The relationship between Egypt and Italy is strong, partly because of their invasion of Egypt and all that, partly because of their peoples’ shared hot headedness and sometimes misunderstood passion. A linguistic relation is also found in how we use a lot of Italian words in our every day life. Words such as bagno which means “bathroom”, esta bene which means “it’s all good”, and roba vecchia which means “old stuff”.
Through time, roba vecchia has transformed into rubabikya. Stemming from that word came Robabecciah, The Informal City, Egypt’s choice of theme for the Egyptian pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Chosen by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, Robabecciah is to be curated by architects Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, architecture professor Cristiano Luchetti, art director and producer Giuseppe Moscatello, and art director Karim Moussa. It fits well with the Biennale theme of Freespace, and “proposes the theme of a redevelopment of spontaneous commercial spaces across the entire country”.
We’re proud to say that the exhibition has had a lot of positive feedback, and was chosen by The Guardian as “one of the most interesting exhibitions in the Biennale”. The Guardian specifcally liked the exhibition’s outlook on traditional souks and informal trading spaces, how they flourished, and how they can be integrated into a more formal system without stepping on its toes. The project wishes to shed light on the less fortunate areas where such trading occurs, and aims to govern and upgrade them in hopes of bettering living conditions for everyone.