Egypt’s top leading interior designer, Nihal Zaki, proudly returned home with three honors after having her eyes on one. Zaki applied for one of the most eminent awards worldwide, the International Property Award for the residential category in Arabia/Africa. When she submitted her latest masterpiece, El Karma Residence, she ended up winning the Best Residential Award (the one she aimed for), along with the Five Stars Excellence Award. She also got nominated as a finalist in Africa.
After graduating from Inchbald School of Design, London UK in 1999, Zaki founded her interior design and contracting company upon her return to Cairo where she was born. Zaki’s services vary from interior design and consultancy services, to contracting and furnishings. Not just that, but she contributes with some art direction on fashion sets from time to time. She also offers event styling and setup, as well as product design. All offered under one roof, at her showroom “NZ” that recently opened its doors to the public. Her distinct work and strong persona shown in her designs helped her grab attention and garner international fame and recognition.
El Karma Residence belongs to a retiring couple who turned to Zaki to design the house of their dreams. The couple chose a heavenly spot on a cliff situated in the upscale “Karma” compound overlooking Cairo’s 6th of October neighborhood for their 3-floor mansion. Zaki has been always known for her ability to mix different styles. “I confess; I am a confused decorator with a magpie’s eye for all that glitters. I love to mix Gothic and Islamic, Egyptian and Revival, while trying to preserve my sanity,” she said.
Her clients wanted to travel through different time zones as they wandered around the house from one room to another. Even though this was quite a challenge for Zaki, it also left her room for inspiration. The clients were a pair of passionate travelers who were obsessed with collecting all sorts of antiques and getting their hands on vintage collectibles from all around the world, this was the main inspiration behind the sumptuous designs.
“Beautifying the ugly” is Zaki’s inner drive that motivates her to succeed. Her obsession with beauty of all its kinds is the key behind her distinct style. “We live in a morbid ugly world and I just feel obliged to sweep my magic wand and make everything beautiful,” she said. Speaking of her magic wand, Zaki’s wand is about to bring a big surprise our way, but it’s not to be revealed yet though.
Zaki sees a lot of potential in the interior design industry in Egypt. She thinks that there are plenty of opportunities arising for designers as well as architects, as a result of the new developments taking place in the country. When we asked her if she would love to give any advice to anyone who’d like to follow in her footsteps, she said that even though it might sound cliché, but one should always follow their passion and dreams. “If you pour your heart out and give a little piece of your soul, it will be reflected on your work and nothing could ever compete with that,” she told us.