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The Monday Media Diet with Shaikha AlSulaiti
On Doha, design, and Whoop
Shaikha AlSulaiti (SAS) is a friend of WITI. She’s an interior designer and also works in various elements of the design world in Doha, including the Msherib “downtown” district which is now home to a range of interesting retail, design studios and very good coffee shops. We caught up at the Mandarin Oriental for a chat on my last trip through and I asked her to be our first Qatari MMD interview. Have a good week. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Shaikha AlSulaiti and interior designer from Qatar, with a passion for saving the animals from the “luxury” design industry. Although I myself, love luxury, I think that it can definitely be cruelty free, and in being so gives even more appeal.
I love beautiful things and enjoy creating designs that celebrate my heritage, always drawing inspiration from our rich Qatari culture. As well as being inspired by trades and traditional furniture, I think we have a lot to learn from our ancestors, especially when it comes to not being wasteful. The more I discover about my culture and traditions, the more I am inspired to create and celebrate it. I believe that celebrating culture through design keeps tradition alive.
Describe your media diet.
I try to avoid updating myself with world news, mainly because it is full of negative information. Having said that, I like to update myself on industry through platforms such as coolhunting.com, which I try to read 1-2 times a week.
My favorite recent article I read was about interior styling by Colin King. Styling is an element of design I find fascinating, since it's a topic I want to learn more about, and I'm so glad I came across this website thanks to my good friend, Whitney Robinson.
What’s the last great book you read?
My favorite book that I recently read was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, because it hits on two of my favorite genres, thriller & romance. Typically, I prefer classical novels over new literature. I watched both movies too, but have to say the book was far more enjoyable.
What are you reading now? I am reading my go-to when I don’t have a book to read, which is Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. It is one of my all-time favorite books because it touches upon so many concepts in life that I like to live by.
Especially in today's tumultuous world, I find it to be a pleasant reminder on how we need to treat one another and encourage more peace and love.
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
It is usually my older sister who recommends books to me, since she is the bookworm in our family, and, more importantly, is familiar with my taste.
When it’s not stories I’m reading, I love to engross myself in books about history, such as The Story of Civilization by Will Durant, which was recommended to me by my father. Although I have not finished reading them, and not sure when I will pick up the next volume, it is one of the most interesting topics to me - to see how the ancient civilizations lived, how and why they created the art they did, and the rules they lived by as they relate to politics and economy.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
This is slightly more difficult, because I mostly just recommend classics . I did receive, however, a wonderful book from a friend called Cradle to Cradle, which was very insightful to see how science and design in today's world are more intertwined than I ever thought they would be.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
Right now it's Whoop! An app that analyzes data readings such as heart rate and sleep, and let's you know how well you recovered , and if you're getting sick, or stressed. For any workout fanatics this is a great tool to use to make sure you're not overexerting yourself.
The other app I love is Neuronation which helps keep my mind sharp and focused, and improves memory.
Plane or train?
I enjoy long plane rides. Typically, I travel more by plane, but that is mainly because of where I reside. When in Europe, it's trains all the way.
What is one place everyone should visit?
I have to say Msheireb Downtown - our city of design in Doha. Not only is it one of the smartest and sustainable cities in the world, but also designed and executed to perfection. From the master plan, all the way down to the smallest details, it is an experience to just walk thru the streets and experience the contemporary interpretation of geographical responses integrated into the architecture that our ancestors used to make life more comfortable, especially in our harsh desert climate.
For any architecture, art and design lovers, it's definitely the place to visit in the Middle East! If not that, then Patina Fari Island in the Maldives.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
I was working on quite an important presentation pitch. I take a lot of pride in my work, and must make each presentation my latest of art. It's what gives me pleasure and patience to work on them.
As you know, everything in the Middle East is urgent, and so I had a very tight deadline that I was working towards.
I decided to use AI to develop some of the conceptual mood images for my presentation. The mood images were great, but it took me some time to get the hang of AI as a tool. I got so excited that I was creating these beautiful images in seconds, but ironically ended up wasting so much time because of my experimentation using the tool. Thankfully, I caught myself in time, and ended up submitting the presentation before the deadline. It is still one of my favorite presentations today. (SAS)
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN)
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