Behind The Job

Following Ryder’s open house event to celebrate seven years in Hong Kong, Nahla Abdennadher gives an overview of her career in the vibrant city.

Born and raised in Tunisia, I graduated from Institut Superieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis with a first class honours degree.   Afterwards, I decided to move to Hong Kong to pursue my dream career in interior design.  I have been here for 10 years.

I have built up strong relationships with my clients over the years, which has been instrumental in delivering successful projects and evolving further collaborative opportunities.  My passion and attention to detail has enabled me to create beautiful projects across Asia, namely Hong Kong, mainland China, Cambodia and Singapore.  My strong connection to my roots always brings a different perspective to my design.

I am multilingual, speaking fluent English as well as my native Arabic and French.  This helps me to collaborate effectively with my own team, project design teams and sub consultants.  In terms of academia, I have had an interesting journey.  During my degree, I studied all common art types, such as painting, print, ceramic, and sculpture.  This enabled me to see elements, lines and colours differently.  However, it was a few outdoor drawing sessions that really got me interested in the architecture and interior design world!  Moorish Architecture, with all its richness of curves and details, particularly inspired me to focus on interior design, and made me want to learn how to create and design beautiful areas.

What are the key skills required to do your job?

Everything architecture!  At a diverse practice like Ryder, we need to be well rounded and broad thinking to successfully manage and deliver on our briefs– project, design, client, team, consultants and construction.  Having an energetic and vibrant personality helps a lot with team integration.  You face many different challenges in interior design, so being sociable and a good communicator is a plus.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It can be summarised in one sentence – “spread the passion”.  Previous and current colleagues have said, “you are so passionate”!  I love interior design and care about my projects and my clients.  I am always looking to create a great project, but will always strive to keep a client happy, no matter what challenges can occur.  That is the best part of the job.  Being a social person, I enjoy meeting people, from clients from different industries – such as banking, insurance, healthcare and advertising – to suppliers, consultants, engineers and other designers.  It is a learning journey every day.

What project have you most enjoyed working on or are you most proud of?

I cannot choose one project.  Every project I have designed and worked on with my team has a great story behind it.  An example is a financial company in the Kowloon district.  It had a very dedicated CEO and CFO, who were husband and wife, that cared a lot about their employees’ wellbeing.

Another memorable project was for a bank in Hong Kong, which involved activity based working set up for employees, based on the neighbourhood concept.  This project was particularly special in my eyes – I was pregnant when we won the contract.   My client even jokingly called my baby, “our baby”!  I worked on the project until the big opening ceremony, delivering my baby only two days later.  Other notable projects involve financial services, media and international trade businesses… there are too many to name them all.

To be honest, I am proud of every project regardless of its size.  Every project added a lot of value in my learning experience and there is still more to come!

With Ryder, I have more opportunities to learn different processes of the design and different tools, as well as enjoy more collaboration with colleagues based in every part of the globe.  I am sure it will be an interesting journey!

Banner Image © Houses Cheung / Adobe Stock

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