I met Racha Kayali at the opening of the Arabian Collections Gallery a couple months ago. She was introduced to me as the mastermind behind the showroom, as her company had constructed and designed the entirely new space in Amwaj Plaza in Al-Khobar. After chatting with her about her amazing work at the gallery, I walked away with her business card, and noticed something very strange. Her title had her listed as an “Interior Architect.” I mean I’ve heard of an Architect, but an Interior Architect? Interesting…
The Interior Architect: Racha Kayali
I later met with Racha at her fabulous studio in Dana where she helped enlighten me on the role of an Interior Architect.
We provide a service to think about your interior… to help you change an existing space or a space that you’re planning to build. If you’re planning on building your home, we can be with you from the beginning. Our skills lie between an architect and then to arrive to the area where you can decorate. The architect works very well on the outside of a home, but when thinking about a room, an interior architect is more focused on the functionality of the house itself.
Racha came to Saudi Arabia 13 years ago from Paris. She’s originally Syrian, but had been living and working in Paris after having studied for 4 years at École Supérieur des Arts Modernes – ESAM Design, to become an Interior Architect. After finishing her studies, she worked with Jean-Michel Wilmotte, one of the most famous architectural agencies in Paris. Racha worked on a redesign of the interior of the Louvre Museum, a project with the National Museum of Beirut, and worked on the new conceptual designs of the Cartier boutiques.
After getting married, she moved to Saudi Arabia, and her career officially started with her own home. She created her own agency 7 years ago, RK interiors, and since then has been creating beautiful interiors in Dhahran – private villas as well as commercial projects.
RK Interiors: Commercial Projects
Many of RK Interiors’ commercial projects in the Kingdom have been for Al Rashid Mall. Racha’s company was responsible for designing The Rashid Avenue, The C, The Collection Kids, The Collection Men, Ladies Boulevard (Reception area), as well as some areas of the Food Court.
Office & Playroom
Racha’s Tips & Tricks:
Where should you start when decorating?
Things have changed a lot from before. Now, because of the internet, and applications like Houzz and Pinterest, I think people are becoming more cultured in decoration and interior design. It’s very good, and I think people should start with those pictures to help them decorate. When you see an interior that you like, you can try to figure out what it is that you like about it. Once you pair things together, you can understand your own taste.
I mean, we’re all decorators by nature. We all have taste. Most of us enjoy decorating our spaces and rooms, and many people are quite good at decorating. You don’t necessarily need an interior architect to pick out your taste.
Where should you start when building a home?
Again, things have changed so much. Before, you would have to go to an architect’s office, and you often wouldn’t know what you wanted! Now you can just browse the internet and applications for ideas.
I would say that one should first go to Houzz.com and try to make your own library. Every picture you like, keep it in a folder for each room (bathroom, dining room, etc.), and every time you like a chair or a sofa, just put it in a folder. After a couple of months, you have a library with your taste. With this, you can go to an architect or interior architect and actually show them your style. This is a great shortcut, and helps the architect and interior architect to define your style.
Which stores are your favorites or help inspire you in the Eastern Province?
The Gallery (the modern one), which is across the street from Bo Concept. It’s very trendy, but quite expensive. I also think Bo Concept is very nice. Also, Natuzzi Al Mutlaq is another great store.
For a smaller budget, I suggest visiting ID Design & IKEA. IKEA has very nice and trendy accessories. In Bahrain, I suggest visiting Minotti, Oriental, Roche Bobois, and Ligne Roset.
For my own inspiration of interiors, I mostly go to Milan and Paris. I often find things that you can’t find here, and can either bring them here for a client or can have custom designs made. I always customize as it is a limited market.
I also love art work. I’m very inspired by artists as they are very sensitive and are visionaries.
Contact: RK Interiors
Tel: + 966 13 861 1082
You can see Racha’s other projects and pictures of her interiors on her website, http://www.rachakayali.com