The Art of Functional Creative Design by Sarah A. Abdallah
In this edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire, join us for a peek into the creative mind of Sarah A. Abdallah, founder and principal designer of Functional Creative Design. Focused on the hospitality industry, while always ready to take on anything, Sarah Abdallah leads the Functional Creative Design team in offering multi-disciplinary services from their New York-based office. Design rooted in the concept of ‘form + function = design’. And design that integrates local artisans and sustainable methods, while always pushing beyond the norms of interior architecture and design, and helping to create unique experiences. Read on and be inspired!
Meet Sarah A. Abdallah of Functional Creative Design in The Lh Design Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness to me is truly a mindset and being in peaceful state of mind, spirit + feeling emotionally + mentally + physically healthy – makes me deeply happy and that allows me to really clearly see my surroundings and easily listen to signs + inspirations for being Creative Entrepreneur + for my own well-
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
As first generation American of immigrant parents and woman of mixed ethnicity + mixed race I feel one of my greatest achievements is working on unlearning and relearning how to be in the world and learning to find my voice separate from what society, culture, religion, or my peers dictate what you should be and when to be “it”. Finding comfort in being different and moving differently through the world. I think that process through early childhood until now has been lifetime achievement to be deeply aware and comfortable in your own skin + our own way of being. This truly allows me lead by example and lead from the heart and come up with unique solutions for our clients as I first and foremost deeply listen to needs, wants, goals and desire of those clients.
What profession does your alter ego have?
My alter ego is fun loving professional dancer by day + fine artist by night who wears lots of colors +
travels the world exploring.
The project you will never forget.
Designing a residence of celebrity Jewelry Designer Shahla Karmi and her Husband Tim MacGougan. MacGougan, now a Managing Partner at Shahla Karmi Designs, was the Chief Design Officer and Chief Product Officer at Hinge for 8 years, playing an integral part in the runway success of the dating app.
Our goal first and foremost was to create a more functional space for our client’s family. Of upmost importance was ensuring that the luxury furniture pieces had custom fabrics that were durable and could deal with day-to-day abuse by their 4-year-old child + two older Chihuahua dogs. This space was special for us as we were working for two creatives who we also are friends with. The opportunities to provide our expertise to two individuals we value deeply was extremely heartwarming.
Designing a space worthy of NYC was one thing. Though the trick was how to navigate Shahla’s love for clean lines + marble details + Tim’s love for mid-century modern. We found a way to merge the two styles for a more timeless + contemporary + elevated mid-century feeling.
In the Dining Room, a Frank Rettenbacher-designed Zanotta Dining Table + Zanotta Dining Chairs in Natural Oak with various color seat fabrics in 100% wool. A look that truly showcases daily life in contemporary living. Each object generates authentic emotion as every object has its own narrative to tell.
In the Open Kitchen we added commercial grade stools by Bernhardt Designs, the “ACE Stool”.
In the living room, a custom Eave Modular Sofa with a deeper depth and custom fabric from Kvadrat by MENU Designs sits center with large custom decorative pillows with leather on one side and Mahram Fabric on the other.
We introduced color through all the new furniture pieces and combined modern + mid-century modern in a less expected way.
Your favorite business tool or resource.
Favorite business tool or resource by far would be 3D tools that we have to show case our designs. This extremely valuable for clients who are not very visual.
The most timeless design.
The most timeless design I have worked on during my career would be Edition Hotel Lobby Bar located
off Madison Park at 5 Madison Avenue NYC + Park Hyatt in Washington D.C. 24 + M street Guestrooms lobby are all very much timeless including Blue Duck Restaurant. Also elements of the Waterline Square 90,000 square foot Amentias space located in New York City that connects the famous residential buildings built by famed Architects Rafael Vinoly + KPF + Richard Meier – the gym – tennis courts, pool spa + the parlor room + party room are all quite timeless.
The biggest design faux pas.
I think this is very relative to who the designer or Interior Architect is. For myself I think as the greater
consciousness is shifting of humans to how we can be more sustainable in all areas of our life – faux pas
would be to design spaces to meet trends only – I would say instead we should be creating spaces that
would be more timeless + functional + more human centered so the spaces could actually have a longer
shelf life beyond the expected time period intern having less of impact on natural resources + producing
less waist in times when you need demo remove existing material + adding to ever growing issue with
Your design motto.
Well-being of Humans first + foremost – lets create meaningful thoughtful spaces to meet the well-being
of our fellow humans – to help foster true joy.
Our publisher KOKET makes statement décor; if you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?
Hands down love the Paris Oval Dining Table by KOKET – I would design timeless elegant dining room
around this piece as I love how it can stand on its own as its own sculpture piece. Super elegant and also
understated all at the same time.
Love Happens when…
Thoughtful culture nods, timeless + functional + human centric design get combined to create design solutions for spaces.
Explore more by Sarah A. Abdallah and Functional Creative Design at Functional Creative Design.
Feature Image & All Photos by Ball & Albanese, Courtesy of Functional Creative Design