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Mahsa Mohebbi
IDA 2022 Emerging Architect of the Year


View the Winning Entry by Mahsa Mohebbi


What is your definition of design?

Design is a combination of creative and artistic solutions to meet a need, and these solutions should have the following features: sustainability, quality, progress and social welfare, beauty and to convey a positive feeling of affordability, attention to culture and civilization. They should also have an ability to attract a wide audience.

What do you see as the strengths of your winning project and what does winning this IDA award mean to you?

In my opinion, idea generation is the most important stage of processing and forming a good design. The initial idea of this project was formed from the Crassula plant and its use of ancient architecture called Chaghazanbil. The use of nature and solutions found in ancient architecture in addition to having a creative, professional and motivated team are the strengths of this project. Receiving this award makes us very happy, and means that we are beginning on the right path. With continuous effort and study, while paying attention to our strengths, and eliminating weaknesses, we can achieve more success.

What is your guiding design principle?

The problems we face as humans have already been solved by nature in a sustainable way. Nature is the best guide for creating unique and sustainable works. By studying and paying attention to the details of nature such as geometric shapes, angles, lines, balance, curves, plants and animals can bring incredible results if used skilfully, creatively and artistically. II believe that inspiration drawn from nature can increase stability, calmness, emotional functioning, concentration.

Do you see design an expression of art?

I think successful design needs an interdisciplinary approach to be effective. One of the disciplines that helps us to have a good design is art. Art gives soul to design and creates beauty, charm, interaction with consumers, and flexibility in design.

Do you believe that there is a design ethic?

Design is an inherently ethical activity. As designers, we design for people and our designs have a great impact on how people behave and live. Morality is concerned with how our choices and actions affect others, forcing us to consider the good of others above our own good.

Tell us a little about your background. How did you develop a passion for design?

I was interested in designing and painting from childhood, and design makes me happy and relaxed. Designing is not just a job for me – it’s a passion! I am motivated to solve problems and improve life with a desire to create beauty and charm and feelings of immortality.

Where does your motivation and inspiration from for your work come from?

Studying and observing nature, art, culture, architecture of various civilizations and cultures which I believe opens our eyes to amazing possibilities. Motivations are sometimes internal, but I believe that they are much more effective if combined with observations. As a designer I want people to know my work. If my work solves a problem or causes a change, I will be unstoppable!

Is there a building that you wished you had designed?

Yes of course. Designing the world’s tallest tower for Tesla Company.

Which designer in your field do you most admire and why?

Zaha Hadid because as a female architect, she was a role model for many women and will continue to inspire growing generations. What we can learn from her? Having a goal, distinction, ambition, passion and crossing the boundaries of inequality.

What is your dream design project?

Building an ideal city where no carbon or waste is produced and in complete harmony with nature. To build a better life for future generations by conserving resources and creating a sustainable living solution.

What kind of culture or structure is needed to foster successful team collaboration?

One of the important things in creative teamwork is an energetic manager who is capable of dividing work based on the skills of individuals and assigning specialists. Another element is the respective characteristics of the team members, who should ideally be patient, expert, goal-oriented, honest, hard-working and work in the spirit of harmony with other team members.

How do you see the future of design?

The world is changing faster than ever and people need places to recover their lost energy in this fast paced world. I believe it is the duty of designers to respond to future human needs with forward and flexible thinking, using sustainable living methods and creating green spaces which could convey feelings of peace and joy. And this important element can only be achieved by creating mutagenic design requiring interdisciplinary approaches.