With the quarantine forcing us all to stay at home, this made us look closely at the environment we are living in right now. Then we can analyze how we truly feel about them. This makes us question if we really understand our spaces? Are we really enjoying them the way we should be? In fact, your home is your very original experience. It is the space you’ll spend a lifetime in. And as much as you shapes your space, this space eventually shapes you.
In an attempt to a create a good relationship with the space, Esorus initiated Design to Go to help users make the most out of their space with the help of professional designers. In this case from Design to Go, we got Malak Rashad collaborating with Mohamed Badie. Together they are finding smart solutions to furnish a lady’s reception, dining area and open kitchen.
Malak Rashad graduated from Cairo University’s Architecture department in 2006. After working in several prominent offices of Architecture and Interior Design in Cairo, Malak partnered with Ahmad Fayyad in 2010 and founded F&R Partnership. F&R Partnership has gained recognition quickly in the design field as an award winning architecture practice. Malak Rashad is following the minimal design approach that is centered around wellness and creating positive spaces that are user-centered.
Mohamed Badie, founder of Badie Architects, is a revolutionary architect who was able to provide designs meant for the Elite to become a public subject. Obviously his designs reflect unconventional and influential trends. Badie is always keen to provide an emotional experience intensely inspired by the roots of Expressionism, an evocative movement that builds and inspires human experience. He truly believes in individuality and that we should start displaying it.
The client is seeking advice on how to make better use of the space. She wanted some tips on how to furnish her living room, how to add artwork as well as where to place the TV unit and other elements. After applying on Design to Go, Malak Rashad and Mohamed Badie worked together on the space.
In fact, the designers provided two approaches. Malak Rashad’s approach involved radical changes in the walls and interior spaces. The other one by Badie was more about changing the orientation of the furniture and working a little with what the client already had. In order to make the most use out of this multi-functional area, designers don’t recommend having two living spaces that are so close to each other. Since only one family is occupying the house, they will mostly use one space and leave the other.
First Approach by Malak Rashad
Malak is pro the concept of shifting the walls and designing clear spaces rather than leaving inconvenient corners and trying to decorate them. She believes that the investment is worth the change that will affect the user for a life time. Besides, it is relatively not as costy as perceived.
Malak started with fixing the space around columns. She made sure the make all the walls aligned. She used clear lines creating flexible comfortable spaces that are not cluttered.
Kitchen– Concealed vs. Exposed
The kitchen was rather exposed and had small counter space. Therefore, Malak suggested spreading it and dividing this area into two zones. One is concealed using sliding panels, and the other is kind of exposed. Then, there will be clear outer space where there can be a nice dining table. The client can use ground to ceiling units, or decorate the area under the window, add feature wall and art work.
Reception Area – Partition wall
Malak defined the space of the reception by adding partition wall. This wall also conceals the kitchen area from being totally exposed. Moreover, the big sofa can be placed at the center line of the space along with a coffee table. In front of the sofa, Malak also suggested adding a separating wall that aligns with the columns. This wall is not full length, therefore it separates the two spaces without totally blocking the view. It can hold the tv unit and include a fire place.
Second Approach by Mohamed Badie
Badie tried as much as possible to deal with the existing situation of the space. In the Kitchen, Badie suggested keeping the L-shape units and extending the table till the end of the wall. This is while adding a big main dining table in the middle. In the reception, Badie suggested having L-shaped sofa with a big arm chair. He also suggested having console or separating partition to separate between the created lobby in front of the main door and the reception.
Do we really understand our spaces?
The discussion went on to analyze our behavior in the space and how it originally comes from false fixed perception we developed over the years. Among these is how we see the kitchen and dining room as two separate areas. We grew up in small sized kitchens that do not allow interactive enjoyable cooking space. Therefore, it is important to make the kitchen a fun area for cooking. It is also important to link this cooking space to the dining room where we get much more involved and enjoy the process.
Designing Vs. Styling
Mohamed Badie thinks that currently designs are all about following trends. The majority, unfortunately, have fear from original design ideas. Especially in Egypt, people got fear of acting freely. This appears in how we deal with our spaces and even in the cluttering furniture. And here comes the role of the designer. Badie believes that designers should offer original designs that can change people’s perception on understanding their own space.
On the minimal approach Malak Rashad said:
“For me minimalism is a design methodology. It is all about creating the balance in the contrast between elements. As well as filling the emptiness with what’s really important. In fact, the houses we are living in now are not architecturally convenient for those traditional ornaments with over-detailes. In many cases, they are not well proportioned and it is only a matter of copying and pasting.”
Malak elaborates: “For instance, if I got an applique on the wall, I got to decide whether it is a source of light that should stand out or is it only a feature that should fade away in the background.” Malak mainly focuses on creating a character that is not necessarily bound to a certain style yet still minimal and not cluttered.
From the percpective of a user, this is how Malak perceived her house in the quarantine:
“During the quarantine I got to notice what I call “Black holes” in interior spaces. They are these spaces where you tend to throw random items right away. In fact, they are also the first thing that your eyes fall on when you want to relax. The creation of these spaces is a result of the user’s attitude and interaction in the space. It can be related as well to the architectural space design of the house.
Malak also adds that she greatly felt the importance of having green plants at your home. “Taking care of the plant, watering and cleaning it creates this emotional intimacy with the plants that has a positive effect on your life as you see the plants flourish everyday,” Malak said.
On analyzing the space through daily activities
On that Malak Rashad said: “I believe users should notice closely their routine, analyze how they use their space. Then they will be asking questions like if their interior spaces really satisfy their needs and fits their lifestyle? And what would they need in a room to make their life better and feel more comfortable doing daily activities? Users should reflect on their daily activities and decide what really matters and what’s not. It always differs from one space to another.”
Are we living in the present or are we copying from the past?
Badie added that now we can realize design is a method of documentation the culture and history of nations. Whether it is a design of a space, a product or a building. In the end, it is an emotional, physical and even spiritual process.
Badie believes that architects and designers should focus on expressing the era we are currently living in through original designs. As a matter of fact, this is what has always happened over the years. Looking back, designers were affected by major movements and events that drastically changed the design scene of each era.
“In the same way the industrial revolution has changed design methodologies, we should think of what is affecting our designs in the meantime,” Badie says. “If we’ll say that technological advances, CAD modelling techniques and thinking in the 4th dimension are the main vocabulary of the current design move. Consequently, we should think of how can all of this create original design experience that expresses the present rather than copies from the past. Like the concept of “Less is more” was developed, now it’s the time to think that “Experience” is more,” Badie says.
Watch Design to Go full live video of Malak Rashad and Mohamed Badie below. For more from Design to Go series, read about bedroom design tips from designers Ahmad Fayyad and Karim El Hayawan.