Architect Bibiana Dykema's Passion Project, Modern Moghul

Architect Bibiana Dykema’s Passion Project, Modern Moghul

You may be familiar with what local leaders do professionally, but what about in their spare time? Take a peek at Bibiana Dykema’s out of office passion project, Modern Moghul.

Photography by Lillian Reitz

Bibiana Dykema’s passion for design, dimension and detail has been a hallmark of her career in architecture spanning more than 40 years.

Those creative aspects also have been handy in her passion project, Modern Moghul. Dykema, a Ray High School and the University of Texas graduate, is a full-time licensed architect and licensed interior designer. She and her husband, John, worked with her father in an architectural firm for 20 years before later taking over the venture. Dykema is now a principal architect at LEVY DYKEMA.

“By chance,” as Dykema likes to say — but more likely by determination — her jewelry business has taken off and received global attention.

“I started Modern Moghul about 10 years ago with a client I was working on a hotel project with,” Dykema said. “They had a home in India and I was working on an architectural project where I had to fly to New York to source fabrics, and they said, ‘You could do that from India,’ so I ended up going with them on a trip.”

Dykema said spending more time in India was fortuitous for many reasons.

“I had what they call gold wax beads I had bought years before in New York that I knew were Indian,” she said. “I showed them to a business associate and said I’d love to have more of them made because no matter where I was working on a project, someone would say ‘I love those beads.’ So we hopped on a small plane to go to another town and we found someone to make those, and I brought them back to give as gifts. I kept having people ask if I could have more made and I thought, ‘There’s a real market here.’”

She soon discovered some helpful similarities with her previous field. “Jewelry design is a lot like architecture — and I didn’t know that going into it, but it’s color, form, proportion, dimensions, design. It’s a lot like what I’d been doing forever,” she said. “The funny thing about that, too, is that in our studio in India, it’s mostly all men, and for most of my career in architecture in the field I’ve been in a room full of men, which has never bothered me.”

As Modern Moghul expanded its reach and offerings, it didn’t take long for many celebrities to take notice.

“We got on the cover of Oprah’s magazine when she was wearing our jewelry and that was huge, and we’ve been in a number of other magazines,” Dykema said. “We have truly been blessed.”

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