After working for twenty years in residential and commercial interior design projects as Eklego Design’s founding partner, Hedayat moved to London with her husband and girls.
In 2014, building on her experience, as well as her passion for textiles, wallcoverings, textures, handcrafted furniture & original pieces naturally integrating multicultural roots, she established Jam, inspired by her daughters’ initials- Jehane, Alia and Mayssa. JAM’s main focus has been interior design projects and offering unique, customizable handmade products in the UK and Europe.
With a soft spot for translating Egypt’s nautical legacy into a contemporary experience, she bought a traditional boat alongside her husband & she completely refurbished it, using her trademark style. The result – winner at the Finest Interior Design, in the Textiles category, for the Nile Dahabeya
Looking back at her highly awarded international career, Hedayat loves to think of herself as a design bridge between Egypt and the rest of the world.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING?
An engaging art exhibit or a dip in the Mediterranean.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Long river walks with my husband and children. Alternatively chiseling a piece of stone on my sculpting table.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
When I was ten, I used to love building and mapping cities, homes, and furniture out of cardboard and paper. I could spend hours doing that, then I would switch to the very messy process of finger painting.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Drifting down the Nile on a dahabiya.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
I have to say I have loved all the projects I have worked on as well as the people I have worked with (clients and co-designers). However, I enjoyed very much working on a project last year which was capitalizing on local materials and building techniques found in Alexandria. I also love working with an Egyptian initiative that is focused on repurposing discarded palm tree trimmings into panels and bills of wood for furniture manufacturing.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
The Nile Dahabeya boat my husband and I built, finished and furnished from scratch.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
The availability of craftsmen who are eager to work with and implement ideas for creatives, I also think living in the bustling city of Cairo can really boost your creative energy if you look in the right places.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
You can take the Egyptian out of Egypt, but never Egypt out of the Egyptian.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Good luck. There are incredible people to work within every design field in Egypt… and they are just waiting to be discovered. Ideally, they would reach out to someone local who is trustworthy and reliable to direct them to their best match.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Old Cairo, Khayameyya, The Tent Makers street.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Gabal Silisila, Aswan, an Ancient Egyptian Quarry.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS:
That all that Egypt can offer is the Pyramids and temples. Egypt is such a rich fragment of contemporary art, design, and innovation and people need to delve deeper to discover ‘Modern Egypt’. I think it is always ‘oversimplified’ in the media. There is a charming complexity to contemporary Egypt which one really needs to spend time delving into it properly.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
So much more than it’s known for right now. Art, crafts, culinary delights, pristine beaches.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
The more purpose and spiritual connection you have to what you do, the lighter and more enjoyable the task is. I believe that spirituality is an essential component of any artistic endeavor.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Never chase money and it will find you.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
I read the Fountain Head by Ayn Rand when I was fourteen and it greatly influenced me. Japan should be on anyone’s bucket list. The arts, crafts and approach to all facets of life are elevated there, a true marriage between spirituality and art.
AN EGYPT BASED TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS AN EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Ramzi Makram Ebeid. I love his simple approach to design, his ability to capitalize on local materials and sources of inspiration. His work is timeless and sincere.
This article was published on Hedayat’s birthday. Through this opportunity, we want to wish her a big Happy Birthday & may she experiment with a lot of design projects close to her heart!
Make sure to check out JAM by Hedayat, here.