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For the new “Design Talks ” we traveled to Dubai, to interview the work, ideas and design philosophy of one of the most talented interior designers in the Middle East – Nikki B. As usual in BRABBU’s Design Talks with Nikki B, the interview with Nikki B it’s accompanied with some of her best projects.
1. Being in love with our work is always the key to achieve better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
I am very fortunate in that. I combine my passion with my carreer. I love being creative organising, understanding and meeting new people, travelling, problem solving and making people happy. Seeing a successful end result.
2. Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
I do not have one favourite, as they are all so uniquely different, and for every client I strive to create something just as beautiful but in a different way. If I have a client referral from a friend, they ask me to make better then their friends houses, I tell them I wantto make them equalilly stunning but on a different level…I should always feel that I have a done my very best in each case. One story I infact always use as an example…It’s to explain that client should wait ’till the end result before commenting once the actual work has started and all decisions made and confirmed. A client walked in and saw some coloured ceilings that were in the middle of being painted with just base coats. Photos were taken and duly sent back to the wife. Wife called me in tears. I Manged to convince her to keep one of the ceiling in the main kounge area and promised to change if she didin’t like on completion. On entering the apartment for the first time after completion, she informed me the favourite design element of the property was in fact this coloured ceiling and she wished we had kept the others. Morale of the story are two: do not let the client see the work until completed if at all possible. And secondly, never underestimate the power of convincing and converting the client to understand.
3. How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
Well, this question also has relevance to my statement above. It is of the utmost importance 100 percent that there is a chemistry between the two parties. Chemistry as in understanding, empathy, listening, respect and having fun and enjoyment together along the way.
4. Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In which ways do you keep up with current and new trends?
I read a lot – internet, books, magazines -, when I Travel I like to discover design trends and places in other countries. We as a company also make time for new suppliers into the market. We set aside one day a week for all of these meetings and then discuss the following moring which ones we shortlisted on our library. I also send my senior designer and interior architect to design exhibitions around the world such as Maison et Objet, High Point Market, Milan and London Design Weeks, to see the latest products and to develop relationship with the suppliers, clients and other designers.
5. When decorating an interior, which textures, materials and colors you prefer?
It depends upon the project itself. Furthermore, these three items can be deiced only after taking into consideration the architecture, location and design intent. 6. All artists need some inspiration to work. So, what or who really inspires you? And if you have any favorite artist or interior designer, feel free to mention him/her.
My favourote interior designer is Kelly Wearstler. I adore her designs and look, unfortunately manny of our clients would probably not…it is a very specific look. I also admire freatly the late Alberto Pinto, as he managed to create different looks for everyone, rathern than a set style which is how we work. For an artist I adore the work by Laure Calvier and a local artist here in Dubai, Roberto Raad.
7. How would you describe the interior design industy and trends in the Middle East, specially in Dubai?
Constantly involving, advancing electic and electric !
8. If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish it had been made it by you, which would it be?
I don’t have a particular project that I wish I had done, but what I wish for is another matter. I would love to do a elegant yet fun beach club, a mountain chalet, and an uber modern glass house on a cliff anywhere in the world !
9. Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to get the best overall result. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
I always start with the background first, its like making a painting or dressing. Start with the blank canvas and work on the outline and background.Then you can fill in in layers. The best pieces we add by discovering new talents, new products, and ways in which we can uniquely use them; this keeps us inspired and offers the client something quite special.
10. Which are your favorite brands?
From left to right: CAY Console, KOI Stool, YOHO Stool
I also want to use the APIS dining table somewhere, the contrasting materials, style and form set it apart. I like the solid back to nature wood top, but the detailed and open design below. 12. Which was the inspiration or the briefing behind the project on Emirates Hill in Dubai, where you used BRABBU’s pieces?
We had an inspiration for this house by space planning using separate areas using the key elements, of water, air, fire and earth. This came from client discussions, where he wanted an aquarium, fire place, botanicals and directly outside is the swimming pool. He loved bronze and blue colours. So we made, a botannical area in a niche next to the dining room, with reflective mirror showcasing the whole garden and contemporary planting and candlelight in its own right. We developed the silver fish on the bronze wall, rather than the aquarium due to maintenance concerns. We had a tranquillity area with high ceilings and full length windows, with 3d ocean affect floor and alabaster lights construed as planets in the sky.
We used BRABBU for the dining table, we loved the bronze bases, decorative art in their own right, and we custom made the size. Keeping glass top, kept the area light and bright, as the bi folding doors (which we also installed) lead on to the garden and water features.
We also used BRABBU for the kitchen /dining informal area, placing the marble and bronze detailed piece onto of a black and white floor to set it off.
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