A Conversation With Multi-Disciplinary Sufian Sawalha
Nestled along the meandering narrow streets of a noisy city stands a low-profile villa. It’s simple architectural lines, austerity and unimposing presence make it easy to sidestep as you drive or walk by. Its unassuming exterior is misleading because its interiors tell a different story. Being the home of Jordanian brand Herb+Design (pronounced, Urban Design), the casita reflects the personal style and vision of its founder American-Jordanian architect Sufian Sawalha.
Sawalha’s animated demeanor and eye for minimalistic design inspired him to create Herb+ Design out of his love for quality products, style, and beauty. During one of his many travel experiences, Sawalha, felt a wave of inspiration while browsing the souvenirs in Athens duty-free shops. Examining the range of available mementos, he realized parallels between their product offerings and the availability of the same in Jordan. This recognition prompted him to create Herb+Design showcasing a range of high-quality Jordanian products cradled in simple design and immaculate packaging.
Stepping into his villa showroom one is immediately transported into space that reflects Sawalha’s minimalistic persona evoking luxury, purity, and elegance. His passion for contemporary styling, warm lighting, and achromatic colors transcends into his Herb+Design products giving the brand its sophisticated nature, while echoing quality and good taste.
Sawalha himself, is a sensory sensation. He perceives color when he hears music and sees shapes when a word or a name is spoken. A condition known as synesthesia, it is a unique characteristic in which basic senses are heightened, causing one to manifest as another. Initially unaware of his synesthesia, Sawalha set out to put his sensory overdrive into creative use.
He started Herb+Design with candles and scents since candles and smells are the preferred manner of changing the mood and atmosphere of homes and spaces. Smells arouse emotions and memories that interlace and attune the smeller to places. Magically influencing ambiance and transforming mindsets.
“I associate scents with memory and this link has always been strong for me. I started paying attention to the smells around me. In every corner, I found inspiration. Each scent started a story, a memory, and a feeling. I had to build onto these feelings and group them into collections. The Orient Collection, for example, transports me to a mystic place with warm notes of spice, and exotic plants. It might instigate a different experience for another person, and that is exactly the concept. I would feel proud if any of our products was able to do that for you.”
With the evolution of the Herb+Design candles came a sense of purpose to use fragrance to inspire, connect, and empower people. As a result, a collection was developed to assist in the nurturing of society, the environment and animal welfare. Supported by brand ambassadors “candle-for-a-cause” raises awareness and encourages people to support initiatives they believe in.
“Jordanian society are always up to support initiatives they believe in.”
But Herb+Design is not just about candles and scents the product line holds a whole range of locally sourced teas, olive oil, chocolate, ice-cream, confectionary, curated home goods and furnishings.
Embedded within Sawalha’s ethos is the importance of environmental responsibility as such it is ingrained in the essence of his products. His creations are sustainable, recyclable, and mindful to ecological waste. The products are locally sourced with ingredients that hold respect for local communities, humane and cruelty free. Also nurturing local talent and creative collaborations Sawalha’s showroom houses his support for local designers that are in-tune with his stylishness and philosophy.
Multifaceted Sufian Sawalha is proud of Herb+Design and its Jordanian roots, carrying products that are sourced with consciousness, kindness, and social responsibility.
Candles for a Cause:
- Lebanese Relief Organizations.
- Animal Welfare.
- Marine Life Conservation.
- Cancer Awareness.
- Palestinian Aid.