El-Beit magazine, Italy's Fuorisalone launch Cairo Milano Design platform

Reham El-Adawi , Thursday 8 Apr 2021

The platform paves the way for Egyptian creators and designers to present their designs and artworks alongside international brands

Cairo Milano Design
(L-r) Davide Scalmani, Abdel-Mohsen Salama, Sawsan Murad Ezz Al-Arab at the launch of Cairo Milano Design (Photo credit of CC Plus)

Under the patronage of the Egyptian prime minister and in cooperation with the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute, ElBeit magazine, published by Al-Ahram Organisation, has launched its new digital platform Cairo Milano Design.

The platform was launched in cooperation with leading Italian media platform Fuorisalone.

The new platform aims to keep pace with the great boom in the fields of creativity, design, and industry, and to open areas of cooperation and dialogue with different cultures, which contribute to the development of the creative industry in Egypt.

Lucas Fois speakes in the conference from Italy (Photo by Reham El-Adawi)

On 8 April, chairman of the board of Al-Ahram Organisation Abdel-Mohsen Salama, Editor-in-Chief of ElBeit magazine and founder of the Cairo Milano Design platform Sawsan Murad Ezz Al-Arab, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo Davide Scalmani, together with Ahmed Helmy, Chairman of the Chamber of Wood and Furniture Industries, representatives from the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), and a galaxy of Egypt’s top designers all gathered to launch the new platform at the Italian Cultural Institute.

Through the platform, which is hosted by Fuorisalone on its digital website, creators in Egypt and Italy will open channels of communications to talk architecture, decoration, and design, as well as real estate development and even industry. It would enable Egyptian artists to put their products on display on the Fuorisalone platform alongside other internationally recognised brands.

Fuorisalone has been hosting similar platforms on its website, directed to the Chinese and Japanese markets, which gives Egyptian designers a great advantage as they shall become among the pioneering designers to display their work on an expanding global platform, especially at the time of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

During the press conference, Salama said that the ongoing development that Egypt is witnessing in terms of new and smart cities has doubled the urban area from 7 to 14 percent.

“The ongoing development resulted in the prosperity of real estate development, structural design, and all industries related to contracting,” he said.

“It became necessary for the Egyptian media, through its national institutions, to play an effective role in presenting the developments in the Egyptian economy and opening up opportunities for cooperation with the world. The prime minister's sponsorship of the event shows the importance of the media platform in opening the way for the export of Egyptian products and cooperation with the European partners in industries related to the design and furnishing of buildings, which comes at a time when Egypt presents mega projects, such as El-Rubiky City and Damietta Furniture City,” Salama added.

Ezz Al-Arab, founder of the Cairo Milano Design platform, said, “The cooperation is the first of its kind in the region, which would be supported by Fuorisalone’s wide, varied, and professional platform.”

“The project was conceptualised on the Italian side's interest in getting to know the Egyptian creative force behind the national projects in Egypt and to open up opportunities for cooperation between the two sides. The platform will give Egyptian creators and designers a tremendous opportunity to present their work in the European market in general and the Italian market in particular, which encouraged the Chamber of Furniture Industries and the Export Council for Furniture to sponsor the event, especially as it serves their role in supporting the export of Egyptian products abroad, as well as building bridges of cooperation between Cairo, with its rich and vibrant history and heritage, with Milan, which is considered the design capital of the world,” she expiated a little further.

This new adventure opens the doors to huge opportunities at the artistic, cultural and industrial levels, and strengthens the role of ElBeit magazine as a platform that has supported creators and designers for 20 years. Today it is growing beyond its printed paper boundaries. The new platform supports and strengthens the Egyptian state’s approach to expanding mega projects in real estate development, creativity, and the erection of new cities, as it opens the door to new waves of designs and collaboration between Egyptian and European artists, which means more sources of inspiration.

Scalmani, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, said that the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the importance of opening new and different communication channels that bring together professionals in the field of architecture and designs in Egypt and Italy.

“The sponsorship and support of the Italian Cultural Institute for this cooperation come within the framework of its role as a catalyst for cultural relations and cooperation between the Egyptian and Italian sides, especially between two reputable bodies, ElBeit magazine and Fuorisalone,” Scalmani said.

For his part, Chairman of the National Press Institute Abdel-Sadek El-Shorbagy said, “Establishing such partnerships amid a global pandemic serves as evidence that countries with a great civilisation do not kneel to any circumstances. The partnership with Italy is fuelled by the rich history the two countries have shared, while the Italian interest in cooperating with an Egyptian magazine at this time is a result of the huge national projects undertaken by the Egyptian state.”

Helmy, chairman of the Chamber of Wood and Furniture Industries, confirmed that the platform paves the way for Egyptian creators to present their works alongside international brands.

“Egyptian-Italian relationships are old and very strong to the extent that the amount of the Italian investments in Egypt reached $28 million, and as a member in the Egyptian-Italian Business Council, I believe that this partnership will entail a lot of work and a lot of future partnerships in the field of industry and will help us to invade the Middle East and the entire world,” Helmy said.

In a video conference, Cristian Confalonieri, founder of Studiolabo, owner of Fuorisalone, clarified that the Cairo Milano Design platform came as a result of Studiolabo’s plan to expand partnerships, which has already been done with China, Japan and now Egypt.

“The tremendous potential of Fuorisalone lies in its relationship with Milan, exporting Italian culture and the culture of Milan specifically. The Cairo Milano Design platform opens the way for long-term cooperation between Egyptian and Italian entrepreneurs and the provision of a wide range of services and job opportunities,” Helmy said.

Italian furniture pieces exhibited during Milan Design Week (Photo by Reham El-Adawi)

Lucas Fois, creative advisor to the Cairo Milano Design Platform, said via video conference that the new cooperation between ElBeit magazine and the Fuorisalone platform stimulates more creativity in design, architecture, and interior design in the two countries, and is an important catalyst for creating a new cultural product and cooperation in various business fields.

Following the conference, an exhibition was inaugurated at the Italian Institute showcased the most important Italian furniture pieces exhibited during Milan Design Week from the perspective of Egyptian designer Sherif Morsi.

The launch of the platform will be followed by a webinar with the participation of many Egyptian and Italian speakers on design, industry, and real estate development.

In addition to the digital event, more will be held in Cairo and Milan, to which designers and creators will be invited to participate. In September, Fuorisalone will organise an event in the heart of the old city in Milan, where the exhibits merge with the fabric of streets, houses, and squares. A presentation by Egyptian designers is expected to be organised during that event.

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