Design insight: LXA's Karen Konsal talks commercial interior design

Design insight: LXA's Karen Konsal talks commercial interior design

Functionality is key

Text: Faizal Dahlawia

Image: LXA

An industry expert offers a quick insight into the world of interior design, from misconceptions to challenges to trends.

The interior design industry is both constantly growing as well as evolving. Whether you're creating a commercial space or a more personal abode, there are certain shared key steps to getting that perfect place. Buro 24/7 Middle East speaks with Karen Konsal, Associate Director of LXA Dubai about elements, colours and trends.

First off, LXA is a new entity. Can you tell us more about it?

LXA is the merger between Luxe Interiors and UK-based Warwick Avenue under one LXA umbrella and will afford the benefit of years of international interior design, project management and development experience over two exceptional markets.

To achieve that perfect place, which element is most critical in the design phase?

Any space you are creating needs to be allocated in such a way that the operation of the space yields the desired goal. For example, in a restaurant, we have to ensure that the waiters are able to get in and out of the kitchen with relative ease. So, once you know the desired impact of the space, making it functional is imperative to the success of the operation.

Restaurant interior

Share with us the design process in creating a stunning interior.

The first step of the design project is knowing exactly what look and feel you want. It always helps to look for inspiration in life; a particular lamp or dresser could set the stage for your entire design. Then you need to look at the design from the top down and decide how you will allocate the space. This is followed by a side angle view where you make decisions including the walls and ceiling. Finally, we need to make space work with lighting, furniture, rugs – his is where it all comes together.

Budget inevitably is key here. So, does a bigger budget always guarantee a better design?

Yes and no. The bigger the budget the more time the designers have to allocate to the project which yields increased attention to detail and the design process. That being said, some of the most stunning interiors that we have designed came to us in 10 minutes. When inspiration hits, budget becomes less relevant.

Hilton Garden Inn

Bearing in mind how the Middle East is culturally unique, is there a common design element that is requested more here in the region?

When it comes to culture, there is a lot more to consider than stylistic elements. For example, in countries like Japan people eat very close together, close to the ground and often on hard structures. The Middle East is the complete opposite. People like to have personal space around them, to sit high from the ground and on large comfy seats. This is something we always have to keep in mind when designing a space in the UAE.

What is the most common design misconception and what are some of the challenges when designing a space?

Many people do not understand the difference between interior design and decorating. Interior design is not solely about fabric and cushions. We have to consider the architecture and technical elements. We have to consider the space as a whole - not just as the sum of its parts. The most significant challenge when designing is bringing together different visions of different stakeholders. Being able to interpret these differing viewpoints and create a final product that pleases all is paramount.

Intersect by Lexus

We're almost halfway through the year. What are the runaway design trends thus far and how will it be in the near future?

2016 has brought back geometric shapes! Whether it's a decorative tile, a wallpaper or light fixture, geometric shapes are everywhere. We are still in the throes of the Scandinavian trend that started in 2014 but now the trend has evolved into mixing warm wood tones and finishes with colder stone and marble. Also, metals are definitely back in but more on the gold, rose gold and brass side. The ever popular reclaimed and industrial look is starting to wind down in favour of more natural and functional spaces. As for colour trends this year, a lot of earth tones are popular like greens and mustards as well as some deep teal and dark turquoise. 

For more information on LXA, visit

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