We speak to Founder of ONE 52, Sasan Mostajeran, about the power of details and why investment pieces are the smart choice when it comes to interiors.
What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine?
I do my best work at night, so I like to give myself enough time in the mornings to get the day started at a manageable pace and certainly always try to avoid feeling rushed. I will have a black tea without fail and often try to build in time for some mindfulness exercises, whether it be meditation, breathing exercises, or just some quiet reflection.
How did you know it was the right time to launch ONE 52, and which steps previously led you to this path?
I have been a lifetime design aficionado. This led me to art school and an early career in photography. After attending several international design fairs, I eventually started working with leading Italian furniture and lighting design manufacturers. However, I have always wanted to introduce something new to Middle East. This market is one of the most unique in the world and that heritage of design appreciation is exhibited on a grand scale. We see design everywhere here in Dubai and that is why I truly believe it is one of the best places in the world to live. When I visited USM’s headquarters and factory in Münsingen, Switzerland, and met the team behind the company, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to partner with a world-class organization and bring its unique and innovative products to Dubai and the larger Middle Eastern market.
What is the DNA of the brand?
Our DNA is providing authentic, timeless design pieces with superior customer service. We are dedicated to providing our customers with furniture that looks great and is functional and timeless. From the moment a customer steps into our design studio, we aim to help them find the perfect furniture piece to meet their needs and tastes.
How challenging was it to refine which brands you wanted to carry and was it easy to partner with them from the outset?
When it comes to selecting brands to carry, it’s important to choose those that align with the vision of ONE 52 Furniture. I had to consider a number of factors such as brand reputation, design aesthetic, product quality, and market demand. Partnering with these brands was a multi-step process that required careful consideration and negotiations. I had to establish clear communication with the brands and build strong relationships with them to ensure that we were on the same page. In some cases, the partnership process was straightforward and easy, while in others it was more challenging. However, I believe that the time and effort put into building these relationships was well worth it, as it has allowed ONE 52 Furniture to offer a diverse and high-quality product lineup. Ultimately, my goal was to create a carefully curated selection of brands that would provide customers with the best possible shopping experience and enable ONE 52 Furniture to stand out as a leader in the furniture industry.
There is an education piece needed around investment pieces that last a lifetime. Can you expand on this?
Investment pieces stem from another era but has a timeless spirit. The creative expertise and innovation behind the product are what keeps products up to date. Having an original is a life-long companion and a cultural legacy – it doesn‘t lose value, and can be passed down through the family, adding to its own history. It represents longevity for generations. I believe that education is key when it comes to industrial design and investing in authentic pieces of furniture. “What is an original? Why should customers purchase an original when a copy is so much cheaper?” In industrial design, there are two conditions to being an original: the manufacturer must have production rights and there must be some form of collaboration between the designer. Yet there are frequent misunderstandings.
What have been the most challenging or rewarding aspects since launching to date?
As an Iranian national, opening a bank account can be a challenging and complicated process. Due to the international sanctions imposed on Iran, many banks have restricted their services for Iranian citizens. This has resulted in limited options to open a bank account, which can is a lengthy process and require significant documentation and verification.
How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?
Scaling a business or organization can be a difficult task, and our top priority is maintaining quality. Our approach to this is to implement a system of checks and balances that can ensure that quality is maintained at each stage of growth. This can involve creating clear processes and guidelines for operations, providing regular training and development opportunities for employees, and incorporating regular quality control measures such as audits or customer feedback. Another important aspect is to prioritize investment in the right tools, technology and infrastructure that can support efficient and effective scaling. Furthermore, involving and empowering employees at all levels can help ensure that quality is maintained and that the organization remains adaptable and agile as it grows.
Have you had any mentors and if so, what advice did they impart?
My dad has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance in my life, serving as a mentor and role model for me. Throughout my journey, he has been there to offer wisdom and advice, always encouraging me to follow my dreams and pursue my passions. His unwavering support and belief in me have given me the confidence to take on new challenges and overcome obstacles. He has taught me the importance of hard work, perseverance, and integrity, and I am grateful for his example of what it means to be a successful and responsible individual. I am deeply thankful for his guidance and support, and I am proud to call him my mentor and my dad.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s important to always remind yourself that making mistakes is a natural part of growth and learning. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things, even if they may not always lead to immediate success. Embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and use them to improve yourself and your skills. Additionally, never stop learning and seeking new knowledge and experiences. Keep an open mind, be curious, and never stop pushing yourself to be better. And above all, never give up on your dreams. No matter what obstacles you may face, stay focused and persistent in pursuing your goals. Remember that success often comes from perseverance and hard work, and that the greatest achievements are often the result of overcoming challenges.
If you were advising someone investing in a lifetime piece for the first time, which piece would you suggest and why?
I would say the Charles & Ray Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Vitra – a classic piece of mid-century modern furniture admired for its iconic design and unparalleled comfort for over 60 years. Its timeless design and excellent craftsmanship make it a worthwhile investment that can hold its value for years to come.
In addition, I also suggest the Taccia Table Lamp designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos and the USM Haller System. It is a timeless piece of Italian design that offers both functionality and aesthetic appeal. The lamp’s distinctive design, with its spun aluminum reflector and blown glass diffuser, creates a warm and inviting ambiance in any room. The USM Haller System is a modular furniture system that allows for endless configurations and customization options, making it a versatile and practical investment for any space.
Do you have a favourite piece you bought and what is on your Wishlist?
I have a very long list of items… On top of that wishlist is The Ball Chair designed by Eero Aarnio.
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