From the over-the-top opulence of Dubai to the riads in Morocco, the interiors of the Middle East are undeniably luxurious, full of richly layered textures and equally sumptuous colours. Here are four qualities that provide endless interiors inspiration, no matter where you live.
Geometric designs – circles, squares, stars – have been central to Islamic art for centuries, and they’re also used to adorn buildings both inside and out. These exquisite patterns can be seen on carpets and metalwork, in stained glass windows and leather details, but perhaps nowhere are they more striking than in the tiles that line walls, floors and columns. Whether in monochromatic black and white or vibrant colour, this intricate tilework always makes an impact. La Mamounia in Marrakech has some of the most inspiring contemporary examples we’ve seen.
Thick carpets, plush velvet cushions and heavy brocade curtains create a rich tapestry of textures that is the hallmark of Arabian interiors, their dense layers providing a cocoon-like oasis in which to take refuge from the soaring temperatures outside. Alongside these sumptuous textures are smoother ones – leather or carved wood on chairs and tables; billowing silk fabrics at the windows – all in rich and spicy shades.
There are three distinct colour stories in this region, each one as inspirational as the next. In the first, the desert palette flows seamlessly indoors, where terracotta walls and spicy shades of saffron, sand and sunset-pink convey a feeling of warmth. The striking Studio Ko-designed Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech is a stunning example of this. The second story introduces electric shades of cobalt, tangerine and turquoise on tiles and water features. Finally, dazzling white interiors act as a cooling complement to the sumptuous colours used elsewhere. Accents of bronze and copper tones can be seen on taps, jugs and lanterns that are punctured with thousands of tiny holes.
Scent at home
A rich, slightly sweet scent wafts through homes and public places across the Middle East. It’s achieved by burning wood chips soaked in essential oils, known as bakhoor, with the burner carried from room to room to dispense its perfumed smoke. The most popular scent is oud – its sweet and woody aroma is the unmistakable fragrance of the region. This rich and resinous fragrance can now be enjoyed in any home, thanks to LUMIRA’s new Arabian Oud Interiors Scent, a spray version of the much loved Arabian Oud Candle.
Written by Michelle Bateman