Quick take: Medy Nahravani, CEO, Design Haus Medy

The award winning architecture and interior design practice's CEO on what makes him tick
Nahravani: Create great interiors and customers will succeed.
By Staff writer
Sun 31 Dec 2017 03:56 PM

What’s the story behind your business, Design Haus Medy?
As a kid, I would play for hours and hours building little cities in my small bedroom out of Lego blocks, very well organised by colours. I would never allow brick colours to mix when building, even if it would mean my building would never be as high as I wanted. By the age of 18, I was lucky enough to become an intern in a design studio and see how the big boys build with real bricks. One day I brought my 1000pc Lego brick set into the office and started to spread them on my desk, dividing them after colour and size. I started to build a copy of the building my colleagues were working on; it didn’t take long and I had the team on the table experimenting with bricks and exploring new forms. Later, I opened my own design studio and still have a box of Lego in our library until today.

What’s the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?
Time. The expectation to have a building ready in one year instead of two is becoming a common request. ‘Many other industries are becoming faster, so why not construction?’ is a frequent question. Ready-built, pre-cast, 3D-printed and robot-constructed buildings will dominate the future. Time becomes a commodity more valuable than money.

Where do great ideas come from in your organisation?
Great ideas are ignited by the exceptional request of our clients and their design constraints. The greater the challenge, the greater the solution.

How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
Leaving space and time; we make time for brainstorming; we leave spaces in the office to express a creative idea; workshops to explore and experiment but also to challenge the way we think.

What is most important in your company – its mission, core values or vision?
Its pretty straightforward, making the world a more beautiful place. Create great architecture and interiors in order to enrich people’s lives and our clients succeed in their mission.

What’s your decision making process?
Understand precisely the needs and the wants of each user of a space. Create tailor-made solutions and build them to perfection.

Do you believe social networking has impacted your organisation or yourself, personally? How has it done so?
Very much; our search habits have changed in recent years. Never before have we had so many social media influencers. People want to buy what they see, and with social media more people can see us in a shorter time. As architects and designers, we can now display the importance and the beauty of our work and create a meaningful connection.

What do you enjoy the most about working at your company?
Action, action, action; it never gets boring. It’s a truly enjoyable environment, created by a great and motivated team, an inspiring office space and amazing clients all over the world.

Can you name a person who has had an impact on you as a leader?
One of my biggest mentors in my early life was the CEO of a boutique design studio in Germany, Mr. Aimo Grebe. He shaped my understanding of aesthetic, form and function.

What is the most important or biggest decision you’ve ever had to make for your company?
The grand move over the ocean, our Design and Project Management Office in Ghana, West Africa; the move into completely new territory, one of the best decisions we have ever made.

What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
Every employee needs to understand that he will become the co-owner of the company. Once you own it, the direction is clear.

When faced with two equally qualified job candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
I would trust my instincts; they’ve never failed me with great talents.

What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?
Logic, honesty and playfulness.

What advice would you give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Do your homework as best as you can and then trust your instincts; don’t overthink it, just do.

What’s your greatest fear in business?
Failing to grow every day and the lack of progress.

What’s the best way to prepare for uncertainty (which is increasingly relevant in today’s market)?
Keep your eyes open and observe carefully; nothing happens all of a sudden, there are always indications; and trust your inner voice.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
At 27 years old, I owned seven companies and at 29 years, I’d sold five of them successfully.

What’s one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
To be greatly productive and creative you need to feel great. Avoid the office when you don’t feel great. We all have those days where we feel gloomy; use those days and let it all out (but not at work). The next day you will be loaded up with positive energy to do great work.

What is your most prized possession?
A rare and limited Patek Philippe, which was a gift from a very important person.

What is the biggest luxury in your life?
Freedom of working for myself.

What makes you get up each day?
The pursuit of greatness, and to give back to this beautiful world.

Quote to live your life by?
Enjoy life to the fullest and give the same amount of joy, and never ever take joy from others.

If you could give an old boss one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never stop learning.

If something happened to your business, what would be your backup plan?
I would take a month’s holiday and come back with probably 100 new ideas for how to make a new, greater business. Everything happens for a reason; I take the challenges as they come and don’t worry about the future.

What do you work on in your free time?
Renovation of an old townhouse in my city in Hamburg, Germany

What did you want to be growing up?
A great chef, and until today I enjoy cooking. It gives me peace.

How do you manage a large company and still find time for things like family?
I still believe I am finetuning the perfect balance; however, I have quite a good ability to switch off completely as soon as I step in my home.

How do you relax and switch off from the office?
Family and friends are the best diversion from work, especially my boys, who are managing to pull me into their beautiful world.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Exercise, singing under the shower, dressing to impress, breakfast in the garden, hard work, lunch with friends, harder work, dinner with family, a great book, meditation and seven hours of sleep.

Finish this sentence, “the world would be a better place if only….”
“We would enjoy more what we have and share the love.”

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