As an interior designer at Creneau International, Rim Guirari has worked on a number of familiar projects across the region. And with a background that spans across borders, she has proven her innate talent for delivering varying styles and aesthetics.
At 27 years old it would seem that Rim Guirari has accomplished a stunning amount. From exhibiting twice at the Designer’s Days in Paris to delivering a number of projects in the UAE with Creneau International including hospitality and residential projects. Guirari has also exhibited her own personal work in industrial design.
With a master’s degree in interior architecture, product design and visual communication from Paris’ l’Ecole Bleue, Guirari’s creative interest transcends design sectors. Having grown up in a family of engineers, it would seem that Guirari’s childhood was filled with design and architecture reveries.
“Being in a family of engineers gave me the inspiration to be a designer,” says Guirari. “I have an eye for beautiful objects and properly designed elements, whether it is for spacing, furniture, decoration, urban shapes, fashion or accessories. I have always felt that engineers have genius ideas that can be pushed further and translated into aesthetically and functionally improved products.”
Guirari adds: “Luckily, seeing my parents in the engineering field made me want to complement their work, in a certain way.”
Guirari was born and raised in Abu Dhabi before moving to Paris for seven years, where she not only studied but would begin to build a name for herself. Her first foray into becoming an established designer in the global sense was when she exhibited various product designs at the Designer’s Days in Paris, Cite de la Mode et du Design.
Among her products exhibited at the French fair, was a lighting feature, a table as well as a wall panel. Guirari explains: “I exhibited twice at the Designer’s Days to present a lighting feature made out of plaster and a metallic table that I designed. I also created a beautiful wall panel called ‘Soft Wall’ for public spaces where people can lean on it comfortably while waiting for a friend, a meeting or a train.
“Soft Wall can be integrated in an interior or an exterior environment and is made out of layers of epoxy resin, and hard and soft foam. The structure is very comfortable, the shape and colours give a new identity to the wall. The wall is alive and all the curved shapes extend outward.”
Guirari was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when a friend of hers introduced her to someone at Creneau International who was looking for an interior designer to take on a wide workload at the company’s Dubai office. Creneau International is perhaps best known in the region for its exclusive rights to the Belgian Beer Café branch.
Since joining the Creneau International team over two years ago, Guirari has delivered a number of projects from coffee shops to restaurants and bars. On top of the list of projects that Guirari has personally worked on include Leopolds of London at the Galleria in Sowwah Island, Culinary Boutique on Jumeirah Beach Road, Wildfire at the Galleria as well as a private residence in Cayan Tower.
Guirari says: “Each project is unique and requires some flexibility in terms of style and influence. At Creneau International, I can sometimes be involved in doing a typical traditional French brasserie, an industrial bar, or even an Emirati inspired café, and each of these has to be executed with good taste.
“But if you ask me personally, I enjoy contemporary forms, and particularly the Swedish design that has unique and trendy lines, complemented with a subtle combination of ‘faded’ and natural colours.”
Having been in France for nearly a decade, returning to the UAE has been an interesting experience for Guirari, who has taken note the different dynamics at the helm of the regional design sector.
According to the designer, there is a new wave of local designers and artists that is constantly growing in the area, making the design field in the Middle East a promising sector to be working in. Guirari lists emerging artist communities in Kuwait, Qatar’s art scene and master planning in the UAE on top of her list.
She adds: “Design in the Middle East is very promising and I am very excited to observe the evolution…Saadiyat Island will be the cultural hub of the Middle East, Design Days and Art Dubai exhibitions are held once a year … I feel that the Middle Eastern generation is getting more involved in art, exhibitions, museums, and part of it is due to our environment that is intriguing.
“For instance, in Dubai, you can see in every corner curious stores or café designs, and most of the designs are showing trendiness, and new ways of living and experimenting with things. We, designers, are eager to be different and always achieve more to be outstanding.”
According to Guirari, Creneau International is doing really well, with a number of requests coming in for many food and beverage concepts, new restaurants and bars, as well as refurbishment projects.
Guirari says that she most recently enjoyed designing Culinary Boutique Café, which is set to open in a few weeks. The concept, which fuses a café with culinary classes, centres on a community style café and the art of eating, learning and celebrating.
Guirari adds: “The ground floor is a contemporary café area, where people can lean on a special wooden structure that starts from the wall, continues to the ceiling then ends up as a bench seating. There is also a venue that can be used for events, parties, team building and the upper floor is purposely built for kitchen classes where learning is the main component, and of course in a pleasant atmosphere.
“The colour palette matches the identity of the client: very fresh and modern. The design is contemporary with a subtle Arabic touch on the decorative elements, and the materials are carefully chosen to make this place unique.”
At the moment, Guirari is working on a number of new projects with Creneau International, including coffee shops in the UAE. Among the new projects are a grab and go concept called Pret-to-go, an all-day dining design as well as a café called Cake at the Ritz Carlton in DIFC, and a French brasserie in a Crowne Plaza.