Aimable Ndizihiwe has carved his name in interior design. His work is an assortment of style, comfort and function.
The dining sets, tables, sofas, cupboards, art pieces he makes possess a quality that adds appealing details to any choice of space. And it is his choice of designs, textures and colours that makes it all blend well — setting his work apart.
When he was embarking on this career in 2016, Ndizihiwe wanted to use his talent to alter raw spaces into beautiful places. This is why he opened Izihirwe Arts, an art gallery.
“It was more about the beauty of interior designing, I enjoy beautiful spaces and what fascinates me most about this kind of work is the ability to create and impact change, all of this sparked my interest because of how creative one can be,” he says.
As a conscientious designer, Ndizihiwe takes time to get to know his client and strives to create something unique and original each time.
“I come up with the ideas for my designs, at times the inspiration comes from my fellow designers but also, I am always immersed in this kind of work so my inspiration comes from many things,” he says.
He finds most of his materials, such as wood, from Rwanda, apart from the fabric he uses to make sofas which he orders from abroad. His sturdy furniture is mostly made from pine and timber.
For the love of design
There are no rules in art, that is what creation and invention is about, Ndizihiwe says.
What excites him most about his work is the designing process, especially the part of imagination, “I love it the most because it’s the complicated part and it is the centre for creation. When imagining something you want to create, whether it is a particular set up or style, you have to visualise it before creating it so having that imagination can be exciting.”
The 26-year-old is apprehensive of the industry in general noting that though he receives customers, some things are lacking.
“People haven’t understood the concept well, we are designers but they come to us with their designs because they saw it somewhere. They want to imitate and care less about original pieces. This is a big challenge because we don’t find ways of expressing ourselves as artistes, however, we do what they want because to us a client is the king. But we would prefer suggesting our own designs, that would be customised to fit and enhance one’s space,” he says.
Ndizihiwe is nonetheless positive that the industry will finally grow into its full potential.
“Rwandans love decoration and art, they love beauty in general. As designers, we need to work hard to showcase the relevance of this industry.”
He observes that as other industries related to designing grow, for example, construction industry, even interior designing will grow.
Ndizihiwe is so proud of the work he did for World Bank Rwanda. “I did interior designing for them, we also have an art project we did with Young President Organisation and there is also big art work we did in Kinigi — every star who comes to Rwanda signs on it, for me, this means a lot.”
Most of his works ranges above Rwf500,000 such as the dining sets. The sofas range from Rwf800,000 and above.
He says that the pricing of his products depends on the design and the material used in making that particular product.
Social media is his biggest platform in terms of marketing his products.
“However, we also ensure to make good quality for our products, we believe that this is the greatest tool for marketing. Because if a client likes what you make for them, they can easily recommend other customers,” he says.
In 10 years, the designer hopes to build his work into one of the leading interior designing firms in Africa.
And for this to happen, he calls onto people to believe in Made in Rwanda products.
“Most people who want good stuff travel to buy them abroad, for example, in Dubai or China, but I want to tell people that we have the ability to make quality products.”
The interior designer strives to create something unique and original for his clients. / Sam Ngendahimana
Lucille Uwineza, the marketing manager of Izihirwe Arts. / Sam Ngendahimana
Founder of Izihirwe Arts, Aimable Ndizihiwe, during the interview. / Sam NgendahimanaFollow https://twitter.com/DonahMbabazi