Haute Secrets Dubai: Neda Nickzad

neda nickzad

Neda Nickzad is certainly one of the “It” girls, a fashionable mover and shaker not only in Dubai but also New York, Los Angeles and now in Tehran, Iran where she has opened up her art gallery called darb44. She’s quite busy but somehow manages to do it all, managing her gallery in Iran while spreading her time among Dubai, New York, Tehran and Los Angeles, creating her own fabulous pieces of art, and even finding time for other passions like rooftop gardening. Her love of rooftop gardening was featured in a 1999 article by The New York Times. She keeps up a garden on the rooftop of her penthouse apartment on Perry Street in New York.

neda nickzad
Neda Nickzad has achieved her dream of opening her very own art gallery.

Photo Credit: Neda Nickzad

Nickzad said her aim in creating darb44 was to showcase not only established artists but also emerging talent. She also helps artists get their work into the world’s biggest and most haute museums and galleries.

“I know great artists and, over the years, many of them have asked me to help them promote their work as well as to see and experience Iran,” Nickzad said in a statement on the gallery’s website. “It has always been a dream to open an art gallery, and when I was given this great space, I knew the time was right.”

neda nickzad
Neda Nickzad’s “Shamsolemare” is part of her “Atlantis Again” collection.

Photo Credit: Neda Nickzad/ darb44

The gallery owner kicked off the grand opening of the 4,000-square-foot darb44 with some of her own new work on Dec. 26, 2014. Her goal was to begin a dialogue focusing on the future of Iranian art, according to the gallery’s website.

neda nickzad
Also part of “Atlantis Again,” Neda Nickzad’s “Majlis” is a story in a painting.

Photo Credit: Neda Nickzad / darb44

Neda Nickzad has an amazing eye in spotting artistic talent. To be noticed by her is to receive praise from one of the art world’s most well-connected members. One of her most recent discoveries is Armenian artist Kevork George Kassabian, whose exhibition entitled 401 Days she began hosting at darb44 in February. She stated that she has been “moved by his work” and felt the need to praise him and celebrate his talent.

“Speaking with him recently he has assured me of new projects that consist of new approaches in art concepts that will be a big hit in the sculpture world,” she said about Kassabian on her gallery’s website.

We caught up with Neda Nickzad recently to find out what she likes most, both in the Middle East and around the world, as she is truly a global citizen.

Where were you born?
Tehran, Iran

How long in the Middle East?
10 years


Painter/Ceramist/Interior Designer

Favorite Restaurant:
Hakkasan at Emirates Towers Dubai

Best Sushi:
Nobu Matsuhisa, LA

Best Italian food:
Il Carpaccio, Paris

Best dessert:
The stilt fisherman at the Fortress Hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka

Best place for a romantic date:
I don’t do romantic dates.

Best Sunday brunch: 
Illi in NYC

Best place for a power business meeting:
The Four Seasons NYC

If you have guests visiting from out of town, which hotel would you recommend:
One & Only Royal Mirage Jumeirah

Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
I shop in Tokyo and sometimes at Harvey Nichols London and small shops in NYC

Best Spa:
The Edition Hotel in Istanbul

Favorite Cultural Event:
Design Days Dubai

Favorite Cultural Institution: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC

Best Steakhouse:
Peter Luger Brooklyn

Best Pizza:
Pizzeria Port’Abla in Naples Italy

Best Gym/Athletic Facility:
I don’t do gyms. I have a private yoga instructor.

Describe your city in three words:
Tehran – lather, rinse, repeat
Dubai – bliss, posh, suave
NYC – dynamic, potent, narcissistic

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:
Persepolis, Iran

All-around favorite spot in Dubai:  
Desert Palm Polo Club

Best Aspect of Dubai/Middle East:
Family love