Interior Designer Hammam Al Abdulla in collaboration with FROMM. , brought in colour and panache to the M7 stairs activating this space with a contemporary twist to traditional Qatari Sadu print; a seemingly simple design solution that is vibrant and eye-catching.
If you have been to M7 in Msheireb in recent times, you are sure to notice the vibrant open space on the ground floor stairs, peppered with splashes of colour that inadvertently forms the seating space encouraging visitors to linger on, perhaps have a discussion on the various art, cultural and fashion offerings around this space. This new look is the design brilliance of Hammam Al Abdulla, a Qatari designer, in collaboration with FROMM, a design company launched between Qatar and Italy that is already making waves in the industry with its stunning offering and its ethos of creating collaborations with designers.
Hammam Al Abdulla is quite child-like in his fascination for design, beautiful spaces, and products. His passion for interiors, details and products started from an early age, starting with rearranging furniture at home to spending time admiring designs in magazines, all of which confused his parents who did not understand this interest in young Hammam.
“With the culture prevalent in Qatar, I was expected to study petroleum engineering or chemical engineering,” reveals Hammam, who listened to his parents and enrolled to study engineering but later as he dived deeper into engineering studies, realised that this course of action was not appropriate for him.
Steering his interests back to his passion, Hammam turned to interior design studies and realised the joy in studying more about his deep interest. It was an easy task from there to now, for Hammam found his true love as designing and detailing came naturally to him.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) with a focus in interior design from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Arts and Design, where he received awards for design excellence. His science design degree has benefited him in informing his design philosophy, that is backed by a research and technical based approach.
The period after his graduation was a time for much contemplation when Hammam started to wonder if he would practice at all in his own country, as he felt interior designers did not get the right platform with the trend of reliance on international names in the country.
After a brief stint as designer at Msheireb Properties working under Sheikha Al Sulaiti for projects like Mandarin Oriental, Doha, Hammam gained trust in the system and started appreciating the chance to study under international names. “From selecting artwork to deciding on the right shade or texture for the blinds, every detail is of utmost important and was a great learning experience for me,” says Hammam.
Not finding opportunities immediately, Hammam was losing confidence as he was raring to show his talent in his own country. His inspiration came in the form of Qatar’s first and most prolific architect, Ibrahim Jaidah, who advised him to keep hope as the stage is all set and the time will soon come for him to showcase his strengths.
True to Jaidah’s words, Hammam found an interesting twist in his career, being hired as the Exhibition Designer for Mathaf: The Arab Museum of Modern Art where he worked on most of the new installations and exhibitions this year.
“We just finished work on the Permanent Collection exhibition which is now ongoing at Mathaf,” he says.
It was around this time that he came to chance upon FROMM. and their collaboration model, available for designers, giving designers with talent, an outlet, and a platform to showcase their creativity, hone their capabilities and give them the opportunity for a hands-on design experience.
“I reached out to them as they put out a call for designers based in Qatar,” says Hammam, “FROMM. is a design platform that acts as a talent incubator for aspiring designers. FROMM’s job as a design platform and talent incubator is to recognise the designer’s strengths and creativity to help them capitalise on them in a way that can appeal to a global market.”
“Designers are taken through a rigorous process called the “FROMM. Design Process,” where ideas are pushed to their limits, creative inspirations are tested, prototyped and final designs are produced,” explains Hammam, who was very excited to find the right collaborator.
“I was very taken in with the idea of creating and then making sure that the design gets realised, and with their expertise, it is easier to achieve the international benchmark as they have done this process before and know how to hone the talent to bring out the best design,” he adds.
But before they began their project, Hammam and FROMM. brought in a piece of Qatar to the M7 stairs by activating it through incorporating a delightful cultural weave, the Sadu print on the cushions to make the steps an easy sitting area. M7 added colourful word play that added to the vibrant space.
“We decided on the colour of the Sadu print to be used and the material which would be easier for longer lasting public use,” says Hammam, “We wanted the colours to stand out hence the base shade of grey for the sofa.”
“We didn’t have much time but finally it all came together very beautiful. It is a contemporary take on Qatari vernacular seating arrangements that we have been using in tents. Usually the Sadu print is red, black and white, but we made it more fun and attractive with the colours used.
Hammam believes in practising humancentric design, answering the needs of the client, both functionally and aesthetically while keeping in mind sustainable solutions and thus designing responsibly.
He believes that that design is not a “one-shoe-fits-all” solution, seeing each project and client being unique in their needs, and character. Continuously inspired by nature, culture, and the environment, Hammam uses his designs as means of storytelling, while advocating for sustainability.
Photography: JAYAN ORMA
Images of Dana and Hammam: Courtesy FROMM.