For the third European edition, Sleeper SESSIONS headed to Croatia, Dubrovnik. Combining the ancient architecture of the Old Town with more recent Socialist-era structures elsewhere along the coast, Dubrovnik is now a dynamic tourism destination with a rich and fascinating history.
Our host venue, the Dubrovnik Palace is a luxury property located on the Lapald peninsula, nestled between pine forests and the cobalt waters of the Adriatic.
Symposia speaker sessions welcomed design visionaries and thought-leaders from across the region including Maroje Mrduljas, who set the scene for a compelling programme of Symposia speaker-led sessions and Sustenance elements to nourish mind, body and soul. Dubrovnik-born Marko Dabrović – a founding partner of 3LHD Architects along with hospitality experts from the region, including Una Barac (Atellior), Kristina Zanic (Kristina Zanic Design Consultants) and Tomislav Čeh (Head of Adriatic Sea – PKF).
Read the full Sleeper Magazine article on Sessions Dubrovnik here.
Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture - University of Zagreb
Maroje Mrduljaš, PhD, is architect engaged in teaching, researching, designing, writing, editing, curating and filmmaking. Maroje contributed to the exhibition projects in prestigious institutions including MoMA NY, SAM Basel, Venice Architecture Biennale, and published in Archithese, A+U, Vesper, Domus, Architecture Australia, Bauwelt, Modulor and elsewhere. Since 2005 he has served as editor, and since 2017 as editor-in-chief of Oris international magazine for architecture and culture based in Zagreb.
Maroje delivered lectures and was a guest critic at various universities including ARQ-UC Santiago de Chile, ETH Zurich, TU Wien, TU Graz, Politecnico di Milano, IUAV Venezia, KIT Karlsruhe, ETSA Madrid, Universität Liechtenstein, Berlage Institute Rotterdam, Iowa State University, and others. He lectured at prestigious international institutions including RIBA London, COAC Barcelona, Tadao Ando Foundation Osaka, and AZ Wien.
He has received four Neven Šegvić prizes for critical and theoretical work awarded by the Croatian Architects’ Society. He is the recipient of an honourable mention of the Dennis Sharp International Committee of Architectural Critics (CICA) Pierre Vago Journalism Award 2020. Maroje is an independent expert of the Mies van der Rohe EU Prize for contemporary architecture and a member of Committee of Experts of European Prize for Urban Public Space.
His most cited book is Modernism-in-Between, Mediatory Architectures of Socialist Yugoslavia (with Vladimir Kulić) while two seasons of documentaries Slumbers of concrete (with Saša Ban) commissioned by the Croatian National Television reached the widest audience.
Architect, Senior Partner - 3LHD projects
Marko Dabrović was born in Dubrovnik, 1969. He graduated from Architecture Faculty, University of Zagreb. Marko founded RNA studio for 3D computer generated visualizations in 1991, and he is one of the 4 founding partners of 3LHD.
Marko is most interested in implementing new technologies and materials in architecture. He is also one of the founders of VOLUM3 communication platform, and is actively involved in the development of new features.
He has been a member of the Croatian Architects Association 2002, an active member of the Croatian EUROPAN board, and an official expert of the Croatian Football Federation for infrastructural criteria. He has been a guest lecturer and critic on architecture faculties in Vienna, Munich, Leuven, Bruxelles, London, New York etc.
Although he is always involved in all 3LHD projects, a couple of projects distinct. He was project manager on Croatian Pavilions for EXPO exhibitions in Japan and Spain responsible for communication with local architects. He was partner in charge on LN Garden Resort, hotel complex in Guangzhou, which 3LHD designed together with Guangzhou Institute of Urban Planning and City Group. Marko was also one of the partners responsible for the Toronto Port Lands Sports Centre, on which 3LHD successfully collaborated with Rounthwaite Dick & Hadley Architects Inc. Some of current projects he is involved in as partner in charge include Rimac Campus in Zagreb, Hotel Argentina in Dubrovnik, Mobility Centre in Zagreb, Four Seasons Dubrovnik…
Founder & CEO - Kristina Zanic Consultants
Kristina Zanic has had a distinguished career for three decades as an
international designer for projects in over 20 countries.
After starting an interior design company at age 26 and growing it to a
multinational firm over 15 years, Kristina set up her eponymous studio in
Dubai to offer a personalised service to clients.
Ten years on, the studio has grown to four offices and 180 staff and won
numerous design awards – including #1 Interior Design Firm in the
Middle East in 2022, with Kristina also earning the #1 Designer title.
The studio designs interiors for urban hotels, nature resorts, private
residences, and restaurants across Middle East, Asia, Africa, and
The studio’s portfolio in Europe includes Marriott Domes Miramare,
Domes Zeen Chania and Scarlet Beach Resort in Greece; Ritz Carlton
Montenegro; Vranska Banka Resort in Serbia; Cres Island Resort and
Split Rooftop Bar in Croatia; Ritz Carlton residences in Cyprus; and
Grand Hyatt Regency in Kyiv.
Croatian by origin and Australian by birth, Kristina has a passion for
travel and exploring different cultures. She has lived in 5 countries and
travelled to over 70, often seeking places off the beaten track.
Founder & Executive Director - Atellior
Una Barac is the Founder and Executive Director of Atellior, architecture and interior design studio. While a fully qualified architect, Una’s passion is for interior design and she leads the creative design process within the company. Currently, Una is working on a large number of hospitality schemes across the UK and Europe, from boutique, unbranded hotels through to internationally branded schemes with Hilton, Marriott, Kerzner, InterContinental Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor and Accor. Una also leads a number of high-end residential projects across London.
Director - PKF Hospitality Group
Tomislav Čeh is a hospitality veteran with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. He joined the PKF hospitality group in 2018 and is based in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Zagreb (Croatia) as Director.
Before joining the PKF hospitality group in Vienna, Tomislav worked for several years as General Manager and Managing Director in different hotel companies. He started his professional carrier at Globtour travel agency in Czechia as the head of finance and controlling. Later, he was Managing Director of Globtour Prague and after that, Managing Director of its mother company in Slovenia. He gained further experience heading the company that manages the natural and cultural heritage sites Postojna cave and Predjama castle in Slovenia. In his capacity as Managing Director of LifeClass Hotels & Spa, Portoroz, Slovenia, he was also involved in the redevelopment of the Kempinski Palace Portoroz in Slovenia. During his work at HETA Asset Resolution Slovenia, he set up the asset management department. The last position he held was Managing Director of Union hotels – the biggest hotel company in Ljubljana.
Tomislav graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Maribor, Slovenia. As part of his continued education pursuits, he completed the General Managers Program at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, New York.
Tomislav is a lifetime member of the Cornell Hotel Society.
Head of Sales & Account Management - THP
Caroline List is the Head of Sales & Account Management at THP and joined the company in 2011. Besides interacting with clients worldwide, Caroline attends numerous hospitality related events worldwide as host and speaker. For Sleeper Sessions, Caroline will update guests on the current hotel construction pipeline in Europe with a closer look at specific hotspot countries and cities in terms of new developments.
THP (Top Hotel Projects) is a global acting market research company focused on finding and monitoring hotel developments around the world. Our international research team is determined to find details of ongoing hotel projects and the contact details of the decision makers to provide valuable information to our clients and the hospitality world.
Senior Director of Design + Innovation, EMEA - Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Pinar Calimano has over 25 years of experience in hospitality design and hotel operations in Europe, Middle East, Africa, region as well as United States.
Pinar, a graduate of the New York School of Interior Design, started her design career at Stonehill & Taylor Architects in New York. Prior to returning to her hotelier roots in 2013 as Design Director for Hyatt International Hotels for MEA/SWA region, she delivered projects for hotel brands such as Ritz Carlton, Marriot, Sheraton, Hilton, and Millennium Hotels as interior design consultant.
In her current role, Pinar leads Four Seasons Hotels Design + Innovation Team in EMEA region and oversees the interior design of new hotels, restaurants and bars as well as renovation of existing properties.
Design Director, Central and Eastern Europe, Architecture, Design + Construction, EMEA - Hilton
Paola joined Hilton, AD&C team in Italy in 2022 following the Central and Eastern Europe region and she is driving the direction of Interior Design strategy for new hotels, conversions and renovation projects within the whole Hilton brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Canopy, Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton and many more. Her passionate approach for “designs with a story to say” and unique background in both interior design and set design is bringing flair and a fresh approach to the growing stable of key properties that are under development in the region.
Paola started out in 2004 in Milan, Italy, designing sets for photoshoots, events and exhibits for designer brands such as Giorgio Armani and Valentino. Moved to the Middle East in 2008, she worked as the Head of Interior Design for Armani Casa in Bahrain, from where she moved to Qatar in 2011 specializing in VVIP residential properties. In 2013 she moved to Singapore, joining the well-known hospitality design consultancy, HBA (Hirsch Bedner Associate). In 2015 joined the established development company Emaar, in Dubai, working for 3 years on Properties in Dubai as Assistant Director of Design for Hospitality Projects, supporting multiple luxury hotel and residential brands through the region.
Prior to joining Hilton, Paola joined Accor, Design & Technical Services team in Dubai in 2018 as Director of Interior Design Luxury brands in the TIMEA region following brands such as Raffles, Orient Express, Fairmont, Sofitel and Lifestyle brands.
Paola holds a Master’s Degree in Interior Design from Politecnico di Milano in Italy and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Design from University of Central England in Birmingham, England.
Director, Design & Project Management - Marriott International
Lale is an architect with a masters degree on construction management. Before entering hospitality sector she worked on various large scale construction projects in Turkey. Lale has spent last 15 years working for major International hospitality companies overseeing many hotel project delivery processes from signing to opening mostly on Eastern Europe, Turkey and CIS region. She has worked on new built and conversion projects of select, full service and luxury segment hotels. Lale is leading one of the 3 regions in Europe for Marriott International, where she’s been working for the last 6 years.
Director of Interior Design EMEA, South West Asia - Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Justin Meath Baker is an industry veteran, with a roll-call of luxury hotels from Cuba to Kazakhstan, St Petersburg to Johannesburg – and most places in between. After many years heading up his own award-winning boutique design practice he crossed over to the dark side as Marriott’s first design director outside the USA.
After a spell working as a consultant for both investors and operators across a number of brands including Aman, Radisson, Anatara and Ritz Carlton – from glass towers to eco-lodges – he now leads interior design for Hyatt EMEA across all brands. Current flagship projects include Park Hyatt London with Super Potato, Andaz Lisbon with Patricia Urquiola, Thompson Vienna with Tara Bernerd, Grand Hyatt Red Sea with Muza Lab and Miraval Malaga with Rockwell.
With the recent acquisition of the Apple Leisure Group and Dream Hotel Group portfolios Hyatt is undergoing a period of expansion across the region; hotels underway in the Adriatic and Aegean alone include Zadar Croatia (130 keys), Kotor Bay Montenegro (254 keys), Tirana Albania (170 keys), Limassol (300 keys) and Santorini (59 keys).