Dalia Sadany Dalia Sadany
is an Egyptian architect and interior designer who creates sophisticated, contemporary spaces for her residential and commercial sector clients. Dalia, provides a full service, design and build solution following the ancient, Master Builder approach to construction, a process which sees the architect retain responsibility for the project from conception to construction to handover. Dalia has developed a group of company partnerships under the umbrella Dezines, comprising Dezines, which offers architecture, interior design and landscaping services; DECON, which specialises in high-end interiors; and GUSH a bespoke furniture maker. Handmade in Egypt, the bespoke furniture collection features contemporary coffee, side tables and chairs. Accents and decorative features inspired by Egyptian folklore adorn some of the designs, as do inscriptions of calligraphy. Dalia's furniture was awarded the 2012 A' Design Award in Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design category in Milan, Italy.
7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jeweller, Azza Fahmy
, whose elegant, statement designs you cannot help but visualise adorning the necks and wrists of Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Like the legendary ancient culture that influences it, Azza Fahmy jewellery is elegant and regal, featuring handcrafted intricate detailing in gold and silver precious metals, and vibrant, shimmering gemstones, that help lend a contemporary edge.
[Image credit: Six Strand Floral and Fruits Collection - Azza Fahmy]
Azza Fahmy began her jewellery career forty years ago when a book on 'classical jewellery during Europe's Middle Ages' compelled her to learn more about jewellery making. Turning away from a career in interior design and further formal studies, Azza chose instead to learn her craft amidst the passageways of Khan El Khalili in Cairo, becoming an apprentice to one of Egypt's most highly skilled master craftsman. This was during the seventies, and in pursuing an apprenticeship; Azza was challenging some of the cultural and socially acceptable expectations of the time. After two years of hands-on training, Azza went on to study more of the theoretical side of jewellery making in London, courtesy of a British Council fellowship, returning to Cairo in the early eighties where she set up her eponymous workshop, Azza Fahmy, assisted by two workers.
[Images credit: top, Classic Silver and Gold Earrings; bottom left, Silver Tassel Chain; bottom right, Bracelets - Azza Fahmy]
Azza is inspired by traditional Egyptian jewellery, and during the early years of her workshop began to explore the culture and history of Islamic design, combining her findings with a love of architecture seen in sleek sculptural forms, resulting in a distinctive signature style that has awarded Azza an international reputation as the leading jewellery designer in North Africa and the Middle Eastern region. Poetry is another of Azza's passions, and led to the sought-after Azza Fahmy signature 'Culture Collection', which sees meaningful and inspirational verses traditional poems, rendered in elegant calligraphy and inscribed into bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and key chains.
[Image credit: top, Filigree Winged Scarab Pendant; bottom, Winged Khepri Scarab Ring - Azza Fahmy]
The connection between culture and the designs produced at Azza Fahmy is very much at the heart of the business, and has seen Azza become a cultural ambassador for country, earning Azza the title; 'First lady of cultural jewellery'. This role has seen Azza travel extensively, sharing her insight and creations in more than two hundred international exhibitions. To day Azza Fahmy, employs over 170 people in roles that include handcrafting, designing and marketing.
[Image credit: Pharoanic Vulture Collar - Azza Fahmy]
...jewellery fit for a queen
Azza Fahmy jewellery priced at: £100-£4,280For further information about Azza Fahmy and purchase enquiries visit: www.azzafahmy.com
No electricity meaning no lights, no TV and definitely no sockets to charge your phone/laptop/iPod or other media devices, Egyptian luxury eco-lodge Adrère Amellal
is the ultimate get-a-way from it all; an enchanting place that blends into the spectacular setting of a desert oasis.
An eight hour drive from Cairo, Adrère Amellal emerges out of the desert landscapes of Siwa, Egypt's largest oasis, which is home to natural hot springs, date palm plantations, salt lakes ancient ruins; and has a strong Berber culture. Adrère Amellal means 'white mountain' in the local Berber dialect and signifies the Lodge's location at the base of a white sandstone mountain. Built into the side of the mountain using mud and salt bricks, Adrère Amellal is a sprawling complex, whose shuttered windows overlook the shimmering salt lake, Lake Siwa. Not unlike an ancient biblical town, an aerial view looks like the Lodge has been carved out of the landscape.
Based on the concept of connecting nature and heritage, Adrère Amellal was created by Egyptian environmentalist, Dr Mounir Neamatalla, and is part of a local sustainable development plan, that supports initiatives such as creating sustainable livelihoods and enabling positive conservation efforts within the local area. The construction of the Lodge utilised traditional construction techniques and made use of natural materials. In addition to the mud and salt bricks, palm wood was used, whilst date palms form the roofing. The construction is designed to enable natural ventilation, and a natural spring supplies water to the Lodge and also feeds a swimming pool that is located in the tranquil setting of a palm grove. Handcrafted by local artisans, doors and furniture are made from olive wood.
[Image credits: top, Bedroom; and bottom, Courtyards - Adrère Amellal]
The Lodge comprises forty private rooms each different from the other, they vary in size allocated according to the number of guests staying. Some have balconies or roof terraces that come with beds for those wishing to sleep under the stars. Furnishings are simple, yet comfortable; linen sheets on the beds, cushion covered seating areas carved into the walls and the stone floors are covered with locally woven Berber rugs. Guests are encouraged to explore and the Lodge features many nooks and crannies in the form of open courtyards and sun drenched roof terraces.
A mix of Egyptian and some western dishes, meals are feasts taken in different places, one night atop a roof terrace, the next in an open courtyard. Food is either local or homemade using ingredients from the Lodge's own organic farm. Breakfast is taken by the lake, and lunch by the shade of the palm trees surrounding the pool. Afternoons bring trips into the desert, and at night the sense of mystery is heightened with the lighting of hundreds of lanterns and candles made from beeswax, placed to light your way around the Lodge.
In the stillness of the desert, the ultimate luxury comes from spending time in a place that allows you to just be.
Additional information sourced from:
Rates as shown on the websites below start from around: £282/USD$450 based on two people sharing per night. Food, drink and excursions are all included in the price.
For further information about Adrère Amellal and bookings visit: http://adrereamellal.net
Bookings can be made via:
Jeanne Habashi - Le Caire
Ancient Egyptians were among the early pioneers of cosmetology as they continually sought ways to enhance beauty, and preserve youthful appearances in a society where physical appearance was of paramount importance and whose women were fame for their beauty. Plants and natural ingredients were used to create skincare products that included moisturisers and anti-wrinkle creams, and over four thousand years later have inspired a premium luxury skincare line; Jeanne Habashi - Le Caire
. The company was founded in 2006 by Jeanne Habashi who is originally from France but moved to Cairo in 2004, and there became captivated by the beauty secrets of the ancient Egyptians; researching the history Jeanne came across some papyrus documents showing detailed formulas of some of the ancient beauty products and although some of the ingredients were no longer suitable for modern formulas... ox gall anyone?... Jeanne sought to combine the latest technologies with ingredients she imagined the ancient Egyptians Queens... think, Nefertiti and Cleopatra... would still use today.
Jeanne employs a holistic approach to skincare using natural ingredients that have been linked to Egyptian Antiquity such as White Lotus, known for its energising, nourishing and brightening properties, and Neroli a precious essential oil extracted from the orange blossom which is said to have relaxing, purifying and soothing values. Caviar is another luxury ingredient used in the anti wrinkle formulations, and is said to possess energy and nutrients that help rejuvenate the skin. The Jeanne Habashi - Le Caire skincare line comprises facial treatments across three sub-rituals, each taliored towards different skin types and requirements: Purifying Ritual, Moisturising Ritual, Anti-Ageing Ritual; and a Body & Senses Ritual that offers body-care and wellness across body lotions and aromatherapy oils. Jeanne Habashi - Le Caire has developed products for local hotels and spas including the Kempinski Nile hotel in Cairo to create a range of luxurious amenities for the hotel. Jeanne Habashi - Le Caire was a recipient of the prestigious Cartier Women's Initiative Awards
... and, as the company says premium products 'fit for a queen!'
Additional details:For further information about Jeanne Habashi and order enquiries visit: www.jeannehabashi.com
Doing a bit of light reading I was flicking through Camilla Morton's 'A Year in High Heels' when I happened to land on the page about Christian Louboutin
on Egypt. The French shoe designer has a home there, in the desert near the city of Aswân, and inspired by the beauty and tranquility of his surroundings is the place he goes to to draw all his shoe collections, I guess away from all the distractions of modern living and fast paced glamour of the industry he operates in. Recalling his first visit to Egypt at the age of fifteen, Christian tries to go every two months for a few weeks throughout the year and in addition to designing his collections takes the time to rest and practice yoga. Just a few days ago my sister and I were oohing and aaahing over his latest collections, and whilst looking for further information on his home in Egypt I was rewarded with the US edition of Elle Decor's current January/February 2012 issue, running a feature on the designer's Egyptian retreat.
Situated on the West Bank of Luxor near the Temple Medinet Habu, and with views that include the sacred mountains of Theba and an all green oasis, Christian's house used to be a craftsman's workshop, and inspired by the Egyptian architect and artist Olivier Sednaoui was built with earthen bricks using an ancient Egyptian technique going back thousands of years. Whilst rebuilding, a process Christian admitted was a nightmare, Christian took the opportunity to add another floor and a roof terrace to the house to take advantage of the stunning views.
Detailing in the naturally coloured walls, carved feature windows and elegant archways has resulted in a rustic haven that displays another side to the designer. The rooms are sparsely furnished, decorated with antique and traditional furniture and objects collected on Christian's travels and include handmade furniture from Cameroon, hand woven rugs and inlaid tables from Morocco and intricately embroidered fabrics from Uzbekistan elements of which I pick up in the Mendoza and Devidas shoes from the designer's Spring/Summer 2012 Cruise Collection. Laid with terracotta flooring throughout, the result is a rustic haven, a home that is unfussy, a contrast to his often detailed designs. Evenings are enjoyed around a fireplace in an open-air courtyard, a place that Christian acknowledges as the heart of the home. Allowing himself a modern touch, on the rooftop terrace you will find a state-of-the-art telescope placed to gaze at the stars, no doubt dreaming up all those gorgeous red soled creations.
...simple yet inspirational
Additional information sourced from:
Morton, Camilla. (2008). A Year in High Heels. Hodder & Stoughton.www.elledecor.com/decorating
For further information about Christian Louboutin visit: www.christianlouboutin.com
To read the fonline feature visit: www.elledecor.com
Ghalia Alia Mahmoud
A year ago the Arab nations of North Africa were on the verge of momentous change and amidst the uncertainty of a post-revolutionary Egypt emerged a symbol of the new nation in the form of Ghalia Alia Mahmoud
, a former maid and cook turned celebrity chef. Ghalia’s warm personality and humble beginnings inspired ordinary everyday Egyptians, instilling a sense of hope in the future of their nation. Thanks to a 60 minute cooking show aired three times a week on the newly launched 25TV
- a revitalised Egyptian television station that was capturing and reflecting on life and issues in the new Egypt - in a few short months Ghalia went from being an unknown to a celebrity stopped by people in the streets as she went shopping for her ingredients and other things.
It was while working for a family in Cairo that Ghalia’s talents as a chef were noticed, her employer happened to be the sister of a TV Executive at 25TV who mentioned Ghalia to her brother. Deciding to take a chance on her, Ghalia was given her own cooking show, which is presented in a relaxed informal style. Winning over her audience with her personality Ghalia tells stories, sings traditional songs, offers tips and advice and even has her family join her in the kitchen creating a homely, inclusive ambience. To help her feel at home on camera the studio setting was modelled on Ghalia’s own kitchen. Casting aside the fancy props used by many celebrity chefs, Ghalia cooks in simple ‘tin pots with no handles, on propane burners lit with a match, in a kitchen without measuring cups’, and connects with her audience by cooking authentic Egyptian recipes that are easy to achieve using cheap readily available ingredients that she and so many like her can afford, an important factor in tough economic times.
I don’t speak or understand Arabic, but when watching a clip on CNN’s Inside Africa
, the look on her face is just one of pure delight and passion for what she does.
…Ghalia Mahmoud, an inspiration for many on dreams coming true no matter how big or small
To find out more about Ghalia Mahmoud and her TV show visit: www.25online.tv
Snob - African Furniture and Interior Accessories
I stumbled upon the Green Tea Design's
blog arriving on a page displaying some stunning bulbous Egyptian pendant lights adorned with intricate patterns, and followed the link through to Toronto based interiors boutique, Snob
who have a whole range of gorgeous interior furniture and accessories to covet. Sourced from across the African continent Snob's products are personally selected by owner Denise Zidel who brings away with her the story each craftsman and designer has to tell in the form of a beautifully crafted object. The philosophy of Snob is to convey one of life's simple pleasures; the one that comes from being surrounded by things that have been lovingly handcrafted, serving to connect us to each other and the world in which we inhabit.
[Image source: top, Snob Egyptian Pendant Lights - The Green Tree; bottom, Egyptian Light Pendants - Snob]
Handmade from solid copper the Egyptian pendant lights are as the name suggests, made in Egypt and come in a choice of nickel, silver, brass or oxide plated finishes. Due to the handmade nature of the pendants the size, shape and decoration may vary slightly making for a beautiful unique object. For added dramatic effect cluster them together at various heights suspend them from the ceiling; the higher the better to make a stunning focal point. When I look at them I am reminded of the post I did a while back on the equally stunning Tunisian pendants from Dido Designs
. Some of the other beautiful and unusual interior treats that captured my attention included products from Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
[Image credits: top, Swirl mirror*; centre, Angel Lantern*, Bamileke Mahogany Table, Cameroon, Circle Table/Bench*; bottom, Terracota Pots, Burkina Faso - Snob]*=African made but exact origin unspecified
… a veritable treasure trove of African handicrafts perfect for bringing a sense of being into the modern home
For further information about Snob visit: www.snobstuff.com
Hanan Yanny/Wola Nani/Exclusive Roots
I know recycled magazine mirrors have been around for a few years now, but I think they still look good and came across some on the UK based charity retailer, Exclusive Roots
who sell fairly traded and ethical jewellery, clothing, gifts and home ware. Hand rolled tubes made from recycled magazines give structure to these contemporary sunburst mirrors. Designed by Egyptian jewellery designer, Hanan Yanny
the mirrors are produced by Wola Nani
a non-profit organisation in Khayelitsha, South Africa that works to bring relief to the communities hardest hit by HIV. I covered Wola Nani in an earlier post about their ‘Dreams for Africa’ chair.
Jewellery designer Hanan Yanny considers herself a global citizen; an Egyptian born in Saudi Arabia and raised between the UK and Nigeria Hanan has travelled extensively gathering inspiration along the way. Now living in the UK, Hanan previously lived in South Africa for fifteen years and during her time there became internationally known for designing paper jewellery and home accessories from recycled magazines. Whilst in South Africa Hanan began working with the women of Wola Nani and although now UK-based still works with the women to produce her recycled paper products.
[Image credit: Exclusive Roots]
With shops in Oxford and Leamington Spa, UK Exclusive Roots is the trading arm of UK-based registered charity Tabeisa. For over sixteen years Tabeisa has worked with people in disadvantaged communities across Africa supporting the development of small businesses and social enterprises and as a result have supported over 2000 small businesses to date. Tabeisa’s retail outlets help provide an access to markets whilst tackling the issue of fair prices and stock products from some well-known and up-and-coming producers and artisans from the across continent.
...the top mirror would make for a lovely striking feature on a plain white wall
Price on the website £40
For further information visit: www.exclusiveroots.com
To find out about Hanan Yanny visit: www.hananyanny.com
To find out about Wola Nani visit: www.wolanani.co.za
With over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards to his name and having worked in over 35 countries, Karim Rashid
has been described as one of the most prolific designers of his generation. Half Egyptian and half English, Karim was born in Cairo and raised in England and Canada. In 1993, after studying in Canada and later Italy, Karim opened his design studio in New York City, designing products that span multi-disciplines including: interiors, product, fashion, packaging, identity, art and space.
Definitely a man who is futuristic in his outlook, Karim’s work is incredibly tactile, progressive, functional, ultra modern and fun; playing with texture, form and shape. Through his work Karim seeks to encourage people's participation in the contemporary world. He looks to a world full of real contemporary inspiring objects, spaces and experiences; and believes that design is about the aesthetic, emotional, sensorial and experiential betterment of our human lives.
With an international client base comprising some of the world’s leading brands, Karim’s work has included exhibitions for Deutsche Bank and Audi; and has seen design collaborations with SodaStream where he produced a limited edition design in 2010, packaging design for Method, luxury goods for Swarovski, brand identity for Citibank and Hyundai and high tech product design for LaCie and Samsung to name a few.
In recognition of his talent and contribution to the world of cutting-edge contemporary design, Karim Rashid's work is exhibited in art galleries around the world, including designs in 20 permanent collections... and, if you thought all this designing would keep Karim Rashid fairly busy think again... he is also a sought after DJ.
With so much work in his online portfolio I had a hard time choosing which images to display, his website is definitely not one you can go through in one sitting.
To find out more about Karim Rashid visit: www.karimrashid.com
To read an interview with Karim Rashid visit: www.designboom.com
The Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo and Luxor, often referred to as the ‘world’s greatest museum’ with its well preserved monuments from great civilisations past, are two well-trodden routes attracting visitors to Egypt drawn by the culture of Ancient Egypt and magnificence and mystery surrounding the pyramids, however taking the time to deviate from the norm uncovers the hidden gems along the way.
[Image credits: Oberoi Hotels.com] So, in addition to soaking up the must-sees, take some timeout to discover the historical significance of Aswan situated on the Eastern bank of the Nile and said to be graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile. Life here is slower and more relaxed deemed the place to get away from it all. Part of the ancient Kingdom of Nubia, which played a central role in Egypt's development, Aswan has a very rich history to be explored and is home to some of Egypt’s most important monuments. Whilst in Aswan visit sites such as Elephantine Island, one of the most ancient sites in Egypt or the Nubia Museum. Take pleasure in exploring the bustling souk or visiting one of the many floating restaurants. [Image credits: Oberoi Hotels.com]
For those looking to indulge, a leisurely cruise down the Nile is one of the best ways to go. Set sail from Luxor to Aswan aboard The Oberoi Zahra Luxury Nile Cruiser, where spacious accommodation awaits you in a choice of 25 luxury cabins that have large windows to take in the panoramic views the Nile has to offer or if privacy is your thing two luxury suites come complete with separate living rooms, private terraces and jacuzzi’s.
[Image credits: Oberoi Hotels.com]
Take advantage of specially created itineraries to help you make the most of your visit and later ease away the aches and pains of a day spent catching up on history by making full use of the onboard spa of which The Oberoi Zahra is currently the only cruiser on the Nile with one. With menus that change on a daily basis gourmet dining is offered should you desire spending your evenings onboard.
Additional details: To learn more about visiting Egypt visit: www.touregypt.net/aswan An 11-day private tour with coxandkings starts from £3,195 per person, including 7-nights aboard The Oberoi Zahra and flights from London. For further information on The Oberoi Zahra, prices and bookings visit: www.oberoihotels.com