Anita Bir’s interior design career began at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), where she has been working as an interior designer for the past two years. Having completed her Master’s degree in Interior Design from the Nuova Accademia di Belli Arti in Milan, Bir attributes her technical skills and abilities, such as developing concepts and facing rigorous deadlines, to her academic training.
“Being fortunate to study in Milan, it gave me the opportunity to learn from designers, such as Ron Gilad, from Flos, who, as a lecturer gave us the chance to explore how one develops one’s own language or approach to a project. He always stressed the importance of focusing on your passions and projecting them into your work,” she says.
Bir first joined HBA as an intern, where she first expressed her interest in hospitality design. Not long after, she joined the firm with a full-time position, where she has since worked on a number of projects from various sectors, her first being the Curio Hilton hotel.
“The main challenge I faced was being able to quickly and effectively familiarise myself with both the operator and HBA standards,” she explains of working on her first hospitality project. “One thing I admired greatly about HBA, from the beginning, was the dedication of senior colleagues to enhance and grow their junior team members. I was fortunate that they all took the time to work alongside me to develop my skills. The trust they placed in me is what I think has led to me now managing my own projects.”
Bir adds that with the fast-paced changes in the design industry, challenges are inevitable, and designers must remain flexible and keen to learn the latest ‘best in industry’ practice. This also applies to regional tastes.
“The Middle East is no longer an isolated market,” she says. “Our clients having been exposed to a variety of cultures and this develops tastes that are quite broad. When clients approach us with a certain vision, such as a lobby design that has caught their eye on their travels, it is our job to infuse that vision into the space in a logical way that both maintains the concept and keeps true to the culture of the region.”