Words/ Salomé Aubergé
Hunaya sees the kitchen as the centre of the household. It is where people come together to connect, share stories and of course, eat. The brand’s designer Nour Nsheiwat seeks to promote culinary and community sharing through creating household items that stimulate conversations and tell stories, which is exactly what she does with her latest collection Olive is the new Black…
Nour Nsheiwat is a Jordanian designer who uses discarded or unwanted materials to create elegant pieces for the home, under her brand name Hunaya. The latter means bringing faraway tales back home in Arabic, and as such she aims to tell stories through her creations. Her brand’s first collection, Olive is the new Black is devoted to the Olive Tree, a historic symbol of belonging and rural rootedness in the Levantine region.
This line pays homage to the traditions and customs of the Middle East, where communal dining is at the heart of the household. Producing stylish yet rustic tableware pieces crafted out of olive wood, a material rich in sentimental value, the designer seeks to remind the public of regional traditions that bring people together.
Nsheiwat’s previous brand N Products specialised in larger pieces of home furniture. Downsizing not only the sizes of her pieces but the scale of her production with Hunaya enabled the designer to focus on the particularities of each piece in greater depth, thinking more specifically about the role each item plays on the dining table. This has led to the creation of a rich Hunaya portfolio consisting of an array of f&b designs based on upcycled, local materials that are part of a broader regional conversation.
Nsheiwat has worked in countries from Jordan to Germany in the search of local unwanted materials that have the potential to be transformed into household staples. Her vision that delicately weaves together history, sustainability, design and storytelling is complemented by her partner in life and business, Nabil Haddad’s expertise in logistics. Aside from his active role in Hunaya, Haddad is busy running his restaurant, one of the hippest shawarma spots in Amman, Shawarma Zarb. The style of this eatery reflects the ethos of Hunaya as it uses food to showcase age-old nomadic cooking techniques within a setting that boasts traditional Middle Eastern aesthetics with a contemporary flare. Naturally, the restaurant is furnished with Hunaya pieces and in a way, Shawarma Zarb enacts the philosophy behind the products: they are intended for communal eating, for family sharing, for storytelling and reminiscing.
Discover more about Hunaya right here