JDEED asked Sherif Labib, an Egyptian Product Designer to give us his 3 favorite spots in his origin country.
Khan el Khalili, Cairo Egypt
Khan el Khalili is one of the well-maintained historic areas of Cairo. A bazaar-like district that managed to preserve the true atmosphere of the Islamic Art and History of the era it was built in. Although it is quite popular and one of the most touristic sites in the Cairo region, it is still a place I always tend to go back to for a source of inspiration.
Not only that it provides and showcases authentic arts and crafts that seem to be very valuable, but also there are areas developed just for socializing and meeting people from different backgrounds. You can go there, enjoy and procrastinate the actual way most Egyptians do it. Shisha, authentic Arabic music, mint tea and board games. I believe that this place maintained the original Arabic/Islamic historic atmosphere and design.
3elbet Alwan (The Colour Box)
3elbet Alwan, which means “the colour box”, is a hipster café ( or basically a meeting spot) in one of the most popular districts in Cairo called Zamalek. This place is a hub for creative and hipster mindsets. The way this café works is simple: you simply enter, pay an entry fee and then you are free to do whatever you feel like doing. It is a self-service place with kitchens open for you to access, make your own drinks and food the way you like it. The design of the place is set with the purpose of socializing and sharing. Going there automatically means that you will meet new people.
People from different backgrounds, musicians, artists, designers, authors, etc. One thing they have in common is that they all share a creative mindset. The café also has a small stage, on which anyone who wishes to can perform anything they have in mind for the audience, yet the café also hosts music events held by “underground” music bands. 3elbet Alwan is the perfect place for creative people to relax, network, brainstorm and find new inspirations.
El Gouna, Red Sea
El Gouna is a whole town, not a small restaurant or a district out of a Cairo. I might be biased about that place because I have been raised there my whole life, but I believe that we can call that city, “The international town on local grounds”. This is a privately owned town by one of Egypt’s top businessmen, Samih Sawiris. El Gouna is located right on the coast of the Red Sea, which is well known for the aquatic life and coral reefs, hence the name and logo of the town which originate from a star fish. The design of the city was trying to bring the European -Western- culture and mix it with the Egyptian/Nubian design language, which can be seen in the architecture of the houses and the colour schemes of the town.
El Gouna has been inhabited by many foreigners from all over the globe that share similar passions such as water sports, diving, fishing, sailing, safaris and desert activities, mountain climbing, golfing and a love for warm weather and sun. Although that town might be slightly more expensive than most of places in Egypt, it definitely offer things you can’t find elsewhere. From my personal biased point of view, it is the perfect destination for a fun vacation with friends at a young age, and a happy retirement at an older age.
Sherif Labib grew up in El Gouna, Red Sea, Egypt. He is a product designer with a lot of passion for entrepreneurship and consultancy. He’s currently living in Luxembourg, but loves his country and goes back whenever he can. He’s one of the co-founder of a new social media agency called Intothecircle which is based in Luxembourg. His main inspirational quote related to business came from the founder of Dropbox, “ It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you only need to be right once”.