With a focus on narrative in design that uses space as its protagonist, Emirate Pallavi Dean builds spaces around the people who use it. As founder of her own studio Pallavi Dean Interiors (PDI), Dean is the driving creative force with a positively fiery energy that feeds on a relentless compulsion for entrepreneurship and design.
Born in India and raised in Dubai, Dean spent years working in London; her designs reflect these eclectic influences with her portfolio including a string of high profile projects across the Middle East, North & East Africa and the UK. Dean is an architecture graduate of the American University of Sharjah with a Masters degree in Interior Design Theory from Savannah College of Art and Design, and an environmental agenda as a LEED Accredited Professional.
Having previously held a number of esteemed professional positions, she has been an Associate in the interior design department of Godwin Austen Johnson, one of the Middle East’s leading architecture practices, and has also been an assistant professor of interior design at the American University of Sharjah. Her work was recognised in 2010 when she won the Middle East Young Interior Designer of the Year award. More recently, in 2013 PDI won the Sustainable Interior Design Initiative of the Year.
PDI’s projects have delved across the spectrum of hospitality, commercial and residential sectors, including the Executive Office project in Dubai. As an extension of the office on the floor above, the design of this space drives home the idea of continuation, with floor surfaces morphing into walls, ceilings and furniture pieces. Accentuated with subtle design statements, the floor lit reception desk placed against the depth of the darkened backdrop sets the mood for the space. Playful Muuto lamps add a hint of spirit, while highly reflective surfaces maximise the available natural light. Composed in stark movements of black and white, the design is crucially informed by local culture with black ribbon wrapping across horizontal and vertical surfaces with a reflective white finish, representing the traditional abaya and kandura Islamic clothing.
PDI’s work on residential projects includes The 8 apartment site in Dubai; a contemporary Miami-inspired design with a chic sophistication maintaining a spacious and airy quality throughout. With wide-open balconies and sleek interiors, the space mimics an art gallery more than a residence, bringing natural light in from the seascapes to work with the artificial lighting in the home. While the common areas are dramatic with crystal chandeliers and image projections, the reception desk sits in front of a kinetic light feature serving as a backdrop.
Similarly, PDI designed the Burj Residence, a three-bedroom apartment facing Burj Khalifa in Dubai’s vibrant Downtown area. Catering to the client’s need for creating a space to entertain business contacts and holidaying with family, the apartment was remodelled to maximise the floor plate and create multifunctional spaces. Melogranoblu’s pendants from its Perfume LED collection hang delicately above the solid marble table in the dining area, creating a poetic juxtaposition of materials. Henge’s brass finished light rings are suspended over a geometric sculptural form in the living room, accentuating its sophisticated simplicity, adding a touch of extravagance to the neutral palette. Playing with subtle accents and dramatic moments, PDI has made pronounced design statements with decorative light fittings throughout the space.
Moving into hospitality, PDI’s IHG hotel project in Dubai stands in the foreground of the city’s skyline and Creek waterway, which form a striking backdrop for this venue. The monochromatic interiors and bespoke carpet takes inspiration from the sinuous lines found in aquatic forms, while the custom designed chandelier in the pre-function area emulates the shape of waves. Acrylic rods in different diametres were cut to varying lengths and attached to a sheet of reflective rolled aluminum to create the installation. The mirrored backdrop helps elongate the space by forming an illusion of height.
Dean’s international influences and range of experience within the design and architectural sectors are evident in her style and the scale of her practice’s projects. As an individual, she brings a certain passion, a distinguishable stamp, and in conjunction with her team at PDI, together they mould conceptual creative flair into physical grandeur, using light to draw out the detail in the narrative of design.