Egyptian interior designer Nancy Badawi has an infectious smile and a fun-loving demeanor. Her happy go lucky attitude aside, she takes her work very seriously. To her, interior design is a calling, not just a way to pay the bills. At age 27, she’s already founded her own company, and her success is evident in her numerous projects in various cities in the region. eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry sat down with Badawi to explore her passion for design and her progress in the career path of her choice.
Did you always know that you wanted to be an interior designer?
I always had an artistic side growing up; I always tried to paint anytime I could. The older I got, the more interested I became in the history of art and buildings, which later evolved into an early passion for architecture. Growing up with parents who were both engineers also gave me a further push in that direction.
What do you think were the biggest factors in your choice of this career path?
I truly believe that the creative and artistic part of me is what led me to choose interior design and architecture. It’s a career that sparks and uses all my passions, starting from playing with patterns, colors, forms, drawings and sketches, to the complex and exact calculations of architecture.
What do you think are the main qualities that an interior designer must have?
In order to be either an interior or architectural designer, you have to be able to juggle a lot of a project’s facets and elements at once. In that scope, managerial skills are paramount; managing and overseeing so many factors in the design process is sometimes more important than the design itself. A certain level of innovative fearlessness, if you will, is also required and is a main prerequisite for any successful designer. Equally important, as well, is the ability to understand, relate, and deal with the different types of clients that you’ll face in this career.
When did you feel that you were ready to start your own company?
The decision just hit me virtually on its own after two years of working at an interior design firm. I had the feeling that I was ready to build my own empire. Then and there, I took a huge leap of faith and decided to leave everything behind and started my first freelancing job.
How would you describe your design style?
I think that design style is basically a reflection of an architect’s personality. As such, I would say that my designs have a fresh, contemporary feel that is then customized to suit the needs and styles of any of my clients.
Has it been hard for you to handle working in multiple cities at the same time?
It is definitely one of the biggest struggles for me. You’re constantly on the road and continuously running from one place to another. This is, after all, a very hectic job that requires great time management skills. When you love your job as much as I do mine, though, it’s really all worth it in the end.
Looking ahead, what do you think the future holds for Nancy Badawi designs?
I have huge plans for our firm; we are a family at the office and that’s the force that moves us forward. Currently, we’re not just designing, but are also working on key projects that we design and execute in-house, with our new office in Cairo a chief example.