We caught up with Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar, a leading interior designer and event and wedding designer. Designing for clients all over the world, he is known for combining boundless creativity and flawless production at the highest level, whether it is building a yacht in the Caribbean, renovating a French Castle or designing a wedding on a private island.
My car of choice
Vintage. Always. I am particularly in love with cars from the 1920s and 1930s. These classic cars are so romantic, from their extravagant interiors to their grand exteriors. Of course, cars were more expensive to make then, so they were all luxury items. I think you can really tell, the details on cars from that time is exceptional.
My favourite holiday destination
The middle of nowhere. A private island or somewhere high up in the mountains, with no neighbours around and an expansive scenery. Basically a place with enough space for great perspective and deep reflection. I also spend a lot of my ‘holiday time’ travelling places for my foundation work, helping those in need, very much for the same reasons.
My gadget I can’t live without
My phone and my steamer. I do everything from my phone, and I’m a perfectionist.
My go to fashion brand
I don’t like brands with labels. So I gravitate towards brands like Loro Piana or extremely high quality vintage pieces. I had multiple fashion brands myself and I know what good quality looks like, so I pay a lot of attention to how something is made and the standard of materials being used.
My airline of choice
Emirates, Qatar or Singapore Airlines. It depends hugely on destination. And, of course, nothing beats a private plane!
My favourite watch brand
I never buy commercial watches. I am more a vintage watch kind of man. Anything unique and rare will catch my eye. Those kind of watches aren’t just more beautiful, they also carry a story and with that a personality of their own. To me, that is something worth honouring and wearing.
My favourite restaurant
I love eating in restaurants, so have many favourites. However, I don’t care too much for trendy or famous places, for me it is more about the ambiance and whether the food is prepared with love. That is why I am mostly drawn to small family-run restaurants, that excel in creating the ideal natural balance of a cosy atmosphere and great food, with recipes perfected over generations.
My guilty pleasure
Oh I have too many! Truffle-cakes, wines and champagnes, and great Persian food.
My favourite way to give back
I like being able to make a difference, not just financially, but also physically and emotionally. I do a lot of work with hospitals, orphanages and schools. And the work there is not just about signing a cheque; but also being present. Showing up, being hands-on and advising on the day-to-day is often as much needed as financial support. I believe it is not only helpful for them, but also for me; it allows me a better insight in how things work and how I can help on the longer term.