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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Tiffany Lighting: Pricey Lighting in Dokki
When you think of somewhere to go shopping, any kind of shopping, the first place you’re likely to lean towards is Zamalek – simply because it’s the most obvious. However, other districts offer pretty much the same thing and usually at lower prices - or so we thought. Heading into Tiffany Lighting on Mohy El Din Abou El Ezz in Dokki, we hoped we’d discovered one of those great budget spots – we were wrong.
What initially caught our eye were the countless table lamps seen through the window. In a variety of sizes, colours and patterns, the fixtures tempted us to go inside and see what else this shop has to offer.
More spread out than it would seem from the outside, Tiffany is stacked with all sorts of lighting. Apart from the discovery that they carry some rather extravagant designs, they also carry hefty price tags. A simple earthy brown-based lamp goes for 1650LE, while one with a white-washed effect goes for 980LE. At the lower price of 330LE you could grab yourself a smaller lamp with a stripy pattern, but the difference in price is obvious.
A pretty tie-dye like table lamp (850LE) caught our eye, as did one with a mismatched, patched base covered in part with crystal pieces and the other with contrasting bronze ones (820LE). If you prefer more of a classic approach to your lighting, Tiffany has enough designs that you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, like one with a flower pattern on it (1750LE).
They also have quite a selection of classic chandeliers; in fact, they almost cover the entire ceiling. A typical crystal one costs about 8000LE upwards and while this style is a little outdated, there were some more demure ones that could be put to good use.
Our favourite of the ceiling lamps are by far a collection that feels like mix of contemporary and classic styles. While they come off as a chandelier, essentially made of glass, they have a far more geometric quality to them and mostly come with a dusty copper structure. Their price tag ranged about 2000LE.
You can also find a collection of summer house and outdoor lighting as well. Wall fixtures made of what is meant to look like rock light up quite nicely and cost around 200LE-300LE. For a little higher at 600LE-700LE you can find lighting for gardens specifically, where the fixture is placed in the ground.
Other than these options, Tiffany also carries a selection of bathroom sconces (300LE-400LE), wall fixtures for reading (590LE) and some very nice lantern-like pieces that hang or stand that range the higher prices of 1650LE up to 2200LE.
While Tiffany offers quite a variety of lighting options, most of the tags carry pretty high prices and the fact that they are ‘Made in Hong Kong’ doesn’t help make sense of it. Even though we were looking forward to discovering an underground shop that won’t empty out our wallets, we still recommend it to those who can afford to spend that on their ambience.
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.