Etiquette Arabia catches up with Hazem Aljesr founder of Cities to discuss design, sourcing and challenges.

Could you present your brand and explain it in your own words for our readers?
One singular style isn’t representative of everything we like, nor is it representative of all of the contrasting characteristics which comprise our personalities and interests. And our décor should reflect that. As such, Cities has a wide range of unique items which are selected from designers worldwide, and we have a well-trained staff available to suggest ways to display and combine all of these pieces. We also want to share as much as we can about the world of art and design, so we also hold exhibitions and installations of work from designers and artists around the world.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I love the chaotic nature of my job, but that’s also the most challenging part. I try to stay involved in everything, so I have to switch gears constantly, and that’s not always easy. A typical day can involve meeting with a designer, to a staff discussion to plan the floor display at an exhibit, to a visit to the warehouse to check the quality of new items, and in between there are emails and phone calls to be dealt with. But I love how every day is different and there are always new challenges to be met. It’s exciting to be involved in all of these different pieces that result in the running of Cities.

Is sourcing an issue?
Actually, I think that’s one of the more exciting parts. There are so many designs out there, and new ones are being created all the time, so sifting through everything to find that one creation that you think will be a perfect fit for Cities is very rewarding. I love meeting with new designers and learning about their work and the reasoning behind their creations. I also enjoy watching the evolution of design as it is happening; what’s popular now, what will be popular next year, how new technologies and materials are affecting creations methods—the design world is always growing and changing, and it’s an exciting world to be a part of.

What are the major differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator?
Most of us use these two terms interchangeably and don’t realize that each profession actually focuses on a different part of the interior creation process. An interior designer studies the needs of the inhabitants of a space and then helps create that space from the bottom up to result in something functional that meets their demands. So, an interior designer is usually part of a project from the beginning and will probably collaborate with the architect and be aware of structural considerations. He will also examine and offer input on issues such as lighting and sound. In comparison, an interior decorator is not involved in the design or layout of an interior space. Instead, interior decorators study the personality and style of the inhabitants of a space, and create an aesthetic result which reflects them. So, an interior decorator will focus on colors, materials, textures, and furnishings, such as furniture and accessories. Taken together, these two professions can create a result that is the definition of good design: functional and aesthetically pleasing.