Gaia Hotel

Lead DesignerTara Headley
Prize(s)Honorable Mention
Entry Description

Capturing the essence of ancient Egyptian culture by incorporating symbols of
Egypt within modern architectural designs, symbolizing a new era for Cairo.

Egypt is a culturally rich country with history spanning thousands of years.
As one of the first civilized nations, there is a lot of unique inspiration to draw from and incorporate into the concept development of the spaces. The aim was to successfully combine ancient elements with modern architecture as a merger between past and present

The concept will celebrate what is special and beautiful about the locale. The hotel is full service and provides an air of comfort. The design engages guests’ love of travel and getting to know new cultures and locations.

In the lobby, the twists and turns of the Nile river were abstracted and included in the floor via a series of water channels which also aid in wayfinding. These are reflected in channels of light in the ceiling. The papyrus plant can be seen in the design of the main lighting feature.

The custom reception desk is meant to pay homage to the great pyramids of Giza that can be viewed from certain key vantage points at the hotel. The faceted desk is reflected in the sculptural wall decoration that has gentle waters cascading over the golden pyramids.

The governing theme for the lobby bar and restaurant is milk and honey. This was chosen because the area around the Nile River, which is in close proximity to the hotel, is known as a land of excess; its a lush oasis in an otherwise barren landscape. Milk and honey is representative of agricultural abundance.

In all, the hotel design achieves combining cultural significance with innovation in design while offering guests a unique, luxurious experience in the heart of Egypt.


Tara Headley moved to Savannah, Georgia from the island of Barbados where she grew up, to
attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in interior
design. She has always been an extremely dedicated and focused on excelling in her career.
Since graduating with her first degree, she has moved on to Atlanta where she obtained a
masters in interior design, and is currently working at Hendrick, specializing in corporate design.