Interior designing is one of the fast-growing industries in Malawi which is not only about beautifying homes, offices, business spaces and events, but also creating jobs for young creatives.
Generally, a beautiful home, office or event brings a pleasant feeling and confidence.
According to iida.org, interior design is the professional and comprehensive practice of creating an interior environment that addresses, protects, and responds to human need(s).
The iida.org, which is an expert website for all things interior designing, says interior desgning is an art.
It reads in part: “Interior designing is the art, science, and business planning of a creative, technical, sustainable, and functional interior solution that corresponds to the architecture of a space, while incorporating process and strategy, a mandate for well-being, safety, and health, with informed decisions about style and aesthetics.”
And when we talk about top creative interior designers in Malawi, then Lua Interior Designs, which is owned by Agness Mpoto Bandazi, does not miss on the list.
Perhaps, April 21 2023 will go down in history of the country’s interior designers, because it is the day Lua Interior Designs was recognised and featured on the Digital Satellite Television’s (DStv) popular Home Channel and Deutsch Welle (DW) on the Afrimaxx show. These shows celebrate outstanding creatives from around the African continent.
The news did only excite interior creatives and enthusiasts from the African continent, but also the founder and the director of Lua Designs, Agness Mpoto Bandazi.
She expressed excitement for putting Malawi on the globe spotlight through the DStv’s popular shows.
“To begin with, Lua Interior Designs is a Malawian company which strives for quality and unique touch. Few weeks ago we were featured on The Home Channel and DW on the Afrimaxx show and it still feels surreal. I am grateful for all the support and love we have been given,” said Bandazi.
She said the recognition by the DStv’s Home Channel demonstrates her commitment to quality works and abundant creativity which Malawi has.
“This has fuelled passion and drive in us to continue to grow, do better and break barriers with some spectacular work from this beautiful part of the world. Because the recognition alone is a powerful statement that Malawi has great talent and potential in creative interior designing,” said Bandazi.
Born in Blantyre, but raised and currently residing in Lilongwe, Bandazi’s zeal for interior designing stems back from her childhood days where she drew the inspiration from her mother.
She recalled: “I have always loved interior design, it has always been my passion. Even as a young girl when I was growing up, my mum always involved me in decorating our home, gardening and everything that made our home beautiful, So, I would say my mum inspired my journey in interior design.”
Basically, Bandazi’s designs are a blend of modern contemporary and timeless classic with a fuse of artistic decorations. Her emphasis is on clean lines, decorated minimalism; a blend of natural textures and materials and sometimes a juxtaposition of artistic elements.
Among others, she has worked on homes (both new builds and renovations), office spaces, café/restaurants, boutiques, lodges and commercial spaces.
Some of the followers of Lua interior designs describe on its social media pages such as Instagram, its designs as stunning and unique.
She said when people hire an interior designer, they do not just hire the person, but their training, experience and knowledge within the industry.
“In fact, people essentially hire a trained eye which sees the bigger picture whilst still focusing in on the smallest details. Therefore, your entire space will be cohesive whether this is adjusting layouts, aiding a complete renovation or modernizing dated interiors,” she said.
Bandazi added that interior design adds value to your space; all the expertise and extra pizzazz does not only add aesthetics, but also it value too. The present ideas which are incredibly smart, practical and making the most out of your space. This means that hiring an interior designer will inevitably add value to your property.
However, it was in 2019 when Bandazi started looking at interior designing as a business. This is when she started making cushions for friends and family and then started selling them to colleagues.
Bandazi holds a Political Leadership Degree and has worked in the development sector for the past seven years. But she believes that interior designing is her calling.
“When it comes to interior designing, I am self-taught. I have watched tutorials online and took up some basic online training in interior design for the past years. But I would say experience has been the best teacher when I slowly started to pivot and focus on interior design,” said Bandazi.
She described people’s response to her interior designing as an ‘amazing and humbling experience’.
“I have a lot of amazing clients, followers and friends who support my art and are excited to let me work in their spaces. I am based in Lilongwe but work everywhere,” said Bandazi.
As a creative, she said she was extremely grateful to be in an upmarket industry, which was not a very popular art in Malawi. But a capable industry which was making positive change in people’s lives.
Bandazi remarked: “For the longest time, Malawi has relied on interior designers from other countries, now we can shift the focus to local artists who are also competitive on the international stage and still bring the same kind of aesthetic and intricate detail on the table.
Time has come to invest in home-grown talents.