Simple ways to explore scale, texture, pattern
Who is she?
Hilda Impey is a textile and furniture designer, who has been working for Wilson Associates’ Dubai studio for four years as design director and principal of FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment). She brings a unique design methodology to each project and has been named as one of the region’s most powerful players in the design community.
Tell us some of your works and name the one you are most proud of.
I am proud of all our work. There is so much passion in every aspect during the design process. I get attached to every aspect of our projects.
For instance, we finalized a revamp of a culinary landmark in Dubai called Pai Thai. Pai Thai is an award-winning restaurant at a charming location within Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah.
I am very pleased with this project because of the extent of everything we were able to do with a limited budget and time frame. We carefully chose the upgrades and value existing furniture that requires refurbishing instead of disposing of. This process not only helped the client achieve a more sustainable and ethical approach but also retain the essence of the existing place.
The result is a contemporary mix between and old and new with touches that bring back memories of the old place and experiences that make you feel you are having a piece of Thailand in Dubai.
Are you currently involved with any project?
I am involved in all studio projects, from concept creation to specific scopes such as FF&E selections and specifications. Wilson Associates studio is working mainly on large scale hospitality landmarks within the region, such as UAE, Qatar, Morocco, Belarus and Egypt. Our current portfolio entails operators such as Viceroy, Hyatt, Accor, Jumeirah and MGM.
Describe your design style.
My style is flexible and in constant transition. It varies upon the project brief. My design process is what I find personal and works well for me. I like to instigate the relationship between senses and memories by curating a good dose of classics and vintage within a project — something with a strong character and history. I am curious to find “simple and experimental” ways to explore scale, texture, and pattern. I always find it interesting to play with different scales to bring dynamism to the space. I believe that to communicate emotions is the way to remain relevant and meaningful within our industry and end users. The emotions experienced while visiting a place is what people will remember and this becomes memories.
Where are you most creative?
I am more creative when I am in a comfortable place with comfortable cloth, and with no time limit — home. I enjoy the “human and poetic” approach to everyday design tasks. Having the flexibility of access to my books, magazines and sitting down with a cup of tea in my lounge to find inspiration for new concepts is still a precious moment.
What does your home mean to you?
Home means love and nurture.
What do you collect?
As a recollection process of my experiences, I find motivation treasuring artifacts, stones, fabrics, magazines, leaflets and anything that brings back memories or stimulates me somehow. In this way I am able to relate to stores and emotions throughout my creative process. I often come to the office with my “travel suitcase” full of objects and curiosities, such as stones, metals, mirrors, paint colors, art frames ...
My colleague Tom makes fun of me but I quite like to bring my “treasures” to start with something that has strength and stimulates curiosity and could be an inspiration point to create a new story.
What will be the next big design trend?
Climate Justice is my core drive. I believe we must agree now that this is the time to act. Ethical design involves shifting to a new relationship between the planet and us as designers will be one of the most important trends within the next years. I believe we will need to ensure conscious and informed decisions while selecting materials.