On October 13, Vogue Arabia gathered some of the region’s leading architects, interior experts and fashion designers at the SO/ Uptown Hotel for a novel concept. Several months in the making, Dine in Design was an evening that combined the worlds of fashion, design, art, and fine dining to emphasize the growing link between the worlds of style and decor in Arabia. Joining Vogue Arabia’s efforts to support talent in the Middle East, the creatives presented tablescapes, artistic installations and design concepts that served as an expression of their identities.
During the evening, attendees were greeted with a beautiful lounge bedecked with Breton furniture and beautiful flowers from Bliss Flower Boutique, before being escorted into the main event. Each designer invited their selection of guests to immerse themselves in a space that spoke of their aesthetic journey, pieced together using perfectly curated decor elements. While some spaces honored the Middle East, others paid homage to nature, and others still experimented with contrasting colors and textures. Together, the 11 tables created a truly unique space — each standing out on its own as a testament to the abundance of talent in the region, yet perfectly complementing its neighboring installation.
In the context of the current situation in the region, Vogue Arabia will be supporting the non-profit organization Doctors Without Borders – which is active in the area to aid innocent civilians – through the Dine in Design platform. Below, we take you through the lovingly made tablescapes of each designer who took part.
Elie Saab for Vogue Arabia
Elie Saab’s name has long been synonymous with impeccable craftsmanship and timeless elegance. The Lebanese designer has been a pioneer in the world of fashion since the founding of his couture house back in 1982, and shows no signs of slowing down. With the likes of Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé on its client list, the luxury label has also ventured into the world of interiors, slowly but surely making a strong niche for itself. At Dine in Design, Elie Saab curated a very special space for Vogue Arabia’s guests, replete with sleek lines and sophisticated hues.
For Vogue Arabia’s table, the iconic couturier collaborated with Elie Saab Maison and Rak Ceramics to create a beautiful dining space. A creamy ivory table featuring slabs from Elie Saab greeted guests, surrounded by textured chairs from Elie Saab Maison. Intricately carved crystal glasses complemented nature-print plates in earthy hues, and delicate gold decor pieces in the shape of tulips lined the table. In attendance was Group CEO Elie Saab Jr, who also elaborated more on the minimal, yet elegant space, saying, “We tried to give a flair of the Elie Saab interiors world that we have been focusing a lot on as a brand. We worked with Rak ceramics to develop this very special table… as well as the floor, [made of] Elie Saab slabs.” As a final touch, the table space was flanked by four lamps, adding to that trademark Elie Saab ambience.
Best known for his unconventional aesthetic and use of bold hues, Zaid Farouki often uses his designs to present a new perspective on Middle Eastern crafts. It’s not rare to see echoes of art, history, culture, and heritage in the Palestinian designer’s pieces, and there was no missing this one-of-a-kind lens at his Dine in Design space.
For his guests, Farouki created a tablescape that paid homage to his Palestinian roots with several thoughtfully selected elements, spanning from decor to clothing. “Today we actually created a table that’s customized according to culture… a celebration of culture and the details in our culture,” Farouki explained while sharing a look at his tablescape. “So you have the coins, you have the keys and you have the traditional embroidery all over. You also have a reference to the olive trees, and our headpieces.” While the table itself stood out for its dark linens, silver plating and exotic fruits, a sitting area near the dining space featured traditional Arab games that are played in his homeland, hand embroidered cushions, and traditional headpieces in shades of white, red, blue and yellow.
Breton by LW Design
With its Dine in Design space, Brazilian family-owned furniture brand Breton spotlighted the impeccable craftsmanship of its furniture pieces. Curated by LW Design, Breton’s tablescape followed the less-is-more route to allow its timeless decor pieces to stand out, and was complemented by a combination of pink, orange, and red roses by Goshá that seemed to cascade from the tabletop to the floor. The hero of their corner was the table itself — a Maicon MacCagnan piece that served as a symbol of Breton’s determination to collaborate with and support talented designers. “This table is one of the examples of our designers,” said Eduardo Soares, General Manager of Breton. “We are very focused on partnering with famous designers to develop our furniture.”
With such an exquisite piece of furniture on display, Breton needed nothing but classic plating to complete its elegant tablescape. Cue LW Design, which brought in delicate silverware, classic white plates and sparkling glasses as the perfect foil for the backdrop at hand.
Breton’s understated furniture pieces weren’t just a standout within the Dine in Design ballroom — prior to the reveal of the tables, guests also got a glimpse of the brand’s impeccable collection in the pre-event area, where soft ivory couches and earthy coffee tables created an inviting ambience.
An interior architect, space creator, and design influencer, Sawsan Chammas Haber decided to eschew subtle hues for a bolder approach for her Dine in Design table. The founder and creative director of Dipiugi has worked with a host of high profile clients across Lebanon and the UAE, and is best known for her strong aesthetic — something that was evident by the design of her tablescape as well.
First and foremost, the Dipiugi table stood out for its backdrop: a dark mirror-like wall with geometric motifs. Explaining the thought behind this decision, Chammas Haber told Vogue Arabia, “I preferred to give the table an infinity look. This is why I put mirrors at the end… to make the space appear double in size.” In front of the reflective wall stood a long white and gray marble dining table from Visionnaire, which was topped with a wide selection of treasures in shades of red and pink. Chammas Haber opted for black and white plating with just a hint of print, and drew all the attention to her curation of vases, figurines, fresh flowers, and candle stands, all of which came together to add a burst of color to Dipiugi’s space. Perfectly encapsulating the design sensibilities of Dipiugi, Chammas Haber’s selection of crystals and trinkets came from Baccarat, Christofle, and Versace.
Alua Kul, the founder and creative director of Lumi Interiors, is a name worth knowing in the world of home decor. With a keen eye for details, the interior expert also has a passion for luxury furniture design, and has slowly but surely set herself apart in the industry. As for her space at Dine in Design, Kulibayeva pulled out all the stops with a tablescape that seemed to dedicate itself to honoring the beauty of Mother Nature.
Instead of relying on soft hues or neutrals, Kulibayeva opted for bright, cheery shades at her table. A cascade of blooms in shades of sky blue, pop pink, parrot green and deep purple served as the centerpiece of her dining space. “We were inspired by the beautiful Miracle Garden [of Dubai], and the life it brings,” she explained minutes before revealing the table to her guests. To further accentuate the spectrum of hues at the Lumi Interiors table, Kulibayeva used her expertise to add fragments of mirrors around her dinner plates to create the illusion of flowers floating on still water. Countless candles placed among the bouquets added a dreamy element to the space, with crystal baubles, and clear plates and glasses adding minimal final touches.
Having specialized in bespoke private residences for years, Seema Al Mansouri and Thafer Al Bazae of Eva Interiors count themselves among the region’s most respected names in the industry. At Dine in Design, the duo’s knack for creating distinct, beautifully curated spaces was on display for all guests to see. “We have chosen a design that matches the house style of Eva Interiors,” the duo shared prior to the reveal of their table. The Eva experience began with a bold red canopy flanked by 1,500 Julliet Raspberry roses from Emirati brand Opus that created an inviting backdrop for a truly unique dining space.
Once inside the canopy, guests were greeted by a quirky, yet sophisticated table setting. Black and white striped table linens edged with tassels commanded attention, while minimal PVC chairs completed the set topped with colorful Fornasetti cushions. A sparkling crystal chandelier hung overhead (“In cooperation with Tanagra, we brought in Christofle and Baccarat, which we usually use in our projects because their chandeliers match our designs, whether modern or classical,” they explained) reflecting its light over a selection of candelabras, figurines and drinking glasses. To offset the monochrome aesthetic, rows of bright pink hydrangea, also from Opus, dotted the table. But the most interesting element here had to be Al Mansouri and Al Bazae’s choice of plating. “Each plate represents a fashion icon,” the duo explained to Vogue Arabia about the plates, which were painted with the faces of noteworthy sartorialists.
Having dressed the likes of Karen Wazen and Imaan Hammam, Qatari designer Ghada Al Subaey of 1309 Studios knows a thing or two about beautiful things. With a strong focus on sustainability, she is revered not just for her feminine designs, but also for her trailblazing ways. So it comes as no surprise that when it was time for Al Subaey to design a table for her guests at Dine in Design, she came up with a concept no one else could have thought of.
Drenched in a pink Persian rug that reflected her Middle Eastern roots, Al Subaey’s Dine in Design space was anything but predictable. “When I was asked to design a dinner table inspired by my brand’s DNA, I knew I wanted to follow the retro-futuristic feel my brand carries,” she said. “So I designed a conversation pit inspired by the ’70s and combined elements that represented the brand’s aesthetic.” The result was a cosy square with a circular cream white table at its heart, topped with ivory and blush pink orchids, soft lighting, and a series of crystals — including rose quartz and amethyst.
After launching her company in London, Kate Instone, founder and creative director of Blush International, soon made Dubai her home, and has worked on several projects in the region over the past decade. The designer has a natural instinct for merging functionality with beauty, and has lent her eye to designing private residences, as well as private jets. Taking her love for all things elegant, Instone began her journey of creating a space for Dine in Design with nothing but a wallpaper that she’d fall in love with.
“The main inspiration was from De Gournay. They very kindly loaned us these incredible silk hand-painted panels, and these started off the whole narrative for our table,” the designer told Vogue Arabia while standing in front of her eye-catching tablescape. “We then introduced this really dramatic canopy of silk roses, which were spray painted black and gold… we then ended it all with an amazing crescendo of flora and fauna featuring palm leaves which are very indicative of the region.” Complementing the many floral details at the Blush International table were classic black decor elements. Think ebony seats, dark candles, and matching black plating.
Nadine Kanso is a master when it comes to creating jewelry that’s artfully carved with sentimental, and often philosophical, stances. So strong is her love for beautiful trinkets and thought-provoking calligraphy, that Kanso’s jewelry brand Bil Arabi has quickly become one of the Middle East’s favorite names for its one-of-a-kind designs, beautiful selection of stones, and heartfelt messages. Given her distinct aesthetic, guests of the designer were prepared for a dining experience like no other, and Kanso made sure to deliver.
“Behind me, you can see my table for Vogue Arabia’s Dine in Design dinner,” the designer said in an interview prior to the event. “It is inspired by the brand, and features its remarkable eye, along with the phrase ‘My love’ in a luminous format to recall love, hope, and peace.” Keeping with the thought process behind the Kanso’s space, Bil Arabi’s tablescape was curated in soothing shades of deep blue, white, and silver. The hero of her table setting, the large silver Arabic calligraphy sign saying “My love”, surrounded by fairy lights and white candles held high on silver stands. Silver foliage and buttery white roses dotted the space to create a soothing atmosphere, while food was served on silverware to maintain the color scheme. Don’t miss the iconic eye motif that featured on every plate.
Andrea Wazen for SO/ Uptown
Born in London and raised in Beirut, Andrea Wazen counts herself among the region’s most-loved footwear designers. Always inspired by nature and feminine elements, the Istituto Marangoni graduate’s creations often mirror her aesthetic via delicate pleats and frothy tulle. For Dine in Design, Wazen merged her favorite hues with the artistic boldness of SO/ Uptown to create a table that was striking, yet harmoniously put together.
“When I came to the hotel and saw how beautiful and artistic it was, I wanted to merge both worlds together,” she shared with Vogue Arabia. “The blooming of a woman, evolving into a greater flower… this is obviously the main inspiration behind the brand.” To bring this thought to life, the designer created a whimsical space, where multicolored tulle flowers hung above the dining area, and real-life flowers by Dubai’s Bliss Flower Boutique created a garden-like atmosphere. Adding to the beauty of her space was the reflective surface of the table, which amped up the colors on display. To make sure the summery palette of SO/ Uptown’s table remained the hero, Wazen opted for clear seats, classic crystal vases, and understated plating. In the words of Daniel Kingston, GM of SO/ Uptown, “[The table setting] helps center what the hotel is all about: a fashion-led property. And nothing shows that more than this event.”
Cosentino by XO Atelier
Cosentino, a family-owned Spanish company that produces and distributes innovative, sustainable and high-value surfaces, worked with Vera Dieckmann for its striking Dine in Design tablescape. Spotlighting a bold color palette — black and red — Cosentino’s space saw Dieckmann take inspiration from the red carpet for her space.
“The story is every big event starts with the red carpet, in general, or the red ribbon which guides us through an event,” explained Dieckmann, who brought her distinct eye and 22+ years of expertise in the field of luxury and lifestyle interior design to the space. “We used the red carpet [as the base of the space], and the red ribbon which leads us from the beginning of the table to the end. In this case, it’s not actually a ribbon, it’s natural wood which we colored in Signal Red 3001.”
The ebony base of the table was crafted using a new stone by Cosentino called Romantic Ash, which comes from its latest collection, ‘Le Chic’. Red anthurium flowers popped against the table’s long black candles and matching tableware, while matching red wood elements served as the main talking point of the table setting.