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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Funktion: Cool and Funky Home Accessories in Zamalek
Located inside the Degla Shopping Centre on Hassan Sabry Street, Funktion might be a bit difficult to find. The entrance to the mall is located across from the Dutch Embassy and you will find Funktion on the second floor on your left-hand side. The shop interior is bright and clear, and it’s difficult to decide where to start because everything is so attractive. The right side of the shop has several chairs hanging on the walls, functioning as shelves. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the sale items were displayed here and the discounts reached up to 70% on certain items (we love, we love).
The other side of the shop has shelves filled with the coolest and funkiest pillows that we’ve encountered in Cairo. The pillows’ designs are best described as retro pop art with an artistic twist. One pillow sells for 285LE; not the cheapest you'll find in Cairo. There is also a section with the funniest accessories ever. How about chewing gum magnets for 95LE or a banana-shaped pan holder for 100LE? If you are more of a pizza fanatic, then slicing your pizza just became more fun with the saw-shaped pizza cutter for 110LE.
If you want to make your sushi meals a little funkier, you can buy Funktion’s drumstick-shaped chopsticks for 115LE. Their Lego-shaped cutlery (120LE) is a great option for a kid who is a pain at feeding time (or an adult who just doesn’t want to grow up). Other items include ice trays in hilarious shapes, photo frames and beauty cases. A small jewellery collection is displayed on the shop’s counter with bracelets starting at 50LE.
Aside from the kitchen stuff, there are lots of other trinkets and accessories for your home as well as your wardrobe, including calendars for 200LE and the best thing ever; customised Converse All Stars. Funktion works with a designer who has a portfolio of over 100 designs; and she hand-paints your shoes personally, making them the coolest and most original shoes that Cairo has ever seen. You can also request a personal design to be made.
The shop’s owner Lina is very friendly and welcoming, and she’s a designer herself too. This reviewer recommends that you pay a visit to this shop as it’s one of the best in town to buy something for your home or a gift for someone else’s.
As a street that encompassses the beauty and authenticity of Islamic Cairo with all its architectural treasures, a walk down El Muez Street in Khan El Khalili always leaves you inspired. With hundreds of handicrafts shops and bazaars selling a variety of gifts and souvenirs in the area, it it's hard not to stop by and shop.
Our last visit to the busy and vibrant street left us particularly drawn to a small boutique in El Muez Street selling colorful and beautifully crafted mosaic lighting called Bazaar Al Shaaban.
Inside Bazaar Al Shaaban, hundreds of colorful mosaic lamps sit along the shelves, while colourful brass lamps in different designs dangle from the ceiling, and look nothing short of stunning.
Most of the lanterns exhibited in the bazaar are inspired by different cultural aesthetics; lanterns inspired by Islamic architecture - some of which are shaped to resemble the dome of the mosque - and lamps derived from the Ottoman style, made from brass and mosaic stones, as well as Indian lanterns with colorful mosaic-carved roses stand out in particular.
Among our favourite pieces, however, the oval shaped, scattered-mosaic lamps colored in blue, red, white and green; create gorgeous reflections and light patterns in the dark.
Other interesting mosaic lamps include vase-shaped lanterns, mosaic lamps which resemble an upside-down drum and square shaped lanterns. We were particularly amused to see small mosaic balls with mystical lighting which looked like a gypsy’s crystal ball.
Prices of the lamps vary according to size, shape and style; small lamps sell for 70LE to 250LE and larger ones - with intricate copper and brass carvings - cost betwwen 400LE to 2500LE.
The pieces at Bazaar Al Shaaban are 100% handmade by Egyptian craftsmen, which the owners take great pride in. The lamps are perfect for adding a colorful touch to any room and also make for excellent gift ideas.