Two years ago, Egypt’s leading interior designer Mohamed Noaman was charged with creating a stunning new collection for the international brand, Kenzo. Cool and contemporary, the collection, slated for release this month, is proof, if ever it was needed, that Noaman is a creative powerhouse in a league of his own. In this Enigma exclusive, we unveil ‘Noaman for Kenzo Maison’.
There is something innately understated about Mohamed Noaman; a quiet calm in the way that he speaks, dresses and designs. And there is style to everything he does. Without being pretentious or ostentatious, this is a man who knows what he wants and makes it a gorgeous reality.
Noaman is the interior designer, architect and furniture designer extraordinaire behind the luxury furnishings store, Madar, and he has just expanded his roster. The father of two is set to launch a fabulous new furniture line for Kenzo Maison. Two years ago, LVMH, the super conglomerate which boasts a plethora of big luxury brand names, including Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, Fendi and Marc Jacobs, was looking for top designers from across the globe to create their hot, new line.
In Paris, on one of his trips to scope out items from Fendi, Noaman was approached to be one of those designers. Fate had handed him an opportunity, he accepted and the rest, as they say, is design history. This month, his stunning creations are set to hit stores worldwide. “I would describe the line as being cultured luxury, everything about it is very intellectual,” says Noaman. “We wanted the pieces to be mature. It’s about living a lifestyle that is cultivated and cultured. This is a line for people that are into art, music and literature, but are still young. It’s not flashy and not over the top, but it stays true to the story of the brand.” This is a collection that is innately modern but fuses elements of Kenzo’s origins, including a subdued Japanese aesthetic.
Luxury is at the forefront of the collection, but it’s a subtle luxury that is not ostentatious. Sophistication is key and these pieces are certainly timeless. Using eclectic fabrics, heavy woods and elements of bronze, Noaman wanted to create iconic pieces; the kind of statement structures that define the brand while staying true to its cultures and traditions. “I know from experience what the market is lacking and I tried to fill that gap by creating the type of statement pieces that are usually hard to find. In doing so, I decided to take things back in time. The line is very retro and I was very inspired by the 1950s.”
Locked away in the annals of his mind was the movie, In The Mood For Love (2000), a film about two couples in Hong Kong set in the 1950s. It proved to be the focal point for his inspiration. “The film is set in a time full of sophisticated people; they were all so chic, so well-dressed. The movie was at the back of my mind, and the style of the time really influenced me. It’s a form of art deco – one of my favourite styles – without being as funky.” Flitting between France and Italy to oversee the production was a process he describes as both exciting and stressful. Throughout it all, he was afforded the unique opportunity to set the trend in the world of furnishings. “It is easier to operate in the Egyptian market as we’re the ones following the trends. With Kenzo, however, I had to be at the top of the game, to predict the trends and styles.
The furniture business involves much more than just the design. Branding and imaging go hand in hand with the production of the actual product. So this really was pioneering work.” As always, Noaman already has his sights set on the next big thing. His ultimate goal is to create an eponymous brand, manufactured in Italy and sold across the globe. And Kenzo, it seems, is just his first step in global design domination.