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Samer Al Alawi: An architect whose motto is ?innovation'  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 14/03/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) to be an interior designer one needs to have an understanding of high elegance and refined taste. that’s why an interior designer tries to produce work of high quality, establish solid foundations for the designs and gives advice on what makes for distinguished and comfortable décor which will lend that elegance to the interiors of a home, office or building

Samer al alawi, is a well-known saudi designer both within the kingdom and abroad. we met alawi and talked to him about his passion for interior designing. here are some excerpts:

How do you see yourself as an interior designer: a traditionalist or modernist

I don’t believe that i a traditionalist or modernist. ever since i started my work, i have been guided by one word: innovation.

Your work has received mixed reviews. why is that?

Well, for one thing, innovation in general attracts attention and can be controversial. my designs appeared at a time when the facades of saudi homes had been standardized. my designs on the other hand were unique and creative. i designed both the interiors and exteriors of mansions and villas in the kingdom, for which i became famous as “the first saudi external designer.”

Interior design usually develops with the individual. tell us about the distinctive touches in your designs. have you really been very “innovative” in this highly aesthetic field

I think interior design is a reflection of the development of the individual and his taste, and his exposure to the world. innovation in interior design is predicated on technological developments. it will keep developing.

How can your expertise enrich your work

Experience is of paramount importance of course. it can hone your skills. but you also need skilled labor who can translate ideas into reality

What are the prominent features of your work? from the start, i have been guided by two principles: to be audacious and to be awe-inspiring.

What are the colors that are most prominent in this year’s work? do you have a preference for certain colors

First, i don’t feel comfortable with the concept of a year’s prominent colors. interior design is not like the fashion world. artifacts could include a painting or some very heavy or costly pieces that we use to decorate our homes and which must be endurable

As for my preferred colors, i can tell you this: i don’t like to use fixed colors. it is the client who inspires me with what colors i must use. i should understand his likes and dislikes, in order to be able to give him a good product.

Some people say that you were able to harmonize incompatible colors in your work

I do mix contrasting colors. i believe there is no such thing as incompatible colors. actually this is the place where the particular ability of the designer shows itself.

Do you think the size and partitioning of the space affects those who live in the place

Absolutely. when you intelligently control the areas you make the tenant happy. a designer should have the basic skill of having a good understanding of a client’s character and his personality traits. actually i believe that the decorator can be a psychotherapist for his clients if he gives them the right design.

What do you think of the “classic versus modern” dichotomy in furniture styles? do you think it exists? how can you combine these two widely different styles without creating any incompatibility

Purely classic furniture pieces are uncomfortable and impractical. but you can make a classic piece of furniture and apply technology to obtain a modern feel. of course those who prefer purely classic styles in guest mansions or royal palaces, especially in europe, won’t accept this approach. each client has his own taste, and i believe the designer can work on his ideas to get the customer’s satisfaction.

But which style do you prefer

The classic style is well rooted in history whereas the modern form is like a bubble that just disappears with time. i adopt the character of my client and analyze his character through my work, using highly stylistic forms and finishes.

What do you think of the ubiquitous housing units today which have become symbolic of urban life

I just wish that the modern housing units would have more technological intelligence built into them and were ‘greener’.

Do you sometimes find yourself forced to create a new style

Yes, i do sometimes have to use a new style. this kind of experiment makes me happy, because it is a challenge for me.

What about lighting

Sure, lighting is very important in design. i have recently attended an intensive course in los angeles and will certainly work hard to translate what i have studied into reality

On many occasions you have to supervise the work of others yourself. do you face difficulties in getting the right fabric or material such as for wood carving, for example

It’s very important that you supervise your work yourself. i attend to all the details in my work personally. as for the difficulties, well, it’s history now. having been in the field for more than 10 years, i find nothing difficult. if anything, the experience is getting more enjoyable with the passage of time.

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