Who is Kalu (Ka-Loo)?
Partners Aleem Kassam and Phyllis Lui met while attending The Art Institute of Vancouver. Through all the late night cramming sessions and last-minute art store runs, the duo quickly realized how much better they were together than apart. In 2007, they decided to make their friendship an official business partnership. Their new firm name Kalu, would be derived from their surnames, Kassam and Lui (KA-LU). While they both have very individually unique styles and sensibilities for design, the pair share an undeniable passion for interior design. It is this passion that has led them to understand the importance of personal style and space for their clients’ homes. Inspiring, beautiful, aspirational, unique, individual – all qualities they feel an environment should reflect.
The Partners Ka-Lu
Aleem Kassam - Partner/ Interior Designer
Aleem, born & raised in Vancouver started his path in Interior Design in 2004 by obtaining a formal education at the Art Institute of Vancouver. He soon found himself with a desire for adventures and a yearning to further his education abroad thus bringing him to the Art Institute of Chicago to obtain a Bachelors Degree of Interior Design & Sustainable Interior Architecture. He then attended the Domus Academy in Milan for Hospitality Design and the school of Central Saint Martins in London for Retail Design. This Global perspective soon brought him to broader platform as a participant on "From the Ground Up," a series on Global Television and later broadcasted in countries around the world, along with HGTV. Since he has made various media appearances making him a fixture in the Industry both locally and abroad.
"Design has no borders, nor should we or our interiors." -Aleem Kassam
Phyllis Lui - Partner/ Interior Designer
Embracing her passion for Interior Design, Phyllis decided to change her career from Finance and obtained her Diploma from the Art Institute of Vancouver where she graduated with Honours. Upon graduation, Phyllis worked for a successful Interior Design company and a boutique luxury Real Estate Developer where she gained extensive experience in Multi-Family Residential, High End Residential Homes, and Hospitality.
Often seen with a smile on her face, Phyllis likes to keep herself a busy bee running around town with multiple projects and endeavours. She has a bit of an obsession with collecting art and pillows especially if those items contain the colour Aqua. In her spare time she loves to travel the world and to spend time with her husband Shelby and her dog, a Jack Russell named Bruce.
"I believe strongly that everything in life happens for a reason. Nothing is by chance. Someone you meet, somewhere you go. It all comes full circle in the end." - Phyllis Lui
Ali Chapkin - Senior Design Consultant
Ali Chapkin is a Senior Design Consultant with Kalu Interiors. A bubbly British gal from London, she has worked with a variety of award winning Interior Design firms in both London and Vancouver. Ali started her career with a degree in Furniture Design and went on to study Interior Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design in the UK. Before making the move to Vancouver, she refined her style working for Suzy Hoodless and Carden Cunietti, both high end design firms in London.
Ali brings that little bit of European flair to the Kalu Interiors Team, not to mention the ability to make a fabulous cup of English Tea!
Vanessa Banhaw - Intermediate Interior Designer
Vanessa's fascination with the world of design and all things creative blossomed at an early age, driving her to pursue a career in interior design. After completing her Interior Design Diploma and NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Associate) Certificate at BCIT, she left feeling more confident and inspired to design beautiful and happy homes. Enthusiastic, driven and always willing to learn new things, Vanessa brings a force of creativity and finesse to the Kalu team. Her positive attitude and ability to find humor in every situation (seriously, she laughs at everything!) makes her your go-to gal.
Sumiko Matsuoka - Intermediate Interior Designer
Going into Interior Design was a natural progression for Sumiko. From a young age, she would colour co-ordinate everything; from her closet to her Halloween candy. As she grew older, she helped family and friends organize their homes, offering solutions to lack of space and clutter. Working for over 10 years in the restaurant industry, as well as Sumiko’s many travel adventures have allowed insight into the importance of form and function. This led her to move into the next chapter of her life, studying at the Vancouver College of Art & Design. After graduating from VCAD, Sumiko joined the Kalu team and continues to put her excellent design eye and attention to detail to use.
Forget your Lonely Planet guide, if you’re in need of a “designer spot to dine” in the city, Sumiko’s got you covered. Lifestyle expert extraordinaire!