Gemma: My parents first granted me the freedom to experiment and redecorate my bedroom at the age of 10. A decision, I think, they probably regretted over the years! I explored paint colours, wallpapers, artwork and accessories – all of a very bad taste, if I may I add! Thankfully, I got better over time and decided to professionally pursue my passion; eventually, gaining a BSc(Hons) in Interior Design from Glasgow University.
After three years of working for a design Consultancy in the UK, my international career started in 2009 on accepting a role at KPS, Qatar. Five years later, having gained valuable experience within the design and build (D&B) field, I moved to Dubai to work with Perkins + Will. Realising my preference for the fast-paced, high-stress and more rewarding D&B roles, I moved to London to work for Area, after which I joined Swiss Bureau Interior Design a year ago.
Zoe: As a child, I loved drawing perspectives and sectional views of our home. I especially loved redesigning my bedroom (there were lots of love hearts and flowers involved); and spent days building houses out of lego. I first learned of my love for design in my final year of high school. I didn’t really know what a graphics design class involved until I came across a friends project that I fell in love with. I went from suggesting improvements to finishing her project and eventually started doing her homework for her. Since then, I’ve always dreamt of working in a big city and on grand projects. Dubai is just that, and being on the senior management team of a company I love is a dream come true.
My background? I graduated from the Design and Arts College of New Zealand, starting my professional career in kitchen design. I then quickly moved to a boutique firm that specialized in retail design. I came to Dubai in 2013, determined to do whatever it takes to progress in my career. I was lucky enough to land a role at Bishop Design. My husband’s job meant living in Al Ain, at the time, and I was commuting 3 hours a day on top of often committing to 12-15 hour work days. But I was happy to do this as it meant learning as much as I could to prove myself. It was a hard slog but I quickly climbed the ranks to become a Senior Designer, with the opportunity to work on high-end Residential, Hospitality and Commercial projects. After a small maternity break, I was eager to get back on track. So you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of joining Swiss Bureau Interior Design, nearly 3 years ago.