Designer Crush: Rydhima Brar of R/terior StudioAuthor:Lindsey Shook
“A philosophy that believes in change and reinvention, integrating elements from the various aspects of ourselves into a mosaic expressed through design,” says designer Rydhima Brar or R/terior Studio on how she approaches each project. Raised in Kuwait by a contractor father, she was immersed in historic design and architecture from an early age. Having spent hours studying the century-old textiles and artwork, Brar has infused her work with the impression each piece left on her. Here, she shares more of what inspires her to rebuild homes for her clients.
–How has your global upbringing influenced your work in California? My global upbringing influences my work in California by integrating those diverse cultural elements with the unique elements of California, particularly the landscape and relaxed sensibility of the West Coast. That design parallels the story of California in which many cultures have come together to mix with the existing cultures of this state, creating multiple elements that are distinct yet overlapping. This combination creates a story of familiar yet exotic that focuses on creating emotions specific to each space.
–Do you have a preferred city to work in because of the local style? I’ve had the good fortune of working on a number of projects in different cities including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Philadelphia, Massachusetts and Kuwait with each bringing its own unique elements that I weave into my own. I view style and design as an ever evolving process so I try to appreciate each local style on its own merits and in today’s age with Pinterest and Instagram, you can alway transport yourself to another region or city to find inspirations.
–How would you define your aesthetic? I’d define my aesthetic as creating a contemporary space that juxtaposes eclectic with lux while being both editorial yet comfortable. These elements may seem contradictory but combining unexpected elements – whether it’s pairing different patterns, playing with different textures, mixing in a baroque piece with geometric lines – to mold a specific feeling while fitting within the client’s needs and goals is a key underpinning of my design. My work is more about telling a story and creating a very specific ‘feeling’ than following a trend. Creating luxurious interiors and exteriors that are experienced through the use of various finishes, materials, textures and statement pieces is how I love to bring the drama.
–Which other designers or creatives inspired your career the most and why? There’s multiple, each with a distinct reason. Kelly Wearstler always inspires me with her edgy elegant style that takes risks and breaks rules yet always looks seamless. India Mahdavi’s use of bold and vibrant colors in her furnishings is brilliant. Pierre Yovanovitch creates an aesthetic that is so simple yet makes a statement, imbued with a cool luxurious vibe. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Ken Fulk who’s grandiose and opulent over the type style immediately puts me into a “lets party” mood. Last but certainly not least, Ettore Sotssass-simply ICONIC.
–Any brands or furniture artists you are obsessed with? I love the mid-century pieces from Essential Home for their simple yet elevated style. Multiple artists represented by Future perfect always tend to strike my fancy, including Cuff Studio and Bower Studio. Some of my favorite individual artists include Lisa Bartleson, Vicky Barranguet and James Verbicky. Lastly, I’m obsessed with Lindsey Adelman lighting and was recently introduced to Lucio Carvahlo’s helmet art at the L.A. art fair which left me captivated.
–How have you shifted your business during the pandemic? I actually started my business as the pandemic started! Although not ideal timing, it taught me the valuable lesson of how to pivot very quickly and be as easily accessible as possible. A key thing I focused on was developing a seamless client on-boarding process and thoughtfully executing each touch point. Due to my background in technologies and operation, I was already well versed in online tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Asana which made my transition into the pandemic remote design world much smoother without disruption to either clients or vendors.
-Favorite design book? Kelly Wearstler Evocative Style, The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details
-Favorite L.A. restaurant? Elephante and Vespertine
-Preferred showroom for finding discoveries? JF Chen, Una Malan, L’Éclaireur LA,
-If you weren’t a designer, you would be? A dancer!
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