A Tranquil Dubai Apartment Inspired by the Designer’s Former Life as a Jazz Singer

If architecture is akin to classical music, often echoing its rigid structure and proclivity for rules, then interiors are more the likes of jazz where spontaneity and improvisation are hallmarks of a good sound. No matter the genre – form, rhythm, and harmony all play tremendous parts in making a space, or song, emotive. The Dubai-based interior designer and founder of Mizanna Designs, Natalia Contova, draws on her expertise as a former jazz singer to compose rooms that resonate with minimalist allure and riffs of vibrant color in this soothing oasis apartment.

Modern hallway with light gray walls and large floor tiles, featuring wall art by on the left and glass-paneled doors on the right, leading to a bright living room with a large potted plant near the window.

Modern office by Mizanna Designs with glass doors, featuring a wooden desk, black swivel chair, and built-in shelving unit with books and decor. Minimalist design with light-colored walls and flooring.

Modern open-plan living room and kitchen by Mizanna Designs, featuring minimalist decor with a wooden dining table, white chairs, contemporary pendant lights, light-colored sofa, and large windows with sheer curtains.

Scene building begins with the site where a 2,345-square-foot residence overlooks the Dubai marina from its swath of the Al Murjan tower and highest skyscraper in the complex of six, which gets its name from the popular Arab gemstone. A visual narrative of off-white keeps time with a peaceful flow of neutral backdrops and light gray floors stringing together an entry, office, coffee corner, living and dining room, kitchen, and three bedrooms. Establishing a soothing tempo allows for home furnishings to be staged in an interesting syncopation such that unexpected objects and pops of color break the rhythm in delightful ways.

A modern dining room by Mizanna Designs features a black table, four white chairs, a white flared pendant light, red wall art, and various plants and vases.

A modern, minimalist living and dining area by Mizanna Designs features white walls, white furniture, a dark wooden table, abstract artwork, and decorative plants.

A modern living room by Mizanna Designs featuring a beige sofa with an orange throw blanket, monochromatic abstract art leaning against the wall, and a black dining table with light gray chairs in the foreground.

The theme is one of expressive minimalism, unencumbered by clutter but still a place with room to improvise. “I get inspired by people I work with,” Contova says. “I want to create homes that will be a reflection of their owners. In this apartment, the ambience is tranquil with a lot of character and the moment you step in, it definitely makes a statement.” Decorative finishes, wall panels, textured artwork, and unique accent furniture pieces are integrated throughout and articulated well by the otherwise clean background. Lamps and pendants grace individual spaces in a showcase of fashionable forms. And quirkier elements such as curves and soft rounded edges provide welcome respite from rectilinear movement.

A modern living room designed by Mizanna Designs features a large beige sectional sofa, a round coffee table, a potted plant, and a wall-mounted TV. Minimalist decor adds elegance, while sheer curtains cover the large window, allowing ample natural light to flood in.

A minimalist living room by Mizanna Designs features two red chairs, a white round coffee table with candles, two abstract black and white artworks on the wall, and a tall floor lamp.

Modern living room with a white sectional sofa, round coffee table, white armchairs, and a black marble kitchen island. Mizanna Designs' minimalist decor includes abstract art, a dining table, and pendant lights.

Contova imbues the home with warmth and depth using a variety of dark chocolate and espresso wood tones, black marble, brown leather, creamy upholstery, and dazzling terrazzo. Terracotta, clay, burnt orange, and coral accents throughout add bursts of excitement in staccato. Graphic pieces, fluted objects, and a variety in scales add to the composition’s dramatic effects. Other textures include micro-cement finished feature walls and wardrobe facades as well as gypsum used in a variety of artworks.

A modern kitchen by Mizanna Designs featuring sleek black countertops and cabinets, minimalist pendant lights, abstract art on the wall, and a built-in stovetop on the island.

A modern bedroom designed by Mizanna Designs features a large bed with neutral-colored blankets, a dresser with a round mirror, a plant in the corner, and floor-to-ceiling curtains on windows allowing natural light.

Modern bedroom by Mizanna Designs featuring a large bed, multiple pillows, a pendant light, floor-to-ceiling wardrobe with glass doors, and neutral-toned decor.

While certainly a machine for living, this project becomes another testament to the value in cross-pollination between disciplines and interests. Personalization is what inspires a more inviting side of minimalism in resistance to sterility.

Modern bedroom by Mizanna Designs features a round mirror reflecting a bed with gray and brown bedding, a floating white vanity, a beige pouf, and a vase with olive branches.

A modern bathroom with dark decor by Mizanna Designs, featuring a freestanding pedestal sink, a circular backlit mirror, wall shelving with towels and toiletries, and a textured rectangular wall art above the toilet.

A minimalist bedroom by Mizanna Designs features a bed with white linens, a black pillow, a white side table, and a vase of red flowers on it.

To see more of Contova’s work visit her portfolio here.

Photography by Alina Lupu.

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