Noura AlGhandi, 23, named INDEX Design Entrepreneur of the Year

 

Pictured: ALBAL Design Studio has a multi-national team working on interior and architectural design projects ranging from homes to private-yachts. As their professional reputation grows, so does the support 23-year-old CEO Noura AlGhandi offers budding start-ups

Noura AlGhandi – one of Dubai’s youngest CEOs at just 23 – is to be honoured as the winner of the INDEX Design Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2017.

The brains and creative flair behind ALBAL Design Studio, Noura is a truly inspiring Emirati businesswoman and interior designer whose already firmly established brand not only has a sterling client list, but is also routinely offering a helping hand to local firms looking to get off the ground.

Founded in November 2014, ALBAL now employs a multi-national team who work on interior and architectural design projects ranging from homes to private-yachts. As their professional reputation grows, however, so does the support Noura and her team offer start-ups, providing invaluable creative assistance across all elements of design – from logos and branding to the final execution of interior projects.

Her hard-work and enterprise will be recognised when she is presented with the first-ever INDEX Design Entrepreneur of the Year award at the opening morning of next week’s INDEX Design Series – the Middle East’s biggest annual interior design show.

Noura said: “I am very happy to be receiving the INDEX Design Entrepreneur of the Year award.

“We started [the studio] around November 2014, and were first located in Ras al Khor and moved to Dubai Design District a year ago. We now have people from Greece, Ukraine, Germany, India, the Philippines; we are a variety of cultures. Our style is basically contemporary and I think we are currently attracting clients with the same mindset.

“Lately, we have been working a lot with start-ups. They come to us with a dream. We start with visual literacy [where clients draw with their eyes-closed and their creations are interpreted by Noura and her team] and come up with the branding, their logo, and support them in their business plan, strategies and interior design execution.

“Moving forward I want to have more local designers join the team and not just as designers working for ALBAL, but working with us; so collaborating as graphic designers, interior designers, freelancers – just so we can all grow together.”

Noura – who attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design immediately upon leaving high school – is driven by not only her love of design, but also the heartbreak of her father Abdullah’s passing when she was only a teenager.

She said: “ALBAL is an Arabic word that means ‘always on my mind’. When we were first looking for a name, it was just perfect as my main inspiration is my father, who passed away in 2008. Albal, in Arabic, starts with the first letter of his name – Abdullah – and that’s why, in our logo, the first letter is separated, so Abdullah is always on my mind. That’s where the inspiration comes from.”

Samantha Kane-Macdonald, event director at INDEX, said: “Noura AlGhandi’s entrepreneurial spirit, flourishing reputation and already marked success are truly astounding achievements for any businesswoman. But then you remember Noura is only 23-years-old. At such a young age, she has already cemented ALBAL’s place within the design community, brought together a team of international design experts and is offering business support to firms across all different industries trying to make their mark on the world.

“You can only be inspired by her work ethic and the values and philosophy she has bestowed in ALBAL, and it is truly our honour to announce Noura as the 2017 INDEX Design Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Noura will be presented with her award in a morning ceremony taking place in the Harrods’ VIP Lounge on the opening day of INDEX – Monday, May 22. The wider design community will be honoured on the second evening of the show at the annual INDEX Architecture & Design Awards.

Free registration for INDEX, workspace and Middle East Covering – taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, from May 22-25 – is available at www.indexdesignseries.com

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