Emily Mottolese


Managing Principal - Middle East Practice Leader

New York


At the outset of her career at SOM, Emily Mottolese identified the Middle East as a region where she could realize her architectural passion: to build cities from scratch, create new skylines, and transform the urban landscape through the marriage of ancient cultural heritage and modern technology. She now leads the firm’s Middle East practice, merging her background in design and expertise in management to deliver projects ranging from new construction and interiors to comprehensive master plans.

Emily began her career as an architectural designer on numerous international projects, including government headquarters, commercial developments, and luxury residences before seeking a broader scope of work and moving toward project management. Since joining SOM in 2010, she has added large-scale mixed-use projects, hospitality, education, cultural buildings, civic institutions, and sports facilities to her portfolio.

Emily has been instrumental in SOM’s expansion in the region. In 2017, she oversaw the establishment of the Dubai office and brought the experience she cultivated in this work to bolster SOM’s interior design team in 2019—preparing the firm for the future in the Middle East and across the world.

Every day at SOM is different. Whether we’re designing an airport, a hospital, a tower, or a university, all our work is united by a drive to push the envelope—to find a way to improve life in a city, to connect disparate communities, and to make the world a more sustainable place.

In 2021, Emily’s success managing projects in the Middle East led to her first role with SOM’s interiors group, when she began to oversee the practice in the New York studio. Developing a passion for the impact that interior design can have on the sustainability of the built environment, Emily was elevated in 2022 to co-leader of the interior design studio—for which she supervises the strategic vision and day-to-day management of SOM’s interiors projects.

Selected Work