x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The now and the future

Australian designer Marc Newson celebrates his spectacular new London pad and a student from Sharjah scoops design prize.

A detail of Neha Lalwani's project exploring the concept of high fashion in interiors which won the inaugural Interiors UAE design competition.
A detail of Neha Lalwani's project exploring the concept of high fashion in interiors which won the inaugural Interiors UAE design competition.

Chalet chic The international design press is busy cooing over the Australian designer Marc Newson's spectacular new London pad. He and his wife, the stylist Charlotte Stockdale, wanted a larger space, the kind more often found inside an industrial building; however, both dislike "cold" lofts. So they looked to chalets for their interiors inspiration instead. "The thing about chalets," Newson told Vogue, "is that they're naturally cosy, no matter how big they are."

Using the Swiss chalet owned by the film director Roman Polanski and featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest as their reference point - the couple's new living room has a river rock wall and a Tyrolean-style antler chandelier, picked up at an auction in Austria. The overall result has been to preserve a sense of volume, while creating an atmosphere and warmth that is often difficult to achieve in a large space. I see a new trend coming on - you read it here first. In the meantime, check out Dubai's Kempinski Hotel for chalet chic inspiration.

Sharjah student scoops design prize The organisers of the recent Interiors UAE show in Abu Dhabi launched an interior design competition in conjunction with the internationally renowned Inchbald School of Design and the UK-based interior design firm, RPW, which offered a six-month internship as the prize. In the current climate design competitions are few and far between, not to mention the chance to work and experience the day-to-day operations at a professional design studio.

That makes this a wonderful opportunity for budding local talent. So, congratulations to Neha Lalwani, a student at the American University of Sharjah, who won the inaugural competition, which asked students to explore the concept of "high fashion" to produce a scheme that satisfies the four key elements of residential design: "sleep, eat, play and bathe". A name to watch for in the future.

Yvonne Courtney is the co-founder of design/publishing consultancy and ezine designtastic.net