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Following the revolution

Made in Egypt with pride

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Multifunctional sofa designed by Al Masry
Cairo - Arabstoday

Multifunctional sofa designed by Al Masry This newly rediscovered patriotism has become the driving force to attract business. There are still many stands with Egyptian flags for sale and demand for black, white and red paint is high . Nadia Zarkani, who established the Nuniz brand for trendy bags, is having little flags sewn in all the bags. She has also designed red, black and white striped clutches and tassels.
“I tie red, black and white tassels on every bag I carry and the clutches have sold surprisingly well,” she said. “I have been invited, along with a group of young Egyptian designers, to Paris and I intend to exhibit all the Egyptian themed products that we have produced since the revolution.”
The owners of Alkhatoun Gallery, Suzanne El Masry and Ayman Azabawy are amongst a handful of designers, including Victor Sobky and Sami Amin who have launched the ethnic chic style in Egypt. Long before the revolution, they were inspired by the rich Egyptian heritage to design furniture, lamps, chandeliers, lanterns, fabrics and home accessories and are contributing to the revival of the Egyptian handicrafts.
El Masry and Azabawy use the copper filigree, an art that was disappearing. They have breathed a new life in this handicraft, which is now sought after by a growing number of designers. The creative tandem are also making exclusive wall hangings decorated with Arabic poetry by mixing two different techniques, appliqué and embroidery.
Handicrafts flourished under the Fatimid rule and reached its peak in the Mamluki era. When the Ottomans took over Egypt, they ordered the best craftsmen in 50 different fields,to be sent to Turkey, but they also built beautiful houses like Beit El Suhaymi, situated in El Muizz Street, and Zainab Khatoun, near the famous Khan El Khalili Souk.
There is an open-ended approach to ethnic style, which makes ethnic decorating fun. One basically starts with an object as the focal point and decorates around it. This can be a hand embroidered Sarma or a piece of furniture — the bigger the better, but it should not, of course, overwhelm the space, especially if the room is small.
Lately, four-poster beds and sleeping couches are reclaiming a place, lost in time. They are being transformed into sofas that are not only comfortable, but are also esthetically beautiful showpieces. The bedroom in Europe, incidentally, is a fairly recent invention. Until the 18th century, even for the wealthiest, the bedroom was a semi-public space, a room of display and for receiving guests rather than withdrawing. The bedroom of Louis XIV, the Sun King, was the center of royal ritual when he woke up in the morning or went he lay down at nighttime. Kings all over Europe followed the example of the French king and received their guests in their bedchambers, often on their beds. The only privacy to be had was by turning the bed into a room. Consequently, curtains were put to surround the four-poster bed, which turned it into a room within a room. Louis XV, and his bourgeois inclined one-time mistress, Madame de Pompadour, brought the concept of a modern bedroom into the palace, while the emerging bourgeoisie in Holland, and then England, built houses with smaller and more private bedrooms. And, more recently, the Hollywood film of the 1930s brought glamour, fantasy and dream into the bedroom.
The presence of a sumptuous four-poster bed or a richly decorated oriental couch in a salon is very attractive. It brings a strong festive and colorful look to any room. El Masry and Azabawy have designed an opulent divan surrounded on three sides with richly sculpted wooden panels. The sofa itself is multi functional because it is made out of a wooden chest of drawers covered with an elegant mattress and decorated with colorful cushions.
Alkhatoun Gallery, which has an outlet, Alqahira, situated in the trendy Zamalek area of Cairo, displays interesting showcases for storage purposes. The cabinet has always been featured in every golden age of furniture from baroque to rococo, to regency and to art deco. Yet, in the last quarter of the 20th century, cabinets disappeared. The minimalist trend of the 1980s resulted in mainly low, unobtrusive furniture that remained the standard for the following 15 years. The cabinet, however, has made a startling comeback at this year’s major design events. Designers are not only playing with scale and material but also with form.
El Masry and Azabawy have designed a multifunctional storage cabinet similar to the tall (over 2.5m high) walnut Estense cabinet by architect Michele De Lucchi. It consists of a tower of flexible wooden boxes, open on one side, which can glide on the left or right hand side, and is custom made.
The cabinet is an opportunity for a maker to express his/her talent. It offers endless creative possibilities where form, function and materiel are concerned. Experts in the field believe that the height of the present cabinets could have a practical reason. The current economy and the housing market are difficult, so moving is increasingly complicated. People tend to spend more time at home and make the most of what they already have. Furthermore, a tall cabinet maximizes space by offering more storage room on a small footprint. The Alkhatoun multipurpose cabinet isn’t only about putting things out of sight, it has a striking sculptural form, with its open boxes extended on the left and right side, which are a pleasure to look at.
It is not easy to define ethnic décor, but you know it when you see it. It’s eclectic, inclusive, colorful and unique. The pieces found at both Alkhatoun and Alqahira galleries are moderately priced, so they are an ideal choice for young couples, expatriates and anyone wishing to decorate a house within a reasonable budget.
From / arabs news .

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