For the last 30 years, Le Marché has been the leading furniture and interior design fair in Egypt. Year after year it has provided eager Egyptian customers with the latest design innovations. This year, as it celebrates 30 years leading the market, the organizers are exerting extra effort to make the event larger and grander than before.
The 2010 edition of Le Marché–a trademark of Tarek Nour Communications and organized by AAPIC–succeeded in attracting visitors right from its launch hour on 16 December.
The wide variety of products and services range from interior and landscape design to garden, office, kitchen and other home furniture. There are also a number of wedding magazines' booths staffed by eager exhibitors ready to answer any question about wedding-planning.
“I personally think that this year, [Le Marché] helped gather all these designers from around the world and allow an open creative space for them and Egyptian designers,” says Laila Karim, the project director of Le Marché and AAPIC. “You can see Egyptian brands on display right next to international ones for the very first time. Mostly, Le Marché has offered space for local brands, but this year we allowed international names into the Egyptian market. This mixture of cultures gives us an international spotlight.”
“The mix also allows us a new view of what’s going on in the world,” Karim adds.
Each year Le Marché features hundreds of exhibitors, who present stylish new designs at the CICC, which covers more than 200,000 square meters. This year the organizers are adding to the experience by incorporating lectures and workshops with famous international names in the interior design world.
“[On Friday] at 6pm, Mohamed Noman, one of the most important designers in Egypt and a well-known name, is presenting a lecture,” Karim says. “Afterwards there will be a lecture by Dr. Ibrahim Karim, who is going to talk about the energy created by shapes, and how they effects the feel of a house and even the health of its residents.”
Sunday holds the most important event Le Marché is planning this year. Karim Rashid, one of top four designers worldwide, will hold an open lecture with Egyptian designers. Rashid, half Egyptian, half British, is currently living in New York where he owns a private design firm. “He is famous for the interesting shapes and colors in his work,” Karim explains. “He has designed a whole range of things from high-scale hotels to perfume bottles. He is a legend and our guest of honor this year.”
To celebrate the return of Rashid to Egypt, Le Marché has built “An Ideal House”, designed by Rashid right down to the last piece of furniture. “We have been working on building this house inside CICC for the last four months,” Karim explains, “it’s a design masterpiece, and it has become the talk of the design business.”
The fair attracts all kind of designers within Egypt, starting from the biggest firms to up-and-coming designers looking to take their first steps into the business.
“We do not sell one piece of furniture,” says Hatem Sadeq, IMAGE design house consultant. “We sell a full concept, a full harmony that comes together. We try to sell items together than creates an atmosphere that seizes the eye of our client. I believe we are unique in providing such a service.”
Sitting on a comfortable coach, overlooking a funky table and a TV set with a large LCD screen, we talked about the fair. “We refuse to join any other fair during the year,” Sadeq points out. “We have a huge deal of respect for all the other fairs, but we want to showcase our work once a year, so we can pay attention to the smallest detail. We refuse to replicate our own style again, or present the same collection more than once.”
“This year, we bought walnut wood from Syria, as we believe that it has the best quality worldwide to create our collection,” Sadeq explains, “I mixed it with either black or off-white, which are the trend internationally this year.”
According to Sadeq, any big company should be able to lead the market towards the right trend. “We, like any other big company in Egypt, should be able to draw the road for the costumer and explain to them the right items for their house and for their taste.”
“We decided to release a new home collection for 2011,” says Mohamed al-Sayed, assistant sales manager in Dimension Furniture. “It introduces the idea of modern dressing rooms to the Egyptian market. We have a reputation in the Egyptian market and we are thankful for it.”
“I like to tell the story of Egypt through my experiences in the desert here,” says Shaira Fawzi, the owner of SAHRA design house. “I started by designing jewelry before I moved on to create a fashion line, and now I’m working on home design and accessories.”
“This is my first time in Le Marché,” Fawzi points out, but she says her experience here has been wonderful so far and she hopes to come back next year.