DESIGN FOR LIFEProud to be AUD
“All I know today, I learned from AUD. I love my university because it has a great culture and a strong connection with students. Whenever I am in Dubai, I always come back and say ‘hi’ to the teachers. I am so grateful to them because they pushed their students to work harder to find their potential and, as a result, I discovered I was able to run my own firm and be an entrepreneur. I am thankful to AUD for its excellent advice and for helping me to find my true path.”
Living in Dubai, the region’s most cosmopolitan destination, it was almost inevitable that Mitra Gholami would carve a niche in interior design. With an eye for detail and a passion for style, she was inspired not only by Dubai’s groundbreaking structures but by the lavish interiors that surrounded her, intrigued by how the right furnishing could bring life to an otherwise soulless room.
This fascination, coupled with drive and untapped talent, led her to study Architecture and Interior Design at AUD, and it was here that Mitra – originally from Iran – received her first commission.
“While still in school, I was asked to redesign the Temple Nightclub, an 11,000 sq ft property in San Francisco,” she says. “I worked on a freelance basis and fitted out the main floor, dance floor, DJ booth, balcony, bathrooms and basement.”
When the club was completed, Mitra and her business partner were deluged with offers of work and together they established Deleap LLC, a San Francisco-based interior design company.
“Today, we do everything from marketing and meeting clients to designing interiors and purchasing materials,” she says.
“I usually get up early, go to the gym, have my breakfast and then start working. After the creative portion is done, I check my emails and reply to clients. If I look at my emails before I’ve completed the creative element, I can’t focus and I don’t get the result I want,” she adds.
While Mitra plans to expand the business and take on more projects in both Dubai and the USA, she understands the importance of a healthy work/life balance, believing that everyone should spend as much time having fun as they do at work.
“I always try to do something for myself, either hanging out with friends or just walking for a few hours to clear my mind and enjoy my personal time. I also enjoy hiking, cycling and spending time with family,” she says.
Displaying maturity and wisdom beyond her years, Mitra has achieved more than many graduates do in a lifetime. But to what does she attribute her success?
“I learnt everything I know at AUD,” she explains. “During my studies, I learned a lot about design, software and how to communicate with people. Everything I was taught during my four-year bachelor degree, I use on a daily basis.
“I was inspired by Dr. Nabil Chenaf, Mr. Albert Fakhoury and Mr. Alex Albani, who were such great instructors. All their life lessons motivated me to reach the level of success I enjoy today.”
For Mitra, the best times at AUD were spent with friends working through the night on theses and perspective renderings. With such fond memories, what advice can Mitra offer today’s students?
“Never give up on your dreams and trust your instinct,” she says. “If you can’t swim, that’s fine. As long as you have the courage to jump into the ocean, the rest will follow, but if you don't try, you will always wonder ‘what if?’
“Never let any ‘what ifs’ cloud your mind. Go for it and you will find success,” she adds.