The dialogue with the interior designer, Shad Askari, is not without depth. The latter carries historical and philosophical charges about design, and he looks forward to the region being one of the pioneers of design in the world in the near future. Between Sweden, Italy and the Emirates, a military man of Kurdish origin has moved around, taking on projects around the world that reflect a vision that does not transcend the past, without losing sight of the future.
More on Askari’s design philosophy, in the following dialogue.
Born and raised in Sweden, where you established your first design studio. How did growing up influence the interest in the Scandinavian style?
Scandinavian design has always been a part of me; The inspiring architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe described this style of the time by saying: “Less is more”, meaning that the ability to create through minimalism should be shown in terms of form, noting that form is one are some of the most important parts. Difficult to design. The characteristics of Scandinavian design include the use of minimal materials, but this leads to richness, especially since the materials are sourced from the earth, which increases the value of any room. Contrary to popular belief, the application of minimalist design is not easy.. It is worth noting that important engineers have provided important forms and structures that show how to build in a smooth way. This is one of the strong assets of Scandinavian design.
A rich history
Tell us about the integration of the Scandinavian and Mediterranean styles in your projects?
Each of the two styles mentioned in your question has a long history. Therefore, the fusion of the two styles with each other produces a combination that I see as the most beautiful, whether in terms of materials originating from the Mediterranean countries, such as: stone and richer furniture design, or the spread of a feeling of calmness, zen , and simplicity of the Scandinavian countries through artwork. It is worth noting that architecture and design were born in these geographical regions (the Mediterranean and Scandinavian countries), so it is important to understand the basis of this fusion. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some of the best architects in the world, and they have been my mentors, teaching me how to create a foundation for any structure, drawing inspiration from the calm and stability of Scandinavia, and then infusing the design with history, drawing inspiration from Italy to provide the best mix.
What are the lessons that remain in your mind from your university years in Italy?
I had the honor of studying at one of the best universities, and then working with the big names, in the field of design and architecture. However, it is very rare to learn from people who are pioneers in these fields, despite my personal friendship with the majority of architects and furniture designers. On the other hand, however, it facilitates the creation of a self-design and architectural vision.
She was previously honored in Egypt for designing houses to shelter refugees in crisis areas; What are the unique features of these homes?
In 2016 I traveled to Iraq and helped with the refugee crisis; Consequently, I decided to do what could benefit these people living in tents and facing dire conditions. I set out to design a cost-effective shelter that meets the needs of its occupants after a team and I interviewed many refugees to understand their needs. Then I built the house, in a way that can be installed and packed in a box, so that the refugee can install it himself, similar to the “Lego” cubes, without the need to use screws, and note that this house is also useful for housing a school or a hospital. The refugee is given the “house” upon his arrival in the camp, so he builds it, with the possibility of adding parts to it, if he finds a need for it. The design protects against cold and heat. I was honored for this design by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, as part of the first edition of the World Youth Forum in 2017, held in Egypt. It is worth noting that my design “studio” created the project from the ground up, and that part of the proceeds of the projects I undertake are due to the development of the shelters.
What are the most challenging tasks in your projects?
The challenge is to educate the user about the history and strength of each part of any business. Every designer has a philosophy behind his creativity, and the latter is not limited to, for example, just making attractive furniture. Sharing this philosophy seems a privilege to me, although not everyone appreciates it. So, I don’t formulate anything quickly, I take the time for each project to meet the client’s expectations.
Culture of the GCC countries
What is the effect of contact with the worlds of East and West, as a result of moving and living between the countries of East and West, on your style?
I hope that the West and the East will inspire me, without excluding the culture of the GCC countries. In the projects I undertake, it is not always a matter of simply adding what can be imported, but rather of imprinting the work with a design identity, drawing inspiration from other parts of the world, and from that creating new to build designs.
How do you see the future of design in the Middle East?
This region is developing very quickly, and in a way that surpasses anywhere else. I see designers trying to adapt parts of the world to their design work in the region, but I hope and work to create a history and philosophy of design and creativity. Architecture and design have a history, and developments over time, and we must not forget that. It is true that we are not the fathers and mothers of architecture and design, but we can show the world that we are the pioneers of the future, in these fields.
What are your future plans?
I intend to expand the business by opening more “studios” abroad, and I think Italy and the United States are good candidates for that. Within Dubai, I aim to coordinate with commercial real estate developers, because I see a gap in the luxury high-rise building market between the exterior architecture and the interior of the apartments, so I would like to bridge this gap and take care of the Interior design.
Shad Askari, a Kurdish-Swedish interior design engineer currently residing in Dubai; He founded SA Interior Design Studio in Stockholm in 2017, before opening a new branch in Dubai. He worked as a hotel manager and commander in the Swedish military forces, before moving to Rome to study interior design at the Istituto Europeo di Design.
The designer is fluent in six languages, which helps him while traveling as he works on a range of projects across Europe. He believes that travel is a source of great strength and passion, and attaches to this hobby the role of renewing the vision, which makes it possible to read reality in a different way, as well as to draw inspiration in design.