Cheryll Cajandab is the Founder and Creative Director of Stellar Concepts Interiors. Cheryll talks to The Industry Leaders about how her visiting father's furniture factory as a child inspired her to pursue a career in Architecture and how travel inspires her work.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
At a young age, I knew that I loved details and colours.
My dad used to have a furniture factory back home at that time, and in the factory, carvers added intricate details onto the furniture. I just loved watching them, making each detail come to life. My dad used to take me to fabric shops, and every time he brought me there, I became mesmerized by the rich and colourful fabrics. This frequent exposure is one of the biggest factors that inspired me to become an Architect.
After I graduated from college, I travelled to Dubai and joined HBA, where my strong interior design foundation developed. The experience made a huge impact on me as a designer and has served as my core design principle. After almost 20 years of diversified experience between Abjar Hotels, Hotelier, Rotana, Majid Al Futtaim, I have enriched my knowledge and built a strong network of connections in the industry. Following that, in 2019, Stellar Concepts Interiors was born.
What kind of work does your role involve?
As a Founder and Creative Director of Stellar Concepts Interiors, I'm very hands-on. My primary role is to build relationships with clients and operators to guarantee that we provide a bespoke service, an experiential design, and a unique design solution for each project.
We have two international branches: our main office is located here in Dubai and a technical office in Manila, Philippines. Between these offices, proper coordination should be made to make everything work harmoniously, ensuring that projects meet high standards of design quality! I drive the team to make sure that all our designs are in line with our vision, act as our clients' lens to implement their dream, be conscious of the target budget, and be innovative to complement each operator's inspirations and brand guidelines.
What gets you excited about your industry?
As part of the design industry, it provides you with an opportunity to share your overall experience, insights and freely express the design principles that I cumulatively acquired through almost 20 years of experience.
I am blessed that my journey allowed me to keep enriching myself and led me to inspire others.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
A project is like delivering a baby... I will leave that to you to define!
What, or who inspires you?
Oh, I have a lot of inspirations! I'm always amazed and continuously take inspiration from various cultures, traditions, people's emotions, experiences, design, art, books and nature. I'm a very outgoing person; I love travelling and experiencing a destination, whether it's the food and being with the local people - regardless of whether a business or a leisure trip. I'm always enriching myself with these experiences.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I'm the type of person who's always hungry for innovation, trends and conscious of everything. I keep myself up to date through regular research and am always reading or listening to podcasts between business and design books. As a Founder of the company, I need to keep my team inspired, push our boundaries, and think out of the box. As a leader of the group, I have to start with myself and be seen as an inspiration to them, which I believe will help my team thrive and aspire beyond their individual capabilities.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Each project has it's own challenges, and I love challenges; this is why I love interior design.
Projects were more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and no one expected how big of an impact it would have on the industry. Many companies, small and big, had a challenging time and those that are resilient survived. For me, that was the most challenging time that we experienced as a company! I hope this year will be better than last so it will be good for everyone!
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Explore the world and be more inspired!
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I try to keep my mind and body healthy, so I play a lot of tennis! I also watch DC movies with my family - we're big fans! Sometimes we hang out with great friends or spend our free time exploring new restaurants and places!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
Be innovative and continue to create a destination, regardless of what project it is!
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
When I was setting up the Stellar Concepts Interiors, I took a lot of inspiration from the book "The Four Hour Work Week". I love reading the life stories of inspiring people, learning from their experiences - I feel empowered by these books.
I also like listening to design TED talks.
How should people connect with you?
You can connect with me through the following:
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