Known for his incredible sense of style, cheeky wit and confident air, Aleem Kassam is not only co-founder of the multi-award-winning Kalu Interiors, but he is also one of Canada’s (and possibly the world’s) best dressed, a luxury lifestyle influencer, and energetic promotor of living life to its fullest.
Together, Aleem and his partner Victor understand the importance of being comfortable at home. For the duo, the past two years could have been difficult, given the incredibly social nature of their personalities, and while many retreated into their cocoons of avoidance, they flourished.
A Passion for Design
It was in 2004 that Aleem began his journey in Interior Design. He obtained a formal education at the Art Institute of Vancouver and soon found himself wanting adventure. Combining a love of travel with this thirst for education, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago and achieved a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design & Sustainable Interior Architecture.
At this point, he waved farewell to Vancouver. He hopped across the pond to attend the Domus Academy in Milan for Hospitality Design and the school of Central Saint Martins in London for Retail Design.
This global perspective influenced Aleem’s taste for design and personal style. With his broad smile and sartorial style, Aleem makes media, guest appearances, and award acceptance so effortless!
A Partnership is Born
Aleem Kassam & Phyllis Lui met while attending The Art Institute of Vancouver, and their close partnership led them to derive the firm name Kalu from Kassam-Lui (KA-LU) in 2007. While both had very individually unique styles and sensibilities for design, they also shared a passion for Interior Design and an understanding of the importance of personal style and spaces for both clients and their homes.
Together they espouse creating space that is inspiring, beautiful, aspirational, unique, and individual!
From the start, Kalu Interiors served clients across the GVRD and, as each year passes, continues to expand. In addition, Kalu has made its mark in the Vancouver design industry, from single-family homes to corporate spaces to specialty events.
The dynamic design duo pride themselves on working with superior tradespeople, offering cutting-edge high-end finishes and always staying ahead of the curb regarding design innovation.
Designing in a Personal Space
At Kalu Interiors, the team is constantly innovating, knowing there is much more to a successful project than meets the eye. They design without letting the existing space inhibit creativity and be fluid with all the possibilities to solve potential problems. Obviously, with any best-laid plans, there will be obstacles and limitations in the design, such as structural and electrical, and in those cases, they will be worked with and solutions found.
“The whole purpose of a well-designed space is ensuring it feels like it has purpose! We look at it as a puzzle, make every element fit together and work together. Because it’s only when elements fight one another that a space can feel unsettled, unfinished, or uneasy to the eyes. Nonetheless, throughout our years of experience, we have almost always found that unique solutions only come from unique problems,” shares Aleem.
When Aleem began an extensive redesign of his home – a heritage loft in historical Gastown – he fell in love with a bronze-veined, dark brown stone by Cosentino. The Dekton Laurent became the end-all and be-all of the redesign.
“When you have a material that works well in a space, why not try to take it to the next level?” he says, smiling mischievously.
Aleem used the stone not only on the countertops, backsplash and waterfall island, but he also clad the dishwasher, hood fan, and warming drawer! Not wanting to stop the flow, he then used it to create stone floating shelves which hold greenery, cookbooks, and a selection of adornments.
“The palette selection was quite simple, ensuring that each integration of finish, colour, or material was not overthought. Effortless, seamless, and purposeful were the underlying messages I considered in each choice. Knowing a limited scope of colours and finishes would be taken, a simple whitewash White Oak took the canvas from floors to millwork to provide a light, bright and natural texture and colour to set the stage.”
He then added key and contrasting features such as the dark, rich, and earthy colours naturally found in the Dekton Laurent palette. It tied in the loft’s heritage brick facades – incorporating the brick through the warm, bronze, and gleaming veins in the Laurent slabs. Lastly, he added matte black trims, hardware and accents, which helped tie together the seamless integration of the Dekton slabs.
Additional layers such as luxe steel finishes, matte black fixtures, bronze mirror wall features and bronze-smoked glass panels elevate the overall space while introducing sophisticated and modern elements.
The stunning result of the Kalu Interiors process is showcased throughout this photo tour of Aleem and Victor‘s absolutely stunning and undoubtedly award-winning home in historic Gastown.
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