Following the success of his interior design consultancy, Intercon, which was recently awarded Best Large Scale Interior Design Specialists Spain by the Build Design 2018 Awards and which has also just entered a strategic merger with leading architectural firm Dewan Architects + Engineers, Mohammed Adib has hit the ground running in his new role as Dewan’s chief design officer. Working to help further strengthen the firm’s successful brand, Adib will help Dewan enter new markets in South East Asia and Africa. Born in Baghdad in 1968, and a graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, Adib established Intercon in Barcelona in 1993 and has had far reaching work in Europe, South America, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
With Intercon successfully delivering the interior design work for Dewan’s projects across the region over the last 10 years, Adib has long worked closely with Dewan’s team of architects and engineers and delivered many schemes for hotels, schools and education projects. And with Intercon now strategically a part of Dewan’s expanding service offering and Adib its CDO, MEA asks what his plan moving forward is. “Further strengthening Dewan’s successful brand and expanding into new markets,” he said. “Our philosophies are very similar, and we have worked together for over 10 years on many projects, and that’s why it’s been easy to dive right in.”
What responsibilities have you been handling since you joined Dewan?
As CDO, my role is to support the growth of Dewan as it grows organically and enters new markets, working to ensure the quality of our work is at the level we have always delivered as a firm – a key part of Dewan’s legacy and success over the last 35 years.
What’s the design philosophy that you share with Dewan?
Intercon is a European boutique corporation – that’s what I like to call it. Dewan is a large firm that still operates like a boutique firm and adheres to its core principles of delivering high quality design and customer experience, with everyone very involved starting with the founder, the CEO, and the entire leadership team at Dewan. But with that said, we understand design as a service. So we go full force to ensure that the design of a project responds to the client’s market demands. We don’t think of design in a prima donna way, in that it has to follow what we think – the market dictates its needs. A building needs to be lived in and it needs to be successful. I think that’s our main strength – responding to the client’s needs and delivering architecture that is performance-based and aesthetically strong in design.
Having just started in January, have you finalised your strategy moving forward as CDO yet?
The underlying design philosophy is there, really, so I’m just supporting and helping strengthen it. At the moment, we’re focusing on fact-finding and going from one department to the other to make sure everyone is following it and that the teams are working collaboratively and efficiently, and that they are “talking” to each other. Dewan is currently expanding its existing offices in the Philippines, and with Intercon in Barcelona, I’m working to smooth out the work flow between the various offices.
How is that going to affect Dewan’s offices in the Middle East?
It won’t impact the offices here that much – the Middle East is our biggest market. It brings in 90 percent of our work, so it will always be our main hub. And we’re actually moving our office to Dubai Design District, which will hopefully be ready by the beginning of April. With the Barcelona and Manila offices, it will make some jobs easier to do as we will operate at a lower cost and have access to more resources and more working hours (across the time zones). And they will also give us more of an international stance and a great diving platform as we enter the markets of South East Asia, Africa and Europe.