At Home with Abdullah Alkhorayef
Abdullah A. Alkhorayef, a Saudi engineer, working in real estate development, his deep passion for art, design, culture, and fashion always appears in all his works, whether in the projects he builds or the homes he designs. He studied industrial engineering at King Saud University and interior design in London. He has many artworks, and his love for history and culture is a constant source of inspiration in everything he does. His practical experiences and his cultural and artistic interests made him have a different, comprehensive, and distinctive view that emanates from Saudi traditions and a contemporary worldview.
He is a Saudi engineer working in real estate development and has a great passion for art, design, culture, and fashion. This passion is always reflected in all his works, whether in construction or home designs. Art and culture form a significant part of the identity and works of Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Khorayef. He has become a real estate developer since he believes that real estate development is related to the world of design and creativity. The Saudi engineer has been always keen to combine creativity and art with practicality. To satisfy his artistic passion, he always seeks to take advantage of any available opportunity to work in creative fields such as painting, decoration, content writing, and any field related to culture and art. To commemorate the Saudi National Day in this issue, we visit the house of the Saudi engineer to see how his various personality traits reflect in his house.
I think I was born with the artistic talent of innovation, creativity, and aesthetic taste. I grew up in an open and diverse environment, where I was able to discover many aspects, whether in travel, interests, or cultures. My parents loved travel and culture, apart from their love for heritage and antiques. We had been always visiting museums and galleries. Therefore, I have a sense of curiosity, with a desire to explore and see beauty in everything, whether inside or outside the KSA. I have a passionate love for everything new.
Could you tell us more about your interest in heritage and history? And how it reflects in your works?
I love history and heritage. For me, they are a great source of inspiration. When I studied art history, I learned how to derive and draw inspiration from history, whether artworks or literature, to make the best use of it. This may not appear obviously in my designs, but I like it to be visible as an artistic touch such as colors, space allocation, or traditional uses. I do not prefer to reproduce heritage designs, but to make a modern design with a touch of the past by using specific materials or designing a unique table or plate.
Owing to your vast experience, can you highlight three life lessons that you would like to share with Saudi youth?
The view of themselves and their goals should be global, not local, whether by following world-famous designers or having the ambition to gain a world reputation. Furthermore, they should not neglect the business side to ensure continuity and sustainability. If they do not take into account the business side, they may not be able to keep the aesthetic side.
Moreover, they should always pay great attention to the dilemma they want to solve in the design or the artwork so that society will recognize the importance of art and creativity. Even If they only want to achieve an aesthetic purpose, it will be an important function.
Can you tell us the story behind adopting this decoration style in this house?
I consider this house a testing ground where I can create any design I want. I also try out all ideas, even if they are inconsistent. Furthermore, I try to make the house more flexible so that I can easily add or remove any element to improve the atmosphere of the place. All I care about is that my personality and the stages of my life are reflected in this place. I think that it is important for the house to reflect the personality of its owners so that any visitor knows the message expressed. I believe this is the primary function of the designer, as he should translate what is meant to be expressed through the tools used in the design.
What do you think is the main style used in the decoration of this house?
It is a modern design since I believe that the decor should be up-to-date. In this house, the eclectic style is mainly used in mixing various materials and designs from different periods and styles, with a modern arrangement that aims to tell one story about the aesthetic taste, history, and experiences of its inhabitants.
But the most important factor for the success of any design is that all these elements should be linked together through the similarity of colors, shapes, and lines used. Some accessories or the frame of paintings may also be matched together to give this place a distinctive character.
Does the Saudi or Gulf heritage stand out in the design of this house?
Yes, of course. It stands out in the use of rugs, side tables, and photographs. It also stands out in what I call the modern Saudi or Gulf style inspired by our heritage such as traditional and wooden utensils, or even modern objects with Saudi symbols like palm leaves or folk costumes.
What are your personality traits that are reflected in the decor of this house?
Whoever enters this house can easily figure out my personality. The house highlights the artistic side that contains my artworks and collections that express my personality. I also think that it shows the space of freedom and the harmony of contrasts, whether by adding many, few, or no colors to certain objects or by mixing luxury with simplicity in a modern design.
This place also expresses my insatiable curiosity, which may stand out in the use of objects and elements to perform functions that differ from their original ones. Curiosity may also stand out in the manipulation of size and space. Additionally, my sense of humor is clearly reflected in the décor.
Do you have a favorite painting or artwork in this house? And why do you like it?
All artworks here have a special place in my heart. But if I had to choose, I would pick two paintings because they reflect the sides of my personality. The first one is the large painting at the entrance, as all its elements and contents express me, whether colors, material, size, historical writings, poems, fashion brands, and many other things that reflect my personality. Indeed, this was the purpose of hanging this painting. The second one is a white painting that is almost devoid of colors, except for light watercolors which seem as if they are shadows on a white background. I feel that my personality traits switch between them: from enthusiasm and excitement to calm and tranquility.
How does this place give you the inspiration to be creative in your work and projects?
This place is a great source of inspiration and a direct reference to innovation due to its richness of colors, shapes, decorations, books, materials, and various collections that I love. I always make sure that the place contains pieces of furniture, accessories, paintings, and souvenirs to stimulate creativity and generate ideas. Even though, these objects may be ordinary and have no value, such as an empty perfume bottle that I like its design, a strange-shaped box, or a book cover with distinctive colors. Additionally, the furniture is very comfortable, as it enables the mind to imagine, meditate, relax, and innovate.
What does this house mean to you? Can you describe it in three words?
This house is the family home. It is regarded as the warm embrace that everyone needs. It also represents a record of the accomplishments, failures, and experiences that I have gone through and learned from. It is a safe haven to relax, organize thoughts, and gather strength. Whoever enters this house often says that it is "comfortable", "inspiring", and "similar to its owner". I agree that these three words provide an accurate description of the house.
What is your message to your country on Saudi National Day?
Keep going my beloved country!
First of all, I am very proud of being a Saudi. I have great pride in our history, heritage, and achievements in all fields since the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But the main source of pride on this National Day is the creative artistic development taking place in my beloved country.