Growing up in a small village in Lebanon, interior designer Sawsan Chammas Haber is continuously inspired by the beauty of the great outdoors, with her life and home being the ultimate testament. MOJEH takes a look inside…
From the day she was born, it was clear to Sawsan Chammas Haber’s mother that her beloved daughter would grow up to become an interior designer. “It has always been her dream for me,” Sawsan tells MOJEH. “I was taught to say that I am an interior designer at the same time I was taught to say my name, so it’s no surprise that it would become such a big part of my identity.” However, having been raised in a small village in Lebanon and sheltered from the exuberant architecture so often admired in bustling big cities around the world, it wasn’t until her teens that Sawsan truly discovered her calling. Today, the founder and creative director of Dubai-based interior design and architecture firm Dipiugi needs no introduction, with her name taking pride of place among the speed-dials of the region’s most creative movers and shakers.
Having moved to Dubai over 22 years ago – “love brought me here,” she tells us – Sawsan may never have looked back, but she still cites her Lebanese upbringing as one of the biggest inspirations behind her work today. “During my childhood I spent a lot of time outdoors, and I have a very strong connection with nature, the Earth and the universe,” she explains. “Be it sunrises, sunsets or the beauty of the four seasons, nature has always amazed me, and it inspires the combination of colours I bring to my work.” It’s this love of nature that saw Sawsan set up home at Al Barari’s prestigious The Nest district, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, son and mother. And as testament to the landscapes she so admires, the area was an obvious choice for the family. “Al Barari’s abundance of greenery and nature helps keep me connected to my childhood memories in my beautiful village. It reflects the lifestyle I love, which is immersing myself in a stylish yet calm environment, somewhere I can come home to and relax after a long, loud, busy day.”
Spread over two distinct levels, Sawsan first fell in love with her home thanks to its abundance of natural light, which penetrates the house from several angles, creating interesting shadows that dance together effortlessly. A tribute to her own unique character and distinct design flair – think clean lines and neutral tones blended with a sumptuous opulence – its renovation was no easy feat. “I wanted it to reflect both my own personality and my children’s needs while catering to our lifestyle as a couple and family, all while ensuring the interiors blended with the exteriors and had a luxurious, trendy and sophisticated style,” she explains. And that it does. Sawsan’s creative use of colours, choice of statement pieces in each room, and impressive collection of art incorporate the alfresco hues of her home’s garden and pool. “Artwork played a major role in the design of this house,” she adds. “I commissioned local artists, and at the entrance you’ll find two oversized artworks that bring together waves, sand and seaweed in one, and the galaxies, stars and cosmos in another. The energies of both flow between each piece.”
If you couldn’t already tell, one of Sawsan’s biggest passions is blending the outdoors with the in – elsewhere, the main chandelier was designed to imitate rainfall, while an oversized carpet boasts palm-leaf shadows reflected from the garden – and the calming nature of her personality is personified throughout. “Each room in the house is assigned a specific colour, and most are inspired by nature,” she tells us. “Think greens, yellows, oranges, pinks, aquas and blues; a pop of colour against an otherwise subtle background makes a world of difference.” As a multi-functional space for hosting, relaxing and meditating, her actual outdoor space is just as important, and features a climatised garden room that can be enjoyed all year round.
When not at home entertaining friends or spending time with family, you’ll find Sawsan in her element at the beach rather than in the confines of a shopping mall. “I love feeling the sand and water between my toes, enjoying the sea breeze and contemplating the sunset,” she explains. “It has such a calming and relaxing effect on me.” And you’ll be sure to find her children alongside her too, who she says represent her proudest achievement to date. “I love being a role model for my kids,” she concludes. “Seeing the admiration in their eyes is priceless.” A beautiful home, loving family and blossoming career, Sawsan is proof that we really can have it all.
I have two distinct styles at work – casual with jeans, a tee and trainers when on site, and casual chic with my own unique spin for the office.
You’ll find me by the pool or on the beach in shorts, crop tops, beach dresses and swimwear.
Gucci, Dior, Prada and Dolce if I’m looking to splash out, and Pinko, Alice+Olivia or Zimmermann for easy-going, more budget-friendly options.
Most treasured piece
A black and gold Balmain mini dress. It’s a timeless piece with a creative twist.
Favourite place to shop
Harvey Nichols is al ways my first stop when I hit the mall, but if I’m shopping online then Farfetch, Net-a Porter and Ounass are my go-tos.
Favourite regional designers
It has to be Rami Al Ali or Mrs Keepa.
- Words by Naomi Chadderton