In Summary

He is young, hungry and ready to make a mark on the world of interior design. With his penchant for bold combinations and artistic inspiration, Hannington Wasswa creates interiors that are sophisticated, unique, and wholly intriguing

I was always fascinated by the world of interior design but did not know which field I would specialise in until I did my first wallpaper project,” says Hannington Wasswa, an interior designer.

Starting out
That first project was doing the interior decoration of VK Interiors; a Kampala based Interior Design Company. “We did the wallpaper and tiled the floor. When it was all done I was totally blown away by the whole transformation. I remember thinking to myself, yes! This is how I always want to feel about work. It was a great feeling and I knew I had found my niche,” Wasswa elaborates.

Before joining Lurkspur the decor company he currently works with, Wasswa worked at Victorious People an Internet cafe on Freedom city. With his IT training, the cafe seemed like an obvious choice but it didn’t bring him any satisfaction. He tried his hand at Music under the stage name Infinity; recorded a single together with its video but things didn’t pan out the way he expected. “Breaking into the music industry is not easy. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you must have money to push the music on the airwaves. Right now I don’t have that kind of money so I have shelved that project for later,” says Wasswa.

The big dream
Having gotten the music dream out of the way, the 25 year old artist is dreaming about building an empire based on wallpaper. Using 3D graphics Wasswa is creating his own wallpaper designs which he hopes to put onto actual wallpaper sooner than later. “Back in the days we did not have so many things to see and inspire ourselves with; we had limited access to everything but not anymore. Technology gives me equal opportunities as someone in the first world, the only thing that can limit me is my own creativity,” explains Wasswa. There is so much beauty in Uganda especially our cultures; my dream is to capture those and produce them on wallpaper so that people can have a wider option from the usual generic flowers and shapes.

Influence and inspiration

One of the rooms Wasswa has decorated. PHOTO BY CAROLYNE B. ATANGAZA

For creativity, Wasswa looks to great designers like Nate Burkas and architects like Richard Neuwtra. But for inspiration his eyes are firmly back home at his own mother Catherine Aida Nakabuye whom he believes to have the greatest talent of turning anything into something worthwhile.

The single mother of three girls and one boy has turned surviving on the bare minimum into an art. “She just has this limitless creativity with everything she does, whether it is with business or running her home. She does not focus on what she does not have but rather concentrates on how best she can utilise that which she has,” Wasswa says.

The big lesson
Indeed his mother’s influence can be noticed in the things he believes and aims to achieve. He might not have been brought up in the lap of luxury but this is a world he wants not only to belong to but to influence. “Luxury can be very subjective from one person to another, from one culture to another. I strongly believe that the real luxury is the one you create for yourself and the one that speaks to you and I am not afraid to create,” says Wasswa. He relates that he learned that important lesson while working on one of his latest projects in Malaba, where he got a chance to work on a fairly large project for a wealthy and posh client.

“My job was to decorate four different rooms with individual designs. At first I was overwhelmed by the client’s obvious wealth and thought I could never satisfy his expectations. This made me bring my “A game” which was more than satisfactory as the client loved every single room. And just like that, the taste of this simple boy from Najanankumbi was good enough for a person of impressive sophistication and exposure.”

Wasswa says that his dream project is being able to decorate a luxury hotel with his own wallpaper designs. Among the things he has learned in the business so far is the importance of patience, commitment and perfection.

“This is a business that highly relies on referrals so you have to be flexible, wait till when the client is ready to commit and deliver what you promise or else you will run out of jobs,” Wasswa clarifies.

He wants people to be exposed to more options for completing their houses. Wallpaper, he believes is not only cheaper in the long run but it adds an elegance, a luxurious touch that paint cannot even begin to rival.

Wasswa went to Molly & Paul Secondary in Kibuye for both his O and A Levels. He is currently at St Lawrence University pursuing a degree in Information Technology.