Name: Meriem Hall
Company: Meriem Hall Designs
Position within company: Owner / Director
Tell us a little about your background in design.
Design can take on many forms. It can be interpreted in many ways. But for it to be memorable, it must be created with passion. It must tell a story. I am first of all a storyteller, a designer, an architect and an entrepreneur. I have been in the world of design for over 25 years, starting in set design then moving into high-end retail – designing home furnishings, home wares and gifts collections. This “set the stage” for my transition into hospitality design, acquiring luxury hotel, villa and resort projects with some of the leading hotels and boutique developments in and across Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. I received my education in countries all over the world, but my training in Paris at ENSA Paris Malaquais, graduating with a Master in Architecture.Living in various places means constantly having to reinvent myself. Like my designs, I adapt to my surroundings, which means I have worked for both large and small hospitality design firms and applied those learnings to my own company, Meriem Hall Designs. I indeed have the structured mind of an architect, and the flare of a designer, but I also possess the bold spirit of an entrepreneur.
How would you describe your personal design style?
Hard to tell…elegant, multi-layered, polished ethnic-chic and quintessential.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Deep empathy with the cultures the projects belong to, fashion, mixed cultures, ethnicities.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Away from cold minimal, form focused, going towards more meaningful, responsible, aware, timeless and multi culturally inspired.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.
Fashion-Ethnic, Boutique, Parisian, Vintage Miami, decalé Chelsea London, bold James Bond style.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?
Simplify, refine the detail and follow a story. Have a purpose and a design intent.
How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
They are incredibly important. They set the standards for future developments.
What projects are you currently working on?
A five star business Hotel in New Delhi and three beach Resorts in Maldives.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Develop further my Design Direction consultancy work. Establish more presence in Europe and Africa.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself…
Your most treasured possession?
My iPod. I don’t go anywhere without my music.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Bermuda… and get lost in the triangle.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
I am torn between Park Hyatt Dubai on the Creek, Amangani, Jackson Hole Wyoming, Restaurant Le Chantecler at the Negresco in Nice,
the rooftop Bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai.
Your favourite book / film / song?
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Out of Africa and the 1ere et 3eme Gymnopedie of Eric Satie / Miles Davis, Flamenco sketches – Kind of Blue.
Your favourite food and drink?
Lebanese Kebbe, Senegalese Tiep ou diene and a Gevrey Chambertin, just not together.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Wandering in Saint Germain, getting naturally inspired, shopping au Bon Marche, ending with Champagne and tartines with good friends at the Café de Flore.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
An active member of the United Nations if I think a bit. But spontaneously: A 747 Jumbo jet pilot.
Voting for the International Hotel & Property Awards 2015 is now open [click here] to cast your vote!