is an Italian who was born and raised in cosmopolitan post-World War II Beirut, Lebanon. He graduated in Architecture in 1973 from the National Academy of Fine Arts of Beirut.
Particularly interested to the definition of internal spaces (his first successes were obtained with the projects of some residences in Lebanon), he than extends his professional activity to France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Russia, the USA and the Arabic Golf. In Paris and Milan he studied and experienced the field of Product Design which he considers an important part of a coherent project in living culture.
In 1978 he moved to Italy and established, together with Paolo Moroni, Sawaya & Moroni Design Office, and in 1984 they founded Sawaya & Moroni Contemporary Furniture, where he directs the artistic and project activities. Long known for looking both within and outside of Italy for its talent, the firm has produced works that are what Sawaya calls “haut de gamme,” or high concept, by such renowned designers as Zaha Hadid, John Maeda, Jean Nouvel, and Dominique Perrault. Sawaya himself has designed projects for Baccarat, the Fédération Internationale de Football, Heller, and Swiss International Air Lines.
When Sawaya was asked to curate an exhibition for the 2005 Salon du Meuble in Paris, he looked to his native country and its emerging generation of designers. “Switch on Lebanese Design,” organized with Beirut architect Nayla Romanos Ilya, included some 30 young Lebanese designers, whose work ranged from furniture and lighting to fashion, jewelry, cars, and boats. Coming more than a
“ALLWOOD” Chairs by William Sawaya decade after the end of a debilitating civil war, the exhibition, which has been touted as the first showing of contemporary Lebanese design outside of that country, showcased a recovering creative milieu to an international audience.
He joins various personal and collective art and design exhibitions.
His work has been published on various design and architectural books and is present in various museums as well as in public and private collections. He appears in various TV reportage, interviews, magazines and newspapers.