Ten Minutes With Designer Nada Debs

5 min read
Blouse and skirt, Amal Al Raisi; earrings and ring, Marli; shoes, Nada’s own

Lebanese designer Nada Debs invites MOJEH into her home to talk interior design, family values and how to be the perfect host

How has your style changed over the years?

I used to be more conservative and pickier. Now, I am more relaxed about my style and I like to relate it to my work, so I focus on colours. It is not so much about fashion or style, but I like mixing and matching. A style staple that I am in love with right now is a black blazer from Comme des Garçons Noir Kei Ninomiya, and the brand Feng Chen Wang. I also love a classic black or white blazer with a strand of pearls.

You are a fabulous host. What are some of your must-haves for an event?

Lighting and music are two important aspects. I like to be generous with nuts, cakes and small bites. When it comes to drinks, cups and cutlery are not important but for dinner they are. For me, candlelight and music in the background for a play on lighting and shadows is important. I like to have some kind of incense, as scent is important because people also enjoy an ambience which is cosy even if there is no food served. Smiling is important for a host.

When it comes to personal style in jewellery, what is your preference?

I mix and match a lot. I wear things from 20 years ago andI always find a way to use things. My Arabesque ring is a perfect representation of my identity, and when I wear it people recognise that it is mine instantly.

Nada wears jumpsuit and belt by Max&Co, Santoni shoes and earrings and ring by Obari

What about skincare and facials?

I use different products and keep changing from time to time. I have a deep philosophy that if you are happy it reflects on your face, but I am also a believer in face massage rather than covering up with creams. Honestly, I would rather run or swim fast to keep my skin glowing as I am more about natural skincare.

What’s your favourite place to find inspiration and creativity in the UAE?

Comptoir 102 and The Grey. The first is a place that is full of objects and ideas and the second is pure, with one tone of colour and a wonderful backdrop.

What are you currently reading?

I have been reading about Japanese design, and I’m currently enjoying Wabi Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers. I find the Japanese essence of design is what I love because of the way it is viewed. I have a lot of other books on Japanese design because it gives me a justification for the way I do things, helping me understand how I design the way I do.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Material Matters by Grant Gibson, a podcast of interviews with different designers. I love the richness of the discussions about their relationships with a particular material or technique.

What is an ideal day like in your life?

I start morning with meditation and silence. I write my thoughts and read a little. I try to keep the early mornings for myself, and include exercise in the first one or two hours. In Beirut I walk my dog, watch the sea and the sun over the horizon. Around 9:30am I start work and stay until 7pm. I fit in lunch with a friend or colleague, and in the evening I like to unwind with yoga, friends or a movie so that I can have time for myself at the end of the day.

“For me, candlelight and music in the background for a play on lighting and shadows is important,” says Nada on hosting the perfect dinner party

What is your secret to remaining motivated and balanced?

I meditate for 20 minutes every day. Even though I stopped it for a year, I have now decided to start up again, as it keeps me grounded. Time alone and personal space keeps me balanced.

How about your fitness routine and approach to wellness?

Swimming is very important to me. I swim daily for about 2km and the rhythm, workout and the yoga that follows are all part of my approach to fitness and wellness. The balance of activities is perfect.

What are the core family values that you uphold in your company?

Integrity, honesty, transparency and generosity. Money is never the motivator, but integrity is, and I like to keep clients happy.

Tell us about your favourite place at home?

I like my bedroom. At the home in Dubai, it overlooks the garden and in Beirut, it overlooks the sky and mountains. Nature is a common element in both places.

Nada’s love for craft is evident throughout her home, where each artefact holds a different story

Where do you find yourself being most creative for work?

It’s a café when so many people are around. I need the chaos around me and that is when I am able to create.

What are some of the most treasured pieces you have at home?

I collect things that have a craft message. I keep my house minimal but I pick up endless treasured pieces during my travels. For example, I went to Uzbekistan and I got tea cups which I loved from there. I like many crafted objects and it is not about being expensive or cheap, but it is often something that has a form, pattern or texture that attracts my attention. Explore Nada Debs’s collections here

Read Next: At Home With Designer Nada Debs

  • Words by Odelia Mathews
  • Photography by Ausra Osipaviciute
  • Styling by Daniela Correia