Q & A: Exclusive Interview with Luxury Garden Designer Kamelia Zaal

Coming from a family dynasty famous for making some of the regions most coveted and innovative luxury properties, Kamelia Zaal is the number on speed dial for property owners and developers seeking a bespoke and luxurious outdoor living space. Her visions created through her company Second Nature have been implemented in many exclusive private properties, including the prestigious Al Barari development and the ultra exclusive Nurai Island.

Kamelia has an eye for the unusual combined with an aesthetic that pays homage to her Emirati roots. She favors clean lines combined with her love of materials that exude simplicity–basalt, limestone and glass mosaic tiles to create an ambiance that is both distinctive and sophisticated.

Haute Living chatted to Kamelia about her unique style, biggest influences and what she would define as a green oasis of luxury.

Haute Living: What would you describe your biggest inspirations to be?
Kamelia Zaal: Architecture and Interior Design. My design ethos is about bringing the indoor to the outside, so in other words making the exterior an extension of your interior. I believe that not enough people actually enjoy their gardens, whether it’s reading a book, having a dinner party or using your outdoor space to just have a quiet moment. The detail and use of materials is more apparent in architecture and interior design but there is no reason why it cannot be that way for gardens and public spaces. It just takes imagination and a good understanding of your client.

HL: Are there any notable trends that luxury properties in Dubai are starting to adopt?
KZ: There is a trend towards minimal and ‘zen’ aesthetic. I think people are starting to understand the peace of sitting in their gardens at the end of a tough day and how it rejuvenates your soul. Dubai has a work hard, play hard philosophy; people are starting to realize that your garden is as much your sanctuary as the house itself. It is one of the reasons why our landscape designs for the Al Barari project have been so successful and why it is the best high end development in the region. It is not only the quality of the house itself but also the environment that surrounds it.

HL: Do you think the market in the UAE is conducive to such a bespoke service?
KZ: Definitely. Second Nature is a company that offers a bespoke service that requires a lot of creativity and high quality materials. Our clients here are attuned to high levels of luxury and want the best. Whether it’s an imported olive tree or a one-off sculpture, the appetite for luxury is part of Dubai’s identity.

HL: What would you recommend as the essential item/items required to create a luxury feel?
KZ: It’s all in the design itself; the elements from garden to garden can be very similar, however it’s the use of material, amount of detail and the atmosphere you create in that garden that makes it luxurious. Whether it is a beautiful sculpture or lighting, it’s how they are used and interact with each other to create the right ambiance. I also love architectural plants like Yuccas, or Fucria and I love palms, any type of palm!

Kamelia Zaal is the Creative Director of Second Nature.

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