T-Diaries: Sabiha Rita Hassan

A glimpse into the world of Pakistani powerhouses

April 20, 2015
Sabiha Rita Hassan

What sparked your interest in interior designing?

Interior design has been a passion of mine even before I took it up professionally. With my husband in architecture, I was curious as to the state of interior design in Pakistan. Eventually, this gave way to the realisation that the luxury design market in Pakistan is thirsty for new ideas and as a result Design19 was born.

What is the hardest part about working in the interior designing industry?

The biggest challenge is the idea that it is a superficial luxury, despite it providing a functional and tangible result. For example, a good interior design can not only improve the layout of a room but also result in direct cost savings by eliminating excess and improving functionality and aesthetic appeal. Additionally, the lack of high quality materials in Pakistan put a damper on creativity and final products. Finally, due to the lack of universal industry standards, quality control can be an issue.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when designing for a project?

The most important aspect of designing for a project is to keep the client in mind. The role of the interior designer is to provide the best possible space while working within any limitations presented. Functionality is of utmost importance. Another often overlooked but critical aspect is bringing joy to a space. The union of a functional space with a joyous one is what brings me satisfaction.

How do you turn your ideas into reality?

Taking an idea from concept to reality comes down to understanding the client’s needs and the resources available. Once an idea has formed, a level of attention to detail is given in every step of the process. A good interior designer anticipates problems before they arise and a multitude of resources exist to help.

Trends and styles are constantly changing and people want to have the latest in their homes. How do you manage to keep your clientele satisfied?

People inherently want to change a space that has grown stale for them. Using new fabrics, changing cushions or drapery, a simple coat of paint, new colour pallets and numerous other ways can bring in a fresh feeling. At the end of the day, the purpose is not to have the most fashionable home or office but to enjoy it fully. At Design 19, we have what we call a “freshening” that can inject new life into your space inexpensively.

Do you think there is much scope for interior designing in Pakistan?

The scope for interior design in Pakistan is ever-growing. As an emerging market, Pakistan is growing in its demand and with that comes rapid construction. Wherever there is construction, there is a need for a designer. Once more people are exposed to the benefits of a well-designed space, we will see a rapid rise, not only in terms of its recognition but its demand.

Any advice for young women aspiring to become interior designers?

I feel it is crucial for an aspiring interior designer to concentrate on the field of design, at least initially. There are numerous aspects within design itself that can take time to comprehend and implement. To try and expand into other fields like furniture is to take on too much at one time. Know and have experience in basic design itself, that is my best advice.

Sabiha Rita Hassan

Interior designer

Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, April 19th, 2015.


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