Take an award-winning architect, a multi-talented team with a track record of delivering innovative and eye-catching projects and you have just what is needed to raise the bar in contemporary interior and architectural design. Grids Architects came into being in 2015 after founder and architect Laila Badawi was awarded the Hassan Fathi Award for Architecture in 2013 for her project “Sustainability and Innovation in Interior Design”. This recognition prompted her to go that extra step by creating her own brand and company. Cairo West Magazine chats with her about her work, and looks at exciting projects she has created along the way.
CWM: Why the name Grids?
N.B: A grid in design is akin to a beat in music. As a design firm, our team does not have a specific style preference. Our team values each project’s identity and individuality and studies the most suitable approach to create it. In fact, the common factors uniting all of our projects are our work ethic, which includes order, calculated process and engineering quality, and our philosophy, which can be summed up in our commitment to functionality, practicality and cost efficiency.
What range of services do you offer?
My experience ranges from urban design, architecture and interiors to product design. This variety makes Grids Architects a consultancy hub, which can relate all aspects of design and manage different projects while coordinating the overall ‘macro’ concept down to the ‘micro’ details.
It is also important to note that our services are not exclusive to Cairo; we also have projects in the North Coast and are willing to expand to other areas.
What is your edge when it comes to design and decorating?
Our main goal is creating innovative solutions for the built environment; we base all our designs on research and analysis, which results in comprehensive and unique projects. As licensed architects, we can handle projects for whole buildings, both interiors and exteriors. Other related disciplines include structural and electromechanical work, and we are able to coordinate a cohesive design without any surprises. Grids Architects is also a consultancy service and can act as owner’s representative with contractors and suppliers in supervision and project management. This means we are able to offer objective advice and tailored solutions.
Can you offer turnkey solutions for your clients?
We do offer turnkey solutions for all types of projects including residential, corporate, commercial, or hospitality – we even have experience in educational and medical projects.
What is your approach to locally sourced and produced products and materials?
We love to browse around local markets for sha2 el te3ban (natural stone), Khan El Khalili bazaar for local crafts, and El Manasra for wood and furniture. We enjoy incorporating a variety of materials and products in innovative solutions.
Do you integrate environmentally friendly solutions into your work?
Green design has become a pillar for successful design solutions, with energy costs on the rise and an increased carbon footprint of urban development. Grids Architects is on a mission to create spaces that save money, time and energy. We have experience with solar panels incorporation and we include studies to improve the quality of the built environment with the least damage to planet earth.
Have you seen an evolution in the style of interiors requested?
The evolution is not exclusive to style, rather in the clients’ expectations. Our clients have become more daring in trying new styles. Overall, individual clients are now seeking professional designers more often. I believe that social media and applications such as Pinterest and Instagram have visually educated everyone about the importance of design and planning.
We can only hope that this trend extends to architectural design and that clients refer to architects instead of structural engineers to create their buildings and enhance the quality of the urban built environment, both visually and functionally. Corporate and commercial project owners have also become more aware of the impact and importance of space design to attract customers and add value to their brands.
I believe that the major trends are a combination of integrating natural elements with a nostalgic need for classic and rich elements, without compromising the sense of order. As for colors and materials, I think people are trying to shake off the safety of earth tones and embrace more adventurous alternatives. That’s why they seek professional assistance to ensure an overall sense of harmony.