Designer Nour al Nimer started her luxury homeware label Nimerology in 2012 out of her love of seeing the world. She says the handmade, meticulously screen-printed pieces that comprise her collections are inspired by her “travel sojourns and personal experiences.”
Her lineage, like her designs, spans different cultures. She was born in Beirut to a Palestinian father, an art collector, and a Turkish mother, both of whom instilled a passion for exploring the world around her.
Al Nimer, 35, says her limited-edition chinaware uses the highest quality European porcelain or bone china, calling each of them “modern takes” on classic chinaware.
Having a global brand meant a U.S. expansion was inevitable. So, it is something of a cruel irony for al Nimer that her company—built out of an embrace of globe-trotting adventures—moved to New York City for its U.S. launch right when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
While “working from home” has always been how al Nimer has operated since the inception of Nimerolgy, she says the current health crisis has still turned the day-to-day reality of running her own business on its head.
“My colleagues and business partners are scattered between Europe and the Middle East, and we work together through various technological platforms,” she says. “I am stimulated by the endless possible outcomes derived from the process that encapsulates traditional craftsmanship with modern tools and technology to create lasting memories.”
Al Nimer shared some of her favorite things with Penta , and discussed how she is coping through the unexpected changes brought by this uncertain time.
A new routine I’ve developed while staying at home is… since I’ve been having all my meals at home, I’m mastering the art of calorie counting with a little help from my Salter scale.
The one thing in my kitchen I can’t live without is… the staple ingredient in many of the dishes I like to cook is the seven-spice “baharat mix” (a combination of allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, cumin, ground coriander, and white pepper). It reminds me of home.
My favorite thing to cook is… lately, I have developed a weakness for Okonomiyaki, an iconic Japanese street food savory pancake made of noodles, eggs, flour, cabbage and any filling you like. Garnished with pickled ginger, bonito flakes, aonori seaweed, and last but not least, Okonomiyaki sauce. The word okonomi means “how you like it” and yaki means “cooked.” Comfort food made combining pancakes and noodles—can this get any better? And it’s a fun social dish to cook with friends.
If I were to buy a piece of art it would be by… I would love a Grayson Perry ceramic vessel; they are just beautiful and over the top with surfaces richly textured in gold leaf and photo transfers. Perry is an incredible storyteller. His work fosters all sorts of emotions and moods from love and longing to angst and melancholy.
The best book I’ve read in the last year is… my top three for the year are Educated , by Tara Westover , Where the Crawdads Sing , by Delia Owens , and This is How It Always Is , by Laurie Frankel . All three books tackle the issues of education, heartbreaks, identity, and hardships through the lenses of difficult childhoods and the journeys to find a path and place in the world given the cards initially dealt with.
How I stay Zen while sheltering at home… cooking has been keeping me sane. And it’s been fun exchanging recipes with my mum and friends. I really enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and dishes while taking a little liberty with recipes. I also enjoy taking the time to arrange my food nicely on my plates and setting a table with flowers. The variety of meals and table settings breaks our lockdown monotony and helps us escape a little.
A passion of mine that few people know about is… embroidery, I find it beautiful and meditative. My heritage and roots have inspired my journey from day one. Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery moves me as a vehicle narrating the precious story and identity of the Palestinian people and as such, is a source of great pride. Not surprisingly, this love for embroidery extends in my mind to table linens and a future natural progression and line extension for our fine China.
Once it’s safe to travel again, I would like to go to… Mongolia has been on my mind for some time now. I would love to attend the annual Naadam festival where the country’s top athletes compete in archery, Mongolian wrestling, and horse racing. I also look forward to visiting monasteries, discovering the Gobi Desert and the grassy landscape of the Khustain Nuruu National Park.
The thing that gets me up in the morning is… ultimately my alarm clock! I initially open my eyes with the urge to check my phone. I then snooze until the alarm rings. I then get up and go straight to the kitchen to make my builder’s tea with milk and honey.
The person who has inspired me to do what I do is… I grew up admiring my mother’s table settings, and she has transferred the appreciation for the elegance of a well-dressed table to me. I love entertaining friends and family at home—it is a great pleasure of mine, and my collections of tableware aim at making the ambiance more intimate. There is also no doubt that my first interest in porcelain comes from the influence of my father’s collection of Ottoman art that includes ceramics, glassware, textiles, and manuscripts.
If we weren’t social distancing right now, if I could grab a drink with anyone anywhere it would be… Olivia Benson , she’s badass—I love her. I’ve watched all 21 seasons of Law and Order SVU .
The one thing I’m doing more of now to get through this difficult time is… Pilates sessions by video conference. These classes add structure and rhythm to my days. My dog, Mr. Miyagi , insists on attending, too!