Cherif and Ramy Makram
&CAIRO is a furniture brand that was launched during Cairo’s first design fair at the +20 Egypt Design and Furnex Exhibition in 2010. &CAIRO began when brothers Cherif and Ramy Makram decided to expand their family furniture manufacturing business through creation of a new brand, one that gathers pieces by designers from all over the world. The collection is inspired by the city & CAIRO’s first collection is as fresh and emotional as the city they live in; the brothers wanted to dedicate their passion for furniture design to Cairo.
&CAIRO is launching a new and young design approach with a fresh look within a context that appreciates and reflects the “Cairene” lifestyle. As its name indicates, &CAIRO is fresh and crisp with inspiration from vintage and retro pieces that are significant to Cairo’s culture and character. Understanding the rich background of the city, &CAIRO wants to make sure that its inspirations and, as a result, products capture the city’s essence exclusively.
While the city may be thousands of years old, the Makram brothers are offering a new style; it’s the “Makramish Style”. With a fresh outlook on products, where substance triumphs over style, without forgetting the importance of creating products that are useful and permit the user to connect on an emotional level.
The brand mainly focuses on wood but also incorporates other materials that require a passion for craftsmanship. It presents a family business, managed by different generations that share the same passion for furniture making.
Here are some of the pieces &CAIRO was generous enough to share with us their latest collection.
The picture above to the right is the BENZ_ seat designed by Cherif Makram which is an informal waiting seat made of artificial leather. Three modules with different geometric forms can be composed in countless ways and form islands of seats designed for large public spaces and for a modern home. To the left – another piece designed by Cherif – is the Button Lounge Chair with its relaxing and comfortable design, taking its inspiration from a Button concept and targeting consumers who like simple shapes yet at the same time seek a “modern” style.
The previous table designed by Leonard Bila represents the union of two small rivers that create the flow of the Nile; the FLOW_ coffee table is more than just a piece of furniture. Its clean and continuous lines reflect the energy that surrounds this great river, in a sleek design that creates the desire to gather around it to share and communicate. This table also exudes a key aspect of Cairene life, where a certain culture of “joie de vivre” brings people together in social gatherings.
Using a staple design item from Downtown Cairo, the traditional coffee table, as inspiration, the K_ side table has reinvented and refreshed a culture as well as a furniture piece.Reconstructed fully in continuous wooden strips; the modern version of the table moves away from the conventionally used form and materials. This brilliant design is also by Cherif Makram
Pictured above is HKZ favorite! Designed by Viable London, it represents a striking aspect of Cairo, the juxtaposition of the city’s obvious rapid pace of change and the tradition associated with a culture that holds a long history. All over town there are new buildings going up, yet the details in both the design and the construction of these buildings refer back to more traditional practices. The Prop Console originated from such site where sleek new buildings emerged from a rather chaotic construction site, showing that even in this chaos where ingenious detailed scaffolding created from steel props welded at angles to stiffen the structure which could be easily removed when not needed any more. It was these props that inspired the structure, hence the form of the Prop Console.
This is another great contribution from Viable London, The ZIGZAG_ bookshelf. Trying to express some of the rich details found in so many aspects of Egypt, the designer opted to incorporate the zigzag detail into the structure rather than simply applying it as a pattern. As a result, the ZIGZAG_ bookshelf becomes a junction between a contemporary design approach where very often forms are strongly linked to the overall appearance of the piece and a more classical one where patterns as well as details are widely used to give pieces a character and identity.
&CAIRO is currently designing and furnishing interior projects which we will be featuring on HKZ soon.
Content and images are courtesy of the designer.