Raya Habib, an American engineer of Egyptian descent, loves the concept of “minimalism.” So she turns her back on unnecessary elements of decoration … Finally, the works bearing her signature reveal a solid backdrop in architecture, good taste and harmonious relationships between the elements, with a distance of monotony.
In the following dialogue, the engineer, Raya Habib, talks to “Mevrou” about her philosophy in architecture, and sheds light on the reason for her passion for commercial projects, which unleashes her creativity according to her expressions.
Are there Egyptian features in your works, whether performed in the United States or around the world?
In the field of interior design, my work radiates a sense of timelessness and craftsmanship. Here I can connect with my origins, specifically with the timeless history of the Egyptians, the prosperous history of the craftsmen, and their skilled craftsmanship, based on beautiful natural materials.
Minimalism in design
How do you define “minimalism” in design? Why is most of your work related to this concept?
“Minimalism” means the emptying of spaces of any items and “things” that do not work; This approach is also common in my work because I believe that the architectural space should be “quiet” and away from the noise, although there are always exceptions to every rule in the world of design! In addition, I aim to design simple spaces without any complexity … The days of people are finally filled with chaos; In confrontation, I like to create spaces that offer harmony, balance and peace of mind. I believe that light, form, materiality and volume express my vision in architecture, not any decorative element that distracts attention from the basics of the project.
High ceilings, sunlight, high-end materials and earth tones stand out clearly in your projects. Did I miss mentioning any other features of it?
There are also strong concepts, details (or physical relationships), simplicity and natural materials.
How would you describe your style, in a nutshell?
It is true that the “minimalist” or strict method is essential to my work, as I said, but each project has its own circumstances. I see my style always evolving, but the essence of my style is to be artistic while working on a minimalist design, while sticking to originality and functionality that comes first!
Do you prefer to design commercial or residential projects? And why?
I prefer commercial projects as working on similar spaces gives me pleasure and allows the largest number of people to experience, enjoy and be inspired by designs. In addition, I enjoy the idea of interdisciplinary collaboration, in the context of realizing a business, as it can teach many experts, whether from construction engineers, chefs, food and beverage consultants or hospitality workers … In short, I am excited to to work in project design Commercially because it unleashes my creativity. But the above does not mean that residential projects are neglected and good and attractive designs are prepared for them!
“The White Homestead”
One residential project that bears your fingerprints, Hacienda White Beach House in Egypt, has garnered the attention of the interior design community. Tell us about this “White Homestead”, in terms of concept, materials and style?
The owner of the project wanted his summer house to be characterized by simplicity, radiance and comfort, so the design concept revolved around connecting the internal and external spaces, with the first looking out over the outdoor areas and the pool, which shapes of the letter L, so that the eyes of those sitting inside could be drawn to it, in addition to Allowing those entering the living and kitchen spaces as well as the bedrooms to look out over the water. Within this framework, the folding glass doors allowed the interior and exterior to be seamlessly integrated. In terms of materials and spaces, it is “straight”, thoughtful and precise, and stands in a pleasant contrast with the sea landscape around the “homestead”, and with the imperfect natural sea formations.
It is noteworthy that the white color that dominates the space allows it to drown out the abundant sunlight, and that the natural materials used, such as the wooden beams on the ceiling, and the local grindstones on the floors, radiate a sense of authenticity and roughness.
Technology and youth
You were a teaching assistant in the U.S. Department of Design; How would you describe today’s generation of students?
They are good thinkers, and approach design in terms of technology. On the other hand, I think they are more efficient at utilizing time well, compared to people of my generation.
What projects are you working on now and in the near future by your company?
In the United States, there is a new business in Los Angeles, California, and a private apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In Egypt, there are some beautiful private homes, a restaurant on the North Coast, a club and an all-inclusive residential neighborhood concept in El Gouna. In addition, there is a commercial project, in Dubai!
in line …
Raya Habib is a descendant of Egyptian parents, and she was born in the United States, where she lived long before returning to Egypt in 2009, having lived alternately between the mother country and the United States ever since.
Raya is studying architecture and studying at the University of Minnesota, with a master’s degree. Then she founded her first name design company in 2016. Raya describes the company, saying it is an “interdisciplinary design boutique that carries out architectural and interior design projects.”