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2022, The Year That Was: Rabah Saeid, Founder And Creative Director, Styled Habitat When talking about her company's exploits in 2022, Saeid doesn't hesitate in stating that the highlight of the year has been Saudade, Styled Habitat's installation at this year's Dubai Design Week in November.

By Aby Sam Thomas Edited by Aby Thomas

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Styled Habitat
Rabah Saeid, Founder And Creative Director, Styled Habitat

After launching her full-service interior design studio, Styled Habitat, in the UAE in 2016, Rabah Saeid has seen her Dubai-based enterprise rack up an impressive array of residential, commercial, hospitality, and creative projects to its name- it's a list that includes the regional headquarters of Norwegian paint and coating company, Jotun, in Dubai Science Park, as well as its own loft-like office in Dubai Design District. But when talking about her company's exploits in 2022, Saeid doesn't hesitate in stating that the highlight of the year has been Saudade, Styled Habitat's installation at this year's Dubai Design Week in November.

In its debut appearance at the event, Styled Habitat transformed its studio to what it called "an immersive experience that reveals the imagined history of a life we lived," with Saudade becoming an evocative showcase of Saeid's creative sensibilities, as well as of the collaborative mindset with which she occupies her space in the regional design landscape.

A snapshot from the Saudade exhibit. Image courtesy Styled Habitat.

"Deriving from an old Portuguese word that describes a feeling of nostalgia for 'home,' we wanted to bring this sensation to life by creating Saudade, a space that would connect people from every culture, instigating fleeting moments from the past, and suggest the promise of tomorrow," Saeid explains. "Having thought about exhibiting something like this for years, and finally seeing it come to life was incredibly rewarding. It made me appreciate the hard work and commitment involved in turning an idea into reality. Nothing similar has been attempted before, so being able to subvert other people's notions of what is possible, persevering, and breaking through limitations have led to us creating a substantial experience that sets a precedence in the local design industry. Moreover, it's emphasized how important collaboration and teamwork are in reaching our goals. The success of our outmode has come from having built a community of people and organizations with whom we have built long-term relationships. Brands like Gubi, &Tradition, Dedar, The Rug Company, Ikonhouse, and The Odd Piece were extremely open-minded and generous - contributing ideas, products, and art pieces that communicated our narrative, elevating the entire experience, way beyond the original concept."

Rabah Saeid (center) with her collaborators on Saudade. Image courtesy Styled Habitat

Given the warm reception Saeid has seen to Saudade, it bodes well for Styled Habitat's pursuits in the new year, with the company aiming to double down on its unique understanding of the multicultural aesthetic of the region at large. "We are incredibly excited to be able to continue attracting impactful projects, whilst highlighting the talent that lives within our region," Saeid declares. "It's also important that we bridge the cultural and geographic disparity with designs that are universally beautiful. Team work is at the core of this, and I want to create more development opportunities for each of my team members, where they can not only advance in their specialties, but also nurture their personalities and interests. It's a core value of our business that the development of an individual is intrinsically linked to the strength of the overall. It's essential to be purpose-driven in a way that not only benefits you personally, but has a positive impact on the wider community. Having greatly diversified our project portfolio over the past few years, from our core of residential work, we are excited to take on more cultural, creative, and commercial projects around the Middle East."

Related: 2022, The Year That Was: Faiza Bouguessa, Founder And Creative Director, Bouguessa

A snapshot from the Saudade exhibit. Image courtesy Styled Habitat.

Reflections 2022: Rabah Saeid, Founder And Creative Director, Styled Habitat

Prioritize quality over quantity "For us, it's not about building our portfolio by sheer numbers, it's more about the quality of the relationship, and the people we elect to work with, and for. The results are partnerships and collaborations that create a sense of responsibility and accountability for everyone involved. Our joint vested interests translate into successful and high-quality projects, without compromising on the details."

Work with intention, always "I feel that, as an entrepreneur, let alone a designer, it's often a challenge to stay the course, and drive the objective you're trying to accomplish. Setting commercial intentions determines the path of your business, without being deflected by momentary trends or abstract opinions. Being persistent, mindful, and staying the course is key to solidifying your intentions and achieving your goals."

Choose community over competition "For us, our belief lies in surrounding ourselves with the best allies, who are authentic to themselves. Choosing collaborators and suppliers based on instinct and enthusiasm for the work builds multiple connections, and benefits everyone."

Related: The Path to Progress: Achieving Gender Parity in the Workplace Starts With Our Mindset

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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