A Conversation About Design in Egypt with Mohamed Badr from MB Designs
Egypt is one of the most influential countries that we have visited on our travel series regarding design. Egyptian architecture and interiors are one-of-its-kind, from the Ancient Egyptian style to their distinctive colors and patterns. And many of the best modern residential and commercial interiors you see today are the work of MB Designs. MB Designs is a multidisciplinary studio whose projects are recognizable for their uniqueness and individuality across Egypt and the wider region.
While in the country, we met with Mohamed Badr, MB Designs’ head and founder. A true pioneer in the design industry, Badr has been working within the field for the past 25 years. He is an expert in interiors, but not much is known about the man behind some of the region’s finest design work despite his well-known status. Here’s what he shared with us about his experience and latest projects during our interview.
The Story & Inspiration of MB Designs
MB Designs was established in 1995 in Cario, Egypt. Badr explained that since its birth, the studio has worked on hundreds of projects and concepts. The majority of these are in the commercial sector, with the company being top within cafés and restaurants. The design studio doesn’t do things by halves either, with all of their works being either medium or large scale. Alongside Badr is the rest of the team, whose different specializations make for a diverse skill set and excellent results.
A consistency seen across all projects is the modern and contemporary style which is highly functional. At the same time, it also respects the heritage of the country and its culture. But all of the work also goes a step deeper and stimulates the observer. Badr explained his designs are to make people step back from everyday life and think. What is work? What is life? What makes up happy? For this reason, people are central in all of MB Designs’ inspiration and design processes. And, just as people, each project is unique, alive, and inspirational.
Pushing Boundaries & Comfort Zones
Having spoken with Mohamed Badr, it is clear why his work and company have seen much success. He and his team at MB Designs constantly push boundaries and take their work outside of their comfort zone. The result is an eye-catching and intentional design that draws people in immediately. In a challenging market that is only getting bigger, this outlook is essential for success.
A prime example of this is MB Design’s GLC Color Trends 2021 design concept. What stands out here is the unique and distinctive use of color and shape. Badr explains that he was given free reins on the color pallet choice, and the use of blue is chosen deliberately to evoke emotion. He explains how traditionally, earthy tones and greens are the colors people choose. However, the dynamic, modern blue creates a fresh twist that truly pushes boundaries to the max. There’s also a unique use of textures to further step outside of their comfort zone and add depth to space.
Inspiration in all Egyptian Cities
MB Design’s contemporary work and the creations from other designers in Egypt offer much inspiration for creatives worldwide. Paired with the country’s ancient ruins and cultural history, there is a huge timeline of impressive design to be uncovered. “In every city, there is something to be inspired with,” Badr says. It is a place full of stories with incredible design transformations linking old with new.
The studio is proud to be a central part of this, running many initiatives with Italian and Danish designers. In particular, the Egyptian style seems to be pivotal in product design inspiration. Badr explained how six months ago, MB Design hosted designers from Denmark and ran an amazing workshop. Inspired by Pharos, Egyptian style, and modern twists, the country has its impact in Europe and beyond. It is clear to see why this hub of creativity is making its mark worldwide on our travels.
Photo credits: Nour El Refai