A creative director’s role is critical in determining the direction and success of any design firm, and as industries grow and organizations adjust to changing market conditions, every decision matters. In this case, to commemorate the company’s seventh anniversary, Five28 has appointed Bukola Idemhi as Creative Director, while Funto Ibuoye takes over as CEO. Ibuoye was the company’s creative director prior to Idehmni’s promotion. Her Network was privileged to chat with Funto and Bukola as they begin this new phase of their professional endeavours.
Funto Ibuoye is a dynamic individual who has achieved remarkable success in various domains.
Presently, she holds the esteemed position of CEO at Five28, a renowned global firm
specializing in design, architecture, and property development, Funto leads a passionate team
dedicated to creating transformative spaces for people to live and work in.
Q: Talk to us briefly about your background and journey to Five28.
Funto: I graduated with Honours in Accounting from Covenant University and became a Chartered Accountant, but after working as an accountant for almost three years, I got bored and very dissatisfied and I knew I did not want to be an accountant for the rest of my life and so I resigned from my well-paying job as the financial accountant of a tech firm back in 2013 with a car and driver attached to my role and took up a job as the PA to the CEO of one of the big interior design firms which was my very first encounter with interior design; I was on that role for barely three months, when I got an offer to work with a multinational organisation- L’Oreal and worked with the brand management and marketing team for two years until they had to shut down operations in Nigeria. I was offered to move to the branch in Ghana, but at the time, I had just gotten married and was pregnant with my first child and my husband had no interest in moving to Ghana, so I turned down the offer and stayed back. After I delivered my baby, I went for training at an interior design school here in Lagos and also took online courses at The Interior Design Institute. That’s how my journey to building Five28 started. We started off solely as an interior design firm, but we have transitioned to a property development and design firm, offering new build, renovation, and interior design services.
Q: What have you sacrificed along your career journey?
Funto: This is a thought-provoking question indeed! One significant sacrifice I have made is giving up the comfort and stability that comes with being an employee. As an entrepreneur, I no longer have the assurance of a monthly paycheck, and instead, I have the responsibility of ensuring that my staff are paid consistently, even if it means I may not receive a salary myself.
Q: You’re handing over the reins of the company’s creative direction to Bukola; what about her compelled you to give her such an exciting opportunity?
Funto: Bukola joined us in early 2022, and what truly impressed me about her was her ability to take full ownership of her role as the head of design and projects. She not only led the team effectively but also brought fresh perspectives to the way we design and execute projects. Moreover, she implemented strategies that have significantly propelled the organization forward as a whole. Although it has only been two years since she joined us, I have complete confidence in her ability to excel in new her role as creative director, allowing me to focus more on the strategic direction of the organization as the CEO.
Q: With seven years of successful building under your belt, what do you see for the company’s next seven years?
Funto: In the next seven years, I envision our global expansion with branches in New York and Dubai. Our mission will be to create exquisite homes for the affluent and cutting-edge office spaces for prominent brands on a global scale. Simultaneously, we are committed to our philanthropic endeavors, focusing on building homes for the homeless across Africa.
Bukola Idemhi is the Creative Director at Five28, where she leads a team of highly skilled architects, interior designers, and project managers in executing the firm’s exceptional projects with a timeless appeal. With over 7 years of industry experience and a Master’s degree in Architecture from Obafemi Awolowo University, Bukola has honed her skills in space planning and conceptualization. Her educational background has provided her with a solid understanding of architectural principles, enabling her to seamlessly integrate structural elements into her designs.
Q: You must be elated with your new position as the creative director of Five28, tell us a little bit about your background and how it ties into your new role.
Bukola: Absolutely, it’s a great opportunity to lead the amazing team at Five 28! I studied architecture from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University both for BSc and MSc degrees.
After which I served at Antiques and Decor as a designer, iDesign by Tola Akerele as an interior architect working on notable projects. I joined Five 28 as Head of Projects and Design where I’ve had the opportunity to lead the design direction and project execution of the firm.
Throughout my career, I have gained valuable experience in various roles that have shaped my ability to transform clients’ visions into reality. I have developed a keen eye for detail and honed my problem-solving skills, allowing me to tackle challenges with creativity and innovation. Effective communication with both clients and team members has been a cornerstone of my success, enabling me to foster strong relationships and ensure project success. Additionally, my experience in leading and motivating teams has equipped me with the skills necessary to excel in my new role.
Q: What is one piece of advice that has had a significant impact on you and your career path?
Bukola: Heartfelt service is a fundamental value that I hold dear. I believe in serving both clients and the organization with utmost dedication, always striving to add value in every interaction. I strongly believe that service is a key driver of success and personal growth. Regardless of my role or position, I am committed to going above and beyond my job description, consistently exceeding expectations and making a positive impact.
Q: What do you believe will be the most difficult challenge for the next generation of female leaders?
Bukola: Mentorship plays a crucial role in nurturing and developing future leaders. However, it requires both a willingness to submit and a teachable spirit to ensure the continuity of values and uphold excellent leadership ethics. Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of female leaders who are willing to embrace this responsibility. It is essential for aspiring female leaders to recognize mentorship as an opportunity to leverage the experiences of those who have paved the way before them.
Furthermore, being a visionary female leader may come with the challenge of balancing leadership roles, work, and personal life. The ability to adapt and surround oneself with the right support systems can greatly assist in overcoming this challenge and achieving success in all areas.
Q: What projects are you currently working on as the new creative director of Five28 and would like to share with our audience?
Bukola: It’s no longer news that Five28 has transitioned from being just an interior design firm to a top-tier property development firm providing new build, renovation, architecture, and interior design services. I’m excited about “Five28 Towers” comprising five towers with 28 floors each of mixed-use apartments. The design focuses on sustainability and an eco-friendly environment that elevates the standard of living for users.