Name: Vera Dieckmann
Company: XO Atelier
Position within company: Founder & Creative Director
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I graduated 23 years ago as an Engineer in the field of Architecture. Shortly after graduation I made the decision to focus on Interior Design.
I was able to hone my skills working for renowned and established design practices including David Ling in NY , Gunther Spitzley in Zürich, Matteo Thun Studio in Milan and dwp Malaysia as well as for Global Hospitality chains including Marriott Holding and FRHI. This gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge in product design and the custom creation of lighting installations, furniture, carpets and accessories.
It’s this broad passion and desire to create unique spaces and objects that propelled me to start my own studio, so that I could offer clients the customised service and support that they need.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My interior design style can be defined as modern and minimalistic with sleek, elegant elements.
I love it when a design appears structured and linear, with geometrical elements, but from another perspective gives you a completely different experience.
I am very driven by the selection of colours and materials in my projects. I love exploring unusual materials and new colour combinations, playing with harmony and contrast to create subtle impacts.
Our projects are often characterised by the use of bespoke items that we create with leading manufacturers. From artwork to furniture and joinery, we build objects that when assembled create an overall atmosphere that is completely original.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I am a very visual person and find inspiration everywhere. Most of the time in nature, but sometimes it could be something synthetic – a surface or a film set that sparks my imagination. I travel constantly and find it’s the most useful moment for my creativity, which is why I always travel with a Moleskin so I can sketch or take notes for later.
When it comes to design heroes, it has to be Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. I love the vision and ambition of design from the 30’s to 50’s.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
We received a lot of positive feedback on our recent projects like Toplum and the light installation we collaborated on with Lasvit. They are both supernatural; highly curated, integrating carefully chosen materials and surfaces so they are transformative; appearing different during the day and night. Being able to create work that synergises with the more esoteric desires seems to growing in popularity generally, and this is definitely our experience.
As a young studio with offices in Hong Kong and Dubai, there are distinct differences in how the market is moving regionally – there is a greater need for individuality, creating drama and a sense of theatre to draw in the consumer or user, and no longer just superfluous luxury and a cookie cutter approach.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Lighting and light reflection
Surfaces and structures
High tech material verses manufacturing tradition
The individual – the human experience
Don’t be derivative, always try to invent something new
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Create spaces that speak to the soul.
How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Based on our young studio and the chance to be nominated with our first project, The International Hotel & Property Awards is very important for us.
This award would not just offer us the acknowledgment of a highly credible platform, but moreover would allow us to bring on board more talented designers and artists that can join us on our journey. It would give us the fuel to continue to take on new projects that we approach with passion and positivity, experienced not only by the client but by each and every collaborator and user of the space.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently working on two private residences in the UAE for local clients, as well as two F&B projects in Dubai and an additional four in Saudi Arabia.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
My goals is to grow and to develop XO Atelier in the two regions we are currently targeting. I am also keen to progress my product design collaborations with Italian manufacturing partners, that we hope to launch at next year’s Salon del Mobile.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Beside my Mac Book Pro, it’s probably the ring I designed by myself. I usually wear it all the time and it’s already become more like a talisman.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Chiang Mai , Thailand
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
137 Pillar House , Chiang Mai, Thailand
Il Carpaccio, Paris
THE ROOF , THE PUBLIC HOTEL, New York
Your favourite book, film & song?
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
James Bond – Casino Royal
Paint it Black – Rolling Stones
Your favourite food and drink?
Thai Food and Champagne
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Listen to music while sketching all day or drinking coffee with my daughter while exploring new cities.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
An artist, definitely a painter
XO Atelier have been shortlisted for Restaurant – Global Award in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2020.
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