Mona Hussein

Professional in Furniture Design.

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.

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • 3 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Interior
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
Na3Na3 Restaurant Interior

Na3Na3 Restaurant Interior

Interior Design

Positive and Negative  Paravent

Positive and Negative Paravent

Furniture Design

Ripple Applique

Ripple Applique

Lighting Design


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Interview with Mona Hussein

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
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.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Mona Hussein Design House was founded in 1993 where I first specialized in interior design, and then later on the company grew and expanded to architecture, branding where I then later developed "Mahally" and was able to specialize not only in interior design, but also product design.
What is "design" for you?
Design to me consists of many things;it consists of expressing your feelings, and your personality. My life in general is about design. Design surrounds me in my every day schedule whether in my house, work, food and even the presentation in which it comes. Design is in my daily life, and design for me is life itself.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite design would be the "Cove hotel" in United Arab Emirates. The Cove hotel is a Five star Rotana hotel and I designed every single interior of it. My main inspiration for this hotel came from the Egyptian culture.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
The first thing that I have ever designed is a restaurant in El Gouna, called "El Khan".
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
My favorite material that I like using are Brass and copper. I also love Corian.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel the most creative when I find a challenging task to work on or when I'm challenged.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I tend to focus on the aspects of functionality, aesthetic factors, innovative ideas, and having a design that tells a story.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I feel happy, excited and rejuvenated when I am designing in general, because to me designing isn't just a career; it's a life style.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
When one of my designs is realized, I tend to feel ecstatic, but also feel that I can do better than this.
What makes a design successful?
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.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I tend to consider certain factors such as the trends, creativity and the sustainability of the design itself.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
The responsibilities of a designer would be that they have to take into account that they have to maintain the culture, address sustainability and recycling, and educating.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
The design field is evolving in a way that has become an important part of everyone life. No one can live without design because it's a key aspect.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
We don't participate in any exhibitions yet, and it's undecided when we want to hold our next exhibition.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My design inspiration comes from our Egyptian culture. I feed my creativity by looking at websites, design magazines, and visiting exhibitions to get an inspiration.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
My design style would best be described as contemporary, modern and modernizing old styled art that has been forgotten. I decided to explore this style because of it's uniqueness, and because it's an international trend. The main characteristics of my style would be that it creates harmony and gives you a warm feeling to it. Mona Hussein's approach to design is that she has to understand the project clearly, understand the clients needs, and the design itself has to create a story.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
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 con would be that many people look down upon 100% made Egyptian products.
How do you work with companies?
We work with different types of companies and different sized in harmony to create good relations.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
My suggestions to companies for working with a designer is that they should work together and consider them as partners. Companies can select a good designer by look at the companies reputation in the market, looking at the companies profile and their previous work.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
To me, the design process consists of a few stages. First stage is the pre-concept, second stage is the concept itself, third is the design development and fourth would be the FF&E (Furniture fixtures and equipment).
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Five of my favorite designs at home would be my Sofa long (Sofa I designed myself), my marble coffee table, my guest's bathroom, the architecture of my villa, and the flooring.
Can you describe a day in your life?
A typical day in my life consists of waking up at 7:00 Am, eat & finish my breakfast, and shower by 8:30 AM, I arrive at my office by 9:30 AM and have meetings with clients, supplies, staff, and visits if required.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
My wisdom to young designers would be that you should always work with integrity and passion.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
A pro for being a designer would be that you're always growing as a person and that being a designer is never a boring career. One Con for being a designer is that you need to compromise crucial elements of your design that your clients insists upon, but it's crucial for the design itself.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
My golden rule in designing is that you always think it through until you're 100% sure.
What skills are most important for a designer?
I believe that the skills that are most important for a designer is that they need to be creative, reliable, knowledgeable, and they need to have certain exposures.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
The tools that I use in my designs are Auto-cad, Photoshop, and 3D illustrator. My inspiration comes from books, and magazines.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I manage my time by staying organized and managing my meetings with my coordinators.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
The length of time for designing an object from beginning to end depends on the project itself, and the size or space that you're having to work with.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
The most frequently asked question to me is: "Where do you get your inspiration from?"
What was your most important job experience?
My most important job experiences was "The Cove" hotel in UAE. It dealt with doing contemporary Arabic design with a low budget.
Who are some of your clients?
Some of our major clients include Sodic, Sama Bay, Cilantro, and TGI Fridays.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I don't have a specific type of work that I enjoys the most; I simply enjoy all work retaining to design.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
My future plans include developing our local brand "Mahally", and opening new doors to product design to the middle class people. I also want to use more recycled material goods in my products.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
We work as a team, because teamwork is very important to me. Each person has a role, and the people in the office trust and count on each other to finish their roles because in the end, we all need and depend on each other.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
One of my work in progress is Fouka Bay Beach Landscape Design as well as the Architecture, Interior design and Landscape for Hyde Park Club House in Cairo.
How can people contact you?
The Polygon Business Park Building 03, D2, 4th floor, Sodic West, P.O.Box 12451, Km38m Cairo – Alex Desert Road, Sheikh Zayed City, Giza, Egypt. T: 002 01227498221, 002 01060687877, 002 02 38653245 The Waterway Compound, W Mall Building B, BFO4, 1ST Floor, P.O.Box 11835, Al Mostathmereen Al Shamaleya, New Cairo, Cairo, Egypt. T: 002 01028588004, 002 02 225390097
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
We are over 40 people that work in design and landscape. One of our accomplishments include Art Symposium. We made two of them in which one pertain an Egyptian 'person' during the revolution and one was about functional art.

Extended Interview with Mona Hussein

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I Received a Bachelors of Arts and Business Administration from the American University in Cairo. After graduation, I was offered a full time job as an account executive in the number one advertising agency, American. I eventually became the client relations manager for 3 years until it was time for me to begin my own lighting designs, as I always had a passion for art and design.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I had this idea that I want to do something on my own, something I always have a passion for, and that was product design, specifically lighting units, and that’s how I started.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Yes, I choose to become a designer, although my mind is business oriented, but I think I have the balance between both art and business.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I began with designing lighting units, then interior design, product design, landscape and architecture. I love product design and I still want to bring out more of it.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
The first and most important thing is to love and feel passion about what they do, be honest and dedicated to work, always work hard and try to make things happen.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A good designer, is someone that keep things safe, but great designers would push the boundaries of design, they are not afraid to try something new and they will keep at it till it happens. They always think out of the box.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Generally, a good design should be aesthetically pleasing, innovative, and Avant-garde, for product design, it should be useful, derived from a need, accessible and timeless.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design takes people to a higher level, it takes the product from being a product to a fine designed product, good design elevate you’re mood. Whether you are using it or not, it feeds your soul and imagination and makes you think.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to design a compound for the Elderly alongside one for the youth. Its purpose is to benefit both from each other.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
You need to be a task oriented, set your priorities and organize everything so you can move forward and achieve what you really want. Talent alone is not enough, you just have to feed it by constantly seeing historical sites, traveling, attending exhibits and surfing the net for inspiration from nature and others.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
The Cove hotel in UAE, I custom designed and produced every single piece in the hotel.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Find their inspirations, be courageous and try something new, read and research, work hard and concentrate, organize their priorities and give each task a specific time to achieve.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is the culture. Design just like poetry, music and art, they is part of the culture, when you see it, you are taken to a higher emotional level that makes your soul and mind pleased.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I have a clear vision, I see things clearly most of the time, when I have something in my head that I want to do, I go for it and make it happen. This comes along with persistence and hard work.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
I don’t see obstacles, I would rather say I had challenges that I faced to become a designer. All those challenges were my learning curve. Every obstacle made me better.
How do you think designers should present their work?
They should present their work by making use of all the latest technology available at hand.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
Fouka Bay Beach Landscape Design as well as the Architecture, Interior design and Landscape for Hyde Park Club House in Cairo.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
Quality, efficiency and excellence, and it’s always good to surprise people with innovated designs.
How does design help create a better society?
Triggering the emotions of designers. Pleasing the user. Supporting the manufacture. Setting the standards.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I’m preparing for the Landscape Academy as well as Product Design Academy, also, I’m currently working on the Westown Mock up, a big event to celebrate 25 years of Mona Hussein Design House in collaboration with Egypt’s finest suppliers who have been teaming up with us throughout our journey. I also have Mahally outdoor collection in progress, and I’m excited about them all. In another direction, I started my own blog which I call “ Follow Me with Mona Hussein “ it’s about telling the stories of interesting places I visit in Egypt, where I get my inspirations.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
Many projects, basically the one’s that has no interference from the client, few of them were Na3na3, Cilantro, Tatweer Misr mockups, Alessi, Sultan Bey Hotel and Rihana Hotel.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
Increase and cultivate artisanal crafts and Take the sources into consideration.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Design will be crucial and will be very important part of everyone’s life, I think we will live in a very competitive scene, were innovative ideas are spreading everywhere and technology will lead.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
The length of time to design a project from beginning to end depends on the project itself, and the size or space that you're having to work with.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I start with the typical design process, first, I meet the client and understand their needs, and then we go back and forth in the design stages that includes pre-concept, concept design, schematic design and design development. Once we have the approval on everything, we move to the next stages, which is tendering, preparing construction drawings and be ready for several site visits and furnishing stages.
What is your life motto as a designer?
I feel the most creative when I find a challenging task to work on.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
Designers set the trends, they have the imagination and creativity to start an idea out of nowhere, they have the ability to share innovative ideas and when it succeeds it becomes a trend and later everyone would follow.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
AutoCAD, 3D Max, Corona, Sketch-up, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Lumion.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
They are the whole design package, each one of them adds to the total design, if one of them fails, or comes short, the design becomes not balanced, I believe they are equally important, they are a team, each one is equally important.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
Our inspiration, and how it developed throughout the whole design process.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
Overwhelmed, and impressed, and curious how the designer reached that design, I would love to know the story behind, what makes him specifically do that design and sometimes I wish I was the one who designed it.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
I’ve met so many people in my life, from simple handicraft to a billionaire, I believe they’ve all enriched the way I think, manage and design.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
I always think of new ideas to present. I also feed my mind and stay updated with the latest trends and designs and what’s new, I read, research and the most importantly I get involved in all aspects of the whole design process in the office.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Definitely, it is very pleasing for me and the whole team, it just shows the level of our creativity, which we think is above average, it motivates us to design the next project even better. Being famous humbles us more.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Blue and Orange. El Gouna is my favorite place and I love salad and spring, and I would say MOOOI is my favorite brand.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
Well, calling my team with wrong names and discussing the wrong project names.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
I find balance in my life, where I enjoy my work, my passion and I’m good at it. I enjoy my team and at the same time, I enjoy my family and my friends.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Since I was very small at nursery my drawings were very impressive for my teachers and throughout the years my art grades were always “A”.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I’ll keep saying that talent alone doesn’t bring you anywhere, you have to work hard, feed your knowledge and experiences. It is an ongoing process of hard work and achievements.

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