Interview with Naji El Hakim, Group Marketing and Design Executive of United Technology for Construction Co., Saudi Arabia

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Naji El Hakim

Naji believes that architectural designs are about giving life to static thing until it becomes a living soul in spaces that fit the client’s requirements.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Naji El Hakim

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

My name is Naji El Hakim. I'm an Architect that graduated from the Lebanese American University in Beirut.

I've been pursuing my career as a design and technical director in a design and build company in Saudi Arabia.

On the design level, I specialize in the innovation space's designs on all levels right from the start of professional user experience along with business models and operation schemes up to the final outcome of full turn key architectural solution.

On the other hand, I'm a pilot, a skydiver and an extreme sports professional.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I've always drew my imagination into a realistic model, ever since I was a kid.

What other profession can give me this room of being creative and insure that dreams can come to life?

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

I'm currently entitled in my company as Group Marketing and Design Executive.

My job role states that I am a general manager of the marketing department and design department with all what follows.

Being the director of design, i currently manage 36 people include engineers, designers and marketing personnel.

On another hint, our technical team is located offshore in Beirut and they report back with all the consultancies and technical production with all the coordination needed.

4What does “design” mean to you?

It is literally, giving life to static things until it become a living soul in architectural space through business model requirements, client's requirements and full turnkey solutions.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

Contemporary design for businesses because it always seeks development through innovation.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

User experience, research method, proper demonstration tools and business success for happy beautiful outcome.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Innovation, contemporary, straight forward, maximum functionality and adhesive budget control for client's needs.

8Tell us about your design process.

We take the client brief. We promise him nothing less what he will expect. What the client sees, will get the same or even better. We develop design after design approval.

We provide all the solutions through the process. We prepare all the technical production packages. We sort and then finalize packages for construction.

We communicate the best practice of a project management plan. We deliver what we promise through the delivery execution schedule.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Yes of course. It's always the case. My thesis was about the cultural restrictions.

In KSA its entitles under "The lust for transparency", everyone wants to see everything but they don't want to be seen. We try to cover this every time we design something locally.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

It is the utmost pleasure and honor to be recognized internationally by such a firm as yours. As I always motivate my team, every success story we achieve is our ground zero to grow more.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

This project is unique in all means. We are well-specialized in the banking sector. Nevertheless, this is the first type of banks in the world that we integrated new features that hosted the first functions as such.

E-shopping zone, E-Library for thesis development and projects funding, customer service, VR space for real estate loans. Many others that is included in the brief description in the entry. Generally, the biggest success was to create a business model that can be operated and returns the best sales services. As a fully function branch, the returns are coming with great tremendous outcome for the client.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge was with the type of service we are selling to the client.

The normal practice lies under developing the business model, testing it and the agreeing on advancing in execution on such a great budget. Clearly, we did a great job in a small period of time. that the client signed with us as the first design and build project.

The other big challenge was to remodel the space with the concept design and specifying all materials and digital interfaces according to the requirements.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Again, being recognized internationally is a great motive to develop more and share with the world the success.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Making the client Satisfied as they flourish making us flourish. Advancing the career with better experience for wins and losses. Creating spaces with soul rather being static.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

This country is advancing on the business models level in a tremendous way. The amount of investments coming in only make us grow in a fast pace realizing the real strength of financial development.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Digital innovation spaces with the best contrast ever.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Always dream big, then don't you ever compensate on the final outcome. Only remodel around it.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Research methods, always work on following the evolution happening around and use all the tools around it.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

There were countless times that I gave up, only to be reminded by myself, that only me can work it out.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My dad. He was always a believer and never gave up in every single thing he did.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Always believe in yourself. Live everyday as if it's your first but with al the experience granted. and remind yourself that every winning success story is only your ground zero.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I'm extremely proud of being part of all of this. Thank you for all the support. Next project we are targeting the platinum award.

Winning Entries

Bank Digital Hub| 2020

Bank Digital Hub | MUSE Design Awards

The digital revolution has launched a new era of human empowerment & engagement across business, society & in every...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

United Technology for Construction Co.

The UTC deliver products and services that support human efficiency and functionality in the workplace.