Diane Thorsen is the design director for Pringle Brandon, which opened an office in Dubai in November 2010. She has worked in the interior design industry for over 25 years and studied at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by a placement with Anglo American Properties, in the same city.
After five years of working for an architectural practice, she opened her own consultancy called ‘Design Effects International’ in South Africa which is still operating to this day.
Her portfolio includes international corporate clients, mall design in all parts of South Africa and Mauritius, hospitality design for reputable operators, boutique hotels for private clients in wild game farms and vineyards in the Cape Province including the restoration of an historic Cape Dutch Homestead, large government buildings and retail design for major brands such as Nike, residential architecture and design for private clients including remote islands off Mozambique.
It was during one of her business trips abroad to Lebanon, that she travelled through Dubai and met a designer based in the region who agreed to join forces with her on a pitch for the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) building.
This saw the start of her ties to the Middle East, when she began commuting to Dubai on a regular basis. Years later, Thorsen was approached to join the Design and Build company as design director. She moved here in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn.
“As we know from experience, any crisis is accompanied by opportunity. For Steven Charlton (my business partner) and I, this came packaged as two very forward thinking, architects from London, Jack Pringle and Chris Brandon, seeing the potential for setting up a design consultancy that would subsequently position their successful UK practice for global reach.
“Thus in November 2010, Pringle Brandon ME was formed and has grown from strength to strength,” she added.