Egypt’s hottest new environmentally-conscious designer Manar Moursi studied in two of America’s most prestigious academic institutions before founding Studio Meem – a sassy and sustainable design studio based in Cairo. Leaving the stoic traditions of Princeton University and UVA behind, Moursi is now making green waves in her home country.
Despite being a fairly young firm, this week the studio is already displaying their inaugural project at the annual Design is a Verb exhibition set up by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Arts Center. PALMCRATE Off the Gireed is comprised of a vibrant series of lamps, tables and other unique pieces constructed out of organic palm fiber by local artisans. Hit the jump to learn more about the studio and its talented founder.
Chic street sensibility
Made possible in part by a 2011 British Council Grant for artists and quite a lot of gumption, Studio Meem strives to design distinctly Egyptian products with a chic street sensibility. Creating a bridge between local artisans and designers, the studio relies on locally and sustainably-sourced materials, but never compromises either quality or style.
“All our products embody a perfect balance between unique design-know-how and traditional artisanal craftsmanship,” according to the studio’s website literature.
PALMCRATE Off the Gireed recently won a coveted Red Dot Design Award. It has also been awarded a 2011 Good Design award by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Art Design and Urban Studies.
The sustainable route
Although Moursi has worked on satellite cities in Kuwait and interior design for river Nile cruise boats, it is telling that she has switched her focus to creating a sustainability ethos within the Egyptian context. Such leadership is badly needed in this country, although we are happy to report that the newly-invigorated local populace is slowly taking up the mandate to forge ecologically and socially-responsible businesses.
Critics might consider design among the most frivolous concerns given the many other challenges that Egyptians face, but Studio Meem’s work is no less important as it creates meaningful job opportunities and ensures a certain level of long-term self-sufficiency.
Plus, an increase in lighthearted, quirky projects such as these might permit a touch of color to crack through the darkness that has shrouded Egypt for far too long.
:: All images via Studio Meem’s Facebook Page