Interior designers Reem Abou Khalil (right) and Ornella Khattar (left), both 26, have teamed up to launch a new practice in Abu Dhabi, called Unit thirty6. Having completed their bachelor of fine arts in interior design at the American University of Dubai, both have pursued a different trajectory before coming together to start their own firm.
Post her graduation, Abou Khalil went on to work in the UAE and Lebanon in the residential and commercial sectors as an interior designer and an FF&E specialist. On the other hand, Khattar, moved to Milan to pursue a master’s degree, before returning to the UAE and working across several retail as well as food and beverage projects in the GCC and Europe.
“Our attitude towards design is to look towards the future, be forward thinking and always be 36 steps ahead,” say the designer duo, referencing their company name. “We believe that our design should be centered on the user experience first and foremost, and create evolving spaces that can adapt to both their current and future needs. While designing any space, we identify the users, their needs and problems, and how we can create thoughtful design solutions that will stand the test of time.”
The name of the studio, Unit thirty6, is a mathematical expression of the name of their studio space, called The Design Yard (pictured above) – 36 inches being equal to a yard – which aims to serve as a location for all things design. The practice also has a branding and graphics arm, with plans to start a furniture design and a rendering unit in the near future. Upcoming projects include a concept store and a flower boutique in Abu Dhabi, an Indian fusion restaurant, a speakeasy in Dubai, and a residential villa in Lebanon, in addition to branding commissions.