Like many on the local creative scene, the team at Eklego, an innovative Cairo-based interior design, furniture and architecture firm best-known for their work on the SODIC sales center, has found the spirit of the January 25 Revolution an irresistible inspiration for new creations.
In a new initiative, Design for Egypt, Eklego’s team has combined their own creativity with the outpouring of creative energy generated by recent events in Egypt. The project will meld the ideas of local artists with Eklego’s design sensibility in a unique product line that captures the spirit of the Egyptian Revolution.
“At Eklego, like many other individuals and organizations in the country, we wanted to actively participate in this development of the country. As a local design company, we felt this initiative was very relevant to us and was very much in line with our strategy and identity,” Eklego managing partner Heba El-Gabaly told Daily News Egypt.
Eklego has been receiving revolution-themed submissions from local artists and photographers via their Facebook page, which they plan to integrate into a collection of tables, lighting, textiles and small home wares. All the profits from the collection, which is planned for completion in June, will go to support Wadi El Nil, a Minya-based organization that helps children working in stone quarries to get out of this dangerous work environment and into school.
“Design for Egypt is truly ‘by the people, for the people’. We’ve had over 20 artists and photographers submit their work, and it’s been a good mix of both amateurs and professionals. We’re currently in the process of selecting the visuals that our team will work on developing into products that will make up the Design for Egypt collection,” Eklego marketing manager Hala Said explained.
Collaboration with local artists is not new to Eklego, which has produced pieces in partnership with local artists including Zein Khalifa, Amina Khalil and Nadia Zarkani in the past.
“It is part of our company DNA to collaborate with local artists and designers. Our goal is that Design for Egypt becomes a permanent part of Eklego. It has been great so far to work with local artists on the project and we believe we will have further collaborations in the near future,” El-Gabaly said.
Integrating visual art into home accessories in a meaningful way has been a welcome challenge for the Eklego team, who are aiming to do more with this project than simply superimpose an image on a tray or table.
“Our aim is to incorporate the visuals into the design of the product and transform them from simply images into something that makes sense within the context of the products we’re designing. Our design team is working to actually transform the visuals into original products,” Said explained.
“I have ambitious goals for the products that will be developed through this collaboration. I feel that we can develop timeless pieces that capture the spirit of the revolution and what was so special about it. I hope that through the design process we can work with some of the inspirations submitted to create pieces that not only sell in Egypt but will be sought after internationally,” said El-Gabaly.
Given local and international support and enthusiasm for the revolution, and the flurry of commercial activity it has already generated, it seems unlikely that the Design for Egypt collection will be short of buyers. Said emphasized, however, the importance of balancing revolution-prompted business opportunities with social responsibility.
“It’s important to distinguish between being inspired by and celebrating the events of the revolution, and capitalizing on them for pure profit. I think the key is to make sure that whatever it is you are designing or producing captures the spirit of the revolution and transforms it into your own expression of it. I also think it’s important that at least a portion of any revenue you make from these products goes back into the development of the country,” she concluded.
Photo by Amna Shawkat.
Photo by by Sebastien Moros.
Photo by Iman Mosaad.