Cairo, the City, from Designers’ Perspectives

Iconic City: Cairo Now! City Incomplete is a project curated by Mohamed Elshahed, founder and editor of Cairobserver, as part of the 2016 Dubai Design Week. According to the project’s description, the project is a first of its kind in its attempt to assemble under a single roof Cairo’s current design landscape, which ranges from graphic and typeface design to architecture as well as product and furniture design. Cairo lacks a marketplace or an infrastructure that could provide the much needed support to creative industries. Yet its young designers, according to the project,

turn the city’s trash into new products and revive fading traditions with a contemporary edge. Cairo’s designers today take the city as their muse and as the source of their creativity.

The theme of the project is incompletion and its resulting potentialities:

The title takes its inspiration from the infamous visual impression of Cairo’s red brick housing stock in varying stages of completion. The aesthetics of incompletion permeate Cairo’s design culture in content and form. Incompleteness is a reflection of the city’s status quo: continuous expansion into the desert with partly realized satellite cities, speculative urbanism where buildings are never fully completed to avoid taxation, and the tendency to leave a bit of extra concrete sticking out of buildings’ roofs in hopes of adding additional floors in the future. This visuality of incompletion is also a sign of unrealized potential, possibilities waiting to be materialized. The city’s designers reflect on this condition in their creations.

The movie is directed by the Cairo-based cinematographer, Ahmed Tahoun.


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