Writers have for years tried to encompass the wonders of the Orient, yet have always fallen short of quite the proper demeanor to describe the true nature of the “other world”. For them, it is a world drowned the wonders of romanticism, sensationalized in endless literary works which form the constant mantras that are heard from sidewalk to sidewalk from city to city in Europe. Words have always a limited way of expressing the things that you can see and that they eyes can see. Yet, images have a special taste to them, and it was apartment that captured that taste.

Arch. Amr Alim and his wife Arch. Dalia El Shimi

Nested on a lovely street in the crowded area of Mohandessin is an apartment designed by architects Amr Alim and his wife Dalia El Shimi. Being the couple’s temporary stay until they move to their permanent residence, the space though limited in its size forms an exemplary formula for integrating contemporary Islamic styles, with minimalism, and elements of Retro design. Upon arrival, the message that is set and clear is the identity of the place. Its small, yet cozy having all the essentials of a modern home, yet

painfully stylish to the last detail. The front doors opens and at the entrance visitors are hit with the custom made veneer dinner table, lacquered to perfection, with a set of chairs fit with high quality upholstery. All items were custom made. The room has an interesting buffet to go with dinner table, all nicely organized in visual cohesion with the rest of the setting. Separating the dining room from the living room zone was interestingly made wooden barrier made by El Shimi’s sister at her company Taola, indulged with intricate Islamic patterns all sympathetic with a contemporary overtone. From that, the scene builds and the living room becomes a marriage of three spirits, that of color, spirituality, and modern functionality.

The living room is fit with a flat screen TV and an interesting home entertainment system, artistic accessories and other attractive items. All furniture pieces in this room were all custom-made, generally going along with hints of gray and darker tones but other elements also have psychedelic pinches of color. One challenging aspect of this particular room was the shelf, protruding out of the wall with yet a very complicated design.

The weight of the shelve looks intimidating yet, the secret behind the shelf is its stability. Nonetheless, as a structure, it is stable forming a type of sculptural element, adding aesthetic value as well as a functional storage place.

On the other side of the living room is furnished with sofas that also have a contemporary taste but the secret is also in the high quality fabrics which makes it engaging for the viewer, not to mention a functional space for stowing small items. It has also has interesting items imported from China. Overall assessments indicate that space successfully suites the lifestyles of both Dalia being an active designer for numerous clients, most notably food and beverage, as well as Amr being the owner of his architectural firm Quinto. Both of them lead active career-oriented daily routines, believing that design is very much the way they live, rather than exclusively the way they work. The couple plans to start a new furniture brand called AD 'la folie de design', expected to be a hit once it hits the market.

Photography Hatem Saleh and Bassem Kaddah