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Reform Studio’s Eco-Friendly Fashion Accessories Made In Egypt

  Reform Studio is an Egyptian based furniture and product design studio that I first featured on Atelier Fifty Five a couple of years ago. The company founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem focuses on sustainable design, using materials such as discarded plastic and cotton threads to create Plastex, their durable, eco-friendly material. The award-winning studio now introduces Torero a collection of eco-fashion satchels made out of the company’s signature fabric and crafted by the skillful hands of two craftsmen and two housewives. Torero is all about style with a purpose.  

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Africa.Now – Exploring Africa’s Creative Community With Design Indaba

  Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active […]

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Kheyameya Textile Project Celebrates The Ancient Art Of Egyptian Appliqué

  The ancient art Of Egyptian appliqué has inspired a textile project called Kheyameya. Kheyameya refers to the intricately stitched textiles made by the legendary Tentmakers of Cairo, highly skilled artists who for centuries have created appliqué textiles that were traditionally used to line the interior of tents. As time has passed the number of artists has dwindled and the Khayameya produced today are mainly for home furnishings or wall hangings for the tourist market.

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Reform Studio Creating Sustainable Egyptian Product And Furniture Design

Reform Studio is a sustainable Egyptian product and furniture design studio born out of a belief that design can help address challenging social issues, namely the problem of accumulating waste in Egypt. Reform Studio was founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem who along with design researcher Dina Amin started out by experimenting with various solutions and products to tackle the issue, and ended up creating Plastex, an award-winning eco-material made by weaving discarded plastic bags and threads. [Main image credit: Ahwa Collection – Reform Studio]

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Modern Islamic and North African Interior Design Inspiration

Visiting 100% Design in early autumn I came across Mica, a gallery and interiors design company that specialises in modern Islamic and North African interior design and contemporary arts. Based in the UK Mica was founded in 2009 by Reedah El-Saie. At 100% Design, and also Decorex, Reedah launched Mica’s debut contemporary Islamic home interiors collection entitled ‘MICA Zen’. The collection is rooted in traditional Islamic art & architecture and centres on the point of infinity, embodying the principles of beauty and balance. Reedah sought to fuse Eastern holistic designs with Western creativity to create a stylish collection of Islamic and North African interior design […]

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Zenza Mesmerising Egyptian Lamps And North African Decor

A trip to Egypt looking for interesting accessories for a new home accessories business called Zenza led to, not only a bag full of samples, but also a blossoming romance. Fast forward twenty years and Karin, who founded the company, together with her partner Hussein have grown the business into an inspiring boutique of beautifully crafted interior and personal products. From enticing jewel brights to shimmering metals Zenza’s collections include woven home textiles, exquisitely carved furniture, tableware, vases; and embellished mirrors, jewellery boxes, purses, and slippers inspired by craft cultures including north African decor.

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Dalia Sadany Contemporary Egyptian Furniture Design

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. She also specialises in contemporary Egyptian furniture design.

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Azza Fahmy Egyptian Jewellery Brand Inspired By Culture And Tradition

7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jewellery brand, Azza Fahmy, whose elegant, statement designs you cannot help but visualise adorning the necks and wrists of Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Egypt’s legendary queens. Like the ancient culture that influences it the Azza Fahmy jewellery brand 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]

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Luxury Africa Travel To Adrère Amellal Desert Eco-Lodge

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 luxury Africa travel destination that blends into the spectacular setting of a desert oasis. [Image source: Adrère Amellal Eco Lodge via Kiwi Collection] 

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Egypt Based Artist Gavin Worth Freestanding Wire Sculptures

It took me a heartbeat before I realised that what I was looking at was not in fact large-scale line drawings on a stark white wall, but instead freestanding wire sculptures that look like someone just took a pencil and started sketching in mid air. The evocative, three-dimensional drawings are the work of Egypt based artist Gavin Worth, whom I came across a few days ago courtesy of Aphro Chic.

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Jeanne Habashi Le Caire Egyptian Beauty Skin Care

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 Egyptian beauty skin care products that included moisturisers and anti-wrinkle creams, and over four thousand years later have inspired a premium luxury skin care line; Jeanne Habashi – Le Caire.

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Art In Action The Tentmakers of Cairo African Textile Art

Today sees the start of Art in Action a four-day annual celebration of art, artists and designers that has been running in the Oxfordshire countryside since 1977. Promoting diversity in creative disciplines, regions and cultures participation is by invite only and sees about 400 artists, designer makers, teachers, performers and musicians demonstrating and selling their creations to art lovers. Grouped into sections according to discipline. In the Commonwealth Art section Chapungu Sculpture Park is showcasing the work of, and presenting demonstrations from some of Zimbabwe’s master stone sculptors. Another section is the International Tent, which showcases artists drawn from across the globe and this […]

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Christian Louboutin Egyptian Interior Decoration Style

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 […]

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Modern African Food Ghalia Alia Mahmoud Egyptian Celebrity Chef

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 […]

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L’Occitane Packaging Inspired By West African Print Textiles

Escaping the crowds on Regent Street I ducked into L’Occitane in search of a few moments of respite. When it’s comes to tourist attractions London’s Regent Street is notoriously congested. I have been spending quite bit of the time in the area due to a current assignment and most lunchtimes have literally found myself doing battle as I try to make my way along… frustration is not the word, but in an attempt to avoid the crowds have found myself wandering off the beaten track, discovering some quiet oases in the process. One day however I wasn’t quite as lucky and got […]

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Snob Unique African Furniture and Interior Accessories

I stumbled upon the Green Tea Design’s blog arriving on a page that displayed 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 unique African furniture and interior 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 […]

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Designer Karim Rashid Cutting-Edge Contemporary Design

With over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards to his name and having worked in over 35 countries, product designer  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. [Image credit: Matrix Sofa System, 2009 – Karim Rashid]

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Luxury Africa Travel Cruising Nile With The Oberoi Zahra 

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 in search of adventure and luxury Africa travel 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.

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

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