In 2015, after over twenty years of working in the construction industry, architect Salah Gomaa decided it was time to venture out on his own and establish his own firm, Balance Innovation. Envisioning it as a hub for innovation and originality, Gomaa wanted to break free from the mould and challenge conventional styles of building and design. In the few years since its launching, Balance Innovation has successfully encapsulated his unrelenting drive to innovate, while creating designs that are both functional and aesthetic.
Having worked in both operations and design throughout his career, Gomaa has extensive experience in directing projects of all sizes, as well as in the creative design process. As CEO of Balance Innovation, his management style is hands-on, making sure that every project benefits from his personal attention and imagination. He also handpicks his young team of architects and designers based on their ability to innovate and bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the firm. Gomaa likes to say that his policy is to only hire people who are able to surprise him. Through this, he aims to ensure that thinking outside the box is part of the daily routine at Balance Innovation.
While most of Balance Innovation’s work is in interior design, they offer everything, from construction and project management, to architectural design and fit-outs. They boast a huge portfolio of projects including medical parks, food & beverage establishments, office and administrative spaces, residential, retail and more. Basically, if you can think of something building related, Balance Innovation does it and does it well! Gomaa insists however, that what makes Balance Innovation special is not the broad services they offer or their experience designing for countless industries; rather it is their ability to realise their client’s vision in a different and original way.
With a strong reputation in the field as game-changers and boundary-pushers, the Balance Innovation team attracts people who are looking to innovate and are open to new ideas. “The clients who come to us do so because they want something different,” says Gomaa. For Gomaa and his team, the more unusual the project, the more exciting it is. They cite designing Mohave, a Native American style restaurant in the heart of Cairo Festival City, as a great example of an unconventional project they have enjoyed working on. Having been charged with designing every element of the restaurant’s interior, the team started their creative journey by immersing themselves in the culture and traditions of Native Americans. Through their extensive research of the indigenous Mohave tribe, they successfully created an authentic Native American haven, complete with its very own vintage canoe, tribal prints and walls decorated with traditional dream-catchers and totems.
As the name suggests, balance is vital to Balance Innovation’s identity. “In every design we do, we seek to balance creativity, quality, cost and time. As a business, we make sure to always balance innovation and authenticity,” Gomaa explains. “And we have the experience to know exactly how to avoid making mistakes,” he proudly adds.
Faced with physical or financial limitations in any project, Balance Innovation is geared and ready to overcome any hurdles. When it comes to cost, Gomaa explains that through using local materials whenever possible and then selectively positioning the more expensive imported goods, he is able to create a luxurious and high-end feel at minimal cost. “Strategically using materials in order to maximise value for cost actually makes us a lot more inventive. We have to come up with innovative solutions to create the wanted aesthetic,” Gomaa declares.
Although his personal style is clean and modern, Gomaa and his team welcome projects that challenge their own tastes. “I love getting out of my comfort zone,” he admits. “When you have a completely blank page and are free to roam, you have nowhere to start. But when you have to overcome limitations, this is when you can get really creative,” he adds.
Taking this mantra to heart, Gomaa says that, among the projects he is currently working on, his favourite is the interior design of a residence in Gothic style. Using a dark and elegant colour scheme with intricate detailing, the designs he is creating are eye-catching and definitely make a bold statement. Acknowledging that such dramatic designs are highly subjective, however, Gomaa reiterates his constant focus on achieving the look and feel that his client desires. “My personal taste is not important. It is always about doing justice to the client’s style. We work closely with our clients throughout the entire process to ensure that we do right by their vision,” he insists. Gomaa adds that this process is enhanced by the team’s use of state of the art 3D imaging technology that allows the client to fully visualise every aspect of the design, including the impact of lighting on the space.
Gomaa’s openness to new ideas makes him a choice designer for newlyweds preparing their new home together. His first advice to couples looking for a house or apartment is to try to find somewhere with flexible and open spaces. “It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to have flexibility and not be fragmented,” says Gomaa. “Windows are also key. Lots of sunlight is needed, as this will have a very positive effect on your mood. If you don’t have a view, you can create one by growing plants on your terrace,” he adds.
Gomaa’s advice on how to decorate the interior of your home doesn’t stop there. Sharing his top tips, he cautions, “When it comes to your interiors, remember, this is your home! Forget about what other people have told you and just focus on what you need. Try not to focus too much on displays, as after a month or two, display items will stop catching your eye and their purpose is sort of lost. Having a comfortable living space is far more important than having lots of things for show.”
With regard to the country’s general state of architecture and design, Gomaa sees much potential for improvement and progress in both business and residential spaces. “Buildings are so much more than a series of walls and floors,” he stresses, adding, “The more effective the external structure and internal design are in meeting our needs and desires, the more productive and beautiful our lives will be.” He passionately believes that Balance Innovation is, and will continue to be, a leader in bringing about the desired positive changes across a whole spectrum of industries.