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Khemakhem named Ellerbe Becket Interior Design Director Middle East

Ellerbe Becket has selected Karim Khemakhem to establish and lead its new Middle East Interiors Practice.

The company is one of the oldest and largest global architecture firms and has become a leading healthcare designer in the Gulf Region.

Khemakhem has been named Interior Design Director Middle East and will be based in the firm’s Dubai office.

He will lead design development and implementation of interior architecture on current projects, as well as help Dubai Managing Director Alan Milligan with business development throughout the region.

Prior to accepting his new position, Khemakhem was as an Interior Project Designer in the firm’s Minneapolis office.

Khemakhem said:

“From the moment I expressed interest in going to Dubai I received great support and encouragement from Alan, Rick Lincicome (Ellerbe Becket CEO) and the rest of my colleagues. I’m excited to be joining a thriving office in Dubai and look forward to helping build our interiors practice in this region of the world.”

“We’re moving aggressively to further develop our service offerings in the Middle East,” said Dennis Meyer, Ellerbe Becket’s Chief Marketing Officer. The firm that designed the landmark Kingdom Centre in Saudi Arabia is now one of the leading healthcare designers in the region, with projects such as University Hospital in Dubai’s Healthcare City and Sidra Medical and Research Center in Doha, Qatar.

Khemakhem is fluent in Arabic and is familiar with the culture, having been born in Tunisia and later living in Saudi Arabia. He came to the U.S. for college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Minnesota.

He began his career with Ellerbe Becket, working as an interior designer from 1998 – 2004. He returned to Ellerbe Becket in 2006.

He has worked for such prestigious clients as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the Khalifa Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar.

While the majority of his experience is in healthcare, Khemakhem says the lines are blurring between healthcare and other traditional building types.

For instance, on a large-scale project such as University Hospital in Dubai, there are corporate, education and even hospitality aspects to the facility. “You realize very quickly that you are working on more than just a healthcare design,” he said.