Atelier 13

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Volume 13

Volume 13

The Beauty of Summer

The summer is back and together with it, the strive of each and one of us to return back to normality. Normality a term which has now taken a different dimension. It is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. A necessity for every industry, for every sector to thrive, to develop, to exist. A necessity for each and one of us to live, to socialize, to expand our horizons, to develop our intellect, and above all, to connect. And in this process every sector, every industry, every individual continues to achieve, continues to create, continues to grow by means of their abilities in the beauty and fashion industry, in the design industry, in the photography industry and in other sectors. Every individual, every entity, every industry continues to strive so society continues to develop and set the basis for the years to come. I wish you all a pleasant summer! Publishing Editor Omar Vella


Robert Caruana

Printing & Publishing Union Print Co. Ltd.

Proof Reading

Ramona Vella Cini


Dress: Ziad Nakad Disclaimer: Particular attention has been given to ensure that all the content of this magazine is correct and up to date as on date of issue. The views expressed in the articles, interviews and photogrphs are those of the authors and are not neccessarily endorsed by the publisher. While every care has been taking during production, the publisher does not accept any liability for errors that may have occurred. Copyright© 2022.



Spring Summer 2022

Couture Collection


Since his beginnings, the Lebanese designer Ziad Nakad has always wanted to sublimate women, weaving around the female body a precious and timeless creation. For this Spring-Summer 2022 collection, the designer invites us to discover a collection of muses, all different, cosmopolitan, having in common an assumed femininity. The choice of models, like muses, was decisive. France, Australia, Georgia, United States, Germany, Netherlands Korea, the designer wanted a panel of women from around the world to emphasize the fact that beauty is universal. The opening dress of the collection is a symbol of light, which is born from darkness. An invitation to make a wish. Throughout the collection we find the signature of Ziad Nakad: oversized shoulders, marked waists , and underlined by jeweled belts and embroidery. The signature dresses are created like mosaics, sewn square by square in the atelier in Beirut. A work of 6 months, and an incalculable number of hours per dress, in order to create this perfect architecture which molds the body of the woman. Tulle, taffeta and lace highlight here and there a slender silhouette. A line of accessories, Swarovski belts and oversized earrings complete the silhouette.

muZeum 3













17th-24th July 2022









to extraordinary


Interview with Trevor Cole

To capture people and landscapes and the interactions between them in the light of a world in transition is to encapsulate an inimitable moment, which will never again materialise. His own ‘take’ as a geographer photographer!




Born in the City of Derry (Ireland), he has lived most of his life outside the bounds of Ireland; in England, Singapore, Togo, Italy, Ethiopia and Brazil. He returned to Ireland (Donegal) in 2012.

His photography, together with travel, have become two of his life’s passions. His photography focuses predominantly on culture and landscapes; images which reflect a spatial and temporal journey through life and which try to convey a need to live in a more sustainable world. He seeks the moment and the light in whatever context he finds himself and endeavours to use his photographic acumen to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

He leads small photo tours in his ‘own Donegal’ and Ireland but also to other destinations. He lived in Ethiopia from 2006-2010 and since then has returned to take photographers to the Western and Eastern Omo, Harar, the Danakil desert and the highlands of Ethiopia. Additionally he takes photo tours to Iceland, Namibia and India as well as travelling himself to discover and capture in new locations, often with a focus on indigenous people.

He has been published by National Geographic (online), a number of British and European digital photography magazines and newspapers and the Survival International calendar in 2016. He won Wanderlust photographer of the year (professional portfolio category) in 2016 and has been a finalist in Travel Photographer of the Year 5 times, achieving a special mention in 2017 and winning the People and Culture award in 2019. In 2021 Trevor was runner up in the portfolio of 8 and winner of the best single image in ‘People and their Stories’. Trevor has also presented to the Royal Geographic Society, using his images to convey an image of Ethiopia which contrasts with widely held perceptions.

Trevor shared with Atelier his journey in the world of photography.





How were you first introduced to the world of photography? My interest in photography started at an early age when I travelled with my parents and they bought me a Roleiflex SLR. When I taught Geography in England and further afield I wanted to capture people and landscapes in different contexts. I love diversity and this includes both the human/cultural and the biophysical environment. A Geographer Photographer!

In what way the photos we take are evidence that we have lived, travelled and experienced what there is to see on planet earth? My own website and our photo tour company is called ‘Alternative Visions’ so the ability to see, to capture and to create something which captures an inimitable moment today to reflect upon tomorrow, is imperative. Life for me has to be sustainable and something which integrates all living things in a complex web. The photographer in me wants to take photos in a context which makes them meaningful and contextual. We are here for a short time so to make the most of life we need to have a vision which passionately captures the beauty of the ‘humans and their planet’ in perpetuity.

Why is Ethiopia one of your favourite places? Ethiopia is the seedbed of human kind. It has in excess of 80 different ethnicities. The biophysical environment is mirrored by the peoples who live there. The Omo valley, in particular, has in excess of 15 clusters of tribal groups, which makes it an amazing place to photograph.

You have often noted that the shots you take are based on inter-personal moments. Can you elaborate on that? Photography of people is a delicate balance and I try to capture candid moments as well as community spirit and portraits. Interpersonal skills can make the moment count. And in that moment I want to capture light, colour, emotion, insight, character and spirit. I try to shoot in the golden hours or at least where there is shade from the intense African sun. In the right light, at the right time the ordinary becomes extraordinary and that is something to strive for in the context of encapsulating tribal traits.



You have journalistic roots. How has that influenced your work as a photographer? I love most genres of photography but capturing the rapidly changing cultures of remote areas in Africa has become a focal point for my photography. My lens has become my vision of indigenous people and with time I have tried to turn my photographs into emotive moments where I encapsulate a connection. These people are still inextricably connected to the earth living sustainably with a very small ecological footprint. Tourism can be degrading but it can, if sensitively done, also bring hope and cultural resilience. Spending time with these people is so rewarding and I hope my images truly convey a sense of feeling and value which helps to ensure their survival in the face of homogenisation.

What makes Sebastiao Salgado your favourite photographer? His project ‘Genesis’ which connects indigenous people to their environment is truly admirable and also something which I can relate to as a photographer and geographer. In his most recent publication, Amazonia, he again visits indigenous groups in the heart of the rainforest. The connection between people and forest is inextricable.




What makes the difference between a good image and an iconic image? The good image attracts, the iconic image enthralls and inspires others to appreciate the beauty, emotion and feelings portrayed by the shot.

What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today? That would depend on what type of photographer they aspire to be. The most important thing is to have a passion for what you do. In my case it’s taking ‘the road less travelled’ and creating stories through my images.


What’s next for you? I am currently in Ethiopia and then going to South Sudan. But I’d love to photograph the urban sprawl of Dhaka and Kolkata and explore Iran.



Sarah Zerafa Lewis

Beautiful Bath for a Weekend Getaway Are you ready to start doing some serious planning for post-COVID? If you are not ready to travel yet this is the time to do some travel planning. On the other hand, if you are prepared to pack your suitcases and go, then you may wish to consider a unique experience in the beautiful Somerset city in the UK for the perfect historical weekend getaway.



Located in the city centre this quaint hotel is the place to stay for an affordable and stylish holiday. The location is practical and the breakfast is delicious. Few steps from the bus stop that connects you to various interesting parts of the city.

For the fans of this Netflix Series, Bath was one of the main locations for the filming of Season Experience a walking tour of the filming spots to take you back in time and reminisce the elegant old days from what you have watched. Or are you the one still binging on it everyday? The tour is not expensive and takes around two hours. You get to see the stunning manors that Bath boasts about. Book your tickets ahead to avoid any disappointment.

BOOKS FOR THE BOOKWORMS AND A MUSEUM TO VISIT A museum dedicated all to Jane Austen is found in this beautiful city. Jane Austen was a resident of Bath for a number of years. A permanent exhibition found in the museum tells the story of Jane Austen and explores the effects of the city on her writing. On the second floor there is also a cute tea room which offers a large variety of teas and homemade delicacies. Also, visit the famous and quirky Mr B’s Emporium Bookshop a few metres from the Jane Austen Museum.


VISIT THE THE ROMAN BATHS These bath are one of the finest historic sites in Bath and the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. The baths are hidden beneath the present city of Bath where stone lies of one of the finest religious spas of the ancient world. Although you cannot have a swim one can still enjoy the beautiful architecture that takes you back in time.

STROLL THE BEAUTIFUL STREETS AND GET LOST One of the best things you can do in Bath is to let go your map and get lost in the cobbled streets and the hidden parks. You will love strolling around without knowing where you are heading. You will find all perfect spots for some insta picture perfect photos to take with you back home.

GET A COFFEE AND BAKED GOODS AT LANDRACE BAKERY This famous bakery in Bath is a mustvisit. The tasty cinnamon rolls are one of the best dishes and the amazing coffee will be more than welcomed after a long afternoon doing the shopping. We love this place and we are looking forward to visit again. Don’t be alarmed if you find a some people waiting outside. It’s worth the hype!

HEARTY MEALS IN THE CITY Although Bath is not strictly speaking famous for the food, there are indeed some few stops for the food lovers. Some suggestions include Raphael’s where you need to try their steak, the Elder Restaurant having a choice of various dishes in a plush setting and the Menu Gordon Jones for a sophisticated yet delicious me

HEARTY MEALS IN THE CITY Bath is not strictly speaking famous for the food, SOME SHOPPING ONAlthough AN AFTERNOON there are indeed some fewshopping. stops for the food lovers. Everywhere we go we need a quick stop for some It does not needSome to suggestions include Raphael’s where you need to try their be a lot but we love the thrill of taking something home with us and unpacking steak, and the Elder having a choice of various dishes it. Start off at Stall Street UnionRestaurant Street for the big brands and don’t miss the in a plush setting and the Menu Gordon Jones for a sophisticated Corridor which is a Parisian arcade or the Bath Guildhall Market which is the yet delicious meal. oldest indoor market in the city.




Interview with Georges Chakra

Beirut-based Lebanese mogul Georges Chakra has often noted;

“There is an art in hand creating a gown from start to finish” Indeed, that art has garnered the Middle Eastern designer immense success, not only for his breathtaking creations, but for his circuit of celebrity friends who constantly front his designs. Atelier recently caught up with Georges who shared with us his sources of inspiration, the concept of being ‘artisans by nature’ and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on his brand and on the industry at large.




Were you always so passionate about fashion design? I have been interested in fashion design since I was a child. I always used to follow the new trends in a magazine that my mum used to read called “Jour de France”. It was also my mother’s sense of style as well as her social circle that helped spark my interest. My father actually as a hobby loved working with leather, creating wallets and other leather goods. But it was also the exposure to my mother’s sense of style as well as her social circle that helped spark my interest in fashion.

Where does your inspiration derive from? My travels mostly, the new foods, the change in environment and the emotional investment in discovering and absorbing cultures. I think the hardest part of pulling inspiration from myself and my surrounding is trying to condense the web of ideas in my head into a single cohesive line that would translate well into a collection.

How would you describe the Georges Chakra woman? She is strong, powerful and has a spark of fantasy. She is not afraid, and loves to take on new challenges that push her comfort constantly. She embraces herself and loves the fact that she has an edge.

George Chakra was featured in the Oscar nominated film ‘The Devil wears Prada’, can you tell us more about this experience? How was the brand approached for the movie? We are constantly contacted for gowns to be featured in Hollywood productions, like ‘Devil Wears Prada’, Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’ and series like ‘Gossip Girl’. However, we never know in the final edit if the gowns will make the cut. So, when we found out about the fashion show scene in the “Devil Wears Prada” we were over the moon, especially being featured with ‘Valentino’ and ‘Azzaro’. We were emailed by the film producers asking for our Couture Spring-Summer 2005 collection that was just shown in Paris, for a movie featuring Meryl Streep.


What challenges have you faced during the Covid-19 Pandemic? The pandemic changed everything: no travels, no fittings, no shows, no press or support. Our collections were being developed quietly, shot discreetly, and exceptionally launched from our Headquarters in Beirut, as opposed to the usual fashion show at Paris Couture week. Formal occasions are cancelled or postponed and intimate celebrations are replacing the large festivities. However fashion is quick to adapt. In the absence of large events, there is a trend in demure gowns that hug the body, a serious exhibit of artisanal flair, the new volume narrative is most definitely about the woman beneath. There definitely is a return to the hand-made, craftsmanship, upscale shoulders proportions, protective pleated layers, and balloon sleeves.

‘We are artisans by nature!’ Can you elaborate on this? Being an Artisan or supporting the work of Artisans is very important in keeping that delicate work alive and creatively fed. When brands start to produce on a mass and global scale, they lose an important essence that is the heart of their identity. With the high demand and fast fashion, it is vital to uphold values and the essence of our work.

Bill Cunningham once said, “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” How far do you agree with this statement? That statement has never been more true than in the past couple of years. Through the pandemic and our collective experiences, people escaped through all forms of art. Fashion was one of those escapes, just like it always has been. It dared us to dream of summer days on an island or winter escapades through a snowy mountain forest. Fashion is just that little bit of power that we need to cover ourselves with.









What makes the brand stand out among its contemporaries? We create pieces that last for years and can be passed down, which has actually happened a couple of times. We welcome creativity, originality, and focus on experimental new fabrics. The creative force of the label comes out from a passion to create originality, from a dreamer that has a lot of visions still to be realized, and from a character that pays extreme attention to details.

What colour schemes and designs can we expect in the upcoming collection? Colour tells a story, it gives a physical body to the temperature and highlights the mood. For the upcoming collection you can expect the bold colours that I love, violet, red, yellow, blue and a new trend towards copper and browns.

Is there any mantra behind George Chakra’s success? Exquisite cuts and craftsmanship combined with the refined and high-end fabric. Trusting your atelier and the team supporting your brand to fulfill your vision.



Maria Grazia Strano


Pinsa, yes, not pizza.

Pinsa is a hand-pressed dough that has been in the Roman culinary tradition for hundreds of years. The name derives from the Latin word ‘pinsere’, which means to push with your fingers: in this case, push the dough with your fingers.

If you’re looking for a tasty and healthy substitute for your usual pizza, you’ve got to try Sotto Pinsa Romana in St Julian’s. 48

Why is it so tasty?

Pinsa served by Sotto, can be topped with classic ingredients such as tomato and mozzarella, mozzarella di bufala or vegetables. It can also be served plain, with extra virgin olive oil and oregano or rosemary. People love Pinsa served with cold cuts such as parma ham, guanciale, porchetta, speck, or mortadella. In short, the variations are endless, and there is surely something for everyone’s taste.

The popularity of Pinsa in Malta

Pinsa’s worldwide rise in popularity has only been recent: in fact, it started just over 15 years ago. Nowadays there are more than 5000 Pinserie all over the world. In Malta, the success of Pinsa Romana and its modern evolution have a brief history. In 2015 the first “pinseria” opened in Valletta. We can say without doubt that Pinsa in Malta was the brainchild of a Roman entrepreneur: Fausto Soldini. He created the trademark “Sotto Pinseria romana” and the famous mix of flours whose exact proportions are secret.

Where to find the real Pinsa Romana in Malta

There are six Roman pinserie by Fausto Soldini and they are located in Valletta, Gzira, Marsaskala and in Luqa, at Level -1 of the Malta International Airport. And now we’ve got a new location in St Julian’s.

Why is it so healthy?

The way the dough is made is essential to get the unique benefits of Pinsa. The ingredients, and how the dough is rolled and smashed make it easily digestible while being crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Since Pinsa is manually made, its dough is extremely sticky because of the high level of hydration (45% more than traditional pizza). This means it can be baked at a low temperature. Finally, the mix of different organic flours used to reach the perfect balance between crunchiness and elasticity, means Pinsa has exceptionally low gluten content. Last but not least, the long cold process of fermentation lets the dough rise. It follows nature’s will, without the obsession to save time. When you try Pinsa, you won’t get that bloated feeling, simply because it’s a natural product that has been produced with organic flour, which was left fermented for 72 hours. It has low gluten content that tastes great, has no leavening power (so it doesn’t even fill the stomach). In fact, you can eat guilt-free since it doesn’t have the same carbohydrate content as a typical pizza.

Sotto Pinseria St Julian’s: a wonderful experience You can now eat Pinsa in St Julian’s at Sotto, in the heart of Paceville, which is the main nightlife hub in Malta. The restaurant is a slightly hidden away but the bright side of this is the ease of finding parking, being very close to Pendergardens Public Car Park. The location is beautiful and welcoming: simple but elegant. Wooden furniture, warm colours, soft light and most welcoming of all, the bright smile of the owner. The service, taken care of by Fausto himself and his collaborators, is always professional and courteous, and you feel immediately at ease as soon as you sit at the table. Sotto St Julian’s it is also ideal for a romantic dinner. Come and join us in St Julian’s where you can now sample the original match of pinsa and champagne, an innovative idea that you simply can’t miss.


Interview with Jully Khamula



With nine years of architectural training in Minsk in Belarus, Jully Khamula started working in the industry and soon realised that although she enjoyed construction, there was something lacking. After working in architecture for a number of small firms, she moved to one of Minsk’s largest construction companies with over 3,000 employees. This gave her the opportunity to join the interior design team, and from there, she never looked back. Since then, her journey took a further twist by moving to Malta where she recently set up her own business. Jully shared with Atelier her creative mind and what attracted her to the island.

Why Malta? I moved to Malta five years ago when I was invited to visit by a friend. I immediately fell in love with the sandy colours of the limestone and the way the light fell on the baroque architecture of Valletta. Since then, I settled in Malta and worked with a number of local architects to start off with, and eventually set up my own design company.

Why an architect can be an interior designer, but an interior designer cannot be an architect? From my own personal experience, I feel like it’s a huge advantage for me as I know all the technical aspects of the structure, and this makes it possible for me to bring some of my innovative ideas to life. An interior designer with no architectural knowledge has to rely on the advice their architects provide, while I am able to troubleshoot a problem on my own and create realistic solutions that I know will be structurally sound.

What makes the SOHO the Strand in Gzira one of your major projects on the island? The warm wooden textures paired with soft yellow hues and a myriad of plant life on every floor gives the offices a homely feel, making it a place that employees want to hang out even after the working day is done. As an interior designer, my job is to create a space where people want to be, whether it’s a home or an office. The idea is that people look forward to coming to work because the atmosphere is pleasant. Understanding exactly what the space is intended for and the expected flow of people into the area is extremely important in creating a space that makes people feel comfortable. Colours and textures are as important as the amenities provided. And with its own restaurant, gym and rooftop pool, who wouldn’t want to work at SOHO Office.







Why should employing a designer be seen as an investment rather than a cost? Homeowners will be adding to the value of their property and will find it easier to sell in the long term. On the other hand, when designing office space, research has shown that productivity of employees increases when staff members feel comfortable and calm, and this is directly related to the environment in which they work.

What makes artwork an important aspect of the way you feel when you enter a building? I love art. I feel it is an integral part of any place one works in or resides in. I work with a number of local artists to make sure that the overall feeling you get when you walk into a building is one that is comfortable, calm and exactly what the people occupying the space require.






From dramatic capes, to intricate embroidery, and voluminous skirts, the Lebanese haute couture designer of Armenian origins, Krikor Jabotian’s is one whose collections are always so captivating. The talented designer shares with Atelier his moods and sources of inspiration, his fashion mentors and how his Lebanese and Armenian roots affect his work. All of which led him to create his own embroidery “signature” found in most of his collections.

exquisite CREATIONS Interview with Krikor Jabotian


How did embroidery come to play such a vital part in your designs? I was first introduced to embroidery during my time at Elie Saab where a lot of dainty embroidery is utilized. I was quick to do my own research and deep dive into the world of embroidery that includes a myriad of techniques, developing new samples and often blending different styles.

I recently read that your collection start with “a mood”. Can you elaborate on that? Any type of mood can drive me to create. Sometimes it’s a positive force and sometimes it’s a negative situation that I want to turn around. What’s important is to constantly feel because feelings are the driving force of the imagination.

What inspires your designs? Anything; a piece of music, a movie but mainly a woman and the different character types she can possess. I draw inspiration from real life personalities and also draw up my own.

In what way was your collaboration with the world-famed Lebanese designer Elie Saab as an essential stage in your career? I feel the answer to this question would be better suited coming from Elie Saab himself.

Can you take us through your design process? It always starts with an idea that becomes more concrete with a sketch. Once we begin to physically realize the design, I let my spontaneity, instinct and eye command the process. The atelier is my playground and I feel at my utmost best when there. There is room for experimentation, trial and error and discovery so I allow my creativity to guide me.


In what way have your Lebanese and Armenian roots affected your work? Heritage is innate so without being aware you are molded by it. However, there a many traditions and aspects from both cultures that I am actively drawn to, not simply by default, such as generosity and dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to what you do.

Describe the woman you design for. The woman I design for is confident and chooses to always empower the people around her, she is beautiful because I believe that confidence is beauty.

Coco Chanel once noted, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” To what extent do you agree? Nobody is replaceable because we are each entirely unique. The important thing is to be the most honest version of yourself. Don’t try to conform or be someone else, because “everyone else is taken”.

What’s next for you? I’m always on the lookout for different and innovative techniques that allow me to express my vision in new ways as I don’t like to repeat myself.

exquisite CREATIONS



exquisite CREATIONS


Schemes to financially help the

Maltese Festa

Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government Owen Bonnici, together with Arts Council Malta, announced a one-time financial assistance scheme of €500,000 to support local band clubs and related voluntary organisations in the organisation of the Maltese Festa in 2022. This scheme is open to band clubs, voluntary fireworks factories, and Maltese feast decoration associations who have participated or will actively participate in a Maltese Festa this year. Who can apply for the scheme? Local band clubs and related volunteer organizations organizing Maltese and Gozitan feasts during 2022 are eligible for the scheme. It is a one-time deal. Between them, they can receive €6000 per cluster (€2000 per strand). An entity with a dual or triple function is entitled to €4000 or €6000, respectively. The scheme is open to organizations that have participated in, or will join in, a feast this year. “Through this scheme, we are recognising the hardships endured by various voluntary organisations due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Arts Council Director Mary Ann Cauchi. Arts Council Malta fully recognises the importance of safeguarding and promoting local traditions as part of our national identity. Moreover, this support scheme will continue to enhance the recognition of the Maltese Festa locally and abroad as part of our intangible cultural heritage. Official guidelines and applications will be available online from Friday 27th May 2022. For more information, kindly contact Arts Council Malta on 23347230 on weekdays between 09:00 and 16:00 or send an email to or visit


More financial help to our traditions Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government Owen Bonnici with Arts Council Malta also presented an investment in 29 fireworks factories to enhance health and safety standards. Interested fireworks factories applied for a scheme worth €170,000. This scheme, which has been issued every year since its inception in 2018, aims at bolstering the health and safety standards throughout the work carried out by hundreds of pyrotechnicians who work tirelessly, voluntarily, to prepare the Maltese Festa as part of the sociocultural fabric of our towns and villages. Through this scheme, we continue to build on our commitment to our traditional practices, especially those which complement the Maltese Festa, as part of our commitment to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of our country.

On behalf of Arts Council Malta, Director of Funding and Strategy Mary Ann Cauchi elaborated on the need for schemes that directly address our traditional culture. “We aim to ensure that the widest spectrum of society benefits from Arts Council Malta support opportunities for the benefit of everyone,” said Cauchi. Dating back several decades, the fireworks culture in Malta is still considered an artistic tourist attraction and is forming part of Maltese cultural heritage.

€5,000 per firework factory This scheme allocates up to €5,000 per fireworks factory to upgrade their infrastructure so that volunteers can work in a safer environment during the manufacturing process and the letting off fireworks. This scheme also allows funds to enable these factories to invest in resources that will improve our innovative pyrotechnic product quality while maintaining toplevel health and safety practices.

The scheme covers investment in equipment and gear to improve safety while the letting off of fireworks, investment in machinery and tools to facilitate the fireworks production process and increase production safety, investment in health and safety education resources in fireworks manufacturing, restoration of fireworks factories and efforts in strengthening cooperation between local and European fireworks factories.

The complete list of beneficiaries is available on



Perit Vincent Cassar

Frank, blunt, focussed and straight to the point with very little patience for those who try and beat around the bush. A fearless advocate of what is fair and quite vociferous on a number of issues related to the industry. That is a perfect way to describe, Perit Vincent Cassar, one of Malta’s most respected architects and the current Planning Authority Chairman. Perit Cassar shared with Atelier his journey in the profession and his views on key issues including green building, regeneration and sustainability.


How has architecture evolved over the past decades? Every decade has its characteristics and influences and architecture is not extraneous to such a process. Architecture has evolved through the years and has been influenced by the social, economic and historical situation of every nation. If we had to take Malta as an example architecture has evolved through the pre-historic temples to the Arab and Roman periods, the stately palaces and homes of the Knights, to the design of the vernacular in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the use of concrete, glass and steel in the 19th and 20th centuries. The latest move is from our traditional two/three storey dwellings to medium-rise and high-rise buildings. The current situations with the COVID pandemic and the emphasis on Climate Change are also having an influence on the design of our buildings. COVID has led us to consider having individual spaces in our homes in order to allow family members to work away from the office. The need of flexible office spaces and desks that can be used by different workers is also a result of COVID. Climate change will also lead us to consider building materials that emit a low level of CO2 in their production. It is a known fact that the construction industry is one major contributor to global carbon emissions, meaning the potential for positive impact within the sector is equally great. It is estimated that 40% of global carbon emissions are directly and indirectly influenced by the built environment sectors. Does this suggest that the design of buildings and the planning of cities can do much to counter climate change crisis? Yes, this represents an opportunity for those designing and building to be part of the solution to the climate crisis by providing better buildings in the process. What do you believe sustainable design is? What does it aim to accomplish? The word ‘sustainability’ assumes different forms and meanings. It depends on the context in which it is used. Sustainable design shouldn’t be considered as just a one-off technical fix, a matter of making sure the building ticks enough boxes, or of buying the most eco-friendly piece of cooling or heating technology. It should rather be integrated into the art of architecture. The ideal is that it should help buildings be all round better and longer-lasting. It could mean using more natural stone, less concrete, more eco-friendly materials. We are already seeing such a trend. The Cork House in Eton as its name implies is built out of cork, a material which is renewable, recyclable and highly insulating. Another example of sustainable construction is the Illford Community Market. Here there are no concrete foundations, but a timber structure stabilised by rocks in metal cages that can be demounted and reassembled with minimal waste or impact. This is one area that needs to be focused upon. Is our building stock sustainable enough? Do we have the necessary data and knowledge at hand to make the much-needed changes that need to be made? Are the experts – that is the architects who design our buildings and who contribute to our well-being and quality of life – available and trained to lead such a change? On the basis of the findings of the ‘Survey of the Built Environment Professions in the Commonwealth’, the Commonwealth Association of Architects together with other Commonwealth associations and with support from the Government of Rwanda and The Prince’s Foundation has developed a ‘Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth’. The Call to Action is addressed to Heads of Government in advance of the next CHOGM and calls for a greater focus on sustainable urbanisation in Commonwealth policy making.


In a recent article, Godofredo Enes Pereira points out; “architecture has always been an environmental agent.” To what extent do you agree? I totally agree. The design of buildings and hence architecture has a great influence on the environment. However, to what extent has this influence had on the environment? Has it enhanced the environment or has it ruined the environment? It is recognized, for example, that buildings are a major contributor to global warming. The operational carbon of buildings - meaning the emissions caused by HVAC, lighting, and other energy-consuming operations - is the biggest contributor and is a problem that needs to be tackled. Although it is vital to focus on the operating energy of new construction, yet the vast majority of our building stock already exists. “The greenest building is one that is already built” wrote Carl Elefante (2018 AIA President). “Demolition and new construction both come with a big carbon footprint. Meanwhile, existing buildings often offer charms and amenities that cannot be achieved affordably with new construction”. For buildings that are already in place, deep energy retrofits are a critical need that architects can help meet. “Retrofitting existing buildings to meet high-performance standards is the most effective strategy for reducing near-term and mid-term carbon emissions” says Elefante. We are trained to consider primarily the “in-use” costs of a building – heating, ventilation, lighting, water, waste, maintenance – and how to reduce these costs. However, there are also the “embodied energy” costs that go into construction and demolition: quarrying cement, smelting steel, brick making, shipping materials to site, putting them in place, taking them down again and disposing of them. Most building regulations across the world, including those in Malta, set reasonably high standards for the performance of buildings, but are silent on embodied energy. This needs changing – there’s little point building something that performs brilliantly in use, if it takes decades or centuries to pay back the expenditure of energy that went into its construction.


Concrete, for example, if used right, slows the rates at which a building cools down and warms up (good) but is made with cement, a material that singlehandedly accounts for about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. We can make a huge impact by changing how we practice architecture. If we don’t - and don’t do it soon - the effects will be drastic and irreversible. The famous British architect, Michael Pawlyn has recently noted; “We all fooled ourselves that sustainability was getting us where we needed to go and it was all making everything better.” To what extent do you agree? The word sustainability has been with us for a good number of years and there has been a great deal of discussion and emphasis in design, architecture and construction circles on creating sustainable environments. The focus has always been centered around the physical and economic aspects. The social, cultural and behavioral dimensions that also needed to be taken into consideration were not given the desired importance in decision making. Other aspects such as top-down policies and guidelines which aimed to develop strategies for the betterment of the environment worked against the bottom-up approach which could have allowed architects and planners to develop a better understanding of the underlying sustainability issues and develop innovative and more friendly technologies. Michael Pawlyn was right when he said that we were fooled in understanding that we were making everything better. We were only trying to suppress the harm that was already done and failed to prevent the multiple environmental crises from worsening. We were not thinking of ways and means how to address the real issues and be innovative. This is partly the result of the current changes we are experiencing in the world’s climate coupled with the global challenges of resource availability, water quality and increasing pollution. To what extent do you feel that architecture is currently stuck in what many architects define as an “outdated mitigation paradigm”? In the very words of Michael Pawlyn “we all thought we were making things better, and it’s painful to accept that most of that time we were just making things slightly less bad”. This is what the mitigation paradigm is all about. We thought that by our designs we were achieving improvements in the environment but what we were really doing was just lessening the effect of the harm that was being done. No major changes were being registered. This is all the result of what may be called the outdated top-down approach. Over the last decade, people have written standards and codes toward the creation of sustainable built environments. But have these policies, strategies, and guidelines been transformed into real practices? The answer is simply no, and if they have, the desired effect has not been achieved. Policies and guidelines are there to be followed but they are at times too prescriptive and do not leave enough room, or give enough direction, for the creativity of the architect or of the planner. Policies and guidelines are always generic and do not address specific building type. They also do not deal with building occupants and, moreover, they do not evolve over time to changing circumstances. There needs to be a change from the top-down to the bottom-up approach where architects and planners are given a more free hand to be more creative and explore new avenues. Here the architectural education of future architects comes into play and this needs to be tuned in the light of the emerging new realities and the fast changes in the social, cultural and physical environments.


Why do we urgently need to look at means to be regenerative? This is a process that we need to think about every day. The world around us is changing and new things – good and bad – are happening and shaping our lives. We need to think of ways and means of how we can overcome the different phenomena that are happening around us. Regenerative architecture is the practice of engaging the natural world as the medium for, and generator of architecture. It responds to and utilizes the living and natural systems that exist on a site that become the “building blocks” of architecture. Regenerative design is all about thinking ahead, where architects must design with the future in mind every step of the way. This idea of not just using fewer resources, but of replenishing and bettering the environment is what major design firms believe is the way of the future in architecture. Regenerative architecture is the current paradigm in the field of architecture and is one of degeneration and obsolete building technologies. Regenerative architecture has two focuses; it is an architecture that focuses on conservation and performance through a focused reduction on the environmental impacts of a building. Regenerative design in its simplest sense means striving for a positive impact. It generally involves a broader and deeper understanding of place and responding intelligently to the ecology, hydrology, geology and climatic aspects of the site. Regenerative thinking can influence design at every level: from large-scale landscapes to urban design, buildings and materials. To what extent do you feel Malta has a clear green building strategy? I do not feel that we have a clear and well-defined strategy. Moving towards a green building environment requires the concerted effort of all: government and the private sector. Green infrastructure is still a relatively new concept in Malta. Despite the lack of available funding in this area, a number of local policies drafted in the past years endorse the need of investment in green roofs and green walls, directly, or indirectly by promoting green infrastructure. In recent months the government took policy to action by heavily promoting Ambjent Malta’s Inħaddru Pajjiżna scheme for Local Council’s in Malta and Gozo. Various localities have benefitted from projects which aim to green urban areas, in particular those areas that are densely populated. However, up to now we have only seen an emphasis on initiatives for green walls and roofs for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. This is a good step forward but certainly not enough. Greening our buildings should not be an after-thought. It should be a point of departure and a basic element in the design of our buildings, our roads, our industrial estates, our schools, our commercial establishments. What still needs to be done on the local front? Although much has been said and done yet we still need to move to a frame of mind where ‘green’ is seen as our colour of change. We need to see more greenery in our urban areas. Trees provide many environmental, societal and economic benefits to people including supporting urban biodiversity, combatting heat, improving mental health and much more. We need to see that every development, large-scale and even small-scale ones, incorporate a green environment in their proposals. This should be a sine qua non. As already indicated ‘green’ should not be an after-thought but an essential element of every public and private development. We also need to be mindful of the concept of landscape architecture and give a voice to the profession of landscape architecture. We need to incorporate the principles of landscape architecture in the designs of our developments, whether national or private ones.


What is the next evolution in design? This is going to be shaped mainly by the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Climate Change initiatives. Moreover, the overall improvements in the environment and achieving a better quality of life for our citizens are also imperative. It is estimated that buildings account for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption, 36% of its CO2 emissions and 55% of its electricity consumption. This makes emissions and energy savings in this sector vital to meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets. The stock of buildings in the EU is relatively old, with more than 40% of it built before 1960 and 90% before 1990. Older buildings typically use more energy than new buildings. The rate at which new buildings either replace this old stock, or expand the total stock, is low. This implies that if the energy consumption of buildings is to be reduced the renovation of existing buildings is a key factor. Unlike operational energy as previously discussed, embodied energy occurs during the construction phase of a building. The embodied energy makes up a considerable part of the total energy use in buildings and considerable amounts of energy are spent in the manufacturing processes and transportation of various building materials. Manufacturing steel and concrete, for example, results in massive global warming impact. Reducing embodied carbon is a particularly important strategy because it will help us meet large scale emission reduction targets. To cut embodied carbon in new construction, we need to reduce our use of the highest-emitting materials like concrete, steel, aluminium, and foam insulation. We can get part of the way there by optimising systems to ensure we aren’t specifying more material than is needed for the job. As discussed above, the simplest and most effective way to slash embodied carbon in the short-term is to choose an existing building. However, architects tend to get more glory for designing a singular new building than they would if they worked out a good way of insulating old houses. Yet, as most of the building stock of the future is already with us, and as demolition and rebuilding entails the throwing away of whatever went into making the original building, the latter is likely to be more attractive than the former. Now is our chance to take decisive action, by developing patterns of design and building to improve the quality of life for people around the world, and by learning from and advancing the local knowledge and traditional methods that have been adapted to climate and context over generations. Britain’s engineers have already started urging the government to stop buildings being demolished. Making bricks and steel creates vast amounts of CO2, with cement alone causing 8% of global emissions. They say the construction industry should where possible re-use buildings, employ more recycled material, and use machinery powered by clean fuels. They are also concerned about “embodied emissions”, which is the CO2 emitted when buildings and materials are made. They also advocate several other built-environment suggestions including (i) the integration of circular design principles in all architecture, design and engineering degree courses, (ii) the introduction of mandatory product standards to reduce embodied emissions in construction materials, and (iii) the creation of markets for recycled construction materials through the introduction of tax adjustments and construction standards.




Beau Natalia Galea is one of the hot names in the local modelling industry. She is beautiful, young, bold, incredibly photogenic and with that sense of chic and glamour very few possess. It is by no coincidence that she has recently been crowned Miss World Malta. Oh, and she is a lawyer and also finds time to fit in charity work in-between. Natalia spills her beauty rules, tells us what it takes to be a successful model and how she juggles her busy agenda and her personal life.

Interview with Natalia Galea

MUA: Karl Zammit Nash


How did you start modelling? From a very young age, I was always inclined to the media and the arts. So much so that as a child I used to play pretend as an actor and newscaster. Then, in 2015 I took a step toward this dream of mine and I enrolled in a local pageant. However, it was in 2018 when I achieved the honour to represent my country in an international grand slam pageant. This experience then launched my career as a fashion and commercial model.


La Beau

What is your beauty regimen? I strongly believe that drinking lots of water and having healthy and balanced eating habits while also exercising regularly alongside a basic skincare routine is the way to go.

What is your favourite season? I personally don’t have one season I prefer, as all of them have different treasures to enjoy. Even so, I do think that in Summer the island life here in Malta is truly at its peak.



La Beau

Tell us about your personal style. My personal style is very broad in my opinion. I enjoy being casual and natural on my days off. Still, I also relish the glam and artistic side of me when going out.

Who are your favourite designers? My favourite duo locally are Charles & Ron. Internationally, I admire the work of Alessandro Michele.

What advice would you give someone starting out? Never stop working hard for your dreams. Always keep moving forward especially when you are struggling and facing setbacks. Remember that only you can hold yourself back from doing something that you set your mind to do. The industry is tough, but with perseverance, determination and hard work, there are no limitations to what can be accomplished.

What’s next for Natalia Galea? After several months of preparations, I will be proudly representing Malta at the 71st edition of Miss World. Nevertheless, in the meantime, I will also continue to pursue my dream of working as a model and an actress while carrying out my Miss World Malta duties.


Coding Jobs

SCIENCE Scientists use computer programming to analise the results of their experiments

DATA ANALYST Data Analysts use computer programming to analyse data and solve problems in business and finance


information technology IT professionals write so!ware that is used for everything from creating apps to driving cars

ENGINEERING Engineers use programming to design and test new products and conduct research

arts and design Designers use digital tools to create websites and design the physical products we buy






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Volume 13

Volume 13

The Beauty of Summer