Every now and then, each industry experiences a boom in innovation which nurtures its projects and transforms its talents into superstars. Such is the case with the Middle-Eastern architecture, with architect Sarah Sadeq decorating the Gulf of Arabia with stunning, and functional, designs. In 2005, Sarah Sadeq graduated from Roger Williams University in the USA and within the span of 6 years, founded Sarah Sadeq Engineering Consulting. Ms Sadeq has since become a rising star in Middle-East architecture. Based in Kuwait, her firm specialises in architectural, interior and lighting design. Known for her contemporary approach to traditional khaleeji and mashrabiya design, Sarah Sadeq is a pioneering figure for modern Gulf invention.
In this issue, we are featuring Arabian talent and because of this, we approached Ms. Sadeq for an exclusive chat to discuss her work.
What inspired your love for architecture and interior design?
I remember the first sentence that I wrote when I first joined my architecture school: ‘Architecture is a deep ocean, the deeper you go, the more you will discover the secrets and surprises.’ I always felt that architecture is the identity of a country, it’s the luxurious icon of attraction, and above all it is the tool of expression and timeless glory. The love of discovery and communication with people drove my passion to create the smallest details to make my clients’ architecture and interior customised only for them.
You studied in America. What differences, and similarities, have you noticed between American and Middle-Eastern architectural trends?
The Middle-East, where hospitality is part of our daily culture, is well known for luxurious and lavish details. In the USA, I learned about its love for art and specialised design elements and used these to add my own twist to architectural work. In joining the simply luxury of Western detail with the Middle-Eastern aesthetic, we use this difference to create a special touch.
What defines Arabian style?
The quiet type of luxury; endless when it comes to time, strong with its statements, and the harmonies elements which makes it always exciting
You are a recognisable figure in contemporary Arab design. What is a future trend for Gulf architecture and interiors?
To be honest, every day I discover that there is a new trend and it comes out stronger with every new design elements. However, the merge between Arabic and Western elements are the new vision of modern classic.
Has it been challenging to remain true to Arabian tradition while pushing the envelope of design?
I’ll call it creative revolution: keeping the solid base of strong Arabic elements and modernising it. It wasn’t easy to keep these elements without a design twist and yes it initially wasn’t easy to please the client or the viewer in creating that challenge.
The luxury industry is currently discussing sustainability and the environment. How does your company engage with eco-friendly practices?
In all our architectural concepts , green building and sustainability is part of the vision. To be frank, it is our role to include the client in this discussion, and lately it has been highly requested.
Another topic that is being discussed is the evolution of hotel spaces to accommodate Millennial preferences- such as luxury co-living spaces. What do you think about these emerging trends in hospitality design and how have you adapted your work to attract Millennials?
Hotels for me as an architect are very critical when it comes to design. The critique level is very high, especially when the client is looking for a certain standard or detail. Of course we need to get new trends involved by adding new elements because hotels need the constant element of surprise, but I believe it should be done in a very precise level of detail.
Please tell us about your career journey. There are surely challenges facing women in architecture. What changes have you noticed in how women can nurture their talents in Middle-Eastern business and society?
It has been like a hiking journey, beautiful views and an adventure, but extremely difficult and challenging. You always have to be careful and always have a backup plan.
Being a woman has actually given me a greater access to the client’s visions, and made my mission easier. I don’t believe that in architecture there is a gender difference, I believe that talent and communication will make your career special and unique.
Out of your projects, which are your favourite?
It’s like you are asking me which one of your kids is your favourite! Each has a story, and each has an effect on my life. That being said, Dalma Island Resort in Abu Dhabi has a special place in my heart, it was the revelation in my architectural career.
Do you have any plans to expand your company globally?
I am already thinking of my next destination; my dream to have our first branch in UAE , and of course I wish one day to be established in the UK.
Sarah Sadeq Engineering Consulting|www.sarahsadeq.com