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About Mona Hussein

Mona Hussein is the creative force behind her Cairo-based design office Mona Hussein Design House. Discovering her passion for design, she first launched a lighting showroom in 1993 for which she did both the interior design and the products. Honing her knack for interior design, she then established her design house which has now expanded into architecture, landscape, furniture design and branding. As a designer Mona Hussein understands the importance of creating unique and inspiring spaces for her clients, whether the project is residential or commercial, interior design or landscaping. "It is understanding a client's vision for their project and then translating that into a functional design that makes this job so gratifying." Being part of an award winning project "Designopolis", Mona Hussein has made her mark on many of Egypt's most elegant homes, hotels and commercial projects. Amongst her most prevalent projects is the design of Cilantro, Egypt's renowned and international coffee house brand. Some of the firms other great accomplishments include many of El Gouna and Makadi Bay residences and hotels , as well as commercial projects which include Sodic's Sales Centers, Allegria mock up villas, to mention but a few. Leading a creative and ambitious team of designers, Mona Hussein keeps the creative juices flowing by encouraging the team to seek inspiration from the smallest of details and always to innovate. Sharing with them the most recent developments in the international design scene ensures the team remains stimulated and continually evolving.

Interview with Mona Hussein

Mona Hussein ("MH") interviewed on Tuesday, 21 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

MH : I first launched a lighting showroom ‐Temple of Light‐ in 1992 in the World Trade Center of Cairo. In 1993, I established Mona Hussein Design House –MHDH- Office, a 26 years old company by now.

How did you become a designer?

MH : I began with lighting design and I had my own lighting store- Temple of Light – it was my very first business endeavor after 5 years of working as a client’s relations manager at Tarek Nour Advertising. I had then my first interior design project - El Khan Restaurant at El Gouna.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

MH : Harmony and Function, everything becomes in harmony when blended together, I’m not that person who choose the most beautiful and expensive piece of furniture to add in my work, I believe beauty comes from harmony, and I believe less is more. My interior designs offer a comfortable space, and I like to go for naturals materials.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

MH : I feel happy, excited and rejuvenated when I am designing in general, because to me designing isn't just a career, it's a lifestyle.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

MH : I studied 'Management' and 'Art' at the American University in Cairo. Because of my love and passion for design, I decided to be a designer, however, I haven't always wanted to be a designer until working for years in different fields that I found my aspiration to be a designer.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

MH : My biggest dream comes with Mahally product design, I’m looking for Mahally to become an international brand, and that it helps in giving a value-added product design in Egypt.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

MH : The most important thing is to love and feel passion about what you do, be honest and dedicated to work, always work hard and try to make things happen.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

MH : Share your experience, so people get inspired by your stories, and try to teach people something, because I believe, education can make everything better.

What is your day to day look like?

MH : A typical day in my life shortly is waking up at 7:00 Am, eat & finish my breakfast by 8:00 AM, usually, I walk for one hour just before I arrive at my office at 9:30 AM and start meetings with clients, suppliers, staff, and have site visits sometimes.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

MH : I keep reading and searching for new things, always updated with websites and magazines, and we regularly invite many suppliers in our design house to present their products and show us the latest technologies they have in the field of design, that helps the team always to stay updated.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

MH : I tend to consider certain factors such as the trends, creativity and the sustainability of the design itself.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

MH : In order for a design to be successful, it has to fulfill a need, fulfill a dream or desire, and create a bond between the people and the designer, or just even a bond between the people themselves.

What is your biggest design work?

MH : The "Cove hotel" in the United Arab Emirates is my biggest design work, I custom made and designed every single piece in the interior, from lighting, ceiling, flooring to furniture and products. My design inspiration for the hotel came from Egyptian culture.

Who is your favourite designer?

MH : Philips stark

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

MH : I live in Cairo, and I feel that the cultural heritage of Egypt affects my design greatly. The pros during designing as a result of living in Egypt is that there are lots of opportunities to design and the cons would be that many people look down upon 100% made Egyptian products.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

MH : I believe each one should have his own life portfolio, a balanced portfolio, you work, and you play, so when you are committed and reliable at work, you’ll achieve so much in the addressed time and you’ll be able to have the rest of the time for your play, whether it’s a family time or friends or other. The point is that you should concentrate, be fast and fulfill anything you do first, the whole secret is how to be condensed and fast and how you set your priorities. The more you feed your talent and keep the hard work, the more you become sharper and precise.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

MH : In 2013 I started Mona Hussein Interior Design Academy, an educational program that gives a full design course in everything related to interior design, following that, we wanted to expand the idea, so we are currently working on the Landscape Academy and the Product Design Academy. The Academy is a platform for us to share our real-life experience with the students, teaching them the whole process of design, starting from meeting client all the way to a full tendering and site supervision package. Also, we launched Mahally Design Award in 2015, a freestyle Egyptian Product Design competition tends to invite talented designers to create individually new local furniture, lighting & accessories inspired from Egyptian culture.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

MH : I remember when I first attended the A’ Design Award with the Positive & Negative Paravent in 2013, I liked the idea and thought, why not launch our competition, to encourage young Egyptian designers to come up with locally designed and manufactured products in Egypt. And it was the time when I decided to launch Mahally Design Award.

Mona Hussein Profile

Positive and Negative  Paravent

Positive and Negative Paravent design by Mona Hussein


Ripple Applique

Ripple Applique design by Mona Hussein


Iffco Office

Iffco Office design by Mona Hussein


Na3Na3 Restaurant Interior

Na3Na3 Restaurant Interior design by Mona Hussein

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