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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
El Shazly: Design Your Own Furniture in Dokki
Furnishing your house can be the utmost shopping experience or a ticket to hell. Or, to be more accurate: it depends on how lucky you are with finding the right furniture shop. So does El Shazly qualify as such?
Situated on the relatively obscure side-street of Omar Ibn El Khattab, El Shazly isn’t that easily locatable yet at the same time, it’s also hard to miss since you’d seldom find furniture shops in this area.
The display window is not the most eye-catching. Despite the beautiful items available on display, their jam-packed arrangement might be a turn-off at first glance. Once entering the shop, you realize that this cramming technique is more of a necessity than a choice due to its small size.
However, the furniture remains a force to be reckoned with. Styles range from classic to modern to comfy American. A large off-white classically designed chair that has contemporary silver lining costs 4900LE, while a set made up of a three-person love seat and a two-person one with beechwood structures costs around 4400LE. As for tea-tables, El Shazly has a good variety of them, with prices falling within the range of 1000LE.
It must be noted though that a huge portion of El Shazly is completely dedicated to kitchens. A modern brick-red kitchenette with silver accessories measuring 1.2 metres costs around 3400LE. While a classic, dark kitchen (12 meters) could reach 16,000LE, excluding the cost of the interior accessories.
El Shazly doesn’t just stop at that; providing a custom-made furniture option, the shop pretty much becomes the client’s oyster. They can have any piece made for you, whether you go ready with the desired design or have it picked out from one of their catalogues.
El Shazly deals with Print Shop as their standard textiles’ supplier. Nevertheless, you can bring your own textiles if you do not wish to use Print Shop’s. The latter option would translate to both widening your choice of textiles and sometimes even decreasing the cost of the piece.
Being a furniture shop, El Shazly has no price-tags whatsoever. Yet, their salesperson was extremely nice, helpful and knowledgeable about the furniture.
Overall, if you’re looking for a cost-friendly furniture supplier flexible enough to give you the upper hand in designing your own furniture, while also providing above-average quality, then you’ve definitely found your match.
The Cairo shopping scene is mixed bag, but hidden gems can be found all over the city, especially if one’s following the fashionable, vintage trend. Wandering down quiet Hassan Assem Street in Zamalek, we stumbled across O-M; a unique shop displaying some dusty, vintage and very beautiful pieces – namely home accessories. The shop is small but covers two floors and the glass front exposes the entire space.
After brushing off the wave of dust that hit us as we entered, we felt as though we’d been transported into a spectacular Aladdin’s cave of sorts. The owner and artist, Mahmoud Abdelwahab, was sitting at his desk, busily transforming an old metal shisha into an ornate light fitting.
Other lighting creations were hung from the ceilings, made from copper and metal with beads, alabaster or glass shades. A vintage oil lamp, transformed into an electric table lamp with an alabaster shade, was priced at 400LE, whilst its twin, with an unusual salt shade, was 500LE.
We enquired about having a large custom-made lighting fixture for a stairwell, using 20 assorted alabaster shades and Abdelwahab quoted between 4000LE-5000LE, ready in two weeks and handmade of course. The choice of material and chaining was offered, as well as the promise that modifications could be made later, if we so wished.
Every inch of the shop is used to display his astonishing products; mirrors, antique tapestries and art work (200LE+) line the walls, whilst even the beautiful mosaic display tables are for sale.
A giant, hand-sewn, black and gold tapestry was priced at 700LE, despite its slightly fraying edges – tell-tale signs of its old age. The largest mosaic-topped dining table was priced at 5400LE, however, Abdelwahab assured us he could make any shape, size and design that we required. The same applied to an elaborate Oriental chest of drawers (4000LE) made from vintage balcony balustrades.
Several different styles of coasters were available (30LE/each), too; some were funky mosaic designs, whilst others were made from wood encased with glass. There was also a collection made from photographs of iconic actors and actresses. Unique gift cards made using vintage photographs of Egypt were for sale at just 10LE.
Hand-crafted, beaded necklaces, bracelets (25LE+) and earrings were also on display. A chunky red, turquoise and silver, statement necklace was priced at 125LE. Upstairs we found more of the same, including hand-decorated ceramic plates and tiles, several hippie-type material pouches, some designed to hold sunglasses whilst others would be better suited to make-up or toiletries (40LE-75LE). We even noticed some old journals from the 1970’s, priced at 30LE.
Quality, vintage, handmade products like those sold at O-M are considered both beautiful, precious and a rare commodity in other parts of the world. Mahmoud Abdelwahab certainly has talent and is able to dedicate his life to his passion, every piece slightly different from another, resulting in exceptional, decorative and functional home accessories.