TheFace: Sima Malak, Saudi interior designer

Interior design is an incredibly rewarding profession says Sima Malak. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 01 March 2019
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TheFace: Sima Malak, Saudi interior designer

With meticulous attention to detail and thoughtful use of materials, I am known for my contemporary design aesthetic and for weaving in traditional architectural details that give my work a rare sense of permanence.

I have three decades of experience in interior designer and consider a project successful when I return to it after several years and find it as relevant as when first designed.

Interior design is an incredibly rewarding profession. It challenges you and drives you to create something enduring and timeless.

I was born and raised in Riyadh, and from a young age my creativity was evident, which is surprising given my parents worked in the medical field. Interestingly, it was their commitment to helping others that inspired me to pursue my own passion for art and design.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to study and work abroad. I was exposed to different cultures and influences that helped to expand my view of the world, allowing me to gain broad industry knowledge that influences my work to this day.

I returned to Saudi Arabia after receiving my BA and MA degrees in interior design from San Francisco State University, and it is now common to see female interior designers in Riyadh and other parts of the Middle East.

I have trained with some leading interior design and architecture firms in the US, and after returning to the Kingdom, I partnered with another Saudi female architect to launch and head our own firm before starting my own business in 1996.

My determination and work ethic won the respect of my peers and clients as I took on complex residential and commercial projects, transforming them into elegant living and working spaces that are as functional as they are beautiful. 

With Riyadh as my base, I have completed projects in the US, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Egypt, Lebanon and Bahrain. 

I am proud to say that my firm, Sima Malak + Alssamoure Design Associates, won the prestigious IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Award in the Large Corporate Space category, as well as an honorable mention for the groundbreaking design of the Arcapita Mosque, in Bahrain Bay.

It is a testament to me and my team’s abilities that we have such a diverse clientele.

Although design is my primary passion, I am also an ardent animal lover and I volunteer to raise awareness about animals in need.

I encourage people, particularly the younger generation, to take responsibility for their pets. Working with relevant groups, we hope to start a rescue center that will provide neglected, abandoned animals with the care and attention they deserve. 

My mission is to support other professional women and help them excel in the field of design. I have met many talented, creative Saudi women throughout my career. If I can play even a small part in setting them up for success, I consider that an absolute privilege.

I have a duty to give back and pass on the knowledge I have gained to others, so we can collectively drive the industry forward. 

 


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.