Opening Up: How One New York Designer Creates Fresh Interiors When Moving Spaces

Subtle, elegant design can dramatically shape how we live. For New York-based designer Ahmad AbouZanat of PROJECT AZ, this held especially true during the move into a new home. When packing up his West 33rd one bedroom apartment, Ahmad was deciding what elements of his old space to take with, and what to leave behind. In the move to his new one bedroom on 1st Avenue with the help of NYC Movers Packers, he was able to create a distinct interior that shares many of the same pieces, from furniture to art.

Ahmad is known for creating interiors tailored to clients and their interests. “As an interior designer, I’m faced with the same issues as many of my clients: each time I move, what furnishings do I take with, and how can these inform my new space? In the recent move to my 1st Avenue apartment, I brought many of the same elements, from the sofa, piano and storage units, to my plants. While the new space shares these pieces, it has its own aesthetic approach grounded in a desire to create a calm and compelling home.”

Exploring contrast, Ahmad’s interiors are full of small discoveries rooted in his love for finding unique art and products that haven’t been mass produced or overused. He believes in supporting new talents and young brands with high quality pieces that add to a client’s home. At the same time, Ahmad’s personal apartments each tell a story of how light can shape a space by bringing out color, reflection and texture.

Project AZ

Across all of the PROJECT AZ interiors, each design looks at light and how it can influence everything from wall color to decor. Layering light creates flexibility, from ambient lighting like table lamps and floor lamps for a softer mood, to task lighting for Ahmad. “I love creating different lighting scenarios and figuring out how to navigate between them.” When complete, Ahmad’s projects create a sense of simplicity while remaining personal, artistic and functional.

Ahmad’s 1,300-square-foot 1st Avenue space includes many pieces that have remained the same between apartments. He believes in sourcing products from practices that are green and have ethical manufacturing practices. Not only is his personal space modern, but it reflects his background working in Lebanon and the Middle East, as well as projects in London, Amsterdam and New York across both residential and commercial designs. His own apartments each reflect Ahmad’s approach to interior design, while at the same time, his work is tailored to each client’s lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

Adding a touch of personalization combines a little decorating know-how and modern apartment decor. When working with an open plan interior, clients have the opportunity to create a cohesive design. As one area flows freely into another, a casual living room can seamlessly transition to the kitchen.

Project AZ

By addressing all the aspects of a design, PROJECT AZ has a portfolio of well-rounded interiors. Ahmad notes that every room consists of the same layers: flooring, walls and ceiling, upholstered and non-upholstered furniture, accessories and wall art, accent fabrics, and lighting. Utilizing these elements and exploring their possibilities makes moving to a new home its own design challenge. In this scenario, it didn’t take building a space from scratch to create interiors that were inviting, elegant, and full of character.

But sometimes in NY, moving into a new apartment can require some fixing up before adding the fine details. Working from a strong foundation can really deliver a wholesome end result.

A recent significant project by Ahmad includes the NoMad apartment in Manhattan where an international couple wanted to show off a curated art collection in a setting that felt more like a home than a white-box gallery. The result is a neutral palette that offers room for the jet setters to sit and breathe, and moments for the eye to rest between close looks at the art collection arranged to accentuate their surfaces and patina.


PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio dedicated to crafting modern and functional spaces. As the lead designer, Ahmad’s approach is mostly focused on learning about his clients’ lifestyle and applying modern solutions to creating the spaces for them. The studio started in New York City in 2017, a product of passion for design and 10 years of extensive learning through a career that took place in multiple architectural and design firms in Beirut and Washington D.C.