Principal design director of Perkins+Will, Diane Thorsen, is to depart the company she has led since 2010.
Thorsen will exit the international interior design and architecture practice on 27 June.
A founder of US-based Perkins+Will’s studio in the UAE, she is considered one of the most influential people in the Middle East’s architecture and design space.
Under her leadership, she has grown the company from three to 106 people in less than a decade, building a powerful practice working across corporate offices, healthcare, hospitality, residential, aviation, transport, and mixed-use developments.
Thorsen called the decision to leave “one of the most emotionally hard choices to make” in an exclusive interview with Commercial Interior Design.
While her next career move has not been set, Thorsen will spend time training in the US before returning to the Gulf.
“What is important about this is that we have created such a strong, amazing team of people here that I am so confident to move away and give this group of people the opportunity to flourish,” she said.
“I am going to come back and do something really cool in the region, which will be amazing human-centric design because that’s what the region needs. It needs a complete refocus.”
She also spoke out on the need to move the industry away from a “race to the bottom” which is seeing firms drive down costs.
“Morgan has come in with an extraordinary enthusiasm and he is just so naturally talented,” Thorsen added. “When I met him I was thrilled for him to take this studio to wherever it needs to go.”