Hip and timeless, design studio BLCK has been causing a buzz recently. The studio was founded in 2016 by a group of friends namely Aly Adel, Amena Mashhour, Ahmed Dsuki and Mohamed Mashhour. Dsuki and Amena had a talk with eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey to briefly discuss BLCK – from its history and rise all the way to its staggering growth. Here are some excerpts of the fascinating and candid interview.
How did the idea to work together come about?
Dsuki:To begin, the four of us knew each other long before starting BLCK. The idea of working together was never foreign to us and it only came to life in 2016 when a friend asked me to design his house. After working on the design, the four of us met and started working on the execution process. This marked our first official project. From then, we were met with various offers from a wider range of friends.
Amena: As mentioned, ever since 2016, we have been receiving a plethora of offers that the four of us have directly worked on and operated for almost a year. Gradually, we began expanding and our team started growing, reaching a number of designers and architects as well as marketers, accountants and managers.
You were already friends before BLCK, how did this affect your work dynamic?
Amena: Individually, we all believe in the saying: “the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts.” The end result is almost always better than what we expect from the individual parts each one of us adds. We are well aware of the fact that sharing ideas and thoughts is key to reaching the most optimum product. Each of us wants what is best for BLCK and the pros of everyone’s thoughts are taken into consideration in any choice the company makes. In short, we all fit together in a way that fills any gaps cohesively.
Where did the name BLCK come from?
Dsuki: It is evident in the company’s brand story that its name doesn’t imply the colour. BLCK is simply a conceptual idea of what never goes out of style. It is the missing element that when added, paints the final picture.
Can you tell us about how you kick off each new project?
Amena: Most certainly, our approach differs depending on whether the project is residential or commercial. We get to know the details of the project and preferences of the client after which we offer BLCK’s alternative proposals. Needless to say, each and every person at BLCK gives their own input in every project and a consensus is then reached.
Is BLCK focused more on residential or commercial projects?
Amena: We worked more on residential projects than on commercial ones, not because of any reason other than the simple fact that residential projects greatly outnumber commercial ones. The difference between both is significant. A residential project requires that BLCK satisfies the client’s wants and needs to the fullest. The home has to be comfortable, functional and practical and that differs from client to client since the three listed adjectives are all subjective. However, a commercial project allows BLCK to take the extra mile more when it comes to design. In all cases comfort and functionality are guaranteed but on a bolder scale. Nevertheless, we worked on various commercial projects including offices, hotels, gyms and stores.
Surely, each one of you has a different style. How do you complement each other?
Amena: I believe that having different styles is actually a fundamental key in BLCK’s success. The reason is because rather than having one opinion that could or could not be the best fit, BLCK shares a wide input of opinions and not just from the four of us but from all designers and architects. This promotes the idea of presenting the most sufficient and most suitable end product for our clients.
What are some of the special services that BLCK can provide?
Dsuki: Definitely the “turnkey.” Simply, turnkey is reached when we manage a project from A-Z – specifically in terms of designing, contracting and furnishing. However, not all projects are run like this; sometimes only one or two services are required by the client.
How do you set yourself apart from other design studios in Egypt?
Dsuki: BLCK focuses on the tiniest of details for its clients. What is studied prior to the project is the overall lifestyle of the clients. In addition, BLCK’s main focus is on its own growth and expansion rather than what others in the market are offering.
Why do you think Interior Design is starting to flourish more in Egypt?
Amena: People are more aware nowadays of the importance of interior design than ever before. Undoubtedly, social media is a huge contributor for this awareness and has exposed people in the field to a large extent.Dsuki: Adding to what Amena said, people are starting to appreciate well-designed places. Surely in the past, homes served comfort, functional and practical purposes. However, the missing element was always present and that’s the gap filled by entities like BLCK. Design is now considered how it should have been a long time ago: a necessity and not a luxury.
What do you have planned for the future of BLCK?
Amena: BLCK’s offer of “turnkey” has been a leading role in the company’s success. BLCK is aiming to delve in and expand, not in just interior design but in all scopes that fall under the category of design.