Talking about "Material and Design honesty", our Founder Grammatiki Zamani has joined other industry professionals for a roundtable discussion at NGC Nafees showroom in Dubai
The Middle East has a long history of opulent and maximalist design, particularly in the realm of residential interiors. However, a recent panel discussion hosted by NGC Nafees and Commercial Interior Design magazine aimed to explore whether this aesthetic preference has shifted towards minimalism.
The panel consisted of Lara Francis el Hani from Kling Consult, Grammatiki Zamani of kiklos architects, Leali Ezzat from ELE Interiors, and Hannah Bower Brooks of Cherwell Interiors. The discussion was led by Marina Mrdjen from Intelier, who explored practical examples of local home design projects.
Global supply chain disruptions
How have global supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affected your current projects?
“One significant change that came with the pandemic is the way designers are creating a project,” said Grammatiki Zamani. “We used to create a concept and then find materials available in the local market to implement it, but now we research materials first before creating a concept to minimise transit times.”
In conclusion, the panel discussed that the shift towards minimalism in home design in the Middle East is an ongoing process that presents challenges and opportunities for designers in the region. As Lara Francis el Hani noted, “The biggest challenge is creating bespoke elements that meet the client’s unique needs but also ensure quality and longevity.” NGC Nafees held a panel discussion in their newly renovated showroom.
Prevailing style and new tastes
How would you define the prevailing style in local residential interiors, and is there a change in the local taste currently underway?
The local taste in interior design and architecture in the UAE is highly influenced by the diverse backgrounds of its residents, who come from all over the world. The pandemic has also had an impact on the design preferences of homeowners, who are now looking for more comfort and practicality in their homes. In response to these changing preferences, a shift towards minimalism has started taking place in the UAE, with people becoming less afraid of empty spaces and focusing more on creating a calm and natural ambience.
“What I’ve seen change is that people are now coming to the forefront of the space,” said Grammatiki Zamani. “So the interest in shaping an interior and architecture is more about the spatial experience rather than the elements themselves that go inside the space. People have started realizing that what’s required is to start removing from a design rather than adding more elements.”
The local taste in the UAE is constantly evolving and adapting to changing preferences and lifestyles. Homeowners are now looking for a more comfortable and practical living space, with a focus on minimalism and simplicity. However, there is also a trend towards more colourful and expressive design styles, with an emphasis on natural finishes and an appreciation for brutalism and maximalism.
Emerging trends in residential interiors for 2023 and beyond
The panel of experts also discussed emerging trends in residential interior design for 2023 and beyond. Natural materials and slicker shapes are becoming more popular, and clients are more informed and know what they want in terms of materials and design.
“The trend is shifting towards making the home a place of enjoyment and comfort, rather than just a space to show off to guests,” noted Leali Ezzat. “Nowadays when we have clients, the experience is a bit different because clients travel and they know what they want. They study it, they look at many options, and they are informed about materials. So when it comes to the time of designing, they already know what they want. It makes the process a little bit easier.”
The panelists emphasised the importance of using natural materials and textures, such as textured fabrics and stones, to create a warm and comfortable environment. Grammatiki stated: “I can see that natural materials, not imitations anymore, slicker shapes, and more organic forms are what’s coming into fashion. I think that is going to stay with us for the next year for sure.”
The use of neutral colours with accents of greens, sages, and terracottas is also becoming popular. Hannah shared her thoughts: “Whether it’s the tactile nature of fabrics, natural materials, and stones that are sustainable, blending the inside and outside is very important. We’re seeing a lot of textural elements in materials that are used, with neutral colours that allow for layering. Detail is still important but controlled and restrained. Comfort is key, and luxury is coming from how spaces are being used. Automation and control are becoming more important, and there’s a lot of warmth coming through in some of the colours, such as greens, sages, terracottas, and other organic colours.”
The panelists highlighted the growing trend of barefoot luxury, where the focus is on creating spaces that feel luxurious to touch and interact with, including textured fabrics and natural finishes.
James Prathap, general manager at NGC Nafees, joined the panel and introduced the latest trends in wallpaper design. He said, “In Dubai, it’s a very dynamic market and we are influenced by people around the globe. They come with their culture, they come with their design aesthetics and patterns. As a company, we stock more than 18,000 products in Dubai. So we have to be sensible and mindful of choosing the right products.”