Co-Founder and Creative Director of Bergman Design House and Njord by Bergman, Marie Soliman joins us for the latest instalment of Curated By…
Co-founded in 2017, Soliman’s luxury design studio, Bergman Design House, specialises in exquisite interiors and architectural design for the hospitality, commercial, residential, and superyacht sectors. Since its launch, Soliman’s ‘keen eye for the timeless and the well-crafted has guided her on journeys around the world’ to spearhead projects everywhere from Norway to Botswana. Her latest project, Laowai, a “hidden restaurant” concept in Vancouver is her first North American venture.
Here, we chat wabi-sabi, travel’s influence on design, and favourite makers.
How did you get into art and design?
Since the age of 10, I have been drawn to art, forms, and design – I had my first art commission when I was 10. Since I was young, I knew that I was meant to create things. From art to sculpture, I really enjoyed educating my eye from a young age. All my friends thought I would be an artist but I decided to study interior architecture, which I absolutely love. I am still doing my art but more as a form of mental yoga and quality time after a long day of work.
After studying interior architecture, I moved to London and worked with firms such as Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), Chapman Taylor, and many more until launched my own design firm, Bergman Design House. Our very first project was BXR Marylebone backed by Anthony Joshua, our business and name has grown rapidly […] since then and we have been celebrating it!
What is your design philosophy?
Le Flaneur marries wabi-sabi! Wabi-sabi is my true passion and belief: the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. The beauty of things modest and humble; the beauty of things unconventional.
A sustainable approach should never be hard to embrace. Mix the new with the old and vintage to give old treasures a second breath of life. Create an intimate connection and a stage of meaningful luxury. There is so much history, fun and beauty behind hunting the good antique pieces that create a very original design story! I love color, I am a risk taker, and curious all the time, and I love telling stories.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
It depends on the project. I believe talented designers are almost like chameleons, they embrace each new project, new style, new brief, especially in my case because I design hotels! Each space is so unique with different experiences. As a Sagittarian, we love and embrace change. I love to create depth to design by layering, injecting character and soul by using antiques and vintage next to the new. One of my main focuses is how to create curiosity in the space through design.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Theatres, fashion, travel, food, nature, and scarves, believe it or not. I collect beautiful scarves and textiles. Anything with good colour combination, textures, and colours.
Tell us about some of your favourite places to shop for/source homewares…
I am constantly hunting for new pieces, it’s my own favourite hobby, researching and sourcing – Paris, London, NYC antique shops, and I also find some in the smallest cities. Keep your eyes open all the time. I find myself buying many pieces that I don’t yet have projects for, but they always end up in the right project.
Some of your favourite projects to date…
I tend to train my eyes to see the beauty in all things, even in harsh environments, such as deserts, I find beauty and inspiration. I lived all my youth in Egypt, where we have very different landscapes and topography from the desert and sand dunes, to an oasis of palms and wild greens, to the coastal islands with deep blues or turquoise. I was very lucky to have these all contrasts around me, it helped me learning about colours and depth of tones and pigments.
Can you share some of your favourite makers?
Robert Kime, REM atelier, Elsa Foulon Studio, Delphine Neny, Hamza Kadiri, Valentina Giordano, and de Gournay.
How does travelling influence your designs and tastes?
Travelling and working in different countries is such a fantastic way to learn and celebrate others, and to learn about ourselves too. Opening the doors and windows of our mind and souls – different fashion, literature, art, cuisine, culture… All that will be reflected in the design process. Each country has different colours, different biophilia life, different patterns and motives, textiles, and cuisine. All of which fill our minds and eyes, almost like a dictionary, but of images in our brain. Travel is the best investment you could ever make; no one should ever regret travelling.
What are some tips you have on how our readers can bring a touch of Bridie Hall magic into their homes?
Colour is the spirit of a room, its heart and soul. It’s an amazing way to show who you are as a person, through your interiors. One of my favourite tricks is to start with art. Usually the art you are drawn to has the colours you like, and from that piece of art you can build your own colour palette for the space. Have one statement piece of furniture that stands out in the room. Detailing and layers.
Things to consider when choosing colours: what does the client desire? What is outside the window? What is the architecture? What mood are you trying to create? What is the lighting? Enjoy the process and the journey as you create your own space.