THE SECRETS OF OUR SUCCESS: In Conversation with Abboud Malak

Ramya Chidambaran
Manager at Downtown Design, International Trade Fair, Dubai, 27 – 30 October 2015

Downtown Design speaks to the region’s top architects and interior designers to discover how their unique values inform a successful business strategy.

Abboud Malak, founder of Studio M Dubai talks to Downtown Design about design vision and passion for interior architecture.

Tells us about the projects that Studio M is handling at the moment?

We are currently handling some high-end residential, corporate and restaurant projects with unique and innovative concepts rooted in modernism.

How do you feel that Studio M offers a different experience to the client as opposed to others in the market? How do you create your own unique value in the market?

Being a boutique firm our value lies in our size- the principal designers are involved in the entire design and execution process, thus offering a bespoke experience. We only take on work that we strongly believe in and connect to emotionally and always seek to create unique spaces that add value in the vast Dubai design landscape. We are immersive in our approach, apply thought holistically and only take on work where we are involved until the completion of the project. We try to create emotional experiences and not purely visual ones.

What are your core values that make you a successful design firm?

We are passionate about Interior Architecture. We dedicate a lot of time to each project refining our work and always seeking better solutions and better details. We are very curious and continue exploring and searching the world for new ideas and methods. Above all we listen and incorporate the clients wishlist in the design process while ensuring reliability from the beginning.

What are the top 3 reasons a prospective client should choose you?

• Studio M is a local design studio with an international set-up and a well-established contractor support base.
• We offer a boutique style studio experience with a hands-on approach to design and execution.
• We deliver award–winning world-class interiors every time.

What do you believe is the true challenge in meeting client expectations while maintaining creative independence?

The challenge lies in taking the client’s initial dispersed ideas and putting them in some form of order. It’s a juggling act between the client’s desires and the designer’s vision. It is unique when those two are completely in sync, but when they are, design is then elevated and fully realized.

During a project, a very close relationship between the designer and client is formed. The designer will pick up on the client’s wishes. We tend to ask the client to provide us with not only a design brief but also images and a mood board to help focus the design direction.

What is your advice to designers who are in the process of building their own firm/design business?

Stay curious, be true to yourself and never give up. Contrary to general belief, Interior Design is a very demanding field and requires an unlimited amount of small and big decisions to be made continuously.

How do you set yourself apart from competitors in the region? And how do you maintain client relationships?

We utilize the latest technology to present our work visually and work very hard in staying up to date with the latest trends in finish materials and construction methods.

It is very important to keep clients continuously up to date during the design process and inform them of potential delays or changes in a timely fashion.

Success in any project is dependent on a good working relationship, trust and a clear design vision. Working with an open book policy is key to success. I think designers have to be honest with themselves and their clients when they take on work and make sure they are capable of delivering the type of space the client is after. If there isn’t a connection, it is best not to take it on.

Abboud Malak, founder of Studio M Dubai, is best known for creating environments that are modern, timeless and beautifully detailed. While corporate spaces have remained at the core of his work, projects have spanned a wide range of scales and types.

In 2006, he formed Studio M Dubai as a bespoke Interior Architecture practice and a continuation of his passion for the ideals of light, space and simplicity. The studio caters to high-end clients where details and quality are primary. Malak covers all areas of design and prefers to be involved from the project inception to achieve the highest level of harmony and balance.