The furniture market in Egypt has undergone many changes and advanced a lot in all aspects. The renewed passion for design and unique pieces have created a need for new brands and designers in our homes. Aya Galal created herself a niche with a well selected portfolio of furniture brands such as Bonaldo, Joquer, Celda, Industreal and Haba to name a few that form Aya Galal’s fine selection.
How did it all begin?
It all started out with an interest in furniture in general as objects not as means to an end. I took it a bit further experimenting on how to make changes to existing pieces and designs in our household. When I fell in love with the whole process of the actually designing a furniture object to selecting the right materials to discussing with the craftsmen the best technique to yield the results I wanted, I felt it was time to turn this passion into a business. Turned into a family business, JIGSAW, a local furniture design, production and Retail Company was born in 2004. I had to leave the county and move to Bahrain in 2006 where I got the opportunity to work in MARI GREGO architects; an Italian Bahraini design firm. I got to see the whole intertwining of interiors and furniture employment at its best. I then decided to study alongside the work to be better informed of the relationship between space and furniture. After I finished my studies and training, I decided I wanted to export the simplicity of European design into the Egyptian market. Here I am now, back in Egypt with a portfolio of all the brands that I absolutely love. My current objective is not to retail these brands but rather to make them available for consumers in the right environments. I do so through partnering with other established retailers.
We rarely see trendy children's furniture in the Egyptian market; do you think Egyptians are ready now for finally investing in child friendly kids furniture?
When I came back from Bahrain, I realized the adult consumer is getting all the variety for furnishing their spaces and rather very minimal for children with the exception of some local productions. HABA has always been one of my favorites. The very essence of GERMAN workmanship, practicality and innovative design is what defines HABA furniture. Combining play, sleep and work elements in one room to create the optimum child area in a home, nursery or any child environment; HABA is one of a kind. Climbing walls and castle tops along with studying desks are but a few combinations of HABA's innovative bedroom furniture. Room accessories such as area rugs, swings, hooks, are also provided by HABA. I feel the overall trend and appreciation of good design and quality craftsmanship is cascading down to children furniture for sure.
What's hot this season for outdoor furniture?
I admire minimalistic designs. Coming up with a simple idea is much more difficult than jamming a million overused design concepts together. This is for me a timeless trend.
Is any of your designs made in Egypt?
All JIGSAW designs are made in Egypt and designed by a family member. The JIGSAW concept was “fitting the pieces together” any furniture pieces we designed had the capability of changing its adaptation to fit a different space requirement or user need.
With so many Chinese labels hitting the Egyptian market, how will European brands cope with that?
Each space requirement and user needs to dictate the kind of product and by default its make. The consumers for local labels, Chinese and European all exist, they just comprise different portions of the pie. The only disruption in the market is the pricing mechanism and how all this plays along with the consumer psychology. If Chinese products are overpriced without the quality to sustain it, importers of European brands feel they need to mark up their products too to prove the consumers it is of higher quality. I am not saying the market should be regulated, but I hope there is more common sense behind the pricing mechanics.
Aya Galal’s portfolio will be available at ARCHIMEDIA Showroom at Designopolis starting mid July, make sure to pay a visit.