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A light-drenched loft in Tecom

A light-soaked loft in Tecom is home to colourful furniture, stunning photography and an arty, urban atmosphere

  • “I love the fact that the loft is open-plan, so when I have friends over it’s really social."Image Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • Ivana has led expeditions to India, Cuba andVietnam, and her next is to Mongolia in July.Image Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • The black high-gloss kitchen units with a contemporary chrome splashback came with the apartment. Ivana boughtImage Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • The one-bedroom loft is open-plan with a large living, dining and kitchen area all benefitting from the doubleImage Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • The Union Jack references throughout the home are a reminder of Ivana’s 13 years living in Brighton, England. Image Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM
  • The canvas above the bed is from Thailand, where talented local artists sell their paintings on the street. Image Credit: Russ Kientsch/ANM

They say that travel broadens the mind, and in the case of Italian-born Ivana Maglione, it is also a vital part of her life. Her former job with two major commercial airlines led her to her current career as a photographer. “I started off making visual diaries to capture memories of all the amazing places I was fortunate enough to visit. I have now travelled to over 70 countries – some for pleasure, some for work – and I always try to immerse myself in the local culture and stay away from the tourist path.”

Finding a home to display her favourite photographs from her travels was no easy task. “I had been looking for a one- or two-bedroom apartment in Dubai Marina, but I found them all too small and lacking storage space, which I need for my photography equipment. One day, still surfing the various property websites, I wrote in the search box, almost as a joke, ‘minimum square feet 2,000’ and this flat appeared. I fell in love with the amazing light and huge open space and I immediately knew I had to live here.”

The one-bedroom loft is open-plan with a large living, dining and kitchen area all benefitting from the double-height windows that run along  two sides of the apartment. A staircase leads to the mezzanine master bedroom and home office where Ivana edits photos from her travels and her job as a wedding photographer.

“I specialise in Emirati weddings and I love all the incredible set-ups,” she says. “The attention to detail is impeccable, the brides are always beautiful and I feel extremely fortunate to be allowed to be a part of the celebrations. My first love is still travel photography though, and as they say, you never forget your first love. So I keep this passion alive by helping organise photographic expeditions abroad.”

Ivana has led expeditions to India, Cuba and Vietnam, and her next is to Mongolia in July. Striking images of her travels line the gallery-like walls in her loft, some taken in South Africa, Uganda, Buthan and Vietnam. One large black-and-white canvas is of a young Vietnamese girl and Ivana vividly recalls the day she captured this: “We were in a village in northern Vietnam. It was our last photography expedition and we were the only Western people walking through the villages and all these children started walking with us, accompanying us to various places. She was one of these kids… but the only one who never seemed to smile, which in some way made her more beautiful.”

As for the furniture, Ivana says most of the statement pieces she has were gifts from friends. “I’m very lucky, my friends bought me the purple sofa for my birthday; the blue chaise longue was also a gift from a friend who never used it and the white throne-like chair was given to me by another friend as a thank you for passing some business to his events company.” Purchases that Ivana made herself include the zebra rug that she bought in South Africa, and the dining table and bar stools from a second-hand shop on Deira’s Naif Road. She has chosen to mix and match her dining chairs with white chairs from Ikea sitting alongside transparent ones from ID Design. “I think it’s obvious I love colour,” she says. “Although I have kept the bedroom and study area pretty neutral, with a touch of vintage thrown in for good measure.” Breaking into a smile she adds, “As much as I adore travelling, since moving to this loft I do start to miss my home after a few weeks and can’t wait to return!”