Property: How Rebirth is expanding its interior design business to London

Studio specialises in refurbishing properties with a wide range of practical and aesthetic services offered

Rebirth specialise in refurbishing properties to add value to homes

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Excitement bounces between Paul Cuschieri and Malcolm Abela Sciberras as they talk about their approach to the projects they work on.

Having known each other for more than a decade, the pair joined forces in 2019 to create Rebirth, an interior design studio that brings together multiple disciplines to offer clients a comprehensive range of services.

Working in their native Malta, the pair have now expanded operations to London, recently establishing an office to cater for clients across the capital.

A full service operation, Rebirth combines architectural, aesthetic and practical disciplines to offer homeowners as wide a range of options as possible.

Specialising in refurbishments – hence the company’s name – the pair offer everything from conceptual design to detailed drawing and renders, decor and furniture selection and project management.

“Malcolm’s background is in design and mine is in architecture and we’ve joined our vision and expertise together to offer a holistic, well-balanced approach to projects,” said Paul.

“But it’s more than that, we are now providing what we call experiential design.

“We want to create something that goes beyond just being beautiful – spaces that express emotion, that have a certain character, and immediately feel like home.

“We don’t have a specific style. That’s because our work is focused on each client and their requirements are different.

REbirth was founded by Paul Cuschieri, left, and Malcolm Abela Sciberras

“Rebirth offers a boutique experience.

“We need to make sure our spaces speak their language, so that when they have guests they can see and feel that it’s our client’s space they are in. 

“As designers, we grow thanks to these projects, because we are subject to so many influences from the people we work for and our research, which helps us creatively.

“We consider our designs as pieces of living art.”

Everything for Rebirth starts with a budget and a brief.

The first is key to identify the boundaries of a scheme, while the second is where the creativity begins.

“When we’re discussing the brief, that’s when our imaginations start to run wild,” said Malcolm.

“We’re always listening to the client, of course, but having a new project is something that’s very exciting for us and the team.”

Paul added: “We start by asking our clients how much they want to invest.

“It would be useless for us to invent all kinds of designs without knowing what they can afford.

“We need to base our concept on their budget, so that’s quite an important question.

“Something we then do – although it takes a bit more effort on our side – is to draw up a skeletal breakdown of the costs.

“Whatever the budget, we create a wish-list to identify what in our proposal we consider to be a priority.

Rather than following a specific style, Rebirth’s approach is bespoke to the property

“We presume that we will have this amount for decoration, this money for services, this for furniture, this for kitchen appliances and so on.

“That gives a starting point. This is flexible, of course, because the client will have certain priorities – communication is key.”

Having completed a diverse portfolio of projects in the firm’s native Malta, Rebirth has expanded to the UK thanks to a recent project.

“We were fortunate enough that one of our Maltese clients has a property in London,” said Paul. 

“As soon as we’d finished refurbishing it, we felt that we were on the right track. We’ve always loved London, the culture and the cosmopolitan feel of the place.

“I love its history and that’s something we know about, because we work on listed properties in Malta.

“For those reasons we decided London would be an interesting place to take our services – so we’ve established an office in the city.” 

That affinity for working with historic, listed and protected properties is perhaps typified by Rebirth’s response to a brief for a client with a property at Balluta Buildings in St Julian’s.

Built in 1928 and designed by architect Giuseppe Psaila, it is scheduled as a Grade I monument on the Mediterranean island.

“It was built in the Art Deco period and was, at the time, one of the largest and most luxurious properties in Europe,” said Paul. 

“The brief was to get the apartment back to its former glory, so we had to do our research on the style and decor.

“The reason people come to us is that we make sure our schemes are layered, that the new interiors we create for a project like this feel like they’ve been there from the start.”

Rebirth works with a brief and budget for its clients

The approach goes far beyond aesthetics too, with Rebirth able to call on the engineering expertise of Paul’s father’s firm to present clients with a full suite of options.

“That means we can combine things like underfloor heating, air conditioning, central heating, lighting and fire protection with what we do,” said Paul.

“We always try to come up with challenges that we might face during a project, so we can tackle them at the design stage rather than during the implementation and risk having delays.

“As my father is an electrical engineer I’ve always been around construction sites, but decided I wanted to follow a more artistic path where I was designing and building something.

“That’s how I got into architecture and I’ve often worked on boutique-type projects with an interest in design, so it’s only natural that I’ve followed this path into interiors.”

The reasons for considering an interior refurbishment are many.

There are practical considerations, when properties require updating purely to remain functional. 

Then there are aesthetic and wellbeing concerns, where a change is needed to please the resident and ensure they are comfortable in their environment.

A refurbishment is also an investment, potentially adding significant value to a property if approached correctly.

“Number one on the list is an open-plan kitchen – that’s the thing that sells,” said Paul.

“It mustn’t look dated, it should be functioning well, organised, clean and designed with the right colours.

“The kitchen is the heart of everything and if visitors feel comfortable and welcome there, then that’s a real selling point.

“Then you have the living areas, the principal bedroom and the main bathroom.

Rebirth’s work includes the refurbishment of an apartment at Balluta Buildings in Malta

If there’s a guest bathroom, that’s a place to be a bit more adventurous and to go for a bold statement.

“At Rebirth we can tackle any one of these areas individually for a client or refurbish a whole property. 

“If we are doing single rooms, then we will always make sure our design fits with the existing home.

“We also have to make sure our designs are sustainable and that the spaces we create look after us psychologically.” 

 The overriding theme that runs through the firm’s expansion is one of anticipation.

“We get so inspired when we’re discussing everything with our clients – especially when we’re working on a different style of project and creating a nice concept for them,” said Malcolm.  

“In London, we’d love to do a Victorian house with a garden – a property with a lovely character. 

“It would be a challenge, but we’d like that and we are able to offer landscaping too.” 

Paul added: “We are, of course, a whole team. It’s not just two of us.

“But with every project we have grown and each new one is part of Rebirth’s creative development.”

Find out more about Rebirth’s services here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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