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Airport lounges reimagined: Q&A with an MA Interior Design student

Airport lounges reimagined: Q&A with an MA Interior Design student

Discover the online learning journey of Ahmed Khattab, an Etihad Aviation Group Designer and AUB Online MA Interior Design Student.

Ahmed Khattab is an Industrial and Spatial Designer for Etihad Aviation Group and a current student on the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) Online MA Interior Design. We spoke with Ahmed about why he chose to study with AUB, how he balances travelling for work with his course, and how he’s applying insights from his degree to his current role in aviation design. Ahmed-Khattab-photo-featured

Read on to find out more: 

Can you tell us about your background and current job role?  

Ahmed: I have a bachelor's degree in environmental architecture, which I earned in 2012. Over the past decade, my career has primarily centred on the field of interior architecture.

My portfolio mostly comprises commercial projects, encompassing a diverse range of establishments such as restaurants and workplaces.  

More recently, I transitioned into the aviation industry, where I have taken up a role at Etihad Airways. Within this capacity, my responsibilities are concentrated on the area of interior design, specifically focusing on airport lounges, luxury lounges, waiting areas, and workplace environments.  

My duties encompass both the revitalisation of existing spaces and the conceptualisation of new designs to enhance the company's office spaces. In 2017, I also established my own design studio, Artwork90 handling some local and global clients along with my full-time work. 

Why did you choose to study with AUB Online?

Ahmed: I have been a frequent visitor to the United Kingdom, particularly London, where I have attended renowned design exhibitions such as the London Design Festival, Design London, and Decorex. During my visits, I observed that the UK has a lot of expertise in interior design, inspiring me to aim for a more advanced professional level in my interior design career. 

In pursuit of this goal, I started searching online for courses that could accommodate my geographical flexibility and demanding work schedule. After thorough research, I narrowed down my options, and one institution that stood out was AUB.  

AUB not only had positive reviews for the quality of its academic programmes, but I was also impressed with the professionalism of the Course Adviser who supported me with my application. He demonstrated an unwavering commitment to guiding me through every step of the enrollment process, from addressing my initial inquiries to helping me register. 

This exceptional level of support played a pivotal role in my decision to choose AUB. I was provided with comprehensive information that thoroughly prepared me for the start of my studies, reaffirming my confidence in my choice of institution.  

How do you balance working with studying? 

Ahmed: As part of my job in aviation, I travel almost every week to different countries around the world. It’s hard to balance studying and working, but I use the hours I spend travelling on planes to read and summarise the course materials in the virtual learning environment, Canvas.  

I like that the content for each module is released week-by-week, rather than all in one go, as it helps me focus on what I need to study for the current week rather than looking too far ahead and getting overwhelmed. 

How is the course helping you in your career? 

Ahmed: In my current role I’ve found that I need more information and want to do more research to inform the work I do designing airport lounges and waiting areas. I’m learning a lot during the course about different areas of design, such as the concept of biophilic design, that I can apply to my current work.  

I was designing a lounge for a US airport recently and was able to apply some methods from biophilic design that I think will improve the customer experience and make the design more sustainable 

For the ‘Sustainable Futures’ module of the course, I did a digital sketch with a planned design for a lounge, carefully crafted to optimise the comfort and wellbeing of its customers. The sketch highlights the integration of various seating options, acoustically treated elements, and the incorporation of natural plants throughout the space: 


Image credit: Ahmed Khattab, MA Interior Design  

The research I’m doing during my studies is adding a lot to my knowledge and I believe that having an MA in Interior Design will help me progress in my career. 

Thank you to Ahmed for telling us about your experience on the course!  

Research how to create evidence-based solutions to current and future design challenges with AUB Online’s MA Interior Design. Choose to start in January, May or September: 

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