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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Badawya: Hand-Crafted Furniture in Maadi
Hand-woven traditional Egyptian carpets, intricate oriental brass chandeliers and sturdy wicker furniture are just a few of the things available at Badawya, the home decor and gift shop inconspicuously nestled on the basement floor of a Maadi residential building.
This shop has been around for many years but due to its somewhat tricky location – right after the bridge leading out of Maadi – potential customers zoom by too fast to notice. Then, of course, there is the parking problem. However, if you are curious enough to make your way to Badawya by foot, you will be rewarded.
The first thing that you will notice is the large collection of wicker furniture lining the steps of the entrance. Badawya’s wicker tables and chairs are perfect for outdoor use and they sell at half the price of those being sold at designer furniture outlets. This would be a great shop to swing by if you are looking to spruce up your balcony, terrace or garden. They also sell a few pieces that are meant for the inside of your home; mainly the bathroom.
One of their most popular pieces is a storage unit with a sturdy frame of dark wood and bamboo wicker drawers that easily slip in and out. These storage units come in a variety of different colours and shades upon request and are very reasonably priced between 400LE and 800LE depending on the size and the number of shelves or baskets.
A traditional kaf fatma is made of tin and decorated with simple Arabic calligraphy or a blue eye sells for about 15LE, while brass-framed mirrors start at 30LE. Badawya also sells a few random items such as galabeyas, leather jackets for men and baby cribs. All of the products are made locally and by hand, which adds a certain charm to the rather cramped and crowded shop.
The traditional brass chandeliers that have recently grown in popularity can also be found at a bargain price compared to other shops, with some of them starting at 300LE. If chandeliers are too imposing but you would still like to add an oriental element to your home, then take advantage of the other smaller lighting options available.
If you find yourself wandering around Maadi after eating at the nearby Bua Khao Thai restaurant or the Cellar Door Bistro, make sure that you take some time to wander around the street corner and take a peek.
The common notion in the Egyptian market that the word ‘Imported’ stands for good quality has lead many business owners to neglect Egyptian-made products and even take pride in offering the costumer the imported ones. Now that almost everything we buy has been manufactured abroad, one can’t help but be impressed when finding quality products with the label ‘Made in Egypt’.
Among the local brands that are swimming against the tide, Inca & Co. offers a variety of furniture textiles and fabrics, which are designed by Egyptian artists and mostly manufactured in Egypt. Located on 26th of July Street next to Drinkies in Zamalek, the spacious shop well-organised and efficiently set-out. On the left, is a collection of fabrics is displayed on wall-mounted metal tubes, while other products, like cushions, are shelved on the other side. At the centre of the shop, a number of swatch books are displayed on a rectangular island.
One of the collections that can be found in the swatch books is ‘The Road to Marrakesh’, whose relatively light fabrics can be perfect for beach house furniture. From this collection, we liked a white fabric embroidered in black with a simple floral design (340LE per metre).
With a more complex design of flowers and birds, ‘Mexico Passion’ (460LE per metre) boasts a heavier material, durable for daily-use furniture. Not as heavy is the curtain-suitable ‘Winter Dust’ (325LE per metre), whose geometrical patterns come in various colours, including beige and light blue.
Besides fabrics, Inca & Co. has a versatile collection of products, including cushions (medium 325LE / Large 375LE), poufs (1150LE) and mattresses of different shapes and size. From the latter we liked the over-sized squared mattress (1980LE), which can comfortably take two persons, as well as a more firm mattress for a single person (890LE).
And like any Textile shop, none of the displayed items are available for instant purchasing; while the fabrics are received four days after placing the order, other products take to 10 days, which you can customise by choosing the fabric and adding tassels for an extra fee of 65LE.
In the textiles business, both durability and design are of great importance. And while Inca & Co. designs mainly cater to modern settings, the diverse collection promises good quality and taste – but at a price.