Bassam Magdy, a civil engineer who graduated from Ain Shams University in 2006, always had a deep passion for luxury interior design. In 2012, he decided to pursue his passion professionally, by establishing his firm, Bvision Interiors, and hasn’t looked back since. Over the past six years, his talent and eye for detail combined with his engineering background, have propelled him from one success to another, gaining him a solid reputation as a brilliant designer along the way. eniGma’s Mariam Nowar sat down with Magdy at his luxurious office in Heliopolis to talk about the vision behind his remarkable success, the design field in Egypt, and his plans looking forward.
Looking back at his career, Bassam Magdy likens his progress in interior design to the layering involved when building a home. He always had a passion for interiors, especially high end luxurious designs, which clearly is the ultimate basis for his entry into the field. “At the beginning, it was nothing but raw talent. My talent grew out of my love for luxurious spaces. I would pour random sketches and designs from the back of my mind onto paper or software,” he explains. Magdy’s civil engineering education and experience then built on his talent; with the construction and visualisation skills he acquired forming an invaluable foundation for his formation as an interior designer. Earning a diploma in management added another important layer to the skills that would help him start his own interior design firm, Bvision, in 2012. “All in all,” he recounts, “I became more and more passionate about all the details involved, and by 2010 I was already fully specialising in interior design.” When he launched his firm, he had accumulated layers of experience as project manager, with extensive overall knowledge in design, construction, and cash flow management.
Magdy says he leans more towards residential projects “because of their touching human aspect.” “Exceptional Concept,” or producing never-seen-before designs, sums up his design vision, even as he emphasises, “I try to customise each corner of my clients’ homes to fit each perk of their personality, through our design for their spaces we craft their lifestyles.” He admits he doesn’t play by the rules and doesn’t follow trends because, as he says, “art has no limits.” He usually ditches the mood board, unless clients have their own designs in mind; but even then, he’s still able to maneuver his way into understanding his clients’ deeply held desires. “We talk with the clients about their daily routine, the nature of their work, and things that affect their personality. Anything, from how many hours you sleep at night, to how you walk, can make a huge difference to what your home will look like. Your entire personality should be reflected across your house. One thing is sure, without a doubt you will be able to feel elegant at home. All you have to do is show up with an open mind.” he explains, mischievously adding, “I can be quite picky with my clients, and although rejections are rare, they do happen.”
Bvision works with clients, step by step, starting with the conceptual design to show the model’s masses, before they move on to material selection, fabrics, colours and textures manipulation and then finalising with the lighting system. “We involve the client in each phase, and once it is approved, we move on to the next phase. Due to the clients’ close involvement, it is very rare that they change their mind at the end, unless an exterior factor is involved!” This could be anything from being drawn to another design at a friend’s place or they are strongly attracted to something they see flipping through layouts online. In all cases, Bvision will bring to life whatever vision the client has in mind as it shall always be sensitive to their needs and choices.
While other interior design firms might see a space and think that it’s like something they’ve seen and done before, Bvision’s designs are built more on passion than about design as a profession. “I can sit in front of a space and visualise it for hours until I’m able to get my hands on the design. Respect the design, and it will respect you back,” he explains.
When it comes to putting together his team, a similar philosophy is evident in Magdy’s approach. Magdy is extremely picky when hiring his employees. However, he doesn’t pay much attention to a candidate’s portfolio, and instead focuses on their skills and creativity. His team of designers are encouraged to keep their minds active at all times. Whether they are at home flipping through design magazines, or scrolling through Instagram at the club, their minds need to be constantly alert and fed. “Otherwise, a designer’s brain can become rather dormant, unoriginal, and his thirst for design can cease to exist,” he exclaims.
So how does Bvision maintain its unique design tactics? “Once our designers are at their drawing boards at the office, they are strictly forbidden to check out other sketches. They are now in their output phase, and I ban them from going back to their input stage. Their brains have to be in full gear now, and I want to see how their research pours into innovative designs,” he explains.
Turning to the general state of interior design in Egypt, the discussion brings out Magdy’s emotions. “I hope that people in Egypt become more aware of the importance of interior design and how the way their homes look can positively affect their souls and minds. This will help improve the quality of design and help designers reach international acclaim,” he says wistfully, and adds, “That’s why I urge compound owners across the nation to lift the restrictions they impose and to let designers break the mold of conformity when residents request changes to their homes. They should abandon the limitations that force all houses to look alike.” He hopes that current mentalities will change so that artists like himself can finally be granted the freedom of expression they need and deserve.
When it comes to competition in the Egyptian design market, he finds the state of competition to be one of the healthiest in the world with different designers offering differentiated products. “Designers are not selling the same product,” he says, “and in the end, the client’s taste is what always triumphs.”
As for his own work, Magdy is confident that it speaks for itself. Those who seek luxury and extravagance have no choice but to ring his doorbell.