Henry Chebaane

Professional in Hospitality Design.

About Henry Chebaane

Creative Director and Brand Strategist for a multi-disciplinary design studio specialised in the creation and development of hotel, retail, restaurants, bars, clubs and leisure branded concepts. Working for a number of international hospitality and retail operators, investors and developers to maximise tangible and commercial assets on a local, regional and global basis. A holistic work process enables the creation of successful products and concepts from unique brand identity and positioning, memorable interior architecture, furniture design, art production, immersive stage & lighting scenography and distinctive marketing opportunities. Discretion, dedication and humility allow the Blue Sky team to operate with one single focus: exemplary care for clients and their stakeholders.

  • Winner of 10 A' Design Awards.
  • 3-Time Winner of Hospitality Design Award.
  • Specialized in Hospitality Design.
  • 10 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Lighting
  • Hospitality
  • Interior
  • Graphic
  • Luxury
  • Limited Edition
Fireworks Restaurant

Fireworks Restaurant

Lighting Design

Chinar Lounge Bar Dining

Chinar Lounge Bar Dining

Hospitality Design

Razzmatazz Night club bar

Razzmatazz Night club bar

Hospitality Design

The Tea Lounge Hotel Lobby

The Tea Lounge Hotel Lobby

Hospitality Design

Zest Cafe

Zest Cafe

Interior Design

Chinar Restaurant Bar Lounge Club

Chinar Restaurant Bar Lounge Club

Graphic Design

Eden Garden dining pavilion

Eden Garden dining pavilion

Interior Design

OroNero Restaurant

OroNero Restaurant

Luxury Design

Flora Indica Corporate Identity

Flora Indica Corporate Identity

Graphic Design

Urban Pop Art Concept

Urban Pop Art Concept

Limited Edition Design


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Interview with Henry Chebaane

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I believe story-telling is the base for all cultural foundations and human communications. I have always been an avid reader of stories about people on our planet, from classic mythology and history to philosophy and science fiction. As a child I felt compelled to physically tell stories using various crafts: writing poetry, charcoal sketching, watercolor, oil painting, clay modeling, wood-turning. This quest continues today using the means of modern technology, digital graphics, lighting, materials and interior architecture.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I started Blue Sky Hospitality in 2002 with a single focus: to create extraordinary stories for ordinary people, through strong brand development and commercial interior design. The widest audience is found in retail and hospitality consumers, so I have specialised in this business area. We provide Creative Direction and Brand Strategy as a multi-disciplinary design studio specialised in the creation and development of hotel, retail, restaurants, bars, clubs and leisure branded concepts.
What is "design" for you?
I consider Design to be the act of creating the future, by analysing problems and imagining solutions that could become reality. Without making any claims of particular knowledge, as a personal point of view, I believe that the main aim of design for commercial spaces is to enable human connections, transactions, and interactions. This aim should be provided as a sustainable solution with consideration for all stakeholders in the future business for which we design—owner, management, staff, suppliers, the local community. This should inform not just ethical and environmental considerations, but also knowing how much to spend in relation to the marketplace, target audience, and local capabilities and opportunities. Spend too much on design and construction and returns will underperform. Spend too little and the business will never perform to its full potential.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Hospitality projects. We try to take projects that have a broad range of creative deliverables from naming, branding, space-planning, interiors, lighting, tabletop, uniforms, art curation, and communications so that we can be fully in control of the overall product design and deliver a distinctive competitive advantage to market.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
I don't have a favourite, having worked on every continent in an endless quest to learn and improve my understanding of our world and its inhabitants. Each project provides the opportunity to meet new people with their own ambitions, concerns and desires. My role is to assist each one of them to come closer to the future they seek, within given constraints. We use design as a tool box to provide solutions to clients balancing technical contribution, cultural awareness and artistic imagination. Each project is memorable for different reasons but each involves experiencing our planet and its local cultures
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
My first commercial project was the creation of the first London boutique (in Notting Hill) for Diptyque, the cult fragrance brand from Paris. Almost simultaneously I was also asked to design the interiors for two luxury penthouses for the marketing of a very prestigious residential development in London called "Kings Chelsea". Soon after I designed my first restaurants in Warsaw, Poland and Cologne, Germany (published by TeNeues in the book "Cool restaurants Cologne"...the first of many.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I believe every thing on the planet can be used to produce great design from sand and concrete to silk and laser.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I focus on what is the purpose? first, what is the meaning? second, what does it look like? last.
What makes a design successful?
That it serves the purpose for which it was intended..and more if possible.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Our world is precious and fragile, humans have taken control of earth future and resources, much to the detriment of other living beings and mankind cultural diversity. Designers can influence and rebalance the perception of our world by introducing genuine ecological message and cultural sensitivity in their work while also looking into the future. I don’t believe in zoos and museums: their time has passed. Our planet and its people can do so much better for preservation and communication of cultural legacy and the natural world. For example, food is the ultimate human connector and restaurants are the ultimate stage to articulate this, so it is conceivable that restaurants could take on part of the cultural and educational functions of current museums and galleries.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Design has become one of the most important resources of mankind. We live in an era of exponential change in fundamental fields of activities produced by humans such as artificial intelligence, big data processing, ecological destruction. This is affecting everyone's life now and in future. Design is the only tool we have as a society to produce tangible solutions that can be executed and utilised to make life safer and more enjoyable for all.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I am inspired by science, cultural and ecological diversity found on our planet: so many stories that have been told and can be re-edited for new generations of audiences. So many new stories that can be imagined from connecting random dots and patterns to create a meaningful narrative.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I don't have a specific style. In my point of view that would be arrogant or lazy. The fundamental reason for design is to accept an aspiration, a problem or set of constraints and resolve it at best you can using your mental resources to create a physical solution. The problem should drives the design or as was said by others before: form follows function.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I was born and grew up in Paris then moved to London almost 30 years ago. Without doubt the best decision I have ever made. The cultural diversity, creative energy and juxtaposition of heritage with avant-garde is very special to London and has been a major driver in allowing me to explore the depth and breadth of creative activities. Working from London as a launchpad has allowed me to meet clients from all over the world. I have done projects in over 30 countries and have visited as many more in the course of my work from Canada to Korea, from Iceland to Australia.
How do you work with companies?
We care deeply that our clients can make the optimum reputational and financial returns from our contribution. Yet, the design and branding of a space cannot exist in a vacuum: it is entirely reliant on how much the client will refrain from injecting personal taste and then how well the operating team will execute the everyday delivery, once open. we are dealing constantly with moving parts, differing agendas and cultural backgrounds, and varying levels of competence among the stakeholders that require constant polite, but firm, diplomacy. No matter how clever, innovative, and thorough the design is, a car performance is only as good as its driver. A balance between ambition and humility helps everyone keep a healthy sense of perspective.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
Design for commercial purpose has a very specific goal: optimise return on investment. A designer can be the most important decision taken by a company to create, develop and project a brand image onto the market. So it is in the interest of the company to choose carefully a designer with whom they wish to work instead of just treating this appointment as a commodity like picking any other suppliers.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
If anyone can make a living being a designer, that's positive enough to compensate for any other considerations.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
The only way I manage is to be always thinking 24/7. Design is an all consuming activity, it involves a considerable amount of research, trials and exploration into the unknown before emerging at the end of a frustrating process, having resolved (hopefully) the constraints and obstacles along the way.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It can take a few minutes or hundred of hours..more the latter if dealing with complex spatial design issues.
What was your most important job experience?
Being a dishwasher in a restaurant. I learned about cultural diversity, the value of hard manual work, the value of imagination to make everyday life more enjoyable, and the importance of functionality in tools, layout and work processes.
Who are some of your clients?
I work for a number of international hospitality and retail operators, investors and developers to maximise tangible and commercial assets on a local, regional and global basis. Clients have included individual restaurants and large international hotel brands like Radisson, Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental, Four Seasons and Hyatt. Other kind of clients are owners of mixed-use residential and commercial development with a hospitality or retail component.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
The type of work I enjoy most is where there is a clear sense of purpose to the design requirements. Aesthetics is a very subjective field of perception, so the only way one can assess the objective value of design is if its result create a tangible value that was not present before the design process took place. I use design as a tool box to provide solutions to clients balancing technical contribution, commercial potential, cultural awareness and artistic imagination.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I am very interested in cultural and ecological conservation, as well as promoting the importance of science in designing a better everyday life for all people, both physically and philosophically.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I always take responsibility for the entire detailed design process from ideation to conception, execution and implementation. Naturally, due to the large scale of many projects it is essential to have a good team who can identify with and support each idea that comes to mind.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
We are currently working on the design of a very exciting project on the Gran Via, in Madrid. It's the launch of a new lifestyle hotel brand in Europe: Hyatt Centric. I have created much of the interior design and art content to express and share a rich narrative about Madrid and its culture past and present.

Extended Interview with Henry Chebaane

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I am mostly self-taught: have been learning since the age of 15 and still continue every day.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
To tell interesting stories about people and places, and assist clients in achieving their business goals.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I create narrative concepts and design their physical manifestations in time and space.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Dream big, act small. Work hard, stay humble. Be ambitious, have patience.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A really good design is always useful so is timeless, even when created for a particular audience and purpose.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design means good business. Good design enables and supports commercial success for clients and for the studio, so it's a reciprocal, self-perpetuating positive loop.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I have created and drawn several characters that I would like to develop into TV animated series, merchandising, retail stores and leisure outlets. To develop this will require finding time, resources and commercial partners.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
My first animation series, which could possibly become a franchise for cinema and other activities. It's the story of three characters who try to save humans from ignorance, greed and dogma...not an easy mission.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Many, but I would highlight Christopher Dresser, Walter Gropius, Raymond Loewy, Dieter Rams, Eero Saarinen, Alvar and Aino Aalto, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gio Ponti, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Too many to list here but I would single out every products from Patricia Urquiola. She is consistently bringing innovative solutions that work as well as they look.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
The greatest is yet to come and will be so for eternity..it's a process, not an end-goal.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
Mostly envy, ignorance and stupidity by some people. Thankfully much less than all the support and appreciation received from others.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I will continue to merge art, culture, philosophy into functional commercial spaces and products. It is the interdisciplinary polymath dimensions of my work that keeps me curious, motivated and challenged every day.
How does design help create a better society?
By combining intelligence with consciousness, design can provide solutions to most challenges on earth.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
Hotels in Madrid, Budapest and Belgium: all are the conversion of a century-old buildings into contemporary hospitality spaces so the design requires to connect heritage and modernity into a seamless experience. I am also working on a restaurant project in Seoul, Korea and a large scale resort on the Baltic coast in Poland.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
Every project that we could deliver as intended has been very satisfying, because we could demonstrate the validity of the thought process that took place during design conception and execution.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
There is creative design that set the trends, and reactive design that follow trends.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Design is a combination of art and science, so both must be applied to effectively articulate and communicate intent and execution.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
Personally I use a pencil and a bit of Adobe Creative Suite, my team are experts in all technical software to draw and render effectively and precisely every detail required.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
The human eye, nose and ear have a narrow bandwith perception of the physical reality around us, most of which we are oblivious to.. so it is essential to fully utilise what we are able to perceive and implement into our design work.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
Great design or product by others always make me smile, it makes me feel connected to other human beings.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Everyone with an open, educated, enquiring, positive mind without dogma can make a great collaborator.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Too many to list but I would highlight the work on environmental psychology by the likes of A. Mehrabian, J. A. Russell, anthropology work by E.T. Hall, D. Morris and research on Semiotics by D.Chandler and R.Barthes.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
Reading, observing and listening every day to the world around us.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Recognition is important to assess if our work has a positive impact..though there is much more to learn and improve ahead of us. Design is a continuous process not a destination.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
The more I learn, the more I realise how little do I know but also that somewhere, someone has also thought about the same idea. Once we realise that we are not as unique as we thought, we can just go with the flow and focus on enjoying the journey with others.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
No. Nothing will happen if you don't work increasingly harder at becoming better all the time.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
Humanity is now in a very unstable position because of constant, rapid meta-evolution of technology..particularly in artificial intelligence, big data processing, bio-engineering and exploitation of natural resources. Design through intelligence and consciousness is the only tool we have available right now to create a better, safer, brighter future.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
Design is only a point of view at a particular time and place. Our universe is in constant change and expansion, and so should design be.

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