Flair

Interior Design Trailblazer

Located in Sheikh Zayed, interior design firm, Flair Egypt, has been continuously upping its game and making its mark in the design industry. With a deep passion for interior design and an extensive portfolio under his belt, Flair’s CEO and Lead Designer Mohamed Khalifa is the dynamo behind the firm’s success. eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey sat down with Khalifa to learn more about his vision, his firm and his plans for the future.

Having felt a strong interest in design since he was in his teens, it was no surprise that once Mohamed Khalifa finished high school at the Collège de la Sainte Famille, he joined the Faculty of Applied Arts, graduating in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree, with a specialisation in Interior Design and Furniture Design. As a fresh graduate, Khalifa started working with some of the biggest interior designers in Egypt, deepening his love for the industry and gaining increased insight on the professional direction he wanted to head in. By 2009, he felt he was ready to strike out on his own and went ahead and established his own design firm, Flair.

Recalling the early days of Flair, Khalifa prides himself on starting out with just himself and one other person. The two of them took care of every single detail, from devising the firm’s marketing strategies down to designing the company’s logo. Of course, starting Flair was no easy feat, and Khalifa is not shy about admitting that he faced many challenges when he started out on his own. The biggest difficulty was getting the exposure needed to elevate Flair to the level he envisioned. “We faced the same challenges that all start-ups face in the beginning of their journey. A start-up needs quick exposure, so the business can run effectively. We had to show the market our potential. The advantage that I had, was that I already had an extensive and unique portfolio when we started Flair. Our challenge was to learn how to stand out in the market, and we achieved that,” boasts Khalifa, who was successful in getting Flair off the ground, and celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019.

Flair’s office space in Sheikh Zayed perfectly reflects Khalifa’s quiet and organised personality. Soothing classical music, which Khalifa loves to listen to as he works, is heard throughout the office stereos. Khalifa is passionate in his desire to maintain a professional working space where everyone’s imagination can run wild while designing. Expressing his vision of what design is all about, he stresses, “Design is a problem-solving tool. If it’s not that, then it has no meaning at all.” He strongly believes that there is a difference between being an interior designer and an interior decorator. “An interior decorator cares more about aesthetics, while an interior designer makes the space actually liveable. Interior design isn’t exclusively an art, nor a science. It’s both,” he adds.

Khalifa stresses the importance of travel in shaping his vision as a designer. “I enjoy travelling, but not for fun. When I travel, I explore cities. I don’t relax and chill out. To me, Paris is a big source of inspiration. It’s more like an open gallery, than a city. In Paris, I walk around with a sketch book in hand and take inspiration from everything I see, especially the facades of buildings. Paris is truly an outstanding cultural and architectural open-air museum!” exclaims Khalifa.

With Flair’s impressive record of important design projects, including serviced apartments, luxurious super yachts and many prestigious residential projects, Khalifa’s ambitions for his firm have no limit. “In the next ten years, I want Flair to become a well-known destination for those who seek good design generally, not just interior design, but in all sorts of fields from pencils to aircrafts. That’s my end goal for Flair,” says Khalifa, adding jokingly in conclusion, “After that, I want to retire!”