Guinevere’s Guests; Chats with Alidad

Widely acclaimed for his opulent and richly layered interiors, Alidad continually delights clients; creating rooms that appear to have developed over generations. With over thirty years experience, he has been featured numerous times in Architectural Digest’s AD100, Elle Decor’s A-List, and House & Garden’s Top 100 Interior Designers. This month for Guinevere’s Guests, Alidad lends his award-winning design-style in selecting five items from the Guinevere collection, and generously provided some insight into his eclectically furnished interiors, combining antique, vintage and modern, layered with rich colours, patterns and textures.

You grew up in Persia, how do you feel that has shaped your design style?
I don’t think I am conscious that is has, but it undeniably has. Having left the country in my early teens, I think it must be somewhere in my subconsciousness. I work in many different styles but when I do what I would call an exotic room, I suppose this is where you can see the influence the most. When I was working in Sotheby’s in the Islamic department, my
Persian heritage really came into fruition in my mind.

Your projects are so layered; how long do they take you?
My projects tend to be quite large and some of them can take between two to four years. However; that is from beginning to end as we do everything from the interior architecture to the interior design. I don’t like to have more than three projects at a time.

Favourite project to date and why?
My favourite projects are always those where the clients are involved and understand what I am trying to achieve. They direct you in what they want but trust you enough to leave you to get on with it. The best clients have always been similar in this approach, even if from very different backgrounds and countries. Projects which spring to mind that I really enjoyed include a house in Chelsea and a flat in Paris a while back. (Photo credit Simon Upton, Project Place des Vosges in Paris)

You worked at Sotheby’s, how has that influenced your decisions in what to put in a project?
Sotheby’s was my first ever job, the real lesson it taught me was how to deal with people, and to be organised. It was a lot to learn in my early 20s. It opened my eyes to art, and not just the Islamic art of my department, but all sorts of things that you would see while
working there from paintings to artefacts. It gave me a good grounding and trained my eye which has evolved throughout my life and continues to.

Favourite room in your house?

My red Study. It is cosy and the place I can go, to forget what is happening in the world, be that a bad day, bad weather or otherwise. (photo below shows Alidads red study photograph by James MacDonald)

Best kept secret
When I talk about interior design, I get asked “how do you get away with so many patterns?” So, over the years I have thought about this and gone back and analysed what I have done. I balance everything with plain surfaces. For example, a sofa will be in a plain fabric and then the pattern will come out in the cushions and other accents. If there was pattern everywhere it would look a mess!

Most useful piece of advice you were given when starting in interior design?
Get on with it! Don’t question yourself too much, go with your gut and make mistakes it is how you will learn.

Piece you most wanted to keep for yourself?
If I buy something for a project, I can’t sell it, I would want to keep it. So, I always make my clients buy anything that we find for their projects themselves so there is no danger of me keeping it for myself.

Top Instagram accounts you religiously look at?
I don’t look at anything. I just post. I find enough images for myself and just do those.

Your house is on fire what do you save?
I scream and run! I would never risk my life running into a burning building to save a bust or a wad of cash!

Alidads Top Picks from Guinevere

Follow Alidad on Instagram for more inspiration.