It's true that there are many things that are common among and across disciplines. It came to me over the last few months as I've been redecorating my home, that many of the principles of designing your space are akin to the principles of "designing your life." But, alas, you've heard enough from me, so I took the liberty of sitting down with my designer Wassim Nader of The Old Souk Trading Company to get his take on design and the challenges that process represents. As both a designer and engineer, his understanding of the issues is insightful.
Wassim, so let me ask you formally, what's the biggest problem that you think prevents people from realizing their design vision?
I'd say that it's a combination of intimidation and lack of patience. Starting with the latter, some people are just plain old intimidated by the design process- thinking that they don't have the funds or time to get professional input, but that is often a very incorrect assumption.
Second is patience- no clear design can be realized overnight, it takes time, discussion and some good old fashioned hunting to find the right pieces that brings the whole thing together.
What are the key issues that need to be considered in envisioning a cohesive overall design philosophy?
Emotion. What do you want to fee when you walk into your space- warmth, simplicity, strength, power...just to name a few. What do you want others who visit your space to feel? The emotions guide a lot of choices, color, decor, layout, etc. Emotions change as you walk through a home. Each room can change emotion while still adhering to an overall vision.
What are the major mistakes people make when they set out to develop a design that reflects their overall style?
Two things really;
- Fear of starting over, letting go of what you have is a big step, literally or figuratively;
- Buying something that you don't really like only because it matches- ultimately that can turn you away from a room, in effect closing off part of your house
There are certainly no shortage of "one stop" alternatives right, we've all seen the ads from the furniture "big box" stores. Why do these stores come up short in helping people create an enduring design?
Quality and meaning mainly. Let's face it; you get what you pay for. But that doesn't mean someone on a tighter budget can't still find high quality pieces that fit their vision. I work with clients to repurpose existing older pieces that have solid construction as well as picking up used pieces that are in nearly flawless that can still "WOW."
Meaning, the essence behind a piece or a design, is probably the more important aspect. When you buy something from a box store it's usually mass-produced and, while it may look great, it has no real meaning or enduring value to share with you; let alone with future generations.
It's importnat that your space reflect your personality and none of us are empty mass produced pieces. We are individuals, each with our own unique perspective on the world. As designers, it's our job to make sure that the pieces we place in with our clients add meaning to both the room as well as them personally. If you have a guest over, do you want to say, "I found that pillow and it looks nice..." or; "This is handmade by artisans out of antique carpets." The item with the story will escape the garbage can year after year. That's one of the benefits of creating an enduring design. You "curate" it and add to it over time, it lasts because the meaning behind the design lasts as well.
Ok, last question; if there was one thing you wish potential customers would do, what would that be and; since you see the work of other designers frequently, what's one thing about their work you'd like to see changed?
To potential customers I would say, let's start a conversation- about you and your vision and see where there may be potential to get you where you want to be. I think that once you start the conversation it's easy to get the ball rolling.
In terms of other designers, I where I would like to see some changes would be in listening more. Listen to what your clients tell you about their ideal situation, it's not a time to unload your showroom on their floor for the sake of a quick dollar. And, don't be stubborn about your ideas just because you're the professional, great enduring design is a collaboration between the client and designer, it's a mutual creation.
Wassim Y. Nader is a professional engineer, interior designer and collector with nearly 30 years experience in design. He has a focused eye for the unusual enabling him to work with clients to create innovative and individually unique solutions to meet the needs of a diverse consumer base.
Wassim, along with his wife Jennifer and their business partner, Karen Wenschhof, founded The Old Souk Trading Company in 2011 to bring unique high quality decorative pieces to their clientele, along with an eye for innovative design.
If you have any questions for Wassim, you can email him using the form below.