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James Ward & Associates

James Ward Atelier is a firm of architects, project managers and interior designers based in Madeira, Portugal, but with strong associations in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and The Arabian Gulf.

Now based in Madeira the practice has an international portfolio of projects carried out in Portugal, the UK, Europe, Brasil and The Middle-East. Although our work has been extremely varied, from soccer stadiums to palaces, it is perhaps our hotel experience both as architects, interior and landscape designers that we have come to be known for.

In Madeira and the Algarve, the Atelier has been responsible for the interior design of ten 5 and 4 star resort hotels in Funchal alone including The Cliff Bay Hotel, Pestana Grand and Savoy Gardens, as well as two in mainland Portugal with a combined total of over 1900 guest-rooms and suites. The Practice was also appointed as architects and interior designers for the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa which opened in London in 2010.

Our work, as can be seen from our examples, is very varied stylistically. The architectural style of The Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London is very modern when compared with the more ornate design of Buwebiyat Palace and yet they came from the same hand. To us it’s very understandable that they should be very dissimilar firstly because the buildings have very different uses but more importantly the cultures are quite different too.

For us design, and especially hotel design, is about finding the right design vocabulary for that particular project. As many as 10,000 guests a year might stay in a hotel for example; that’s 10,000 highly critical “clients” each with different tastes and no designer is able to please them all. The real challenge is to please the vast majority of them so that they return again and in doing so ensure that the hotel is a commercial success.

James Ward is the sole partner of JWA.

James Ward (Partner)
James qualified as an architect in 1974 initially becoming a Partner with Clive Alexander and Partners in London (1974-1986) working mainly on high quality residential developments for both public and private clients in London and the South of England. In 1986 he joined de Brant Joyce and Partners (dBJ) and was a Partner in that Practice until 2006. Projects included university buildings, high quality residential, the British Consulate in Karachi and commercial office developments.

In 1989 he began to develop the firm’s international work initially in Bahrain where he was responsible for several major projects for the Royal Family including guest palaces, a hotel and a marina. Since that time he has carried out work for other Royal Family members in the Arabian Gulf where he designed and supervised the construction of two major palaces for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Further projects followed in Qatar, Dubai and Jordan and including master-plans for Aqaba and the Asian Games Olympic site, olympic standard swimming pools, a soccer stadium, baseball venue and a commercial office tower in Dubai.

James first worked in Madeira in 1992 when dBJ were appointed to design the interiors for The Cliff Bay Hotel in Funchal for Porto Bay Hotels and were then subsequently appointed for The Pestana Village Resort; two clients with whom he has worked ever since. Hotel design, whether it be architecture or interiors, is now a particular passion.

Mary Caldeira (Associate)
Mary qualified in interior architecture and architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura – Universidade Técnica de Lisboa in 2006 and became a member of the Ordem dos Arquitectos in 2008. Mary joined JWA in 2006 and since then has worked on most of our projects including Savoy Gardens, Pestana Chelsea and our current projects.