Designer Nada Talaat talks about her latest ethnic-inspired mirror collection - and how to add traditional character to today’s contemporary spaces.
by Noha Mohammed photos courtesy Nada Talaat
With four years of design experience under her belt, interior designer Nada Talaat decided to launch her own line, Nada Talaat Designs. The 27-year-old, who lives in Damietta, always knew she'd go into the field, and is armed with a degree in decor from Alexandria University. “I am passionate about furniture and home accessory design, so I decided to work in this field,” says Talaat, whose unique mirrors, trays and homeware accessories all have an ethnic feel but are inspired by many cultures.
What’s the story behind your line?
After graduating, I worked as a design engineer in Pinocchio for Furniture for three years and one year for Shoulah Classics, then I decided to start my design line. The idea started in January 2015, and I went to work on my first product “The triangles set” and showed it to some galleries in Cairo and Alexandria. Then I launched the Facebook page in July the same year. Today I don't have a showroom, but I have my workshop where I work, meet customers and display some of my products. Besides my project, I am a designer at Sedeeq Design Studio, Interior and furniture design.
What made you think of specializing in trays, mirrors and other home decor?
I love mirrors and I believe small touches like a unique tray or a mirror frame can change the mood, make the space richer and add character to any space they're placed in, especially contemporary interior spaces.
What inspires your work?
Cultures inspire me, and Islamic art is my deepest source of inspiration. I love the work of some designers and their work inspires me a lot. Egypt’s Azza Fahmy is at the top - she is my role model. Although she's in a different field, I learn a lot from her designs and her journey in design. The Lebanese designer Nada Debs is also one of my favorites.
Competition is strong when it comes to items inspired by traditional Egyptian themes. What makes your products stand out?
My design line is not based on traditional Egyptian culture alone. I am inspired by different cultures, and every collection has its own character. For example, the latest mirrors collection is inspired by autumn and its warm colors in a very contemporary form with some oriental touches. The octagon trays collection is inspired by a famous Islamic pattern with different modern color schemes. Therefore, I would call it an ethnic design line inspired by various cultures that influence me, and make every product and the whole brand unique — this can first satisfy me and then can help me compete with others.
How often do you release a collection?
Releasing a new collection takes from three to four months - it depends on the nature of the collection. Sometimes I do some changes on a product if a customer has needs like different colors or sizes.
You handcraft most of your work. What's it like dealing with skilled workers?
I execute most of the stages like coating, coloring and finishing on my own. I only outsource the work that needs laser cutting or specialized equipment to maintain the best quality. Working with artisans is hard and it takes a lot of effort to reach my target-visualized demands.