Spotlight – Nadine Kassab

In May 2020, Nadine Kassab was chosen from a pool of hundreds as one of 20 UAE Ambassadors for Nature 2020. Since then, Nadine has lent her enthusiasm and expertise to a ten-month, three stage program of ‘Learn’, ‘Act’ and ‘Inspire Others’ – equipping her with the tools to drive curiosity and positive change.

Nadine Kassab – Interior Designer, Dubai.

The MC2 masterplan, Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

One of your goals is to “contribute to healthier living spaces and integrate sustainability into the design process” how are you approaching this in your work at Woods Bagot and beyond?

I involve myself in any available projects related to sustainability and am passionate about my continuous research of innovative and sustainable materials. From the experience of working on LEED-accredited projects such as Masdar to updating the Dubai studio’s materials library with green products, I know that – big or small – it takes action and the right information to make an impact. I’m also a big believer in including sustainability as a main pillar of excellence at the start of the design process in order to develop it as a priority from beginning to end.

I think that continuous education is the key to self-development. Constant learning about sustainability in building environments and a growing understanding of developing design principles is required for a better, greener world moving forward. It’s really important to me to keep learning – last year I studied online at Parsons School of Design to receive a certificate on ‘Healthier Materials and Sustainable Building’ and I have also completed the KHDA accredited Sustainable Development Leadership Program at the Sustainable Development Research and Training Institute. In 2021 I’m planning to get my LEED and WELL certifications – so there’s plenty to learn!


You were recently a panellist on a talk called ‘Voice of Youth’ discussing the need for a greener recovery to shape UAE’s next 50 years – what do you think was the most important lesson from this discussion?

The panel focussed on how younger generations might be able to grow into leaders of the UAE’s green recovery. What skills would we need? What tasks would be expected of us across the next 50 years? How do we break down a mammoth task into digestible steps?

What we discovered was that there’s great power in the education and mentoring of future generations by more experienced practitioners and experts. This is not a matter of simply turning over the problems caused by past behaviour into younger, eager hands, but rather a situation that requires the entire sum of specialist knowledge, experimentation, technology and rigor from all generations – past, present and emerging.

When it comes to shaping the plan for a green recovery, we cannot wait for solutions to present themselves – we need to act now to create them.

“When it comes to shaping the plan for a green recovery, we cannot wait for solutions to present themselves – we need to act now to create them”

What impact would you like to have as an UAE Ambassador for Nature on those you connect with?

I’m lucky that the UAE Ambassador for Nature title gives me the visibility to lead by example. Whenever I have the pleasure of speaking to people about my role and responsibilities, it raises awareness and educates people on what is required of them to help get our planet in shape again. As soon as we realise that no action is too small, great progress can be achieved.


How should we work with nature to improve future lives?

My design process centers around drawing from an element that reminds people of the natural world. More than just introducing a green wall or a planter box in a corner, I try and think holistically about how all the components of a design can work together to create a healthy living space where people feel comfortable and connected – because connecting with nature is how we stay healthy and attached to life itself.

As designers we have the responsibility to bridge the gap between people & nature. We can do this by keeping the natural world at the centre of our discussions and ideas – integrating sustainable design principals throughout and protecting the lands we build on.

A project that I am really proud of is Sabkha, a table made completely from salt designed for the 2019 sustainable design competition Surge for Water. After settling on the theme “water gives life”, the Woods Bagot team challenged themselves to work with salt – a renewable, readily available material – in order to create a strong, sustainable design that alludes to the materials potential and the power of green solutions in general.

“Interior design is my way to express creativity and to create a meaningful impact in people’s lives.”