DUBAI: The architecture of the Arab world has always inspired artists, among them Kuwaiti designer Anas Alomaim, founder of jewelry label OŪMÄEM.
His pieces are a contemporary take on traditional designs. His brand, which represents his family name, focuses on regional creations that are ethically sourced and locally made.
With architecture at the core of each design, mathematics, geometry and scientific processes became the tools of his trade.
“Arab architecture, especially vernacular architecture — less so than contemporary architecture — is what inspires me,” he told Arab News. “I love courtyard houses, their simplicity and minimal feel, which is absolutely timeless.”
The entrepreneur’s passion for design began at the age of 14. “Being a man in the Middle East, design is maybe not the first choice,” he said.
“Architecture was more suitable, sort of like being ‘an engineer.’ But my passion for design was always there. It’s embedded in me,” Alomaim, who is also a professor of architecture, said. “The foundation of design is similar to that of architecture, especially with regard to jewelry.”
His transition to the creative field happened during a family gathering.
“I was sitting with my three sisters and my mom. We had just lost our father, and we were sitting in the living room and talking about solitaire rings and their significance. My mom mentioned something about never receiving a solitaire ring from my dad. Because my mother has always been there for me, I wanted to gift her something, and so I decided to design her a solitaire ring,” he explained.
Because Alomaim did not have a clear vision of how he exactly wanted to make the ring, he said he had to educate himself. “I was in Los Angeles at the time, and I visited a lot of workshops, checked a lot of information online and studied everything that I could,” he said.
With his brand, he wanted to create an identity. “I want to create rings, earrings and bracelets that could reflect personality in one way or another,” the designer explained.
Now, OŪMÄEM, with over 12,000 followers on Instagram, has garnered the appreciation of not only women in the region, but also men.
Alomaim uses a coordinate system as a template to construct specific grids for each piece. The focus of each design begins with a single diamond, shifted off-center. A single baguette-cut ruby is always included to tip the balance of the design. The colorful gemstone also acts as a guide on how to wear the piece and to further emphasize the concept of decentralization and alternative standards of beauty.