The Designers of the Year rewards the best emerging and established talent across architecture, interiors and design. It recognises those whose innovative work has made a notable impact on the industry.
Vally picked up the prize at the Dezeen Awards 2023 party this week, which was hosted in partnership with Bentley.
View this post on Instagram
Sumayya Vally was named emerging architect of the year at Dezeen Awards 2023
Growing up in Pretoria, Vally studied architecture in Johannesburg and in 2015 founded her own interdisciplinary studio Counterspace. The studio specialises in architecture and research with offices in Johannesburg and London.
In an interview with Dezeen, Vally explained that her studio was founded out of a desire to create the type of architecture she felt was missing from her formal education.
Vally was recently named one of Time magazine's 100 leaders of the future and was appointed as artistic director of the first Islamic Arts Biennale, which took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The event aims to celebrate Islamic art and culture while exploring "spirituality in the aesthetic realm" in a bid to build an understanding of both Muslim art and the wider Muslim world.
Vally took home the award at the Dezeen Awards 2023 ceremony this week, which was held at Shoreditch Electric Light Station in London and was attended by shortlisted studios along with past and present judges.
"An emerging star, South African architect Sumayya Vally is one of the world's most exciting young architects," said the judges.
"She has gone from strength to strength, designing installations and bridges as well as being artistic director for the first Islamic Arts Biennale. Expect big things in the future."
At 30, Vally went on to become the youngest architect to be commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery to design its annual architecture pavilion in 2021.
The pavilion is made up of abstract elements and details informed by the architecture of London's migrant communities.
The structure was designed to have a minimal carbon footprint and reportedly absorbed 31 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, according to construction consultant AECOM.
The pedestrian bridge, which was developed as a homage to the Congolese agriculturist Paul Panda Farnana, was informed by the sculptural form of "the water architectures of the Congo".
A total of 31 studios, spanning 14 countries including South Africa, India, Nigeria and Mexico, were shortlisted for awards in six distinct Designers of the Year categories.
Each category's winner will be showcased in an exclusive video produced by Dezeen and sponsored by Bentley. The videos will be unveiled on Dezeen from November 30 to December 7.
Dezeen Awards 2023
Dezeen Awards celebrates the world's best architecture, interiors and design. Now in its sixth year, it has become the ultimate accolade for architects and designers across the globe. The annual awards are in partnership with Bentley Motors, as part of a wider collaboration that will see the brand work with Dezeen to support and inspire the next generation of design talent.