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“While Designing a Kitchen, I Need to Feel the Space Talking to me; If Not, I Must Wait for Some Inspiration.”


“While Designing a Kitchen, I Need to Feel the Space Talking to me; If Not, I Must Wait for Some Inspiration.”

July 11, 2022

Nadir Cassamo owns Leiken, a distribution company for kitchen and furniture products with its own showrooms in Portugal and a presence in Angola, the UK and Mozambique. At a deeper level, he remains a designer who also not just showcases and markets a product, but also has the know-how and training.

Nadir Cassamo, born and bred in Lisbon, is an intuitive designer. Based in the picturesque Algarve region, where his company Leikin has just set up a new showroom, he insists that designing a kitchen is like a research project and needs the same energy, dedication and involvement.

As late as less than almost two decades back, when he focused on Portugal’s kitchen scene, he realised that customers, in general, were not buying kitchens in a systematic manner but were relying more on bits and pieces of design, selecting cabinets for appliances and placing hot and wet areas almost at random. With his background in the interior design market, the contrasts were notoriously glaring.

Form, function, and ergonomics lead to a good design. Photo Courtesy: Leiken

Nadir’s eye for design was keen, even as a teen, when he dabbled as a sales assistant at one of Lisbon’s major furniture showrooms. Ensconced in the aura of design, his talent was noticed, and he got his first real commitment to design a residence when he was barely 16 – that too, with hardly any formal education in the subject!

After his graduation from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, he worked at Roche Bobois, the design studio, for a while and co-owned De Divina Porportione - an eclectic interior design showroom in one of the most prestigious areas of Lisbon, the Chiado. This showroom was even showcased by Architectural Digest.

Today, Nadir runs his own design company and showroom, Leiken, which is one of the country’s leading lifestyle showrooms, focused on kitchen space. This is where he directs his energies, talent and attention.

In a tete-a-tete with Kitchen Ideas, he reveals his ideologies on kitchen design.

Materials and mechanisms can be mixed well, and art orientation can be added along with a warm feeling of love for the house for the perfectly designed kitchen. Photo Courtesy: Leiken

How important is design and functionality for the kitchen interiors?

For a long time, design and functionality were not such a huge concern for end consumers, despite them splurging on expensive equipment and appliances. Indeed, much has changed lately, but the fundamentals for a good design remain. The honest and committed designer has to provide clients with not what they want but what they need. ‘Wanting’ is a vague aspiration; it has to be defined and conveyed succinctly to the client that ‘liking’ certain aspects are merely a guideline for a beginning.

I am aware that at first glance this idea seems rather cocky. But, the truth is that 99 percent of the customers come with pre-conceived ideas regarding their dream kitchen, extensively influenced by media and the latest trends.

It is vital to consider dividing the space into food storage, cooling/fridge, preparation and cooking areas, plating area and washing up/dirty area and general storage. Photo Courtesy: Leiken