From Graphic Design to Timeless Masterpieces

Explore the intersection of art and entrepreneurship in the vibrant UAE landscape

By Ghazala Tikki Zaman and Tabassum Vally

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Published: Mon 25 Mar 2024, 10:58 AM

Muneera Hashwani has an eye for all things beautiful that makes a house a home. Hashwani moved from Singapore to Dubai seven years ago, and over the years, she has adorned homes with her timeless masterpieces.

With a background in graphic design, Hashwani has always enjoyed working with different mediums and various techniques such as decoupage, resin, image transfers and mixed media on different materials and surfaces.

Hashwani initially started small, with a few exhibitions of trays and her focus was mainly on smaller items such as trays and LED candles that were safe and environmentally friendly. Each piece was carefully crafted and it presented a subtle sense of elegance. As her clientele grew and her work garnered appreciation, she established her own company Pal8designs.

Though she had done similar work in Singapore after settling in Dubai, she focused on building a collection exclusively for the Dubai market, which was well received at various exhibitions. Her candles featured a range of vibrant colours and designs that appealed to different clients, whether for gifting, home decoration, or adding colour to dining tables and brightening up a corner in a room.

Hashwani is also an enthusiastic photographer. It was her passion for photography that led her to do many photo shoots for national magazines in her home country. Documenting travel photography has been a constant source of joy for her, and Hashwani has exhibited her work both in solo and group exhibitions across Asia.

“Living in Dubai has given me the pleasure of capturing the exquisite and diverse cityscapes and landscapes of the UAE,” says Hashwani.

Her passion for photography is a curator of furniture and has worked on timeless pieces. In her opinion the demand for modern furniture and home accessories is likely to continue, growing in Dubai. The UAE residents focus on innovation, luxury, and contemporary design, and there is a trend towards individuality. Thus, she observes that a blend of modern and traditional pieces fused to create ‘electric interiors’ has a great market in an ever-growing UAE market, where people have an eye for elegance and individuality.

“Today with social media, individuals can easily access global trends and create pieces that are sleek, minimalist, and technologically advanced, reflecting modern lifestyles and timeless design. However, this doesn’t necessarily entail a complete departure from traditional pieces. Instead, there is a trend towards blending modern and traditional elements to craft unique and electric interiors. While some may prefer the clean lines and simplicity of modern design, others may appreciate the timeless elegance of traditional furniture. Ultimately, personal preferences and lifestyle choices will dictate the direction of home furnishing trends in Dubai. However, the overall trajectory seems to lean towards a fusion of modern and traditional styles, offering a diverse range of options for individuals to express their taste and style in their homes,” she adds.

Hashwani believes that the UAE is among the few countries which encourage arts and entrepreneurship. With the burgeoning art scene in the country, it has created a platform for every art form, which can be seen across all the Emirates. In addition to that the UAE government has made licensing much more affordable and easy for small businesses. There are many opportunities for both small and large businesses to flourish in the UAE.

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