Earlier this year, I had my first brush with online design retail and I shared my insights into avoiding typical pitfalls here in Design Diary. Fast-forward six months and I feel I might need an intervention. It is not just the ease of avoiding all middle men (bar the delivery service), I feel the online shopping has replaced my other love — travel.
You see, the reason why the prospect of travel filled me with joy was the thought of all the new designers, trends and shops I would find. Now, I burn the midnight oil staring into my phone, loading up my checkout basket. So, in the name of preserving the self, and cash, I am taking a break from online shopping. But not before I share some of my favourite regional and global finds.
The Bowery Company
The Bowery Company was established in Dubai in 2014 and offers the urban customers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt affordable luxury for their homes with an industrial edge. Curating a selection of designer furniture, home and lifestyle accessories from more than 35 prestigious brands — House Doctor, BXXLGHT and the Brooklyn Candle Studio, to name a few — the portal’s wide selection focuses on manufacturing, mechanical ingenuity and an appreciation of raw materiality. Earlier this year, The Bowery Company launched their ‘Little Ones’ collection featuring lightweight, playful toys and beautiful decorative accessories for design-conscious parents. thebowerycompany.com
Founded in Beirut in 2011 by Elie Abou Jamra and Mirna Hamady, Kashida builds on its founders’ affinity for typography and product design. Taking the traditional visual manifestations of calligraphy from scrolls, art and public architecture to the interiors, the brand celebrates the beauty of Arabic calligraphy in the third dimension through design objects. Be it interior accessories, furniture, design gifts or bespoke pieces, the duo design and produce works that transcend the classic ornamental approach to calligraphy, delivering functional design-art. kashidadesign.com
Dubai-based entrepreneurs Roberta Calarese and Huda Awr offer sophistication and international appeal for the discerning design consumer. The multi-brand eCommerce website hosts the latest by a roster of acclaimed international brands such as Seletti, De Vecchi, Kosta Boda and Normann Copenhagen among others. In addition to imploring you to part with your cash, the site also informs and enlightens users on the latest trends, new collections and offers inspiration to boot. apartment51.com
After re-imagining the design publication landscape, global purveyor of design branched out to offer its readers an opportunity to covet the same design pieces they saw in the magazine. Wallpaper Store was born of a vision to deliver a 360-degree design experience to the design enthusiast, educating and enticing them into world-class design all at once. Home to the some seriously avant-garde brands that sit a bit left of the middle of commercial design, offerings are neatly indexed into categories — living, tabletop, workspace and lifestyle. A creative market place for international design, this site, which has fast become your best bet for exclusive collections by this generation’s most talented, is also where you will discover the next big design name. store.wallpaper.com
Since 2013, this Brooklyn-based site has curated design products with style, emotion and wit, consistently highlighting both established designers and under-the-radar brands that one ought to know. With some serious love for bit mid-century design, the site reflects the boutique’s knack for a mix of vintage and spanking new, mashing relaxed southern Californian glam with that edgy, Brooklyn feel. The team scours the globe for you, training attention on the best in furniture, lighting, art, home goods, bath and gifts. Each piece is as much a hallmark of quality and craftsmanship as it is quirky, cool and fun. beambk.com