Engineer Nihal Zaki: Awards make my Egyptian voice heard in the global design arena

The conversation with Nihal Zaki, a prestigious name in the world of interior design in Egypt and Arab countries, is direct and full of positivity and confidence, because the engineer looks at the work from the perspective of passion and considers her achievements appreciated. locally, both in the Middle East and in the world, a window to make it mean, as an Arab, in the global arena of design.
In the following dialogue, the stylist talks to “Madam” about the methods of complex and expensive art schools in which she likes to delve and why she is affected by these schools, as well as her appreciation for Egyptian craftsmen …

Interior Design Engineer Nihal Zaki

Maximalism seems to dominate your residential projects in interior design; Is there a specific reason for this?
The reason is because of the circumstances of my childhood; In the first years of my life, I visited the villages of “Provence” in southern France, as well as the villages in southern Italy, and went to auctions and antique shops … Then, I studied in England, where I was attracted by the Gothic character , and I went to Prague, Czech Republic, where I lived for a while, and he fascinated me with his old town. , gothic and amphibious), for my appreciation and love for them.

Do you notice, through direct contact with customers, that tastes, in terms of interior design, have changed after the pandemic?
In line with the changes imposed by the pandemic on lifestyle and modernization, I am looking to design and implement comfortable, practical and cost-controlled spaces. However, it is worth noting that the maximum pattern is returning after a pandemic for a good reason, which is that people are spending more and more hours indoors, indoors and self-disoriented. Consequently, as travel times decrease, so does the demand from homeowner women and men to make their spaces more spacious with collections and design work, even if the cost is taken into account. In addition, there are bright international names in the field of interior design, such as the French Vincent Darry and Jacques Garcia, who pushed and are still in the direction of “maximization”.

Complex and expensive methods

The photo is from the work of residential engineer Nihal Zaki in Egypt

You have gone through all the schools of design, including: Gothic, Rococo, Classical and Islamic … But you stayed away from the concept of “less is more”. Is there a reason for this?

Photo by Nihal Zaki

I have not implemented projects that follow the strict contemporary concept, for a reason that is not related to me, but to clients who see my design identity and seek to implement complex and expensive methods in their homes. Probably any designer can work in a contemporary style, but with my preoccupation with complex projects, it does not seem that time allows the implementation of the simple ones.

How do you see the updated Islamic style in interior design, especially with the growing interest in it at the Arab level?
The Islamic style in design is creamy, dazzling and gorgeous, and is derived from the Gothic style. In this context, I am attracted by the initiatives of young stylists in the Arab region, who modernize the aforementioned model by introducing new materials and colors into it and abstracting it. Updated style will be included in my next projects.

How would you describe your style?

Photo by engineer Nihal Zaki at the Museum

My style is personal, emotional and feminine. It is timeless, focuses on depth and takes into account the artistic side and emotions. I have worked on the design and implementation of commercial and hotel projects, as well as the Naguib Sawiris nightclub and company, but residential projects have a special place in my career in the world of interior design, to the extent that anyone entering a from these residences they know that it bears my signature, for the vitality it feels, the colors and the splendor …

A second photo of the work of engineer Nihal Zaki at the Museum

human values

Engineer Nihal Zaki likes to design residential projects

Crafts with Egyptian hands is an important aspect of your trip. What does handmade furniture mean to you, at a time immersed in technology?
The Egyptian “industrialists” and “stujins” have a great influence on my professional being. In Egypt the hand of the skilled craftsman has advanced .. They are people who will not be repeated and represent a treasure for Egypt and wherever they are in the Arab region … As for handmade furniture, it has a special presence in the house, as it adds a human value, similar to the role played by a fantastic dress that a woman chooses for her appearance. . In terms of technology, it definitely allows homeowners to relax, but I limit its use to specific elements, like lighting systems and home automation.

Skilled Egyptian craftsmen have a huge impact on my professional being

Tell us more about your work in designing the decor of the “Apple Fahita” program, as well as its appearance; How do you achieve cooperation with the life-loving widow?
Like Philippe Starck and Marcel Wanders, who follow different paths in their artistic careers, and because I am an artist before I become an interior design engineer, my artistic energy has to show up in different fields.Blonde , adorned with jewelry, in a fun project. It is worth noting that the life-loving widow, as you describe her, is actually a delightful character and appreciates my taste as well as my design, so I liked to add some of Nihal Zaki to her “look”.

You have been honored with many awards at the Arab and international level; Do these international competitions matter to you, or are they just a way for the stylist to stay present in the design arena?
From 2007 until today, God has honored me by receiving awards in many ways. For me it means more than staying in the design arena because I consider it a way to make my voice heard as an Egyptian woman and Arabic outside of me. country and the Middle East, and to say that Egypt is a country of civilization and that the people of Egypt enjoy with refined tastes, inspiration and skilled craftsmen of Egypt, in the global arena of design.

First steps towards the world

What does stylist Andrew Martin represent to you, especially since you have won the award that bears his name more than once?
I am very lucky to have won this award three times; Especially since the jury is very selective, and includes VIPs. The Andrew Martin Prize is my first step towards internationalism, as I was the first Egyptian stylist to receive the prestigious award, which since 2007 has allowed me to appear in the British press and focus on my esteemed projects, including: tropical house on the north coast, Moroccan style house, the third is Gothic.

in rows …

Introducing herself, interior design engineer Nihal Zaki told Madam that she is an “Egyptian Arab”. She had set up her own design company, in 1999, shortly after returning home, after graduation. by the “School of Inchbald School of Design, London. The aforementioned company was the beginning of its launch in the world of design, in Egypt and in the Arab world.

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