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From a Designer’s Journal

Choosing You Interior Designer | Why It’s so Important

design

 

You can buy your cake from a baker you may not remember the face of or go to a lab and get blood tests and not remember the face of the nurse who sucked the blood out of you, yet encounter other professional relationships  where you have to spend a large portion of your time with and share more than the usual greetings.

Among these professionals is your interior designer, whom you hired to design your personal or work space. Either way, there are major points to take into consideration when selecting who to hand your space over to.

Your interior designer is a person you will inevitably have to like due to the amount of time and information you will have to share with.  The sharing may include meals, family gatherings , family feuds, and times when you freak out and need confirmation that everything will be OK.

You might never think about this, but in reality your interior designer will know more about you than you ever intended. Your ID will be studying your behavior, your likes and pet peeves,in addition to some of your most intimate details, and trust me that’s NOT the highlight of our job. We need to know whether you use a bidet when you use your bathroom, and whether you and your spouse need a large bed or will be using separate rooms. Most of these details you might not share even with the closest people to you.

In addition to chemistry, you should find in your designer qualifications that make them “reliable”. Someone who has seen it all and is up to date on all new technologies and trends. Someone who can come up with solutions to the biggest problems on the spot, and come up with multiple solutions for a single dilemma.

A good ID would listen to what you have to say and give you quick pieces of advice that make it easy for you to spot if they are what you are looking for.

But how could you possibly know? isn’t that why you are looking for a designer in the first place? Here’s how:

 

1- Always ask for references, try to see photos of their work and let them explain what they did and how they tackled the problems they encountered.

2- Always ask about work procedures, how will the study be conducted and what is considered within their scope of work. Many ID seekers have no idea what an interior designer does, and that should be clarified from the first meeting.

3- Ask people about their work and ethics. People might not always give credible answers, but that’s up to you to spot a bitter person from a sincere one who has truly suffered.

4- Ask for a first meeting. Take them to the place you want to design, check how they treat you and your project. Beware of those who give out false hopes. Look for the realistic, yet not pessimistic, the creative, not the “we’ve done it a 100 times, we’ll do it for you as well” designers.

After your first meeting , the interior designer should lead the way. Your designer should explain to you how they will be saving you time and money and not the other way around. At this stage, try to provide drawings of the space you intend to design,  or schedule a site visit, that should enable them to issue a proposal stating all you discussed and be clear in terms of phases of work and fees. From then on, you should have all the elements that should help you decide whether to hire them or not.

Last tip, ask as many questions as you like, after all you are going to be spending a great deal of your time with your interior designer, this contract will tie you together for a great deal of time!

 

Sahar

If you have any questions or need any tips, please ask away!

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My ‘Hot-Clicks’ On Khaleejesque

Check the article out on Khaleejesque!

From the ‘About’  section of  Khaleejesque

Khaleejesque is a thriving lifestyle online magazine that revolves around everything hip and happening in the Arabian Gulf countries when it comes to the continuously evolving cultural scene.

The six countries that make up the GCC – Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – share closely related culture, history, and values; as well as a similar future. Apart from a couple of blogs and local magazines that do cover this flourishing culture, no one has really attempted to focus on the Gulf.

We aim to do so.

Khaleejesque is essentially a reflection of the Gulf transformed into an online magazine; it’s a one click portal that features everything there is to know about the Gulf. We, the Khaleejesque team, aim to cover the latest in regional happenings, feature interesting people and initiatives and share inspiring stories that are waiting to be told.

To check out their website go to Khaleejesque.com


From a Designer’s Journal: Evolution of Furniture Design

A few days ago, I was driving with my aunt; she is a smart lady, the kind of person you like from the first hello. We spotted an old white Rolls Royce passing by us and we started talking. She mentioned that she liked old cars, old fashion, old furniture specially 30 and 40’s. For her, they embedded a richness that people used to have in themselves, the showiness we experience nowadays but in a glamorous classy way. I tried to explain to her that furniture changed because our lives changed; palaces became villas and large homes became 3 bedrooms apartments. Not only kings and ministers own expensive furniture; now, everybody wants a Masterpiece in his house. In addition to the fact that life runs in a faster pace thus, as a joke, cleaning modern furniture is easier!

Then I started thinking; what was the real difference between the antique and the modern?

In the age of kings, the makers were not known. The furniture piece was called by the king’s era. No one ever heard of Charles Rohlfs or Thomas Chippendale or even George Hepplewhite who influenced the Regency era’s furniture. But I bet all the money in my pocket that nine of ten people can recognize Philip Stark or Le Corbusier or even Armani who started his home collection a few years ago.

Furniture in the past centuries relied on workmanship, full of moldings, animal and floral shapes. Furniture in the late 90 and 21st century relies on names and labels. The age of craftsmanship is over. Now is the time of designers!

Being more of a modern thinker, some would accuse me of trashing antique furniture, which is not true in anyway; I am sure these beautiful pieces have reached their purpose of showing off for the most ornamented piece in palaces of kings and queens. I am not elevating banality in design either, where four pieces of wood and a top make a table. I plead the case of creative modern design because they are down to earth, down to people who look for inspiration every day. The marketing movement made people believe that they are worthy of getting whatever they dream of. And they are!

While antique pieces sell richness and showiness, modern pieces sell esthetic and comfort. For me, a rich piece is not one with heavy ornament or even labeled by a famous designer; it is the piece that speaks to me, shares its rich visual in a space, bonds with the feeling and atmosphere that people are looking for.

The designer must sell his vision not his hand making, his concept not his label. Whether he/ she are marketing antique or modern designs, he/ she are reflecting a sentiment, a way of life and their vision to the buyer. I agree that everybody deserves to own treasures in their homes because everybody is allowed to realize their dreams.

So here is my vision: If your dream is to have a gigantic antique clock, buy it. If your dream is to have Le Corbusier’s relaxing chair, buy it. But don’t buy a Masterpiece to show off; buy a Masterpiece to fulfill its Master’s desire.

by Pascale Azzi – Interior Architect


A Toast to You , Happy New Year !!

It’s that time of the year where most of us look back and evaluate our actions, reactions, and whether we could have done any better given the circumstances. I look back to remember if anything significant happened and its tough because every event was part of a sequence, part of a series of mini events that seemed only natural at the time. Many of which I would not have ever anticipated of when the year started.

This is the reason we all check out our horoscopes at the beginning of each year in search of what may happen. Most of us don’t keep a log of the “events to take place” and we barely remember if any of them were true, yet we still read them. Its part of human nature I guess to look for hope everywhere. This hope is the fuel for the engine that keeps us striving and living for tomorrow.

I do not usually keep any resolutions, but I know I want to be better in every way, everyday. I look back and see what I have achieved then directly look forward and move on. During 2010 I started this blog and I love it more and more everyday. The ability to share information, to get feedback, to engage with everyone around me, and most importantly make friends from all over the world is a gem. Through this blog and twitter I have managed to enter a world I would have never dreamed of entering. Whoever criticizes social media negatively, is probably doing it all wrong.

I am glad to have met you, during the coming year I plan on enlarging my circle of friends and getting to know you better. There is nothing better than learning from others and yet teaching and sharing what you acquire.

I look forward to 2011, as I look forward to the course of every year. I look forward to getting to know you more and sharing more.

I am blessed to have this space to wish you a safe year, that’s all you need from anyone, the rest is up to you and how you turn each day to your advantage.

 

Happy 2011!


From a Designer’s Journal: Heard of “Marmorino”?

This is a true story  as shared by Pascale A.

Being an architect or an interior designer is a serious job; obviously, when you are dealing with people’s lifestyle, money and dreams, issues should not be taken lightly.

However you sometimes come across situations where nothing can be done; the client dropped in without an appointment and you are running late with the design because urgent daily chores distracted you from the “creative” process. Such situations may be disastrous for your reputation and pace of work. But positive people always know how to turn their frowns into smiles. The result is: a hilarious situation.

I was working with a team a while back, and the secretary sent us a message to go meet Mrs. X who was waiting outside to discuss the status of her project . Don’t get me wrong, but this type of “Parachute client” makes all professionals go crazy. Unprepared, we all started running for materials, looking for the drawings we sketched earlier, and operating frantically in the office to prepare what is supposed to be “the client’s design file”. Needless to say, the file was a disaster.

The client entered the meeting where there were two designers. The leading designer opened the file to discuss the apartment in question and his eyes popped out as he flipped the drawings, having nothing but primitive, conceptual sketches which are not for clients to see. He looked at the client, turned the file upside down on the table, paused, and smiled: “We are preparing something unique for your apartment”, he said. Then looked at the other designer and said, “tell her what we are preparing ”. The confused designer started looking around the office, seeking inspiration and said: “you see that drawing? It will be like this but much better!” Both were describing moods that every client would be delighted to hear.They spoke of the colors, and even of non-existent materials, they showed her a Travertino marble (very commonly used but ofcourse the client has no idea) and told her it’s MARMORINO,yes you heard me, Marmorino, that’s how creative they were (BTW Marmorino is a kind a plaster finish applied to walls and means “little" marble” and is not an actual marble) .The client seemed reluctant when the meeting kicked off, but after hearing the dreams and lies she felt overwhelmed by the lively discussion and attention that the staff were giving to her project. She was then relaxed and interacting in the conversation enthusiastically. She left the office with a big smile of satisfaction and promised to come in the following week to approve the final details. The designers exhaled, then laughed hysterically at was considered a professional catastrophe!

Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen alot, but if it does happen, this is the typical scenario yet with an uncertain outcome. The situation was saved by the complicity of two architects, trying to sell a design that didn’t exist yet under the thrill of the moment.

The morale of the story is this: if you are a client, never come to your designer without an appointment. If you do, expect all kinds of bull….

Pascale A.


From a Designer’s Journal: Beautiful People…

They sometimes say that something as simple as a “smile” or a warm greeting is enough to light up a room and make your day. It’s true. But how can you explain the feeling of receiving an 80x80cm box at your office, opening it, and realizing its a huge cake from someone so refined, compassionate, artistic,educated, modest, and appreciative?  Someone who took the time out to download the sketch I drew for my blog and turn it into one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever done for me.

I thank you again Sheikha Asma, a beautiful person I am so proud and lucky to have met and know. I hope God grants you and your family all the love and health you deserve.

Thank you for making my day…

Sahar

P.S. The cake tasted so great 😀


From a Designer’s Journal: When to Draw the Line

Seriously, I love every client I have worked with, even those who have made me suffer endless days and nights. Each one of them has imprinted memories in my head that I will never forget. Many people don’t realize how personal the relationship with  interior designer gets and forget that this is the person they will be sharing very intimate details with. But how close should the relationship be?

As in every industry, you have to understand your client. You have to listen, absorb, and analyze. The world is full of different tastes, similar to finger prints, almost no two are the same. Trust me I have been a witness of disastrous family fights over a toilet seat or a light bulb. If your design fails, it means you have not listened.

But when is being close too much? When do you draw the line?

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From a Designer’s Journal…

Ok, if you are a designer living in the Arab world you will probably guess what this is about. As designers, our job is one of the most underestimated in terms of value, any value be it monetary or appreciation.The notion  is that if it is not concrete, i.e. not something sold at a shop, then it has no physical value. I am not generalizing of course or that will be offensive to those clients my fellow designers and I have had great relationships with over the years and who actually appreciate the fact that a design job is best designed by a designer and not the carpenter who did a nice door for a  cousin, no offense intended I love carpenters and work with them all the time!  I will be posting such short incidents that either happened with me or other designers to lighten things up yet at the same time throw in a message that involves our job. I would love for anyone of you reading this and who would like to share a story or a certain point to email me and share with us, it would really be nice and add a personal aspect to the great creations designers come up with.

A very dear friend and talented interior architect was discussing this with me and sent me this:

What is an Interior Architect?

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