Most interior designers greet their clients in minimalist offices, which tick the ‘style' box, but not necessarily the ‘inspirational' one.
Design duo, Paul and Ellen Bishop, who together have racked up an impressive 28 years in Dubai, decided to create a rather different experience for their clients when brainstorming a concept for their new Bishop Design offices on Sheikh Zayed Road.
"We wanted to create a unique offering in the UAE, where you can come into our showroom and see the different furniture, fabrics and flooring you can have in your home or hotel, not just to rely on moodboards to choose your scheme, which can sometimes be very uninspiring," Ellen says. "In a practical setting it's much easier to envisage the end result." Hence an apartment layout was devised, with the 3,000-square-foot area divided into zones.
A sample dining area, formal living room, TV lounge, bedroom and washroom all aim to give potential clients a real flavour of Bishop Design's signature style.
Ellen and Paul approached all the major suppliers that they use regularly in their residential and commercial projects to collaborate with them in the showroom, and the end result is an elegant fusion of high-end brands. Jab Middle East supplied most of the fabric, leather, carpet and wallpapers in the showroom, with additional wallpaper, such as the Ralph Lauren range in the ‘Classical' room, supplied by Maison d'art.
The graphic prints of OhPopsi are used as striking artwork, while Stepevi, Casa Mia and MTE Middle East were the sources for some of the more specialist flooring. "When choosing our items for the showroom, we went to Hong Kong, Bali, Singapore, Scandinavia, Italy and the UK, as well as custom-designing our own Bishop Design branded furniture and items that we have made in Dubai by Ashtaar Interiors," Ellen explains.
"We felt that the industry had lost its trust in local contractors, instead outsourcing all production to Europe and we wanted to readdress this, and show that actually, it is possible to custom-make items in Dubai to an incredibly high standard. It is a common misconception that steelwork, in particular, can not be done locally," Ellen adds, pointing to her dining table as proof that this simply isn't true.
This carefully-chosen mix of locally-based brands shows that style and sophistication need not be purely the domain of the European capitals - it is possible to achieve an enviable interior design without leaving the Emirates.