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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Kare Design Cairo: Home to Design-Savvy Furniture Rarities
Most furniture and home accessories stores in Cairo lack a sense of what is current. Kare Design Cairo is one of the few stores going against the grain and making products available that are trendy, funky with a great sense of humour.
A global German brand that opened its Cairo stores in 2009, Kare Design Cairo’s style is modern with an edge. They sell eclectic home accessories and furniture pieces that are drawn from different ages and countries. Entering the shop is like stepping into Andy Warhol’s factory, but with colourful Buddhas and images of the English Queen.
In the Heliopolis branch, most of the home accessories are on the main floor. Miniature geometric vases and large retro colonial vases form a line above a row of luminaries, shaped like 19th-century lanterns and milk cartons. Other fun accessories include hand-sized piggy banks shaped like the symbols of UK and US currency, as well as ashtray tables in the shape of life-sized fire hydrants.
The walls are adorned with large mirrors of different styles. From regal and romantic 18th-century wooden frames to geometric and industrial metal frames, there’s probably a mirror for anyone’s fancy.
Upstairs, large prints of James Dean, cute bulldogs and scenes of New York City are hung by funky clocks. One clock has two hands and displays four oversized numbers clockwise: three, six, nine and twelve, making for a minimalist modern style.
Kare’s signature of funky-meets-sleek is also reflected in their furniture. A beautiful black vanity is disguised as a side desk. Upon lifting a portion of the table, it nicely props up a mirror and vanity compartments. Oversized desk lamps, of various styles spring over sleek black vinyl couches for a retro-vintage feel. Tufted sofas, recliner couches and armchairs are displayed on area rugs made of palm-sized circle appliqués. Other fun furniture pieces include sitting benches that look like they were basket-weaved but are made out of metal.
Kare Design Cairo is a great furniture and home accessories store. You can count on Kare to be modern, current and have a sense of humour. Lets be honest, who doesn’t want to live in a space with those qualities?
The price point is expensive, though, compared to most Egyptian furniture places. Furniture pieces like vanities start at around 7000LE and floor lamps start at 2400LE. That being said, if you’re shopping at Kare on a budget, they have some affordable items like the piggy banks for 50LE.
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.