‘It’s with all our being that we aim to create goodness in this world… whether it be a rocking hospitality venue, a workplace that embodies wellbeing, or even a small village in Palestine, we create spaces that make people feel good,’ tells Hana Hakim of The Stella Collective.
Originally from London, with a Syrian background, Hana studied Fine Art and Illustration at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. When she was young, she would spend a lot of time in her room drawing Heavy Metal inspired album covers! ‘I was really drawn to the landscapes and the depth and detail in the work… Interior design was the progression born from a need to create an experience that people could walk through’ she describes.
Well and truly a Melbournian now, Hana has called this city home for the past 17 years, and launched her interior design firm, back in 2015. ‘I remember thinking how on earth am I going to do this; get the clients, win them over with my dedication, trusting me enough to create a vision that would breathe new life into their business?’ recalls Hana. ‘I worked as hard as I could and learned quickly that when you start your own practice, you have to grab your knees and cannonball into uncertainty. You have to be the boss, risk taker, peacekeeper, make the hard decisions and make miracles happen (sometimes all at once in your lunch break!).’
Headquartered on Chapel Street, Prahran, The Stella Collective’s office is inside The Conway Building, a former department store built in 1914! From this beautiful space, with its lofty, ornate ceilings and stunning parquetry, Hana and her dedicated team imagine and deliver diverse projects, spanning residential, hospitality and commercial interiors. ‘Our palette is clean and restrained, but it’s full of brave personality,’ details Hana. ‘We work closely with our clients, as it’s their narrative and spirit that is being expressed (not our ego) and we help facilitate that through an awesome space that is just for them.’
The firm took out The People’s Choice Award for Casa Artedomus at the Frame Awards in Amsterdam, and Hana also lists their ‘Siren’ basin collaboration with United Products, Memocorp offices in Sydney and Middle Eastern Cafe, Naim, in Brisbane as career highlights. ‘Naim is another project very close to my heart as it’s inspired by my family in Aleppo, Syria,’ tells Hana, who draws a great deal of inspiration from her memories of time spent in Syria. ‘I wanted to create a space that gives a peek into Syrian and Islamic architecture, and to bring a very special and positive message about Syria into the light.’
The designer has also worked in The Middle East herself, in neighbouring Palestine, as part of a pro bono rebuild project with fellow designer and friend Kathrin Wheib. The Stella Collective was involved in assisting to design spaces where locals and travellers can experience the amazing food and culture of the country. ‘I’m very passionate about design helping to bridge the gaps of diversity,’ says Hana. ‘I truly believe the power of designing something beautiful to be shared by all. Beauty is for everyone, always.’
In 2019, ‘design renewal’ is high on Hana’s agenda. ‘It’s a huge call to arms about the way we live right now, and renewing vitality, comfort and happiness back into people,’ Hana explains. ‘I truly believe design can do that. It’s about creating happier, healthier environments, no matter where you are or who you are.’ It’s no surprise that work of this ethos is born from Hana’s own happy place; she still gets some of her best ideas listening to metal with her cat on her lap!
Check out The Stella Collective’s impressive portfolio of interior design projects, over on their website.