Aya Essam graduated with honours from Helwan University’s Faculty of Applied Arts with a degree in Textile Design in 2010. She felt she always had a passion for interior and furniture design as well, so she continued her education further with design courses and she attended numerous interior design workshops across the country. In 2014, while still in her mid-twenties, Essam established her own custom furniture designing and manufacturing label, Mazar Furniture, in 2014. eniGma’s Mariam Nowar caught up with the young entrepreneur to discuss her career, her fast-growing clientele and a special furniture line she is finalising these days.
Essam dreamt of becoming an artist ever since she was able to hold a brush and she recalls that from a young age, she would always be carrying a sketch book around with her. Her love for design began with a passion for colourful glass paintings. “I would apply my drafts and sketches onto glass and would love seeing my art come to life,” Essam says.
After having completed a degree in Textile Design at the renowned Applied Arts Faculty in Helwan University, Essam was determined that she wanted to pursue a career in furniture design. To acquire the additional skills she needed, she took design courses, attended numerous workshops, and avidly researched the field in Egypt and abroad, until she decided to start her own brand. “As a young woman in this field, I faced a lot of problems.” Essam recounts.
Essam chose the name Mazar, an Arabic word that means ‘a place to visit,’ for her business because she passionately admired her ancient Arab and Islamic heritage. Her logo is derived from Kufic calligraphy, which continues to inspire and influence her unique designs. Furthermore, her love of all things Egyptian propelled her towards building connections within the local market to encourage Egyptian production and export. “I love my country as much as I love colours, so when I developed the Mazar Furniture project, I wanted to make sure it remained 100% Egyptian,” she explains. And in order to achieve the quality she relentlessly seeks, Essam closely involves herself in all of Mazar Furniture’s production from A-Z.
Essam notes that most of Mazar Furniture’s clients are newlyweds looking for modern layouts. “I am approached by many young couples who want to build their first homes together. Reading people is something I do really well, so I find it very easy to create layouts that reflects the clients’ personalities,” she explains.
While some clients provide Essam with their own designs, most leave her to design and execute the entire project on her own. She starts by having Mazar Furniture’s expert workers measure the client’s entire space; then she proceeds to visualise the project through 3D designs that enable her to place everything in its rightful place. She focuses on having a unifying tone throughout the whole design, so that all items have a similar style and are closely aligned with her client’s needs.
Essam has exciting plans for Mazar Furniture in the near future. She is currently placing the finishing touches to a brand new furniture line called, Mazar Pearls. This upcoming collection, handmade and inspired by Islamic arts and handicrafts is very personal and close to Essam’s heart. She’s also embedded different mothers of pearls in the designs, hence the name, Mazar Pearls. “I feel a responsibility to keep our hand crafts alive and to encourage this style of interior design,” she concludes.
Tel: +(202) 01068869497,
Address: 11, Lebanon St.,
Mohandessin, Cairo, Egypt.