With a degree in engineering from Ain Shams University and a project management diploma from the U.S., Sherif Eltaher began his professional career as a contractor. However, given his artistic bent and natural creativity, he soon realised that this field was not the right one for him. His initial hesitancy to switch careers was eventually overcome, in no small part due to his father’s strong encouragement, and in 2014, he pivoted from contracting to interior design, for which he turned out to be naturally gifted. Today, Eltaher is running his own successful design firm, Eltaher Designs, boasting an impressive roster of residential and commercial projects in Cairo and the North Coast.
Shortly after his decision to switch professions, Eltaher got the opportunity to design his first apartment and he put his all into the challenge. “I wouldn’t have had a career in design if it wasn’t for my father. He was the one who got me the first apartment I designed, and then it just grew from there. Two years ago I started Sherif Eltaher Designs, which became the full fledged design studio you know today. Before that, I was just doing 3D designs,” Eltaher recounts.
Eltaher is known for his luxurious, chic and modern designs, while making sure they don’t come over as ‘too much’. Adamant about always using just enough of what is needed for each design, he is convinced that luxurious and out of the box designs, should still be easy on the eyes. “I like to give everything exactly what it needs, especially when designing a residence which will be someone’s home. I use just the necessary amount of material needed and don’t go overboard, otherwise the outcome will not be right,” he explains, adding, “I also make sure that my client’s personality shines through the home I design. I tailor each home to my client’s personality.”
Interestingly, Eltaher likes to set himself apart from other designers by sharing his design process with others, including his clients. Taking advantage of social media and his own outgoing and eccentric personality, he uses his platforms to show his followers and clients how he goes about the stages of his designs, from beginning to end, including personal aspects of his life in the process. While many of his peers and some of his own staff, are not convinced of this approach, Eltaher wholeheartedly believes in the advantages of being candid and open. “Social media removes the barrier between my client and me. Having people follow, not only my work, but also my life, what I eat, do and where I go, definitely warms the client up to me, and creates a connection between us. A lot of other designers may disagree with this, but it works very well for me and my clients. I also don’t mind sharing my expertise with beginner designers. I like helping people,” he explains.
While his firm designs commercial projects and office spaces, Eltaher prefers working on residential projects, where he feels he has more flexibility. “I prefer residential projects because they give me more space for creativity and they don’t involve strict deadlines, which can prevent me from executing everything that I may want to include in my designs. Over the past year, we completed a lot of residential projects that we’re proud of in Cairo and the North Coast. They were some of our best work, for sure,” he exclaims.
With three new residential projects underway in the North Coast at the moment, demand for Eltaher’s designs, especially for holiday homes, continues to grow. His design firm is also planning to expand beyond Egypt, first regionally then worldwide in the future. Looking ahead, the talented designer says, “I really want us to be a brand name, especially in the Middle East. I want to launch different branches, with our main headquarters remaining in Egypt. Egypt has some of the best interior designers in the world and I want to help them further their talent and give them better opportunities.”