Profile: Designer Omar Khan
The rug designer gives us a peek into his sprawling, lavishly furnished apartment in Kuala Lumpur.
Designer Omar Khan’s rugs are much more than just floor coverings; they are space-transforming statement pieces. Like works of art, they add a final flourish, an injection of personality to a room, and their larger than life aesthetic is the fruit of Omar’s fertile imagination and creativity. While his collection of rugs ranges from the unabashedly dramatic to the intensely whimsical, Omar’s home is a glowing representation of his finely honed sense of aesthetic that he describes as utilitarian with a sense of bohemian.
This sprawling wood-paneled apartment in the heart of Kuala Lumpur has been Omar’s base for the past three and a half years, and after living in space-starved New York and Hong Kong, he’s enjoying the luxury of having large pieces of furniture and the joy of working on projects that are less transitional. “When I was working for the Pedder Group in Hong Kong, I handled a lot of store window displays that get pulled down after six weeks. This prompted my transition into interior design, which I felt was a bigger and longer lasting mark,” he muses.
A well-worn Chesterfield couch and a steam punk coffee table rub shoulders with a classic Eames lounge chair and large scale artwork (some of which are Omar’s charcoal studies from art school), while scattered throughout the apartment are curiosities and artefacts which he has collected through the years. “When I think of my home, it’s kind of a curation of my life so far. Because it’s got this collection of my sentimental items that I’ve kept over the years. I curate and group my things so that my home represents the living testament of my life story. My great-grandfathers’ Dupont lighter is one of my favorite items. I have this amazing porcelain floral arrangement from Kenzo, and of course, my rugs!”
While Omar travels widely for work, (almost as extensively as his rugs which have found homes in the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and the Middle East among others), his home is also where he works and this wonderfully atmospheric space is always buzzing with artistic energy. “I like that the house has become this creative kind of hub. My bedroom and my personal spaces are separate. But the common areas, the living room and dining room, those are the heart where creativity happens. And I get to work with some really amazingly creative people,” he reveals. “My house is always kind of this revolving door of interesting people coming through for collaboration. I love that the house holds an energy like that. But it has enough cordoned off areas, where I can feel completely at peace and comfortable.”
Omar’s innate sense of refinement and love for the tactile ensures that his home is ultimately beautiful and comfortable—not a static showcase. As for his favorite spot, the often Dries van Noten-clad designer cites his wardrobe: “My closet is where all my good friends live, so I like to visit them from time to time or they’ll get a little lonely. But to be honest, I have a favorite nook in every space around the home.”
This story first appeared in FORM Magazine.