UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN

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KHAWAR RIAZ IS A LEGEND IN THE PAKISTANI FASHION INDUSTRY FOR MAKEUP AND PHOTOGRAPHY, BUT WE RECENTLY STEPPED INTO HIS ECLECTIC ABODE AND COULDN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE. HERE, WE SPEAK WITH THE MAESTRO ABOUT SPANISH INFLUENCES, GROWING UP IN SAUDI ARABIA AND LAHORE’S LOST ANTIQUITY

When did your passion for interiors begin?

I think everything in our adult life has it’s roots from childhood. And mothers are the main culprits who initiate that chain reaction which results in our adult personality. My mother was a severe changeaholic. She would keep redoing the house, and sometimes we would wake up in the morning to find out that the whole house had completely been rearranged. That’s how it all began. From a very early age,. I developed the habit of stylizing things, be it food, people, window displays and of course interiors.

Where does the design inspiration for your home come from?

I’m visually very perceptive and a very passionate traveler. I have been influenced a lot by my frequent travelling to Europe, specifically Spain. Not only has the preexisting architecture influenced my design, but also the history of Seville. It was the time of crossroads between the new world and the trade routes of the past. I have tried to recreate and be very conservative with the tradition and the strength of that city.It has a striking resemblance to the old Lahori architecture, which we have destroyed in the name of modernism. The interiors were also suited beautifully with the weather and had a deep cultural appeal to them. This was something that we have forgotten. I just wanted to recreate all of that with my own style and relive the experience of grandeur, instead of building an oven for a house which most of the people are up to these days.

What periods have influenced you greatly?

I wouldn’t say there is anyone specific period. It is mostly about ones state of mind and needs. I have had phases ranging from the xen look to modern vintage, but my current phase will last longer because I have gone with a pure classic and country look. This slight disturbed feel is what gives a homey feel to an interior, also a content state of mind.

  

How does your work as a stylist dovetail with your passion for interiors?

Well, in the true sense, being a stylist is never restricted to hair or makeup or photography. It can be stylizing anything like food, windows, people and so on. My ability to stylize things has always been more of a passion. Fashion is not only about clothing; it’s a complete lifestyle which depicts fashionable aspects of ones personality. When you see me for the first time, I’m very simple and sometimes people assume I’m a staff member of the house due to the rough way I carry myself hahaha! And naturally the question arises, why so simple? But then you see my surrounding environment, which I have created to define myself. The interiors I do are basically me occupying a room or space and is all about me and not about showing who I am.

What’s your favourite room in your home? What are some of your favourite pieces?

My favourite room in the house is my living room. Why? Because it’s like a canvas that I can redo every time I feel like it. My favourite pieces are the earthen pots I got from Malaga, Spain nearby the Picasso museum. They are inspired by Picasso’s paintings.

        

What are your design priorities?

My priorities are dependent on the space I get. I look at the light, the structure, the weather and most important, the mood. Also, I try my best to keep the lines clear. For a stylist and interior designer the most important thing is to know when to stop, where to stop and how to stop. That is what makes the things interesting. I’m more interested in recreating the old ruins with modern gadgets!

What are some favourite pieces you have collected on your travels?

Pottery and only pottery! But it’s always a huge hassle to get it safely to Pakistan. Being a very barefacedly determined person would keep at it, I somehow always get them here. With all this pottery, my house has started looking like an old grannys home haha!

   

Tell us a bit about the unusual doors in your home. How did you find and restore these pieces?

The first impression you get when you enter a home is from the door as it is the first point of contact, which says a lot about who is inside. Now this analogy is a very strong point in defining ones sensibility. The people of Lahore are originally not one nation,but we are a crowd of people from different origins and cultures and over time they have lost their real spirit of direction. Mostly, if you look around, you can tell that they don’t know what to build and how to build it. So, in the name of modernism, all of the classic architecture and beauty in the structures has been ruined! I keep a look out for when such people tear down their ancestral homes and properties, I go and find the old doors and windows amongst the rubble and restore and preserve them and use them in myinteriors. But you see I pair them with modern gadgets and structures in a way that they complement each other while retaining their character. The doors and windows reflect a time old aging and history along with very strong character, which I like.

Why have you only chosen palm trees for your house?

I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, so the date palms are a reminder of my childhood. But basically, it’s a perfect coherence between the outlook of my house and the trees. I ruined many trees in the process but eventually they caught on, and this complete look was born.

Who are some of your favorite interior designers?

I like a lot of designers for something or the other they have done, but recently I have come to appreciate the Madrid based designer and antiquarian Lorenzo Castillo. His impeccable eye for the grandeur and classic modern look is what inspires me. My favourite architect locally is Kamil Mumtaz, because he creates according to our weather and climate and his structures are always practically and culturally valuable. I also admire Kamran Lashari for preserving the interior city and bringing out the feel in it for our generations ahead.

Do you have any design rules? What are some rules you love to break?

Every space has its own character and its own feel. I just grab that feel and create my own rules. That is the reason my house is in different levels.

Does the renovating ever stop?

I think it’s an ongoing process; a never ending story which will end when I am no more! I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m living in the moment and building on it! Simply put, I’m living under the tuscan sun!

Design do’s and don’ts for this year?

I think the classic look of the country side is forever! I am basically living in a modern country vintage look, which I believe makes the house a home. We have to focus on the future and the legacy we are going to leave behind for our children.

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