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Conversation with interior designer Maggy Monsef

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Maggy Monsef is an international designer of Lebanese origin with projects worldwide. She is committed to implementing her talent and passion for design, together with her global experience, to design homes, hotels, restaurants, compounds, furniture, and other niche projects.

How did you start your career, and from where?

My interest in design blossomed under my father's influence, the internationally acclaimed architect Camille Monsef. Accompanying him on visits to his grand palaces, homes, and iconic commercial projects across Lebanon and the region exposed me to a firsthand view of his meticulous attention to detail and his knack for transforming spaces into veritable works of art.

His passion for collecting one-of-a-kind and rare pieces truly set him apart, seamlessly integrating them into his designs. His talent for curating and blending diverse elements from around the world left a lasting impression. These experiences cultivated in me a profound appreciation for the harmonious union of aesthetics and functionality in interior design.

Despite initially pursuing finance studies, I redirected my path and gained invaluable experience by collaborating with esteemed design firms and mentors. This hands-on experience honed my skills and shaped my distinct design perspective.

My father's legacy continues to fuel my passion for design, as I uphold his dedication to excellence and innovation in every project I embark upon.

Can you describe your personality in 3 adjectives?

Innovative, detail-oriented, and client-focused

Define your style as an international designer and what is your source of inspiration.

As an international designer, my style is distinguished by a harmonious blend of diverse design elements and influences from across the globe. Drawing inspiration from a rich tapestry of cultures, art, architecture, and nature, I craft spaces that exude cultural richness and visual allure. My passion for art and design manifests in the ability to curate and customize people's lives, tailoring environments to their unique tastes and personalities. I take delight in assembling collections for clients, crafting distinctive atmospheres that transcend their daily experiences and reflect their passions. Every detail, no matter how small, holds significance in my approach. My style can be eclectic, often marrying Eastern principles of simplicity with Western preferences for sumptuous textures and luxurious finishes.

How much traveling the world had an impact on your works?

Continuing to travel the world has profoundly impacted my work, continually exposing me to various design traditions, materials, and aesthetics. These ongoing experiences consistently enrich my design vocabulary, allowing me to infuse a continuous sense of international flair, a well balanced design and functionality into my projects.

Let’s talk about your portfolio. Where did you work most on what is the best part of your portfolio and why?

I've had the privilege of working on projects across various continents, but one of the most rewarding experiences was a project in Lebanon. In my opinion, the highlight of my portfolio is the flagship scenic restaurant, La Creperie, overlooking the sea. The challenge of the project involved transforming a historically old property into a vast restaurant with a garden and a nightclub while preserving its heritage. It allowed me to expertly blend French Provençal design with traditional Lebanese elements, reviving a truly unique and timeless space. It's a journey that engages all the client’s senses from the moment you step in until the moment you leave the venue.

Which are the most important factors when designing a space?

The key factors in designing a space include functionality, aesthetics, and meeting the client's needs and preferences. It's essential to craft a space that looks beautiful, serves its intended purpose effectively, and reflects the client's personality and lifestyle.

How vital are soft skills in understanding and satisfying clients' tastes and expectations?

Soft skills play a crucial role in comprehending and satisfying clients' tastes and expectations. Effective communication, empathy, patience, and attentive listening to clients' needs are pivotal. Establishing trust and fostering a robust client-designer relationship ensures that the final design aligns with their vision.

How do you keep up-to-date with the latest trends in interior design?

Staying updated with trends is essential. I consistently attend design exhibitions, follow design publications, and engage in industry seminars and workshops. Moreover, networking with fellow designers and being a part of design associations helps me remain current with the latest trends and innovations.

What is the hardest thing in interior design?

One of the most challenging aspects of interior design is striking the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. Ensuring the design looks stunning while meeting the practical needs of the space and its occupants can be quite demanding.

What makes an interior designer stand out?

What sets an interior designer apart is their ability to craft spaces that are not only visually appealing but also uniquely tailored to their clients. A designer who can seamlessly blend personality and cultural influences, juxtapose the old and new, integrate architectural salvage with modern elements, and infuse a touch of innovation into their work truly stands out in the field.

What are you working on at the moment? What is your next dream project?

Currently, I'm engaged in a project that entails transforming a historic property into a modern living space while preserving its heritage. Looking forward, my next dream project would be to design a luxury boutique hotel in a picturesque international location, providing an opportunity to showcase my global design sensibilities and creativity.

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