Claudia Mitcham, interior designer and co-founder, MWM Studio talks about design aesthetics, emerging trends, and exciting projects

How would you describe your style?
Fundamentally, my house style leans towards a clean contemporary style laced with unique design accents and features. However, I’m always evolving and learning as a designer and open to new ideas. Where do you go to get new ideas and inspiration? Travel is generally the biggest inspiration, however, you can find it practically anywhere, a pattern or reflection in water can inspire a rug design, birds feather can inspire a colour scheme, an art deco gate can inspire a screen design!

Claudia Mitcham

How do you keep up with industry changes? Industry events such as Maison & Objet Show in Paris and Milan Salone del Mobile are always inspirational for interiors and keep you up with modern trends. Whilst at home in Dubai it’s always great to look around at the latest fashion boutiques and restaurants as well as keeping up to date with the latest interiors magazines.

Is the Hillside Development at Jumeirah Golf Estates your first project in Dubai? What kind of brief were you given?
Hillside by CHI-SOL Investments was my first show villa in Dubai as MWM Studio with my co-founder Olivia Watts. Under previous employment both of us worked on many prestigious Dubai based commercial and residential projects, so we were well aware of the local market. With Hillside, Olivia and I were lucky enough to have a client who trusted us and wanted a very clean contemporary interior in keeping with the architecture. As it is positioned in such beautiful surroundings, it was important to us to keep the finishes very natural and not too polished so not to distract from the views.

Is there any favourite room in Hillside Villa that you’ve designed?
My personal favourite is the living/dining area with the raised “Glass Box” study. This area really combines the interior with the exterior, with floor to ceiling windows over the pool and golf course. The sheer volume of the space is so impressive, however, I feel we have managed to create a truly livable space that is comfortable and calm enough to relax in everyday but is also glamorous enough to entertain the most discerning guests. For me functionality and design appeal goes hand-in-hand.

What are your go-to basics? I love to mix things up using mid-range brands with high-end manufacturers and custom designed bespoke pieces that we develop especially for our clients. For finishes, I generally start with a sleek and simple stone or tile as a base then accent with slightly grander finishes and textures to create a more sophisticated and contemporary look that is more one of a kind. The use of mirrors to create illusions with space and light is also something we like to include in our designs.

What do you have to say about the growing design industry in Dubai?
The design industry has moved so far since Olivia and I began our careers in the Middle East in 2006. The style is constantly evolving especially with the international mix of creatives here and clients who are travelling more frequently. As Dubai has become one of the leading cities in the world, clients are realising it is worth investing in creative design to keep up with the international trends in design.

Which design trends are you most excited about in 2018? The reappearance of mid-century modern designs will be strong this year. Also, the interiors will not be so styled in 2018; they will be more curated, with people’s personal treasures and artefacts forming part of the design.

Any other projects coming up or you’re currently working in the region?
Olivia and I are currently running seven projects (commercial and residential) each at different stages. Among them, we have a prestigious and super contemporary residential project adjacent to the new Bulgari Hotel on Jumeirah Bay Island, which we are working with a leading architect in the region