Name: Paul Bishop
Company: Bishop Design by Paul Bishop
Position within company: Owner & Founder
Tell us a little about your background in design
I was fascinated by fashion and theatre during my teenage years, only having discovered interiors when I attended Kingston University in the United Kingdom. At the time, Interior Design was a relatively new concept with few individuals having practised in the sector previously. I was instantly infatuated with the process which led to the initiation of my engagement with interiors and design. Within the following academic years, I was fortunate enough to achieve my Master’s degree in Interior Architecture from Manchester University, United Kingdom and two bachelors; one in Interior Design from Kingston University, United Kingdom and the other in Furniture and Product design from Brighton University, United Kingdom.
An opportunity arose to move to Dubai in 1996 where I would spend the following eight years honing my skills as a designer prior to establishing my own firm. Recognized today as one of the most reputable design agencies across the Middle East, Bishop Design by Paul Bishop has collected over ninety regional and international awards since its humble beginnings back in 2004. In that time, we have also had the pleasure of working alongside some truly inspiring characters including Worlds Best Chef Massimo Bottura, Parisian Chef Jean-Edern Hurstel, and an array of esteemed hotel brands such as Jumeirah Group, JA Resorts and sbe for SLS hotels with each project evolving my skills and talent in the design field.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
Dubai for one is a saturated market when it comes to hospitality so I always prefer to break away from what is considered the norm and create thought-provoking experiences. Accredited for being a “disruptor” of our time, I like to think that here at Bishop Design we boast the passion, drive and expertise to create ground-breaking interiors.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I enjoy bringing sentiments from the past and re-interpreting them into today’s modern landscape; always remaining tasteful and innovative whilst bringing authenticity to create connection. Inspiration announces itself in many forms whether it be through film, art or music and as designers we are inspired by everything that surrounds us; it’s all about how we evolve these inspirations to create beautiful and functional spaces.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Design has always been a method of story-telling as a means to authentically connect with the end-user and we are now moving into a united society whereby the crave for connection will hit its peak. Interior spaces will therefore prioritize narrative conception as designs that are merely aesthetically pleasing are no longer adequate enough in creating genuine connections nor memorable experiences for guests.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in the future.
Technology – Looking head to how consumers will use spaces, with their evolving requirements over time, technology advancements will be at the forefront of creating designs that satisfy consumer needs.
Biophilia – An evolving tech industry goes hand in hand with Biophilic design. Being surrounded by industrial environments and unprecedented technological solutions can leave individuals feeling alienated, in turn developing a burning desire to re-connect with the natural world.
Local Artisans – Whether it be for a statement artwork or hand-crafted furniture piece, Clients are dedicating increased efforts to displaying the work of local artists across their spaces. Promoting home-grown creatives enhances authenticity and offers operators endless opportunities to interchange art pieces as time goes on; enabling a continuously engaging space for consumers.
Finely Curated Spaces – As we experience a refreshing wave of minimalism, spaces will become animated through objects and discreet details. Stripped back architectural styles, such as Brutalism, are making their come-back which will influence designers to explore accessories and subtle components as a means of enhancing these dynamically inherited envelopes.
Versatility – A new-found appreciation for flexibility will prevail across all sectors of design as user requirements and perceptions have placed the idea of multi-function on a pedestal. It is integral that interior spaces have the ability to satisfy differing expectations and can be adapted with minimal effort if and when required.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Never underestimate the importance of spatial planning. Establishing operational flow is integral to the functionality of a design.
How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
The International Hotel & Property Awards celebrate the highest calibre of design to promote the true pioneers of our age. Constantly inspiring us to innovate designs like never before, our position as a leading design firm stands is certainly influenced by this competition. After four years of entering the awards a humble feeling of pride remains prominent as we prepare each submission and compete against some of the biggest game-changers in our industry.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are incredibly grateful to our Clients and their collection of 20+ projects that are currently ongoing within the studio, inclusive of the highly anticipated SLS Hotels & Residences which is set to make its debut this year and a Millennial social destination in the form of a hotel situated beside Dubai’s EXPO 2020 Site, which are just a finite selection among the extensive list of hotels created for globally accredited hotel chains.
As a company we have recently also signed our largest project to date. Based in The Bahamas, this project requires a multitude of services inclusive of architecture, branding, food and beverage consultancy, interior design and landscaping whereby we will collaborate with our creative subdivision Rogue by Bishop Design to offer these complex cohesive solutions. Consisting of two developments, a Yacht Club, Marina and Boutique Hotel as well as a 34-villa complex with leisure facilities, the sheer scale of this project is a true testament to our passion, expertise and determination to consistently evolve as creative specialists.
Esteemed brands such as Hilton, Intercontinental, Marriot, Raffles by Accor, Rotana and an array of boutique brands have commissioned us over the last 12 months which is a huge testament to our dedication to nurturing the hospitality industry.
What was your favourite project to work on and why?
Each project offers exciting opportunities for innovative exploration, yet the projects that stand out the most as “favourites” always involve a strong relationship with the Client whereby they share their inspiring vision for the project and trust our ability to combine these ideas with our own design passion and expertise. These exciting collaborations achieve a united vision of passionate individuals which ultimately creates remarkable projects.
What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
Although our mindsets and vision were seamlessly compatible, being commissioned to perfectly capture the vision of someone as creative as Massimo Bottura was certainly challenging. However, opportunities to create projects such as Torno Subito do not present themselves very often so the task of designing for such an inspirational and revolutionary figure will always remain a monumental experience for the studio. All projects come with their own inherent challenges but the ultimate joy lies in the thrill of innovating unique solutions to overcome these hurdles and create extraordinary designs.
Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
My scale ruler, compo pen and draughting paper!
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Myself and the team wish to diversify our presence across an international footprint which has seen us to commence the process of expanding our office premises to Miami, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Introducing our leading Middle Eastern agency to these locations is a significant milestone and one that we are absolutely devoted to focusing on in the proceeding 12 months to follow.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Romance! And my collection of vintage Lambretta’s and Vespas!!
Your favourite holiday destination?
Napoli and more recently, Prague.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Mustang Blu, Amazonico in Madrid and Sala Equis. (However, my trips to London are incomplete without a dinner at Wong Kei’s!)
Your favourite book, film & song?
Questions of Space by Bernard Tschumi, Blade Runner and Mad World (when I was 12 this was a very inspirational song to me.)
Your favourite food and drink?
Spicy food all the way, washed down with a fine bourbon.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Good food, great drinks shared with amazing friends.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Anything else interesting?
Diversifying from interiors, I am personally developing a finite selection of product design pieces. One is a lighting feature for renowned manufacturer Artemide, whilst another is a portable gentleman’s bar. The Rogue Star Bar by Potrona Frau is an absolute necessity for any modern gentleman. I have also devoted efforts into curating a wallpaper collection in collaboration with Robert Durrant for WallArt whereby the recently launched pieces are inspired by urban environments.
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