BY ANAAM IKRAM
Bringing a touch of Europe to Bahrain through her designs, Salwa Amin is every bit classy as her signature elegant interior design aesthetic. With a keen interest in designing from the very beginning and a great taste for eye-catching and distinguished furniture pieces, Salwa’s passion can be seen throughout her work. Salwa sat with Perle and reminisced about her journey, which eventually lead to her eponymous interior design brand, SAI – Salwa Amin Interiors.
Starting her educational career in the field of Computer Sciences, Salwa always knew her true passion lay within the field of Arts. After being inspired by some of the work in the Art and Design department, Salwa decided to take a course in technical drawing. Already having a penchant for design and having enjoyed the art course, Salwa decided to steer her path in the way of design and changed her major from Computer Science to Industrial Arts with a minor in Interior Design. Industrial Arts she explains, involves more physical designing. “I like to work with my hands. In Industrial Arts we were dealing more with designing with our hands. As part of my major, we were working with clay, drawing, printing as well as some architectural courses, which included welding and carpentry.”
Salwa explained that courses such as these allowed her to practically experience the design process, the part of the art she has always enjoyed.
Receiving her Bachelors Degree from North Texas State University, Texas USA, Salwa returned to Bahrain and worked at the Ministry of Housing. As an Assistant Architect, Salwa was able to fulfil her passion of designing houses. After 10 years at the Ministry, Salwa resigned and turned her attention towards her family, as well as working on minor art projects as a way to continue pursuing her passion. Salwa started working with porcelain after having being introduced to porcelain courses by a friend who was teaching the courses. Realising she really enjoyed working with the art form and the projects they were asked to do, she dedicated herself to working intensely with porcelain and creating pieces she framed in her house, as well as partaking in exhibitions, where her work was displayed. Appreciating all mediums of art, Salwa says she also enjoys painting and took up decorative painting courses, especially creating the “distressed” effect. Having taken courses in England, Salwa says she scouts for places that have old furniture pieces she can restore, or buys new furniture and transforms them into antique themed pieces. On her travels abroad, Salwa says she likes to explore the furniture markets and fairs to see what unique finds she comes across. Visiting the likes of House And Garden Fare in London, Index in Dubai, and Maison And Objet in France, and Decorex, the designer says she is able to handpick the unique pieces to be sold or used in her designing to help enhance her signature style.
Providing customers a variety of wall decals, unique house accessories, and furniture, SAI adds an elegant and personal touch in each project.
Though Salwa was not officially working, her passion for design always kept her involved with the art. She was not only involved in creating porcelain art pieces, but also assisted in designing houses for friends and family. Her dedication to interior designing and with the encouragement of those close to her, Salwa set up her interior design studio SAI, in 2007. Emulating her own sophistication into her workspace and designs, Salwa’s studio offers its clients complete services in commercial and residential interior designing. One of the unique services that SAI studio also provides is a fully-equipped upholstery library containing a wide selection of samples of curtains, wallpapers, sofa-covers, and carpet amongst many other for the clients to choose from. The library is also open for other interior designers to use throughout their projects.
During one of Salwa’s visits to the fares, she came across an intricately painted stand at a paint supplier stand which inspired her to bring the high-end luxury paint brand, Armourcoat to Bahrain. Most interior designers she says, recommend the high-end brand when they are working on big-scale commercial projects. SAI also houses distinct furniture pieces picked by Salwa herself to be sold, especially keeping in mind the newlyweds looking to furnish their houses. Specifying that they only work with high-end brands, Salwa prides herself in working with high-end and quality products to ensure her clients receive the best.
Working on recognised commercial projects in Bahrain such as the spa and restaurants at The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Masjestea tea-room in Seef Mall, and Patchi Lucci salon extension in Golden Tulip as well as plenty of residential projects, Salwa explains her designs serve as a fingerprint of her signature style. Citing French Classic as her favourite work style, Salwa says she prefers a light colour palette consisting of whites and neutrals and a softer aesthetic. Admiring the work of contemporary interior designers Louise Bradley and Kelly Hoppen in terms of the soft colour palette they use, Salwa combines the essence of France with a contemporary edge, and says she is proud to be able to transport people to Europe from Bahrain simply through her interior designs. “I like to use my style and give the place a relaxing and soft finish. I like to enter a place and instantly feel calm because that is my personality and I like to show that through my designs.”
Offering a wide variety of fabrics and textures to choose from, SAI has a fully equipped upholstery library to the clients to choose from.
Often times, people are nervous about consulting with interior designers before they start working on their houses due to budget constraints. “We advise the clients to let us know of their budget so we can work around that”, she says. Salwa adds that the money people believe they are saving by not referring to an interior designer initially will end up getting spent if they don’t approach the design process in the correct way. “Bring your plans, go over them with an interior designer, try to think of all the details and it will save you a lot of money”.
With a team of 18 in total, Salwa says they are currently consulting on a Chinese resturant in Riffa Views and looking to expand further and offer their services on an international level. Starting off with smaller projects and gradually moving onto bigger-scale projects, SAI studio is undoubtedly on the path of rising success with Salwa Amin’s creativity, passion and luxurious designs.
For more information:
Phone: (00973) 17 717229
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