Very simple, yet very effective cinematography. A fantastic way to make an entrance. And another great track from the Burberry Acoustic series…
There is no better feeling for an interior designer than to go back to visit a space you have designed to see it subsequently being used and enjoyed as you had imagined when you first sketched out ideas on a blank page. Seeing people enjoying a space I have created is the main reason I became an interior designer.
So I was very happy to see diners enjoying themselves at a recent visit to The Jasmine Room restaurant in Zalka, just north of Beirut. I designed this restaurant last year, working with The Jasmine Room’s director, Mario Haddad Jr, to develop a simple, Asian-inspired space. The restaurant is doing extremely well, thanks to the chefs’ consistently delicious Chinese food, the attentive service, and Mario’s meticulous management. So where does interior design fit into this?
Creating a space that balances productivity and well-being is the objective behind any interior design. Designing for a commercial project such as a restaurant raises additional design challenges. Firstly there are the physical constraints of the dimensions of the space itself. Can these dimensions be manipulated successfully to provide an intuitive layout for the dining experience? Then there are specific building regulations related to the hospitality sector, such as access to kitchens, restrooms and fire escapes.
There is also the question of capacity. Does the layout ensure that the restaurant can host sufficient guests for it to be a profitable endeavour? These are just some of the questions you have to work through with the client at the beginning of any hospitality project. Only then can you consider design concepts to provide the look and feel that support the restaurant’s character. In this case I would hope that diners at the Jasmine Room would consider the interior design to be an intrinsic element of their dining experience.
And for those of you who can’t make it to Zalka, then check out The Jasmine Room’s online menu, or concession stand at CinemaCity.
images © Nour El Khazen 2009
There are many reasons why a client calls on the services of an interior designer. On a commercial project, an interior designer is needed to design a layout that maximises the profitability of a space, whilst reinforcing the visual brand of the business. On a private commission an interior designer will be expected to deliver a layout that satisfies the spatial needs and aesthetic preferences of those who will subsequently live in the space. In both cases the cost of an interior designer represents a significant percentage of the overall project budget. But simply hiring a well known interior designer does not guarantee the best results.
You will only get the best results from your interior designer if your creative partnership is based on mutual respect and understanding. The interior designer should respect the client’s needs and expectations (and budget!). The client should in turn respect the interior designer’s professional skills, experience and creative process. In this way both the client and the interior designer will achieve their mutual objectives. It is also important to be clear about what these mutual objectives are. Effective and timely communication is therefore critical.
So what does all this mean in practice? I’ve drawn up a set of guiding principles for both the client and the interior designer that should ensure a successful and rewarding creative relationship.
For the Client
10. Choose your interior designer based on their design style, not just their cost.
9. The interior design contract should detail phases, deliverables, timelines and measures of quality.
8. Check that your approval is required to progress each phase of the interior design process.
7. Be clear about your execution budget and your vision.
6. Ensure that your expectations match your execution budget. You don’t get luxury on a small budget.
5. Have fun with interior design! Open your mind. Have faith in the interior designer’s creativity.
4. Don’t insult the interior designer’s ability. Keep criticism constructive.
3. Stick to your interior design decisions. Changing your mind later will cost you money and time.
2. Settle your payments promptly. The interior design contract details when and how much.
1.5. Hire the best contractor you can find or the interior design won’t be properly executed.
1. Communicate clearly, swiftly and consistently with your interior designer.
For the Interior Designer
10. Don’t work with clients who don’t share your interior design style.
9. Always insist on signing a detailed interior design contract for each project.
8. Ensure you understand fully the client’s vision before you start designing.
7. Design to the client’s budget.
6. Keep the project on budget.
5. Anticipate issues before they become problems.
4. Solve problems proactively and constructively to everyone’s mutual benefit.
3. Ensure that the decision maker approves each phase of the interior design process.
2. Manage the interior design process effectively. Make things happen in order and on time!
1. Be easy to contact. Always take your client’s calls and communicate clearly!
…I’d have learned a whole lot more at school! If you have 10 minutes to spare then watch this video. If nothing else watch it for the amazing illustration. In 10 minutes you’ll go on a journey from the dawn of time to present day to consider how mankind shares experience of life on this planet. And reflect on this statistic. During the World Cup final, people all over the world were sending over 3,000 tweets per second as they followed the game. That’s a whole lot of empathy. You’ll end up with the question ‘Is the internet able to save the planet?’. If you want it to, then share this video with your friends. Reblogged from ted.com.
Amsterdam based UNstudio‘s Manhattan loft design for an art collector cleverly blends art space with living space. The asymmetrical layout maximises wall space whilst providing even lighting throughout the various exhibit areas. Pictures courtesy of UNstudio.
Who said everyday office furniture has to be dull? Our long awaited USM modular storage units arrived recently from Dubai. We ordered them a few months ago from Switzerland, and believe me, they were worth the wait. These are the Range Rover Sports of office storage. Elegant, stylish, rugged and supremely well-built. And they come in hundreds of configurations, heights, colours and functions. We’ve gone for two sets of 2X3 closed shelving units, one white and one black. And they’re modular. So you can add on, adapt and integrate to your hearts content, ensuring that your investment is future-proof. They’ve already swallowed up all our project files and a large chunk of our design magazine library. And they make great space dividers in larger offices. A big thank you to all the guys at DHL (who handle all our corporate shipping) for getting them here overland without a scratch! Now, where did I put that tax return file?
images © sinaida challita sarl 2010
But this doesn’t just mean posting comments on interior design and the interior design profession. This blog is also a way of sharing creativity. Because although interior design is my business, it’s also my passion. And what good is a passion if you can’t share it with others? Sharing with others is a good thing because the rewards we earn in life should not just be financial. Being part of a community, contributing to the greater good is a reward worth sharing some time and creative effort for.
So, over the next few weeks I’ll be launching some new features on this site that will enable me to share my passion for interior design and to give a little back to the community. And hopefully to have some fun in the process! The first new feature is ‘design/clinic’.
What exactly is that and how does it work? I figured that people reading this blog may have an interior design issue that they would love to get some help with. It may be that you need some advice on a particular item of furniture. Or you need to know where in Beirut (or anywhere else for that matter) you can buy a particular brand of light. Perhaps you need some advice on how to maximise space in a particular part of your house or apartment. There are any number of small interior design questions that you might need help with.
All you have to do is send me your interior design question and I’ll do my best to answer it. You can send it using the formspring box just above my tweets. Or you can hit this link to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Send in your question, and a photo or site-link if needed, and I’ll give you my opinion. For free.
The only thing I ask for in return is that I can publish the best Q&As here on the blog. That way we can share the problem and the solution with everyone. Try and keep the questions short and simple.
Yalla, let’s get started!
image © sinaida challita sarl 2010
I spotted this and had to share it. It’s Monday, so I thought everyone could start the week with a reminder that there is creativity everywhere you look. Especially on the streets. Enjoy!
Some of you may have seen the strange looking table dangling from the crane next to the mosque in Martyr’s Square. If you’re around at the time of iftar you’ll see the crane hoisting intrepid diners into the Beirut skyline for a breathtaking view to accompany the gastronomy, finished off with fireworks. Welcome to ‘Dinner In the Sky’, the latest hospitality venture of Alfred Asseily of Table D’Alfred and Capital A Bar. I worked with Alfred on the interior design for Capital A Bar in Gemmayze. It’s a shame that his latest dining venture comes with ready made natural interior/exterior design! But, aside from that, I wish Alfred every success!
If you are planning on taking a holiday this month, here are two luxury escapes to suit all tastes. For those who like the hustle and bustle of the city, but want to get one up on the crowds in style, check out the new Marina Bay complex in Singapore. As well as its record breaking casino, it also has one of the highest roof top infinity pools. If you prefer the ‘back to nature’ kind of hide-away then how about the Saffire Resort in Tasmania? Not another building or car in sight. And for those of us going no further than the office or studio this month, turn up the AC, grab a cool drink, squint at the pictures, and it’s as if you’re already there!