By Aklile Tsige /ABN/
Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages such projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, programming, and research, communicating with the stakeholders of a project, construction management, and execution of the design, according to Wikipedia. More appealing to women, this field of profession has remained uncommon in Ethiopia, but few industrious women are coming to the forefront.
Born and grew up in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Samrawit shiferaw has been in love with aesthetics and design since childhood. Samrawit has completed her higher education in Architecture at Addis College, and has further taken a six –month training in designing and earned a certificate from England. Sheis currently unleashingher entrepreneurial potential in interior design by establishing Zion Interior Design and Finishing Works in partnership with Chernet Teka who used to do only finishing works before he joined Samrawit. The 3-year old company now seems to be stretching its wings across other countries. ABN Editor-in-Chief, Aklile Tsige presents 10 questions to company General Manager, Samrawit while having coffee at Lubanja Café and Restaurant located nearby the Millennium Hall.
ABN: How could you start running Zion Interior Design and Finishing Works?
Samrawit: As soon as I finished my higher education in Architecture I decided to start a business in the field. I and Chernet who had been engaged in finishing works merged to form Zion Interior Design and Finishing works.Currently the company has got nearly 70 employees engaged in gypsum, painting, carpeting and other works.
ABN:Have you ever taken any training on interior design after completing your college study?
Samrawit: Yes, I’ve taken a 6-month-training on interior design from an England University. The courses included color psychology, general interior design works, and unique global products. By the way, the course also included exterior design, and provided insight into the various design styles.
ABN: What about the use of technology in interior design? Have you updated yourself with the existing technology?
Samrawit: We’re using over five international softwares for interior design works.For example, 3D Max, Blender, Fusion and the like are the ones we are currently using in our company.
ABN: What is the significance of color in interior design?
Samrawit: Color plays a very significant role in both interior and exterior design; there are over a thousand types of color, and each color has its own interpretation and influence on people’s psychology. For instance, if you look at Ethiopian flag, which is horizontally green, yellow and red, each color has its own meaning. So, when we apply color for a school and a hospital, we have to consider their purpose and their function; for a kindergarten we need to use color that encourages and provides hope to children like yellow and orange. For a hospital we need to use color that helps heal patients such as light blue and white.
ABN: How would you describe your design style?
Samrawit: Our company pursues all design styles like contemporary, traditional, eclectic, and romantic. We usually focus on clients’ need; For instance, if we have got a Somali client, by default they like green color, so we need to use green on the project they give us. If someone orders us to apply a classical style, we have to do so.
ABN: What is the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer?
Samrawit: An interior decorator is simply working traditionally while an interior designer is working with relevant knowledge and skills. In one word…..the difference is education.
ABN: How about the marketing strategy you’re employing?
Samrawit: I think we’ve developed a sound marketing strategy that makes us competitive in the sector; we have salespersons; we participate in bids; we’ve also developed updated company profile that would capture clients’ attention. Therefore, I could say that we’re working with effective marketing strategy.
ABN: What kinds of clients do you like to work with?
Samrawit: We have all types of clients ranging from governmental to non-governmental, and to private institutions; we have been doing both interior design and finishing works for condominiums, hotels and hospitals. Our greatest projects include the reception unit at the headquarters of Oromia International Bank next to Getu Commercial Center, and over 15 branches of Awash Bank, Edomias International at Mexico Square.
ABN: What do you think are your notable success in the company’s three-year-journey?
Samrawit: Actually I cannot say we’ve achieved a lot in the past three years. But we’re trying to discharge our social responsibility as much as possible. We provide financial assistance to a local NGO called Muday Charity Association which is working on rehabilitation of women and children. Currently they are provided with land for the construction of a rehabilitation center. So we plan to support them professionally.
ABN:What are your company’s short-term and long-term plans?
Samrawit: Nowadays, we are undertaking feasibility studies in some African countries like Zambia and South Africa, and plan to reach all African nations in our short-term plan; in the long-run we envision to be a leading and outstanding interior design and finishing works company at the international level.
( Samrawit can be contacted via
+251 911 843928
+251 983 888376