Sean Cassar is a UK-educated, Malta-based designer specialising in commercial, residential and yacht design. Design Hub offers a holistic and highly personalised service, and unique creative solutions that subtly define the client’s brand. In the case of residential projects, the client IS the brand and it is his or her lifestyle that informs the concept.
Cassar’s interiors focus on delivering an experience like no other through the use of unusual materials that often flow seamlessly from floor to wall to ceiling and through incorporating certain whimsical features.
His passion for yachting has translated into designing an equally inspired superyacht interior that’s underpinned by a great deal of thought and a rationale for every minute detail.
When asked to define “iconic” in terms of design, he names a number of key components. “Iconic” is firstly a creative process: putting pen to paper and sketching your vision. Equally important is functionality, the kind that enhances a client’s lifestyle, with detail that’s built-in yet invisible. Creativity and detail need to work together. “Iconic” is also holistic: it is not about sumptuousness of materials but about how they mesh together.
Residential Villa Madeleina
This very substantial project was commissioned with “carte blanche”, by a hands-on client. Countless sketches were made for every detail and craftsmen were motivated to go beyond the boundaries of their every day creativity.
The villa is remarkable for the ingenious yet utterly coherent mix of materials: onyx, marble, walnut, polished concrete…
The rare marble of the washbasins was cut and sculpted to reveal the very “heart” of the slab which in this case is the ice-cool blue of Antarctica. It filters and reflects the light, turning the humble basin into a veritable work of art. The massive state of the art kitchen boasts a floating table which flows seamlessly within the space, while the 5X2m onyx splash back is a statement piece in its own right.
This project is remarkable for its entertaining space which features, once again, an inspired mix of materials.
The fixed, solid brass dining table has a top made of back-lit onyx slab. The swivel chairs are olive wood. The Cassar feature of timbered walls flowing into the floors is ever-present, as is the specially cut marble reflecting the light. Brass and onyx are reprised in the fireplace while the ceiling is crafted of polished brass and buttoned blue velvet. The deep colour of the velvet mirrors the night sky outside, creating an optical illusion of greater height. The separation between living and dining room is a large jellyfish aquarium that acts as a distraction and a fluid partition.
This spectacular and unusual project bears the classic Cassar hallmark of mixing often unusual materials to great effect: from copper to velvet, to polished concrete, to zebrano timber in different finishings. The VC system is reminiscent of a jet turbine engine that sucks the outside air in, diffusing it constantly and creating a welcoming breeze, as well as looking hugely impressive. The herring bone parquet made of hand-cut Zebrano timber by ultraskilled carpenters flows between floor and walls in another Cassar style stamp.
Blocks of seemingly solid copper separate the different areas. Bathrooms get another special Cassar treatment here: washbasins are old whisky barrels, cut in half and lined with brass, floating within the space and co-existing stylishly with lose, floating metal tubes and Italian mosaic back splash panels. The overall impression is that of ultracohesive, tightly fitting contemporary aesthetic that is defined by uncompromising quality.