Ammar Basheir – Bahrain’s Rising Star

We sit down to chat with the interior designed Ammar Basheir to talk about his work and his vision.

Ammar Basheir recently rose to prominence following the work he did at the Nuzul Al Salam Hotel. Located in the old streets of Muharraq, the boutique hotel is a government renovation project, which is part of The Year Of Zayed initiative between the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and Bahrain’s Shaikh Ebrahim Center for Culture and Research.

The hotel is situated in the old streets of Muharraq and it includes a majlis (reception area), dining room, a central courtyard, and 6 suites inspired largely by the mythical epic of Gilgamesh’s the flower of eternity.  Each suite is named after a theme from the poem, Light, Vision, Flower of Eternity, Sea, Hope, and Sun.  

With his blend of cutting edge design and reverence for cultural heritage, Ammar Basheir is quickly rising to even greater prominence and his signature style is bound to make waves not just in Bahrain but abroad as well. We sit down with the designer to chat about his career and future.

Please tells us about your start. How and why did you choose this field?

I started at an early age. I never wanted to be an interior designer, I always dreamt of being a fashion designer, but at the time Fashion Design was not really an option. So, I tried to go to the next best thing which is interior design, and finally, I combined my love for fashion through my design for fashion retail projects.

What makes your work different from other interior designers? 

Design is very subjective and I believe every piece of work is successful if it provoked emotion in you. If it did that means it actually succeeded. But for me, I care a lot about creating homes rather than creating houses. The livable space is very important to how you will react and respond to, and how it enhances your life.

Can you describe your evolution of work from the day you started until today?

I was lucky enough to have my education in London and I think I was very drawn to ultra-modern lines and edgy interiors. As I grew older I appreciated more materials like brass, marble, bronze and stone which all falls into the category of timeless.

What do you think is the most effective way of presenting a project? 

I always refuse to present a project through an email or prints only, I feel you must talk about the phases and explain the reasons that made you take these decisions based on the character of the client. This human connection is a part that is integral and to engage your senses is very important.

Who is your favourite interior designer and why?

My favourite interior designer is Christian Liaigre. He has a refined eye and a sense of interiors that doesn’t overwhelm you, yet it takes your breath away.

 What are your future plans? 

I believe that every ten years one should reinvent themselves and to me, I believe after being in the interior design space for almost two decades, my next challenge is to become a hotelier and to have my own boutique hotel in the south of Italy.

On your latest project, Nuzul Al Salam, what makes this hotel so special? 

Nuzule Al Salam is almost like a gem nestled in the heart of old Muharraq. What makes it special is that it is a very nostalgic sort of place to people and it doesn’t feel like an alien to the environment. It is the right blend. Very sober yet uber chic, and it is a celebration of craftsmanship.

What are your thoughts on architectural culture in the middle east and what makes it different from the west? 

Architecture in the middle east used to be very rich and grand and, unfortunately, it has taken a very predictable direction by becoming very typical. I feel creativity is no longer there and we are very much based on visual references. We have kind of lost the originality. When I look at the old mosques and palaces around, I admire how it looked, yet I feel so sad how recent architecture and trends in the middle east has taken a different route now.

Any final words for Salon Prive Magazine’s readers?

Always keep exploring and keep your eye open for the wonderful things that we have around us everywhere. Beauty is all around in places that we never imagine, we just have to look close.