LDF 2013 Lecture Series – In conversation with Alidad


The London Design Festival is a love fest of design that takes place over a 2 week period every year. This year a large number of exhibitions and several major trade shows such as Tent London, 100% Design and Focus took place all over London over 9 days from September 14 – 22nd.

Out of all the trade shows and exhibitions however, it is Decorex that I look forward to the most. Decorex is a trade show exclusively geared towards the Interior Design industry. All the major companies and suppliers associated with the industry take part and walking up and down the aisles provides one with a lot of jaw dropping inspiration and a feast on the eyes.

It is also here that I get the opportunity to watch and listen to some of the best Interior Designers in the world discuss and provide insight into a profession that I most eagerly want to be a part of. It is through the Decorex Seminar programme, that I get the most inspiration. This year I managed to attend several talks and I’m going to share my learnings with you over the next week or so.

The first seminar I attended in the series was an informal chat with world renowned Interior Designer Alidad. Giles Kime (Deputy Editor of Homes & Gardens Magazine) asked Alidad a series of questions around his life, work and design philosophy. Here are some of the key points I took from the conversation.



  • Alidad studied Computer Science. He then went on to complete a one year course at Sotheby’s and was then hired by the company and eventually became Sotheby’s youngest departmental director for Islamic works of art and textiles.
  • He believes that Interior Design is ingrained in mathematics


  • There are some things that just cannot be done, for example you cannot turn a North facing room into a sunny bright lit room. You have to have the confidence to say no to your clients.
  • Every client comes in with baggage. You need to work with and understand it. I learn a lot about the clients wants through conversations not related to designing their home. Understanding a clients personality and baggage will help you create the right home for them.


  • Always remember that first and foremost you are creating a home for your client. It has to have their things and show their personality.
  •  Regardless of the style or period you are trying to create, it still has to relate to a modern existence. These days, everyone uses technology and although a client might love an 18th Century style, they still live in a modern world that your design will need to accommodate.
  • Proportion is the most important element in a design. To the untrained eye something might seem slightly off, it is usually the proportion that is causing the problem.
  • Give everything a function, for example a veranda that was a derelict space was re-created into another room.
  • It’s not enough to make a room beautiful, you need to think about functionality, how will it work, what is it used for, the traffic flow of the room. Comfort and usability are just as important as looks.
  • It’s the details that show in the end.
  • There is always a lot of change within the design process and it is normal for trial and error to take place over and over again until you get the right scheme.
  • A lot of the time there will be architectural details or flaws you cannot change, in this instance scaling up furniture can help remedy the problem.
  • Listen to the story of the house, it has a lot to tell you. Look into the history of it and use it to help with inspiration of the design.
  • Always future proof and think about the longevity of what you are doing.


I found Alidad to be a very candid and passionate designer who designs first and foremost for his clients. His designs are exotic and ornate, however he did attest to also designing more minimal schemes based on clients needs. His genius is that he has the ability to mix many seemingly unrelated patterns and styles together effortlessly.  Information on Alidad’s work can be seen at Alidad.com. He also has just released a book called The Timeless Home.  I hope you enjoyed the first post in this lecture series. I’ll be back for more on Thursday. Till then. xD

Image Source: Alidad.com


6 responses to “LDF 2013 Lecture Series – In conversation with Alidad

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