Page 30 - Dubai Real Estate Magazine, Sept 2017 Publication | Better Homes LLC
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An unstoppAble


                            Interior designer Pallavi Dean on her work
                            ethic, design experiences and giving back

                                                 Interview: Lucy Land
           orn and raised in Dubai, Pallavi Dean                        they needed a designer. Now they come to
        Bbegan her career in architecture before                        Dubai. PDI is only a few years old, yet we
        moving effortlessly into interior design,                       have projects in Tanzania, Uganda, Oman,
        launching Pallavi Dean Interiors (PDI) in                       London, Saudi Arabia and beyond. Dubai
        2013. The award-winning design director                         is home to the world’s busiest international
        also added product designer to her CV                           airport – there is literally nowhere better to
        last year, having launched her ‘Tension’                        have a global business.
        furniture collection – which explores the
        cultural pressures she experiences through                      To what do you credit PDI’s success?
        the physical tension between the materials                      Two things. First, I’m relentless – I never
        in the range. The multi-talented designer                       take no for an answer and keep going until
        reveals what makes her tick…                                    I find the perfect design solution. That’s easy
                                                                        to say but very hard to do, and requires a
        What sparked your love for interiors?                           huge amount of emotional energy. Second,
        I grew up in Dubai in the 1980s and ’90s,                       we don’t have set working hours at PDI. For
        just as it was embracing design and about to                    years, our industry has made people sit at a
        make a splash on the world stage. Jumeirah                      desk for 10 to 12 hours a day and expected
        Beach Hotel opened in 1997 when I was 16:                       them to be creative. That’s nuts! Our model
        it was the first time Dubai used architecture                   is definitely the future.
        – blatantly and brazenly – to publicise itself
        around the world.                                               What has been your most challenging
         More personally, my dad loved art and                          project so far?
        architecture, so took me to a drawing class                     A beauty salon that just opened at Jumeirah
        every Friday morning from the age of seven.                     Al Naseem hotel, called Mrs B. The space is
        I studied architecture at university and                        the size of a small one-bedroom apartment,
        spent my early career as an architect, but                      yet it feels open and expansive because we
        switched to interiors when I realised that                      created a mezzanine floor (despite everyone
        people spend much of their time indoors.                        telling us it was impossible).

        How would you describe your design philosophy?    What are you currently reading?
        Our mantra is ‘create experiences through design’. For a home,   They are both design books: Dezeen Book of Interviews by
        that means designing experiences the family will cherish:   Marcus Fairs; and This Human: How to Be the Person Designing
        cooking leisurely weekend breakfasts together; having the   for Other People by Melis Senova.
        kids’ friends over for playdates; hosting stylish dinner parties;
        meditation and yoga – whatever’s important to you.  What is your favourite piece of furniture?
                                                          Moroso Double Zero dining chairs.
        How are you finding the local design scene?
        Well, we have a design scene, which we didn’t 10 years ago.   What is the biggest interior design mistake people make?
        Spaces like Dubai Design District (d3) and Alserkal Avenue   They find a sofa they quite like that’s on sale, and suddenly
        provide the backbone, while design fairs, such as Downtown   this random hunk of wood and foam is dictating every design
        Design and INDEX, provide a platform. Emirati designers,   decision. Set out shopping after you’ve chosen your look.
        including Khalid Shafar and Aljood Lootah, are flourishing.
         Increasingly, I’m focused on mentoring other designers. I’m   What is your top décor tip?
        going back to teach part time at my alma mater American   Listen and set your priorities. Ask everyone who will live in
        University of Sharjah this semester, which is all part of giving   the space (including yourself) to close their eyes and imagine
        back to the design community that has given me so much.  the perfect moment. If it’s lying in a bath with candles and soft
                                                          music, blow your budget on a spa-like bathroom. If it’s cooking
        How have you found the transition from working on UAE-  for friends and entertaining, invest in a kitchen that will be the
        based projects to going international?            beating social heart of your home.
        Until very recently, clients in, for example, Saudi Arabia or
        Africa would automatically go to London or Singapore if

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