Social Diary’s respondent Nudrat Mustafa spoke to Hamza Tarar a man who is behind CASA Hamza, he knows every bit on decorating homes, let’s look at what he talked about…
Please tell us about your background, education and personal life.
Born and bred in Lahore. My alma mater was Aitchison and since my early days, I was always quite creative. I was the kind of person who would conjure tables out of dustbins and trash. I hail from a conservative background, and my family wanted me to get into conventional fields like banking or give the CSS exam. I decided to go abroad. I was fortunate enough to get into Colombia and University of Miami. I commenced my studies at University of Miami on a 100% scholarship in Marketing and Finance. Living in Miami, I got inspired by the city’s diverse culture and art which is where it all started. With a little push from a few friends who saw my flair and aptitude for design, I started working on projects which turned out great. And the rest as they say is history.
When did you find out you really are interested in this field?
It began when I helped a friend set up his apartment during my freshmen year in Miami. I had a budget of $3000 and was given the liberty to decorate the place however I pleased. I had a lot of fun and the place turned out lovely. He threw a house warming party. One of his father’s friends owned a PR firm and she loved it and wanted to promote me as an interior designer. I got business cards and a website setup – it was all super exciting! One of my first design project was working on two condominiums in St Regis Fort Lauderdale. I landed some brilliant projects in the US. One thing led to another – I got featured in the Fendi Design Series & by the time I was 18 and in my sophomore year, I got published in Architectural Digest.
Which project in your portfolio are you most proud of?
Every project brings forth something novel and exhilarating. After working for four years in Miami with really high end brands like Fendi Casa, Kenzo and Versace home, I wanted to bring the same aesthetics to Pakistan. Changing the interior design landscape in my country was constantly on my mind. I pitched my ideas to big names like Louis Vuitton and Fendi as I wanted to bring their designs back to Pakistan. They were a bit apprehensive at first and suggested that I start off with accessories first. But the idea was to introduce luxury living in Pakistan. I mean people can very easily go buy an expensive Louis Vuitton bag but it gets tricky when you want a designer sofa in your living space. Long story short, they wanted me to buy all brands including Fendi Casa and Kenzo if I had intentions of introducing these concepts back in Pakistan. I invested all my savings and in June 2009, my brand Casa Hamza came into play and I started making my own designs as well. Casa Hamza is brand that symbolizes luxury, but is not untouchable, a brand that is for all – I wanted to create affordable luxury and that’s what I pride in the most.
Which of your work sample involved more technical expertise?
Pretty much everything. Because what people fail to understand is that design is an amalgamation of science and art. To create a timeless design, you must incorporate a sense of harmony and balance which only comes from comprehending the technicalities of design aspects.
Do you have a signature touch with your designs?
Oh, always! In my view, the most important element is providing utility to a space, fill the place up with the right elements and products, textures, lighting and accessories to dress it up, to make a space look fabulous and to fulfil the clients’ requirements tastefully.
What are some of the challenges you face in this field?
In Pakistan, people are still fairly new to the idea of an interior designer. At times getting through to the client in terms of explaining an out-of-the-box concept can be rather perplexing as they are used to the same old conventional ways. They don’t understand the intricacies that goes into creating a space and how every piece needs to connect to the other – tell a story so to speak. Convincing clients to let you take the reins where you can implement their vision is an arduous task in itself.
How do you keep up with industry changes?
As an interior designer, I always feel that you don’t have to keep up with the industry changes. Instead you should bring the changes. I always try to do something new that is different from everyone else’s work.
What colours, textures and furniture pieces do you love the most?
White. Everything in white! For interiors, I prefer experimenting with different textures and mediums. Recently, I’ve been crafting a lot of furniture pieces with glass. Working with glass gives me unbounded opportunities to create stunning results. Personally, I love making Center Tables as it’s the heart of any room. It’s the first thing that you notice when you enter a room.
How do you deal with difficult clients? Any bad experiences or stories related to this?
Plenty. I’ve had some weird experiences dealing with clients. This one time a client laid down a red carpet for me on a site undergoing construction. She asked my opinion about a certain wall light that she sources and I told her it’s horrible she literally started breaking down the wall light with a stick, the same client on another day got a truck artist to paint palm trees on a hand painted ceiling I had gotten done from a renowned artist because she thought it looked like Jerusalem. Lol
State some interesting questions you’d ask to discover your client’s requirements?
The idea is to get a feel of their vision and how I can make that come to life. As a designer, I’m always passionate about collaborating with clients to make something creative which suits their aesthetic wants.
What’s new in the pipeline for you and how do you think that will impact the current interior design landscape?
I’m the new design consultant for Marina Home, the first premium international brand in Pakistan. Marina Home defines fine living, contemporary spaces and tailoring new trends in the market. Their impressive range of products appeals to a target market that desires a sensible fusion of design and functionality which I strong believe will change the current landscape.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Every piece is a labour of love. Currently, as the design consultant for Marina Home, I’m working with an assortment of mediums. I’ve taken an affinity towards mediums like glass and metal so that’s something you should definitely keep an eye out for. I always aim to make ingenious designs, use the finest materials and basically bring art into furniture making.
Anything you dislike about being an interior designer
It is most frustrating when I’m not given the chance to use my creativity in a space and when the client is too controlling.
What does a day in the life of Hamza Tarar look like? What’s your typical workday like?
Hectic. My alarm goes off at 8 in the morning. I roll around in bed till 9 and then finally wake up. Quick breakfast and then I start my workday. I have like twenty vendors waiting for me so that requires a lot of dealing. Then I head to the Marina Home office and get down to business. I leave the office around 5ish – after which I have to visit innumerable sites and meet up with clients. By the time I’m done with work, I’m exhausted. So you can imagine I don’t have time for myself. I try to take a mini-getaway every three months and head to Miami which is like my second home.
Describe yourself in three words.
I love myself. Does that count?
Any tips for success?
If you love something, you will succeed. Don’t let others tell you where your passions should lie. Believe in yourself and listen to your true calling when it seeks you.