He’s got a brash personality, an unusual attitude to design and he staunchly disdains the uninspired designs that he feels are plaguing Egypt. It’s not really surprising then that Mohamed Badie’s rise in the interior design industry has truly been an uphill climb. Despite the challenges he’s had to face, his company, Badie Designs, is now one of the hottest sensations in the country’s interior design field. eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry sat down with the controversial young designer to find out more about how he got his start, what he seeks to accomplish, and how he feels about the industry generally.
After graduating from university with a degree in architecture, Mohamed Badie became an on-set, art director in cinema. He immediately fell in love with the industry, and thought that he might have indeed found his calling. After a while, however, that love wasn’t enough for him. He wanted and expected much more from himself. Looking back, he says, “I really loved working in cinema since it taught me to be fearless and to trust my gut instincts. I decided to leave the field, however, because let’s face it, cinema in Egypt has a very limited upside and several problems that constantly rear their ugly head due to our lack of cinematic education. I decided to delve into residential interior design to truly go global.”
It takes a very specific type of personality to succeed in interior design. Daily challenges run the gamut of satisfying clients, finding the best contractors to work with, and having your opinions questioned on a daily basis. Badie takes all of that in his stride, though. In his mind, at a time when most interior designers have “turned into businessmen who value their bottom line above all else,” he is adamant that his success has been a result of never compromising on his principles and continuing to be innovative despite all the challenges at hand.
Despite his relatively unorthodox approach to the process, Badie’s transition into interior design has in many ways been seamless. Still at the tender age of 27, he’s already worked on numerous multi-million projects. According to him, the key to his success is his firm commitment to only work on projects that afford him with a creative avenue to showcase the strength of his designs. To him, thinking that the client is always right is the single biggest mistake that any designer could make. “It’s all about doing autonomous work that is not shackled by any external pressures, since after all, a designer is hired to execute his individual vision, not to follow instructions,” he explains.
“I get hired based off of the strength of my work, not on how much I indulge my client’s wishes. If this makes you uncomfortable, then don’t hire me; it’s an open market. If I had started my career 10 years ago, people wouldn’t have understood what I was doing, and a lot still don’t,” Badie affirms. In his eyes, the only way forward for the industry is for it to rid itself from such outdated concepts and to start following international standards. He continues, “Design is an international language. We’re in the 21st Century; it’s time that we start displaying our individuality to the world.”
Badie wants to use his rising influence to facilitate change and to truly showcase Egypt’s inner beauty. More than anything, he wants to help open the door for innovative and modern designs to become more accepted in the country. It hasn’t been easy, however. He wishes it wasn’t so difficult. In fact, part of him is tired from the endless struggles he faces, and often wishes to move to a more welcoming country. But his ambition keeps him going. After all, it’s that same drive and ambition that led him to become an interior designer in the first place.