Sign in using your account with
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Castle Art Gallery: Asian-themed Home Accessories in Zamalek
On Hassan Assem Street in Zamalek, an orange glow spills onto the street. A shop window is so filled with lanterns that at first glance, you’d think that’s all they sell here. However, customers who venture into Castle Art Gallery may be in for a surprise.
There is little to nothing about the newly opened shop that is reminiscent of an art gallery, so right off the bat we’re confused. They are decidedly not in the business of dealing art, or any artisan products. However, it is not just the misnomer that has us perplexed. The large collection of resin ash trays with figures of women in suggestive poses makes us wonder who their target customer is. Especially when juxtaposed with decorations that you would expect to find in a child’s room such as brightly coloured mobiles.
The collection of products that they sell seems to follow a Far Asian theme; offering souvenirs and trinkets made of wood, bamboo and plastic, and imported from China, India and Indonesia.
However, if you are in the market for home accessories and souvenirs that have little to do with Cairo, Castle Art Gallery is a good spot to find it. Shelves are nearly overflowing with knick-knacks and trinkets, mostly made of plastic and resin, such as various sizes of tribal face masks and small statues. Colourful resin coasters and decorative trays (90LE) are displayed next to a collection of wooden elephant figures in various sizes, as charming, egg-shaped glass lamps fill the room with multicoloured light. At the door entrance, quaint hanging strings of little elephants and other figures would make perfect decorations for a balcony or window, while photo albums (105LE) are wrapped in plastic to protect the twine and wood embellished covers.
Castle Art Gallery’s window display is definitely eye-catching: the window is cramped with lit star-shaped lanterns made of brightly coloured paper, which come in two sizes for 15LE and 35LE. Their bright colours and reasonable prices make these lanterns great for adding a fun touch to a child’s bedroom or for decorating a party.
If Castle Art Gallery pared down their selection to the fanciful lighting and some of the more quality trinkets, it could be a great shop. Still, take the time to browse through the shelves to find a few gems.
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.