Not many architects and designers have clients like Baccarat, FIFA, Heller, Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Swiss Air, and Zucchetti, but Lebanese architect William K. Sawaya is one of them. Not only has he taken over the Lebanese architectural scene by a landslide, but has gone on to become a major contender on the international scene as well, even designing the Women’s FIFA world cup trophy in 2019.
A French-Italian born to a Lebanese Sawaya family in Beirut in 1948, William K. Sawaya proved that Italian-Lebanese artistic mixture is both relatable, popular, and successful.
Sawaya graduated from the ALBA and the National Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut, in 1973, and went on to begin his career by designing interior spaces for large-scale residential projects in all major cities in Lebanon, for both contracting companies and private owners.
He moved to Milan where he established in 1978 together with Paolo Moroni the Sawaya & Moroni Architectural Practice and the Sawaya & Moroni contemporary furniture company where he is the art director to-date.
Sawaya widened his artistic perspective and approach by studying and practicing Product Design in Paris and Milan. He went on to expand his work across Italy, France, the Gulf countries, the United States, Russia, Japan, and Greece.
The firm’s work revolves around product design, interior design, architecture, and exhibitions. It has produced high-end work with the help of many high-profile and highly successful architects and designers, such as Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel, to name a few.
He has also taken part in numerous museum exhibits. Some of the most noteworthy include The Chicago Athenaeum Museum, and the Museum für Gestaltung, a leading Swiss museum of industrial design, visual communication, architecture, and craft. He also expands his participation in both personal and collective exhibitions.
Sawaya’s work is constantly covered by international media and has been published in various design and architectural newspapers and books, including Italian Modern Design and L’Enciclopedia della Famiglia.
Sawaya’s designs have won multiple prestigious international awards. His “Maxima Chair” has been recognized by the Catas Italian Institute for Quality.
His most recent masterpiece, the Women’s FIFA World Cup 2019, is made of gold-plated, bronze, polished aluminum, and granite, measuring 47 cms and weighing 4.6 kg. It takes the form of a spiral surrounding a soccer ball at the to. According to FIFA, “the trophy reflects the athleticism, dynamism, and elegance of the feminine football.”
The trophy is estimated to be worth more than $30,000. In the past, he has designed the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2000 and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002.
Among his recent projects with Sawaya & Moroni: The Klapson’s at the river hotel in Bangkok, The Klapson’s boutique hotel in Singapore, the SCF Sovcomflot headquarters in St.Petersburg, the Mayyas shop in Jeddah, the Maddalena Yacht club in Sardinia, the Via Garibaldi 12 store in Genova, the Vourakis choice store in Athens, the 60-meter MY Viki yacht, many private residences and companies’ headquarters in Saudi Arabia, Athens, Paris, St Jean de Cap Ferrat, Cannes, London, and Moscow.