Game Changers The Expat Issue

Fadi Sarieddine: Furniture designed around your personality

Fadi is not your average furniture designer. His pieces are interactive and reflect his clients’ personalities.

Every home you go to now is a ‘copy-paste’ of the other, and I wanted to make something different for my house’, remarks Fadi Sarieddine, Lebanese architect, interior and furniture designer and founder of the Dubai-based Fadi Sarieddine Design Studio, when we ask him about his beginnings.

Fadi is not your average furniture designer. His pieces are interactive and reflect his clients’ personalities.

‘We ask our clients to fill out a questionnaire before we begin the design process, and we come up with a piece that corresponds to the client’s personality’, he says.

‘For example, we designed a DVD unit for a film collector who had over 3,000 movies in his collection. This piece ended up defining the whole house’, he explains. ‘We called it ‘The Collector’s Wall Unit’’.

‘The Collector’s Wall Unit’’. Courtesy.

The pieces are interactive for two reasons, Fadi says: ‘In this day and age, houses are smaller and you need furniture to adapt to different usage. The other reason is that when the pieces are interactive, the pieces become part of the user, as opposed to just rigid, decorative pieces’.

On average, the design process for custom pieces takes about 4 weeks. The manufacturing process and production time vary from one to two months, depending on the size of the furniture piece.

‘We use FSC Certified wood in our furniture, and all our furniture is designed and produced in the UAE’, says Fadi as he discusses his business’s sustainability.

Fadi’s background in architecture has been of added value in his furniture designing.

‘Architecture adopts a very broad and systematic approach, and that influenced the way that I think about furniture’, he says.

The thought process, he adds, often involves philosophy, considers where we are in time and age, and accounts for technological advances.

Though Fadi is a unique and talented furniture designer, he did not learn from a master carpenter.

‘I did not have a lot of background on carpentry when I started 8 years ago, but now I’ve learned all the tricks’. He chuckles as he tells us about his self-taught skills.

Fadi and his seven team members cater to both corporate and residential clients.

‘We work on a lot of offices, residences, retail spaces, and food & beverages outlets’, he states.

Among his latest productions are food trucks designed for The Foodsters, a Dubai-based business that sells and rents out trailers that provide catering services. This was also Fadi and his team’s first attempt at designing a food truck.

Food truck concepts by Fadi. Courtesy.

On what sets Fadi’s studio apart from other furniture designers, Fadi proudly states it is that their furniture always has a story to tell. Fadi’s furniture line also falls within the medium range in terms of pricing, although custom and limited edition pieces are priced differently.

The industry in the GCC region has evolved since Fadi established his studio in 2013.

‘When we started we were a handful, but now this industry has mushroomed. There are more Emirati and Saudi designers who have established their design studios’, Fadi states. ‘It’s exciting, the more the merrier’!

Contributing factors such as the establishment of Dubai’s Design District, in addition to the organisation of events such as Dubai’s Design Days, have all helped in encouraging more furniture designers to establish their businesses, he says.

‘These events opened the eyes of the public to contemporary design and made them appreciative of it. It also triggered designers to establish furniture design studios’.

‘However, we’re still lagging behind other nations because they have a long history of hundreds of years of designing and manufacturing furniture’, notes Fadi. ‘But the rate that this region is growing is very promising’.

What is still missing, he says, are spaces where new designers and start-ups are able to prototype and experiment with furniture design, an essential and usually expensive stage in the design-making process. Providing these spaces will remove cost as an obstacle and encourage designers to pursue this path, explains Fadi.

We conclude by asking him about the most memorable piece of furniture he has designed to date.

‘The Dubai Syndrome—a chair made of concrete to highlight Dubai as a city that is perpetually under construction. It was the winning design in a competition in 2008, was exhibited in Milan in 2010, and is now part of the D3 street furniture’, he reflects. ‘I made it with my own hands‘.

The chair continues to have a special place in Fadi’s heart because the wide success it garnered from winning the competition marked his transition from architecture to furniture design.

‘Dubai’s postcards always boast pretty pictures of the city’, explains Fadi. ‘The construction period is always at a backstage. I wanted to bring it forward because it’s nothing to be shy of’.

The Dubai Syndrome—a chair made of concrete to highlight Dubai as a city that is perpetually under construction. Courtesy.

To see more of Fadi’s furniture designs, seek his services, or learn more about where he’ll exhibiting his pieces next visit: or follow him on Instagram: @fadisarieddine.

Sekka Editorial.