By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
The foreshadowing of Perla Lichi’s future career began when she was a young girl living in Mexico City. Her first design inspiration came from her mother, who used to bring home dolls dressed in their countries’ costumes from every place she visited.
“One day I decided to decorate my wall,” Lichi says. “I nailed the dolls to the wall in different poses. I was 6 or 7, young enough to get in trouble with my mother.”
Lichi, who established her interior design practice in South Florida in 1990, now travels to many of the dolls’ countries where she designs luxury homes, palaces and villas. She opened an office in Dubai in 2009 and does work in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. Author of five coffee-table books on design, Lichi shared her philosophy with us in a telephone interview from Dubai.
City & Shore: Why Dubai?
Perla Lichi: The people in Dubai are building a lot of different homes, and they love my classic timeless palatial style. I didn’t choose Dubai. Dubai chose me. After seeing my work on the Internet, clients brought me to Dubai in 2005-2006. I am well known here. They know the name Perla Lichi, and they know my style.
C&S: How does your work in Dubai differ from South Florida?
PL: It differs by culture and by way of construction. In Dubai, construction goes very slowly. One of the reasons for this is everything is concrete; there are no interior partitions in drywall. In Dubai, there are always changes. The whole family, not just one person, is involved in making decisions. Right now in Florida the style is more modern. In Dubai they still want the classic, timeless style.
C&S: What is your personal style at home?
PL: I love classic style. When I first became a designer I loved the contemporary clean look. When the market changed, I had to change.
C&S: What is your design mantra?
PL: For some people less is more. For others more is better.
C&S: What are you sorry you didn’t buy?
PL: Nothing. If I see something and I love it I buy it. A lot of the time I buy something not knowing what to do with it. I saw a painting of a gothic cathedral at an art show and designed my whole dining room around it. Normally you design the room first and then find the artwork.
Perla Lichi Design, 7381 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs, 954-726-0899, perlalichi.com.