Lebanese Dubai-based artist Nadine Kanso is passionate about jewellery that expresses Arabic culture and design. Image Credit: Bil Arabi

Dubai designer Nadine Kanso has just announced her highly anticipated new collection ‘Hobby’ for Bil Arabi, a label synonymous with high craftsmanship and artisanal creativity. Composed of 18-karat gold rings, cuff bracelets, and earrings adorned with diamonds, bold colours and enamelling, ‘Hobbi’ is inspired by calligraphy as an emotive Arabic expression of love and endearment. The Kurator caught up with Kanso, award-winning creative director and founder of the brand, to find out more about the latest collection.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a a designer?

My degrees in Communication Arts and Advertising Design laid the foundation for my work in design and photography today. However, I consider myself an explorer of new ideas by creating art with language. I have always been challenging myself with new ways of presenting art in tasteful design that draws on the inherent beauty of the calligraphic shape and lyricism of the Arabic alphabet.

The notion of finding new ways to express traditional letters and making meaningful phrases come back to life in a form of design and art that really allows me to consider myself a revolutionary in jewelry creation.

The new ‘Hobbi’ collection includes 18-karat gold rings, cuff bracelets, and earrings adorned with diamonds. Image Credit: Bil Arabi

How does your Arabic heritage tie into your art to inspire your work?

The Hobbi collection is a true sentiment to the brand’s exquisite craftsmanship and artistic translation of love and a collection I am very passionate about. I am always inspired by the natural instinct to connect, share, and love. The collection highlights the importance of bonding - these Hobbi masterpieces are made to be shared as experiences of interchanging connections and admiration.

The way I see it, the Hobbi Collection is an extension of a cherished collection by Bil Arabi, its inspiration is drawn from Hobbo meaning “love”. Hobbi is meant to embody the sentimental joy of giving and honoring lovers, friends and family members. What’s interesting about this collection is that the creations are playful yet elevated with their harmonious delicate feel, I hope the collection creates experiences to those who dare to show their love and affection

The Bil Arabi collection is available at and from e-tailer Ounass, THAT Concept Store in Dubai, and Bloomingdale’s Middle East. Image Credit: Bil Arabi

How do you shuffle the balance of current trends and classic timeless design when creating your pieces?

I believe that Bil Arabi embodies that greatly, I design creations that fall under the current trends as they appear modern and playful, however, allowing them to remain classic with their sentimental meanings and alphabetical forms. I have to be creative, and to push myself to be innovative, find new angles and stories to the jewellery I am making. I am never sure if something will work for sure. You have to believe in the idea and story behind your work to be able to shuffle between what is seen to be trendy and classic simultaneously. That’s how you can remain different and unique by finding that perfect balance.

You are proudly based in Dubai and your jewelry is made in Dubai - what can you say about the local artisan industry and what do you see in the future of artisanal craftsmanship in the region?

I think it is very important to tap into the community and use the talented resources in Dubai. The creations I design celebrate the creative and artistic relationship between myself and the people of the United Arab Emirates. Within the diverse landscape of the UAE, I developed skills to meet global craftsmanship by engineering the support from local resources. Bil Arabi’s creations show the skillset and accurate expression that the design aesthetic compliments.