We catch up with the iconic Paul Bishop of award-winning Bishop Design to discover what lead him into the world of interiors and to uncover some deeper details behind the man of the hour.
Q1. What do you believe shaped you as a designer?
I think it was actually witnessing my parent’s questionable decoration as a child… that definitely helped me realise what kind of designer I DIDN’T want to be! All jokes aside, I truly believe it was the exposure to a multitude of experiences that I have absorbed through life and the incredible diversity of contributing genres and sub-cultures growing up.
Q2. Could you tell us more about yourself and what prompted you to take up designing as profession?
Originally perusing a future in sports, an injury during my academic years led me down a completely different path – ultimately towards my career in design as I had a natural passion for art in all its guises. Throughout the course of my studies, I was fortunate enough to achieve a Master’s degree in Interior Architecture from Manchester University and two bachelors; one in Interior Design from Kingston University and the other in Furniture and Product design from Brighton School of Art.
Upon graduation from my Master’s degree, an opportunity to relocate to Dubai presented itself; a region at that time that was somewhat off the radar commercially as a destination hub. Without knowing where the city really was, I arrived on Valentine’s Day in 1996.
Eventually Bishop Design was born in 2004 following some very questionable living arrangements, unforgettable moments and a bunch of crazy stories from my first 8 years in the desert.
Q3. What would you say are your greatest design tools?
Pen, scale ruler and drafting paper – coupled with an unbridled passion and creative spirit.
Q4. What was the market’s initial response to your ‘slightly rebellious style’?
At Bishop Design we’ve always strived to break the boundaries in the sense that we embrace change and diversity in our methodology. There’s always a refinement and professionalism in everything that we do. Unlike others, we steer away from having just one style of design which allows us the ability to constantly produce something unexpected every time. I like to think that’s why we’ve earned such a reputable position in the market.
Q5. How do you get unstuck creatively?
A bottle of whiskey in the bath! However, come to think of it they are some of the most creative moments. I wouldn’t ever want to be unstuck from the creative process!
Q6. Learning never stops. How do you expand your knowledge and gain further expertise?
Travelling has always been an essential process to how I evolve as a designer. It’s so important to experience different parts of the world and everything integral to it as it opens your eyes to unlimited resources, that’s how I get most of my inspiration and is definitely something I plan to catch up on in 2021.
Q7. Tell us about the project you enjoyed working on the most. Why?
Whenever I’m asked this question, I can’t help but think back to working alongside Massimo Bottura for Torno Subito. The man is an eccentric genius, even crazier than me (if you can imagine that!) so to learn from him, get inside his mind and become these two kindred spirits was just a surreal experience. But every project is different and offers up something new to the table. That’s why our professionalism is so incredible – every day brings something new!
Q8. Tell us about a project from our selection which has been your greatest achievement.
Bathroom design is incredibly important when it comes to the hotel environment. This is why we are fortunate enough to partner with leading experts such as Sanipex to ensure that we achieve the highest standard of finishes and aesthetics for the end consumer. Two notable projects in particular that we’ve worked on recently together include Al Mouj by Rotana in Muscat and The Intercontinental in Business Bay for Hotels with Brass Monkey and Ketch Up as F&B projects on Bluewaters, Dubai.
Q9. You have won so many awards, over 90 in the last 16 years. How do you look at awards? Do they still inspire you?
Table dancing aside…believe it or not I still get so nervous at award ceremonies, to the point I can’t even eat!
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been in the industry – we still have that butterfly feeling in our stomachs before our name is announced. You can never predict how the awards are going to go as the market is bursting with competition, that’s why we are so honoured to receive the recognition that we have and can only hope that it keeps on coming!
Q10. How do you relax, do you prefer indoors or outdoors?
I love cooking! Preparing a home cooked meal is the perfect way for me to catch some down-time.
Q11. Who would be your dream dinner guest and why?
It would be difficult to have just one person over, I would host a complete table full of extremely diversifying characters – I have my favourites – and just being completely immersed in the evening that transpires, in addition to the night and next day that followed no doubt!
Q12. Who inspires you right now?
Peoples innate resilience! It’s more about what than who currently.
Q13. What is your guilty pleasure?
Now that would be revealing too much!
Q14. Describe your perfect day.
Good food and great drinks surrounded by loved ones.
Q15. Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
I recently got engaged to someone incredible, unique and truly inspiring.