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Nisreen Kayyali, founder and lead architect

UAE residential architect Nisreen Kayyali enjoys creative freedom

What does your company do?

Nisreen Kayyali Consulting Engineers is a group of architects, engineers, and interior designers that specialises in the design and supervision of residential projects in the UAE.

What inspired you to develop your idea?

Ever since I graduated from university as an architect in 1997, I’ve dreamed about establishing a firm where I could have the freedom to apply unbridled architectural and design creativity to projects.

Thankfully, just a few years later, Nisreen Kayyali Consulting Engineers was born in Jordan. In 2014, I relocated the company to Dubai.

How have your priorities changed from when you first started?

When I started the firm, my first all-consuming goal was to stabilise the business. But now after it has grown rapidly for several years, my main objective is to work on projects that push our creativity and enable us to develop cutting-edge architectural design.

Grass, Plant, LawnSupplied
Contemporary residential design

What do you look for when hiring talent?

I look for people who share the same level of passion, dedication, and love for architecture as I do, and have a deep sense of meaning associated with their work. 

What counts more: luck or hard work?

I believe one becomes lucky when they remain focused on their goal for long enough. Hard work alone will not always get you the results you need in your life.

You have to remain steadfast, focused, and dedicated to your goals. You also need to be smart about how you manage your expectations and the challenges that life throws at you. 

What was your biggest ‘lucky’ moment?

I always wanted to move to Dubai, but there were many financial and personal challenges making it impossible to do so.

Then I landed a Dubai-based online project while I was still in Amman, Jordan, and I think that proved to be one of my lucky breaks. It gave me a strong reason to relocate to Dubai, which led me to realise some of my biggest achievements.

What is the one thing that you wish you’d done differently?

There is nothing that I wish I would have done differently. In all honesty, I think that everything that I have done has led me to this point in my life. I’m very happy to be where I am.

If you could rule the world for a day, what things would you change?

I would ensure that UN resolutions and laws are being fully implemented. I would also ensure that gender equality is being enforced all over the world. Finally, I would make sure our planet’s water resources and environment are protected for generations to come.

What are the three factors that entrepreneurs misjudge about the Gulf market?

Firstly, most people think the rules within the region are complicated, making it difficult to do business locally.

It couldn’t be further from the truth. If we talk more specifically about the UAE, the country has minimal corruption and 100 percent transparency in governance and business. So it’s naturally a place where a business will thrive when done right.  

Secondly, another common misjudgement is that it’s difficult to be a female business owner in the Gulf. Again, in my experience, I’ve always felt supported, and was able to achieve much more simply because I chose to establish my business in the UAE.

Thirdly, the local competition is fierce. This point sort of rings true, but then again this is the reason why the quality of service and product is superior, and the focus on innovation in business is much higher than what you will find elsewhere. 

In short, this region produces resilient businesses with great products and services that can last. 

Dream mentors?

I have always been deeply inspired by the works of Zaha Hadid and Frank Lloyd Wright. Hadid became well-known for her radical architectural designs that pushed the limits of engineering while Wright’s works captured the essence of organic architecture.

Lloyd Wright believed that structures should harmonise with their environments and inhabitants. This differentiated his work from everyone else.  

Find Nisreen Kayyali at Instagram and Facebook

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