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COVER IMAGE COURTESY: WALEED SHAALAN, JUNOOT ECO RESORT IN OMAN

FEBRUARY 25, 2016

18 THE MASTERMIND

GOD LIVES IN US

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, fashioned scores of imposing yet bare structures expressing the spirit of the industrial 20th century and was widely known as the father of modern architecture. GID looks into the life of this great architect.

42 GID REGIONAL FOCUS

ARCHITECTURE IS LIFE

Architect Waleed Shaalan’s passion for design, adoration of life and love for architecture makes him explore ways of creating spaces and spacial interventions that are honest, free from inherited form with a lot of character.

62 GID GLAMOUR

CREATING SCULPTURAL SPACES

‘Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’ is an extension of what Ian Stallings lives by as he gives designing all he has. GID follows this vibrant personality to quiz him about some important design sensibilities.

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30 THE FOCUS

26 GID PULSE

56 EXPAT HOME

ARCHITECTURE IS ALSO ABOUT BEAUTY

Dr Anna Grichting takes us through the labyrinths of design touching upon the responsibility of building ecologically.

FROM OLD TO NEW

Liwan furniture uses beautiful worn-out aesthetics with unfinished touches and intricate craftsmanship to make each piece a keepsake.

50 GID INTERPLAY 22 DECONSTRUCT

THE PERIOD CHARM

This Victorian-inspired living room arrangement from MISEN DEMEURE is classic, timeless and celebrates luxury.

IT’S ALL IN THE DESIGN

In a career graph spanning from an investment banker to an architect and now foraying into jewellery, Andre C. Meyerhans speaks about his connection to design and how he finds inspiration from everywhere.

16 THE THING

THE DELICATE PREDATOR

A limited edition piece designed by Rayxander in collaboration with Beiruti deisgn brand, Vick Vanlian, the Monarch chair is based on the oriental star pattern, and defined by a study on the movement of the monarch butterfly.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Sandra Wilkins’ home is brimming with her vibrant personality as the interiors play out a balancing act between cleaned lined architecture juxtaposed with an eclectic mix of heritage pieces.

36 THE EXPERT

A COMPLETE GRAPHIC DESIGN EDUCATION

Muneera Spence, the chair of the department of graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar sheds light on what is involved with creating conditions for a ‘complete design education.

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MANAGING EDITOR DEPUTY EDITOR

EZDHAR IBRAHIM ALI

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT

AYSWARYA MURTHY

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

KARIM EMAM AARTHI MOHAN

CORRESPONDENT

KEERTANA KONDURU

PHOTOGRAPHER

ROBERT ALTAMIRANO

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR

SINDHU NAIR

DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR

VENKAT REDDY HANAN ABU SIAM

ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

MAHESHWAR REDDY B

BUSINESS HEAD

FREDRICK ALPHONSO

AYUSH INDRAJITH

MANAGER – MARKETING

SAKALA A DEBRASS

ASSISTANT MANAGER – MARKETING

MATHEWS CHERIAN

SONY VELLATT

IRFAAN A H M

SENIOR MEDIA CONSULTANT

DENZITA SEQUEIRA ANIS MANSOURI

SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

SENIOR DISTRIBUTION EXECUTIVE

DISTRIBUTION SUPPORT

PRATAP CHANDRAN BIKRAM SHRESTHA ARJUN TIMILSINA

BHIMAL RAI

BASANTHA P

PRADEEP BHUSAL

YOUSUF JASSEM AL DARWISH

PUBLISHER AND EDITOR–IN–CHIEF

GLAM INTERIORS & DESIGN IS PUBLISHED BY ORYX ADVERTISING CO. WLL. The contents of this publication are subject to copyright and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher and/or license holder. All rights rest with Datalog media solutions. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any advertising contents carried in this publication. Contact info@oryxpublishing.com www.issuu.com/oryxmags www.facebook.com/glamqatar Call us: +974 44550983, 44672139, 44671178, 44667584 Fax: +974 44550982


FROM THE DRAWING BOARD Fashion has historically worked around architecture, either using it as a backdrop for inspiration or to derive patterns from its form. But architects, have delved into the field of fashion and designed for comfort wearing, like the twisted rubber of a pair of Lacoste sneakers designed by Zaha Hadid. Hadid has even famously said in an interview with The Times that she would want to design clothes but then there were way too many fashion designers. Hadid puts both these into perspective, “There is a connection between architecture and fashion because of the way the body is placed within that space.� We want to explore these interlinks and from the next issue, we intend to follow this trend of bringing architecture and fashion together. In this issue of Glam Interiors and Design, we find the interlinking factors of architecture and fashion through jewellery quite strong. Andre C. Meyerhan takes us through the transfer of design methodology from architecture into jewellery that results in creations that are sculptural. Architect Ian A. Stallings based from New York, and building for his Middle East clients, is an artist, and an interior architect and he tells us how each of his roles fits seamlessly into the other. Our regional talent, Waleed Shaalan believes that good architecture grows out of life and his approach to architectural design is the experimentation of space in simple and honest forms. Local furniture designers Muhammed Noufal Ansari and Zerin Aysha, creators of Liwan Furniture, are no less creative, and use distressed wood to recreate beautiful pieces of furniture, helping create spaces that are as or even more enviable than any other living room settings. We met them at their store to learn more about their creative process. We look back at what Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German-born architect and educator, widely regarded as the father of modern architecture taught us about details in architecture : see this importance flashed across in so many projects that have been appreciated for the little details that make the building standout. Reflecting on all these architectural aspects along with the city from which we imbibe ideas is Dr. Anna Grichting Solder, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning at Qatar University, who takes us through the projects that she and her students are involved in. GID begins its focus on mosques in and around the country from this issue; from the more grandiose ones to the smaller ones around the corner that celebrate minute details of Islamic architecture.

SINDHU NAIR


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THE URBAN _LEGEND

THE WINNING ARCHITECT Based in Santiago, Chile, architect Alejandro Aravena became the 41st laureate of the Pritzker Prize. The first from Chile and the fourth from Latin America, after Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006), Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century. His built work gives economic opportunity to the less privileged, mitigates the effects of natural disasters, reduces energy consumption and provides a welcoming public space. Innovative and inspiring, he shows how architecture at its best can improve people’s lives. Aravena has completed buildings at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, including the UC Innovation Center – Anacleto Angelini (2014), the Siamese Towers (2005), Medical School (2004), School of Architecture (2004), and the Mathematics School (1999). Currently under construction in Shanghai, China, is an office building for healthcare company Novartis, with office spaces designed to accommodate different modes of work. The formal award ceremony will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016.

Architect Lord Richard Rogers has been awarded the 2015 Urban Land Institute J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. The award recognises architects who create communities which reflect the highest standards of design and development. Throughout his career, Rogers has advocated for a more humanistic approach to community building, maintaining that the difference between success and failure hinges on how space is used, consideration of human elements in urban planning, and appealing, inclusive public places. The prize was set-up to honour the legacy of Kansas City developer J.C. Nichols who was also a founding member of the Urban Land Institute. “His emphasis on design complements and enhances day-to-day living in urban areas and is reflected in his 53 years of work as an architect and in his role as an urban design adviser to numerous public officials, including service as chairman of the British government’s Urban Task Force from 1998 to 2000”, say the judges.

DESIGN IN CONTROVERSY Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who won the competition to design the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium, has admitted to similarities to an earlier concept by Zaha Hadid, but denies appropriating her work. He said that there were likenesses between the two proposals but insisted that the “concept and the designs are completely different”. “Anyone who looks at Zaha’s design and mine will see that they are completely different,” Kuma said. Iraqi-born, London-based architect Hadid, hit back after two years of complaints about her design for a 80,000 seat arena by some of Japan’s leading architects that included warnings that it would be “a monumental mistake”. Kuma’s claims came just days after London-based Zaha Hadid Architects rejected a demand from the Japan Sports Council (JSC) that the company give up the copyright to work completed before the original plan was scrapped in July last year and agree to what amounts to a gagging order. 12

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WORLD’S SECOND _TALLEST BUILDING US-based architecture firm Gensler has completed China’s tallest building, the Shanghai Tower, which is now the world’s second tallest. The tower is preceded by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa which stands at 828 metres. Shanghai Tower is located in the city’s Lujaizu financial district and rises up to 632 metres high, 31 metres taller than the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Mecca, KSA, which previously held the same title. The tower features a curving and twisting form that is generated through a series of wind-tunnel tests and is expected to reduce win load by 24% during typhoons. It is made up of 121 storeys that are divided into nine vertical zones including shops located at the base, offices in the centre and hotels, cultural facilities and observation decks at the top. Each of these zones is organised around the concept of having several “sky lobbies”. These are atriums filled with plants and natural lighting and are designed to mimic the social environments that are traditionally used in town plazas and courtyards.

DESIGNER _OF THE YEAR This year’s Paris edition of the Maison& Objet interior design trade show which took place from January 22-26, named Eugeni Quitllet as the Designer of the Year. Based in Barcelona, this Catalan designer has made plastic his artistic playground. Eugeni Quitllet has worked in a wide sphere, designing a range of disposable tableware and cutlery for Air France, a collection of musical outdoor furniture for Vondom, and co-designing the Masters chair for Kartell with Philippe Starck. He presented his latest collaborations at Maison&Objet Paris, in a specially designed exhibition entitled “One of a Kind to Infinity.” Hong-Kong-born architect and designer André Fu will be named the designer of the year for the Maison&Objet Asia which is to be held between March 8 and 11. 14

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NEW RECOGNITION FROM CHINA

A GREAT HONOUR Frank Gehry will be the first architect to receive the annual Harvard Arts Medal. Known for designing buildings such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, he will accept the award from University President Drew Faust in a ceremony that marks the commencement of Arts First, the annual student art showcase. The award ceremony will take place in Farkas Hall and will feature a conversation with Gehry moderated by actor John Lithgow. Gehry is known for his curving, dramatic architectural designs, such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. Diane Davis, who chairs the Design School’s Department of Urban Planning and Design, commended the role Gehry’s work has played in revitalising urban areas. “His iconic Guggenheim Museum designed for Bilbao was really important in the larger redevelopment of a former industrial part of that city, thus placing his work and architectural vision squarely in the fields of urban planning and design,” she said.

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Hailing from China, the Design Intelligence Award joins the field of established design prizes. Recently launched at the China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum, Hangzhou, it is organised by the China Academy of Art and the China Industrial Design Association. This award is designed as an international contest with the support of design schools and organisations, venture capital firms, financial institutions, as well as media companies. Created to boost intelligent manufacturing in China and the creation of transformative designs, the Design Intelligence Award aims at identifing innovative and revolutionary industrial designs that are considered a breakthrough in development and progress. The new award features a 5 million yuan ($750,000) prize pool and an individual award of upto 1 million yuan ($150,000). All entries will pass through a preliminary evaluation or be nominated by experts to be able to advance to the final evaluation. The final committee will also choose 100 design projects to receive the Design Intelligence Award’s Top 100 Award. Design proposals can be submitted until February 29, 2016. The award ceremony will take place in May 2016. For more information and registration, visit the official Design Intelligence Award website:www.di-award.org.

REALITY WARPING Inspired by the 2010 film Inception, Cyprusbased designer Stelios Mousarris has created a coffee table that bends a landscape of buildings in half, using the overlapping surface as the tabletop. The “wave city” made from wood, steel and 3D printing technology consists of an urban landscape scattered with skyscrapers that lifts into the air and finally folds back onto itself in a continuous curve. The overlapping surface then forms the table.


RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATEGlobal real estate company, DTZ recently released its Q4 2015 Qatarmarket report. Among many findings, the research team identified a slowdown in Grade A office letting throughout 2015. With 300,000 sqm of new Grade A office accommodation becoming available there is a risk of downward pressure on rental prices in Doha. The increase in the country’s overall population to 2.42 million over the 12 months to December 2015 continues to generate demand in the residential market. In December 2015, the Shura Advisory Council called on the relevant authorities to curb the increasing levels of rent, possibly by introducing rent controls. DTZ’s findings says that changes in residential market trends, which have been evident in recent months suggests that market forces may dictate a fall in residential rents, alleviating the need for rental caps. There has also been a fall in demand for corporate lettings for residential blocks and compounds with more companies now preferring to provide rental allowances rather than paying for employee accommodation. In the hospitality sector, 1,900 hotel keys were added to Qatar’s stock in 2015 although there is a noted downward pressure on average daily rates (ADR’s) with a drop of 12% compared to the same period in 2014. Pressure on performance metrics in the hospitality sector is likely to continue, as up to 80 new establishments are expected to increase supply by approximately 18,000 keys over the next 3 to 5 years.

A LOOK BACK

ARCHITECT TERRY FARRELL CONDEMNS

_PIANO’S PADDINGTON SHARD Renzo Piano’s plan for a 72-storey skyscraper at London’s Paddington Station was criticised by Britain’s leading architect, Sir Terry Farrell. The architect, whose offices and home are close to the site, described the scheme as “opportunistic” and “piecemeal”. He recently wrote that there is a real need for a comprehensive scheme that doesn’t miss this opportunity to make a greater difference, both to the station and to the run-down area around this part of Praed Street. He also added, “I have been a local resident for 15 years and have had my office here at the same local address for over 30 years. I feel passionately about improving our local mainline station and its environment in a much more comprehensive way than is shown in these proposals.” GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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THE DELICATE _PREDATOR .

THE CHAIR DESIGNED BY RAYXANDER, EXCLUSIVELY FOR VICK VANLIAN, BRINGS THE DESIGNER’S INSPIRATION INTO FOCUS, EVIDENT IN THE MAIN SPINE OF THE CHAIR. Called the “The Delicate Predator” of chairs, this piece is based on an oriental star pattern, and defined by a study on the movement of the monarch butterfly. It is made of a brass frame and upholstered in custom-made fabric inspired by butterfly wing markings and spots mimicking the gaze of predators that is meant to confuse and scare predators. Vick Vanlian, the Beiruti design brand, is participating in Design Days 2016, with limited edition pieces along with a collaboration piece with Rayxander. Many other pieces exhibited in Design Days Dubai, will be limited edition pieces of seven items each.

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“GOD IS IN THE DETAILS” WHEN LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE, A GERMAN-BORN ARCHITECT AND EDUCATOR, COINED THIS FAMOUS APHORISM, HE COULD NOT HAVE DREAMED HOW IT WOULD RESONATE ACROSS ALL DISCIPLINES AND BE QUOTED IN EVERYDAY LIFE.

“A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.” 20

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Widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects, Mies liked to emphasise open space and reveal the industrial materials used in construction. Along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, the master builder fashioned scores of imposing structures expressing the spirit of the industrial 20th century and was widely known as the father of modern architecture. “Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space,” he remarked in a talkative moment to NYT. Pressed to explain his own role as a model for others – a matter on which he was shy, as he was on most others – he said: “I have tried to make architecture for a technological society. I have wanted to keep everything reasonable and clear – to have an architecture that anybody can do.” A building, he was convinced, should be “a clear and true statement of its times”– cathedrals for an age of pathos, glass

and metal cages for an age of advanced industrialism. Born in Aachen, Germany, Mies spent the first half of his career in his native country. His early work was mainly residential, and he received his first independent commission, the Riehl House, when he was only 20 years old. Mies quickly became a leading figure in the avant-garde life of Berlin and was widely respected in Europe for his innovative structures, including the Barcelona Pavilion. In 1930, he was named director of the Bauhaus, the renowned German school of experimental art and design, which he led until 1933 when he closed the school under pressure from the Nazi Regime. Mies’ buildings are both magisterial and harmonious, and they set a new aesthetic standard for modern architecture. Indeed, Mies’ designs have so pervaded our definition of architecture that it is difficult to imagine how revolutionary the campus

was when it was first built. Mies went on to design some of the nation’s most recognizable skyscrapers, including the Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago and the Seagram Building in New York City. Whether or not you agree with Mies’ assertion that less is more, his contribution to the modern urban landscape cannot be overlooked. Mies’ architecture has been described as being expressive of the industrial age in the same way that Gothic was expressive of the age of ecclesiasticism. In 1956, famed architect Eero Saarinen spoke at the dedication of Mies’ masterwork, S.R. Crown Hall, and lauded him as Chicago’s third great artist, placing Mies in the prestigious lineage of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. “Great architecture is both universal and individual,” Saarinen said at the dedication. “The universality comes because there is architecture expressive of its time. But the individuality comes as the expression GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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The Barcelona Chair Perhaps the most iconic work from Mies’ oeuvre, the Barcelona Chair at once gives life to and is born from its materials. Like the MR and Brno Chairs, it is composed of steel and leather. The steel bar legs ease up and over to support the seat and back of the chair. Mies’ gift was to endow grace in otherwise monotonous substances. The Barcelona Chair attests to his mastery of form, function, and beauty.

of one man’s unique combination of faith and honesty and devotion and belief in architecture.” After 20 years as the director of architecture at IIT, Mies resigned in 1958 at the age of 72. In 1959, the Royal Institute of British Architects awarded Mies its Gold Medal and the following year he received the AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the American Association of Architects. President Lyndon Johnson presented Mies with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963. Our built environment is meant to be lived in. Mies’ buildings, beyond merely affecting our lives, endow them with greater significance and beauty. His buildings radiate the confidence, rationality, and elegance of their creator and, free of ornamentation and excess, confess the essential elements of our lives. In our time, where there is no limit to excess, Mies’ reductionist approach is as pertinent as ever. As we reduce the distractions and focus on the essential elements of our environment and ourselves, we find they are great, intricate, and beautiful. Less is more... 22

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THE PERIOD CHARM WHEN YOU COMBINE RICH COLOURS, VINTAGE FABRICS, OPULENT FURNITURE AND HEAVY ORNAMENTATION, YOU GET A VERITABLE PATCHWORK OF THE PAST AND PRESENT, THAT  IS VIBRANT, MODERN AND HISTORIC. THIS VICTORIAN-INSPIRED LIVING ROOM FROM MIS EN DEMEURE IS TRADITIONAL, TIMELESS AND CELEBRATES LUXURY. ALL PRODUCTS ARE FROM MED AND THE LOOK WAS CREATED BY THE CREATIVE DESIGNER AT TEC INTERIOR DESIGN, CHAHRAZAD RIZK.

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1 BUSTE LE NOTRE 2 PANNEAU OVAL LEFT 3 SOFA VELLERON IN OAK LUSTRE POMPADOUR BRONZE GOLD 5 TORCHERE GRAND MODELE 6 ROSACE HAUSSMANN 7 OTTOMAN RIVOLI U 8 CANDLE HOLDER LES CHARDONS 9 JAR NAVY BLUE

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PRETTY PINK

O R I E N TA L T O U C H

This hand-painted chair complete with a Victorian finish from Fine Art Furniture puts the fun into functional.

With an ultra-sleek top, hand-carved details and an Asian flavour, this piece from Fine Art furniture is elegant and robust.

BEAUTIFY YOUR HOME Whether you are a minimalist who loves simple accents or the creative type who adores statement pieces, upgrade your interiors from ordinary to extravagant, with eyecatching accessories

TA L K I N G T E X T U R E S

Use two pairs in contrasting patterns, colours and textures. The vibrant Missoni cushions from Maya Paris give a definite colour boost to your home.

POLISHED GLAMOUR

Throw the spotlight on the wall with this ornate framed mirror from Etqaan.

V I N TA G E C H A R M

Placed on a pile of books or alone on a tabletop or cabinet, be creative and make your living room interesting with this piece from Living In interiors.

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U N D E R S TAT E D G L A M O U R

A true creature of comfort, this pouf from Maya Paris is an interesting choice for the living area.

JAZZ IT UP!

Add some flair to the regular side table with this gold one from Maya Paris

SHAPE SHIFTER

UNIQUE FIND

Reinventing the traditional round coffee table, this piece from Al Mana Galleria is versatile and a striking centerpiece to a modern living set-up.

Maya Paris’s stone inlayed side table conjures instant glamour with eye-catching handwork.

MODERN MUSE

SLEEK SHADES

Add a chic contemporary look with this cowhide-upholstered chair from Al Mana Galleria.

If you are going for a modern look, think simple and streamlined with this piece from Gautier

I N T R I C AT E LY D E C O R AT E D

T U R N BAC K T I M E

Trimmed in gold finishes, this mantle clock form Fine Art Furniture is reminiscent of different eras.

This hand-painted vase from Living In Interiors makes for a beautiful display on its own. Add some flowers and make it more striking.

SENSE OF STYLE

This shade from Living In Interiors is an elegant way to add light to any corner of your home.


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FROM OLD _TO NEW SEEN FROM A DISTANCE THE BRIGHTLY PAINTED PIECES APPEAR TO BE POLISHED AND CRAFTED FROM NEW WOOD, BUT WHEN YOU TAKE A CLOSER LOOK YOU CAN SEE THE OBVIOUS WEAR AND TEAR AND THE ALMOST MINISCULE IMPERFECTIONS. LIWAN FURNITURE USES BEAUTIFUL WORN-OUT AESTHETICS WITH UNFINISHED TOUCHES AND INTRICATE CRAFTSMANSHIP TO MAKE EACH PIECE A KEEPSAKE. BY AARTHI MOHAN

Liwan’s owners first bought these pieces of furniture when they were old, distressed and used. Then they gently pried the hardened substance off without damaging the wood, sanded them down, designed them and treated them in a way that would highlight their age and grain but also be visually striking. Today, the painted wood pieces from Liwan are a far cry from what they used to be but they retain something of their etymology because of the design approach that Muhammed Noufal Ansari and Zerin Aysha have been creating for the last three years. Most of Liwan s handiwork is a mix of tradition and modernity. Their designs are inventive yet familiar, and are sometimes skewed more striking versions of our favourite everyday items. What started off on a trial basis for the duo is now an up-and-coming business. “We started in 2012 by just buying old solid wood furniture, repurposing it and then selling it. We did that for two years and 28

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“If the customer wants to buy a particular piece, we can customise it for them. From material, paint colours to sizes, everything can be tailor- made. More so that if a client has an idea and brings us a reference we can replicate it,� explains Zerin.

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the response we got was very positive. When Noufal resigned from his job, effectively ending a 13-year career as an operations manager, furniture design was the natural choice for what came next for us”, says Zerin. The concept of distressed furniture has risen to prominence in contemporary society which values classic furniture pieces with their solid wood designs and minimal embellishments. Wanting to stand out from the regular, after thorough research on materials, the couple felt that painted wood furniture carries an aesthetic appeal and has a certain poetic touch to it and can create a timeless look to your interiors. Each piece at Liwan utilises reclaimed solid wood which holds its character and is crafted with a lot of skill to make it look vintage. From the turns on the legs to the look, the furniture not only stands the test of time in functionality but also in design. “You don’t need to create an overly traditional space to use these pieces. You can combine a traditional dining table with modern chairs and create a comfortable dining room highlighting many eras”, Zerin explains. The creative process for the couple begins with a sketch around a basic idea. 30

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All their materials are procured from varied parts of India. Their travels to places like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh inspired them to experiment with pieces such as old doors, window panes and lorry parts to transform into unique furniture. It takes about a month to finish a piece. “We want them to not only look beautiful but make sure that they serve their purpose,” says Noufal. Fully embracing the textures of materials and turning them into something decorative and useful, their attention to detail and compulsion to oversee every stage of the output extends to the smallest details. Self-taught in the trade, their work is informed by design principles. They take inspiration from the world around them and spend a lot of time paging through art and design books and magazines and draw on European, African and Indian contemporary and historical architecture and images. This couple loves to keep reinventing and work around the clock. “No two pieces at Liwan are similar. We only bring a limited number with the same design. If the customer wants to buy a particular piece, we can customize it for them. From material, paint colours to sizes, everything can be tailor- made.


More so that if a client has an idea and brings us a reference we can replicate it”, explains Zerin. The duo is working on a number of ideas for the future. They have plans of introducing unique leather sofas and other different pieces. They are also looking to open a few more stores around Qatar. From mere word-of-mouth marketing to a great presence on social media Most of Liwan’s handiwork and a devout is a mix of tradition and clientele, Liwan modernity. Their designs are was an initiative inventive yet familiar, and born from sheer are sometimes skewed enthusiasm, towards more striking passion and love for versions of our favourite creativity. The everyday items. success of their initial gamble encouraged this couple to experiment further. Today, they have a successful shop at Al Watan Centre. It was more of a hobby turned into a business idea. “We want to transform the regular into something extraordinary that can be used by families for generations to come”, says the enterprising duo.

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ARCHITECTURE IS ALSO

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DR ANNA GRICHTING TAKES US THROUGH THE LABYRINTHS OF DESIGN AND TOUCHES UPON

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BUILDING ECOLOGICALLY.

BY SINDHU NAIR

ABOUT

BEAUTY Ask any design professional, art or music enthusiast about Swiss-born Dr Anna Grichting Solder, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning at Qatar University, and you can be sure they know her. She is one of those infectiously inspired individuals who has tried to understand all facets of design and tries to implement as many in her design ethos while instilling a passion in others to follow suit. Dr Anna, who has married all facets of design with her work takes us through her journey in architecture; the paths paved and through the new ones laid for her students, inspiring them in the verve of design. “The trends I am interested in – that my research is focused on – are more holistic and integrate urban and architectural design and bring together landscape and ecology,” she says. While Dr Anna does miss the designing world and engages in “small designing works here and there,” the work that she does with her students’ empowers her. She makes sure that these projects connect with the community and address a need-based prerequisite. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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Doha as an architectural capital? “There is a large concentration of star architects that have built, or are building in Doha – Zaha Hadid, Sir Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel, Isozaki, Legoretta, I.M. Pei and other young aspiring and leading architects such as Ali Mangera. But star architects don’t make a city; the public spaces and urban fabric creates and weaves the public realm, where people live, gather and work are most important. There are some great public spaces such as the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) park. These are as important as the star buildings of Doha. For me the building that most symbolises Doha as an architectural and art capital is the Museum of Islamic Arts – as it bridges Islamic architecture with contemporary architecture, and also on an urban level punctuates and completes the Bay of Doha, creating a dialogue with The Sheraton, another iconic building in Doha. It also has great public and open spaces, and the adjoining park with public art (Richard Serra) and the contemporary Al Riwaq Art space, together makes this space one of the most visited culturally. The MIA structure is a very beautiful building that creates an exciting and sensuous urban and architectural experience.

An architect you would work for? Renzo Piano for his ecological architecture. Stefano Boeri, for his vertical forests and works on urban biodiversity which I am interested in and working on. Zaha Hadid, because her buildings are beautiful, feminine, daring and innovative, and because she is a woman. Rem Koolhaas and OMA, because I like the way they approach buildings and master planning and work with context. James Corner for their ecological landscape approach. 34

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Favourite cities, in terms of their architectural fabric? I come from Geneva, and everyone always says what a beautiful city it is. It is true that the major Swiss cities benefit from being located on a lake and having snowcapped mountains as a backdrop. Also, the urbanism and development have been very conservative, so the views have been preserved. But these are not my favourite cities. I have a soft spot for Mediterranean cities such as Barcelona and Marseille – which have a great historical and modern city fabric, as well as a lot of contemporary architecture and urbanism. My obsession as an architect and urbanist is with divided cities, so while they are not only beautiful, but they are also challenging, and I am interested in how to weave and repair cities divided by war. I love Berlin, where my mother is from, not for its beauty but for its rich architectural and urban history, and also because of its tragic history. I also love it because it has now become a very thriving and creative

city. Also, it is a very ecological city, and because of the division between East and West, it is the place where urban ecology was born. Researchers could not go beyond the Wall to do their research so they had to study the plants and ecologies within the city. Today this is an important part of new and sustainable approach to urban design and planning. My other focus is on the divided city of Nicosia in Cyprus. It has perfectly preserved Venetian Walls that surround the historic city, and a Military Buffer Zone tears through this beautiful urban fabric. But there are great opportunities for creating new and innovative projects, to bring ecologies of healing into the city. And now, I am in Doha and I really love living in this city. I find a lot of exciting and important projects to work on with my students or to do research on. Cities have to change and evolve, and that is what makes them interesting and dynamic.

Signature architects and their contributions. I think that the signature – or star-architects have definitely given a unique identity to Doha but it is not only the signature architecture, but also projects that are looking to bridge traditional architecture, such as the “vernacular” in the work of Ibrahim Jaidah and the contemporary architecture of Msheirheb inspired by the past urban fabric and designed for future sustainable goals. This also addresses a new Qatari and cosmopolitan contemporary society. The Burj Al Doha by Jean Nouvel marks the skyline and makes a bold and beautiful statement in the Doha skyline. Rem Koolhaas’ work in Education City is very site specific, and he is reacting to the collection of signature architecturs that are competing with each other in Education City by taking a very sober and powerful approach. Ali Mangera and the Faculty of Islamic Studies which is an explosion of Islamic stereotypes and forms and also the only faculty that is co-ed. His buildings touch us on various levels of progressive Islamic architecture. This also reflects on our own country’s leadership by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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RECYCLED ART Students of QU put to use old tyres and car parts to create new and creative furniture.

Influencing forces? Peter Zumthor – for his minimalism. Le Corbusier, artist, writer, architect, urban planner – from Switzerland. “”Architecture is the masterful, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light.” Jean Nouvel, I think his buildings are always masterpieces and symbols of their time – his work is quite minimal, but his clients sometimes ask him to be more flamboyant as they are paying a lot of money for his designs.

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“For example, one of the projects done with my students for the Masters programme is in direct collaboration with the Ministry of Environment in Qatar and we are designing the first turtle beach here. There is a real need for this project,” she says, and being involved in real-life projects seems to fill the gap of the absence of hands-on designing in her career. Qatar is one of the few places where Hawksbill sea turtles come ashore and head for the exact same spot that they were born, or have previously nested and so building a nesting beach for these turtles is something Dr Anna and their team are currently working on. “Another project is with Ashghal and their water engineers involving designing new landscapes for Qatar and using treated sewage puts us into the frame of real-life practice with my students, where we meet and overcome situations, almost like in a designing firm.” Dr Anna is working on food urbanism with a food garden planned on the QU grounds and also on the roof and she, with her undergraduate students are in the process of converting the huge campus into an “edible campus”. Recycled water; recycled waste and reducde carbon footprint will become a reality within the beautiful campus of QU, she says. “In a way these are real projects though

they have not become a reality yet,” she says. If you question the role of design in what she has been doing, Dr Anna links all aspects of life with design and convincingly too. “I think it is important to bridge art, architecture and design and also to link the sciences, humanities and engineering disciplines. My work is very interdisciplinary in nature. I am also a musician, and collaborate with artists and art colleges. With my students, we have worked on public art and public space in Doha, this is a new and emerging trend here, and it is important not as a decorative element for public space but also as a way to bring art out of the museum to all levels of society and also to create discussion around art. Contemporary art is not merely creating beautiful spaces, but to interrogate and give a critical view on society,” she says. According to Dr Anna, there is a focus on the importance of the beauty in architecture but far more important is the ecological responsibility that architecture has towards people and environment. “This is not a new trend, but I think it is important that architecture is both more ecological and kind to the environment, but must also move us and inspire us in positive ways. Additionally, as architects we have a strong ethical responsibility towards people and the environment,” she says.


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A COMPLETE

GRAPHIC DESIGN WALKING AROUND THE HALLS OF VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY IN QATAR THIS WEEK, I SEE AN AMAZING EXPLOSION OF STUDENT WORK FROM THE LAST FEW YEARS.

EDUCATION

Muneera Umedaly Spence MFA Yale University Graphic Design is currently the Chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and has been for the past seven years. She leads a Graphic Design team of ten faculty in a contextualised BFA degree programme. She has participated in and led conference development and presentations, including Tasmeem Doha 2011. Her interest lies in team generative methodologies, collaborative teaching and learning dynamics, especially pertaining to design education in the international context. Her interest in international development/design projects has manifested in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and now in Qatar. 38

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“We have created an international network which not only covers interiors but exhibitions as well. Many clients go from here to participate in exhibitions outside.”

The intention of this exhibition is to gain continuing accreditation for VCU, including VCUQatar, from NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design), an accreditation agency for art and design programmes, including Art History, in the USA. It is an important accreditation agency because it assesses the full spectrum of the functioning of the university including VCUQatar’s student work, education, facilities, faculty and leadership in comparison with art and design programmes in the United States. We have been preparing for their visit for over a year by gathering information related not only to the mission and vision of the departments but also to the functioning of the university. The past months have been focused on gathering examples of student work from every level and every class from the past few years. We have covered our walls with the work. Come and visit VCUQatar during March 2016 to see the amazing work from all departments. I am using the NASAD exhibition as a backdrop for this article to shed light on what is involved in creating conditions for a “complete design education”. My first impression is that the work is beautiful (aesthetically strong), meaningful, colourful and incredibly diverse! I see a lot of work that includes

Arabic and bilingual expressions and also a diversity of topics focused on global as well as local concerns. I see work that would compete with the best universities both in creativity and ingenuity. The work indicates good in-depth research preceded by excellent observation of conditions that require design interventions; we call this PROBLEM SEEKING. I see evidence of excellent DESIGN THINKING methodologies that support the level of explorations as well as decision-making processes. Dynamic use of CREATIVE PROBLEMSOLVING processes, which seek to ensure that the designers experiment widely while establishing testing mechanisms to ensure the veracity of any solution put forward. I also see a range of work done independently and also work resulting from COLLABORATIVE ACTIONS. Teamwork is critical for the complex tasks with which a designer is engaged. Walking through the halls I see integration of design-related technologies used to activate HUMAN INTERACTION and COMMUNICATION. I see print-based resolutions, web-based experiences and storytelling through multiple media at a very high level. The variation of topics ranges from sustainability concerns including environmental, cultural and language issues to current issues related

to business/entrepreneurship and selfexpression. I see that students have used the opportunity of their education in design to shed light on their culture and their future thinking while sharing their experiences inside and outside the confines of the classrooms and studios at VCUQatar. They show how both local and international field studies and service learning enhance their learning. All in all, an incredible variety of work graces our halls. I wrote to students, asking two simple questions: “What did you think the study of design was all about before you started?” And also, “now that you have graduated, what do you think you gained from your graphic design major study?” Wurood Azzam, a senior graphic design student who comes from a family of creative personalities, said, “I grew up watching my mother work as a graphic designer. She inspired me to pursue a career in the design field. However, before entering VCUQatar, I only saw the corporate side of graphic design. I never realized the creative and poetic side.” Then she added, “After studying graphic design, I realized that the field challenges definition. Every person pursing a career in graphic design can become a different type of designer. What we choose to create GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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“I never paused to think that culture around me was the distillation of a designer’s contextual influence and decisions.”

with our skills is what defines us. As a graphic designer with an interest in fine arts, I believe in combining the two fields. I prefer to introduce myself as a visual communicator as I believe I have skill sets from the two different fields, yet both art and design are forms of communication.” Wurood is a perfect example of a developing designer with a thorough engagement armed with an overflowing and accessible toolbox. Maryam Al Homaid, HBKU’s first Junior Faculty and VCUQatar alumunus, articulates her thinking about the time before entering the field and now as a practicing designer and educator in a very succinct manner. She says, “Design to me then: making things pretty and colourful. Design to me now: an observation, a vision, a plan, a process and an execution.” Her holistic view of what a designer does and needs to consider while engaging a task is clear. Mahmoud Abbas, our former Teaching Assistant and VCUQatar alumunus currently in graduate school at the Edinburgh College of Art, says, “Before studying design I had little to no idea design existed except in fashion or animation. I never paused to think that culture around me was the distillation 40

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of a designer’s contextual influence and decisions. From the cup I use to the map that helps me find my way, a designers’ influence can be felt.” He goes on to say, “My education in VCUQatar gave me the tools to be critical and appreciative of the design decisions that are made and I cringe at the ones I can’t rationalise. Designers invest their time and creative effort to shape the world around us, for us. I learned that design is a constant process of thinking and making to solve problems in the best ways possible. Another invaluable lesson I gained from my education at VCUQatar is my ability to work with people knowing that differences in people should be celebrated.” The impact of his education is tangible as he progresses towards his master’s degree in Design. Hazem Asif, a senior and honours student, frames his experience at VCUQatar as follows: “Before I started studying design I thought that design was an extension of the fields of painting and printmaking where the artist basically transferred his work into the digital realm using digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also thought that design was just a way to create visually stunning artworks without having

any specific reasoning behind it. As a Graphic Design senior, I have realized that design is much more than that. It requires a cross-cultural approach that inspires and motivates people to find solutions for problems in their society. Graphic Design is a path to the eradication of boundaries between different cultures and religions while reducing stereotypical assumptions we may have of each other. My extensive experiences participating in design field study trips to places such as Japan, Korea and Singapore have enhanced my ability to observe and understand, gain curiosity and strive for purposeful communication. I believe we are not only designers, but agents of change who are inspired by the present in order to change the future.” Dawood Anwar, who is the first in his family to study design, says, “After graduating from VCUQatar and being fully immersed in the design world, I can say that I am beginning to understand what design actually is in practice... I haven’t yet explored all the potential. Design thinking and problem solving were the two biggest skills that I learned and they are both the most effective tools I use. I decided to use all what I learned in my design education and channel it toward making films. Design to me is everything visual that can


make a message; whether you see it, hear it or feel it... it is the feedback elicited that defines the effectiveness of the design.” Tariq Spence looks at the start of his educational experience and says, “I thought design was art and art was design, and the more sure your hand the better your future in the field. I couldn’t have been more wrong.” He goes on to say this about his educational process: “One day you will wake up and it will all make sense, as if the world just came into colour, and now suddenly you’re thinking like a designer.” He goes on to talk about his understanding of the field now. “I can say design is everywhere. I cannot name one field that would not benefit from having a designer in a leadership position. Graphic design is difficult to define, but I can summarize it as being absolutely necessary in almost every endeavour.” Leila Natseh, who was Valedictorian and who also won the HBKU President’s award , says of her education as a designer, “Now, after my four years of design education, I really do appreciate design thinking. It has opened my eyes wide to the realization of the power of this process and the role of criticality in communicating ideas leading to behaviour change. Design education not only helps us communicate clearly and beautifully but more importantly it creates a platform for us designers to educate ourselves, grow and contribute to the world’s voices. Design is all about creating meaning and conveying messages.” When talking to the faculty entrusted

with the education of Qatar’s burgeoning designers, I hear them raise topics of rigour and excellence. Teaching students to work hard and smart (rigour) to understand the needs of this fastchanging world and to see where design interventions can make a difference is essential. It is learning to learn that is critical. The faculty also says that arousing and channeling the student’s curiosity is the most engaging aspect of time in the classroom and that taking students outside the classroom and into familiar and unfamiliar settings enables them to see the world as it is and what design might look and feel like in many contexts. Professors are aware they need to educate students for a future that is yet to be defined, including a world with expanding needs and technologies. Students are guided to imagine possible future scenarios so that they can forecast the design needs of future generations. Decision-making, built on creative processes, is a super skill of a designer that needs to be engaged at every level. On top of all the actual physical and mental skills that designers nurture and gain experience in are the collaborative, leadership and mentorship skills that are incredibly necessary for designers to work with others. The students need to become lateral thinkers combining, integrating and relating information across disciplinary boundaries and to learn to access this information through various media. Professor Peter Martin says, “I like to think of a good education as a process into which each student enters, wanting a

curious mixture of freedom and certainty, and exits seeking responsibility. I strive to help each student become aware of what intentions he/she wants to bring to bear his/her creative abilities to be responsible members of families and society.” Professor Leland Hill shows his concern for students’ progression through the department while he speaks of the need for a rigorous approach. He says, “In the classroom I can be unforgiving when students don’t make their deadlines. I believe this is important and good for them and I do not budge on this, whatever excuse they give. But when it comes to advising, I support the student to identify their strengths and their goals. I do whatever I can for them while working with their schedules, helping with curriculum plans and explaining why and how things work. I try to give it to them straight and honest.” We not only have to meet NASAD accreditation standards but also exceed them to support future development in Qatar. So when one looks at an undergraduate design degree as a fouryear endeavour, one must appreciate how the professors support the students’ experience from their early days as confused and excited freshmen to design professionals teaching and working in the field. The Faculty of Graphic Design has developed high expectations of the students to meet the goals set forth by the Qatar National Vision 2030. Believing in the power of design to make change palpable, functional and real is the goal. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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FOR THE LOVE OF WOOD

BACK TO BASICS

BY BIANCA ANGELO DESIGN MANAGER AT QUANTO BELLO QATAR 42

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DESCRIPTIVE CONTENT TAKEN FROM WIKIPEDIA


From Baroque’s exaggerated interiors to the industrial revolution of Art Noveau was when interior design opened up to the common man and these were also the introduction of design. Interiors were influenced by a mixture of styles from around the world as travel became more accessible. During the 20th and 21st century, countries recovered from war and there was a large indulgence in interior design, as a form of personal interest. But looking further back in history, I found myself looking at a time when prehistoric humans first started to settle. This was a time when interiors were a necessity and a functional requirement, opposed to our current time of decorative requirements. As I have a love for exotic places, I find myself on a hunt each time I travel. Scrounging through markets and hidden yards, I try to find unique interior elements from different countries. I believe it’s my way of finding a piece of that country’s soul and making it a part of mine. This also develops my personal knowledge, while encouraging me to incorporate these items within my creations. In our current design period, with interiors projecting a minimal feel, there is increasing evidence that a new direction of design is emerging. Designs that reflect a personality, a story, warmth, and a human touch. Designs that fulfill a need, yet tell a story. In our globalised society, where everything tends towards repetitiveness, I find there is a huge demand for each one’s “uniqueness”; hence the word bespoke is so often used in my designs. On one of my latest trips to Bali, Indonesia, the abundance of “tactile materials”, the Indonesian teak, excited my inner designer. This exotic timber, originally introduced from India, stands strong, as each unique pieces, each cut, root or bark is unique. These timeless pieces, with their feeling of sustainability and durability, stood still in my mind. Variegated timbers (complete with knots and imperfections) in an endless variety

of shades based on the timber’s age mean that no two pieces are the same. My first encounter was with petrified wood meaning ,“wood turned into stone”, the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of mineralisation. It encouraged me to develop new concepts and applications for a material which is so unique to my everyday designs. Designs with decorative diversity are rooted in history, and as a designer, I feel the use of timber veneers and natural timbers with variation should be selected. Designs that bring back soulfulness and our past memories should stand strong. With a society that is constantly on the go, I feel we are always in the search of some down time, and incorporating these natural elements of timbers from nature into our environments, creates a harmonised feel within our spaces. Simplistic design does not have to reflect cold and hard, but should celebrate the human touch, rather than be machine made or mass produced pieces. The longer the life of a product, the less its impact on our environment. I would always opt to look at pieces with longevity and value for money as opposed to a trend in design that will be dated and needs to be replaced. A selection of imperfect, veined, textured, book matched timbers are becoming increasingly intriguing and will make sure that no space is similar to another.

“I feel we are always in search of some down time, and incorporating these natural elements of timbers from nature into our environments, creates a harmonised feel within our spaces.”

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ARCHITECTURE IS HIS PASSION FOR DESIGN, ADORATION OF LIFE AND LOVE FOR ARCHITECTURE MAKES KUWAIT-BASED ARCHITECT, WALEED SHAALAN, EXPLORE WAYS OF CREATING SPACES AND SPACIAL INTERVENTIONS THAT ARE HONEST, FREE FROM INHERITED FORM, AND FULL OF CHARACTER. BY AARTHI MOHAN

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Motorcycles, travel, music, art, photography, light, shadows, textures, people, conversations, film: you name it and he finds inspiration in everything in some way or the other. Exuding a certain joie de vivre, Waleed Shaalan’s style is a combination of exploring life, leisure and work. He believes that good architecture grows out of life and his approach to architectural design is the experimentation of space in simple and honest forms. Oscillating between Art and Engineering in his freshman year at the University of Maryland, Shaalan wanted to try his artist’s hand in architecture. “Passing through the school of architecture, I was delighted to see sketches, models and visual arts being engineered. For me, it is a happy medium and a creative process which requires many skills such as negotiating, persuasion and psychology”, he says. Over the years, Shaalan has built an extensive portfolio that captures the spirit through tactile structures and striking forms with projects like the Equate headquarters, the waterfront, Showbiz and Markaz Tower. He finds collaborating with others from different backgrounds an enlightening process. One of the most exciting projects for him was the Junoot Eco Resort in Oman. 46

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“It is a happy medium and a creative process which requires many skills such as negotiating, persuasion and psychology.”

The project was a collaboration with the Cal- Earth Institute of Art and Architecture. “We lived in a remote site in the south of Oman and trained the locals with new building techniques and built two prototypes. This took me back to the basics of architecture which is to create a built environment”, says the carefree architect. He also recently curated the Kuwait pavilion as part of Abwab at the Dubai Design Week. Shaalan enjoys contributing, even if in a small way it can facilitate improving the quality of life or being part of an effort in making the world a better place. It’s all in a day’s work for Shaalan. A fresh idea, surrounded by a whole lot of passion, that’s how the creative process starts for this architect. His fluid design process is fun and exciting. “Style is a by-

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product of an honest process. I was very inspired by Jean Nouvel while working with him and his team on the completion of Abdallah Al Ahmed Street in Kuwait. He looked at the project and responded to the cultural, urban and environmental conditions without imposing a particular style  or a personal signature. Some architects use architecture to make a personal statement or to reflect a style or a signature. This is not my approach; an other person s project is not my personal statement”, says Shaalan. He loves to work with materials that age well such as rusted steel, exposed concrete, wood, rammed earth and stone material which erodes and ages gracefully like old jeans. He also closely follows the works of architects like Mies van der Rohe, Louis Khan, Le Corbusier


“I don’t believe that architecture requires signature architects to create signature buildings.”

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The Junoot Eco resort is a prototype which sets an example of the type of architecture from desirable to high-end, providing an authentic experience for adventure seeking tourists. Growing out of sand, the smooth white curves hide a structure which has been made of earth, plaster and old fishing nets. Earth is the primary construction material. An important aspect of that is with some training, the buildings can be created without the use of high-tech or heavy equipment and create local employment and a new skill base. The construction technology has been studied by the California Institute of Earth Architecture and is described as super Adobe. Working with local materials was key in the making a sturdy prototype that also blends with the local architecture; old fishing nets were mixed with plaster for extra reinforcement, using local stone for flooring purposes. When it came to powering the resort, solar panels played a major role: Solar panels harnessed electricity, a solar heater was put in place, and a solarpowered air conditioning system was introduced. Using the sun’s energy it managed to reduce consumption by a staggering 30-40%, and in doing so the team cultivated a growing curiousity towards employing green energy throughout the community with various other clean energy applications.

and a Brazilian architect, Isay Weinfeld. Commenting on what defines a good design, he says, “Architectural form is a by-product of many things; functionality is one, but there are other things that can shape form, such as imagination. The process involves understanding all of these parameters and taking in the complexity and delivering simplicity”. Today we are mostly detached from the simple pleasures of life as we work behind desks and computers. Putting pen to paper is always the best way to get the big picture in architecture. He believes that good architecture shows in honest buildings that respond to the needs of the users, respect the environment and honour people and contribute to culture. Less is more  has always been the recipe for success for Shaalan. To him, the most challenging part of this profession is to be his own client and to design and build his own project. Settled

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in Kuwait for many years, he feels that people have opened up a lot in terms of architecture, as most build their own homes. “There is a segment of the market that believes good design adds value and they appreciate designers and the design process and are willing to invest in it. A building is more about the architect than it is about the user or context, we might need a few signature or landmark buildings; however, architecture is different from fashion. I don’t believe that architecture requires signature architects to create signature buildings, he says. Shaalan seeks out the limits of the possible, both human and technical, and is always in search of a new reality. Taking each day as a new day, he does not believe in making future plans. His dream is to design a mosque inspired by silence and light and that is free from any inherited form and ornament.


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IT’S ANDRÉ C MEYERHANS MIGHT NOW BE IDENTIFIED AS A JEWELLERY DESIGNER BUT HE CANNOT ESCAPE FROM HIS KARMA, WHICH IS INTRINSICALLY TIED IN WITH DESIGN, BE IT THROUGH THE DESIGN OF BUILDINGS OR THE STRUCTURAL TACTILITY OF JEWELLERY MAKING. IN CONVERSATION WITH SINDHU NAIR

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JEWELLERY AND BUILDINGS The connections are evident between both these forms of art – a Mario Uboldi jewellery art and Al Nadi Towers both designed by Andre.

n a career graph spanning investment banker to architect, André C. Meyerhans is now a jeweller and his inspiration comes from everywhere. “There is a method in the madness,” he says, sharing Shakespeare’s wisdom. “The complexity and diversity of architecture are exposed to different facets within the profession in order to understand the entire development cycle.” André started his career on the design side working with signature architect Santiago Calatrava and explored corporate architecture when creating flagship stores for Alfred Dunhill, Cartier and Hugo Boss. “More managerial aspects came into focus when I built up the architectural team for an international consultancy in the Middle East, and more financial considerations in real estate when advising sovereign wealth funds on their real estate investments and developments,” he says about his various roles and their overlapping complexities. “Fate in life brought me to create some jewellery. Initially, they seemed insignificant occurrences dotted on the time scale. A decade later, they had an uplift of their own to come together to what is now Mario Uboldi Jewellery Art,” says André. While jewellery and architecture might not be the same trade, André’s design 54

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approach is the same. “The transfer of design methodology from architecture to jewellery results in pieces that are essentially different from jewellery usually seen: the creations are more sculptural, the inspirational connection more conceptual and the visual appearance describes a form with a design of its own.” According to him, not only does architecture influence his jewellery but so does his jewellery work influence his architecture. “This happens obviously on a very conceptual level, but it is a significant stimulus,” he says. Two types of buildings inspire André: the landmark and the common building. “The landmark building because it fulfills a purpose significant to the entire society. Culturally relevant positions are visualised and interpreted in the landmark architecture.” The common buildings, on the other hand, have developed cultural specifics in their architecture – details, materialisation, internal arrangement of space and external appearance, to name a few – in an evolutionary process. “Their typology is a direct result of a social understanding of environmental occurrences and amalgamates the two into a tactile construct. Such architectural elements are instilled with culture and regional specifics - both ideal for being inspired,” he says. In general, architecture and urban

“Fate in life brought me to create some jewellery. Initially, they seemed insignificant occurrences dotted on the time scale. A decade later, they had an uplift of their own to come together to what is now Mario Uboldi Jewellery Art,” says André.


INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE Andre finds designs from buildings and recreates them to fit the tactility of gold and jewels.

“Their typology is a direct result of a social understanding of environmental occurrences and amalgamates the two into a tactile construct. Such architectural elements are instilled with culture and regional specifics – both ideal for being inspired,” he says.

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planning is an open history book that reflects reality; built and visible to everyone. Inspirations sourced from our built environment capture the local spirit and Zeitgeist. It is from such buildings that André gets inspired and each of his jewellery pieces is a take-off from these inspirations. André is inspired by “Creativity is seeing ordinary “almost anything” things differently while even the as “creativity is ordinary is an inspiration.” seeing ordinary things differently” while even the ordinary is his inspiration. “Nature for example: a snowflake inspired the crystalline Goldflake Collection; the Lotus Collection draws its idea from the flower with the same name which is adored in many cultures; and the 56

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fluffy clouds in the sky lend themselves to the sensual-tactile Cushion Collection. Other collections are inspired by art, such as the colour carvings that develop Henri Matisse’s famous cut-out collages into three dimensional creatures. The principal British Artist Damien Hirst based his “Spot Paintings” on which has been architecturally engineered into our Dot Collection. The iconic piece ‘Core of Doublings’ by Swiss minimalist artist Max Bill, I translated into the Minimalism Collection. Also, cultural phenomena serve as a starting point to our creations: we transformed the Ayn-al-Hasud emblem into a jewellery piece where reflections and not colours create the typical, concentric circles and the idea of the architectural mashrabiya is reinterpreted in our very own signature design,” he says. While André is not from the region, the geometric patterns were one way in which he has explored the local culture.


“While in architecture there is much to explore here, 3D printing is common ground in jewellery design. We print all our pieces of jewellery to ensure the precision and the intricacy of our complex shapes,” he says.

“My geometric Islamic designs should be understood as a contribution to develop a contemporary design language for the region,” he says. Current trends in architecture serve well in jewellery design. “Biomimicry, the art of emulating nature, which has been brought to perfection by the grand dame of architecture, Zaha Hadid, comes at the top of this list. Much of the biomimicry works on a micro-scale which is not easy to be brought to a visually compelling macroscale. However, we already implemented biomimicry to find technical (invisible) solutions to our jewellery designs,” says André. Kinetic architecture has fascinated André for years. “Interestingly, both executed works that I find exceptional in this regard are linked to the Middle East: Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi designed by Aedas. Unfortunately, such systems have their limitations in their fragility of the movable elements - and when it comes to jewellery, the same applies paired with the limitation in regard to wearability. An interesting middle way are transformative

designs, meaning designs that can be worn in various ways. This is something I work with a lot,” he says. “The last interesting phenomenon in architecture which I would like to mention is the creation of entire transferred habitats. Gardens by the Bay in Singapore might be the first built example. Moscow’s Zaryadye Park will most likely be a further development of the same. Similar projects yet with a higher entertainment character are planned across the Middle East too. How to translate all that into jewellery, is something that I have yet to experiment with”. Another connecting element is the use of 3D printing, the topic of architecture at the moment. “While in architecture, there is much to explore here, 3D printing is common ground in jewellery design. We print all our pieces of jewellery to ensure the precision and the intricacy of our complex shapes,” he says. And thus André believes that design transcends buildings, fashion and even art to be a way of life. “The impact of design cannot easily be quantified, but it is immense on those it touches. Not loud but significant, design encourages independent thinking while strengthening the common understanding. It inspires...”

ACROSS ART Buildings and even furniture design carries the same play of patterns.

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NO PLACE SANDRA WILKINS’ HOUSE IS BRIMMING WITH HER VIBRANT PERSONALITY AS THE INTERIORS PLAY OUT A BALANCING ACT – CLEANED LINED ARCHITECTURE JUXTAPOSED WITH AN ECLECTIC MIX OF HERITAGE PIECES.

LIKE BY AARTHI MOHAN

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CURATED LOOK While freely unorthodox, Sandra’s home exudes an authentic, not forced design ethos which is underpinned with carefully considered curation of eclectic finds from around the world.

Unusual finds, customised designs and a laid-back feel bring a unique vibe to Sandra Wilkins’ culture-inspired home. At every turn there is an unexpected vignette: a headdress or instruments placed upon weathered antique wooden stools, a line of artwork or splash of earthy tones and textures which just arrest the eye. When you enter the home, two things immediately stand out: her book collection and her eclectic mix of finds. While freely unorthodox, there is a sense that every inch of the décor is underpinned by carefully considered curation. Authentic and not forced is the overriding design ethos. The home has been styled as opposed to designed and each collection has a story to tell, Sandra explains. It is hard to fix your sight on one piece in particular, there are so many beautiful items that she has collected throughout 60

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her travels. Rules of symmetry have not been applied yet each arrangement has a common thread that turns the assemblage of artifacts into an engaging narrative as well as a visual treat. “My home is a tiny escape with reminders of my exotic travels”, she says. A mixture of ethnic and modern, this designer’s penchant for earthy tones and vintage artifacts, her décor choices and ability to curate cozy nooks in every corner is indicative of her captivating eye for design. It’s no surprise that music strikes a chord in the fabric of the apartment. Instruments are something she loves to collect as they are distinctly different, interesting and also have distinctive sounds. String instruments to be specific, she has a whole lot of them from different regions and parts of the world: the mandolin from India; the Oud; a piece from China; a piece covered in animal skin from Eratrea;


“When I see a piece, I get an immediate realisation that it is definately going to work in my house,” she says.

Sudan, pieces from Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa- the list keeps going. Some of them are so unique that they have been made from cutting chords. Being in the field of fashion for almost 40 years, her fascination for headdresses, fabrics and jewellery transcends into her interiors. After a long stint of 18 years in Doha, Sandra’s fascination for the eyes of middle-eastern women takes over, as every nook in her home is mystically beautified with pictures and masks. “The home is an eclectic mix of a little bit of everything. It reflects my interests also as I am a fashion person, I am most intrigued by traditions. I have a collection of headdresses from different places like Oman, Iran, Iraq, Baluchistan, India, etc.,” says the designer. Sandra is more of a conservative person. She is not into ruffles, bows or anything girly. She likes the earthiness of the region with a lot of variants of it running over the

entire house. “When I see a piece, I get an immediate realization that it is definitely going to work in my house,” she says. A variety of textural ethnic rugs cover the floors of the living area. All the rugs are bought from Qatar. Others culled from her excursions abroad help blur boundaries throughout the rest of the house, from Turkish throws in the living room, to ethnic pillows, coats from India and bridal wear from Balochistan- they are the perfect companion for a vintage and rustic living room. The play of fabrics and textures makes the house feel rustic and full of character. The throws on the sofa was picked up at the Grand Bazaar in Turkey. It was a piece that was used in the movie Troy. “I went into the store and the guy said that he has something I might like. He went in the back and brought exactly four pieces of these. When I saw it I instantly loved it,” she says. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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“I want my friends and family to come over and feel like they can relax and have a good time; nothing is too precious than a home to make people feel comfortable,” she says.

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“It was a gift given to me by my student, keeping in mind that I like old antique things. I love to treasure all the pieces that I have received from people who are very special to me,” says Sandra.

INTRIGUED BY TRADITIONS The designer’s fascination for the earthiness of the Middle-Eastern region takes over every nook of her house with variants running from headdreasses, pictures, instruments, rugs, throws, dresses etc.

With a focus on creating a comfortable home, she developed a design that would work for entertaining and day-to-day relaxation. “I love to entertain a lot of people. I want my friends and family to come over and feel like they can relax and have a good time; nothing is too precious than a home to make people feel comfortable,” she says. Her love for reading knows no bounds. The living room’s bountiful bookshelf, which is only her fashion library, injects personality into the space. A globe-trotter of sorts, Sandra has lived in varied places like Peru, South Africa and now Qatar. She has been with the Virginia Commonwealth University for the past 40 years. Having travelled to many places, she loves meeting people, talking to them and engaging in their culture. She feels being in education keeps her young as she interacts with young students every single day. An intriguing mix of mood lighting, unique furniture and sentimental accessories which, when combined,

creates a compelling and deep design. Every element she owns is invested with personal or historic meaning. “A lot of the things, especially the figurines, belong to either my students or family. I have a collection of about 600 dolls from varied places”, she says. As soon as you enter the house, a huge ceramic vase welcomes you. “It was a gift given to me by my student, keeping in mind that I like old antique things. I love to treasure all the pieces that I have received from people who are very special to me”, says Sandra. Her homey digs are reminiscent of a previous generation’s warmth and comfort, thanks to her nostalgic collection of oldsoul treasures. No matter how eye-catching it is, nothing overshadows the house’s structural character or its rooted sense of place. “My home is a part of me. Choosing how to furnish it is a bit like choosing what to wear. I like things that are honest and have a deep sense of culture. The home is a perfect illustration of just that”, she says. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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CREATING SCULPTURAL _SPACES CHOOSE A JOB YOU LOVE AND YOU WILL NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE IS AN EXTENSION OF WHAT IAN STALLINGS LIVES BY. BY SINDHU NAIR IMAGES BY

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Ian A Stallings completed his graduation in Architectural Interior Design and Filmmaking with a minor in Fine Art Painting and began his career in television and commercial production for several networks where he discovered a passion for set dressing and design. He formed his own company in 2008 and since its inception, Ian Stallings Design has become a leading design force both locally and internationally, with projects in London, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nashville, New York, and Montana. Maintaining his roots and connections within the artist community between San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Ian has been involved in projects all over the world and some in the Middle East as well. But his connection to the community goes beyond with his active engagements with fundraisers and campaigns where he is truly involved in giving back to the society. In addition to his work in the philanthropic and design worlds, Ian is an accomplished fine art painter. Glam follows this vibrant personality to quiz him about his design sensibilities.

THE SHOWMAN Ian Stallings in his recently rennovated residence. He calls himself an artist in the world of decor; his house is a setting where each accessory has a part to play and fits that space well.

What is interior designing to you and how is it different from architecture? Do you think these are two mutually exclusive divisions in construction? I wouldn’t say these two are mutually exclusive, but they are different. The most harmonious projects are ones in which the finishes are selected by the

interior designer. The colour, texture, finishes, stone, tile, flooring, etc. are best when selected as part of a full vision. An architect and an engineer ensure what has been designed stands strong, but the designer delights your senses. Tell us about inspiring architects and interior designers and how you have been affected by each of them in your designs? The work of Santiago Calatrava is truly inspiring. The way in which he uses the skeletal structure of animals to inform his structures is fascinating. Charlotte Skene Catling, co-founder of the architecture firm SCDLP (Skene Catling de la PeĂąa) has been doing some stunning work using unusual materials and unpredictable shapes. Jeanne Gang designed a residential tower called Aqua in Chicago 10 years ago that is still one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. One of the architects who thinks like an interior designer and whose work I have loved is Michael Graves because he thinks of every detail. He has even designed tea pots. On the other side of that coin, an interior designer who thinks like an architect is Bill Sofield. His work is above GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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“I have found that the people in the Middle East are very generous and open. My clients appreciate the work I do for them and they are always very excited about the spaces I fashion for them. I find that they have more in common than differences.�

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criticism. I think I admire the creative process and the details used. I admire the work of Markham Roberts because of the details he uses. His work is glamorous and colourful. There are so many amazing people out in the world doing beautiful work. Do you also think it is necessary to have custom-made art for the house that is being planned? Some examples of work that you have done specific to the interiors? I represent 16 to 20 artists privately at any given time. I plan rooms around artwork constantly. I am a painter myself, and I

have been commissioned a number of times to paint specifically sized canvases. The largest piece I created was 14 feet long and nine feet tall. Art is a very important component of a space. How different has it been working with clients in the Middle East and Shanghai and New York? Some instances which show the diversity? I have actually not seen a difference. People are very generous and open. My clients appreciate the work I do for them and they are always very excited about the spaces I fashion for them. I find that they have more in common than differences.

I like focussing on the similarities in people; it is extremely interesting. My clients are educated and travel all over the world. They are influenced by the travels and the places they have visited. Those experiences influence the design. One project that you have always wanted to design for? There are so many. I have done a couple of projects in London and there is a little street there called Charles Street. The homes there, although few, are regal and amazing. I would love to renovate and restore one of those mansions. I have an affinity with historical buildings,

DESIGNING AROUND ART It is evident that art plays an important role in his decor, in some spaces they are the highlight and everything else is fashioned around it. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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“I think there are innovations all the time. It is just impossible for most of us to see the newness while in the present. It takes time to gain that perspective on life, but once one has it there is a beautiful tapestry to admire. We live in a global community more and more every day.�

and I always love those large penthouse apartments with the large glassy walls. Creating something out of a steel and glass box of beauty is always fulfilling. I am fascinated and intrigued by the aesthetic history of the Middle East, and by all of the new things that are happening there in design. Whatever the design challenge is, I am excited. Any interior products that you have designed and the process involved? I always make custom furniture for projects. The process changes constantly because it is an art more than a science. I have been researching the development of a signature fabric line that has been coming along well, and considering pairing that with the launch of my custom furniture designs. Tell us, what would you like to be

known as: Ian the artist or Ian the designer? I think they are one and the same. I am a fine artist in the classical sense of painting, drawing, photography, filmmaking, etc. However, I am also an artist in the world of decor. I create sculptural spaces in which people live their lives. When one thinks of the work in this context the end results are much more profound. The spaces are more than just a place where one lives, works, shops, or travels to. They are something more engaging. They are the art of making three-dimensional representative or abstract forms. What is the future of interior designing and what innovations are waiting to be introduced? I think there are innovations all the time. It is just impossible for most of us to see

the newness while in the present. It takes time to gain that perspective on life, but once one has it there is a beautiful tapestry to admire. We live in a global community more and more every day. The planet is getting smaller. For example, in one year I spend time in several different time-zones physically and virtually. This last year I spent time at home in San Francisco but I was also working in London seven different times throughout the year, New York, The Yellowstone Club (a prestigious members-only 13,600-acre ski resort), Shanghai, Chicago, Mexico, and Paris. I am fortunate that my work takes me to amazing places around the world and with the new technologies I am never far away from any job. It is amazing to be in a different hemisphere making time-sensitive design decisions. There are so many interesting places left to explore, discover, and create new interiors. GLAM INTERIORS + DESIGN

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SPACE

SIMPLICITY _IS IN FOCUS Designing a mosque is not an easy task for architects: the strict and detailed requirements for the typology were established centuries ago and remain paramount in creating a place of worship for Muslims. Consequently, these buildings have long been associated with conservative styles employing well-recognised, traditional forms and aesthetic details. Though some mosques do deviate from the age old designs, like the mosque at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies building, and the creativity that comes into play in these religious spaces is immense. Glam Interiors and Design will focus on mosques, in and around Qatar, highlighting on their often missed architectural detailing. This issue we start with the Jassim Al Darwish Islamic Centre, where large spaces, clean white lines and Islamic traditional motifs come together for a breathtaking religious landscape. 70

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Profile for Oryx Group of Magazines

Gid 9th issue  

GLAM Interior and Design Magazine 9th Issue.

Gid 9th issue  

GLAM Interior and Design Magazine 9th Issue.

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