Restrained. Sophisticated. Balanced. Meticulously curated. Eminently livable. The same qualities that define the work of designer Charles Allem drive his approach to creating some of the most distinguished residences and groundbreaking commercial projects in the world.
A fearless experimentalist in combining state-of-the-art technology with refined materials, custom furnishings, fine art, and extraordinary antiques, Allem’s aim with each new commission is to harmonize the skills of collaborating architects, landscape architects, craftsmen, and artisans with “one voice.” As such, all of the interiors designed by his firm, C.A.D International, are grounded in principles of old-school classicism and guided by Allem’s unwavering perfectionism, yet each project is also a unique contemporary expression of the client’s needs and exquisitely attuned to its context. “Understanding the nucleus of the client is my strength,” says Allem. “As a result, every project is different. Ego is selfless.”
Since the start of his career in his native Johannesburg, South Africa, where he assisted legendary designer David Hicks on the design of one of his family’s homes at the age of 14, Allem has become a globally celebrated and peerless design director, who is consistently sought by prominent clientele — including top sports figures, A-list celebrities, and premier developers — for his extensive knowledge and mastery of design.
Among the highly acclaimed projects designed by C.A.D. International are award-winning hotels, including The Mira Hotel in Hong Kong, the Vanke Tongshanjie in Shanghai, and the W Hotels in Miami, Las Vegas, and Macau, as well as luxury condominium developments, such as the Regalia in Sunny Isles, Eleven On Lenox in Miami Beach, and 245 Tenth in New York, along with countless private residences for elite clients around the globe.
Regularly covered in leading shelter magazines and appearing on the prestigious AD 100 list, Architectural Digest’s annual tally of the world’s most gifted interior designers, Allem’s work has brought him to London, New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Miami, where he now runs his principal studio with a satellite office in Manhattan.
Founded by Allem in 1988, C.A.D. International comprises a team based at the firm’s studio in Miami, along with staff in New York and around the globe. Allem is renowned for his focused dedication to his work and his drive for excellence, and these traits are carried through the entire team.
To enable him to be directly involved in every project, Allem consciously chose to make C.A.D. International a boutique firm. This allows him to be where he loves — in the studio leading his team, working onsite, or designing bespoke furnishings for his clients.
For Charles Allem, the process begins with getting to know the client and how they live. Are they family driven? Jetsetters? How will they be using the space? This frames the process, because just as each client is unique, each project requires a unique approach. Synergy and connection are vital, so from the first meeting there is a focus on building the relationship. From that foundation, Allem develops his vision; he oversees his team to create a richly detailed presentation that draws on all the five senses to convey the scope of the finished project.
Once the final concept has been refined, Allem brings together artists and designers, architects, craftsmen and artisans, to make the project a reality. “Developers and home owners are increasingly understanding the need for one voice connecting all the elements of a project in order to create an exquisite environment conducive to a wonderful lifestyle,” says Allem.