While the high school diploma she obtained predestined her for a career in Economics, Stella Meka Engamba Yinda decided to focus on her passion: architecture. She joined a Parisian private school named MJM Graphic Design, where in 2001 she earned her diploma in interior architecture. The same year, she decided to go further and join the Graduate School of Architecture Paris La Villette. She became a wife in 2004, and mother of a baby girl in 2006. However, her family life did not prevent her from obtaining her degree in architecture DPLG[i] in 2007. After working at an architectural firm, the will to become an entrepreneur led her to create AR Design, a firm offering architecture and interior design. Mrs. Stella Yinda answers out 4 questions, detailing her experiences and analysis of the sector.
Inspire Afrika Magazine: Tell us about your background. When, how and why did you create AR Design?
Stella Yinda: First, I thank God for the opportunity I had to work with great architects during my internships who fueled my quest for knowledge. I think of the late Mr. Olivier Clément Cacoub – an architect of national palaces including the Palace of UNITE in Yaoundé – my mentor Philippe Bissek and Mr. Nikos Fragiadakis. When I returned to Cameroon in 2007, I joined the ADM cabinet led by Mrs Danielle Moukede. However I left the firm in 2009 to create AR DESIGN. I longed to launch my business project and leave my mark in the architectural space in Cameroon. Today we employ four people full time and we regularly use 3 consultants. Our projects – of varying scales – enable us to serve at least ten clients per year. We operate both in architectural projects and interior design, both in the design phase and that of monitoring and enforcement. We are the architects and designers of the new TRADEX stores across Cameroon. Our firm is also involved in the interior design of the franchise headquarters in Douala. We operate in the construction of residential buildings, offices, hotels, villas and duplexes. In addition, we also conduct the renovation of apartments, villas, clinics and also work on the development of commercial spaces: bakeries, nightclubs etc. Moreover, I have been an independent project manager for Shelter Africa[ii] in Cameroon since 2013.
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