Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes speaker

Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

A strong advocate of value created through cross-disciplinary interactions, and a visionary architect operating beyond the restrained realm of architecture.

Stephanie Akkaoui-Hughes is a world renowned architect and speaker with a distinctive vision and voice. She believes that the most sustainable forms of innovation emerge at the intersection of different fields. Her speeches, workshops and keynotes encourage interaction and innovation, transform approaches and provide for actionable tools.

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Speaker Profile

About Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Born and raised in the Middle East, Stephanie is a relatively young, non-European female professional who has given speeches at numerous corporate companies, international conferences, governmental  institutions and educational institutions worldwide. In her speeches, Stephanie is asked to share her vision of Architecting Interaction and the custom process designed for it. Architecting Interaction investigates how we can create contexts that foster human interaction - in its different forms namely: innovation, collaboration, learning and creativity. The principles and process of Architecting Interaction have been proven relevant to all audiences and across all fields, beyond architecture.
Stephanie’s speaking clients include the world renowned Triodos Bank, the International Interaction Design Association (IxDA), The Qatar Foundation, Breevast the international real estate company, Hivos the Dutch organization for development, IBWC the International Business Conference, the European Platform for Mobility Management, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and environment, the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs, the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs & Royal Relations, The Centre of Excellence in Universal Design and a number of other corporate, governmental and educational institutions.

Awards, Accolades, Achievements, Honours

  • Founder and lead Architect of AKKA Architects
  • Founder of the global movement of Action Labs, a worldwide initiative aiming at building and sustaining local communities of entrepreneurs.
  • Youngest executive board member of the Ebbf, International Business Forum.
  • Youngest advisory board member of the Creative Industries Fund Netherlands. 


Born and raised in the tumultuous city of Beirut (Lebanon), Stephanie quickly learned to navigate amidst an incredibly diverse, unpredictable, complex, and extremely lively environment. She has converted her experience of adapting to highly transformative surroundings into actionable tools that encourage interaction and innovation. She shares these tools with businesses to help them navigate during any company transformation or company culture change. Using her vision of Architecting Interaction as a starting point, Stephanie helps every organization translate the principles to their specific situation and extract actionable steps to go through the transformation.

Current/Past Roles and Positions

After obtaining her high honours architectural degree at the American University of Beirut, Stephanie joins the world-renowned architectural company OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) where she works closely with founder Rem Koolhaas. During her time there, she leads multi-billion dollars projects for the Qatar Foundation and gains a deepened knowledge of high-end architectural and urban projects. Today, Stephanie is the founder and lead architect of AKKA Architects, an architectural studio specialized in creating spaces that foster human interactions. AKKA is driven by Stephanie’s vision “Architecting Interaction”, because - she believes - interactions are the seeds of innovation.

Speaking Style

Stephanie is a distinctive and compelling voice who involves her audience in her highly acclaimed speeches that are at once visionary, thought-provoking, interactive, and hands-on. Using timeless stories, current world events, interactive techniques and memorable case studies, Stephanie delivers informative, inspiring and unforgettable speeches.

Speaking Topics

  • Interactions in the workplace: how interactions can become the seeds of innovation
  • Design for Work: how to navigate transformation and improve performances
  • Towards a new economy: how interactions impact our companies and our economies
  • Future Trends: how our companies like our cities depend on people’s engagement
  • Architecture is a service, not a product: what can we learn from a mature Architecture


“The process Stephanie took us through is functional yet provocative, inviting yet directive and so it perfectly supports people in doing their work optimally.” - Tatiana Glad, Impact Hub cofounder

“Stephanie is a wonderful speaker, I had the pleasure to work with her for a training we organized last year in Tunis and she clearly and passionately spoke to our attendees, all from mutliple backgrounds. She is always able to get her message across and even better make people think about their own situation in a different way.” - Andra Lacob, Hivos, Project Officer

“Stephanie is one of the best speakers we’ve ever had. She gave us great inspiration and very valuable pieces of knowledge, which she helped us translate into specific actions to drive more innovation across our teams. Her way of presenting brought out amazing qualities in colleagues that normally are quite reserved.” - Marcel van Schuppen, Breevast International

“Stephanie was a fantastic presenter at our event. She reminded everyone that architecture is a service and that it is a service for all people. The design community needs to look at design from a Universal Design approach and it needs to bring this approach to the fore-front of their thinking at each design stage in order for the design to be truly successful.” - Neil Murphy, Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, Senior Advisor

“Stephanie’s process to co-create the future of our company gave us the ability to draw on the diversity and creativity of our community. Such a process invites a new level of conversation in a company.” - Tatiana Glad, Impact Hub cofounder

“Stephanie was adept at helping us navigate the creative process and getting the best out of our heads and into a visual format.” - Tatiana Glad, Impact Hub cofounder

Books By Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

  •  A regular monthly feature in The Gulf Times Society, since February 2015 till present
  • ‘Semantic of Spaces and Architecting Interaction’ in UN magazine, 2014
  • ‘All our actions are interactions’, in Open Manifesto 7, 2015
  • ‘Architecture is a service, not a whim’, in Biennali 2, 2015
  • Architecting Interaction: How to innovate through interactions, 2016

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