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By Edward Shain

Cairo Design Week (CDW) kicked off from the Baron Empain Palace, with events continuing from 19th to 25th November, across a collection of primary historical landmarks in El Korba. As Egypt’s premier event for the design and creative industries, CDW is projected to showcase the area’s architectural heritage through hosting a series of activations, exhibitions, panel discussions, and industry-focused events featuring local and regional designers, while serving as a destination for the design community to interact, network, and share insights.

“With the aim of declaring Egypt as a hub for design of all forms, the first edition of CDW comes with a wave of leading figures and global influencers who have a proven track record as beacons across different fields of the industry,” said Hisham Mahdy, President of CDW. He further added that “choosing Korba and Heliopolis to inaugurate this experience ensures our vision is realized through knowledge, as each corner here speaks volumes of a place so rich in history and design mastery.” Locations bearing CDW’s flag will include the Baron Empain Palace, Ghernata Palace, Villa Magenta, and the iconic Al Cayan Building; as well as sub venues including Odyssey, Photopia, and Design 101, while showroom experiences will be open in Design Center Cairo, 3Brothers, and Baxter.

The week-long event will act as the ultimate platform for designers bookended by the iconic Baron Empain Palace which will play host to workshops by Cairo Designathon, screenings introduced by Film My Design, as well as talks by DeForm; bringing industry leaders together to explore the state of design over the ages in Egypt. The palace will also feature Cairo Design Award’s ‘CDA Design District’, providing unique installations and innovative concepts, as well as hosting the 5th edition of the award ceremony on November 25th. Al Cayan Building, on the other hand, will be the center of CDA Design District, and will also feature interactive experiences such as Hekayet Elakat, an experience by leading design group TDF+ and Baky Hospitality, which showcases pieces depicting the brands’ values. Other exhibitions at Al Cayan include US-نحن an Egyptian display arranged by Karim Mekhtigian and Marwa Sabah, The Moviola where President of CDW, Hisham Mahdy, in collaboration with Mekhtigian celebrate design in Egyptian Cinema. The building will also feature Timeless Crossroads: Italy and Egypt in Culture, Design and Fashion, powered by the Italian Embassy in Cairo, where Mekhtiagian highlights links between Egypt and Italy through scenography. Just across the street, Korba’s Villa Magenta will host the Fashion Design District where local and international brands, including BVLGARI and Okhtein display their most celebrated designs. In the Fashion Design District, Mai Galal – curator and the bespoke fashion and celebrity stylist- partners with Maison Pyramide to deliver an unprecedented immersive experience designed by Nano Mahgoub with TAM Gallery as art consultants. Meanwhile, Heliopolis’ Ghernata Palace is set to be home of the Art Week, an exhibition celebrating the work of 100 Egyptian artists, powered by Azad Art Gallery. The palace’s outdoors will be the setting of The Grey Garden; an experience that aims to spread awareness about sustainability & art- featuring work by Creative Summit, Esorus, GLC, Marmonil, Naseej, Cairopolitan, Designdustry, Expo Turath and Coventry University, installation by Dr Deyaa Awad, a concept by Talk To Strangers, Landscape architecture by Dabs with architectural design by Void. Other venues celebrating the Egyptian design industry include Odyssey, which will see the work of Karim El Hayawan and Nehal Leheta, Co-Founders of Design Point, featuring their work through antique collection Tales of Egyptian Treasure; and Photopia photography studio, which will host talks and photo walks across Heliopolis organized by architects Karim El Hayawan and Ahmed Mansour in partnership with Heliopolis Heritage.

The first edition of CDW is about orchestrating a platform that links industry players, to extend their exposure; with the objective of bringing together thought leaders and key decision-makers in the design industry. The seven-day event is in partnership with WE, POD, DMC, MO4/SceneHome, V Digital, Mega FM, Al Cayan Real Estate, Villa Magenta, Collard, 3 Brothers, Rabbit, TEXMAR, Highlights, Heliopolis Heritage, Decorative Glass, and A Squared.


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