Saturday, June 15, 2024

Design that transcends time: Meet Karima Dipp

“We have to know, in depth, what the intention is for the use of space … the art of organizing space according to utility, comfort and – above all – ease of movement, is essential to achieving the best aesthetic.”

This is Karima Dipp, Mexican interior designer, on her philosophy of space.

Karima Dipp Atemporal design
(Courtesy: Karima Dipp)

Dipp has opened three design store locations in San Miguel de Allende under the name Atemporal. This embodies Dipp’s approach, focusing on “all that is eternal and transcends time”, whether working on the construction or the design of a home interior.

Dipp’s work is celebrated for crossing cultural boundaries by collaborating with a diversity of artists, integrating design elements from Asia, Europe and Latin America.  

Dipp was born to Lebanese immigrant parents in Guadalajara and grew up immersed in the arts. She was also influenced by her grandmother’s work ethic – she worked until 104 years old – and thirst for knowledge.

Dipp spent time living in Italy, and had the  opportunity to work as a licensee for Benetton, India. This thrust her into the rich Indian world of textile and design, which still very much informs her aesthetic.  

Karima Dipp Atemporal design
(Courtesy: Karima Dipp)

Benetton’s challenge was the need to fabricate all their materials in India, while staying true to the brand’s global standards. For Dipp, this meant improvising and traveling across India, visiting t-shirt factories, sleeping on wood cots and keeping a journal with textile samples and vivid descriptions. 

Returning to Italy with her newfound Indian sensibility, she fused two passions: textiles and design. “Living in Italy, you breathe design” Dipp says.

Inspired by these experiences, she opened her first studio, ESENCIAL, in Guadalajara in 2001. It was the the first of its kind, housing a collection of reinterpreted Indian objets d’arts and renowned Italian furniture brands such as B&B, Flexform, Casamilano, Living Divani, as well as work from French designers like Christian Liaigre and Jerome Able Seguin.  

Dipp made a design trip to Argentina in 2005, which sparked a collaboration with furniture designer Laura O. Dipp fell in love with her working materials –  wood, iron and canvas.

Karima Dipp Atemporal design
(Courtesy: Karima Dipp)

Today, Dipp’s community-minded spirit continues to foster deeply creative relationships with local artisans and craftsmen in Mexico, while showcasing a  collection that represents the arts of India, Italy, Spain and Argentina.  

Dipp says that it is not enough to focus on the aesthetic elements of a space as an interior designer: the other critical elements are intention, lighting, use of materials, and how to enhance both the physical and emotional well-being of the client.

“Interior design is an art that allows us to completely embrace the different sensations we perceive, whether entering a home or an office. I think we are able to face life in a more positive and balanced way in many aspects,” she says. 

Having completed more than 77 projects in multiple countries and landscapes, Dipp believes that a project must adapt and blend into its natural surroundings. Every home is a  unique, bespoke creation. No design should be replicated. On average, she takes on 12 projects at a time.

Her latest project, Casa Surco in San Miguel de Allende, is a collaboration with architects Elías and Alejandro Rizo. 

Karima Dipp Atemporal design
(Courtesy: Karima Dipp)

The house is a fine example of her favorite working methodology, which she calls “trio”, where space is sculpted through the shared vision of architects, builders and designers.  

“Everything has to be expertly made. It is actually very technical,” she explains. “For example, the double pane windows are constructed from steel so that the metal helps retain heat. Aiming to be as ecological as we can is important. There would be no need for dryers due to the very dry weather we have year round.”  

“One first needs to creatively interpret the client’s dreams and desires, and how they want to inhabit a space. Atemporal integrates all these ways of living,” says Dipp. “Design is much more than furniture or style. It’s a devotion to the client who, after all, will spend many hours in the space. Completion of a house design project takes an average of two years. Often, at the reveal, there are many tears of joy and awe!”  

Dipp’s next big ambition is launching the “Design Route” in San Miguel de Allende. With a team of other designers, she will offer a plan for the curious visiting buyer, which will include a map of design shops, shipping of goods and services, and a personalized consultation with her crew of designers.

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