In Conversation with… Moustafa Abou Bakr

The artist and Interior Designer at Gulf House Engineering, talks about his design process, his signature art style and his favourite project in the Kingdom.

What inspired you to pursue a career in interior design and how did your journey lead you to your current role?
My main talent since childhood was drawing and painting and my mother being an art teacher inspired me to study art and decoration. So, I joined the College of Fine Arts, Department of Decoration and studied for five years. I graduated with a very good grade with honours, as the first in my class in college. This gave me many good job opportunities and a chance to develop from working for small companies to one of the largest in the Gulf region.

What do you consider your signature style and what is your design process for any new project?
The style of mixing modern with classic touches (post-modern style). There are two types of projects: public and private. For both, I first start with a study and research the users of the spaces and ideas that inspire me for design that is in line with the clients’ requirements. Secondly, I draw the ideas manually in general, without details, setting the basic design points and organising the work according to importance. The final stage is creating threedimensional designs, working drawings and selecting materials, furniture and accessories. For the private projects I have one more step; I do a questionnaire for my clients to know more about them, their memories, future plans and dreams, so I can be more aware of what they want and need in the project, be it a flat or villa, etc.

What has been your most memorable project so far and what made it special?
I was on one of the design teams for the new Bahrain National Assembly building. It’s a special project for the Kingdom that is under construction. It will be a great landmark that will stay for generations, so I was glad to be a part of it.

You’re also an artist and hold art classes. What is your medium and your most popular workshop?
I like acrylic colours because the materials give me the oil painting effect but I mix it with water, so it doesn’t take time to dry. I hold academic painting workshops, where I like to teach artists the key skills and principles in art. I take them through some of the most well-known art styles and guide them towards choosing one they like the most.

If you could collaborate with any artist, designer or architect, living or deceased, who would it be and what type of project would you create together?
The architect I would choose would be Sir Norman Foster, where I would work as an interior designer on one of his amazing creative projects. As for the artist, I would love to be a part of the Italian Renaissance era and work with Michelangelo on one of his interior wall paintings. ✤