Yasmin Farahmandy is a 26-year-old interior designer. She studied in Vancouver and Milan and now works for Gensler in Dubai. Nominated for Young Interior Designer of the Year at the 2016 CID Awards, Yasmin will next year launch her debut furniture line in Italy. She also recently took up painting – a hidden talent that in less than ten months has already seen her shortlisted by Art Dubai and now exhibiting at The Address Montgomerie.
‘I’m a designer with many passions; designer at heart with an artist's soul. I am originally Iranian but Canadian raised and went to school in Dubai. I did my bachelor’s degree in furniture in Vancouver and moved from there to Milan where I did my masters in interior design.
‘When I finished my masters I was 22. By that point Dubai had become such a strong, exciting place for design, while I felt Vancouver and Canada were a little limited in terms of opportunity; the room for growth was small. I was torn between moving back here or to London. But I also needed the heat, so I chose Dubai!
‘Within a month, I got a job at Kempsinski Trading on the operator side, focused on procurement, which meant I’d stepped across from design. Most designers aim to be part of the operator side after having success in their career. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity in what was my first job.
‘Working on the purchasing side was great for me – a designer – as it opened my eyes to a whole new side of the industry I’d never been a part of before. I had to work with manufacturers and designers to find what we both wanted and deal with the issues the designer faces from a procurement point of view.
‘I worked closely with many leading industry people to make sure the hotel got the absolute best of what it wanted. At the point of planning, we would speak to designers about budgets and specifications – what would work well, what suited a four or five star premises, how many items we needed for a two, three, four bedroom room, and what it would all cost. That’s when we’d start procuring ahead of the hotel’s official opening. Coming from a design background, that offered me a completely new and different type of pressure, but I learned so much. Now, as a designer, I always ask myself: “How is this going to be procured? How is this constructed? How should this be delivered?”
‘I did that for a year-and-a-half before moving on. I emailed all my contacts upon leaving Kempinski and was lucky enough to be offered a position at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). I accepted and became an FFE (furniture, fixtures and equipment) designer. For me, it was the dream job.
‘During my time procuring I met a lot of suppliers. A short time after starting at HBA, I was approached by Robert Provasi to do a collection for Provasi, one of best known and oldest Italian brands who specialize in classical furniture. They wanted me and some other designers to create a modern line to help grow their reach to a broader market and modernize the Provasi image.
‘I came up with a collection and they loved it. We are now at the production stage and in April they will feature at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile exhibition in Milan. It’s so exciting.’
‘In terms of trends, you need to know what’s out there, the market you are targeting and who you are designing for. Whether you are designing spaces, furniture or fashion, we are designing for people and we need to know what people need, so in terms of how to be different in furniture, to create a brand or change an identity you first need to study the brand itself and grab the identity.
‘The inspiration behind my collection for Provasi is simplicity. For me, modern is simplicity. That’s what defines modern and classic: simplicity with key details. My collection is modern while maintaining the identity of Provasi, which is renowned for the detail on its more classic furniture.
‘Every design starts with a straight, eternal line. My pieces – from bedroom to living room - came from that thought. With that in mind, I named my collection ‘Infinity’. However, Roberto Provasi himself changed it to ‘Yasmin’. That was a huge honour. It will now be sold around the world. That is a dream come true.
‘I consider my own design sense to be bold. I try to keep elegance but be trendy at the same time. I do, however, think elegance is really hard – you get inspired by so many things and I have to try and simplify that to one thing. That’s the challenge as a designer; you can easily overdo it or under do it. You need to find the balance, and that is where elegance lies.
‘My interiors are all very soft, very monochrome. I aim for soft and timeless. I find that weird as – personality wise – I’m bursting with colour inside.
‘This year I’ve challenged myself a lot. I took up painting – which I’d never done before – just to do something different as almost a way of unwinding away from work. After a few months I saw a contest run by Art Dubai and decided to enter. I was then shortlisted for International Emerging Artist - I couldn’t believe it!
‘In art I grab a hold of my personality. In my interiors, I am very subtle. It’s always challenging in any design you do but you need to be different somehow.
‘Everything has happened for me this year – it’s been amazing! I’ve truly learned that if you really want to do something you will do it and, like both design and art, it just comes to you – you just have to grab the opportunities.’
Yasmin was involved from beginning to end in the design of Symphony in Dubai Mall
Following Yasmin's involvement, the shop's interior which was shortlisted for a prize at the 2016 MEIDA Awards
The 26-year-old took up art as a hobby to help her unwind earlier this year. It proved to be a real hidden talent
A selection of Yasmin's paintings are now on display in the spa, lobby and suites at The Address Montgomerie Hotel