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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Sirocco: Eclectic Lighting Shop in Zamalek
Sirocco is the name given to the Mediterranean wind which can hit Northern Africa with hurricane speeds, leaving a dry trail of dust behind it. It is also the name of a lighting and furniture shop on Shagaret El Dor street in Zamalek. Looking up from the road, Sirocco appears to be on the first floor of an apartment block and caught our attention with its large windows showing off some of their intricate drop-down lighting.
The entrance to the shop is in fact on the ground floor but, immediately, you are greeted by a staircase to the showroom above. Hanging down from the ceiling above it were an assortment of different sized Moroccan style light shades, hung at different heights from a mirrored centre point. These were a particularly detailed set which were circular and made from a silver metal. The cutout shapes and holes created an interesting shadow on the wall and oozed of good workmanship. Despite this being an excellent ensemble, each shade is sold individually and they range from 1000LE to 1750LE, depending on its size. However, this style of light shade is not uncommon in Cairo and were very similar to beautiful ones we've seen elsewhere – for a fraction of the price.There was another similar collection, but in a boudoir style; square, rouched material shades with gems dangling from the underside. These were available in both a classic dusty pink or a more sultry black. Although these could be purchased individually, the selection of six hanging together would cost a total of 7400LE. The same style of shades had also been used as wall lamps, hung against a dark wood framed mirror to reflect the maximum amount of light and are sold at 1350LE each, including the mirror.
We also spotted some designer-esque coffee tables, including a dark wood one with a cleverly built in magazine rack for 2400LE.An impressive marble sink was priced at 9600LE, whilst a gold, velvet, sleigh shaped chaise longue cost 6500LE. A large, round mirror with mosaic tiles around the edge was priced at 1800LE and a large painting by Karim Abdel Malik would set you back a whopping 10,000LE. Brightly coloured cushions range from 90LE to 190LE, but unfortunately, the other fashionable accessories on show were not for sale.
Sirocco has hit Cairo at high-speed with their pretty light fittings and couture furniture, and may well leave other competitors biting the dust. Although some pieces can be found cheaper elsewhere, we'd recommend taking a look at the quality items on offer.
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.