Furniture and Interior designer based in Istanbul/Turkey, graduated from Damascus University, Faculty of Fine Art in 2011. Worked on various (Residential, hospitality and commercial) local and regional projects during practice in Damascus and Istanbul. With an aim to create a beautiful and functional spaces / objects that tell a story and reflect culture, traditions and details. Currently I’m head of design at Beytist Interior Design Studio based in Istanbul - Turkey, a studio focus on luxury residential projects.
Mhd Al Sidawi ("MAS") interviewed on Monday, 2 April.
MAS : I graduated from Damascus University Fine art facility as Interior Designer in 2011, and because of the war in Syria I traveled to Istanbul / Turkey where I was lucky to work with one of the largest two studios in Istanbul with totally different style (Fatih Kiral) as classic style and (Autoban) as modern, Worked on various (Residential, hospitality and commercial) local and regional projects during my practice in Damascus and Istanbul. And now as Head of Design at Beytist Interior Design Studio where we are focusing more on luxury residential projects.
MAS : It’s a cliché its always come from the family, but it’s true I do remember my grandfather, father and my uncle working at their workshop as carpenters specialized in classic and handcrafted Syrian inlaid furniture and how much it was and still fascinating to see how much effort and focus applied to design and create such master pieces. So I think it’s the family roots.
MAS : Creating an experience and telling a story, Solving a problem, Details, Materials and how light would affect the spaces, those are what drive me while I’m designing, as start for sure I’m doing the 3d model its giving me the sense of space and how light interact, after that I’m selecting the materials to finalize the design before going with manufacturing.
MAS : Frustration to joy Love to hate, but when it clicks it’s love at first sight.
MAS : As a designer you should be able to wear multi hats, be able to be a good listener, to manage the time as sufficient as possible, and to analyze the problems and imagine the possible solutions.those skills and how you will use them will affect the design and design progresses.
MAS : I always had a dream that I have a wood workshop within my studio, a workshop place that I can work and design furniture for international brands. But for sure it still early. What I’m trying to do in meanwhile when I have free time to be in one of our studio’s supplier factory to learn more about the techniques and wood & materials types and specifications from the handcraft men. And as not long term goal I want to do my a furniture set and exhibit it in Salone del Mobile in Milan - Italy
MAS : First enjoy your time at the university as much as possible and try to make a lot of friends. Second learn and study the masters. And Third try to build the business side of yourself.
MAS : Actually its planned weekly, and for sure there is always some added tasks during the week depending on the meetings, site works or during the manufacturing. But for me at morning with coffee I’m surfing the net for some inspiration and new news and trends in design, then the heavy duty works as designing, later its going more tasks like communication and CAD drawing and checking.
MAS : Reading and trying to imagine the set or the places mentioned in a novel and then trying to search those places, plus internet for sure.
MAS : First it should attract you to make you analyze this project/product later you can judge if its solving an issue or not, is it over designed or not, is it easy to use or not. Those are the questions that speak up and tell if it’s a good design or not.
MAS : Any project is able to be revised and updated, but when you have that feeling the click in your mind and hart i think this the moment when you can say OK now its done.
MAS : It's not about my biggest design, project or achievement I had done, I have a long journey to spend to be able to say that I have a large project. What I’m proud of that I was a part of Autoban team where I learned too much as i mentioned before about design thinking and being a part of multi-projects that you feel yourself proud of when you finish.
MAS : Each time I’m falling in love with a Master and trying to learn and adopt from him/her, currently Dieter Rams specially 606 Universal Shelving System, A modular, multi-function and timeless object.
MAS : Lifestyle and culture for sure affect the design, the way you are thinking, living and interacting with your surrounding its all the main feeds of your creative progresses.Being now in Istanbul / Turkey with all mixed heritage surrounding and vast variation of nature and landscapes and for sure with Damascus all in mind it's all affect my work. So to wrap it up being in a metropolitan city with massive heritage and culture its give you a lounge to breath and relax your mind and eyes from such a mega city and same time keeping me in the market.
MAS : I prefer to work alone at the first stages especially when its a personal project, but for sure I’m going full open to my colleagues for opinion and I do like seeing the first reaction, its my primary feedback, then I’m reshaping the design according to those opinions and feedbacks before sending to client, as a designer my main challenge is not taking feedback personally, being able to detach yourself from your design is the hardest part, in our industry it's really important to learn how to lift up the mood of the studio to make everyone in mood of creativity to help team to create.
MAS : Being recognized is important, showing your style and marketing yourself and your work are the goals to participate with any competition.Being an awarded designer giving you the opportunity to know the network of other designers, and extra value to your portfolio.Mhd Al Sidawi Profile
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