An interior design expert and an upwardly mobile professional, Adegboyega Adekoya runs one of Nigeria’s most unique design schools called, The Finish Academy where students are trained in the art of interior design. His clientele cuts across different strata of society. He gave City People’s Kelechi Okorie an insight into how he runs his business.
What does design mean to you?
For me, design is a tangible expression of life and the vibrancy of it. Only the living care about culture, style, habits, routine and so on so whatever anyone does to enhance or magnify their lifestyle or living in so much that everyone can see, feel or even perceive is to me, design.
When it comes to people’s spaces, at what point would you suggest professional intervention?
I know a client needs help when there are so many great but scattered ideas so much that some don’t even fit at all. Some clients we have had legit thought they had it all figured out conceptually, got started and before getting midway they just run to us. It’s really our job to make sure that our clients’ thoughts are coordinated to make for functionality as much as for aesthetics from paper to actual finish.
How long have you been an Interior Designer?
Unofficially, I started 8 years ago but we launched fully into the practice as a company in 2016 and since then we’ve had no reason to look back.
How would you say the industry gets it right or wrong at the moment in Nigeria?
We’re really still trying to find our feet in Nigeria, a lot of people are becoming aware of our trade and it’s almost the same in many other countries. A lot practitioners like me are just running businesses on their own terms most times without legal protection, but we would make a greater impact if there was some industry regulation which of course starts with recognising the Interior design profession as an actual Industry and not just part of the larger real estate sector.
What triggered the birth of The Finish Academy and what are its unique offerings?
The motto of the academy is raising design intelligent professionals. From my survey, I found out that many people who say they are into our business, respectfully speaking are either not thorough with their job or are not smart with it. We thought that as a company we can share so much in knowledge from our experiences over the years, so we decided to let young people who are passionate as we are about creating amazing spaces get a chance at learning thoroughly the theoretical and more importantly the practical aspects of the trade and then giving them almost all of our tricks to survival in the business.
What class of interior designers is it targeted at?
From complete novices to architects who desire to delve into the business of interior design; our major requirement is passion. The Finish Academy has the basic program which caters for people who have had no experience at all with handling interior design projects; this helps them to understand what we do, why we do it and how it gets done. Our goal for the basic course is that students can start their own little practice with even the basic knowledge. We also have the intermediate program which allows those who have had some experience for example artisans who have over the years worked with interior designers as well as people who have interned, to deepen their knowledge with more practical techniques and business hacks. Also, those who opt for the intermediate classes would learn a lot about the financials and legal aspects of the trade. The goal is to help them get to that level when they’re comfortable and confident getting the big clients and making big profit. Lastly we have the advanced program and that’s just strict tool and technique training for those who want to be proficient in the various software used in interior design, of course those who are eligible to be in the program are those who have previous knowledge in town planning, architecture, engineering and so on. Our students who have passed the basic and intermediate courses are also eligible to join the program as they would have gathered enough exposure to accommodate all that would be taught in the advanced program.
What edge does a four-walled school have to offer in a world of where information is easily?
Being in a four-walled environment first of all pulls you away from your comfort zone. In interior design, you have to be up, about and doing, it’s not a particularly chilled profession and we’re not going to portray it that way. We feel the need to expose the students to real-life cases and projects and you can’t possibly have that experience in the comfort of your bed at home. So yes it is very important for students to get away from home and come to class on project site or class the lecture room.
What can students expect to learn?
Simply all that we know and we know a lot. We know that after their time in the Academy and they leave to start their practice, they’re going to have the zeal and zest that we exhibit here at The Finish Limited.
How would you describe the relevance of this academy to the interior design space today?
It’s a fresh inject of intelligent designers into the industry who would form a league of superior talents that would be the most sort after.
What’s the big picture looking like for the academy?
In the near future, I see in The Finish Academy the biggest and the best interior design school in the whole of Nigeria and indeed West Africa, with a larger space and full accreditation as a diploma awarding institution.