We are pleased to introduce our guest, Alexandra d’Ursel, the visionary founder of White Linen Interiors, a boutique interior practice in Dubai renowned for its expertise in luxury residential design. The White Linen design palette is a reflection of European roots and the eclectic influences of Middle Eastern art and culture.
1. When did you first realize your passion for interior design?
My mom being an interior designer and an art collector sparked my interest in design from a young age. Growing up surrounded by art, I developed a passion for creating aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.
2. What are some of the specific challenges you encounter when working on interior design projects for private homes?
Every project’s a different adventure. Each client has unique preferences and needs, and meeting these while maintaining aesthetic appeal is always a challenge. In Dubai, you often find a desire for luxury, but it’s my job to ensure it’s not overpowering. It’s about creating that balance between lavish and comfortable, opulent yet inviting. Climate plays a part too, using materials that can withstand the Dubai elements while preserving beauty is essential.
3. Could you provide some background information on your remarkable project in Bali? It is truly a one-of-a-kind project.
That was such an incredible experience. The client wanted a holiday home that truly embodied the spirit of the island. It was about marrying the traditional Balinese aesthetic with modern functionality. We used repurposed antique materials, incorporated plenty of open spaces, and focused on indoor-outdoor flow to capitalize on the gorgeous landscape. Integrating local craftsmanship was also a key aspect, providing authenticity. The real challenge was maintaining simplicity in a setting that begs for extravagance, but we pulled it off. The result is a villa that feels luxurious yet approachable, a true Balinese oasis.
4. What was your experience in collaborating with Purity on your projects?
The collaboration brings a high-end portfolio of brands to create truly exclusive spaces. The quality of the service is unmatched. With Purity I can inject personality into every project, be it in the kitchens, bathrooms, or living spaces. The team is extremely supportive, understanding our design vision and working seamlessly to make it happen.
5. What makes White Linen unique?
Our design is all about simplicity, and I bring that mindset to the fast-paced, opulent Dubai scene. We don’t just make rooms look pretty; we make them feel like home. Our designs are simple yet chic, inspired by Belgian aesthetics, but we always find ways to inject a bit of the locale’s character. It is that blend of comfort, functionality, and a hint of luxury that makes us unique. We have a talented team that loves what they do, and I think that passion shows in our work.
6. In two of your extraordinary projects, you incorporated Boffi Kitchens by Purity. As a designer, what do you appreciate most about Boffi? How does it enhance your designs?
What I appreciate the most is the perfect blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal in BOFFI kitchens. The minimalist design approach resonates with my Belgian roots, and the attention to detail is just exceptional. It’s not just about creating a space to cook; it’s about creating a space to live, enjoy, and make memories in. BOFFI kitchens lend a certain sophistication and sleekness that elevates any kitchen. They’re versatile too, so they seamlessly fit into various design concepts.
7. How would you describe the evolution of your personal style as an interior designer over the years?
Design isn’t static, it evolves with you. When I took on more projects here, I began experimenting with different materials, marrying my attraction to simplicity with a more luxurious feel. Today my style remains based on understated elegance, and neutrals dominate the color palette, leaving room for original and colorful touches. Creating designs that feel personal, lived-in, and sophisticated is what I love.
8. Based on your experience, what valuable lesson or advice would you give young designers embarking on their creative journeys today?
The design world is vast, and there’s always something new to learn, remain curious. Understand that every project is a collaboration between you and the client, it’s not just about what you think is best. Find your own style, but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, to experiment, to evolve. Perfection isn’t the goal; it’s about creating spaces that make people feel at home. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process. There will be challenges, but they are just opportunities to grow.
9. Any exciting projects in the pipeline for White linen?
We are currently working on a project in a skyscraper downtown, which is a new challenge altogether, considering the spatial constraints and the breathtaking views. There is also an amazing beachfront villa, where we are trying to bring the outside in, with a strong emphasis on sustainable materials. Meanwhile, we have been exploring opportunities beyond Dubai borders.
10. Could you share with us your favorite book and why it holds such significance for you?
‘Fear and Trembling’ by Amelie Nothomb – It’s a semi-autobiographical novel, set in Japan where Nothomb herself worked. It explores the vast cultural differences between East and West, and Amélie’s struggle to adapt is both humorous and touching. As someone living and working in a culture different from my own, I can relate to her experiences. The book has taught me to appreciate and respect cultural differences, an important lesson that influences my design work, especially here in Dubai. It’s a reminder that understanding and integrating different cultures can lead to something truly beautiful.