Engineer Nihal Zaki: The 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 the Arab countries, is direct and full of positivity and confidence, as the engineer looks at work from the perspective of passion, and considers her award-winning achievements at the local level , as in the Middle East and the world, a window to make her say as an Arab in the global design arena.
In the following dialogue, the designer talks to “Mevrou” about the methods of the complex and expensive art schools in which she likes to dig, and why she is affected by these schools, as well as her appreciation for Egyptian craftsmen …
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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 due to the circumstances of my childhood; During the early years of my life I visited the villages of “Provence” in the south of France, as well as villages in the south of Italy, and went to auctions and antique shops … Then I studied in England, where I was attracted to the Gothic character, and I went to Prague, Czech Republic, where I lived for a while, and it fascinated me with its old city. So, I was able to ‘maximize’, the art design schools from antiquity (neo-classical), Gothic and amphibious), to my appreciation and love for them.

Do you notice, through direct contact with customers, that taste, in terms of interior decoration, has changed after the pandemic?
In line with the changes enforced by the pandemic on the way of life, and with the modernization, I strive to design and implement comfortable, practical and “controlled” spaces in terms of cost. However, it is noteworthy that the maximum model is rightly restored after a pandemic, namely that people are spending more and more hours indoors, closed and disoriented alone. Consequently, with the decrease in the times of going out, the demand of women and men of homeowners to make their spaces full of collectibles and design works, 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 have been pushed in the direction of “maximization” and still are.

Complex and expensive methods

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

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

Photo courtesy of Nihal Zaki

I have not implemented projects that follow the contemporary sober concept, for a reason that is not related to me, but with clients looking at my design identity and demanding the implementation of complex and expensive methods in their homes. Any designer can certainly work in a contemporary style, but with my preoccupation with complex projects, time does not seem to allow the implementation of simple projects.

How do you view the updated Islamic style in interior design, especially with the increase in interest in it at Arab level?
The Islamic style in the design is creamy, dazzling and wonderful, and it is derived from the Gothic style. In this context, I am attracted to the initiatives of young designers in the Arab region, who modernize the above model by introducing new materials and colors to it, and abstracting it. The updated style will enter my future projects.

How would you describe your style?

Photo by engineer Nihal Zaki in The Museum

My style is personal, emotional and feminine. He is timeless, focuses on depth and appreciates the artistic side and emotions. I have worked in the design and implementation of commercial and hotel projects, as well as the Naguib Sawiris night restaurant, and companies, but residential projects have a special place in my career in the world of interior design, to the extent that whoever one of these residences know that it bears my signature, for the vitality he feels, the colors and the brightness …

A second photo of the work of engineer Nihal Zaki in The Museum

human value

Engineer Nihal Zaki loves to design residential projects

Craftsmanship with Egyptian hands is an important aspect of your trip. What does handmade furniture mean to you, in a time engulfed in technology?
The Egyptian “industrialists” and “the stooges” have a great influence on my professional being. In Egypt, the skilled craftsman side is advanced .. These are people who will not be repeated, and they represent a wealth for Egypt, and wherever they are found in the Arab region … As for handmade furniture, it has a special presence in the home, as it adds a human value to it, similar to the role played by a fine dressmaking dress that a woman chooses for her appearance. In terms of technology, it undoubtedly leaves homeowners resting, but I limit its use to specific elements, such as 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 cheerful 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 must appear in various fields Blonde, adorned with jewels, in a fun project. It’s noteworthy that the cheerful widow, as you described her, is actually a cute character, and she appreciates my own taste as well as my design, so I liked adding Nihal Zaki to her “look”.

You have been honored with many awards at Arab and international level; Do these international competitions mean to you, or is it just a way for the designer to stay present in the design arena?
From 2007 until today, God has honored me by receiving awards from many quarters. It means more to me than just staying in the design arena, because I see it as a way to voice my voice as an Egyptian and Arab woman outside to let my own be heard. country and the Middle East, and to say that Egypt is a land of civilization and that the people of Egypt enjoy With refined tastes, inspiration and the skilled craftsmen of Egypt, in the global design arena.

First steps into the world

What does designer Andrew Martin represent for you, especially since you’ve won the award bearing his name more than once?
I am so lucky to have won this award three times; Especially because the jury is very selective, and includes GDPs. The Andrew Martin Award is my first step towards internationalism, as I was the first Egyptian designer to receive the prestigious award, which has enabled me to appear in the British press since 2007, and to put the spotlight on to post my honored projects, including: the tropical house on the north coast, the Moroccan-style house, The third is Gothic.

in line …

Introducing herself, interior design engineer Nihal Zaki told “Madam” that she was an “Egyptian Arab”. She founded her company specializing in design www.nihalzaki.com in 1999, immediately after returning to her homeland, after graduating from the School of Inchbald School of Design, London. The aforementioned company was the beginning of her introduction in the world of design, in Egypt and the Arab world.

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