Have you ever looked at a work of art, read a line in a book or poem, or seen a photo so beautiful that it moves you beyond words? Following that moment, have you considered the amazement of how ideas such as those can even begin to exist, let alone be transformed into the creative’s medium of choice? Kamelia Bin Zaal, an artist of life, has seen her love of nature, design, creativity and sustainability blossom into the magnificent development that is Al Barari, and she is now the first ever Emirati Landscape Designer selected to participate in the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show.
Born in Dubai, Kamelia Bin Zaal is the oldest daughter of Zaal Mohammed Zaal, the chairman of Al Barari who envisioned and founded the botanical haven. She studied garden design at the Inchbald School of Design located in London, then returned to her home, where the concept of Al Barari was born. “The original idea for Al Barari was to start a plant nursery and bring the diversity of nature into the desert,” explains Bin Zaal. “From there, the concept has grown into the development that it is today.”
Al Barari is sponsoring Kamelia’s featured garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place in May in London. Themed The Beauty of Islam, the garden design gracefully melds together both modern and classic materials originating from countries influenced by Arab culture and Islam.
“I am continuously inspired by our heritage and wanted to creatively translate my interpretation of our peaceful religion into a beautiful garden design,” noted Bin Zaal. Kamelia’s garden features the incorporation of nature, sculpture, literature and the peaceful movement and sound of water to create a garden that allows for use of all of the human senses as visitors move through the space before arriving to an area where they can contemplate and relax.
“Traditional Islamic gardens were a representation of the relationship between humankind and the earth, not only through the gardens productivity, but also through the use of the senses and in its beauty. Creating space of multiple uses but yet still a place of calm and reflection,” explained Kamelia, “Most importantly, designing this garden is an opportunity to shine a positive light on Arab culture and Islam.”
Ever-creating, in addition to preparing her garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Kamelia also works closely with her father to oversee the landscape design and manage the communications and marketing at Al Barari. She’s also supervising the final stages of the landscape design for the newest development of Al Barari: Ashjar and Seventh Heaven, luxury apartments located within the grounds of the premier residential development.
Kamelia notes that it is her love of family, nature and her kindred spirit that inspire her to continue her work within the botanical and agricultural fields. “I believe that working to leave the world a better place for those that follow is why we are all here and I am fortunate enough to have been able to have made a small impact in the UAE,” Bin Zaal said, a smile upon her face as she looked out over the Al Barari Plant Nursery, which holds over 1,800 different species of trees, plants and flowers from across the globe.
There are many accolades and interviews written of Kamelia, but perhaps the most telling definition of her is not found in words at all: No matter where she is, or what she is doing, Kamelia always carries with her a rose quartz stone; a crystal called the “Love Stone”, noted for its’ energy unconditional love that opens the heart chakra. Like Bin Zaal herself, the quartz is believed to deliver inner warmth, love and soothing elements to those that are surrounded by it.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place May 19-23, 2015. Tickets for the show are available via RHS’s website, https://www.rhs.org.uk.