Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Mona Hussein (MH) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Mona Hussein by clicking here.
Interview with Mona Hussein at Sunday 13th of April 2014
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MH: I studied 'Management' and 'Art' at the American University in Cairo. Because of my love and passion for design, I decided to be a designer;however, I haven't always wanted to be a designer until working for years in different fields that I found my aspiration to be a designer.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MH: Mona Hussein Design House was founded in 1993 where I first specialized in interior design, and then later on the company grew and expanded to architecture, branding where I then later developed "Mahally" and was able to specialize not only in interior design, but also product design.
FS: What is "design" for you?
MH: Design to me consists of many things;it consists of expressing your feelings, and your personality. My life in general is about design. Design surrounds me in my every day schedule whether in my house, work, food and even the presentation in which it comes. Design is in my daily life, and design for me is life itself.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MH: My favorite design would be the "Cove hotel" in United Arab Emirates. The Cove hotel is a Five star Rotana hotel and I designed every single interior of it. My main inspiration for this hotel came from the Egyptian culture.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MH: The first thing that I have ever designed is a restaurant in El Gouna, called "El Khan".
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MH: My favorite material that I like using are Brass and copper. I also love Corian.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MH: I feel the most creative when I find a challenging task to work on or when I'm challenged.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MH: I tend to focus on the aspects of functionality, aesthetic factors, innovative ideas, and having a design that tells a story.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MH: I feel happy, excited and rejuvenated when I am designing in general, because to me designing isn't just a career; it's a life style.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MH: When one of my designs is realized, I tend to feel ecstatic, but also feel that I can do better than this.
FS: What makes a design successful?
MH: In order for a design to be successful, it has to fulfill a need, fulfill a dream or desire, and create a bond between the people and the designer, or just even a bond between the people themselves.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MH: I tend to consider certain factors such as the trends, creativity and the sustainability of the design itself.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MH: The responsibilities of a designer would be that they have to take into account that they have to maintain the culture, address sustainability and recycling, and educating.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MH: The design field is evolving in a way that has become an important part of everyone life. No one can live without design because it's a key aspect.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MH: We don't participate in any exhibitions yet, and it's undecided when we want to hold our next exhibition.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MH: My design inspiration comes from our Egyptian culture. I feed my creativity by looking at websites, design magazines, and visiting exhibitions to get an inspiration.
FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
MH: My design style would best be described as contemporary, modern and modernizing old styled art that has been forgotten. I decided to explore this style because of it's uniqueness, and because it's an international trend. The main characteristics of my style would be that it creates harmony and gives you a warm feeling to it. Mona Hussein's approach to design is that she has to understand the project clearly, understand the clients needs, and the design itself has to create a story.
FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
MH: I live in Cairo, and I feel that the cultural heritage of Egypt affects my design greatly. The pros during designing as a result of living in Egypt is that there are lots of opportunities to design and the con would be that many people look down upon 100% made Egyptian products.
FS: How do you work with companies?
MH: We work with different types of companies and different sized in harmony to create good relations.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MH: My suggestions to companies for working with a designer is that they should work together and consider them as partners. Companies can select a good designer by look at the companies reputation in the market, looking at the companies profile and their previous work.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MH: To me, the design process consists of a few stages. First stage is the pre-concept, second stage is the concept itself, third is the design development and fourth would be the FF&E (Furniture fixtures and equipment).
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MH: Five of my favorite designs at home would be my Sofa long (Sofa I designed myself), my marble coffee table, my guest's bathroom, the architecture of my villa, and the flooring.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MH: A typical day in my life consists of waking up at 7:00 Am, eat & finish my breakfast, and shower by 8:30 AM, I arrive at my office by 9:30 AM and have meetings with clients, supplies, staff, and visits if required.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MH: My wisdom to young designers would be that you should always work with integrity and passion.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MH: A pro for being a designer would be that you're always growing as a person and that being a designer is never a boring career. One Con for being a designer is that you need to compromise crucial elements of your design that your clients insists upon, but it's crucial for the design itself.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MH: My golden rule in designing is that you always think it through until you're 100% sure.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MH: I believe that the skills that are most important for a designer is that they need to be creative, reliable, knowledgeable, and they need to have certain exposures.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MH: The tools that I use in my designs are Auto-cad, Photoshop, and 3D illustrator. My inspiration comes from books, and magazines.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MH: I manage my time by staying organized and managing my meetings with my coordinators.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MH: The length of time for designing an object from beginning to end depends on the project itself, and the size or space that you're having to work with.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MH: The most frequently asked question to me is: "Where do you get your inspiration from?"
FS: What was your most important job experience?
MH: My most important job experiences was "The Cove" hotel in UAE. It dealt with doing contemporary Arabic design with a low budget.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
MH: Some of our major clients include Sodic, Sama Bay, Cilantro, and TGI Fridays.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MH: I don't have a specific type of work that I enjoys the most; I simply enjoy all work retaining to design.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MH: My future plans include developing our local brand "Mahally", and opening new doors to product design to the middle class people. I also want to use more recycled material goods in my products.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MH: We work as a team, because teamwork is very important to me. Each person has a role, and the people in the office trust and count on each other to finish their roles because in the end, we all need and depend on each other.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MH: One of my work in progress is Anaya. It's a resort in the Mediterranean. It will soon be certified in the architecture, landscape, interior, and product design.
FS: How can people contact you?
MH: The best way you can contact us includes: Address: Sodic Headquarter, KM 38 Cairo-Alex road, 6th of October city, Giza, Egypt. Land Phone: (+202) 3854 0180/1 Cell Phone: (+202) 0122 749 8221 Fax: (+202) 3857 1240 Website: www.MonaHussein.com Email: Designer@MonaHussein.com
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MH: We are over 40 people that work in design and landscape. One of our accomplishments include Art Symposium. We made two of them in which one pertain an Egyptian 'person' during the revolution and one was about functional art.
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