Nuggets of Wisdom from the Region’s Top Designers

At LTD, we are not just in awe when it comes to good design but curious about the minds behind it! In this article, we look through all our past ‘Inside the Mind of’ articles to bring you the best quotes from some of the splendid minds in the industry.

When we started the series – Inside the Mind of, we looked to decipher the techniques and styles of some of the region’s most revered designers. Almost twenty interviews later, we are still fascinated with the inspiration, ideation and subsequent projects delivered by them. In the process, we got a look into the quirky yet intensively creative world they live in. Here is looking back at some of the most memorable quotes from our past articles, in the series.

Also just FYI; we were struggling to stick to one quote, quite a few times, so we did not flip a coin and instead present you both.

Paul Bishop Image

A seasoned interior designer, Paul Bishop, Founder and MD of Bishop Designs has a ubiquitous influence in the hospitality design industry that stems from a long list of successful projects. When asked about an important piece of advice he could give new designers, Paul Bishop talked about how designers need to look for inspiration from all spheres of life. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Stuart Allen B-W

Stuart Allen of AAID has lived a full life with no regrets – he toured in a band, worked on a ranch in Texas, and hobnobbed with A-listers in his design career. “The biggest downfall to being a designer is that you become very critical of the design around you”, says Stuart when asked about the key elements of his craft. “It gets to the point where people don’t like to invite you to their house”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design Kristina Zanic ITMO BW

The tale of how the eponymous founder of Kristina Zanic Consultants found herself in Dubai, is one that circles around the globe and back, with each chapter a unique story in itself. When asked about the best advice she received and would want to give to designers, Kristina Zanic firmly stands by the sentence – “Get a pension plan”. Read full interview here


Pallavi Dean from Roar revealed that her design inspiration is often based around narratives because – “The secret to good design is a good story”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Ben Corrigan BW

As a founder and the CEO of Bluehaus Group, Ben Corrigan perfectly balances the lines between business and creative. According to Ben, “Innovation rarely, if ever, happens in isolation”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Carol Finnie

Carol Finnie from JPA Design is a self-proclaimed petrol head who dune bashes in her free time, and was actually once in a rock band! When asked about what her design dreams were, we got a winning answer from the designer who said – “I say dream big. I would like to be the first to design a hotel for the Marriott on Mars!”. Read the full interview here

Diane Thorsen

Diane Thorsen not only thinks differently but learns differently as well. When asked about what she would design, given no constraints, Diane replied “I often dream of designing a city that is totally sustainable, connected to nature as a regenerative design solution”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Ben Corrigan BW

Ben Corrigan from Bluehaus also gave us a quote worthy gem when asked about a piece of advice for amateur designers. He said “Great design is only as good as its delivery”. Read full interview here


Maja Kozel, from Maja Kozel Design also wears the hats of product and experience designer along with being an interior design. The designer believes the theory of saying ‘yes’ to all projects does not work out. “If you’re overloaded or the project doesn’t feel right, it’s alright to say no!”. Read the full interview here

Julia Dempster

Julia Dempster, Managing Director at Interior Motives, has worked on the sets of Paramount Studios as well as the palaces and exquisite properties of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of the UAE. The designer shares Ben Corrigan’s view on the presentation of design. “Some of the best-wrought plans have been lost in the presentation”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Carol Finnie

As per Carol Finnie from JPA Design –  “Knowing how to physically build and construct with your own hands does make a difference and can give you that edge when creating and resolving design solutions”. Read the full interview here

Carla Conte

The word ‘retail geek’ might not sound very familiar; at least, it did not for us till we met Carla Conte, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Brand Creative. An advice the designer would like to impart to upcoming designers – “Nevermind the Trends”. Read the full interview here


Kevin McLachlan from Nomad K, has designed more than 180 restaurants, hotel, and leisure interiors, some of which include, Ibiza’s Café Mambo, Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, Fairmont in Ajman, and the Hilton Garden Inn, Dubai. When asked about his design inspirations and sources of the same, the designer replied, “I am blessed and cursed at the same time with a photographic memory”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Emma Stinson 1

Emma Stinson, Creative Director of Studio EM, is a Dubai-based, home-grown entrepreneur. She is a firm believer of going for ideas and projects that innovate – “Don’t be afraid to get it wrong, we learn more from our mistakes than from our achievements”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design Christian Merrieau ITMO

Christian Merieau, Founding Partner at MMAC Design Associates, is a seasoned storyteller and natural leader, he infuses his ability to construct and translate a narrative into his holistic approach to the design process. One of the best pieces of advice the designer received – ” focus your energy on what you can create and control”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design Kristina Zanic ITMO BW

When asked to describe her style, Kristina Zanic from Kristina Zanic Consultants says “I don’t strive to establish a signature design style, instead, I push for variety”. Read the full interview here

Love That Design ITMO Rabih Geha 1

The proud Lebanese-Croatian designer, Rabih Geha from Rabih Geha Architects, always knew he wanted a career in design. Rabih explained that he does not look for dominant trends, instead focuses on impact of design. “Personally, I am more about inventing, reinterpreting and impacting people’s lives positively through design”. Read the full interview here


Elizabeth Valkovics from DWP, leveraged her art education to find her way into a creative domain. One piece of advice Elizabeth would like to give upcoming designers – “I learned early on in my career not to get too tied to one idea”. Read the full interview here

Isabel Pintado

Isabel Pintado, Managing Director & Senior Vice President of Wilson Associates Dubai is a seasoned interior designer with over 20 years in the design industry. Working with diverse teams across different companies and cultures, Isabel does not believe in ‘Pinterest inspirations’. “There are far too many projects that look alike due to the “Pinterest” design generation”. Read the full interview here

1. Joakim de Rham_CEO & Lead Architect

From Switzerland to Brazil and now the UAE, Joakim de Rham from Swiss Bureau Interior Design, has left his design footprint across the globe. According to Joakim, upcoming designers should be curious. “Stay curious, and always be critical of what you hear and see”. Read the full interview here

Ieva Sidaraite

Ieva Sidaraite from Perkins +Will, London, loves clean design with minimal aesthetics. As per the designer, one of the key things to remember when it comes to the design process – “Focus, test your ideas, research them and believe in your design”. Read the full interview here 

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