Dubai-based Hassan Sami is a Project Director with HBA. Hassan tells The Industry Leaders how he came to live and work in one of the world's top hospitality destinations and shares his secret sauce for success.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
As an Architect, Dubai was the top destination I decided to venture to, so I packed up and moved to Dubai in 2008 when the financial/real estate crisis had hit the market badly. At that time, the industry survived on the mid-segment projects.
My focus back then was on the residential projects, which gave great exposure to the gulf region's culture and taste. Then I joined HBA in 2015 when the hospitality industry was recovering rapidly. This allowed me to work on a vast range of luxury brands in the region, such as The Address, Ritz Carlton, Hilton, and Marriott brands.
What kind of work does your role involve?
While approaching the creative path through all my projects, paying attention to the technical details and the overall human experience have always captivated me.
Apart from building up my portfolio of projects, I have always believed that mentoring young designers and colleagues is the secret recipe for success.
What gets you excited about your industry?
The interior design industry is unique in so many ways. It is about the passion for creating beautiful spaces where people can feel a deep connection to the spaces through a canvas of textures, colours, and lighting effects.
Most of all, it is a great feeling for any designer to see and touch their achievements in real life.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Set your goal and walk the line.
What, or who inspires you?
I usually get my inspiration from nature and how fascinating the interior of any space can connect and be inspired by the surrounding environment. With the rapid expansion of urban life in cities, nature is being missed more and more.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
With all the technologies the world witnesses nowadays, it is easy to stay connected with what is happening anywhere in the world.
As a passionate traveller, I never miss a chance to hop from one country to another following the opening of any international exhibitions or art galleries.
I'm also fortunate to call Dubai home for the past 13 years, living in one of the most thought-of countries in the hospitality industry.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Challenges are part of my daily life at work, but it is always disappointing when you know that the design has to be altered somehow to fit the site/construction condition. It takes a lot of decision-making skills to figure out the best solutions in no time without compromising on the design intent.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would pause my career for two years and book a ticket across the universe! I am sure I would be returning back with a wealth of memories, cultural exposure, and ideas that for sure will change my whole perspective about design in general.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I love gardening, so my plants have a fair share of my daily time.
Also, I play the Saxophone, which really has the ability to soothe my evenings.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I wish that both clients and designers get more information and education about the interior design's intent. The design business, in general, is very subjective from to another, But it always shares one goal: " Enrich the Human Experience."
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
"Rich Dad Poor Dad", written by Robert Kiyosaki
"The Power of Now", written by Eckhart Tolle
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