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Azza Fahmy x Najla El Zein

The launch of Azza Fahmys’ Nostalgia collection was supported by visuals by Lebanese Contemporary Artist Najla El Zein. We had a one-on-one chat with Najla to find out more about her inspirations for this year and beyond...

“I was amazed by the actual creation process of the pieces which I found to be captivating.”

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: Najla, talk to us about the driving force behind your concept and where you drew these inspirations from?
Najla: I got inspired by the theme itself –Nostalgia- which is a retrospective on the most memorable pieces by Azza Fahmy and I wanted to honor that. When I visited the Azza Fahmy workshop, I was amazed by the actual creation process of the pieces which I found to be captivating. Even though the pieces are beautiful, the artistic process that goes behind them, I believe, is the most beautiful part, as intricate as it is.
I wanted to unveil the processes that lead up to the final piece and give it a different dimension. This is why I used wax, foam, and metal as materials for this year’s concept.
It was the best way to showcase the elements used and convey the beauty and honesty behind the pieces.

“I felt that the most important aspect to retain about the Nostalgia Collection is the inspirations behind it…”

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: What is the main connection between this year’s Visual Merchandising and the ‘Nostalgia’ concept?

Najla: This year, I used different symbols in each boutique, each representing the different fields behind Designer Azza Fahmy’s creativity. I felt that the most important aspect to retain about the Nostalgia Collection is the inspirations behind it and how they honor the Egyptian culture and I wanted to portray that. A few symbols have been recurrent throughout her creations like the Lotus flower, the Hand, and the Scarab. I wanted to present this within the window cabinets, depicting this field of symbolism and ingenuity.

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: What was the most challenging part of executing this concept?

Najla: The challenging part was in putting all the material together and finally seeing the overall combination between the pieces and the construction of the display itself. I had to provide a certain depth and perspective to the window while still giving each piece its own space.

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: And what was the most interesting part?

Najla: Actually, the challenge was the interesting part!

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: Did you have any last minute changes?

Najla: No, thankfully everything went like I had imagined it from the beginning.

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: How different is this year’s concept from your previous Pharaonic Visual Merchandising concept and how are they a continuation?

Najla: They’re very different in terms of aesthetics because of the use of materials and representations; however, they are related because of, once again, the choice of rudimentary elements such as wax, foam, and rubber which are all raw and elementary mixed with cardboard, wax , and metal. They are unexpected materials that you’ll rarely find in most jewelry displays when they in fact constitute a major part of the creation of the pieces.

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: If you could describe the concept in 3 words, what would these 3 words be?

Najla: Honor. Honesty. Fantasy.

Azza Fahmy Jewellery: How does the concept relate to you personally?

Najla: Personally, I am sensitive to the process of creation, especially when it comes to executing a certain idea or concept. I relate to that a great deal; it’s my favorite part.

About Najla El Zein

Najla El Zein is an artist, interior architect and product designer based in Beirut, Lebanon. She has lived and worked in Paris and Rotterdam. Her work has been exhibited at the International Architecture Biennale of Rotterdam and Bi-city Biennale of Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
 She has also been featured in several renowned publications.

Her work is best known for its experimental approach to space where the lines between art, interiors, products, and graphics are blurred. She often uses commonplace materials in unsuspecting contexts in order to reengage forgotten senses.  After having been part of Starch Foundation (2010-2011), Najla opened her own studio and is making a name for herself in Beirut.

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