DOING IT ALL She’s a one woman whirlwind who constructs and creates. An architect, designer and a driven perfectionist, Dalia Sadany tells eniGma’s Hassan Hassan how she’s always been determined to do it all...
t’s a Saturday afternoon and I would much rather be in a swimsuit on the beach than running across town on my way to an interview. I have resigned myself to working weekends and have developed the perfect formula to interviews – a whambam-thank-you-ma’am mode of getting the information. It doesn’t occur to me that I will actually like Dalia Sadany and end up spending the better part of the afternoon nestled in the corner of her office talking about art, design, architecture and even The Jazz Club.
her new-found magic designing houses in Alexandria and the North Coast. Despite her relative success, she remained unsatisfied. “I still wanted to conquer construction. It was starting to annoy me that I wasn’t in control of my projects from A-Z and in hindsight I shouldn’t have opened a company at such a young age. I needed experience and I needed to learn.”
Dezines, Sadany’s company, is nestled in the heart of Mohandessin and it’s all simple lines and sunlight. There is a wall molded into plaster waves at the entrance and contemporary pieces accent the
And learn she did, setting out to Verona, Italy to learn the tricks of the trade. There she did four courses, worked on a Masters Degree and finally started
“I love all the different elements of it, playing tough man with the workers and then being girly with the interiors” space with just a little bit of sparkle. Sadany is on the phone when I walk in and she motions me to sit down, gesturing with her Barbara Streisand nails and a huge smile. She’s one of those boisterous independent women, who don’t take no for an answer. She’s as comfortable giving orders to construction workers as she is wearing diamond earrings. And I’m officially in love. “I grew up in Abu Dhabi and I moved down to Cairo when I finished school at 15. I originally went to the American University in Cairo for one semester and then had to move to Alexandria for personal reasons,” she says as she brandishes her first cigarette of the afternoon. “I was studying computer science at the time until I ran into an old family friend who was a professor at my University. We talked about architecture and I told him I didn’t think Egypt had an identity when it came to buildings. He suggested I take the entrance exam and I drew a sketch and so began my career as an architect.” Straight out of university, Sadany’s father gave her a plot of land to work with, in which she built the family home in the North Coast. She soon opened up her own company where she worked
properly building the foundations of her skills as an architect. She also dabbled in jewellery and furniture design, saying simply, “If you’re an artist, you’re an artist regardless of your canvas.” Upon her return to the homeland she decided to conquer her fears of construction and worked with the Talaat Mostafa Group. “It was a great experience. I got to work on commercial projects, hotels, residential properties and I completely got over my inhibitions. It didn’t make sense to me that the architect draws, the construction happens and then the interior design takes place. I wanted to do it all.” So in 2005 she set up two companies, Devine Consultancies, which handles the construction and Dezines for interiors and architecture. She has now essentially become a one stop shop for all architecture and interior needs. “I wanted to be the master architect and be in charge from beginning to end of the project. I love all the different elements of it, playing tough man with the workers and then being girly with the interiors.” And that’s not all. She also designs furniture in Egypt and ships it to Verona and also owns an
import and export company, all under the umbrella of Dezines. She is currently also working on a project to help fix the façade of Egypt by joining an initiative with the government “I want to set up rules and regulations that people have to follow; for example, no air conditioning on the front of buildings. We also need to regulate the painting, look and style of buildings. No one cares about beauty here; nobody understands what a difference it makes to life.” Dezines, 7 Wadi El Nil St., 1st floor, Mohandessin , Giza, Egypt, Tel: +(202) 3303 6753 www.de-zines.com