Meet the Team: Jacinda Raniolo

Jacinda Raniolo

Jacinda was a key member of our Interior Design creative team when she decided to return to her native Australia a few years ago and we are now very pleased that she has decided to return to GAJ. Here she shares what brought her back to Dubai and to GAJ.

My new role at GAJ is as lead creative designer within the Interior Design team managing and developing the creative team. It is exciting to be re-joining GAJ in this role working with the talented designers to continue to develop the inspired interiors that put the guest experience at the forefront and have given GAJ its reputation today. Developing the conceptual narratives with the team for a variety of projects ranging from luxury hotels, commercial and educational projects.

I first arrived in Dubai in February 2008 ‎attracted by the scale and diversity of the projects on offer, after eight years working in Melbourne Australia designing commercial, educational, and healthcare projects during which I had advanced my career to become the head of interior design for GHD Melbourne a large multidisciplinary company. I joined GAJ in March 2008 as a senior interior designer taking a sideways career step in order to continue to develop as a designer and to have exposure to other sectors – namely hospitality, spa and food and beverage design. Joining GAJ gave me the opportunity to broaden my expertise.

In 2016 I returned to Melbourne where I further developed my hospitality expertise for an award-winning boutique design firm specialising in International hospitality design for some of the world’s leading hotel operators, such as Park Hyatt, Rosewood and Ritz Carlton.

The Interior team at GAJ has progressed with increasing success over the years and it was rewarding to have been a part of its development, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to re-join GAJ it felt only natural that this was the path to take.

We will be focusing on creating great quality design that has a strong narrative and storyline behind it which flows throughout the entire scheme from entry to exit. So often we see a beautiful concept created from Pinterest images which has little soul behind it, a pastiche mismatch, relying on creating the initial wow image but missing the point of what it is to create a great space, a space that evokes emotions, and puts the user experience first.

Recently I have been guest lecturing and volunteering my time at one of the Universities in UAE which has been a very rewarding experience reigniting my passion for design. Being around young enthusiastic passionate budding Interior designers with crazy ideas who are unencumbered by the weight of restrictions is refreshing.

It’s great to be back in the Middle East with the depth and variety of projects that that offers.‎ However, the local marketplace is changing. There are a lot of new younger companies in the market, greater competition, quality and depth in the industry, the Dubai design industry has grown up to an extent. So we at GAJ need to be mindful of that and continue to grow and expand our capabilities. There seems to be again a nervousness within the industry, people are talking about a crisis, but after surviving the 2008 crash it feels like a ripple in a now steady and mature market, the market has learnt from the past and is smarter in how it approaches projects, we are still signing new projects and have more on the horizon so there is still hope and opportunity.

I look forward to the challenge of what I hope will be the next chapter for the interiors team of GAJ, rebuilding the full potential of the team, developing and strengthening the relationships with our current and new clients. I am excited to be a part of such a creative environment and will work with the team to ensure each member feels respected and valued, incubating the talent among, what is, a team of passionate designers, a team that feels proud of what they produce.