Mona Hussein is a well recognized force in the world of interiors and design in the region. The Egyptian visionary woman has engaged herself in interior design more than 20 years ago, and has been marking her journey with successful milestones ever since.
From what it's like to manage a huge team of designers and architects to launching her very own furniture line, and more importantly kicking off "Mona Hussein Interior Design Academy," Mona Hussein let us in on her outstanding career in this interview. Bonus points, you get some home decorating tips and tricks for the guru herself!
First of all, can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Mona Hussein and I graduated from The American University in Cairo. I started my Interior Design and Product Design company through a small office, a workshop and a shop in the World Trade Center in 1993. Mona Hussein Design House -MHDH- is 23 years old company now with over 40 architects, interior designers, landscape designers, graphic designers and product designers. Mahally, the local furniture brand, was launched in 2011.
How did you take the first leap in the world of design and interiors?
In 1992 I was redesigning my home, and could not find many elements especially the lighting units. I decided then to design and produce lighting units. I had a lighting brand called TEMPLE OF LIGHT, which soon landed me commercial and residential interior jobs and the beginning of -MHDH-.
What’s a typical day like in the life of an interior designer?
I am an early riser and usually hit the office by 8:30 am or 9:00 am. Sometimes I walk earlier or at the end of the day. I do the creative guidelines also either early or at the end of the day. I manage both of my branches The Waterway Compound in New Cairo and Polygon Business Park in 6th of October with the assistance of our branch managers. I may go to both branches in the same day, but usually split the week between both. Each branch has its own projects and teams. I start with quick individual meetings with everyone, and then the team, to discuss the ascetics as well as the project progress. We have weekly meetings for each department with the managers and heads. We have clients coming in for meetings or we head to their offices or residence. Quite busy is my day, as we have usually around 20 projects at the same time both residential and commercial.
Being the creative force behind your design office, tell us about one of the most challenging projects you’ve handled?
Designing and implementing the hotel THE COVE - Rotana, in the UAE as pleasing an international operator within ORASCOM budget was the challenge.
An interior designer should have a fundamental vision that doesn’t change according to the client’s needs. True or false?
False. Clients' needs and types of projects are so diverse that no fundamental vision can be applied. Also, the world of design is ever changing.
Can you share with us the most common home renovation mistake people can easily avoid?
Yes, designating the right space sizes to the function. People tend to increase the bedroom area on the expense of the dressing room, reception verses living area and so on.
What’s the best tip to have a clutter-free home, once and for all?
To have in one’s head the notion that it is a once in a lifetime home. Everything from the start should be made to perfection, in terms of the quality of the materials and finishing and design rather than quantity, variety and over designing.
With the busy modern lives everyone’s leading, what’s one thing that can instantly add a homey vibe to a house?
Warm wall colors, deep comfortable sofas and chairs, family pictures and pleasant artworks.
What are the top design and interior trends you currently love?
The color grey as the backdrop for all the furniture and accessories. It can create the cool yet calm atmosphere, and can bring out contrasting metals and colors.
You’ve recently launched “Mona Hussein Interior Design Academy.” What inspired you to do so?
I am an organized person and train my new team continuously with those presentations to ensure proper understanding and jump start their training period. One day I realized, " Why don't we teach others to?"
As a successful powerful woman, can you dedicate a message to young entrepreneurial females?
Always go after your passion and what you love the most. Do it very well day in day out. One’s life must always have a meaning and making a difference. Teach with sincerity. Don't be afraid to lose or fail as there are no failures if backed by hard work.