Bahaa Sabry: In Love With Furniture

Written by: Inas Mazhar

Date: 2021-04-13

Though he is a computer science graduate, Engineer Bahaa Sabry has always been fascinated and charmed by the art of furniture and interior design.

Though he is a computer science graduate, Engineer Bahaa Sabry has always been fascinated and charmed by the art of furniture and interior design. His passion for furniture, art, and colors had led him to shift careers, just before starting. The renowned interior designer, owner of Verinno Furniture, Creative Designers Associate Studio (CDA), and HC Furniture Mall at Mall of Arabia revealed to he home his entire journey; how, when, and why he decided to make this career-shift and leave the world of computer science until he has become one of the most prominent, successful, and inspiring interior and furniture designers in Egypt and the region. ‘I studied computer science at Al-Sadat Academy in Egypt. After graduation, I traveled to the US—Northeastern in Boston— where I started my graphic design classes and got into the interior design and furniture field. My plan was to stay in the US and work there. However, I suddenly decided to go back home, so I returned to Egypt and since then I stayed here,’ Sabry recalled. ‘Back in Egypt, my first thoughts were to start a business. First, I thought about an engineering company, but then I preferred the business of furniture, because at that time, in the early 90s, there was a common misconception about furniture; people in Egypt were considering or dealing with classic furniture only, not thinking of modern style. Modern was only considered when looking for a cheaper option or summer homes, but the classic was the main go-to option.’

At that time, there was no representatives or agents for foreign brands in Egypt. Later, one or two emerged. ‘So, I decided to travel to Europe—especially Spain—in order to present the elite modern style with new interior design concepts here in Egypt. I knew that I was already passionate about art, interior design, and furniture, but my interest in trade has been born during that time. This was when I established my own business, mixing both passions to create an elite, yet affordable brand name, and named it Verinno. My first branch was in Maadi and it boomed!’ Since then, Sabry was encouraged to attend shows and exhibitions abroad. He was always keen to travel to Europe and China to stay up to date with the latest fashion styles. ‘I was astonished by the number of gatherings and exhibitions those countries organized for furniture. It was not only interesting, but I found it very practical to have everything available in the same place where I would go and select what I want and simply bring it home. This experience made me put myself in the customer’s shoe and think about how it would be easier for them to go to one place to buy all what they want. So, the idea of HC Furniture Mall sparkled from there. I believe that it was a successful idea from the early beginning because of the concept initiated. It met the market needs.’

According to Sabry, HC Furniture Mall incorporated the exhibition concept with an extra privilege; gathering all furniture and home accessories’ stores under one roof for the whole year, not only for a limited duration, to facilitate the furnishing and finishing phases for the customers. ‘The idea needed a lot of studies, effort and negotiations to reach the optimum form, concerning the location, tenants’ mix, mall circulation, and customer needs. Every single detail has been put into consideration, starting from the mall’s interior design to the smallest detail related to the operation. Everything intertwined to deliver a fresh, cozy and friendly atmosphere that guaranteed the customers’ comfort and maximizing their shopping experience,’ Sabry explained.

By July 2012, HC Furniture Mall was officially launched at Mall of Arabia, over 25,000 m2 and three floors. It assembled and brought together the biggest and most important brand names in the furniture sector, offering a wide range of imported and local products with varieties of tastes, styles and prices. HC Furniture Mall is now considered the biggest and most successful furniture Mall in town. ‘It is a one-stop shopping destination with more than 50 stores and 200 brands, offering our customers the widest array of quality furniture that helps them to not only create their dream home with the simple combination of tastes—classic, royal, modern, contemporary, oriental or vintage— but to also save their time and effort during their furnishing and finishing journey.’

At HC, you can find all home categories under one roof: indoor and outdoor furniture, mattresses and bed linens, kitchens, kitchenware, home appliances, bathroom accessories, lighting, curtains and fabrics, rugs, flooring, hardware, doors and windows, and the marvelous touch of home accessories, wall arts, paintings and wallpaper. You can compare prices and check out different options while shopping in a cozy and friendly atmosphere. ‘What makes this mall different than the others is its location; being in the heart of a huge mall, like Mall of Arabia. Customers would come to visit HC Furniture Mall and still get to enjoy wandering around the other stores, shopping, having lunch or dinner, enjoying the entertainment facilities, doing grocery shopping… all in one place. Also, the place comprises a central air conditioner and glass dome that reflects the sunlight, so mixing the AC’s fresh air with daylight, and the flow of visual effects make the experience comfortable for the customers, and this is not so commonly found in other malls. Moreover, the management has also a huge impact on the success of the mall. ‘All team members are professionals, understands the special nature for the furniture sector and fully aware of the market changes and customers’ needs’, Sabry Added.

Sabry admits that shifting careers has been a significant transitional phase in his life. ‘I wanted to work with my computer science degree in the beginning, and I was offered a job at Microsoft, but for some reason, I felt like I should not take a desk job nor follow this routine. When I thought about it, I realized that interior design is what captures me. Of course, it would be more challenging to discover the taste of different clients and create designs accordingly, and I knew that the nature of this job would require me to be more in service to the people, but still, I wanted to go through this challenge. HC Furniture Mall had a great impact on my career since I shifted from just having my own brand, to serving a wider space by gathering all other brands in one place. So, all entities have become involved in one project, working together, adding a touch or a piece of each brand’, he revealed. Sabry never regretted his decision to change paths, but rather took the initiative to become a renowned furniture manufacturer, interior designer, and real estate agent. 

As Sabry is also the Co-Founder and partner in CDA Studio, which is very much specialized in the hospitality sector and working in residential areas. He started explaining the difference between designing the interior of hotels and homes. ‘Hotels are different because they have their own criteria to accommodate many people with different tastes at the same time, but in homes, you only deal with the owners, which is easier as eventually, you’ll understand their desires and you’d provide them with what they need,’ he said. Interior designers are similar to tailors because they design and execute what the owner loves and wants. ‘As a designer, it is not recommended that my preferences cast a shadow over the desires of homeowners.’ Sabry revealed that ‘Al Masa New Capital City Hotel’ is the latest project he had partially interiorly designed and furnished. He is so proud of the final outcome of this project, and he has received indeed many compliments and praises for his work.

Sabry agrees that furniture trends are decided in Italy. ‘People go to Milano to see what’s new, but now it is different because the internet has made the access to the latest updates easier. Also, the lifestyle has changed, and now everyone has their own taste and can follow any trend they like, any style that makes them feel comfortable. So nowadays, customers have begun to impose their tastes and resources on the manufacturers to produce their preferences regardless of any trend’.

Finally, Sabry offers new designers a valuable piece of advice, asking them to educate themselves and learn well if they want to succeed in this business. ‘When new designers apply for a job in our studio and after they go through all the HR process, I meet them in the final stage and ask them to read four books before I test them. The first book is about the light system, the second, about color schemes and creating palette—which is sometimes a dilemma, whereas the third is about the history of the periods and different styles of furniture in all countries; modern, Islamic, art deco, missionary, Arabian, French…etc. As for the fourth, it is about furniture layout, dimensions, types, and measures. Through these books, I teach them about lighting, color, history, and furniture. They need to be creative but within the limits,’ he said, adding that he tests them in the end, ‘just simple questions to ensure they have understood what they have read. That means they took the time and effort to learn,’ Sabry concluded.

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