Design without borders, conversation with Mark Rielly
The distance between Cape Town and Milan didn’t stop ARRCC studio and the Interni team from working together on an extremely ambitious project in Dubai. The South African studio designed a private villa with crucial help from Interni in all stages, from upholstery to interior design.
“We’ve been working with Interni for the past six years”, Mark Rielly, one of the studio’s three directors, recalls. “In the beginning, we shared a project that covered an area of 3,500 sq m, and in 2017 the same client asked us to do the interior design of a property in Dubai – with a really impressive size of 8,000 sq m”.
Not just a place for living but a whole world, in which water works, indoor and outdoor pools, and double-height volumes dialogue with furniture and lighting, studied in minute detail.
“Thinking about the scale of what we’ve achieved”, Rielly continues, “I can say we were very lucky to be working with Interni, because they put the client in the position to visualise what they wanted, and they made it easier for us to make decisions, by visiting the best Italian brands and checking in person the material and finish samples. The process lasted over two years, and during this time we collaborated very closely. The results were great, and now we’re now working together in other countries, from Miami to the Bahamas, Portugal and South Africa, where we have several projects underway”.
Through visits to companies and artisan workshops, Rielly has got to know Italian manufacturing up-close. What he believes is most striking about it is its family-centredness, and the knowledge legacy that each generation inherits from the ones that came before. “This explains the extraordinary quality of Italian products, which is something unique in the world,” the architect explains, “and that’s why we love to use them in our projects”.
This quality is the result of a search for authentic materials and techniques, which also defines the spaces designed by ARRCC studio. “We don’t like things that might look fake, we prefer wood to look as natural as possible, we really appreciate the patina and texture of metal, and the same goes for stone”.
The studio’s architectural language is decisively contemporary and international, but the themes of local roots and authenticity also form part of its design vocabulary. They translate into an effort to create a connection with local artists and atmospheres, wherever it’s working.
“I believe that every interior deeply affects the emotions of the people using it, and that it summons all the senses, touch of course, but also hearing and smell. This may have something to do with my South African roots, where the summer is nine months long – but I especially love projects that have a strong connection between inside and outside, where terraces become private resorts and offer perfect occasions for conviviality”. Mark Rielly
Palm Jumeirah Dubai, UAE
ARRCC – Interior Design & Décor
SAOTA – Architecture