making the company successful,” he says. After more than three years, we are doing incredibly well and continue to deliver unique projects.”

Photo credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

Just like the project itself did over many sketches and renders, Salvi has also evolved since early stages through to the completion. “Due to the extraordinary scale of the project, I feel I’ve learnt a lot,” he says. “From façade technology and interior design to form structure and workflow management, which is now a precious resource on every new project.”

With the architect’s lunch hour over running, and a design competition deadline looming, it’s time for Salvi to head back to the London studio to contribute further in changing the skylines of our cities for the better, all while continuing the work of the woman who changed architecture – and equality within the sector – forever. And with that, the extraordinary work taking shape behind the firm’s studio doors continues into a new chapter, which will no-doubt be complete with new, unique and elegant dimensions.


OPAL has now opened its door calling for Outstanding submissions, inviting you to enter your outstanding projects within the categories of:
• Architecture
• Interior Design
• Property Development
Winning an OPAL Award commands the highest respect and significantly increases exposure to clients, investors, developers and alike – a proof-in-hand that your work is amongst the very finest in the industry. It is an invaluable tool to acquire new business as a direct result of winning the Award. Each project entry is anonymously peer-reviewed by the OPAL jury panel comprised of leading industry talents. Entries are assessed independently on its merit and not competing against other entries. 
Meet our esteemed Jury panel here
The Jury will collectively select the winners within the three entry categories and reward them in the descending order; 
• Overall Winner
• Platinum Winner
• Winner
• Official Selection
– each with an opportunity for Honorable mention.
Each Winner receives:
• Winners Seal – to promote your Award online and in print.
• Winners Certificate
• Complimentary Invitation to the Awards ceremony in London.
• A permanent online profile on the winners’ page
Furthermore, OPAL is offering three ‘Outstanding Achievement Awards’ dedicated to projects with with high regard to Innovation, Sustainability, and Humanity.
Read more about the winner structure and submission criteria. 
The early-bird deadline for submissions is August 15th, 2019.
Entries submitted by this date are eligible for a 10% discount on submission fees.
Click here to submit your Outstanding project.

The Outstanding Property Award London (OPAL) has confirmed Hotel Designs as an official media partner.

Hotel Designs is the leading international hotel design website. Read by more than 67,000 designers, architects, hoteliers and industry suppliers monthly, the website is the go-to destination for all the latest news, features, opinions and reviews.

In addition to covering news, moderating interviews and features around the award event in London later this year, Hotel Designs has also put forward its editor, Hamish Kilburn, to be on the jury. “As the leading international hotel design website, Hotel Designs is all about supporting awards, events and concepts that are dedicated to rewarding outstanding individuals and projects worldwide,” he said.

“There’s a lot of synergy between OPAL and Hotel Designs. For starters, both brands aspire to identify and celebrate the leading individuals and firms who are pushing the boundaries of design and architecture. On a personal note, as a member of this year’s jury, I am eager to sift through the entries, but what I am most looking forward to is helping to amplify the individual property developers, designers and architects who are internationally shaping the future of our industry.”



OPAL has unveiled the new ‘Special Awards’ Trophy. This coveted trophy will be awarded to the three overall winning projects within Property Development, Architecture and Interior Design.

The Trophies will be handed to the creators of the winning project at the Awards event in London in November.

It has been an absolute pleasure to be part of the OPAL. It is so important for our industry to celebrate and reward creative and outstanding craftsmanship to keep raising the bar. The quality and large number of entrants proves OPAL has already established itself as one of the top awards of its kind.

Erik Behrens,
Creative Director,
Design Studio Lead,
AECOM Architecture

We are delighted to have our work selected amongst some of the world’s most ambitious and incredibly creative projects. OPAL is a very important award for the design industry, celebrating the diversity of talent in our global industry. It inspires and encourages designers like ourselves

Keira Townsend,
Design Director,
Keir Townend Interior Designers,